Tag Archives | Congress

Bill Aimed At Shutting Off NSA’s Water Starts Moving Forward Again

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Serge (CC BY-ND 2.0)

via Tech Dirt:

The attempt to nerf the NSA’s new data center in Utah continues. As we covered here at the beginning of this year, legislators and activists began pushing a bill that would cut off the NSA’s water supply if it continued to gather data on American citizens. It’s an interesting move, one that leverages the states’ abilities to combat overreaching federal laws, but one that has gone nowhere so far. The bill was discussed and then tabled indefinitely, supposedly for “further study.”

Apparently, some sort of studying has gone on during the intervening months, because it appears the bill is moving forward again.

On Wednesday, the Public Utilities and Technology Interim Committee discussed the bill that “prohibits cooperation between a federal agency that collects electronic data and any political subdivisions of the state.”

The Salt Lake Tribune has more details.

Committee members expressed some concerns with the bill but no outright opposition.

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Republican Engineers Call Ted Cruz Out For Ignorance

Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Gage Skidmore (CC BY-SA 2.0)

via Tech Dirt:

Last week, we mentioned Senator Ted Cruz’s nutty tweet comparing net neutrality to “Obamacare.” It was widely mocked — even by many Republicans — as it showed Cruz’s ignorance of the subject at hand. In fact, one report detailed a number of comments on Ted Cruz’s Facebook page from Republican/conservative engineers disagreeing with Cruz and pointing out that he’s uninformed about net neutrality.

There’s a lot more like that, but it highlights what we’ve seen before — that while Congress likes to pretend that Republicans are against net neutrality while Democrats are for it, the reality is that net neutrality is a non-partisan issue with voters of both parties overwhelmingly supporting net neutrality.

Rather than recognize this fact, Cruz has decided to double down on it with a rambling and misguided opinion piece in the Washington Post that repeats the “Obamacare for the internet” line, and lumps in a variety of other tech issues in a confusing (and often self-contradictory) jumble.

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Congress Wants To Push Dangerous Cybersecurity Bill After The Election, Says US Economy Depends On It

Free Press (CC by-nc-sa 2.0)

Free Press (CC by-nc-sa 2.0)

via Tech Dirt:

Reports are coming out that Congress is looking to push forward with bad cybersecurity legislation after the election, but before the new Congress takes over in January. We’ve discussed the bill in question, CISA, before. The main idea behind it is to immunize companies from liability if they share certain information with the government. Supporters of the bill note that the information sharing is entirely voluntary, but by taking away the liability it also makes it a lot more likely that companies will choose to give information to the government, and it’s not yet clear why the government really needs that information. But the FUD levels are high, with Senator Saxby Chambliss actually suggesting the entire economy is at stake here:

“If we wait another year, we are really risking the economy of the United States.”

Oh, come on. People have been saying this for years — along with the whole “cyber pearl harbor” claims — but have failed to present any explanation or details of how (1) there’s a real risk to the economy or (2) how current laws block necessary solutions.

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Is Congress Really Being Proactive in Regards to Ferguson?

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Fingers crossed that this is implemented.

Senator Claire McCaskill is calling for body cams for all police departments that receive federal funding.

via Policy.Mic:

The news: After weeks of clashes between protesters and heavily armed riot police in Ferguson, Mo., following the police killing of unarmed black teenager Mike Brown, one senator has a simple solution to help prevent future law enforcement excesses: mandatory body cameras for all uniformed officers whose departments receive federal funding.

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told the Springfield News-Leader that such a program requirement would constitute a “great legacy” stemming from Brown’s death. She condemned the heavy-handed police crackdown on protesters, particularly officers who threatened reporters, and said that the body cams would protect police officers following legal guidelines for use of force, while reassuring community members that their rights would be respected.

Currently, video evidence usually only covers the tail end of a police incident, McCaskill told the News-Leader: “It gives the impression the police officer has overreacted when they haven’t.

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Captain America on Immigration

I think this is a perfect summation of America’s dysfunctional immigration system.

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Taken from Captain Vol 7 14 (credit to Imgur user Snowchill).

via Policy.Mic:

Why Cap’s words matter now: Congress will leave soon for its August recess, potentially leaving the crisis on the border with Mexico completely unresolved. With just hours left until the legislative branch leaves town until Sept. 7, the president’s requested $3.7 billion in emergency funding to deal with the crisis of unaccompanied child refugees fleeing to the U.S. from Central America has not been assigned. Obama’s legislation is quite likely dead in the water.

A competing House GOP-sponsored bill which funds spending through September may have a rocky road in the Senate. The Republican version has provisions designed to appeal to the anti-immigration crowd, like eliminating hearings for child migrants in order to speed their deportation. While Democrats consider those provisions a poison pill, it is still possible that most conservative opponents of immigration reform will decide the bill doesn’t go far enough.

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Are War Criminals Great Painters? | Think Tank

Abby Martin covers what Dick Cheney has been up to since leaving office and features an interview with comedian and host of the Moment of Clarity web series, Lee Camp, discussing a few of the more ridiculous stories in the news, including Bush’s exhibit of paintings, low wages for congressmen and the universities teaching students how to lobby congress.

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Republicans Hope to Force Obama to Crack Down on States With Legalized Cannabis

Pic: Rep. Trey Gowdy and his impossibly Yeti-like hair-cone, both sponsors of the Enforce the Law bill. (PD)

Pic: Rep. Trey Gowdy and his impossibly Yeti-like hair-cone, both sponsors of the Enforce the Law bill. (PD)

The majority of Americans support cannabis legalization, but why worry what the people want, right? Enter the “Enforce the Law” Act. These three douchebags, along with Rand Paul (R-KY) , consider both Obama’s decision not to go after states with legalized cannabis, and the Justice Department stating that it will stop prosecuting low-level drug offenders under harsh mandatory minimum sentencing laws, to be infringements on congressional authority.

Via Raw Story:

Legislation approved by House Republicans would seek to force President Barack Obama to crack down on marijuana in states that have made the drug legal for medical or recreational use.

The House passed the Enforce the Law Act by a vote of 233-181 on Wednesday. The bill was introduced by Reps. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Bob Goodlatte (R-VA), Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jim Gerlach (R-PA) to allow Congress to sue the president for failing to faithfully execute laws.

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Otis Pike, First Congressman to Battle NSA, Dies Unnoticed

Screen Shot 2014-02-06 at 12.55.10 PMAt possibly the most poignant time in the last 30 years,  the man who valiantly did battle with the US intelligence octopus in the 1970s, Otis Pike,  has died.  All liberty-minded Americans should be celebrating his character and accomplishments, but there is a pervasive and undeserved lull.   Mark Ames of Pando.com writes:

Pike asked questions never asked or answered since the start of the Cold War: What was America’s intelligence budget? What was the purpose of the CIA, NSA and other intelligence agencies and programs? Were they succeeding by their own standards? Were taxpayers getting their money’s worth? Were they making America safer?…The problem was that Pike asked the right questions—and that led him to some very wrong answers, as far as the powers that be were concerned.

…Today, there’s an underlying assumption that exposing dark government secrets is somehow transformative in itself, even without a wider politics to frame it.

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A Majority Of Congress Members Are Now Millionaires

contractsAre we on our way to a point at which being a millionaire will become virtually a prerequisite for pursuing any important political position? Via CNN:

For the first time ever, more than half of current members of Congress are millionaires, according to a new report from the non-profit Center for Responsive Politics.

Among the 534 current members of Congress, at least 268 had an average net worth of $1 million or more for 2012, the CRP said, citing disclosure forms filed last year.

CRP executive director Sheila Krumholz said the data reflect the reality that “in our electoral system, candidates need access to wealth to run financially viable campaigns, and the most successful fundraisers are politicians who swim in those circles to begin with.”

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