Daily Digest

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Daily Digest 2/28 - Net Neutrality Passes In Landmark FCC Decision, China Cuts Rates Again

Saturday, February 28, 2015, 10:28 AM

Economy

Net neutrality passes in landmark FCC decision (Sonya P.)

In a statement following the vote, Verizon's senior vice president of public policy Michael Glover slammed the ruling as "badly antiquated," characterizing it as a regulatory overreach that would restrict internet service providers from offering the best access.

Out of Trouble, but Criminal Records Keep Men Out of Work (jdargis)

The share of American men with criminal records — particularly black men — grew rapidly in recent decades as the government pursued aggressive law enforcement strategies, especially against drug crimes. In the aftermath of the Great Recession, those men are having particular trouble finding work. Men with criminal records account for about 34 percent of all nonworking men ages 25 to 54, according to a recent New York Times/CBS News/Kaiser Family Foundation poll.

China's Central Bank Cuts Rates Again to Boost Economy (jdargis)

Economic growth in the world's second-largest economy has slowed down steadily over the past two years, mostly as a result of government efforts to steer the economy to more self-sustaining growth based on domestic consumption and to reduce reliance on trade and investment.

Eswar Prasad, an economics professor at Cornell University, noted that China has been a primary driver of global economic growth and that the slowdown will have a negative ripple effect throughout the world.

A Farewell To Mallrats (jdargis)

Overall the landscape seems uneven. Higher-end malls are doing pretty well, sales-wise, according to Green Street’s 2015 “U.S. Mall Outlook” report, while lower-end malls are less likely to see growth. The report attributes this to the widening “bifurcation in income growth between high and low earners,” and predicts that many lower-grade malls “will go dark.” (Green Street grades malls on several factors, including the quality of their tenants, as well as local competition, and economic and demographic conditions.)

U.S. Cuts Off Student-Loan Collectors for Misleading Debtors (jdargis)

The agency said it will “wind down” its contracts with the five companies and transfer their business to other agencies with contracts. The four other companies losing contracts are Coast Professional, Enterprise Recovery Systems, National Recoveries and West Asset Management, according to the statement. Those companies couldn’t be reached for comment after business hours.

Big Beef (jdargis)

“Current evidence shows that the average U.S. diet has a larger environmental impact in terms of increased [greenhouse gas] emissions, land use, water use, and energy use,” reads the Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee report. “This is because the current U.S. population intake of animal-based foods is higher and plant-based foods are lower.” The chapter goes on to conclude that Americans should eat a diet that “is higher in plant-based foods” and “lower in animal-based foods.” Translation: Eat less meat.

Peak What? (Mike K.)

A good first step in anticipating the future is to understand the present and recent past. Why the dramatic price drop? In two words: shale oil. No big surprise. This is the story. The geopolitics add complexity to the tale, but essentially—as I understand it—OPEC is trying to run shale oil operations in the U.S. out of business.

It's National CSA Sign Up Day! (jdargis)

Last year, February 28 was the most common sign-up day for CSAs across the country, according to the 2014 CSA Farming Report. And so the date was chosen for this year’s National CSA Sign-Up Day. The goal is to spread awareness that even though it’s still frosty outside, you can begin supporting farmers right now. That initial investment can really help a farmer kickstart the coming growing season.

Gold & Silver

Click to read the PM Daily Market Commentary: 2/26/15

Provided daily by the Peak Prosperity Gold & Silver Group

Article suggestions for the Daily Digest can be sent to [email protected]. All suggestions are filtered by the Daily Digest team and preference is given to those that are in alignment with the message of the Crash Course and the "3 Es."

11 Comments

Tall's picture
Tall
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Saturday diversion

A tongue in cheek German perspective on the new Greek Finance Minister:

robie robinson's picture
robie robinson
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AKGrannyWGrit's picture
AKGrannyWGrit
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Sage Advice from Granny

The opposite of goodness is not evil, it's apathy and indifference!  Because, only with apathy and indifference can evil flourish and thrive so extensively.

And so it is that a gigantic milestone has taken place with nary a comment or acknowledgement from the masses or even on this site.  Our government has spun a message that the internet needs to be regulated for YOUR protection.  The strings of control now have been attached to the internet and those strings will morph into ropes, cables, and then chains.  A millstone is being placed around our necks, shackles upon our wrists and ankles and the distraction of bread, computer screens, reality shows and acquisition of ? obscures our attention.

Today I mourn the loss of an internet that is, and could have been.  One day in the future YOU will mourn the loss as well.

Because, the only way to truly control the masses is to control our cognitive map, the flow of information, what we think.

AK Granny

HughK's picture
HughK
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A lot of generalizations on net neutrality
AkGrannyWGrit wrote:

A millstone is being placed around our necks, shackles upon our wrists and ankles and the distraction of bread, computer screens, reality shows and acquisition of ? obscures our attention.

Hi Granny, Wendy and all,

Before labeling net neutrality as evil or claiming that the internet has now been nationalized, perhaps you could explain exactly how the new regulations are way worse than what we have now.

So far, I have heard a lot of generalizations about the dangers of net neutrality.  Do you care to give some specific examples of how this millstone is going to pull us down?  Have you considered what, if any, disadvantages there are to having large corporations that sell bandwidth control so much of the internet?  Does it give you any pause that the Koch brothers are dead set against net neutrality?

I haven't looked at the issue carefully enough to be sure that the new regulations are better or worse than what was before.  But, as Gillbilly said, we may be between a rock (big corporations) and a hard place (the government) on this issue.  This is why a few more facts and a few less assertions would be helpful.

I love the idea of a mesh network that Wendy shared.  

Here is a New Yorker article on net neutrality.  You may not like these new regulations - and after I take closer look, I may not like them either - but it would be a stretch to call them evil.  

Compared to the giant expansion of the NSA's mass surveillance programs, the legal justification for which happened mostly under a Republican administration that received a lot of funding from the Koch brothers, the passing of net neutrality - which the Kochs and many other corporate lobbies oppose - seems relatively tame.

I don't know enough about net neutrality to claim that it's helpful on balance, but I am also wondering if you know enough about it to claim that it's tantamount to nationalization, or even evil.

Cheers,

Hugh

 

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AKGrannyWGrit
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Hugh et al

I would love to answer your questions Hugh.  Do you know where we can all get a copy if the 300 plus page document that was created in a less than transparent way, even in secret?  And I am entitled to call the actions as I see them, evil. Read Naomi Wolf's book the "10 Steps to Fascism" and then tell me we are not well on the road to tyranny. Many millions of people have suffered and died due to tyranny and we are to trust a government that is ignoring the very foundation of our Constitution. Perhaps if people cry foul less will die? Remember the Holocaust?

We do not live in a transparent society so demanding facts is often futile I have the right to make an assertion and checks and balances should prove me wrong. Do you really think that will happen? Are we governed by a rule of law that applies to all or by regulations that are created by unelected officials?

History repeats itself and I for one would rather be on the side that cries foul and danger rather than sitting on my thumbs with a wait and see mentality.

AK Granny

 

HughK's picture
HughK
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So, are the Kochs opposed to fascism too?
AkGrannyWGrit wrote:

Read Naomi Wolf's book the "10 Steps to Fascism" and then tell me we are not well on the road to tyranny. 

History repeats itself and I for one would rather be on the side that cries foul and danger rather than sitting on my thumbs with a wait and see mentality.

Hi Granny,

As you may have gathered from other posts of mine, I fully agree with you that we are well on the road to tyranny.  I am a fan of Naomi Wolf, and she, Lofgren, and others help us see this, but it is really in plain sight.  So, we are on the same page on that.

I also agree that sitting on one's thumbs has some pretty big risks.   We all have the right to say just about whatever we like, but that doesn't make everything that everyone says true.

Remember that one key characteristic of fascism is close cooperation between the government and large industrial corporations (e.g. IG Farben, that combination of BASF, Bayer, Agfa and a few other companies that still exist today, used slave labor in Auschwitz, made the Zyklon B used in the gas chambers, and worked hand-in-hand with the Nazi regime in many other ways).

So, if large corporate interests that support many aspects of our road to tyranny oppose net neutrality, how do you know that you are not just playing into their hands by decrying it, therefore inadvertently lending support to the very type of regime that you are trying to oppose?

We do know that the Koch brothers were opposed to net neutrality.  Does that fact give you any pause when sharing your own opposition?

While all of the details of the regulation - which are still not released - would certainly be hard to wade through, there is plenty of info out there - from a wide variety of sources - to peruse and to share.  I would be interested to know, for example, Wolf's position on net neutrality, and how high she rates this as a threat to democracy when compared to warrantless wiretapping, mass surveillance, drone strikes, black budgets, or the unprecedented number of private contractors eating from the trough of the military-industrial complex.

So, while I agree that we are looking at some very unsettling changes in the US and other parts of the western world that do indeed take us towards tyranny, I would like more info before I accept your assertion that this specific issue is as bad as you claim.  

For all we know, it could be that net neutrality either has little effect or even reduces the power of the rising tide of American authoritarianism, the deep state, fascism, corporatocracy, or whatever else you want to call it.  But if it is bad, more info is needed to demonstrate that.

Cheers,

Hugh

Edit: Here is an example of how the same telecom companies lobbying against net neutrality have suppressed the ability of city governments around the US to offer better internet connectivity to residents. This is due, in many states, to laws that are basically written by the telecom lobby.

A close family member has a lot of experience with how big corporations can wreak havoc in terms of massive lobbying for corporate interests in state legislatures.  It ain't pretty.  Many state representatives, often lacking in experience and information due in part to term limits, simply don't have the resources or the knowledge to take on full-time professional corporate lobbyists, who often have decades of practice.

A quote from the article:

According to MuniNetworks, a group that tracks community access to fiber nationwide, at least 20 states have laws or other regulatory barriers that make it illegal or difficult for communities to offer fiber access to their residents. Even in states where there are no official rules, non-compete agreements between government and big business are common. 

AKGrannyWGrit's picture
AKGrannyWGrit
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Posts: 498
Hugh

Thanks Hugh,

  1. I gave your reply a thumbs upsmiley
  2. Don't care in slightest weather the Kotch brothers are for or against Net Neutrality as so far as I can tell their motivation isn't the well being of Mr. And Mrs. America
  3. Truly hope you are right. Ronald Regan once said something like "there is nothing scarier  than someone saying I am from the government and I am here to help you"
  4. The analogy of strings of control morphing into ropes, cables and then chains was used. Processes take time. Nazi Germany didn't happen overnight either, it was a gradual process.  
  5. If only I had chosen the blue pill I would still be sleeping, the rabbit hole is quite lonelysad

Cheers Hugh, we are not really that far apart. Thanks for acknowledging an issue that I see as potentially having far reaching ramifications.

AK Granny

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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v for varoufakis

Tall-

Ok so that video is just simply awesome.  Who knew the Germans had such a wicked sense of humor?  Original source for the video:

http://neomagazin.zdf.de/neo-magazin-mit-jan-boehmermann/neo-magazin-mit-jan-boehmermann-28352778.html

 

davefairtex's picture
davefairtex
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Posts: 5687
big telecom & net neutrality

If Big Telecom is against it, I have to think its probably a good idea.

The devil is always in the details, but as a tech person, the right of a common carrier to slow down my traffic to one website just because that website didn't cough up extra dough seems like a bad idea.  I'm already paying for my connection.  So is that website.  Why hold our traffic hostage like some kind of troll-under-the-bridge "just because they can?"

Neutrality, in theory, says that all packets are treated equally by the common carrier.

One wonders why the ruling is 300 pages.  Hopefully that's not the industry lobby folks getting involved and carving out some tasty bits for themselves.

If it were up to Big Telecom, we'd still be getting our bits over ISDN using 2B+D, and you'd be grateful to have it.  For decades, only approved devices could be attached to the Bell System network - and precious few things were ever approved.  Seriously, DARPA invented Internet, and Big Telecom caused trouble for years, and now that it is popular, Big Telecom wants to cash in and milk all the participants for all they can by charging a fee for not engaging in what is basically tortious interference in the relationship between viewer and website.  That's the opposite of a value-add.  Its the telecom version of "protection money."

Here's an example of Ma Bell and how restrictive she could be on 'devices that connected to the telephone system':  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hush-A-Phone_Corp._v._United_States.  I urge you to go read this seminal court case, see what a "hush-a-phone" was, and realize that the initial court decision in favor of AT&T meant that it was prohibited from sale.

We are #11th in effective internet speed tests (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_Internet_connection_speeds).  This from the country that invented the Internet!  I don't imagine that Big Telecom milking more service fees from companies to give packets "preferential treatment" (i.e. they aren't slowed down unnecessarily) will end up doing anything other than padding the bottom lines and increasing the well-deserved bonuses for the C-suite executives at the carriers.

I just hope the new Net Neutrality decision ends up being truly neutral and not some Obamacare million-page monstrosity that ends up giving carve-outs to everyone.  If Big Telecom sues, I think that's a good sign.  Whatever they find disagreeable, I'm in favor of.  They have a very long history of protecting their own profitability at the expense of literally everyone else.

"Hmm, Peak Prosperity - I see you haven't paid your monthly 'fast lane' fee - we will now slow down the speed of all your customer's connections to your site so that data from your main page is dribbled to your users over 15 seconds instead of 1 second - just because we can.  So if they find that podcast is a little choppy, or it pauses every few seconds just remember, once you pay that 'fast lane' fee, we will immediately stop deliberately interfering with your data traffic..."

In sum, they are weasels.  Cynical, sneaky, money-grubbing weasels!!

"Oh Dave, don't hold back, tell us how you really feel!"

thc0655's picture
thc0655
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I haven't read these secret regulations

I haven't read these secret regulations governing public commerce and behavior and that's the main reason I'm afraid they have created Obamanet.  I remember that this is the govt that gave us Obamacare (or the Affordable Care Act, which precious few can afford), which we couldn't read until we had voted on it.  This is the govt that, in total secrecy, grants itself the right and power to intercept all our electronic communications.  This is the government that granted itself the right to detain without charges or even kill US citizens in the US if they secretly deem them to be terrorist threats based on secret criteria and secret deliberations.  SOOO, the secrecy is my main concern, combined with our govt's fondness for violating our God-given, Constitutionally-protected rights.

I also agree that if the big telecom's are screaming bloody murder there must something to like about the regulations.

I suspect when it's all out in the open, the plainly visible abuses of our rights and the hidden trapdoors for future despotic govt actions will greatly outweigh the consumer benefits.

westcoastjan's picture
westcoastjan
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Posts: 575
the big teleco's will protect turf at all costs

Of that I have no doubt.  On a related note, here in Canada one of our big teleco's (in our monopolistic market...), Telus, recently announced that they would be changing billing practices to a user pay system based on data used. I interpret this to be a pushback due to loss of revenue from all the people cutting their cables TV and streaming TV from the net' instead. It was only a matter of time as the teleco's will not sit idly by and watch their revenues decline, as they have been doing. This is payback for Netflix etc.

In a way I suppose it is good as I have to pay the same fixed monthly rate for my internet access as someone who streams tons of music/videos/tv.  But something tells me I will not see a decrease in my bill either.

Re the net neutrality, I have no doubt that there are goodies for everyone except the little guy in that 300 page report that are not readily apparent at this time. One way or another, the people are likely to be screwed over (again) as we know that those with a vested interest will look after themselves, as they always have (and always will).

Jan

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