Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Stevens: champion of the big guy

Well, Uncle Ted is proving himself, once again, champ for the guys with the bucks, and to heck with the good of the community or the little guy. Kudos to Alaska Report for spotting this delightful column at the Nation on how ol' Teddy is going to try to shove through that stupid telecom bill that will destroy Internet neutrality. Just so you know who's paying for his vote and influence, take a look at this page at the Center for Public Integrity, showing contributions from 1998-2004 (or 2000-2004, depending).

He's accepted a fair chunk of change from the media moguls. According to Open Secrets, Stevens has accepted $225,250 from the Communications/Electronics sector in the 2006 election cycle alone, putting him in the top 20 (Ms. Clinton is number 1, interestingly). Between 2001 and 2006, Stevens accepted $530,833 from this sector. Seventy-four percent of Stevens' overall contributions come from Outside. If you look at the industries supporting Stevens for this same period, you get some interesting numbers (Open Secrets explains why the numbers don't add up):
1. TV/Movies/Music: $195,871
2. Lawyers/Law Firms: $181,392
3. Air Transport: $173,650
4. Lobbyists: $166,784
5. Defense Aerospace: $111,000
6. Oil & Gas: $103,940
7. Retired: $102,650
8. Telephone Utilities: $99,550
9. Telecom Services & Equipment: $96,700
10. Real Estate: $89,450
11. Misc Defense: $88,000
12. Transportation Unions: $85,000
13. Computers/Internet: $84,162
14. Sea Transport: $82,891
15. Defense Electronics: $80,750
16. Leadership PACs: $72,310
17. Food & Beverage: $66,850
18. Securities & Investment: $61,562
19. Health Professionals: $58,700
20. Public Sector Unions: $55,000
One of these donors, Verizon, paid for a poll that "Tubes" Stevens has been spreading around as evidence that the public doesn't want Net neutrality. Too bad it's a slanted poll.

Even the American Electronics Association thinks what Stevens' bill will do is bad for the ferment of creativity and commerce that the Internet provides. They've written a report called "The Case for Net Neutrality".

So it looks like the entertainment industry is the main thrust behind his antipathy toward internet neutrality: he is #2 in the Senate, behind Hillary again, in donations from the TV production and distribution industry for 2005-2006. I guess now we know why he confused "pipes" with "tubes': he must have been thinking cathode-ray tubes, not Internet carrying capacity of cable...
Interesting what you can find out here, hey what?

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