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Comment Re:He was never facing 124 years of imprisonment (Score 1) 116

No, wrong!

Thats why you have a lawyer that explains to you how things work. Most people plea because they are actually guilty and realize that it is in their best interest to do so.

Plenty of people have pled to charges they are innocent of or to charges that are harsher than they deserve because they fear a much more unreasonably harsh outcome of a trial that they don't have the resources to defend themselves at. The whole plea bargain system should be done away with. Prosecutors should use discretion in determining charges and more cases should go to trial. In the case of someone who is guilty why should they get a deal for nothing more than making it easy for the investigators and prosecution by not going to trial?

Prosecutors don't just pull random people off the street and charge them. Investigators collect evidence which they present to the prosecutor. Then the prosecutor decides if there is enough evidence to present to a grand jury / judge. It is only after the judge / jury looks at the evidence and decides that there is probable cause to believe the suspect committed the crimes that an indictment is handed down.

No, you missed a very important step in the process. Once the investigators and prosecution determine they have something to charge a defendant with they go back to the defendant and threaten them with what they have and the worst case scenario to try to scare them into cutting a deal. The investigators want it to close cases quickly which helps their career paths and the prosecutors want it because it's an easy win that also benefits their personal aspirations. These deals are cut in interrogation rooms and holding cells way before anyone gets in front of a judge to consider anything other than bail.

Also, prosecutors may not pull random people off the street and charge them but cops certainly do. Maybe you've never lived in a place like Oakland or LA where cops can and do stop and search (almost exclusively non-white) people for literally nothing more than walking down the street. I can assure you that it happens all the time. Why do you think it is so hard for people who live in these places to stay out of the system or to get out of it once they're in?

Even when you plea, it is the judge that actually determines the sentence, not the prosecutor.

By the time it goes to a judge the deal is done and the judge's signature on the plea deal is a formality. Have you ever heard of a judge ruling that the terms of a plea agrement are unreasonable or unfair and sending it back to the prosecution to come up with something better? I haven't.

Comment Re:Aaron Swartz wasn't a snitch (Score 1) 116

I'm not comparing the actions of Sabu with Swartz and I know far less about the details of the Sabu case than I do about Swartz. I was only pointing out that the heavy handed treatment from the prosecution was pretty much the same in both cases.

Who knows, had Sabu and Swartz not been intimidated by the prosecution telling them they were going to throw them away for the rest of their lives they might have chosen different courses of action than becoming a snitch and suicide. The system sucks and until that is fixed it's hard to blame people for their actions when they are being mentally tortured by draconian prosecution tactics without any real recourse to defend themselves. This sort of thing never happens to people who have millions to defend themselves with and that simply is not equal justice under the law.

Comment Re:He was railroaded just like Aaron Swartz (Score 1) 116

I'm a man without a country and that weighs heavy on my mind. It sucks to not be able to feel proud of where I come from anymore

Where you came from is your past. Where you came from is your family. You can still be proud of that.
A country (or a nation, if you like) means nothing. It is just a political line on a map.
You can not be proud of things where you have no influence. You can be satisfied or even happy that they are there, but you can not be proud of them.

You're quite right about that and thank you for reminding me.

The answer that they give is always that it does not matter, so why ask the question in the first place?

My answer would be that it does matter but, I wish it didn't.

In my experience I have only been able to form close friendships with other expat Americans that share a similar belief system and set of values as me. That has not been for lack of trying either. I have acquaintances and colleagues from all over the world and, despite being quite well traveled when I arrived, being around them has taught me more than I ever imagined about how little I know of the world and other cultures. Despite this learning, debate and exchange of ideals, which definitely is a bonding experience, if I was in trouble and needed real help the call would go out to a fellow countryman. It's something that the vast majority of expats I know also experience and agree with me on.

With all the weirdoes and sickos that come here for all the wrong reasons, like Mr. AC troll above, you become very careful and selective about who you make friends with. That may be more of an issue for Thailand than other countries but I'm in touch with a lot of expats in other countries too and it definitely is a factor everywhere. Also, people come and go a lot so one must prioritize who they put the time in with to form close friendships.

It may be possible for where you come from to not matter when you're on holiday or for casual friendships and acquaintances but when it comes to making real, long-term, friendships it does come into play.

One thing that is much better here than in the US is that never is the first question from someone you just meet, "So, what do you do?" and I'll take "Where do you come from?" over that one any day.

Thanks for your reply, I have a feeling that you're the kind of person I could be good friends with. :)

Comment Re:He was railroaded just like Aaron Swartz (Score 1) 116

I don't blame GWB exclusively or even primarily, it was just the final straw that broke the camel's back. Clinton and congress did plenty to contribute to the state the country is in and it all started decades ago. GWB probably is my least favorite president, certainly in my lifetime, and I was just taking a jab at his dumb ass but I really did go to the computer and buy my ticket right after Peter Jennings announced he was re-elected. I had started planning to leave quite some time before that.

Yours is a good post. It's too bad you felt you had to post as AC but I think I understand why you did and don't blame you.

Comment Re:He was never facing 124 years of imprisonment (Score 2) 116

It's not about what the judges choose to do or what the sentencing guidelines say. It's about prosecutorial intimidation e.g. "you're going away for the rest of your life or you cooperate" which occurs way before a judge ever gets a chance to rule on sentencing.

This is why the vast majority of cases are closed with a nolo contendo (no contest) plea bargain and never even make it to trial. There is very little justice left in the US (in)justice system for the average citizen without vast resources to defend themselves.

Comment He was railroaded just like Aaron Swartz (Score 1) 116

"If he was smarter, he would have gotten a job as a banker and actually stole shit and destroyed people's lives. In that case he would be immune from prosecution."
Well said AC and I could not agree with you more!

I don't like rats but also cannot condone criminal activity if that indeed happened. I don't know the full truth about that and suspect that very few people ever will.

However, here's another prime example of how the US maximizes it's leverage by amassing as many charges and counts as possible to intimidate citizens into giving up their rights and giving the government whatever they want. I cannot support the policies of my country and that is why 7-years ago I left. I bought my plane ticket the night GWB was re-elected and have been living in Thailand ever since. My tax $ will not go to support a government that uses it to maintain a world hegemony and to persecute it's citizens with heavy-handed intimidation tactics. The signs of it becoming a police state are all over the place, if it's not one already. I never imagined that when I read 1984 I would live to see the day where something like that would come to pass yet, here we are.

Obviously it's not possible to fix the system at the ballot box anymore, the corporations have rigged the system so citizens have no power or voice. The only option left is to vote with your feet and your wallet because $ is the only thing that matters anymore in the US. Many of you are able to work from anywhere in the world and make a living. Your money will go much farther in a foreign country and you will have a high standard of living and a much higher quality of life.

I recommend getting out while the getting is still good because when, not if, the shit really hits the fan other countries will not want US refugees and you'll be stuck.

I'm a man without a country and that weighs heavy on my mind. It sucks to not be able to feel proud of where I come from anymore but I have found a lot of like minded good people living here and we take comfort with each other where and when we can.

Comment Re:Use virtual machines. SOLVED. (Score 2) 295

I don't know why the parent isn't modded higher.

You can do a few easy things to take yourself out of the "low hanging fruit" category, listed in order of extremeness & difficulty :)

1. Diable all browser plugins. I only use Flash very occasionally on an as needed basis. There's loads of hidden Flash on sites. Very easy to do in Chrome.
2. Install an extension called DoNotTrackMe, it's free and blocks nearly all of the nasty commercial trackers.
3. Install another extension called HTTPS Everywhere from the good people at EFF.
4. Use an app or manually manage your cookies regularly. On the Mac at home I have an app that regularly erases all the cookies and DBs web surfing leaves behind except for the ones I have marked as favorites. I have a similar app that erases other data at regular intervals such as caches, logs, etc.
5. Don't use FB and other free social sites and services e.g. Google Docs. (Use Libre, etc.)
6. Use a Robots.txt file in every directory that could ever put online. They work.
7. Use LastPass (free) which stores all your web site login data in an encrypted file which only you can access from any computer. You can use a different email address and login ID with every website you surf to then.
Even if you just don't want to have to remember multiple web site logins and passes I could not imagine web life without LastPass anymore.
8. Use pre-paid credit cards.
9. Change your name to be the same as that of a famous actor who is the same sex and a similar in age & appearance as you. I happen to have this by luck, if you Google me you must troll through several pages of celebrity garbage to even get to results for anyone with the same name.

Do all of the above in a VM with default settings from a variety of connections and you're pretty un-trackable for all but the most sophisticated out there.

Comment Re:The smoking gun (Score 1) 589

That explains a lot, thanks for the link.

Great intelligence unfortunately often comes with great burdens. What a shame, he was so young, who knows what he could have gone on to accomplish. We have lost one of our own and I'm appalled at all the negative comments here. Have some respect people.

RIP Aaron.

Comment Old News but some links from local Thai media... (Score 4, Informative) 76

This story should have run nearly a week ago, he was arrested last Sunday GMT +7.

Here's a story about it from the Bangkok Post that ran on the 7th GMT +7

Here's another from local media in Thailand.

"The lawsuit states the suspect used the "spy eye" software to steal people's financial information through phony Web pages from 217 computer networks worldwide from December 2009 to September 2011. An arrest warrant was issued in the state of Georgia on December 21, 2011. US authorities later called on Thai police to nab him and also requested that he be detained pending extradition."

In the last couple years it seems that Thailand is trying to displace Canada as America's #1 bitch.

As you can see from the photos he's been all smiles from his arrest at the airport to the obligatory publicity photo op Thai police hold when they occasionally do their job and arrest someone.

Comment Re:Nothing related to guns can be considered "smar (Score 2) 1388

You may not like this becuase it doesn't fit your little world view, but millions of people defend themselves each year with guns. This is a recent example of a mom who saved herself and her children from god knows what - with a gun.

While the woman and her children were definitely in a situation where they would feel threatened there was no mention in the article that the intruder intended to do them bodily harm. Cornered in the attic? I doubt he was hunting them down, remember he had checked the house several times, both by knocking and ringing the bell, to make sure nobody was home. He was robbing them and when he opened the attic closet he was immediately shot. If the intruder had had a weapon or in some way was threatening bodily harm then you can be sure that the digitaljournal (what is digital about guns?) would have included it and probably close to the top as it would have been much more sensational and brought in more readers / clicks. "Cornered" seems to be the best they could get away with but is obviously biased. It's quite the anti-climax to a sensational story, in the end the intruder was sentenced only to burglary. At least you admit that nobody seems to know know what she saved themselves from, "god knows what."

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