New "Greenhouse" Plug-In Exposes Corporate Political Pay-Outs

It's been a running joke for some time that American politicians should wear advertising logos, a'la racecar drivers, to indicate which corporations they are shilling for.  Despite this idea not yet rising to prominence, now, there's an easier way to tell who (and how much) has been paid to play in politics.


Usually when teenagers say "Greenhouse", weed is somehow involved.
Surprisingly, not this time.
(Image courtesy welikeit.fr.)


According to Vice.com, the new browser plug-in, Greenhouse, was developed by a now-18-year-old programmer named Nick Rubin.  Using the crafty tagline of "Some are red.  Some are blue.  All are green", the intrepid app aims to shed light on some of our elected officials' most egregious cash-ins.  Free to use and operable on Chrome, Firefox, and Safari browsers, the plug-in identifies politicians by name when they appear in articles, and offers readers a breakdown of the payments received during these politicians' campaigns.

Rubin - who became interested in the topic of political finance when doing a school project on corporate personhood - stated, "I think the one problem is that the sources of income for members of congress haven’t been simple and easily accessible when people have needed it."  He remedied this with his own programming skills, working nights and weekends on Greenhouse's development.

Let's just hope he doesn't end up like Snowden...or worse.
(Image courtesy ora.tv.)


Rubin's persevering passion is well-rooted in American altruism, as he noted in Greenhouse's website's description:

"Exactly one hundred years ago, in Harper's Weekly, Louis Brandeis made the frequently quoted statement that "sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants." Brandeis's preceding sentence in the article may be less well known, but it is equally important: "Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases." I created Greenhouse to shine light on a "social and industrial disease" of today: the undue influence of money in our Congress. This influence is everywhere, even if it is hidden. I aim to expose and publicize that disease through technology that puts important data where it is most useful, on websites where people read about the actions, or inaction, of members of Congress every day."

Every well-paid, health-insured, vacation-subsidized day.
(Image courtesy exposingtruth.com.)

Greenhouse also allows users to sort results by industry and donation size, so certain bully businesses and overly-generous contributors can be shown with no doubt as to the moneyed miscreants that they are.  Tabs are also available to show which campaign finance reforms each politician is in favor of, as well as which small donors patronize their causes.


A typical Greenhouse breakdown of one politician's contributors.
Yes, yes it is quite a bit of money when you look at it like that.
(Image courtesy aattp.org.)

Rubin isn't suggesting this as a quick fix to the myriad woes of money and politics, however he is happy that the information is out there.  As he told Vice, "I just want it to educate people because that’s really the first step toward a solution...Easy access to data empowers voters to make better decisions."

You can download Greenhouse here - not just for free, but for freedom.


And if corporations are "people", shouldn't they be paying taxes?
Wait a second...
(Image courtesy elevate.us.)

1 comment: