Pot Brownies & Putin’s Trolls
Not once in my life have I ever said to anyone, "You wanna smoke a bowl?"
Still, I get ads via emails on my computer about water bongs, vaporizers, smoking pipes and scales.
With edibles, I get emails about pot brownies and marijuana-infused peach soda. It sounds like a picnic you’d have to toss in the bushes if the cops showed up.
There are also regular incoming movie trailers on my computer for "Reefer Madness," an "unabashed propaganda film with alarmist views on the dangers of marijuana addiction," plus trailers for "Assassin of Youth" and "The Narcotics Story."
Similarly, not once in my life have I ever gone to a bingo hall looking for a date. Still, I get recurring email and pop-up ads about "New Singles, Zoosk members, women 65 to 72."
I’ve never replied to any of the aforementioned ads or clicked for more information.
With the Zoosk ad, a response did pop into my head that I thought might provide a chuckle on the other end: "I’m a foot fetish, seeking same, or a job in a shoe store."
In other news, "2014 is quickly becoming the year of the hack," explains CNNMoney cybersecurity reporter Jose Pagliery. "Hackers have exposed the personal information of 110 million Americans — roughly half of the nation’s adults — in the last 12 months."
An even larger count is the number of hacked accounts — "up to 432 million," reports Pagliery.
"Each record typically includes personal information," he warns, "such as your name, debit or credit card, phone number, birthday, email, password, security questions and physical address."
Consequently, cybercriminals can take over millions of our computers, make millions of us targets for scams and coercion, and become empowered imposters by way of pairing stolen information with stolen credit card data.
"Russian hackers with links to Vladimir Putin’s government were behind an enormous cyberattack on JPMorgan Chase, security officials believe," reports London’s Daily Mail, "and they could have targeted as many as nine other banks."
More political are the dirty tricks of Putin’s web of online trolls and clandestine bloggers, paid by the Kremlin to empower Putin, delegitimize his enemies and discredit opposition activists and journalists.
Putin’s propaganda campaign has extended to "recruiting and training a new cadre of online trolls that have been deployed to spread the Kremlin’s message on the comments section of top American websites," reports Max Seddon at BuzzFeed.
Leaked plans, reported Seddon, "show IT managers reporting on a new ideological front against the West in the comment sections of Fox News, Huffington Post, The Blaze, Politico, and WorldNetDaily."
Said Vladimir Lenin, regarding the press: To give freedom of the press to the bourgeois "is to ease the enemy’s cause, to help the class enemy. We do not desire to end in suicide, so we will not do this."
Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics and the B. Kenneth Simon professor of free enterprise at Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh.
Ralph R. Reiland
Email: [email protected]