Truthout

  • Tech Companies Adopt Astroturf to Get Their (Wicked) Way

    By Toshio Meronek , Truthout | News Analysis

    A May 2013 protest over Mark Zuckerberg's support of FWD.us and Keystone XL outside of Facebook's world headquarters, in Menlo Park, California.A May 2013 protest over Mark Zuckerberg's support of FWD.us and Keystone XL outside of Facebook's world headquarters, in Menlo Park, California. (Photo: 350.org)In 2013, the 10 biggest tech companies upped their spending on lobbying by 16 percent over the previous year. Companies like Amazon, Google and IBM spent far more than most pharmaceutical firms, the National Rifle Association, RJ Reynolds Tobacco, and others that we tend to associate with trying to control the conversation in Washington DC. And just like these other lobbiers, tech megacorps are casting a lot of their money toward causes that increase social and economic inequality, like pushing for cheaper labor and tax breaks for the richest of the rich.

    To achieve these goals, tech corporations have begun embracing a strategy that is widely known as "astroturfing": Lobbying in a sneaky, roundabout fashion, by setting up their own faux-grassroots organizations. Executives at tech's largest companies, like Facebook, LinkedIn and Microsoft spend millions on lobbying indirectly through nonprofit groups that promote a grassroots image, but are in reality the tentacles of corporate interests that are just trying to forward their own agendas.

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  • The Underground Railroad Was One of America's First Co-Ops: A Black History Tour of Cooperative Economics

    The Underground Railroad Was One of America's First Co-Ops: A Black History Tour of Cooperative Economics

    By Laura Flanders, Yes! Magazine | Video Report

    Cooperative economics and civil rights don't often appear together in history books, but they should. From the mutual aid societies that bought enslaved people's freedom to the underground railroad network that brought endangered blacks to the north, cooperative structures were key to evading white supremacy. And there was vicious backlash when black co-ops threatened the status quo.

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  • Paul Krugman: What the 1% Don't Want You to Know

    Paul Krugman: What the 1% Don't Want You to Know

    By Bill Moyers, Moyers & Company | Video Report

    A new book that’s the talk of academia and the media, Capital in the Twenty-First Century by Thomas Piketty, a 42-year-old who teaches at the Paris School of Economics, shows that two-thirds of America's increase in income inequality over the past four decades is the result of steep raises given to the country’s highest earners.... Bill Moyers talks with Nobel Prize-winning economist and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, about Piketty's "magnificent" new book.

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