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How The New NAFTA Trade Deal Lets Big Tech Squelch Conservative Speech

By   13, 2018

Less than two weeks ago, President Trump signed the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement intended to be the successor to the North American Free Trade Agreement, which Trump has attacked for decades. The White House says the agreement will “better serve the interests of American workers and businesses” and “includes the strongest digital trade … provisions of any United States trade agreement.”

Unfortunately, an obscure article in one provision of the agreement only serves the interests of the largest tech monopolies by granting them special privilege to censor conservatives. Congress should demand the removal or amendment of this article before giving consent to confirm section 230.

How did this happen? Big Tech lobbyists orchestrated the quiet insertion of a seemingly innocuous provision (Article 19.17) into the deal that is based on Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Section 230, much beloved by big tech, and an essential building block of their monopolistic dominance, holds that platforms like Facebook cannot be held liable as a “publisher or speaker” of their users’ content.

Under the right circumstances, there’s good reason for tech companies to have this type of immunity. If Facebook were legally responsible for everything its more than 2 billion users post, then it would enforce overly restrictive rules and restrictions and block lawful posts. Because Congress explicitly acknowledged that these platforms served as a “forum for a true diversity of political discourse,” it granted this important privilege.

Read More: http://thefederalist.com/2018/12/13/the-new-nafta-trade-deal-lets-big-tech-squelch-conservative-speech/

Congress Should Reconsider Big Tech’s Special Legal Privileges That Foster Censorship

   14, 2019

On Jan. 9 we sent letters to the chairs and ranking members of the House Judiciary, House Energy and Commerce, Senate Judiciary, and Senate Commerce committees requesting hearings on this matter in order to seek an appropriate governmental remedy to online censorship.

This request comes after we have carefully tracked and documented viewpoint censorship for years. Repeatedly, we have urged Big Tech leaders to adopt a free speech charter to ensure their platforms are an even playing field for debate. In December 2017, we launched Internet Freedom Watch to draw greater attention to this problem. For many years we have amassed evidence of viewpoint censorship on the internet, illustrating it with a timeline with more than 40 high-profile examples.

In addition to Graham, the timeline is a veritable who’s who of Christian and conservative leaders and causes, including cases involving Sen. Marsha Blackburn, Susan B. Anthony List, PragerU, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Alliance Defending Freedom, NRBTV, Erick Erickson, Dr. Michael Brown, Live Action, D. James Kennedy Ministries, Dr. Carol Swain, Ray Comfort, Phil Robertson, Todd Starnes, Chuck Colson’s Manhattan Declaration, and other Christian leaders and ministries, as well as conservative leaders and organizations.

The common denominator is espousing viewpoints progressives oppose and increasingly seek to squelch in the public marketplace of ideas. Although some of these cases of censorship were later corrected, that the problem persists and is growing indicates it is systemic.

Read More: http://thefederalist.com/2019/01/14/congress-reconsider-big-techs-special-legal-privileges-foster-censorship/

‘The goal is to automate us’: welcome to the age of surveillance capitalism

John Naughton
Sun 20 Jan 2019

…The headline story is that it’s not so much about the nature of digital technology as about a new mutant form of capitalism that has found a way to use tech for its purposes. The name Zuboff has given to the new variant is “surveillance capitalism”. It works by providing free services that billions of people cheerfully use, enabling the providers of those services to monitor the behaviour of those users in astonishing detail – often without their explicit consent.

“Surveillance capitalism,” she writes, “unilaterally claims human experience as free raw material for translation into behavioural data. Although some of these data are applied to service improvement, the rest are declared as a proprietary behavioural surplus, fed into advanced manufacturing processes known as ‘machine intelligence’, and fabricated into prediction products that anticipate what you will do now, soon, and later. Finally, these prediction products are traded in a new kind of marketplace that I call behavioural futures markets. Surveillance capitalists have grown immensely wealthy from these trading operations, for many companies are willing to lay bets on our future behaviour.”

While the general modus operandi of Google, Facebook et al has been known and understood (at least by some people) for a while, what has been missing – and what Zuboff provides – is the insight and scholarship to situate them in a wider context. She points out that while most of us think that we are dealing merely with algorithmic inscrutability, in fact what confronts us is the latest phase in capitalism’s long evolution – from the making of products, to mass production, to managerial capitalism, to services, to financial capitalism, and now to the exploitation of behavioural predictions covertly derived from the surveillance of users. In that sense, her vast (660-page) book is a continuation of a tradition that includes Adam Smith, Max Weber, Karl Polanyi and – dare I say it – Karl Marx.

Read More: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2019/jan/20/shoshana-zuboff-age-of-surveillance-capitalism-google-facebook

Google Staff Tell Bosses China Censorship Is “Moral and Ethical”

CrisisRyan Gallagher
August 16 2018

Google employees are demanding answers from the company’s leadership amid growing internal protests over plans to launch a censored search engine in China.

Staff inside the internet giant’s offices have agreed that the censorship project raises “urgent moral and ethical issues” and have circulated a letter saying so, calling on bosses to disclose more about the company’s work in China, which they say is shrouded in too much secrecy, according to three sources with knowledge of the matter.

The internal furor began after The Intercept earlier this month revealed details about the censored search engine, which would remove content that China’s authoritarian government views as sensitive, such as information about political dissidents, free speech, democracy, human rights, and peaceful protest. It would “blacklist sensitive queries” so that “no results will be shown” at all when people enter certain words or phrases, leaked Google documents disclosed. The search platform is to be launched via an Android app, pending approval from Chinese officials.

The censorship plan – code-named Dragonfly – was not widely known within Google. Prior to its public exposure, only a few hundred of Google’s 88,000 employees had been briefed about the project – around 0.35 percent of the total workforce. When the news spread through the company’s offices across the world, many employees expressed anger and confusion.

Read More: https://theintercept.com/2018/08/16/google-china-crisis-staff-dragonfly/

GM Stock Buybacks, NAFTA, Trade War and Trade Deficit

The Word Politics

Bill Clinton passes NAFTA and it decimates American manufacturing over the next 25 years…

Up until present day when GM spent 10 billion on stock buybacks and now wants to cut 14,000 jobs and close 5 plants for a savings of 4.5 billion… This is after the tax payers bailed them out for 11 billion in 2016. 

but Trump is blamed by GM and the media, for trying to claw back the trade deficit from decades of Democrat and Republican sabotage.

 

Unlike 2008, GM cutting jobs, plants proactively

Restructuring plan met with anger, except on Wall Street

Michael Wayland December 03, 2018

…The most recent actions included plans to cut 15 percent of its 54,000 North American salaried jobs, including a quarter of its global executives, and to end production at five North American plants in 2019, when it will discontinue the Chevrolet Cruze and five other cars. GM said it also would close two unidentified plants elsewhere in the world by the end of next year….

Read More: http://www.autonews.com/article/20181203/OEM/181209962/gm-plans-future-workforce-makeup

GM bought back $10 billion in stock since 2015, double what job cuts will save

When General Motors announced it was cutting up to 14,000 jobs and idling five automotive plants, it justified the massive cuts by citing long-term savings. The cuts would free up $6 billion in cash, for a net savings of $4.5 billion in cash by 2020.

The move will “make General Motors more agile, resilient and profitable” while the economy’s still revving, CEO Mary Barra told investors Monday. Wall Street seemed to believe her, with GM’s stock rising nearly 5 percent and one analyst on the call congratulating her “on getting in front of the curve here.”

But GM hasn’t exactly been tightfisted in recent years. The company has spent $10.6 billion since 2015 buying back its own shares, according to filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Stock buybacks do nothing for a company’s productive capacity. But because buybacks reduce the number of shares on the market and thus make a stock more valuable, they can be popular with many investors as well as senior executives who are paid largely in stock.

GM is far from the only company to spend money goosing its stock price. This year alone, corporations have announced some $955.6 billion in buybacks, according to TrimTabs Investment Research, and the figure for the whole year could exceed $1 trillion.

But GM started its stock repurchasing program back in 2015, less than six years after a bankruptcy process that cost U.S. taxpayers $11 billion. (The United Auto Workers and a number of politicians have pointed to the bailout in a vow to fight GM’s planned cuts, though it’s unclear politicians can do anything to change them.)

Read More: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/gm-bought-back-10-billion-in-stock-since-2015-double-what-job-cuts-will-save/

Trump Seems to be Trying to Remove the US From the Globalist Death Cult

Enough is Enough Child Trafficking Ends Now

What Donald Trump is preparing

After having observed Donald Trump’s historical references (the constitutional compromise of 1789, the examples of Andrew Jackson and Richard Nixon) and the way in which his partisans perceive his politics, Thierry Meyssan here analyses his anti-imperialist actions. The US President is not interested in taking a step back, but on the contrary, abandoning the interests of the transnational ruling class in order to develop the US national economy.
The problem

In 1916, during the First World War, Lenin analysed the reasons which led to the confrontation between the empires of his time. He wrote – Imperialism, the Highest Stage of Capitalism. In this book, he clarified his analysis – « Imperialism is capitalism which has arrived at a stage of its development where domination by monopolies and financial capital has been confirmed, where the export of capital has acquired major importance, where the sharing of the world between international trusts has begun, and where the sharing of all the territories of the globe between the greatest capitalist countries has been achieved ».

The facts confirmed his logic of the concentration of capitalism that he described. In the space of one century, it substituted a new empire for the precedents – « America » (not to be confused with the American continent). By dint of fusions and acquisitions, a few multinational companies gave birth to a global ruling class which gathers every year to congratulate itself, as we watch, in Davos, Switzerland. These people do not serve the interests of the US population, and in fact are not necessarily United States citizens themselves, but use the means of the US Federal State to maximise their profits.

Donald Trump was elected as President of the United States on his promise to return to the earlier state of Capitalism, that of the « American dream, » by free market competition. We can of course claim a priori, as did Lenin, that such a reversal is impossible, but nonetheless, the new President has committed to this direction.

The heart of the imperial Capitalist system is expressed by the doctrine of the Pentagon, formulated by Admiral Arthur Cebrowski – the world is now split in two. On one side, the developed, stable states, and on the other, those states which are not yet integrated into the imperial globalist system and are therefore doomed to instability. The US armed forces are tasked with destroying the state and social structures of the non-integrated regions. Since 2001, they have been patiently destroying the « Greater Middle East », and are now preparing to do the same in the « Caribbean Basin .»

We are obliged to note that the way in which the Pentagon looks at the world is based on the same concepts used by anti-imperialist thinkers like Immanuel Wallerstein, Giovanni Arrighi or Samir Amin.

The attempted solution

Donald Trump’s objective thus consists both of reinvesting the transnational capital in the US economy, and turning the Pentagon and the CIA away from their current imperialist functions with National Defense. In order to do so, he has to withdraw from international commercial treaties and dissolve the inter-governmental structures which consolidate the old order.

Undoing the international commercial treaties

From the very first days of his mandate, President Trump removed his country from the trans-Pacific partnership agreement, which had not yet been signed. This commercial treaty had been conceived strategically as a means of isolating China.

Since he was unable to cancel the signature of his country on those treaties which were already in force, such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), he began to unravel them by imposing various customs duties which were contrary to the spirit, but not the letter, of the agreement.

Re-framing or dissolving the inter-governmental structures

As we have often written here, the United Nations Organisation is no longer a forum for peace, but an instrument of US imperialism within which a few states continue to resist. This was already the case during the Soviet policy of the empty chair (Korean War) and, since July 2012, it is once again true.

President Trump has directly attacked the two main imperialist tools within the UNO – the peace-keeping operations (which have taken the place of the observation missions which were originally planned by the Charter), and the Human Rights Council (whose sole function is to justify the humanitarian wars waged by NATO). He has deprived the former of their budget, and withdrawn his country from the latter. However, he has just lost the election for Director of the International Organisation for Migration, leaving the road open, for the moment, for the world traffic in human beings. Of course, he has absolutely no wish to destroy the UNO, but only to refocus its activities and bring it back to its original function.

He has just torpedoed the G7. This meeting, initially intended as a moment for the exchange of points of view, had become, as from 1994, a tool for imperial domination. In 2014, it transformed itself into an instrument for anti-Russian activity – thus conforming to what had become the new strategy of the Anglo-Saxon nations, aimed at « cutting our losses », in other words, avoiding a World War by limiting the empire to the borders of Russia and thereby isolating it. President Trump took great care during the meeting in Charleroix to show his confused allies that he was no longer their overlord, and that they would have to make it on their own.

Finally, after having tried to use France to dynamite the European Union, he turned to Italy, where he sent Steve Bannon to create an anti-system government with the help of US banks. Rome has already concluded an alliance with five other capitals against Brussels.

Reinvesting in productive economy

Via diverse fiscal and customs measures, rarely voted by Congress and usually adopted by decree, President Trump encouraged the major companies of his country to repatriate their factories back to the USA. There immediately followed an economic recovery, which is about the only thing for which the Press will recognise him.

However, we are a long way from noting a financial decline. World finance is probably continuing to prosper outside of the USA, or in other words, continuing to suck up the wealth of the rest of the world.

Read More: http://www.voltairenet.org/article201778.html