#TPP is Fast-Tracked Through Congress to Facilitate a Flawed Agreement

#AceWorldNews says according to a post today in EcoWatch written by Ilana Solomon it was yesterday, Congress pulled a rusty, old tool from the bottom of its toolbox. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Rep. Camp (R-MI) introduced the Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities Act of 2014, otherwise known as “fast track,” which could facilitate passage of deeply flawed trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade pact with limited public and Congressional input. If fast-track legislation is approved by Congress, the President would be able sign the #TPP and then send it to Congress for a straight up-or-down vote—with no room for amendments and limited floor debate. If that sounds backward, it’s because it is.

tppFI

The#TPP agreement could devastate communities, our climate and our environment. It would open the floodgates for the expansion of natural gas exports and fracking across the U.S. Graphic courtesy of the Electronic Frontier Foundation

First, fast track is an outdated and inappropriate mechanism. It was first passed in 1974 when trade pacts focused on traditional trade issues, like tariffs and quotas. Today, trade pacts like the #TPP cover a broad range of issues including the environment, investment, labour, government procurement, consumer protections and many more things we face in our everyday lives. It is therefore critical that Congress maintain its constitutional authority to oversee trade policy and ensure that trade pacts protect communities, workers and the environment before the pacts get finalized.

Second, fast track is undemocratic. After congressional approval, the President could submit signed trade pacts to Congress for an up-or-down vote within 90 days with all amendments forbidden and a maximum of 20 hours of debate. Even more atrocious is that it would actually allow the President to write legislation that would change U.S. laws to make them conform to the terms of the secretly negotiated trade agreement.

In other words, fast-track authority eliminates a critical constitutional check-and-balance structure that aids most other democratic processes. By stripping Congress of its ability to fully debate and amend the language of today’s all-encompassing trade pacts, fast-track authority renders Congress unable to ensure that trade negotiations result in agreements that benefit communities and the environment.

Third, it’s a risky endeavor that could help rubber-stamp very harmful trade pacts such as the #TPP. The #TPP agreement could devastate communities, our climate and our environment. It would elevate corporations to the level of nations, thus allowing foreign companies to directly sue governments in private trade tribunals over laws and policies that corporations allege reduce their profits. It would also open the floodgates for the expansion of natural gas exports and, therefore,fracking across the U.S.

TPP What is Wrong?And the real kicker is that—despite these any many other consequences—there has been virtually no opportunity for public discussion of the trade pact, as no draft text has been publicly revealed. So Congress is actually voting on whether to quickly pass trade agreements it’s never even seen!

Now is the time we need a full discussion about the true costs of the #TPP and other trade pacts—not a process to rush flawed deals through the finish line.

The bottom line is that fast track would set us up for failure. It’s critical that Congress has the ability to effectively oversee trade negotiations and ensure that the contents of our trade agreements protect our workers, communities and environment in the U.S. and abroad. The public and members of Congress have effectively been left in the dark for too long. Now it’s up to Congress to take the reins and oppose fast track. On behalf of the Sierra Club and our 2.1 million members and supports, I urge members to oppose this fast-track bill and retain their right to ensure that the U.S. trades responsibly.

Courtesy of Ilana Solomon

 

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“Soy Factory Farming and the Destruction of Lands and Lives In Argentina”

#AceGuestNews and Views provided the basis of this article on “Factory Farming and the Destruction of Lands and Lives in Argentina due to the Soy Industry” For which our thanks goes to her.

The world’s reliance on soy to feed factory farmed animals is having a devastating impact. In Argentina, ’Big Soy’ production is ruining lands and lives. Raw campaigners spent time with Argentinean communities to investigate the true cost of factory farming. Witness the Soy Story below.

The logo for Compassion in World Farming.

The logo for Compassion in World Farming. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

According to the write upJonty Whittleton, campaigner at Compassion in World Farming, recounts the time he spent with communities in Argentina, where the ‘Big Soy’ boom is ruining lands and lives – and it’s all in the pursuit of cheaper meat and bigger profits.

Argentina is the world’s biggest exporter of soy meal – the solid, protein-rich part of the bean that’s left after grinding. On paper, it’s the agricultural lifeblood of the country (the UK imports more soy meal than wine), but there’s a dark side to this green-gold rush. The bean isn’t feeding Argentinians; 97% of soy meal is used to fatten up farm animals around the world, most of whom are reared in factory farms (also known as concentrated animal feeding operations – CAFOs). The animal-welfare problems associated with these intensive systems are well documented, but their impact goes far beyond this; these systems are also ruining people’s lands and lives.

In October 2013, I travelled to the Chaco and Pampas regions of Argentina, northwest of the country’s capital, Buenos Aires. Big Soy has come at a heavy cost for many Argentinians, with lands being grabbed, rampant deforestation and intense chemical spraying. Here’s what I found.

Soybeans: Not so Green

First, I met Alicia Barchuk, who works at the University of Cordoba. She told me that more than 100 million hectares of native forest have been lost to Big Soy in the last 50 years – only 10–12% of the original forest still stands.

A similar story came from my guide, Alberto Villarreal, who works at Friends of the Earth in Uruguay. He spoke of the ‘ecological graveyards’ that are brought about by Big Soy’s reliance on chemicals – they don’t just kill everything on the ground, but also everything in the ground (apart from the genetically modified soy beans, of course).

Living on the Front Line of Big Soy

Alberto also talked about Big Soy’s far-reaching social impact. He introduced me to Ramona Bustamante, who is in her late 80s. She told me that her home has been bulldozed twice by soy barons, who wanted to take her land. Ramona even showed me where her house once stood, now a heap of rubble.

I also met peasant farmer Christina Sanaviron, who spent three days in jail with her 11-month old baby, just for standing up to the land-grabbers. ‘The land is for everyone’, her family told me. ‘It belongs to the people, not the government.’

Sick to Your Stomach

There has been much speculation about the possible links between the chemicals sprayed on the crops (glyphosate, in particular) and sickness in humans. According to the Associated Press, in Argentina ‘agrochemical spraying has increased nine fold, from 9 million gallons in 1990 to 84 million gallons today’. And although the manufacturers insist that these chemicals are safe to use, a lack of awareness around their proper handling and ineffective enforcement of legislation have created a dangerous situation, with medical cases that are hard to ignore.

Both Norma Herrera and Marcela Ferreyra have deeply personal reasons to fight Big Soy: Norma’s daughter had leukemia and one of Marcela’s children was stillborn. They showed me a worrying map in a recent newspaper article – it suggested that the closer you get to the soy fields, the more sick people you find.

Driving past a small school, I stopped to talk to teacher Marta Ferreyra. The spraying planes apparently come dangerously close to the school, and pupils are regularly affected by breathing problems from the haze of chemicals in the air.

I spoke to Doctor Medardo Avila Vazquez – a well-known face in the Argentinean media. He’s studied the effect of the industry’s chemicals on humans and has found a significant increase in the number of babies born dead or with severe physiological problems in areas where the soy spraying is intense.

A Violent Legacy

On my last day in Argentina, I visited a protest camp, full of people resisting companies, like Monsanto, who are responsible for the soy boom here. Later, I read reports of intimidation and violence against camp members – desperate attempts to prevent the public’s voice from being heard.

The soy story in Argentina is a truly toxic tale. Lands are being grabbed, lives are being ruined. And so much of this is happening to fill the bellies of farm animals around the world – mostly in factory farms.

For me, it’s yet more proof that factory farming isn’t just an animal welfare issue.

Fighting Back

We can all help to tackle this crisis. You can cut down on the amount of meat you eat, and make it as high quality as possible. And if you eat soy products, you can look for options that are GM-free and organic.

You can also help spread the word. Witness the full Soy Story and help break the world’s addiction to cruel, destructive, intensive farming on our website.

Help us end the addiction

 

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“Government Anti-“Extremism” Campaign Hits Internet Content and Access in Russia”

Logo of Reporters Without Borders, animated tr...

Logo of Reporters Without Borders, animated trilingual version (English, French, Spanish). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceGuestNews says according to a recent article in RFS the authorities have used the issue of national security to expand Web monitoring and censorship – even while continuing to promote and develop Internet access for the population at large. The Web has played a key role in the political debate prompted by legislative and presidential elections and in the post-election mobilization of the opposition and civil society. These developments provoked a strong official response. The blogosphere has grown stronger and better organized in the face of state attacks.

Government anti-“extremism” campaign hits Internet content and access

President George W. Bush of the United States ...

President George W. Bush of the United States and President Vladimir Putin of Russia, exchange handshakes Thursday, June 7, 2007, after their meeting at the G8 Summit in Heiligendamm, Germany. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Prime Minister (now President-elect) Vladimir Putin said on 9 February 2012: “Negative phenomena exist everywhere, including on the Internet, and should not be used as a pretext to limit Internet freedom.” However, the authorities have used the justification of preventing violence to reinforce their control of the Internet, with the Federal Security Service (FSB) taking steps to close a number of online organizations in late 2011. Most of these groups have clearly called on their members to respect the law and not to let themselves be provoked into violence.

The government list of “extremist” content, as well as the boundaries of the category itself, keep growing. It now includes everything touching on religion and issues of ethnicity, which have become taboo subjects on RuNet – as the Russian Internet is known. That list is the basis of official demands to take down content, and of actions to block site access (see the Russia chapter in the 2011 report on Enemies of the Internet).

The process of domain name registration could affect freedom of expression online by leading to closure of more sites. New rules promulgated by Nic.ru, the biggest Russian domain name-registration company, allow the cancellation of domain names for inciting violence, “extremist” activity, advocating overthrow of the government, activity in conflict with human dignity or religious beliefs. The rules reflected new official regulations. Domain name-registration companies are authorized to suspend names in the .ru and .rf (pΦ) domains upon written notification from “agencies conducting an investigation.” That provision would potentially authorize prosecutors, the FSB, the police, or the drug enforcement agency (FSKN) to order such a move.

In Tomsk, Siberia, the broadcast arm of Roskomnadzor, the federal mass communications supervisory agency, has recently pressured the regional television network TV-2 to stop transmitting two news programs by Dozhd, the first Internet TV network in Russia, whose content is critical of the government.

Anatoly Baranov, owner of the forum.msk.ru discussion platform, states that the Yandex search engine filtered out news items from his site on Yandex.News searches.

Danger of the spread of online monitoring and censorship

English: Flag of Roskomnadzor Русский: Флаг Ро...

English: Flag of Roskomnadzor Русский: Флаг Роскомнадзора (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Roskomnadzor, whose regulatory authority extends to information technology and mass communications, has announced that it has installed on-line software to detect “extremist” material. The sites identified through this process will be given three days to take down content that meets this ill-defined standard. If a site does not comply, two additional warnings will be sent. The site will then be shut down.

The software was to go into operation in test mode in December, 2011. Its full deployment has beenpostponed indefinitely. Nevertheless, it carries the risk of system-wide monitoring of the Russian Weband could lead eventually to the taking down of all content that displeases the authorities.

The justice ministry, for its part, has invited bids to create its own monitoring system of content on the Internet. Such a system would allow close examination of all content touching on Russian government and justice systems, and any European Union statement concerning Russia.

Bloggers under pressure

Prison sentences and violent attacks were less frequent in 2011, except during the election campaign period. Yet legal proceedings and pressures of all kind continue – above all when the activities of netizens focus on sensitive topics and powerful interest groups.

Maj. Igor Matveev of the interior ministry garrison in Vladivostok has been prosecuted on charges that seem to have been prompted by his revelations last June of practices in the military region where he served. He reported that troops were served dog food in cans falsely labelled as containing beef stew. He faces a possible 10-year sentence.

Yuri Yegorov, a former employee of the regional government of Tatarstan’s human rights ombudsman’s office, received a six-month suspended sentence last June, as well as two years of probation, for defamation. He had revealed a case of alleged corruption in the ombudsman’s office, headed by Rashit Vagiov, that took place from February to July 2007.

Leonid Kaganov, a prominent blogger, was forced last May to house his site abroad. In 2009, the FSB had demanded, through his hosting service, the removal of an anti-Semitic poem that was on his site because he had mocked it.

Roman Hoseyev is the target of administrative action for having quoted from “Mein Kampf” on a site in 2005, before the 2010 banning of the book in Russia. He had drawn comparisons between statements by US President George W. Bush and Hitler.

No information has been received about the fate of a Navy conscript who blogged under the nameVasily, publishing on Twitter under the name Sosigusyan. He denounced hazing and poor living conditions in his unit. His Twitter account was hacked and the content about the military taken down, except for the last three posts, which were written by another person.

Propaganda and cyber-attacks

In addition to mounting a campaign of repression against on-line oppositionists, the Kremlin deploys its own cyber-weapons. Several thousand Twitter accounts were hacked at the end of 2011 in order to flood social media with pro-government messages, using hashtags popular with oppositionists (notably, #navalny, from the name of the well-known political activist and anti-corruption bloggerAlexei Navalny, and #триумфалънпая, from Triumfalnaya Square in Moscow).

LiveJournal was taken down by DDOS in 2006.

LiveJournal was taken down by DDOS in 2006. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many Russian bloggers have pointed to a wave of “bots” unleashed against the LiveJournal social media platform. Oleg Kozyrev, an opposition blogger, has counted more than 2,000 of these software weapons.

Oppositionist Navalny’s e-mail inbox has been hacked, with the contents displayed on a site called navalnymail.kz. According to several bloggers, this action could be part of a government-organized campaign to discredit Navalny.

The wave of cyber-attacks peaked at the time of the legislative elections last December. A series of Distributed Denial of Service attacks paralyzed sites critical of the government before and during the vote, apparently to silence the dissidents. Access to LiveJournal, which hosts blogs critical of the Kremlin, was blocked for three days, starting on 1 December 2011. The site had already suffered a DDoS attack the month before.

Among other Web targets are:

  • Echo of Moscow radio’s site, Echo.msk.ru
  • The independent daily Kommersant’s site, komersant.ru
  • The election-monitoring NGO’s site, golos.org
  • KartaNarusheniy.ru, an interactive map created by Golos to track reports of election fraud
  • Gazeta.ru, an independent news site
  • Lenizdat.ru, a Saint Petersburg-based independent news site
  • Slonl.ru and Newtimes.ru, opposition sites which posted the Golos map after Gazeta.ru took it down
  • Ridus.ru, a citizen-journalism site
  • Doshdu.ru, the site of Dosh, an independent news magazine about the Russian Caucasus
  • Zaks.ru, a news site on the northwest region.

Some media organizations and opposition groups, having anticipated these developments, migrated to social networks and called on their readers to follow them on Twitter and Facebook in the event that their sites went down.

Disputed elections, attempted control of online political debate

Most traditional media organizations, notably television networks, are under Kremlin control, genuine political discussions have been possible only online. Any measure deemed necessary to uphold the country’s strongman, Putin, has been considered appropriate.

Even before and during the legislative elections, debates had been hindered by cyber-attacks and by the arrests of journalists and bloggers. Those detained included Alexey Sochnev, the editor of the independent news site Besttoday.ru; Maria Plieva, a prominent blogger in Ossetia; and the president of Golos, Lilia Chibanova.

Golos’ interactive election-fraud monitoring map proved to be a great success as the elections unfolded. Thousands of videos showing irregularities at voting places were posted to the site, prompting Russians to take to the streets in great numbers to denounce election fraud. Navalny and many journalists were arrested during these post-election demonstrations,

The great majority of traditional media organizations – especially television networks – ignored these events. Instead, they provided largely favourable coverage of Putin’s party, United Russia, which swept the legislative elections.

English: Emblem of Federal Security Service of...

English: Emblem of Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation. Español: Emblema del Servicio Federal de Seguridad. Русский: Эмблема ФСБ. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The social media site Vkontakte, which has more than 5 million members in Russia, found itself in the government spotlight. The FSB told the site’s founder and director, Pavel Durov, to shut down seven groups calling for demonstrations last December (including a group rallying to defend the ruling party). A Russian blogger estimated that up to 185,000 netizens subscribed to protest-organizing groups. A spokesman for Vkontakte said publicly that the site would not practice censorship and would not carry out the FSB order. Following the statement, Durov was summoned to appear before prosecutors in Saint Petersburg on 9 December.

Regional discussion forums, very popular at the provincial level, with most participants anonymous, have become a favourite resource for political debate among Russian netizens, and a nightmare for the authorities. However, these sites are less powerful than the national media and easy to censor, though that has not prevented netizens from migrating to other sites, hosted abroad. At least three forums were closed or suspended during the months leading up to the early December elections.

One of these sites is the Kostroma Jedis regional forum, which was targeted following the posting of two satirical videos criticizing Igor Slyunyaev, governor of the Kostroma region, some 300 km northwest of Moscow. In November, other forums were shut down or purged of all political content by their administrators. One such case occurred in the Arzamas, a city 410 km east of Moscow, affecting the mcn.nnov.ru site. Another took place in the west-central city of Miass, 95 km west of Chelyabinsk, affecting the forum.miass.ru site. It is not clear if these were cases of official action or self-censorship. In either case, the closing of these forums signifies a narrowing of the possibilities for political debate on the Russian Web.

In the run-up to the presidential election in March, Golos, the election-monitoring NGO, put up a new version of its interactive map to track election fraud, with stronger defences against cyber-attack. Navalny, the activist and blogger, mounted a site, Rosvybory.org, to assist citizens in becoming presidential election observers.

The campaign of repression mounted for the legislative elections illustrated the official attitude toward protest. And the official response was designed to create a deterrent to popular action in the presidential election period. Tensions grew during the months between the two elections. On 17 February, Reporters Without Borders denounced a wave of intimidation aimed at national independent media. Major targets included Echo of MoscowNovaya Gazeta, an independent newspaper, and Dozhd, the online television operation. The latter organization received a fax on 16 February from the Moscow prosecutor’s office, demanding detailed information on the “network’s financing for coverage of mass demonstrations on 10 and 24 December.”

These barely veiled accusations against Dozhd track precisely with statements by Prime Minister Putin, who had publicly accused demonstrators of having acted at the encouragement of the US state department. Roskomnadzor, the mass communications authority, had already required Dozhd to defend its coverage of the December protests. After examining in detail the images that the network had transmitted, the agency finally concluded that they contained nothing objectionable.

Journalists were again arrested and beaten during the post-election demonstrations of 5 March 2012. The clear goal was to prevent coverage of the demonstrations. However, contrary to what was seen in December, cyber-attacks seem to have been set aside – for now.

Export of the Russian model of Web control?

Russia has played a leading role on the international scene in promoting its vision of the Internet and exporting its Web control strategy. Moscow has proposed to the UN, together with China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan, an Internet conduct code designed to provide “information security.”

The impact of the Kremlin’s policy is all the greater because the RuNet sphere of influence extends throughout the region, influencing countries such as Belarus and Kazakhstan in their Internet monitoring and censorship programs.

#AceGuestViews

 

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#AceGuestPost says this is #AceGuestViews of a member…

#AceGuestPost says this is #AceGuestViews of a member of our ” #History2Research Group”
Here is an extract: The success of the novel “The Da Vinci Code” is perhaps the single most among factors which brought to public attention the Priory of Sion… History however, points out that there was a Catholic monastic order in Jerusalem by that name during the same time as the Knights Templar. This was proven to be fact by way of a papal bull stating that this order had monasteries and abbeys at Mt. Carmel in Palestine, as well as properties in southern Italy and France. In addition, an organization called the Priory of Sion registered with the bureau of records in Annemasse, France, in 1956.
READ MORE OF THIS GREAT POST AT:http://history2research.wordpress.com/2013/12/10/the-priory-of-sion/

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#AceHistoryNews ” The Rosicrucian Order ” Guest Post and Views

As a former member of the Rosicrucian Order during the 1970’s, I am competent to observe that the original members of this secret society were Gnostic and keepers of their mysterious knowledge.
READ MORE ON OUR HISTORY2RESEARCH GROUP PAGE AT: http://history2research.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/the-rosicrucian-order/

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“Top Secret’ Global Trade Partnership…According to our Guest Post Author”

#AceGuestViews says this was provided by a guest writer and we feature this view as it was printed. We are also pleased to give him a platform to air his article across our network .Hope you enjoy and please comment. Thanks, Editor. 

WikiLeaks Releases “Top Secret ” Global Trade Partnership

Posted by  on November 14, 2013   /   Comments Off
Category: Cover-ups   Tags: 

A screenshot from wikileaks.orgA screenshot from wikileaks.org

A screenshot from WikiLeaks.org

Stephen: This secret document could be seen in two ways: 1. as something divisive and corrosive; or, 2. as “a forerunner of global oneness thinking”(as sage put it when we were discussing its possible merits, purpose and contents today). I’m putting it in to the light of the latter because even if it isn’t, it’s now in the light anyway – for discussion, evaluation, alteration and/or rejection by us, the people.

I also think it’s important to remember that not everything ‘secret’ is necessarily out of alignment and that sometimes things are leaked intentionally to instigate the ‘right’ change.

From WikiLeaks – November 13, 2013

http://wikileaks.org/tpp/

Stop TPP -  Total Peasant Pacification

Stop TPP – Total Peasant Pacification (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

On the, 13 November 2013, WikiLeaks released the secret negotiated draft text for the entire TPP (Trans-Pacific Partnership) Intellectual Property Rights Chapter.

The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP.The WikiLeaks release of the text comes ahead of the decisive TPP Chief Negotiators summit in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 19-24 November 2013.

The chapter published by WikiLeaks is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents.

Significantly, the released text includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all 12 prospective member states. Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy. Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Wal-Mart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.

The TPP negotiations are currently at a critical stage. The Obama administration is preparing to fast-track the TPP treaty in a manner that will prevent the US Congress from discussing or amending any parts of the treaty. Numerous TPP heads of state and senior government figures, including President Obama, have declared their intention to sign and ratify the TPP before the end of 2013.

WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange stated: “The US administration is aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly.” The advanced draft of the Intellectual Property Rights Chapter, published by WikiLeaks on 13 November 2013, provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarise themselves with the details and implications of the TPP.

The 95-page, 30,000-word IP Chapter lays out provisions for instituting a far-reaching, transnational legal and enforcement regime, modifying or replacing existing laws in TPP member states. The Chapter’s subsections include agreements relating to patents (who may produce goods or drugs), copyright (who may transmit information), trademarks (who may describe information or goods as authentic) and industrial design.

The longest section of the Chapter – ’Enforcement’ – is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence. The IP Chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.

The consolidated text obtained by WikiLeaks after the 26-30 August 2013 TPP meeting in Brunei – unlike any other TPP-related documents previously released to the public – contains annotations detailing each country’s positions on the issues under negotiation. Julian Assange emphasises that a “cringingly obsequious” Australia is the nation most likely to support the hardline position of US negotiators against other countries, while states including Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia are more likely to be in opposition. Numerous key Pacific Rim and nearby nations – including Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines and, most significantly, Russia and China – have not been involved in the drafting of the treaty.

In the words of WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange, “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

To read the full TPP documentation and accompanying information, head tohttp://wikileaks.org/tpp/

Here’s how RT.com reported this news release today:

tppsecretTPP Uncovered: WikiLeaks Releases Draft of Highly-Secretive Multi-National Trade Deal

From RT.om – November 13, 2013

http://rt.com/usa/wikileaks-tpp-ip-dotcom-670/

Details of a highly secretive, multi-national trade agreement long in works have been published by WikiLeaks, and critics say there will be major repercussions for much of the modern world if it’s approved in this incarnation.

The anti-secrecy group published on Wednesday a 95-page excerpt taken from a recent draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, or TPP, a NAFTA-like agreement that is expected to encompass nations representing more than 40 percent of the world’s gross domestic product when it is finally approved: the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.

US President Barack Obama and counterparts from 11 other prospective member states have hammered out the free trade agreement in utmost secrecy for years now, the result of which, according to the White House, would rekindle the economies of all of those involved, including many countries considered to still be emerging.

“The TPP will boost our economies, lowering barriers to trade and investment, increasing exports and creating more jobs for our people, which is my number-one priority,” Obama said during a Nov. 2011 address. The deal, he said, “has the potential to be a model not only for the Asia-Pacific but for future trade agreements” by regulating markets and creating opportunities for small and medium-sized businesses in the growing global marketplace.

Upon the publication of an excerpt obtained by WikiLeaks this week, however, opponents of the act are insisting that provisions dealing with creation, invention and innovation could serve a severe blow to everyone, particularly those the internet realm.

Although the TPP covers an array of topics — many of which have not been covered by past agreements, according to Obama — WikiLeaks has published a chapter from a draft dated August 30, 2013 that deals solely on Intellectual Property, or IP, rights. Previous reports about the rumored contents of the TPP with regards to IP law have raised concern among activists before, with the California-based Electronic Frontier Foundation going as far as to warn that earlier leaked draft text suggested the agreement “would have extensive negative ramifications for users’ freedom of speech, right to privacy and due process and hinder peoples’ abilities to innovate,” all of which is being agreed upon without any oversight or observation. Indeed, the thousands of words released by WikiLeaks this week has concreted those fears and has already caused the likes of the EFF and others to sound an alarm.

The IP chapter, wrote WikiLeaks, “provides the public with the fullest opportunity so far to familiarize themselves with the details and implications of the TPP,” an agreement that has largely avoided scrutiny in the mainstream media during its development, no thanks, presumably, to the under-the-table arguments that have led prospective member states to the point they’re at today.

Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the whistleblower site who has been confined to the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for over a year now, had particularly harsh words for the TPP in a statement published alongside the draft release.

“If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons,” Assange said. “If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

Within the IP chapter, the partaking nations in one excerpt agree to “Enhance the role of intellectual property in promoting economic and social development,” but elsewhere suggest that the way such could be accomplished would involve serious policing of the World Wide Web. Later, the countries write they hope to “reduce impediments to trade and investment by promoting deeper economic integration through effective and adequate creation, use, protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights, taking into account the different levels of economic development and capacity as well as differences in national legal systems.”

“Compared to existing multilateral agreements, the TPP IPR chapter proposes the granting of more patents, the creation of intellectual property rights on data, the extension of the terms of protection for patents and copyrights, expansions of right holder privileges and increases in the penalties for infringement,” James Love of Knowledge Ecology International explained after reading the leaked chapter.

“The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions in all types of intellectual property rights. Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine and profoundly bad for innovation.”

Opponents have argued in the past that stringent new rules under the TPP with regards to copyrighted material would cause the price of medication to go up: potentially catastrophic news for residents of member state who may have difficulties affording prescriptions. Public Citizen, a Washington-based consumer advocacy organization, has warned that US Trade Representatives privy to the TPP discussions have demanded provisions that “would strengthen, lengthen and broaden pharmaceutical monopolies on cancer, heart disease and HIV/AIDS drugs, among others, in the Asia-Pacific region.” Indeed, the leaked chapter suggests drug companies could easily extend and widen patents under the TPP, prohibiting other countries from producing life-saving pills and selling them for less. Outside of the world of medicine, though, the implications that could come with new copyright rules agreed upon my essentially half of the world’s economy are likely to affect everyone.

“One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view,” Dr. Matthew Rimmer, an expert in intellectual property law, told the Sydney Morning Herald. “Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this.”

WikiLeaks wrote in response that the enforcement measures discussed have “far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons.”

“Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards,” warned WikiLeaks. “The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence.”

According to the whistleblower site, the IP chapter also includes provisions that rehash some of the very surveillance and enforcement rules from the abandoned SOPA and ACTA treaties that were left to die after public outrage halted any agreement with regards to those legislation.

“The WikiLeaks text also features Hollywood and recording industry inspired proposals – think about the SOPA debacle – to limit internet freedom and access to educational materials, to force internet providers to act as copyright enforcers and to cut off people’s internet access,” Burcu Kilic, an intellectual property lawyer with Public Citizen, explained to the website TorrentFreak.

SOPA, or the Stop Online Privacy Act, was abandoned last year after massive public campaign thwarted the US Congress’ attempt to censor access to certain internet sites were copyrighted content may be incidentally hosted. One of the bill’s biggest opponents, Kim Dotcom of file-sharing sites Megaupload and Mega, was quick to condone WikiLeaks for their release of the TPP draft and condemned those responsible for drafting a bill that he warned would have major consequences for all if approved, including residents of New Zealand such as himself.

“No wonder they kept it secret. What a malicious piece of US corporate lobbying. TPP is about world domination for US corporations. Nothing else. We will stop this madness in New Zealand,” he told RT’s Andrew Blake.

According to WikiLeaks, the Obama administration and senior heads of state from other potential TPP nations have expressed interest in ratifying the agreement before 2014. All of that could now be put in jeopardy.

Related articles

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” Rise of the Patent Trolls”

#AceGuestNews says this was provided by a guest and colleague who sends items to us on a regular basis, and asks should we like to feature the post. So we are pleased to give him a platform to air his article across our network .Hope you enjoy and please comment. Thanks, Editor.

“A Good Patent is Good, a Great Lawyer is Even Better”

“It’s a dangerous business, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no telling where you might be swept off to.” – Bilbo, “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” New Line Cinema, 2001

A friend and his partners recently received the first of three patents after more than three years.

Maybe in the next 12 months they’ll get the other two.

It’s a great concept and I’d tell you more but then I’d have to ….

Patents are vital to keep innovation and competition moving forward.

If you didn’t have some protection – personal and/or company – why pour all the brainpower, time, effort, money into an idea just to have someone rip you off?

We get it!

When companies get strapped for money, they often sell their patents to other companies.

Kodak sold about thousand of their patents to a pool formed by Google, Facebook, Samsung and Apple for $527M.

Oh, also in on the deal were Intellectual ventures and RPX (remember these names).

Patents have always been used and abused as protection and clubs.

Software Patents

But things went wild when folks started getting software patents in the early ‘60s.

In the late ‘90s things took off.

Folks were getting patents for any concept or “what if” idea they could articulate in the filing – usually so broad you could drive a semi through sideways.

As Elrond commented, “I was there the day the strength of Men failed.”

Obviously, the Patent and Trademark Office (PTO) didn’t have a clue about software (few normal people do!) so they signed off on almost anything.

While Al Gore said, “I took the initiative in creating the Internet,” he didn’t claim (as is widely asserted) he invented it and he didn’t try to patent it.

Tim Bernes-Lee is widely credited with inventing the Web, but a firm called Eolas owned a patent covering the “interactive Web.”

Eolas took millions from companies with the patent that was later invalidated.

Patents like that never should have been filed or granted because of prior art (evidence the key concepts were widely known before folks even filed).

The flow of vague patents created a new and very profitable ying/yang industry – patent licensing firms and patent assertion entities (PAEs).

Trolls Emerge

The latter are more commonly known by their less attractive name, patent trolls.

As Gimli said, “Never trust an Elf!”

Trolling – People who manage patents or have purchased tons of software patents may not necessarily be Patent Assertion Entities (PAEs) or more commonly known as patent trolls. However, if they spend most of their time sending out threat letters, being abusive on the phone (especially with a Texas drawl) then look out.

PAEs/trolls span the spectrum:

–        Legal shell companies that shotgun letters to businesses claiming infringement, demanding payment

–        Firms like Intellectual Ventures (remember the Kodak patent sale) which buy technology patents, assemble large portfolios and generate licensing  payments that run into the millions of dollars

–        Firms that license patents on behalf of others, hammering out reasonable agreements like talent agents

According to Eugene R. Quinn Jr., patent attorney with Zeis Widerman & Malek and founder of IP-Watchdog, the best business to be in is being a patent troll. The number of suits have doubled in recent years to 4,73l cases in 2012 from 2,304 in 2009 and the cost – to the firms and consumers who must ultimately pay the costs – has been tremendous.

Filing Growth – While even PAE lawsuits were down during the past recession, they recovered rapidly–faster than the national economy. But instead of quietly settling, a growing number of firms are joining forces to fight the frivolous suits.

The annual payouts for PAE lawsuits were estimated to be $29B in 2011. Only a fraction ($6B) went to the actual inventors.

The rest?

Well yeah!! Lawyers and troll expenses including overhead, marketing, profits.

Most of the time, trolls go after small to medium-size businesses like in 2011, when a troll firm targeted coffee shops for setting up Wi-Fi networks for customers, “suggesting” they pay a licensing fee of $5-$20,000 (far less than going to court).

Proving Innocence

Hey, you’re guilty until you prove yourself innocent!!

Big Targets – PAEs with questionable software patents are not afraid of taking on industry giants, especially when the patents are so ambiguous about possibly have a touch of validity. In addition, if their claims are “small” enough — $10,000 to $50,000, many organizations justify the payments as being less than the cost of a long trial with judges and juries ill-equipped to address the issues.

Of course, they are equal opportunity suers, litigators.

After all, trolls can’t be sued for patent infringement because they don’t make anything … just lawsuits.

The PAEs usually have a complex shell company structure that is almost impossible to penetrate so it’s hard to figure out who’s doing what and where the money goes.

Apple is not only more popular than Coke, they (and unfortunately, their partners) are also popular with the trolls.

IPNav, for example – an ultra active PAE, has sued more than 1,600 companies in the United States.

Bilbo saw what IPNav had done and said, “Gracious, you have been productive.”

“Aggressive” – Some of the most aggressive PAEs are firms that if you’re fortunate you’ve never heard of – and we hope you never do. The software patents issued in the early ‘90s were so vague that they could cover web sites, the Internet and almost anything. The key for successful litigation is to find a friendly or unscrupulous judge and sue away.

The overachiever has lawsuits pending with almost everyone in the industry including, Google, Hitachi and Adobe.

Howdy Pardner

Or take lowly little Lodsys that bought a patent in 2011 and went after iPhone app developers. Lodsys has sued about 200 end-users as well as developers and claims 500 firms have paid for its vague patents.

And Lodsys has a sweet deal down there in Marshall, Tx.

They can’t get US District Judge Leonard Davis since his son “Bo” Davis is Lodsys’ lawyer so the cases get redirected to the other Judge in the East Texas town … Gilstrap.

Those Californicator lawyers are not going to ’ slip anything past this boy!!!

Today, the Patent Office does a much better job of insisting software-patent applicants be specific.

However, between 500,000 and a million software patents have been granted – some valid, some questionable.

The legal system provides incentives’ for firms to pay the trolls to go away rather than prove the patents invalid.

Fighting Back

Increasingly though, firms like Rackspace, Martha Stewart, Apple, many more (large and small) are returning fire.

The FTC (Federal Trade Commission) is taking a closer look at PAEs that spend most of their time in court, i.e., if they accounted for more than 60 percent of the 4,000 patent lawsuits filed in last year.

Bilbo explained the FTC’s objectives, “I don’t know half of you half as well as I should like, and I like less than half of you half as well as you deserve.”

Highly successful patent trolls, Intellectual Ventures, insists their business model actually helps inventors and many of their clients who have received payments agree.

Adam Mossoff, law professor at George Mason University, says the PAEs are licensing firms practicing their property rights and their purpose isn’t to file lawsuits but license patents.

But even if someone can straighten out the U.S. patent system, there are new issues on the horizon because The EU is working on a unified patent court system.

Firms like Google, Apple, Microsoft and hordes of others that have spent millions defending themselves, have nightmares that Europe could become a similar battleground.

Kevin Mooney, British patent lawyer and chairman of the EU court system drafting committee, doesn’t see a major problem, “It would be nonsense if we allowed one court, Romania perhaps, to become the Eastern District of Texas.”

Thanks to Gilstrap; Marshal, Tx is known worldwide!!!!

End ‘Em All

Of course, there’s the other extreme that want to put an end to software patents. That’s tough to do because software, good software, does so much for us that the innovation and developer have to be protected/compensated.

As Boromir said, “I ask only for the strength to defend my people!”

With software there’s black, white and a thousand shades of grey.

If you get slapped with a suit – any large/small firm can – experts say to fight back, get support from others that have been targeted.

Oh yeah…stay outta’ Marshall, Texas!

 

#aceguestviews, #al-gore, #apple, #facebook, #google, #intellectual-property, #intellectual-ventures, #pae, #patent, #patent-assertion-entities, #patent-infringement, #patent-office, #patent-troll, #software-patents, #united-states-patent-and-trademark-office

“Affordable Healthcare What Affordable Healthcare – I Am Still Not As Healthy”

#AceGuestNews says this was provided by a guest and colleague who sends items to us on a regular basis, and asks should we like to feature the post. So we are pleased to give him a platform to air his article across our network .Hope you enjoy and please comment. Thanks, Editor.

Affordable Healthcare … Hi! I’m from the Government to Help You

Better than Paper – The healthcare industry has made tremendous strides in patient care and records management by riding themselves of paper records and doing more and more on-line and on device. The increased use of technology has helped control quality and cost, except when it comes to reporting patient services/care to the government.

I haven’t bothered to sit down and read the American affordable healthcare act that was passed a year ago, so that makes me about as qualified to talk about it as anyone in Congress (either side).

But in doing a little research, I have come to realize that:

–        The American healthcare system just is not working for most folks

–        The idea that you sign up or else (something like that) sort of bothers me

–        Bureaucrats can’t develop a website to save their behinds

–        To believe they can ensure data security defies logic

Globally, around 54.5 million people die each year because of disease or preventable healthcare issues.

One in eight of these deaths occur in children under the age of five.

At the same time, our worldwide population is over 7 Billion and climbing.

Since people are not going simply disappear when they turn 30 (as they did in Logan’s Run), we’re going to have to address the healthcare issue with the same focus and determination that has produced today’s feature-rich technologies.

It can’t be that the countries of the world are not spending enough on health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that globally, we’ll spend more than $6.5T this year. Despite that expenditure, healthcare isn’t available to everyone.

In fact, there are gross shortages of healthcare professionals in way too many countries.

Care Distribution – While industrialized countries have done a lot to ensure better healthcare and services are provided to citizens, there is still a very large part of the world’s population that does not have even the basic assistance.

While WHO indicates the U.S. has sufficient services available, they also noted:

–        The government spends more than any other country – $8362/person per year

–        That works out to about $948 per person per year

–        The WHO’s highly contested 2000 health report put the U.S. healthcare system in 15th in overall performance

–        The US was 37th in overall ranking

WHO did not bother ranking countries in their 2010 report but … the Commonwealth Fund ranked seven developed countries on their health care performance and surprise … the U.S. was dead last.

The U.S. may be last, but they are investing in healthcare.

According to McKinley, seven percent of the average household income goes for healthcare and another 11 percent for personal insurance and pensions (if you live that long). That expenditure is expected to be 13.6 percent of the GDP (gross domestic product) this year; and by 2020, it is expected to be 19.8 percent of GDP.

All of those U.S. healthcare payments come from:

–        32 percent private health insurance

–        20 percent Medicare

–        15 percent Medicaid

–        13 percent other government funds

–        12 percent out of the consumer’s pocket

–        8  percent from private funds

It just does not look like Americans are getting the same ROI as people in other countries.

Room for Improvement – Even though the U.S. government, citizens and companies spend more on healthcare that others on the planet, citizens still have a lower average life expectancy than people in many other countries.

Americans have a lower life expectancy as well as higher rates of infant mortality, low weight birth, injuries and homicides, adolescent pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, HIV/AIDS, drug-related deaths, obesity, diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease and disability than people in other industrialized countries.

Throwing more money at the problem is not working.

 It’s easy to see why Senator Ted Kennedy championed healthcare reform right up until he died, and Hillary Clinton (among others) pushed really hard for it.

 The U.S. Affordable Healthcare Program got off to a rocky start…it sucked!

 We spent $630 Million in technology to get the federal health insurance website open for business. Right after it was unveiled, someone figured they’d use it and … BAM!!!

 Did not anyone run the numbers and notice that there are $300 Million plus people in the U.S. who might sign up or at least be a little curious?

 Rotten Take-Off – The federal government said the healthcare web site was open for business and ready to fly, but it crashed within hours of being made available. Even a duck knows you try a few test flights, including take-offs/landings, before you show folks how good you are.

Instead of a showcase for Verizon’s data centers and the site developer, it’s an embarrassment … it crashed right out of the gate.

Amazon, Google, Oracle, Microsoft and other folks have jumped in to bail out CGI, “the important part of the team,” and straighten things out.

These folks don’t work for the government; they work for a living and understand the importance of availability, fast response/page refresh, customer satisfaction.

Hey, I am not an IT guy but after 20-plus years, I know IT is complex, was never meant to be commercialized like it is and that the Internet was not developed to handle the media and workload it does.

It’s so complex. With constantly changing with each browser, each device, system/tablet/smart phone, it’s a wonder that websites and the Internet work at all!

That’s why the companies listed earlier let people test it, try to break it, find the bugs … there are thousands of folks who just love doin’ that sorta’ thing.

If the federal folks had done some testing, they might have figured out, “Hey, this pig isn’t ready to be put on display.”

Big, Ugly – It didn’t take long for people to find out that the government’s healthcare services site was a bloated pig with a lot of serious issues. Not a great way to start a new, better program.

 Millions of people tried, but early reports said only 100 – 250 struggled through the early process.

Even though they worked for the government or were trained government contractors, they should have figured out it had been thrown together, had not been thoroughly tested and was not ready for prime-time.

All they had to do was have the Cajone’s to go to the boss and say, “we’re going to have to have a few more weeks before we’re ready for business.”

 The boss would have been ticked and the opposition would have something to crow about for a little while, but that’s better than showing the world you’re incompetent.

 All they have done is insulted the intelligence of the people they’re trying to win over.

Trust is hard to win back–especially when you’re asking people to give you all of their personal and vital information.

Heck, we all know government spies, hackers, whacker’s and cyberspie’s are rubbing their hands together just waiting to start mining the site.

 Inside, Outside – Most IT people will tell you that their major security problems arise from inside the organization, not from outsiders attempting to penetrate the organization. Most of the time, the security breaches aren’t malicious, it’s just easier if you bypass the security hurdles. But then, there are bad folks on the inside as well … sometimes.

 As the recent Snowdon “excitement” has proven, government agencies can’t even handle their own internal security.

 With all the stuff Snowdon “releases” the dude had to be taking 8-10 6 TB HD’s home every night!

 And that was all about grabbing information from … well everyone.

 The idea that suddenly one government department is going to keep a citizen’s information safe and secure from others is a real leap of faith.

 We all know that bugs, crashes, delays and hacks are a fact of life in the industry. But if you’re trying to convince folks the site is good for their health and well being, putting up a garbage site as a finished product just doesn’t resonate.

Poor Norm – The U.S. Affordable Care Act was designed – and heavily promoted– to Americans to reduce fee-for-service provider payment updates and lower payments to private plans. The way the website registration has gotten off the ground, you may wonder.

 It would not have taken much to dodge the bullet … label it BETA and you’d attract techie’s like flies who love telling you where you mucked up!

 True to governmental protocol though, they opened a finished site and then were selective in the “facts.”

 They tried to make you believe the site was pretty good, even though there were/are “a few problems.”

–        HHS (Health and Human Services) said 15 million site visits proved it was popular

–        Pew Research said 70 percent of the visitors have insurance  and were curious.

–        Pew Research reported that 46 percent said that the online exchanges weren’t working well

–        65 percent of the uninsured were going to get regardless of the law

The biggest issue with the site’s failure is that it makes people question the credibility, viability of the entire program and the competence of the people in charge.

Anyone who turns on a device and surfs the web knows the stuff should work perfectly – the first time, every time.

You also know that is not going to happen.

Just don’t lie to us … it makes us mad.

 

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