This article I simply have to pass along, for it's a lesson - a "case study" as they'd say in business or management schools - in what happens when you give your support to the looney-tunes visions of David Rockefailure or Edmund de Rottenchild or any of the other super-rich financial crapitalist predators that have too much time on their hands and who want their big Corporations to rule the world. This article was shared by Mr. C.S., and it's well worth contemplating:

Now, in case you missed it, here it is:

A top AT&T executive says the company may soon return to charging consumers an additional fee to protect their privacy. Last year, you might recall AT&T quietly started charging between $531 and $800 more each year if customers wanted to opt out of AT&T’s Internet Preferences program, which uses deep-packet inspection to track and monetize user behavior around the Internet. AT&T was heavily criticized for the move, and ultimately stopped charging the extra fees — but only to help secure regulatory approval for its Time Warner merger.

But with AT&T getting every indication that its latest massive merger will be approved by Trump (despite a campaign promise to kill the deal), and AT&T having just successfully lobbied to kill consumer broadband privacy rules, the company says the “privacy surcharge” may be returning.

This will date me, but I couldn't help but think of the 1960s and 1970s television variety show, Rowan and Martin's Laugh In. For those of you as dated as I am, it brought back memories of Lily Tomlin's send-ups of the AT&T telephone operator. She would begin her routine at the switchboard, with a nasal-but-perfectly-elocuted question: "Hello? Is this the party to whom I am speaking?" On one such occasion, at the height of the Watergate crisis, she phoned the White House, asking - cluelessly - for a "Mr. Richard MILhaus Nix-on", and when he apparently answered, she immediately began to inquire why the phone bill had not been paid, and threatened to yank the White House's communications, then and there.

Of course, Mr. Nixon caved, and corporate America triumphed.

And that's the problem here: modern America has completely lost its senses, and with it, any understanding of the purpose of the Constitution or the Declaration of Independence. The fundamental rights and liberties spoken of in those documents were for individual persons, not corporations. It took the 'recognition" of the corporate persona ficta of law to create the current mess, where the presumption of law and custom is not for the privacy of the individual, but for the intrusion of the corporate "data collector." Even the government itself - at least until the Clinton-Bush-Obama mafia shredded privacy and other rights under various measures - had to get search warrants.

Not so with Ma Bell, as big and powerful as she ever was when Ernestine pulled the plug on Mr. Nixon. AT&T wants to charge you for your privacy. This isn't even crapitalism; it's love of money, and greed. This isn't an American corporation acting in the interests of the American people; this is actually, in a certain sense, culturally treasonous, because it wants to charge you for a right recognized in the declaration of independence and in the Bill of Rights.

When Mr. C.S. sent this to me, he also made a trenchant observation: AT&T wants to charge you for your right to privacy, but they - like other corporations - probably have no intention of observing it, and cannot even deliver on that pledge anyway.

And besides that, would you trust them?

For me, personally, it's just another confirmation that I made the right decision not to have an ipad, cellphone, or even a pager. I do not want them spying on me, which they do via other means, but there's no reason I have to volunteer for more of it.  It's time to start busting the information trusts and cartels: AT&T, Time-Warner, Facebook, Google... all of them. And above all, it's time to examine the whole doctrine of corporate personhood: if corporations are persons, and violate fundamental law, then punishments have to include something more than just fees they pass along to their victims in the form of higher prices, hidden fees, and so on.

See you on the flip side...


  1. Dr. Ferrell a lot of people completely agree that “above all, it’s time to examine the whole doctrine of corporate person hood: if corporations are persons, and violate fundamental law, then punishments have to include something more than just fees they pass along to their victims in the form of higher prices, hidden fees, and so on.”

    How about capital punishment for corporations? Violate the Constitution in terms of the privacy of the individual, and if found guilty it is fully wiped out. Dissolution is the word I’m thinking of. Now that corporations share the privileges of person hood they should also be subject to the same punishments as individuals do when they commit crimes, and the punishment should also extend to its human owners. I think it would prevent a lot of sociopathic behaviors.

      1. Ooops! Perhaps I had a disconnect between my brain and my fingers. Anyway, thanks for the correction. All the best to you!

  2. As long as we’re dating ourselves, my favorite Ernestine (Lily Tomlin) passage was:
    Ernestine: “We’re the phone company. We don’t care. We don’t have to.”
    Ernestine, as the telephone operator: “How may I, in all humble servitude, be of assistance?”

    I am rooting for the day when Corporate ‘personhood’ is revoked – hook, line, and sinker. That, along with the establishment of the Fed, is one of the ‘slippery slopes’ that led us to where we are. In light of that:

    Goldie Hawn (in ‘Laugh In’: “I don’t see why there should be any question about capital punishment. I think everyone in the capital should be punished.”

  3. A United States organization called Move to Amend is working to end corporate personhood.

  4. Robert Barricklow

    George the Dummy President
    [selected by 1 vote in Supreme Court’s Gore vs Bush]
    So the Supreme Court commits treason,
    gets away with it.
    George the Dummy goes on to call
    The Declaration of Independence & The U.S. Constitution,
    “Just pieces of paper”.

    1. With all due respect Robert almost nothing Bush did would have been different under a President Al Gore. The Towers would still have fallen, the financial meltdown would still have occurred, etc. Actually things could have been worse, although its hard to imagine at this stage.

      Tennessee voters were very familiar with Al Gore, Jr as a longtime Senator from that state. Al Gore did not even carry his home state of Tennessee in the 2000 presidential election. In fact, Al gore did not win one Southern state. That ought to tell you something. His father, Al Gore Sr. before him was also a longtime Senator from Tennessee and was as much a racist and as much a part of the Establishment as is Bill Clinton. Southern voters are sick and tired of racist Demoncrats. In fact, in their hayday the KKK was the military arm of the Demoncrat Party when they ruled the South, politically speaking, and as I stated above that is historical fact, not personal or political hype.

      1. Robert Barricklow

        I think that’s a given here at this site.
        Both parties have been captured.
        In fact, I think more harms been done
        under the left cover of the democrats.

  5. Robert Barricklow

    Like a lot of extra charges
    they’re promises unfulfilled
    except in billing,
    of course.

  6. Isn’t that a disturbing idea. They’re going to charge you for a basic right (and since you know they “have no intention of observing it”), you won’t be willing to pay for that “privacy”, and as a price, one becomes passive about the intrusion . So, you end up indirectly submitting to their terms…

  7. You forgot the sixties movie “The President’s Analysis” where the power in the shadows is ATT.

  8. Corporations are getting more bizarre every day, even in a world where they spend billions marketing hot air

      1. I have a 450 foot deep well, my water is filtered by the earth and loaded with minerals. All of my neighbors do as well. Everyone around where I live does. Yet they will pay for bottled water, just like the Chinese will pay for air, and the West will pay for privacy it cannot possibly achieve. You can cure ignorance, you cannot cure stupidity (but you can make it trendy).

          1. Phil the Thrill

            Well….consider the possibility that you may be confronted by a stream of stupid coming out of the hole under someone’s nose. You can always duct tape over it!

    1. Robert Barricklow

      May I see your papers?

      It’s all here, except your…
      Oxygen Certificate isn’t quite up-to-date.

Comments are closed.