Saturday, March 12, 2011

Obama and "Transparent" Government

I accept that Obama is a heck of a lot better as a leader and as a human being than the slimy George Bush. But Obama sold himself to the American people as something better than what he really is. He sold himself as a liberal, but he is a centrist pragmatist. He sold himself as "change you can believe in" but delivered little real change. He sold himself as somebody who would fix the 2008 financial crisis and get America back to work, but he hasn't pushed any particular agenda of financial reform and Congress has given birth to a mouse. Also, Obama deliverd a stillborn "stimulus" package that was too small to get America out of 9% unemployment.

Here is the point of this post. Obama promised "transparent" government. But he has failed to deliver. Here is just one more example from Corey Doctorow at BoingBoing:
America fields "Son of ACTA" -- a new, sinister, secret copyright treaty

Knowledge Ecology International has published a leaked draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement, the latest secret, US-led treaty, this one targeting countries on the Pacific rim. The IP chapter of the agreement contains all the material that the US was forced to drop from ACTA, the last secret copyright treaty the States tried to sneak into the world. As with ACTA, the game plan for TPP will be to get a bunch of rich, powerful countries to sign on, and then use this as a benchmark for all treaties between those nations and the rest of the world.

Here's some of Michael Geist's analysis:
The U.S. plan is everything it wanted in ACTA but didn't get. For example, the digital lock rules are the U.S. DMCA, complete with exact same exceptions (no more, no less). The term of copyright matches the U.S. term of life of the author plus 70 years, beyond the Berne requirement and Canadian law. The ISP provisions including a copy of the U.S. notice-and-takedown system as well as provisions that go beyond U.S. law. In other words, the U.S. envisions using the TPP to export its copyright law to as many countries as possible while creating backdoor changes to its own domestic laws. Moreover, the chapter extends well beyond copyright, with patent provisions that would restrict countries' ability to restrict patentable subject matter.
The complete Feb 10, 2011 text of the US proposal for the TPP IPR chapter

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