…things we know [DOT 5/4/21]

obviously monday sucks...

…if I were clever I’d play it off as a kindness on my part…it’s monday, after all…& I am prone to load these down with a laundry list of links so not doing that could plausibly be interpreted as an act of kindness


…or…just possibly…some sort of act of contrition on account of leaving our long-suffering heroine @megmegmcgee to muster up back to back DOTs over her post-vaccination weekend

…but the truth is I was out of the loop over the weekend for various family-related reasons & I’m struggling to catch up now that the week is upon me



…plus I’m just having a hard time with a couple of things in particular…neither of which is actually a surprise, per se…but both of which are infuriating enough for me to have got a little hung up on…& believe it or not I don’t mean this

Defense attorney Eric Nelson has made anger central to his argument for Chauvin’s acquittal. In his version of events, the anger of the growing crowd on the street that May afternoon distracted Chauvin from the man he had pinned under his knee. Floyd, who had been accused of circulating a counterfeit $20 bill, was in Chauvin’s custody, which meant that he was also in his care. But the crowd — that dangerous, unruly mob, according to Nelson — had distracted Chauvin so that he could not attend to Floyd’s well-being. He could only concern himself with his detainment.
The defense’s narrative makes use of one of the culture’s most damaging and enduring stereotypes about Black men — and women, too. These people ooze anger, and Black anger is inherently menacing. It isn’t justified or understandable or controlled, even when it is all of those things. It most certainly is not righteous. And when it rises, it must be tamped down, defused and crushed.
What Williams saw was, on its face, enraging. He had happened upon the sight of Floyd facedown on the ground with Chauvin on top of him for more than nine minutes. He heard Floyd cry for help and cry out for air. A young bystander saw him turn “purple” and described him as looking “really limp.” Kids saw this horror. Children. The gathered crowd all watched as their pleas to render aid to Floyd went ignored.

Anger is surely the natural human reaction, along with alarm and concern, but Nelson has characterized that as a wholly unnatural response to Floyd’s dire circumstances, as if he was not worthy of any of those emotions. Should the crowd simply have stood silent?

History would probably have excused their anger. So many other people of color — unarmed and stopped for minor offenses or for nothing at all — have died during encounters with police officers. They have been deprived of air, riddled with bullets; they’ve been killed without consequences because their death was deemed reasonable. When does fury become moral and decent if not in the face of all that?

The witness would not be described as angry [WaPo]

…or this

Details from 500 million Facebook users found on website for hackers [Guardian]

“Bad actors will certainly use the information for social engineering, scamming, hacking and marketing,” tweeted Alon Gal, the co-founder of an Israeli cybercrime intelligence company called Hudson Rock, who flagged the release of the Facebook data Saturday. Social engineering involves getting access to people’s confidential information by gaining their trust rather than overcoming technical barriers — for example, by impersonating a tech support person.

did not immediately respond to questions Saturday evening, but company spokeswoman Liz Bourgeois tweeted Saturday that the leak detailed by Insider involved “old data that was previously reported on in 2019.”
Gal told The Washington Post that the leaked database was previously sold for tens of thousands of dollars and then circulated, selling for lower prices until it finally was offered at no charge.

Early this year, Gal said, someone built a bot that gave people access to the database for a fee — a development that made the trove of data “much more worrisome,” Gal tweeted at the time. Motherboard reported in January on that peddling of access in a “low-level cybercriminal forum.”

On Saturday, a user posted on a forum offering the data free.


…first up…we have this bullshit

Tensions have soared within the loyalist community in recent months over post-Brexit trading arrangements that have been claimed to have created barriers between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK.

Anger increased further last week following a decision not to prosecute 24 Sinn Féin politicians for attending a large-scale republican funeral during Covid-19 restrictions.


…I can’t stress this enough…this is not surprising…& arguably the two primary drivers of the current state of affairs are not just the inevitable conservative contribution to the clusterfuck that is brexit…but the goddamn DUP…these fucking idiots who (in an almost critical mass of irony) actually proved instrumental in ensuring that theresa may’s minority government failed miserably to pass anything resembling an insurance policy against the fallout of imposing borders between northern ireland & the UK…not to mention the rest of the island of ireland…during the brief window in which they wielded disproportionate leverage in westminster given the relatively tiny block of voters they represent…so…the people who have supposedly been all about keeping NI firmly attached to the rest of the UK were “from a certain point of view” instrumental in ensuring a state of affairs in which the consequences of brexit seem to make it more rather than less likely that the unification of ireland is a plausible & potentially popular way to resolve many of the problems they did so much to ensure would reach the proportions that they have…& also in playing with matches while sitting on the powder keg that is the potential for civil unrest in the home of “the troubles

…& sure…it’s not surprising that the allegedly human waxwork effigy that still hasn’t gotten over the fact that he had his overweight ass handed to him nationwide would rip his supporters off…but all the same…the fact that this went on surely ought to be enough to make it clear even to the staunchest GOP voter that campaign finance is the swampiest swamp in all of politics

Stacy Blatt was in hospice care last September listening to Rush Limbaugh’s dire warnings about how badly Donald J. Trump’s campaign needed money when he went online and chipped in everything he could: $500.

It was a big sum for a 63-year-old battling cancer and living in Kansas City on less than $1,000 per month. But that single contribution — federal records show it was his first ever — quickly multiplied. Another $500 was withdrawn the next day, then $500 the next week and every week through mid-October, without his knowledge — until Mr. Blatt’s bank account had been depleted and frozen. When his utility and rent payments bounced, he called his brother, Russell, for help.

What the Blatts soon discovered was $3,000 in withdrawals by the Trump campaign in less than 30 days. They called their bank and said they thought they were victims of fraud.
But what the Blatts believed was duplicity was actually an intentional scheme to boost revenues by the Trump campaign and the for-profit company that processed its online donations, WinRed. Facing a cash crunch and getting badly outspent by the Democrats, the campaign had begun last September to set up recurring donations by default for online donors, for every week until the election.

Contributors had to wade through a fine-print disclaimer and manually uncheck a box to opt out.

As the election neared, the Trump team made that disclaimer increasingly opaque, an investigation by The New York Times showed. It introduced a second prechecked box, known internally as a “money bomb,” that doubled a person’s contribution. Eventually its solicitations featured lines of text in bold and capital letters that overwhelmed the opt-out language.

The tactic ensnared scores of unsuspecting Trump loyalists — retirees, military veterans, nurses and even experienced political operatives. Soon, banks and credit card companies were inundated with fraud complaints from the president’s own supporters about donations they had not intended to make, sometimes for thousands of dollars.

The sheer magnitude of the money involved is staggering for politics. In the final two and a half months of 2020, the Trump campaign, the Republican National Committee and their shared accounts issued more than 530,000 refunds worth $64.3 million to online donors. All campaigns make refunds for various reasons, including to people who give more than the legal limit. But the sum the Trump operation refunded dwarfed that of Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s campaign and his equivalent Democratic committees, which made 37,000 online refunds totaling $5.6 million in that time.
Harry Brignull, a user-experience designer in London who coined the term “dark patterns” for manipulative digital marketing practices, said the Trump team’s techniques were a classic of the “deceptive design” genre.

“It should be in textbooks of what you shouldn’t do,” he said.
A clear pattern emerged. Donors typically said they intended to give once or twice and only later discovered on their bank statements and credit card bills that they were donating over and over again. Some, like Mr. Blatt, who died of cancer in February, sought an injunction from their banks and credit cards. Others pursued refunds directly from WinRed, which typically granted them to avoid more costly formal disputes.
Jason Miller, a spokesman for Mr. Trump, downplayed the rash of fraud complaints and the $122.7 million in total refunds issued by the Trump operation. He said internal records showed that 0.87 percent of its WinRed transactions had been subject to formal credit card disputes. “The fact we had a dispute rate of less than 1 percent of total donations despite raising more grass-roots money than any campaign in history is remarkable,” he said.

That still amounts to about 200,000 disputed transactions that Mr. Miller said added up to $19.7 million.
Asked if Mr. Trump had been aware of his operation’s use of recurring payments, the campaign did not respond.

Mr. Trump’s hyperaggressive fund-raising practices did not stop once he lost the election. His campaign continued the weekly withdrawals through prechecked boxes all the way through Dec. 14 as he raised tens of millions of dollars for his new political action committee, Save America.
By last summer, the Biden campaign had begun outraising Mr. Trump’s team, and the president was hopping mad. For months, years even, his advisers had been telling him how he had built a one-of-a-kind financial juggernaut. So why, Mr. Trump demanded to know, was he off the television airwaves just months before the election in critical battleground states like Michigan?
Perhaps nowhere was that pressure more acute than on Mr. Trump’s expansive and lucrative digital operation. That was the unquestioned domain of Gary Coby, a 30-something strategist whose title — digital director — and microscopic public profile belied his immense influence on the Trump operation, especially online.
That meant almost endless optimization and experimentation, sometimes pushing the traditional boundaries. The Trump team repeatedly used phantom donation matches and faux deadlines to loosen donor wallets (“1000% offer: ACTIVATED…For the NEXT HOUR”). Eventually it ratcheted up the volume of emails it sent until it was barraging supporters with an average of 15 per day for all of October and November 2020.
Unlike ActBlue, which is a nonprofit, WinRed is a for-profit company. It makes its money by taking 30 cents of every donation, plus 3.8 percent of the amount given. WinRed was paid more than $118 million from federal committees the last election cycle; even after paying credit card fees and expenses like payroll and rent, the profits are believed to be significant.

WinRed even made money off donations that were refunded by keeping the fees it charged on each transaction, a practice it said was standard in the industry, citing PayPal; ActBlue said it does not keep fees for refunded donations. WinRed’s cut of the Trump operation’s refunds would amount to roughly $5 million before expenses. (Archived versions of WinRed’s website show it added a disclaimer saying it would keep its fees around when refunds surged.)

There is another reason Mr. Trump’s refund rates were so high: His campaign accepted millions of dollars above the legal cap, a problem exacerbated by recurring donations. A pianist in New York, for instance, contributed more than 100 times in the months leading up to Election Day, going far past the legal limit of $2,800. She was refunded $87,716.50 — three weeks after Election Day.

While every large-scale campaign winds up accepting and returning some donations above the legal limit, including Mr. Biden’s, the Trump situation stands out. Records show that Mr. Biden’s campaign committee issued roughly $47,000 in refunds larger than $5,000 after Election Day; Mr. Trump’s campaign issued more than $7 million.

How Trump Steered Supporters Into Unwitting Donations [NYT]

…so…in the interests of not making you regret reading this more than some of those folks regret signing up to get their pockets picked by the people they inexplicably thought were in the business of looking out for them in a sense other than a con artist looks out for an easy mark…I won’t expound on my feelings about the objectively orange objectionably obnoxious obsolescent opinionated obscenity

…or subject you to my ineloquent attempts to expound upon the gordian knot that is the state of northern ireland in the brave new world of boris’ boffo brexit

…okay…so…that’s not exactly cheerful but I’m kind of…well…let’s just say I’m not feeling very funny…& sure…sometimes it’s healthier to let these things go so they don’t ruin your day…but…some days I miss jon stewart more than others…

…so here’s that act of contrition, I guess



  1. welp..its a good thing me dads no longer around coz a return to the troubles would have killed him….hell the first round nearly did as he was stationed over there during round one
    well… tbh.. he might not have survived trump either…dude checked out when everything was relatively sane
    on the upside tho…courtesy of zombie jesus i have today off…its not a bad monday 🙂

    • …nobody with even a vague approximation of sanity wants to go back to the way things were during the troubles…whatever side of that divide you might come down on…it’s just one of those hidden bonuses of brexit that it makes it so much more likely that the good friday agreement will fracture under the added strain…but it sounds like you very likely know that better than I if your old man was over there back then

      …still…bank holidays are a grand thing, to be sure…small mercies & all that?

      • i certainly hope the powers that be will do whatever they can to avoid the good friday agreement falling apart and shit going to hell in a handbasket
        then i remember the powers that be are fucking tories….and not even competent tories like we used to have in the olden days..lol

  2. Let me guess: the radioactive lake in Florida is barely regulated. 

    • It’s Florida. Everything is barely regulated. Decades of Republican rule have devastated any and all consumer or environmental protections, and similarly gutted most infrastructure that’s not overseen by local government. Local governments are marginally more in tune with residents, so of course Republicans are staging a massive power grab to gut local authority. https://www.orlandosentinel.com/politics/os-ne-local-government-restrictions-20210316-uecuhdkpdva63o5pe7qu765iie-story.html
      There’s actually two ponds — one is radioactive and not in danger of collapse (yet). The one that is collapsing, which causes authorities to evacuate thousands, is wastewater and saltwater. The risk there is that millions of gallons of water will explode outward in a 20-foot high wave, which will obliterate virtually anything standing. 

      • Did you see 60 Minutes last night?  Desantis takes douchebaggery to staggering levels!


        • Oh, it’s been a cluster. And DeSantis has followed right along with Trump’s plan to distribute vaccines to “red” voters over others (specifically rich and elderly). It’s been an ongoing war between the Democratic mayor of Orange County (where Orlando is) and DeSantis. Orange County has consistently dropped the vaccination age weeks before DeSantis does to make it accessible to younger people because they have a younger demographic. So you had a vaccination center that was only operating at half capacity treating 65 and older.
          So the mayor (Jerry Demings, husband of Rep. Val Demings, whom you may remember from Trump’s FIRST impeachment) said, fuck it, drop the age. I don’t care what the governor says. People were making pilgrimages across the state to get shots. DeSantis bitched massively but he couldn’t do anything about it. Apparently it was a federal site controlled by local government, not a state-run site. So he then had to start dropping the age limits. Checkmate, motherfucker. 
          I need to watch that clip. I’ll get to it later. 

          • I am about to drive to Florida to get my shot at this point. Mismanagement is not just for republicans! Illinois is still in phase 1B (65+). Unless they air drop in a syringe and a nurse for every resident, I have no idea when young and healthies might get them.

      • Which, again, as part of the standard Republican playbook, will result in them screaming about how government and regulation don’t work and that taxpayer money needs to stop getting “wasted” on things like this.  Which will result in less funding (so more money can go to their corporate overlords), which will result in more hazards, lather, rinse, repeat.

        • Don’t forget one of the key components — mitigating or repairing the damage. This is invariably “awarded” to a company owned by Republican cronies who then overcharge taxpayers for the service. 
          Never waste a good emergency. 

  3. My son plays high school baseball.  One of the families decided it was a good idea to traipse off to Florida for a few days.  They came back and got their negative tests getting off the plane, so the kid goes right to practice that night.  A week later, he’s sick and we get a call from the school.  Our kids are going to school twice a week, so this family has singlehandedly knocked down 2-3 teachers and about 50 kids at the high school, including the entire baseball program.  If I were the coach I’d be livid, but this kid is one of the favorites so probably nothing will be said or done.  I don’t even know how many people the little brother has affected at the middle school.  Probably about the same.  #TFP

    • Yikes! Hope you guys are ok. 

      • Wife and I are vaccinated.  Son isn’t, and daughter decided to come home from school for the weekend.  I suppose I shouldn’t say much because she is in school out of state and so is my oldest son, who came home for a week recently, but their schools are doing regular testing.  My daughter gets tested twice a week and her school has a quarantine dorm st up.  I’m pretty sure my kids aren’t out there being stupid.  Floriduh is a whole other ball of wax.

    • Oh dear, @LemmyKilmister, very sorry to hear of your family being screwed with by thoughtless privileged idiots.

  4. I mean OF COURSE the Trump campaign preyed on vulnerable seniors and other not smart people. I want to feel sorry for them, I do, I will try. 

    • If the web site is designed to be misleading I don’t think intelligence is a factor, not paying attention maybe or making assumptions. You and I would expect dirty dealings from cheeto, his supporters wouldn’t. Even now they are reading this story, sagely nodding their heads and saying ‘that’s a smart business man’.

      • The article had illustrations of the way the opt out for ongoing donations got harder and harder to read over time as they got more and more eager for cash. It was crazy by the end, although needed to opt out in the first place was evil.
        Also, I know the article was already long, but any time Jason Miller is quoted it really should be noted how the Trump campaign helped him dodge child support payments.

  5. The more interesting question is how many of the people — and their families — who got ripped off by Trump in 2020 will be pulling for him to do it again in 2024. I have a lot of sympathy for people who get scammed, but I am sure some of them don’t see it that way at all.

    Also, F the Democratic Party, etc. etc. ad infinitum, and the electoral system sucks, but WinBlue is a nonprofit that returns fees vs. WinRed being a for-profit that doesn’t is a pretty solid “Yeah, actually there is a difference” argument in the universe.

  6. “the anger of the growing crowd on the street”
    Y’know, I’m not a trained police officer, but if I was concerned about the growing anger of the crowd on the street at a minimum I think I might remove my knee from the man’s neck
    I hope the jury doesn’t fall for this one. 

    • Somebody would have been legally justified in killing that officer in that moment.  Probably wouldn’t have gotten away with it, though.

  7. Can’t wait for Zuck’s foray into finance.  I sure can’t trust him with conspiracies or meme cat pics, but I can REALLY TRUST HIM WITH MY FINANCIAL INFO!
    No.  Anyone who buys into Zuck Bank/Buck is a complete fucking moran (sic.)

    • To complete the circle, Zuck’s top political advisor is Nick Clegg, the moron who screwed over England’s Liberal Democrats Party by throwing his support to David Cameron, who turned around and stabbed them in the back.
      Cameron followed up by appeasing what he idiotically thought was a fringe movement and approved holding the Brexit referendum.
      Cambridge Analytica was a key player in promoting Brexit, and was involved in a huge scheme enabled by Facebook that hoovered up huge amounts of Facebook user data.
      The point is not that there is any grand planned conspiracy — these people are too stupid to pull it off. Instead, they operate in a bubble which brings overconfident nincompoops together and protects them from thinking they will ever pay a price. Most of the time they pay a fine and sit in a committee room for an hour or two of penance, then leave it all behind.

    • Didn’t FB also recently leak appx 500k users’ security info? So, of course trust them with your finances. 

    • Yeah, that’s bullshit. It’s a tax-funded, public school. They’ve got no business hiding shit that got paid for with taxpayer dollars. And I don’t want to hear bullshit about foundations and donors and whatnot. You’re accepting tax dollars, you’re taxpayer funded, and the public should have full transparency into any purchase or financial transaction. 
      Beyond the wider social implications of this specific research, how can the public tell if this money was well-spent? If the university buys a yacht for the use of the board of directors and hides the transaction until 2035, does that make it legal?

  8. @SplinterRIP, thank you for this “objectively orange objectionably obnoxious obsolescent opinionated obscenity”. Also, I must be a terribly miserable excuse for a human being, because I found nearly all of those random acts of kindness ideas to be offensive, condescending, annoying, and pushy…very, very pushy.

    • …I’m fairly certain you’re not a long way from being a miserable excuse for a person…& to be honest I didn’t really check through how they suggested people do the stuff they listed but in keeping with the random part I only really includ d it because I like the phrase random acts of kindness & they had the URL

      …it’s a somewhat dubious mixture of things I wouldn’t necessarily think qualify unless you stretch the definition of kindness to be either to the planet or yourself (not that those aren’t potentially a good idea) & things that seem a bit much…I don’t know that I’m ever likely to happen upon someone at just the right moment to tell them they parked well, for example…but some years ago in seattle I think I came across my favorite random.act of kindness…maybe not based on how useful it was but definitely for the random aspect

      …someone left a little envelope tucked under the wiper on a friend’s windscreen with a kind of reverse-parkimg-fine in it…I don’t have the picture to hand but it was stamped on the outside as a notice of infraction…& when opened there was a dollar bill & a “citation for excessive awesomeness” from the “department of the status quo” saying the recipient had personally increased the awesome quotient of human race, thus disrupting the status quo…& that they deserved a reward

      …I don’t see how they could have known but as it happened they had in fact picked the car of one of the kindest, nicest people I know…particularly impressive given it was a rental since they were visiting from out of town…but between a group of us there was a good day’s worth of speculation about who might have left it & how they knew?

      • …jesus wept…how is there a “not” in that first bit?

        …that really shouldn’t be there & I can’t believe I didn’t notice

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