Investing In Resistance

By now, we’re seeing a little more in the paycheck courtesy of Trump.  What to do with that extra money is a question we’re asking.  I hope to use some of mine to get started in Bitcoin or other cryptocurrency and perhaps start saving for a trip to Latin America; right now Costa Rica is the leading candidate.

But perhaps some of the money Trump is giving us should go towards the resistance.

The January 15-22 issue of The Nation, included the annual list of groups that could use a hand.   As is typical of this list, there is a strong focus on women’s issues, especially reproductive issues.

I’m not going to second guess those suggestions, but I have a few groups I think are worth a few dollars of support.

Two groups that I see on the front lines of the resistance to Trump and his authoritarian supporters are always in need of support; the One People’s Project and It’s Going Down.

My trip to DC to oppose the ACA repeal put me in contact with three groups that could all use support to continue to organize actions.  Housing Works is a New York City based group working to end the issues of homelessness and HIV/AIDS.  The Center for Popular Democracy is a multi-issue group whose partners in Pennsylvania include CASA and Make the Road PA.

If there is one lasting image of the resistance to Trump and his agenda, it may be of protesters in wheelchairs being carried out of the Senate.  Many of those protesters were allied with the national group ADAPT.  This group has been compared to the HIV/AIDS activist group ACT-UP, and I was impressed by the spirit and courage these individuals who have overcome so much brought to the halls of Congress.

One other group that may need a hand is your local hacker community or maker space; with Net Neutrality repealed, communities may need to look to alternatives to stay connected.   According to, over 750 have.






The End Of The Net as We Know It. . .

Unless something the scale of what happened yesterday, December 12, in Alabama happens tomorrow, December 14, the Internet as we know it will be gone.  The Federal Communications Commission is supposed to vote to end “Net Neutrality”.

Many of you have seen tweets, posts on Facebook or even received e-mails on this issue.  But what exactly is “Net Neutrality”.  It would be easy to go back to the old “information superhighway” that was used in the early days of the net.  But a better analogy may be an amusement park.  Many parks have “priority lanes” for some rides where users who pay for an armband or other pass can skip the lines.  With “Net Neutrality” there were no such lanes, all traffic passed with no special priority.

What looks likely to happen tomorrow is that providers will be able to give content the ability to “jump the line”.  This could be based on a fee a customer pays, a fee a site or service pays or even the whims of the provider.  A provider could also throttle or slow down a particular page; Comcast could give content from NBC priority and throttle content for ABC.  Verizon, my current provider, could make me use Yahoo.  The information security podcast Greynoise gave an excellent list of examples of what a post-neutrality net may look like; It’s not a pretty picture.

A better question may be, why?  There are a few obvious answers; Trump’s desire to undo everything Obama has done, the pro-corporate mentality of Trump, etc.  There may be something more sinister at play here though.

Trump knows how well “The Resistance” has used the internet.  It started almost as soon as he was elected; Disrupt J20 and the Women’s March, the actions around the ACA, and the Alabama Senate election all utilized the net to organize and mobilize.  Thousands of progressive podcasts, blogs and social media feeds bring information that the corporate media refuses to cover to an audience it could not have reached in decades past.  Who’s to say Verizon couldn’t be asked to throttle “Democracy Now”, or CenturyLink to give the NRA priority over “The Trace” (in the interest of disclosure, I was employed by CenturyLink from 2011-2015).

This would be nothing new.  Governments have always found ways to stifle, silence or stop dissenters.  The dissidents have found ways to persist in their resistance.  There are methods that could be used to get around artificial blocks to information, that is for another post though.


Philly With a Side of B-Sides

Over the weekend, I got my second taste of B-Sides.  This time Drexel University in Philadelphia played host to the 2nd annual B-Sides Philly.

Much like the event in April, I got a good cross-section of technical and non-technical information to ponder.  The event began with the keynote, given by a speaker I had heard in Rochester.  Ernest Wong, from the US Military Academy, gave a talk on “Innovating for 21st Century Warfare”.  Though the examples he used for innovation were the original “Mission Impossible” and the movie “Top Gun”.   The speech that bored me in Rochester, was downright interesting.

The next talk was on Russian Information Operations and how much of it is social engineering.  I couldn’t help see a lot of similarities between the tactics Russia is using and the tactics Trump, Fox News, etc are using on the minions in the mobile estates, etc.   This was interesting enough that I actually streamed it for a fellow activist:

Now it was time to get logged into the system a bit, with a talk on the Unix, etc command line called “Out With The Old–In With the GNU.”  A look at how people often use commands that they have learned or are familiar with, without looking for alternatives.  This can lead to ‘fingerprints’ that can be used to track and trace a user, and the talk was on how to avoid leaving such a trail.

The next topic I explored is something I could see my fellow activists being interested in, “Disinformation and Hiding Personal Information”.  Trump will eventually tighten the grip on “The Resistance”, and being able to go incognito may be something that needs to be explored.  Oddly enough the “Dark Web” was not brought up either in the talk or the questions.

I broke for lunch and then explored the vendors room, where I got some business cards that I plan to follow up on once I get my Security+ Certification.

The afternoon session brought a talk on ransomware that was interrupted by a fire alarm and a very quick introduction to a web security dojo.

I managed to save the best for last, with a talk on how there’s common ground between improv comedy and social engineering that  has me looking at reaching out to a local improv theater troupe and finally a talk on the mind of a hacker that was a bit chilling.

The closing remarks brought a surprise for me.  I am now the proud owner of a Bitcoin wallet; it’s really more like a personal vault, and there’s the matter of me learning how to get some cryptocurrency into it.

I hope to return for 2018, but may leave the driving to Amtrak.

Keeping Down

I am nervously watching the sky this morning.  Later this afternoon, I may be doing some door-knocking in a community that is likely to feel the affects of both Trump’s policies and the people he has empowered.  If the event is postponed, it will likely be until tomorrow, which will be a good thing for me.

The event being moved will mean I don’t have to worry about what to do while the Steelers-Ravens game is on.  I’ve been doing well boycotting the NFL, at least the games themselves.  Opening weekend, I had a meeting.  The next week, a kayaking trip.  Last week, a peace festival and unexpected visit to my Aunt in the hospital.

What is more interesting is that Trump’s “trailer park caucus” seems to have decided to start boycotts of their own.  They’re demand is for the players to stand for the National Anthem or for the NFL to take some action.

What I think has happened is that some people have confused patriotism with nationalism.  This has happened many times in the past, a common way to stifle dissent is to convince folks that the dissenters are “unpatriotic” or “Un-American”; the response to Civil Right and Anti-War protesters in the 1960’s, and the response to “Black Lives Matter” and the NFL players taking a knee.

If the event today is not moved, I can still keep busy.  I can clean my floors, work on some pictures and maybe get some coding time in.

Compared to what folks in Selma, Montgomery, Standing Rock, etc had to deal with, a day without football isn’t so bad.

The Weekend Code Warrior(2017 Version)

It is with great pleasure that I report that I will be back in the ranks of the employed!  I begin a new job Monday testing defective Apple products.

With the job, I won’t have as much time during the week to work on programming, etc.  I do want to get back to preparing for my Security+ certification exam, but I also see a need to work with; Python and the Raspberry Pi, Kali Linux and maybe TAILS, JavaScript and App Development, and “doxxing”.

I think about it, and the only time I may have to do all this may be the weekend.  I get up pretty early on Saturdays and Sundays, so I could get an hour in before breakfast, or even during it.  College football could be a good background for coding as well.  Since I’m boycotting the NFL in solidarity with Colin Kapernick, that leaves Sundays free.

Now I may have to cut back on my “field work”, maybe just restrict that to meetings, etc.

It would seem that I still feel the call of the activist geek, or want to be found by the South-Central PA cell of Anonymous.

23 Hours for Health Care

I do some crazy things for “The Resistance”, the loosely organized individuasl and organizations that have sprung up to oppose Trump and his agenda.  I have marched, rallied and attended council meetings.  But yesterday, September 25th, was a test of my commitment.

It began at 2:00A.M with my alarm waking me up; a quick snack-sized breakfast, getting dressed and even doing my dishes followed.  From there I was off to a fellow activists house for us to stage for our destination, Washington DC for the Senate Finance Committee Hearing on the health care repeal.  We drove through the night and into the dawn, stopping at a drive-thru for what was for me a 2nd breakfast.  Along the way, it was announced that the driver planned to get arrested.  That would affect my plans later.

We arrived in DC around 6:30, and by 7AM we were at the building.  We got in with no incident, and lunch and water were already handed out.  From around 8AM until the hearing began at 2PM we waited, not to get in, but to disrupt.  “Walking the line”, doing Facebook live feeds of the size of the line, became a common way for folks to get exercise and show the literal depth of the crowd.  Much of the crowd were from the group ADAPT , a direct action group of Americans with disabilities.  I was impressed by the energy and conviction these citizens brought to the event:

Lives In The Line

A post shared by James D'Angelo (@james.l.dangelo) on

Another take-away was the way the Senators entered.  The Democrats we saw came in and walked our lines with heads held high, and received a rock stars welcome; Senators Brown(OH), Bennett(CO), Casey(PA) and Coons(DE) all were seen from where I stood.  Besides Senator Graham(SC), who arrogantly smirked at us, most of the Republicans walked in with heads low, or waited for the Capitol Police to arrive.

The Hearing began, and with ADAPT leading the chants, was soon recessed.  I am not sure if the hearing actually even took place, as under threat of arrest, I and a fellow activist exited the building.  Our driver did indeed get arrested, so now we had to figure out when she was getting out, and what to do about me.

We might a delightful woman, who led us to a Texas-style BBQ place where to made our plans over beers and in my case, dinner.  A decision was made to put me on a train, that would get me to Harrisburg around 1A.M on the 26th.

The woman was nice enough to drive me to the station, after a walk to her car, and I boarded a train first to Philadelphia, and then to Harrisburg.  Thanks to some careful co-ordination on my part, and some negotiations between two activists in Harrisburg, I found I had a ride back to where this had all started, and around 1:15A.M, was back home.

On the train, I found that it looks like it was all time well-spent.  It looks like the latest attempt to repeal the ACA, is again DOA.  But there will be other battles; DACA, and perhaps even Medicare for All.  I may volunteer to drive for whatever the next one is.


Since my last entry, my employment situation has taken a turn for the worst.  I was fired from my help desk job on the 31st of August.  The best reason I can give is a violation of the company’s conduct policy.  I have another part-time job and unemployment to keep me afloat, and am on a vigorous and determined job search.

While I was there, one thing one of my co-workers was always reminding me to do was to stay focused on my current call.  I did get better at this, though instant messaging was still an occasional stumbling block.

It would seem to me that Trump and the rest of the Republican party is trying to catch the resistance off guard.  It looks like another attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act is working its way through the Senate.  It looks to be more of the same, with attacks on Medicaid added in for even more damage.

Trump may be counting on several things that he thinks may distract the resistance.  One is that a lot of the younger people are in school, they may not have time to rally or call as they’re in classes now.

Second is that he may think a lot of people figure that it can’t get 50 votes in the Senate.  Previous attempts have failed, so what makes this any different.  Senator McConnell may have figured out ways to “sweeten the deal” for a few Senators, or there may be threats to primary Senators from the “Trailer Park Caucus”.

The final reason Trump may think this can get through is he thinks the resistance is going to be too busy trying to get the “Medicare for All” plan that Bernie Sanders is supporting through.  Trump may not realize that unlike much of his base, the resistance is smart enough to multitask.

The best strategy for the resistance may be a two stage plan.  Make sure this latest attempt to repeal is repelled, then advance the “Medicare for all” as a replacement that instead of causing people to lose coverage, ensures universal coverage.