The fact that we are outraged or even surprised by things like this is because we don't really want to recognize some of the more unpleasant aspects of human nature.
When people are placed within a power structure and given incentives such as increased status or money or position, they are typically capable of committing the most repugnant of actions and happily accepting the standard rationalization provided within the power structure. Most people have a very weak sense of personal morality that is easily overridden by group dynamics.
Additionally, dominant personality types will work incessantly to build power structures, expand power structures and seek out ties with other power structures in order to increase their personal opportunities for gain.
This is why our government has become so intensely dominant in our lives. The multitude of government power structures have grown to such a degree and become interconnected to such a degree that there is probably no way to reverse course short of a complete collapse and rebuild.
I don't understand the endless stream of photos of "police" pointing their guns at civilians. Isn't it the absolute primary rule of gun safety that you don't point a weapon at a person unless you are going to fire?
What's with all the running around in packs and pointing your guns at everything in sight? Makes them look like a bunch of scared little kids who don't even know how to behave and are all the more dangerous for it.
The police in America are organized into Unions which have massive amounts of local political power. Essentially, local politicians in most areas can NOT be elected if they are opposed by the police union.
This is the core of the problem. It's what makes the police an armed and organized gang. The average cop has far more loyalty to his union, his chain of command and his fellows than he does to the public or to the law. He only feels accountable to other cops, not to civilian officials.
Police know that they will not be held accountable for their actions because local civil authorities are too scared to cross the police union. Until police unions are banned and police become answerable to control by elected civilian officials nothing will change.
People rarely even mention that literally millions of literary and scholarly works reside in a state of copyright limbo where the public has no access to them because they are still under copyright while, at the same time, they are not in print or otherwise available because they are no longer profitable.
The simplest form of copyright reform would allow works that are no longer available for sale in any form to fall into the public domain after the original term of 28 years.
Of course, there will never be any broad public support for copyright reform of any kind, because 90% of the American public only care about what's popular right now and are conditioned to pay without complaint for everything they watch, read or listen to.
"Since these authors have given their copyright over to Hachette, they have nothing to complain about. The books they wrote are no longer theirs to do what they want." That is the crux of the matter. These authors have entered into agreements of indentured servitude with legacy publishers. Now they are scared to death that their master's way of business will lose it's dominance and they might have to compete on both price and quality of work.
Every single person who had a hand in authorizing or implementing an officially sanctioned torture program should face criminal charges. But our government officials have recently been doing a LOT of different things that are illegal and SHOULD lead to criminal charges, but don't.
One thing that everybody in government vehemently agrees on is that it would be unwise to open the door to the prosecution option even a crack. The fear being that the prosecution of one group of government wrong-doers would start the ball rolling towards the prosecution of others.
That's why nobody in government gets in trouble for anything any longer. It's a form of mutually agreed protection - much like the blue wall of silence that governs the police.
Unfortunately this attitude takes us a giant step further along the path to unregulated authoritarian fascism, towards which we are certainly drifting.
The primary problem with using your real name on the internet is that there are entities out there who are actively crawling the internet and attempting to link every use of your name together and create a comprehensive profile on you.
This profile will be used for their profit and your detriment. And it's entirely removed from your knowledge, consent and review.
The next step is that this online profile is linked to your shopping habits through your use of loyalty cards and your cell phone records and your TV viewing habits and so on endlessly. Your entire life becomes an open book to government and business.
This is why you don't want to use your real name on the internet any more than you absolutely have to.
That's about as blatant a "we pay you to buy the legislation we want" statement that I've ever seen. Blatant enough to risk criminal investigation if Mr. Dodd wasn't a golden, highly-connected, Washington insider.
All too many judges these days seem to think that their high and powerful office gives them carte blanche to simply ramble on at length with bizarre personal opinions and then make whatever determination they prefer with scant attention paid to the actual law.
I suppose it's a byproduct of years wearing the black robe and having everybody around you bowing and scraping and hanging on your every word.
Power does corrupt; in many different ways. Perhaps it's time to end the whole judge for life concept.
It's not just copyright. Large corporations working in close collusion with a cronyist US government are using copyright, patents, trademarks and trade secrets to essentially close off all competition and stifle any innovation that they don't own.
We are trending towards a world where a dozen mega-corporations cross license each other's massive portfolio of patents and copyrights and then hammer into oblivion any innovative smaller company.
Nothing the public can do about it, I'm afraid. We have been essentially disenfranchised. The only true citizens of 2013 USA are corporate dollars.
The cops don't care. Maybe their egos are a little bruised for a few moments. But they will just go on doing what cops do - basically anything they want at any time. Because they know they won't be held personally accountable.
Every person I've ever met massively underestimates the degree to which the subconscious mind re-organizes and alters perceptions and memories in order to protect and bolster the self.
People tend to think of the mind as some kind of computing device that calculates things and stores memories. In reality it is an organ that has evolved with one purpose - to protect it's host and make it feel secure, even if it means warping our view of reality.
It doesn't matter what a business enterprise supposedly stood for in it's infancy, once they go full bore corporate the only driving force is profit and screw anybody or anything that stands in the way of maximizing profit.
Corporations are fundamentally psychopathic in that they simply don't care about any harm they do to society as a whole until it impacts their bottom line. That's why corporations need to be VERY tightly regulated, limited and controlled.
Unfortunately, in our influence-for-sale political system the exact opposite has happened.
Part of the corrupt con is making people believe that they CAN choose to give up their power. In reality the People are Sovereign and the Government serves at the whim of the People. But the People, in general, are too scared, stupid and conned to know this any longer.
Also our rights are inherent and can't be abridged. Should a corrupt government attempt to abridge our rights it is, by definition, invalid and illegitimate. It doesn't take a court to affirm our inherent rights. So, a government program that scoops up my email without a warrent that names me as an individual and shows probable cause of criminality is, by definition, illegal and those who are running such a program are criminal.
The Constitution can be read and interpreted using commonsense and simple humanity. The trouble is that we have 200 years of warped legalese layered over the top of it upon which the existing power structure rests.
The most depressing thought in this whole depressing mess is that the current administration could, in fact, simply murder Snowden with an Imperial Drone attack and, under current executive branch secret interpretations of their secret laws using a secret warrant from a secret court, declare it to be perfectly legal.
The fact that the American people acquiesce to this degree of despotism makes us little different than the Germans of the 1930s who acquiesced in the Nazi persecution of Jews.
Guys like this aren't stupid, they are actually quite intelligent. But they are ideologues, little different than Stalinists or Maoists or even Jihadists in their mental framework. They divide the world into two groups, the anointed few who follow their righteous and narrow ideology and the rest who need to be constantly monitored, chastised, punished and controlled.
These are the guys we desperately need to keep out of government. But, sadly, they gravitate towards it because that's where the power is.
The simple truth is that every Congress-person who voted no has committed treason. The oath of office for Congress is to Defend the Constitution. Not defend the government, not defend the executive branch, not defend the military and most definitely not defend their campaign contributor's interests.
I think a lot of these assholes will be very surprised to find that this is a very hot button issue for vast numbers of Americans. Hot enough to get a lot of them voted out of office next time around.