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First POST: Oligarchs for a Little Less Corruption

BY Micah L. Sifry | Monday, April 21 2014

Oligarchs For a Little Less Corruption

  • Jamie Johnson, a scion of the Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical giant, "reports" for The New York Times' Style Section (!) on a recent closed-to-the-media summit of young American billionaires, the children of some of the country's great oligarchs. They were discussing "collaborations between the [Obama] administration and philanthropists," in the words of Thomas Kalil, the deputy director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy, who organized the meeting.

  • About that story, Paul Krugman comments, "Yes, Democrats pay a lot of attention to plutocrats….but it's quite wrong to say that the parties' behavior in office is the same."

  • Alexander Burns and Alex Byers report on Sean Parker's growing foray into national politics. “He’s got political views on various topics but his main agenda is sort of making democracy more modern, less corrupt,” VC Ben Horowitz says.

  • Here's Parker's 9,500-word defense of his $4.5 million Lord of the Rings fantasy wedding, in case you missed it.

  • Back in the mid-1990s, the good people of Austin, Texas offered their own commentary on this kind of politics with their "Austinites for a Little Less Corruption" petition for campaign finance reform.

  • Yahoo's Marissa Mayer and Y Combinator's Sam Altman are hosting a top-dollar fundraiser for the DNC May 8, featuring President Obama, Carla Marinucci reports for the San Francisco Chronicle.

  • Jon Ward of Huffington Post goes deep into the efforts to re-engineer the GOP's voter data plumbing, and what he finds reads like Rube Goldberg meets Ayn Rand.

  • In the Daily Beast, Noah Schachtman cites two sources "close to" Edward Snowden expressing concern that his taped question of Russian President Vladimir Putin about surveillance there didn't go well.

  • The New York Times front-pages the Open Technology Institute's mesh networking "Commotion" project, featuring its pilot project in Tunisia.

  • Ten unusual campaign videos of 2014, courtesy of Nick Gass of Politico.

  • The Pirate Party has elected just two members of the 750-member European Parliament, but according to Pirate Times' Josef Ohlsson Collentine, they've managed to accomplish a lot, including stopping ACTA, weakening the "three strikes" assault on file-sharing, protection of net neutrality, and the spread of their policy ideas to the Greens and other EP deputies.

  • Suey Park and Eunsong Kim write that hashtags are "Decolonial Projects with Radical Origins" in Model View Culture.

  • Nick Bilton takes a look at the exploding market for social bots, which some political campaigns in places like Turkey and Mexico have used to inflate their social media presence.

  • France is planning to join the Open Government Partnership, Alex Howard reports.

  • Harvard Law Professor Jonathan Zittrain is becoming the new chair of the board of directors of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society.