Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Cross-posted from Gus Van Horn.

Google tops the list of topics for this week's edition of "Around the Web".

Google stands up to its own country's government.

Blair at The Secular Foxhole points to a Slate story about Google's refusal to turn over records of your browsing to the Feds. From the story:
[E]very single search you've ever conducted--ever--is stored on a database, somewhere. Forget e-mail and wiretaps--for many of us, there's probably nothing more embarrassing than the searches we've made over the last decade. Google's campus LCD sounds like it's just fun and games, but when a search can be linked to you (through the IP address recorded by Google), that's a lot less fun. And when, as we're seeing, it can all be demanded by the government, that's no fun at all.
I would be glad that Google is doing this were it not for the fact that....

Google is kowtowing to the Red Chinese.

Via Matt Drudge, it turns out that Google has agreed, for the short-term goal of increasing its customer base, to help strengthen a country committed to stopping the unimpeded flow of information (aka Google's lifeblood), not to mention compromise its reputation as a reliable information provider in the process.
By creating a unique address for China, Google hopes to make its search engine more widely available and easier to use in the world's most populous country.

Because of government barriers set up to suppress information, Google's China users previously have been blocked from using the search engine or encountered lengthy delays in response time.


To obtain the Chinese license, Google agreed to omit Web content that the country's government finds objectionable. Google will base its censorship decisions on guidance provided by Chinese government officials.

Although China has loosened some of its controls in recent years, some topics, such as Taiwan's independence and 1989's Tiananmen Square massacre, remain forbidden subjects.

Google officials characterized the censorship concessions in China as an excruciating decision for a company that adopted "don't be evil" as a motto. But management believes it's a worthwhile sacrifice.

"We firmly believe, with our culture of innovation, Google can make meaningful and positive contributions to the already impressive pace of development in China," said Andrew McLaughlin, Google's senior policy counsel. [all bold mine]
So let me get this straight. The way to make a search engine "more widely available and easier to use" is to cripple it. I guess that would follow from the same sort of logic that would interpret "don't be evil" as "help strengthen an oppressive regime".

Ian Hamet comments, "The Chinese will not respect you for this. Read The Art of War. They won, and got you to give them the victory on a silver platter. You are now the Communist government's bitch, whether you know it or not."

Precisely. Except that Google have also just told every thug in the world that they are potentially their bitch as well. I now prefer to think of Google as the "sweetheart of the world's cell block".

Which makes me think that ...

The Google Founders Deserve a "Hippy"

Nick Provenzo over at the Center for the Advancement of Capitalism, has proposed three new awards: (1) The Tonya Harding Award for Achievement in the Advance of Antitrust. (2) The Hypocritical Capitalist Award for Making a Lot of Money While Undermining the System that Made it All Possible. (3) The Looting Politician Award for Unprecedented Generosity with Other People's Money.

Of the second award, the "Hippy", he writes:
The "Hippy-Capitalist" should bring attention to the businessman or woman who does the most to undercut (or perhaps misdirect) the moral case for capitalism, yet makes a pile of money for themselves regardless. For this honor, its going to be hard to beat Microsoft's Bill Gates, who along with his wife Melinda, have given millions of dollars in handouts to relieve African poverty while simultaneously ignoring the fact that Africa's woes are caused by dictatorship, tribalism and the absence of the rule of law. There are other businessmen and women out there who are at least deserving of Honorable Mentions, and I ask your help in finding them.
Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin must have gotten wind of this competition and decided to give Bill and Melinda Gates a run for their money. Forget Honorable Mentions. For pretending that a communist dictatorship is just as good a place to do business as the United States of America, .... For showing the thugs of the world that you'll stand up to them only so long as they do not threaten your short-range profitability.... For pretending that censorship is perfectly compatible with the business of providing fast and accurate search results.... I nominate Larry Page and Sergey Brin for the first "Hippy Capitalist" Award.

As a sidenote, I have the following question for Page and Brin. Is the only thing stopping you from divulging our search results to the government the fact that it hasn't threatened you enough?

That's what I have concluded from Google's actions over the past couple of days, and that is what any power-lusting government functionary who wants to make a name for himself will conclude, too.

Fighting on the Home Front

Robert Tracy relays an amusing and encouraging story from Jack Wakeland about a counterprotester who has found an interesting way to aid the war effort.
A pro-American activist "Concrete Bob" acquired demonstration permits for last Friday night for the curbs in front of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. By applying for the permits before the "Code Pink Women for Peace" did, he pushed them a block away from the hospital...and out of sight for the severely injured soldiers back from Iraq, who are being treated there (including some of the 350 or so amputees the war has produced among American servicemen and women).

"Concrete Bob" is fighting on a front that is becoming as important as Falluja, Tal Afar, Baghdad, and Wiziristan. He's fighting against the anti-American fifth column, their champions in the MSM, and their champion on the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. He's fighting to keep Congress from de-funding the war in Iraq and handing victory to al Qaeda, Iran, the Islamists of Iraq, and the Bathists of Syria and Iraq.
And speaking of America's fifth column....

Who is William Blum?

I was going to blog this myself, but Grant Jones beat me to it. Daniel Pipes wrote a column on the first author to be featured in Osama bin Laden's Holy Text of the Month Club. Quoting Pipes:
Asked if he was queasy about bin Laden's urging listeners to read his book, Blum replied: "I'm not repulsed, and I'm not going to pretend I am." Quite the contrary, he said: "I'm glad. It's good publicity for my book." And, indeed, it was: Thanks to bin Laden's promotion, Rogue State ascended from 205,763 to 26 on's ranking of most-ordered books.

Blum explained his response by saying he found bin Laden no worse than the U.S. government: "I would not say that bin Laden has been any less moral than Washington has been." He even refused to distance himself from bin Laden's views: "If he shares with me a deep dislike for certain aspects of U.S. foreign policy, then I'm not going to spurn any endorsement of the book by him. I think it's good that he shares those views." [link omitted]
Pipes makes the point that the left is functioning as a valuable American ally of the Islamists on the home front and underscores his point by noting that "Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone, Gore Vidal, and their ilk have lavished praise on his work."

Hmmm. In light of the fact that bin Laden and Noam Chomsky have both recommended Blum's book: Would Chris Matthews have gotten away with saying, "Bin Laden sounds like Noam Chomsky?"

That was, of course, a rhetorical question.

-- CAV

This was posted in advance.


Today: See more on at i, Egoist.