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Friday, December 21, 2007

ConnectKentucky should get lump of coal

This is a subject I first addressed a few weeks ago but it continues to deserve our attention. The background is that this organization, whose members are generally the big, rich, telephone companies and privately owned cable companies, ConnectKentucky, is hanging around our state legislature looking to siphon off our tax revenues for their own selfish purposes. They have been quite successful at this in the past. During the last couple of legislative sessions they have already been successful in getting millions of our tax dollars by claiming that they have a magic potion that results in more broadband facilities being built for the people of Kentucky.

Of course, the truth is that their members are having to build more broadband facilities (at a snail's pace) due to the fear of losing customers to more fleet-footed competitors. These competitors, like the Glasgow EPB, are never as wealthy or well financed as the members of ConnectKentucky, but, curiously, they have always been able to raise their own capital and purchase their own hardware without asking the State to fund them. This is not the case for the ConnectKentucky folks. They feel that the likes of AT&T, Windstream, and others similar poor and downtrodden telecommunications companies should get money from the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet to help them do what they have been responsible for doing for decades.

But don't just take my word for it. This link will take you to an article on ConnectKentucky by a real live journalist who is qualified to expand on the snake oil that CK (even under their new nation-wide moniker of Connected Nation), is trying to serve to all of our elected representatives.

Would you not be ashamed to lobby the Kentucky Legislature for additional funding for already wealthy companies when the finances of our Commonwealth are already so dire? That is not my word, those are the words of our new Governor as expressed on the front page of today's Courier Journal. Normal folks would be ashamed, but ConnectKentucky is not. During the holidays if you should happen to run across one of our legislators, let them know that you are watching them and ConnectKentucky and that the bill they are trying to sneak through in the next legislative session must die as well as ALL future funding for this cabal.

Of course, this sort of attempt to further enrich the already rich is not new and it was not invented by ConnectKentucky. Rather, this is a continuation of the river of greed that cuts so deeply through the landscape of our republic. More than a century ago, Orestes A. Brownson wrote in The American Republic, "The men of wealth, the business men, manufacturers and merchants, bankers and brokers, are the men who exert the worst influence on government in every country. . . . They act on the beautiful maxim, 'Let the government take care of the rich, and the rich will take care of the poor', instead of the far safer maxim, 'Let government take care of the weak, the strong can take care of themselves.'" Are these words not still true today? Are we going to do anything to make sure our elected officials recognize this truth?

So I make this simple suggestion, let's make the safe assumption that the members of ConnectKentucky are the strong, and they should get the heck out of our state legislature and get busy taking care of themselves. Let's drive this message home whenever and wherever we can.