Liar, Liar, State on Fire!

Jerry Brown, former governor of California, testified in Congress that:

“California’s burning while the deniers [of Climate Change] make a joke out of the standards that protect us all. The blood is on your soul here and I hope you wake up. Because this is not politics, this is life, this is morality. … This is real.”

The fires are real enough, but Jerry Brown’s explanation of the root cause is the stuff of serious mental delusion, perhaps even mental illness.

President Trump correctly identified one of the major underlying causes on Twitter:

“There is no reason for these massive, deadly and costly forest fires in California except that forest management is so poor”

The Little Hoover Commission, an independent state oversight agency, in a 2018 report wrote:

“A century of mismanaging Sierra Nevada forests has brought an unprecedented environmental catastrophe that impacts all Californians …”

“The immediate crisis is visible to anyone who recently has traveled in the Sierra Nevada, especially in its southern range where entire mountainsides are brown with dying and dead forests. A plague of bark beetles following years of drought has killed 129 million trees and counting. …”

“Many of the biomass facilities that might have burned millions of dead trees for energy generation have closed or are closing. A century of fire suppression remains firmly entrenched within federal and state firefighting agencies and has left forest floors deep in flammable groundcover. Plans for prescribed burning to rid the forests of dense groundcover often clash with regional air quality regulations, even as emissions from catastrophic wildfires nullify hard-fought carbon reduction accomplishments. Finally, familiar old divisions between the timber industry and environmentalists hinder policy goals to thin overgrown forests to their original conditions.”

Fire on the Mountain: Rethinking Forest Management in the Sierra Nevada

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Is Google A Monopoly?

Should Google be broken up as a monopoly? The classic antitrust case in the United States was Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey v. United States:

“By 1890, Standard Oil controlled 88 percent of the refined oil flows in the United States. … In 1904, Standard controlled 91 percent of production and 85 percent of final sales. … In 1909, the US Department of Justice sued Standard under federal anti-trust law, the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890, for sustaining a monopoly and restraining interstate commerce …” (Wikipedia)

According to some sources Google is close to being a monopoly, a monopoly of information:

It’s common knowledge that Google has a monopolistic hold on search traffic. comScore’s widely cited numbers place Google’s search market share at 67%, followed by Bing at 19% and Yahoo at 10%.   The Facebook and Google Duopoly, Shahzad Abbas, APRIL 14, 2015

According to Net Market Share the global marketing share percentage, in terms of the use of Search Engines heavily favoured Google throughout 2017 – averaging a net share of 74.54%. Search Engine Statistics 2018

In 2008 the United States Department of Justice came very close to filing an antitrust suit against Google:

In April 2008, the $157 billion company [Google] announced plans to pair up with Yahoo! Inc. in an agreement that would have allowed Yahoo to use Google to sell advertising on its own pages; Yahoo currently uses its own platform to do so.

But the Department of Justice wasn’t so keen on the proposed plan and notified Google that it would be slapped with an antitrust suit if it went ahead with the Yahoo agreement; just three hours before the DOJ was planning on filing suit, the deal was dropped. Is Google a Monopoly?, legalzoom

Wikipedia also defines a public utility as:

“Public utility. A public utility (usually just utility) is an organization that maintains the infrastructure for a public service (often also providing a service using that infrastructure). Public utilities are subject to forms of public control and regulation ranging from local community-based groups to statewide government monopolies.” Public Utility, Wikipedia

Should we see Google as a monopoly on what is properly seen as a public utility, a public information utility? Should the U.S. government prosecute Google under the Sherman Antitrust Act?

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