Break Up Big Tech?

I keep hearing that phrase. We need to break up big tech. Today Robert Reich released a video about it.

Why We Need to Break Up Big Tech

For the first time ever, Big Tech CEOs are testifying in the House of Representatives today as part of Congress' investigation into their anticompetitive practices.If Jeff Bezos can add $13,000,000,000 to his wealth in a single day during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, I think it's safe to say Amazon has too much monopoly power.Break up Big Tech.

Posted by Robert Reich on Wednesday, July 29, 2020
Facebook – RBReich

It is easy to say “break up big tech”, But how do you do it? We don’t want a bunch of balkanized Facebooks that don’t share a common user base. What would be the point of that? Should Whatsapp and Instagram be peeled off of Facebook? Without a doubt. Those purchases should never have been allowed in the first place, and Facebook should be required to open up its API so that outside contributors can get access to Facebook’s user base. But is that breaking up Facebook?

The same is true of Amazon. You could break storage and delivery services up, but then you increase the cost to the purchaser. Is Amazon proving its worth during the crisis? Without a doubt. What people who talk about Bezos’ wealth always leave out is how much he pays himself for his time. $81,840 is his actual salary (h/t to BusinessInsider.com) There are far, far worse CEOs in the world. Truly deplorable people who not only shouldn’t be wealthy, but should also probably be in prison (yes, I am looking at you Donald Trump and all you little Trumps and Kushners, too) The fact that Amazon has increased in value during the pandemic is an economic affirmation of Amazon’s real worth, as opposed to the imaginary value of stocks on the stock market as a whole.

How many CEOs get paid hundreds of millions to run companies that haven’t increased in value by billions of dollars? Maybe we should be looking at taking away their lavish compensation packages. Clearly they don’t deserve the kind of money that they are being paid.

In the same vein with Amazon and are the co-owners of Google. They too don’t get paid lavish salaries. Like Facebook, Google’s parent company, Alphabet, should have its investments put under a microscope, and some of their shadier advertising practices should be subject to fines, because they are already illegal. But how do you break up a search engine and not render it useless for conducting searches?

Breaking up monopolies only works if those monopolies are artificial monopolies. We established this with the breakups that were forced on Standard Oil and AT&T in previous decades. Rockefeller still made out just fine after Standard Oil was broken up, and most of those companies have merged again into the behemoth known as Exxonmobil. Why aren’t they charging usurious prices now that they’ve re-established their near-monopoly status? Because they aren’t the only players on the block when it comes to energy production, and they know they could be broken up again.

AT&T also reformed itself, and few people seem to care or even notice that it happened. Why? Because the problem, the cost of long-distance phone calls, went away with the creation of mobile phone technology.

So what is the solution? Regulation. We need to be writing regulations to guide these internet companies going forward. That means we need a government that functions at the legislative level, and we need a government that can’t be bribed by industry. In short, the average American needs to stand up and make government pay attention to them and not pay attention to the companies waving dollars in their faces. Replace the representatives that have been shown to be too easy on businesses, that can be shown to be too comfortable taking large sums of money from corporate donors.

We need to institute a standard of employee ownership of every publicly held corporation, ensuring that workers in any company will be paid what the workers think is a fair wage. Completely change the nature of worker/employer relations by giving the employees a seat at the management table. That will help address the problems of homeless working poor.

But we need more than that, too. Rental costs in cities are too high. Property valuations are completely out of whack. As I’ve heard a number of times in my podcasts this week, macroeconomics is broken. We can’t explain what it is we are experiencing as we go through this pandemic, from an economic perspective.

We need to focus on the here and now. How do we keep people in their homes when they have no income and no job prospects on the horizon? How do we keep people fed? Those are the most important questions right now. We’ll get to Bezos and his billions later, he can be assured of that. Let’s deal with the crisis in front of us first. We might need his help with that.

Monsanto Defrauded Investors, Court Rewards Executive?

Reuters

The Securities and Exchange Commission has fined Monsanto $80 million for defrauding investors by misstating its earnings and awarded more than $22 million to the former Monsanto executive who blew the whistle and tipped off the SEC.

Sounds fair until you realize the $80 million penalty mainly hurt Monsanto shareholders, some of whom were defrauded by Monsanto’s earnings misstatement. And the $22 million award goes to an executive whose own pay was likely pumped up by the fraud.

Unless and until the government begins to hold executives personally liable for corporate misdeeds, those misdeeds will continue.

What do you think? – Robert Reich on Facebook

This is a drop in the bucket compared to the big problem businesses, like the banks. I don’t see boards being held accountable anytime soon. More likely would be the revising of corporate law to constrain corporate practices in particular ways; say limiting maximum compensation to some multiple of the lowest paid worker, or requiring the corporation to spend x% of gross revenues on charitable works.

Facebook status backdated to the blog.

I Know Where to File Your Objections, Facebook

So Facebook has concluded that my shares from G+ via Twitter are somehow a violation of community standards. Who knew? I really had no idea that using G+ and sharing it was an insult to the intelligence of Facebook users.

My apologies, I’ll get right on pretending Facebook is the be-all and end-all.

Facebook status backdated to the blog.

Overpriced Toll Roads Going Bankrupt?

KXAN.com

“The bankruptcy filing by Cintra should have no effect on travelers who use SH 130, the taxpayers or the State of Texas. Cintra assumed the risk to finance, build and operate the section of SH 130 south of US 183 to I-10,” wrote Texas Senator Kirk Watson, D-Austin, in a statement to KXAN News. “Traffic and revenue on that part of the road hasn’t reached projected levels and Cintra has taken the hit, not taxpayers. Use of that section will continue to grow and be there as drivers have more need of it.”

The most overpriced stretch of road in the country is the segment from Austin North to Georgetown. I use that stretch of road because it is faster, not because the price is reasonable. If Cintra can’t stay in business with those prices, then the state should come up with a way to do it themselves.

Also, the specific section of road in question, to Seguin South of Austin, isn’t tolled at all. Not tolled and three lanes of clear asphalt both directions to and from I-10. Best drive to be had in Texas these days, so get your driving gear on and have a great day tooling through remote sections of Texas as if they need six-lane highways there. Do it before maintenance failure destroys the smooth surface and requires you to reduce your speed below 85 miles an hour in order to reduce wear and tear on your suspension.

Facebook Status update backdated to the blog. 

Bernard Von Nothaus Jailed

I reformatted this in his usual style. The block text transmission that I got earlier today was a pain to read, and not the way that I know Bernard likes his communications to look.

Just passing this along.


June 2010 email: (sent August 1, 2010)
Bernard is Jailed – Part I

Table of Contents:
  1. Two Exciting Newscasts Regarding Money
  2. Kevin the Beautiful
  3. Liberty Dollar Site Is Closed Thank you for your inquiry…
Bernard is Jailed – Part I

First, please note the format changes to this email reply to your inquiry about the me and your property that was confiscated during the ongoing legal battles regarding the Liberty Dollar. It would appear that the once great First Amendment and the concept of innocent until proven guilty do not apply to anyone who is out on an Appearance Bond.

Second, I apologize for this relayed email regarding June development and that now I can’t write my usual monthly “Newsletter.” While I have been late a few times with the chronicle of the Liberty Dollar since October 1998, I have never missed a month. I trust being in jail, defending the Liberty Dollar is a good reason.

Third, I hereby confirm the rumors that I was jailed, but not re-arrested. I was incarcerated when I appeared to answer charges that I violated the terms of my Appearance Bond before Magistrate Judge Cayer, Federal District Count in Charlotte, North Carolina on Wednesday, July 14. There is much to disclose about that hearing and my next five plus days and five nights in Mecklenburg County and Catawba County Jails but I don’t have the time right now. But stay tune. I promise to tell all in my next email for July.

Contained in this email are links for two excellent video newscasts Part I and Part II that aired while I was in jail that features Dave Gillie and Jeff Kotchounian using a value based currency. Most importantly is the quote from the US Treasury website that merchants can use anything they want for money. And equally noteworthy is one of Kevin’s letters that was recently posted on the mailfromjail.com site and forwarded to me.

PLEASE read this letter and marvel at the exulted space that Kevin occupies while standing firm for the Liberty Dollar after 14 MONTHS behind bars. Like Kevin, we have an extremely strong, winnable case and the government is going to lose dearly for this shortsighted misadventure.

Item #1: Two Exciting Newscasts Regarding Money

These two video newscasts speak for themselves. I neither indorse nor support these two brave American patriot’s efforts. I fact, I was surprised when the URLs were sent to me. But I was not surprised by the US Treasury site that proves ‘a private business, a person or an organization…are free to develop their own policies…’ for money. In part the government site says:

“There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept [US] currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services. Private businesses are free to develop their own policies on whether or not to accept cash unless there is a State law which says otherwise.”

The complete quote for the very first question on the US Treasury’s FAQ site is found here: http://www.ustreas.gov/education/faq/currency/legal-tender.shtml Now watch these two newscasts and decide who is going to win this case: Part I: http://www.connectmidmichigan.com/news/story.aspx?id=481793 Part II: http://www.connectmidmichigan.com/news/story.aspx?id=482130.

Item #2: Kevin the Beautiful

I know you are busy and you may not even know Kevin but I hope you will take a moment to ravel in Kevin’s amazing jailhouse consciousness and hopefully send him a note of support and/or a few dollars, as he can’t eat the slop that passed as food in jail. And I know that all too well!

From Kevin to a supporter – July 2010:

I continue to consider my time here as an opportunity for some intense independent training so that I can be more effective at helping society when I get out, helps me redirect my thoughts. From all of the wonderful experiences I am missing out on by being here, back to the hear-and-now and my self-imposed tasks. “The Now” is truly all that I can experience “in Technicolor” – all else is just a hazy “black and white” dream.

By being true to what I know to be right and honest I can more easily infuse the present with the enthusiasm and with the awareness that Gold is right here with me. Bliss, God and the Now are One. Standing firm in my convictions and my truth is fundamental to my evolving success, not only spiritually, but also in a worldly sense.

In contrast, there is nowhere I can go for relief if I am in conflict with myself. Yes, this has already taken a very long time and I might only be part-way through it but thinking in terms of time only increases the suffering. When we are One with the timeless inner Self there is really nothing to fear. The more we can connect our light with that wonderful Light that is also in others, especially among those who remind us of this, like you and I, the more we can warm to each other’s glowing.

It is great to hear you are drawing loving people to you. How can they resist?

Please write to Kevin:

William K. Innes
2351 Morganton Blvd. SW
Lenoir, NC 28645

Please send Money to Kevin:

C/O Julia Gaunt
16 Norman Austin Dr.
Asheville, NC 28804

Item #3: Liberty Dollar site is now closed due to court action.

And last but not least, the Liberty Dollar site is now down. Hope you got a copy before all that great info was taken down or know how to find it. I will explain this regretful development in my email to you for July.

Closing Remarks:

That’s it short and sweet. I promise to disclose all regarding my jail experiences and the latest on the Liberty Dollar Four in my next email for July. There are amazing develops with Liberty Dollar Four case, so please stay tune for all the details and an exciting trial! I remain convinced and dedicated to the ideals of the Liberty Dollar and that the only way for us to have a free society is by banding together and adopting a free and independent currency that provides us with “just weights and measures” to throw off the yoke of a manipulated monetary/tax system. Thank you for your inquiry and efforts to return America to value – one dollar at a time!

Bernard von NotHaus
Monetary Architect/Editor
Editor@LibertyDollar.org


Editor’s note. This one is not in the archive on LibertyDollar.org I spent quite a bit of time reformatting this when I got it as an email message. I remember I wanted it to look just so. Again, I was so concerned for Bernard. I find it amusing in hindsight.

Suspect Sniffles

Pseudoephedrine interdiction, the other shoe drops.

Google alerts dropped this in my inbox;

Other View: Law doesn’t stop meth

At least one government effort to curb methamphetamine production seems to have been a bust.

The Combat Methamphetamine Epidemic Act of 2005 … makes it more difficult to purchase common, non-prescription cold medication containing pseudoephedrine.

Pseudoephedrine is the main ingredient used in the manufacture of meth. So, instead of simply purchasing drugs like Sudafed over the counter as in the past, everyone must now get them from behind the counter, usually from a pharmacist.

… It turns out, however, that it probably was all for nothing. A study published in the March issue of the American Economic Review found that restricting pseudoephedrine had only a temporary effect on the meth trade.

Yet, the government continues to track cold and allergy sufferers as if everyone with the sniffles is a potential criminal, while meth manufacturers go about their business as usual.

The Decatur Daily, Ala.

(from the Traverse City Record-Eagle website)

It’s listed as an opinion piece, but it’s based on an evidence based indictment of the entire drug war. If you want to pay $7.50 you can download the study from The American Economic Review website.

Here’s the abstract;

In mid-1995, a government effort to reduce the supply of methamphetamine precursors successfully disrupted the methamphetamine market and interrupted a trajectory of increasing usage. The price of methamphetamine tripled and purity declined from 90 percent to 20 percent. Simultaneously, amphetaminerelated hospital and treatment admissions dropped 50 percent and 35 percent, respectively. Methamphetamine use among arrestees declined 55 percent. Although felony methamphetamine arrests fell 50 percent, there is no evidence of substantial reductions in property or violent crime. The impact was largely temporary. The price returned to its original level within four months; purity, hospital admissions, treatment admissions, and arrests approached preintervention levels within eighteen months.

(emphasis added)

So, like all attempts to curb demand by targeting supply, this effort has simply lead to alternative methods of getting meth to the people who want it.

How long are we going to throw away billions (perhaps even trillions) of dollars trying to keep people from pursuing what they see as ‘happiness’?

Tax Funded Content Providers; Disenfranchising With DRM?

ABC is Australia’s Federal Government-funded public broadcaster, and has responsibilities under the ABC Act 1983 to provide services to the Australian people.The new ABC Shop has recently launched, with downloads of TV programs made available — but only to Windows users willing to install DRM-laden software on their computers.

read more | digg story

Like the BBC, Australia TV broadcasts are publicly funded, so they are essentially keeping access away from people who have already paid for the content. I’d love to see this fought out in court.

Steroid Testing Boondoggle

David Dewhurst should be run out of town on a rail after this fiasco.

“I pushed this important legislation through the Legislature because I knew it would deter our young people from wrecking their bodies and putting their lives at risk by using illegal steroids,” Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said in Tuesday’s editions of the Houston Chronicle and San Antonio Express-News.

3 million dollars later, and we have nothing to show for it. Two positives out of 10,000 tests administered. That’s a statistical equivalent of ZERO atheletes on steroids in Texas.

[Never mind that if I wanted to do steroids as an athelete, I’d be sure that it was documented that I had sinus allergies; the treatment for which is generally steroids. Whatever]

The OLS host repeats it frequently “The Largest Steriod Testing Program in the Nation”. Drug testing is an invasion of privacy. If you want to test your own children, knock yourselves out. Leave my children alone.

…and fire David Dewhurst. Even if you think testing is OK, how is this program not a complete waste of funds?


On a related note, our children are getting fatter.

“Our children’s health is in jeopardy,” said state Sen. Jane Nelson, R-Lewisville. “We cannot allow an entire generation of Texans to grow up and live a shorter life than previous generations.”

Maybe we should stop discouraging them from engaging in extra-curricular activities. Discouragement like testing them for drugs if they want to play sports, for example. Or maybe you should just turn off the TV and take the kid for a walk.

When a Representative of the State mentions children and jeopardy, watch your wallets. There’s going to be additional theft-by-taxes proposed shortly following those words.