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#Big Tech
robertreich · 5 days ago
How Unaccountable Institutions are Shaping Your Life
Three centers of power increasingly dominate our lives, but are less and less accountable: The Supreme Court, the Federal Reserve, and Big Tech. 
The Supreme Court
Start with the high court. These nine unelected individuals – all appointed for life – are about to revolutionize America in ways the majority of Americans don’t want. This court is poised to overturn Roe v. Wade, the 1973 reproductive rights ruling; declare a century-old New York law against carrying firearms unconstitutional; and strip federal agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency of the power to regulate private businesses. And much more.
Let me remind you that five of the current justices were put there by presidents who lost the popular vote in their first election. Only 40 percent of the public now approves of the Supreme Court’s performance, a new low. Yet because justices are appointed for life, its members are immune to checks and balances, no matter how unpopular their rulings may be.
The Federal Reserve
The Federal Reserve is almost as unaccountable as the high court.
Presidents appoint Fed chairs for 4-year terms, but tend to stick with them longer for fear of rattling Wall Street, which wants stability and fat profits. (Alan Greenspan, a Reagan appointee, lasted almost 20 years, surviving two Bushes and Bill Clinton). President Biden has just reappointed Jerome Powell, the current Fed chair, for example. 
Because it sets interest rates and regulates finance, the Fed can either keep the economy going near full employment or put millions of people out of work. Powell has kept interest rates near zero —appropriate for an economy still suffering the ravages of the pandemic.
But he has also bailed out America’s biggest corporations by taking on their junk debt, which they then used to buy back their own stock to the benefit of their CEOs and major investors. And he’s allowed Wall Street to go back to risky betting—prompting Senator Elizabeth Warren to say this:
Warren: “Your record gives me grave concern. Over and over you have acted to make our banking system less safe, and that makes you a dangerous man to head up the fed.
Big Tech
Lastly, Amazon, Google, Apple, and Facebook all wield enormous power over our lives, and they too are unaccountable to the public good. They’re taking on roles that once belonged to the government, whether it’s blasting into space or running cybersecurity.
And their decisions about which demagogues are allowed to communicate with the public and what lies they’re allowed to spew have profound consequences for whether democracy or authoritarianism prevails.
Worst of all, they’re sowing hate and division. As Frances Haugen, a former data scientist at Facebook, revealed, Facebook’s algorithm is designed to choose content that will make users angry. Why? Anger generates the most engagement — and user engagement turns into ad dollars. (The same is likely true of the algorithms used by Google, Amazon, and Apple.)
And yet, decisions at these companies are accountable only to their shareholders, not the public.
Beware. Democracy depends on accountability. If abuses of power go unchallenged, those who wield power will continue to consolidate it. It's a vicious cycle that erodes faith in democracy and breeds cynicism.
So how do we break the cycle and hold these power centers accountable?
Rotate Supreme Court justices with appellate judges and add more justices to the Court.
Demand transparency from the Fed, and have an open debate on who should run it instead of letting Wall Street effectively decide.
And finally, treat Big Tech companies as public utilities and regulate them, or break them up.
I’ll be honest. It will take vast amounts of public pressure and intentional organizing to get these solutions enacted.
Our only option is to turn up the pressure and keep fighting for our democracy.
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phillipschneider · 4 months ago
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We all know "fact checkers" are really front-groups for big tech and the mainstream media to silence dissent and competition.
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defiantamerica · 3 months ago
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timmy107 · 10 months ago
So, I’m speechless after watching this.... who in the hell do these people think they are? We are nothing more that lab rats to these elite commie SOB’s.
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n-e-w--y-0-r-k · a month ago
The FBI Shows Up If You Google This Word... (New Report Proves It)
This instance is nothing yo!!!
Can we talk about Obama spying on the Trump campaign?? Obama is a jive turkey, bullshit scab working for the CCP
Can we talk about 911 ushering in the Patriot Act which made illegal, unConstitutional search and surveillance legal??
Can we talk Rico?? The feds never gave two shits about arresting mobsters… they just wanted the over-reach
Can we talk WaterGate??
The federal government has been trying to throw our United States Constitution in the fireplace for over a century. Go watch Birth of a Nation. Now here we are
The federal government has conned you into allowing them all this power by telling you they are protecting you
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pajamas-of-doom · 6 days ago
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Breaking news: USA Today writer tells tech companies:
"y'all need Jesus."
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robertreich · 3 months ago
The Real Socialism in America Isn’t What You Think
You may have heard Republicans in Congress rail about how the Democrats’ agenda is chock-full of scary “socialist” policies. 
We do have socialism in this country — but it’s not Democrats’ policies. The real socialism is corporate welfare. 
Thousands of big American corporations rake in billions each year in government subsidies, bailouts, and tax loopholes -- all funded on the taxpayer dime, and all contributing to higher stock prices for the richest 1 percent who own half of the stock market, as well as CEOs and other top executives who are paid largely in shares of stock. 
Big Tech, Big Oil, Big Pharma, defense contractors, and big banks are the biggest beneficiaries of corporate welfare.
How? Follow the money. These corporations and their trade groups spend hundreds of millions each year on lobbying and campaign contributions. Their influence-peddling pays off. The return on these political investments is huge. It’s institutionalized bribery. 
An even more insidious example is corporations that don’t pay their workers a living wage. As a result, their workers have to rely on programs like Medicaid, public housing, food stamps and other safety nets. Which means you and I and other taxpayers indirectly subsidize these corporations, allowing them to enjoy even higher profits and share prices for their wealthy investors and executives.
Not only does corporate welfare take money away from us as taxpayers. It also harms smaller businesses that have a harder time competing with big businesses that get these subsidies. Everyone loses except those at the top. 
It’s more socialism for the rich, harsh capitalism for the rest. 
It should be ended. 
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rosarenn · 4 months ago
Patiently waiting for the day the capitalist goons realise that tumblr dot com can never be successfully monetized and they announce they're pulling the plug so we all revolt until they admit defeat and we collectively fund, organise, and maintain this feral corner of the internet in perpetuity.
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erin-hart · 2 months ago
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Parts of it were made in a secret lab in China too. You can’t trust it!
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meepmoorrpzeep · 9 days ago
It's 2 am and the pretenses have fallen. I tried all day to pretend that I don't care but I'm still replaying all the little times we were together, finding proof that you cared, somewhere.....
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defiantamerica · 16 days ago
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captainshadowgirllostfan · 6 months ago
Google says ‘keffiyeh’ is a terrorist headgear
More of Big Tech portraying Palestinians as terrorists.
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mitchwagner · a month ago
Cory Doctorow: Facebook loves stories about how it’s evil. Better to be seen as evil than incompetent and ineffective. Social media, like advertising, is not great at persuading people.
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