Monday, April 15, 2013

We're still talking about Gitmo?

I can't believe we're still talking about Gitmo. The New York Times has released a letter from an inmate who's been there since 2002, has never been charged with a crime and has never had a trial. What a miscarriage of justice.

How could it be that in the second term of office, President Obama has not shut Gitmo down? Maybe he'd really like to shut it down, maybe not. I used to wonder if the mess left behind by George Bush was so bad that there was no way it could be shut down in a single term of presidency.

It may be that Obama doesn't have a choice but to keep it open. There is not enough information available to the public to find out. I'm reminded of the song, "We Won't Get Fooled Again", where we learn that the new boss is the same as the old boss.

Could it be that no matter who we put into office, they will always answer to someone else besides the voters? Will that ever change?

I think it could. Larry Lessig's video shows us a way how to do it.

From Gitmo to the financial meltdown to the LIBOR scandal and on and on, we see a long string of abuses intended to deprive the common man of his security and to subvert his pursuit of happiness. When the terms of the debate and the players who can participate are dictated by 0.05% of the population, we're going to have trouble.

Consider the fortunes of America as we became dependent on proprietary software from Microsoft. Microsoft took this dependency and forced its will upon us. Then along comes free software like Linux. First we get a choice in servers and the servers now run the vast majority of the Internet. Now they're running the vast majority of the mobile phones.

How did this happen? Because the number of people involved in the decision of which software to use was effectively removed from the hands of a very small group of people in a single corporation. The inputs for that decision has been distributed all over the world. And when the number of people participating in a decision making process increases, so do their fortunes improve. As they decrease, so too, their fortunes.

We've solved the problem on the software side. In less than a decade, Microsoft will be reduced to irrelevancy because people will notice, desire and pursue the freedom they get by directing their inputs into free software. By the same token, people will, when presented with the alternative to the current system, seek a form of government that gives them more voice in the determination of their fate.

Gitmo is what happens when a tiny slice of the American population gets to decide the terms and conditions of political discourse. Gitmo is just a start as long as the condition persists. The condition is fatal and progressive.

It is up to us to make a change. Where do we go from here?
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