Ho hum, Renee Dudley and Jeff Kao at ProPublica find that at least two data recovery corporations promised better security from ransomware but mainly just paid off ransomware hackers and then charged their customers more money. Both these firms guaranteed data recovery without paying hackers off, of course, and now some hackers routinely recommended at least one of these two firms to their victims; the article also describes a third corporation which could be paying off hackers while overcharging its clients, including our police departments. Nice work if you can get it! I do wonder how many "law-and-order" types will continue to squeal about immigrants while shrugging at cybercrime.
Julianne Couch at The Daily Yonder describes a local journalist in Iowa who's actually doing local news in Iowa. Local journalist Sheri Melvold's daily hour-long program doesn't give any PR to for-profit businesses, but does help local residents find out if schools are closed, or where the next church dinner is, or whether the arts center needs help -- and though she won't put opposing politicians on the air to talk past each other, she doesn't let them just say whatever, either. It sure helps that KMAQ AM/FM is one of the few radio stations in America that hasn't been gobbled up by a big corporation forcing cookie-cutter programming down our throats. Let's have more stations like that!
You've likely heard by now about the NRA's, ah, financial troubles, and now the New York Times finds the NRA has bled over $200 million from its charitable foundation since 2010. The only question is whether the NRA actually used money its donors intended for charity for lobbying purposes instead -- or, worse, all the fancy clothes long-time CEO Wayne LaPierre apparently billed to his expense account. I'd prefer to hear about the NRA's ties to gun manufacturers, of course, since gun sales seems more their obsession than gun rights. In the meantime, I guess we can always remember that time Oliver North seemed like the most ethically-upright person in a room.
In the wake of our Administration's desperate efforts to provoke Iran into doing something-anything to justify some sort of military action, British General says, contra American government sources, that "there's been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces" in the Middle East. Two predictions: 1) we'll be hearing numerous whispers about Gen. Ghika's supposed or actual character flaws, and 2) none of those whispers will prove he's wrong. Still, ain't nothing our "liberal" media loves more than a war, and I don't imagine they'll do a very good job being skeptical about our Administration's assertions. Just look at how happily they enabled our Administration's efforts to effect regime change in Venezuela (though, thankfully, the Venezuelans have thwarted their efforts thus far).
In a related note, I wouldn't put too much stock in reporting that our President "doesn't want a war with Iran," for at least three reasons: 1) it could be an abject lie, 2) it draws people into a drama over the "tension" between our President and the NSA he went out of his way to hire, John Bolton, and 3) it enables our President to say "I had no choice" if Iran does do something even mildly provocative. Nobody in America thinks of themselves as a hawk or a warmonger -- they think they have "no choice." Telling Americans they have "no choice" is really the only way to get us to sign on to evil anymore. Thus are the lessons of the "war on terror."
Finally, Dahlia Lithwick at Slate suggests that "Alabama’s Extremist Abortion Bill Ruins John Roberts’ Roe Plan." I agree that the Roberts Court would rather chip away at abortion rights a bit at a time, but I don't think the Alabama law "ruins" their effort -- reactionaries can't succeed unless they can point to someone even worse, and now the Roberts Court has their someone-even-worse, more than one of them, in fact. Even if the Alabama law dies at the hands of the Roberts Court, I think that aids their long game.