Amazon Acquisition of Whole Foods Underscores the Big Data Threat

(This piece was first published by The Hill, where I am an Opinion Contributor.)

Traditional grocers and retailers are in a state of shock over what Amazon’s proposed acquisition of Whole Foods might portend for their businesses. The economist Joseph Schumpeter’s characterization of capitalism as “the perennial gale of creative destruction” seems to fit.

While this process may be thought inevitable by anyone who believes in the virtues of free markets, like I do, it is also true that the increasing economic power of big technology firms represent a new and serious threat to our civil liberties.

Constitutional government — or limited government — is still government. It still relies on the state as the ultimate authority even as it permits most economic transactions to remain between private parties.

Government’s real service is not in its regulation of economic activity, which is often counterproductive, but in its guarantee of … Read More ➡

Hypocritical CEOs Blast Paris Climate Deal Withdrawal; Companies are Energy Hogs

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

President Trump’s withdrawal from the un-ratified, legally invalid, and environmentally ineffective Paris Climate agreement offered another opportunity for corporate executives, from Silicon Valley and elsewhere, to once again bash America-first-ism and its No. 1 advocate.

The globalist CEOs, already on the record against pro-U.S. Trump policies such as immigration limitation and rights of religious conscience, fired away immediately upon the president’s announcement last week. That the Paris deal required much in the way of U.S. taxpayer funds and reduced carbon dioxide emissions, while India and China coal plants would belch away for years, was irrelevant.

Out front, as is often the case, was Apple’s Tim Cook, who said he called to convince the president to remain in the agreement, but failed. He felt the need to compose a company-wide memo to employees – under the presumption that they all share his political positions – to explain … Read More ➡

Silicon Valley CEOs Enter the Transgender Bathroom Wars Again

Marc Benioff

Legislators and a governor in yet another state are contemplating laws to protect privacy rights in public restrooms according to biological gender (rather than “sexual identity” or “gender fluidity”) – and once again Silicon Valley tycoons are banding together to oppose it.

This time it’s Texas, about as red a Red State as there is, so unlike battleground North Carolina last year, there is no hope for these liberal plutocrats to oust the Republican governor. But that didn’t stop several tech leaders from collaborating on a letter to the Lone Star State’s Gov. Greg Abbott to lecture him and lawmakers about any law that would “discriminate” against LGBTs. Once again, as in previous instances with Indiana and North Carolina, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff drove the effort.

“We are writing to express our steadfast opposition to the introduction and passage of any discriminatory legislation in Texas,” the executives wrote. … Read More ➡

Rep. Crowley Gets $10M for Group That Pays His Brother

Michael Gartland of the New York Post is applying more scrutiny to Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), the leader of the corrupt Queens, New York political machine. This time, Crowley is enriching his brother (and himself?) by successfully seeking $10 million in federal funding for a co-op for Bronx merchants. From the story:

The federal infrastructure money, which Crowley (D-Queens) and Rep. José Serrano (D-Bronx) led the effort to secure, came just months after Crowley’s brother, Sean, lobbied the House and the US Department of Trans­portation on behalf of the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Cooperative, records show.

The merchant co-op, which was awarded the federal funding in August 2013, has shelled out at least $827,000 to the lobbying firm Davidoff, Hutcher and Citron since 2009, federal and state records show.

Its unclear what purpose is served by a near-bankrupt federal government subsidizing particular businesses, but the arrangement serves the Crowleys … Read More ➡

Google Billionaire Eric Schmidt Blames Americans for Wanting Tech Jobs

After saying shortly after the inauguration that he expected Donald Trump to do “evil things,” Alphabet (parent company of Google) executive chairman Eric Schmidt was back with another rant earlier this month about the president.

This time the adjective addressed intellect rather than malevolence. Schmidt seized an opportunity to vent at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab, bemoaning limits on special visas for foreign workers in “special occupations,” mainly high-tech fields. But the target of his frustration wasn’t just the president.

“I spent the last 20 years announcing that the single stupidest policy in the entire American political system was the limit on H-1B visas,” Schmidt said. “I have recently been trumped (pun apparently intended) by an America where you take the highly legal and highly technical people of seven countries … and you keep them trapped at JFK so our lawyers can spring them out.”

The well-heeled … Read More ➡

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky Enables Illegal Immigration; Shuns Fiduciary Duties

In the Trump era, information technology moguls have become more explicit in their conviction that America is first and foremost a global sanctuary. One of them, Brian Chesky, co-founder and CEO of the online lodging service Airbnb, is going that extra mile. The day after President Trump’s January 27 executive order temporarily barring immigration from seven terrorist Islamic-majority countries, Chesky announced his intent to provide free shelter to anyone barred from flights entering the U.S. as a result of the order. This gesture may or may not have been a violation of Trump’s action, but it almost certainly was a negation of fiduciary duty. The executive order later was overturned by a Seattle federal judge and upheld by an appeals court. It was overturned again in modified form by a Hawaii federal judge who only hours ago converted his temporary restraining order into a preliminary injunction. Yet that should … Read More ➡

Major Corporations Weigh In on Transgender Agenda Again

Marc Benioff

Major corporations continue to spend precious time and resources in support of radical leftist pressure groups and advancing their agenda, rather than trying to maximize their revenues in ways that don’t politically divide their customer base.

The latest example is a friend-of-the-court brief filed with the U.S. Supreme Court in support of a transgender student in Gloucester County, Virginia, who sued her school board because they would not allow her to use the men’s restroom at her high school. “Gavin” Grimm won at the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the Supreme Court stayed the decision until it could hear the case. Yesterday – after the Trump Justice Department reversed former President Obama’s policy guidance on the Title IX discrimination law upon which the case was based – the Supreme Court dropped Grimm’s lawsuit from its schedule, and remanded the case back to the 4th Circuit … Read More ➡

Information Tech Corporations and the Left: A Dangerous Liaison

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 … Read More ➡

Clueless Tech CEOs Savage Trump Immigration Policies; Ignore Shareholders and Customers

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg

When it comes to President Donald Trump and knee-jerk reactions to policy decisions without gathering all the facts, it seems the mostly liberal CEOs of the best-known Silicon Valley companies can’t help themselves. They would rather shoot from the lip first, taking their cues from all the president’s leftist enemies, instead of gathering all the evidence and speaking responsibly on the issues – if at all.

It happened again over the weekend, this time in response to the President’s executive order that temporarily suspended the admission of foreign nationals into the United States from seven countries – Iraq, Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Yemen – which are viewed as sources of potential threats, based upon security reviews by Obama administration officials. The reason for the suspension, Trump explained, is so appropriate security agencies that normally screen foreign nationals entering the country would have the time and … Read More ➡

Google is the Threat to Our Civil Liberties

Eric Schmidt at Hillary ‘victory’ party

Eric Schmidt, the executive chairman of Google’s parent company Alphabet, told Google employees last week that the Trump administration is “going to do evil things as they have done in the immigration area and perhaps some others.” Schmidt is putting Google’s money where his mouth is by contributing $2 million to the American Civil Liberties Union and three other groups opposing Trump immigration policies.

It is ironic that a new Google policy that allows the company to collect even more information on users is getting far less attention. The new policy is only the latest evidence that Google, and sister companies like YouTube, represent an increasingly serious threat not only to personal privacy but also to civil liberties.

Privacy advocates have raised the alarm about the new policy that was launched in June under the guise of empowering users to see what information Google … Read More ➡