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Archive for the ‘law’ Category

So, email. It was invented in 1965 with the first time-sharing systems at MIT. Students at MIT wrote a program called “MAIL” that allowed sending email to each other, as documented by one of the early developers who worked on the MIT systems. By 1970 email programs had gotten a bit more sophisticated, with the development of the modern inbox as part of the Multics project. In 1971, the first version of Unix, created by people who’d worked on Multics who were pining for some of the features of Multics, included a program called ‘mail’ to allow sending email to other users on Unix systems. Then in 1971 Ray Tomlinson, a developer of the ARPANET (a predecessor of the Internet) at BBN (a government contractor), sent the first email across the ARPANET between two computers. By 1972 he’d developed the syntax of using the “@” sign to separate the user name and the destination, so that the ARPANET email system didn’t need to know the user accounts on all systems on the ARPANET simultaneously and so that a user “badtux” at one site and a user “badtux” at another site wouldn’t be confused with each other. Initially the DEC 10 (Tenex) and Multics operating systems supported Internet mail. Obviously others followed.

By 1973 the situation of incompatible email systems on the ARPANET had reached the point where a meeting had to be called to standardize email on the ARPANET. The ARPANET community then tossed out a multitude of proposals which were discussed and hashed out over the course of the year, mostly via email (!). EMAIL accounted for 2/3rds of the traffic on the ARPANET that year. The first SPAM on the ARPANET apparently happened in 1975. By 1976 the Queen of England sent an email message on the ARPANET. In 1976. By 1978, the BSD Unix Mail program had been written with folders and the ability to easily move messages between them, and an email reader had been implemented in MacLisp inside Multics Emacs, thereby proving the adage that Emacs is not a text editor, Emacs is an operating system.

Also in 1978, a 14 year old kid in New Jersey by the name of Shiva Ayyadurai started writing an electronic version of the inter-office mail system for what later became Rutgers Medical School and finished writing it sometime in 1979. He called it EMAIL. Some time later, in 1982, he illegally copyrighted it. (Illegally because it was done as a work for hire for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey which paid him as an employee to write the program, and thus the copyright, which was automatically granted upon the program first being distributed under the terms of the Copyright Act of 1976 which took effect on January 1, 1978, legally belonged to the medical school under the Work for Hire doctrine).

So. That’s a brief history of email up until 1979. In 1980, the limitations of using a bag on the side of the FTP protocol to pass email messages around the Internet reached the breaking point, and SMTP (Send Mail Transport Protocol) was invented and ARPANET’s email transitioned to that new protocol, which is still in use today as our standard Internet EMAIL protocol to transmit messages between email servers all over the world. And in 1983, the current IPv4 Internet protocol replaced the original IMP protocol and it is still in use today. None of which is controversial in any way… except Shiva Ayyadurai says he invented email, and he’ll sue anybody who says differently. Despite all that easily documented history that I mention above. Documented history including, for example, the original Unix manuals from 1971, or the source code for the original MIT email program from 1965 which can be downloaded from historical archives and viewed for yourself, or etc.

And no, those were not instant messaging programs. The BSD ‘mail’ program from 1978, for example, is the exact same program that is shipped with every Linux system in the world today. You likely haven’t seen the program if you date to the GUI era, but I used it back in my BSD days in the early 80’s before we had all this fancy GUI shit, and it implements all the functionality you’d expect of an email program — it has subject headers and From headers, it has folders, you can move messages between folders, etc. It was email. Period. And not invented by Shiva Ayyadurai.

So Shiva Ayyadurai says he’s tired of being called a liar and a fraud? Then he should quit lying and should quit fraudulently claiming to have invented email. And if he doesn’t want to read articles like this on the Internet? Then he should quit being the sort of fucking asswipe who sues news publications that publish the true history of email.

Note: Feel free to copy and paste. This is the kind of asshole who deserves all the negative publicity he has bought by suing a news source for, well, reporting the truth.

– Badtux the Annoyed Penguin

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A federal judge halts Trump’s executive order punishing sanctuary cities because it violates the 10th Amendment.

The hilarious part: Do you know where that Supreme Court ruling came from that says that the Federal government can’t force cities to do stuff they don’t want to do? Guess what: It was a right wing lawsuit that did this. Specifically, Printz v. United States, 521 U.S. 898 (1997). This lawsuit was filed by a couple of right-wing gun nut sheriffs who didn’t want to do the firearms background checks called for by the Brady Bill. The final decision held that, under the 10th Amendment, the Federal government could not force local sheriffs to perform firearms background checks on behalf of the Federal government. To quote the decision: “… the Federal Government may not compel the States to enact or administer a federal regulatory program”. And immigration is decidedly a federal regulatory program, as pointed out in the Supreme Court ruling on another right-wing lawsuit, Arizona v. United States 641 F. 3d 339 (2012), which held that immigration was a Federal responsibility and states could not enact their own laws regulating or restricting immigration.

So. Any Federal judge worth their salt looks at Printz, looks at Arizona, and rules on the merits that the Federal government cannot force states to enforce Federal immigration law. If Trump really wants to argue this, he’ll be going all the way to the Supreme Court, and it’s doubtful that he’d win — even the right-wing judges on the court aren’t going to overturn their very own decision made in 1997, a decision that, by and large, is good for right wingers.

But of course he probably knew all that when he scrawled out that executive order in crayon and tossed it over the transom, he’s just doing it for political reasons, so …

– Badtux the Law Penguin

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So, finally, after months of pressure, prosecutors have charged Marc and Elizabeth Hokoana with assault with a deadly weapon for shooting an unarmed person on January 20. It took so long because they are right wing zealots who went out there to assault and shoot them some liberals, the person they shot, Josh Dukes, who was confronting Marc over him using pepper spray on a crowd of left-wing protestors, was himself a left winger, and everybody knows it’s not a crime if conservatives shoot leftists because leftists are so scary that opening fire is the only way to defend yourself from the possibility of learning that, well, Josh Dukes is probably too nice a guy for his own good. (And damn lucky to be alive, he’ll never be “right” again because that bullet did major, major damage to him).

Y’know, if you or I shot someone, we would be arrested on the spot and have charges against us of assault with a deadly weapon within hours. But we’re not right-wing agitators out to incite violence. That would give us immunity from prosecution, at least for the three months needed for public pressure to force the prosecutor to actually prosecute assault with a deadly weapon.

Yay, “justice”. For some definition of the word. Unlike Josh, I hope that these pair go to jail for a long, long time. Not because I want them punished for the sake of punishment, but, rather, to discourage other right-wingers from following their footsteps and themselves going into the business of shooting leftists. Because apparently they need the reminder…

– Badtux the Law Penguin

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Every morning, I open up my web browser wondering if today is going to be the day I don’t say “What the fuck?” about something that His Fraudulency Donald the Trump or one of his lizard people officials said or did. Today, once again, was not that day. Because a) the Orange Racist Pussy Grabber released his proposed budget for next year, a budget that predominantly eliminates programs that help Trump voters such as Meals for Wheels and the Appalachian Regional Commission (and what kind of heartless sociopath could ever advocate zeroing out the budget for Meals for Wheels and Sesame Street, for crying out loud!), but he also proposed spending $4.1 billion on his wall next year. Because people might die due to eliminating the Chemical Safety Board, but by god it won’t be done by one of them Messicans!

Talking about which, the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court has demanded that ICE stop stalking California courts, claiming that ICE is intimidating Hispanic witnesses in ongoing criminal trials and causing a public safety hazard. ICE of course says basically “up yours, Ms. Judge, you’re not the boss of me!”. Just as Customs and Border Protection says to they don’t have to obey the NAFTA treaty that says registered nurses qualify for a TN visa and thus can keep out much-needed Canadian nurses because, well, they can. Even though NAFTA is still the law until officially repealed or renegotiated. But God-Emperor Donald the Trump’s administration doesn’t care about no steenkin’ law, it’s all defiant juvenile “you’re not the boss of me! I don’t have to follow your rules!”. Because Cheeto Mussolini says they can. So they do it.

Then there is the ongoing Nazi saga of Sebastian Gorka, who has been dodging allegations that he is a Nazi for weeks now. Well, today a Jewish news magazine published what they purport is evidence that he really is a genuine bona fide Nazi, forcing him to explicitly deny that he’s a Nazi. Except that if he was ever a member of that Hungarian Nazi Party, he is ineligible for immigration to the United States, and could be stripped of his citizenship and deported, just like that sad sack Nazi who’s about to be deported to Poland. Oops!

And on to the Russia front. No wonder Michael Flynn resigned — he was up to his ears in Russian dough.

Finally, I think we’ve found Donald Trump’s next Peace Corps head — a Mormon missionary who beat the crap out of two people who tried to hold him up in Brazil. Because Trump is defunding the Institute for Peace while giving the military more money because the only peace he believes in is the peace of the grave, and this is exactly the right man to enforce that peace.

And that’s this day’s dispatch from the Imperial States of America, where God-Emperor Donald the Trump’s regime of lawlessness and incompetence continues as it has for the past 56 days.

– Badtux the News Penguin

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Found: The memo by the Office of Legal Counsel issued to Trump a few hours before his executive order on immigration was released, okaying it for release:

January 29, 2017

This is the best Executive Order ever. Everyone says so. Thanks, Mr. Commander-in-Chief!
— Office of Legal Counsel

P.S. The Muslims won’t like it. Sad.

SNRK!

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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The League of Ordinary Gentlemen has a nice article about the legal ins and outs of the decision.

Basically:

1) The appellate court ruled upon what had been briefed. The Government did not provide information about terrorist threats that required blocking admission of those who had already been authorized to be admitted to the country. The court cannot rule on 3rd party information which has not been introduced at the circuit court. Courts don’t work that way. If the State wants information to be considered by the appeals court, said information has to be introduced into the record at the circuit court level, which the State apparently did not do.

2) The court ruled primarily on the question of due process for revocation of existing visas, not on whether the President has power to refuse to issue visas or to block entry by specific individuals identified as threats to public safety. The court ruled that it is not going to repeal the stay for just parts of the executive order that are incontrovertibly within the President’s power because that basically would be the court re-writing the executive order. If the President wants to rewrite the executive order to be compliant with the Constitution and revoke the previous executive order, he needs to do so, the court is not going to do so.

In short, this was a narrow ruling on whether a stay or preliminary injunction should stay in place. There may be other arguments to make, but the appeals court can only consider the evidence and arguments that have been entered into the record, it is not tasked with independently seeking out information or considering novel arguments that were not introduced by the State and indeed that would be judicial misconduct. It appears that the DoJ lawyer is unfamiliar with such basic rules of legal practice. Frankly, from listening to the actual broadcast, this DoJ lawyer appeared to be completely flummoxed on many occasions. He appeared unprepared and with no response other than hemming and hawing when judges asked him “where is that briefed?” i.e. where is that evidence entered into the record? They seem unimpressed when he says “but we just started making our case, we haven’t done that yet!”, pointing out that he is the one who chose to appeal at this specific time, and it is his job to enter the evidence, not theirs. Frankly, if that’s his usual level of competence, I wouldn’t hire him to write a will. He’d probably write a will with so many holes in it that my heirs would be squabbling over who gets what for the next twenty years after I die.

And oh yeah, the government lawyer’s argument “You can’t review the President’s executive order, you don’t have the power!”. Uhm, yeah. That’s like telling a cop “do you know who I am? You can’t arrest me!”. Yeah, you get some new steel jewelry shortly thereafter, and a few new scrapes and bruises if you object, then a nice trip to a holding cell to share space with pimps, drunks, druggies, and so forth. Sure, you’ll get let out as soon as you make bail the next day and the charges will likely be dismissed, but there’s some things you just don’t say as a common sense thing, and telling a judge “you can’t review me, you don’t have the power!” is one of them.

– Badtux the Snarky Penguin

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I’ve seen multiple reports now of Customs and Border Protection defying the court order to allow green card holders into the United States.

Apparently Donald Trump has told the Department of Homeland Security to ignore the court orders, and the union representing Border Patrol agents has applauded the executive order, which even conservative lawyers call malevolent and incompetent. Trump apparently is saying to the judge, “you have issued your order, now enforce it.”

We shall see. A President who feels safe in ignoring the courts, who feels that rule of law no longer applies to him, is a President who is no longer a president, he is a strongman dictator. Tomorrow is going to be… interesting. In the Chinese sense of the word.

As for the order itself, as former Vice President Dick “Darth” Cheney put it:

“I think this whole notion that somehow we can just say no more Muslims, just ban a whole religion, goes against everything we stand for and believe in. I mean, religious freedom has been a very important part of our history and where we came from.”

When even Darth Cheney thinks you’re evil…

– Badtux

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