Throw Away The Key — Found Guilty for 96 Million Robocalls

A Miami man accused of flooding consumers with 96 million phone calls touting fake travel deals faces a record proposed $120 million fine from federal regulators, who said he operated the worst robocall spoofing effort they had seen.

Adrian Abramovich tried to trick consumers into answering and listening to his advertising messages, the Federal Communications Commission said in a news release Thursday. The pace of calls works out to an average of more than 1 million per day…

Calls appeared to come from local numbers, but those who answered were prompted to “Press 1” to hear about vacation deals, according to the FCC. If they did, consumers were connected to call centers not affiliated with companies mentioned in messages, such as Expedia Inc., TripAdvisor Inc., Marriott International Inc. and Hilton Worldwide Holdings…

Consumers who did “press 1″…ultimately connected Americans to call centers in Mexico that usually attempted to fleece innocent consumers out of their hard-earned money by promising too-good-to-be-true vacation deals,” Adam Medros, a senior vice president at TripAdvisor, said in an emailed statement. The company said it worked closely with the FCC to investigate after its customers called to complain.

Like the headline says, THROW AWAY THE KEY – after you take back all the money he stole plus penalties.

Shootings Now The Third Leading Cause of Death for U.S. Children


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❝ Few stories are more heartbreaking than those involving children who are injured or killed by gunshots. It isn’t hard to find them: In June alone, a 6-year-old accidentally shot and killed a 4-year-old in South Carolina, a father accidentally shot and killed his 9-year-old daughter in Indiana and an 8-year-old Mississippi boy was accidentally shot in the chest. His grandparents drove him to the hospital, but he died 45 minutes later. Sadly, the list of child gun deaths goes on.

❝ Though we constantly see examples in the news, child gun injuries and deaths may be even more prevalent in the United States than we realized. A study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics showed that an average of 5,790 children in the United States receive emergency room treatment for gun-related injuries each year, and around 21 percent of those injuries are unintentional. The study also found that an average of 1,297 children die annually from gun-related injuries, making guns the third-leading cause of death for children in America…The number is based on data taken from 2012–2014 for children up to the age of 17…

❝ …53 percent of the gun-related deaths were homicides, while 38 percent were suicides, 6 percent were unintentional and 3 percent were related to law enforcement or undetermined causes. Of the injuries, 71 percent were assault, 21 percent were unintentional, 5 percent were related to law enforcement or undetermined causes and around 3 percent were self-inflicted.

❝ In 2010, 91 percent of the children killed by guns around the world were American, where, according to the data, 19 children die from or are treated for gunshot wounds each day.

RTFA for more terrible statistics, anecdotal information, description of how amoral our society has become. The right to arm yourself out of fear or hatred wholly supersedes any intelligent, informed discussion of rights in a free society. Including the right to protect the lives of children.

Florida city employee rang up $93K on city credit cards to get butt lift – among other frauds

❝ An investigative report…shows a former city of Gainesville employee, accused of stealing more than $93,000 from the city, spent some of it on a Brazilian butt lift.

The report found that former city staff specialist Natwaina Clark, 33, charged her city-issued credit card 136 times for roughly $61,000 in unauthorized charges, used her bosses’ cards at least 36 more times for an additional $31,000, and spent nearly $900 on a coworker’s card five times between November 2015 and March 2017.

The report also finds department heads acted negligently, allowing city funds to be misspent.

❝ Documents attached to the report show Clark, who was hired in August 2015, funneled roughly $41,000 to her personal PayPal account, linked to her bank account, and that $8,500 of it went toward a Brazilian butt lift. The cosmetic surgery procedure uses fat from one part of the body to augment one’s buttocks…

Clark, whose salary was $33,500, was fired from the city March 21, while on a cruise-ship vacation, the report said. She was arrested March 28 and charged with larceny and scheme to defraud, both felonies…

❝ The city report found the city’s human resources department failed to properly execute the city’s employee background screening and didn’t advise the hiring department about concerns in Clark’s history, allowing her to be hired.

Har. Turns out the HR Department didn’t really do their homework about Clark being busted for similar crimes in another county. Didn’t tell folks in the department where she was hired of any concerns.

Russian hackers are hiding in Britney Spears’s Instagram account

❝ In order to hack foreign governments, military officials, and embassies, Russian hackers are now using Britney Spears in their operations by posting cryptic comments on her Instagram photos.

Hackers at Turla, a group believed to be linked to Moscow, are using Instagram comments on Britney Spears’s photos to control their hacking operation, said researchers at Slovakian security firm ESET…

❝ The comment doesn’t make sense and doesn’t seem threatening to the untrained eye. But, according to ESET, it’s key to the hackers’ success.

❝ After compromising computers, hackers need a way to send them instructions and get data back. They often set up a command and control server to do this. Security professionals defending against cyberattacks usually try to find the central server and shut it down in hopes of crippling the entire network.

The comment on Britney Spears’s photo is a clever strategy for announcing the location of a new command and control server after the previous one gets shut down. When decoded, it’s actually the central server’s internet address

❝ So why are the Russian hackers now targeting an American pop star’s Instagram account?

The answer is simple: Web traffic from users around the world is constantly flowing through Instagram. It would be incredibly easy to hide malicious comments and links on photos posted by celebrities…

❝ The discovery raises questions about what else is hiding in the comment sections of celebrities’ social media pages and how Russian hackers are getting creative to avoid tracking.

And, of course, no country’s cyberspooks have exclusive use of creepy hacks, political or otherwise. The same stunts are liable to be foisted on popular websites by the NSA or CIA – or Trump’s favorite 400-lb teenager in his Long Island bedroom.

Travelers Chant ‘Lock Him Up’ — Chump In Trump Hat Is Removed From Plane

Passengers chanted “lock him up” as United Airlines had a man sporting a Donald Trump “Make America Great Again” campaign hat is removed from a flight in Shanghai. The man delayed takeoff for hours as he was escorted from the flight for being belligerent…

The incident is the latest in a slew of mid-air confrontations this year, with United hitting the headlines for an ugly incident involving a staff member. This time, passengers were reportedly upset with the unnamed man in the Trump campaign hat for refusing to allow anyone to sit next to him on Flight 187, apparently because he had been refused an upgrade.

❝ He became so disruptive that airline staff told passengers to exit the plane so that they could remove him before the flight could travel to its destination in Newark, according to the airline. By the time the plane took off, it had to make an unscheduled stop in San Francisco to replace the crew, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In scenes reminiscent of Trump taunting 2016 presidential rival Hillary Clinton at campaign rallies, videos show people in the terminal at Shanghai Pudong International Airport chanting “charge him” and “lock him up” at the man.

Preferably, have him share a cell with The Donald. They deserve each other.

BS’er-in-Chief

No comment about the latest legal/political problems faced by our phony president. Pick your favorite news source among the many evidence-based, fact-based, journalists. Obviously, that leaves out Trump favorites; but, then, that never bothered anyone fool enough to vote for him.

Thanks, gocomics.org

NYPD Copper, Combat Vet, Muslim – detained at JFK Airport


Officer Ali at home in BrooklynKarsten Moran/New York Times

❝ Syed Ali is an American citizen, an officer in the New York Police Department, a combat veteran and a major in the United States Army Reserve. But none of that made a difference at passport control last month when he arrived at Kennedy Airport on an evening flight from Istanbul.

❝ After landing, Officer Ali was led from passport control to a holding area for what Customs and Border Protection refers to as secondary screening. But instead of a quick check to confirm his identity, Officer Ali said, he was held for hours, past midnight. When he asked, after more than an hour of waiting, whether it would take much longer, an officer threatened to incarcerate him…

“I feel like my rights were violated,” Officer Ali said in an interview, still sounding a little shaken. “Are you telling me that every guy with the last name Ali is a terrorist? Are you telling me every guy with brown skin coming in from overseas is a terrorist?”

❝ Officer Ali’s trip was part of a vacation to decompress after a two-year military deployment to Kuwait, where he had served in Operation Inherent Resolve, the mission to combat the Islamic State. In September, he is scheduled to return to his regular job with the Police Department, where he most recently worked in the transit unit.

Officer Ali is one of a number of Muslim Americans who have complained that since the start of the Trump administration they have been subjected to additional scrutiny when returning from abroad, facing hours in airport custody and what they described as hostile questioning…

❝ Officer Ali said his feeling of powerlessness in airport custody “was one of the lowest points in my life.”

I’ve dedicated my life to public service,” he said. “I want my country to treat me fairly, too.”

Yup, tell me about “post-racial” America, the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave. We have a government run by sniveling chickenhawks like Trump, racist weasels like Jeff Sessions. It ain’t new. It ain’t getting old in a country where elections are managed by money and an electoral college that has little to do with democracy.

I’ve confronted crap like this my whole life and I’m native-born and white. The ignorant bigots I rejected in the 1950’s are back as strong as ever. Republicans roll over and stick their hind feet in the air out of something they call Party Loyalty – and ignore any loyalty to the Constitution of the United States and all the bits and pieces added trying keep our legal system within a couple decades of modern society.

Officer Ali faced the scumbag ideology that’s always been part of this country. The scum just has a better chance to surface when idjits elect a scumsucker to live in the White House.

Artist invites you to “pay Trump bribes here” at Trump’s DC hotel


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❝ The ongoing gallery of anti-Trump art just got a splashy new addition…Artist Robin Bell projected a series of words onto the front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, on Monday night:

“Pay Trump bribes here.”

“Emoluments welcome.”

And then the text of the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which forbids US government officials to accept gifts from foreign powers…

❝ …It’s why presidents traditionally step away from their businesses while in office — and some say it’s downright illegal, because of the emoluments clause. Trump is facing a lawsuit from the liberal watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, who argue that the emoluments clause prohibits Trump’s businesses from accepting payments from foreign governments.

Way cool. Worth repeating around the world. For your local crooks – as well as our world-class thug-in-chief.