At 2:18 PM Eastern Time Wednesday almost every cell phone in America sprang to life with the first test of what’s called the Presidential Alert System. A loud electronic shriek was heard across the land.
It is a way for the president to reach almost all Americans at the same time and was created during the W. Bush years.
This was the first test.
Okay, let’s get the obligatory wise guy items out of the way before we continue.
--How soon until trump links this thing to his Twitter account and starts pestering everyone about his might and accomplishments?
--In an emergency, trump is the last guy you’d go to for help and advice.
--How do I turn this invasive “service” off?
You don’t. If your cell phone is on, it will scream at you. And -- attention those of you who still use flip phones -- it works on those devices, too.
The Big Worry:
What happens if the system is hacked and taken over by:
The drug cartels
The pharmaceutical cartels
The Manson Family
The Kingston Trio
The Four Horsemen
The three Rogers: Roy, Buck, and Mister
The three Jeffs: Zucker, Bezos and Immelt
The guy down the block who hates you
The Geico creature
Such takeovers would mean sponsored Presidential Alerts. “This test is brought to you by …”
The possibilities are almost endless.
“This is a Presidential Alert. Traffic is heavy on US Route 80 Eastbound from Lodi to the George Washington Bridge. This Presidential Alert is brought to you by Brown and Williamson. Willie the Penguin says Smoke Kools.
Okay, we know that the security agencies already know your every move. And Congress is considering legislation to allow electronic arrests through the alert system.
What we can’t figure out is how the president can send an alert from his smartphone that doesn’t eat itself because presidential alerts trump everything else in the air, including the phone the president is trying to use to send you a Presidential Alert.
Fun Facts About This System
--They’ve been working on it since around 2008. It’s a good thing Obama had no Alerts to give us.
--It’s a joint project of several federal agencies. No wonder it was ten years in the making.
--The important components were in place long before ‘08 including Amber Alerts and tornado warnings. Now we can get Urgent Alerts about Kavanaugh.
--Similar systems have existed in the past and were screwed up by the originating agency, the North American Air Defense Command.
--If you hear a strange beeping noise coming out of a closet or a drawer, it’s from that pager you tucked away as useless ten or 12 years ago… yes, even pagers are in on this system. Good thing, too. That way the drug cartels can tell at a glance that their hack is working.
I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
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