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Google's Science Fellows Challenge the Company's Fund-Raising For Senator Inhofe 140

Posted by samzenpus
from the keep-your-friends-close dept.
Lasrick writes "At the Dot Earth blog in the NY Times, 'Big companies have many, and sometimes conflicting, interests, as a spokesperson for Google tried to explain to the environmental blogger Brian Merchant this way: “[W]hile we disagree on climate change policy, we share an interest with Senator Inhofe in the employees and data center we have in Oklahoma.” Now the Web giant is facing fresh criticism, this time in an open letter from 17 scientists and policy researchers who were invited to Google’s Silicon Valley headquarters back in 2011 to explore ways to improve climate science communication....'"
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Google's Science Fellows Challenge the Company's Fund-Raising For Senator Inhofe

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  • Wha if (Score:5, Interesting)

    by WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) on Friday August 02, 2013 @08:12AM (#44455137)

    What if their reasoning goes like this: Inhofe is dangerous. We cannot now influence Inhofe. If Inhofe takes our money, then Inhofe will be, in part, dependent upon us. If we can create a financial dependency between Inhofe and his constituents, we can use that dependency to influence Inhofe. We can threaten to withdraw jobs, close plants, relocate.

    That is what most people complain corporations do, right? That is the source of their power along with campaign contributions. It seems to work, or at least everyone bitches about it as though is does work. I believe it works.

    So....

    What good is a purity-play if it doesn't get you what you need- influence?

    I don't know this is their thinking. It could very well be their thinking. Note my signature and check my last posts if you think I have priorities other than climate change abatement or am shilling for anyone. I am just a person looking to deal with reality in any way that is effective.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That would be nice.

      I blame the ignorant people who elect him into office - time and time again.

      But, our elected officials reflect the Voting public.

      Gerrymandering?

      Ask yourself why does it work?

      During the last Presidential election, I had a wonderful time observing my neighbors here in the Bible Belt.

      First, you need to understand, if you are not a member of their particular Christian Sect, you are NOT a Christian - like Catholics and Mormons are not Christian in their eyes.

      BUT, given the choice between O

      • Re:Wha if (Score:5, Insightful)

        by rolfwind (528248) on Friday August 02, 2013 @08:28AM (#44455189)

        Corporations and their funds should not be allowed to give or fundraise for politicians period. Only private citizens should be allowed to do either. It should not be a tax deduction either. It would fix a lot of problems.

        • Corporations and their funds should not be allowed to give or fundraise for politicians period. Only private citizens should be allowed to do either.

          Corporations are run by people. You OK with telling a CEO "youre not allowed to donate money"? Because that seems problematic.

          • Re:Wha if (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Bucc5062 (856482) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {2605ccub}> on Friday August 02, 2013 @09:34AM (#44455643)

            I believe he said "Corporations and their funds". Certain a CEO is a private citizen and can do what he/she will with their own money. Perhaps the point is that it is not right for a CEO to use the power and profit of a Corporation to influence votes. If they can pull millions of dollars out of their own (deep) pockets then fine, though they do run up against campaign finance laws. Corporations can now contribute with no caps and thus play a huge part in how a campaign plays out.

          • Romney is that you? Hey jackass, until Citizens United corporations were not allowed to donate directly to campaigns. It was law on the books for over 100 years. might want to do some research first.
            • by Sarius64 (880298)
              Because union thugs never hijacked the dues of thousands of members to pay off their political whores. Nevah.
          • by morgauxo (974071)

            Out of his own bank acount or out of the corporation's?

          • by sjames (1099)

            I'm OK with telling him he is not allowed to donate other people's money. if it comes out of his own personal funds, that's fine.

          • by Baki (72515)

            Corporations are no democracies, at least they're not required to be so by law. So one "dictator", e.g. the CEO or the owner, decides "for everyone" to influence politics in a certain direction.

            This destroys the "one man one vote" basic principle of democracy.

        • Does that include unions? Does that include groups like The Sierra Club?

          • So now you're saying you are against lobbyists...
          • by asylumx (881307)
            IMO, yes, unions too. The individuals in the union are welcome to donate directly to the candidate if they wish to, but the union shouldn't be donating union funds to political candidates.
          • by sjames (1099)

            I would say all of the above and more. If any of those groups want to request that people make contributions and even if they want to say who convinced them it was the right thing to do, fine so long as there is no coercion of any kind involved. Admittedly that leaves a grey area that needs better definition.

        • by superwiz (655733)
          I would agree, as long as unions weren't allowed to donate, either. Basically, the principle should be that you can't donate the money that you administer on someone else's behalf (whether as a corporate officer nor as a union leader). Voting is an expression of will. You can't express someone else's will, so you shouldn't be able to influence elections on someone else's behalf. Yes, yes, union reps are elected, but so are corporate officers. It just makes them surrogates. But if we establish the princ
      • by Type44Q (1233630)

        I blame the ignorant people who elect him into office

        What, here in Oklahoma?! Nah...

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Rockoon (1252108)
      The reasoning is likely much more simple than that:

      One American Senator is completely meaningless and will continue to be meaningless with regards to "Climate Change," however one American Senator can be quite meaningful with regards to our business operations in his district.

      Look folks, China is in the #1 spot emitting ~25% of the worlds CO2, and its still a god damned developing nation (about half of the people in China are still subsistence farming.) There is no chance that reducing CO2 emissions her
      • by Anonymous Coward

        There is no chance that reducing CO2 emissions here is going to mean anything, ever.

        Ah, there's the attitude of progress!

        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          Ah, there's the attitude of progress!

          Ah, the old "only one way towards progress now let me dictate it" argument.

          If only Oklahoma's 1st district had the right Senator, for then we could force China to not be on track to producing half of the worlds CO2 emissions by 2050.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Ah, the old "only one way towards progress now let me dictate it" argument.

            How the hell did you manage to get that from my post? All I am doing is pointing out that your post reads like "we cannot significantly do something, so why bother?". I make no claim as to the "right" approach, or even a right approach, only that yours is a wrong approach.

      • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Ah, I see that you're now currently at #3 of the hierarchy of global warming denial

        #1 Global warming isn't happening
        #2 Global warming is happening, but it’s not caused by humanity - so we don’t have to do anything.
        #3 Global warming is happening, it is caused by humanity, but China and India aren't doing anything - so we don’t have to do anything.
        #4 Global warming is happening, it is caused by humanity, but even if China and India do something it’s too late for us to do anything and i

      • Re:Wha if (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Nemyst (1383049) on Friday August 02, 2013 @09:20AM (#44455505) Homepage
        Yes, because going "You first!" is sure going to convince China, India and others to cut their own level of life so that we may preserve our own.
      • There is no chance that reducing CO2 emissions here is going to mean anything, ever.

        When a Watt of energy from wind or solar costs significantly less than a Watt of energy from coal, oil, or gas emissions will plummet. When a battery has higher effective energy density than gasoline, emissions will plummet. The problem is thinking you can come up with treaties and laws to tackle the problem, the thing about agreements like that is that the more everyone sticks to them the more there is to be gained by being the one who cheats. If you want to fix it, you have to improve the tech so that

        • by morgauxo (974071)

          I don't see that happening. Not unless it's because the fossil fuels are used up to the point of rarity.

          • This is also an outcome (and the most likely one).
            • by morgauxo (974071)

              Nope. Running out of crude? Maybe. That just means more shale and oil sands. Yup... even more polution than what is mostly used today! But.. still cheaper than the alternatives and so that's what people will burn.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by evendiagram (2789803)

        Look folks, China is in the #1 spot emitting ~25% of the worlds CO2, and its still a god damned developing nation (about half of the people in China are still subsistence farming.) There is no chance that reducing CO2 emissions here is going to mean anything, ever.

        It's really easy to absolve yourself of any responsibility with statements like this. Perhaps looking at your country's contribution per capita [worldbank.org] would be more helpful.

      • Re:Wha if (Score:4, Interesting)

        by interkin3tic (1469267) on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:45AM (#44456317)
        If Inhofe denies the consensus that climate change is real and is willing to screw over the future for his fossil-fuel industry customers, he's probably basing other policy decisions not on utilitarian principles but on self-interest.

        For instance, he voted against raising the debt ceiling. I'm no economist, and it's a matter of opinion (or crystal balls) as to whether the cuts the republicans are trying to get as ransom are a good idea or not, but based on his position on climate change, that really makes me suspect he'd tank the economy in an attempt to get tax cuts for his rich friends.

        Or worse, he's one of a disturbing number of representatives who seem to be religiously conservative, who ignores reality when it disagrees with his worldview. That can be more dangerous than simple greed in any numbers, since it can't be reasoned with.

        Anyway, as far as China, it's less likely that China will reduce their emissions until it's financially advantageous if we're still pumping out carbon like there's no tomorrow, and Inhofe is yet another barrier to changing that.
      • Re:Wha if (Score:5, Informative)

        by jfengel (409917) on Friday August 02, 2013 @12:23PM (#44457451) Homepage Journal

        Unfortunately, one senator is NOT completely meaningless. Inhofe isn't just a Senator. He's the ranking minority member of the Committee on Environment and Public Works. That means he has enormous say in any legislation on the environment. If the Senate changes hands, he becomes the chairman of that committee, and has the power to singlehandedly stop any legislation to do anything about climate change. He would also have significant power to introduce legislation to dismantle any regulatory framework, and the ability to hassle executive branch agencies with subpoenas (and has shown a willingness to use it).

        The committee structure of the US Congress puts enormous power in the hands of a few individuals. And the ones with the biggest axes to grind try to end up in prominent positions: the House Committee on Science and Technology is packed with people who aren't just climate change denialists, but creationists to boot.

    • LMO...so you are defending Apple's practices. Thanks I was waiting for the Google fanboys to wise up and understand Google is a CORPORATION and as a CORPORATION will do ANYTHING for their bottom line.
    • "Denier = Terrorist" - seriously?
      • How many people are going to die because deniers are effectively shouting "no fire" in a proven-to-be burning theater?

        Denier == terrorist.

    • by yoghurt (2090)

      The donors ARE the constituents. Voters are just chumps to be exploited. The problem with giving Inhofe some money is that other monied interests are giving him much more money. Inhofe is going to drop Google in a New York minute if it were to hurt his supply from Exxon/Mobile &c.

  • lolwut? (Score:4, Informative)

    by girlintraining (1395911) on Friday August 02, 2013 @08:21AM (#44455163)

    this time in an open letter from 17 scientists and policy researchers [...] to explore ways to improve climate science communication....

    Yeah, because improved communication is the problem, not people shoving their fingers in their ear and going "glory glory halleluja!" If only there was some scientific explanation [wikipedia.org] for behavior like this. Anyway, the solution is simple: Better education, not better 'communication'. A better educated population is more likely to use science, reason, and excercise critical thinking in response to new information, than an uneducated one. Ah, what's the going rate of a college education these days?

    Oh. Right.

  • So when Google/MS/etc. etc. all were heaping money on for the pro-gay marriage debate why was protest by company employees not allowed while this is seen as being a "moral' thing to do?

    I'm not taking a position either way on either topic, I'm just pointing out that lots of people on this site and in general have very blinkered views where paying money to support the "correct" politicians is perfectly fine while paying money to support the "incorrect" politicians should somehow be illegal.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Xest (935314)

      "So when Google/MS/etc. etc. all were heaping money on for the pro-gay marriage debate why was protest by company employees not allowed while this is seen as being a "moral' thing to do?"

      Was it not allowed or is it simply that Google employees are smart enough to realise that laws supporting equal rights for gay people are as important as equal rights for women and equal rights for people of different race and that only bigoted idiots take issue with them?

      "I'm not taking a position either way on either topi

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Rockoon (1252108)
        ..by "equal rights" you seem to actually mean "inclusion into the special rights club that all non-married people are still excluded from."

        Either support the availability of all of the special rights that married people have to all unmarried people also, or stop calling it "equal rights."

        Basically, stop lying. We understand that the phrase "equal rights" has powerful connotations that automatically get a large group of drones to stand with you, but its still a fucking lie.
        • What do you think about the term "marriage equality?"

          • by Rockoon (1252108)
            Don't see a problem with it. What do you think of the phrase "hey government, get the fuck out of my marriage!"
            • You do realize marriage is a legal contract....
            • by Sique (173459)
              If the government "gets out of marriage", then it just means that marriage has no legal meaning, no consequences, no rights and no responsibilities. If that is what you want, then I'm ok with it.
        • ..by "equal rights" you seem to actually mean "inclusion into the special rights club that all non-married people are still excluded from." Either support the availability of all of the special rights that married people have to all unmarried people also, or stop calling it "equal rights."

          This doesn't follow logic at all. The concept that marriage has certain "special rights" both ignores the concept that it also has certain responsibilities that unmarried people don't have to deal with, and ignores the idea that (in a perfect world) anyone is free to enter into marriage and free to leave it. Your argument makes about as much sense as getting mad that people can incorporate a company and get into some "special rights club" that unincorporated people don't enjoy. It may be technically ac

        • by Xest (935314)

          I'm not talking about special treatment for being married, that's country specific so pointless to talk about as if tax breaks for being married or whatever are some inherent trait of marriage everywhere - they're not.

          By equal rights I'm referring to the ability to marry someone you love. Currently only gay people are denied that right.

          If you jumped off your ethnocentric horse of American marriage benefits for a moment you'd realise that there is an underlying equality issue there that's far more important

        • ..by "equal rights" you seem to actually mean "inclusion into the special rights club that all non-married people are still excluded from."

          Well, no.

          Equal rights to marry the person they want to marry.

          Gay people don't get to be "included into the special rights club" if they don't marry.

    • You new here? Moderation works like this:

      if(Classify(Character.Politics) == LEFTISH_LIBERAL_WORLD_VIEW)
      {
      Character.Mod++;
      }
      else
      {
      Character.Mod--;
      }

      • by Bucc5062 (856482)

        or we could look at it this way

        Dim Character as new Moderator
        Dim Post as new Message

        if Character.GetType().Name = global.LEFTISH_LIBERAL_WORLD_VIEW then
                Post.Mod += 1
        else
                Post.Mod -= 1
        end if
        Post.Update
        Character.Dispose()

        I've now blinded the eyes of most the /.'ers here (if they can even read it).

      • by asylumx (881307)
        They must disable this logic when the article is about gun control, eh?
        • I don't know. I come from a country with very strict gun control.
          • by asylumx (881307)
            In the US, the liberal worldview typically includes a fairly gun-control stance, yet most /.ers typically seem to be against gun control - which falls more in line with the conservative worldview here.
            • by Khashishi (775369)

              I think you are confusing the liberal worldview with the Democratic party. There's plenty of /. posts trashing both the Democrats and Republicans, and it seems a large number (of the more vocal /.ers) are more libertarian or anarchist leaning.

    • Wow you have no freakin clue do you. So basically you want people to bring a knife to a gun fight. So people should be principled and not fight back when someone is smacking them around. Is that your point Potsy?

      What you fail to grasp is people are trying to change the campaign finance laws...HOWEVER, at the same time, they will use the means that are available to them until such a time as they are changed.
    • by Khashishi (775369)

      Just because it's wrong doesn't mean I'm gonna fight it. The founding fathers recognized that we're all a bunch of corrupt motherfuckers, and that's why we need checks and balances. You do something wrong that I don't support; I'll fight you. You do something wrong that I support; I'll let someone else fight you. That's the real world.

  • by stenvar (2789879) on Friday August 02, 2013 @08:32AM (#44455209)

    It's fine for some group of scientists to point out how they believe Imhofe is wrong. But calling on companies to blacklist any politician who doesn't agree with their position goes way too far.

    In fact, a company that really is interested in good corporate citizenship should spread its money and influence around so that opposing views are heard.

    • by EmagGeek (574360)

      Indeed. Scientists are scientists. These people are politicians that claim to be scientists.

    • by TapeCutter (624760) on Friday August 02, 2013 @09:14AM (#44455459) Journal
      Two points.
      1, Science is a matter of evidence, not a matter of belief.
      2. To have an opposing view, one must first agree there is such a thing as 'reality'.
      • by Sarius64 (880298)
        I'll remember that the next time some fucking idiot named Gore touts consensus.
      • by stenvar (2789879)

        1, Science is a matter of evidence, not a matter of belief.

        Quite right. But policy is a matter of values, decisions, and tradeoffs. The error here is with scientists trying to impose their political choices on everybody else, and misusing their scientific credentials to do so.

      • Exactly, which is why anybody touting consensus as having anything to do with science should leave the discussion.

        [I do believe this is the first time I've ever agreed with tapecutter.]

    • LMOL opposing view to science...nice...
    • by Khashishi (775369)

      Bribery is ok as long as it is spread around to everybody?

      • by stenvar (2789879)

        I don't see any "bribery" involved here. Politicians need political contributions, otherwise only the very wealthy could run. Would you prefer that? And if politicians get political contributions, then isn't it better if those are "spread around" and not tied slavishly to specific political positions?

  • Speaking of improved communication, where's a link to this letter?

  • In real, grownup life (ie not "ivory tower academia") we all spend time working every day with people who may or may not PRECISELY agree with everything we believe.

    The fact is that Senator Inhofe can be useful to Google in a number of contexts unrelated to either of their positions on climate change.

    I have friends that are both Christians and Atheists, am I too supposed to refuse to associate with one group or the other based on which side of that fence I personally stand on?

    The sort of zealotry that inform

    • Kind of depends if your friends discriminate against you based on their beliefs..doesn't it...
    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      What have you been smoking? You can never change your opinions. You can never give in to the other side. And you can never ever ever refer to people you disagree with as anything other than idiotic, terroristic fear-mongers.
  • Do they cancel each other out?

  • by evilRhino (638506) on Friday August 02, 2013 @10:22AM (#44456067)
    Government representatives are supposed to represent their constituents, not multinational corporations [wolf-pac.com]. Make it illegal for foreign entities to fund domestic campaigns and we can avoid these conflicts.
  • by ThatsNotPudding (1045640) on Friday August 02, 2013 @01:08PM (#44458133)
    Don't build anything in states that promise zero business taxes and allow no-benefit, slave-wage jobs.

    Not that hard if you a functioning human soul.
    • by superwiz (655733)

      Don't build anything in states that promise zero business taxes. Not that hard if you a functioning human soul.

      Aha. Because kowtowing to a government is what makes a person "moral". Please, go away. Despite the circle jerk that you and your pretend "friends" live in, you are not a good person. You are a tool. You and the people like you are responsible for the "society's ills" (that's how you ass holes put it, right?). You promote incompetence and waste. Its eventual inevitable results are waste and starvation.

      allow no-benefit, slave-wage jobs

      Let me fix that for you:

      "allow jobs"

      See: brief and to the point. You could have saved yourself so

  • ...until their profits become impacted. Purely typical for a capitalist enterprise. Google's credo should be, 'We're not evil, as long as it doesn't cost us anything.'

I judge a religion as being good or bad based on whether its adherents become better people as a result of practicing it. - Joe Mullally, computer salesman

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