Tuesday, March 30, 2010

On The Left Podcast Episode 6

Once again coming to you from the Great State of Minnesota,the On the Left team brings you Episode 6

Episode 6 includes headlines by Mike and Matthew's opinion on a few subjects. plus a little comedy.
Please enjoy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

On The Left Podcast Episode 5

Welcome to Episode 5 of On The Left Podcast! This week we have headlines for the week ending 3/20/2010 as well as a discussion of the 91 amendments before the House of Representatives on Health care. In segment two, Matthew will talk about the new FCC National Broad Band Plan. Please enjoy the show.
New FCC Plan for National Broadband Access: Fraud or first step

I have a question for you, where does the USA place in MBPS broadband compared to the rest of the world?
Where do we rank? 1st, 10th , 15th how about 21st, Close we ranked 19th in the world. The US has an average mbps download speed of just 5mbps and upload is just 1mbps according to speedmatters.org that is 1/20th the download speed in Hong Kong, Japan or France and 1/100th the upload speed. In Hong Kong today 100mbps in upload/download speed is about $20 per month. I will assume that you are paying more than that for less.
Since the 1990’s States have been paying companies like AT & T and what has become Verizon to upgrade the “old copper” phone networks called, the Public Switched Telephone Networks or PSTN, this is the wiring to most homes, offices, schools and libraries. This is what most would call the critical infrastructure for what most services travel over today. They were to upgrade the old copper line with fiber optics and they have been paid over those years to do this though taxes and incentives to the tune of about $320 Billion dollars. Like so many companies before them they took the money and did as little work as they could, today AT&T has pulled a bait-and-switch because they are still using the old system for their U-Verse service and have stopped building out new fiber optic networks and has failed to upgrade the infrastructure over the last 15 years and they have done this in almost 22 states.
In the new FCC plan it is going to pay for the improvements by adding broadband to the Universal Service Fund Tax- this is not a problem if they don’t then contract the companies that have failed to bring us high speed broadband in the last 20 years with $320 billion of our money already.
FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said last month” the 100 squared initiatives is 100 million households at 100mbps by 2020 – will unleash American ingenuity and ensure that businesses, large and small are created here, move here and stay here”
So we are going to have this network in 10 years when the top 5 on the mbps ranking already have this today, I don’t think that’s a good plan. Then there is this from the International time, they quoted Qwest Communications International Chief Executive Edward Mueller when asked about the plan, “A 100 mbps is just a dream”, “we can’t afford it”
Qwest has received over $89 billion from State and local governments over the last 10 years from upgrading services and they have only increased their broadband coverage by 10%.
Now on to the Plan, It was released on March 16 2010 and you can read or download it at www.broadband.gov, I have read through this report 376 pages of what the FCC things will make the USA number 1 in the World, by 2020 of course. I will not get into everything in the plan in this report I will just be talking about what the basic overview I took from my first read.
These are the long term stated goals of the plan
Goal 1: at least 100 million U.S. homes should have affordable access to actual download speeds of at least 100 mbps and actual upload speeds of at least 50mbps by 2020
Goal 2: The United States should lead the world in mobile innovation, with the fastest and most extensive wireless networks of any nation.
Goal 3: Every American should have affordable access to robust broadband service, and the means and skills to subscribe if they choose.
Goal 4: Every American community should have affordable access to at least 1gbps broadband service to anchor institutions such as schools, hospitals and government buildings.
Goal 5: To ensure the safety of the American people every first responder should have access to a nationwide wireless, interoperable broadband public safety network.
Goal 6: To ensure that America leads in the clean energy economy, every American should be able to use broadband to track and manage their real-time energy consumption.

Where to start Goal number one is a nice goal to have but I will rely on the rest of the world standing still for 10 years, also they keep using the word affordable without defining what it means, what I think is affordable might not be what you think is affordable. Point of fact I live in a rural area and I have very limited choices on broadband pricing they start at $45 per month for just 256kbps up to $399 per month for 5 mbps, by way of comparison I if I lived just 15 miles north I could get broadband through a cable company starting at just $20 per month and get 1mbps.
Goal 2 is something entirely different, first there is a big difference between broadband and wireless, from reading the report this goal is setting up the ending of the PSTN network for phones, AT&T is already asking to be let out from under there obligations to continue to maintain the old wired phone network because they “can’t make money at it” but as most things you need to look at their SEC filings to see they are lying about that. In 2009 AT&T made a $123 billion, the wire line business made $66 billion and that was $12 billion more than their wireless business, but the wireless side has less restrictions and higher profit margins. The FCC even admits that a full 20% of American household still get there only phone service through the PSTN that amounts to over 60 million people that will have to go to cell phones if that network is ended, just think about moving from analog TV to digital and you know what I mean.
Goal 3 is what I call a filler goal, if you can’t access and use a computer now in 10 years you will most likely be dead, meaning that the only person I know that can’t use the internet are my grandmother and she is turning 90 this year, while I hope she lives for another 10 years even if she does she will still not use a computer. Once again they use the word affordable and do not define it.
Goal 4: This one I like a lot, but once again it falls short, there is no reason we could not be close to this goal now.

Goal 5: I thought that his one was already on the books, after 9/11 we put billions into first responder systems, so why didn’t we think ahead and upgrade the whole system, oh that’s right repugs were in charge.
Goal 6: This one is just a token BS goal, I am a green person and I don’t care about this. Every report now a day has to have its Green Energy part and it is not needed here.
Ok so to the headline is this plan a fraud or a first step, I think that question will be answered by the way they go about implementing the plan if they just give tax incentives to AT&T , Qwest , Verizon or other big companies to make it happen through the “free market” it is a fraud, but if the government comes through and takes the hands on approach and does a real bidding for contract process and then punishes contractors if they don’t me there goals and does a “STRONG” regulation package then this is a first step, but in the long run if they really want to lead the rest of the world on this they need to do it in less than 5 years. Make this part of a new Public works program to rebuild our countries infrastructure.
I can get behind that.

Monday, March 15, 2010

On The Left Episode 4

This week we have Headlines from Mike and Matthew talks about the attack on Dennis Kucinich by DailyKos founder Marko Moulitsas.

Welcome and thank you mike for headlines this week, I will be talking this week about one to the stories mike talked about in headlines, Marko Moulitsas’s attack on Dennis Kucinich. Let’s start out by pointing to a few facts,marko’s does not represent the whole liberal blogosphere, he represents DailyKos, and that is it, while I like reading his blog and the others that are posted there, he has an annoying habit of being a cheerleader instead of an independent voice, he has hitched his ride to the Dems and most of all President Obama. Over the last 4 to 5 years he has become part of the Washington media and seems to think he knows what everyone left of center is thinking. He does not.
Ok we need to start with the fact that Marko has what I would call a Personal hatred for Dennis Kucinich, he has written many a post called “Why “I” Hate Dennis Kucinich” when you make a statement like that you are showing your personal bias on a subject and everything you say about that subject should be viewed through that biased lens.
In everything he writes or talks about Kucinich he brings up this nearly every cycle Presidential runs, saying” Kucinich has never proven broad electoral viability” well that might be true I the eyes of marko’s but he has at least run for something, Marko has never attempted anything like that, im sure it’s because he knows “he does not have broad electoral viability even to win a house seat. Marko always points out that Kucinich was very anti-choice but now he is Pro-Choice, ok so he changed his mind, isn’t that something you want from a Politian, if his constituents are Pro-choice but he is not, shouldn’t he vote the way the people that elected him want, what is wrong with that. That’s what we say we want out of our representatives.
Now, Obama gave into Blanch Lincoln and Evan Bye and that idiot from Montana Max Baucus and they started with a compromised bill that was in the center and then moved farther to the right, so I have to ask people like marko who calls himself a Progressive, what did he get out of this bill, yes it will cover 15 to 20 million more people, but cover is not the right word, it will force these people to by insurance from private companies and then they will get a subsidy to “help” pay for it. that is quite different from covering people, next in this bill you will be pentilize for not buy insurance, is marko for that, he says he is not,ok, this bill does nothing to hold down cost, even the cbo has said it will raise the cost of premiums but that cost will be offset by subsidies’. Yes it will end resisanons and will end pre-existing conditions, but everyone says they are for those two things. So why did we not start with single payer and then make the compromise the public option, it’s because Obama and people like Marko have no real spine.

Monday, March 8, 2010

On The Left Episode 3

This week we will be talking about the financial crisis. I will be playing clips from an interview with Naomi Klein, a Clip from The Young Turks were Cenk interviews Michael Moore, we will listen in on an interview from Democracy Now between Amy Goodman and Eliot Spitzer and I will round off the show with some words of wisdom from none other than Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Oct 31 1936 speech at Madison Square Garden
Enjoy the show:

Let’s talk about financial matters today, first the numbers, unemployment, we lost another 36,000 jobs and our unemployment rate held steady at 9.7%. We need to remember that America has to create 100,000-130,000 new jobs per month to keep up with population growth.
On March 5 the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the February non-farm payrolls report. The civilian labor force participation rate is at 64.8%. This tells us that less than two thirds of the population is in the labor force- Employed or unemployed. The U-6 broad measure of unemployment that includes involuntary part time workers and those marginally attached to the labor force, rose to 16.8% this number remains painfully high and suggests widespread economic suffering. 41% of the unemployed have been out of work for at least 27 weeks.
Productivity has been growing very rapidly since the recession began in late 2007.from the fourth quarter of 2008 to the fourth quarter of 2009 productivity increased 5.8 percent, as output declined 0.2 percent and hours fell 5.7 percent, making worker work harder and work less hours. Corporations save on wages and hours while getting more goods and services produced by existing workers who are afraid to lose there jobs. We are also seeing the most disproportional relationship between output, hours and pay recorded in the last 62 years. Output per worker hour is surging. Pay and employment is not. This helps explain how we are seeing rising profits and GDP with no improvement in employment. And why there is a sharp divergence between corporate profits and employment conditions.
I know at least 30 people personally that have been laid off in the last six months.
Next in Dec 2009 the FDIC listed 702 banks on its Problem list that was up from 552 three months earlier.
140 bank failures in 2009 was the highest annual tally since 1992, which was at the height of the savings and loans crisis. By way of comparison there were just 25 bank failures in 2008 and 3 in 2007.
Next on to Taxes the IRS has once again started to release the yearly report of the top 400 earners, this report was first made public in 1992 by the Clinton administration, but the George w bush administration shut down access to the report. Its release was resumed a year ago when Obama took office and boy we can now see why the Bushies did not what this getting out.
In 2007 the top 400’s average income of 344.8 million was up 31% from 2006’s average of 263.3 million, now that was the Average number. Now once again these are that the IRS put in to the report. now the tax rate for this group fell from 2006 to 2007 from 17.17% to 16.62%, that rate is lower than the typical effective income tax rate paid by Americans with incomes in the low six figures so over $100,000.
Tax payers on the 95th and 99th steps of the income ladder paid an effective rate of 17.52% .The taxpayers in this category made between 255,000 to 451,000 per year in 2007, compared with a DAILY Average income of almost 945,000 for the top 400, that is 945,000 per day.
The top 400 saw an increase in their incomes of 27 percent or 9 times that of the bottom 90% of earners.
Since 1992 the bottom 90% has seen an increase of 13% compared with 399% for the top 400.so while you who make 25,000 to 100,000 pay 20 to 33 percent tax rates these guys are paying just 17% but that is only on their income, the biggest source of income was from capital gains which is taxed at a Maximum rate of just 15%, Now do you see where the Bush Tax cuts and the “Death Tax” really went.
This is the most telling part I think , in 2007 the pre-tax income for a family of four was 50,233,while the top 400 households earned a median of 345 million, almost 6900 times as much income. In contract in 1992 the ratio was just a sixth as large, with the top 400 household having 1124 times as much, still way out of whack but closer by a long shot.

Friday, March 5, 2010

On The Left Episode 2

This week we will be talking about Heath care. We will have clips from The Young Turks,
The Rachel Maddow show ,C-Span and we will have audio from a local meeting on health care by Al Franken.
The Main problem with the current bills in Congress is they don’t do what is needed ,they take only one step down the road when we need to start running just to catch up to the rest of the world.

Monday, March 1, 2010

On The Left Episode 1

This is the first podcast from the team of On The Left