Demand Zero

Occupy Wall Street could actually use a demand that is straight-forward and would have broad support. Accomplishing this would give the OWS movement credibility and moral connectivity. The demand should be one that is concrete and would advance the OWS agenda while morally isolating its opponents. The best demand for this purpose would be:

A constitutional amendment that would eliminate any of the benefits of the Bill of Rights from accruing to corporations, and simply state that the rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights only accrue to natural born persons is exactly the kind of demand that OWS needs to make.  It is a simple demand, and one that, if acted upon would dramatically change the political landscape by allowing all kinds of limits on corporations.  Such an action is a precondition for dismantling incipient corporate fascism before it takes root.

Any one who opposed that would so clearly isolated themselves that they would be committing political suicide. Also, such an amendment would have concrete results, for example, overturning Citizens United.

I like the catchy name Demand Zero, too.

Demand Zero

Everywhere, people are demanding a look at ACTA

The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (probably) contains provisions outlawing certain technologies, and requiring DRM.  But we don’t really know this, because all the negotiations are happening in secret.  This veil of secrecy is being maintained despite the fact that over 100 organizations have called for the ACTA process to be made transparent.

But that veil of secrecy has been partly lifted by documents published at wikileaks.

But why do we have to fight for provisions of a proposed treaty to be made public, after all is this Europe and America we are talking about, or some banana republic, run for the benefit of just a few?

Of course, everyone is paying attention to the bailout/stimulus packages, so what if a few freedoms evaporate while no one’s looking?  It’s not like anybody every sacrificed anything to get those freedoms, they were just handed to us, we don’t have any responsibility to protect them, and preserve them for future generations, do we?

In Europe, the Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure:

EU Council deliberately obstructs access to ACTA documents Brussels, 13 January 2009 —

The Foundation for a Free Information Infrastructure (FFII) has filed a complaint with the Ombudsman against the EU Council for deliberately obstructing access to Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) documents. As stated by an other participant in the negotiations, the EU has agreed to keep ACTA drafts secret. This way the EU hinders the proper application of Regulation 1049/2001 regarding public access to documents. The FFII asks for immediate publication of the documents. Public interest organisations are concerned ACTA may limit access to medicines, limit access to the internet, give patent trolls free reign and harm the most innovative sectors of the economy. According to a New Zealand government website, participants in the ACTA negotiations “have agreed that the draft final text will be made public at the end of negotiations before governments consider signing.” FFII analyst Ante Wessels comments: “This implies that the EU has agreed to keep earlier draft texts secret. Regulation 1049/2001 for public access to documents does list some exceptions to transparency, but those exceptions must be interpreted and applied strictly. Making agreements to keep texts secret goes much further than allowed. The Council deliberately obstructs access to ACTA documents.” As a solution the FFII proposes that the documents have to be made accessible. The EU may also withdraw from the ACTA negotiations.

And in America, the Free Software Foundation:

Speak out against ACTA

ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, is a proposed enforcement treaty between United States, the European Community, Switzerland, Japan, Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand and Mexico, with Canada set to join any day now. Although the proposed treaty’s title might suggest that the agreement deals only with counterfeit physical goods (such as medicines), what little information has been made available publicly by negotiating governments about the content of the treaty makes it clear that it will have a far broader scope, and in particular, will deal with new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology”.

Everywhere, people are demanding a look at ACTA

The new terrorists–Bike lane advocates

Thank heavens our tax dollars are being spent safeguarding us from the evils of—bike lanes.   You can’t make this stuff up.  From Truthout…:

New documents reveal Maryland program’s reach.

Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, January 4, 2009; Page A01 The Maryland State Police surveillance of advocacy groups was far more extensive than previously acknowledged, with records showing that troopers monitored – and labeled as terrorists – activists devoted to such wide-ranging causes as promoting human rights and establishing bike lanes.

Intelligence officers created a voluminous file on Norfolk-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, calling the group a “security threat” because of concerns that members would disrupt the circus. Angry consumers fighting a 72 percent electricity rate increase in 2006 were targeted. The DC Anti-War Network, which opposes the Iraq war, was designated a white supremacist group, without explanation.

One of the possible “crimes” in the file police opened on Amnesty International, a world-renowned human rights group: “civil rights.”

But some observers say Sept. 11 opened the door. “No one was thinking this was al-Qaeda,” said Stephen H. Sachs, a former U.S. attorney and state attorney general appointed by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) to review the case. “But 9/11 created an atmosphere where cutting corners was easier.”

Maryland has not been alone. The FBI and police departments in several cities, including Denver in 2002 and New York before the 2004 Republican National Convention, also responded to the threat of terrorism by spying on activists.

Sachs’s review, released in October, condemned the Maryland spying as a severe lapse in judgment. No one has been reprimanded or fired, and the undercover trooper has been promoted twice.

The new terrorists–Bike lane advocates

Why was NORTHCOM and the NGA tracking activists during the RNC?

Another score for wikileaks, which provided a leaked document about the planning for the RNC, or I should say planning for the suppression and control of dissent during the RNC, which leads to this story from the ACLU of Minnesota.  Apparently both the Pentagon’s NORTHCOM and the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA)were part of this planning team. A fake cellphone station was even set up to track activists, without a warrent and on the taxpayers tab.  Good to see the FBI is protecting us from all those domestic terrorists, like nuns. As we’ve seen with the arrest and harassment of reporters at the convention, those in control were very focused on the suppression of dissent, at all costs.

Continue reading “Why was NORTHCOM and the NGA tracking activists during the RNC?”

Why was NORTHCOM and the NGA tracking activists during the RNC?

Greece, clues and lies

Many can’t seem to figure out what is going on in Greece.  For example, Chris Blattman finds Stathis N. Kalyvas’s analysis wanting:

Why is Athens Burning?

In essence, Stathis argues that social norms govern acceptable behavior, and a perverse set has been allowed to settle upon Greece. It’s an appealing theory, but one that has not been popular back home (judging, he says, by the angry hate mail).

To help anyone who doesn’t get it,  I’ve downloaded this visual guide below:


And just in case that wasn’t clear enough there is this, (see this excellent site for more):

Continue reading “Greece, clues and lies”

Greece, clues and lies