Blind Copyright

I have been meaning to post on this for quite a while.

There was a meeting recently in Geveva of the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) where there was a proposal to create a new treaty for blind (and other reading disabled) people to have cross-border access to digital books.

The main aim of the treaty is to allow the cross-border import and export of digital copies of books and other copyrighted works in formats that are accessible to persons who are blind, visually impaired, dyslexic or have other reading disabilities, using special devices that present text as refreshable braille, computer generated text to speech, or large type. These works, which are expensive to make, are typically created under national exceptions to copyright law that are specifically written to benefit persons with disabilities.

And who wanted to kill discussion of the treaty? The US and other countries in “Group B” – including Australia.

Last week Obama worked with PhRMA to kill a Medical R&D Treaty at the World Health Organization. This week he is trying to kill a treaty for blind and reading disabled persons. This is not encouraging.

Disgraceful. Disgusting. Awful.

Cheney of Heart, on some things

Amazing how once someone gets out of power they finally gain a conscience – well on some things anyway.

Dick Cheney yesterday appeared at a luncheon in Washington where he said that he supports gay marriage.

“I think people ought to be free to enter into any kind of union they wish, any kind of arrangement they wish. And I think that’s the way it ought to be handled today, that is, on a state-by-state basis. Different states will make different decisions. But I don’t have any problem with that. I think people ought to get a shot at that,”

Did he do anything to support this when he had a chance? I think not. In fact, wasn’t the Bush administration pushing for a change to the federal constitution to stop any gay marriages?

But if you read on in the article that he is still trying to defend the Bush administration’s stance on prisioners at Gitmo, and he still wants to link Iraq to nuclear weapons. Even though there was no program in Iraq.

(hat tip to Daphon for the original link)

Fox News – Fair and Balanced?

I picked up this story from Dailykos:

This is what Fox News said:

ALISYN CAMEROTA (Fox anchor): The White House is defending its nominee to be State Department Legal Adviser. Now, some of the criticism of this nominee, Harold Koh, is based on remarks that he reportedly made saying that Islamic Sharia law should apply in U.S. courts, even though those laws are used in some countries to justify stripping women of basic rights and even worse, frankly.

Here is what is the truth.

No, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke: Fox is seriously accusing the Obama administration of seeking to impose Islamic Sharia law in the United States.

Needless to say, the accusation totally false and just another example of the hate-filled insanity and paranoia of Foxaganda, America’s most-watched cable news network.

The story is based on an email that said that one of Obama’s State Dept appointees, Haraol Koh, supported the implementation of Sharia Law into the US. And Fox News, of course, does say that they were unable to reach the author of the email to verify it’s contents.  As the article says:

There’s no question about Fox’s agenda here: they are trying to fan the flames of hysterical anger against the Obama administration for their own partisan purposes.

Fair and Balanced, eh?

Flick Crit: W. – With God On His Side

Latest film review at Cinema Takes is W. – With God On His Side:

Unless you’ve been in coma for the last 8 years, it is impossible not to have an opinion about George W. Bush and his years as leader of the “free world”.

W. was a disappointment as a president. In many ways so is the movie W. Oliver Stone has presented the George W. Bush most of us know about. Drunk, wastrel, drifting from job to job, living in dad’s and brother Jeb’s shadows. Then AA, born again Christian, family man, successful Texas Rangers baseball team owner, Texas Governor and finally the ultimate office. His early life as the black sheep of the Bush clan transformed into a remarkably successful electoral career after becoming Governor of Texas in 1994. His actual achievements are more contentious.

I can’t bring myself to read the intimate details of W.’s White House or his family life so others can argue about the accuracy of his backstage life. Given Stone’s notorious tendency to make-believe, National Security Council meetings may not have finished with a prayer.

For more please click here.

The Global Financial Crisis is a Hoax.

In what will come as a bit of a surprise, to say the least, there is a growing voice originating from the USA, that, if evidence is anything to go by, can longer no be ignored – “The Global Financial crisis” has been nothing other than a media beat-up or an elaborate hoax.

In sharp contrast to the relentless doomsayers and economic pessimists, Successful US investor Jack Miller maintains that the global economy is on the brink of a major resurgence.

All world stock markets are raging. The US economic recession has been a severe blow to the world. Financial analysts say that the USA is the main reason behind all financial problems in the world. Many of them say that it is only the beginning of the crisis.

However, other specialists simply laugh at those who panic. They believe that there is no recession in the US and there cannot be any. Nevertheless, they see a positive side about the present panic: best shares in the world are now available at very low prices, which is an extremely low occasion.

Successful U.S. investor Jack Miller feels certain about it. He receives great profits from fluctuating markets and recalls US post-war history of the USA.

During the past 50 years the USA suffered eleven crises acknowledged as recessions. They were caused by significant factors, and their consequences were much more serious than the present ones.

The 1945 recession was caused by the end of World War II, from which the American industry profited openly. The war ended, and former soldiers turned into the unemployed. Later the American economy suffered from the Cold War (together with expectations of the nuclear apocalypse), the Korean and Vietnam Wars, which was disastrous for the USA.

The rising prices of oil created economic crises in the USA in 1973-1974, 1979-1980 and 1981-1982. The recessions in 1990-1991 and 2000-2001 were associated with the investment crisis, or in other words, with the unjustified hopes of investors.

Peculiar features of recession include the rising unemployment factor and the decline of production.

The previous crisis between the two centuries (which is considered a mild crisis) was characterized with the six-percent reduction of the industrial output. The current situation shows that the production in the past quarter increased by two percent, it did not drop at all.

Jack Miller also calls attention to the unemployment rate. A rise in unemployment by basis points (up to five percent) at the end of 2007 caused a drop in stock markets before the New Year holidays. However, everyone chose to forget that for the past 50 years the average unemployment rate equaled 5.6 percent, and during the crisis it fell up to 7.6 percent at the most.

This cannot be considered a recession, claims Jack Miller looking at the fundamental rates. The air traffic performance is rising, which the investor considers to be the major index of the economic and consumer activity.

Experts say that the expectance of falling consumer costs is the factor of the forthcoming recession. It resembles the statement that the general hankering for diets will urge the average American to lose ten kilograms, says Miller.

Personal incomes rise as jobs increase. We can hope for that due to the rising industrial production.

Miller associates the present fluctuations on the world stock markets with usual economic cycles. The overheated economy of China and oil-making countries is slowing down, which means we are about to experience another rising cycle. Jack Miller recommends buying cheap shares right now, because soon their prices will restore.

Actually, the USA seems to benefit from this recession that “never happened”. As we have already been assured, the fundamental economy indexes are going up. However, the Fed cut its rates down to 3.5 percent and caused unusual global approval. It may cut them down to 2-2.25 percent, thus giving American businesses and consumers very cheap credits.

Besides, such action will inevitably result in the weak dollar (now it remains in the pre-crisis against other currencies, and this makes the US currency required) and in great advantages for foreign exporters.

Already now the US export-oriented companies are counting new profits. Thanks to the cheap dollar, the US economy managed to first start reducing the foreign trade deficit. It should be mentioned that the USA could not redeem the credit balance of the foreign trade.

Everything leads us to believe that the USA will overcome this crisis, or recession whatever, and will become even stronger than a year ago. At least it looks set to suffer fewer losses than the rest of the world.

A thoughtful U.S. President for a change

Some Americans seem amazed that they have a President who appears to know what he’s talking about and is intelligent. Typical of the reactions this week were David Brooks and Mark Shields on PBS News Hour yesterday:

DAVID BROOKS: Well, I guess the first thing that comes across is that he does project an air of confidence, and not only confidence he projects — one does tend to have confidence in him when one hears him. And I certainly, just as a viewer, certainly had a sense, “Well, this guy is taking it seriously.” …

MARK SHIELDS: I thought — David’s right. He does project incredible reassurance. I mean, if you look at what he did this week, both on the budget and this, it’s a combination of boldness and sort of reflectiveness. I mean, you get a sense of — I mean, it really is a major, major change in the way the government will be run and what it will do, but it’s — there’s also — I’m just trying to think — thoughtfulness about him that is reassuring, especially as you listen to him in the interview with Jim.
Shields and Brooks Weigh Obama’s Troop, Budget Plans

After 8 year of George W. Bush, it’s a refreshing surprise for many.

Kevin Rennie

Change for Karzai

In only three says of his presidency BHO has ordered the shutting of Gitmo, has declared that the US will no longer torture, has overturned Bush’s banning of money going to international groups that use abortion as part of their work and has come out with a strong speech on Gaza and Israel. And it looks like the changes will continue.

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