Monthly Archives: February 2009

Intellectual Property and liberties

In a friend’s blog I see a critic of a statement by a representative of the Spanish Ministry of Culture: “Without intellectual property, there is no free thought”.

Well… this sentence is not untrue: Let us imagine a world without intellectual property. Anything created by an individual would be nobody’s, not even the individual’s own property. There is no recognition for that individual for all the work that led to the production of that idea, of that new thing. Without acknowledgement there is no incentive to put effort into anything, and without that effort there is no thought: not free, and not captive. There is nothing.

Part of the very nature of humans is to associate ideas with people who published them. Such association is natural and it is what we call today “intellectual property”. Intellectual property is necessary, for anyone who creates a piece of music, new scientific work, a book or any writing.

A different matter is the economic exploitation of intellectual property. In most cases, such exploitation is needed and justified.

However, was the Ministry of Culture making reference to the illegal tax imposed on people by the SGAE (Spanish association of authors) in collusion with the Spanish Government? (in Spain, recording media and machinery used for copying, like photocopiers or video recorders, are taxed with a imposed royalty collected by the SGAE). As i said: on the one hand there is intellectual property, and on the other its economic exploitation, which may be just (in most cases) or robbery (Spanish Government + SGAE).

My friend also translates the words of the Ministry into: “without private property, there is no free market“, in an attempt to scorn the Ministry’s words. However, this translation is absolutely correct and an important truth.

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Lies, from president Zapatero

The following is an excellent article by Juan Manuel de Prada (www.juanmanueldeprada.com), published in spanish newspaper ABC on February 2, 2009, after the spanish president, Rodriguez Zapatero appeared on a TV show where a live audience can ask him anything they like.


Don’t swallow that lie, Izaskun
JUAN MANUEL DE PRADA
Monday, Feb 2, 2009

Much has been said about the many lies that president Zapatero, as he often audaciously does, spewed during his appearance in the TV program “I’ve got a question for you”. But it’s a known fact that current times demand stone-faced small-time politicians, and president Zapatero, no doubt, shines above any of his competitors to satisfy such demand. Zapatero unashamedly said he hadn’t promised full employment for his current term in office, and also that he had not remained sitting before the United States flag during a military parade, despite graphic evidence to the contrary. But Zapatero acts correctly in constantly lying left and right, for he knows that nothing can better satisfy the Spain of ZP (translator’s note: “ZP” stands for “Zapatero President”, the socialist party’s slogan for the 2004 elections) than to be rocked to sleep with tales; the proof is at the end of the program, a survey conducted among the TV audience showed good results for the liar. Zapatero has understood better than anyone that politics is an idolatry; i.e., a sort of forging of religion; and if religious faith consists, as catechism teaches, in “believing that which we cannot see”, the idolatric faith consists in believing that what we see is false. Conscious about it, Zapatero can deny reality, confident that his idolatrous followers will not even blink; y he can be sure that his idolatrous followers will thank him, relieved, for lying to them. And, like Trojans did with Casandra, his relieved and thankful followers will shun anyone who dares unveil the harsh reality to them.

But the most cynic and sickening fib uttered by Zapatero in that TV program has not been condemned in public by the media. His most cynic and sickening fib was dedicated to Izaskun, that young woman with Down syndrome who, unwillingly, became the alibi of presidential slimy tenderness. Moments earlier, Zapatero had declared that abortion is “a woman’s right”, referring to “what the Constitutional Court has said”. The Constitutional Court in Spain has said exactly the opposite; but Zapatero knows very well that, whenever he needs to, he will effortlessly go back on his word, as we ride towards the conversion of the State into a criminal organization, where courts have no mission other than to legalize any outrageous crazy ideas of the supreme priest of the idolatry, as the Supreme Court just did with their sentence about conscientious objection.

So, after Zapatero defended abortion as “a woman’s right”, Izaskun naively asked why people with Down syndrome must face so many hurdles to find a job. Zapatero should have answered, strictly following his logic, that people with Down syndrome have no right to claim anything, not even “a right to exist”. It is estimated that between 85 and 95 per cent of children conceived with Down syndrome are sacrificed in the Spain of ZP (Zombies Pro-abortion) in their mother’s wombs; such percentage will only rise when abortion is considered “a woman’s right”, as the supreme priest of the idolatry says. When the TV program ended, the liar picked up Izaskun’s C.V. and cynically stated that her question had reminded him of the tasks for which “it is worth” being President of Government, a position that allows him to “take measures to change the lives of many people” who, otherwise, “would have no horizon”. Do not believe such sickening lies, Izaskun: Zapatero thinks you have no right to exist; the only vital horizon that he acknowledges for you is the limbo; and the measures he plans for changing the lives of people like you, with Down syndrome, consist basically in preventing them from being born. Do not let yourself be fooled by the idolatry, Izaskun, and tell him he can stuff the CV.

(translation into English by Pedro Soria-Rodriguez)

Fire

Australia has been hit by enormous wildfires, and not-so-wild ones too. Now authorities suspect some of those fires were actually arson. This seems to be a recurring theme everywhere in the world where supposedly wildfires break out. It’s the same story in the U.S., Greece, Spain and many other countries.

However, this time in Australia, I was very happy to hear the prime minister, Mr. Kevin Rudd, call things by their name. He has called the fires “mass murder”, and he is absolutely right, although he’s probably referring only to the human lives lost in the fires. His words are perfectly applicable to the murder of wild life in the scorched forests, both fauna and flora. Finally a government official (the top job, even!) has used the right name for this type of criminal activity.

Arson in Spain every year cause death to wild animals, cattle, plants, (and on occasion, humans). Sadly, no government official here has called it “mass murder”.

Of course, simply calling it “mass murder” does no good, but it’s the first step. Mr. Rudd announced they will prosecute arsonists, and that’s at least something, although the law is too lenient: A 20 or 30 year jail sentence is really a nice gift for the arsonists. What’s necessary is to apply serious measures on those criminals who set the fires, and to anyone who collaborated in any way. The proper sentence must be commensurate with the damage caused. Let us recapitulate: forests killed and massacred, wild animals burnt alive, cities scorched, humans assassinated, families’ homes destroyed. How to repay arsonists? Their reward must not be less than what they have given nature and society: They should be burnt alive, slowly, over a period of days. It is the minimum necessary sentence so they may understand the suffering they have caused for so many animals, plants, and to society.

But of course, judicial systems in our “civilized” world dare not introduce torture in their penal code, needed in exceptional cases like large-scale arson. Sentences considered by penal codes are laughable whenever societies are faced with people who show no remorse to cause great pain.

May this article help stir people’s minds to accept that at the very least, death penalty is needed in cases of extremely large crimes.

Encouraging drug use – or so it seems

The “Foundation for help against drug addiction” (“Fundación de Ayuda contra la Drogadicción”, or FAD in Spanish) puts out an advertisement campaign every so often in Spain to raise awareness about the problems that drug addiction can bring. At least that’s what they say.

Their latest campaign consists of images depicting cocaine and Ecstasy as attractive products, alongside very small (comparatively) messages that supposedly should make people realize that drugs are harmful. The messages state that cocaine will bring “60% more suffering for your couple per gram”, or claim that by consuming Ecstasy you “enter a daily draw for a car accident”. (see below)

First and foremost, advertisement (of drugs or anything else) is effective with attractive visual presentations, not thanks to textual messages. These FAD adverts against drug use do have a powerful image, which makes drugs attractive. The textual message that goes along is completely invalidated.

Secondly, the pretended irony in those messages is far too complicated for the target population (high risk potential drug users) to understand. The irony can even be regarded as “funny”, and thus the whole advertisement may look attractive, as an invitation to drug use.

Thirdly, the messages themselves are stupid. Cocaine consumption is sure to make your couple (but also your family, friends, and everyone else) experience an “increase in suffering” of far more than 60%. This message is bland, weak and moronic. The other message plays with appealing language (like “win a prize”) to say that you can win a car accident. Again a misleading message: if you’re on drugs and are driving, whatever happens is no accident: it has a clear cause and that’s your drug intake. Any injuries to life (yours or other people’s) are the result of drug use, and not of fate.

Why does the FAD put out such feeble campaigns? These adverts are almost counterproductive. One would think that they’re promoting drug use: The advert can be seen on bus stops across Madrid, and most of the time you only see the picture of the drug itself with its name in big letters. The simplistic messages supposedly condemning drug use are invisible, and thus all that remains is a big picture of drugs, as if promoting their use.

If they want to help society with an awareness campaign, the FAD should simply publish big banners stating the negative effects of drug use: heart disease, heart attacks, gastrointestinal complications, blurred vision, chest pain, fever, hallucinations, tremors, learning disabilities, depression, memory loss, or anxiety.

With their current campaign, the FAD seems to promote drug use. Ladies and gentlemen of the FAD: please remove this useless and pitiful campaign:

FAD Advert

FAD Advert

FAD Advert

FAD Advert

"Revolution" as an end in itself

This weekend (Jan 31, 2009) Madrid has seen at least two public demonstrations related to the 50th anniversary of the Cuban revolution: one on them in favor, the other against it. As usual, there’s people for everything.

All Cubans I’ve met, in the U.S. and Spain, are against Castro’s dictatorship, so I’ve never met an advocate of the “revolution” who could explain to me what’s good about it… but it seems its advocates speak of the revolution as an end in itself, not a means. They seem to imply that what is important is that a revolution took place, regardless of its outcomes.

However, a “revolution” is drastic change done for a purpose… but it’s not clear that the revolution 50 years ago in Cuba had any positive impact on its population. Those who defend the revolution only talk about it, not what it means for the people.

Good proof of it is the webpage “cubasolidaridad.org”, which advertised this weekend’s demonstration in favor of the revolution, is showing today a video about the demonstrations. In it, there’s nothing about the benefits of the revolution, but only messages with attacks against Esperanza Aguirre (president of the regional government of Madrid, and well known critic of the dictatorship in Cuba). Then… are they celebrating 50 years of their revolution? Clearly not. Most likely they know there’s not much to celebrate, but to hide the evidence there’s nothing better than attacking your opponents.