Technology Advances, Justice Retreats

 

The speed at which information is available is difficult to comprehend. Like magic, an e-mail, text, or breaking news appears on our devices in a second or two.

Intel co-founder Gordon Moore noted in 1965 that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits doubled each year. “Moore’s Law” has since been broadened beyond semiconductors to encompass accelerating breakthroughs in digital electronics, memory capacity, sensors, A.I., and other technological fields.

Rapid-fire advances in television, computer, and telephone technology inundate us. By the time the consumer gets comfortable with his or her existing device, the “next big thing” is being advertised. Technology upgrades occur exponentially, not arithmetically, and the number of years between breakthroughs consistently grows smaller.

Unfortunately, Moore’s Law applies only to technology.

Non-technology, soft disciplines—our legal, political, and education systems—move glacially, like they always have.

This dichotomy creates a frustrating disconnect. In the hyperkinetic world of science and computers, all things seem possible. In the chronically vague and inexact world of law and politics, nothing can get done.

For example, in the cornucopia of scandals swirling in DC these days, we’ve seen that government or private technicians can recover emails and electronic communications between FBI and DOJ investigators, politicians, and government employees that the senders and recipients tried to delete or destroy.

However, Congressional committees investigating official wrongdoers are seemingly unable to force the DOJ and FBI to turn over non-redacted communications to which Congress is legally entitled to its oversight role. Congress has the right to the information, technicians can recover it, but DOJ and FBI dither and obfuscate, ignoring requests and subpoenas.

In the world of technology, it seems nothing is delayed. Enhancements pop out at us from all directions. In the world of law and politics, everything is delayed; nothing is certain.

Technology and science are precise. In law and politics, nothing is cut and dried. There are always qualifiers, explanations, and extravagant excuses.

In criminal cases, investigative tools have never been more effective. Astonishing enhanced DNA science can convict or exonerate with less physical evidence than ever before. Cell phone recovery technology enables law enforcement to track the exact whereabouts of offenders at the time of the offense. Powerful cameras on our streets and on satellites capture irrefutable evidence of criminals in the act.

Yet this powerful, direct evidence must be submitted to fact-finders and decision-makers operating within legal and political systems put in place centuries ago, systems that have changed little over time. The results are predictable.

IRS lawyer/bureaucrat Lois Lerner was caught red-handed in 2013 denying tax-exempt status to conservative groups. The evidence was put through the DOJ and Congressional meat grinder and in 2017, four years later, Attorney General Jeff Sessions confirmed his predecessor’s decision not to prosecute.

Nidal Hasan murdered 13 and wounded 30 in 2009 at Fort Hood in front of scores of witnesses. There was no question about his guilt. FOUR YEARS later, Hasan was convicted and sentenced to death. Eight years later, Hasan’s attorney continues to file appeals to overturn the verdict.

A phony “dossier” paid for by HRC and the DNC she controlled, compiled by an ex-British spy who never set foot in Russia to gather evidence, and manipulated by Deep State holdovers in the FBI and DOJ, resulted in the appointment of Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Mueller hired lawyers who were HRC donors and supporters to go to great lengths to prove Russian “collusion” by the Trump campaign.

After a year of intense scrutiny with cutting-edge technology at his disposal, Mueller and his anti-Trump minions have produced not one iota of evidence. Sadly, it is clear this zombie investigation will continue for the foreseeable future, at least beyond the 2018 Congressional elections.

Technology comes at us with a bang—law and politics with a whimper.

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  1. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    MichaelHenry:
    However, Congressional committees investigating official wrongdoers are seemingly unable to force the DOJ and FBI to turn over non-redacted communications to which Congress is legally entitled to its oversight role. Congress has the right to the information, technicians can recover it, but DOJ and FBI dither and obfuscate, ignoring requests and subpoenas.

     

    They should go to a federal judge for a warrant to be executed by U.S. Marshals, to go in and seize it, just like the FBI does to people and businesses every single day.

    MichaelHenry: Mueller hired lawyers who were HRC donors and supporters to go to great lengths to prove Russian “collusion” by the Trump campaign.

    You forgot ex-Clinton Foundation employees.

    • #1
  2. Steve C. Member
    Steve C.
    @user_531302

    MichaelHenry: However, Congressional committees investigating official wrongdoers are seemingly unable to force the DOJ and FBI to turn over non-redacted communications to which Congress is legally entitled to its oversight role. Congress has the right to the information, technicians can recover it, but DOJ and FBI dither and obfuscate, ignoring requests and subpoenas.

    I blame Congress. When they request information and documents, the functionaries in the executive branch should be falling all over themselves to appease Congress.*

    This happens because nobody fears Congress. They have tools. Impeachment and funding, but they seem to be too cowardly to use them.

    * Ask anyone who has been in the service who has been in involved in responding to a “Congressional Inquiry”. Everyone moves with alacrity. Regardless of how silly (Congressman Jones wants to know why PFC Smith, of his district, has a mean platoon sergeant.) the inquiry.

     

    • #2
  3. Henry Racette Moderator
    Henry Racette
    @HenryRacette

    MichaelHenry:
    Unfortunately, Moore’s Law applies only to technology.

    Non-technology, soft disciplines—our legal, political, and education systems—move glacially, like they always have.

    This dichotomy creates a frustrating disconnect. In the hyperkinetic world of science and computers, all things seem possible. In the chronically vague and inexact world of law and politics, nothing can get done.

    This is a little beside the point of your post, but your comment made me think of it and I find it interesting.

    Advances occur quickly in the technological fields because technology is easy. However intricate and numbingly mathematical they may be, the problems of applied science are measurable, the solutions calculable, the entire discipline orderly and non-chaotic.

    But the social systems you describe are complex, complex in a formal sense: they are non-linear systems with complex feedback loops and odd sensitivities to subtle changes. Unlike technology, they aren’t amenable to the rigorous pursuit, through trial and error and theory and experiment, of essentially perfect solutions to specific problems — solutions devoid of unanticipated side-effects and externalities.

    The tragedy, however, is that our astounding success in the scientific realm has, I believe, fueled an expectation of similar success in the complex domains of the social disciplines. If we can hit a moon of Jupiter with a rocket, after all, shouldn’t we be able to solve the problems of insufficient housing in our cities, or of income disparity, or of universal health care?

    I think it’s precisely because the natural world is so amenable to manipulation that we succumb to the misapprehension that people, and the processes that involve people, should be similarly malleable and predictable.

    • #3
  4. Judge Mental Member
    Judge Mental
    @JudgeMental

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Advances occur quickly in the technological fields because technology is easy. However intricate and numbingly mathematical they may be, the problems of applied science are measurable, the solutions calculable, the entire discipline orderly and non-chaotic.

    But the social systems you describe are complex, complex in a formal sense: they are non-linear systems with complex feedback loops and odd sensitivities to subtle changes. They aren’t amenable to the rigorous pursuit, through trial and error and theory and experiment, of essentially perfect solutions to specific problems — solutions devoid of unanticipated side-effects and externalities.

    People who are having trouble grasping this need only look at nerds and geeks, and it should be obvious to them.  I wrote code, and I know that no matter how hideously complex something I worked on might be, it’s going to make more sense than people.  People should realize that if people were something that could be figured out in any rational way, nerds and geeks would have done it, and would be the most popular kids in school.

    • #4
  5. Vectorman Inactive
    Vectorman
    @Vectorman

    Judge Mental (View Comment):

    Henry Racette (View Comment):

    Advances occur quickly in the technological fields because technology is easy. However intricate and numbingly mathematical they may be, the problems of applied science are measurable, the solutions calculable, the entire discipline orderly and non-chaotic.

    But the social systems you describe are complex, complex in a formal sense: they are non-linear systems with complex feedback loops and odd sensitivities to subtle changes. They aren’t amenable to the rigorous pursuit, through trial and error and theory and experiment, of essentially perfect solutions to specific problems — solutions devoid of unanticipated side-effects and externalities.

    People who are having trouble grasping this need only look at nerds and geeks, and it should be obvious to them. I wrote code, and I know that no matter how hideously complex something I worked on might be, it’s going to make more sense than people. People should realize that if people were something that could be figured out in any rational way, nerds and geeks would have done it, and would be the most popular kids in school.

    I have little to add to these comments.

    After graduating college in Engineering, and with a strong moral system based on Anglo-American justice, where the accused needs to be proved guilty, along comes the movie Breaker Morant which shows the complexity of human behavior, and confirms that the rules do not apply to the powerful, much like what we see today.

    • #5
  6. Columbo Member
    Columbo
    @Columbo

    • #6
  7. James Gawron Inactive
    James Gawron
    @JamesGawron

    Mike,

    Your juxtaposition of technical progress and moral regress is totally on point. Nice post.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #7
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