Refining @FCC’s role on privacy

The Federal Communications Commission has been amplifying its preference as the protector of consumers particularly under the stewardship of current chairman Tom Wheeler. The Commission has overstepped the boundaries established for consumer protection in the Communications Act of 1934. The Act does not mandate that the Commission try to impersonate its sister agency, the Federal Trade Commission or that Mr. Wheeler do an impersonation of Senator Elizabeth Warren.under the Communications Act.  Should the Republicans take the White House and keep the Congress, refining the role of the Commission in an updated, streamlined Communications Act should be on top of the GOP’s agenda.

Let’s look at the extent of consumer protection under the Act itself. Section 151 of the Act describes the purpose of the Act and the Commission as regulating interstate and foreign commerce in communication by wire or radio.   Regulation in the communications space should result in a nation-wide and world-wide communication system provided at reasonable charges that facilitates national defense, while promoting safety of life and property.

Section 151 does require that this rapid, efficient communications network be provided to consumers without discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, or sex. In other words, should decisions on how and where to deploy a network be based on consumers’ race, color, religion, national origin, or sex, the Commission is expected to step in and rectify the bad act. Also, if the consumer is facing unreasonable rates, the Commission would also be expected to step in and review these rates.

Section 222 requires that telecommunications carriers, a category in which the Commission has erroneously included broadband providers, exercise a duty to protect proprietary information related to a carrier’s customers. Assuming that the Commission’s net neutrality rules survive federal appellate court review, this would mean that broadband providers, for example, would have to disclose such information to broadband consumers upon their request. This section also requires that where a broadband provider receives customer proprietary information as a result of providing the consumer broadband services, the broadband provider can only use such information when providing the service through which it gathered the information, or to provide other services necessary for providing broadband services.

In other words, in today’s communications world where media and broadband are converging, broadband providers who themselves are information providers in search of advertising revenue, would be hamstrung from selling this information to third parties.

This presents the Commission and the markets a problem. If the Commission is gung-ho on competition throughout the internet ecosystem, would it be good policy to apply these 20th century rules to broadband/media companies doing business against media and data companies that have been coming into their own and subject to no regulation in a digital 21st century?

Personally I do not believe that in an age where consumer information is currency that there should be any consumer protection rules in this area. Yes, I am a member of the minority on this issue and will expound on it at some other time. I’ll leave this side note by saying that consumers have little to no property right in most of the information they want kept private and when they do share information it should be fair game for these companies to trade on.

In the meantime, Congress can reconcile the issue by expressing within the Communications Act that the Federal Trade Commission be the sole entry regulating consumer protection issues regardless of whether the firm in question is a broadband provider or an information portal such as Google. This would be a first step toward equating the treatment of two converging industries.

Posted in broadband, broadband access provider, Congress, data brokers, Election2016, Federal Communications Commission, Federal Trade Commission, free markets, Internet, net neutrality, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A war on #capital is not what we need

It is unfortunate that Bernie Sanders has reduced the political economy down to a battle between the wealthy and the rest of us. Since Mr. Sanders is an uber-statist there should be no surprise that he would leave government off of his list of bad things that impact the average American. Politicians whittle the status of the political economy down to a voting issue where packages of goods and services are concocted and offered to the electorate in exchange for the right to regulate commerce and create more programs that employ more bureaucrats.

Blaming the wealthy for the negative state of affairs only serves to heighten a sense of urgency to make change now before the lower classes predicament is worsened by increasing income or wealth inequality. Only the State can come to the individuals rescue and save her from the morass.

The politically astute realize that arguments like those made by Mr. Sanders, Hillary Clinton, and other progressives are a waste because they ignore the real definition of economics and the realities of a capitalist-based society. Macro-economics is about making a nation attractive to the flow of capital while micro-economics is about how efficiently that capital is put to use when it is converted into a going concern or a firm. The vast majority of the electorate play no role in how capital flows because the vast majority of the electorate how no capital to flow to anywhere. It makes the issue of voting moot since the vote has no impact on the day-to-day decisions involved in macro or micro-economics.

All is not lost for the individual, however. How she fares in a world where she has no leverage on the decisions to accumulate and distribute capital depends on how well she can enhance her value to those who hold capital. The individual must wake up every morning thinking about what value she can create; how she can leverage that value and be compensated for its provision. She has to take on a hunter’s mentality when negotiating the political economy and quickly discard a consumer’s mentality that expects something steady and risk free from the economic environment. This mindset can only be achieved with the realization that the ineffective nanny economy of progressives has to be replaced with an entrepreneurial, value-driven economy.

The individual’s value to the capital flow process is a concept that Mr. Sanders and other progressives never mention in part because they don’t understand how the American economic system works; in part because telling an electorate with a “do more for me” mentality that it should take on the responsibility of enhancing their value would be political suicide.

If Mr. Sanders is sincere about a revolution, he should first get rid of the “democratic socialist” moniker; join us anarcho-capitalists; abandon the “war on bankers” rhetoric (those guys have been around since Jesus. They aren’t going anywhere); and instill a little of that Brooklyn toughness and gruffness into a narrative that says that each individual should focus on identifying and providing the best value to our economic jungle.

Posted in Bernie Sanders, capital, economics, Economy, Election2016, free markets, government, liberty, Political Economy | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

No, Paul Krugman. Verizon has been investing

Economist Paul Krugman has an opinion piece in The New York Times where he attempts to call out Verizon’s failure to invest in its FiOS network as the reason for the company’s unionized workers discontent with the broadband provider.

Yes, Verizon hasn’t been in the news lately for deploying FiOS, a project it started two decades ago in response to competition from cable-based broadband providers such as Comcast and Time Warner, but it cannot be said that Verizon has stopped investing in its networks. Verizon has been rolling out a mobile broadband network that reaches over 90 percent of the nation. The company is also still competing with the likes of Comcast and Time Warner not only in terms of deploying broadband and special access services, but also as a media company.

My impression when I first read Professor Krugman’s piece was that he must have taken a nap over the past year. Verizon recently acquired AOL and is also making a play for Yahoo! Verizon wants to optimize the traction its broadband network has by making it a platform for AOL and Yahoo!’s content. AOL also has an advertising platform that Verizon can leverage on its broadband network as well.

Professor Krugman’s observation took me by surprise and also took me back to when my son was born, just around the time FiOS deployment was heating up. The Chuckster is now 14 and looking forward to high school. I suggest Professor Krugman start being a little more forward looking as well.

Posted in broadband, cable, capital, unions, Verizon | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Latest from Mayberry: Of Pimps, Prostitutes, and Capital

Fifty years from now the socio-economic-political classifications of race, lower income, and middle income will either be erased or severely minimized. In their place there will be two major classes.

One class will be the high income class, where the members of that class have built and leveraged networks through which they exchange highly specialized information and knowledge that add to their wealth.

The second class will be comprised of “pimps and prostitutes.” That class will be made up of everyone else; those left with no choice but to turn their bodies and their “souls” into a commodity.

As an economist, I have no problem with either class. How one chooses to leverage whatever assets they have in order to survive is their business. As a human being who prefers to see the human race pursue a course of enlightenment using reason, intellect, and science, I find the second category personally very disturbing.

Posted in Political Economy | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

The Latest from Mayberry: The Six Commandments

Life is too complex to spend time on four extra commandments that you will probably break after this morning’s pew riding session, so here are the six commandments that you should follow to bring clarity to a certain world of uncertainty.

DON”T BE RULED. This is the first and greatest commandment (though one need not keep it holy). Your life and the decisions you make to maximize it are yours and no entity or individual on this planet should be put in a position to tell you otherwise.

OWN YOUR ELITISM. You have worked hard and invested money and time into being the best. Take ownership of the environment you create and maintain to promote that hard work and investment. In short, let the haters hate.

NETWORK WITH WINNERS. The company of winners not only will inspire you, but bring you valuable information that will guide your pursuit of excellence.

FORM STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIPS. This commandment is closely related to that on networking. No one gets anywhere by themselves. Seek out partners that bring expertise necessary for achieving the milestones along your path to greatness or at least on your path to a pay check.

BRING VALUE TO CAPITAL. The entities that control capital control the economy, commerce, and business. In pursuit of maximizing returns on capital, they seek out people who can get them those returns. Educate yourself and create the expertise they need.

CAUSES ARE FOR LOSERS. Fifty-two years after the Civil Rights Act, Americans still have to be convinced that black lives matter. Forty-three years after Roe v. Wade, women are still fighting pot-bellied old white men for control over their bodies. Meanwhile, the only people benefiting are the those who can game the grant-writing system and take trips to DC and state capitals making rhetorical testimonies before lawmakers and judges in the day time while partying with these same people at night and attending fancy fundraisers.

May you apply these commandments accordingly, and remember,


Posted in American society, culture, free thought, liberty, Political Economy | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

The Latest from Mayberry: Two presidential candidates who don’t understand their own constitution

Donald Trump has been arguing that protesters in Chicago have trampled on his first amendment rights to free speech. Marco Rubio has been echoing partial support for Mr. Trump by expressing the same First Amendment sentiment. My reaction?

Two asswipes who don’t understand the constitution.

There is no state action i.e. action on the part of the government preventing Mr. Trump from putting on his rally If a bunch of noisy private individuals want to drown you out, as long as they are not using the property of the state to do it, then your First Amendment rights aren’t being violated.

Oh well, knowing the Washington media spin machine, the right wing yahoos will be using this talking point right into the Sunday morning funnies, ooops, I mean talk shows, and the noise should die down by Monday morning…..

…..‪#‎statism‬. You gotta love it ….

Posted in Donald Trump, Election2016, Uncategorized | Tagged | Leave a comment

Let’s give labor and the producer the full credit

The U.S. Department of Labor today release its Jobs Situation Report. The labor market saw an increase of 242,000 and the unemployment rate remained at 4.9%, the traditional indicator of full employment.
I suspect the Obama supporters will heap praises on him for this better than expected report, but in my opinion, any increase in employment will be the result of two factors and two factors only.
First, an increase in the number of people hired results from labor’s ability to demonstrate to producers that hiring an additional person will bring to the producer returns that at least equal the additional cost of bringing on additional labor.
Second, an increase will result where the producer determines that hiring additional labor brings value to goods and services being produced for demanding consumers.
The opposite is also true. Where labor cannot demonstrate that it will bring additional value to the production process and the producer does not identify additional benefits from hiring labor, employment will decrease.
I find it at times amusing and at other times downright scary that so many people will underestimate labor’s ability to persuade the labor market that it needs more employees and producers’ ability to identify the need for and the benefits flowing from additional labor. These very same worshipers of the State would rather give credit or blame to a president or a congress. While by law the executive and the congress are responsible for monitoring and managing the economy, in reality they have little to do with the economy’s performance.
Posted in Economy, employment, free markets, labor, labor markets, liberty, Political Economy, self regulated markets | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

The Latest from Mayberry: The political class’ house is burning down

Fighting back is a must, in the deal blueprint and in the campaign, Mr. Trump said. “I don’t like it, but I have no choice,” he said. “I watch people say Trump shouldn’t do it because he’s the front-runner, but when somebody attacks you, you have to.”— The Wall Street Journal

It is amusing how up in arms the average American voter is getting as she watches the political class’ house burn down. The fear and trepidation expressed by the left and right wings of the political class is not so much in response to Donald Trump’s blustering, “go big or go home” approach to his campaign. It is actually more of a reflection of how inept they have become in reading the needs of a broad base of Americans whose political tastes have changed and are dissatisfied with the same old menu of promises and rhetoric that the left and right have forced fed them since the beginning of the Progressive Era.

Donald Trump, the master of marketing and branding, has taken good notes from political focus groups and given these growing angry voters a voice.

The Establishment, if it ever really knew how to give voice to the masses, has disconnected itself from this primary art of the political deal. It has gotten so used to baking the same old donuts that it has sacrificed its creativity in meeting the needs of a public it pretends to represent.

The Establishment has been pursuing the wrong type of political business cost containment; it has decided it is cheaper to stay on the high horse and cast down upon the masses the same old ready-to-eat rations in order to increase for themselves the profits derived from political privilege and power. Mr. Trump has exposed this weakness and the Establishment’s response to being caught with its britches around its ankles is to call out to whatever minions it has left to rally in opposition to Mr. Trump. Mr. Trump represents an existential threat to the political class and the Establishment hopes to use the farce of the popular vote to save themselves.

Unfortunately, the electorate, like the typical slave, will come running to save the master’s house in return for his perceived love, a few child tax credits, more student loan disbursements, and food stamps along with a promise to the master that it won’t agitate for something more substantial……

Posted in Election2016 | Tagged | 1 Comment

Welcome to the post-Obama world, Dr. Harris-Perry

Melissa Harris-Perry appears to be an early victim of the post-Obama world. She is not taking too well the changes being made at MSNBC where the “Lean Forward” network has been blown back by the likes of Fox and CNN in the ratings race. The network wants to put on more hard news versus the “social justice, can’t we all just get along, I wanna be like Oprah with a Phd” bullshit programming that Dr. Harris-Perry has been anchoring for the past four years.

I believe that given Mr. Obama’s pending departure from the White House, reality has set in. MSNBC doesn’t need any more blacks to sell the Obama narrative or offset the neo-bigotry narratives pushed by Fox Skews. In short, and on this point Dr. Harris-Perry is correct, she brings no value. She is “worthless” to MSNBC.

Now if CNN could only get rid of that asswipe Van Jones ….

Posted in affirmative action, American society, Barack Obama, Election2016, Political Economy, race, society | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Blacks and Latinos continue their prayers to Clinton and Sanders

This morning on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, blacks and Latinos were asked to call in and discuss the campaign marketing efforts by U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton toward their respective communities. I heard the usual perspectives; everything from the impossibility of Mr. Sanders accomplishing his “pie-in-the sky” initiatives to Mrs. Clinton’s attitude of entitlement to the Oval Office based on her forty-plus years of public service, insider connections, and a former president who happens to be her husband.
As my head continued to spin from listening to a lot of seemingly paranoia-based observations regarding the candidates, I shared with C-SPAN the following tweet which you can find at this link,
“ The energy blacks, Latinos put into Sanders & Clinton is wasted. Instead, look at developing and independent sustainable economy.”
The waste that blacks and Latinos generate by looking to Mr. Sanders and Mr. Clinton for their daily bread is compounded by the threat the economic policies of both candidates poses to capital access. I summed up the threats their policies pose this way in my blog post:
“On the surface Mr. Sanders’ proposal does not appear to impact the ability of firms to use the capital markets to raise funds, however, by attacking the secondary markets, both Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton’s policies take away incentive on the part of investors to hold securities. If holders of the primary issues of equity or debt have no secondary markets within which to trade them, there will be a severely reduced urge to buy them in the first place.“
Based on the comments I heard and the comments generated by blacks and Latinos that I see on social media, a sustainable economy based on access to adequate capital appears not to be an immediate priority of the minority community. As one Latina caller, a self-described “revolutionary” put it, she would rather see a policy of wealth distribution to aid minority communities because she sees no other choice. This position is unfortunate because it takes Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton off the hook from seriously addressing or proposing a restructure of the American political economy that would result in economic independence and wealth creation for blacks and Latinos. In addition, Mr. Sanders and Mrs. Clinton would not have to make any effective proposals that weaken the grip the political class has on the economy.
For example, neither Mr. Sanders or Mrs. Clinton have proposed weakening the bottleneck that utility regulators have on electricity generation and distribution. They have not opined on federal and state laws or regulatory rules that dampen the benefits that individual consumers can receive from investing in self-generation of electricity. They would rather shift attention from the government’s need to maintain a bottleneck to the usual scapegoats, in this case the utilities. It’s a lot easier to have consumers blame the big guy who sends the bill.
For individual blacks and Latinos looking for policies that promote access to capital and facilitate their wealth, I don’t see where prayer for relief from Mr. Sanders or Mrs. Clinton is going to help.
Posted in Bernie Sanders, economics, Economy, Election2016, government, Hillary Clinton, Political Economy, renewable energy, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment