now look where Israeli-style foreign policy leads

July 3rd, 2004 § 0

From Stratfor, who last week in their foreign policy brief were counselling the wisdom of the occupation of Saudi Arabia by the United States – taking total control of Middle East oil, come further suggestions for domestic policy.

Protecting important sites remains difficult, even three years after the
Sept. 11 attacks. Consider the reaction when the Kentucky governor’s plane
flew into restricted airspace near the Capitol during preparations for
President Ronald Reagan’s funeral: Hundreds of congressmen were told to run
for their lives from the building. Though pundits later dismissed the
incident as an innocuous event, we are not convinced that officials would
have been able to stop the plane if it had been manned by suicide attackers.

On the ground, there also are difficulties. Police and federal agents in the
capital operate under peacetime, Constitution-sensitive rules of engagement.
Given the limitations placed on racial profiling, authorities cannot stop and
search a Middle Eastern male who is carrying a backpack merely on a hunch. In
light of these political realities and some of al Qaeda’s known past plots,
it is easy to envision attacks against the persons or motorcades of
high-level government officials — either American leaders or visiting
foreign dignitaries. The recent strikes against expatriate compounds in Saudi
Arabia — involving multiple assault vehicles, overwhelming firepower and
vehicle bombs — give some indication of militants’ capabilities in this
area.

One expects these kinds of measures – racial profiling, check-points – in Israel. By following a similar foreign policy it looks like the United States will soon be obliged to follow Israeli domestic policy.

All citizens are to travel with readiness kits.

Observation and Readiness: This point cannot be emphasized enough. Ensure you
are aware of your surroundings, have an escape plan in mind and take basic
precautions. For example, consider buying a smoke hood: They are inexpensive,
can be carried in a briefcase and can be quickly deployed. Some models also
can be carried aboard an aircraft. The hoods can be used in the event of a
fire or attack — whether in a subway, hotel or office building.

Also, carry a portable flashlight, small enough to fit into a pocket or
briefcase. If a strike occurs, lights and power will go down, creating panic.

Stratfor bills itself as Predictive, Insightful, Global Intelligence and is based in Washington, D.C. General tendencies – America-centric viewpoint, conservative, war-mongering. And these days, with reluctance I must add the epithet – mainstream.

When will this insanity stop? Perhaps 4 November 2004. Vote wisely. And vote! This election does matter.

major record labels world’s biggest pirates

July 3rd, 2004 § 1

Macbidouille, a superb French language Apple information site, has published the following letter from a record producer in France – after confirming the facts.

Apparently download royalties are for them and not for others.

I am the co-director of 5 titles on the next album of [a French artist] that is to be released in october. The artistic director has a contract with the le producer (the major) for arranging, orchestrating, and artistically direct and supervise an artist’s recordings for a determined amount of titles, as seen in the contract. According to the contrat, the client (the major) gives money to the producers as a fee on every CD sold. About that project, as paying online music dowload sites such as the iTMS had appeared, I dared asking [the major] how much I’d get for those titles from this album sold on such a site.

The enclosed mail answered quite frankly : NO FEE for me on donwloads. Which simply means [the major] will perceive the rights paid by Apple yet refuses to give any part of those to the artists, directors and other rights owners.Which is perfectly illegal. [Major] states that the contracts between us talk of a “support” such as a CD, cassette, vinyl etc., yet for downloads, there is no support, so no reason we are given anything.

Yet, [the major] is negociating with Apple about how much fee they’ll perceive on any download made of the works we’ve created for them. My opinion is, and many artists and directors agree, this is a widescale and more insidious piracy than any other.

I’ve been doing that job for over 40 years and as a mixer or a director I took part in over 40,000,000 sold disks, yet I do not even own my flat.)

Personally, I buy many records from independent artists these days but will do my best to avoid giving my money to major record labels as so little of the money goes to the artist.

Who’s the real pirate here – the major record labels.