The General Electric take-over of NBC in the 1980's was wrong, and this newest oligarchical acquisition of NBC by Comcast places the gate keeping function of what news stories are chosen and how they are covered, in fewer and fewer hands.
Friday, February 15, 2013 Rochester, NY - It occurs to me...
...that President Obama lies like a rug. His State of the Union speech was slick and polished like all his speeches, but he completely ignored the simple yet ugly truth that this country is literally bankrupt, and most social and entitlement programs are finished, and effectively insolvent.
From the Washington Post: "While raw numbers are interesting, the more telling statistic is when debt is expressed as a percentage of the overall economy (gross domestic product). We’ve rounded the numbers to keep it simple."
Size of gross debt Federal account debt
Before Reagan 33 percent 7 percent
Ronald Reagan 53 percent 12.5 percent
George H.W. Bush 64 percent 16 percent
Bill Clinton 56.5 percent 24 percent
George W. Bush 77 percent 30 percent
Barack Obama 105 percent 31 percent
Conclusion? With a $16 trillion federal debt, we as a nation, as a people, are well on our way down the road to ruin. If we don't start demanding fiscal discipline from our political leaders, especially from the affable but vague Barack Obama, and demand fiscal discipline of ourselves, none of us will have a social security check, or any assistance from Medicare or Medicaid. Those programs will be but distant and depressing memories.
It occurs to me that WROC TV-8 quite inaccurately reported last evening at 11:00pm that the Ontario County Board of Supervisors had proposed legislation with teeth (meaning legislation that is binding and enforceable), when all the Supervisors really had accomplished was to put forth a non-binding resolution against the newly enacted New York State gun control laws.
The CBS affiliate's lead story (along with an AMTRAK collision near Macedon) was reported as Breaking News, when in effect, the Ontario Board of Supervisors seemed to be grandstanding, merely to show gun advocates that their county was four square against additional gun control measures, but without informing Channel 8, nor their constituents that this type of legislation is a worthless gesture, that is unenforceable, and will mean little to the Governor or the State Legislature. No county can unilaterally overturn state law.
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It occurs to me the Anti-Trust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, along with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), are acting quite hypocritically in trying to block Anheuser-Busch InBev's $20 billion take-over of Mexico's Corona Beer*, yet seems to turn a blind eye to Comcast Cable's $16.7 billion majority buy-out of General Electric's shares in NBC-Universal.
According to Time Magazine: "By assuming full ownership of NBC Universal — which includes NBC’s famed “Peacock Network,” NBC News, MSNBC, CNBC, Universal Pictures, the Universal theme parks and resorts, and several popular cable channels, including Bravo — Comcast takes full control of a crown jewel of American news and entertainment, whose history mirrors the emergence of modern broadcast media in the 20th Century."
I have experienced--first hand--Comcast cable TV service, and it is not optimal. Comcast service delivery routinely suffers from 'audio-visual sync' problems, where the words emanating from a character's or news broadcaster's mouth are not in sync with the movement of said character's lips. They appear unconcerned about this annoyance. Comcast, as this nation's largest cable TV provider, as well as a giant in the telephone landline business, will now be a bona fide monopoly, owning not only much of this nation's TV and broadband delivery system, but it will now possess an enormous percentage of TV program and film content.
I care a helluva lot more about monopolies that threaten the 1st Amendment, and which corporations become self appointed gate keepers of our access to TV news, than do I care about which alcohol product tries to corner the beer market, here in the United Drunken States of America.
And we haven't even touched on the newest monopoly that will likely have a negative impact on Greater Rochester's airline passengers: The American Airlines-U.S. Air merger. If I count right, we're down to just five-and-a-half airlines at the Greater Rochester International Airport: American (if approved, the US Air moniker goes away, and folds into American Airlines), Delta (which recently absorbed Northwest), United (larger since the recent Continental Airlines acquisition), Jet Blue, and AirTran (poised to become Southwest Airlines, by May); with the "half" an airline being Air Canada's puddle jumper service to and from Toronto, just so we can keep the designation "international airport".
It occurs to me that if you are one of the approximate 40 million Americans with an inaccurate credit score, you may be screwed. According to a piece on last Sunday's 60 Minutes (CBS, 2/10/13), three giant rating companies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, can control much of your financial life, especially when they are wrong about your credit score. On the 60 Minutes broadcast, we were informed that some Americans have waited not months, but years to have their mistaken credit scores fixed, but to no avail.
In fact, 60 Minutes interviewed three workers in Santiago Chile who are farmed out work from these agencies, and they stated that all they do, eight hours a day, is condense and abridge U.S. customer complaints, and then relay these complaints to those above them. However, they, and others in-the-know who were interviewed for the story claim that no one in any position of decision making at these companies ever even reads the consolidated information prepared in places like Santiago, so it is unlikely for too many Americans that their complaints will ever be addressed at all, let alone have their credit scores corrected.
It occurs to me that when Americans, through their politicians in Washington, allow corporations to become larger and larger, that these behemoths become less and less interested in customer service, competitive pricing, and in the end, little interested in small things, like democracy.
Comedian Steven Wright is credited with saying, "I think it is wrong that only one company makes the game Monopoly". These days, with how little power average Americans seem to have over the federal government's decisions on which giant corporations become even larger, perhaps all one can do is laugh, because it hurts too much to cry.
See you at Sam's Club!
-Christopher J. Wilmot, Pittsford, NY
* Just after this article was written, it was announced that Anheuser-Busch had agreed with federal regulators to allow Rochester based Constellation brands to purchase the Mexican parent company of Corona Beer. Anheuser-Busch acceded to pressure from the federal government that its proposed purchase of Corona would have created a monopoly. Surprises never cease.
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