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Thursday, June 09, 2005

Here's how the Republicans represent the common man
Posted by Jill | 1:14 PM

By screwing them over in favor of corporate profits whenever and wherever they can.

First we had Little Ricky "Man on Dog" Santorum exchanging a bill that would ban the National Weather Service from issuing forecasts for a $2000 campaign contribution. Now we have Texas (it's always Texas, isn't it?) rep. Pat Sessions introducing the Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act of 2005. This legislation, couched in typical Republican doublespeak, would bar municipalities from setting up free WiFi hotspots for its citizens and visitors to use and enjoy:

Texas Congressman has introduced a bill that impose a nationwide prohibition on municipally-sponsored networks.
Dubbed by the Author, Representative Pet Sessions (R-Texas), the Preserving Innovation in Telecom Act of 2005, the bill prohibits state and local governments from providing any telecommunications or information service that is "substantially similar" to services provided by private companies.

The bill, HR 2726, is similar to a host of state bills pushed by telecommunications companies aimed at fending off municipally-run wireless networks. Some of those bills, most recently one in Texas, have been stalled in state legislatures.

The telecommunications operators say that such networks represent unfair competition while municipalities claim that the services are needed to promote business and close the gap between digital haves and have-nots.

According to Sessions' on-line biography, he is a former employee of Southwestern Bell and Bell Labs. The bill will first be considered by the House Committee on Energy and Commerce.

Aside from this being yet another case of a so-called conservative, states' rights Republican asking for sweeping Federal oversight over what communities want to do, it's pretty obvious that these WiFi hotspots perform a valuable public service. But the fact that they don't contribute to corporate profits means that they are anathema to Republicans.

Profits Über Alles.
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