Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Day 127: Copyright Scam

There is currently a court case going on concerning a man from Thailand who went to go study in the US, and to be able to pay for his studies and other living expenses, he asked his friends and family to send him foreign editions of textbooks, which he would then sell in the US, as they can be bought cheaper there.

So now this guy has been sued for copyright infringement and lost, though the decision was appealed and is now being heard in the Supreme Court.

The point which is being debated is whether copyrighted stuff which was made and created aborad can be bought and then sold in the US without requires the copyright owner's decision.

This whole care opens up a whole can of worms on the whole 'copyright ordeal':

the stakes could prove enormous for those who buy and sell books, movies, music, artwork, perhaps even furniture, electronics, automobiles, and clothing -- anything that may be considered "intellectual property."

"The idea -- upheld by the Supreme Court since 1908 -- is that once a copyright holder legally sells a product initially, the ownership claim is then exhausted, giving the buyer the power to resell, destroy, donate, whatever. It's a limited idea -- involving only a buyer's distribution right, not the power to reproduce that DVD or designer dress for sale."

"We're going to help the global economy with this," said Theodore Olson, an attorney with Gibson Dunn hired by the publisher. "The whole idea of the copyright laws is to provide people with an incentive to create books, movies, or other works of art. If you take away that incentive, you're not going to have creators out there doing things that give us pleasure or educate us."

"--Libraries would have to either purge their stacks of every foreign-printed work, pay a royalty, or essentially go out of the public lending service."

I mean, the whole textbook business is such a scam -- where people are forced to buy very expensive textbooks for school, which sometimes -- you do not even really need. Or where you have to buy a book, and you want to save yourself some money because hey, school's already so expensive -- and you want to buy it second-hand -- but then it turns out that you need the 9th Edition, which juuuuust got out this year, and you can only find the 8th edition version -- and then when you compare them, there's only a few sentences added and some punctuation corrected.

So now this guy is getting sued, for buying cheaper textbooks overseas and selling them in the US. The issue isn't even 'who owns what' -- but what profit was made and 'that profit should have been mine'. There's a general mentality that everyone has the 'right to make profit' in the liberal economic and democratic system -- that's exactly what this guy is doing. He's playing the Game we've all accepted and agreed upon to play: He saw an opportunity to make money and he took it -- isn't that what all the textbook companies do? They see they can make a lot of money and then they do it?

The whole point of 'incentive' that if this copyright points goes down the toilet, that people won't create 'art' and 'entertainment' anymore is such BS. Yes, everyone should have access to basic necessities to be able to live a life of comfort -- there's no reason why people should not do something simply because they are not getting a grotesque amount of money. There's lots of people creating 'free stuff' simply because they enjoy doing it and want to share what they create with everyone else without expecting anything in return.

If everyone has equal access to resources to live a life of comfort and explore career possibilities without monetary restrictions such as in the Equal Money System -- people would still create art and entertainment and do it because they like doing it -- and without going into Greed of wanting a shitload of money just because you can.

Investigate Equal Money -- we can make a better version of this reality.

Also check out the College Conspiracy documentary to get some perspective on our current educational system of a scam.

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Monday, 29 October 2012

Dag 126: Turning a Blind Eye to Corruption

Corruption is one of the major problems in South Africa. Because the market economy is unable to meet the demands for basic needs - the government has a big role in making sure everyone is provided for. One of the means of financing these services, as we have seen in previous blogs, is the raising of taxes.

The money that is raised by the government is meant to be redistributed to the people of South Africa to combat inequality and dire living conditions. However, many municipalities keep on 'losing their money' where it seems to just disappear into thin air. Public officials working on district or regional levels use their access to these resources to enrich themselves, instead of putting the money where it's supposed to go.

When reading through South African newspapers, you'll constantly find stories of how this or that person has misused their position and thereby inflicted costs on communities in need of help.

To gain more understanding on corruption - here's a few words you may have heard about in the news - with their explanations (Guwa-Ngamlana 2009):

"a) Bribery: bribery involves the promise, offering or giving of a benefit that improperly affects the actions or decisions of a public official. This benefit may accrue to the public official, another person or entity. A variation of this manifestation occurs where a political party or government is offered, promised or given a benefit that improperly affects the actions or decisions of the political party or government.

b) Fraud: this involves actions or behaviour by a public official, other person or entity that fool others into providing a benefit that would not normally accrue to the public official, other persons or entity.

c) Embezzlement: involves theft of resources by persons entrusted with the authority and control of such resources.

d) Extortion: involves coercing a person or entity to provide a benefit to a public official, another person or entity in exchange for acting (or failing to act) in a particular manner.

e) Abuse of power: involves a public official using his/her vested authority to improperly benefit another public official, person or entity (or using the vested authority to improperly discriminate against another person, official or entity).

f) Conflict of interest: involves a public official acting or failing to act on a matter where the public official has an interest or another person or entity that stands in a relationship with the public official, i.e. a public official considers tenders for a contract and awards the tender to a company of which his/her partner is the director.

g) Favouritism: involves the provision of services or resources according to personal affiliations of a public official. An example would be a Mayor ensuring that only persons from his/her political organisation are successful in tenders or in employment.

h) Nepotism: involves a public official ensuring that family members are appointed to public service positions or that family members receive contracts."

One of the major arguments for free market economy is that the government cannot be trusted with the allocation of resources, because politicians and public officials will invariably pursue their personal interests in spite of the costs they inflict on society.

Within an Equal Money System this problem will be circumvented through not giving people the responsibility to allocate resources. Resources allocation will be a highly-automated system with many safety-measures, ensuring that no-one is able to manipulate the flow of resources so that they end up in their own pockets!

Guwa-Ngamlana, N. 2009. http://www.afesis.org.za/Local-Governance-Articles/corruption-at-the-local-government-level-time-to-crack-the-whip, Consulted 29 October 2012.
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Friday, 26 October 2012

Day 125: Double Con - Australian Mining Interests in Africa

The Australian Government is channeling money which was allocated as Australian Aid Funds towards companies who are members of the Australian Africa Mining Group Industry. Instead of this money being used for that it was allocated for, it is being used by these Australian mining companies to further their own interests.

They have been using the Aid money to fund their own Corporate Social Responsibility programs.

Now, Corporoate Social Responsibilities programs or short - CSR - is supposed to be the an initiative coming from the company itself, where the company shows that it is not just interested with profit maximization but also wants to contribute to the environment and social community and show that it has some ethical values.

Obviously, this sort of initiatives/projects are supposed to be funded with the companies own money, as a sign of good-will, where the company "gives something back" to the community it is taking from.

So now, these Mining companies, are using Aid money to fund their CSR projects, as a PR-stunt, to make them look good and responsible, while of course if this money hadn't been available, they wouldn't have done it -- so it's really just a con. Furthermore, a lot of these companies have been known to be involved in human right violation, labour abuse, corruption and non-compliance with environmental laws.

So this whole CSR in itself is already quite a scam , as a 'band-aid' for all the corporate sins, where they show a little goodwill here and there but where the corporate word/system will not have a look at how these sins came about and so do away with the traditional way of doing business and come up with a new business design which is not drenched within complete inconsideration and disregard for Life on Earth and the natural balance of things -- because if they had, they would not have to go and make a little 'corporate social responsibility' project on the side -- their whole way of doing business would be Living Responsibility which is the only way we are ever going to be able to produce and distribute goods and services on Earth without creating disastrous consequences for current and future generations.

So I guess in a way, these companies are tired of 'keeping up the facade' Of "goodwill" and "good intentions" -- where they blatantly use Aid money to fund their so called "goodwill" -- while at the same time preventing this money from actually going to people who need it -- I mean, Africa's already poor, now here comes some Rich country and exploit the mineral resources while at the same time denying it aid so that it can use that money for its own private interests.

But then, again -- aid money is also not a solution, which you can read about in these blogs:
Day 20: The Insanity of Economics - Food Aid Does not Help the Poor
Day 106: Structural Adjustment
Famine Caused by Excess of Food - Only in Capitalism!

So what is the solution?

The solution is the way of the Equal Money System, where we take a whole new look at how we do things in this world -- as all can clearly see that what is going on in this world is a Complete Fuck-Up and this could have only been brought about by us human beings acting in a way that support Fuck Ups.

Check out the Goals, check out the Wiki and Vote/Comment on the policies. Here's a real solution to the problems in our world, which will be integrated into every aspect of society -- so we can do away with 'band-aid' solutions which make us 'feel better' but make no actual contribution to manifesting actual change in this world.

Visit now: www.EqualMoney.Org and educate yourself on what Real Change looks like
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Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Day 124: Desperate Borrowing Behaviour

Whereas loans used to be mainly for big expenses, such as buying a car or renovating a house - personal finance research unit head, Bernadene de Clercq explains how South Africans have resorted to borrowing from credit providers to pay for food, transport, medical bills, school fees and electricity bills.

Prices of electricity and fuel have increased significantly over the past few years - which is a factor that was not taken into account at the time when loans were taken out. This resulted in a situation where people are now unable to pay back their debts - leaving them little choice but to create more debt in order to provide for themselves.

This is obviously a big problem because no-one can get out of a hole by digging the hole deeper. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that electricity prices are expected to continue rising with an annual increase of 16%, and this for the coming 5 years.

Inability to pay back debts will cause more and more to resort to crime to provide for themselves, which will further jeopardize social and political stability - while appropriate use of the word 'stability' is already questionable.

South Africa is on a dangerous roads - where investors are starting to shy away from investment opportunities, fearing that the economy and state will collapse. A cutting of investment spending in the South African economy will hamper economic growth and further aid its downfall - causing prices to drop, unemployment to grow and crime to rise more...

An Equal Money System will not allow money to determine who gets what, loans will not be necessary, no one will be a slave to debt and entering crime to provide for oneself will no longer come up in anyone's mind. We live in a messy, chaotic world where everything is continuously changing and threatened with instability and even collapse - we don't have to live in a world like this - we are choosing to through the simple thought that 'we can never change what is here'.

This one thought is our God as it dominates our lives and in the name of this one thought, we allow billions to suffer every day - while there is a way - a simple way - educate yourself at www.equalmoney.org and bring out your vote!
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Monday, 22 October 2012

Day 123: Health Obsession put Sharks in Peril

Fish supplements are now deemed 'the new gold', as they are being promoted as being THE latest weapon to keep you from being depressed, getting heart attacks and dementia.

This point has become a very lucrative business, due to lose laws allowing shark oils extracted from species which were caught outside Europe, to be sold in the U.K.

The actual effectiveness of these omega-3 pills, are however being quesitoned.

Greek researchers found out that people who took omega-3 were not less prone of dying of a heart attack or stroke that those who did not take omega-3 pills. Similar conclusions were established by South Korean researchers.

In the meantime, many sharks are getting caught and killed for their livers -- so we can ward of our fears of death -- which are not even grounded in fact.

Sharks' livers are packed with these oils, but many of these sharks take many, many years to grow and fully mature.

THe leafscale gulper for instance, takes 35 years before it even starts breeding. If we go and catch these sharks, the balanced gets thrown off very easily.

Almost 6 million sharks are killed each year in order to meet global demand. That's a shitload of sharks.

Whithin all of this, you do not only have all the 'health freaks' buying these pills to stay 'healthy' and 'vital' -- but many people also takes these pills as a supplement wihtin the belief that if they take these pills, they can simply continue an unhealthy lifestyle and the pills will just cancel it all out.

So here you then have the 'Jesus Died for Our Sins' story, where we daily go and crucify sharks and steal their liver so that we can keep on sinning and apparently not bear the consequence.

This type of absolute disregard of other beings, for the sake of entertaining our fears is completely unacceptable -- all for the sake of money. Then, whenever there is an 'animal attack' or accident in a zoo where an animal attacks a human -- there's big shit and the animal is put down. However, if you look at history, we human beings are the most destructive, murderous force on Earth -- is it really the animal kingdom who deserves being put down?

It is time to thoroughly re-investigate and re-prioritize our value systems.

We're all going to die at some point or another -- do we really have to go and drag thousands to our grave in our fear of it? And within that allowing some to make a fortune while others barely get to live to the age of 5?

We're all here on the same planet, the same home -- and whether we like it or not, our existence is dependent on one another. If we start cutting down on one piece of the whole, we all are doomed to fail.

Instead of living a life of fear and greed, wouldn't it be better to live in a world that is Best for All and where we care for animals, plants and humans as we'd like to be treated ourselves?

Investigate the Equal Money System -- a Socio-Political and Economic System designed to make the Best out of Life. Engage and Vote today on policies @ www.equalmoney.org. Show that you Care.

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Sunday, 21 October 2012

Day 122: Poor Villagers Cursed with Riches - the AMAZON

Allow me to introduce you to Sani Isla. Deep into the heart of the Amazon rainforest, you can still find untouched land. Sani Isla is a 70 000 ha area of such land, inhabited by a community of only 422 locals. The biodiversity in Sani Isla is mind-blowing - to give you some reference: scientists say that 1ha in this region contains a greater biodiversity than the whole of North America together! Talk about paradise...

Two generations ago the locals were simply living their merry lives, hunting with blowpipes to provide for themselves. Currently, the locals are engaged in promoting ecotourism, trying to raise their income through an eco-lodge, where tourists come and are educated about life in the rainforest.

Sounds lovely, yes - but here's the thing:

Oil firm PetroAmazonas is pressuring the locals to grant them exploration rights in the area. In return, they promised the villagers cash, new schools, a new eco-lodge, better healtchare and university education for their children - and 'all' they have to do is accept plans for a seismic survey.

But obviously - everyone knows, that if oil is indeed found, the activities won't stay with just 'peaceful' exploring, they will take it to the next level, sweet-talk the villagers again to be able to also extract the oil, so that they can actually sell the stuff. The firm promised to 'minimise' the impact on the environment - but realistically: they'd be cutting paths and building roads, which leads more people to the area, which leads to more land being destroyed for agricultural purposes. Also - the freshwater ecosystems will be polluted, compromising the integrity of the forest's support system.

The locals are very tempted to agree with the deal, beacause their eco-lodge is not raising enough income. But imagine what is asked of them: to give up one of the few places in the world that has not yet been fucked up by people. An Ecuadorean shaman and his British wife are going to door-to-door trying to dissuade the villagers from giving up their land. And that's all the resistance this Oil Company is facing. Where is the international community, where are all the governments, where are all the NGOs saying: ENOUGH! FUCK OFF! THIS IS UNACCEPTABLE! No - just two people... kill them and nothing more stands in the firm's way - and there actually is a growing number of reports of activists being killed in the area.

I mean - this is an issue that concerns everyone - the WHOLE WORLD - how is it possible that a company is legally able to just walk up to the villagers and say 'look, give us your land and we'll give you all this stuff in return'. This land is not only to do with the villagers and not only to do with the firm - it is part of the world's ecosystem and one of the last examples we have left of what nature is supposed to be like in its fullest glory.

And - how brainwashed by money are we if, in order to make money, we'll maim the Earth - destroying a peace of paradise, instead of just investing in alternative fucking power-sources. It's not that difficult! And if we all just stop producing 50 variations of the same thing, instead of just one: the best one - we'll save so much on electricity, we won't need to go and dig up the Amazon forest to find more oil. Really - how stupid are we?!

The couple are loaning the villagers money to keep the eco-lodge afloat. It makes sense, of course, that if the villagers were supported through having their basic requirements met, as the firm is promising to do - then they wouldn't be tempted to consider their offer. Now, because the villagers are struggling in a capitalistic world, where they are not managing to meet ends - they carry the burden of having to choose between the welfare of their own children, or attempting to preserve a piece of the world that the world in its entirety needs.

In an Equal Money System - everyone would be taken care of, and as such, no-one can be bribed or pressured with promises of wealth - because everyone will already be wealthy - as such, each person can stand strong in not accepting or allowing anything less than what's best for all. And of course, in an Equal Money System - the firm wouldn't have been looking for oil in the first place - efforts would, instead, be made to develop renewable power-sources, because no profit can be made from oil extraction. So - this whole scenario would just not occur...

What are we waiting for? The rainforest can't hold out much longer...
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Friday, 19 October 2012

Day 121: Euro Crisis and Old Grudges

Germany has taken lead as part of the Eurozone to push Greece's austerity measures.

The German Chancellor Angela Merkel went to visit Greece to talk to the Greek Prime Minister Antonis Samaras on the status of the Greek economy.

Demonstrations and protests emerged, where some of the demonstrators were even bearing swastika flags to show their discontent at Germany being the one pushing the austerity measures. Points like Greece never having waived their claim at reparations from Germany opened up, and the Nazi occupation from 41 to 44.

So now here's all these people getting angry, and basically blaming Germany for the hardship they are in because of the war and never having received reparations costs.

But if you look at history, all wars were always economic in nature -- where somewhere someone wanted to have advantage over another -- like say Germany wanting to become a superpower, and then losing and then getting punished really bad for, so bad that they got angry and started a new war.

There's always been someone wanting more than another, always someone wanting to be within a 'win' situation -- where they fear losing their money so bad, that they make moves which are destructive for the whole of the world economy -- and yet throughout history, the same mistakes happen over and over again.

Most of the time, the reasons for war aren't even 'rational' in it's starting point (on that note, can war ever be rational?) -- where countries merely fear or interpret another countries economic performance in a particular way where they then go and make assumptions and want to go to war -- or where they feel like they are being treated unfairly and want payback, etc. In essence, these countries as 'personas' on their own, act exactly like human beings, where they are completely ruled by emotion and lack all common sense in the world.

I mean, all they are doing right now is trying to save each one's individual ass, without any consideration of what would be Best for All -- where the EU's pretty comfortable saying "Good Riddance!" to Greece, and anyone else who seems to be in a trouble.

Countries are being ruled by people who are just as impulsive as any other person on the street, but this has massive consequence since you're not just dealing with two human beings or a small group of human beings, but entire countries with millions of people who have to suffer the consequence of decisions based on emotion rather than common sense and what is Best for All.

If we are going to continue making political and economic decisions based on the past and personal grudges, we're never going to get anywhere because we're just going to try and get back at each other. It's time to realise that we are all just people, on the same planet, sharing the same space -- we might as well make the best out of it for EVERYONE.

Euro crisis opens old wounds for Greece, Germany, By Oliver Joy, for CNN, October 19, 2012 - http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/19/business/euro-crisis-greece-germany/index.html?hpt=hp_bn6

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