“There is nothing wrong with America that cannot be cured with what is right in America,”
– William ‘Bill’ Clinton (D), 42nd President of the United States (POTUS),
first inaugural address, per Yale Law School.
“The System is Rigged.”
– Donald J. Trump (R), 45th President of the United States (POTUS),
statement made during numerous speeches and publish comments.
Let’s begin with a series of facts, all of which directly relate to the headline issue, which will tee up the relevance for this topic to manufactured housing professionals, investors,
Democratic 2020 hopeful, Representative Tulsi Gabbard (HI-D) is suing Google for $50 million dollars, alleging search bias.
Engadget said on July 22, 2019 that “Google will pay $11 million to settle hundreds of age discrimination suits” which explained that is was part of a class-action lawsuit against the company with lead plaintiff, Cheryl Fillekes.
There are numerous cases that have been settled and/or are pending against Google. According to Wikipedia:
- Google, Inc. v. American Blind and Wallpaper Factory, Inc. was a decision of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California that challenged the legality of Google’s AdWords program. The court concluded that, pending the outcome of a jury trial, Google AdWords may be in violation of trademark law.
Under the heading, “Discrimination” Google is currently fighting a lawsuit filed by the US labor department claiming gender discrimination. Officials of Google said it was too financially burdensome and logistically challenging to hand over salary records that the government requested in order to investigate. A judge has however ordered Google to hand over salary records to the government in this ongoing investigation by the US Department of Labor.
- James Damore et al. v. Google, LLC. In a lawsuit filed January 8, 2018, multiple employees and job applicants alleged Google discriminated against a class defined by their “conservative political views[,] male gender[,] and/or […] Caucasian or Asian race”.
- Arne Wilberg v. Google, Inc. On January 29, 2018, YouTube technical recruiter Arne Wilberg filed a suit accusing Google “of systematically discriminating in favor job applicants who are Hispanic, African American, or female, and against Caucasian and Asian men.”
Scores of successful and unsuccessful cases against Google, YouTube, and their parent company Alphabet could be shown that raises the issue of bias.
Referring to a high court ruling in the spring of 2019, an analysis article on Law said, “Shari Claire Lewis discusses a recent Supreme Court ruling in ‘Frank v. Gaos’, which may be interpreted to substantially limit the ability of consumers to sue Internet companies and other technology businesses for what often are only technical violations of the law, because any individual plaintiff may find it difficult to demonstrate actual and quantifiable harm as a result of such alleged violations for purposes of standing.” Time will tell how that plays out, but the various sides of the challenges must be understood.
These concerns over purported and proven, subtle- to brazen-bias go to the heart or concerns raised by a Democratic supporter, Dr. Robert Epstein. Dr. Epstein testified to Congress this year that during the 2016 elections, Google’s methods – according to the psychologist technological research – caused no fewer than 2.6 million people to vote for Secretary Hillary Clinton than otherwise would have. Epstein said that on the high side, it may have caused as some 10 million more votes to go Secretary Clinton.
Epstein said he voted for Clinton, but he is concerned that such power to influence voters might render meaningless the democratic process of elections. This makes what any foreign powers attempted in meddling with U.S. elections akin to a meaningless prank while a bank robber is looting the vault.
Given the power of lawmakers and elected officials over business and investing, this isn’t to be taken lightly by professionals in our industry, nor those engaged in any other businesses.
A pair of deeper dives related to this topic of corporate power and the need for vigorous antitrust enforcement are found at the links above and below.
One clear, logical takeaway is that regulatory oversight in the normal sense is not possible in such matters. Indeed, the fact that Big Tech has collectively been reported as spending over ½ billion dollars in lobbying, and that much of that lobbying is for changes in regulations, ought to be good reason to reject that approach in favor of a break up that may include the kind of high-tech anti-bias scrutiny that Dr. Epstein says is useful in regulating the resultant new entities.
As a disclosure, the parent company of MHProNews receives routine payments from Google for advertising on one or more of the websites owned by our parent company. From our periodic spot checks, we appear in to have good search ranking on several keyword phrases. But those aren’t proof that there may not be search bias of a video hosted on Google’s sister company YouTube, or of other content that we have online. Nor are such spot checks evidence of other possibly subtle search manipulations that may occur that directly harms our businesses interests. But the point isn’t our business interests, rather, the main point is you and the manufactured home industry at large is arguably being harmed by this increasing monopolization of economic and information power over the marketplace. Google is part of a pattern, not the sole such firm to be concerned about.
That noted, the clearest evidence that bias is at work that arguably harms our interests – and that of thousands of businesses and millions of current and potential consumers – is how Google handles the definition of manufactured home. Once more, that analysis is linked here.
Nonpartisan Issues Impact Tens of Millions in America Alone
Even this brief survey reflects the fact that such examples of purported and proven-in-court bias by Google – and others in big tech – are not an isolated issue that impacts only manufactured housing.
The implications are chilling.
Ponder the subtle but enormous power over the marketplace, information, and freedom itself that this pattern outlined and linked from this report spotlights.
Is freedom itself actually under assault? If so, how so? The answer could be phrased like this. How can you be truly free if the information you are provided is biased or inaccurate? Millions believe things to be true that are demonstrably false. That is evidenced in our industry, but it could be demonstrated on numerous other issues too.
The fact that Democrat Tulsi Gabbard is making complaints similar to what 2020 Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale has made speaks volumes on the bipartisan nature of this concern. Senator Elizabeth Warren, and other 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls have raised the issue of using the federal government’s antitrust laws to break up big tech.
As MHProNews has reported, the Trump Administration’s Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Department of Justice (DOJ) antitrust divisions are probing big tech cases.
Washington Leak – Justice Department Prepares Major Antitrust Investigation
The FTC just settled the largest case of its kind in U.S. history against Facebook for some $5 billion dollars. As large as that is, critics say that’s chump change for corporate giants worth hundreds of billions of dollars.
Report: FTC Imposes Record $5 Billion Dollar Fine, plus Manufactured Housing Stock Updates
The so-called FAANG stocks, which includes Google and by extension, its parent company Alphabet and subsidiaries like YouTube, all have similar power, though the degree may vary. Then Berkshire Hathaway and Microsoft need to be considered. Take BM – Berkshire and Microsoft- add it to FAANG, and encourage that they be broken up under antitrust action, and what do you get? #DeFaangBM.
MHProNews’ publishers believe that a balanced understanding of what is occurring in America, based upon facts and evidence that span the left-right divide, must be part of the focus for curing what is wrong in America today. Investors, essentially almost every American, and government itself are all arguably impacted by these issues.
A community leader recently called for a Congressional hearings on industry related topics. That call should be expanded into several public hearings by lawmakers at the federal and state levels. The information developed from such hearings can then be used by private and governmental interests to take the steps necessary to stop the monopolization of America. See the related reports, linked below.
That’s this Saturday installment of “News through the lens of manufactured homes and factory-built housing” © where “We Provide, You Decide.” © ## (News, analysis, and commentary.)
Submitted by Soheyla Kovach for MHProNews.com.
Soheyla is a managing member of LifeStyle Factory Homes, LLC, the parent company to MHProNews, and MHLivingNews.com.
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