GIFs, Missiles and the Dark Web

GIFs, Missiles and the Dark Web

Trump Continued His “Presidential” Streak, North Korea Upped the Ante and Medicare Details are Now on the Black Market

Over the past month or so, right-wing Americans have been in an uproar over several ostensible threats of violence against President Donald JoJo Trump. Some of the time, you could actually see where they were coming from: Kathy Griffin posing with the severed, bloodied head of the president was, at the least, in pretty poor taste and not all that funny. Likewise, Johnny Depp joking about how an actor should assassinate Trump was, again, not smart and pretty cringe-worthy. Then again, protesting Shakespeare in the Park because the guy playing Caesar looks like Trump shows, to paraphrase Lauren Duca, an almost impressive level of commitment to missing the point.

Needless to say, because he’s a grown-up and not a sentient potato filled with gassy racism, the president has taken it upon himself to be the bigger person and not respond in kind with childish implications of violence and you can see where I’m going with this, right?

Holy. Fucking. What. No. Who. Let. Him. Do. This?!

Jesus. Way to show your supporters that washed-up celebrities making unsubtle threats of harm is so not the way to go. Instead, here’s the world’s pre-eminent answer to “What if Reality TV and mansplaining had a baby at KFC?” retweeting a GIF conjured from the shrieking bowels of Reddit’s alt-right community, showing him literally pummelling a leading network of the free press. Even if he weren’t the president, that’s a lot of questionably sourced volatility to unpack.

But, of course, he is the president! As his supporters will keep reminding us (“Hillary lost, get over it!“) and us we all attempt to block it out, we need to keep remembering the position of authority and power this man is in. We need to bear in mind his influence, the scope and depths of it and the degree to which his words and actions are heard, absorbed and re-enacted on a global scale. Normalising this shit is toxic, and ignoring the way in which it rallies his supporters is dangerously short-sighted. They want a man who promotes this sort of talk, while decrying anyone on the opposing side who does so. That sort of double-standard is the very foundation of an autocracy.

Meanwhile, speaking of vile perversions of democracy, shit got real for North Korea over the past week. Led by the diminutive retainer of late-in-the-day baby fat Kim Jong Un, the country recently launched its first successful intercontinental ballistic missile. Though the launch was more a demonstration of power than a declaration of war, the fact that the missile itself had the capability of reaching Alaska is worrying. What’s moreso is the general consensus that, in five or so years, North Korea will probably be able to affix a nuclear warhead onto the tip of such a missile.

Ugh, it’s like if Spongebob fucked Majin Boo.

Obviously, with military hardware able to reach the United States, North Korea could easily attack two of its much closer enemies, the bordering South Korea and Japan. That’s alarming, of course, but not only should it go without saying, it’s honestly not as large a concern as the threat North Korea could potentially pose to America. The politics of North and South Korea, Japan, China and Russia in this conflict are mighty fuckin’ complicated, but suffice it to say that Trump has, on numerous occasions, vowed to prevent North Korea from developing weapons that could threaten the U.S.

So, here’s the situation in a nutshell: Trump and Kim Jong Un, two of the world’s most petulant leaders, are now locked into a battle of wills, with their public perception riding on their decisions. Much as Trump wants to appear tough on the press to gratify his supporters, being forced into a corner by a rogue hermit nation is only going to result in more impulsive outbursts, much like what we saw with Syria earlier this year. And Kim Jong Un, who is heralded in his country as the “Supreme Leader”, needs to demonstrate strength in the face of a more looming force beyond his control. Each man is capricious, largely unperturbed by consequences and possesses the ability to ignite a world war.

And I swear, I’m not tryna bum anyone out, buuuuut…

Finally, the dark web recently got a little more entrepreneurial. In case you didn’t know, the dark web is the layered, largely inaccessible and untraceable terrain online where people go to buy drugs, guns and kiddie porn. What I’m sayin’ is, it’s not a place I’d recommend checking out for a first date. However, in far less devious but still fairly disconcerting news, turns out people might be buying your Medicare card numbers on the dark web for $30 or less.

Now, if you ask most people the top ten private and confidential things of theirs that they wouldn’t want sold online, I have supreme doubts that “the numbers on that green card my pharmacist is really needy about” would get a spot. Still, it’s worth mentioning that there’s a real potential for people to craft fake cards using these numbers and commit identity fraud, purchasing medication and receiving treatment under your name.

What’s more concerning is that a Medicare card can often be used as one of several pieces of identification required for any number of applications, such as obtaining a passport or driver’s license. Call it a stretch, but if someone were to credibly design two or more other fraudulent identification cards, they could potentially own your name on a significant bureaucratic scale. Then they might… I don’t know, rack up speeding tickets under your name and steal ginger snaps from your confused, age-addled grandparents by claiming to be you.

“…the fuck is this kid?”

Who knows, but the fact that this was such a major story over the past week goes to show how easily governmental databases can be circumvented. Today, it’s your Medicare card numbers beings stolen, but what other information does the government have of yours that’s ripe for the taking were any sticky fingered hackers inclined to look for it? This is starting to sound a little tinfoil hat-esque, I’m sure, but it fits with a consistent theme of the week we’ve seen in all of these stories. Are you ready for that theme? Here it is: shit’s pretty fucked up right now.

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