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IBM Government United States Politics

IBM Employees Protest Cooperation With Donald Trump (theintercept.com) 600

Reader Presto Vivace shares a report on The Intercept: IBM employees are taking a public stand following a personal pitch to Donald Trump from CEO Ginni Rometty and the company's initial refusal to rule out participating in the creation of a national Muslim registry. In November, Rometty wrote Trump directly, congratulating him on his electoral victory and detailing various services the company could sell his administration. The letter was published on an internal IBM blog along with a personal note from Rometty to her enormous global staff. "As IBMers, we believe that innovation improves the human condition. ... We support, tolerance, diversity, the development of expertise, and the open exchange of ideas," she wrote in the context of lending material support to a man who won the election by rejecting all of those values. Employee comments were a mix of support and horror. Now, some of those who were horrified are going public, denouncing Rometty's letter and asserting "our right to refuse participation in any U.S. government contracts that violate constitutionally protected civil liberties." The IBMPetition.org effort has been spearheaded in part by IBM cybersecurity engineer Daniel Hanley, who told The Intercept he started organizing with his coworkers after reading Rometty's letter. "I was shocked, of course," Hanley said, "because IBM has purported to espouse diversity and inclusion, and yet here's Ginni Rometty in an unqualified way reaching out to an admin whose electoral success was based on racist programs."
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IBM Employees Protest Cooperation With Donald Trump

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  • Oh come on (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday December 19, 2016 @03:46PM (#53516231)

    IBM partnered with a nice man back in the 30s from Germany and that turned out just great!

  • so... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ooloorie ( 4394035 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @03:49PM (#53516249)

    "our right to refuse participation in any U.S. government contracts that violate constitutionally protected civil liberties."

    If only they had shown that kind of backbone during the Obama years and made such a statement about any involvement of IBM in NSA surveillance, creation of massive financial and medical databases on US citizens, and drone killings.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CajunArson ( 465943 )

      When Obama was president, criticism of him was proof that you are a racist and don't deserve to have rights*.

      When Trump will be president, refusal to fall in line and mouth the slurs that have been prepared for you to utter without thinking will be proof that you are a racist and don't deserve to have rights.

      * Certain left-wing extremists who criticize him for "not going far enough" can be granted an exclusion (consistency is also a trait of racism).

      • Re:so... (Score:4, Insightful)

        by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <gameboyrmhNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 19, 2016 @04:11PM (#53516517) Journal

        I'm not sure whether this argument is the most overused strawman in US political discourse, or a widespread symptom of being unable to differentiate racist vs. legitimate criticisms, perhaps coupled with a tendency to use racist criticisms.

        • Re:so... (Score:5, Funny)

          by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @04:31PM (#53516735)

          The problem with crying racist is that you no longer have the ability to discern between real racists and simple political opponents. Apparently, we actually had to come up with a new word to differentiate between the normal right and the racist right, or alt-right. Unfortunately, I've now heard many identifying everyone who voted for Trump as alt-right. So, we're now going to need some sort of control to differentiate between the normal alt-right and the truly racist alt-right.

          I propose "ctrl-alt-right".

          • by jiriw ( 444695 )

            Does that mean the next time we'll need to differentiate again, it will be

            ctrl-alt-Apple-right ?

            Or is that too stigmatizing and should the politically correct term be:

            ctrl-alt-Super key-right ?

            Maybe we can throw in a shift as well...

          • Re:so... (Score:4, Insightful)

            by Mr D from 63 ( 3395377 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @05:14PM (#53517155)

            The problem with crying racist is that you no longer have the ability to discern between real racists and simple political opponents.

            Real racists are the ones who view everything through the lens of race. If you are always looking for it, the mirror is the best place to find it.

    • Re:so... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @03:58PM (#53516355) Journal

      If only they had shown that kind of backbone during the Obama years...about...[domestic] surveillance...

      Perhaps you should shift your history marker another 7 or so years before that.

    • Useful backstory to IBM's thinking:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IBM_and_the_Holocaust [wikipedia.org]

    • Re:so... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @04:25PM (#53516685) Journal
      While I agree that IBM should take a stand against violating civil liberties, Ginni Rometty's letter [documentcloud.org] makes no offer to make such violations. It avoids the issue all together. Instead it offers a list of valuable and generally inoffensive services to the President-Elect.

      It seems to me, that these IBM employee's are mad their company hasn't acted belligerently toward the future President. That would just be uncivil, and bad business. Ms. Rometty has instead been cordial and offered services that are well within the bounds of the the US Constitution.
  • by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @03:49PM (#53516251)

    We support, tolerance, diversity, the development of expertise, and the open exchange of ideas," she wrote in the context of lending material support to a man who won the election by rejecting all of those values.

    Here's a thought - perhaps Trump indeed DOES support all those values, and you are all biting at yet more Fake News that attempts to claim he does not... time and again you find that items that paint Trump as a nazi or what have you are all vastly blown out of proportion and based on people or things Trump does not actually support and has disclaimed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Did Donald Trump advocate for a Muslim registry? Yes or no?

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Yahoo news dreamed that one up. He was asked and refused to answer the question... Which is the only way to handle that. He answered a question that wasn't asked, and wasn't ridiculous and stupid. If he spent all of his time denying that he beat puppies and raped ferrets.. and the headlines every day would be "Trump DENIES yet again that the raped that ferret"... he (nor any other politician) would not have won. It was a trap, set and sprung. It IS FAKE NEWS.
        And, you fell for it because you wanted it t

      • Did Donald Trump advocate for a Muslim registry? Yes or no?

        NO

      • You can read the transcript of the conversation here [go.com]. Like many things related to Trump, it's a confusing and vague conversation, that allows you to draw your own conclusions.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Oh, yes, I'm sure Trump and his Band of Billionaires, including no shortage of climate change deniers, oil men, and foes of civil rights, will treat one and all with all the love and kindness one could expect.

      Here's a hint: Forget the news, forget the endless stream of nonsense coming out of Trump's own mouth, and look at what he's doing. He's leading us straight into a years-long shitfest that will take us decades to dig out of. Just the negative impact on climate is enough reason to be terrified of what

  • No surprise there. (Score:4, Informative)

    by OneHundredAndTen ( 1523865 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @03:50PM (#53516271)
    IBM was happy to collaborate with Hitler. Why not Trump? Or any other despicable national leader? After all, business is business, right, IBM?
    • True. I am just surprised that some IBM employees are shocked to find out their entire corporation is evil. Where did they think all the money was coming from?
  • by CajunArson ( 465943 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @03:50PM (#53516275) Journal

    Where the fuck are all these special-snowflake IBM employees when they have no problem helping their corporate masters commit actual violations of civil liberties in China?

    http://vannevar.blogspot.com/2... [blogspot.com]

    • Surprisingly insightful. You can't pick and choose what you get outraged about.
      • Surprisingly insightful. You can't pick and choose what you get outraged about.

        Of course you can. It's called partisanship and it happens all the time. The Red/Blue Team will always get outraged when the Blue/Red team does something the Red/Blue team did when it was in power, but that was different because they were the ones doing it! For instance, I'm looking forward to the return of the anti-war left, missing since 2008.

    • They were in China (Score:4, Insightful)

      by rsilvergun ( 571051 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @06:07PM (#53517501)
      and India. IBM dumped almost all of it's non-Sales staff except a few researches to work on high profile projects that keep them in the news. IBM has long since switched to being an Indian outsourcer who occasionally does some research as part of a broader marketing push. They said as much around 2008 when they did their last round of layoffs.
  • by 110010001000 ( 697113 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @03:51PM (#53516281) Homepage Journal
    He was shocked that his CEO turned out to be a sociopath? Who woulda thunk that CEO's would be sociopaths?
  • They should read Scott Adams writings about cognitive dissonance and the art of persuasion. This one for example: http://blog.dilbert.com/post/1... [dilbert.com]
  • They are protesting something that will never be created, because when the rhetoric was translated into reality, it was a proposal to reestablish the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System (NSEERS)[1], which was in force through half of President Obama's presidency, and which tracks certain individuals who enter the United States based on country/region of origin and other factors. Useless publicity stunt with commensurate absolutely abysmal coverage by The Intercept.

    See also:

    8 U.S. Code  11

  • Seriously, they can do it for him, just have to find the right ppl.
  • And if it ever passed, how would they feel about the individuals who refused to participate in any projects providing technical backing to cap-n-trade? What about a national gun-owner registry which can be viewed by anyone? Gun ownership is a guaranteed constitutional right just as the right to practice a religion is a guaranteed constitutional right.. IBM is a private company. Refusing to participate in its projects does not make anyone a conscientious-objector employee. It makes them insubordinate em
  • More histrionics (Score:3, Informative)

    by argStyopa ( 232550 ) on Monday December 19, 2016 @04:19PM (#53516623) Journal

    Seriously, how much of your own kool-aide can you drink?

    http://abcnews.go.com/Politics... [go.com]
    (warning, bs autoplaying video)

    "âoePresident-elect Trump has never advocated for any registry or system that tracks individuals based on their religion, and to imply otherwise is completely false," Jason Miller, Communications Director of the Presidential Transition Team, wrote in a statement. "The national registry of foreign visitors from countries with high terrorism activity that was in place during the Bush and Obama Administrations gave intelligence and law enforcement communities additional tools to keep our country safe the President-elect will release his own vetting policies after he is sworn in.""

    The article goes on to illustrate where the idea apparently came from, in a probably-misheard question during a rally.

    From what I can see, a good 50% of the panic the left is feeling over the Trump presidency is being startled by THEIR OWN STRAWMEN.

    • by DerekLyons ( 302214 ) <fairwaterNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday December 19, 2016 @05:17PM (#53517183) Homepage

      The article goes on to illustrate where the idea apparently came from, in a probably-misheard question during a rally.

      The "idea" came in because when repeatedly and directly asked to refute the idea - he hem and hawed and waffled and refused to do so. He may not have directly and openly advocated for such a thing, be he did his very level best to give the impression that he didn't find such violations of civil rights at all unattractive. And this isn't something that happened once, at a rally say, it's something that happened multiple times over a span of days.

      Seriously, how much of your own kool-aide can you drink?

      Someone repeating the propaganda quote rather than addressing the facts and issues raised in the rest of the article (which it doesn't appear you actually read, or understood) should ask that question of the man in the mirror.

  • To help them with the Holocaust and use of Nazi concentration camps.

    So are we saying that trump is worst then that.

    Also IBM build systems for the Japanese internment camps

  • He is, without a doubt, the most successful internet troll of all time. He may be a colossal failure at a number of other things, but he is the troll to which all other trolls will be left to aspire to be for the rest of existence.

    When we recognize this, we ought to wonder if the Muslim Registry is just presented as just another act of trolling. Sure, he has championed a great number of Really Bad Ideas, but this one would be beyond the pale for the overwhelming majority of all people. At least his proposed wall doesn't blatantly fly in the face of any enumerated constitutional rights, but this Muslim Registry inarguably does.

    It's hard to really imagine that he actually wants to do this. He must be trolling us, right?
  • If you are illegal, we want you out. While illegal immigrants from Eastern Europe, I'm looking at you too.

    A lot is said about America being a land of immigrants. It is true. Sadly you are not going to be one of them.

  • > because IBM has purported to espouse diversity and inclusion

    But you see, everyone only purports to espouse that stuff.

  • "I was shocked, of course," Hanley said, "because IBM has purported to espouse diversity and inclusion, and yet here's Ginni Rometty in an unqualified way reaching out to an admin whose electoral success was based on racist programs."

    Is he so naive as to take internal corporate propaganda seriously, as if the most senior management was actually pursuing diversity and inclusion altruistically, and if they were, for any purpose other than cynically as a means to increase profits?

    This guy not only had his bubble burst that IBM leadership weren't really ideologically invested in social justice, but that that they're calculating business leaders willing to go along with just about anything if there's money and long term value in it for IBM.

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