Memo To Tech Leaders: It’s Time to Stand Up To The Bully In Chief.

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Trump Fake news?Next week Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, and Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, will testify in front of Congress. They must take this opportunity to directly and vigorously defend the role that real journalism plays not only on their platforms, but also in our society at large. They must declare that truth exists, that facts matter, and that while reasonable people can and certainly should disagree about how to respond to those facts, civil society depends on rational discourse driven by an informed electorate.

Why am I on about this? I do my very best to ignore our current president’s daily doses of Twitriol, but I couldn’t whistle past today’s rant about how tech platforms are pushing an anti-Trump agenda.

Can the Democratic Party Be Saved?

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Two rising stars talk politics, Trump, and how to win in a post truth era


Continuing our tour through the political conversations at Shift Forum 2018, John Heilemann interviews Rachel Payne, running for a hotly contested congressional seat in southern California, and Jason Kander, one of the youngest elected officials in the history of his state. Below is an edited transcript and the full video interview.

John Heilemann: We have two bright, rising stars in the Democratic Party here today. Rachel Payne, who is a perfect person for this crowd, a CEO in the tech sector, is also one of many, abundant, like 500, Democrats who are running for Congress in the 48th District in California, down in Orange County, running against Dana Rohrabacher.

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“This Is What a Political Train Wreck Looks Like”

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NewCo Shift Forum 2018

Three political veterans ponder the future of the Republican Party


One of the most fascinating portions of the 2018 NewCo Shift program was its focus on US politics. In this conversation, veteran political journalist John Heilemann spars with two of the most seasoned veterans of presidential campaigns — Republican strategist Mike Murphy and Democratic strategist Jennifer Palmieri. The topic: The future of the Republican party in an age of Trump.

John Heilemann: We have a panel that was going to be a conversation about the future of the Republican Party with Mike Murphy, master strategist and political guru. Yesterday, she couldn’t make it, but now she’s here.

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What Kind of Government Will Control The World’s Most Sensitive Data?

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Annals of Autocratic Capitalism

The Broadcom v. Qualcomm story may put you to sleep. But pay attention: A struggle for the future of free markets is afoot.

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You’ve likely already heard about one of the biggest stories in tech and politics, Trump’s killing of what would have been the largest merger in technology history. From the Washington Post: “President Trump on Monday ordered Singapore-based Broadcom to abandon its $117 billion hostile bid for Qualcomm, blocking what would have been one of the biggest technology deals in history.”

Perhaps like many of you, I go MEGO (My Eyes Glaze Over) when I see headlines about massive chip companies like Qualcomm or Broadcom. But if you view the story in the same frame as my recent piece on the end of democratic capitalism, it suddenly gets much, much more interesting.

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Donald Trump in the Age of Cynicism

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A model for understanding what’s going on today

I want to tell you a story about something that happened in the news a few days ago. Even though it didn’t turn into a giant disaster, it accidentally revealed a lot about what’s really going on in the United States right now — and may offer us a clue to understand the situation we’re in.

1: Cojones

Last week, ex-general John Kelly made public remarks that many interpreted as testing the waters for military rule. He explained how only members of the military, and the families of those killed in combat, can really understand the nature of government and legitimately criticize the President — unlike civilian members of Congress, or the press. The next day, Sarah Huckabee Sanders doubled down on the point, saying it is “highly inappropriate” for a (civilian) reporter “to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general” — this despite the fact that Kelly is no longer a general, that civilian control over the military is a bedrock of the American system, or that this “debate” was over the fact that Kelly had provably lied several times in his remarks that previous day.

The idea that “only the military can really understand what it takes to run the government” is common rhetoric worldwide: from Thailand to Egypt to Argentina, it’s been the bedrock argument of why the military should seize power. Fortunately, and to our country’s credit, several other ex-generals quickly (and publicly) stomped down Kelly’s suggestion, and nobody seems to have taken up his idea.

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What Can Be Pardoned?

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Some unexpected ins and outs of an executive power

The President’s power to pardon people accused or convicted of crimes is in the news like it hasn’t been since Clinton pardoned a number of dubious people on his last day in office, or maybe even since Gerald Ford pardoned Richard Nixon. And it’s in the news for a good reason: Trump and his inner circle are under investigation for a truly stunning array of major crimes, ranging from accepting illegal foreign campaign contributions to actively conspiring with a foreign power to subvert elections, and just a few days ago, Trump made vividly clear that he would happily pardon anyone he saw as furthering his own cause.

What this means is that discussions of pardons aren’t just about legal theory: they’re about the practical ins-and-outs of criminal investigations, political lobbying, and just what a determined prosecutor can do to bring a corrupt politician to justice, when that politician seems to have unlimited power to stop him.

The answer may be, more than you expect — but not in the ways you expect it.

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Might This Be A Flood?

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The president’s disastrous week could unleash terrifying forces in our country. The Senate should finish the job before that happens.

Image Steven Rattner on Twitter

It feels like the floodgates of Trump’s demise have finally opened — this mass resignation letter from his committee on Arts and Humanities (note the eloquent easter egg), these corporate rebukes from the leaders of Merck, Campbell’s, Walmart, Intel, and many others, these breaks with party solidarity from Republicans (including from the Terminator and Mitt Romney), these statements condemning the president from all “his” top generals. The firing of Steve Bannon, Fox News capo James Murdoch breaking with his father and donating $1mm in protest, four covers of major magazines portraying Trump as either a member of the KKK or a Nazi…take your pick.

Is this national nightmare about to end?

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#QuitTheCouncil

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This is what “Business Must Lead” means.


Update: Turns out, hours after I published this column, Trump was informed that most of his manufacturing council was going to quit. Bravo! But then Trump did what any spoiled eight-year old child would do: He took his toys and went home. Trump disbanded his two most prominent business councils, essentially firing the rest of his advisors before they had a chance to quit.

Five brave business leaders have quit Donald Trump’s manufacturing council over the past few days. And the world knows exactly who of the CEOs on Trumps various business councils remain uncomfortably sitting on their hands, hoping for a different news cycle, praying the current Trump-fueled circus will pass, sparing them comeuppance and consequence.

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Why Tech Leaders Are Trooping Trumpward Again

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The NewCo Daily: Today’s Top Stories

Paul Sableman | Flickr

“Tech Week” for the Trump administration begins today — although if the effort to set a policy agenda is as ineffectual as the recent “Infrastructure Week,” this might be the last thing you hear about it. Tech CEOs — many of the same faces who trooped to Trump Tower last December, including Apple’s Tim Cook, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Alphabet/Google’s chairman Eric Schmidt, and a host of others (but no one, apparently, from Facebook) — are gathering at the White House under the auspices of Trump son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner’s American Technology Council (Tony Romm in Recode).

This week, Kushner is slated to bring peace to the Middle East while he also interviews a bevy of lawyers to protect him from the widening net of the Russian election-interference investigation. So he might be a little busy. But the Tech Week agenda is packed too, with issues like modernizing gov tech, cyber-security, and high-skilled immigration. Cook and others will reportedly also raise the topics of privacy and human rights (Axios). We’ll see how far that gets.

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