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  (Source: Getty Images)
Google is a close ally of the President and he's not above plugging it's social network

President Obama is perhaps the most technology-savvy president to date.  While the POTUS (President of the United States) has made plenty of controversial stands [1][2][3] over his presidency, he has made some changes that should be unilaterally welcomed and commended, such as the We the People White House webpage [press release], which allows citizens to create petitions directed at the White House and Congress.

The President has a special love for Google Inc. (GOOG), whom he appointed his official "video secretary".  Aside from broadcasting State of the Union addresses on YouTube, something that would surely give the Founding Fathers cause to chuckle, and pushing legislation via YouTube, he's also gotten into Google+ of late.

Google+ is Google's social network rival to the ubiquitous Facebook.  Unlike the Facebook's privacy-be-you-know-what policies, Google+ focuses on discretely sharing content with select circles of friends.

Today at 5:30 President Obama will host a "hangout" answering questions he's received in the past couple weeks on his YouTube channel.  

Google+ Hangout
A Google+ Hangout [Image Source: webbROI]

The President promises to answer the top rated questions, but the chat will likely provoke controversy, if previous chats on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are any indication.  In those prior sessions some accused the President of dodging the highest rated questions -- many of which were admittedly "tough" -- instead cherry-picking "layup" questions that were easy to answer and/or made him look good.

The President's support of Google also raises some eyebrows given Google's clever use of the "Double Irish" and "Dutch Sandwich" (legal) tax evasion strategies, funneling money through Ireland, the Netherlands and Bermuda, courtesy of federal loopholes, to avoid paying federal income taxes on its profits.  These strategies reportedly saved Google $1B USD in 2011 and cut the company's effective tax rate to 18.8 percent, far less than the standard 35-40 most small businesses pay on earnings.

Google officially raised almost a million dollars for the President's election bid.

This follows in the line of other key corporate friends of the President, such as General Electric Comp. (GE) -- a more extreme tax evader who made $14B USD in profit in 2010, yet received a tax refund of $3.2B USD back from the federal government.  Obama appointed GE CEO Jeff Immelt to lead his jobs board -- which helps decide federal tax policy -- also in 2010.

Obama also appointed John Doerr and (Intel Corp. (INTC) CEO) Paul Otellini to his jobs council -- both of whom are board members at Google.

Google is known for its informal corporate motto "Don't be evil."

Sources: Google+, Bloomberg, CNN



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RE: blah blah blah
By myhipsi on 1/31/2012 10:21:53 AM , Rating: 3
I would like to set the record straight on your points about Ron Paul.

Point 1: He doesn't want to "destroy" the federal reserve. He wants to allow competition in currencies. Right now, the dollar is the only legal tender. He wants to allow gold, silver, etc. legalized (as the constitution states). You should do some research on the Fed. Sure, the intention of it is to smooth out the business cycle and stabilize prices and employment. It not only fails miserably on either of these points (we still get business cycles, inflation is constant, and unemployment is too high), but it actually CAUSES the very things it was designed to prevent, like how it artificially keeps interest rates too low, for too long, which causes the business cycle.

Point 2: He's NOT for legalizing drugs. He's for ending the FEDERAL war on drugs (which is a disaster). States would be responsible for making their own laws, and regulations on drugs. Ending the federal drug war would also save approx. $15 billion a year.

Point 3: Though he argues that the fair tax would be better than the current system, he's never really backed it. He believes the income tax is the most degrading and totalitarian of all possible taxes. Its implementation wrongly suggests that the government owns the lives and labor of the citizens it is supposed to represent. Tellingly, “a heavy progressive or graduated income tax” is Plank #2 of the Communist Manifesto. To provide funding for the federal government, Ron Paul supports excise taxes, non-protectionist tariffs, and massive cuts in spending.

Point 4: He's stated many times that you "just can't round up 20 million illegals and ship them out of the country". But he is for better border security (using the military that is currently protecting borders over seas) and a more efficient and streamlined system for LEGAL immigration.

You say you desire and INDEPENDENT candidate, one who owes their soul to nobody. The closes person that exists right now is RON PAUL without a doubt. The only thing he owes his soul to, is the U.S. CONSTITUTION.


RE: blah blah blah
By MrBlastman on 1/31/2012 11:28:25 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You say you desire and INDEPENDENT candidate, one who owes their soul to nobody. The closes person that exists right now is RON PAUL without a doubt. The only thing he owes his soul to, is the U.S. CONSTITUTION.


I wish I could vote for him. Of all the candidates in the last ten years, I've paid most attention to him, hoping, wanting, searching for a twinkle or spark that I need to ignite my desire to vote for him. He's always fallen short, though, every single time. He's come close on occasion, but sadly there has always been a few nagging points on his platform that have caused me bother.

We haven't had a single perfect candidate in over twenty five years, to be precise. So, to be fair, I look at every candidate and weigh their pros and tally their cons--and thusly compare and contrast them against their peers. Through a net sum process and a bit of abstraction, I come up with whom might be the closest, yet imperfect fit. Paul has yet to come out ahead here. The sad thing is, I've always wanted him to be the one that did.

It is bittersweet in my eyes--yet, I can't compromise. I've made a vow to vote from now on for the candidate that I feel will do the best for America, regardless of partisan squabbles or tilted scales. I vow to remain free of the bickering and incessant see-sawing struggle that taints our current process.


RE: blah blah blah
By VERBW on 1/31/2012 11:42:04 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Point 2: He's NOT for legalizing drugs. He's for ending the FEDERAL war on drugs (which is a disaster). States would be responsible for making their own laws, and regulations on drugs. Ending the federal drug war would also save approx. $15 billion a year.


Great, but then when the overwhelming majority of the states legislate to make drugs illegal anyway, who is going to enforce these laws? The states? They have to pay for that, you know.

The irony is, I'm willing to bet that if this happened, within 20 years' time, someone will say "wouldn't it be so much more efficient if our drug enforcement was centralised?"

Ending the "Federal War" on drugs will by no means end the war on drugs, and there's no guarantee it will cost the country any less.


RE: blah blah blah
By BAFrayd on 1/31/2012 3:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
You sir, have a fundamental misunderstanding of the founded intent of our federal government. What you claim as a "bickering and incessant see-sawing struggle that taints our current process" is EXACTLY what the founders of this country intended.

It was expressly designed to prevent harmony and easy manipulation, and it was NEVER designed to wield such enormous power and influence.


RE: blah blah blah
By MrBlastman on 1/31/2012 5:13:11 PM , Rating: 2
But I don't misunderstand the precepts of our Constitution. Our Government should at a Federal level wield limited power. Problems occur though, when the process halts to a standstill or becomes polluted through special interests.

The decision by our Supreme Court to allow Corporations to legally contribute to presidential campaigns is a travesty. They did this indirectly, however, through blocking the Government from preventing it--which, sadly, has sealed the fate of this issue.

Companies aren't people and their needs are self-serving. Sure, they serve their investors but in the end, the bottom line only matters and be darned at how any of their decisions effect legitimate citizens. Look no further than SOPA and the MPAA lobbying to try and get it passed.

You are sadly oblivious to what is really going on if you think the "process" is working as intended. I can assure you that it is not. It is broken at the core right now.

The only way to "fix" it is to end the two-party system and implement term limits. The only way to do this is... to vote people into office that are not affiliated with the two current parties (i.e. have nothing to lose by being in only a short time).

It isn't quite that simple though, as whoever we put into office might not vote themselves out of a job. We have to take a chance though.


RE: blah blah blah
By Reclaimer77 on 1/31/2012 6:19:48 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
But I don't misunderstand the precepts of our Constitution.


You sure?

quote:
The decision by our Supreme Court to allow Corporations to legally contribute to presidential campaigns is a travesty.


I thought you understood the Constitution? I think the First Amendment is pretty clear. Banning political speech, of all kinds, is Unconstitutional. The Federal Government has absolutely no business getting involved. Regardless of the consequences. It was censorship, plain and simple.

Especially the ban on running TV ads. I don't care what you think, that is purely censorship of a gross nature. Barring a group from using media simply because of their financial status is so un-American it's offensive.

quote:
The only way to "fix" it is to end the two-party system and implement term limits. The only way to do this is... to vote people into office that are not affiliated with the two current parties (i.e. have nothing to lose by being in only a short time).


LOL. You'll just end up with two different dominant parties. Instead of Dem and Rep, you'll have Independents and Libertarians or whatever. Don't you get it? Our political system cannot work without two opposing sides. It's not going to happen.


RE: blah blah blah
By MrBlastman on 1/31/2012 11:20:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I thought you understood the Constitution? I think the First Amendment is pretty clear. Banning political speech, of all kinds, is Unconstitutional. The Federal Government has absolutely no business getting involved. Regardless of the consequences. It was censorship, plain and simple.


I don't agree that a Corporation should be treated the same as a person, thus, their rights to free speech pertaining to certain situations -- i.e. contributions to Government should be limited. I'm sure _most_ Americans right now would agree that many of the problems in Washington are directly caused by Corporations and their influence over our lawmakers.

I think there needs to be a distinction... a clear one between a person and an entity such as a company. I can't just sit back and ignore how much more influence these companies can have due to their much larger pockets than the majority of people.

quote:
Don't you get it? Our political system cannot work without two opposing sides. It's not going to happen.


We need more than two man. Right now people see the only choice as being one or the other which is harmful. They have become "lazy" in accepting there are only two possible outcomes and thus ignore perhaps better candidates just because they aren't with one of the "two" parties. I don't want to get rid of the Republicans and Democrats--what I'd like to see happen is other parties/candidates get fair representation on the news, for instance. As it is right now, they don't--not even close. A big factor of that is money.

Question: How can you argue that a Corporation is a person when:

a. A CEO can make a decision to contribute to politics/campaigns without...
1. Shareholder approval
2. Employee approval

In other words, by proxy the CEO acts on behalf of everyone else's money without an initial vote. This is too much power and too much ability to influence things.


RE: blah blah blah
By Reclaimer77 on 2/1/2012 6:29:08 PM , Rating: 2
I respect your opinion. Just right now, today, it's clear that the Constitution doesn't allow for a distinction between people, and people in groups. The legal term you're objecting to is called "Corporate Personhood". If you want this changed you'll have to amend the Constitution. Which, I believe, some are trying to do as we speak.

I'm not saying it's a perfect situation. I'm not saying that there won't be consequences. I just believe, as does the Supreme Court, that censoring the speech of an entity, regardless of financial status, flew in the face of the First Amendment.

Who decides what is allowed speech and what is not? If we let the Federal Government regulate political speech, no matter HOW noble the intention, we have weakened our most sacred and precious right. Our First right.


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