Partial list of corporate lickspittles who are allowed to know what's in the secret copyright treaty the Obama administration claims is a matter of "national security"

Remember yesterday's post about how the Obama administration had refused to release the details of a secret copyright treaty because doing so would compromise "national security?" Well, it turns out that there are plenty of people who are cleared to be privy to this "sensitive" document -- strangely, they all seem to work for giant copyright companies!

Of course, they're allowed to know what's in the treaty -- but the public, activist groups, consumer rights groups, and the artists whom this treaty is supposed to protect are all forbidden from knowing what it says.

What an embarrassment for an administration that holds itself out as an end to the corrupt, business-as-usual beltway fandango.

Chairman , Mr. Eric H. Smith
President
International Intellectual Property Alliance

Vice-Chairman
Mr. Jacques J. Gorlin
President
The Gorlin Group

Sandra M. Aistars, Esq.
Senior Counsel, Intellectual Property
Time Warner Inc.

Kira M. Alvarez, Esq.
Director, International Government Affairs
Eli Lilly and Company

Mark Chandler, Esq.
Senior Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary
Cisco Systems, Inc.

Ms. Erin L. Ennis
Vice President
The U.S.-China Business Council

Francis (Frank) Z. Hellwig, Esq.
Senior Associate, General Counsel
Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc.

J. Anthony Imler, Ph.D.
Director, Public Policy, Latin America
Merck & Co., Inc.

Ms. Mary A. Irace
Vice President, Trade and Export Finance
National Foreign Trade Council, Inc.

Jeffrey P. Kushan, Esq.
Sidley, Austin, Brown & Wood LLP
Representing Biotechnology Industry Organization

Stevan D. Mitchell, Esq.
Vice President, Intellectual Property Policy
Entertainment Software Association

Douglas T. Nelson, Esq.
Executive Vice President, General Counsel, and Secretary
CropLife America

Timothy P. Trainer, Esq.
President
Global Intellectual Property Strategy Center, P.C.
Representing the Thomas G. Faria Corporation

Neil I. Turkewitz, Esq.
Executive Vice President
Recording Industry Association of America

Ms. Susan C. Tuttle
Governement Programs Executive
IBM Corporation

Mr. Herbert C. Wamsley
Executive Director
Intellectual Property Owners Association

Ms. Anissa S. Whitten
Trade Director
Motion Picture Association of America, Inc.

Ms. Deborah E. Wiley
Senior Vice President
John Wiley and Sons, Inc.
Association of American Publishers, Inc.

Shirley Zebroski, Ph.D
Director, Legislative Affairs
General Motors Corporation

Who are the cleared advisors that have access to secret ACTA documents?

79

  1. Is this really a big shocker? Business as usual (and yes… I did vote for Obama. But did it without thinking that change is a’comin’ though).

  2. Um, can somebody tell me why I’m not allowed to know what’s in the treaty, but the senior associate in a freaking BREWERY company (Anheuser-Busch) is? This really annoys me.

  3. National security, huh? Well, if the treaty goes through in full, then I guess I can’t share my favorite open source .txt document via PvP.

    It says: “Don’t tread on me”

  4. Is anyone still unaware that “national security” means whatever they want it to mean? It means “SHUT UP!!!!!1!!11!! BECAUSE SCARY CANNIBALISTIC ZOMBIE FOREIGNER RAPE SQUADS ARE COMING FOR YOUR CHILDRENS AND YOUR DOG!!!1! … OR NOT, JUST SHUT UP THOUGH KTHXBYE”

  5. The second on the list, “The Gorlin group” is interesting. I’d never heard of it, but a quick Google found its website. It looks like a lobbying corporation – but get a look at its clients!

    A Partial List of Past and Current Clients

    [First the ones who are worried about their own intellectual property, mostly pharmaceuticals but also Microsoft and … IBM? Didn’t they use to be in computers? Also Time Warner, which is a magazine publisher.]

    Bristol-Myers Squibb
    DuPont
    FMC Corporation
    General Electric
    Gilead
    GlaxoSmithKline
    Hewlett-Packard
    IBM
    Johnson & Johnson
    Lilly
    Merck
    Microsoft
    Monsanto
    Novartis
    Pfizer
    Pharmacia
    Procter & Gamble
    Rockwell International
    Schering Plough
    Texas Instruments
    Time Warner
    Westinghouse

    [Now comes the industry groups]

    American BioIndustry Alliance (ABIA)
    Business Roundtable
    Intellectual Property Committee (IPC)
    International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations (IFPMA)
    INTERPAT
    Pharmaceutical Manufacturers Association of South Africa
    Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers Association (PhRMA)
    RDPAC (R&D-based Pharmaceutical Association in China)

    You can see that the big money amongst their clients is in medicine. I’d be surprised if Microsoft, IBM and TI are current clients. Then looking past the Gorlin group you find many of the same names, including Merck and Lilly. But you also get some WTF? moments. Anheuser-Busch sells beer. Yes, I guess they’re interested in trademark infringement, but no more than any other manufacturer. GM? Are they scared that people will drive them into bankruptcy by imittaing their cars? And most of all – Thomas G. Faria Corporation. As far as I can make out, they sell speedometers. Unless there’s something I’m missing out on, their corporate counsel just got a chance to take a holiday in Washington DC.

  6. What worse is that these jokers also get access to Gerald Ford’s hefty collection of “Hustler” back issues, too.

  7. Joe in australia: brewer’s yeast is subject to genetic manipulation: any industry which incorporates bio-elements in the production change will be more interested in patents; this is true for big pharma, too: but what have they to say about copyright?
    If we were in a slightly different world, would big marijuana producers be on the list of invitees too, and what for?
    Perhaps the Treaty is more like a patent+copyright thingy.
    OTOH as big advertisers the beer cos have an interest in big mass media, and they in turn have a very great interest in copyrights, indeed. But if so why not have the ginsu knife people (and all big ad firms)there too? (Then again, maybe they are, via their corp masters)

  8. Also Time Warner, which is a magazine publisher.

    You mean AOL Time Warner, the telecommunications and media company?

    major operations in film, television, publishing, Internet service and telecommunications. Among its subsidiaries are AOL, New Line Cinema, Time Inc., Time Warner Cable, HBO, Turner Broadcasting System, The CW Television Network, TheWB.com, UBU Productions, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Kids’ WB, The CW4Kids, Cartoon Network, CNN, DC Comics, and Mohawk Productions.

  9. Perhaps the Treaty is more like a patent+copyright thingy.

    You mean harmonisation? Like how the DMCA got exported as the EUCD?

    The worst part is that this elimination of comparative advantage will likely be spun as some kind of “free trade” agreement. …like calling Guantanamo Bay a “freedom camp”.

  10. Well you know I hold it as a principle, that property owners are best qualified to set the rules as to property: they know it best.
    This looks like a working session amongst those who hold a the majority of income-producing monopoly rights arising under patent and copyright legislation.
    To the extent that it is a gathering of rentiers enabled to be such by public legislation and public grants of monopoly privilege, it should be open to the public.
    To the extent that it is a gathering of property owners calibrating their relations amongst themselves and their relations as a group to others, it ought to be private.
    In corporatist 21st C. America, it is weirdly difficult to say as to where to draw the line.
    My instinct says that the line bounding what can be rightfully treated as property has been drawn wrongly: some things are being treated as “property” which ought not to be, and that this in turn has led to the blurring of public/private interests.
    In practical terms that means some are getting more, while others are getting less, than they ought: that imbalance makes it a public concern, if the entire edifice is based (as it is) on public legislation.

  11. Sadly, it’s unlikely that anyone from a major news organization is going to report this story.

  12. I have two question…

    Where did the term “lickspittle” come from?
    And just how does one acquire the title “esquire”?

  13. Sadly, it’s unlikely that anyone from a major news organization is going to report this story.

    You mean those “indispensable professional journalists” — who do the investigations that bloggers and citizen journalists aren’t equipped to handle — won’t report on this either? Good thing we still have those “professionals” then; without out them, who knows what important news would go unreported.

    (Hell, even Exposé had to be folded into Bill Moyers Journal to stay on the air.)

  14. And just how does one acquire the title “esquire”?

    Traditionally, you have to be the first born male in your immediate family.

    In modern use, however, it’s been hijacked by lawyers so they can have a fancy title, the same way doctors get “M.D.” or “Dr. So-and-so”.

  15. Not sure if this is entirely reliant but has anyone seen the film Network? It seems that very few people who have even heard of it: they’re missing out!

  16. “And just how does one acquire the title “esquire”?

    Traditionally, you have to be the first born male in your immediate family.

    In modern use, however, it’s been hijacked by lawyers so they can have a fancy title, the same way doctors get “M.D.” or “Dr. So-and-so”.”

    Not so modern. If memory serves me right, Samuel Pepys gets giddy after receiving his first letter addressed to him as S. Pepys, Esquire, after being made clerk in the Royal Naval Office.

  17. Really?

    Titanics of the industry but not the people can know whats going on?

    Really Obama, Really? (head tilt)

  18. I put Esq after my name sometimes just fuck with people! Try it, you’ll like it!

    Viscount Cupcake Fairie, Esq. III

  19. Stanley Spadowski: This is my new mop. George, my friend, he gave me this mop. This is a pretty good mop. It’s not as good as my first mop. I miss my first mop, but this is still a good mop. Sometimes you just hafta take what life gives ya, ’cause life is like a mop and sometimes life gets full of dirt and crud and bugs and hairballs and stuff… you, you, you gotta clean it out. You, you, you gotta put it in here and rinse it off and start all over again and, and sometimes, sometimes life sticks to the floor so bad you know a mop, a mop, it’s not good enough, it’s not good enough. You, you gotta get down there, like, with a toothbrush, you know, and you gotta, you gotta really scrub ’cause you gotta get it off. You gotta really try to get it off. But if that doesn’t work, that doesn’t work, you can’t give up. You gotta, you gotta stand right up. You, you gotta run to a window and say, “Hey! These floors are dirty as hell, and I’m not gonna take it any more!”

  20. So much for all this transparency we’ve been hearing about–especially re: lobbying and special interests.

    Maybe it’s for our own good, because God forbid the terrorists get our precious IP.

  21. Why’d he bother with all the ‘transparency’ talk if it was just hooplah? Sadly it sounds like he’s just going to be using doublethink – proclaiming he’s transparent while not living up to it.

  22. “Sadly, it’s unlikely that anyone from a major news organization is going to report this story.” -Phoomp — well of course they wont, afterall the subject matter is TOP SECRET national security – they might end up in gitmo as a ‘non-enemy-combatant’ being ‘not tortured’

  23. @ Michael Leung #2

    I think we all know the answer to that. They get to know and you don’t because, unlike the people on that list, you’re just like the rest of us: insignificant, powerless, poor, and just about to get royally fucked — either by this piece of legislation or by whichever of its successors they manage to sneak or ram past us in the future.

  24. Poor Doctor Ow is just going nuts, wondering what’s in that treaty. Would somebody PLEASE make something up so he can feed the ducks in peace?

  25. Obama is a cheap two-bit Chicago pol who managed to brainwash a lot of gullible saps. Anyone who thought that he was “an end to the corrupt, business-as-usual beltway fandango” was kidding himself.

    The scope of the corruption that will come to define the Obama administration will be staggering and beyond the scope of anything this country has seen in its history.

    Mark those words.

  26. The scope of the corruption that will come to define the Obama administration will be staggering and beyond the scope of anything this country has seen in its history.

    It’d have to be staggering just to surpass the bar set by his predecessor.

  27. Please note how there’s no one representing the rights of the USER in this SEKRIT LAW. Just a healthy representation for the producers. And whats up with the beer people? Is no one going to be able to own a Clydesdale horse now after they’re done or something?

  28. My hope for Obama was that the government would get worse more slowly than it did with Bush. I guess I shouldn’t have been so hopeful.

    Wiretaps we can believe in.
    Extraordinary rendition we can believe in.
    Secrecy we can believe in.

    What’s next on his list?

  29. Here, have a Hegelian interpretation of what’s happening:

    Our new tools – computers and the internet – have augmented behaviour that flies in the face of copyright law. This has endangered the extant superstructure – existing copyright laws. And so those who benefit the most from the superstructure – the entertainment industry – wish to suppress this augmented social behaviour by augmenting the superstructure – new and more unreasonable copyright laws.

    The prevalence of this social behaviour, however, renders the superstructure most likely unworkable on a large scale – it criminalises the majority. Whether both sides – the public and the entertainment industry – can come to a solution where the public act largely in the way they wish, silently flying the face of copyright law, and the entertainment industry gains augmented financial rewards seems unlikely, but not impossible.

    The entertainment industry may, through these new laws, however, destroy their source of income: through losing the goodwill of their customers and quite possibly artists too; or through destroying their artists’ marketing, which more and more relies on illegal copying and distribution on the internet.

    I believe the entertainment industry is eating itself.

  30. One of the only accomplishments of the Bremer regime in Iraq was the passing of similar laws, to protect the almighty MNC’s precious IP:

    http://www.historycommons.org/context.jsp?item=gm-132#gm-132

    Paul Bremer, the US administrator for Iraq, issues Order 81 rewriting Iraq’s 1970 patent law. The order extends intellectual property right protections to plants, making it illegal for Iraqi farmers to save, share, or replant seeds harvested from new varieties registered under the law. The order was written with the help of Linda Lourie, an attorney-advisor in the US Patent Office’s Office of External Affairs. She was invited to Iraq to help draft laws that would ensure Iraq’s eligibility into the World Trade Organization (WTO). Bremer’s order, however, makes Iraq’s patent law stricter even than the WTO-compliant 1991 International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (see March 19, 1991), which allows its member-states to exempt farmers from the prohibition against seed saving. Lourie claims these changes were sanctioned by the Iraqi governing council, which she says wants Iraq to have the strongest intellectual property rules in the region in order to attract private investment.

    //

  31. The EFF’s response has been more sensible and measured:

    Obama gave Holder the task of laying out the ground rules related to the president’s Jan. 21 FOIA memo, which instructed agencies to presume that information requested by the public should be released, unless there are compelling reasons not to.

    EFF is unsure when Holder will issue his guidelines, said David Sobel, a senior attorney there. “I don’t think the new FOIA policy and the commitment to openness has really percolated through the agencies,” he said. “I’d like to believe the new administration is going to use that time to rethink its position.”

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/161234/obama_administration_says_treaty_text_is_state_secret.html

    That reflects my feeling — this is awkward, but it’s an awkward oversight, not a reflection of some new draconian policy. Change takes time. Obama probably hasn’t even heard about the FOIA request — he’s got a lot in his schedule, and this story broke less than 24 hours ago. But that doesn’t really feed the internet drama monster, does it?

    You know, the “change.gov is no longer asking for citizen input” post a few months ago generated a lot of drama, too. Then the new version of the site went live, and all those features were put back in, and nobody noticed. But I only mention that so I can make this point: just once, just once, I’d like to see a discussion of an Obama decision that didn’t include the quote from Won’t Get Fooled Again. C’mon, people — I was carving that on school desks in 1983. I saw it four times, in four different fora, while researching this FOIA request.

    In his first two months, Obama has overturned the stem cell ban, moved to close Gitmo, enacted the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, set forth new FOIA guidelines, and done a bunch more things Bush & Co. fought tooth-and-nail against, all while dealing with a global financial crisis and two ongoing wars. But every time he (or someone who works for him) makes a minor misstep (and this is a minor misstep), it’s “Meet the new boss! Same as the old boss! Snicker-snee!”

    It’s like the twister came, ripping up the house and flinging it from Kansas to Oz, and all Dorothy can say when she steps out into Technicolor is, “Pff. We have midgets at home, too.”

  32. After voting for a Chicago politician, the American public is shocked to discover the office filled by a Chicago politician.

  33. There is no good democratic reason to not keep procedings of this nature completely transparent. If that is not the case then any decision reached in the end lacks democratic authority and we will not be compelled to follow it. On the contrary, any decision reached via undemocratic proceedings creates a moral carte blanche for piracy.

  34. Anheiser Busch makes Budweiser. This is an internatinal copyright issue since Budwieser, in traditional beer terms merely means “from Budvar”- a city in Poland far away from any anheiser- busch breweries.

  35. I for one remember how little criticism of any kind whatsoever was directed at Bush in his first year in office – it was a marked contrast to the media’s attitude to clinton, it was as if someone had thrown a switch – and now hey!
    Another president they go after from before the get-go….
    The anti-O stuff stinks. And it’s orchestrated.

  36. Obama needs to choose where his loyalty is. Is he loyal to those corporations, or is he loyal to the people? At some point, like the French peasants in 1789, people will have enough. I hope Obama is on the correct side when that time comes.

  37. What folks should be concerned with is how the bio tech companies are jumping on the drm train with their genetic rights management (grm) lawsuits against food producers who use non licensed seed stock. These companies control what you eat and who can grow it at the most fundamental level.
    For those concerned and unaware check this out for a full list http://www.keionline.org/blogs/2009/03/13/who-are-cleared-advisors/

    The companies lobbying for the passage of ACTA are counting on the populace to be like the tv users of old ‘watch-what-we-provide-bitch-and-moan-and-go-to-sleep’
    Is there someone who can harness the power of reddit, digg, twitter et al. and show the axis of evil ACTA the power of internet users, that is crusaders?
    Anyone up for the task? I am a newbi or I would try.
    For everyone who is bitching, I hear ya…..but what are you personally going to do about it?
    It would be neat to see the net community stop this in it’s track. Might even make the news.

  38. JERE7MY – thank you for a reasoned response to the issue. I’m getting sick and tired of hearing on one side about how Obama is taking us to hell because he’s a communist and from the other that he’s pulling the wool over our eyes and that we’re all being duped and that is same song different singer. None of this squabbling and bickering and looking for the worst in everything serves us and does nothing more than shut down real conversation and real solutions to real problems.

  39. How is it BoingBoing justifies petty name-calling in its own headlines, while simultaneously disemvowelling any comments that commit the identical crime?

    It’s been explained. See the moderation thread and learn why it’s not the same thing. The Mod thread is linked at the top of this and every page. Happy reading.

    Has BoingBoing lost (or did it originally have) integrity?

    That is for each of us to decide. Now let me ask you, do you find time complaining about the free ice cream to be time well spent?

  40. 53 Comments and no one has said it yet? Ok. sigh.

    Please: Quit your pseudonymous bitching and use your outrage constructively. Call or write your congresspeople (don’t know how? Use the handy “my elected officials” box on http://www.congress.org ). Call the whitehouse. Post on Change.gov. Post on your twitblogspacebook. Post comments/write letters to mainstream media. Donate to ACLU/EFF/whoever, let them know why. Get in touch with those in your social networks who care about this kind of thing, explain the issue, and ask them to do the same. If nothing changes in a few weeks, get in touch with the usual suspects and start the process of organizing protests, or at least sign up for the announcement listserve.

    Centrist Chicago Politican Obama doesn’t get a “fail” from me yet (I’m in the “didn’t expect too much from someone allowed to become president” camp, tho) until I see how he responds to popular political pressure. This could be a good litmus test.

    Doubleplus hopechange to you all.

  41. Just follow the law. You don’t need to know what it says. We’ll tell you when you’ve done something wrong. We’re watching.

  42. Budwieser, in traditional beer terms merely means “from Budvar”- a city in Poland

    Ehmmm…

    Budweiser is from Budejovice (Budvar is a name of a the brewing company), a city in Czech Republic

    Peter (Polish/living in Toronto — hello Cory)

  43. I’m not at all a fan of President Obama, but y’all sound like a bunch of ugly girls hating on the prom queen. He’s done some good things and he’s done some bad things. His predecessor did only bad things. Perspective – let me sho u it.

  44. The only other time I’ve heard “lickspittle” is in Klaus Kinski’s too-brief scene from “Doctor Zhivago.”

  45. Actually, Budweiser may mean from Budvar, but Budvar is part of the Czech Republic, not Poland.

    What’s weird is that the Budvar brewery is famous for its Pilsner brews — and, of course, Pilsner means “from Pilsen” (which is the old name for the city of Plzen, also in Czech Republic).

    Because an American company started selling beer under the name of a famous European brewery, there have been numerous trademark disputes over the years. You can read it all in great detail on the Intarwebs. I suspect the involvement of the Anheiser Busch company is related to all the trademark nonsense.

  46. 1629 DAVENANT Albovine III. Gib, Lick her spittle From the ground. This disguiz’d humilitie Is both the swift, and safest way to pride.

    1825 J. WILSON Noct. Ambr. Wks. 1855 I. 40 To hear his lickspittles speak you would think that a man of great and versatile talents was a miracle.

    1851 BORROW Lavengro III. 319 It is only in England that literary men are invariably lick-spittles.

    1883 J. HAWTHORNE Dust I. 4 Stage-coachmen were..comrades to gentlemen, lickspittles to lords.

    1890 C. MARTYR W. Phillips 76 The South omnipotent and imperious, the North its errand-boy and lick-spittle.

    ~ OED

  47. I voted for Obama, and I’d do it again. But at no point did I think he was the Messiah. He’s just a regular Democratic president. He’ll give a bunch of money to poor people, they’ll feel like rich people, then they’ll believe the actually rich people that he’s taking money away from them, we’ll get a Republican president who will make sure that rich people will never have to give their money to poor people, then the poor people will continue to give all their money to rich people until they feel poor again, then we’ll get a Democrat.

    The problem with the American government is not the fault of either of the parties, but, rather, that it is a democracy. Asking a bunch of idiot Americans how they think the country should be run will always result in a crazy, bipolar government.

    When I’m king, expect there to be poll tests on basic economics, geography, and history. You don’t pass, you don’t vote. It would not only limit the voice of morons, but it would provide a motivation to actually learn something about the world before they spoke.

    Fascism? You bet.

  48. Gag. It is the Federal Reserve. Get rid of it. They puke ugly. Self serving all. They put the lie into Democracy and kill people. Secret societies. Family power. Self serving cowards bred for generations, no problem welcome to America. Melt down into your self serving ignorance and become a leader. That is the American Way. Don’t make a rats ass quiver when the top changes. Unless it looks at who is printing the Money.

  49. Re: Esq.

    Members of the working press (i.e., reporters, editors on recognized newsgathering agencies) are also permitted to use Esq. after their names.

    I was never able to bring myself to use it during my days as an ink-stained wretch.

  50. I have a theory, that Fltndboat’s posts aren’t supposed to be read as consecutive, coherent sentences.. but rather each sentence is sequentially related to a different sentence in [his] last, or future, posts.. We just need to find the key and it’ll all make sense.

    Very clever. Very clever, indeed.

    ~ OR ~ (and this is probably better)

    It’s all atopical, arrhythmic, free verse. Random, stream-of-consciousness; word clouds that occasionally make accidental sense (strictly localised to individual sentences). Like a face appearing in the spray of blood, vomit and excreta, blown on the wall of a smack-house, in a fit of uncharacteristic exertion by one of the junkos..

    Oh, the pretty colours! :)

  51. I just contacted the President, my senators, and my congressional representative about this. All I have to say is, if your not doing that, than you’re just talking smack.

  52. What a sad, yet in no way surprising, set of contrasts: two forms of American power, posted on BB.

    Here’s the logic and actions of corporate titans in the face of change and then there’s the heart-breaking humility and generosity found in Xeni’s beautiful post on Catherine Puzey, who died in Benin.

    The massive gap between these poles — let’s not simplify is as an noble individual versus evil corporations, as there’s a whole network of institutions behind Puzy’s Peace Corp mission and there are tons of good people within the ent. world who support innovation and change — represents the awesome, practically impossible challenge facing Obama.

    I’m w/ #39 and let’s also tone down the horror!, but also start taking action, publicizing this, asking for some high-profile social media, marketing talking heads to take a position here, esp. those who might like to strategize Bud-light’s sweet, new Facebook campaign.

    But instead of simplistic anger and reactive jeremiahs, I’m with the EFF

  53. Meanwhile, across the pond, they made a resolution on this matter:

    “Acting in accordance with Article 255(1) of the EC Treaty, the European Commission should immediately make all documents related to the ongoing international negotiations on the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) publicly available. ”

    North of the border they’re taking a different view, too.

    If the EC makes all documents publicly available, there ain’t much the US can do to keep them secret.

  54. I see no evidence that Obama’s copyright policies are orchestrated by a right-wing spin machine. In fact, I see every indication that when it comes to copyright Obama is pretty much wrong across the board. Just look at his running mate, for crying out– and appointing a bushel of ex-RIAA lawyers, etc. Obama + copyright = bad.

  55. I’m not going to attribute this to malice on the part of the Obama administration just yet. This treaty and secrecy got its start under the previous administration, and there’s enough other shit going on that there’s at least a chance they just haven’t gotten around to cleaning up their act in this area yet.

    On the other hand, he IS a Chicago pol, and I’ve always suspected his donor list was a bit more extensive than all those grassroots donors that got so much airplay during and after the election. There will be time. It would be a great chance for the Republicans to stage a filibuster in the senate over this treaty ratification, if it comes out of the negotiation process still under wraps.

    I wouldn’t classify Obama as cheap or two-bit, though. Blagoyevich was cheap, two-bit. Obama has already shown he’s high-priced by raising so much money, and not two-bit by beating the Clintons and the Republicans in a long, tough, campaign.

  56. Here’s a question from an ex-military type. If the information is classified, then everyone who is given the info must have a security clearance.
    Providing classified information to someone who does not have the proper clearance is unlawful under USC.
    If somebody is interested in attacking this classification, I would go after confirmation that all of these folks is cleared. If not, then they have violated federal law and are culpable for prosecution.

  57. @#61 Kyle Armbruster

    “The problem with the American government is not the fault of either of the parties, but, rather, that it is a democracy. Asking a bunch of idiot Americans how they think the country should be run will always result in a crazy, bipolar government.

    When I’m king, expect there to be poll tests on basic economics, geography, and history. You don’t pass, you don’t vote. It would not only limit the voice of morons, but it would provide a motivation to actually learn something about the world before they spoke.

    Fascism? You bet.”

    And here I thought I was the only one.. well since I am starting out in Canada, and you in the USA then might I suggest after we are both successful in each of our respective countries we then play a high stakes game of ‘risk’ for the rest?

  58. A little late, but nice to know:

    European Commission info sheet on ACTA (from their point of view, at least) [pdf].

    “The negotiations are still ongoing. There is, at this stage, no agreed text.”

    “ACTA is not designed to negatively affect consumers: the EU legislation (2003 Customs Regulation) has a de minimis clause that exempts travellers from checks if the infringing goods are not part of large scale traffic. EU customs, frequently confronted with traffics of drugs, weapons or people, do neither have the time nor the legal basis to look for a couple of pirated songs on an i-Pod music player or laptop
    computer, and there is no intention to change this.”

    [phew]

    “The negotiations are still ongoing. This means that there is no agreement yet, and that, at the time of writing this fact sheet, there is not even a draft text on which negotiating parties converge.

    A number of “texts”, wrongly presented as draft ACTA agreements have been circulated on the web. At a preliminary stage of the discussions about the idea of a future ACTA, some of the negotiating parties have submitted concept papers, to present their initial views of the project to other partners. Some of these concept
    papers have been circulated on the net or commented in the press and presented as “draft ACTA texts or negotiating guidelines”, which they are not.”

    [I read this as: “We sure as hell do not agree with the “draft” circulated last year, and are sticking up for EU citizens’ rights in every way we can.” It’s also interesting that there is not even the tiniest piece of text that has been agreed upon thus far. I take this to be a good sign – it really seemed like the Bush regime were pushing hard to get it through by end 2008, but this looks like the rest of the world pushed back. Maybe the secrecy is out of simple embarrassment?]

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