Learning the Lobby

Corporations have been working since the 1950’s to figure out how to make the government work for them. If therein lies a problem, money will solve it. Lobbyists work tirelessly to keep their clients bottom line parallel to the dealings in Washington.

The American government allows corporations to come in and heavily court our nations representatives with campaign contributions and kickbacks in exchange for more favorable legislation. Corporations have become so effective- that they have created entire agendas in favor of their causes. An article by The Atlantic outlines the metrics:

Corporations now spend about $2.6 billion a year on reported lobbying expenditures – more than the $2 billion we spend to fund the House ($1.18 billion) and Senate ($860 million).

Today the biggest companies have upwards of 100 lobbyists representing them, allowing them to be everywhere, all the time. For every dollar spent on lobbying by labor unions and public- interest groups together, large corporations and their associations now spend $34. Of the 100 organizations that spend the most on lobbying, 95 consistently represent business.

Some of the most influential contributors in history came from tobacco, sugar, gun and the privatized prison system. If you think about the campaigns in favor of these specific industries, what are some pitfalls? Millions have suffered from tobacco related illness, obesity or sugar/food related illnesses, have been the victim of gun violence, and private prisons are overflowing with people for petty crimes.

Lobbyist ensure there place by having a reliable presence; even if the results of their labor have a negative impact on society. Corporations use their clout to influence public opinion and the propaganda that follows is calculated. Long lasting legislation is dependent on persuading the public to believe that what is proposed is legitimate and most of all resourceful.

lobbying table
Money Spent by Top Industries Lobbying from 1998-2017 via Center For Responsive Politics 

Democracy gets lost when civil liberties are for sale to a willing constituent. When effective propaganda is used to favor an entity that has grown bigger than its intended purpose, society is at a loss. Pharmaceutical, insurance,  defense and oil companies have seen tremendous and not entirely ethical profits by accommodating  government officials.

Are we convinced to vote against our own interests? The answer is all around us: on the news, advertisements, and bills. Voting power comes with knowledge, not just what is circulating on televisions and social media. It is imperative to know who is in the pockets of candidates to protect your livelihood. Go beyond party lines and become informed- corporations are betting on it.

Daily Inspiration: Artist Donates Money In Lieu Of Expensive Music Video

Drake is a rapper/singer who is quite popular worldwide. Before music stardom, he was an actor on the teen drama show Degrassi.

The budget for the video of his single “Gods Plan” was almost 1 million dollars. Instead of using the money for a lavish video, he donated cash and gifts to people and organizations around Miami.

The gesture was well received by the recipients and is a heart felt example of celebrities using their status and money to help out the less fortunate.

Daily Inspiration: Father Hears Daughter’s Donated Heart

Bill Conner was reunited with his daughter in a very special away. She passed away suddenly on a family vacation and her parents decided to donate her organs.

During a 2000 mile journey to bring awareness to organ donation, he met the recipient of his daughter’s heart.

Losing a loved one is very difficult. Donating organs can be a way to commemorate a life, by saving another.

If you are interested in organ donation. Please visit U.S. Government Information On Organ Donation and Transplantation.

You can sign up through the Organ Donation Registry or through your state’s DMV.

Microchip for Chips

Technology is rapidly expanding and becoming more innovative in the name of convenience. Subsequently, we are adapting to this way of life and enjoying the instantaneous results. One piece of equipment can make life so easy, that people are considering injecting themselves with it. The microchip may be the next step in advancements of the future.

The microchip is no stranger. We use them every day without a second thought, or knowing what they are. Wisegeek provides a simple definition:

A microchip is a small semiconductor used to relay information via specific electrical characteristics. In some cases, the term can be used interchangeably with integrated circuit. The microchip is at the heart of many electronics, including computers, cell phones and even microwave ovens.

The thought of using a microchip in these products does not raise eyebrows, but implanting it under the skin does. Employers and even transportation systems consider microchips an easy and fast way to store valuable information for people on the go.

A vending machine company in Wisconsin introduced microchipping as a way to complete activities such as, entering the building to buying snacks for lunch. Fifty employees were willing to receive the chip to try out the technology while others were a bit apprehensive.

Health and privacy are among the number one concerns for those opposed to being implanted. These same concerns do not stop most people from using cell phones, computers or credit cards. They also, are tracking our movements and collecting data on the individual it is associated with.

Companies will surely become more willing to embrace and promote the education behind this technology; the fear of this invasive measure will likely dissipate. Society’s  need for instant gratification will continue to grow, ushering in new advances that will be amazing albeit terrifying.  Ultimately, leaving one to wonder, how far are you willing to go for convenience?

Daily Inspiration: Spread Valentine’s Day Love

Today you can be the inspiration for a child in need. Children’s hospitals are accepting well wishes on free e-cards for sick patients this Valentine’s Day.

Help bring joy and love to their little hearts.

Here are some hospitals participating this Valentine’s Day:

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

St. Jude’s Research Hospital

Boston Children’s Hospital Trust

Arkansas Children’s

C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital

Daily Inspiration: Learn Beyond Your Prejudice

Nas Daily is a world traveler that posts videos on Facebook about the people he meets and interesting concepts about those places. His videos are informative and can be fairly moving.

In today’s video he had an interaction with someone who holds a prejudice against people from his home country. He tried to change the view of the people that he is conversing with.

Nas reminds us that no matter what we see, are taught, or experience it is unwise to generalize entire groups of people. You exclude yourself from amazing interactions and relationships when you don’t learn beyond your prejudice.

Daily Inspiration: Taking Responsibility For Your Life

Oprah is a superpower in her own right. Her accolades speak for themselves, as she has been tremendously successful in the media. In addition to her work on screen she is a generous philanthropist and motivational speaker.

In today’s video she explains that the only way to move forward is to take responsibility for your self. You cannot wait for a savior. You have to be willing to take the reigns.

Facebook: For Better or For Worse?

If you were born in the last century- you have heard of Facebook. The social media site has become a staple of daily life. With the amount of users climbing over one billion worldwide, it is safe to say it is wildly popular. Popularity though, has its drawbacks.

Former Facebook founder, Chamath Palihapitiya, isn’t necessarily proud of his achievements at the company. As reported by  The Verge, Palihapitiya voices his growing concern with the direction of social interactions on the platform.

“I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works,” he told an audience at Stanford Graduate School of Business, before recommending people take a “hard break” from social media.

Palihapitiya’s criticisms were aimed not only at Facebook, but the wider online ecosystem. “The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” he said, referring to online interactions driven by “hearts, likes, thumbs-up.” “No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem — this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”

Facebook was founded in 2004 and initially garnered attention from college students. To sign up you needed a college email and you were able to network with other students from your school or others. Eventually, this platform was opened to everyone and was a place to stay in touch with loved ones to share pictures and silly statuses about mundane aspects of life.

Fast-forward over a decade later, and social media has centered itself  around the success of Facebook. The growing popularity, grabbed the attention of companies looking to jump on the this new technological tether. Ad’s are tailored to our preferences and news from around the world is available at our finger tips 24/7. Sounds great, right?

In theory this type of ‘social’ interaction is amazing. In reality, it has fed into the egos, insecurities and the dark side of its user-base. Instant feedback has driven many people to portray themselves to be living an envious life. The quest of perfection has also altered the perspectives of the youth on what is real and attainable in life, off screen.

Users also hide behind a degree of anonymity to spread negativity. Comment sections of highly viewed posts are often a graveyard for positivity. Trolling and bullying has gotten so out of hand on social media that it has been attributed to the decline of mental health among young people.  But- big changes are coming.

Shortly after Palihapitiya highlighted the damaging effects of using the platform, a conversation started. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook’s co-founder, has offered up a good faith measure. He said that the company would re-prioritize algorithms to focus on making more meaningful connections for users.

This change may bring back a sense of ‘community’ to the social media empire. Many of the negatives aspects aren’t likely to completely disappear; it is encouraging that Facebook is willing to start somewhere, to make the internet civil again.

Daily Inspiration: Forgive to Set Yourself Free

Tami Roman is a reality show personality that is determined to speak her truth. Official Bonnet Chronicles is her platform to share her comedy and advice.  In this video she explains how forgiveness is about the liberation of self.