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We have to decrease competition in order to increase competition! Sit back, relax and get ready for humongous corporations to explain how fewer choices mean more and better choices. (Or so goes one of the arguments in support of the AT&T and DirecTV deal.)

It seems like another telecom merger is happening every day and soon there will be one gargantuan company that is in charge of every single cable, phone and internet connection in the United States. These mergers wouldn't bother me if they involved companies making things like toasters or cars, but these are the guys who control the flow of information. They already wield enormous power and that power is consolidating. Sure, we may have super-duper high speed connections and the convenience of a single (overpriced) bill, but at what cost?

Enjoy the cartoon, and pass it along on your behemoth service provider's high speed infrastructure. As usual, you can find more links to the stories behind this cartoon here.

In the land of bright channels and flickering galore,
There was always a need for more and some more.

But how would they get there, and at what sort of pace?
For a time providers were all over the place.

Then it started to happen, the corporate love-making,
As two became one, competition we're faking.

Cables were bought, and satellites too,
So much better with one than even with two!

It's all for consumers, our service to you.
We really won't rest 'til the mergers are through!

So in the interest of service, this cartoon will do too,
A merger just like, what they want to feed you.

First the characters merge, for efficiency's sake.
Then colors will merge, and your payments we'll take!

L ines must consolidate, so you'll find them all there,
Conveniently placed, 'fore your comfy big chair.

Characters, colors and lines, in one handy spot.
It's called "Triple-Play" now, monopoly it's not!

So enjoy your cartoon of parts that are merged,
We're efficient now, and the competition quite purged!

And all that remains, is that one little matter . . .
. . . of endless rate hikes, so our profits grow fatter.

Originally posted to Comics on Fri May 23, 2014 at 06:50 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Bummer. Won't play on my linux box. (0+ / 0-)

    C'est la vie, I guess.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri May 23, 2014 at 07:05:58 AM PDT

  •  Experienced this with our mobile phones. (10+ / 0-)

    We've always been partial to T-Mobile, in large part because of their willingness to separate phones from plans and offer service without contracts and early termination fees.

    Then came the AT&T (almost) merger.

    No sooner was it announced than nearly everything we liked about T-Mobile was trashed.  

    Buy a plan without a contract and with a lower price if you don't get a phone? Pshaw.

    When  the feds nixed the merger on antitrust grounds a magical thing happened - T-Mobile, the real T-Mobile, came back.

    Don't be fooled for a second. If there is ANYTHING you like about a provider's service that is good for consumers, it will disappear in a merger.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri May 23, 2014 at 07:13:09 AM PDT

    •  And banks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, JerryNA

      I remember switching banks after our bank became really obnoxious back in the early 1990s. Then our old bank bought our new bank, and brought the obnoxious policies with it, so we switched again. Then the old bank bought the new, new one. Ad inifinitum. I think there were 5 mergers in 7 years, by the time all was said and done, each time we left, our new bank was subsumed and turned into an evil clone of its new parent.

      Luckily, when we moved to rural VT, there just aren't enough dollars in the area to make the local banks attractive to any of the big names, so thus far we've been blissfully un-merged for several years. We get good service from local people who care about the local economy.

      :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
      Can you help me make Green Planet Heroes happen?

      by radical simplicity on Fri May 23, 2014 at 11:30:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Toaster or cars (12+ / 0-)

    being created by a monopoly is just as bad as no competition for information services.  They also limit the ability for workers to organize.

    These new internet moguls are no better than the robber barons of the past.

  •  Eliminate bundling as a condition of merger . . . (4+ / 0-)

    and then I might . . . consider it.  Until then, my kneejerk (and long-range well considered) reaction is . . . NO WAY, NO HOW, NOT EVER.  Not one more merger.

    (And presumably, unless you are wearing a hoodie and they think you look suspicious, you probably won’t get shot dead by mistake.) -- Heather Digby Parton, in an aside.

    by Rikon Snow on Fri May 23, 2014 at 07:35:29 AM PDT

  •  If there were one gargantuan telecom company ... (6+ / 0-)

    … it would make things easier for Big Brother, er, I mean the NSA.

    Americans are in real trouble. The oligarchs are misanthropes.

    by Road to1 Escondido on Fri May 23, 2014 at 07:36:26 AM PDT

  •  One massive company isnt so bad. (6+ / 0-)

    Provided there is strict regulatory control as there was over the Bell System. The Bell system was great...cheap, reliable, efficient. As opposed to todays cellular system which is expensive, unreliable, and shitty.

    Of course, a Bell executive could only expect to earn a living 4 or 5 times that of its workers, mucn unlike today.

    •  But . . . Regulation Bad. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      thanatokephaloides, NonnyO, JerryNA

      cf. Freedumb.

      (And presumably, unless you are wearing a hoodie and they think you look suspicious, you probably won’t get shot dead by mistake.) -- Heather Digby Parton, in an aside.

      by Rikon Snow on Fri May 23, 2014 at 08:02:17 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Not so sure (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Puddytat, TexasTom, ColoTim, JerryNA

      I recall basic local service as being reasonably priced but long distance was very expensive. I remember whenever we called the grandparents (infrequently due to cost), we kids got a quick turn to say "hi grandma, yes, i'm fine, love ya" in about 20 seconds because it was very costly back in the 60s. Our unlimited long distance or 2 cents per minute anywhere anytime plans were the stuff of fantasy back then...it was more like 40 cents per minute at a time that a gallon of gasoline cost less than 40 cents.

      Perhaps the high cost of long distance was only due to the primitive technology back then and it would have plummeted to today's levels as the tech improved, regardless of Ma Bell as a monopoly or not. I'm sure someone here has the knowledge and experience to inform the rest of us.

    •  Exactly right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim, JerryNA, brooklynbadboy

      Those were the days when regulations benefitted consumers and they were rigidly enforced.  

      The internet must be considered a "utility" and regulated.  

      It would be helpful if we regulated our other "utilities" the way we used to and not in the weak-tea way we do now.  Too many industry insiders sit on the regulatory committees to ensure that everything goes the way the industry wants even if consumers get screwed and price-gouged.

      Monopolies should come with consequences (regulations).

      There already is class warfare in America. Unfortunately, the rich are winning.

      by Puddytat on Fri May 23, 2014 at 10:50:59 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Kind of like that commercial on web MSNBC. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, ColoTim

    Where the rancher woman says "We asked the experts and it's safe."

    Kind of makes me think of a young woman saying "I asked my boyfriend...and it is safe."

    The highest form of spiritual practice is self observation with compassion.

    by NCJim on Fri May 23, 2014 at 08:06:29 AM PDT

  •  A strange love (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, JerryNA

    When corporations fall in love they don't have natural sexual relations. They team up to screw consumers instead.

    ------
    Ideology is when you think you know the answers before you know the questions.
    It infests hollow spaces where intelligence has died.

    by Alden on Fri May 23, 2014 at 08:15:52 AM PDT

    •  More like... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Alden, JerryNA

      ... they team up to gang-rape consumers and then try to tell us that rape isn't rape and consumers should lie back and enjoy it.

      I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

      by NonnyO on Fri May 23, 2014 at 08:38:28 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Remember the good old days when (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NonnyO, ColoTim, JerryNA

    a business would grow by offering the consumer a better product at a lower cost with better service?  Now a business grows by buying its competitors and absorbing them into a gigantic business with overpriced products and worthless service.  Welcome to the new "free market."

  •  Uff da!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    Things that matter to Corporate Persons:

    Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!  Corporate profits!

    Fa la la la la la la la ...!

    Xmas comes early to Telecoms!!!!! This is the greatest news for Telecoms since they monopolized our communication services when they were allowed to bundle cable, television, and telephone packages, and FISA fiasco '08 which kept them out of jail for illegally and unconstitutionally spying on us via their intertoobes and crossed wires....

    Gee, aren't "we" all thrilled to be "looking forward" to self-censorship of our communications with family and friends, and making sure we watch all the government+cable TV shows that will brainwash us to their way of thinking instead of watching what we want to watch?

    Gullible Sheep

    Mark Twain smart or imbeciles

    I'm sick of attempts to steer this nation from principles evolved in The Age of Reason to hallucinations derived from illiterate herdsmen. ~ Crashing Vor

    by NonnyO on Fri May 23, 2014 at 08:29:58 AM PDT

  •  That guy smiling 2d from left... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim

    You've convinced me, Mark. If it makes Dick Cheney smile, it's got to be straight from the pit of Hell.

  •  The justification rolls on (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ColoTim, JerryNA

    AT&T should be allowed to buy DirecTV because they need to bulk up to compete with the combined Comcast & Time Warner.

    In turn, that means that the weak ownership limits that currently exist for broadcast TV stations must be further gutted, because broadcasters won't be able to compete and succeed in a world where the pay TV providers are consolidated into two or three really big companies.

    The logic is sound if you accept as fact the idea that the Comcast/Time Warner merger should be approved.  But a far better solution is to reject that merger, reject AT&T buying DirecTV, and not weaken the broadcast ownership regulations.

    It's ad how mergers are used to justify ever greater consolidation, and the idea that maybe a better solution is to just stop the mergers is never given serious consideration.

    If Democrats proclaim the the Earth is round and Republicans insist it is flat, we will shortly see a column in the Washington Post claiming the the earth is really a semi-circle.

    by TexasTom on Fri May 23, 2014 at 10:58:06 AM PDT

  •  I just want to point out that we DON'T have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA

    super-duper high speed connections unless you live in a new apartment building that has fibre optic lines running to it or you do all your surfing at your business.  For most folks, land connections are not being upgraded for the last connection "to the house" and in many areas the telcos are filing notices that they're discontinuing land service entirely.  Rural areas are being left out of all upgrades and in many towns, cities and states where there have been initiatives to start their own services Republicans, ALEC and businesses have passed measures to outlaw even that competition - especially when their alternative is to not offer the same level of service.

  •  The Telecommunications Act of 1996 (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JerryNA

    raised these same issues. We were assured that the overall cost of telecommunications would fall (what a lie that turned out to be) and telecoms would provide Internet at a low price to the poor. (Surprise, low cost Internet is too slow for anything except simple text. It doesn't even support wifi access to a router. But it's CHEAP! Whoowee!)

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