Cartoon by David Lacasse

We are starting to see the full extent of the damage Trump has wrecked on the Republican party. What was once a conservative party committed to low taxes and spending is now a populist party committed to high spending and bigotry.

The Republican plan to win back the House in 2022 is to make a renewed attack on illegal immigration and Democratic spending. The notion this is a winning hand is really rather odd since it was never spending that was unpopular, it was the need to raise taxes to pay for it. …


Artur Korneyev’s photo of the Elephant’s Foot, Chernobyl

After thirty years of talk, there is now a solid global consensus among politicians that climate change is a serious concern and urgent action must be taken. The lone holdouts against reducing carbon use are the dictators ruling carbon economies and the failed dictator of Mar-a-Largo. And even the dictators of Moscow and Riyadh acknowledge that climate change is a concern, even while they fund massive disinformation campaigns to persuade people otherwise.

The global environmental movement has been developing plans for replacing the carbon economy for the past four decades. These plans have changed over the years but there is…


Abstract

This article is written for policy makers and advisors seeking answers to the question what should government do to address ransomware.

Ransomware is a national security concern and thus a government concern. While there are some steps that individual actors can take by themselves, the private sector has understood the importance of the ransomware threat for more than six years and has done little to nothing to change behavior to address it. If change is to happen, action by the private sector must be led by appropriate government interventions.

Photo: Colonial Pipeline Co, a victim of ransomware attack

Ransomware is not a completely new phenomenon, the genre is generally…


As with Trump, Giuliani’s defenders can’t see how he could possibly have done anything wrong. Giuliani was work for the president which means that he cannot break any laws. If it was legal for Trump to fire an ambassador, how could it be illegal for Giuliani to tell Trump he should do so?

The answer is simple: Giuliani was being paid by foreign parties and Trump was not paying Giuliani.

To understand what was really going on, it is necessary to unpack what Josh Marshall calls the ‘Russian nesting dolls’ of the affair. It is also necessary to look at…


Sarah Kliff and Margot Sanger-Katz have an article in todays NYT describing the ways that the humble Fax machine is gumming up processing of COVID test results.

A Soviet Fax Machine. Fax technology isn’t any better today.

This is an example of what I call a ‘downgrade bottleneck’ that forces everyone to comply with the lowest common denominator. It isn’t a problem of software or technology, its institutional inertia that is the prime cause.

The Web began as a solution to a similar problem: CERN computing was dominated by a mainframe mafia that hoarded power by hoarding the information. …


I was struck by this comment in a Washington Post article on Warren’s gay marriage joke:

“It’s about telling people who don’t agree with you that they are backward by definition,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic strategist who advised Bill Clinton’s presidential reelection campaign. The line was a “stab” to those who don’t agree with her, he said, and “it is a battle cry for men to turn out against Elizabeth Warren.”

I think this is way off base because it completely misunderstands what the culture wars are all about. …


Some people have objected to my Brexit Endgame analysis saying that convention allows nothing of the sort. And that is of course perfectly true but irrelevant. Cummings has already persuaded Johnson to throw aside convention with his failed prorogation scheme. Cummings has demonstrated repeatedly that he would prefer to win by foul means over fair.

There are two scenarios in which Johnson may leave office before October 31st and they are entirely separate. …


As we head into the end game here, remember that both sides have options and the other side has to cover every one to win. Whatever people may be saying, this is about shifting blame for the inevitable unpopularity when Brexit is decided. The fact everyone is worrying about popularity among the leavers is the tell that they are the ones going to be shafted.

So don’t be mislead about disunity among the opposition. They need to keep their options open so as to limit Johnson’s. …


For the past month people have been asking me about the Crown Sterling announcement of a successful attack on RSA. The company first came to notice after they sued the Black Hat conference over the audience response to their announcement. They have since upped the ante and ‘demonstrated’ a live ‘attack’ on stage.

Bruce Schneier and others have tried to bat down this nonsense already. But like the Black Knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Crown Sterling CEO Robert Grant is a man who refuses to admit he has been defeated. …


According to the official account there is little doubt that the attacks on the Abqaiq oil processing plant in Saud was performed by Iran. The evidence being:

  • The Houthis lacked the necessary capability
  • The installation was attacked from the North East and Yemen is to the South.

Given the long history of US Presidents who do not have a reputation for being an abject liar making a false case for war, the claims made on Trump’s behalf would need to be treated with great suspicion even if he wasn’t the least trustworthy President in history.

The claim that the Houthis…

Phill Hallam-Baker

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store