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Sai (saizai)
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Syncretist
Syncretist

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Going dark; help needed to maintain MYL

1. I have to go dark for a while.

This means no public/group visible online posting at all, no comment on most political / legal issues, and a few other things. I don't know for how long; probably anywhere from a couple months to a year, starting around the end of this month. TBD.

For now, that's all I can say. I hope to have an update later this month with some more details. FWIW, it's due to a good thing for once; just one that comes with some significant tradeoffs, this chief among them.

I am of course still interested in social contact, talking about subjects unrelated to law and politics, and staying informed about current events. I would appreciate being included in social events, private chats, etc.

If you have any questions or comments, please contact me privately (https://s.ai/contact), though please understand that I may not be able to respond to some things.


2. I need help to take over my ongoing responsibilities by end of month, at least for the period while I'm semi-offline.

The most important is +Make Your Laws, which will be dormant during this period. Although MYL isn't currently engaged in any political activity (let alone partisan activity), I should still separate myself as much as possible for the interim.

I need a couple reliable people to take over minimal maintenance.

If you could do any subset of these things, please contact me privately ASAP. Some of it requires being a US citizen; some does not — just let me know your status and what you could do.

* basic sysadmin (installing apt / ruby / gem security patches, restarting puma if it dies and monit fails to catch it, etc)
* basic secretarial / data entry (downloading bank statements, entering the transactions into a google spreadsheet, making sure it matches)
* filing quarterly/semiannual FEC financial reports
* filing annual reports to IRS and Delaware (~1 page each per the 3 MYL corps; DE requires payment form MYL accounts)
* ensuring they have the money to keep operating, keeping an eye on expenses, not letting accounts go overdrawn, etc; everything should be on autopay, but there might be gaps to handle manually
* dealing with random things may come up - e.g. talking to IRS about filing / status issues, to Wells Fargo about account issues (possibly in person at a branch)
** very unlikely but possible: FEC inquiries; press; action on our pending rulemaking about contribution laundering (which they've been sitting on for 2 years)


I can bootstrap new people through any of this, and help behind the scenes a little bit if there's something baffling. We have pro bono lawyers if that's needed, a simple task/reminder system, and Google Apps (mainly drive & mail).

A couple non-maintenance things that would be even more helpful:
* paperwork for a small backdated salary to me from the c3, which was previously approved and would eg let me qualify for Social Security disability; I can't touch it due to conflict of interest
* coding (mainly ruby/rails & OSS) on eg payment processing, checkout, sharing, OFX sync, automating FEC reports, etc

The coding is the crucial part to having MYL actually launch. That's what's been holding it back; the legal and planning side is pretty much totally prepped.


That's about it for now — I need to shift my social life to avoid any public presence, and ensure MYL is maintained.

If you can help, I'd very much appreciate it.

It's going to be a big change for me, and disrupt a lot of my life… but I wouldn't do this if it weren't worth it. Sorry for the necessary temporary secrecy.

Please stay in touch.

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The Judicial Conference has proposed rules that would require lawyers to use electronic filing in federal courts, but prohibit people representing themselves from doing so without first getting court permission in any given case.

My formal comments explain why this has a wide range of harms that's completely unjustified by any of the concerns they raise, and suggest an alternative rule — give pro se litigants a rebuttable presumption letting them choose which method they want to use: drive.google.com/open?id=0BzmetJxi-p0VQVloa3l2c1IwZlE

All comments, proposed rules, etc are in the folders labeled 2016: drive.google.com/drive/folders/0BzmetJxi-p0VQ0lXWmJDdHBURUE

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Some updates on the political situation. Everything is very preliminary right now, because it's (apparently deliberately) unclear.

Several Federal judges have issued stays against the "Muslim ban" order. However, there are confirmed reports from multiple sources that Customs & Border Patrol (CBP, part of the DHS) is willfully disregarding those stays, denying access to counsel, moving the people they're holding to undisclosed locations so that nobody can get habeas corpus, and deporting people. This is very certainly not a local commander's decision; it goes up to the Sec'y of HS at least, and directly to Trump at most.

But – and here's the kicker – it's incredibly unclear what the scope of this refusal is. There's no clear news coming out, and we're getting more useful reports from the Twitter feeds of top attorneys in the field (both from groups like the ACLU, who have done heroic work tonight, and from attorneys at top firms, who have been joining this pro bono) than we are from anywhere else.

If this is a refusal of unambiguous Federal court orders, then this is serious, serious beyond the scale of anything we've seen in our lifetimes: it's DHS saying that if Trump tells them to do one thing and the courts another, they will do what Trump says and best of luck to the courts trying to enforce that. Which is to say, they're establishing a precedent that DHS actions are not subject to any sort of court review, or to anything other than the personal fiat of Trump – including their right to detain people, deport them, or hold them incommunicado.

Alternatively, this might be something else, a decision by CBP counsel that certain court orders don't apply to certain cases; this is serious too, since they're trying to create "facts on the ground" faster than the courts can react, but it doesn't mean a wholesale rejection of the system of law. I simply don't have enough information yet, and hope to update as we know more.

Separately, there was another story today: Trump reorganized the National Security Counsel. The two most prominent changes are this: Steve Bannon now has a seat on it, and the Director of National Intelligence and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff were both demoted: they only attend meetings of the Principals Committee which "[pertain] to their responsibilities and expertise."

(The other full members of the PC, incidentally, are the secretaries of State (Tillerson), Treasury (Szubin), Defense (Mattis), and Homeland Security (Kelly), the AG (Sessions), the President's Chief of Staff (Priebus), the National Security Advisor (Flynn), and the Homeland Security Advisor (Bossert). You can read the full order here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/01/28/presidential-memorandum-organization-national-security-council-and)

The demotion of the DNI and CJCS is surprising and I don't yet know what it means. There currently is no DNI – Coats' nomination is yet to be confirmed. It's hard to imagine what meetings wouldn't pertain to their "responsibilities and expertise," especially given that secretaries with much more specific responsibilities (like Treasury) weren't demoted. Bannon's promotion, however, is more significant: Trump is known for not attending many meetings, and delegating those, and Bannon is likely to be his principal representative in the NSC.

My gut read is that this is something which will prove very important in the long run. Trump's rift with the existing military and intelligence establishments is well-known, and he's made numerous statements, directly and through surrogates, about his interest in constructing alternative establishments reporting directly to him. Bannon would be a logical person to manage that subchain, as his "Chief Strategist" role doesn't come with a large org to manage already, or with Congressionally mandated restrictions. That would be the skeleton of a new internal security system, with the DHS and FBI (both very loyal to Trump) in the loop, together with a new private "security force" rolling up to Keith Schiller that takes over a lot of Secret Service roles, and a hypothetical new intelligence force, with Bannon being either de facto or de jure in charge of all the new organizations, and little to no legal supervision over them.

It's not clear, again, that this is where it's going, but it's definitely the configuration I would keep my eyes open for. It would promote Bannon from a Goebbels to a Himmler, which I suspect he would be just fine with.

So: Many signs out there, but nothing clear yet. These could range from incredibly serious to passing things, depending on how the next week or so plays out.

Update (00:51 PST): The DHS has put out an official statement, and I'll be damned if I can figure out what it means. It starts out by saying that they will continue to enforce all of Trump's orders, and that the orders remain in place, but it does offer a nod (later on) to complying with judicial orders.

Text here: https://www.dhs.gov/news/2017/01/29/department-homeland-security-response-recent-litigation

Update (02:06 PST): The Washington Post's story pulls together a range of official statements, which make it clear that this is deliberate and central policy, ordered personally by Trump. The exact meaning of the DHS statement remains unclear, but most people are reading it as an intent to continue to do whatever they want; it may involve a suggestion that if they don't want to grant a waiver to someone with a green card, they may do it by simply revoking the green card on the spot.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/refugees-detained-at-us-airports-challenge-trumps-executive-order/2017/01/28/e69501a2-e562-11e6-a547-5fb9411d332c_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_airports-1046am%3Ahomepage%2Fstory&utm_term=.560b5a336b45

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I've never seen a court order federal law enforcement to enforce an order on other federal law enforcement before, either. This is jaw dropping.

Anyone know of some precedent?

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This is rather extremely familiar to me. Minus the infection part. Weird symptoms, never properly diagnosed, told it's conversion disorder because they have no idea what would cause me to have a halfdozen ultra-rare symptoms, etc. Not saying I have ME per se, but the overlap is pretty extensive. (https://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/myalgic-encephalomyelitis/ lists "sensitivity to sunlight", which is rather an understatement for being functionally blind in bright light.) OTOH, there seems to be no diagnostic test, and no treatment. So I'm not sure that getting diagnosed with this would even be helpful to me, except perhaps for the purposes of bureaucracies… which, come to think of it, would be very valuable.

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1. It seems to be patched now — I can't replicate it any more — but I'm waiting on a follow-up issue and coordination / comment before disclosing. I may be writing it up more formally than here; TBD.

2. Google will pay me $1,337 + $500 for this (it was counted as two bugs). Whee, I'm still a Professional H4x0r™⸮

See <https://www.google.com/about/appsecurity/reward-program/>; it's in the category "normal Google applications" / "other valid security vulnerabilities". Not big, but still in the ~<5% of bug reports that end up qualifying for a reward.

Funnily enough (to me), paying me is currently pending an issue with how they handle bug reporters' emails, rather than my name etc. (At least for now. :-P Hopefully they've had enough Indonesian suppliers that mononyms will have arisen before, but who knows.)

3. The email issue also means that my ranking on the bughunter site is lower than it should be (as I'm only getting points for one of the two bugs — the lower-value one). I'm told they'll be fixing it in a few months. Meh, no rush — though I guess it does hit a bit of the "whee being higher in public rankings" Skinner-box. Whee reward systems.

4. I just noticed that the Google security team have a new presentation about the VRP, which may be of interest to those of you who are interested in how a major bug bounty program works behind the scenes:

https://sites.google.com/site/bughunteruniversity/behind-the-scenes/war-stories-from-google-vrp
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QoE0M7v84ZU
Whee, my name is on Google's vulnerability finders list. ^.^

I'll disclose the reason why after they've had time to fix the issue.

Direct link: https://bughunter.withgoogle.com/profile/4af56d88-1397-4da7-88fc-c10abc72b038

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Updated my resume for law school applications. Mostly a tweak to reflect changes over the last year — progress in FRCP rules changes, Google vulnerability rewards, successful amicus re Klingon, progress & setbacks in IFP privacy cases. A few edits for concision & clarity.
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