Having worked with technology in the utility industry prior to retirement, I still participate in some on-line forums for that industry. I’ve been involved in an interesting discussion for a few weeks regarding cyber-security and the terrorism cyber threat to utility substations and other systems.
As that discussion has developed, there are two main lines of thought. One is that the utilities should cooperate to develop additional techniques to harden their systems, sharing information and ideas on a voluntary basis. The other line of thought–brought up very early of course–is that the federal government should require utilities to adopt standards developed and enforced by the government.
Needless to say, both sides of that argument are pretty adamant, one claiming utilities can’t or won’t develop adequate security without federal “guidance” or even expensive and extensive coercion. The other side, of which I guess I’ve been among the most vociferous, insists that the federal government will just make an already dangerous situation worse. If the massive, constantly expanding federal government can’t even secure its own secrets (see Edward Snowden), how is it going to secure a wide range of varying electronic systems across hundreds of different utilities, large and small, across the country.
The pro-federal side wrote: “At a minimum the federal government should set security requirements and verify that utilities meet these standards. When the utilities don’t meet the standards the large fines should finance the federal government participation.” That’s a typical liberal/socialist approach to anything in this country today. The days of “limited” government disappeared with F.D. Roosevelt and government has exploded in its reach and cost since then. Note the “large fines should finance the federal government participation”. When utilities have to pay “large fines” to the federal government, who pays those fines? You and I do, through our electric, natural gas or water bills.
The individual who started the overall discussion, who is the chief information officer (CIO) of a Midwestern utility, added an interesting question this week which sort of sums up the discussion. It was: “Since I started this–How many security standards groups does it take to screw in an energy efficient light bulb securely? Ten: ISCI, NERC, NIST, ISO, IEC, ISA, IASME, ISF, IETF, and ANSI. If you charge it — add PCI.”
All of those “standards groups” have various government connections and/or were created by government. Here is the description of NERC’s authority, as written on that organization’s web page: “The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is a not-for-profit international regulatory authority whose mission is to ensure the reliability of the bulk power system in North America. NERC develops and enforces Reliability Standards; annually assesses seasonal and long‐term reliability; monitors the bulk power system through system awareness; and educates, trains, and certifies industry personnel. NERC’s area of responsibility spans the continental United States, Canada, and the northern portion of Baja California, Mexico. NERC is the electric reliability organization for North America, subject to oversight by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and governmental authorities in Canada. NERC’s jurisdiction includes users, owners, and operators of the bulk power system, which serves more than 334 million people.” Notice the phrase: “subject to oversight by the federal Energy Regulatory Commission and governmental authorities in Canada“.
The federal government now extends into every facet of our lives through direct government agencies, which are uncountable at this point, to “quasi-government” nominally private agencies, but in essence regulated and controlled by government. And anyone wonders why the federal government already is bankrupt, but just won’t admit it? And when they tax enough to cover their debts, we all will be bankrupt. Does anyone wonder why government now controls virtually everything you can and can’t do, as a business or as an individual? This certainly is not what the founders–most of whom who had an inherent fear, distrust and loathing of big government–intended.
What has happened is that was we fought two major wars against socialists, World War II and Korea, and we lost both of them. We didn’t lose on the ground, but we lost in the realm of ideas. National Socialism (NAZI) and Communist socialism (Soviets) became our system. If you recall, Adolph Hitler was elected to office. So was Barack Obama. They have an awful lot in common. The next major question is will Obama surrender office when his term is up or find some major “crisis” to remain in office, as did Hitler.
Another major question is when will members of the Democrat Party quit calling themselves “democrats” and start admitting what they are, “socialists”, who would prefer stronger socialism which is by definition communism. And, now of course, a socialist judge in Houston, TX, has ordered pastors to turn over their sermons in a search for “gay bashing”.
I’m a pastor. The day the government tries to force me to turn over one of my sermons is the day they will have to exercise the first part of that old saying: “dead or alive.” But with the efficiency of socialism, they probably won’t get around to me and my small country church until after I’m dead and gone to my Lord anyway. And besides, I don’t write my sermons. I print out a few “illustrations” that accompany the text I’m preaching, but the sermon is extemporaneous from the text and those illustrations. I guess they’ll have to record me, which they probably will get around to with their normal efficiency–probably not in my lifetime. But sooner or later, unless we find some way to stop galloping socialism in this country, the lights will indeed go out in Georgia, literally and figuratively.