Wednesday, February 02, 2005

The Sky is Green and The Grass is Blue

Dolly Parton sings a song that tells her man the only way she can get over him is to “pretend that the opposite is true.” She says that mountains are low and valleys are high and rivers flow backward. It’s the “looking glass” approach to life that helps heal her poor broken heart.

That’s an old tactic frequently used by advocacy groups. Call it something it’s not and eventually people will come to believe it is what you call it. The “Progress and Freedom Foundation” is just the latest example of this linguistic sleight of hand.

Who doesn’t want “progress and freedom?”

Think about it. You’re a Congressman from Kansas and you get invited to speak at the “Progress and Freedom” luncheon, why of course you accept, you’re all for progress and you’re certainly for freedom. Besides it’ll look pretty cool on your resume and maybe you’ll get some good press out of it.

In their description of mission, PFF states:

“We believe that the technological change embodied in the digital revolution has created tremendous opportunities for enhanced individual liberty…”

Great! That’s what I believe too!

And then they go on:

“Government has important roles to play in society, including protecting property rights and individual liberties, but its tendency is to reach beyond its legitimate functions in ways that harm consumers, burden citizens and slow progress.”

They further brag that they have managed to bring together brilliant thinkers from five previous administrations to work on rewriting the Telecommunications Act in ways that will promote “Progress and Freedom.” These intellectual giants will lead the “battle for true deregulation of communications markets, including immediate deregulation of broadband services, and forbearance from regulation of wireless communications and the Internet.”

In other words “Get out of our way, local government! You’re impeding progress and freedom!”

Jeff Chester, Center for Digital Democracy, dug up a list of the financial contributors to PFF, it reads like a who’s who of the telecom and electric industries and it includes: BellSouth, Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association, Cisco Systems, Inc., Comcast Corporation, EchoStar Communications Corporation, Edison Electric Institute, FirstEnergy, Florida Power & Light, Level 3 Communications, National Cable & Telecommunications Association, Nextel Communications, Progress Energy, Qwest Communications, SBC Communications, Sprint, Time Warner, United States Telecom Association, Verizon Communications, Western Wireless, Winstar, Xcel Energy.

The list is actually longer but I got worn out reading it.

Thank God these Einsteins of deregulation have formed this fabulous coalition because they are committed to “explaining the need for lower taxes on telecommunications services, a tax moratorium for Internet commerce and privatization of government-run cable TV and telephone companies.”

I was getting worried there for a minute because I know I am way too stupid to figure this stuff out on my own. My anxiety has been completely eliminated because the “Progress and Freedom Foundation” has come to my rescue!

Yep, Dolly was right, you can pretend the opposite is true and go through life living (or even telling) lies in order to make yourself feel better and get your deregulation goals achieved. And at the end of the day, the only ones who’ll end up with broken hearts will be consumers. But hey, the sky is green!

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