3 thoughts on “News/Politics 12-8-18

  1. Woo Hoo….

    3 in a row! 🙂


  2. Facebook is the villain and finally people know it.


    “About 250 pages of highly confidential documents and company emails that shed light on Facebook’s attitude towards its customers, were released by a British lawmaker this week. ”

    “What we really should have taken away from the Cambridge Analytica scandal last spring is that Facebook is the villain and we need to know more. And this week we’re learning yet again that we the public are in big trouble with not just Facebook, but all the other big companies that have troves of data on practically each and every one of us.

    Despite repeatedly denying that Facebook sells its users’ data, the company emails released this week show that in fact it effectively did – that it leveraged our data to reward developers who spent a lot of money on the platform, and ice out its competitors, all the while making sure we, the users, never found out.

    And let’s not kid ourselves that it’s just Facebook doing this. Five of the most valuable companies in the world today – Apple, Amazon, Facebook, Microsoft and Google’s parent company Alphabet – have all commodified our data and used it to take over their respective sectors.

    What’s equally unsettling is our government’s response. The questions that senators asked Zuckerberg during his April hearing clearly showed how little they understand about the basic workings of his company. The government has had at least 10 years to get on top of big tech companies’ exploding growth and power, but so far they’ve been allowed to act with free rein.

    Sure, we the consumers bear some of the responsibility. I certainly have freely given up my data to various apps, companies and websites. And boy do I love Amazon’s suggestions – it always seem to know just what I need! Advertising isn’t coercive. I know what I’m choosing to buy, just like I know what candidate I’m choosing to vote for. I’m not being tricked in either case.

    But at the same time, these companies have been allowed to run amuck, and the laws haven’t been keeping up. For the entire Cambridge Analytica scandal, Facebook was fined a little over $600,000. Facebook makes that in less than 8 minutes.

    I’m not so worried about Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t scare me. What terrifies me is the next villain, who has more nefarious end goals. If the government doesn’t get its act together and start creating and enforcing laws to regulate these powerful companies, we are in real trouble.

    The leaked documents this week shouldn’t be a surprise, but they should be a wake-up call. We have become complacent with our personal privacy, myself included.”


  3. “One Of The Gravest Modern Offenses To Government Transparency”


    “Yes, Virginia, there actually is a corruption scandal in Hillary Clinton’s e-mail choices — or at least that’s what Judge Royce Lamberth thinks. In allowing a lawsuit by Judicial Watch to continue, Lamberth blasted Clinton, the State Department, and the Department of Justice for having “colluded” to stymie the Freedom of Information Act and oversight by Congress and the courts. By hiding her emails on a secret and private server and allowing State to slough off demands to see her communications, the group committed “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”

    So much for the third presidential campaign, eh?

    In a scathing opinion issued Thursday, U.S. District Court Judge Royce Lamberth said that despite FBI, inspector general and congressional investigations into Clinton’s use of a private account for all her email traffic during her four years as secretary of state, the conservative group Judicial Watch should be permitted to demand documents and additional testimony about the practice.

    Lamberth, who has clashed with Clinton and her aides in cases dating back to her husband’s administration, was unsparing in his assessment of the former secretary’s actions. He blasted Clinton’s email practices as “one of the gravest modern offenses to government transparency.”

    Lamberth also again expressed concerns that lawyers at the Justice Department and the State Department misled the court when they tried at the end of 2014 to wrap up Judicial Watch’s FOIA suit about Benghazi talking points even though some officials were aware months earlier that Clinton had tens of thousands of emails on a private system and had agreed to turn many of them over to State at its request.

    “State played this card close to its chest,” the judge complained. “At best, State’s attempts to pass-off its deficient search as legally adequate during settlement negotiations was negligence born out of incompetence. At worst, career employees in the State and Justice Departments colluded to scuttle public scrutiny of Clinton, skirt FOIA and hoodwink this court.”

    Politico’s description of Lamberth’s opinion is pretty spot-on. His anger is more broadly aimed at State and the DoJ than Hillary herself for misrepresenting and/or purposefully evading what took place during Hillary’s tenure at State. Lamberth notes that “department officials already knew Clinton’s emails were missing from its records,” and yet told Judicial Watch that they had “performed a legally adequate search” for those communications while knowing they had done no such thing. State then filed a statement with the court that “failed to acknowledge the unsearched emails” while suggesting a settlement of JW’s FOIA demand.

    Lamberth writes that the responding “counsel’s responses strain credulity” still in attempting to shut down this lawsuit:”


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