Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Equifax and Outrage Over-Load

Where is the outrage?  You may be wondering, “Which incident is she talking about this time?”  All of them!  America is losing its ability to be outraged and that outrages me.  This is not the America I have lived in all my years.  As I see it, there two kinds of people now—those that are living with outrage over-load and are exhausted, and those that wear their indifference as a badge of honor.  They say, “Oh, I don’t pay attention to politics, it has nothing to do with me.”  How wrong you are, my friend!  That attitude, coupled with what Trump is doing to this country, presents a clear and present danger to our democracy and our nation.

IF THERE IS one incident where public outrage is appropriate, it is the fact that Russia interfered with our heretofore democratic elections.  I never thought I’d live in an America that would tolerate even the hint of interference in our elections by a foreign nation. I will borrow my brother’s saying, “I have lived too long!”  If you want to give Trump’s alleged collusion with Russia the benefit of doubt, that’s one thing.  However, there is too much evidence against Russia’s interference to warrant any such benefit of doubt.  Russia deserves outrage and if you don’t feel it, you will be contributing to the loss of what we have all held sacred—fair elections.

LAST WEEK, Facebook finally reported they sold ads for a Russian trolling farm, located in a house in St. Petersburg, Russia. One ad buy was for $150,000.  Believe me, as one who has placed a few ads on Facebook and found it to be cheap to reach thousands, for $150,000 you can reach millions and millions of voters.   These highly paid Russian trolls were trolling for Trump.  They strategically placed demonizing stories about Hillary Clinton.  Then, unsuspecting readers, believing the story, would share, and the fake story would go viral.  I saw many of those fake stories on Facebook during the 2016 campaign, although I did not know the origin then.  Further, these trolls would pose as Americans and make nasty comments on pro-Hillary stories.  Donald Trump did not invent the term, “fake news.”  It was first used by Democrats and Hillary supporters posting the term “fake news” on what we now know were Russian troll sites. 

I NOW KNOW even I was a victim of Russian trolling.  When Facebook made their admission, suddenly a mystery was solved for me personally.  You see, in addition to this column, I have a blog powered by Google.  A feature for the owner of a blog is basic analytics such as how many views each post obtained. There is also analytics showing from which country your blog is being viewed.  Week after week in 2016, the country of Russia was second to the United States in total views, followed by Ukraine as number three.  I could not for the life of me figure out why people from Russia and Ukraine would be interested in a very small-time blog written by a Progressive Democrat from High Falls, Georgia.  It also solved the mystery of who those people were making nasty comments about Hillary on my blog.  Now I know it was Russian trolls! 

THE GOOD news of all that is my Russian readership has diminished.  The bad news is France has moved into the #2 spot.  I wonder if the Russians have moved their operation, or figured out how to route their computers to a server in France.  You heard it here first!

WE HAVE a President that has repeatedly said our election process is “rigged.”  Yet, when faced with evidence it was rigged by Russia, he refuses to address the possibility.  Instead, he created a phony voter fraud commission, the Presidential Advisory Commission on voter integrity.  He appointed the poster boy for voter suppression, Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, as Chairman of this commission.  Kobach has called for all voter data from the states be handed over to him. Can you imagine?  All our sensitive voter information located in one place? What will they do with that information?  With absolutely no evidence of voter fraud, except for a President who can’t accept the fact he lost the popular vote by three million, I am outraged that my personal data will be put in the hands of someone with a record of voter suppression.  Trump and Kobach’s goal is to cull the ones’ who vote consistently Democratic and make it easier for Republicans to win.  Where’s the outrage? 

WE HAVE so much more to be outraged over but the very latest is up close and personal to all of us.  While we were in the dark dealing with Irma, Equifax released the news they had been hacked.  They knew about this hack one month before making it public, but not before three senior executors dumped stock and made $1.8 million dollars. Equifax has details of your entire life.  This not only includes your social security number, but every place you’ve ever lived, the cars you have owned, and all your financial information you have strived to protect your entire life.   Now thanks to shoddy security measures to protect us by Equifax, nearly every single American’s full identity is in the hands of WHO?  The hack comes on the heels of Equifax contributing millions to the 14 members of their Over-sight Committee in the U. S. House of Representatives to pass a bill limiting their liability in such cases as this. 

ADDING INSULT to injury, Equifax is urging Americans to visit their website to see if their
information has been stolen.  DO NOT BE TEMPTED TO DO THIS!  If you do, the fine print that no one reads, is a waiver of your right to sue.  What, if anything, is Equifax doing to find the hackers?  If this doesn’t fill you with outrage, nothing will—not even Trump shooting someone on Fifth Avenue.

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