Monday, August 31, 2020

Proposal for New Constitutional Amendments: Our New Reconstruction

Internet Pioneer and California Attorney Karl Auerbach  has opened a “Call for Comments and Discussion” on his proposal for reigning in the powers of the executive branch of the U.S. Government.

Auerbach proposes amending the U.S. Constitution to constrain Presidential power – already growing at an alarming rate in prior administrations – now exploding under Trump. Auerbach’s paper, “Our New Reconstruction” is available at

As Gary Kasparov warned in Feb 2017: “… America is about to find out that its government is based on the honor system.” Originally, the framers of the Constitution imagined the U.S. President as a statesman comporting himself with dignity and honor, observing norms and traditions. The Constitution did not anticipate or imagine that the office of the president would ever be occupied by an oligarch.

It is now time to correct the U.S. Constitution with amendments that address this unforeseen development.

Auerbach’s paper identifies the following steps required:

  • Define and limit “the executive power” expressed in Article II
  • Define and limit executive privilege
  • Constrain Presidential “Immunity”
  • Expand the concept of “standing” to enforce constitutional obligations – allow a citizen to bring action against a failed government agency
  • Increase the authority of Congress to compel the Executive Branch to comply with subpoenas, requests for documents, information, or explanations on matters that are well within the vast powers of Congress to investigate, legislate, and impeach.
  • Clarify control of the military
  • Clarify the emoluments clauses
  • Constrain the pardon and commutation powers
  • Ban the use of U.S. Treasury funds and U.S. assets for purposes of personal aggrandizement or self promotion
  • Grant Congress the unilateral, but limited, authority to repeal an existing law
  • Define and limit the concept of natural law
  • Give more independence to certain agencies such as the Justice Department
To initiate a discussion on “Our New Reconstruction”,  email:  karl [at] 

Auerbach is also available for online law school seminars and discussion groups.

Karl Auerbach

Karl Auerbach founded several Internet companies and currently serves as Chief Technical Officer at InterWorking Labs.  Auerbach was a senior researcher in the Advanced Internet Architecture group at Cisco Systems; is the co-founder of the Boston Working Group; and has served on the Board of Directors of the Open Voting Consortium and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).  

Auerbach received the prestigious Norbert Wiener Award from the Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility (CPSR).  He was named a Fellow of Law and Technology at CalTech and the Loyola of Los Angeles Law School.  Auerbach is a member of the Intellectual Property Section of the California State Bar.   Auerbach earned a B.S. from UC Berkeley and a J.D. cum laude from Loyola Law School.

Contact Karl Auerbach via email at karl [at]

Sunday, July 19, 2020

My Fantasy President's March 2020 Speech on COVID-19

My Fellow Americans,

I stand before you today to tell you that America is under attack, and I need each and every one of you to stand up and do your part to protect your fellow Americans and our great nation.

The enemy attacking us is not a foreign power, but rather a virus.  The virus is invisible to the naked eye.  The virus is carried by humans and attacks through close human contact.  Scientists are calling the virus COVID-19.   The World Health Organization has designated COVID-19 a pandemic because it has spread quickly throughout the world.

We do not have a lot of information on COVID-19, but what we do know is that it is four times more deadly than the flu.  Hospitals and emergency rooms in the United States do not have the capacity to admit and treat the number of critically ill people with COVID-19.   That means large numbers will be turned away and will die.

But you can help stop that from happening.   I need each and every one of you to follow these steps:
  1.  Keep a distance of six feet from other people.
  2.  Avoid all events and occasions where large groups of people gather (e.g. sporting events, concerts, even church)
  3. If you must venture out, wear a face mask.  Your local police and fire departments will pass out face masks.
I know this is a sacrifice, but think of the larger, greater sacrifices so many have made for America before you.  Many have given their lives for their country.  Many have endured great hardships.  I know you can do these three small things.

Now let me explain the steps I am taking as your president:

First, I have met with the CDC and empowered them to do two things:

  • fund multiple scientific labs and enterprises to develop a vaccine.
  • fund multiple scientific research organizations to characterize the vaccine and report on all its anomalies.

Secondly, I have asked the WHO to provide test kits and guidance to testing labs in the U.S. so that Americans who have been exposed to the virus can be tested and quarantined, if appropriate.

Third,  I have directed the U.S. Army to provision ventilators, personal protective equipment, and N95 masks for healthcare staff to protect them,  The Army will work with the governors and hospital administrators to determine priorities and allocations and to identify shortfalls.

Fourth, I am exercising my emergency powers as president to direct ten U,S. manufacturing companies to immediately enter into production of the equipment identified as in short supply.  These companies will be compensated for producing the required equipment.

Fifth, since many businesses will close down and many working Americans will not have paychecks, I have requested that Congress enact legislation to pay every American over 18 years of age $1,000 per month for the next three months.   This will assist every American in paying for food, rent, medicine, and other necessities.

Sixth, I have asked the Justice Department to work with local law enforcement to determine the best ways to assure compliance with the guidelines and to report back on their recommendations.  If someone fails to follow the rules, that individual risks the lives of their fellow Americans and must face the consequences.

I know that Americans are kind, conscientious, civic-minded people, and can rise to the occasion in a crisis.  The crisis is here.  I am counting on you to make this small sacrifice and do the right thing.  

Stand and deliver.

God bless you and God bless America.

Monday, June 22, 2020

I know how to paint. Yes. Really.

Today I applied a coat of primer to an ugly 4' x 3' board near the front entrance of my house at the top of a steep hill  (In case you do not know this, primer is a kind of paint that "primes" the surface to more readily absorb the next coat of paint in the target color.)

PG&E mounted its electric meter on this ugly board, and  refuses to reinstall it with something less ugly.  That's why I decided to paint it.

Since humans do not read meters anymore, PG&E could have installed the meter close to the ground in a small container.  The meter provides the homeowner's electricity usage data when a truck drives by and "wirelessly" scans  the meter.   But getting PG&E to do anything is to rage against the machine (not the band by the same name, but rather, to put energy into pointless attempts of reformation of cultural imperialism).  It is just easier to paint, and ultimately camouflage, the unsightly, poor workmanship of PG&E.

I put on my painting clothes.  I gathered up old newspapers, about six clean rags, the one gallon can of primer, a screw driver, a stirring stick, a paint rolling pan, and a brush.  The paint rolling pan was not strictly necessary because I was not using a roller (the surface was way too uneven), but I did not have a more appropriate small container for the primer.  So why use a paint rolling pan -- why not put the brush directly into the can of primer?  Several reasons:   (1)  I am painting outside and there's a breeze, so little bits of debris could blow into the can of primer and contaminate it.  (2)  I am painting at the top of a rugged hill and one misstep would tip the can of primer over and depending how fast I am, something like half of the primer would now be soaked in the ground.   So the trick is to pour just enough primer into the paint rolling pan, so that I would have enough primer to cover the ugly board, and be out of paint when I had finished priming.  That way, no paint is wasted, and I do not have to make an extra trip to refill the paint rolling pan with more primer.  I estimated this perfectly; when I finished priming I had about a teaspoon of paint left in the paint rolling pan.

While I was applying primer, my husband came to the front door and called out "You need a roller."  I ignored him.  My husband knows nothing about painting.  My husband grew up in Southern California, where, if something needed to be painted in your house, you either moved, or you hired Mexican day laborers that you met outside the hardware store.  They know how to do painting.

My painting disturbs my husband because I am a middle-aged white lady, and he thinks it is a job for Mexican day laborers.  Also, every time we have decided something needs painting, he volunteers to pick out the color.  He returns from the paint store with one quart of the color he selected for a 12' x 12' room.  I go back to the store to buy two gallons in the color he selected and a gallon of primer.

But then another thing happened while I was applying primer on the PG&E ugly board.  The young man who lives next door came by and looked at me with grave concern, "Do you want me to handle that for you?" he asks.  "Well," I reply, "I have all my painting clothes on and I am in the middle of it, so it is probably best for me to just finish."  I think about saying "I know how to paint.  Really."  The young man chats about landscaping and then he leaves. 

Yes I am a middle aged white lady and yes I know how to paint.

Friday, March 27, 2020

The fine ladies of Queen Nails -- I miss you

I am missing the manicurists at Queen Nails.

I miss seeing their pretty dark eyes, dark hair, and little bodies as they work under florescent lights in a small store front at a shopping center.   Each one has a credential certifying expertise with emery boards, nail cutters, basins, towels, and the various accoutrements of nail hygiene.

Their Vietnamese chatter fills the air with sounds so foreign to my ears, until they all start giggling.

One will put her hands over her face, embarrassed by what the others said.   I understand.  They are in their 20's and mostly not married.  They must be giggling about boyfriends or sex.   When one wiggles her pinky finger and the rest explode in laughter, I believe it must be about male anatomy.

I go to Queen Nails for a pedicure, but not now, thanks to COVID-19.  I love partially reclining in a huge, stuffed leather chair, with my feet soaking in hot perfumed water.  It is heavenly.

Queen Nails has a television,  always tuned in to Guy Fieri from the Food Network.  It seems Guy perpetually, enthusiastically describes the barbecued ribs he samples in some part of the South.  Guy is a kind of beefy guy.  The patrons of the barbecue restaurant are large human beings.

But all the Queen Nails manicurists are petite --  quite tiny.  Each one has the body of a ten-year-old boy.  I wonder what they eat?  Surely they are not eating barbecue.   I wonder what kind of body ten-year-old boys have in Vietnam?

I have so many questions, but I do not speak Vietnamese.  So I can only wonder and guess about what goes on around me at Queen Nails.

I am going to learn how to say "I completely disagree with you"  in Vietnamese:

Tôi hoàn toàn đồng ý với bạn.

I have heard the audio of the pronunciation.  I practiced it.    When I get to return to Queen Nails, I will wait for a pause in the manicurists' conversation.  Then I will say this.  They will look at me puzzled or bewildered,  as if they cannot believe what they heard from a middle-aged white lady.  Then I will repeat it.  Then they will repeat it.  Then they will get very excited and start laughing.  Then, finally, I will be able to laugh with them.