“The federal government would have ‘absolute power’ to shut down the Internet under the terms of a new US Senate bill being pushed by Joe Lieberman, legislation which would hand President Obama a figurative ‘kill switch’ to seize control of the world wide web in response to a Homeland Security directive.” – Paul Joseph Watson, prisonplanet.com
I was listening to our modern-day prophet, Glenn Beck, on the radio last night. Near the end of his program he received a phone call from a Russian immigrant who went through the process to become a naturalized U.S. citizen. The caller stated that he worked hard, saved some money, and invested it in a restaurant which supports his family and several employees. But what was most interesting about the conversation was what followed after the caller introduced himself.
He explained that he came from a privileged family in the former Soviet Union. Because of this, he had the resources to attend a university. A straight “A” student, he was considered part of the Russian intelligentsia. Due to his family’s influence, he also received an exceedingly rare opportunity to join the communist party.
The communist party membership wasn’t easily available to intellectuals or farmers. That’s because students tend to be inquisitive and farmers strive to own their land and profit from the fruits of their labor. The vast majority of communist party members in Russia were factory workers who had a collectivist mentality, much like our American labor unions.
The caller indicated that his politics began to change because his father owned a short wave radio on which he listened to Radio Free Europe and other broadcasts beamed at the Soviet Union. It took a while, but he began to realize that it was the only resource through which he could learn the truth about what was happening in world and inside Russia. That’s because the Soviet government controlled all other news sources.
The caller explained that even at the university, he had to receive a minimum of six signatures from government bureaucrats in order to use a copying machine. When Glenn asked him why, he said that the government was fearful that students would begin to make copies of the writings of dissidents and banned anti-government articles and distribute them to others. So he had to disclose the content of the materials he was copying, declare how many copies he was making, where they would be used, and who would have access to them.
For the past several years members of our Congress have been waging war against our only truly free and informative source of information, the Internet. But so far efforts to tax Internet use or to control its content have been met with fierce resistance from a wary public.
Granted, there is a lot of garbage that can be accessed through the Internet, from hard-core pornography to wacky conspiracy theories to racist and sexist websites. But it is also the only free resource that provides many opinions from every side of current political issues and events.
The main stream media seems to have been co-opted by the government. The nation’s major left-leaning newspapers are seeking government bailouts that could lead to absolute government control of content in return for its largesse. FOX news, the one television news network that seems to be making an attempt at being impartial, is continuously under attack. Our beloved talk radio is being targeted with an attempt to enforce a fairness doctrine that was stopped during the Reagan era.
The Internet is the one source of information that most of us have that could remain outside government scrutiny. But if the likes of Joe Lieberman are able to push a new bill being considered by the Senate, Obama will have absolute power to throw the kill switch and shut down the Internet in response to any national “crisis.” As we have seen in the past, a crisis doesn’t necessarily have to be real. It merely has to be perceived.
With the Internet shut down, the last bastion of a free press will cease to exist and we will have to revert to getting information from an old, but reliable resource. I have an ancient short wave radio buried somewhere in my basement under a pile of stuff accumulated during the past seventeen years of being married to a hoarder.
I’m going to find it, dust it off, and replace its batteries. Just in case.