Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Tuesday's news

Ok, this is actually Fridayy, so it's four days of news. I had to put the van in the shop and run errands, lots of places for small things. Life is like that, sometimes, just putters your life in so many directions you have to putter to catch up or the list gets longer. And that's only in one direction too. I don't go in more than one general direction in a day, not unless I get to stop at cafes on the way around places.

Ok, enough, the news?

Our trusted Federal Communications Commission, the one who oversee the media and the Internet, held hearings on the Internet providers controlling the speed and flow of the traffic to some, mainly consumers and especially those downloading movies, and allowing others, namely big commercial interests such as Comcast for their On-demand customers. The companies argue for better management of the Internet with flow control for business interests while the advocacy and legal groups argue for net neutrality.

It's an interesting debate and it's not hard to see where each side is coming from and where each side is headed, but the final question is the customer and what they expect for their money, which to me is obvious, equal access and service. It shouldn't matter the size of the customer or the demand they make on the network. If the communications companies sell full service at cheap prices, the consumer is entitled to it or the company can simply charge by usage than control the speed and flow behind everyone's back.

I'm sure it will be an on-going debate for a few years to come as each side fights it out with the FCC.

It seems our trusted Homeland Security Administration isn't being fully truthful and honest. Really? Yes, really. In two ways. It seems the interagency cooperation and communications for intelligence andi information isn't happening. But even worse, HSA isn't including the State and local agencies in any dialog for needs and being less than full in requests from those agencies. Gee, they don't trust those outside HSA. I wonder why?

It seems HSA still hasn't learned the one and first rule of work, human communications.

And now the real scary part. We all know the Social Security Trust fund is ok for awhile and more so with some minor tweaking only - like raising the income limit and contribution a little, not reducing benefits except maybe increasing them less than inflation. But the Medicare system is in serious trouble and this time it's not just the infamous baby boomer generation that's the problem. The real problem is the simple rise of costs of drugs and medical technology.

So, my generation isn't entirely to blame here folks, but the medical equipment and drug companies, the hospitals, the health insurers and everyone else but us baby boomers are to blame. So stop ranting on us for awhile.

Gotta love this one. Remember the Surge offered last year by Mr. Bush? For six months? Yeah right. And then he announced a withdrawal of some of the surge. Except wait, it was a ploy. The generals are saying the surge should stay through the summer. Ok, six months is now 18 months. Army math.

So what about the troops? Aren't they getting tired and want this all to end?

Onward. Bush, who has relied on the states for their vote has a record of ignoring or neglecting the states, pushing the unfunded mandates to them when he wants to cut government spending for tax cuts for the corporations and the rich. And now when we need to really rebuild our aging and sometimes crumbling infrastructure - roads, bridges, water/sewer treatment plants, power grid, schools, etc., he proposing cuts in money to the states.

He wants to give us $168 in tax refunds but won't spend the money for keeping us safe, healthy and secure. One's for votes and the other isn't? We'll need $ Trillions to rebuild the infrastructure. So how much are his friends and cronies getting?

And listening to John McCain speeches. What doesn't he understand? He sounds like more of Bushism and more of staying in Iraq until "We win." Win what? We won't win and what's left to win anyway? And at who's expense? Our children and grandchildren? Is he ready to reactivate the draft? Sounds like he would because there aren't enough troops? Why is the only issues he talks about are Iraq and the tax cut? He was against the tax cuts then but now he for it?

Me thinks McCain has lost his integrity for votes. He wants and needs the conservative and religious right but not alientate the independents. So he lies to one side then lies to the other. Except Iraq. Does he really understand the public wants out of Iraq? And he's promising a another 100 year war.

Something is amiss here with him. Do we really need another 4-8 years of what we've had for the last 7, slowly spiraling into enormous consumer debt, an endless war, huge trade imbalance with China, a declining global acceptance, an ever-increasing military budget, losing good paying jobs for cheap jobs, loss of health insurance for everyone, increasing poverty, increasing illiteracy, increasing crime.

But hey the rich are richer. And we all know where his money comes from, corporations and the rich. Sorry, John, I'm a veteran too, but war isn't the answer anymore. And the rest of your platform is just as bad, but mostly lies to get votes. You'll lost your honesty and integrity.

Well, Turkey attacks the Kurds, or the PKK as they say, in Iraq with out tacit blessing and now they won't quit the attacks or leave the temporary staging areas they established in northern Iraq. Hmmm, me thinks the mess gets messier? We have two allies fighting each other and there is no middle ground, so Secretary Gates talks with Turkey to say go home, but they snub his suggestions.

And now we think the Kurds will trust us when we promise them their protection and autonomy?

The Homeland Security Administration announced using new technology to allow people in remote offices to watch real-time video by field officers. The goal is to watch terrorists and share the information in real-time, and it can be expanded into other areas of fighting criminals, finding missing people, and so on, as they say, but also to just spy on anyone using cellphones. They could equally use it to simply collecting information on people without their knowledge and a warrant.

We all know this is common in other areas anyway, but this is a step forward in sharing real-time video using off-the-shelf technology and HSA's own communications network. So no one would know, let alone people and the courts. HSA wouldn't need to ask, wouldn't need to justify and wouldn't need to tell, they could simply do it and then archive the information in your file.

And we were worried about Big Brother? Like, Dude! They're watching now, that guy with the cellphone...

A report on the Iraqi police found 15-20% of the force don't exist, either they're dead or left the force. These officers weren't removed from the rolls and their paychecks being kept by others. In addtion, much of the reconstruction money we're giving Iraq is going to bribes and other non-work that hasn't happened along with the many promised jobs which the construction was supposed to happen.

In short, much of the money we're spending isn't going where it's supposed but into people's pockets, the insurgents and criminals. And there is nothing we can do and little the Iraqi's want to do. And we still want to stay there, writing checks for this?

Well, that's the news of note, or at least I noted, so far this week. I'm off for the rest of it and the weekend.

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