Posts tagged ‘Senate’

“Let’s screw something up WORSE!” or “How the hell do Republicans exist?!”

Those of you may remember ages ago when I posted my SPOUT about the DEMOCRATS and their proposed internet kill switch bill. Well, the Republicans have topped it.

It seems that they weren’t satisfied with the bill as it was, saying it would “provide too much of a burden to the already overburdened Department of Homeland Security”. So they proposed their own bill. Which creates an office in the Pentagon to oversee United States civilian cybersecurity.

Wait…WHAT?!?

Those who have a good sense of governmental infrastructure understand that 99.9% of any office/agency housed in the Pentagon are under MILITARY CONTROL. Also, the mere fact that the Republican bill says the word ‘civilian’ in conjunction with creation of a Pentagon office/agency gives it away.

Sadly, neither bill is to my personal liking and neither bill is what I want to happen for our precious global resource called affectionately “the tubes”.

The bill as proposed by the Democrats is bad. The Republican bill is worse. Tell EVERY legislator you know to ditch both and start again.

At this point, the real question all of you out there is this: Who would you rather have in control of your country’s internet kill switch? The President or the Military?

Comment below and I will do my best to answer!

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July 6, 2010 at 17:04 3 comments

“S.773, The Cybersecurity Act of 2010” or “WTF DEMS SRSLY”

Good day to you all, and welcome to another fun-filled edition of techSPOUT! Oh man, that was dripping in sarcasm, wasn’t it?

Ok, Senate Bill 773 for 2010. It’s the Cybersecurity Act. Written by Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-Who cares where he’s from at this point, he’s a freaking Rockefeller) and Olympia Snowe (R-From somewhere in the land of flannel and lumberjacks and counties named Aroostook), it’s not a bad looking piece of legislation. That is, until you dig out the gem laying buried in §201(b)(2)(B)…I’ll include the whole of §201 below and bold the part I am talking about.

S.773 of 111th Congress (2010)
“Cybersecurity Act of 2010”
TITLE II—PLANS AND AUTHORITY
SEC. 201. CYBERSECURITY RESPONSIBILITIES AND AUTHORITIES.
(b) COLLABORATIVE EMERGENCY RESPONSE AND RESTORATION.
The President–
(1) shall, in collaboration with owners and operators of United States critical infrastructure information systems, sector coordinating councils and relevant governmental agencies, regulatory entities, and nongovernmental organizations, develop and rehearse detailed response and restoration plans that clarify
specific roles, responsibilities, and authorities of government and private sector actors during cybersecurity emergencies, and that identify the types of events
and incidents that would constitute a cybersecurity emergency;
(2) may, in the event of an immediate threat to strategic national interests involving compromised Federal Government or United States critical infrastructure information systems—
(A) declare a cybersecurity emergency; and
(B) implement the collaborative emergency
response and restoration plans developed under
paragraph (1);

(3) shall, in the event of a declaration of a cybersecurity emergency—
(A) within 48 hours submit to Congress a
report in writing setting forth—
(i) the circumstances necessitating the
emergency declaration; and
(ii) the estimated scope and duration
of the emergency; and
(B) so long as the cybersecurity emergency
declaration remains in effect, report to the Congress periodically, but in
no event less frequently than once every 30 days, on the status of
emergency as well as on the scope and duration of the emergency.
(c) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION.—This section does not
authorize, and shall not be construed to authorize, an ex-
pansion of existing Presidential authorities.

Did you get it? Well, if it seems like more legalese and jargon, you’re right. Here’s the gist: President declares “national cybersecurity emergency”, President shut off internet. Yes, it IS that simple. Now, let’s use the attacks on New York, DC, and PA as an example, and we’ll sketch out a short timeline of what happened and what would happen under this bill.

What Happened
———————–
8:46:26AM: First Plane into North Tower WTC
8:47AM: TV networks begin to break into coverage with WTC story
8:48AM: People flood net with “Did you hear/ZOMG!!1!” IMs/Emails/Msgs
8:50-8:55AM: People begin tapping into streaming video/audio for news
9:02:54AM: Second Plane into South Tower WTC
9:03:24AM: Collective gasp ends, exponential increase in traffic, both streaming and messaging as well as standard web site views
9:37AM: Pentagon Plane Impact
10:06AM: Shanksville, PA Plane Impact
Next 5 days: Internet helps find people, console people and satisfies data need for people.

What Would Have Happened with Kill Switch Activation
——————————————————————————–
8:46:26AM: First Plane into North Tower WTC
8:47AM: TV networks begin to break into coverage with WTC story
8:48AM: People flood net with “Did you hear/ZOMG!!1!” IMs/Emails/Msgs
8:50-8:55AM: People begin tapping into streaming video/audio for news
9:02:54AM: Second Plane into South Tower WTC
9:03:14AM: President orders internet turned off “in case of it’s use as a mechanism to help carry out these now evident attacks”
9:03:24AM: Collective gasp ends, people attempt to reach out to others or to the web for news and information and find “server not found” messages for every site and service, panic begins as people, without information, believe the outage is part of the attack
9:10AM: President addresses nation, tells them of cybersecurity activation.
9:37AM: Pentagon Plane Impact, but no one finds out for nearly half an hour because the wire services work via internet now and all news is being filtered and delivered via telephone and fax
10:06AM: Shanksville, PA Plane Impact, no one finds out about this one for 2 hours due to seclusion of crash site in southwest Pennsylvania
Next 30 days: Internet stays shut off until President delivers report to Congress, in meantime, much data and information cannot be verified quickly by news services due to lack of connectivity, many hoaxes and false panics cause population to stay home, afraid of more attacks, stock market plummets worse than originally anticipated, production of essentials comes to a near grinding halt, economy collapses amid lack of spending and commerce during the second half of September

Extreme? Maybe only a little. The above illustrates the problems with “shutting off the internet due to crisis” in 2001. Think about how this would affect us now, with VoIP being a primary form of communication and the internet being even more entrenched in our lives as an immediate information source. It strikes fear into me to think this COULD happen.

Here is what I want you to do about this bill: Kill it. How can you do this? Contact your senators (find them at http://www.contactingthecongress.org) and tell them if this bill comes to a vote on the senate floor and they vote yes, then they have lost your vote in the general election. Your best bet to reach your senator is to CALL THEIR OFFICES! Email and fax are tied for second best and postal mail is right out, don’t even consider it if you can help it. Also, while you are at it, call DEMOCRATIC Senator Rockefeller’s office and thank him for turning his back on true information freedom with this bill.

March 31, 2010 at 15:00 1 comment

“PA Table Games Bill FAIL” or “OH GOD, DOES THIS MAKE ME A CENTRIST?”

I am officially frightened.

Why, you ask?

It’s a fairly well known fact that I am a liberal. Registered Democrat. Activist. Hacker. I don’t think I could be more leftist if I tried.

It is also a known fact that I reside in Pennsylvania. One of the only “Commonwealth” states left in the Union. Archaic laws prevented Sunday sales of alcohol in this state until the middle of the last decade. (Yes, the mid 2000’s.) So oddly, for a majority Democratic state, it stays very conservative.

Within the last few years, we (the Commonwealth) allowed gaming in our state. Slots only. No table games. I’m absolutely fine with that. It means if I want to pull the one-armed bandit I only have to drive an hour now instead of 3-5 hours to go to New Jersey.

The PA Senate passed a table games bill after a nearly year long debate the other day. The PA House of Representatives passed the table games bill today. Governor Ed Rendell is expected to sign a conglomeration of the Senate and House bills tomorrow morning.

Now here’s the rub: As a democrat and leftist, I should be all for this bill getting signed into law. I totally would be, too, if it wasn’t for this one little thing. I’ll paste the text I find a problem here:

§ 1362A. Table game taxes.
(a) Imposition.–
(1) Except as provided in paragraphs (2) and (3), each
certificate holder shall report to the department and pay
from its daily gross table game revenue, on a form and in the
manner prescribed by the department, a tax of 12% of its
daily gross table game revenue.
(2) In addition to the tax payable under paragraph (1),
each certificate holder shall report to the department and
pay from its daily gross table game revenue, on a form and in
the manner prescribed by the department, a tax of 34% of its
– 130 –
daily gross table game revenue from each table game played on
a fully automated electronic gaming table.
(3) The tax reported and payable under paragraph (1) by
each certificate holder shall be 14% of daily gross table
game revenue for a period of two years following commencement
of table games operations at its licensed facility.

–PA Senate Bill 711-2009 Printers Number 1586, Pages 129-130.

Now, the issue may not be evident just from reading that headache of legalese, so allow me, with my former experience as an incarcerated prison law librarian, to translate for you. (OMG, he was in PRISON?!? LOL.)

Our fine Commonwealth will tax each casino 14% of their total table game revenue for the first 2 years after the casino has commenced table games operations. After that 2 year period, those casinos would be taxed 12% of their table games revenue in perpetuity.

Again, most people would say “AWESOME! Millions of dollars for the state to hand out and to use and PA WILL NEVER BE BROKE AGAIN LIKE WE WERE THIS PAST SUMMER!”, but then most people don’t take the time out to look at what other states tax their casinos for table games. According to research done by a Republican PA Representative and his staff, most other states tax table games at anywhere between 23 and 60 (Yes, SIXTY!) percent.

In this vein, it is fairly obvious to me that my own party mates in the Commonwealth have betrayed me and all of their other constituents only in order to hurriedly pass a table games bill before Governor Rendell takes action he described as “laying off more state workers”. I also feel that in this respect, Governor Rendell (D-Philadelphia) has also betrayed me, as well as all 12+ million residents of Pennsylvania by holding the state legislature hostage in order to pass this bill.

IN CONCLUSION…I feel that the Republicans arguing not the bill itself but arguing that the tax totals are WAY too low are absolutely…*sigh*…correct in doing so. Any real democrat would have noticed that the amounts were too low to make any sense except to maybe hurry and put revenue in the coffers to pay people with. Even then, if the tax amount were higher than 12-14%, I am sure that the Republicans would have complained much less about it. We’re ripping ourselves off at this rate and it’s all the *sigh part two* DEMOCRATS FAULT!

Epilogue: While you are sitting at your favorite casino in Pennsylvania in the near future playing blackjack, remember this, Governor Rendell could have sent the bill back and made the legislature up the amount, but he won’t. He’ll sign it tomorrow morning and only $6-7 of that $50 bet you just lost will go to fix that potholed interstate you came there on. It could have been $10, it could have been $30. If you’re going to lose, better to lose and fix your community with the money.

January 7, 2010 at 00:32 Leave a comment


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