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Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth 128

Posted by samzenpus
from the mr.-president-we-seem-to-be-alone dept.
barlevg (2111272) writes "In May 2012, in the midst of an FTC investigation into Google's search practices, the law school at George Mason University in Northern Virginia hosted a conference attended by congressmen, regulators and staffers. The topic: competition, search and social media. What none of the attendees of the conference knew was that Google was pulling many of the strings behind the event, even going so far as to suggest invited speakers. This event, as documented in The Washington Post is just a snapshot of the operations of one of the largest and highest spending lobbying entities in DC, a far cry from the one-man shop it started out as nine years ago, from a company "disdainful" of Washington's "pay-to-play" culture."
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Mr. Schmidt Goes To Washington: A Look Inside Google's Lobbying Behemoth

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 13, 2014 @06:50PM (#46743185)

    Just because you don't take an interest in politics, it doesn't mean that politics won't take an interest in you.

  • by MrBigInThePants (624986) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @07:19PM (#46743335)
    You already have a corporatocracy. Remember that there needs to be a PR/Marketing layer above this to hide this from the plebs - they would not like to overtly toil under such a system.

    But as long as the common livestock never catch wind of it they will happy continue to graze, chew their cud and pick on of the two "different" options presented for their approval every 4 years and things will continue as they have done for decades now. While there ARE differences between the two options, as there must be to maintain the charade, the common ground is vast and contains the very corporatocracy you speak of.

    You see my dear fellow, fascism does not work because even cattle can stampede and it is VERY expensive to maintain and not all that motivating.
    Far better to create the illusion of choice and achieve exactly the same ends (amassing as much of the wealth as possible) without having to pay a large overhead.

    In this regard the US stands as the mjost efficient example of a corporatocracy the world has ever seen.
  • blame Washington (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stenvar (2789879) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @07:26PM (#46743365)

    Washington has set the rules such that companies need to spend vast amounts on lobbying; if they don't, they go out of business, either killed by regulators or torn apart by their competitors using rigged rules in Washington. I'm sure Google is still "disdainful" of how this works, but it doesn't have a choice about whether to participate.

    The way to get companies to spend less money in Washington is to take power away from Washington: fewer laws, fewer regulations, lower federal taxes, less federal spending. But, of course, some of the most vocal critics of lobbying promote just the kinds of policies that lead to the necessity for lobbying.problems.

  • by careysub (976506) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @07:27PM (#46743375)

    We knew the "Don't Be Evil" motto was an ideal that could not withstand the rigors of the modern international marketplace. But how large a portion of "evil" is Google now comfortable with?

  • power honeypot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bussdriver (620565) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @08:54PM (#46743747)

    No, removing power from the democracy is only empowering the same anti-democratic forces that always seek greater power. They will seek power by any means available to them; take away law and order and they'll become war lords. Anything that limits their means to power is going to have to be more powerful than they are; therefore, it'll become a target for acquisition or undermining. Minimal regulations still require a government powerful enough to enforce them and therefore an equally tempting target for the power mad. You CANT avoid the problem by weakening government; any functioning government will be powerful enough to be the primary target for corrupting forces.

    The only solution is to separate powers and limit them to the extent they are stuck in a permanent battle that is evenly matched. This is the basic concept upon which the constitution of the US was created as well as most other constitutions. The flaws and failures come from not properly balancing and separating the powers at play. The obvious flaw in the US system is that it only has 3 branches it limits and it was outside factors that overpowered and functionally destroyed the democracy. Sure, it will be just fine as a republic all the way into oligarchy, plutocracy, fascism and/or dictatorship... but the democracy aspect; the most important part, is dying off.

  • Re:power honeypot (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stenvar (2789879) on Sunday April 13, 2014 @09:37PM (#46743893)

    You CANT avoid the problem by weakening government;

    I don't want to "weaken government", I want to weaken the federal government.

    The only solution is to separate powers and limit them to the extent they are stuck in a permanent battle that is evenly matched. This is the basic concept upon which the constitution of the US was created

    The US Constitution was also created on the concept of a limited federal government, states rights, and local self-determination.

    Sure, it will be just fine as a republic all the way into oligarchy, plutocracy, fascism and/or dictatorship... but the democracy aspect; the most important part, is dying off.

    Yes, it is, and it's people like you who are killing it by arguing that we should give Washington ever more power, knowing full well that it's going to be abused and that Washington is, for practical purposes, unaccountable to voters.

  • by Trax3001BBS (2368736) on Monday April 14, 2014 @12:07AM (#46744465) Homepage Journal
    lobbying is such a sterile word that it's taken in stride, but if another word with the same meaning were to be used, it would take on a different air. like say, influencing.
  • by erikkemperman (252014) on Monday April 14, 2014 @02:46AM (#46744965)

    You misspelled "corruption".

  • by guises (2423402) on Monday April 14, 2014 @04:14AM (#46745287)

    So being for gay rights and anti-creationism is right wing?

    not religiously affiliated - The religious right may get all the press, but that isn't all there is to being right-wing.

    I did read your post about why you picked Gmail - what I'm saying is that your example is not only politically charged, it isn't even an example of the topic at hand. Google did not need to lobby in order to offer Gmail, Google only needed to lobby in order to read peoples' email. This was new at the time, now everyone does it and few of those have privacy policies that are even as good as Google's.

    Merely referencing a bad example wouldn't upset me like this one, but you're using the invasion of privacy as a justification for lobbying. "Oh no," you're saying, "if we didn't have this corrupting influence then no one but us would be reading our personal correspondence. We can't have that, what a horrible person that Liz Figueroa was."

  • by Ash Vince (602485) * on Monday April 14, 2014 @07:06AM (#46745835) Journal

    Well, I see you haven't established that the Koch brothers are actually right wing.

    All the Koch brothers care about is making themselves richer and paying less in tax. They mostly donate case to conservative campaigns and think tanks, that counts as right wing in my book.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/P... [wikipedia.org]

    Also note this bit:

    "Charles also organizes twice yearly meetings[20] with Republican donors.[16]"

    I would have linked directly the the references above but they are pay walled.

    I could not give a crap about the Gmail example, but the fact is that "libertarianism" in the US is just a front, funded by the likes of the Koch brothers (and others) and designed to facilitate a tax regime friendly to the richest 1% of the population. If that does not count as right wing I do not know what does.

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts." -- Bertrand Russell

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