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Google The Almighty Buck United States Politics

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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  • Re:power honeypot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 14, 2014 @10:15AM (#46747665)

    A non-US citizen here. Can you explain to me if Americans in general have an overwhelming sense of state-level identity, local-patriotism, etc.? Rhetorically, is your loyalty to your state and its people greater then your loyalty to your federation? If majority of you are politically self-identified primarily as USA-ans, then it comes as no surprise if country's political center of mass is its federal government. Historically, occasionally your central government had have been protecting its citizens against their local government.

    What I've observed is a shift from the latter to the former. The turning point wasn't so much 9/11, it was actually the election of 2000, and perhaps as far back to the Starr report and Clinton BJ fiasco of 1998-9.

    If you ask an American what country they're from, they'll say USA. If you ask an American what it means to be an American, you'll get the same words about freedom, but they'll mean different things based on which part of America you're in.

    Red states take freedom of religion to mean the institution of a state religion. The Second Amendment is an absolute. Blue states take the First and Fourth more seriously, and many would just as soon do away with the Second. Etc.

    The election of 2000 was a statistical tie. There is experimental error in any measuring process, and by random chance, we had an election where the results in one region (Florida) were both within the limits of observational error and determined the outcome. We spent weeks harping over what the right thing to do was... and when that failed, we spent weeks collectively convincing ourselves that "the right thing to do" was "the thing that made our guy more likely to win."

    There's always been short term gain available in whipping up party loyalty to a frenzy, but once we'd crossed the boundary from "what's the right way to handle this" to "the way that makes my guy more likely to win", there was no turning back.

    There are no more moderates in Congress [rollcall.com]. There is no incentive for a moderate to enter the political process, because moderates are now unelectable. The radicalization of the US electorate suits the owners of both the red and blue factions just fine, because having only firebrands as candidates disincentivizes moderates from even voting.

    So to answer your question - Americans still identify with the federal government on their passport - but they are no longer one nation, indivisible. They live in nations, one red, one blue, largely broken out by geographical lines: blue on the coasts, red in the middle and strong red in the southeast. They even seem to know that this tends to end poorly, yet they are either so blinded by partisanism or have acquired learned helplnessness to such a degree that they no longer care to do anything about it.

"In the face of entropy and nothingness, you kind of have to pretend it's not there if you want to keep writing good code." -- Karl Lehenbauer

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