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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Worrying that your vital information – including your birth date and Social Security number — was pirated from Equifax? Wondering how that could possibly have happened to you and 145 million other blameless Americans?

John Oliver has answers, beginning with the observation that the mammoth credit information company “did everything wrong” – like ignoring the blinking red alert from the Department of Homeland Security last March about a “critical vulnerability” in its software. (And we thought private business was always innately more efficient than government.) They even tweeted out links to a fake phishing site called “securityequifax2017.com”!

Indeed, so incredibly incompetent is Equifax that Last Week Tonight producers were able to set up an “Equifax” phishing site last week.

Oliver provides sound advice about how to protect your data, but he also understands the corporate attitude toward the consumers whose data they sell. “Think of it in terms of Kentucky Fried Chicken: We’re not the guys buying the ten-piece bucket. We’re the fucking chickens!”

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Mark Levin

Politico reported Friday that John Eastman, the disgraced ex-law professor who formulated many of former President Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 election results, was also apparently in communication with Fox News host Mark Levin. The story gets even more interesting from there, revealing the shell game that right-wing media personalities engage in while doubling as political operatives.

A legal filing by Eastman’s attorneys reveals that, among the messages Eastman is still attempting to conceal from the House January 6 committee are 12 pieces of correspondence with an individual matching Levin’s description as “a radio talk show host, is also an attorney, former long-time President (and current board chairman) of a public interest law firm, and also a former fellow at The Claremont Institute.” Other details, including a sloppy attempt to redact an email address, also connect to Levin, who did not respond to Politico’s requests for comment.

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Sen. Wendy Rogers

Youtube Screenshot

There have been powerful indicators of the full-bore radicalization of the Republican Party in the past year: the 100-plus extremist candidates it fielded this year, the apparent takeover of the party apparatus in Oregon, the appearance of Republican officials at white nationalist gatherings. All of those are mostly rough gauges or anecdotal evidence, however; it’s been difficult to get a clear picture of just how deeply the extremism has penetrated the party.

Using social media as a kind of proxy for their real-world outreach—a reasonable approach, since there are few politicians now who don’t use social media—the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights decided to get a clearer picture of the reach of extremist influences in official halls of power by examining how many elected officials participate in extremist Facebook groups. What it found was deeply troubling: 875 legislators in all 50 states, constituting nearly 22% of all elected GOP lawmakers, identified as participating members of extremist Facebook groups.

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