You can’t say you saw this post on Reddit anymore

If you rely on Silicon Valley firms for a branding campaign on social media and you have a Republican bent to your thoughts, you are either screwed or soon to be.

The takedown or censorship of Trump supporting voices on social boards accelerated Wednesday with the wipe out on Reddit of the subreddit Great Awakenings.

In a matter of minutes all traces of a robust board vanished along with all traces of any posts or interactions related to the forum.

This goes way beyond shadow banning. It wipes out primary research and the alternative first draft of history. In a media world of super concentrated voices and opinions, what Reddit suppressed was equal to a book burning in the town square.

To silence the views of those not in lock step with Silicon Valley’s very literal liberal bias. Look at this recently released video from Breitbart, showing Google execs (Sorry I don’t use Alphabet, since no one knows the name and it was really just a tax scheme to add a parent company to Google) ruminating the Friday after the 2016 election. The hand wringing of Sergey Brin saying he is “deeply offended” by the election of President Trump. Later on an HR execs speaks about how Google employees may want to work from Canada. Not sure if they handed out crying towels as workers filed in?

Into this environment we cast our words, thoughts and opinions. It’s as if Hillary Clinton won the election.

Into this void, the Justice Department is looking into Silicon Valley’s silencing of conservative voices. What we need is a Teddy Roosevelt-type trust buster to say these companies are not working in the public good and since they employ the use of the public network they need to be regulated.

I’m usually not for regulation generally, but these firms have brought this upon themselves with their biases showing at every turn. While each social media site has its own unique way of censoring or corralling alternative voices or ideas — most unbeknownst to the user, the wipe out of entire communities of conservative voices shows that Silicon Valley has no regard for level playing field or freedom of speech when that speech is not theirs.

How brazen are the Silicon Valley firms to think its our platform we will do what we want. Ma Bell thought the same way until Federal Judge Green came along and broke them up to little pieces.

Let’s get these censorship cases in front of a new Judge Green quickly.

(Editor’s Note: I’ll be attempting to post this on in theawakenings forum.)


Trump & Thiel have high ground in Silicon Valley war

As I told you Mark Zuckerberg confessed Wednesday that 87 million users had their privacy violated in the Cambridge Analytics 2016 presidential election more than the initial reported 50 million users.

Interestingly, Cambridge Analytics claimed yesterday that they only “scraped” 30 million users. Continue reading

Amazon calling. Will you let Jeff Bezos in?

Playing off of my weekend post of Amazon’s desire to get into Americans homes, the rhetoric from the White House is ramping up.

President Trump tweeting about Amazon as a monopoly riding on the back of the US Postal Service as its “delivery boy” and questioning its tax payments is really a smoke screen, I believe.

Trump’s screed merely brings Amazon and its CEO Jeff Bezos into the conversation, along with other Silicon Valley companies doing questionable actions with their user’s data.

Amazon has been around the longest — more than 20 years — and has amassed a database on more Americans and their buying habits than any other entity with the exception of the National Security Agency.

A story hitting the news today says Amazon, along with Google, has patent applications that allows Alexa — its in-home, personal-assistant service — an “outline an array of possibilities” for how the devices could monitor more of what users say and do.

Amazon has been on your stoop –with a smiley faced package — for more than a decade, but now through its Alexa device, or a special lock to allow food deliveries to be place in your refrigerator and its new initiative to start a nation-wide home cleaning service, the assault on your front door and your privacy has never been at more peril.

So into this backdrop we have Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, being the richest man in the world against a President hell-bent to expose deeper secrets of the left-leaning Silicon Valley crowd and its duplicitous actions when it comes to your privacy.

I am very interested to see how this plays out.

Silicon Valley’s censorship bumping up against 1st Amendment

Silicon Valley’s huge content aggregators have no Constitutional constraints to uphold the first amendment.  Unlike the early TV broadcasters, which were using the public airways, these companies are using pipes owned by themselves or other private firms.

Alphabet’s Google and YouTube as well as Twitter, Facebook, Go Daddy and Reddit can censor the content of any poster or customer for any reason they can cite.

Now given the tech sector’s left-leaning political attitudes, this power to control what appears on their platform has to be bumping up against free speech in the broadest sense.

Of course in any business, if there is a segment of the industry not being served, then there is room for a competitor to come in. However, with the size and capital of these firms cited above, profits are at a premium for any start-ups or smaller competitors.

Perhaps the pendulum is swinging too far left, due to the fact that some Democrats say Hillary Clinton’s presidential defeat can be laid at the right’s “fake news” presence on the web. I think that’s foolish in the sense that there was plenty of real news the campaign had to navigate and obvious couldn’t in the end.

I just think that for all its libertarian beginnings, the web has moved too far left for its own good. And since the trillions of dollars that have been made in the San Francisco Bay area over the years this was probably enviable.

That said, I think we need a test case on the order of “public airways” as communication moves to the digital platforms and not leave it to the individual companies to shape public opinion through what they allow or not allow to be viewed on their services.

Down 500 points here, minus 300 points there, pretty soon you can't retire

Stocks are overvalued. It’s that simple. With a global economy going into recession, there will be pain in global equities.

As money gets tighter with the Fed raising rates, US companies, which just began reporting Q4 results, will not be able to borrow to buyback shares to make their quarterly returns look better on the bottom line.

There’s been a slowing of growth on the top line as revenue is much harder to come by, despite setting a low bar through earnings warnings during the quarter.

Will these large US firms beg and plead with the Fed to lower rates again, of course they will. Silicon Valley CFOs are probably banging on the San Francisco Fed’s door telling them the situation is dire and that they need help. Some are complaining that what the strong dollar is doing to China is crippling their ability to get gadgets at a good cost.

So the Dow goes down 540+ points during the session on the weaker earnings and reduced P/E ratio, Main Street doesn’t care. They are focused on the 20% lost out of the 401(k) in the last 6 months.

Investors have been here before, and survived the 50% decline in their portfolio between late 2007 and spring of 2009. Now they’re older and have less time to recoup those losses, so they are going to cash in their funds to preserve what they have.

Financial advisers, who are just glorified salespeople, will say history shows that it’s the wrong move to sell. But this is not a normal market by any stretch of the imagination. And don’t forget they are salespeople with a vested interest in the amount of money you have in play. Even if it goes down they make more with your cash in the market regardless of your negative returns.

Markets always bounce back and they probably will. But not until the Fed does something. This market will not rely on organic growth to move higher. It’s not there and it’s no coming anytime soon with the global slowdown.

So the Fed will have to become “more accommodative,” which means lowering rates and more QE. This will happen before the end of this year, but with it being an election year the timing is the question.

Look by the end of March, we will probably be in a recession, with 2 negative GDP quarters. The estimates for Q4 are now down to 0.6% at the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow site, based on weaker holiday retail numbers. Wait until the Bureau of Economic Advisers get manufacturing numbers on their second revision at the end of February.

As I have said earlier, I am not a financial adviser, but I can tell you I have been out of equities since July of last year. So I may have missed a week or two on the upside, but I avoided the August swoon and this year’s carnage.

You can move 401(k) money into a savings component in your plan without incurring any penalties, and then reallocate it when you think the market has bottomed. Don’t need to be an expert and you don’t have to be early. You can wait for your own “green shoots” in the Spring or early summer. I certainly will be looking for an upside and will alert my readers when I see it.

But for now, there will be pain in the equity markets.