The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, in the same hands, whether of one, a few, or many, and whether hereditary, self-appointed, or elective, may justly be pronounced the very definition of tyranny. Federalist Papers #47
Wednesday, May 10, 2006
Thursday, May 04, 2006
The Selling of the Internet
It's called Net Neutrality and it has been a cornerstone of the internet experience since the beginning. It is the principle by which my little blog here is treated by the various ISPs the same way as any other site, big, little, in between. Well, that's about to change if the big telecoms and cable operators get their way. They want to control not just the infrastructure they also want control of content. They want to be able to charge content providers for access to the "fast lanes"; don't want to pay? Well then you take your chances. Maybe you'll just get shuttled to the "slow lane" with the resulting degradation in sevice, or worse, shut out completely. This will basically turn the internet into something more akin to cable tee-vee.
Another affected service is something that also hits me close to home: voip phone service. I use Vonage and I'm very happy with it. Now say my cable provider (Adelphia, which I am also happy with) decides to charge Vonage a premium for high speed access, I guess my phone bill goes up. Another scenario (and this has already happened), Adelphia decides to offer their own voip or another service is willing to pay more, so they reduce Vonage's band width to the minimum (or less) and so my Vonage service is degraded to the point that I have to change to their voip or go back to a regular phone company again (ewwww).
This is moving through the Congress even as we speak. An amendment introduced by Ed Markey (D,MA) to the telecom bill that would have protected net-neutrality was defeated in the House 32 to 24 despite a last minute effort by the net roots community(we got caught sleeping on this one). Some good things are starting to happen, though. They say "politics makes strange bedfellows" and this issue is certainly proving that. When you have MoveOn.org teaming with the Gun Owners of America and Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo coming together this going to be the legislative fight of the year. " Whenever you see the far left and the far right joining together over something Congress is about to do, it's been my experience that what Congress is about to do is basically un-American." said Gun Owner spokesman Craig Fields. On the legislative front Senator Olympia Snowe (R,ME) and Senator Byron Dorgan (D,ND) are crafting a bill much like the Markey Amendment that would prohibit the Big Players from creating the two tiered internet.
This is going to be a real battle. AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner, and the rest of them are pulling no punches, mounting a huge lobbying campaign and using front groups to try and push public support for their plan. They are also engaging in what amounts to corporate extortion, claiming that if net-neutrality is codified in law, they will essentially refuse to make improvements and stall the expansion of access to broadband. This nothing but bare naked corporate greed at its worst. They've decided that they want to profit on both the pipes and the product. If you value the freedom of access we have now, it's time for you to take action. Write your Senators and Congress Critters and let them know how you feel, then call them and tell them how you feel, then write them again and again and again. MoveOn.org has an online petition here.
For a better explaination of the issue than I can give, try this FAQ.
Just know that if we sit on our hands, the internet as we know it could be gone, forever, and when you here the cry of "Keep the government out of the internet" it's just code for "Give the internet to the corporations instead."
Clik the link to the right for more.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Ava Lowery is a 15 year old peace activist from Alabama and has made some really great short vids. One, entitled "WWJD" is especially poignant: a child singing "Jesus Loves Me" and images of Iraqi children caught up in the horrors of the war. For her efforts she has received really vile e-mails, even death threats. For those same efforts she has been entered in the Huffington Post Contagious Festival. I am posting a link to her site both to help her win and because the work is truly worth sharing.
Go on over and see for yourself. Kids like she make me feel a little better about the future of our country.
Thursday, April 13, 2006
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Interesting: How you know you're a Republican
This is not my creation, I found it in a diary at kos.
It was distributed by e-mail so I assume it is in the public domain. Pretty darn good snark.
*Jesus loves you, and shares your hatred of homosexuals, Arabs, and Hillary Clinton.and don't forget to drink your kool-aide, mmmm, delicious red kool-aide.
*Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney and Rumsfeld did business with him, and a bad guy when Bush couldn't find Bin Laden.
*Trade with Cuba is wrong because the country is Communist, but trade with China and Vietnam is vital to a spirit of international harmony.
*The United States should get out of the United Nations, and our highest national priority is enforcing U.N. resolutions against Iraq.
*A woman can't be trusted with decisions about her own body, but multi-national corporations can make decisions affecting all mankind without regulation.
*The best way to improve military morale is to praise the troops in speeches, while slashing veterans' benefits and combat pay.
*If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.
*A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle and antagonize our long-time allies, then demand their cooperation and money.
*Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy, but providing health care to all Americans is socialism.
*HMOs and insurance companies have the best interests of the public at heart.
*Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.
*A president lying about an extramarital affair is an impeachable offense, but a president lying to enlist support for a war in which thousands die is solid defense policy.
*Government should limit itself to the powers named in the Constitution, which include banning gay marriages and censoring the Internet.
*The public has a right to know about Hillary's cattle trades, but George Bush's and Dick Cheney's driving records are none of our business.
*Being a drug addict is a moral failing and a crime, unless you're a conservative radio host. Then it's an illness and you need our prayers for your recovery.
*Supporting "Executive Privilege" is imperative for every Republican ever born, who will be born or who might be born in perpetuity.
*What Bill Clinton did in the 1960s is of vital national interest, but what Bush did in the '80s is irrelevant.
*There's nothing wrong with supporting drunken hunters who shoot their friends and blaming the friends for looking too much like quail.
Monday, April 03, 2006
I haven't put up a new post in a few days. I,xe been doing puppy bidness, trying to get rid of a trojan on my computer and reading American Theocracy, Kevin Phillips new book. If anybody is actually reading this, I'll probably have something of some substance in a day or two.
To all those in Rightblogostan, lay off Jill Carroll will ya'.
Local News: Waldo Dems. are having a Senate Candidate Policy Forum on Saturday, April 8th, 2 to 4 p.m. in the Abbott Room at the Belfast Free Public Library. Come on out and get an opportunity to hear what Jean Hay-Bright and Eric Mehnert have to say.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
The A.F.A.(and Friends) is at it Again...
The American(?)Family Association is again calling for a boycott of Ford. I try to freep their e-mail bombs, but this one is uneditable. Anyway here's a list of organizations that are suppose to be supporting their boycott.
Enlightened group isn't it
Tom Delay Indicted For Being a Christian...
at least according to Rick Scarborough. At a conference he organized called "The War on Christians and The Values Voters 2006" Scarborough said that " the most damaging thing that Tom DeLay has done in his life is take his faith seriously into public office, which made him a target for all those who despise the cause of Christ," never mind the money laundering or the violations of campaign finance law, it's really about poor Tom the new poster child for persecuted Christians in America, this in a country where 85% of the population self-identify as Christians.
But wait it gets better. Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer posits that the "War on Christians" helps to motivate Al Quiada "They believe they can win, because they believe you and I are decadent; they think our civilization is fat and lazy," he said. "I believe they're wrong, but I understand why they're confused."
Who is behind this so called war? The "liberal elites" of course, who, according to Bauer, think America is "a country of unbridled liberty, different strokes for different folks." I think throwing around the word elites as some sort of perjorative is, at the very least, misleading. Now I don't know about you, but to me conference participants like Tom DeLay (R-Tex.) and Sens. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) and Sam Brownback (R-Kan.) as well as conservative Christian leaders Phyllis Schlafly, Rod Parsley, Gary Bauer, Janet Parshall and Alan Keyes, along with James Dobson(Focus on the Family), Jerry Falwell, Pat (the assassin) Robertson, and Donald Wildmon(American Family Association) can be labeled the "conservative Christian elite" who are engaged in "The War on Everyone Who Doesn't Embrace Our Beliefs", an American Taliban, if you will.
One of the most telling quotes from the conference came from Bill Fancher, an American Family Radio journalist(?), "The media doesn't understand [conservative Christians'] inability to compromise on principles," he said, adding: "I don't apologize for being narrow-minded." and that seems to sum up what this conference was all about.
There is no "War on Christianity" - Tom Delay is being prosecuted for breaking the law, not persecuted for his religious beliefs.
There Is no "War on Christianity" - There is disagreement among Chistians. As one of the 15% of non-Christian Americans, I say work it out amongst yourselves, it's not my problem.
There is no "War on Christianity" - Only a cynical exploitation of sincere people of faith by those in power and who wish to remain in and expand that power with the ultimate goal of establihing a Fundementalist Christian Theocracy.
examples amount to religious persecution disrespects the experiences of people
who have been jailed and died because of their faith," said K. Hollyn Hollman,
general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty.
"This is a skirmish over religious pluralism, and the inclination to see it as a war
against Christianity strikes me as a spoiled-brat response by Christians who
have always enjoyed the privileges of a majority position," said the Rev. Robert
M. Franklin, a minister in the Church of God in Christ and professor of social
ethics at Emory University.