As some of you know we got banned from Google+ due to some of our content. What we didn’t know at the time is that we were just one of a handfull of Anonymous accounts that was silenced. This is the sad fact of what happens across the internet when you walk to a different beat of the drum….
ACTA in a Nutshell –
What is ACTA? ACTA is the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. A new intellectual property enforcement treaty being negotiated by the United States, the European Community, Switzerland, and Japan, with Australia, the Republic of Korea, New Zealand, Mexico, Jordan, Morocco, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, and Canada recently announcing that they will join in as well.
Why should you care about ACTA? Initial reports indicate that the treaty will have a very broad scope and will involve new tools targeting “Internet distribution and information technology.”
What is the goal of ACTA? Reportedly the goal is to create new legal standards of intellectual property enforcement, as well as increased international cooperation, an example of which would be an increase in information sharing between signatory countries’ law enforcement agencies.
Negotiating Parties -
- European Union
- New Zealand
- The Republic of Korea
- United States
Essential ACTA Resources -
- HOW TO ACT AGAINST ACTA: Make a difference
- Read more about ACTA here: ACTA Fact Sheet
- Read the authentic version of the ACTA text as of 15 April 2011, as finalized by participating countries here: ACTA Finalized Text
- Follow the history of the treaty’s formation here: ACTA history
- Read letters from U.S. Senator Ron Wyden wherein he challenges the constitutionality of ACTA: Letter 1 | Letter 2 | Read the Administration’s Response to Wyden’s First Letter here: Response
- Watch a short informative video on ACTA: ACTA Video
- Watch a lulzy video on ACTA: Lulzy Video
- Reuters: ACTA signed in Tokyo: Article
- United States ACTA: Read
- European Union Trade Commission ACTA: Read
- Australian Gov’t ACTA: Read
- Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic: Read
- ACTA Undermines Access to Medicines: Article
On Kony 2012: I honestly wanted to stay as far away as possible from KONY 2012, the latest fauxtivist fad sweeping the web (remember “change your Facebook profile pic to stop child abuse”?), but you clearly won’t stop sending me that damn video until I say something about it, so here goes:
Stop sending me that video.
The organization behind Kony 2012 — Invisible Children Inc. — is an extremely shady nonprofit that has been called ”misleading,” “naive,” and “dangerous” by a Yale political science professor, and has been accused by Foreign Affairs of “manipulat[ing] facts for strategic purposes.” They have also been criticized by the Better Business Bureau for refusing to provide information necessary to determine if IC meets the Bureau’s standards.
Additionally, IC has a low two-star rating in accountability from Charity Navigator because they won’t let their financials be independently audited. That’s not a good thing. In fact, it’s a very bad thing, and should make you immediately pause and reflect on where the money you’re sending them is going.
By IC’s own admission, only 31% of all the funds they receive go toward actually helping anyone [pdf]. The rest go to line the pockets of the three people in charge of the organization, to pay for their travel expenses (over $1 million in the last year alone) and to fund their filmmaking business (also over a million) — which is quite an effective way to make more money, as clearly illustrated by the fact that so many can’t seem to stop forwarding their well-engineered emotional blackmail to everyone they’ve ever known.
And as far as what they do with that money:
The group is in favour of direct military intervention, and their money supports the Ugandan government’s army and various other military forces. Here’s a photo of the founders of Invisible Children posing with weapons and personnel of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army. Both the Ugandan army and Sudan People’s Liberation Army are riddled with accusations of rape and looting, but Invisible Children defends them, arguing that the Ugandan army is “better equipped than that of any of the other affected countries”, although Kony is no longer active in Uganda and hasn’t been since 2006 by their own admission. These books each refer to the rape and sexual assault that are perennial issues with the UPDF, the military group Invisible Children is defending.
Let’s not get our lines crossed: The Lord’s Resistance Army is bad news. And Joseph Kony is a very bad man, and needs to be stopped. But propping up Uganda’s decades-old dictatorship and its military arm, which has been accused by the UN of committing unspeakable atrocities and itself facilitated the recruitment of child soldiers, is not the way to go about it.
The United States is already plenty involved in helping rout Kony and his band of psycho sycophants. Kony is on the run, having been pushed out of Uganda, and it’s likely he will soon be caught, if he isn’t already dead. But killing Kony won’t fix anything, just as killing Osama bin Laden didn’t end terrorism. The LRA might collapse, but, as Foreign Affairs points out, it is “a relatively small player in all of this — as much a symptom as a cause of the endemic violence.”
Sending money to a nonprofit that wants to muck things up by dousing the flames with fuel is not helping. Want to help? Really want to help? Send your money to nonprofits that are putting more than 31% toward rebuilding the region’s medical and educational infrastructure, so that former child soldiers have something worth coming home to.
Here are just a few of those charities. They all have a sparkling four-star rating from Charity Navigator, and, more importantly, no interest in airdropping American troops armed to the teeth into the middle of a multi-nation tribal war to help one madman catch another.
The bottom line is, research your causes thoroughly. Don’t just forward a random video to a stranger because a mass murderer makes a five-year-old “sad.” Learn a little bit about the complexities of the region’s ongoing strife before advocating for direct military intervention.
There is no black and white in the world. And going about solving important problems like there is just serves to make all those equally troubling shades of gray invisible.
This is the sign I made today, and plan to stand at a busy corner in the rain. I do not live in Oregon, or Washington state. I am disabled, my husband lost his job due to illnesses which include Stiff Person Syndrome, scaring on his brain (could be MS) hypothyroid, sick sinus syndrome (requiring a pacemaker at 37), and now something showing up on his liver.
We believed that it would only be a short time before he would be better and be able to get back to work. That was two years ago. His unemployment benefits have run out, and now with all his diagnosis we are able to finally pursue disability for him. My SSDI and child support come to a monthly total of $2346.00 monthly. Our rent - we can’t afford to buy - is $1150.00 a month. We are currently $195.00 overdrawn, and the overdraft protection has been turned off by the bank. We have no more gas in our car. I will get the last half of child support next week; coincidentally that is exactly $195.00. The next SSDI check won’t be here until June 1st.
We have not paid our utilities, or car payment in two months. We have a six month old who needs diapers. He was our 1% miracle - as in birth control is only 99% effective. Go figure. If my husband’s disability is not approved soon we will be homeless by July. Because our situation is dire now, we have written letters through his SSDI attorney for compassionate allowances. However, once we are homeless our situation is no longer considered “dire”.
We will survive this. Our marriage will survive this. But, I am putting my country on notice. I will not accept this any longer, I will not back down, I will not forgive, and I will not forget. I will fight for change, I will fight this oppression. My family is the 99%, and I am PISSED OFF!!!
A quiet autumn rain…
Normally the crater Archimedes shows a smooth volcanic floor, small pockmarks of more recent craterlets and shadows from the craggy wall that surrounds it. So what is this?
A transient lunar phenomenon? Or the stuff that dreams are made of? Hmmmm.