Freedom from Big Tech helps you tell our Federal Trade Commission to start breaking up big tech monopolies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google. Why? Because they have too much power! You remember Orkut, Tribe, MySpace, and Friendster? Now they're either gone or mere husks of their former selves, because Facebook dominates all. You remember search engines like Momma and Ask Jeeves? Well, Google stomps all over them, too. And Amazon didn't just muscle B. Dalton, Encore, and Waldenbooks out of strip malls all over America, they sentenced uncountable small businesses to oblivion. How many times must I tell these pimps! Small businesses are more accountable to the communities they serve than any big corporation, and they innovate more, too -- which is why big corporations constantly buy small businesses out. But the bigger they get, the more they impose their will upon us, and we have every right to demand that our government -- which works on our behalf, ideally! -- put a stop to that.
Meanwhile, Free Press helps you tell our Federal Communications Commission to reject the proposed Sprint/T-Mobile merger. You know the reasons to reject it: mergers kill jobs, raise prices, give consumers fewer choices, and concentrate power in fewer hands; the fact that neither one of these corporations planning to merge is AT&T or Verizon doesn't change any of that. We have, incidentally, another reason to reject the merger: that it might cut off access to smaller carriers that use the bigger carriers' lines, since the resulting bigger corporation can more easily push around smaller carriers. For example, Consumer Cellular -- you've seen their ads; they give inexpensive phone plans to folks over 50, and they even offer flip phones! -- uses T-Mobile's lines; you think the behemoth resulting from a Sprint/T-Mobile merger will give Consumer a better deal? Maybe that sounds like a first-world problem -- until you can't afford phone service.
Finally, Penn Environment helps you tell your Congressfolk to reauthorize the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which has given us such historic outdoors landmarks as the Delaware Water Gap and the Appalachian Trail. LWCF funding expires in just a few weeks, and Congress probably hopes you don't realize the LWCF is there -- and certainly we can't count on our President suddenly reminding us it's there, since the LWCF is about preserving the past for future generations and I just named two things our President doesn't give one rat's hind quarter about. But the LWCF dedicates certain offshore gas and drilling fees toward the task of buying up and preserving historic lands, and when it last expired in 2015, Congress only extended it for three years, despite initially authorizing it for 25 and then renewing it for another 25. Yes, that's another data point suggesting Congress really has gotten a lot worse over time. But we made them reauthorize it before, and we can do it again -- if we act.
(Oh, and in case you were wondering why posting has been relatively light lately, I'm working on the second Penny Rants volume, which will cover the years 2013-2016. I'll put that out in mid-October, and then I'll get to work on the third Penny Rants volume, which will cover 2017 and 2018; that'll be out in mid-January. I'll do some live shows to celebrate those two releases; I'll share more details about those as I get them. But, you know, save the dates, such as they are -- and thank you for reading, and for being good citizens.)