A Massive Electromagnetic Pulse Could Collapse The Economy In A Single Moment

A Massive Electromagnetic Pulse Could Collapse The Economy In A Single MomentWhat would you do if all the lights went out and they never came back on?  That is a question that the new NBC series “Revolution” asks, but most people have no idea that a similar thing could happen in real life at any moment.  A single gigantic electromagnetic pulse over the central United States could potentially fry most of the electronics from coast to coast if it was powerful enough.  This could occur in a couple of different ways.  If a powerful nuclear weapon was exploded at a high enough altitude, it could produce an electromagnetic pulse powerful enough to knock out electronics all over the country.  Alternatively, a massive solar storm could potentially cause a similar phenomenon to happen just about anywhere on the planet without much warning.  Of course not all EMP events are created equal.  An electromagnetic pulse can range from a minor inconvenience to a civilization-killing event.  It just depends on how powerful it is.  But in the worst case scenario, we could be facing a situation where our electrical grids have been fried, there is no heat for our homes, our computers don’t work, the Internet does not work, our cell phones do not work, there are no more banking records, nobody can use credit cards anymore, hospitals are unable to function, nobody can pump gas, and supermarkets cannot operate because there is no power and no refrigeration.  Basically, we would witness the complete and total collapse of the economy.  According to a government commission that looked into these things, approximately two-thirds of the U.S. population would die from starvation, disease and societal chaos within one year of a massive EMP attack.  It would be a disaster unlike anything we have ever seen before in U.S. history.

Most Americans are totally clueless about what an EMP attack could do to this nation, but the threat is very real.  There was even a congressional commission that studied the potential effects of an EMP attack on the United States for eight years

The US Congress in 2000 established the Congressional Commission to Assess the Threat to the United States from Electromagnetic Pulse (EMP) Attack. In 2004, the committee produced a 70-page executive summary on the EMP threat, and it issued a final report on the matter in 2008. According to the report, “several potential adversaries have or can acquire the capability to attack the United States with a high-altitude nuclear weapon-generated electromagnetic pulse (EMP). A determined adversary can achieve an EMP attack capability without having a high level of sophistication.”

Dr. William Graham was the chairman of that commission, and he says that an EMP attack could knock the United States back into the 1800s in just a single moment

An EMP attack “could not only take down power grids, which are fragile anyway in this country, and telecommunications networks, and financial networks, and traffic controls and many other things, but in addition, there is a very close interrelationship among those national infrastructure capabilities,” Graham says.

“So, for example, we need telecommunications to re-establish the power network, and we need the power network to keep telecommunications going for more than a few hours. And we need the financial network to continue to operate to maintain the economy, we need the transportation system, roads, street lights, control systems, to operate just to get people to the failed power, telecommunication and other systems,” he adds.

Life after an EMP attack “would probably be something that you might imagine life to be like around the late 1800s but with several times the population we had in those days, and without the ability of the country to support and sustain all those people,” Graham says. “They wouldn’t have power. Food supplies would be greatly taken out by the lack of transportation, telecommunication, power for refrigeration and so on.”

Unfortunately, very few of us are equipped to survive in such an environment.  We have become incredibly dependent on technology, and most Americans would have no idea how to do something as simple as growing their own food.  Most people would be in a very serious amount of trouble in a very short period of time.

An article by Mac Slavo detailed some of the things that we could expect in the aftermath of a massive electromagnetic pulse…

The first 24 – 48 hours after such an occurrence will lead to confusion among the general population as traditional news acquisition sources like television, radio and cell phone networks will be non-functional.

Within a matter of days, once people realize the power might not be coming back on and grocery store shelves start emptying, the entire system will begin to delve into chaos.

Within 30 days a mass die off will have begun as food supplies dwindle, looters and gangs turn to violent extremes, medicine can’t be restocked and water pump stations fail.

Are you prepared for such an event?

If not, why not?

And actually, high altitude nuclear explosions and solar storms are not the only things that could produce sizable EMP bursts.

For example, the U.S. military has developed “a directed electromagnetic pulse gun” that can take out all electronics within a limited area.  This kind of weapon can be fired from a plane, a cruise missile or even a drone.  The following is from a recent WND article

A pre-programmed cruise missile not too different from a drone has been proven to be capable of blasting out an EMP-type microwave that was able to destroy personal computers and electrical systems inside a building over which it was flying.

The U.S. Air Force and its contractor Boeing have created the High-powered Microwave Advanced Missile Project, or CHAMP, which was just tested over a Utah desert.

Other nations such as Russia and China are busy developing similar weapons.  The ability to instantly take out the electronics of the enemy would be a very powerful advantage.

Even North Korea has been working on this kind of technology.  According to Newsmax, it is believed that they may have tested a “Super-EMP” weapon back in 2009

North Korea’s last round of tests, conducted in May 2009, appear to have included a “super-EMP” weapon, capable of emitting enough gamma rays to disable the electric power grid across most of the lower 48 states

As this technology becomes more widespread, it will soon be accessible to just about everyone.  You don’t actually need a nuclear weapon to set off a massive electromagnetic pulse.  A non-nuclear pulse generator can do the same thing.  If you set one off next to a power station you could potentially take out the electrical grid for an entire region.

Terrorist groups and lone wolf crazies could even use portable radio frequency weapons to do a tremendous amount of electromagnetic damage over a more limited area.  The following is from a recent article by F. Michael Maloof

Such an individual with a penchant for electronics can pull together components from a Radio Shack or electronic store – even order the components off of selected Internet websites – and fashion a radio frequency, or RF, weapon.

As microprocessors become smaller but more sophisticated, they are even more susceptible to an RF pulse. The high power microwave from an RF weapon produces a short, very high power pulse, said to be billions of watts in a nanosecond, or billionths of a second.

This so-called burst of electromagnetic waves in the gigahertz microwave frequency band can melt electrical circuitry and damage integrated circuits, causing them to fail.

Constructing a radio frequency weapon is not that difficult.  In fact, you can find instructions for how to build them on the Internet.

People need to realize that we live in a world where technology is absolutely exploding and we are dealing with threats that previous generations never even dreamed of.  As the world becomes increasingly unstable, it is inevitable that these kinds of weapons will be used.

It is only a matter of time.

What will life look like after an EMP weapon is used?

That is something to think about.

And we also need to keep watching the sun.  It could produce a massive electromagnetic pulse at literally any moment.  As I have written about previously, scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time before we are hit with a technology-crippling solar super storm.

Most people don’t even realize that the massive solar storm of 1859 fried telegraph machines all over Europe and North America.  If such a storm hit us today, the damage would potentially be in the trillions of dollars.  The following is from a recent New York Times article

A powerful solar (or “geomagnetic”) storm has the potential to simultaneously damage multiple transformers in the electricity grid and perhaps even bring down large sections of it, affecting upwards of a hundred million people in the United States for many months, if not years.

These huge transformers are expensive and difficult to replace, and not many are stockpiled in the United States for an emergency. In the worst case, the impact would be devastating: An outage could cost a few trillion dollars, with full recovery taking years. Not only would parts of the grid be compromised, but telephone networks, undersea cables, satellites and railroads also would be affected.

A 2008 National Academy of Sciences study warned that “because of the interconnectedness of critical infrastructures in modern society,” the “collateral effects of a longer-term outage” would likely include “disruption of the transportation, communication, banking and finance systems, and government services; the breakdown of the distribution of potable water owing to pump failure; and the loss of perishable foods and medications because of lack of refrigeration.”

By the way, 2013 is the peak of the current solar cycle.  So we are moving into a time period when conditions will be very favorable for solar storms.

Let us hope that we are never hit with a massive electromagnetic pulse that is strong enough to take out all of our electronics.

But if it did happen, and all the lights went out for good, what would you do?

Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below…

EMP Attack On The United States

28 Good Questions That The Mainstream Media Should Be Asking

Why is there so little trust in the mainstream media these days?  CNN ratings have been hovering close to record lows over the past few months.  A recent Gallup survey found that 60 percent of all Americans “have little or no trust” in the mainstream media.  That was a record high according to Gallup.  So why is this happening?  Sadly, the truth is that the mainstream media quit telling the truth a long time ago.  The mainstream media has an agenda, and more Americans than ever are beginning to recognize this.  Once upon a time, control of the news in the United States was at least somewhat decentralized.  But now there are just six giant media corporations that control almost everything that we see, hear and watch.  The version of “the news” that they give us is designed to serve the interests of those corporate giants and the other corporate giants that spend billions of dollars to advertise their products through those outlets.  Watching the news on television can be an extremely frustrating experience these days.  Yes, there are little bits and pieces of the truth in there, but you have to wade through an awful lot of “infotainment” to get to those bits and pieces.  That is one of the reasons why the “alternative media” has absolutely exploded in recent years.  The American people are hungry for the truth, and they are increasingly turning to alternative sources of news on the Internet in an attempt to find it.

We live at a time when the world is changing more rapidly than ever before.  Just about everything that can be shaken is being shaken, and anyone with half a brain realizes that we are heading for challenges that previous generations never even could have imagined.

There certainly is no shortage of news, but instead of focusing on the terribly important issues that we are facing, the mainstream media feeds us an endless stream of fluff, scandals and celebrities.

Just check out some of the headlines that I found on the front pages of major mainstream news websites today….

“Man Dies After Roach-Eating Contest”

“Ex-NFL Cheerleader Admits To Sex With Minor”

“Facebook Rolls Out Pinterest-Like Tool For Buying Stuff”

“Grumpy Cat Becomes Internet Sensation”

So what should the mainstream media really be talking about today?

The following are 28 good questions that the mainstream media should be asking….

1. Why is the IMF warning that there is an “alarmingly high” risk of a deeper global economic slowdown?

2. Why is Switzerland preparing for “major civil unrest” throughout Europe?

3. If the Spanish financial system completely collapses, what is that going to mean for the rest of Europe and the rest of the globe?

4. Is Turkey about to drag the rest of NATO (including the United States) into a war with Syria?

5. Why aren’t people screaming in outrage about the fact that the U.S. national debt increased by more than a trillion dollars for the fourth straight year in 2012?

6. Should we be concerned that the U.S. government added more to the U.S. national debt on the first day of fiscal year 2013 than it did from 1776 to 1941 combined?

7. If temporary refinery problems can cause some gas stations to shut down and cause gas prices in California to skyrocket to all-time highs, what would a real crisis do?

8. Why are some analysts predicting that a “rapid collapse” is coming for the U.S. dollar?

9. Will the U.S. dollar soon lose its status as the primary reserve currency of the world?

10. Why is Marc Faber warning that the wealthy “may lose up to 50 percent of their total wealth“?

11. By keeping interest rates near zero, is the Federal Reserve crushing the retirement dreams of millions of elderly Americans?

12. Why do Barack Obama, Mitt Romney and most members of Congress continue to stand behind the TSA when nearly 400 TSA employees have been fired for stealing from travelers since 2003?

13. Why are nearly half a million employees of the federal government making over $100,000 a year?

14. How in the world can you have a debate about the economy that lasts for an hour and a half and never even mention Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve or quantitative easing?

15. Why are Romney campaign signs being smeared with excrement?

16. British taxpayers spent 57.8 million dollars on the royal family in 2011.  U.S. taxpayers spent 1.4 billion dollars on the Obamas that same year.  How in the world can this be justified?

17. Why does the U.S. government treat our military veterans like garbage?  Many of them have given everything for their country.  Shouldn’t we treat them with more respect?

18. Why is the mainstream media ignoring a warning that an international gang of cybercriminals plans “to steal money from the online accounts of thousands of consumers at 30 or more major U.S. banks“?

19. The New England Complex Systems Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts is warning that rapidly rising global food prices could soon lead to massive food riots all over the planet.  Is this something that we should be concerned about?

20. Why is the United Nations pushing to have the authority to impose “global taxes” on all of us?

21. How did we get to the point where sex trafficking is now at epidemic levels all over the United States?

22. Why are so many young people being arrested?  Should we be concerned that 41 percent of all Americans have been arrested by the time they reach the age of 23?

23. Why are most Americans either overweight or obese or severely obese?

24. How was one Baltimore woman able to accumulate 30 free cell phones all paid for by the federal government?

25. Why are nearly 30 percent of all young adults in the 25 to 34 year old age bracket living at home with their parents?

26. Why has the birth rate in the United States fallen to an all-time low?

27. With the race for president incredibly tight right now, will the side that loses end up accusing the other side of using voter fraud to steal the election?

28. Is the U.S. Supreme Court about to make it illegal to resell our own stuff at yard sales, in thrift stores and on eBay?

Do you have any questions to add to this list?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

Data Mining: Big Corporations Are Gathering Every Shred Of Information About You That They Can And Selling It For Profit

When most people think of “Big Brother”, they think of the FBI, the CIA, the NSA, the Department of Homeland Security and other shadowy government agencies.  Yes, they are definitely watching you, but so are many big corporations.  In fact, there are some companies that are making tens of millions of dollars by gathering every shred of information about all of us that they can and selling it for profit to anyone willing to pay the price.  It is called “data mining”, and these data miners want to keep track of literally everything that you do.  Most people know that basically everything that we do on the Internet is tracked, but data mining goes far beyond that.  When you use a customer rewards card at the supermarket, the data miners know about it.  When you pay for a purchase with a credit card or a debit card, the data miners know about it.  Every time you buy a prescription drug, that information is sold to someone.  Every time you apply for a loan, a whole host of organizations is notified.  Information has become an extremely valuable commodity, and thanks to computers and the Internet it is easier to gather information than ever before.  But that also means that our personal information is no longer “private”, and this trend is only going to get worse in the years ahead.

You have probably never even heard of many of these companies that are making millions of dollars selling your personal information.  Acxiom and Epsilon are two of the biggest names in the industry, and most of the time they are selling your information to companies that want to sell you stuff.

Almost every single day, very personal information about you is being bought and sold without your permission and it is all perfectly legal.

A recent article in The Week says the following about Acxiom….

An Arkansas company you’ve probably never heard of knows more about you than some of your friends, Google, and even the FBI — and it’s selling your data

The scale of the information gathering that Acxiom does is absolutely mind blowing.  If you can believe it, Acxiom actually keeps track of more than 190 million people inside the United States….

The company fits into a category called database marketing. It started in 1969 as an outfit called Demographics Inc., using phone books and other notably low-tech tools, as well as one computer, to amass information on voters and consumers for direct marketing. Almost 40 years later, Acxiom has detailed entries for more than 190 million people and 126 million households in the U.S., and about 500 million active consumers worldwide. More than 23,000 servers in Conway, just north of Little Rock, collect and analyze more than 50 trillion data ‘transactions’ a year.

So what does Acxiom want to know about you?

Everything.

The following is from a recent New York Times article about Acxiom….

IT knows who you are. It knows where you live. It knows what you do.

It peers deeper into American life than the F.B.I. or the I.R.S., or those prying digital eyes at Facebook and Google. If you are an American adult, the odds are that it knows things like your age, race, sex, weight, height, marital status, education level, politics, buying habits, household health worries, vacation dreams — and on and on.

Companies such as Acxiom literally want every shred of information about you that they can possibly get.

Once they gather all that data, Acxiom analyzes it, packages it and sells it to large corporations such as Wells Fargo, HSBC, Toyota, Ford and Macy’s.

And being in the “Big Brother business” is very, very profitable.

Acxiom made more than 77 million dollars in profits during their latest fiscal year.

Some members of Congress are very alarmed by all of this.  According to U.S. Senator John Kerry, this industry is virtually unregulated….

“There’s no code of conduct. There’s no standard. There’s nothing that safeguards privacy and establishes rules of the road.”

So what do big corporations do with all of this data after they purchase it from companies like Acxiom?

Well, for one thing, they use it to try to predict how you will behave.  A Daily Beast article gave some examples of how this works….

Predicting people’s behavior is becoming big business—and increasingly feasible in an era defined by accessible information. Data crunching by Canadian Tire, for instance, recently enabled the retailer’s credit card business to create psychological profiles of its cardholders that were built upon alarmingly precise correlations. Their findings: Cardholders who purchased carbon-monoxide detectors, premium birdseed, and felt pads for the bottoms of their chair legs rarely missed a payment. On the other hand, those who bought cheap motor oil and visited a Montreal pool bar called “Sharx” were a higher risk. “If you show us what you buy, we can tell you who you are, maybe even better than you know yourself,” a former Canadian Tire exec said. 

I don’t know about you, but I find that a bit creepy.

Later on in that same article, how some U.S. companies are using this kind of information was explained….

Other industries have bolstered their bottom lines by predicting how consumers will behave, according to Super Crunchers. UPS predicts when customers are at risk of fleeing to one of its competitors, and then tries to prevent the loss with a telephone call from a salesperson. And with its “Total Rewards” card, Harrah’s casinos track everything that players win and lose, in real time, and then analyze their demographic information to calculate their “pain point”—the maximum amount of money they’re likely to be willing to lose and still come back to the casino in the future. Players who get too close to their pain point are likely to be offered a free dinner that gets them off the casino floor.

So is all of this data gathering harmless?

Does it simply make our economy more efficient?

Or is there a greater danger here?

At some point could all of our personal information be used for more insidious purposes?

One thing is for sure – this is a trend that is not going away any time soon.

As our society becomes even more integrated through the Internet, data gathering is going to become even more comprehensive.

Eventually these complicated computer algorithms will be able to make very detailed predictions about your future behavior with a very, very high degree of accuracy.

When you add government snooping into the equation, it becomes easy to see why privacy advocates are going crazy these days.

Our society is literally being transformed into a technological monitoring grid.  Virtually everything we do is monitored, tracked and recorded in some way.

If we are not very careful, eventually we could end up living in a society that is much more oppressive than anything George Orwell ever dreamed of.

So what do you think of all of this snooping, spying and data mining?

Do you believe that it is harmless or do you believe that it represents a significant threat?

Feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

40 Hard Questions That The American People Should Be Asking Right Now

If you spend much time watching the mainstream news, then you know how incredibly vapid it can be.  It is amazing how they can spend so much time saying next to nothing.  There seems to be a huge reluctance to tackle the tough issues and the hard questions.  Perhaps I should be thankful for this, because if the mainstream media was doing their job properly, there would not be a need for the alternative media.  Once upon a time, the mainstream media had a virtual monopoly on the dissemination of news in the United States, but that has changed.  Thankfully, the Internet in the United States is free and open (at least for now) and people that are hungry for the truth can go searching for it.  Today, an increasing number of Americans want to understand why our economy is dying and why our national debt is skyrocketing.  An increasing number of Americans are deeply frustrated with what is going on in Washington D.C. and they are alarmed that we seem to get closer to becoming a totalitarian police state with each passing year.  People want real answers about our foreign policy, about our corrupt politicians, about our corrupt financial system, about our shocking moral decline and about the increasing instability that we are seeing all over the world, and they are not getting those answers from the mainstream media.

If the mainstream media will not do it, then those of us in the alternative media will be glad to tackle the tough issues.  The following are 40 hard questions that the American people should be asking right now….

#1 If Iran tries to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, what will that do to the price of oil and what will that do to the global economy?

#2 If Iran tries to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, will the United States respond by launching a military strike on Iran?

#3 Why is the Federal Reserve bailing out Europe?  And why are so few members of Congress objecting to this?

#4 The U.S. dollar has lost well over 95 percent of its value since the Federal Reserve was created,  the U.S. national debt is more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has a track record of incompetence that is absolutely mind blowing.  So what possible justification is there for allowing the Federal Reserve to continue to issue our currency and run our economy?

#5 Why does the euro keep dropping like a rock?  Is this a sign that Europe is heading for a major recession?

#6 Why are European banks parking record-setting amounts of cash at the European Central Bank?  Is this evidence that banks don’t want to lend to one another and that we are on the verge of a massive credit crunch?

#7 If the European financial system is going to be just fine, then why is the UK government preparing feverishly for the collapse of the euro?

#8 What did the head of the IMF mean when she recently said that we could soon see conditions “reminiscent of the 1930s depression“?

#9 How in the world can Mitt Romney say with a straight face that the individual health insurance mandate that he signed into law as governor of Massachusetts was based on “conservative principles”?  Wouldn’t that make the individual mandate in Obamacare “conservative” as well?

#10 If the one thing that almost everyone in the Republican Party seems to agree on is that Obamacare is bad, then why is the candidate that created the plan that much of Obamacare was based upon leading in so many of the polls?

#11 What did Mitt Romney mean when he stated that he wants “to eliminate some of the differences, repeal the bad, and keep the good” in Obamacare?

#12 If no Republican candidate is able to accumulate at least 50 percent of the delegates by the time the Republican convention rolls around, will that mean that the Republicans will have a brokered convention that will enable the Republican establishment to pick whoever they want as the nominee?

#13 Why are middle class families being taxed into oblivion while the big oil companies receive about $4.4 billion in specialized tax breaks a year from the federal government?

#14 Why have we allowed the “too big to fail” banks to become even larger?

#15 Why has the United States had a negative trade balance every single year since 1976?

#16 Back in 1970, 25 percent of all jobs in the United States were manufacturing jobs. Today, only 9 percent of all jobs in the United States are manufacturing jobs.  How in the world could we allow that to happen?

#17 If the United States has lost an average of 50,000 manufacturing jobs a month since China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, then why don’t our politicians do something about it?

#18 If you can believe it, more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities in the United States have permanently closed down since 2001.  So exactly what does that say about our economy?

#19 Why was the new Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial on the National Mall made in China?  Wasn’t there anyone in America that could make it?

#20 If low income jobs now account for 41 percent of all jobs in the United States, then how are we going to continue to have a vibrant middle class?

#21 Why do the poor just keep getting poorer in the United States today?

#22 How can the Obama administration be talking about an “economic recovery” when 48 percent of all Americans are either considered to be “low income” or are living in poverty?

#23 Why has the number of new cars sold in the U.S. declined by about 50 percent since 1985?

#24 How can we say that we have a successful national energy policy when the average American household will spend a whopping $4,155 on gasoline by the end of this year?

#25 Why does it take gigantic mountains of money to get a college education in America today?  According to the Student Loan Debt Clock, total student loan debt in the United States will surpass the 1 trillion dollar mark in early 2012.  Isn’t there something very wrong about that?

#26 Why do about a third of all U.S. states allow borrowers who don’t pay their bills to be put in jail?

#27 If it costs tens of billions of dollars to take care of all of the illegal immigrants that are already in this country, why did the Obama administration go around Congress and grant “backdoor amnesty” to the vast majority of them?  Won’t that just encourage millions more to come in illegally?

#28 Why are gun sales setting new all-time records in America right now?

#29 Why are very elderly women being strip-searched by TSA agents at U.S. airports?  Does that really keep us any safer?

#30 The last words of Steve Jobs were “Oh wow. Oh wow. Oh wow.”  What did he mean by that?

#31 How in the world did scientists in Europe decide that it was a good idea for them to create a new “killer bird flu” that is very easy to pass from human to human?

#32 If our founding fathers intended to set up a limited central government, then why does the federal government just continue to get bigger and bigger?

#33 Are we on the verge of an absolutely devastating retirement crisis?  On January 1st, 2011 the very first of the Baby Boomers started to reach the age of 65.  Now more than 10,000 Baby Boomers will be turning 65 every single day for the next two decades.  So where in the world are we going to get all the money we need to pay them the retirement benefits that we have promised them?

#34 If the federal government stopped all borrowing today and began right at this moment to repay the U.S. national debt at a rate of one dollar per second, it would take over 440,000 years to pay off the U.S. national debt.  So does anyone out there actually still believe that the U.S. national debt will be paid off someday?

#35 If the U.S. economy is getting better, then why are an all-time record 46 million Americans now on food stamps?

#36 How can we say that we have the greatest economy on earth when we have a child poverty rate that is more than twice as high as France and one out of every four American children is on food stamps?

#37 Since 1964, the reelection rate for members of the U.S. House of Representatives has never fallen below 85 percent.  So are the American people really that stupid that they would keep sending the exact same Congress critters back to Washington D.C. over and over and over?

#38 What does it say about our society that nearly one-third of all Americans are arrested by the time they reach the age of 23?

#39 Why do so many of our politicians think that it is a good idea to allow the U.S. military to arrest American citizens on American soil and indefinitely detain them without a trial?

#40 A new bill being considered by the U.S. House of Representatives would give the U.S. government power to shut down any website that is determined to “engage in, enable or facilitate” copyright infringement.  Many believe that the language of the new law is so vague that it would allow the government to permanently shut down any website that even links very briefly to “infringing material”.  Prominent websites such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube would be constantly in danger of being given a “death penalty”.  The American people need to ask their members of Congress this question: Do you plan to vote for SOPA (The Stop Online Piracy Act)?  If the answer is yes, that is a clear indication that you should never cast a single vote for that member of Congress ever again.

So do you have answers to some of the questions posted above?

Please feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts below….

The Internet Kill Switch – One Of The Favorite New Tools Of Tyrannical Governments All Over The Globe

This past week was a perfect example of how the “Internet kill switch” is rapidly becoming one of the favorite new tools of tyrannical governments all over the globe. Once upon a time, the Internet was a bastion of liberty and freedom, but now nation after nation is cracking down on it. In fact, legislation has been introduced once again in Congress that would give the president of the United States an “Internet kill switch” that he would be able to use in the event of war or emergency. Of course there would be a whole lot of wiggle room in determining what actually constitutes a true “emergency”. The members of Congress that are pushing this “Internet kill switch” bill want the U.S. to become more like China in this regard. In China, the Internet is highly controlled, highly regulated and highly censored. In fact, China has shut down the Internet in entire regions when they have felt it necessary. So what Egypt did in shutting down the Internet this past week is not unprecedented – but it was quite shocking.

Organizers of the protests in Egypt had been using the #Jan25 hashtag on Twitter and had been communicating with each other via Facebook, and so the Mubarak regime thought that they could significantly derail the protest movement by shutting down the Internet.

It has been widely reported that approximately 88 percent of the Internet in Egypt was shut down at one point.  Jim Cowie, the chief technology officer of an Internet monitoring firm known as Renesys, described on his blog just how complete and total this Internet shutdown in Egypt actually was….

“Every Egyptian provider, every business, bank, Internet cafe, website, school, embassy, and government office that relied on the big four Egyptian ISPs for their Internet connectivity is now cut off from the rest of the world.”

So how was this all done?  How could such a large section of the Internet be taken offline so rapidly?  Well, a recent article on MSNBC described how it works….

According to David Clark, an MIT computer scientist whose research focuses on Internet architecture and development, a government’s ability to control the Internet depends on its control of Internet Service Providers (ISPs), the private sector companies that grant Internet access to customers.

“ISPs have direct control of the Internet, so what happens in any country depends on the control that the state has over those ISPs,” Clark told Life’s Little Mysteries in an e-mail. “Some countries regulate the ISPs much more heavily. China has in the past ‘turned off’ the Internet in various regions.”

Whenever the subject of Internet censorship comes up, China always seems to be involved in the conversation.  China has more Internet users than anyone else in the world, but they also have the tightest controls.

The Chinese government is absolutely obsessed with “maintaining order” and it has shown that it will go to extreme lengths to quell dissent.

For example, the government of China cut off the entire Xinjiang region from the Internet for nearly a year after civil unrest erupted there in 2009.

The Chinese government is so sensitive to political dissent that they even began censoring the word “Egypt” on a number of micro-blogging websites this past week.

A recent article posted on Raw Story explained what happened….

On the sina.com and sohu.com sites, the Chinese equivalents of Twitter, which is censored in China, a query with the word “Egypt” returned the response: “According to the laws in force, the results of your search cannot be given.”

Isn’t that bizarre?

Nothing like that would ever happen in the United States, right?

Well, don’t be so sure.

Last year, U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman made the following statement to CNN’s Candy Crowley….

“Right now China, the government, can disconnect parts of its Internet in case of war and we need to have that here too.”

That statement should chill you to your bones.

U.S. Senator Joe Lieberman wants Chinese-style Internet censorship to come to the United States.

In fact, as mentioned above, legislation that would give the president of the United States an “Internet kill switch” has been introduced in the Senate once again, and in fact it has already been approved by a Senate panel.

The legislation has bipartisan support, and it is being pushed this time by Maine Senator Susan Collins, who is a ranking member on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

This bill, S.3480, is entitled “The Protecting Cyberspace As A National Asset Act of 2010“.  It would create a brand new government agency (as if we needed more of those) known as the National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications.

This new agency would be given extraordinary power over the Internet – including the power to completely shut down the Internet for 30 days.

Collins insists that this new law is necessary because it would enable us to protect the Internet against “cyber threats” before they could cause serious damage.

While that may sound good on paper, the reality is that giving the government an “Internet kill switch” would create opportunities for tremendous government abuse.

Wired recently ran an article that detailed some of these concerns….

A congressional white paper (.pdf) on the measure said the proposal prohibits the government from targeting websites for censorship “based solely on activities protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution.”

Oddly, that’s exactly the same language in the Patriot Act used to test whether the government can wiretap or investigate a person based on their political beliefs or statements.

Of course we all know how that turned out.

It has been revealed time after time after time that the U.S. government has been investigating large numbers of people based on their political beliefs.

The Internet is a great way for people to express and share their political thoughts and ideas, but it is also providing a way for governments around the world to watch and track dissenters.

For example, major news websites in China now require users to register their true identities before they are able to leave any comments.  This enables the government to be able to identify (and potentially deal with) anyone that does not express the “right” views.

In the same manner, the Obama administration is now proposing the introduction of a “universal Internet ID” for Americans.  The program is being touted as “voluntary”, but how long do you think it would be before a whole host of government agencies started to use these universal Internet IDs to watch, monitor, track and control the Internet activities of tens of millions of Americans?

The following is a video news report from CBS News about these new universal Internet IDs….

So where does all of this Internet censorship end?

Well, the truth is that it is only going to get tighter and tighter as the years go by.

Eventually you will probably need a government-issued license to put up websites such as this one, and in fact someday you will probably need a government-issued license before you can even log on to the Internet.

So enjoy this era of relatively unlimited Internet freedom while you can, because it is rapidly coming to an end.  Tyrannical governments all over the globe are realizing that in order to maintain “control” they must place a much tighter grip on the flow of information on the Internet.

If you live in the United States or another nation where there is still at least a limited amount of liberty and freedom, it is going to be important to let your representatives know that you do not want Internet censorship and you certainly do not want any sort of an Internet kill switch.

Liberties and freedoms are incredibly precious, and once they are taken away they are very difficult to get back.

A Two-Tier Internet?

The Internet as you know it is in serious, serious danger. Some of the most powerful communications companies in the world have been involved in negotiations and have been making agreements that would throw net neutrality out the window and would move us toward a two-tier Internet.  So exactly what would that mean?  It would mean that the big corporate giants that have a virtual monopoly on other forms of media and entertainment would be able to buy access to the blazing fast “next generation” Internet that communications companies are developing and the rest of us (like this site for example) would be stuck on the decaying “gravel roads” of the old Internet.  The threat that this poses to freedom, liberty, Internet commerce and the free flow of information should not be underestimated.   

I want you to take a few moments and imagine with me what the future of the Internet could look like if something is not done.  Imagine a world in which your Internet service provider gives you more “choices” regarding your level of Internet access.  For a “budget” price, you can get email and access to several hundred of the hottest and most popular websites (controlled by the big media conglomerates of course) on the incredibly fast “next generation” Internet.  For a bit more, you can get access to thousands of websites (once again, controlled by the big media conglomerates) on the new blazing fast version of the Internet that has been developed.  Or lastly, you can get the “premium package” which will give you access to the entire Internet, including the millions of websites that are still chugging along on the “old Internet”. 

Wouldn’t that be great?

Of course not.

Isn’t it obvious what would happen?

The millions of websites that are unwilling or unable to pay the exorbitant “tolls” to get on the new blazing fast version of the Internet would rapidly start losing traffic and would eventually fizzle out almost altogether. 

After all, in this day and age who is going to stick with technology that is slow and outdated? 

For example, how many people still use “dial-up” anymore?  There are a few, but it is just not that many.

For years, the big Internet companies have been dreaming of getting permission to sell access to an Internet “fast lane” to the highest bidder.  The potential profits to be had are staggering.

But right now there is one thing that stands in the way of those profits and that must be eliminated according to them.

Net neutrality.

Up until now, any information sent over the Internet has been treated more or less equally.  When a data packet enters the Internet, it is directed to its destination regardless of the identity of the customer or the importance of the information.

But now some very powerful interests want to change all that.  The idea is to have the Internet much more closely resemble cable television.

In particular, a recent agreement regarding net neutrality between Google and Verizon is causing alarm among Internet users.

The following is how The Daily Mail described the recent agreement between Google and Verizon….

Technology giants Google and Verizon have today paved the way for a future ‘two-tier’ internet in which companies can pay extra to make sure their services get through.

Whenever anyone starts using phrases like “pay extra” when it comes to access to the Internet, alarm bells should start going off in your head.

Once we start going down that road, the big media companies with the deep pockets will do all they can to gain a “competitive” advantage.

The future of the Internet is at stake.  Are we going to continue to have a free and open Internet with millions of choices, or are we going to have an Internet dominated by “toll roads” where there are only a few thousand choices which are all tightly controlled by the giant media conglomerates?

Already, there is a lot of talk about the new “high bandwidth” Internet that is coming.

According to The Daily Mail, even Verizon’s CEO admits that the agreement between his firm and Google would create a “separate” high bandwidth Internet…. 

The new high bandwidth internet would remain separate from the normal public internet and would probably include services such as healthcare and 3D video and gaming, according to Verizon’s chief executive, Ivan Seidenberg.

So what do you think is eventually going to happen if a new “high bandwith Internet” is set up?

Well, everyone will want to move over to it of course.

And that is exactly the idea.

Over the past several years, the big media conglomerates that dominate television, newspapers, radio, movies and even video games have come to realize that they have completely and totally lost control over the Internet.

The Internet has given the common man a voice in the world, and it is probably the greatest breakthrough for the free flow of information since the printing press was invented.

But to the big media conglomerates there is a big problem.

They have lost their monopoly.

People are not forced to come to them for their news and entertainment anymore.

The rise of the alternative media has been one of the most incredible stories of this past decade, and today information flows more freely around the globe than ever before.

But now there are some very powerful corporate interests that would like to force alternative websites, radio programs and television shows to shut down for good.

They realize that they need to make their move quickly, because we are rapidly approaching a critical turning point for the Internet.

You see, the truth is that virtually all communications will eventually go through the Internet.  Phone service, television service and Internet access are rapidly merging into one.

The battle for control over this media pipeline we call the Internet is only going to heat up even more.  Literally trillions of dollars will be made or lost depending on the direction that the Internet takes in the years ahead.

So will we allow the Internet to become a network of private toll roads where the big media conglomerates control what we see and hear and think?

Or will we stand up and demand that the Internet remain a free and neutral platform where information flows freely and where we can all have our say?

As for me, I choose to stand on the side of Internet freedom.

What say you?

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