Well, the fifth amendment was already gone, so why not?
The President already got a two-fer when he assassinated and American citizen and the fifth amendment in one fell swoop, so it's hardly surprising the others are now up for grabs too.
They do, after all, inconvenience the ruling class with minor things like protection from unwarranted searches and having to use pesky things like "due process". The President authorized the premeditated murder of an innocent man and bragged about it afterwards, in other words.
It doesn't matter how much proof (not that we've seen much if any) is offered that Al-Awlaki was guilty until such a time as that has been proven in a court of law and he has been found guilty. Until such a time, he was innocent in the eyes of the law. At least if we're going to keep using pesky things like due process and, in this case, the rights guaranteed by the fourth amendment.
Progressives (and anyone else law-abiding who likes the constitution) had better step up now or else forever hold their peace, because rights once taken away are one hell of a lot harder to claw back later.
Protesting the financial system makes solid sense.
The financial system and the fact that we use money is directly to blame for almost all the worlds ills. No, it's not "human nature" or anything nebulous like that - it is a system that's basically still feudalism with rulers and peons, a system that's basically predicated on having some people who live well - at the expense of others who live poorly or not at all. It's one thing if that sort of thing is necessary due to severe resource shortages or needing to force a major segment of the population into servitude just to keep the wheels of progress turning, but we've long since passed any such need. If we abandoned this nasty trap we call a "financial system" we could automate, use science and reason and thus provide every human being with all their needs and a lot of their wants - without any sort of need to slave away or "earn it".
That said, the protests aren't (unfortunately) so clear sighted, they are merely protesting the vast systematic abuses of the current system that has speeded up the coming of the second great depression. It was inevitable eventually, but it's here early due to the incredible bullshit that Goldman Sachs and their ilk have pulled the past couple of years, and all the "financial innovation" (which really should be written "criminal gambling with people's lives by creating byzantine and incredibly complex ways of making money out of thin air by betting on more money") is an atrocity against mankind. The people protesting on Wall Street are heroes - not sufficiently well focused heroes, but at least they have the right idea. They just haven't seen far enough - to the fact that we do, in fact, have to protest the financial system, since that is the single most evil thing in the universe. Up until recently, we had to accept the vast and pitch black dark sides to using money and the profit motive, but with technology and information technology, we can now transcend that particular hell and move on to some actual civilization.
Tracking services will inevitably lead to abuses like this as long as it makes sense to abuse it. And it will make sense to abuse things this way as long as society clings to the profit motive and money - the abuse of tracking tech in this case can be easily converted to profit and be used by the government to track people.
This is problematic because said government is wholly controlled by the wealthy segment of society and they have a vested interest in containing any dissenters, peace activists and others who threaten their profit margins and work for more equitable resource allocation.
Of course, the same is true for crime and pollution and conspicuous consumption and any number of nasty behavior that all comes down to money in the end; as long as we cling to this failed societal design we will continue to be victimized by its functionality.
If it's something unknowable like religion then I personally have to go with trying to view things based on what we already know and/or have theorized as well as the observable real-world consequences of religion, and once I do that, religion seems to be a vastly evil force that we need to get rid of. I'm not so interested in discussing various flavors of insanity and which is the least nuts - that seems pointless and a waste of time.
Same is true for politics and finances and such - right, left, capitalist, communist, that's all just slightly different flavors of money-based-society thinking, and the solution isn't in that minor bickering about the internal details of the system - it is in deep-sixing the system in favor for something that has a hope in hell of actually working, without destroying the planet like now.
Now, if we're talking aesthetic choices, things get a bit more murky and considerably less important, but any technological process has very few cases where there truly is more than one optimal approach, in my view. I think it more comes down to it being more difficult to enumerate the optimal choice as well as people wanting some specific thing to be true due to ingrained ideology so they reject reality and try to substitute their own.
I like to think that if someone can prove me wrong in any given area, I will change my mind. Areas where nobody can prove anyone wrong, however, do exist - philosophical or aesthetic choices and the like, and there you have to just go with what you believe and enjoy.
Any time somebody wants to pass some liberty-crushing legislation, they push the buttons. You know, the kiddie porn button. And the terrorism button. As a result, they can pass any abomination of a law just by passionately declaming "but think of the children!".
I wonder if this isn't more of the same, sort of - a corporate-powered witchhunt for "pirates" in the name of Holy Profit, pushing the "terrorist" as well as the "think of the children" button because that does demonstrably work (apparently people are consistently morons unable to see they're being manipulated to a fare-thee-well while their liberties get snatched out from under them.)
I think we have to get people to stop trying to think about everything in monetary terms. Nothing is expensive or cheap in the real world - it just uses resources, energy and work, and the two areas aren't more than slightly related these days. Healthcare as well isn't expensive or affordable - it just uses resources, energy and work.
When it becomes "expensive" is when it is handled via a money-based system and then abused by every step in the current chain to suck so-called "profit" out of it, as well as overcompensating some people and organizations with obscene resource overabundances. It is also the most "expensive" in the US which has for-profit care, and the least "expensive" in nations where it is paid for via taxation... where the focus is on "good service for minimum cost" rather than "maximum profit for minimum service".
But yeah - the money indoctrination runs so deep it's hard to even argue about things without bringing up words like "affordable" that really have very little meaning.
We're literally using science and employing very capable people to figure out how to brainwash people into buying more crap they don't need, in a world where we're already conspicuously consuming our species to death (literally), filling landfills with cheap garbage that people are then brainwashed into buying again as cheap crap that breaks within months in many cases, is put into the next landfill and bought yet again? This should not be a focus for us, for crying out loud; the focus should be on how do we reshape society so that this organized brainwashing becomes nonsensical and people get the stuff they need instead of the stuff the manufacturers want to sell just so they can turn a bigger profit.
Ever hear of product placement? Ads are already in the content.
Any show you watch today is jam packed with ads! They just hide them a tad and incorporate them into the action. You have a series star driving a Well Known Hybrid going into town for some manufactured reason and then they use The Awesome Auto Parking Feature of the Well Known Hybrid showcasing the driver keeping her hand off the wheel while the logo on the wheel glitters alluringly at the viewer...
Advertising in the actual content is already there! The rest of the advertising is to maximize ad revenue and profits beyond the stealth near-subliminal program-the-viewers type advertising woven into the story itself.
That nasty spyware is actually embedded in the BIOS on a ton of machines, including a ton of HP's.
They claim it can't be activated except by paying for it but security researchers already activated it completely without any intervention from LoJack / Computrace - which makes it a superlative (if somewhat limited in spread) spy. You can format your computer and that thing will infect it again like a disease.
Frankly, benign stated purpose or no, it kind of sucks that HP pre-infects people's machines with that nasty crap, I don't like knowing at least one of my machines comes with a ticking time bomb planted in its "head".
I would argue that the best art and the best inventions aren't made by people who are out to make a buck primarily. The best art is made by real artists, who do it because they're compelled to and riveted by their work, and those artists (regardless of medium) would do their thing without copyright too.
We don't have any need for copyright, patents or any of the myriad BS inventions that have been put into place to service the money side of society - if we just change society into a sane version that doesn't use money at all but instead provides people with their needs out of our shared communal resources in this solar system. Money and the notion of rulers and the ruled (which, let's face it, is exactly what is going on still, to this day, in society) is a long since obsolete concept that the rulers of course do everything in their power to perpetuate. 99% of us are the losers of that particular game, yet not only do the top 1% defend it... most of the foolish wage slave peons defend the system too. Incomprehensible.
The planet has a given quantity of water. Very little of it actually goes anywhere. Every drop of it that we use and consume eventually gets cycled back into the ecosystem. Which is why the notion of "conserving water" is total BS - there is no more or less water than there ever was.
The problem is a lack of energy and the money system hampering our efficient use of resources - if we just scrapped the money system first, we could use the resources of the planet to build literally as many desalinization plants we needed. We could turn the Sahara into a garden, if we so wanted - sure, it would be quite the project, but nothing that is beyond us as a race. But obviously, as long as we do bone-headed things like calculating it on the basis of money, profit and the like it's not going to happen.
That said of course, water pollution isn't something we should accept; if we mix in crap into it, it should get taken right back out before we let it back out into the world.
We don't fix patents - we fix society, by abolishing money completely and shifting to a cooperation basis instead of a competition one.
Patents, while a major problem in their own right, are just a minor symptom of the money-based society and what's wrong with it. We have far bigger issues that also get solved if we abandon the medieval concepts of "money" and "trade" and retire this modern-day feudalism we're suffering under now.
There is nothing but energy out there for us to use. Solar, wind, wave, tidal, geothermal... there is a massive swath of technologies we know how to build, and all that would take is materials and laborers (mechanical mostly, human somewhat). The entire notion of "conserving water" is nonsensical too - when water is used for some purpose, it doesn't just vanish later, it remains in the planetary ecosystem. Every drop of water you use in the shower goes right back out into the world and eventually lands right back in the oceans where it started.
The entire population of the planet, with a few exeptions, is so incredibly hung up on the money system that people don't even question it anymore - this in spite of the absolutely staggering waste of other resources it causes and the vast social problems we have because of it. It's quite a trick - keep people arguing about irrelevant garbage and they won't drill down until they find the one common denominator when it comes to what is killing us all - money, trade and the profit motive, the root cause of virtually all suffering and difficulties we have today.
Cost and money is a hallucination we've invented over time that has very little if any connection to real world values. Virtually all the problems we discuss on a daily basis - pollution, patents, copyright related dreck and so on - are only money-system generated problems, not reality related ones.
People would still create art even if they weren't paid to do so. They would still grow food. They would still play music. If anything, they would do more of those things if they weren't forced to spend their days standing in a McDonalds flipping burgers instead. We could easily meet everyone's needs in society today without making everyone wage slaves to "earn" it, and as a result we would even do away with virtually all the problems of the day - pollution, poverty, starvation, war and certainly there would be no more of these idiotic entirely man made "financial crisis situations" like the upcoming second great depression.
Patents (and copyright) service the money side of society to the detriment of said society. Two options then appear - do away with patents (which is a symptom) or do away with the folly of allocating resources via a money system (the cause).
Any doctor - and any sensible engineer - would tell you that what you have to fix is the root cause, not try to patch the symptom...
For your argument to make any sense whatsoever, you first have to have proof that "piracy has evaporated billions". Nobody has yet managed to demonstrate that believably, not even the RIAA/MPAA. Especially since even that part of the copyright brouhaha have had to admit that people who copy also buy a lot, and that the copying may well act as a form of advertising.
Music used to be unique too. There used to be new artists doing new music (well... new-sounding, since you can only string so many sounds together in so many ways until you run out) - and that stuff got played by mostly independent DJ's on mostly independent radio stations, which allowed for a great deal of diversity. The big record companies had to at least try to innovate (or at the very least, allow new acts to grow). Then came radio deregulation, Clear channel, and suddenly there was basially one big radio station covering the continental US, and payola was institutionalized in the form of "independent promotors" - and it sure wasn't cheap anymore to get anything on radio.
So the big record labels in their nutty quest for fantasy profits decided that they didn't want to take any more risks, to get their money back after the payola payments and so on, everything had to sell - and since people are hardwired to equate "familiar" with "good", hellooo fifteen trillion remakes and remixes and re-recordings of old hits. That's basically all we get out of the big labels these days, any innovation happens on the Internet or independently.
So why this long discussion about the horrors of radio deregulation? Because the same mechanisms are in place for the movies, I think. Familiar = good, remember? In the incessant quest for more money, going with something that has once been a hit and mildly massaging it and doing it again, the studios hope for a surefire moneymaker, and innovation and art etc don't even register on anyone's radar.
Copyright schmopyright, this is all completely anchored in the profit motive. To these people, music, movies or TV are just a cash machine with the output being a side product, not the goal.
Even in todays world, money is a vastly destructive force and the concept of a profit-based is literally destroying the world... so anyone who would retrofit copyright, patents and similar horror-concepts onto a world that had matter/energy conversion is completely beyond me. The only basic core function of copyright and patents are to secure a monetary flow from something that has been created - something that would be beyond nonsensical in a replicator-level civilization and already in our current one has got to go.