Obama and McCain Differ on Net Neutrality

Network neutrality has gathered enough political momentum for both candidates to take an official stand on it. Although the issue was debated furiously in both the House of Representatives and the Senate in 2006, neither side managed to produce a bill that could be signed into law. (The only lasting result of the efforts on Capitol Hill was an unintentionally comical bit of grandstanding by Alaska senator Ted Stevens, where he offered an analogy describing the Internet as a “series of tubes.”) In the absence of any clear legislation on the matter, the FCC has taken up the role of neutrality enforcer, forcing cable provider Comcast to stop restricting BitTorrent traffic earlier this year.

According to their position statements on the issues, John McCain is against Net neutrality and Barack Obama is for it. This makes it one of the few technology issues on which the candidates clearly disagree.

via Obama and McCain Differ on Net Neutrality – Internet Policy from McCain and Obama – Popular Mechanics

This article is an outstanding primer on the topic of “network neutrality”. They didn’t get specific responses from the campaigns (this issue is currently more of a nerd only thing), but the basic slant of each candidate is evident…

…the general philosophies of each side seem clear: McCain believes in a lightly regulated Internet, while Obama believes in more government involvement. But it gets a bit more complicated. When it comes to net neutrality, both sides can make a credible case that they’re the ones defending freedom of innovation and open communication.

The author then does an excellent job of defining the term…

One reason is that there’s no accepted definition of network neutrality itself. It is, in fact, more of a networking philosophy than a defined political position. A pure “neutral” network is one that would treat all content that traveled across it equally. No one data packet would be prioritized above another. Image files, audio files, a request from a consumer for a web page—all would be blindly routed from one location to another, and the network would neither know nor care what kind of data was encompassed in each packet.For most but not all kinds of files, that’s how it works now.

…and then talks about the literal “technical difficulties” that face the topic in the future.

Go read the article to get a better idea of what those are going to be. Feel free to suggest your own.

It’s an interesting question, as it gets directly at the question of the degree to which the government should regulate the market to protect rights of people, to protect rights of “property” ownership*, and how much we should let the market itself do both…or neither.

* This asterisk is for intellectual property and the whole copyright/internet question, which is of itself a stimulatingly difficult situation to resolve. It is tangential to the Internet as a whole, but also drives a lot of the demand for the bandwidth in question. Comcast got busted for making a decision along this axis.

That is, the copyright/internet question of what is in the dumptrucks. The network neutrality question is what information super-highway they can get on, and whether or not the telecom industry can set up toll booths in the fast lane…and harass the riff-raff.

Petraeus says “Talking to Enemies leads to ….well…not victory…but good things.”

So General Petraeus agrees with Barack Obama — and not John McCain — on the question of whether we should meet with hostile enemies?

In an interview that aired on CBS last night, John McCain, when asked which three living people he’d like to have dinner with most, promptly chose General Petraeus. McCain frequently hails Petraeus as an “American hero.”

McCain, however, might not enjoy that dinner so much if he heard Petraeus’ views on one of the leading foreign policy differences he has with Barack Obama.

In a case of comically awful timing, Petraeus yesterday gave a talk at the Heritage Foundation in which he more or less echoed Barack Obama’s views on negotiating with hostile foreign leaders — views that McCain has repeatedly subjected to criticism and ridicule.

via TPM Election Central | Talking Points Memo | McCain’s Hero Petraeus: “I Do Think You Have To Talk To Enemies”

The video is here…

Note: title reference available here.

Petraeus has been pretty tight on the political rhetoric before.  I think in this case McCain would probably agree with him, although his statements do, obviously, appear to support Obama’s more negotiation-oriented demeanor.

He’s also right in saying that it was this ability that led to gains in Iraq and is something we’ll have to do in Afghanistan.  I mentioned the most common way that negotiating “with pre-conditions” works is when you are negotiating a surrender in my video post last week (the part that hasn’t been uploaded yet…should be up in a day or so…).

I stand by that statement.  When you refuse to negotiate with enemies until they capitulate to your demands, you have missed the entire concept of negotiating.

Projector vs. Projector

My friends, during last night’s presidential debate, McCain took That One to task for approving funding for an “overhead projector.” Howard Covitz, who used to work at Chicago’s Adler Planetarium, prepared this helpful graphic for McCain to show the difference between an overhead projector and a planetarium projector.

Note to McCain: Overhead projector is not a planetarium projector

via Note to McCain: Overhead projector is not a planetarium projector – Boing Boing

A bit late on this, but McCain has been using the “projector” in his stump speech, so it would be worthwhile to mention the real story behind the projector and the people who try to get other, younger, people interested in science.

UPDATE: Another excellent article on the topic.

More on Unhinged McCain Supporters

For the next year, we will bring you news and commentary of the 2008 race for president. Our focus will be on Senator Clinton and the Democrats. Once Senator Clinton wins the nomination we will turn our focus to the Republican nominee.

Although we feel that Senator Clinton will be the nominee (we thought that way back in March 2006) the race, as always in a democracy, will be an exciting one. We will have lots to say especially with regards to the media and blog coverage of the campaign. We will keep an especially sharp eye on “progressives” or Democrats who repeat Republican talking points to undermine Hillary or any of our candidates.

At the left hand side of our website we have posted permanent commentary pages on certain issues such as Iraq which we will continue to update.

via Hillary Is 44 » About

This is the “about” page from Hillaryis44.  This is the home territory of the “PUMA” crowd, which has faded into complete and deserned obscurity.  The reason for this is simple.  Read that “about”.  Then go read the home page.

When you are that disconnected from your purpose, it’s not surprising that you are completely irrelevant.

Fears of NSA Wire-Tapping Justified

WASHINGTON – The Senate Select Intelligence Committee is looking into allegations from two U.S. military linguists that the government routinely listened in on phone calls of American military and humanitarian aid workers serving overseas.

“These are extremely disturbing allegations,” said Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., in a statement issued Thursday. “We have requested all relevant information from the Bush administration. Any time there is an allegation regarding abuse of the privacy and civil liberties of Americans it is a very serious matter.”

ABC News first reported the charges Thursday, citing one current and one former military linguist by name. They are contained in the book “The Shadow Factory,” to be published next week.

via Report: NSA spied on soldiers’ personal calls – Security- msnbc.com

When it became clear that Bush was lying about the warrantless wire-tapping program, and was, in fact, intercepting all sorts of communications, they claimed National Security and shouting down any and all critics as terrorist-sympathizers.

Now it turns out that those “terrorist-sympathizers” were actually “freedom fighters”.  They weren’t only tapping suspected terrorist calls and emails, but also suspected journalist and suspected aid-worker calls.  Basically anyone who was suspected to be human, and therefore shared a species in common will all known terrorists, was considered to be a worthy target.