Monthly Archives: August 2017
The search engine giant is forming into a government of itself, and it seems incapable of even seeing its own overreach
By Zephyr Teachout
Published: 16:49 August 31, 2017
About 10 years ago, Tim Wu, the Columbia Law professor who coined the term ‘network neutrality’, made this prescient comment: “To love Google, you have to be a little bit of a monarchist, you have to have faith in the way people traditionally felt about the king.”
Wu was right. And now, Google has established a pattern of lobbying and threatening to acquire power. It has reached a dangerous point common to many monarchs: The moment where it no longer wants to allow dissent.
This summer, a small team of well-respected researchers and journalists, the Open Markets team at the New America think tank (where I have been a fellow since 2014), dared to speak up about Google, in the mildest way. When the European Union fined Google for preferring its own subsidiary companies to its rival companies in search results, it was natural that Open Markets, a group dedicated to studying and exposing distortions in markets, including monopoly power, would comment. The researchers put out a 150-word statement praising the EU’s actions. They wrote, “By requiring that Google give equal treatment to rival services instead of privileging its own, [the EU] is protecting the free flow of information and commerce upon which all democracies depend.”
They called upon the Federal Trade Commission and Department of Justice and state attorneys general to apply the traditional American monopoly law, which would require separate ownership of products and services and the networks that sell products and services.
Google has been funding New America for years at high levels. Within 24 hours of the statement going live, Google representatives called New America’s leadership expressing their displeasure. Two planned hires for the Open Markets team suddenly were cancelled. Three days later, the head of the Open Markets team, the accomplished journalist Barry Lynn, received a letter from the head of the think tank, demanding that the entire team leave New America. The reason? The statement praising the EU’s decision against Google was, according to New America President Anne-Marie Slaughter, “imperiling the institution.” (As of this writing, Slaughter has denounced the story as false, claiming that Lynn was dismissed for failures of “openness” and “collegiality.”)
When Google was founded in 1998, it famously committed itself to the motto: “Don’t be evil.” It appears that Google may have lost sight of what being evil means, in the way that most monarchs do: Once you reach a pinnacle of power, you start to believe that any threats to your authority are themselves villainous and that you are entitled to shut down dissent. As Lord Acton famously said: “Despotic power is always accompanied by corruption of morality.” Those with too much power cannot help but be evil. Google, the company dedicated to free expression, has chosen to silence opposition, apparently without any sense of irony.
Google did not always operate this way in relation to think tanks, even those it funded. The head of Google’s parent company, Eric Schmidt, served on the board of New America starting 2000 and was chairman from 2008 through May 2016. The Open Markets institute has long studied excessive corporate power and argued for the importance of anti-monopoly laws. They were not previously punished for their work.
But in recent years, Google has become greedy about owning not just search capacities, video and maps, but also the shape of public discourse. As the Wall Street Journal recently reported, Google has recruited and cultivated law professors who support its views. And as the New York Times recently reported, it has become invested in building curriculum for our public schools, and has created political strategy to get schools to adopt its products.
This year, Google is on track to spend more money than any company in America on lobbying. In 2015, it was the third biggest corporate spender, paying more than ExxonMobil, Lockheed Martin or the Koch brothers on lobbying. Much of what it is spending its money on has nothing to do with technical details regarding its search engine and everything to do with using its power in its search engine to shut out some competitors and build power over others.
It is time to call out Google for what it is: A monopolist in search, video, maps and browser, and a thin-skinned tyrant when it comes to ideas. The imperial overreach of Google in trying to shut down a group of five researchers proves the point that the initial release from Open Markets was trying to make: When companies get too much power, they become a threat to democratic free speech and to the liberty of citizens at large.
In 1948, in the Supreme Court case US vs Columbia Steel Co., Justice William Douglas explained that the traditional philosophy of American antitrust law is that “all power tends to develop into a government in itself. Power that controls the economy … should be scattered into many hands so that the fortunes of the people will not be dependent on the whim or caprice, the political prejudices, the emotional stability of a few self-appointed men”.
Google is forming into a government of itself, and it seems incapable of even seeing its own overreach. We, as citizens, must respond in two ways. First, support the brave researchers and journalists who stand up to overreaching power; and second, support traditional anti-monopoly laws that will allow us to have great, innovative companies — but not allow them to govern us.
Google’s actions forced the Open Markets team to leave New America. But, thankfully, it did not succeed in silencing them entirely. Open Markets will continue on as a separate organization, which I will chair. Their work exposing corporate monopolies and advocating for regulation is more important than ever. Google shows us why.
— Washington Post
Zephyr Teachout is an associate professor of law at Fordham University.
Submitted by: SL @SLandinSoCal
The MSM continues to disgust me. The MAJORITY of people affected by the disaster in Texas have NOT complained. They have been thankful and even smiling. Yet as I watch MSM, I see them repeatedly playing clips of 3 ungrateful women complaining about the conditions at the George R Brown shelter. ‘It stinks in here’, ‘I didn’t have a cot for me or my kids last night’, ‘the mayor said we didn’t have to evacuate, but he LIED’.
These people disgust me, but MSM disgusts me even more. As they have covered this catastrophic event, most likely the biggest disaster our country has experienced, they have made every attempt to politicize it and criticize the response. A challenging thing, since the response has been amazing.
The impact of this disaster is FAR greater than that of Katrina but there are very DRAMATIC contrasts both in handling the response/rescue and in the reaction of the victims.
I would love to see someone put together a video that highlights some of these differences because I think it reveals both a core strength and a core weakness that exists in our country.
The issue is that of PERSONAL CHARACTER! I believe that the majority of Americans have good character, if not great character, but there is a subset of Americans who lack good character and some who have a very poor character. My concern is that America is facing a CRISIS OF CHARACTER!
When you see neighbor helping neighbor, gratefulness in times of crisis, respect for others & others property which includes cleanliness so you don’t leave a mess for someone else, these are the results of GOOD CHARACTER.
When you see people taking advantage of others by looting, or lack of respect for others in they way they talk or by vandalizing property or leaving a mess for others to clean up, when you see ungratefulness, people expecting others to do something for them but not being willing to help others, you are seeing the results of POOR CHARACTER.
The character of the people of our country is being undermined. Good character development is no longer being taught, exampled or encourage for many. We see dramatic displays of deplorable character in the Alt Left groups of BLM and ANTIFA. They have no respect for for their fellow man. They have many negative character traits. To make matters worse, many including MSM and prominent politicians are condoning and encouraging that character. There is no positive future for a society built on poor character.
If we are truly going to “Make America Great Again”, it will take more than jobs, tax cuts and a thriving economy. It will require programs and commitment to teach and build GOOD CHARACTER in the people of our country. Each of us should strive to build the elements of good character within ourselves everyday and also to encourage others to strive for those characters within themselves.
Here’s a link to a list of good character traits to strive for: http://www.character-training.com/blog/list-of-character-traits/ …
Submited by: SL @SLandinSoCal
As recently as 2015, Donald Trump was praised by Al Sharpton and Don King. How did Trump become such a racist, hateful, bigoted man in a single year?
Answer: He didn’t! The media is feeding you propaganda to support the “resistance”. They are lying to you.
Ask yourselves: Do you want the United States to continue as a nation? Or do you want to see the US fundamentals transformed into a socialist NWO? Pick a side, because there is a Coup d’état in progress. Their goal of overturning the Trump administration is clear. They will not wait for the next election. The civil unrest will continue to escalate because this is their method of making the US “ungovernable”. The unrest is not due to Trump being a horrible person, he is not. The unrest is because Trump thwarted their plans for the NWO when he won the election.
This is not a conspiracy theory. If you are a liberal and you want the United States to continue as a FREE sovereign nation, then you need to support President Trump whether like him as an individual or not. You probably supported Bill Clinton and look at the horrible things Bill Clinton did to women. This is not a popularity contest. This is about a presidency that can save our country from fundamentally changed into something we no longer recognize.
These sites show the organized plan to overthrow our government. Ironically, the mission they claim is VERY similar to President Trumps. Based on what they claim they want, they should be whole heartedly supporting the President. That is not what they want. They want a NWO.
Excerpts from National Review
by JILLIAN KAY MELCHIOR Sept 2015
Sharpton and Trump forged an unlikely friendship over Atlantic City boxing deals that has lasted for decades, through ups and downs. Even as the Tawana Brawley scandal unfolded and Sharpton faced a 67-count indictment involving how he used funding for his youth organization, Trump remained a prominent supporter of the agitator, numerous sources close to the two men tell National Review.
“We did business together, and we revolutionized Atlantic City, bringing in the biggest events that could be put forth,” King tells NR, describing the mogul as “dead set on building Atlantic City.” King recalls how Trump would fly him in on a helicopter to negotiate deals that were “done on a handshake.” King was also close with Sharpton, and he decided to introduce him to Trump, both King and Sharpton say. At the time, King says, “I was the one who subsidized [Sharpton], to give him that ‘F-you money,’ so that you don’t have to worry about going out there.” He continues: “I wanted Sharpton to meet this guy because he was a giant in the business community and a giant in the human community.” King says he thought highly of Trump then, just as he does now, and he realized that Sharpton needed white allies. “Trump was a white ally — and he was one of distinction and renown in the business world,” King says.
Submitted by: SL @SLandinSoCal
I find it fascinating that the behaviors of the so-called “resistance” movement are so similar to those of the Sociopath.
I hear nonstop accusations from the media that Trump is spouting hate speech and inciting violence. But I have not heard that from President Trump. I have however heard it coming from the media almost nonstop. They are no longer reporting facts from both sides and allowing viewers to draw conclusions. Nearly 100% of their coverage is criticizing and distorting every trivial thing our President does or says, regardless of its newsworthiness. It doesn’t matter what he does, they are outraged by it.
They demanded that Trump specifically call out a guilty party in the Charlottesville tragedy. However, when Trump did called out violence on BOTH sides, he was then criticized for pointing fingers at groups and creating division, rather than uniting everyone.
And this media that speaks so loudly against hate and violence, is the same media that condones and encourages hate and violence from the Left! They are actually saying that the hatred and violence on the left is “JUSTIFIED”!
Even more shocking, is the fact that various politicians (Globalist/Elites) have also jumped onboard to condone the hatred and violence of the Left. What possible good can come from all this hatred and violence?
When did we become a country that encourages and condones violence and hatred as a way to solve a problem or make a social change?
Our Constitution does not grant us the right to “protest/riot/vandalize or assault people” our constitution grants us the right to “peaceably assemble” in protest.
We are a country of laws. We are supposed to be a civilized nation. Conflicts should be addressed through civil discourse, not civil unrest.
Hatred and violence on EITHER side will only result in more hatred and violence. Hatred has never solved anything. That is a deception of the devil.
With God’s help, I pray people will come to realize the only way to solve our problems is to listen. We should seek to understand the concerns/fears of others and resolve to develop solutions to alleviate them.
May God have his hand on our nation and guide us through this turmoil. In Jesus name, Amen
by: Publius Tacitus on Twitter at @PCTacitus
If I wrote an article in response to every time the mainstream media engages in fake news reporting about President Trump or conservatives in general, I would never stop writing. But some fake news is more jaw-dropping than normal, and deserves a stern rebuke from yours truly.
The most recent incident of fake news worth discussing is an incident involving another meme. A quick side note, I am always amazed by how thin skinned CNN and other liberal media outlets are when it comes to memes. You would think a news organization that constantly dishes out blistering criticism would be able to handle a little of their own type of heat yet all it takes is a single meme to get these national news organizations throwing fits like toddlers.
This incident all started with another anti-CNN meme that was making its rounds on the internet but it gained national fame when a Twitter user named “SLandInSoCal” tweeted it and was then retweeted by the President Trump. Trump quickly deleted it later however but not before a ravenous mob of reporters took screenshots and tried to make it viral with their sensational headlines. They includes descriptions as follows:
“President Trump has retweeted a cartoon of a train bearing the Trump logo killing a CNN reporter” ~The Daily Beast
“President Trump’s war with CNN went off the rails Tuesday morning after he retweeted an image of a Trump train running over a CNN reporter.” ~The Washington Post
“President Trump Tuesday morning retweeted a cartoon image of a Trump train running over a CNN reporter.” ~NY Daily News
“Trump re-tweets — then deletes — image of train smashing into a person with CNN logo over his face.” ~MSNBC
“Donald Trump re-tweeted then deleted a meme showing a train hitting a CNN logo.” ~CNN
“President Donald Trump retweeted an image of a “Trump train” running over a figure with its head replaced by the CNN logo, just three days after the death of Heather Heyer at a counterprotest against a white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia.” ~Newsweek
This, folks, is a perfect textbook example of sensational fake news reporting. From the get-go, I was skeptical about these reports and when I saw the actual meme, I realized only a three year old could’ve came to the same conclusion that CNN and others did. Heck, I am just an amateur blogger yet even I did a better job tracking down this meme to its source and uncovering its backstory than these full time journalists with their six figure salaries, who apparently just got their scoop from a quick careless glance.
First, let’s start with the source of the meme. This meme is actually a modified version of a cartoon created by cartoonist Gary Varvel and was published in the Indianapolis Star. The original cartoon depicted a donkey attempting to hold back the “Trump Train” and in no way depicted the donkey being “run over by a train” like so many of the media news outlets are falsely reporting. Furthermore, the meme that was created from the cartoon only changed the cartoon by placing a CNN logo over the face of the donkey, thereby changing the statement to claim that CNN was trying to hold back the “Trump Train.” At this point, if you still want to make the logically inaccurate jump to the idea that this meme promotes violence against CNN, you need help.
To the left is the original cartoon by Gary Varvel while to the right is the meme created by Joel Jarrett that was later retreated by President Trump briefly. As you can clearly see, the only difference is that the meme has a CNN logo over the face of the donkey and neither picture depicts anyone being run over by a train.
In an emailed statement, Gary Varvel told me that his cartoon had been altered without his knowledge and permission. He also told me that he did not know the individual who modified his cartoon. That individual, I have learned, is a Joel Jarrett. I discovered him while contacting “SLandinSoCal” who showed me a direct message she received from a supposed friend of Joel Jarrett, claiming Joel was the original author of the meme. Sure enough, I scoured Joel Jarrett’s Facebook page and found the meme, which he originally had created in July. I contacted Mr. Jarrett for his side of the story but he didn’t answer my emails and soon after I contacted him, he deleted the meme. I am not a total amateur though and suspected he would do that so I already had screenshots of that meme, pictured below.
Screenshot of Joel Jarrett’s Facebook post including a meme later retweeted by President Trump. This post was soon deleted or removed after I contacted Joel Jarrett and asked why he modified Gary Varvel’s cartoon. As you can see here and in the other picture above, the cartoonist’s signature has been deleted and replaced by Jarret’s Facebook URL, “/JoelJarrett”
After searching Joel Jarrett’s Facebook page, I noticed dozens and dozens of different political memes all with his name at the bottom. Apparently, he created this meme in July and it spread around the internet until “SLandInSoCal” came across it and posted it to her own Twitter. Obviously, Mr. Jarrett should’ve asked permission from Varvel to use his cartoon and even if he didn’t, he probably should’ve at least given the cartoonist credit by not editing out Varvel’s signature and replacing it with his own name.
So now we turn back to the Twitter user who made this meme famous. “SLandInSoCal” had posted the meme on her Twitter early in the morning on August 15 and she told me that she didn’t remember where she had originally seen it. Once President Trump retweeted it though, the media has quickly dug their claws into her, accusing her of being a white supremacist and a bot while broadcasting her profile to all their millions of views.
As a result, “SLandInSoCal” has been viciously attacked online as many falsely thought she was the source of the meme. “You deserve to hang at the neck until dead,” said one Twitter user named “LibertyS999”. “I hope your boyfriend beats the sh*t out of you and ultimately kills you,” said another commenter, who went on to say he/she hoped someone put a bullet in this Twitter user’s brain.
This was just a nauseating snapshot of the torrent of filth that poured into this woman’s inbox and is yet another example of just how tolerant the Left really is. Without the full story or even knowing this woman, people bombarded her with death threats and obscenities simply because they read a fake news article that claimed she posted a “violent” meme.
I asked this Twitter user about the allegations from the mainstream media that she was a “white supremacist.” She responded, “I am absolutely not a white supremacist” and went on to give some of her advice on how people should combat white supremacy.
“You aren’t going to conquer racism or ideas of racial superiority in this country by hate and violence. The only way to even begin to conquer racism is for the various races to show themselves as being decent to each other. The hate, violence and threats coming from the left [and the] Media sensationalism only fans the flames. It puts everyone on the defense. Then each of these so-called hate groups is emboldened to stand their ground. The actions of the media and far left groups are doing more damage than good.” ~”SLandInSoCal” (Twitter user)
In a separate Facebook post, “SLandinSoCal” also stated: “I am quite aggravated with the way the news channels and news articles lied and maliciously defamed me. I’m even more disturbed that the media is inciting outrage and violence like this.” I heartily agree as well and this most recent incident just shows how ridiculous America’s mainstream media networks have become.”
I totally agree with “SLandInSoCal.” The liberal media’s pathetic response to this meme and their childish overreaction show just what is exactly wrong with the press in America. Today, news networks have abandoned their ethics in favor of sensationalism and partisan attacks against people or groups they detest. The misrepresentation of this meme coupled with linking it to the horrible tragedy in Charlottesville is shocking and shameful, even by CNN and The Daily Beast‘s standards.
I would demand the media apologizes to “SLandInSoCal”, Varvel, and Jarrett but I already know they won’t as they are probably too busy seeking another way to undermine and attack our President. I will always respect the First Amendment and the right to the freedom of press but this kind of irresponsible reporting is a sad abuse of this privilege. We don’t need fake news, we need real and honest news. We need real and honest journalists who are willing to present both sides and let their readers decide for themselves rather than writing with the intent to convince their readers of one side or the other. That’s the job for bloggers and opinion pieces.