From the "What if This Had Happened Under the Bush Administration" File

Item one: new legislation proposes granting the government the power to take over private computer networks (read: the Internet) during “emergencies.”

CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.

The new version would allow the president to “declare a cybersecurity emergency” relating to “non-governmental” computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat. Other sections of the proposal include a federal certification program for “cybersecurity professionals,” and a requirement that certain computer systems and networks in the private sector be managed by people who have been awarded that license.

“I think the redraft, while improved, remains troubling due to its vagueness,” said Larry Clinton, president of the Internet Security Alliance.

Granting the government vague but sweeping powers seems to be all the rage in D.C. nowadays. I’ve read opinions saying that this interpretation of the bill is blowing things out of proportion, but really, how loud would the screaming be if we’d come anywhere close to this idea under Bush?

And item two: The National Endowment for the Arts has asked artists, the beneficiaries of their largesse, to use their art to promote Obama’s agenda:

I was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to take part in a conference call that invited a group of rising artist and art community luminaries “to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda – health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.”

And if you think that my fear regarding the arts becoming a tool of the state is still unfounded, I leave you with a few statements made by the NEA to the art community participants on the conference call. “This is just the beginning. This is the first telephone call of a brand new conversation. We are just now learning how to really bring this community together to speak with the government. What that looks like legally?…bare with us as we learn the language so that we can speak to each other safely… “

Again, try to imagine a headline like, “NEA Encourages Artists to Use Their Work to Support Bush’s Social Security Reform.”  You can’t imagine it; it’s like trying to imagine a round square, or an exciting soccer game. But it’s just par for the course here.

One comment

  1. Just waiting to see some beautiful new portraits of Our Dear Leader plastered all over town, courtesy of all this artist/government conversation. Along with some tasteful tea party effigies being burned. How about a giant sculpture of a shredder with a copy of the constitution being fed into it?


    This video made me feel so much better today:

    It’s 15 minutes of Glenn Beck PA-REACHIN’ IT, BROTHA!

    Fear not!

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