Saturday, November 30, 2019

Turkey Week: The Devils Came Out Of Georgia

In the Trump regime mob, you do what Don Arancio Trumpino says or you get replaced by someone who does.  It's one thing for that to happen in the White House and executive branch where Trump can hire and fire.  But now Trump's picking Senators and not every red state governor is going along with his "requests", and there's a price to be paid.

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) warned Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Friday that he could face a primary challenger when running for reelection if he doesn’t select President Trump’s favored candidate for the Senate seat soon to be vacated by Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

Gaetz’s tweet Friday comes amid reports that Kemp is expected to announce that financial executive Kelly Loeffler will be chosen over Trump’s preferred selection of Rep. Doug Collins (R-Ga.).

“You are ignoring his request because you THINK you know better than @POTUS,” Gaetz tweeted. “If you substitute your judgement for the President’s, maybe you need a primary in 2022. Let’s see if you can win one w/o Trump.”

Gaetz in a follow-up tweet said Kemp would be "hurting Trump" if he does not select Collins.

“It’s not the establishment you are screwing with your donor-induced stubbornness,” Gaetz wrote. “You are hurting President Trump. You know this because he told you.”

Gaetz is a vocal supporter of Trump and his message underscores the dilemma Kemp will face if he follows through with selecting Loeffler.

Kemp’s upcoming decision to select a new senator comes after he met with Trump at the White House on Sunday, with the two reportedly having a disagreement regarding who should fill the seat set to be vacated by Isakson, who is stepping down at the end of the year due to health issues.

You know those quiet parts that you're not supposed to say in public when you're shaking down a governor in your own party?  The Trumpino mob never got to that part in Mobstering for Dummies. It doesn't help Kemp's case that his reason to select Kelly Loeffler is because Trump is absolute poison among white suburban women in the Peach State.

Her appointment would do little to tamp down the internal Republican fighting over the seat. Trump and his allies have repeatedly pressed the governor to tap Collins, and the two were still at odds over Loeffler’s appointment even after Kemp brought her to a secretive meeting with the president last week.

And it would come as no surprise to Republican insiders, who have labeled Loeffler the presumptive favorite ever since she submitted her application hours before a deadline imposed by Kemp.

Collins’ allies have aggressively pushed Kemp to appoint the congressman in recent weeks, describing the Gainesville Republican as a champion for conservative causes – and a bulwark of defense against impeachment proceedings headed for the U.S. Senate.

And Collins has helped energize his supporters by telling The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he is “strongly” considering a run for the Senate seat in next year’s special election if he’s not picked.
Kemp, however, has surprised even his critics with his appointments to key posts, and he’s long seen the U.S. Senate opening as a chance to help the Georgia GOP win back female voters.

He’s also mindful that his selection would not only be on the ballot in 2020 to fill out the remaining two years of Isakson’s term but also potentially alongside Kemp in 2022 when the governor runs for a second term.

We could have a major fight on our hands for Georgia's two senate seats in 2020.  There are multiple Dems running for David Perdue's seat next year with Stacey Abrams passing on the race, and I'm sure many will look for Isakson's seat in the special election next fall.

Bonus Republican fail: Isakson was chair of the Senate Ethics Committee and literally no Republican senator wants the job.

Turkey Week: Alexa, Bah Humbug!

Gizmodo's Adam Clark Estes goes the full Grinch on Amazon Echo, Google Assistant, and other smart speakers in this 2017 piece and why you should never buy one, have one, or give one as a gift this (or any other) holiday season.

Before getting into the truly scary stuff, though, let’s talk a little bit about utility. Any internet-connected thing that you bring into your home should make your life easier. Philips Hue bulbs, for instance, let you dim the lights in an app. Easy! A Nest thermostat learns your habits so you don’t have to turn up the heat as often. Cool! An Amazon Echo or a Google Home, well, they talk to you, and if you’re lucky, you might be able to figure out how to talk back in the right way and do random things around the house. Huh?

You don’t need an artificially intelligent robot to tell you about the weather every day. Just look outside or watch the local news or even look at your phone. You already do one or all of these things, so just keep it up. Same goes for turning on the lights. Use the switch. It works really well! A light switch also doesn’t keep track of everything you’re doing and send the data to Amazon or Google or Apple. What happens between you and the switch stays with you and the switch.

Which brings us back to security and surveillance. I’m not here to be Tin Foil Hat Man and convince you that companies like Amazon are spying on your every move and compiling data sets based on your activity so that they can more effectively serve you ads or sell you products. I am here to say that smart speakers like the Echo do contain microphones that are always on, and every time you say something to the speaker, it sends data back to the server farm. (By the way: If you enabled an always-listening assistant on your smartphone, now’s a good time to consider the implications.) For now, the companies that sell smart speakers say that those microphones only send recordings to the servers when you use the wake word. The same companies are less explicit about what they’re doing with all that data. They’re also vague about whether they might share voice recordings with developers in the future. Amazon, at least, seems open to the idea.

We do know that Amazon will hand over your Echo data if the gadget becomes involved in a homicide investigation. That very thing happened earlier this year, and while Amazon had previously refused to hand over customer data, the company didn’t argue with a subpoena in a murder case. It remains unclear how government agencies like the FBI, CIA, and NSA are treating smart speakers, too. The FBI, for one, would neither confirm nor deny wiretapping Amazon Echo devices when Gizmodo asked the agency about it last year.

Sinister ambitions of governments and multinational corporations aside, you should also worry about the threat of bugs and hackers going after smart speakers. Anything that’s connected to the internet is potentially vulnerable to intrusions, but as a new category of devices, smart speakers are simply untested in the security arena. We haven’t yet experienced a major hack of smart speakers, although there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that they’re hardly bulletproof. Not long after its launch, the Google Home Mini experienced a bug that led to the device recording everything happening in a technology reporter’s house for dozens of hours. You can chalk that up to a very bad screw up on Google’s part, but it’s a tear in the fabric of trust that should encase these kinds of gadgets.

Hackers pretty much set that fabric on fire. A few months ago, Wired reported that a hacker successfully installed malware on an Amazon Echo and turned it into an always-on wiretap. The malware let the hacker stream all audio from the Echo to a remote server, which is some serious badass spy shit when you really think about it. This particular exploit only worked on devices made before 2017 and required the hacker to have physical access to the Echo. Nevertheless, it’s sort of the worst possible scenario for anyone who’s worried about having an always-on microphone in their home.

This is all to say that there are risks involved with owning a smart speaker. It’s not as risky as, say, running a meth lab out of your basement. But keeping an internet-connected microphone in your kitchen is certainly more trouble than owning a simple Bluetooth speaker that just plays music. You might be comfortable taking that risk for yourself. Think long and hard about buying an Amazon Echo or a Google Home for your friends and family. They might not like it. In my opinion, they shouldn’t.

It was a bad idea in 2017, its a bad idea now.  Don't give in and *especially* don't give these as gifts.  They haven't gotten more useful. They remain a massive privacy risk depending on where they are.  And they are provided by companies who are, quite frankly, terrible corporations who should be broken up.

Yes, you can get one for under $25 now.

That should be warning enough.
Related Posts with Thumbnails