July 17th, 2006

cat quilt painting

Lies, damn lies, and FUD

This is SOOOOOOOOO evil!

An outfit calling itself "Hands Off the Internet" has just fielded a television spot opposing Net Neutrality. In 30 seconds it makes a series of utterly false claims and even more twisted buzzwords, designed to have the following effect:

1. Convince the viewers that some nutcases out here are trying to get congress to ENACT something called "Net Neutrality" thus preventing "progress" and "competition" on the internet.

2. Pretend that when a major newswpaper such as the Washington Post editiorializes that Congress should "stay out of cyberspace," this supports the goals of the backers of the ad, when in fact it does just the opposite by supporting the status quo, which has been assigned this label of "Net Neutrality."

Thereby,

3. Stirring the emotions of an unwitting public to bring an outcry that in fact is contrary to the interests of that public's actual opinion, which is generally that, yes indeed, rules governing how internet access is distributed SHOULD NOT CHANGE.

I am about willing to pay a hundred bucks cold cash* to anyone who can demonstrate that this "Hands Off the Internet" organization is not a wholly-owned or fully-funded creature of the telecommunications giants, whose goal is to get congress to ACT by enshrining in law NEW arrangements that would allow those companies to impose control of bandwidth based on content, and control of content based on the payment of big money. This corporate control of the flow of information is what is referred to in Orwellian style, in the ad, as "competition." Make no mistake: The opponents of so-called net neutrality want to make it less likely that the average surfer will ever see what YOU post to the internet.

Expose them. Please.

(a public service rant.)

*[edit: check the page of supporters, including AT&T, Cingular, Bell South, etc... I keep my money. According to Sourcewatch.org,

The bulk of HOTI's financial support comes from the newly re-formed AT&T, which has funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars into HOTI ad campaigns, including extensive advertising buys across the blogosphere and in mainstream and beltway press. Nowhere throughout these ads is it disclosed that the effort is funded by the nation's largest telecommunications companies and lobbyists. Instead, HOTI ads are fashioned to look and feel like genuine grassroots efforts, backed by broad popular suport.

]
cat quilt painting

The Calculus of Death

News reports at the hour of this writing indicate that the attacks by Hezbollah rockets on Haifa and the towns of northern Israel have resulted in 24 Israeli deaths, while the retaliatory barrage of Israeli airpower on targets in Lebanon have killed at least 170 human beings. What I see no one asking is this:

In the deadly calculus of war, are we prepared to accept that a lethality ratio of a little better than 7 to 1 deaths is acceptably proportional, so long as the seven are somehow associated with the bad guys?

By that calculus, America should be perfectly happy to kill about 21,000 Saudis and Yemenis and whatnot in retaliation for 9/11. Except, oh, wait: we substituted Iraqis, didn't we, and raised the ratio by another order of magnitude.

Remember, it's the bad guys who have no respect for human life. That's why we have to kill so many more of them, than they ever do of us.

Or maybe I just never was that good at math.