Monthly Archives: January 2013

Sandy Hook Truthers?

This story is pretty funny.  After the mass murder in Newtown, Conn, some children fled the school and ran into Gene Rosen’s home.  Now, he’s being harassed by people who claim that the mass murder is a hoax and he’s part of the scam.

This is a common pattern.  Whenever something bad happens, politicians will use it as an excuse to claim more power.  Then, some people believe that the disaster was faked.  It was a made-up story to come up with excuses for greater tyranny.

When people believe that State insiders directly cause disasters, that shows an ignorance of how evil really works.  The State has a lot of people sincerely trying to do the right thing, except that they have false beliefs.  Most of the high-ranking leaders are criminally insane, but most rank-and-file workers are sincerely trying to do the right thing.  The evils of the State come from criminally insane leaders and hardworking-but-deluded peons.  It would be too hard to intentionally cause a mass murder, because the hardworking-but-deluded people would never go along with it.

It’s a good example of “Never let a good crisis go to waste.”  There are plenty of plans for taking away freedom, and they’re publicly promoted after a suitable crisis.  Not every disaster is a conspiracy.  Most of the time, politicians exploit a situation to promote their agenda.

Reader Mail – 01/20/2013 To 01/26/2013

george commented on About FSK.
if you hate php so much why do you use wordpress

When did I say that I hated PHP? My negative experiences were with Rails, node.js, and Java.

Madz commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.
Great article about people. However when it comes to node... Read this

Madz commented on node.js Is VB6 - Does node.js Suck?.

Great article about people. However when it comes to node… Read this

thetown commented on Ron Paul's Competing Currencies Proposal - A Simple Way To Reintroduce Gold And Silver As Money.
The only way for commodity money to actually not suffer from the same flaw as the FRN system (issued as interest bearing debt) is to totally outlaw any abstract or symbolic representation of the commodity. This means no gold/silver certificates, checkbook money, accounting entries, electronic money or anything else other than the cold hard metal itself representing the commodity. The reason for this requirement is that there will develop again a fractional reserve ratio based on how much gold is stored on average in bank vaults, and how much the gold banksters can get away with issuing multiple duplicate representations of this same gold as interest bearing loans.

Also, the current banksters already control a huge portion of the gold. If gold's value is still allowed to float against the FRN as like a traded commodity, it can be cornered and its value tampered with.

If you require that the only legal representation of gold/silver is the physical metal itself, then that alleviates somewhat the fatal flaw of interesting bearing debt fiat creation, but only so much as the proportion of gold to FRN in the money supply. The FRN supply will always be a drag on the value of money.

I assume that the intent of "competing currencies" is to diminish and ultimately eliminate the ratio of FRN to gold money through the demonstration that tender issued as interest bearing debt will inevitably have less and less value compared to the commodity money. If this is the outcome, and the only valid representation of the commodity money is the commodity itself, then we will be left hoarding around and hiding gold everywhere, which is not feasible.

I believe the solution is for the state to issue fiat currency debt free, like greenbacks, in any of its current convenient representations, when required. Bill Still has laid out a couple of simple foundational rules for this:

1. Make it illegal for the state to borrow money

2. Make it illegal for banks to loan money they do not have (give the monopoly to create money back to congress)

I can understand people having a problem with state issued money though, but if it is issued interest free, then it is better than money issued as interest bearing debt by private corporations for their profit. The reason people don't trust the state to begin with is because it is controlled not by the people, but rather by the private financial bloc that issues our money currently. State issued money and full reserve lending would ideally marginalize these folks and make the state more legitimate.

The problem with metal-redeemable paper money is the legal tender laws that force people to accept it at par with metal. People are free to make fractional reserve deposits, as long as they're aware of the risk and the bank owners are personally liable for the losses.

Most of the "abuses" of various monetary systems can be tied to the State. That's legal tender laws. That's laws that protect fractional reserve bankers, such as limited liability and bank holidays.

thetown commented on Do Disabled Veterans Deserve Respect?.
While i don't agree with how the US military is used, the disabled veterans should get a disability check. If you're going to argue that they shouldn't, then you should say that they shouldn't be paid a salary in the first place. If you become disabled in the line of any work, and part of the deal is that you get disability pay, then it's a no brainer, you should get it. It's the responsibility of the employer.

The real issue is whether taxpayer dollars should pay for basically what amounts to the private army of an unaccountable, imperalist corporate bloc, shielding their real motives behind fake reasons like "national security" and "the war on terror" and "freedom" and "democracy", using the media machine to scare the sheeple into believing the bs and joining and supporting the military in the first place.

It's immoral to receive a paycheck in exchange for committing crimes. Each individual soldier has limited options once he enlisted. It was a mistake to enlist. I have some sympathy for someone who was tricked.

A disability check isn't compensation for serious injury.

My main point is that a soldier is more of a professional criminal, than a hero.

thetown commented on Do Disabled Veterans Deserve Respect?.

A decently accurate definition of a state is an entity which has a monopoly on armed force. If this entity and its soldier has agreed that a check should be given in the case of disability, then that should be honored for that reason only.

I realize this validates the soldier's disability check in the narrowest possible terms. If we widen the issue even just a little, i find that i agree with everything you say.

The "state" which monopolizes this armed force purports to use it for the good of the people and pays its soldiers with the people's money, however the people (including the vast majority of the soldiers) are intentionally utterly misinformed about the motives for using the military.

I wholly agree that people should be accountable and more responsible for their knowledge generally about the "state" than what its mainstream media tells them, especially in this "age of information", and more specifically about what our military is used for if they are thinking about joining it or blindly waving the flag supporting it.

If people realized it was used mainly for corporate imperialism and all the official reasons for its use were lies and propaganda, they probably wouldn't want to join it or have any of their money used for it for any reason.

Even if there was widespread awareness of the evil of the State violence monopoly, there always will be a couple % of people who will eagerly commit crimes in exchange for a paycheck. However, it would be hard for the scam to continue if more people were aware.

commented on Offensive Interview Programming Tests And Assignments.
What do you think of FizzBuzz?:

From one of the comments: "Interestingly, the use of a technical test in interviews can actually work both ways. In my recent hunt for a new job I automatically turned down any vacancy where I was *not* given a technical test. My reasoning behind that is that I know *I* can program, but do I want to work with *other* programmers who haven't been tested?"

There's a difference between a whiteboard assignment or phone screen, and giving someone a project or homework assignment. I approve of brief whiteboard problems or technical phone questions. I don't approve of trivia questions, such as "What API function does X in language Y?", especially if it's something obscure. If it's a project or test that takes more than a few minutes, I'll pass.

I'll also provide code samples, if asked.

On the interview that prompted the post, the interviewer was pretty flagrantly trying to trick me into giving him free consulting. He took a few problems he couldn't solve, and turned them into interview questions.

John commented on My Blogging Motivation Is Returning.
Cool just bookmarked your blog!

Mark commented on Platinum Is More Expensive Than Gold Again.
Keeping in mind that objective costs of platinum mining are way higher than for gold.The fact that gold is more expensive than platinum tells me that gold is overpriced right now. Lots of people overpaid for gold during the crisis.

By that measure, gold is at most 20%-50% overpriced. (The historic platinum:gold ratio is 1.2 to 1.5.) Gold still should outperform the stock market. The best hedge is a variety of metals (gold, silver, platinum).

commented on The Latest uTorrent (3.2.3) Is A Buggy POS (DIsk Overloaded 100% Bug).
Try qBittorrent.

I'm considering qBittorrent. It doesn't let you manage your per-torrent bandwidth as nicely as uTorrent.

misaki commented on Baseball Statistical Fallacy - Value Over Replacement Player.
Hey again agorist!

I'm wondering what do you think about companies who use proprietary APIs.

Just kidding! I want to know what you think about companies who use such APIs and harass people who reverse/implement/include their support.

There's this company called NaturalPoint that does head pose tracking and harassed FreeTrack developers. But the cycle will once again repeat in the upcoming days.

Here's the full implementation:

Here's a dude who competently documents their ongoing abuse:

Please, help us with it 'cause there's so much indifference.

PS Wonder how's mixie. Haven't seen her on my latest visit to onionnet. The server has been delinked as well.


Do you mean onionnet = Tor? I stopped using tor because it was ridiculously slow. Also, most of the Tor nodes are run by the NSA.

I briefly used Tor because I wanted to get some documents on the Zyprexa lawsuit, which were forbidden for distribution in the USA. It was easier to get the documents from a BitTorrent tracker located outside the USA.

I already wrote a post on a related subject. The short answer is "Don't build a business that is based on someone else's API, because they can cut you off at any time."

According to that post, he wrote an open source product that implements the same interface as the proprietary product. The company's legal customer agreements forbid that. They are putting technical changes in their product to frustrate people who try to use the open source interface.

Actually, this isn't what would happen in a free market. In a free market, the people would develop their own hardware instead of relying on this corporation. They would make their own software interface, so that they couldn't be sued.

If there's enough demand for it, they could make their own hardware. The GCW Zero made their own game hardware, with only a couple thousand people funding it through preorders and kickstarter.

If enough people are angry at this corporation, they probably could raise money to develop a competing product. That's more productive than raising money for a legal fight. If their business is incorporated with almost no assets, they might have nothing to lose even if their is a patent lawsuit, although they still could get sued directly as individuals. If sued as an individual, you should consider representing yourself instead of wasting money on a lawyer. The judge won't like it, but it might earn you some sympathy with a jury.

misaki commented on Baseball Statistical Fallacy - Value Over Replacement Player.

Hey again FSK. I didn't sign any EULA/NDA. Never owned the device. There might be problems with 'copyrighted strings' and the lookup table falling under 'anti-circumvention' laws.

We already have software that works without specialized hardware. Either a regular webcam capable of removing the infrared filter, or even a regular webcam.

The issue is software support. They refuse to deal with people who implement other protocols. So without implementing it there's little market penetration.


misaki commented on Baseball Statistical Fallacy - Value Over Replacement Player.

Our software is mixed MIT/X11 and GPL3, forgot to add. There are some blobs running in separate address space. It's distributed free of charge.

And TOR got new handshake code that builds a circuit faster. :)


Due to the way copyright law has been interpreted, implementing someone else's proprietary API could be considered infringement. If you're successful enough, the large corporation will try to use its legal muscle against you.

For software support, you'd have to target people who write flight simulator games and not the people who have the monopoly. If they explicitly refuse to deal with vendors who support competitors, that could be a violation of antitrust law, but you don't have the millions of dollars to waste on legal fees. If you want to build a legal case, start a flight simulator software business, and try to implement both their protocol and the open source one.

misaki commented on Baseball Statistical Fallacy - Value Over Replacement Player.

There's already some support, people seem to have begun violating the NDA. There's the DCS series on and ArmA II on

But there are some titles that require memory modification in a running process, which give issues with regard to copy protection and 'anti-cheating' measures.

Damn rigid body dynamics is hard :P Due to the "education" system being broken where I live, doubt ever will write a flight sim :(

Wrote some image processing software that gives rotation and translation of a face, though. Even learned how to multiply a matrix by hand - 'first horizontal, second vertical'. Never learned of its significance with regard to linear equations, though.

You could try the Kahn academy, if you want to learn linear algebra.

If you're solving a system of linear equations, it has a shorthand representation as a matrix operation.

Manti Te’o Is A Liar And The Mainstream Media Is Incompetent

Manti Te’o lied about how his girlfriend died. She turned out to be fake, and he’d never met her. When he was up for the Heisman Trophy and playing in the BCS championship game, this was hyped as one of the personal interest stories in the game. Shortly after that, it was revealed to be a complete fraud.

The mainstream media is portraying Manti Te’o as someone clueless, who was duped by a conman. I don’t believe that for a minute. He was in on the scam from the beginning. Now, he’s following the script his handlers prepared for him.

Manti Te’o is a superstar college football player. He gets into a long-distance relationship with a girl he never met? Seriously? He turned down all those football groupies for a complete stranger?

I’m waiting for his ex-girlfriends to come forward, saying “I was dating Manti Te’o while he was talking about his fake girlfriend.”

It’s obvious what happened. Manti Te’o made up the lie to increase his Heisman Trophy chances and get some hype. The media covered the lie as a fact, because it was a good story. Even though a few minutes of fact-checking would have uncovered the lie, nobody in the mainstream media is a real journalist anymore.

The guy who “allegedly” duped Manti Te’o is eager to take credit for the lie, because now he’s a celebrity.

Based on a few interview snippets, Manti Te’o seems to have the parasite/pyschopath personality type. During his TV interview, the interviewer should have said “I can tell by your body language that you’re lying.” Why do preferred guests always get away with lying?

It’s embarrassing that the mainstream media was duped into spreading this lie as the truth. Instead of admitting their gross incompetence, they’re portraying Manti Te’o as a hoax victim, to save their own face. A star football player with lots of choices wouldn’t settle for a long-distance relationship with someone he never met.

Baseball Statistical Fallacy – Value Over Replacement Player

There’s frequently-cited baseball statistic, “value over replacement player”. It’s misleading and incorrect.

A player’s statistics can be approximately converted into wins and losses. A “replacement player” is someone earning the minimum salary. The idea is to compare the player’s performance to a “replacement player”. It’s frequently cited as cost per win.

Suppose a player’s “value over replacement player” is 5 wins. The team won 5 more games with that player, compared to what a minimum salary player would have produced. If the player is paid $10M, then the team paid $2M per win.

One fallacy is that this statistic can be unfair to superstar players. One year, Derek Jeter was the highest paid player and one of the statistically best players. However, according to “cost per win”, the Yankees weren’t getting a bargain. I already wrote about this.

The fallacy is that “replacement player” isn’t a minimum salary player. For a small-market team, the replacement is a minimum salary player. For the Yankees or another big-market team, the “replacement” would be one of the top free agents. If the Yankees didn’t have Derek Jeter, they wouldn’t have a minimum salary shortstop; they would get the top free agent. Derek Jeter’s value shouldn’t be compared to a replacement player. He should be compared to one of the top 15 players the Yankees would otherwise have.

For example, Alex Rodriguez is out for a few months with surgery. They Yankees didn’t pick up a minimum salary replacement. The Yankees signed Kevin Youkilis for $12M.

Also, the “value over replacement player” analysis indirectly converts statistics to wins and losses. Using modern sabermetrics, it’s possible to evaluate the win/loss effect of each play. Getting a homerun when the game is tied is worth a lot more than getting a homerun when the game isn’t close. Instead of indirectly converting statistics to wins and losses, this could be directly calculated. After each play, evaluate whether the team’s chance of winning increased or decreased. Then, you can figure out how many wins each player produced.

There are serious flaws with the “value over replacement player” analysis. Instead of converting statistics into wins and losses, a play-by-play analysis would be more accurate. On big market teams, the “replacement player” is not a minimum salary player, but rather one of the top free agents.

The Latest uTorrent (3.2.3) Is A Buggy POS (DIsk Overloaded 100% Bug)

I’m so angry at uTorrent. The latest version (3.2.3) is a buggy piece of garbage. I’m ready to drop uTorrent for something else, except that I don’t want to reload my torrents in a new client.

It’s obvious what happened. Originally, uTorrent was written by someone competent. Then, BitTorrent bought out uTorrent. The new developers are unqualified.

I keep saying to myself “Maybe the next version will be better?”! That’s foolish reasoning. If the developers are incompetent, then the next version is also going to suck. They might fix some bugs, while simultaneously introducing new bugs.

I’m getting a bizarre “Disk Overloaded 100%” error in uTorrent. I have a fast PC, only a year old, and a slow DSL connection. There’s no way I’m downloading faster than uTorrent can write to disk.

I can fiddle with settings to try and eliminate the problem. Why should I have to do that?

There isn’t any kind of obvious popup or warning when the cache fills up. Instead, it’s a tiny message on the bottom of the screen. That’s the only indication there’s a problem.

I see what’s happening. uTorrent gets stuck in a state where it’s using 100% CPU, and stops writing to disk. Then, its cache fills up. There’s no point making the cache bigger. uTorrent doesn’t ever write to disk once it enters the “stuck” state. When I close uTorrent, it doesn’t flush the cache to disk, instead discarding it. I lose all my unsaved data. There’s no point making the cache bigger, because I’ll just lose more data.

There’s another bug in uTorrent, the “frozen peer” bug. Sometimes, a peer gets stuck in a state where I have a request pending and the peer never responds. The peer is marked as unchoked, but isn’t sending the data. The fix is obvious. If there’s a request pending for 5 minutes and it isn’t answered, then the request should be cancelled and re-requested. Instead, uTorrent hangs. I know it’s a uTorrent bug, because the peer is also listed as using uTorrent.

Once uTorrent has a frozen peer, no more data will be exchanged with that peer. It’s frustrating on torrents with only 1-2 seeds. The only way to clean it up is to stop the torrent and restart it, getting a fresh connection with that peer.

I’m disgusted with uTorrent. I’m looking for another torrent client, but haven’t found one I like. There’s no reason for me to expect uTorrent to get better, because obviously incompetent people are working on it. I don’t want to downgrade to an older version of uTorrent, because I want magnet link support.

Platinum Is More Expensive Than Gold Again

This story is interesting.  The price of platinum is now more than the price of gold, per ounce.  For a long time, platinum was much more expensive than gold.  Recently, gold was more expensive than platinum.

Platinum/gold or gold/silver have much lower volatility than gold/FRN or the stock market.  Metals are real money, and prices are mostly stable.

If you look at a 10 year chart of gold/silver/copper/platinum/palladium, they line up pretty closely.  If you add the stock market to the same chart, you’ll see why stocks are a worse investment than metals.

Reader Mail – 01/13/2013 To 01/19/2013

How much money do players get from the Superbowl? Also, Playoff Pay For Each Game. | The Richest Daily commented on NFL Players Are Underpaid For The Playoffs And Super Bowl.
[...] when you think that NFL players have short careers due to injuries, they are significantly underpaid for playoff games compared to their regular season games. Especially when you factor in the [...]

Esse commented on Gold Outperformed The S&P 500, 1995-2012.
The flat spot anomaly in 2008 is very unusual. This was right when it was announced that the trillions is debt would be created through inflation and given to bankers. The normal economic thing would be for the price to rise. But instead it suddenly stopped its previous growth. Some have said there were strange trades and transfers and large boats filled with gold moving across the seas. Some say this is when the last reserves at Fort Knox were dumped on the market to stabilize the price and prevent panic. What do you think caused the flattening in 2008 in gold price right at the major disclosure that massive inflation would occur?

Almost all futures prices crashed during 2008. People had to sell to make margin calls in other areas.

Suppose a hedge fund held a lot of gold, a lot of stocks, and leverage. The stock market crashed, leading to margin calls on the stock. They had to sell their gold futures to make the margin call on the stock.

There also is a "mean reversion" argument. Prior to 2008, gold had several good years in a row, so a "bad" year was needed to even things out. Notice that even in a "bad" year for gold, the performance is pretty good. If you hold gold for at least two years, your risk of getting a FRN-denominated negative return is practically zero.

Here's another argument in favor of market manipulation. In 2008, when the price of gold crashed, the "futures" price of gold crashed *BUT* many gold dealers had no inventory. If you wanted to buy actual coins, you had to wait or pay larger premiums to spot.

As Jon Corzine taught us, the futures market has default risk. The futures market and cash/bullion market are two separate things.

Here's another interesting story from 2008. A lot of farmers hedge their crops with short futures. In summer 2008, futures prices skyrocketed. This led to margin calls for farmers, who were then forced to close their futures position at the top of the market. By fall 2008, when the crop was delivered, prices tanked again. The farmers wound up selling low and buying high. Via market manipulation, banksters robbed the farmers. DON'T USE THE FUTURES MARKET!

Anonymous Coward commented on Don't Bother Meeting Headhunters In Person.
My first manager in the software "industry" said words to the effect of that recruitment consultants were scum and talking to him made his skin crawl.

They won't all be like that, but enough of them are to make it representative.

commented on HSBC Get A Slap On The Wrist.
The Justice System = The "JUST US" System

Anonymous Coward commented on Aaron Swartz Suicide - Was He Murdered?.
What happened to Aaron was shockingly bad. The prosecutor went way overboard. The legal system is obviously broken.

Somehow these thugs don't realize that a _human_ is at the end of their thuggery.

commented on Aaron Swartz Suicide - Was He Murdered?.

This is just the beginning. We ain't seen nutin' yet.

Anonymous Coward commented on NYC School Bus Strike.
There are two somewhat opposing trains of thought.

1) There should be limited or no government and less laws such that government cannot help bad companies and overpaid workers. This is called free market or anarcho capitalism.

2) Government has a valid role and that role should be actual interference in markets to help the people instead of of vested interests (companies wealthy enough to lobby).

The trouble with (1) is that there are a small number of people with vast wealth and if we moved to limited government they would yield all the power. So you would have to equalize the wealth and land at the same time.

It is through government that a small group of people with wealth concentrate their power. If you didn't have government, taxation, and regulation, it would be hard for insiders to use their influence to steal from everyone.

In a really free market, if your employer is abusive, you find a new job or start a new business. In the present, that doesn't happen, due to State restriction of the market.

Anonymous Coward commented on NYC School Bus Strike.

If everything was to start from scratch, what would we use as money?

Would it be gold and silver? Who holds most of the gold at the moment?

Or would we try to equalize matters and start up a new paper currency?

In the UK, Royalty owns a lot of land, farms and properties. One Duke owns a lot of prime London real estate.

The rich will still end up rich and they own a lot of property which they can rent out at whatever price they want.

What about all the "middle class" people with buy-to-let mortgages that can do no work and just rent out their second, third or fourth houses. The workers can save no money and all their money goes out in rent.

Even if you already own a lot of land, you won't be able to use it efficiently without help from the State. However, the tenants may have a more valid ownership claim than the landlord. In the present, large landowners receive direct and indirect State subsidies.

With free money, it probably would mean a return to gold and silver. Buy before the crash to preserve your savings. However, people would be free to use whatever they want as money.

The problem with a new paper currency is that the people who print it still get to steal via inflation.

Anonymous Coward commented on NYC School Bus Strike.

I found a website yesterday that stated that governments always say they can't do anything because of THE MARKETS.

The very next day Nick "student loans" Clegg said they couldn't do such and such, because companies only invest in the UK because of its membership of the European Union. So if Cleggy and Cameron didn't anything presumably a whole load of companies would up sticks and leave the UK along with their hoards of cash.

Well anyway the UK is going downhill. No jobs. North sea oil running out. No manufacturing anymore. Just fraud from the City of London.

The website pointed out THE MARKET is the same as the rich and Goldman Sachs.

My Blogging Motivation Is Returning

My motivation for blogging has increased a lot lately.  I’m more motivated to write.  I’m also starting some personal projects again.

There’s something in that injection they gave me in the hospital.  It stays in my blood for a long time.  I think that has a half-life of a month or longer.  I have a sharp decrease in motivation for several months, every time I’m hospitalized.

NYC School Bus Strike

This story is interesting.  In NYC, there is a school bus strike.  According to that article, bus drivers make $14/hr as a starting salary and $29/hr with lots of experience.

$29/hr is a pretty high salary for a bus driver!  It’s the usual example of unions collecting economic rent.

There’s one interesting legal loophole.  The NYC government hires private contractors to drive the buses, even though the buses transport children to public schools.  The bus drivers work for the contractor and not the government.  That allows politicians to claim “It’s not our fault!  Blame the private corporation that hires the drivers!”

The NYC government is going to place the bus driver contracts up for bid again.  Some new corporation will get the contract, and hire newer/cheaper workers.  The old corporation has the union contract and experienced/expensive workers.  Therefore, the new corporation will win the bid, and the old corporation is forced to close and fire workers.

The drivers are striking to protest the fact that they will be fired when the contracts are put up for bid again.

The underlying problem is that a bus driver is not a $29/hr job.  The unions priced themselves out of the market, by demanding an unreasonably high salary.

Suppose the government puts the contracts out for bid with a 3 year contract.  Shouldn’t the union contract also be for 3 years, with the same expiration date?  The employer should have insisted that the union contract expire at the same time as the government contract.  Also, having the contract end in the middle of the school year gives the union extra negotiating leverage.

That is an interesting loophole for firing experienced and overpaid unionized workers.  Form a new corporation, and the old corporation folds and fires its workers.  That’s what Hostess did when it declared bankruptcy and fired all its employees.  The NYC government is exploiting that legal loophole, by giving out bus driver contracts.

Unions receive a massive State subsidy, in the form of labor law.  When a strike ends, the employer is forced to hire the workers back.  The reduces the risk when workers strike.  I can’t believe some pro-State trolls were arguing with me on this point, when I wrote about the LA port strike.  When workers strike, the employer should be allowed to fire all of them and hire permanent replacements.

Aaron Swartz Suicide – Was He Murdered?

This story is very interesting. Aaron Swartz was one of the early employees of Reddit. He was facing frivolous criminal charges for “computer hacking”, and committed suicide.

There are two systems that Aaron Swartz famously liberated documents from.  The first was PACER and the second was JSTOR.

But the kid grew up. He left Stanford, he joined the first YCombinator class, he did a startup that didn’t go far, but which eventually led him to joining the early Reddit team. Here and there, he kept popping up, always doing something interesting. The next time I came across him was in 2009, when the FBI investigated him for daring to download a ton of public domain court documents from PACER. While PACER tries to charge $0.10/page (at the time it was $0.08) the documents are still public domain. Many people find this annoying — and Aaron was a true crusader for the right to information. So when he found out that some libraries were experimenting with free PACER access as a trial, he went to one, set up a perl script and had it cycle through tons of documents, downloading them for him to collect. Eventually, the FBI realized it had no case: freely offered access to public domain material is legal to use.

PACER is an archive of US court decisions. These are public domain documents. However, PACER charges a fee for access to these documents. There was an experiment to offer PACER documents in libraries. Aaron Swartz wrote a script to download the documents. State thugs wanted to charge him with a crime, but they couldn’t, and he was not charged.

Later, Aaron Swartz did the same thing with JSTOR, an archive of academic papers. MIT gives all people on its network unlimited access to JSTOR. Aaron Swartz wrote a script that downloaded documents from JSTOR via MIT’s network. He was not an MIT student or employee. This time, he was charged with a crime.  However, what should have been at most a minor trespassing charge turned into a huge indictment, as prosecutors decided to throw the book at him.

PACER and JSTOR are offensive. US court decisions are public domain decisions, but PACER charges for electronic access. Academic research is paid with taxpayer money, but JSTOR charges for access. JSTOR even charges for access to old public domain research, where the copyright has expired. These are examples of a State-granted monopoly, charging for access to information that should be free. Aaron Swartz was offended, and wanted to liberate the documents. With everyone having computers and the Internet, court documents and tax-funded research should be freely available to everyone.

The US Attorney was being unreasonable during plea bargain negotiations, insisting on a guilty plea on all counts and prison time. It was a politically-motivated prosecution, so the US Attorney had to make an example of Aaron Swartz. Aaron Swartz refused to settle, insisting he had done nothing wrong.

It is a farce that the US Attorney took a hard line prosecution with Aaron Swartz, but banksters who stole trillions of dollars were not prosecuted. Why prosecute insiders who will put up a fight, when you can go after someone defenseless?

As part of his “bail” arrangement, Aaron Swartz was not allowed to tell his side of the story on the Internet. He was not allowed to ask for donations to support his legal case. That’s an amusing legal trick. If you are charged with a politically-motivated prosecution, you are barred from publicly discussing your side of the case, while the US Attorney and State media issue press releases announcing your guilt.

MIT and JSTOR said “We don’t want this prosecution! We don’t want the negative publicity!” I’m sure plenty of people at MIT and JSTOR were eager to teach someone uppity a lesson. Because the State is prosecuting and not those institutions, they can publicly distance themselves while simultaneously lobbying for a hardline approach.

Here’s another important point, regarding frivolous criminal charges. There is no “speedy trial”. It was 2 years since the documents were downloaded, but the trial did not start yet. That extracts a psychological toll on the defendant, while legal bills rack up.

Also, the judge can stack the jury with fools and pro-State trolls, guaranteeing a conviction.

Was it a mistake for Aaron Swartz to hire a lawyer? If you’re ever the victim of a politically-motivated prosecution, you should seriously consider representing yourself. A lawyer has his hands tied, because he doesn’t want a contempt citation and to lose his law license. As a pro se defendant, the judge’s bias will be obvious if he censors you.

There’s another advantage of a pro se defense. You don’t drain all your finances on legal expenses.

Also, Aaron Swartz’ lawyer may have been giving him bad advice.

However, I’ve never been accused of a crime. If you do decide to go into risky political activism, you should be prepared for a pro se defense when the State decides to crack down on you.

One conspiracy theory is “Aaron Swartz was murdered.” There are some suspicious elements. Why didn’t Aaron Swartz leave a document detailing the abuses he received? However, it’s easier to silence someone with a frivolous prosecution and gag order, than by explicitly murdering them. Aaron Swartz didn’t seem important enough to murder.

This story was suspicious. Why was the Secret Service involved in Aaron Swartz’ prosecution?

Here’s a link with some details.

Swartz, who was considered one of the brightest young tech minds in tech activism, hanged himself Friday night in his Brooklyn apartment. He had been struggling with depression for many years. Swartz’s partner, Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman, was the first person to find him, according to the Wall Street Journal. There was no apparent suicide note, officials said.

Even if Aaron Swartz was not directly murdered, he was murdered by the stress of a frivolous criminal prosecution. It is a farce that Aaron Swartz was prosecuted, but not Jon Corzine or anyone at HSBC. There are two justice systems, one for insiders and one for everyone else.