Silicon Valley Billionaires Are The New Robber Barons

by Victor Davis Hanson
National Review

Progressives forget their history of breaking up mega-corporations as they lionize tech giants such as Apple, Google, and Facebook.

Progressives 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 2 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.

Rex Murphy On ‘ American Madness’

I read somewhere recently that it is one of the benefits of great books that they give us solace in moments of stress and anxiety. Great quotations pop into the mind during periods of grief and allay our misery. More pertinently, a book like The Handmaid’s Tale helps us “understand” Donald Trump and where he’s taking America. Literature, in other words, supplies high-toned sympathy cards in private crisis, and offers fancy elaborations of our flimsy predispositions during periods of public turmoil.

Literature, of course, does neither. A line from the Ode to the Nightingale will not help you get through real grief, and neither poetry nor prose—even of the highest accomplishment—will stay the progress of real world events or mitigate their great horrors. 1984 did not slow the advent of Mao, Pol Pot, the Taliban, or ISIS. Nor did the high rhetoric of Yeats’ The Second Coming avert any of the miserable outbreaks of fanatic politics it appeared to warn against. Literature is not a security blanket, or an early warning system.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a grim and formulaic feminist fantasy that spells out a nightmare projection of America, one captured by religious fundamentalists and transformed into an ignorant and cruel patriarchal theocracy. Whatever the book’s properties as satire, as either descriptive or prophetic of America under Donald Trump, it is a bust. The idea that it is a map of America in the present moment is childishly ludicrous. Applied, however, as a map to the Taliban, or to the heartless treatment of hostage women in the sadistic grip of ISIS, or to any of the Middle Eastern countries that bury women in servitude to genuine patriarchal fundamentalists, the book could be seen as a map.

Literature is not a security blanket, or an early warning system

The popularity of The Handmaids Tale among those who truly despise the Great Vulgarian—and the claim that the book is a “warning” of what has, or is to come, under Donald Trump—has nothing to do with the “power of literature.” For of all that may be said of this wayward and undisciplined American president, the idea that he harbours totalitarian impulses is adolescent and absurd. Yet in a time of grotesque and hyper-heated politics, such a reading parades as insight to those who wish to see Trump as “the rough beast slouching towards Jerusalem (Washington) to be born.” Handmaids Tale is an example of a fuller phenomenon.

There is a madness running through American politics now. It is in the most fevered, irrational, and paranoid time of any in the modern era. American politics has gone full Inquisitional. It is as if the jejune and anti-rational politics of the American campus has migrated—with all its jagged shibboleths of “trigger-warnings” and speaker-bannings, its fierce embrace of tribal “identity-politics,” and above all its streak of anti-rationalism and grievance-hunting—into the body politic of the American State.

The madness manifests itself everywhere. Such is the rush of hot news these days, that folks have forgotten last week’s excommunication ceremony, performed by the high-priests of Google’s diversity temple. One of their number issued a pallid memo merely querying whether Google had all the right policies on the holy concept of diversity. He actually favoured diversity. But he raised questions about its best pursuit. Fired in a day. A pure thought-crime, not to be tolerated in these dangerous times.

An odd pseudo-story in the New Yorker—which used to be a reasonably sane literary magazine, and is now a slightly less-well written version of the paranoid Nation—informed an eager world that Trudeau’s favourite adviser, Gerald Butts, was a “friend” of Trump’s favoured advisor, Steve Bannon. In this age of Trump demonology, Bannon may not be the anti-Christ, Satan himself, but he is Beelzebub (I’m using Milton’s rankings here), the commanding first lieutenant of The Supreme Fiend.

That nugget of non-news caught the attention of the otherwise sensible Thomas Mulcair, who called with fervour for Butts to “disavow” Bannon. Which must have been satisfying for those who have longed for a return of some form of the Inquisition in our time. “Point and disown, for he is Unclean.” What was Mulcair thinking?

Down in the U.S., meanwhile, they are not only hauling down Confederate statues. Nancy Pelosi, who has sat in Congress for most of her life, now urgently calls for the purging of statuary that has surrounded her innocuously for near half a century. A statue of Abraham Lincoln, the only true moral genius America has every produced, has been vandalized by an acid attack. The great Moses-like representation in the Lincoln Memorial, set against the backdrop of his great Second Inaugural, inscribed in granite, now has “F—K law” defiling it. Are vandals to be judges now, to rate the honour of the vanished dead?

The monuments to past heroes of the American experiment have been dragged off their pedestals

The monuments to past heroes of the American experiment, in a mob-tempest of retrospective indignation, have been dragged by night off their pedestals. Worst of all, this fit of the new inquisitionism has hit the actual graveyards themselves, with the new Sanhedrin tearing off the plaques honouring long-dead Southern soldiers. Who was it spoke of those “who hunger and thirst after righteousness?” Something about “they shall have their fill.”

All of this turns on the fanatically overblown response to Donald Trump, for which he does bear large responsibility, but by no means—let me underline—anything like all.

And the final illustration I offer today comes from a paragon of news reliability and judgment, the CNN’s great Wolf Blizter. On Thursday, as the ISIS slaughter in Barcelona was unfolding, with 13 dead and more than a hundred injured, Blitzer turned to the really important question: Was this attack a “copycat” attack following the model of last week’s clash between neo-Nazis and antifa protestors, and car killing, in Charlottesville?

Never mind that every schoolboy knows that ISIS has made major European cities their preferred killing ground in recent years, with Berlin, London, Nice, Paris and now Barcelona just the most recent examples. Blitzer is so saturated with anti-Trump politics he has forgotten how to think, and sees a Trump plot in an ISIS storyline.

Poor Lincoln. After the greatest upheaval in American history, and half a million dead in a civil war, he found the depth of feeling and understanding to write these words: “With malice towards none, with charity towards all, with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right.”

Present day U.S. politics is an insult to these words and their spirit. As for “charity towards all” and striving “to see the right,” how could such sentiments even exist when grave-digging is now a form of political action, and a great nation teeters towards a purge of its own past.

America is in a very delirium of unhinged total politics. It is the sheerest folly to believe this is all because of Donald Trump.

National Post

Oberlin College and Illegal Immigrants

This from Campus Reform website:

‘Oberlin College has pledged to create “safe spaces” on campus where “undocumented students can thrive.”

The Oberlin Multicultural Resource Center (MRC) is pursuing eight unique strategies to support illegal immigrant students, including the creation of campus “safe spaces,” the creation of “sources of financial aid equity,” and hiring staff and faculty “to support undocumented students.”

“We will not collaborate with…agencies seeking to establish the legal immigration status of students.” Tweet This

Quietly inaugurated on April 19 as part of National Coming Out Day for illegal immigrants, the strategies to support illegal immigrants are ongoing. To that end, the MRC encourages students to sign the petition to make Oberlin a “sanctuary campus,” and encourages people to donate to their illegal immigrant scholarship fund.

Oberlin has also pledged to “start an undocumented student support group or club,” and host events to “increase campus awareness for and of undocumented students.”

Supporting illegal immigrants is in-line with the MRC’s Mission and Values statement, which describes the office as a “gathering place for the collaborative support of historically disenfranchised communities,” which include “students of color,” and “DACA/undocumented students.”

The Resource Center was created after a “series of bias incidents” took place in 1993, according to the center’s timeline. While the center was initially designed to support “four historically underrepresented communities at Oberlin: Black/African-American, Asian/Asian-American, Latino/a/x, and LGBTQ students,” the scope of its mission has since expanded, and now includes supporting “undocumented students” and “students with disabilities.”

So far, the center boasts the successful creation of “ally training programs for faculty, staff and students” and the implementation of an “Undocumented Student Speaker Series,” according to the center’s list of “successful outcomes.”

Oberlin College has pledged to admit “all qualified students regardless of immigration status and meeting the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students.”

Campus Reform reached out to Oberlin College to learn more about the “safe spaces” and efforts to increase “awareness of and for undocumented students” it has pledged to create, but did not receive a response in time for publication.’

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @Toni_Airaksinen

Governments’ Assault on Newfoundland and Labrador–The Tragedy of Democracy

Governments’ Assault On Newfoundland and Labrador –The Tragedy of Democracy

It is hard to believe.

How could two primary Governments , duly elected, that oversee governance of Newfoundland and Labrador become so engrossed in their own ‘self’ , ignore normal democratic processes, and now oversee the demise of a proud and independent people?

Muskrat Falls is a hydro electric project in Labrador. Sanctioned by the Provincial and Federal Governments , it did not have to go through the normal independent review like projects of its kind, but proceeds on to construction ignoring the recommendation of the joint (Federal -Provincial) environment review panel recommendation.

No sooner begun than trouble arose with the arrangements with Nova Scotia ‘s Emira company which was to build the underwater transmission line to that Province. Its resolution sees to it that Nova Scotia residents will receive electricity cheaper than residents of Newfoundland who own the water and through whose Province the electricity must flow to get to Nova Scotia. One of the requirements by the Federal Government in order to ascertain their loan guarantee was this interprovincial connection and that full costs of the project in Newfoundland would be borne by the rate payers. Under normal circumstances this understandable understandable, but with no tendering, no independent review , no credible status reports, the tax payer is left naked.

The cost of the project has ballooned from initial $6 billion ( $7 billion at sanction) to almost $13 billion as we speak. Public tendering is not required and the proponent NALCO, the Province’s Utility, has a virtual monopoly over all aspects of the project , with a virtual stranglehold on the Provincial Government and its comments on the project. The so called Public Engineer , allegedly to protect the interests of the consumer, is a joke and the various oversee committees are stacked with supporters of the project.

It is still an open question whether The Provincial Government , the Province , will be able to financially handle the excess debt loan and rate increases , the obvious outcome of this debacle.

And now , there seems to be a push by Trudeau Junior ‘s Government to undermine the one significant victory on resource development in history that the Province has achieved —The Atlantic Accord.

In the last decade the Province has reaped $20 billion cash in royalties, made possible strictly because of the Accord . Just as importantly, the Accord made possible significant Provincial Influence over management and the rate and mode of development. Local companies have developed and gone international as a result. It was another Trudeau who denied Newfoundland such an Accord and, thankfully, the Province outlived Trudeau Senior, to see Brian Mulroney and his Government deliver on the Accord now in place.

Eerily, Newfoundland must re-live another Trudeau —and an attempt now to undermine the Accord with proposed new environmental processes which will undermine processes that have worked well —-with the realization of three successful producing oil fields of Hibernia, Terra Nova and White Rose delivering significant benefits to Canada as well as significant exploration activity. Additionally, successive Provincial Governments have not been aggressive in enforcing the provisions of the Accord.

Given that the two major political parties Provincially have both had a hand in Muskrat Falls, the people are left with little choice . Federally , the Federal Liberals , now back in power , and largely supported by Newfoundlanders , seem to be able to pursue whatever policies they deem important.

Meanwhile , as the debt increases , electricity rates balloon, and influence over our offshore oil and gas declines, notwithstanding the Atlantic Accord ( Federal and Provincial Legislation) , the people are left to wonder : is this what we voted for?

Google Burns a Heretic

From the Website Ethics and Public Policy

James Damore is fortunate that we don’t burn heretics at the stake, because he has blasphemed.

The fired Google engineer might as well have been writing a script designed to prove that one of the world’s largest companies embodies every left-wing stereotype imaginable — blinkered, intolerant, and authoritarian. Damore’s memo alleged that one problem with Google’s corporate culture is that people feel “shamed into silence” on important questions and, bam, they fired him. Hollywood might have rejected such a script on the grounds that Google would never do something that so confirms people’s suspicions about the Left. These are supposed to be the smartest people, right?

Damore told the truth. This is not to endorse every word of his memo, but he was completely right that the subject of innate differences between men and women has become taboo. He pointed out, fairly, that whereas some on the right reject science on questions of climate change and evolution, some (many?) on the left resist science on issues of biological differences between men and women. Among left-leaning intellectuals, and that includes the types who run Google, it is not only assumed that all observed differences in traits, interests, and choices between the sexes are the result of oppression (or “socially constructed”), but it is heresy to question this view.

Left-wing outlets like Vox have labelled Damore’s memo a “sexist screed,” and Danielle Brown, Google’s vice president for “diversity, integrity, and governance” issued a statement declining even to link to the memo because “it advanced incorrect assumptions about gender . . . and it’s not a viewpoint that I or this company endorses, promotes, or encourages.” That doesn’t quite capture it. Google suppresses dissent, just as the memo warned. Orwell lives.

So what did he say that was so intolerable? Did he say women aren’t smart? Did he say that women should not be recruited to work at Google? Hardly. He offered that perhaps biological differences between the sexes may partially account for the fact that women are not 50 percent of the engineers at Google (though they are about 48 percent of Google’s non-tech employees). He observed that, on average, men tend to be more interested in things and women more interested in people. What a scandal! Except, in 2015, women accounted for 20.03 percent of all engineering graduates, but 84.43 percent of health professionals. As Mark Perry of the American Enterprise Institute noted, the share of women holding tech positions at Google (20 percent) is close to the percentage of women computer science graduates (18 percent).

Damore said that men are more competitive and women more cooperative. Studies of the effects of testosterone and other hormones confirm that there is a biological foundation for these differing traits. Damore noted that women prefer more workplace flexibility than men and that accordingly, Google might want to permit more part-time work to accommodate women’s preferences. He pleaded, above all, that Google treat every person as an individual.

It is remarkable to me that any difference between the sexes is presumed to be a disadvantage for women — to the point that facts must be suppressed and orthodoxy enforced.

Our society erupts in routine firestorms about women in technical fields because that is one of the few that is male-dominated. But women far outnumber men in many other realms. Besides earning 56 percent of all bachelors degrees, women comprise 55 percent of financial managers, 59 percent of budget analysts, and 63 percent of insurance underwriters. Sixty-one percent of veterinarians are women, along with 72 percent of Ph.D. psychologists. Why are these disparities tolerable?

What Damore said about men being attracted to things and women to people is of course a generalization. Individuals will vary. Some women are into engineering and technical subjects, God bless them, just as some men are drawn to pediatrics and social work. But the bell curves are different, and the fact that men lag behind women in veterinary medicine is not necessarily due to structural sexism or discrimination. It may be a matter of preference. That was Damore’s point about engineers at Google.

The other truth that is obscured by this frenzy is that the economy is tilting in the direction of women’s natural advantages, not men’s. The post-industrial economy rewards communication skills, interpersonal skills, and cooperative efficiency. Men’s physical strength, willingness to endure danger and other hardships, and independence are of diminishing value. Those are challenges we must address for everyone’s good. But as Google just showed to its shame, you can’t say that and hope to survive in corporate America.

— Mona Charen is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. © 2017 Creators. com.

Is 56% a Slim Majority ? How About 62% and 67%

Global News carried this story today. While the numbers are negative to he Government’s immigration policy , the pollster manages to twist the story near the end.

The pollster himself, Mike Colledge , doesn’t even validly interpret the numbers.

Really no problem !

You think?

If you add the 56% with the 62% and with the 67% I think the people are saying we have a problem: Here is part of that article:

‘But, according to a new Ipsos poll, 62 per cent of respondents don’t think the Trudeau government has a “solid plan” to respond to the influx of refugees.

And 56 per cent of respondents say the fact that Ottawa had to call in the army shows that the issue is “out of control.”

Many Canadians also doubt whether those crossing into Quebec illegally are legitimate refugees. Sixty-seven per cent believe the migrants are trying to skip the legal immigration process.

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A slim majority (56 per cent) also believe that the government isn’t doing enough to protect the border, which is the longest land border in the world, from “those who want to cause harm to Canada.”

The numbers show that Canadians aren’t worried about migrants pouring over the border, Ipsos pollster Mike Colledge explains.

“I don’t think people are panicked or worried about migrants pouring over the border. I do think that for Canadians it’s about fairness and following process,” Colledge told Global News.

“Every time we’ve asked or surveyed on a range of things, we see they value fairness, they value the notion of following the rules — that’s why I think you see the two-thirds who say, ‘I think they’re jumping the queue.’”’

What a wonderful world we live where ‘experts’ can’t even read their own numbers.

Do You Really Want To Know What Political Correctness Is All About? This You Won’t believe , But It Is True!

From Jonathan Turley, Profesor at George Washington University and host of a globally popular blog.

Oregon Schools Strip “Lynch” Name From Three Schools Because They Sound Like “Lynching”

August 10, 2017 jonathanturley Academics, Bizarre, Politics, Society
cropped-Lynch-Logo-Empower2

It appears that the Centennial School District is really appreciative to the Lynch family for their generous donation of land for the establishment of public schools. However, it appears that their name is simply unacceptable because, when used as a noun, it brings up painful images of lynchings. We have previously discussed the same lunacy in higher education with buildings named after a Lynch. It appears that even if a school wants to name itself after Loretta Lynch, the first female African American Attorney General, she will have to change her name. Ironically, the first word in the motto of the Lynch Elementary School is “learn” but the learning curve appears too steep in the view of the board. Under the same logic, animal rights activists could object that the school symbol is calling for the lynching of lion cubs — a highly disturbing and traumatic image for young children.

KATU reported that the school board in Portland, Ore., dropped “Lynch” from the names of elementary schools after receiving complaints that the names of Lynch Meadows Elementary School, Lynch View Elementary School and Lynch Wood Elementary School reminded them too much of “lynch mobs” and “lynchings.”

As Sharlene Giard, a realtor and the school board’s chairwoman, explained that it was simply impossible to have children of color walk into a school with the name Lynch” “We have children of color and other cultures and we want to make sure that they are able to cross the threshold of those three schools and be comfortable in their surroundings.” Wouldn’t have been easier (and even educational) to simply explain that Lynch is a personal name and not a noun. Even on the elementary level, did students really think the school was built as a celebration of lynchings of minorities by mobs in Portland, Oregon?

So now anyone named Lynch should understand that their accomplishments will have to be recognized without using their names in memorials or dedications. That turns out to be a rather long list of accomplished Lynches. That includes not just Loretta Lynch but leaders like John Roy Lynch who not only became an attorney and military officer after being born a slave but was elected as the first African-American Speaker of the Mississippi House of Representatives. Too bad his name is not Giard.

It is chilling to see our public educational system in the hands of adults who think that this is a proper response to complaints rather than a discussion of the truth behind the name. How about a nice plaque on the Lynch family? It appears simply easier to ban the surname without any connection to an act of violence or intolerance. It is not clear if we will not shrub off the names of others with unfortunate nounal implications like Master. PETA may want to change the name Skinner Elementary School. Native Americans might want to strip away the name on Savage Elementary School. How about an inner city school named Gunn Elementary School?

The alternative honorees could have similar problem. Famous Oregon author Raymond Carver might upset vegans. Oregon football legend Sonny Sixkiller is a dead letter. Oregon author Bob Welch has the misfortune of a surname now viewed as a terrible slur.

I guess they could just name every school after Oregon native Courtney Love or, in the the interests of full disclosure, after Oregon civil war hero William Boring. Even better, they can capture the truly neutral content of their educational mission by naming it after Oregon native Mel Blanc.

My greatest concern is the type of children we are raising into citizens who are sheltered not only from pressures but perceived (and incorrect) insults of any kind. The notion that it whether something is a real insult or not is immaterial.

It is entirely based not on the true meaning or intent but merely how it is perceived by others. That is a terrible lesson not only in terms of history but citizenship for these students under the tutelage of the Centennial School District.