Scanlyze

The Online Journal of Insight, Satire, Desire, Wit and Observation

Aaronsw Is Not My Hero

Seems everyone is lionizing Aaron Swartz. Aaron is someone I was acquainted with peripherally through mutual friends at One Laptop. I have to say aaronsw is not my hero.

If I thought it was justified to take all the documents in JSTOR I would have done when I was the sysadmin for the company that wrote the first interface to it. I don’t and I didn’t. I never even looked at a single document and I had root on everything.

Same is true for the American Mathematical Society and about a million of their documents I worked on the public interface for back in the 80′s. Never looked at a one.

Aaron was very charismatic, brilliant, and had a lot of good ideas. But he also according to what has come out, acted incredibly stupidly in the whole scenario with JSTOR and MIT. They kept blocking him and he kept coming back. Hello, clue?

But maybe he thought of this as civil disobedience and in some sense meant to get caught. If so I think he totally wimped out rather than doing the six months they offered him or going to trial and taking the (extraordinarily severe) sentence.

Not to say I think he was treated fairly. Given that JSTOR and MIT saw no reason to prosecute (or that’s the official story at MIT now anyway) if I was the prosecutor I would have exercised discretion and taken a pass on this one. No harm, no foul.

It worries me that Aaron is being made out to be a hero who deserves to be be emulated. He wasn’t, and he doesn’t.

Aaron Swartz (wikipedia)

Copyright © 2014 Henry Edward Hardy

12 February, 2014 Posted by | Aaron Swartz, aaronsw, archives, censorship, media, MIT, news, OLPC, politics, scanlyze, suicide | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Knowledge is power, and absolute knowledge is absolute power

Big Brother in the form of an increasingly powerful government and in an increasingly powerful private sector will pile the records high with reasons why privacy should give way to national security, to law and order [...] and the like.

William O. Douglas, Points of Rebellion , 1970

Each person knows something they don’t want other people to know about. That they will give almost anything to conceal.

Be they a saint, be they a libertine or someone who lives a very public life, still there will be something.

It might not be a secret sin. It might be a memory of a lost love. Or knowledge of a crime for which the wrong person went to jail. Or a family issue of incest or abuse. Or any of a long litany of small horribles.

This is the danger represented by the US Other Government Agencies (and there are a lot, not just the familiar three letter ones). By compiling transactional and source data a profile can be built for a person by which their secrets can be revealed. Even the fear that this *might* happen will be a a strong motivator for most.

The data being gathered by these agencies and their civilian counterparts like Choicepoint, Palantir, Berico, ManTech, Stratfor, Booz Allen, Equifax, and Lockheed Martin when made available through a single conspectus view, means that essentially there are no secrets. At least no assurance of secrecy.

A democracy, or any political system but a tyranny, cannot survive the existence of an elite which arrogates to itself the power to know everything about everyone all the time, and the means to keep that knowledge secret from everyone else.

Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy

22 October, 2013 Posted by | capitalism, censorship, Central Intelligence Agency, ChoicePoint, CIA, commander-in-chief, covert operations, Equifax, knowledge, media, politics, power, privacy, quotations, scanlyze, surveillance, William O. Douglas | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ted Cruz and the Birthers

You know all the birthers who are attacking Ted Cruz and demanding documentation of his citizenship?

Exactly.

They don’t mind that his father was Cuban. They don’t mind that he really was born outside the US. They don’t ask any questions about his citizenship status.

So that brings us to ask, what was the issue again with President Obama? Was it really his nationality, or all along was it the color of his skin?

Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy

20 October, 2013 Posted by | scanlyze | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blunder-headed US Republicans can’t find a way out of the mess they created

I continue to watch with astonishment at the juvenile, dunderheaded tricks the Republicans are playing.

First they force a shutdown of the federal government and the unimaginable scenario of unwarranted and unnecessary bankruptcy of the United States and subsequent collapse of the world economy to try to force the Democratic majority in the Senate to retroactively defund the Affordable Healthcare Act. Then they decide that defunding healthcare isn’t achievable. And declare they will continue the shutdown and forcing a default anyway!

That is demented, irrational, and verging on treasonous.

The 14th Amendment says that “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned”

That is a Constitutional Amendment. It trumps what is in the main text of the Constitution and it certainly overcomes that of statutory requirements of the statutory debt ceiling. The Constitution doesn’t require or impose a debt ceiling, the first one was passed as part of the 2nd Liberty Bond Act of 1917. The debt ceiling has no Constitutional basis, it is statutory law only.

Obama should announce that in accordance with the Constitution there will be no default and to the unruly house, impeach me and be damned!

Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy

14 October, 2013 Posted by | bankruptcy, default, economy, government, politics, Republicans, scanlyze, shutdown, stupidity, United States | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

WTF happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave?

The greatest ideological weapon the US used to have is that we could point to the material and ethical benefits of our free, liberal society.

*We* had freedom of speech. *We* had a free press. *We* had full employment. *We* had the right to public education, including affordable or free college education. *We* did not spy on our citizens. *We* did not engage in torture. *We* obeyed and enforced the laws of war. *We* founded the United Nations. *We* had a democratic, pluralistic society in which everyone had a voice. *We* had separation of church and state. *We* had the right to organize and form unions, to bargain collectively, and to strike. *We* had the right to peaceably organize and protest against our government. *We* had free enterprise, where monopolies and cartels were neither tolerated nor legal. *We* had banks which were regulated in the public interest to prevent another economic crash. *We* had an open form of government where the people were in charge and the government did neither fear the people nor did the people fear the government. We had so much leisure time people didn’t always know what to do.

Our people were the wealthiest, freeest, healthiest and happiest in the world.

I am not talking about some never-neverland utopia. I remember this time in America. So does anyone my age if they think back.

What the fuck happened to us?

Copyright © 2013 Henry Edward Hardy

27 September, 2013 Posted by | freedom, liberty, media, peace, politics, scanlyze, US, USA, war | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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