Archive for corporate greed

FCC extends deadline for public comments on #NetNeutrality

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net neutrality FCC cable John Oliver

Back in June, I posted the video below in my post, "Cable company f*ckery: If you want to do something evil, do it inside something boring." Allow me to repeat some of that post to set up this one. The video comes to us courtesy of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver in which he blasts the FCC and explains why net neutrality is so important:

John Oliver explains the controversy and lets viewers know how they can voice their displeasure to the FCC.

(www.fcc.gov/comments, for any interested parties)

Oliver:

Net neutrality is actually hugely important. Essentially it means that all data has to be treated equally, no matter who creates it. It's why the Internet is a weirdly level playing field.

The point is, the Internet in its current form is not broken, and the FCC is currently taking steps to fix that.

Ending net neutrality would allow big companies to buy their way into the fast lane, leaving everyone else in the slow lane...

Consider who would benefit from this change: Cable companies... These companies have Washington in their pockets...

The guy who used to run the cable industry's lobbying arm is now running the agency tasked with regulating it. That is the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo.

Now let's look at what's happened since that broadcast. The first thing is what many of us hoped would happen. Via The Hill: Internet access debate unleashes firestorm. Good! It may take a village to raise a child, but it takes a firestorm to raise hell over maintaining net neutrality.

An avalanche of net neutrality comments have been dumped on the Federal Communications Commission, highlighting the passions stirred over whether Internet service providers like Comcast should be allowed to charge companies more money for quicker delivery of their movies and television shows.

The 670,000 comments — many of them laced with profanity — are about half the number of complaints the FCC received when Janet Jackson’s breast flashed across tens of millions of televisions on Super Bowl Sunday.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler said the agency is “mining through” the submissions from lawmakers, content providers, public interest groups and citizens who have seen fit to tell the FCC what is on their mind.

The Hill published a second article about Senate Democrats pushing the FCC to regulate the Internets like telephones:

A group of 11 senators are pressuring the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to reconsider the way it regulates Internet providers.

The FCC should reclassify Internet providers to treat them like more heavily-regulated phone companies rather than proceed with Chairman Tom Wheeler’s plan to rewrite the agency’s net neutrality rules, the lawmakers said in a letter to Wheeler Tuesday.

Wheeler’s proposal — which critics say would allow Internet providers to charge websites for better access to users — “would end the Internet as we know it,” Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) said Tuesday, unveiling the letter.

Other signatories include Sens. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Ron Wyden (R-Ore.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Kristen Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Corey Booker (D-N.J.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).

Nice.

I also received an email from DemandProgress.org that included:

Just wanted to make sure you saw this. There's been such an overwhelming response to the FCC's net neutrality proceeding that their website that's supposed to receive comments has CRASHED.

Where's my bell? Ah, here it is:

ding ding dingAnd just as I finished reading that email, this one came in via Politico:

The FCC is extending the deadline for initial public comments on Chairman Tom Wheeler's controversial net neutrality proposal because of trouble with the commission's online comment system, the agency announced Tuesday. The deadline was set for midnight.

See what happens when we use our voices?

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Tracy Morgan v Walmart's Lowest Prices, Gua-ran-teed

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notSureIf

What part of a Thirty Rock comedic star and outspoken liberal voice suing a big-box chain not beloved of the Left for unsafe business practices is not fascinating?

Lawrence O'Donnell agreed, giving a generous amount of time to the news item that may have a lot to do with actual traffic deaths if this cause gets some tread and some traction. Video below.

Tracy Morgan is about to find out how much the life of a close friend of his is worth in the eyes of modern American law.

The underpinnings of the situation are tragic, not comedic. Tracy Morgan had finished a late night set out of town, and was headed back home with friends and staff when a Walmart truck driver, who had been up for longer than 24 hours, completely committed vehicular homicide.

don'tyouknow
The driver, who assuredly will take the moral weight of this to his grave, hadn't had a Bud with his late-night meal, or was even thought to have had a record of poor driving choices, never mind the kind of poor judgment that killed and maimed others on the roads he knew so well.

From Lamestream Librul' Rag the Wall Street Journal:

The lawsuit alleges Wal-Mart should have known the driver's hours were in violation of federal laws aimed at preventing fatigue because the driver, Kevin Roper, commuted 700 miles from his home in Georgia to Delaware to start work.

"As a result of Mr. Roper's fatigue, he fell asleep behind the wheel of his truck while he was driving, failed to slow down for traffic ahead, and resultantly collided with the limo," the suit said.

Lawrence O'Donnell, recently back behind the anchor desk at The Last Word on MSNBC following his own lengthy recuperation from a taxi-cab crash in Cuba, brought in safety advocate Ed Slattery, a truly informative guest, to expertly speak on the topic, along with Emma Fitzsimmons of the N.Y. Times to discuss further.

Apart from our ragged rail system, big trucks are carrying most of the heavy lift of getting our crap to ourselves, and you know exactly how much crap we think we need to get through your average American day. I already have more items on my bed than in my first dorm room and it's 6:15 a.m.

It's astonishing to think that circa 4,000 American (or tourist, pretty soon they are going to start delivering High Risk Alert Travel warnings for visiting any part of the United States for a variety of violent death scenarios) lives are at risk because of industry greed and improper regulation of the good companies and workers that are out there hauling us our Stuff every day.

NOWAY

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"Cable company f*ckery: If you want to do something evil, do it inside something boring"

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net neutrality cable John Oliver

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver:

Cable companies are trying to create an unequal playing field for internet speeds, but they're doing it so boringly that most news outlets aren't covering it.

John Oliver explains the controversy and lets viewers know how they can voice their displeasure to the FCC.

(www.fcc.gov/comments, for any interested parties)

Oliver knocked it out of the park on "Last Week Tonight." He outdid himself in a killer segment about net neutrality, a must-watch. Here are a few excerpts of how he blasted cable companies, monopolies, and those foxes who are looking after our Internet hen house:

Net neutrality. The only two words that promise more boredom in the English language are, "featuring Sting.”

I would rather listen to a pair of Dockers tell me about the weird dream it had.

Net neutrality is actually hugely important. Essentially it means that all data has to be treated equally, no matter who creates it. It's why the Internet is a weirdly level playing field.

The point is, the Internet in its current form is not broken, and the FCC is currently taking steps to fix that.

Ending net neutrality would allow big companies to buy their way into the fast lane, leaving everyone else in the slow lane...

Recently Comcast was negotiating with Netflix. This graph shows Netflix download speeds on various providers:

net neutrality graph comcast netflix

That black line plummeting downwards was their speed on Comcast during the negotiation. See if you can guess when Netflix agreed to Comcast demands.... That has all the ingredients of a mob shakedown.

Consider who would benefit from this change: Cable companies... These companies have Washington in their pockets...

The guy who used to run the cable industry's lobbying arm is now running the agency tasked with regulating it. That is the equivalent of needing a babysitter and hiring a dingo.

... Cable companies are basically monopolies now. ... You could not describe a monopoly more clearly if you were wearing a metal top hat, and driving a metal car, after winning second prize in a beauty contest.

net neutrality cable John Oliver monopoly

The cable companies have found out the great truth of America: If you want to do something evil, put it inside something boring...

That's why advocates should not be talking about protecting net neutrality. They shouldn't even use that phrase. They should call it, "preventing cable company fuckery," because that is what it is.

net neutralitypreventing cable company fuckery john oliver

The Big Finale was right up my Twitter alley: Oliver reminded us that "there might be actually something you can still do" about all of this: leave a public comment on the FCC site. He put out the word to Internet trolls everywhere to do their thing.

"Good evening Monsters. THIS may be the moment you've spent your whole lives training for."

Indeed.

net neutrality cable fcc comments John Oliver

And if anyone can vouch for familiar trolly comments like this one...

net neutrality cable John Oliver troll comment

... 'tis yours truly. John Oliver is on to something. I never thought I'd say this, but, "Go trolls!"

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Snark attack: Marco Rubio "is onto" thousands of climate scientists' "schemes."

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snark warning marco rubio climate change

On "This Week," Marco Rubio was interviewed by ABC's Jonathan Karl about climate change:

Rubio:

I don't agree with the notion that some are putting out there — including scientists — that somehow, there are actions we can take today that would actually have an impact on what's happening in our climate. Our climate is always changing. And what they have chosen to do is take a handful of decades of research, and say that this is now evidence of a longer-term trend that's directly and almost solely attributable to man made activity.

I don't know of any era in world history where the climate has been stable. Climate is always evolving. Natural disaster have always existed.

Jonathan Karl:

But let me get this straight. You do not believe human activity — C02 — has caused warming to our planet?

Rubio:

I do not believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientist are portraying it. And I do not believe the laws that they propose we pass will do anything about it. Except, it will destroy our economy.

And with that, here are today's Los Angeles Times letters to the editor, because our voices matter:

It is a coincidence that the day after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), an apparent GOP presidential hopeful, stated his belief that man was not causing climate change, scientists announced that global warming was causing irreparable harm to massive Antarctic glaciers, which will eventually cause a major sea-level rise. ("Irreversible collapse of Antarctic glaciers has begun, studies say," May 12)

Evidently, Rubio is courting corporate donors and therefore must deny that man contributes to climate change. These corporate leaders need politicians like Rubio to stop the implementation of policies that would reduce carbon emissions and therefore hurt their bottom lines.

Yes, the increasing use of solar and other alternative fuels could reduce certain corporations' profits, but corporate interest should not trump the planet.

Norwood Price

Burbank

Those climate scientists are at it again. They're trying to scare us all into believing that climate change is really happening and that humans are causing it.

It's a good thing that Rubio is onto their schemes. I'm looking forward to him exposing the mastermind of this hoax that has been perpetrated by those thousands of scientists in dozens of countries these past several decades, and to having him identify the (undoubtedly sinister) motive behind the hoax.

If he can accomplish this, it definitely qualifies him to be the next U.S. president.

Al Barrett

Santa Monica

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"Our addiction to the ways of the past are destroying us. For humanity, intervention is needed."

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oil addiction environment climate change

Climate change is a fact. That this country has a dangerous addiction to fossil fuels is also a fact (See: Pres. Obama, just say no to addiction to (tar sands) oil. Please.). That Big Corporations are shortsighted, self-serving, and greedy at the expense of our health and welfare is also a fact.

You know what's fiction? That climate change doesn't exist. That climate change isn't man-made. That shifting to clean, renewable energy won't affect the impending disaster that is climate change. That if we don't do that soon, we'll be just fine, thankyouverymuch.

If you support gradual-- and accelerating-- devastation; if you're okay with coping with the increasing frequency and intensity of deadly hurricanes, "Snowmageddons," frackquakes, floods, and fires; if you don't object to pouring billions into cleaning up the messes Mother Nature is and will continue to create due to our self-indulgent and willful reliance on and acceptance of dirty crude oil, tar sands, methane, and coal, then you support a toxic, grim future for all of us, our children, their children, and so on.

As a spiritual leader, I often counsel people regarding personal problems such as addiction. ("Climate change is already affecting all of U.S., report says," May 6)

I have been preaching about global climate change for years. In the Jewish tradition, there is a teaching that it took Noah 120 years to build the ark so people would ask him what he was doing and hopefully heed his warning.

We are getting closer to our "120 years," as scientists and others have been sounding the alarm for years. How much longer will we think that money trumps doing the responsible and moral thing regarding fossil fuels?

Having the know-how to change, having the knowledge that we need to change, and seeing destructive forces at work but refusing to change: these are tell-tale signs of addiction and suffering that I counsel in my career.

Our addiction to the ways of the past are destroying us. For humanity, intervention is needed.

Rabbi Joshua Levine Grater

Pasadena

This year's National Climate Assessment will do little to sway those in Congress who are in denial about the contribution of human pollution to the changes seen around the globe. Even those who admit that our emissions into the air might add to the problem say that our efforts would be insignificant, so why go to the expense and trouble.

We should ask them, "Even if human-caused pollution has no effect on climate, why would we want to continue to pump such massive amounts of poison into the air?"

Richard Green

San Clemente

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Charter schools, corporations cheat kids, spend millions on trips, strip clubs #CharterSchoolsWeek

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charter schools corporate

Charter schools are cheating our children. Brace yourselves: Over 100 million dollars meant for our kids have been misused, lost or stolen by charter operators and corporations. Why? Because there is no regulation. We all know how the GOP and corporate America hate regulations, and this is why.

Privatization gives greedy, corporate types all kinds of opportunities. For instance, the opportunity to use taxpayer funds meant for students; they're using that money, our money, to pay for house renovations, outings to strip clubs, and vacations to Atlantic City.

How in the world can we keep giving money to people (because we all know that corporations are people, my friend) who do this? How in the world can Americans keep supporting-- and voting for-- these pigs?

By the way, the report covers what "might just be the tip of the" proverbial iceberg, focusing on a mere fifteen of the forty-two states that have charter school laws.

Paul Rosenberg at Salon has the story:

While there are plenty of other troubling issues surrounding charter schools—from high rates of racial segregation, to their lackluster overall performance records, to questionable admission and expulsion practices—this report sets all those admittedly important issues aside to focus squarely on activity that appears it could be criminal, and arguably totally out of control. It does not even mention questions raised by sky-high salaries paid to some charter CEOs, such as 16 New York City charter school CEOs who earned more than the head of the city’s public school system in 2011-12. Crime, not greed, is the focus here. [...]

[The report] organized the abuse into six basic categories, each of which is treated in its own section:

• Charter operators using public funds illegally for personal gain;
• School revenue used to illegally support other charter operator businesses;
• Mismanagement that puts children in actual or potential danger;
• Charters illegally requesting public dollars for services not provided;
• Charter operators illegally inflating enrollment to boost revenues; and,
• Charter operators mismanaging public funds and schools.

Perhaps most disturbingly, under the first category, crooked charter school officials displayed a wide range of lavish, compulsive or tawdry tastes. Examples include:

• Joel Pourier, former CEO of Oh Day Aki Heart Charter School in Minnesota, who embezzled $1.38 million from 2003 to 2008. He used the money on houses, cars, and trips to strip clubs. Meanwhile, according to an article in the Star Tribune, the school “lacked funds for field trips, supplies, computers and textbooks.”

[...]

Others spent their stolen money on everything from a pair of jet skis for $18,000 to combined receipts of $228 for cigarettes and beer, to over $30,000 on personal items from Lord & Taylor, Saks Fifth Avenue, Louis Vuitton, Coach and Tommy Hilfiger. But the real damage came from the theft of resources for children’s future.

No wonder Republicans are trying to do away with public schools. They're no fun!

More at Salon.

charter schools privatization corruption

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Your complete guide to the murder of net neutrality. "Scream bloody murder!"

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net neutrality hands tied

If Internet service providers are allowed to charge content companies more for faster access to their subscribers, then we can kiss net neutrality good-bye. My favorite columnist at the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik (scroll), says as much in his latest piece, which was a little unsettling. And by "a little" I mean extremely.

Tom Wheeler is the chairman of the Federal Communications Commission. He's also a former telecommunications and cable lobbyist. And now he's proposing to make rich and powerful companies richer and more powerful. And, per Hiltzik, you'll be getting the bill.

Michael Hiltzik defines net neutrality as "the principle that Internet service providers can't discriminate among content providers trying to reach you online -- they can't block websites or services, or degrade their signal, slow their traffic or, conversely, provide a better traffic lane for some rather than others." That about covers it.

He goes on to warn us that the real threat to net neutrality is lack of competition in the ISP market.

And that threat will become a reality unless we fight back. Hard.

Hiltzik:

What makes this plan especially frightening is that it arrives at the same time as another major threat to net neutrality on which the FCC must vote: the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, the nation's two biggest Internet service providers. [...]

It's this synergy between two anticompetitive developments that really spells danger for the open Internet, for innovators, for start-ups and for all consumers. As Tim Wu of Columbia Law School asserts, the Wheeler rule will leave bloggers, start-ups and nonprofits in Internet steerage. "They'll be behind in the queue, watching as companies that can pay tolls to the cable companies speed ahead," he wrote recently. The Internet's role as a facilitator of innovation will start to disappear.

Did someone say "bloggers"?

yikes!

The Wheeler plan vividly illustrates how Washington has been taken over by powerful businesses aligned against the public interest.

This whole 1% crushing the 99% thing is getting to be appallingly routine, which, as they say in the vernacular, sucks. What will happen to us peons if this deal goes through?

So here's what's in store for you. If the FCC approves the Comcast-Time Warner Cable deal, Comcast will have less incentive than ever to bring its customers the fastest Internet connection at the most reasonable price. If the FCC approves Wheeler's net neutrality proposal, Comcast will have more leeway than ever to squeeze content providers, and consequently the public, for more money for barely adequate service. And every other Internet service provider in the nation will take advantage of the rules to the max.

eek

So what are dinky little American like us supposed to do? How do we fight the behemoths? What are our options?

The public's only option is to scream bloody murder.

And you know what that means: Call your Congress members. Call the White House. President Obama has come out strongly in favor of "incredible equality" on the Internet. Let's remind him of that by doing as he has asked us to do so many times: Hold him accountable and urge him to go to bat for us. As Al Franken so aptly put it, "Net neutrality is the First Amendment issue of our time."

net neutrality 2

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