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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

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RE: Not That It Matters
By EricMartello on 7/21/2012 6:13:47 PM , Rating: 2
It was pretty obvious this guy was going to be like this back in 2008, he was still elected. A slim majority might elect him again. California has referendums on tons of things, still bones itself. A more philosophical problem then: is the problem democracy?

I could tell Obama was full of sh!t from the moment I heard him talking in debates and from the comments he makes during interviews. He's a typical salesman type of guy who makes big promises that are inversely proportional to what he has the ability to deliver. He also loves circular logic and speaking for long periods of time without actually saying anything at all.

The fatal flaw of democracy is that despite people having the "freedom" to elect their leaders it's really not much different than a dynastic regime where only the royal family and "nobles" have a chance to lead.

Think about it: you don't get to choose who you really want as a president - the same people running the show in the government ensure that the only choices you have to vote for are the right or left hand...but the hands are part of the same body. The choice is an can have any flavor you want as long as its vanilla.

Who has a real chance to become president? They say anyone can, but if you're not "well connected" you can forget about it for the most part. That's why most candidates are out of some ivy-league college like harvard or yale. Sure, anyone can run for president but if you don't have those unwritten qualifications there is no real possibility to become elected.

The final major issue is a dumbed-down voting populace who are unable to think critically and objectively. Look at the average American - they can't figure out that most of their problems are their own fault and not caused by some external force and they're quick to resort to stupidity rather than self-improvement. For example, instead of spending the weekends getting sh1tfaced, using drugs or whatever it is the average moron does...why not use that time to learn a marketable skill or develop a talent? They don't do that because it's easier to blame and complain.

I would not want my kids attending any school that receives federal funding...and to that end, any school that feels the need to use the educational system as a propaganda platform - that is the vast majority. Objectivity is all but lost in this society and that's a problem in itself.

RE: Not That It Matters
By Ringold on 7/21/2012 9:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
For example, instead of spending the weekends getting sh1tfaced, using drugs or whatever it is the average moron does...why not use that time to learn a marketable skill or develop a talent?

Yes, absolutely. If people spent the amount of time the average American spent watching TV every week working on something like that, we might even be able to keep China from catching us in GDP. Fat chance of that, though.

"Folks that want porn can buy an Android phone." -- Steve Jobs

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