@ GuyFromKlingon: Go troll somewhere else.
This dual system, where friends and big companies get favorite treatment will be google's downfall and it's perfectly legitimate that someone from USDOJ and EU looks at this. A manual penalty or boost can mean millions and even billions (for Amazon for example) since Google controls 70%-95% of the search market. Or it can mean certain death to a young company and that company may never get a chance to change the world.
How does Google decide these?
What else influences the G reviewer's decision?
How are we sure it's "fair" ?
How many people decide this?
Are the same vague guidelines applied evenly?
Does competition with Google matter in the decision (local pages, soon travel, mortgage, etc etc etc)?
Where do you appeal this?
What's to stop a G employee--they're human after all--from crewing a person's site simply becuase he/she doesn't like them?