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Comcast Eager To See Kevin Martin Take A Hike
Though will a Democratic FCC be any friendlier?
by Karl Bode 10:20AM Monday Nov 10 2008 Tipped by caco See Profile
FCC boss Kevin Martin has traditionally been seen as someone with a personal grudge against the cable industry, though it's more likely the calculating commish was just closer with baby bell lobbyists. Most of the time, what was seen as Martin being "tough on cable" was him simply positioning himself for a post-FCC political career in North Carolina. His indecency efforts were aimed at pleasing family values groups, while his largely unfruitful efforts to cap cable industry growth or "investigate" P2P throttling look pro-consumer, but benefit AT&T.

With Obama winning the Presidency, the cable industry hopes their fortunes could change. Dallas-based AT&T to some degree hitched their cart to the McCain campaign, with a significant number of McCain staffers having deep ties to both AT&T and Verizon. Comcast, however, played a major role in helping bring Obama to office. It turnes out that Comcast's David Cohen (if you recall he threatened to sue the FCC for meddling in their BitTorrent throttling) was a huge Obama contributor, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer:
quote:
Uber fund-raiser and Comcast Corp. top executive David L. Cohen dined Democratic bigwigs in his Philadelphia home last month to help raise $6.1 million for then-candidate Sen. Barack Obama and the party. It was the talk of the town and a record-setting fund-raiser in Pennsylvania, Cohen said.
Comcast probably shouldn't be too excited. Obama also got significant support from the unions, and he's very close with Google. While Google CEO Eric Schmidt may not want the job of Obama tech czar, he is on the President-elect's transition team. Both the cable and phone companies consider Google public enemy number one for the search giant's positions on subjects like network neutrality and increased wireless competition. It's fairly unlikely that the phone or cable companies will particularly enjoy Obama's FCC chief selection, either.

Still, for the moment, Comcast just seems happy that Martin will be on his way out. "We hope the process has more clarity and transparency and decisions are based on the public record," a Comcast spokesman tells the Inquirer.

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SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

Obama

Funny how so many people bought the story that Obama was driven mostly by individual contributions. I'm glad he beat McCain, but it'll come out that he is a corporate toadie just like the rest of them.
I pos rep

join:2008-08-22

Re: Obama

said by SLD:

Funny how so many people bought the story that Obama was driven mostly by individual contributions. I'm glad he beat McCain, but it'll come out that he is a corporate toadie just like the rest of them.
Stating the obvious much? You realize how much money alone they used on advertising right?

I am sure Obama could not pay that out of his own checking account. Obviously every politician has some corporate ties in some way. One might have less than the other and be better but both candidates always share a lot in common. When have you seen an independent win recently? This has happened very few times in the whole country's history and I can't remember when that was last.

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

1 edit

Re: Obama

said by I pos rep:

When have you seen an independent win recently? This has happened very few times in the whole country's history and I can't remember when that was last.
What do you expect when a duopoly of political parties bands together and creates the rules for elections and national debates? I wouldn't expect them to allow for an impartial 3rd party to be able to get involved and make any kind of a legitimate impact on the status quo. Besides, money is the biggest obstacle, and anyone with the resources to generate enough of it are probably not much different in character and substance than any other career politician looking out for the corporations.

Sorry Comcast, we will surely see another "Martin" in this position as the Telcos have control and they know how to keep it.

S_engineer
Premium
join:2007-05-16
Chicago, IL

Re: Obama

So your saying that you don't think Ross Perot would have had an impact before he went crazy?

jmn1207
Premium
join:2000-07-19
Ashburn, VA
kudos:1

Re: Obama

said by S_engineer:

So your saying that you don't think Ross Perot would have had an impact before he went crazy?
»www.pollyticks.com/item/the-best···ss-perot

Crazy Ross actually did make a huge impact. In fact, it was precisely because of him, and the unforeseen risk he presented to the Republicans and Democrats, that the rules for the national debates were updated to keep similar opponents from sharing the stage with them.

Titus
Mr Gradenko

join:2004-06-26
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Embarq Now Centu..
said by SLD:

Funny how so many people bought the story that Obama was driven mostly by individual contributions. I'm glad he beat McCain, but it'll come out that he is a corporate toadie just like the rest of them.
If you want a pol not tied to corporate money, you'd better find another party. Strike that, another country. Strike that ... you won't find one.
--

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

Re: Obama

I voted for Nader.
satellite68

join:2007-04-11
Louisville, KY

Re: Obama

said by SLD:

I voted for Nader.
In other news, local man shouts obscenities at passing train. Nobody heard what he was saying, so the story seems unimportant.

Glad to know you're one of the 600k people who voted for an asshat like Nader, who just can't keep his yapper shut:

»www.youtube.com/watch?v=ibsP6XN2dIo

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

1 edit

Re: Obama

Understand his words in the context of his argument and you'll understand that Fox missed the point.

88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness

Re: Obama

said by SLD:

Understand his words in the context of his argument and you'll understand that Fox missed the poing.
There is ZERO context in which it is ok to call a black man especially the President "Uncle Tom". NONE. ZILCH. NADA. he might as well called him a n1gger.

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

3 edits

1 recommendation

Re: Obama

If you *listen*, he never called him that.
You could Wikipedia the term to understand it a bit.
I know you're from good 'ole Tennessee, but remember, just because FOX says it doesn't make it true.

Nader speaks in terms of consumerism vs. corporate power. He is a minority Arab-American. He as protected all of us with his work and saved thousands of lives in the process. Just because Shepard Smith and some blondie GOP "newscaster" misunderstand his statements doesn't make them incorrect.

Truthful

@dslblast.com
If you voted for Nader, you effectively voted for Bush. Pleased with yourself?

SLD
Premium
join:2002-04-17
San Francisco, CA

1 recommendation

Re: Obama

You may have noticed that Bush wasn't running...
And if you sell your vote to the least worse candidate, you just sold yourself short.

james1

join:2001-02-26

2 recommendations

said by Truthful :

If you voted for Nader, you effectively voted for Bush. Pleased with yourself?
The only reason third party votes are throwaway votes is because everyone thinks they're throwaway votes. It's self fulfilling, and only true because it is throught to be true.

The Democrats and Republicans are the same party, they went to the same schools and were in the same fraternities. They only differ on a very few unimportant things such as Gay Marriage and Abortion, but are arm in arm when it comes to all the important things such as pandering to corporate fat cats and keeping wars going.

supergirl

join:2007-03-20
Pensacola, FL
Before Martin took over, the FCC was more consumer friendly. Democrats will make it that way again.
Bill03
Premium
join:2007-11-26
Richmond, VA

Re: Obama

said by supergirl:

Before Martin took over, the FCC was more consumer friendly. Democrats will make it that way again.
I wished I shared your optimism.
voipdabbler

join:2006-04-27
Kalispell, MT

1 recommendation

I wouldn't hold my breath. Biden, Obama and other Congressional democrats have just as many connections with industry groups that want to limit fair use and other consumer rights (doctrine of first sale, etc.). Truthfully, this country needs a viable third political party--the democrats and republicans are too closely aligned on many policy issues (gee, guess who marched lock-step with Bush on anything labeled "national security"--democrats currently in Congress). With respect to cable, cellular, etc., you're more likely to see higher fees, period. (I expect to see federal regulatory fees for almost everything increase; if you don't cut federal spending then you have to increase fees and taxes.) Thankfully, Congress only sits for 2 years--in 2010 all of the house and 1/3rd of the Senate will be up for re-election. If the 111th Congress, which will be sworn in in January 2009, enacts unpopular/harmful legislation, then the majority party will pay the price at the polls in the 2010 elections.

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000
Heh This will probably delay the thoughs of an AT&T Verizon merger by 4 to 8 years
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA

Re: Obama

said by battleop:

Heh This will probably delay the thoughs of an AT&T Verizon merger by 4 to 8 years
Do you really think AT&T will screw up so badly that Verizon will be able to afford to take them over?

battleop

join:2005-09-28
00000

Re: Obama

If anything maybe one would trade it's wireless for the others land line. It's not very likely to happen but if it were to happen it would happen under a heavily republican administration.
Sammer

join:2005-12-22
Canonsburg, PA
said by supergirl:

Before Martin took over, the FCC was more consumer friendly. Democrats will make it that way again.
The two current Democrats prove that isn't necessarily true.

FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5

1 edit
Will this give Comcast a break at the FCC after Martin and his cable vendetta is gone from the scene?

At least 1 thing is certain - Comcast's Cohen will have the ear of the President as 1 of his biggest fund raisers in the recent election.

I guess a lot of people will be shocked that Obama was/is/will be bought just like all pols.
--
My BLOG .. .. Internet News .. .. My Web Page
Ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel lucky?' Well, do ya punk?

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

Re: Obama

quote:
At least 1 thing is certain - Comcast's Cohen will have the ear of the President as 1 of his biggest fund raisers in the recent election.
Technically, that's the only thing that isn't certain in this story. Interesting point otherwise, though.
elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA
Reviews:
·Time Warner Cable
·EarthLink
said by FFH5:

Will this give Comcast a break at the FCC after Martin and his cable vendetta is gone from the scene?

At least 1 thing is certain - Comcast's Cohen will have the ear of the President as 1 of his biggest fund raisers in the recent election.

I guess a lot of people will be shocked that Obama was/is/will be bought just like all pols.
Uh, vendetta?

The FCC hasn't done anything substantial to rein in cable, since the "reform" act passed Congress. They've given a slight gift to telcos - removing line sharing and state regulation of DSL, but that really only puts them on a level playing field with cable.

Not the way I'd run things, but hardly a "vendetta".
nasadude

join:2001-10-05
Rockville, MD

hopefully, that won't help them

they may want to get rid of Martin, but hopefully that won't end the scrutiny of their practices.

on a happier note, I assume Martin's political ambitions are as a republican. Even though NC leans republican, that appears to have started changing with this recent election. I look forward to Martin running and being defeated.
bogey7806

join:2004-03-19
Here
kudos:1

So anti-throttling is pro-AT&T?

If we get a pro-throttling commissioner in there, that's a good thing?

fatmanskinny
Premium
join:2004-01-04
Wandering
Reviews:
·Vonage
·Comcast Digital ..

What I am eager to see....

More competition: Cable companies should be forced to open up their lines, in addition to the regional Bells. Also, companies that run across Comcast and Bell systems should have to pay for maintenance, etc of those lines. If we share the lines, we also share the costs of maintaining those lines.
--
God saved me from myself! Thank you, Lord, in the Name of Jesus!
beaups

join:2003-08-11
Hilliard, OH

Re: What I am eager to see....

What about the cost of deploying the lines? Why would comcast share lines that they paid to deploy?

Not to mention the network management nightmares that would come with this. Say the headend (I think that's what they are called) for your block is sitting there that comcast paid for. you elect to go with Time warner through that headend and your next door neighbor sticks with comcast. So now we have twice the content coming through the same "pipes". Where exactly do you expect that bandwidth to come from?

Flibbetigibbet

@charter.com

Re: What I am eager to see....

Separate the line ownership from the service. You can either be a service provider or you can own, maintain, and lease out the lines and switching centers. You can't be both.

That's the only way you're ever going to fix this. Otherwise you'll always have a monopoly in a given geographic area (barring the very rare cases where there are two sets of lines for the same "format").
NewMariner

join:2005-06-24

Karl, Please Edit

"With Obama winning the Presidency, the cable industry hopes their fortunes could change. San Antonio-based AT&T to some degree hitched their cart to the McCain campaign, with a significant number of McCain staffers having deep ties to both AT&T and Verizon."

Karl, Att is no longer based in San Antonio. Its based in Dallas, Tx.

Karl Bode
News Guy
join:2000-03-02
kudos:39

Re: Karl, Please Edit

Fixed, thanks.

DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3

What the

How can you think a Pro-throttling FCC would be good for anyone?

if that happens then CC will be able to block vonage/skype/other voip

and non-CC VOD will be bye bye

and how can you be anti-net neutrality?(sure Congress will mess it up 10 ways from saterday but if its kept to what its ment for then it'll be good)
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD

Careful what you wish for...

Because you might just get it.

Just because Comcast gave a ton of money to Obama's campaign doesn't mean they will get what they want.
rody_44
Premium
join:2004-02-20
Quakertown, PA
Reviews:
·Comcast

2 edits

Re: Careful what you wish for...

comcast didnt give him a ton of money. cohen had a dinner at his house and raised money. martins going to get a nice cushy job in the private sector. if cohen wasnt in the private sector man would he make a good president. i really mean that. he is a very stand up guy and is just a really good human being.
moonpuppy

join:2000-08-21
Glen Burnie, MD

Re: Careful what you wish for...

said by rody_44:

comcast didnt give him a ton of money. cohen had a dinner at his house and raised money. martins going to get a nice cushy job in the private sector. if cohen wasnt in the private sector man would he make a good president. i really mean that. he is a very stand up guy and is just a really good human being.
Same difference. Having a dinner and charging at the door is the same thing as handing over a big check. Cohen is going to call on Obama later on and remind him of his "fund-raising efforts." To think otherwise is extremely naive.
daveberstein

join:2002-07-15
New York, NY

Martin, Comcast, Obama

Karl
Thanks much for the David Cohen bit, which I had missed. Meanwhile, I've been watch Kyle McSlarrow of the cable association being massively behind McCain, I believe including getting money from Comcast execs.

But I think Kevin Martin (and Mike Powell, etc.) are more complicated than just political animals responding to paymasters. I call it "How do you buy an honest man?" I believe both Martin and Powell would throw you out of the office if you offered a million dollar suitcase, and probably would have you arrested. I'm confident both wanted to do right by the consumer and personally strongly believe in being ethical. I also believe that on all but a handful of major votes before 2008, Martin's votes would have been the same if he were a flunky. I welcome more ideas, but here's part of it.
1) Hire the very best persuaders in the world. Folks like Tom Tauke of Verizon and Jim Cicconi of AT&T are paid perhaps $2M a year and are very, very good.
2) Provide them with provide them with almost unbelievable amounts of money. I've traced $46M from AT&T as just part of their spending on one issue (TV franchises) in a single year (2006) through just one of many routes (Charlie Black in between running Republican presidential elections.) My guess is that overall spending to influence telecom and related issues is closer to $2B than $1B, but it's hard to get a firm number. The carriers are a large portion.
3) Use some of that money at every opportunity to buy "access" and perhaps more. The $6.2M Comcast's David Cohen raised for Obama was not just because he supports Obama. That's enough money to expect to be consulted on ajor decisions at the FCC including the appointments. Being consulted does not imply Cohen will make the decision, although Verizon's Tom Tauke was rumored to have an effective veto on Bush's second FCC chair. Tauke's early endorsement was crucial to Martin getting the job. Tauke's Bush ties are so strong the Washington Post reported he was offered the campaign manager job in 2000, but apparently turned it down because he didn't want to cut his income 90% and still take orders from Karl Rove.
AT&T provided $1M to a foundation named after Congressman Bobby Rush which employed Rush's son and promoted Rush's causes in the community. Rush has voted several times in favor of AT&T proposals I believe hurt his constituents. I haven't checked this year, but often a majority of those elected in the U.S. have received the maximum legal contribution from one or more Bells.
4) The money also supports an army of sycophants that typically overwhelm D.C. policy events. One university-sponsored event had a majority of speakers I knew had substantial financial ties to the bells. Organizations they fund (APT) constantly run D.C. events that mostly feature carrier points of view, with a few included for "balance." These are usually well and effectively promoted and are very visible in DC.
5) They massively fund "studies" that provide credibility to their lobbying point of view. Some are done by nominally independent and non-profit groups who have a predictable point of view. Others come from "economists for hire" shops like Criterion. They are typically produced by people with respectable credentials and enough knowledge of economics to impress people who don't look closely at the work. Almost always lobbyists can find someone with credentials willing to take their money.
6) Their studies and organizations effectively cross-promote each other. I've seen Verizon funded studies that quote a dozen Verizon funded sources who quote them in turn. One "non-profit" produced a "study" that would have had a hard time being accepted in a college term paper because it drew strong conclusions without anything close to statistically significant data. 3 data points were used to estimate $134B of impact, with precise breakdowns for 50 states. The primary conclusion on the impact of broadband on jobs was based on a Verizon funded "study" that specifically did not find a significant link to jobs. It turns out using their data more carefully leads to a conclusion the organization's demand creation efforts were worse than useless, with the three data points actually finding the take rate was lower when the increased supply was taken into account. Availability went from 60% to 95%, which ordinarily would have created more new broadband connections without any "demand side effort."

I've a great deal more on how money and influence actually actually control most of D.C., but I'm already too long for a comment.
db

Here's the new boss, same as the old boss

The telcos vs. cablecos "war" reminds me of reactions to the Iran-Iraq war in the early '80's: "Why can't they both lose?"