Tag Archives: google


The news this week has seen a couple of stunning reversals, where tides turned or sometimes even more shockingly refused to.

google protest

A collaboration of almost every major name in left-leaning political action protested in front of Google’s headquarters yesterday morning. Credo, UltraViolet, Bend the Arc, ColorOfChange, and Daily Kos all sent representatives with a clear message – that Google, or more specifically Google-owned YouTube, shouldn’t provide streaming services for the Republican National Convention this year, at least as long as Donald Trump is the presumptive nominee.

In this day and age, conventions are less of a formal process and generally more of a three-day long political advertisement describing the Party’s and particularly the Party’s presidential nominee’s vision for the country. In that light, even with Trump facing more scrutiny than typical at the convention, it still would be more of a platform for him than vehicle for voters to become informed about his policies. In light of that, this protest followed in the footsteps of similar calls for him to not be a guest on various news programs and for several companies to divest from his businesses and television shows.

google protest 2.jpg

Unfortunately, not long after the protest Google announced that YouTube would indeed be the streaming service available for this year’s Republican convention.

Big Money oozes down ticket

While sponsors and service-providers might not have been so skittish over the prospect of a presumably Trump-nominating convention, many high profile donors have been as noted in an article on Wednesday on Reclaim the American Dream. Terrified of Trump’s potential to alienate voters from the party as a whole, a huge rush of donations has already gone in conservative circles to state-level races, and sometimes even more locally.

Author Hedrick Smith points out that the funds involved are already reaching extremely high numbers more typically associated with national campaigns:

Conservative donors have contributed nearly 70 percent of the $707 million in SuperPAC money raised to date, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. In the hot senate races in Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, SuperPacs, Candidates and parties on both sides have raised war chest that already total from $23 million to $32 million in each state.

Many of these states will in all likelihood still see extensive advertising from presidential campaigns, but the level of wall-to-wall saturation associated with those types of candidates is already promising to become more common with senatorial races, and maybe even more local ones as well.

Distorting democracy

In this jaded age, it’s easy to look at that rush to support Tea Party freshmen senators with unprecedented donations and simply see it as a reflection of the problems in our post-Citizens United electoral system. Unfortunately, these sorts of structural flaws have long been with us and for many years now have been redirecting electoral outcomes away from their expected course, as detailed in a Demos report on Chicagoan politics released yesterday.

Some of the findings in the report catalog what’s long been said about local races with a lot of money put into them: that much of it comes from outside of the communities holding the elections, and that it biases candidates towards business and upper class interests. Interestingly, it also showed that among the large donations that are still made in-community, at least within Chicago they overwhelmingly come not only from White residents, but from White residents living in wildly disproportionately White parts of the city.

Against a telling gender gap as well, what this report showed is how systemically disruptive these large donations tend to be. It not only is an opportunity for outsiders to sway local decisions to their favor, but just another vehicle for uniquely powerful local voices to assert their narrow vision of how their city is and what their city could be. That’s how the city that rioted against Trump’s appearance can also have a leadership that pursues racially-charged policies that sound quite akin to his.

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Net neutrality – now

Net neutrality has been an issue on virtually everyone’s lips these days, and with good reason. Conflict has broken out between Netflix and Comcast, and in the past few days spiraled out of control into an all out rejection of the Federal Communication Commission’s decisions and arguably contention even within the FCC. I honestly think one of the best descriptions of this was the one offered up by Vi, a popular YouTuber vlogger, who explained earlier today:

Her video lays out two major distinctions between companies and how that can (or does) impact their perspectives on this issue. Net neutrality as an issue innately divides between companies that host content and those that provide access to it. The former are ostensibly interested in maximizing the number of people who look at their content, both because of the pride that comes from creating a popular site but also because they materially benefit from having as many eyeballs as possible look at their site (because that’s how ad revenue is frequently calculated). Companies that provide access to that content, however, have a different business model, centered on driving up revenues through creating reasons to charge more for access than before… say, creating a unique fast lane for some content providers or customers.

Vi hints at a distinction among companies that host sites and content, however, in terms of how the on-going drive to dismantle internet neutrality affects different companies. In the short term, the companies most at risk of fee hikes are actually the most powerful – like Netflix, and a growing other number of sites, like Google and Amazon. Those are the companies that could afford to pay for the privileged delivery of their sites’ content are now under fire to actually do that. Smaller sites are actually not the ones in immediate danger (they only will be once a fast lane becomes established and they fall between the cracks). That said, torrenting sites and other marginal sites are already deprioritized by internet access providers under legal reasons. Likewise, the future deprioritization of smaller sites that are unable to pay extra appears likely to eventually marginalize them as well.

In short, we need to stave off this attempt to create of a pay scale for sites that determines the speed that their content will be delivered at. The current market is shaped by the (inconsistent) net neutrality we have currently, which means that almost all hosting sites both large and small are invested in a particular business model (built on attracting as many viewers as possible). If sites that can pay for greater security in how they deliver content become invested in that, the resources they could use to oppose such a system will get tied up in keeping their sites afloat. The current system unites companies that host content against internet providers. If we lose this current fight, that will no longer be true.

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