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commentary on Politics and a little bit of everything else

To Kill the Kill Switch or Not?……Should the Government be able to shut down the US internet?

This Discussion from Defense Tech’s Kevin Coleman — Defense Tech Cyber Warfare Correspondent on the issue of a internet ‘Kill Switch’ for the US…..

We need to cut through all the clutter surrounding this issue. The proposed legislation of Sens. Susan Collins (R – ME.) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) actually restricts these so called “kill switch” powers and subjects the action to congressional review. The fundamental question is; does the President need to have emergency powers over the Internet during times of crisis and, if so, what are those powers?

Given our nation’s growing reliance on the Internet and its importance on our daily lives for everything from financial transactions to coordinating social activities, we do need the ability to protect this significant piece of our infrastructure from attacks/disruption resulting from hostile actions. Do we need a “Kill Switch”? — NO! The President already has the authority to invoke what is being referred to as a “Kill Switch” and I am having a hard time modeling an attack that would require such action. Who looked at this technically? What is the impact on SCADA systems,  if they experience a successful cyber attack, are the programmed to fail safely?

More….
What’s your thoughts?……
This from Politicaldog101.com….
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February 8, 2011 Posted by | Blogs, Computers, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Politics, Updates | , , , , | Leave a comment

President Barack Obama signs ‘don’t ask’ repeal

 

President Barack Obama gives a 'thumbs-up' sign after signing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of 2010. | AP Photo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

President Barack Obama on Wednesday signed legislation ending the 17-year ban on gays in the military, declaring that sexual orientation can no longer determine who is allowed to serve in uniform.

“For we are not a nation that says, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ ” Obama told 500 guests at a packed signing ceremony at the Interior Department. “We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.’ ”

 

As they applauded his arrival, Obama told them he was “overwhelmed” and that it was a “very good day.”

He thanked Democrats and the few Republicans who worked on the legislation ending the military’s prohibition on gays serving openly. But he saved his warmest praise for the leaders of the Pentagon and the troops themselves.

“History will remember well the courage and vision of Secretary Gates, of Adm. Mike Mullen, who spoke from the heart and said what he believed was right,” he said.

The policy will stay in effect until Obama and military leaders determine when the ranks are ready to do away with it, he said. But the president — who pledged during the 2010 midterm campaign that the policy would be dismantled “on my watch” — promised swift action.

“We are not going to be dragging our feet to get this done,” he said, even predicting that years from now, people will wonder “why was there ever a source of controversy in the first place.”

More….

 

December 22, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Government, Law, Media, Men, Military, Politics, Updates, Women | , , , , | Leave a comment

Obama will try to ‘Jawbone’ BP into setting aside $$$….

President Barack Obama, pictured this weekend, will meet BOP execs on Wednesday, one day after deliveringa primetime speech.

Am I surprised?

Nope…..

The President is gonna try to put more pressure on BP to set aside money in an address to the nation ……

This is 20% operational…….80% politcal….

While the Dog agree’s a ‘set-aside’ would be a good idea…..

The fact is Obama’s moves are principally to assuage the media……

Because Obama is slow to anger….

And generally seeks to deal with issues rationally ….

He is under attack from the media….

The media and others are seeking revenge for the accident….

BP like the president has hunkered down and gone about its business…

That simply isn’t good enough, egh?


I watched  the MSNBC special of the Oil Spill today…

What struck me was the laid back way everything was…

The response was principally to save large amounts of bird wildlife….

But the think was not hurried just resigned….

No dramatic music…

Just people out there doing their jobs…..


The media needs to show more of this

And stop beating up the President and BP…


We need to see more of what can be done to deal with the problem….

The political ‘dog and pony’ show will surly come later……

As will the fines…….

June 13, 2010 Posted by | Animals, Blogs, Boats, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Ecology, Government, Health, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates, Weather | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Obama will try to 'Jawbone' BP into setting aside $$$….

President Barack Obama, pictured this weekend, will meet BOP execs on Wednesday, one day after deliveringa primetime speech.

Am I surprised?

Nope…..

The President is gonna try to put more pressure on BP to set aside money in an address to the nation ……

This is 20% operational…….80% politcal….

While the Dog agree’s a ‘set-aside’ would be a good idea…..

The fact is Obama’s moves are principally to assuage the media……

Because Obama is slow to anger….

And generally seeks to deal with issues rationally ….

He is under attack from the media….

The media and others are seeking revenge for the accident….

BP like the president has hunkered down and gone about its business…

That simply isn’t good enough, egh?


I watched  the MSNBC special of the Oil Spill today…

What struck me was the laid back way everything was…

The response was principally to save large amounts of bird wildlife….

But the think was not hurried just resigned….

No dramatic music…

Just people out there doing their jobs…..


The media needs to show more of this

And stop beating up the President and BP…


We need to see more of what can be done to deal with the problem….

The political ‘dog and pony’ show will surly come later……

As will the fines…….

June 13, 2010 Posted by | Animals, Blogs, Boats, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Ecology, Government, Health, Media, Men, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Travel, Updates, Weather | , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Defense Secretary Gates asks for cuts…..Congress throws back some idea’s he won’t like…..

How about redeploying hundreds of thousands of troops back home?

How about killing the F-35 Fighter Program?

How about decommissioning 100 Ships?

How about getting rid of 1,000 more nukes?

How about cutting the countries expensive missile defense system back?

Damn…..

Maybe the can even take the Marine One helicopter they ALREADY have and not get new ones?


Reality Check….

Come back in 5 years…

I’ll wager you none…none of things they mention cutting ….

Are cut…..

(Gates is right on the basic premise…But Congress simply isn’t gonna do this even  if the suggestions here ARE from Congress  )

I liked Gates….

But It’s time for him to go….

He and Congress are on different wave lengths…and he’s not gonna win the battle….

He is lost……


The Sustainable Defense Task Force unveiled its plan to cut $1.1 trillion in military spending over the next decade. Defense spending, which will reach $567 billion in 2011, is expected to top $7.4 trillion during the decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That does not include spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will boost 2011 defense spending to $726 billion.

Defense spending cuts will be essential as the United States struggles to bring its $13 trillion debt and $1.4 trillion annual deficit under control, members of the task force said June 11.

But reducing the Navy to 230 ships – 100 fewer than it wants – or reversing recent increases in ground troops, or eliminating air wings would represent a major – and many would say unlikely about-face for the U.S. military.

The task force, which includes representatives from a dozen think tanks and government watchdog organizations, was organized by liberal Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and other members of Congress – a handful in all.

“We’re not talking about undercutting the troops in the field” or reducing the United States’ ability to fight terrorism, Frank said. “No one favors cutting back on national security.”

But national security requires a healthy U.S. economy, he said, and the economy is in trouble, in part because of excessive military spending.

Frank, who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, called for cutting by one-third the number of U.S. troops in Europe and Asia. That would reduce the number stationed in those regions to 35,000 in Europe and 65,000 in Asia and save $80 billion over 10 years.

“I do not know what we are protecting Europe from – or why they can’t defend themselves,” Frank said.

The task force recommends reducing the U.S. nuclear triad to a land-based and submarine-based nuclear dyad with 1,000 nuclear weapons. The newly signed START treaty would reduce the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,550 weapons each.

The U.S. should also cut spending on missile defense – now a $10 billion annual expense – to about $3.3 billion until development work is done and missile interceptors are proven to work, the task force said.

Eliminating five Army brigade combat teams and four Marine Corps infantry battalions – about 30,000 troops in all – would save $147 billion over the decade, the task force calculates.

More….

Note….If you don’t think this report was a shot at Gates …and the White House…… you need to excuse yourself……

Let me make this point….Cuts…senseable ones could, and should be made….

My belief is that Congress will not make them and is slowly losing faith with Gates…..


June 12, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Blogs, Boats, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Men, Military, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Defense Secretary Gates asks for cuts…..Congress throws back some idea's he won't like…..

How about redeploying hundreds of thousands of troops back home?

How about killing the F-35 Fighter Program?

How about decommissioning 100 Ships?

How about getting rid of 1,000 more nukes?

How about cutting the countries expensive missile defense system back?

Damn…..

Maybe the can even take the Marine One helicopter they ALREADY have and not get new ones?


Reality Check….

Come back in 5 years…

I’ll wager you none…none of things they mention cutting ….

Are cut…..

(Gates is right on the basic premise…But Congress simply isn’t gonna do this even  if the suggestions here ARE from Congress  )

I liked Gates….

But It’s time for him to go….

He and Congress are on different wave lengths…and he’s not gonna win the battle….

He is lost……


The Sustainable Defense Task Force unveiled its plan to cut $1.1 trillion in military spending over the next decade. Defense spending, which will reach $567 billion in 2011, is expected to top $7.4 trillion during the decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That does not include spending on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which will boost 2011 defense spending to $726 billion.

Defense spending cuts will be essential as the United States struggles to bring its $13 trillion debt and $1.4 trillion annual deficit under control, members of the task force said June 11.

But reducing the Navy to 230 ships – 100 fewer than it wants – or reversing recent increases in ground troops, or eliminating air wings would represent a major – and many would say unlikely about-face for the U.S. military.

The task force, which includes representatives from a dozen think tanks and government watchdog organizations, was organized by liberal Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and libertarian Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, and other members of Congress – a handful in all.

“We’re not talking about undercutting the troops in the field” or reducing the United States’ ability to fight terrorism, Frank said. “No one favors cutting back on national security.”

But national security requires a healthy U.S. economy, he said, and the economy is in trouble, in part because of excessive military spending.

Frank, who is chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, called for cutting by one-third the number of U.S. troops in Europe and Asia. That would reduce the number stationed in those regions to 35,000 in Europe and 65,000 in Asia and save $80 billion over 10 years.

“I do not know what we are protecting Europe from – or why they can’t defend themselves,” Frank said.

The task force recommends reducing the U.S. nuclear triad to a land-based and submarine-based nuclear dyad with 1,000 nuclear weapons. The newly signed START treaty would reduce the U.S. and Russian nuclear arsenals to 1,550 weapons each.

The U.S. should also cut spending on missile defense – now a $10 billion annual expense – to about $3.3 billion until development work is done and missile interceptors are proven to work, the task force said.

Eliminating five Army brigade combat teams and four Marine Corps infantry battalions – about 30,000 troops in all – would save $147 billion over the decade, the task force calculates.

More….

Note….If you don’t think this report was a shot at Gates …and the White House…… you need to excuse yourself……

Let me make this point….Cuts…senseable ones could, and should be made….

My belief is that Congress will not make them and is slowly losing faith with Gates…..


June 12, 2010 Posted by | Aircraft, Blogs, Boats, Counterpoints, Government, Media, Men, Military, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates | , , , , , , | 4 Comments

TPL…..Taxes are due to rise in 2011 if Congress doesn’t extend the Bush tax cuts……

[ President Bush signs his $1.35 trillion tax cut on June 7, 2001, at the White House. ]

From TPL……

On or about Jan. 1, 2011, federal, state and local tax rates are scheduled to rise quite sharply. President George W. Bush’s tax cuts expire on that date, meaning that the highest federal personal income tax rate will go 39.6% from 35%, the highest federal dividend tax rate pops up to 39.6% from 15%, the capital gains tax rate to 20% from 15%, and the estate tax rate to 55% from zero. Lots and lots of other changes will also occur as a result of the sunset provision in the Bush tax cuts.

Tax rates have been and will be raised on income earned from off-shore investments. Payroll taxes are already scheduled to rise in 2013 and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will be digging deeper and deeper into middle-income taxpayers. And there’s always the celebrated tax increase on Cadillac health care plans. State and local tax rates are also going up in 2011 as they did in 2010. Tax rate increases next year are everywhere.

The GOP will be able  to hit  a HOMERUN on taxes if the tax increase happen in 2011.

Now, if people know tax rates will be higher next year than they are this year, what will those people do this year? They will shift production and income out of next year into this year to the extent possible. As a result, income this year has already been inflated above where it otherwise should be and next year, 2011, income will be lower than it otherwise should be.

Also, the prospect of rising prices, higher interest rates and more regulations next year will further entice demand and supply to be shifted from 2011 into 2010. In my view, this shift of income and demand is a major reason that the economy in 2010 has appeared as strong as it has. When we pass the tax boundary of Jan. 1, 2011, my best guess is that the train goes off the tracks and we get our worst nightmare of a severe “double dip” recession.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan—with bipartisan support—began the first phase in a series of tax cuts passed under the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA), whereby the bulk of the tax cuts didn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 1983. Reagan’s delayed tax cuts were the mirror image of President Barack Obama’s delayed tax rate increases. For 1981 and 1982 people deferred so much economic activity that real GDP was basically flat (i.e., no growth), and the unemployment rate rose to well over 10%.

But at the tax boundary of Jan. 1, 1983 the economy took off like a rocket, with average real growth reaching 7.5% in 1983 and 5.5% in 1984. It has always amazed me how tax cuts don’t work until they take effect. Mr. Obama’s experience with deferred tax rate increases will be the reverse. The economy will collapse in 2011

Consider corporate profits as a share of GDP. Today, corporate profits as a share of GDP are way too high given the state of the U.S. economy. These high profits reflect the shift in income into 2010 from 2011. These profits will tumble in 2011, preceded most likely by the stock market.

In 2010, without any prepayment penalties, people can cash in their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Keough deferred income accounts and 401(k) deferred income accounts. After paying their taxes, these deferred income accounts can be rolled into Roth IRAs that provide after-tax income to their owners into the future. Given what’s going to happen to tax rates, this conversion seems like a no-brainer.

The result will be a crash in tax receipts once the surge is past. If you thought deficits and unemployment have been bad lately, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

More from Arthur Laffer @ the Wall Street Journal…..

June 8, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Politics, Taxes, The Economy, Updates | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

TPL…..Taxes are due to rise in 2011 if Congress doesn't extend the Bush tax cuts……

[ President Bush signs his $1.35 trillion tax cut on June 7, 2001, at the White House. ]

From TPL……

On or about Jan. 1, 2011, federal, state and local tax rates are scheduled to rise quite sharply. President George W. Bush’s tax cuts expire on that date, meaning that the highest federal personal income tax rate will go 39.6% from 35%, the highest federal dividend tax rate pops up to 39.6% from 15%, the capital gains tax rate to 20% from 15%, and the estate tax rate to 55% from zero. Lots and lots of other changes will also occur as a result of the sunset provision in the Bush tax cuts.

Tax rates have been and will be raised on income earned from off-shore investments. Payroll taxes are already scheduled to rise in 2013 and the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) will be digging deeper and deeper into middle-income taxpayers. And there’s always the celebrated tax increase on Cadillac health care plans. State and local tax rates are also going up in 2011 as they did in 2010. Tax rate increases next year are everywhere.

The GOP will be able  to hit  a HOMERUN on taxes if the tax increase happen in 2011.

Now, if people know tax rates will be higher next year than they are this year, what will those people do this year? They will shift production and income out of next year into this year to the extent possible. As a result, income this year has already been inflated above where it otherwise should be and next year, 2011, income will be lower than it otherwise should be.

Also, the prospect of rising prices, higher interest rates and more regulations next year will further entice demand and supply to be shifted from 2011 into 2010. In my view, this shift of income and demand is a major reason that the economy in 2010 has appeared as strong as it has. When we pass the tax boundary of Jan. 1, 2011, my best guess is that the train goes off the tracks and we get our worst nightmare of a severe “double dip” recession.

In 1981, Ronald Reagan—with bipartisan support—began the first phase in a series of tax cuts passed under the Economic Recovery Tax Act (ERTA), whereby the bulk of the tax cuts didn’t take effect until Jan. 1, 1983. Reagan’s delayed tax cuts were the mirror image of President Barack Obama’s delayed tax rate increases. For 1981 and 1982 people deferred so much economic activity that real GDP was basically flat (i.e., no growth), and the unemployment rate rose to well over 10%.

But at the tax boundary of Jan. 1, 1983 the economy took off like a rocket, with average real growth reaching 7.5% in 1983 and 5.5% in 1984. It has always amazed me how tax cuts don’t work until they take effect. Mr. Obama’s experience with deferred tax rate increases will be the reverse. The economy will collapse in 2011

Consider corporate profits as a share of GDP. Today, corporate profits as a share of GDP are way too high given the state of the U.S. economy. These high profits reflect the shift in income into 2010 from 2011. These profits will tumble in 2011, preceded most likely by the stock market.

In 2010, without any prepayment penalties, people can cash in their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs), Keough deferred income accounts and 401(k) deferred income accounts. After paying their taxes, these deferred income accounts can be rolled into Roth IRAs that provide after-tax income to their owners into the future. Given what’s going to happen to tax rates, this conversion seems like a no-brainer.

The result will be a crash in tax receipts once the surge is past. If you thought deficits and unemployment have been bad lately, you ain’t seen nothing yet.

More from Arthur Laffer @ the Wall Street Journal…..

June 8, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Politics, Taxes, The Economy, Updates | , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Who will be affected by the Wall Street Financial Reform Bill?

Actually……as this piece points out…..

Most of the business and people affected by the upcoming bill ( and its formation of a new Consumer-Finance Regulator ) before the Senate and House conference committee’s are not on Wall Street at all……

They are Retailers…..

Auto Dealers…….

The Big Banks….

State Attorney General’s…..

The Derivatives Traders……

These people and their lobbyists will be working at a final shoot at the rules makers before they hash out the different versions of the bills in the House and Senate …and vote on a finished version for the President to sign and enact…..

It’s not just bankers.

Auto dealers, attorneys general and derivatives traders are among those sitting anxiously as Congress enters the final stretch of its financial-regulation revamp. The two bills approved by lawmakers contain numerous differences, and negotiations to hammer out a compromise will begin in earnest this week. All told, they’ll represent the biggest change to the U.S.’s system of financial oversight in 80 years.

Reflecting the all-encompassing nature of the legislation, some of the widest gaps affect people far from Wall Street. Auto dealers are lobbying hard to be excluded from oversight by a proposed consumer-finance regulator. Retailers want relief from what they say are punitive fees charged by credit-card companies. Non-financial companies are fighting for more flexibility in using derivatives.

Here’s a look at some of the differences that have to be hammered out and those most likely to be affected by the outcome:

The Retailer

Retailers want a provision currently only in the Senate bill that would lift constraints imposed by credit-card networks. They want to be able to offer discounts on cheaper forms of payment, or impose a minimum charge for card payments. Networks currently charge retailers a fixed fee and 1.5% to 2% of the purchase price on credit-card transactions. Debit cards generally cost slightly less.

More……..

June 6, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, The Economy, Updates | , , , | 2 Comments

Dennis Blair…….. the Director of National Intelligence resigns…….

FILE - In this Jan. 22, 2009 file photo, National Intelligence Director-designate Dennis Blair delivers his opening statement on Capitol Hill in Washington, during the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on his nomination. Sources say that Blair is resigning. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File)

Sometimes things should remain the same….

Blair’s immediate resignation is about being passed over on a trip to Pakistan that ended up being taken by CIA Director Panetta and National Security Advisor James Jones….. The long term reason has to do with two things….

Number 1…….Adm Blair is a quiet ..Behind the scenes guy…..

During ever terrorist incident, NW 235, Times Square and others…..Jones has NOT been the ‘Go To ‘ Guy….

Because of that..He has suffered in the media and Administration’s eye…..He’s not been a strong beauricratic player…

Number 2……And I believe this the root cause…..

There really shouldn’t be  Director of National Intelligence.

The job should handled by the CIA Director …as it has been done in the past……

“The position was a political fix after 9/11 to address the fact that agencies assigned to protect this country through intelligence gathering ….From the NSA to local Police didn’t really talk to each other….and couldn’t connect the dots in the 9/11 plot…..The role of controlling the nations intelligence agencies was the CIA Director’s…….

The DNI was supposed to correct all that…..

The Director of National Intelligence (DNI), is the United States government official subject to the authority, direction and control of the President, who is responsible under the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 for:

Under 50 U.S.C. § 403-3a, it is desired that either the Director or the Principal Deputy Director of National Intelligence be an active duty commissioned officer in the armed forces or have training or experience in military intelligence activities and requirements. No more than one officer can hold either position during the same term. The statute does not specifically state what rank the commissioned officer will hold during his tenure in either position, but trends lean towards an officer holding the rank of a four-star general or admiral. The current DNI is retired Navy four-star admiralDennis C. Blair.

On July 30, 2008, President Bush issued Executive Order 13470amending Executive Order 12333 to strengthen the role of the DNI.”

The Formation of the office has done NO SUCH THING…..


The fact is……..

Critics say compromises during the bill’s crafting led to the establishment of a DNI whose powers are too weak to adequately lead, manage and improve the performance of the US Intelligence Community.In particular, the law left the United States Department of Defense in charge of the National Security Agency (NSA), the National Reconnaissance Office (NRO), and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency. (The limited DNI role in leading the US Intelligence Community is discussed in the Intelligence Community article.)

In addition, The DNI has no budgetary control over any of the agencies…….

It has no role in actually fielding assets….

And it is actually at the mercy of what ever those agencies ‘it talks to’ choose to tell it…..

I n fact the DNI has been the loser in several ‘dust-ups’ with CIA Director Panetta…….

The last one before the trip Blair was cut out of (at the President’s direction ) was the effort to have A DNI Station Chief in embassies all over the work=ld that would be in-charge of ALL intelligence gathering in country…..Blair lost that one to CIA Director Panetta also…..

To be fair the CIA Director Panetta is an old Washington hand…who was a Congressman from California and a Chief of Staff to President Clinton…..

Blair had no chance from the jump against those odds….aAndto be honest the idea of the DNI never really has found a home in DC , where beauricrats fight cut throat battles to keep their power….

Obama and Congress should do themselves and the tax payers a favor…… and dismantle the whole thing and send it back to the CIA….. where it belongs…….

More……..

May 20, 2010 Posted by | Blogs, Breaking News, Counterpoints, Government, Law, Media, Men, Military, Other Things, PoliticalDog Calls, Politics, Travel, Updates | , , , , | 7 Comments