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Silicon Valley's Love-Hate Relationship With President Obama 131

Posted by Soulskill
from the getting-along-because-the-alternative-is-worse dept.
theodp writes: "Covering President Obama's visit to Silicon Valley, the AP reports that the relationship between the White House, Silicon Valley and its money is complicated. Less than a year after David Kirkpatrick asked, "Did Obama Just Destroy the U.S. Internet Industry?", and just two months after Mark Zuckerberg gave the President a call complaining about NSA spying, Silicon Valley execs hosted two high-stakes Democratic Party fundraisers for the President. The White House declined to identify the 20 high-rollers who paid $32,400 per head to sit at the Tech Roundtable. The President also attended an event hosted by Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Y Combinator president Sam Altman, where the 250 or so guests paid $1,000 to $32,400 a head for bar service that featured wine, beer and cognac. The following day, Obama celebrated solar power at a Mountain View Walmart before jetting out of NASA's Moffett Field."
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Silicon Valley's Love-Hate Relationship With President Obama

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2014 @02:25AM (#46970803)

    ... to complain about NSA spying... HAHAHA. That's just fucking hilarious.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The truth was more likely complaining about the bandwidth problems it causes for Facebook and the associate loss of profit. So, yes, he was complaining about the NSA spying, just not in a way where he cared at all about the people being spyed upon.

  • Did you know (Score:2, Interesting)

    by rossdee (243626)

    That Obama is not up for re-election?

    • It's bigger then that. This is about the narcissistic sycophants that think they can buy their way into power, and a president whom is all too willing to go along with it.

      • a president whom is all too willing to go along with it

        Not "a president", but "presidents". Name the last one who wasn't crooked that way (and no I'm not an Obama supporter). Recently this has been exacerbated by a Supreme Court that claims that money and speech are the same thing, thus legally enshrining the principle that $1M dollar = 1 vote, rather than the quaint 1 citizen = vote. As for their confusion about money and speech, somebody please buy those legal geniuses a dictionary.

        • When was the last time you saw a dollar -- or even a million dollars -- cast a vote?

          • Money doesn't vote directly, but it definitely impacts the process. Instead of talking about the issues most people want to talk about (ie: should the minimum wage go up?), you end up discussing what some billionaire out-state wants you to discuss (ie: ObamaCare).

            One of the things I hate about America is that the entire is designed so that the top 10% of income or so dominate the conversation. It should be noted that British equivalent of the lower nobility (the gentry) was about this proportion of the coun

            • Your claim that printing money to have the government spend doesn't affect the poor or middle class is ludicrous. The inflation this causes affects the poor and the middle class quite a bit. And if interest rates ever go up again this house of cards (debt) will come crashing down on us all.

              • And this is exactly the kind of BS I was talking about.

                I said nothing about who should care one way or the other about the debt. I said that the people who aren't in the very top tenth of the country don't give a shit about it. And they don't. I challenge you to find one poll in the past 50 years where the number one issue for most Americans has been the national debt. A real poll, not a push-poll from some activist outfit with an anti-government agenda. Good luck. It doesn't even make the top two economic

          • Quite recently in my local city. The city created a "downtown business improvement district" where votes are based upon the amount of taxes the business pays.

    • Obama has been to Silicon Valley 14 times since he has been President, and the only time he ever made a public appearance was at Wallmart on Friday. Every other visit has been only for fund raising for the Democratic Party, not his reelection campaign. Of course when he was running he got a portion of that money since he is obviously _in_ the Democratic Party.

      A few of the local talk radio station call us "Obama's Piggy Bank" because that's what he uses the area for. I personally find his behavior appalli

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You hold town hall meetings in swing states. You don't hold town hall meetings or public appearances in states that are solidly behind you. Those kinds of things are designed to encourage voters who may be on the fence. California has been a solid Democrat bastion for a long time.

        It's annoying to me personally. I generally lean conservative and I have just stopped voting for any Federal elections except the House in my district. Because of the electoral system, all electoral votes in California goes to

        • by Richy_T (111409)

          And if you vote liberal, you may as well vote for a tree too. It's time there was a multipartisan movement to move to a proportional apportionment of electoral college votes (like a few states have already)

          • There is such a movement [nationalpopularvote.com]. The approach is to get 51% of the states (measured in electoral votes) to sign a compact that will force them to vote in the electoral college for the winner of the popular vote, regardless of the results in their state. They are currently 61% of the way.
        • It is unlikely to pass, but I'm watching with interest the proposed ballot measure to split CA into multiple pieces. The state is apparently ungovernable as it is now, and (like many states, even MA) the urban areas tend to drive the politics and leave the rest of the state to grumble. Looking at many 'blue' states, the actual areas that are blue are often less than 1/10 of the area and less than 1/2 the population but election districts tend to be drawn to increase the influence of the more urban parts.

        • by webnut77 (1326189)

          so if you vote conservative in California you might as well vote for a tree for all the good it'll do you

          C. G. P. Grey has an excellent Youtube video [youtube.com] explaining what's wrong with our current voting system and offers an alternative that makes sense.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 11, 2014 @03:49AM (#46970929)

    They're a pack of nouveau riche kids that are still young enough to be swayed by a skilled orator. They can't articulate what they want beyond general grunting about infinite copyright and more H-1Bs, and they're too dumb to realize they're being played. It's a geyser of money to get while the getting is good.

  • codependent (Score:1, Insightful)

    by real gumby (11516)

    Yes, Obama shows up in the valley to collect money and then departs to fuck the valley to the benefit of the RIAA et al and the so-called security apparatus.

    But clearly the Republicans would be worse, as they are the anti-business (or at least anti-entrepreneur), anti-education, anti-ACA (a very pro entrepreneurism law) and pro-big business, pro-rentier party. I am not sure any tea party or high party official could even find silicon valley on a map.

    So Obama ends up by default with the bucks on a combinati

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Chas (5144)

      But clearly the Republicans would be worse, as they are the anti-business (or at least anti-entrepreneur), anti-education, anti-ACA (a very pro entrepreneurism law) and pro-big business, pro-rentier party

      *Spittake*

      Republicans are anti-business?

      Sorry, even with your qualifications, you don't have a frickin clue what you're talking about.

      • Re:codependent (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Shadow of Eternity (795165) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @04:28AM (#46971005)

        Learn how parentheses work. He clarified his position. Republicans are anti-small-business and anti-entrepreneur, they're pro-oligarch.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Seriously, Republicans used to pro-business. Consider they're pissed pissed that the big three got bailed out after Wall Street sank the economy.

          They're all about rent collection. They hate real business, technology (too disruptive), education (ditto), etc etc.

        • Wow, you got +4? Republicans get most of their donations from small business. Democrats screw small business and get most of their donations from big business. Please look at the sunshine foundations reports.

          Being "pro-business" is different than crony capitalism.

          • First off you're wording is dishonest. BOTH parties get "most of their donations" from big business, but most of big businesses money goes to the republicans. Second just because republicans are good at convincing people to pay to get screwed doesn't mean they're not screwing them.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Note that later on the GP said "pro-big business." The Republicans certainly are anti-small-business, even though their rhetoric claims otherwise and they have convinced a lot of idiots (evidently, including you) that they aren't.

        • The Field Fox (Score:1, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Are you kidding? I help run a small business and I am starting one myself. I am an independent, but it is recent policy changes from the current administration that has been strangling us. We have had to lay-off employees in preparation for the ACA changes. This admin has done more to strengthen big business and make life harder for entrepreneurs than I have ever seen. I have voted for both liberals and conservatives, but I will be very hard-pressed to vote for a liberal again after so many lies and broken

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Big problem right now for Small Businesses and the ACA is that it prevent small businesses from using the exchanges until next year. This is so the the insurance companies could stick the fork in small shops offering insurance. ($$$). My company offers insurance, it's gone up 30% per year for the last three years. Next year that will drop back to what our insurance cost three years ago.

            So now who do you suppose was instrumental in getting that put into the law? Obama, Reid and Pelosi had to throw every bon

            • by Anonymous Coward

              You think your insurance cost in going to drop by a huge amount next year? Awwww, isn't that cute. Even more Obamacare taxes and mandates are still coming. I do like that you picked up on the anti-small business aspects of the law. They were put there by Democrats and progressive lobbyists [realclearpolitics.com].

              The Republicans were what stopped an ever worse law from passing.

              If you like your doctor you can keep your ....
              If you like your policy you can keep your.....

              Can't we complain that we are now (to use your phraseology)

          • Re:The Field Fox (Score:5, Insightful)

            by NicBenjamin (2124018) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @09:14AM (#46971901)

            Are you kidding? I help run a small business and I am starting one myself. I am an independent, but it is recent policy changes from the current administration that has been strangling us. We have had to lay-off employees in preparation for the ACA changes. This admin has done more to strengthen big business and make life harder for entrepreneurs than I have ever seen. I have voted for both liberals and conservatives, but I will be very hard-pressed to vote for a liberal again after so many lies and broken promises.

            And how would you have gotten insurance as an entrepreneur before the ACA's Exchange?

            The answer is pretty simple. There are two possibilities:

            1) You're young, with no kids, no expensive females in the household, and can convince the agent you have no pre-existing medical conditions. You will get insurance.

            2) You wouldn't have insurance.

            I'm very skeptical of anyone who says they "had to lay off" employees due to the ACA. IRL I've seen companies blame the ACA because they fired people and they thought they could make Obama look like a bad guy, and I've seen them hire more part-timers so they could get their 33-hour guys down to 29. I have never seen a company that actually fired people. The Act simply does not increase your per-employee cost that way.

            • Tail of two health plans. I've been "self-employed" after I sold my last company in 2011. I paid ~$100 a month for health insurance including a pretty good dental package. In three years I used it basically for annual check up (covered) and a trip to urgent care after cutting my hand while doing some home improvement costs. Total bill out of pocket: $60 for the visit, $10 co-pay for the antibiotics they prescribed. That included x-rays, cleaning, and stitching the wound. My deductible was $3500, $11,0

              • Total US Health Spending is $8,895 per person. If your insurer charges you less either they think you won't cost that much, or they're idiots who will go bankrupt real soon now.

                In your case the former is more likely. The fine art of figuring out how much an insuree will cost is called "Underwriting," and if you only paid $100 a month your state probably lets it's insurers do a hell of a lot of that shit. They don;t tell you they're giving you a discount for being male, and young; because they figure you mig

                • $100 per month for a high deductible single person is not out of the ballpark, or at least wasn't until ACA. These have been popular among independents for a long time. I had one at my company last year. In high-cost MA, my cost was about $110-120, plus I paid some more for dental. And the company paid another $100+ IIRC. I 'only' had a $1500 deductible so the insurance carrier had to cover a lot of things that the parent's plan wouldn't. The reason these plans work is that by far the largest part by

                  • Your plan had very few similarities to the one the OP had. A minimum 20% of his premiums were being used for profit/administration, whereas you were probably under 5%. He was in the individual market, which is completely different from the employer market. Moreover all your experiences basically happened under ObamaCare, because the ObamaCare system is RomneyCare and has been the law in MA for more then a decade.

                    The $8,895 number is mostly older folks. A $50k hip replacement, plus a blood pressure medicatio

                    • I had a similar plan when I was an independent consultant in OR in early 2000s, and such plans have been around for decades. The company catered to independents. The cost of my plan in MA to the company actually went up almost 20% per year, starting when RomneyCare kicked in. The company mostly just covered it by paying the higher rate (and switching providers), but finally couldn't do that any more. RomneyCare at least didn't make existing plans illegal AFAIK.

                    • I'll just add that back in the 1980s Arthur Deming (the guy who created the Japanese quality "miracle") came out with a book that showed how to cut medical costs in 1/2. The two big items were tort reform - consider that every item in a hospital, and every component of that item, has a liability insurance load of about 30%. So a kidney machine, for instance, uses about one foot of clear vinyl tubing for the blood pump. It has to be discarded after use, mainly for liability reasons. That's exactly the sa

                    • Tort reform has been tried in literally every state, in most cases more then once. It does not work.

                      Your little anecdote actually hints at the real problem. Somebody in that system could have said "hey let's re-sterilize that $150 plastic tube and re-use it," but nobody had an incentive to reduce the cost. Most patients aren't paying themselves. the ones that do will prefer a more expensive option that sounds better ("Manufacturer part just for you," sounds a lot better then "re-using this other dude's tube

                    • Somebody in that system could have said "hey let's re-sterilize that $150 plastic tube and re-use it," but nobody had an incentive to reduce the cost. Most patients aren't paying themselves. the ones that do will prefer a more expensive option that sounds better ("Manufacturer part just for you," sounds a lot better then "re-using this other dude's tube, but it's totally ok because we ran it through a dishwasher and then microwaved it"). Insurers have some reason to control costs, but very little ability because if the hospital says "fuck you blue cross," blue cross is gonna lose business. Moreover they don't want to be known as the company that forces customers to re-use some guys tube.

                      That's the basis of the problem - it's a systems problem, driven by the separation of cost feedback from price feedback, and exacerbated by the tort environment. Once you've paid your monthly insurance, you feel like "I've paid for it, I should get the service I paid for." Meanwhile, if a hospital were to take it upon itself to even buy that tube from a different supplier (for $125, say), they would almost immediately be subject to class action suits that include everybody who has been served, _even if t

              • Something just occurred to me about your wife's company dropping her insurance. Under the employer health exclusion her health insurance premiums aren't taxable. Anything else she gets as part of her job -- company car, life insurance, etc. -- is taxable. Here's how the math works. I'll use typical-ish numbers because I don't have the real ones. This is just to show why it's better for a company to spend money on health insurance then salaries.

                Let's say your wife stayed single, made $40k, and had insurance

        • by Anonymous Coward
          Yea, that ObamaCare thing the Republicans passed was proof that that they hate small business.
      • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

        by rahvin112 (446269)

        Both parties are anti-business, it just depends on the business. Anyone that claims otherwise is just a partisan or willfully blind.

      • Re:codependent (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Vermonter (2683811) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @05:53AM (#46971191)
        Well, here is the distinction between your regular Joe-Shmo Republican, and your elected official Republican: The guy on the street is all for business. The guys in office are for whatever makes them richer. There is a similar gap on the Democrat side, too. Your regular Democrat on the street wants the type of socialism that gives a hand up to the poor. The Democrats in office want the type of socialism that gives the guys in power more money. This is why this whole left-right thing is stupid- the guys on the street both want to see their fellow man prosper. The guys in office want to further themselves. But they tell you it's right vs left so that you fight amongst yourself instead of stopping them from passing selfish laws.
        • Well, here is the distinction between your regular Joe-Shmo Republican, and your elected official Republican: The guy on the street is all for business. The guys in office are for whatever makes them richer. There is a similar gap on the Democrat side, too. Your regular Democrat on the street wants the type of socialism that gives a hand up to the poor. The Democrats in office want the type of socialism that gives the guys in power more money. This is why this whole left-right thing is stupid- the guys on the street both want to see their fellow man prosper. The guys in office want to further themselves. But they tell you it's right vs left so that you fight amongst yourself instead of stopping them from passing selfish laws.

          They're not that cynical.

          What happens is that the people who actually show up in every election, call their elected officials, make small donations to their favored candidates, etc. are almost all from a very specific upper-middle-class background. Since tghe politicians themselves come from that same socio-economic class they aren't surprised when all the people they talk to demand action on the deficit, despite the fact polls almost always say most Americans think the deficit is less important then multip

          • I forget what it's called, but there's this syndrome. On almost any given issue, it makes a very tiny difference for almost everybody, but it makes a huge difference for a small group of people. That small group are the ones who pay to "get something done", while the vast group of everyone else isn't paying attention to that one thing. So almost all of the information and lobbying that politicians hear is from the small group.

  • President Putin said on the April 24, 2014, that internet is a " CIA project" http://www.theguardian.com/wor... [theguardian.com]

    I invested years, a life, in learning internet technologies. I feel myself diminished and humiliated.

    Was I working on the 1984-Machine?

    I thought that I was contributing to one of the greatest innovation of human civilization, and suddenly - "a CIA project", a military ploy, a lie,...

    Could you, please, convince me back that my life was not spent in vain?
    • Could you, please, convince me back that my life was not spent in vain?

      Ancient commenter Solomon noted [blueletterbible.org]:

      Except the LORD build the house, they labour in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain.

  • by FullBandwidth (1445095) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:08AM (#46971407)
    The per-head fee should have been $32,767 ... whoever heard of a number like $32,400?
  • by swb (14022) on Sunday May 11, 2014 @07:21AM (#46971431)

    I thought that most liberal-leaning people have a love-hate relationship with Obama.

    He was supposed to be their progressive knight in shining armor, but keeps doing all the usual political sell-outs to big business, big media, the security apparatus. No Wall Street guys did time, he kept fighting in Afghanistan, no real mea culpa on NSA monitoring. The only big liberal achievement was ACA, but even that seems a little compromised in many ways and I think hard-core progressives don't find it went far enough.

    Of course Silicon Valley is also myopic on the subject of its own pet issues and I'm sure a lot of the love-hate is just self-centered -- he's not doing enough for my business/industry.

    • Depends on the liberal-leaning people.

      If you're black, and to you freedom is literally something granted by an Unconstitutional Executive order enforced by an army of jackbooted thugs paid for by a then-unconstitutional income tax; and the biggest failure in freedom since then can be traced to the Federal government getting said Army out of the law-enforcement business; you're probably a lot more worried about NYC's stop-and-frisk then anything the NSA does. In the experience of people you know and love the

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      What continues to blow my mind is, despite the breaches of civil liberties and outright offenses Obama and his administration have perpetrated against American citizens - and then lied about - we still have people who voted him defending him and saying he's doing a good job.

      From a liberal point of view, Obama has been a worse President than Bush, by a long shot: if you look at "what has he accomplished", "what has he lied about" and so on.

      And this doesn't even get into the NSA spying and things like that, w

    • I thought that most liberal-leaning people have a love-hate relationship with Obama.

      He was supposed to be their progressive knight in shining armor, but keeps doing all the usual political sell-outs to big business, big media, the security apparatus. No Wall Street guys did time, he kept fighting in Afghanistan, no real mea culpa on NSA monitoring.

      Um, somebody isn't familiar with liberalism. These things are only bad *if done by a Republican*. All of what you say here fits liberalism like a glove...

  • What, they only charge $32K to have a private conversation with the country's most important public employee? *Pfft* Clinton raised $5.4 million [cnn.com] with the Lincoln bedroom. These guys are such pikers.

  • The rich live differently [twitter.com]: Yard art at the DNC fundraiser home of tech entrepreneur Anne Wojcicki (photo). From the article: "While Wojcicki hosted an exclusive tech round table for 20 -- at $32,400 per head, a total haul of $648,000 for the Democratic National Committee -- reporters got a glimpse of how some of those 20 live. Even the occupant of the White House may have been dazzled by the beautiful groves of lemon and lime trees, surrounded by fantastical rolling grounds decorated with life-size floresce

  • ...who consistently vote and donate to the Democrats, despite the Left's clear opposition to everything Israel.

    Then again, Jews are famous for being self-loathing, so perhaps that's all just being consistent on another level.

    • Then again, Jews are famous for being self-loathing

      then again, non-jews are famous for not having clue-1 about non-fiction, in-real-life jews. maybe you think all jews are like woody allen??

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