The Monopolization of America

New York Times:

Of course, monopolies and other corporate giants have fought back against these assaults on their power, and sometimes succeeded for years or decades at a time. It happened during the age of Rockefeller and Morgan. Over the past 40 years, it has happened again.

The federal government, under presidents of both parties, has largely surrendered to monopoly power. “The ‘anti’ in ‘antitrust’ has been discarded,” as the legal scholar Tim Wu puts it in his new book, “The Curse of Bigness.” Washington allows most megamergers to proceed either straight up or with only fig-leaf changes. The government has also done nothing to prevent the emergence of dominant new technology companies that mimic the old AT&T monopoly.

This meekness has made possible the consolidation of one industry after another. For a long time, though, it’s been hard to figure out precisely how much consolidation. The available statistics just aren’t very good, which isn’t an accident. In 1981 — around the time that the Reagan administration was launching the modern pro-monopoly era — the Federal Trade Commission suspended a program that collected data on industry concentration.

Fortunately, researchers in the private sector have recently begun filling in the gaps. On Monday, the Open Markets Institute — an anti-monopoly think tank — is releasing the first part of a data set showing the market share that the largest companies have in each industry. You can see the main theme in the charts here: Big companies are much more dominant than they were even 15 years ago.

NYT industry concentration by sector

Andrew Neil

This (now deleted) tweet was sent by Andrew Neil presumably in response to the news that Carole Cadwalladr had just won the Stieg Larsson Prize 2018 for “her courageous and unremitting efforts to reveal operators trying to undermine democratic processes in Britain and the United States. All in the spirit of Stieg Larsson”:

Nothing compared with having to deal with mad cat woman from Simpson’s, Karol Kodswallop.

I’m sure the BBC is aware of Neil’s views.

Later:  Ah, yes.  Aware of his views enough to send this tweet:

Hello Carole. Andrew has deleted what he recognises was an inappropriate tweet.

and this (which Neil generously retweeted):

There has been some discussion on here regarding a tweet from Andrew Neil about Carole Cadwalladr. He has deleted the tweet and recognises it was inappropriate.

afneil‘s above an apology, of course.

This is a good question:

Not quite sure why the BBC is running interference on neil’s private twitter feed where he regularly publishes Spectator stuff – do they work for him now?

And so is this:

So Andrew Neil joins the Russian Embassy, Arron Banks, Guido Fawkes and Julian Assange in smearing – for her prize winning scoops this year. By doing so he openly aligns himself with the forces trying to repress one of the scandals of the century. But why?

For anyone who needs reminding, this is the Simpsons cat lady.  Not perhaps the first image an award winning investigative journalist brings to mind.  Unless you’re concerned about what she’s investigating, of course.

dr9iw-vx0aadak5

 

 

TaxPayers’ Alliance concedes it launched smears against Brexit whistleblower

The Guardian:

The rightwing pressure group the TaxPayers’ Alliance has conceded that it illegally sacked the whistleblower Shahmir Sanni for revealing unlawful overspending in the Brexit referendum campaign, in a case that could have a major impact on how lobbyists are described in the media.

In a development that lawyers have described as “almost unprecedented”, the group has also conceded that it illegally vilified Sanni on the BBC in coordination with a network of other “linked” organisations.

The alliance has accepted all the allegations Sanni made during his action claiming unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, direct discrimination and “dismissal by reason of a philosophical belief in the sanctity of British democracy”.

Significantly, it has also conceded that it is liable for what Sanni’s lawyer, Peter Daly of Bindmans, describes as “extreme public vilification”. Sanni had claimed that it was responsible for a smear attack published by the website Brexit Central, and that it coordinated “derogatory statements” made by the head of Vote Leave, Matthew Elliott, to the BBC – calling Sanni a “Walter Mitty fantasist” and “so-called whistleblower” and claiming that he was guilty of “completely lying” – before an official finding by the Electoral Commission into the conduct of the Brexit referendum.

The disclosure is likely to have far-reaching consequences for the way that broadcasters describe lobby groups. The uncontested claim has stated that the TaxPayers’ Alliance is responsible for Elliott’s Brexit Central website as part of nine “linked” high-profile rightwing “thinktanks” that operate in and around offices at 55 Tufton Street in Westminster and coordinate media and other strategy.

Details of the alliance’s relationship with Downing Street and the role of Stephen Parkinson, Theresa May’s political secretary, will now not be heard in court. A separate claim by Sanni against Downing Street is still ongoing. Sanni, who received an award from Gay Times last week, said: “It has proved that the TaxPayers’ Alliance sacked me for speaking the truth. And that there has been a coordinated effort by the Conservative establishment, including the government, to shut me down.

Details of the alliance’s relationship with Downing Street and the role of Stephen Parkinson, Theresa May’s political secretary, will now not be heard in court. A separate claim by Sanni against Downing Street is still ongoing. Sanni, who received an award from Gay Times last week, said: “It has proved that the TaxPayers’ Alliance sacked me for speaking the truth. And that there has been a coordinated effort by the Conservative establishment, including the government, to shut me down.

Chris Milsom, a barrister who specialises in whistleblowing cases, said: “It is incredibly unusual for a respondent to make a complete concession on liability as the respondent has here. To wave a white flag to avoid disclosing documents and giving evidence in court is really unusual. They conceded everything. How does an ostensibly private company come to be working with Downing Street? What is their relationship? Who are their funders?

“If this had been fully ventilated in a public trial we could have found these things out. The effect of these admissions, however, is that Mr Sanni was dismissed both because he blew the whistle on electoral crimes and because of his philosophical belief in the sanctity of democracy. We must now ask: is that an entity that is fit to be on the BBC ostensibly speaking on behalf of all ‘taxpayers’?”

Well, well, well.

 

The fences

Maybe instead of calling them money launderers we should just call them FENCES, as thats what they do.

If you can’t clean stolen assets, what can you do with them?

Oh well, it’s us in the middle who will bear the cost.

Oddly using an army view it was always the foot soldier who suffered most, but actually rather like society the ones with highest casualty rates were the NCOs and junior officers (the middle).  The generals were out of the firing line deciding strategy, the privates had to be encouraged and the people who did that by leading from the front were the “middle ” who ended up paying the price.

It’s a bit like the hollowed out middle class.  In the US I assume its on the basis that if you like, the Generals give direct instructions to the privates, whilst here, the privates or the ones at the bottom do have safety nets, the generals don’t need those nets, and its the middle that supports both?

No doubt the analogy breaks down but the more I think of it, it’s the middle thats at risk.  The countries that seem to do best in all metrics are the ones with the biggest middle class.

Where are they most at risk at the moment, US and UK?

What we have is the generals using the privates to wage war against their own NCOs and junior officers, the Middle ?

BBC Newsnight

Tweet:

Last night, an expert on ‘ finances was introduced on as”Remain supporter” Iain Campbell. News to me. I know him as a forensic accountant. I am curious . Is this a new policy? In which case, can we now look forward to “Leave supporter Andrew Neil”?

BBC Newsnight on 8 November 2016.  04:49 in, “We asked accountant Iain Campbell, who’s a remainer, what he thought”.

Dominic Raab under fire over Dover-Calais comments

BBC:

Mr Raab told a technology conference on Wednesday: “We want a bespoke arrangement in goods which recognises the peculiar, frankly, geographic, economic entity that is the United Kingdom.

We are, and I hadn’t quite understood the full extent of this, but if you look at the UK and if you look at how we trade in goods, we are particularly reliant on the Dover-Calais crossing.

“And that’s one of the reasons why, and there’s been a lot of controversy about this, but one of the reasons why we wanted to make sure that we have a very specific and very proximate relationship with the EU to ensure frictionless trade at the border, particularly for just-in-time manufacturing goods whether it’s pharmaceutical goods or perishable goods like food.”

My emphasis.  Raab is Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union.  He’s also the man too lazy to read the Government’s own economic assessments.  But you’d have thought he’d have picked up some basic geography at Oxford etc.

Eliminationism

Tweet:

“Eliminationism” is a term you need not just to become familiar with, especially in today’s American rush toward authoritarianism. This will be a long, illustrated thread explaining what it means, how it works, and why Donald Trump is now our Eliminationist in Chief

 

Fox News, NBC and Facebook pull Trump ad widely condemned as racist

The Guardian:

Fox News, NBC and Facebook have pulled a Donald Trump campaign advert that has been widely condemned as racist.

The 30 second anti-immigration advert, paid for by the Donald Trump for President campaign, was tweeted out by the president last week and aired during an NFL game on NBC on Sunday night and on Fox News.

“Upon further review, Fox News pulled the ad yesterday and it will not appear on either Fox News Channel or Fox Business Network,” Marianne Gambelli, Fox News’s president of advertisement sales, told CNN on Monday.

The advert features ominous-sounding music as a voice warns urgently about “the 7,000-migrant caravan” that it said was “marching toward our border”.

It adds: “Dangerous illegal criminals like cop-killer Luis Bracamontes don’t care about our laws”, before urging people to “vote Republican”. It ends with Donald Trump saying: “I approve this message.”

A sitting US president has a racist ad banned by Fox.  I’ll just leave that to sink in.