CropLife America (pesticide lobbyists); the Financial Services Roundtable (lobbyists for Citigroup, Jpmorgan, etc) and Lockheed Martin (largest arms-dealer in the world) are just some of the entities throwing lavish parties for Congresscritters, Senators, administration officials and their staffers this Christmas.
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As Trump FCC Chairman Ajit Pai tries to kill Net Neutrality under cover of Thanksgiving, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince has tweeted that he is looking into ways that he can legally take up Josh Constantine's challenge to give Pai "14.4k dial-up speeds for killing net neutrality." (Image: Evan-Amos, CC-BY-SA) (via /.)
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The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (previously) is practically the only US regulator we can be proud of -- founded by Elizabeth Warren before she ran for the Senate, the CFRB is a consumer protection agency that has been at the forefront of reining in criminal activities like Wells Fargo's nationwide frauds and Equifax's dox attack on the USA, as well as being the best defense Americans have against predatory loan-sharks masquerading as "payday lenders," abusive debt-collectors, racial discrimination in lending, and the student loan racket.
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American cities have some of the slowest, most expensive internet access in the world, and the biggest, wealthiest cities are some of the worst-provisioned, including San Francisco, ground zero for the tech revolution and home to a cable/telco duopoly whose underperforming infrastructure is especially galling for the city's techie residents.
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There was a time when monopolistic control over sectors of the US economy was vigorously checked through antitrust enforcement, but the neoliberal ideology of the Chicago economists (Milton Friedman et al) has eroded competition in America by convincing regulators that monopolies only need to be policed under very specific (and almost unheard-of) circumstances.
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Brett Gaylor from Mozilla writes, "The FCC received 22 million comments in response to its plan to repeal Net Neutrality legislation. So we've created a virtual way for you to drop 22 million virtual leaflets on Ajit Pai at the FCC headquarters. And we're almost there! Folks have dropped over twenty million so far, and in the process made weird cyber graffiti appear all over DC. Help us get to 22 million!" Read the rest
Josh writes, "This morning Fight for the Future launched crowdfunded billboards targeting members of Congress who have publicly supported FCC Chairman Ajit Pai's plan to gut net neutrality." Read the rest
Only two people on the 30-seat FCC advisory panel come from city governments and have experience overseeing telcoms regulation; the other 28 members are executives, consultants, lobbyists and think-tankies from the telcoms sectors. Read the rest
Russ writes, "Via a FOIA request I made, this is Ajit Pai's detailed schedule from January 20 to the end of June. Shows who he met with, where he traveled, etc." Read the rest
America's internet is sucks and the law obliges the FCC to "take immediate action to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market," but dingo-babysitter Ajit Pai (a former telcoms lobbyist that Donald Trump put in charge of the FCC) has a counterproposal: just declare fast internet unimportant to Americans, and hope that they'll put up with slow mobile broadband instead of blazing-fast wired connections. Read the rest
Five years ago, a patent troll called "Personal Audio" started demanding money from podcasters, claiming that their patent on mailing cassette tapes of people reading magazines (a ridiculous patent on its face) also covered podcasting. Read the rest
Monsanto is facing over 100 lawsuits in a Federal district court in San Francisco brought by people who attribute their non-Hodgkin's lymphoma to exposure to glyphosate in Monsanto's Roundup weed-killer, and as part of the discovery process, it submitted internal documents to the court that detailed shenanigans in the company's internal science and its dealings with regulators and the press. Read the rest
...But California keeps green-lighting more natural gas plants, thanks to hydrocarbon industry pressure on state regulators, who operate at cross-purposes to the legislature and its targets for renewables. Read the rest
It's been more than 20 years since Congress told the FCC that it should do something about the cable and satellite companies' monopolies over set-top boxes (American households spend more than $200/year to rent these cheap, power-hungry, insecure, badly designed, trailing edge, feature-starved boxes), but it wasn't until this year that the FCC announced its Unlock the Box order and asked for comments. Read the rest
Public Knowledge's new report, Captured: Systemic Bias at the US Copyright Office makes a beautifully argued, perfectly enraging case that the US Copyright Office does not serve the public interest, but rather, hands out regulatory favors to the entertainment industry. Read the rest
The Net Neutrality fight in Europe epitomises everything wrong with the EU: a decision that will adversely effect the lives of hundreds of millions of people being taken by unelected bureaucrats, working in obscurity, attended by the well-paid lobbyists of the telcoms industry, which will only make continental headlines when it is a fair accompli. Read the rest
From The Economist to the White House Council of Economic Advisers to Goldman Sachs itself, the staunchest supporters of capitalism are worried about the consistently high profit margins in key industries, especially finance. Read the rest