PhillipDampier's comment history

PhillipDampier said...

This is a pretty ridiculous argument.

My first problem with all this is that Drew Johnson, who is evidently the author of this piece and also the opinion editor of this newspaper has an enormous conflict of interest because of his association with the Taxpayers Protection Alliance, a corporate funded think tank that advocates on behalf of the interests of telecommunications companies in Tennessee, some direct competitors. No doubt we will be told this group is non-partisan, but that does not mean it does not accept contributions from corporate interests that have a dog in this fight. If TPA wants to prove me wrong, release their corporate donor list.

There does not seem to be any disclosure of this important connection, much less a willingness to end his association with this group while serving in the role he accepts at the newspaper.

Second, the author completely ignores the enormous tax breaks that Comcast and AT&T have accepted. AT&T paid zero federal taxes in 2011 and actually received hundreds of millions in taxpayer-subsidized refunds. Comcast wins tax breaks and payments in lieu of taxes from communities that want the company to place certain assets or hire extra employees in their areas.

So who is on the tax dole is far more complicated than the author would have us believe.

The argument that EPB somehow facilitates porn with tax dollars is also patently false. In fact, it's a straw argument commonly used by cable and telco lobbyists in order to create division within a community against a competitor they honestly cannot match in service quality or features. In fact, it is a safe bet local residents pay far more for this programming than its wholesale "cost" so you could also say porn protects the interests of local ratepayers by helping EPB pay off its bonds even quicker than they could without it.

What always amuses me is those conservatives that are so quick to condemn government involvement in virtually anything are also often the same busybodies that want the government to regulate what one can and cannot do in their private lives.

Anyone offended by this programming can handle it the same way Comcast and AT&T customers manage it -- by calling their provider and asking that it be blocked from their televisions.

I do not want you or I having arbitrary authority to determine what programming is appropriate for anyone other than myself. Otherwise, I might want EWTN off cable because it promotes "the cult of the Vatican," or TBN must go because there were questions about its finances and integrity. Fox News and MSNBC both need to be removed because they air opinion masquerading as news. Where does it stop? The answer is, it doesn't.

Freedom means that if you object to the programming, services, or business model of EPB Fiber, I support your right to not subscribe 100%.

March 19, 2013 at 6:16 p.m.

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