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Cavebear Blog

Internet: Quo Vadis (Where are you going?)

ArcadiaArticles, blogs, and meetings about the internet of the future are filled with happy, positive words like “global”, “uniform”, and “open”.

The future internet is described in ways that seem as if taken from a late 1960’s Utopian sci-fi novel: the internet is seen as overcoming petty rivalries between countries, dissolving social rank, equalizing wealth, and bringing universal justice.

If that future is to be believed, the only obstacle standing between us and an Arcadian world of peace and harmony is that the internet does not yet reach everyone, or that network carriers are unfairly giving different treatment to different kinds of traffic, or that evil governments are erecting “Great Walls”, or that IPv6 is not yet everywhere, or that big companies are acquiring top level domains, or that encryption is not ubiquitous … The list goes on and on.

I do not agree.

I do not believe that the future internet will be a Utopia. Nor do I believe that the future internet will be like some beautiful angel, bringing peace, virtue, equality, and justice.

Big BrotherInstead I believe that there are strong, probably irresistible, forces working to lock-down and partition the internet.

I believe that the future internet will be composed of “islands’.

These islands will tend to coincide with countries, cultures, or companies.

There will be barriers between these islands. And to cross those barriers there will be explicit bridges between various islands.

Network traffic that moves over these bridges will be observed, monitored, regulated, limited, and taxed.

The future internet will be used as a tool for power, control, and wealth.

And to a large degree the users of this future internet will not care about this.

This paper describes this future - a future more likely than the halcyon world painted by others.

Why Did I Break A Perfectly Good Website?

I have reworked the old, Joomla based, CaveBear website. It took a lot of work. A lot of URLs got changed, thus breaking external links. And I am sure that a lot of small adjustments remain to be done.

The old one was not broken.

So why did I break a perfectly good website?

Well, I’ll tell you why.

It all begins with the idea that much of the content of today’s world-wide-web will disappear.

Redressing Excess Corporate Power

Proposed Amendment to the United States Constitution To Redress the Increasing Distortion of Elections and Political Speech by Corporations and Other Aggregate Forms

Karl Auerbach ─ October 14, 2011 ─ Version 1.04

Proposed Text:

Corporate and other aggregate forms of organization are neither Persons nor Citizens under this Constitution and shall have neither protections, rights, nor legal standing under this Constitution.

This Amendment shall not be construed to deny or disparage the power of Congress or the Several States to enact legislation that defines rights, powers, limitations, liabilities, and standing of such corporate and other aggregate forms of organization.

The Problem:

The conservative wing of the US Supreme Court has elevated several corporate rights to at least the same degree of Constitutional protection as the rights of natural (living) people.

There is little or no precedent for the creation of these rights in corporations. The idea of the modern corporation did not arise until nearly a century after the writing and adoption of the Constitution. And the 14th Amendment predates the rise of the modern corporation by at least a decade.

In other words, these corporate rights are the product of judicial legislation.

Biodiesel Stinks

Monday, 21 April 2008 16:25

It used to be that people who drive with the windows open or the top down could identify two kinds of vehicles from their smell, even at long distances: Ford diesel pickups, both old and new, and old diesel Peugeots.

The ranks of the stinkers have been supplemented by biodiesel conversions of cars and trucks that should have been scrapped long ago.

And here in Santa Cruz, there are a lot of these things.

Unanswered Questions

Sunday, 20 April 2008 17:00

So far none of the candidates for president has answered some of the questions I would like to hear answered:

  1. Will, and when, will the candidate initiate a review with the purpose of repudiating Bush’s excessive signing statements?
  2. Will the candidate promise not to use signing statements except to identify ambiguities and difficulties so that Congress may provide clarifications?
  3. Will, and when, will the candidate repudiate the concept of the “unitary executive”?
  4. Will, and when, will the candidate recognize that the Constitution of the United States not only limits the powers of the United States Federal government, including the executive, within the geographic borders of the United States, but everywhere.

Citizens or Subjects?

Saturday, 09 February 2008 16:59

It’s pretty obvious that the Republican party is going to try to paint Democratic candidates for US Federal offices (President, Senate, and House) as wimps who are going to hand the country over to “terrorists”.

That, of course, is utter and vacuous nonsense.

The real issue for fall 2008 is this:

Are we Citizens or Subjects?

The Democrats allow us, you and me, to have opinions, to differ from one another, and to disagree with the government. In other words, we would be citizens.

The Republican position, on the other hand, tries to make you and me subordinate to the government position. The Republicans want us to be subjects. If we differ on any subject from their position - whether it be on a war, on use of taxes to support “faith”, or on whether the government hand is put down our wife’s throat or down our pants - then we will be labelled as unpatriotic and un-American.

I chose to be a Citizen. I hope you join me.


Wednesday, 03 October 2007 18:36

I’m getting pretty disgusted with the way that Congress does the dance of the neutered wimps around the president’s increasingly egregious claims of executive power.

GWB is playing a game of chicken with Congress and Congress ought to call his bluff.

The House and Senate ought to begin by sanctioning those government contractors who refuse to turn over documents because the president told them not to. Perhaps the Senate ought to begin by holding some executives from Blackwater and AT&T in contempt and tossing ‘em into the clink until they recognize that Congress has at least as much authority in this country as does the president.

And Congress, even if it does not have the votes to pass veto proof legislation or to get past the Senate’s filibuster rules, most certainly has the power to refuse to pass legislation that the president needs.

Teddy Roosevelt once sent a fleet across the seas and said that it was Congress’ problem to pay to get it back home. Perhaps Congress ought turn the tables and refuse to pass the forthcoming budget, let the Federal government go into stasis, and tell the president that it’s his problem to pay for his war.

Going Solar

Sunday, 23 September 2007 18:00

I just got a new toy - We just added solar panels to our house.

Every hour or every time the sun changes I dash up to the garage to check the output and then race out to the power meter to watch it spin backwards.

It is somewhat ironic that as a result we are going to have to trim the crowns of several trees that impinge on our solar horizon.

We anticipate that this will reduce our electrical bill to zero.

However, due to a Reagan era clunker in the the Byzantine US tax code, we are going to be scrod and unable to obtain the Federal Tax credit.

A Toast to G. W. B.

Saturday, 15 September 2007 17:02

Mr. President, I offer you a toast.

May you have a long life; may your mind remain lucid.

May you live to see the nation and history repudiate everything you have done and everything you stand for.

My you live to understand how you perverted your oath to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States.

May you live to perceive how you polluted the words “freedom” and “democracy” and so dishonored the United States and its citizens that we are ashamed to say “We are Americans”.

May you live to comprehend that you cheapened religion, morality, and ethics by turning them into political tools of expediency rather than reflections of our highest aspirations.

May you live to feel shame for what you have done.

Being Distracted

Tuesday, 04 September 2007 18:32

I’ve been rather busy of late; I’ve been writing a lot of code in pursuit of my long developing ideas about self-healing networks and network troubleshooting (these may seem disjoint, but they are two ends of a spectrum.)

I needed a break, so this last weekend I fired up Doda, dropped her top, and headed south for a trip over the Santa Lucia mountains, from King City to Big Sur via the Nacimiento-Ferguson Road.

The trip encompassed landscapes covered by two of California’s greatest writers - Wallace Stegner and John Steinbeck. (All married people ought to read Stegner’s Angle of Repose and Crossing To Safety.)