Re: Why Can’t We Be Like South Korea?

[Note:  This comment comes from friend Dave Hughes.  DLH]

From: Dave <dave@oldcolo.com>
Subject: Re: [Dewayne-Net] Why Can’t We Be Like South Korea?
Date: July 29, 2015 at 10:40:11 EDT
To: dewayne@warpspeed.com

I find it ironic – and illuminating – that South Korea has developed such a nationally complete, useful, and enviable Internet service. As one of just a handful of Americans who are still living (I am 87) I fought in the Korean War from soon after the North Koreans invaded in 1950. I have often ruminated on how South Korea which was a very backward, Japanese dominated, poor agrarian Asian country while I was retreating from the Yalu River  before the Chinese and Soviet backed North Korean Army in the bitter winter of November 1950. But with two Purple Hearts later together with 34,000 American soldiers dead, I left Korea in 1952 as it began to grow as a not only free nation with only a diminishingly smaller deterrent US military presence but also has become in the decades following the 1953 Armistice a prosperous, Democratic, technological, thoroughly modern nation state.

I pondered how that complete transformation took place, and I concluded that when, in its impoverished darkest days with a defeated Army and corrupt government, it came back. Guess what? South Korea is a textbook case of Technological Transfer between US military forces and its American military culture in a briefly US occupied  country. Large numbers of poorly educated South Korean soldiers learned how to drive and maintain US Army trucks from our soldiers, how to use and repair American military radios , observed what the relationship was between American soldiers and officers and their civilian, including Congressional leaders, observed how our market economy worked while building their own nation and military.

Who do you think set up the first civilian car repair shop in teeming Seoul as the Korean Army was greatly reduced in size after the 1953 Armistice? Who opened the first civilian AM radio store in and repaired radios ?  What was the genesis of the trained work force and developing corporate leaders? They and their fathers first learned it as South Korean soldiers supplied by corporate American companies under US Aid, after being trained by their counterpart low ranking drafted Sp4’s US servicemen. Who taught them a lot beyond mere technical skills. They taught them American know how and political culture.

Few Americans even knew where ‘South Korea’ was on a map in 1949. 65 years later we envy their national public high speed Internet and Wi-Fi mastery – and buy their Samsung smart phones from an open market economy.

Americans tend to think the US Military should be withdrawn from all over the world. But they rarely understand, much less observe or study how US military intervention – in our, and not just their – national interests has very long term ameliorative effects. And we dismiss ‘nation building’ as policy, while never studying where and how it actually works.

I never returned to visit my battlefields, because the last hill I took – Bloody Baldy Hill 347  – at a cost of all 6 of my officers and 165 enlisted men killed wounded or captured is now in the middle of the DMZ. If I tried to go there I would be shot by North Korean soldiers from their failed state.

But I admire from a distance, what we accomplished by just going to defend them.

Dave Hughes
dave@oldcolo.com

Why Can’t We Be Like South Korea?

 

When Internet access is slow or just nonexistent in the US, we shrug our shoulders. But in that small Asian nation, lousy connections are not tolerated.

 

By Susan Crawford

 

Jul 23 2015

 

<https://medium.com/backchannel/why-can-t-we-be-like-south-korea-58d8d702030d&gt;

Congress Holds The Key To More Broadband Competition

[Note:  This item comes from friend Mike Cheponis.  DLH]

Congress Holds The Key To More Broadband Competition
By Hal Singer
Jul 28 2015
<http://www.forbes.com/sites/halsinger/2015/07/28/congress-holds-the-key-to-more-broadband-competition/>

Are we getting enough broadband competition? And if not, where should we look for a new Internet access provider to keep broadband prices in check and to spur incumbents to increase speeds? 

The answer may be staring you in the face . . . assuming you are reading this from a wireless device. Even if you’re looking at a desktop, your smartphone is likely within reach. And therein lies the key to broadband competition.

This week the Senate Commerce Committee is holding a hearing on “Wireless Broadband and the Future of Spectrum Policy.” With luck, policymakers will see the connection between more spectrum and broadband competition. 

With the recent transition from third-generation to 4G, wireless networks now offer speeds—between 30 and 40 Mbps down—that are comparable to the average speeds attainable on a cable connection. And 5G wireless speeds promise to be even faster.

A super-charged wireless broadband offering would force DSL providers to upgrade to fiber, which in turn would cause cable operators to enhance their speeds.

When confronted with the notion of wireless-wireline substitution, the naysayers point to data limitations on wireless plans. But those limits are there to preserve the wireless experience given the constraints associated with commercially available spectrum. Relieve those constraints and wireless becomes an even closer substitute to wireline broadband (as those pesky data limits are likely raised).

How much additional spectrum is needed? A recent study estimates that the United States will need more than 350 MHz of additional licensed spectrum to support projected commercial mobile wireless demand, which represents a 50 percent increase in the supply of licensed broadcast spectrum.

[snip]

The I.R.S. Gives Up on ‘Dark Money’

The I.R.S. Gives Up on ‘Dark Money’
By THE EDITORIAL BOARD
Jul 25 2015
<http://www.nytimes.com/2015/07/26/opinion/sunday/the-irs-gives-up-on-dark-money.html>

The federal government has all but surrendered to the powerful, rich donors whose anonymous contributions threaten to undermine the 2016 elections. The commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service, John Koskinen, signaled as much on Thursday when he told a House committee that there would be no change in the tax code in 2016 to end its growing abuse by political operatives using nonprofit “social welfare” institutions to disguise the identities of affluent campaign contributors.

“I don’t want people thinking we are trying to get these regs done so we can influence the election,” Mr. Koskinen declared later to reporters. The statement was remarkable for blessing further procrastination at the I.R.S., whose clear obligation is to enforce existing law in a way that would end the current flood of “dark money” financing politics. The commissioner said the earliest that tighter rules could take effect would be 2017. The I.R.S. has been increasingly timorous on this issue ever since House Republicans opened partisan hearings into complaints that I.R.S. officials have been biased against conservative political groups that claim tax exemptions as nonprofit social welfare groups.

The fact is, the I.R.S. should be dedicated to enforcing the law against phony social welfare claims by all political schemers, from the right or the left. This abuse of the tax law mushroomed after the Supreme Court’s reckless Citizens United decision in 2010 that ended limits on campaign spending by corporations and unions. Since 2006, when only $5.2 million was spent by exempt organizations that do not disclose donors, spending increased 60-fold, to more than $300 million in the 2012 presidential cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. An even bigger infusion is expected in 2016 from big-money donors shielded by the social welfare fiction.

Earlier this year, Mr. Koskinen declared that nonprofit social welfare groups could spend up to 49 percent of revenues on political activity and still keep their tax exemption. This ill-advised statement did not encourage optimism about a tightening of the code. It also contradicts existing law, upheld in court decisions, that these groups must be “operated exclusively to promote social welfare.”

[snip]

Why Can’t We Be Like South Korea?

Why Can’t We Be Like South Korea?
When Internet access is slow or just nonexistent in the US, we shrug our shoulders. But in that small Asian nation, lousy connections are not tolerated.
By Susan Crawford
Jul 23 2015
<https://medium.com/backchannel/why-can-t-we-be-like-south-korea-58d8d702030d>

I’m working this summer with a rising senior at St. Paul’s School, Sun Woo Lee, who lives in Seoul when she’s not at boarding school here in the States. It’s been astounding to hear her describe the contrast between communications in Concord, New Hampshire, where her school is, and what happens in South Korea. And in light of a recent daylong gathering here at Harvard Law School among people interested in Internet access across Massachusetts, I thought you’d be interested in a few nuggets of comparison.

The bottom line: Rural areas in New England are mostly — with some shining exceptions — struggling to come up with a route to fiber-optic-plus-WiFi access that will allow people to work from home and generally participate in the modern world. On the other hand, it is almost impossible to find a rural section of South Korea that doesn’t have fantastic high-capacity Internet access.

Here’s a story that says it all. Several years ago when Sun was playing squash in a sports club in Seoul and couldn’t get a strong data connection on her smartphone, her coach got quite excited and urged her to send in a report. Why? Because one of the three major communications companies in Korea, KT, had sponsored a contest to reward people who located weak high-capacity connections anywhere in the country. The prize: A year’s worth of free service.

In America, when our phone signals us that our connectivity is dicey or nonexistent, we shrug. What else is new? But in South Korea, that condition is so rare that finding it is a rare and wondrous event, like Willy Wonka’s Golden Ticket.

Apologists say that the United States is a vast country with hills, valleys and deserts — hard to connect. They don’t mention that South Korea, a mostly mountainous place, has lakes and islands galore. But you would have to isolate yourself from society just about entirely in order to find a low-Internet-access spot in Sun’s native land.

Consider the most traditional village of Korea, Cheonghakdong, located on the southern slopes of Jirisan Mountain. It’s a kind of Korean Colonial Williamsburg taken to an extreme: no T-shirts or hats sporting English slogans are allowed in the village, the two hundred residents wear traditional Korean hanbok clothing, and everyone who lives there works in the fields. It’s a place for the preservation of traditional Korean culture, learning, and values, and it didn’t have electricity until the 1990s.

This month, KT and Cheounghakdong announced that the village will become a “GiGA town,” with world-class fiber access. So teachers in highly-traditional Cheounghakdong classrooms will be lecturing about Confucian values to the world, and they’ll be using Chinese-calligraphy-compatible electronic chalkboards to convey what they’re talking about to remote (but fully present) participants appearing on high-resolution video screens. The town will electronically introduce itself to online tourists in four languages. Seniors living in Cheounghakdong will be using a mobile telemedicine service called Yodoc.

[snip]

The real Jade Helm: Berkeley PD show citizens what police militarization looks like during manhunt for laundromat robber

[Note:  This item comes from friend David Rosenthal.  David’s comment:’If you build it, they will come.’.  DLH]
 

The real Jade Helm: Berkeley PD show citizens what police militarization looks like during manhunt for laundromat robber 
The BPD thanked them for their cooperation, but look at those cops — what choice did people have?

By SCOTT ERIC KAUFMAN
Jul 28 2015

Emilie Raguso’s coverage of a police manhunt wasn’t extraordinary because the of who the suspect was or what crime he committed — a young black male with “silver teeth” who robbed a laundromat at gunpoint — or because it ended in any particularly compelling fashion — the police never found him — it was extraordinary because of how casually Raguso reported what the accompanying images strongly suggested was a full-scale military invasion of a Berkeley, California neighborhood.

Everything conspiracy mongers mistakenly think is being done across seven southwestern states by highly trained special forces units in Operation Jade Helm 15 is, in fact, being done — only it’s being done by poorly trained police officers dressed up like soldiers in cities across America. The situation in Berkeley on Monday is merely emblematic.

Raguso’s prose is measured, conveying the idea that nothing out of the ordinary was happening. The police statements she reproduced — “We are currently searching the area for the suspect who may be in the block” — are equally innocuous, suggesting that the situation is being professionally managed by a police force that deals with armed suspects like this one on a daily basis.

But the art accompanying that measured prose is something else entirely. Instead of the police cruisers and uniformed officers one would expect to see in photographs accompanying an article about a manhunt for a laundromat robber, readers are greeted with images of heavily armed soldiers emerging from military-grade armored vehicles.

U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to the Lowest Level Since the 1960s

U.S. Homeownership Rate Falls to the Lowest Level Since the 1960s
By Kathleen M Howley

Jul 28 2015

The share of Americans who own their homes fell to the lowest level in almost five decades, extending a multiyear decline as families struggle to regain ground lost during the financial crisis and rentals gain favor.

The U.S. homeownership rate was 63.4 percent in the second quarter, down from 63.7 percent in the previous three months, the Census Bureau reported Tuesday. It was lowest reading since 1967.

Would-be homebuyers have been held back by stringent mortgage standards and wage growth that hasn’t kept up with surging home prices. The average household income in June was 4 percent below a record high set in early 2008, even as unemployment dropped to its pre-recession rate, according to Sentier Research LLC.

“We’re still suffering the effects of the housing collapse and the financial crisis,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wells Fargo Securities in Charlotte, North Carolina. “We may have another percentage point to go before we see a bottom” in the homeownership rate, he said.

Home values have jumped 34 percent since reaching a bottom in early 2012, making purchases more expensive for entry-level buyers. Prices in 20 U.S. cities climbed 4.9 percent in May from a year earlier, the S&P/Case-Shiller Index showed Tuesday.

Demand for rentals is growing, fueling a surge in multifamily construction and sending leasing costs soaring. The number of renter-occupied units increased by about 2 million in the second quarter from a year earlier, the Census Bureau report showed.

The rental vacancy rate fell to 6.8 percent from 7.1 percent in the first quarter and 7.5 percent a year earlier. It was the lowest rate since the 1980s, according to the report. The median asking rent was a record $803 a month.

I am an adjunct professor who teaches five classes. I earn less than a pet-sitter

I am an adjunct professor who teaches five classes. I earn less than a pet-sitter
My situation is not unique. 76% of instructional staff appointments in US higher education are now not even full-time jobs
By Lee Hall
Jun 22 2015
<http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/jun/22/adjunct-professor-earn-less-than-pet-sitter>

Like most university teachers today, I am a low-paid contract worker. Now and then, a friend will ask: “Have you tried dog-walking on the side?” I have. Pet care, I can reveal, takes massive attention, energy and driving time. I’m friends with a full-time, professionally employed pet-sitter who’s done it for years, never topping $26,000 annually and never receiving health or other benefits.

The reason I field such questions is that, as an adjunct professor, whether teaching undergraduate or law-school courses, I make much less than a pet-sitter earns. This year I’m teaching five classes (15 credit hours, roughly comparable to the teaching loads of some tenure-track law or business school instructors). At $3,000 per course, I’ll pull in $15,000 for the year. I work year-round, 20 to 30 hours weekly – teaching, developing courses and drafting syllabi, offering academic advice, recommendation letters and course extensions for students who need them. As I write, in late June, my students are wrapping up their final week of the first summer term, and the second summer term will begin next week. 

I receive no benefits, no office, no phone or stipend for the basic communication demands of teaching. I keep constant tabs on the media I use in my classes; if I exhaust my own 10GB monthly data plan early, I lose vital time for online discussions with my students. This, although the university requires my students to engage in discussions about legal issues and ethics six days a week, and I must guide as well as grade these discussions. 

Three of my Philadelphia-area friends are adjuncts with doctorate degrees. One keeps moving to other states for temporary teaching posts. The others teach at multiple sites to keep afloat financially – one at no less than seven colleges and universities. 

Having heard all my life about solid “government job” benefits, I figured I might have more stability, and still be able to handle teaching, if I worked for the Post Office. I started carrying mail in early January. As a City Carrier Assistant, I earned less pay than regular postal carriers do, though I did more than “assist”: my job was to handle absentee carriers’ routes. I had no medical insurance, no sick leave allowance and had to agree to work as much as managers deemed necessary for 360 consecutive days (whereupon I could sign up for a second 360-day contract, with no promise that it would bring me any closer to a permanent job offer). I worked on Sundays too, under the US Postal Service’s contract with Amazon.com. With human flaws – I fell on ice more than once – I was no match for the drones Amazon intends to deploy. After two months on the job, which was long enough to develop a lifetime fear of Rottweilers, I was behind in my university work. I turned in my cap. 

In late March, I started a retail job. It offers real days off, and I expect to be eligible for health and dental benefits soon. 

Last week, a friend came in to shop, saw me, and exclaimed, loud enough for all to hear: “What are you doing here?” Friends who know I hold two law degrees and teach at a university can’t fathom that my teaching doesn’t cover rent. Some writers have discussed adjuncts waiting tables or bagging groceries alongside their students as though it’s the ultimate degradation. I see things differently. I’m trained by the people who deliver parcels, serve meals and bag groceries and who might, any day, apply to take my courses. I am their equal, and I know it at a level most established faculty members do not.

[snip]