Capitalizing on Terrorism

Crisis tends to bring out the very best in the American people, and the horror of the September 11th terrorist attacks produced beautiful acts of heroism by firefighters, the police, office workers, hijacked airline passengers, rescue teams, and so many more ordinary folks who did extraordinary things.

Along with heroes, however, were a few despicable zeroes who have sought to take advantage of the horror for personal gain. These were not common looters, rampaging through the rubble, but corporate looters, dispatching lobbyists to rampage through out the congress.

First on the scene were lobbyists for Pentagon contractors eager to get their hands on the multibillion-dollar boondoggle called "Star Wars." They wailed that the terrorist assault shows that America must have a Missile Defense Shield to protect our cities. Hello. We were not attacked by enemies hurling high-tech missiles at us from afar, but by enemies who used decidedly low-tech box cutters to hijack our own commercial airplanes. Instead of a Missile Defense Shield, maybe we need a Box-cutter Shield. Still, one of congress' first responses to September 11 was to ram-through $8.3 billion for the Star Wars scam.

Also, while rescuers were still searching the wreckage for survivors, guys in Guccis were combing Capital Hill pleading for an "emergency" cut in their capital gains taxes. This would help the shellshocked economy, they said. Yeah--their personal economy--80 percent of this multibillion-dollar tax giveaway would go into the pockets of the wealthiest two percent of Americans. If this undemocratic tax-cut seems a far-fetched response to terrorism, consider the shameful effort by Bush trade officials and corporate lobbyists two weeks after the assault to snatch "fast track" authority from us, jiving that it's now the patriotic duty of lawmakers to grease the skids for more global trade scams.

This is Jim Hightower saying...Surely there's a special place in hell for greedheads that seek to capitalize on terrorism.

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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