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Help High Tech Companies Protect America (Opinion)

We all have to do our part…

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When disaster struck, President Donald Trump knew he could count on high technology companies to deliver results.

As the nation geared up to fight coronavirus, Google’s CEO wrote, “We’re partnering with the U.S. government in developing a website dedicated to COVID-19 education, prevention, and local resources nationwide.”

The project started quickly, and like most things done by America’s tech giants, the information improved as the site gathered more data. “We’ll be rolling out an initial version of the website late Monday, March 16, and we’ll continue to enhance and update it with more resources on an ongoing basis,” Sundar Pichai wrote. Americans will all benefit from this project at this difficult time.

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So why has the Trump administration been working to damage the entire high-tech industry?

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This issue actually goes back to the Obama administration. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP), in the Department of Labor, is supposed to promote affirmative action by federal contractors. In late 2016 the agency, which had looked at a statistical analysis of hiring and promotion data, decided these high-tech companies weren’t doing enough to promote affirmative action, so it sued them for alleged discrimination.

This was a classic Washington, D.C. power grab. The Department of Labor doesn’t have the constitutional authority to sue and then settle the case in its own administrative courts. Oracle pushed back against OFCCP, saying the agency had created a system “wherein agency officials prosecute and adjudicate discrimination claims against government contractors and then award broad injunctive and compensatory relief if the agency finds violations.” The department effectively acts as both judge and jury.

Further, the agency didn’t have evidence of discrimination. It had a statistical analysis that may have pointed to discrimination, or may not have. As with any statistical analysis, how you read the data matters, and the federal government didn’t have all the data (it never could). For example, “the gender pay gap is the most blatant example of drawing false conclusions from incomplete data. When accounting for measurable, relevant factors, the statistical pay gap between men and women all but disappears,” a paper from The Heritage Foundation explains. “And because current research has limitations in what factors are included, any remaining gap should not simply be interpreted as reflecting discrimination. Women have shown a strong preference for in-kind benefits over cash wages in polls, for example, which is not included in studies that explore the reasons for the gender wage gap.”

The Trump administration changed the reporting requirements, which would have demanded that companies of 100 or more people provide detailed salary information to government bureaucrats, breaking that information down by sex, race, job category, and other factors.

That was the right thing to do. But for some reason, the Trump administration hasn’t acted to withdraw the pointless lawsuits that have been grinding on for some three years now. Former Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta was indecisive about these suits. Perhaps that is because “Acosta, who aspired to be a federal judge, had a strategy as secretary to play a safe, inside game running the Labor Department,” as the Washington Post explained. If so, that strategy backfired, and Acosta is now out.

It falls to Sec. Eugene Scalia to speak up and assert authority over the OFCCP bureaucrats. Scalia served as Solicitor of Labor and “pursued initiatives to protect low-wage workers, reduce unnecessary regulatory burdens, and enhance enforcement of workplace safety laws.” So he understands the inside game, and knows the importance of fairness.

Scalia should stop the harassment of high-tech companies, and let them focus on the important work they do protecting the country. Our war against the coronavirus is real, and it’s one we cannot afford to lose.

Mark Anthony is a former Silicon Valley Executive with Forrester Research, Inc. (Nasdaq: FORR). Mark is now the host of the nationally syndicated radio called The Patriot and The Preacher Show. Find out more at patriotandpreachershow.com

News

Apple Backs Down, Will Allow Parler Back on App Store

The news is seen as a major boost for the First Amendment.

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Free speech is a fickle thing, and precious too.  If we’re not careful, it can be stripped away but those who hide behind the claim that a “private” company can limit your personal freedoms. Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms are almost always the culprits here, bending the algorithmic reach of those with whom they disagree. Enter Parler:  A free speech app where only the bare legal minimum of content would be moderated. The platform became incredibly popular with an astonishing swiftness, but soon faced trouble from companies who had previously aligned themselves with Facebook and Twitter’s more controlling stance. Apple, who had previously booted Parler from its App Store, has now relented to the Constitution. Apple has approved Parler’s return to the iOS app store following improvements the social media company made to better detect and moderate hate speech and incitement, according to a letter the iPhone maker sent to Congress on Monday. The decision clears the way for Parler, an app popular with conservatives including some members of the far right, to be downloaded once again on Apple devices. The letter — addressed to Sen. Mike Lee and Rep. Ken Buck and obtained by CNN — explained that since the app was removed from Apple’s platform in January for violations of its policies, Parler “has proposed updates to its app and the app’s content moderation practices.” On April 14, Apple’s app review team told Parler that its proposed changes were sufficient, the letter continued. Now, all Parler needs to do is to flip the switch. The news is seen as a major boost for the First Amendment.

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Opinion

Oath Keeper Leader Claims Police are Training Militias for ‘Civil War’

And the FBI seems to agree with him!

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At the very end of the first term of Donald Trump’s presidency, we were as close to a civil war as this nation has come in over a dozen decades, and we may not fully appreciate that yet.  We are, perhaps, too close to the events themselves to fully understand just how narrowly we escaped a broader calamity, but we must try to remain vigilant still. Especially if what one of the leaders of the Oath Keepers says is true. The far-right paramilitary the Oath Keepers is home to active-duty law-enforcement officers who are training up other members to prepare for civil war, according to one of the group’s top figures. CBS News’ 60 Minutesprofiled the the increasingly notorious militia on Sunday night, and one of its leaders from Arizona, Jim Arroyo, spoke openly about the close involvement of police officers. “Our guys are very experienced,” said Arroyo. “We have active-duty law enforcement in our organization that are helping to train us. We can blend in with our law enforcement and in fact, in a lot of cases, our training is much more advanced because of our military backgrounds.” And the government seems to already be away of this. Arroyo’s statement was backed up by Javed Ali, an ex-National Security Council senior director and FBI counterterrorism official, who said the Oath Keepers are a “unique and challenging” threat to the U.S. because a “large percentage have tactical training and operational experience in either the military or law enforcement. That at least gives them a capability that a lot of other people in this far-right space don’t have.” Several members of the Oath Keepers were arrested during the January 6th Capitol riot, as they attempted to prevent the certification of the results of the 2020 election by Congress.

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