Archive for October, 2013

Obamacare is not the law of the land.

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

Obamacare is not a law that Congress and the President negotiated together and passed.

As Hayek pointed out: Socialism needs a central plan. There are an infinite possible number of different central plans, any one of which will step on the toes of quite a lot of people, so one can never get majority support for any one central plan, or even the support of a significant plurality for any one central plan.

So the ordinary procedures of legislative rule will not work, will never come to agreement. And, as we saw, they did not work, did not come to agreement.

The normal procedure for passing laws, as laid down in the constitution, is that one house of the legislature passes an act, and the other house agrees to that act, and then the president signs it.

But what in fact happened is that neither house would vote for a version of Obamacare that the other house would accept, nor one that the president would sign.

Obamacare was passed by the mysterious extraconstitutional process of  “reconciliation”, resulting in a bill that neither house has ever voted for, which contains numerous amendments rejected by both houses, and fails to contain numerous amendments accepted by both houses, thus was not “reconciliation” at all, but the permanent government overruling the merely elected government when the merely elected government was unable to reach agreement.

After being passed by this extraconstitutional process, it was further amended by presidential decree, an unprecedented extraconstitutional action,

This abandonment of constitutionality and legality is an unavoidable consequence of socialism.

To implement socialism one needs a single individual, or a very small cohesive group, small enough to sit around a coffee table and feel each other’s breath, with immense power.

Ever since Reagan decreed unlimited free healthcare for the poor and illegals, we have had socialism without a central plan. It works very badly.

Our ruling elite think themselves terribly smart people and are sure they can do better, and I am sure any one of them could do better. I am equally sure that one hundred of them can not do better, and will very likely do a great deal worse. If power is too diffused in the legislature for the legislature to give effect to socialism, it is also too diffused in the permanent government for the permanent government to give effect to socialism.

Indeed, that is the basic problem with the permanent government. Power is diffused, leading to the tragedy of the commons, public money being a commons, and power over the subjects of the government being a commons. That we are ruled by an unelected government is not the problem. Democracy sucks. That the permanent and unelected government lacks a czar with the power to defund any activity, fire any bureaucrat or group of bureaucrats for any reason or no reason at all, impose a loyalty oath, and shoot any bureaucrat that violates his loyalty oath, is the problem.

Obamacare illustrates that democracy has been dead for a long time. So does gay marriage and affirmative action. The problem, however, is not so much lack of democracy, as absence of a central power. The rationale for government is to make one decision for all, in particularly, and most importantly, the decision of war or peace, that if it chooses peace, permits no one to cause trouble, if it chooses war, commands all to harm the enemy. But, in fact, our government is not capable of making one decision for all. It is anarcho tyranny.

A common semi humorous definition of anarcho tyranny is that everything is illegal (that is the tyranny) except crime, which is legal (that is the anarchy)

But a more serious definition is that the government is vast, powerful, intrusive (that is the tyranny) but is itself anarchic, itself subject to the tragedy of the commons (that is the anarchy)

The one definition, of course, tends to cause the other definition. The government being itself anarchic is uninterested in upholding law, since the rule of law, though it would benefit everyone, would not particularly benefit any one member of the government that himself attempted to uphold the rule of law without support from other members of the government, and the government being itself anarchic cannot restrain any one member of government from capriciously deeming any act by any subject illegal and punishing it.

The Shutdown problem

Monday, October 7th, 2013

The republican party has a big problem: How to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

The government has, without quite realizing it, accepted piecemeal funding of everything except Obamacare. There is no shutdown. There is just the government doing occasional bits of petty spitefulness and nastiness to express its hatred of its subjects.

Since no shutdown, no reason for the Republicans to pass a bill funding Obamacare. The “shutdown” can continue forever. How are they going to get themselves out of this problem? (more…)

Republicans not folding yet

Sunday, October 6th, 2013

A week ago I predicted that the Republicans would fold like a cheap deck chair, and and issue a grovelling apology for their evil attempt to implement their election platform merely because they won the House of Representatives.

Some of them are apologizing, but so far, no folding. (more…)

The underground economy continues

Saturday, October 5th, 2013

I, and others, have been assuming that the takedown of Silk Road represents competent action by the NSA.

Outside In, however, points out the interesting coincidence that the takedown of Silk Road follows, rather than precedes, the appearance of competition to Silk Road.

Atlantis, however, appears to have skedaddled with its user’s money, thus this looks like a successful shutdown of the online black market, hence likely to be primarily state action.

So, contrary to the headline, the underground economy does not continue.

Technological failure of the silk road system

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Silk Road servers stored all messages in the clear forever.

The government placed malware on Tor exit nodes, located the Silk Road servers, raided servers, game over.

Private messages should have been end to end encrypted, existing in the clear only on the computers of the sender and recipient, and should have been deniable, except for messages containing money, where the sender needed to be able to prove that the recipient account had received a message with a particular hash, and thus able to prove that the recipient account received a message with particular content including payment. (more…)

Cryptography standards

Friday, October 4th, 2013

If everyone was to do their own thing in cryptography, that would be very bad.

But committees are less intelligent than their individual members and are prone to evil and madness.  IEEE 802.11 was stupid. If NIST was not stupid, it was because evil was calling the shots behind the scenes, overruling the stupid.

Linux was a success because Linus is unelected president of linux for life.

Let us follow Jon Callas as unelected president for life of symmetric cryptography, Daniel Bernstein as God King of asymmetric cryptography.

Moving away from NIST

Friday, October 4th, 2013

Jon Callas, a leading cryptographer, is issuing a new version of Silent Circle, which by default uses only non NIST cryptography.

It was necessary to change the curves, since the NIST curves are probably backdoored. It was arguably not necessary to change the symmetric encryption and the hash, since they are unlikely to be backdoored. Nonetheless, he replaced AES with Twofish, and SHA with Skein-MAC.

absolutely, this is an emotional response. It’s protest. Intellectually, I believe that AES and SHA2 are not compromised. Emotionally, I am angry and I want to distance myself from even the suggestion that I am standing with the NSA. As Coderman and Iang put it, I want to *signal* my fury. I am so pissed off about this stuff that I don’t *care* about baby and bathwater, wheat and chaff, or whatever else. I also want to signal reassurance to the people who use my system that yes, I actually give a damn about this issue.

By moving away from anything NIST has touched he deprives the NSA of leverage to insert backdoors, contributing to the general good, from which his company, and thus himself also benefits. By opposing the NSA, he gives his company credibility that they will not secretly play footsy with the NSA behind closed doors, reassuring his customers and contributing to the particular good of his company and himself.

The fake shutdown confrontation

Tuesday, October 1st, 2013

Whichever party yields, winds up being blamed for any disruption caused.

Therefore, the party with the weaker hand should always yield swiftly, and the party with the stronger hand should never yield.  And since the constitution gives the party that controls the house of representatives the overwhelmingly stronger hand, the Republicans would win – except that the whole thing is staged.  They intend to lose, in order to persuade their voters that they have no choice but go along with Obamacare. (more…)