The belief that if someone is gay or lesbian, such person is a "liberal," continues to confuse our political discourse. As Andrew Sullivan argued, in a somewhat rare moment of lucidity and humanity, gays and lesbians are, in the title of his book, "Virtually Normal
This means that someone can be gay or lesbian, get placed on a state's utility commission, and yet push deregulation on behalf of the telecom industry at a time when people still can't understand their cell phone bills, can't get out of bad cell phone deals, and telecommunication monopolies continue to re-constitute themselves.
This LA Times
story, in the "Business" section on Sunday, May 22, 2005, tells us about a lesbian woman who has embraced her inner Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand and still claims she is a Democrat. And she serves on California's Public Utilities Commission. Here are several nuggets from this article (since the LA Times hides its articles after a short time, I figure let's quote it at some length):
"As the state's highest-ranking openly gay public official, she embraces the party's ideals of civil rights and individual freedoms. 'I'm a Democrat to the core,' she said.
"So why do Republicans love her so much, while many Democrats distrust her?
"On the commission, Kennedy is orchestrating — at breakneck speed — a wholesale revision of state regulation, mostly to the liking of giant regional phone companies SBC Communications Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc.
"She would eliminate many economic regulations, including the state's power to set wholesale and retail phone rates. In the process, she is dismantling actions she considers excessively pro-consumer, such as a telecom consumers 'bill of rights' pushed by former Commissioners Loretta M. Lynch and Carl W. Wood.
"'She's the most Republican Democrat I've ever seen,' said Joe Gillan, an economist who has worked for AT&T Corp. and other rivals of SBC and Verizon."
Comment: Wonderful. Kerry loses Ohio on the gay marriage initiative (no time for darker conspiracy discussions) and, adding insult to injury, we get Susan Kennedy in California. The article then provides a brief account of Ms. Kennedy's "life story"--and we know how important one's "life story" is to the political identity crowd who continue to work the back rooms of the Democratic Party with the K Street lobbyists:
"The daughter of an RCA Corp. employee and a church secretary, Kennedy grew up in the tough environs of Rumson, a New Jersey shore town. As a 12-year-old in 1972, she was inspired by actress Jane Fonda's support of American Indian and free-speech causes and opposition to the Vietnam War.
"Five years later, a partial meltdown of a nuclear power plant at Three Mile Island near her new home in Lancaster, Pa., raised her political hackles as the government tried to keep a lid on what happened."
Comment: Not one of these has anything to do with income inequality or the plight of the working poor, let alone the poor. Support of Native Americans, free speech, and nuclear power are issues that allow one to pose as a radical...to the working class voter that goes to the church where her mother works. And wait, it gets better! Little Susan, readying herself to come out as a lesbian, goes to work for the husband of her hero, Barbarella-Hanoi Jane-Aebroic Queen-Wife of Billionaire-And-Born Again Christian Fundamentalist-Jane Fonda!
"After dropping out of Millersville State College in Pennsylvania because she was partying too much — 'My father made me pay him back' — Kennedy headed to Los Angeles and, at nearly 20, joined the Campaign for Economic Democracy run by Fonda's then-husband, Tom Hayden."
Comment: And of course the young and radical lesbian Susan is working hard to improve the world there, isn't she? I mean, she stayed there a long time, right?...Didn't she?
"It was a breeding ground for political training: campaigning, fundraising and field organizing. She quickly became a behind-the-scenes organizer and fundraiser taking on ever-increasing responsibilities in a series of jobs to become one of the state Democratic Party's top field organizers."
Comment: I guess she didn't get enough "face time" with Jane Fonda, after all. Oh well, onward and upward into the political insider world of the California Democratic Party of the 1980s, where the cultural libs and economic corporate types were taking over. And:
"In one of the biggest get-out-the-vote campaigns, which Kennedy helped lead, the state Democrats in 1992 put Feinstein in the Senate and helped put Bill Clinton in the presidency. Clinton's 'solution-oriented mind-set,' she said, is one she emulates and one that too many California Democrats don't appreciate."
Comment: Think I'm too rough on poor Susan here? Get a load of this quote from her. Says Ms. Kennedy:
"We (the Democrats) rightfully get tagged with the baggage that all we want to do is tax, spend, regulate," said Kennedy, now 44. "We measure progress by how many regulations and dollars we throw at problems. I'm tired of having my party being labeled as anti-business."
Comment: Has this woman been living in a cave since 1986? No wonder she thinks de-regluation is such a great idea.
Later in the article, she mentions the name of the odious former Federal Communications Commissioner, Michael Powell--not only without vomiting, but actually sounding sorry for him, as if he was an otherwise solid citizen:
"'No one I know, not Michael Powell, not me, not anybody, has said, "Don't regulate utilities at all." … But you can't even have a conversation about getting rid of some of these old rules that actually hurt consumers today without being called a radical deregulatory icon and anti-consumer,' she said."
Comment: Her statement about Michael Powell, unbeknownst to the LA Times reporter, was no accident. This
article from 2004 in the San Francisco Chronicle tells us about her being co-chair of a group with Michael Powell to make the world safer for SBC and Rupert Murdoch. The group held a conference last year at which no consumer advocates were invited and in which she failed to disclose her membership in that group that is funded by industry. Talk about openness, good government, and diversity! Way to go, Susan--you hit the trifecta of modern politics as practiced by that paragon of gay rights, Tom DeLay!
Oh, is that Sean Hannity calling on line 2? "Hi, this is Sean. Is this Susan Kennedy? Great! How'd you like to be the new FoxNews Liberal?"
Now, back to the article. And just what has this woman been up to in the past four months, you may wonder, besides taking part in Gay Pride Parades?
"In the last four months — with Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's blessing and aided by the departure of Commissioners Wood and Lynch — Kennedy has spearheaded such major changes as:
• Shelving the nation's first telecom consumers bill of rights eight months after it was passed and recently proposing a much less restrictive replacement.
• Dropping the commission's court challenge to a Federal Communications Commission order that blocks states from regulating Internet telephony.
• Recommending that state lawmakers remove municipal barriers hindering telecoms from offering new high-speed and video services, leaving most broadband regulation to the FCC.
• Proposing a new way to regulate the industry, leaving it with little state oversight.
"Like the big carriers, Kennedy wants to end economic regulation of the industry, said Cynthia Marshall, SBC's senior vice president for regulatory affairs in California. 'She has the big picture. She can construct a win for consumers, business and the state.'"
Comment: Really, Cynthia? And what possible motivations could you have as "senior vice president for regulatory affairs in California" for SBC, which just took over...AT&T
Some sanity does arrive later in the article where some question Susan Kennedy's positions:
"The fact is, there is no local competition and limited long-distance competition," said state Sen. Debra Bowen (D-Marina del Rey), who is critical of Kennedy's stance.
"Cable and Internet telephony require high-speed connections, she said, and typically consumers in metropolitan areas have only two choices at most for such broadband service: telephone or cable lines.
"And if other modes of competition don't materialize soon, said TURN analyst Regina Costa, a deregulated California would not be in a position 'to clean up the mess.' That kind of deregulation, she said, 'is irresponsible.'"
"Kennedy's rush to overhaul the rules is intended to play into the hands of SBC and Verizon, said former Commissioner Wood. "'You could be sure that if big business wanted to slow down, it would happen,' he said. 'What is really lacking in Kennedy's approach is respect for involvement by ordinary people.'"
Comment: The article charitably gives Susan Kennedy the last word. I, on the other hand, will intersperse my comments below with hers:
"Kennedy argues, for example, that it makes no sense to require SBC and Verizon to file mounds of paperwork before offering a new calling feature that Internet competitors can introduce immediately."
Comment: Such as what? Is SBC afraid of Vonage? And if they are worried about no regulation of Vonage's contracts, then why not regulate Vonage if they're ripping people off with complicated and difficult contracts? What is Verizon afraid of? ...Mozilla? And, Susan, cut the rhetoric of "mounds of paperwork." Ever see the small print these bastards use in their consumer contracts? Ever read the "license" you get when you think you've actually purchased software?
"She would still regulate social welfare, safety and industry matters, such as emergency 911 calling, funding for service to the poor and to high-cost rural areas and the way carriers connect to one another's networks."
Comment: Nice, Susan. Notice she went past what State Sen. Debra Bowen discussed regarding the problems facing urban dwellers, who make up by far the most users in need of services that are pro-consumer. She also fails to recall that the Bill of Rights
for Cell Phone users that she helped kill had included protections to allow consumers thirty days to cancel their contracts after signing, among other protections of the consumer from aggressive salesmanship.
"Her efforts are by no means radical, she said. Regulators and legislators in 17 other states already are working on measures that would remove rate regulations and restrictions on bundling services, such as video and broadband. A bill in South Carolina would end state regulation of many other aspects of telecom service."
Comment: South Carolina? Of course, that bastion of left wing reformist movements! And they sure do love homosexuals
in that State legislature don't they?
Bottom line: Here is the web site for TURN
, which is often a strong advocate for consumers and was an early opponent of California's de-regulation of energy in California--back when the Susan Kennedys of the mid- to late 1990s thought THAT was a good idea.
As for Susan Kennedy, a little advice: Please, please, please become a Republican and add your voice to help restore that party's humanity and dignity for human beings other than fetuses and those who inherit millions from their parents. Your continued presence in the Democratic Party is a betrayal of workers and consumers.
(edited as it was a long post)