Amazon’s woke ‘Pride Month’ strategy backfires instantly

By Grant Atkinson | June 2, 2022

glamazonians celebrate Pride around the world

Company’s own employees staged protest

Amazon learned the hard way on Wednesday that no amount of political pandering will ever be enough to satisfy the radical left.

According to Business Insider reporter Katherine Long, Amazon was attempting to host a flag-raising ceremony to celebrate “pride month.”

However, Long said a subset of about 30 Amazon employees expressed dissatisfaction with the company’s wokeness level.

During the ceremony, these leftists decided to hold a “die-in” as a way to “protest of the company’s continued sale of what they say are transphobic books.”

Long said the organizers of the flag-raising event “several times attempted to quell the protest,” but they were unsuccessful.

Eventually, the flag-raising ceremony was canceled as a result of the leftists lying on the ground, wrapped in pink-and-blue flags, because this is what the left has come to in America.

In a subsequent article for Business Insider, Long reported that approximately 30 protesters were members of an internal activist group called No Hate at Amazon.

The group has become increasingly peeved in recent months by Amazon’s refusal to ban books they don’t like.

A petition from the group created earlier this year called on Amazon to stop selling so-called “anti-trans” books on its platform.

“Amazon has established a pattern of platforming and profiting from hate,” the petition said. “Most recently, Amazon has started selling hateful books that attack transgender youth and has shockingly classified and promoted them as bestsellers in the LGBTQ+ category.”

“Amazon workers, especially in the trans and LGBTQ+ community, are pushing to remove these books and others like them because they are directly hurting our community.”

Among the books causing this woke outrage was “Johnny the Walrus,” Business Insider reported. It is a children’s book written by The Daily Wire’s Matt Walsh, and it exposes the logical flaws in allowing children to choose what they “identify” as.

“I don’t think it’s at all unfair or hyperbole to draw a comparison between a boy pretending to be a walrus — which is my story — and a boy, a four-year-old boy or five-year-old boy, saying ‘I’m a girl,’” Walsh told The Western Journal in November 2021. “It’s exactly the same kind of thing.”

He said he hoped this metaphor would help parents understand how dangerous it is to allow children to “change” their gender identity at will.

“I’m hoping that … later on, after they’ve been read this book, when they are introduced to those concepts, they’ll kind of understand the framework in which these things should be understood,” Walsh said.

In the eyes of the left, it is not enough for a company to support LGBT individuals by raising a flag or wearing a rainbow T-shirt. Instead, leftists want companies to actively ban any content that goes against what they believe.

If Amazon caves to this demand, the woke mob will always have another demand that companies must follow to stay in their good graces, and Amazon would be best served to draw a line in the sand right now.

Source: www.wnd.com/2022/06/amazons-woke-pride-month-strategy-backfires-instantly-employees-staging-protest/?utm_source=Email&utm_medium=wnd-brief&utm_campaign=dailypm&utm_content=brief&ats_es=5bdbe7016203d76da678cbe799470fb3

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Media Moves To Profit Off Of Ridiculous J6 Commission

Media Moves To Profit Off Of Ridiculous J6 Commission

The New Yorker is teaming up with the House Select Committee on Jan. 6 with a new book out ahead of the fall midterms publishing the probe’s partisan report with activist commentary cloaked as “analysis” throughout its pages.

Since its inception, born out of the ashes of a failed proposal for a 9/11-style commission, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Jan. 6 Committee has served as one of the Democrats’ latest hoaxes to keep voters angry and weaponize the levers of government against political enemies. Allies of the regime’s House probe at The New Yorker are now capitalizing on the committee’s work, monetizing its report in paperback due September, less than two months before the November elections.

In March, Democrats on the committee conceded to The Washington Post that their work was all about the upcoming midterms as a desperate attempt to smear their opponents as extremists in an election cycle historically hostile to the party in the White House.

“Their challenge: Making the public care deeply — and read hundreds of pages more — about an event that happened more than a year ago, and that many Americans feel they already understand,” the Post reported, followed by the passage below (emphasis ours):

They’ll attempt to do so this spring through public hearings, along with a potential interim report and a final report that will be published ahead of the November midterms — with the findings likely a key part of the Democrats midterm strategy. They hope their recommendations to prevent another insurrection will be adopted, but also that their work will repel voters from Republicans who they say helped propel the attack.

Their partnership with The New Yorker is their latest vehicle to meet that challenge, publishing the report in nearly 900 pages as advertised on Amazon.

The corporate media collusion marks another parallel between the Jan. 6 Committee and the witch hunt operation behind the Mueller report, when Democrats monetized its non-findings with The Washington Post in 2019. The government probes have both persecuted political dissidents based on made-up claims, stoked hysteria among voters, and driven profit for friendly press outlets at their conclusion.

The Mueller report was the product of a two-year investigation driven by Democrats who now face prosecution for their crimes involved in fabricating a collusion scandal between former President Donald Trump and the Russian government. After Special Counsel Robert Mueller wrapped up his investigation with unlimited resources, not one person, let alone Trump himself, was found seeking to undermine American interests as a double agent on behalf of the Kremlin. In fact, at least one of the phony narrative’s original authors was himself a suspected Russian agent.

The fictitious tale of Russian collusion, however, took deep roots among no small part of the American population in power, leading legacy media to respond to blockbuster revelations surrounding President Joe Biden’s son with a knee-jerk reaction of dismissal as Kremlin disinformation. A top staffer on the Jan. 6 Committee even signed the now infamous letter from October 2020 with dozens of former intelligence officials writing off the Hunter Biden stories as Russian disinformation.


Tristan Justice is the western correspondent for The Federalist. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and The Daily Signal. His work has also been featured in Real Clear Politics and Fox News. Tristan graduated from George Washington University where he majored in political science and minored in journalism. Follow him on Twitter at @JusticeTristan or contact him at Tristan@thefederalist.com.

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LNP/ALP Digital Identity laws a ‘licence to live’

LNP/ALP Digital Identity laws a ‘licence to live’

About Editor, cairnsnews

One of the few patriots left who understands the system and how it has been totally subverted under every citizen’s nose. If we can help to turn it around we will, otherwise our children will have nothing. Our investigations show there is no ‘government’ of the people for the people of Australia. The removal of the Crown from Australian Parliaments, followed by the incorporation of Parliaments aided by the Australia Act 1987 has left us with corporate government with policies not laws, that apply only to members of political parties and the public service. There is no law, other than the Common Law. This fact will be borne out in the near future as numerous legal challenges in place now, come to a head soon.

Posted on May 13, 2022, in ABC, age pension, Agenda 2030, ALP, Cashless Society, LNP, McDonalds, media, United Nations, WEF, WHO, Woolworths, World depopulation and tagged Amazon, Cashless society, Digital Economy Strategy 2030, Digital ID bill, Senator Malcolm Roberts. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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Mother’s Day 2022: The Real Reproductive Rights Battle Isn’t Abortion, It’s to Have and Raise Children

Mother’s Day 2022: The Real Reproductive Rights Battle Isn’t Abortion, It’s to Have and Raise Children

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, through a spokesman, declared “reproductive rights” the paramount struggle of humanity this week. He is right, but not in any way recognizable to him or his organization.

Support for abortion around the world is slowly diminishing today. Even so, in practice, the world is far more hostile to the idea of having a baby than killing it – from the near-total lack of prenatal care in parts like Africa and South America to Japan’s infamous “maternity harassment,” from China forcibly fitting tens of thousands of Uyghur women with IUDs to American celebrities and megacorporations promising women everything from an executive title to a Golden Globe statue if they reject their internal desire for motherhood.

“The Secretary General has long believed that sexual and reproductive health and rights are the foundation for lives of choice, empowerment and equality for the world’s women and girls,” Farhan Haq, Guterres’ spokesman, said on Tuesday. “Without the full participation of 50% of its population, the world would be the biggest loser.”

“Women should always have the right to choose when it comes to their bodies and their health,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the head of the U.N.’s World Health Organization (W.H.O.), similarly proclaimed on Friday. “Restricting access to abortion does not reduce the number of procedures — it drives women and girls towards unsafe ones. Access to safe abortion saves lives.”

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (R) talks to Syrian women and girls during a visit to the Zaatari refugee camp which shelters some 80,000 Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border with war-ravaged Syria on March 28, 2017. Syria's devastating civil war, now in its seventh year, has rendered more than half the country's population refugees. The conflict has left more than 320,000 people dead, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. / AFP PHOTO / THOMAS COEX (Photo credit should read THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres (R) talks to Syrian women and girls during a visit to the Zaatari refugee camp which shelters some 80,000 Syrian refugees on the Jordanian border with war-ravaged Syria on March 28, 2017. (THOMAS COEX/AFP via Getty Images)

By “reproductive rights,” Guterres meant abortion – the “right” to kill a child (Tedros openly discussed only abortion). The two were responding to the illegal leak of a draft Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v Wade, which concluded in 1972 – before ultrasound technology and non-invasive prenatal testing was the order of the day in America – that a woman’s right to “privacy” was a constitutional guarantee that prevented states from stopping her from killing her child. The new decision, which Supreme Court Justice John Roberts confirmed is not final, would leave abortion laws to the states, not outlaw abortion, as leftists have disingenuously argued (never mind ban interracial marriage or outlaw homosexuality, as they have somehow concluded).

The debate around Roe on the left this week largely takes for granted the idea of abortion (and infanticide, as former Virginia Governor Ralph Northram famously promoted) as a liberalizing tool in women’s lives and the concept of motherhood, in essence, as 18 years of slavery. The reality for women in most of the world does not align with this view – often most loudly proclaimed from the summit of the world’s elite, out of the mouths of men.

Women around the world have to fight everything from mosquitos to Amazon human resources to fulfill the dream of motherhood. Societies of all economic statuses are actively hostile towards mothers and children. And for the few who do give birth, few things are more diverse than the number of ways the world tries to strip mothers of the power to raise their children.

Naturally, disease and lack of access to pre- and postnatal care are the biggest threats to motherhood in underdeveloped countries. Mosquito-borne diseases like malaria and Zika virus (which causes cerebral deformations in unborn children) are paramount threats. Sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, and remote parts of Latin America – often tropical climates where mosquitos thrive – consistently document the lowest rates of access to prenatal care.

TO GO WITH AFP STORY BY LISSY DE ABREU Mothers and their newborns rest in a maternity center in Caracas, on December 15, 2011. According to the World Health Organization, Venezuela holds the first place in South America in cases of early pregnancy, with about 1,500 children born daily from teenage mothers aged between 12 and 19 years. AFP PHOTO / Leo RAMIREZ (Photo credit should read LEO RAMIREZ/AFP via Getty Images)

Mothers and their newborns rest in a maternity center in Caracas, on December 15, 2011. (LEO RAMIREZ/AFP via Getty Images)

In socialist Venezuela, for example, dictator Nicolás Maduro’s plundering of the healthcare system sent maternal and infant mortality rates skyrocketing in the latter half of the 2010s. “Between 2015 and 2016, maternal deaths grew by 65 per cent and child mortality after six days of being born increased by 53 per cent” in Venezuela, according to the United Nations. The Maduro regime has essentially stopped publishing health statistics after global observers began pressuring the socialists to fix the problem. Venezuela’s leftist constitution has a right to health care enshrined in it, but under socialism the country functionally does not have a healthcare system. Abortion is illegal there, but increasingly popular due to the lack of access to most major contraceptives, along with nearly every other medical product.

In neighboring Brazil, under socialist President Dilma Rousseff, the Zika crisis of 2016 exposed a total lack of understanding in how to handle maternity care. For those who are not pregnant, Zika typically causes mild illness, though it can sometimes lead to Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a crippling auto-immune disease. For unborn children, it is often a death sentence, causing microcephaly, a condition where a baby’s skull is too small for its body and crushes the brain. Rousseff responded to the health problem with the biggest military operation in Brazil’s history, fighting the mosquitos with soldiers and leaving mothers to fend for themselves.

Brazilian Military Personnel Work To Educate Public On Zika Virus on February 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Brazilian Army soldiers pass out pamphlets on Copacabana beach warning of the dangers of the Zika virus and how to protect against mosquitos on February 13, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (Mario Tama/Getty Images)

The World Health Organization and developed world in general only add to the obstacles mothers face in these parts of the world. The W.H.O. has launched extensive campaigns, for example, to browbeat and shame women who cannot produce breast milk for using baby formula. The W.H.O. wants women to breastfeed for two years. While most women in wealthy countries have been lamentably familiar with the false slogan “breast is best” for a while, to the detriment of their mental health, the W.H.O. is flooding Africa and Latin America with similar propaganda, much of it based on poor science.

Tedros called breastfeeding a “vaccine,” for example, during “World Breastfeeding Week” last year.

The men running things like “World Breastfeeding Week” appear unaware or uninterested in the scientific fact that “stress is the No. 1 killer of breastmilk supply.”

Manila, PHILIPPINES: World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director Shigeru Omi speaks at a press conference at the WHO headquarters in Manila, 20 June 2007, following the WHO and UNICEF consultation on breasfeeding protection. Omi said failure to breastfeed led to the deaths of 16,000 children in the Philippines each year. WHO officials charged, all companies offering infant formula in the Philippines are violating a law that bars them from competing with breastfeeding. This came as the government and the milk companies are battling it out in the Supreme Court over the legality of the regulation that restricts the marketing of infant formula. AFP PHOTO/ROMEO GACAD (Photo credit should read ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)

World Health Organisation (WHO) regional director Shigeru Omi speaks at an anti-baby formula press conference at the WHO headquarters in Manila, 20 June 2007, following the WHO and UNICEF consultation on “breasfeeding protection.” (ROMEO GACAD/AFP via Getty Images)

In the developed world, corporate culture can be the biggest obstacle to motherhood. Japan – widely recognized as having one of the world’s healthiest populations and functional healthcare systems – has experienced record lows in its birth rate and child population repeatedly over the past decade. The reason is simple: nearly every aspect of Japanese life is hostile to mothers. Companies actively pressure women to have abortions to keep them from being less profitable. The few women who defy this pressure face constant discrimination, from a total lack of consideration for the health difficulties of pregnancy to being told to simply quit and drop out of society entirely. Bosses pressure mothers who have already had a child to “wait their turn” or “take a break” for years, potentially forcing them into riskier pregnancies later in life.

Japan’s entirely male-dominated government has been aware for years that its anti-child policies have put the entirety of the ethnic Japanese population on the path to extinction and has tried to address this without addressing the rights of mothers. Programs like state-sponsored egg-freezing and artificial intelligence matchmaking have done almost nothing to reverse the birth rate collapse.

Abortion is legal under certain circumstances in Japan and requires the male partner to consent.

In this picture taken on May 8, 2015, a mother holds her child in the subway in Tokyo. AFP PHOTO / FRED DUFOUR (Photo credit should read FRED DUFOUR/AFP via Getty Images)

In this picture taken on May 8, 2015, a mother holds her child in the subway in Tokyo. (FRED DUFOUR/AFP via Getty Images)

Much of the West is on the same path, albeit somewhat less dramatically. Italy, Spain, France, and America, have documented catastrophic birth rate drops, though not as bad as those in Japan and China. Their stories lack the obvious villains of both those nations (intransigent corporate culture warriors and the Communist Party, respectively), but share with them a clearly hostile environment towards the entire concept of motherhood, from conception to the child reaching adulthood.

In America, the largest and loudest corporations, the ones most obnoxiously proclaiming their love of “social justice” and “equality,” are beginning to offer women thinking about becoming mothers false promises like paid egg-freezing. Touted as the “ultimate workplace perk,” the painful process of extracting a woman’s eggs and attempting to cryogenically preserve them often fails. The success rate of egg-freezing – the percentage of processes that result in newborns – is around one percent, a fertility expert told the BBC in 2020.

attends WIRED25 Festival: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary – Day 1 on October 13, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

Egg freezing party t-shirt displayed at WIRED25 Festival: WIRED Celebrates 25th Anniversary – Day 1 on October 13, 2018 in San Francisco, California. (Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for WIRED25)

“It’s an expensive lottery ticket,” Dr. Emily Goulet explained to NBC News in 2019. “If you win, you get the best payout ever: You get a child. But if you don’t win, you feel scammed.”

This week, corporations like Amazon, Citigroup, Yelp, Uber, and Lyft announced this would cut the middleman and just pay for employees to travel to undergo abortions, dodging motherhood as a potential barrier to squeezing the maximum profit out of every woman.

The women who manage to overcome these barriers and have a child face a society that has largely already concluded for them that they will not be raising their child most of the time. Homeschooling – the ultimate act of maternal autonomy – is still frowned upon for allegedly producing poorly socialized, undereducated, or even abused children. The left actively challenges concepts like charter schools that give mothers active authority over the majority of hours in their child’s day. A one-income household is a fantasy for many families. For women who want to work and raise their child – even after the past two years proved that technology can allow for both mothers and fathers in certain industries to work from home with their children – the expectation is that they will simply not parent. Teachers, nannies, day cares – anyone but the mother – will raise that child if a woman wants a place in society.

A woman works at a distrubiton station at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on February 5, 2019. - Inside a huge warehouse on Staten Island thousands of robots are busy distributing thousands of items sold by the giant of online sales, Amazon. (Photo by Johannes EISELE / AFP) (Photo credit should read JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman works at a distribution station at the 855,000-square-foot Amazon fulfillment center in Staten Island, one of the five boroughs of New York City, on February 5, 2019. (JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty Images)

Despondent as the situation may seem in the West, nowhere is the war on motherhood more violent and revolting than in China. For decades, China imposed a “one-child policy” that banned women from having more than one successful pregnancy. Women who “illegally” got pregnant a second time were forced into harrowing government abortions or infanticides if caught. Given that they could only have one child, many women were pressured into ensuring that child was a son, resulting in an untold number of baby girls being left out to die of starvation or exposure, sometimes in marketplaces or other public areas.

The result of this policy is that China currently has 35 million more men than women and one of the world’s worst birth rates due to the severe shortage of women of child-bearing age. The Communist Party increased the “one-child policy” to a “three-child policy” in 2021, which has had no effect on the birth rate collapse.

BEIJING, CHINA: A woman cycles pass a billboard encouraging couples to have only one child, along a road leading to a village in the suburb of Beijing, 25 March 2001. China has reaffirmed that it would continue enforcing its one-child policy to limit its huge population to 1.6 billion by 2050. AFP PHOTO/GOH Chai Hin (Photo credit should read GOH CHAI HIN/AFP via Getty Images)

A woman cycles pass a billboard encouraging couples to have only one child, along a road leading to a village in the suburb of Beijing, 25 March 2001. (GOH CHAI HIN/AFP via Getty Images)

Even this impending economic and social disaster has not forced the Communist Party to adopt friendlier policies towards motherhood – at least not for all Chinese. China is currently conducting a genocide against one of the few populations that had previously shown healthy birth rates: the Uyghur people of East Turkistan, who are distinct in language, religion, and culture from the majority Han ethnic group. Rather than encouraging Uyghur communities to build larger families in the face of low birth rates, dictator Xi Jinping has executed a mass sterilization campaign.

Given the secrecy with which China governs East Turkistan, outside experts do not have an exact date for when the forced sterilizations began. At least one local doctor who escaped said she performed 80 sterilizations a day for years; some eyewitnesses say Communist Party officials executed operations to sterilize the female population of entire villages at a time. Experts suggest hundreds of thousands of women, at least, have lost their ability to have children, but the witnesses affected have testified in ways that make it difficult to know exactly how they have been sterilized. Intrauterine devices (IUDs), Depo Provera implants, and hysterectomies are among the most prevalent ways China is believed to be sterilizing Uyghur women.

KASHGAR, CHINA - JUNE 28: An ethnic Uyghur man holds his grandson as he sits outside his house in an area waiting development by authorities on June 28, 2017 in the old town of Kashgar, in the far western Xinjiang province, China. Kashgar has long been considered the cultural heart of Xinjiang for the province's nearly 10 million Muslim Uyghurs. At an historic crossroads linking China to Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, the city has changed under Chinese rule with government development, unofficial Han Chinese settlement to the western province, and restrictions imposed by the Communist Party. Beijing says it regards Kashgar's development as an improvement to the local economy, but many Uyghurs consider it a threat that is eroding their language, traditions, and cultural identity. The friction has fueled a separatist movement that has sometimes turned violent, triggering a crackdown on what China's government considers 'terrorist acts' by religious extremists. Tension has increased with stepped up security in the city and the enforcement of measures including restrictions at mosques. (Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

An Uyghur man holds his grandson amid the rubble of a location the government is “developing” June 28, 2017 in Kashgar, occupied East Turkistan, where China is currently committing genocide. (Kevin Frayer/Getty Images)

Abortions are legal in China, as in America, though the birth rate collapse has made the Communist Party increasingly hesitant to giddily promote it among Han mothers. Evidence shows forced abortions, like forced sterilizations, are increasingly common in East Turkistan.

The United Nations – the same one that claimed to believe this week “that sexual and reproductive health and rights are the foundation for lives of choice, empowerment and equality for the world’s women and girls” – has taken no meaningful action to stop, or even condemn, China’s mass sterilization campaign. It has little to say about American corporations promoting abortion and dubious alternative fertilization technologies to discourage motherhood. It actively participates in campaigns that make the lives of mothers in the developing world more difficult.

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Biden Grants Amazon $10B Contract Despite Pledge to Oppose Union-Busting

Biden Grants Amazon $10B Contract Despite Pledge to Oppose Union-Busting

President Joe Biden has given Amazon, for which billionaire Jeff Bezos serves as chairman of the board, a $10 billion federal contract despite having pledged to American union workers not to reward corporations accused of union-busting tactics.

For years, Amazon has been accused of trying to prevent its warehouse workers across the United States from unionizing amid reports that the corporation has put its workforce in dangerous scenarios under ruthless shipping quotas.

In August 2021, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) found that Amazon had violated labor laws preventing its warehouse workers from unionizing when they tried to do so in Bessemer, Alabama. In February, Amazon was again accused of trying to prevent the warehouse workers from unionizing at the Alabama facility.

Last month warehouse workers at one of Amazon’s facilities in Staten Island, New York, voted to form the corporation’s first labor union. Amazon is now challenging the vote to unionize. Following the vote, Amazon has reportedly fired more than six of the Staten Island warehouse managers who fought to form the union.

A report from the Lever reveals that the Biden administration, despite Amazon’s history of interfering in unionization efforts, has rewarded the corporation with a massive federal contract after having vowed not to do so.

The Lever reports:

A day later, Nextgov reported that Biden’s National Security Agency (NSA) ratified a $10 billion cloud computing contract for Amazon, which hired the brother of Biden’s top aide as a lobbyist days after the 2020 presidential election. The contract for the company’s web services division is codenamed “Wild and Stormy,” and is distinct from another massive Pentagon cloud contract on which Amazon is also currently bidding. [Emphasis added]

A few days after Amazon received the NSA contract, the Amazon Labor Union lost its second union election bid by a 2-to-1 margin at another Staten Island warehouse, after Amazon mounted a furious campaign to halt the organizing drive. [Emphasis added]

In effect, while Amazon was doubling down on its union busting, the Biden administration was delivering a massive federal contract to the company, signaling to Amazon executives that he is so far not interested in fulfilling his pledge to use the government’s purchasing power to be “the most pro-union president.” [Emphasis added]

As part of his campaign promises, Biden laid out a plan to prevent corporations like Amazon from receiving lucrative federal contracts after having been accused of union-busting tactics.

He promised to “ensure federal dollars do not flow to employers who engage in union-busting activities, participate in wage theft, or violate labor law.”

Biden’s campaign pledge states:

Biden will institute a multi-year federal debarment for all employers who illegally oppose unions, building on debarment efforts pursued in the Obama-Biden administration. [Emphasis added]

[Biden] will ensure federal contracts only go to employers who sign neutrality agreements committing not to run anti-union campaigns. He also will only award contracts to employers who support their workers, including those who pay a $15 per hour minimum wage and family sustaining benefits. The tax dollars of hard-working families should not be used to damage the standard of living of those same families. [Emphasis added]

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) spoke at a union rally for the warehouse workers late last month but has been silent on Biden’s billion dollar contract for Amazon.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) lobbied Biden to not reward Amazon with a federal contract, stating that the corporation has “time and time again” deployed union-busting tactics to stop warehouse workers from organizing.

“Mr. President: It is abundantly clear that time and time again Amazon has engaged in illegal anti-union activity,” Sanders wrote. “Amazon may be a large and profitable corporation, it may be owned by one of the wealthiest people in America, but it cannot be allowed to continue to violate the law and the rights of its employees. The time has come to tell Amazon that if it wants another federal contract it must obey the law.”

Amazon has notoriously skated by for years without paying federal income taxes. In 2020, the corporation paid federal income taxes for the first time since 2016. The amount paid by Amazon was just $162 million last year, a fraction of its 2019 $13.9 billion pre-tax reported income. For context, Amazon paid in federal income taxes just 1.2% of its pre-tax reported income last year.

Likewise, recent tax filings made public show Bezos paid an average federal income tax rate of less than 24 percent. In many cases, Bezos paid far less in taxes than millionaires earning a sixth of his income.

John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Email him at jbinder@breitbart.com. Follow him on Twitter here

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Meet the Companies that Will Facilitate Abortions for Red State Employees

Meet the Companies that Will Facilitate Abortions for Red State Employees

Employees of these woke companies who live in red states will still be able to obtain abortions should Roe v. Wade be overturned.

Since conservative-leaning states began flexing their legislative muscles to outlaw abortion within their borders or severely limit its practice, companies from the likes of Amazon to Yelp have been drafting policies that will pay for employees’ abortions should they live in a state that outlaws the practice. After Politico published the leaked Supreme Court decision indicating that Roe v. Wade may be in its final days, more and more companies have been actively considering implementing such a practice, with none other than Amazon joining the fold this week.

CNN reported on Wednesday.

Amazon became the latest corporation to cover employees’ travel costs to seek abortion care. The company told staff it would pay up to $4,000 in travel expenses annually for medical treatments including abortions, according to a message seen by Reuters. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the nature of the Reuters report to CNN Business.

Amazon joined Citigroup, Yelp, Uber, Lyft, Bumble, Match Group, and Salesforce to draft such a policy. On Tuesday, Levi Strauss & Co. reminded its employees that its current benefits program will grant reimbursements “for healthcare-related travel expenses for services not available in their home state, including those related to reproductive health care and abortion.” The company said:

Access to reproductive health care, including abortion, has been a critical factor to the workplace gains and contributions women have made over the past 50 years. Further restricting or criminalizing access will jeopardize that progress and disproportionately affect women of color, putting their well-being at risk and impeding diverse hiring pipelines.

Women in some states would have fewer rights than women in others, and our country would be consigned to a more unjust and inequitable future. What’s more, companies would need different health policies for different locations – including coverage for time off and travel across state lines – to ensure employees can access reproductive health care.

Likewise, Match Group CEO Shar Dubey said in a statement that she “personally, as a woman in Texas, could not keep silent” when the company announced its abortion tourism policy this past September in response to the Texas law that banned abortion in most cases.

As Breitbart News recently profiled, a Fox News poll showed that a majority of Americans want and support some abortion restrictions.

“Most Americans believe abortion should be either ‘mostly’ or ‘always’ illegal, and support banning abortion after 15 weeks, a Fox News poll released this week found,” said the report.  “The national poll, conducted prior to the leak of a draft Supreme Court opinion overruling Roe v. Wade, found that 54 percent favor banning abortion in their respective state after 15 weeks of pregnancy, compared to 41 percent who oppose. Additionally, more favor banning abortion in their state after just six weeks than oppose — 50 percent to 46 percent.”

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Former Intel Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big-Tech Monopoly Power Vital To National Security



Former Intel Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big-Tech Monopoly Power Vital To National Security

By Glenn Greenwald 

When the U.S. security state announces that Big Tech’s centralized censorship power must be preserved, we should ask what this reveals about whom this regime serves.

(l) An illustration of the CIA logo (Getty Images); (r) An illustration shows the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on a mobile phone and a laptop screen. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

A group of former intelligence and national security officials on Monday issued a jointly signed letter warning that pending legislative attempts to restrict or break up the power of Big Tech monopolies — Facebook, Google, and Amazon — would jeopardize national security because, they argue, their centralized censorship power is crucial to advancing U.S. foreign policy. The majority of this letter is devoted to repeatedly invoking the grave threat allegedly posed to the U.S. by Russia as illustrated by the invasion of Ukraine, and it repeatedly points to the dangers of Putin and the Kremlin to justify the need to preserve Big Tech’s power in its maximalist form. Any attempts to restrict Big Tech’s monopolistic power would therefore undermine the U.S. fight against Moscow.

While one of their central claims is that Big Tech monopoly power is necessary to combat (i.e., censor) “foreign disinformation,” several of these officials are themselves leading disinformation agents: many were the same former intelligence officials who signed the now-infamous-and-debunked pre-election letter fraudulently claiming that the authentic Hunter Biden emails had the “hallmarks” of Russia disinformation (former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Obama CIA Director Michael Morrell, former Obama CIA/Pentagon chief Leon Panetta). Others who signed this new letter have strong financial ties to the Big Tech corporations whose power they are defending in the name of national security (Morrell, Panetta, former Bush National Security Adviser Fran Townsend).

The ostensible purpose of the letter is to warn of the national security dangers from two different bipartisan bills — one pending in the Senate, the other in the House — that would prohibit Big Tech monopolies from using their vertical power to “discriminate” against competitors (the way Google, for instance, uses its search engine business to bury the videos of competitors to its YouTube property, such as Rumble, or the way Google and Apple use their stores and Amazon uses its domination over hosting services to destroy competitors).

One bill in the Senate is co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), and has attracted ample support in both parties, as has a similar House bill co-sponsored by House Antitrust Committee Chair David Cicilline (D-RI) and ranking member Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO). The amount of bipartisan support each bill has garnered — and the widespread animosity toward Big Tech reflected by this Congressional support — has shocked Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook lobbyists, who are accustomed to getting their way in Washington with lavish donations to the key politicians in each party.

This letter by former national security officials is, in one sense, an act of desperation. The bills have received the support of the key committees with jurisdiction over antitrust and Big Tech. In the Senate, five conservative Republican Committee members who have been outspoken critics of Big Tech power — Grassley, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MI), Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) — joined with Democrats to ensure the passage of one bill out of the Judiciary Committee by a 16-6 vote, with a companion bill passing that Committee with the support of 20 of twenty-two Senators. As The Intercept‘s Sara Sirota and Ryan Grim report: “Both bills have Big Tech reeling” since “a floor vote would likely be a blowout for Big Tech.”

The extreme animus harbored by large parts of the left and right toward Big Tech make it very difficult for any lawmaker to go on record in opposition to these proposed bills if they are forced to publicly take a position in a floor vote. Many Senators with financial ties to Big Tech — including the two California Senate Democrats who represent Silicon Valley and are recipients of their largesse (Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla) — have expressed reservations about these reform efforts and have refused to co-sponsor the bill, yet still voted YES when forced to vote in Committee. This shows that public pressure to rein in Big Tech is becoming too large to enable Silicon Valley to force lawmakers to ignore their constituents’ wishes with lobbyist donations. These politicians will work behind the scenes to kill efforts to rein in Big Tech, but will not vote against such efforts if forced to take a public position.

As a result, Big Tech’s last hope is to keep the bill from reaching the floor where Senators would be forced to go on record, a goal they hope will be advanced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York due to his close ties to Silicon Valley. “Both [Schumer’s] children are on the payroll of companies the proposals would seek to rein in,” reported The New York Post: “Jessica Schumer is a registered lobbyist at Amazon, according to New York state records. Alison Schumer works at Facebook as a product marketing manager.” Despite that, Schumer claimed to The Intercept that he supports both bills and will vote in favor of them, even though he has engaged in maneuvers to impede the bills from getting a full floor vote.

This is where these former intelligence and national security officials come in. While these former CIA, Homeland Security and Pentagon operatives have little sway in the Senate Judiciary and House Antitrust Committees, they command great loyalty from Congressional national security committees. Those committees, created to exert oversight of the U.S. intelligence and military agencies, are notoriously captive to the U.S. National Security State. The ostensible purpose of this new letter is to insist that Big Tech monopoly power is vital to U.S. national security — because it is necessary for them to censor “disinformation” from the internet, especially now with the grave Russian threat reflected by the war in Ukraine — and they thus demand that the anti-Big-Tech bills first be reviewed not only by the Judiciary and Antitrust Committees, but also the national security committees where they wield power and influence, which have traditionally played no role in regulating the technology sector:

We call on the congressional committees with national security jurisdiction – including the Armed Services Committees, Intelligence Committees, and Homeland Security Committees in both the House and Senate – to conduct a review of any legislation that could hinder America’s key technology companies in the fight against cyber and national security risks emanating from Russia’s and China’s growing digital authoritarianism.

Why would these former national security and intelligence officials be so devoted to preserving the unfettered power of Big Tech to control and censor the internet? One obvious explanation is the standard one that always runs Washington: several of them have a financial interest in serving Big Tech’s agenda.

Unsurprisingly, Apple CEO Tim Cook has himself pushed the claim that undermining Big Tech’s power in any way would threaten U.S national security. And there is now an army of well-compensated-by-Silicon-Valley former national security officials echoing his message. A well-researched Politico article from September — headlined: “12 former security officials who warned against antitrust crackdown have tech ties” — detailed how many of these former officials who invoke national security claims to protect Big Tech are on the take from the key tech monopolies:

The warning last week from a dozen former national security leaders was stark: An antitrust crackdown on Silicon Valley could threaten the nation’s economy and “cede U.S. tech leadership to China.”

But the group was united by more than their histories of holding senior defense and intelligence roles in the Trump, Obama and George W. Bush administrations: All 12 have ties to major tech companies, either from working with them directly or serving with organizations that get money from them, according to a POLITICO analysis….

Seven of the 12, including Panetta, hold roles at Beacon Global Strategies, a public relations firm that according to a person familiar with the matter counts Google as a client…Five of the former officials, including former director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Robert Cardillo and former National Security Agency deputy director Richard Ledgett, serve as advisory board members at Beacon. Panetta and Michael Morell, a former acting CIA director under President Barack Obama, are senior counselors for the firm….

Frances Townsend, who was a counterterrorism and homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, is on the national security advisory board for American Edge, a Facebook-funded group that opposes changes to strengthen antitrust laws….Townsend is also on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council, which counts Facebook and Google as funders; the board of trustees for Center for Strategic and International Studies, which counts Apple and Google as funders; and the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, which receives money from Microsoft and counts Facebook and Google in its highest membership category.

As Rep. Buck, the Colorado House Republican who favors reform, put it: “It is not surprising that individuals who receive money from Big Tech are defending Big Tech. At the end of the day, Big Tech is harming U.S. competition and innovation through anticompetitive practices.” In other words, these former intelligence officials are exploiting their national security credentials to protect an industry in which they have a deep financial interest.

The view that preservation of Big Tech is vital for national security is by no means a unanimous view even in that world. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark and others have vehemently argued that this claim is a “myth.” As veteran internet security expert Bruce Schneier observed: “These bills will encourage competition, prevent monopolist extortion, and guarantee users a new right to digital self-determination.” But the National Security State has enough True Believers combined with paid shills to make it appear as if Americans should be desperate to preserve and protect Big Tech’s power because this power is crucial to keeping America safe and, particularly, fighting Russia.

There are indeed valid and rational reasons for these officials to view Big Tech monopoly power as a vital weapon in advancing their national security agenda. As I documented last week when reporting on the unprecedented censorship regime imposed in the West regarding the war in Ukraine, Big Tech censorship of political speech is not random. Domestically, it is virtually always devoted to silencing any meaningful dissent from liberal orthodoxy or official pieties on key political controversies. But in terms of foreign policy, the censorship patterns of tech monopolies virtually always align with U.S. foreign policy, and for understandable reasons: Big Tech and the U.S. security state are in a virtually complete union, with all sorts of overlapping, mutual financial interests:

Note that this censorship regime is completely one-sided and, as usual, entirely aligned with U.S. foreign policy. Western news outlets and social media platforms have been flooded with pro-Ukrainian propaganda and outright lies from the start of the war. A New York Times article from early March put it very delicately in its headline: “Fact and Mythmaking Blend in Ukraine’s Information War.” Axios was similarly understated in recognizing this fact: “Ukraine misinformation is spreading — and not just from Russia.” Members of the U.S. Congress have gleefully spread fabrications that went viral to millions of people, with no action from censorship-happy Silicon Valley corporations. That is not a surprise: all participants in war use disinformation and propaganda to manipulate public opinion in their favor, and that certainly includes all direct and proxy-war belligerents in the war in Ukraine.

Yet there is little to no censorship — either by Western states or by Silicon Valley monopolies — of pro-Ukrainian disinformation, propaganda and lies. The censorship goes only in one direction: to silence any voices deemed “pro-Russian,” regardless of whether they spread disinformation….Their crime, like the crime of so many other banished accounts, was not disinformation but skepticism about the US/NATO propaganda campaign. Put another way, it is not “disinformation” but rather viewpoint-error that is targeted for silencing. One can spread as many lies and as much disinformation as one wants provided that it is designed to advance the NATO agenda in Ukraine (just as one is free to spread disinformation provided that its purpose is to strengthen the Democratic Party, which wields its majoritarian power in Washington to demand greater censorship and commands the support of most of Silicon Valley). But what one cannot do is question the NATO/Ukrainian propaganda framework without running a very substantial risk of banishment.

It is unsurprising that Silicon Valley monopolies exercise their censorship power in full alignment with the foreign policy interests of the U.S. Government. Many of the key tech monopolies — such as Google and Amazon — routinely seek and obtain highly lucrative contracts with the U.S. security state, including both the CIA and NSA. Their top executives enjoy very close relationships with top Democratic Party officials. And Congressional Democrats have repeatedly hauled tech executives before their various Committees to explicitly threaten them with legal and regulatory reprisals if they do not censor more in accordance with the policy goals and political interests of that party.

Needless to say, the U.S. security state wants to maintain a stranglehold on political discourse in the U.S. and the world more broadly. They want to be able to impose propagandistic narratives without challenge and advocate for militarism without dissent. To accomplish that, they need a small handful of corporations which are subservient to them to hold in their hands as much concentrated power over the internet as possible.

If a free and fair competitive market were to arise whereby social media platforms more devoted to free speech could fairly compete with Google and Facebook— as the various pending bills in Congress are partially designed to foster — then that new diversity of influence, that diffusion of power, would genuinely threaten the ability of the CIA and the Pentagon and the White House to police political discourse and suppress dissent from their policies and assertions. By contrast, by maintaining all power in the hands of the small coterie of tech monopolies which control the internet and which have long proven their loyalty to the U.S. security state, the ability of the U.S. national security state to maintain a closed propaganda system around questions of war and militarism is guaranteed.

In this new letter, these national security operatives barely bother to hide their intention to exploit the strong animosity toward Russia that they have cultivated, and the accompanying intense emotions from the ubiquitous, unprecedented media coverage of the war in Ukraine, to prop up their goals. Over and over, they cite the grave Russian threat — a theme they have been disseminating and manufacturing since the Russiagate fraud of 2016 — to manipulate Americans to support the preservation of Big Tech’s concentrated power, and to imply that anyone seeking to limit Big Tech power or make the market more competitive is a threat to U.S. national security:

This is a pivotal moment in modern history. There is a battle brewing between authoritarianism and democracy, and the former is using all the tools at its disposal, including a broad disinformation campaign and the threat of cyber-attacks, to bring about a change in the global order. We must confront these global challenges. . . . U.S. technology platforms have given the world the chance to see the real story of the Russian military’s horrific human rights abuses in Ukraine. . . . At the same time, President Putin and his regime have sought to twist facts in order to show Russia as a liberator instead of an aggressor. . . .

The Russian government is seeking to alter the information landscape by blocking Russian citizens from receiving content that would show the true facts on the ground. .. . . . Indeed, it is telling that among the Kremlin’s first actions of the war was blocking U.S. platforms in Russia. Putin knows that U.S. digital platforms can provide Russian citizens valuable views and facts about the war that he tries to distort through lies and disinformation. U.S. technology platforms have already taken concrete steps to shine a light on Russia’s actions to brutalize Ukraine. . . . Providing timely and accurate on-the-ground information – and disrupting the scourge of disinformation from Russian state media – is essential for allowing the world (including the Russian people) to see the human toll of Russia’s aggression. . . . [T]he United States is facing an extraordinary threat from Russian cyber-attacks . . .

In the face of these growing threats, U.S. policymakers must not inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S. technology platforms to counter increasing disinformation and cybersecurity risks, particularly as the West continues to rely on the scale and reach of these firms to push back on the Kremlin . . . . Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marks the start of a new chapter in global history, one in which the ideals of democracy will be put to the test. The United States will need to rely on the power of its technology sector to ensure that the safety of its citizens and the narrative of events continues to be shaped by facts, not by foreign adversaries.

It is hardly controversial or novel to observe that the U.S. security state always wants and needs a hated foreign enemy precisely because it allows them to claim whatever powers and whatever budgets they want in the name of stopping that foreign villain. And every war and every new enemy ushers in new authoritarian powers and the trampling of civil liberties: both the First War on Terror, justified by 9/11, and the New Domestic War on Terror, justified by 1/6, should have taught us that lesson permanently. Usually, though, U.S. security state propagandists are a bit more subtle about how they manipulate anger and fear of foreign villains to manipulate public opinion for their own authoritarian ends.

Perhaps because of their current desperation about the support these bills have attracted, they are now just nakedly and shamelessly trying to channel the anger and hatred that they have successfully stoked toward Russia to demand that Big Tech not be weakened, regulated or restricted in any way. The cynical exploitation could hardly be more overt: if you hate Putin the way any loyal and patriotic American should, then you must devote yourself to full preservation of the power of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.

It should go without saying that these life-long security state operatives do not care in the slightest about the dangers of “disinformation.” Indeed — as evidenced by the fact that most of them generated one Russiagate fraud after the next during…

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(TLB) published this article Authored by Glenn Greenwald via Substack with our appreciation for this perspective.

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Header featured image (edited) credit: (l) An illustration of the CIA logo (Getty Images); (r) An illustration shows the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on a laptop screen. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

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Former Intel Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big-Tech Monopoly Power Vital To National Security



Former Intel Officials, Citing Russia, Say Big-Tech Monopoly Power Vital To National Security

By Glenn Greenwald 

When the U.S. security state announces that Big Tech’s centralized censorship power must be preserved, we should ask what this reveals about whom this regime serves.

(l) An illustration of the CIA logo (Getty Images); (r) An illustration shows the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on a mobile phone and a laptop screen. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

A group of former intelligence and national security officials on Monday issued a jointly signed letter warning that pending legislative attempts to restrict or break up the power of Big Tech monopolies — Facebook, Google, and Amazon — would jeopardize national security because, they argue, their centralized censorship power is crucial to advancing U.S. foreign policy. The majority of this letter is devoted to repeatedly invoking the grave threat allegedly posed to the U.S. by Russia as illustrated by the invasion of Ukraine, and it repeatedly points to the dangers of Putin and the Kremlin to justify the need to preserve Big Tech’s power in its maximalist form. Any attempts to restrict Big Tech’s monopolistic power would therefore undermine the U.S. fight against Moscow.

While one of their central claims is that Big Tech monopoly power is necessary to combat (i.e., censor) “foreign disinformation,” several of these officials are themselves leading disinformation agents: many were the same former intelligence officials who signed the now-infamous-and-debunked pre-election letter fraudulently claiming that the authentic Hunter Biden emails had the “hallmarks” of Russia disinformation (former Obama Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, former Obama CIA Director Michael Morrell, former Obama CIA/Pentagon chief Leon Panetta). Others who signed this new letter have strong financial ties to the Big Tech corporations whose power they are defending in the name of national security (Morrell, Panetta, former Bush National Security Adviser Fran Townsend).

The ostensible purpose of the letter is to warn of the national security dangers from two different bipartisan bills — one pending in the Senate, the other in the House — that would prohibit Big Tech monopolies from using their vertical power to “discriminate” against competitors (the way Google, for instance, uses its search engine business to bury the videos of competitors to its YouTube property, such as Rumble, or the way Google and Apple use their stores and Amazon uses its domination over hosting services to destroy competitors).

One bill in the Senate is co-sponsored by Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) and Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA), and has attracted ample support in both parties, as has a similar House bill co-sponsored by House Antitrust Committee Chair David Cicilline (D-RI) and ranking member Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO). The amount of bipartisan support each bill has garnered — and the widespread animosity toward Big Tech reflected by this Congressional support — has shocked Google, Amazon, Apple, and Facebook lobbyists, who are accustomed to getting their way in Washington with lavish donations to the key politicians in each party.

This letter by former national security officials is, in one sense, an act of desperation. The bills have received the support of the key committees with jurisdiction over antitrust and Big Tech. In the Senate, five conservative Republican Committee members who have been outspoken critics of Big Tech power — Grassley, Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Josh Hawley (R-MI), Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) — joined with Democrats to ensure the passage of one bill out of the Judiciary Committee by a 16-6 vote, with a companion bill passing that Committee with the support of 20 of twenty-two Senators. As The Intercept‘s Sara Sirota and Ryan Grim report: “Both bills have Big Tech reeling” since “a floor vote would likely be a blowout for Big Tech.”

The extreme animus harbored by large parts of the left and right toward Big Tech make it very difficult for any lawmaker to go on record in opposition to these proposed bills if they are forced to publicly take a position in a floor vote. Many Senators with financial ties to Big Tech — including the two California Senate Democrats who represent Silicon Valley and are recipients of their largesse (Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Alex Padilla) — have expressed reservations about these reform efforts and have refused to co-sponsor the bill, yet still voted YES when forced to vote in Committee. This shows that public pressure to rein in Big Tech is becoming too large to enable Silicon Valley to force lawmakers to ignore their constituents’ wishes with lobbyist donations. These politicians will work behind the scenes to kill efforts to rein in Big Tech, but will not vote against such efforts if forced to take a public position.

As a result, Big Tech’s last hope is to keep the bill from reaching the floor where Senators would be forced to go on record, a goal they hope will be advanced by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York due to his close ties to Silicon Valley. “Both [Schumer’s] children are on the payroll of companies the proposals would seek to rein in,” reported The New York Post: “Jessica Schumer is a registered lobbyist at Amazon, according to New York state records. Alison Schumer works at Facebook as a product marketing manager.” Despite that, Schumer claimed to The Intercept that he supports both bills and will vote in favor of them, even though he has engaged in maneuvers to impede the bills from getting a full floor vote.

This is where these former intelligence and national security officials come in. While these former CIA, Homeland Security and Pentagon operatives have little sway in the Senate Judiciary and House Antitrust Committees, they command great loyalty from Congressional national security committees. Those committees, created to exert oversight of the U.S. intelligence and military agencies, are notoriously captive to the U.S. National Security State. The ostensible purpose of this new letter is to insist that Big Tech monopoly power is vital to U.S. national security — because it is necessary for them to censor “disinformation” from the internet, especially now with the grave Russian threat reflected by the war in Ukraine — and they thus demand that the anti-Big-Tech bills first be reviewed not only by the Judiciary and Antitrust Committees, but also the national security committees where they wield power and influence, which have traditionally played no role in regulating the technology sector:

We call on the congressional committees with national security jurisdiction – including the Armed Services Committees, Intelligence Committees, and Homeland Security Committees in both the House and Senate – to conduct a review of any legislation that could hinder America’s key technology companies in the fight against cyber and national security risks emanating from Russia’s and China’s growing digital authoritarianism.

Why would these former national security and intelligence officials be so devoted to preserving the unfettered power of Big Tech to control and censor the internet? One obvious explanation is the standard one that always runs Washington: several of them have a financial interest in serving Big Tech’s agenda.

Unsurprisingly, Apple CEO Tim Cook has himself pushed the claim that undermining Big Tech’s power in any way would threaten U.S national security. And there is now an army of well-compensated-by-Silicon-Valley former national security officials echoing his message. A well-researched Politico article from September — headlined: “12 former security officials who warned against antitrust crackdown have tech ties” — detailed how many of these former officials who invoke national security claims to protect Big Tech are on the take from the key tech monopolies:

The warning last week from a dozen former national security leaders was stark: An antitrust crackdown on Silicon Valley could threaten the nation’s economy and “cede U.S. tech leadership to China.”

But the group was united by more than their histories of holding senior defense and intelligence roles in the Trump, Obama and George W. Bush administrations: All 12 have ties to major tech companies, either from working with them directly or serving with organizations that get money from them, according to a POLITICO analysis….

Seven of the 12, including Panetta, hold roles at Beacon Global Strategies, a public relations firm that according to a person familiar with the matter counts Google as a client…Five of the former officials, including former director of the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Robert Cardillo and former National Security Agency deputy director Richard Ledgett, serve as advisory board members at Beacon. Panetta and Michael Morell, a former acting CIA director under President Barack Obama, are senior counselors for the firm….

Frances Townsend, who was a counterterrorism and homeland security adviser to President George W. Bush, is on the national security advisory board for American Edge, a Facebook-funded group that opposes changes to strengthen antitrust laws….Townsend is also on the board of directors of the Atlantic Council, which counts Facebook and Google as funders; the board of trustees for Center for Strategic and International Studies, which counts Apple and Google as funders; and the board of directors of the Council on Foreign Relations, which receives money from Microsoft and counts Facebook and Google in its highest membership category.

As Rep. Buck, the Colorado House Republican who favors reform, put it: “It is not surprising that individuals who receive money from Big Tech are defending Big Tech. At the end of the day, Big Tech is harming U.S. competition and innovation through anticompetitive practices.” In other words, these former intelligence officials are exploiting their national security credentials to protect an industry in which they have a deep financial interest.

The view that preservation of Big Tech is vital for national security is by no means a unanimous view even in that world. Retired Gen. Wesley Clark and others have vehemently argued that this claim is a “myth.” As veteran internet security expert Bruce Schneier observed: “These bills will encourage competition, prevent monopolist extortion, and guarantee users a new right to digital self-determination.” But the National Security State has enough True Believers combined with paid shills to make it appear as if Americans should be desperate to preserve and protect Big Tech’s power because this power is crucial to keeping America safe and, particularly, fighting Russia.

There are indeed valid and rational reasons for these officials to view Big Tech monopoly power as a vital weapon in advancing their national security agenda. As I documented last week when reporting on the unprecedented censorship regime imposed in the West regarding the war in Ukraine, Big Tech censorship of political speech is not random. Domestically, it is virtually always devoted to silencing any meaningful dissent from liberal orthodoxy or official pieties on key political controversies. But in terms of foreign policy, the censorship patterns of tech monopolies virtually always align with U.S. foreign policy, and for understandable reasons: Big Tech and the U.S. security state are in a virtually complete union, with all sorts of overlapping, mutual financial interests:

Note that this censorship regime is completely one-sided and, as usual, entirely aligned with U.S. foreign policy. Western news outlets and social media platforms have been flooded with pro-Ukrainian propaganda and outright lies from the start of the war. A New York Times article from early March put it very delicately in its headline: “Fact and Mythmaking Blend in Ukraine’s Information War.” Axios was similarly understated in recognizing this fact: “Ukraine misinformation is spreading — and not just from Russia.” Members of the U.S. Congress have gleefully spread fabrications that went viral to millions of people, with no action from censorship-happy Silicon Valley corporations. That is not a surprise: all participants in war use disinformation and propaganda to manipulate public opinion in their favor, and that certainly includes all direct and proxy-war belligerents in the war in Ukraine.

Yet there is little to no censorship — either by Western states or by Silicon Valley monopolies — of pro-Ukrainian disinformation, propaganda and lies. The censorship goes only in one direction: to silence any voices deemed “pro-Russian,” regardless of whether they spread disinformation….Their crime, like the crime of so many other banished accounts, was not disinformation but skepticism about the US/NATO propaganda campaign. Put another way, it is not “disinformation” but rather viewpoint-error that is targeted for silencing. One can spread as many lies and as much disinformation as one wants provided that it is designed to advance the NATO agenda in Ukraine (just as one is free to spread disinformation provided that its purpose is to strengthen the Democratic Party, which wields its majoritarian power in Washington to demand greater censorship and commands the support of most of Silicon Valley). But what one cannot do is question the NATO/Ukrainian propaganda framework without running a very substantial risk of banishment.

It is unsurprising that Silicon Valley monopolies exercise their censorship power in full alignment with the foreign policy interests of the U.S. Government. Many of the key tech monopolies — such as Google and Amazon — routinely seek and obtain highly lucrative contracts with the U.S. security state, including both the CIA and NSA. Their top executives enjoy very close relationships with top Democratic Party officials. And Congressional Democrats have repeatedly hauled tech executives before their various Committees to explicitly threaten them with legal and regulatory reprisals if they do not censor more in accordance with the policy goals and political interests of that party.

Needless to say, the U.S. security state wants to maintain a stranglehold on political discourse in the U.S. and the world more broadly. They want to be able to impose propagandistic narratives without challenge and advocate for militarism without dissent. To accomplish that, they need a small handful of corporations which are subservient to them to hold in their hands as much concentrated power over the internet as possible.

If a free and fair competitive market were to arise whereby social media platforms more devoted to free speech could fairly compete with Google and Facebook— as the various pending bills in Congress are partially designed to foster — then that new diversity of influence, that diffusion of power, would genuinely threaten the ability of the CIA and the Pentagon and the White House to police political discourse and suppress dissent from their policies and assertions. By contrast, by maintaining all power in the hands of the small coterie of tech monopolies which control the internet and which have long proven their loyalty to the U.S. security state, the ability of the U.S. national security state to maintain a closed propaganda system around questions of war and militarism is guaranteed.

In this new letter, these national security operatives barely bother to hide their intention to exploit the strong animosity toward Russia that they have cultivated, and the accompanying intense emotions from the ubiquitous, unprecedented media coverage of the war in Ukraine, to prop up their goals. Over and over, they cite the grave Russian threat — a theme they have been disseminating and manufacturing since the Russiagate fraud of 2016 — to manipulate Americans to support the preservation of Big Tech’s concentrated power, and to imply that anyone seeking to limit Big Tech power or make the market more competitive is a threat to U.S. national security:

This is a pivotal moment in modern history. There is a battle brewing between authoritarianism and democracy, and the former is using all the tools at its disposal, including a broad disinformation campaign and the threat of cyber-attacks, to bring about a change in the global order. We must confront these global challenges. . . . U.S. technology platforms have given the world the chance to see the real story of the Russian military’s horrific human rights abuses in Ukraine. . . . At the same time, President Putin and his regime have sought to twist facts in order to show Russia as a liberator instead of an aggressor. . . .

The Russian government is seeking to alter the information landscape by blocking Russian citizens from receiving content that would show the true facts on the ground. .. . . . Indeed, it is telling that among the Kremlin’s first actions of the war was blocking U.S. platforms in Russia. Putin knows that U.S. digital platforms can provide Russian citizens valuable views and facts about the war that he tries to distort through lies and disinformation. U.S. technology platforms have already taken concrete steps to shine a light on Russia’s actions to brutalize Ukraine. . . . Providing timely and accurate on-the-ground information – and disrupting the scourge of disinformation from Russian state media – is essential for allowing the world (including the Russian people) to see the human toll of Russia’s aggression. . . . [T]he United States is facing an extraordinary threat from Russian cyber-attacks . . .

In the face of these growing threats, U.S. policymakers must not inadvertently hamper the ability of U.S. technology platforms to counter increasing disinformation and cybersecurity risks, particularly as the West continues to rely on the scale and reach of these firms to push back on the Kremlin . . . . Russia’s invasion of Ukraine marks the start of a new chapter in global history, one in which the ideals of democracy will be put to the test. The United States will need to rely on the power of its technology sector to ensure that the safety of its citizens and the narrative of events continues to be shaped by facts, not by foreign adversaries.

It is hardly controversial or novel to observe that the U.S. security state always wants and needs a hated foreign enemy precisely because it allows them to claim whatever powers and whatever budgets they want in the name of stopping that foreign villain. And every war and every new enemy ushers in new authoritarian powers and the trampling of civil liberties: both the First War on Terror, justified by 9/11, and the New Domestic War on Terror, justified by 1/6, should have taught us that lesson permanently. Usually, though, U.S. security state propagandists are a bit more subtle about how they manipulate anger and fear of foreign villains to manipulate public opinion for their own authoritarian ends.

Perhaps because of their current desperation about the support these bills have attracted, they are now just nakedly and shamelessly trying to channel the anger and hatred that they have successfully stoked toward Russia to demand that Big Tech not be weakened, regulated or restricted in any way. The cynical exploitation could hardly be more overt: if you hate Putin the way any loyal and patriotic American should, then you must devote yourself to full preservation of the power of Google, Facebook, Apple, and Amazon.

It should go without saying that these life-long security state operatives do not care in the slightest about the dangers of “disinformation.” Indeed — as evidenced by the fact that most of them generated one Russiagate fraud after the next during…

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(TLB) published this article Authored by Glenn Greenwald via Substack with our appreciation for this perspective.

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Header featured image (edited) credit: (l) An illustration of the CIA logo (Getty Images); (r) An illustration shows the logos of Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon and Microsoft displayed on a laptop screen. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS / AFP)

Emphasis added by (TLB) editors

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