At the dawn of the 20th century, the oil pipes defined America. As the 21st century emerges, the information pipes define America and the world.
A century ago, a courageous muckraker, Ida Tarbell, wrote a series of articles that lead to the breakup of Standard Oil, which had become a trust controlling the energy and associated industries to fix prices, restrict competition and harm the nation.
Today, the "communications trust" -- AT&T, Verizon and the major cable companies of Comcast and Time Warner -- controls the two wires and the wireless networks that link the nation's homes, businesses, schools and other institutions. The communications trust has failed America. A few examples illustrate this failure: