We’re supposed to be scared

Ho boy. This guy’s either a shameless liar, or just that dumb. I tend to think it’s the former, but congress critters are probably dumb enough to believe him:

Computer hackers are on the bleeding edge of the class war, and they’re finally cutting deep enough that the leader of the National Security Agency (NSA) is making an active push for some major congressional action.

That’s why NSA chief, Gen. Keith Alexander, told the conservative-leaning American Enterprise Institute on Monday that the costs associated with responding to computer hacking represents “the greatest transfer of wealth in history.”

Of course, deregulation, mortgage derivatives, theft by Libor, Bush tax cuts, etc. – just a drop in the bucket! Yeah, cybercrimes are the real economic problem!

“Symantec placed the costs of [intellectual property] theft to United States companies at $250 billion a year, global cyber crime at $114 billion annually — $388 billion when you factor in downtime — and McAfee estimates that $1 trillion was spent globally on remediation,” he said. “That’s our future disappearing in front of us.”

His talk was meant to support passage of a bill to firm up the nation’s cyber defenses. And while he wasn’t specifically supporting any piece of legislation, he seemed to indicate support for some of the more invasive measures within the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

That bill, approved by the House but still pending in the Senate, would put the NSA in charge of cyber security for the whole nation, permitting companies like AT&T, Google and Comacst to share private user data with the agency under the auspice of protecting Americans from foreign threats.

Critics of the bill, like Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), have suggested that it will create a “cyber-industrial complex” that feeds on Americans’ closely held details. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), normally ideologically opposed to anything Wyden would be interested in, agreed, saying that CISPA will let corporations “act as government spies.”

“We don’t do that,” Alexander said, responding to agency whistleblowers and journalistswho say the NSA is keeping a massive store of Americans’ electronic communications. “We need the American people to know that is not true,” he insisted.

Uh huh. Because y’all have been so protective of our rights up til now.

(h/t Ron K.)

Poll tax

What most people don’t seem to realize is just how many IDs aren’t accepted under these laws – like student IDs, for instance. No photo ID that doesn’t have an expiration date is accepted.

The rest of the people who insist it’s not big deal? Many of them are racists, and some of them are just contrarians who have their heads stuck up their ass:

HOUSTON — Attorney General Eric Holder said Tuesday he opposes a new photo ID requirement in Texas elections because it would be harmful to minority voters.

In remarks to the NAACP in Houston, the attorney general said the Justice Department “will not allow political pretexts to disenfranchise American citizens of their most precious right.”

Under the law passed in Texas, Holder said that “many of those without IDs would have to travel great distances to get them – and some would struggle to pay for the documents they might need to obtain them.”

“We call those poll taxes,” Holder added spontaneously, drawing applause as he moved away from the original text of his speech with a reference to a fee used in some Southern states after slavery’s abolition to disenfranchise black people.

The 24th amendment to the constitution made that type of tax illegal.

Holder spoke a day after a trial started in federal court in Washington over the 2011 law passed by Texas’ GOP-dominated Legislature that requires voters to show photo identification when they get to the polls.

Under Texas’ law, Holder noted, a concealed handgun license would serve as acceptable ID to vote, but a student ID would not. He went on to say that while only 8 percent of white people do not have government-issued photo IDs, about 25 percent of black people lack such identification.

H/t to attorney Maria Aspiazu for the link.

A hopeful sign

I had to drop off my car this morning to get inspected (naturally, I can’t find the insurance card). The owner’s son drove me home and he started talking about the Occupy people who’d marched past their shop this week.

He said they were planning to sue JPMorgan and “the rest of those banks,” and he was pretty happy about it. “I could copy what they gave to me if you’re interested,” he said. “I hope they can get something done.”

Yoo hoo, Bucks County readers

From Working Families PA, a fun action tomorrow:

LANGHORNE- Following what has been deemed a “theatrical” House vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Bucks County residents will call on Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick to stop wasting time and taxpayer dollars, respect the Supreme Court’s decision and move forward with creating jobs. On Wednesday, July 11 at 11:30am constituents will file into Rep. Fitzpatrick’s Langhorne office with a dozen roses and a personalized Playbill in honor of their congressman’s theatrical performance in voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Who: Pennsylvania Working Families, Penn Action
What: Bucks County Needs Jobs, Not Political Theater Event
When: Wednesday, July 11 at 11:30am
Where: Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick’s office, 1717 Langhorne Newtown Rd #400, Langhorne, PA

More: Following a landmark Supreme Court decision, the U.S. House of Representatives will vote for the 31st time on Tuesday to repeal the health care law, knowing the vote will be blocked by the Senate and the President.

“This health care vote is going nowhere and Congressman Fitzpatrick knows that. If Congressman Fitzpatrick wants to do theater, he should audition at Bristol Riverside. If he wants to help get our economy back on track, he should support the Bring Our Jobs Home Act to stop outsourcing in our community,” said Mark McClain of Bristol.

The group will also deliver hundreds of petition signatures in support of the Bring Our Jobs Home Act, which will stop tax breaks for corporations that outsource American jobs to other countries.

“Every moment that Rep. Fitzpatrick wastes with this Washington non-sense is a moment we could be getting serious about getting more Americans back to work, increasing the minimum wage and ending the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy,” added McClain.

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