Home > Life, Politics, Uncategorized > Spectrum Exhaust or AT&T and the Unions

Spectrum Exhaust or AT&T and the Unions

I can’t fault AT&T for trying to buy or T-mobile for wanting to sell because by now we have to know that big business only aim to make money for themselves. Unless coerced by regulators or by profit, big businesses don’t make moves to benefit consumers or improve the economy.

I spent a little more time browsing the article a link had taken me to. While skimming it, I read part of an AT&T press release that said they hope the merger will help fix the nation’s “spectrum exhaust” problem. Our what now? Google “spectrum exhaust” and see if you can find anything that has to with telecommunications that isn’t quoting AT&T’s press release. I got all the way to the bottom and found the dreaded comments section. I asked myself whether or not I wanted to see some Tea Party troll rail against the government’s decision with the kind of passion only a black President can inspire. I did and was happy to see that 10 out of 11 of the responses to her post were negative, but one of the comments led me to type the words “unions” and “AT&T” into my google search engine. I thought that unions would oppose this merger based on the rhetoric of  Tea Party members. I thought wrong.  Googling those two words makes it clear that the unions  favor this merger heavily for a variety of reasons, none of which have to do with creating more jobs for everybody or protecting any jobs other than their own. Union employee receive better compensation for the same work done by non-union workers meaning that if T-mobile becomes unionized they will have to hire less people because of the higher salaries and benefits.

Seeing the union response to the block of this merger, the tea party response to the block of this merger, and the AT&T response to the block of this merger made it clear to me that, wow, if not for the federal government blocking this merger. I would have never known or cared about how messed up this merger is. With those three powers on the same side of this, I can’t begin to imagine how heavy the lobbying will be in favor of this merger, but, as always, I can appreciate how little say I will have in whether or not this merger occurs. I think a mistake people make is assuming that businesses and corporations alone drive a healthy economy. If that were true, trickle down economics would have worked. Consumers with purchasing power and choices are integral to a healthy economy. Businesses and corporations can be an important part of that, but consumers suffer most in poor economic climates while bigger business are forgiven for trespasses and subsidized for their troubles. Businesses and corporations only need stability in order to find ways to make a profit, but without eager (drawn to buy by the quality and the variety of options), employed consumers, economies slow down and stagnate.

In response to a person posting that the federal government intended to protect consumers by blocking this, one of the tea party people commented that people didn’t need the federal government treating them like children in need of protection. I don’t like to be patronized either but the only other words that can better describe how I feel as corporations. regulators, and lobbyists clash overhead on yon Capitol Hill shouldn’t be uttered in polite company.

Using a chess analogy to describe my status in this fight, I’m not a pawn. I am brushstroke on a tile on which pawns move. Keep in mind this is a game we actually get a glimpse of. If the federal government never blocked this, we wouldn’t get to see any of this game play out. It would have just happened. I remember that headline, “AT&T acquries T-mobile”. That could have been it. Consumers need the government to protect them. I feel historical evidence supports that as much as it reveals government’s inability to consistently and competently do that. There’s a chance we can be protected from this, but it’s certain how we feel about it only matters in theory. This era* has been a bit discouraging. I think it’s reasonable to feel powerless, but part of me thinks it’s not okay to stay that way.

*By era, I mean the war, what the war gave us, what the war revealed about us, the collapse, what the collapse brought us, what the collapse revealed about us. We got some people trying to create a consumer protection agency and struggling to do so, we got some people  trying to improve our school systems resigning due to opposition, and some of the most passionate of us are some of the most misinformed.

THE SECOND COMING by William Butler Yeats

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

The Second Coming was written in 1919 in the aftermath of the first World War.

1919 between the 1st world and the Great Depression. I think it’s too bold of me to say that I feel any sort of kinship with Yeats, but this is the first moment in my life where I think, if he walked past me while I was reading this poem and noticed, I wouldn’t make light of him being such a downer. Foul stuff has been happening in the world before literacy even became a thing, but I feel least hopeful now than I have ever felt in my lifetime about America’s ability to do anything about it because of how terrible we are at helping ourselves. I think Obama’s missteps have hurt us, but I’m going to bristle even more the next time I hear about how history will vindicate Bush. The seeds of this malaise were sown during his time in office, but, although I say that, I can’t even give him 30% of the blame for those seeds being sown because I know the Executive Branch isn’t that powerful or even capable of having the foresight or flexibility to battle that. I can say the same thing about the Obama administration. If he ever thought he could be any type of savior, that’s a misconception both he and his supporters share. He’s been misguided in some of the things he has chosen to throw his weight behind in a time when mistakes are even more costly.

About that poem, I’m starting to think about that anarchy line in the context of the whole poem. I think anarchy is a transient state because eventually the most passionate and the most powerful will figure a way to gain control. I think in the poem it’s just a transitional thing that’s not descriptive of the entire setting.

Last thing. I know it’s a simple obvious thing to say, and people who I strongly disagree with would say the same thing. Nevertheless, I think the best government isn’t the government that governs least, but the government that does its best to equally empower the people it’s serving. A consumer protection agency would be nice. Bolstering our educational system would be nice. However, legally treating corporations as people and making it harder to hold powerful people accountable when they make mistakes http://www.slate.com/id/2290036/are not the way. I find that since I stopped watching the Daily Show, I have plenty of things to irritate me without Jon Stewart telling me what stupid thing some pundit or guest on Fox News said.

Everything that follows this is a lot of me playing pong in my head with different stuff. I’m not really trying to make a well-formed coherent argument about anything from here.

On a happier note, check out Rachel Held Evans blog. I want someone to give her her own show. I’m thinking O’ Reilly Factor format and just let her tell what’s up. Also about that Yeats poem, I read that poem years ago and I kind of understood it, but it didn’t resonate with me in anyway that I could use. I find that that’s the case with a lot of literature for me, and it just makes me question how we teach literature. I don’t think during the time I was in high school, I was mentally developed enough to make a lot of the connections that I make now on my own. I don’t have any ideas on how I would teach it better because I don’t think it’s a matter of teaching. I think on some level you have to be open to it, and being open to it is like gene expression. Like you can be predisposed to this or that, but unless you have the right environmental exposure the gene may never manifest.  This can be good things or bad things manifesting. During 9-12, I think you just might be too insulated to pick up on a lot of stuff. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad or intentional insulation, it’s just maybe you’re dealing with being a high school student too much to really let anything sink in. I don’t know. Like now I listen to podcasts all the time, and a lot of them have depth to them. I think high school me could have benefited a lot from these podcasts, but I wonder if high school me would have even been capable of appreciating them. Not to say high school me didn’t have things going on for him, just this me is evolved in different ways that high school me wasn’t, this me is also deficient in ways high school me wasn’t, I’m working on it.

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Categories: Life, Politics, Uncategorized
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