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Republicans, Democrats both support measure to expand federal power, but Ron Paul leads minority opposition

In an editorial in The Wall Street Journal, a newspaper published by conservative media mogul Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. (NWS), President Obama laid out his opinion of why poor cybersecurity is such a dire threat to the nation and his opinion on what should be done about it.

I. President Obama Calls Out Businesses for Poor Security

In the piece he describes the results of a recent wargames simulation by nation defense and intelligence agencies, recalling, "Across the country trains had derailed, including one carrying industrial chemicals that exploded into a toxic cloud. Water treatment plants in several states had shut down, contaminating drinking water and causing Americans to fall ill."

The scenario was fictional, but President Obama warns it could happen, if safeguards are not put in place.

Train derailed
President Obama claims terrorists could use cyber-attacks to derail trains.
[Image Source: Zimbio]

He blames poor security partially on the corporate sector, calling out the glaring incompetence security-wise of decision makers at some utilities and other vital infrastructure firms.  He writes:

Yet simply sharing more information is not enough. Ultimately, this is about security gaps that have to be filled. To their credit, many of these companies have boosted their cyber defenses. But many others have not, with some lacking even the most basic protection: a good password. That puts public safety and our national security at risk.

The American people deserve to know that companies running our critical infrastructure meet basic, commonsense cybersecurity standards, just as they already meet other security requirements.
Obama speaking
President Obama wants to expand the federal gov't to "solve" the cybersecurity "crisis".
[Image Source: U.S. Aid]

President Obama is proposing an amendment National Security Act of 1947 [PDF], which is ostensibly targeted at promoting information and expertise sharing between U.S. government agencies and key civilian-sector contractors/infrastructure providers.

II. Bill to Expand DHS is Backed by Both Parties, But Has a Few Vocal Critics

The bill, S.2105 [PDF], is a redraft of earlier House bill H.R. 3523.  

The new bill is dubbed the "Cybersecurity Act of 2012".  The key change from the earlier house measure is that the Senate bill funnels the information shared by private sector firms through the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS).  President Obama vocally opposed the earlier House bill, which put the DHS in more of a backseat role.

Homeland Security
The bill would expand the scope of the DHS. [Image Source: CyTalk]
The new bill enjoys a fair measure of bipartisan support in the Senate.  It is sponsored by Senators Susan Collins (R- Maine), Joe Lieberman (I/D- Connecticut), Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.), and J. D. "Jay" Rockefeller IV (D- West Virginia).

However, the bill has a couple of vocal opponents among the more liberal and more conservative members of the House.  Among those opposed to expanding the DHS's role is Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).  Rep. Paul called the bill "Big Brother writ large."

Ron Paul
Rep. Ron Paul is one of the few opponents of the measure to expand federal government.
[Image Source: AP]

Rep. Paul has suggested that the Department of Homeland Security is poor in talent, offensive to civil liberties, and redundant, commenting [source]:

Before 9/11, we were spending $40 billion a year, and the FBI was producing numerous information about people being trained on airplanes, to fly them but not land them. And they totally ignored them. So it’s the inefficiency of the bureaucracy that is the problem. So, increasing this with the Department of Homeland Security and spending more money doesn’t absolve us of the problem. Yes, we have every right in the world to know something about intelligence gathering. But we have to have intelligent people interpreting this information.

President Obama is urging Democrats and Republicans to come together, as they oft do, to overlook civil liberties and debt concerns and pass a bill to expand the federal government.  As with many such expansions of federal government pushed by America's two ruling parties in recent years, there will likely be large price tag to this measure.  And as usual the justification is "national security".

Sources: WSJ, U.S. Senate

Comments     Threshold

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RE: Oh, so he wants to nationalize everything now?
By Lerianis on 7/21/2012 2:01:30 PM , Rating: 0
Once again, wrong. You are forgetting that corporations and insurance companies will look for any hole they can find in these laws, so they have to take into account all situations since the onus on courts is to read the law narrowly.

1000 pages still leaves a lot of loopholes (not all intentional or even most intentional) for companies to drive their trucks through.

Best thing we could have done was to go to a nationalized health care industry and moved on. Other countries have done that.... why shouldn't the United States?

Oh, and before you say "Those countries have bad systems where you have to wait for a lot of time!"..... stop lying. The truth is that most European nations have LESS of a waiting time for doctors and specialists than the United States.

By Reclaimer77 on 7/21/2012 2:38:17 PM , Rating: 2
Best thing we could have done was to go to a nationalized health care industry and moved on. Other countries have done that.... why shouldn't the United States?

And this puts your firmly in the "idiot" category.

By Ringold on 7/21/2012 4:06:15 PM , Rating: 2
stop lying. The truth is that most European nations have LESS of a waiting time for doctors and specialists than the United States.

You're the one that's either a liar or simply ignorant. Wikipedia's a fairly well-known slightly left-leaning institution, so allow me to use it as a source.

Using Canada as an example, an estimated 782,936 Canadians spent time on medical waiting lists in 2005, waiting an average of 9.4 weeks.[10] Canada has set waiting-time benchmarks, e. g. 26 weeks for a hip replacement and 16 weeks for cataract surgery, for non-urgent medical procedures.

Someone in actual need of a hip replacement that can barely walk wouldn't call it non-urgent, but hey, that's socialism. Meanwhile, I had work done on my knee within 24 hours of what Canada would call a non-urgent injury a couple years ago, and was offered knee replacement within the same time frame. My folks are older and both had cataracts removed, within a week.

It goes on to describe the hundreds of thousands in total that flee what are generally socialized medicine advanced economies, and it lists the popular destinations... None of which are in the EU, though a few EU states are thinking about trying to get in on the action.

So tell me, if you are correct, then why do so many Europeans and Canadians pay for something they already paid for through taxes if it's so good and quick?

Further, laws can be written broadly but clearly. Note the constitution. The Roman's, and I think ancient Greeks even, understood that short, simple laws provide the most transparency. Complexity is used to hide shenanigans from the ignorant masses. Most of our countries greatest legislation is no longer then a childs story book, it's only been since WW2 generally that length has exploded.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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