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posted by mrpg on Saturday February 24 2018, @01:41PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the the-world-needs-empathy dept.

Original URL: World leaders abandoning human rights: Amnesty

World leaders are undermining human rights for millions of people with regressive policies and hate-filled rhetoric, but their actions have ignited global protest movements in response, a rights group said.

US President Donald Trump, Russian leader Vladimir Putin, and China's President Xi Jinping were among a number of politicians who rolled out regressive policies in 2017, according to Amnesty International's annual human rights report published on Thursday.

The human rights body also mentioned the leaders of Egypt, the Philippines and Venezuela.

"The spectres of hatred and fear now loom large in world affairs, and we have few governments standing up for human rights in these disturbing times," Salil Shetty, Amnesty's secretary-general, said.

"Instead, leaders such as el-Sisi, Duterte, Maduro, Putin, Trump and Xi are callously undermining the rights of millions."

[...] The regressive approach to human rights adopted by a number of world leaders has, however, inspired new waves of social activism and protest, Amnesty said, highlighting the example of the Women's March in January last year, which began in the US before becoming a global protest.


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday February 22 2018, @10:53AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the are-political-election-campaigns-a-danger? dept.

Normally, autonomous computer programmes known as bots trawl the internet, for example, to help search engines. However, there are also programmes known as social bots which interfere in social media, automatically generating replies or sharing content. They are currently suspected of spreading political propaganda. Scientists at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have investigated the extent to which such autonomous programmes were used on the platform Twitter during the general elections in Japan in 2014. By using methods taken from corpus linguistics, they were able to draw up a case study on the activity patterns of social bots. At the same time, the FAU researchers gained an insight into how computer programmes like these were used, and recognised that nationalistic tendencies had an important role to play in the election, especially in social media. The results of the investigation have been published in the journal Big Data.

Prof. Dr. Fabian Schäfer, chair of Japanese Studies at FAU, was motivated to study the use of social bots after the general election in Japan in 2014. The conservative Liberal Democratic Party of Japan, led by Shinzō Abe, won the election. Publicly and in the mass media, his election campaign focused predominantly on economic issues. It was a different story in social media. "Our analysis showed that Abe's hidden nationalistic agenda had a very important role to play in these channels," Schäfer explains. "The importance of the hidden agenda in social media is not, however, down to either the prime minister or the LDP itself." Rather, it appears as if social bots were widely used by right-wing internet users, ranging from far-right to more conservative right-wing circles. Prof. Schäfer's initial hypothesis was that the right-wingers used social bots to give indirect online support to Abe's nationalistic agenda, which had slipped into the background during the political campaign.

It seems that future elections will have to deal with such "bots" whether we like it or not. How much influence do you think such bots will have on future election campaigns?

Source: Friedrich-Alexander-Universität

Related: How great is the influence and risk of social and political 'bots?'

Schäfer Fabian, Evert Stefan, and Heinrich Philipp. Japan's 2014 General Election: Political Bots, Right-wing Internet Activism, and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe's Hidden Nationalist Agenda. Big Data. DOI: 10.1089/big.2017.0049


Original Submission

posted by takyon on Tuesday February 20 2018, @01:59AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the everybody-knows dept.

From The Verge:

Google didn't violate labor laws by firing engineer James Damore for a memo criticizing the company's diversity program, according to a recently disclosed letter from the US National Labor Relations Board. The lightly redacted statement is written by Jayme Sophir, associate general counsel of the NLRB's division of advice; it dates to January, but was released yesterday, according to Law.com. Sophir concludes that while some parts of Damore's memo were legally protected by workplace regulations, "the statements regarding biological differences between the sexes were so harmful, discriminatory, and disruptive as to be unprotected."

Damore filed an NLRB complaint in August of 2017, after being fired for internally circulating a memo opposing Google's diversity efforts. Sophir recommends dismissing the case; Bloomberg reports that Damore withdrew it in January, and that his lawyer says he's focusing on a separate lawsuit alleging discrimination against conservative white men at Google. NLRB records state that its case was closed on January 19th.

There are White House Staff positions open, I hear.

Previously: Google Fires Author of Divisive Memo on Gender Differences
Google Cancels "Town Hall" Due to Leaks


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 19 2018, @05:43PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the do-attack-ads-count dept.

A federal grand jury in Washington, DC has indicted 13 Russian nationals and a Kremlin-linked internet firm on charges that they had meddled in the 2016 presidential election.

The US government said Russian entities began interfering in US political processes, including the 2016 presidential election, as early as 2014, according to a court document.

[...] The charges – which include conspiracy, wire fraud, bank fraud and aggravated identity theft – are the most direct allegations to date of illegal Russian meddling in the election.

Video - http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/us-politics/us-election-2016-russia-robert-mueller-investigation-fbi-latest-updates-a8214651.html

Link to the Indictment: https://www.justice.gov/file/1035477/download


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Thursday February 15 2018, @03:09PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the the-cost-of-free-speech dept.

From Cleveland.com:

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Kent State University, facing the threat of a lawsuit, reiterated on Friday that it cannot accommodate a request to allow white nationalist Richard Spencer to speak in early May as part of his campus tour.

The university, which is based in Kent but has regional campuses elsewhere in the state, said it had responded to attorney Kyle Bristow reaffirming its earlier response that no suitable space is available for Spencer to speak between April 30 and May 12.

Bristow had told Kent State it had until the end of business Friday to agree to rent space at an "acceptable date and time" or face a lawsuit. Several other schools, including Ohio State University and the University of Cincinnati, are in litigation over Spencer.

Tour organizer Cameron Padgett wanted Spencer to speak at Kent State on the May 4 anniversary of Ohio National Guard shootings that killed four students during anti-war protests in 1970. The university said early May is too busy with activities around the end of the academic year.

Bristow said last year that Spencer planned to speak March 14 on the University of Cincinnati campus, but the university said there was no contract in place, and the two sides are now in a legal standoff over the university's demand for a security fee of nearly $11,000.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Friday February 09 2018, @12:31PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Where-is-Waldo-county?-dept. dept.

Small town Republican thoughts on refuting the alt-right. In The Republican Journal:

I want to make one thing very clear: The Waldo County Republican Committee absolutely, unequivocally condemns Nazi and KKK ideologies and actions, as well as any other kind of bigotry, and we encourage all of our voters and the community at large to do the same.

For fellow Republicans out there, worry not, we don't like Antifa's ideology and actions either, but we need to clean our own house; we need to worry about our own responsibilities.

Such honesty, and clarity of thought!

The most dangerous part of politics today is identity politics, trolling, pathos and a severe lack of critical thinking. You cannot defeat the insidious hatred of bigoted politics with more hate. By doing so, you morph the conversation away from policy and ideology to silly label syntax, eventually devolving completely into back and forth verbal gymnastics. Make no mistake, these trolls are ready for you as you stoop to their level, and they beat you up with mountains of experience.

So what do we do? Very simple. Stay neighborly by controlling your reaction. Seek out those with whom you disagree, try to understand them first, and politely offer your counter argument.

And it looks like the Republicans in Maine, if not in Illinois, are rejecting the alt-right.

The way to defeat Mr. Kawczynski is not by attacking him, but by attacking his ideas. Here are some flaws in his thinking: His immigration ideas are antithetical to the Maine Republican party platform, a section of which states, "We support the assimilation of legal immigrants into Maine society."

Kawczynski's ideas stand in contrast to Maine history and culture; in fact, it is white folks with racist ideologies who pose the greatest threat to Maine's foundation, not other races of people.

Another brilliant tidbit:

Ultimately, all you have to do is walk outside with your eyes open in this state to see that Kawczynski's fearmongering about "white genocide" is completely laughable.

Entire guest column is well worth a read.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday February 08 2018, @11:20AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the it's-a-right-wing-thing dept.

Fake News Sharing in US is a Right-Wing Thing, Says Study

A study by researchers at Oxford University concluded that sharing fake and junk news is much more prevalent amongst Trump supporters and other people with hard right-wing tendencies.

From the Guardian:

The study, from the university's "computational propaganda project", looked at the most significant sources of "junk news" shared in the three months leading up to Donald Trump's first State of the Union address this January, and tried to find out who was sharing them and why.

"On Twitter, a network of Trump supporters consumes the largest volume of junk news, and junk news is the largest proportion of news links they share," the researchers concluded. On Facebook, the skew was even greater. There, "extreme hard right pages – distinct from Republican pages – share more junk news than all the other audiences put together.

Polarization, Partisanship and Junk News Consumption over Social Media in the US

What kinds of social media users read junk news? We examine the distribution of the most significant sources of junk news in the three months before President Donald Trump's first State of the Union Address. Drawing on a list of sources that consistently publish political news and information that is extremist, sensationalist, conspiratorial, masked commentary, fake news and other forms of junk news, we find that the distribution of such content is unevenly spread across the ideological spectrum. We demonstrate that (1) on Twitter, a network of Trump supporters shares the widest range of known junk news sources and circulates more junk news than all the other groups put together; (2) on Facebook, extreme hard right pages—distinct from Republican pages—share the widest range of known junk news sources and circulate more junk news than all the other audiences put together; (3) on average, the audiences for junk news on Twitter share a wider range of known junk news sources than audiences on Facebook's public pages.

http://comprop.oii.ox.ac.uk/research/polarization-partisanship-and-junk-news/

[Ed. note: page is loading very slowly; try a direct link to the actual report (pdf). --martyb]


Original Submission #1Original Submission #2

posted by Fnord666 on Monday February 05 2018, @08:33AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the holy-replacements-batman dept.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/popes-china-calculation-clashes-with-image-as-champion-of-oppressed-1517600924
http://archive.is/8KMX1

Pope Francis ' recent decision to replace two Chinese bishops loyal to Rome with selectees of the country's Communist government, heralding his broader moves to reset the Vatican's ties with Beijing, has drawn cries of betrayal from advocates of the country's long-persecuted "underground" Catholic Church.

The pope's actions in China are characteristic of a leader who has repeatedly practiced realpolitik to achieve important goals. But they clash with Pope Francis' image among many Catholics and others as a defender of the oppressed—a profile likely to be further tested by his campaign to improve Vatican-China relations after seven decades of estrangement.

The pope has decided to recognize seven government-appointed Chinese bishops, according to a person familiar with the matter, in a major concession to Beijing in pursuit of warmer relations and—in the very long term—possible reestablishment of diplomatic ties broken in 1951. As part of that decision, Pope Francis has moved to replace two bishops loyal to the Vatican with prelates from China's state-controlled Catholic church.


Original Submission

posted by martyb on Thursday February 01 2018, @08:49AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the indefinite-detention dept.

Donald Trump has signed an executive order to keep the Guantánamo Bay prison camp open, reversing the policy of the Obama administration.

In his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, Trump said he had directed the defence secretary, James Mattis, "to re-examine our military detention policy and to keep open the detention facilities at Guantánamo Bay". He added that he expected that "in many cases" captured terrorists would be sent to the camp.

The Trump executive order instructs Mattis, in consultation with the secretary of state and other officials, to deliver a new policy on battlefield detentions, "including policies governing transfer of individuals to US Naval Station Guantánamo Bay" within 90 days.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/jan/30/guantanamo-bay-trump-signs-executive-order-to-keep-prison-open


Original Submission

posted by Fnord666 on Monday January 29 2018, @02:46PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the Quis-custodiet-ipsos-custodes? dept.

Arthur T Knackerbracket has found the following story:

Hackers from the Dutch intelligence service AIVD have provided the FBI with crucial information about Russian interference with the American elections. For years, AIVD had access to the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. That's what de Volkskrant and Nieuwsuur have uncovered in their investigation.

It's the summer of 2014. A hacker from the Dutch intelligence agency AIVD has penetrated the computer network of a university building next to the Red Square in Moscow, oblivious to the implications. One year later, from the AIVD headquarters in Zoetermeer, he and his colleagues witness Russian hackers launching an attack on the Democratic Party in the United States. The AIVD hackers had not infiltrated just any building; they were in the computer network of the infamous Russian hacker group Cozy Bear. And unbeknownst to the Russians, they could see everything.

That's how the AIVD becomes witness to the Russian hackers harassing and penetrating the leaders of the Democratic Party, transferring thousands of emails and documents. It won't be the last time they alert their American counterparts. And yet, it will be months before the United States realize what this warning means: that with these hacks the Russians have interfered with the American elections. And the AIVD hackers have seen it happening before their very eyes.

The Dutch access provides crucial evidence of the Russian involvement in the hacking of the Democratic Party, according to six American and Dutch sources who are familiar with the material, but wish to remain anonymous. It's also grounds for the FBI to start an investigation into the influence of the Russian interference on the election race between the Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and the Republican candidate Donald Trump.

Translated by: Lisa Negrijn

It's quite an interesting read.


Original Submission