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Vrede too
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Re: OWS

Unread post by Vrede too » Thu Oct 27, 2016 10:35 am

Petition to the Department of Justice Antitrust Division:

"Stop the merger of AT&T and Time Warner, which would hurt consumers, decrease competition and drastically increase market concentration."
So many liberals, so little time. :P

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O Really
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Re: OWS

Unread post by O Really » Thu Oct 27, 2016 11:56 am

I don't get any competition in cable access now. Never have. Have you?

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Re: OWS

Unread post by rstrong » Thu Oct 27, 2016 12:24 pm

O Really wrote:I don't get any competition in cable access now. Never have. Have you?
That's often because of outright corruption. Cable company bribing lobbying local officials to outright ban competing services. And when bribes $1000/plate campaign fundraising dinners aren't taken, there's legal action. Like Comcast and AT&T suing cities to block Google Fiber.

But what we have here is a different issue.

AT&T (which recently bought DirecTV, if you think satellite TV will provide competition) has the distribution network. But now they'll have content: The DirecTV Now streaming service and Time Warner, which also owns HBO, CNN, the Cartoon network, TBS, etc. etc..

This is about AT&T increasing its ability to use zero rating to give its own content an advantage, while penalizing streaming competitors like Netflix and Amazon. It's own services will be exempt from usage caps, but Netflix and Amazon customers could face hefty charges when they go over those caps.

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Re: OWS

Unread post by O Really » Thu Oct 27, 2016 1:45 pm

I see the point. But just for alternate thought, I remember back in the day when AT&T was the only phone company. Actually there was an ad that said, "We may be the only phone company in town, but we try not to act like it." That got satirized into "We ARE the only phone company in town and there's not a damn thing you can do about it." But still, they provided a good and reliable service for what seemed at the time to be a reasonable price (and certainly an understandable bill). Breaking up Ma Bell never did improve either service or price as far as my personal experience recalls.

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Re: OWS

Unread post by rstrong » Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:10 pm

AT&T itself proposed the breakup, as an alternative when it realized that it was about to lose the United States v. AT&T Co. anti-trust lawsuit.

Back then AT&T provided one service: voice calling. Not your TV service, and no control of the content of your TV service.

Now it provides voice calling AND internet AND cable TV AND the content of your internet and TV. (Giving its own channels and streaming content an advantage while penalizing streaming competitors like Netflix and Amazon.) When its often the only choice consumers have, that makes for greater anti-trust issues than it had in the 1970s.

Imagine a similar situation with Verizon or Comcast or other, with Fox News, NewsMax etc. being zero-rated while penalizing competitors.

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Vrede too
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Re: OWS

Unread post by Vrede too » Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:37 pm

Implied but not stated in rstrong's accurate discussion of the proposed merged company controlling a massive share of both content and distribution is that AT&T wants to merge with Time Warner Inc., not Time Warner Cable which is an entirely separate company. This is about much, much more than cable access.
So many liberals, so little time. :P

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Re: OWS

Unread post by O Really » Thu Oct 27, 2016 2:59 pm

I understand that ATT&T isn't the same, the technology isn't the same and the product isn't the same. But even as a monopoly, they served the customer better than the "solution." If it were my decision, I wouldn't let them merge. I've got a bit of experience in mergers and acquisitions and IMNVHO those who are injured vastly outnumber those who benefit. But it's not practical for cable, internet providers, and content providers to be small enough to give consumers an individual competitive choice. And if they did, it would be like picking between Dish and DirectTV, or cell companies, with every provider waving smoke and mirrors to the consumer. So the consumer now is served by a monopoly, and any "competition" is largely imaginary.

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Re: OWS

Unread post by rstrong » Thu Oct 27, 2016 3:46 pm

O Really wrote:But even as a monopoly, they served the customer better than the "solution."
Again, that's when they did one thing and one thing only: Voice calls.

If they had maintained that monopoly - adding internet and cable and lots of new voice call features and a MUCH higher call volume - and an aging infrastructure - I doubt things would have turned out differently regarding reliability.

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Re: OWS

Unread post by rstrong » Thu Oct 27, 2016 5:44 pm

Vrede too wrote:...AT&T wants to merge with Time Warner Inc., not Time Warner Cable which is an entirely separate company.
Techdirt: The Senate Summoned The Wrong Time Warner To Talk About AT&T Merger
Oh, and it's even worse than it seems, because Rob Marcus isn't CEO of either Time Warner or Time Warner Cable. He left Time Warner Cable after Charter Communications completed its deal.

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Vrede too
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Re: OWS

Unread post by Vrede too » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:19 pm

Some Senate Judiciary Committee staffer should be fired.
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Re: OWS

Unread post by rstrong » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:21 pm

It's not like America was attacked and they voted to invade the wrong country.

I could totally see some junior staffer being fired after that.

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Re: OWS

Unread post by Vrede too » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:25 pm

rstrong wrote:It's not like America was attacked and they voted to invade the wrong country....
I'm not sure that Canadians should joke about that.
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Re: OWS

Unread post by rstrong » Thu Oct 27, 2016 6:27 pm

Good point. :silent:

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Vrede too
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Re: OWS

Unread post by Vrede too » Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:55 pm

Petition to Attorney General Loretta Lynch:

The Wells Fargo fraudulent accounts scandal is a crucial test for the Justice Department’s newly stated focus on holding senior executives individually accountable for wrongdoing. Please lead the Department of Justice in a thorough investigation of senior executives at Wells Fargo, and prosecute all illegal behavior you uncover.
So many liberals, so little time. :P

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Re: OWS

Unread post by rstrong » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:03 pm

Something I clipped from elsewhere:
The difficulties that government prosecutors face in cobbling together fraud cases against even the most nefarious executives illuminates the fact that, legally, corporations are big, fancy responsibility-diffusion mechanisms. It’s what they were designed to do: Let a bunch of people get together, take some strategic risks they might otherwise not take, and then make sure none of them is devastated individually if things go south.
You won't get a prosecution of Wells Fargo officials. Things will only change by laws that do no less than redefine what corporations ARE, to make their management responsible.

The Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses in most modern treaties make this even harder. The government would get sued by investors not just by foreign companies, but by American companies via their foreign (on paper only) subsidiaries.

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Re: OWS

Unread post by Vrede too » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:13 pm

rstrong wrote:... You won't get a prosecution of Wells Fargo officials....
Could be, but this one was pretty outrageous even by banker "standards".
So many liberals, so little time. :P

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Re: OWS

Unread post by rstrong » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:36 pm

Vrede too wrote:
rstrong wrote:... You won't get a prosecution of Wells Fargo officials....
Could be, but this one was pretty outrageous even by banker "standards".
Yeah, but it was all low-level employees breaking the law. And dishonest middle-managers encouraging them. Those at the top were blissfully unaware, shocked, SHOCKED I tell you at what the little people had done. Or so their lawyers will claim while easily establishing reasonable doubt.

But the executives will ensure that it doesn't happen again. By firing those low-level employees and rehiring them as outside contractors. Firewalling the bank from the risks of what they make the workers do, while doing away with annoyances like paying benefits. Heck, this scandal probably only sped up the process by a few years.

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Re: OWS

Unread post by Vrede too » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:42 pm

rstrong wrote:... Those at the top were blissfully unaware, shocked, SHOCKED I tell you at what the little people had done. Or so their lawyers will claim while easily establishing reasonable doubt....
Maybe if some Canadian hacker proved otherwise . . .
So many liberals, so little time. :P

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Re: OWS

Unread post by rstrong » Fri Oct 28, 2016 8:58 pm

Vrede too wrote:
rstrong wrote:... Those at the top were blissfully unaware, shocked, SHOCKED I tell you at what the little people had done. Or so their lawyers will claim while easily establishing reasonable doubt....
Maybe if some Canadian hacker proved otherwise . . .
Would the files be admissible in court? I'm no lawyer, but wouldn't data leaked via WikiLeaks, The Intercept and others be tainted evidence? A possibility that fake incriminating emails were wrapped in mundane real email?

Icelandic Prime Minister Gunnlaugsson was brought down by news of his tax haven in the Panama Papers leak. Everybody knows now, thanks to the leaked data. But could he be prosecuted based on the leaked data alone?

Sure, acknowledging the tax haven would be a confession. But if a bank CEO steadfastly denied the incriminating data, I suspect the police could only use it as a guide while they tried to build a case from other sources.

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Re: OWS

Unread post by Vrede too » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:05 pm

Good point. Maybe get advice from O Really on how the emails you find can somehow lead to legal subpoenas for the same ones. 'Fruit of the poisoned tree' has sometimes been skirted when the cops weren't the poisoners.
So many liberals, so little time. :P

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