Friday, January 28, 2011

Egypt example should kill ''internet kill switch'' bill in US

Sen. Joe Lieberman and Sen. Susan Collins have reintroduced a bill to set up an internet kill switch that can be activated by the president in the case of a cyber emergency, supposedly by terrorists or China or something.

Egypt has pulled just such a switch in the face of growing demonstrations to overthrow the Mubarak regime.

We should learn two things from Egypt's example:

  1. The kill switch is more likely to be used to kill domestic dissent, which is exactly how it's being used in Egypt. If they were really worried about certain government or industry users, they could simply call them up and tell them to pull the ethernet cable or wifi card out of their computers--it ain't rocket science.
  2.   More importantly though:
  3. The kill switch doesn't work.  The leader who pulls it admits that he is a coward afraid of his own people having access to information and access to each other.   Those who propose such a switch in the United States or elsewhere have contempt for democracy and even if elected, serve the very wealthy who need protection from democracy not the rest of us.

Instead of looking for ways to silence dissent and keep up the embarrassing kibuki pretense of democracy, where we can vote all we want so long as the wealth of the very wealthy remains untouched and their crimes go unpunished, our government should be looking for ways to sync their words with reality instead of PR tested talking points and sync their policies with the common good instead of using public office to line up their next job as a lobbyist, CEO, or board member for the companies they served while in office (or if they are president, the more circuitous bribes of speaking fees and donations to their foundations and presidential libraries).

If Washington doesn't learn the lesson of Egypt and serve the massive middle and working class instead of the miniscule moneyed class, a lot of DC politicians will be joining Hosni Mubarak on whatever desolate rock where he lives out his sorry life.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Poll: should Wikileaks just release their ''thermonuclear file''?

 Rather than waiting for some judicial or other harm to come Assange and others in the organization, wouldn't the best protection be releasing the thermonuclear file, so everyone's anger is focused on the corruption in their governments and even those tasked with persecuting Wikileaks might realize they would better serve the common good by staying their hand?

If Wikileaks dropped some of their biggest bombs, it could reset our democracy and force Washington to acknowledge what and who is really driving many of our policies instead of insulting our intelligence with childish drivel about chasing terrorists with the most powerful military in the world, which if true would be like swatting at flies with a bazooka.

Wouldn't it be nice if we had real information, so we could make real choices about whether to support wars?

If we could see the internal discussions of the Wall Street bailout from both the Wall Street side and the government side?

That would be democracy. What we have now is an increasing hollow puppet show. Everyone sees that they are puppets, that the script is crappy, and we suspect whose hands are up their asses, but we don't have the definitive evidence to prove it.

Wikileaks could do that, save their own asses, give our democracy back to us, and maybe even give it to some people who never had it before. That's worth more than any game of chess they are playing now.

Why doesn't Wikileaks just release their ''thermonuclear file''?
Wikileaks should release their thermonuclear file while they can
Wikileaks should wait only because the information has more impact when it trickles out
Wikileaks should wait because the damage would be great than the benefit
other free polls