Political bullshit at it’s finest (plus awesome rant on the justice system)
The article above is all about one of the most ingenious people on this planet. a man who worked tirelessly to educate and provide free information to people of the world by ways of the internet. in september of 2011 he accessed MIT’s Free academic database (which is provided to students for free by the university to all students inorder for them to obtain and use scholarly academic articles) and downloaded a huge number of the articles.
Now he never released any of these articles in anyway, he returned them all and wasn’t motivated to do this by money or some other for of incentive other than to make the articles publicly available, something he never achieved.
Yet they still pressed charges against him…
for downloading articles….
that he had legal access too…
this is essentially saying that if i were to go to my library and rent out a third of the books in there (if i had the capacity to move them all of course) that they could arrest me on felony charges because i got too many books. the only difference is that when i leave with all the books i’ve chosen to read that the library still has every single book that i just left with. he made COPIES of the articles, they are still there. no harm to anyone. these academic works are out there to inform people anyway, making it free actually seems more logical to me than anything else.
anyways the article and many other people (especially the internet folk, who i think all pretty clearly see what this is and where i’m headed, but lets spell it out anyways) see that this is a major attempt by the government to employ scare tactics on people using the internet for activism purposes.
Now i’m going to go out on a limb here and state why they are gunning so hard for this. its about isolation. While yes we are all much more connected together through the internet, one state to another, one country to another, we are also more isolated. not in the idea that we are from the world. (though some sites in the heart of the internet clearly have a couple people like that to say the least…) but that we are from each other. see as much as we can comunicate with each other and get our ideas out there it’s becoming fairly clear that any actions we take on the internet leave us vulnerable to an assault of charges on an individual level.
We are alone in the sense that when we make steps to improve society through peaceful protest on the internet as individuals if any violations occur they are no longer just petty charges of “disturbing the peace” or something of the sort. no the charges filled against those who travel into the grey area on the internet are charged with felonies.
What i believe is that at this point people on the internet who are activists and step into an unknown realm of human development now have new risks which may be even greater than we have ever seen. where the dangers of risks aren’t just life risking, but life destroying choices. Aaron made a choice this january that speaks very clearly to me about the ramifications of the laws being placed on the internet and information and even free speech. this man, who by all rights did nothing wrong but enter an area of campus he probably wasn’t meant to be in, did nothing more than borrow the files his school provided him. and in an act of generosity which would have made robin hood proud, (the cartoon with the fox not the new one, gotta stay with the classics!) he would have (possibly) attempted to make this vast source of information available to the public.
for this he was on trial facing 35 years in prison and a 1 million dollar fine, plus the life long label of being a felon.
essentially this mans life would have ended the minute a guilty or plea bargin deal was entered.
But as much as this outrages me it’s things like this that remind me of the anger that i should be feeling instead.
this man Aaron was essentially attacked and driven to suicide for stealing essentially nothing the very most that could be said is that he was stopped in the alleged attempt to distribute free scholarly articles to the general public with not intention nor ability to use said articles for personal profit nor gain. yet the people on wall street, who knew their companies where making fraudulent loans, who gave bonuses out to CEO’s and executives while slashing workers pay, who fired or demoted those trying to warn them, who claim that money is free speech and that their companies are “people”, are not only too damn important for us to prosecute, (even when we KNOW that they were responsible for much of the damage to the american economy today and that their actions caused huge losses for people everywhere) but that people can now be prosecuted for stealing nothing at all! and even should one argue that he did in fact steal the information (i don’t agree and think that is a pittlepattle [yea i said pittlepattle! so what!? come at me bro!] opinion, i can see someone coming around with a valid point or two) is it really justice to prosecute him and send him to jail for 35 years!? to push him to suicide? this isn’t justice it’s a threat. it says if you do something we don’t like with any material we produce we can prosecute you.
Intelectual property has become a free zone for these people to push legislation limiting what you can or can’t do with information and technology. it’s become a way to block out the voices of people who have different values or ideals. it’s becoming a way to ensure the profits of those who already have while suppressing people who wish to give that information out to those who don’t. It’s outrageous that someone can be prosecuted so harshly for doing nothing at all yet those who have done clear wrong and have money/power can get away completely free. and on top of that we not only have CEO’s and executives with the power to steal so blatantly from the american public but so arrogant as to actually SUE our government for bailing out the companies.
The outrage the american people should feel about this case is something i don’t see. people talk about him and the DEO’s on an individual basis, which is good, but no connection established between the gross injustice in both cases but along with this there is no comparison on the enormous differences in the severity of the punishment that would have been received is ever established. a man that steals millions from the people should never get a punishment lesser than that of one who’s only crime was accessing a restricted area of campus to download files he had every right to access in order to allegedly share the information to others. the balance of justice has been lost in this case and in many more cases. as a whole i feel the entire system has been skewed to work in favor of those with power
(as one would expect based off logic. however as americans this is not only our worst fear and something we disdain but also our biggest failure as a people. we demand justice and we demand our rights. however despite our claim that we are one people there is a clear and severe class separation between us all. our legal system not only shows this to us but also blatantly favors the side with power. why aren’t we listening to uncle parker? why aren’t we listening to ben? [come to think of it there’s a lot of wise bens out there… ok everyone go find an old guy named ben and listen to him!… unless he offers you candy… then back away… slowly… actually a bit faster than slowly might be better… actually forget about the backing up and just run… really really fast…] ummmmmm, i forgot what i was saying…. oh right ben! anyways what about what ben said? “with great power comes great responsibility” should those in power not be held MORE responsible to those who don’t have it? when did we start to baby and coddle our leaders like the celebrities our society ponders too?)
We as americans should be ashamed that it is our government that has let lose this storm of corruption on democracy and we should be ashamed we haven’t do anything to stop it. people write it off saying “thats just how government works”
I say FUCK THAT!
The GOVERNMENT is what WE THE PEOPLE say it is. WE ALLOW THIS TO HAPPEN. it’s not just our government thats failing, IT’S US. we let them take these powers and make these steps, and while yes i LOVE what they can do for us in terms of schools, aid, funding and many other things they do i don’t believe they should have laws that so severely punish a man trying to do good out of the kindness of his heart yet don’t punish those who commit crimes because they are too important. this is the society WE have created. one where injustice is the norm and people continue on because it’s NOT THEIR PROBLEM. i love our government and what we are doing to help those around us. i love that our country is trying to progress and become the leaders we all know we are. But we can’t give up our rights to free speech and allow cooperation’s to blind us to reality. THEY ARE NOT PEOPLE. MONEY IS NOT FREE SPEECH. people are people, our voices and our writings, our prayers and our poems, our music and our songs, and crys and our shouts. THAT IS FREE SPEECH. and we have begun to forget that. and all the money, and all the guns, and all the petty bullshit argue about isn’t going to make a differences when we can’t live our lives without fear of breaking some law put in place by the seeds of corruption.
You can Maintain your rights and maintain the benefits the government provides you, but allow justice to fail and the country falls before we know it’s gone.
There is no conspiracy or plan, there is no goal of some party to bring us down, and corporations are not evil. what we have here is a trend, one which is leaning towards the idea that those in power stay in power because they have the means to out shout the little guy. what we have here is not the master plan of some corrupt political group, but the insane ramblings of a group who has it’s leaders trapped in the past and refusing to make any steps forward which is losing members of their own party due to the changing tides in american polotics. what we have is another political party so used to being forced to compromise that it still gives away almost all power. what we have is cooperation’s buying elections and is so concerned with profits and their own gains that they ignore real problems and are willing to jeopardize the rights of the people for personal profit not out of simply greed but from the willful ignorance of the impact of the decisions they make.
basically this is what i this is what i feel about the entire situation.
The fact is that this was a scare tactic. one to inform the people of the internet that their voices are being heard. and they are being silenced. one after another. and this will not stop, EVER. until we the people demand the changes needed before we no longer have the choice.