Hill: Obama has control issues
by Austin Hill/Special to KTAR
(July 23rd, 2009 @ 3:31pm)
And now, it appears that he needs to control our access to the Internet.
In late January, when Congress was debating the $790 billion "stimulus bill," I wrote in this column that President Obama had no intention of growing the economy, but rather, he just wanted to control it. Never before had I experienced such an outcry of reaction, with people literally stopping me in the streets to ask "how dare you say such a horrible thing about the President?"
That was seven months, and a couple trillion dollars ago. Not only has the stimulus failed to stimulate, but President Obama has even had to re-write the history of his own stimulus promises. And his need to control things has gotten more intense. Two American car companies, a handful of banks and financial institutions, salaries paid to corporate executives, the entire American medical profession and health care industry - - Obama needs to control it all.
And now, the man who ran the most successful political campaign in history utilizing online technology, appears to be in an amazingly self-serving way planning to restrict other people's use of the internet.
Cass Sunstein, an American legal scholar and Harvard Law Professor, has been appointed by President Obama to head up the "White House Office Of Information And Regulatory Affairs." His title is sufficiently broad and ambiguous, but he wields plenty of power. And with advance copies circulating of Sunstein's new book "On Rumors: How Falsehoods Spread, Why We Believe Them, What Can Be Done," Americans who still care about their rights to "freedom of speech" should be paying close attention.
Perhaps most disturbing is Mr. Sunstein's vision for the future of web content, as he argues for a so-called "notice and take down" law. Under this provision, those who operate websites - - KTAR.com, newspapers, private bloggers, and perhaps even you, yourself -we would all be required "take down falsehoods upon notice" from the U.S. government.
And not only would the original content of websites be scrutinized by the government for "falsehoods," website operators would also be held responsible for the content of "posts" created by the website's visitors and readers. At first blush it may seem that, for a web operator to be held accountable for content generated by "posters," is completely untenable. But that may very well be Mr. Sunstein's goal - - to create an "untenable situation" for website operators - given his assertion that "a ‘chilling effect' on those who would spread destructive falsehoods can be an excellent idea.."
But who shall determine what, exactly, is "true" and "false?" Mr. Sunstein laments the supposed "lie" that emerged during last year's presidential race, that "Barack Obama pals around with terrorists." Despite that fact that a friendship between Obama and known domestic terrorist William Ayers was something that both men acknowledged, Sunstein alludes to the notion that this was one of those "destructive falsehoods" of the sort that needs to be policed.
Since the Internet was opened-up to the private sector back in the early 90's (the Internet's beginnings trace back to the public sector, through developments at the U.S. Department of Defense back in the 1960's), two U.S. Presidents have encouraged the Internet's growth and expansion. Both Clinton and Bush argued for "every school in America" to be connected to the Internet, and through both public and private funding means, the web grew exponentially around the world.
But President Obama knows better. And at this point in our nation's history, it's not about growing things - not the economy, and not the use of the internet.
It's all about Obama, and his need to control them.