Showing posts with label elections. Show all posts
Showing posts with label elections. Show all posts

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

US Dept of Justice-FBI investigation of Russian links to Donald Trump's election campaign inexorably rolls on


On 17 May 2017 the probe into Russian influence on US political processes and collusion between the Russian Government and individuals associated with the election campaign of President Donald J Trump became an investigation which would inevitably lead to charges being laid.

To date both President Trump's former campaign manager and campaign deputy-director have been indicted, along with thirteen Russian nationals and three corporations.

Trump's former security adviser, along with a former member of his foreign policy advisory team and an individual who unlawfully supplied US bank accounts to Russians associated with the alleged political interference, have plead guilty to charges.

Current State of Play according to US Dept. of Justice

U.S. v. Internet Research Agency, et al (1:18-cr-32, District of Columbia)
A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned an indictment on Feb. 16, 2018, against 13 Russian nationals and three Russian entities accused of violating U.S. criminal laws in order to interfere with U.S. elections and political processes. The indictment charges all of the defendants with conspiracy to defraud the United States, three defendants with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and bank fraud, and five defendants with aggravated identity theft.

U.S. v. Richard Pinedo, et al (1:18-cr-24, District of Columbia)
Richard Pinedo, of Santa Paula, Calif., pleaded guilty on Feb. 12, 2018, to identity fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1028.

U.S. v. Michael T. Flynn (1:17-cr-232, District of Columbia)
Lieutenant General Michael T. Flynn (Ret.), of Alexandria, Va., pleaded guilty on Dec. 1, 2017, to making false statements to FBI agents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001.

U.S. v. Paul J. Manafort, Jr., and Richard W. Gates III (1:17-cr-201, District of Columbia)
Paul J. Manafort, Jr., of Alexandria, Va., and Richard W. Gates III, of Richmond, Va., have been indicted by a federal grand jury on Oct. 27, 2017, in the District of Columbia. The indictment contains 12 counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, false statements, and seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts. The case was unsealed on Oct. 30, 2017, after the defendants were permitted to surrender themselves to the custody of the FBI.

U.S. v. George Papadopoulos (1:17-cr-182, District of Columbia)
George Papadopoulos, of Chicago, Illinois, pleaded guilty on Oct. 5, 2017, to making false statements to FBI agents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. The case was unsealed on Oct. 30, 2017.

UPDATE

U.S. v. Alex van der Zwaan (1:18-cr-31, District of Columbia)
Alex van der Zwaan, of London, pleaded guilty on Feb. 20, 2018, to making false statements to FBI agents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001.
Statement of the Offense

U.S. v. Paul J. Manafort, Jr., and Richard W. Gates III (1:18-cr-83, Eastern District of Virginia)
Paul J. Manafort, Jr., of Alexandria, Va., and Richard W. Gates III, of Richmond, Va., were indicted by a federal grand jury on Feb. 22, 2018, in the Eastern District of Virginia. The indictment contains 32 counts: 16 counts related to false individual income tax returns, seven counts of failure to file reports of foreign bank and financial accounts, five counts of bank fraud conspiracy, and four counts of bank fraud.
Indictment

U.S. v. Paul J. Manafort, Jr. (1:17-cr-201, District of Columbia)
A federal grand jury in the District of Columbia returned a superseding indictment on Feb. 23, 2018, against Paul J. Manafort, Jr., 68, of Alexandria, Va. The superseding indictment contains five counts: conspiracy against the United States, conspiracy to launder money, unregistered agent of a foreign principal, false and misleading FARA statements, and false statements.

U.S. v. Richard W. Gates III (1:17-cr-201, District of Columbia)
Richard W. Gates III, 45, of Richmond, Va., pleaded guilty on Feb. 23, 2018, to a superseding criminal information that includes: count one of the indictment, which charges conspiracy against the United States, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 371 (which includes conspiracy to violate 26 U.S.C. 7206(1), 31 U.S.C. 5312 and 5322(b), and 22 U.S.C. 612, 618(a)(1), and 618(a)(2)), and a charge of making false statements to the Special Counsel’s Office and FBI agents, in violation of 18 U.S.C. 1001. A status report with regard to sentencing was scheduled for May 14, 2018.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

Quotes of the Week


"The Cozy Bear [Russian] hackers are in a space in a university building near the Red Square. The group's composition varies, usually about ten people are active. The entrance is in a curved hallway. A security camera records who enters and who exits the room. The AIVD hackers manage to gain access to that camera. Not only can the intelligence service now see what the Russians are doing, they can also see who's doing it. Pictures are taken of every visitor. In Zoetermeer, these pictures are analyzed and compared to known Russian spies. Again, they've acquired information that will later prove to be vital."  [De Volkskrant, on the subject of Russian interference in 2016 presidential election, 25 January 2018]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

"The separation of powers doctrine dictates that the judiciary should not be the subject of improper influence by the other branches of government – being the executive and legislature. Comments by Dutton and other Coalition ministers to the effect that members of the judiciary should be selected on the basis of their ideological leanings and ability to deliver "tough" sentences – rather than independently look at all factors and apply the law – seek to undermine this doctrine and unduly influence both the selection process and practices of the judiciary. Dutton's populist political grandstanding may have some members of the public "egging him on", but the reality is that such rhetoric seeks to undermine one of the central pillars of our democracy." 
[Sydney Criminal Lawyers, 23 January 2018]


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

No president in history has burned more public money to sustain his personal lifestyle than Donald Trump”  [former George W. Bush staffer David Frum in his book Trumpocracy: The Corruption of the American Republic]


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“The events I’ve described in these pages are based on conversations that took place over a period of eighteen months with the president, with most members of his senior staff—some of whom talked to me dozens of times—and with many people who they in turn spoke to. The first interview occurred well before I could have imagined a Trump White House, much less a book about it, in late May 2016 at Trump’s home in Beverly Hills—the then candidate polishing off a pint of Häagen-Dazs vanilla as he happily and idly opined about a range of topics while his aides, Hope Hicks, Corey Lewandowski, and Jared Kushner, went in and out of the room.
Conversations with members of the campaign’s team continued through the Republican Convention in Cleveland, when it was still hardly possible to conceive of Trumps election. They moved on to Trump Tower with a voluble Steve Bannon—before the election, when he still seemed like an entertaining oddity, and later, after the election, when he seemed like a miracle worker.
Shortly after January 20, I took up something like a semipermanent seat on a couch in the West Wing. Since then I have conducted more than two hundred interviews.” [Author Michael Wolff from his book “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House” published 5 January 2018]


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tuesday, 16 January 2018

The American Resistance has many faces and these are just some of them (19)


Successful resistance at state level.....

Chicago Tribune, 4 December 2018:
President Donald Trump has signed an executive order disbanding his voter fraud commission.
A White House statement is blaming the decision on numerous states that have refused to provide voter information to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says that, "Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense," Trump has signed an order to dissolve the commission and asked the Department of Homeland Security to determine the administration's next steps.
Critics saw the commission as part of a conservative campaign to strip minority voters and poor people from the voter rolls, and to justify unfounded claims made by Trump that voter fraud cost him the popular vote in 2016.
Past studies have found voter fraud to be exceptionally rare. [my yellow highlighting]
 BACKGROUND

The Hill, 3 January 2018:

It was established months after Trump claimed without citing evidence that millions of people voted illegally in 2016, depriving him of a popular-vote victory against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a vocal supporter of voter ID laws, led the commission. It was made up of Republicans and Democrats.

The panel met twice, but was quickly bogged down amid states’ unwillingness to comply with its requests and lawsuits alleging it did not follow federal record-keeping laws.

The Government Accountability Office announced last October it was opening an investigation into the commission at the request of three Democratic senators who said the panel did not properly disclose its work.

Democrats and civil-rights groups described the commission as part of a broader conservative effort to deprive minorities of voting rights and a cover to back up the president’s claims.

"The claim of widespread voter fraud in the United States is in fact, fraud. The demise of this commission should put this issue to rest," Michael Waldman, president of the liberal Brennan Center for Justice, said in a statement.

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) celebrated the panel's end, calling it a "front to suppress the vote, perpetrate dangerous and baseless claims" that "was ridiculed from one end of the country to the other."

Some leading Republicans, including Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), also urged Trump last year to drop his claims of widespread fraud.

Monday, 1 January 2018

A NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION FOR 2018


I resolve to never vote for a political party, sitting politician or political candidate who creates a Facebook page, posts on any Facebook page, links to a fake news site hosted by Facebook or pays for advertising on Facebook in the lead-up to and/or during an election campaign.

This resolution includes members of all political party executives and associated entities/groups.

Signed
Clarencegirl

Monday, 23 October 2017

Deputy Prime Minister & Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce in real trouble in his own electorate?


This is allegedly a genuine National Party of Australia document. However, to the chagrin of many it has been revealed to be a fake.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DMs2L-vUIAALcUZ?format=jpg&name=large


Leaving aside the fake poll, the truth is that it is not just Barnaby Joyce's inappropriate dual citizenship which is a problem.

There is another issue which is not being denied at this stage......

According to News Corps’ Herald Sun on 21 October 2017:

Colleagues have told the Herald Sun they are worried the public figure has been punted out of the family home, which doesn’t exactly coincide with their, er, political beliefs.

The late-night office grappling is believed to have been going on for at least eight months and is an open secret in political circles. One minister was heard exclaiming they couldn’t believe it hadn’t leaked out yet.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Thousands of Queenslanders will have their Centrelink payments quarantined with a compulsory cashless welfare card in 2018



Thousands of Queenslanders will have their Centrelink payments quarantined when a compulsory cashless welfare card is brought in next year.

The Federal Government has announced the controversial card will be rolled out across the Wide Bay region, including Bundaberg and Hervey Bay.

Under the scheme 80 per cent of a person's welfare income is quarantined on a debit-style card, which cannot be used on alcohol, gambling or to withdraw cash.

It will apply to people under the age of 35 who receive dole and parenting payments.

The Wide Bay region has an est. resident population of 144,098 people living across 4.5 million hectares, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The 2016 Census revealed that only 22 per cent of the population stated they had any formal further education after high school and 27.5 per cent stated that their gross weekly incomes were less than $650. Half of those 15 years of age and older had incomes below $500.

In July 2017 Wide Bay had an employment rate of 60.8 per cent, an overall unemployment rate of 8.7 per cent and a youth unemployment rate of 23.6 per cent, according to the Australian Government Labour Market Information Portal and the Queensland Government Statistician’s Office.

Last year in Queensland there were 6.1 unemployed people for every job vacancy.

The number of businesses operating in the Wide Bay region has been slowly declining for at least the last five years, with the largest industry clusters being agriculture, construction and retail. The last data published shows barely 21,451 businesses – many of which would be owner operated having no employees or only a small number of employees.

In the Wide Bay region this expansion of the Indue cashless debit card program will initially be imposed on est. 6,700 people in Hervey Bay.

Hervey Bay has a population of 56,678 residents, with only 24.8 per cent of the population having any formal further education after high school and half of the population having personal incomes of less than $478 per week.

Families with children make up 48.4 per cent of all family groups and youth unemployment in Hervey Bay mirrors the broader Wide Bay region.

Eventually the cashless debit card program is expected to directly affect up to est. 20,478  individuals as it is rolled out across the region in 2018 and, the flow-on effect will touch their families and local businesses.

A media release by the Minister for Human Services and the Member for Hinkler stated as a principal reason for introducing the cashless debit card into the Hervey Bay community:

The consultations also revealed significant problems with alcohol, drugs and gambling, particularly among young families.  Many community sector leaders were concerned that money meant for children was not being spent on them. The card will ensure that money meant for children will not be spent on alcohol, gambling or drugs.

However, I’m not quite sure that 2016-17 crime statistics for the Qld Police District of Wide Bay-Burnett actually reflects this view.

As it is the Turnbull Government’s intention (sometimes openly stated) to force people off Centrelink’s books by controlling how welfare recipients spend their benefits, I think I can safely say that by the end of 2018 the Liberal Member for Wide Bay Llew O'Brien may find that he was only a one-term wonder in federal parliament and the Nationals Member for Hinkler Keith Pitt may also find that two parliamentary terms is his limit.

"You can opt out of it [the card] by getting a job."
Minister  for Human Services and MP for Aston Alan Tudge
21 September 2017

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Matters don't seem to have markedly improved for the Liberal Party since February 2015



Full February 2015 six-page Higginson letter here.

Just on seven months later the disunity within the Liberal Party came to a head with the sacking of then Prime Minister Tony Abbott and the installation of Malcolm Bligh Turnbull.

On 2 July 2016 the first double dissolution federal election in 30 years was held and, although the Liberal-Nationals Coalition was returned to government it was with a reduced majority after the loss of 14 seats.

In August 2016 ABC News reported that:

The New South Wales division of the Liberal Party took out two multi-million-dollar loans with Westpac in little over a year as it struggled with deep financial problems in the lead-up to the federal election campaign.
Internal documents sighted by Four Corners reveal that the embattled Liberal Party division took out the first $7 million loan with Westpac prior to the NSW state election in March 2015, secured against anticipated public funding from the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC).

While current Australian Prime Minister and multimillionaire Malcolm Turnbull was forced to personally donate $1.75 million to the federal Liberal Party during the 2016 federal election campaign to ease its financial distress.

In 2017 factional divisions within the Liberal Party remain on public display:


On 21 August 2017 the Federal Coalition recorded its 18th consecutive poor Newspoll result which would have seen it lose government if a general election had been held on that day.

Four days later the Australian Electoral Commission announced that an additional 90,000 Australians have registered to vote since 8 August 2017 – increasing the number of registered voters to 16 million and making the current Commonwealth Electoral Roll the largest since Federation. When age demographics are broken down, 65,000 of these new voters are young people between 18 and 24 years of age. An age group thought to favour the Australian Labor Party and The Greens.

Sometime between 4 August 2018 and 18 May 2019 the Turnbull Government with its slim one MP majority is obliged to go to a general election.

The optics are not looking good.        

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Members and Senators of the Australian Parliament: you had one job to do.......


COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA CONSTITUTION ACT - SECT 44

Disqualification

                   Any person who:

                      (i)  is under any acknowledgment of allegiance, obedience, or adherence to a foreign power, or is a subject or a citizen or entitled to the rights or privileges of a subject or a citizen of a foreign power; or

                     (ii)  is attainted of treason, or has been convicted and is under sentence, or subject to be sentenced, for any offence punishable under the law of the Commonwealth or of a State by imprisonment for one year or longer; or

                    (iii)  is an undischarged bankrupt or insolvent; or

                    (iv)  holds any office of profit under the Crown, or any pension payable during the pleasure of the Crown out of any of the revenues of the Commonwealth; or

                     (v)  has any direct or indirect pecuniary interest in any agreement with the Public Service of the Commonwealth otherwise than as a member and in common with the other members of an incorporated company consisting of more than twenty-five persons;

shall be incapable of being chosen or of sitting as a senator or a member of the House of Representatives.

                   But subsection (iv) does not apply to the office of any of the Queen's Ministers of State for the Commonwealth, or of any of the Queen's Ministers for a State, or to the receipt of pay, half pay, or a pension, by any person as an officer or member of the Queen's navy or army, or to the receipt of pay as an officer or member of the naval or military forces of the Commonwealth by any person whose services are not wholly employed by the Commonwealth. [AustLII, Commonwealth Consolidated Acts, An Act to constitute the Commonwealth of Australia, July 1900]

When nominating to stand as a candidate at a federal general election or a by-election the Australian Electoral Commission supplies all prospective candidates with a 51 page handbook, titled “Candidates Handbook: Federal elections By-elections”.

The intent of this handbook is to explain the steps you will need to take to qualify as a candidate and to comply with the law before, during and after an election.

On Page 8 of the May 2016 edition of the handbook candidates are supplied with a “Checklist”.

The third point on that 15 point checklist is:

I have confirmed that I am qualified to nominate.

Pages 13 to 14 clearly set out “Disqualification under the Constitution” and states:

You are required to sign a declaration on the nomination form that you are qualified under the Constitution and the laws of the Commonwealth to be elected to the Commonwealth Parliament. If you have any doubts as to your qualifications under the Constitution, the AEC recommends you seek your own legal advice. The AEC does not provide legal advice to prospective candidates.

On 14 August Member for New England, Leader of the National Party of Australia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture and Water Resources, Barnaby Joyce, became the fifth sitting member to announce that he had only now discovered he holds dual citizenship.

According to Michelle Grattan writing in The Conversation on 15 August 2017 Joyce’s dual citizenship came to light after two lines of inquiry in New Zealand: questions from Fairfax Media, and a blogger, to the Department of Internal Affairs, and questions on notice from [NZ] Labour MP Chris Hipkins, following his conversation with Shadow Foreign Minister Penny Wong’s chief-of-staff Marcus Ganley, who’s a Kiwi.

Besides being exposed as the fifth dual citizen sitting in federal parliament, Joyce is now the third parliamentarian and second member of the Turnbull Government to refuse to resign even though he has been ineligible to stand as a candidate at every federal election held since his birth.

MPs and senators all had one straightforward task to complete prior to every federal election at which they stood as candidates and it is becoming increasingly obvious that very few of them actually did so.

They deserve no sympathy for this failure on their part.

UPDATE

The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 August 2017:

A third Turnbull government minister has been caught up in the dual citizenship crisis that has rocked parliament, with Nationals senator Fiona Nash advising she is a British citizen by descent.

Just moments before parliament rose for a two-week break, the deputy Nationals leader told the Senate that she had received preliminary advice from the British Home Office on Monday that she had received dual-citizenship at birth through her Scottish-born father…..

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull convened an urgent cabinet meeting just after 6pm, where it was decided, based on advice from the Solicitor-General, that Senator Nash did not have to resign from either the Senate, or lose her cabinet spot as minister for rural health.

An hour later, the deputy Nationals leader told the Senate that she had become the fourth government member to fall foul of section 44's dual-citizenship rule and would refer herself to the High Court when parliament resumed next month.

The Sydney Morning Herald, 17 August 2017:

Twenty-one people sit in the Nationals' Party room in Canberra.

Four of them – just shy of one fifth of the party room – now face questions about the constitutional validity of their election to the Parliament…..

Barnaby Joyce and Nash, National leader and deputy, Matt Canavan – a senate rising star – all face citizenship challenges, while king-making senator Barry O'Sullivan faces questions over family business dealings with the Commonwealth.


Monday, 3 July 2017

The American Resistance has many faces and these are just some of them (9)


See: http://kentucky.gov/Pages/Activity-stream.aspx?n=SOS&prId=120


"President Trump on Thursday signed an executive order creating a Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes released the following statement:
While cloaked as an effort to protect the integrity of our elections, President Trump's voter fraud commission will be anything but. The cloak hiding its real mission is thin; indeed, it will no doubt serve as a tool to further real and serious Republican attacks on American voting rights and leave eligible voters disenfranchised.
For months, the President has falsely claimed that millions of illegal votes are cast in our elections. With zero evidence and none provided since, he boldly called into question the honorable work thousands of Americans do to conduct our free and fair elections.
My mission as Kentucky's chief election official has been to tear down barriers to the ballot box, not to erect them. That should be the mission of every American election administrator. This sham voter fraud commission will hamper that mission.
If the President truly wishes to protect American elections, he should finally admit what our intelligence community accepts as fact: Russia and perhaps other foreign powers attempted to influence our presidential election. If the President wants to investigate "voter fraud", let it begin there."
The Hill, 30 June 2017:

Kentucky's secretary of State delivered a biting rejection on Friday of a presidential voter fraud commission's broad request for voter registration information, saying "there's not enough bourbon" in Kentucky to convince her to comply with the demand.

"There's not enough bourbon here in Kentucky to make this request seem sensible," Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) said on MSNBC. "Not on my watch are we going to be releasing sensitive information that relate to the privacy of individuals."

The Washington Post, 1 July 2017:


More than two dozen states have refused to fully comply with a sweeping and unprecedented White House request to turn over voter registration data, including sensitive information like partial Social Security numbers, party affiliation and military status.

Overall, the states that have said they will not be complying at all with the Kobach commission's request represent over 30 percent of the nation's population. That could complicate any efforts to build a truly national voter file, although it remains unclear what the commission's ultimate goal is in collecting the data…..

“I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally,” said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat.

“California's participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach,” he added. "[Kobach's] role as vice chair is proof that the ultimate goal of the commission is to enact policies that will result in the disenfranchisement of American citizens.”…..

A number of states said they would only provide limited, publicly available information, as required by state law.

Vermont Secretary of State James Condos (D) said “I am bound by law to provide our publicly available voter file, but will provide no more information than is available to any individual requesting the file.”

North Carolina will comply with the request by handing over “publicly available data as already required under state law,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, the executive director of the bipartisan North Carolina State Board of Elections and Ethics enforcement.

Mississippi rejected the request on privacy and states' rights grounds. “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said on Friday. “Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our State's right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral process."

In Alabama, another GOP stronghold, Secretary of State John Merrill told the Montgomery Advertiser he will not comply with the request until he learns more about how the Kobach commission will keep the data secure. “We’re going to get answers to our questions before we move on this,” Merrill said.

The Kansas secretary of state, a Republican, told the Kansas City Star on Friday that he would not be providing any parts of Kansas voters' Social Security numbers because that data is not publicly available under state law. “In Kansas, the Social Security number is not publicly available,” he said. “Every state receives the same letter, but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available.”

Similarly, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said in a statement that “Indiana law doesn't permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach.” Lawson, another Republican, is also a member of the commission.

Trump's tweet suggests the commission's work remains a top priority for him. That's going to cause concern for elections experts and voting rights activists, many of whom are concerned that Kobach will use the state voter registration data to manufacture “evidence” of widespread voter fraud.

“We're concerned about unlawful voter purging, which has been something that Kris Kobach has been leading the charge,” said Vanita Gupta of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former head of the Justice Department's civil rights division, in an interview Friday.

Gupta and others argue that Kobach doesn't exactly have a reputation for being honest about his work on voter fraud. Just a week ago, a federal judge fined Kobach $1,000 for “presenting misleading arguments in a voting-related lawsuit.”
  

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Liberal Party has a new website *chortle*


The Liberal Party of Australia has a new website, The Fair Go, which it officially launched on 23 June 2017 at the party's federal conference.

Created on 2 May 2017 with registration expiring on 2 May 2018, it appears to have been established with the next federal election in mind.

Its admin email is thefairgo.com.dit@domainprivacyservice.com.au.

It has everything from The Words of the Week through to Pollies Horoscopes and Agony Bob advises – along with articles like Women are just people, Simplify Medicare to make it better and more sustainable and From laissez-faire to much fairer (the last two require a log-in to read)

No, I’m not joking. These are all on the current homepage.

Presumably the Liberal Party sees this website as aiming for the 18 to 25 year-old vote (the er...."woke generation") and surely must have used the Young Liberals from Sydney University as their focus group because the lameness level is off the charts.

According to outgoing acting Liberal party director Andrew Bragg undecided voters and swing voters would be targeted and the website"is designed to support the coalition's overarching narrative into social platforms and arm supporters with bottom up perspectives on public policy issues. Publish or perish must be our credo"

Suspend disbelief and enter at  http://thefairgo.com/whos-your-grand-daddy/:
                                       
We can’t be the only ones who remember that brief, disturbing time in which Australia declared the newly-minted Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to be “daddy”.

We were curious how UK Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and US Democrat candidate Bernie Sanders would stack up in the daddy stakes. Corbyn got a huge slice of the youth vote and Sanders didn’t make it through the primary but still commands the hearts, minds and Twitter feeds of voters craving a political quality which has been thin on the ground.
It’s The Fair Go’s considered opinion that this quality is Daddiness. Or maybe more like grand-daddiness. Hear us out.
At first glance, you’d have to say that these old white leaders (OWLs) are unlikely heroes for a woke generation. But the young, white and wealthy just can’t get enough of them. [my yellow highlighting]
Potential Pest Warning


'Chances of hitting the floor whilst reading' rating  

Friday, 12 May 2017

You're not on Facebook? Why not?!


One of the many reasons some people are closing their Facebook accounts and walking away – excessive, obsessive data collection and the uses to which it is put.

News.com.au, 1 May 2017:

FACEBOOK has come under fire over revelations it is targeting potentially vulnerable youths who “need a confidence boost” to facilitate predatory advertising practices.

The allegation was revealed this morning by The Australian which obtained internal documents from the social media giant which reportedly show how Facebook can exploit the moods and insecurities of teenagers using the platform for the potential benefit of advertisers.

The confidential document dated this year detailed how by monitoring posts, comments and interactions on the site, Facebook can figure out when people as young as 14 feel “defeated”, “overwhelmed”, “stressed”, “anxious”, “nervous”, “stupid”, “silly”, “useless”, and a “failure”.

Such information gathered through a system dubbed sentiment analysis could be used by advertisers to target young Facebook users when they are potentially more vulnerable.

While Google is the king of the online advertising world, Facebook is the other major player which dominates the industry worth about $80 billion last year.

But Facebook is not one to rest on its laurels. The leaked document shows it has been honing the covert tools its uses to gain useful psychological insights on young Australian and New Zealanders in high school and tertiary education.

The social media services we use can derive immense insight and personal information about us and our moods from the way we use them, and arguably none is more fastidious in that regard than Facebook which harvests immense data on its users.

The secret document was put together by two Australian Facebook execs and includes information about when young people are likely to feel excited, reflective, as well as other emotions related to overcoming fears.

The Guardian, 3 May 2017:

For two years I was charged with turning Facebook data into money, by any legal means. If you browse the internet or buy items in physical stores, and then see ads related to those purchases on Facebook, blame me. I helped create the first versions of that, way back in 2012.

The ethics of Facebook’s micro-targeted advertising was thrust into the spotlight this week by a report out of Australia. The article, based on a leaked presentation, said that Facebook was able to identify teenagers at their most vulnerable, including when they feel “insecure”, “worthless”, “defeated” and “stressed”.

Facebook claimed the report was misleading, assuring the public that the company does not “offer tools to target people based on their emotional state”. If the intention of Facebook’s public relations spin is to give the impression that such targeting is not even possible on their platform, I’m here to tell you I believe they’re lying through their teeth.

Just as Mark Zuckerberg was being disingenuous (to put it mildly) when, in the wake of Donald Trump’s unexpected victory, he expressed doubt that Facebook could have flipped the presidential election.

Facebook deploys a political advertising sales team, specialized by political party, and charged with convincing deep-pocketed politicians that they do have the kind of influence needed to alter the outcome of elections. 

I was at Facebook in 2012, during the previous presidential race. The fact that Facebook could easily throw the election by selectively showing a Get Out the Vote reminder in certain counties of a swing state, for example, was a running joke.

Express online, 6 January 2017:

FACEBOOK siphons an enormous amount of data from its users – whether it's monitoring your mouse movements, tracking the amount of time you spend on any given post, or the subject of your photographs……

The US social network is constantly tracking information about its users – however, most users will not be aware of just how much data it can siphon from a single photograph.

Facebook hints at how much data it is able to detect when it suggests people who might be in the photograph, prompting you to tag their faces.

But in reality, the California-based social network is tracking much more than just faces.

When you upload a photo on Facebook, the social network scans the image and detects how many people are in the photograph, and whether it was taken indoors or outside.

Facebook is also able to identify humans, animals and inanimate objects.

It is not always accurate, but the social network is able to differentiate between people who are standing, or sitting down.

To find out exactly what Facebook is reading into your photos, software developer Adam Geitgey has created a useful Chrome browser extension that reveals the data Facebook is collecting from your images.

Show Facebook Computer Vision Tags reveals data that Facebook usually keeps hidden from its users.

The free Google Chrome extension can be downloaded from the Chrome extension store.

Facebook has implemented object recognition technology since April 2016, a spokesperson for the company told Metro.co.uk.

The Verge, 27 May 2016:

Facebook will now display ads to web users who are not members of its social network, the company announced Thursday, in a bid to significantly expand its online ad network. As The Wall Street Journal reports, Facebook will use cookies, "like" buttons, and other plug-ins embedded on third-party sites to track members and non-members alike. The company says it will be able to better target non-Facebook users and serve relevant ads to them…

Some of the data Facebook collects to facilitate ad placements, according to The Washington Post on  19 August 2016:

1. Location
2. Age
3. Generation
4. Gender
5. Language
6. Education level
7. Field of study
8. School
9. Ethnic affinity
10. Income and net worth
11. Home ownership and type
12. Home value
13. Property size
14. Square footage of home
15. Year home was built
16. Household composition

As explained on that shiny new portal, Facebook keeps ads “useful and relevant” in four distinct ways. It tracks your on-site activity, such as the pages you like and the ads you click, and your device and location settings, such as the brand of phone you use and your type of Internet connection. Most users recognize these things impact ad targeting: Facebook has repeatedly said as much. But slightly more surprising is the extent of Facebook’s web-tracking efforts and its collaborations with major data brokers.

While you’re logged onto Facebook, for instance, the network can see virtually every other website you visit. Even when you’re logged off, Facebook knows much of your browsing: It’s alerted every time you load a page with a “Like” or “share” button, or an advertisement sourced from its Atlas network. Facebook also provides publishers with a piece of code, called Facebook Pixel, that they (and by extension, Facebook) can use to log their Facebook-using visitors.

While you’re logged onto Facebook, for instance, the network can see virtually every other website you visit. Even when you’re logged off, Facebook knows much of your browsing: It’s alerted every time you load a page with a “Like” or “share” button, or an advertisement sourced from its Atlas network. Facebook also provides publishers with a piece of code, called Facebook Pixel, that they (and by extension, Facebook) can use to log their Facebook-using visitors.

17. Users who have an anniversary within 30 days
18. Users who are away from family or hometown
19. Users who are friends with someone who has an anniversary, is newly married or engaged, recently moved, or has an upcoming birthday
20. Users in long-distance relationships
21. Users in new relationships
22. Users who have new jobs
23. Users who are newly engaged
24. Users who are newly married
25. Users who have recently moved
26. Users who have birthdays soon
27. Parents
28. Expectant parents
29. Mothers, divided by “type” (soccer, trendy, etc.)
30. Users who are likely to engage in politics
31. Conservatives and liberals
32. Relationship status

On top of that, Facebook offers marketers the option to target ads according to data compiled by firms like Experian, Acxiom and Epsilon, which have historically fueled mailing lists and other sorts of offline efforts. These firms build their profiles over a period of years, gathering data from government and public records, consumer contests, warranties and surveys, and private commercial sources — like loyalty card purchase histories or magazine subscription lists. Whatever they gather from those searches can also be fed into a model to draw further conclusions, like whether you’re likely to be an investor or buy organic for your kids.

Wired, 28 December 2012:

In 2010, while researching his thesis, he asked Facebook if it could send him all of the user data the company had relating to his own account. Amazingly, he got a response.

Facebook was, in Schrems' words, "dumb enough" to send him all his data in a 1,200-page PDF. It showed that Facebook kept records of every person who had ever poked him, all the IP addresses of machines he had used to access the site (as well as which other Facebook users had logged in on that machine), a full history of messages and chats and even his "last location", which appeared to use a combination of check-ins, data gathered from apps, IP addresses and geo-tagged uploads to work out where he was.

As Schrems went through the document, he found items he thought he had deleted, such as messages, status updates and wall posts. He also found personal information he says he never supplied, including email addresses that had been culled from his friends' address books. European law is worded vaguely, but says that personal data must be processed "fairly"; people should be given comprehensive information on how it will be used; the data processed should not be "excessive" in relation to the purpose for which it was collected; it should be held securely and deleted when no longer needed. And each person should have the right to access all of their personal data.