* Posts by GH1618

21 posts • joined 1 Jun 2015

Ed Snowden should be pardoned, thunders Amnesty Int'l

GH1618

Not a chance.

Your servers are underwater? Chill out – liquid's cool

GH1618

Liquid immersion cooling is old news.

Seymore Cray put the Cray-2 circuits in an inert cooling bath in the 1980s.

Forget black helicopters, FBI flying surveillance Cessnas over US cities. Warrant? What's that?

GH1618

I meant "their faces," of course.

GH1618

Re: hmm

One went to jail -- Kareem Serageldin. The New York Times Magazine had an article on why there were not more prosecutions, if you want to read up on it.

GH1618

"Citation needed."? This isn't Wikipedia.

I don't have one for you, but I am old enough to remember the anti-Vietnam War protests in the 1960s and 1970s. Perhaps you aren't. They were huge, and went on for years. While there was some criminal activity associated with them, it was exceedingly small, given the scale of the demonstrations. They were basically political. Participants were proud to show there faces and be seen as part of the opposition. Authorities would photograph the most benign demonstrations -- I remember one that was nothing more than a candlelight vigil in a public park, with perhaps a couple of speakers. The police, whatever their organization, set up on a rooftop across the street to photograph us. We turned toward them and waved.

Compare that to today. If you hold a quiet, peaceful demonstration in a public place nobody pays any attention. Try holding a candlelight vigil in a public place and see if the FBI shows up to monitor it. Your first problem would be to get more than three people to participate.

There are larger demonstrations nowadays which do draw the attention of authorities. A lot of the people who participate cover their faces, because they are not there merely to express opinions but to raise hell. I happen to live in Oakland, which is a go-to place for people who want to commit acts of random vandalism on the flimsiest pretext, and there are several other cities where vandals exploit legitimate demonstrations of protest to commit illegitimate acts of destruction and sometimes violence against persons. These people are criminals. They should be monitored, and apprehended when possible.

GH1618

illegal!

What you are advocating is illegal and likely to get you in serious trouble if you do it.

GH1618

This is nothing. Picking up cell phone traffic from the air is no different from picking it up by driving around in a van, which they've done for a long time. Same with cameras. In the 1960s, the FBI photographed demonstrations in public places from rooftops, often openly. The difference is that then they usually were photographing anti-Vietnam War protesters, while today they are more interested in actual criminals. That's an improvement.

US Senate passes USA Freedom Act – a long lip service to NSA reforms

GH1618

Re: As Ive said before

"As Edward ... "

That's a fallacious analogy, but Snowden is not philosopher-in-exile, he's just a spy on the lam.

GH1618

Re: As Ive said before

Exactly. For all the talk about the NSA database, I've never heard of any innocent person being the slightest bit harmed by any use of it. Its supposed dangers are entirely hypothetical, whereas the dangers posed by criminal conspiracies which might be tracked through such a database are demonstrably real.

GH1618

A weaker system

Moving the call record database out of NSA weakens both the security and the effectiveness of the database, in my opinion. At last they restored the capability, which is a good thing. I'm ok with the changes to the FISA court.

US Patriot Act's phone spying rules are dead – but that means very little

GH1618

Re: Make it Grey

The new bill is a compromise, and it does improve transparency of the FISA court.

GH1618

It just passed the Senate, but without the McConnell amendments. This is one of very few times that I agreed with Sen. McConnell, but I'm glad it passed in any case. It was cleat that it would pass in some form.

Silk Road boss Ross Ulbricht to spend LIFE in PRISON without parole

GH1618

Re: @GH1618, @Mark 85

Laura, you don't seem to know the meaning of "evidence" and the rules that govern it, or understand what constitutes an "aggravating circumstance." Did you even read the judge's remarks? You can learn something about the sentencing procedure by reading it in full, or you can just complain about something you don't understand. Say she was too severe in the sentence, which was the maximum, but her procedure was almost certainly correct. There's a reason she's a judge and you're not.

GH1618

Re: @ Kaltern

That should be "did not," of course. I should preview my own posts more carefully.

GH1618

If you "fail to see how he can get a life sentence" you just aren't trying very hard. You write that he was "basically selling drugs" as if he were just your common neighborhood peddler. Read the indictment. Read the accounts of the trial. Read the judge's sentencing remarks. He was a big cheese. The bigger they are, the harder they fall.

GH1618

Re: @ Kaltern

Kaltern, DocJames did equate legality and morality. That's a straw man, but I suppose not an intentional one. Read it again more carefully.

GH1618

Re: Take a good look

@cambsukguy

Just imagine -- if we repealed all criminal law, we would have a crime-free society!

GH1618

Re: "Mr. Anderson... you disappoint me..."

@Laura Kerr

When a range is allowed for sentencing (in this case, 20 years to life), the judge considers the aggravating and mitigating factors in deciding on the appropriate term. The evidence that he was willing to resort to murder to protect his criminal enterprise was a strong aggravating factor. There were very few mitigating factors. Testimonials from friends saying what a nice guy he was don't count for much, no matter how many there are. "Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men?"

If you don't believe the judge should weigh aggravating and mitigating factors, the alternative is prescribed sentences with no flexibility. The opportunity for injustice in such a system is obvious.

GH1618

Re: He was a drug dealer

The main charge was "engaging in a continuing criminal enterprise." He was not merely "part of the chain," he was the kingpin. That's why this was such a serious crime. The minimum sentence is 20 years. He got life because the judge looked at all the aggravating and mitigating factors and there was very little of the latter.

GH1618

He pleaded "not guilty." I don't think the prosecution was interested in a plea deal, because they had a computer full of incriminating evidence and motivation to make an example of him.

GH1618

Where did he go wrong?

What I find hard to understand is that Ulbricht does not seem like a misfit with some perceived reason to be angry at society. He was smart, academically. He has a B.S. in Physics and an M.S. in Materials Science and Engineering. Anyone with a graduate engineering degree should be well equipped to succeed in the normal way without turning to crime, which most people of similar intelligence would know is a bad bet, apart from the morality of it.

It seems to me that his mind was poisoned by libertarian ideals. Most people who get into this, or into any other extreme philosophical system, recognize that society places limits on where they can go with it, and accept those limits even if they don't like them. Ulbricht, instead, followed his libertarian ideals to their {il}logical and self-destructive conclusion. What a waste.

He should have read more of Locke, Mill, and Rousseau and less present day libertarian blather.

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