EXPOSED: The Corrupt Trump Republican FCC: Puppets of Verizon and AT&T.
PART 1: The FCC: The New Toxic Dump
As I sit here remembering that famous Trump line — that he was going to drain the swamp — all I can do is smell the stench from the toxic waste dump that has formed, especially at the FCC. The FCC is now just a captured government agency by the puppet masters, the corporations that took over America’s communications agenda — AT&T, Verizon and the cable companies — and they have their associations — NCTA, CTIA, USTelecom, and, of course, ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, doing much of the dirty work.
You know that your phone bills are unreadable and watched the prices continue to rise because there is no competition, while you wonder how do they get away with adding those made up fees or can claim that service is ‘unlimited’ when they can cap the amount of broadband you use, then slice your speed to a crawl. And somehow they can say anything about something called “wireless 5G”, which doesn’t work as advertised, or that it isn’t available where you are. We now know that AT&T and Verizon are responsible for creating the Digital Divide while they got away with charging you and almost all Americans thousands of dollars extra each for a fiber optic future we did not get. From going after Net Neutrality regulations or limiting your privacy online, to letting companies track you, then even letting them sell this information — these bad acts are on steroids — and will continue to get worse. It’s always been trending towards a total capture of this government agency, but now we have reached new heights of hubris.
That famous line, “I’ve seen it all”, is actually appropriate here. We were on the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee during the previous Republican controlled FCC in 2003, and we have filed comments and complaints for decades. But now it’s just worse. I’m going to focus on the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee (CAC), a Rogue’s Gallery with many of the members bought and paid by AT&T et al., but first a bit of the landscape and my background on this.
This FCC Is the Epitome of Regulatory Capture and Disaster Capitalism
In 2020, the Republican Chairman of the FCC, Ajit Pai, is a former Verizon attorney, who joked that he’s not a shill; The second Republican Commissioner Brendan Carr was Verizon’s attorney in 2007, helping to remove obligations to supply basic financial reports, and was the lawyer for the CTIA, the wireless association, funded mainly by AT&T and Verizon, who sued the City of San Francisco over wireless issues. As we pointed out: Brendan Carr omitted critical facts in his testimony to Congress: he worked for AT&T, Verizon, et al.
And, in 2017, I wrote “FCC Commissioner Tells ALEC to Help Squash Net Neutrality”
“The 3rd Republican FCC Commissioner, Michael O’Rielly, spoke at ALEC’s (American Legislative Exchange Council) Communications & Technology Task Force and called on the group to take actions to help the FCC take down net neutrality and the speech is listed as business as usual at the FCC — we know that the FCC is captured.”
I’ll get ALEC in PART II.
Also in 2017, I pointed out that there was this attack on the public interest by this FCC and posted this:
“Here is just a partial list of current proposed and already decided FCC goals:
- Shut down Net Neutrality (and remove Title II)
- Shut off the copper utility networks (and not upgrade America).
- Remove all regulations and obligations to offer service.
- Erase the accounting rules.
- Get rid of most privacy rules.
- Kill off competition and deregulate Business Data Services.
- Lie about 5G wireless services, over and over.
- Preempt state law of anything that gets in the way of the above.
By August 2020, we have the FCC suing California to block the state net neutrality law, while the FCC passed rules about ‘5G’ that block cities from dealing with small cell sites and the costs of poles. Moreover, this FCC is pushing 5G because there is a subplot: the plan actually calls for the removal of all regulations and obligations on the wires and make the public utilities private property for personal use — and because AT&T and Verizon make a lot more money; it has nothing to do with better serving you or your community.
Isn’t the Republican party supposed to be for and protect “States’ rights” and that “Big Government is wrong”?
I also pointed in 2020 the FCC’s Wireless 5G Conflicts-of-Interest & the Ligado Deal.
On top of that, in 2019, I wrote “How William P. Barr and Verizon Harmed Broadband & Created Net Neutrality” questioning how the former senior lawyer who created Verizon was chosen to be America’s attorney general, even though he fought to close the networks to competition as well as create the issues that are now called “Net Neutrality”.
“ I have been wondering why Congress never examined the details of what William P. Barr worked on and was responsible for, first at GTE, and then at Verizon, (which was created through the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic). Unfortunately, larger proved not to be better as there were a series of customer unfriendly, well, downright harmful actions committed under the legal guidance of William P. Barr.”
The difference between the Republicans and Democrats is: the Dems will smile, pat you on the back and claim they are doing this for ‘the public’, then they screw you and the public. The Republicans don’t care — Screw the customer; let the companies do what they want, as long as they pay us.
The previous Democrat FCC and those who claim that the Democrats are better? — get over yourself.
I wrote about a bill to deploy 5G in CA, California Wireless Legislation: Paid for by AT&T Et Al.
“Here is a picture of the main sponsor, Democrat State Senator Ben Hueso, holding a check for $25,000 that is from AT&T and it goes to a group in his district, San Diego, California.
Money talks and so what if it’s from the company that failed to properly upgrade San Diego over the decades but charged everyone thousands of dollars.
Worse, the FCC, under the former president of the CTIA wireless association, Tom Wheeler, proved just how ‘righteous’ the Democrat FCC was when they blocked my ability to examine basic financial data — after I had signed a letter of non-disclosure — I was proven guilty without a trial in the court of public opinion after AT&T and Verizon filed to block my access.
“It isn’t every day that AT&T mentions my name in an official ‘objection’ that requests that I be prohibited from seeing the ‘special access’ data recently compiled by the FCC. What’s AT&T hiding?… was my first thought when I received this letter. Click to Read AT&T’s Objection Letter.
Ironically, after Verizon bought Huffington Post, I was no longer invited to write for the publication.
Bottom Line: Dump Trump and his Corrupt FCC:
In the end, this Republican FCC and this president, and with these corporations, are going to do more harm to the American public and so, when asked, based on their track record, it is time to dump Trump and this FCC because, once the dust clears, we all need to take a deep breath and start cleaning house.
FCC (Corrupted) Consumer Advisory Committee
Let me start with the stench from the front row seats. We were on the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee in 2003–2004 as a group called Teletruth, (now dormant but some are part of the IRREGULATORS) and we had and have forensic telecommunications auditors who deal with billing issues — — all bills, including Verizon. We had filed about the issue of rising phone charges, unreadable phone bills and a basic failure of the ‘Truth-in-Billing’ rules since 1998, (when it was under Democrat control) and asked for the Committee to have a meeting. The meeting happened but we were not asked to speak or present; instead, the wireless association, CTIA, spoke. Now, Verizon was on the Committee at this time, as was a group of ‘astroturf’ non-profits and others who were getting large sums from what is now AT&T, Verizon and the cable companies — (and too many are still on the Committee or were just complacent, unfortunately).
As we noted, the Committee was captured so it would do nothing about consumers; it was about making sure nothing happened. Here are some of the working group docs, just to stress this point.
“However, because of all these industry players, everything is deadlocked or blocked — the phone companies would never examine their own phone bills.”
- Read how the competition subcommittee couldn’t even decide on the words “competitive” (doc.)
- Read why Truth-in-Billing couldn’t reach a “consensus” (doc.)
We even filed a complaint and outed these groups, February 3rd, 2005 — and somehow, we were not asked to return. But what is really troubling is it went downhill from there.
But, if you want sinister, READ THIS PLAN EXPOSING HOW THE PHONE COMPANIES MANIPULATED THE FCC USING CONSUMER GROUPS THEY FUNDED. This plan was on the FCC website but almost immediately was taken down. From 2000, (and still part of the Democrat FCC) it was used to raise everyone’s rates in America and estabish what is a series of slush funds, government subsidies that include Universal Service, High Cost funds, Connect America, Cost Recovery Charges… an endless flow of mostly unaudited government funding or made up fees and surcharges that, in the end, ended up on your wireless, cable, phone, broadband and internet services.
But, as you will read, it mentions how consumer groups were funded via AT&T et al.— and now, 20 years later, they are still currently on the FCC Consumer Advisory Committee.
PART 2: FAST FORWARD 2020: The FCC Consumer Advisory Committee: Stench from the Front Row Got Worse.