A strategy for more executive power -- compliments of Alito

Presidential signing statements are, thankfully, front and center in the press right now. A fascinating breed of pseudo-legislation, the signing statements allow the President to essentially add a "P.S." to Congress' legislation. They don't technically have the force of law. Yet, the statements do maintain an influence in future judicial interpretations of the legislation as they go on legal record. So it's essentially a subversive, and unchecked, way of influencing future lawmaking.

The most recent use of the statments seems to be in the case of McCain's torture legislation in which Bush agreed that the U.S. would not torture people unless it did. Under the scrutinization of the press, studies have emerged revealing that President Bush has utilized these "signing statements" far more than any other president. In fact you might say that President Bush founded the use of the statements as a nice and quiet tactic through which to ignore Congress' will. But you would be wrong. That's because our new friend Samuel Alito, back in the days of Reagan, was actually the brains behind the concept of using these "signing statements" as a way to impact the future balance of power. The Washington Post reports

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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.

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