"Don't Be Evil" —Washington Edition

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"Don't Be Evil," famously is the slogan of the world's favorite search engine company, Google. Adhering to that admirable admonition will be a lot harder now that the Googlers have come to the K Street swamps. The New York Times reports that Google has now hired a bunch of DC's top lobbying firms. It's a sad commentary on the state of our republic that it was probably inevitable that a $100 billion company would eventually have to come to DC to spread around some protection money.

Disclosure: I have done reporting for TCSDaily which is owned by one of the lobbying firms, the DCI Group, just retained by Google. The editor, Nick Schulz, is a long time friend whom I trust implicitly.

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  1. On one hand, this makes me sick to my stomach that America is supposed to be a free-market capitalistic economy where enterprise is to be judged solely by the people and not the governmental technocrats.

    Yet I find it mildly disturbing that Google has to REMIND itself constantly not to be evil.

    It seems to suggest someone whose natural mode of operation is indeed “evil” and needs to be constantly told not to do “evil”.

    As a liberatarian, I tend to distrust the government by default, but Google has done some strange things that makes me pause.

    I’m still using my Gmail account and using google for a search engine. I just think this whole “eupohria, geniuses, and do no evil” outfit isn’t exactly the model enterprise that is completly devoid of “evil”. Whatever the hell that word means in the minds of the Google founders.

  2. I’m so happy to see that disclosure I could just sing.

  3. I don’t like the consequences of all the ‘who do you work for’ harassment of Mr. Bailey. When I’m still woozy in the mornings, it’s way too hard to parse the torturous (not to mention tenuous) chains of disclosures.

    If I see a disclosure that refers to ‘this guy my cousin’s roommate knew’, I’m going to stop trying.

  4. WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?!!!!!!!!!

    Let’s just skip the “I don’t know what you’re talking about” bit, Ron Bailey.

    WHO ARE YOU WORKING FOR?!!!!!!!!!

  5. If they don’t hire lobbyists, eventually it becomes “Hmm…big pile of money sitting over there with no powerful friends…” Wasn’t that part of Microsoft’s problems back at the beginning of their antitrust suits? IIRC, they’d never made much of an attempt to cultivate Washington relationships.

  6. It’s a sad commentary on the state of our republic that it was probably inevitable that a $100 billion company would eventually have to come to DC to spread around some protection money.

    I’m pretty up in arms over the DoJ’s search-engine fishing expedition too, but on the balance, the practice of large companies retaining DC lawyers and lobbyists to push back at government doesn’t seem an appreciably worse state of affairs than that laissez-faire golden age of a hundred years ago when labor unions sent lobbyists to DC to try to force an end to the then-acceptable practices of companies beating and shooting uppity workers. As long as there are constituencies with opposing goals, there are going to be lobbyists, whether it’s the investor class vs. labor or internet-search companies vs. anti-porn zealots.

    What’s bad in my book is not that there’s a market for lobbyists or that there are governments to lobby in the first place, but that the cost of entry to seek redress is often so high. Just causes and well-funded causes are sometimes the same thing, but often aren’t.

  7. Tech Central Station is owned by a DC lobbying shop?

    Really?

    Well I’ll be darned.

  8. joe, I was about to sigh and say, “Give it a rest, joe”, then I decided that you are positively rightwing compared to Jersey McJones and amazingdrx. In fact, what are you, some sort of Bushite? 🙂

  9. joe, I was about to sigh and say, “Give it a rest, joe”, then I decided that you are positively rightwing compared to Jersey McJones and amazingdrx. In fact, what are you, some sort of Bushite? 🙂

  10. It’s a sad commentary on the state of our republic that it was probably inevitable that a $100 billion company would eventually have to come to DC to spread around some protection money.

    Unfortunately, what choice does a $100 billion company have, these days? When that much money starts moving around, bad people notice.

    You pay protection, or bad things happen.

  11. Wasn’t that part of Microsoft’s problems back at the beginning of their antitrust suits? IIRC, they’d never made much of an attempt to cultivate Washington relationships.Wasn’t that part of Microsoft’s problems back at the beginning of their antitrust suits? IIRC, they’d never made much of an attempt to cultivate Washington relationships.

    Spot on 110%. And there were even indignant New York Times reporters who complained that Microsoft had no DC presence- that they were ‘above it all’. There’s no winning in this world. None.

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