37 Years of the Digest ... founded August 21, 1981
Copyright © 2019 E. William Horne. All Rights Reserved.

The Telecom Digest for Thu, 24 Jan 2019
Volume 38 : Issue 24 : "text" format

Table of contents
Mount Pleasant's (SC) Old Village water tower: should it stay or should it go?Bill Horne
News 13 Investigates: Fed up with slow internet, how the state & NC AG are fixing itBill Horne
County, Montana State Officials' Questions Remain Unanswered By FrontierBill Horne
Re: Californians shocked state lawmakers were being schmoozed in Hawaii by utility execs as fires ragedMike Spencer
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---------------------------------------------------------------------- Message-ID: <20190123004004.GA11768@telecom.csail.mit.edu> Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2019 19:40:04 -0500 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> Subject: Mount Pleasant's (SC) Old Village water tower: should it stay or should it go? by Caroline Balchunas Should it stay or should it go? It's the big question regarding the future of the Old Village water tower. It's considered one of the few remaining landmarks in Mount Pleasant, but the aging structure needs some expensive repairs. https://abcnews4.com/news/local/old-village-water-tower-should-it-stay-or-should-it-go -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly) ------------------------------ Message-ID: <20190123005419.GA11885@telecom.csail.mit.edu> Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2019 19:54:19 -0500 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> Subject: News 13 Investigates: Fed up with slow internet, how the state & NC AG are fixing it by Jennifer Emert ASHEVILLE, N.C. (WLOS) - Fed up with slow internet? Action by Attorney General Josh Stein could hold the targets of internet complaints accountable. https://wlos.com/news/local/news-13-investigates-fed-up-with-slow-internet-what-the-ags-office-is-doing -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly) ------------------------------ Message-ID: <20190123004705.GA11866@telecom.csail.mit.edu> Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2019 19:47:05 -0500 From: Bill Horne <bill@horneQRM.net> Subject: County, Montana State Officials' Questions Remain Unanswered By Frontier By BENJAMIN KIBBEY After complaints from affected residents and local government officials, the Montana Public Service Commission is beginning to formally ask questions of Frontier Communications regarding the state of their service in southern Lincoln County. The Public Service Commission sent Frontier a letter on Jan. 15. Happys Inn resident Mike Ody said he has been trying to find out for almost a year why battery backups that maintain phone service in his area during power outages haven't been replaced. https://www.thewesternnews.com/front_page_slider/20190122/county_state_officials_questions_remain_unanswered_by_frontier -- Bill Horne (Remove QRM from my email address to write to me directly) ------------------------------ Message-ID: <87o98799pp.fsf@bogus.nodomain.nowhere> Date: 23 Jan 2019 02:20:02 -0400 From: "Mike Spencer" <mds@bogus.nodomain.nowhere> Subject: Re: Californians shocked state lawmakers were being schmoozed in Hawaii by utility execs as fires raged On Monday, January 14, 2019, our Moderator posted a squib from a piece by Frieda Powers [1] about politicians schmoozing with execs and lobbyists from utility & telecom companies in Maui and appended a quotation from Orwell's _Animal Farm_. I responded with another quotation from he same source, the very last lines of the book: Twelve voices were shouting in anger, and they were all alike. No question, now, what had happened to the faces of the pigs. The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which. -- George Orwell, _Animal Farm_, 1944 Our Moderator was so taken with that quotation that he asked me, in private email, to connect it to the telecom industry in a post here. Alas, I know very little about the telecom industry; by the standards of this venue -- readers of Telecom Digest -- virtually nothing. But at his urging, I'll post my remarks, in part ripped from a post I made in another venue, and let y'all who *do* know something of the telecom industry illuminate any connections that may be there. Orwell's pigs were the leaders and polemicists of Russian revolution who exhorted workers to throw down the imperial & capitalist exploiters, but who then morphed into similar exploiters as commissars, apparatchiki and party cadre. Corporations as we know them -- large, publicly traded ones, not "Mom & Pop" or "two guys in a garage" -- are intrinsically antisocial, are judicially created psychopaths. Dodge v. Ford Motor Co. asserted it and Milton Friedman was more or less the Prophet of the cult which has been, roughly since the Reagan era, the successful culmination of the (to then) 50 year war against FDR & the New Deal in favor of the specious notion of unrestrained "free markets" as the ultimate public good. Few trends could so thoroughly undermine the very foundations of our free society as the acceptance by corporate officials of a social responsibility other than to make as much money for their stockholders as possible. -- Milton Friedman So the politicians -- presumably democratically elected representa- tives -- are our Orwellian "pigs", purported to lead us against exploitation, to legislate or manage for the public good. And we can now no longer tell them apart from the corporate "persons" that, through monopoly, oligopoly, effective immortality and the deployment of extreme concentrations of wealth essentially dominate the U.S.=1Bv (and, in general, Western society). We have a reasonable expectation of natural persons that they will be socially responsible, that they will have some awareness of their own mortality, some empathy albeit based on self interest. We know that there is a more or less normal distribution (in the technical sense) of these and other human qualities as well as outliers -- serious personality disorders, madmen and those variously bent. Nevertheless, except for the outliers and those out in the tails of the distributions, people have more or less of numerous positive human qualities which serve to temper the numerous harmful ones. Law, tradition, custom and other human institutions such as politics and trade tacitly assume this. An anecdote: I once groused to my father-in-law (then CFO at a small college) about corporations. He somewhat condescendingly replied, "Corporations are just made up of people." True. How, then, can corporations be as un-people-like as they are? The corporate entity has no human qualities. Friedman's assertion is to this degree correct, that the corporation is an artificial structure, intentionally designed such that greed is its only motivation and obedience to the letter of the law its only constraint. I have not been the only person to point out that this results, both essentially and effectively, in a synthetic psychopath -- "antisocial personality disorder" if you read the DSM IV -- of a purity and singleness of focus hardly attainable by a disordered natural person. The corporate structure itself is mandated to be a psychopath. This fact creates a permanent and unrelenting bias, exerts an unrelenting force on all the natural people of which a corporate entity is composed. The well-known phenomenon of "corporate culture" varies from instance to instance due to various factors -- strong founders, other strong personalities, fortuitous position in time or within an industry, a host of other fortuitous or happenstance factors. But the bias to psychopathy is always there in any corporation that falls within the domain of Friedman's remark. The single constraint -- the letter of the law -- is, for natural persons, a serious barrier to flamboyant abuse and exploitation of every- or anyone else by an individual human. For a corporation (a large one: we're not talking incorporated mom & pop family businesses here) any legal barrier to a purpose can be subjected to an assault impossible for an individual. A team of highly paid, bright and ambitious lawyers, psychiatrists, sociologists, Bernays-clone PR people, lobbyists, economists, statisticians, political analysts etc. can be assigned to find a method for doing what the law forbids in a way that is, by the letter of (a vast and complex mare's nest of) the law, at least arguably not culpable. The white paper they produce becomes the ethical standard and it becomes the working blueprint funded by enormous corporate resources. So far from wanting corporation to originate plans to "care for the commons or gen'l populace", we must demand simply that they act in accordance with the common good. If Joe Weasel (or even Lord Conrad of Crosspatch :-) rips off a few million bucks, we recover as much, in restitution, as possible. Then we put him (if we're very lucky) in prison for ten years. That takes away maybe 20% of his adult life, deprives him of opportunity for crime or business or employment. It deprives his friends, colleagues and family of his company and support. Suppose that, when a corporation perpetrates a similar rip-off, we don't just fine it an amount that it probably had in the contingency planning kitty to begin with: We suspend its charter and close its operations for a decade. Well, say all too many people, we can't do that because it would harm the shareholders. Well, too bad for the shareholders, just as it's too bad for Joe Weasel's family. Joe's little kids will grow up without a Weasel Daddy while he's in prison, his wife will have to work, his college room mate who invested in his little biz will lose money. Does Joe get out of jail free on that account? No. After Bhopal, the CEO -- Anderson? -- was said to have expressed humility and mortification and to have accepted responsibility. One might have expected him to spend the rest of his life in sack cloth and ashes. That may well have been unfeigned but before long, it was business as usual again. The inexorable corporate bias to psychopathic self-interest was just too much. We should have expected that the corporation take every possible precaution to prevent such a disaster, no matter how costly to the shareholders. In the aftermath, we should have demanded the death penalty for Union Carbide. That might have meant simply terminating the company or, better, putting it under the control of a bankruptcy master and devoting all its gross profits to remediation. Forever. More recently, after being initially taken aback, Masayoshi Son (who controls Sprint) seems to have resolved moral qualms with regard to his largest investor (Mohammed bin Salman) in his $100 bn fund, judged by the CIA to have ordered the assassination and dismemberment of a journalist. So no, we don't want corporations to take over social welfare. We want, or should want if we're paying attention, to hold corporations to a standard of social responsibility that is far higher than we that to which we hold individuals, a standard commensurate with their wealth, assets, expertise and power. That would, indeed, undermine the insane frenzies of bettors in the financial casino -- finance as it is done today -- but it would not undermine, as Friedman thought, a free society. Shareholders should know that investing in a company whose operations threatens (or potentially threatens) the public good is an unacceptable risk unless the company evinces exceptional, transparent and convincing efforts to ensure that it does, indeed, adhere to such an elevated standard of social responsibility. There's a trend (or I think I see a trend) to the effect that, as everything becomes increasingly "financialized", by which corporate management focuses exclusively on "shareholder value", the actual product or service becomes something of an externality. Yes, phones have to be manufactured, cables run, towers built, bandwidth allocated just as cars have to be made. But the senior management are focused on the financial aspects: share value, total capitalization and other financial stuff that I don't understand or have never even heard of. Actual "product" or "service" is a bothersome but sadly neccessary side issue. So where are our "pigs"? Lenin's pigs became indistinguishable from the "men" and most of ours are doing the same. Well, when you have an out-of-control fire raging in the skipper's cabin, it's a serious distraction from the cabals of pirates or mutineers who are busy in the hold, stealing the cargo or even tearing planks off the hull in some insane notion of rebuilding the ship on the fly to suit their own purposes. With all eyes focused on the Whitehouse, projects such as ALEC and other (in the telecom industry, I think, but I'm poorly informed) are trying to make the world/ship safe for money in ways that would shock and outrage us were were to attend to them and understand their consequences. +--------------------------------------------------------------+ This all seems to me rather off-topic (if not completely orthogonal) to Telecom Digest. I'll leave it to Bill Horne (who asked for it) and others to make the connections. [1] https://www.bizpacreview.com/2019/01/14/californians-shocked-state-lawmakers-were-being-schmoozed-in-hawaii-by-utility-execs-as-fires-raged-713678 -- Mike Spencer Nova Scotia, Canada ------------------------------ ********************************************* End of telecom Digest Thu, 24 Jan 2019

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