Jonathan Lockwood, state director for the Koch-funded millennials’ political group Generation Opportunity, wrote an interesting op-ed for the Greeley Tribune the other day entitled “Keep politicians’ hands off our Internet.”
The op-ed was not, as you might expect, about NSA wire-tapping, cable-internet monopolies, native advertising or net neutrality. It was about how Sen. Mark Udall — engaged in a tight re-election race against Republican Congressman Cory Gardner — was wrong to have voted for the Marketplace Fairness Act.
The MFA is a law to make online retailers charge state sales tax. Supporters say the bill will even the playing field between local and online retailers. Opponents, like Lockwood, say it will hamstring Internet startups. And also that it’s bad because, taxes.
“We [millennials] recognize the importance of keeping the Internet free from a government transfer of wealth away from a younger, economically leaner generation,” Lockwood writes in is op-ed.
Ok sure, Lockwood’s making a free-market, small government argument against a sales tax bill. That’s a totally worthy, interesting and decently nonpartisan debate. Some people, in fact, think there should be no sales tax at all because it ends up cutting into a much bigger chunk of low-earners’ incomes.
But ultimately Lockwood’s op-ed is less about millennial machinations on fair taxation and more about trying to damage Mark Udall’s record on issues this generation cares about — specifically the future of the Internet. From the title of the piece to accusations that Udall left millennials out of the conversation, there’s a definite message pivot to Udall = bad on Internet policy. That’s where things start smelling a lil fishy.
Here’s some added context about what politician Mark Udall’s hands on our Internet hath wrought: Remember that time Glenn Greenwald uncovered a vast government conspiracy to tap your phones and there were literally only two elected officials he called out as on the right side of the issue? One of them was Udall, who later said he did “everything but leak classified information” in his efforts to warn the public about NSA-spying. This year, when Udall and his staff were the subject of constitutionally not-great CIA computer hacking (while Udall was investigating CIA use of torture as a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee) the senator was the first to call for CIA director John Brennan’s resignation.
In case you forgot — as Lockwood either has or is hoping you have — millennials dearest, you can read that Greenwald article here. Or, if you hate reading (isn’t that a thing people say about kids these days?) but somehow made it to the bottom of this article, you can watch this video:
Lockwood does deserve serious props, though, for being one of the first and possibly loudest Colorado voices this cycle to bring up Internet policy as a pivotal issue in the Senate race and one which might just draw millennials, who are bad at voting in midterm elections, to the (digital) polls.
[save the internet meta selfie by Steve Rhodes]