Tech

Donald Trump Wants Microsoft To Buy TikTok. And He Wants A Piece Of The Action.

Also wants some of those fancy heaters.

Last Friday, Donald Trump announced that he was going to ban the video social media app TikTok, for reasons, which he claimed were national security. For heavens sake, TikTok harvests user data, and unlike good patriotic American tech giants, TikTok might be sending that data right to the Chinese Communist Party instead of to American advertisers! The company and the Chinese government both deny that and say that, like any tech company except Wonkette, TikTok's owner ByteDance simply wants to direct ads to users.

Still, Trump is mad at TikTok, and after initially saying he'd oppose it being taken over by Microsoft, he told Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella Sunday that he'd give ByteDance and Microsoft until September 15 to arrange the sale, or TikTok would for sure be banned in the USA. And then Trump hummed what he still thinks is a patriotic Springsteen anthem.

Because there was still room for things to get a lot stupider, they did. Trump had a new thought, which he shared with reporters Monday, pointing out that it had come from his gargantuan deal-thinking-of brain:

The United States should get a very large percentage of that price, because we're making it possible. [...] It would come from the sale, which nobody else would be thinking about but me, but that's the way I think, and I think it's very fair.

We suppose Trump has a bit of a point: Nobody else would try to force the sale of a private foreign company to a private US company and then demand a cut for the US Treasury. As a BBC business analyst says, with lovely understatement, "The US Treasury has not explained how this extraordinary demand for a cut of a private transaction would work."

We're wondering what sort of back-channel arrangement would end up with some of that hypothetical money in the Trump Organization's accounts. Guess we'll have to wait 15 minutes for a leak, or a few months for a tell-all book.

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China

Trump Banning TikTok, Surely Not Because The TikTok Teens Ruined His Tulsa Rally

Supposedly it is because he thinks the Chinese would use it to spy on us.

Trump announced on Friday night that he would be banning the wildly popular social media app TikTok, most likely today, on the grounds that his administration suspects the Chinese government could use it to spy on us and copy all of our most precious dance moves.

Back in June, hundreds of thousands of TikTok users registered to attend Trump's rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with no intention of showing up. This caused the administration to expect a far higher turnout than the 6,200 people who actually showed up, which ended up being very hilarious for everyone watching at home, given how much they had bragged about how many people had signed up. Not only did they have to cancel their overflow satellite rally, but the stadium was very sparsely filled.

Surely, this has absolutely nothing to do with the decision to ban the app.

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2020 presidential election

Economic Recovery? Joe Biden Has A Plan For That

I see what we did there.

Joe Biden gave a speech at a metal-working plant in Dunmore, Pennsylvania, near his hometown of Scranton — did you know? Joe Biden is from Scranton! He slammed Donald Trump as being out of touch with working Americans and called for using the power of the American government to help build a post-coronavirus economy that's fairer for workers, with good, clean-energy, union jobs. Biden's testing out a new slogan, "Build back better," to push his economic recovery program, which has some very noticeable DNA from earlier proposals rolled out by Jay Inslee and Elizabeth Warren during the primaries. As Biden's campaign site puts it,

[This] is no time to just build back to the way things were before, with the old economy's structural weaknesses and inequalities still in place. This is the moment to imagine and build a new American economy for our families and the next generation.

It was a very good speech, if you have a half hour to spare; Biden had to compete with a bunch of chirping birds in the venue, which frankly was kind of charming. Let's watch!

Joe Biden Delivers Remarks on His Economic Recovery Plan to help America Build Back Better youtu.be

Biden's plan borrows a key element from Inslee and Warren's green manufacturing plans: The federal government buys a lot of stuff. So let's make sure that the money spent on procurement reinforces worthwhile economic goals, by requiring that government contracts go to companies that are based in America, that use green manufacturing methods, and that pay their workers a living wage and encourage unions. Wherever possible, also make sure the stuff the government procures is energy-efficient, ideally non-polluting altogether. And maybe fewer contracts to companies that just incorporated four days before and are run by convicted frauders? Well, let's not get crazy.

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