FTC Chairman Joe Simons just spoke a few simple words that I hope shake Silicon Valley more than a 9.0 earthquake. The Federal Trade Commission has been looking into the monopolistic practices of tech behemoths such as Google and Facebook, and here’s what he told Bloomberg about the possibility of the government rolling back previously-approved mergers and forcibly breaking these tech giants up:
“If you have to, you do it. It’s not ideal because it’s very messy. But if you have to, you have to.”
The Justice Department is also looking into Big Tech for other reasons, and a laptop full of reportedly bombshell internal documents provided by a whistleblower could give them plenty of ammunition.
According to the whistleblower, the documents clearly show that Google blacklists certain sites, manipulates search data for partisan reasons and lies to the public about it. When his name was revealed via Twitter, Google reportedly tried to discredit him using a tactic you’d expect to see in the old USSR or the pages of “1984”: by reporting him to the authorities for having possible “mental problems.”
Incidentally, the accusations go beyond lying to the public. There’s now a serious question as to whether Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg lied to Congress when he denied that Facebook uses audio obtained from mobile devices to eavesdrop on users. Bloomberg reported this week that, in fact, they do.
This kind of too-big-to-follow-the-rules-or-be-impartial behavior from arrogant tech giants has been going on too long and is rapidly worsening, and something needs to be done before they interfere more with the 2020 elections that Russia ever dreamed of doing.
As one competitor to Google who’s urging government intervention put it, “They have had plenty of opportunities to police themselves, and they have frequently done the opposite and done everything in their power to get away with as much as possible that’s in their own interest and not necessarily in the interest of their user base.”
If you missed “Huckabee” on TBN last weekend (and if you did, you’d better have a good excuse), then you need to see this interview I had with Dennis Prager, creator of the upcoming documentary “No Safe Spaces” and the great Prager University videos that have suffered from attempts to block them from the Internet on the flimsiest of pretexts.
As Prager notes, a platform like Twitter, Facebook or YouTube can be either a publisher or a public forum. A publisher can determine what is and isn’t posted, but is subject to lawsuits for defamation and other grievances. A public forum is free from legal liability but relinquishes control over what’s posted. The government granted them legal protections like a public forum, but lately, they’ve been acting like publishers. It might be time to force the Silicon Valley elites to make a tough choice: start acting like an open public forum again and knock off the censorship, or lose their legal protection and brace for a tsunami of lawsuits.
PS – A note from “Huckabee” writer Pat Reeder: We won’t allow any spy devices in our house, but I wanted the Amazon Firestick, and it comes with remote control with built-in Alexa voice recognition. It’s not supposed to activate unless you push the button, but I don’t trust them. So since my wife, fellow “Huckabee” writer Laura Ainsworth, and I rescue exotic birds, I installed the Firestick on a TV in a big room that contains two cockatiels, an Amazon parrot, two African grays, a Patagonian conure, and two cockatoos. I figure if anyone at Amazon tries to eavesdrop on that cacophony and figure out what it means, it will serve them right.
Today marks 42 years since the world heard the shocking news that the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll, Elvis Presley, had died at 42. That’s right: it’s now been as many years since his death as he had on this Earth. Sorry to make you feel old!
We paid tribute to Elvis on my TV show last week, but here’s another must-see tribute. My friend Wink Martindale, who was a close friend of Elvis’ (he was in the studio at WBHQ in Memphis when Elvis’ first record was played on the radio for the very first time), gave an extensive interview to Fox News, recalling the good times and sad times. It’s at the link, along with some great photos, some of which you might never have seen before.
On Thursday, President Trump held a rally in New Hampshire, where he stressed the economy and the yawning gap between his policies and those of the Democrats, and the results of each. You can read/watch some highlights here:
There’s also a growing buzz in the media about ominous signs of a looming recession. Although apparently, nobody told Walmart…
If the economy is slowing, that’s hardly a shock: we’re in a protracted but necessary battle over trade with China, and in a record-long expansion that actually accelerated well past the point when it should have cooled, thanks to Trump’s policies.) There are also a lot of factions with a vested interest in talking down the economy for political reasons (remember Bill Maher wished for a recession so it would hurt Trump’s reelection?) It worked in 1992, when endless media gloom talk about the devastating recession (which was already over well before the election) helped sink Bush and elect Bill Clinton.
Much of our economic health is based on consumer confidence. You don’t have to live in a fantasy world, but don’t be bamboozled into thinking the sky is falling just because the “Trump is a Russian agent” narrative imploded and the Democrats need something to run on. Remember, even if economic growth drops by half, it will still be stronger than it was under much of the last Democratic Administration. Trusting the Party of high taxes, regulations, open borders, free everything and the socialist “Green New Deal” to prevent a recession is the worst idea since they used to treat anemia with leeches.