Net neutrality rules proceeded from a no value premise

Back in the early 1990s, a higher value was placed by the consumer on her use of the internet and the dial-up services that were used to access it. It was expensive paying either per use or per minute or hour or day depending on your AOL package. The analog telephone service sometime required additional toll fees to access online providers. You didn’t take for granted your time used to access or be online. You made a cost=benefit analysis regarding the time online and paid for the value of the information you retrieved.

Our perspective on value for being online has changed. We have gone from waiting till after 9 pm or weekends to make a long distance call in order to save on toll fees to having bundled wire or wireless services that have eliminated toll calling. You no longer wait minutes for a 100-page document. Such a document can be downloaded in and shared with others around the globe in seconds. Our appreciation for the cost of being online has fallen so low that a significant number of Americans believe that using online resources to transmit videos of singing cats has equal value to data containing vital procedures for surgery.

Net neutrality has spawned the delusion that democracy requires equal treatment of all traffic, no matter how mundane, non-substantive, or perverse. It is time to reverse this perversion by imputing a value component to online access and data exchange. A crucial first step toward bringing back value is the repeal of the Federal Communications Commission’s 2015 open internet order and the no-value rules that it created.

True network neutrality cannot occur if agreements on the pricing of the exchange of traffic are overseen by the federal government.  Content delivery networks, internet information portals, and broadband access providers should negotiate traffic exchange freely and allow their assessment of the value of traffic exchange determine price. These carriers have data on the value the consumer places on their content and access services and can design the proper price points for recovering costs and generating profits.

For the end-use consumer, a day of reckoning will occur. Will they meet the new demand for price recovery issued by content providers by paying higher prices?  Or will they spend less time on the internet? Some may see value by paying additional fees to content providers. For those who don’t, they will threaten to abandon internet networks or reduce the time spent on them. This will provide content and network providers to become innovative by providing tiers of services that give the consumer additional flexibility on payment and usage.

In the end, network neutrality won’t “destroy democracy” on the internet. To be technical, democracy is about choosing political leaders and until we have elections via the internet, the democracy argument is nonsense. What we will have, with the elimination of these rules, is a conduit of commerce being subjected to market rules voluntarily entered into by its participants.

 

West End Atlanta is a low value information commodity

Atlanta’s West End has no political power and appears to mirror the stagnant thinking of its representation on its city council. In the nine years that I have lived in the West End, I have yet to see how the power to “get what you want, when you want it, from who you want it from” has been applied to help its current citizens.

West End Atlanta should be the southwest version of Buckhead, especially given its proximity to City Hall, the downtown district, a MARTA transit station, and the airport. Instead, it’s the home of too many fast food restaurants, above average crime, and a high level of poverty. It doesn’t surprise me that West End’s city council member, Cleta Winslow, does not give the media interviews.  She would rightly be called to task about the state of poverty in her district. Not only the poverty, but the stagnation in mindset and lethargy in body language, the manifestation that stems from accepting less. It is very negative energy.

Blacks in West End give me the impression that they are just hanging around waiting to die.

If the 30310 zip code is going to improve, it won’t be as a result of current political leadership. After 23 years, Ms Winslow is merely a caretaker, or should I say undertaker. Individuals, particularly individuals of African American descent, are going to have to do this on their own.

One approach is to get more young, black producers to buy into the neighborhood. We need engineers and technologists to support and promote the attempts I see in the neighborhood to provide urban farming. The West End needs a self-contained political economy based on self-reliance.

Another, more important approach is to develop a tribal aspect to the West End’s social ordering. The West End needs to go from just a proclamation that “We here”, to an affirmation that, “We are here to stay. Let’s work.” The West End’s lack of progressiveness comes from a fear of being cohesive. This fear is a common thread running through most Black Americans. There is no conqueror mentality, just a “keep on, keeping on” mantra that adds to the lethargy of the West End’s inhabitants.

This attitude has made it easier for whites to gentrify the West End. It has been a slow and steady process. It is no shocker for me now to see mostly smiling white couples out walking their dogs or jogging along the Beltline while pushing a baby carriage. They are here, with conqueror mentality in tow.

In my title I asserted that the West End represents a low value information commodity. The West End Atlanta is low information value not simply because of the level of poverty, but because of the poor mindset and lack of cohesion. The most valuable information from the 30310 is that the area is wide open for plunder.

My simple take on what a city is

People move to Atlanta for various reasons. An individual may be a recent college graduate that received their first job offer from a company located here. Others are moving here to start a new business or expand an existing one. Some are leaving a traumatic experience that occurred in another city, like death in the family or divorce hoping that Atlanta provides a platform for a new life. Others simply like the weather and the city’s southern charm.

Whatever the reason, I think continued success here needs to be based on a couple realities about cities in general and Atlanta is particular. While we tend to look at a city from a perspective of what can this city do for me, we should round out our perspectives by asking what does this city expect from me? What is its role? To whom do the benefits of a city truly flow?

I admit that my connection to Atlanta is far from emotional. The city doesn’t feed an emotional need for me. While I would not want to live in a town with one traffic light and no movie theater, I don’t rely on a place for happiness.

What I appreciate and do need from a city is its ability to function as a hub for trade. A city should foster an environment that drives thought. It should have the infrastructure that provides an adequate platform for the exchange of ideas. It should, as a community or society, provide a safe environment for exchanging information. Since people are the primary source of information, people should feel safe and secure moving about and engaging with each other.

City governments promote themselves as suppliers of protection and infrastructure for its city’s residents. City governments exercise a near monopoly over protection services, organizing and regulating violence in order to meet their marketing message. I won’t get in to how individuals can and should compete with government to provide these services for themselves, but for now bear in mind that individuals can, but government does its best to dissuade the individual from doing so.

To stay viable as a service provider to taxpayers, city governments are expected to create public policy that supports the city’s function as a trading post in the digital age. For example, reviewing and approving broadband provider requests to use public rights-of-way to lay cable or construct and deploy cell towers in an expedited fashion provides information entrepreneurs increased assurance that they can conduct commerce in the city. It also provides broadband providers assurance that they can maintain returns on their capital while meeting their customers needs.

The city’s other function is that of a tax collector for its investors i.e. bond holders, members and employees of government, income-transfer beneficiaries. It aims to turn every resident into a tax-generating event, whether through the payment of sales taxes, property taxes, or business licenses. By providing infrastructure i.e. cell towers, streets, airports, the city contributes to the increase in the number of information seekers and information providers that trade in its jurisdiction, leading to an increase in entities that pay taxes and the amount of taxes collected.

How does knowing this contribute to your success in Atlanta or any other city? You can best guess the value you are bringing to Atlanta’s table when you understand what is being traded in the city, the information that is being demanded. You can best structure your labor or entrepreneurial activities to meet those trading needs. You become an asset.

Unfortunately, the State will wish to extract a significant portion of your success via income taxes. We’ll save that for another discussion.

 

Looks like it’s Keisha and business as usual …

Keisha Lance Bottoms appears to have captured the crown in the Atlanta mayoral race by approximately 759 votes over Mary Norwood. Ms Norwood reportedly has asked for a recount. She lost by 714 votes back in 2009 and likely wants to ensure that she doesn’t spend any more evenings trying to fall asleep and seeing both numbers dance around her head like sheep.

I found Ms Norwood to be engaging as well as tough. She is a seasoned politician, but unfortunately for her she appears to have run up on a buzz saw called the Black Slate. It came out in just enough numbers, apparently, to give Ms Lance Bottoms the win.

What do I expect from Ms Lance Bottoms? She will likely continue Mayor Reed’s gentrification policies i.e. a strong police presence in the West End designed to keep the current Black population quiet while more whites move in and buy up shuttered properties. Meanwhile, development will continue in the northern part of the city with increases in transportation capacity to meet increased residential demand on that side of town. The Atlanta metropolitan area expects 2.5 million more inhabitants over the next two decades and will have to act now to provide adequate infrastructure to accommodate them.

Black elites will hold on to ceremonial power. I refer to it as ceremonial power versus political power because valid political power means the ability to direct capital to whomever the holder of political power chooses. If blacks did indeed have political power, gentrification and poverty would not be an issue. Whites and other non-blacks that control capital in Atlanta should, as usual, have nothing to worry about.

So far, so gloomy in Atlanta

Prior to today’s election, Mary Norwood was nursing a six percentage point lead over mayoral rival Keisha Lance Bottoms. That lead is compounded by the gloomy looking weather outside, although supporters holding campaign signs on the corner of Tenth Street and Peachtree this morning offset the cloudy day with their enthusiasms.

What kind of signal would a Mary Norwood win send to Atlanta? It would an indication that the city has changed demographically. As I was telling my Uber driver this morning while we sat at the corner of Tenth and Peachtree, Atlanta in 1985 was just black and white. Blacks didn’t live in Buckhead. We just visited Lenox Square Mall every now and then. We saw white people at work and that was about it. The phrase, “the city too busy to hate” really meant “Everyone has other things to do so we aren’t interested in hanging out together.” That phrase has fooled a lot of people looking at the city from the outside thinking that Atlanta was becoming a mecca for racial harmony.

Quite the opposite. “Too busy to hate” was merely a blueprint for a new kind of segregation, a blueprint that also served as a marketing scheme to attract more Yuppies and Buppies to the capital city of Georgia. It included a truce, that Blacks would enjoy the political privileges stemming from having a majority of the city’s voters while kept what was really most important: economic power.

The thing with political power based on the number of people with black skin is that even if that power can be passed down the nepotism chain to other people with black skin, it is only a matter of time before that power becomes diluted. As the demographics changes and the city became more diverse, the power base naturally became diluted by other groups that did not share either skin color or the struggle narrative as promoted by Atlanta’s political elite.

Not only did economic power stay with whites (and it is only reasonable to expect this), whites also distributed opportunities stemming from economic power to non-black groups typically under the argument that these groups brought more value because they had the high-tech skills a diversifying Atlanta economy needed.

If anything, this is where Atlanta’s black elite screwed up. The establishment types, led by old heads like John Lewis, never expressed any sophisticated knowledge about capital, finance, and technology. So immersed were they in continuing the 1950s and 1960s legacy of Martin Luther King and Ralph David Abernathy, that they didn’t appreciate changes in the domestic or global economy. So alluring was their Pied Piper flute playing, that the masses followed them over the cliff of complacency.

Now tonight, after a day of gloomy clouds, Black Atlanta faces a new uncertainty …

Trump’s political calculus on Moore

Social media’s reeling over Alabamans support for Roy Moore increased with a firm endorsement from President Donald J. Trump. Mr Moore’s bid to fill the U.S. Senate seat vacated by now Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been rocked by allegations of sexual misconduct with teen-aged girls almost four decades ago. The detailed analysis driven by in-depth reporting by The Washington Post should have thrown Mr Moore into the woodshed for a classic Alabama woodshed whooping, but recent polling, some of it questionable according to Politico, has Mr Moore still in the race.

This is after all the South, and Southerners have been showing a propensity to turn the eyeballs away from bad behavior if it means voting in a candidate that promotes good Christian values, such as keeping a replica of stone tablets with the Ten Commandments inscribed in your courtroom.

Mr Trump doesn’t have room to spare in the Senate where a couple moderate leaning types have shown some gumption for stirring up the legislative pot especially on health care and tax law reform. He will need as many reliable, steady Republican senators as he can get.

Also, a win here would send a signal that for all the reports that Mr Trump has lost some of his base, Mr Trump will have significant support going into the 2019-2020 campaign season.

A Moore win should also send a signal to the Democrats. Special counsel investigations and congressional hearings on Russia may not be enough to derail Mr Trump’s agenda much less get him out of office in 2020. They will still have to knock on doors in flyover country, an initiative that I have yet to sense any enthusiasm for from progressives.

 

 

Why I have no problem with nationalism

Nationalism represents the freedom for a particular ethnic or cultural group to be and promote who and what they are. Americans, particular those on the left, play revisionist history when calling out so called white nationalists for expressing their need for separation. This country’s history is rife with “white nationalism” where Europeans cleared out indigenous occupants they found on the land and appropriated its natural resources in order to fuel Euro America’s expansion to the Pacific and beyond.

I sense Euro Americans have either an intellectual aversion to white nationalism or an indifference. I believe it is more indifference because given their dominant cultural status in the United States, it is a waste of time pondering on the alleged wrongs their ancestors carried out against indigenous tribes as well as against African tribes that they traded for and brought to the United States.

If Euro Americans believed that non-Europeans were their brothers and sisters under the eyes of God, then the mass atrocities Europeans carried out against indigenous American tribes and African tribes would never have happened. The atrocities were simple to carry out because Europeans convinced themselves that because of their technology, language, religion, skin color, and view of life, that they were better thus had the authority to carry out violence against these peoples.

The United States is simply Europe extended.

But given the brief argument I provided above, why then would I support nationalism? Didn’t I just make an argument about how unacceptable it is? The answer is no, I didn’t. European campaigns to conquer and occupy the North and South American continents were examples of human nature on steroids. Africans, Asians, and Europeans have varied histories of occupation and conquest. Europeans took their model of conquest and and nation building and went global. Indigenous American and African tribes are understandably upset that they lost tens of or even hundreds of millions of lives over a almost four century period of war, rape, and slavery, but in the end, just because these tribes were not capable of warding off the onslaught doesn’t mean that Europeans owe an apology. Rather, it means that these groups need to ask themselves what was it about self preservation that they did not understand then and today how best do we go about correcting it.

Progressives will respond that to address these past wrongs either all peoples should start to live as one, to put aside ethnic differences, to be human first or pay the descendants of the victims some form of reparations.  Neither approach will work.

First, the “we are all human” approach invites subjecting disadvantaged groups to a European standard. If we are all one people, then efficiency calls for a clear standard to follow and I don’t see a group of European descendants who control America’s wealth subjecting themselves to the socio-economic-political standards of the African Diaspora.

Nor will reparations work. First, Euro Americans will push back on the idea going as far as a tax revolt, something the United States could not afford. Even if reparations were approved, what would be the formula for doling out monies? What would be the criteria? Could Barack Obama collect just based on skin color even though there is no proof that any member of his lineage was a slave?

And what would the reparations be used for? Members of the African Diaspora have a higher propensity to consumer relative to Euro Americans. While there will be a huge spike in the United States’ gross domestic product, I don’t see any leadership calling for wealth building, something the African sorely needs.

If the African Diaspora is to achieve any real viability on the North American continent, it will have to embark on a fifty year plan that includes the creation and implementation of tribal values, separate and distinct from the dominant culture. The dominant culture’s values have not served the African Diaspora in America well. Members of the African Diaspora rank at the bottom of every major socio-economic indicator.  Members of the African Diaspora will have to accumulate natural resources, build an economy around those resources, and use broadband and the internet to engage in trade not only with other Diaspora members in North America but across the pond as well.

Nationalism should not be looked at as a hate agenda. That is an argument that nation-state promoters make, and one that I will address later this week. What nationalism does is ensure your survivability and uniqueness. Those who allegedly seek a diverse world within which to live need to come to terms with this reality.