Tag Archives | Lobbyists

Cornel West has already destroyed it again — This time at Harvard

With the month of April not yet over, once again Cornel West has proven that he is one of the contending voices in America.

After a stunning 20-minute speech filmed in a Manhattan church at the beginning of this month, which played prelude to another public address and subsequent march against police violence and the prison industrial complex (organized by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network), he has now lent his voice to a weeklong protest called Heat Week that has been occurring at Harvard University. So, after temporarily shutting down the Brooklyn Bridge, he went north where students launched the Divest Harvard campaign, as a call for the Ivy League University to unalign itself with fossil fuel interests. It turns out a few million dollars are tangled up in Harvard from coal, oil, and gas companies.

On the students’ website they’ve posted calls to:

  • immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies
  • immediately divest direct holdings (currently $19.6 million) from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies
  • divest indirect holdings in the top 200 fossil fuel companies within 5 years, and reinvest in socially responsible funds.
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Google is the biggest corporate lobbyist in America now, says new Public Citizen report

Google_logo

via Pando:

I’ve been in Boston all week. I had to tell my mother where I was, but not Google. Its seamlessness in switching up my Google ad results, changing its suggestions to me of places to visit and ads to click on, was instantaneous.

Google knew where I was going, as I was making the trip. We’re used to this by now. It’s justified under the umbrella of modern convenience. But should it be?

This morning, a new Public Citizen report, “Mission Creep-y: Google is Quietly Becoming One of the Nation’s Most Powerful Political Forces While Expanding Its Information-Collecting Empire” came across my desk. It doesn’t break news. But it is an exhausting catalog of Google’s powerful information gathering apparatus, its missteps, and its massive social ambition.

When you put the isolated pieces together, it can kind of make you choke on your breakfast.

Read More: http://pando.com/2014/11/13/google-is-the-biggest-corporate-lobbyist-in-america-now-says-new-public-citizen-report/

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“Pay 2 Play” – Watch it now!

The time is here! You can now stream Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes for $4 or download the film for $10. Get ready for election day (Tuesday) with a film that exposes America’s “pay to play” political process.

If our political system is like a game of Monopoly, how can outsiders have a voice when only money speaks? John Ennis documents comical corruption, follows political newcomers, and uncovers intrigue in this colorful journey that connects the dots of Big Money in our ever-challenging election process.

You can purchase the film through the trailer below! (If you’re renting, the rental period lasts for 48 hours.)

Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes from disinformation on Vimeo.

“He tells his story with humor and the film is an empowering call to action” — Cinema Assassin

“Full of energy and intelligence and a heartfelt and necessary message…We can only laugh — and hope.

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“Pay 2 Play” Filmmaker Wins #MAYDAYin30 Video Contest

John Wellington Ennis, the filmmaker of Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes (available VOD 11/1), placed first in the “General Issue” category of Mayday’s “Money in Politics Video Contest.” Check it out here.

From the MAYDAY.US site:

How the contest works

Inspired by MoveOn’s “Bush in 30 seconds” video ad contest from a decade ago, we’re asking citizens to create 30-second video ads that could be aired on national TV. Our all-star panel of judges – George Takei, Jason Alexander, Shepard Fairey, Zephyr Teachout, Marianne Williamson, Baratunde Thurston, Anna Galland and Cenk Uygur – will review the top entries and select the winners. 

We are excited to work on this contest in partnership with our friends at MoveOn.org, and with support from partners such as PCCC and Rootstrikers.

You can see the other contestant videos here.

 

ALSO: Don’t miss the worldwide digital release of Pay 2 Play on November 1st on our site!

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Playing Monopoly With Our Lives

By Mike Fleming via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

By Mike Fleming via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

In all likelihood, when you were little, you played America’s best-selling board game, Monopoly. The colorful money, antique tokens, and cartoon old man let us pretend to be important, to feel successful, to realize the American Dream of prosperity. This childhood memory becomes something parents share with their children, growing into a cultural touchstone spanning generations.

Perhaps it is the warm memories of playing with siblings that obscures what the game’s objectives are, how it is played, and the lessons it imparts. For one, there is the object of the game itself, plainly stated: The winner is the last player left in the game, having driven their opponents into bankruptcy.

Just recently, Bank of America agreed to the largest court settlement in history: $16 billion with the Department of Justice in a wide-ranging lawsuit over the bank’s collateralized debt schemes. Do you think that the executives at Bank of America that engineered these schemes believed that robbing their customers was okay because it meant they were getting ahead by bankrupting others?… Read the rest

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Greenhouse: Browser App Shows Who’s Funding Politicians

Example

Example

I’ve already downloaded it myself.

via Alternet:

While it’s easy and almost safe to assume that most of today’s politicians take large donations from dubious corporate interests—given the fact that we live in an oligarchy and all—inquiring minds still want to keep track of who’s taking money from big oil, big pharma, big defense contractors, you name it.

Seattle teenager Nick Rubin recently made keeping track of the money trail a whole lot easier with his creation  Greenhouse, a browser plug-in that operates under the motto “Some are red. Some are blue. All are green.” (Get it? Green House?) His website describes Greenhouse like this: “A free browser extension for Chrome Firefox, and Safari that exposes the role money plays in Congress. Displays on any web page detailed campaign contribution data for every Senator and Representative, including total amount received and breakdown by industry and by size of donation.

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Google Is Now Pouring Money Into Far-Right Wing Organizations

google earthPR Watch notes that Google’s political activities don’t necessarily match up with the views held by its workers:

Google, the tech giant supposedly guided by its “don’t be evil” motto, has been funding a growing list of groups advancing the agenda of the Koch brothers.

Organizations that received “substantial” funding from Google for the first time over the past year include Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform, the Federalist Society, the American Conservative Union (best known for its CPAC conference), and the political arm of the Heritage Foundation that led the charge to shut down the government over the Affordable Care Act: Heritage Action.

In 2013, Google also funded the corporate lobby group, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), although that group is not listed as receiving “substantial” funding in the list published by Google.

What Google considers “substantial” is not explained — no dollar amounts are given — but the language suggests significant investments from Google and, with a stock value of $330 billion, Google has considerably deep pockets.

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The 2005 Bankruptcy Bill: Knowing a Financial Crisis Was Imminent, Banks Lobbied Government to Pass Laws to Preserve Their Wealth

via chycho

bankruptcy

Our government representatives would like us to believe that the subprime mortgage crisis (2, 3, 4, 5) could not have been predicted. The truth is, the collapse was expected and authorities were well aware that crimes were being committed.


I. Introduction

It is said that if you want to find the corrupt, follow the money. This catchphrase, however, cannot be used as a preventative measure; it can only be used in retrospect to punish perpetrators of a crime. It does very little to protect us from predators. This is unfortunate when applied to our current crony capitalistic system; a wrong decision in our personal finances can mean the difference between living a life of debt servitude or one of freedom.

In our current centralized economic system, the best way to avoid pitfalls and preserve wealth, improving lifestyle, is to pay close attention to changes in laws and be mindful of their implications.… Read the rest

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