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The Misleading Fliers Comcast Used To Kill Off a Local Internet Competitor

Unknown Lamer posted about 5 months ago | from the muni-broadband-madness! dept.

The Internet 250

Jason Koebler (3528235) writes In the months and weeks leading up to a referendum vote that would have established a locally owned fiber network in three small Illinois cities, Comcast and SBC (now AT&T) bombarded residents and city council members with disinformation, exaggerations, and outright lies to ensure the measure failed. The series of two-sided postcards painted municipal broadband as a foolhardy endeavor unfit for adults, responsible people, and perhaps as not something a smart woman would do. Municipal fiber was a gamble, a high-wire act, a game, something as "SCARY" as a ghost. Why build a municipal fiber network, one asked, when "internet service [is] already offered by two respectable private businesses?" In the corner, in tiny print, each postcard said "paid for by SBC" or "paid for by Comcast." The postcards are pretty absurd and worth a look.

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Get used to this... (4, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | about 5 months ago | (#47553081)

These sort of things are legal now. Corporations are people, and people have free speech, and spending money is speech.

Re:Get used to this... (-1, Flamebait)

ichthus (72442) | about 5 months ago | (#47553145)

Aaannnd... it wasn't legal before? Oh... I see, you're attempting to associate this behavior with the Hobby Lobby ruling to fit a particular narrative. Gotcha. Carry on...

Re:Get used to this... (5, Informative)

SoCalChris (573049) | about 5 months ago | (#47553191)

No, he's associating it with Citizen's United v. FEC [wikipedia.org]

Re:Get used to this... (-1, Troll)

retchdog (1319261) | about 5 months ago | (#47553203)

oh, come on, you know his brain can only associate one talking point to an issue at a time. you're going to confuse the poor guy now.

Re:Get used to this... (3, Insightful)

Tailhook (98486) | about 5 months ago | (#47553461)

he's associating it with Citizen's United v. FEC

Yeah. If only Citizens United hadn't happened then Comcast/SBC couldn't have done this — 10 years ago — six years before Citizens United.

Re:Get used to this... (2)

coliverhb (886806) | about 5 months ago | (#47553209)

I believe he's referring to the Citizens United ruling - unless Comcast and SBC have a religious objection to competition (A real possibility, I suppose).

Re:Get used to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553821)

Well Comcast is a Mormon company after all...

Re:Get used to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553219)

It has more to do with the Citizens United ruling than the Hobby Lobby ruling, but keep shoehorning it in wherever you can.

Re:Get used to this... (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553289)

As has been made clear, and you should have known, the narrative in this case is Citizens United.

Thing is, this should have failed miserably for SBC and Comcast. I have no trouble seeing through corporate fear mongering. The fact that it worked says a lot more about the voters than it does about any court ruling. So that's where I put the blame; stupid fucking sheeple.

Re:Get used to this... (2, Insightful)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 months ago | (#47553533)

Or it could have been that the referendum would have gone the same way it did without the advertising. Just because a lot of people didn't vote the way you think they should have isn't proof that they were coerced by people who disagree with you.

It's pretty insulting to the democratic process to accuse the winners of being "[expletive deleted] sheeple" when you don't agree with a result.

I have no trouble seeing through corporate fear mongering.

I suspect there are a lot of people who feel the same way. Some of them may have participated in the vote and not voted the way you wanted them to.

Re:Get used to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553595)

It's pretty insulting to the democratic process to accuse the winners of being "[expletive deleted] sheeple" when you don't agree with a result.

Isn't this the same process the founding fathers called "mob rule"?

Re:Get used to this... (3, Insightful)

Perky_Goth (594327) | about 5 months ago | (#47553977)

It's pretty insulting to the democratic process to accuse the winners of being "[expletive deleted] sheeple" when you don't agree with a result.

When they vote against their interests, they're not being clever.

Re:Get used to this... (2)

unitron (5733) | about 5 months ago | (#47553381)

Didn't you overlook working Benghazi in somewhere as well?

Re:Get used to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553475)

At t his point, what difference does it make?

Re:Get used to this... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553195)

These sort of things are legal now. Corporations are people, and people have free speech, and spending money is speech.

yeah but ghetto blacks speak this slang filled broken english pidgin and we call it ebonics to make them feel better about themselves since after all the blacks are so desperete to feel like they actually have any kind of culture. you know it isn't an "accent" if you only know one language and can't even use that one correctly. anyway its the same reeason Kwanzaa was fabricated, to pretend like blacks have a tradition.

they're a primitive people without a culture, tradition, or list of significant contributions to modern society. but we feel sorry for bad things that happened to them a long time ago perpetrated by people who are no longer around today so we will just see them be great basketball players and entertainers and declare them equals, wink wink nudge nudge, just dont shatter the illusion by fairly and uniformly applying any kind of standardized test to people of all races in the same way, because blacks score lower and that might make somebody feel bad.

Re:Get used to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553413)

they're a primitive people without a culture, tradition, or list of significant contributions to modern society. but we feel sorry for bad things that happened to them a long time ago perpetrated by people who are no longer around today so we will just see them be great basketball players and entertainers and declare them equals, wink wink nudge nudge, just dont shatter the illusion by fairly and uniformly applying any kind of standardized test to people of all races in the same way, because blacks score lower and that might make somebody feel bad.

Are you sure there are no more people around like that today, Grand Wizard? Really? Are you sure?

Re:Get used to this... (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about 5 months ago | (#47553229)

Making wildly exaggerated claims always has been legal. Imagine if it were otherwise: you'd have to arrest whole advertising companies, and political parties, and organized religions, and the people who send me forwarded emails...

...

...What? Oh, sorry, I guess I kind of drifted off there.

Re:Get used to this... (1)

imatter (2749965) | about 5 months ago | (#47553323)

...but there is this thing called Truth in Advertising.

http://www.ftc.gov/news-events... [ftc.gov]

Re:Get used to this... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 months ago | (#47553563)

... which is soon to be overruled once some corporation notices and decides to challenge it, citing Citizens United as precedent, I'm sure.

Re:Get used to this... (2)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 5 months ago | (#47553719)

Truth and Advertising laws have already been tested in court.

Re:Get used to this... (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 months ago | (#47553837)

But was that before or after the Supreme Court decided corporations had free speech rights? If it was before, then the situation has probably changed (in the current Court's insane opinion, anyway).

Re:Get used to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553603)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Go_VtqtxCHY [youtube.com]

Yep: Truth in Advertising

Re:Get used to this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553853)

Exactly. Obama said he'd have the most transparent administration ever.

Benghazi, IRS, Fast and Furious.......we're still waiting

Re:Get used to this... (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 months ago | (#47553489)

The rights of corporations to put out fliers has never been in question. It has nothing to do with corporate personhood, nothing to do with spending money as speech.

If you don't want corporations to be considered people in terms of freedom of speech, fine, lets pretend that's the case. Only real people have freedom of speech, done. What a roadblock for comcast! Why, they would have to give money to some real person in order to have THAT person exercise their freedom of speech in the form of misleading fliers! Man, that could add a whole hour or two to the process, imagine how much freedom we'd have! (single tear runs down cheek)

Re:Get used to this... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | about 5 months ago | (#47553713)

Besides, you don't want to run the risk of getting cancer from municipal broadband.

Re:Get used to this... (1)

towermac (752159) | about 5 months ago | (#47553971)

Assuming you're against that notion, let's carry it to some logical conclusions, shall we?

One thing that corporations cannot do is vote. And yet they are taxed heavily, at the Federal level. Is that not taxation without representation? Yes, I know; they get all the representation they are due, and then some, as per TFA. I'm against that; are you? Every time you tax them more, you empower them more in this way.

Now, the politician *MUST* take the corporation's "views" into account when she is voting on legislation. It would be irresponsible of her not to, given the large portion of the taxpayer base that it comprises. She doesn't have to be on the take, or dishonest in any way, for this dynamic to exist. Why put her in this position?

Also, what is income? I'll tell you. ;) Income is income when somebody gets the money. If you tax the money hitting the corporation, before carbon-based real people can even get their hands on it, then you just made the corporation into somebody, didn't you?

And it's not just about the 35% income tax either. Regulations are taxes (often un-payable at any price by smaller businesses, but I digress..). The more you regulate them, the more you recognize them. I know you recoil in horror at the thought of not regulation big corporations. But go with it a moment; whatever labor laws we need (and we need them, I'm no anarchist), should be the same for businesses of 2, or 49, or 17,000 employees.

We've done away with equality under the law, and who do you think that's going to favor? Unless you live in some communist utopia, imbalances in the law are always going to favor the rich and powerful; always have. Every time new regulations come online, businesses with less than 50 employees are exempted. It's such a trick, I wish we'd quit falling for it.

You can still get the tax money. Rich people own those corporations. Or maybe a whole lot of middle class; doesn't matter. *That's* income: Tax the crap out of it then if you want. You won't have to though, because there's really no hiding it then. Well, I mean, if the person took it as income; as in, *Got* the money. You still do accounting; you know what the corporation made; it's not a radical thought to tax the owner for his percentage of the corporate profit. If they didn't take it, they must be hiding it in the Caymans? That's exactly what they are doing.

But they don't get to have it, and spend it; not while hiding it in the Caymans. Think about that for a moment: The greediest people in society would rather do without their own money than pay the high tax on it. What better gauge of a proper tax rate, than rich people's greed for their own money? (remember, it's just a gauge, not an on-off switch).

The tax is too high. Lower the tax. Do away with corporate taxes. Simplify business regulations and taxes, then apply them to everyone. Equality under the law is a prerequisite for the working man to have a chance in a society. The influence of big corporations in government would then largely evaporate. (Nothing is ever perfect and complete, but we should still try to hit a sweet spot.)

Appropriate punishment (4, Insightful)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 5 months ago | (#47553093)

A fine large enough to cover the costs of rolling out fibre in the 3 cities involved.

The money from the fine can then be used to roll out fibre to the 3 cities.

Everyone wins, except SBC and Comcast.

Re:Appropriate punishment (3, Insightful)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47553201)

How do you intend for them to fine a company for buying advertisement space, and using it?

Re:Appropriate punishment (4, Insightful)

sstamps (39313) | about 5 months ago | (#47553297)

Fraudulent advertising, perhaps?

I'm sure some highly-paid lawyer type could find something to stick on them.

Re:Appropriate punishment (4, Informative)

Frosty Piss (770223) | about 5 months ago | (#47553623)

Fraudulent advertising, perhaps?

They were not stating *facts*, but rather their opinion. "Disinformation" is rarely out-and-out fraud.

Re:Appropriate punishment (5, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47553721)

They were not stating *facts*, but rather their opinion.

Did you look at the fliers?

There's this quote:

"internet service [is] already offered by two respectable private businesses?"

I'm pretty sure referring to Comcast as a "respectable business" is about as fraudulent as it gets. I'm surprised these fliers didn't burst into flames before the shills could hand them out.

Re:Appropriate punishment (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553333)

It's not about "advertisement space." It is about slander and libel. You can, in fact, sue people for making untrue statements that negatively effect you.

Re:Appropriate punishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553649)

It's not about "advertisement space." It is about slander and libel. You can, in fact, sue people for making untrue statements that negatively effect you.

Yes, you can. But slander and libel are notoriously hard to prove, and both Comcast and AT&T have very good lawyers to vet the message so that there was a very fine line they did not cross.

Re:Appropriate punishment (3, Interesting)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 5 months ago | (#47553739)

But slander and libel are notoriously hard to prove, and both Comcast and AT&T have very good lawyers to vet the message so that there was a very fine line they did not cross.

It's not their lawyers that are protecting them. It's their lobbyists and officers who decide on political donations.

We're in a brave new Citizens United world now. Makes no difference that a very large majority of people disagree with Citizens United and corporate personhood. Until Antonin Scalia and/or Clarence Thomas go to meet their judgement, we're stuck with it.

Re:Appropriate punishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47554071)

We're in a brave new Citizens United world now.

As a matter of law, Citizens United was arguably correctly decided. As a matter of what is "right", no corporation, no union (another term for corporation), no religion (another term for corporation), no professional organization (another term for corporation) or various other NGOs and advocacy groups, should be able to spend money to influence elections and impact policy. But "right" is only going to occur in the current system if it does not impact jobs (the jobs of the current elected official). Who is going to vote to put themselves out of a job? Once being a politician became a career, rather than a few year volunteer activity (like the peace corp), things went down hill. All that matters is the next election. And money talks.

Re:Appropriate punishment (1)

tsqr (808554) | about 5 months ago | (#47553779)

It is about slander and libel. You can, in fact, sue people for making untrue statements that negatively effect you.

In general, you can sue anybody for pretty much anything. Winning a lawsuit is another matter. And neither slander nor libel is applicable in this particular instance.

Slander is the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person's reputation. Libel is the action of publishing a false statement damaging to a person's reputation. Whose reputation was damaged in this case?

Re:Appropriate punishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553491)

False advertising.

Re: Appropriate punishment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553665)

How are they going to sue when the corporations have all the money. They will just do what they would to you or I. They will drag it out in court for years to decades until the municipality is broke or yeilds.

Re:Appropriate punishment (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 5 months ago | (#47553819)

"Read my lips: no new taxes."
"Iraq has WMDs."
"If you like your plan, you can keep it."

that came to my head in just 1 millisecond. You can find millions more just like those ones. I mean I do not have a problem fining all those involved into those lies enough to rebuild the economies and societies, I would also jail them all, but the world doesn't really work like that. I suggest starting by educating yourself and buying into propaganda, whatever it may be.

Re:Appropriate punishment (0)

roman_mir (125474) | about 5 months ago | (#47553833)

I suggest starting by educating yourself

and not buying into propaganda, whatever it may be.

I also suggest /. gets an edit button that maybe can be used for 3 minutes after any comment is posted rather than wasting time on fucking beta.

Comcast should run for office (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553097)

They've got the propaganda and smear campaigns down to a tee.

Re:Comcast should run for office (4, Insightful)

NettiWelho (1147351) | about 5 months ago | (#47553163)

Why run for office when you can rent it for less?

Re:Comcast should run for office (2)

_anomaly_ (127254) | about 5 months ago | (#47553519)

Well, if you do it right (run for office), you aren't footing the bill, your supporters/constituents are.

Re:Comcast should run for office (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47553211)

Which brings up an interesting question. If a corporation is a person, can it hold a government office?

Re:Comcast should run for office (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553325)

Which brings up an interesting question. If a corporation is a person, can it hold a government office?

Uh, please don't give our corporate overlords any more ideas, OK? It's already bad enough. Let's not change the slogan from "Made in the USA" to "Owned by the USA Corp.", at least not just yet.

Re:Comcast should run for office (1)

sillybilly (668960) | about 5 months ago | (#47553769)

We need an overlord to top and reign in these loose corporate vagabond overlords, called a monarch, or king. The first king of the USA will shake things up and get everybody in line, and fix things up for good, if you only let him have a dynasty that lasts at least 300 years. Then his vision is set more long term than these 4-year or 2 term 8 year temporary corporate sluts who all they care about is stuffing their pockets or more like constituents pockets today, and they have no long term interest in what happens after they are no longer relevant, after leaving office. A king with a dynasty cares about what happens to his heir, first born son, and what he inherits from him.

Btw why they say ghosts are scary? I got pet ghosts all over the place here, and they make really good friends. They tell me all kinds of funny things and make me laugh all day. They come visit me from the nearby cemetery. That's like one of my primary concerns in looking for housing, what are the dead people like in the area, would their ghosts be friendly with me?

Re:Comcast should run for office (2)

unitron (5733) | about 5 months ago | (#47553395)

Yeah, but why bother when you can just rent the current occupants and save the hassle of campaigning and having to actually show up in DC a few days a year?

Re:Comcast should run for office (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | about 5 months ago | (#47553497)

If a corporation is a person, can it hold a government office?

Were a corporation a person, it certainly could hold public office.

However, the people who make up corporations and who retain their civil and Constitutional rights despite being part of a corporation can, and sometimes do, hold public office. On our local city council, we've had people who work for the local newspaper, the local university, the local large manufacturer, and other corporations.

Re:Comcast should run for office (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553559)

However, the people who make up corporations and who retain their civil and Constitutional rights despite being part of a corporation can, and sometimes do, hold public office.

The difference being that you can arrest Blagojevich, but you can't arrest "Comcast".

That difference is lost on lots of people who feel that the people who "make up corporations and who retain their civil and Constitutional rights" should be immune from arrest when they... sorry, their company... does something illegal.

And this friends, is why buying a voice is wrong (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553115)

It'd be one thing if the average voter wasn't susceptible to the person who yelled at them last, or most, but that's unfortunately the case. Yet the alternative, of giving up the vote to the hands of a selected representative, only lets them be bought. And sure, certain groups would have us believe this represents a failure in government, yet what expectation do we have that an alternative could exist without some regulation to facilitate the problems of individualized consent and negotiation?

Dear God, you made this mess. Fix it.

Re:And this friends, is why buying a voice is wron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553423)

It'd be one thing if the average voter wasn't susceptible to the person who yelled at them last, or most, but that's unfortunately the case. Yet the alternative, of giving up the vote to the hands of a selected representative, only lets them be bought.

Not everybody can vote. You have to be a "sane adult" in most of the world. Perhaps we need to up the ante a bit. Voter tests that rule out the extremely gullible, for example. Or tests that rule out those who would sell their vote, for that matter.

Re:And this friends, is why buying a voice is wron (2)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 months ago | (#47553609)

In theory, voter tests would rule out the gullible. In practice, voter tests would rule out the black / gay / poor / jew / undesirable-group-du-jour.

Re:And this friends, is why buying a voice is wron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553679)

In theory, voter tests would rule out the gullible. In practice

... everyone other than the slashdot crowd?

Re:And this friends, is why buying a voice is wron (2)

Ichijo (607641) | about 5 months ago | (#47553943)

In practice, voter tests would rule out the black / gay / poor / jew / undesirable-group-du-jour.

Only when they are designed [slate.com] to rule out those groups instead of ruling out people who have no business voting (for example, people who don't understand how plurality voting can lead to someone getting elected with a minority of the votes).

Re:And this friends, is why buying a voice is wron (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | about 5 months ago | (#47553967)

Only when they are designed to rule out those groups...

In other words, "only" 100% of the time.

Re:And this friends, is why buying a voice is wron (1)

fnj (64210) | about 5 months ago | (#47553509)

You could make voting conditional on passing a test. Not a straight IQ test, although that should be a part of it. Pose some questions on postulated issues and synthetic candidates, and try to find those too liable to being gulled by clear hoodwinking.

Also, and this one is going to be hard to do for a number of reasons, prevent those who are personally turning an overall profit at the expense of the commons from voting. Let there be no stigma to accepting welfare, no matter what the hell you call it (e.g., earned income tax credit, etc, etc), but at the same time if you are cashing in more than you are contributing, so sorry, you don't get to vote yourself largesse either directly or indirectly.

Hey, I said it would be a challenge to implement.

Re:And this friends, is why buying a voice is wron (3, Insightful)

jeIIomizer (3670945) | about 5 months ago | (#47553579)

You could make voting conditional on passing a test. Not a straight IQ test, although that should be a part of it.

Yeah, so the oh-so-trustworthy people in our government can have an easier way to oppress segments of the population. Also, IQ tests are absolute nonsense.

And I'm sure these tests would be perfectly unbiased, not at all ambiguous, and would vastly improve the situation. If we can't even get standardized tests right, how the hell do you propose we create tests that will determine whether or not someone gets access to a fucking fundamental right?

Re:And this friends, is why buying a voice is wron (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553617)

You could make voting conditional on passing a test. Not a straight IQ test, although that should be a part of it. Pose some questions on postulated issues and synthetic candidates, and try to find those too liable to being gulled by clear hoodwinking.

And watch partisans on both sides of the aisle immediately try to game the system to their benefit. What? You don't think that would be possible if we managed to eliminate all those gullible people? My, how splendidly naive of you!

Hint: gullibility of the electorate is only part of the problem.

complete and utter shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553169)

spawned from complete and utter shit.

didn't expect anything else.

If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553185)

If absurd postcards are enough to actually persuade a vote, then perhaps the people got what they deserved.

Re:If... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553269)

Yep, my immediate thought was "the populace are too badly educated to understand things they voice their opinion on".

Which let's face it isn't news.

Re:If... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553283)

What this means is that people have absolutely no idea what the internet is, how it works and how any of it affects them. Computers are still magic to most people. I used to hope that as more and more people grow up with computers, computer literacy would improve. Nothing of the sort happened. These people use computers more, but they accept them as quasi-intelligent/magic devices. They don't even understand the fundamental difference between Facebook/Twitter and the open web, even though that's hardly a technological thing. They perceive big businesses as relatively safe havens. Diversity and choice in a field where they can only make random decisions based on no understanding is plain scary. They don't want choice, they don't want freedom. They are not equipped to handle it.

Re: If... (1)

James Buchanan (3571549) | about 5 months ago | (#47553781)

Now, reverse your theory,is the rule of quote science quote, a better possibility? Or are they wrong at times,also. Like a proposed theory, wrongly stated? Or wrong. Politicians of another culture, politicians divorced from the realities of life? To be in charge? That's wrong also, not better. So what's wrong with politics? Wrong people in power? America has a solution for that. The revolution happens happily every two years. No guns, no bloodshed, just tears for the loser. And I hope the koch bros lose this year...the american people need a win for a change.

Re:If... (1)

fnj (64210) | about 5 months ago | (#47553529)

If absurd postcards are enough to actually persuade a vote, then perhaps the people got what they deserved.

Unfortunately, "the people" is shorthand for a large number of individuals. Yeah, the stupid people got what they deserved, but in no sense did the people with functioning intellects get what they deserved.

In Soviet USA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553217)

The only fiber they get is in cereal.

Re:In Soviet USA (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 5 months ago | (#47553291)

since when does frosting and marshmallows have fiber?

Absurd? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 5 months ago | (#47553227)

Hey, it worked, didn't it? I think that's the idea here.

Nonstop comcast rate hikes (2)

WaffleMonster (969671) | about 5 months ago | (#47553259)

The only broadband nightmare I have is the reality of continuous non-stop rate hikes of 10-15% every 6 months. No other "utility" even comes close.

Re:Nonstop comcast rate hikes (2)

_anomaly_ (127254) | about 5 months ago | (#47553545)

No other "utility" even comes close.

No, but my health insurance (individual, not through my small-business employer) goes up about 30% per annum... but I digress...

"When something sounds too good to be true..." (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553279)

That postcard reminded me of the recent phone recording of the pushy customer retention guy.

Being that we are the number 1 provider of internet and TV service in the entire country. Why is it that you are not wanting to have the number 1 rated internet service, number 1 rated TV service available?
I'm just trying to figure out here, what it is about Comcast services that you're not liking, that you're not wanting to keep. Why is it that you don't want to keep that service?

It's a shame that he didn't go full Hannity and say "Comcast is the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the earth."

Ill-noy is full of NIGGERS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553305)

niggers niggers every where and not even gay niggers neither

What? No Astroturf? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553309)

The one's I've seen say they're from "(insert your state name here) Taxpayer's Association"

Works fine (3, Informative)

GWBasic (900357) | about 5 months ago | (#47553329)

My hometown has municipal broadband, it's had it since 2000. It works much better than Comcast, and they're much easier to work with.

Re:Works fine (4, Funny)

Krishnoid (984597) | about 5 months ago | (#47553469)

My hometown has municipal broadband, it's had it since 2000.

Your ideas are intriguing to me and I wish to subscribe to your postcards.

Explains some things (4, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | about 5 months ago | (#47553351)

Maybe these fliers were honest, and Comcast just believes the investing in an ISP is a money-losing venture. It would explain some things.

I guess the only sensible response is to sell your stock in Comcast. They view their own business as a money-pit and a disaster waiting to happen.

Re:Explains some things (1)

interkin3tic (1469267) | about 5 months ago | (#47553517)

They were honest: comcast is very scared of it. And those cities WERE failed experiments in the sense that they weren't very experimental. What's the hypothesis here being tested? That the city can offer a municipal service... involving computers?

Re:Explains some things (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553531)

From one of the postcards:

"What private investors will spend money on a project that has only one stated financial goal- to break even?"

The audacity of the government to try and do something for what it costs and no more! Why I never!

better understand propaganda (2)

Touvan (868256) | about 5 months ago | (#47553355)

This highlights the need for citizens who would set up municipal broadband to better understand the techniques of propaganda (marketing in the US) and communication - and to not forget to utilize those techniques to further their own agendas. A technique isn't evil or good - it's just a technique, and an advantage if it's a good one.

Some understanding of cognitive science and political science wouldn't hurt either.

I hate this with every FIBER of my being (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553367)

Look I get life is unfair, and unfair things happen to people. What I cannot tolerate is the behavior of large corporations who bitch bitch bitch about regulation and free markets, but who behave badly and honestly want anything BUT free markets. F**k them all to hell seriously

News Flash FUD works! (4, Insightful)

Virtucon (127420) | about 5 months ago | (#47553495)

FUD works folks, that's why you have spin doctors constantly shaping news headlines with press releases and carefully worded speeches. Couple that with a litany of non-profit organizations to get the word out and you have your own fact machine. Really, facts don't matter because people's perceptions are more important than mere facts. This might have been a great idea, a municipally based service without all the baggage that a big carrier brings to the table but hey, why let facts get in the way of myth?

Dirty tricks in business have been around for centuries and nobody should be surprised that Comcast and SBC(AT&T) did this.

News Flash FUD works! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553611)

Don't call it the Aristocrat tax, call it the Death tax!

Re:News Flash FUD works! (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 5 months ago | (#47553745)

Perception is reality. Sucks sometimes because "the truth is out there" (my son's middle name is Fox for a reason, primarily because I got to name him, my wife named his twin sister...).

Infuriating (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553525)

Corporations are not people. Money is not speech. This is deceptive and anti-competitive.

This kind of activity is short-sighted, ultimately damaging to everyone's future, and continues to push the USA into irrelevancy while the rest of the world evolves. Until people get it through their skulls that corporate interests are nearly always diametrically opposed to society's best interests, we will continue this path to the new corporate-sponsored dark ages.

I guess people really do lack the vision to imagine a world different than what we live in now, and fail to see the potential progress that would benefit everyone.

It can never be said enough:
Corporations are not people. Money is not speech. If Comcast and SBC are against it, we should be all for it.

Holy fuckin decade old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553569)

seems like the title says it all.

The advertising is okay (2, Interesting)

soft_guy (534437) | about 5 months ago | (#47553577)

The questions raised in the advertising are pretty good ones. If the city bungles the fibre network and loses a lot of money, you'll be forced to pay for it in taxes. If Comcast fucks up and their costs go out of control, you at least have a choice to opt out. As much as I don't like Comcast and AT&T, I have no faith in government to be an ISP.

Re:The advertising is okay (1)

theskipper (461997) | about 5 months ago | (#47554045)

The government of Chattanooga [chattanoogagig.com] seems to be doing just fine. Probably more fair to say that it's the people who run government that is the issue, not government in general.

Missing the headline (0)

diamondmagic (877411) | about 5 months ago | (#47553601)

Why would you have to have city council approval to start a new ISP? How dare they kill competition, stifle innovat... Oh, it was going to be a taxpayer funded, government run ISP?

My local DMV can't even keep their computers running for more than a few hours at a time. Seriously, good riddance!

Re:Missing the headline (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about 5 months ago | (#47554059)

Another knee-jerking noted.

How is a government limited oligopoly that admits no competition any better??

Clearly it's likely worse.

This is reaaaaaalllly old. from 2003 (2)

Atrox Canis (1266568) | about 5 months ago | (#47553613)

Batavia, Geneva and St. Charles Illinois. I was a member of the committee that worked on getting this initiative through each community. One of the members posted this interview with Broadband Reports back in the day....

http://www.dslreports.com/show... [dslreports.com]

Wait! (0)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 5 months ago | (#47553621)

Egads! Are you telling me there was a political referendum somewhere that would have cost local businesses money and they sent out misleading political fliers!?!? Holy shit the sky is falling!!!

Seriously folks, can we stop pretending to be outraged when the thing we normally have no problem with... exagerating our the negatives of our political opponents... is suddenly used against us?

How is this any more misleading than:
ISPs want to throttle our connections so they can force us to only watch their content!
ISPs have a menopoly! They don't want competition!
ISPs are conspiring with the NSA to spy on us!

All of that nonsense is just as much of an exaggeration and misleading as what was on those post cards yet I see in on slashdot all day long. And just like those misleading post cards there are real problems with municipal broadband we could all discuss if everyone wasn't so busy throwing FUD back and forth.

Re:Wait! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47554075)

ISPs would want their content viewed more. Because it makes them more money.
ISPs would like a monopoly position. Because it makes them more money.
ISPs are conspiring with the NSA to spy on us. Because they are (albeit unwillingly).

The only folks who don't want well-run municipal broadband are the ISPs because it threatens their reason for being. Just ask the folks in Chattanooga what they think, not shills for the ISPs.

Commodities 101 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553653)

[From TFS] Why build a municipal fiber network, one asked, when "internet service [is] already offered by two respectable private businesses?"

For the same reason we don't let the human shit running these self-proclaimed "respectable businesses" make water a privatize commodity. Unfortunately, the likes of the Koch brothers are working on this one; still without much success. One day, it will come to pass. Americans will be lugging jugs of water around like those in Africa, Asia, et al.

At least... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553735)

> In the corner, in tiny print, each postcard said "paid for by SBC" or "paid for by Comcast."

I agree it's low, but they at least assume the authorship.

Other Monopolie$ didn't show the same courtesy.

PS:
Beta sometimes does not preview a comment. It disappears. FF/Linux. I pressed "Alt-Backspace", found the comment colapsed, expanded it and tried to post it again. It worked.

This sounds familiar! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 5 months ago | (#47553757)

"Bombarded residents and city council members with disinformation, exaggerations, and outright lies to ensure the measure failed."

In other words, they're using the same strategy drug advocates have employed to mislead the public about the "safety" of drugs.

because it's not... (2)

roc97007 (608802) | about 5 months ago | (#47553839)

> ...when "internet service [is] already offered by two respectable private businesses?"

Because it's not. Respectable, that is. And I could make arguments against "private", as they're a government enforced duopoly.

On the other hand... (0)

jodido (1052890) | about 5 months ago | (#47553855)

There was nothing preventing the pro-municipal fiber people from answering the Comcast distortions. It's called "debate," something which seems to have gotten lost in all the laws restricting speech, advertising, etc. If you don't like what your opponent is saying, say something else. If you can't answer it, then you deserve to lose.

Re:Comcast should run for office (1)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about 5 months ago | (#47554061)

Nah, why go through all that bother of making speeches, kissing babies, and politicking? Just buy the candidates and then yank on their shorthairs so they vote for you, mischief managed!

Uneducated, lazy consumers (3, Insightful)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 5 months ago | (#47554069)

People didn't look, or think, they just reacted from their gut. Sounds like perfectly trained American voters/consumers.

Who's the villain here?

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