North Korea Internet Collapses in Apparent Attack

“North Korea’s already tenuous links to the Internet went completely dark on Monday after days of instability, in what Internet monitors described as one of the worst North Korean network failures in years,” the New York Times reports.

“The loss of service came just days after President Obama pledged that the United States would launch a ‘proportional response’ to the recent attacks on Sony Pictures, which government officials have linked to North Korea. While an attack on North Korea’s networks was suspected, there was no definitive evidence of it.”

“The loss of service is not likely to affect the vast majority of North Koreans, who have no access to the Internet. The biggest impact would be felt by the country’s elite, state-run media channels and its propagandists, as well as its cadre of cyberwarriors.”

The AP reports the White House declined to comment.

Of course, the most effective U.S. retaliation would be to open up the Internet to the North Korean people. 

 

Grimm Will Plead Guilty to Felony

Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY) will plead guilty to a felony charge of cheating on his taxes before entering Congress, the New York Daily News has learned.

“Grimm said during the campaign that he would step down from his seat if he was ‘unable to serve.’ But he is expected to maintain he can continue to serve despite pleading guilty to one tax evasion count… If would then be up to House Republican leaders to decide whether to force him to resign.”

Assessing the GOP Presidential Field

Al Hunt: “To oversimplify, there are two distinct candidate types: the mainstream conservatives and the movement conservatives. There really are no moderates.”

“Establishment conservatives are the favorites of Wall Street, big business and traditional Republicans. Movement candidates are embraced by the Tea Party, social and cultural conservatives, and the populist right.”

Did North Korea Really Hack Into Sony Network?

Gawker: “Long before the FBI made it official, North Korean blame for the attack against Sony was taken as a given… But independent, skeptical security experts have been poking holes in this theory for days now. Evidence provided by the FBI last week in an official accusation against the North Korean government was really more of a reference to evidence—all we got were bullet points, most of them rehashing earlier clues. It still doesn’t seem like enough to definitively pin the attacks to North Korea.”

CNBC: North Korea suffering major internet outages

Facebook Says Ads Sparked Political Donations

“Facebook conducted two experiments with Democratic Senate campaigns this year to see if advertisements on its site encouraged people to make political contributions. The company says the results show it did,” the New York Times reports.

“The results are potentially good news for online political fund-raising — and for Facebook’s advertising revenue, not incidentally — but there are questions about how much credit the social media platform should get for the money being raised. If the results can be replicated, it’s also likely that campaigns will introduce similar efforts on other platforms that combine ads with web content like videos and audio. Google, which offers both advertising and email services, is one logical candidate.”

Obama Should Prosecute the Torturers

The New York Times has a blistering editorial calling on President Obama to prosecute those who committed torture and the officials who authorized them.

“The nation cannot move forward in any meaningful way without coming to terms, legally and morally, with the abhorrent acts that were authorized, given a false patina of legality, and committed by American men and women from the highest levels of government on down.”

“Starting a criminal investigation is not about payback; it is about ensuring that this never happens again and regaining the moral credibility to rebuke torture by other governments. Because of the Senate’s report, we now know the distance officials in the executive branch went to rationalize, and conceal, the crimes they wanted to commit. The question is whether the nation will stand by and allow the perpetrators of torture to have perpetual immunity for their actions.”

Giuliani Says Obama Encouraged Police Hate

In the wake of two New York City police officers being assassinated, Rudy Giuliani said that President Obama has engaged in “propaganda” encouraging people to “hate the police,” The Hill reports.

Said Giuliani: “We’ve had four months of propaganda starting with the president that everybody should hate the police. The protests are being embraced, the protests are being encouraged. The protests, even the ones that don’t lead to violence, a lot of them lead to violence, all of them lead to a conclusion: The police are bad, the police are racist. That is completely wrong.”

Lee May Face Establishment Primary Challenge

“Tea party favorite Mike Lee roiled the GOP establishment four years ago when he knocked off a sitting senator on his way to the Republican Senate nomination in Utah. Now, the establishment might strike back,” Politico reports.

“As the 43-year-old Lee plots his 2016 reelection bid, he is courting business leaders under the radar, hoping to head off a primary challenge backed by business leaders and other establishment figures in his home state, like billionaire Jon Huntsman Sr., an influential bank CEO and a former Utah GOP party chairman.”

Bush Donor Network Puts Rivals in a Bind

“Jeb Bush’s announcement that he will explore a White House bid threatens years of painstaking spadework by other Republicans who have cultivated many of the wealthy donors loyal to the former Florida governor’s family,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Mr. Bush is heir to a vaunted network of Republican contributors built over his family’s two presidencies, his own governorship and other campaigns. It is one of the most formidable assets in GOP politics and could hamper the fund-raising of Republican potential rivals, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. The donors’ ties to the Bushes also could undercut possible interest in a third White House campaign by Mitt Romney.”

Ben Carson Threatens GOP Hopes for Unity

New York Times: “Though few Republican strategists expect Mr. Carson, 63, to be the nominee, they acknowledge his potential to throw a wrench into the establishment’s desire to unify early, and the danger of turning off moderates if his divisive views continue to gain traction.”

“Mr. Carson has built a profile on heavy exposure as a commentator on Fox News, an uplifting biography and, especially, intemperate criticism of the Age of Obama that might seem to disqualify a major-party candidate. An African-American, he has called the president’s health care law ‘the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery.'”

Obama Vows Again to Close Guantanamo Prison

President Obama said that he will do “everything I can” to close the U.S. military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, Reuters reports.

Said Obama: “It is something that continues to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world, the fact that these folks are being held. It is contrary to our values and it is wildly expensive. We’re spending millions for each individual there. And we have drawn down the population there significantly.”

Activists Try to Rile Up Christie

Washington Post: “Since his first year in office, in 2010, Christie has engaged in at least 14 raised-voice confrontations with regular people, often at town halls. These moments, played and replayed on YouTube, have become a defining characteristic of the governor — as proof that he’s either a tough, no-nonsense leader or a swaggering bully.”

“Now, as Christie considers whether to run for president, he is increasingly facing questions about whether his hard-nosed act will play among voters who may not be quite so hard-nosed as those in New Jersey. Christie will also have to contend with those… who just want to goad him into a candidacy-killing moment.”

Bush Has Big Hurdle in Iowa

“With no love lost for Jeb Bush among the Republican base, the Iowa caucuses could be an early stumbling block in his 2016 quest,” The Hill reports.

“The former Florida governor’s business-friendly stances and willingness to criticize GOP hard-liners make him popular with the donor class. But the first-in-the-nation state hasn’t been kind to establishment candidates in recent years.”