Links for 8-27-2017

  • The Black Hawk helicopter that crashed off Yemen’s coast belonged to a U.S. Army special forces unit that operates from a base near the port of Mukalla. One soldier from the crashed helicopter is still missing.

  • The U.K. plans to send more SAS troops to Afghanistan as part of Donald Trump’s plan to ramp-up operations there.

  • Joel Kotkin is concerned that Silicon Valley oligarchs will kill off democracy:

    Both Facebook and Google now offer news “curated” by algorithms. Bans are increasingly used by Facebook and Twitter to keep out unpopular or incendiary views, and especially in the echo chamber of the Bay Area. This is sometimes directed at conservatives, such as Prager University, whose content may be offensive to some, but hardly subversive or “fake.” The real crime now is simply to question dominant ideology of Silicon Valley gentry progressivism.

    Later:

    In a future Democratic administration, as is already evident in places like California, the tech titans will use their money, savvy, and new dominance over our communications channels to steer and even dictate America’s political and cultural agendas to wield power in ways that even the likes of J.P. Morgan or John D. Rockefeller would envy.

    What started as a brilliant, and profoundly non-political extension of the information revolution, notes early Google and Facebook investor Robert McNamee, now looms as “a menace,” part of a systematic “brain hacking” on a massive scale. We can choose to confront this reality—as the early 20th century progressives did—or stand aside and let the oligarchs chart our future without imposing any curbs on their seemingly inexorable hegemony.

  • Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro shut down two radio stations and two cable TV networks that were critical of his regime.

  • The Lebanese army announced a cease fire in its fight with ISIS on the Lebanon/Syria border. ISIS captured nine Lebanese soldiers in 2014 and the army wants to know what became of them. The Lebanese army believes it has recovered the bodies of six of the nine.