Sloane Stephens blah blah blah. Talk of diversity in 2017 should be embarrassing…

Sloane Stephens won today’s women’s U.S. Open final. Congrats to her. Her performance was near flawless. Television announcers and analysts have a tendency to step on the moment, adding their spin on an event that half the planet witnesses for themselves. Today, ESPN’s analysts along with USTA president Katrina Adams harped the ethnicity of Ms Stephens and her opponent, Madison Keys. Both women are of African descent. According to Ms Adams, herself a woman of African descent, it was good to have a diverse Open.

Analysts Cliff Drysdale, Chris McKendrie, and Chrissie Evert also chimed in on how awesome it was to have more ethnically diverse players on the women’s professional tennis tour. Sloane Stephens, like Venus Williams (the woman she beat to get to the finals) were providing black girls with a role model that tells them that they can do anything.

When I hear whites speak the diversity narrative; when I hear them say that “black girls are breaking glass ceilings” or that “black girls can do anything”, it sounds like they are telling blacks that they have passed another test, but that they should prepare for another mid-term exam on social acceptance. What is worse is when so called social justice/advocacy groups chime in on the rhetoric, holding up women like Keys and Stephens as another bunch of one-zee, two-zees that show the white man that Africans in America who call themselves black should have some seat at the table; again, asking whites for a pat on the back for doing things that are simply another day in the park in other countries where Africans have firmly established their identities and need not ask permission or seek validation for any accomplishment.

What these “first black person to do this, first black person to do that” accolades should tell Africans in America who call themselves black is that after 400 years in colonial America and later in the United States, you have not yet achieved citizenship status; that much is not expected of you. Africans who call themselves black should not be proud of any of these accolades. They should be insulted when they hear them. There should be no chest puffing when these expressions of low expectations are made.

The mainstream media have been willing to do the American State’s bidding in publicizing the great accomplishments of its minority citizens. On a planet where the majority of its human inhabitants do not resemble white Europeans, America has to hold itself out as the beacon for all that is pure, good, and right. That includes showing the world that ethnic minorities are doing well because the State has created an environment in the past 50 years to make up for atrocities that have occurred in the centuries prior to civil rights.

The fastest way to eviscerate this portion of the diversity narrative is for blacks to get off of the “we gotta another negro first” band wagon and for whites to turn a deaf ear to it.

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.@realDonaldTrump and dead dinosaurs

Watching a joint press conference between the American president and the Emir of Kuwait. The Kuwaitis, Saudis, and other Middle East actors have the U.S. by the balls simply because a few Bedouins pitched their tents and had freaky sex with their harems right on the spot a few thousand feet above the cemetery of a bunch of dead dinosaurs.

The irony is that while the U.S. is ready to flex its military muscle against an impoverished, wannabe taken seriously, Far East Asian nation, the U.S. goes hush hush when pressed about action against a bunch of Middle East and Central Asian actors who either fund or harbor terrorists who allegedly have as a goal crippling the American economy ….

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No, American laborer. It’s not your job. #DACA #immigration

I always find it amazing when Americans express anger towards immigrants who come into the United States and take “their jobs.” If it is “your job”, why did you allow someone to take it? If a mechanism for compensation is so vital to your survival, why would you let anyone take that mechanism?

The thing is, that job is not yours. The job belongs to someone who manages capital, who decided that a certain amount and quality of labor is needed to extract and expand returns on and to that basket of capital. You, the laborer, played no part in that decision. You came in on the back end. You are just filling a slot until that manager of capital has determined that energy and resources should be directed somewhere else or until that manager of capital has determined that you bring no value given your cost or expertise.

It’s not that immigrants are taking anything from you. It boils down to you not owning or creating anything for yourself that ensures your ability to survive.

Let it go, boo. Just let it the fuck go…

Posted in American society, capital, employment, Immigration | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Unfortunately, government wants to regulate information, too

Is information a resource such that we should expect government to regulate its extraction? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. While we gather information for free with our eyes and ears and exchange this information during conversations with friends, family, and co-workers, it is when these information exchanges take place in the commercial space is when we should expect government to regulate.

Americans should expect information services for hire to be regulated. Government licenses private actors to extract, manage, and distribute resources and put goods and services based on these resources into the market for sale. Information is treated no differently. Because of concerns regarding free speech and privacy, for the most part, content is not regulated, but government does attempt to regulate other aspects of information exchange including pricing and the deployment of infrastructure on which information is traded.

As the Federal Communications Commission considers whether to reclassify regulation of broadband access as an information service versus its current regulatory status as a Title II telecommunications service, be mindful that the issue is still regulation. Whether broadband access is treated as a 20th century, two-way voice communications service or as a 21st century internet protocol, text-data-voice-video service, it will still be regulated. Unless the State is going to disappear tomorrow, government regulation is not going anywhere.

The FCC and Congress should recognize that the value of information as a resource is best extracted when parties are left alone to determine the price for exchanging data. If a consumer doesn’t wish to trade data on a certain network at a certain price, they can exchange data on another network under that networks terms and conditions. By regulating price, the FCC and Congress would risk creating false price signals for the data trade markets, a danger that arises under Title II regulation.

The best approach to regulating broadband access services? A hands off approach, especially as it pertains to pricing….


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Residential solar subsidies evidence government abdication of its role

Tax-payer funded subsidies that promote residential electricity generation via renewable sources i.e. wind, solar, has resulted in putting America’s public utilities in a position where they may shift undue rate burden on to lower income consumers in order to recover grid costs. Rather than allowing utilities to employ the lowest cost fuels for generating electricity, tax subsidies have created artificial downward pressure on residential generation. The irony is that more affluent ratepayers are able to use these subsidies to install solar or wind facilities at their residences at the expense of unrecovered grid costs and potentially higher rates for the poor.

What is overlooked in discussion as to how policy has brought regulators to this cost shifting dilemma is how government acts as a stakeholder. As I describe below, government, as regulator of market behavior and architect of fiscal policy, has created a renewable energy policy that, while apparently noble in intent, is regressive in terms of benefits and prices for low income consumers.

American government’s role in the economy has become a bit convoluted over the past 200 plus years. Having taken on a progressive bent regarding its role in the economy, the American State has taken itself off course on the economy and created further conflict between those that see government simply as a facilitator of returns on capital and those who see government’s role as a distributor of social welfare largesse.

Government, whether by use of its own resources or by outsourcing to non-government, private actors, manages the extraction, conversion, packaging, and distribution of natural resources for the purpose of creating taxable activity. Where government uses private actors to extract resources and convert those resources into product, it also relies on these actors to employ human resources and act as tax collector on these resources. These taxes include the payroll taxes paid by employees and the sales taxes paid by consumers.

Public utilities play these roles. In the case of a utility that generates electricity, it has to extract or pay for the extraction of source fuels, such as coal or natural gas. In the case of renewable sources that are used for electricity generation, it has to pay for the facilities, i.e. wind turbines, solar panels, necessary for capturing these resources. And while it may have, in certain instances, a natural monopoly, state regulators cap the returns earned on the assets used to provide electric service, in effect, capping the revenues and profits the utility may make.

As a tax seeker, the State has an incentive to invest in a utility’s initiative to expand its generation, transmission, or distribution capability. This tax seeking incentive is buttressed by the role electric service plays in a larger political package containing some twigs to entice the public interest. Electricity is touted as playing a crucial role in a society’s health, economic, and public safety needs. Ensuring sufficient capacity and grid reliability to meet these goals may require that ratepayers contribute to the construction of a plant with completion years in the making.  The public interest benefits are compounded by the tax revenues public utilities generate for the State.

Returns to subsidies in the form of tax revenues for the State are not realized where subsidies are spent on residential roof top solar. Quite the opposite where the subsidies take the form of tax credits, where a residential electricity customer sees a reduction in their tax bill as a result of a tax subsidy that lessens the cost of installing rooftop solar. And while there is an argument that taxes are paid upon purchase of solar equipment used to generate electricity at a residence, that tax payment is a one-time event compared to the monthly taxes paid by a consumer who relies solely on electricity generated or provided by a utility.

Nor have Americans seen an increase in electricity generation for all the tax money spent on subsidizing solar and wind. A Human Events article citing a report conducted by the Taxpayer Protection Alliance in 2015 discussed how Americans paid $39 billion a year over five years to subsidize wind and solar electricity production. And the financial returns to ratepayers, particularly the poor? Almost nil. Solar energy’s contribution to national electricity generation was still under one percent in 2015. According to TPA, ratepayers were still seeing their electricity bills increase on average six percent per year. It is no wonder the renewable energy industry and renewable energy policy attracts much cynicism where subsidies appeared more beneficial to industry players versus the ratepayers.

Thinking of the State in so stark of terms, as a shark swimming through the sea solely concerned about its next tax revenue meal, is not a common approach of students of government. Some cynics of government regulation or intervention may find the approach amusing. Some conservatives or libertarians may find the description spot on.  But given the current model of government, the State, by pursuing a renewable energy social policy that does not emphasize tax seeking but instead supports a shift in tax paying responsibility from the affluent roof top solar owner to the less affluent, runs the risk of presenting the electorate with an oppressive and inequitable tax system.

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A #smartcity is a hub for smart #trade

Talks for revamping the North American Free Trade Agreement took place last week. A trade agreement that is a quarter of a century old needs to catch up with today’s new platforms for global trade.  Cities play a role in connecting producers of exports with enterprises that demand goods and services for resale in their countries. The great American urban centers, such as Chicago and New York, have in common an investment in communications, energy, and transportation infrastructure that provides the greatest value to trade and commerce occurring in their cities. As Americans and the rest of the globe become increasingly urbanized, urban infrastructure will have to increase its capacity to carry more digital traffic, distribute electricity from additional fuel sources, and implement multi-modal transportation options.

It appears to me, however, that the smart cities discussion has placed more emphasis on improving how local governments manage their municipalities versus improve their commerce and trade activities. Discussions have centered on better traffic management, improved public safety response, or expanded citizen-government engagement. These discussions are important because they address elevating a city’s quality of life.

But smart city initiatives shouldn’t just be about how a city government improves its operations. Smart city initiatives provide should also provide entrepreneurs with inputs necessary for producing goods and services and transporting those goods and services anywhere in the world.

My adopted home state of Florida provides an example of how initiatives to upgrade communications and energy infrastructure play a vital role in improving trade and commerce. In a recent article in Global Trade Magazine, Craig Guillot describes the Sunshine State’s fast growth and how a state known for pristine beaches and a hospitality industry led by a world-famous mouse is also becoming a hub for manufacturing.

According to the article, the expansion of the Panama Canal is generating increased opportunities for Florida’s port cities. Port Everglades, the Port of Jacksonville, and Port Canaveral have invested in deepening their shipping channels, deploying larger cranes that can offload more cargo from larger ships, and increasing the size of their ports. The investment in Florida’s port facilities will in turn facilitate the movement of goods from an emerging Central Florida manufacturing sector.

Central Florida’s I-4 corridor is benefiting from investment in transportation and manufacturing infrastructure. The Orlando area is seeing investment and expansion in the area’s rail system and international airport. Central Florida’s manufacturing sector is also getting a boost from the recently launched Bridging the Innovation Development Gap (BRIDG), a research initiative connecting the manufacturing sector and academia in developing and designing semi-conductor technology for microelectronics.

How can municipalities ensure that these trade and commerce initiatives reach full potential? During a recent webinar on smart cities hosted by the Energy Equity Alliance and the American Association of Blacks in Energy, the state of Connecticut’s Consumer Counsel Elin Katz shared an insight on cities’ roles in trade. Smart city infrastructure, especially in port cities, provides opportunities for reducing the costs of shipping, particularly in the area of shipping. EEA chairman Joe Gibbons added that a major contributing factor to global trade by smart cities is the ability of smart city utility infrastructure to help reduce costs of providing the energy needs for shipping.

As the American economy becomes increasingly integrated into the global economy, and as the private sector responds to the trade demands of this economy, a robust discussion on smart cities should include how best to leverage advanced communications and energy infrastructure.

Posted in broadband, commerce, Economy, globalization, Internet, trade | Tagged , | Leave a comment

What’s the point of political noise when power isn’t being transferred?

The past couple weeks of political protests have demonstrated to me how powerless the masses of voters are and how susceptible they are to the emotion targeting messaging of the Left faction and the Right faction. The left has had, in my opinion, the one-up in the noise department, with the recent rally cry over the past two weeks driven by accusations of racial supremacist sentimentality on the part of the President. The neo-Nazis, white supremacists noise is adding nicely to the Left’s “colluding with Russia” accusations that have topped the Left’s noise agenda since day one of the Administration.

The Establishment portion of the Right faction has been silent and rightfully so. They have done nothing of significance on infrastructure spending. Even the markets are doing a #MGTOW; shifting their attention and hopes away from Washington as infrastructure apparently won’t play a role in any 2018 economic growth. The Establishment portion could not meet their Obamacare repeal rhetoric with any legislative reality.

Meanwhile, Mr Trump is keeping his faction pumped and validating the 2015 observations by the purist Republicans that Mr Trump was never a real Republican. Mr Trump’s rallies have been panned on the Left, with critics wondering why he is still in campaign mode. The critics may be deliberate in expressing ignorance about being a politician in world of 24-hour recycled news cycles, but Mr Trump is doing what he is supposed to do: letting his base know he hasn’t left them; ensuring that they are here for him in 2020.

If anything, Trump’s “Deplorables” are in a position to get some type of short term political benefits package from the White House and a GOP-led Congress. Opioid abuse and suicide rates among whites, and the deficiency in broadband deployment in the flyover states create a basis for legislative or administrative agency relief for this group. Shit. Even Democrats may want to get on board by co-sponsoring or endorsing these packages to get an in with the rural types.

As for the block party that dances solely to the music of the Democrats, particularly Africans in America that call themselves black, the only thing they are receiving is emotional messaging. I see no court, legislative, or administrative agency action on the horizon that pushes any real benefits i.e. capital in their direction. They may get a few congressional hearings to watch on television, but even those results will be vacuous and fleeting. In other words, the results of hearings on Russia or white nationalism won’t give blacks any more economic power or food on the table.

Posted in American society, black American, Congress, Congressional Black Caucus, Democrats, Donald Trump, Economy, GOP, government, Political Economy, race, regulation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Trump’s turn. Worry not. He won’t a Nobel Peace Prize

In sum: Central, south, and southeast Asia remain in play with a potential market approach to Afghanistan with a “little” assistance from India’s emerging economy. Encouraging India to be a greater regional economic player in Asia can offset China’s trade initiatives in the region.

Pakistan will have to deal with being the bad little spoiled brat who has been indulged too much. Will Pakistan decide to stop harboring terrorist networks in exchange for playing in the regional economy and receiving gifts from the United States, or will it tell the U.S. to fuck off because goodies or not, it ain’t playing second fiddle to those blokes in India?

Ironically, the United Kingdom appears to have been completely shut out of her former colonies affairs, at least on the surface. No tears shed

Stay tuned ….

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Politics is not for mental or emotional therapy

The biggest political mistake that black voters make is to use politics as a form of emotional therapy. ‘We shall overcome.’ ‘Speak truth to power.’ ‘Keep hope (and hype) alive.’ ‘Suing for social justice.’ All these initiatives whether pursued in media or in administrative agency forums or courts are conducted to redress some past pain. These initiatives are wasted because they fail to take into account what politics is about and focus too much on getting up into wasted feelings.

Politics is not a crutch. It’s an earth mover. It’s an instrument best used when a clear, forward looking agenda has been put in place that lays out a vision as to where a group wants to go, the strategies employed to get there, and the milestones that mark the progress. Rolling up into a fetal position while in the audience of a panel discussion crying about past hurts you were not around to experience is not good use of strategic messaging or pressure point targeting.

This is all we see from most black political or pressure groups, including civil rights groups or the Congressional Black Caucus. Yesterday’s “pushback against Trump” in downtown Atlanta where young people were using lyrics from an old rap standard to send a message to Mr Trump that he should resign is one such example. Shit. If he’s not going to listen to a bunch of songs and speeches at the Kennedy Center awards, do you think he is going to respond to a rap song in the streets?

Protests are like a high frequency signal. There may be higher capacity to carry a lot of noise, but the distance it travels is short and the information goes away just as fast. Unfortunately, strategic messaging or pressure point targeting by blacks, with the primary emphasis on sharing pain and victimization, suffers the same fate.

Posted in black American, civil rights, Congressional Black Caucus, democracy, Political Economy | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Netroots Nation ain’t knocking on Billy Bob’s door ….

When all is said and done, the Democrats will likely face a three-way race for the presidency in 2020. They have yet to offer a candidate with the gravitas to win. Accusing Mr Trump of conspiring with Russians or being a white supremacist won’t cut it.

With the likelihood of a recession in 2019, their failure to come up with an economic plan that addresses the “Deplorables” will further the Democrats undoing.

In addition, they will still insist on ignoring fly-over state voters, insisting that failure to reach out to those voters was not the cause of their 2016 defeat. They will stick with the preferred strategy of trying to get out more Democratic voters i.e. black American voters, who didn’t come out for Mrs Clinton in 2016.

Besides, I don’t really see any of the Netroots Nation or Color of Change types knocking on the doors of the Billy Bob types in 2019 or 2020 for fear of being met by a shotgun and a bible verse.

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