CNN Town Hall: Elizabeth Warren

I’m not having any luck figuring out how to livestream this (yes, if I weren’t an idiot, I’d have RSVP’d Senator Warren’s email invitation!), but here’s the CNN link

Monday Morning Open Thread: Elizabeth Warren, Walking Point

They say a good teacher leads their students towards knowledge, rather than just inculcating them, and even her enemies admit Elizabeth Warren is a very good teacher. The longer she’s on her current mission, the more I’d like to see her as President… but even if that’s not the end point, she’s making an incredibly valuable contribution to the Democratic party just by running the way she’s running.

Senator Warren has assumed the burden of being the candidate who proposes Sensible Alternatives. X (the cost of childcare, tech monopolies, affordable housing) is a problem for too many Americans. Here is my suggestion for fixing that, and also a proposal for covering the cost of doing so. The Horse-Race-Tout Media immediately rejects her proposals, as simultaneously inadequate and too far-reaching — with a sidebar of sexism and a strong dose of misogyny.

A week later, some other Democratic candidate proposes a not-entirely-dissimilar fix for approximately the same problem… and the worst the Conventional Wisdom Pundits can come up with is ‘What, this again? Why can’t the Dems *agree* about every platform detail in advance, and save us the trouble of reading all those icky position papers?’

Smart Cookies Open Thread: Sen. Warren, Earning Her Media

I know this is stereotyping, which is wrong, but I kinda feel that as a mother and a college professor, Sen. Warren has a lot of experience dealing with adolescents who aren’t quite as smart as they think:

The ads, which had identical images and text, touted Warren’s recently announced plan to unwind “anti-competitive” tech mergers, including Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp and Instagram.

“Three companies have vast power over our economy and our democracy. Facebook, Amazon, and Google,” read the ads, which Warren’s campaign had placed Friday. “We all use them. But in their rise to power, they’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field in their favor.”…

Warren swiped at Facebook over the removal, citing it as evidence the company has grown too powerful.

“Curious why I think FB has too much power? Let’s start with their ability to shut down a debate over whether FB has too much power,” she tweeted. “Thanks for restoring my posts. But I want a social media marketplace that isn’t dominated by a single censor.”…

The affected ads, which included a video, directed users to a petition on Warren’s campaign website urging them “to support our plan to break up these big tech companies.”

The ads were limited in size and reach, with each costing under $100, according to disclosure details listed online.

If she’s not our next President, she’ll be a fantastic VP supporting Harris / O’Rourke / Abrams / Buttig

Open Thread: Now Playing at SXSW

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Liz Warren: Let’s Break Up Big Tech

Senator Warren announced yesterday morning that she thinks we should break up the big tech monopolies. She focuses on Google, Facebook, and Amazon in particular, though there are obviously other companies that would also fit this description.

Today’s big tech companies have too much power — too much power over our economy, our society, and our democracy. They’ve bulldozed competition, used our private information for profit, and tilted the playing field against everyone else. And in the process, they have hurt small businesses and stifled innovation.

One focus is on how companies use mergers and acquisitions to limit competition, like how Facebook snaps up every available messaging company. This seems pretty self-explanatory. The other main focus of her Medium post, which I find more interesting, is that companies which own networks should not be allowed to participate in those networks. This one’s a little less clear to the layperson, so she lays on some history.

But where the value of the company came from its network, reformers recognized that ownership of a network and participating on the network caused a conflict of interest. Instead of nationalizing these industries — as other countries did — Americans in the Progressive Era decided to ensure that these networks would not abuse their power by charging higher prices, offering worse quality, reducing innovation, and favoring some over others. We required a structural separation between the network and other businesses, and also demanded that the network offer fair and non-discriminatory service.

Her plan:

My administration would restore competition to the tech sector by passing legislation that requires large tech platforms to be designated as “Platform Utilities” and broken apart from any participant on that platform.

[…] Amazon Marketplace, Google’s ad exchange, and Google Search would be platform utilities under this law. Therefore, Amazon Marketplace and Basics, and Google’s ad exchange and businesses on the exchange would be split apart. Google Search would have to be spun off as well.

This is an interesting idea! And it’s high time we had this conversation at a presidential-campaign level. (I’m sure this was eaten by various shitstorms in yesterday’s news, but still.)

She sort of talks about how we also need to deal with privacy, but it’s not included in this plan, which is fair. The post says the same about preventing foreign tampering. To me, the big thing that’s actually missing is how to handle the infrastructure platforms like Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform. Those two service umbrellas undergird a great deal of the world’s technological infrastructure, including that of the American government. In the case of Amazon, they also provide most of the actual corporate profit, I believe. The cheapish, on-demand infrastructure they provide is actually pretty helpful to small innovators too.

Anyway, this, the co-determination bill, the CFPB, are all good examples of what I love about Warren. Her “making capitalism work for everybody” shtick just really resonates with this neoliberal shill.

I was originally going to post this yesterday afternoon, but my flight had terrible wifi, so now you’re getting it after dinner from Tokyo.