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The Trump vs. Powell-Jobs Twitter War has officially begun

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The President attacks widow of tech icon Steve Jobs

On Sunday morning, September 6, 2020, Donald Trump went to his Twitter to call out Apple co-founder Steve Job’s widow, Laurene Powell Jobs who has financial backing to the Atlantic magazine. On Thursday, The Atlantic published a story that reported Trump called American who had died in war both “losers” and “suckers”.

Read More: Trump calls war dead ‘Losers’ and ‘Suckers’ – Lincoln Project ad on Atlantic Story

The initial tweet stated: “Steve Jobs would not be happy that his wife is wasting money he left her on a failing Radical Left Magazine that is run by a con man (Goldberg) and spews FAKE NEWS & HATE. Call her, write her, let her know how you feel!!!”

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In: ‘Antitrust: Taking on Monopoly Power from the Gilded Age to the Digital Age’, Amy Klobuchar Takes on World’s Greatest Challenge

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Is the title above wrong? Depends who you ask…

In her new book, Klobuchar tries to connect the historical roots of antitrust actions to populism and her own ancestry. That’s not all, however. Although difficult, particularly for readers who are not legal scholars, there’s an important and deeper historic thread here that she is aiming to contribute to.

That job is to find a way to illuminate how the digital age, with all its challenges and complexities, can come to terms with the simple question of how to measure damage that is being done by big tech monopolies, through sheer size, power and lack of external accountability.

Moreover, there is an issue of how antitrust law and practice veered away from the remedies and goals, first established during the Gilded Age, toward a laissez-fair, anti-regulatory stance that gained steam in the Regan years.

That shift is, in many ways, to blame for the current extreme state characterized by dangerous levels of concentrated wealth and power by big tech.

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This effort may seem like one that is doomed to being ignored by all but the already long-since converted. But, make no mistake, it is a topic that will grow, reverberate and become more relevant as the current administration in Washington consolidates and comes into its own.

“People have just gotten beaten down. I wanted to show the public and elected officials that you’re not the first kids on the block with this. What do you think it was like back when trusts literally controlled everyone on the Supreme Court, or literally elected members of the Senate before they were elected by the public?”

— Amy Klobuchar, in Wired interview with Steven Levey

When President Biden recently nominated Lina M. Khan to the Federal Trade Commission, in addition to Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu, who announced earlier this month he would join the National Economic Council, he set forth a clear path for an antitrust direction that has the potential to be more than just rhetoric and window dressing.

Khan is an unequivocal proponent of a new era of antitrust, one that is, not coincidentally, along the lines of what Klobuchar advocates. Likely sharing these ultra clear views from her long and celebrated research, Khan, along with Wu, is a key addition to Biden’s growing roster of Big Tech critics, and there is already a blueprint for actions and cases that will build to a crescendo over the next several years.

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Biden’s call for the repeal of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, meanwhile, a hotly contested and possibly flawed legal shield some feel is exploited by Internet platforms, is another indicator of the tenor of the coming actions.

In a sense, with this bestselling book [on Amazon: #1 in Political Economy, #1 in Government Management, #1 in Business Law (Books)] the gargantuan task of connecting the culpability of massive, nearly infinitely powerful behemoths, each in it’s own territory, to the social and economic catastrophes that they’ve brought down on the world.

However, while politicians like Klobuchar may not have the charisma and energy to set a fire under the population, it is the very deeds themselves that will eventually conspire to ignite an uprising and put pressure on the government and the courts to take real, substantive measures. And with young, new faces and minds such as possessed by Khan and Wu, ultimately there is a bulwark of criticism against monopolist abuses building in government and among the public at large.

“I am never saying, ‘Get rid of their products.’ But let’s have more of the products that give you more choices. You can keep one product, but it’s better to have other products, because we’re not China.”

Amy Klobuchar in Wired interview with Steven Levey

 In response to Klobuchar’s quote above Steven Levey in Wired wrote; “In other words, Facebook could keep it’s main app, but the public might benefit if Instagram and WhatsApp were not Mark Zuckerberg productions.” 

While this kind of “moderate” view may not be the earth shattering remedy that would turn the juggernauts around in a heartbeat, from Zuckerberg’s perspective it would not be ideal, to say the least.

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And, since we have seen the unfettered and viral growth of big tech, for at least a quarter century in some cases, and since there was a aura of hero worship afforded their leaders for most of that time, a break-up, such as that could ultimately turn out to be the beginning of more sweeping changes. A welcome outcome for those that have been harmed the various monopolistic structures that rule nearly all our lives, or at least it seems, at times.

War of Giants

Levey then asked Klobuchar why legislators so often embarrass themselves in hearings with irrelevant partisanship, clueless technical questions, and time-wasting grandstanding. Her response;

“Welcome to my life,” she says. “I get it—there’s going to be hearings that are irritating to people who know a lot. But that’s a great argument for tech to use because they don’t want this oversight.” 

Amy Klobuchar in Wired interview with Steven Levey

In defense of using the word “antitrust in the title, while also advocating its eradication in future she responded:

 “Well, I thought antitrust was an interesting word”. “It’s not only about this body of law; it’s also about not trusting anyone.”

Amy Klobuchar in Wired interview with Steven Levey

Perhaps it is more the course of history that led to the current and incredibly extreme situation and obscene dominance by big tech that is what should never have be trusted to arise in the first place.

Perhaps these firms will one day be seen, looking back from future generations, as a temporarily necessary, but evil mistake of history, as was the toothless interpretation of laws that led to their rise from “scrappy underdog startups” into malignant monopolies run amok.

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Observation

After the insurrection, America’s far-right groups get more extreme

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As right-wing groups reorganize after the Capitol riot, scholars of the movement foresee increased polarization

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

As the U.S. grapples with domestic extremism in the wake of the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, warnings about more violence are coming from the FBI Director Chris Wray and others. The Conversation asked Matthew Valasik, a sociologist at Louisiana State University, and Shannon E. Reid, a criminologist at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte, to explain what right-wing extremist groups in the U.S. are doing. The scholars are co-authors of “Alt-Right Gangs: A Hazy Shade of White,” published in September 2020; they track the activities of far-right groups like the Proud Boys.

What are U.S. extremist groups doing since the Jan. 6 riot?

Local chapters of the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, Groypers and others are breaking away from their groups’ national figureheads. For instance, some local Proud Boys chapters have been explicitly cutting ties with national leader Enrique Tarrio, the group’s chairman.

Tarrio was arrested on federal weapons charges in the days before the insurrection, but he has also been revealed as a longtime FBI informant. He reportedly aided authorities in a variety of criminal cases, including those involving drug sales, gambling and human smuggling – though he has not yet been connected with cases against Proud Boys members.

When a leader of a far-right group or street gang leaves, regardless of the reason, it is common for a struggle to emerge among remaining members who seek to consolidate power. That can result in violence spilling over into the community as groups attempt to reshape themselves.

While some of the splinter Proud Boys chapters will likely maintain the Proud Boys brand, at least for the time being, others may evolve and become more radicalized. The Base, a neo-Nazi terror group, has recruited from among the ranks of Proud Boys. As the Proud Boys sheds affiliates, it would not be surprising for those with more enthusiasm about hateful activism to seek out more extreme groups. Less committed groups will wither away.

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How does that response compare with what happened after 2017’s ‘Unite the Right’ rally in Charlottesville?

Neither the Capitol insurrection nor the Charlottesville rally produced the response from mainstream America that far-right groups had hoped for. Rather than rising up in a groundswell of support, most Americans were appalled – some so much that they have abandoned the Republican Party.

Additionally, right-wingers have been hit hard by the post-insurrection actions by large technology companies like Facebook, Twitter, Apple, Google and Amazon. They took down far-right group members’ accounts and removed right-wing social media platforms, including permanently blacklisting Donald Trump’s Twitter account and temporarily blocking all traffic to Parler, a conservative social media platform. Those steps are more significant than earlier moderation and algorithm changes those companies had undertaken in previous efforts to curb online extremism.

Another major difference is the lack of regret. Nobody on the right wanted to be associated with Charlottesville after it happened. Figureheads of the far right who had initially promoted that rally saw the negative public reaction and distanced themselves, even condemning the “Unite the Right” rally.

After the insurrection at the Capitol, their response was different. They did not split and blame other right-wing groups. Instead, conservative and extreme-right circles have united behind a false claim that they did nothing wrong, and alleged, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that left-wing activists assaulted the Capitol – while disguised as right-wingers.

Are extremist groups attracting new members?

Some members have left extremist groups in the wake of the Jan. 6 violence. The members who remain, and the new members they are attracting, are increasing the radicalization of far-right groups. As the less committed members abandon these far-right groups, only the more devout remain. Such a shift is going to alter the subculture of these groups, driving them farther to the right. We expect this polarization will only accelerate the reactionary behaviors and extremist tendencies of these far-right groups.

Right-wing pundits and conservative media are continuing to stoke fears about the Biden administration. We and other observers of right-wing groups expect that extremists will come to see the events of Jan. 6 as just the opening skirmish in a modern civil war. We anticipate they will continue to seek an end to American democracy and the beginning of a new society free – or even purged – of groups the right wing fears, including immigrants, Jewish people, nonwhites, LGBTQ people and those who value multiculturalism.

We expect that these groups will continue to shift more and more to the extreme right, posing risks for acts of violence both large and small.

Have far-right extremists’ views toward the police changed?

With a Democratic administration and attorney general, the far right will no longer view federal law enforcement agencies as friendly, the way they did under the Trump administration. Rather, they view the police as the enemy.

Even before Joe Biden took office and the Republicans officially lost control of the U.S. Senate, the Capitol riot showed this divide between right-wing extremists and police. A Capitol Police officer was assaulted with a flagpole bearing an American flag, and some members of the mob were police officers and military personnel. Many more were military veterans.

It’s not clear what this different view of law enforcement means for police officers, active-duty military and veterans who are members of right-wing groups. But we anticipate that only those who are most zealously committed to far-right causes will remain active. That, in turn, will push those groups even farther to the extreme right.

Has anything changed for militias since Biden has become president?

In 2009, the Department of Homeland Security issued a report warning about the growing membership in far-right groups, including their active recruitment of military veterans. Shortly after the report was released, Republicans in Congress pushed for the report to be retracted and for dramatically reducing the federal effort to monitor far-right groups in the U.S. This permissive atmosphere allowed far-right groups to grow and spread nationwide.

The Trump administration further served far-right groups by failing to pay out federal grants for grassroots counterviolence programs, by refusing to help local law enforcement agencies with equipment or training to deal with these groups, and by routinely downplaying the violence perpetrated by these white power groups. Essentially, far-right groups were unpoliced for the past decade or more.

But that approach has ended. Merrick Garland’s appointment as Biden’s attorney general is a big signal: In his career at the Department of Justice before becoming a federal judge, Garland supervised the investigations of the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing and the 1996 Atlanta Olympics bombing.

These were two of the most noteworthy acts of far-right domestic terrorism in the nation’s history. Garland has said that he will make fighting right-wing violence and attacks on democracy major priorities of his tenure at the head of the Justice Department.

In January, Canada designated the Proud Boys and other right-wing groups as terrorist organizations, which puts pressure on U.S. law enforcement to reconsider how they evaluate, investigate and prosecute these extremist groups. Beyond law enforcement’s treating these far-right groups like street gangs, there are also laws in place to combat violence associated with domestic terrorism.

It appears that U.S. prosecutors may finally begin to take seriously the violent actions of Proud Boys, especially as more and more members are being charged with coordinating the breach of the U.S. Capitol Building.

But as police power comes to bear on these violent right-wing groups, many of their members remain at least as radicalized as they were on Jan. 6 — if not more so. Some may feel that more extreme measures are needed to resist the Biden administration.

Matthew Valasik, Associate Professor of Sociology, Louisiana State University and Shannon Reid, Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Criminology, University of North Carolina – Charlotte

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license.

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Breaking News

Trump will Launch Social Network “In a Few Months” according to Spokesperson

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Trump Twitter Ban

No where to go, now an attempt to go solo

After a lifetime ban from Twitter and other social media outlets in the aftermath of inciting the January 6th terrorist attack on the Capitol, today, on Fox News, a Trump spokesperson announced that he is starting his own network.

 Long-time adviser and spokesperson for the Trump campaign, Jason Miller,  stated on on Fox’s “MediaBuzz” that the former guy would be “returning to social media in probably about two or three months.” 

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In typical fashion spokesperson says it will be huge

Next he bragged that his return to social media would be via “his own platform” and that this new network would garner “tens of millions” of users and in his opinion would also “completely redefine the game.”

 “It’s going to completely redefine the game, and everybody is going to be waiting and watching to see what President Trump does, but it will be his own platform.”

—Jason Miller, Trump Spokesperson

This news comes at a time when the furor of constant rage tweeting from the former guy has finally died down. It remains to be seen if this announcement is credible as there are pending legal and financial challenges that could potentially stand in the way of such an undertaking. 


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Breaking News

Breaking: Biden orders US air strikes in Syria Against Iranian backed Militia

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Above: Photo / Unsplash

A site in Syria was struck by the US military. The site was used by militia groups backed by Iran. This follows reported rocket attacks against American forces in the area, CNN reports, citing source as a “US official.

This was the first known military action since the inauguration of President Joe Biden. Though the site that was hit had no known direct involvement in the rocket attacks, but Shia militias operating in the area, and backed by Iran were believed to have used the facilities.

According to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby the stakes were carried out “at President Biden’s direction” and were not just authorized in response to recent attacks on American and coalition forces, but to deal with “ongoing threats to those personnel.”

Kirby said that Biden conducted the strikes after consulting with US allies, including coalition partners.

On Monday, State Department spokesman Ned Price said “We have stated before that we will hold Iran responsible for the actions of its proxies that attack Americans,” and that “many of these attacks have used Iranian made, Iranian supplied weapons.”

Statement from Pentagon press Secretary:

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