Discussing McCain's Faux Populism with Rachel Maddow

During my trip to Rochester and now New York City, I appeared on Rachel Maddow's MSNBC show to review John McCain's latest economic ideas. You can watch the clip here (and if you like the discussion and appreciate them having on progressive voices like me and others, shoot the show an email at rachel@msnbc.com and let them know):

What we are seeing from McCain is old-school right-wing populism first made famous by Ronald Reagan. Package tax cuts for the wealthy as a gift to regular folks at a time of economic crisis. In the extended entry, I'll break down the key tenets of McCain's plan to see who it really benefits.

Up first is McCain's proposal to slash capital gains tax rates. Let's ignore the fact that the Wall Street meltdown means most Americans right now don't have much capital gains. Let's just look at who a capital gains tax cut benefits: namely, millionaires.

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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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