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Thread: Senator Listening to Constituent?

  1. #1
    Regular Member Cubex DE's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Spokane, WA

    Question Senator Listening to Constituent?

    As many of you know, a few of our very favorite Senators (Lautenberg, Boxer, Reed [not to be confused with Reid], Menendez, Gillibrand, Schumer, and Feinstein) recently proposed an amendment (SA 2575) to the Cybersecurity Bill (S 3414) that would ban the transfer or possession of magazines with a capacity of over 10 rounds. I have no idea what this has to do with cybersecurity, so I decided to send a quick email to my state's Senators. I framed my email as one that asked them to reject the amendment so that the legislature could vote on it individually and based on its own merits, and not allow it to slip in with another unrelated bill. (Sorry I didn't keep copies of my emails, otherwise I would post them here as well.)

    About a day later I got a canned email back from Senator Maria Cantwell. Her mail filters incorrectly decided that my email was related to gun control, and this is the email I received as a response:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the tragic shooting in Aurora, Colorado. I appreciate hearing from you about this important issue.

    According to news reports, on July 19, 2012, a gunman opened fire during a midnight movie in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58. The man allegedly responsible for the shooting, James Holmes, was arrested at the scene and is currently being held on several charges.

    I am deeply saddened by this tragedy and extend my sincerest condolences to the victims, their families, and all those who have been impacted. My thoughts and prayers are with the victims of the senseless attack in Aurora. All Washingtonians are thinking of the families that are grieving in Colorado and we are praying for a recovery for those who have been injured.

    In times like these, we also honor the quiet acts of heroism that take place amidst tragedies. I was moved to read stories of those in Colorado who protected their loved ones or helped tend to a wounded stranger.

    Americans always come together to help each other move forward. I believe that it is important, especially after this terrible attack, that we emphasize the large range of issues that bring us together as a nation.

    While I feel committed to the rights of law-abiding Washingtonians who own guns for hunting and other recreational purposes, I remain focused on addressing the deeply troubling violence in this country and making our state and our country as safe as possible for all people, including our most vulnerable citizens, our children.
    Needless to say this didn't make me too happy. Not only was I ignored, but my issue wasn't even understood before it was ignored! I sat down and wrote a new email, asking her to please read my previous email, restating my issue in no uncertain terms, and once again asking that she reject the amendment so it could be presented and voted on individually, not as an amendment to an unrelated bill.

    A couple of weeks passed, and I thought that was the end of that. My first email had been miscategorized by her robotic staff, and my second had been thrown in the round file.

    Today, I received this email from her office:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding cybersecurity legislation. I appreciate hearing from you on this important issue.

    Our nation's businesses, critical infrastructure, and communities are all vulnerable to malicious cyber activity on the computer networks that increasingly connect us all. These malicious actions could be taken by individuals acting alone, organized groups of hackers, foreign companies, and even other nation states. The question is not if the nation should prepare itself, but rather how we should prepare ourselves to protect our critical computer systems and related assets.

    I believe our approach to cybersecurity needs to be risk-based and cost-effective, and must have a high probability of success. This requires a nimble system capable of adapting to the ever-evolving threats and a true partnership between the private sector and the federal government, in which both are focused on security rather than compliance. Just as important, our approach to cybersecurity must also respect our civil liberties, uphold our privacy laws, prohibit the use of cybersecurity threat information for other purposes unrelated to cybersecurity threats, and allow for periodic Congressional review.

    Senator Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT) introduced the "Cybersecurity Act of 2012" (S. 2105) on February 14, 2012. Two controversial sections of the proposed legislation deal with how privately held critical cyber infrastructure is protected and how information about cyber security threats is shared. The proposed legislation provides the Secretary of Homeland Security with new regulatory authority for protecting the cybersecurity of privately held critical cyber infrastructure. The proposed legislation also allows information on potential domestic cyber threats to be shared with the Department of Defense and intelligence agencies. Due to concerns over the new authority granted to the Department of Homeland Security and how cyber security related information would be shared amongst government agencies, I would not support this legislation moving forward.

    On July 19, 2012, Senator Lieberman introduced an updated version of the "Cybersecurity Act of 2012" (S. 3414). The revised legislation attempted to provide incentives to owners and operators of privately and publicly held critical cyber infrastructure to adopt voluntary cybersecurity standards. The revised legislation also made several improvements to the cybersecurity threat information sharing section. Most importantly, it made clear that cyber threat information would only be shared by civilian federal agencies. It also addressed some of the concerns regarding free speech and limiting the uses of cybersecurity threat data. However, the revised legislation included a backdoor mechanism for new cybersecurity regulation by federal agencies with existing responsibilities for regulating the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure. Additionally, the proposed legislation did not sunset, meaning there was no opportunity for periodic Congressional review.

    On balance, given the importance of cybersecurity and the improvements embodied in S. 3414, I voted in favor of a motion for the full Senate to proceed to debate of the cybersecurity legislation. On June 26, 2012, the motion passed by a vote of 84-11, with overwhelming bipartisan support.

    I filed several amendments to make further improvements to the cybersecurity bill. When it became clear that certain Senators intended to use the amendment process as a means to address non-related issues, Majority Leader Reid moved to end debate on the bill. The motion the Majority Leader put forward limited further debate on the bill to 30 hours and allowed for the Senate to consider two amendments prior to a vote on final passage. The first amendment, proposed by Senator Joe Lieberman, incorporated important changes to ensure that the adoption of any cybersecurity standards by private and public owners of critical cyber infrastructure was truly voluntary. The language was very similar to that of one of my amendments. The second amendment, proposed by Senators Al Franken and Rand Paul, effectively limited the actions Internet Service Providers and others could take with respect to monitoring private communications passing over their networks and countermeasures they could take against potential cybersecurity threats.

    On August 2, 2012, I voted in support of the Majority Leader's procedural motion on S. 3414 because the Senate would have been able to vote subsequently on two amendments that would have addressed two of my outstanding concerns with the legislation. The procedural motion, which required 60 yes votes to pass, failed even though 52 Senators voted in favor of it. To be clear, voting in favor of the procedural motion was not a commitment to support final passage of the legislation. Rather, it would have allowed further refinements and the ability to adopt amendments that addressed my concerns.

    Please be assured that I will continue on improving cybersecurity legislation that comes before the Senate.
    (emphasis mine)

    At first, it looked like I had received another canned email that was being sent out to everyone who wrote her about this particular bill, but as I read through it I found several parts that almost directly reference the concern I had raised.

    I'm not saying this email was written "just for me" or even about the amendment I had written to her about, but it seems that someone in her office must have noticed what my email said and the message might have eventually gotten through to her.

    What do you guys think? Is Senator Cantwell paying attention, or is this a coincidence? Somewhere in my mind there is a place that likes to think the best of people, and that maybe she read my email and dictated a reply, but I know that's very unlikely.

  2. #2
    Regular Member Metalhead47's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    South Whidbey, Washington, USA
    she's called can't-well for a reason.
    It is very wise to not take a watermelon lightly.

  3. #3
    Regular Member hermannr's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Okanogan Highland
    Our WA seators need to be replaced, both of them. Maria is up for re-election, now is the time. Listen? not unless you are a socalist democrat

  4. #4
    Regular Member
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    I am open carrying while responding!

    I have done "constituent" work for state reps before and am very close to congressional aids.

    This was a can response justifying her vote.

    We and they were/are trained to use language that means nothing so as to pacify the voter.

    It was a really sad experience that ended in me quitting because it became starkly clear that no one in governance gives a crap about the citizens only the lobby and the money behind it.

    Please know that one hand written letter, HAND WRITTEN, represents 1 in 1000 to these people.
    An email represents 1 in a million. If you want to be heard, WRITE them. The aids are forced to show this letter to the congress persons secretary and write you back. They think very much more highly of these letters and can not send you a canned email.

    I encourage everyone to look into "stellar wind."

    Cyber security is nothing more than the illegal and unconstitutional subversion of our 4th amendment rights. The facility in Utah is collecting and categorizing ALL electronic data of American citizens. The nsa is out of control.

    Especially when they use it to limit the exchange of magazines. Please. This has got to stop.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    earth's crust
    If you want an actual answer then you have to go to their home and knock on the door. I have done it numerous times. They usually are startled but most will discuss an issue. I think they are afraid that you have a gun in your car and they know, even for them, a cop is sitting 30 minutes they reluctantly will fear of an evil gun owner at their door

  6. #6
    Regular Member Cubex DE's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Spokane, WA
    Quote Originally Posted by davidmcbeth View Post
    in fear of an evil gun owner at their door
    What store do you go to to buy evil guns?

  7. #7
    Regular Member Freedom1Man's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2012
    Greater Eastside Washington
    Quote Originally Posted by Cubex DE View Post
    What store do you go to to buy evil guns?
    Why are you looking for the evil guns?
    I prefer the good ones that don't jam and keep working in all weather conditions.
    The great ones are illegal to buy.
    Provision for free medical attendance and nursing, for clothing, for food, for housing, for the education of children, and a hundred other matters, might with equal propriety be proposed as tending to relieve the employee of mental strain and worry. --- These matters obviously lie outside the orbit of congressional power. (Railroad Retirement Board v Alton Railroad)

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