Monday, October 06, 2008

Life During Wartime

Sometimes I feel a bit under siege. There is the ever present War On [specified evil] and "we the people" AKA The Government of The United States seem to be at "war" with a lot of stuff.

War on Drugs - great big success so far. Almost nobody takes drugs and the harsh penalties have essentially prevented any further "drug crimes" through deterrence. Yeah, right. More like billions of dollars wasted trying to prevent people from getting high. The prohibition drives up the street price of the illicit goods to the maximum that will be borne by the users, and almost all of that money is spent on other, more harmful illegal activities. Meanwhile, we have one in 100 citizens behind bars, and one in NINE are black men. About half of these people are non-violent offenders, many of them incarcerated for drugs. We spend about 55 BILLION dollars a year on prisons. Nice work. Think this will change any time soon? Me neither.

War on "piracy". It used to be the case that copyright lasted for 14 years, with one 14 year renewal. Period.
"To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" was the first stated purpose of U.S. copyright. The U.S. Constitution ratified in 1788 proposed to do that "by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." The first U.S. copyright law, passed in 1790, protected books, maps, and charts if they were created by residents or citizens of the United States. The term of their exclusive right was a mere 14 years, with the right of renewal for 14 more.
Now Big MEdia interests have perverted this into essentially PERMANENT OWNERSHIP rights (life of the original author plus 70 - 90 years) and have waged a years long war against their potential (and actual) customers to get them to PAY UP and pay restitution for their crimes of piracy and theft of property. Then they got lawmakers to take away rights from the public to unconstitutionally enrich private individuals. That's fucked up.

In my view, if it was created more than 28 years ago - it should be public domain. Period. Content creators, if they want to make a living, should continue to create valuable things and sell them under copyright. I certainly don't continue to get paid for work I did more than 28 years ago. Do you?

War on Terror
No end in sight for this one, thanks to Bush and Company's work. We'll continue to have invasive body and bag screening by low IQ TSA goons FOREVER as far as I can tell. It makes me ill how much effort is wasted and how much fear is generated by this one insane reaction. JUST LOCK THE DAMN COCKPIT like a timed safe. (Actually, I think it would be better if we were to place a bulkhead there instead of a door and make the cockpit accessible only from OUTSIDE the plane.) If some suicide bomber blows up a plane with explosives hidden in the bottle of the baby he is strolling aboard, that will be a huge tragedy but it will still be only a fraction of the 576 people killed that week in car crashes. Spend the rest of the money finding and killing actual terrorists in Pakistan and Afghanistan where they are hiding.

Don't even get me started on all the domestic surveillance crap. (We got computers, we're tapping phone lines, I know that that aint allowed.)


Unknown said...

Welcome to the grumpy old man club! Glad to have ya'

All the stuff you said ...couldn't agree more.

Jesslyn said...

LOL, you rock Boob.