Four Things and they’re All Important

Several things today starting with Governor Kristi Noem on reopening schools.

Doing governance as it should be done.

Rachel Bovard at The Federalist has some thoughts about Big Tech and Monopolies.

Conservatives have alleged for years that these companies exhibit a bias against conservative points of view despite the fact that entities like Facebook and Google constitute a “global town square” and see themselves as key facilitators of free expression. This allegation has only grown louder as conservative members of Congress were shadow-banned. […]

In a January field hearing, the antitrust subcommittee heard testimony from small tech businesses who recounted in detail how Apple, Facebook, Google, and Amazon were “wielding their massive footprints as weapons, allegedly copying smaller competitors’s features or tweaking their algorithms in ways that put new companies at a costly disadvantage.” Or, in the words of Patrick Spence, head of the speaker company Sonos, the platforms “leverage dominance in one market to conquer or destroy adjacent markets, especially markets that may one day pose a threat to their dominance.”

Amazon, in particular, is dealing with discrepancies between what they told Congress — that they do not use third-party sales data to set prices for Amazon-branded products — and what their employees told the Wall Street Journal. Amazon is also facing allegations that they met with startups about investing, only to swipe other companies’ ideas for their own product lines.

Google has faced allegations that it self-preferences its search results, demoting non-Google results even when the information contained therein was more relevant to an individual’s search. The Wall Street Journal reported that Google has altered its search algorithm on behalf of big businesses like eBay while modifying search results for terms like “abortion” and “immigration.”

None of this would matter so much if these companies didn’t wield such unprecedented amounts of power. But when Google constitutes 92 percent of worldwide internet searches, the opaque, unaccountable ways the company decides to filter information has tremendous consequences for business, human behavior, and independent thought.

Conservatives are rightly skeptical of government interference in the marketplace. But violations of existing antitrust law in the form of anticompetitive behavior isn’t regulation, it’s law enforcement. As the supposed champions of small entrepreneurs, conservatives should want to ensure that the field of commerce and innovation is fair and equally accessible.

Many on the political right have said for years that people unhappy with social media platforms should just “build their own.” So shouldn’t those same people want to make sure they still can?

The Threat to Individual Privacy

As an industry that makes money from the commoditization of hyper-individualized data, Big Tech knows more about us than any industry in human history. Indeed, Big Tech’s business model is based on knowing where we go (physically and virtually), what we say in our emails and text messages, what we buy, and even what our voices sound like.

This presents huge policy ramifications around what is “ours” and what is “theirs.” Do human beings have a property right to their data trail? Should there be limits on the type of data companies collect, what Big Tech can do with our data, or who they can share it with?

Consider that under a provision of HIPAA, hospital chains have shared the names, dates of birth, and medical histories of up to 50 million Americans with Google without the knowledge or consent of the patients or doctors. Google won’t say what they’re doing with the data, or the data they’ve recently acquired on 28 million users of Fitbit. In this bizarre legal landscape, Google has a right to your medical record, but you don’t.

These companies are also serial violators of individual privacy, despite presenting themselves as the opposite. Google reads our emails. Facebook reads our texts. Google still tracks the location of users who turn off geolocation services.

There quite a lot more and you should read and understand what she is saying.

Here is my take: I’m basically libertarian on economic policy, which most of you know BUT and its a big but: When the founder’s set up our government they endowed it with checks and balances against any branch becoming all-powerful. Alexander Hamilton wrote in Federalist No. 28:

Power being almost always the rival of power, the general government will at all times stand ready to check the usurpations of the state governments, and these will have the same disposition towards the general government. The people, by throwing themselves into either scale, will infallibly make it preponderate. If their rights are invaded by either, they can make use of the other as the instrument of redress. How wise will it be in them by cherishing the union to preserve to themselves an advantage which can never be too highly prized!

This has worked reasonably well over the years, but as business grew so large it became a power center in its own right, as we see now in Big Tech, where Google, for instance, will not cooperate with the US Department of Defense but is readily willing to work with the Chinese military. There are plenty of other examples. So, it seems that the government must be the check on unchecked business, because no other entity is large enough to do so, especially including other businesses. Here too it is as Madison said in Federalist 51

If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

Via CNN:

Herman Cain, the former presidential candidate and former CEO of Godfather’s Pizza, has died from coronavirus, according to an obituary sent from his verified Twitter account and Newsmax, where he was launching a television show.

May he rest in peace having fought the good fight.

And finally, Sgt Joe Friday has some words for Antifa and Black Live matters that ring as true today as they did when written in 1968.



Bottom Up, Top Down

occu-thugs: via mark America

Do you remember that Van Jones speech that Glenn Beck used to play (on Fox) on how the revolution would commence? Are we seeing it start? Maybe we are. As I’m sure you all know the occupiers and the police had a (sort of) battle last night. I know there is nothing too unusual about that, when these scum useful idiots decide to try something new. But could there be more behind it this time? Sure there could.

I’m not claiming any great insight here, like most of you, I back off some on the weekend, eventually I just can’t handle our situation and need a break. But this morning, Green Mountain Scribes in their post on denial (which I reblogged) stated this:

Sadly, from within our borders and starting long ago socialists, progressives, Marxists and others comprising a vile stew of leftists now wholly owns the Democratic Party and is infiltrating the Republican Party, and these people have declared war on our Natural Rights and liberties.

We can continue to deny realities and, while denial can be comforting, the inaction it breeds will certainly prove costly. Or, we can unite and act with the courage now desperately required of each among us and confront the uncomfortable and frightening realities of tyranny.

Conservatives must immediately awaken to the reality of this war and each among us must commit to organize, become involved in some capacity in our communities, states, and nationally. We must unite together, engage our ranks and keep each other engaged through the tough battles that lie ahead motivated by the horrid potential that if we do not unseat tyrants in November, we may well not have another chance.

He’s right. And further if we don’t pay attention we may not even get that chance. If you remember the early history of Nazi Germany, you know that Hitler consolidated his power after some Sturmabteilung (SA) thugs acting on National Socialist Workers Party (NSDAP, Nazi) orders torched the Reichstag. In the aftermath of that the liberties of the Weimar Republic disintegrated, and the first to go were the SA thugs. If I were a member of the Occupy movement, I would study that very carefully. But then they have probably never had a real history course. Once a useful idiot, always a useful idiot.

Are we seeing something similar in the United States? I think so, and so do others, including Mark America.

How does this tie into the Reichstag fire? First, I remember back in the sixties during the antiwar protests, the protesters would show up with the occasional M-1 helmet, but shields, patterned after the ones police use? You think they might have thought there was going to be trouble? Second, the Oakland Police Department is only weeks away from being taken over by the Federal Government and is already supervised by a former Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agent, it’s been troubled agency for years.  (LINK, Sorry but it’s to HuffPo) Third, our police forces have become (while we weren’t looking) less under control as well as paramilitary forces. Fourth, Van Jones, himself, is from Oakland and we all know how many radical liberals live there.

To quote Mark America:

It’s ridiculous. This is nothing but another sorry attempt to create civil unrest to the degree that the feds will have an excuse to become involved.  This is all being directed from the White House or its surrogates anyway, so there shouldn’t be any surprise. Isn’t Oakland the home turf to one Van Jones?  Yes, I think so, and I believe he was the one who told us that those at the bottom needed to rise up so that those at the top could clamp down, or something to that effect.

Read the entire post.

In other news, it increasingly appears that the Establishment Republican Party would rather lose to Obama than run anybody but Romney, whom I don’t believe would win. I suspect you all saw Pam Bondi, the Florida AG the other night on Greta saying that Romney thinks that we should all have Romney-care and if he’s elected, she would be on his health advisory board. Why would a Conservative republican want to be there, we all know that the whole department need to be disbanded. I would say because Romney has bought and paid for her, just like others, can you say Nikki Haley?

Again drawing on Mark, Gingrich with all his flaws, which are real, seems to be drawing up a conservative roster including Herman Cain, Rick Perry and Allen West, whom the Florida GOP appears to be redistricting out of Congress. We have also seen this week the incredible and false attacks on Gingrich by Romney and all his  (and the GOP’S) surrogates, led by Matt Drudge. Also note that Fox, whom we have all depended on, more or less, is moving quite quickly to the left, their coverage is getting closer and closer to the party line.

Here is what Mark (and I agree) believes Newt is doing:

Watching Herman Cain endorse Newt Gingrich on Saturday night, I think I glimpsed a bit of the future, because I think what Gingrich has been saying from the outset of this race is correct:  We must all set aside our petty differences and find a way to engineer victory as a team.  So far, among the candidates who entered the race, and have subsequently departed it, Cain and Perry, each once a front-runner, have endorsed Newt Gingrich. Now while it’s the undisputed truth that conservatives are a generally independent-minded lot, I don’t think we should fail to notice this.  I’ve told you before that a candidate who was an aggregate of the best parts of all of these would be great for the country, but alas, no such candidate stepped forward.  What we’re watching now, as Gingrich integrates these former competitors into his team is the result of having treated both of these men with due respect to their positions and experiences and accomplishments over their lives.  Gingrich has a big idea, all right, but it’s not about some mission to the moon.  Instead, I believe he’s focusing on building a team that can win in November and take the country back from Barack Obama.

Read the entire article.

I believe that Santorum will stay in the race in case that Newt doesn’t survive but at the end of the day, he will also join Newt’s campaign as an honored adviser. If Newt doesn’t survive, he (and the others) will join Santorum. This has gotten to be far bigger than the Republican nomination, these gentlemen are now  holding the future of the United States qua the United States in their hands.

There are assuredly a lot of undercurrents flowing here, so we need to pay very close attention, and be prepared to act as necessary. The stakes have become nothing less than American Freedom.


Morning in America?

I suspect that you all know where the title of this post came from so let’s go ahead and watch it and remember.

So where I am going is this: If we are going to replace Obama next year, we are going to need this kind of optimism and cheerfulness. Erik Erikson over at RedState was talking about this this morning also. He put it this way.

Apple has out a new app in its App Store — Cards. You can take a picture on your phone, design a card, and have it sent via the post office to someone. Think about that for a minute. In an age of digital communications, text messages, emails, and cell phones, Apple has produced a product that harkens back to one of the earliest message transmission methods — snail mail as the kids these days are calling it.

Siri, the assistant on the iPhone, kindles fond memories of growing up in the age of Star Trek for the thirty somethings out there.

A friend of mine two nights ago showed me an awesome app he works on called Goba. It’s available for the iPhone, Android, Windows Mobile, etc. It lets you plan an offline gathering of friends and manage sending texts and emails and the replies thereto. An app for the phone designed to facilitate a gathering of friends off line and unplugged.

My neighborhood is pretty new. Almost every house has a relic of an earlier time — a front porch. My wife, me, and our kids sit on the front porch in rocking chairs or the kids play on the porch. On sites like Etsy, people are getting back to early American crafts — typography, quilts, homemade soaps, arts, etc. Like with Apple’s Cards program, people are trying to reconnect to a past that exists in our dreams. Part is real and part is not real. But we are trying to connect to it.

Continue Reading.

I agree wholeheartedly with him. A lot of what we heard last night sounded like a bunch of brawling teenagers. That’s not going to beat Obama.

One of the commenter over there linked this from Rick Perry, and it gets close

That’s pretty damn good. Why aren’t they all campaigning that way, if they don’t know it, we do: this election (and primary) is about far more than who the Republican nominee will be; This one is about the country. If you are not the best for the country, if all you can do is divide people, get out of the way.

That’s what I see in Herman Cain more (quite a lot more, in fact). That similar blend of optimism, and good humor, and hope that carried Reagan all the way. I don’t really think money matters nearly as much this time. The country is waking up, and it is angry. The man (or woman) that can tap into that feeling will be the next President of the United States.

I don’t know about you but, I can’t really imagine any of these other stuffed shirts doing this. I can Reagan though, when he worked for GE.

So let’s end this with two of my favorite thing: a train and Ronald Reagan

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