From The Hustle

  • Ending Platform Monopolies Act: This very literally named bill would prevent any platform with a market cap of $600B+ (cough Big Tech cough) and 50m+ monthly US users from operating businesses that clearly compete with users on its platform. This law targets the huge platforms of Amazon (Marketplace) and Apple (App Store).
  • American Choice and Innovation Online Act: This bill prohibits Big Tech from privileging its own products and services over those of its competitors (e.g., Google placing its reviews over Yelp). Also, Big Tech can’t use data on its platform to create competing products (e.g., Amazon knocking off a best-selling consumer item).
  • Platform Competition and Opportunity Act: This bill shifts the burden of proof onto Big Tech to prove that any future acquisitions are not unlawful. At present, the US government is tasked with doing that, and has had to look at unwinding acquisitions it deemed anticompetitive (e.g., Facebook acquiring Instagram).
  • Augmenting Compatibility and Competition by Enabling Service Switching (ACCESS) Act: This bill forces Big Tech to make data portability and interoperability more convenient for users, so they can switch between platforms as they wish.
  • Merger Filing Fee Modernization Act: When large mergers are proposed, a fee is paid to the FTC and Department of Justice to look into the deal. This bill will raise that fee to better fund these departments, which are tasked with tackling antitrust issues.

The Army’s new night-vision goggles are impressive

The Army’s New Night-Vision Goggles Look Like Technology Stolen From Aliens
Wow, an impressive video on this one.

The existing technology is paired with enhancements that include a thermal imager that can see through obstructions like dust and smoke that even works when there’s zero external illumination like when underground, as well as added augmented reality enhancements like real-time edge detection to enhance and outline objects like fellow troops. The goggles can even wirelessly communicate with an electronic scope on a weapon, letting a soldier remotely look through it and aim at a target without having to physically expose themselves to a threat.

China Figures Out How to Produce Must-See Propaganda TV
Previously, the Communist Party had struggled to win eyeballs away from commercial TV and film, even with the country’s top directors and biggest stars involved. “Chinese propaganda officials are now dissecting the show to figure out how to replicate its success.”

China is betting that the West is in irreversible decline
“The country’s leaders see their moment, and are seizing it.”

Meanwhile, in the U.S:

Pro-Trump lawyer says ‘no reasonable person’ would believe her election lies

A key member of the legal team that sought to steal the 2020 election for Donald Trump is defending herself against a billion-dollar defamation lawsuit by arguing that “no reasonable person” could have mistaken her wild claims about election fraud last November as statements of fact.

In a motion to dismiss a complaint by the large US-based voting machine company Dominion, lawyers for Sidney Powell argued that elaborate conspiracies she laid out on television and radio last November while simultaneously suing to overturn election results in four states constituted legally protected first amendment speech.

“No reasonable person would conclude that the statements were truly statements of fact,” argued lawyers for Powell.

Top Saudi official issued death threat against UN’s Khashoggi investigator
“In an interview with the Guardian, the outgoing special rapporteur for extrajudicial killings said that a UN colleague alerted her in January 2020 that a senior Saudi official had twice threatened in a meeting with other senior UN officials in Geneva that month to have Callamard “taken care of” if she was not reined in by the UN.”

The Science of Making Americans Hurt Their Own Country
The National Intelligence Council has released an unclassified report assessing, retrospectively, foreign threats to the 2020 election, mostly involving Russia. Instead of trying to hack and leak, this time Russia focused on passing on doctored or misleading information, which was then spread by Rudy Giluiani and others.

For decades now, Russian security services have studied a concept called “reflexive control”—the science of how to get your enemies to make mistakes. To be successful, practitioners must first analyze their opponents deeply, to understand where they get their information and why they trust it; then they need to find ways of playing with those trusted sources, in order to insert errors and mistakes. The Russian security services have now studied us and worked out that large numbers of Americans—not only Fox News pundits and OANN broadcasters but also members of Congress—are very happy to accept sensational information, however tainted, from any source that happens to provide it. As long as it suits their partisan frames, and as long as it can be used against their opponents, they don’t care who invented it or for what purpose.

As a result, supplying an edited audiotape or a piece of false evidence to one of the bottom-feeders of the information ecosystem is incredibly easy; after that, others will ensure that it rises up the food chain. Russian disinformation doesn’t succeed thanks to the genius of Russians; it succeeds thanks to the sharp partisanship of Americans. Russian disinformation works because Americans allow it to work—and because those same Americans don’t care anymore about the harm they do to their country.

The National Intelligence Council found no Chinese involvement in November’s U.S. election. But because nothing all that bad really happened to anyone who collaborated with Russian foreign intelligence, either in 2016 or in 2020, maybe the Chinese and their potential American partners will grow a little bolder.

I’m Not Done Yet!
By Scott Galloway:

Modern-day “capitalism” in America means flattening the risk curve for people who already have money by borrowing from future generations with debt-fueled bailouts for companies. We have consciously decided to reduce the downside for the wealthy, thereby limiting the upside for future generations.

From 2017 to 2019, the CEOs of Delta, American, United, and Carnival Cruises earned over $150 million in compensation. But, now… “We’re in this together” (i.e., “bail our asses out”).

Since 2000, U.S. airlines have declared bankruptcy 66 times. Despite the obvious vulnerability of the sector, boards/CEOs of the six largest airlines have spent 96 percent of their free cash flow on share buybacks, bolstering the share price and compensation of management… who now want a bailout.

Earlier this week, I was on MSNBC with an early Uber employee, who reminded us that “We’re all in this together.” What bullsh*t. My guess is that this executive registered $10-100 million in equity crafting software that figured out an elegant way to pay the company’s 3.9 million “driver partners” less than minimum wage, ensure Uber isn’t obligated to provide them with health insurance, and avoid paying payroll taxes to adequately fund the CDC. But Dara Khosrowshahi and his several hundred-strong comms department wrote a compelling letter to the government urging them to help his driver partners.

Dara, pay your “partners” before picking up the pen again.

Rand: Fighting Disinformation Online: A Database of Web Tools