Defining the Zone

Union Frameworks
Union Frameworks
Defining the Zone
/

~
Partial Transcript
~

Prometheus is the Titan god of ancient Greece characterized by forethought. He was credited with stealing fire from the most hoity-toity of the gods and then gifting it to humanity as a cornerstone for civilization. The United States Supreme Court’s unanimous decision published on April Fool’s Day, only exacerbates the judicial monastery’s “perception problem.” It rejected the chief cornerstone for our constitutionally grounded democratic republic in the Prometheus case, a case challenging a recent Federal Communications Commission decision ditching the ownership rules originally intended to elevate the public discourse.

By unanimously discounting the refiner’s fire of viewpoint diversity in an embarrassing opinion authored by Justice Kavanaugh, the Court has once again brought attention to its lack of intellectual rigor; for it ignores the declaration of intent, the value proposition, the mission statement, and the cardinal precepts of The United States Constitution as they were so carefully delineated in the Preamble. That front matter is, arguably, the spirit of the law. The Court’s perception problem is really one of clear discernment by an increasingly honked-off public.

While Kavanaugh referred to Section 706(2)(A) of the Administrative Procedure Act, the APA, he was highly selective in the actual treatment of the way the court had arrived at its conclusion. The APA instructs courts reviewing regulation to invalidate any agency action found to be “arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law.” The arbitrary-or- capricious test is used by judges when reviewing the factual basis for agency rule-making. Courts can overturn agency rules if they find the underlying rationale or factual assertions to be unreasonable.

In the Prometheus case, the hop-skippety-jump logic of the FCC, that was focused exclusively on gender and race diversity while ignoring the more general diversity of viewpoint factors, is clearly problematic. We are blessed with two eyes and two ears precisely because of the value of such diversity and the way it favors depth of perception. And, once we move beyond the excessively prominent head cases, there is value to considering the viewpoint of our fellow citizens as we move to form a more perfect union.

Visit our forum to see the full transcript and chime in!

A Net-Neutrality Win for California!

Union Frameworks
Union Frameworks
A Net-Neutrality Win for California!
/

~
Partial Transcript
~

Net-neutrality is the most important First Amendment issue of our time. It is the principle that all information, moving throughout the internet, should be unfiltered, unimpeded, and equally accessible to consumers. Broadband providers are specifically prohibited from blocking or degrading content. This includes sites and services that compete against their own services.

California enacted a law in 2017, that reinforced this principle after Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Commissioner Ajit Pai, a former in-house Verizon attorney, rolled back federal net-neutrality regulations. The Trump Justice Department immediately sued California to overturn its law. Broadband providers, through their trade groups, followed with a request for a preliminary injunction to stop the California law while the lawsuit wound its way through the courts.

On Feb. 23rd in 2021, Judge John Mendez of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California denied the motion for a preliminary injunction. The group of internet service providers had also brought suit in 2018 to stop the state law from going into effect. The judge’s ruling cleared the way for California to enforce its net neutrality law, thereby ensuring equal access to internet content.

Visit our forum to see the full transcript and chime in!

Biting the Hand

Union Frameworks
Union Frameworks
Biting the Hand
/

~
Partial Transcript
~

As federal, state, and local governments take a new look at what companies should have access to public easements and utility rights of way, they really should consider all the angles. Especially since common carrier, public utility, or natural monopoly status may actually be in flux. One factor to consider might be the array of cases where a part of our essential communications infrastructure, specifically Internet Service Providers (ISPs), have sued municipalities that wanted to deliver their own Internet services. Two of the biggest, most self-serving ISPs, the ones that orchestrated an attack on net-neutrality, and thereby the First Amendment, should re-commit to serving the public interest as common carriers.

They should obtain this re-classification in an above board manner. Not by means of the usual political sophistries, that only serve to make our “elected representatives” even less representative. In the meantime, they should not enjoy a presumption of unfettered access to public utility easements or rights of way without the common carrier classification.

American enterprises have historically benefitted from the commons. And those private enterprises, enjoying superior access rights to spaces secured through eminent domain, have obligations to insure they are serving the public interest. The bad actors among them would convert and monopolize the commons and intentionally ignoring the ways their gamesmanship works to the detriment of everyone else.

Visit our forum to see the full transcript and chime in!

Defining Common Carriers

Union Frameworks
Union Frameworks
Defining Common Carriers
/

~
Partial Transcript
~

The first railroad chartered in the United States was the Baltimore and Ohio. Charles Carroll, the last surviving signer of the Declaration of Independence, turned the first spadeful of earth on July 4, 1828. On May 10, 1869, the last golden spike was driven into the newly completed transcontinental railroad built by the Central Pacific and the Union Pacific.

During this period, on May 24, 1844, Alfred Vail was stationed at the Mount Clare railroad depot in Baltimore, Maryland. He decoded the famous telegraph message “What hath God Wrought?” It was sent by Samuel Morse from the Supreme Court chamber of the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C.

During the Civil War, telegraphy played a strategic role giving Commanders the ability to communicate with their troops almost instantly. After the war, telegraph wires were strung across our vast continent along the same lines used by the railroads. When congress declared railroad companies to be common carriers in the Interstate Commerce Act of 1887, telegraph lines were an integral part of railroad operations. As other telecommunications services evolved, their infrastructure was effectively grandfathered into the rights of way used by the railroads.

Visit our forum to see the full transcript and chime in!

Freedom of the Press

Union Frameworks
Union Frameworks
Freedom of the Press
/

~
Partial Transcript
~

From an early age we were taught that one of the unique values for our country is “Freedom of the Press.” Of course, from the time of this country’s inception, until very recently, freedom of the press was only available for the privileged few that own a press. The traditional understanding of what constitutes “editorializing” was, in ages past, based upon what appeared on the opinion page.

Today we understand that every decision by a publisher is an editorial decision.. Whether a story runs above the fold, at the beginning of a newscast, or if it runs at all is based upon the opinion of someone. To those of us who thrive within a world of competing ideas, this is entirely ok as we can always engage in channel surfing.

In contrast, those intellectually dishonest folks, the ones that only want to hear opinions aligning with their own, have become a problem within the context of our participatory democracy. The “Consent of the Governed” as advanced through the Declaration of Independence, presupposes an informed consent. The 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights put forth by the United Nations in Article 21 states that “The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government”.

Visit our forum to see the full transcript and chime in!

Pandemicide

Union Frameworks
Union Frameworks
Pandemicide
/

~
Partial Transcript
~

Sir Francis Galton introduced the term “eugenics,” meaning well-born, in 1883. His emphasis was on encouraging healthy and capable people, of above-average intelligence, to bear more children, with the idea of building an “improved” human race. The eugenics ideologies that are typically associated with the first half of the twentieth century are much older though they persist, even today. Now they are simply manifest in a different way.

While an individual may reasonably consider what their children might look like upon choosing a mate, a couple would likely be ostracized for using abortion for purposes of selecting a child based upon, say, hair color. In May of 2019, a Supreme Court opinion described abortion as a potential “tool of eugenic manipulation.” The opining Justice was referring to an Indiana abortion law that bans abortion motivated solely by the race, sex or disability of the fetus. He used the history of the eugenics movement to explain why “the use of abortion to achieve eugenic goals is not merely hypothetical.”

Societies have long engaged in what is sometimes termed positive eugenics, the improvement of the human race by better breeding. Plato suggested applying the principles of selective breeding to humans around 400 BC. He went on to suggest selective mating to produce a guardian class. Negative eugenics also emerged long ago when, in Sparta, every child was inspected by the council of elders to determine if the child was fit to live. In Rome, Table IV within the Laws of the Twelve Tables required that: “A dreadfully deformed child shall be quickly killed.”

Visit our forum to see the full transcript and chime in!

Between Wishy and Washy

Union Frameworks
Union Frameworks
Between Wishy and Washy
/

~
Partial Transcript
~

On February 13th 2021, a pathetic minority of United States Senators landed decisively somewhere between wishy and washy on the question of autocracy versus democracy. As they were feigning reverence for the Constitution of the United States, they inadvertently highlighted the most fundamental problem facing the USA. It is a problem that has plagued civilization from the time of its inception and, from the looks of things, it’s not going away anytime soon.

When a democratic republic tolerates a reckless indifference to the truth by people occupying positions of honor and trust, it is hardly authentic. When we value government of, by, and for the people does it make sense to retain elected representatives who routinely engage in barratry, deceptive practices? Would an honest person take an oath as a juror and, while the trial proceeds, act as co-counsel for one side in the controversy? Would a judiciary willfully convert a whirlpool of information into a cesspool of disinformation through its lack of forethought and intellectual rigor? Would a Chief Justice of the Supreme Court shrink from his constitutional obligation to preside over an impeachment trial?

In the United States elected and appointed officials often get a pass for integrity deficits. Then, when these same officials are called upon to pass judgement upon the behavior of others, and when in so doing they would be effectively implicating themselves by rendering an honest verdict, such a judgement is rendered meaningless. Why should we be surprised when such a long history of Supreme Court case law has effectively immunized the most dishonest political operatives from any consequence for deceiving and vexing the electorate.

Visit our forum to see the full transcript and chime in!

Intentional Consumerism

Union Frameworks
Union Frameworks
Intentional Consumerism
/

~
Partial Transcript
~

Intentional Consumerism is, first and foremost, about expressing consumer preferences that are informed by the behaviors of those with whom we do business. It is how we vote every day with every dollar we spend. It is how we move towards a promising future, with each and every transaction. It emphasizes free trade together with fair trade. It demonstrates the power of a more proactive variation with respect to the doctrine Buyer Beware.

There is real potential in such an exercise of ethical consumerism, sometimes called consumer sovereignty; from the super- charged data driven boycott, to the casual expression of preferences. Intentional Consumerism is, to some extent, rooted in the indignation of thinking men and women.

How long have you been on hold? Does the company that wants your business pay its CEO what a thousand customer service workers make? Is the company providing your mobile phone service an enemy of net-neutrality and thereby the First Amendment? Is the nearby store limiting employee compensation to poverty wages? Does a politician, taking campaign contributions from big finance, have your best interests at heart? Should the person behind a corporate policy, that could be foreseen as having the effect of sickening, injuring or killing people, somehow be immune from criminal liability?

Visit our forum to see the full transcript and chime in!

Parasites by Proxy

Union Frameworks
Union Frameworks
Parasites by Proxy
/

~
Partial Transcript
~

Andrew Jackson, with his forced march of the Cherokee along the Trail of Tears is no darling of humanitarians. He did, however, get one thing right. Upon closing the Second Bank of the United States, he correctly accused the bankers of having privatized gains while socializing losses. He recognized, two hundred years ago, what many of our most revered economists fail to acknowledge today. Many of our nation’s largest enterprises are leveraging the worst aspects of both capitalism and socialism.

There is a big, big difference between the entrepreneurial business person that can create something of value from almost nothing, and the custodial CEO, who’s chief talent is sticking it to taxpayers in parasitic fashion. There is a stark contrast, between the custodial management that persuades constituents and investors to expect every indulgence, as opposed to those highly disciplined entrepreneurial leaders who exude a spiritual idealism, one that has the awesome power to take an enterprise and even a nation from one level of attainment to the next.

True leaders steadfastly refuse to discount the value of motivational factors. No one of quality wants to work for a company that fails to exemplify a higher calling. Those companies that make gobs of money without making meaningful contributions to the public treasury, while using the infrastructure that is mostly financed by individual taxpayers, are properly defined as freeloaders. The companies that pay wages so low they make public charges of their employees, forcing them to seek heating, rent and nutrition assistance, are operating in a parasitic fashion, while embarrassing their employees and making them take the rap.

Visit our forum to see the full transcript and chime in!

21st Century Enterprise Architecture

Union Frameworks
Union Frameworks
21st Century Enterprise Architecture
/

~
Partial Transcript
~

When most people think about the Roaring Twenties, the highlights quickly come to mind. Women in the U.S. gained the right to vote in 1920. People of that era also witnessed the advent of broadcasting, a steady climb-out from the post Word War One recession, and a shift in emphasis, from wartime production, to a new mass production that yielded an abundance of consumer goods. In our reprise one century later, we hope to tap the enthusiasm that characterized the twenties of a century ago as we also consider ways to avoid the pitfalls.

The 1920s were capped off with a global depression, caused by recklessness, the counterfeit wisdom of many who occupied the commanding heights of the U.S. economy. The 2020s began with a similar, all too familiar recklessness. It started with a depression that is, in no small part, also attributable to such run-of-the-mill selfishness on the part of the inheritors, skimmers and hoarders of wealth.

The fiscal policies of the years preceding 1920 and those preceding 2020 have certain common elements that suggest our leaders have failed to learn from history while dooming the rest of us to repeat it. A pair of once in a century global pandemics revealed that the so-called “smartest guys in the room” ran their businesses in such a way that they failed to maintain a rainy day fund, they paid their employees poverty wages that made it almost impossible to build any kind of savings on a personal level.

Where the 1920s ushered in a frenzied era of mass consumerism. Today we must place a new emphasis on a form of consumerism that is far more intentional. We will borrow the best from the earlier era’s artistic, social, and cultural dynamism. And we will, at the same time, give preference to those businesses that exhibit a genuine culture of benevolence.

Visit our forum to see the full transcript and chime in!