Saturday, 29 August 2009

Rants

How it goes...


Bill Quick on the latest Rangel:

It’s hard to recall just how many times accusations of wrongdoing have been leveled at lefty politicians, after which the MSM “investigates” the matter by interviewing the accused pol and then reporting “nothing to the accusations, the accused says the charges are ridiculous, untrue, and motivated solely by politics.”

The the MSM labels the matter closed.

It never seems to occur to these hacks and flacks that the motherfarkers are lying.

No Bill, it’s just step 10 of the usual process:
  • What charges?  There aren’t any charges.
  • None that we know about, anyway.
  • La-la-la-la-la-la-I-can’t-HEAR-you!
  • What, you believe those guys?  That bunch of nuts?
  • It’s just x’s usual liberal-bashing.
  • It’s just y, trying to stir up a stink.
  • It’s just the usual Beltway infighting.
  • Amplified by the Right Wing Noise Machine.
  • And it’s of no importance, anyway.
  • Well you might think its important, but that doesn’t matter because Our Buddy says it’s “ridiculous, untrue, and motivated solely by politics.”
  • Hey, he said it was all lies: Go away.
  • Despite Repeated Denials, Wingers Rehash False Accusations
  • Okay, we “looked,” and there’s nothing to see there.  Happy?
  • Hey, who’s gonna believe somebody in pajamas?
  • Hey, who’s gonna believe Glenn Beck?
  • Hey, who’s gonna believe The Washington Times?
  • Whaddaya mean, “The Wall Street Journal found something?"
  • Whaddaya mean, “Drudge linked it with a bulletin”?
  • “Right Wing Media Creates Issue Out Of Thin Air”
  • Our Buddy says he was “told it was O.K.”
  • Our Buddy says “everybody did it.”
  • Our Buddy says there was “no controlling legal authority,” anyway.
  • Our Buddy says that “errors may have been made.”
  • But that it was “all the fault of Turbotax.”
  • Hey, it was an honest mistake.
  • Don’t-cha understand honest mistakes, you mean-spirited right-winger?
  • All right, yes, that one was another honest mistake.
  • Whaddaya mean, “...and he didn’t even use Turbotax”?
  • Hey, why investigate? He fixed it, didn’t he?
  • “Committee Members Choose Partisan Politics Over Statesmanship”
  • “Political Witch Hunt Continues”
  • “Investigation Stalls Vital Childrens’ Legislation”
  • Editorial: “Committee Members Neglect Their Responsiblilties”
  • “Our Buddy Stands Tall Against Partisan Sniping”
  • “Portrait of a Political Vendetta”
  • The special prosecutor is corrupt.
  • It’s not really about the charges; it’s about “getting” the accused.
  • And prosecutorial abuse.
  • This is all too complicated to understand, so we’ll just report it as a horse-race.
  • “Endless Investigation Takes Toll On Our Buddy’s Family”
  • Editorial: “A Waste of Time and Money”
  • Editorial: “Time To Rein In Rogue Prosecutors”
  • Oh look!  A Republican is screwing someone who’s not his wife!
  • Oh look!  A Republican might be gay!
  • Oh look!  An outbreak of shark attacks!
  • Oh look!  Michael Jackson is dead!
  • “America Mourns Michael Jackson”
  • “World Mourns Michael Jackson”
  • The MEDIA mourns Michael Jackson!
  • “Is the media overdoing it with Michael Jackson?”
  • Go away, we’re busy.
  • What prosecution?
  • Oh, you mean that old story?
  • Editorial: “Justice Must Be Tempered With Mercy”
  • Editorial: “Sad Ending For a Faithful Servant”
  • Editorial: “Questions Remain In Our Buddy Conviction”
  • “Washington Veterans Find Today’s Climate More Partisan, Mean-Spirited”
  • Editorial: “Why Good Men Shun Politics”
  • (time passes)
  • What conviction?
  • (repeat from beginning)

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 21:00:27 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Rants

S.773 cybergrab bill resurfaces; changes only cosmetic


And it’s nice to know others are finally noticing.

First, the latest from Declan McCullagh:

Internet companies and civil liberties groups were alarmed this spring when a U.S. Senate bill proposed handing the White House the power to disconnect private-sector computers from the Internet.

They’re not much happier about a revised version that aides to Sen. Jay Rockefeller, a West Virginia Democrat, have spent months drafting behind closed doors. CNET News has obtained a copy of the 55-page draft of S.773 (excerpt [Note: contains Title 2 only - o.g.]), which still appears to permit the president to seize temporary control of private-sector networks during a so-called cybersecurity emergency.
...
Probably the most controversial language begins in Section 201, which permits the president to “direct the national response to the cyber threat” if necessary for “the national defense and security.”  The White House is supposed to engage in “periodic mapping” of private networks deemed to be critical, and those companies “shall share” requested information with the federal government.  (“Cyber” is defined as anything having to do with the Internet, telecommunications, computers, or computer networks.)

“The language has changed but it doesn’t contain any real additional limits,” EFF's Tien says.  “It simply switches the more direct and obvious language they had originally to the more ambiguous (version)...  The designation of what is a critical infrastructure system or network as far as I can tell has no specific process. There’s no provision for any administrative process or review.  That’s where the problems seem to start. And then you have the amorphous powers that go along with it.”

Translation:  If your company is deemed “critical,” a new set of regulations kick in involving who you can hire, what information you must disclose, and when the government would exercise control over your computers or network.
And a reminder: The Democrats’ favorite RINO, Olympia Snowe, has signed on as co-sponsor.

I’ve been following this one since April.  My first post was largely snark about the cluelessness of the bill’s sponsors, but it also spotlighted the measure’s less-noted licensing provisions.  Work on a network the government (not your employer) says is “critical”?  Get federal certification, or get unemployed!

My next two posts looked at a pair of suspiciously-timed front-page articles in The Wall Street Journal.  A little consent-manufacturing?:

April 8: Unnamed “officials” exploit the confusion between “a network” and “the internet” and “sabotage-by-hacking-in” with “an inside job” to paint doom-and-gloom scenarios while calling for more government control of private networks.  Meanwhile, the government’s own data reports that the number of “intrusions” on commercial systems is minuscule- and falling- when compared to the government’s.

April 22:  A good old spy story: Somebody nefarious pilfered some information- it’s unclear as to whether it was even classified- from both Defense Department and contractor-operated networks involving the Joint Strike Fighter project.  Used as a hook upon which to hang dire predictions of foreign penetration of infrastructure-related systems like air traffic control and electric utility power management.  Are the cybergrab advocates using government-network breaches as a pretext for mandating standards for private networks?  You be the judge.


Elsewhere:

Bill text at THOMAS (at this writing, may not incorporate latest revisions)

Credit where due:
I first heard about this from Joanna, who got the word from this article by Steve Aquino in the April 2 Mother Jones.

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 19:46:15 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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Friday, 07 August 2009

Rants

Hold on, maybe we’re wrong about Congressional Airlines...

RollCall had the early report:

Last year, lawmakers excoriated the CEOs of the Big Three automakers for traveling to Washington, D.C., by private jet to attend a hearing about a possible bailout of their companies.

But apparently Congress is not philosophically averse to private air travel:  At the end of July, the House approved nearly $200 million for the Air Force to buy three elite Gulfstream jets for ferrying top government officials and Members of Congress.

The Air Force had asked for one Gulfstream 550 jet (price tag: about $65 million) as part of an ongoing upgrade of its passenger air service.

But the House Appropriations Committee, at its own initiative, added to the 2010 Defense appropriations bill another $132 million for two more airplanes and specified that they be assigned to the D.C.-area units that carry Members of Congress, military brass and top government officials.
So the story is: “Three private jets (two extra): $200 million,” right?

Well, no.  There’s more...

The Wall Street Journal digs further:
Congress plans to spend $550 million[1] to buy eight new jets...

The Pentagon [had originally] sought to buy one Gulfstream V and one business-class equivalent of a Boeing 737 to replace aging planes.  The Defense Department also asked to buy two additional 737s that were being leased.

Lawmakers in the House... added funds to buy a total of three Gulfstream planes and two additional 737s on top of the Pentagon’s request...
In summary:


Pentagon
$
House
$
Gulfstreams
($66m each)
1
$66m
3
$99m
737s
($70m each)
3
$210m
5
$350m

4
$276m
8
$449m[1]

Demonstrating that, despite record deficits and economic crisis, the members of Congress still have their priorities in order:  Protecting their phoney-baloney perks.  To the tune of half-a-billion dollars.
Ellis Brachman, a spokesman for the House Appropriations Committee, said the changes were part of “Congress’s normal oversight responsibility” to make sure “the troops have everything they need,” upon which his nose sprouted to six feet long, and was promptly struck by lightning.
Oh, I added that last bit.


Elsewhere:
-----
[1]  The Journal says “$500 million” in its headline, “$550 million” in the body of the story. Using the Journal’s numbers, I can only account for $450 million (more or less), unless I’ve missed something.  Which still more than doubles yesterday’s number.  And besides, what’s $100 million, anyway!

Posted by: Old Grouch in Rants at 17:06:05 GMT | No Comments | Add Comment
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