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Citizens Demand To See Secret ACTA Treaty

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  • by hpycmprok (219527) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @10:56PM (#25034175)

    Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, etc...

    When I was in school (a while ago) these were books we had to read.

    Seems most people 10, 15, or more years younger than myself haven't even heard of these stories.

    Corporations are taking over the world. A well functioning democracy requires an educated populace.

    Considering what public schools are turning out here in the US, so much of what happens in the world isn't surprising to me anymore.

    I don't know what is more disturbing, the fact that so many people don't seem bothered by things like TFA, or that people aren't aware of them and/or don't understand them.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by esocid (946821)
      Just how old are you? I'm 23 and was required to read the latter two in school, and read 1984 on my own.
      I think people are apathetic about stuff like this because they don't see how it affects them, and because they aren't aware and/or understand them. I'm aware of them and barely have a working knowledge of them. All I understand is that these corporate oligarchies are trying to perpetuate old systems that are still making them a$$loads of money by screwing over the consumer.
      • by garett_spencley (193892) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @11:28PM (#25034357) Journal

        What bothers me the most, and what I don't think most people understand / are aware of, is how international treaties can be signed, thus becoming laws which supersede the most supreme law of the country (constitution, charter, bill of rights etc.) all without public knowledge or involvement.

        I think every single democratic country desperately needs to update their charters with clauses requiring that all international agreements be signed with public knowledge, consent and involvement and to clearly make available avenues for referendums so that the public can force their governments to withdraw if the majority of the population wishes (without replacing their government obviously).

        • by whoever57 (658626) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @11:42PM (#25034431) Journal

          how international treaties can be signed, thus becoming laws which supersede the most supreme law of the country (constitution, charter, bill of rights etc.)

          I believe that the Supremes ruled some (many?) years past that treaties cannot be used as an end-run around the constitution.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Anonymous Coward

            This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

            Of course, due ratification isn't really required, per se. The 1963 Vienna Treaty on Consular Relations provides quite specifically that a republic is b

          • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:03AM (#25034549) Homepage

            In the US, at least, that's correct. The federal Constitution is supreme, with federal law and treaties at an equal level (where they conflict, the most recent trumps). All of those are superior to state constitutions, which are superior to state laws.

            People often misread the Constitutional language indicating that treaties are superior to state constitutions, which is where the confusion arises.

            This having been said, treaties are often used as an end-run around Congress. First, they're developed by the executive branch, which otherwise cannot write federal law at such a high level, and can be much more secretive and less receptive to the will of the people than Congress. Second, only the Senate is involved in ratification, and they cannot amend treaties, so it's a pure yes or no vote. Third, the Senate can be pressured into ratifying, on the basis that the US has committed to its treaty partners, after a diplomatic process that may have taken years, and shouldn't let them down at such a late stage. And fourth, if the treaty is not self-executing, Congress as a whole is pressured into enacting enabling legislation, lest we not be in compliance with the treaty.

            It isn't good, but we're stuck with this system and its flaws, barring either a Constitutional amendment that would give Congress more of a diplomatic role, or the Congress (particularly the Senate) developing a spine and looking to the public interest.

            • If only we could round up all the politicians and lobbyists in the same small area and convince them like lemmings to jump off a bridge...

              I think a lot of things would improve.

              • by mpe (36238)
                If only we could round up all the politicians and lobbyists in the same small area and convince them like lemmings to jump off a bridge...
                I think a lot of things would improve.


                So long as it was a bridge over deep water and you made sure they were wearing heavy enough clothing that they wouldn't float. So there wouldn't be any mess to clean up afterwards.
        • by NovaHorizon (1300173) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:25AM (#25034661)
          Hmm.. Seems you and the parent here (as most people are) are unaware that the United States is not and never was a democracy.

          I demonstrate my point 1 one very simple exercise. Say the Pledge of Allegiance.

          I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

          On top of that, democracies are bad.

          "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
          - Benjamin Franklin

          Also, nothing the government does can supersede the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is not a declaration of what the people are allowed. It is a list to remind the government of what they cannot prevent. We made the Government, and gave it privileges. It can NOT infringe on the rights we have for being sovereign individuals. In fact...

          "The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants."
          -- Thomas Jefferson

          ...

          /rant

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by cpt kangarooski (3773)

            "Democracy is two wolves and a lamb voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well-armed lamb contesting the vote!"
            - Benjamin Franklin

            Of course, Franklin never actually said that. It's more likely from the late 20th century.

          • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

            by Waffle Iron (339739)

            Seems you and the parent here (as most people are) are unaware that the United States is not and never was a democracy.

            Yes it is. It's a democratic republic.

            No country in the history of civilization (including ancient Greece) has ever been a "pure democracy". Insisting on your kind of pedantry would make the word democracy completely useless.

            Moreover, any country without a hereditary king is a republic, including Burma, Syria, Sadaam's Iraq, Mussolini's Italy, etc. So the word "republic" by itself doesn't mean much. Specifically, republic != liberty. The only way we've found to ensure liberty so far is to use a democratic r

            • by gantzm (212617) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @08:10AM (#25036975)

              Yes it is. It's a democratic republic.

              Actually it's a constitutional republic.

              But nobody seem to bother with that old piece of paper these days.

            • by mpe (36238)
              No country in the history of civilization (including ancient Greece) has ever been a "pure democracy". Insisting on your kind of pedantry would make the word democracy completely useless.

              Actually it was Classical Athens. At the time there was no Greek nation state, instead various city states with various forms of government. The form of government used in Athens at the time was radically different from that currently in existance anywhere now though.

              Moreover, any country without a hereditary king is a
              • The objective meaning of those words are not changed just because some countries incorrectly include them in their names.

            • by Holi (250190)

              Actually it is a representative republic. but now we are just quibbiling on semantics.

          • Also, nothing the government does can supersede the Bill of Rights. The Bill of Rights is not a declaration of what the people are allowed.

            FAIL!

            the bill of rights is a list of things the government is not permitted to do, and it has been razed, ground to a fine powder, burned, deatomized, put through a particle accelarator, and the atomic soup left dispersed from the probe we shot into jupiter.

            There are many rulings which completely ignore the bill of rights when the sellouts in the USSC see more money on the side of corrupted interests.

            Examples: the souter eminent domain ruling, the refusal to entertain a case brought against the government f

          • I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

            To most of us, a republic is any state without a king or queen. China is a republic. So is North Korea. A democracy is any state where power derives from an electoral mandate from the mass population. China and North Korea, despite being republics, are not democracies. Britain and Canada, despite being democracies, are not republics. The USA is bo

          • by conlaw (983784)

            Nothing the government does can supersede the Bill of Rights.

            If you believe that, then please explain how Bush and friends have been able to abrogate our rights under the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Eighth amendments on the ground that they're protecting us against terrorism.

        • by Yvanhoe (564877)
          I agree on the referendum part, but today, when a treaty is signed, it is not automatically a law. It is a (usually presidential) agreement to pass a law in the country. Some treaties take a long time to be ratified. Some are even contested by successors.
      • by GooberToo (74388)

        My son is 18. He only read Animal Farm because the teacher gave extra credit for it and he needed it. By in large, those books are part of fewer and fewer people's education. The reason most often given is that the books are too old and therefore the student body can not relate to them. It smells of political agenda to me.

    • I heartily agree there Brave New hpycmprok! Education in the USA has tanked. Too many otherwise good people are not completing high school. See the David Brooks editorial below (NyTimes registration required). A summary; the USA was fine and improving through 1970 then from 1975 to 1990 education graduation did not move. Other countries during that time moved ahead. The article is based on two books. Goldin and Katz http://www.amazon.com/Race-between-Education-Technology/dp/0674028678 [amazon.com] "Schools, Skills, a
      • by GooberToo (74388)

        The article is based on two books.

        The problem is the absolute failure of the "No Child Left Behind" policies. Kids are allowed to fail their classes and proceed to the next grade. This can continue for their entire school career so long as they pass a final minimal requirements test for each grade. Guess what, a large portion are unable to pass this test and drop out because they were never taught anything in the first place.

        Teachers are no longer allowed to teach. They only give instruction on passing "No

    • by wellingj (1030460)
      When you say "Corporations are taking over the world", are you generalizing a bit, or do you really hate Capitalism, or do you have a better explanation for Corporations as the cause of the crap storm that is our future?

      Please don't read this as a troll I'm just trying to understand your perspective on the matter.

      Essentially you and I can agree on a number of things although I would add Atlas Shrugged to that list, and I would say "People who do not think are taking over the world."

      I'm curious as to h
      • by node 3 (115640) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:35AM (#25034741)

        When you say "Corporations are taking over the world", are you generalizing a bit, or do you really hate Capitalism

        I'm not the OP, but hating what Capitalism has wrought is not the same as hating Capitalism, just as hating your wife's lasagna is not the same as hating your wife.

        Corporations, and Capitalism, have a very critical role in our world, but ruling the world is not their role. Corporations exist primarily (some would say solely, but I think that's too simplistic) to serve the interests of their shareholders, or owners. If Corporations were to rule the world, essentially, we would be taking the rulership away from The People, where it belongs, and giving it to the wealthy few.

        So, for me, I don't hate Capitalism, but I do most definitely hate many of the things Capitalists have done.

        The world is not so black-and-white.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by hpycmprok (219527)

        When you say "Corporations are taking over the world", are you generalizing a bit, or do you really hate Capitalism, or do you have a better explanation for Corporations as the cause of the crap storm that is our future?

        I'd really love to say that I'm generalizing a bit. I'm not an expert, and it'd be better if I'm dead wrong. The tired cliché is 'follow the money'. Corporations act legally as individuals but with only the obligation to increase shareholder value. I don't hate capitalism. Historicall

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by wellingj (1030460)

          I didn't mean to accidentally start a discussion. I promise to go back in my hole and lurk more.

          No need to apologize, in this day and age you should be congratulated.

          I agree with you basic assessment of Corporations in the fact that they are more or less headless entities. They are a collective which is treated as an individual. If I had my way there would be no such thing as publicly owned companies. But that's my simple summation of it, and I realize it wouldn't solve everything, but when you can hang

      • by wrook (134116) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @07:57AM (#25036889) Homepage

        I'm also not the parent, but here are some good links that will explain what many people are concerned about:

        Capitalism [wikipedia.org] which many people think is good.

        Corporate Capitalism [wikipedia.org] which cause some people to be a bit worried.

        Corporatocracy [wikipedia.org] which causes some people to be very worried.

        Corporatism [wikipedia.org] which a very large number of people find extremely worrisome.

        Fascism [wikipedia.org] which is considered to be a really, really bad idea by a very large number of people.

        If you read through all of those links, ask yourself honestly where you feel that your country sits on the scale. The parent expresses concern. After reading these links, do you share their concern?

    • by Kjella (173770)

      A lot of (depressing) people have claimed that every civilization will devolve into some crappy hellhole, before people again will revolt and take back their rights for a short while. Though I'm not that glum, obviously those that have never had their rights threatened don't realize how valuable they are. Sure you learn about it in school but that's something that happen in places far, far away and not in the "civilized" world. My dad remembers WWII. I remember the Cold War. What do the youth of today remem

      • by MightyMartian (840721) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:20AM (#25034635) Journal

        The problem ultimately is that people in the West have become incredibly coddled. It's not that they trust governments more than they did in the past, it's just that they can't get out of their web browser, off the telephone to Aunt Mavis or turn off the TV long enough to give a shit about the nature of liberty and the need of vigilance. People may not always be happy to surrender personal responsibility to their governments, but they're too fucking lazy to realize that it's not themselves they're selling down the river, but rather their children and grandchildren, who will suffer the consequences much more severely than us.

        Governments always have and always will tend towards tyranny. It is the nature of the species that we organize ourselves into dominance hierarchies, and that very fundamental encoded behavior is a powerful force. The Founding Fathers, along with many great minds of the Enlightenment, hoped to create societies and complimentary political systems that could overcome to some degree human nature, to create societies that could strive for freedom, justice and equality, where the least in society could at least dare to hope that they might be able to enjoy the liberties of the greatest.

        But, sadly, America, like most of the West, is turning its back on the Enlightenment. We are rapidly becoming a civilization that will sell itself away bit by bit, giving away every hard-earned freedom for the promise of security (which, as even the most tyrannical regimes in history demonstrate, can never really be bought). So many believe the lies of the corporate-government oligarchies, not because the lies are believable, but because believing the lies is so much easier than the alternative, which involves using democracy to punish the liars.

        And now look. Wall Street is melting down, and the liars are begging for aid from the catastrophe they caused. Where are the citizens, commanding their political servants, flexing their muscle, making the mighty tremble in their cracking ivory towers? No, much easier to let our betters do what's right, even though letting our betters do what's right has thus far lead to one of the most severe (if not the most severe) financial crises since 1929.

        But that's alright, because a new television season is here, and the Feds will throw lots of money around, and it's Tuesday and I'm tired after picking the kids up from soccer practice, and I've got to get to work early tomorrow, and what can one vote do, and voting for a third party is throwing my vote way, and... and... and... and...

        • by Danse (1026)

          But that's alright, because a new television season is here, and the Feds will throw lots of money around, and it's Tuesday and I'm tired after picking the kids up from soccer practice, and I've got to get to work early tomorrow, and what can one vote do, and voting for a third party is throwing my vote way, and... and... and... and...

          Says the guy on the intarwebs. :) Seriously though, thanks to our ridiculous election system which is rigged to ensure that we only get two viable parties, voting for a third party isn't throwing your vote away, it's actually more like voting for the guy you can't stand, because he's ultimately the one that will likely win when the vote splits between the other two.

        • I wish there was a hall of fame for Slashdot posts. This would be in it.

        • I normally hate empty replies of "ditto", but I have really nothing to contribute to your comment other than "Well said".

          If there was a hall of fame for Slashdot posts, yours would be in it.

    • by Spy der Mann (805235) <spydermann.slashdotNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:24AM (#25034655) Homepage Journal

      Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, etc...

      When I was in school (a while ago) these were books we had to read.

      Seems most people 10, 15, or more years younger than myself haven't even heard of these stories.

      Nope, but they've watched V for Vendetta, the Matrix... and maybe Gattaca.

    • Corporations took over the world.

      There, fixed it for ya.

    • Brave New World, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, etc...

      When I was in school (a while ago) these were books we had to read.

      Ah, so that explains prevalence of the irrational fear of authority!

      Schools forcing students to read a line up like that? That's not teaching free thought, that's institutionalising paranoia.

      (A reminder to mods: discussions usually require two points of view. Otherwise no-one actually gets to learn anything.)

      • by Teun (17872)
        It seems you have comprehension problem.

        These books don't instil fear of authority but instead warn us for the abuse of authority.

        Authority on it's own is not bad when you need to steer in a difficult sea. Through a democratic system we can assign, for a limited time, this authority to the one trusted by most.

        When you'd be modded down it's likely not because of your point of view but instead for the lack of it.

        • These books don't instil fear of authority but instead warn us for the abuse of authority.

          I see little difference in effect, if people insist on making the prevention of abuse of authority their number one priority. Sure it's all well and good to be aware of how authority can be abused, but all that anti-authoritarian literature forced on kids, well, it might explain the lack of moderation in some people's views.

          • by Teun (17872)
            Come on! You know these are only a few of the required titles.

            Among the rest there should be enough to make the balance.

    • by Artraze (600366) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:33AM (#25034727)

      Um... Most schools I'm aware of still teach at least one of the ones you listed, and most 2. The others usually show up on a list of books for something like a book report as homework across a break. The problem is far from a lack of education. It's a mix of stupid 'journalism' and apathy.

      Just look at this year. You can't turn on the damn TV or open a newspaper or magazine, etc. without hearing about the presidential race. Every four years it's always the same old "get out the vote" BS, and the other three (and their primaries) are barely even reported, let alone discussed. People (that aren't totally out of it) know that congress passes the laws, and the laws are what actually affect you, but they just never seem to realize that means their congressmen matter, even more than the president. Sure, if, say, Jesus were to show up and appoint someone to the presidency who knew what the hell was going on and actually cared about the people and their rights, then the veto power could be used for some good, but I'm certainly not holding my breath.

      The other problem is that people don't understand that the law isn't "The Law". They never realize that it's not some ancient black tome with gold letters that's been the sitting at SCOTUS for 200 years, but rather that it is a living reflection of their will. Most people just think that congress passes laws and they have to obey them. It's pathetic really, and primarily the result of the centralization of power at the federal level. (And at the state level for those powers the constitution expressly forbids the federal government from having. I'm looking at you drinking age!)

      It used to be that the most power rested with the local government and the people would get together and decide how they wanted their community to run. That is why schools are run by local governments. They were set up by the community to teach kids what they thought they should know. Now we see massive pressure from the states to teach a precise curriculum and even more regulations on top of those. (e.g. public school is so damn expensive now because they are required to educate _everyone_ because it's apparently important to force children who are medically retarded through the same mold as those that aren't). Things like these make people feel powerless. The further up the power goes, the less their vote counts, and the more beholden to the higher-ups for funding for the regulations that are forced upon them (e.g. see above).

      I was visiting a friend a couple months back and he warned me about a school zone (15MPH speed limit for those who don't know) they had just put in. Nothing on that road had changed in 20+ years, including the fact that it had no sidewalks, nor anything but forest opposite the school. But for some reason the township had recently declared it a school zone and stationed a police officer there. The result being high school students being hit with tickets for $200+ for going only 25MPH or so on a road that normal 35MPH. Nobody liked it, so I hold him to get together with a group of people and tell the commissioners something to the effect of "This is our community and if we don't want a school zone with camped out officer then we better not have one, and sure as hell better not be paying for one". I don't know if that ever happened, but regardless, it hasn't changed.

      I've gone a bit far off the path, but the point is these are all things that reasonably intelligent (i.e. not on Jaywalking) people _know_, they just don't _understand_. The challenge is actually getting them to realize that _they_ are the solution and voting for the best turd sandwich every four years is not.

  • Look for a simpler answer... maybe it's just not ready yet? Sure, everyone can guess and make up bad stuff, but ultimately it's going to get presented and read and voted on. Not that we're necessarily going to like it, but keep your pants on!

    --
    Educational microcontroller kits for the digital generation! Free electronics videos. [nerdkits.com]

    • Re:Occam's razor? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spikedvodka (188722) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @11:00PM (#25034203)

      yes, but it's much easier to arrange a "civil protest" about an action when you know what's going on BEFORE they vote on it.

      not to push buttons here, but if there had been enough time prior to the patriot act being voted on, do you think people would have gotten into an uproar?

      for this whole democracy thing to work right, we need to have an edumacated populace, we need to know what's going on in enough time to tell our congress-critters how we feel they should represent us.

      • by srothroc (733160)
        Before an educated populace, I think you need one that really cares. If they care, they'll try to educate themselves (hopefully)...
    • If you want to see it in advance then pay like everybody else [riaa.org]

  • ACTA Now! (Score:3, Funny)

    by dotslashdot (694478) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @11:04PM (#25034231)
    Better ACTA soon, or you will have to forfeit the counterfeit.
  • No problem (Score:4, Funny)

    by PPH (736903) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @11:09PM (#25034257)
    Send them a fake copy.
    • by CSMatt (1175471)

      You joke, but I wouldn't be surprised if this is actually what would happen, given all of the secrecy behind the ACTA and the need to get rid of all the recent public outcry.

  • FOIA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by poetmatt (793785) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @11:26PM (#25034349) Journal

    I requested it via FOIA and they danced around it and eventually refused. It'd be nice to see it come out, although I hope this "citizen's group" collectively sent in a few FOIA requests on this one.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday September 16, 2008 @11:36PM (#25034395) Journal
    The fact that this is even an issue suggests that things are thoroughly rotten. There are arguably justified instances of government secrecy(aspects of national defence, any private data that has to be handled during course of business, certain subsets of police activity); but there is absolutely no plausible claim that ACTA falls under such a heading.

    Unfortunately, even figuring out who is responsible is a rather murky business. This is the one thing that really bothers me about a lot of international/multinational activities and organizations. Democracy is tenuous enough with the layers of alleged representation within a nation, once you lay a mass of appointed diplomats on top of that, you get something largely opaque and unresponsive. That might be ok if your job is agreeing that starving orphans are tragic; but if you work will end up as law across the developed world, you need to do better than that.(well, actually you don't, and we just have to suck it up; but I meant that in the normative sense)
    • by corsec67 (627446)

      Hence the 10th amendment. The larger the government layer, the harder it is to change.

      Too bad many people don't care any more.

      If California wants to make marijuana legal, they should be able to, since it isn't interstate commerce.

      • by Teun (17872)

        If California wants to make marijuana legal, they should be able to, since it isn't interstate commerce.

        Just wait for the first harvest :)

  • by DustoneGT (969310) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:20AM (#25034633)
    That The Anointed One [barackobama.com] and Captain America [johnmccain.com] are both involved in this...
    • Involved how? Involved in the groups opposing it? (Somehow I doubt that was the direction you were going with this)

  • by clarkkent09 (1104833) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @12:30AM (#25034705)
    Citizens Demand To See Secret ACTA Treaty

    It wouldn't be secret if you could see it, now would it. Now be patriotic and buy some $16 CDs. Otherwise Bin Laden wins!!!
  • Because the public knows about ACTA, means that they can try to do something about it.

    What about the secret treaties, of which we know nothing?

    They might be trying to ban civilian use of tinfoil, or something like that.

  • by plasmacutter (901737) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @05:17AM (#25036137)

    I just did a google news search, and nobody outside the ars technica/slashdot crowd has stories listed for this.

    The fact that such a huge coalition is being ignored by CNN, NBC, ABC, REUTERS, et. al. shows how deeply these news agencies are buried under the thumb of the media cartels.

    Positively disgusting.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by steelfood (895457)

      Erm, they are the media cartels. Obviously, they're going to ignore it.

      The internet is a great threat to them, and in more than one way. That's why they want to control it with treaties such as this.

  • by Lazy Jones (8403) on Wednesday September 17, 2008 @06:24AM (#25036411) Homepage Journal
    How is it possible that citizens must comply with laws that they cannot know because they're secret? (see also: papersplease.org [papersplease.org]).

    Also, how can this still be called a "democracy" when those people, who are supposedly holding the power, are not allowed to know what their so-called representatives are doing?

  • pretty soon all media will become so encumbered and restricted no one will dare channel surf in any format. i think it would be a pretty good thing...might get kids to start reading again. then again, i watch alot of spongebob squarepants, so id expect some sort of underground bootleg network of pirates (a bay of sorts perhaps) to surface.
  • We have an election coming up in Canada on October 14. I have not heard a single thing from any of the 5 party leaders on this issue.

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