donald trump

Tech companies freezing political spending and why tech still matters

This is the death knell of PACs for tech companies with activist employees,” one source told Axios. “This is the final straw.”

via Axios

This is a really fascinating development. First Microsoft and now Facebook are suspending PAC (Political Action Committee) spending in Washington. They’re joining financiers Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and Citigroup, along with Marriott, Blue Cross Blue Shield (caveat — our insurance co), Boston Scientific, and Commerce Bank. Bank of America (caveat — one of the banks we do business with), Ford, and AT&T, CVS, Exxon Mobil, and Wells Fargo are considering pulling their political monies.

This hits politicians where it really hurts.

For years, many of us in the “tech world” have decried these PACs and looked at them as a unnecessary evil that needed to be banned or done away with for a number of reasons.

Here are my personal convictions:

  1. The PAC system reinforces the existing system of graft and corruption that so many Americans claim to abhor.
  2. PACs favor the privileged both socio-economically and relationally. It’s a blight on a Democratic Republic and shouldn’t be seen as a “necessary evil” to doing business in the United States. Whatever your sector.
  3. Tech boomed in the late 90’s and then again in the early ’00s because it was seen as a disruptor. From Google to Tesla to Uber (well, maybe they aren’t a great example but they did usher in a transportation paradigm shift) to even Twitter, the tech sector excited us with the promise of something different and more democratic to challenge the status quo. However, as the going got weird, the weird turned pro and put on suits. I want a return to the weird disruption tech that spurred creativity and a hope for a better representation to the powers that be. We’re not so far gone that it can’t happen in light of #metoo, BLM, LBGTQ+, trans rights, accessibility emphasis, and recognition of differently abled persons. Real revolutionary tech that can change the world… I still believe. PACS stand in the way of that.

So as we continue to process and deal with the terrorist insurrection on our Capitol last week, let’s take a second to recognize what these companies are doing by restricting or redirecting their PAC monies and how we can all do our part to not just “unify and move forward” but to cause real change.

“Surely some revelation is at hand”

As the world responded to the epidemic of 1918-1920 and recovered from World War I, Yeats penned this… seems fitting for us to consider a century later.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;

Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere

The ceremony of innocence is drowned;

The best lack all conviction, while the worst

Are full of passionate intensity.

Source: The Second Coming by William Butler Yeats | Poetry Foundation

Don Jr’s Site is on Shopify

Donald Trump Jr is tweeting about how “big tech” is cracking down on “free speech” after his father was booted from Twitter, FB, IG, YouTube etc over the last few days as a result of the Jan 6 terrorist attack on our nation’s Capitol.

Not good marketing

What’s interesting here is that Trump Jr is using Shopify to sell books and bulk up his newsletter subscriptions after Shopify moved to also ban Trump-related sites this week:

Shopify does not tolerate actions that incite violence. Based on recent events, we have determined that the actions by President Donald J. Trump violate our Acceptable Use Policy, which prohibits promotion or support of organizations, platforms or people that threaten or condone violence to further a cause,” a Shopify spokesperson wrote in a statement to TechCrunch. “As a result, we have terminated stores affiliated with President Trump.

Shopify statement

Regardless of your politics of late, I urge you to build on your own property. Own your own domain, own your own intellectual property, own your own content, and don’t rely on third party providers to host your digital presence, one of your most important assets.

Thinking Religion 115 and Hermeneutics

Thomas is in Philadelphia this week but we still managed to sneak in a podcast episode. We start by going over the very important but often-overlooked general idea of hermeneutics and why we should take them seriously in the Age Of Trump (AOT from here on out). Then we hop into the Bible Bracket Challenge. Sorry, Ruth.

Dr. Thomas Whitley and the Rev. Sam Harrelson discuss the concept of hermeneutics and continue their ongoing quest to decide the best book in the Bible from the Thinking Religion Bible Bracket Challenge.

via Thinking Religion Episode 115: Your Hair Is Like a Flock of Goats