Tuli Can't Stop Talking

These are just my thoughts on contemporary issues and an attempt to open up a dialogue.

My Photo
Location: New York City

A citizen who cares deeply about the United States Constitution and the Rule of Law.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Internet Neutrality

The internet is one of the best things to happen to information and democracy in this century. It is like the pamphleteers of old. It has created communities that reach out to like minded souls. It has given us a Birdseye view of contrary opinions. It is fluid and a fascinating tool for learning and sharing information.

So, it is not exactly a surprise that the I.S.P.’s who control the highway would want to put up tollbooths. Capitalism isn’t exactly about democratic principles. Capitalism, and in this day and age of concentrated corporate power, is about profit and in many instances limiting information for profits sake.

The NYT’s has an editorial today on the side of the new pamphleteers and those who partake in the information and opinion they disseminate.

Here it is:

February 20, 2006


Tollbooths on the Internet Highway

When you use the Internet today, your browser glides from one Web site to another, accessing all destinations with equal ease. That could change dramatically, however, if Internet service providers are allowed to tilt the playing field, giving preference to sites that pay them extra and penalizing those that don't.

The Senate held hearings last week on "network neutrality," the principle that I.S.P.'s — the businesses like Verizon or Roadrunner that deliver the Internet to your computer — should not be able to stack the deck in this way. If the Internet is to remain free, and freely evolving, it is important that neutrality legislation be passed.

In its current form, Internet service operates in the same nondiscriminatory way as phone service. When someone calls your home, the telephone company puts through the call without regard to who is calling. In the same way, Internet service providers let Web sites operated by eBay, CNN or any other company send information to you on an equal footing. But perhaps not for long. It has occurred to the service providers that the Web sites their users visit could be a rich new revenue source. Why not charge eBay a fee for using the Internet connection to conduct its commerce, or ask Google to pay when customers download a video? A Verizon Communications executive recently sent a scare through cyberspace when he said at a telecommunications conference, as The Washington Post reported, that Google "is enjoying a free lunch" that ought to be going to providers like Verizon.

The solution, as far as the I.S.P.'s are concerned, could be what some critics are calling "access tiering," different levels of access for different sites, based on ability and willingness to pay. Giants like Walmart.com could get very fast connections, while little-guy sites might have to settle for the information superhighway equivalent of a one-lane, pothole-strewn road. Since many companies that own I.S.P.'s, like Time Warner, are also in the business of selling online content, they could give themselves an unfair advantage over their competition.

If access tiering takes hold, the Internet providers, rather than consumers, could become the driving force in how the Internet evolves. Those corporations' profit-driven choices, rather than users' choices, would determine which sites and methodologies succeed and fail. They also might be able to stifle promising innovations, like Internet telephony, that compete with their own business interests.

Most Americans have little or no choice of broadband I.S.P.'s, so they would have few options if those providers shifted away from neutrality. Congress should protect access to the Internet in its current form. Senator Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, says he intends to introduce an Internet neutrality bill, which would prohibit I.S.P.'s from favoring content providers that paid them fees, or from giving priority to their own content.

Some I.S.P.'s are phone and cable companies that make large campaign contributions, and are used to getting their way in Washington. But Americans feel strongly about an open and free Internet. Net neutrality is an issue where the public interest can and should trump the special interests.

Will the politicians in the pockets of these special interests vote their pocketbook or will they vote for the public interest? Keep in mind, AT&T, et. al., have already turned over their switches to the NSA. So, not only are the carriers in bed with the Administration, I’d be willing to bet that a quid pro quo means this Administration and this Congress are in bed with the carriers.

Got your EasyPass? Just as with this handy dandy convenience, law enforcement now knows everywhere you go on the highways of this country. Soon they may also know everywhere you go on the fiber-optic highway and you will have the privilege of paying for it.

Saturday, February 18, 2006


Colbert of the Colbert Report has coined the phrase “Truthiness.” The great Mr. Pitts has a column on it and here it is:

Posted on Mon, Feb. 13, 2006


When the 'facts' collide, honest debate is elusive


So apparently, we didn't get the real story on Cindy Sheehan's arrest.

Some of you will recall that I wrote last week how Sheehan, the antiwar activist, showed up to President Bush's State of the Union address wearing a T-shirt that referenced the number of Americans killed in Iraq. Capitol police took her out of the gallery and placed her under arrest.

Meantime, Beverly Young, wife of a Florida representative, showed up in the same room wearing a sweat shirt that said ''Support Our Troops.'' She was asked to leave, but was not arrested. I laid the disparity in treatment to the administration's thin skin toward criticism of its policies.

I've since been informed by a number of readers that the real reason Sheehan got hauled to the hoosegow while Young didn't is that Sheehan attempted to unfurl a protest banner in the chamber. Others report that instead of complying with police instructions, she resisted arrest.

Just one problem: There's no evidence any of that is true. Indeed, it's Young who has admitted to cursing police. Yet my readers relayed these ''facts'' about Sheehan with such righteous authority that you'd never know they weren't. Facts, that is.

Jack Nicholson was right: We can't handle the truth. Not the truth about Sheehan. The truth, period.


It's increasingly the case that there's no such thing as the truth. Rather, we have truths, separate but equal. We choose the one we need, based on which best validates our preferred worldview. We get these truths from radio talk shows and Internet forums that manufacture them according to our political alliances and warn in dire tones against trusting truth that comes from ideologically impure sources.

So extreme conservatives shun the ''liberal media'' and extreme liberals shun the ''mainstream media.'' And neither seems to get the joke that they're both shunning the same media for supposedly favoring the other side. Seems obvious to me that when opposing extremists each accuse you of supporting the other, you're probably hitting pretty close to the truth.

Which takes us back to Nicholson's line. And to this point: Once upon a time, we all drew upon a common pool of facts. You might interpret them differently than I, but we could have an honest disagreement because the facts themselves were not in contention.

Now we have designer facts, facts that aren't facts but that gain currency because somebody wanted to believe them. The thing is, facts that really are facts, truth that really is true, doesn't always validate your beliefs. Sometimes it challenges and confounds them. That's probably the problem.


Designer facts are easy because they are soothing, because they are predictable, because they never make you think, only react. But they also leave us talking past each other because we no longer operate from the same assumptions or speak the same language. You may feel the shirt looks better in black and I may think it looks better in white, but if we can't even agree on what black and white are, we can't have the argument. We have no basis for conversation.

Maybe that's the inevitable byproduct of the information revolution. We have gone from three networks to 500, one for every worldview, every bias, every demographic set or subset. We no longer have one Bringer of Truth. Paul Simon once famously asked, ''Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?'' It might be more apropos to ask, ``Where have you gone, Walter Cronkite?''

Wherever he went, he apparently took with him the concept that decent people could interpet the same objective, verifiable facts differently and have -- that phrase again -- an honest disagreement about them. Now we have facts created for us according to our politics. Now we have ''truth'' that belongs in quotation marks.

And the result is predictable, isn't it? We still have plenty of disagreement, but there's nothing honest about it.

He is so spot on. Facts no longer matter. With religious fervor the truth is spun like a web only to trap the flies so the spider can devour them.

And we the people are letting it happen and being eaten alive.

Values Crowd Indeed!

James Wolcott says it well in this post on the Cheney Shooting of sitting ducks, I mean quail, and Metaphor for this Administration.

Here is the closer:

Rich guys pretending to be Jeremiah Johnson is one of the many fascimile editions of rawhide authenticity being successfully peddled in the media with no one willing to stop and say that inflicting unnecessary pain and suffering on animals should be a source of sin and shame, and that the decent thing to do would be to break Cheney's shotgun in two before anyone or anything else is harmed by his buffoonery.

This Administration fakes everything, especially values, and the MSM will not call them on it. So, is the American Public so ignorant or enchanted by Smoke and Mirrors that they can’t see it?

I guess that Johnny really can’t read!

It Breaks My Heart!

Why the UAE?

Now as you all know I am a horseracing fan and an owner of a nostril here and a fetlock there. So, I have some understanding and knowledge of the Dubai Brothers (or Doobey Brothers as they are known in Kentucky) as horseracing goes.

That said, I am very disturbed about this latest development. I think that it is one thing for these folks to race their horses in the U.S. of A. but quite another to put them in charge of our ports, especially here in the New York Area and especially what with their known ties to 9/11 and possible financing of terrorists.

This also adds to my paranoia of China financing our deficits.

What exactly is this Administration up to? Are there no reputable American Corporate friends of this Administration that can do the job? What about Bechtel, Halliburton, Flour, Custer Battle (oh, I forgot they are being sued for fraud in Iraq, etc.), et al., surely there is at least one mega American corporation that this corporatist administration could find to do the job?

This administration is making me crazier than I usually am. I am getting so depressed and paranoid that I am doubting my sanity (okay, I have never, ever, said I was sane, but this is getting even beyond my call).

We are now outsourcing our port security to folks who have been implicated in one of the greatest security breaches (that would be 9/11) in our history?

Bring on all the “Tin Foil Hat Folks.”

Is the price of Aluminum on the rise here folks?


Digby over at Hullabaloo has a very pertinent piece on which are bigger haters, the Right or the Left. Apparently BullMoose and Sully think that the Left and Liberal spectrum is far more hateful than those reasonable and all inclusive folks on the Right.

For my money I think Digby is right. It is the Right that spews far more hate (see Karl Rove that great uniter not divider). I have yet to hear anyone from the Liberal or Left spheres call for the death or murder of a Supreme Court Justice, or Pat Robertson, or Foreign Leader, or anyone else. Yet on the Right, their water-carriers have done so and no one in the leadership of the Right-Wing or this Corporatist Administration has denounced them or called them out.

So, where does that lead me? It leads me to think that the haters on the Right, take a bow Rush Limbaugh, Anne Coulter (soon to be a felon), and Pat Robertson, et al., are way and above anything that Bush/Cheney Haters could come up with: Impeachment and not for illicit sex either! Yes, that is right, impeachment seems rather tame compared to death and destruction doesn’t it?

Now, I have to admit that I am so distraught with the condition of our fragile democracy. I am appalled that the American public is allowing and enabling the destruction of our constitutional system, flawed as it is. Why does the American public enable the elitist entrenchment of the oligarchy to the detriment of the interests of the vast majority of Americans? And yes, my focus is on the Bush/Cheney Cult of Republicanism. When did the Republican Party become the party of the destruction of our constitutional way of life? When and why did they decide to embrace theocracy and corporatism? I was raised to believe the Republicans were the party of small business and small governmental intrusion, not the party of corporate theocracy and in your bedroom regulation.

Yes, I stepped away from the Republicans when they came up with the “Southern Strategy,” but I always believed that they believed in something other than just Racism and Hate. Now it appears that Republicans stand for only one thing: Power at Any Price. And they are maintaining that Power through Hate!

Why hasn’t my former Republican Senator Brooke spoken out on this turn of events?

Read Digby.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Daily Kos

SusanG has a very thoughtful post on the analogy of Firefighters, Arsonists and Prevention as it relates to the “War on Terra.”

In the immediate days and weeks after 9/11 - we heard the dates repeated today in the Senate hearings: September 14, September 18, early October of 2001 - this nation was in fear of immediate, continuous, coordinated attacks. As a people we were reeling in shock, fear, rage and grief. We were understandably reacting from our place in the midst of a severe national emergency, like a nation with its house on fire.

And when your house is on fire, you grant privileges to the rescue personnel you would never allow under any other circumstances: permission for total strangers to enter your house, whisk your baby out of sight to safety, toss your belongings out the window, hose down your Reniors, hustle you off to the nearest Red Cross center. We granted intrusions into our lives in those shaky days right after 9/11 (appropriately so, in light of possible other follow-up attacks) that we would never allow under any other circumstances.

But we are now in a preventive phase and have been for several years. The questions we're grappling with as a country now are not about putting out a current fire; rather, they focus on any and all ways to avert another one. To carry out the fire metaphor: We know there is an arsonist in the neighborhood who wishes us ill. The powers we granted to the rescue workers during the fire are no longer appropriate, and at any rate would not yield the results we need. After all, four years after a home fire, we don't allow firefighters to roust us from our beds at 3 AM, to kick down our doors, to destroy our property in the name of "rescuing" us when there are only rumors of planned flames some vague time in the future.

Read the whole thing. You won’t be sorry.

Greenwald: No One is Against Eavesdropping

Watch this video from Crooks & Liars. Glenn Greenwald puts the lie to the faux debate going on in the MSM.

Reddhead at firedoglake has some live blogging of the hearings.

Monday, February 06, 2006

Glenn Greenwald Blogs the Illegal Wiretapping Hearings.

Glenn Greenwald over at Unclaimed Territory has been all over the illegal wiretapping by the Administration and NSA. So, he is live blogging the hearing with Abu Gonzalez. Check it out here and then he has his follow-up.

I would only hope that Spector would continue to stand up butI have my doubt as to his spine.

Feingold is doing exactly what he should be doing - creating a hostile and confrontational atmosphere, rather than a boringly congenial one where the Democrats meekly accept everything (see the Alito hearings). Feingold has been seriously heroic on several of these issues, and it is excellent to see him continuing that right from the beginning at these hearings.

* * * *

As I said last night, if you have hope for Specter's independence and objectivity, just make it easy on yourself and give up those hopes and accept that he is going to be a shill for the Administration. If you are looking for Republican scrutiny, look to Brownback and, to a lesser extent, to Graham.

* * *

Of course Gonzales begins his Opening Statement by quoting Osama bin Laden and Zawahri. We used to quote Madison, Jefferson and Lincoln to decide what the principles of our Government are going to be. Now we quote Al Qaeda. The Administration wants Al Qaeda and its speeches to dictate the type of Government we have. It is the centerpiece of everything they do and say.


Sunday, February 05, 2006

Betty Friedan

R. I. P.
1921 - 2006

Saturday, February 04, 2006

Cabinet of Corruption

Thanks to TalkLeft for what we obviously missed in the SOTU speech Bush gave the other night. I have to admit that I can no longer watch it. So, thank heavens the Onion does the necessary reporting.

The sad part is that it should be so:

"Tonight, by executive order, I am creating a permanent department with a vital mission: to ensure that the political scandals, underhanded dealings, and outright criminal activities of this administration are handled in a professional and orderly fashion," Bush said.

The centerpiece of Bush's plan is the Department Of Corruption, Bribery, And Incompetence, which will centralize duties now dispersed throughout the entire D.C.-area political establishment.

The Scandal Secretary will log all wiretaps and complaints of prisoner abuse, coordinate paid-propaganda efforts, eliminate redundant payoffs and bribes, oversee the appointment of unqualified political donors to head watchdog agencies, control all leaks and other high-level security breaches, and oversee the disappearance of Iraq reconstruction funds. He will also be responsible for issuing all official denials that laws have been broken.

"Many of the current scandals in Washington are crucial to the success of my priorities for the nation," Bush said. "The Department of Corruption will safeguard these important misdeeds."

Read the whole thing. It is the Onion’s great take on this Administration and scandalgate.

Public Service Announcement

The Huffington Post has a site that you must, and I say must, visit. This is not just because “Iraq, the Musical,” is posted there (and inching up in the ratings I might add), but because of the entries.

Liberal bloggers are doing a wonderful job of making it clear that this Administration is the WORST yet. However the Arts community is also weighing in with such powerful messages that cannot be ignored. Like the good Dr. Laniac and the Freeway Blogger, there are many others out there doing their part.

Some of the work is so heartbreaking and some is so uplifting. We need to support our troops and those who are trying to turn the tide and bring them home. Unlike the Vietnam debacle which took years, with the Internet we have the power to put the message out in a shorter period of time and with more power.

It is happening.

Feel the Power and use it. The Internet has changed everything. Pass it on.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Iraq, the Musical!

The Doctor and the Freeway Blogger Do It!

If this doesn’t make you tear up nothing will. This is to quote Melvin Van Peeples, “Serious as a Heart Attack.!”

The Doctor and the Freeway Blogger have brought us a serious musical video on the Iraq Misadventure. Go and watch and support our troops.

I guess that using the word, “Brilliant” is over used but this is “Serious as a Heart Attack.”

I guess you all know that I love the Doctor and the Freeway Blogger.

And that's as it should be!