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RUSH: Big news today: ‘Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed,’ and so should you be, ‘this spring when a US Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet,’ meaning your computer. ‘They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft, 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’ll tell you what, I hope they keep doing this stuff. The American people are not going to put up with this. First it’s health care, then it’s cap and trade and who knows what the hell else. No jobs, a stimulus that’s not working — and now the Obama administration, the president himself, is gonna end up having authority to seize your computer. They already are going to have the right to get into your bank account with the health care bill and make transfers without you knowing it.

‘Representatives of other large Internet and telecommunications companies expressed concerns about the bill in a teleconference with Rockefeller’s aides this week, but were not immediately available for interviews on Thursday. A spokesman for Rockefeller also declined to comment on the record Thursday, saying that many people were unavailable because of the summer recess. … When Rockefeller, the chairman of the Senate Commerce committee, and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) introduced the original bill in April, they claimed it was vital to protect national cybersecurity. ‘We must protect our critical infrastructure at all costs — from our water to our electricity, to banking, traffic lights and electronic health records,’ Rockefeller said.

‘The Rockefeller proposal…’ It gets better, folks. Stick with me on this. ‘The Rockefeller proposal plays out against a broader concern in Washington, DC, about the government’s role in cybersecurity. In May, President Obama acknowledged that the government is ‘not as prepared’ as it should be to respond to disruptions and announced that a new cybersecurity coordinator position,’ i.e. czar, ‘would be created inside the White House staff. Three months later, that post remains empty, one top cybersecurity aide has quit, and some wags have begun to wonder why a government that receives failing marks on cybersecurity should be trusted to instruct the private sector what to do.’ Well, amen! Declan McCullagh, by the way, is the author of this story. This relates to everything. Hell, they couldn’t even run a caravan!

They couldn’t even get the caravan going — and, by the way, do you know that they lined the caravan route with union thugs? They did. They had to go out and stack people standing on the streets with union thugs, and I played a game yesterday afternoon. I watched a replay of this whole thing and I said, ‘You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to take a drink — in honor of Ted Kennedy, of the caravan going to the library there to lie in repose, I’m going to take a drink — for every black person I see on the parade route,’ and I was sober at the end of the parade. They forgot to stack the deck with any black people but there were a lot of union thugs out there. I mean, there’s no better way to honor Ted Kennedy than to take a drink for every black person you see on the caravan route.

Anyway, anyway, let me get to the end of this story because this is just unbelievable. ‘The privacy implications of sweeping changes implemented before the legal review is finished worry Lee Tien, a senior staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco. ‘As soon as you’re saying that the federal government is going to be exercising this kind of power over private networks, it’s going to be a really big issue,’ he says.’ Man, they’re going to work up even San Francisco liberals over this. ‘Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201,’ of the Rockefeller bill ‘which permits the president to ‘direct the national response to the cyber threat’ if necessary for ‘the national defense and security.’ … ‘The language has changed but it doesn’t contain any real additional limits,’ EFF’s Tien says. ‘It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)…

”The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process.” So they can just randomly declare one of these cybersecurity alerts. ”There’s no provision for any administrative process or review. That’s where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it.” Here’s the translation of what I just told you: ‘If your company is deemed ‘critical,’ a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.’ I’m not making any of this up. This is from CNET News, CNET.com. The bill would give the president emergency control over the Internet to control personal computers and networks, private sector computers and networks without explaining what the national cybersecurity alert is or danger is. (interruption) What about the constitutional right to privacy? What about the Constitution, period, with this administration!

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