Monthly Archives: April 2016

Google’s Spying Causes Intel To Shut Down SmartPhone and Tablet Markets

Nobody in the world, with any intelligence, cares to spend hundreds of dollars on a device used solely to help Google spy on them.

Smartphones and Tablets Now Universally Known As Threats to Life, Freedom, Privacy, Social life due to Google’s abuses of the data of every human. Intel says “screw that” and begins exit of the waning market as Apple iPhonres crash and the public turns away from Silicon Valley!

Intel cuts Atom chips, basically giving up on the smartphone and tablet markets

Intel is refocusing on ‘products that deliver higher returns.’

Intel smartphone
Credit: Intel

Intel could be on the verge of exiting the market for smartphones and standalone tablets, wasting billions of dollars it spent trying to expand in those markets.

The company is immediately canceling Atom chips, code-named Sofia and Broxton, for mobile devices, an Intel spokeswoman confirmed.

These are the first products on the chopping block as part of Intel’s plan to reshape operations after announcing plans this month to cut 12,000 jobs.

The news of the chip cuts was first reported by analyst Patrick Moorhead in an article on Forbes’ website.

Resources originally dedicated to Broxton and Sofia chips will be moved to “products that deliver higher returns and advance our strategy,” Intel’s spokeswoman said in an email.

Intel’s mobile chip roadmap now has a giant hole after the cancellation of the chips. Intel’s existing smartphone and tablet-only chips are aging and due for upgrades, and no major replacements are in sight. Sofia is already shipping, and Broxton was due to ship this year but had been delayed.

Intel is also phasing out its Atom X5 line of tablet chips code-named Cherry Trail, which is being replaced by Pentium and Celeron chips code-named Apollo Lake, aimed more at hybrids than pure tablets. Many PC makers are already choosing Intel’s Skylake Core M processors over Cherry Trail for hybrids and PC-like tablets.

Intel doesn’t view tablets as a standalone market any longer, with form factors quickly merging. The company will continue to support current tablet customers with existing chips, the Intel spokeswoman said.

“In terms of Cherry Trail, form factor boundaries are increasingly blurring in the mobile computing market, and we no longer look at tablets as a stand-alone segment,” an Intel spokeswoman said in an email Friday afternoon. “Our product roadmap reflects that. We will continue to support our tablet customers with Sofia 3G/3GR, Bay Trail and Cherry Trail now, and later with Apollo Lake and some SKUs from our Core processor family.”

Some products were on tap to get axed after Intel said it would review product lines and projects while restructuring operations. Intel had already deemphasized its bread-and-butter PC business, and the plan to also cut the mobile chips may be smart.

Atom was an expensive failure

The company poured billions of dollars into its mobile business, but Intel failed to unseat market leader ARM. Atom is available in just a handful of smartphones, and the tablet market is declining. PC makers are replacing tablets with detachable devices and hybrids.

The Atom product line has been in trouble for some time. Atom started off with a bang in netbooks, but its fortunes have sagged since then. Intel’s mobile chip updates haven’t followed a set timeline, and the last Atom chips for servers were released in 2013.

Intel’s mobile strategy is now tied up with 5G, and resources originally dedicated to Sofia and Broxton could be redirected in making 5G chips and modems. The new 5G networks could provide 100 times faster data throughput than 4G, and deployments are expected to start around 2020.

The move to 5G could change the way devices are made. Beyond mobile devices, it will bring speedy mobile connectivity to PCs, smart home devices, robots, drones, wearables, and industrial Internet of Things devices.

The focus on 5G also explains the retention of key mobile executive Aicha Evans by Intel. Earlier this month, it was reported that she was leaving the company after a year of leading the mobile chip business. But she’s a 5G expert and has already outlined the company’s strategy in that area. She will be staying at Intel, though her role is unclear.

The commitment to 5G is a long-term play for Intel, much like its Centrino wireless strategy in 2003 that ultimately made Wi-Fi a ubiquitous feature in laptops. The 5G move also plays into Intel’s preference to focus on future technologies.

Atom’s future could also be in the fast-growing Internet of Things market, which the chip maker is betting on. Variants of the Broxton chip could be used in smart gadgets and sensor devices that collect telemetry, which is then sent to the cloud for analysis.

Intel’s main focus will continue to be on Xeon server chips, cloud computing, field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), and silicon photonics.

 

Revealed: Google AI has access to huge haul of NHS patient data

A data-sharing agreement obtained by New Scientist shows that Google DeepMind’s collaboration with the NHS goes far beyond what it has publicly announced

Some parents and a baby being looked at in an A and E cubicle by a doctor in scrubs
Gathering information

Oli Scarff/AFP/Getty Images

It’s no secret that Google has broad ambitions in healthcare. But a document obtained by New Scientist reveals that the tech giant’s collaboration with the UK’s National Health Service goes far beyond what has been publicly announced.

The document – a data-sharing agreement between Google-owned artificial intelligence company DeepMind and the Royal Free NHS Trust – gives the clearest picture yet of what the company is doing and what sensitive data it now has access to.

The agreement gives DeepMind access to a wide range of healthcare data on the 1.6 million patients who pass through three London hospitals run by the Royal Free NHS Trust – Barnet, Chase Farm and the Royal Free – each year. This will include information about people who are HIV-positive, for instance, as well as details of drug overdoses and abortions. The agreement also includes access to patient data from the last five years.

“The data-sharing agreement gives Google access to information on millions of NHS patients”

 

DeepMind announced in February that it was working with the NHS, saying it was building an app called Streams to help hospital staff monitor patients with kidney disease. But the agreement suggests that it has plans for a lot more.

This is the first we’ve heard of DeepMind getting access to historical medical records, says Sam Smith, who runs health data privacy group MedConfidential. “This is not just about kidney function. They’re getting the full data.”

The agreement clearly states that Google cannot use the data in any other part of its business. The data itself will be stored in the UK by a third party contracted by Google, not in DeepMind’s offices. DeepMind is also obliged to delete its copy of the data when the agreement expires at the end of September 2017.

All data needed

Google says that since there is no separate dataset for people with kidney conditions, it needs access to all of the data in order to run Streams effectively. In a statement, the Royal Free NHS Trust says that it “provides DeepMind with NHS patient data in accordance with strict information governance rules and for the purpose of direct clinical care only.”

Still, some are likely to be concerned by the amount of information being made available to Google. It includes logs of day-to-day hospital activity, such as records of the location and status of patients – as well as who visits them and when. The hospitals will also share the results of certain pathology and radiology tests.

As well as receiving this continuous stream of new data, DeepMind has access to the historical data that the Royal Free trust submits to the Secondary User Service (SUS) database – the NHS’s centralised record of all hospital treatments in the UK. This includes data from critical care and accident and emergency departments.

Royal Free did not respond to New Scientist’s questions about what opt-out mechanisms are available to its patients. There is already a way for patients to opt out of SUS data collection, but it is not straightforward and involves writing to your GP. But this does not cover live data on admission, discharge and transfer of patients.

The document also reveals that DeepMind is developing a platform called Patient Rescue, which will provide data analytics services to NHS hospital trusts. It states that Patient Rescue will use data streams from hospitals to build other tools, in addition to Streams, that could carry out real-time analysis of clinical data and support diagnostic decisions. One aim, the agreement says, is for these tools to help medical staff adhere to the UK’s National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidelines.

DeepMind is not planning to automate clinical decisions – such as what treatments to give patients – but says it wants to support doctors by making predictions based on data that is too broad in scope for an individual to take in.

Comparing a new patient’s information with millions of other cases, Patient Rescue might be able to predict that they are in the early stages of a disease that has not yet become symptomatic, for example. Doctors could then run tests to see if the prediction is correct.

Google declined to discuss what other kinds of tools it could build on the Patient Rescue platform – for instance by setting its artificial intelligences to work on huge volumes of data from millions of patients. However, it has previously stated that early detection of septicaemia – blood poisoning that kills 31,000 people in the UK every year – might be one future application.

The data that DeepMind is collecting will let it make predictions about any disease it wants, says Smith. “What DeepMind is trying to do is build a generic algorithm that can do this for anything – anything you can do a test for.”

We already know the kinds of things that are possible when machine learning is combined with large amounts of high quality medical data. David Clifton, who runs the Computational Health Informatics Lab at the University of Oxford, says his group has already deployed machine learning tools across the four hospitals that are part of the Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust. “If you’re in one of these hospitals you’re being monitored with our stuff,” says Clifton.

Making predictions

As well as monitoring the health of individual patients, these systems also watch out for outbreaks of infectious disease. Clifton and his colleagues are also using machine learning on data from Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust, which provides in-home social care. Clifton says they can use the data to predict things like when a person might develop bipolar disorder.

It is not about replacing doctors or nurses, says Clifton. “It’s about how can we bring the attention of medics to the right place,” he says. “We originally did this in jet engines. There the goal is the same – bringing human expertise to bear on the right part of the system.”

We need not be concerned about Google breaching patient privacy or misusing the data, says Ross Anderson of the University of Cambridge, who taught DeepMind co-founder Demis Hassabis as an undergraduate. In fact, Google has a good track record of keeping data secure and private. “If learning about adverse health outcomes helps them to predict patients at risk, then this is a perfectly reasonable way to make money,” he says.

For Anderson, the more important question is whether Google – already one of the world’s most powerful companies – should have so much control over health analytics. “If Google gets a monopoly on providing some kind of service to the NHS it will burn the NHS,” says Anderson.

Smith has a parallel concern about the knowledge DeepMind is getting via this agreement. “This is private knowledge,” he says. “It’s only going to be available through Google or the Royal Free.”

“Healthcare is going digital in the 21st Century with huge benefits to patients,” says UK life sciences minister George Freeman. “But NHS patients need to know their data will be secure and not be sold or used inappropriately, which is why we have introduced tough new measures to ensure patient confidentiality.”

Google says it has no commercial plans for DeepMind’s work with Royal Free and that the current pilots are being done for free. But the data to which Royal Free is giving DeepMind access is hugely valuable. It may have to destroy its copy of the data when the agreement expires next year, but that gives ample time to mine it for health insights.

Data mining is the name of the game in the burgeoning field of machine learning and artificial intelligence, and there’s no company in the world better at that than Google.

Internet superpower

Google’s move into healthcare could make it a target of accusations of anti-competitive activity. It won’t be the first time.

  • In 2002, a company called SearchKing sued Google, saying that its dominance in search gave it undue influence over other internet businesses. Google admitted to intentionally destroying SearchKing’s rank in its search engine, but still won the case.
  • In 2005, Google was taken to task for making digital copies of 10 million books. Critics complained that Google’s size and influence allowed it to broker a deal with copyright holders that few, if any, other companies could match.
  • Since 2010, the European Commission has been investigating allegations of anti-competitive behaviour by Google. The giant is claimed to have abused its dominant position in online search to direct users to its other products, such as maps, flight search and shopping.

This article will appear in print under the headline “Google knows your ills”

The Structure Of Reality Has Been Shattered by CERN!

ZERO HEDGE: UNMASKED!

Unmasking the Men Behind Zero Hedge, Wall Street’s Renegade Blog

The veil is lifted on a secretive website.

FIGHT CLUB, Brad Pitt, 1999, TM &  20th Century Fox Film Corp./courtesy Everett Collection

Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden in Fight Club, 1999.

Source: 20th Century Fox Film Corp./Everett Collection

Colin Lokey, also known as “Tyler Durden,” is breaking the first rule of Fight Club: You do not talk about Fight Club. He’s also breaking the second rule of Fight Club. (See the first rule.)

After more than a year writing for the financial website Zero Hedge under the nom de doom of the cult classic’s anarchic hero, Lokey’s going public. In doing so, he’s answering a question that has bedeviled Wall Street since the site sprang up seven years ago: Just who is Tyler Durden, anyway?

The answer, it turns out, is three people. Following an acrimonious departure this month, in which two-thirds of the trio traded allegations of hypocrisy and mental instability, Lokey, 32, decided to unmask himself and his fellow Durdens.

Lokey said the other two men are Daniel Ivandjiiski, 37, the Bulgarian-born former analyst long reputed to be behind the site, and Tim Backshall, 45, a well-known credit derivatives strategist. (Bloomberg LP competes with Zero Hedge in providing financial news and information.) 

In a telephone interview, Ivandjiiski confirmed that the men had been the only Tyler Durdens on the payroll since Lokey came aboard last year, but he criticized his former colleague’s decision to come forward.

He called Lokey’s parting gift a case of sour grapes. Backshall, meanwhile, declined to comment, referring questions to Ivandjiiski. A political science graduate with an MBA and a Southern twang, Lokey said he had a checkered past before joining Zero Hedge. Earlier this month, overwork landed him in a hospital because he felt a panic attack coming on, he said.

“Ultimately we wish Colin all the best, he’s clearly a troubled individual in many ways, and we are frankly disappointed that he’s decided to take his displeasure with the company in such a public manner,” Ivandjiiski said.

The Schism

Ivandjiiski worked for a hedge fund before being barred by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority in 2008 for insider trading. He didn’t admit or deny wrongdoing, the agency said. Backshall is a familiar face on financial news networks who has been quoted by media outlets, including Bloomberg. His involvement with Zero Hedge, along with that of Lokey, hasn’t been widely known.

The schism between the men sheds light on a website popular among market professionals, one that mixes detailed financial analysis with sensational headlines such as “The Coming War Will Solve Our Unemployment & Growth Problem” and “Exposed—How Two Janet Yellen Phone Calls Saved The World.” 

Since being founded in the depths of the financial crisis, Zero Hedge has grown from a blog to an Internet powerhouse. Often distrustful of the “establishment” and almost always bearish, it’s known for a pessimistic world view. Posts entitled “Stocks Are In a Far More Precarious State Than Was Ever Truly Believed Possible” and “America’s Entitled (And Doomed) Upper Middle Class” are not uncommon.

The site’s ethos is perhaps best summed up by the tagline at the top of its homepage, also borrowed from Fight Club: “On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero.” A paean to populism, the 1999 film is filled with loathing for consumerism and the financial system. Brad Pitt portrays Tyler Durden as hell-bent on bringing down the corrupt system of the global elite—an attitude often reflected in Zero Hedge’s content.

With that in mind, the website has argued that “pseudonymous speech” is necessary amid an atmosphere of stifled public dissent—hence the “Tyler Durden” alias was born. In earlier years, Durden was joined by “Marla Singer,” another Fight Club character, as one of the site’s most prominent authors.

“It reminds me of a successful information operation where you mix in the propaganda stories along with other legitimate stories,” said Craig Pirrong, finance professor at the University of Houston. “There are some interesting things on it, and then there are the crazy things.”

Profit Motive

Despite holding itself out as a town crier for market angst, transcripts from Zero Hedge internal chat sessions provided by Lokey reveal a focus on Web traffic by the Durdens. Headlines are debated and a relentless publishing schedule maintained to keep readers sated. Lokey said the emphasis on profit—and what he considered political bias at the site—motivated him to quit. 

He pointed to the wealth of the Durdens as a factor. Ivandjiiski has a multimillion-dollar mansion in Mahwah, N.J., and Backshall lives in a plush San Francisco suburb—not exactly reflections of Pitt’s anticapitalist icon. “What you are reading at Zero Hedge is nonsense. And you shouldn’t support it,” Lokey wrote in an e-mail. “Two guys who live a lifestyle you only dream of are pretending to speak for you.”

Lokey adds: “Durden lives in a castle. If you’ve seen Fight Club, you know how ironic that is.”

A former “director of contributor success” at website Seeking Alpha, Lokey said he joined Zero Hedge for $6,000 a month and received an annual bonus of $50,000, earning more than $100,000 last year. His salary helped pay the rent on a “very nice” condominium on South Carolina’s Hilton Head Island, he said. Despite the compensation, he contends that he left because he disagreed with the site’s editorial vision. “Reality checks are great. But Zero Hedge ceased to serve that public service years ago,” Lokey wrote. “They care what generates page views. Clicks. Money.”

Zero Hedge founder Ivandjiiski defended the site, adding that it’s designed to be a for-profit entity. “Ultimately, the website makes money, and it’s profitable, which is also why we’ve never had to seek outside funding or any outside money—our only revenue is from advertising, always has been since day one,” he said. “Obviously, every publisher’s mission is to maximize revenue and page views, and we think that we do it in a way that is appropriate.”

Outside the Bubble

Any website’s focus on traffic and revenue certainly isn’t unusual. But Lokey said he was irked by what he saw as the hypocrisy of Zero Hedge and how it runs counter to its antiestablishment image. In the chat transcripts, Ivandjiiski refers to America’s “silent majority” as “beastly,” while Backshall acknowledges life in the U.S. is bad “outside of my bubble.”

Ivandjiiski disagreed with the suggestion that personal worth or lifestyle precluded them from donning the mask of Durden (the character who quipped “the things you own end up owning you”) to deride the prevailing order. “We’ve never said that we are pro-socialist,” he said.

Lokey, who said he wrote much of the site’s political content, claimed there was pressure to frame issues in a way he felt was disingenuous. “I tried to inject as much truth as I could into my posts, but there’s no room for it. “Russia=good. Obama=idiot. Bashar al-Assad=benevolent leader. John Kerry= dunce. Vladimir Putin=greatest leader in the history of statecraft,” Lokey wrote, describing his take on the website’s politics. Ivandjiiski countered that Lokey could write “anything and everything he wanted directly without anyone writing over it.”

Working at Zero Hedge was also exhausting, Lokey said, and typically involved early morning starts and writing as many as 15 posts a day of as many as 1,500 words each. The work didn’t stop on the weekends, either. Text messages exchanged between Lokey and Ivandjiiski, screen shots of which were provided by the latter, paint the picture of a work environment that ranged from exhilarating to exasperating.

For instance, Lokey says he’s “scared to even ask for an hour off,” while Ivandjiiski replies that “if you ever need time off for whatever reason, never hesitate to just ask.” In February, Lokey says, “I love this company and this website,” and tells Ivandjiiski “you saved my life,” expressing thanks for the job.

By April 2—the day Lokey left Zero Hedge—their relationship had deteriorated significantly, according to the messages provided by Ivandjiiski.

“I can’t be a 24-hour cheerleader for Hezbollah, Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, and Trump anymore. It’ s wrong. Period. I know it gets you views now, but it will kill your brand over the long run,” Lokey texted Ivandjiiski. “This isn’t a revolution. It’s a joke.”

Vox’s Puff Piece on Goldman Sachs Doesn’t Reveal Goldman Sponsors Vox

Vox’s Puff Piece on Goldman Sachs Doesn’t Reveal Goldman Sponsors Vox

Vox: Why Goldman Sachs Just Started Offering Savings Accounts for the MassesVox’s Matthew Yglesias (4/25/16) gave a generous write-up to Goldman Sachs’ new commercial banking subsidiary, GS Bank, without noting that Goldman Sachs is a sponsor of Vox.

Despite the obligatory “to be sure” paragraph, where Yglesias ran through some of the downsides (“they don’t have a checking account and there’s no ATM access”), the post mostly served to promote a new product “for the masses” from Goldman Sachs, a company worth roughly $87 billion.  One section in particular was glowing:

What Goldman Sachs has that other online banks don’t is a widely recognized brand name built on excellence in other dimensions of financial services that could help further push internet banking beyond the early adopter demographic.

“A widely recognized brand name built on excellence” would probably not be how the thousands it defrauded with faulty mortgages would describe Goldman Sachs.

Another section that defended the world’s second-largest investment bank against “populist” critics concerned about the merger of investment and retailing banking was equally eyebrow-raising:

For fear of looking like pawns of Wall Street, they won’t come out and say this loudly, but [moderate Democrats] quietly think that it’s safer to have an economy dominated by well-balanced universal banks like JPMorgan Chase than by institutions that focus on a narrow set of business lines. Both the Canadian and European banking systems are dominated by universal banks, and during the 2007 crisis universal banks were more stable than narrower banks.

Missing from this report was any disclosure that Goldman Sachs is a sponsor of Vox’s podcast, The Weeds, co-costed by Yglesias. How much exactly Goldman Sachs pays Vox Media is unknown, but any amount should compel the “new media” company to note this fact when reporting on Goldman Sachs — especially when it’s promoting both its economic and political bottom line.

One of those Goldman-sponsored podcasts last week also served the investment bank’s interests: After much hand-wringing, the episode argued that raising income taxes on the super-wealthy didn’t actually do much to reduce inequality, with Yglesias asserting, “It is not a great idea to adopt an ‘inequality’ focus.” While it’s possible this conclusion may have been arrived at in good faith, it’s easy to see why Goldman Sachs—whose partners are worth an average of $24 million — would be interested in sponsoring a media company that aggressively argues against radical redistributive policies.

Vox: Goldman Sachs Paid to Expand Pre-K in UtahLast fall, the same week Vox’s podcast made an earlier argument against higher income taxes on the rich, Vox ran another Goldman Sachs puff piece: “Goldman Sachs Paid to Expand Pre-K in Utah. It Worked” (10/19/15), education reporter Libby Nelson’s glowing 870-word portrayal of Goldman Sachs as an educator of disadvantaged children. There was no disclosure in that piece, either, that Goldman was a Vox sponsor.

Vox Media, which landed a $200 million investment last August from Comcast (the same cable giant that helped seed it back in 2009 and 2012), has had previous disclosure problems. A Vox “explainer” last September (9/8/15; FAIR.org, 9/9/15) asserted that “cable bundling almost certainly saves customers money in aggregate,” singling out Comcast as a company that “may not be much loved by its customers, but it has the weight of their collective voice in its bargaining over carriage fees.” And Vox’s repeated attacks on single-payer healthcare (FAIR.org, 1/30/16) failed to mention that Comcast is a major investor in for-profit healthcare technology companies.

Vox, which ironically announced last November that it will be moving into Goldman Sachs’ old address at 85 Broad Street in New York, has had an advertising relationship with the investment bank that dates back to at least late 2014, when Vox’s Creative team made content for Goldman Sachs to promote its energy investments.

Readers have a right to know when writers are covering their sponsors, especially when that coverage is broadly positive and dovetails with the economic and ideological interests of the company in question.


Adam Johnson is a contributing analyst for FAIR.org. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamJohnsonNYC.

You can contact Vox here (or via Twitter: @VoxDotCom). Please remember that respectful communication is the most effective.

 

Your Asphalt Road Will Kill You With Toxic Petroleum and Coal Poisons Says Oregon State University

Coal-tar based sealcoats on driveways, parking lots far more toxic than suspected

Source:
Oregon State University
Summary:
The pavement sealcoat products used widely around the nation on thousands of asphalt driveways and parking lots are significantly more toxic and mutagenic than previously suspected, according to a new article.
FULL STORY

Sealcoats are products often sprayed or brushed on asphalt pavements to improve their appearance and extend their lifespan. Products based on coal tar are most commonly used east of the U.S. continental divide, and those based on asphalt most common west of the divide.
Credit: © geewhiz / Fotolia
 
 

The pavement sealcoat products used widely around the nation on thousands of asphalt driveways and parking lots are significantly more toxic and mutagenic than previously suspected, according to a new paper published this week by researchers from Oregon State University.

Of particular concern are the sealcoat products based on use of coal tar emulsions, experts say. Studies done with zebrafish — an animal model that closely resembles human reaction to toxic chemicals — showed developmental toxicity to embryos.

Sealcoats are products often sprayed or brushed on asphalt pavements to improve their appearance and extend their lifespan. Products based on coal tar are most commonly used east of the U.S. continental divide, and those based on asphalt most common west of the divide.

The primary concern in sealcoats are polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAHs, which are common products of any type of combustion, and have been shown to be toxic to birds, fish, amphibians, plants and mammals, including humans.

There are many different types of PAHs. This study was able to examine the presence and biologic activity of a much greater number of them in sealcoats than has been done in any previous research. The OSU program studying PAHs is one of the most advanced of its type in the world, and can identify and analyze more than 150 types of PAH compounds.

It found some PAHs in coal tar sealcoats that were 30 times more toxic than one of the most common PAH compounds that was studied previously in these products by the U.S. Geological Survey.

The OSU study also showed that new PAH compounds found in coal tar sealcoats had a carcinogenic risk that was 4 percent to 40 percent higher than any study had previously showed. Among the worst offenders were a group of 11 “high molecular weight” PAH derivative compounds, of which no analysis had previously been reported.

By contrast, the study showed that sealcoats based on asphalt, more commonly used in the West, were still toxic, but far less than those based on coal tar. Use of coal tar sealcoats, which are a byproduct of the coal coking process, is most common in the Midwest and East.

The research was reported this week in Environmental Science and Technology Letters, in work supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Science’s Superfund Research Program, and done by researchers in the OSU College of Agricultural Sciences and OSU College of Science.

“Our study is consistent with previous findings made by the USGS,” said Staci Simonich, a professor with appointments in OSU’s departments of Environmental and Molecular Toxicology and Chemistry. “But we were able to study a much wider number of PAH compounds than they did. As a result, we found even higher levels of toxicity in coal-tar based sealcoats than has previously been suspected.”

“This should assist individuals and municipalities to make more informed decisions about the use of sealcoats and weigh their potential health risks against the benefits of these products,” said Simonich, the corresponding author on the study. “And if a decision is made to use sealcoats, we concluded that the products based on asphalt are significantly less toxic than those based on coal tar.”

The previous research done by the USGS about the potential health risks of sealcoat products has been controversial, with some industry groups arguing that the federal government agency overstated the risks. The new OSU study indicates that previous research has, if anything, understated the risks.

A 2011 report from the USGS outlined how PAH compounds from sealcoat products can find their way into soils, storm waters, ponds, streams, lakes, and even house dust, as the compounds are tracked by foot, abraded by car tires, washed by rain and volatilize into the air. They reported that the house dust in residences adjacent to pavement that had been treated with a coal tar-based sealcoat had PAH concentrations 25 times higher than those normally found in house dust.

Some states and many municipalities around the nation have already banned the use of coal tar-based sealcoats, due to the human, wildlife and environmental health concerns. In the European Union, use of coal tar-based sealcoats is limited or banned.

 

Story Source:

The above post is reprinted from materials provided by Oregon State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Ivan A. Titaley, Anna Chlebowski, Lisa Truong, Robert L. Tanguay, Staci L. Massey Simonich. Identification and Toxicological Evaluation of Unsubstituted PAHs and Novel PAH Derivatives in Pavement Sealcoat Products. Environmental Science & Technology Letters, 2016; DOI: 10.1021/acs.estlett.6b00116

Cite This Page:

Oregon State University. “Coal-tar based sealcoats on driveways, parking lots far more toxic than suspected.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 April 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/04/160427151028.htm>.
 

 

UW Publishes A How To Be a White Yuppie Guide For Ladies

 

 

Look like this, not that: UW pulls cheerleader-tryout advice after angry backlash

 

 

 

 

A University of Washington infographic advising women how to do their makeup and hair for cheer-team trials sparked a social-media backlash Tuesday.

 

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If you’re a woman and want to be on the Husky cheer and dance team, by all means come to tryouts with a “bronze, beachy glow, false lashes, girl about town lipstick, flattering eye shadow.”

Natural and spray tans are encouraged, but don’t flash “dark, smokey eyes” or wear “too much makeup.” Then again, “nude lips,” or hair in a ponytail, is a no-no.

That advice, along with a photo of a white woman with blond hair posing in shorts and a sports bra, was posted on Facebook by the University of Washington cheerleading team Monday night, four days before Husky cheerleader tryouts.

A Facebook backlash began building online immediately, and the infographic — modeled after similar ones posted by Washington State University and Louisiana State University — was removed before 9 a.m. Tuesday.

“I can’t believe this is real,” said UW student Jazmine Perez, director of programming for student government, via email.

“One of the first things that comes mind is objectification and idealization of Western beauty, which are values I would like to believe the University doesn’t want to perpetuate,” she said. “As a student of color who looks nothing like the student in the poster, this feels very exclusive.”

Said Signe Burchim, a UW senior: “I think it’s really upsetting and kind of disheartening the way it’s basically asking these women who want to try out to perform their femininity — but not too much.” Such a message would never go out to men trying out for a sport, she said.

In a statement, Husky athletics officials said they created the graphic “in response to a high volume of student questions about cheer and dance team tryouts.”

It was removed after the department “determined that some of the details and descriptions provided were inconsistent with the values of the UW spirit program and department of athletics.”

Seattle resident Clay Thompson posted it on his Facebook page “to ensure that the University of Washington addresses the overt racism (I know there’s more, but let’s start there) in the ad.”

He called it “offensive, exclusionary and ignorant. Those are not values of Seattle or the Puget Sound community.”

“False lashes and not nude lips, but don’t wear too much makeup …? So conflicting,” wrote one commenter on Facebook. “And why so much focus on the ‘right’ makeup, hair, clothes and nails for a tryout?”

Another wrote: “When I was a cheerleader we worked so hard to be considered a sport. This infographic goes against what we fought for. We don’t ask the same of any other athletes. And really no ponytails??”

 

Atlanta Professor claims SJW movement was created by Hillary Clinton campaign staff

Atlanta Professor claims SJW movement was created by Hillary Clinton campaign staff

 

 

By Deanne Lunst

 

 

In internet blog parlance “SJW” stand for Social Justice Warriors. It is a denigrating term meant to refer to obese woman who often identify as lesbian or bi, have tattoos and nose piercings and were formally known as “violent feminists”. They are disdained by one group of writers on Reddit, Voat, Facebook and other screed-sites.

 

 

Professor Anders claims to have first hand knowledge that the whole “SJW movement” was created by a Clinton campaign manager in order to use the “Streisand Effect” to drive more women to support the Clinton Campaign. The concept lies in the theory that the out-raged women will flock to Hillary because she is the female identifier in the election.

 

 

In fact, the whole SJW concept did emerge at the same time as Clinton’s web campaign effort began.

 

 

Does Clinton use dirty tricks? Another recent disclosure claims that the Clinton campaign flooded Bernie Sanders Facebook page with child porn and spent millions of dollars to post meat puppet comments on Reddit.

 

 

Could a Clinton trick to make over-weight woman believe that Republican’s are attacking them on the internet lead to victory for Hillary? A large population of American woman are obese, so the numbers could work out.

 

 

How might this tactic fail?

 

 

If overweight women realize Clinton is exploiting them, the whole SJW think could back-fire in a big way. If Huma and Hillary are not actually secret lovers, as the GOP implies, then the lesbian side of the SJW profile losses some clout.

 

 

How will this pan out? Who created the SJW’s? Stay tuned to REDDIT for the reveal.

 

THE DEATH OF YAHOO: FRAT HOUSE ATTITUDES COST YAHOO ITS LIFE!

 

Yahoo only hired “attractive yuppies” but ended up with an ugly bottom line!

 

The headquarters of Yahoo! in Sunnyvale, California, encompasses roughly 1 million square feet of waterfront office space, with floor-to-ceiling windows and views of San Francisco Bay. Yahoo owns the campus, as well as a 50-acre plot of land in Santa Clara that was once seen as a possible location for an expanded headquarters but which now contains a parking lot for the San Francisco 49ers. About 3,500 employees and contractors, many of them engineers with advanced computer science degrees , come to work in Sunnyvale; an additional 6,000 report to offices in Singapore, London, and two dozen or so other cities around the world. There’s a research lab in Israel staffed by Ph.D.s and a media team that includes former Today show anchor Katie Couric . Yahoo owns thousands of patents, the broadcast rights to the entire Saturday Night Live back catalog, and an e-mail service with 250 million users. Jerry and David ’s Guide to the World Wide Web, as Yahoo’s founders first called their creation when they launched it 22 years ago , reaches more than 1 billion users each month and took in almost $5 billion in revenue in 2015. You might think all of these assets would add up to something, but you’d be wrong. Yahoo, when looked at in a certain way, is worth approximately -$8 billion.

By Max Chafkin and Brian Womack

April 28, 2016

 

 

The minus sign above isn’t a typo.

Think of Yahoo as a traditional enterprise (with all the assets just mentioned) stuck on top of a small safe deposit box. Inside that box: a huge pile of cash, plus stock certificates of two Asian tech companies. Yahoo owns about 15 percent of Internet giant Alibaba, a stake that would trade on the open market for roughly $29 billion. It also has a 36 percent holding (worth about $9 billion) in Yahoo! Japan, a publicly traded company based in Tokyo that long ago abandoned Yahoo’s search technology for Google’s. If you add up the cash and the stocks, you’ll notice that the value of the contents of the box totals $43 billion. That’s $8 billion more than the market capitalization of Yahoo, $35 billion, which includes the company and the stuff in that imaginary box. The implication: Everything you think of as Yahoo—apps, websites, employees, computers, buildings—has a negative value.

A more charitable analysis, where one imagines Yahoo selling its stock and paying the full corporate tax rate, yields a depressing result: Its operating business might be worth $6 billion.

Photograph: Yahoo/Flickr

This discrepancy, or the “significantly negative value” of Yahoo’s operating business, as the hedge fund Starboard Value put it in an exasperated letter in November, is also a withering assessment of Marissa Mayer, Yahoo’s chief executive officer, who until recently was one of Silicon Valley’s brightest stars.

“It’s hard to get someone of this caliber,” the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen said when Mayer’s hiring was announced in 2012. Andreessen celebrated the move as a bold departure from what had been a series of ineffectual CEOs—Mayer was the sixth in five years—who’d allowed Yahoo to fall behind Google and Facebook. Investors were charmed, as were the media, which found in Mayer, 40, something severely lacking in most techies: glamour. Mayer, “an unusually stylish geek,” as Vogue described her in 2013, was the rare Silicon Valley figure who could credibly attend both an all-night hackathon and a Met Gala after-party.

Mayer’s plan for Yahoo was straightforward, if hard to do: Develop products and revamp old ones to transform the mid–1990s-vintage company into a startup capable of exponential growth. It was an audacious idea, but Mayer seemed qualified to pull it off. A graduate of Stanford’s Symbolic Systems Program, she was employee No. 20 at Google and the product manager responsible for the design of the search bar. Partly thanks to her eye for simplicity, Google became not just a searchable index of Web pages but, for many users, a synonym for the Internet itself. Mayer helped sideline Yahoo; now she was going to help save it.

Given another three years—the amount of time Mayer recently suggested she would need to complete a turnaround—it’s possible her high-risk strategy could bear fruit. But it seems less and less likely she’ll be able to hang on anywhere near that long.

In December, SpringOwl Asset Management, a small activist hedge fund, published a 99-page litany of Yahoo’s missteps, including—by its calculation—$2.8 billion spent on failed acquisitions, $450 million on free food, $9 million on new phones, and $7 million on a Great Gatsby-themed holiday party. “I don’t think she has any management skills,” says Eric Jackson, managing director of SpringOwl.

Mayer vigorously defended her turnaround in a February call with investors, during which the company also reported its largest-ever quarterly loss. She contended that Jackson’s figures for the food and holiday party were “exaggerated by more than a factor of three,” while characterizing Yahoo’s flat revenue as a sort of achievement. “Yahoo today is a far stronger, more modern company than the one I joined three and a half years ago,” she said, announcing layoffs of 15 percent of her staff and drastic cost-cutting measures.

“I kind of wish the story hadn’t been told that Yahoo was miraculously saved by Marissa”

These moves haven’t mollified investors. In March, Starboard Value, which once got the board of Darden Restaurants replaced by, among other things, criticizing Olive Garden for failing to salt its pasta water, announced that it would attempt to unseat Mayer and Yahoo’s entire board—if the company didn’t sell itself first. (On April 27, Yahoo announced a compromise with Starboard, giving the hedge fund four board seats.) Yahoo is now in the midst of what it terms a “strategic review,” a nice way of saying “for sale.” Preliminary bids were due on April 18. According to someone who’s seen them, the bids for Yahoo’s core business range from $4 billion to $8 billion—which, true, would be a big step up from –$8 billion. Among the candidates are Verizon and YP Holdings, better known as the publisher of the Yellow Pages.

Mayer’s position is so weak that when a Bloomberg Businessweek reporter and an editor visited the company’s offices in New York to press the case for an interview, a security guard asked, unprompted, whether Mayer would keep her job. When the question was put back to him, he shook his head, grimaced, and tugged at his collar. “Those hedge fund guys,” he said, “they really don’t like her.”

Mayer, who declined multiple requests for comment, has said she hopes to stay at the company. But two people familiar with the thinking at Verizon, the leading candidate, say that’s not the plan.

The most commonly discussed charge against Mayer, which was distilled in an unauthorized biography by Business Insider reporter Nicholas Carlson, Marissa Mayer and the Fight to Save Yahoo!, is that she’s guilty of micromanagement. In the book, Mayer is depicted as agonizing over such details as colors and fonts and is described as “robotic, stuck up, and absurd in her obsession with detail.”

Privately, her defenders suggest these criticisms of Mayer are sexist. Micromanagement is a fetishized quality among many male CEOs—Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg, and Larry Page are all fluent in the minute details of their products. High-risk acquisitions and spare-no-expenses human resources policies are celebrated practices in Silicon Valley. Mayer’s appointment, her defenders argue, represents a perfect illustration of the so-called glass cliff, where women promoted to the C-suite are set up for failure.

The implication: Any turnaround at Yahoo was probably doomed from the start. There are CEOs who specialize in extracting cash from declining companies, but they’re not common in Silicon Valley, and Mayer, who’s spent her entire career at a highly profitable, fast-growing company, isn’t one of them. She’s what’s known in the Valley as a product person, who, with the blessing of Yahoo’s board and the enthusiastic encouragement of her peers, focused on an aggressive revamp of Yahoo’s product portfolio, treating a stagnating media company as if it were Google or Facebook or the next big unicorn. Instead of scaling back Yahoo’s ambitions (which would have certainly meant huge and immediate layoffs), she followed a well-worn path of tech evangelists who’ve attempted long-shot corporate reinventions—for instance, former Apple retail chief Ron Johnson and his short-lived rebranding of JCPenney, or Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes, who had a brief and controversial stewardship of the New Republic magazine. “It’s like a 39-year-old home run hitter who keeps swinging for the fences,” says Aswath Damodaran, a professor of finance at NYU’s Stern School of Business and a Yahoo shareholder. “And all he does is keep striking out.”


“Revenue solves all known problems,” proclaimed a sign outside Mayer’s office at Google. The slogan, which was popularized by Google’s then-CEO Eric Schmidt, was meant as an exhortation to businesspeople not to fall back on financial engineering but to instead keep coming up with enormously profitable products and services. “It wasn’t until I came here that I understood [the slogan],” says Dylan Casey, a Yahoo vice president for product management who reported to Mayer at Google. “When you have a fire hose of cash coming in, it’s like, ‘Problems? Who cares?’ ”

Photograph: Yahoo/Flickr

Yahoo once had a very fat hose: display advertising. But by the time Mayer arrived in July 2012, the use of its search engine had been declining for a decade and more recently, advertising rates had been flat. Banner ads look fine on desktop computers, but they don’t work well on smaller screens. As a result, according to a person familiar with the company’s finances, Yahoo was earning about a penny on mobile traffic for every dollar it made on desktops. Mayer saw that discrepancy as an opportunity. “The nice thing at Yahoo,” she said in an interview at the 2013 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, “is we have all the content people want on their phones. We have these daily habits.” She implied that even Google might be vulnerable if Yahoo’s apps and websites, such as Yahoo Finance, were tailored to their users, making people less likely to do traditional Internet searches. “There’s always opportunities for new disruption,” she said.

Jay Rossiter
Photograph: Yahoo/Flickr

Mayer backed up this bold talk with several small but, to employees, meaningful moves to energize Yahoo. She offered free gourmet meals in the cafeteria and issued employees new smartphones—a must, she argued, at a company that would be developing apps. To get people to collaborate more, she banned telecommuting. She removed the high-walled cubicles, making the offices more open and startuplike, and began hosting weekly, companywide “FYI” meetings—a practice borrowed from Google. She became a regular at Dev Random, an informal forum frequented by Yahoo’s engineers and scientists. Even the quality of the coffee improved. “People were stopping me in the halls saying it’s a different company,” says Senior Vice President Jay Rossiter, who resigned under Mayer’s predecessor, Scott Thompson, and returned several months later under Mayer. “She made fundamental changes. The all-hands meetings. The goals. Those intangibles made a palpable difference in how people behave. Even the free food thing was huge.”

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These changes, like pretty much everything Mayer has done at Yahoo, were widely and loudly criticized. Many HR experts, and Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson, portrayed Mayer’s decision to end Yahoo’s work-from-home program as heavy-handed—“a backwards step,” Branson wrote in a blog post—but few people seemed to notice it was a great deal less cruel than the 50 percent layoffs that many inside and outside the company had urged. The free lunches and phones, while initially praised as an inexpensive way to keep and attract talent, only later became evidence of Mayer’s profligacy.

She did improve Yahoo’s hiring. At companies like Google and Facebook, recruiting is often cited as the most important challenge—and she saw things no differently. Yahoo had only about 50 engineers working on its mobile apps, and Mayer set out to recruit hundreds more. She oversaw this personally and led an ambitious effort to acquire small companies with talented engineering teams. Yahoo had customarily spent three months performing due diligence on any company it acquired; under Mayer, startups could be wooed, bought, and situated in Sunnyvale in 10 days.

Yahoo made some 20 acquisitions in her first year on the job. In the first quarter of 2013, for example, she acquired three tiny app companies (Snip.it, Propeld, Jybe) for a combined $10 million, bringing 16 employees, mostly mobile engineers, to Yahoo, according to LinkedIn searches. Although $10 million might sound like a lot for such a small group of people—roughly half of whom have since left the company—it’s actually a decent value by Silicon Valley standards, where “acquihire” deals typically go for $1 million per employee.

Mayer focused much of her energy creating advertising products for mobile phones and redesigning Yahoo’s apps. Flickr, the widely used photo-sharing service, was revamped, as was Yahoo Mail and apps for News, Sports, Finance, and Fantasy Sports. Nick D’Aloisio, who was just 17 years old when Mayer bought his app Summly for $30 million, adapted the product for Yahoo, relaunching it as Yahoo News Digest. The company also released a quirky messaging app, Livetext, that was designed to compete with Snapchat and WhatsApp.

Jeff Bonforte
Photograph: Yahoo/Flickr

Members of Mayer’s executive team describe their boss as intense and exacting when it comes to product development. She conducted weekly reviews with product managers and personally approved any new hire during her first few months on the job. “Yahoo desperately needed someone who would ask the next question,” says Jeff Bonforte, a senior vice president who runs most of the company’s mobile apps. Until Mayer, “no one was saying, ‘But why isn’t it working?’ ” Mayer has been known to stop meetings to correct the labels on a chart. That sort of thing can be off-putting, but Bonforte says it’s a good thing. “She’s auditing,” he says. “She’s evaluating whether you have any competency and how worried she should be.”

Mayer’s biggest bet was on Tumblr, the New York-based social network. Like Yahoo, Tumblr had been struggling to sell ads and wasn’t increasing its audience on mobile phones nearly as quickly as rivals such as Snapchat and Instagram. It was, in other words, another old company trying to seem young. “Tumblr and Yahoo had complementary neuroses,” says Chris Mohney, Tumblr’s former editor-in-chief, who left a month before the acquisition was announced. Yahoo bought it for $1.1 billion in the spring of 2013, similar to what Facebook had paid for Instagram, and Mayer promised “not to screw it up.” Earlier this year, Yahoo announced it had written down Tumblr’s value by $230 million.

“It’s as if Yahoo took an above-ground pool, dumped it into a bucket, and said, ‘Wow, we’re really filling up this bucket fast’ ”

In some ways, Mayer’s strategy has worked. Yahoo’s apps have received stellar marks from both reviewers and users, and the company has created new lines of business that accounted for $390 million in revenue last quarter. “Mavens as a revenue source didn’t exist at all in 2011 and was nascent in 2012,” Mayer said proudly on the February earnings call, using an acronym that stands for “mobile, video, native advertising, social.” Yahoo has more than 600 million mobile users, up from about 150 million before she took the job.

But those improvements are nowhere near big enough to turn the company around. “Marissa likes to present Mavens as though it should be compared to some nascent startup,” says SpringOwl’s Jackson. But startups, he points out, don’t begin with a billion users. “It’s as if Yahoo took an above-ground pool, dumped it into a bucket, and said, ‘Wow, we’re really filling up this bucket fast,’ ” he says.

And that traffic isn’t necessarily users delighting in Mayer’s new products and telling their friends; much of it comes from Yahoo paying ever-larger sums to other companies to direct their users to Yahoo’s sites and apps. It paid almost $900 million in traffic acquisition fees in 2015, up from $200 million in 2014. Predictably, Yahoo users are spending less and less time with its sites. A report by The Information, a tech news site, showed that as of early December, the average time spent on Yahoo properties had declined 32 percent for Yahoo Mail, 29 percent for the home page, and 20 percent for Tumblr over the previous 12 months.

And many Yahoo critics point out that for all of Mayer’s investments, she’s yet to have a breakout hit. None of Yahoo’s apps has cracked the top 50 in the iPhone’s U.S. app store this year, according to data from mobile research firm App Annie. Yahoo News Digest feels innovative, but it’s less popular than apps for a bunch of local TV stations; Livetext was shut down earlier this year. Many of Mayer’s high-profile acquihires—like D’Aloisio, the programming prodigy—have left. “A lot of talented people saw the writing on the wall,” says Shashi Seth, a former senior vice president who departed in 2013.

Even Facebook has flops. In December it quietly discontinued three apps—Rooms, Slingshot, and Riff—but no one seemed to notice because the company’s revenue grew 44 percent in 2015. (Revenue solves all known problems.) Livetext’s demise, on the other hand, was described as a “fiasco” in SpringOwl’s presentation. Yahoo employees say the experience was a perfect expression of what Silicon Valley types call a “fail fast” mentality. (“Failure and speed are inherently linked,” Mayer said in a 2012 radio interview. “Failure is totally OK. As long as you fail fast.”) “People got mad at Livetext as an example of something that went wrong,” says Bonforte. “Livetext was something that went right. It’s a sign of a healthy company that will experiment.”

How could Wall Street and Yahoo’s senior managers reach such different conclusions? Mostly because they’ve always been focused on different parts of the business. Yahoo’s stock price shot up in 2013 and 2014, thanks to the soaring valuation of Alibaba. The press often presented the runup as a result of Mayer’s turnaround, and Yahoo did little to discourage that perception. During her first few months as CEO, she resisted calls—which today seem prescient—to lay off large numbers of employees. (Mass layoffs would come, but years later.) In mid–2013, on her one-year anniversary, a group of Yahoo employees urged colleagues to “send [Mayer] a personal ‘Thank You’ message for everything she’s done for Yahoo! over the past year.” The messages were printed and bound as a coffee-table book, and according to an article in Vanity Fair the following spring, Yahoo passed out additional copies of the book. “I kind of wish the story hadn’t been told that Yahoo was miraculously saved by Marissa,” says Bonforte. “I remember coming here and thinking, it’s gonna be so hard.”

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In private meetings with employees, Mayer frequently refers to Steve Jobs’s return to an ailing Apple Computer in 1997 to emphasize that turnarounds of tech companies are hard but not impossible. Jobs had been at Apple for a decade by the time the iPhone was released. Mayer may also be trying to remind herself and her colleagues that these things take time.

Of course, the big difference between Apple and Yahoo is that Apple didn’t have an extremely valuable stock portfolio or a thorny tax situation. Mayer and Yahoo’s investors have long agreed on the need to separate Yahoo from Alibaba. That would turn the stake into cash while removing the uncertainty around Yahoo’s valuation. The problem is that if the company simply sells its stock portfolio, it could face a tax bill of $10 billion or more. One way around this would be to sell Yahoo’s core business to a company like Verizon, a move first floated by Starboard Value in 2014 but resisted by Mayer. Instead, her preferred solution was a tax-free spinoff, a novel maneuver that would allow her to maintain Yahoo’s independence—and keep her job as CEO. The plan was for Yahoo to park its Alibaba stock in a new company, called “SpinCo,” along with a small Yahoo division—a sort of player to be named later that would ensure the Internal Revenue Service treated SpinCo as an operating business rather than as a tax shelter. The new company could then be sold back to Alibaba tax-free.

The strategy worked for Liberty Interactive, which spun off a 22 percent stake in the travel company TripAdvisor in 2014 without paying taxes. But tax-free spinoffs are controversial. In May 2015 an obscure official—Isaac Zimbalist, senior technician reviewer, Corporate Branch 5 of the IRS—gave a talk at the Washington bar association in which he suggested that tax-free spinoffs might be scrutinized more closely. Yahoo’s stock fell 7.5 percent that afternoon.

Data: compiled by Bloomberg, Statcounter

The incident didn’t derail Mayer’s plans initially. Yahoo’s lawyers insisted that the IRS would come around. But Mayer’s hand weakened in September when the government declined to endorse the deal publicly, as it had the TripAdvisor spinoff. By March, Yahoo was under attack from Starboard and was scrambling to cut costs. Still, Mayer gave no ground. In an interview with Charlie Rose, she said that even though Yahoo had abandoned the SpinCo idea and would instead explore selling, the spinoff would have worked. She blamed “various accounting rules” for hundreds of millions of dollars in recent writedowns and argued that her turnaround strategy “makes sense.” “We’ve made a lot of progress over the past few years,” she said, sounding at once defensive and resigned.

That Mayer hasn’t reinvented Yahoo wholesale has widely been portrayed as a failing, but it seems just as likely the company’s decline is a function of Silicon Valley’s ruthless cycle of creative destruction. Yahoo was able to use inexpensive software in a fast-growing market to become a media and technology juggernaut in the 1990s; Google and Facebook did the same and displaced it just as quickly. “A tech company that is 20 years old is like a regular company that is 60 years old,” says Damodaran, the NYU finance professor.

Mayer’s struggles at Yahoo also underscore that in the Valley there are winners and smoking craters—but very few middle-of-the-road successes. Venture capitalists generally discourage their startups from becoming modestly profitable enterprises; they fund them until they blow up—one way or the other. The result of this system is a labor market that’s extremely fluid. As soon as a company’s growth slows, the best and brightest start looking for the exits.

That’s happening today at Yahoo, despite the company having paid what probably amounts to millions of dollars in retention bonuses. Among the departures: Chief Marketing Officer Kathy Savitt; Prashant Fuloria, senior vice president for advertising products; and Sandy Gould, the senior vice president who oversaw talent acquisition and development. One of Mayer’s closest allies on the board, PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, has also left.

Those who’ve stayed describe a mood that’s grim, but not hopeless. Mayer believers argue that any criticism of her is simply unfair or the result of a clique of hedge fund guys who just don’t like her. “Marissa has done a terrific job there,” PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel said at a conference in April. “She’s been by far the best CEO they’ve had, maybe ever.” He went on: “It’s like, even if Marissa can’t quite get this restarted, we’re not going to hire somebody else.”

—With Alex Sherman

Design by Tracy Ma and Toph Tucker
Photographs in opening spread, from left to right and top to bottom: MICHAEL HALBERSTADT; STEVE PROEHL/CORBIS; ZHANG WEI/AP PHOTO; DENIS BALIBOUSE/REUTERS; MUTSUBU INAYAMA/FLICKR; MATT SAYLES INVISION/AP; YONHAP/EPA/NEWSCOM; NBCU PHOTO BANK/GETTY IMAGES; ERIC SANDER/LIAISON/GETTY IMAGES; GETTY IMAGES.

 

Crony Capitalism and the Spigot of Government Subsidies

Crony Capitalism and the Spigot of Government Subsidies

By Veronique de Rugy

Creating something that people want is how one gets wealthy in a market economy. Sadly, there’s another way to get rich. It’s called cronyism, and it can make billions for the lucky businesses that get government support — whether their products are profitable or not. In the process, the taxpayers foot the bill.

Taxpayer insurance against unprofitability takes many forms, from loan guarantees to grants, which provide a no-lose scenario for beneficiaries. If the business is profitable, then the corporation makes massive profits. If the business goes bust, then the taxpayers take a hit. Either way, the crony capitalist wins.

Perhaps the most prominent case of cronyism in modern history is Elon Musk. A brilliant entrepreneur, Musk founded the online payment company X.com with profits he made off the sale of Zip2 — another profitable company and the first online version of the Yellow Pages. X.com eventually merged with Confinity and became the wildly successful PayPal.

And there were many other successful ventures that made Musk into one of the most successful businessmen in the world. According to Forbes, Musk is worth $14.3 billion. Much of his wealth is the result of producing brilliant ideas, creating value for others and revolutionizing the way we do business.

More recently, however, Musk has used his wealth to invest in space travel, solar panels and electric cars. There wasn’t anything wrong with that until Musk dragged the government into it. Tesla Motors, SolarCity and SpaceX — a few of his highest-profile projects — have relied heavily on government subsidies. According to a 2015 article in the Los Angeles Times, these three companies “together have benefited from an estimated $4.9 billion in government support.” And though none of these projects is profitable on its own, Musk is making a mint.

Tesla secured nearly $1.3 billion in benefits from a variety of sources, including money from Nevada to set up a car battery factory, federal subsidies through the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing program, and a number of federal and state tax breaks for the purchase of Tesla vehicles (such as the $7,500 federal tax credit and a $2,500 California rebate). Why would so much in government subsidies go to produce a car that only a few Americans can afford? The new Tesla Model S ranges from $80,000 to nearly $115,000 before tax credits and rebates.

SolarCity got over $300 million in federal grants and tax incentives, in addition to state and local subsidies meant to create an artificial demand for solar energy. In a funny twist, the company even moved in to old office space from Solyndra, the bankrupt crony solar panel company run by large donors to President Barack Obama’s campaigns and subsidized by the infamous Department of Energy’s 1705 loan program.

The Los Angeles Times shed some light on the state and federal cronyism involved in SpaceX: “On a smaller scale, SpaceX, Musk’s rocket company, cut a deal for about $20 million in economic development subsidies from Texas to construct a launch facility there. (Separate from incentives, SpaceX has won more than $5.5 billion in government contracts from NASA and the U.S. Air Force.)” And why are the taxpayers subsidizing a company that specializes in commercial space travel when the United States has a hard enough time balancing a budget?

The SpaceX website says: “SpaceX designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.” U.S. taxpayers shouldn’t be on the hook for space travel and other ideas of private purpose that won’t benefit many, if any, taxpayers.

Musk is a billionaire many times over. If he thinks colonizing other planets is a profitable idea, then he should put up his own money. The taxpayers shouldn’t be forced along as passengers on his expensive and risky experiments.

Elon Musk made his fortune by inventing products commonly used by consumers every day. Now he has resorted to taking billions in government cash and subsidies to work on ideas that probably won’t return a profit to the taxpayer. He’s using his friendships in government, as well as some high-priced lobbyists, to keep the spigot of government money going his way. Though it has been profitable for him, Musk is a case study in cronyism and a shining example of a rich individual abusing his influence to make taxpayers pay for risky investments.

Veronique de Rugy is a senior research fellow at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University. To find out more about Veronique de Rugy and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.

 
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Apple wants you to know that dead body was “Mexican” so no need to worry. Apple PR needs lessons!

Body Found at Apple’s Cupertino Headquarters

Another of the long list of worker suicides or..A staged hit on a man who “knew too much..?”

Apple Computers Logo Placeholder

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April 27, 2016 | 11:22AM PT

UPDATED: The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a body that was found in a conference room at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., on Wednesday.

A spokesperson with the Santa Clara County Fire Department told Variety that the fire department was dispatched to the scene at 8:30 a.m. in regards to a man with a head wound, but was waved off upon arrival.

According to ABC7’s Matt Keller, the Santa Clara County Sheriff Department’s spokesperson confirmed the man found dead was an Apple employee. No one else was involved. A gun was also reportedly found nearby.

The Santa Clara Sheriff’s Office and Apple have not responded to requests for comment.

According to police scanner audio obtained by TMZ, a call came in to dispatch as a “possible suicide.” According to the audio, a female employee was involved in an argument and sustained a head wound, possibly from a gunshot. Cops describe a body being found in a conference room, and say that person had a gun, at one point in the call.

Here’s the full audio:

At Apple campus Infinite Loop, for a 1056 attempt… female employee bleeding with a head wound to the head… possibly has a gun. Her… looks like security was escorting the employee down and the Westside units are just now arriving… I do have further… they are advising that there’s a body in one of the conference rooms with a gun so we’re not really sure if there’s multiple people involved.

More to come.

 

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As Apple Profits Come Unglued: DEATH AT THE APPLE HQ IN CUPERTINO

In the news
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A male employee was found dead at Apple’s headquarters in … The Santa Clara County Sheriff is investigating a body found on Apple’s Cupertino headquarters Wednesday.

More news for body found at apple hq


body found at apple hq on Twitter

 
 
3 hours agoView on Twitter
Sheriff investigation at #Apple headquarters in Cupertino. A body was found in a conference room. pic.twitter.com/HC7UBPWRO…
50 mins agoView on Twitter
Dead body reportedly found at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino www.theverge.com/2016/4/2… pic.twitter.com/53DzvvSt1…
1 hour agoView on Twitter
UPDATE: Authorities confirm body found on Apple campus is a man and gun found next to body. abc7ne.ws/1rimLRE pic.twitter.com/cekvFfkFZ…
24 mins agoView on Twitter
Police are investigating a body found at Apple’s headquarters qz.com/671747
41 mins agoView on Twitter
Body found in conference room on Apple campus in California trib.al/QPPX0Ea
2 mins agoView on Twitter
So sad. Apple — Body Found at HQ (AUDIO UPDATE) ln.is/www.tmz.com/2016/04… via @TMZ
3 mins agoView on Twitter
Apple campus death: Body found in company conference room amid gun reports dpo.st/1SKGIcX
4 mins agoView on Twitter
Dafuq?? Body found, with ‘head wound’ and gun nearby, in conference room on Apple campus, California www.theguardian.com/techn…
TMZ

2 hours ago – 11:42 PM PST — A Sheriff spokesperson says the person found dead was a Hispanic male who worked at Apple … there was no one else …

The Verge

50 mins ago – Reports are coming in that a dead body has been found at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, CA. Though it appears that neither Apple nor …

Dead body found at Apple’s Infinite Loop headquarters [u] – AppleInsider

appleinsider.com/…/dead-bodyfound-at-apples-infinite-loop-headquarte
2 hours ago – An investigation is underway after a body was reportedly discovered at Apple’s Infinite Loop corporate headquarters in Cupertino.
USA Today

15 mins ago – CUPERTINO, Calif. — A person was found dead at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., two local television stations reported Wednesday.

Business Insider

2 hours ago – A body was found in a conference room at Apple headquarters.

A Body Has Been Found at Apple Headquarters [Updating] – Gizmodo

gizmodo.com/report-a-body-has-been-found-at-appleheadqua
Gizmodo

2 hours ago – The Santa Clara County Sheriff’s office is investigating a body discovered in a conference room at Apple’s Cupertino headquarters, according …

Police Investigating After Dead Body Found at Apple Headquarters …

fortune.com/2016/04/27/apple-dead-bodyfound/
1 hour ago – The corpse was reportedly found in a conference room. A person has been found dead in a conference room at Apple headquarters in …

2 hours ago – A dead body has reportedly been found in a conference room on Apple’s campus.

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Apple and Google Begin to Die. Apple loss: $43B. Silicon Valley Blew It!

Apple misses by a mile: Wipes out $43B

Play Video
 

Apple shares are down 7% after they released disappointing March quarter results.

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Apple (AAPL) missed by a mile.

Fanning concerns the world has finally reached a saturation point with smartphones, Apple late Tuesday stunned investors by missing revenue and profit forecasts for the March quarter. It was even worse than widely expected – and expectations were already low.

The company reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.90 a share, which is well below the $2 a share expected by analysts. It’s not just a matter of just missing forecasts. Profit fell 18% from the same period a year ago. Revenue also missed expectations, falling about 12% to $50.6 billion, the biggest drop in revenue since the third-quarter of 2001, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

A slowdown in the company’s star product, its popular smartphone, was largely to blame. “As anticipated, the top-line came in below expectations driven by slowdown in iPhone units,” Abhey Lamba, an analyst at brokerage Mizuho Securities, said in a note to clients.

Apple shipped 51 million smartphones, which was ahead of expectations. But the average selling price of each of those phones was $625, well below the $659 analysts expected, Lamba says. Meanwhile, the company’s drop in tablet sales continued, with units down 19% from last year, Lamba says.

Shares of Apple got hit in after-hours trading, tumbling 8% to $96.67. They closed in regular trading at $104.35, down 0.7%, putting them down 0.9% for the year. The downward move in after-hours trading means the company shed $43 billion in market value based on after-hours trading. On Wednesday, shares were down more than 8% in pre-market trading.

The collapse in Apple’s profits and the stock is the latest and biggest problem for increasingly nervous tech investors. Just last week both Google parent Alphabet (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT) missed revenue and earnings forecasts for the first quarter. Trouble in Apple is also a problem for investors at large, since the company is the most valuable stock in the Standard & Poor’s 500, giving it a huge effect on the value of the market. Prior to the after-hours selloff, Apple was valued at $579 billion – outstripping any other company in the S&P 500.

Apple is facing the same challenge that’s plagued other companies that have become so dominant. The company’s sheer size and influence create a practically impossible barrier to growth – as matching its past success and growth is increasingly difficult. Exxon Mobil (XOM), Cisco Systems (CSCO) and Microsoft are all examples of companies that have struggled to maintain growth.

 

Follow Matt Krantz on Twitter @mattkrantz

America Says Its Own Election System is “Rigged and Worthless”

Exclusive: Half of Americans think presidential nominating system ‘rigged’ – poll

 

More than half of American voters believe that the system U.S. political parties use to pick their candidates for the White House is “rigged” and more than two-thirds want to see the process changed, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll.

The results echo complaints from Republican front-runner Donald Trump and Democratic challenger Bernie Sanders that the system is stacked against them in favor of candidates with close ties to their parties – a critique that has triggered a nationwide debate over whether the process is fair.

The United States is one of just a handful of countries that gives regular voters any say in who should make it onto the presidential ballot. But the state-by-state system of primaries, caucuses and conventions is complex. The contests historically were always party events, and while the popular vote has grown in influence since the mid-20th century, the parties still have considerable sway.

One quirk of the U.S. system – and the area where the parties get to flex their muscle – is the use of delegates, party members who are assigned to support contenders at their respective conventions, usually based on voting results. The parties decide how delegates are awarded in each state, with the Republicans and Democrats having different rules.

The delegates’ personal opinions can come into play at the party conventions if the race is too close to call – an issue that has become a lightning rod in the current political season.

Another complication is that state governments have different rules about whether voters must be registered as party members to participate. In some states, parties further restrict delegate selection to small committees of party elites, as the Republican Party in Colorado did this year.

   

‘SO FLAWED’

“I’d prefer to see a one-man-one-vote system,” said Royce Young, 76, a resident of Society Hill, South Carolina, who supports Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton. “The process is so flawed.”

    Trump has repeatedly railed against the rules, at times calling them undemocratic. After the Colorado Republican Party awarded all its delegates to Ted Cruz, for example, Trump lashed out in a Wall Street Journal opinion piece, charging “the system is being rigged by party operatives with ‘double-agent’ delegates who reject the decision of voters.”

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has dismissed Trump’s complaints as “rhetoric” and said the rules would not be changed before the Republican convention in July.

Trump swept the five Northeastern nominating contests on Tuesday in Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island. The New York billionaire has 950 delegates to 560 for Cruz, a U.S. senator from Texas, and 153 for Kasich, the Ohio governor, according to the Associated Press. A total of 1,237 delegates are needed to secure the Republican nomination.

On the Democratic side, Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, has taken issue with the party’s use of superdelegates, the hundreds of elite party members who can support whomever they like at the convention and who this year overwhelmingly back front-runner Hillary Clinton.

Clinton has repeatedly emphasized that she is beating Sanders in both total votes cast and in pledged delegates, those who are bound by the voting results – rendering his complaints about superdelegates moot.

On Tuesday, the former secretary of state won Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware and Connecticut, while Sanders won in Rhode Island. Clinton leads Sanders by 2,141 delegates to 1,321, according to the AP, with 2,383 needed to win the nomination.

Sanders has also criticized party bosses for not holding enough prime-time television debates and said before a string of primaries open only to registered Democrats this month that “independents have lost their right to vote,” referring to a voter block that has tended to favor him.

A Democratic National Committee official was not immediately available to comment.

    

‘ARCANE RULES’

Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, said the U.S. presidential nominating system could probably be improved in a number of areas, but noted that the control wielded by party leadership usually became an issue only during tight races.

“The popular vote overwhelms the rules usually, but in these close elections, everyone pays attention to these arcane rules,” he said.

Some 51 percent of likely voters who responded to the April 21-26 online survey said they believed the primary system was “rigged” against some candidates. Some 71 percent of respondents said they would prefer to pick their party’s nominee with a direct vote, cutting out the use of delegates as intermediaries.

    The results also showed 27 percent of likely voters did not understand how the primary process works and 44 percent did not understand why delegates were involved in the first place. The responses were about the same for Republicans and Democrats.

    Overall, nearly half said they would also prefer a single primary day in which all states held their nominating contests together – as opposed to the current system of spreading them out for months.

    The poll included 1,582 Americans and had a credibility interval of 2.9 percentage points.

(Editing by Richard Valdmanis and Leslie Adler)

Another Tesla Crash Ends In Flames! Why Do So Many Tesla Crashes End Up Being Caused By Drunk Douchebags

Consumer Safety Cover-up- The Tesla Motors Scandal

 

 

Public officials have been intentionally covering up a safety issue, reported to them, by multiple parties, in writing, as early as 2008, that has cost American lives, destroyed homes and introduced cancer and fetal damaging vapors into the environment.

 

 

The facts upon which these statements are based are proven by tens of thousands of published news stories, which document these incidents actually occurring, and, ironically, on published state, and federal reports, documenting credible findings which prove that these horrific safety incidents have occurred, and will continue to occur.

 

 

While these dangers are even more profoundly documented than the GM ignition switch disaster and the Takata air bag crisis, and far earlier, nothing has been done about the danger, aside from having Google remove all references to it on the Internet.

 

 

Why is this being covered up?

 

 

What sort of malfeasance would incite public officials to hide the facts about such an epic public danger?

 

 

GREED!

 

 

It turns out that Senators, and their families, ie: Feinstein, Reid, etc. covertly own stock and business interests in the companies that are creating the death, toxicity and destruction.

 

 

It turns out that current, and former White House staff, ie: Gibbs, Axelrod, Plouffe, Eric Holder, etc. covertly own stock and business interests in the companies that are creating the death, toxicity and destruction.

 

 

It turns out that Department of Energy leaders including Steven Chu and his staff, not only own stock and business interests in the companies that are creating the death, toxicity and destruction; they also help run those companies.

 

 

It turns out that State of California officials, including Tax and Controller officials, gave money to the companies that are creating the death, toxicity and destruction; and then helped take campaign funds in, from those companies, for themselves and their bosses.

 

 

It turns out that the Silicon Valley campaign manipulators who gave money to all of the above, including John Doerr, Eric Schmidt, Steve Jurvetson, etc. own parts, or all, of the companies that are creating the death, toxicity and destruction.

 

 

The facts are obvious: Idiotic self-centered greed, by public officials, created a threat to public safety by placing personal profiteering over consumer welfare.

 

 

This is a demand for justice and protection, on behalf of the public. It is unconscionable that American, and international, voters and consumers should have their lives, homes and health put at such risk by the wanton greed of out-of-control public servants.

 

The related 300+ page documentation report, (Federal Demand Report Re: Tesla Motors 2.1 .pdf) associated with this call for justice and consumer protection reveals, in stunning detail, the vast number of highly documented incidents, reports, lab tests and expert studies that prove that Tesla Motors is, not only, a scam; but a severe public safety hazard that has been systematically covered up by corrupt politicians.

 

 

The facts are clear.

 

The following facts are now documented in numerous broadcast, and published, news reports; federal reports, university studies and investigation field reports. The FBI, GAO, NHTSA, SEC and Congressional authorities have now received all of the confirming evidence, in writing:

 

  • Tesla Motors batteries were promoted by those who wished to exploit the Afghanistan War for personal profit by controlling the Afghan lithium mining fields

  • Tesla Motors batteries blow up on their own

  • Tesla Motors batteries blow up when they get wet

  • Tesla Motors batteries fires cannot be put out by any common fire-fighting resources

  • Tesla Motors batteries set themselves on fire

  • Per MSDS documents, Tesla Motors batteries emit cancer-causing vapors when they burn

  • Tesla Motors Vehicles toxicity poison bystanders, nearby vehicular passengers, airline passengers in planes carrying said batteries in their holds, and environments where such incidents occur

  • Fires in Tesla Motors vehicles turn the entire car into a slag pile of melted metal and plastic and turn the bodies, inside the Tesla, into “unrecognizable lumps”

  • Tesla Motors batteries blow up when bumped by the same level of car incident that would, otherwise, only dent a normal car bumper

  • In an accident, when a Tesla rolls over, molten metal and plastic can drip on and burn the occupants alive

  • Per MSDS documents, Tesla Motors batteries emit brain damaging chemicals when they burn

  • Per MSDS documents, Tesla Motors batteries emit chemicals, burning, or not, that can damage an unborn fetus

  • Per MSDS documents, Tesla Motors batteries emit chemicals that can cause lung damage

  • Per MSDS documents, Tesla Motors batteries emit chemicals that can cause liver damage

  • Per published lawsuits and news reports, the factories that make Tesla Motors batteries have been charged with the deaths, and potentially fatal illness, of over 1000 workers and the poisoning of nearby towns

  • Panasonic, Tesla’s battery partner, has been charged with corruption, toxic poisoning, dumping and price fixing by, at least, two different nations, including the U.S.

  • Tesla Motors batteries become even more dangerous over time, particularly when tasked by electric transportation systems like Hover-boards and Tesla’s.

  • Tesla Motors batteries were never designed to be used in automobiles. Tesla used non-automotive batteries in one of the most dangerous configurations possible

  • Tesla Motors occupants experience higher EMF radiation exposure than gasoline vehicle occupants

  • Elon Musk’s Space X vehicles and Tesla Motors vehicles have both had a higher-than-average number of explosions. This has caused outside experts to doubt Musk’s ability to place safety considerations over his need for hyped-up PR

  • Leaked Sandia National Labs and FAA research videos dramatically demonstrate the unstoppable, horrific, “re-percussive accelerating domino-effect” explosive fire effect of the Tesla Motors batteries

  • Tesla’s own “Superchargers” and home 3-prong chargers have set Tesla’s, homes and businesses on fire

  • Consumer rights groups contacted Erick Strickland, the head of the NHTSA, and charged him with a cover-up. He quit days later. The NHTSA then issued a safety investigation request to Tesla Motors, which would have more publicly exposed these dangers, but the safety investigation was never under-taken due to White House requests and lobbyist bribes, from Tesla, which got the investigation shut down

  • NEPA regulations for the Tesla NUMMI factory in California and the Nevada Tesla “Gigafactory” have been violated relative to environmental safety standards

  • Tesla Motors vehicles are not “Factory Built” “like Ford” builds cars, as Tesla professes. They are hand built in small volumes and subjected to numerous defects. Blogs have documented hundreds of defects, as listed by Tesla owners. Tesla has lost at least one LEMON CAR LAWSUIT for defective manufacturing

  • Tesla’s “showrooms” are often “pop-up” retail storefronts that are in tight-proximity retail centers, putting it’s neighbors at risk of total loss from fire damage

  • Tesla Motors vehicles have been hacked and taken over. Their doors, steering, listening devices and navigation have been taken over by outside parties. Multiple Tesla have suddenly swerved off the road, over cliffs and into other vehicles, killing bystanders and Tesla drivers

  • Three Tesla top engineers and two competing senior executives, all of whom had whistle-blown on Tesla, who were in perfect health one day, suddenly died mysteriously the next day

  • Multiple employees, founders, investors, marital partners, suppliers and others have sued Tesla Motors, and/or it’s senior executives for fraud

  • The above, and over 30 additional safety issues with Tesla Motors vehicles, have been documented, yet investigations have been covered up, and/or manipulated by public officials with a financial and political investment in Tesla Motors and lithium ion batteries. This level of cover-up is said to be a felony-level crime

 

Who are the Silicon Valley campaign financier shills?

Who are the Silicon Valley campaign financier shills?

 

 

 

By Emily Posner

 

 

There are a group of website/news-like sites that have their search results rigged with their financial partner: Google, in order to synchronize news stories that the hundreds of Google employees (placed inside the U.S. Government) then promote as gospel. There is one big problem: It is a Ponzie Scheme.

 

 

The News sites are financed by Google’s investors, the hundreds of Google employees inside the government are funded by Google stock and perks, and Google is, obviously, funded by Google. What you have here is called, in the “common language”, a Wall Street Circle-Jerk.

 

 

These rigged news sites have a deal with Google. Google lines all of their results up on the first 3 pages of search results on Google searches, one after the other, with no outside views allowed in. For example: In Russia or France, use a non-Google search engine and type in: “60 Minutes The Cleantech Crash”. You get a balanced set of results as long as the search does not go through Google. Now change the IP address on your browser to spoof the browser to make it look like you are in the U.S. and then go to google.com and type in “60 Minutes The Cleantech Crash”. You usually only getone link to the actual 60 Minutes story on CBS and all of the next three pages of links are only from the Google financed shill sites. Why? Because that news story caught Google’s investors running crimes and bilking the American public. There are thousands of such examples of Google manipulating information in order to censor the news.

 

 

You can’t believe anything these sites say, they exist simply to sell you brainwashing hype to try to steer you away from realizing that the people who pay them are crooks. There are just a handful of people behind these sites and they all get paid by the same couple of billionaires. They synchronize the content of their stories in order to try to trick the “Sheeple” and less intelligent members of society into thinking that a fake story, that they are hyping, is true:

 

 

 

 

http://www.gigaom.com/

 

http://www.khoslaventures.com

 

http://www.greenbiz.com

 

http://www.slate.com/

 

http://www.greentechmedia.com/

 

http://www.siliconbeat.com/

 

http://www.triplepundit.com/

 

http://www.fortune.com/

 

http://www.windpowerengineering.com

 

http://www.energytrendsinsider.com

 

http://www.geekwire.com

 

http://www.mediamatters.org

 

http://www.gizmodo.com

 

http://www.breakingenergy.com/

 

http://www.blogs.marketwatch.com

 

http://www.thinkprogress.org/

 

http://www.gawker.com

 

http://www.solarenergy.net

 

http://www.teslamotorsclub.com

 

http://www.act.forecastthefacts.org

 

http://www.archive.onearth.org

 

http://www.blog.ucsusa.org/

 

http://www.theenergycollective.com

 

http://www.cleantechblog.com

 

http://www.kcet.org

 

http://www.climatechangedispatch.com

 

http://www.dailykos.com/

 

http://www.investigativepost.org

 

http://www.fuelinggrowth.org

 

http://www.cleanenergyleaders.org

 

www.wonkette.com

 

 

 

 

 

Topics: Wall Street Circle-Jerk, Google rigs government policy, the google coup, Google vs. Smedley Butler, Smedley Butler, Gawker, Google Conspiracy, 60 Minutes The Cleantech Crash

 

Google’s Karma Is Coming Back in a Big Bad Way!

 

Google’s Karma Is Coming Back in a Big Bad Way!

 

 

By Andrew Crocker

 

 

The ad says:

 

 

“Seeking Law Firm To Help With Public Interest Litigation Filing Against Google.

 

 

For More Details About The Opportunity and Potential, See: http://www.ourgooglelawsuit.com&#8221;

 

 

A San Francisco group has had enough of Google’s shenanigans and is taking matters into their own hands. Through a relatively little known process called “in pro per”, regular individuals with no legal experience can go head-to-head with some of the biggest naughty corporations in the world. Suing Google!!? Sound like impossible odds?

 

 

In fact, a number of individuals have sued Google, for Google’s abusive practices, and won.

 

 

The draft complaint against Google, Inc., their alter-ego Alphabet, and their associates, says that it is for: “…INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE WITH CONTRACTUAL RELATIONS; INTENTIONAL INTERFERENCE WITH PROSPECTIVE ECONOMIC ADVANTAGE; CYBERSTALKING; FRAUD; INVASION OF PRIVACY; UNFAIR COMPETITION; THEFT OF INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY..”

 

 

What this means in common language is that Google went out of it’s way to jack up their competitors contracts, bribed public officials to re-route deals, used the Google-net to destroy brands and reputations intentionally, and asked to look at these folks technologies and then just copied and thieved those technologies.

 

 

If it was a dry cleaner stealing another dry cleaners sign we might be talking about a few thousand dollars but in the case of Google, Google made many billions of dollars off of their attacks on the people filing the lawsuit (in legal blab, the people who file the lawsuit are called the “Plaintiffs”) so this is a fight worth fighting.

 

 

Does Google steal technology? The New York Times thinks so in it’s article called: How Larry Page’s Obsessions Became Google’s Business

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/24/technology/larry-page-google-founder-is-still-innovator-in-chief.html?_r=0

 

 

Does Google rig state and federal government funding? You bet it does. Read the details in the article in THE INTERCEPT: The Android Administration

 

 

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/22/googles-remarkably-close-relationship-with-the-obama-white-house-in-two-charts/

 

 

It seems that Google’s investors rigged that whole Cleantech thing back in 2007. ( http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cleantech-crash-60-minutes/ ) in order to exclusively put the government cash in Google’s frat boy’s pockets. With the failure of Solyndra, Ivanpah and all the rest, that scheme was only able to deliver few hundred billion to Google’s boys. They had planned on Hoover-ing up nearly a trillion dollars of taxpayer cash.

 

 

The Plaintiffs in this case have not yet signed up a “lead law firm” to take the case all the way through to the jury trail. They have many helper services but they are now accepting proposals for a big legal group to run the rest of the case in exchange for a percentage of the $1 billion dollar, or higher, potential reward. Readers can follow along on the litigation website at: http://www.ourgooglelawsuit.com

 

Silicon Valley’s Google Nazi’s Again Try To Outlaw American Innovation

House Judiciary Subcommittee Offers a Solution in Search of a Problem – Part 1

 

With the recent lack of progress with several anti-patent rights bills brought before Congress in this session, the anti-intellectual property rights lobby has turned its efforts toward the alternate remedy available to patentees whose patents have been infringed, the International Trade Commission.

On April 14, The House of Representatives Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on the Courts, Intellectual Property and the Internet held a hearing to examine patent litigation activities at the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC). The purpose of the hearing was ostensibly to review how patent disputes are handled by the Commission with the goal of determining if the ITC produces results that are fair to litigants, beneficial to the U.S. economy, and complementary to the work of U.S. District Courts. The underlying purpose for the hearing was clearly designed to explore how to weaken the enforcement authority of the ITC with the goal of weakening patent enforcement.

Six witnesses testified before the Subcommittee:

  • Deanna Tanner Okun, former Chairman of the International Trade Commission and currently a partner at the Adduci, Mastriani, & Schaumberg law firm
  • John Thorne, a partner at the Kellogg Huber Hansen Todd Evans & Figel law firm
  • Mark Whitaker, a partner at the Morrison & Foerster law firm
  • Fiona Morton, the Theodore Nierenberg Professor of Economics at the Yale University School of Management
  • Thomas Stoll, the principal at Stoll IP Consulting
  • Dominic Bianchi, General Counsel at the U.S. International Trade Commission

House Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Texas, set the tone for the hearing when he stated that “the IP Subcommittee will review how patent disputes are handled by the International Trade Commission in an effort to ensure fairness for American businesses. Recent alarming statistics indicate that patent assertion entities, commonly referred to as patent trolls, have used the ITC to exploit our patent laws. These ITC cases can result in injunctions that can keep imported goods out of the U.S. market. There are certain steps that the ITC can take to correct these problems and the Committee looks forward to a thorough examination of these potential patent litigation reform solutions.”

Rep. Goodlatte’s approach was matched by Subcommittee Chairman Darrell Issa, a Republican from California, who added that “In recent years, however, the International Trade Commission has been co-opted as a forum to assert weak or poorly issued patents against American businesses. We look forward to hearing from the witnesses on how we can reform this process to avoid unnecessary and costly litigation.”

The Subcommittee specifically addressed in this hearing Section 337 of the Trade Act of 1930 that gives the ITC the authority it has to issue injunctions that block the import into the U.S. of products that infringe U.S. Patents.

Deanna Okun, a former chair of the ITC, began her statement with a summary of the importance of innovation to the U.S. economy, and the role the ITC plays in protecting American innovation. She pointed out that innovation is a primary driver of U.S. economic growth, and that IP-intensive industries account for more than $5 trillion in value added and approximately 35% of U.S. gross domestic product. IP-intensive industries account for over 60% of U.S. exports and over 30% of U.S. employment!

Ms. Okun explained the importance of patent rights: “Constitutionally protected patent rights incentivize investments in innovation, a key engine of economic growth. Indeed, the U.S. economy is highly dependent on the innovation produced by universities, small businesses, and start-ups, which deploy significant investment in research and development and licensing programs. Notably, IP licensing is one of the few industries in which the United States enjoys a significant trade surplus, delivering billions to the U.S. economy every year.

“Licensing revenues facilitate a cycle of innovation, allowing IP owners to fund the research and development of future creations. According to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, more than 50 percent of annual economic growth is attributable to technological innovation.

“Critics claim NPEs are easily satisfying the domestic industry requirement through dubious investments in efforts to license their patents. Consequently, they propose amending Section 337 to require complainants who rely on licensing to prove a domestic industry to show that the licensing activities led ‘to the adoption and development of articles’ that practice the asserted patent. This proposal is both unwise and unwarranted.

“The relief afforded by the ITC is often essential to ensuring meaningful protection of U.S. IPR. A U.S. company cannot easily obtain relief in district court against an infringing foreign manufacturer. Such a plaintiff must first establish personal jurisdiction over that manufacturer, which is typically accomplished through the company’s U.S. affiliate. Where a foreign manufacturer does not have a domestic affiliate, therefore – and many do not – it may be impossible to establish jurisdiction in federal court. Sometimes it is impossible even to identify foreign manufacturers. In such circumstances, the ITC’s in rem jurisdiction ensures that U.S. companies harmed by infringing imports can obtain effective relief.”

Ms. Okun added that “against this notable backdrop, Section 337 filings have decreased markedly in the past few years. The proposed ‘reforms’ are, therefore, a solution in search of a problem. Instead of seeking statutory changes that would weaken the ITC’s ability to combat foreign infringement, those who claim to want to reduce abusive patent litigation should applaud what is already happening at the Commission.”

John Thorne, as a patent litigator that represents infringers, and spent a portion of his career at Verizon, took – not surprisingly – a different approach from Ms. Okun. He began his testimony making two points. “First, despite Congress’s requirement that the ITC limit the availability of its parallel patent forum to protect a domestic industry involving ‘significant investment in plant and equipment,’ ‘labor or capital,’ or ‘engineering, research and development, or licensing.’ [17 U.S.C. § 1337(a)(3)], the ITC has become hospitable to hedge funds and legal entrepreneurs whose only ‘industry’ is the enforcement of patents and investments in patent enforcement. Second, one of the reasons for the ITC’s increasing popularity has been its willingness to creatively stretch its authorizing statute to allow it to hear new kinds of cases that go beyond the simple stopping of infringing articles at the borders.”

He continued. “Prior to 2006, no ITC investigation had been brought by any non-practicing entity. RPX Corp., a public company whose data are relied upon by many operating companies, reports that in 2012 more than half the companies sued at the ITC for patent infringement were sued by non-practicing entities (NPEs). In the most recent three years, NPEs accounted for about one quarter of the ITC’s patent docket measured by the number of companies sued in those years.”

Since NPEs sell no products of their own, they do not actually want the only remedy the ITC can grant. They are in business to extract royalty payments. An exclusion order is simply a means to create hold-up and extract greater royalties. Following the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay v. MercExchange [547 U.S. 388 (2006)], federal courts have denied injunctions to NPEs in 75% of cases, and when the injunction was contested it was denied in 90% of cases. The one forum that has continued to issue virtually automatic injunctive relief (in the form of an exclusion order) is the ITC.”

To his credit, Mr. Thorne added that “The ITC made a deliberate choice not to follow the Supreme Court’s decision in eBay and the Federal Circuit upheld that choice.”

He testified that the “ITC grants exclusion orders whenever it finds a violation of Section 337, including in instances where a district court would deny injunctive relief under eBay. NPEs take advantage of the diverging standards by filing at the ITC concurrently with district courts to increase the threat of injunctions to defendants or by filing at the ITC after district courts deny injunctions in order to get a second bite at the apple.”

Representing the anti-IP rights lobby, Mr. Thorne had several recommendations for the Subcommittee to consider:

  • The ITC should not open an investigation when a district court remedy is available.
  • To discourage forum shopping between the ITC and district courts, the ITC should follow the same rules established by Congress and the courts for district court cases.
  • NPEs should not be treated as a protectable domestic industry.
  • However, as the current statute provides, ex ante licensing that promotes new uses of patented technology (leading to the adoption and development of articles that incorporate the patent in question) may be a protectable domestic industry if it is substantial and if the other requirements are satisfied.
  • In proving a domestic industry based on licensing, a complainant should not be permitted to draw its licensees into the proceeding unless they agree.
  • The ITC should identify and resolve dispositive issues, such as domestic industry or standing, early in the case.
  • The ITC’s 100-day “pilot program” should be used in many more cases, and should always be available when there is a question regarding domestic industry as often occurs in NPE cases.
  • Because these cases may raise important questions of law, immediate appellate review should be allowed.
  • Exclusion orders should issue only if they are in the public interest. The ITC should terminate a case at any time during the investigation if the ITC determines an exclusion order would not be in the public interest.

Mark Whitaker, who is President-Elect of the American Intellectual Property Law Association, specifically addressed H.R. 4829, the “Trade Protection Not Troll Protection Act,” a bill currently before the Subcommittee. He began his testimony as Deanna Okun did, reminding the Subcommittee of the purpose of the ITC. “Congress intended that the Commission provide owners of intellectual property rights broad protections against a wide range of unfair acts of importation. Section 337 of the Trade Act of 1930 was intended to broadly cover unfair methods of competition and unfair acts in the import of articles.”

Mr. Whitaker provided some history. “In 1974, Congress significantly revamped Section 337 principally into its modern form. The amended provisions authorized the newly created International Trade Commission to impose remedies, whereas the prior version authorized the Tariff Commission to make recommendations to the President.”

He went on to explain how the ITC addresses the issue of NPEs who bring actions before it. The ITC gathers data on the NPEs that bring 337 investigations, and divides them into one of two groups (1.) Entities that obtain patents based on their research and development, and license those patents to manufacturers; and (2.) entities that purchase patents strictly to monetize them. In 2014, only three NPEs in the three complainants in the second category brought 337 actions before the ITC, just two in 2015, and just one in the first quarter of 2016.

Mr. Whitaker was critical of H.R. 4829’s requirement that a licensee join the patentee in filing a 337 action as a co-complainant. “This would require, for example, a research and development entity such as a university, to persuade one or more of its licensees to agree to be a co-complainant in order to make use of Section 337. Thus, this change could result in barring those beyond non-practicing entities that exist solely to monetize patent rights, such as universities and laboratories, from proceeding against infringing imports at the ITC. At bottom, such a change indelibly limits the property rights enjoyed by such entities as compared to others.”

He was also critical of a provision of H.R. 4829 that would allow the losing party to appeal to the Federal Circuit to request a stay of all further proceedings. “This measure would also apply to all Section 337 investigations, not only those brought by non-practicing entities. From the stand point of intellectual property rights holders, the ability to obtain expeditious relief against unfair imports is one of the most important features of Section 337. Adoption of this provision, however, would potentially delay relief in Section 337 for as much as a year or more in many investigations. This provision would also have the anomalous effect of encouraging those who lose before the Commission to drag out the appeals process as long as possible to engage in conduct the Commission had found to be in violation of the statute.”

Mr. Whitaker concluded that “While the purpose behind H.R. 4829, to ensure that the resources of the ITC are focused on protecting genuine domestic industries, is applauded, the work the Commission has already been able to accomplish in this effectively eliminates the need for a number of provisions in the bill. In addition, any future amendments to Section 337 should be exhaustively studied and considered so that they do not impose unintentional consequences to those beyond non-practicing entity cases.”

Next month, we summarize the testimony of the other three witnesses.

 

 

What Are the Implications Of Google Controlling The U.S. Government?

What Are the Implications Of Google Controlling The U.S. Government?

 

 

Opinion by Hiram Walker

 

 

– On the illicit insider take-over of the U.S. Administration by sex-crazed, stop-at-nothing Silicon Valley billionaires

 

 

Recent research by The Intercept, ( The Android Administration : https://theintercept.com/2016/04/22/googles-remarkably-close-relationship-with-the-obama-white-house-in-two-charts/ ) China, The EU and most any voter that reads the news, shows that Google’s owners have impregnated the U.S. Government with their people at every level and in every choke-point of the federal decision-making process.

 

 

Google has most profoundly taken control of the White House with the largest majority of West Wing staff being Google-connected; most of the White House decisions benefiting Google and harming Google’s adversaries; and a shocking number of private White House meetings and revolving door job give-aways. If this was not a classic government take-over Coup that Eric Schmidt and Larry Page had strategically planned out, then it is the biggest coincidence in human history.

 

 

This is like a South American-class over-throw of a government except it used internet servers instead of bazooka’s.

 

 

Many people hear these charges and cry: “oh, it is just the Republicans picking on the Democrats again”.. and pass it off as another standard example of party politics. Nothing could be further from the truth. Google is not a Democratic thing. Google is a crazy, warped, billionaire thing. Google does what it does for a very specific goal of power and cash that has very little to do with liberals.

 

 

Imagine if you discovered that Satanists had covertly taken over the Catholic Church! This is pretty much the same thing.

 

 

Google’s bosses have been involved in a huge number of sex scandals, tax evasion schemes, corporate cheating investigations, privacy abuse and have made some of the most outlandish comments you ever heard from a crazy billionaire. How are these nut-jobs qualified to run the federal government? Google has steered a trillion dollars of taxpayer cash from the U.S. Treasury to it’s bank accounts and not to any taxpayers. Is that the way it is supposed to work?

 

 

NO!

 

 

To save America, the FBI, or the FTC, should hunt down all of the hundreds of Google insiders and pluck them out of State and Federal administrations.

   

 

 

 

TOPICS: the Google Coup, google government takeover, Google corruption, U.S. Treasury, the android administration, Google, Larry Page, Eric Schmidt, Google in the White House

 

Your devices’ latest feature? They can spy on your every move

 

 

 

Your devices’ latest feature? They can spy on your every move

Your phone’s just sitting there, innocently…. Tabletop image via www.shutterstock.com.

 

 

 

We now have dozens of smart devices in our houses and even on our bodies. They improve our lives in so many ways – from lowering energy consumption in our homes to egging us on to be active.

But these smart devices respond to whatever commands they are given: we’ve had security experts demonstrate how cars can be hijacked remotely and medical devices in your body can be hacked and turned into lethal weapons. These risks are now well-recognized by technology developers, and there is a great deal of excellent work going on toward how to avoid them.

But there are other dangers we should be more concerned about that are getting less attention. Your gadgets could be providing a window that any hacker could see right through to spy on you.

Your stuff is surveilling you

Your laptop has a video camera built into it. When it’s recording, a little green light blinks on so you’re aware you’re being recorded. But it can be instructed to videotape your activities without the green camera light being on. And this is not just an in-laboratory warning of a hypothetical danger; it has actually been done, by over-eager school officials and by peeping Toms.

At least you can turn off your laptop: when it is shut, the camera can see only “the other side” of the laptop. But this quick fix doesn’t apply to sound recording devices, like microphones. For example, your phone could listen to conversations in the room even when it appears to be off. So could your TV, or other smart appliances in your home. Some gadgets – such as Amazon’s Echo – are explicitly designed to be voice activated and constantly at the ready to act on your spoken commands.

It’s not just audio and video recording we need to be concerned about. Your smart home monitor knows how many people are in your house and in which rooms at what times. Your smart water meter knows every time a toilet is flushed in your home. Your alarm clock knows what time you woke up each day last month. Your refrigerator knows every time you filled a glass of cold water. Your cellphone has a GPS built into it that can track your location, and hence record your movements. Yes, you can turn off location tracking, but does that mean the phone isn’t keeping track of your location? And do you really know for sure your GPS is off simply because your phone’s screen says it is? At the very least, your service provider knows where you are based on the cellphone towers your phone is communicating with.

We all love our smart gadgets. But beyond the convenience factor, the fact that our devices are networked means they can communicate in ways we don’t want them to, in addition to all the ways that we do.

Is this thing on? Amazon.com, Inc

Next generation wiretapping

A bad actor could figure out how to take control of any of these technologies to learn private information about you. But maybe even more worryingly, could your technology provider become, voluntarily or under compulsion, a party to a scheme through which you unwittingly reveal your secrets?

The recent battle between Apple and the FBI revolved around the feds’ request that Apple develop a custom insecure version of iOS, the operating system of the iPhone, to facilitate their hacking into a terrorist’s cell phone. Is breaking into a locked phone just the next step beyond a traditional wiretap in which the government asks an Apple or a Samsung to use its technology to bug the conversations of a suspected terrorist?

But modern phones can be used to do a lot more than listen in on conversations. Could companies be asked to keep location tracking on while indicating to the suspect that it is really off? It would seem to me hard to draw a line between these cases. No wonder some Apple engineers came out as “objectors of conscience” in the Apple-FBI matter. This case was dropped before Apple could be compelled to do anything, so there’s no legal precedent to guide us on how these next-step examples would play out in court.

It is, of course, valuable for law enforcement to monitor criminal suspects, to investigate ongoing criminal behavior and to collect evidence to prosecute. This is the motive behind wiretap laws that allow law enforcement to listen to your phone conversations with no notice to you.

Wiretaps actually got their start in the 1800s as tools of corporate espionage. In 1928, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. U.S. that it was constitutional for law enforcement to use wiretaps, and that warrants weren’t required. This decision was superseded only in 1967, by Katz v. U.S., which established a citizen’s right to privacy, and required law enforcement to obtain warrants before bugging a phone conversation. This was long after Congress had passed an act carefully restricting wiretaps, in 1934.

In the early days of wiretapping, there was a physical “tap” – a side connection – that could be applied to a real wire carrying the conversation. Newer technologies eventually permitted the telephone company to encode and multiplex many telephone calls on the same physical wire.

Technology has moved on, but the law isn’t clear yet. Gawler History, CC BY-SA

In the United States, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) was passed by Congress in 1994, due to worries about law enforcement’s ability to keep up with new communications technologies. It requires communication companies to provide a way for law enforcement to place a wiretap even on newer communication technologies.

The law explicitly exempted information services, such as email. This legal differentiation between communications technologies and information services means companies are obliged to help the government listen in on your phone calls (with a warrant) but are not obliged to help it read your email messages (at least on account of this specific law).

In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that services such as Voice Over IP (think Skype) were communications services covered by CALEA, and not exempt information services.

Some have since wanted to further broaden this law, and doubtless the Apple FBI dispute brings this issue to the forefront again. Law enforcement will presumably push for greater surveillance powers, and civil liberty advocates will resist.

Nothing to hide?

Perhaps you don’t care about the privacy of criminals. But note that surveillance is not just of known bad actors, but also of suspected bad actors.

History teaches us that lists of suspects can sometimes be drawn way too broadly. You may remember the McCarthy era and J. Edgar Hoover’s reign at the FBI, which infamously included bugging Martin Luther King Jr.’s bedroom. Even today, there are attempts by the British Government Communications Headquarters to monitor everyone who visited the Wikileaks website, even just to browse. Some laws don’t make sense or aren’t fair, so even some “criminals” may still deserve privacy.

And it’s not just law enforcement overreach we have to worry about. Technologies like Finspy are commercially available today to install malware on your computer or phone and “recruit” it to spy on you. Such technologies could be used by anyone, including the “bad actors,” without the cooperation of your device manufacturer or service provider.

Wiretap laws, such as CALEA, apply to explicit communication actions taken by someone, such as actually making a phone call. Wiretaps do not track your movements in the house, they do not listen to your conversations when you are not on the phone, they do not videotape you in your bathroom – but these are all actions our various devices are now capable of performing. With the proliferation of devices in our lives, it is certainly possible to use them for surveillance purposes. There’s no question that by doing so, authorities will catch many bad actors. But there will also be a huge price to pay in terms of privacy and possibly wrongful arrests.

Finally, this may feel futuristic, but I assure you it is not. The FBI was already using a cellphone microphone to eavesdrop on organized crime as long as a decade ago. Commercial interests are not too far behind in doing much the same, with the purpose of targeting a better sales pitch.

Our omnipresent networked devices raise big questions that we should openly debate. How we balance these costs and benefits will determine the type of society we live in.

 

China Blocks Apple Products For Spying Against Citizens

China blocks Apple‘s iTunes Movies and iBooks without explanation …

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Apr 21, 2016 · Apple is rushing to restore service to mainland China after iTunes Movies and iBooks were suddenly closed down last Friday. The California-based tech …

http://shanghaiist.com/2016/04/22/itunes_movies_ibooks_blocked.php

Apple Blocks News App In China – The Onion – …

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VATICAN CITY—After botching a high-speed aerial maneuver while flying at low altitude over St. Peter’s Square, an out-of-control angel reportedly slammed into the …

http://www.theonion.com/americanvoices/apple-blocks-news-app-china-51527

China blocks Apple iTunes and iBook stores after launch of Ten Years

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1 day ago … Beijing: Apple‘s book and movie online stores have been blocked in China, less than seven months after they began operations on the …

http://www.smh.com.au/world/china-bloc%5B…%5Dunch-of-ten-years-20160423-godgyz.html

Google is a criminal empire, new evidence proves…

Google is a criminal empire.

 

 

 

Google receives hundreds of billions of dollars of exclusive government handouts at the expense of taxpayers and competitors. Google operated a monopolistic empire using state and federal funding in violation of anti-trust laws and business ethics. Google ordered, and operated “hit jobs” on competitors using state and federal staff and resources. Google has an executive team which strategically plans, organizes and implements the penetration of state and federal government agencies in order to illicitly steer funds and government policy to the will of Google’s owners. Google pays its public policy agents with cash, stock warrants, revolving door jobs, stock valuation manipulations, search engine rigging and mass-market mood manipulation data rigging worth tens of billions of dollars in unreported campaign funding and influence buying. Google orders it’s staff, within government agencies, to curtail all law enforcement and regulatory control of Google’s actions. Google programs its employees to believe that anything that Google does is for “the greater good” and that “Google mindfulness must always prevail” in a manner that abuses naive young employees and sets them up to not question Google’s actions.

 

 

 

Read More…

 

Did Google Attempt a Coup of The U.S. Government?

Read the facts, decide for yourself at: https://thegooglecase.wordpress.com/

Follow the money and the answer is as clear as day…

GOOGLE: BUSTED! The Coup That Almost Was

https://theintercept.com/2016/04/22/googles-remarkably-close-relationship-with-the-obama-white-house-in-two-charts/

The Android Administration

Google’s Remarkably Close Relationship With the Obama White House, in Two Charts

Illustration by The Intercept. Photo: Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

Apr. 22 2016, 6:00 a.m.

When President Obama announced his support last week for a Federal Communications Commission plan to open the market for cable set-top boxes — a big win for consumers, but also for Google — the cable and telecommunications giants who used to have a near-stranglehold on tech policy were furious. AT&T chief lobbyist Jim Cicconi lashed out at what he called White House intervention on behalf of “the Google proposal.”

He’s hardly the first to suggest that the Obama administration has become too close to the Silicon Valley juggernaut.

Over the past seven years, Google has created a remarkable partnership with the Obama White House, providing expertise, services, advice, and personnel for vital government projects.

Precisely how much influence this buys Google isn’t always clear. But consider that over in the European Union, Google is now facing two major antitrust charges for abusing its dominance in mobile operating systems and search. By contrast, in the U.S., a strong case to sanction Google was quashed by a presidentially appointed commission.

It’s a relationship that bears watching. “Americans know surprisingly little about what Google wants and gets from our government,” said Anne Weismann, executive director of Campaign for Accountability, a nonprofit watchdog organization. Seeking to change that, Weismann’s group is spearheading a data transparency project about Google’s interactions in Washington.

The Intercept teamed up with Campaign for Accountability to present two revealing data sets from that forthcoming project: one on the number of White House meetings attended by Google representatives, and the second on the revolving door between Google and the government.

As the interactive charts accompanying this article show, Google representatives attended White House meetings more than once a week, on average, from the beginning of Obama’s presidency through October 2015. Nearly 250 people have shuttled from government service to Google employment or vice versa over the course of his administration.

Photo: Paul Morigi/Getty Images

No other public company approaches this degree of intimacy with government. According to an analysis of White House data, the Google lobbyist with the most White House visits, Johanna Shelton, visited 128 times, far more often than lead representatives of the other top-lobbying companies — and more than twice as often, for instance, as Microsoft’s Fred Humphries or Comcast’s David Cohen. (The accompanying chart reflects 94 Shelton visits; it excludes large gatherings such as state dinners and White House tours.)

The information, Weismann said, “will help the public learn more about the company’s influence on our government, our policies, and our lives.”

Asked to respond, Google spokesperson Riva Litman referred The Intercept to a blog post written when the Wall Street Journal raised similar questions a year ago. In that post, Google said the meetings covered a host of topics, including patent reform, STEM education, internet censorship, cloud computing, trade and investment, and smart contact lenses. The company also claimed to have counted similar numbers of visits to the White House by Microsoft and Comcast — but it did not explain its methodology for parsing the data.

Google’s dramatic rise as a lobbying force has not gone unnoticed. The company paid almost no attention to the Washington influence game prior to 2007, but ramped up steeply thereafter. It spent $16.7 million in lobbying in 2015, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, and has been at or near the top of public companies in lobbying expenses since 2012.

But direct expenditures on lobbying represent only one part of the larger influence-peddling game. Google’s lobbying strategy also includes throwing lavish D.C. parties; making grants to trade groups, advocacy organizations, and think tanks; offering free services and training to campaigns, congressional offices, and journalists; and using academics as validators for the company’s public policy positions. Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Alphabet, Google’s parent company, was an enthusiastic supporter of both of Obama’s presidential campaigns and has been a major Democratic donor.

For its part, the Obama administration — attempting to project a brand of innovative, post-partisan problem-solving of issues that have bedeviled government for decades — has welcomed and even come to depend upon its association with one of America’s largest tech companies.

 

Google doesn’t just lobby the White House for favors, but collaborates with officials, effectively serving as a sort of corporate extension of government operations in the digital era.

In just the past few years, Google has provided diplomatic assistance to the administration through expanding internet access in Cuba; collaborated with the Department of Housing and Urban Development to bring Google Fiber into public housing; used Google resources to monitor droughts in real time; and even captured 360-degree views of White House interiors.

But perhaps most salient here is the fact that modern life requires so much information technology support that a sprawling operation like the White House has turned to tech companies — often in the form of ex-Google employees — when faced with pressing IT needs.

Practically every part of the government makes available some form of technology, whether it’s the public-facing website for a federal agency, a digital mechanism for people to access benefits, or a new communications tool for espionage or war.

Somebody has to build and manage those projects, and Silicon Valley firms have the expertise needed to do that. White House officials have publicly asked Silicon Valley for aid in stopping terrorists from recruiting via social media, securing the internet of thingsthwarting cyberattacksmodernizing the Defense Department, and generally updating all their technology. We can reasonably expect yet more things are being asked for behind closed doors.

toddparker

Photo: Philips Communications/Flickr

The disastrous launch of HealthCare.gov in October 2013 is the most obvious example. Within weeks of the site going live, Chief Technology Officer Todd Park, his top deputy Nicole Wong (a former Google deputy general counsel), and White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough held meetings with Google personnel.

In Time magazine, Steven Brill detailed one of those meetings, between Park and Gabriel Burt, the chief technology officer at Eric Schmidt’s Civis Analytics. Civis was already working on Obamacare as a vendor for Enroll America, a nonprofit tasked with getting people subscribed on the insurance exchanges. Civis used reams of data to target communities with high levels of uninsured Americans so Enroll America could contact them. But now the site where they were supposed to sign up wasn’t working. So the White House turned to Civis for help with that as well.

Eventually, Mikey Dickerson, a site-reliability engineer with Google who previously worked on the Obama campaign, got hired to fix the site. Burt and Dickerson worked together to “form a rescue squad” for HealthCare.gov, according to Time. And most of the recruits came from Google. Later, Dickerson led the U.S. Digital Service, a new agency whose mission was to fix other technology problems in the federal government. Ex-Google staffers were prevalent there as well. Dickerson attended nine White House meetings with Google personnel while working for the government between 2013 and 2014.

Meetings between Google and the White House, viewed in this context, sometimes function like calls to the IT Help Desk. Only instead of working for the same company, the government is supposed to be regulating Google as a private business, not continually asking it for favors.

Much of this collaboration could be considered public-minded — it’s hard to argue with the idea that the government should seek outside technical help when it requires it. And there’s no evidence of a quid pro quo. But this arrangement doesn’t have to result in outright corruption to be troubling.

The obvious question that arises is: Can government do its job with respect to regulating Google in the public interest if it owes the company such a debt of gratitude?

Google doesn’t think its activities present an antitrust problem. It doesn’t feel constrained from holding incredible amounts of data. But should Google be in a position to make that determination itself? How much influence is too much influence?

Another potential conflict arises from the enormous amount of data that Google and the government each have stored on American citizens. Google recently acknowledged having mined the data of student users of its education apps, and has been accused repeatedly of violating user privacy in other contexts. An overly close partnership risks Google putting its data in the government’s hands or gaining access to what the government has collected.

When the federal government and a private company share the same worldview, get the same insights from the same groups of people, the policy drift can occur with nobody explicitly choosing the direction. It just seems like the right thing to do.

And there is no doubt that Google’s rise in Washington has coincided with public policy that is friendlier to the company.

Most notably, Google has faced questions for years about exercising its market power to squash rivals, infringing on its users’ privacy rights, favoring its own business affiliates in search results, and using patent law to create barriers to competition. Even Republican senators like Orrin Hatch have called out Google for its practices.

In 2012, staff at the Federal Trade Commission recommended filing antitrust charges after determining that Google was engaging in anti-competitive tactics and abusing its monopoly. A staff report that was later leaked said Google’s conduct “has resulted — and will result — in real harm to consumers and to innovation in the online search and advertising markets.”

The Wall Street Journal noted that Google’s White House visits increased right around that time. And in 2013, the presidentially appointed commissioners of the FTC overrode their staff, voting unanimously not to file any charges.

Jeff Chester, executive director of the Center for Digital Democracy, said the administration “has been a huge help” to Google both by protecting it from attempts to limit its market power and by blocking privacy legislation. “Google has been able to thwart regulatory scrutiny in terms of anti-competitive practices, and has played a key role in ensuring that the United States doesn’t protect at all the privacy of its citizens and its consumers,” Chester said.

At a congressional hearing earlier this month, Sen. Richard Blumenthal, citing the possibility of consumer harm, called on the FTC to reconsider the kind of antitrust charges against Google recently filed in Europe.

But Obama has argued that European regulators are being too aggressive toward Google out of a desire to protect companies that aren’t as capable. “In defense of Google and Facebook, sometimes the European response here is more commercially driven than anything else,” he told Re/code in February. “We have owned the internet. Our companies have created it, expanded it, perfected it, in ways they can’t compete.”

https://static.theintercept.com/google-viz/index.html

On the left, you will find the names of White House officials who met with Google staff; on the right, the names of Google staff who met with White House officials. Hover over their names to see their titles and the number of meetings they attended. Hover over each meeting to find out who else was present. Source: Campaign for Accountability; Data Visualization: Accurat.it

 

The accompanying visualization documents White House meetings involving employees from Google, Eric Schmidt’s investment vehicle Tomorrow Ventures, and Civis Analytics, a company whose sole investor is Schmidt.

Between January 2009 and October 2015, Google staffers gathered at the White House on 427 separate occasions. All told, 182 White House employees and 169 Google employees attended the meetings, with participation from almost every domestic policy and national security player in the West Wing.

The frequency of the meetings has increased practically every year, from 32 in 2009 to 97 in 2014. In the first 10 months of 2015, which is as far as the study goes, there were 85 Google meetings.

The most frequent visitor is Johanna Shelton, one of Google’s top lobbyists in Washington — officially its director of public policy. Shelton attended meetings at the White House on 94 different occasions.

The most Google-visited White House official is Todd Park, the U.S. chief technology officer from 2012 to 2014. In that short period, Park met with Google officials at the White House 22 times. Park’s replacement, current Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith, was a former Google vice president. She had five White House meetings as a Google representative, then 10 Google meetings as a White House representative.

The comprehensiveness of Google’s outreach jumps out from the data. You would expect some contact between Google and top technology policymakers like Park, Smith, Aneesh Chopra, Susan Crawford, and Vivek Kundra. But Google’s presence as an economic force and a communications tool gives the company an interest in virtually every aspect of public policy.

Since 2009, Google has met with all three of Obama’s directors of the National Economic Council (Larry Summers, Gene Sperling, and Jeffrey Zients), one chair of the Council of Economic Advisers (Austan Goolsbee), and another official who would become CEA chair (Jason Furman, who was then deputy director of the NEC).

Company employees met with four Obama chiefs of staff (Rahm Emanuel, William Dalehttps://theintercept.com/2016/04/22/googles-remarkably-close-relationship-with-the-obama-white-house-in-two-charts/y, Jack Lew, and Denis McDonough). Google also huddled with national security personnel like Michael McFaul (then at the NSC, later U.S. ambassador to Russia) and Tony Blinken (deputy national security adviser). Employees met with Heather Zichal, deputy assistant for energy and climate change, and White House science adviser John Holdren. They met with close counselors to the president like Pete Rouse, Valerie Jarrett, John Podesta, and Dan Pfeiffer. They met with then-communications director Jennifer Palmieri. And they met with the president of the United States 21 separate times — five times in the first term and 16 times in the first two-plus years of the second term. Even Jill Biden and Michelle Obama have taken meetings with Google employees.

The visitor logs only show the individuals in attendance at the meetings, not what the meetings were about. But it’s possible to make some educated guesses. The presence of Johanna Shelton at 94 meetings suggests that a significant chunk were devoted to lobbying on various Google priorities. But there are hundreds of other meetings in the logs that point to more of a consulting role.

https://static.theintercept.com/google-viz/revolving.html

Each line represents an individual’s move between Google and U.S. government agencies, congressional staff, or federal-level political campaigns. You can filter by direction to see only transfers from or to Google; by sub-organization; and by year. To reset the graphic, click anywhere that’s not highlighted. Source: Campaign for Accountability; Data Visualization: Accurat.it

 

The “revolving door” data, displayed in the above visualization, reveals 55 cases of individuals moving from positions at Google into the federal government, and 197 individuals moving from positions inside the government to jobs at Google. The data includes positions at firms that Eric Schmidt owns or controls — Civis Analytics, The Groundwork, and Tomorrow Ventures — along with two law firms and three lobbying firms that have represented Google. On the government side, staffers at Obama for America and a handful of other political campaigns were included.

The data includes individuals from Google appointed to government boards while maintaining their positions at the tech firm. Google board member John Doerr was appointed to the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness in February 2011. Eric Schmidt has been part of the President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology since 2009. He was also more recently appointed to lead the Defense Innovation Advisory Board at the Pentagon, which occurred outside the time frame of the data.

But the bulk of the moves involved job changes. Google alums work in the departments of State, Defense, Commerce, Education, Justice, and Veterans Affairs. One works at the Federal Reserve, another at the U.S. Agency for International Development. The highest number — 29 — moved from Google into the White House. The State Department had the next highest with just five. The moves from Google to government got more frequent in the later Obama years; 11 occurred in 2014 and 16 in 2015, after only 18 in the entire first term.

On the other side, former staffers from 36 different areas across the government have found a willing employer at Google since 2009. Johanna Shelton was a senior counsel on the House Energy and Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee. Joshua Wright, a former commissioner of the Federal Trade Commission, rotated into a top position at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, one of the law firms that has represented Google.

Nineteen researchers and scientists at NASA, senior analysts at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, an “information assurance expert” at the National Security Agency, and 32 separate officials with the Obama for America campaign found their way to Google.

Former employees of 12 of the 15 cabinet agencies (Energy, Justice, Defense, Education, State, Treasury, Commerce, Agriculture, Labor, HHS, Homeland Security, and Veterans Affairs) now work at the tech company or its affiliates, led by 16 former Pentagon staffers. The exodus ramped up in the second term, hitting 41 in 2014, compared to just six in 2009.

Seven individuals made a full revolution through the revolving door, either going from Google to government and back again, or from government to Google and back again. This includes Julia Duncan, who left her job as White House personnel officer to go work in Google’s finance department in 2013, and a year later moved to the State Department’s Office of Food Security.

Nathan Parker, a staff software engineer at Google, did a stint in the U.S. Digital Service for four months before returning to Google HQ in Mountain View. Austin Lau was a planner and tech lead for Google India, then became a foreign service officer at the State Department before returning to Google to work on social impact partnerships.

A few individuals are listed twice: The aforementioned Mikey Dickerson moved from Google to the Obama campaign, back to Google, and then to the U.S. Digital Service, for example.

hands1

Illustration by The Intercept. Photo: Shutterstock

The government and Google shared engineers, lawyers, scientists, communications specialists, executives, and even board members. Google has achieved a kind of vertical integration with the government: a true public-private partnership.

Ex-Google staffers may not be directly involved in setting policy that affects Google, but they have access to decision-makers. They maintain ties to their former bosses. And Google employees with government experience have a network of friends and colleagues at federal agencies, House and Senate offices, the West Wing, and practically everywhere else.

Methodology:

The chart depicting White House visits is based on meetings between White House officials and employees of Google or companies controlled by Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google’s parent company, since President Obama took office in 2009 through October 2015. The data has been compiled from White House visitor records.

Large gatherings, such as state dinners and White House tours were excluded. Names were cross-referenced with lists of Google employees.

The jobs visualization was compiled from publicly available information including LinkedIn profiles, news sources, lobby disclosure records, and OpenSecrets.org data. Analysts gathered data by searching for profiles mentioning Google and terms related to government jobs. The data includes any job changes that occurred during Obama’s presidency, as well as moves from Obama’s campaign to Google in 2008.

Contact the author:

David Dayendavid.dayen@gmail.com @ddayen


DID-SCHMIDT-BRIBE-WHITE-HOUSE

GOOGLE-AND-OBAMA

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Hillary Clinton Caught Spending Millions To Rig Social Network Election Perceptions: Is Political Mood Manipulation Legal?

Hillary PAC Pays $1M to ˜Correct Reddit – the-news …

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Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million to ‘Correct’ Commenters on Reddit

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17 hours ago … Firms Seeking Influence Pay for Clinton Speeches: It’s not just Wall Street …. Clinton just wants power to keep her from going to jail; where she …

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Reddit for Hillary! | Finance | Hillary for America – Hillary Clinton

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Reddit for Hillary! Now, save your payment information. Join grassroots supporters … in the envelope. Americans Abroad: Click here to contribute. Paid for by Hillary for America, a campaign supported by more than one million grassroots donors.

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Clinton has been paid over $3 million for speaking … – Reddit

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Reddit – Official Site

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Pay Gap Alert: Clinton Foundation Male Execs Earn 38 … – Reddit

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Bill Clinton Costing Taxpayers $16 Million As Former …

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Pro-Clinton Super PAC Spending $1 Million Hiring Online Trolls

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15 hours ago … BUSTED: Pro-Clinton Super PAC Caught Spending $1 Million on Social Media Trolls … on Facebook, Twitter, Reddit, and other social media platforms. … The paid trolls are professional communicators, coming from public …

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“Hillary PAC Spends $1 Million to ‘Correct’…

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Donald Trump Finds Support in Reddit‘s Unruly Corners – The New …

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Social Networks are Killing Our Children and Our Societies

Social Networks are Killing Our Children and Our Societies

 

http://www.stephenfry.com/2016/04/off-the-grid/

 

JACKING OUT By Comedian and Social Writer Stephen Fry

 

What might be the proudest boast of any young person now, teenager, or twenty-something? They have been given, willy nilly, demographic tags like ‘millennial’, ‘post-millennial’, ‘Generation Z’, ‘i-Gen’ — not out of anybody’s acute cultural observation, sympathy or understanding but either to bulk up a HuffPo article or to delineate convenient advertising categories, within which many sub-categories can be established. You are not a person, you are an algorithmic assumption, a mould into which hot selling-jelly may be poured.

 

So. What might be the proudest boast of these young?

 

I’ve got this app.

 

I’ve written this app.

 

My YouTube Channel won an award.

 

I’ve got xy followers on thisdotcom?

 

Well maybe. But I’m going to suggest that if I was young now, my proudest boast would be: ‘My friends and I, we disappeared ourselves. No social media, no email, no chat, no wifi, no selfies, no SMS, no smartphones. We did it. We did this thing. We Got Off The Grid.’

 

Why should anyone want to dissociate themselves from all that connectedness, fun, convenience, reach and power? Well, because it would be – and I can’t be bothered to search for a better word and anyway perhaps there isn’t one – awesome.

 

 The great William Gibson (he coined the word ‘cyberspace’) wrote about ‘jacking into the matrix’ with an awareness, I think, that ‘jacking’ carries a druggie connotation. Jacking out of the matrix will entail plenty of cold turkey and I don’t propose it lightly or without a sense of how difficult and disruptive it would be. But then, when I was young, being difficult and disruptive was more or less what I lived for.

 

Jacking out of the matrix would cast one as a hero of the kind of dystopian film that proved popular in the 70s, Logan’s Run, Zardoz, Soylent Green, Fahrenheit 451 … on the run from The Corporation, with the foot soldiers of The System hard on your heels. We really are starting to live in that kind of movie, mutatis mutandis, so surely it’s time to join the Rebels, the Outliers, the Others who live beyond the Wall and read forbidden books, sing forbidden songs and think forbidden thoughts in defiance of The One.

 

Remembering what I was like at fifteen, I wriggle pleasurably at the thought of how it would feel in 2016 to tell a teacher that, no, I couldn’t possibly ‘e-mail’ my homework, because I don’t have e-mail:

 

‘I’m not on your email, miss/sir.’

 

‘Don’t be absurd, Stephen. Email me the essay as soon as possible.’

 

‘I will write it and bring it in to class tomorrow for you to mark. I’ll do that happily.’

 

Sudden sympathy. ‘Oh. If there’s an issue … if your parents can’t afford broadband or a computer, there are government schemes…’

 

‘My parents do have the band that is broad of which you speak, miss. They offered me one of the machines that understands the language of the “e-mailings” that so excites you. But I want no part of such elec-trickery.’

 

 

And so on. What larks. They couldn’t force me to have an online presence after all. These days, while there may be much talk of digital connection being a civil right, that doesn’t make it a civic duty, or a legal compulsion.

 

My friends and I, liberated from all digital shackles, would giggle at those sheep who flee to the playground to fire up their devices every time the break bell sounds, like addicted smokers lighting up in a theatre interval. We would watch them as they gaze, lips parted and eyes glazed over, at their Snapchats, WhatsApps, Tweets, Tumblrs, Boomerangs, Meerkats, Vines and Periscopes and how lucky we would feel to be above it all and out of it all. Out of the bullying and wheedling and neediness. Out of the invisible selling, the loveless flirting and cowardly mocking. Out of the unbearable long silences and the ceaseless screaming chatter. Out of the vengeful rivalries, the frenzied desperation and the wrenching loneliness.

 

We would turn on our heels and go to the park, the town library or a greasy-spoon café. One that doesn’t plead to be liked on Facebook. We would talk of God and guitar chords, poetry, fashion, sport and sex like any teenagers, but we’d do it lying on our backs looking at the sky, gigglingly whispering in reference libraries or coolly nudging the pinball machine into a replay.

 

I know, I know, I know. This is just maudlin, nostalgic mush. You can’t go back. But all my imagination can do when picturing a life off the grid is summon up the life I had before the grid existed, so I cannot help being retrospective. Signing off and logging out may seem to some like a move back, a fatuous attempt to disinvent the wheel, a modern equivalent of The Good Life, digging up Wikipedia and planting cabbages over it or steampunking the new to create a simulacrum of the old, but what I am talking about is a move forward for those who have never known anything but the digital world. Generation Z (it brings vomit to the gorge even to type that) must invent their own reality, not replay mine. No, this is not about the retro chic of analogue, it is about forging a new reality outside the – for want of a better word – matrix.

 

33 RPM

 

But first, what would motivate any young person today to pull the plug?

 

Well maybe they should consider this for a moment. Who most wants you to stay on the grid? The advertisers. Your boss. Human Resources. The advertisers. Your parents (irony of ironies – once they distrusted it, now they need to tag you electronically, share your Facebook photos and message you to death). The advertisers. The government. Your local authority. Your school. Advertisers.

 

Well, if you’re young and have an ounce of pride, doesn’t that list say it all? So fuck you, I’m Going Off The Grid.

 

 We all know vinyl has made a comeback. That has been deprecated as a feeble, self-conscious example of retro nostalgia, or applauded as a finger jabbed up to the contemptuously poor quality of MP3 and the so-called ‘lossless’ codecs in which music is almost universally served up these days.

 

Vinyl reminds us that, before the days of the internet, digitisation and streaming, musicians were perfectly able to create extraordinary new sounds and write immortal songs. It’s not helpful for me to suggest that the music that came from people meeting up in garages and sheds and bedrooms was better than the music being made now, because such a claim would rightly be put down to the obvious preference we all have for the music of our youth – but no one surely can deny that it was possible to create marvellous sounds and write marvellous songs without the help of MIDI synthesisers and Protools loops.

 

Magazines were put together by friends who had something to say, trivial or profound, it didn’t matter. They wrote out their articles and drew their illustrations and cartoons in exercise books and on notepads and then laboriously typed and pricked them out them onto stencils that were stretched on the drums of intricate duplicating machines. The run-off pages were manually stapled or bound together into something that could call itself a magazine. Maybe two hundred were produced in one run, which might be exhibited on the shelves of a kindly local newsagent who had been persuaded to carry them ‘sale or return’.

 

Things that were necessary in this world were paper, pencils, typewriters, diaries, cash, dictionaries and maps.

 

I don’t know what would be needed if you decided to go off the grid today. I imagine the same instruments – musical and graphical, from pianos to Rotring pens – would be helpful. A lot more walking: walking to leave notes at friends’ houses, walking to post-boxes, walking to the library, walking to shops that sold goods but did not deliver, walking to rendezvous points like pubs, cafés, parks and public spaces because the only way you could all assemble and talk would be to meet face to face.

 

All the junk that would get cleared away! Computers, drives, printers, USB hubs, webcams, ink-cartridges, keyboards, phone chargers and miles and miles of cable. Spray it with resin and create an art installation.

 

You’d learn the joy of writing again … “poets love their handwriting, it’s like smelling your own farts” W. H. Auden wrote. Everything would be physical. Everything would be tactile, real and atomic. Everything would have heft and feel and touch and brush and swish and mass and heart.

 

I am not cursing the internet, Savonarola-like, and calling for a bonfire of its vanities, nor am I decrying it for the usual reasons – concentration span, over-simplicity of access to knowledge, softening of the brain, blah-blah-blah. I don’t really subscribe to any of that.

 

Rota Fortunae

 

Swings and cycles. I sometimes subscribe to the Boethian idea (so beloved of the immortal Ignatius P. Reilly) of the Wheel of Fortune. The wheel (think London Eye) takes people round, they have their time at the top which they enjoy all the more because they have come from the bottom to get there. But they must always remember that they will soon be on their way down.

 

I hopped aboard the digital wheel in the late 80s as it was just rolling upwards. To change metaphorical horses midstream, we felt like frontiersmen heading west, west, west in search of gold and new land.

 

At first this was a text-driven, not a graphically driven world, but all that changed when in 1993 or thereabouts Mosaic arrived, the first program available for general use that could browse Tim Berners-Lee’s new invention, the worldwide web.

 

By the mid-nineties, and yes it really did take that long, the online services like CompuServe and America Online offered their subscribers an ‘internet ramp’ which meant you could dial into them and find a door out into the free world of the internet. This is important. The internet, as opposed to AOL and the others, was like a great city. It certainly had slums and red-light districts and places you wouldn’t want to visit after night, but the museums and art-galleries, theatres, cinemas, squares, parks, post-offices and streets were packed with excitement. AOL though, was a wipe-clean, family-friendly planned community, a digital Milton Keynes. Ample cycle-paths, parking and street-lighting – but fuck me how dreary, safe and bland. AOL hated having to provide the internet ramp out of its closed system, but it was inevitable. So they upped their game and started to sell themselves as a true internet provider. Higher they rose on the wheel.

 

Every movie poster or commercial for the next few years had an AOL #keyword printed on it, along with the now standard web URL. Every shop counter and every magazine was adorned with AOL membership CDs. I once gave a party in the 90s for 40 or so people and managed to ensure that I distributed about the surfaces at least 40 AOL CDs to use as wine coasters.

 

At the same time all the talk was of ‘portals’. Alta Vista, Yahoo, Excite, Lycos, they had their moments at the top of the wheel too. They provided your homepage, crammed with personalised tidbits and primitive widgets. Your commitment to them kept them big. They were sometimes service providers and search-engines too. The battle was on to keep you from being an individual roaming free in the big world and to keep you on the paved streets of their city.

 

THE WILD WEST

 

Two internets developed. The real internet, as I would call it, was that Wild West where anything went, shit in the streets and Bad Men abounding, no road-signs and no law, but ideas were freely exchanged, the view wasn’t ruined by advertising billboards and every moment was very very exciting.

 

The other internet was an environment packaged supposedly for your safe, simple navigation and convenient access. First AOL led the way here, next came the portals and after a few misfires (MySpace and Bebo) Google arrived and blew all the other portals and search-engines out of the water while Facebook established itself as the new AOL.

 

AOL was once so mighty that it was the senior partner in the merger with Time Warner, at the time the largest of its kind in history. Now it is so embarrassing an entity that it is no longer included in the name of the media giant that owns it. The wheel came round.

 

The wheel does not stop. Ever. Not for any one or any thing no matter how mighty. It didn’t stop for the real Wild West, which soon had its day, nor did it stop for its online successor. The digital Wild West may have been rough and lawless but folk were politer to strangers and knew their manners better than the ruthless, ambitious citizens who took over. The pioneer territory has now had its shitty streets and crooked boardwalks paved over. In place of saloons there are strip malls, fun fairs and multiplexes. The telegraph and train killed the stage coach and the pony express. The wheel turned.

 

And Facebook will be dust one day. Hard to imagine perhaps but obviously and happily true. ‘Whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.’

 

For now, Facebook is of course all powerful and finds itself busy eating the internet (thereby preparing its own extinction) and of course parents are on it. That’s how crap it is.

 

I and millions of other early ‘netizens’ as we embarrassingly called ourselves, joined an online world that seemed to offer an alternative human space, to welcome in a friendly way (the word netiquette was used) all kinds of people with all kinds of views. We were outside the world of power and control. Politicians, advertisers, broadcasters, media moguls, corporates and journalists had absolutely zero understanding of the net and zero belief that it mattered. So we felt like an alternative culture; we were outsiders.

 

Those very politicians, advertisers, media moguls, corporates and journalists who thought the internet a passing fad have moved in and grabbed the land. They have all the reach, scope, power and ‘social bandwidth’ there is. Everyone else is squeezed out — given little hutches, plastic megaphones and a pretence of autonomy and connectivity. No wonder so many have become so rude, resentful, threatening and unkind.

 

LOG OFF, JACK OUT, POWER DOWN

 

The radical alternative now must be to jack out of the matrix, to go off the grid.

 

If this blog is read by 10,000 people (which will be a lot fewer, off course, than might have read it if I had stayed on Twitter) well, fine. Strangely, if I printed it samizdat style, by way of an old-fashioned Gestetner duplicator and it was read as a physical pamphlet by only 100 people, I would feel that it had connected far more and with far greater purpose and meaning. It is not about the numbers. It is never about the numbers. Don’t let them tell you otherwise.

 

I live in a world without Facebook, and now without Twitter. I manage to survive too without Kiki, Snapchat, Viber, Telegram, Signal and the rest of them. I haven’t yet learned to cope without iMessage and SMS. I haven’t yet turned my back on email and the Cloud. I haven’t yet jacked out of the matrix and gone off the grid. Maybe I will pluck up the courage.

 

After you …

 

 

 

Facebook Reveals Itself To Be Just A Political Manipulation Facade

Mark Zuckerberg Wants To Be the World’s Most Powerful Social Justice Warrior

Zuckerberg, Facebook increasingly in political spotlight

Getty Images

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg has increasingly used his perch atop his massive social media platform to speak out on political issues — including immigration reform, the Syrian refugee crisis and solidarity with the Muslim community.

While Zuckerberg’s veiled shot last week at Donald Trump’s call for a wall on the Mexican border was a rare entry into the presidential debate, the Facebook creator has regularly made his views known on debates of the day.

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Zuckerberg and Facebook have an enormous influence over the political debate because of their business, which is used by the candidates and their supporters as a messaging and recruiting tool to deliver and share news about their campaigns. 

The confluence of events will put Zuckerberg and Facebook in the spotlight, especially when he chooses to makes his views known.

“It is no surprise that tech CEOs are trying to use their platform to influence political change and that they may be quite trusted, given the low amount of trust that people feel toward politicians as a broader group,” said Margie Omero, who leads research at the firm Purple Strategies. “That said people have more interaction with the product than they do with the CEO.”

Zuckerberg himself called his lofty speech last week at a developers conference unlike any he had given.

Aside from previewing Facebook’s 10-year roadmap, he also used the speech to challenge people to choose “hope over fear” and criticized “fearful voices calling for building walls” — a phrase many interpreted as a knock at Trump. 

Though the company recently tried to pour cold water on the idea that Facebook would ever use its product to try to skim support from any candidate, a spokeswoman said Zuckerberg would continue to speak out on public policy. 

“Facebook’s mission is to connect the world and bring people together – Mark will continue to advocate for public policies to the extent that it helps advance our mission or the mission of the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative,” a Facebook spokeswoman said, referring to the charitable company led by the company’s founder and his wife, Priscilla Chan.

Just in the last several months, Zuckerberg has spoken out on a number of hotly debated issues, including a handful apparently aimed at Trump. 

In December, Zuckerberg shared a post that was liked 1.5 million times assuring the Muslim community that they were “always welcome” on Facebook. His words came a day after Trump had called for a complete ban on Muslims entering the United States.

Zuckerberg has been most active on the issue of immigration reform in recent years, helping to found an advocacy group FWD.us to push reform and using one of his few visits to Washington back in 2013 to lobby on the issue. 

It made sense that Zuckerberg’s most biting line during last week’s speech was widely interpreted as a repudiation of Trump’s position to finish building a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to cut off the flow of immigrants illegally entering the country.

“I don’t pretend that our press releases get the same attention as when Mark speaks out on this issue by any means,” FWD.us president Todd Schulte said, adding that he is “thankful and proud” to have a founder so dedicated to the issue.

Zuckerberg has been testing out a milder version of the “building walls” line for months now. 

“As I travel around the world, I see many nations turning inwards. I hear growing voices for building walls and distancing people labeled as ‘other,’” Zuckerberg wrote early last month after signing an amicus brief to the Supreme Court to support President Obama’s executive action on immigration. 

Some advocates who are strongly opposed to Trump applauded Zuckerberg’s words but have already called for follow through — specifically to publicly vow that Facebook will not participate in the Republican convention this year. Groups like ColorOfChange have been putting pressure on other major companies like Google, Microsoft and Coca-Cola to pull their sponsorship.  

“With comments like those made by Mark Zuckerberg, it is our hope that he and others will show the same level of integrity when it comes to rejecting the violent rhetoric and policies being espoused by Donald Trump by refusing to invest in the RNC Convention,” said Rashad Robinson, who leads ColorOfChange. 

Facebook is not the specific target of that pressure campaign and the company declined to respond to that question. 

On other issues, Zuckerberg has found that circumstances forced him to address dicey political topics including net neutrality in other countries and support for the black lives movement. 

Aside from Zuckerberg’s speeches and Facebook posts, he has also donated millions to political causes in years past. And Facebook itself, has become a lobbying powerhouse in Washington. 

Zuckerberg helped found the group FWD.us in 2013, to lobby and donate to candidates who support comprehensive immigration reform. And back in 2010, he donated $100 million to help New Jersey schools. Both efforts saw their share of early controversy over how the money was spent. 

In 2014, he donated $25 million to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the height of the Ebola outbreak. And last December, he and his wife set up a limited liability company to donate 99 percent of the family’s Facebook shares throughout their lifetimes. 

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Zuckerberg’s donations to political candidates, by comparison, have been infrequent. Since 2011, he has donated $63,600 to candidates or political action committees. The latest donations are from 2015, where he donated to the Democratic Party in San Francisco and Facebook’s own PAC. He donated to Marco Rubio’s senate campaign in 2013, but that money was partially returned last year when Rubio entered the presidential race. 

When asked last year if he would donate to any presidential candidate this cycle, Zuckerberg simply said he had “no real decision on that.”

 

We Witnessed A Trillion Dollar Crime That Nobody Is Doing Anything About

We Witnessed A Trillion Dollar Crime That Nobody Is Doing Anything About

 

 

By Anonymous

 

 

You witnessed this crime too, in pieces. Reporters have been telling you about it for years. From the wild voices of Jesse Ventura, Micheal Savage, Infowars and the rest of the edgy news-ploitation crowd, to the sedate investigations of 60 Minutes, The Guardian and the Washington Post, to the sudden explosive leaks of the Panama Papers, The Swiss Leaks and more. You know this crime and you know all of the players.

 

 

The amount of money embezzled exceeds a Trillion dollars, but let’s just call it a Trillion because that is a good round number, easily quantified.

 

 

Here is the over-view: Silicon Valley billionaires decided to buy the White House by funding the Obama, Reid and Feinstein political campaigns in exchange for government contracts and monopolistic exclusives. They got what they bargained for. The billionaires are Eric Schmidt and Larry Page of Google, a few executives at Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, John Doerr and his Kleiner Perkins company, Steve Jurvetson, Larry Summers, Vinod Khosla, Steve Westley and some other Silicon Valley frat boys. They put their friend Eric Holder in charge of the Justice Department, to run cover-ups. They put their friend Steven Chu in charge of the Department of Energy, to hand them the cash and attack any competitors that popped up.

 

 

To date, the American taxpayers have lost over six Trillion dollars because of this scam, but, who’s counting? Apparently, nobody. The federal law enforcement agencies, that are supposed to arrest these people, have been told not to arrest these people.

 

 

You have watched all of their pieces of the scam crumble. This handful of bad-guy billionaires were all the very same owners of the failed Ener1, Sun Edison, Solyndra, Abound, Abongoa, Tesla Motors, Fisker, Ivanpah, and over 40 others. They are all the same people, the same lobbyists, the same bank accounts, the same friends, the same political funds, the same everything!

 

 

So here is the thing, we and many others reported this to the top law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and Europe. Everybody, and we mean everybody, knows about this crime. The cops know, the bad guys know that the cops know, we know, the reporters know. Everybody knows.

 

 

The problem is that the White House has ordered a cover up of this because the White House’s own senior staff including Rahm Emanual, Robert Gibbs, David Plouffe, Jay Carney, Steven Rattner and others, while sitting in the West Wing, put this whole scam together because they wanted to win an election by hook or by crook. Because Google was one of the backers, and offered the unique service of internet perception rigging to help rig elections, the “by crook” option was chosen by these insiders.

 

 

The attraction of the crime was not “getting green energy companies funded through Congressional coercion” as some press often state. That was only a side-effect. The real focus of the crime was stock market manipulation, from which the crooks skimmed over a Trillion dollars in illegal profits at the expense of the public. They did this by acquiring stocks that they then used their anti-trust violation tricks to “pump-and-skim” with manipulated valuations they created with the free federal cash. This is a felony.

 

 

The White House, the DNC and the Silicon Valley billionaires have spent nearly a billion dollars to keep this covered up, hidden and non-prosecuted.

 

 

This is not about politics. Most of us, that witnessed these crimes, do not give a flying frog about DNC’s or GOP’s. We care that we got crimes done to us as Americans and as unprotected companies who these crooks decided to run rough-shod over.

 

 

The problem comes in the form of karma and math.

 

 

You can’t run a scam for an extended period of time when half of the people you are scamming, are your enemies. The Republicans, the press, the voters and the half of the law enforcement agencies that actually did join up to fight crime, decided they can no longer sit in idleness. On top of that, the natural state of organized crime is that a criminal organization always eventually eats itself. Leaks turn into tsunamis. Whistle-blowers testify. Hookers sell their stories. The victims raise hell. A witness trades immunity for information and the whole thing falls apart.

 

 

Things, for the bad guys, are now falling apart…

 

Clean energy poster child SunEdison files for bankruptcy

 

by Matt Egan   @mattmegan5 For CNN

 

SunEdison, once a poster child of the clean energy boom, filed for bankruptcy on Thursday due to a severe cash crunch.

 

It’s a stunning reversal for SunEdison (SUNE), a solar and wind company that was worth almost $10 billion less than a year ago. But the company was hit by financial troubles in recent months caused by a mountain of debt taken on during better times.

 

SunEdison hopes to clean up its balance sheet through a Chapter 11 restructuring. The solar company secured $300 million in financing to keep the business afloat. The new funds will allow SunEdison to continue ongoing projects, pay wages and benefits.

 

The decision to file for bankruptcy was a “difficult but important step to address our immediate liquidity issues,” SunEdison CEO Ahmad Chatila said in a statement.

 

As recently as last July, SunEdison was still flying high, with its shares trading above $33. They began to collapse soon after and are today worth just 34 cents. Trading was halted Thursday minutes before the bankruptcy filing.

 

Companies in the solar industry have been hurt by the depressed price of fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, which make renewable energy more expensive by comparison. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) has lost 50% of its value over the past year.

 

Rumors had been swirling in recent weeks that SunEdison could be headed for a trip to bankruptcy court. The company enjoyed rapid growth, in part thanks to aggressive use of debt and creative ways to obtain financing. SunEdison had piled up nearly $10 billion in debt as of the end of 2015.

 

SunEdison has been an aggressive user of “yieldcos,” companies created to own and operate power plants. These entities buy power plants from their parent companies, providing fresh money that can then be plowed into new projects.

 

SunEdison’s publicly-traded yieldcos, TerraForm Power (TERP) and TerraForm Global (GLBL), are not part of the bankruptcy filing. However, shares of each have plunged this year.

 

 

There is also controversy surrounding SunEdison management. The Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating whether SunEdison management misled the public over the company’s dire financial straits, the Wall Street Journal reported.

 

The SEC declined to comment, while the DOJ said as a matter of policy it neither confirms nor denies the existence of an investigation. Representatives from SunEdison did not respond to CNNMoney’s request for comment.

 

Earlier this month SunEdison’s independent directors concluded management had an “overly optimistic culture” caused in part by a lack of sufficient controls around forecasting efforts and wrongdoing by former non-executive who was fired.

 

Topics: sun edison bankruptcy, solyndra, cleantech crash, cnn, The White House, the DNC, the Silicon Valley billionaires, 2016 elections, 60 Minutes, The Guardian, the Washington Post, Rahm Emanual, Robert Gibbs, David Plouffe, Jay Carney, Steven Rattner, Eric Schmidt, Larry Page of Google, Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, John Doerr, Kleiner Perkins, Steve Jurvetson, Larry Summers, Vinod Khosla, Steve Westley,, Eric Holder, Justice Department, cover-ups, Steven Chu, ATVM, Ener1, Sun Edison, Solyndra, Abound, Abongoa, Tesla Motors, Fisker, Ivanpah

 

Market Really Hates Tesla’s “Pregnant Hippo” appearance of Model X

Google has been formally charged with monopoly abuse

Google accused of abusing Android smartphone monopoly in new battle with Brussels

 

 

A Google sign being torn
Google is now fighting the EU on multiple fronts Credit: Reuters

 

 

Google has been formally charged with monopoly abuse over an alleged effort to crush rivals to its mobile search service and Android smartphone operating system, in a major escalation of its battle with Brussels.

Margrethe Vestager, the European Commissioner for competition, accused Google of pursing “an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in internet search”.

She issued a Statement of Objections against the web giant, a charge sheet that marks the first formal stage towards potential fines of up to a tenth of its $75bn annual turnover.

The Android charges are the second competition case Ms Vestager has brought against Google since her appointment 18 months ago, after she took a harder stance in a long-running investigation of its alleged abuses in the market for specialised web search.

She said: “We have no grudge against any company. We have an obligation to look at whether behaviour is anti-competitive or an abuse of dominance.”

Competition officials in Brussels launched an investigation over concerns that manufacturers of Android smartphones were not free to install operating systems from Google’s rivals, or to do deals with competing search engines to help them get a foothold in the mobile market.

Ms Vestager said that Google controls more than 90pc of the market for mobile operating system licensing in Europe.

According to the Commission’s statement of objections, Google abuses this dominance to place “unjustified restrictions” on smartphone manufacturers and mobile operators.

It seeks to ensure that its dominance of mobile search is maintained, imposing conditions on licences for the “must have” Google Play app store, Ms Vestager said. In order to install the app store, manufacturers must agree to also install the Google search app and Google Chrome web browser, according to the charges.

 

“In short, those tablet and smartphone manufacturers are not free to choose which search engines and which browsers to install,” Ms Vestager said.

“This is not good. It is one of my priorities for consumers to enjoy a wide range of innovative mobile products, services and platforms.”

The European Commission’s decision to press ahead with another competition case against Google is likely to anger the Obama administration, which has previously intervened over what it sees as a campaign against US technology companies driven by economic protectionism.

Last year Mr Obama complained that “oftentimes what is portrayed as high-minded positions on issues sometimes is just designed to carve out some of their commercial interests”.

American suspicions of a political agenda have been intensified by a string of policies and statements from European politicians designed to encourage home-grown internet players to compete with Google, Facebook and other dominant US tech giants. For instance, tighter European data protection rules have been interpreted in Washington as an attack on Silicon Valley.

Margrethe Vestager
Margrethe Vestager has ramped up EU’s battle with Google Credit: AFP

The high-profile technology venture capitalist Peter Thiel, an early investor in PayPal and Facebook, has claimed the tension is the result of jealousy and Europe’s economic decline.

Allegations of monopoly abuse in relation to Android strike at a growing and increasingly important part of Google’s business. It does not charge smartphone manufacturers for the software, but funds its development to help ensure its highly profitable main search business is widely used on mobile devices.

The strategy has proved profitable, according to the database giant Oracle, which has sued Google over the rights to the technology behind Android. In a court hearing earlier this year, the company claimed that the mobile operating system had indirectly delivered $31bn in sales and $22bn in profit since its launch in 2008.

Google is also accused of suppressing competition by offering financial incentives to ensure that manufacturers do not install a rival to Android, such as one of the many adaptations of the software known as “forks”.

Although the iPhone accounts for roughly a third of the smartphone market, Google is considered dominant because Apple does not compete to license its mobile operating system, iOS.

Ms Vestager emphasised that the charges over Android were separate to the row over specialised web search. In that case the Commission is considering Google’s detailed response after three failed attempts to reach a settlement.

In the new case, Google has 12 weeks to mount a fightback or offer concessions once it has received competition watchdogs’ detailed allegations.

Ms Vestager said: “The remedy in the case is quite simple. It is to stop these practices which we find to be damaging to innovation and competition.”

The charges are a boost to Google’s enemies in Europe, which include the Oracle and a string of European internet and mobile start-ups that claim its monopoly abuse has stymied their growth.

Thomas Vinje, spokesman for FairSearch, a lobby group funded by Google’s critics, said: “Virtually every phone maker using Google Android in the European Union has bowed to Google’s demands, suppressing competition by other app makers and preventing free choice for consumers.”

Kent Walker, Google’s general counsel, said: “Android has helped foster a remarkable and, importantly, sustainable ecosystem, based on open-source software and open innovation. We look forward to working with the European Commission.”

 

 

 

 

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Vehicle Group Gets $1.6B Funding opportunity from U.S. Department of Energy for Record Breaking New Type of Car

Vehicle Group Gets $1.6B Funding opportunity from U.S. Department of Energy for Record Breaking New Type of Car

Washington, DC - Today the U.S. Senate authorized a $1.6B funding approval just 24 hours after the United States Department of Energy confirmed it had received a $1.6B funding application from The Vehicle Group (VGJV). Coincidence? Many have their fingers crossed for positive synergy.

In addition to the $1.6B manufacturing loan requested by VGJV ( http://www.vgjvauto.com ), two additional proposals for two $25M loans for programs for safety vehicles for urban programs is also under submission to DOE and DOT funds, by VGJV.

Per one of VGJV's applications:This project shall deliver ultra light-weight air-drop capable tactical vehicles to defense, emergency services and specialty markets, which shall then be modified to sell in the retail market using the same factories and suppliers and replacing the high-safety shell with ordinary vehicle bodies and forms. While the tactical version will be exotic in appearance, the retail version will be normal in appearance. This project delivers low cost, hybrid omni-drives, the highest crash-safety metrics in the industry and extensive advantages to national security, domestic job creation, domestic technology leverage and long-term growth. The finest and most experienced automotive minds in the world are joining forces to deliver this effort. We are seeking $1.6B financing. VGJV guarantees and
verifies that our metrics, engineering, experience, transparency and public benefits exceed those of any previous DOE recipient since 2006. Since 2007, previous analytical projections by our team for DOE have been historically proven to have been almost 100% accurate, while almost every other applicant/recipient missed the mark by over a magnitude. To overcome the endless battle over fuel solutions, the VGJV Omni drive can use ANY fuel option including fuel cell electric H2, battery, diesel, and/or gasoline.”

VGJV says that its vehicles use a new kind of hybrid engine that can use many types of fuels. They are offering the longest range, lowest cost, safest vehicle design which can start production in already-built factories and create a large number of jobs. VGJV's SF-111 campaign finance disclosures show that the group does not use lobbyists and they are not associated with any political reward program. This should come as a big relief to those Solyndra-watchers. 

VGJV says that it has coordinated with top analysts, law enforcement, Congressional and media investigators, to ensure that their entire application process is transparent. VGJVhas strategically planned their application to by-pass the impediments and the previous political stone-walls that terminated Fisker, Coda, Aptera, Zap, VVC and many other independent domestic car makers....this isn't our first rodeo”, said VGJV staff. VGJV is a joint venture and aggregation of key people from other car companies. While VGJV's $1.6B loan has not been finalized by the Energy Department, VGJV advisors and lawyers state that: “This proposal exceeds every required metric and application parameter of the DOE program. The submitted documents, along with the documents per-authored for all responses for clarification that are anticipated to be requested by DOE, are known to exceed the upsides of almost all previous applicants COMBINED. The only reason this could conceivably be rejected is if a campaign financier or competitor orders it to be rejected.” VGJV has carefully crafted their opportunity to be an “epic win” for the American people, the U.S. Government and interests from both political parties.

VGJV is now hiring advisors and adding support staff. VGJV is also negotiating with additional investors in order to expand its resources.

Per the Detroit News:

Senate OK’s $1.6 billion to bolster fuel efficiency
Keith Laing, Detroit News Washington Bureau 

Washington —The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday to reauthoCoda, Aptera, Zap, VVC rize a $1.6
billion federal program that is intended bolster development of hybrid
and electric vehicles. The approval came despite objections of
conservative groups that have complained about past government loans to
auto companies – including Fisker Automotive – that have gone bankrupt.

The reauthorization of the Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies
program was included in a broad energy bill that was approved on an
85-12 vote. The program was last funded by Congress in 2007.

The Senate energy bill calls for spending about $339 million per yearto support domestic research, development, engineering, demonstration
and commercial application and manufacturing of advanced vehicles,
engines and components.” The new funding would be set to expire in 2020
under the legislation.

The measure will have to be merged now with a House energy bill
sponsored by Rep. Fred Upton, R-St. Joseph, which was approved last
December. Legislation containing the vehicle technology provisions have
been introduced in the House by Rep. Debbie Dingell, D-Dearborn, but the
lower chamber has not yet moved to include the program in its broad
energy bill.

Backers of the vehicle technologies program are hoping the Senate’s
large majority favoring the program will nudge the House to include the
funding for fuel efficiency research.

They said the money that is included in the Senate’s energy bill would
fund research that will help automakers improve fuel efficiency of cars
ahead of forthcoming federal standards that will soon require an average
fleet rate of 54.5 miles per-gallon.The cars and trucks of the future will be equipped with technology
making them safer and more fuel efficient, and we must ensure that the
United States leads the way in developing these innovations,” Sen. Gary
Peters, D-Bloomfield Township, said in a statement. “These emerging
technologies will not only help lower fuel costs for businesses and
consumers, their development will help create jobs in Michigan and
across the country.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Lansing, added, “Our measure will help
manufacturers and suppliers research and develop innovative technologies
to make the next generation of fuel-efficient vehicles, spurring job
growth and reducing our dependence on foreign oil.”

Critics have complained about previous loans that have been offered by
the Energy Department to auto companies that have gone belly-up like Fisker.Five companies have been awarded DOE loans, including two that the
agency discontinued,” the Heritage Foundation said in a blog post last
fall about auto-related “poison pills” in the energy bill. “The
program’s biggest black eye is Fisker Automotive, an electric vehicle
company that received a $529 million loan in April 2010 but declared
bankruptcy just three years later.”

The Fisker loans were offered through the energy department’s separate
Advanced Technology Vehicles Manufacturing loan program, which is not
related to the funding that was approved by the Senate on Wednesday.
That program been overhauled since the problems that were experienced by
Fisker and other companies that experienced financial trouble after
receiving federal money.

The failure of Fisker became a rallying cry for Republicans who argued
that the Obama administration was picking winners and losers in the auto
industry during the federal government’s controversial bailout of
General Motors and Chrysler. The GM and Chrysler bailouts started under
the former President George W. Bush administration in late 2008, but
they became closely associated with Obama when he ordered the firing of
former GM CEO Rick Wagoner in 2009.

Jennifer Thomas, vice president of federal government affairs for the
Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, countered Wednesday that the new
funding for vehicle technologies in the Senate’s energy bill “will help
speed the proliferation of advanced technology and alternative fuel
vehicles.Automakers and our suppliers remain focused on the introduction and
deployment of these fuel-efficient vehicles as we strive to address our
nation’s energy security and environmental concerns,” Thomas said in a
statement. “The Vehicle Innovation Act will aid these ongoing efforts
and support the research and design of the next generation of
fuel-efficient vehicle technologies.”

Upton said after Wednesday’s Senate vote, “We’ve made significant
progress toward modernizing and protecting our energy infrastructure,
promoting innovation and energy efficiency while strengthening U.S.
energy security and jobs. But more work needs to be done.Our newfound energy abundance has completely flipped the script, and
it’s time our energy laws caught up to the 21st century.”

TOPICS: Jennifer Thomas, Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers,The Vehicle Innovation Act, General Motors, Chrysler, Fisker Loans, Sen. Debbie Stabenow, Sen. Gary Peters, Rep. Debbie Dingell,Department of Energy’s Vehicle Technologies, Coda, Aptera, Zap, VVC, Vehicle Group, VGJV,

 

Elon Musk’s Tesla, SpaceX, and SolarCity uncovered as being sponsored and covertly backed by The White House

By Eddie Samsun and Cheryl Weisman – DC Insider Digital

 

 

 

The “White House” is a big white building sitting in the middle of a field in Washington DC. It is full of offices and a few bedrooms. It is filled by bureaucrats who feel that they must grab as much money as they can, within any given four year period, before they get booted out.

 

 

The ones that steal money don’t usually just grab the cash and put it in their pockets. They rely on “deferred payola” for their upside.

 

 

Deferred payola means that they believe that if they do their dirty deeds today they will get paid later on with lucrative jobs in the companies they did they dirty deeds for and stock in those companies and real estate financed by those companies.

 

 

The hookers, dinners, golf trips, Super Bowl tickets, Beyonce concert comps and discount car financing that they get today is only a tiny, tiny portion of what they will get tomorrow on the DP basis (Deferred Payola).

 

 

To make the statement that the White House covertly runs some of it’s campaign buddies tech companies may be a bold statement. You might think that reporters are confident enough to proclaim such a thing based on some resounding leaked documents from the recent tsunami of leaked documents, ie: the Panama Papers and such. While the leaks do confirm the claim, it turns out that the clumsy greed and hubris of those who engaged in the corruption provides the biggest evidence.

 

 

Public records are now the smoking gun.

 

 

Over time, more and more records naturally become public, outside of the prodigious efforts of the Chinese hackers. Now, enough public documents have emerged to tie the characters in the crime into one another.

 

 

The following facts will hold up before a Special Prosecutor, a Grand Jury or any public inquiry:

 

 

 

– Elon Musk had special metrics engaged in by the Fed at points when his assets would have otherwise crashed. The Fed reports to the White House. Elon Musk is the only person, during the Obama Administration, that this was done for. The Fed records and analyst reports prove this.

 

– Elon Musk is the only person in history to receive over $10 billion taxpayer dollars from entities who report directly to the White House. The GAO, SEC, FTC and Treasury records prove this.

 

– Elon Musk received the only off-shore mining contract direct benefits, on an exclusive and monopolistic basis, over all of his competitors. Only the White House was capable of arranging this

 

– Google controls White House policy and funds the Obama Administration. The only two entities to ever get exclusively “profile pumped” over a 5 year period, using Google’s search engine rigging technology are Barack Obama and Elon Musk. The tracked web metrics prove this.

 

– Elon Musk has had magnitudes more failures, lawsuits, fraud charges, product defects, fires, explosions, deaths and other disasters, at his companies without going out of business. Each single one of these disasters has killed other, larger companies. The cover-up, offsets and media hype that was used to hide and obfuscate each of these crisis could only have come from a source as resourced as The White House

 

– In a very emotional political contest, candidate Mitt Romney stated that all of Obama’s Department of Energy programs were “failures”. Indeed, most of those projects have failed. The “official” failure of Tesla according to White House staff, including Jofi Jospeh, “would have so embarrassed Obama tat he would have unable to continue in office.”

 

– Tesla’s are generally only purchased by wealthy 1% Democrat campaign financiers as Tesla’s own ownership marketing documents reveal

 

 

 

There are hundreds of other facts that prove the illicit connection. You the reader, must ask Mr. Musk, The White House and the FBI if this is all true.

 

 

 

BMW and Daimler abandon Apple Car project due to Apple’s “arrogant frat-boy attitude”

BMW and Daimler abandon Apple Car project due to Apple’s “arrogant frat-boy attitude”

 

The swaggering hubris-ridden penis-game in Silicon Valley has blown up on it’s road to create boy toys for the nearly all-male Apple executives. Nothing says “mine is bigger than yours” like starting a car company with your windfall billions. Apple was no exception. It is almost a law that billionaires must start rocket companies and car companies in order to offset their masculinity issues. With the huge number of departures from Apple’s car project, coupled with major companies not wanting to play weenie wagging games with Tim Cook, the Apple car seems to be sliding into history.

 

Posted by Devin Coldewey

 

 

If Apple really is working on a car, it won’t be the Ultimate Driving Machine™. BMW and Daimler have discontinued talks with Apple over a potential automotive collaboration, Handelsblatt reports.

 

Things fell apart (last year for BMW, more recently with Daimler) over questions of leadership and ownership, the German newspaper’s source said — and given what we know about Apple, that seems like a perfectly likely sticking point. The idea of integrating the car closely with Apple services rather than their own may have rattled the car makers; of course, automotive brands are among the most powerfully guarded and promoted in the world.

 

Related Articles

 

On “60 Minutes” Apple CEO Tim Cook Bats Away Car Talk, Criticisms Over Tax Picture, Low-Wage Workers Apple Hires Ex-Fiat Chrysler Exec For Operations Role, Fueling Car Rumors Apple Hires Include Car Interior, Transmission, New Vehicle And Auto Safety Engineers

 

Rumors swirled about a year ago around the idea of an Apple Car, and recent hires have been more than suggestive. But no one seems to agree on whether it’s an actual car, a collaboration with auto makers or something more subtle, like a carOS to be integrated with existing systems. One thing everyone is sure of, though: with hundreds of employees working on the project, whatever it is, it isn’t just a hobby.

 

So who’s left for Apple to work with? The latest rumors point to Magna, a Canadian-Austrian specialty electric vehicle maker that works with multiple badges to produce limited editions and one-offs. With top-shelf cred, less brand jealousy and probably less-demanding terms, Magna sounds like a good match for a well-heeled dilettante like Apple.

 

 

 

Tesla Model X owners finding car doors won’t shut, windows won’t close- Horrific Quality Issues

Google’s insane billionaires seek immortal grasp on power, sex, cash and indulgence through high tech elite fountain of youth

Google’s chief futurist Ray Kurzweil thinks Eric Schmidt could start living forever by 2029 and take over all of politics

Ray Kurzweil, Google’s chief futurist, laid out what he thinks the next few decades will look like in an interview with Playboy.

Kurzweil is one of the biggest believers in The Singularity, the moment when humans — with the aid of technology —will supposedly live forever.

He’s chosen the year 2045 because, according to his calculations, “The nonbiological intelligence created in that year will reach a level that’s a billion times more powerful than all human intelligence today.”

But even before 2045, Kurzweil thinks we could begin the deathless process.

I believe we will reach a point around 2029 when medical technologies will add one additional year every year to your life expectancy,” he told Playboy. “By that I don’t mean life expectancy based on your birthdate, but rather your remaining life expectancy.”

A lot will have to happen in the next 30 years to make that a reality, but Kurzweil isn’t fazed: He predicts that nano machines capable of taking over for our immune system (to fix problems like cancerous cells and clogged arteries) and connecting our brains to the cloud will be available by then. 

He likens that change as the next step in our evolution, the same way our ancestors developed to use the frontal cortex 2 million years ago. The benefits, according to Kurzweil, will be significant.

We’ll create more profound forms of communication than we’re familiar with today, more profound music and funnier jokes,” he tells Playboy. “We’ll be funnier. We’ll be sexier. We’ll be more adept at expressing loving sentiments.”

Kurzweil points to two advancements that’ve already happened to support his futuristic claims. The first is the rate of technological advancement: His current Android phone is several orders of magnitude smaller, more powerful, and less expensive than the $11 million computer he used at MIT in the mid 1960’s. Technology will only continue to get smaller, more powerful, and less expensive over time.

The second is work being done at Joslin Diabetes Center in Connecticut, which has used biotechnology to turn off the fat insulin receptor gene in animals, allowing them to eat large quantities of food without developing diabetes or gaining weight. By hacking the human body we can ditch millennia-old genes that serve no purpose and increase our lifespan significantly.

It’s yet to be seen if his plans will pan out, but Kurweil considers dying before the singularity to be a failure on his part, so he’s adopted a strict diet with the hope of making it to 2045 and living forever.

Google’s insane billionaires seek immortal grasp on power, sex, cash and indulgence through high tech elite fountain of youth

Saudi Arabia uses vast network of PR and marketing companies in US to silence 9-11 families pleas

 

Lobbying

Saudi government has vast network of PR, lobby firms in U.S.

 

 

 

By Catherine Ho – THE WASHINGTON POST


A photograph released by the official Saudi Press Agency shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud receiving President Barack Obama in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 20, 2016.  EPA/SAUDI PRESS AGENCY

The Saudi government and its affiliates have spent millions of dollars on U.S. law, lobby and public relations firms to raise the country’s visibility in the United States and before the United Nations at a crucial time.

And some of Washington’s premier law and lobby firms — including Podesta Group, BGR Government Affairs, DLA Piper and Pillsbury Winthrop — have been tasked with the job, according to a review of Justice Department filings. Five lobby and PR firms were hired in 2015 alone, signaling a stepped-up focus on ties with Washington.

The firms have been coordinating meetings between Saudi officials and business leaders and U.S. media, and promoting foreign investment in the Saudi economy. Some have even been tasked with coming up with content for the embassy’s official Twitter and YouTube accounts.

The Saudi government, embassy and government-owned entities have been contracting with U.S. consulting firms for more than 30 years. The work ranges from years-long agreements for legislative advice to one-time PR outreach efforts during “VIP visits” of Saudi leaders to Washington and New York.

For 12 days last June, for example, consultants at the PR firm Edelman handled the visit of Abdulaziz Al-Harbi, CEO of International Trust Construction, during the executive’s trip to New York, setting up meetings with business, government and media leaders and earning $10,000 for their efforts.

In 2014, consultants at the PR firm Qorvis developed content for the Saudi Arabia embassy’s YouTube and Twitter pages, and ran the Twitter account for the Syrian Opposition Coalition.

“Saudi Arabia is consistently one of the bigger players when it comes to foreign influence in Washington,” said Josh Stewart, a spokesman for the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks money and influence in politics. “That spans both what you’d call the inside game, which is lobbying and government relations, and the outside game, which is PR and other things that tend to reach a broader audience than just lobbying.”

President Obama is scheduled to meet with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on Wednesday. The sit-down comes at a complicated time in relations between the United States and its longtime ally in the Middle East.

In an interview published in The Atlantic magazine this month, Obama criticized Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf for being “free riders.” The remarks follow years of increasingly strained relations between U.S. and Saudi leaders, who were especially unhappy about the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional archenemy, which prompted many Saudi officials to question their country’s standing with the United States.

A new wrinkle has the potential to make the meeting even more uncomfortable. On Sunday, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders expressed their support for a bipartisan bill that would allow family members of 9/11 victims other terrorist attacks to sue foreign governments, such as Saudi Arabia, for restitution. The bill was introduced in September by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) and has sewn a rift between Senate Democrats and the White House.

[Obama and many Republicans on same side on Saudi 9/11 bill]

The Saudi government has threatened to sell up to $750 billion in Treasury securities and other U.S. assets if the bill is passed. A White House spokesman on Monday hinted that Obama would veto the measure if Congress were to pass it.

It is unclear whether lobbyists and PR representatives for Saudi Arabia are actively aiming to influence members of Congress or the administration on that particular bill. Leaders at the firms either declined to comment or did not return requests for comment for this story.

But the country and its affiliates have contracted high-profile lobby shops to help burnish their image and protect their standing in Washington. And such work comes with generous fees.

“Having an array of people representing the country in Washington helps Saudi Arabia keep the focus on what a great ally it is in the Middle East, not on issues like what women are and aren’t allowed to do there,” said Viveca Novak, editorial and communications director at the government watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics. “Typically a country like this will hire Democrats and Republicans, to make sure it has a broad reach, and will include people who used to work for key committees or agencies — sometimes even former members of Congress.”

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By Catherine Ho April 20 at 11:53 AM Follow @WapoCat


A photograph released by the official Saudi Press Agency shows Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud receiving President Barack Obama in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on April 20, 2016.  EPA/SAUDI PRESS AGENCY

The Saudi government and its affiliates have spent millions of dollars on U.S. law, lobby and public relations firms to raise the country’s visibility in the United States and before the United Nations at a crucial time.

And some of Washington’s premier law and lobby firms — including Podesta Group, BGR Government Affairs, DLA Piper and Pillsbury Winthrop — have been tasked with the job, according to a review of Justice Department filings. Five lobby and PR firms were hired in 2015 alone, signaling a stepped-up focus on ties with Washington.

The firms have been coordinating meetings between Saudi officials and business leaders and U.S. media, and promoting foreign investment in the Saudi economy. Some have even been tasked with coming up with content for the embassy’s official Twitter and YouTube accounts.

The Saudi government, embassy and government-owned entities have been contracting with U.S. consulting firms for more than 30 years. The work ranges from years-long agreements for legislative advice to one-time PR outreach efforts during “VIP visits” of Saudi leaders to Washington and New York.

For 12 days last June, for example, consultants at the PR firm Edelman handled the visit of Abdulaziz Al-Harbi, CEO of International Trust Construction, during the executive’s trip to New York, setting up meetings with business, government and media leaders and earning $10,000 for their efforts.

In 2014, consultants at the PR firm Qorvis developed content for the Saudi Arabia embassy’s YouTube and Twitter pages, and ran the Twitter account for the Syrian Opposition Coalition.

“Saudi Arabia is consistently one of the bigger players when it comes to foreign influence in Washington,” said Josh Stewart, a spokesman for the Sunlight Foundation, which tracks money and influence in politics. “That spans both what you’d call the inside game, which is lobbying and government relations, and the outside game, which is PR and other things that tend to reach a broader audience than just lobbying.”

President Obama is scheduled to meet with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh, the Saudi capital, on Wednesday. The sit-down comes at a complicated time in relations between the United States and its longtime ally in the Middle East.

In an interview published in The Atlantic magazine this month, Obama criticized Saudi Arabia and other U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf for being “free riders.” The remarks follow years of increasingly strained relations between U.S. and Saudi leaders, who were especially unhappy about the U.S. nuclear deal with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s regional archenemy, which prompted many Saudi officials to question their country’s standing with the United States.

A new wrinkle has the potential to make the meeting even more uncomfortable. On Sunday, Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders expressed their support for a bipartisan bill that would allow family members of 9/11 victims other terrorist attacks to sue foreign governments, such as Saudi Arabia, for restitution. The bill was introduced in September by Sens. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas) and has sewn a rift between Senate Democrats and the White House.

[Obama and many Republicans on same side on Saudi 9/11 bill]

The Saudi government has threatened to sell up to $750 billion in Treasury securities and other U.S. assets if the bill is passed. A White House spokesman on Monday hinted that Obama would veto the measure if Congress were to pass it.

It is unclear whether lobbyists and PR representatives for Saudi Arabia are actively aiming to influence members of Congress or the administration on that particular bill. Leaders at the firms either declined to comment or did not return requests for comment for this story.

But the country and its affiliates have contracted high-profile lobby shops to help burnish their image and protect their standing in Washington. And such work comes with generous fees.

“Having an array of people representing the country in Washington helps Saudi Arabia keep the focus on what a great ally it is in the Middle East, not on issues like what women are and aren’t allowed to do there,” said Viveca Novak, editorial and communications director at the government watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics. “Typically a country like this will hire Democrats and Republicans, to make sure it has a broad reach, and will include people who used to work for key committees or agencies — sometimes even former members of Congress.”

The lobby firm Podesta Group has an ongoing contract with the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, a government entity, for $140,000 monthly. Barring any changes to the fee schedule, the year-long work would earn the firm $1.68 million by the end of 2016. The firm’s founder Tony Podesta, a top Democratic lobbyist and major contributor to Hillary Clinton, is working personally on the matter, according to a March filing.  Podesta president Kim Fritts, a longtime Republican consultant and adviser to Jeb Bush, is listed on the contract, which the firm would not elaborate on.

BGR Government Affairs, the lobby firm founded by Ed Rogers and former Mississippi governor and Republican National Committee Chair Haley Barbour, was hired by the Center for Studies and Media Affairs in 2015 to “provide public relations and media management services” for a $500,000 fee.

Rogers, the firm’s chairman, did not immediately return a request for comment. Rogers is a contributor to the Washington Post’s PostPartisan blog.

Prominent public relations and law firms have also been employed by entities linked to Saudi Arabia, mainly to advise its emissaries either based in Washington or who descend on the nation’s capital to visit.

The law firm DLA Piper was tapped in 2o15 by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia for a nine-month contract to “assist the Embassy in strengthening the ability of the United States and Saudi Arabia to advance mutual national security interests.” The work is listed as receiving a $50,000 monthly retainer, or a combined $450,000.

Campaign fundraising firm Targeted Victory was hired in 2015 to work with the embassy’s prime contractor, Qorvis MLS Group, to promote the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including managing social media content for $40,000 a month; Targeted Victory provided analysis on feedback received from Zignal Labs, the analytics platform that is a Washington Post partner, for $15,000 a month.

Zac Moffatt, co-founder of Targeted Victory, was the digital director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. The filing does not specify the length of time for the contract, but separate filings by individual consultants at Qorvis say their work for Saudi Arabia spanned March 2015 to March 2016.

Image giant Edelman has been tapped four times since 2013 to represent various affiliates of the Saudi government for fees totaling about $239,000.

Most recently, in September 2015, the firm provided PR services for the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and its governor Abdullatif Al-Othman during his visit to Washington last September to “help furnish Saudi Arabia as an attractive destination for [foreign direct investment] and highlight the country’s economy as one transforming into one that is diversified.”  The work earned the firm $16,500 in fees.

In 2013, Edelman consultants in Washington and New York worked for the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia To the United Nations to promote the interests of Saudi Arabia to the UN, earning about $190,000 to design a logo, tagline and brochures and develop a promotional video and book on the nation’s behalf.

The law firm Pillsbury Winthrop earned an estimated $135,000 in 2015 for providing “general public policy and legislative advice” to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Ambassador to the U.S. Adel Al-Jubeir.

The firm previously earned up to $2.64 million between 2011 and the end of 2014 for providing legal counsel to King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, a Saudi-based entity created by former king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to promote sustainable energy practices. The work included advising on the development of a commercial nuclear energy program.

Pillsbury declined to comment.

Marketing firm Interpublic was hired by SABIC Petrochemicals B.V., a majority Saudi government-owned company, in 2013 for marketing services, including issuing press releases, identifying business reporters and setting up meetings in New York City. The contract was for $140,400.

 

Catherine Ho covers lobbying at The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.

The lobby firm Podesta Group has an ongoing contract with the Center for Studies and Media Affairs at the Saudi Royal Court, a government entity, for $140,000 monthly. Barring any changes to the fee schedule, the year-long work would earn the firm $1.68 million by the end of 2016. The firm’s founder Tony Podesta, a top Democratic lobbyist and major contributor to Hillary Clinton, is working personally on the matter, according to a March filing.  Podesta president Kim Fritts, a longtime Republican consultant and adviser to Jeb Bush, is listed on the contract, which the firm would not elaborate on.

BGR Government Affairs, the lobby firm founded by Ed Rogers and former Mississippi governor and Republican National Committee Chair Haley Barbour, was hired by the Center for Studies and Media Affairs in 2015 to “provide public relations and media management services” for a $500,000 fee.

Rogers, the firm’s chairman, did not immediately return a request for comment. Rogers is a contributor to the Washington Post’s PostPartisan blog.

Prominent public relations and law firms have also been employed by entities linked to Saudi Arabia, mainly to advise its emissaries either based in Washington or who descend on the nation’s capital to visit.

The law firm DLA Piper was tapped in 2o15 by the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia for a nine-month contract to “assist the Embassy in strengthening the ability of the United States and Saudi Arabia to advance mutual national security interests.” The work is listed as receiving a $50,000 monthly retainer, or a combined $450,000.

Campaign fundraising firm Targeted Victory was hired in 2015 to work with the embassy’s prime contractor, Qorvis MLS Group, to promote the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia including managing social media content for $40,000 a month; Targeted Victory provided analysis on feedback received from Zignal Labs, the analytics platform that is a Washington Post partner, for $15,000 a month.

Zac Moffatt, co-founder of Targeted Victory, was the digital director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign. The filing does not specify the length of time for the contract, but separate filings by individual consultants at Qorvis say their work for Saudi Arabia spanned March 2015 to March 2016.

Image giant Edelman has been tapped four times since 2013 to represent various affiliates of the Saudi government for fees totaling about $239,000.

Most recently, in September 2015, the firm provided PR services for the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA) and its governor Abdullatif Al-Othman during his visit to Washington last September to “help furnish Saudi Arabia as an attractive destination for [foreign direct investment] and highlight the country’s economy as one transforming into one that is diversified.”  The work earned the firm $16,500 in fees.

In 2013, Edelman consultants in Washington and New York worked for the Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia To the United Nations to promote the interests of Saudi Arabia to the UN, earning about $190,000 to design a logo, tagline and brochures and develop a promotional video and book on the nation’s behalf.

The law firm Pillsbury Winthrop earned an estimated $135,000 in 2015 for providing “general public policy and legislative advice” to the Embassy of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Ambassador to the U.S. Adel Al-Jubeir.

The firm previously earned up to $2.64 million between 2011 and the end of 2014 for providing legal counsel to King Abdullah City for Atomic and Renewable Energy, a Saudi-based entity created by former king Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud to promote sustainable energy practices. The work included advising on the development of a commercial nuclear energy program.

Pillsbury declined to comment.

Marketing firm Interpublic was hired by SABIC Petrochemicals B.V., a majority Saudi government-owned company, in 2013 for marketing services, including issuing press releases, identifying business reporters and setting up meetings in New York City. The contract was for $140,400.

 

Catherine Ho covers lobbying at The Washington Post. She previously worked at the LA Daily Journal, the Los Angeles Times, the Detroit Free Press, the Wichita Eagle and the San Mateo County Times.

 

 

 

Daimler chairman, Edzard Reuter, called Tesla “a joke that can’t be taken seriously compared to the great car companies of Germany” and dismissed Musk as a “pretender.”

Daimler chairman, Edzard Reuter, called Tesla “a joke that can’t be taken seriously compared to the great car companies of Germany” and dismissed Musk as a “pretender.”

The world is outing Elon Musk as the ultimate political meat puppet.

Read MORE…

Google’s kick-back payola from Obama White House breaks all records

Google’s kick-back payola from Obama White House breaks all records

 

– More insidious than House of Cards “Pollyhop”

 

– Nearly a trillion dollars of tax payer give-aways and competitor hit jobs

 

– Google avoids all law enforcement and regulation based entirely on “pass” from White House

 

Google Reaps Harvest of Obama Support

 

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AP Photo/Jeff Chiu

 

by Mike Flynn

 

Internet giant Google has been one of the strongest political backers of President Barack Obama. As the Obama tenure in the White House comes to an end, several recent regulatory decisions have benefited Google handsomely.

 

The symbiotic relationship has been good for both Obama and the titans of Mountain View.

 

In the 2012 election cycle, Google employees donated a princely $804,249 to President Obama’s re-election effort. Only employees at Microsoft and the University of California donated more, and each have more than double the number of employees as Google. In 2008, Google employees contributed $817,855 to Obama’s election campaign.

 

Google’s Eric Schmidt served on Obama’s President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and provided valuable input on Obama’s 2012 campaign. Schmidt helped the Obama campaign recruit talent and coached the campaign manager on leadership. Schmidt even invested in a data start-up headed by veterans of the Obama campaign.

 

Obama also appointed a non-registered Google lobbyist, Vint Cerf, to the National Science Board. Last year, the Wall Street Journal reported that someone from Google attended a meeting at the White House an average of once a week throughout Obama’s tenure in office.

 

Now, in the final months of the second Obama term, Google has been the beneficiary of favorable decisions from federal agencies ranging from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

 

The FCC is handling its “set-top” box proceeding, ostensibly aimed at freeing TV viewers from expensive, restrictive contracts with cable providers, in a way that would greatly benefit Google whether seen from the perspective of giving Google a ton of new advertising data it currently lacks or giving the tech giant access to other entities’ content on uniquely favorable terms.

 

Because of Google’s relationship with T-Mobile, depending on how the FCC handles its spectrum auction, the agency could also be set to give the company a big boost in that realm, too. Google itself will not participate in the auction, removing a potentially large bidder from the sale. Google has close ties with T-Mobile, however, and the wireless carrier will be bidding on the auction.

 

And the FCC is also doing Google a big favor in pre-empting states from regulating Google Fiber. As Google’s own lawyer has noted, regulating Google under the federal Title II could give the company access to other companies’ hard infrastructure, such as telephone poles—a big boost to Google.

 

Meanwhile, NHTSA is giving Google and its self-driving cars another regulatory handout. According to Reuters, “NHTSA will interpret ‘driver’ in the context of Google’s described motor vehicle design as referring to the (self-driving system), and not to any of the vehicle occupants,” something that increases the commercial viability of Google’s driverless cars substantially. In other words, the Google’s on-board computer will be considered by the Feds to be a “driver,” clearing lots of hurdles for self-driving cars to hit the road.

 

Another big benefit to Google was announced by President Obama himself, when he announced the company would be the first American Internet Service Provider to be let into Cuba. Critics also allege that Google may be benefiting from the creation of new “Digital Attaches” at U.S. Embassies abroad, and from terms of free trade agreements sought by the Obama administration.

 

Earlier this year, the federal government announced an end to its nearly two-year anti-trust investigation of Google’s search business. In a break with precedent, the FTC accepted voluntary changes from the company rather than a formal consent decree. One FTC Commissioner even warned that the lack of a consent decree freed Google to reinstate anti-competitive practices at any time.

 

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with anyone—corporation or individual—advocating for their position and benefiting from sound, limited government policy. In Google’s case, however, they provided critical support for President Obama’s election. The President has pursued a heavy, interventionist policy in almost every other industry sector.

 

Google has not only escaped the heavy hand of government regulation, but, in a number of cases, it has benefitted from specific government decisions that have helped its businesses. That looks a lot less like an individual entity benefiting from free markets and a lot more like buying special, pricey favors, to the potential disadvantage of competitors. In other words, a kind of high-tech crony capitalism. One wonders if you can google that.

 

Google’s Android Targeted by EU Over Mobile Search Curbs

 

Aoife White aoifewhite101

 

 

EU Sends Objections Over Android Pacts With Manufacturers

 

 

 

 

EU Sends Objections Over Android Pacts With Manufacturers

 

 

 

  • EU sends objections over Android pacts with manufacturers

  • Pre-loaded software pushes users to Google Search, EU says

 

Google was accused of wielding its power as the world’s leading phone software supplier to impose its search and Web programs on billions of mobile users as European Union regulators took another swipe at the U.S. technology giant.

 

The European Commission sent Google a formal antitrust complaint, accusing the company of striking restrictive contracts that require makers of tablets and phones to install its search and Web browser on new phones. The company also unfairly pays phone makers and telecom operators a share of advertising revenue if they agree to make Google’s search engine the default on devices, the EU said Wednesday.

 

“What we found is that Google pursues an overall strategy on mobile devices to protect and expand its dominant position in Internet search” with unjustified restrictions and conditions on phone makers and carriers, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager told reporters. “Over half of Internet traffic takes place on mobile devices.”

 

By sending a statement of objections, the EU is opening a new front in its antitrust battle with the Alphabet Inc. unit — paving the way for potentially huge fines and radical changes to the way the company does business. It comes a year after the EU issued a formal complaint over Google’s comparison-shopping service.

 

Free, Open

 

Google countered the EU charges, saying that Android is a “free and open-source operating system.”

 

“Our partner agreements are entirely voluntary,” Kent Walker, the Mountain View, California-based company’s general counsel, said in a statement. “We look forward to working with the European Commission to demonstrate the careful way we’ve designed the Android model in a way that’s good for competition and for consumers.”

 

Google is in the EU’s sights more than a decade after regulators took aim at Microsoft Corp. for tying a media player to its bestselling computer operating system. While some things have changed since then, Google’s efforts are “a strategy to keep and expand” its power in search by nudging Android users toward Google’s mobile search, Vestager said.

 

Microsoft fought hard against EU charges, coughing up 2.24 billion euros ($2.5 billion) in four installments over 10 years and losing a challenge in court.

 

Market Domination

 

Android is loaded on most of the world’s smartphones and tablets — usually along with Google’s e-mail, maps and video software. The EU argues that users rarely bother to download alternatives to the apps that come on a new device, meaning Google’s deals ensure its free Web and search software grab attention — and the advertising revenue that powers the Internet.

 

The Android software for smartphones has been in the EU’s sights since 2013 after an industry group backed at the time by Microsoft Corp. and Nokia Oyj filed a complaint with regulators. The EU opened a formal probe last year that looks at Google’s anti-competitive practices on mobile since 2011.

 

That complaint focused on Google’s mobile application development agreements, such as those with handset makers Samsung Electronics Co. and HTC Corp., which require developers to use Google’s proprietary Play Services software. Manufacturers must also strike anti-fragmentation agreements to use the Play Store apps, which prevents them making their own versions of Android.

 

Financial Incentives

 

The EU is also looking at Google’s financial incentives — revenue sharing agreements for manufacturers and telecom operators that agree to its terms. It wouldn’t say how much was at stake but that income needed to be significant to keep companies within the Google ecosystem. The case doesn’t extend to the hefty fee paid to Apple Inc. to keep its search bar on the iPhone.

 

Click here for a timeline of Google’s Skirmishes with EU’s antitrust regulator

 

The EU case raises a potential threat to Android, and Google’s reach to “virtually every non-IPhone user in the world,” said James Cakmak, an analyst at Monness Crespi Hardt & Co., who rates Alphabet’s stock a buy.

 

“The most extreme consequence is some sort of unbundling or separation of Google Services from Android,” Cakmak said. “Limiting your ability to collect data would limit your ability to target users, which is what Google does — get the right ad in front of you at the right time.”

 

Buyer Experience

 

Google said last year that its agreements with phone manufacturers are voluntary and allow Android to be used without Google apps. Agreements to prevent fragmentation ensure that apps work well on all Android devices while distribution deals give users “a great ’out-of-the-box’ experience with useful apps right there on the home screen,” the company said.

 

The EU probe showed it’s “commercially important” for device makers using Android to put Google’s Play Store — where customers download apps — on phones. Loading handsets with Google Search and the Chrome browser is a pre-condition for licenses to use the Play Store, the EU says, meaning that rival search engines or Web software cannot become a default on most phones sold in Europe.

 

Vestager said Google now has 12 weeks to submit a formal response to Wednesday’s complaint. Even though the threat of fines persists, she said Google could easily address the EU’s concerns.

 

“The remedy in this case is basically quite simple — it’s to stop these practices,” she said.

 

 

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Big Government, 2016 Presidential Race, Obama, Google, Google EU, Google corruption