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Answering all the big questions in life, with a special focus on "how do we make life better for everyone, everywhere?"
With corn-based ethanol we put food in our gas tanks; with pesticides sprayed on our corn we put petroleum in our stomachs. Ack basswards?
Bubonic Plague killed 75-100m of 450m people on the planet, Lady Gaga has just 25m followers – who fucking cares? http://ow.ly/9uI3m
“A fish rots from the head down” – only a fool would assume Murdoch’s properties aren’t all of them corrupt – http://ow.ly/9rnp7
More truthful writing on complete #Iran situation absent MSM willy-waving rhetoric and #propaganda http://ow.ly/9rhVb
Glenn Greenwald in this article describes so well (as always) the ongoing propaganda campaign against #Iran in the MSM http://j.mp/w5fz6Z
…people were charged with distributing … fake luxury goods…
The smuggled goods were … worth hundreds of millions of dollars
Wealthy people can rest assured tonight – fewer products they purchase are being sold to people who aren’t wealthy. This is a major societal problem according to the BBC who just reported on it. Thank goodness we pay taxes to investigate, pursue, arrest, prosecute, convict and house these horrible, horrible criminals.
There are people in the world who have actually manufactured products to look identical to more expensive products that wealthy people buy. Wealthy people buy these products so that we mere workers will look at those wealthy people and think, “that’s an important and valuable person, I’m so envious I want to be the gum on the pavement she walks on which sticks to her shoe because that’s all the closer I need to be to wealth to be happy and satisfied in life.”
Someone designed a product, and someone produced it, and when they produced it they stuck a label on it that says, “only wealthy people can afford me.” After this product was released an opportunistic person came along, saw the product and said, “I can create that same product, but cheaper.” This is called capitalism, it happens all the time. Someone comes along after a product is released and finds a cheaper way to produce the exact same product, providing the exact same functionality as the original product but at a cheaper cost. They produce it, take it to market and make heaps of money.
The way they do this is that they trim costs here in product design, they trim costs there in product development, they trim costs twice more in manufacturing, and in the end they end up with the exact same product, but produced and manufactured at a much lower cost. They take it to market at a reduced cost, steal market share (all legal), make loads of money and do it over and over and over again. The list of companies that have done this very thing and made fortunes doing so is longer than my arm. It’s called capitalism, and it’s the system with which we are stuck. We all know how the system works, and people envy companies that create these fortunes doing these exact same things.
For some reason, however, with luxury products, anyone who produces the exact same product in any way, either exact replicas, or replicas that have cut corners and trimmed costs to produce the same produce in every sense, we deem illegal. We deem it so illegal that we assign tasks forces to ensure that people who buy the original versions of these products don’t suddenly meet someone on the street with a replica version of the same product, someone that might not be as fashionable, not as wealthy, not as sophisticated, not as highly ranked in society, not as good; and think, “oh my god there is a low life person with the same handbag as me.” The most heinous thing about this whole issue is that unlike non-luxury brands, replicas of luxury brands (“knock offs”) don’t take any market share from luxury brand manufacturers, their crime is not stealing market share but merely selling to a market that isn’t exclusive.
What astounds me is that we pay people to pursue companies that copy styles and products and insist these officers arrest the people that manufacture and sell these replica products. This we do in a world where people are starving, this in a world where there is homelessness, this in a world where people are unemployed, we actually spend tax money paying people to go into society to eliminate a wealthy person’s problem. That problem that wealthy people declare exists is that they don’t want to spend obscene amounts of money on products that may be sold to those who are not members of their exclusive club (the wealthy person’s club). They are offended so much to see someone who isn’t wealthy with products they themselves have, that they insist that our society spends time, resource and money on ensuring that their purchases are only sold to people just like them.
Luxury goods that have luxury labels, which are always prominently displayed, are bought so the purchaser can feel superior to others, they are bought and displayed to let everyone know they are wealthy and you are not. Luxury brands are pretentious as are the people who buy and use them. Luxury brands provide no more function than the same product which has no expensive label. Luxury brands are ridiculous and obscene and offensive in this world, but thanks to the efforts of a crack force of officers, tonight wealthy people can rest assured that fewer people will be walking around displaying the same labels for which they paid exorbitant prices for a product they bought to show everyone how wealthy they are. Fuck them!
Republicans and the Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, have more in common than you’d think. Republicans in the US have launched an all out war on voters in various states (article here), making it more difficult to register to vote. It’s been shown that making it more difficult to vote disproportionately affects people who vote Democrat. Essentially, Republicans are eliminating those who vote against them. Iran on the other hand uses a different tactic with the same results. Rather than eliminating people who would vote opposition (as Republicans are doing by eliminating voters casting votes for Democrats), Iran encourages full voting among its electorate (saying it’s a religious responsibility like praying, article here) but eliminates the opposition through house arrest.
You see people like the author of this article caricatured in movies all the time, but you don’t really run across them in real life too often (save for politicians and people running for office). The author of this guardian article, Luke Coffey, is simply unbelievable. His article is an unrelenting barrage of aggressive posturing and a chastising of Obama for not doing more to assert military superiority regarding the Falklands/Malvinas dispute going on right now.
To Luke it appears there’s no conflict in existence that a little war won’t solve, or at the very least a lot of chest pounding. What a bunch of war mongering drivel.
What does Luke Coffey actually imagine would happen if Argentina “took the islands”? Does he think they’d kill all the inhabitants? Or would Argentinian soldiers merely urinate on all symbols with the Queen’s face, outlaw fish and chips and force the residents to eat empanadas?
What actually does he think would happen? Seriously, I want to know.
Would the Argentinian military take down all the English language road signs, and change the names of the streets to Spanish sounding words that he didn’t recognise?
Or, would they send in deep water drills and continue oil exploration and extraction? If that’s the case, then the article’s author omitted in his war mongering “the US must support the UK in every way *militarily* imaginable” diatribe the fact that oil was recently discovered there, and that’s what this is all about. Why in the hell would the UK spend so much money and military support for three thousand people 8,000 miles away? Why didn’t they support the Chagos Islanders in the same way?
Is he seriously saying that going to war over these little islands is worth spending all the effort, money and resource on a few islands with a few thousand people who are under no threat of harm? Is his desire to align with a certain symbol so blinding that he can’t see the utter absurdity of this attitude? Oh, we’re doomed, unless we can successfully muzzle people like Luke Coffey. I also blame the Guardian for giving him a voice, shame on you too.
“Five justices unanimously upheld the BBC’s decision not to release an internal review of the corporation’s broadcast coverage of the Middle East, rejecting a request from an applicant who has died since launching his case six years ago.” [From BBC wins supreme court victory over Middle East report publication | Politics | The Guardian]
Score one for the propagandists.
The decision by the supreme court in the UK effectively gave the BBC the right to take your money (TV licence payers) and report on stories with bias. That’s what this is about. The specific details of bias (or not) as described in the Balen Report (as it’s called) are irrelevant to what this ultimately means to you and I, license fee payers in the UK and viewers of BBC news.
There are two possibilities here: 1) the BBC did not report with bias, and 2) the BBC did report with bias.
If the BBC did not report with bias, that’s great, we expect the BBC to report without bias. So, my question is, why are they not releasing the report to the public? If there is no bias, they should be screaming from all the rooftops in the UK, “we are not biased in our reporting, which is our promise to you and what you expect from us, we are doing our job as we are supposed to do our job, and that is to report news in an unbiased manner to you the public.”
The other possibility is that the BBC did report with bias. If that is the case then common wisdom says the BBC has every reason to withhold what it discovered in this report. Regardless of which side benefited from this bias (Israel or Palestine in this specific example), the bias did occur and you and I as viewers of the BBC were propagandised.
Make no mistake about it, bias in reporting is propaganda. Biased reporting is deceitful by promoting one side’s version of reality over another. This deceitful type of reporting presents a lie as truth. That is the very definition of propaganda, biased reporting to manipulate viewers’ opinions toward a specific position.
In bias, I see two types. One type of bias is inherent in the reporters/editors/producers/directors of the news organisation. This type of bias is so subtle that people don’t even know they’re reporting with bias, an evil so insidious that they don’t realise they’re misleading the public in the news they report. I don’t believe this is what is happening at the BBC, I think they are much more intelligent than that and understand reporting and bias in news and when they are committing it.
The other type of bias is one of an intentional and manufactured nature. When PR agencies, lobbying groups and government are able to influence news reporting, that is propaganda and the viewer is the loser. The viewer assumes an unbiased reporting, or truth, in what is reportedly happening in the world. We assume that we are viewing this truth and there is not another side to the story of which we are unaware. News has this responsibility of reporting truth, yet it seems rare that major news organisations actually practice this.
Recently the New York Times asked its readers if they felt journalists should follow up on claims made by politicians in what they said to the journalist. The reaction of the readers was overwhelmingly one of shock and horror with comments such as, “isn’t that your job?” and “you mean you don’t do that already?” We expect news organisations to tell us the truth without any bias, and yet it seems we are the only ones who believe this, that media feels no obligation or duty to report without bias.
As for the Balen Report, there are two outcomes detailed in its pages and we can at this point, thanks to the supreme court’s stamp of approval over the BBC’s cover up of what is detailed in the report, only assume which of the two outcomes the report details.
If we give the BBC the benefit of the doubt and assume there is no bias in its reporting, then we carry on believing everything the BBC tells us is true, without question (or at least as much as you believed them previously). We believe what they report is what is actually happening in the world.
If we assume they are like the NY Times and don’t follow up on what they are told, we believe that governments don’t lie. We believe that PR agencies are honest when they make claims in press releases. We believe that lobbying groups have our own best interests in mind and are self-less in the issues they promote and lobby government regarding. Either those are all true, or the BBC is a truly great organisation that is the sole news outlet able to cut through all those lies from those various groups, investigate and properly follow-up on claims made (as even the NY Times admits it doesn’t do) and report not what these groups tell the BBC, but what is actually true.
That is the BBC we all believe we have, one that reports truth (where other media outlets do not). It’s certainly the BBC we all pay for as TV license fee payers.
Looking at it from the other side, if we assume there is indeed bias in reporting, we assume that we are being propagandised and that is a major problem. At the very least if we assume we don’t get unbiased news then as individuals we acknowledge this and take “with a grain of salt” everything that the BBC claims. It’s not perfect by any means, but if we remain as viewers skeptical, then we know that there is another side to what is being reported and we will either just disbelieve the BBC’s reports, or investigate further what is actually happening if we wish to be truly informed citizens.
If we are further outraged that the BBC is propagandising us, since we are being lied to by an organisation in which we put our trust, then we might demand that the BBC change its policies and demand they report truth without exception, that they must take steps to ensure we get both sides to a story, that their reporting is to be exclusively without bias, and that they call out organisations that don’t abide by these rules (e.g. PR agencies, lobbying groups, other media outlets and government itself).
An informed public is something we deserve the right to be.
Now, looking for a moment at those assumptions, let’s imagine each assumption is wrong and carry it to the logical conclusion. This is where things get really interesting.
Imagine that we were wrong when we assumed the BBC was reporting bias in its news, that we were not being propagandised by the BBC. There was no bias and truth is what they report. What is the cost of this error? Individually, we might have sought further information from less reputable news sources (still each of us retaining our own skepticism regarding news, regardless from whom we get it), the cost would be that we would be fully informed and we would find that the BBC indeed had reported truth. If we had demanded more and gone to the BBC to force them to change their rules and policies to reflect this incorrect position, they would have written rules and policies designed to ensure we were never propagandised again. That is the cost, we would be strengthening these rules designed to protect us and deliver truth to us. That is what it would cost if we were wrong about their reporting bias when there was none.
What if we were wrong in assuming there was no bias? What is the cost of that error? In that assumption we believed that they weren’t reporting bias and yet being wrong with that assumption means that they were lying to us all along in their reporting. They reported what we believed to be truth and we never sought further information or investigated further any story because there was no need, because we (wrongly) believed that they never reported bias. They never propagandised us, is what we incorrectly believed. We allowed them in our ignorance and naiveté to lie to us; we allowed them to pass on misinformation from PR agencies, lobbying groups and government without proper follow up or fact checking.
The cost of our wrongly assuming they never lie is that we never understand truth or reality as it actually exists. We happily (because we believed them to be honest brokers in this game) received all the information they served as delicious helpings of deceit, dishonesty and manipulation of our opinions and attitudes. That is the cost of being wrong by assuming they don’t report bias when in fact they do. That cost is astronomical. That cost makes you and I idiots and dupes in this game. Oh what a laugh they would have at our expense because we accepted their lies as truth.
The cost of being wrong in assuming there is propaganda is inconsequential and not actually harmful to anyone, however, the cost of the opposite where we believe they are reporting truth and accuracy when in reality they are not, is utterly devastating.
Do not believe they are reporting truth, do not believe that report describes them as an unbiased news organisation. Trust them not, and demand they demonstrate unbiased reporting in everything. The details in the report as to which side they are biased regarding is a distraction, do not get sucked into it – the issue here is that they ARE biased in their reporting and we will not allow this to continue.
Tell the BBC we demand truth and unbiased reporting in all its news, tell them here.
“Chapman University law professor John Eastman said conservatives had not given up on Kennedy.
“I know some people say Justice Kennedy will ask: Should we stop the progress now? I think Justice Kennedy will ask: Do we want to put a stake in the heart of an institution, marriage, that has done so much for society?” he said.”
Statements such as the one being opined by John Eastman where he declares marriage to have made so many contributions to society are accepted into society without comment. It’s almost unnecessary to make a statement like that because people believe it so perfectly that making it is akin to declaring the colour of the sky to be blue. Everyone knows the sky is blue, that’s a fact, and statements like, “marriage has contributed so much to society over time” are so ingrained in all of us that we dare not question it, that questioning it would be like arguing that the colour of the sky is indeed not blue. How ridiculous, right?
Here are some of my thoughts regarding marriage and its [implied positive] impact on society.
Marriage promotes a notion that everyone else in life is less important than the person to whom you are married.
We are all equal to each other, there is no one person more valuable than any other person in life. You are equal to me as I am equal to you. Your spouse is equal to me as I am equal to your spouse.
Marriage is a monogamous institution.
We are sexual beings, never were we supposed to deny ourselves pleasure in sex by limiting ourselves sexually to one person for our whole lives (or the duration of the marriage contract). We are sexual beings who derive pleasure from sex, and monogamy is a denial of and limiting of pleasure. Not only do you deny yourself pleasure of multiple partners in life, but by removing married individuals from the pool of people with which the rest of us can enjoy sex, you limit our joy in life too. We are sexual beings, and sexual interest in other doesn’t end when a ring is put on a person’s finger. Monogamy denies yourself pleasure and denies the rest of us potential pleasure too.
Marriage is about compromise.
Compromise is a code word for “muted joy and happiness.” How mediocre life is when you deny yourself joy and happiness because the relationship would suffer, or it is perceived the relationship would suffer. This relationship is a weak and controlling entity, which denies you personal individual joy and happiness in its name. You can describe it any way you wish, but compromise is just another way of wrapping a lovely bow around something that limits and kills individual joy and happiness.
Marriage is the superior state of being in life.
If I had a penny for every time I’d been told, “you’re such a catch, why are you still single?” I would be rich beyond belief. Seriously, do you understand how offensive you are when you say to someone, “why aren’t you married yet?” People who think this isn’t weird or offensive have been so brainwashed that they have redefined the most basic concept in life, individuality, and changed it to mean something it is not. Individuals are whole people, complete in their single-natured existence, not lacking in anything.
True happiness is reserved for married people.
When you tell me that I should be married I am offended because what you say to me is that you judge (as if you were god) that I am not as happy as I can and should be, that no matter what I judge of my own life, no matter how happy or joyful I know I am, that you have in your “infinite wisdom” decided that I am wrong, that I don’t know myself and that I will not understand true happiness until I am married. If you could only hear yourself when you utter these things you’d know how incredibly offensive you are. I am a happy and joyful person. You don’t get to judge me and my life and declare it lacking in happiness.
I am a whole person. I am a complete person. I lack nothing except the absence of a bunch of self-righteous offensive people telling me they know me better than I know myself.
The really sad thing about this notion that marriage is the penultimate is that there are some people you actually convince that you are right and they end up feeling that they are lacking in happiness, joy, completeness and wholeness in life without marriage. Essentially, you condemn these people to an existence I think sounds worse than the hell that religion tells me I will go to because of the way I live in happiness in life without marriage. Seriously, tell me which of us is the fucked up one?
You’re right, John Eastman, when you imply that marriage has done a lot for society, but I disagree with your implied position that it has been a force for good. In my opinion it has been one of the leading causes of unhappiness, despair, self-effacement, self-esteem destruction, delusions of superiority and a supreme muting of an individual’s joy and happiness in life. I’m certain that we’d all be happier and better off without marriage.
Even more than being better off without marriage, however, we’d all be much better off without those who wish to exclude people from this “superior state of being” for any variety of reasons. In the past it’s been because of race and today its because of sexual orientation.
For me, marriage is something into which I will never enter, my life is too complete and whole and happy without it, but what I find abhorrent is that you and other people would deny some people who want this for themselves from having it, a right you yourself already enjoy.
The most abhorrent people in life are the ones that promote this notion that marriage is superior then deny it of some who actually want it. In one act you simultaneously dangle this supreme state of being in front of people, judge them to be unworthy of it yet continue to dangle it in front of them, and ultimately deny them this joy. It’s an amazing act, one that even the devil would be proud of.
Marriage equality is about equality for all, and that’s the most important thing I can say about it.