The report is another in a long chain of scathing indictments against the corrupt corporate state that has turned a mostly healthy populace into a sickly and obese society that has become disgustingly dependent on the pharmaceutical-psychiatric-medical machine that has long neglected unprofitable preventative care measures in favor of profitable standard medical protocols that address symptoms in the short term so as to make people patients for life.
You’ll note that Simon, in her study, points to her friend Marion Nestle, a writer and author and long-time antagonist of Big Food, and a dissector of all things food politics unless it indicts government as one of the culprits. Make no mistake – both Simon and Nestle are statists to the core. Neither of them have challenged how the Big Food corporate state became so omnipotent in the first place. The entire world of food politics in which they live, breathe, and swim is littered with the carcasses of government policy and dictocrat decrees. Still, they refuse to acknowledge the depth of the food politics for which they claim expertise, and they consistently maintain a position that their roles are to influence and change policy. Yes, policy = politics. They are self-declared politicians and they make a financial living off of politicking.
On page 23 of the report, Simon describes how the annual AND meeting was akin to a junk food industry showcase. Then she goes on to say the “positive” aspects of the annual meeting were the folks hawking “Meatless Mondays” and the American Cancer Society. The American Cancer Society is another corrupt satellite of the government-pharmaceutical-medical establishment, and its mother ship, Big Cancer, is another quasi-governmental machine that profits immensely off of keeping people sick and uninformed. Apparently, while carefully studying the AND’s long list of Big Food and pharmaceutical sponsors, Simon neglects to mention the similar sponsors of the American Cancer Society. Additionally, Meatless Monday is a statist concept with government-public health influence, and various local governments often try to ram this down the throat of their local constituency.
Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to send enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.
There are those struggling to change this. The Open Access Movement has fought valiantly to ensure that scientists do not sign their copyrights away but instead ensure their work is published on the Internet, under terms that allow anyone to access it. But even under the best scenarios, their work will only apply to things published in the future. Everything up until now will have been lost.
That is too high a price to pay. Forcing academics to pay money to read the work of their colleagues? Scanning entire libraries but only allowing the folks at Google to read them? Providing scientific articles to those at elite universities in the First World, but not to children in the Global South? It’s outrageous and unacceptable.
“I agree,” many say, “but what can we do? The companies hold the copyrights, they make enormous amounts of money by charging for access, and it’s perfectly legal — there’s nothing we can do to stop them.” But there is something we can, something that’s already being done: we can fight back.
Those with access to these resources — students, librarians, scientists — you have been given a privilege. You get to feed at this banquet of knowledge while the rest of the world is locked out. But you need not — indeed, morally, you cannot — keep this privilege for yourselves. You have a duty to share it with the world. And you have: trading passwords with colleagues, filling download requests for friends.
Meanwhile, those who have been locked out are not standing idly by. You have been sneaking through holes and climbing over fences, liberating the information locked up by the publishers and sharing them with your friends.
But all of this action goes on in the dark, hidden underground. It’s called stealing or piracy, as if sharing a wealth of knowledge were the moral equivalent of plundering a ship and murdering its crew. But sharing isn’t immoral — it’s a moral imperative. Only those blinded by greed would refuse to let a friend make a copy.
Large corporations, of course, are blinded by greed. The laws under which they operate require it — their shareholders would revolt at anything less. And the politicians they have bought off back them, passing laws giving them the exclusive power to decide who can make copies.
There is no justice in following unjust laws. It’s time to come into the light and, in the grand tradition of civil disobedience, declare our opposition to this private theft of public culture.
We need to take information, wherever it is stored, make our copies and share them with the world. We need to take stuff that’s out of copyright and add it to the archive. We need to buy secret databases and put them on the Web. We need to download scientific journals and upload them to file sharing networks. We need to fight for Guerilla Open Access.
With enough of us, around the world, we’ll not just send a strong message opposing the privatization of knowledge — we’ll make it a thing of the past. Will you join us?
July 2008, Eremo, Italy
Yes, for several reasons. What is fracking? The technical, or “correct” name for fracking is “hydraulic fracturing,” and it’s a method of obtaining gas. Here’s a few reasons why it’s bad.
To start with the process needs millions of gallons of water that could be put to better use. The water is transported to the fracking site and mixed with hundreds of chemicals, many of them poisonous. Then the mixture is sent down wells that have been made to reach down to shale rock formations until it creates enough pressure to fracture the rock, so that gas is released. The air can be polluted from methane, natural water supplies can be contaminated from the mixture used to create the fractures, and earthquakes can be caused from the fractured rock.
This is just a brief example of how bad this is. The other question is : why do we even need this way of obtaining energy? What about all the alternative methods for energy creation? That should probably be asked a lot more, because seeing as it’s now 2013 and several alternative options look like they’re worth pursuing, we seem to be stuck in some type of timewarp.
Why do we need to be so dependent on these insane methods? Oil, petrol and gas should be being phased out altogether, but instead we find that governments and corporations are just carrying on as normal. Well, why not try putting some real money into cleaner energies? Is it because the oil and gas barons have become so powerful that governments just get paid off to let things carry on as normal? How many patents and alternative options for energy have they bought up in order to keep things as they currently are? How much of the environment needs destroying until enough people take notice?
Going into alternative energies here will only draw away from the main point : fracking isn’t good, and it can cause a lot of damage to the environment that leads to things like contaminated drinking water, contaminated air, and unstable ground that’s prone to earthquakes. As a species, in the year 2013, if this is one of the best options we can come up with for a way of getting energy, maybe we should also start seriously thinking that Elvis is still alive and flying around the moon at night in a UFO. (yes, that sounds crazy, but that’s the point, because the first part of the sentence does too.)
A great animation that explains the fracking process and the problems involved is here : What goes in and out of hydraulic fracturing
If you want to look further into this, here’s some more links :