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December 23, 2015 07:40 AM UTC

Wednesday Open Thread

  • by: Colorado Pols

“It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data.”

–Arthur Conan Doyle


110 thoughts on “Wednesday Open Thread

      1. I actually do feel a little sorry for him…….but not much.

        He brought this on himself. If Paul Ryan wants to engage in governance by enacting a budget, that's fine. But he can't do through while simultaneously pumping up the nut jobs in his own party. They're calling him on his hypocrisy. He can't pander to the tea baggers while cutting compromises with Nancy Pelosi.

        Then again he is still an improvement over Boner.

  1. Sen Bennet and Ed Perlmutter my representatives voted for republicans Omnibus disaster.  I'm ill and have a sickness only stem cell research can cure. They voted with republican to stop stem cell research in the omnibus. The only hope I have of living. They voted to murder me. They are murderers for the republican party they support.  So under the make my day law do I get to shoot them and republicans……

    1. Just to be clear and consolidate responses to what you posted as Denise:

      The Omnibus bill does not further limit Federal stem cell research, nor does it limit private research in any way. Federal stem cell research was already limited to embryonic stem cell lines previously approved, plus umbilical cord stem cells, plus any other stem cells that don't arise from the birth process in any way.

      Your cure – and I wish you luck in having one found – is not further deterred by anything Bennet or Perlmutter have voted for. Those ships all sailed before either of them were elected.

      1. as the law state, it would limit any further lines and research not in law already… that sounds pretty limiting to me… think about it…… not that this one issue excuses their vote with republicans for the republican omnibus…. no one here will defend what is in the omnibus. Any one issue of CISA, the IRS and Wall St deregulation is enough to not vote for these right wing representatives. Everyone here complains about them who is a democrat and we all know why. A matter of where the line is for you. They crossed it for me. 

        I must say, it is refreshing to argue with democrats that know the law. Such a change from the republicans I'm used to taking on…. thanks guys, you are all wrong of course….. but thanks….

        1. That's already the law and has been for a very long time now. The Federal government only funds research on a very small, early list of approved embryonic stem cell lines. Those lines are very dated and there have been some questions about their usefulness lately.

  2. Dear Senator Bennet,
    You voted for REPUBLICANS omnibus:

    You protected rich billionaires by deregulating the IRS to keep secret their names.

    You voted for the CISA bill that became part of it to destroy our privacy.

    You voted to make republican tax cuts for the rich permanent and unpaid for.

    You voted to give half of the budget to the military for your defense contractors.

    You voted to force cons torture camp Gitmo open

    You voted to prevent minimum wage raises for seasonal workers.

    You prevented audits of corporations that hire foreign workers.

    You voted to prevent wall street disclosure of who they give political contribution to.

    You voted to stop stem cell research. You voted to murder your fellow americans for republicans filthy religious bs.

    You voted to remove our country of food origin labeling so we won't know where our food came from….

    This is just the start of what you just voted for traitor……

    The Congressionaldish details the omnibus bill you just voted for. You have committed treason against America. You are a traitor. I as a progressive will fight your re-election. You should be in jail if not executed for your crimes.

    If you're a dem and don't believe me, listen to this, the law Bennet voted for and supported when he voted with all republicans:


    1. Looks as though we have a couple of new "concern trolls" posting. Everyone here knows I'm no fan of Bennet's,, but I don't think he should be shot for voting for a compromise bill to keep the government open.

        1. I'd say it's one upset mama who knows what is goin on…… why don't you try it….. care to discuss the omnibus Bennet voted for to show us you're wisdom little ones….

                    1. The alternative was to get the hell out of the WTO and give their panel of insider arbritraitors the finger…. daaaaa or do you want the TPP up our backsides next. Do you know who the individuals are that made the ruling…. and you want to change our laws for their fascism…… I don't think so….. Enjoy your shrimp grown in human waste I guess because there is nothing you can do about it right….. sick man…..

                    2. and it was part of the Omnibus to remove COOL…. what the hell do you mean their vote had nothing to do with it……. they didn't remove the oil ban either right cause that was previous policy…. gheesh….

                    3. I don't agree with most of the trade treaties that we've entered in to in a long time.

                      If you think you're going to get Republicans and pro-corporate Democrats to invalidate many decades' worth of treaties, I am sorry to report to you that we have a long way to go and many political faces to change before that happens.

                      Passing laws and running the government is the art of the possible. Idealism is for activists, campaigns and pre-vote wrangling.

                    4. The oil ban wasn't something that was causing a WTO dispute that had been decided against us.

                      The WTO issued its final ruling against COOL happened on Dec 7 – just before the budget agreement was passed. The verdict was for $781m per year payment to Canada, and $228m per year to Mexico.

                    5. The oil ban was next for a WTO dispute. Some believe Obama can by himself with an executive order walk away from the WTO treaty… just like Bush walked away from the ABM treaty… why I support Sanders over Hillary.

                    6. but you are right, we will get nothing done with corporate democrats like Bennet…. So stop voting for him!

                  1. We will get less done by voting for Greens under a plurality voting system, unless the Democrat completely falls apart or the Republicans nominate Dan Maes. First things first – election reform using IRV or, even better, Ranked Choice voting systems.

                    As for the oil ban being next up to the WTO – you mean you think Congress acted in support of a treaty – i.e. the law of the land? Not helping your case there.

                    Finally, on whether or not the President can unilaterally end a treaty: the current state of such a question is largely based on Carter's termination of the Taiwan mutual defense treaty. The Supreme Court says it's up to Congress as a body to object before any challenge can be brought to the President's powers to end a treaty. (The ABS treaty doesn't really count IMHO, because we never signed the MOU transferring the treaty from the USSR to Russia, nor did we sign the START treaty, which Russia's signing of the MOU required prior to accepting the terms…)

                    1. I made the same argument six year ago word for word. I get it… No way he gets my vote… Time to purge and you know why.

      1. Well maybe your life is not on the line when he voted to kill stem cell research and kill me… but go ahead and make excuses for the fascist. So you overlook his votes for the sequester, the cromnibus, the Tpp, keystone, killing the EPA, killing dodd/frank, killing research, protecting tax cuts for the rich, protecting Monsanto, selling us out to oil and gas, selling us out to insurance companies, letting the rich buy him…… the list is really long, shall I go on…… but you go ahead and troll for this right wing republican filth all you want, that's on you. I will vote for the Green Party and throw my vote away instead of supporting a fascists.

        1. So I looked at your link to the congressionaldish /dingleberries site with info on the Omnibus spending bill.

          Your characterization of the Omnibus provisions is not entirely accurate. There is much I don't support

          section 202, p 169, or Section 613 on Federal money for  abortions – but this merely repeats the language of the Hyde amendment. There's nothing new here.).

          I don’t like the prohibitions against Guantanemo prisoners,or the food labelling language. As you say, there’s plenty of red meat for Rs here.

          There is also much I do support (Section 542,Federal government can't prohibit states from implementing medical marijuana laws,

          and can't use Federal funds to interfere with industrial hemp processes , Section 763)

          On the "stem cell research Section 508" provision you're upset about, this appears to be only bogus language to satisfy the pro-life base. It prohibits use of Federal funds to create or destroy or injure a human embryo for research, except as allowed under existing law.

          Correct me if I'm wrong, but this would still allow Planned Parenthood's legal donation of embryos for research, allow researchers to use what's in the "tissue bank", and would have allowed Dr. Ben Carson's brain stem research which used fetal cells.

          On the other hand, Democrats and Republicans  came together in a rare spirit of bipartisanship to craft the Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Reauthorization Act of 2015, which President Obama just signed.  Now, this provides only for the use of umbilical "cord blood" stem cells, which will in fact limit the tissues available for new research projects. But it's a far cry from "stopping stem cell research" to "murder people", as you claimed.

          So cheer up, Denise / caintrader.  The Omnibus bill is a mixed bag. I think Pelosi is a genius – she was able to come up with something that had enough buzzwords in it to satisfy most of the Tea Party base, while actually making very little impact on existing law, and funds the government for another year.

          You should definitely go ahead and vote Green party. I’m tempted to go that way myself, but will probably do the usual, holding my nose and filling in the little arrow next to the D candidate.


          1. This bill will limit and kill stem cell research and where it leads. It is more than cute language. It is playing with my life as a compromise… It may not allow the ignorant brain surgeon to continue his work or expand. We will have to see what cons now try to do in the courts. It limits the science, and Bennet voted for it. To kill me.

            if you listened to the dish and what they did in the omnibus and you think it's ok…. you and I do not have the same kind of values. Sanders, Warren, real democrats, voted against it. I will not be supporting Bennet's fascism. you can, and this is what we will get….

            1. No, sorry. Federal funding for stem cell research is, IIRC, already limited to existing cell lines. It adds nothing new, nor subtracts from what the Federal government can fund in stem cell research. The wording is as mj55 describes: pablum for the pro-life crowd.

              1. Well we all read the same law, let's see how cons want to use it….. It does stop the science and sets limits on it and what can be researched. We just saw the republican use the law to fund adult stem cell research taking the funds from all stem cell research…. That, let's see how the cons will use it thing…

                1. Again – no, it doesn't. You're not entitled to your own facts. There are ZERO new restrictions to private stem cell research in the bill. Further, Congress doesn't implement laws – that's left to the Executive branch, which last time I checked was in favor of broad stem cell research. So in case of ambiguity, the tie goes to the President and his cabinet.

                  1. on private stem cell research…. bwaaaaa haaaaa haaaaaaaa…. do you know where our drugs come from… Please don't tell me big pharma…. do you know what govt funded research does….

          2. So passing the CISA bill, deregulating the IRS, Gitmo, stopping the disclosure of wall st donors, unpaid for tax cuts and military spending…. just all ok I guess in your world. Not in mine. This was just this bill, you are aware of the other votes he has taken…. but let's keep to this one. The great bipartisian stem cell act you think is so great just allowed them to divert the money from all stem cell research to mainly just adult stem cell research…. thanks for that…. we can go back and forth I'm sure, but why would you for Bennet??? Assuming we're on the same side.

            1. I'm not "for" Bennet, in your sense, although I'll probably vote for him instead of any of the R clowns vying to replace him.  The Omnibus provisions you don't like, I don't like. One I didn't mention: Section 117, the prohibition on expanding EPA rules listing the sage grouse as an endangered species. This will remove barriers to more O&G exploration in Colorado.

              However, the little fact-checking I did on your claims leads me to believe you may not be the concerned but sick mama you purport to be.

              Generally, when one posts for the first time here, using two different IDs with the same avatar, and using emotionally loaded language (Bennet must die!!), incorrect spelling and grammar as Duke noted, and on top of that, some of your linked "facts" don't check out, you will have to forgive us if we are a bit skeptical of your intentions. . Plenty of us don't care for Bennet or his votes. Most of us will still reluctantly vote for him.

              If you are not a "concern troll", as I labeled you, my apologies.  If you have a disease which might be cured with stem cell research, my sympathies

              You should still clean up your act if you want any credibility here.

              1. Well excuse me for not kissing your ring. I will fight those like you that make excuses for Bennet's support of fascist republican policy…. Enjoy…. It does make it more difficult to debate with those that agree with me but ignore the problem of Bennet's voting record or are unwilling to do anything about it. Bennet has earned my protests…. and yours too.,You are a coward…. as I was the last time I voted for Bennet holding my nose for the same reasons you give….. I say it has gone too far, where is the line for you, do you have one…..

                1. Denise is channeling Zapp………..

                  Actually, let me modify that. At least Zappatero has something of a sense of humor in his dislike for Michael “Thurston” Bennet.

                    1. Love ya back. I do appreciate your funny, incisive rants about various politicians and issues. You're right much more often  than you're wrong.

                      We'll all do the right thing at crunch time, which will be voting for the Democratic nominee, whomever that is. We need that pushback to keep from falling over the brink into total disaster.

              2. and I changed my email user name to my real name so you could know who I was….. two avatars… geesh…are you kidding me… and my facts check out just fine… we disagree on the threat. At least I turned you onto the congressionaldish if you didn't know about it. and you already know about everything I listed in the Omnibus as any good dem would…. You are just willing to keep supporting bennet because of your justified fear of a republican. Bennet crossed the line for me. I will post all I can to show that.

                1. Two aliases, one picture avatar, same writing style, within minutes of each other, first posting for both.

                  caintrader and denise.

                  I kid you not.

                  congressionaldish is only halfway reliable, as I showed. It oversimplifies many things, and words others deceptively. It's a "spin" site for those too lazy or illiterate to go to the original source.

                  1. yea, and I thought when I changed my email address of caintrader to my name with the sam pic it was pretty obvious what I did… not covering up…. silly nonsense anyway. You call the dish unreliable… I disagree. An excellent source better than CSPAN by far. Just the law, show me their spin, you showed us mine. I also enjoy reading the bills as the dish does and getting insight from others…. I fear you don't like the dish now because you are out to get me cause I call for not supporting Bennet…. I get it…. but you are missing out on a great podcast, your loss.

                  2. So did you read the 2,000 page omnibus mr original source…… got to know what to look for unless you do….. so what is your great source, some of the same as mine I'm sure….. just interested…… since you got my progressive hair up attacking the dish….

                    1. I used the links from the dish to the original omnibus bill, and I read that. Not the whole thing, just the sections I referenced.

                      It's what I do as a journalist and someone who has taught journalism – I never take someone's word for what someone else says. If I can't understand the original source, then I'll ask someone I trust to paraphrase it for me.

                      We probably agree on 90% of issues. I would even vote Green for Senate, if we had a candidate who had a chance against Bennet. But we don't. crying

                      You will find, Denise / caintrader, that calling people names on here , i.e. "icky person", "stupid man", etc, is not going to get anyone to agree with whatever points you are making. It will only piss people off, which makes you more troll-like, and less polster-like.

                      If that's your intent, no one will stop you, but you might get ignored or cussed out a lot.


                    2. Well I guess you will have to yell at me a lot…. It was you who called me troll first, not that I wouldn't have slammed you for your support of Bennet anyways. Can't take the heat I am the fire….. I just can't take another six years of Michael Bennet back stabbing us… It feels good to not have to defend him. You know he sucks on the issues. Nothing will get done with him in office… we must purge our party…. or we will continue to see the slide to the right I know you are aware of. Can't help if you don't like my tone, guess I'm too used to slapping down republicans…. I'll try to be nicer when commenting to my side.  I haven't seen any cons comments here…. don't do us much good to argue with ourselves. We already know what is goin on…. we come to different solutions. It those that don't that I try to comment for. Who's here…..

                    3. Wow…. if icky person and stupid man get your hair up you should see how I treat cons….. that was nice for me…. all in the spirit of debate…. except for republicans, I slice and dice them mercilessly…. I do not take the gentle approach…. I used to, didn't get anywhere…. I put Bennet on my attack list, and I do.

                    4. The cute part is you studied journalism and come from that point of view…. I studied marketing….. guess I lose the honest profession but win the propaganda…… sucks to be me….

            1. Treason is a plot against the government. Neither Perlmutter nor Bennet supported anything like that.

              Let's talk about CISA: it's a crappy bill that couldn't pass on its own, so Republicans rammed it through with the omnibus spending bill. Satisfied?

              1. Pushing policy against the general welfare, and that undermines the constitution is….. wow, a crappy bill is all ya got to say about CISA…. and you make quotes about treason…… look in front of you man……


                1. Suggestion: step back, calm down a bit, then come back and engage in some solid activism.

                  CISA is a horrible bill. As an IT and former IT security professional, I understand quite well the implications that it has – and also some of what a reworded bill could accomplish in a positive light. If you want to gripe about Bennet and his support for CISA, I'd suggest you point instead to his October vote in favor of the bill.

                    1. No, it didn't pass until the Omnibus, but only because it didn't have time to pass the House before then. It would have been law on its own merits had it had the time.

                      What I am suggesting is that you'll gain more support against CISA itself than against the vote on the Omnibus bill. And you can do that by pointing out that Bennet supported CISA in an October roll call (S.754 – 114th Congress)), and Perlmutter supported the similar CISPA in 2013 (H.R. 624 – 113th Congress).

                    2. CISA was only one bad policy of the Omnibus… which just passed…. why I'm talking about Bennet's vote….. 

                    3. You are wrong, Obama in his first veto threat laid out his priorities the get his signature, those were not met. I have not seen any position Obama has take since on CISA beyond that. Please show where Obama says he supported the passed version of CISA. Not to mention cons made CISA even worse in the omnibus since it did not go through regular order. I can't believe you are fighting for Bennet and republican's policy. You are a democrat right?

          3. I don't think that Planned Parenthood does too much with embryonic stem cells. Such cells come from blastocysts – 4-5 days after an egg is fertilized. Private embryonic stem cell lines come from in vitro fertilization – i.e. fertility clinic embryos.

            And FYI, the Stem Cell And Research Act of 2005 contained the limitation on cord blood, so the Reauthorization of 2015 didn't add anything new to that equation, either.

      2. You get his compromised kills me right. Seals off any hope of a cure. Sets back research for another decade to make sure I'm dead before they could even begin medical trials.
        You are one icky person if you think what he did was just another day at the office… lives are on the line….. mine, to start…. thanks for spitting in my face.

        1. Hi Denise,

          I am truly sorry to hear of your plight. I am one of the regular posters here who does not support Senator Bennet and has pleaded with Democrats to find someone to primary him…to no avail, of course. Such is the nature of politics. However, I would ask you to temper your rage on this site…you have vented your anger and frustration…and that is welcomed..but mamajama is arguably one of the most sensitive, understanding and caring posters here…and an inappropriate target for your rhetoric…

          just saying…

          actually…big one…having read more…never mind..fuck off.

          1. I stand for what is right, not to defend someone because they have a D in front of their name… Policy matters. Voting records matter… If you think the omnibus was ok then you disagree with Sanders and the real democrats that voted against it. I give no one a free pass. Your great poster supports Bennet and defends his vote…. Any of the items on the list I posted should have been reason enough to not vote for the omnibus. Why I listed them. You like Bennet fine, vote for him. I won't be. He can not win without all of his base turning out, he will lose. I will do all I can to make sure he does.


            1. I'll be so much happier to have a second Republican representing us in the US Senate – one who will have the advantage of incumbency and 6 years of lawmaking under his belt in 2020 when we next get a chance to change the seat.

              I'm sure "so there" covers a lot of territory when a Republican majority Senate rejects or influences a Democratic President's US Supreme Court choices… And heaven forbid the nation picks Hillary instead of Bernie – what will you do then, if she needs your vote? Sulk in a corner while a generation-long dominance of reactionary conservative thought takes over the Supreme Court?

              1. Hillary will get her appointment through, I don't think she would turn that over to a con majority that they will continue to have. Silly statement. If dems cared so much about keeping the seat they would not have allowed Bennet to go unchallenged. Fine now we get pay the price for democrats trying to shove a right wing republican down our throats…. vote for the traitor if you want too…. what does that make you. What I had to ask myself for the last vote I took and still regret.

                1. She has to get any appointment past the increasingly whacko reactionary right-wingers in the Senate. They can and probably will fail to bring any new Justice to a vote unless they can reach some kind of agreement with the next President. Their ability to filibuster a nomination hinges on how many Democrats of any stripe we have in the Senate in 2017 and beyond.

                  1. And they only need 41 of their most batshit crazy members to filibuster a Dem Supreme Court nominee. 

                    BTW my personal preference would be for Hillary or Bernie to fill her or his first vacancy by nominating Barack Obama……if he'll accept it.

                    1. If he'd accept it, yes. Even if his vacancy was RBG, he would not be the most liberal Justice. But he would likely be one of the most even-handed on the "liberal" side.

                    2. I don''t think cons can block multiple nomination to the court for 8 years. Your fears and only justification for Bennet are not well founded.

                      Obama would be just as bad of a right wing Justice as he is a right wing corporate dem…..

          1. So, Denise, your preference for the next senator from Colorado; since you don't like Bennet; is Tim Neville?   Regards,

            Conservative Head Banger (CHB)  

            (AC/DC Rules !   Feb. 8, 2016 in Denver)

                1. That would be the coupe of 2000… and Gore won…

                  A senator is not the President….. bad comparisons of power. If the presidency didn't have the power it has I wouldn't be supporting Hillary either if she beat Bernie. But it does, she has my vote for the same reasons you say you support Bennet…. 

                  1. What!!!! After all that, you're a Hillary gal?? At least, you'd vote for her if Bernie doesn't win the nomination?

                    OMFG, what kind of an uncompromising progressive take-no-prisoners ninja are you?

                    I am crushed, crushed and disillusioned, I tell ya. Zappatero, where are you? The Pols Purists, the Sanders Stalwarts raise our lonely eyes to you.

                    The new prolific poster has defected to the Pugilistic Pragmatists.

                    Sigh. Only 10 months and 1 week until the election.


                  1. LOL. The last time I saw a thread this long was back in the BJWilson days …

                    … and, that was on the good old Soapbox platform, where one could actually, you know, follow along with h the conversation in the string of comments!  (Hmmmmm . . . I wonder if it's too late to ask Santa for that Soapbox this year?!?)

    2. I really don't care much about the budget vote making the tax credits and breaks permanent, for two reasons:

      1) It was a sham in the first place: those credits have been in the budget for years, and they're renewed every year. They're not a net loss, only a move of a talking point from yearly "decision" to long-term policy.

      2) We got several progressive tax breaks made permanent at the same time – tax breaks that are essential for our most needy and often underpaid/overworked citizens. And not all of the business tax breaks were bad, either – R&D is a solid reason to offer a tax break.

  3. Ted Cruz and Walker Stapleton belong to the same Illiterate Economists club — they are both gold bugs:

    Today, gold standard adherents consist mainly of cranks, crackpots and devotees of the Austrian school of economics. And the years since the financial crisis have devastated the intellectual underpinnings of the Austrian school. Austrian goldbugs began warning in 2009 that hyperinflation was just around the corner, because based on the Austrian money model, it should have been. But hyperinflation never happened.

    The linked article focuses on why Establishment Republicans had better beware of putting their support behind Cruz as a "safer" alternative to Trump.

    "In the late 19th century, the Gilded Age robber barons and big bankers thought the gold standard very modern," University of Texas at Austin economist James Galbraith told The Huffington Post in an email. "I congratulate Senator Cruz; his economics is perfectly in line with his worldview."

    But then again, they don't have a lot of good options with any of the current bunch of contenders.

  4. Time for a bit of a background on CISA, from someone who still dabbles in IT security and is currently active in e-mail fraud prevention and detection as a programmer…

    CISA doesn't come out of a vacuum. In fact, it comes out of Homeland Security directives and initiatives among the financial community and others to identify threats to our nation's infrastructure, which now depends heavily on computer and network technology. Several technical standards have arisen from these directives and initiatives; the two most talked about in financial circles these days are STIX and TAXII. These two standards, in conjunction with a few others on which they build, allow institutions to share recognizable threat signatures – i.e. they can build automatic engines that act like specialized anti-virus and internet security filters to protect not only themselves, but any subscribing player in their network.

    There are two problems to this new ability to automate and share threat detection.

    The first is that private data may inadvertently be incorporated in to the threat signatures or example messages, despite the best efforts of the corporations submitting the signature.

    The second is that the data is still private. Institutions may band together to form tight-knit groups that share data only among themselves, and only for a price or some limiting qualification.

    CISA attempts to address both of these problems as well as the cross-section of the two. It requires the government to set up several systems to track reported threats, and then it gives companies immunity to liability for sharing personal data when such data is leaked via the threat reporting model, encouraging them to share without fear of being sued. This latter bit is where the problem arises in the current implementation of the law. It allows the government to go after privately identified individuals in certain cases using this data – even if it's inadvertently released to them. And because the NSA is consultant to pretty much every cyber security issue that government agencies undertake, there is a (well-founded) fear that this information would be combed through for uses for which it was not intended.

    CISA has broad support from industry, including from a number of tech companies who have been advocates for data privacy in the past, because it allows those companies to do something even broader, which is to protect the Internet and their systems which are their lifeblood. It has support from the government, because even if they don't misuse it, they'll get something valuable from the sharing: a better understanding of our nation's cyber threat map, given in near real time – good for prevention, statistics, and prosecution.

    The problem of privacy, however, needs to be addressed in order to make CISA a good law for US residents. Hopefully in the near future we'll see something from privacy advocates like Senators Al Franken and Rand Paul, and Representatives Justin Amash and Jared Polis, to modify the bill before it gets too far in to implementation.

    The time is now to fix the law, but for those fearing immediate spying, you can probably rest easy – these technologies are still in development, and it will be a while before the government actually gets to see this data.

    1. So is the intent of this to curtail say, Daesh recruiting of vulnerable Western teens by giving companies immunity from privacy lawsuits? Or to curtail Chinese hacking or South Koreans getting busy with Hollywood payrolls?

      I'm kind of ambivalent about this. I would like to see more wide-ranging intelligence collection to limit terrorist recruitment, AND stronger privacy safeguards and transparency. As someone who was spied on as a young anti-Vietnam war activist, and who probably has a modern file, I'd really like to have some input into what records my government is keeping on me.

      I'm trying to understand this. I remember when we were all up in arms against Obama, telling him to get FISA right! Not much has changed since then.

      Edward Snowden was quoted in this article:

       Edward Snowden wrote of the CISA "It's not going to stop any attacks. It's not going to make us any safer. It's a surveillance bill. What it allows is for the companies you interact with every day — visibly, like Facebook, or invisibly, like AT&T — to indiscriminately share private records about your interactions and activities with the government."

      So the fight now is on how much to share between government and private businesses, and how much to  allow citizens to access what is collected?

      Thanks for the info, as usual, Phoenix.


      1. More the latter, at least in intent. By sharing threat data, new threats (hacking, phishing, malware, spam) are more rapidly stopped at a larger number of sites. Risks to our financial, health, and energy infrastructure (among others) can be tracked and possibly mitigated more broadly and swiftly.

        Snowden is, in this instance, wrong in my not so humble but professionally informed opinion. This could very well prevent and/or reveal some very large attacks and attack vectors to critical parts of our economy. The reason is because there are very real and useful systems in use and under development to detect and report real threats, and those systems rely on accuracy in sharing. The corporate technology, at least, isn't interested in "report everything", even if our spying friends in the government want it all – still.

        But he's not wrong in that it does grant Facebook and Google and the like the opportunity to be evil and send every little (poorly) automatically detected "threat" to a person or site to the government while gaining immunity for tattling. And the government can then build a file – a potentially bigger, more detailed, and slightly more accurate file even than when they were collecting phone metadata and over-broad Stingray logs.

        1. I don't agree that Snowden is wrong.  The ability to share threat information already exists.  The DHS so indicated in their response to Al Franken's inquiry around the time CISA was being considered (link to the response in the article linked).  The reality is that DHS already had specific authority to act as a conduit to share threat information (using the STIX and TAXII formats you mentioned earlier) and was moving toward a broad-based and automated system for doing so.

          The primary privacy concern was the inclusion of some small amounts of private user data during that process.  DHS enters into non-disclosure agreements with companies who share with their cybersecurity group, but stuff moves around in the government and occasionally things leak out.  The law required to fix that (although I doubt any law is actually required to fix that) would be a few lines long and absolve companies of liability for the tiny pieces of data so shared.

          What CISA has done is go vastly beyond that.  First, it takes a program in a civilian agency, who was required to ensure privacy, and makes all information available to any agency in the government.  Next, it removes any ability tor DHS to effectively anonymize the data by requiring that sharing to be in real-time and without modification.  In other words, the NSA, FBI, DEA, DoD, DoJ, etc. will be able to receive, without review or anonymization, any information (including personal communications, of course) that relates to a cyber threat (which, is of course rendered meaningless by its definition in the law).  Oh, and they can use that to prosecute crimes not related to the cyber threat the prompted the information's release.

          It's really just another way to ensure that military (which the NSA is) and law enforcement agencies continue to have access to a large swath of otherwise private information under the guise of responding to cyber security threats that they already have authority under multiple laws to respond to.

          1. Oops, my bad.  I was working off CISA as it existed in the Senate.  The omnibus version is a bit worse,

            The latest version of the bill appended to the omnibus legislation seems to exacerbate that problem. It creates the ability for the president to set up “portals” for agencies like the FBI and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, so that companies hand information directly to law enforcement and intelligence agencies instead of to the Department of Homeland Security. And it also changes when information shared for cybersecurity reasons can be used for law enforcement investigations. The earlier bill had only allowed that backchannel use of the data for law enforcement in cases of “imminent threats,” while the new bill requires just a “specific threat,” potentially allowing the search of the data for any specific terms regardless of timeliness.

          2. I don't have anything against real-time sharing among agencies who are normally authorized to work within our country, nor the liability protections required to fix it – and I do believe they're necessary for corporate sanity if not reality. Nothing in this bill mandates new data collection, it just gives corporations the touchy-feely safety of liability protection for doing so, and I do think that increases actual safety in some sectors that are in great need of some security enhancement.

            Three problems with the bill IMHO:

            1) the government being able to use the data beyond its intended purpose, and being able to use PII even if it's by accident. Yeay, trading real liberty for imagined security.

            2) the automated sharing of data with DoD, NSA, CIA, etc. who shouldn't be operating on our shores. It's been a while since we've really had this fight, and it's time we had it again.

            3) the implicit permission for any site to poke into conversations that people might not reasonably expect to be available to anyone other than the intended recipients. This last is a huge ongoing problem in our country; it's not limited to CISA and we should not take it for granted that such spying by our government on the people isn't already happening. We are in desperate need of a personal privacy law that gives each of us broad rights to private communication, not only from government intrusion, but also from private intrusion – especially private intrusion which is then sent on to the government without a court order to the end user.


            1. I don't think it increases safety, I think it increases complacency.  As Brian Krebs notes (discussing a letter written by a couple dozen researchers in the space):

              Rather than encouraging companies to increase their own cybersecurity standards, the professors wrote, “CISA ignores that goal and offloads responsibility to a generalized public-private secret information sharing network.”

              “CISA creates new law in the wrong places,” the letter concluded. “For example, as the attached letter indicates, security threat information sharing is already quite robust. Instead, what are most needed are more robust and meaningful private efforts to prevent intrusions into networks and leaks out of them, and CISA does nothing to move us in that direction.”

            2. Hey PR, 

              build automatic engines that act like specialized anti-virus and internet security filters to protect not only themselves, but any subscribing player in their network. 

              could these engines be referred to as daemons..?

              I read a sci fi book about them…scary stuff.

              1. Did you read Daemon, by Daniel Suarez?

                There's nothing inherently scary about daemons.  They're just programs that run in the background on computers, performing some task.  You have them on your computer right now!  Mwahahaha!

                The term comes from Maxwell's demon, an imaginary character managing the movement of gas molecules in a system.

                You might enjoy the Ghost Targets series by Aaron Pogue.  It's about a future society in which we've abandoned privacy and everything we do and are is recorded.  The protagonist works with an FBI team whose job it is to investigate people who've evaded the databases and used their anonymity to commit crimes.

                1. Yes…I am referring to that novel..

                  I was fascinated with the possibilities, though I have no idea how far fetched was Mr. Suarez' book..

                  It was thought provoking….

      2. As someone who was spied on as a young anti-Vietnam war activist, and who probably has a modern file, I'd really like to have some input into what records my government is keeping on me.  

        I am quite sure that you and I are not the only users of this site who share this circumstance. I don't know much, but I know this….

        When you are part of an organization ( the Federal govt. ) that can print its own money, is there really anything that can ultimately stop you?

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