Glenn Greenwald on the High Cost of Government Secrecy

“Published on Apr 26, 2013

The violent Boston rampage triggered a local and federal response that, according to journalist Glenn Greenwald, adds a new dimension to troubling questions about government secrecy, overreach, and what we sacrifice in the name of national security. Greenwald joins Bill to peel back layers that reveal what the Boston bombings and drone attacks have in common, and how secrecy leads to abuse of government power.”


Reply from Congressman Peter DeFazio regarding the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Dear Mr. Dreves:


Thank you for contacting me in support of reforming the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. We are in agreement.


Aaron Swartz’s tragic suicide was a stark reminder of one of the major flaws in the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act- The law makes no distinction between online criminal activity such as fraud and violating the terms of service of a website. Both can lead to years in jail and astronomical fines. Online crimes that defraud people or companies deserve such stiff penalties. Violating the terms of service of a website does not.


Aaron Swartz faced 13 felony indictments for downloading too many articles from the JSTOR database, which he had legal access to. No one knows what he intended to do with the articles. This was a violation of JSTOR’s terms of service, not a crime deserving of up to 35 years in jail and a $1 million fine.


JSTOR called Aaron’s activity a “significant misuse” of their database, but stated that it would not pursue civil action against him. Federal prosecutors decided to press charges against Aaron anyway. It is time that the Justice Department got its priorities straight and went after the real criminals in society, not people like Aaron. I am absolutely stunned that the Justice Department found the time and resources to prosecute Aaron for a contract violation when they have failed to even propose a criminal prosecution for any activity on Wall Street that collapsed our economy in 2008.


My colleague Rep. Zoe Lofgren is in the process of drafting Aaron’s Law, which would treat the violation of a website’s terms of service as a breach of contract rather than criminal activity. She has posted a draft of the bill for review on Reddit, a website that Aaron helped create. Once this bill has been reviewed by the online community and introduced in Congress, I look forward to supporting it.


Thanks again for writing. Please continue to keep in touch.

The Real Story Behind Facebook Moderation and Your Petty Reports

The Internet Offends Me

Imagine going to work every day and at the start of your day, with your first cup of coffee, you sit down to glance at beheadings, children in the process of being raped, human bodies in various stages of decomposition, the living and dead results of domestic violence, hanging bodies of 10 year old boys accused of being gay, real-life snuff films and bloody dog fighting rings and their subsequent results. Can you think up a human horror? I’ve probably seen it or a picture or video of something very similar. It’s fair to say that some of the people who work around me do not fare so well. Often they end up suffering from the endless barrage of horror they witness 8 to 12 hours per day. Did I share that *most* of these people make around a dollar per hour to do this job? That’s the truth. Not…

View original post 1,303 more words

Bridging the Gap Between Atheism and Religion

There are ways to have a conversation and there are ways to talk past each other. If you can’t imagine what it’s like to believe what the other person does, if you can’t take that subjective experience seriously, you won’t be able to reach most of those people. This is an important conversation because our beliefs and values orient our behavior and habits.

Atheist and religious folk are making incompatible claims about the way the world works and hence our place in it. The non-overlapping magisteria notion is hogwash. There was never an unbridgeable gulf between facts and values and never could be. Values presuppose facts about the world and the way that it works, i.e. your values can assume things that aren’t true (facts about human nature, for example). If a value is premised on a falsehood its expression can cause unnecessary harm.

The fact of the matter is, although we presuppose our notions about the world correspond perfectly with the world as it is, this just isn’t so. So what we are talking about when we’re talking about atheism and religious belief are our notions and how they relate to the world.

Some religious folk seem to believe that some personal experience internally labelled “divine” or “God” is evidence of an external objective deity of some kind (most likely as evidence to support the existence of whichever particular deity of whichever particular mythic tradition they’ve been steeped in). Evidentially speaking it does nothing of the sort.

Some atheist folk, never having tasted a “mystical” experience, have no notion of what it might feel like to experience something reasonably called “divine.”

In both cases people are talking about one’s experience of reality, and usually unjustifiably assuming a whole lot more.

These come to mind:

Being No One:

The flowering of human consciousness – Eckhart Tolle: