Partial Shutdown – “unintended” security consequence (from WaPo)

Dozens of government websites have been rendered insecure or inactive.

Some NASA, Justice Department and other government agency websites were insecure or not working as of today because important security certificates had expired, according to a report from Internet security company Netcraft. With so many federal employees out, the agencies probably do not have the IT resources to renew the certificate.

Check out the link.

53 Responses

  1. Short post on a consequence of the partial shutdown of which I was previously unaware.


    • Also a result of Google having thrown it’s weight around–they’ve pushed the “browser should be unable to access sites with expire certificates and unable to access unencrypted” sites forever. Used to be this wouldn’t have really mattered. You might get an alert and one thing you had to click through and then you’d be in and doing whatever.

      As the article says, they could have renewed their certificates earlier. No doubt they were notified of the coming expiry date well ahead of the shutdown.

      They could also have auto-renewing certificates potentially, which, given that they are government agencies, could just be auto-renewed and then billed. Then it would be the bill that would be waiting to be paid, rather than the site certificate having expired.


      • Thanks, Kev.

        Liked by 1 person

        • NP. Typical lifespan of a certificate is 2 years now (used to be 3). So there was time to plan ahead. And given that its happening right now–22 days into the shutdown–it sounds like these folks either wanted this to happen (i.e., make the public feel the pain the shut down, always a goal in such things) or are really disorganized.


  2. I’m willing to take the risk.


    • The more men cling to rigid views of masculinity, the more likely they are to be depressed, or disdainful, or lonely.

      I’m not seeing the problem here.

      I’ve got issues with the men’s rights folks, and that group attracts a lot of whiners and professional victims (like most identity groups), but the author intentionally mischaracterizes them. Big issues are often legal rights, especially custody rights, how poorly men tend to do in divorce court no matter what the reason for the divorce is, etc. They aren’t a bunch of yahoos complaining that “wimmins is takin’ our jobs!”


    • Christ, that’s an awful article. It’s hurting me to read it.

      I thought about how it’s possible to be crushed by something you built, how it’s possible to invent a game that exhausts you to play.

      Men didn’t “build” biological sex differences, or our fucking endocrine systems. Jebus H. Crackers.

      I thought about how hard it would be to accept that healing yourself might mean letting go of the very things you believed defined who you were.

      Such as the removal of testicles? Turn this shit around and say it to women–not about historical female roles but about the “new roles” that they are building now.

      Some people just lack empathy.


    • I like Arkin, but he still has to bow-and-scrape to the fourth estate:

      Arkin writes of Trump, “Of course he is an ignorant and incompetent impostor.

      Christ. I mean, everybody has an opinion of him (mine is: “incompetent” and “impostor” are complicated words; I really don’t see how he is any more an imposter than any other person elevated to the presidency, and is he really any more “incompetent” than Dubya? Or Clinton? Or Carter? Really?) . . . but it’s the necessity of explaining that “yeah, I hate Trump, too” as a preface to his argument. That’s the entire problem. He shouldn’t have to preface it to make the point.

      Eh, whatever. Trump is a media bonanza. Colbert’s career is (now) based on Trump, and Kimmel is going that way. I think the same can probably be said of Seth Meyers. Much of the media is sustained on a daily diet of Trump. If Kasich was president, they’d be hemorrhaging ratings.

      And while I think he exaggerates a little, I think he’s mostly right. The media has recovered from it’s brief, Vietnam era anti-war bias and gone total pro Endless Undeclared Wars Everywhere.

      But the media isn’t going to seriously challenge the military industrial complex, because (a) that’s not where the ratings are (sorry!) and (b) next time the Democrats have power, they will maintain our war footing. The Dems in congress aren’t going to do anything to move us away from perpetual war, I know that.

      I believe that that military presence, in itself, provides the stimuli for the creation of more terrorists

      I don’t ultimately believe that’s the problem. I don’t think it helps much, but it’s not the problem. The problem is the cultures and countries, and unless we are willing to go imperial and take them over completely and re-do everything according to Western standards, just showing up and blowing things up will accomplish exactly nothing. Just leaving won’t accomplish much more. The terrorists do not require an American military presence to become terrorists: it’s just a recruiting tool, and there are many others. As long as you’ve got an poorly educated culture, much of which is suffering under brutal poverty, fundamentalism and wahhabism will be appealing.


  3. Absolutely. Fucking. Sublime.


  4. I’m an incredibly cynical person, and this boggles my mind.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Speaking of unintended consequences:

    “Notably, some of the Starbucks employees who signed the petition attributed the company’s syringe problem to its “third place” policy, which lets anyone — even people who don’t buy anything — use Starbucks facilities, including its bathrooms. The company implemented the policy after staff members at a Philadelphia location called the police on two black men who were sitting in a cafe but hadn’t ordered anything. The men, who said they were waiting for a business associate, were subsequently arrested.”


  6. Serious question, if the below is true, why isn’t killing every human being in Afghanistan not considered a viable option?


    • Sure it is, but it’s not necessary either to ensure US security.

      To paraphrase John Kerry, who wants to be the last man to die for “an open-ended, affordable strategy for not losing.”?


      • If the only way to prevent another 9/11 style attach is to occupy Apfghaniatan to prevent a safe harbor, fuck that, nuke the place and kill them all, it’s not worth 1 American life.


        • Why not leave, and let China / Russia move in and be the target? The next 9/11 will be in Beijing or Moscow, then.


        • Well, I think China could win a counter insurgency, I don’t think Russia could. That being said, we weren’t occupying Afghanistan before 9/11. What I’m saying is that if the risk to the US is that Afghanistan acts as a terrorist safe harbor unless Americans are there dying, well, fuck that, nuke the place and make it unlivable. I don’t think China’s dumb enough to attempt to occupy Afghanistan, nor are the Russians. We have two choices then, either kill them all once and spare some American lives or we occupy it forever losing American lives forever.


        • I get the neocon point of view, it just doesn’t make sense to me in a context of American Exceptionalism. Either American lives and treasure are exceptional as well or they ain’t.


        • Yes, your point about the absurdity of “we have to continue to sacrifice American lives to save American lives by perpetually being Afghanistan, but we can’t actually use enough force to win” is well put.

          but I diverge from the “the neocon point of view” in that I don’t care enough about foreigners to save them and bring them democracy by invading them and killing them. I’m more inclined to leave them alone if they leave me alone.

          Liked by 1 person

        • jnc4p made this comment previously but for some reason it was seemingly stuck in moderation. I am a moderator and I did the right stuff to “approve” but it would not publish, so I am reposting this.

          In reply to Let the mutherfuker burn!.

          “If the only way to prevent another 9/11 style attach is to occupy Afghanistan”

          Which it’s not. That’s the neocon BS. It may well be making it more likely.

          The Arkin piece linked above is a good read about why the US can’t seem to win the wars it starts anymore.


        • “I don’t think Russia could”

          See Chechnya, which is a lot closer to them than Afghanistan for a great example.


        • Arguably that’s home soil rather than Afghanistan. Ruskies when they were Soviets couldn’t kill enough, fast enough and lacked the fortitude and resources to win a counter insurgency.


      • “Another reason not to leave in a manner unrelated to conditions on the ground is that, coming after Syria, such an exit would cast further doubt on America’s willingness to sustain a leading role in the world”

        not that!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Because we’re never going to do that. We just aren’t. So it’s not a viable option, because no one in a position to do it is going to pull the trigger on that.

      A more reasonable solution to me seems the “just leaving” strategy. At least it’s theoretically possible to pull the trigger on that one.


  7. Judge won’t permit citizenship questions on the census

    Is this a legit ruling, or just a partisan judge making it up as he goes along?


    • I’d say it’s the usual bull shit on the merits of adding the question back in since they had it on the regular census prior to 1950, but unfortunately Ross lied about the reasoning and got caught when documents came out so they have been making bad faith arguments to the court which they tend to look down upon.

      I suspect the SCOTUS will reverse.


      • I am going to pretty much agree with Joe. The Judge stated that the there was no constitutional bar to the question but that the evidence of bad faith and lying to the court about motivation tainted this attempt to add the question, and that the motive was actually a suspect one.

        This would be analogous, I think, to a redistricting case where the redistricting was racially motivated, although there is no bar to redistricting, generally. Because of that analogy, I think the Supremes will not touch this one, as it is clearly evidence based, not a question of law.

        FWIW, the standard procedure on adding questions to the census is to pretest them for a few years to make sure that they do not result in an undercount. Not that standard procedures need to be set in stone, but the deviation in this case is part of what called attention to the motivation evidence. I think it would be useful to know who is a citizen and who isn’t but without pretesting the utility of the question we don’t know the effectiveness of the blunt direct approach.


        • Mark:

          The Judge stated that the there was no constitutional bar to the question but that the evidence of bad faith and lying to the court about motivation tainted this attempt to add the question, and that the motive was actually a suspect one.

          If there is no constitutional bar to the question, why should the question of motive be relevant to the Court?


        • I explained that. There is no constitutional bar to redistricting, as such, but if done to limit the rights of minorities and that can be proven than it fails. Same with the census question. Analysis is fact and evidence based.

          Many otherwise lawful actions are unlawful if used to achieve an unlawful purpose. You can carry a weapon but you cannot use it to rob someone. The state can condemn property but not because the County Court doesn’t like the landowner [at least, that defense would work for a landowner in Texas if he could prove it]. Imagine if a county started condemning the properties of Lutheran Churches because all the commissioners were RC. The county would say take it to a jury and get a fair price. The Lutherans would raise a defense to the whole procedure.
          A far more interesting case is this one, which will also not likely split along strictly philosophical lines.


        • Mark:

          There is no constitutional bar to redistricting, as such, but if done to limit the rights of minorities and that can be proven than it fails.

          Sure, but only if it has the actual effect of doing so, regardless of motivation. That is, even if the motivation had nothing to do with limiting the rights of someone, if the effect of the redistricting was to violate someone’s rights, then it could be sensibly struck down. And vice versa.

          Also, of course, the mere fact of being deceptive about one’s motivation for passing a law doesn’t transform an otherwise constitutional law into an unconstitutional one. A judge may not like it, but a judge’s pique doesn’t justify him declaring a constitutional law unconstitutional.

          Same with the census question.

          In what way might asking a census question about citizenship status violate someone’s rights?


        • Only has to have the intended effect. See a bunch of redistricting cases, all of which are filed before the elections the redistricting is intended to effect. Same for a prospective shooter who announces he is going to kill a specific person.

          If the evidence shows that asking the citizenship question is primarily designed to specifically cause an under-count in heavily immigrant neighborhoods than it is discriminatory in intended effect.


        • Mark:

          Only has to have the intended effect.

          Which part of the Constitution outlaws intentions? Does a progressive income tax become unconstitutional if its intended effect is not simply to raise money for the government, but is instead intended to benefit certain citizens at the expense of others?

          See a bunch of redistricting cases…

          You should know me by now. I like source documents. I’m not convinced by a constitutional claim just because a lawyer in robes has made it.

          If the evidence shows that asking the citizenship question is primarily designed to specifically cause an under-count in heavily immigrant neighborhoods than it is discriminatory in intended effect.

          How so? In what way is undercounting the number of illegal immigrants in the nation “discriminatory”?

          Even assuming that it is, progressive taxation is discriminatory in both its intended and its actual effect. Does that make it unconstitutional? What part of the Constitution prohibits the federal government from discriminating against illegal aliens? (As an aside, it seems to me that it is far easier to make the case that governmental discrimination against people because of their income is unconstitutional than it is to make the case that governmental discrimination against illegal immigrants is so. After all, the equal protection clause specifically applies to citizens, not illegal immigrants.)

          To me the idea that merely asking a question – a question that people are free to either answer or not – could possibly be unconstitutional is absurd. One might be able to sensibly argue that a given policy is unconstitutional because it is based on the answers to a question. But the mere asking of the question cannot possibly be an unconstitutional act, no matter how much you might dislike the reasons for asking it. This whole episode is just more evidence that to many people the Constitution is meaningless, “unconstitutional” means nothing more than “something I really don’t like”, and constitutional interpretation is nothing more than an exercise of linguistic creativity.


  8. Now it gets ugly:

    “Shuttered IRS Is Sending Automated Warnings of Asset Seizures, With Nobody to Call to Stop Them
    David Dayen

    January 14 2019, 12:01 p.m.”


  9. Some people may be coming to realize that Trump likes being in the briar patch.

    “House Democrats are frustrated the shutdown is drowning out the rest of their agenda
    A government shutdown was a really weird way for the new majority to start.

    By Dylan Scott
    Jan 15, 2019, 4:10pm EST

    In private conversations with Democratic aides and lawmakers, they sometimes wonder if people surrounding President Donald Trump are perfectly happy to steal Democrats’ thunder while thousands of federal workers go without pay and the economy takes a hit.”

    This of course is flat false:

    “Governing is about priorities and right now there is no bigger priority than opening the government. “

    Their biggest priority is not letting Trump have anything he can call a wall, as Vox admits in a related piece:

    “Democrats aren’t saying no to physical barriers on the border. They are saying no to Trump.
    Why Democrats won’t negotiate with Trump on the wall.

    By Tara Golshan
    Jan 15, 2019, 8:00am EST”

    Liked by 1 person

  10. This is bullshit.


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