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The U.S. has fought to keep the ACTA treaty secret. The treaty allows monitoring of citzens online and warrantless search and seizures at border crossing, of electronics suspected to be carrying infringed content.  (Source: PuppetGovernment)
The U.S. Government insisted that the terms of its privacy and rights-trampling treaty were too sensitive to expose to the public

ACTA, short for the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is an all-reaching proposal that may represent an epic victory for the film and music industries in their fight against piracy, a victory that comes at the high expense of citizens' privacy and rights, if it is upheld.  

Championed by both former President George W. Bush and current President Barack Obama, the proposal is the child of countless millions in international lobbying money from the media industry.  It aims to enact constant monitoring of citizens' online activities -- even perfectly legitimate ones -- and grants border agents in the U.S. and many member states the power of warrantless search and seizures -- provisions that would grant them the power to destroy U.S. citizens' laptops, iPods, or CDs, if the agents suspected that they might contain infringed content.  And the best part?  The cost of the bill will be footed by the taxpayers themselves -- without even giving them a clue as to what's happening.

With its Big Brotheresque terms, it's little wonder that the U.S. wanted to keep the agreement under wraps.  What was unknown until now, though, was just how few nations support the U.S. in keeping the agreement secret, or the fact that the Obama and Bush administration negotiators overpowered other major nations to keep the treaty out of the public eye.

Officials in the Netherlands, a nation pushing for the treaty to be exposed to the public, "accidentally" leaked (DutchGoogle English translation) a memo from a secret ACTA negotiation meeting in Mexico, which detailed who supported keeping the treaty secret from citizens of member nations.

Only a handful of European nations -- Belgium, Portugal, Germany, and Denmark -- and two other nations -- South Korea and Singapore -- supported keeping the treaty a secret.  Denmark was reportedly the most vocal supporter of secrecy.  

The majority of the other participating nations -- the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Ireland, Hungary, Poland, Estonia, and Austria, the UK, and Japan supported releasing details to the public.  The UK and Japan, two of the world's biggest powers, reportedly were particularly vocal about transparency.  Other nations, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, were not listed in the memo, but have been advocates of transparency.

Despite the vast majority supporting openness, the U.S. fought to silence these voices.  With the help of the handful of nations supporting secrecy, it successfully prevented the ACTA terms from being aired to the public, even as the U.S. government considers warrantless border searches for "pirate materials".

Of course, a vast body of information regarding ACTA made it to the public eye anyways, thanks to the internet and leaks sites like Wikileaks.

The treaty and the recent information on how the U.S. fought to keep it secret raises alarming questions about politicians at the highest level on both sides of the political aisle.  Why would our nation's leaders plot and champion a treaty that would raise citizens' taxes in order to violate their constitutional rights, as a favor for major corporations?  And more importantly, why would these leaders fight to keep the treaty secret, when transparency and public participation form the foundation of our nation?  

It's all to protect you -- even if you don't know about it.  At least that's what your elected officials say.

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RE: Enough is enough
By myhipsi on 2/26/2010 10:53:32 AM , Rating: 3
Taking a systematic approach, we need to focus on the damage done to the economy, lack of regulation in wall street...

The damage was done by government in collusion with the federal reserve, not lack of regulation. Hear me out:

Government regulation of the economy creates problems that compound themselves over time. Lets take one good example: The Glass-Steagall Act

In simple terms, Glass-steagall was supposedly necessary (separating deposit banks from investment banks) in order to "protect" the depositors.

First of all, since the fed sets interest rates and not the market, interest rates are artificially low by a wide margin (Near 0%). This sends the message to the market that there are huge amounts of capital, and it's cheap as dirt to obtain. So what do banks do, they borrow boat loads of cash and invest of course, since it costs almost nothing to borrow. The end up over-leveraging themselves and when their borrowers default, they fail. But wait, they're "TOO BIG TO FAIL" remember, so the tax-payer backed insurance bails them out, so the CEOs and fat-cats still get their million dollar+ bonuses.

So the moral hazard of artificial interest rates (near 0%) encourages excess borrowing, and the "too big to fail" mentality allows banks to over-leverage themselves without risk. This is not free market economics.

If the market was free and unregulated, and considering there isn't a shred of savings in America, the interest rate should be more like 20%. This would encourage more savings and people (including banks) would be much less inclined to borrow unless their investments could net them more than 20% which is not very likely. Also without the "too big to fail" policy, even if they did take out loans, they would have to be damn sure that they would get a return on their investments or it could be over for them.

So Glass-Steagall was simply a regulation to prevent the moral hazards of a previous regulation. This is why government shouldn't be involved in the economy (other than to enforce contracts, property rights, etc. via the court system)

Simple fix for the economy:

1. Get rid of the Fed. All it does is inflate bubbles and then desperately try to reinflate them once they burst by printing more money and diluting the currency and/or further taxing the people.
2. Let the market set interest rates. Interest rates by definition relate to the amount of free capital available(brought about by SAVINGS). IOW, the REAL value of money, NOT what the fed says it is.
3. Get rid of the tax-payer backed insurance that the banks rely on aka, the "too big to fail" idea. All this does is create a moral hazard in allowing banks to make "risky" investments/loans without any real risk.

I apologize for the long-winded response, but it gets frustrating when people don't understand economics and assume it can be "FIXED" and/or centrally planned by big government. All the government does is create moral hazards that create yet more hazards. Ultimately, this is a good example of why government continues to grow unchecked. They f*ck things up with regulation, then they regulate the f*ck up, and that f*ck up, and it goes on forever until you have this 800 lb gorilla on your back.

RE: Enough is enough
By wempa on 2/26/2010 4:07:54 PM , Rating: 2
This makes a lot of sense and it's exactly why we should be voting for Ron Paul. After reading both "End The Fed" and "The Revolution", I've got his back.

RE: Enough is enough
By Shippy on 2/26/2010 6:35:48 PM , Rating: 2
Didn't JFK get assassinated for attempting to end the federal reserve (I know, conspiracy theory)? Do you really think the "men behind the curtain" controlling the money, which controls our government, would let this happen?

"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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