Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cowardice as Compromise: The Courage of Barack Obama

If you listened to President Obama for the past week, you would think this country was about to implode if we did not 'come to a deal' of sorts with House Republicans.  And like the weakling he has been from day one of his presidency, by compromise, of course, he means doing what the Republicans want him to do (be it caving in on shutting down GITMO, civilian trials for terrorist suspects, redoing the Patriot Act to eliminate its civil liberties violations, the public option in health care, support for gay marriage, and now budget cuts of the very programs given to us by the president's party).  And what did the House Republicans like John Boehner want?  Naturally, to gut social spending and keep Bush's tax cuts for upper income earners.  And what did Obama give them?  Deep social spending cuts and a continuation of Bush's tax cuts for upper income earners.

And how poignant that we allow Standard and Poor's and Moody's to sit in judgment of the US government, threatening to give us junk bond rating status if a 'deal' was not reached.  These were the same crediting agencies who gave AIG, Bear Sterns, and Greece AAA ratings.  And instead of being fitted for orange jumpsuits and a life behind bars, we continue to allow the very entities who destroyed our economy and way of life, along with giving them our tax money (under the guise of being too big to fail), to compel us to reduce a debt that is of no consequence to our economic well being.

Why would I write such a heretical thing about our capitalist system?  Because from the very start of this country's existence, we have run a huge national debt.  The only time in American history we consistently balanced our budgets, year after year, was in the 1830s, which presaged several economic collapses in subsequent years.  At the time the US was founded, our debts then were greater (as a percentage of our GDP) than they are today.  And the response of then-Secretary of Treasury Alexander Hamilton was to encourage the creation of a national bank (subsidized with tax increases), so to fully fund the debts of our states, exclaiming that our national debt was a blessing to the US.  Much like the free trade orthodoxy that pollutes almost every business and economics department of our universities, when in fact the US developed into an industrial superpower as a protectionist state well into the middle part of the 20th century, likewise, the US has never been a nation predicated on balancing its budgets (but was created and has funded itself on debt from the start of our history).

Indeed, during our greatest economic booms, like WWII, we ran annual deficits as a percentage of GDP more than twice as high as we do today.  The dollar did not die, our economy did not leave us.  We had full employment with federal government expenditures as a percentage of GDP around 45% (today, the media and its lackeys in Congress would have you believe we need to 'cap' that spending at 18% or risk doom).  

How could it be that this entire debate is overblown and manufactured?  Does it not matter at all that we have $14 trillion of national debt?  No, it does not.  We are no longer a poor nation of farmers, as we were over two centuries ago.  Our GDP is over $14 trillion.  Moreover, the debt ceiling is wholly unnecessary to the debt 'crisis', and its existence is emblematic at how it has become what it is at this hour.  The only thing that really matters to the US government, other than the value of the dollar, is that we can meet the interest payments on our debt.  So long as we can pay the interest, the rest of the debt is of no significance.  No one will be collecting, no future generations paying, anymore than the grandchildren of Alexander Hamilton did after he drastically increased our debt burdens to the highest levels in our existence.  And that is the sham of the debt ceiling debate.  From the beginning, it was something that was contrived, so to use as a trojan horse to give Congress and the White House what they really wanted--cuts in federal spending (and not to corporations).

The most fraudulent of Obama's claims (and the Republicans he is flacking for) is the supposed need to 'reform' Social Security.  You will never hear this on Fox 'news' or anything owned by Rupert Murdoch, and probably not even CNN at this point, but Social Security has a $22 trillion surplus.  That is right, Social Security has a greater surplus than our entire national debt (157% more, to be precise).  So, what is needed but to cut it!  It is that same neo-liberal mentality in corporate America that gives us a business community that has since 2009 collected and sat on over $2 trillion, making record profits while refusing to use those reserves to expand or hire (thereby extending our recession).  We, the people, the live ones, not the preborn or those with the word incorporated or ascription of millionaire at the end of their names, need more financial discipline, to have our money that we paid into these programs taken from us so that millionaires can continue to get a tax cut.  Regardless of how Obama likes to call it, that is what he is doing.

From the start of this debate, the House Republicans controlled and dictated the terms of the agreement.  The only real quandary that occurred was within the House Republican caucus, between the teabaggers and House Republican leaders who wanted to 'compromise' by cutting 'only' $2.4 trillion, as opposed to $4 trillion.  The Senate Democrats, never mind the House Democrats, have never been a part of the debate or negotiation process with the president (that is, until the last minute for the Senate Democrats).  Obama handed to his opponents the terms, accepted whatever agreement they generally came to, and then called it a compromise.  If this is compromise, schoolyard bullies everywhere should rejoice.  They have just been renamed peacemakers.

Why in the world would anyone support or vote for this?  I guarantee you that is a question no one will be asking in the mainstream news.  If you have been paying attention to what happened to The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur at MSNBC, and how he was strong-armed from the supposedly left-wing channel for being 'too critical' of the administration, you probably have a good idea as to how this proposal is going to be portrayed in the news media (i.e., like a 'grand compromise' that staves off certain financial collapse).

And to anyone who lives the illusion that this was not driven by the Republicans, and that Obama might not have caved in to the GOP, take this line from a CNN article, on one of the stipulations of the deal:
Obama would be able to request only up to $1.2 trillion in additional debt ceiling if the special congressional committee fails to agree to at least $1.2 trillion in cuts.
In other words, the debt ceiling will not go up until the POTUS goes to Congress and allows them to decide on another trillion in spending cuts.  For all intents and purposes, Barack Obama has made himself a hostage of the Republican leaders in the House of Representatives.  Remember those Bush tax cuts he campaigned against?  He extended them last year, is continuing to support them now, and will not take the issue up again until 2012 (right before the election).  Is there anyone reading this willing to bet me that Barack Obama will manifest within himself the gumption to take on this issue in 2012 and repeal those tax cuts?  I think you already know the answer, but if any of you are willing to bet me, you are welcome to name the wage because I am more certain of President Obama's continued avoidance and oblique support of those tax cuts than I am of myself still breathing this time a year from now.

Eventually, those of us on the real left (who still bother with electoral politics) must become more openly critical of what is happening.  It is not that I think it will matter ultimately, as Barack Obama seems bereft to take a stance on whether water is wet anymore (without fear of someone calling him an Islamic socialist), but if nothing else we must make our voices heard.  The teabaggers will feign outrage at not being able to decapitate our government and turn this country into a 19th century mine shaft filled with child laborers and only property owners voting, but the sad truth is this proposal gives the GOP everything it wants with absolutely nothing in return (unless you count saving dollars off the backs of the poor and elderly an accomplishment).

And to think, according to the freepers and denizens at, this is what socialism is supposed to look like.  It is at times like this I think back to the quote from Gore Vidal that the US has one political party with two right-wings.  

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Nation of Breiviks: Yahoo Message Boards

It never ceases to amaze me to read the Yahoo News messages below its articles.  If ever you wonder what real conservatism in America looks like, just read them sometime.  For your elucidation, to understand the evil we face in this country and in every Western country filled with these sociopaths, I am offering this post filled with their kind screeds below a Yahoo article on the massacre in Norway this last Friday.

"If he did this to send a message to the government to stop "liberal" immigration and Islam, then I have to applaud him. How far do you think this country is from the same behavior the way our goverrnment shoves these mexicans down our throats or allows Islams to remain after 911 and build them a big mosque to make their plans in."

"i blame the ILLUMINTI and that's final. knight's templar prob hides the fact of freeMASONRY"

"How much do ALL those Muslims cost the people of Norway?? Do they PAY their way or just latch on and start sucking the nation dry, you know, like here in the states??"

"You see? It is'nt just moo-slums that are being provoked into extreme violence by islam.Islam is the source of most of the worlds violence and it is fear of moo-slum violence that prevents people from speaking out."

"This would never happen in the U.S. well unless the Libturds get their way and want to ban guns.
He would have been shot down like the mad dog he is if this happened here and the deaths would have been a lot less.Let this be a lesson to you idiot Liberals out there. if you dont have guns you cant protect yourself agains mad gunmen."

"Hey libtards, maybe he can be 'rehabilitated.'"

"I in no way condone what this guy did, and I don't understand killing children when killing the men in power responsible for his anger would have made him more of a martyr, vice a demon. But at least this guy stood up for what he believed in and had the balls to pull it off. We had men like that here in the US once, they were called patriots and drafted our constitution among other things. Read sometime how much rotten gorilla warfare they used in the Colonial wars. Americans today are just soft, little football-watching, pacifists who are letting their own country slide down the tubes by a Marxist president. Sad."

"Libs begging for someone with a gun to save them.. Ha ha ha how ironic!!"

"I would say this guy is more like a liberal. Out of touch with reality and tweeting all day. He thinks TV is reality. So the last so called right wing nut job was McVeigh. So lets all now bow to the Muslims since it wasn't them BUT we'll just forget abot the 2,740 victims of 911 and all the troops that died getting Osama. That's how the liberal mind works. We'll just forget the British Bus bombings, Spain train bombings, 911 and now disarm all the white people. LIBERALS ARE A DISEASE!"

"Why don't these people carry guns? I carry my Ruger Alaskan (.454 Casull) all the time. Just do it!! Hell you don't have to carry hand artillery like I do...a 9mm, .357 mag, .44 mag, 10 mm, .40 cal will do just fine. If just one person in that crowd was packing heat, let's say a .454 Casull and he/she drilled the #$%$cker in the head at 40 yards, his head would have exploded and he would have dropped where he stood--deader than hell and many lives would have been saved. Just remember, contrary to popular belief, God DID NOT create all men equal; Samuel Colt did. And I, Vlad the Impaler, challenge ALL you bible bookworms to prove me wrong!!!Take this friendly bit of advice from someone who knows what they're talking about."

"Honestly... if he has been watching what the "anti christ", Obama has been doing... I understand his motives! He is trying to save his country from Greece's fate. That is what is happening to America, under Obama. If you dont understand that, you have not been following the news!"

"Dear Norwegians, how's that gun control thing working in your socialist paradise?!? ;)"

"To all of you people saying that we Christians make excuses for 'Christians' who do things like this, while we group Muslims into one generic group of killers: Muslims have a looooong history of killing 'infidels' (by which they mean, anyone who is not Muslim). So, when a Muslim commits an act of terror, he is acting, not as an extremist, but as an adherent to the Koran. Christians, on the other hand, are known for being peaceful. I mean real Christians, not Catholics or Mormons. Christians are forbidden by the Bible to murder for the sake of spreading Christianity (Roman Catholicism has almost as long a history as Muslims of torturing and killing those who would not convert to their false religion). Of course, there are Christians who have murdered. True Christians will repent of their evil and make restitution as much as is in their power. Someone who calls himself a Christian, however, and does a murderous act, must be called into question whether he truly is, or whether he is merely using the name of Christian. He must not be considered a Christian unless he really and truly repents.
This murdering dog who did this terrible act in Norway, and is unrepentant, is not going to be considered Christian by any stretch of the imagination. He may be right-wing, but he's no believer."

"Typical Liberal Behavior, just like the guy in Tuscon....another nut bag libkook whacktard"

"Conservative experts are learning that innocent children across America are having trouble sleeping at night. They live in constant fear. They can't stop thinking about President Obama's diabolical plan to mandate Death Squads to kill their grandparents, and take from them everything they hold dear! Their screams can be heard across the nation and our tears are falling into a puddle that cries out for restoration!"

"I'm not sure what's scarier. a guy killing kids or a govornment brain washing at a youth day camp. This is straight out of the Hitler play book kids. Indoctrinate at an early age by brainwashing to be loyal party followers."
"This guy may be another government black ops agent. Timothy McVeigh was a CIA asset, and the Oklahoma City bombing was carried out by the U.S. government to stir up resentment of the militia movement, and to use as an excuse to take away more of our freedoms."

"Another Marxist Leftist along with Ted kaczynki Janet Reno and others who have committed horrific acts so as to force their beliefs on others."

"Obama is a radical terrorist but he is half white, half black, half Muslim, half Christian and all Communist!"

"Left Wing Liberal Democrats have killed more innocent people than anyone. It's called abortion. Democrats kill babies, defend murderers from capital punishment, defend the rights of terrorists that kill our own, and hate Jesus: The only one who died for their sins."

"It was just a matter of time before liberalism made someone lose it. Better stop catering to gays and mooslimes libs."

"well at least he killed socialists, they are a cancer and they desire to tear down the USA look what Obama has done he has singlehandedly destroyed the us economy!!!"

"The anti-Christian, anti-conservative bigotry here is staggering. America is spiraling towards a civil war quicker than in the 1850's. You liberals can run your mouths but when the shooting starts, you will only be running."

"Had he killed Muslims, I would have no problems with the guy."

"We need to bring him here to California to kill all the Mexicans here."

"As history tells us, The Cultural Marxists are much more destructive than this guy or one hundred more of him could ever be. They are responsible for the racial, social and moral breakdown of the West. It's no accident the West is collapsing from within . Their goal is to destroy every vestage of Western Civilization so they can FORCEFULLY INSTALL A JEWISH Marxist Dictatorship on the FORMERLY WESTERN WORLD - If you think that's a conspiracy theory, you're no student of history. JUST TAKE A LOOK AT WHAT THEY DID IN THE FORMER SOVIET UNION and TAKE A LOOK AT WHO DID IT."

"hard to believe he isnt somehow a muslim"

"200 years from now when the planet is infested with illegal immigration, islam and sharia law, people will look back and realize this guy was a hero. He is ahead of his time."

"muslims need to be stopped now... we need a modern day Hitler to handle them"

"The bombing, the shooting, the ridiculous response time, and the insane sentencing all on LIBERALS WATCH!!! This is ALL Liberal ideology at its finest!! Typical Liberal FAIL!!!!!! Liberals the whole world is waking up to your failures!! You let your citizens DOWN. Funny how the whole world sees you for what you and your ideals are and yet you maintain that your ideology is superior to EVERYONE else in the WHOLE world! Its called psychopathic delusions! You think you are above everyone else despite your constant failure!"

"This is a man of ACTION!! We could use him here in America!!"

"There is no excuse for what this nut did but consider that Norway is a Marxist country run by liberals with little or no national pride who has recently opened its borders to Muslims. If we continue to follow Obama, we will reach that point soon."

"Let us not forget that Nelson Mandela was the head of UmKhonto we Sizwe, (MK), the terrorist wing of the ANC and South African Communist Party. He had pleaded guilty to 156 acts of public violence including mobilizing terrorist bombing campaigns, which planted bombs in public places, including the Johannesburg railway station. Many innocent people, including women and children, were killed by Nelson Mandela’s MK terrorists and yet liberals uphold this monster as a hero, how sick is that!!!"

"I only wish he'da started in NYC, San Fran, or D.C,...a MUCH more target rich environment in those areas. scream for diversity. THIS sort of behavior is the natural and expected reply. Multi-culturalism breeds strife and death. This wicked tree is beginning to bear fruit, just as those intent on destroying the West had hoped."

"How could this guy be at two places at once...what is the time frame between both incidents? Something smells in Norway!!!! Lefte Wing cover up!!!"

"He probably felt helpless,...his leaders all bought by the Euro socialist, government run media daily throwing out its brain washing spew, his country being infiltrated by people who only want to take advantage of it and impose their beliefs and his own elected officals supporting it, his political ideology constantly being lied about and political solution in sight. Sound familiar...I wonder how many of these time bombs are walking around in our country and when this reckless president and his communist agenda will set them off."

"He should have killed muslims, not Norwegians."

Now, just imagine those posters in a voting booth.  I give them credit for stating what they really think.  Yes, I know what you are going to say.  They are just posting stuff, mostly trolls, blowing off steam, etc.  Well, so was Mr. Breivik.  And it is no accident that Breivik copied Timothy McVeigh's fertilizer bomb.  Does anyone doubt that the right-wing has an insufficient number of armed violent types in this country who are liable to act on this ideological inclination?  Just in the last three years, right-wing terrorists in the US have ambushed and murdered police officers because of a contrived outrage over the thought of Obama 'taking their guns,' conducted a deadly attack on a Unitarian church, suicided themselves by flying a plane into an IRS building, murdered an African American security guard in front of the Holocaust Museum, and conspired to assassinate police officers at a funeral to start a civil war.

It would be nice to say that this will be the exception and not the future, but I would not hold out on that one.  I cannot understate the importance of how the election of a black man to the White House has done more to awaken within the minds of many white people in the US a sense of racial consciousness that has not been expressed so openly since the South in the 1950s.  And as whites become an increasing minority (and we will be in the next few decades), it is only going to get worse.  Ethnic nationalism, and the fear that whites (in the US and Europe) of future oppression at the hands of the coming majority, is going to manifest itself in ugly ways (like anti-immigrant legislation targeting Mexicans and anyone who comes from a Muslim background), also including acts of terrorism from those white Christians who feel as though the democratic process is not representing their viewpoint.  I think that whatever else you can say about Mr. Breivik, he is the wave of what will be coming in the next several decades.  I hope I am wrong about this and that the Timothy McVeighs and the Hutari militia are just a mirage.

Of course, in the end, the white right will lose.  The right has put itself in such a position that it cannot co-exist with a free society whose demographics is fading with the landscape.  Even if they were to succeed in establishing an apartheid state (to keep themselves in power), the right would only be giving themselves a stay of execution for their brand of politics, but it will not stop them from trying.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Good Enough for Fort Meade, But Not Rupert!

One of the ongoing hypocrisies of the media coverage of the implosion of Rupert Murdoch is the sensationalism of the stories around his editors' involvement in wire tapping of phone conversations, stealing cell phone data (of a murder victim no less), and the possible repeating of such tactics on 9/11 victims, as if the wall of privacy, so great is our respect for it, should never be violated.  What few commentators, especially in the mainstream media, bother to mention is how the UK now has the highest per capita use of cameras by its government, covering the moves of millions of its citizens (in some cases for parolees, even in their own homes).  Or about how our government since 2001 that has been cataloging every one of our phone calls, spying on our emails, IMs, chats, all without so much as a warrant or cause?  We express feigned shock and outrage at a corporation (capricious as it is) for doing what we tolerate our own government doing to us on a daily basis (when our Bill of Rights is supposed to protect our rights from that government).

How convoluted of a society do we have to be living in for federal law enforcement to arrest hackers when we employ hackers as 'advisors' to our DOD security systems?  How much like The Matrix are we becoming when that same government threatens to have you thrown in jail for opening up a neighbor's snail mail, and allowing corporations to sue you for millions for downloading one of their products on bit torrent, and yet simultaneously conducts extensive warrantless searches and monitoring of our online activities, etc., the exact kind of behavior that would be illegal for us to partake in?

Can anyone fault News Corporation for thinking, even if only for a second, that there was nothing wrong with its activities?  Right now, as I write this, there are civilian contractors in the U.S. who use satellites to spy on us, and monitor our movements, without charge, without evidence, and without any legal oversight (operating on the orders of our government).  Our law enforcement, under the Patriot Act, can literally break into your home, take your hard drive without informing you of the theft, and not only is it legal, it is an increasingly accepted custom of evidentiary gathering in anti-terrorist cases (with the distinction of what it takes to be a 'terrorist' decided upon by a member of that bureaucracy, not a prosecutor and court).

Sounds conspiratorial?  Consider the story of Aaron Swartz.  His crime?  He conducted too many online researches, apparently, attracting the attention of federal prosecutors.  Oh, by the way, Aaron also just so happens to be a founder of an organization that is critical of the federal government's habit of spying on its citizenry.

Feds Charge Activist as Hacker for Downloading Millions of Academic Articles
by Ryan Singel
Well-known coder and activist Aaron Swartz was arrested Tuesday, charged with violating federal hacking laws for downloading millions of academic articles from a subscription database service that MIT had given him access to via a guest account. If convicted, Swartz faces up to 35 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Swartz, the 24-year-old executive director of Demand Progress, has a history of downloading massive data sets, both to use in research and to release public domain documents from behind paywalls. Swartz, who was aware of the investigation, turned himself in Tuesday.
Disclosure: Swartz is a co-founder of Reddit¹, which like is owned by Condé Nast. He is also a general friend of, and has done coding work for Wired.
The grand jury indictment accuses Swartz of evading MIT’s attempts to kick his laptop off the network while downloading more than four million documents from JSTOR, a not-for-profit company that provides searchable, digitized copies of academic journals. The scraping, which took place from September 2010 to January 2011 via MIT’s network, was invasive enough to bring down JSTOR’s servers on several occasions.
According to the U.S. attorney’s office, Swartz was arraigned in U.S. District Court in Boston this morning where he pled not guilty to all counts. He is now free on a $100,000 unsecured bond. His next court date is Sept. 9, 2011 and he’s represented by Andrew Good of Good and Courmier.
The indictment alleges that Swartz, at the time a fellow at Harvard University, intended to distribute the documents on peer-to-peer networks. That did not happen, however, and all the documents have been returned to JSTOR.
JSTOR, the alleged victim in the case, did not refer the case to the feds, according to Heidi McGregor, the company’s vice president of Marketing & Communications, who said the company got the documents, a mixture of both copyrighted and public domain works, back from Swartz and was content with that.
As for whether JSTOR supports the prosecution, McGregor simply said that the company was not commenting on the matter. She noted, however, that JSTOR has a program for academics who want to do big research on the corpus, but usually faculty members ask permission or contact the company after being booted off the network for too much downloading.
“This makes no sense,” said Demand Progress Executive Director David Segal in a statement provided by Swartz to before the arrest. “It’s like trying to put someone in jail for allegedly checking too many books out of the library.”
“It’s even more strange because the alleged victim has settled any claims against Aaron, explained they’ve suffered no loss or damage, and asked the government not to prosecute,” Segal said.
JSTOR doesn’t go quite as far in its statement on the prosecution — though there are clear hints that they were not the ones who wanted a prosecution, and that they were subpoenaed to testify at the grand jury hearing by the federal government.
We stopped this downloading activity, and the individual responsible, Mr. Swartz, was identified. We secured from Mr. Swartz the content that was taken, and received confirmation that the content was not and would not be used, copied, transferred, or distributed.
The criminal investigation and today’s indictment of Mr. Swartz has been directed by the United States Attorney’s Office.
When asked about this, Christina Sterling, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s office said, “I can’t speak specifically about this case, but fundamentally speaking, the U.S. Attorney’s Office makes own independent decisions regarding prosecution based on the merits of a case.”
But the feds clearly think they have a substantial hacking case on their hands, even though Swartz used guest accounts to access the network and is not accused of finding a security hole to slip through or using stolen credentials, as hacking is typically defined.
In essence, Swartz is accused of felony hacking for violating MIT and JSTOR’s terms of service. That legal theory has had mixed success — a federal court judge dismissed that argument in the Lori Drew cyberbullying case, but it was later reused with more success in a case brought against ticket scalpers who used automated means to buy tickets faster from Ticketmaster’s computer system.
“Stealing is stealing whether you use a computer command or a crowbar, and whether you take documents, data or dollars. It is equally harmful to the victim whether you sell what you have stolen or give it away,” said United States Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz in a press release(.pdf).
The indictment (.pdf) accuses Swartz of repeatedly spoofing the MAC address — an identifier that is usually static — of his computer after MIT blocked his computer based on that number. Swartz also allegedly snuck an Acer laptop bought just for the downloading into a closet at MIT in order to get a persistent connection to the network.
Swartz allegedly hid his face from surveillance cameras by holding his bike helmet up to his face and looking through the ventilation holes when going in to swap out an external drive used to store the documents. Swartz also allegedly named his guest account “Gary Host,” with the nickname “Ghost.”
Why would Swartz want to download what is likely gigabytes of information? His history includes a study co-authored with Shireen Barday, which looked through thousands of law review articles looking for law professors who had been paid by industry patrons to write papers. That study was published in 2008 in the Stanford Law Review.
Swartz is no stranger to the feds being interested in his skills at prodigious downloads. In 2008, the federal court system decided to try out allowing free public access to its court record search system PACER at 17 libraries across the country. Swartz went to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals library in Chicago and installed a small PERL script he had written. The code cycled sequentially through case numbers, requesting a new document from PACER every three seconds. In this manner, Swartz got nearly 20 million pages of court documents, which his script uploaded to Amazon’s EC2 cloud computing service.
While the documents are in the public record and free to share, PACER normally charges eight cents a page.
The courts reported him to the FBI, which investigated whether the public records were “exfiltrated.” After in-depth background searches, a luckless stakeout and futile attempts to get Swartz to talk, the FBI dropped the case.
The same anti-hacking statute was used to prosecute Lori Drew, who was charged criminally for participating in a MySpace cyberbullying scheme against a 13-year-old Missouri girl who later committed suicide. The case against Drew hinged on the government’s novel argument that violating MySpace’s terms of service was the legal equivalent of computer hacking and a violation of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
A federal judge who presided over the prosecution tossed the guilty verdicts in July 2009, and the government declined to appeal.

Think about that.  Our government takes $700 billion of our money to bailout banks, all pure deficit spending.  The same government, under two administrations (Republican and Democratic), have spent over $1.6 trillion of deficit spending to give tax cuts to millionaires.  Our banks and financial institutions wreck and destroy our economy, and not a single CEO has been held accountable, even the ones who knew they were selling toxic assets and betting against them in private (an act of fraud and violation of securities law).  Nothing.  But download articles from JSTOR, from unprofitable, almost never read academic publications, and well naturally that is a different story.

I will go out on a limb here and say that Rupert Murdoch, even if his managers did hack into the phones of 9/11 victims, will not only remain free and unpunished, but his news service will remain as defiantly dishonest and sleazy as ever, without fail and with the complete support of the media establishment and our so-called socialist president.  And your government will continue to treat the rest of us like subjects to be spied upon at will.  Still, we can rest easily tonight.  The fifteen readers of International Organization will not have to worry about their subscription rates being devalued by an illegal download.