by Matt Blanchfield
So, all sorts of good and bad news on the web this week. Check out some of the following:
Did you ever see the movie Minority Report? The one set in a near future where every corporation and government agency knows your every move? Well, among other vendors, Amazon has some facial recognition software that gets pretty close to Minority status. And, now, Congressional Democrats (not the GOP) are getting concerned about that and are demanding some answers from Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. They want to know what the technology can do, who’s using it (particularly among police agencies) and what controls (if any) there might be on it. Let’s hope the Dems are more effective than Tom Cruise was.
Meanwhile, Donald (The Family Man) Trump is making life miserable for women in the Third World. Writing in The Intercept, Laura Kasinof notes that because of 45’s war against choice, organizations that have refused to swear never even to mention the word “abortion” are losing millions of dollars in aid. Most of the organizations are working in places like Africa, where family planning is increasingly vital. So glad that our dear and glorious leader is leading whole nations toward starvation.
So much winning. And so much protection for American industry. Remember how Trump The Chump was going to save us from those nasty Chinese? Well, guess what. He just saved a Chinese telecom giant, ZTE Corp., from collapse. It seemed that ZTE was selling all sorts of restricted stuff to folks like North Korea, and may have been spying on Americans too. The plan was to punish it with tariffs and fines, and there was a good chance it was going to go out of business. But, no. At The last minute, says Damian Paletta, writing in the Washington Post, Trump dashed in to save it. Why? That’s not clear. But we’re guessing it had something to do with somebody’s palms getting properly greased.
Jennifer Rubin, The Washington Post’s resident Conservative, says that #NeverTrumpers had Trump pegged all along. That is, anti-Trump conservatives who tried to warn the GOP about just what a horrible person Trump was, now have the hollow consolation of saying I Told You So. She’s right, surely. But, then, us Liberals were saying Trump was an idiot at least as early as the #NeverTrumpers. So we get some back patting, too, don’t you think?
Speaking of the Never Trumpers, consider Richard Palmer. He was a Republican, became an energetic critic of the Dumpster, switched to the Democratic Party, and is now running for Congress as a Dem hoping to get Al Franken’s old seat in Minn. The Washington Post thinks he could be important in that if he gets the nod, then he might prove the Democratic Party is the natural home for moderate Republicans. The question, of course, is do we want them?
Oh, and here’s one to amuse you, just as you’re sitting there watching the ice caps melt. If you’re a climate change denialist, how do you deal with all that evidence that global warming is actually happening? Answer, if you’re the folks at the Trump White House, you just ignore it. Writing in Huffpost, Dominique Mosbergen gives us the article, White House Officials Reportedly Considered Just ‘Ignoring’ New Climate Research. It seems that White Housers figured it was best just not to look at the facts. Well, why not? It fits with everything else they’re doing.
And last but not least for the day, Cody Cain has a fun piece over on Salon. He asks if Donald Trump resembles Napoleon, the swinish (literally, he’s a hog) dictator in George Orwell’s classic book, Animal Farm. Mr. Cain’s answer? You bet your bippy and then some. He writes, “Orwell’s 1945 parable of a lying pig who seizes power used to seem improbable and crude. Not so much right now.”