Joseph Stiglitz on TPP, Cracking Down on Corporate Tax Dodgers & New BRICS Bank

Joseph Stiglitz on TPP, Cracking Down on Corporate Tax Dodgers & New BRICS Bank

Jul 17 2014

Watch part 2 of our discussion with Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, a professor at Columbia University and the World Bank’s former chief economist.

Watch/Listen to part 1: Nobel Economist Joseph Stiglitz Hails New BRICS Bank Challenging U.S.-Dominated World Bank & IMF


Joseph Stiglitz, Nobel Prize-winning economist, professor at Columbia University and former chief economist at the World Bank. He is author of numerous books. In 2002, Stiglitz published a best-selling book calledGlobalization and Its Discontents, in which he critically examined international institutions such as the IMFWTO and World Bank.

A Debate on Gaza: Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada vs. J.J. Goldberg of The Jewish Daily Forward

A Debate on Gaza: Ali Abunimah of Electronic Intifada vs. J.J. Goldberg of The Jewish Daily Forward
Jul 23 2014

We host a debate on U.S. media’s coverage of the Israel-Gaza conflict and the roots of the crisis with two guests: Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the website Electronic Intifada and author of the new book, “The Battle for Justice in Palestine”; and J.J. Goldberg, editor-at-large and columnist at the newspaper, The Jewish Daily Forward. Abunimah and Goldberg discuss news headlines that ignore the massive Palestinian toll, whether the ceasefire should address the Gaza blockade, and the history of the conflict.

Ali Abunimah, co-founder of the website The Electronic Intifada and author of the new book, The Battle for Justice in Palestine.

J.J. Goldberg, editor-at-large and columnist at the newspaper, The Jewish Daily Forward. His most recent article is “As Gaza Toll Rises, So Will Pressure on Israel.”


Re: Neil deGrasse Tyson: America Will ‘Sink Lower’ Before Congress Acts On Climate Change

[Note:  This comment comes from friend Gerald Steinback.  DLH]

Subject: Re: [Dewayne-Net] Neil deGrasse Tyson: America Will ‘Sink Lower’ Before Congress Acts On Climate Change
Date: July 24, 2014 at 0:14:05 EDT

And luckily, once Congress acts, scientists will be able to reverse the effects of climate change in just a few weeks – or get the blame…

Neil deGrasse Tyson: America Will ‘Sink Lower’ Before Congress Acts On Climate Change
By Shadee Ashtari
Jul 23 2014

New University of Pennsylvania Analysis Finds U.S. is Far Ahead of Europe in Broadband Deployment, Access, Usage

Note:  This item comes from friend Steve Goldstein.  DLH]

From: Steve Goldstein <>
Subject: New University of Pennsylvania Analysis Finds U.S. is Far Ahead of Europe in Broadband Deployment, Access, Usage | U.S. vs. European Broadband Deployment: What Do the Data Say?
Date: July 23, 2014 at 21:24:24 EDT
To: Hendricks Dewayne <>

New University of Pennsylvania Analysis Finds U.S. is Far Ahead of Europe in Broadband Deployment, Access, Usage

June 2014

Christopher Yoo, the John H. Chestnut Professor of Law, Communication, and Computer Science at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and the Founding Director of the Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition (CTIC), today released a study that finds Europe lags behind the United States in high-speed broadband deployment, investment, and usage. The analysis also looks at the data disparities in the context of the different regulatory approaches in the U.S. and in Europe, finding that the EU’s telephone-era, public utility treatment of broadband has resulted in stagnation.

The study looked at a number of different broadband performance indicators, including network coverage, deployment of fiber and LTE technology investment per household, adoption, speeds, utilization, and price. The report supplements the data with case studies of eight leading European countries, including France, Germany and Denmark, among others.

“The data speak for themselves, and the empirical evidence confirms that the United States is performing much better than Europe in the high-speed broadband race,” said Yoo. “Worries that the U.S. is falling behind are severely misplaced.”

Europe has relied on regulations that treat broadband as a public utility and focus on promoting service-based competition. In contrast, the U.S. has generally left buildout, maintenance, and modernization of Internet infrastructure to the private sector and focused on promoting facilities-based competition. Yoo finds that the empirical evidence provides a strong endorsement of the regulatory approach taken so far by the U.S. over that in Europe.

“Fortunately, we have a real-world basis for assessing the impact of imposing telephone-style regulation on the Internet,” added Yoo. “As regulators in the United States contemplate rules for next-generation networks, it would be wise to consider how going down the path of stiff telephone-era regulation has fared elsewhere.”

In coordination with the study release, CTIC launched an interactive micro-site, highlighting the findings through infographics and maps showing U.S. and EU country comparisons.

Click here to read the full study.

Click here to read the executive summary.

As highlighted in the study, key differences between the state of broadband in the U.S. and Europe include the following, as of the end of 2012:

  • The U.S. led Europe in national 25 Mbps coverage 82% to 54%.
  • The U.S. led Europe in rural 25 Mbps coverage 48% to 12%.
  • Fiber-to-the-premises (FTTP) was not a key driver of 25 Mbps coverage.
  • The U.S. led Europe in FTTP coverage 23% to 12%.
  • The U.S. led Europe in LTE coverage 86% to 27%.
  • The U.S. regulatory approach emphasizing facilities-based competition was significantly more effective in promoting 25 Mbps coverage than the European regulatory approach emphasizing service-based competition.
  • Investments per household were more than two times greater in the U.S. than in the EU.
  • Entry-level broadband prices were lower in the U.S. than in Europe.
  • Prices for higher-speed service were higher in the U.S. than in Europe, although U.S. households consume 50% more bandwidth than European households.

The Center for Technology, Innovation and Competition is dedicated to promoting foundational research that aims to shape the way legislators, regulatory authorities, and scholars think about technology policy, intellectual property, privacy, and related fields. Through major scholarly conferences, symposia, faculty workshops, and other activities, CTIC is committed to providing a forum for exploring the full range of scholarly perspectives on these issues.

Yoo has been a leading voice in the “network neutrality” debate that has dominated Internet policy over the past several years. His research focuses on using network engineering and economics principles to provide insight into how the Internet and other electronic communications should be regulated. He frequently testifies before Congress, the Federal Communications Commission, and the Federal Trade Commission.

Neil deGrasse Tyson: America Will ‘Sink Lower’ Before Congress Acts On Climate Change

Neil deGrasse Tyson: America Will ‘Sink Lower’ Before Congress Acts On Climate Change

By Shadee Ashtari
Jul 23 2014

Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson predicted during an interview with Salonpublished Wednesday that climate change will have to “get very bad” before Congress feels threatened enough to advance meaningful environmental legislation.

“In my read of history, when things get very bad, people tend to come into agreement about what next steps they need to take and there’s less arguing,” Tyson said, citing the United States’ reluctance to invest in space exploration programs until the Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957.

“So I think maybe we have to sink lower before the pistons of Congress and the electorate align to take meaningful action, to protect the planet going forward,” Tyson continued.

Expressing concern over some policymakers’ “misinformed, or-under-informed” scientific views, the outspoken critic of climate-change denial maintained that his chief role in the science community is to educate the public on the “emergent scientific consensus.” He said climate scientists should take a more vocal role as well.

“I’m just trying to get people as fully informed as they can be so that they can make the most informed decisions they can based on their own principles or philosophies or mission statement,” the “Cosmos” host told Salon. “What concerns me is that I see people making decisions, particularly decisions that might affect policy or governance, that are partly informed, or misinformed, or under-informed.”

In June, Tyson also criticized wealthier citizens for turning a blind eye to the threat of climate change, warning that even the affluent will soon be forced to address the issue out of basic economic necessity.

“If they start to lose their wealth, they change their minds real fast, particularly in a capitalist culture,” Tyson warned during an interview last month on MSNBC’s “All In With Chris Hayes.” “Don’t expect to conduct civilizations the way we now do, because all the coastlines will get redrawn.”

British MPs to sue government over fast-tracked DRIP surveillance law

British MPs to sue government over fast-tracked DRIP surveillance law
By David Meyer

Jul 22 2014
Tom Watson and David Davis are teaming up with Liberty to launch a legal challenge against the data retention law, which was barely debated but which allows the UK authorities to monitor all kinds of web services.

Two British parliamentarians from either side of the political divide will join civil liberties organization Liberty in launching a legal challenge against the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers (DRIP) Act, which was fast-trackedthrough the parliamentary process last week.

Liberty announced on Tuesday that Tom Watson (Labour) and David Davis (Conservative), both of whom are veteran anti-surveillance campaigners, were its newest clients. The challenge will point to Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights, which says any exception to the right to privacy must be “necessary in a democratic society,” and to similar articles in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights that cover respect for private and family lifeand the protection of personal data.

I suspect the MPs and Liberty will also note a recent United Nations reportthat said indiscriminate mass data retention was neither necessary nor proportionate.

DRIP was passed as emergency legislation less than a week after it was revealed to the public. It was supposed to just help police and other authorities retain their right to access people’s communications data, in the wake of the striking-down of the EU-wide Data Retention Directive, three months earlier.

However, it actually expanded the types of data that the authorities could force providers to retain for a year. Before, those types only extended to phone call, SMS and email metadata (who contacted whom and when), but DRIP made sure that the authorities could also demand the same of providers of all kinds of web services, anywhere in the world. The government called this “clarification” but it amounted to the cementing of what was previously only a legal interpretation.

According to Davis:

“This Act of Parliament was driven through the House of Commons with ridiculous and unnecessary haste to meet a completely artificial emergency. As a result Members of Parliament had no opportunity to either research it, consider it or debate it properly and the aim of this legal action is to make the Government give the House the opportunity to do what it should have been allowed in the first place. Proper, considered and effective law making. The overall aim is to create law which both protects the security of our citizens without unnecessarily invading their privacy.”

Watson, meanwhile, criticized how the three main U.K. parties agreed to pass the act before even telling the public or debating its provisions in public. “You cannot make good laws behind closed doors,” he said.

The Quest to Make a Studio-Quality Star Trek Movie on a Kickstarter Budget

The Quest to Make a Studio-Quality Star TrekMovie on a Kickstarter Budget
Jul 22 2014

The next Star Trek film is coming sooner than you think. It’s scheduled to wrap production in the fall, at which point it will be edited into a 90-minute feature starring well-known actors and boasting a deep bench of design and production talent.

But this one won’t be co-starring Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana.

The latest from J.J. Abrams’ high-octane movie reboot franchise is still slated for a painfully distant 2016 release. In the meantime, though, Trek fans have written, produced, and directed their own—funded via Kickstarter.

Star Trek: Axanar will tell the story of the final battle in the war between the Klingon Empire and the Federation—set roughly twenty years before Captain Kirk takes command of the Enterprise, the film pits a new Klingon character, Commander Kharn (not Khan), against the leading Federation commander, Garth of Izar.

The final film is set to be released next year, but Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar—a History Channel-style documentary that features Commander Kharn and Captain Garth of Izar looking back at the epic battle—will premiere Saturdayin San Diego during Comic-Con International, screened as part of a Q&A with producer/creator Alec Peters and director Christian Gossett.

“We’re in a time period where there isn’t any Star Trek on TV, and people are looking for opportunities,” says Peters, who also plays Garth of Izar in the movie. While the current blockbuster films have introduced the characters andStar Trek universe to a new audience, purists are still waiting for hardcoreTrek content. “For a lot of Star Trek fans, the J.J. Abrams films are not Star Trek,” says Peters.

Axanar, which Peters began writing in 2010, is just the latest in a long line ofStar Trek fan productions. Paramount, which owns the franchise, has traditionally allowed these fan-made projects to move forward, as long as they agree not to sell anything—including tickets, merchandise, or copies of the finished film or series. With sales prohibited, funding had always been a limitation for movies like Axanar, but Kickstarter offered a new way to raise a sizable budget. Axanar met its funding goal ten times over, raising more than $100,000—more than enough for Peters to make a studio-quality sizzle reel. Peters hopes Star Trek: Prelude to Axanar will fuel the next round of funding, helping the production reach its target budget of $250,000 for the full feature.

Peters has taken an unlikely path toward producing what he calls this “independent Star Trek film.” A University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill grad who passed the North Carolina bar, “film producer” is his fourth or fifth career: he’s also coached volleyball at the University of Southern California, started multiple tech companies, and in 2008 created Propworks—a company that acquires and sells items used in major studio productions.