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Perhaps the most astute statement President Clinton ever made was:  "Keep your enemies close."  Bush, while not a tenth the thinker, has a feral and instinctive grip on the corollary of this concept, which Clinton missed:  "...but let your friends and relatives roam far afield."  The Rothschild family developed the art of sending trusted operatives out into the world, but the Bush family hasn't failed to learn their lesson.

Jeb Bush is running Florda - a happy circumstance which led, ultimately, to King George "losing the election before he 'won' it."  Paul Wolfowitz is now far away at the World Bank - the interest on that expenditure of capital is looking good...

And Dan Senor is at... huh?  What's that you ask?  You don't remember Senor?  Why he's... the topic on the flip.

I'm sorry, where was I?  Oh yes - Dan Senor.  Well, as Andrew Orlowski of The Register reported back in May, he was hired by Google, as their VP of Global Communications and Strategy.  He's noted as:

...former Senior Associate at the Carlyle Group, Senor was briefly Scott McLellan's [emphases mine] deputy as White House spokesman before becoming head of the the Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq's information department. [snip...] While in Iraq Senor showed his loyalty by going jogging in a Bush-Cheney '04 tracksuit.

Impressive.  Now why is that important?

Is there anything more important than information?  And you, over there sir, where do you go for your information, these days?  Ahh, Google.

Now tell me this, madam - yes you there, with the doubting look - of all the information there is in the world, what is the most important category of it, to those who wield, or crave to wield, power?  Well, I'll tell you:  it's the knowledge of exactly what information your enemies are trying to discover!

So essentially, if you have Google in your pocket, you have an advantage over your adversaries that's almost like mind-reading.  It's easy to stay one step ahead of anyone (or any group) when you already know, if only statistically, what they're thinking - because you know what information they're after.  Of course, I would never suggest for a moment that our president would ever so much as contemplate using Senor - a man in the private sector! - to gather information for his party (and his plans for all we little folk).  Nor would it cross my beautiful mind that Google itself could be in any way complicit in such a Machiavellian scheme, in the unlikely event that such an idea were true - which, of course, it isn't.  After all; their corporate motto is:  "Don't Be Evil."  But still...

...sorta cheating, ain't it?  Oh well, we're all realists here - that's just how the game of power-politics is played, right?  Unless...

Well, yeah, you guessed it - it appears to get much more interesting.

One month after Senor was hired, in June, this article showed up in The Guardian.  Those boys move quick.  And I gotta tell you, that thing slid away faster than a Recent Diary on a homepage set to 20.  Just try finding it with an average bunch of search terms... (you might try Google).  What Google is doing, is filtering hits for the 'truth.'  Who decides what the truth is?  Why they do.  Here's the money quote:

The company insists its only motive is to help users make sense of the morass of information on the web. But some worry about the cultural influence of everything being filtered through the Google lens, particularly if it emerges as the arbiter of "truth" on the web.

What does this all mean?  Consider the nature of honor.  Well, it's rather difficult to find these days - but what the heck; let's give it a try...

Google this:  honorable republican.  Well, well.  A bunch of honorable Republicans pop up.  Seems reasonable.

Now try Googling this:  honorable democrat.  And again - a bunch of... wait a minute!  That's not right!  It's all snark and sarcasm...  The only Democrat called honorable, without snark, is...  Zell Miller???

So tell me, gentle reader - as you cruise the 'net from day to day, seeking out one more small piece of dirt to add to the Everest-like mountain of filth that will be George Bush's legacy - are you proud of your immunity to the spin presented by the BushCo administration?  Do you question everything they say?  Do you always check every fact they present to us:  with a couple of quick hits on... Google?  Hmmm?

Fascinating, what one can do with technology.

Isn't it?

Google:  Filtering for the Truth, since 2004.

JF

Originally posted to Jaime Frontero on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 09:14 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  a bit scary really... (none)
    I need to investigate this...
  •  then again, (4.00)
    just google "Miserable Failure."

    it cuts both ways.  Besides, Google News is pretty even-handed.

    I think that Google is far too complex and far-reaching to dither with politics...

    •  Update on Dan Senor (none)
      He may be a contractor, but the hiring plan seems to have been revisited.
      •  Search Engine Watch is a great resource (none)
        Take all search engine stories with a grain of salt.  This stuff changes so rapidly noone can say they know what is going on.

        Also, don't believe places like dogpile that say they search everything.  They don't.

        Compare searches on there to searches on google and you'll see.

        ---- Take a pill or talk?----

        by apotropaic on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 09:24:22 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Looks like you're right. (none)
        Contractor, not hired.  My bad.  I reasearched the bulk of this on... Google. ;-) (And missed one hit in the #6 position that makes your point.)

        I don't know how much a strategic consultancy, as opposed to a 'real' job, diminishes that facet of my point.

        Comments?

        JF

    •  Google News used to be amazing--now, not (none)
      While I don't think you can infer much from the "honorable Republican" search, I've noticed over the last year or two that foreign news sources like al-Jazeera.com and many other fringe news sources such as political blogs have slowly disappeared from Google News, resulting in a bland, CNN-ish and right-leaning product ... business as usual, no doubt.

      Large public companies are geared to serve the interests of (1) management and (2) stockholders.  Employees and the public are not only likely but almost certain to get the shaft, in today's short-sighted business world.

      •  FYI (none)
        I noticed that TPMCafe is now being sourced on news.google.com

        probably won't get dailykos on there but that is one good sign.  Don't you remember that the RWNM has been running propaganda shops in print and online that are fronted as legit businesses??  Even the NYT isn't immune to it.  Just look behind those bars over there to see Judy Miller.

  •  This one should be highly recommended! (none)
    I strongly suggest you do as I do and use Dogpile!!!
  •  Sweet mother of Gandhi!!! (none)
    That is possibly one of the most disturbing things I've heard ever, not because of any immediate consequences but rather what can be done with this in the long term.  This appears to be yet another element of "total information warfare."

    Think about it:  The Bushies control the main stream media...the biggest thorn in their side is the relatively independent internet.  Think about how they could smear/hide truth telling sites by preventing sites like KOS from showing up in basic google searches.

    F*CK BUSH! -- Mahatma Gandhi (sourced anonymously through the NY Times)

    by Magicmike888 on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 09:17:34 PM PDT

    •  They Wouldn't Block KOS (none)
      They'll just degrade the process. Remember, they can figure out what to suppress--they have computers.

      We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy....--ML King, "Beyond Vietnam"

      by Gooserock on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 09:54:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Could be a Google-Bomb (none)
    People will sometimes conspire to post links in order to associate a phrase with something and get it highly ranked in Google. Try Googling "incompetent president" or "smirking chimp" if you want to see a lot of hits on Dubya.
  •  Senor being VP of Global Strategy is disturbing... (none)
    ...but anyone can do Google-bombing pranks. It doesn't take anyone on the inside.


    Those who cannot remember the future are condemned to repeat it.

    by Abou Ben Adhem on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 09:22:20 PM PDT

  •  what's scary (none)
    is that the article seems to suggest that Google's not the only one working on stuff like this--Yahoo!, Microsoft, etc., are also modifying their engines, and MS plans to add technology next year that modifies searches based on what's on your hard drive?!?!

    Did anybody else's heart just stop, too?

    It'd be a wicked (and brilliant) scheme if executed properly, wouldn't it? But is it REALLY possible? That level of control over information, I mean...

  •  Sorry, I think this is bull (none)
    Try "honest Republican" and "honest Democrat" and you get the same kinds of results in both cases - in the first case, loads of dem sites saying honest rethugs are rare to non-existent, and in the second, loads of rethugs sites saying honest dems are rare to non-existent.

    If you cannot convince them, confuse them. Harry S. Truman

    by brainwave on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 09:24:37 PM PDT

  •  I kind of agree... (none)
    however...

    for answers to those types of questions, you shouldn't be using google.  Specifically because it can be gamed

    Hard problems cannot be solved by an algorithm.  Unless you're into math and physics.  And then... maybe.

    You should use google to find websites on the web, not define things for you.  That's what dictionaries and encyclopedias are for.

  •  Overreacting (4.00)
    You are over reacting. The 'honorable republican' search results are an artifact known as 'Google Bombing'. For example, if enough people link "Ding Bat" to a page about Zell Miller the Google formual will associate the term with the page and provide those links as relevant to the search. This has happened numerous times and the search results for Miserable Failure may be the most famous.

    So no, Google isn't doping search results because some Carlyle connected executive is their international PR guy. Those patents are innocuous and the Guardian story is speculative.

    But who knows? Maybe he's even a mole for our side?

  •  Somebody once said (4.00)
    Google makes smart people smarter, and dumb people dumber.

    It's a tool. You have to actively use it.

  •  gmail (none)
    You know, the other day I was working with a physician and he showed me his new gmail account - about how it said to NEVER delete ANYTHING and it will search your mail for anything that was ever in it.  I didn't like that idea.  I realize email isn't secure, but I want my email to be for me, thank you very much.  Even if google is searching it for me, that just got to me.  This gets to me more.
    •  Maybe I'm more paranoid than the average bear (none)
      But I just don't get why people use gmail. Handing one's email correspondence over to an entity with perhaps the greatest ability on this planet to make search correlations seems a wee bit foolhardy. Why should we trust Google?
      •  Because living in a world (none)
        where you mistrust everything is depressing. Frankly, I would rather occasionally be wrong and put my trust in the wrong thing than mistrust everyone.
      •  What makes Google really valuable? (none)
        To the average user, it's the hits -- the information it finds. That part's "free" for a reason.

        For government or industry that's seeking to learn something about the interests, attitudes, and behaviors of the public, however, it's the picture it provides of what people are searching for. That information is extremely valuable, and is Google's reason for being.  Google sells its data on what people are looking for.

        Do you trust Google?  Should you?  No more or less than one should trust General Motors or the National Security Agency.

  •  I'm recommending this diary (none)
    just because Google considers RushLimbaugh.com a "news" site, but not Daily Kos.

    It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it. - Upton Sinclair

    by Central Scrutinizer on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 09:49:57 PM PDT

  •  Dan Senor (none)
    is Mr. Campbell Brown.
  •  Googling "Dan Senor": (none)
    Dan Senor Advisor to the US Presidential Envoy in Iraq. Dan Senor Dan Senor is
    a Senior Advisor to Presidential Envoy L. Paul Bremer III, Administrator of ...
    www.whitehouse.gov/government/senor-bio.html - 25k - Cached - Similar pages

    Dan Senor - SourceWatch
    Dan Senor was an advisor to Iraq Coalition Provisional Authority director ...
    Among them was Dan Senor, former spokesman for the CPA who has more recently ...
    www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Dan_Senor - 20k - Cached - Similar pages

    Ron Jacobs: Dan Senor is Safe!
    Dan Senor is Safe! By RON JACOBS ... The article itself detailed a confession
    from Coalition spokesman Dan Senor that acknowledged that the US version of ...
    counterpunch.org/jacobs05242004.html - 70k - Cached - Similar pages

    Lookout, France! Google hires neo-con headbanger | The Register
    Dan Senor, the company's new Global Communications and Strategy VP, has a CV
    guaranteed to have Register columnist Otto Z Stern firing a celebratory ...
    www.theregister.co.uk/2005/05/24/google_neocon/ - 22k - Cached - Similar pages

    but the, he probably likes being called a neo-con headbanger...

    Mother Nature bats last.

    by pigpaste on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 09:59:37 PM PDT

  •  Google News vs. Google Search (none)
    The diary should make clear that this is only being patented for news items, i.e. Google News.

    According to that patent, Google is for the first time planning to rank news stories according to their accuracy and reliability as well as their topicality.

    And just because they patent it doesn't mean that they intend to implement it.  Many patents are purely defensive.

  •  Tinfoil hat needs some loosening me thinks (4.00)
    Reality.... :
    [Google CEO] Eric E. Schmidt  [...] was the host of a $10,000-a-plate fund-raiser for Al Gore's presidential campaign

    more reality.... :

    Citizen Soldier Fund
    On December 17, 2001 Sen. Kerry opened the Citizen Soldier Fund, a leadership PAC, to help Democratic candidates.
     The PAC raised more than $1.9 million and made significant contributions to candidates and committees in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, in addition to purchasing the Iowa and New Hampshire Democratic parties' voter files.  

    [...]

    Top contributors:

    [...]
    $25,000 --   Eric E. Schmidt, Chairman & CEO, Google (Atherton, CA)

    and from 2004: :

    NYTimes

    Pro Democrats

    Among the donors to the Kerry campaign are Eric E. Schmidt, chief executive of Google Inc

    Here is a list of Schmidt's political contributions (personal) in the 2002-2006 cycles via opensecrets.org

    Free Image Hosting at www.ImageShack.us

    He is a Democrat to the CORE.

    IF Senor is playing any important role at Google, which is debateable based on the articles I've read in the past 20 minutes, it's most definitely not one of bringing Google in line with the GOP way of thinking.   The tinfoil hat is a little too tight on this one.

    George W. Bush, Resign NOW.

    by tlh lib on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 10:21:27 PM PDT

    •  Thank you. Here is the problem- (none)
      There appear to be people here who have decided that any business which has republicans in upper management positions is automatically crooked. It's ridiculous and paranoid. There are plenty of republicans who obey the law. Unfortunately, most of the ones who do aren't in government, but there are plenty.
    •  Yup, Democrat to the core. (none)
      But still (and dammit, i can't find the quotes again, and it's sleeptime) Google is permitted to have an agenda that includes representation in DC.  It may just be a mistake.

      Look how badly Steve Case lost control.

      I think that, while I'm instantly suspicious of anything any of the BushCo cadre either reaches for or touches, I'm most concerned about how we're losing control of our knowledge, and of how we know its real.  Epistemology, as I mentioned upthread.

      JF

      •  There's a greater percentage of Dems... (none)
        ..at Google than on Daily Kos, I'd wager. It's been widely reported that nearly 99% of personal political donations from Google in the last election went to Democrats (nearly half a million vs $5000 to the GOP). A simple search on "google employees democrats" will deliver a host of conservative blogs and media outlets condemning Google's liberal bias. You may be aghast to find that you've joined Michelle Malkin in common cause.

        But don't trust me. Though I've been a Kossack back to pre-scoop days, I've also been a Google employee for nearly as long...

        'Fie upon the Congress' - Sen Bob Byrd

        by Maxwell on Fri Sep 09, 2005 at 12:27:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Diaired problems with Google months ago (none)
    I wrote two diaries to the effect that their "neutral" filtering algorithm didn't seem very "neutral" to me. I was told to stop being paranoid and that it was objective after all.

    Well, I doubt it. NewsMax ends up on a lot of my headlines, and I have Google Canada up as my home page. At the very least, the algorithm does not compensate for disparities between the various demographic groups, which doesn't exactly make it "neutral" just "uninformed".

    "...there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so." Hamlet, Act II, Scene ii.

    by thingamabob on Thu Sep 08, 2005 at 10:37:41 PM PDT

  •  I'm stunned! (none)
    Senor was briefly Scott McLellan's [emphases mine] deputy

    McLellan has an employee? I have always pictured him alone with his cartoons between press conferences.

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