Previously, we had seen how various close relatives of former political figures in the 1960’s, 70’s and 80’s have slithered their oligarchical way onto the political stage. We have watched entranced as Nixon’s grandson tried entering Congress, as Carter’s grandson become a Representative and cheered as Kennedy’s grand-nephew headed there too.
I thought I might revisit these luminary figures to see what they have been getting up to in their first couple of years, to check out how they are doing as they slip their loafered feet beneath the tables of state.
Let’s start with a favourite, Ben Quayle, the son of J Danforth (you ain’t no Jack Kennedy) Quayle the most woeful Vice President of the United States I can remember, and Lord knows there have been some lulus. Dan Quayle you may remember played a Preppy Robin to George Bush senior’s Batman.
Benny certainly stormed onto the stage with a brace of great slogans, like the idea that our plucky little oligarch was going “to knock hell out of Washington” a claim obviously false given the huge support his donors the lobbyists were giving him. Next, hoping to sound Reganesque, he ambitiously tried to tell everyone “It’s time to restore America”, But, to what would this privately educated oligarch whose powerful family go back on six lines to five individuals from “The Mayflower” restore you?
We got an inkling of little Ben’s vision of America this last week.
You may recall that Ben had previously supported SOPA until even he could see the way the political wind was blowing and removed himself. Now we have son-of-SOPA in the form of CISPA and Ben unsurprisingly supports this as enthusiastically as he did SOPA. But in deference to the critics Ben decided to ameliorate things by introducing an amendment. To make things better you see.
Ben put forward an amendment to address “privacy concerns” and this was passed. So that must be good? Ben has seen the light? Ben certainly thinks so and claims his amendment made structural “limitations on how the government use the information it collects.” It sure sounds good and “If the government violates this limitation the bill provides for government liability for actual damage, cost and attorney’s fees in a Federal Court lawsuit.” But there is more. “The government can only use cyber information for a limited number of purposes related to cyber security and national security. These provisions together ensure sound privacy protections and necessary cybersecurity protections for American companies and individuals”.
Now, to anyone who has even drafted the Church Badminton Club constitution, the wording above looks slack and unclear. Which, of course, it is. Unfortunately, the bill now adds powers of investigation and prosecution for cybersecurity crime (and your guess as to what on earth that might be is as good as anyone’s). Additionally the authorities can also use “protection of individuals” and “protection of children” as catch-all excuses for trawling the internet.
Ben’s intervention has therefore meant that the authorities can now intervene if someone is in danger (whatever that means), or is in danger of bodily harm (whatever that may mean), or where children are threatened (so watch out Catholic Church) and no other law may limit it.
Hmmm. No other law may limit it. Rather looks like they are trying to exclude a 4th Amendment defence in cyberspace. Would fit real nice with Ben’s vote for HR347 limiting the right of First Amendment free speech from near the President or any buildings he might be in. All part of a package with Dim Ben.
Still, there is always the Senate to save one from Ben’s latest wheeze, that, or the White House.
Copyright David Macadam 2012