The term “standing head” is a newspaper term that goes back to the days when the papers were printed by typesetters. It means regular or recurring content, such as the headline for a feature like “Box Scores” in the sports section or “aspiring rapper” in the crime blotter. The term is used to so often that the old typesetters would have it as a block ready to use when needed. It also came to be known as a trope, stereotype, or a euphemism that was commonly used in the news.
In the modern age, the word “hacked” has become a standing head, in that it is something like a catchall answer for all sorts of things. If a celebrity gets drunk and posts N-bombs on Twitter, she claims she was hacked. If a company loses customer information, they claim it was hackers. Whenever someone does not want to take responsibility for their own mistakes, they fob it off on hackers. Hackers are the digital version of Loki the trickster.
One reason for this is that the modern media seems to select for narcissistic dullards at all levels of the system. This is not just the airheads who read the teleprompter on television during news shows. Throughout the media, the system rewards those willing to fall for the most ridiculous nonsense if it comes from authority. The more gullible and naïve, the greater the access. The more willing a “reporter” is to repeat verbatim what he has been told, the greater the access.
When some official tells a “reporter” that the problem is due to hackers, the reporter never questions it. After all, they are selected for their obsequiousness, so they never question authority. They are also too stupid to see the hacking claim is ridiculous, so even if they were feeling rebellious, they would not know what to ask. That was a big part of the Russian hacking nonsense back in 2016. Even those who play the skeptic role in the media were too dumb to see the absurdity.
It appears we have another version of that involving the Colonial Pipeline shutdown form a couple of weeks ago. The company claimed they were hacked by wily Russians, probably the same Russians who were in league with Trump. They had no choice but to pay those hackers millions in Bitcoin to get unhacked. The story was obviously rather fishy, but no one in the media questioned it. After all, hackers are the universal hobgoblins of this age, so why question it?
Now the FBI is peddling a story that is so ridiculous that it should come with a laugh track, but it is being promoted by the media. Here is a tweet from a simpleton in the White House press team. claiming the FBI got the crypto back from the hackers by using their special James Bond skills. This is a follow up tweet from the same simpleton claiming the hackers used a server in California to store their ill-gotten loot from the Colonial Pipeline hack.
The absurdity of this is a good example of the credulity of the media. We have these super-villain hackers from Russia, who foolishly leave their crypto lying around on American servers for the FBI to locate. This is right out of the bad Hollywood script department where the villain always makes a rookie error, like leaving part of the Death Star easily accessible to the enemy. In this case, we have people expert at cracking security, but use no security in their own operation.
Then we have the claim the FBI recovered the exact same Bitcoin that was paid to the hackers by the company. Anyone with the slightest knowledge of how crypto works knows this is a nonsense claim. In order to know that the FBI would have to tie the address to a person and that person to the crime. If they have proof that the person is the culprit, then they can just arrest that person. There is no need for their dramatic caper where they seize the crypto from the server stash.
Probably the most laughable bit of the story is these super villain hackers from Russia were using a Coinbase account. Again, everyone with the slightest knowledge of crypto knows Coinbase is mobbed up by US security. In order for them to remain in existence and become a publicly traded company they had to give the FBI and NSA free access to their system. Yet these super-villain hackers from Russia decided to use the NSA’s preferred crypto vendor to fence their ransom money?
Of course, people who have used crypto exchanges like Coinbase know that they use multifactor authentication. That means you need more than just a user name and password to access your account. Typically it means entering a code that is texted to the phone registered with the account. That means the FBI had the phone number and user credentials of the hackers. That only makes complete sense if the hackers were located at Langley or the Hoover building.
Everything about this story from the FBI, DOJ and the company is utter nonsense, but none of it matters. In our precious democracy, no one in the media dares utter a discouraging word about anything from official circles. Even if one of the stooges in the media got rambunctious, they are too stupid to know who to ask about the claims made in these stories. The mass media is now fully staffed with toddlers, trusting everything they are told by the people in charge.
The old Hoffer line about mass movements become rackets in America gets overused, but it is amazingly accurate. Democracy in America is just a racket, an ongoing bust out enabled by an army of hacks in the administrative state. Real hackers are never caught, because they work for the people running the system, like the pirates working for the crown during the age of sail. Meanwhile, the hacks in the system are always ready to look the other way, as long as the paycheck clears.
In fairness, calling it a racket seems unfair. Most of the people involved are simply too stupid to run a racket. Most of the people involved are like Geoff Bennett, the guy from NBC in those tweets. He is a gullible doofus who checks the right boxes on the casting form, so he gets to play White House reporter. Anyone with something on the ball is boiled off or they are cast on the other side of the dynamic. They get to make up official whoppers for the media to report. This is the hack-a-rama.
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