Welcome to The Peoples’ Political Blog


This is a blog for all of us.  Well, me mainly, but… registered members will get their chance to debate, rebut, and add more than mere comments.  For those of us who wish to get serious about discussing political issues; those things that get us angry, frustrated, feeling-like-we-can’t-do-anything-about-it blues, and just fed up with our votes not counting anymore… here is where you can gain your voice back!  I promise to give you that soap box that you need to really get your pet peeve of a political or social issue noticed,  listened to,  and,  sometimes,  debated. 

 “The smallest minority on earth is the individual.  Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities.”  Ayn Rand.

Posted in Administrative | Tagged , , , , , ,

International Organizations and Immunity with Impunity

This post is long overdue, and, I admit, goaded into my writing it as a result of having recently attended the opening night of “The Whistleblower“, a new film starring Rachel Weisz that very succinctly ‘fleshes out’ the existence, administration and outcome of an International Organization (hereafter ‘I.O.‘) ,  albeit a small faction thereof,  in its commission of services and ultimate lack of accounting when involved with crimes against individuals… in short, their use of ‘legal immunity’ amounts to impunity.  [To view a synopsis of the film and a trailer, click here: “The Whistleblower” ]

The issue at hand is a complex one, and, since it is an issue that takes place in an “international environment”, it makes the governance thereof even more complex.   What the producers/directors/financial backers/distribution channels of “The Whistleblower” bring to light is a dark subject indeed; even though the events shown in this film happened some 12+ years ago, the alleged perpetrators have yet to be brought before any court of law or international tribunal.  This is not unusual, nor even considered alarming by any I.O.’s, countries, or legal tribunals.  It just is.  And the reasons that such events, such conduct, can continue to happen, even flourish, is due to the complicated and convoluted nature of the situation… as a matter of fact, many such acts and “rings of misconduct” are committed by individuals and those same people do their best to add as much complexity as possible.  At the onset, such actions makes the commission of such crimes almost impossible to be seen or noticed by anyone not close enough to the occurrence; this also makes it much, much more difficult for those same outsiders to fully believe that such actions and events have been committed… especially in the manner, and by the individuals that the ‘whistleblower/s’ are whistleblowing on!  Ultimately, the complexity, length of time involved with investigating the claims, and the lack of viable, believable witnesses, (and in some cases, still living witnesses) stack the odds against such cases ever reaching a legal tribunal or for the victims of these crimes to be able to ever seek legal remedy.

According to the Human Rights Watch, an independent organization with the mission of dedication to defending and protecting human rights worldwide: 

Combating impunity requires the identification of the specific perpetrators of the violations. The doctrine of superior or command responsibility imposes liability on superiors—with either de jure or de facto command—for the unlawful acts of their subordinates, where the superior knew or had reason to know of the unlawful acts, and failed to prevent or punish those acts.

 In addition to the obligation to investigate and prosecute, states have an obligation to provide victims with information about the investigation into the violations. Victims should be entitled to seek and obtain information on the causes and conditions resulting to rights violations against them.  The former UN Commission on Human Rights adopted principles that “irrespective of any legal proceedings, victims, their families and relatives have the imprescriptible right to know the truth about the circumstances in which violations took place.”

 You may go to their website, and directly view their March 8, 2011 article, which is a posting of their report of the same name,  entitled “Perpetual Fear“.

You can see that even according to international standards, the ability for anyone to bring charges against wrongdoers is extremely difficult, particularly when the perpetrator(s) has taken measures to ensure covert protection. 

Is the case in Bosnia more important than other, more “mundane” cases of sexual abuse, human trafficking, and human torture?  In reality, no.  But in legal effect, yes.  We all know that there are sordid groups of individuals whom prey upon the young, the weak, the oppressed, the disadvantaged, and the disenfranchised.  These groups are easy targets, if only because they usually reside within a hidden arena, far away from the prying eyes of law enforcement officials, fully fledged members of ‘standard’ society, and those much more fortunate to not have to become a party to such goings on.  Even in first world countries, such as the United States of America, human trafficking is a huge problem, it now rivals the drug trade problem and is growing all the time.  This means that there are a lot more customers out there, worldwide, that are predisposed to participating in the use of people whom are victims of the human trafficking/slavery business.  And these are the people who have the most to lose.  These are the ones who are willing to pay handsomely for such a product and should these “consumers” be arrested and prosecuted, would hurt the institutions behind these “products”.   So, in reality, without the presence of I.O.s, it makes it much more difficult for such illegal machinery to continue to function… not just from a financial point of view, but because it makes it much more difficult to continue to hide such a machinery without constantly changing it.  The existence of such entities as the “United Nations” makes it much easier for career criminals to hide merely because the I.O. is huge, it has political immunity, and it has access to sources of power with the concomitant huge sums of financial backing that goes along with it.  And I am a big believer in the maxim: “What’s happening at the bottom is a reflection of what’s happening at the top”.  In addition, the manner in which the I.O. conducts business is simply to good for perpetrators of such crimes to ignore!  Consider the case as shown in “The Whistleblower”: the incidence of sexual crimes and trafficking comes to the attention of an employee of a private contractor of the United Nations; this private contractor provides “security” services in the form of being “peace police” and attempting to eradicate any and all crimes against the war-ravaged citizens of Bosnia;  these peace officers are “hired” from around the world, with virtually no training by the private contractor, and the individual officers do not know each other as the would usually in a “non-war” situation.  So… there is no cohesiveness from the start.  The chain of command, if you could call it that, is so convoluted with legal and political restrictions placed upon it by the United Nations, the local governmental agencies, and the private contracting company (NGO), that the people in positions of authority have no functioning authority… by the time anything is put into action to be done, the trail of evidence has long been eradicated, up to and including people being long gone and dead. 

It is no coincidence that NGOs are utilized by I.O.s to perform such services as described in this film.  They are acting as all other forms of corporate, L.L.P., and limited liability (read responsibility) entities do.  They “pass the buck” when it comes to responsibility for anything bad, wrong or potentially illegal.   This is even encouraged around the world by all countries… most individuals who are investors in these private companies would NEVER invest in them if they could not transfer such costs elsewhere.  (Usually, individual taxpayers end up paying for these costs in a myriad of hidden ways.  The first manner is usually by absorbing the exorbitant costs to bring such doings before a court of law.)  Most laws specifically allow such entities to be created, and when private contractors are hired to “control” for contracted services,  the usual end result is no oversight worth mentioning, and literally millions and billions of dollars of pure profit for those individuals in the know and in unique positions to take advantage of the loopholes and gaps that exist.

Understand the primary underlying issues at hand in this post… a huge International Organization, a huge multinational NGO (private contractor), disconnected and service-specific under-training of individual employees,  when combined should send up huge warning signs.  In this case, as with all other crimes against humanity, these few details almost always are in conjunction with one another.  Together, they are a perfect recipe for committing crimes that go undetected, stay undetected, and, in many cases, are repeated by the same individuals and entities in multiple locations.  The primary element to assuring that such conditions exist is one of NON-TRANSPARENCY.  Without this element, such events occur but are almost always found out in time before continued damage and crimes are committed.  Even with “small-time” human trafficking groups, their operations would be thwarted much easier and faster if the leaders of these “organizations” did not go to such extremes to hide themselves and their cohorts.  Human beings are abducted in one place or country, exported to another place or country, and then sold where they are sent to another place or country.  All along the way, these abductees rarely see the light of day ever again; they are tortured into submission and desensitized to being ill-treated… this creates an individual that is no longer an individual; the person becomes an entity with no self-esteem and a member of a disadvantaged, enslaved conclave of beings whom are more likely to hurt themselves than their jailers.  Their torturers then give them hope that they will one day be set free after they “pay back” their debt to the jailers that are giving them “shelter” and “food”.  This makes these unfortunate beings willing participants in their own demise.  Most of these people being abused are women and children, the weakest among us usually. 

The element of  non-transparency causes these crimes to be profitable.  Without it, the costs to control these operations would cause them to quickly lose their stranglehold.  And, please do not bring up the need for companies to be able to move with secrecy in order to perform their services, or hawk their products, and make some degree of profits.  If hiding their actions is required to make a profit, I have become convinced that what they are doing is illegal and criminal.  Even in the U.S.A., we now have cameras everywhere.  Small time crooks are caught easily because they have not yet adjusted to the new world order that there is no such thing as privacy, and local, regional, and national government agencies have all placed cameras everywhere.  Why should it be legal for the ultimate individual, the person,  to be losing their privacy, and a non-living entity be able to keep it’s privacy in the form of non-transparency?  This is the height of arrogance by all governments.  It is also an extremely effective tool to be used against those individuals whom choose to fight this state of affairs and try to expose those whom are acting with impunity while committing crimes, especially under the guise of political and legal immunity.  I have a very difficult time accepting that many everyday individuals will accept being treated like this and not try to do something about it.  Are we all so willing to give up our civil rights to have paltry servings of luxury doled out to us when the super powers that be deign that we should receive them?  Have we all been  so brain-washed, or  become so stupid to not see what is happening to our modern-day civilization?   Perhaps we should all come to the realization that the practice of “economies of scale” has been so over-sold to us as to cause us to accept the outcome of the practice with a faceless accounting term versus the face of destruction it places on so many?  The practice has been with us since time immemorial.  It is nothing new, except perhaps for the fancy new accounting term applied to it. 

And, do not for a second think that I believe that human trafficking will go away anytime soon…. for I do not.  This also has been done since the human being populated our planet.  There will always be those people whom think that everyone is alive to cater to their every whim and need.  Most of those, unfortunately, find their way up to the highest echelons of society, because they realize that the higher up they go, the less transparency there will be, so, of course, they will gain power and resources to further their goals.  And, of course, the rest of us continue to operate on a more honorable level, hoping that someone, anyone in a position to do something about such dishonorable people will actually do something about them.  Alas, this too, falls by the wayside… those in a position to do something about something are usually being paid by those whom are higher up than them and, you guessed it, in a position to have them fired, or hurt for trying to do something about “those people”.  Suffice it to say that the only principle that keeps the majority of humans, and the business agencies that they populate, honest and honorable is one of transparency.  Without it… the law cannot possible be upheld.  For it cannot see.  We all need to remove the blindfold from “Lady Justice” for she also has been corrupted.  Her blindfold no longer stands for “meting out justice objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power or weakness”… it has come to symbolize an inability to see what is really happening due to a reliance on there always being truth present, regardless of whether transparency escorts it.  Such suppositions are futile, non-fertile, attempts at the concepts of liberty and legal equality… indeed, they invite obfuscation of the facts, proliferate confusion, and encourage the undermining of the freedom of the individual to exist well while maintaining the ability to honor others.

No; the real problem may be illustrated with an example of a conversation that I had recently at a local cafe.  A man sat down across from me and proceeded to begin a conversation with myself and another woman who I had been speaking with.  His chosen topic was that of the current state of affairs for most people versus that of his own.  Seriously.  His primary point was that he believed the most important thing in living was to maintain a supremely positive outlook and attitude in and on life in general, and that one should not be concerned with issues that do not personally impact one and that he could not control.  The woman who I had been speaking with agreed with him, and, why not?  It sounded so very… Zen.  It sounded like the distillation of every platitude that I had ever heard uttered and issued from every self-designated “self-help” guru, published or not.  So, I proceeded to try to debate the issue with him intelligently and conversationally and issued forth a decree that there would always be something that could not be thought of, talked about, or dealt with in a positive manner except to expose the negative for what it was.  He took that personally, proceeded to ask me if I was a happy person, to which I responded yes, but what did that have to do with our discussion.  He responded that bringing up negative issues during a positive discussion more or less signalled that the person doing so was probably not a happy person.  I responded by saying that living in relative luxury in a west Los Angeles region would cause most people to respond in like kind and he rushed to “defend” himself and say that I misunderstood what he had meant.  After about 5 minutes of me trying to get him to state in plain, understandable English without using “psycho-babble”, what he truly intended to say by his original remark to me, I finally gave up trying to have a conversation with him… I finally recognized that he was deliberately misunderstanding my need to create a starting point from which to have a debate.  Because, one is needed, if one is to engage in a conversation with another(s) about issues that are NOT common knowledge to all parties that are discussing an issue(s) amongst themselves.  Indeed, it truly is easy to overlook anything negative if one refuses to do so… and I finally stated this flatly to him.  He responded that he would “pray” for me.  I told him not to.  He said I just illustrated what he was trying to get me to understand… that I saw only negative in saying that he would “pray” for me.  (Of course I would… it is a classic denouement for someone to take when they wish to “nicely” opt out of a conversation that has become confrontational in their opinion and the person who offers to pray for the other is always seen as the most positive one.  It is a barb and somewhat slanderous in my opinion… to intimate that I NEEDED someone to pray for me.)  I then responded that he was right… he could pray for me if he wanted and there was nothing that I could do, but would he please not bother me with the details, especially to tell me that he was praying for me because I didn’t care whether he did or not.  As a matter of fact, I suggested that he instead pray for all those people in the world that were not as well off as he was and were unfortunate enough to be living in a place where sitting outside in the sun and buying a cup of coffee was an impossibility. 

This man illustrates to me the epitome of why impunity exists in this world.  Looking the other way when something of importance is occurring that is obviously not a good thing does nothing to eradicate the event from ever happening again.  Blissful ignorance of wrongdoing does not make it go away…. it merely enables one to relieve oneself of the emotional anguish and suffering of feeling guilty for not having done something about it – even to speak out against it.  This man is not alone… I have met many people in my life whom are exactly like this and have always wondered what it would be like to be able to live my life like they do… and to become “blissfully ignorant”.  In my opinion, someone who is this happy has a debt to society that needs to be paid… they need to be a standard-bearer and speak out against the wrongs in the rest of the world… you know, the one that “they don’t live in”.   It is their responsibility to speak out against wrongs that they are in a position to do something about, even if it is through speech alone and not action.  Because those who ARE suffering from these wrongs cannot speak out against these atrocities…. they are not in a position to do so because they ARE the objects and subjects of the atrocities.

If non-transparency is the first element of eradicating impunity, then citizen awareness of the second element.  Recognizing that whatever wrongs are being committed against another human being could be just as easily committed against yourself is the first step to taking of the blindfold.  If I can be penalized by the law for a wrongdoing, so can someone else… even if they are halfway around the world, in another country, working for a private company under contract to an I.O., and supposed to be on a “peace-keeping” mission.  If “ignorance of the law is not an excuse” for exemption from the law for me, it is not for any one else.  Especially if they are committing acts that, by all accounts, they would be arrested and severely prosecuted for in their own country.  

Posted in Human Rights Violations, International Human Rights Laws and Impunity, Law, Political and Legal Immunity | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Race, Nation, Identity – Globalization Defined

I recently attended a reception/dinner at UCLA that was meant to be a “kick-off” for a new inter-functionality and corroborative effort between like departments in the U.C. system across regional boundaries, chaired by the U.C. Center for New Racial Studies and the Institute for Social, Behavioral and Economic Research (UCCNRS - ISBER).  This would obviously provide for a much-needed  sharing of ideas and a much faster acceptance of new ideas, ideals, and newly formed disciplines of study.  It should also prove to be a great idea for effective collaboration of intellectual pursuits and consensus building of definitions and accepted source material for instruction.  There were many advanced PhD’s present, and the dining hall was full of heads of departments, vice-chairs, and well-published authors, whom all tried to contribute as much as possible to the gaiety of the dinner during the key notes address.  It was obvious that the U.C. campuses had been staffed with individuals possessing advanced credentials, and a good deal of experience from a multitude of countries, political  realities, and varying learning institutions.

The second day proved to be the point at which I became disinclined to continue participation; my reluctance was due to several statements that had been made on the state of affairs in the United States with regards to racism and immigration that more or less chilled me to the bone.  I should note at this time, that of all those present, the majority were from non-caucasian descent.  Of the handful of Caucasians present, I was one of the few not currently employed within the system or the department curriculum.  In addition to putting me somewhat at a disadvantage with regards to recent submissions of scholarly positions on the subjects being discussed, it probably also had the effect of causing me to feel as if I were on the “outside looking in”, I fully admit to.  This aside, it was also alarming in that it reminded me of some of the “consciousness-raising” sessions that I had been to and even presided over when I was involved with the “feminist movement”.  Many angry, hurt women were developing their own language, their own studies, and their own publications in order to expound upon the “largest minority on the planet” and how it had been side-lined, and to brainstorm about what the future would hold and what to do about it… which was something that I had heard alluded to this day.   The difference between the two scenarios is that the room I was in on this day was filled with people with advanced degrees, employed as professors, heads of departments, deans and vice-chairs whom still viewed themselves as suffering various forms of racism, while the room full of women from long ago was filled with mostly women who were seeking a way up and out of oppressive relationships, discriminatory employment, and hoping to gain a stronger political presence – these women KNEW they were suffering from “gender-racism” because all around them their lives reflected the absolute LACK of what they didn’t have that men did have.  The people in this room at UCLA could not really say that, because these individuals, men and women alike, had a California State institution (UCLA) that was sponsoring and supporting their efforts in education, for themselves as well as others, as well as providing a vehicle of day-to-day support for them in the form of reasonably well-paying jobs while they were doing this.  The women in the womens’ movement had to pursue their political aspirations and forge ahead to make a better life for themselves without that benefit being present.  I merely wish to note this because it is important in understanding my shock, disappointment and ultimately, my anger as a result of hearing some of the allegations that were expounded upon during the second day’s organizational compendium.

Firstly, I would like to say that I am fairly “thick-skinned” with regards to my race or nationality, partly due to going through consciousness raising functions, but also, because I am a human being who knows how it feels to be taunted, picked on, disliked, abused (emotionally, mentally or physically), and just plain left out!  What was fairly appalling to me was the fact that the claims that were made were by well-educated members of society that for all intents and purposes were accepted as members of the main stream society.  I am certain that some, most or all of them have at sometime in their lives experienced  racism, I would venture to say that the majority of these individuals are no longer dealing with such vagaries of existence on a regular basis. 

One of the speakers of the second day, whom had the esteemed honor of being a keynote address speaker, and thereby setting the tone of the entire day’s presentations, was a department head and professor of Race Studies.  From his lips was uttered, among other sentiments, a declaration of such vehemence against “white” people, (and without distinction or qualifying support) that I literally was moved backwards physically… while I was seated!  I have heard people declare their hatred, fear, animosity, etc., quite vehemently before… I always seemed to be prepared to some extent for such declarations… perhaps because of the venue.  The venue of this meeting, however, was not the proper one for such an utterance, in my humble opinion.  The person who spoke it was from a wage-earning category and an employment position that would, ostensibly, remove most of what it would appear this gentleman was suffering from – according to his declaration.  Perhaps I misunderstood him though… perhaps he was speaking for someone else(s) on their behalf.  I do not know if this was the case, but he definitely believed that there was an enormous amount of racism still present and functioning within the United States and that it had little or nothing to do with the current sentiment of USA citizens up in arms about the issues over border protection and government policies.    The next statement issued confirmed my sentiments because he followed this up another statement that basically told everyone present in the room that it was their duty to expose the racism that was currently being practiced in the United States; in particular that with regards to immigration issues within the United States and the attempt to hide the presence of racism within the burgeoning immigration issues.   He went on to state that this issue is a global issue and that everyone in that room was responsible for exposing and dealing with the “white supremacist” problem… in particular the “war” being waged against immigrants within the United States currently.

I think I literally heard each and every forefather of the United States Constitution turning over in their graves with the utterance of this “enchargement”.  There was absolutely an implied threat to individual rights of all naturalized American citizens within this charge.  There appears to be a groundswell of anger that is being fed by those whom are the least affected by the tenets that they are expounding upon… in short, it sounds to me as if there is a group of people creating unrest deliberately and  trying to start another civil war within the United States!  Coupling racism with immigration is a foolish practice… it merely serves to hide that which  most needs to be exposed.  Racism, true and real practiced racism, has hatred at its’ roots… immigration issues are based on a sovereign host country having national security and administrative problems brought upon by economic gaps in distribution of wealth, food, and necessities of life and survival by refugees from another sovereign countries’ citizens.  Re-stated, it is an issue of the recognition of imported problems and the refusal by the citizens of the host country to take on the burden of those wronged by their sovereign country and government.  And, while hatred may become an issue of these events, it is NOT at the root of the issue. 

The key element here is the issue of bordersAnd, whether they be geographical, political or merely abstract, (as in… within one’s own mind) the fact remains that there is a barrier there that some believe should not be there.  The legal and moral issue at stake is whom gets to make and legislate the laws that will govern just how those barriers are policed.  If we stoop to call every issue involving barriers an issue of racism, we have doomed ourselves to an existence with no privacy, no personal rights, and no legal redress to solve the harm being done to many, by another many.  There would be no end to a constant churning of legal issues in a never-ending back and forth motion; no certainty with which to live ones’ life and plan for the future… by anyone.  And while I definitely empathize with anyone wishing to leave their sovereign country because the government therein treats them worse than the host sovereign country that they are seeking to invade , I do not wish to forego my own personal rights within my country to someone seeking to “take over” my country legally, or illegally.  If you are going to declare war on me, do so.  If not, please leave… do not try to hide your intentions by couching your actions within deceptive rhetoric.  My country already fought that war, and most of our citizens think we won.   The few left over that do not, well, I think they are the “white supremacists”.  And I don’t much care what color they are, either.

“The worst from of inequality is to try to make unequal things equal.”  Aristotle.

Embracing the concept of “Globalization” in hopes of eradicating racism is the delusional action(s) of a fool.   Regional sovereignty has been instituted since time immemorial as a fair doctrine that should be applied to all, regardless of one’s preferences.  Even wild animals understand the concept of trespass… and enforce ruthlessly a policy of non-acceptance of aggression from others of like-kind species.  Passing through is allowed, and watched rigorously from a distance; lingering and pillaging, no matter how “nice” it may seem, is not tolerated.   

Central America Drug Cartels and Routes to U.S.

This is NOT Immigration... this is a WAR on the U.S.!

  Supporting a policy of “globalism” as a deterrent to racism, in not a valid measurement tool to be used in defining immigrant entry to any country.

Differences amongst peoples’ should not be forsaken in the hopes of achieving equality of any sort.  The only value it achieves is “alikeness” – this can only serve to worsen the already growing discontent, and hatred, and inequalities present amongst peoples’ and races.  To achieve a “vanilla” race globally is not a value I aspire to.  To try to enforce a policy of forced entry into a country by non-sovereign people upon sovereign people is also not a value that I aspire to.  I invite you to visit the website “Globalization 101“, which is produced by the Levin Institute at the State University of New York… their first line of text on their website states:

What Is globalization?Is it the integration of economic, political, and cultural systems across the globe? Or is it the dominance of developed countries in decision-making, at the expense of poorer, less powerful nations? Is globalization a force for economic growth, prosperity, and democratic freedom? Or is it a force for environmental devastation, exploitation of the developing world, and suppression of human rights? Does globalization only benefit the rich or can the poor take advantage of it to improve their well-being?

It would appear that the State University of New York questions the rationality and appropriateness of globalization as much as I do… hoisting the onus of immigration on top of that of globalization merely exacerbates the problems inherent in both issues.  The issue of immigration, and the problems that migrated immigrants face when they move from one country to another may overlap with that of racism, but the root of the problem is far greater than mere skin color or cultural differences;  and I am quite taken aback by the arrogance of the faculty and administration within the  U.C. system to inflame and issue deliberately in order to assure themselves additional funding to continue their own departments!  This is no different from their assertions about the pillaging of third-world countries by multi-national corporations… merely a different take on the concept of “their slice of the pie”.  Except, they have taken the concept to greater heights of pillaging by further robbing the populace of tax dollars to support them on an individual level while languishing quite luxuriously within the U.C. system…. a state-run and federally funded institution.  Oh, and don’t forget that most of the dollars they are using to do this comes from those “white supremacists” that they lump everyone into whom is not a member of THEIR RACE OR COLOR!  Truly arrogant and, mmmm…. yes, I believe, RACIST.  And, lest you bring up the concept that this cannot be racist, because the “oppressed” can NEVER be considered the oppressor, because they are fighting back and retaliating to the oppression, this very concept loses its’ strength when used by middle- and upper-middle class members of a society, (read state university professor/department head here) regardless of where they reside or which side of the fence they are coming from.

illegal-immigrants-as-percentage-of-state-population-in-the-us

Is there any doubt about where the most directed flow of traffic is coming from?

 Immigration problems are fought by identifying the problems inherent within a political structure within a refugee’s country – the reason(s) those refugees are seeking to leave their native country, or NOT.  These problems are not fought and won by enraging and even trying to enslave the population of the sovereign host country that they are seeking to brow-beat into submissive assistance.   And they are especially not won by insulting the members of that sovereign host society by using racist slurs against them in hopes of “embarrassing” them into providing asylum.   Anyone, regardless of how many letters of degree they have behind their name, whom refers to me as a “white supremacist” will definitely not find me teaming up with them anytime soon.  Aside from the fact that they are all wrong with the designation, primarily because it is based on skin color alone, it is racist in and of itself to do this, and promulgates hatred and ill-will. 

The phrase, “Give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses…”, was  never intended to invite massive invasion by other countries.  I direct your attention to the following excerpt from Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia:

Impact

Author John T. Cunningham wrote that “The Statue of Liberty was not conceived and sculpted as a symbol of immigration, but it quickly became so as immigrant ships passed under the statue. However, it was Lazarus’s poem that permanently stamped on Miss Liberty the role of unofficial greeter of incoming immigrants”.[6]

Paul Auster wrote that “Bartholdi’s gigantic effigy was originally intended as a monument to the principles of international republicanism, but ‘The New Colossus’ reinvented the statue’s purpose, turning Liberty into a welcoming mother, a symbol of hope to the outcasts and downtrodden of the world”

The term Republicanism, as defined above by Wikipedia,  is the ideology of governing a nation as a republic, where the head of state is appointed by means other than heredity, often elections.  This is a key concept especially when understood in terms of its importance to immigrants as they seek entrance to citizenship within the boundaries of the United States of America.  It means that all citizens may seek redress, legally, within those boundaries, once they become citizens.   It does NOT mean that anyone may enter beyond her borders and then claim greater rights and freedoms than the citizens already residing there… even if those immigrants are willing to work at jobs that citizens within those borders do not wish to work at.  It does not exonerate anyone from breaking the law.  Those illegal immigrants whom wish to partake of the fruits of the governmental system within those borders must become naturalized citizens just as everyone else has done whom was not born there naturally.  Until that time, any and all other attempt at “taking over” the economy, borders, jobs, food or anything else of value to the citizens of the sovereign nation, will be naturally considered acts of theft, if not outright war.

Posted in Gender Racism, Globalization in Race, Identity and Citizenship, Law | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Piracy Issues and the “Rights” of Intellectual Property and the Internet

Web piracy bills target ‘rogue’ sites … so states the lead-in heading in the Tuesday, April 19, 2011 L.A. Times Business section, filed under ‘Government’. 
 

As you read on, it becomes clear that Congress, in general, has been lobbied to “crack down on online venues” that cater to the re-distribution of movies, tv shows, music and counterfeit goods, to an only too willing public.  According to Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), who is also chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee:

What these rogue websites do is theft,  pure and simple… They are no more than digital stores selling stolen property.  The Internet needs to be free and open – not lawless.

[Please see original article here in the Los Angeles Times.]

Whoa!  What…..?!  Since WHEN has the entertainment industry, or the marketing industry (which the entertainment industry regularly uses to their incredible advantage, as well as internet media marketing to this same public, I might add,) cared a hoot about free and open and lawless, much less in conjunction with the internet?!  As far as I’m concerned, the entertainment industry and the marketing industry have both gone above and beyond their normal inexhaustible and insatiable desire to bombard the publics’ senses, minds, and pocketbooks… in particular, while on the internet.  I cannot remember the last time that I accessed the internet without being assaulted by ads, whether they be on page in the margin, pop-up, or opt-in.  And I use the word ‘assaulted’ deliberately here… not only are most of them obnoxious and annoying, they are downright rude!  Even with the latest computer, software, and technology, those ads regularly slow down the loading of most web pages that I view… all of them without my permission or without even a by-your-leave!  I KNOW that I didn’t ask for this kind of invasion of MY privacy.  What happened to MY rights and THEIR lawless contention that they have the right to continue to invade my private reverie while surfing the net?  And we haven’t even started on the trawling and culling of keystrokes, mouse clicks, injection of trojan horses, code bits (or bytes) of program, and registry changes!   Well…. I’ve heard of glass houses before but this is entirely transparent to me!!!!

I’m not a crybaby, usually, but really, I am becoming so very tired and downright angry about everyone else’s rights to “intellectual property” but mine… so much so that I’m almost ready to Incorporate my name, declare everything associated with it, including my DNA, RNA, personal images, anything from my mind (whether I make money on it or not) to be intellectual property, and the rest of you be damned!  I cannot wait to make all that money from all those lawsuits that I will be able to bring against anyone or thing that dares to trespass against or on me!

Seriously, though, we really need to look more thoroughly at this issue and examine it from quite a few perspectives, especially those not previously mentioned, on a social, socio-economic, political, and personal privacy/intellectual property legal issue.  Perhaps even to the point of deciding that our intellectual property laws be rewritten or amended to incorporate some new rules and protections.

While I am willing to admit that there is a good degree of piracy that abounds on the internet, it might not be in the form or performed by the individuals that everyone thinks it is.  At first glance, it would appear that the ONLY source of pirating is with “errant” website owners whom are making available “pirated” copies of books, songs, films, artwork, and basically, any “artistic” (read commercial, saleable, bankable, etc., in short, anything that an individual or group of individuals whom have been authorized to make profits from it ) intellectual properties.  These errant website owners may have paid for these properties (as in, own the items), or, they may not have.  This, however, is not really the issue that is being debated.  What is really being debated here, and is at the heart of the fury, is that the “owners” of these intellectual properties are claiming that it is almost impossible to police the internet!  There are potentially millions and billions of American dollars at stake for these individuals that view their “property rights” as being trampled upon.  And all because it is so easy to post these items online and make them available to the masses.  Who could possibly be put in charge of this and police the internet?  The task is daunting, to say the least.  (Just like my issues stated above with regards to surfing the internet.) My heart goes out to them.  Really.  I understand EXACTLY how the feel:

I personally maintain several email accounts from publicly accessible email accounts (Hotmail, Google, Yahoo, etc.) primarily so I can control for the return email that I get and make it “easier” on myself to control for “spam”, “junk” and just plain “opted-in” mailings that I didn’t really “opt-in” to.   Read:  I do not really trust when a “reputable” website tells me that they will not be tracking or selling my personal information.   If that were not enough,  I, as well as millions of other people who use computers, have to buy anti-virus software, anti-spamming software, anti-anything software and maintain annual subscriptions to those services to “update” their software so that I am always current with the latest “threats” that may contaminate my computer and data, not to mention the “pirating” of my personal privacy rights to my own mind, keystrokes, mouse clicks and general maneuvering my way around the internet, while surfing the net.  Why is it that it is okay for this to happen… that my privacy and my intellectual property rights (that of the exclusive right to my own mental output) are subject to the whims of “piracy” by others?  Please do NOT use the excuse that all 3 of the major web browsers need a way to make money in order to continue to provide “services” to those of us “users” of their browser and its services.  There are far too many free alternatives today for that to pass muster, and a few now that are even gaining ground by offering a browser that doesn’t track my keystrokes or allow access to MY access to the internet!   No, the reason is that it is far too lucrative an enterprise for the likes of Google, Yahoo, and MSN (to name a few) to NOT perform these little “piracies” on our private intellectual property rights.  Billions of dollars are made by all commercial enterprises involved, and that includes those companies who BUY THIS INFORMATION FROM THESE INTERNET PROVIDER SITES IN ORDER TO SELL THEIR PRODUCTS AND SERVICES TO US.  And, these companies are usually the exact same individuals whom are claiming that we are pirating their intellectual property rights!  Some people really do have all the nerve!  And… they can do this legally without the public ever claiming any “real” property rights to our mental and/or physical output.  This is because our Intellectual Property Laws are poorly drafted… or, more accurately, drafted in such a way as to disallow the average member of the public to have any say-so in his or her personal output.  This is very similar to our present day labor or employment laws, and, a primary reason that individuals can be unwittingly used in the commission of common crimes of fraud without the employee ever knowing that they had been doing so.  But, I digress.

Allow me to elucidate the issue in a more physical, and therefore understandable manner, as compared to that of the abstraction of the internet and digital world.  Imagine that I am a shopper and driving around town to find a suitable and desirable item, say, for my first day on a new job.  After 3 or 4 stops at various vendors, I begin to notice that it seems that I am being followed around by a certain, definitive group of individuals.  After another 2 or 3 shops, I can no longer ignore the fact that it appears that I am being “stalked”.  Under these conditions, it is quite obvious that I have a legal case to interfere with these individuals continued exercise of following me around, and all I need do is call the police to report them and hopefully have them arrested if they continue to do so, especially if they follow me home.  Even if these individuals say they are only trying to find out what I am doing and why, they do not have the right to do so and interfere with my quiet enjoyment of shopping without being followed.  Stalking is considered to be a crime.

However, on the internet, this “stalking” behavior is legal!  As far as I and many others are concerned, there is little difference beyond the fact that the perpetrators of this crime are not physically present, and therefore, presumably incapable of inflicting any serious, physical damage on my body.  However, their ability to inflict severe emotional suffering goes unabated.  And, I might add, un-remunerated!  While this scenario might sound a bit drastic and phantasmagorical (is that even a word?), one could further illustrate just how bad this situation could become if everyone that went shopping had their own retinue of “shopper stalkers” present and following them wherever they went!   Logistically not a very cost-effective operation, but, obviously it has served to illustrate my point, and the advent of the digital world does make it cost-effective.  Take this one step further… now, “target” a few individuals with the above scenario; you know, only those whom have been “profiled” to be members of a wealthier class of the public, say, upper middle class… and, say they are well-off enough to own a home behind security gates.  I can pretty well guarantee everyone that whomever THIS individual is would be the first to complain vehemently that they are being stalked.  They above most of the “stalked” members of the internet know how invasive this is.  Most of them are probably owners of or are employed by those same companies that perform the “internet stalking” that I have illustrated above.  The difference is, there would be a lot fewer stalkers for this income strata.  Because there are a lot fewer people who live at this level and income strata.  And therein lies the real, the true, reason that this issue of “piracy” is so hotly contested by those seeking to protect their “intellectual property rights” on the internet:

The fact that there is a HUGE pool of people available globally that are potential customers (read purchasers) of these items of “intellectual property rights” that are NOT there if these items are provided free of charge on the internet is a bone of contention that will not go away easily.  Lightening fast and extremely lucrative internet sales are viciously coveted, even by the most laid back of “artists”.  Even if some people will buy these items to have their own personal copy of them, a larger majority of them will not.  Because most people are not collectors of items that are non-essential, unless there is an emotional need to… many of them will not simply because they couldn’t afford to purchase the item in the first place.  But this is not the relevant fact of the debate, the issue, or of the law, as it is currently written.  The most salient fact here is that the owners of these intellectual property rights have been deprived of their sole and irrevocable right to the use of that property, particularly as a commercial property and therefore an income-producing property.  They also possess the right to deny access to that property through the use of selling, renting, leasing or any other manner of allowing another individual access to it.

Canary in the Mine
Absconded with the Canary!

I want that same exact right over my mental, physical and emotional output.  If I don’t want it sold to someone… it cannot and should not be sold, whether I intend to use it commercially or not.  I do not believe in a system of legal protections that applies to one group of individuals over another; especially if it segregates my individual rights from me.  Whether they are intellectual or not is not for others to decide for me… it is for me to decide that.  And, if others do make money off of my output, I want royalties, commissions, whatever I believe I’m entitled to.  Just like everyone else who owns the intellectual property rights to their output.  Gosh, it sounds like I almost agree with Senator Leahy!  Better stop while I’m still ahead!

So… back to the explicit issue at hand.  I understand that newly minted and released copies of  books, plays, movies, artwork, etc., is to be protected.  I do not understand older releases being protected.  Most people would not be willing to pay much for these films, and, in fact, would not be willing to watch them if there were a cost attached to them.  As for books, many authors release their written word to libraries within a very short period of time after they are first published.   And while I know that there is an issue of volume here, (as in how many copies of that book will actually be available to someone to read),  know that many libraries are now making books available online via an e-book service.  It may take some time to make into this e-libary, but eventually, those that have been best sellers, will most likely end up there.  I see little difference to someone accessing these items through normally “acceptable” use distributing channels versus an online website that makes it available and doesn’t charge for the service.  Note that most of these websites that do allow free use of these items, avail themselves of the same “tactics” that the owners of  these intellectual property right items would have… namely, internet advertising.  They are just as annoying to the rest of us through these venues as they are when we are merely surfing the internet.  For that reason, most of us don’t use them often.  These ads deliver and download more viruses, cookies, spam, and trojan horses than the average web browser interface could possible hope to handle.  And, you KNOW how we feel about that!

My primary legal point with this issue is that I think that Intellectual Property Rights should be reciprocal.  I have absolutely no problem with understanding why a NEW RELEASE of any kind of property should be protected.  The owners of the rights therein are avidly seeking to procure as much profit as possible from their “creation” at this initial presentation.  And, while some of those creations MAY achieve “icon” status, most will not.  Most creations languish in the old, nobody-wants-to-see-it-or-be-bothered-with-it bin.  At that point, there remains no commercial value, which is the crux of the issue.  The main issue here is obviously the difference between “Privacy Rights” and “Intellectual Privacy Rights”, and when and where do they divide?  The marketing value of a mind is every bit as valuable and prescient as an absolute physical representation of it and any creative endeavors it produces (read ‘behavior’ here)… it merely hasn’t yet been converted from “legacy” status to “in-use” status.  This is a key component to the legal battle being waged between Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg, and the Winklevoss twins… a matter of TIME and USE.  The twins claim that Mark “stole” their “idea” of a social networking site that was supposed to be used at Harvard.  Zuckerberg, however, realized the potential value of the use of that idea immediately, but on a much wider scale;  since he “beat” them to actually posting the site on the internet, and extending the “usefulness” of  the program (beyond Harvard), the court and our laws recognize the significant change to the original idea, but primarily that he was the first to use the idea commercially.  However, it appears that the court recognizes that the twins “idea” was equally as important to the subsequent posting and global use of the idea in its digitally represented form, as they were awarded a fairly good-sized settlement for it.  However, I digress somewhat as  it is obvious that this example is quite direct and succinct in comparison to my original issue; that of the Intellectual Property Rights of everyone to their individual ideas.

“The truth is found when men are free to pursue it.”   Franklin D. Roosevelt

We have now crossed into a very complicated, and even dangerous legal area of International Intellectual Property Rights and the future of Globalization – in particular that of the right to making a profit from one’s efforts, endeavors, and even one’s own bodily maneuverings.  And THAT is an issue for a later date.  I invite everyone to add their comments to this issue…. it is a future-important one and potentially fraught with huge inconsistencies and inequalities across multiple legal boundaries.

 

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