Friday, June 09, 2006

Cooper Caves to AT&T

The signs of U.S. Representative Jim Cooper's looming abdication to telecommunications corporate interests were all over the letter from him that I posted on Enclave a while back. Yesterday he joined 200 Republicans and 100 Democrats to vote with the lobbyists representing AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast for a telecommunications bill that allows the corporate net providers to determine which websites open easily on our computers based on whether they pay AT&T, Verizon, and Comcast more money. The Telecoms seem to have Mr. Cooper in their pockets; meanwhile, self-professed progressive, and former Nashville Scene--you know, that publication which claims to "root for Everyman"--reporter John Spragens has joined the Cooper re-election campaign. I wonder what he would write about that vote if he were still acting as the champion of liberal causes at the Scene? At one time Spragens via the Scene was quite willing to co-lecture Everyman about stomping their trash for the sake of the environment; did he try hard enough to encourage his new boss, Cooper, to stomp out corporate influence on his voting record? Or does money simply matter most?

Let us hope that the U.S. Senate turns corporate constriction around. If not, you better enjoy the wide latitude of net neutrality in the short remaining time that you have it. In the brave, new future--when big business beats small business to display on your computer--we may be talking wistfully about the days before privatization of the public bandwidth, and we'll all have blue dog Democrats like Jim Cooper to thank for acting to cause us to wax nostalgic about the past rather than to enjoy our internet accessibility of the present.

HT: Ginny Welsch

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