Facial Recognition and The FBI.

ROBERT MASSIMI.
AI,facial recognition and many more things give the government spying tactics on American citizens. It has become very scarey over the last 10 years as Americans have been losing there freedoms.
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Watchdog says FBI has access to about 640M photographs

yesterday

WASHINGTON (AP) — A government watchdog says the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs — including from driver’s licenses, passports and mugshots — that can be searched using facial recognition technology.

The figure reflects how the technology is becoming an increasingly powerful law enforcement tool, but is also stirring fears about the potential for authorities to intrude on the lives of Americans. It was reported by the Government Accountability Office at a congressional hearing in which both Democrats and Republicans raised questions about the use of the technology.

The FBI maintains a database known as the Interstate Photo System of mugshots that can help federal, state and local law enforcement officials. It contains about 36 million photographs, according to Gretta Goodwin of the GAO.

But taking into account the bureau contracts providing access to driver’s licenses in 21 states, and its use of photos and other databases, the FBI has access to about 640 million photographs, Goodwin told lawmakers at the House oversight committee hearing.

Kimberly Del Greco, a deputy assistant director at the FBI, said the bureau has strict policies for using facial recognition. She said it is used only when there is an active FBI investigation or an assessment, which can precede a formal investigation. When using the state databases, the FBI submits a so-called “probe photo” and then states conduct a search to yield a list of potential candidates to be reviewed by trained federal agents.

“Facial recognition is a tool that, if used properly, can greatly enhance law enforcement capabilities and protect public safety,” she said.

Dozens of civil liberties advocates asked lawmakers this week to implement a temporary, federal moratorium on the facial recognition technology.

“Lawmakers must put the brakes on law enforcement use of this technology until Congress decides what, if any, use cases are permissible,” said Neema Singh Guliani, senior legislative counsel with the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Amazon OfferedPentagon Offical A Job To Bid Government Contract.

Robert Massimi.
Amaxon offered a Department of Defense employee a job to bid for a lucrative government contract.
Read below:

AMAZON OFFERED JOB TO PENTAGON OFFICIAL INVOLVED WITH $10 BILLION CONTRACT IT SOUGHT

June 3 2019, 4:58 p.m.
An Amazon Web Services office in Herndon, Va., on Nov. 26, 2017. Photo: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Sipa USA via AP
IN A FEDERAL lawsuit, the tech giant Oracle has provided new details to support its accusation that Amazon secretly negotiated a job offer with a then-Department of Defense official who helped shape the procurement process for a massive federal contract for which Amazon was a key bidder.

Amazon Web Services and Microsoft are now the two finalists to win the highly contested $10 billion contract for what is known as the Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure, or JEDI. The deal, one of the largest federal contracts in U.S. history, would pay one company to provide cloud computing services in support of Defense Department operations around the world.

But the contract has been hotly contested since the department began soliciting proposals last year. Two of Amazon’s competitors, IBM and Oracle, filed complaints with the Government Accountability Office saying that the winner-take-all process unfairly favored Amazon, which is seen as an industry leader in cloud computing. When its claim was rejected, Oracle sued the government in the U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Since the court battle began in 2018, Oracle has aggressively lodged conflict-of-interest accusations involving a former DOD official named Deap Ubhi, who left the department in 2017 to take a job at Amazon. In a court motion filed on Friday, Oracle alleged that while Ubhi worked on the preliminary research for the JEDI program in the late summer and fall of 2017, he was also engaged in a secret job negotiation with Amazon for months, complete with salary discussions, offers of signing bonuses, and lucrative stock options.

The motion further alleges that Ubhi did not recuse himself from the JEDI program until weeks after verbally accepting a job offer from Amazon and that he continued to receive information about Amazon’s competitors and participate in meetings about technical requirements, despite a government regulation that forbids such conflicts of interest.

“Neither Ubhi nor [Amazon Web Services] disclosed the employment discussions or job offer to DOD — not when the employment discussions started, not when the informal job offer occurred, not when the formal offer occurred, and not even when Ubhi accepted the offer,” Oracle’s motion reads.

As America’s technology companies have continued to outpace the Pentagon, the Defense Department has looked to recruit talent from Silicon Valley to help enhance its information technology.

Ubhi is a venture capitalist and technology entrepreneur who worked for Amazon before his time in government. He took a job working on a Defense Department initiative aimed at collaborating with Silicon Valley to modernize the Pentagon’s information technology systems. After working as part of a four-person team to help shape the Pentagon JEDI procurement process, he left the department and returned to Amazon in November 2017.

A spokesperson for Amazon Web Services declined to comment and declined to make Ubhi available for an interview, citing ongoing litigation. Elissa Smith, a spokesperson for the Department of Defense, also told The Intercept that “we don’t comment on pending litigation.”

In a previous court filing, U.S. government lawyers accused Oracle of a “broad fishing expedition primarily [intended] to find support for its claim that the solicitation at issue is tainted by alleged conflicts of interest.”

According to Oracle’s motion on Friday, Ubhi began job negotiations with Amazon in August 2017, while he was working on the early stages of the JEDI program. Oracle claims says that “deep discussions” about employment began in late September and that Ubhi “verbally committed” to take the job on October 4. But according to the filing, Ubhi did not recuse himself until October 31, 2017. Oracle alleges that he continued to influence the program in the meantime.

Under the Procurement Integrity Act, government officials who are “contacted by a [contract] bidder about non-federal employment” have two options: They must either report the contact and reject the offer of employment or promptly recuse themselves from any contract proceedings.

“Contracts should be awarded fairly based on merit,” Mandy Smithberger, director of the Center for Defense Information at the Project on Government Oversight, told The Intercept. “The Procurement Integrity Act seeks to ensure that job offers and other financial conflicts of interest don’t influence that process.”

Last year, a Defense Department review found that “there were four instances where [department] individuals with potential financial conflicts of interest” had worked on the JEDI program, according to court records, but the Pentagon concluded that this hadn’t unfairly impacted the contracting process. Two follow-up reviews — one by the GAO in November 2018 and another by the Defense Department in April 2019 — came to similar conclusions.

The second Pentagon review came after the department said that it had received “new information” about Ubhi and would investigate it. According to Oracle’s motion on Friday, the “new information” came from a “belated submission from [Amazon]” to the DOD’s contracting officer that finally acknowledged the monthslong employment talks.

According to Oracle, Ubhi provided a “false narrative” to the contracting officer at the time of his recusal, saying that he was stepping away from the project because Amazon had offered to acquire a company that Ubhi had a stake in. That was a pretext to mask the fact he had been negotiating for months to obtain a job at the company, Oracle’s filing said.

The filing also alleges that between Ubhi’s verbal commitment to accept Amazon’s offer and his recusal from JEDI, he continued to participate in Pentagon meetings about the project’s technical requirements and to receive submissions from Amazon competitors. It also alleges that Ubhi downloaded material from a JEDI project Google Drive to his own laptop.

In its filings, Oracle has argued that Ubhi was instrumental in persuading the Pentagon to seek services from a single vendor — a decision widely seen to improve Amazon’s chances. Oracle cites workplace messages on the platform Slack in which Ubhi tries to persuade his colleagues to come around to that view, but the company does not cite any messages suggesting what his reasons or motive may have been.

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Lawyers for the U.S. have countered that Ubhi’s involvement was early in the process, before the agency had even put out its draft solicitations. The deputy director of the GAO has also testified that Ubhi’s role at DOD was to “take the lead on a market research report” and that characterizing him as the lead on the acquisition process is inaccurate.

Public affairs officers for Amazon Web Services have also said in the past that Ubhi works with the commercial division of the company, not the public sector division, therefore minimizing his contact with the part of the company perusing the contract.

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Big Tech Under Government Microscope.

Robert Massimi.
Big tech will be under the microscope over the next few months, maybe years. With dominant companies like Facebook, Google and Amazon, these companies in particular have been ruthless in there dealings. All three companies rull with an iron hand, they want there platforms to be dominant and overbearing.
Google may well go the way of Europe here in the United States. Personal data and a person’s past may very well be terminated from Google’s database. That’s just for starters, Google has much more to worry about. Google, like Facebook has many agendas such as exclusion, political overtones and watching people carefully as to where they go, what they do and how they spend there money.
Amazon is a another major problem. A work force that is abused, colossal tax breaks and predatory practices make Amazon a major Government target. Amazon may ha e more problems than the aforementioned.
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House Judiciary to investigate market dominance of big tech companies
While no companies are named, any investigation will inevitably touch on Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple.
Image: House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, attends a news conference in Washington on April 9, 2019.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rep. Jerry Nadler, D-NY, attends a news conference in Washington on April 9, 2019.Zach Gibson / Getty Images file

June 3, 2019, 5:19 PM EDT / Updated June 3, 2019, 5:33 PM EDT
By Jason Abbruzzese
Congress will be taking a close look at the power of big tech.

The House Judiciary Committee announced Monday that it will hold a series of hearings as part of a bipartisan investigation into whether there is enough competition among U.S. technology companies.

While no companies were named, any investigation will inevitably touch on Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple, all of which have come under increased scrutiny in recent years for their dominance in a variety of markets including social networking, online advertising, online search, e-commerce and mobile apps.

“A small number of dominant, unregulated platforms have extraordinary power over commerce, communication, and information online,” the Judiciary Committee noted in a news release that included the names of both Democratic and Republican members. “Based on investigative reporting and oversight by international policymakers and enforcers, there are concerns that these platforms have the incentive and ability to harm the competitive process.”

“The Antitrust Subcommittee will conduct a top-to-bottom review of the market power held by giant tech platforms. This is the first time Congress has undertaken an investigation into this behavior.”

One area of the investigation is likely to be particularly unwelcome among tech executives: The committee said it would look into whether existing antitrust laws and enforcement levels are adequate to address the growing concentration of power in the tech industry.

“Given the growing tide of concentration and consolidation across our economy, it is vital that we investigate the current state of competition in digital markets and the health of the antitrust laws,” committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., said in the announcement.

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The news comes just as the federal government has reportedly been preparing to ramp up its antitrust oversight of U.S. tech companies amid growing political pressure that has included increasing scrutiny from both parties.

Requests for comment from Apple, Google, Facebook and Amazon were not immediately returned.

Calls to rein in major U.S. tech companies — either by cracking down on how the companies use their power or by breaking them up — began to circulate in recent years among some academics and activists but did not receive mainstream attention until the past year, when elected officials and even some in the tech industry began openly call for action.

In March, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., publicly called for the break-up of Facebook, Google and Amazon. Since then, other prominent Democrats and even some Republicans have voiced support for either splitting up the major tech companies or taking action to address their power. Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., recently told NBC News that he thought Warren’s plan to break up the companies might not go far enough.

Jason Abbruzzese
Jason Abbruzzese is the senior editor for technology news at NBC News Digital.

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The President In London.

Robert Massimi.
President Trump wasted no time hitting the mayor of London and hit politicians back home. Never one to mince words, Trump hit the mayor hard, and rightfully so.
Protesters hit him in London but the president stood hos position. Both countries have had political problems as of late but both will survive the controversies.
Read Below:

LONDON (AP) — Mixing pageantry and political pugilism, President Donald Trump embarked on his long-delayed state visit to Britain on Monday, belligerently insulting London’s mayor but being feted with smiles by the royals at a time of turmoil for both nations in the deep, if recently strained, alliance.

It was a whirlwind of pomp, circumstance and protest for Trump, who had lunch with Queen Elizabeth and tea with Prince Charles before a grand state dinner at Buckingham Palace. Eager to flatter Trump, the British lavished him with spectacle, beginning his visit with a deafening royal gun salute as the president and first lady Melania Trump walked to the palace where a waiting queen greeted them with a smile.

Those were the images sought by a White House eager to showcase Trump as a statesman while, back home, the race to succeed him — and talk of impeaching him — heated up. Yet Trump, forever a counter-puncher, immediately roiled diplomatic docility by tearing into London Mayor Sadiq Khan.

The agenda for Trump’s weeklong European journey is mostly ceremonial:

Later this week come D-Day commemoration ceremonies on both sides of the English Channel and his first presidential visit to Ireland, which will include a stay at his coastal golf club. For most presidents, it would be a time to revel in the grandeur, building relations with heads of state and collecting photo-ops for campaign ads and presidential libraries.

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump are having afternoon tea with Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla, at their official residence in central London. (June 3)
But Trump has proven time and again he is not most presidents.

With the trip already at risk of being overshadowed by Britain’s Brexit turmoil, Trump unleashed a Twitter tirade after a newspaper column in which London’s mayor said he did not deserve red-carpet treatment and was “one of the most egregious examples of a growing global threat” to liberal democracy from the far right.

″@SadiqKhan, who by all accounts has done a terrible job as Mayor of London, has been foolishly ‘nasty’ to the visiting President of the United States, by far the most important ally of the United Kingdom,” Trump wrote just before landing. “He is a stone cold loser who should focus on crime in London, not me.”

The president added that Khan reminded him of the “terrible” leader of his hometown, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio though “only half his height.” De Blasio, a Democrat, is a longshot candidate in the 2020 presidential race. Khan supporters have previously accused Trump of being racist against London’s first Muslim mayor.

During the palace welcome ceremony, Trump and Prince Charles inspected the Guard of Honor formed by the Grenadier Guards wearing their traditional bearskin hats. Royal gun salutes were fired from nearby Green Park and from the Tower of London as part of the pageantry accompanying an official state visit, one of the highest honors Britain can bestow on a foreign leader.

But the U.S. president arrived at a precarious moment. There is a fresh round of impeachment fervor back home and uncertainty on this side of the Atlantic. British Prime Minister Theresa May has undergone months of political turmoil over Britain’s planned exit from the European Union, and French President Emmanuel Macron is expected to use the 75th anniversary of the World War II battle that turned the tide on the Western Front to call for strengthening multinational ties the U.S. president has frayed.

A sense of deja vu quickly spread around London as Trump barreled into the visit.

A year ago, he also had taken aim at his hosts before landing on English soil, blasting May in an interview hours before she hosted him for dinner. This time he has so far spared May, whom he will meet with on Tuesday, but he also has praised her rival, Boris Johnson, just days before May steps down as Conservative leader on Friday for failing to secure a Brexit deal.

“I think Boris would do a very good job. I think he would be excellent,” Trump told The Sun. “I like him. I have always liked him. I don’t know that he is going to be chosen, but I think he is a very good guy, a very talented person.”

It was not clear if that endorsement would help or hurt Johnson’s chances of becoming prime minister. Trump said he may meet with Johnson this week.

Never shy about weighing in on other countries’ affairs, Trump also told the Sunday Times that Britain should “walk away” from Brexit talks and refuse to pay a 39 billion pound ($49 billion) divorce bill if it doesn’t get better terms from the European Union. He said he might meet with another pro-Brexit politician, Nigel Farage, and claimed Farage should be given a role in the Brexit negotiations.

After lunch with the queen, Trump was given a biography of Winston Churchill as a gift — he’s a fan — and shown parts of the collection at Buckingham Palace, including an 18th-century map of New York, historic photos of golf at St. Andrews and books about birds and George Washington. Westminster Abbey was next, with a tour and moment of silence at the tomb of the Unknown Warrior.

As Trump crossed London, he was shadowed — at a distance — by demonstrators, who planned to fly again a huge balloon depicting the president as a baby. He declared there was “great love all around” but the Fake News would try to find protests.

As often happens when Trump travels overseas, norms were shattered, including when the president complained about his television viewing options in the foreign capital and urged people to punish CNN by boycotting its parent company, AT&T.

In an interview with The Sun, Trump weighed in on the American-born Duchess of Sussex. The former Meghan Markle, who gave birth to a son in May and will not attend the week’s events, has been critical of Trump, and when some of her comments were recited to him he told the tabloid, “I didn’t know that she was nasty.”

He said later he thought Markle would be “very good” as a royal and claimed he only meant her comments were “nasty.”

Trump will make his first presidential visit to Ireland on Wednesday, spending two nights at his golf club in Doonbeg, which sits above the Atlantic. After Dublin balked at holding a meeting in the city, a deal was struck for Trump to meet Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at the VIP lounge at Shannon Airport, hardly the grand setting usually afforded a meeting of world leaders.

The centerpiece of the president’s European trip will be two days to mark the 75th anniversary of the June 6, 1944, D-Day landing, likely the last significant commemoration most veterans of the battle will see. The events will begin in Portsmouth, England, where the invasion was launched, and then move across the Channel to France, where Allied forces began to recapture Western Europe from the Nazis.

The day is normally a heartfelt tribute to unity and sacrifice, outweighing any national or political skirmish. But some on both sides of the Atlantic are nervous about Trump, who has shown a willingness to inject partisanship into such moments.

___

AP writers Gregory Katz in London and Darlene Superville and Deb Riechmann in Washington contributed.

___

Follow Lemire on Twitter at http://twitter.com/@JonLemire and Freking at http://twitter.com/@APkfreking

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Bob Seger. Concert Review.

Robert Massimi

As we start to lose our Rock and Roll heroes, last night at the PNC Arts Center, we said good bye to a true rock legend. Robert Clark Seger, from the Detroit, Michigan area has been around Rock and Roll since the early 60’s. I personally have never seen the PNC Arts Center so crowded for any concert (I have been going their since 1980).

What makes Bob Segar special are two fold. The first is that he sings fun songs. His songs are as easy as the gentle winds that surrounded the PNC last night. The other being is that Seger never really toured a great deal over the last thirty years.

Seger’s musical roots are based on heartland rock. He sings about love, women as well as blue-collar themes. He can be classified as a roots rocker with a raspy, shouting voice. With a career spanning six decades, Segar belted out twenty three songs last night.

Seger started his career with Bob Seger and The Last Heard. After a few years with that band, he formed the Bob Seger System. It was not till 1970, however, that Seger would have his national breakout with his Silver Bullet Band. His album Night Moves brought him international fame in 1976.

With still a strong voice and a great band behind him, last night was an enjoyable concert experience. His horn section was particularly noteworthy. Seger was both thankful and humble when he address the crowd. His tribute to Glenn Frey was particularly touching in a great rendition of “Forever Young”, a Bob Dylan classic that Seger acknowledged Dylan as “The Mount Everest Of Song Writers”.

Opening with “Shakedown ” and quickly going onto “Still The Same” and “Fire Down Below”, Seger fired up the crowd with his missives in between songs. We learned a lot about Bob Seger during this concert. As a farewell, Seger was open and honest about his career and his life. He talked about how he got here, he seemed to have no regrets that this is his last hurrah. Seger played “Shame On The Moon”, a song he had not played live for twenty six years. It gave the audience a finality to his musical life.

The wonderful thing about seeing Bob Seger is that all his songs are good, not a bad one in the lot. Songs like ” Old Time Rock and Roll” as well as ” Like A Rock”, we very entertaining as well as nostalgic. Seger last night gave two different encores, five songs in total. His first encore he started with “In Your Time”, “Against The Wind” and “Hollywood Nights”.

Coming out to his second encore had as much electricity as when he first stepped out onto the stage. It was more that we were saying good bye I think than being grateful that we had more time to spend with him at the very end of his career. Seger didn’t disappoint us, either. “Night Moves” brought the crowd to a frenzie, and ” Rock And Roll Never Forgets” was a stoic reminder that we will never forget Bob Seger, nor will we forget the great Rock and Roll that he gave us over the past six decades.

Bob Seger was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. Seger was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of fame in 2012. Bob Seger has sold over 75 million records and is recognized not only by the public, but by his peers as one of the real great ones in Rock. Bob Seger will be missed as both a musician and a touring artist. Bob Seger will end his farewell tour in Michigan where it all began. Rumor has it that he will perform as many as six concerts their before he fades away into Rock and Roll history. Seger will then leave behind a terrific career in music.

The New World Order Meets In Switzerland.

The Globalists are coming for there annual Bilderberg conference.From Abbey Joseph Cohen to George Soros the biggest globalist will be attending this. Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and many Silicon valley people, bankers from Brown Brothers Harriman and Jamie Dimon will be in attendance as well.
These globalist want a one world order, socialist to its core. Secretive because they don’t want the public to know just how they want to screw us out of jobs, money all the while putting strick environmental laws in place.
The cousin of this society is the Council on Foreign Relations. It too wants a global world order. Mike Pompeo for some reason is at Bilderberg this year talking about a “strategic world order”. I remains to be seen what transpires in Switzerland this year.one thing is for sure,the socialists that attend this cannot be happy about th he America first policy implemented by Donald Trump.
Read below:

The Americans have come to Bilderberg in force this year. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrived on Saturday afternoon in a motorcade so long it stretched halfway back to Geneva. He’ll be sharing his thoughts on “A New Strategic Order” with the head of NATO, two prime ministers, the German foreign minister, the King of Holland, and any number of finance bosses and billionaires, many of them from the world of tech.

A slew of Silicon Valley luminaries are attending this year’s elite transatlantic conference at a heavily-guarded five-star hotel on the shores of Lake Geneva. They include Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who is making his first appearance at the secretive summit, and his fellow Microsoft board member, Reid Hoffman, who’s a regular face at the Bilderberg buffet.

The White House is making itself felt at this year’s conference, by sending along not only Pompeo, but Trump’s dealmaking diplomat son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and two members of his National Security Council. Not to be outdone, the Pentagon has sent two senior officials: their top military strategist and the technical director for AI.

Pompeo
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, arriving at the 2019 Bilderberg conference in Montreux, Switzerland.
CHARLIE SKELTON

As the war machine gets smarter, and every last bit of weaponry becomes AI-enhanced, the lines between Silicon Valley and the Pentagon start to get awfully blurry. Sniff this year’s Bilderberg and you can smell this new kind of war: “cyber threats” and “the weaponisation of social media” are on the agenda. And around the table are the head of GCHQ and the director of NATO’s new StratCom Centre of Excellence, which spearheads “digital engagement” and psychological warfare.

This blurring of tech and war takes physical form in some of the participants at Bilderberg. Longtime conference insider and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt chairs the Pentagon’s Defense Innovation Board and also heads up the new National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence. Two other members of the Defense Innovation Board are here in Montreux: Reid Hoffman, and the psychologist Adam M. Grant.

Alongside Schmidt on the Bilderberg steering committee are yet another two tech billionaires, Alex Karp and Peter Thiel. Karp is the CEO of Palantir, a shady data-analytics company which has just won a massive $800 million Pentagon battlefield intelligence contract. Palantir was set up in 2004 by Peter Thiel with backing from the CIA. Thiel, who was a co-founder of PayPal, is a director of Facebook and is high tech’s most vocal supporter of Donald Trump.

Nadella_Schmidt_Karp_Bilderberg
From L-R: Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft; Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, and director of Alphabet; Alex Karp, CEO of Palantir, arrive at the 2019 Bilderberg conference in Montreux, Switzerland.
CHARLIE SKELTON

Truly it boggles the mind what Donald Trump would think about his poor innocent son-in-law wandering into the murky world of Bilderberg, with its prime ministers and billionaire investors strategizing behind closed doors with Pentagon officials and NATO chiefs, all under the watchful eye of Goldman Sachs International.

And not just Goldman Sachs. In Montreux, as ever, there’s a healthy number of high-finance bosses, including the chairmen of HSBC, Deutsche Bank and Santander and the CEOs of AXA and Credit Suisse. But as the movement in Bilderberg towards AI and tech continues, you can see within the group a fault line opening up between Wall Street and Silicon Valley.

A crisis is looming for Bilderberg, and not merely because of the rise in anti-globalization movements and a creeping loss of faith in the EU project. It’s a crisis of leadership. With the Brexit, Frexit, Grexit and even Polexit dominoes threatening to fall, Bilderberg needs to gird its loins for the long haul if it wants the transatlantic alliance to thrive and its beloved EU to survive. But who’s going to be doing the girding?

The problem Bilderberg faces is a loss of quality, of intellectual backbone. With David Rockefeller tucked away since 2017 in his cryogenic pod, and Henry Kissinger knocking on hell’s door, you realize that Bilderberg is facing a generational crisis. You might not like or admire Henry Kissinger, you might want him strung up for war crimes, but you have to admit he’s a heavyweight statesman and historian. He’s a psychopath with vision. Where will Bilderberg find the serious ideologues to lead them into the 2020s?

Should they look to the academics? The globalists have their pet professors, like Niall Ferguson, now an American citizen, who once described himself as ”a fully paid-up member of the neo-imperialist gang”. But he doesn’t have anything like the gravitas to get anywhere near the helm.

If you look around the current conference for people with enough substance — enough ideological meat on their bones to drive Bilderberg forward, you won’t find it in finance, and you certainly won’t find it in politics, because for the last few decades the really smart people have gone into engineering and tech. And that, surely, is where the center of gravity within Bilderberg will end up.

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The two figures at Bilderberg who seem to have an aura of influence about them are Schmidt and Thiel. Over the years, Schmidt has been gently aligning himself as the heir to Kissinger, and has populated recent conferences with Google executives. The Libertarian Thiel has already engineered his lieutenant, Alex Karp, onto the steering committee.

Whichever one of them manages to grab the most sway, the shift in influence toward Silicon Valley will inevitably go along with an even further slide of power toward the U.S. and away from Europe. Tech is a force greater even than Kissinger, a radical reconstructive force that nothing in Bilderberg can withstand. And so the future of the group, which was begun by Europeans, will end up firmly in the hands of the Americans.

Charlie Skelton is a U.K.-based writer and journalist.

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The views expressed in this article are the author’s own.​​​

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George Will’s New Book.

Robert Massimi.
George Will who I have listened to for many years is right when he says that liberals try to take away our individuality. Liberals have the ” I’m alright, your alright attitude about things. Liberals try to negate individual accomplishment and ingenuity and the success that people have and who have made it by hard work.
Liberals in the past have demeaned success, that it is everyone’s and that no one is greater or better than anyone else. We see it in participation awards, and in schools where no one is allowed to be a standout nor exceptional. In America today,we use affirmative action to help people who do not belong to be in that particular place at that time, whatever it may be.
Below is part of what George Will has written. I have read many of his writings, he is brilliant. His weekly show in the 80’s was a favorite of mine. Will is insightful, pragmatic and clear on his beliefs.

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The Opinions Essay
Is the
individual
obsolete?
Progressives want to dilute the concept of
individualism, but that’s antithetical to America’s premise.

Illustration by Brian Stauffer for The Washington Post

By George F. Will May 31, 2019

During the 2012 presidential election, there occurred one of those remarkably rare moments when campaign rhetoric actually clarified a large issue. It happened when Barack Obama, speaking without a written text, spoke from his heart and revealed his mind:

“Look, if you’ve been successful, you didn’t get there on your own. . . . If you were successful, somebody along the line gave you some help. There was a great teacher somewhere in your life. Somebody helped to create this unbelievable American system that we have that allowed you to thrive. Somebody invested in roads and bridges. If you’ve got a business — you didn’t build that. Somebody else made that happen. The Internet didn’t get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all the companies could make money off the Internet. The point is, is that when we succeed, we succeed because of our individual initiative, but also because we do things together.”

The italicized words ignited a heated debate, and Obama aides insisted that their meaning was distorted by taking them “out of context.” But Obama was merely reprising something said less than a year earlier by Elizabeth Warren, a former member of his administration who was campaigning to become a U.S. senator from Massachusetts. She said: “There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. . . . You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea — God bless, keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

Warren, who was then a member of Harvard’s faculty, was being with her statement, as Obama was with his, a pyromaniac in a field of straw men (as William F. Buckley characterized his friend John Kenneth Galbraith, a Harvard economist). Warren, like Obama, was energetically refuting propositions no one asserts. Everyone knows that all striving occurs in a social context and all attainments are, to some extent, enabled and conditioned by contexts that are shaped by government.

Opinion | Elizabeth Warren has a very firm grip on half of a point
1:22
Columnist George F. Will criticizes Democratic 2020 presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren for her pitch on how to get money out of politics. (Josh Carroll / The Washington Post)

What made Warren’s riff interesting, and Obama’s echo of it important, is that both spoke in order to advance the progressive project of diluting the concept of individualism. Dilution is a prerequisite for advancement of a collectivist political agenda. The more that individualism can be portrayed as a chimera, the more that any individual’s achievements can be considered as derivative from society, the less the achievements warrant respect. And the more society is entitled to conscript — that is, to socialize — whatever portion of the individual’s wealth that it considers its fair share. Society may, as an optional act of political grace, allow the individual to keep the remainder of what society thinks is misleadingly called the individual’s possession. Note that “society” necessarily means society’s collective expression: the government. Note also that government will not be a disinterested judge of what is its proper share of others’ wealth. This collectivist agenda is antithetical to America’s premise, which is: Government — including such public goods as roads, schools and police — is instituted to facilitate individual striving, a.k.a. the pursuit of happiness.

Warren and Obama asserted something unremarkable — that the individual depends on cooperative behavior by others. But they obscured this point: It is conservatism, not progressivism, that takes society seriously. Conservatism understands society not as a manifestation of government but as the spontaneous order of cooperating individuals in consensual, contractual market relations. Progressivism preaches confident social engineering by the regulatory state. Conservatism urges government humility in the face of society’s extraordinary — and creative — complexity. American society, understood as hundreds of millions of people making billions of decisions daily, is a marvel of spontaneous cooperation. Sensible government facilitates this cooperative order by providing roads, schools, police, etc., and by getting out of the way of spontaneous creativity. This is a dynamic, prosperous society’s “underlying social contract.”

“The Conservative Sensibility,” by George F. Will, Hachette, 640 pp, $21.99

Many contemporary ethicists, however, believe that inequalities of wealth that are produced by exceptional individual productivity rising from exceptional natural aptitudes do not deserve society’s deference or protection. The more that science establishes genetic bases for differences of aptitudes and even of attitudes and desires, the more pressure there will be for government actions to remedy the unfairness of life’s lottery. Many of these pressures, however, will be opportunistic — old agendas seeking, through science, new momentum for respect. And it is not obvious why political power should be put in the service of ironing out differences that are, strictly speaking, natural. Nevertheless, the science of genetics is joining the social sciences in complicating our understanding of what equality of opportunity means.

For example, as the acquisition and manipulation of information become more important to individuals’ prosperity, life becomes more regressive. This is because the benefits of information accrue disproportionately to those who are already favored by natural aptitudes and aptitudes acquired through education and other socialization.

What is unfortunate is when the transmission of cognitive aptitudes and skills becomes so much a matter of the transmission of family advantages that a child’s prospects can be largely predicted by information about his or her parents.

Americans have long fancied that ours is a middle-class society without other significant, calcified class distinctions, a society open to upward mobility. Americans have been reluctant, and hence slow, to recognize what the sociologist Richard Sennett called the “hidden injuries of class.” This reluctance is, however, receding, for at least two reasons. One is apparent to the middle class as it looks down with alarm; the other is apparent to the middle class as it looks up with envy and resentment. After more than half a century of attempts at ameliorative social policies, it is undeniable that there exists an underclass trapped by the intergenerational transmission of poverty. Furthermore, the middle class believes, and is not mistaken, that as society becomes more technocratic and complex, and more given to rewarding cognitive elites, those elites become more adept at entrenching themselves by passing their advantages on to their children.

Opinion | Trump represents the grotesque inflation of the presidency
2:24
Conservatives once believed in congressional supremacy but became intoxicated with the power of the presidency after Ronald Reagan, says George F. Will. (Josh Carroll / The Washington Post)

Government should tread lightly when it ventures into the fraught debate about how, if at all, the transmission of family advantages should be regulated or impeded. A sensible society is eager to have resources devoted to equipping young people with the attitudes and aptitudes that will enable them to take advantage of an open society’s opportunities. Such a society will recognize that the most plentiful, important and efficient resources are those of parents — their time, attention and financial assets. Government should not impede or discourage parents in their conscientious accumulation, husbanding and investment of those assets for their children’s education, broadly construed.

Although cognitive stratification and other causes of income inequality make America in some ways less egalitarian, do not ignore some hugely egalitarian aspects of modernity. Anyone can have as much access to the Internet as Bill Gates has; Jeff Bezos and you have the same access to one of the 20th century’s greatest blessings, antibiotics. The devices and medicines that have vast leveling effects on the distribution of well-being have been produced by cognitive elites whose capabilities are not resented by the multitudes who benefit from the results of those capabilities.

Two centuries ago, the great source of wealth in America was land. It was so plentiful that eventually, with the Homestead Act of 1862, it was essentially given away. A century ago, the distinctive source of wealth was heavy fixed capital: Think of Andrew Carnegie’s steel mills, Cornelius Vanderbilt’s New York Central Railroad, and then Henry Ford’s River Rouge assembly plant. Today’s distinctive source of wealth is what is called human capital — knowledge, information, cognitive skills. Although these are widely distributed by nature and augmented by universal free public education, there are limits to how much education — even if competently conducted, which it not always is — can do to equalize the ability of individuals to thrive in a competitive society.

In a society in which severe material deprivation has become rare, competition for cultural advantages has intensified. This is only partly because many of these advantages, such as education at elite institutions, have considerable cash value over a lifetime of earning. As societies, because of many of these advantages, such as education at elite institutions, become wealthier, and basic needs are supplied and insecurities are assuaged, monetary measurements become less useful as measures of individual welfare. Today, Christopher DeMuth notes, government’s principal activity consists of transferring income from workers to nonworkers for the subsidization of two things that were virtually unknown just a few generations ago: nonwork (retirement, extended schooling, extended disability payments) and ambitious medical care (replaceable body parts, exotic diagnostic and pharmacological technologies). The Cato Institute’s Brink Lindsey is correct that “the triumph over scarcity shifted the primary focus of liberal egalitarianism from lack of material resources to lack of cultural acceptance.”

In 1943, the behavioral scientist Abraham Maslow introduced the idea that human beings have a “hierarchy of needs.” At the base of “Maslow’s pyramid” are physiological imperatives — needs for food, shelter, nourishment, sleep and sex. In advanced societies, people have advanced needs. These include what Maslow called “belonging needs,” such as acceptance and affiliations. Then come “esteem needs,” such as self-respect and social status. And at the pyramid’s apex is the need for what Maslow called “self-actualization,” meaning a sense of fulfillment.

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In developed societies where the satisfaction of physiological needs is taken for granted, the “higher” needs become political subjects, and the satisfaction of such needs becomes a political agenda. Politics follows society’s ascent up the pyramid. As broad considerations of economic class have lost political importance, considerations of ethnicity, sex, culture and religion have become more salient. This is why welfare-state answers to the basic questions about material distributive justice have not calmed our politics. Quite different concerns, even more passionately fought over, have broadened the range of political argument. Americans have always been torn between two desires: for absence of restraint and for a sense of community. As the nation’s social pyramid becomes steeper, those closer to the base than the apex feel increasingly at the mercy of governing and media elites who do not seem to be elites of character as well as of achievement.

Opinion | Conservatism does not depend on theism
2:28
Columnist George F. Will says a true conservative sensibility rejoices in the unpredictable nature of things, not in playing god. (Josh Carroll / The Washington Post)

The more educated a nation becomes, the wealthier it is apt to become, and the wealthier it becomes, the more benefits its government can dispense to the citizenry. The wealthier the citizens become, the more they pay in taxes, and the more benefits they expect from government. So, although prosperity makes people confident and assertive, and gives them the means to be self-sufficient, it is not conducive to small government or to self-sufficiency. So perhaps democratic life undermines the prerequisites of democracy. It produces first a toleration of dependency, then a hunger for it, and finally an insistence that dependency is a fundamental right.

As dependency on government for various entitlements has grown, so has another kind of dependency. A perverse form of entrepreneurship is spawned as economic interests maneuver to become dependent on government-provided opportunities. As people become more deft at doing so, government becomes an engine of unearned inequality. This is especially a peril in successful societies. Economist Mancur Olson warned that the longer a successful society is stable, the more numerous are the successful factions — not the poor, or the unemployed or the new entrepreneurial risk-takers who are trying to gain a foothold against established competitors — who become deft at gaming the political system for advantages. These include domestic protectionism in the form of occupational licensure; or regulations that are more burdensome to newer and smaller entrants into a market than to large, wealthy corporations; or international protection in the form of tariffs and import quotas. More and more factions figure out how to prosper by achieving distributional advantages through politics. And society slowly succumbs to energy-sapping sclerosis.

Government needs to get back to basics. The political class, defined broadly to include persons actively engaged in electoral politics and policymaking along with those who report and comment on civic life, is more united by a class characteristic than it is divided by philosophic differences. The characteristic is a tendency to overestimate the importance of public policies, from which the political class derives its sense of importance. This is especially so regarding economic and social inequalities. These, the political class tends to believe, are largely the result of public policies and are therefore susceptible to decisive amelioration by better government actions. In the argument about which is primary, nature or nurture, the former receives an emphatic affirmation from the Founding Fathers’ philosophy. Beneath the myriad patinas of culture, there is a fixed human nature that neither improves nor regresses. What does change for the better is the capacity of certain portions of humanity to improve the legal, institutional and social structures for coping with the constants of human nature. And to do so without diluting America’s foundational commitment to take its bearings from the individual.

Excerpted from the book “The Conservative Sensibility” by George F. Will. Copyright 2019 by George F. Will. Reprinted with permission of Hachette Books. All rights reserved.

George F. Will
George F. Will writes a twice-weekly column on politics and domestic and foreign affairs. He began his column with The Post in 1974, and he received the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1977. His new book, “The Conservative Sensibility,” will release June 4, 2019.

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