Tenn. Congresswoman Valiantly Protects ISPs from Evil Municipal Broadband

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Tenn. Congresswoman Valiantly Protects ISPs from Evil Municipal Broadband

Marsha Blackburn 310x

Rep. Marsha Blackburn says FCC will "preempt states' rights" if they intervene.

Cable companies rule the broadband access landscape, each with its own territory in any given area. Overlap is minimal, and that which does exist is getting harder and harder to find. Any competition that does crop up is limited, and has yet to achieve traction on a nationwide level.

The possible light at the end of the tunnel? Municipal broadband, or Internet connectivity infrastructure provided by the local government.

So why is Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) trying to burn muni broadband to the ground? Rep. Blackburn is leading a charge against such broadband infrastructure, and framing her contempt for government involvement as a states' rights issue.

As Ars Technica points out, some states are starting to adopt laws that make municipal broadband implementation very difficult, and the expansion of existing such networks equally painful. Why should the likes of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, who have such painless and quality customer service, have to compete with Anytown, USA?

When a locally-owned Tennessee electric utility said it file a petition with the FCC protesting The Volunteer State's new anti-muni broadband law -- and the FCC has stated that it could and would strike down anti-muni broadband laws in the past -- Blackburn came to the rescue, telling the Washington Fat Cats to take a hike (emphasis added).

"We don't need unelected federal agency bureaucrats in Washington telling our states what they can and can't do with respect to protecting their limited taxpayer dollars and private enterprises," said Rep. Blackburn during a recent Congress session. "As a former state senator from Tennessee, I strongly believe in states' rights. I found it deeply troubling that FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler has repeatedly stated that he intends to preempt states' rights when it comes to the role of state policy over municipal broadband."

Here's the rub, folks: The FCC isn't forcing municipal broadband on anyone. Not you, and not me. What they are trying to do -- while keeping their foot firmly planted in their mouth on the subject of net neutrality -- is keep the option open to any locally-owned utility or local government who wants to explore the concept.

Could a fierce defense of state rights be at the heart of Blackburn's protest? Sure, but it could also have just as much to do with her campaign contributions. Two of Rep. Blackburns top contributors in 2012 and 2014? Verizon Communications, and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. While the bulk of her campaign contributions come from individuals, she's raised over $190,000 from "TV/Movie/Music" companies in this election cycle, and the 2012 cycle.

Rep. Blackburn seems set on stopping the FCC from infringing on states rights, even if that means stifling the rights of towns, cities, and counties all across her own state.

Permalink

Republicans: supporting the free market with government imposed monopolies

So I imagine she's been okay with the telecom and cable companies pretty much writing state laws restricting and banning municipal broadband efforts. Letting the Feds dictate state law bad, but letting business dictate state law good! (After all, the corporations give you such nice cushy jobs after you do what they want.)

What is this doing in the news section? This is one of the most biased articles I have seen on this site. You know better than to do this Escapist news team...

epicdwarf:
What is this doing in the news section? This is one of the most biased articles I have seen on this site. You know better than to do this Escapist news team...

Well, sometimes when faced with the absolute slime of the earth, keeping your bias hidden is hard. It's like writing about African warlords or child prostitution ringleaders.

Ftaghn To You Too:

Well, sometimes when faced with the absolute slime of the earth, keeping your bias hidden is hard. It's like writing about African warlords or child prostitution ringleaders.

But we are not talking about warlords or human trafficking. This woman is simply a politician. While you may disagree with her political believes, it does not justify writing an article like this in most cases.

Maybe I'm tired.. but this article reads like nonsense to me. She is against municipal broadband and using states rights for her reasoning... and she will fight the FCC on it's intention to preempt states rights (not technically possible to preempt states rights, but ok, I'm with you). But then it all goes to hell when she is basically using that to show her support for the major cable/internet providers acting as if they need the government to strike down their enemies. She is against municipal broadband as an option so essentially Comcast/Time Warner don't have any competition. I mean, she mentioned small time providers but none by name. And no one is talking about them not being "allowed" to operate.

Now, I'm a pretty devout libertarian, I believe in the free market and people's right to choose. I do no believe that companies that use their resources to reduce the options for everyone, which is what a monopoly does. I do not believe in zero regulation at all, but I do not believe that government is supposed to do what it is currently doing in a lot of ways. Government serves a very particular roll, at least the US government(can't speak for any other as I do not know any other like I know the US Government). People are flawed. Our government is supposed to temper those flaws. It's not supposed to control them (IE Communist Russia). It's not supposed to let people do whatever they want (IE French Revolution). That is what our Justice System is about.

The FCC/Government is not supposed to let a few corporations control peoples lives or take away their choices. The FCC/Government is not supposed to squash the corporations and do it for themselves. It MUST be a reasonable combination of the two.

I am tired, that was a rant.

epicdwarf:

Ftaghn To You Too:

Well, sometimes when faced with the absolute slime of the earth, keeping your bias hidden is hard. It's like writing about African warlords or child prostitution ringleaders.

But we are not talking about warlords or human trafficking. This woman is simply a politician. While you may disagree with her political believes, it does not justify writing an article like this in most cases.

Given the nature of the discussion, I'd argue it's fair game for a company based around internet access to be rather vindictive with regards to an individual whom believes it's a good idea to put their company in jeopardy.

Devin Connors:
(Snip).

I don't think the bolding worked out right. At least, not on the other version of the article (6th paragraph). What do you call that one, by the way - is it the cover one?

Sorry, it's pretty early in the morning here. I need to have another look at this article later; my mind just can't seem to process it correctly at the moment.

So many open crooks in the government. It's a wonder someone hasn't massacred them instead of kids.

On the bright side, I heard you guys were slowly getting a thing through the states to get money out of politics, Wolf PAC, or something. Goodluck with that. God knows Australia's fucked for four years at least.

CpT_x_Killsteal:

On the bright side, I heard you guys were slowly getting a thing through the states to get money out of politics, Wolf PAC, or something. Goodluck with that. God knows Australia's fucked for four years at least.

HAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHA
AHAAHAHA.

No.
The most recent major development is that there's no upper limit on how much you can spend in politics. Plus now corporations can be religious, so, that's going to get weird when it comes to money soon.

Ninmecu:

Given the nature of the discussion, I'd argue it's fair game for a company based around internet access to be rather vindictive with regards to an individual whom believes it's a good idea to put their company in jeopardy.

Then why not just make an editorial? It does not make the company in question look extremely biased.

MCerberus:

CpT_x_Killsteal:

On the bright side, I heard you guys were slowly getting a thing through the states to get money out of politics, Wolf PAC, or something. Goodluck with that. God knows Australia's fucked for four years at least.

HAHAHAHAHAHA
HAHAHAHA
AHAAHAHA.

No.
The most recent major development is that there's no upper limit on how much you can spend in politics. Plus now corporations can be religious, so, that's going to get weird when it comes to money soon.

Well at least we can be Hellmates.

epicdwarf:

Ninmecu:

Given the nature of the discussion, I'd argue it's fair game for a company based around internet access to be rather vindictive with regards to an individual whom believes it's a good idea to put their company in jeopardy.

Then why not just make an editorial? It does not make the company in question look extremely biased.

I didn't realize "Government corruption is bad" counted as "Bias".

CpT_x_Killsteal:

epicdwarf:

Ninmecu:

Given the nature of the discussion, I'd argue it's fair game for a company based around internet access to be rather vindictive with regards to an individual whom believes it's a good idea to put their company in jeopardy.

Then why not just make an editorial? It does not make the company in question look extremely biased.

I didn't realize "Government corruption is bad" counted as "Bias".

Given the slant, it does seem a bit biased. That being said, as I pointed out earlier, I feel it's within The Escapist's rights to feel that way. It's less a lack of journalistic integrity and more of a "These are the kinds of people in charge. Fear for your future puny mortals." type of thing, at least, from my perspective.

CpT_x_Killsteal:

I didn't realize "Government corruption is bad" counted as "Bias".

This article is not really about Government corruption. If it was an article on Government corruption, it would just focus on her questionable funding. This article is about how she DARE support a cause that the author does not agree with.

epicdwarf:

CpT_x_Killsteal:

I didn't realize "Government corruption is bad" counted as "Bias".

This article is not really about Government corruption. If it was an article on Government corruption, it would just focus on her questionable funding. This article is about how she DARE support a cause that the author does not agree with.

Pretty sure it is about government corruption. Because that's what the author is talking about. Yes Devin paints this tool in a bad light, but I don't see any other way to honestly report the story without omitting or ignoring the facts that make her a horrendous bitch.

CpT_x_Killsteal:

Pretty sure it is about government corruption. Because that's what the author is talking about. Yes Devin paints this tool in a bad light, but I don't see any other way to honestly report the story without omitting or ignoring the facts that make her a horrendous bitch.

About 90% of the article is dedicated to her opinion. Also, you could just report the facts instead of making an extremely biased article.

epicdwarf:

CpT_x_Killsteal:

Pretty sure it is about government corruption. Because that's what the author is talking about. Yes Devin paints this tool in a bad light, but I don't see any other way to honestly report the story without omitting or ignoring the facts that make her a horrendous bitch.

About 90% of the article is dedicated to her opinion. Also, you could just report the facts instead of making an extremely biased article.

Hang on, which part is opinion and which is fact. She's talking out her arse when it comes to state rights, she's in the pocket of telecom companies, the FCC isn't forcing shit on anyone, just giving them options.

So what part is the opinion? That the above facts are bad news?

CpT_x_Killsteal:

Hang on, which part is opinion and which is fact. She's talking out her arse when it comes to state rights, she's in the pocket of telecom companies, the FCC isn't forcing shit on anyone, just giving them options.

So what part is the opinion? That the above facts are bad news?

The parts involving the author shaming her for going against Municipal Broadband are opinion. The only real news story that could be reported on is her questionable funding. Other than that, this article is just "this lady is against something I like and thats bad."

epicdwarf:

CpT_x_Killsteal:

Hang on, which part is opinion and which is fact. She's talking out her arse when it comes to state rights, she's in the pocket of telecom companies, the FCC isn't forcing shit on anyone, just giving them options.

So what part is the opinion? That the above facts are bad news?

The parts involving the author shaming her for going against Municipal Broadband are opinion. The only real news story that could be reported on is her questionable funding. Other than that, this article is just "this lady is against something I like and thats bad."

Err, pretty sure a corrupt politician going against something that gives people choice and freedom in favour of doing what her corporate masters tell her to, is inherently bad. There's nothing wrong about calling it out.

It's like saying "She's a rapist, but you shouldn't shame her for doing something you don't like." There are ideas that are inherently bad, such as government corruption.

Barbas:

Devin Connors:
(Snip).

I don't think the bolding worked out right.

I used the wrong HTML tag on the end of what I wanted to bolded. Fixed!
-Devin

epicdwarf:

Ninmecu:

Given the nature of the discussion, I'd argue it's fair game for a company based around internet access to be rather vindictive with regards to an individual whom believes it's a good idea to put their company in jeopardy.

Then why not just make an editorial? It does not make the company in question look extremely biased.

I don't think the Escapist understands what an Editorial verses a News Article actually is. This website does not have paragons of journalism, just a few decent writers (not journalists) and uplifted bloggers.

I mean I'd agree with the writer on the situation being kind of fucked up, but this is a pretty disgraceful news piece.

A note to the readers,

Of course this story has bias in it. She is arguing against municipal broadband on states' rights platform. There's nothing wrong with being pro-state government while wanting a smaller federal government, but not when you are diluting the rights of other local powers.

So far, the vast majority of municipal broadband projects have been on a town or city scale. Why should a state be able to tell a city or town how to spend its money, if the the state doesn't want the federal government to do the same?

Even worse, the federal government isn't even telling states how to spend money on muni broadband projects -- it just wants to fight to keep the option open.

These are my problems, distilled, and that's why I wrote this leaning news article.

-Devin Connors
Tech Editor, Muni Broadband Lover

CpT_x_Killsteal:

Err, pretty sure a corrupt politician going against something that gives people choice and freedom in favour of doing what her corporate masters tell her to, is inherently bad. There's nothing wrong about calling it out.

It's like saying "She's a rapist, but you shouldn't shame her for doing something you don't like." There are ideas that are inherently bad, such as government corruption.

This is not a rape case, it is politics.

Whether municipal broadband is good or not is opinion.
Whether she is acting on her own or doing this for the money is opinion.
Whether is is all just corruption or a state rights issue is opinion.

It is not the author's job to report his/her opinion on a subject. It is to give us the facts and have us decide for ourselves.

Devin Connors:
A note to the readers,

Of course this story has bias in it. She is arguing against municipal broadband on states' rights platform. There's nothing wrong with being pro-state government while wanting a smaller federal government, but not when you are diluting the rights of other local powers.

So far, the vast majority of municipal broadband projects have been on a town or city scale. Why should a state be able to tell a city or town how to spend its money, if the the state doesn't want the federal government to do the same?

Even worse, the federal government isn't even telling states how to spend money on muni broadband projects -- it just wants to fight to keep the option open.

These are my problems, distilled, and that's why I wrote this leaning news article.

-Devin Connors
Tech Editor, Muni Broadband Lover

News Article is a stretch. Emotionally charged editorial, with perhaps something a lot of readers here would likely agree with, but I wouldn't say it was a straight up news article.

I think that this whole argument has happened before; in the form of telephone service in the early days of that medium. When telephone began rural customers would be lucky to have access to private lines and even party lines were not reliable or guaranteed. Established private companies refused to provide adequate service to many markets if they were viewed as not profitable. Once telephone started to be viewed as necessary for emergency response and other concerns a mandate ensuring telephone service was enacted.

Telephone companies at the time lobbied heavily to prevent the law from being passed (and still do to repeal it). However, I think that as more services shift to internet-enabled (such as healthcare or tax filing) internet access will become viewed as essential and universal service should again be legislated.

epicdwarf:

CpT_x_Killsteal:

Err, pretty sure a corrupt politician going against something that gives people choice and freedom in favour of doing what her corporate masters tell her to, is inherently bad. There's nothing wrong about calling it out.

It's like saying "She's a rapist, but you shouldn't shame her for doing something you don't like." There are ideas that are inherently bad, such as government corruption.

This is not a rape case, it is politics.

Whether municipal broadband is good or not is opinion.
Whether she is acting on her own or doing this for the money is opinion.
Whether is is all just corruption or a state rights issue is opinion.

It is not the author's job to report his/her opinion on a subject. It is to give us the facts and have us decide for ourselves.

I wasn't making the point that it's a rape case. I was making the point that some things are inherently BAD, i.e. rape. i.e. corruption. Way to miss the point.

We'd all love a good honest debate about municipal broadband, but that's not gonna happen because she's in someone's pocket (and trying to step on the neck of the debate so it can't ever happen in her state).
There is nothing to indicate she is doing this on her own, and everything to indicate she's in their pocket. Statements that make no sense, in the support of stopping something dead that could threaten the profit of a cable company that's been making very generous """donations""" to her. I think it's pretty conclusive what the FACTS of the situation are.

The author has given the facts. Just because they point to this woman being a tool doesn't make them biased.

Devin Connors:
A note to the readers,

Of course this story has bias in it. She is arguing against municipal broadband on states' rights platform. There's nothing wrong with being pro-state government while wanting a smaller federal government, but not when you are diluting the rights of other local powers.

So far, the vast majority of municipal broadband projects have been on a town or city scale. Why should a state be able to tell a city or town how to spend its money, if the the state doesn't want the federal government to do the same?

Even worse, the federal government isn't even telling states how to spend money on muni broadband projects -- it just wants to fight to keep the option open.

These are my problems, distilled, and that's why I wrote this leaning news article.

-Devin Connors
Tech Editor, Muni Broadband Lover

Even though I personally agree with you, I'm really troubled by the term 'leaning news article'.

If you're going to make a case for one interpretation of an event over another, then call it what it is: an editorial. Otherwise, just present the facts. "Leaning news article" is or should be oxymoronical.

There is no such thing as states rights. Supremacy clause means federal government gets the final say.

Every time states rights is argued is to say "fuck you" to government regulation and common sense to stay in the dark ages.

Gay marriage. Civil Rights. Women's rights. Common sense laws. Slavery. You name it, and people used states rights to justify their bigotry or corruption.

They should just call states rights what it is: "I can't handle progress, I want my 1950s back."

CpT_x_Killsteal:

I wasn't making the point that it's a rape case. I was making the point that some things are inherently BAD, i.e. rape. i.e. corruption. Way to miss the point.

We'd all love a good honest debate about municipal broadband, but that's not gonna happen because she's in someone's pocket (and trying to step on the neck of the debate so it can't ever happen in her state).
There is nothing to indicate she is doing this on her own, and everything to indicate she's in their pocket. Statements that make no sense, in the support of stopping something dead that could threaten the profit of a cable company that's been making very generous """donations""" to her. I think it's pretty conclusive what the FACTS of the situation are.

The author has given the facts. Just because they point to this woman being a tool doesn't make them biased.

Again, that is all opinion. There is no solid evidence that she is doing this on her own or doing this for the money. The problem here is not that the facts make her look bad, it is that the author interjected his/her opinion into it.

BTW: Sorry for the confusion on opening statement on my last comment. What I was saying is that rape and politics are two completely different things.

no such thing as state rights. Federal government has final say in everything it wants. states are only able to do what they do because federal government allows them to do it. and they allow them far too much as it is.

epicdwarf:

Ftaghn To You Too:

Well, sometimes when faced with the absolute slime of the earth, keeping your bias hidden is hard. It's like writing about African warlords or child prostitution ringleaders.

But we are not talking about warlords or human trafficking. This woman is simply a politician. While you may disagree with her political believes, it does not justify writing an article like this in most cases.

yes, we are talking about something far worse - internet monopoly.

CpT_x_Killsteal:
So many open crooks in the government. It's a wonder someone hasn't massacred them instead of kids.

its harder to kill a politician than a teacher.

I love how she's doing the exact opposite of what she's claiming to do, and trying to spin it as a good thing...

epicdwarf:

CpT_x_Killsteal:

I wasn't making the point that it's a rape case. I was making the point that some things are inherently BAD, i.e. rape. i.e. corruption. Way to miss the point.

We'd all love a good honest debate about municipal broadband, but that's not gonna happen because she's in someone's pocket (and trying to step on the neck of the debate so it can't ever happen in her state).
There is nothing to indicate she is doing this on her own, and everything to indicate she's in their pocket. Statements that make no sense, in the support of stopping something dead that could threaten the profit of a cable company that's been making very generous """donations""" to her. I think it's pretty conclusive what the FACTS of the situation are.

The author has given the facts. Just because they point to this woman being a tool doesn't make them biased.

Again, that is all opinion. There is no solid evidence that she is doing this on her own or doing this for the money. The problem here is not that the facts make her look bad, it is that the author interjected his/her opinion into it.

The Author hasn't outright said "She's corrupt and working for cable companies". He's quoted her, said that the FCC has no intention of impinging on state rights, only giving them the option, and shown how much she is given in "donations" by cable companies. I don't know what part of this is "opinion". Please quote it for me.

BTW: Sorry for the confusion on opening statement on my last comment. What I was saying is that rape and politics are two completely different things.

No worries.

My first ever double post! I'm so excited.

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