The ability to manage inflation and prevent deflation is one of the primary advantages of fiat currencies vs. something like gold standard currencies. It is also true that in the hands of foolish or corrupt politicians fiat currencies can be greatly misused. Saying that deflation enriches the wealthy is an over simplification. The truth is that the wealthy are enriched by both deflation and inflation. Not because that is an inherent principal of either but because the wealthy are almost always in a better position to balance their assets based upon economic conditions. For example in a deflationary period the value of money goes up. The result is that debt becomes more expensive, commodities lose value, land looses value, stocks loose value and cash gains value. So the wealthy dump commodities, dump land, pay off debts and horde cash and they benefit. The average person can't just dump their mortgage, their car loan, their credit card payments or their house. During an inflationary period debt becomes cheaper, commodities gain value, things like stocks and land tend to revalue with the market. Cash and near cash assets tend to lose value. So the wealthy move out of cash positions into the asset classes that do well in an inflationary period. The average person can continue to repay their debts with devalued cash. They can take whatever spare cash they have and put into mutual funds vs. holding it in the bank etc. Their house will tend to gain in value as inflation occurs. The rich are able to benefit either way because they have the liquidity to reposition their assets and the knowledge on how to do it. The changes needed for an inflationary period are much more accessible to the general public. So it isn't so much that deflation enriches the wealthy so much as it impoverishes average person. Either way the rich are going to be richer at the end. The difference is how badly everyone else gets it.
It is pretty clear that many in the ruling elites redefine terms in ways that the general public doesn't understand. That to people like Feinstein "the country" in the line "for the good of the country" means the ruling elite not the general public. Which is a big part of why she can say having the NSA spy on everyone all the time is "for the good of the country" while at the same time going ape shit over the spying impacting herself and the other members of the elite is a catastrophe. The worst part about all of this is that in all likelihood she will be back wanting to spy on the rest of us again as soon as she isn't the target.
It might be interesting to compile a list of terms that politicians use that have radically different meaning to them than they do the public. The one that pops into my head right away is "middle class". Which seems to have different definitions to the general public, Republicans and Democrats.
My thinking was more along the lines of you enter your zip code and system gives you an all inclusive price including your local taxes. Rather than a large disclaimer.
AT&T got absorbed by Southwestern Bell Corporation (SBC) in 2005. Which is pretty much the worst of the baby bells split off from the original Bell System. They adopted the AT&T name, in part because theirs has a rather bad reputation, but the underlying company is SBC along with the bits of AT&T that they kept. So it is really SBC that is buying up everything not the company formerly known as AT&T.
My recollection of the old Ma Bell isn't as rosy as yours. You used to have to rent the telephone from them. You were not allowed to work on the phone wiring in your own home. I can remember being charged a non-trivial amount to have a phone line in my parents home repaired. Because it wasn't allowed for me to do it and unless you bought their in home wiring insurance policy you had to pay Ma Bell to come do it. Before the break up I can remember it costing something like $2 a minute to call my grandmother in Illinois from Virginia. My dad used to stand there while we talked and time the call because he could only afford so much time per month. Before the break up my father wanted a new phone Ma Bell quoted him over $200. We didn't get it because it was so costly. A couple of years later after the break up that exact phone was sold under the AT&T brand name for $19.99.
The break up may have allowed many questionable practices but it also brought costs for the average person way down. The worst practices seem to be more related to the industry consolidating than to the initial breakup.
Generally the answer is that the fees in question are something being collected for a third party. Usually the Government. Taking a quick look at my mobile bill, this is in the US, for this month I see five fees. Communications Sales Tax, State & Local Sales Tax, Federal Universal Service Fund, Regulatory Surcharge and State 911 Fee. All of which are taxes. So in my view it is just like how you buy a bunch of stuff at the store and have to keep track of the sales tax that they are going to tack on at the counter. It would make life much easier if they forced the mobile providers to quote the prices inclusive of the taxes.
Are you sure it is just the students?
One of my professors in college told me that when he was a graduate student one of his professors got arrested. The guy and a group of his grad students had been cooking up significant amounts of drugs in one of the schools labs after hours. They were using them to throw big drug parties. According to my professor the primary goal of the whole operation was to help them pickup members of a certain sorority that liked to attend the parties. One of the students involved got arrested which lead back to the professor and brought the whole thing down.
Judging by the target audience my guess is they are afraid of a lot more subtle tampering techniques than using a dremel. I would fully expect that a professional, of the types they are worried about, could disassemble your phone modify it it and reassemble it without your being the wiser. Which is why they want it to be impossible, or at least exceedingly difficult, to hide tampering and want it to self destruct.
For the rest of us it has proved absolutely nothing. For the record label it proves that you should figure out who you are suing and whether you have a case before you do it. Did it not occur to them that perhaps "one of the world's most famous copyright attorneys" might know a few things about what he can and cannot do? For that matter even if they thought they had a strong case I'd be leery of suing a guy like that over something in his area of expertise. If for no other reason than it probably means he can keep you in court for the next 50 years for little to no expense on his part while it bleeds you dry. This isn't like threatening some teenager with no resources because he has your song playing in the background of his video.
Actually I completely agree with your assessment of her behavior. It maybe what lead the people involved to select her as their target. After all you have a bar full of people you might steel from but one of those people actively offends you. Suddenly that person is #1 on the list of who we rob tonight. I don't have a terribly large amount of sympathy for her. She created this situation and made herself a target.
Of course it could be that the person offended by her behavior and Google glass was just a convenient distraction. Allowing some unrelated third party to commit the theft.
Assuming you are in any condition to use the device even if does survive the experience.
I read this article and my reaction is I doubt this was about Google glass at all. At least beyond it marking her as somebody with money. It sounds to me like a group in a bar saw an easy mark. They approached her and started a confrontation over the Google glass, got her to pursue the guy who took it but just happened to give it back after distracting her for a bit. While she is gone an accomplice robs her blind. Everyone is gone and she has no proof of anything beyond the confrontation. Assuming she even has that. Sounds to me like she was setup and played.
I wouldn't have an issue with them refusing move off of their existing infrastructure if they were willing to allow competition. Instead what they do is cut deals with the government, manipulate regulators and lobby the legislatures to make sure no new players come into the market. So in essence they are using their political clout to smother any real competition.
In my area we have two options for broad band Internet access. One is Comcast and the other is Verizon FIOS. They both offer pretty much the exact same services at pretty much the exact same cost. They both tend to increase network speeds within a few months of each other and when they do their pricing structure tends to move in exactly the same way. I priced it out recently and other than their "new subscriber" deals the two services are within $10 of each other pretty much no matter what service you price out. In fact their pricing and services are so similar I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that there isn't some form of collusion going on. We are never going to get faster, better or cheaper service as long as that state of affairs is allowed to persist. I don't think government is the answer here considering government is the primary mechanism they are using to enforce the current situation.
I agree that any attempt he makes to move to a secret address is pointless.
My guess is that there are a couple of things that really protect him. One is that in addition to being irritating his reporting is also probably useful to the people he reports on. So there is always a calculation that if we do Krebs in we shut him up but we also lose a source of information. Another is that as part of his reporting he deals with a lot of people and touches a lot of data. It is very likely that in his notes and materials are a lot of things that would be incriminating to quite a few people. If something where to happen to him all of that stuff would very likely end up in the hands of law enforcement. Not because he does anything to make that happen but because it would all be evidence in a murder investigation. I suspect the idea of all of that information being seized by law enforcement isn't something that they'd want to see.
From the article it states that the banks here had to find a way to make chip and pin work while still complying with "the Durbin amendment" that required all credit card transactions be able to work on at least two networks. So if the article is be believed one of the major hold ups was due to the US government adding requirements. Requirements that just don't apply in these other countries.
The other possibility is that somebody made the determination that substituting a cheaper speaker lets the shave a little off the cost of the laptop. Profit margins in the laptop business are razor thin now. I fully expect that if they can squeeze another nickle in profit by cutting the corner they'll do it.
I am curious how wide spread this trend of trying to deny warranty coverage based on software load is? I know a friend of mine made inquires about getting Win7 for a laptop he bought with Win8 on it. He was told by the support department of the manufacturer that if he did that it would void his warranty and they wouldn't cover any of the hardware. I thought that was the strangest thing I had ever heard but now I am starting to wonder based upon this. In his case my suggestion was get another hard drive and put whatever you want on it and then if you need warranty service put the original hard drive with their image back in. Followed by don't buy that brand again.
I find it hard to believe that the government of NZ is subjecting itself to ridicule, expense and possibly legal jeopardy to protest the actions of the US. They have diplomats to protest whatever they want to the highest levels of the US government anytime they like. No, I'd guess that they really are just that incompetent. That US, entertainment industry, pressure and bribes caused them to ride rough over NZ's laws. With their actions starting to come out into the open and be seen by the NZ public they are working to mitigate the damage and or cover it up. Whether that effort will work remains to be seen.
Whatever happens here I think the significance of Kim Dotcom's case is that it shows how these intelligence agencies are actively being abused by governments. You can bet that this isn't the only case that sort of thing is being done. This is just the one where they got caught.