Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Monday, September 08, 2014

Media Monopolists Want to Tighten their Grip

Send emails in opposition to internet fast lane for the rich (and a slowdown for the rest of us) by Wednesday September 10th

To Comment on the proposed changes to the Internet rules:  GO TO http://apps.fcc.gov/ecfs/upload/display?z=428s7 TO SEND THEM A COMMENT


Editors note: great information in this story, but the newspaper editor's have added in some language to give the impression that it's all a "done deal" and that no one cares.



By Rob Lowman, Los Angeles Daily News

9/8/2014--A major rule change in how companies provide Internet service to the public could fundamentally disrupt online life as we know it, impacting the flow of information, business competition, freedom of speech and everyone’s pocketbook for years to come ­— but no one seems all that concerned. (OH REALLY?)

Under the concept of net neutrality, now under review by the FCC, broadband Internet service providers would have to provide service without discrimination based on content. They also couldn’t impose elaborate tiered pricing systems under which companies like Google or Netflix, for example — and therefore their customers — would have to pay higher prices to get their content delivered at the fastest speeds. Others who don’t pay more would see delivery of their content deliberately slowed down.

If left alone, ISPs like Comcast or Verizon would be able to control speed on the Internet in the future, creating fast lanes for those willing to pay for it.

In the Federal Communication Commission’s first 60-day commentary period, barely 1 million people had registered their thoughts about it. In 2004, Janet Jackson’s less than a half-second nipple slip at the Super Bowl received some 1.4 million unsolicited comments.

The next commentary period runs through Wednesday.

Earlier this summer, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said in a speech that the commission is planning to promote more high-speed Internet service choices and protect competition for consumers.

“There is an inverse relationship between competition and the kind of broadband performance that consumers are increasingly demanding,” Wheeler said. “This is not tolerable.”

He cited Commerce Department statistics that an overwhelming majority of homes have no choice among providers. Wheeler also pointed to the long-distance market of the 1990s when users could switch from one carrier to another as an example of “a truly competitive telecommunications marketplace.”

Wheeler did not reveal what steps the FCC might take or what this might mean for the pending Comcast takeover of Time Warner Cable.

Earlier this year, a district court struck down the FCC’s 2010 order intending to prevent broadband ISPs from blocking or interfering with traffic on the Web. In May, the FCC voted 3-2 to open public debate on new rules meant to guarantee an open Internet but with some additional caveats. The new provisions are similar to the old in that they are meant to prevent cable companies from knowingly slowing down anyone’s data.

That should ensure all content running on the Internet is treated equally, except the new rules also allow for giant cable and Internet companies like Comcast, Time-Warner, AT&T and Verizon to create fast lanes for those who can pay.

Some companies are already doing so.

At the end of last year, Netflix subscribers complained of sluggish downloads as they waited for movies and shows like “House of Cards.” The streaming giant claimed Comcast, the country’s largest cable and broadband provider, was slowing download times.

Comcast denied the claims, and said a second party Netflix was using was slowing the downloads. It wanted the streaming company to go through them directly.

Though they complained publicly about having to do it, Netflix quickly signed a deal in February with Comcast to ensure faster speeds for its customers. It then went on to sign similar ones with Verizon and AT&T.

Ten days before the Netflix deal, Comcast made a $45 billion bid to buy Time Warner Cable. In an April letter to stockholders, Reed Hastings, the chief executive of Netflix, was still angry about the Comcast deal and came out in opposition to the merger, saying that the new company would “possess even more anti-competitive leverage to charge arbitrary interconnection tolls for access to their customers.”

Comcast countered with the statement: “There has been no company that has had a stronger commitment to openness of the Internet than Comcast.”

If Internet superhighways are created for a fee, it won’t be just Netflix, which recently hit 50 million subscribers, joining the fast lane. Other companies able to pay — Amazon, Google and Facebook — aren’t going to be left behind.

At risk are small or new businesses who won’t be able to pay superhighway speeds and consumers who will face a choice of how much they are willing to pay for speedy Internet access. At the time of the Netflix-Comcast deal, Tim Wu, the Columbia University professor who first coined the phrase net neutrality, likened it to water in the basement for the Internet industry. He told the New York Times, “I think it is going to be bad for consumers,” believing costs will likely be passed onto them. In Netflix’s case, the firm announced price hikes.

If the merger between Comcast and Time Warner occurs, the new company would have 19 of the country’s top 20 cable markets. Estimates say the mega-company would then control around 40 percent of the high-speed Internet market.

Some believe that ISPs —like Comcast — should be reclassified as a utility, and regulated like electricity. Comcast spent nearly a quarter of the 74-page document it submitted as comment to the FCC arguing against that.

The commission had once deemed ISPs as “information services,” like websites. But in the decision earlier this year the court said the FCC lacked authority to enforce its existing net neutrality rules because it hadn’t classified broadband providers as “telecommunications services.” That would make them more like telephone companies, who own their lines like ISPs but are required to lease them to other companies if a customer opts for another firm’s service.

The FCC still has the power under the 1996 Telecommunications Act to reclassify them, and that worries ISPs. AT&T and Verizon have also weighed in against the possibility in their comments to the FCC.

While everyone seems to argue for some form of net neutrality, the Internet Association, which represents about three dozen Web companies such as Google, Netflix and Amazon, opposes the idea of fast lanes. Such rules would undoubtedly cement charging more for higher speeds as a business practice.

“We are dedicated to protecting and preserving an open Internet,” the FCC’s Wheeler said before the vote in May. A former chief lobbyist for the cable industry who was appointed by President Obama, Wheeler cast the swing vote, joining the two Democratic commissioners in opening the rules to debate.

With so much of commerce dependent on the Internet, should we leave the pipes unregulated or in the hands of profit-motivated companies? Or does the solution lie somewhere in between?

Some argue that dividing content into those who can afford fast lanes — whether businesses or political PACs — is a threat to freedom. On the Internet, milliseconds are important. Most people usually don’t go deep into searches on the Web. If users are subtlety directed toward certain sites, eventually that could have an impact not only on what we buy but what we think. Without rules, ISPs can become gatekeepers. Comcast, which wants little regulation, argues in its comments to the FCC that it wouldn’t restrict access because it “would incur substantial subscriber losses and reputational harm.” Essentially, they say they won’t do it because it would cost them money.

Anyone following the news already knows there are privacy concerns to be addressed. There are also concerns about “search neutrality,” which is the idea that search results should be free of social, political, or financial agendas. Right now there is nothing in place to maintain “search neutrality.” If companies like Amazon and Google — who determine relevance in search results — join the fast lane, it’s likely to increase their influence.

Wu is so worried about it that he is running for the Democratic nomination for lieutenant governor of New York, hoping to help create legislation to keep such companies in check.

You can still weigh in on the “net neutrality” rules. The giant cable and Internet companies have already, plus they have Capitol Hill lobbyists. Comcast ranked fifth among all organizations in U.S. government lobbying spending last year, according to the Consumer Watchdog’s Privacy Project. Google, AT&T and Verizon are also among the top spenders.

To make a comment on any current matter before the FCC, go to www.fcc.gov/comments. 

Monday, September 01, 2014

You Can't Beat 'em If You Can't Join 'em

Cable Giants Try to Limit Cities' Internet Service

By Neal Colgrass, Newser Staff

Posted Aug 30, 2014

(Newser) – Municipalities, take note: US Telecom, a group representing cable giants like Time Warner and Comcast is pressing US officials to stop two cities from expanding high-speed Internet services, the Guardian reports.

Those cities—Chattanooga, TN, and Wilson, NC—are already providing unusually fast 1GB-per-second service to residents. Chattanooga's broadband helped trigger a tech boom, and Wilson's reached people who were complaining about the quality and cost of Time Warner service. Now each city wants to expand service into a wider area, the Wall Street Journal reports.

US Telecom's lobbyists are urging the FCC not to let cities work around laws designed to protect private broadband companies (20 states have such laws, the Verge notes).

US Telecom is also arguing in a blog (http://www.ustelecom.org/blog/fcc-has-no-standing-state-broadband-laws) that public broadband has "a mixed record, with numerous examples of failures"—and it's true that a group of Utah towns had to sell its service to Google for $1 after failing to make enough money. So, is municipal broadband anti-competitive? Cable companies say subsidies give cities an unfair leg up, while cities argue that they are improving competition in their areas. (On the lighter side, read about the Comcast "call from hell.")

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Mitt Who?

Mitt Romney's favorite Radio Station Owner is in Trouble

This is probably beating a dead horse, (as who remembers Mitt Romney now?), but I just learned that Romney's corporate buyout firm Bain Capital owns the US's largest radio station chain, Clear Channel, which has been the subject of my ire for years.

Clear Channel owns and distributes on its stations shows by right-wing hotheads like Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity, and distributes Fox News in radio form. They're by far the largest of owner of radio stations in the USA and also are tops in Billboards. I've written a lot about their past antics here:
They have in recent years added liberal talk radio shows on some of their lower-rated outlets, so their reputation for being all right wingers has changed in recent years as they've realized that liberal talk sells ads, too.

As this column from my local paper says: "Bain Capitol, the majority owner following a 2008 buyout, must be mighty nervous right now. According to industry estimates and filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Clear Channel has more than $16 billion of debt, declining revenues, declining cash flow, and a huge debt payment due relatively soon - with virtually no way to pay it.
This could be the beginning of the end for a company that, in my opinion, never deserved to exist."
from:  http://www.dailynews.com/entertainment/ci_22187319/radio-clear-channel-layoffs-hit-kost-kbig-kysr

Clear Channel is a prime beneficiary (and now a victim) of the US Congress's 1996 Telecommunications deregulation act, which allowed corporate monopolies to gobble up 8 or more radio stations in a market area, instead of the previous limit of 2. The law similarly allows ownership of 2 or more TV stations in a market when the previous limit was 1.

The problem for Clear Channel is they over-borrowed to bulk up on stations, computerized the formats and fired DJs and then faced the wrath of consumers who switched to ad-free ipods and other portable music players. That's when Romney's Bain Capital firm swooped in and bought the place at likely a bargain price. The firm has not recovered, though, and it lost over $400 million in 2012.

Not that Mitt is hurting due to this.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Cable Customers Sue over Mandatory Sports Channel fees

Cable Competitors No Help in Avoiding Mega Sports Channel Fees

for full story:

6/21/2013--It's become the $11 billion question is: How can Time Warner Cable get away with starting up its own Lakers-centric channel, then help fund the Dodgers with the launch of their own channel, with the end game eventually force Southern California TV viewers to foot the bill for the bulk of it without the option of opting out?
...The four plaintiffs -- from L.A., Long Beach, Orange County and Pasadena -- are all considered "non-sport fans" tired of footing the extra payments in their monthly bills for sports-centric channels, (their lawyer) Blecher insisted. They can't simply drop TWC and take a different option like DirecTV, Verizon Fios or AT&T U-verse because they also have hiked fees in response to agreeing to carry the TWC sports channels...

(Editor's note: No question, cable tv is a racket. This lawsuit is a great first step, and we need our government to force the TV delivery monopolies to offer "a la carte" cable. But in the meantime, there is an alternative: get internet-only, and pay for Netflix ($8 a month to get movies), watch TV with an antenna, go to comedycentral.com to watch the Daily Show and Colbert Report for free, etc. Or do without a tv totally--you'll live......Rex

Saturday, June 01, 2013

Hi, friends,

For those that wonder why no posts lately....I enrolled in law school in 2009 and will be finished at the end of 2013. I am studying corporate monopoly law right now and hope to post some good stuff soon.

Anyway, here's a website I stumbled across that has a lot to combat corporate propaganda:

...Rex, the editor

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

And this is why the rich shouldn't pay 3% more in taxes?

1/24/2012--L.A. Times...http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-romney-releases-tax-returns-20120124,0,4945167.story

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney and his wife Ann paid $3 million in federal taxes in 2010 on nearly $21.7 million of income derived from a vast array of investments, amounting to an effective tax rate of 13.9%, according returns released by his campaign Tuesday.

In addition, the Romneys expect to pay $3.2 million on $20.9 million of income for the 2011 tax year, for an effective rate of 15.4%.

That’s substantially lower than the top 35% marginal tax rate on wages and salaries -- and much lower than the rate paid by his political rivals. President Obama paid an effective tax rate of 26% in 2010, while former House Speaker Newt Gingrich paid a rate of 31.6%. Experts say Romney benefits from a tax code that allows investors to keep more of their income than wage earners, particularly investors in the rarefied world of private equity.

Even among his wealthy peers -- a cohort that particularly benefits from the lower capital gains rate -- Romney’s rate is below the average 18.5% effective tax rate paid by the richest 1%, according to the Tax Policy Center...

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Republicans start sounding like "socialists"?

Romney "like(s) being able to fire people."
Other GOP contenders have a problem with that (not firing people, just telling the public that's what they want to do)

"Can't we get back to bashing Obama's pro-middle class policies?"

Full story: http://www.denverpost.com/littwin/ci_19707306

By Mike Littwin
The last thing anyone could have expected from the Republican presidential field here was a late-breaking shift to the left...

...Here's Gingrich, who has called Romney a looter, explaining to the press how a historian/not lobbyist sees the issue:
"Is capitalism really about the ability of a handful of rich people to manipulate the lives of thousands of other people and walk off with the money? Or is that, in fact ... a flawed system? So I do draw a distinction between looting a company, leaving behind broken families and broken neighborhoods and leaving behind a factory that should be there."

Rick Perry — who is polling at 1 percent in New Hampshire — is in South Carolina, where he's focusing on a company that he says was "looted" by Bain and adds that "getting rich off failure and sticking it to someone else is ... indefensible."

"If you're a victim of Bain Capital's downsizing," said Perry, who routinely calls Barack Obama a socialist, "it's the ultimate insult for Mitt Romney to come to South Carolina and tell you he feels your pain, because he caused it."

I know. You think the outrage may be forced — and a little late in the game. Everyone figured Romney's problem in the primaries would be Romneycare. But it turns out to be Bain Scare...

Friday, April 22, 2011

"What it comes down to is that two companies own nine of the top 11 stations in town..."

Clear Channel, CBS stations are dominant in the ratings in L.A.

By Richard Wagoner, Posted: 04/21/2011, http://www.dailybreeze.com/ci_17902877

KIIS-FM (102.7) was Los Angeles radio's dominant force once again, based on the monthly Arbitron ratings released this week. While down a half point to 5.1, the station was still a half point better than KOST (103.5 FM) at 4.6.  With KFI's (640 AM) third-place 4.3 - its highest rating since at least November 2010 - owner Clear Channel had a 1-2-3 sweep. Add in 10th place KBIG (flat at 3.3), and the company had four of the top 10 stations in town - an amazing feat.

But wait: Though CBS didn't have quite the dominance as Clear Channel, it also controlled much of the top 10, with fourth-place KRTH's (101.1 FM) 4.2, a sixth-place tie between KNX (1070 AM) and KROQ (106.7 FM) at 3.5, and a 10th-place tie between Amp Radio (97.1 FM) and sister The Wave (94.7 FM) - matching Clear Channel's KBIG at 3.3.

What it comes down to is that two companies own nine of the top 11 stations in town.

In my opinion, that is market dominance that needs to be broken up. Last time something like that happened, the Federal Communications Commission broke up NBC and forced the launch of ABC, which later became one of America's premier networks...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

What really happened in last week's election:

Democrats in name only (DINO's) Lost Out Big Last Week

excerpted from:

11/6/2010--The defeat of many Blue Dogs leaves white Southern Democrats without much of a voice — but the Progressive Caucus, which retained nearly all its members, will likely gain clout.

Congress shifted to the right with the elections of several Tea Party Republicans this week — but the rightward trend wasn't enough to save a number of conservative and centrist Democrats, who were defeated in the House in large numbers.

Especially hard-hit was the Blue Dog Coalition — only 23 of its 54 members were re-elected...

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A message to the Tea Party:

Dear Tea Party: You will now get yours

By Mark Morford, SF Gate Columnist
SFGate November 10, 2010

And now, hot on the heels of our recent letter to whiny young Democrats, a loving shout-out to all those moderates and independents, confused conservatives and hard-line Repubs who went just a little more than slightly insane this past election.

To all of you who either flip-flopped your wishy-washy ideals and switched your vote from bluish to reddish this past election because Obama and the lukewarm Dems failed to solve all world problems in 700 days, or because you got yourself so emotionally riled up/mentally watered down by the sexy caveman grunts of the Tea Party that you actually bought the BS line about being "mad as hell" about nothing even remotely coherent.

Here is your grand message: You are hereby wonderfully, thoroughly screwed.


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crybaby Bullies Need your help! or at least your cash....donate now.....

 A Wealthy Whiner says: As you know, the Left is responsible for all the lack of joy in America today...


This was in the April 14 issue of the Daily Breeze. I just had to respond:

Dear editor,

Really--the wealthy, influential and sadly, victimized radio host and newspaper columnist Dennis Praeger thinks "the Left has squashed life's little pleasures" by banning smoking, fireplaces and incandescent lightbulbs. (Of course, when reasonable restrictions were placed on these, it was with bi-partisan support, but Prager leaves this fact out) When you're living in a right-wing fear-based fantasy world, facts don't matter. You know, I don't recall the Left wrecking our economy and putting millions of Americans out of work. I don't recall the Left turning a federal treasury with a massive surplus into a massive tax-sucking hole while cutting taxes for the rich. I don't recall the Left refusing to enforce our laws for 8 years while Wall Street crooks paid themselves billions in bonuses for selling fraudulent "securities" and I don't recall the Left handing hundreds of billions to these same crooks when they wrecked their own companies. No. It was the poor victimized right wing billionaires who made this mess. They are the real enemy of
life's most important little pleasures--like a job with a living wage.

On the one hand, right wing TV and radio blowhards boast about how influential they are, how a majority of Americans agree with them, but at the same time, they complain about being victimized. When you're the rich influential majority, it is impossible to be victimized. The right wing are crybaby bullies, beating and cheating on the rest of us, then crying foul when we stand up to them. Boo hoo!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Mass Firings Lead to Economic Boom--for big corporations...

The Solution for the recession: full un-employment!
excepted from


Big companies are awash in cash as economy picks up

Some experts say the strength of the largest firms will be key as the recovery strengthens. Others worry that the giants' clout has grown at workers' expense.

By Tom Petruno

The brutal recession has left many American families, small businesses and state and local governments in financial ruin or teetering on the brink.

But it's a much different story for the nation's biggest companies. Many have emerged from the economy's harrowing downturn loaded with cash, thanks to deep cost-cutting that helped drive unemployment into double digits.

And although the banking crisis starved countless entrepreneurs for money last year, credit was never scarce for business titans.

Corporate America's robust finances have been a boon for the companies' stocks: On Tuesday, the blue-chip Dow Jones industrial average hit its highest level in nearly 18 months, surging 102.94 points, or 1%, to 10,888.83...

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Good News, and More Good News

Apparently, a box the size of a refrigerator can generate all the electricity needs of 100 homes... A Hummer is about the size of 4 refrigerators...I see an opportunity here!!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

The "heavy hand of government" is often that of the public interest, yelling "Stop Thief!"

"A criminal is a person with predatory instincts who has not sufficient capital to form a corporation"--Howard Scott

Thursday, February 04, 2010

The USA is already the biggest health insurance company--and the private insurance companies still thrive!

To all those friends of the Health insurance industry in the U.S. Senate: government competition is no obstacle to massive insurance company profits.

One half of the US's health care industry is funded by a non-profit health insurance system: it's called the US government. We already have a massive "public" option and we still have a massively profitable private health insurance industry.

All the Democrats are seeking is a public "option" to insure the remaining 10% of Americans who don't have health insurance. This would mean the now-uninsured would have "preventive" care, and preventing illness is a lot less costly than the taxpayers having to pay to treat a full-blown illness. Either way, the uninsured are going to a government/taxpayer funded clinic or hospital once they get sick. Our tax dollars will pay for treatment no matter what. The public option is the only way that the total cost for care will be brought down. The private health insurers have never reduced their rates and have no incentive. Republicans always talk about saving the taxpayer's money. Whether the tax is paid to the government or to a private health insurance corporation, we all pay the cost of the massive profiteering by the health industry. Based on the way the Republican's bankrupted both our government and banks and Wall Street over the last 8 years, why does anyone see them as protectors of our money? I trust my government, which I can vote for or against, a lot more than unelected corporate monopolies.

---Rex Frankel

2/4/2010--WASHINGTON (AP) -- Government is poised to become king of the hill in America's vast health care system, with or without President Barack Obama's planned redo, according to an economic report released Thursday. Federal and state programs will pay slightly more than half the tab for health care purchased in the United States by 2012, says the analysis by Medicare number crunchers published in the journal Health Affairs. That's even if Obama's health care overhaul wastes away in congressional limbo...

...The report estimated that in 2009, the United States spent $2.5 trillion for health care, with government programs - mainly Medicare and Medicaid - paying $1.2 trillion. Employer health insurance and various private sources covered the other $1.3 trillion. Even as the economy shrank because of the downturn, health care spending grew by 5.7 percent from 2008. Spending by government grew nearly three times faster than private spending, closing in to overtake it...


Friday, October 23, 2009

Fox News--the choice of 1% of America...

Fox stands alone against the massive liberal establishment...bla bla blaDuhhhh...Fox News MUST Represent the majority of Americans...Right? Cause they get the highest ratings
(the fine print: among people who watch the 24 hour cable news channels only. However, as a percentage of the total number of people who watch their televisions at that hour, Fox News' ratings are miniscule, as Tiny as Rush Limbaugh's heart.)

But...They Beat MSNBC and CNN, so they must be #1 right?

Yes, Fox news cable channel got an average of 2.2 million viewers during their primetime shows, compared to 946,000 for CNN and 788,000 for MSNBC. This means TOTAL DOMINANCE!!!!....right?

Of course if we were to average this with their ratings for all day, the average would be a lot lower.



But when you directly compare Fox News' ratings to all the competition that is available to American viewers:

Based on August 2009 ratings of the Cable channels only:

1 USA 2.7
2 FOXNews 1.9
3 TNT 1.8
4 NAN 1.6
5 ESPN 1.4
6 TBSC 1.3
7 HGTV 1.1
8 ABC-FAM 0.9
9 A & E 1.1

SOURCE: http://www.mediabistro.com/tvnewser/original/Cable%20Time%20Period%20Rank%20-%20Week%20of%208-10-09%20(Live+SD).pdf

Then compare this to the ratings of the broadcast TV channels, just released this week:

CBS: 11.88 million viewers
NBC: 7.4
Fox entertainment: 8.4
according to the Nielsen Ratings people, when you compare Fox News ratings to the total ratings of all the channels that are available to the 300 million Americans, they are getting 2.2 million out of over 300 million, so less than 1% of Americans watch Fox News at the time when Fox gets it's most viewers. CBS, those annoying liberals, gets over 5 times as many viewers.

And Fox gets their asses handed to them on the Sunday political talk shows which are available to everyone with an antenna, not just cable viewers:

Network Program Total

NBC "Meet the Press" 3.02M
ABC "This Week" 2.65M
CBS "Face the Nation" 2.23M
FOX "Fox News Sunday" 1.30M

So is Fox News dominant, and therefore they represent the views of the majority of Americans, or do they just represent a teeny minority of brown-shirted super-rich racist yahoos? I'm just askin'...