Major League

I feel like Randy Quaid in Major Lague for saying this, but it’s how I feel.

Right now, the Democrats have what looks like an easy enough mid-term election ahead of them. The GOP is crouched and ailing from scandal and failed policy. Bush is at his lowest approval of his presidency.

Hell, the Democrats are even starting to show their teeth a little and seem to be uniting. They are endeavoring to outline plans for national security among other changes; they are starting to move on the offensive.

But I’ve got no confidence in them. They couldn’t run a strong candidate in 2000 or 2004, and as a result allowed both elections to narrowly go to Bush. They lost two senate seats in 2002 and four in 2004. Seven house seats in ’02, three in ’04.

This year the House and one-third of the Senate are up for election. And it just looks too good to be true.

And despite my optimism, that the Democrats might prevail, and that they would then actually do the right things, I have this nagging need to cry out, like Randy Quaid’s character.

As a side note, apparently he was not credited in either Major League or Major League II for his role.


Article I Section VI

They shall in all Cases, except Treason, Felony and Breach of the Peace, be privileged from Arrest during their Attendance at the Session of their respective Houses, and in going to and returning from the same; and for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.

I do not know the whole story regarding the Cynthia McKinney case. I do not know in what fashion she struck the officer. I do not know where she was going at the time. It could very well be that she deserves to face charges.

On the other hand, I do know that under certain circumstances she had every right not to be stopped.
And I know that the comments by many of the GOP are flat out wrong in that context. I know that the Congressional Representatives and Senators are exempt from these checkpoints under the US Constitution; I know the only way to change that is to amend that document.


Double Dipping

(or: Why the ISPs are salivating)

There are a couple of pertinent stories out right now: AOL seeks to impose e-mail tax, and these ominous news reports of major ISPs gearing up to charge web properties for the bandwidth used to reach their users.

And then there are the other stories: AT&T to buy Bellsouth, AT&T complicit in NSA Domestic Spying.

AOL wants a cut of the revenues that e-mail players are getting off of AOL’s users. Similarly, other major ISPs want to dip into the profits from websites like Yahoo! and Google that generate a lot of revenue through their users.

The problem is, they have absolutely no right to be doing this. The websites and e-mail firms are already paying for their bandwidth; the users are paying for theirs. If and when these moves occur, it will mean only one thing: an increased cost to the customer.

But, you don’t hear the ISPs ramping up to raise the prices on their customers. That would be too easy: the users would revolt, and the ISPs would back down. Instead, they are employing themselves as middlemen. They are claiming that they are the ones footing the bill, when really they are merely greedy.

Still, the backlash is already coming: AOL and the ISPs are in for a losing battle in this case. The users want their internet as is, not subject to the whims of corporations. And you can expect this to have waves beyond just thwarting this round of greasy schemes. As more media consolidation takes place, and more carrier consolidation takes place, there will be a further push by the masses to reinforce regulations against these companies. These same companies received $200 billion in tax breaks to deliver fiber optic cabling.

They obviously have a single bottom line that does not include their customers’ interests. Therefore it is in our interest to see them fall under new regulations; it is the price they must pay for failing to respect their customers.


The Storming of the Rave…

Some of you may have heard about the rave that took place on August 22 in Utah. The one that got broken up by law enforcement and the national guard. PrisonPlanet seems to have the best copy of the only video that’s surfaced. Apparently there were plenty of cameras present, but so far this is the only that’s surfaced. Many of the others were confiscated as part of the police action that took place. They may eventually become available through FOIA requests and court proceedings. TalkLeft has some information on the ongoing legal actions on part of the event organizers. According to the articles, this is not the first time the person who owned the land has had police intervene in events held there. There is an ongoing legal suit against the police for a previous raid on the land.

The real shame about scenarios such as this (and actions taken during countless protests in this country going back years and years) is that the general story is one that does not fit in with the founding charter of this nation. The police take action, effectively shutting down the peoples’ right to peaceful assembly, and are seldom brought to bear for it. Even if they are charged and convicted for the violations, it does not make whole those who have had their rights trampled. Once the events and protests are over, there’s no going back, and the damage is done. Sooner or later, as happened back in the 1960s and 1970s, such gatherings, when persecuted, will refuse to go quietly only to have nothing done about the violations, and will instead resist. Violence is the result, and it’s not pretty.

The ongoing push and pull between the rights of the people and the agents of the people who have effectively alienated their interests from those they supposedly serve must be dissolved. The agents must be removed from their positions and replaced with individuals and organizations that in fact serve the interests that give them reason to exist.