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.
The most important point to note in all of this is that the Chief Justice of The Supreme Court is perfectly happy with this entire edifice of Secret Courts, Secret Laws, Secret Police, Secret Prisons and who knows what else that is still secret. He plays an active role, no doubt thrilling in the exercise of raw and unaccountable power.
This tell us how utterly and completely the entirety of the Federal Government is complicate in building this unconstitutional police state we now live in. For all intents and purposes we are little different in concept from the Soviet Union of the 1970s. They too had a constitution that guaranteed a variety of "freedoms". Their constitution was ignored by those in power just like ours is ignored.
This article constantly cites "UC's letter of support..." or states that "UC's position is..." and so forth. How about digging a little and telling us WHO exactly wrote this letter or formulated this position?
Most likely it was some committee of highly overpaid administrators who are completely detached from both faculty and student body. Some small body of managers in the vast UC system is essentially making a decision that is obviously contrary to the best interests of the students, the faculty and researchers.
But this is no surprise. American Corporations as well as Universities and other government agencies are now basically run for the benefit of the Manager class who have accrued all power and control and reap the majority of the financial gains.
And one thing is certain: these managers and administrators who decide this kind of policy feel vastly more kinship with the managers at the big academic publishers than they do with the students or the faculty at the University.
Police need to be trained to understand the basic legal concept that members of the public are not their slaves.
Unless there exists an ongoing life-threatening or serious public safety threat then we don't have to bow, scrape, instantly jump when ordered and otherwise show absolutely obedience to every whim or random utterance made by a cop.
These types of incidents often seem to boil down to the citizen failing to properly bow down and kiss the ass of the officer which leads the officer to assert his brute power by escalating a minor peaceful violation into a violent encounter.
A sadly large percentage of humanity enjoy absolutely nothing so much as attaining a small position of power and lording over other people by enforcing great webs of petty inane, rules. These control-freak authoritarians are my least favorite type of people.
And how exactly do you "out" anonymous blog commenters? For example, my real name is not Binko; in fact I strive to use my real name on the internet as little as possible. Do blogs typically store each commenter's IP Address along with their supposedly anonymous post? Even if so, it's hard to imagine that courts would grant the right to subpeona poster's true identity from their ISP for something that is so clearly an expression of personal opinion.
There is a significant percentage of the public who actively enjoy seeing other people punished. Once a class of people are demonized there is no limit to the punishment that can be meted out. Aaron Swartz belonged to the generally demonized classes of "troublemaker", "hippy", "activist" etc. To the mind of those who love doling out punishment, this justifies any degree of torment.
There is a another, even larger, percentage who are essentially passive. They don't pay attention to details and tend to have a rose-tinted view of institutions like our Justice System. They vaguely support whatever their mainstream media outlet of choice supports.
Perhaps only 5% of the public actually care about legal principals, proportionate punishment and similar issues.
There's obviously not enough money to be made any longer in squeezing higher and higher tuition out of students. So here's the new game plan for universities.
1) Get maximum grant money and develop obscure technologies.
2) File for maximum number of broad patents.
3) Sit on patents and keep them secret.
4) Sue any company doing any work in these obscure technologies, effectively shutting down all innovation.
5) Make billions!
6) Massive bonuses for administrators!
Sounds like par for the course in the new America where the goal is always to maximize wealth for administrators, executives, lawyers and insiders and nobody gives a shit for the damage done to society as a while.