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2024-07-24 14:40 by Karl Denninger
in POTD , 132 references

New Piece from the cute artist.  Come and get it!


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2024-07-24 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Politics , 319 references
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Note: "Coup" doesn't mean violence.  It simply means coercion; an "offer you can't refuse."  Remember that Joe Biden won the primaries (by a huge margin) so unless his stepping down was entirely voluntary its obviously void.  For the cabinet and VP Harris to sit on incapacity, assuming they did, rather than invoke the 25th Amendment many months ago and thus force actual primaries, if that's what happened, is outrageous.  Indeed, if Harris did that (since she has to be on board for a 25th Amendment filing) for political purposes, placing the nation at severe risk, that's arguably an impeachable offense.

There is a fundamental problem with Presidential primaries however: They're actually "preference" primaries.  There's a clean argument you're not owed a fair contest, or any contest at all.  As such its unlikely anyone could successfully bring suit over what the DNC has done -- except for Biden himself, which of course would expose him to an immediate 25th Amendment filing.

There is a fair question as to whether he actually dictated and signed the document bowing out.  Confidence that this was a voluntary act on Biden's part certainly wasn't confirmed when a reporter asked him why he had bowed out last afternoon, he smiled and didn't answer.

Now perhaps this all comes out in a press conference sometime this week.  We shall see.  But there are core Democrat constituencies, including BLM, that have come out demanding some sort of democratic process rather than a coronation.  Considering that Kamala got literally zero votes in the Democrat primaries for President that seems to be "fair", but again, you have no right to that in the Presidential nominating contest.

I'm not sure what to think of this; its quite-clear that Biden has certainly not been "sharp as a tack" for a long time, but is that a 25th Amendment thing?  Well, do recall that it was the assassination of President Kennedy that led to its passage.  Woodrow Wilson infamously had a stoke in office in 1919 while intending to seek a third term; his wife and physician essentially controlled him after that, hid the fact that he was for all intents and purposes incapacitated and maintained the office, albeit with essentially no major decisions, until he left office in 1921.  It was not his first; he had suffered a series of strokes during his life and in fact was plagued by them.

Did Wilson have good days?  You bet -- including one really important one when a couple of Senators refused to believe he was ok.  Isn't it interesting how history rhymes?

But today we have a 25th Amendment, and in addition we have what is claimed to have been a voluntary withdrawal.

America deserves confirmation from Joe Biden's own mouth that indeed it was, and further, those who are Democrats deserve to be able to make a decision as to who they wish to have face Trump in November.

We're not supposed to coronate people in the United States, if you recall.

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2024-07-23 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Politics , 643 references
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JD Vance is, as everyone knows at this point, the VP nominee on the GOP side.

This story showed up recently:

Usha Chilukuri Vance, the wife of Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, has left her job as a corporate litigator at Munger, Tolles & Olson, a prestigious law firm in San Francisco.

Shortly after former President Donald Trump revealed on Monday his decision to add J.D. to his ticket for the upcoming presidential election in November, Usha’s online biography vanished from the company’s website.

The couple has three children.  Vance is a Senator from Ohio which means he has to live in the State.  They met and married in San Francisco which wouldn't be unusual considering they were college classmates.

But this is unusual:

During her time at the firm, Usha practiced complex litigation and appeals in many sectors, including higher education, local government, entertainment, and technology, including semiconductors, in its San Francisco and Washington, D.C. offices.

So his wife was employed by a California firm that focused on litigation and appeals in San Francisco and DC yet Vance lives in Ohio.  That's a rather interesting arrangement you two have, don't you think, particularly with three young children in the game.

Oh by the way she clerked for Roberts and, when he was in the Court of Appeals in DC, Kavanaugh and that's a job where you have to be there, never mind that most litigating lawyers need to show up in actual court on a basically-constant sort of basis for various things, whether it be actual trials or the motion docket and similar.

This is an interesting situation because Vance has quite a history of issuing various position statements that are rather traditional-family focused, which many people find very appealing.  I can understand this, by the way, in that destruction of the nuclear family, whether you believe its been intentionally fomented or is a "natural outcome" of our economic system, is certainly a major factor not only in a clear demographic problem that nobody wants to take on but also with many of the social issues we have in the United States which have a very strong association and correlation with the breakdown of the family unit.  That we have someone on one of the tickets who has a good and long history of promoting fixing that, including a book he published quite some time ago (in other words it wasn't in anticipation of being the VP) speaks to the authenticity of his positions.

Nonetheless my first check on anyone's political positions is whether their statements reasonably correlate with their actual life in the here and now.  I pretty-much ignore the 20 years in the past because over time we all change our minds on various things -- and our mistakes (we all make 'em) if they lead to a change of heart and thus a change of actions, are exactly what you want in a politician.

I'm not sure what to think of this -- but my eyebrows definitely went up when I read it, because here's a guy who goes to college, meets a woman and they get married, they have a couple of kids and all this sounds straight up the middle of family values and very American right up until he winds up as a Senator and the correlations with who works for whom and their employment and living situation history seem rather at-odds with the "down home American family" visage being projected.

Perhaps this is simply "reality" today for a couple where both are highly-ambitious, highly capable and love one another.  If it is then what we've become is broken because no matter how you slice it there is no way you have two fully-involved parents when they're separated by 1,500+ miles.

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2024-07-18 08:07 by Karl Denninger
in Technology , 196 references
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There's a quite-serious problem with the shift we've seen in software over the last decade or so.

In short: You can't buy it anymore, only get a subscription.

The "buy it" system typically worked like this: You paid for each "seat" you wished to use at once.  One butt, pair of eyeballs and pair of hands, one license.  Most companies let you install the software on a limited number of devices (e.g. two -- since you might have a laptop and a desktop, or one computer at the office and another in your home office) but you could only use one at a time and this was enforced by having the system "check in" with some online location when in use.  Over time if you tried to cheat (e.g. give your activation code to 10 people) you'd get caught and the system would lock people out.

Here's the rub -- the companies had to innovate in this model because if they didn't you stop paying for upgrades and kept using what you had.  Innovation was real and significant -- Word Perfect was, well, not-so-perfect and integration between Word and Excel really did matter (never mind Powerpoint) and the rather rapid innovation that happened with Adobe products.

Who remembers "Pagemaker "from the 1990s?  It sucked, to be blunt, including crashing on a regular basis but it was the only tool that could reasonably do color seps and we needed that for print ads, so we put up with it at MCSNet.  I didn't like it but the other alternatives were worse.

Through the 1990s and into the 2000s Adobe's creative software got better.  The original Dreamweaver, as an example, blew big ones, but as time went on it got better.  Flash eventually got killed because it couldn't be extricated from the security problems it created holes for, but there's no doubt that Photoshop, up to about CS6, really did improve with each release and not a little either.  I bought several of those Creative Suite upgrades over the years and every one of them was worth the spend.

But then came "Creative Cloud."  I refused to buy that for one simple reason: If you ever stop paying all your existing work becomes inaccessible.  This is a ratcheting contract of adhesion and what's worse, it deliberately addictive in truth because you continue to create and thus the amount of material that you lose goes up each and every year.

Now Adobe doesn't have to innovate -- at all.  You either pay for equal capability at best on a continuing basis or all of your former work becomes instantly inaccessible.  Yes, you might able to plan for that and migrate off over time but you'll still be forced to buy.

This has to be stopped -- among other things it has destroyed the incentive for firms to innovate in their offerings, and in addition its actually regressive and operates as a coercive force on consumers and businesses.  This sort of business model is the very definition of an unfair and deceptive business practice and thus under state consumer protection laws is illegal.

Locking up someone's creative work by effectively "tying" it to a continuing revenue stream is the very definition of an unfair and deceptive practice no matter what they claim you "agreed" to.

How do we address this?

Change the law.  Specifically:

APIs, file formats and similar cannot be protected under either copyright or trade secret (irrespective of private agreement by adhesion or even negotiation) as that is deemed contrary to public policy unless the software that uses them is sold as a fully-licensed per-user product.  You can restrict the number of concurrent users but not "marry" the software to hardware nor can you prevent a reinstall if someone buys a new machine, even if the old one can't be "de-registered" (because its broken, for example.)

Abandoned versions, where the licensing check engine or any part of its authentication or other online resource necessary for its ordinary use are shut down lose copyright and reverse-engineering protection as a matter of statute and the firm is further required to publish a patch file that disables said checks.  Adobe can choose to shut off re-installs of CS6 or the "boxed" Lightroom version, for example (and they have; even if you deactivate one of your old licenses to reinstall it will tell you that you still have all of them outstanding, which is not true, and in addition a "new" install attempt fails as it apparently relies on breakage in the former "Internet Explorer" which Microsoft has retired and as such you can't even sign in to validate it on a clean install anyway) but if they do shut down verification or refuse to address breakage that then it is legal for anyone to patch out the checks entirely and distribute the file(s) required to do so.  In short if a firm abandons a piece of software, whether by subscription or not and by doing so effectively destroys the value of all the existing copies they previously sold the old version becomes freely available whether the firm likes it or not.

This prevents not only orphaning and in fact locking up people's work which the software company does not own, has no rights to and never did, that is the common practice of effectively forcing you to pay them for access to your own work that you own all rights to but in addition it prevents firms (like Quicken, who has moved to a "software as a subscription" model as well) from forcing you through a one-way door.  They can shut down support for the old boxed versions of their software but they can't perform an "upgrade" of your data file that renders it unreadable by anything else except their subscription version.  With a fully-public API and file format that capacity is foreclosed so if they refuse to sell a boxed version today (which they can) you can take the data to some other vendor because they must have the format published and available to use at no cost or use it on the older, boxed version you already own even if your existing computer breaks and you buy a new one.  The firm's choice in that situation is to either continue on a perpetual basis the infrastructure required to validate that you're not stealing it (e.g. you actually bought it and are using it within the original agreed terms) or the firm is deemed to have constructively abandoned all rights including copyright, trade secret and any "private" licensing agreement.

Restoring the imperative for firms to actually provide value on an ongoing basis, rather than abusing customers through what amount to forced lock-ins and continuing expenditures to obtain access to their own information is not just good policy -- its a hard, Constitutional requirement as intellectual property is in fact property and the Constitution protects your right to not have it stolen from you, whether by government or otherwise (if not there wouldn't be an explicit Patent and Copyright clause in the Constitution, and there is in Article 1, Section 1, Clause 8.)  Denying you access to your creative work is in fact theft of your rights in said work.  You paid for that software and you have a right to use it to access and exploit your creative content that you created with same.

Those firms that argue against this change, which must take place immediately, should be destroyed.

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2024-07-16 07:00 by Karl Denninger
in Federal Government , 679 references
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Jack Smith's appointment ruled unconstitutional and thus the indictment against Trump dismissed.

Former President Trump’s Motion to Dismiss Indictment Based on the Unlawful Appointment and Funding of Special Counsel Jack Smith is GRANTED in accordance with this Order [ECF No. 326]. The Superseding Indictment is DISMISSED because Special Counsel Smith’s appointment violates the Appointments Clause of the United States Constitution. U.S. Const., Art. II, § 2, cl. 2. Special Counsel Smith’s use of a permanent indefinite appropriation also violates the Appropriations Clause, U.S. Const., Art. I, § 9, cl. 7, but the Court need not address the proper remedy for that funding violation given the dismissal on Appointments Clause grounds.

Note that Merrick Garland failed to answer on what authority under the Constitution said appointment was made before Congress.  An act undertaken without authority, and Garland cited none, is not only void it's malicious by definition.

There's no law broken "per se" when you're wrong but when you can't point to the specific Statute or Constitutional basis on which you took an action then if said action is struck as unconstitutional that act was undertaken with actual malice as you refused to even put forward a theory upon which your act was appropriate and legal.

Garland tried to deflect claiming he was relying on a "regulation" that the DOJ itself established without a legal basis.  But the fact remains that without a foundational law or Constitutional provision under which you can issue a regulation its a dead letter issue and thus knowingly malicious in that your act serves to harass or otherwise interfere with someone.  Never mind that a former AG (Meese) actually filed an amicus in the case arguing exactly this; that there was no statutory basis for the appointment and it had created an office without Congressional authorization.

This is just another in a long line of acts of this general character that are blatantly unconstitutional and most of them go unchallenged because they either create huge classes of beneficiaries (e.g. DACA) and thus become politically very difficult to reverse even though they're illegal or they create a nearly-impossible economic burden to obtain review and relief although blatantly unconstitutional (e.g. the attempted use of SarBox against the Jan 6 defendants.)

Both have now gone up in smoke but the question remains what deterrent effects now exists, and will exist in the future, to prevent a second or subsequent abuse?  That question requires an answer.

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