Showing posts from August 13, 2017

Today's Trumpery


What to Do When You See Science Denial at the Science Museum

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[The Koch brothers donate large amounts to PBS and places like the Smithsonian and have garnered undue influence on their public education policies in the process. *RON*]

Hui Liu, Greenpeace USA / DeSmog Blob, 12 August 2017
I went to D.C.’s Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History expecting to learn about the history of our planet. Instead, I stumbled upon a Koch-funded climate denial disaster.

“With the planet in peril, arts groups can no longer afford the Koch brothers money.”

That’s what Washington Post art and culture critic Philip Kennicott wrote in a recent opinion piece about prolific climate denial funders Charles and David Koch. Having recently seen Koch money in action at one of the world’s most prestigious science museums, I couldn’t agree more.

On July 4, 2017, after watching the Independence Day Parade, I went to the Smithsonian's Natural History Museum feeling joyful.

I’ve visited the museum before, and every time I visit I’…

Workers Are Going Galt

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[The crapification of labour. Workers are forgoing jobs because they simply think they're worth more than the stingy wages employers are paying. But in a Trump universe this may backfire and result in more laws to 'enhance work force flexibility.' *RON*]

Daniel Gross, Slate, 11 August 2017

In the early years of the Obama administration, as new taxes on upper-income Americans were enacted as part of Obamacare and the expiry of the Bush tax cut loomed, it was common to hear libertarian types warn that businesspeople and entrepreneurs might just Go Galt. That is to say, if they determined that losing 50 cents of every dollar in taxation wasn’t worth their trouble, they’d take a cue from the hero of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, fold up their businesses, and quit work altogether. Check out this March 2009 Michelle Malkin column for an exegesis of this, um, idea. “Enough,” she wrote. “While they take to the streets politically, untold number…

Facebook establishes new censorship centre in Germany

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[I keep posting about this, but it's appalling that this story is so deeply buried. The cry of 'fake news' is a front for censorship and suppression. And it's not just here. See also: Google Censors Block Access to CounterPunch and Other Progressive Sites. *RON*]
Christoph Vandreier, World Socialist Web Site, 11 August 2017

Facebook announced Wednesday that it would open a new control centre in Essen with 500 employees. The number of workers responsible for censoring and checking content in Germany will almost double as a result. The company has thus far only one such centre in Berlin.

Facebook has gone to great lengths to cover up the work of the control centres. While the training documents and internal guidelines for the workers have been kept strictly secret, the company organised a tour of the Berlin centre for selected media outlets a month ago.

The public broadcaster WDR, Die Zeit and Spiegel Online were permitted to look…

Uber: “Battle to the Death” in Benchmark/Kalanick Power Struggle

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[It's a weird world where the kind of people who are needed for success in high tech are precisely the kind of people who should never, ever be put in charge of major corporations. *RON*]
Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism, 12 August 2017

Perhaps someone will blink, but at this juncture, the power struggle over Uber, the most richly valued venture capital investment, has taken an even more stunning turn, which is a very high bar given how much melodrama the ride-sharing company has managed to generate this year. There is now open warfare within the board, which one faction making a less-than-credible offer to buy out the venture capital firm, Benchmark, that toppled founder and former CEO Travis Kalanick.

Recall that on Thursday, Benchmark took the unheard-of step of suing Kalanick for fraud. The claims look pretty dubious, but the real point was assumed to be to check Kalanick’s efforts to sabotage the CEO search underway and get himself reinstat…

White nationalist rally in Virginia linked to three deaths, officials say

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[Only the guy from the Anti-Defamation League calls them Nazis and racists; not the AP. See also: For Media, Driving Into a Crowd of Protesters Is a ‘Clash’. *RON*]

Sarah Rankin, The Associated Press / The Globe & Mail, 13 August 2017
A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting a white nationalist rally Saturday in a Virginia college town, killing one person, hurting more than a dozen others and ratcheting up tension in a day full of violent confrontations.
Shortly after, a Virginia State Police helicopter that officials said was assisting with the rally crashed outside Charlottesville, killing the pilot and a trooper.

Play Video 0:56 One person killed after car plows into protest in Virginia (The Associated Press)
The chaos boiled over at what is believed to be the largest group of white nationalists to come together in a decade. The governor declared a state of emergency, and police dressed in riot gear ordered people out. Th…