FedEx, the U.S. shipping group, is ending a program that offers discounts for business members of the National Rifle Association, the company confirmed to Reuters Breakingviews.
The change in their position comes just days after a gunman killed 11 people in a Pittsburgh synagogue. FedEx says the closure of its NRA discount program from Nov. 4 has no connection to that incident or any other shooting. Rather, the NRA just didn???t bring in enough business to merit its own deal. It???s among dozens of organizations FedEx plans to move to new pricing programs, and the company has been notifying customers since early October.
That, though, is still significant ??? perhaps more so than largely political gestures. It suggests the NRA no longer has the economic clout to inspire fear in the corporate world. Companies are becoming less timid. When retailers Dick???s Sporting Goods, Walmart and Kroger pledged to end sales of assault rifles earlier this year, their shares didn???t suffer. As customers and investors change their views, businesses no longer need to take an overtly political stance ??? they can just follow the money.
As reported by www.reuters.com
Facebook has conducted yet another targeted attack on wrong-thinkers and while some of the victims are befuddled as to why the axe fell on them, the leftist media establishment is clamoring for more heads to roll.
Over 800 accounts, some of them with millions of followers, were blasted into oblivion by the social media behemoth in its latest purge. ???Today, we???re removing 559 Pages and 251 accounts that have consistently broken our rules against spam and coordinated inauthentic behavior,??? a Facebook blog post read. Facebook accused the banned sites and accounts of using ???sensational political content??? to drive traffic. Among those users banned were Right Wing News, which had some 3.1 million followers, and Nation in Distress, which also had over three million followers.
Matt Bergman of Punk Rock Libertarians, a site that had 190,000 followers before being obliterated, told RT.com that Facebook is able to apply its ???standards??? any way it sees fit to purge users:
???Their terms of service agreement is probably a million words long. Nobody has ever read it all the way through and I would think that if they wanted to they can ban CNN, they can ban you guys, if they wanted to, they can ban anybody.???
If Bergman is right, there should be a lot more cyber-executions coming. And that???s just fine with The New York Times. In an absurdly authoritarian October 11 article, Times reporter Sheera Frenkel ominously notes the rise of ???domestic disinformation??? on social media. See, it???s not just Russian bots anymore. It???s American citizens who are the new threat to democracy.
???There are now well-developed networks of Americans targeting other Americans with purposefully designed manipulations,??? Molly McKew, an ???information warfare researcher??? at the New Media Frontier organization, told Frenkel.
What is the New Media Frontier? Basically, it is Molly McKew declaring herself an information warfare expert and The New York Times quoting her as such. Fake news, much? McKew is, in fact, a longtime professional lobbyist who previously worked for the Podesta Group. Exactly what qualifies her to be an expert on information warfare is anybody???s guess, but that didn???t stop the NYT from deceitfully quoting her as such in an article about the dire threat of deceitful news.
The hilarity continues with the Times quoting another ???expert.??? Ryan Fox of an organization called New Knowledge, ???a firm that tracks disinformation,??? told Frenkel, ???[t]hese networks are trying to manipulate people by manufacturing consensus ??? that???s crossing the line over free speech.???
Manipulating consensus is a bad thing? You mean, like an NYT newsletter claiming that Hillary Clinton had an 85% chance to win on the very eve of the 2016 presidential election? We???ll patiently wait for the intrepid Mr. Fox to start tracking that breathtaking display of disinformation.
Frenkel???s thoroughly ridiculous article also unsurprisingly quotes the George Soros-funded Media Matters For America. This group can be currently found openly calling for Facebook to take its purge to the next level.
???Facebook???s takedown removed a plethora of bad actors who have used networks of pages and groups to coordinate and amplify the spread of anti-immigrant and racist content. However, other similar far-right disinformation pages on the platform are still up,??? Media Matters??? Natalie Martinez writes on the organization???s website.
Her article goes on to list several more ???right-wing??? sites that need to be scrubbed from history by Facebook, without offering any substantial information as to just what these outlets??? alleged crimes may be. Martinez was most saddened, however, that Facebook had yet to take action against what Media Matters considers the most effective practitioner of wrongthink:
???And although this takedown has impacted a number of pages that push false political news and hate speech, it likely won???t affect currently active high-performing right-wing meme pages and networks.???
Thus the door is opened to target political satire in the U.S. fake news spider web. Many believe the European Union is using supposed copyright concerns to suppress politically incorrect satire at this very moment. There are many ways to tackle a target you are trying to destroy.
The Facebook purge is another step down a terrible road. An unregulated social media giant is attempting to play arbiter of what is and what is not news. Major news organizations and political sabotage groups are working in perfect synchronicity to bolster these actions. The implications should be crystal clear: They are trying to construct a thoroughly controlled media.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency on Wednesday will test two alert systems that can send messages to phones, televisions and radios nationwide.
The tests were originally scheduled for Sept. 20, but were postponed until Oct. 3 due to Hurricane Florence.
The first test involves FEMA's wireless emergency alert system and will take place at 2:18 p.m. It's the first national test for the system, according to FEMA.
The test message will pop up on any phones connected to wireless providers participating in the alert system, FEMA said. The message will have a header that reads "Presidential Alert" with the following text:
"THIS IS A TEST of the National Wireless Emergency Alert System. No action is needed."
Cell towers will broadcast the message for 30 minutes. FEMA said some phones that are not compatible with the system and will not receive the message.
Phones must also be within range of an active cell tower to get the test. Each phone should receive the test message only once.
The wireless alert system is used to warn the public about dangerous weather, missing children and other emergencies. It will use the same special tone and vibration as other wireless alert messages such as tornado warnings and Amber Alerts, FEMA said.
Users cannot opt out of the test.
The second test will start at 2:20 p.m. It involves the emergency alert system that allows the president to communicate with the nation on radio and television during a national emergency, FEMA said.
The test will last about a minute and will be similar to routine monthly broadcast tests, according to the agency.
More details are available on FEMA's website.
The world???s biggest car-manufacturing alliance has agreed to use Google???s Android operating system to power dashboard displays. Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi Alliance, which sold 10.6 million vehicles globally last year, will debut the system in 2021, ???giving drivers better integration of Google???s maps, app store and voice-activated assistant,??? writes The Wall Street Journal. Google, which like Apple has long sought to displace interfaces designed by carmakers, would be able to collect data from apps inside the vehicles with customer permission.
Hurricane Florence hit North Carolina on Friday morning, bringing with it winds of up to 90 miles per hour, according to the National Hurricane Center. The hurricane, which has been downgraded to a category one, made landfall near Wrightsville Beach.Rescues were underwayearly in New Bern, N.C., as forecasters say the storm could bring a dangerous amount of rain. More than 400,000 people had already lost power early Friday, while local energy suppliers warned that as many as 3 million people could be left without power.
The East Coast is bracing itself for the most powerful storm in three decades, reports CNN. Hurricane Florence will hit North and South Carolina later this week, bringing with it the possibility of up to 20 inches of rainfall, as well as ???water up to 15 feet high [could] strike the coast.??? Residents in the Carolinas are being warned that ???there is an increasing risk of life-threatening impacts from Florence.???
The battle for students at some colleges has gotten so hot that some are willing to match tuition at rival schools, The Wall Street Journal reports. Public universities in Michigan, South Dakota and Nebraska allow students from out of state to pay as if they lived in-state, even though out-of-state tuition is usually two to three times that of in-state. Local high school graduate populations have been dwindling and many private schools face a perception that they are not affordable for many students.
Over the past year, certain Google advertisers have been able to use a "potent new tool" which allows them to track whether ads they run online translated to sales at physical stores throughout the United States, thanks to a secret deal between the Silicon Valley tech giant and Mastercard, reports Bloomberg.
Illustration: Tam Nguyen, AdAge
Most of Mastercard's two billion customers weren't aware of this arrangement, since neither Google parent Alphabet Inc. nor the credit card company told the public about the deal which was brokered after four years of negotiations. The alliance, says Bloomberg, "gave Google an unprecedented asset for measuring retail spending," as part of the search giant's "strategy to fortify its primary business against onslaughts from Amazon.com Inc. and others."
Through this test program, Google can anonymously match these existing user profiles to purchases made in physical stores. The result is powerful: Google knows that people clicked on ads and can now tell advertisers that this activity led to actual store sales.
It works like this: a person searches for "red lipstick" on Google, clicks on an ad, surfs the web but doesn???t buy anything. Later, she walks into a store and buys red lipstick with her Mastercard. The advertiser who ran the ad is fed a report from Google, listing the sale along with other transactions in a column that reads "Offline Revenue" -- only if the web surfer is logged into a Google account online and made the purchase within 30 days of clicking the ad. The advertisers are given a bulk report with the percentage of shoppers who clicked or viewed an ad then made a relevant purchase. -Bloomberg
Last year Google boasted that that the service, called "Store Sales Management," had access to "approximately 70 percent" of US credit and debit cards.
Last year, when Google announced the service, called "Store Sales Measurement," the company just said it had access to "approximately 70 percent" of U.S. credit and debit cards through partners, without naming them. -Bloomberg
Since Google doesn't define what this means, Bloomberg speculates that it could mean "70 percent of the people who use credit and debit cards. Or it could mean that the company has deals with companies that include all card users, and 70 percent of those are logged into Google accounts like Gmail when they click on a Google search ad."
The deal is likely to raise broader privacy concerns about the volume of consumer data is in the hands of data technology companies such as Google. Of note, "Since 2014, Google has flagged for advertisers when someone who clicked an ad visits a physical store, using the Location History feature in Google Maps."
"People don???t expect what they buy physically in a store to be linked to what they are buying online,??? said Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) counsel Christine Bannan. "There???s just far too much burden that companies place on consumers and not enough responsibility being taken by companies to inform users what they???re doing and what rights they have.???
Google reportedly paid Mastercard millions of dollars for the data, according to two people who worked on the deal. The companies also discussed sharing a portion of Google's ad revenue, according to one source. A Google spokeswoman denied any revenue sharing agreement with its partners - while addressing privacy concerns:
"Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users??? personally identifiable information,??? the company said in a statement. ???We do not have access to any personal information from our partners??? credit and debit cards, nor do we share any personal information with our partners.???
The company says that google users can opt out of ad tracking using their "Web and App Activity" online console (though no word if the service will continue to secretly track your purchases like Google's location history, which tracks users regardless of whether they've turned the feature off.)
Mastercard spokesman Seth Eisen said that the company shares transaction trends with merchants and service providers to assist them in measuring "the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns."
The information, which includes sales volumes and average size of the purchase, is shared only with permission of the merchants, Eisen added. "No individual transaction or personal data is provided," he said in a statement. "We do not provide insights that track, serve up ads to, or even measure ad effectiveness relating to, individual consumers." -Bloomberg
According to people familiar with the program, Google has approached other payment companies fopr similar deals - however it is unknown whether they actually signed any. Google, meanwhile, confirmed that the service only applies to people who are logged in to one of its accounts and haven't opted out of ad tracking.
Google is testing the data service with a ???small group??? of advertisers in the U.S., according to a spokeswoman. With it, marketers see aggregate sales figures and estimates of how many they can attribute to Google ads -- but they don???t see a shoppers??? personal information, how much they spend or what exactly they buy. The tests are only available for retailers, not the companies that make the items sold inside stores, the spokeswoman said. The service only applies to its search and shopping ads, she said. -Bloomberg
According to Bloomberg, Google's first attempt to link consumer browsing habits with spending came in the form of it's mobile payment service; Google Wallet - however adoption never took off.
As we mentioned earlier, Google has been pinging advertisers through their Location Services feature when a user visited a store, however the advertiser wasn't able to know whether the shopper made a purchase.
So Google added more. A tool, introduced the following year, let advertisers upload email addresses of customers they???ve collected into Google???s ad-buying system, which then encrypted them. Additionally, Google layered on inputs from third-party data brokers, such as Experian Plc and Acxiom Corp., which draw in demographic and financial information for marketers. -Bloomberg
In May, 2017, Google introduced "Store Sales Management" which let companies with personal info on consumers such as encrypted email address, upload information into Google's system and synchronize advertising expenditures with offline sales. The second component injects card data.
Early indications suggest the Mastercard deal has been a boon for Google. "Malcolm said her agency has tested the card measurement tool with a major advertiser, which she declined to name. Beforehand, the company received $5.70 in revenue for every dollar spent on marketing in the ad campaign with Google, according to an iProspect analysis. With the new transaction feature, the return nearly doubled to $10.60," according to Bloomberg.
"That???s really powerful," Malcolm said. "And it was a really good way to invest more in Google, frankly."
Argentina's central bank lifted its key interest to 60%, the highest in the world, a day after President Mauricio Macri asked the International Monetary Fund to rushpaymenton a $50 billion line of credit. The moves come as the government tries to convince investors it can fund itself through next year amid raging inflation and a plunging peso,reports Bloomberg.
A report from The Citizen explains what Section 24 and Section 28 entail:
???Section 24 of the Act requires that any person who seeks to renew a licence must do so 90 days before its expiry date Section 28 stipulates that if a firearm licence has been cancelled??? the firearm must be disposed of or forfeited to the state. A 60-day time frame was placed on its disposal, which was to be done through a dealer.???
Now that the High Court???s initial ruling has been overturned, gun owners who failed to renew their firearms licenses must hand in their firearms to the nearest police station, where authorities will then proceed to destroy them.
Many na??ve political observers will paint this event as a casual gun control scheme, but any astute student of politics will recognize that the floodgates are now open for further encroachments ??? not only on the gun rights of South Africans, but also on others facets of theirs lives.
A look at South Africa???s current political climate will give us an idea of the potential ramifications of this gun control scheme.
Though South Africa witnessed rising levels of economic freedom shortly after Apartheid ended in 1994, the country has taken a more interventionist path to economic development in recent years.
This situation is becoming more pronounced with the South African National Assembly recently voting 241-83 to amend the South African constitution to allow for land expropriation without compensation.
The socialist-leaning African National Congress (ANC) and the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) parties are leading the charge for expropriation under the banner of fixing racial disparities that have supposedly remained intact since Apartheid???s conclusion.
While land confiscation has not been officially finalized, South Africans should worry about the direction their country is going.
And how does gun control fit into this equation?
No matter how socialist apologists rationalize it, the redistributionist agenda the South African government is pursuing will not be implemented passively. Ultimately, it must be carried out by force.
The kind of force socialists seek is a monopolized kind, which extreme forms of gun control like gun confiscation help facilitate.
The history of gun confiscation is one of repeated cases of tyranny.
From countries such as Cuba to the Soviet Union, aspiring demagogues have used gun confiscation to disarm the populace. Logically, an unarmed populace will put up little resistance against their tyrannical acts.
In South Africa???s case, farmers and their workers are already suffering ongoing attacks against their property. One could only imagine what it would be like for these persecuted farmers once they are stripped of their right to self-defense.
For many Americans who have enjoyed historically unprecedented gun rights, South Africa???s gun control experience may seem distant and strange.
But make no mistake about it, South Africa???s latest flirtation with gun control is not based on good intentions, especially when considering the political climate the country is enduring.
South Africa should serve as a fair warning to Americans of the dangerous consequences gun control poses.