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View Diary: Wage theft hits software engineers as well as fast food workers (70 comments)

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  •  The rightwing, stealthy side of Silicon Valley... (7+ / 0-)

    ...is alive and well; and, one of the few business sectors contributing significantly more to Dems than GOP'ers in 2012. But, at the same time, the sector's led by folks like leading Libertarian voice Peter Thiel and Mark Zuckerberg, a top supporter of none other than Chris Christie, early on.

    TruthOut has an ugly, incisive, reality-based report on Silicon Valley's AstroTurfing...

    Tech Companies Adopt Astroturf to Get Their (Wicked) Way
    By Toshio Meronek , Truthout | News Analysis
    Sunday, 20 April 2014 00:00

        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.

        "You see groups all the time that clearly aren't grassroots by what a normal person would assume is grassroots," says Robert Maguire, political nonprofits investigator at the Center for Responsive Politics. But tech companies are recent adopters of the strategy as a public relations tool, and their influence is growing…

        …FWD.us: Militarizing Borders and Slashing Wages…
        …

        ..FWD.us doesn't go out of its way to hide the fact that its controlling members are tech industry billionaires, but you could easily be fooled by its current focus of "building a grassroots movement" of ordinary citizens like you and me to pass immigration reform.

        That sounds benign enough, until you learn more about the type of reform FWD.us is pushing for. The group favors a certain type of immigrant: highly-skilled, foreign tech workers who would be cheaper to hire than their American counterparts. Net effect: lower wages for everyone.

        Before directing its focus on immigration reform, the group had made the mistake of campaigning for the Keystone XL pipeline, which turned out to be somewhat unpopular among many of FWD.us' richest members…

    (On that note, it's nice to see Daily Kos putting their money and influence where their mouth is by supporting incumbent Mike Honda against another primary challenge from Ro Khanna in CA-17! Kudos for that!)

    "I always thought if you worked hard enough and tried hard enough, things would work out. I was wrong." --Katharine Graham

    by bobswern on Tue Apr 22, 2014 at 09:37:39 AM PDT

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