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The Public Interest Standard, Freedom, and Oppression

Michael Powell admitted he did not fully grasp the meaning of the public interest standard in a speech to the American Bar Association shortly after becoming a Commissioner in 1998.

"The night after I was sworn in, I waited for a visit from the angel of the public interest. I waited all night, but she did not come. And, in fact, five months into this job, I still have had no divine awakening and no one has issued me my public interest crystal ball."

See http://www.fcc.gov/Speeches/Powell/spmkp806.html

The notion of a public interest standard appears 109 times in the Communication Act and represents the basis of government asserted in the United States Constitution.

Many public officials appear to share Mr. Powell's uncertainty and uncertainty breeds mischief, so it seems a good idea to make the notion of the public interest standard as rigorous as possible.

Consider *** Public Interest Standard - the pursuit of policies that maximize freedom and minimize oppression without threatening survival. ***

This means maximizing choice in the liberation of free will, and the protection from domination associated with the subjugation of free will.

The public interest standard assigns high value to policies that obtain for citizens choice and low value to policies that restrict choices.

From time to time, governments can and do rationalize the destruction of freedom to assure survival.

Chairman Powell offered in another speech that a Bell company might need to acquire Worldcom to assure continuity of service.

The notion of *survival* or *granting citizens choice threatens survival.* appears any time government seeks to take away freedoms. Consider the rationale a government uses to intern American citizens of Japanese descent. Consider the loss of freedom associated with the war on terrorism or any war for that matter.

Citizens need to hold government accountable to the public interest standard. The failure to assure the freedom of choice represents a failure of government.


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