Another Obama Secret Deal

If you like Obamacare, you’re really going to love the details coming out about the Trans-Pacific Partnership plans which have been outed by Wikileaks. They’ve issued a press release:

The TPP is the forerunner to the equally secret US-EU pact TTIP (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership), for which President Obama initiated US-EU negotiations in January 2013. Together, the TPP and TTIP will cover more than 60 per cent of global GDP. Both pacts exclude China.

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 Walmart – 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.

Read the full secret TPP treaty IP chapter here

As I wrote in my book Broken Web The Coming Collapse of the Internet, it’s only a matter of time until the Internet is placed under the same kind of governmental controls that took control of the airwaves via the Communications Act of 1934.

We’ve been anticipating such a (draconian, usurpation of free speech) as a critical marker which should occur about the bottom of the ongoing (second) economic depression, which as any reader knows is being seriously masked by the creation of money (out of thin air) in order to continue the illusion that all is well – and normal.

Still, this should take a year or two before it closes in, and as always, we are very careful only to report the existence of the story and not actually print “secret” documents which could later be used against us when the net controls come.

No, this is not cowardice…it’s called good editorial decision-making because later on the other rule which will become apparent is “must be present to win.” 

As one reader put it:  “Ru roh: I don’t like the sound of this at all! They will be claiming everything on the net and IP addresses will be shut down.”

No, only those which violate whatever flavor of “law” is cited.  And we don’t need Kafka when we have TPP in the wings.  You just need to read the law…which is why about 90% of the conspiracy and “discussion” sites will evaporate when time comes because reposting of more than a few sentences of an article is likely to be interpreted as going beyond Fair Use under the DCMA.

Even embodied in 17 U.S.C. § 107 there are already four tests of Fair Use:

  1. purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
  2. the nature of the copyrighted work;
  3. the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
  4. the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work.

It’s perfectly fine to have a website which expresses and opinion, or viewpoint, like this one, but the constraints of point 3 on amount and substantiality of the portion used  is what, I think, could be used to bring down a lot of sites around the net which rip off content.

And it’s something that wouldn’t be opposed by honest writers whose work is already ripped off wholesale all the time.

Don’t mean to start off over in the weeds, but this is likely to become a biggy because it’s where the “wide open web” collides with the limitations on free speech, one of which is the making money on the intellectual efforts of others.

Sellin’ Yellin

OK, so back to the illusion:  Soon-to-be Fed boss Janet Yellin will be up before the Senate Banking committee this morning stating the obvious:  The US economy is performing at levels far below pre-2008 collapse levels.  At the same time, she’ll make the predictable remarks about how “good progress” has been made, while a former Fed official is a little more candid.  He’s offering an apology to the American public for the quantitative easing idea (costs umpteen billions) and yes, we figure that QE leakage from the “free money”  has something to do with the market’s present blow-off.

Since the markets have a “be kind to Fed nominees” kind of history, we expect a small upward bias today and tomorrow as options expiration falls due.

Data Points

The US Balance of Trade widened to $41.8 billion in the latest reporting period:


The U.S. Census Bureau and the U.S. Bureau of
Economic Analysis, through the Department of Commerce,
announced today that total September exports of $188.9
billion and imports of $230.7 billion resulted in a goods and services deficit of $41.8 billion, up from $38.7 billion in August, revised. September exports were $0.4 billion less than August exports of $189.3 billion.

September imports were $2.7 billion more than August imports of $228.0 billion. In September, the goods deficit increased $3.0 billion
from August to $61.3 billion, and the services surplus decreased $0.1 billion from August to $19.5 billion. Exports of goods decreased $0.2 billion to $132.1 billion, and imports
of goods increased $2.8 billion to $193.4 billion. Exports of services decreased $0.2 billion to $56.8 billion, and imports of services decreased $0.1 billion to $37.3 billion

Also this morning, some productivity data from the Labor Department:

Nonfarm business sector labor productivity increased at a 1.9 percent annual rate during the third quarter of 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. The increase in productivity reflects increases of 3.7 percent in output and 1.7 percent in hours worked. (All quarterly percent changes in this release are seasonally adjusted annual rates.) From the third quarter of 2012 to the third quarter of 2013, productivity was unchanged as a 1.8 percent increase in output was matched by a 1.8 percent increase in hours worked.

When  I checked, markets were about flat going into the open this morning,

Global Economic Notes

The report this morning out of Europe is that economic growth there is a lousy 0.1%.  Since most of the analytics involved have margins of error that are larger than the headline number, we will generalize it this way:  Europe’s economy is dead.  Shhh…don’t wake them up.  It’s what happens when countries don’t tell the truth internally about their condition and then sign up with the latest pack of free-lunchers to come down the road.

Except Germany, of course.  There, a Constitutional Court could throw out the idea of Germans having to pay for the largess of Greek spending and then Europe will be in turmoil, and last we checked, that was due sometime before the year is out.

Anyone with half a brain knew this was to be expected anyway and it’s why (advance numbers do get passed around, I’m sure) the ECB dropped interest rates a quarter point last week..

Nostracodeus Outlook

If something happens with “air travel, Hezbollah, or the Taliban’ in today’s headlines, don’t be surprised….more over here.  We keep tinkering with code to see how well we can “dial in” to future events.

More after this…

Public Power Still Works

The outrage in Seattle, as reported in The Stranger up there, has now resulted in that mesh network being turned off due to public outrage.

I don’t know how much you know about mesh networks, but I’ve been working on them lately on a client project.  The idea is that you have regular wi-fi, and in a mesh network, multiple access points are used to “hand-off” a user as you move from one place to another.

What this does is lets you watch a streaming video while bike riding, for example (don’t ask me why you would do that) and not miss a frame as you are handed off hot-spot to hot-spot.

Which, in Seattle meant that the cops had a network which would discover your mobile device’s MAC address and presto!  You could be tracked.

People in Seattle apparently don’t like Orwell-come-to-life that much…liberals late to the party, I suppose.

Police State Notes

The article over here about government surveillance of people because of the kind of books they purchased is chilling – going to places like IRS and CIA.  But suppose the books were about how to beat a lie detector?

Clearly we have two levels of “lie detection” going on nowadays in government:  one standard for the rank and file workers and one (non-existent as far as I can tell) for the office-holders.

Projecting Global Power

A good article over in the UK Independent on how the US and other western countries are now projecting “muscular soft power” into Africa.

All that Glitters

My copy of the World Gold Council’s Q3 report crossed my desk this morning.  A couple of highlights:

  • “Official reserves grew by 93t in Q3, the eleventh consecutive quarter of net purchases. This demand continued to be dominated by central banks from the emerging markets. “
  • “The supply of gold in Q3 totaled 1,145t, 3% lower than the same period in 2012. Modest 4% growth in mine production during the quarter was outweight by an 11% contraction in recycling, as lower average prices failed to attract sellers.

I can’t understand why gold-buying by central banks would be going on if owning gold instead of paper didn’t make sense Smile.

Or, is Nick Barisheff onto something when he writes over here about “The War Against Gold and Economic Common Sense””?  Why, $10,000 gold would be fine with me…

Ah…Here’s Why We Have Budget Problems

Pelosi claims nearly 5 times as many people signed up for Obamacare than HHS numbers.” show…” 

Now to me, this explains why none of the numbers reported out of Washington make sense or tie together.

Land Grab Coming?

If you own property which has a creek running through it – and possibly even one that only flows when it’s pouring down rain, you might want to read “EPA Stealthily propels toward “massive power grab” of private property across the US” on the notion that even a creek is somehow navigable waters of the United States.

If it comes, I may have to send Uncle a bill for not cleaning out the cotton mouths down by our creek. Nothing would delight me more than billing for 12-gauge shells….and since we have the seismic studies showing oil under our place, the market value of the property in a grab would be a lot higher than anyone could imagine.

Vape Me

Good article over here on how electronic vaporizers are taking off among herbalists…if that’s clear enough.

Dulls the pain of the ViceGrips which the headlines drive us to with some regularity.