by Randall Smith | 8:43 pm, April 10, 2013
I have a feeling that there are people at the Heritage Foundation
who don’t really understand technology.
However, there is room for sensible government action that encourages
the private sector to take more responsibility for its
cybersecurity. For example, Congress should encourage the development
of a cybersecurity liability and insurance system that would hold
companies responsible when cyber failures in their products or
services lead to costs on others. This would encourage companies to
invest more in security.
What about Free/Libre and Open Source Software? Software like
Linux, the Apache web server and the Firefox web browser are developed
by volunteers. Which of the thousands of developers do you sue if a
vulnerability in Linux causes a breach? What if a library, developed
by a single person, has a vulnerability that is exploited? Are you
going to bankrupt him because if it?
This is a common fallacy made by people with a corporate view of
the world. There is useful software being developed by individuals all
over the world outside of the corporate space. From a security
perspective, open source software provides a level of assurance that
closed source software can’t match because the code is open for
inspection. You can read the code for yourself to ensure that there
are no back doors and compile from the audited code to ensure that
nothing slips in.
For example, the Chinese company Huawei has be selling dirt cheap
Internet routers in the US. According to a report published by the
House of Representatives, the routers are
under the control of the Chinese governemnt. I have a co-worker
who used to work for Level 3 Communications. They verified that as
soon as the routers were plugged in, they started to phone home to
Because these devices are “black boxes”, there’s no way to know
what they’re doing. With open source software, that’s not a
problem. This proposal would put a damper on the greatest source of
Maiffret also mentioned the need for improved cooperation among
private-sector actors. Currently, companies are afraid to share
cybersecurity information for fear of losing privileged information,
being sued, or even being prosecuted.
Do you think that will change once the government starts making
those companies financially liable for security breaches? Of course
not. They’ll be even tighter lipped than they are now.
Congress should amend particular
outdated laws, provide key sharing protections, and outline ways the
private sector can act in its own self-defense. Cooperation shouldn’t
be limited to just passive defense; companies need to be enabled to
partner with the government agencies such as the FBI to actively fight
Yippee! Let’s let companies and the FBI begin automated assaults on
suspected hackers. I’m sure there won’t be an problems when they take
out Granny’s Internet provider because she got a virus. And how long
do you think it will be before some MPAA or RIAA exec decides that
anyone pirating a movie or music is a hacker and will launch a cyber
attack to collect information to use in a lawsuit.
I agree that developers should be more security-minded in their
development processes but giving corporations and the FBI free rein to
launch counter attacks is downright scary. The real question is: How
much of our critical infrastructure should be connected to the
Internet. The answer is: A lot less than is connected, currently and,
perhaps, none of it.
All in all, organizations should be doing more to ensure that their
systems are secure. These proposals are not going to get us there.
by Randall Smith | 9:21 pm, April 9, 2013
There’s a bill working it’s way through the General Assembly that
would give Firefighters the “right” to negotiate on safety
regulations. Government unions are always problematic but it’s not
the contents of the bill the interest me, it’s the process.
The most vocal proponents and opponents of the bill came from Colorado
Springs, where voters have twice defeated ballot measures to give
collective bargaining to the city’s firefighters.
Did you catch that? Voters in Colorado Springs have voted down
similar proposals twice. So, rather than get defeated a third time,
supports decided to push the bill at the state level. If it were to
pass there, it would be contrary to the stated wishes of the citizens
of Colorado Springs.
We’re seeing exactly the same tactics used at the national
level. Controversial topics like gun control or abortion are being
taken to Congress bypassing the will of the people in various states.
The recent gun control debates are a perfect example. States like
Connecticut, California and New York are actively hostile to gun
rights while states like Texas, Wyoming and Montana embrace them with
open arms. Should the stated wishes of Texas voters be shoved aside
because Congressmen from other states want to remove citizens’ gun
rights? Of course not. Yet, that’s exactly what we’ve been seeing.
It doesn’t matter what the policy is whether it’s guns, abortion,
civil unions or whatever. What we’re seeing, especially from Democrats
but Republicans are not exempt, is a push to use the Federal
government to override the will of voters in their home states.
is exactly why we have a Federalist system. Nearly all domestic policy
decisions are supposed to happen at the state level. That way, the
will of Californians don’t override the will of Texans or vis
versa. Texas can do their own thing while New York does theirs.
I, as a citizen of Colorado, shouldn’t have to care that
Californians want to eliminate gun rights. Unfortunately, I have to
because they keep trying to ignore the will of citizens of other
states by pushing their agenda through Congress.
Colorado also played host to another tactic. Tyrants opposed to gun
rights from New York and elsewhere pushed hard to get Colorado to
adopt their extreme and tyrannical gun laws. The idea was to use
Colorado as an example to then pressure politicians in other states
and Congress to do the same thing. “If Colorado can do it, so can
you,” is the cry we’ve been hearing over and over again since the
bills passed and we’ll here it even more over the next few weeks.
These tactics mean that your rights are never safe. No matter how
much your state or your community values liberty, those that don’t
will try to use a higher level over of government to take them from
you. Next stop, the United Nations.
by Randall Smith | 7:30 pm, April 9, 2013
Senators John Morse and Gail Schwartz are pushing a bill that would
increase the amount of energy that rural electric co-ops have to
generate from renewable sources from 10 to 25 percent. It’s no
surprise in Schwartz’s case. She’s long been a pr…
by Randall Smith | 3:19 pm, April 7, 2013
It looks like President Obama is firing the
first salvo in the battle to seize the savings of Americans. Their
first target? Retirement accounts. The plan, as it’s starting to come
out, would limit the amount that individuals can keep in these
Under the plan, a taxpayer’s tax-preferred retirement account, like an
IRA, could not finance more than $205,000 per year of retirement – or
right around $3 million this year.
Yup. The government is going to decide how much a person
needs for retirement.
The proposal would save around $9 billion over a decade, a senior
administration official said, while also bringing more fairness to the
Did you catch the double speak? Confiscating more of your money is
now considered government “savings”. The money Obama wants to
confiscate is the deferred taxes that are granted to those who invest
in these types of accounts. IRAs and 401(k)s encourage long term
savings by deferring the taxes on money placed in those accounts until
it’s withdrawn much later. In fact, there are heavy penalties if a
person withdraws that money before they’ve reached “retirement
age”. Those taxes are not lost.
As an aside, I’d like to note that money in these accounts is not
sitting idle. It’s invested in companies, helping them to grow and
employ more people. Apparently, Obama wants to discourage such
investments in our economy.
Now, let’s take a look at the other half of that last quote. Again,
that magic word “fairness” shows up and once again, it proves that it
does not mean what progressives think it means.
Let’s consider fairness in sports. The NCAA basketball tournament
has been played out over the week or so. Sixty-four teams enter the
tournament and compete until one emerges as the champion. Every team
competes under the same rules. It would not be fair for one team to
have the standard ten foot hoop while the other must use a 20 foot
hoop. Nor would it be fair for one team to be allowed 12 players while
the other is limited to four.
To apply the logic from the Obama proposal to the basketball court,
it would be as if baskets made after a team was more than ten points
ahead or had more than 40 points would only count one point no matter
where on the court the shot was taken.
Let’s come back to the first point about how much a person
needs. Progressives love to define need. No matter the topic, when
they start drawing a line of need, it means that they will soon start
outlawing possession above that line.
Look at the recent gun debates in Colorado and elsewhere. They
declared that a person doesn’t need magazines that hold more than ten
rounds and then started to ban them. They declared that people didn’t
need rifles with certain features like pistol grips and then started
to ban them.
Now look what they’re doing with retirement accounts. They are
declaring that people don’t need more than $205,000 per year. The next
step is obvious. They will begin to confiscate any money stored in
these accounts above this magic number. The recent actions by Cyprus
to seize the money in Cypriots’ bank accounts proves that that will be
the next step.
Americans have two choices to prevent this (short of
revaluation). First, they can vote the looters out of office before
such confiscation can take place. Second, the can pull their money out
of their retirement accounts and stuff it under a mattress in the form
of cash or something of actual value like gold.
Illinois is already taking steps in case people make the second
are starting a statewide precious metal registry. As we’ve seen in
the history of guns, registration leads to confiscation. It’s already
happened in American history. When private gold ownership was
outlawed, the banks were closed while Federal agents raided safe
deposit boxes to seize any gold stored within.
Despite the clear evidence to the contrary, President Obama has the
gall to claim that citizens don’t need guns to defend themselves from
by Randall Smith | 9:52 pm, March 26, 2013
Rep. Steve Pearce has made
the suggestion and, frankly, it’s not a bad idea. As the article
states, there are certainly challenges that must be overcome but it’s
worth looking in to. There are certain benefits which the article
points out but t…
by Randall Smith | 8:02 pm, March 15, 2013
It’s a simple blueprint.
Require that all sales of a certain product must be approved by the government through a “licensed dealer.”
Require that the cost to the seller is lower than the cost to the dealer.
Prevent the dealer from passing that ex…
by Randall Smith | 9:50 pm, March 5, 2013
Colorado Senator Evie Hudak is catching a lot of flack for dismissing Amanda Collins’ testimony out of hand. Collins, you see, testified that she was raped in a “gun-free zone” and that, had she been allowed to carry her gun, she would have been able to prevent the attack. Hudak’s reply was rather heartless.
I just want to say that actually statistics are not on your side.
For every one woman who used a handgun in self defense, 83 were murdered…. You said that you were a martial arts student and yet because this individual was so large he was able to overcome you even with your skills. And chances are that if you had had a gun then he would have been able to get that from you and possibly use it against you.
God made men, it has been said, but Sam Colt made them equal. Guns are the great equalizer. Women are at a disadvantage when in a physical confrontation with men. Men are, generally, bigger and stronger. Even women who have been train in hand-to-hand combat, as Collins was, cannot always overcome it. However, a women, no matter how small, can fire a gun and stop an attacker. Eileen goes into this more at People’s Press Collective.
Hudak tacitly admitted one truth that women face when dealing with ill-intentioned men. They are just bigger and stronger than we are. Guns level the playing field and give a victim a real chance. But Evie doesn’t see it that way. To follow her line of thought, because men already have the advantage of speed and brute strength, we should just cede dominance and not do anything that might antagonize them further.
In this formulation, rape is an unalterable reality for women and our options for avoiding it are limited to pleading with an attacker, vomiting on demand, and offering passive resistance. I don’t even know what this last one means. Am I to make it abundantly clear that I’m not enjoying being raped? What sort of victory do I score by declining to ‘get into it’?
Hudak also went in for perverse circular reasoning: because women are already at a real disadvantage against a man who wants to hurt them, it’s proper to accept that as both the norm and the good and to preserve it.
A lot more digital ink is being spilled about this around the Internet and I’d be content to leave it at that but there was a related tweet that caught my eye.
Testifying about my rape was not the worst part yesterday. Watching dems vote against me was. I thought they were pro victim #coleg
— Not Kim (@notkimco) March 5, 2013
You are absolutely right, Not Kim. Democrats are “pro victim” but not in the way you’re thinking. You see, Democrats are in favor of victims. The entire Democrat progressive/socialist agenda is based on there being lots and lots of victims. The Poor are victims of The Rich therefore wealth must be confiscated from The Rich. Minorities are victims of Whites therefore affirmative action programs and reparations are needed. Women are victims of Men therefore we must have publicly-funded abortions and more affirmative action programs. There’s more, of course, but you get the point. To the extent that their programs depend on the existence of victims, Democrats are pro victim.
In the context of this discussion, Democrats would rather see women raped and children murdered than to see freemen using guns to defend themselves and others. An armed citizenry does not lend itself to being ruled by tyrants and Democratic policies are tyrannical. It is in their best interest to build up the victims of mass shootings in order to ban guns while completely ignoring the vast numbers of people killed in gang violence or, in Collins’ and Not Kim’s cases, rape.
In short, Democrats care nothing for helping their victims or preventing their victimhood. They want to keep as many people as victims as possible to further their agenda. After all, victims don’t need government saviors to help them.
by Randall Smith | 7:06 pm, February 26, 2013
Once again, the Denver Post shows its true colors with an “article” which argues for universal gun registration. It’s all in the name of having data to work with. “If only lawmakers knew how many people had guns,” they argue, “they could make smarter d…
by Randall Smith | 11:24 pm, February 18, 2013
Democrat Senator Mike Johnston has rolled out a new school finance plan. You can read the full plan on Johnston’s website. As you might guess from a Democrat funding bill, it’s big on tax hikes.
The 144 page plan lays out a plan to change the funding…
by Randall Smith | 7:59 pm, February 18, 2013
We all know that not all college degrees are created equal. The idea that someone who graduates with a degree in 17th century French literature is surprised that they can’t get a high paying job (or any job at all) has been a running gag for a while. S…keep looking »
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