Bells give net neutrality the McCain two-step

For over a century the Bells have been masters of the bureaucratic game.Their failure in the Bell break-up, which delivered huge profits to investors, only taught them to fight harder.

For over a century the Bells have been masters of the bureaucratic game.

Their failure in the Bell break-up, which delivered huge profits to investors, only taught them to fight harder. So after putting themselves together like the broom in "The Sorcerer's Apprentice," of course they're going to fight net neutrality like their lives depend on it.

Despite a unanimous FCC vote to start writing net neutrality rules, then, don't expect an easy victory.

Democrats passed an actual law to rein-in the Bells in 1996, but the Bells finally won that battle, and $200 billion spent to upgrade America's broadband went instead into Bell pockets. A unanimous FCC looks small by comparison.

Here's how the two-step works. If the regulators say no you go to Congress. If Congress says no you go to the courts. If the courts say no you go to the states. If the states say no you go to the regulators.(Gee, golly, Officer Krupke.)

Meanwhile you hire every lobbyist you can, create every Astroturf organization you can so it appears your self-interest is the public interest, and contribute heavily to any politician, on any level, who will toe the company line.

Take John McCain (above). He says it's all "mavericky" to stop net neutrality in Congress. Nothing mavericky going on at all.

McCain was one of five Senators who voted against the 1996 Telecommunications Act, and chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee in 2003-04, when the Bells were consolidating into two companies owning local, long distance, core Internet, and wireless duopolies nationwide. What he called "deregulation" was, and is, monopoly.

As with maverick, deregulation is a brand. It's just the name of the ranch. The cow's still going to the slaughterhouse, not Wyoming.

This is actually a bipartisan rant. There are plenty of Democrats, at all levels, bought and paid for by the Bells. Do not listen to what politicians say. Watch what they do and follow the money.

Any form of net neutrality, wireless or wireline, remains an uphill battle.

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