Monday, September 30, 2013

Shutdown and the first amendment

Today has been an unusually eventful day. The first thing of course is that the government has shut down and many services are cut. I doubt this will last a whole, though the really ironic thing is tat the issue is not the government's coffers but Obamacare, which is projected to save $200,000,000,000 over the next ten years by the CBO. I don't expect this will last and one way or another they will make a deal and it will again be over. Hopefully the democrats will use this against the republicans in next years election and take the election.

Even though Obamacare will be implemented today irrelevant of the government's passage of a budget the Republicans are choosing to do this.

This is why the government shutdown has notging to do with Obamacare but instead the much much more concerning is the implementation of SOPA/PIPA/CISPA in the Trans Pacific Partnership which will be a serious curtail of online civil liberties and a big and important step to potential tyranny which will bring us closer to North Korea's level of civil liberties. By shutting down the government now the Republicans will be able to push through internet censorship and eliminating tariffs on Chinese slavery in one blow. I am very scared of this because the first step in an tyrant concentrating his power has been cracking down on the press in the way these new restrictions on speech will effect bloggers like me. This is the real goal of the republican party and remembering my visit to Dachau last June I remember Hitler's first major action was cracking down on alternative media in a fashion not different from these new laws.

I am exercising my rights because if I don't I will lose them and I love America too much to b silenced like this.

Freedom isn't free and you must defend and exercise your rights if you are to keep them.


Friday, September 27, 2013

The long-term effect of Golan v. Holder

Last year, one of the most important decisions in copyright law history made its way to the Supreme court, and that decision was Golan v. Holder.

The effect of Golan v. Holder was that works that were once in the public domain whose copyright holders had dropped the copyright could get the copyright back if copyright law expanded its applicability. If you forget to renew your ownership, you can always get it back for no extra fee. It would be nice if library books worked that way!

The effect of this decision is twofold... first of all, companies that dropped the copyright of a piece of music or literature that then got a lot of free marketing through free use can then get the copyright back for as long as the law allows, making all other distributions illegal. No work needed!

The second effect is scary for musicians, and will come into effect if copyright is extended beyond the current 95/120 year period. If Congress were to extend copyright to 200 years lets say, than under the Golan v. Holder decision, I see absolutely no reason why the companies that used to own Beethoven's 9th symphony or America the Beautiful, or Mark Twain's works or Uncle Tom's Cabin couldn't come and claim ownership under Golan v. Holder, even though their copyrights lapsed a long time ago. This will attack culture and have little to no benefit for society. I hope that Congress will remove us from the World Trade Organization because it clearly does not represent the will of the people but instead the will of corporations that are contrary to the interest of individuals, society, and culture.

I am not opposed to globalization as a movement and would be in favor of international agreements that protect the rights of people to get a fair day's wage for a fair day's work and to make laws that protect people from being ripped off. The laws the World Trade Organization has been proposing (along with NAFTA) are contrary to the interests of the majority of people, when companies that cross the American/Canadian border pay tariffs but companies don't (even though "corporations are people", which is looking Orwellian), when there are absolutely no protections against slavery and dangerous working conditions with the WTO but harsh laws giving people who have never worked a day in their lives ownership of George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue in perpetuity. I am in favor of globalization if it helped the majority of people, but the current laws being passed are against the interest of the majority, because the people who write these laws are heavily funded by the groups that financially benefit from unfair copyright laws and immoral labor laws.

This is another facet of the big issue of politics which is again Citizens United when multinational corporations are able to fund politicians to an extreme amount. OpenSecrets has made this graph of how much money went to each party per election and who won, which shows how since 1998 the party that got the most money has been reelected every single time. When you are getting a lot of money from copyright holders and little to nothing from people who want to see copyright stay limited, there is leaves little wonder how the Uruguay Round and Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act were passed. We need to repeal the Uruguay Round, reform the WTO, repeal the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and move to a plan like I have proposed which will help musicians, students, and make it so that copyright is how it should be. We are going down a very dangerous path where everything will be rented and economic freedom will be limited like it was before capitalism.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Obama puts Constitution ahead of National Security, confusion reigns (satire)

Following his continued changing of fundamental American values, President Obama has substantially weakened the Presidency by turning to Congress before unilaterally going to war.

See here, I studied law for eight years, and taught Constitutional Law, I don't have the right to go to war unilaterally and need to follow the law. I need to have permission from our allies according to our treaty forming the United Nations or permission from Congress specifically outlining who to target.
~Barack Obama, Kenyan nationalist

This announcement has been unpopular among the people, as we have heard from several people across the country:
I don't know what these Kenyans are up to, but I'll be dead if we are going to wait for the Canadians to attack us before we use our military. Where are the good old days when we invaded sovereign nations on hunches of those ragged Canadian commies?
~Joe Bob, West Virginia, miner, 8th grade education
It's clearly due to his being black, hence Unamerican. My ancestors once owned people like him the dirty half-breed. He even wants to let more brown people in the country. He has sympathies for the brown Syrians.
~Simpson Wallace, Alabama, unemployed, high school dropout

Other people are clearly anti-American:
I think the President is right by going to Congress before entering into a foreign war. The 1st article is very clear that Congress has the power to declare war, and the President is following this. It would require a Constitutional amendment to give the President that power, and Obama is making one of the best decisions of his presidency so far with this.
~Abdullah al-al-siristan, PhD from the Socialist Republic of Columbia University, Constitutional scholar and immigrant

A world-famous pundit quipped:

Obama is breaking a sixty-five year tradition of ignoring Congress, and is confusing Americans. He is destroying the institution of the Presidency, and with it, the United States, by giving Congress 18th century powers. With such a system, it would be a miracle if anything got done. This will make it impossible for America to respond to things like rebellion in the future.
With all of these equally qualified points of view, does Obama have a leg to stand on? Rednecks and trolls, your opinions please.

(The previous is a parody on the onion I wrote when Obama decided to go to Congress and the absurd responses from the right-wing on that action.)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Downsizing America

There is a trend in the United States of downsizing everything. Many people feel like we have gotten too big and that it has become unsustainable. We see large libraries which we feel we must close, we see the massive education budget and look at them like an accountant, without analyzing the long-term benefits that take more than two years of accounting to recognize. We saw ourselves pouring money into mass transit in the 1950s which we cut, shrinking the government's budgets on mass transit only to find massive literally never-ending traffic jams.

This is a very disturbing trend in the American conscious. We want schools to be self-sustaining in the short run, looking at library resources as an expense that don't immediately pay off. We postpone keeping educational resources up to date and instruments in top condition, while if we kept our public resources in top shape will yield huge dividends in the future. $100 to keep a piano in tune today is a small price to pay for every piano student in the school having a great piano to play on which improves their skills so they can be better musicians. We force people to go into debt if their parents didn't save for them and reduce funding for classes in academic disciplines, making required classes hard to get into by making supply be artificially lower than demand, never raising the number when there are always more students wanting the class than the amount of seats offered.

This is a very disturbing trend in the United States to move schools from the halls of learning to a place focused on profits. Small rural schools lack up to date technology keeping their students technologically illiterate across the nation. Funds that go into libraries are cut, and the government saves a little money every year from that, but it removes vital resources from people who need them to get a well rounded education whether they are children, college students or lifelong learners. References are removed which makes our quality of education and culture suffer. Not everything is available on-line, most maps have never been scanned in for the public, and when we close the map rooms of our universities (a trend I am seeing at different universities) the knowledge is lost forever to the public and will never be put on-line.

I see this as part of what will probably become a much larger trend. How much longer will it be until we will say that people don't need to get a well-rounded education in college and everyone goes to trade school? How long until we start to send everyone to trade school? The argument I expect to hear is “you want to be a scientist, why do you need to know history?”, forgetting that they have lives beyond their careers. School will only be focused on getting a job and we will only take classes that make it so we can get the job we choose to get. Sure, you can learn many things online, but there is nothing like having a professor right there who can check your work, make certain you understand the content, and you can ask questions for immediate correct feedback. Khan Academy, Youtube, Udemy etc. are amazing invaluable resources, I use them every week and they have taught me many things, but they don't test me like school and I can't just write to CGPGrey and ask questions like I can for my professor. The teachers of these websites don't have the time to answer questions from each of their million students. The student just can't get the same amount of guidance. I fear that if we remove the wide base we get in college and continue cutting practically all funding from our schools we will be a weaker nation.

We need to stop cutting funding from our schools and keep supporting liberal arts schools with the resources they require because it is our national security. We need to keep having resources like old maps that are not available on-line, old books that you can only get for a $100 per year subscription, and other resources in our university libraries and public libraries because if we don't we will certainly be a weaker nation economically and culturally. I don't know how much more our country can take. You don't fill a water bottle by pouring out half the water.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

One reason I like Obamacare

I received a notification from my employer today about that they were going to send me a notification saying they were going to give me information about the new health insurance exchange being set up as part of Obamacare. I am currently under 26 and going to college so I am required to have the option to continue under my parent's insurance as long as I am going to school. However, for adults who get insurance from their employer this is good because if my employer moves the money it spends on my insurance to income and I am allowed to buy my own I can have more money by finding a better deal and have more expendable income. The wages are also tax-deductable for the company, so it makes no change in expenses and deductions for taxes. The employer has no change and the employee gets a pay raise after the expense of the new insurance plan.