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*sniff* - Tactical Ninja

May. 3rd, 2011

09:30 am - *sniff*

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Right now Dr Wheel is probably somewhere over the Phillippines on his way back to Hong Kong. As usual there are mixed feelings, but outweighing the sadness that I will not see him in the flesh for another few months is the happiness that I got to spend time with him, and also that I live in the future - a future that contains Skype and the internet which allows us to have a reasonable facsimile of facetime on a regular basis. My parents, when separated, were able to communicate only through snailmail and expensive telephone calls. I'm also very thankful that air travel is insanely cheap for what you get and that we are fortunate enough to be able to consider doing it regularly.

Our last weekend together was absolutely perfect, running the gamut from hotel room hijinks to quiet bush walks to blobbing in front of media with MEGA sandwiches. It's not always the high adventure that makes a relationship awesome, it's the little bits of everything that fit together so well, and that includes the mundane. I'm all for hanging from the chandeliers but there's a place for lying with your head in someone's lap watching silly sitcoms too.


We really weren't. The hotel had a crazy nanny filter on its wireless that wouldn't let me post or comment to my blog because the pages for these functions apparently contain: Pornography, Proxies, Nudism, Pornography (Norwegian) and Warez. Written like that. I suspect whoever installed said filter is either terrified of the internet and set it on Full Blocking Power, or the program simply defaults to that and nobody bothered to customise the settings. The thing also turned up Portuguese, Malay, and Italian Pornography, along with the mysteriously-named Pornographia. It rendered the internet almost useless. Yes, I let them know what I thought of this - but it meant we missed the news.

So some monarchs got married. I'm told this involves inviting other monarchs to the wedding, including monarchs (or their representatives) from countries where the monarchy is less than benevolent. There was a dress, it was white. And in what appears to be a case (at least to my jaundiced eye) of what might be considered Copyright Infringement, and perhaps some people's complete lack of understanding of what copyright infringement actually is, last night at the airport we were regaled with Campbell Live in which designer Jane Yeh watched the royal wedding, copied the dress as it was revealed, then had people work through the night to recreate it in time for it to be paraded around the country the next morning.

Hmm..

Also as the whole world knows, the US has announced the death of Osama Bin Laden. The first news I saw of this focused on people celebrating in New York. Celebrating. Being glad someone was dead and shouting their joy publicly. To which I go " ... " Really? I think it says a lot about the state of the world today that people's joy at the death of another person is considered news. I find myself wondering:

1. Will the TSA be disbanded now?
2. Will US citizens get their civil liberties back now?
3. Will the war in Afghanistan be over now?
4. How long will it take to find a new scapegoat?
5. How well timed is this for a sudden surge in Obama's popularity?
6. How long can society survive on circuses alone, after they run out of bread?

Yes I'm a cynic.

And then there was the release of a bunch of cables by Wikileaks, this time relating to the relationship between New Zealand and the US. There is a lot of stuff in there, but I'd like to highlight the ones relating to US pressure on New Zealand surrounding copyright laws. This is not news.

I repeat, this is not news. What it is, is confirmation of the link between our government's underhanded passing of the filesharing bill and their negotiations with the US. The US is seeking to mould NZ laws to allow US corporations to profit off us. Things I have gleaned so far (without having read most of the recent cables):

1. The US entertainment industry seeks to control copyright in such a way as to ensure their profits are maximised. We are required to change our law to comply.

2. The US entertainment industry seeks to minimise cost of filmmaking to ensure their profits are maximised. We have already changed our employment law to help with this (the Hobbit bill).

3. The US pharmaceutical industry seeks to apply US patent law to New Zealand, effectively removing Pharmac from the equation and preventing NZ from parallel importing off-brand medications or providing subsidies to make the US brand-name medications affordable. From what I understand, pharmaceutical companies will be able to bring action against the NZ government should it create laws that impact their profits.

4. The US has been pressuring NZ for a long time over military alliances, and using trade as a hook. Our government's about-face on sending troops to Iraq was based in threats to Fonterra's contracts should we not cooperate.

5. The US believes that NZ is not being tough enough on the Urewera 18, despite their having been denied trial by jury, and that NZ should change its law to be more in line with US terrorism laws.

I could go on, but that's enough to start with. The general gist is that the US seems to be attempting to dictate how New Zealand law will look, and is using 'diplomatic relations' and trade as the carrot/stick. This scares the crap out of me. My friends in the US have been having a harder and harder time of it, having their civil liberties eroded, and sat helplessly as their government's policies take their country down the toilet faster and faster - and now our government is contemplating signing up to do the same thing.

While I know that not everything that's going on is related to the TPPA, it seems that this is a good place to focus any efforts to oppose what is happening. Each little bit of legislation that changes moves us another step closer to being an outlying island of the United States. Yeah, you may not give a crap about filesharing laws but in the context of the greater copyright stuff, it will affect everyone in the country. And the fact that our government will so willingly change employment law to the detriment of its own citizens for the sake of a movie being filmed here shows just how easily laws that DO affect you could be changed.

I would like for everyone in the country to oppose the TPPA. I know this isn't going to happen, and I know that trying to tell people what they should do doesn't really work. So instead I'm just going to keep writing my take on it and let people decide for themselves. And hope that one thing in what I write motivates one person enough to go read up on it and tell their friends - because not enough people know this is going on, and fewer are making the connections between little things like the filesharing bill and big things like whether or not New Zealanders want to become America's lapdog.


And in case that was all TOO SRS for you, have a thing (courtesy of mundens) - The Complete Guide To Not Giving A Fuck.

Today I am wearing socks with cows on them, courtesy of rivet.

Comments:

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From:tyellas
Date:May 2nd, 2011 10:10 pm (UTC)
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I would like for everyone in the country to oppose the TPPA. I know this isn't going to happen...

To give you some encouragement, awareness of the freedom-removing qualities of the TPPA is spreading, and people I know who, while intelligent, are usually less activist are saying, "It's a worry, what can we do?" And the options are vague and unsatisfactory. I feel dumb asking, but...what am I missing, here? Awareness and education is happening - what do we do next?
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From:tatjna
Date:May 2nd, 2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
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Here's a good place to start.

The TPP Action Group isn't the only group opposing the TPPA, but they are in communication with Tech Liberty and other groups. They hold regular fortnightly meetings (the next one is next Wednesday) where how best to take action is discussed.

Pointless as it may seem, letters to politicians if sent in large numbers do have the effect of making them aware that the peasants are restless, and in an election year that has power.

But yeah, there's a list of stuff on that page that people can choose from in terms of what to do.
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From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 3rd, 2011 12:33 am (UTC)
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Fashion is exluded from copyright. Has been since the dawn of time. It's one of the classic proofs of why copyright isn't necessary for an industry to thrive.

-W
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From:tatjna
Date:May 3rd, 2011 12:37 am (UTC)
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I was wondering about that. I'm also wondering what comes under 'fashion' since I know a few people who've got etsy shops and have had threatening letters from US interests saying "You copied us now cease and desist and also give us money!"

None of which have been remotely enforceable but it seems some people want to apply copyright at least to crafted items.
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From:clashfan
Date:May 3rd, 2011 02:47 am (UTC)
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While I agree with many of your cynical observations regarding how the US will behave post-killing of bin Laden (TSA, civil liberties, etc.) I must take serious issue with #5. Do you have any evidence to suggest that the mission was delayed for political purposes? Do you realize that this kind of suggestion is exactly what the far right is ginning up? I just called out someone on my (right-wing) cousin's FB page for a similar suggestion; she backed off saying, "It was just a joke..." This kind of innuendo is how crap such as Truthers and Birthers take hold.

I know I'm coming across a little strongly, but this kind of thing really rattles my cage.
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From:tatjna
Date:May 3rd, 2011 02:56 am (UTC)
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I have no evidence at all to suggest this was deliberatly delayed to increase Obama's popularity, nor do I believe it actually was - but it is likely to have that effect just the same.

I think I worded it badly. I wasn't trying to suggest that there's a conspiracy here, merely that the death* of Bin Laden is exactly the sort of empty circus that politicians do well on, even if on much more practical issues they are still failing.

* I've seen some stuff around questioning whether it's actually true. I'm deliberately avoiding following it up because IMO the repercussions of this went beyond Bin Laden's living or dying being relevant a long time ago.
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From:clashfan
Date:May 4th, 2011 02:51 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the clarification. I think that people who think it was faked are on a par with Birthers and Truthers. And there's a LOT of those folks in my country right now. It's a little scary.

I also think that bin Laden *being* dead might be a separate issue from the whole world *knowing* he is dead.
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From:helianthas
Date:May 3rd, 2011 03:21 am (UTC)
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but outweighing the sadness that I will not see him in the flesh for another few months is the happiness that I got to spend time with him,


You are so awesome.

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From:ferrouswheel
Date:May 3rd, 2011 09:00 am (UTC)
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<3 My tired brain is already full of work stuff, but I still miss you.
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From:tatjna
Date:May 3rd, 2011 08:07 pm (UTC)
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*love*
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From:missprune
Date:May 3rd, 2011 09:31 pm (UTC)
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The stories of people out "celebrating" is very embarrassing - and disturbing.
Really liked what you said about what makes a relationship awesome... :o)
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From:missprune
Date:May 3rd, 2011 09:32 pm (UTC)
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oops, my bad grammar are kind of embarrassing, too, when you consider I'm a free lance editor! :o(
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