These companies (along with hundreds of others) are using the investor-state dispute rules embedded in trade treaties signed by the countries they are suing. The rules are enforced by panels which have none of the safeguards we expect in our own courts. The hearings are held in secret. The judges are corporate lawyers, many of whom work for companies of the kind whose cases they hear. Citizens and communities affected by their decisions have no legal standing. There is no right of appeal on the merits of the case. Yet they can overthrow the sovereignty of parliaments and the rulings of supreme courts.
You don’t believe it? Here’s what one of the judges on these tribunals says about his work. “When I wake up at night and think about arbitration, it never ceases to amaze me that sovereign states have agreed to investment arbitration at all … Three private individuals are entrusted with the power to review, without any restriction or appeal procedure, all actions of the government, all decisions of the courts, and all laws and regulations emanating from parliament.”
There are no corresponding rights for citizens. We can’t use these tribunals to demand better protections from corporate greed. As theDemocracy Centre says, this is “a privatised justice system for global corporations”.
“The reason I can’t laugh about Rob Ford anymore is that he has become a threat to the basic assumptions that allow politics to function. If this guy isn’t in jail, why bother having police at all? Why not just round up poor people whenever powerful people get the urge? The least we can do, it seem to me, is let everyone currently serving a sentence for drug use out of prison. Otherwise, the whole system is pure hypocrisy.”—The Day the Rob Ford Story Stopped Being Funny - Esquire
“Its news and documentary coverage must be different. That means more progressive voices heard, filling a huge gap in the Canadian media, an arena dominated by centre and right-wing views. The politically-progressive base in Canada remains stable and remains largely unheard. It’s the CBC’s job to fill that vacuum. Less of the Don Cherry-style dismissal of “pinkos out there that ride bicycles” and more attention to those who reject the right-wing, Big Business view of the country.”—
“Experience has more or less proven that aviation on the island is unsustainable under current regulations, as set out on the municipally fabled Tripartite Agreement of 1983 [PDF]. The latest evidence is Porter’s abrupt about-face on jets, which went from unnecessary yesterday to do-or-die today. But the airport will remain alive as long as the chance remains for some future buccaneer to catch the city in one of its regular Lastman/Ford-type stupors and blow the rules wide open.”—
Nothing like a little mean-spirited and destructive red meat to get the base all drooling.
And more basically, when did pandering to aggrieved victims become a factor in the disposition of criminal cases? The criminal-justice system exists to protect society, not exact retribution. The state shouldn’t be in the revenge business.
(Oh, and please — let’s not call them Tories. Tories are honourable and principled people, if occasionally misguided. That doesn’t apply to this bunch. Anyone who can’t see the difference between Bill Davis and Dalton Camp on the one hand and Tony Clement and Jim Flaherty on the other shouldn’t be allowed to walk around unsupervised.)
Rob Ford’s arguments, and his math, do not add up. They do not add up when he falsely claims he has saved a billion dollars, and they certainly don’t add up on a back-of-the-napkin budget proposal that promises the impossible. Perhaps this is because of his liberal relationship with truth-telling, or maybe it is because he fundamentally does not understand how the institution he leads actually works.
Stripped of his powers, the mayor is reduced to his ability to shout—which is, to be fair, considerable. But his message does not merit real consideration. If anything, treating it seriously worsens our understanding of Toronto’s finances. The sooner we recognize that the mayor’s dishonesty and misdirection is not limited to his personal life but extends to his policies, the sooner we can move on to a meaningful discussion of what we’d like to see in the budget—and the sooner the budget can be about Toronto and not Rob Ford.
Taxes are what buy civilization. — Oliver Wendell Holmes
They’re how citizens pool their resources and work together for the common good. They’re how we combine to accomplish, collectively, the things we can’t do on our own. They’re how we advance the Public Good.
It’s beyond me why we even listen to ignorant loudmouths who try to tell us that taxes are evil.
Earlier, seeming to anticipate the question, Mr. DeWine said: “Some may ask why others were not indicted. Under our system of justice the grand jury must have probable cause to believe all the elements of a criminal offense are present.”
“It is simply not sufficient that a person’s behavior was reprehensible, disgusting, meanspirited or just plain stupid,” he said.
“The most popular media-player software in the world is, in my opinion, a bloated monster. Hardly anything on my computer inspires more dread than the iTunes update prompt, for it signifies, without fail, that I’m about to download many megabytes of inexplicable design changes, CPU-hogging subroutines and a license agreement crafted by the executor of Satan’s estate.”—
“On Thursday, workers enter the fishbowl to take away the industrial-sized scale that Mr. Ford used for his failed weight-loss campaign, the Cut the Waist Challenge. It felt like the ceremonial felling of some ousted despot’s statue – only sillier.”—Toronto: the city of two mayors - The Globe and Mail
Last night, to try and test how my various physical therapies and rehabilitative activities were going, I went to do something I haven’t been able to do for a while - sit in a movie theatre.
Results were mixed, and ultimately not relevant to this blather. What is relevant is that what I chose was…
Interesting comparison from the divine Rosalind Robertson. Only one quibble; while I don’t have Rosalind’s insight into the text, I’d submit that for all his faults as a monarch, Richard is at least saved from being totally repugnant by having a modicum of lyrical ability — and self-awareness.
“Yes, a bisexual might cheat on you if you date them. Guess who else might cheat on you? That’s right, a lesbian. A straight man. A straight woman. A gay man. A klingon. A hobbit. If you are willing to discount the romantic potential of an entire group of people based on their ability to have sex with somebody other than you, you better stock up on batteries. And what do you think the “B” in “LGBTQIA” stands for anyway? Bananas?”— milyaeternally (via avengass)
“… for any closet revolutionary who has ever dreamed of overthrowing the present economic order in favour of one a little less likely to cause Italian pensioners to hang themselves in their homes, this work should be of particular interest. Because it makes the ditching of that cruel system in favour of something new (and perhaps, with lots of work, better) no longer a matter of mere ideological preference but rather one of species-wide existential necessity.”—Naomi Klein: How science is telling us all to revolt
DEAR MISS MANNERS: My daughter-in-law uses her name when making hotel reservations for the entire family. Should not she have used her husband’s name? She also has her voice on the answering machine. Should not the husband be the one with a message on the…
“But when we come to the arbitrary measures pursued by Mr. Harper and his acolytes, we are faced with an issue that should worry Canadians. Ms. Wallin paints a picture that is Nixonian in its sheer viciousness.”—
“Ford, Stintz, Murray, Hunter and Wynne have just demonstrated that changing a fully funded LRT plan for a subway is entirely acceptable. I’m not sure what logic one would use to say it’s okay to tear up one plan on one route but not okay to do the very same thing for all other routes. This is a problem created entirely by the Liberals’ willingness to abandon good planning for votes earlier this year. Now we can’t pretend to be surprised that Toronto now wants to kill the LRT plans in favour of Subways after being told for months, by all levels of government, that subways are better.”—
Kevin Richardson, on a Facebook comment thread. See how easy it is for misgovernment to take root? You don’t even need an ignorant idiot for a mayor. All that’s required is spineless unprincipled pandering from people who should know better …