Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

Yesterday, Chris Hughes, a co-founder of Facebook and one of Mark Zuckerberg’s college roommates, wrote a New York Times Op-Ed proposing that Facebook be broken up. I’m not a big proponent of government intervention intended to stifle the growth of large successful businesses. But, Chris’s arguments are compelling. For example, he says of Mark’s 60% ownership of Facebook shares:

Mark alone can decide how to configure Facebook’s algorithms to determine what people see in their News Feeds, what privacy settings they can use and even which messages get delivered.

Although, in my view, Chris misrepresents the intent of the American constitution when he says…

America was built on the idea that power should not be concentrated in any one person, because we are all fallible. 

… he makes an important point about monopolies and the concentration of power.

I have heard an interesting counter-argument to Chris’ contention that Facebook is like AT&T once was and that competition is not an issue. The argument goes like this:

“Facebook provides their services for free and, since they aren’t selling anything to users and aren’t exchanging money for access, this can’t be about monopoly and antitrust”.

Perhaps there is a long debate to ensue. But I want to give you my opinion with one simple concept:

<<<<< DATA HAS VALUE >>>>>

To me this is unquestionably an antitrust issue. Every time I point my browser at Facebook, Instagram, or WhatsApp (I don’t actually use the latter) I am exchanging my personal data for the services I’m consuming. I know I’m doing this and I only do it because I get value from these services. I’m exchanging something of value for something else of value.

The problem is that if I don’t like Facebook software, I have no other choice. I can’t move to another social platform (no, Twitter isn’t a substitute), and I can’t just stop using these apps without sacrificing my network of relationships. (After all, Facebook was established for what appeared to be a really cool purpose and that is something I embrace).

In my estimation, then, I’ve exchanging a value (my data) for a service (my network) and the value I exchange is put to productive reuse by Facebook (they sell my data to advertisers and use it to drive my experience). So, my valuable data is  exchanged and re-exchanged just like currency. If I have only one choice about who to give my data to then that is the data version of antitrust, the “not a monopoly” argument dies instantly.

Should Facebook be broken up? You decide. But, does Mark Zuckerberg own a monopoly? Unquestionably.

Mark Zuckerberg gives me a network every day. In exchange I hand him a piece of my ever-growing “dataganger”. Billions of us do that every day and that is called a concentration of power.

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This synagogue shooting has been pissing me off more and more as the days go by.

Now, to top it off our President is talking about executive orders to eliminate birthright citizenship. This he does while pretending to console American Jews. At least Hitler was honest about hating us non-Aryans. Trump pretends to give a shit about people who are not white Christians. But, he stands clearly on the side of white supremacy.

This is only minimally about Trump though. It’s really about the people he enables. What is scariest about Donald Trump’s America is not Donald Trump. It is how President Trump has laid bare the evil undercurrent of American White Supremacism and now it’s corollary antisemitism.

I suppose we should thank Trump for exposing what we really are.

But we also need to remember that the evil people are still a minority. It’s not to late to reinvigorate the power of love!

Every day, we seem to be making America greater, and greater, and greater again.

In just one week we have seen 14 bombs sent to past presidents and other major critics of Donald Trump AND the worst massacre of Jews in the history of the United States, with 11 people dead.

The country in which I live is no longer some shining light on some hill. We keep hearing people say “Make America Great Again” but that is clearly nonsense.

Perhaps one of the good things about Donald Trump being president of the United States is that China and Japan are now talking about healing their long-lasting wounds and working together. That is a good thing for the world. But, that is a bad thing for our country because it means that we will not remain the world’s great economic superpower.

So, we continue down the path of making America worse. I am among those who deeply loves the country in which I live. It absolutely kills me to see the wanton destruction of what was once the greatest democracy on Earth. That is all I have to say except to urge all of us to pray for the murdered Jewish worshipers and to pray that what little remain of our executive branch will have the balls to call the bombs what they are: assassination attempts. Such evil is NEVER even acceptable to ponder.

Enough!!!!

I love my country and I respect our flag. I put up my flag for Independence Day and leave it up through Labor Day. I stand for the National Anthem even when I’m just hearing it at home. I help my wife with her “Tools for Troops” nonprofit. I visit the Vietnam Memorial 100% of the time I go to D.C., even though I despise that war. I applaud for returning military when I see them in the airport. I thank every military person I see for their service. I have gone to Arlington National Cemetery for the laying of the wreath at the tomb of the unknowns even when I detested the President who laid it. I read both the Cato Institute’s and the American Constitution Society’s annual Supreme Court case reviews. I love America.

So, you might think I don’t approve of NFL players who kneel during our National anthem. You would be wrong. Here’s why.

The primary thing that makes me so love America is our theoretically unbounded notion of liberty. Unlike China or North Korea we don’t have state controlled media. Unlike Iran, Iraq, Malaysia, Afghanistan, and most Muslim countries we don’t have law tied to Religion. Unlike England, we don’t have a state sanctioned church. We have a notion of Liberty that is broader than any other country. Not democracy – LIBERTY.

Unfortunately, the man we have elected President is the anthesis of all my concept of America represents. He will propose firing NFL players who kneel while praising white supremacists as including some good people. He stereotypes Muslims. He wants to stop our free media. He wants to let fundamentalist Christianity drive our laws. He is – in short – the exact opposite of me.

President Trump has the liberty to divide America all he wants. But, we citizens – NFL Players included – have been afforded equal liberty by our constitution. So, even though I revere our country, I love the flag, and I will always stand for the anthem, I revere far more the liberty upon which those things are founded. So, like it or not, I unconditionally support the NFL players, coaches, and owners who exercise their first amendment rights to protest the aspects of our country against which they feel it necessary to fight.

I stand for the first amendment and must thus stand with the NFL.

Man did The Economist nail it on this one!

Moral authority should be a primary Presidential trait. The Economist has rightly called our president out for not having the balls to take a moral stance against evil.

It has now become painfully clear that President Obama illegally monitored The activities in Trump Tower. Recent revelations have vindicated President Trump’s contention that he had been “wiretapped”. 

Sources indicate that the use of the word “wiretapping” in quotation marks is essential. Classified surveillance video shows that, in a move far worse than traditional wiretapping, Mr. Obama himself actually hid under Mr. Trumps desk and sat for hours in the toilet stall directly adjacent to the one where President Trump has his daily bowel movements – which classified documents refer to as “producing the Trump shit”.

Further research indicates that Vladimir Putin was not in the stall next to either Mr. Trump or Mr. Obama. Neither were any members of The Trump family, or of campaign or transition team officials, ever seen in a comparable shithouse in any Russian government building. 

Whitehouse spokesman Sean Spicer,  in a news conference to which only the most reputable right wing media was invited, has confirmed that these revelations prove conclusively that the Trump administration had no contact with any Russian shit prior to or during the election process. These allegations may now be flushed away.

Other recently disapproved allegations include:

Jared Kushner does not have any holdings in any Trump business ventures. Neither did he receive $125,333 in consulting fees from Cambridge Analytica.

Mr. Trump has not backed away from the US position that Bashar al-Assad is a murderous dictator. He agrees that Mr. Assad have some problems with governance but, in a recent tweet, assured the American people that Mr. Assad is a “good guy who is simply saddled with an entire population of people who do some ‘bad, very, very bad’ things by protesting A noble dictatorship dedicated through the well-being and success of Syrian oligarchy”.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Mr. Trump has definitively confirmed that he had no involvement whatsoever in the decision to increase the penalties for  for cow-killing in Uttar Pradash. 

In a statement to which even traditional media was invited Whitehouse spokesman Sean Spicer quoted Mr. Trump saying “I get my shit from Neo-Nazi websites in the Shining City on the American hill, not cow shit in Gujarat, so who gives a damn about dead cows?” Spicer confirmed that Mr. Trump believes that sacred cows deserve to be destroyed….

Just like sacred American values…

<Oh yeah… APRIL FOOLS!!!!!>