Showing posts from May 10, 2017

Today's Trumpery


Confronting a Nightmare for Democracy: Personal Data, Personalized Media and Weaponized Propaganda

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[More on Big Data, Cambridge Analytica et al. "We may never know the true scale of the Cambridge Analytica voter data and hyper-targeted media operation in the 2016 election. But what is clear is that in the future these methods will only become more powerful, matched with new, machine-driven methods to produce artificial reality media and even more powerful social platforms to deliver it." *RON*]
Justin Hendrix and David Carroll,, 4 May 2017

In the aftermath of the 2016 Brexit referendum and US presidential election, much has been written about how personal data was used to target voters with advertisements and other messages over social media. We’ve since learned that actors both foreign and domestic employed information operations, computational propaganda, and cyberattacks weaponizing our commercial media infrastructure. The question at hand is whether our democratic process can endure a hyper-personalized data-driven me…

Texas state-funded adoption agencies could ban Jews, gays, Muslims

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[The American Taliban. *RON*]

Meredith Hoffmann, Associated Press / Globe & Mail, 6 May 2017

Parents seeking to adopt children in Texas could soon be rejected by public or private agencies with religious objections to them being Jewish, Muslim, gay, single, or interfaith couples.
That’s the potential effect of a bill set for passage Saturday in the state House.

Five other states have approved similar laws protecting faith-based adoption organizations that refuse to place children with gay parents or other households on religious grounds.

But Texas’ rule extends to state-funded agencies. Only South Dakota’s is similar.

Republican sponsors say Texas’ bill supports the religious freedom of adoption agencies and foster care providers. Opponents argue it robs children of stable homes while funding discrimination with taxpayer dollars.

It also lets child welfare organizations send LGBT kids to “conversion therapy” while denying them contraception and ab…

How a Retired Nurse Provides Her Small Vt. Town With Internet

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[Direct democracy for the Internet - my new hero! 😀 Diane Peel is prepping a wireless mesh network in Newport, Vermont, that will offer high-speed internet access at a fraction of what the commercial ISPs charge. *RON*]
Jon Kalish, PC Mag, 9 May 2017

In a small town near the Vermont-Canadian border, the latest skirmish in the fight for affordable internet access is being waged by a 65-year-old woman pushing a laptop around in a baby stroller.

Diane Peel, a retired nurse, is the lead organizer of a wireless mesh network in Newport, Vermont. Peel and her cohorts completed a two-year pilot project in February with less than a dozen housholds. This summer, they plan to offer high-speed internet access at a fraction of what the commercial ISPs charge.

"In this day and age if you can't stay connected, then you're just going to lose out," said Peel. "There are kids growing up in families where the only access to the internet they …

In Trump’s Firing of James Comey, Echoes of Watergate

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[Echos, specifically, of the Saturday Night Massacre. "Unless Attorney General Sessions can prove malfeasance or gross negligence by Comey, the timing of this action further deepens suspicions that President Trump is covering up something." *RON*]

Peter Baker, New York Times, 9 May 2017

WASHINGTON — In dramatically casting aside James B. Comey, President Trump fired the man who may have helped make him president — and the man who potentially most threatened the future of his presidency.

Not since Watergate has a president dismissed the person leading an investigation bearing on him, and Mr. Trump’s decision late Tuesday afternoon drew instant comparisons to the “Saturday Night Massacre” in October 1973, when President Richard M. Nixon ordered the firing of Archibald Cox, the special prosecutor looking into the so-called third-rate burglary that would eventually bring Nixon down.

In his letter firing Mr. Comey, the F.B.I. director, Mr. Tru…

Greens hold balance of power in stunning B.C. election

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[Courtenay-Comox was won by the NDP by 9 votes. There will be an automatic recount, and the Liberal who lost was from the Comox Air Force Base. The absentee votes there have yet to be counted, and they are mainly from the Air Force Base. If that vote flips, Christy has a majority government and Andrew Weaver gets no deal at all. Interesting times. *RON*]

Dirk Meissner, Canadian Press / Toronto Star, 10 May 2017
VICTORIA—British Columbia’s upstart Green party achieved the historic political breakthrough they were looking for on Tuesday, winning three seats and holding the balance of power as no party won enough seats to form a majority government.

The see-saw election battle ended with 43 Liberals, 41 New Democrats and three Greens, although recounts could still change the outcome.

“We offered people a change that they could count on and British Columbians delivered that change tonight,” said Green Party leader Andrew Weaver.

Weaver spoke briefly wit…