Opinion | In a House subcommittee’s report, a strong step toward an antitrust revival

The subcommittee revived a key function of Congress: the power to investigate, report and set the stage for legislation. The report itself may become a keystone in a long-overdue dawning of progressive tech reforms.

Since the mid-1970s, Congress has celebrated the rise of new technology and tech businesses. Both political parties, for different reasons, dismissed antitrust concerns as a relic of a bygone age. For Democrats, globalization and technology seemed to guarantee competition. When antitrust was excised from the party platform in 1992, it had been there since the Gilded Age. For Republicans, markets cured themselves; antitrust was simply another form of regulatory abuse.

Into the vacuum between these positions came the rapacious Big Four. The subcommittee report details how they came to operate at unprecedented scale and reach. The companies’ combined valuation is more than $5 trillion. Add in Microsoft ($1.5 trillion) and Tesla ($275 billion), and the collective value is nearly equal to that of the NASDAQ 100.

The Big Four have enormous influence given their hold on communications infrastructure (Facebook, Google), e-commerce (Amazon), and start-ups and entrepreneurs (Apple). They directly compete with businesses that use their markets. The report tracked how they have gouged suppliers and imitated, acquired or eliminated competitors. It showed how their profits allow them to enter into new lines of business, where they repeat their predatory strategies.

As the subcommittee detailed, the Big Four have acquired hundreds of companies, often to eliminate potential competitors, in what are known as “killer acquisitions.” Meanwhile, antitrust regulators are underfunded — or possibly compromised by lobbying — and seldom are their powers exercised under antitrust laws to block mergers. Of nearly 100 Facebook acquisitions, the Federal Trade Commission extensively investigated only its 2012 purchase of Instagram (over which the FTC took no action).

When monopolies have unlimited power to buy up or kill off competitors, they turn perverse. History shows how, in a variety of sectors, monopolies led to prices going up, quality and innovation declining, and wages and working conditions worsening. Inevitably, concentrated economic power becomes a political issue. The Big Tech monopolies illustrate the cycle. They control more and more parts of society. They employ legions of lobbyists to consolidate their control. Big-money politics expands their influence. They have grown further during the pandemic, as more economic and social activity has moved online.

The subcommittee report includes recommendations for action, including divestment of different lines of business — such as forcing Facebook to split off Instagram and WhatsApp — and preventing platforms such as Amazon from giving preference to its own services or products. (Amazon founder and chief executive Jeff Bezos owns The Post.) It calls for increasing the budgets and authority of the Federal Trade Commission and the Justice Department Antitrust Division.

Although the subcommittee investigation proceeded with bipartisan support, that fell apart when it came to remedies. Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), the right-wing disrupter, assumed minority leadership of the subcommittee midway through the investigation and focused his attention on the canard that the

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Greek revival mansion has spiral staircase, formal kitchen, catering kitchen, custom floor

This Greek revival home is a replica of the antebellum D’Evereux Hall mansion in Natchez, Mississippi. The mansion features a spiral staircase, two kitchens, and custom cypress flooring throughout the 7,450 square foot home.

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Century-old trees, historic graves in gothic revival churchyard :: WRAL.com

— Tucked away in the small North Carolina town of Tarboro is an ethereal place that can only be described as a ‘secret garden.’

Enclosed in a gothic-style churchyard, the ground and graves alike are cloaked in ivy. Century-old trees, crooked with age, create a green dome that, in some places, blocks the sky.

The Calvary Episcopal Churchyard serves as a cemetery, but it is also one of the state’s most beautiful arboretums, with trees and plants from across the globe.

Calvary Episcopal Church in Tarboro has North Carolina's version of a ‘secret garden,’ enclosed in a gothic-style churchyard, cloaked in ivy, with century-old trees from across the globe.

The design of the churchyard and its original plantings are the work of Joseph Blount Cheshire, who served as rector of the church from 1842 to 1889 – meaning some of these trees could be around 150 years old.

Older still is the parish itself, which dates back to before the Revolutionary War and the founding of America itself – harboring records and stories from when the early North Carolina colonists first settled Tarboro in their search for religious freedom outside of England.

In short, there are very few places in the state that date back as far as the Calvary Parish.

Calvary Episcopal Church in Tarboro has North Carolina's version of a ‘secret garden,’ enclosed in a gothic-style churchyard, cloaked in ivy, with century-old trees from across the globe.

North Carolina churches before the Revolutionary War

According to their written history, “The establishment of Calvary Parish dates to 1742.”

During the 1700s and early 1800s, many NC churches met in “brush arbors,” which were essentially shelters surrounded in thick foliage with a wooden frame and perhaps a few benches.

Calvary Parish, however, met in a small wooden building near modern-day Chapel Springs, about eight miles away from present-day Tarboro.

During that time, George II was the King of England, and North Carolina was still an English colony, presided over by a royal governor.

The rector of the parish was named Rev. James Moir. “He reported directly to the Bishop of London,” according to the written history.

Calvary Episcopal Church in Tarboro has North Carolina's version of a ‘secret garden,’ enclosed in a gothic-style churchyard, cloaked in ivy, with century-old trees from across the globe.

The small wooden church was built in 1747, but by 1760 it had burned down, causing the small congregation to move into Tarborough – as it was then spelled.

After the American Revolution, however, the church’s methods of worship, which required a reigning British monarch, were considered treasonous. As a result, the parish changed its name and asked to form into an Episcopal congregation and be accepted into the union with the Diocese of North Carolina. Because of this, the church considers the date of its founding to be 1833, although it actually goes back much farther.

Construction on the building that stands today began in 1858.

Calvary Episcopal Church in Tarboro has North Carolina's version of a ‘secret garden,’ enclosed in a gothic-style churchyard, cloaked in ivy, with century-old trees from across the globe.

Creating a ‘secret garden’ and global arboretum

With many graveyards and cemeteries being wide open, the enclosed churchyard, encircled by antique walls, make it feel like a walk through an old English churchyard, rather than one in small-town North Carolina.

The gothic-revival style of the church building, with grand stained glass windows and gothic archways, creates an ethereal contract with the ancient trees and creeping ivy.

Calvary Episcopal Church in Tarboro has North Carolina's version of a ‘secret garden,’ enclosed in a gothic-style churchyard, cloaked in ivy, with century-old trees from across the globe.

Many of the graves date back to the 1800s, with intricate carvings and designs. The headstones themselves are each

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