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Category: Politic

The New Egypt: The Dark Side of Dubai

They say that Egypt was built on the backs of slaves for rich and powerful pharoahs. We marvel at their feats. These days, rising out of the desert, Dubai glistens like some sort of mirage in the desert. It too is a city being built on the backs of slaves, quite literally. over 300,000 slaves to be exact. Working and toiling under the ho desert sun, not begin paid, fed barely enough to survive… for the Shiek. Not much different than the ancient Egypt we learn about. And who is to stop it? It seems the slowly crumbling world economy is grinding the building and construction to a halt but…

I’ve learned about this from a truly well-written and interesting article here: The Dark Side of Dubai

Consciousness as a "Business Model"

I was recently talking with a friend about a few different businesses he is involved with. I’m not going to say what businesses or which friend as I don’t want to personalize it or create a sense of scapegoating. One business he spoke of as having a model based on a local/eco-friendly approach. Conversely, other business interests of his had no such vision. In this case the local/eco-friendly approach is done based simply on economic sense. People like to pay a higher price for the local/eco-friendly business instead of from a different business that doesn’t take the same sustainable approach. Being eco-friendly, in this case, is a matter of capitalist convenience. If more product could be sold by not being eco-friendly, such as other business interests of this same person, then there wouldn’t be a point in being eco-friendly in the first place.

It’s difficult for me to want to support such businesses. I have various reasons for wanting to support local, eco-friendly businesses when I can and if it’s not a local business then I hope for it to be conscious about it’s environmental impact and ecological footprint. The world is getting more crowded every day with fewer natural resources to sustain our consumption heavy lifestyles and the effects of our rampant consumerism are being felt in every corner of the globe. To take responsibility for this and change our business practices because it makes ethical sense rather than business sense is an important distinction.

I realize there are a lot of businesses who see the eco-friendly market as a giant cash cow eagerly being let to slaughter and I am glad for those businesses who at least make an effort to engage in sounder environmental practices, for whatever reason. However, it feels sometimes like people are simply waiting for when they are allowed go back to consuming willy-nilly at a discounted price with disregard for the consequences. Ignorance is easy while being responsible for our actions take more effort.

I’ve read about people claiming that this “recession”, this “economic slump” has gotten them to consume less. They are cutting back here or there; less buying, more repairing what they’ve got. Great! We’re being a little more frugal with our natural resources. But is this a period of agreed upon abstaining from gluttonous consumption or simply a forced diet that, the minute the economic tourniquet is lifted, the masses flood back to the stores in energy hungry vehicles and wallets burning holes in their pockets?

I go back to my friend – engaging in an eco-friendly business on the one hand because it is the business model of that enterprise and working on more environmentally mindless projects on the other hand because they make money and being eco-friendly is not a part of that business model. In my own opinion, any possible positive results of the first are outweighed by the disregard for responsibility of the other. At heart, he is a capitalist first and a responsible citizen of the earth second.

We are all in this together, as we like to remind ourselves over and over. Capitalism is about stepping on heads, deregulating trade, and every man for himself using whatever is a viable business model to get ahead. It’s ugly, destructive, and unsustainable. I welcome compassionate alternatives. An environmentally conscious business model is one that takes stock of it’s ecological footprint and does it’s best to trim the excess and find sustainable solutions not because it makes economic sense but because it makes ethical sense. When we look inside and examine those choices in the light of Awareness, hopefully they make it burn a little brighter, stretching our compassionate heart just a little wider. There is no room for compassion in a capitalism. Capitalism hardens our hearts. It’s hard to be compassionate when we know that our paycheck was earned by poisoning the planet just a little bit more. It’s always our choice and I’m hopeful that the compassionate spirit wins out, learns from it’s mistakes, and creates a healthier environment.

A Day in the Life of Joe Republican

Joe gets up at 6 a.m. and fills his coffeepot with water. The water is
clean because some tree-hugging liberal fought for minimum quality
standards. With his first swallow he takes his daily medication, safe
because a commie wannabe fought to ensure that it works as advertised.

All but $10 of his medications are paid for by his employer’s medical
plan since liberal union workers fought for paid medical insurance.

He prepares his morning bacon and eggs, which are safe to eat because
some girly-man liberal fought for laws to regulate the meat packing
industry. In the morning shower, Joe reaches for his shampoo, properly
labeled because some crybaby liberal fought for his right to know what
he was putting on or in his body.

Joe dresses, walks outside and takes a deep breath. The air he breathes
is clean because environmentalist wackos fought for laws to stop
industries from polluting. He walks on the government-provided sidewalk
to the subway for his government-subsidized ride to work, which saves
him money in parking and gas because some fancy-pants liberal worked for
affordable public transportation.

Joe begins his work day at a good job with excellent pay, medical
benefits, retirement, paid holidays and vacation thanks to liberal union
members who fought and died for those working standards. If Joe is hurt
on the job or becomes unemployed, he’ll get worker compensation or an
unemployment check because some lazy-ass liberal didn’t think he should
lose his home due to temporary misfortune.

It*s noon and Joe needs to make a bank deposit so he can pay some
bills. His deposit is insured by the FSLIC because some godless liberal
wanted to protect his money from the unscrupulous bankers who ruined the
banking system before the Great Depression. Joe has a Fannie
Mae-underwritten mortgage and below-market federal student loan because
lefty elitists thought Joe would be better off if he was educated (at a
state-funded university) and earned more money over his lifetime.

Joe drives home on taxpayer-funded roads. His car is among the safest
in the world because flag-hating liberals fought for safety standards.
He plans to visit his father at his home in the country. His was the
third generation to live in the house financed by the Farmers’ Home
Administration because bankers didn’t want to make rural loans. The
house didn’t have electricity until some big-government liberal stuck
his nose where it didn’t belong and demanded rural electrification.

He’s happy to see his father, now retired on Social Security and a
union pension thanks to cheese-eating liberals. On the ride home Joe
turns on a radio talk show whose host chants endlessly that liberals are
bad and conservatives are good. He doesn’t mention that Republicans
have fought every protection and benefit Joe has enjoyed today. Joe
considers himself a self-made man and agrees: “Everyone should take just
care of themselves, just like I have.”

-Reprinted from an email sent to me, at one time or another. But worthy of reprinting…

Say “No” to the Orphaned Works Act

“Under current copyright law, in effect for the last 30 years, your
visual art is copy protected whether or not it is registered or carries
the copyright symbol.

This week, the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to introduce
the Orphan Works Act of 2008. If you care about protecting your work,
you’re against it. It will have the effect of wiping out any copyright
on visual art now in existence, throwing your work into the public
domain. If you wish to protect your work (each and every separate piece)
you will have to digitize it and register it with private sector
registries as yet uncreated, for a fee as yet unestablished. I say
registries because this bill places no limit on how many separate
registries there could be.
The fastest, easiest thing is to sign a petition here:
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-orphan-works-act.html

It gets worse.  Anyone can submit images, including your images. They
would then be excused from any liability for infringement (also known as
THEFT) unless the legitimate rights owner (you) responds within a
certain period of time to grant or deny permission to use your work.

That means you will also have to look through every image in every
registry all the time to make sure someone is not stealing and
registering your art. You could actually end up illegally using your own
artwork or photo if someone else registers it.

Please read more in this excerpt from illustratorspartnership.org;  I
know it’s long, but it’s worth reading.  Also, note that while their
site is geared to illustrators, everything they say applies as well to
photographers, musicians, filmakers, painters, writers, etc:

Since the last bill died in committee in 2006, the advocates of this
legislation have promoted the creation of private commercial registries.
On January 29, 2007, a lead attorney for the Copyright Office warned us
that under their plan any work not registered with a private sector
registry would be a potential orphan from the moment it was created.

This means you would not only have to register your published work, but
also:

— Every sketch or note on every page of every sketchbook;
— Every sketch you send to every client;
— Every photograph you take anywhere, anytime, including family photos,
home videos, etc.;
— Every letter, email, etc., professional, personal or private.

This Would End Passive Copyright Protection: Under existing law the
total creative output of any “creator” receives passive copyright
protection from the moment you create it. This covers everything from
the published work of professional artists to the unpublished diaries,
letters and family photos of the average citizen.

But under the Orphan Works proposal, none of this material would be
covered unless the creator took active steps to register and maintain
coverage with a commercial registry. Failure to do so would “signal” to
infringers that you have no interest in protecting the work.

The Registration Paradox:
By conceding that their proposals would make potential orphans of any
unregistered works, the Copyright Office proposals would lead to a
registration paradox: In order to “protect” work from exposure to
infringement, creators would have to expose it on a publicly searchable
registry. This would:

— Expose creative work to plagiarists and derivative abusers;
— Expose trade secrets and unused sketches to competitors;
— Expose unpublished and private correspondence to the public on the
Orwellian premise that you must expose it to “protect” it.

Yet registries will not be able to monitor infringements nor enforce
copyright compliance. Even after you’ve shelled out “protection money”
to a commercial registry to register hundreds of thousands of works, you
still won’t be protected. A registry would do nothing more than give you
a piece of paper. You would still have to monitor infringements – which
can occur anytime anywhere in the world; then embark on an uncertain
quest to find the infringer, file a case in Federal court, then prove
that the infringer has removed your name or other identifying
information from your work. Meanwhile all the infringer will have to do
is say there was no such information on the work when he found it and
assert an orphan works defense.

Coerced registration violates the spirit and letter of international
copyright law and copyright-related treaties. And because this bill
would effectively eliminate the passive copyright protection afforded
personal correspondence, family photos, etc. it would tear one more
slender thread of privacy protection from the fabric of fundamental
rights we currently take for granted.

We urge Congress to carefully reconsider the unintended consequences of
this radical copyright proposal.

— Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Board of the Illustrators’
Partnership

So, what to do about this?  More from the Illustrators Parnership
website:

March 19, 2008

We expect a bill to be released after the Easter recess. Sources say it
will be introduced in the House and Senate simultaneously, and
fast-tracked for a vote in the House by mid-May. Advocates hope for
swift passage before the summer recess.

The decision to introduce such a radical bill so late in the session is
ominous. Because of fall elections, this will be a short Congressional
year. Any bill not passed by the end of Congress will have to
re-introduced in the next Congress. That means the bill’s sponsors must
know they have their ducks lined up.

So, I urge everyone to:

GET ON ORPHAN WORKS E-MAIL LIST

To be notified of the latest information on the Orphan Works bill and
when to contact your legislators, send an email to
[email protected] and ask to be added to the Orphan
Works list.  You can also visit the IPA Orphan Works Resource Page for
Artists for more information, because I didn’t even detail all the
disgusting facets of this shocking legislation:
http://www.illustratorspartnership.org/01_topics/article.php?searchterm=00185

Both House and Senate versions of the Orphan Works Act of 2008 can be
downloaded from the IPA homepage:

http://illustratorspartnership.org/

And… please act!

The fastest, easiest thing is to sign a petition here:
http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/no-to-orphan-works-act.html

Go to http://www.usa.gov/Contact/Elected.shtml to quickly find the phone
number, address and e-mail of every U.S. senator, U.S. representative,
and state legislator. In the meantime, please feel free to forward this
to all the artists you know.”

John Kerry Endorsement?

Well, I can’t say that he is ‘exactly endorsing me here, and he is certainly not saying “yo what a kick-ass snowboard graphic”. I think he is more saying “yeah, i know what’s I’m gonna do about the economy…”

Anyhow, a friend (thank you Mr. Databass) saved this for me a while back from the April 2004 issue of The Economist: a picture of John Kerry riding a Burton Supermodel with my graphic on it- the Prince of Swords. Which also means he riding a 6 year old snowboard. I’m honored. Here is a link to the original painting –

prince of swords

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