Pete's Prep: Friday, March 23, 2018

posted by Pete Kaliner - 

Even more taxpayer-funded gift cards found in Buncombe County purchases

More good reporting from Jennifer Bowman at the Asheville Citizen-Times, who finds thousands of dollars more in gift card purchases by a county official - using taxpayer funds.

The publicly funded credit card for an employee who once worked as former Buncombe County manager Wanda Greene's assistant was used to buy retail cards as early as 2012, according to spending records.

Charges on Tiffiny Mila White's county-issued card show previously unreported gift card purchases totaling more than $9,000 over a six-month period. Each of the seven transactions was made in person at Wal-Mart, Target, Staples and Office Depot locations in Asheville, with gift cards usually bought in bulk.

Together with more recent transactions, White's card was used to pay for $52,400 worth of gift cards since one was assigned to her in April 2012. The first gift card purchase — a single $1,000 card bought about 3:30 p.m. on a Friday at the Wal-Mart on Bleachery Boulevard — was made in November 2012.

Read the entire report here. It's been seven months since we learned of the federal investigation of the former manager.



Citibank postures for gun control

One of the world's largest banks thinks coming out for gun control is a good idea.

From The Hill:

Citibank announced Thursday that it will start requiring clients to place some restrictions on gun sales, including banning the sale of firearms to anyone under the age of 21.

The bank will also require retail clients to only sell guns to individuals who have passed a background check and to not sell bump stocks or high-capacity magazines.

The company announced the changes in a statement condemning gun violence and slamming lawmakers for failing to pass gun control measures. It said the policy would apply to new clients.

You can see the corporate statement here, which does not define "high-capacity magazine."

We know that the actions we are taking today will invite passion on both sides. We don’t have the perfect solution but we have come to the conclusion that we must do our part to keep guns out of the hands of those who wish to do harm. And we hope our actions help achieve that vital goal.

The latest school shooter in Maryland used a handgun.

He was under the age of 21. 

He was not legally allowed to buy it or own it.

Criminals ignore laws.

Also, I suspect there are going to be discrimination lawsuits over this kind of action.



"Surveillance capitalism" is problematic

Democrats are making a lot of hysterical arguments about how it's a Very Big Deal that a data mining operation used personal information from Facebook users to help Republican campaigns micro-target voters.

Cambridge Analytica, a political data firm hired by President Trump’s 2016 election campaign, gained access to private information on more than 50 million Facebook users. The firm offered tools that could identify the personalities of American voters and influence their behavior.

Of course, this was not a sign of the collapse of our democracy when the Obama campaign pioneered the methods.

Facebook allowed the Obama campaign to access the personal data of users during the 2012 campaign because they supported the Democratic candidate according to a high ranking staffer.

Carol Davidsen, who worked as the media director at Obama for America and has spoken about this in the past, explained on Twitter that she and her team were able to ingest massive amounts of information from the social network after getting permission from Facebook users to access their list of friends.

'Facebook was surprised we were able to suck out the whole social graph, but they didn't stop us once they realized that was what we were doing,' wrote Davidsen.

No passwords were obtained, and Facebook says this was not a data breach.

Because OF COURSE it wasn't.

So, the founder of the personal information harvesting leviathan says maybe his baby needs to be regulated by the federal government.

Bingo.

Facebook is doing precisely what it was designed to do.

They just don't like that THOSE PEOPLE found a way to get the same access to the data.



And ... finally...

Pete Kaliner

Pete Kaliner

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