2008 Defense Spending – Where are the democrats?

September 23, 2007 at 11:51 pm | Posted in 2008 Budget, legislation, war | Leave a comment

Why don’t we fund 2 fewer F-35 stealth Joint Strike Fighters and take the $1 Billion dollars we save and fully fund 10,000 engineers through 4 years at top notch schools to see if they can figure out a way to make an airplane for less than $500 Million Dollars? Do we need to spend as much on our military than the rest of the world does combined? Knock off the destroyer and you could fund health insurance for 1.75 million kids for a year.

Are we really in a position that our national security is at risk if we fall from way the hell ahead of everybody else to first place in terms of aggression capability? Can we divide the military budget in categories:

  • Defense
  • Aggression
  • Feeding the Industrial Military Complex
  • Graft, corruption and waste

It has been well documented that certain members of congress had to earmark money so that the pentagon would buy specific items that would ensure the safety of our troops in Iraq. We are spending way too much and what we are spending is not going to best protect our troops. The safety of the United States citizenry at home or abroad is not dependent upon these $100 Million – $3.5 Billion dollar weapons of war.

The Senate is debating the defense bill now, and the central fact about the proceedings is that nobody’s talking about money.Certainly this is strange. The military budget in question—not including any money for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—totals $500 billion. This is roughly equal to the military budgets of all the rest of the world’s nations combined…..legislators don’t want to seem “soft on defense” by proposing that the money for, say, one F-22 stealth fighter-bomber ($230 million) be reallocated to health care or a college-loan program….

This year’s military budget includes $102 billion for weapons procurement—up 10 percent from last year’s. Among the weapons being procured: $3.1 billion for a new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier; $3.5 billion for a DDG-1000 destroyer; $2.7 billion for another Virginia-class submarine; $6.1 billion for 12 F-35 stealth Joint Strike Fighters; and $4.6 billion for 20 more F-22s.

All these programs are legacies of the Cold War. None of them has any real connection to Iraq, Afghanistan, or the global war on terror.


Net Neutrality

September 23, 2007 at 12:22 am | Posted in internet, legislation | Leave a comment

Your cable or phone company  sends you a monthly statement in which it asks you to choose your new level of service

  • Internet Basic Service $29/month
    • Over 80% of websites
  • Internet Advanced Service
    • Internet Basic Service + Google and Yahoo $39/month
  • Internet Premium Service
    • Advanced Service + AIM + Youtube + Myspace + blog access $49/month

    In the absence of net neutrality, certain services may be blocked or cost more to access. This digg of the day in September, 2007 explains it best.

    Network neutrality (equivalently “net neutrality”, “Internet neutrality” or “NN”) refers to a principle that is applied to residential broadband networks, and potentially to all networks. Precise definitions vary, but a broadband network free of restrictions on the kinds of equipment that may be attached and the modes of communication allowed, and where communication was not unreasonably degraded by other communication streams would be considered neutral by most advocates.

    Wikipedia Introduction

    Some people argue that if your network provider charges too much or blocks certain services, you should just change provider. Now seriously, how many choices for broadband do have at home 0, 1 or 2?

    The FTC (Federal Trade Commission)

    Deborah Platt Majoras, the FTC’s Republican chairman, said extensive Net neutrality legislation currently pending in the U.S. Senate is unnecessary because there has been no demonstrated harm to consumers, that normal market forces would likely prevent any problems, and that new laws would cause more problems than they solve.


    There has been no demonstrated harm to consumers – thats because tiered pricing is not in place yet

    normal market forces would likely prevent any problems how many choices for broadband providers do you have?

    new laws would cause more problems than they solve – the new law would retain the status quo, how would that create new problems?

    Compliance with the law would essentially not impose any new burden on the telcos. If the law is not in place then the telco’s will gladly install hundreds of millions of dollars worth of hardware in order to charge you more for premium services. Don’t think these premium services are something new and great that the telcos are working on, we’re talking about services that you use today that consume more network bandwidth than other services you use today, streaming video (youtube, cnn) are high bandwidth.

    If you get your internet access from your telephone company would it want to block your VOIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) provider such as Vonage?


    Senator: Net neutrality push ain’t over yet

    September 17, 2007 12:20 PM PDT
    Led primarily by Democrats, the push to enact a law prohibiting broadband providers from charging content providers extra fees for priority placement or faster delivery failed last year in both chambers of a Republican-controlled Congress. Since then, no significant action has occurred on the legislative front, and recently, both the Federal Trade Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice argued no new laws are needed.


    Crooks and Liars http://www.crooksandliars.com/2007/07/06/ftc-abandons-net-neutrality/

    Bruce Kushnick’s new book, “The $200 Billion Broadband Scandal” — it’s a powerful critique documenting the trail of broken promises and misinformation perpetrated by many broadband service providers in order to get favorable treatment, special dispensation, and competition-free access to residents across the United States. One of the most damning indictments, that United States residents have already paid for upgrades to our existing broadband infrastructure — being charged for services never delivered — and not a small amount either, but actually to the tune of $200,000,000,000. When you break it down, that’s roughly a $2,000 refund for every household that’s due for contractual obligations never fulfilled.


    Kushnick’s “$200 Billion Broadband Scandal” says the government was promised 86 million households with fiber wiring delivering bi-directional 45 Mbps speeds, capable of handling 500 channels by 2006. He calls it a fraud case, with deft omission in the annals of the FCC, that cost households at least $2000 a piece but got nothing in return.


    Non-profit group Public Knowledge laments the current situation, calling it a “duopoly” that does not provide real competition. It’s because consumers don’t have many options that some form of Net Neutrality provisions are necessary, according to the group’s Art Brodsky. “Federal Communications Commission (FCC) statistics showing that just about everyone who has broadband gets it from either the telephone company or the cable company,” he writes. “The FCC has affirmatively pursued the policy of creating this situation, and it’s one of the main reasons we need a Net Neutrality policy. There is no real choice.”


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