The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Why Hackers Get More Jail Time Than Rapists

Rapists uphold the social status quo.  Hackers, especially the idealistic ones, subvert it.  They are far, far more dangerous to important people (who have staff and bodyguards) than rapists are.


Go Zen: Drop Deserve and Take Responsibility


Brief Comments on the Boston Bombing


  1. Oaktown Girl

    Exactly. Same principle applies to why protesters on the Left (particularly those challenging corporate interests/military industrial complex) get slammed by violent police tactics and ridiculous criminal charges, while people on the Right can show up to someplace where a Democratic President is holding an event with a gun or rifle and nothing happens to them.

    Hell, wearing a t-shirt advocating peace or justice can get you tossed out of wherever you happen to be and arrested if you refuse. Even t-shirt messages can’t be allowed to stand, they are that terrified.

  2. Celsius 233

    The veil of Maya lifted; view of reality gifted…

  3. “while people on the Right can show up to someplace where a Democratic President is holding an event with a gun or rifle and nothing happens to them.”

    Not to mention spying on Code Pink and the Quakers like they are al Qaeda, and imprisoning peace protesters in “free speech” zones. I suppose maybe if they showed up to exercise their tortuously construed 2nd amendment rights rather than explicit 1st amendment ones, they might have had better luck. Or more likely they and everyone around them would have been slaughtered.

  4. S Brennan

    I haven’t tried it, but I’m pretty showing up at a Barak [bomber] Obama rally with:

    Libyan bombing campaign = WAR CRIME

    Would get me arrested.

    Fascism, it’s not just for Republicans anymore.

  5. Sonofdunnco

    Who really believes that President Obama is a Democrat. I see a Republican in drag.

  6. S Brennan

    Yes Sonofdunnco, sadly, the “Democratic” audience is cheering the out of time lip sync.

    “Obama administration’s policy toward Libya and Syria eyes the same familiar endgame as what the Bush administration sought in its foreign policy adventures. The fact that many of those on the left who campaigned against Iraq and Afghanistan are now generally silent, or even supportive of Obama’s agenda”

  7. Oaktown Girl

    @S Brennan: Thank you for emphasizing my point. Messages from the “left” can’t be tolerated. Messages (like guns) from the “right”? Apparently, not a problem.

  8. S Brennan

    Oaktown Girl, I don’t agree with your opening point, Obama is an extreme right wing politicians, his supporters are also extreme right wing…they just don’t have the cajones to admit to themselves that they are smug, self-righteous goose stepping fascists.

    With as many humans as Obama murdered carrying out Bush’s policies in paying racist Al Qaeda gangs to overthrow the Libyan government and Mujaheddin to overthrow the Syrian government…Showing up at an Obama rally with a gun is like showing up at a KKK rally with a white sheet and saying “hey guys…am I overdressed for this thing?” .

  9. Oaktown Girl

    @S Brennan – Why are you insisting on twisting my comment into some kind of Pro-Obama sentiment? Simply by mentioning his name does that? The example I was giving was based on an actual incident, not some hypothetical situation. And carrying a gun to a political rally is a very Right Wing message, and never ever would have been allowed at a rally for a high level Republican.

    Regardless of how you and I perceive Obama’s politics and policy, he is regarded by our society at large (media, MIC, police, public opinion) as liberal, not Right Wing. Therefore, carrying the gun to his rally was OK. That was my point.

    Sixty-nine percent (69%) of Likely U.S. Voters say Barack Obama is at least somewhat liberal, according to a new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. That figure includes 43% who see the president as Very Liberal.

    Twenty-three percent (23%) feel Obama is politically moderate, while only three percent (3%) believe he is conservative.

  10. Celsius 233

    @ Oaktown Girl
    @S Brennan – Why are you insisting on twisting my comment…
    Yeah, he seems to do that; you go girl…

  11. Sonofdunnco

    I just watch what he does and who he seems to serve and it comes across as a continuation of G.W.Bush. The power of media propaganda is reflected in the Rasmussen poll when anyone perceives B.H. Obama as liberal. If you believe that he is a liberal you just aren’t paying attention.

  12. S Brennan

    While USA’s ruling elite play in the middle eastern sandbox, murdering their way to regime change, Asians are playing the adult game of world empire. I know some on this board will cheer the rise of China so let me get up on my pedantic soapbox and outline the details of what that really entails:

    World empires rise and fall. A world empire falls when it’s ruling elite decide to look at things in the short run. When they adopt this view, they can clearly see that treasure spent on maintaining the empire, both industrial, infrastructure and military would be better spent on lucre themselves…than invested in infrastructure for those that come after them.

    World empires must be destroyed by their own ruling elite…otherwise they were never really world empires. And were it just that, fading into the night, it would be sad, but not tragic. However, since the end of the Bronze Age, each empire that has ended, has done so in the spastic cataclysm of war…with it’s ever ready handmaidens, famine and disease.

    The opponent, the seceding empire, may not secede in it’s fight for world preeminence, that is not always the eventuality, the importance lies in the destruction of communication, commerce and civil order. Once these affairs darkened Asia and the Mediterranean in differing times…and progress, though reversed locally, was not extinguished…but the twentieth century has changed the scale of wars of empire. When our leaders have had their fill at the public trough and brought about war of empires to our shores, the price could be quite a bit higher than “just” a few centuries of famine and disease.

    When you think of war with China, do you think of our superior force? Well, if you do, did you know that in 1939 at the start of WWII, the US was ranked 17th, behind Romania, in military power? So why did the USA win so conclusively and in such a short time? The answer is simple, we had as much industrial capacity as the rest of the world combined. Please read this sentence from the linked article.

    “Much of the US manufacturing base is in the Pearl River Delta or the lower Yangtse.”

    History says, we either turn this ship around, or we sail into oblivion.

    I am sure our ruling elite thinks to make away with their lucre…that is, if they think at all…but has anybody heard of a modern day Caesar living well, or for that matter, has anybody heard of any of the great families of the Roman empire living well today? When you stop and think about it, with the world in rubble, what percentage of America’s high born would even survive the diease and famine that accompany a fallen empire…let alone prosper in great wealth?

  13. amspirnational

    One good thing to come from Obama-the Arab/Muslim world now realizes there is nothing to be had from American neolib Zio-capitalist multiculturalism, no more than from neocon Zio- capitalist faux monoculturalism.

  14. jawbone

    Ian, you nailed it in this brief, ever so pithy post. You have a talent for that.

    I’ve been thinking about this over and over since reading this yesterday. Yes, rapists and the very threat of rape are of primary importance in keeping females in line. Makes them so much more easily controllable..

    I was trying to think what our society would be like, what our schools would be like, what chldlhood and young adulthood would be like, if there were not this widely accepted idea that a female is easily raped. And must be very, very “careful.”

    Why, women would be much more free to choose where to go, what to do, with whom to do things.

    And, indeed, Swarz’s attempts to make information more freely available is completely threatening. As is Wikileaks. Obama gets that perhaps more than Bush/Cheney did. Comparing Obama’s attacks on whistleblowers of government and corporate secrets and wrongdoing is not exactly day and night, but Bush/Cheney did not prosecute people that Obama goes after with regularity.

    Recently, women and some men have been saying society has an obligation to teach boys and men that rape is not acceptable. Realizing how rape is being used to enforce social norms might assist people in coming to terms with teaching males they simply cannot rape. Period.

    Instead, there’s some kind of undercurrent that men can rape…if they can get away with it. And they can blame the female if they do get caught.

    I don’t know whether Obama has any realization that threat of rape is useful in controlling his own daughters, but he did make that tasteless joke about some boy band guys better realize that he, Obama, controls drones and they better treat his daughters with deference.

    Mind blowing.

    Fear is such a marvelous control mechanism.

  15. Fascism, it’s not just for Republicans anymore.

    Nice bumper sticker. I’m reading Hans Keilson’s autobiographical novel “Life Goes On” about Germany in their depression of the 1920s. I am interested in the creeping up of fascism. How does one become a good German? I see it and feel it all around me. Strange times my friends.

  16. paulbkk

    Hackers don’t get more jail time than rapists. Average sentence on a conviction of rape is over ten years and average period of time actually incarcerated is about half that, say five years. Probably half of all convicted hackers get no jail time at all, and of those who do go to jail the average sentence is less than six months.

    Neither rapists nor hackers represent a meaningful threat to “important people”.

  17. Celsius 233

    @ paulbkk;
    Have you got links? I’d be interested if verifiable…

  18. paulbkk

    I only spent a moment to do a cursory internet search, but the following links, although they have dated information, are consistent with my experience:

  19. Ian Welsh

    Dated, in this case, matters.

  20. paulbkk

    My experience may be a bit dated too, but I doubt average sentences for rape have changed much. Perhaps average jail time for hackers has increased, but it’s doubtful that it’s more than for rapists.

    I rooted around a bit in the 2010 federal sentencing guidelines. Out of a maximum possible base offense level of 43, sexual assault rates a 30 and aggravated sexual assault rates a 38. By comparison, offenses involving fraud or deceit, if the statute under which the defendant was convicted allows a sentence of 20 years or more, have a base level of 7. If the maximum sentence under the statute is less than 20 years the base offense level is 6.

  21. Ian Welsh

    Fair enough, I have overstated the case.

    What I’m seeing is that people rarely get hit by one hacking charge, they get hit by multiples. And Congress is proposing a bill which will allow RICO charges.

  22. Celsius 233

    @ paulbkk

    Thanks, interesting. You in BKK per chance?

  23. S Brennan

    “You cannot denounce state crime while supporting its perpetrators. Or rather, you can – but you will look like a fool. You will look like someone who has nothing to offer beyond a pallid, unprincipled tribal loyalty to a clapped-out party of bloodstained bagmen. And all the “ordinary people” out there whose consciousnesses you are trying to raise will sense this hollow core, this estrangement from reality. They will know you have no answers for the suffering they endure in a heartless system, that you can provide no understanding of what the system is doing to them – because you are part of the system, you speak its language, you play its games, you support its crimes, you cheerlead for its criminals. Why should they listen to you?…I certainly don’t exempt myself from this critique. (Except maybe for that 2012 criminal-supporting thing.) For 35 years now, in print and on line, I’ve been doing the same kind of consciousness-raising and outrage-recording described above. (And I must confess that for too much of that time, I also hewed to the “2 percent” line that induces moral blindness when the criminals ride donkeys, not elephants. The hardest consciousness to raise is always one’s own.) ”

  24. paulbkk

    @ Celsius 233

    yes, I live in Bangkok

  25. Celsius 233

    @ paulbkk

    I live 8ok west of you. Cheers.

  26. paulbkk

    @ Ian Welsh

    graciously conceded, sir.

    You are correct that prosecutors can load up a hacking indictment with multiple counts, and often do if their plea offer is rejected. Still, sentencing for violent crime is generally far more draconian than for non-violent crime, even though the economic costs of non-violent crime may be vastly higher.

  27. S Brennan

    For the age warriors out there, who think everybody over a certain age sucks, my comment to somebody who forgot how he got up in the world…

    “Let me preference my remarks by saying I’ve read Dilbert from the beginning and I’m big fan of Scott Adam, I just think he is not looking at the big picture.

    In Adams article “The Management-free Organization”, Scott gushes “When employers were limited to hiring people who lived nearby…company[s] would necessarily absorb a lot of losers….now entrepreneurs can hire the best people from anywhere in the world”

    Did it ever occur to Scott Adams that if the conditions he finds so attractive in the USA today had been true when he was starting out, that he, a less than stellar employee by his own admission, would not be in his current position to render such a judgment today? Honestly Scott, you kicked around for 15 years at numerous jobs that you sucked at, before you found yourself. Now, I am glad you found yourself and that you are now the “perfect” employee, but neither your life, or society would be sustainable by the rules you now promulgate. I worked in the valley for a decade, one of the most annoying things I encountered was people who, after receiving a major career break, decided to pull the ladder up behind them. Given your life story, of having to take jobs that didn’t suit you, don’t you think showing a little mercy towards people like yourself [but younger] might be in order?”

  28. After become familiar with Scott Adams’ right-wing douchebaggery, I can no longer even enjoy his cartoons. They used to be delightful satire back when I was in cubicle-land, but now I see that he is only lampooning office environments that shoot themselves in the foot profitability-wise, and that the “humanistic” discomfort suffered by his characters serves only to punctuate this point.

  29. S Brennan

    Petro, from your post I did a little digging and sure enough Scott has become quite the douche bag. Really sad what money does to people.

    This article links to quite a few others, the curious should avail themselves.

  30. @Petro And another smiley face turns to a frowny face as I search for humor in these trying times. Thanks for verifying my never quite understanding his humor but being mildly amused by the idea of most people living in Weaseltown and are weasels. The better office dramedy was “Enlightened” on HBO by Mike White and Laura Dern. Hit too close to home, I guess. Not renewed for another season.

  31. Wow. I didn’t even know about “plannedchaos”. Genius, indeed.

  32. “Rapists uphold the social status quo”

    Nonsense. Utter nonsense.

    I can see why the law would be more worried about someone who hacks into a big business’s finances or a top-secret government than a rapist who victimized an average person and it has nothing to do with rape upholding some social order. And there have been rapists who received 25, 50, 75 year-sentences.

  33. “rapists and the very threat of rape are of primary importance in keeping females in line”

    I guess men and boys are never, ever raped in America. Not in churches or schools or military barracks or jails. Whew! What a relief.

  34. I can see why the law would be more worried about someone who hacks into a big business’s finances or a top-secret government than a rapist who victimized an average person and it has nothing to do with rape upholding some social order.

    Firstly, I can see why, too – and I don’t have to like it. Secondly, perhaps your definition of “social order” is different, or more specific, than others’, but the “social order” (government self-protection or capitalism) is what would make them more worried.

    As to the scales of the sentencing, upthread you’ll find that Ian concedes some overstatement.

  35. S Brennan

    A buddy of mine who was a field agent for the FBI working bank robberies observed, most of his customers did more time than murderers…of course he used to arrest loan sharks too and he pointed out that banks now [legally] do what loan sharks used to get prison for.

  36. BDBlue

    ““rapists and the very threat of rape are of primary importance in keeping females in line”
    I guess men and boys are never, ever raped in America. Not in churches or schools or military barracks or jails. Whew! What a relief.”

    But that just underscores the point about rape reinforcing the status quo. Where males face rape – the big one that comes to mind is in prison – it’s used as a means of control both to break prisoners and to add to the threat of prison for those who may commit crimes. Rape is primarily about power and it is usually used against the weakest, which does, IMO, mean that America’s rape culture (and we certainly have one, IMO) reinforces the status quo – the strong over the weak.

    And rape, while it certainly does happen to males and is just as wrong when they are the victims (and the prison conditions for men in this country are an outrage), it is hardly an equal opportunity occurrence across genders outside of the prison context. The percentage of American women who report having been raped in various surveys is quite shocking. And,
    yes, it does reinforce the social order (which is not the same thing as saying that everyone who benefits from the social order is a rapist or somehow supports rape). Just the freedom of movement issue is a huge one if you’re a woman in this country. There are things my husband does and places he is willing to go, esp at night, that I would never do and I’m not someone who lives in fear and paranoia. Yet my husband doesn’t think twice about it – his feeling safe to go or the fact that I wouldn’t. It’s simply not part of his world view because it never has had to be.

  37. Well said, @BDBlue. All of it breaks my heart.

  38. Celsius 233

    So, Ian; what’s next? I await with baited breath… 😉

  39. Formerly T-Bear

    And banksters and their political mols get no jail time at all.

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