There are lots of stories lurking behind Google, many not good. They are a behemoth, a billionaire predator, but most of “us” think of them as “our” billionaire predator because (a) they’re Silicon Valley–based, and (b) they opposed SOPA & PIPA.
But don’t be fooled. At some point I’ll have time to peel that onion, and there’s rot inside it.
For now though, just a taste. This story reveals the nexus intersect of NeoLiberal Barack Obama; the faux–consumer-centric Federal Trade Commission (their supposed job is to police the anti-trust borders); the billionaires behind growing dinosaur Google, and … the fabulous Koch Bros.
■ Let’s start with the news, from Chris O’Brien, a tech columnist for the San Jose Mercury News (my emphases everywhere and some paragraph violence):
Obama FTC Nominee Joshua Wright Has Ties To Google
President Obama announced Monday that he had nominated George Mason University professor Joshua Wright for the U.S. Federal and Trade Commission. Wright has been selected to replace a Republican on the committee, and as such, it will come as no surprise that Wright has a long track record of advocating against anti-trust enforcement and the heavy hand of government.
But what seems to be overlooked in much of the coverage of his selection is that Wright has a history of receiving funding for his work from groups supported by Google. And of course, as we know, Google has had some ongoing tussles with the FTC, and will likely have more down the road.
I first came across Wright’s name earlier this year as part of research for a column I wrote examining the various ways Google and Microsoft sought to engage third parties such as lawyers, pundits, academics, and communications firms, to influence public opinion and policy. There is little requirement to disclose the money that goes toward wielding this soft influence.
I get it. Wright hates the “heavy hand of government” unless he can wield it to benefit his paymasters.
So first take-away — Wright is Google’s man on the FTC. Great place to have a “man” (paid retainer) if you have once and future business with this supposed anti-trust minder.
Remember, Obama put him there. Unless this is just heavy senatorial horsetrading — and remember, Obama’s pretty much on board with this big-donor stuff already — can you guess the payout? (Think campaign; then think Legacy Library donor. Then ask — is Obama a retainer as well? Sorry, just being a literalist. Look up retainer; it does have a meaning.)
■ Now for the George Mason “University” side — it’s a Koch Bros Joint. Desmogblog (a nice site to keep in rotation, by the way) has the goods:
Koch and George Mason University
Funding and Connections
Since 1985, George Mason University (GMU), and its associated institutes and centers, has received more funding from the Koch Family Charitable Foundations than any other organization–a total of $29,604,354. The George Mason University Foundation has received the most funding, $20,297,143, while the Institute for Humane Studies has been directly given $3,111,457, the Mercatus Center $1,442,000, and George Mason University itself has received $4,753,754.
In addition to financial ties, Koch also has personnel involved with the university. Richard Fink, the vice president of Koch Industries, Inc., and the former president of the Charles G. Koch Foundation and the Claude R. Lambe Foundation, serves on the board of directors of the George Mason University Foundation and the Mercatus Center.
Fink’s connection to George Mason University is strong. Besides teaching at the university from 1980-1986, Fink has also served on a number of boards at the university including the Institute for Humane Studies and the Center for the Study of Public Choice, the Board of Visitors, and the Student Affairs Committee.
(If you’re DC-based, did you notice that the Koch Bros are touted on the Mall as funding Smithsonian stuff? Add in Nova and it’s a great sludge PR campaign: “Chas & David Koch: you know, the science guys.”)
So GMU and Joshua Wright are Koch-connected. If approved (foregone, he’s a Republican), Wright is Obama’s Google’s man on the FTC.
Interesting club they have (that you’re not a part of).
Barack Obama – Federal Trade Commission – Joshua Wright – Google Inc. – George Mason “University” – Koch Brothers – Keystone Pipeline – (Barack Obama Legacy Library).
Our Betters; they run the world for them and pretend it’s for us. How thoughtful of them (us, to keep them in power).
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