With summer vacation having finally arrived, the annual family sojourn is in full swing. This year the Feeny clan find themselves at Universal Studios in Orlando, a trip against which yours truly fervently warned my wife – the summer months in Florida are no picnic weather-wise, and as staunch a hot-weather person as I am, even I’m being worn down by what can be aptly described as walking around with a heat lamp attached to your forehead in the middle of a heat wave with high humidity. It’s not for the timid.
I’m also a bit concerned with the Grinch’s following me around the Dr. Suess portion of the park, which leads me to one of two conclusions: either he senses in me a kindred spirit, or the creature that’s seated at the Cinnabon Cafe across the way is a secret service agent. Maybe I’ll try to buy him off with an iced coffee and a muffin. If this is my last piece at AR, you all know where to begin looking.
All that having been said, I’ve found time to offer some thoughts, thanks largely in part to my Ipad and the wonders of the internet. Ironically enough, the very technology that makes it so much easier for a vacationing political hack to continue in his endeavors is the very subject of this article. As to why I’d even be doing stuff like this during vacation, well – the political Left never rests, so neither will I.
Let’s start by getting out of the way what will most likely be the first of the obvious criticisms by our liberal friends – I’m sure that some of what I have to offer here will be dismissed out-of-hand as the work of a mind entrenched in the world of conspiracy theories. That’s fine. For my part, all I can say is that I intend to do my best here to offer basic facts and to use common sense. As I’ve also intoned along the way during my time here at AR, I’m done apologizing for exercising my right to speak freely, at least while I still can.
One of the more recent legislative attempts of this socialist Congress is one that, should it be passed into law, would give the President a “kill switch” of sorts to shut down the Internet in the event of a cyber-attack that threatens our national security. If one were to look at the issue from the common-sense, conservative perspective, it would, indeed, seem to make sense; if we here on the right claim to have the welfare of the country and a strong national defense as integral parts of our basic platform, then we should have no issue with this. I agree. There are, however, serious, serious problems with such an idea.
First and most importantly, one man – admittedly the most important of our citizens, but a single man nonetheless – would be vested with far and away too much power, a concept that our Founding Fathers deliberately tried to prevent from happening. Not only would this man have singular control over the most complex communications infrastructure to exist in the history of humankind, he would now possess this in addition to his access to the button that could conceivably end all human life on large tracts of planet earth.
I’m not sure I’d want to hang out with a person with that degree of power. I mean, he is very cool, but I’d be somewhat unnerved by the man behind the curtain.
Second, where in the Constitution is the President of the United States given the authority to comprehensively and completely shut down all communications in America? I suppose the first and most obvious answer will be the lines that speak to “providing for the common defense”, but the conflict that I see here is that the Internet is truly the last bastion of free speech in our society.
So, what’s it gonna be? Sweeping protections in the face of a cyber-attack, or the right to freely express ourselves? After all, aren’t liberals all about “expressing themselves”?
Well, as Benjamin Franklin once stated, any person who is willing to sacrifice a degree of liberty for a degree of security will get none and deserve neither. This visionary-type statement certainly seems to go along quite well with the basic fact, at least from all of my experiences, that once you give the government a foot, it will gladly use that foot to take another one and to put you under surveillance.
See, I think there’s more to this, which I’m sure many people with common sense can already see. This is also where the accusations of my being tangled in a web of conspiracy theories will come into play. I’ll get to that in a minute.
I think the most general statement that needs to be made here is that in looking at this from the widest possible angle, the very concept of an Internet “kill switch” is laughable on its very face. Of course, any of our liberal friends who are reading this might be decidedly confused as to which side to take on this issue – on one hand, they’ll want to dismiss me as a conspiracy whacko; on the other, they’ll want to defend the notion that an Internet “kill switch” actually is possible and that President Obama certainly should and will use it. I’m really curious as to which side they’ll take. It should prove amusing.
Anyway, as I was saying, if this Lieberman-Collins brainchild were to make it through both houses of Congress, I’d have to really wonder at whether or not they’d fully thought through all of the other and clearly obvious, ancillary consequences that would come with the possibility and authority for such drastic action. For instance, let’s not forget that that the Internet is also occasionally referred to as the World Wide Web – it is, after all, global. Liberals are all about everything being “global” in nature, so surely this point couldn’t have escaped them. How would such a radical action affect the other nations of the world that are inextricably and electronically tied to us?
Putting that aside for the moment and assuming that just portions of the communications infrastructure in the United States could be isolated from the rest of the planet, I’m wondering which portions it might be. For example, one of the original sponsors of the bill, Democratic Senator John Rockefeller of West Virginia, claimed that the bill might not only wield authority over governmental Internet considerations but might also extend to other “private” online services that are of interest to the government.
Hmmm….that sounds rather ominous. But that’s just me.
Let’s even look at a piece of this issue that I feel has gone largely unmentioned to this point, though admittedly, I’m sure that this would all be part and parcel of such an action if such a situation were to arise. I’m curious – would the entire telecommunications network be shut down, including cell phone communications? Of course, I’d have to answer “yes” to that myself, as it seems to be a no-brainer; however, I’m still understandably curious, simply because I’ve heard no mention of its being part of the bill. After all, it was the cell phone network that was probably of far greater interest to the terrorists who engineered the 9/11 attack than it was their work on the Internet. Cell phones would simply have to go.
Here, in the end, is where my “something more” comes into play. It’s a foregone conclusion that when it comes to political speech, conservatives rule the Internet. Why? To me, the answer is fairly simple, though I’m sure there are more elements to this dynamic than what I’m mentioning here. From where I stand, it strikes me that conservatives dominate the ‘net because it more easily plays into their hands; the vast majority of those who consider themselves ‘conservative’ are the producers of society and are, more often than not, too busy working and trying to support their families to involve themselves in political machinations (though during this turbulent time in history, they’re certainly making the time). It’s those on the Left that essentially make ‘paid careers’ of trying to disrupt the lives of otherwise peaceful, law-abiding citizens. Conservatives also dominate talk radio, which arguably remains the driving force behind the conservative movement. In both cases, whether listening to talk radio or taking a few minutes to read something of interest on his office computer, a typical conservative no longer need venture out of his or her house after working a long day in order to ‘protest’ some thing or another (in many cases, however, they’re even doing that nowadays, as we have seen in the Tea Parties and the health care debates of last summer). Conceivably, from the comfort of their office desk (or at home) they can listen to talk radio and/or add their voices to the political debate via the blogosphere, sharing links to crucial articles via social networking devices such as Twitter and Facebook. It’s certainly ironic that arguably the very cyber-engine that drove the Obama campaign bus to victory in ’08 is, in many ways, helping to push that bus into the breakdown lane.
Excuse me while I slow down as I’m passing to look at the wreck on the side of the road. Sure hope no one’s hurt.
See, the Internet is a major, major problem for this administration specifically and the political Left more generally. They can’t shut us up. But then again, they don’t want to, do they? – they’re the biggest advocates of free speech in the country!
Of course, it’s only freedom of informed, enlightened speech that is still free – we ignorant conservatives need to be shut down, because, naturally, we’re polluting the national discourse. As a matter of fact, I think that’s in the first amendment somewhere – ignoramuses need not apply.
Wasn’t it President Obama who recently stated during a college graduation speech that there’s just too much information out there nowadays? That maybe, if you’re inclined to watching Glenn Beck, that perhaps you should take a look at the Huffington Post, just so that you get a sense of what both sides of the debate are putting out there?
Perhaps we should consider Mark Lloyd, a hard-leftist who is trying to establish the ‘Net Neutrailty Act, which would ostensibly put such incredibly heavy burdens on private communications that they would virtually cease to exist (which, translated, basically means that he intends to “neutralize” the conservative voice – but it sure sounds “fair”, doesn’t it?). Or, how about the George Soros-funded Media Matters, a group that was recently shot down by the Supreme Court in their attempts to have the FCC impose draconian rules over Internet availability? No matter, though – if they couldn’t get that, they simply now intend to go around it by trying to make the Internet a public utility.
Geez – that is an awful lot of focus on Internet communication. Why, do you suppose?
Let’s consider the mainstream media for a moment. Why is it that they’ve been, for the vast majority of the time since Obama began campaigning in earnest, so far into the tank for this administration? Because they’re patently against the notion of individual freedom? No, I don’t think it’s that; it strikes me that they see that the world of communications is changing, people are more and more frequently getting their news from mobile, quick-bite sources, and that the days of sitting down on the couch to watch the evening news are all but over. TV news is now driven by opinion, during prime-time.
The Brian Williamses and Katie Courics of the world can see that their elitist, lavish sinecures are on borrowed time. As with so many other things relative to this administration, it all comes back to one, very simple consideration, the infamous three-letter word:
J-O-B-S. Specifically, jobs with government funding.
Geez, think this might have anything to do with General Electric’s owning NBC, and its owner, Geoff Immelt, working as one of President Obama’s economic advisors? Or, even possibly, this administration’s admission that it may possibly consider bailing out the other dinosaur of yesteryear communications, the newspaper industry?
That sure sounds like fascism.
Nah – mere coincidence. Conspiracy theorist.
Since President Obama’s coming into office, this administration has seemingly been working amidst perpetual crisis. In all honesty, I can’t remember a period of my life when there seemed to be so many near-national emergencies. Seems like we’re always at “code red”, so to speak. Let’s see if I can conjure up at least a working list:
> an economic meltdown (of course, inherited from evil Republicans, to say nothing of the Democrats’ role in forcing banks to make unstable loans)
>Global Warming, which, based on what I’m experiencing in Florida – oh, wait…this is Florida…it’s supposed to be hot here…my bad, as they say
>Conflict over the Arizona law and illegal immigration in general, which, of course, might have one more astutely consider the revelation of Senator Kyl last week
>The oil spill in the Gulf and the negligence of BP, which, mysteriously enough, happened about two weeks following President Obama’s announcement that he’d be more willing to consider offshore drilling
>The ongoing war in Afghanistan
>The more recent McChrystal issue (which, laughably, resolved itself in the appointment of the ‘evil’ General “Betrayus”)I’m sure that I’m missing a few, but I’m also confident that my point has been made. Can’t let any of those crises go to waste.
Consequently, should we be prepared for a national “cyber-crisis”? Is the groundwork being prepared for us? I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s a foregone conclusion, but there isn’t anything that this administration attempts that is in any way surprising any longer. My guard is perpetually up.
Wouldn’t it be a beneficial by-product if the conservative voice just happened to be “shut down” in the process of guarding against an “attack” on the Internet? Wouldn’t shutting down the Internet be practically tantamount to the Patriot Act, against which liberals went out of their minds?
Of course, our President will claim that “he didn’t want to do it,” that “robust political debate is a necessary part of what it means to be an American.”
Unless, of course, you don’t read the Huffington Post.
Sorry – had to do it. Had to protect you.
If and when such a situation occurs, I’ll be very curious as to whether I can still get a cell phone signal.
As per usual with this administration, there’s a lot more going on about which I’d love to write but simply don’t have the time. Here are several issues that have recently arisen that bear watching:
Complete Disregard for the Rule of Law - http://www.examiner.com/examiner/x-35976-Conservative-Examiner~y2010m6d24-Obamas-plans-to-grant-amnesty-without-Congress
Assault on Freedom of Speech and the 2nd Amendment – vote was scheduled for yesterday – NRA cuts special back room deal - http://www.opensecrets.org/news/2010/06/house-passes-campaign-finance-refor.html