'Virtually unheard of': Why Jared Kushner’s recent Abu Dhabi visit cost American taxpayers almost $13,000

Jared Kushner in 2008, Lori Berkowitz Photography

Although members of former President Donald Trump's family have been gone from the White House for almost four months, they continue to enjoy the taxpayer-funded protection of the U.S. Secret Service — including Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and a former White House senior adviser for the Trump Administration. Kushner recently visited Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, and the Daily Beast reported that according to U.S. State Department documents, the Secret Service protection he enjoyed during that trip cost American taxpayers $12,950.

Vanity Fair's Bess Levin, in a column published on May 17, explains, "If you only got your news from Donald Trump's new social media website, a.k.a. blog, or by watching the speeches he gives to wedding guests and random passersby at Mar-a-Lago like an old man shouting at an empty blender, you might think he was still president. In fact, he is not, but the U.S. is still paying for Secret Service protection for all of his adult children and their families — which is why, when former first son-in-law Jared Kushner took a little trip to the Middle East last month, it cost taxpayers nearly $13,000."

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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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