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US Gov. Releases Six Pages On Secret ACTA Pact

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the one-thousand-two-hundred-ninety-four-to-go dept.

Censorship 86

narramissic writes "Change is afoot at the Office of the US Trade Representative. New details have been released about an anti-counterfeiting trade agreement that has been discussed in secret among the US, Japan, the European Union and other countries since 2006. Although the six-page summary (PDF) provides little in the way of specific detail about the current state of negotiations, the release represents a change in policy at the USTR, which had argued in the past that information on the trade pact was 'properly classified in the interest of national security.'" Michael Geist has a timeline that puts together more details about the ACTA negotiations than any government has so far been willing to reveal.

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86 comments

Open Source (0, Offtopic)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497113)

Wins again.

Flame away.

Re:Open Source (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497141)

Are you sure you have the right topic? 6 pages of bland platitudes concerning an OMG Super Secret multinational copyright and worse treaty, released after months of hammering by everybody who isn't a current member in good standing of the evil plutocrat's club seems like the saddest victory for open source ever.

Not to mention, it has nothing to do with open source.

Re:Open Source (1)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497159)

Are you sure you RTFA?

Fixed that for you.

Government secrecy is government corruption. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27497349)

Secrecy means they don't want you to know what they are doing, and that they don't want you to have any control. They think THEY know best.

Therefore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27498223)

So, open source the government. [metagovernment.org]

Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27497129)

Counterfeit press ever [federalreserve.gov]

Re:Best (4, Insightful)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497263)

Please do not use the Subject line to start a sentence that you finish in the Body field.

"Counterfeit press ever" isn't even a sentence fragment; it's nonsense.

It's also an anagram for Cuts Veneer Profiteers, (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497363)

but that's pure nonsense as well.

Do you know what Dance Pit is an anagram for?

Re:It's also an anagram for Cuts Veneer Profiteers (1)

TheStonepedo (885845) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497431)

>> Do you know what Dance Pit is an anagram for?
Please gather your personal items then turn in your pedant badge and sidearm.
True pedants do not end questions with prepositions.

Re:It's also an anagram for Cuts Veneer Profiteers (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497485)

Ah my friend. But it depends on the referred to. [quickanddirtytips.com]

Re:It's also an anagram for Cuts Veneer Profiteers (1)

Chyeld (713439) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497529)

Dear lord, my links keep eating up parts of my sentences.

Ah my friend. But it depends on the authority referred to. [quickanddirtytips.com]

Re:Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27497613)

At least he didn't use one-word sentences, as in: Best. Counterfeit. Press. Ever.

Re:Best (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497625)

I'd even forgive that though, as it's a Simpsons reference.

Re:Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27498665)

Interesting, I learn something new every day. I thought it was a reference to that handicapped kid on Malcolm in the Middle with the portable iron lung (or whatever it is called these days), who (especially when he wanted to annoy) spoke one word per breath, often adding an unexpected or emphasis word (like "ever") after you'd think he was done.

Re:Best (1)

Chabo (880571) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499345)

Hell, it may be a reference to that, but I always took it as a reference to Comic Book Guy: "Worst. Episode. Ever.", and such.

My Optimistic Theory (5, Interesting)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497251)

My best case, optimistic theory is that the bureaucrat handling this paperwork classified it because they classify everything and think that is both acceptable and desirable to the people in charge. Then, There was a FOIA request and Obama ordered the executive branch to release everything unless they could document a real security reason to keep it classified. The people working on this, however, either did not pay attention to that order or did not take it seriously. Then, they started to hear murmuring about their actions on "the intarwebs" in relation to said executive order or at least someone noticed the discussion and made them aware. Now, they're in damage control mode and trying to cover their ass. They don't want to release the agreement itself because it might piss someone off, but they also don't want to do nothing because as an old school Republican appointee, appearing to ignore an executive order while also pissing off select members of the public sets them up for a dismissal and as a convenient scapegoat if the issue ever becomes more mainstream. They now fear for their job at the hands of of the negotiators and at the hands of the new Obama appointees. So they take this middle ground and (hopefully) try to pass the buck up the chain of command, where the real policy makers will make a decision.

Re:My Optimistic Theory (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497857)

My best case, optimistic theory is that the bureaucrat handling this paperwork classified it because they classify everything and think that is both acceptable and desirable to the people in charge.
...
So they take this middle ground and (hopefully) try to pass the buck up the chain of command, where the real policy makers will make a decision.

Wrong.
Everyone has been keeping ACTA a secret.

A large number of countries were negotiating ACTA in complete secrecy for 7 months before a policy paper got uploaded to wikileaks last year. Since that leak 11 months ago, every single country party to the negotiations has released... absolutely nothing about ACTA.

The most likely scenario is that the various politicians and industry lobbies are doing what they can to get their domestically impossible wish lists put into a treaty and have it all agreed upon before the public interest groups can get a chance to protest.

When you can't get a shitty law passed at home, get it passed in a treaty.

Public interest groups will get their shot (1)

snowwrestler (896305) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502835)

Treaties must be approved by the Congress before they take the force of law within the United States, which presents ample opportunity for public interest groups to weigh in. See for the example the Colombia free trade agreement, which is stalled over union opposition.

The problem for opponents of ACTA is that the type of people who oppose it tend to be independent folks who dislike mass organizing and lobbying, which makes it hard to track and affect pieces of legislation. Business groups on the other hand are highly pragmatic and will do whatever they need to to succeed, including coalition-building, mass organizing, and lobbying. And they fund their efforts.

Folks, you can't have your cake and eat it too...if you want to be effective at shaping or killing legislation you have to embrace and get good at lobbying. You get no points for principled withdrawal. Look to the environmentalists for instance, who have been able to keep drills out of ANWR for years despite strong business support for it and a Republican Congress. They organize and they fund their interest groups--do you?

Re:Public interest groups will get their shot (1)

Thinboy00 (1190815) | more than 5 years ago | (#27507981)

What about the EFF? They lobby (and so does the ACLU).

Re:My Optimistic Theory (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 5 years ago | (#27506427)

We regret to inform you Miss Polyanna, but the Obama administration is a far more willing handmaiden to the MAFIAA than the Bushies.

Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497275)

The Declaration of Independence [ushistory.org] warned us about this. Specifically:

He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people and eat out their substance.

He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:

You should read the rest of the document too, you might be startled to realize just how many of the reasons our country separated from its original government (the british) are presently true and in force. Frankly, secret treaties, secret courts, secret laws, and everything behind the veil of National Security... has now descended to matters as trivial as copyright. I think it's time to reconsider our perogative as Americans.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27497525)

Ah yes The Declaration of Independence, a document written by a bunch of rich white landowners who didn't want to pay their taxes. Oh and some of them were smugglers and pirates. I guess it all makes sense now.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27497725)

They paid taxes (eventually) afterward. It was the whole "representation" thing they got hung up over.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27497799)

No they got the poor [wikipedia.org] to pay off their debts.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27497575)

Before we get all crazy about why we declared independence and war against a perfectly friendly country and read some overly complex declaration why don't we actually read and worry about our bill of rights. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights [wikipedia.org] .

A very simple list and somehow we can't get past the first two items on it which from what I can tell are the only ones left on the list not taking it up the ass.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (2, Informative)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497797)

Before we get all crazy about why we declared independence and war against a perfectly friendly country and read some overly complex declaration why don't we actually read and worry about our bill of rights. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States_Bill_of_Rights [wikipedia.org] .

A very simple list and somehow we can't get past the first two items on it which from what I can tell are the only ones left on the list not taking it up the ass.

I'm not sure, I'm pretty sure Amendment 3 is still going strong. I've never been forced to quarter troops, in time of war or otherwise. Indeed, The government would simply buy out an apartment complex if they needed to station troops in real housing someplace in the country. I've also heard little complaint about violations of the Seventh Amendment. If you demand a jury trial, and have any questions of fact in dispute, and have brought the lawsuit to a real court, (not a small claims court), you will get a jury trial. (Small claims courts often blatantly ignore the relevant law, attempting only to rule based on equity. If your suit was for more than 20 dollars, and you want a jury trial, then just don't take it to a small claims court. If the larger court claims the amount in question is too small, then sue for more.)

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

msouth (10321) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499795)

I'm not sure, I'm pretty sure Amendment 3 is still going strong. I've never been forced to quarter troops, in time of war or otherwise.

So the money they take out of your paycheck to house our standing army is a voluntary contribution then? :)

(To be serious, I think war has changed a lot since the 1700s, when a lot, maybe the majority, at least of rural people, had "assault rifles" in their homes. That is to say, they had pretty much state-of-the-art weaponry, and an invading army was not going to be all that better equipped, except possibly with cannon or whatever.

But a lot has changed now. I'm not sure how you would be able to defend your country from invasion by countries with modern warplanes if you don't have them yourselves, and that's a lot for a militia-of-regular-folks to have stored in the garage or out on the back part of the ranch. It would be interesting to know what a defensive force and an efficiently run R&D would actually cost in terms of %gdp or %avg paycheck.)

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499923)

So the money they take out of your paycheck to house our standing army is a voluntary contribution then? :)

I get the impression that Britain's army was a standing one. Paid by the king. Where did the king get his money from?

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

Protoslo (752870) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502921)

Troops were only quartered in foreign countries in which British troops were fighting wars or police actions. They were rarely quartered in Britain itself (save Ireland, anyway, that hotbed of rebellion), because they never had to fight a land war in Britain, much like American troops were not quartered in American houses, except...during the War of 1812 and the Civil War, during which troops were, in fact, quartered in American houses. Particularly during the Civil War, troops were quartered in southern homes, and some northern homes, without any provision by Congress. Oh.

I will agree that the right to bring torts before a jury has largely not been infringed, however. This pdf [gpoaccess.gov] that I found details some of the (largely unsuccessful) challenges based on it, mostly involving the limit of the power of a judge to vacate or direct a jury verdict, a power which existed at the time of the passage of the Seventh Amendment.

If you want to test the power of the Seventh Amendment today, you could always start a substantial rebellion in your state of residence, and see what happens. I'm sure we will all be interested in the result. Really, though, two out of ten amendments have remained largely uninfringed, and you think that is a great record? The Third Amendment requires pretty extraordinary circumstances to violate, and the government has no interest in violating the seventh amendment. Instead of forcing a bench trial, the Congress or the courts just find that you can't sue the government at all in various cases (Cough! AT&T! Cough! NSA!)--constitutional crisis avoided, apparently.

The GP does appear to be rather unhinged. He may be reading the Bill of Rights, but apparently he isn't reading the news. There have certainly been plenty of supreme court cases dealing with violations of the first and second amendments in the past decade, even: perhaps a certain recent landmark Washington D.C. case should be foremost in your mind. And as for the first, please advert to COPA and its ilk--the Congress keeps on trying--or to state laws establishing mandatory video game ratings/controls, for that matter. Finally, in the spirit of the GP's anal imagery, I will leave you with with this metaphor: thank goodness! I have made it through my sentence in federal PMITA prison, and only 80% of my orifices (including all the important ones, admittedly) have been regularly forcibly violated! But my left ear goes on, unblemished!

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

konigstein (966024) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497639)

Wow. Every time I read that document, I get chills.

VIVA LE REVOLUCION!

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27497645)

That, and the Boston Tea Party was over taxes that are LESS than what we face now.

Frog.
Kettle of water.
Slowly apply heat.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27498363)

You're also receiving better, and more government services than you were during Ye Olden times. Unless you wish to go back to the times before paved roads, public education for all(1), strong diversified defence(2), quality healthcare(3), decent civil protection(4), and all the other stuff you take for granted, learn to deal with the amount of tax you pay. Besides, the Boston Tea Party was an outcry against the level of taxation in proportion to the quality/quantity of service - ie, paying for nothing. The level of bureaucracy nowadays might be high, but it's not THAT bad.
 

(1) Not that the current education system is anything to write home about
(2) ie. Not just farmers with guns
(3) Yes, tax dollars do contribute a huge amount to healthcare - even more per capita than some public healthcare countries.
(4) Again, the current state of the police force isn't anything to write home about, but it's far better than what they had 'back in the day'.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (3, Interesting)

HiThere (15173) | more than 5 years ago | (#27500361)

I beg to dispute point 3:
3) Yes, tax dollars do contribute a huge amount to healthcare - even more per capita than some public healthcare countries.

Yes, as stated it's correct. Unfortunately you are measuring dollars spent rather than services provided. A very large part of the health-care budget is siphoned off by insurance company bureaucracies. Another large part is spent on research into drugs known to be useless in advance. (Well, not totally useless...their point is to maintain patent coverage over drugs that would soon be slipping out of patent coverage.) And, of course, the bureaucracy to manage such activities. And lobbyists.

I'm sure that there are other features of the current system that I haven't mentioned that are equally wasteful. E.g., I don't know how much is spent promoting drugs known to be actually useless, or even harmful...i.e., known by those who conducted the research that was suppressed by the corporation funding the research. Occasionally such stories break into media coverage, but if one considers HOW such stories become known, it's very clear that what we hear about is less than the tip of the iceberg.

I'll agree that tax dollars SHOULD promote the health of the citizenry. This isn't how dollars spent in the health field are used, however...except possibly 1/3 of them. And I'm including reasonable overhead for administrators of doctors and hospitals as being spent on health. The US not only spends very little on the health of the citizenry, what it spends it spends incredibly inefficiently. Research needs to be separated from manufacturing, and no manufacturer should have a monopoly on any drug. That's just a starting point, but it's an essential change. Exclusive licenses to sell drugs should be forbidden. Which means that the company that manufactures and sells the drugs must be separated from the company that does the development. Even that doesn't suffice. Negative results are as important as positive results, and MUST be published. The groups that verify a drug as safe and effective must not have a financial stake in selling the drug. (I'm sure you can see why.) Etc.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 5 years ago | (#27511601)

where public money is concerned you are probably correct, I don't see at all how you can dictate such rules to pharmaceuticals that use private cash for R&D.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (2, Insightful)

Quothz (683368) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498693)

Frog. Kettle of water. Slowly apply heat.

That doesn't actually work.

...uh, I hear.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27498879)

yes, it does. having been really stoned one night some years back, a mean kid down the street said "watch this". I watched, it worked. Now I am scarred for life and the frog is cooked.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

Joren (312641) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499535)

Frog. Kettle of water. Slowly apply heat.

That doesn't actually work.

...uh, I hear.

Snopes agrees. http://www.snopes.com/critters/wild/frogboil.asp [snopes.com]

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

Tubal-Cain (1289912) | more than 5 years ago | (#27505343)

It wasn't the taxes they were objecting to so much as the fact they had no say in the matter. Taxation without representation. Now, ostensibly, we do have representation.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (3, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498047)

I think it's time to reconsider our perogative as Americans.

Why? I assume you are talking about a violent revolution? How many people do you think you would need supporting you in order to stage a revolution? 30%? 60%? If your revolution is going to be successful, you'll need more people for you than against you.

Now, if you have that many people willing to support you, willing to DIE in order to get you to lead the country, why not just do it the normal way and get elected president? It would be so much simpler. That is why we don't need a revolution.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (2, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499003)

Why? I assume you are talking about a violent revolution? How many people do you think you would need supporting you in order to stage a revolution? 30%? 60%? If your revolution is going to be successful, you'll need more people for you than against you.

You're an idiot if you think you need a majority to have a revolution. In truth, you may need as few as a hundred people, well placed and educated. Or you need billions, all mildly receptive to the idea. It depends on what is at stake, the will of the people, and a long list of other social intangibles. It's better to look at it in terms of social pressure than by mere numbers. A dozen people highly dedicated to a cause caused trillions of dollars in damage to this economy recently. It wasn't a revolution, but what if there had been a hundred, instead of a dozen? The Soviet Union fell in a matter of hours. The Berlin Wall came down in a week. You think the United States is somehow more impervious to this? That it couldn't crumble under a coup de etat? If you think that, you're being naive.

The bottom line is that national security has become such an all-consuming goal for our government precisely because these intangible social factors point to this country being in a period of extreme suseptibility to losing control of its population, hence the aggressive need for suppression of free speech, excessive demands for secrecy, and the sudden and rapid reduction of civil liberties. They're trying to keep people from getting together in any large numbers and getting the idea in their head that now is the time for change and something spontanious develops and rips the guts out of the institution.

Which is exactly how it happens -- not with a bang, but a whisper.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499617)

You're an idiot if you think you need a majority to have a revolution.

Yes actually, at the very least the population needs to be complicit with their new ruler. The fall of the Soviet Union is a perfect example of this. Hardline soviet/KGB members tried a coup d'état, but it lacked popular support and ultimately failed. The Berlin wall equally so, there was a strong popular support for tearing down the wall.

hence the aggressive need for suppression of free speech, excessive demands for secrecy, and the sudden and rapid reduction of civil liberties. They're trying to keep people from getting together in any large numbers and getting the idea in their head that now is the time for change and something spontanious develops and rips the guts out of the institution.

So you're a conspiracy theorist. Now I have to ask you.....who is they? Can you pleeeease say, "The truth is out there" with a straight face? Cool, thanks. Who is it? Is it the illuminati? The Jewish Cabal? Who is your preferred conspiracy group? Who is this 'they' that is trying to keep people from getting together in large numbers?

The right has terrorist fears, the left has their conspiracy theories. Both are completely nuts. I am not sure what you are talking about with things like 'suppression of free speech,' but let me tell you how a decent dictator deals with freedom of speech. He finds the girl who is talking too much, and he kills her. Or throws her in jail. Wake me up when there are real limitations to freedom of speech.

Which is exactly how it happens -- not with a bang, but a whisper.

And exactly which revolution or coup are you talking about here? It didn't happen without popular support.

A lot of people have the problem that they haven't really studied history, so they don't know what a revolution looks like, and they don't understand how power works, so they have trouble understanding what happens in the government. The result is often that they turn to conspiracy theories. And then call other people idiots. Which isn't nice.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (3, Insightful)

flameproof (1460175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27500151)

So you're a conspiracy theorist. Now I have to ask you.....who is they? Can you pleeeease say, "The truth is out there" with a straight face? Cool, thanks. Who is it? Is it the illuminati? The Jewish Cabal? Who is your preferred conspiracy group? Who is this 'they' that is trying to keep people from getting together in large numbers?

I am no "conspiracy theorist", but I am very concerned about the lack of transparency in my own government and the open abuse of the power I have only one real choice (at this juncture in "history") to endow it with: by "voting my conscience". I really don't like the fog of "terrorist" paranoia my country is living under right now; it's much worse than I can remember when there was a so-called "communist threat"; not much of which, it turns out, was in any way real, hurt multitudes of innocent, good people and only served to strengthen and prop up the abuses of power that came after (Nixon, Iran Contra, Nicaragua, Saddam Hussein, etc).

A lot of people have the problem that they haven't really studied history, so they don't know what a revolution looks like

Well, I have studied history. I know what a revolution looks like; it's ugly. People get killed. Good, innocent, just-minding-their-own business people. It's only the ones who stay informed and choose a side who have any chance of effecting a worthwhile change and even then, only because they've made a conscious decision to stand up, fight and often die for what is right. And most of those, unless you've taken a long walk through Arlington, you'll never even hear about.

I love this country. I love the Ideal of this country. My father, uncles, brothers, cousins, friends have fought and died for you to have the right to nitpick someone on this board's ability to intelligently add to the conversation. And if the time ever comes that as a civilian I have to stand up and fight and die for your right to continue to do that because AMERICA NEEDS TO REBOOT then I'll do that. I think that's what it means - as a Student of History - to be an American.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27500415)

I am no "conspiracy theorist", but I am very concerned about the lack of transparency in my own government and the open abuse of the power I have only one real choice (at this juncture in "history") to endow it with: by "voting my conscience".

Indeed lack of transparency and abuse of power is something to be concerned about, but it isn't the topic of my post. The GP was advocating revolution in the US, which is a bad idea. My point was that if you have enough power to start a revolution, you will have enough power to elect a president.

Well, I have studied history. I know what a revolution looks like; it's ugly. People get killed. Good, innocent, just-minding-their-own business people.

That's good, you know history, so you should know why a non-bloody change of government would be much better than a bloody one.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502675)

The GP was advocating revolution in the US, which is a bad idea. My point was that if you have enough power to start a revolution, you will have enough power to elect a president.

You're putting words in my mouth. I'm not advocating anything except a reassessment of our values, which is a far cry from revolution. That said, the traditional elements required to start a coup de etat in this country are now present: High levels of poverty, frustration with the goverment, restriction of civil liberties, the expansion of police powers to record levels, the all-consuming quest for secrecy on the part of our government officials. The general public is pissed right now. If you're going to ignore all the social factors, plug your ears, and go "la la la", by all means do it. But I'm not so stupid to believe my country is infallable. The kind of blind patriotism that's being advocated today is just that -- blind. And our founding fathers wanted an educated and aware populace more than anything because THAT is what stops a revolution, not idiotic "we are invincible!" values. Which, by the way, if someone ever utters that around you, run like hell because death is usually instantanious after that, at least in every movie I've seen.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27505549)

You're putting words in my mouth. I'm not advocating anything except a reassessment of our values, which is a far cry from revolution.

I am not. Advocating a revolution was the original topic of discussion, when you entered. If you'd like to discuss something else, that is fine, we can do that.

That said, the traditional elements required to start a coup de etat in this country are now present: High levels of poverty, frustration with the goverment, restriction of civil liberties, the expansion of police powers to record levels, the all-consuming quest for secrecy on the part of our government officials

You're missing one: in order to have a revolution, there can't be a simpler alternative. Right now there is an outlet for people's anger, a way to change the government, and that is through voting. We can get rid of all our leaders without killing them. That is why there won't be a revolution: there are easier ways.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27506245)

You're missing one: in order to have a revolution, there can't be a simpler alternative. Right now there is an outlet for people's anger, a way to change the government, and that is through voting. We can get rid of all our leaders without killing them. That is why there won't be a revolution: there are easier ways.

Just to play devil's advocate, I'll ask.

How is it, exactly, that voting can change the government? Catchy campaign slogans notwithstanding, I've not seen any change in quite a few years. there doesn't seem to be any shortage of "We don't have to tell you that" attitude from any of the Plutarchs we're given to vote for.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27507679)

How is it, exactly, that voting can change the government?

Good question. The truth is each vote has only the power of one in 60 million (depending on how many people vote), which isn't much. So while YOU may not have been satisfied with the "we don't have to tell you that" attitude, most voters are. I can't tell you how many times during the leadup to the Iraq war I heard, "Bush is our president, so we should trust him. He must know something we don't." Which of course turned out to be false. It was annoying. As long as the majority is willing to put up with being in the dark, politicians will be free to leave them there. There is only hope when the majority wants something. Fortunately it seems more and more people are getting frustrated at being left in the dark. When the majority wants something, the government moves. Otherwise the majority votes them out of office.

The result is, if you want to change things with votes, you need to convince the majority of the people to agree with you, and vote for what you want. This isn't the easiest thing to do always, but compared to convincing them to support you in a revolution, it is easy.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27516485)

Call me cynical, but I'm not sure I believe that "more and more people are getting frustrated." It might *seem* that way, but I'm not ready to discount that it's the typical partisan bullshit. A lot of those idiots you mentioned blindly following bush over the past 9 years minus 3 months are now "frustrated" because the other team won the super bowl last year, so to speak. Now THEY are frustrated and want change, while the noisy idiots from before are now quiet and complacent because *their* guy won. Sure, if you put them together, it would seem like a lot of people, but whenever someone complains, I always ask them what they think would make it better and 99/100 times, they say something involving voting for the other guy, at which point, I discount any possibility that they are in possession of anything resembling Clue.

One thing the government did get right... they sure gave us our bread and circuses. We'll be crushed by some other country or our own asshattery long before enough americans give enough of a damn to do anything that actually will affect change in our clusterfucked system.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

flameproof (1460175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27528681)

By the by - I checked out your P:5Y lemming movie. I get where you're going with this and although I respect it and your right to believe what you may, short of Jesus H. Christ coming down from heaven in a sparkly cloud of gumdrops, there's no freakin' way I'm ever going to hand over my .303 and run right off to a voting booth hoping to effect miraculous, invisible "change" topped with whipped cream and a cherry.

But good luck with that and I hope you can prove all of us cynical bastards wrong! We certainly haven't heard that song and dance [youtube.com] before!

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

flameproof (1460175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27528611)

The GP was advocating revolution in the US, which is a bad idea. My point was that if you have enough power to start a revolution, you will have enough power to elect a president.

I'm no longer sure that "revolution in the US" is such a bad idea; if those that stay in power will not release it to the people, what choice do we have? Peacefully asking "please" a billion times? Ya. Not so sure that would work. Pretty sure those at the front of that crowd with the long hair and flowers will get jack-booted right in the face. Additionally: WHO SAYS WE NEED A PRESIDENT? How about a three party commitee? A Mother Superior? Or a Chief Big Wumpum? ANYTHING other than an EXECUTIVE in charge of The United States of America, Inc.(TM) would be nice.

That's good, you know history, so you should know why a non-bloody change of government would be much better than a bloody one.

No, honestly, I don't. Again with American History [wikipedia.org] . Careful - that link is a pretty long historically accurate list of YOUR (and my) government spreading "peace" throughout the world.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 5 years ago | (#27505303)

Actually, historical evidence suggests that a revolution needs somewhere around 30% of the population to strongly support it to succeed. The American Revolution had about 1/3 of the population strenuously supporting it, about 1/3 strenuously opposed (Tories/Loyalists), and about 1/3 neutral. I have seen similar breakdowns of other successful revolutions but I no longer remember which countries/areas they were.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

msouth (10321) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499729)

A dozen people highly dedicated to a cause caused trillions of dollars in damage to this economy recently. It wasn't a revolution

That's the funniest assertion I've heard all day.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

flameproof (1460175) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499983)

The bottom line is that national security has become such an all-consuming goal for our government precisely because these intangible social factors point to this country being in a period of extreme suseptibility to losing control of its population, hence the aggressive need for suppression of free speech, excessive demands for secrecy, and the sudden and rapid reduction of civil liberties. They're trying to keep people from getting together in any large numbers and getting the idea in their head that now is the time for change and something spontanious develops and rips the guts out of the institution.

Forgive me, but that was so brilliant it just needed repeating.

Permission to quote?

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

pdxdan0 (1017326) | more than 5 years ago | (#27500117)

The Soviet Union fell in a matter of hours, the Berlin Wall in a week. You are kidding. The seeds of the destruction of the Soviet Union were planted before WWII was even over. Nothing happens on that scale in hours, weeks or months. That truly is naive. The history behind the events the you mention span decades. And, yes, Virginia (girlintraining right?) the US is more impervious to the kind of social unrest you are implicating. For all of our insane federalism, we still have effective state and local governments (OK "somewhat" effective...) that, in a crisis, can and will take control. We also are constituted of people that will take action when needed. Can a small number of people do a great deal of damage? Absolutely. But they can't change peoples minds. Most people still believe that the US, as screwed up as it is, is just about best thing going. And no all you /.ers do not count. You do not accept everything that Fox "News" says nor do you watch nearly enough TV. Sorry, gotta go Torchwood is coming on... Cheers,

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

randyleepublic (1286320) | more than 5 years ago | (#27501039)

Why bother with revolution. Let's just secede. The Formerly United States. Hey, I like the sound of that!

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 5 years ago | (#27500403)

Wish I could remember the source, but I do recall reading an analysis which placed the necessary support for a terrorist/guerrilla movement to survive at 5%. That's not 5% willing to die: it's 5% willing to provide safe houses.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27506641)

Wish I could remember the source, but I do recall reading an analysis which placed the necessary support for a terrorist/guerrilla movement to survive at 5%. That's not 5% willing to die: it's 5% willing to provide safe houses.

That would also be 5% to survive, not 5% to succeed. Until recently, the LTTE (Tamil Tigers, in short), were surviving quite well. They never succeeded in their aims (a homeland for Tamils within Sri Lanka), and they definitely had quite more than 5% support. Finally, they appear to be on the fringe of defeat by the Sri Lankan Army.

This myth is busted.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#27511153)

I would actually put it at lower than that, say, maybe 500 people, as long as they have a place to hide. A dedicated group like that can do a lot of damage. Damaging things is different than taking over the country, however; taking over a country is a lot harder.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 5 years ago | (#27501377)

I assume you are talking about a violent revolution?

Yes, violence [wikipedia.org] is the only solution.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (0, Flamebait)

californication (1145791) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498153)

Sounds kinda like the same reasons the South wanted to secede from the Union. I'd say not putting up with the South's secession was a good thing though.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (2, Funny)

pluther (647209) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498473)

Why?
What's the South ever done for the rest of us?
Most of the anti-science, anti-education, and anti-equality political activism comes from the South.
Much more of our federal tax dollars go to southern states than they put into the system.
Lincoln was wrong - we should've just let them go when we had a chance.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

Thantik (1207112) | more than 5 years ago | (#27500541)

Hey hey hey...Most of florida doesn't side with "the south". We aren't anti-science, anti-edumacation, anti-equality. But as the 2000 elections showed...we're definitely anti-math.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#27506295)

44% of florida voted for Amendment 2 in 08. 27% couldn't be fucked to vote at all.

Fuck Florida. Let me move out, then sink it into the gulf.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27498203)

This is true,
and as a true patriot,
I object to another of our rights....

who the fuck am I kidding, the patriots have already taken notice as well as the GOV. our rights mean shit, our wants mean shit, our demands mean shit! who the fuck in congress or whatever legislative body who has noticed our ramblings shall take heed:

your country is not yours anymore.

your rights are gone.
Long fricken gone.....

your beloved has wilted in the face of the NEW WORLD ORDER and all its minions.

I am not a doomsayer or a crazy gun nut, but you ALL should consider what the government does for you and what you are expected to do in return....

are you really cared for(your mom not withstanding)?

can you survive a month without internet or cheesedoodles?

can you realy?

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | more than 5 years ago | (#27501143)

Yes, actually. It's part of transnationalism. Obama is a transnationalist. Here's a brief review [nationalreview.com] of one of his appointees. The basic idea is to destroy the structures of the nation-state and replace them with a global government, Star Trek style. Of course, just like Star Trek, the council of the wise will run the world, and archaic concepts like democracy and self-rule will be relegated to the dustbin of history.

Re:Are we TRYING to destroy the Union? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27502217)

Obama is a transnationalist

That's funny, because he was seen as a nationalistic candinate. Wouldn't it be more likely that Obama is building a style of leadership in the goverment laden with contrarianism, IBM style?

Attention. j.delanoy is a fucking bastard. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27497395)

Please vandalize his Wikipedia page at and tell him to fuck off [wikipedia.org]

Wikileaks has some more docs on this too (4, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497551)

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Category:ACTA [wikileaks.org]

eg.
http://wikileaks.org/wiki/ACTA_negotiations_brief_on_Border_Measures_and_Civil_Enforcement_2008 [wikileaks.org]
"Rights holders to get the right to obtain information regarding an infringer, their identities, means of production or distribution and relevant third parties."

Re:Wikileaks has some more docs on this too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27501393)

Priorities: Do this OR do something about the financial crookery that is still going on?

Firstly, serious knock-offs are immune - the profit must be immense, and like war on drugs - it wont stop, and the people who do this have much to loose or no alternatives (see jobless).

Make it too hard, and the knockoffs will move to somewhere else.

Really, no government should be ashamed or need to hide proposals - if lawful is one of the outcomes. The existing laws are enough. Companies in general don't want to pay the big bucks for private investigators, or hire local talent to get movement. Therefore, its not an issue.

Better would be death sentences for product adulteration - milk powder or drug/medicine with no active ingredients.

Change is not afoot. (4, Interesting)

peektwice (726616) | more than 5 years ago | (#27497809)

This isn't change. It's appeasement. Event TFA states that the paper's goal is to clarify ACTA's objective, not to show its actual language. However, when the final agreement appears, if ever, it probably won't look anything like what you expect it to be. It'll be an abomination that preserves nothing in the way of individual rights, and likely will go far to extend corporate plutocracy.

Obama and the Queen conspire to violate copyright (1, Informative)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498011)

During their private meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama gave the monarch a personalized iPod with video footage of her 2007 visit to Washington and Virginia and preloaded with 40 show tunes, in blatant violation of copyright law [today.com] .

The 9000-word iTunes or Amazon MP3 contracts establish licensing, not ownership, of the file, for personal, not commercial or diplomatic use. Furthermore, should the Queen connect her new iPod to a computer, further copies will be made, in direct contravention of British law.

"It's okay!" said Mr Obama. "As Nixon said, 'if the President does it that means it's not illegal.' And you can't sue the Queen anyway. So we're sweet with ACTA. Even if you aren't."

"One is delighted with one's gift," said Her Majesty. "It helps block that dreadful Italian fellow. Our grandchildren have also assisted us in 'downloading' our Coronation from 'The Pirate Bay.' What will they think of next!"

Songs include "Pass the Duchy", "We Are The Champions", "Public Image" and, of course, "Black President," which Michelle and Elizabeth "cut a rug" to arm in arm.

"I know I got them RIAA bozos in the house," said Mr Obama. "Joe's pals. But one word from me and her Royal Highness here and they'll be less popular than bankers. Word."

This Page . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27498169)

. . . intentionally left blank.

Man, they should release all of those.

Re:This Page . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27499441)

Ah, but then we'd know how long each section is (assuming they include page numbers on the blanks). Not that we'd have any idea what order the sections are, or indeed, what the sections even are. Plus, free* writing paper from the government! Score!

*(Free as in tax funded, so more like a refund).

I am so glad they have our backs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27498241)

And are protecting us in the name of national security from knowing anything about how international trade agreements are going to work in the future. We just need to be good consumers and just do what our corporate overlords demand of us.

FOI Request Was Properly Denied (4, Interesting)

fluffy99 (870997) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498271)

5 U.S.C. 552(b)(1) says
                "(b) This section does not apply to matters that are -
                (1)(A) specifically authorized under criteria established by an
                  Executive order to be kept secret in the interest of national
                  defense or foreign policy and (B) are in fact properly classified
                  pursuant to such Executive order"

Guess what? It's pretty standard to have an executive order that prohibits releasing treaty negotiation documents. The denial does not mean that it was "classified" in the sense of it being confidential, secret, or top secret". FOI requests are routinely denied because the information is proprietary, personnelle, or sensitive.

Re:FOI Request Was Properly Denied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27499071)

to quote The Whom, "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss..."

Re:FOI Request Was Properly Denied (2, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499205)

It's pretty standard to have an executive order that prohibits releasing treaty negotiation documents. The denial does not mean that it was "classified" in the sense of it being confidential, secret, or top secret".

Uhhh... sure.
But that isn't the problem.

The **AAs of the world have been given a chance to contribute to the treaty, but we the people haven't. And in the USA's case, they were quite literally given a seat at the table, since Obama has been appointing **AA lawyers to high level positions in his Administration.

So I'd suggest that it is not "pretty standard" to begin negotiating multi-lateral trade treaties in complete secrecy from the public. Further, I'd say that it is not "pretty standard" to include trade & industry associations while excluding the public. This smacks of the kind of secret policy making I thought had left with Cheney and his secret energy task force [wikipedia.org] .

The public would be outraged (3, Insightful)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 5 years ago | (#27498537)

It's more likely they denied the FOI request simply because the general public would be outraged at potential loss of civil rights should this treaty be signed.

This is scary stuff, although it seems mostly conjecture at this point. Frightening to think that they gave the recording and movie industry access and even consulted with them according to rumor, while leaving civil rights groups out in the cold.

I'd suggest folks start calling their local papers and news channels asking why they aren't bringing this issue into public awareness. I just did the same with my local news and MSNBC.

RIAA was here... (2, Funny)

Obama$$$RIAA$$$ (1527151) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499167)

How are you gentlemen !!
All your freedoms are belong to us.
You are on the way to lawsuit.
You have no chance to win make your time.
Ha ha ha ha...
Take off every 'MPEG AUDIO LAYER 3'!!
You know what you doing.
Move 'MPEG AUDIO LAYER 3'.
For great justice.

thejokerswild82's 2 cents worth... (1)

thejokerswild82 (1525445) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499351)

This is the first that I am hearing about this?? I am not surprised though. I hope that this act will protect those who use the net. But I hope that it will not limit our usage or make the net less enjoyable.

These guys are a poor benchmark... (2, Funny)

Maudib (223520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27499881)

Please, I would hardly take this as any indication that Flash is better then Silverlight.

MLB Advance Media is quite ahead of the curve in terms of sports media in many ways. They have fantastic statistical databases, great content and a solid business model.

Technology however is NOT their strength. Having spend some time in their offices and talking to their people it is clear that they lack strong organizational direction or awareness of best practices or current events in technology. Until last year most of their forms (assuming you could find what you needed) resulted in ugly JSP errors. Their streaming of live games never failed to dissapoint, turn that sucker all the way down on high speed and it was still a slide show.

Internally they haven't a clue how to plan for a robust SOA envirnoment. No consistency across APIs, services at the edge are arranged by maintainers not functionality. On top of all that their hardware are all ancient sun boxes. Need a database? No matter how small or simple the task, throw Oracle at it.

Then there is the last issue, the one that really gets be about MLB Advanced Media. The blackout restrictions on games.

If you subscribe to MLB TV, all games in the media market associated with the zipcode of your credit card are blocked out, regardless of where you are physically viewing the game from. This isn't a shortcut because they lack the ability to determine your location. This is obvious because they also black out all games in the media market in which your connection is located.

I live in NYC. I want MLB TV so that when I am the road I can watch a Mets game. They backout the Mets game despite knowing that I am in Denver and cant get the game on cable or broadcast. I know they know I can't get the game on broadcast or cable, because they GEO LOCATE ME AND BLACKOUT THE ROCKIES TOO!

WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT OF THIS SERVICE IF YOU CANT USE IT TO WATCH YOUR HOME TEAM WHEN YOU ARE ON THE ROAD? DOES THIS MAKE SENSE TO ANYONE?!?!?!?!!?!

So last year after determining the worthlessness of their service I tried to cancel. Of course they cant even fucking do proper error handling and the damn cancellation form dumps out to some ugly JSP exception, forcing me to spend over an hour on the phone with customer service to try and cancel. After all that I can get them to take me off their mailing lists.

GOD DO THEY SUCK!

Re:These guys are a poor benchmark... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27500223)

Uh...you posted on the wrong article.

Skyrocket (1)

Joebert (946227) | more than 5 years ago | (#27502819)

With the US economy in the toilet, counterfiting is probably skyrocketing, at least in the US.

U.S., Japan, the European Union (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27506677)

Setting aside for the moment that copyright probably shouldn't exist, and the notion of IP is pretty much bogus...

Did anybody else read this and think that the usefulness of an ACTA pact without China is less than or equal to the usefulness of a Kyoto Protocol without the US?

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