To the titans of Silicon Valley, November 8, 2016 was a date that forever shall live in infamy. The election of Donald Trump as president posed an unprecedented threat to their campaign to transform America into a permanent global sanctuary. Information technology leaders have been on the warpath since President Trump’s January 27 90-day ban on immigration and refugee entry from seven terrorist-sponsoring (or terrorist-controlled) Muslim-majority nations, an executive order nixed a week later by a Seattle federal judge. That ruling triggered a quick appeal by the administration, and just as quickly, an amicus brief submitted to the appeals court by around 100 tech executives in support of the lower court ruling. Significant as the immigration angle is, another and perhaps less recognized issue looms: the willful transformation of corporations into a de facto branch of the federal government.
With increasing commitment, U.S. corporations over the last few decades have …
In the wake of the murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge, we are today asking Eric Schmidt of Google, Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey of Twitter to end their personal and corporate support for Black Lives Matter (BLM). The letters read in part:
Billionaires don’t have to worry about their personal security, but working people and the poor do.
Your support for Black Lives Matter is helping to fray the social fabric in cities all over the country, cities in which you do not live. The American people — both liberal and conservative — are increasingly concerned about corporate executives who put their own interests above those of our country.
BLM deliberately and recklessly seeks to poison the relationship between the police and ordinary citizens.
The most successful police forces practice community-based policing, which relies on mutual trust and respect. That is why it has been …
Google CEO Eric Schmidt recently called global warming skeptics liars. According to Thomas Lifson of the American Thinker:
Google, one of the richest and most powerful companies in the world, is doubling down on the theory that atmospheric CO2 is causing global temperatures to rise (even though they haven’t for the last 17 years despite a large increase on CO2). Moreover, Google is withdrawing its financial support from a group, the American Legislative Exchange Council, which it supports on other grounds, because of that group’s questioning of the climate change dogma whose models have failed to predict the last 17 years of evidence. Ars Technica reports:
Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt today said it was a “mistake” to support the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a group that has said human-created climate change could be “beneficial” and opposes environmental regulations. Schmidt said groups trying to cast doubt on climate change
College loan debt has become a red-flag issue rivaling that of home mortgage debt a half-decade ago. Ironically, the White House, like Congress, in the haste to avert disaster, might create it. President Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget includes a plan to expand participation in the Income-Based Repayment program, which is designed to assist eligible persons going through a partial financial hardship to stay current on federal student loans. At present, the program forgives outstanding debt for borrowers who make 20 years of timely payments – 10 years if they work in the public or nonprofit sector. But eligibility is limited to borrowers approved since October 2007. The Obama plan would extend forgiveness to those who took out loans before that. And it would render debt tax-exempt. It’s a sweet deal – except to taxpayers.
National Legal and Policy Center twice has examined in detail the student debt issue …
According to a report in USA Today, venture capitalists are throwing tons of money into clean and “Green” technology companies. In fact, investor Alan Salzman of VantagePoint Capital Partners says, “It’s not alternative: We think of it as mainstream.”
How mainstream? The newspaper says:
Several venture capitalists interviewed say it could be hundreds of billions of dollars — if not more — when adding up various slices, such as wind (estimated $60 billion) and solar ($20 billion to $30 billion).
There is little doubt what VCs think: They poured $4.9 billion into domestic start-ups last year, up 40% from 2009, says market researcher Cleantech Group.
The numbers suggest “strong long-term VC interest,” says Sheeraz Haji, an analyst at Cleantech Group who notes that an increase in the average size of deals shows a “continued bias towards later-stage deals.”
Wow. And the evidence just flows and flows …
Politico reported yesterday that “it’s not easy being green anymore,” allegedly because of environmental groups’ failure to score political victories even when news events are in their favor, such as the BP Gulf of Mexico oil disaster and the Japan nuclear reactor drama. And initiatives such as cap-and-trade failed despite the environoiacs’ having a Democrat-dominated Congress and executive branch in 2009 and 2010. From the news story:
“I don’t understand how these guys, the funders, don’t ask for their money back or start suing for political incompetence,” a longtime Democratic strategist said of the Washington-based environmental movement. “You’re judged by how many campaigns you win, lose or come damn close. They haven’t gotten anywhere with that.”
I guess the EPA’s implementation of a greenhouse gas regulation structure under the Clean Air Act doesn’t count. Nor does the fact that the Obama administration severely curtailed leasing for oil and gas drilling …
From the White House blog yesterday:
As special interest billionaires continued to pour secret donations of millions of dollars each into front groups supporting Republicans, we asked the obvious question: “What do they expect in return?
Congressional Republicans have made clear that lobbyists have a seat at the table even when they are formulating their party’s broader strategy and governing vision.
People in glass White Houses shouldn’t throw stones. Consider these recent news items:
“Google’s Marissa Mayer is hosting President Obama for a Democratic party fundraiser tonight. Tickets are $30,000-a-head….” – San Francisco Chronicle, October 21, 2010
“After analyzing the unencrypted WiFi payload data captured by its Street View cars, Google now admits that the system captured entire e-mails, URLs and even user passwords.” – ZDNet, October 23, 2010
“The Federal Trade Commission [has] closed its investigation into Google’s collection of consumer data through its Street View
According to Jesse Drucker of Bloomberg today:
Google Inc. cut its taxes by $3.1 billion in the last three years using a technique that moves most of its foreign profits through Ireland and the Netherlands to Bermuda.
Google’s income shifting — involving strategies known to lawyers as the “Double Irish” and the “Dutch Sandwich” — helped reduce its overseas tax rate to 2.4 percent, the lowest of the top five U.S. technology companies by market capitalization, according to regulatory filings in six countries.
Of course, Google executives were among Barack Obama largest campaign contributors. CEO Eric Schmidt stumped for candidate Obama, and he and other senior executives contributed $150,000 to help pay for the inaugural celebration.
Obama rails against “loopholes” that allow corporations to escape taxes on foreign earnings. He demonizes bankers and he wants to raise taxes on “the rich.” In reality, Obama is the best friend the wealthy …
A major Internet company is under investigation by more than 30 state attorneys-general for alleged wiretapping violations. In Europe and now Texas that same company faces anti-trust inquiries on whether it unfairly penalizes its competitors, and its operations face criminal wiretapping inquiries throughout Europe, as well as in Australia and South Korea.
Yet, inside the Beltway, it’s business as usual. The Obama Administration plans to award the company a sweetheart, no-bid contract for satellite imagery and access to classified data. After protests, the Administration backtracks, allowing other companies to bid, but still intends to award the contract to the company. According to industry sources the total spending in that segment on intelligence outsourcing in 2009 was $161 billion. This is no small contract.
Surprising? Then how about this: This same company’s executives were among the Obama campaign’s largest contributors. Its CEO stumped for candidate Obama, while he and other senior …
A federal judge recently gave us some fascinating reading when he ordered the release of documents in Viacom’s $1 billion lawsuit against YouTube, now owned by Google. Viacom has alleged that YouTube violated its copyrights on over 100,000 clips, including those of its most popular shows like South Park and The Daily Show.
The emails, obtained by Viacom as part of the litigation discovery process, reveal more than indifference to copyright, or simply looking the other way. Indeed, they chronicle a race to the bank by the YouTube founders who sought to build their user base by offering copyrighted material, in order to sell the company before the scope of what they were doing became apparent.
Even more remarkably, Google executives were among the few people outside of YouTube who fully understood that YouTube’s success was based primarily on copyrighted material. But they went ahead and bought YouTube anyway in …