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Please Post your Mind

The opposite for courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.
Jim Hightower

I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies.
-Thomas Jefferson

Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle. And so we must straighten our backs and work for our freedom. A man can't ride you unless your back is bent.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.

I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man.
Thomas Jefferson

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!

Samuel Adams


Video: How Reaganomics Destroyed The Middle Class :thumb335925827:


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Inequality Matters by Crazywulf
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Freedom of expression enables democracy to work and allows us to participate in decision-making. We cannot exercise our right to vote very well if we don't have free access to ideas or able to express our views freely. Violations of freedom of expression usually bring with it violations of freedom of association and freedom of assembly.

We must Question! We must Speak Out!!!


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Recent Journal Entries

23 May 2012  
From counterpoint .uk .com
counterpoint.uk.com/project-pu…

Far right populist parties’ tend to make frequent reference to ‘others’ or an ’out-group’ – usually in terms of either not belonging to ‘the nation’ or ‘the people’.  Most often, this is accompanied by a ‘fear of the other’, a xenophobic perspective on the socio-political environment.  This contributes to the creation of ‘us versus them’ social divisions. A variety of tools and tactics are used to increase these schisms, or cleavages, in society.

One rather understudied and underestimated tool for this is the creation or the use of conspiracy theories. In Counterpoint, Political Capital and partner’s joint project  we are studying these processes and trying to find ways of assessing their impact. A necessary first step is open up the important question: How do conspiracy theories work at an individual level? In other words, how do they appeal to people? In this article, Steven Van Hauwert suggests that cognitive shortcuts play an import role.

The role of cognitive shortcuts

By Steven Van Hauwaert

As human beings, we try to explain and analyse events or situations that can have a possible emotional effect on us.  In today’s world, perfect rationality (i.e. full information) is impossible, and neither can necessarily rely on academic or scientific information all the time.  Very often it is even difficult to describe the possible causal mechanisms that lie at the origins of such emotional effects.  Therefore, when something proves difficult to explain, people often resort to more speculative (and extreme) explanations in order to find closure and to provide their cognitions with a plausible justification.  In other words, it is in people’s nature to search for answers to the ‘why’ question, especially when it concerns the ‘ego’.

A conspiracy theory has the ability to provide enough rationale for a ‘comprehensive’ explanation, or at least a perceived ‘comprehensive’ explanation.  The key concept that makes this possible is the ‘attribution of responsibility’.  A conspiracy theory attributes responsibility for a certain occurrence or a sequence of occurrences to an external group. For instance, ‘the CIA’, ‘the Jews’ or the ‘Freemasons’. This creates a feeling of exclusion or insignificance on the part of those who looking to rationalise their emotional response to the occurrence.  Chiming with some versions of populist politics, a conspiracy theory thus creates an in-group (in this case the ‘hostile cabal’) and an out-group (in this case the ‘us or I’), which in turn reinforces the cognitive interpretation of the occurrence and turns it into a confirmation bias.

    A conspiracy theory attributes responsibility for a certain occurrence or a sequence of occurrences to an external group.

Cognitive psychology tells us that both the conscious and the unconscious psyche have a great impact on people’s perceptions and how they solve problems.  It is the psyche, more specifically, how we cognitively perceive society, which is used to explain occurrences. When an explanation is provided, or a theory is proposed, one of the principal questions we seek to answer is who benefits from the event or situation that disengages our emotional response (e.g. an assassination, a cover-up, a scandal, etc.).  Under the assumptions that full information is impossible and that cognitive shortcuts are often biased or normative, the creation of a conspiracy theory as a somewhat ‘rational’ explanation is often not far away.

Literature on the subject generally agrees that the majority of conspiracy theories are not correct (or are presently unfounded).  Historically, most conspiracy theories of the sort politically relevant here, have been disproven and evidence against them has been overwhelming.  Such findings result from the same basic psychological need to find answers to the W-questions of an occurrence that triggers possible emotional responses.  With the media development since the 1960s, the television since the 1980s and the social media revolution in the past decade, the possibilities to acquire and process information have increased exponentially.  The speed at which findings, and also theories, are being replaced or (at best) updated has never been at the level it is today.

The existing paradigms, their perception and their interpretation are constantly changing.  However, once a person’s mental state (i.e. beliefs, ideas, motivations, knowledge, values, norms, etc) has accepted conspiracy theory as a viable explanation, he or she becomes more susceptible to popular beliefs and further conspiracy theories, and cognitions will not be easily changed.  Existing anomalies in analytical reasoning or new and better cognitive shortcuts are often ignored or put (temporarily) aside until they become incontournable.  In other words, new and alternative analytical approaches that help explain events and occurrences previously believed to be explained by conspiracy theories often fail to settle in the psyche of people until their value has been widely acknowledged and proven.

Cognitive shortcuts have a primary function in how people’s cognition is shaped; they form the main barrier between human cognition and societal information.  Not only do they serve as a gatekeeper or a filter of information; they also contribute to how a person psychologically assesses the information made available to him or her.  Therefore, the value and the role of cognitive shortcuts should not be underestimated. Cognitive shortcuts are an important explanation for why, how and which conspiracy theories appeal to people.

Steven Van Hauwert is a researcher working, amongst other things, on preparing a literature review on conspiracy theory in France, as well as assisting in the execution of a survey on belief in conspiracy theory and interpretation of the results.

Further suggested reading

   Johnson, G., 1983. Architects of Fear: Conspiracy Theories of Paranoia in American Politics. Boston: Houghton: Mifflin.
   Tackett, T., 2000. Conspiracy Obsession in a Time of Revolution: French Elites and the Origins of the Terror, 1789-1792. American Historical Review, 105 (3), pp.691-713.
   Hofstadter, R.. 1964. The Paranoid Style in American Politics, and Other Essays. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
   Wood, G.S., 1982. Conspiracy and the Paranoid Style: Causality and Deceit in the Eighteenth Century. William and Mary Quarterly, 39 (3), pp.402-41.
   Keeley, B., 1999. Of Conspiracy Theories. Journal of Philosophy, 96 (3), pp.109-26

Research supported by the OPEN SOCIETY FOUNDATIONS
wiki en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyrigh…

Copyright Term Extension Act

The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States. Since the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier. Copyright protection for works published prior to January 1, 1978, was increased by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date.

This law, also known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, Sonny Bono Act, or (derisively) the Mickey Mouse Protection Act, effectively "froze" the advancement date of the public domain in the United States for works covered by the older fixed term copyright rules. Under this Act, additional works made in 1923 or afterwards that were still protected by copyright in 1998 will not enter the public domain until 2019 or afterward (depending on the date of the product) unless the owner of the copyright releases them into the public domain prior to that. Unlike copyright extension legislation in the European Union, the Sonny Bono Act did not revive copyrights that had already expired. The Act did extend the terms of protection set for works that were already copyrighted, and is retroactive in that sense. However, works created before January 1, 1978, but not published or registered for copyright until recently, are addressed in a special section (17 U.S.C. § 303) and may remain protected until the end of 2047. The Act became Pub.L. 105–298 on October 27, 1998.
Under the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, the signatory states are required to provide copyright protection for a minimum term of the life of the author plus fifty years, but they are permitted to provide for a longer term of protection. Following the 1993 Directive on harmonising the term of copyright protection, member states of the European Union implemented protection for a term of the author's life plus seventy years. The United States did not become a Berne signatory until 1988, but had previously provided for the minimum copyright term the convention required in the Copyright Act of 1976.

After the United States' accession to the Berne convention, a number of copyright owners successfully lobbied the U.S. Congress for another extension of the term of copyright, to provide for the same term of protection that exists in Europe. The act was named in memory of the late Congressman Sonny Bono, who died nine months before the act became law: he had previously been one of twelve sponsors of a similar bill.

House members sympathetic to restaurant and bar owners, who were upset over ASCAP and BMI licensing practices, almost derailed the Act. As a result, the bill was amended to include the Fairness in Music Licensing Act, which exempted smaller establishments from needing a public performance license to play music.

Both houses of the United States Congress passed the act as Public Law 105-298 with a voice vote.[4][5] President Bill Clinton signed the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998 on October 27, 1998

Senate Report 104-315

The Senate Report[7] gave the official reasons for passing copyright extension laws and was originally written in the context of the Copyright Term Extension Act of 1995, S. 483.

   The purpose of the bill is to ensure adequate copyright protection for American works in foreign nations and the continued economic benefits of a healthy surplus balance of trade in the exploitation of copyrighted works. The bill accomplishes these goals by extending the current U.S. copyright term for an additional 21 years. Such an extension will provide significant trade benefits by substantially harmonizing U.S. copyright law to that of the European Union while ensuring fair compensation for American creators who deserve to benefit fully from the exploitation of their works. Moreover, by stimulating the creation of new works and providing enhanced economic incentives to preserve existing works, such an extension will enhance the long-term volume, vitality and accessibility of the public domain.

The authors of the report believed that extending copyright protection would help the United States by providing more protection for their works in foreign countries and by giving more incentive to digitize and preserve works since there was an exclusive right in them. The report also included minority opinions by Herb Kohl and Hank Brown, who believed that the term extensions were a financial windfall to current owners of copyrighted material at the expense of the public's use of the material.
Support

The Walt Disney Company lobbied extensively on behalf of the Act, which delayed the entry into the public domain of the earliest Mickey Mouse movies, leading to the nickname "The Mickey Mouse Protection Act". In addition to Disney, California congresswoman Mary Bono (Sonny Bono's widow and Congressional successor), and the estate of composer George Gershwin supported the act. Mary Bono, speaking on the floor of the United States House of Representatives, said:

   Actually, Sonny wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever. I am informed by staff that such a change would violate the Constitution. ... As you know, there is also [then-MPAA president] Jack Valenti's proposal for term to last forever less one day. Perhaps the Committee may look at that next Congress.

Proponents of the Bono Act argue that it is necessary given that the life expectancy of humans has risen dramatically since Congress passed the original Copyright Act of 1790,[9] that a difference in copyright terms between the United States and Europe would negatively affect the international operations of the entertainment industry, and that some works would be created under a longer copyright that would never be created under the existing copyright. They also claim that copyrighted works are an important source of income to the US and that media such as VHS, DVD, Cable and Satellite have increased the value and commercial life of movies and television series.

Proponents contend that Congress has the power to pass whatever copyright term it wants because the language "To promote the progress of science and useful arts" in the United States Constitution is not a substantive limitation on the powers of Congress, leaving the sole restriction that copyrights must only last for "limited times." However, in what respect the granted time must be limited has never been determined, thus arguably even an absurdly long, yet finite, duration would still be a valid limited time according to the letter of the Constitution as long as Congress was ostensibly setting this limit to promote the progress of science and useful arts. This was one of the arguments that prevailed in the Eldred v. Ashcroft case, when the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the CTEA. It is also pointed out by proponents that the extension did not prevent all works from going in the public domain. They note that the 1976 Copyright Act established that unpublished works created before 1978 would still begin entering the public domain January 1, 2003 (Known author: life of the author plus 70 years; anonymous/pseudoanonymous/unknown author/works-for-hire: 120 years from creation), and that the provision remained unaffected by the 1998 extension. They also claim that Congress has actually increased the scope of the public domain since, for the first time, unpublished works will enter the public domain.

Proponents believe that copyright encourages progress in the arts. With an extension of copyright, future artists have to create something original, rather than reuse old work, however, had the act been in place in the 1960s, it is unlikely that Andy Warhol would have been able to sell or even exhibit any of his work, since it all incorporated previously copyrighted material. Proponents contend that it is more important to encourage all creators to make new works instead of just copyright holders.

Proponents say that copyright better preserves intellectual property like movies, music and television shows.[11][12] One example given is the case of the classic film It's a Wonderful Life. Before Republic Pictures and Spelling Entertainment (who owned the motion picture rights to the short story and the music even after the film itself became public domain) began to assert their rights to the film, various local TV stations and cable networks broadcast the film endlessly. As New York Times reporter Bill Carter put it: "the film's currency was being devalued."

Many different versions of the film were made and most if not all were in horrible condition.After underlying rights to the film were enforced, it was given a high quality restoration that was hailed by critics. In addition, proponents note that once a work falls into the public domain there is no guarantee that the work will be more widely available or cheaper. Suggesting that quality copies of public domain works are not widely available, they argue that one reason for a lack of availability may be due to publishers' reluctance to publish a work that is in the public domain for fear that they will not be able to recoup their investment or earn enough profit.

Proponents reject the idea that only works in the public domain can provide artistic inspiration. They note that opponents fail to take into account that copyright applies only to expressions of ideas and not the ideas themselves. Thus artists are free to get ideas from copyrighted works as long as they don't infringe. Borrowing ideas and such are common in film, TV and music even with copyrighted works (see Scènes à faire, Idea-expression divide and stock character). Works such as parody benefit from fair use.

Proponents also question the idea that extended copyright is "corporate welfare." They state that many opponents also have a stake in the case, claiming that those arguing against copyright term extension are mostly businesses that depend on distributing films and videos that have lost their copyright.
Opposition

Dennis S. Karjala, a law professor, led an effort to try to prevent the CTEA from being passed. He testified before the Committees on the Judiciary arguing "that extending the term of copyright protection would impose substantial costs on the United States general public without supplying any public benefit. The extension bills represent a fundamental departure from the United States philosophy that intellectual property legislation serve a public purpose."[15] An Editorial in The New York Times argued against the copyright extension on February 21, 1998. The article stated "When Senator Hatch laments that George Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue will soon 'fall into the public domain,' he makes the public domain sound like a dark abyss where songs go, never to be heard again. In fact, when a work enters the public domain it means the public can afford to use it freely, to give it new currency."[16]

Opponents of the Bono Act consider the legislation to be corporate welfare and have tried (but failed) to have it declared unconstitutional, claiming that such an act is not "necessary and proper" to accomplishing the Constitution's stated purpose of "promot[ing] the progress of science and useful arts".[17] They argue that most works bring most of the profits during the first few years and are pushed off the market by the publishers thereafter. Thus there is little economic incentive in extending the terms of copyrights except for the few owners of franchises that are wildly successful, such as Disney. They also point out that the Tenth Amendment can be construed as placing limits on the powers that Congress can gain from a treaty. More directly, they see two successive terms of approximately 20 years each (the Copyright Act of 1976 and the Bono Act) as the beginning of a "slippery slope" toward a perpetual copyright term that nullifies the intended effect and violates the spirit of the "for limited times" language of the United States Constitution, Article I, section 8, clause 8.[18]

They question the proponents' life expectancy argument, making the comparison between the growth of copyright terms and the term of patents in relation to the growth of life expectancies. Life expectancies have risen from about 35 years in 1800 [19] to 77.6 years in 2002.[20] Considering the increase in life expectancies during that period of time was a bit more than double but the copyright terms have increased threefold from only 28 years total (under the Copyright Act of 1790) presents an apparent discrepancy. While copyright terms have increased significantly since the 1790 act, terms of patents have not been extended in parallel; patents adequately reward investment in the field with their mere 20-year term.[21] Moreover, life expectancy statistics are skewed due to historically high infant mortality rates. Correcting for infant mortality, life expectancy has only increased by fifteen years between 1850 and 2000.[22]

Opponents also argue that the Act encourages "offshore production." For example, derivative works could be created outside the United States in areas where copyright would have expired, such works advancing science or the useful arts, and that US law would prohibit these works to US residents. For example, a movie of Mickey Mouse playing with a computer could be legally created in Russia and children worldwide could possibly benefit from watching it, but the movie would be refused admission for importation by US Customs because of copyright, resulting in a deprivation to American children. Similarly, the first Winnie-the-Pooh book was published in 1926 and would have been public domain in 2001.

Opponents identify another possible harm from copyright extension: loss of productive value of private collections of copyrighted works. A person who collected copyrighted works that would soon "go out of copyright," intending to re-release them on copyright expiration, lost the use of his capital expenditures for an additional 20 years when the Bono Act passed. This is part of the underlying argument in Eldred v. Ashcroft. The Bono Act is thus perceived to add an instability to commerce and investment, areas which have a better legal theoretical basis than intellectual property, whose theory is of quite recent development and is often criticized as being a corporate chimera. Conceivably, if one had made such an investment and then produced a derivative work (or perhaps even re-released the work in ipse), he could counter a suit made by the copyright holder by declaring that Congress had unconstitutionally made, ex post facto, a restriction on the previously unrestricted.

Opponents also question the proponents' "new works would not be created" argument: the hidden presumption that the goal is to make the creation of new works possible. However, the authors of the United States Constitution evidently thought that unnecessary, instead restricting the goal of copyright to merely "promot[ing] the progress of science and useful arts". In fact, some works created under time-limited copyright would not be created under perpetual copyright because the creator of a distantly derivative work does not have the money and resources to find the owner of copyright in the original work and purchase a license, or the individual or privately held owner of copyright in the original work might refuse to license a use at any price (though a refusal to license may trigger a fair use safety valve). Thus they argue that a rich, continually replenished, public domain is necessary for continued artistic creation.
March 25th, 1998 House Debate

The House debated the Copyright Term Extension Act (House Resolution 390) on March 25, 1998. The term extension was almost completely supported, with only the mild criticism by Jim Sensenbrenner (Wisconsin) of "H.R. 2589 provides a very generous windfall to the entertainment industry by extending the term of copyright for an additional 20 years." He suggested that it could be balanced by adding provisions from the Fairness in Music Licensing Act (H.R. 789). Lloyd Doggett (Texas) called the 'Fairness in Music Licensing Act' the 'Music Theft Act' and claimed that it was a mechanism to "steal the intellectual property of thousands of small businesspeople who are song writers in this land." The majority of subsequent debate was over Sensenbrenner's House Amendment 53 to the CTEA. This amendment was over details of allowing music from radio and television broadcasts in small businesses to be played without licensing fees. An amendment to Sensenbrenner's amendment was proposed by Bill McCollum,. The key differences between Sensenbrenner's proposal and McCollum's amendment were 1) local arbitration versus court lawsuits in rate disagreements, 2) all retail businesses versus only restaurants and bars, 3) 3500 square feet of general public area versus 3,500 square feet (330 m2) of gross area, 4) which music licensing societies it applied to (all versus ASCAP and BMI), and 5) freedom from vicarious liability for landlords and others leasing space versus no such provision. After debate (and the first verse of American Pie) the McCollum Amendment was rejected in by 259 to 150 and the Sensenbrenner amendment was passed by 297 to 112. The Copyright Term Extension Act H.R. 2589 was passed.

The term extension was supported for two key reasons. First, "copyright industries give us [(the United States)] one of our most significant trade surpluses." Second, the recently enacted legislation in the European Union had extended copyright there for 20 years, and so EU works would be protected for 20 years longer than US works if the US did not enact similar term extensions. Howard Coble also stated that it was good for consumers since "When works are protected by copyright, they attract investors who can exploit the work for profit."[37] The term extension portion was supported by Songwriters Guild of America, National Academy of Songwriters, the Motion Picture Association of America, the Intellectual Property Law Section of the American Bar Association, the Recording Industry Association of America, National Music Publishers Association, the Information Technology Association of America and others.
Challenges

Publishers and librarians, among others, brought a lawsuit, Eldred v. Ashcroft, to obtain an injunction on enforcement of the act. Oral arguments were heard by the U.S. Supreme Court on October 9, 2002. On January 15, 2003 the court held the CTEA constitutional by a 7–2 decision.

In 2003 the plaintiffs in the Eldred case began to shift their effort toward the U.S. Congress in support of a bill called the Public Domain Enhancement Act that would make the provisions of the Bono Act apply only to copyrights that had been registered with the Library of Congress.
More Journal Entries

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:icondezz101:
Dezz101 Featured By Owner Apr 9, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Thank you for accepting my anarchy lighter.  It's much appreciated.  I shall endeavour to submit more and better stuff in the future.  Thanks again
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
We love yer stuff.  Keep 'em coming.
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:icondezz101:
Dezz101 Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2014  Hobbyist Artisan Crafter
Any requests? I need the practice
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:iconpoasterchild:
poasterchild Featured By Owner Apr 11, 2014  Hobbyist Artist
Bankers.  I haven't seen a good original banker poster in a while.  :)
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(1 Reply)
:iconigorbird122:
IgorBird122 Featured By Owner Aug 28, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
Has anyone gotten a weird thing that the U.S. agencies have blocked your computer?
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:iconphant0mqueen:
Phant0mQueen Featured By Owner Jul 4, 2013  Hobbyist
Another petition, though a different person. I'm trying to get people to sign something telling congress to restore the Voting Rights Act [link], if you don't have an account with We The People (White House Petitions) it's really easy to make one. Please consider putting in the time to help those of us effected by the act being struck down.
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:iconniru-kun:
Niru-kun Featured By Owner May 27, 2013  Student Traditional Artist
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:iconapocapus:
Apocapus Featured By Owner Apr 10, 2013
Hi, I need help.

This petition will fail if we don't get more people signing it.

This is the petition to force congress to wear sponsored patches so that everyone can see who their donors are.

[link]
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:iconnakt-hag:
NAKT-HAG Featured By Owner Feb 25, 2013  Professional General Artist
Many thanks for acceptance into the group!
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:icontyler9862:
tyler9862 Featured By Owner Dec 15, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I'm sick of being nice:

:iconpoasterchild: is an awful trolling individual who does not stand for occupy at all. He uses it as a disguise to pass his art through that really isn't art at all. I'm sick of it.
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