Suppression of Free Speech – The Latest

The DOI attempt to impose a filtering system on its servers has moved from the not-so-well-intentioned to the nefarious-attempt-to-block-particular-sites to the latest example of our Federal Government’s all too well known tendency to screw up the simple.  The story keeps getting better, with the latest information coming from a techie on the inside who claims the vendor of the "filter system" is incompetent and the software poorly written. The FBI cannot implement a system-wide database, the DOI cannot find a competent vendor/product, the FAA cannot implement the much needed updates for Air Traffic Control, and yet the Federal government wants to take control of the Internet.

Read the details of the DOI Filter kerfuffle here.

The Agricoli lived, for several years, in the wonderful city of Indianapolis.  During that golden time, the city (by the way, the city and county operate under a consolidated government) was led by Stephen Goldsmith, a champion of privatization.  He believed that government was lousy at operations, but great at raising money. He therefore instituted a program whereby most government services were out-sourced through competitive bidding. Indy was, and still is, a clean, safe, attractive city, for the most part, that works.  Maybe there is a lesson to be learned.

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4 thoughts on “Suppression of Free Speech – The Latest

  1. WINDVIEL

    Lord, Ag, what a great plan ! The Federal Government which cannot organize a two car funeral procession, that august body which could foul up a Humid Hallucination, wants to take charge of the internet. Let’s give that one to Health and Human Services, the former Health, Education and Welfare gang. They would wreck it in record time and probably save money in the long run. It’s OK with us. We wanted to get folks back to writing letters on paper anyway. Considering the performance of the US Postal Service, your letter could become a valuable antique by the time it finds its mark.

    Please note that the suppression of free speech begins at home. In the recent issue over “CPT”, watch out! Don’t step on any Brazil Nuts.

    Reply
  2. Daniel

    I’ve got zero problems with privatization of numerous government functions (although it’s no magic bullet, as some ideological free-marketers practically insist). The trick is understanding the things that government does well and the things that government does poorly and being wise enough to apply that judgment in politically sensible ways.

    Providing electrical power to rural areas? Give me government over private industry. Cleaning streets? Well, let’s hear your sales pitch, Mr. Entrepreneur.

    Providing national and local parks? Government. And fire protection? I’ll take goverment, please. But whitewater rafting guides and homeowners insurance are things that private companies should provide.

    One of my favorite critiques of the aftermath of the Reagan Revolution is that its inheritors are so distrustful of government that when given control of its levers they really aren’t quite sure what to do with them. It’s not that the initial thought (“he who governs least governs best”) is invalid, but that any good idea taken to abstraction begins to lose contact with the road. Our job is to reign in the excesses and keep things real.

    Re: The Internet. I’m far less concerned today about the federal government trying to “control” the Internet as I am that the telecoms will succeed in buying favorable regulatory terms that will allow them to turn our glorious virtual cocktail party into a series of commercial channels for delivering content.

    Meanwhile, it’s just plain offensive that the feds are playing footsies with censorship for government employees and soldiers. I’m as opposed to any policy that blocks DOI employee access to conservative sites as I am to the Defense Department’s attempts at blocking liberal domains on the servers where soldiers deployed to the sandbox get their news.It’s all equally dumb.

    Reply
  3. agricola

    To Daniel’s comment, Indianapolis owns about 10 metropolitan golf courses. At one time, they were in terrible shape, managed by political cronies, and generally a drain on the city’s pocketbook. Goldsmith put all courses out for bid. The result was that entrepeneurs saw opportunity, and increased play by improving the course conditions. The city lost a revenue drain, gained a revenue stream that was larger, and the residents got to play on some very nice golf courses at competitive rates. The quality of life for residents was improved, as was the city’s financial statement. Government’s role thereafter was to make certain the the private sector performed as promised in their bid. That was but one example….city sanitation services were another. Goldsmith was, and is, a very forward thinking proponent of limited government in those situations where profit and private enterprise can do a better job. One could, for example, cite the Municipal golf course in Charleston as an opportunity for privatization…….

    Reply

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