Don't look now, but the black helicopters are after Al Franken and he's sounding the alarm. A proud Minnesota can celebrate the fact their duly appointed senator, Al Franken, has gone off his meds. He is absolutely convinced the Monopoly monocled guy, Rich Uncle Pennybags, is trying to steal the Internet. He went to SXSW and riled up a bunch of liquored up musicians and got the klaxon hooting. We are witnessing, according to Sen. Franken, the exploitation of the middle and working classes of this nation by evil, maniacal, unscrupulous geniuses who are hellbent on taking the Internet. Now, I don't know where they are taking it, but by Franken's words, they are stealing it right out from under our noses. It's true. Ole Al is calling through a blowhorn he borrowed from Sharpton and letting all the 'people' know what's up.
I mean really. Is this guy for real?
From Politico, March 14, 2011 Mike Zapler reports;
Now, I'm not that tech savvy, not like the brilliant minds at SXSW, but is the Internet really a thing? I mean, is the Internet like a valuable vase that a baby could accidently tip over? Is the Internet locked away in a vault at Fort Knox and we are about to witness the Great Bank Heist? Apparently in the Unfunny Comic's mind, the Internet is a kind of National Treasure that must remain hidden from the fiends or they'll take it and melt down its treasures for evil selfish gain.
Well, New York's Third Senator is seriously worried. He believes the Internet is in peril and we must do something to save it. What is his solution? Get a load of this;
Net neutrality, he added, is "the First Amendment issue of our time."
Last time I checked the First Amendment limited the Federal government from abridging our freedoms. Since government has a monopoly on legal force, they are the ones we need to keep out of our press and our associations. It is "Congress shall make no law. . ." So, my question to Sen. Franken is, how is Net Neutrality, which is government regulation of the Internet, a First Amendment issue? Has he ever even read the words? Does this StarTribune styled, 'policy wonk' even know what ideas lie behind the First Amendment, chiefly that government cannot dictate to people what they can and can't say about whatever, with a few, limited exceptions?
So what is the basis for this serious claim about inserting government into regulating the Internet? Have the Chinese bought all the servers and decided to shut down certain sites? Has Al Quaeda taken out some connections and are holding Youtube hostage? Not quite. Franken has something far more dubious in mind.
"The real end for Comcast is to put Netflix out of business entirely," Franken said, because of the threat that Netflix's streaming video business could pose to Comcast's cable franchise. "In the end, the American people will end up paying a lot more for worse service."
Oh no. Can it be? Did Comcast buy the Internet when we weren't looking? Did Comcast take over the entire network of Internet providers, website servers, and complex of private and governmental connections? Is poor little Netflix going to be rubbed out by the evil corporate menace that is Comcast?
Wait. Don't we already pay for fast or slow service? Don't we have website servers with more power or less? Aren't some computers faster than others? Isn't there a capitalist element that already competes for customers in gaining in market share and advertising revenue? Am I missing something here, or is Franken just going off the deep end?
Deep end, I think. Franken is willing to hand over the best, most purely free press/speech venue the American people have ever had to a bunch of government thugs to 'keep free.' I cannot think of a more chilling concept. If the FCC, or any other agency they invent for the purpose, were to have a say in how sites are treated, they will certainly give THEIR political allies the best deals. Almost without exception, you can be assured the opposing views will be curtailed in some way. Whether it would be by slower access or less space, the government would do everything it could to stifle dissenting voices and augment their allies.
Regardless of who controls it. Don't think for a second that if conservatives or Republicans or whatever was running the show, they wouldn't do the same thing.
They would. Because, power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. I wouldn't trust my mother with the power to decide who should be favored and who should not in this vast, powerful new world of democratic voices. And trust me, I trust my mother with everything, but not everybody's free speech.
But Franken is a diehard collectivist who is committed to making the government the nanny, father, uncle, mother, and babysitter to all of us. He's convinced that if we just hand over our rights and pocketbooks to a bunch of bureaucrats, bossed around by a bunch of politicians, it will all be all right.
“Let's not let the government sell us out,” he said. “Let's fight for net neutrality. Let's keep Austin weird. Let's keep the Internet weird. Let's keep the Internet free."
It's not Comcast that scares me. It's not SXSW that frightens me. It's not Austin that makes me concerned. It's people like Al Franken who are so naive and nuts they believe the government will 'protect' those who are dissenting. Politicians will never make us free. Bureaucrats will never make sure we have liberty. In fact, it's the opposite. It is the caretaking government and nanny-state politicians like Franken who frighten the bejeezus out of me.
Especially the ones missing a few screws.