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Democrats May Promise Broadband for All 836

Posted by samzenpus
from the it's-all-flowers-and-sausages dept.
andyring writes "According to CNS News Service, the Democrat Party will have an agenda that guarantees every American will have affordable access to broadband within five years as part of their 2006 election year agenda, according to Nancy Pelosi, House minority leader. Absent, of course, are any details as to how they will accomplish it when they are the party out of power in Congress."
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Democrats May Promise Broadband for All

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  • by ExE122 (954104) * on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:06AM (#14931986) Homepage Journal

    In any case, the Republican Party says the Democrats' real agenda involves the censure and possible impeachment of President George W. Bush.

    What an accusation! I thought the Democrats loved George W. Bush?! /sarcasm

    I don't want to start any political debates over this, but I admire the fact that Pelosi is trying to move away from that "John Kerry Democrat" (Republican) view and take a stand for what her party believes in.

    While I think most (if not all) of this is just idealistic rant, I do respect the political distinction it is attempting to draw. Nancy Pelosi [wikipedia.org] is doing for the Democrats what Gee Dubya did for the Republicans: unifying and separating themselves from their opponents. This country has two parties for a reason, and they need to keep each other in check. People have different views so they should be given choices as to what party they will support to represent those views. I'm not gonna go in to how the bi-partisan system fails here (nothing is black and white, dammit!), but at least a line is being drawn.

    The downside is that making promises that seem idealistic and impossible just to drum up support will usually come around and bite you in the ass... hence our president's 36% approval rating.

    --
    "Man Bites Dog
    Then Bites Self"
    • by marco.antonio.costa (937534) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:09AM (#14932004)
      This country has two parties for a reason

      And that is to fool you into thinking you live in a democracy. :)
      • by cg (18840) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:15AM (#14932037)
        John Jackson: "It's time someone had the courage to stand up and say: I'm against those things that everybody hates."

        Jack Johnson: "Now, I respect my opponent. I think he's a good man. But quite frankly, I agree with everything he just said."

        John Jackson: "I say your three cent titanium tax goes too far."

        Jack Johnson: "And I say your three cent titanium tax doesn't go too far enough."

        -from gotfuturama.com
      • by hey! (33014) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:57AM (#14932305) Homepage Journal
        Seriously though, between the idealistic fairy tale presented to children in civics classes, and the kind of orchestrated "elections" that the Party in China held for many years (free booze at the polling places so people would see some point in participating), there's a whole spectrum of possibilities.

        We have a system in the US with two parties huddled up in the middle and throwing the odd ideological scrap to one end or the other. This admittedly doesn't make for the kind of robust, nuanced, marketplace of ideas concept the framers envisioned, but it does have one important function in common with a truly democractic system. Given that you can't fool all of the people all of the time, if the government screws up long enough the people can and will throw the bums out and send in a fresh bums. Granted they only have one alternative, but it means the government can't ignore the anger of the people indefinitely.
    • by Vengeance (46019) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:14AM (#14932029)
      For the most part I understand where you're coming from, but I must take issue with the idea that we have Choices.

      We have no choices. There are only two parties, each of which has about 25% of a supportable platform, as far as I am concerned. What kind of a choice is that?

      There seems to be an inverse relationship between importance and choice. I can select from literally hundreds of breakfast cereals, but only two presidential candidates? Where are the people who represent MY views?
      • by jcr (53032)
        I must take issue with the idea that we have Choices.

        Well, if you're convinced that you don't, then clearly you can't be part of any solution.

        -jcr
        • by Vengeance (46019) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:56AM (#14932294)
          And that is *precisely* what I fear.

          I'm essentially kept out of being part of the solution, because I cannot agree with either of the two empowered sides who are *entirely* unable to create solutions for the problems we have.

          Both major parties are full of incompetent boobs, but they are incompetent boobs who set all the rules for the rest of us. And this is self-reinforcing, because anyone who shows tendencies towards thoughtfulness or considered opinion these days is painted as indecisive, wishy-washy, or as a 'flip-flopper'. Imagine that: Someone who is capable of realizing they've made a mistake, someone who can change their mind to cope with new facts, realities or understanding, is attacked viciously by those who are so entrenched in their beliefs that they can never change.

          The system is badly broken, and it's damned difficult to try and change it, either from within or without. That being said, I am trying to do my part. I must say: The form letters one gets back after contacting legislators tends to be very depressing. One is generally either thanked for supporting some position which one has never mentioned, or given a paragraph along the lines of 'thanks for your opinion, but mine won't change'.
      • Check this article out:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proportional_represen tation [wikipedia.org]

        Proportional representation, abbreviated PR, is a "multi-winner" electoral system whose use tends to make elections result in groups of votes being represented in proportional fractions in some body of representatives, such that x% of votes are represented by x% of representatives. Proportional representation is also used to describe this intended effect. ...
        This system is used in Israel (where the whole country is one closed l

    • What an accusation! I thought the Democrats loved George W. Bush
      It's a good thing the Republicans are above using clearly-doomed impeachment proceeding simply to score political points.
    • This country has two parties for a reason, and they need to keep each other in check.

      George Washington must have been a prophet, and must be reeling now:

      "The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually
  • Pot, Kettle ..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BWJones (18351) * on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:06AM (#14931989) Homepage Journal
    Absent, of course, are any details as to how they will accomplish it when they are the party out of power in Congress.

    Hey, that has not stopped the party currently in power from jumping into things where they had no plan either. ;-)

    • While I am no apologist for the republicans, I also chortled at the notion that the Democrats could accomplish such a thing were they in control of the legislature anyways.

      At best they could set aside the funding and make a program, it seems to me...but that would be a huge step forward, so I'm not going to naysay this effort.
    • by pubjames (468013) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:03AM (#14932357)
      If you're referring to the Iraq war, they did have a plan. It went something like this

      1) Easily win the war
      2) Iraqi's rejoyce and love the USA!
      3) Privatize all of Iraqs businesses - have American companies buy them up
      4) Iraqis can buy stuff from the now American companies
      5) Send Iraq a big bill for the war
      6) Net transfer of wealth from Iraqi oil -> USA
      7) Profit!

      Unfortunately the plan didn't quite work out...
    • Re:Pot, Kettle ..... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by hey! (33014) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:12AM (#14932442) Homepage Journal
      Sure. But rolling out universal broadband access really isn't as hard as, say, transforming the middle east into a haven for democracy. It isn't even as hard as sending a man to Mars.

      To exhume the corpse of an old political metaphor, it's more like building an interstate highway system. While there may be some issues of scaling, and challenging issues of security and regulation, the technology exists today and is mature. There are probably thousands if not tens of thousands of engineers in the country who could sketch out a workable outline for how to do it, and if we lookd at those outlines they'd probably boil down to no more than handful of similar designs. In fact, if anything the job is technologically easier, since highways have to deal with unique geographic obstacles along every mile.

      The only thing you need to do this is money, and while in the grand scheme of federal spending it'd be a major project, it would not be anything like the actual highway spending.

      The reason it will never happen is the very same reason that we don't have single payer health insurance. There are companies that are making money today under the status quo. These companies will open their checkbooks and fight this to their last penny, because a Federal program along the lines of the Eisenhower Interstate System would be tantamount to a bill of attainder. So, what will happen is they politicians will try to create a complicated system that works around the concerns of these companies, resulting in something that is nearly incomprehensible and probably unworkable. In other words the network equivalent of the Clinton health plan.

      And even then, the companies won't like it. The only difference is that politically speaking, it will be like demolishing a house of cards with a squib.
  • by sweeney37 (325921) * <mikesweeney@gmai l . com> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:07AM (#14931993) Homepage Journal
    But I would have prefered the newest party line read: guarantees every American will have affordable access to health care within five years.

    oh well, I guess there is always WebMD.
    • by Intron (870560) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:25AM (#14932097)
      Good point. How about just guaranteeing food, shelter and clean water. Nearly 18% of children in this country live live in poverty [wikipedia.org].
    • by XMilkProject (935232) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:40AM (#14932199) Homepage
      But I would have prefered the newest party line read: guarantees every American will have affordable access to health care within five years.

      The unfortunate truth is that health care is extremely expensive. If it becomes more affordable for you, then it becomes more expensive for someone else. Somewhere, someone has to pay for it.

      If you'd prefer all the cost was put on those more wealthy individuals in the country so that the less wealthy can get free health care, then just go ahead and say that.

      Although there are things that can be done to lower the costs somewhat, for instance the Democrat party could stop blocking all attempts to put caps on medical malpractice lawsuits that force doctors and drug companies to spend a significant portion of their revenue on insurance. Don't you think a cap at say, 20 million, would be reasonable for a person filing suit against a doctor? And that of course doesn't include any payment for actual damages.

      And on the other hand, Republicans could stop trying to reduce competition for our American drug companies, so that they would be forced to try to keep costs down.

      Neither of those things will make your health care affordable though, the only way it will be affordable is if you tax wealthy Americans more and use their money to pay for it. Which to me, just seems a bit too socialist.
      • by Hackie_Chan (678203) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @12:54PM (#14934276)
        Neither of those things will make your health care affordable though, the only way it will be affordable is if you tax wealthy Americans more and use their money to pay for it. Which to me, just seems a bit too socialist.

        I hate it when just because you want to tax those who have more that you're "socialist". It's stupid poo-flinging arguments like that which've made it so that 45 million Americans are uninsured. Let me quote myself in a post I made earlier on /. [slashdot.org]:

        Just look at the Toyota plant in Ontario [harpers.org] [harpers.org]; The company turned down hundreds of millions of dollars in subsidies in the United States because, when compared to Canadians, U.S. workers are too hard to train, often illiterate, and expensive to insure. Also according to General Motors Corp. chairman and chief executive G. Richard Wagoner Jr. the American car manufacturers are losing [washingtonpost.com] [washingtonpost.com] their ability to compete in the global marketplace in large measure because of the crushing burden of health care costs.
        The US is the only industrial country without a national healthcare system. We're the most dissatisfied [umaine.edu] [umaine.edu] out of the top ten. Pay almost twice as much [newsbatch.com] [newsbatch.com] as number two. Yet still 45 millions are uninsured [census.gov] [census.gov].

        You're saying to me that it's not in the best interest of the rich to have insured Americans? As Adam Smith said; it's justified to take from the rich as it's them who benefit the most from the smooth functioning of the state.
  • ... seeing as how Al Gore invented the Internet.
  • When the Republicans were swept into power in 1994, they drew up a whole "Contract with America" that, in the end, went mostly unimplemented. As I was of tender years at the time, it was my first lesson that campaign promises are worth absolutely nothing. Even if the Democrats were in power, I doubt half of what they offered would get done.
  • everyone also will have a digital tv along with a subpena for MPAA.
  • Gore Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rlp (11898) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:12AM (#14932020)
    Remember the Gore Tax - a 'universal service' fee on your phone bill to make telecomm. services 'widely available' to public schools. So where are they going to get the money for universal Internet access. Where do you think? Expect a hefty new federal tax on your broadband access to pay for this new universal access.
    • Re:Gore Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rocketship Underpant (804162) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:44AM (#14932221)
      Excellent insight. And 50 years from now, when some new technology has replaced mere broadband, every citizen will still be paying some broadband tax without knowing why.

      The thing about regulation of all kinds is that although it makes business difficult and slows growth, the established corporations love it; it makes breaking into the market almost impossible for new competitors. What's more, the combination of regulation, taxes, and subsidies freezes business models for established companies and keeps the market from being able to adapt.
    • Re:Gore Tax (Score:5, Insightful)

      by lbrandy (923907) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:02AM (#14932347)
      Remember the Gore Tax - a 'universal service' fee on your phone bill to make telecomm. services 'widely available' to public schools. So where are they going to get the money for universal Internet access. Where do you think? Expect a hefty new federal tax on your broadband access to pay for this new universal access.

      You are on the right track. Be very wary of this. How do they plan to fund this? Tax breaks? Subsidies? What happens when the DoJ wants information from an ISP? Do they have the threat of losing "funding"? Letting the government take money from us in the form of taxes, and give it to the ISPS is incredibly ineffecient and also it puts the government in the loop.. which means they can start demanding things and regulating things if ISPs want their cut. This could, very easily, be the conduit through which the internet could be controlled.

      The plan is complete vaporware, for now, but just be really really really wary.
    • Re:Gore Tax (Score:3, Insightful)

      by hackstraw (262471) *
      Expect a hefty new federal tax on your broadband access to pay for this new universal access.

      Why not.

      I'm looking at my phone bill now:

      Taxes - $13.79
      Service - $14.00

      And if I had the luxury of call waiting, long distance, or other things, it would be more on both categories.

      So, sure tax it more so that poor people can use the internet with their free computer that I will have to buy them next.

  • by SeanDuggan (732224) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:12AM (#14932022) Homepage Journal
    Absent, of course, are any details as to how they will accomplish it when they are the party out of power in Congress."
    Simple. They completely ignore the promise if elected, then blame partisan politics for the promise never bearing fruit. It's the same thing done when there's a majority in Congress, after all.
    • by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:28AM (#14932126) Homepage
      Everyone needs to remember something here. Every single person in Washington that is in a position of power is not from the same reality as you and I.

      $80.00 a month broadband is to them "affordable" Hell they blow that much a day on lunch. They need to keep their hands out of the whole thing and let the market fist fight it out.

      Comcast here is $60.00 a month for their lowest speed and $85.00 a month for their highest speed. Verizon is offering DSL for $14.99 a month and up to $49.99 a month. and yes these are normal prices not "special" prices. the 1.5M 384K DSL is absolutely perfect for most anyone. Hell I run 3 VOIP lines over one with far less problems than the Pro level Comcast Cable modem and honestly can not see or "feel" the difference between the two when surfing the web... the one thing that 90% of all users only do on their internet. Places like slashdot are no faster over a pair of load balancing DS3's with a crapload of bandwidth or a low end DSL connection. This is what users see.

      The market will fight it out. when Comcast starts losing customers to DSL they will lower prices, it will all settle down to a price that makes companies a modest profit, costs very little to buyers and makes everyone pretty much happy.

      Comcast right now makes obscene amounts of profit off of their Cable modem service, and they are reluctiant to give up that cash cow.
  • by benjjj (949782) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:12AM (#14932024)
    Democrats will promise broadband access, and ISPs will agree to support the plan if, and only if, they don't have to provide the whole internet to the "charity cases." Democrats, advised strongly against such a deal, will nonetheless accept just for the sake of claiming a victory. ISPs will come smelling like roses, because they gave broadband to people who wouldn't have had it, but at the same time, get to move away from a single standard for internet connections (content-wise). Like welfare, the Dems will take a good concept and execute it in a disastrous fashion.
  • by nwbvt (768631) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:13AM (#14932027)
    1. Wait for new technological advances and an increasing supply of broadband providers to lower the price.
    2. Claim the success of the market as your own.
    3. Profit!

    And if 1 never happens, just blame it on Bush.

  • Repeat after me (Score:4, Informative)

    by stinerman (812158) <nathan,stine&gmail,com> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:15AM (#14932034) Homepage
    The people in the party are Democrats. The party itself is the Democratic Party. In many parts of the US, calling it the "Democrat Party" is considered pejorative. Next time you may want to reword.
  • And don't forget... (Score:4, Informative)

    by Noryungi (70322) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:15AM (#14932040) Homepage Journal
    ... That the US are trillions of dollars into debt.

    Broadband for all? I think not.
  • by Overzeetop (214511) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:17AM (#14932047) Journal
    Of all the things I would like to see the political parties of these united states do, as I would prioritize them this is somewhere down on page 700 or so.

    With all of the things that could be done to make this country better, universal broadband isn't really what I think is going to bring the Democrats back into the majority . I'm just ashamed to even be registered as a democrat if this is what their big plans are.

    How about limiting corporate control of the law making process? How about dropping our spending under two trillion dollar a year. HOW ABOUT PAYING DOWN THE 7 TRILLION DOLLAR DEBT. How about opening up the federal healthcare group to all US citizens or permanent residents.

    Don't get me wrong, broadband is a wonderful thing - but universal broadband isn't really a "hot-button" issue for Joe and Jane America.
  • Blatant bribery (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MikeRT (947531) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:19AM (#14932068) Homepage
    Let's see....

    1) DHS fails security tests on all counts.
    2) The CIA and FBI are still suffering from bureaucratic management that has crippled field operations.
    3) We're stuck in Iraq with no easy way out.
    4) Spending is wildly out of control, and no, not even getting rid of the Bush tax cuts would fix this and our economy cannot handle higher taxes at this point.
    5) Our borders are out of control.
    6) Jobs are being lost to countries with lower taxes and regulations.
    7) Inflation is killing the dollar.

    And all the Democrats can come up with at this point is the 21st century equivalent of bread and circus for the middle and upper classes. But wait, it's "for all Americans..." so that makes it more important than having the basic security we need to protect ourselves like forcing all state governments to actually do background checks on their drivers' licenses. Know why port security is so bad? DHS recently did a study that showed that thousands of the drivers going into the ports were illegal aliens or convicted felons. How did they get there? The states were too politically correct to do anything because that might offend the Hispanic citizens that actually want to be confused for illegal immigrants or the potential fradulent voter base of illegals that both parties court.

    This is why the Democrats are out of power. They have even less national security credentials than the Republicans, and their domestic ideas amount to blatant acts of prostitution like this. This is also why I vote Libertarian. If Bush can barely bring himself to make a serious attempt on certain aspects of security, then how can we expect someone like Kerry to do any better? The last election, believe it or not, was decided primarily by voters concerned by national security, not morality or domestic spending.

    This proposal, if enacted, would only end up being one of two things. A huge, wasteful government agency that destroys market competition by being cheaper through subsidies, or a major, almost unprecedented corporate welfare package the likes of which should make any good leftist scream in outrage. It's going to cost a lot of money to wire up all of those small towns around America, especially in the areas outside of the coastal parts of America. It'll cost a hell of a lot of money to wire up places like Montana or the Dakotas where the population is spread so thin.
  • Not a good thing. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Entropy (6967) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:20AM (#14932074)
    If the government does decide to hop on the "broadband for all" bandwagon, broadband will become more scarce and worsen in quality - just like all other government handouts.

    So here's a hearty cheer for "Stay the FUCK away from our broadband!", you god damned government assholes ..
  • If they do it... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by level_headed_midwest (888889) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:24AM (#14932093)
    If they actually do this, here's what will happen (and the same would happen no matter who is in power):

    1. They pass the bill for the program with about 50 riders on it. Result: Plans for broadband Internet start and vendors in the districts of the senior politicians that proposed and passed this bill get no-bid contracts for networking equipment, which they sell for 10x the market rate. Also, somebody gets a statue, a fish pond, and a bridge to nowhere in their district.

    2. The funding bill for the Intrenet program gets passed, but this time with 100 riders. The *AAs get a rider that mandates TCPA, HDCP, and whatnot because their lobbyists had to be bought off so that the funding could pass and make the incumbent party look good for getting it passed. Oh, and there are still many "regular" $1000 toilet seat pork-barrel deals in this bill too.

    3. The telecom companies sue the government for billions for unfair competition. The project is tied up for five years while this happens and a bunch of lawyers get rich. The outcome is that the tiered Internet proposal by B(ell)S(outh) is allowed in exchange for the public broadband. The public broadband is also limited to 256K by the settlement as to not compete directly with BS and the other monopoly data providers.

    4. The project gets completed ten years late at ten times the original cost. Most of us are on 20Mbps+ fiber at that time and few use the public 256K broadband. The project still gets hundreds of millions in funding every year even though it is almost never used.
  • "free" broadband? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kajoob (62237) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:25AM (#14932099)
    "The American Republic will endure, until politicians realize they can bribe the people with their own money."

    -- Alexis de Tocqueville
  • by benedict (9959) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:27AM (#14932117)
    CNS News is about as credible as Ann Coulter. It's a right-wing site with no particular attachment to truth.

    And there is no such thing as the "Democrat Party". That should have been your tip-off.

    *Very* disappointed in Slashdot editors today.
  • by malia8888 (646496) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:28AM (#14932122)
    "We also believe that the nationwide deployment of high speed, always-on broadband and Internet and mobile communications will fuel the development of millions of new jobs in the United States," Pelosi said.

    I am not trolling, only being realistic here. Our firm fixes Joe Public's computers. The first thing that happens when the average everyday PC user hooks up to broadband is his/her introduction to the bigger pipeline of viruses/malware/spyware. They bring in their machine to be de-flea'd to the tune of $200 bucks or so.

    I would like to see what Ms. Pelosi has in mind as a cost/benefits in her "broadband for all" proposal. There are other things Americans need much more than a faster way to download music and porn :P

    Americans need fiscally responsible government, this "shiny penny" is just that, a shiny penny.

  • by glyn.phillips (826462) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:30AM (#14932135)

    While everybody likes something for nothing, I think that this is a bad idea for a couple of reasons:

    1. The incompetence of the government.
    2. Whatever the government pays for, the government will control. You can be sure that any government-subsidized connection will have strings attached. Think monitoring, access restrictions, port blocking, etc.
    3. When the government steps into a business, the private operators either become wards of the state or are forced out completely. Thus, instead of having a choice we will have to settle for the government's one-size-fits-all solution.
    4. It's going to cost us one way or another, and with bureaucrats involved it will probably wind up costing more. There is no such thing as a free lunch.

    The government isn't the solution to everything and I think that this is one of the things that the government should say out of.

  • On the one hand... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thesandtiger (819476) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @09:41AM (#14932204)
    ... I'm all for connection everyone to the Internet. The ability to have access to pretty much any information a person could want is a great thing.

    On the other hand, I'm not really a fan of the government providing this access. Privacy issues, spending issues, quality of service issues, market issues (if the service is free and "not quite absolute shit" it's going to really damage the ISP market - and, hell, we'll be paying *anyway* just via taxes instead of a monthly bill) - lots of problems with it.

    What I would rather see the Democrats focus on are the following:

    1) Feeding, clothing and sheltering the absurd number of children in this country who are living below the poverty level.
    2) Providing free preventative and maintenance health-care for all.
    3) Beginning the process of repairing our image abroad.
    4) (Ironically) Curbing spending/fiscal responsibility - digging us out from under the mountain of debt.
    5) Stabalizing the Iraq situation and getting us the hell out of there.
    6) Overhauling DHS so that it's actually, you know, secure. And not just in IT, but in ways that actually matter. We're *less* secure than we were pre-9/11, and it's mainly because it seems that everyone who's "responsible" *thinks* we're secure and is pulling a "LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU!!!!" when anyone mentions the glaring holes.

    Actually, I don't care if it's the Dems or the Repubs - I just want those things (among others I no doubt missed) addressed. I'll vote for the person I think is most likely to have a real plan for addressing those issues. Unfortunately, it'll probably be some "fringe" candidate who's not got a hope in hell of ever being elected dog catcher, let alone president.
  • Federal Guarantees (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dada21 (163177) * <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:06AM (#14932397) Homepage Journal
    The welfare clause of the Constitution was not meant to actually take care of people, but to make sure that no government blocked anyone's ability to provide for themselves.

    Let's look at Federal guarantees that we received in the past:

    1. The guarantee that no old person who is unable to work will be able to live at a bare means level (Social Security). Now all of us pay 15% or so of our salaries to pay for our retired parents who had every chance to save their own money.

    2. The guarantee that no child will go to school without lunch. Now everyone, even the wealthy, qualify for subpar school lunch programs that do nothing but fatten the children up, cause them to carb-crash after lunch, and pander to the large food farming cartels that backdoor sponsor the law's expansion.

    3. The guarantee that no child will be left behind. Every child is now brought down to the level of the child least able to learn. Instead of promoting the brightest, we're just equalizing everyone out so everyone can get a C. A C grade is enough to say they need more money, but not bad enough to complain about.

    4. The guarantee that college tuitions will be available to those who need them. This caused an excess amount of money to enter the college system -- more money within any limited supply market means that all money is worth less, so prices will go up.

    5. The guarantee that all employees have an opportunity to have managed health care. If you take 19 friends to dinner and ask everyone to pay themselves, they'll generally buy burgers. If you agree to all pay an equal share of the bill, some will buy steaks. In the long run, everyone eats steak, except in our situation the steaks are paid for by our children as the group needs to borrow against future wealth to pay for steaks on a burger budget.

    6. The guarantee that medicines and drugs will be safe. Instead of supporting medical safety research alone, the FDA has become a complete pawn of the drug companies used to keep new drugs out at high cost to the citizen base. Rather than rely on your doctor's advise for what is best for you, we have to wait for bureaucrats to accept a drug as safe. Even worse, many drugs are released for political reasons that end up not being safe, but still pad the pockets of those who made them.

    I have no desire for the Federal government to keep expanding way beyond what they're allowed to. Broadband and communications has NO allocation in the Constitution -- none at all. The Interstate Commerce Clause was written specifically to use the power of Federal government to PREVENT individual states from harming open and free trade. The Welfare clause was written to give people the chance for equal opportunity by preventing governments from harming their ability to provide for themselves.

    The Democrats are going to tax me well more than I already pay for broadband so that we can all have it. I already provide a few of my neighbors with free WiFi (and charges others who can afford it). I support 6 families in my church who homeschool by paying for their broadband. I don't need your help, and I don't want to help you if I don't know you and I can't hold you accountable for your actions with my money..
  • by Artifex33 (932236) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:15AM (#14932470)
    The basic points of Ms. Pelosi's speech:

    1. No tax subsidies to companies which outsource overseas. -- IMO, we ought to do away with all subsidies, period. It is not the governments responsibility to manipulate the free market when it behaves is ways which do not equal votes.

    2. Protect "the right of americans to organize", and the "Employee Free Choice Act" -- In other words, they support legalized blackmail as long as you're paying union dues. The "Act" they have drafted would allow employees to force a union on an employer. I wonder if this would make it illegal to fire someone for their participation in a union strike. How about the "free choice" to go get another job if you don't like your current one? After all, Delta Airlines is so grateful for their wonderful union. Remember Eastern Airlines?

    3. "universal broadband" -- and when did it become the responsibility of the governement to make sure we all had broadband? I'd rather the government keep from touching the internet any more than it already has. If this happened, how long until the government demagogues its way into monitoring those "guaranteed" connections? What if you don't have a computer? Does this mean that we have to have "universal computers" also?

    4. "energy independence" in 5 years -- How? Government regulation? Opening up ANWR to drilling? Oh, wait, Dems won't do that, as caribou might be offended by the sight of a drilling rig. What does that leave? Solar--too inefficient; Hydrogen--unproven tech(BOOM!)and/or too expensive; hybrid cars--anyone ever replaced one of the batteries in these things (estimated costs are between $2000 for a Toyota and up to $6000 for some hondas)? My father has owned an Insight for some years now, and has repeatedly tried to get Honda to give him an official price on a battery replacement, to no avail.

    5. Socialized health care -- I can't wait to get in line for 6 months for an MRI. Will we pass out government health insurance cards at the Mexican border? How about deregulating health insurance so that we can buy it from whoever we want instead of being force-fed whatever our company can afford? Ever have a problem getting auto insurance?

    6. "Real security" -- Apparently, to Ms. Pelosi this means inspecting 100% of the containers coming into our ports. I'm sure that would be very effective in stopping morons from getting a WMD into our country. I doubt it would be as effective against someone striding brazenly across our ridiculously porous borders.

    To sum up: socialism, government regulation, increased bureaucracy, and economic protectionism. Someone please tell me exactly which of these things has historically proven to be successful?

  • In India... (Score:5, Informative)

    by rathehun (818491) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:38AM (#14932700) Homepage

    ...one of the promises of the present government was that it would make broadband affordable.

    What happened was pretty decent, for a government programme. 256 kbps broadband was rolled out in all the larger cities, at Rs. 500 (USD 10) per month - however, there was a rider - a 1 GiB transfer limit.

    This scheme, however, was sufficient to start a major price war, and broadband prices have been steadily falling, upto the point where it's now being pushed way more heavily than dial-up.

    The problems:

    • Lack of heavy-usage plans
    • Nightmarish problems with free-usage hours, and subsequent billing
    • Billing
    • Last mile hasn't been unbundled, so each company has to lay their own cables, resulting in private companies being unable to offer their lower prices/higher usage plans to customers who want it

    However,

    • Since the government monopoly has to, by law service rural areas, the problem of a lack of access, that one hears about so much on /. is really not a problem
    • Cheap!
    • Excellent (personal experience) service, downtime of about a week in the last year of my having it
    • Technical support, while incredibly hard to actually *find*, is remarkably well informed - came home, and was happily using the command line on my linux server, to which the line was connected
    • Typing from it right now ;-)

    Whether it was the best idea, whether it helped starving people...those are all debatable points. But surely, it is hardly an incredibly expensive project, which will kill off the American economy?

    Even if the government doesn't offer fiber-connections to the rest of America, 256k broadband is perfectly capable of accessing Wikipedia, joining and taking part in mailing groups...there will be a section of the society whom it will help.

    Cheers,
    Rahul.

  • 50% (Score:3, Insightful)

    by coyote-san (38515) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:43AM (#14932760)
    50%. For the first time in history 50% of the public thinks the country would be better off with Democrats in power. (Republicans are down to 37%).

    50%. This is the FIRST TIME in history that the opposition party has hit 50%.

    50%. This is such a staggering number that even the Republican leadership will admit that, if the election were held today, that the Democrats would retake control of both houses of Congress. Six years of Republican stonewalling into dozens -- hundreds -- of critical issues will be broken. There will be blood on the walls --- already there are reputable claims that the Abhramcoff(sp?) scandal will take down dozens of Republican (and only Republican members of congress. Not "forced to resigned" either -- the former Representative Cunningham won't be alone in federal prison for corruption.

    I don't want to turn this into a political thread -- go to Daily Kos is that -- but the "so what, they're out of power" argument ends on the first Tuesday after the first Monday in November. The country is pissed off.

    (P.S., did I mention that Nixon was more popular before his resignation than Bush is today?)

    BTW, answering the point upstream -- the Democrats ensure affordable broadband to at least half of the population by passing a single law that costs no money. "No state, or subdivision within, shall pass any law restricting the ability of any government entity from offering municipal broadband service if it so chooses." Some cities are seriously considering offering citywide WiFi as a municipal utility, same as they offer water, sewer, trash collection, even power and natural gas. Yet the state legislature may pass a law saying that only for-profit entities can offer such service. Huh? Nobody is saying that people _must_ choose municipal WiFi, just that it should be an option on the table, esp. for people in areas where the commercial providers do not or cannot offer service.
  • by ursabear (818651) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:45AM (#14932786) Homepage Journal
    The very first thing that jumped out into my mind was the governmental acts that gave telephone lines and electrical lines to (MOST, not ALL) most of the rural and remote communities of the US. The government subsidized the energy companies and the telco(s) to make sure they could run the expense of running out hardware to even farmer Jane's house in the middle of (rural state here).

    For the most part, this was a very good thing. At the time, the telcos were loathe to spend the bucks to run lines to anywhere but where lots of people lived... there were massive numbers of people who did not have access to telephones. Lots of good stuff happens for rural communities...

    Fast forward to today... The government is still paying subsidies to the telcos for the rural telecommunications act... even though the telcos aren't really doing much new line work for basic POTS [wikipedia.org]. Many billions of dollars in unintended windfalls have been paid out to companies that recouped their rural investments decades ago.

    Will this new legislation cause good and bad consequences, too?
  • D'minority (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @10:59AM (#14932938) Homepage Journal
    The detail of how they will accomplish anything is right there in your statement: it's their 2006 election year agenda. Vote out the corrupt, lazy Republicans, and replace them with corrupt, lazy Democrats. At least the Democrats' corruption doesn't destroy the country.
  • Overblown (Score:4, Informative)

    by Politburo (640618) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @11:12AM (#14933075)
    This was reported as a footnote in a speech Leader Pelosi gave to the Communication Workers of America. Although it's well known that I generally defend the Democrats, in this case Pelosi was just pandering, imo. The CWA is the union that would install any 'nationwide universal broadband'. Universal BB access was not the focus of the speech and the little mention of it was blown out of proportion by Drudge, as usual. The submitter misread the article, as Pelosi was listing the goals of the Democrats after the 2006 election, not the goals for the current Congress.

    Also, there is no "Democrat Party". My membership card says "Democratic National Committee".
  • by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday March 16, 2006 @01:11PM (#14934466) Homepage
    CNS, a mouthpiece for conservative interests, posted a story speculating on the Democratic platform, saying that it will include an initiative that I've never heard of, even though I'm a Democratic Precinct Committee Person who is part of the decision-making process for the party's platform.

    Am I supposed to take this seriously?

    Frankly, this looks to me like nothing more than Republican bullshit. The use of the phrase "Democrat Party" (instead of the more proper "Democratic Party") gives it away.

  • by maillemaker (924053) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @01:54PM (#14934926)
    America lags behind other countries that have universal broadband deployment, Pelosi said; but the Democrats' agenda "guarantees" that every American will have affordable access to broadband within five years.

    Translation: People who can afford it today will continue to pay for it, plus we will pay more so that people who can't afford it will get it for free or a substantially reduced price.

    You know, I could get behind some of the Democratic Party's socialist ideas if they applied to everyone. Unfortunately it seems like I'm always "too rich" to be on the receiving end of the benefits - I just get to pay for them.

    You want to have free (as in beer) internet access for EVERYONE, like libraries? Great - I'm for that - I'll pay some taxes for that.

    You want to add a tax somewhere so that I can continue to pay for internet access AND pay for everyone else to have it too? No thanks.

    Democrats support "energy independence" within ten years; health care for all American within five years; and "dignified retirement" (no privatization of Social Security) through an "AmeriSave" plan.

    I'm all for the energy independence. But my guess is that "health care for all" will really mean I will continue to pay for my own plus pay for everyone else under me. Likewise "diginified retirement" will mean in addition to saving my own funds for retirement I'll be taxed to provide savings for others to retire on, too."

    It's hard enough to provide for my own health care and retirement!

    I'm tired of being asked to pay for programs that I can't take advantage of myself. If I pay for it, I should have the same level and cost of access as anyone else - just like a library.

    Steve
  • by RomulusNR (29439) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @02:34PM (#14935435) Homepage
    Absent, of course, are any details as to how they will accomplish it when they are the party out of power in Congress."

    Beware such nonsense as desperate conservative demagoguery. Conservatives, like the annoying smart-assed jocks in high school, are good at saying things that sound derogatory but are really baseless and meaningless.

    The question to be put to such wags is this: How would *you* get something accomplished as a party that has zero power in the government? There really isn't much you can do, is there?
  • zerg (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Lord Omlette (124579) on Thursday March 16, 2006 @06:58PM (#14937550) Homepage
    The same fools who couldn't pass the simplest motion, namely the one that said, "We think wiretapping people without a warrant is wrong, please don't do it again." are the same people who are going to bring broadband to everyone?

    Does anyone believe this?

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