Wednesday's HOT MIC
FAKE NEWS ALERT:
Unfortunately (or, fortunately, actually) for Congressman Renacci, this is a hoax. Dave Harley at IT Security explains:
There is no such virus. Furthermore, it’s unlikely that there ever will be, at least in the form that’s described in that message. Easy for me to say, of course. I’m in the anti-malware business, so I’d expect to have heard about it if such a virus were even technically possible, let alone in existence. However, the people who are passing this message on don’t have the advantage of thirty years working in security. So how possible is it?
There is certainly malware that targets mobile phones, going back to a spate of Symbian-targeting malware that kicked off around 2000, including examples that were fairly destructive. Skulls, for example, overwrote system applications with non-functional code, so the phone was good for nothing except making phone calls. Come to think of it, that’s all my first cell phone was ever capable of doing, even out of the box, but people expected more from a phone by then.
But malicious code that works on all mobile phones, irrespective of platform? That’s what we seem to be talking about here, since no specific phone or mobile operating system is mentioned. But that doesn’t happen. You can’t run exactly the same code on an iPhone, an Android, a Blackberry, and a Windows phone: the operating system on one platform doesn’t know what to do with code for another. You could write individual programs that would have much the same functionality for each those platforms, of course, but then you’d have the problem of matching the app to the platform when it came to distribution. That’s by no means impossible –there is malware that does something like that – but it’s a lot of trouble to go to just to brick a stranger’s phone.
Take two minutes to Google things like this before sharing them on social media (especially if you're a member of flippin' Congress) and do your part to stop the spread of fake news.
Mark Zuckerberg announced today that Facebook is adding 3,000 new content monitors (in addition to the 4,500 they already employ) to look for extremely violent content, like the recent so-called Facebook murder in Cleveland. It didn't sound like a completely terrible idea until Zuckerberg added that they're also going to be ferreting out "hate speech." Whose definition of hate speech are they going to use? In a political climate where conservative speech is increasingly labeled hateful, I don't have a good feeling about this.
Okay, so here's my theory. (Following up on Tyler's piece and a bunch of others today.)
Comey knew that the Justice Department was no way going to indict Hillary. The "intent" excuse was just that -- an excuse (18 USC 793(f) again.) At the same time, he could not bring himself to let a multiple felon be elected President.
On the heels of this morning's Facebook virus hoax, we now have this, which is NOT FAKE NEWS:
That's my techie son's Facebook post and yes, I clicked because it looked like it was from someone I know. (Derp...I should know better.)
Here's what it asks you to agree to if you try to click through:
If you click to open the doc, here's what happens:
Tom's Guide has more:
It's not yet clear what the aim of the phishing scam is, but whatever you do, don't click on that "Open in Docs" button. If you do, change your Gmail password immediately, and set up two-factor authentication if you haven't done so already.
Excuse me while I head over to Google to change my password and then do this:
My apologies to everyone in my address book.
On today's Right Angle, Bill Whittle, Scott Ott and Yours Truly pick over the rotten corpse of the "GOP" budget deal.
Update on the North Lake College shooting in Irving, TX. Two people are dead in what police are characterizing an apparent "murder-suicide."
Police say two people are dead, including the suspected gunman, after he opened fire at North Lake College in the Las Colinas area of Irving in what's believed to be a murder-suicide.
Irving police have confirmed that three shots were fired on the campus Wednesday just before noon.
The deceased gunman was described as being a white man with a buzz haircut, who was wearing an orange tank top and black jacket. He was armed with a handgun, police say, and hasn't been identified.
FiveThrityEight's Nate Silver says Comey's October 28 letter likely cost Hillary Clinton the election.
The letter isn’t the only reason that Clinton lost. It does not excuse every decision the Clinton campaign made. Other factors may have played a larger role in her defeat, and it’s up to Democrats to examine those as they choose their strategy for 2018 and 2020.
But the effect of those factors — say, Clinton’s decision to give paid speeches to investment banks, or her messaging on pocket-book issues, or the role that her gender played in the campaign — is hard to measure. The impact of Comey’s letter is comparatively easy to quantify, by contrast. At a maximum, it might have shifted the race by 3 or 4 percentage points toward Donald Trump, swinging Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida to him, perhaps along with North Carolina and Arizona. At a minimum, its impact might have been only a percentage point or so. Still, because Clinton lost Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin by less than 1 point, the letter was probably enough to change the outcome of the Electoral College.
Silver criticized the media for downplaying the impact of Comey's letter.
In fact, one liberal said The New York Times is "the Right's propaganda" because it downplayed the Comey letter's impact. Does ANYBODY buy that?
A war among Republican moderates belonging to the Tuesday Group may lead to the ouster of one of its leaders. Rep. Tom MacArthur negotiated a compromise on the health care bill with members of the conservative Freedom Caucus -- even after being told not to by members of the group.
Apparently, negotiating with the "opposition" -- even among moderates who supposedly favor negotiating with Democrats -- can be detrimental to your standing.
During a recent closed-door meeting, Tuesday Group lawmakers warned MacArthur not to negotiate with Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) amid an impasse over the health bill; they were worried moderates would be blamed if a deal brought conservative holdouts on board the bill.
But MacArthur pressed forward anyway and cut a deal with Meadows, although he said he was only negotiating for himself and not the larger Tuesday Group.
"I think [MacArthur] overstepped his bounds," the Tuesday Group lawmaker said.
MacArthur's compromise would allow states to apply for waivers from some ObamaCare requirements, a move that is seen as a concession to Freedom Caucus conservatives.
No jokes about the Tuesday Group meeting in an elevator of a phone booth, please. They are very sensitive about that sort of thing.
I agree with most who believe the Trump bill doesn't "reform" much of Obamacare, and keeps too many parts of it intact. But it may be a political necessity for President Trump to get it passed. It's encouraging to me that Trump took a personal hand in the negotiations over this $8 billion rider. It shows he's engaged and recognizes what's important to his presidency.
Steve thinks the money is "ransom" but, as a practical matter, I would look upon it as a down payment for a successful first term.
Oh my. Sean Spicer's WH press conference just devolved into a debate between Spicer and reporters about the definition of the word "wall." "There are various types of walls, " Spicer insisted, whipping out PowerPoint slides proving that a chain link fence is not the same as a "wall." Reporters questioned Spicer about Trump's failure to secure the $1.4 billion he requested for a border wall. The spending bill instead provides $341 million for replacement fencing.
Now Spicer's tweeting out the pictures (while simultaneously sparring with reporters, I guess).
During today's White House press conference, Sean Spicer repeatedly cited Ivanka's "passion" for women's issues as the reason she's qualified to be one of her father's top advisors. But is "passion" a bonafide qualification? Mark Cuban apparently doesn't think so. He called BS on two women on a rerun of "Shark Tank" last night who substituted "passion" for actual evidence that their business was viable. "If I hear the word 'passion' one more time, I'm out," he told the contestants before asking them to provide some hard data to back up their assertions.