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I will be the first to admit that I hate Time Warner however I do not see this making things any better. I could go into a long rant about net neutrality, lack of competition and other issues that come with monopolies, netflix throttling and legislatures outlawing 'socialist guvment internets' but instead I will just post the story and allow the comment section to do the talking for me:

Comcast To Buy Time Warner For 54 Billion Dollars

Comcast Corp. has reached an agreement to buy Time Warner Cable in a deal valued at $45.2 billion, according to people familiar with the negotiations.

The proposed blockbuster combination is expected to be announced Thursday and would create a video and Internet juggernaut with 30 million subscribers and operations in some of the country's biggest markets, including New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

...

Under the terms of the transaction, Comcast would pay $158.82 a share for Time Warner Cable, a nearly 18% premium over the company's latest stock price. Time Warner Cable shares closed Wednesday at $135.31. Comcast has offered 2.875 shares of its stock for each share of Time Warner Cable in the all-stock transaction.

Comcast's and Time Warner Cable's boards separately have approved the deal, according to people close to the matter. Time Warner Chief Executive Rob Marcus, who has been in his current position for only 44 days, will resign after the sale closes.

If there is actually the tiniest bit of pretense of regulation in this country this deal would not go through. It is absolutely insane to allow one organization such control over the countries internet backbone.

This article lays out some of the issues:

"Comcast and Time Warner Cable compete in very few markets. As a result, few consumers will see their choices of cable operators reduced."

In other words, your choice for cable TV, wherever you live in America, would be a very aggressive Comcast or smaller, maybe local, providers with comparatively tiny marketing budgets and little muscle.

"Let's get to the bottom line," says Michael Hiltzik at the Los Angeles Times. "There's no way this combination can conceivably be in the public interest." The only real question on the table is "whether the FCC will fold against the economic and political power of these two behemoths."

Well, economic and political power, meet "optics." The proposed merger may not give Comcast a full stranglehold on cable TV access, but it looks like it will. Everybody who has even considered getting cable TV or broadband internet knows that Comcast and Time Warner are the two giants in the room. That's a lot of Americans. Will they care if the giants get hitched? Craig Aaron, president of the consumer advocacy group Free Press, makes a compelling argument they will:

No one woke up this morning wishing their cable company was bigger or had more control over what they could watch or download. But that — along with higher bills — is the reality they'll face tomorrow unless the Department of Justice and the FCC do their jobs and block this merger. Stopping this kind of deal is exactly why we have antitrust laws. Americans already hate dealing with the cable guy — and both these giant companies regularly rank among the worst of the worst in consumer surveys. But this deal would be the cable guy on steroids — pumped up, unstoppable and grasping for your wallet.
Craig Aaron should win some sort of prize for summing it up so nicely. Then there is the whole issue of bandwidth caps, etc:
Allowing one company the keys to one of the most important (and most lucrative) utilities that come into our homes — the internet — could also raise prices and restrict the amount of the web you consume (read: Netflix). Comcast caps the amount of data customers can use each month, for example, while TWC does not.
Contact FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler and let him know you do not think this merger should happen.

9:17 AM PT: http://www.theguardian.com/...

Whose interest is served by such a deal? The shareholders of TWC and Comcast would be thrilled, for sure. So would the NSA and other surveillance statists, who would undoubtedly be happiest if we reverted to the era when a single behemoth telecommunications enterprise served, for all practical purposes, as an arm of the spy services.

9:21 AM PT: https://www.opensecrets.org/...

CONTRIBUTIONS

Comcast:

$1,992,300

ranks 16 of 12,539 LOBBYING

$18,810,000 (2013)

ranks 7 of 2,873 in 2013

Democratic Governors Assn $200,000 $0 $200,000

 National Republican Congressional Cmte $65,800 $50,800 $15,000

 DNC Services Corp $65,300 $65,300 $0

 Boehner, John $59,200 $54,200 $5,000

 Democratic Senatorial Campaign Cmte $50,900 $35,900 $15,000

 McConnell, Mitch $32,800 $26,300 $6,500

 Markey, Ed $28,750 $18,750 $10,000

 Natl Conference of Democratic Mayors $27,500 $0 $27,500

 Walden, Greg $26,750 $19,250 $7,500

 Republican National Cmte $24,900 $24,900 $0

Top Candidate Recipients, 2013-2014John Boehner (R-OH)  $59,200

Mitch McConnell (R-KY)  $32,800

Ed Markey (D-MA)  $28,750

Greg Walden (R-OR)  $26,750

Harry Reid (D-NV)  $22,000

VIEW ALL CANDIDATE RECIPIENTS

The total of contributions to candidates from Comcast Corp PACs is 2 times larger than contributions from individuals

Contributions from Individuals

$343,535

Contributions from PACs

$840,500

LOBBYING: $18,810,000 (2013)

REVOLVING DOOR

86 out of 107 Comcast Corp lobbyists in 2013 have previously held government jobs See their employment history by clicking on their RevDoor icon hereTOP ISSUES LOBBIED, 2013

Telecommunications

Radio & TV Broadcasting

Taxes

Copyright, Patent & Trademark

Fed Budget & Appropriations

BILL MOST FREQUENTLY LOBBIED ON IN THE 113th CONGRESS: H.R.1947 (Federal Agriculture Reform and Risk Management Act of 2013)

See more lobbying by Comcast Corp

Members who own Comcast Corp shares: 25

Barber, Ron (D-AZ)

Boehner, John (R-OH)

Cohen, Steve (D-TN)

Collins, Susan M (R-ME)

Cooper, Jim (D-TN)

Dingell, John D (D-MI)

Frankel, Lois J (D-FL)

Frelinghuysen, Rodney (R-NJ)

Hagan, Kay R (D-NC)

Hanna, Richard (R-NY)

Heck, Dennis (D-WA)

Holding, George (R-NC)

Isakson, Johnny (R-GA)

Kelly, Mike (R-PA)

Marchant, Kenny (R-TX)

McCaul, Michael (R-TX)

McDermott, Jim (D-WA)

Pelosi, Nancy (D-CA)

Renacci, Jim (R-OH)

Rogers, Hal (R-KY)

Schneider, Brad (D-IL)

Sensenbrenner, F James Jr (R-WI)

Upton, Fred (R-MI)

Vitter, David (R-LA)

Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI)

 

86 out of 107 Comcast Corp lobbyists in 2013 have previously held government jobs

12:27 PM PT: Al Franken To The Rescue:

Minnesota's senators were quick to demand scrutiny of the proposed $45.2 all-stock deal that would merge Comcast and Time Warner Cable, turning the nation's two largest cable operators into one powerful force.

"I have serious reservations about this proposed transaction, which would consolidate the largest and second largest cable providers in America," Sen. Al Franken wrote in a letter to the FCC, FTC and Justice Department. "I urge you to act quickly and decisively to ensure that consumers are not exposed to increased cable prices and decreased quality of service as a result of this transaction."

Originally posted to LieparDestin on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 02:45 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (167+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    assyrian64, samanthab, cskendrick, markthshark, kharma, Karen Hedwig Backman, JanL, irate, pat bunny, rapala, missLotus, democracy inaction, FiredUpInCA, Occulus, mudslide, sunny skies, Kristina40, tampaedski, copymark, RepresentUsPlease, SneakySnu, UnionMade, roseeriter, riverlover, emmasnacker, Ezekiel in Exile, One Pissed Off Liberal, leeleedee, OLinda, DuzT, vacantlook, hazey, a2nite, Tortmaster, Geenius at Wrok, Skyye, mconvente, Flying Goat, marina, Debbie in ME, blue in NC, BlogDog, sidnora, chicagobleu, RUNDOWN, ridemybike, GeorgeXVIII, hyperstation, Sherri in TX, wintergreen8694, LSmith, Nespolo, gooderservice, bear83, Lady Libertine, Sharon Wraight, a gilas girl, billybam, Mary Mike, 420 forever, zerelda, Sylv, No one gets out alive, shaharazade, flowerfarmer, sunbro, PsychoSavannah, CitizenOfEarth, kefauver, Rosaura, furrfu, orlbucfan, randallt, wordwraith, sawgrass727, Involuntary Exile, Ohkwai, JWK, wayoutinthestix, bibble, 3rock, Temmoku, mungley, Terri, Turbonerd, NYFM, Betty Pinson, Dem Beans, Odysseus, Notreadytobenice, tapestry, Lily O Lady, Darmok, Sanuk, SteelerGrrl, IndieGuy, Glacial Erratic, aznavy, hubcap, Sun Tzu, SouthernLiberalinMD, Cronesense, Joieau, Tinfoil Hat, millwood, greycat, The Jester, LibrErica, cybersaur, greengemini, Possiamo, splashy, terabytes, no way lack of brain, poco, Nebraskablue, gmats, snoopydawg, Eyesbright, IL clb, Statusquomustgo, MKinTN, gnothis, filkertom, run around, eeff, CalBearMom, kathny, unfangus, quill, stone clearing, sailmaker, peachcreek, Mannie, trumpeter, TracieLynn, Medium Head Boy, FloridaSNMOM, kenwards, defluxion10, howabout, ColoTim, T Maysle, lostinamerica, ginimck, Bluesee, 1BQ, petulans, dewtx, amparo fan, semiot, Penny GC, Simplify, BarackStarObama, Matt Z, Lefty Coaster, Assaf, BentLiberal, NoMoreLies, American Expat, Puddytat, cotterperson, Jim P, Lujane, flumptytail, sloopydrew, jayden

    Once again, contact the FCC and tell them that the countries internet is shitty enough as it is, we do not need it to get worse

    http://www.fcc.gov/...

    Federal Communications Commission
    445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC 20554
    Phone: 1-888-225-5322
    TTY: 1-888-835-5322
    Fax: 1-866-418-0232

    "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

    by LieparDestin on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 02:21:23 AM PST

  •  The only people who surpass my hatred (49+ / 0-)

    of Time Warner are the people who have Comcast. This will make things much worse. It's pathetic that our spineless FCC would even consider it. Monopoly isn't just a board game anymore; now it's a way of life. Comcast is in the business of developing content, so why is it also in the business of distribution when we have monopoly laws on the books? I think it was in elementary school when the concept of monopoly law was explained to me. I'm not economist, but cases this extreme are pretty straightforward.

  •  Indeed the deal only makes sense... (17+ / 0-)

    …if they can gouge people more.

    These are not innovative or efficient companies focused on creating value.

    Instead they are like dreadnoughts for financial engineers, focused primarily on more and more aggressive rent-seeking.

    Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore

    by Minerva on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:13:45 AM PST

  •  Does Comcast still block MSNBC from its standard (6+ / 0-)

    package?

    I seem to remember them doing that right after I moved out of one of their service areas in the late '90s.  

    •  I dont think so (4+ / 0-)

      now that they are part of NBC. Though everyone else is fair game..

      The telecom companies claim their chief interest is in providing better service to all customers, but that's unadulterated flimflam. We know this because regulators already have had to make superhuman efforts to keep the big ISPs from degrading certain services for their own benefit--Comcast, for example, was caught in 2007  throttling traffic from BitTorrent, a video service that competed with its own on-demand video.

      Amazingly, even after Comcast was found guilty of violating this basic standard of Internet  transmission, the FCC greenlighted its acquisition of NBC, which could only give the firm greater incentive to discriminate among the content being pipelined to its customers.

      "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

      by LieparDestin on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:42:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Yes. (8+ / 0-)

      They have Limited Basic, and Digital Economy packages that don't have MSNBC. You have to be in the 3rd tier of packages called Digital Starter to get MSNBC.

      Digital Economy is small, but it does have CNN and Fox but not MSNBC.

      •  This is part of why I tell my MSNBC-loving (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LieparDestin, unfangus, semiot, UnionMade

        friend that MSNBC really doesn't matter in the scheme of things.

        He often wonders aloud "how does MSNBC 'get away with it?'" I tell him "because Comcast knows that nobody watches it except libruls, so they're not educating anybody...they're just tapping a unique advertising opportunity". The fact that Comcast limits distribution of its own network is further proof that they know exactly what they're doing.

        If anything, MSNBC is bad for the progressive and liberal causes, because it lulls people like him into thinking that somebody's speaking for us and somebody else is listening. Not true. We're on our own here. Comcast certainly does have an interest in promoting rightwing status quo, from a tax-cut point of view, from an executive-compensation point of view, from an anti-competitive point of view, and from an FCC point of view.

        "Bernie Madoff's mistake was stealing from the rich. If he'd stolen from the poor he'd have a cabinet position." -OPOL

        by blue in NC on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:24:05 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yep (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue in NC, NoMoreLies
          MSNBC is bad for the progressive and liberal causes
          Who is no longer @ MSNBC is a far better representation of liberals than the people who are still there, with the exception of Maddow.

          I think its a horrible idea to make Ed Schultz the face of 'liberals'.

          "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

          by LieparDestin on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:38:37 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Maddow sold out long ago (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            LieparDestin, blue in NC

            Her show is nearly as worthless as the rest of the garbage on MSNBC. Shame, as I used to look forward to it when it was paired with Countdown. Now every show on MSNBC has basically turned into a variant of Hardball.

            I will not touch Medicare, Social Security or Medicaid - Barack Obama

            by sloopydrew on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 10:44:34 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

      •  Well, that will decide it for us (0+ / 0-)

        Right now we have Time Warner cable mainly because of MSNBC, but we rarely look at anything else that isn't available over the air.

    •  Yes they do ... (5+ / 0-)

      And of course Fox is available on the cheapest package.

      “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

      by RUNDOWN on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:43:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  when they took msnbc off basic/standard (8+ / 0-)

      and moved it to expanded (or whatever the hell it's called)
      was the day I disconnected the wires and boxes, threw them in my messenger bag, and hopped on my bike to head down to the comcrap office.

      pushed the wires and boxes through the bullet-proof exchange window to the person on the other side and cancelled the whole mess.

      that was four years ago, and one of the best decisions I ever made.

      with freebies like hulu and low cost options like netflix ($8.mo), comcrap can take their monthly $60+ charge and stick it where the sun don't shine.

      every adult is responsible for every child

      by ridemybike on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:53:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  yes (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      UnionMade

      Yes they do.

  •  Every Capitalist dreams of monopoly. (18+ / 0-)

    That is the goal of every Capitalist.  They hate a competitive market more than any committed socialist.

    Best of all, a monopoly in a product or service that people must have, for example: a life saving drug, drinking water or basic foodstuffs.

    That's why Capitalists also love patent laws that give them control over technological advances nearly ad aeternum.  That's why they're trying to privatize critical basic services like water companies.

  •  No way this would have been announced (14+ / 0-)

    without tacit public and direct behind the scenes FCC & WH approval.

    NO WAY.

    If there's any better proof that Obama is and always has been a supporter of the money and power elite who believes that the economy primarily exists for the benefit of the very rich who occasionally throws crumbs to those annoying hoi polloi neoliberal, I don't know of it. Although, letting the banks and BP off the hook with a slap on the wrist came pretty close.

    I see this as having a much bigger long-term impact on internet access than cable tv, because in 5-10 years we're all going to get our "cable tv" via the internet (wired and wireless) and what we now know of as cable tv will be retired so its bandwidth can be fully dedicated to internet transmission. And Comcast will own the overwhelming majority of internet access and will be its nearly sole provider, charging whatever rates it likes that the market will bear (after, of course, going through the charade known as the FCC rate approval process). Hello monopoly, goodbye net neutrality.

    I also see this as an indirect hint that Keystone will be approved and that Obama decided that years ago. Never mind his pretty words. He's a massive supporter of our current corporate and financial system.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:54:58 AM PST

    •  Like AT&T / T-Mobile? (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wintergreen8694, kefauver, Odysseus

      They have to announce it because to even try to merge, there are all manner of filing requirements and as publicly traded companies, securities law implications, especially for the selling firm.

      You could be right either is approved - this probably will be with conditions - but not for the reasons you cite, deductions from the mere fact it's announced.  

      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

      by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:50:17 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  They've surely learned from that disaster (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        NoMoreLies

        and got all the necessary informal approvals before going ahead. I'm guessing that Goldman's the lead banker on this deal, making it all the more likely that it'll be approved. So, in theory you may be right, but in reality I doubt it.

        All the essential due diligence has likely already been done, and what's to come will likely be a long series of necessary formalities.

        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

        by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:02:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I looked it up, (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PsychoSavannah, kefauver

          no Goldman to be found.

          I'm not saying it won't be approved, but you've shed no light on the issue.  Due diligence is the job of the acquiring firm, so I hope they've done it!  That's a matter of knowing what the regulatory issues are, not certainty as to how an agency will rule on them.  It's the same FCC that just went to court to defend net neutrality, fwiw.

          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

          by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:14:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Again, theoretically speaking (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Mr Robert, sloopydrew

            in terms of how it's supposed to work, you're right. But the present system is deeply, deeply corrupt, from Obama on down (and if you don't think he's a kept president then it's pointless to engage you further), so the theoretical simply doesn't apply, and is just an illusion for the masses. I've little doubt that whatever the formal approval process entails, the REAL approval process has pretty much been concluded. Demanding that I back this up with evidence is just silly given all that we've seen these past few decades and what we know about how this actually works, like asking me to PROVE that Christie's a crook.

            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

            by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:22:53 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  If you throw out claims without (0+ / 0-)

              pretending to back them up, it's not my thought process that's askew.  Yes, we should have to prove Christie's a crook.  We have enough to say he's a thug, already.  There are reasons to approve or block the merger without any suggestion of personal corruption, and of course a merger of this size doesn't use mom and pop underwriters.  I'm not inside your hermetic bubble, so, no you have nothing to say to me that I find elucidating. You have the method of a Fox News pundit - first, find something wrong with Obama, next, find facts not inconsistent with that, or if lacking, speculate about future facts not inconsistent.  Forget about any facts not consistent, and other, more relevant factors like years of pro-merger case law.

              Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

              by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:03:15 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  That's complete and utter horseshit (0+ / 0-)

                You sound like a lawyer right there with the nonsense about the need for hard and overwhelming evidence. OBVIOUSLY that has to happen in the actual process. But I'm talking here, on the sidelines, where we're all speculating on what's going on, and only a fool could actually believe that:

                Christie isn't a crook who should be in jail
                OJ didn't murder his wife and her friend
                Financial and corporate regulation is a joke these days

                Anyone claiming otherwise--that the system actually works, and that formally necessary doubt means plausible doubt--is either a fool, or a shill. Period.

                "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:23:30 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  if i sound like a lawyer, (0+ / 0-)

                  there's a reason.

                  However, for this purpose "any" would suffice.  I fail to see the connection with Christie.  The third point is however different from the other two, and "regulation is a joke these days" is simply not a basis on which a regulatory agency can or should base it's decision.  

                  Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                  by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:48:04 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Seriously? (2+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    NoMoreLies, sloopydrew

                    That's the best you can to, to claim that because this is how things are supposed to work, it's how things are supposed to work, and thus do work? Such a syllogism sounds disappointing coming from a lawyer.

                    I'd love for things to work the way they're supposed to work, but these days they just don't, at least not nearly often enough. Or else Keystone would have been rejected long ago, the banks would have been temporarily nationalized to clean them up and their execs jailed, BP would have been liquidated, and we'd have real competition in the telcom arena because it's a public asset.

                    Come on, you're better than this. I'm all for letting the system work, but right now it simply doesn't work because it's gamed by the rich, powerful and connected and you KNOW this.

                    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                    by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:54:23 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  it's the best i'm going to do, (0+ / 0-)

                      due to limited interest.  What i'm suggesting is that regulatory agencies have to be able to make their decisions on the basis of evidence, or at least have such evidence supporting them.  I think there's a valid case to be made for each of the things you say, indictments, etc., but to draw the inferences about "THE SYSTEM" you do, they have to be 100% iron-clad.  Proof is more, not less, important to your position: none of the defenses (lack of scienter, e.g.) can have any possibility of being right, or else you're out over your skis.  I don't know they're anything more than decisions I'm not sure I would have agreed with if in their position, but you're arguing, no, assuming bad faith.  On what basis?  The revolving door?  It proves too much, and how do you explain when government doesn't do something.    

                      Against that backdrop, I'm not going to make claims about the motives of others, especially the hundreds of career civil servants doing the grunt work of trying to find out the facts at issue.  Similarly, if you take the position that it's 100% obvious there's no basis to approve the merger, in fact or law, that's both not true and also uninteresting to this discussion.

                      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                      by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:03:39 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  If you're going to continue to make the case (0+ / 0-)

                        that things work the way they're supposed to work...because that's how they're supposed to work, then it's pointless to discuss this further with you as it's clearly going to be a silly discussion. You're certainly smart and experienced enough to know that this isn't the case. Why you're pretending otherwise, only you know.

                        As an aside, the more I get to know lawyers, the more I'm struck by how they're ALWAYS in lawyer mode, meaning they're always arguing a given position even if they don't personally believe in it, because that's what they're paid to do--even when they're not paid to do it. Whether this is an effect of the job or an innate quality that draws people with it to the law, I don't know. Probably both. But it's not an attractive or commendable quality.

                        Personally, I think it's a sign of insecurity, the dishonesty hiding behind formal procedure outside the formal legal process, a quality I believe most lawyers have, which is part of why they became lawyers.

                        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                        by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:30:53 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  that's not the case i'm making (0+ / 0-)

                          i mean, they work mostly like they're supposed to work, but possibly not at the margins.  not so much you can assume the opposite.  

                          i'm in lawyer mode discussing a legal issue, i.e., regulatory approval of a business transaction.

                          if you don't like lawyers, all i can say is i hope you never have to need one.  

                          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                          by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:43:47 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  Do I have to like auto mechanics to use one? (0+ / 0-)

                            Now that's a silly point. My experience with lawyers is that they'll usually work as hard as you're able and willing to pay them, and otherwise give a rat's ass whether you win or lose or go bankrupt in the process. Most are not good people IMO, but exploiting their power to make money.

                            In any case, this is not a legal venue and we're not discussing the legal aspects of how this will go down, but the political and economic aspects, which while obviously having to be mindful of the legal aspects, at least formally, are what will actually determine what happens. You know that, and I don't know why you continue to claim otherwise unless you have a stake in this matter.

                            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                            by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:49:42 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Okay. (0+ / 0-)

                            on what basis other than the FCC, Sherman, and Clayton Acts are the FCC and DOJ supposed to review the merger?  It's simply not possible to throw out years of precedent that inform their decision and would be relied on by the merging entities if it went to court.  

                            You made a certain claim about what approval would "mean," in political terms, and I'm challenging your basis for that.  I don't share your view on the conclusions you draw from facts you don't yet know, and claiming I have a "stake" in the matter because I don't agree with your approach is exactly why  you have a toxic approach.  Your only move seems to be the ad hominem, and i count three so far.  (Simplest answer for responding: you keep  not disengaging.  More complex answer: nothing you've said has made me change my mind.)  

                            What approval would mean, to me, is that regulatory agencies looked at this from the basis that very few consumers would have choice of cable provider effected and therefore would not see retail price increases and questions about consumer access may prove to be too speculative to sustain a preliminary injunction, which is the vehicle to block the merger.  As i said, i think the merger would be approved, with conditions, including possibility a consent decree implementing net neutrality.  If that happens, it'd be reasonable, but I don't work for either of these companies, because as I said, I am a plaintiffs lawyer.   If i were a comcast shareholder, i'd probably prefer a dividend to buying a company with a reputation for even worse service.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:14:57 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                    •  btw, i'm actually a *plaintiffs* lawyer (0+ / 0-)

                      if proof were so easy to come by, anyone could do what i do.  conversely, if we never settled anything, my clients might never recover any money.

                      Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                      by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:10:59 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  In the formal legal process, absolutely (0+ / 0-)

                        In the world beyond it, where people are supposed to operate on a looser "bullshit detector" standard, nuh uh. I know of very few examples where what appeared to be what was going on turned out not to be the case.

                        E.g. everyone knew Nixon was a crook before it was actually proven. After knocking around enough in life, most people develop the ability to sniff out such things, even if, of course, it still has to be solidly proven in court.

                        You're intentionally trying to commingle the two arenas.

                        "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                        by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:33:48 AM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  well, there are degrees of proof (0+ / 0-)

                          there's enough to justify having an opinion you don't hold with certainty up to knowledge you rely on every day as a foundation for other things.  The notion that THE SYSTEM is irredeemably corrupt such there's no point examining the pros and cons takes the form of the latter, when the proof is really a bunch of tendencies thrown together.   to that end, I'm not sure your take on "what was going on" is really all that reliable (the examples you cite above all involve a lot of complex facts), and claiming "bullshit detector" supports the view that there's a grand conspiracy everyone at large agencies and the White House is in on, is quite the assumption.   If it's simply they're not reflexively anti-corporate or anti-merger and that's sufficient to explain what you mean by corruption, then I agree, just not that "corruption" stretches so far.  

                          Your claim is the merger approval is baked in.  If the merger is approved, you'll say that was vindication, even if the actual process of approval looks nothing like that.  That's what's "bullshit:" the appearance of evidence, when it's entirely circular.  We get to argue motive when we exclude the possibility there's any legal or economic basis to approve the merger, and we won't get there. It's not a matter so much that it's incorrect that people don't have bad motives, but it doesn't tell us anything about the merger's pros and cons, and why one outweighs the other.

                          what's more, my argument isn't so much the process works, as much as the process, such that it is, will be followed and drive the decision: you're not even arguing the process doesn't work but that it doesn't exist.  I'm suggesting it could use improvement, or that a good process might lead to an imperfect outcome without anyone acting in bad faith.  you can either get there by bootstrapping from the conclusion.  That's the point.

                          Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                          by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:58:47 AM PST

                          [ Parent ]

                          •  I'm arguing that the process no long works (0+ / 0-)

                            anywhere near as well as it should for the people it's supposed to serve, the majority. Mine is not a binary argument, but that things have gone way too far in one direction. The process still does work, sometimes. I mean, the ACA is definitely an improvement on what preceded it. But it was nowhere near as much an improvement as it should and I believe could have been had the various players in and out of government been true to their implied roles as good citizens (or do you not believe in such a thing?).

                            My point is and always has been that the game is rigged, not totally, but far more so than it used to and should or could be, so talk of how things are "supposed" to work is just plain silly, something to hide behind while denying how things actually are working. Or do you genuinely believe that the banks committed no provable crimes, as opposed to the DoJ deliberately taking it easy on them? Seriously? I'm asking the human, not lawyer part of you.

                            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                            by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:07:02 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  if it's not binary, (0+ / 0-)

                            it contradicts your own argument.  The next step is conceding that the process can work without the outcome reflecting your particular preferred outcome.

                            the human part of me says the DOJ shouldn't indict unless it believes it can convict., and that errors of judgment are not necessarily crimes.   Do i believe they could have been indicited? There's a good chance, but I don't know who knew what when, however, so i'm loath to make too many conclusions of a political nature from prosecutions that didn't happen and I don't know about (which of course ignores those that did).  What I don't know is why it's assumed a failure of will rather than a problem obtaining consensus among career and political reps in the face of complexity of the issues.  "provable" is an interesting word -- crimes perhaps could have been proven, but were they?  A provable crime is maybe one with a 10% chance of getting conviction -- it's possible, but nobody should be indicted on that basis.  The fact that people weren't indicted over cases that boiled down to inadequate disclosures or matters in which they themselves lost money, doesn't surprise me because there's not a lot of precedent for that.  I think there should be more action on the mortgage originator front, but the originate-to-distribute model had the big banks removed from originating and servicing.  It also turns out a lot of really shady practices had the blessing of bank regulators up front, whose job was to see to the health of the banks (really, their depositors) rather than borrowers.   I find it disappointing, but I don't find it inconceivable or evidence of bad faith.  And I care more about regulatory reforms to catch these sorts of problems sooner rather than expecting criminal law to clean up the messes afterwards.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:29:33 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  These were crimes (0+ / 0-)

                            The rest is just bullshit. These people knew that they were breaking the law and didn't give a shit. How is it not a crime to threaten a ratings agency with loss of business if they didn't rate the way you wanted them to rate? How is it not a crime to lie to a prospective borrower about the terms of a mortgage? How is it not a crime to sell shit debt as A+ debt?

                            Stop being a lawyer and just be a person. That's "ad hom" I can live with.

                            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                            by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 10:37:26 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i can't answer those questions (0+ / 0-)

                            without wearing my lawyer hat, and if i do, they're not the answers you've already convinced yourself of.  But in discussing the application of criminal law, why should i take that off.  Just diagnose that patient as a person, not a doctor.  Come on.  "Crimes" as in "very bad things"," yes, they are.  "Crimes" as in violations of specific statutes beyond a reasonable doubt, it's a tougher call.  (Quickly: in each of these scenarios, there usually came along with disclaimers that would undercut the notion people were lied to, and many of these folks managed to convince themselves home prices were always going to go up, or would at least stay up longer than they did.  If they were really masterminds, we needn't have bailed them out.  Though as I said, example 2 is the closest, though also the most removed from the bulge brackets (and also the most prosecuted).)  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 12:04:55 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I've worked for several financial firms (0+ / 0-)

                            that committed major financial crimes when I worked for them (that I had nothing to do with, having worked in IT, not the front office). There was absolutely no question that crimes were committed in them.

                            In one case no one went to jail but huge fines were imposed, the offending parties were fired in disgrace, and the firm effectively went under within a few years. In the other case people did go to jail.

                            If similarly major crimes weren't committed in the 2008 collapse, with far more serious consequences, then I'm a monkey's uncle. Literally. While I realize that lawyers, being lawyers, like to argue a case because it's in their blood, and that they're very good at proving that a crime actually wasn't a crime when it was so obviously a crime (e.g. OJ), that doesn't make these non-crimes.

                            You're just being a lawyer, not liking to lose an argument. In your heart you know that crimes were committed. Which of course means and should mean nothing in the legal system. But only the truly delusional believe that no serious crimes were committed, and I'm not going to engage in a point by point technical debate on this just because it's how you win arguments.

                            This is part of why our country is in such trouble, people who should know better gaming the system, just because they can, and it's in their interest.

                            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                            by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 12:18:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Great. (0+ / 0-)

                            i don't see why what anyone believes but can't prove should be interesting to anyone else.  I would think in your position, you'd pick one -- just one -- and argue it all the way through.  Otherwise how am i supposed to believe how easy it is?  Of course, my position isn't that no crimes were committed -- clearly not, because the shibboleth that nobody was ever prosecuted is just not true -- but criminal intent for, say, bulge bracket CEOs doesn't automatically or necessarily follow from any of the things you mentioned without some additional facts also being true.  I've also seen real cases of financial crime, but it's rarely in over the counter sales of bespoke debt to other sophisticated parties.  I know bad and immoral and stupid acts were committed, I don't know they don't have adequate defenses or reasonable doubt.  Proving civil liability is hard enough, i'm not going to go ahead and presume criminal liability with such a high confidence interval i get to impugn the character and motives of people closer to the facts than I.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 12:33:14 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Yeah, Jamie Dimon's a really swell guy (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            k9disc

                            Dick Fuld, Lloyd Blankfein, Ace Greenberg--all model citizens who while perhaps a tad too greedy, never did anything criminally wrong here.

                            I respect the efforts of any lawyers involved in defending any of these and others in the actual legal system, as even the scum of the earth deserve proper legal representation. I do not respect the efforts of people defending them in the court of public opinion against accusations of criminality. Crimes were committed. I have absolutely zero doubt of that based on what I've read and heard because the things that happened that crashed the economy don't just happen on their own without active human agency committing criminal acts. That I can't "prove" it is irrelevant to what we know. You're just being a lawyer. As, I'm finding out, most lawyers are. It's in their DNA.

                            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                            by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 02:45:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  i never made any claim (0+ / 0-)

                            about them as people - as i said it wouldn't be interesting to anyone.  I think Fuld's accounting case was pretty bad, but i'm not sure it was a slam dunk.  And for what it's worth, I don't think they are pure evil, I think they're schmucks who can't possibly understand the breadth of what their organizations are up to, which is not inconsistent with also being criminals, just not master criminals.  I've dealt with folks at the MD level, and they just seem strikingly dull.

                            Your second paragraph is fine as far as it goes, but it's kind of stifling argument.  Of course,if you read carefully, where I'm reluctant to pass judgment is on monday morning quarterbacking the attorneys responsible for enforcing the statutes at issue.  The banks are what they are, and should be regulated to protect everyone from their stupidity, overleverage, short-term thinking, and greed, as well as possible criminality, come to that.  That you have a hang-up about lawyers is fairly clear, and that you can convince yourself of the correctness of your own assumptions is also clear.  

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 03:19:50 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  I have a problem with lawyers (0+ / 0-)

                            because I've worked with them and seen how they operate, overbilling and dragging things out to jack up their fees, and pretending to give a shit about your problems. And not just in everyday civil matters, but ones involving the welfare of children and families. Most IMO simply do not care, except for the billables. They profit off off human suffering, and don't seem to care.

                            Anyway, I don't think these bankers are Hitler. I do though think that they're human scum, devoting their considerable talents not to making the world a better place for all (while take a deservedly nice paycheck for it), but to profiting themselves and their buddies. That's a kind of lesser evil that deserves condemnation. Sure, most of these are probably not breaking the law, even if what they're doing is immoral and unethical IMO (e.g. what Romney did for a living, raiding solvent companies and destroying them). But some are, and I've worked for some myself, several levels down.

                            The first firm tried to corner the treasuries market through fake shell bidders, clearly a crime at the time, and the other manipulated the dotcom investment banking sector to churn maximal fees (do the initials FQ & CSFB ring a bell?). And I know enough about what happened leading to the crash of '08 to understand that there's no way that major crimes weren't committed, of the sort that I mentioned above. Not merely stupid acts of blind greed (although there was that too, e.g. placing crazy bets on MBO's of the sort that AIG did), but actual crimes, like deliberate misrepresentation of an underlying security's risk, or lying to borrowers about a loan's terms, which I believe are crimes.

                            Btw I've also worked for honest bankers, like one briefly who ended up writing Warren Buffet's biography a few years ago. She headed her bank's research division on certain kinds of insurance products, putting out analysis reports (which I helped put together) for the bank's clients' benefit so they could make informed decisions. I didn't detect any attempt at willful misrepresentation on her part. So I have nothing against bankers, per se, just the crooks and jerks.

                            I hope they have good lawyers. I hope the government has better ones.

                            "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                            by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 03:49:35 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  fair enough (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            Rashaverak

                            i'm sorry you had bad experiences with lawyers.  Mr. Quattrone aside, I think where it gets tricky is the characterization of the deals: i'm not so sure it's obvious  levels of risk were so readily ascertainable up front for such illiquid products and when home prices were rising (especially as banks so often kept the riskiest tiers for themselves), and we did discuss the borrower-facing ones above, which did get prosecuted and was at some remove from the largest banks.  More common I'm sure was misleading marketing, but it's surprising how little disclosure is required for such an important transaction.  I'd want just more information to see whose lawyers were in fact better, because the question isn't whether the actus reus existed for a crime or crimes, but the degree of confidence one has in proving which ones, if the purpose of the exercise is to support a political conclusion about the agency heads' willingness to serve the public interest.    

                            Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                            by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:12:56 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

              •  Plus, this has nothing to do with case law (0+ / 0-)

                If the FCC approves this, it's a done deal. Sure, parties who feel themselves wronged or otherwise against this will claim standing and sue, and they might even win. But that's not going to come from either the FCC or DoJ.

                Not this FCC or DoJ, at least, which are deeply neoliberal ones (and I believe effectively corrupt ones, in that legalized form of corruption in which former government officials who OBVIOUSLY and KNOWINGLY did industry's bidding while in government then go on to work for these industries at huge salaries).

                You can present all the pretty formalistic arguments you like, but it's obvious how this works, and you know it.

                "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:28:44 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  It does have to do with it, (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  LieparDestin

                  because it limits the FCC's options.  It can't block the merger because it feels like it, to please political constituencies, or to make a point about corporations in society at large.  You want to talk about corruption  . . .

                  And if it doesn't approve, it might well get sued anyway.  I don't start from the assumption that the merger should be approved,  as a matter of politics, and I don't start from the assumption that it shouldn't as a matter of policy.  I think there are very interesting legal arguments for or against, and I think it only makes sense to evaluate how those are handled on the basis available to an agency engaged in formal, on the record review.  If it's "formal," a lot work goes into it, and any decision will ultimately have to have some grounding in the formal record, even if somewhere, sure, a political tendency comes in at the very highest levels.  (and here's it's not a matter of pleasing corporations writ large but deciding which ones to please and which ones to offend.)

                  what happened to not engaging me?  

                  Difficult, difficult, lemon difficult.

                  by Loge on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:55:34 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  I'm not going to engage your sillier "arguments" (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    NoMoreLies

                    That rely upon formal standards which don't apply here.

                    As for this, well, obviously the FCC can't approve or disapprove because it just feels like it, and has to be mindful of case law and the legal consequences of approving or disapproving without regard to it (as well as, of course, statutory law, including its own mandate).

                    But, one, that still leaves it with some room to decide one way or another--provided that it does so smartly, from a legal pov, which I'm certain it will. (But even then, I find it hard to believe that this could be approved, legally, from an anti-competitive pov, but given how conservative and pro-corporate the courts have been in effectively rewriting statutory law, it may not really matter what the statutes say if the courts say otherwise, effectively.)

                    And, two, the idea that there isn't some ethically corrupt negotiation going on behind the scene, with a combination of incentives and threats are being used to pressure the FCC commissioners--and for all I know judged--to approve, is simply laughable. This is how our world actually works, compared to how it's supposed to and should work. That I can't "prove" it is meaningless, because we've seen this happen countless times in other matters.

                    Either way, the FCC is going to get slammed by someone however it decides. Ideally, it would be for doing the right thing here. More likely, though, it will be for doing the opposite. I'd love to be wrong on this. I don't think I will.

                    My cynicism is born from experience and observation of how the world actually works, not what I was taught in grade school.

                    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

                    by kovie on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:45:55 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

    •  What you suggest would be a felony. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Penny GC

      If any member of the Obama administration made such an approval prior to the announcement, they would be guilty of felony corruption and any officer of Time Warner and Comcast who participated would also be guilty of a felony.

      Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

      by Walt starr on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:01:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well technically (7+ / 0-)

        its supposed to be illegal to spy on US Citizens or to cause a major economic meltdown due to fraud, theft and other mass criminality but.....

        "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

        by LieparDestin on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:32:32 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Chris Christie is being investigated over this (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Penny GC

          sort of corruption.

          Bob McDonnell will probably go to prison over this sort of corruption.

          Ray Nagin IS going to prison over this sort of corruption.

          Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

          by Walt starr on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:15:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Distractions (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            NoMoreLies, k9disc

            to the real corruption. 'Just enough' major players (technically politicians are expendable to the deeply entrenched who really run things) get investigated to keep the peasants happy, but in the end there will be less jail time/fines than say a minority convicted of selling pot. Actually a few republicans getting busted for corruption actually favors their cause more than it hurts it. Fosters the whole unreliability of government atmosphere these very people like to create.

            "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

            by LieparDestin on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:33:44 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  That's going a direction I will not follow (0+ / 0-)

              I am no conspiracy theorist talking about "The Illuminati" or any other fictitious "Powers that be" .

              Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

              by Walt starr on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:41:50 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Not illuminati talk... (0+ / 0-)

                just that politicians for the most part come and go in Washington, however there are some positions (courts or positions at the DOJ for example) that are deeply entrenched and do not get changed out from administration to administration. It doesn't hurt them if politicians get busted for some corruption here and there, however they will fight tooth and nail to help their corporate partners.

                "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

                by LieparDestin on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:46:05 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

              •  Yea, nobody has any power greater than Nagin (0+ / 0-)

                and McDonnell, and that is the natural scale of government 'corruption'.

                Sorry, it's pretty straightforward that McDonnell & Nagin were really small time influence peddlers, and the political sponsors they got serviced from were kind of non-entities.

                What Liepar is talking about, I think , is that these 6 figure, local and regional, corruption charges are a joke compared to the wholesale sponsorship of a Boeing, GE or GS.

                This is akin to some banker in Tucson, AZ getting arrested for fraud and it being peddled as reigning in bankers.

                It is simply not allowed to discuss our system of corporate sponsored public policy. This system of sponsoring politicians to legislate profits is never allowed to be visible. Instead we are thrown the 'corruption' bone - personal foibles and weak humans are the cause of our political ills.

                No Illuminati required. It's just business. This is how PR works.

                Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

                by k9disc on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 10:27:10 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  Just wrote. (14+ / 0-)

    Thank FSM that this thing is still on. 8 inches and still snowing.
    My letter:

    Dear Sir,
    Please do not allow the Time Warner/Comcast merger. This will be a bully of a monopoly.
    While I do not own a TV, internet is an important aspect of my ability to stay abreast of news and for communication.
    I live in a rural area of Virginia. We call our internet (other than dial-up) slow fast internet. We deal with a "provider of last resort" already. Companies do not care if we have service or not, and making the companies bigger will decrease competition. I was told not long ago by a representative that I was lucky to have service at all, so don't complain about speed.
    If this merger goes through, I despair of ever getting to watch anything stream without buffering.
    Please act to increase competition, not stifle it.
    Thank you.  

    Only thing more infuriating than an ignorant man is one who tries to make others ignorant for his own gain. Crashing Vor

    by emmasnacker on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 04:55:33 AM PST

  •  Hmmm.. I wonder where ATT is on all this. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    sidnora, Penny GC

    Wouldn't surprise me if they exert pressure on the FCC to block the merger.
    Either that or demand something for themselves.

    I can see Canada from my house. No, really, I can.

    by DuzT on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:04:09 AM PST

  •  Ya know.... (10+ / 0-)

    Years ago, I had an over-the-air aerial TV that got maybe (maybe!) 12 channels. It had interesting programming and when it didn't (and sometimes even when it did), I found many, many other things to do.  Pretty much all a heck of a lot healthier than sitting in front of the boob-tube (be that the TV, a computer screen or an I-phone).
    Then I got cable.  Hundreds of channels.  Some VERY interesting, most ho-hum, many really crappy, but if I want one of the very interesting channels, I am forced to buy into hundreds of ho-hum, crappy channels I'll NEVER watch.  I can't choose my one channel without the rest, not an option.  And along with the cable is the internet bundle, with its blazing fast fiber optics, heaven forbid I should wait a nano second for a connection.  Oh, and don't forget my phone part of the bundle.  Or walking into the break room at work with a roomful of people and not a peep from anyone because everyone is glued to their I-phone texting, tweeting or playing.
    All for quite a pretty penny (or MANY pretty pennies) every month.  I am not, in any way, taking away the absolutely awesome power of the methods of communications that cable or the internet have, or the instant knowledge of google (or any other search engine), but how much money is too much money for this instant gratification?
    There are some times (about once a month, while paying the bills, and more recently, even more frequently than that) that I just shake my head and think back to the good old days of old aerial TV, my encyclopedia and my ma bell telephone.
    And am very close to going back to them....well, going back to today's version of them.  Over the air programming.  Internet at the library.  And a simple phone. And a few bucks more in my pocket to do other far more healthy things....but it'll have to wait, gotta get back to my level of candy crush!

    I think, therefore I am........................... Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose....AKA Engine Nighthawk - don't even ask!

    by Lilyvt on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:05:22 AM PST

  •  Civilization is Private Property (4+ / 0-)

    and you don't own any of it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:08:16 AM PST

  •  Teddy Roosevelt (7+ / 0-)

    is spinning in his grave.

    "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself."........ "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little." (yeah, same guy.)

    by sidnora on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 05:41:22 AM PST

  •  Standard Cable Company (12+ / 0-)

    They will have a networth combined of $200B, with ownership of NBC/Universal and others.

    Where is this cartoon in relation to this behemoth?

    Gandhi's Seven Sins: Wealth without work; Pleasure without conscience; Knowledge without character; Commerce without morality; Science without humanity; Worship without sacrifice; Politics without principle

    by Chris Reeves on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:04:49 AM PST

  •  Internet, Phone and TV (7+ / 0-)

    10% of Americans, concentrated in the biggest cities and their suburbs, all dependent on one notoriously unaccountable and anti-competitive corporation for all their Internet, landline and TV service. Tying up markets already lacking much or any competition. A week after the FCC loses its power to enforce Net Neutrality.

    It sounds like a nightmare for consumers.

    It sounds like a dream for corrupt legislators and monopolists.

    It will be approved.

    And it will deeply suck.

    "When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro." - HST

    by DocGonzo on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:24:30 AM PST

  •  As a Comcast customer, I do not like this at (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    kefauver, cybersaur

    all. Comcast is already a monopoly, this will just make it worse. I can see them raising my bill yet again, and I will just say NOOOO!!!!! How can they allow this to happen????

  •  Comcast will just buy an FCC commissioner. (6+ / 0-)

    That's what they did when they bought NBC/Universal. Hired Meredith Atwell Baker out of the FCC two months after it was approved. No investigations were ever pursued, because two months is apparently FAR too long for a quid pro quo.

  •  I am ready to go back to a Rabbit ear antenna (7+ / 0-)

    That's all we had at home when I was a kid. Cost: $0/month

    Now basic cable from Comcast: $83/month.

    Is basic cable worth $1000 per year? Not to me.

    And I'm so glad the Gubmint forced us all to get HD TVs because Comcast now charges a premium for all its HD content. Corps win again thanks to their whores in congress.

    Yeah giving Comcast a monopoly will fix everything. NOT.


    No longer Hoping for Change. Now Praying for a Miracle. 🍞 & 🎪

    by CitizenOfEarth on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:55:50 AM PST

    •  We've got an antenna in the attic which (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      CitizenOfEarth, Penny GC

      we use to get HD TV. You have to pay extra to get HD TV on your HD TV with cable.  So the US was converted to HD TV, but no one said that people would end up paying more for it than they did for analog on cable, but that's how it is. Just another way to screw the little guy out of as much money as possible.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:31:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh Jeez! (9+ / 0-)

    Comcast is horrible.

    One of the best things about moving from middle Tennessee to central Kentucky was that I didn't have to use Comcast cable anymore.

    In Tennessee, I had a great little cable provider called Intermedia, great expanded channel package and only $36/month.

    Then Comcast took over and my cable bill went up $3 every 6 months because they would automatically add 3 new useless channels without my consent.

    I come to central Kentucky and enjoy Insight Cable (similar to my old provider, Intermedia) and then Time Warner buys them out two years ago.

    Now Comcast is buying out Time Warner?!

    When is enough, enough?

    I'm a "right-wing freak show," or at least that's what one nobody on DKOS seems to think.

    by kefauver on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 06:59:50 AM PST

  •  With any luck... (5+ / 0-)

    This will result in millions more people Killing their TVs.

    I mean...  Netflix still delivers DVDs... so all you'll miss is the commercials...

    I don't blame Christians. I blame Stupid. Which sadly is a much more popular religion these days.

    by detroitmechworks on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:12:44 AM PST

    •  Plenty of things don't make it to (0+ / 0-)

      disc. I won't make the argument about timeliness, but many people do want to see things sooner than 6-9 months from when they were released/broadcast. In any case, there's absolutely no reason to assume Netflix will survive any of this. Their streaming model is already fairly well dead, as far as top-of-the-line feature films goes . . .

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:55:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  how do you mean? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LieparDestin

        Haven't looked at any numbers, but their streaming service has seemed to go through the roof for popularity, seems like everyone has it now.

        •  Yeah, but the offerings are (0+ / 0-)

          not what people are expecting to see. Maybe it's my survey, but if you want to see any of the Marvel Comics movies, other than The Avengers--any of them--they are not streamable. Nor are the Bourne movies. No Hobbit. From what I can see, they are getting only the licenses to recent features that bombed (Jack Reacher, the latest Schwarzenegger) and TV shows.
          Take a look at their "Recently Added" list. It's pathetic.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 12:51:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  for sure (0+ / 0-)

            but it's still a helluva lot of content available for $8 a month. I dunno, have been waiting for it to either shoot up in price or the ISP's to muzzle it (they are trying), because it seems like a great deal compared to cable.

      •  Streaming service is far from dead... (0+ / 0-)

        maybe some movie selections but Netflix is the go to place for binge-tv watching at the moment. They even started their own critically acclaimed productions with shows like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black etc.

        "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

        by LieparDestin on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 12:30:53 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They started those productions (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          LieparDestin

          because they can't afford the licensing to the big movies. Not their fault, mind you; the studios are restricting access to raise prices and own distribution channels.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 12:52:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Write the letters, people. To the FCC (6+ / 0-)

    and all of your representatives....city, county, state and federal.  Tell them no.  Make everyone aware of the consequences.

    And if it does got through?  GIANT boycott.  Millions of people just outright canceling cable and having block parties instead.

    Going to see some of our neighbors tomorrow once the ice melts.  This will get them wound right the fuck up.

    Listening to the NRA on school safety is like listening to the tobacco companies on cigarette safety. (h/t nightsweat)

    by PsychoSavannah on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:14:16 AM PST

  •  Already regional monopolies, this will make worse (5+ / 0-)

    What real choice do consumers have when your provider segregates you by address? Cable companies already operate regional monopolies. It's a total joke. I can't wait for startups and other growing companies to destroy cable. Netflix, while no longer a startup, is doing their best to preserve net neutrality.

  •  So I'll only be able to view... (4+ / 0-)

    Comcast/Time Warner approved internet content on nearly any computer in the US since they'll have the broadband muscle to basically knock off all the rest of the competition nationwide should this abomination be approved.

    Libertarianism is just Fascism with a facelift. Scratch the surface of Libertarianism and you will find the notion that corporations should rule supreme, just as it was with Fascism..

    by Walt starr on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:49:02 AM PST

  •  Not to worry. (0+ / 0-)

        The big O was at a Costco the day after the SOTU (members only) As they sip champaign on the balcony.
        Nothing spoils. We ALL have extra. The world is a piece of cake. The whole world is watching. Opps, I mean WE are watching the whole world. What happens if the whole world stops watching US?
        SNARK

    March AGAINST monsatanOHagentorange 3/25/13 a time warp

    by 3rock on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:55:02 AM PST

  •  Nationalize (5+ / 0-)

    The grid and the internet (and eliminate the NSA)- it's about national security.

    "Political ends as sad remains will die." - YES 'And You and I' ; -8.88, -9.54

    by US Blues on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 07:58:08 AM PST

  •  I'm just thankful (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, jayden

    that I live in Kansas City and have google fiber. I'm paying half what I paid to those pirates at TWC and the service is a thousand times better.

    I can't imagine they'll let this merger go through. Then again, corporations seem to be running the show so perhaps it will.

    If a free society cannot help the many who are poor, it cannot save the few who are rich." - John F. Kennedy

    by Dem Beans on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:06:00 AM PST

  •  This is very dangerous. Comcast would (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, cybersaur, NoMoreLies

    control content. They already put MSNBC behind a pay wall and offer the poisonous foKKKs free. I got 6 months of cable from comcast and it's a desert. I watch even less TV than ever because anything I might want to watch costs money to subscribe to. All the programs I like (not very many) were already free on cable-less tv.

    48forEastAfrica - Donate to Oxfam> "It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness." Edna St.V. Millay

    by slouching on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:14:06 AM PST

    •  They'll end up killing TV, with some help from (0+ / 0-)

      advancing technology.

      I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

      by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:48:37 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  That's "AOL Time Warner" to you, Missy! (0+ / 0-)

    heh.

    I tried to go online to find a similar bear head...but when I searched “Big Bear Head” it gave me a San Diego craigslist ad entitled “Big Bear needs some quick head now” and then I just decided to never go on the internet again.--Jenny Lawson

    by SouthernLiberalinMD on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 08:43:50 AM PST

  •  If they allow this, it means there is no antitrust (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, 18038, NoMoreLies, k9disc, jayden

    any more.

    If they do allow it, there should be one condition: the FCC should reclassify all Internet providers as telecommunication services, which would allow the FCC to enforce net neutrality.  They cannot have their cake and eat it too, if they can't be regulated, they can't be allowed so much monopoly power.

    "The trouble with the world is that the stupid are cocksure and the intelligent are full of doubt." Bertrand Russell

    by Thutmose V on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:03:45 AM PST

  •  Whereas Apple was prosecuted for *competing* (6+ / 0-)

    … against Amazon in the e-book market, in which Amazon already has a dominant position.

    Go figure.

    Anti-trust enforcement is upside-down and backwards.

    The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war. ♥ ♥ ♥ Forget Neo — The One is Minori Urakawa

    by lotlizard on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 09:23:34 AM PST

  •  that's the big thing (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, cybersaur

    instead of two large companies in the discussions on net neutrality and other things (with at least theoretically different opinions), you now have one giant one, and you can easily guess where they will stand on net neutrality and bandwidth caps.

    If this goes through, the internet will look completely different in five years.

  •  I'm all in favor, and then Verizon can swallow (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, k9disc

    Comcast.

    The sooner it consolidates into ONE company, the sooner we can just call it a regulated monopoly utility and impose price controls and behavior modification.

  •  Comcast is horrible (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, jayden

    And committed to a very ancient view of cable/internet--

    the best that can happen from this is they try to force a model of delivery down our throats and fail, and end up getting bought out

  •  I have AT&T Uverse, and it is the best (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, jayden

    internet and best TV service I've had.  I very rarely have an outage, and if I need a new installation or repair they always come the next day - once they even came the same day.

    I've had DirecTV, Dish, Earthlink, Mindspring, Clearwire, and Comcast in the past.  Comcast was the worst.

  •  High-speed internet should be ... (5+ / 0-)

    a common carrier, just like the phone service, electricity, and other utilities.

  •  ANTI-TRUST LAWS (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin

    Whatever happened to the Sherman and Clayton Anti-Trust Laws??   Were they repealed??  Why is this not considered a monopoly?  I have no answers to these questions, but I do have an answer.  Publictise !  The telecommunications system .  They are already local and regional monopolies.  They no longer serve a public interest.  They have held back the expansion of broadband, and have retarded the body public  with programing having little value.

  •  I really wish a legislator would (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin, semiot, NoMoreLies

    push my idea for a revolving door surtax on former government employees: If the new job is in anyway related to lobbying, political campaigns, or has any ties to government regulation/policy at the federal, state, or local level slap a 90% rate on income above what the government job paid.

  •  time to nationalize it (5+ / 0-)

    the way it should have been done in the first place. if cable is a natural monopoly, it should be a public one.

  •  Al Franken To The Rescue? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Catte Nappe, jayden

    "I urge you to act quickly and decisively to ensure that consumers are not exposed to increased cable prices and decreased quality of service as a result of this transaction."

    Alrighty then.

    (It'd be useful if he'd elaborate on that "quality of service" thingy. If he's just referring to transmission speed, he's totally missing the big picture.)

    In 2006 Obama explicitly and definitively ruled out a 2008 run for president and declared he would remain in the senate until his term expired in 2010. Can we please stop the "Warren won't run" bullshit?

    by WisePiper on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 01:32:49 PM PST

    •  ok rescue isnt the right word (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      WisePiper

      but its a start.

      "These are established professionals that have a liberal bent, but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals" -BoA/HBGary/CoC

      by LieparDestin on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 01:57:28 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Demand the FCC not allow this merger? How about (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LieparDestin

    demand that PLUS that Comcast and TWC be broken up? Really, we should do that. While either is a monopoly, in practice they function as, for all practical purposes, monopolies in their respective markets.


    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Thu Feb 13, 2014 at 02:43:37 PM PST

  •  Sign the Stop Comcast Petition at Whitehouse.gov (0+ / 0-)

    Petition the U.S. government to block the Comcast/TimeWarner Cable merger https://petitions.whitehouse.gov/...

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