Some information here: http://www.law.cornell.edu/background/forfeiture/
It does lead to some of my favorite case captions, such as Quantity of Books v. Kansas.
Why not just accept the fact that Russia, the US and China are most alike when It comes to freedom. And that actually free places, are by definition less powerfull. (because of those pesky morals and ideals).
Lets be honest. You are more like Russia, than like Canada. You are more like China, than like Holland.
You are not the "country of the free". You are the least evil superpower, and wihout you other nations, like mine, would not be free.
So, as a dutch citizen, i thank you for your sacrifice. I thank you for the nuclear umbrella, your inclusive economic nature, and by extension my freedom.
Im sorry, that you dont get to experience it yourself. But you cant be a free superpower. There is no such thing.
Because it's not true. For example, observe how the US consistently beats China and Russia by significant margins in freedom indexes:
In the Democracy Index compiled by the UK-based Economist Intelligence Unit, the US is considered a Full Democracy and both Russia and China are considered Authoritarian Regimes.
In the Press Freedom Index, compiled by the French organization Reporters Without Borders, the US is 47th out of 179, Russia is 142nd and China is 174th. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Worldwide_Press_Freedom_Index)
In the Economic Freedom of the World Index, published by the Fraser Institute (based in Canada), the US is 10th out of 141, Russia is 81st and China is 92nd.
I chose indexes that were compiled outside the United States to avoid attempts to paint these numbers as biased. Other numbers compiled inside the US concerning human rights also strongly favor the US over Russia and China.
You say we should "be honest," but your claims are not supported by the facts.
Except rankings do not represent range.
And you did seem to completely miss my point: you are a superpower. You have the whole word lobbying you. You have the strongest financial interests to protect, and you protect, just by the virtue of the size of your military, more free nations ( all of them higher ranked in your lists ) than the other superpowers.
My point was, that that does not come free. And to some extend liberty is the price.
I dont even think it makes sense comparing the US and its civil and political dynamics with any other nation, than the two remaining superpowers.
It was not some kind of mean rant against the states. Just that the idea of a free superpower is by definition a contradiction. That you provide freedom to many natioms, but can not to the same extend experience it yourself, because you are just too high value of a target in any dimension (poltically, financially, socially, militairily)
The idea that "super-powers" are fundamentally different than all other countries when it comes to freedom is an argument you have made without support or evidence.
Consider credit ratings: a few tiny nations have the highest ratings. But their combined assets represent nothing compared to the states. The US is rated lower, because the US is expected to fight its own fights. These tiny nations are rated higher, because the big guys are expected to cover their stability.
The same is true for my freedom: it is garantueed by the states, based on a sacrifice the people of my country would not make themselves. That sacrifice is huge: economic extortion of your social underclass to risk their life; the financial investments that leave very little of tax payers money for any "ordinary purpose" like education. And dont just look at your defense budget, your and mine security depends on your intelligence spendings just as much.
Remember WW2 where you saved our ass? The marshal plan were you rebuild my country? The war on Serbia, where you cleaned up our backyard? The war in Libia, where you allowed us to distance ourselves from a dictator we were doing bussiness with?
You have our back. In your shadow, we are not only safe from China or Russia, but even from ourselves.
But we get all that, without the sacrifice. We can be anti-war. We can spent all our money on education, rather than security. We can have freedom of the press, because our government does not represent any meaningfull stakes. Even our southern neigbours, Belgium. They did not have a government for more than a year. Imagine that!
If you guys would be truly free to vote in your own interest, to be informed correctly about that interest, to have true civil rights ... You would not be a superpower, you would be Canada.
For a short while that is, until China would invade, or the rich middle eastern countries would take full control.
The US is the military of the free world, and nations like mine, its (spoiled) free citizens.
Like most free citizens, we have a tendency to feel morally superior. We dont have to choose between security or liberty. You sacrifice your libery for our security, and most of us are completely oblivious to this fact.
A little bias isn't going to make the difference between "Full Democracy" (the most free in the Democracy Index) and "Authoritarian Regime" (the least free).
democracies are systems in which citizens freely make political decisions by majority rule. But rule
by the majority is not necessarily democratic. In a democracy majority rule must be combined with
guarantees of individual human rights and the rights of minorities.
In 2011 the US scored 8.53 in Civil Liberties (out of 10) compared with 4.71 for Russia and 1.18 for China.
Specifically, this 'Civil Liberties' category is only a subset of civil liberties as applied to the inputs of democracy. Most autonomous governments directly attack political free expression, which is what this category is designed to measure. (USG however has become quite autonomous and oppressive while allowing free expression. This takes longer to develop, but is much more robust)
As for examples of civil liberties that are not reflected in this category - presumption of innocence, equal protection under the law, the sorry excuse for "due process", unintelligible and de-facto private laws, rights granted by the "supreme law of the land" being somehow mostly inapplicable, excessive punishment, drug laws and every other area where government meddles with individuals' lives to make society "better". Your standard Frito Pendejo celebrates his "excellent" rights while simultaneously cheering on fascism against those in positions of actually requiring said rights. The fact that the process is democratic is of little importance when the results are poor.
Again, completely unsupported.
> As for examples of civil liberties that are not reflected in this category [...]
Did you actually read the report? Equal protection is an explicit criterion. The ability of citizens to successfully petition the government for redress of grievances is another, which addresses many of the others (as well as an independent judiciary).
HackerNews used to be a place where most people had an informed perspective about how the world really works. I'm sad to see the rise of useless naive indignation that plagues so many Internet discussion boards. There is plenty to criticize the US for. The Kim Dotcom case looks pretty unreasonable from what we know. The jump from there to the US being Russia or China is absurd and betrays sloppy and/or uninformed thinking. The fact that I even have to argue this point and spend time digging up sources that state the obvious is disconcerting, and I regret the time I've wasted on this thread.
The freedom to help condone whichever big-money candidate sweet-talked me the best or to write in the name of someone who definitely won't be elected just isn't worth that much to me, especially when it fits into continuing the status quo oh-so-well. I'd probably miss it if it were gone, but as it stands I'd much rather have laws be understandable by everyone, and minimal penalties when they've not been violated (even when one ultimately prevails, time wasted by the system is a penalty itself). These are fundamental parts of the rule-of-law that are sorely missing.
And ah yes, the good old argumento-ad-declaring-a-viewpoint-as-part-of-the-downfall-of-hackernews-um. If something is disconcerting, that may mean you need to examine your assumptions. In actuality, you're making "obvious" arguments because you're ignoring the (quite insightful!) point that was made with regards to individual freedom, while arguing against a straw-man of institutional freedom.
Although, personally, i consider the most "free" market, to be about more than tax levels and (lack of) labour laws. The current interpretation is very one dimensional.
For example, the US (and Holland as well), do not protect against legislative extortion. Nor do they effectively limit anti-competitive behavior. You can not build a solid stable company on top of any infrastructure owned by potential competitors. From net-neutrality to side-loading of apps. The freedom to innovate pricing models conflicts with the freedom to innovate actual products.
What happens next is that the new administration tries to understand and rationalize why they were picked. I would say that the President under estimated how much of his victory was civil liberties focused (at least from the more conservative voters in the country). His failure to make any meaningful change in those policies is working against him today.
That message has built slowly (many republicans failed to believe it could overwhelm their party in 2008) but steadily. And while many will seek faster results than we are seeing, those with a longer view see helpful signs that suggest the process is working its way toward resolution. Just as it did during other crises in the past.
I won't be voting for Romney because I think he will be just as bad. Where's the EFF's candidate?
We have the expansion and extention of the PATRIOT ACT.
We have porno scanners in the airports and the TSA molesting anyone who opts out. We actually have what is legally assault, and child molestation, going on thousands of times a day. ("oh its outrageous to call it that!" Really? How is it ok for the government to do it but sickening when a regular citizen does it? Hmmm?)
We have the assasination of US citizens without trial.
We have more asset forfieture- which really is theft.
We have the criminalization of private health insurance (which many havent' realized because it hasn't fully gone into effect and they haven't yet lost their coverage.)
Obama is like Bush, but without the restraint!
I wish things were evolving, but no administration ever undoes the damage of the previous one-- the only way they differ is in which areas of our lives they want to control.
Lets not forget that Joe Biden is the architect of the drug war.... so who really believed Obama was going to allow medical marijauna?
Perhaps you aren't patient. The democratic party steamrolled the republicans in the 2008 race. And you are correct that they didn't change the policies that many people really wanted them to change. The republicans came back with their 'tea party' in 2010. That was two replacement cycles, we're coming up on the third. It may surprise you to know but people who want to be in office, and get kicked out, try to figure out why they lost. That feedback loop is slow (and others have pointed out you probably don't want a government that can change too quickly). But it does work. Compare policies from 2008 to 2010 and 2010 to the present. You will see if you look across a broad spectrum of politicians people trying to adapt so that they can win re-election (or election in general).
I think you will see some interesting effects from the current federal harassment of California marijuana clinics. Look at gay marriage and the path it has taken, this is a long conversation and everyone in the country has a point of view. The current state of affairs with pot has already put a huge dent in the whole 'gateway drug' hypothesis so often used to argue against legalization.
My understand is America is the least free developed country in the world. Yes, it's freer than many developing and undeveloped countries, but saying that is like saying your team is better than the one that consistently finishes bottom of the ladder
It's the job of the prosecutor to claim anything and everything (as long as it's the truth) and let the judge sort it out.
I suppose the judge could attempt to discern the intent of the law and make a ruling that goes with the spirit of the law, but it's noted in the article that the wording is fairly plain, and that doesn't leave a lot of room for interpretation.
Also, I wonder how much people would be complaining about this if it was a drug cartel of some sort (with a corporate front) with seized US assets and a similar defense.
You don't see the U.S. going into foreign countries (on different continents even) and dragging back people and their assets to charge under American law, do you?
If a drug cartel is running it's operation in a country where it's not illegal to do so and something like this happened, then I would STILL be complaining about this.
Is this a mischaracterization of the al-Awlaki case, or is there something else going on?
Assassinating American citizens who have publicly declared war on America is a traditional state perogative that America has always exercised (and which it copied from Britain and France). The only difference now is that such activities receive more attention.
The current federal wiretapping is nothing compared to what Herbert Hoover did as director of the FBI. Yes, the NSA has a dossier on most Americans, collected using computer programs. Herbert Hoover did the same thing, without the advantages of computer automation.
By any measure, America is far more free now than at any time before the Civil Rights Act in the 1960s. In some respects, (i.e, free speech, religion, gun rights, and sixth amendment rights) it is freer than at any time in its history.
You're confusing Herbert Hoover (the 31st President) with J Edgar Hoover, the infamous creator of the FBI in 1935.
However, I do challenge your point that the US is "freer", as there are dozens if not hundreds of Hoover-wannabes in government and powerful companies around the country and globe, and who now have computer automation and societal indoctrination from the brain-children of many forever wars (ie, war on terror, war on drugs, etc).
Just because things seem pretty sane now in comparison to historical insanity doesn't mean we should accept corruption, extra-judicial executions, torture, mass murder, and internal spying operations.
Unfortunately that's what we've received. And because its been accepted (in the US, as indicated by record fundraising from both major parties) I fully expect more of it, with ever waning discrimination.
US companies have to play ball in China in all kinds of interesting ways, as a matter of fact...
The U.S. was able to do this to a Hong Kong company only because it had an agreement with Chinese authorities (specifically, in Hong Kong as it is economically separate from the rest of the mainland) to do so.
I'm curious. Can you can name a few examples?
There are many more; the common thread is usually that these companies are competing with Chinese companies.
I would be very surprised if they do not at some point expect the favour to be repaid.
The sham organizations that are the RIAA/MPAA are so heavily vested in the government, they'll try anything and everything to create a controlled Internet/sharing system of "content" - which in and of itself is the vaguest definition of all time. All this SOPA/PIPA crap will never pass, we will always find a way for a free Internet.
Total waste of time, a government making up bullshit laws along the way for something that will not only have zero effect on content sharing, but will actually increase it after angering tons of people.
It's truly ridiculous when resources, energy and tax payer dollars can be spent on more important issues that our country needs help with. All these politicians in this country are a f-ing disgrace.
Well... truth is stranger than fiction.
No need, the password is likely 123456
Or just reset the machines, since they think Amazon works like other vps providers...
The recent SOPA/PIPA circus is irrelevant, there were projects in progress by the US Government to implement SOPA/PIPA policies and they have not slowed down.
Don't get confused, we have shown a large demonstration of disunity between the citizens and the government, but it's still no more than that -- a demonstration.
Imagine if Iran had pulled a stunt like this to some female CEO of a major corporation was in violation of Sharia law for exposing skin. We can't imprison them while they live in the foreign land, so lets bring them here and then we can apply justice.
Am I missing something that makes this an ethical thing to do?
From my point of view, American copyright and patent laws are very, very wrong. They largely miss their intended purposes. What's more, apparently even non-Americans on the other side of the world are at risk of being the target of these legal shenanigans.
I cannot stress how RIDICULOUS I think this whole affair is.
It's as if the prosecutors figure that Megaupload operates on the Internet, therefore it's operating in America and is subject to American law... is this another example of people who do not understand how the Internet works making major decisions about the Internet and it's future?
Consider a homeless person who had stolen money and kept it in a bank. Just because the government can't find the alleged thief and doesn't have an address for them shouldn't mean they can't freeze the account, allowing the thief to go on making withdrawls at ATMs around the world.
However your analogy assumes that the homeless person (Megaupload) is guilty of theft and lives in the U.S.
If this homeless person lives in another country and someone in America claims that this homeless person stole from them. Does the U.S. government even have the right to go and seize this homeless person's foreign assets?
Everyone seems to be conveniently forgetting that Megaupload has NOTHING to do with the United Stated except for operating on the Internet and not discriminating against U.S. customers.
I suppose it would depend on the treaties with have with where those assets are held.
Also freeze =/= seize. They are similar and rhyme but not identical.
"Everyone seems to be conveniently forgetting that Megaupload has NOTHING to do with the United Stated except for operating on the Internet and not discriminating against U.S. customers."
Are you telling me that I can sit in Nowhereistan, hack into bank accounts all over the world to steal that money, transfer it into my Nowhereistan accounts and I'm immune to all the world's governments even though they have a treaty with Nowhereistan?
if you try and use your money to travel out of Nowhereistan, then we got you, but so long as you haven't broken the laws of your own country, and you stay in your own country, you absolutely should be immune.
What other approach would make sense? Should you be able to be arrested in the US for acting contrary to laws passed in Pakistan?
Now an internet company with customers around the world is different - but not so different that this should be possible under criminal law without a very clear pre-written law.
Violating religious law vs violating the property of private corporations?
In both cases it's just law, enacted and enforced by the government of each country.
Also, those are $500m in alleged damages. There's quite a bit of controversy over whether pirates are actually lost sales. Additionally, many people resort to pirated copies in order to carry out their own "try before you buy" shopping strategy. :P
I don't agree. Without intending to defend the US government, Sharia Law (or Megaupload for that matter), there is a significant distinction between the two cases: that the MPAA feels Megaupload is harming them directly.
You may not agree that they're right about that. You may think the damages amounts are silly. You might even think that the idea that there are any damages at all is a sign that someone doesn't get the information revolution. Leave that aside.
The MPAA thinks Megaupload is harming them directly, a viewpoint the justice system seems to share.
So, a more direct analogy would be a country with excessive pollution. Or a country with a lot of drug cartels that exports illegal substances or crime. Or a country that trains terrorists.
I'm not saying the MPAA is right. I'm definitely not saying the DOJ is right. I am saying that this is the class of problem that people go to war over, and it's unfair to characterize it as anything else.
What I'm really saying is this is more than disliking how a country on the other side of the globe does things. When citizens bicker with each other, you see one side of government. When foreigners harm citizens? You see a completely different side.
I'm not saying what the US did is right. But I am saying it is expected, given how they perceive the situation. Your-people-are-hurting-my-people is the sort of problem resolved with treaties, covert military action, or outright wars. Gloves come off as the government does what it has to to make it stop.
If you're the sort of person that thinks piracy doesn't hurt anyone, the situation is a tragic misunderstanding. But you can also expect more tragedy as a result of the misunderstanding because of the class of problem it is.
I mean, I could easily claim that my company has lost a full billion dollars because of the way you run your business.
Should that mean I should be able to get the our local cops to travel to your country, shut down your business, bring you back here to new zealand, put you in prison, and then charge you with a crime?
this thing is an absolute travesty for anyone who cares about justice, due process or the rule of law.
As far as I can see, the only thing more embarrassing than the way the USA has behaved in this case, is the way my country is doing its best to bare its buttocks to make the whole thing more comfortable.
DON'T START A COMPANY IN THE U.S.
DON'T KEEP YOUR ASSETS IN THE U.S.
DON'T KEEP YOUR DATA IN U.S.-owned DATA CENTERS
(That includes non-US data centers belonging to US companies, like Amazon AWS servers in Ireland.)
Otherwise you're exposing your company and your users to the arbitrary, predatory practices of US "law enforcement" system, which happily does the bidding of US content industries.