August 26, 2005 - (HOSTSEARCH.COM) - Many times a short and narrow view of philanthropic activities by big business or government can disguise the fact that they are doing long-term damage to business and threatening the rights of consumers. This seems to be the case in the last few months, as the attempted mergers of SBC-AT&T and Verizon-MCI move along.
Time and time again, as I set in the public hearings of the California Public Utilities Commission on both the SBC-AT&T mergers and the Verizon-MCI mergers, I continually hear such statements as They bought us computers for our children, They have given monies for our cause, The have economically supported us over the years, expounding from speaker after speaker.
What bothers me the most are that many groups, continually expound on how philanthropic companies or government are, but at the same time not one word of how actions by these companies or government impacts the real world.
A case in point happen during my attendance of the public hearing of the California Public Utilities Commission on the Verizon-MCI hearing in Long Beach, Calif., on Aug. 16, 2005. During this hearing, I listened to 43 individual groups, from chamber of commerce's to the Boys and Girls Club, repeat, almost verbatim, how Verizon has supported them, by showering them with gifts and favors. As far as I am concerned, only one of these groups needed to give this speech and the rest just stand up and state dito. After hearing only five of these speeches, one could ascertain that this was a prewritten speech with two fill in blanks. One for your name and the name of your organization, and two the gift you received.
Finally it was my turn to speak. I found it a little difficult to get all my points stated in the three minutes allowed, but I gave it a try. First I spoke on re-monopolizing the phone industries and how they are trying to move us back to before 1984. Next, I spoke on Freedom of Choice, and how it is a corner stone to our Freedom of Speech and our Freedom of Press. While I was speaking, the room became very quite. So quite, that you could hear a pin drop in the back of the room.
After the hearing I was surprised to have a couple of the other speakers approach me and ask me questions. While we were speaking, one of the other speakers stated, I did not even consider that our rights were being erased by these mergers.
This brings me to the point. We the people must take a broader look at the actions of big business, and our government before we make a choice. Our country's history has many examples why this is so important. Remember, that we gave only $24 in fancy beads for Manhattan Island. The natives looked at these fancy beads and eagerly traded them for what they believed was a worthless peace of land. The bottom line was after a few years, the natives discovered that they had made a bad trade. When they started to complain about that trade, we rewarded them, by eliminating them.
So remember, do not let a few fancy beads fool you in to trading away your basic rights.