×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Dirty Tricks? Look-Alike Websites Lure Congressional Donors

timothy posted about 2 months ago | from the this-way-to-the-egress dept.

Advertising 157

First time accepted submitter AdamnSelene writes "Forbes reports on a National Republican Congressional Committee sanctioned campaign worthy of the NSA: fake candidate websites that use identical or similar pictures and color schemes to solicit donations to defeat the Democratic candidate. The Tampa Bay Times reports that the NRCC initially refused to refund the contribution from a Tampa Bay doctor who caught onto the scam, and he had to contact his credit card company to challenge the charges. The National Journal reports that the NRCC-sponsored effort may run afoul of Federal Election Commission regulations, though it expects that the bipartisan FEC will be toothless when it comes to enforcement. However, I have to wonder whether this is finally a good enough reason to use the DMCA and file take-down notices against the faux websites. Perhaps the candidates could solve this themselves, and get a judgement for copyright infringement so absurdly large that it puts the NRCC out of business?" Some sites along these lines might be dirtier than the ones here illustrated, which seem to fit pretty well into the broad world of snarky and cutting political ads; Dr. Ray Bellamy, the Tampa Bay donor mentioned above, intended to give money to candidate Alex Sink, but evidently didn't notice this line in bold print, just above the "Donate" button: "Make a contribution today to help defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her." Note that, as the Tampa Bay Times' article mentions, this kind of site isn't limited to Republicans, either.

cancel ×
This is a preview of your comment

No Comment Title Entered

Anonymous Coward 1 minute ago

No Comment Entered

157 comments

Isn't this the libertarian dream? (-1, Flamebait)

mozumder (178398) | about 2 months ago | (#46196093)

Don't you freedom-loving libertarians love this kind of shit?

Who cares about socialization, right? It's all about "me! Me! Me!" and whatever I can get away with.

Remember, you are a precious snowflake, and should be allowed to do what you want, because you are a precious snowflake.

yah.. sooo..
and this is why you don't vote Republican-lite libertarianism kids.
Grown-ups with socialization skills know this already.
Nerdy unsocialized people like the ones that infest this site do not know this.

Re:Isn't this the libertarian dream? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196345)

Spot on. I'd wear every downrating this comment gets as a badge of honor.

Re: Isn't this the libertarian dream? (1)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 months ago | (#46198173)

If you put your name on it, you would have honor.

Being an AC, you're not very proud I think.

Re:Isn't this the libertarian dream? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196419)

No, I'm a welfare asshole and I deserve the fruits of your labor even if I am just a lazy fuck. So give me what's yours or I'll make myself look like a victim to a bunch of bleeding hearts who act like they're powerless to do anything but give away other peoples' wealth.

Re: Isn't this the libertarian dream? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196577)

Because fraud is the same as not having a job. Gotcha.

Re:Liberals Under Pressure??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196711)

If Liberal want to win they got they do better because they are a free man

Re:Isn't this the libertarian dream? (3, Interesting)

khallow (566160) | about 2 months ago | (#46196873)

Don't you freedom-loving libertarians love this kind of shit?

No, fraud is typically near the top of the list of the things libertarians don't like. I would wager in fact that a lot of spittle has been hurled on the subject of fraud and how to prevent it in a libertarian society.

What I think is particularly interesting about this example is not that it is outright fraud, but that the people perpetrating it think they can do so because they are Republicans and the victims are Democrats. If they had instead been "parodying" a big non-profit like Red Cross or World Wildlife Fund, I don't think there would be any doubt that it was intentional fraud.

Re: Isn't this the libertarian dream? (3, Insightful)

rickb928 (945187) | about 2 months ago | (#46198179)

What I think is particularly interesting is that people think this is the behavior of just one political party.

There's one born every minute (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 months ago | (#46196125)

At least the Slashdot beta site fooled no-one.

Re:There's one born every minute (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196447)

Niggers. Just because.

-- Ethanol-fueled

Re:There's one born every minute (0)

richlv (778496) | about 2 months ago | (#46196513)

oh beta-disaster. the fact that this article has little to do with general slashdot topics is minor compared to beta...

Slashdot Alternative (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196139)

Has anyone created a website like the classic version of Slashdot that people are migrating to? I keep getting forced into the beta version when I come here. Where will everyone be going once this beta goes live?

Re:Slashdot Alternative (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196205)

People will know the fake site by virtue of having more informative stories and less click-bait articles, along with fewer articles being thinly-veiled advertisements for Dice.

Re:Slashdot Alternative (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196883)

altslashdot.org is where there is some planning going on...

GNOME 3, Windows 8, Firefox, Slashdot. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196147)

What do GNOME 3, Windows 8, Firefox and Slashdot all have in common?

They're all software systems that have been ruined thanks to half-assed, hipster-inspired UI "redesigns" that alienated nearly all of the existing users, without actually bringing in any new users, while at the same time making said software virtually unusable.

The outcome of these disasters hasn't been a total loss, however. It has actually resulted in a new rule-of-thumb for UI design. A UI designer merely needs to ask himself or herself one simple question when analyzing a design: "Would a hipster approve of this design?"

If the answer is "Yes", then the design is inherently flawed and should be thrown out immediately, much like should happen to the Slashdot beta site. If the answer is "No", then the UI designer is on the right track. If there's one thing that's guaranteed in the UI design world, it's that the more hipsters hate your UI, the more effective and efficient it is to use for the majority of people.

Offtopic - beta rant rant (0)

Cacadril (866218) | about 2 months ago | (#46196545)

I am surprised at the pervasive negativity against the beta, spamming all topics.

Slashdot, please roll out beta and close down classic as soon as possible! I hope the whiners will turn away and create their own site instead.
The new look has one great advantage: screen dumps will waste less green ink. The disadvantage is that printouts will require more paper, and onscreen consumption of the threads requires more scrolling.
Other than that I have not discovered any real differences.

Oh wait, except there is one specific issue left: Until today, every time I tried followed the "read more" link to see the comments, all I got was:
"Shazbot! We ran into some trouble getting the comments.Try again... na-nu, na-nu!"
Clicking the "Load More" button just reproduced the same Shazbot! message. The present topic is the first that I am able to follow in beta. The next topic down the front page returned another Shazbot. So, please fix the Shazbots ASAP, then close classic. Thanks.

Beta rant rant rant. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197885)

Your beta rant rant was very disappointing.

God (1)

TempleOS (3394245) | about 2 months ago | (#46196157)

God is perfectly just. God will talk and reveal fraud. God says... passed trees fairer concerning smells existence treasure-house begotten confusedly beholder beauty upward Literary family hath Enter prevailed strangers emerging range affirmed because wanderer wished decree severely proceeding Furthermore joineth falsehood perils gathering were agree occurs sufficeth mother's region SUCH indulgent chambers aquatic manner in-breathing Perchance unalterable utter admiration distribute crookedly hastened safe locking third ten promise blottedst healthful unchangeable counsel MONEY succeeding observance round begat formed adversity evincing panegyric fluctuating chanting streaming createth creeping difficulty readest endeavouring chosen amendment scantling sparedst separateth accuser Heaven

Easy fix (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196163)

Make a contribution then ask for it back. When they refuse, make a credit card chargeback. Will cost the NRCC $30 for each chargeback, and if they get too many, they get bumped up to a worse level merchant account.

Re:Easy fix (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#46196213)

If it can be shown that was your intent, you are committing fraud too. Enjoy your stay in club-fed.

Re:Easy fix (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196287)

If it can be shown that was your intent,

Not a trivial task, IMO. Posted AC because ...

Re:Easy fix (3, Insightful)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about 2 months ago | (#46196359)

If it can be shown that was your intent, you are committing fraud too. Enjoy your stay in club-fed.

Except that the final decision on a charge back is made by the bank issuing the card. They have EVERY reason to keep their customer happy, and NO reason to give a crap about the merchant. The merchant has little recourse unless the card was either physically swiped and a signature provided, or they can show confirmation of delivery of goods at the customer's billing address. In this case, they have neither.

Re:Easy fix (2)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#46196565)

I speaking from a purely legal standpoint, not the likely outcome. you intended to commit fraud, just as the people managing the webpage are. This is 2014. Is the '2 wrongs make a right' mandate now in effect and i missed the memo that somehow justifiable wrong is ok now?

Re:Easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196571)

The cardholder is only their customer if he carries a balance. Otherwise, their only customer in the transaction is the merchant...

Re:Easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196805)

...

Except that the final decision on a charge back is made by the bank issuing the card. They have EVERY reason to keep their customer happy, and NO reason to give a crap about the merchant.

Uh, no. At least not in Canada. I noticed a bogus charge on my MasterCard CC statement and called up the Bank of Montreal. I was basically told to F-off because I was only a single person and the fraud charge came from a mega-corporation. If I wanted the charge reversed I would have to wait for BofM to send a bunch of paperwork and have an accountant or lawyer fill it out and return it. That was for $125.00 Canadian dollars. Lesson learned - never deal with Bank of Montreal.

Re:Easy fix (1)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#46196893)

Except that the final decision on a charge back is made by the bank issuing the card. They have EVERY reason to keep their customer happy, and NO reason to give a crap about the merchant.

But this is not a merchant, this is a politician. The bank has every reason to keep politicians happy to keep those bailouts and deregulation coming.

Re:Easy fix (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | about 2 months ago | (#46196631)

I'm unclear how that is fraud. The intent is to get people to recoup a donation made in error. Am I misunderstanding?

Re:Easy fix (1)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#46196909)

What was described was to give said donation with premeditated intent to remove it, so as to cost the receiver money.

That is fraud.

Re:Easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197577)

They will now screenshot this thread and use it to contest charge-backs! /s

If I say "I was confused by your deliberately misleading website and donated by mistake, then somebody told me about this scam and I cancelled", how do you prove I'm lying?

Even if someone would dig through access logs to show how my IP accessed this article before accessing that donation page - "Yeah, that was my (wife/brother/roommate/daughter) who told me about this later."

Re:Easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197087)

Maybe they should setup a few cells for the NRCC. Intentionally misleading someone into donating money is also fraud. Even looking at the current site (which they have updated), they are clearly attempting to cause confusion. Is it any good? No. it's dumb and the people that fall for it are kinda dumb. Should that stop them from getting prosecuted for fraud? Absolutely not. Imagine the outrage if "democrats are swindling grandma!"

Re:Easy fix (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196217)

As great as that idea sounds, this kind of crap just reinforces the fact that campaign finance reform is desperately needed.

Hahaha. Scam? Hardly. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#46196881)

"Make a contribution then ask for it back. When they refuse, make a credit card chargeback. Will cost the NRCC $30 for each chargeback, and if they get too many, they get bumped up to a worse level merchant account."

What I think is funny is that a headline at the top of the page which says in bold letters Make a Contribution Today to Help Defeat Alex Sink and Candidates Like Her [tampabay.com] is somehow "misleading".

Caling that "small print at the bottom of the screen" as Forbes did is just plain bullshit. It's big, bold, in your face print, right there at the top.

Re:Hahaha. Scam? Hardly. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#46196933)

Before anybody starts slamming me, understand that I dislike Republicans approximately as much as I dislike Democrats.

But if you think THIS [postimg.org] is "misleading" (from right there, plain as day, on the front page of the site, actual size), then I have a bridge I'd like to sell you.

Re:Hahaha. Scam? Hardly. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197407)

"Make a contribution then ask for it back. When they refuse, make a credit card chargeback. Will cost the NRCC $30 for each chargeback, and if they get too many, they get bumped up to a worse level merchant account."

What I think is funny is that a headline at the top of the page which says in bold letters Make a Contribution Today to Help Defeat Alex Sink and Candidates Like Her [tampabay.com] is somehow "misleading".

The screenshot that I saw with TFA that I read wasn't the Alex Sink site, for whatever that particular site was worth.

The screenshot held up for example was such that when reduced to article size gave no indication at all that it was anything other than a legitimate pro-candidate site where your contribution would go towards the candidate named. And TFA itself said that the domain name it was retrieved from was one that would be legitimate for the candidate if the GOP anti-candidate people hadn't scarfed it up instead.

It wasn't even a tiny bit confusing. It was blatant in-your-face FRAUD.

Caling that "small print at the bottom of the screen" as Forbes did is just plain bullshit. It's big, bold, in your face print, right there at the top.

Re:Hahaha. Scam? Hardly. (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#46197861)

"The screenshot held up for example was such that when reduced to article size gave no indication at all that it was anything other than a legitimate pro-candidate site where your contribution would go towards the candidate named. "

The screenshot in the Forbes article (the first link in OP) was the same one I referred to in my first comment above. It says in bold print that the donation is to DEFEAT Sink. If you can't read, maybe you should not be making political donations.

The other link I gave above is the front page of the site, where it also says, in BIG BOLD PRINT "Help Stop Alex Sink". That is even harder to NOT see, and it's on the front page.

"It wasn't even a tiny bit confusing. It was blatant in-your-face FRAUD."

Not by any legal or ethical standard of which I am aware. Yes, it might have been a bit on the low side to use the same colors her campaign does, but all the text on the site very clearly says that the donations will be used to defeat that candidate. I don't see how that could possibly be interpreted as "fraud".

Re:Hahaha. Scam? Hardly. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46198121)

If you can't read, maybe you should not be making political donations.

THAT'S RACIST!!!!

DIRTY BETA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196185)

Die, damn it!

Switch Back to Classic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196199)

I keep getting forced into beta. Do you know how I can switch back to classic?

Re:Switch Back to Classic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196317)

Yes, fellow classic slahdotter. Here is your remedy, although it's been stated it will be TEMPORAL: http://slashdot.org/?nobeta=1 [slashdot.org] Help us to spread the word, join us with the boycott from 10 to 17. Thanks!

Dangerous precident (-1, Flamebait)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#46196193)

Political 'speech' has far protection via concepts as copyright to prevent abuse. It needs to remain this way. Once you start down this path, in no time at all you wont be able to quote an opponent in political discourse without risk of being sued.

You can also kiss parody goodbye.

Now, back to the topic at hand, if you put up a website, regardless of content, with intent to defraud, that is a crime all by itself. We don't need more rules or laws to deal with that.

Re:Dangerous precident (4, Insightful)

Opportunist (166417) | about 2 months ago | (#46196409)

There is a not so small difference between parody and impersonation. The illegal practice here is not to imitate what someone else did. What's illegal about it is the intent. It's not meant as a parody, to showcase some fallacies or shortcomings of the person or organization parodied, or to make fun of them. It's meant as impersonation to make people believe that they are who they are impersonating.

The "basic" intent may be the same in both, parody and impersonation. The intent may in both cases be to harm the reputation of a person or organization, or to impede their ability to gather supporters. The difference is that the parody tries to convince, the impersonation tries to trick.

Convincing people with arguments, i.e. a parody, that someone is a "bad person" is a good thing, because it leaves the decision whether they want to believe the parodist to the person being addressed. Impersonating does the same by tricking people who want to support someone into doing the opposite. I guess it ain't hard to see why this is not a "morally ok" (and hopefully not legally ok, either) practice.

Re:Dangerous precident (4, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | about 2 months ago | (#46196585)

For the record i do think what they were doing wrong and should be slapped down for it. I am just disagreeing with using the 'copyright angle' to deal with it, as its a bad direction to take, with long term bad consequences for the concept of free-speech.

Also i didn't mean to say they were engaging in parody, just that political parody will be one of the casualties if we go down this road. My fault if i didn't make that clear enough.

Re:Dangerous precident (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#46197931)

"What's illegal about it is the intent. It's not meant as a parody, to showcase some fallacies or shortcomings of the person or organization parodied, or to make fun of them. It's meant as impersonation to make people believe that they are who they are impersonating."

Where is the "impersonation" taking place?

If I walk around wearing a Ronald Reagan mask, carrying a sign in big letters saying "IMPEACH REAGAN", is that "impersonation"? Or is it legitimate political speech? (Never mind that Reagan is no longer in office. Replace him with any other elected official.)

The picture of her on the website? Well, if you want someone to help defeat a candidate, don't you want them to know what candidate it is?

I admit that the way they used the colors was pretty low, but nowhere do I see where they actually crossed the line into "impersonation" or "fraud". Every bit of text, in BOLD print, very hard to miss, says they are trying to defeat this candidate.

In my opinion, this is even LESS misleading than putting less product into the same size package. It isn't "small print". It's up-front, clearly worded, bold type.

The beta will continue until morale improves (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196219)

just die

Beta is a dirty trick (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196245)

A trick played on the loyal users who built Slashdot into what it is today.
 
We will turn our backs, Dice. Don't forget who makes Slashdot successful.

Re:Beta is a dirty trick (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196549)

SLASHDOT AS YOU KNEW IT IS FINISHED.....IT IS OVER.....One look at the slashdotmedia.com webpage will confirm that for you.
If you cannot stomach the BETA redesign, if you really love the classic site layout so much, YOU MUST fork the site code and start another site such as what "AltSlashdot" are attempting to do....no if's or but's about this anymore !!!!! Personally speaking, I think it may be a good idea if Joel Spolsky (co-founder of StackOverflow) got involved.

BUCK FETA! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196265)

No wait...

"this kind of site isn't limited to Republicans" (5, Informative)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about 2 months ago | (#46196267)

The "jollyforcongress.com" site: (a) doesn't ask for money, (b) immediately redirects to a page that has "floridadems" in the URL, and (c) looks nothing like Jolly's actual campaign site [davidjolly.com] . So please stop pretending there's some kind of equivalence here. There isn't.

Re:"this kind of site isn't limited to Republicans (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196305)

Not only that, it's got DISHONEST, LOBBYIST, etc written all over the guy's pics.

Oh wait, that's what's confusing the Republicans.

It seems we have two parties in America right now: the Socialist party and the Hypocrite party.

Re:"this kind of site isn't limited to Republicans (4, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 months ago | (#46197611)

Democrats have used fake websites, and their functionality depended on the purpose. Of course they have done more than that too, including running fake candidates.

Dems who created fake Tea Party candidates arraigned in Michigan [nationalreview.com]

Reid Campaign Targets Angle Supporters With Phishing Website [legalinsurrection.com]

Harry Reid’s campaign, however, took the code from the prior Angle website and launched a website called “TheRealSharronAngle.com.” The fake website was what, in internet terminology, is called spoofing, where a seemingly real website is created, usually to obtain information under false pretenses (frequently referred to as “phishing”). ...

But the reality is that by creating a spoofed website with the contact and volunteer functions operable, the Reid campaign sought to obtain personally identifiable information about Angle supporters. At a minimum, such information about Angle supporters would have been gathered under false pretenses.

The phishing function also would have been disruptive to the Angle campaign because people who thought they had volunteered for the Angle campaign never would have been contacted to help out because they had, in fact, been tricked.

Regardless of whether the Reid campaign’s spoofing and phishing attempt was criminal, it was sleazy.

Is Reid Campaign Hiding Its Activities To Evade Campaign Finance Laws? [hotair.com]

Not dirty enough (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196295)

Next time they'll just disguise as opposite party members and get elected.

Ah, politics (3, Insightful)

verifine (685231) | about 2 months ago | (#46196307)

Another poster points out that there's a sucker born every minute. The ultimate object in politics is to WIN. Stop acting surprised if one party or another engages in devious activity to reach that goal. It's been happening for thousands of years. It's never going to stop. Wash away your political views and you'll see they all do it, to one degree or another. Our perceptions of who's doing it 'more' are a major part of how we see the world, politically.

Re:Ah, politics (1)

mean pun (717227) | about 2 months ago | (#46196385)

Another poster points out that there's a sucker born every minute. The ultimate object in politics is to WIN. Stop acting surprised if one party or another engages in devious activity to reach that goal. It's been happening for thousands of years. It's never going to stop. Wash away your political views and you'll see they all do it, to one degree or another. Our perceptions of who's doing it 'more' are a major part of how we see the world, politically.

Ah yes, the But teach!?! Everyone is doing it! defence. That is always so convincing.

Re:Ah, politics (1)

verifine (685231) | about 2 months ago | (#46196531)

I do not attempt to justify what goes on in politics; I'm as aghast as anyone. I simply won't pretend that it doesn't happen; that it doesn't exist.

Re:Ah, politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197173)

Who is surprised? Who exactly are you reacting to? Should this not be news?

Please. You're just pretending to have a high ground.

Re:Ah, politics (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196757)

...teach the controversy?

captcha: deprives

Re:Ah, politics (3, Insightful)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | about 2 months ago | (#46196397)

Perception is trumped by the facts here. Fraud is fraud, and it's illegal. That both sides have been doing it for a long time does not make it okay for either of them.

A liar is a liar is a liar, and we don't need him/her/it ("it" in the case of an organization or website). There's too much real shit at stake in the world for people to be making bad decisions based on lies. These fuckers are doing a disservice to society.

Re:Ah, politics (2)

funwithBSD (245349) | about 2 months ago | (#46196869)

It is not fraud, it is someone not reading the damn website.

You go look at one, it is clearly NOT supporting the candidate, it is full of anti-candidate messages.

"If Nancy Pelosi is to become Speaker of the House in 2014, she is going to need loyal liberal foot soldiers like Carol Shea-Porter by her side in Congress. Since her return to Congress in 2012, Shea-Porter has voted along partisan lines 95% of the time."

Re:Ah, politics (3, Informative)

ItsJustAPseudonym (1259172) | about 2 months ago | (#46198141)

Let's read that again. That quote, if the reader were a liberal, would NOT be perceived as a negative. She will need "loyal" foot soldiers, who can be counted on "95% of the time". It would sound pretty good to a Pelosi supporter.

They are hoping to steal from the gullible, not to deal honestly. What's the word for that? Oh yeah, "dishonest". I further assert "fraudulent".

The world has no need of bottom-feeding, dishonest frauds like those jackasses.

Re:Ah, politics (4, Interesting)

avgjoe62 (558860) | about 2 months ago | (#46196635)

The ultimate object in politics is to WIN.

And in the end, what does that get you? What do you "Win"? When you are dead and gone, what difference will any of it make?

The world today sees "enemies" in far too many places. Our enemies are across the field in a football stadium, applying for the same job we want, working at a competing company, immigrating to our towns or just members of a different political party.

And the truth is that real enemies, those that want to see you dead, benefit from you seeing everyone as an enemy. When you see most everyone as an enemy you have far fewer friends. You fail to see what that you have far more in common with your perceived enemy than those things that make you see a Democrat or Republican or Libertarian as an enemy.

The truth is that there is a difference between an enemy and an opponent, between those that want to destroy you and those that you will have to live with and cooperate with once the football game, job interview, work day, naturalization ceremony or political campaign is over. This country was founded on the idea that we could disagree, put it to a vote and still live peaceably with each other once the decision has been made.

Stop acting surprised if one party or another engages in devious activity to reach that goal. It's been happening for thousands of years. It's never going to stop.

No one is really surprised by this, but we can be disappointed. And we can demand better, that those that want our votes show us that they can be trusted to act in a decent and ethical manner most of the time. We can't expect perfection but we can ask that the ultimate object in politics is to govern well and honorably.

Re:Ah, politics (4, Interesting)

ultranova (717540) | about 2 months ago | (#46197089)

This country was founded on the idea that we could disagree, put it to a vote and still live peaceably with each other once the decision has been made.

No. It was founded on the idea that if you couldn't live with it, you could go west and start a new place (or even live by yourself in a cabin somewhere). But the West is full now, and America is running into the same problems as everyone else: people actually have to reach a livable compromise. And it's failing economically, politically and culturally, as that same never give up -spirit that once inspired pioneers against the elements now fuels petty tribalism by sending people against other equally determined people.

America can't even pass a budget without turning it into a ridiculous drama, and a lot of people actually encourage it precisely for the harm it causes ("starve the beast"). The end result will be another civil war, collapse or a total cultural reform. Something's gotta give.

Re:Ah, politics (3, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 months ago | (#46198015)

"No. It was founded on the idea that if you couldn't live with it, you could go west and start a new place (or even live by yourself in a cabin somewhere)."

Not really. When this country was founded "the West" was unexplored, and ungoverned. You "went" there under great peril of life and limb.

You still have exactly the same option. Go live in the wildlands of Alaska, or Canada's Yukon. All by yourself and (for all practical purposes) ungoverned. Have fun and I wish you luck.

Seriously: nothing has changed in that respect. You have options. If you don't choose to exercise them, that's your problem. The problem with government today is that it's bigger; it is no worse in other respects.

Re:Ah, politics (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about 2 months ago | (#46198255)

Yes, the petty tribalism of Holder's Justice Department is doing great harm. He refers to "his people" as those who share his skin color, and screw the rest of Americans. What are you doing to get him out of office?

Mod this up: DITCH BETA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196349)

To make your voice heard that Anonymous Cowards are really the backbone of the Slashdot forums, and and the best looking guys too!

Deception? (3, Insightful)

toupsie (88295) | about 2 months ago | (#46196363)

If you are going to whip out the credit card to spend a little money, take a little time to read all the text on the page. It was in large type that it was a donation to defeat the candidate. How many times in the past have we seen cute, cleaver and obscene assaults on congressional candidates on the Internet? Just google Santorum.

If you like your fake congressional candidate website, you can keep your fake congressional candidate website. Its political speech.

Re:Deception? (4, Interesting)

fermion (181285) | about 2 months ago | (#46196699)

but evidently didn't notice this line in bold print, just above the "Donate" button

It would be good for people to be careful, but in our capitalist society it is more important to make transactions as fluid as possible. For instance, can you imagine what it would be like if you went to the store and had to read every can of beef soup because some company might have put rat in it to save money. Sure, this is an extreme example but we have laws about transparency in commerce not to protect consumers, but to maximize the velocity of money through high consumer confidence.

There are certain transactions that have such a high fraud rate and are are of little economic value that the common sense approach is just to avoid them. Door to door magazine sales, services that claim to give you your credit rating every month, donations over the phone, most extended warranties, have so much find print or or just outright fraudulent that they have killed what could have been a reasonable market model.

For instance, I liked Best Buy but stopped shopping there because of the stories of employees losing their job because of not selling extended warranties. I don't buy them most of the time, and did not want the guild. Likewise, I no longer give donations over the phone because of substantiated reports that in the some cases the firm doing the collecting takes a majority cut, leaving little for the charity. I know many who do the same. These firms are put in danger because some are not on the up and up.

So here the problem. For an individual point of view, selling an selling an iPad box for $200 is a great profit margin. From the point of view of an economy that needs to push tablets to grow, it is not so great. From the point of view of a narcissistic committee who sees their donations plummeting, setting up a misleading, though totaly legal, and the idiots who donate deserve to be robbed website, is a good idea. But from the point of view of nation who wants to make donating to public candidates as easy and painless as possible it is bad.

Like donations to the fire department fund that do not benefit the firefighters, this kind of misdirection is going to hurt the entire political donation industry. Already if one is going to be so foolish as to make a donation over the phone, one has a checklist of 20 items to go through. Pretty soon making a donation over the internet is going to be same hassle, which means it will not happen. Of couse, when most of your contributions come from a few rich corporations and not the grass root this does not matte.

NSA? (3, Insightful)

pseudofrog (570061) | about 2 months ago | (#46196375)

Forbes reports on a National Republican Congressional Committee sanctioned campaign worthy of the NSA

I get that we don't like the NSA around here, but why are we bringing it up when discussing an article that has nothing to do with anything the NSA does? What's the thinking process? "Hrm, this scam is slimy. Oh hey! The NSA is slimy too!"

Am I missing something?

Re:NSA? (1)

FCAdcock (531678) | about 2 months ago | (#46196713)

For the same reason the article hides that democrats do this same thing as well at the bottom. Political agenda.

Slashdot is known to be hostile towards certain groups: Christians, republicans, anyone in government who passes laws or regulations about computers, and the NSA. They're easy to pick on, very few of us are members of those groups (I belong to the first two groups) and any post that mentions them in a negative light is good for your karma here.

why is there no auto-subject in beta (3, Insightful)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 2 months ago | (#46196875)

Oh, you poor, poor Christians. Whatever will you do when we win the war on Christmas, and conifers are entirely outlawed, and you can't decorate your pagan trees anymore?

Re:why is there no auto-subject in beta (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197071)

I think you just went out of your play to prove his point.

Re:NSA? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197267)

Have you even looked at the site people claim is "democrats doing the same thing"? That's rhetorical by the way. It is obvious you haven't. Anyone who has seen it would never say something so stupid.

Doesn't He Read? (3, Insightful)

tranquilidad (1994300) | about 2 months ago | (#46196415)

From the summary: 'Dr. Ray Bellamy, the Tampa Bay donor mentioned above, intended to give money to candidate Alex Sink, but evidently didn't notice this line in bold print, just above the "Donate" button: "Make a contribution today to help defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her."'

Is this how you want your doctor reading the physicians desk reference?

If you look at the web site or the photos in the article it's pretty hard to miss that one is contributing to "help defeat Alex Sink."

Yep, let's start protecting ourselves from more than just the fine print. Let's protect ourselves from the bolded headlines also. A little reading comprehension may have helped the good doctor realize just what he was doing.

Re:Doesn't He Read? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196673)

Or to ask another question, is that how you would want your Physician's Desk Reference to be written? Would you want them to make a page describing a toxin look just like a page describing a medicine?

Let's stop excusing people who are engaging in scumbag behavior, let's hold them accountable, and refuse to let them continue to exploit our sense of virtue and morality that leads to us being willing to hesitate while they have no such compunctions.

Let's have the courage to say no. Let's have the courage to judge those who actually did wrong, and not weasel out of it by blaming the person who was exploited by those with nefarious intent.

Re:Doesn't He Read? (3, Insightful)

tranquilidad (1994300) | about 2 months ago | (#46197073)

You should read part of the PDR sometime; many medicines are quite toxic and their pages look exactly like the ones that are less toxic. Sometimes, the result of taking a toxin is better than not taking it for a particular patient.

But, more to your point, you seem to suggest that because someone doesn't take the time to read the FUCKING BOLD PRINT that we should then hold the author accountable for mistakes the reader makes in comprehension. Your "courage to say no" sounds an awful lot like infringing someone's free speech because some idiot reader couldn't comprehend the plain language of the document or simply decided not to read it.

I'll go ahead and judge who actually did wrong - it was a presumably well-educated man who made a mistake and sought to place the blame elsewhere.

Perhaps we really do need a take-it-back button. We did this with the airlines who are now required to offer refunds on non-refundable tickets for 24 hours after purchase. If we extend the idea far enough then perhaps all those poor saps who contributed to Obama expecting him to close Gitmo, or who really thought they could keep their health insurance should be entitled to refunds as well.

Re:Doesn't He Read? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197547)

You should read part of the PDR sometime; many medicines are quite toxic and their pages look exactly like the ones that are less toxic. Sometimes, the result of taking a toxin is better than not taking it for a particular patient.

Indeed, the range of dose between danger and therapeutic between medicines is often narrow, that's why the PDR isn't exactly the best metaphor here.

I had thought about mentioning that, but I neglected to do so. My bad, I should have done so, thus you wouldn't have felt to make such a statement.

Would you like me to find another way to phrase it? Should the PDR not make it clear what data is representing toxic effects and precautions, and what is for the therapeutic?

But, more to your point, you seem to suggest that because someone doesn't take the time to read the FUCKING BOLD PRINT that we should then hold the author accountable for mistakes the reader makes in comprehension.

I think an author who deliberately obfuscates and misleads should not be excused for it, no. Not even when they protest that they made an effort to indicate what they were doing, and it is the reader's fault.

This is a case of that, and I don't support it. I say no, and I say your protests of freedom of speech is really just a false appeal to virtue.

Your "courage to say no" sounds an awful lot like infringing someone's free speech because some idiot reader couldn't comprehend the plain language of the document or simply decided not to read it.

And your "some idiot reader couldn't comprehend the plain language" sounds an awful lot like supporting scam artists and con jobs by blaming the person who is being exploited.

I'll go ahead and judge who actually did wrong - it was a presumably well-educated man who made a mistake and sought to place the blame elsewhere.

And I'll go a different direction, and recognize the clear and obvious intent of the website to mislead and deceive people. It was assuredly a deliberate attempt to make use of duplicitous means to take advantage of the less attentive readers and seeks to place the blame for anybody fooled by their actions elsewhere.

Perhaps we really do need a take-it-back button. We did this with the airlines who are now required to offer refunds on non-refundable tickets for 24 hours after purchase. If we extend the idea far enough then perhaps all those poor saps who contributed to Obama expecting him to close Gitmo, or who really thought they could keep their health insurance should be entitled to refunds as well.

Can we get a refund for Reagan, who promised us a better America? For Bush, who promised us no new taxes, or the other Bush who promised to reduce the debt? For Nixon even?

But thanks for making your partisanship obvious.

Do you blame victims of telefraud too? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197441)

How about phishing victims?

Let's look at the original site in the screenshot because they have changed it since this story broke.

http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/... [tampabay.com]

1) It uses the exact same color scheme as the real site
2) There is really just one word that reveals the true intention: "defeat" in large type that is under the main headline. Skim-reading could easily miss this word.
3) If you miss that word, most all the other text on the site is written to be confusing and ambiguous. It doesn't say "Stop Alex Sink" it says "Alex Sink, Congress". Why do you think they did that?
4)TFS is wrong, that word "defeat" is in a subtitle below the header and off to the right, nowhere near any button.

Sure this guy was dumb, or maybe going to fast and not paying attention to who he was donating to. But the NRCC clearly intended it to be confused with the real site. This is no different than posting an Ebay phishing site. Dont be quick to judge when your mom or grandpa or some other person could have made the same mistake.

Was this guy an idiot? Yes.
Is the NRCC committing fraud? Yes.

Re:Do you blame victims of telefraud too? (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197563)

Also this is clearly intentional, systemic behavior:
http://swampland.time.com/2014... [time.com]

Look at the domain names and other sites, they are even more deceptive than this one. Still spottable? Sure.

Elections are coming (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196451)

We need more two party system news, not news for nerds and stuff that matters to the world

Listening to their audience (1)

mdsolar (1045926) | about 2 months ago | (#46196455)

Isn't this just a way for them to get feedback from their audience? Contributions indicate a positive response, right?

copyright unlikely to help (1)

bugnuts (94678) | about 2 months ago | (#46196567)

First, the candidate is a public figure, so that closes a lot of avenues.
Second, the sites were only copied once, and were lookalikes; it's not clear they were actually copied. Not copied means it's not a copyright violation.
Third, it's unlikely that it's registered at the copyright office, which limits the liability.

It might be able to be used, but I have doubts it can recover the money fraudulently received. If the candidates had trademarked their names, it might be a possible avenue, but I don't think these people who made the sites would care much.

Flame bait (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196589)

There is no way that someone who can read would mistake that their donation was to defeat the candidate in question. This is not a scam. This is the type if fundraising widely practiced by both parties. Since the submitter likes a paint with a broad brush - I would say she must be a democratic operative who is in favor of free speech only when they agree with it.

Intent (0)

eyepeepackets (33477) | about 2 months ago | (#46196623)

Fraud with clear intent: Time for the state DA offices to do their work. Federal agencies should be on this like flies on fresh horse shit.

So if I did the same thing ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196659)

So I set up a third copycat website, but this time I wrote "Make a contribution today to help pay for me to stay on my tropical island, from where I will occasionally make telephone calls and emails opposing Alex Sink".

I accept $50,000 of donations, most of which I spend on my luxurious tropical lifestyle. This wasn't fraud?

There's a sucker born every minute (1)

Khashishi (775369) | about 2 months ago | (#46196689)

Ok, the real question is, should be have laws to protect suckers? Or are they not worth protecting due to their inferior brain activity?

Re:There's a sucker born every minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46196867)

Indeed, let's have laws that benefit society by making us all stronger. Scam artists should be protected from the government, bullies should be idolized for how they're forcing others to developed strength and thieves are only teaching the unwary to secure themselves.

Evolution in action.

Re:There's a sucker born every minute (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197991)

He says with a typo. Please report to your local UN camp for euthanasia.

Wheels within wheels (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197113)

When engaged in BLACKENING the reputation of another, you frequently take on the mantle of a supporter of the entity you wish to damage.

In US politics, this means nothing can be taken at face value. Only a few days back, I was reading in one of the the fake 'Independent' George Soros backed 'news' sites the outrageous story of how a poor single mother had been raped, abused and then dismissed from her job by a highly placed Church official. It was a report designed to tug at the heart-strings of every bleeding heart liberal reader. However, five minutes of Google use told a very different tale.

Said victim was actually a person who had (allegedly) used her position in the Church to steal a fortune, and had just been arrested for the crime. Days after her arrest, her defence lawyer chose to use her consensual BDSM relationship with one of the people she worked with to imply to the very stupid that this was another of those organised religion abuse cases.

For Alphas, headline journalism doesn't work. But for the vast majority of readers (including 99% of you reading this), headline journalism is the most powerful propaganda tool imaginable. YOU won't research beneath the headline. YOU will either see the headline as reinforcing your current world view (in which case you'll like it), or you'll see it as propaganda for the other side, in which case you'll be proud to reject it. Prejudice, to an alpha, is cancer of the mind. To a beta, the whole point of 'education' is to acquire the 'correct' prejudice.

I hate organised religion, but the story I mentioned above stank, even though I have natural sympathy for the 'alternative' media. It stank so badly, it seemed in need of fact checking, after which I discovered just how far this media site would lie to sell an agenda. Sadly the lies sat next to the very important story of the 'cash for kids' scandal that led to every child in a near New York state that appeared before a juvenile court for minor school discipline issues being sent to prison by a judge who received direct financial payments from the private organisation that built and ran the children's prison.

This 'website donation' affair REEKS of a propaganda ploy to manipulate the opinions of you betas, and the promotion of the story by the owners of Slashdot pretty much confirms this suspicion. However, if you vote in national elections, you are beyond lost, so it hardly matters.

Actual Website Comparison (0)

physicsphairy (720718) | about 2 months ago | (#46197573)

This [alexforcongress.com] is Alex Sink's actual website. This [sinkforcongress2014.com] , as near as I can tell, is the "fake" website referenced. They do have similar color schemes, but apart from the domain name, all of the text and media on the website is calling for Alex Sink's defeat. It says: "DONATE: Help us stop Alex Sink from bankrupting us in Congress." If you click "DONATE" it takes you to a form which prominently says "Make a Contribution Today to Help Defeat Alex Sink and candidates like her." At the bottom of every page there is a footer which reads "Paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee."

If you're really intent on clicking through without reading anything, I suppose you might be confused. But at that point I'm not sure what can even be done to tip you off.

Re:Actual Website Comparison (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197807)

They have changed it since the story broke (looks like they added more disclaimers). You need to go by the screenshots or try the wayback machine maybe.

Also this isnt the only site: http://swampland.time.com/2014... [time.com] There are at least 15 others.

The candidates are nothing but putzes (2)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 2 months ago | (#46197689)

How can you tell a real one from a fake one? Donating to one or the other will give the same results. You're gonna get screwed either way.

Why do I get the feeling... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#46197705)

...that even if a law has been broken here nobody will go to jail?

a "fun" way to fix this (1)

RobertLTux (260313) | about 2 months ago | (#46198197)

When it has been found that a PAC has used any type of fraud or trickery to get a donation said PAC will be subject to a Full Forensic Level IRS Audit (since they did this what else have they done with the "books").

Oh and for the duration of the Audit they are bared from doing any funding transfers/transactions.

Gitmo ain't got nothing on the Pain and Suffering the Infernal Revenue Service can cause even without using the horror of BETA SLASHDOT.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Account

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Don't worry, we never post anything without your permission.

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>
Sign up for Slashdot Newsletters
Create a Slashdot Account

Loading...