How Will Obama Work the Crisis?
For President Barack Obama and Democrats, all things are political. For them, the Boston Marathon bombings are more than a national security issue. On the left, the calculus for any crisis involves figuring out and extracting political gain from awful events -- the economy cratering in 2007-08 is a prime example.
From the Times' article:
When Dzhokhar Tsarnaev spoke to investigators on Sunday, officials said, he indicated that he and his brother had learned to make the pressure-cooker bombs that they used at the marathon from Inspire, the online Al Qaeda magazine.
One can take the Times' report at face value: the Brothers Tsarnaev culled what they needed to know about jihad, tactics, and bomb-making mechanics from online. The other take is that the left may use Dzhokhar Tsarnaev's confession as the seed of a rationale for internet regulations.
Control the internet and the president and the feds can control the electronic information spigot. Since the American right relies heavily on the internet for alternative media, federal government control could lead to crimping or shutting down faith-based and conservative websites that the feds deem risks to national security -- conservative sites like American Thinker and PJ Media, which provide frank analysis, commentary, and reporting that citizens can't get from liberal mainstream media outlets and left-leaning blogs. What seems far-fetched today may prove not to be tomorrow.
Since extremists are diverse -- as in running the spectrum, from jihadists to white supremacists (abroad and at home) to everything in between... like Tea Party patriots and conservative Christians (as the left would perceive), then it stands to reason that Uncle Sam needs to be the internet's traffic cop -- in the name of protecting the homeland.
Or if not Uncle Sam, then the United Nations, which has been making a play for internet control. This from a Yahoo! News report:
Last December, the United States and its key allies didn't sign a draft ITU treaty in Dubai that proposed that individual nations had the power to potentially censor the Internet.
ITU stands for the "International Telecommunications Union," which is a UN-sponsored organization. Permitting individual nations the power to censor the internet serves the interests of countries like Russia, North Korea, and China. To its credit, the Republican-led U.S. House is pushing a measure that states, in part: "[I]t is the policy of the United States to preserve and advance the successful multi-stakeholder model that governs the Internet."
From techdirt, which references an analysis by Anthony Rutkowski at CircleID (an online publication dedicated to internet infrastructure):
The ITU's "Internet/cloud" Study Group 13 is convening soon, and as Rutkowski points out, the provenance of the contributions submitted to this meeting reflect what is happening to the organization: 70% of them are from China or Korea.
This from Rutkowski's analysis, which provides a deeper look into the ITU's gambit:
The contributions predominantly deal with the mechanics of pervasive surveillance and content control. This includes DPI mechanisms and use cases, filtering of content to local networks, control of individual user mobile phones, controls on peer-to-peer services, extensive regulatory controls on cloud computing facilities, and Big Data Analytics for extracting every nuance about individual users from real-time communications and stored data.
Thus far, Western nations and its allies have firmly rebuffed ITU efforts to control the internet. In the United States, there's been a general bipartisan rejection of the ITU's attempts. But will that last?
The left is the engine that drives academia, the mainstream media, and the Democratic Party. The Boston Marathon bombings do, in fact, represent a significant strategic and tactical shift for jihadists. The Marathon Bombings demonstrate to jihadists that playing "small ball" can have an outsized impact on the United States. As Ralph Peters writes for the New York Post:
Lesson No. 1: Two amateur terrorists can paralyze a major American city for days. The Tsarnaev punks generated global headlines, ran up millions in government expenses, punished a major metro-area economy and disrupted society. And now we've got a costly civilian trial to come for the surviving brother -- with more headlines to inspire copycats. [Italics in the original]
In the coming days, how will President Obama and Congress respond to the new small-ball threats posed by militant Islam? After 9/11, under a Republican president's watch, the nation saw the creation of the Homeland Security Department, which consolidated and markedly increased the nation's policing and security apparatuses.
What will be President Obama's policy in Boston's wake? Why wouldn't the president and the left eye internet control as one possible "solution" to stemming terrorism? If so, then in the name of diversity, and in the furtherance of political correctness, why would the president focus principally on militant Islamists?
As the Washington Examiner reported at the beginning of April: "Army training material lists evangelical Christians, Catholics as extremists." The Army claimed that the materials targeting fundamentalist Christians, Catholics, and Orthodox Jews were the unauthorized work of one instructor. But PC permeates the military. The instructor's materials represented the Pentagon's thinking, de facto.
If the internet is a tool for extremists -- and Christians, Catholics, Jews and various conservatives are labeled extreme, along with jihadists -- then couldn't internet control by the feds result in censorship of faith and conservative sites? Perhaps. Nothing is out-of-bounds in the name of public safety.
How about the internet sales tax bill that just passed the U.S. Senate? Yes, Democrats are hungry for more taxes -- more sources of tax revenue to feed ever-growing government on whatever level. But taxing is also the power to control.
Writes Tiffany Kaiser at Daily Tech:
However, not everyone is in favor of the [so-called] Marketplace Fairness Act. Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) strongly opposes the legislation, and plans to fight it until the end.
"This is big retailers and big business lining up to put burdens on the Internet for small online business," said Ayotte. "It is so wrong and it is a precursor to other things they will try to grab using the Internet, including taxing the Internet." [Italics added]
In just the last few days, the Republican National Committee (RNC) and the Democratic National Committee (DNC) have been in a nasty squabble over the latter's use of the Marathon Bombings to build its contributor lists.
Per a Twitter from the RNC's chairman, Reince Priebus:
"Disgraceful: @TheDemocrats capitalizing on terrorism and Boston's first responders to boost their fundraising lists. Very poor taste."
The DNC has run a "Thank Boston's First Responders" page at its website. Visitors were encouraged to send well wishes to Beantown police and emergency personnel. The kicker was that the DNC asked visitors for full contact information. Contact information equals future solicitations. It was a ploy to reap contributions, despite the DNC's noisy protests.
The Obama-run Democratic Party has proven itself to be cynical and politically opportunistic time and again. Even in the teeth of popular opposition to ObamaCare, the president and his Democrats rammed through legislation enabling Washington to take control of the nation's health care. Americans may find that Mr. Obama and his party are just as heedless of the people's will when it comes to internet freedom.