HIGHTOWER: Foreign Contributions Buy Foreign Favors

They say bamboo can grow more than a yard every day.The only things known to grow faster are loopholes in America's campaign finance laws. For example, it is flat against the law for foreign businesses and individuals to contribute money in U.S. elections. But there was President Clinton himself at a Los Angeles fundraiser where Mr. John Huang delivered a donkey-load of contributions from several Asian corporations and executives. Isn't this illegal?No, thanks to a loophole big enough to ride a donkey or an elephant through. It allows any foreign citizen who simply gets a legal U.S. residence to play America's political money game, and it allows subsidiaries of foreign companies to play, too. Using this loophole, Mr. Huang alone has raised more than four million dollars for the Democrats this year, bringing foreign influence directly into our politics.Among those whom Mr. Huang has brought into the game is the Riady family of Indonesia, which owns a far flung business empire called the Lippo Group. The Riady family and various Lippo executives have put at nearly half-a-million dollars into Clinton and the Democrats so far.And, just like U.S. companies that feed the political machine, the Riadys have cashed in big time. The Wall Street Journal reports that as a result of trade promotion trips by Clinton and his former commerce secretary, Ron Brown, Lippo has signed more than a billion dollars worth of trade deals in Asia with U.S. companies. Also in 1994, the Clinton Administration won a fight to make it easier for foreign banks to operate in the U.S. Think how nice this is for the Riadys, who own LippoBank in Los Angeles.Anyone in the world can play America's Phantasmagoric, 2-Party, Loop-di-loop Political Money Game -- put a couple-of-hundred thousand in, get a couple-of-billion back -- step right up;

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Imagine you've forgotten once again the difference between a gorilla and a chimpanzee, so you do a quick Google image search of “gorilla." But instead of finding images of adorable animals, photos of a Black couple pop up.

Is this just a glitch in the algorithm? Or, is Google an ad company, not an information company, that's replicating the discrimination of the world it operates in? How can this discrimination be addressed and who is accountable for it?

“These platforms are encoded with racism," says UCLA professor and best-selling author of Algorithms of Oppression, Dr. Safiya Noble. “The logic is racist and sexist because it would allow for these kinds of false, misleading, kinds of results to come to the fore…There are unfortunately thousands of examples now of harm that comes from algorithmic discrimination."

On At Liberty this week, Dr. Noble joined us to discuss what she calls “algorithmic oppression," and what needs to be done to end this kind of bias and dismantle systemic racism in software, predictive analytics, search platforms, surveillance systems, and other technologies.

What you can do:
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