Regulators Should Block Amazon’s Acquisition Of Whole Foods

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By Nick Stumo-Langer for ILSR – In response to Amazon’s announced acquisition of Whole Foods, Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) and co-author of Amazon’s Stranglehold, made the following statement: “Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods raises significant anti-competitive issues that should be deeply concerning to federal antitrust regulators and the public. This deal would allow Amazon to leverage Whole Foods’ 444 U.S. stores in ways that would dramatically amplify Amazon’s online market power, by integrating these locations into its vast logistics and delivery network. And it would give Amazon, which already sells more clothing, books, toys, and consumer electronics than any other retailer, a substantial share of an even bigger consumer goods category, groceries. Regulators should block this acquisition.” ILSR’s recent report Amazon’s Stranglehold traced Amazon’s rapidly expanding reach and its impacts.

Media Monopolies Are Undermining Democracy And Threatening Net Neutrality

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By Emma Niles for Truth Dig – Robert Scheer: Hi, it’s Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where the intelligence comes from my guests. In this case, it’s Mark Lloyd, who has had a really interesting career both as a journalist working in electronic media, worked for NBC and CNN, won an Emmy for a documentary called Turning It Around: Urban Teens in Crisis. He knew something about kids in crisis, he grew up in Detroit, went to the University of Michigan, and his most recent book, “The Communications Crisis in America, and How to Fix It.” Mark is a professor of communication at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. So this communication crisis in America, is this another one of these pro-Trump, or following Trump or against Trump stories, or—? Mark Lloyd: This was done before Trump. We anticipated that someone like Trump might be elected. But it is about the fact that most Americans are not able to get the information that they need to keep themselves safe, to make sure they know where to send their children to school, where to get the best medical care, or a wide variety of things about their financial well-being and other things important to them.

An Internet For Everyone

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By Devin Coldewey for Tech Crunch. The imagination is a powerful thing, and what it creates may in fact be powerful beyond our imagining. That was certainly the case with Sir Tim Berners-Lee and the World Wide Web, the creation of which is documented in a new short film, “Foreveryone.net,” which was directed by Jessica Yu and is currently showing at the Seattle International Film Festival. I sat down ahead of the film’s debut with Yu and Berners-Lee, who, in his inimitable manner, held forth on topics from encryption and social media to the need to, as he called it, “re-decentralize the web.” The film traces the story of the web from its prehistory as a twinkle in Berners-Lee’s eye to the various dangers it faces today: surveillance, the loss of net neutrality and an excess of commercialization and centralization.

Obama Must Confront Monopoly Practices In Health Insurance

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By Lawrence J. Hanley in The Huffington Post – The flurry of recent merger announcements from the handful of remaining national health insurance providers is cause for alarm for all Americans. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has taken nearly full effect and it is clear that staggering annual increases in health insurance premium costs are still with us. The skyrocketing costs of health insurance and health care treatment are pushing working American families well past the breaking point. There is a limit to what working people can afford to pay for what should be a human right. The most recent corporate advances down the road of health insurance monopolization are the announcements that the enormous Aetna intends to absorb rival Humana, and at the same time the Anthem corporate giant — formerly Wellpoint — is maneuvering to swallow Cigna.

Comcast Got What It Deserved

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Comcast, the giant cable company, is one of the most reviled companies in America. It is notorious for its terrible and odious customer service. In addition to this infamous reputation, it sought to become ever-bigger and more powerful. Not satisfied with its dominance and near-monopolistic position, it sought to buy Time Warner Cable and become ever more dominant and unmistakably a true monopoly in cable and broadband. To accomplish this goal, it hired legions of lobbyists and public relations flacks. Early on, it looked like it had the clout to win. President Obama made more than one visit to Comcast Vice President David Cohen’s home to attend fundraisers. Even more stunning and blatant, the chairman and CEO of the company (and co-founder’s son), Brian Roberts, golfed with Obama on Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. Talk about being well-connected!

FCC To Move Against Comcast-Time Warner Cable Merger

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WASHINGTON — According to reports in the Wall Street Journal and Politico, Federal Communications Commission staff may be prepared to recommend that Comcast’s proposed takeover of Time Warner Cable be designated for a hearing. Such a move would put the merger request in the hands of an administrative law judge, who would conduct a thorough inquiry into the public-interest benefits of the proposed merger, if any. In formal legal terms a hearing designation merely means that the FCC cannot approve the proposed $45 billion merger at this time without first conducting such a hearing. In practical terms however, this type of preliminary decision generally spells the end for the deal because of the difficulty applicants face to make their case in such proceedings.

Communities Should Provide Internet Service, Not Monopolies

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Community broadband, properly deployed and managed, can give at least some of us an alternative to typical broadband duopoly. Take Chattanooga, Tennessee. Chattanooga’s’s local power utility operates a fiber optic Internet service that currently offers a 1 Gigabit speed package (1,000 Mbps) for just $69.99/month. For most of us that would be a 50x speed increase or better. Many fiber services are also symmetrical, offering the same upload speed as download speed. There are a variety of models for community broadband. One particularly attractive model is called “open access.” Under an open access model, the local municipality might be the owner of the fiber infrastructure, but agrees to lease access to the system to anyone on non-discriminatory terms. This opens up the possibility of having many local ISPs competing for your business over the same fiber infrastructure and drastically reduces the cost of Internet service.