The reckoning of the Capitol riots is up to us

Of all the horrific details coming to light about the riots in Washington, D.C. last week, two have left me with strange, emotional bruises.

Here’s the first. As the pro-Trump rioters rampaged through the Capitol building forcing lawmakers to rush for safety, a group of young staffers for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had no choice but to take cover in a conference room within her office. They barricaded the door, turned off the lights, and hid under a table—in silence—for two and a half hours and listened to the madness outside. Here’s the part I can’t shake: It was a survival tactic they learned from growing up with active shooter drills in school. 

Here’s the second. 

Footage from inside the Capitol showed a Black Capitol Police officer, later identified by CNN as Eugene Goodman, make a split-second decision to encourage an angry mob to follow him away from the Senate … Read the rest

Read More

Tech’s underdeveloped moral compass is threatening our democracy

Many of us are shocked and appalled by the violence that caused the U.S. Capitol to go into lockdown last week. We should be appalled, but not necessarily surprised. This is, after all, what any regular day on the Internet looks like—with information unregulated and manipulated to communicate skewed views and fake news, more often than not encouraging political fury and violence. What we are seeing now is the consequence of years of unchecked growth in the technology industry. 

Today, the Internet and social networks influence all the information we consume, the opinions we form, the misinformation we believe. Yesterday’s events underscore our new reality. The physical world is becoming more like the Internet: dysfunctional, angry, lawless, and a complete banana republic.

As the CEO of a software company and member of the technology community, I am proud of the many good things my industry has achieved, including technologies that … Read the rest

Read More

What Biden’s Cabinet picks say about how he plans to govern

Joe Biden promised that his presidency would mean a return to normalcy. His Cabinet picks help demonstrate how he plans to deliver.

The president-elect announced his final nominees this past week, completing a diverse team of two dozen people. He noted Friday that this will be the “first Cabinet ever” to reach gender parity and include a majority of people of color, notable given earlier concerns that he was leaning largely on white men.

Some nominees have decades of experience in their respective agencies. Many held prominent roles in the Obama administration. Many have already begun meeting with interest groups and advocacy organizations, and his transition team has had what’s been described as an “open-door policy” toward advocacy groups for months.

It’s a sharp contrast to President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, which was dominated largely by white men with little experience in Washington. Biden’s aides say that was one of the … Read the rest

Read More

Big Tobacco stands down as Colorado and Oregon hike cigarette taxes

Our mission to make business better is fueled by readers like you. To enjoy unlimited access to our journalism, subscribe today.

Big Tobacco did something unusual in Marlboro Country last fall: It stood aside while Colorado voters approved the state’s first tobacco tax hike in 16 years.

The industry, led by Altria Group, one of the world’s largest tobacco companies, has spent exorbitantly in the past to kill similar state ballot initiatives. In 2018, Altria’s lobbying arm spent more than $17 million to help defeat Montana’s tobacco tax ballot initiative. That same year, it spent around $6 million to help defeat South Dakota’s similar measure.

And four years ago, Altria was the leading funder in a successful $16 million campaign to quash Colorado’s previous proposed tobacco tax increase.

In November, by contrast, Altria didn’t spend a penny in opposition and Colorado voters overwhelmingly approved the tax with two-thirds support. … Read the rest

Read More

Twitter permanently suspends Donald Trump due to risk of inciting violence

Twitter banned President Donald Trump’s account Friday, citing “the risk of further incitement of violence.”

The social platform has been under growing pressure to take further action against Trump following Wednesday’s deadly insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Twitter initially suspended Trump’s account for 12 hours after he posted a video that repeated false claims about election fraud and praised the rioters who stormed the Capitol.

Twitter’s move deprives Trump of a potent tool he has used to communicate directly with the American people for more than a decade. He has used Twitter to announce policy changes, challenge opponents, insult enemies, praise his allies (and himself), and to spread misinformation.

Twitter has long given Trump and other world leaders broad exemptions from its rules against personal attacks, hate speech and other behaviors. But in a lengthy explanation posted on its blog Friday, the company said recent Trump tweets amounted to glorification … Read the rest

Read More