Franklin Foer at The Atlantic writes—It’s Time to Regulate the Internet:

It will be fantastically satisfying to see the boy genius flayed. All the politicians—ironically, in search of a viral moment—will lash Mark Zuckerberg from across the hearing room. They will corner Facebook’s founding bro, seeking to pin all manner of sin on him. This will make for scrumptious spectacle, but spectacle is a vacuous substitute for policy.

As Facebook’s scandals have unfolded, the backlash against Big Tech has accelerated at a dizzying pace. Anger, however, has outpaced thinking. The most fully drawn and enthusiastically backed proposal now circulating through Congress would regulate political ads that can appear on the platform, a law that hardly curbs the company’s power or profits. And, it should be said, a law that does nothing to attack the core of the problem: the absence of governmental protections for personal data.

The defining fact of digital life is that the web was created in the libertarian frenzy of the 1990s. As we privatized the net, releasing it from the hands of the government agencies that cultivated it, we suspended our inherited civic instincts. Instead of treating the web like the financial system or aviation or agriculture, we refrained from creating the robust rules that would ensure safety and enforce our constitutional values.

This weakness has long been apparent to activists toiling on the fringes of debate—and the dangers might even have been apparent to most users of Facebook. But it’s one thing to abstractly understand the rampant exploitation of data; it’s another to graphically see how our data can be weaponized against us. And that’s the awakening occasioned by the rolling revelation of Facebook’s complicity in the debacle of the last presidential campaign. The fact that Facebook seems unwilling to fully own up to its role casts further suspicion on its motives and methods. And in the course of watching the horrific reports, the public may soon arrive at the realization that it is the weakness of our laws that has provided the basis for Facebook’s tremendous success. […]

When I recently sat on a panel with a representative of Facebook, he admitted that he hadn’t used the site for years because he was concerned with protecting himself against invasive forces. […]

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QUOTATION

“It has always struck me that one of the readiest ways of estimating a country’s regard for law is to notice what arms the officers of the law are carrying: in England it is little batons, in France swords, in many countries revolvers, and in Russia the police used to have artillery.” 
               ~Lord Dunsany, The Curse of the Wise Woman (1933)
 

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#INDIGENOUS #TAIRP pic.twitter.com/VV9DN67dDy

— Indigenous (@AmericanIndian8) March 21, 2018

BLAST FROM THE PAST

On this date at Daily Kos in 2008—A City Drowned by War:

Can you stand one more Katrina diary?  I hope so, because this one busts one of the most enduring myths you’ll hear from Republicans regarding what happened to my town:

“Well, sure the government should have gotten in to help sooner, but you can’t say that Bush caused the flood to happen.”

Um, yeah, I can, in fact.  And this isn’t the usual baseless yammering about levees getting blown up in the night.  They didn’t need to blow up the levees.  The levees were dead already.

In 1995, the Army Corps of Engineers announced the consolidation of levee projects in Southeast Louisiana into the “SELA” district and set a 10-year goal of comprehensive inspections and repairs.

Under the Clinton administration, the work proceeded more or less on schedule.  Under the Bush/Cheney administration, however, Corps budget requests were steadily cut by the White House.  

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show, Greg Dworkin and Joan McCarter reflect on our previously impossible-to-imagine situation: Cambridge Analytica, the Austin bomber, DO NOT CONGRATULATE,  IL-GOP nominating a real Nazi for Congress, and yet another government shutdown on the horizon. 

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