Friday, June 27, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008


Senate finalizes war funding bill

* Story Highlights
* $165 billion bill funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into early 2009
* Measure includes money for a new GI Bill, extended unemployment benefits
* Bill also provides disaster assistance for Midwest flooding
* Next Article in Politics »

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate gave final approval Thursday to a war funding measure that includes money for a new GI Bill and other domestic measures.
The Senate approved the war funding bill after Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise.

The Senate approved the war funding bill after Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise.

The $165 billion bill funds the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan into early 2009 with no restrictions.

It also includes extended unemployment benefits and the expansion of the GI Bill, two key domestic priorities of Democrats.

The bill also provides more than $2 billion in disaster assistance for areas in the Midwest dealing with massive flooding.

The House passed the bill last week after Democrats and Republicans reached a compromise that satisfied Bush administration officials. It now goes to the White House for the president's signature.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, said the measure met demands from both sides.

"I hope that President Bush recognizes that our needs at home deserve at least the same attention as those we pay for abroad," Reid said after the vote.

Reid said the funding measures would protect seniors, families and those with disabilities from Medicaid cuts while doubling the president's request for military construction, veterans hospitals and international aid.

President Bush and many congressional Republicans had resisted extending unemployment benefits, but the compromise bill includes another 13 weeks of assistance. Democrats had been pushing for extending benefits to laid-off workers as unemployment rates continue to rise.

Democrats also got Republican support for a college scholarship program for U.S. troops, known as a "new GI Bill."

The program expands education benefits for veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan by paying for four-year scholarships.

"At a time when 2 million men and women have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan and when our troops have had to endure multiple deployments, stop-loss policies, insufficient equipment and an unclear strategy, giving them the opportunity to fuel our future economy is the least we can do," Reid said.

Sen. Jim Webb, D-Virginia, a driving force behind the GI Bill, called the passage a "historic step" for the men and women who have served since September 11, 2001.

"There are no politics here," he said. "This is about taking care of the people who have taken care of us. I am looking forward to the president living up to his word and signing this legislation at his earliest opportunity.

Because disaster aid and college for veterans should be in the same bill as giving bush 165 billion more dollars for the war. This is really getting ridiculous.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This year's lineup for Wham City's annual music festival was announced via MySpace bulletin this morning and, good g-d, kittens, roller coasters, and gin don't have jack on a good time like this. Whartscape 2008 runs July 17-20, at "locations throughout Baltimore," Black Dice, Matmos, Celebration, Beach House, Dan Deacon, Parts and Labor, Bird Names, Jana Hunter, the Death Set, the Mae Shi, Skate Dog (Gregg Gillis), Killer Whales, Double Dagger, Thank You, Ponytail, Cex, Teeth Mountain, WZT Hearts, Lexie Mountain Boys, Ecstatic Sunshine, Video Hippos, Leprechaun Catering, the Creepers, and "like 50 more TBA."

According to the bulletin, "exact final lineup, advance ticket sales, locations, and everything else will be announced in the near future. [K]eep your bones hard and your skin fresh."


Accurate amirite

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Tue 24 s.carey studios
122 s.stockton st.
baltimore , MD lords (louisville
ky) suicide note (chicago
il) deathammer (baltimore) sexually retarded (baltimore) $7
7:00 pm

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Proposed US ACTA multi-lateral intellectual property trade agreement (2007)

Proposed US ACTA multi-lateral intellectual property trade agreement (2007)
From Wikileaks
(Redirected from G-8 plurilateral intellectual property trade agreement discussion paper)

Unless otherwise specified the document described here:

* Was first publicly revealed by Wikileaks working with our source.
* At that time was classified, confidential, censored or otherwise withheld from the public.
* Is of substantial political, diplomatic or ethical significance.
* Any questions about this documents veracity are noted. Fewer than 0.1% of documents that pass initial triage fail subsequent analysis (typically developing world election material).
* The summary is approved by the editorial board.

* acta-proposal-2007.pdf (click to view full file)
* acta-proposal-2007.pdf (alternative address)

ACTA trade agreement negotiation lacks transparency, Intellectual Property Watch, Sydney Morning Herald, Globe and Mail, Calgary Herald, Jamie Shaw,Torrent Freak,Tech Dirt,Daily Tech,Webhosting Poland,Slashdot, TheNewFreedom, and many others.

Front page news in Canada, but has yet to hit the main stream daily's outside of Canada and Australia, likely due to early reports that looked at that angle, rather than a serious trade, transparency and developmental equity issue.

In 2007 a select handful of the wealthiest countries began a treaty-making process to create a new global standard for intellectual property rights enforcement, which was called, in a piece of brilliant marketing, the "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement" (the agreement does not cover currency fraud).

ACTA is spearheaded by the United States along with the European Commission, Japan, and Switzerland — which have large intellectual property industries. Other countries invited to participate in ACTA’s negotiation process are Canada, Australia, Korea, Mexico and New Zealand. Noticeably absent from ACTA’s negotiations are leaders from developing countries who hold national policy priorities that differ from the international intellectual property industry.

A “Discussion Paper on a Possible Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement” was reportedly provided to select lobbyists in the intellectual property industry, but not to public interest organizations concerned with the subject matter of the proposed treaty.[1]

Wikileaks has obtained the document.

The agreement covers the copying of information or ideas in a wide variety of contexts. For example page three, paragraph one is a "Pirate Bay killer" clause designed to criminalize the non-profit facilitation of unauthorized information exchange on the internet. This clause would also negatively affect transparency and primary source journalism sites such as Wikileaks.

The document reveals a proposal for a multi-lateral trade agreement of strict enforcement of intellectual property rights related to Internet activity and trade in information-based goods hiding behind the issue of false trademarks. If adopted, a treaty of this form would impose a strong, top-down enforcement regime, with new cooperation requirements upon internet service providers, including perfunctionary disclosure of customer information. The proposal also bans "anti-circumvention" measures which may affect online anonymity systems and would likely outlaw multi-region CD/DVD players.

The proposal also specifies a plan to encourage developing nations to accept the legal regime.

Trade representatives were hoping to formalize the agreement at the G-8 summit in July 2008.

The following summary of the trade agreement issue is from IP Justice, an international group based in San Francisco that campaigns for a just world intellectual property regime:

After the multi-lateral treaty’s scope and priorities are negotiated by the few countries invited to participate in the early discussions, ACTA’s text will be “locked” and other countries who are later “invited” to sign-on to the pact will not be able to re-negotiate its terms. It is claimed that signing-on to the trade agreement will be "voluntary", but few countries will have the muscle to refuse an “invitation” to join, once the rules have been set by the select few conducting the negotiations.

The US is negotiating ACTA through the Office of the US Trade Representative (USTR), an office within the Bush Administration that has concluded more than 10 “free trade” agreements in recent years, all of which require both the US and the other country to increase intellectual property rights enforcement measures beyond the international legal norms in the WTO-TRIPS Agreement. [2]

Talking points from the European Commission, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and others have published selected passages ostensibly from the document in response; refer to [3] for useful links.

The ACTA push was launched on October 23, 2007 by US Ambassador Susan C. Schwab and five U.S. members of Congress from the "Congressional Caucus on Intellectual Property and Piracy Prevention". A copy of her opening remarks follow:

Remarks by U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab
Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)
October 23, 2007
• Thank you all for being here. Today we are announcing a major new
initiative in the international fight against IPR counterfeiting and piracy.
• I want to begin by thanking our host today, the Congressional Caucus on
Intellectual Property and Piracy Prevention, and its co-chairs -
Representatives Bono, Feeney, Wexler, and Adam Smith of Washington.
• Thank you also to the Members present, who have done so much to advance
the cause of IP protection, including:
- Rep. Mary Bono (R-CA)
- Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA)
- Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA)
- Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)
- Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
• I also want to acknowledge and thank the Ambassadors and representatives
of our trading partners who have joined us today.
• We are pleased to be working in this broader effort with a number of key
trading partners, large and small, including Canada, the European Union,
Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, and Switzerland. We hope and believe
that others will join over time, marking an emerging consensus on stronger
IP enforcement. All who share our ambition and commitment to stronger
IPR enforcement are welcome.
• With that goal in mind, the U.S. Government is eager to move ahead as fast
as possible with the negotiation of this important new agreement.
• Thank you.

Who is really behind ACTA? Follow the money:

Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA)[4]

Top four campaign contributions for 2006:

Time Warner $21,000
News Corp $15,000
Sony Corp of America $14,000
Walt Disney Co $13,550

Top two Industries:

TV/Movies/Music $181,050
Lawyers/Law Firms $114,200

Other politicians listed also show significant contributions from IP industries.

United States
Government (bureaucracy)
Office of the United States Trade Representative

Wikileaks release date
Thursday May 22, 2008
Primary language
File size in bytes
File type information
Zip archive data, at least v1.0 to extract
Cryptographic identity
SHA256 c339644a0e21ecdc1a8569ec6549850dd31cf811ea89606f074856f08b305221
Description (as provided by the original submitter)

1. Not to our knowledge.

2. This document details provisions of a proposed plurilateral trade agreement that would impose strict enforcement of intellectual property rights related to Internet activity and trade in information-based goods. If adopted, a treaty of this form would impose a strong, top-down enforcement regime imposing new cooperation requirements upon ISPs, including perfunctory disclosure of customer information, as well as measures restricting the use of online privacy tools. The proposal also specifies a plan to encourage developing nations to accept the legal regime. Talking points from the European Commission, the Office of the United States Trade Representative, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and others have published selected passages ostensibly from this document; refer to for useful links.

3. Trade officials, copyright claimants.

4. Call Office of the United States Trade Representative, European Commission, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and other trade officials including the corresponding offices in Canada, Japan, and Switzerland.

5. Not clear; suspect that one of the parties to the agreement may have had an interest in releasing details to the public.
6. Trade representatives intend to formalize the agreement at the G-8 summit in July 2008.

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Iraq will not be used against Iran, PM vows

1 hour ago

TEHRAN (AFP) — Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki sought to reassure Iran over a planned security pact with Washington on Sunday, vowing Iraq would never be used as a platform to attack the Islamic republic.

"We will not allow Iraq to become a platform for harming the security of Iran and neighbours," Maliki said after a late-night meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in Tehran.

Maliki's comments come amid Iranian alarm over American pressure on Baghdad to sign an agreement that would keep US soldiers in the country beyond 2008. Iran has always called for the immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.

US President George W. Bush and Maliki agreed in principle last November to sign the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) by the end of July. But Iraq has now said it has a "different vision" from the United States on the issue.

Iran's concern about the deal comes amid renewed tensions over its nuclear programme, which the United States fears is aimed at making atomic weapons, a charge vehemently rejected by Tehran.

The United States has never ruled out a strike against Iranian nuclear facilities while Israel has also been warning there may be no alternative to military action.

"The agreement contains no element against the security of Iran," said Iraqi Defence Minister Abdel Qader Jassim Mohammed after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mostafa Mohammad Najjar.

"No Iraqi government will allow that its territory be used to attack Iran or another country," he added, according to a translation of his comments reported by the Fars news agency.

Maliki also met President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who said that Iraq had to achieve stability "so that the enemies give up trying to influence this country," IRNA reported.

"The stability of Iraq can be reached through the development of bilateral relations" with Iran, Ahmadinejad added.

The Shiite premier also held talks with First Vice President Parviz Davoudi and Iran's top national security official Saeed Jalili.

In a sign of the sensitivity of the visit, there was little media access to Maliki's meetings with no press conference and the information communicated through official Iranian media.

Iran and Shiite-majority Iraq waged a war between 1980 and 1988 in which around one million people died but ties have warmed considerably since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein's Sunni-dominated regime.

Maliki, who lived in exile in Iran during Saddam's dictatorship, is making his third visit to the country as prime minister. Ahmadinejad's March visit to Iraq, the first by an Iranian president, was also hailed as a landmark in ties.

But some observers expect Maliki to use the talks to raise US allegations of Iranian interference in Iraqi affairs, a charge vehemently denied by predominantly Shiite Iran.

The United States has accused Iran of shipping in tank-busting munitions for attacks on US troops, training Shiite militants inside Iran for operations in Iraq and supplying rockets for attacks in central Baghdad.

The US military said on Sunday it had arrested an Iranian-linked militant suspected of leading assassination squad based in Iraq's southern port city of Basra and aiding rebels to cross the border to Iran for training.

Last month, Maliki formed a panel of security ministries to assess the US accusations.

Washington was troubled by the apparent warmth of ties displayed during Maliki's last visit to Iran in August 2007 and will be closely watching his latest trip.

US ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker stressed in Washington on Thursday that Iran and Iraq were neighbours and had to conduct a relationship. "The question is: what kind of relationship is it going to be?" he said.

I wonder how long it is before the US takes out Maliki.