From Pine View Farm

Masters of the Universe category archive

Merger and Monopoly 0

One of the most pernicious acts of Ronald Reagan was to suspend enforcement of anti-trust laws, leading the corporate consolidation we see around us, delivering the polity into the hands of our own homegrown oligarchs.

Thom and his guest discuss how monopolies work.

Afterthought:

It’s ironic that Republicans simultaneously extol vociferously the virtues of competition while actively supporting–and are supported by–those who would eliminate it.

Pulling a Bank Job 0

Goldman’s Sacks 0

The Limited Access Information Highway 0

Thom discusses the Trump’s FCC’s attempt to end net neutrality.

Chasing the Bait and Switch 0

Out of Pocket 0

Warning: Language

Adventures in Paradise Papers 0

Trouble in Paradise 0

The Guardian provides in-depth reporting on the Paradise Papers.

There are multiple articles about them, the reaction to them, and their implications at the link.

The Pusher Men 0

Via C&L.

Dialectic 0

Monopoly Man as capitalist.  Frame One:  I'll pay my workers as little as possible to maximize profit.  Frame Two:  Why can't persons afford to buy my commodities?

Via Job’s Anger.

Exercising Options 0

Trump and staff in situation room.  General says,


Click for the original image.

“Just the Equifax, Ma’am” 0

Thom and his guest discuss the Equihacks.

But Where Are the Trolls?
Send in the Trolls.
Don’t Bother, They’re Here.
0

In a long and thoughtful piece, Josh Marshall explains why he sees the Trump-Russia investigation and the issue of Russian bots on the Zuckerborg heading for a collision. He delivers this trenchant observation almost as an aside:

Facebook has said that it can’t release its findings because that would violate its own ‘internal policies’ which protect user privacy. That’s rich.

He goes on to expand on this theme later in the article:

Facebook is so accustomed to treating its ‘internal policies’ as though they were something like laws that they appear to have a sort of blind spot that prevents them from seeing how ridiculous their resistance sounds. To use the cliche, it feels like a real shark jumping moment. As someone recently observed, Facebook’s ‘internal policies’ are crafted to create the appearance of civic concerns for privacy, free speech, and other similar concerns. But they’re actually just a business model.

Marshall also senses a rising public resentment against the intrusiveness of “Big Data.”

Follow the link. It’s worth your while.

The Value of Labor 0

Robert Reich disputes those who argue that the working and middle classes’ income has fallen in real terms because the value of their labor has fallen. Here’s a bit:

America’s economic and political elites could have used their growing political and economic clout to help workers get ahead — through better schools and more affordable college, comprehensive job retraining, wage insurance, better public transportation and expanded unemployment insurance.

(snip some more examples)

But they did the reverse: They spent more and more of their ever-growing wealth and power on rigging the game to their own advantage.

(Wording corrected.)

The Pusher Men, Do the Math Dept. 0

Fly the Fiendly Skies 0

Peter Pan flying away with a man in a suit and two small children:  Sorry, guys, Wendy got bumped because we had an overbooked flight.

Click for the original image.

Visit my local rag for news of yet more United fiendliness. (I may have mentioned this before, but my ex once had a great flight via United Airlines. United couldn’t get a plane off the ground, so she got reaccommodated to other airlines in both directions.)

Everybody Must Get Fracked 0

Cloudflareup (Updated) 0

Cloudfare pulls its services from the Neo-Nazi website, The Daily Stormer, even as the Cloudfare CEO expresses qualms about his power to do so. A snippet:

“The Daily Stormer site was bragging on their bulletin boards about how Cloudflare was one of them and that is the opposite of everything we believe,” (Cloudflare CEO Matthew–ed.) Prince said. “That was the tipping point for me.”

Still, Prince said he was not comfortable with the way he exercised his power, describing his choice to withdraw services from the Daily Stormer as arbitrary.

“It was a decision I could make because I’m the CEO of a major internet infrastructure company,” he said. “Having made that decision we now need to talk about why it is so dangerous. No one should have that power.”

Follow the link for more details and for the rest of Prince’s quite thoughtful musings on his own action.

This action makes The Daily Stormer vulnerable to DDoS attacks, which can knock it off the internet. (There is nothing particularly sophisticated about DDoS attacks; they work by overwhelming a site with so many hits that the site eventually becomes unable to respond. In other words, they knock on so many doors so rapidly that the website can’t answer them all and runs away to hide under the bed.)

Addendum, the Next Morning:

In a larger article about the pushback against America’s Neo-Nazis, TPM reports that The Daily Stormer has moved to the Dark Web because it can’t find a hosting provider.

Addendum, Later That Day:

There are other reports that The Daily Stormer now has a dot-ru (for Russia) domain. I have been unable to verify this, and I’m damned sure not exploring the Dark Web.

Read more »

Responsible Fiscals 0

Image:  Wells Fargo stagecoach being drawn by weasels.  Driver:  Have you heard?  Our bank has been caught cheating customers again.  Shotgun:  That explains the weasels.


Click for the original image.

DudeBros 0

Well, there is some good news.

A Brooklyn jury deliberated five days before finding Shkreli guilty on three of eight counts. He had been charged with securities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud and conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

Prosecutors had accused Shkreli of repeatedly misleading investors about what he was doing with their money. Mostly, he was blowing it with horrible stock picks, forcing him to cook up a scheme to recover millions in losses, they said.

Much more at the link. The story does not mention a sentencing date.