Break up Facebook (and while we’re at it, Google, Apple and Amazon) | The Guardian


America’s Gilded Age of the late 19th century began with a raft of innovations – railroads, steel production, oil extraction – but culminated in mammoth trusts owned by “robber barons” who used their wealth and power to drive out competitors and corrupt American politics.

We’re now in a second Gilded Age – ushered in by semiconductors, software and the internet – that has spawned a handful of giant hi-tech companies.

Facebook and Google dominate advertising. They’re the first stops for many Americans seeking news. Apple dominates smartphones and laptop computers. Amazon is now the first stop for a third of all American consumers seeking to buy anything.

This consolidation at the heart of the American economy creates two big problems.

Source: Break up Facebook (and while we’re at it, Google, Apple and Amazon) | Robert Reich | Opinion | The Guardian

Why Does President Trump Get Away With Lying?


Most politicians lie. Or do they?

According to The Washington Post, Trump has told 6,420 lies so far in his presidency. In the seven weeks leading up to the midterms, his rate increased to 30 per day.

That’s a lot, but isn’t this a difference in degree and not a difference in kind with other politicians?

Yet the difference in Trump’s prevarication seems to be found not in the quantity or enormity of his lies, but in the way that Trump uses his lies in service to a proto-authoritarian political ideology.

Source: Why Does President Trump Get Away With Lying? | Opinion

Facebook critics launch ad campaign calling on internal whistleblowers to come forward | TheHill

Freedom From Facebook, a coalition of nonprofit groups concerned about Facebook’s market power, announced Tuesday that it would be launching an ad buy on the platform promoting a link to a secure, confidential website where Facebook employees can detail their concerns about the company’s workplace.

“Are you worried about what’s happening inside Facebook? Share your concerns confidentially and anonymously,” the ad will read, with a link to its “safe space for whistleblowers.”

Source: Facebook critics launch ad campaign calling on internal whistleblowers to come forward | TheHill

Public Attitudes Toward Computer Algorithms | Pew Research Center


Algorithms are all around us, utilizing massive stores of data and complex analytics to make decisions with often significant impacts on humans.

They recommend books and movies for us to read and watch, surface news stories they think we might find relevant, estimate the likelihood that a tumor is cancerous and predict whether someone might be a criminal or a worthwhile credit risk.

But despite the growing presence of algorithms in many aspects of daily life, a Pew Research Center survey of U.S. adults finds that the public is frequently skeptical of these tools when used in various real-life situations.

Source: Public Attitudes Toward Computer Algorithms | Pew Research Center

Are GM foods a health risk? Americans are divided | Pew Research Center


About half of U.S. adults (49%) say foods containing genetically modified (GM) ingredients are worse for one’s health than foods containing no GM ingredients, while a slightly smaller share (44%) thinks foods with GM ingredients are neither better nor worse for one’s health.

Only 5% say GM foods are better for one’s health.

Source: Are GM foods a health risk? Americans are divided | Pew Research Center

Public Perspectives on Food Risks | Pew Research Center


The American public is closely divided over the degree of health risk posed by additives present in the foods we regularly eat.

Majorities see at least some risk from eating food produced with common agricultural and processing practices, including meat from animals given hormones or antibiotics, produce grown with pesticides and foods with artificial ingredients.

Source: Public Perspectives on Food Risks | Pew Research Center

China continues ‘unfair’ trade practices, says U.S. trade representative | MarketWatch


Less than two weeks ahead of a China-U.S. summit, the U.S. trade representative accused Beijing of failing to change economic policies that threaten America’s industry.

“China has not fundamentally altered its unfair, unreasonable and market-distorting practices,” U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said in a news release.

Source: China continues ‘unfair’ trade practices, says U.S. trade representative – MarketWatch

Rees-Mogg: topple May now or she will lead Tories into election | The Guardian


Jacob Rees-Mogg denied that his attempt to remove Theresa May had ended in humiliation as he called on Conservative MPs to seize their chance to topple the prime minister now or face the prospect of her leading the party into the next election.

Rees-Mogg admitted that the threshold might not be reached for some time.

“Patience is a virtue, virtue is a grace,” he said. “We will see what letters come in due time. Do 47 want to come with me or not? I may find that they don’t or they don’t do it today but when we get the meaningful vote. That’s a decision for them.”

Source: Rees-Mogg: topple May now or she will lead Tories into election | Politics | The Guardian

The Saudis Are Killing America’s Middle East Policy | Council on Foreign Relations

U.S. President Donald Trump could kill someone on the White House lawn and Washington would still be talking about the disappearance and presumed murder of Jamal Khashoggi.

It has been an extraordinary three weeks inside the Beltway. Not since Monica Lewinsky’s daily dash from a car to the lobby of her lawyer’s office building on Connecticut Avenue in 1998 has the city been so focused on a single story.

There are four reasons for this fixation.

First, Khashoggi wrote a column for the hometown newspaper in a place where people make news, write about news, and obsess about news.

Second, there is the Trump administration’s apparently close relationship with Saudi Arabia and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who is suspected of ordering the columnist’s death.

Source: The Saudis Are Killing America’s Middle East Policy | Council on Foreign Relations

Danske money laundering whistleblower labels UK structures a ‘disgrace’ | Reuters


British company structures which hide the identity of those behind them were branded a disgrace by the whistleblower who brought to light an alleged 200 billion euro ($228 billion) money laundering scandal involving Danske Bank.

“The role of the United Kingdom is an absolute disgrace. Limited liability partnerships and Scottish liability partnerships have been abused for absolutely years,” Howard Wilkinson, who headed Danske Bank’s Baltics trading unit from 2007 to 2014, told European Union lawmakers on Wednesday.

And in a sign of the wider repercussions of the Danske Bank affair, Deutsche Bank said it played only a secondary role as a correspondent bank, limiting its need to know about the people behind the transactions.

Source: Danske money laundering whistleblower labels UK structures a ‘disgrace’ | Reuters