Congressman Investigated for Spending Campaign Money on Steam Games

We all love a new game, but it does raise questions when the money you spend on is marked to be used for something else. Congressman Duncan Hunter is being investigated for just the same thing, having spent campaign money on Steam games.

According to the San Diego-tribunes report, using campaign money a credit card was used to purchase not one but $1302 games on Steam. The tribune noted that they were a personal expense and had to be paid back. The problem being is that the funds have yet to be repaid.

According to Hunter, his son is responsible for the initial purchase and then “several unauthorized charges resulted after the father tried to close access to the website”. The requests have led to Hunter trying to get the charges reversed, something that may test the steam refund policy, especially if the games were played for several hours since (an almost certainty).

The Federal Election Commission has released a letter on the subject, containing a list of purchases made. The purchases range from the 13th of October to the 16th of December, totaling 68 different charges to Steam. The charges range from $5 to $96.30, a little more than just a “one-off expense” and a little bigger than your average purchase.

With so many expenses the story of one charge and then several new ones doesn’t really hold up given the cost of the games. Given the range of purchases, I doubt he will have much luck getting refunds (especially if they’ve been played) so this will be an interesting case to follow.

Hacker Claims He Controlled The Outcome Of Mexico’s Election

We hear stories and watch movies about hackers, from the news that large companies like TalkTalk have their information accessed to hacking lottery terminals, we’ve heard it all. That was until a hacker who’s currently in jail has come forward saying he was even responsible for rigging the outcome of Mexico’s election.

Amongst his claims of controlling the outcome of Mexico’s election, Andrés Sepúlveda, a known hacker currently serving a 10-year sentence in prison for hacking Colombia’s 2014 presidential election, claims he was paid to ensure that Mexico’s Institutional Revolutionary (PRI) candidate won the country’s election back in 2012. Claiming to have hired a team of hackers he states that his team installed malware on the routers at the PRI main opponents headquarters, giving them access to emails, campaign schedules, and speeches before they were even complete.

Sepúlveda claims that using hand-written accounts and 30,000 twitter bots he used the obtained information to adjust the playing field, giving the PRI candidate the upper hand. If that wasn’t enough, Sepúlveda states that they used fake 3am calls from rivals to help dissuade voters on the eve of the election.

Noting that some of the candidates he has helped over the year may not even be aware of his actions or the illegal methods used to obtain their upper hand, Sepúlveda now works on behalf of the government to help “track and disrupt drug cartels” as well as using his twitter skills to identify ISIS recruits on the social media site.

With a full account of his tale, Bloomberg has shared Sepúlveda’s story and have tried to validate what they can, including an anonymous source who “substantially confirmed Sepúlveda’s accounts” regarding the political consultant Juan José Rendón.

Pirate Party Leading Opinion Polls in Iceland

Iceland has historically been an anomaly within the Nordic region, leaning politically more to the right than its neighbours Denmark, Finland, Norway, and Sweden – countries that favour social democratic governments – but after being decimated by the global recession in 2008, the island’s citizens started to shift left. In 2009, Iceland elected the world’s first openly gay Head of State, but Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir’s Social Democratic Party was ousted in the follow-up election by a coalition of the conservative Progressive and Independence parties in 2013.

The country’s recent swing back to the right seems temporary, however, with the current coalition haemorrhaging support. Instead of the tide turning the way of the Social Democratic party, though, there has been a massive surge towards the Pirate Party.

Iceland’s Pirate Party currently has the support of around 35% of voters, according to the latest Gallup poll, putting the Pirates ahead of both coalition parties combined, which collectively has around 33% support (11% for the Progressive Party and 21% for the Independence party).

The Pirate Party was born out of the Pirate movement – the same ethos that birthed infamous torrent site The Pirate Bay – that emerged around a decade ago in Europe. It is marked by its strong left-wing stance on maintaining civil liberties and human rights, while opposing oppressive copyright laws, state surveillance, and capitalist influence over governments. If voted into power, The Pirate Party supports granting NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden asylum and citizenship.

Does the Pirate Party have a chance of taking power in Iceland? It’s too early to say. The next Icelandic election isn’t until April 2017, and a lot can change in two years, but this staggering and unexpected swing towards the Pirate Party could point towards a more progressive future for the habitually conservative country.

Thank you Daily Kos for providing us with this information.

Post UK Election Map Resembles Simpsons Character

Last night was the night of the United Kingdom General Election; to those outside of UK politics, it is sort of like choosing a president in the USA. This election was to be the closest in recent history, but no one knew who was going to win, or maybe Matt Groening did.

With the unprecedented majority of Scotland voting for the Scottish National Party (SNP), whose party colour is Yellow, and Conservatives (Blue) taking the majority of the UK with Labour (Red) taking a few other places. Twitter user Alex McLaughlan noticed an uncanny resemblance to a cartoon baby.

Now this isn’t the first time something has been ‘Predicted’ by the show; let’s take a look at some of the classics:

Homer discovers the mass of the Higgs Boson;

An odd resemblance to what FarmVille might look like on VR;

Well we all know what happened with the Ebola Virus;

Probably the most controversial one, the spying by the NSA (and other organisations).

Thank you to Mashable for providing us with this information.

22 People Vetted Mitt Romney’s Tweets During 2012 Election

We all know how social media has become the go to form of marketing for many organisations, including politics of course. But we also know how this can go completely wrong, when something goes out that shouldn’t have for instance.

There are many examples of this, with a most recent one being the case of the British Labour politician who felt compelled to resign over her Tweet mocking a white van and England flag outside someone’s property. A simple quip that cost that politician her job. So it’s no surprise that in the race for the White House, some politicians feel compelled to ensure nothing goes wrong. In Mitt Romney’s case, that meant a team of 22 people approving every single tweet that was posted to his account during the 2012 election.

In a paper called Seizing the Moment, by Daniel Kreiss, an assistant professor at UNC Chapel Hill, analysis of both Obama and Romney’s social media accounts revealed that every single tweet posted from Romney’s personal account had to be vetted by all of those people.

“Romney’s digital team had to go through an extensive vetting process for all of its public communications, meaning that the temporal workflow of the campaign did not match the speed of social media,”.

It’s no surprise that this had a negative effect on his Twitter output. Social media is often all about being spontaneous, something traditional media outlets are not.

Source: The Verge