Aug 06

Who’s behind opposition to universal health care?

Wealthy conservative corporate interests, of course.

We all knew that, but here’s an actual outline on the teevee.

If it wasn’t for Maddow and the Daily Show, though, all you’d have are endless parades of batshit angry/insane people yelling at Democratic congresscritters in the town halls.

My optimism that we’ll actually get what the vast majority of actual people want – health care for all – is exceedingly slim. Our idiot media and the querulous Dems are too easily rolled by the astroturfing. Oh, and the strongest voting block in the country – seniors – already has government health care that they love. They have no incentive to give what they have to the younger folk and if they’re not on board, it’s a tough road to hoe. I can’t wait until the most narcissistic generation in our nation’s history reaches retirement age.

Jul 25

Bush administration considered use of military against civilians

Every day these fuckers aren’t in front of a jury is a black mark on our nation’s reputation. No surprise, it was Cheney pushing for this.

Some of the advisers to President George W. Bush, including Vice President Dick Cheney, argued that a president had the power to use the military on domestic soil to sweep up the terrorism suspects, who came to be known as the Lackawanna Six, and declare them enemy combatants.

A decision to dispatch troops into the streets to make arrests has few precedents in American history, as both the Constitution and subsequent laws restrict the military from being used to conduct domestic raids and seize property.

The Fourth Amendment bans “unreasonable” searches and seizures without probable cause. And the Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 generally prohibits the military from acting in a law enforcement capacity.

In the discussions, Mr. Cheney and others cited an Oct. 23, 2001, memorandum from the Justice Department that, using a broad interpretation of presidential authority, argued that the domestic use of the military against Al Qaeda would be legal because it served a national security, rather than a law enforcement, purpose.

“The president has ample constitutional and statutory authority to deploy the military against international or foreign terrorists operating within the United States,” the memorandum said.

The memorandum — written by the lawyers John C. Yoo and Robert J. Delahunty — was directed to Alberto R. Gonzales, then the White House counsel, who had asked the department about a president’s authority to use the military to combat terrorist activities in the United States.

For those that don’t know, the use of the military on American soil against American citizens is unconstitutional and illegal six ways from Sunday. It has not been done since the Civil War. And yet, Cheney is a free man and Yoo still a tenured professor at UC Berkeley (though he has to teach elsewhere now).

One guy can get impeached for a blowjob.

Fifty can’t even get a dirty look for shredding the constitution and considering turning our country into a literal police state.

Yeah, that makes sense.

Jul 25

Authoritarianism

The Gates kerfluffle is silly, but this is the takeaway: in today’s America, you can be arrested for sassing police officers. Correction: arrested and/or tasered.

The historical sweep of the last 20 years, with the Bush era as a particular catalyst, combined with the advent of technological marvels that can subdue people without leaving marks has us hurtling toward an authoritarian state faster than I thought it possible.

Shorter version: small men in power + culture of fear + tasers == police state.

Apr 05

F This Noise

Hey Time Warner Cable … fuck you.

Web users, the meter is running. In a strategy that’s likely to rankle consumers but be copied by competitors, Time Warner Cable (TWC) is pressing ahead with a plan to charge Internet customers based on how much Web data they consume. Starting next month, the company will introduce tiered pricing in several markets.

In the case of Time Warner Cable, customers will be charged from $29.95 to $54.90 a month, based on data consumption and desired connection speed. Customers will be charged $1 for each gigabyte (GB) over their plan’s cap. Time Warner Cable offers four cap levels of 5, 10, 20, and 40 GB.

40GB as the top tier? Assuming I want to watch my Netflix and grab my typical monthly email load, I’ll be over 40GB in the first month. And that’s not even talking about any torrent joy, which of course I would never do, particularly with full DVD rips at 8.4GB each.

Those are some bullshit tiers, with ridiculously low data limits. If your infrastructure is that loaded, buy some new switches, but 40GB? You are seriously abusing your near monopoly control over broadband access. In theory, I have no problem with tiering for high usage users in a realm of areas, but (assuming arguendo that it applies here, which it does not), you can’t set the range from retirees checking their email accounts to retirees who know what a computer is checking their email and expect that to fly. (Note: I’m assuming there are provisions for libraries and other public places which will be exempted or otherwise not gouged. Home offices and nonprofits are fucked though.)

The problem is that the internet doesn’t get clogged by people sucking from the pipe too much – that’s a meatspace analogy that does not hold up in this realm (caveat: I’m greatly simplifying here). Instead all of the costs for providing bandwidth are done up front with the purchase of the routers, switches, and the like. After that, it does not matter if a billion bits or no bits are coming through – the cost to the business is the same. Now, the only time a cap is relevant is if you are constantly maxing out your equipment. In the real world, too much demand is a good thing – you’re popular, you have more people signing on, you buy more retail space to accommodate your customer base. TWC apparently thinks high capacity = a problem of too many customers. Are we sure the GM folk did not just transition over?

Long story much shorter: I think this is a bald play by TWC to try and effectively get around the Net Neutrality issue via pricing rather than packet filtering. Now instead of locking their users into walled gardens technologically (want to see your hidef Hulu? Sign up with AOL!), they’ll do it with a pricing tier (want to see your hidef Hulu? Sign up with our fancy broadband tier!). I don’t think their plan will accomplish what they think it will and will instead have significant regressive effects and/or opting for other broadband options.

So… say hello to (the reportedly bad) AT&T UVerse, possibly Direct TV … no on Clearwire in Austin … jesus, this country’s broadband infrastructure is pathetic. Just pathetic. We pay more for less than anywhere else. Just like healthcare. Fuck you, TWC.

Have I mentioned that tiered usage is an obsolete business model that has no place in the 21st century internet, where people are downloading the Daily Show while podcasting their analysis of the simulcast highdef All the Single Ladies danceoffs? I did? Oh.

Update: Oh hells, yes. Suck it, Time Warner! You surrendicans!

Time Warner Cable has shelved plans to test consumption-based billing until it can improve its “customer education process,” the company announced Thursday.

“It is clear from the public response over the last two weeks that there is a great deal of misunderstanding about our plans to roll out additional tests on consumption based billing,” Time Warner CEO Glen Britt said in a statement. “As a result, we will not proceed with implementation of additional tests until further consultation with our customers and other interested parties, ensuring that community needs are being met.”

Feb 07

A Simple Solution

As the GOP is now playing partisan politics while the country tapdances on the edge of financial ruin for generations (quel surprise, non?), stating that the stimulus bill (weighing in at 1/4th of the Iraq debacle and 2/3rds of the 2001 Bush tax cuts) is “too expensive” I have a proposal for President Obama.

Instead of getting rolled and creating a “bipartisan” bill that the GOP is going to vote against anyway, why not, you know, be proactive and aggressive? The GOP will not support this bill because if it works, it’s Obama’s bill, and if it fails (which is what they are hoping for – who cares what happens to the country, their only path back to power is if we’re in the shitter in 2010 and 2012) they don’t want to have voted for it.

So here’s my proposal:

Obama to GOP: OK, the bill is too expensive? We’ll eliminate all the tax cuts. Now you’re down to a $500B stimulus package.

GOP to Obama: *head explodes*

The Democrats and Obama on this issue have been an embarrassment. Going from record high approvals, a clear mandate, and a tide of victory to getting their asses handed to them in parliamentary games and disappearing from the media during this entire debate is fucking ridiculous. The GOP is entirely controlling the narrative of this bill now – they own the media and are just slaughtering what we here still like to refer to as “reality” and “reason.” It’s like the past 8 years never happened.

The Dems are an absurd party fully of namby pambies with no spine. It’s infuriating. But at least they’re not Republicans.

In sum: tell the GOP to stuff it and do what’s right. It’s the best way forward.

Jan 20

President Obama

Holy fuck that feels good.

When we look back on this, I think Obama will be a turning point for many things. Besides the obvious racial acceptance, generational, and maturity he represents, Obama stands, right now, as the perfect – and first – post-Nixon president of optimism. And that lack of cynicism is a fresh breeze I’m going to relax in and enjoy for a bit.

Then it’s on to the war crimes tribunals for the Busheviks.

Oct 10

Domestic Terrorists

Sarah Palin haz dem

Though Chryson belongs to a fringe political party, one that advocates the secession of Alaska from the Union, and that organizes with other like-minded secessionist movements from Canada to the Deep South, he is not without peculiar influence in state politics, especially the rise of Sarah Palin. An obscure figure outside of Alaska, Chryson has been a political fixture in the hometown of the Republican vice-presidential nominee for over a decade. During the 1990s, when Chryson directed the AIP, he and another radical right-winger, Steve Stoll, played a quiet but pivotal role in electing Palin as mayor of Wasilla and shaping her political agenda afterward. Both Stoll and Chryson not only contributed to Palin’s campaign financially, they played major behind-the-scenes roles in the Palin camp before, during and after her victory.

Palin backed Chryson as he successfully advanced a host of anti-tax, pro-gun initiatives, including one that altered the state Constitution’s language to better facilitate the formation of anti-government militias. She joined in their vendetta against several local officials they disliked, and listened to their advice about hiring. She attempted to name Stoll, a John Birch Society activist known in the Mat-Su Valley as “Black Helicopter Steve,” to an empty Wasilla City Council seat. “Every time I showed up her door was open,” said Chryson. “And that policy continued when she became governor.”

“The AIP is very family-oriented,” Chryson explained. “We’re for the traditional family — daddy, mommy, kids — because we all know that it was Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve. And we don’t care if Heather has two mommies. That’s not a traditional family.”

Chryson further streamlined the AIP’s platform by softening its secessionist language. Instead of calling for immediate separation from the United States, the platform now demands a vote on independence.

Yet Chryson maintains that his party remains committed to full independence. “The Alaskan Independence Party has got links to almost every independence-minded movement in the world,” Chryson exclaimed. “And Alaska is not the only place that’s about separation. There’s at least 30 different states that are talking about some type of separation from the United States.”

oh, and they still have her ear

Emboldened by his nomination by Mayor Palin, Stoll later demanded she fire Wasilla’s museum director, John Cooper, a personal enemy he longed to sabotage. Palin obliged, eliminating Cooper’s position in short order. “Gotcha, Cooper!” Stoll told the deposed museum director after his termination, as Cooper told a reporter for the New York Times. “And it only cost me a campaign contribution.” Stoll, who donated $1,000 to Palin’s mayoral campaign, did not respond to numerous requests for an interview. Palin has blamed budget concerns for Cooper’s departure.

Chryson says the door remains open now that Palin is governor. (Palin’s office did not respond to Salon’s request for an interview.) While Palin has been more circumspect in her dealings with groups like the AIP as she has risen through the political ranks, she has stayed in touch.

When Palin ran for governor in 2006, marketing herself as a fresh-faced reformer determined to crush the GOP’s ossified power structure, she made certain to appear at the AIP’s state convention. To burnish her maverick image, she also tapped one-time AIP member and born-again Republican Walter Hickel as her campaign co-chair. Hickel barnstormed the state for Palin, hailing her support for an “all-Alaska” liquefied gas pipeline, a project first promoted in 2002 by an AIP gubernatorial candidate named Nels Anderson. When Palin delivered her victory speech on election night, Hickel stood beaming by her side. “I made her governor,” he boasted afterward. Two years later, Hickel has endorsed Palin’s bid for vice president.

Help keep this crazy unamerican hick yahoo Talibanistafrom get ahold or near the reins of power

Oct 09

Eastwood’s lost it

or he’s thinking with another brain

CLINT Eastwood made it clear who won last week’s vice-presidential debate in an interview he did Saturday as part of The New Yorker Festival with the magazine’s legendary Lillian Ross.

“One of the candidates the other night seemed more prone to telling the truth than the other,” Eastwood said. The cheese-and-Chardonnay crowd laughed, presumably because they thought he meant Joe Biden.

But the laughs among the 300 worshipful movie buffs at the Directors Guild theater dried up when Ross interjected, “I liked her, too!”

Eastwood went on to talk about how well “she” did, although he stopped short of a ringing endorsement.

Yes, I know he’s a Republican, but he’s generally been a straight shooter in the past. Palin is a pathological liar on a grander scale than BushMcCain and equal to Cheney. She’s an empty suit with no morals, ethics, integrity, or grasp of the english language. Maybe that’s it. Maybe she’s just so idiotic that she doesn’t realize lying does not make the words become true.