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Leftist Billionaires, Information Control

*(1) Silicon Valley Billionaires Are the New Robber Barons**(2) Mozilla joins Soros’ campaign gainst “Fake News”**(3) YouTube deleting videos that document US war crimes**(4) The Economist backs Google's sacking of Gender dissident**(5) James Damore (sacked by Google): ‘I’m A Centrist, And They’re Calling Me A Nazi’****(1) Silicon Valley Billionaires Are the New Robber Barons*** Davis Hanson · Aug. 17, 2017Progressives used to pressure U.S. corporations to cut back on outsourcing and on the tactic of building their products abroad to take advantage of inexpensive foreign workers.During the 2012 election, President Obama attacked Mitt Romney as a potential illiberal “outsourcer in chief” for investing in companies that went overseas in search of cheap labor.Yet most of the computers and smartphones sold by Silicon Valley companies are still being built abroad — to mostly silence from progressive watchdogs.In the case of the cobalt mining that is necessary for the production of lithium-ion batteries in electric cars, thousands of child laborers in Southern Africa are worked to exhaustion.In the 1960s, campuses boycotted grapes to support Cesar Chavez’s unionization of farm workers. Yet it is unlikely that there will be any effort to boycott tech companies that use lithium-ion batteries produced from African-mined cobalt.Progressives demand higher taxes on the wealthy. They traditionally argue that tax gimmicks and loopholes are threats to the republic.Yet few seem to care that West Coast conglomerates such as Amazon, Apple, Google and Starbucks filtered hundreds of billions in global *profits through tax havens such as Bermuda, shorting the United States billions of dollars in income taxes.*The progressive movement took hold in the late 19th century to “trust-bust,” or break up corporations that had cornered the markets in banking, oil, steel and railroads. Such supposedly foul play had inordinately enriched “robber baron” buccaneers such as John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Mellon, Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan.Yet today, the riches of multibillionaires dwarf the wealth of their 19th century predecessors. Most West Coast corporate wealth was accumulated by good old-fashioned American efforts to *achieve monopolies *and stifle competition.Facebook, with two billion monthly global users, has now effectively cornered social media.Google has monopolized internet searches — and modulates users’ search results to accommodate its own business profiteering.Amazon is America’s new octopus. Its growing tentacles incorporate not just online sales but also media and food retailing.Yet there are no modern-day progressive muckrakers in the spirit of Upton Sinclair, Frank Norris and Lincoln Steffens, warning of the dangers of techie monopolies or the astronomical accumulation of wealth. Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and Facebook are worth nearly $1 trillion each.Conservatives have no problem with anyone doing well, so their silence is understandable. But in the Obama era, the nation received all sorts of progressive lectures on the downsides of being super-rich.Obama remonstrated about spreading the wealth, knowing when not to profit and realizing when one has made enough money. He declared that entrepreneurs did not build their own businesses without government help.Yet such sermonizing never seemed to include Facebook, Starbucks or Amazon.The tech and social media industries pride themselves on their counterculture transparency, their informality and their 1960s-like allegiance to free thought and free speech. Yet Google just fired one of its engineers for simply questioning the company line that sexual discrimination and bias alone account for the dearth of female Silicon Valley engineers.What followed were not voices of protest. Instead, Google-instilled fear and silence ensued, in the fashion of George Orwell’s “1984.”On matters such as avoiding unionization, driving up housing prices, snagging crony-capitalist subsidies from the government and ignoring the effects of products on public safety (such as texting while driving), Silicon Valley is about as reactionary as they come.Why, then, do these companies earn a pass from hypercritical progressives?Answer: Their executives have taken out postmodern insurance policies.Our new J.P. Morgans*dress in jeans and T-shirts* — like the late *Steve Jobs* of Apple or *Mark Zuckerberg* of Facebook — appearing*hip and cool.***Executives in *flip-flops *and tie-dyes can get away with building walls around their multiple mansions in a way that a steel executive in a suit and tie might not.The new elite are *overwhelmingly left-wing*. They head off criticism by investing mostly in the Democratic Party, the traditional font of social and political criticism of corporate wealth.In 2012, for example, Obama won Silicon Valley by more than 40 percentage points. Of the political donations to presidential candidates that year from employees at Google and Apple, over 90 percent went to Obama.One of the legacies of the Obama era was the triumph of *green advocacy and identity politics over class.*No one has grasped that reality better that the new billionaire barons of the West Coast. As long as they appeared cool, as they long as they gave lavishly to left-wing candidates, and as long as they mouthed liberal platitudes on *global warming, gay marriage, abortion and identity politics*, they earned exemption from progressive scorn.The result was that they*outsourced, offshored, monopolized, censored *and made billions — without much fear of media muckraking, trust-busting politicians, unionizing activists or diversity lawsuits.Hip billionaire corporatism is one of the strangest progressive hypocrisies of our times.© 2017 TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.*(2) Mozilla joins Soros’ campaign gainst “Fake News”*** Joins George Soros’s Efforts In Launching A Strike Against “Fake News”August 11, 2017By Aaron KeselMozilla, the non-profit organization which runs the Firefox internet browser, said Wednesday it was launching an effort against “fake news,” as fact-checking software backed by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and George Soros got its first run-out in public to shape our Orwellian nightmare of future truth arbiters.Mozilla said it was “investing in people, programs and projects” in a new initiative to “disrupt misinformation online” calling for a “Mozilla Information Trust Initiative,” or MITI for short, Business Insider reported.They further stated the “internet’s ability to power democratic society suffers greatly” because of fabricated stories, such as the “Pope endorsing Donald Trump for the U.S. presidency” or a “dead FBI agent killed in a mysterious fire with information on former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton” – just two examples of stories that turned out to be bogus.Mozilla’s innovations director, Katharina Borchert, told AFP that the organization was working on tools for Firefox and better online education with media groups, universities, and tech activists.The “Mozilla Information Trust Initiative” comes just as an automated real-time fact-checking engine dubbed the “bullshit detector” was demonstrated in London.The group that created the fact-checking engine, Full Fact foundation, is backed by Omidyar and our favorite billionaire tycoon Soros.The organization stated its software is “capable” of spotting lies in real-time and was used to fact-check a live debate at the House of Commons. How that objective was achieved isn’t clear since it’s likely automated A.I., but algorithms are not 100% accurate.“As the proponents of propaganda and misinformation become more sophisticated in their use of technology, it is important that fact checkers do not fall behind in our fight against it,” Full Fact said.“This is an important investment in the future of fact-checking,” Stephen King, of the Omidyar Network, told The Guardian.“You only have to look at the number of initiatives that have risen up to address this challenge, either by tech companies or other organizations to see how worrying this phenomenon is to so many,” Borchert added.I worry more about those who want to act as fact checkers, blatantly ignoring propaganda and fake news by the MSM while targeting alternative media and dictating what is and isn’t important for public consumption.“Whether it’s become a big enough priority is perhaps a better question,” Borchert said, arguing that it was time for rival news organizations to “rally around” each other to confront the spread of fake news. RFID Scan Blockers - Available for Free (Ad)Then you have Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Wales, planning to launch a crowd-funded news service called Wikitribune to help combat fake news.So you have all these people, some of whom have even once advocated for a free and open Internet, now advocating for controlling the flow of information under the moniker of “fake news.”How about all the fake news spread by the CIA and intelligence services called planted propaganda usually for pushing war? Especially as a new report questions the veracity of claims made by a shady firm Cloudstrike that “Russia hacked the election” – how about that fake news?Putting the future of what we believe in anyone’s hands, let alone artificial intelligence, seems reckless; but a system backed by Soros and Omidyar seems like a dangerously stupid idea that can only lead to a path paved toward Orwellian censorship the likes of which even George Orwell couldn’t have imagined.Aaron Kesel writes for Activist Post and is Director of Content for Coinivore. Follow Aaron at Twitter and Steemit. This article is Creative Commons and can be republished in full with attribution.*(3) YouTube deleting videos that document US war crimes*** is Now Purging Evidence of War Crimes—Labeling it as “Extremist” ContentAugust 13, 2017By Rachel BlevinsJust one month after YouTube deleted a video of the United States air-dropping weapons to ISIS and claimed that it contained “violent or graphic content,” the video platform is now being criticized for implementing a new artificial intelligence program to monitor “extremist” content that is*deleting videos that document U.S. war crimes.***The monitoring organization recently reported that its YouTube account had been targeted, just one week after YouTube published a new blog post announcing that it is “developing and implementing cutting-edge machine learning technology designed to help us identify and remove violent extremism and terrorism-related content in a scalable way.”Airwars raised the issue on Twitter, noting that after approving hundreds of their videos documenting U.S. airstrikes, YouTube has suddenly blocked three videos out of nowhere.The newly blocked *videos showed U.S. coalition airstrikes* that were reportedly targeting ISIS, and their dates ranged from August 2015 to March 2016.Can you work out why @TeamYouTube has banned these three videos? We can’t. Of 100s we have archived since 2014, these 3 blocked this weeek— Airwars (@airwars) August 8, 20173rd video also 2016. Again. unclear how this differs from 100s of military videos we’ve archived for public record— Airwars (@airwars) August 8, 2017Airwars later posted an update, which said that following the publicity around YouTube’s decision to block the videos, the platform had apparently chosen to remove the ban from the three videos, and it implemented an 18 years and over age restriction. “Adult-only war,” Airwars remarked, noting that “Archiving published Coalition videos creates permanent public record of conflict.”Update: @YouTube appears to have lifted bans following today’s publicity – though has replaced with an age 18 restriction. Adult-only war.— Airwars (@airwars) August 8, 2017Chris Woods, the head of Airwars, told Middle East Eye that he is still in negotiations with YouTube over a number of videos, but he sees this trend as one that risks “severely undermining work done by Syrian opposition activists.”“I think what’s so troubling about this if we look at the Syrian accounts, this is video chronicling a six or seven-year war, and some of the most important parts of that war from the perspective of Syrians,” Woods said.Middle East Eye also reported that it has had similar problems with YouTube after the platform removed a number of videos, “some of which were later given age restrictions, some of which remain removed.”YouTube told MEE in an email that the video ‘Drone footage by Islamic State shows suicide car attacks on Iraqi forces inside Mosul’ was removed and that YouTube had ‘assigned a Community Guidelines strike, or temporary penalty’ to MEE’s account. The same occurred in the case of ‘Video appears to show Egyptian soldiers carrying out extra-judicial killings.’ MEE lodged an appeal with YouTube and received this response:‘After further review of the content, we’ve determined that your video does violate our Community Guidelines and have upheld our original decision. We appreciate your understanding.’Another video, documenting the destruction of Nimrud by IS, which is widely available across the internet, was removed from an MEE staff account, and all appeals were rejected.The report from Middle East Eye also claimed that Alexa O’Brien, an American journalist who covered the US prosecution of WikiLeaks’ whistleblower Chelsea Manning, reported on Twitter that the infamous videos released by Manning that showed the U.S. military blatantly committing war crimes were removed from YouTube. Her Twitter account is currently set to private.As The Free Thought Project has reported, alternative geopolitical analyst “Partisan Girl” revealed that YouTube removed her video showing the U.S. airdropping weapons to ISIS in July, claiming it contained “violent of graphic content” that violated the platform’s community guidelines. “It documented US military airdrops falling into ISIS hands,” She wrote. “Truth is graphic content.”A video on my channel just got censored by @youtube It documented US military airdrops falling into #ISIS hands! Truth is graphic content.— Partisangirl ???? (@Partisangirl) July 10, 2017As YouTube continues to remove videos that document both the events of the Syrian War, and evidence of the United States committing war crimes, it is important to remember that the platform still hosts thousands of videos with millions of views that are disguised as child-friendly content, while they actually promote violence, sex and pedophilia.Rachel Blevins is a Texas-based journalist who aspires to break the left/right paradigm in media and politics by pursuing truth and questioning existing narratives. This article first appeared at The Free Thought Project.*(4) The Economist backs Google's sacking of Gender dissident*** from Alphabet: The e-mail Larry Page should have written to James DamoreLast week this newspaper said *Alphabet’s boss should write a “detailed, ringing rebuttal” of a viral anti-diversity memo* sent at Google. Here is how we imagine itAug 19th 2017Created on: 15 August 2017 at 15:15 (Delivered after 1 seconds) From: Larry Page <*********> To: James Damore <***********> cc: <>Subject: Re: “Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber”Dear James,**You’re probably expecting me to start by claiming that there are no differences in the average abilities, aptitudes and interests of men and women. Or that the fact that four times as many of Google’s software engineers are men than are women is proof of discrimination. I’m not going to do either of those things. There is good evidence for dozens of such differences between the average man and average woman. And as a matter of pure logic, you are correct that the gender gap in our team of software engineers is not of itself proof of sexism or discrimination.I am happy to acknowledge that you state your support for gender diversity and fairness. Your memo starts: “I value diversity and inclusion, am not denying that sexism exists, and don’t endorse using stereotypes.”So, you and anyone else who reads this may be wondering, why the fuss? Why did your memo go viral? Why did it cause such fury? Why did we fire you? In interviews and an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal you have said it’s because Google is “ideologically driven and intolerant of scientific debate”, and therefore unable to tolerate your “reasoned, well-researched, good-faith argument”. You’ve driven the point home with your “Goolag” T-shirt and new twitter handle, @Fired4Truth.Your interpretation is wrong. Your memo was a great example of what’s called “motivated reasoning”—seeking out only the information that supports what you already believe. It was derogatory to women in our industry and elsewhere. Despite your stated support for diversity and fairness, it demonstrated profound prejudice. Your chain of reasoning had so many missing links that it hardly mattered what your argument was based on. We try to hire people who are willing to follow where the facts lead, whatever their preconceptions. In your case we clearly made a mistake.Have you ever noticed how no one takes sentences that start “I’m not a racist, but…” at face value? Here’s why, in the words of Jon Snow in “Game of Thrones” (season 7, episode 1). When Sansa Stark tells him: “They respect you, they really do, but…,” Snow laughs and comes back with: “What did father used to say? Everything before the word ‘but’ is horseshit.”I thought of that line when I read this section in your memo: “Of course, men and women experience bias, tech, and the workplace differently and we should be cognizant of this, but it’s far from the whole story. On average, men and women biologically differ in many ways…” All your comments about valuing diversity and fairness came before that giant “but”. What came after it was a description of a few gender differences, your argument that they explain why so many of our software engineers are men and your complaint that Google’s attempts to change that balance, far from being about fairness to women, amount to anti-male bias. You use the words “discriminate” or “discrimination” 17 times, exclusively to describe men as victims.Now that we’ve worked out what your memo’s really about, let’s examine its argument. These are the main gender differences you cite: women’s on-average greater interest, compared with men, in people and lesser interest in things; their relatively greater tendency to “empathise” rather than “systematise”, and to be agreeable rather than assertive; and their relatively higher anxiety and lower tolerance for stress. You present a diagram of two normal distributions, with the same standard deviations but slightly different means, to demonstrate that small differences in group averages can result in large differences when it comes to outliers. (The Economist’s data team has kindly redrawn this for me, highlighting the “tail” of the distribution with the higher mean.) The point of this simplified model is to demonstrate that, of everyone who scores very highly on the variable under consideration, many more will be from the group with the higher average.Then you make a giant leap from group differences between men and women on such measures as interest in people rather than things, or systematising versus empathising, to differences in men’s and women’s ability to code. At least that’s what you seem to be doing; you don’t quite say so. There is no evidence for such an inference. And that is only the first flaw in your argument. I can see at least six more, any of which would derail it on its own.First, you ignore many other gender differences, basing your argument only on a few that you think support your conclusion. Second, you’re ignoring everything else that could explain the gender gap. Third, the gender differences you cite differ between countries and over time. Fourth, they don’t even support your argument, because you don’t seem to understand what makes a great software engineer. Fifth, you clearly don’t understand our company, and so fail to understand what we are trying to do when we hire. And sixth, even if you are right that more men than women are well-suited to the job of software engineer at Google, you are wrong that taking steps to recruit more women is inherently unfair to men.Your memo was a triumph of motivated reasoning: heads men win; tails women lose. Here are a few psychological differences between the sexes that you didn’t mention. Men score higher on measures of anger, and lower on co-operation and self-discipline. If it had been the other way round, I’m betting you would have cited these differences as indicating lack of suitability for the job of coder. You lean on measures of interest and personality, rather than ability and achievement, presumably because the latter don’t support your hypothesis. In many countries girls now do better in pretty much every subject at school than boys—again, if it had been the other way around I’m sure you wouldn’t have neglected to mention that fact. The sole published comparison of competency in coding I am aware of found that women were more likely than men to have their GitHub contributions accepted—but if they were project outsiders, this was true only if their gender was concealed.There is plenty of evidence that women in Silicon Valley suffer sexism and discrimination. Read Susan Fowler’s description of the harassment she experienced at Uber before leaving the firm in December. Look at the responses to “Elephant in the Valley”, a recent survey of senior women in tech: among its findings was that two-thirds had been excluded from networking opportunities because of their sex. And beyond our industry, women are less likely than men to be given plum assignments, are given less useful feedback, are seen as pushy when they ask for pay rises (men are seen as ambitious) and, in leadership roles, may be seen as either competent or likeable, but rarely both. “We need to stop assuming that gender gaps imply sexism,” you write. But we know there is sexism! We don’t need to infer it from the existence of gender gaps.It is more than likely that some psychological differences between men and women have been baked in by evolution, as you note. We see such differences, in varying degrees, in pretty much every animal. With humans, though, you must take great care before concluding that any specific difference is innate, since our societies are so much more complex and varied than those of other animals. (By the way, I find it blackly funny that some of the conservatives who have seized on you as a hero don’t believe in evolution at all.)Here are some reasons to be doubtful about an evolutionary basis for the specific differences you cite. Before the 1980s, when personal computers became more common and were almost exclusively marketed to men and boys, a much bigger share of those studying computer science at university in America were girls than is the case now. The share of computer scientists who are women varies wildly from country to country. Even personality differences vary from time to time and place to place—for example men are more agreeable (the term used by psychologists for a cluster of traits such as modesty, altruism and tender-mindedness), and less ambitious and status-seeking, in more hierarchical countries. That suggests that at least some of the gaps we see in America are because women are still relatively powerless, just as most men are in more traditional societies. Moreover, those supposedly “female” traits vanish in the rare arenas where the competition is entirely among women. Sopranos and ballerinas are hardly famous for being indifferent about who gets top billing.I said you didn’t understand what made a great software engineer. If we were talking about weight-lifters or contortionists, it would be simple—and your stylised bell-curve diagram would be the whole story. Men are on average so much stronger, and women so much more supple, that almost all the highest performers are from one sex or the other. But few jobs are that one-dimensional. Software engineering requires a broad mix of skills involving both “people” and “things”. Teamwork, in particular, is important—the stereotypical image of the geek working alone in his basement is far from reality. Senior engineers must manage teams—and by your own reasoning that should mean that women, with their greater empathy and interest in people, should be over-represented at that level, compared with their numbers in more junior jobs. That they are not should have given you pause.Many of the problems in our industry are caused by the sorts of misconceptions about the job that you clearly hold. Failures of teamwork and product testing are part of the reason so many new releases are glitchy, and so many projects run over time and over budget. I can even point you to ways that products fail because too few women have been involved in their development. When Google Plus was launched users had to state their gender to sign up. The intention was to make it easier to send notifications such as “She shared a photo with you.” Presumably it didn’t occur to anyone involved in development—all of them men—that many women choose to conceal their sex online to cut down on harassment.Such failures matter far beyond our industry, because tech increasingly reaches into every aspect of modern life. I don’t want Google to be part of building a virtual world that is a bad fit for a big chunk of humanity, as office designers, carmakers and pharmaceutical companies already did in the offline world. (Did you know that car seats and office desks are the wrong proportions for most women, or that many drugs in widespread use were only ever tested on men?)Finally, let’s look at your contention that by trying to recruit more women Google is discriminating against men. You seem to think that if we stopped paying any attention to applicants’ gender when deciding who to hire, we would naturally converge on the “right” share of men and women, that is, the share that matches the distribution of talent in the recruitment pool. I don’t believe that. Unless we make special efforts, some women will be put off applying by the heavily male culture; those doing the hiring will be influenced in their assessments of candidates’ ability by the stereotypes they’ve formed in that male environment. We should “treat people as individuals, not as just another member of their group,” you write. That is what we are doing. We’re trying to hire the best, aware that there are forces militating against us.When you first wondered why so few of our software engineers were women, and why we’re trying to hire more and whether that was fair, there were plenty of smart things you could have done. You could have asked some of your female colleagues about their experiences in the industry. *You could have looked for evidence that conflicted with your biases* (there’s a good search engine you could have used). Here’s a brief reading list for you. At Heterodox Academy, Sean Stevens and Jonathan Haidt have compiled a pretty comprehensive list of psychological differences between the sexes—there are plenty, not all point the same way and there are many caveats. J. Doe, on Medium, has summarised the evidence that women are treated worse in the tech workplace than men. Suzanne Sadedin, an evolutionary biologist, debunks your pop evo-psych on Quora. Yonatan Zunger, a former senior engineer at Google, discusses your misconceptions about our industry on Medium. Claire Cain Miller talks about the damaging myth of the loner genius nerd in the New York Times. In Vox, Cynthia Lee “ladysplains” your errors from the viewpoint of a woman coder. I shouldn’t have had to write this: I’m busy and a little effort on your part would have made it unnecessary. But I know I have it easy. Women in our industry have to cope with this sort of nonsense all the time.Yours, LarryCopyright © The Economist Newspaper Limited 2017. All rights reserved.*(5) James Damore (sacked by Google): ‘I’m A Centrist, And They’re Calling Me A Nazi’* Damore To CNN: ‘I’m A Centrist, And They’re Calling Me A Nazi.’**JOHN SEXTONPosted at 1:01 pm on August 15, 2017Former Google employee James Damore gave an interview to CNN Tech in which he discussed his memo and the reasons for his firing. One of Damore’s strongest statements didn’t make it into the 8-minute video clip published by CNN (see below), but here it is from CNN’s write-up:“There’s a very strong idea that the left ideology is the only ideology possible. We should be able to express differing opinions,” Damore told CNN Tech. “I’m a centrist, and they’re calling me a Nazi. That is a real problem.”CNN’s Laurie Segall also asked Damore about whether there were other conservatives in Silicon Valley who are afraid to speak up. “Yes, there are many conservatives that are in the closet, quite literally, in Silicon Valley,” Damore said. “I mean, I’m a centrist and I still can’t express many of my views,” he added.Asked what those “in the closet” conservatives were saying to him privately, Damore replied, “They largely agree with much of what I’m saying and many have either left Google because the culture is very alienating towards them or are thinking about it because it’s so bad.” He continued, “They don’t feel like they can bring their whole selves to Google and that that is a psychologically unsafe environment, where you feel like you have to constantly self-censor yourself and you have to stay in the closet and mask who you really are.”At this point in the interview, Google inserts a response from a Google spokesperson who says, “An important part of our culture is lively debate. But like any workplace that doesn’t mean that anything goes…” The suggestion is that Damore has gone beyond the boundaries of what any company would allow by discussing large-scale population differences between men and women.CNN’s Laurie Segall then brings up the alt-right (for the 2nd time) asking Damore how he feels having their support. She doesn’t provide any examples of this support but CNN’s article mentions a photographer who took a picture of Damore. “I do not support the alt-right,” Damore says. He continues, “Just because someone supports me doesn’t mean that I support them.”Eventually, Damore does get to make one of the core points about his memo as it applies to women in tech (Google’s tech employees are 80% male). “I do acknowledge that it’s not all biology, that there are cultural influences,” Damore said. He continued, “But there is biology too and we need to acknowledge that. And what I was fighting against was the idea that any disparity in outcome was solely due to discrimination and that’s simply not the case.”-- Peter Myerswebsite: