Just some friction in The Machine

Saturday, June 19, 2010

In response to the Sacramento City Council voting for economic sanctions against Arizona, I have decided to boycott businesses within the city limits, and have just created the website Boycott Sacramento to link to similar groups.

Let me be clear that I think it's unwise to initiate economic sanctions against any entity that uses your same currency, but since I don't live in the City of Sacramento, I can't vote to Recall the Idiots. Since I live less than half a mile outside of the city boundary, I regularly shop at businesses in the city, well, at least I used to. (Sorry Corti Brothers, sorry Art Ellis, sorry Chevron, sorry Elephant Bar, sorry Arden Fair Mall.....) I just can't see letting .75% of my purchase, the city's cut of sales tax, go to the city. So I'll shop in the county instead. I'm tempted to go use all of the free city services as much as I can and just make sure that I'm outside of city boundaries before I spend any money.

Since the city boundaries aren't obvious, you'll want to check out the boundary maps. I like the one for parks better than the one for council districts. It let me know that one of my favorite restaurants, Fresh Choice on Howe Ave, is in the county, albeit right on the line. The Fresh Choice in Arden Fair Mall is in the city, so I won't go to that one any more.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I am amazed at the stupidity of some California politicians. San Francisco, San Diego and now Los Angeles have passed resolutions to boycott Arizona because of their new anti-illegal immigration law. Regardless of their feelings toward the law, do they really want to start an economic civil war between States? Particularly when their opinion is in the minority, pushing for economic sanctions of a state only invites reprisals and is suicidal. There is no winner, it will always be lose-lose, the question is only who can afford to lose more?

OK, silly liberal politicians, I hope Arizona returns the volley, here's an idea, I decided to send this note to every Arizona company I can think of:

--- snip ---

Considering the fact that several California cities have passed resolutions to boycott Arizona based businesses, and the fact that a majority of Americans support the Arizona Law
I think you should create an advertising campaign proudly stating that you're an Arizona based company, and people can show how out-of-touch California politicians are with Americans by supporting you. Remember, Californians overwhelmingly passed Proposition 187 a few years ago, we're just as disgusted with our politicians as you are.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Interesting article in The Washington Post today. The authors cite several Supreme Court cases that they believe would be used to test any health care mandates. Their conclusion seems to be that Congress won't be able to come up with a law that will pass constitutional muster.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

According to Yahoo News, the White House appears ready to drop 'public option'. I wonder who finally figured out that government run health care is unconstitutional?

Back in June, the Wall Street Journal published an opinion piece suggesting that government-run health care may be unconstitutional because it would be impossible to implement without violating the right to privacy established in Roe v. Wade.

Personally, I think it's much more likely that the Supreme Court would invalidate a public health option based on "takings" violations of the 5th Amendment as in the case of

What most people don't know is that Social Security taxes, according to the Supreme Court case Helvering v. Davis, are "true taxes, their purpose being simply to raise revenue . . . available for the general support of Government." Our government convinced the Supreme Court in 1937 that there is absolutely no connection between Social Security taxes and the benefits paid. People have no right to Social Security benefits regardless of how much they've paid into "the system", therefore it's not an insurance or annuity program as was found unconstitutional in the Railroad Retirement v Alton case.

Maybe the White House has figured out that the Supreme Court may well overturn forced government "insurance".

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I just read an interesting blog post from Jim Mathie in August 2006. He was talking about John Kerry's ideas for health care at the time, but the logic still applies..... what if Congress passes a health care plan, a case questioning its constitutionality is brought to the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court decides to revisit the 1937 Helvering v. Davis decision that allowed for implementation of Social Security? Would they find that Social Security is unconstitutional? Medicaid?

Friday, August 14, 2009

Kudos to Remote Area Medical (RAM) for hosting a free medical event in Inglewood, CA this week.

It makes me wonder, why is a universal/socialized/single-payer health plan the only thing being discussed in Washington and the media? Don't they realize that such a plan can't be Constitutional from the outset? If the feds really want to help the uninsured, they'd take a clue from Remote Area Medical and set up mobile clinics with free services to all comers, leaving them in place for as long as the line lasts and moving to the next location. There you go, free health care for anyone who needs it, and no mandates on anybody who chooses to provide their own health care, thank you very much.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tonight I attended a training class using the Open Web Application Security Project (OWASP) Live CD. The Live CD is packed with security testing tools like nmap and WireShark. I was really impressed with the ability to use WebScarab proxy to log, interrupt and modify HTTP calls to a localhost copy of WebGoat webserver. Ever since I earned my CISSP certification in 2001, I've maintained a laptop of security tools, after tonight, I'm thinking OWASP may be my new toolbox.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

I just wrote a letter to the editor of the Sacramento Bee in response to an anti-birther editorial by Eugene Robinson.

  • In his editorial "The Berserk 'Birthers'", Eugene Robinson states "that there is not a scintilla of truth....in the whole 'birther' idea", and then goes on to compare them to those who believe the world is flat, even suggesting that they should wear tin foil hats.

    But Robinson avoids the one (and only) question that unites 'birthers', that being the question of which controlling legal authority has verified Obama's eligibility? The answer is NONE.

    True, there are those who believe Obama wasn't born in Hawaii, but there are also those who believe Obama couldn't be "natural born" whether or not he was born in Hawaii, since the common understanding of the term "natural born" at the time of the ratification of the Constitution was based on English common law and such writings as William Blackstone, Commentaries 1:354, 357–58, 361–62 (1765), which required BOTH of a person's parents to be citizens in order to be considered to be "natural born".

    As long as there is disagreement about the meaning of the term "natural born", and as long as there is no assigned legal authority to verify such elegibility, this issue will not go away.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Are we really this close to fascism that the White House openly asks citizens to report private conversations if they oppose their political agenda?

  • These rumors often travel just below the surface via chain emails or through casual conversation. Since we can’t keep track of all of them here at the White House, we’re asking for your help. If you get an email or see something on the web about health insurance reform that seems fishy, send it to flag@whitehouse.gov.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Sheriff Joe Arpaio in Maricopa County, Arizona continues to irritate Janet Napolitano and the Department of Homeland Security by arresting illegal immigrants. So why isn't the federal government beating him to it? I don't know ask Janet....
Anyway, apparently Arpaio's deputies arrested a couple dozen illegals the other day

  • Ten of the illegal immigrants were released because they had committed no other crimes, and that fact pitted Arpaio against Homeland Security. Arpaio says the feds told his deputies to let them go, while Homeland Security says the decision was exclusively Arpaio's.
Hmmm, could it be a difference of interpretation? Between Arpaio and Napolitano, I know who I believe.

Saturday, August 01, 2009

A picture is worth a thousand words......

It's amazing that the White House would publish this photo not realizing how revealing it is.

  • Sergeant Crowley, the sole class act in this trio, helps the handicapped Professor Gates down the stairs, while Barack Obama heedless of the infirmities of his friend and fellow victim of self-defined racial profiling, strides ahead on his own. So who is compassionate? And who is so self-involved and arrogant that he is oblivious?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Finally, someone who makes sense when talking about universal health care.

  • There are ways to provide universal or near-universal coverage without transferring ownership of health care production to the government. When we wanted no American to go hungry, the government did not take over the entire food production industry; it provided vouchers, food stamps. Why then, when it comes to health coverage, would we think the answer lies in transferring control of all health care production to the government?
  • Senator Jim DeMint, RINEE of South Carolina (Republican In Name and Everything Else), for example, offers The Health Care Freedom Plan,

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Read a great quote this evening in the forward to the 1914 book FIAT MONEY INFLATION IN FRANCE . Seems to be as relevant today as it was a century ago.

  • Legislatures are as powerless to abrogate moral and economic laws as they are to abrogate physical laws. They cannot convert wrong into right nor divorce effect from cause, either by parliamentary majorities, or by unity of supporting public opinion.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

I recently bought a used Chevy S10 pickup and found out that it is capable of running on 85% ethanol (E85). There are a couple of fueling stations nearby that sell E85, so I can use E85 if I can get over an ethical dilemma. TIME magazine ran a story in March 2008 titled The Clean Energy Scam suggesting that burning E85 might actually be more harmful to the environment than burning gasoline.

I must admit, I do think that making ethanol from corn is stupid, but there are better feedstocks for making ethanol.

I do believe that the environmental science is squarely in favor of using ethanol as a motor fuel, but only if you use the right feedstocks and production processes to create it. I put the blame for the unintended environmental consequences mentioned in the TIME article directly on the U.S. Congress who distort the feedstock market with sugar subsidizes and import quotas and corn subsidies.

If Congress wants to encourage energy independence, they should tax petroleum and subsidize biofuels research, and stop manipulating the ethanol feedstock markets.