Monday, January 19, 2015

Downtown Proposed Demolition

Ben Smith and I stand opposed to the current plan that
involves tearing down the Coast to Coast building at
public expense. Iron River does not need another vacant
lot downtown, we have plenty of those already.

We recommend repairs at the least expense necessary
to stabilize the building over a long term. To that end,
Ben and I will be circulating a petition requiring the
proposed bond be approved by the voters.

Half a million dollars, or more, could go a long ways for
the city to provide services and infrastructure we actually
need, like street and alleyway repairs Please sign the
petition to take the proposed half million dollar bond to
the voters for approval. You must be registered to vote
in Iron River for your signature to count.

Bill Vajk

Monday, January 12, 2015

Computer Hacking

A little over two decades ago, before Glen Roberts
completely lost his mind and renounced his US
citizenship, the two of us published an article in
Full Disclosure, a newspaper of that era, about
computer hacking. Centcom's breaches today
are a stark reminder of the risks warned of decades

That period was known for teen aged hackers
breaking into sensitive telephone company sites
and reading or downloading materials that the phone
companies would have preferred to keep private.

Instead of securing the computer networks, as we
suggested in that day, the companies affected, along
with providers of networking software, chose to rely
on law enforcement to do the bidding of computer
network users by prosecuting the hackers. Craig
Neidorf was wrongly prosecuted by the federal
government, and fortunately for Craig and his family,
the costs were picked up through Mitch Kapor's
Electronic Frontier Foundation. Mitch was also the
founder of the Lotus Corporation. In the end, Craig
was found not guilty, and the federal judge presiding
over that case severely criticized the US Secret Service
that was charged in those days with investigating and
litigating computer crimes. As a direct result, jurisdiction
was taken away from the Secret Service and
transferred to the FBI.

Unfortunately, over the decades, the publishers of the
software the internet relies on for security have failed
to do their very best to hackerproof their software,
continuing instead to rely on law enforcement to strike
terror in the hearts of would-be hackers and others
with nefarious intent.

What we as a nation rediscovered of late is that the FBI's
reach and the authority of the federal courts is ineffective
beyond US borders. Surprise surprise!

So we've lost several decades during which development
of better strategies for internet software have been lost,
and suddenly it is too late to secure this Goliath of an
internet that we rely on for so very much. Heck, we, as a
nation, couldn't even get a failure proof federal web page
on line for Obamacare.

What, you may well ask, does this have to do with local
politics. Everything. We each rely on the internet for
communications, control of our  power grid, and the safety
and security of US pipeline companies, including those
that deliver natural gas for residential heating to much of the
nation, and our financial systems. Why on earth would
anyone thing for a second that such computer
communications could be maintained as 100% secure?

As can easily be seen, you don't have to own a computer
to be significantly affected. Others are exposing us all
to unwanted risks.

What Glen and I warned of so long ago has come to be
the new reality. I'll say it again, the purveyors of software
must build in hackerproof protection. In addition it would
be prudent to create a second internet, limited to national in
scope, that is secured and under permanent 24/7/365
security scrutiny, for those functions we must have as a nation
while removing all sensitive sites from the hum-drum of
the international wild-west internet that everyone can access.

Better we do something now instead of never.

Bill Vajk

2014 Local Government Awards

Unfortunately there were no positive 
outstanding achievements by local 
governments in Iron County during 
2014 deserving of notice and award.

On the other hand, the Iron County 
Board, the City of Iron River 
council, and Iron County Treasurer 
have earned the Lump of Coal award 
for the year 2014 for the illegal 
collection, under the threat of 
foreclosure, of unlawful property 
taxes. Tax documents that are required 
under law to be certified were not, and 
in the case of delinquent water bills 
and unpaid noxious weeds mowing 
invoices have not been certified for 
more than a decade by the 

The County Board is required to 
certify the taxes for collection by the 
treasurer has failed in their duty to 
the public to provide more than a rubber 
stamp approval for whatever infractions 
of laws local municipal governments 
under this jurisdiction commit. The state 
has required the county board to provide
checks and balances sufficient to 
demonstrate compliance by municipalities
to state laws. This they failed to do. See
Vajk v. City of Iron River, Michigan 
Supreme Court docket # 150015.

It is the duty, in compliance with their 
oaths of office, for each of the people 
singled out by these awards to comply
with the laws and thus to enforce 
compliance by local governments to the 
laws, and they have failed to do their 
sworn duty.

Each deserves this lump of coal award
for failing their sworn duties.

Bill Vajk

Monday, January 5, 2015

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