I saw this report while reading the paper on the Canada Line on Friday:
New federal rules that threaten to ban companies convicted of crimes from public contracts could kill jobs and hurt the Canadian economy, warns a study conducted for a powerful business group.
The report lists the potential consequences of Ottawa’s so-called integrity framework, a measure strengthened last spring to disqualify would-be suppliers busted in Canada or abroad for offences such as fraud, bribery and extortion.
You read that correctly.
This is relevant to why those who support tort reform are at best misguided (though well-intentioned) and at worst shills for corporatocracy. It is easy to get riled up at million dollars in damages for pain and suffering. The point behind millions of dollars in damages is to make it hurt” so that the wrongdoer has an incentive to stop. If it is instead a low amount it becomes an immaterial expense.
As virtually everyone knows by now, there are significant threats of a government shutdown in the US. The basic guts around it is that the US government will run out of funds for daily operations as no appropriations bill has been passed (as of yet). The reason there is no appropriations bill passed is because the GOP wants to defund the Affordable Care Act, and therefore makes defunding it one of the strings it has attached to get what it wants. And there is also the debt ceiling on the way.
Do I agree that the above is irresponsible, petty, partisan, reckless, and obstructionist? Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes. But guess what, it is perfectly legal. Article 1, Section 5 of the United States Constitution says (in part) the following:
Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two thirds, expel a member.
In other words, filibusters, refusing to fund the government, and so on, are all allowed by the rules the two Houses of the United.
Therefore, this means that another takeaway from the (likely) US Government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis is that the rules of operation should be amended to prevent the above obstructionism and hostage-taking from being allowed to occur.
I know I’ve been inactive lately, but that is due to a full–time job that leaves less time for blogging. Still, I will try and keep posting.
In the meantime, here’s a link roundup:
- The Texas Attorney General admits to deliberate gerrymandering. At least he’s honest.
- The US might take steps to reduce the over–incarceration caused by the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs. This is a good idea. The vast majority of people imprisoned in the US to lengthy prison sentences are for non–violent crimes like drug possession. This is a huge drain on public resources, and a huge dump of corporate welfare for the prison industrial complex. Ending it would help public finances, and prevent many young people from becoming a permanent underclass. Treating drug addiction as a medical problem would also improve public health, while reducing drug use, and ending the War on (Some Classes of People Who Use Some) Drugs would also reduce crime and gun violence in the US.
- It does not follow from the above that I necessarily endorse the use of drugs. The primary reason tobacco use causes heart disease is because smoking produces carbon monoxide. Smoking marijuana would produce likewise. (There is still excellent evidence that marijuana has medical uses, however).
- Noah Smith is right. Libertarianism really is just about protecting the liberty of “local bullies.”
Today has been a great day for homomentum, as SCOTUS has struck down part of the United States’ Defense of (heteronormative) Marriage Act and overturned California’s Proposition 8.
The guts of the first decision striking down part of the DOMA was that the federal government is not allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation when it comes to providing the benefits of marriage. Proposition 8 was struck down on a technicality: standing.
In today’s Province there was a report on the results of a survey of victims of sexual assault. The demographically–diverse survey interviewed 207 people. The results are very consistent with what activists have been saying for years.
Among the results:
- Two thirds of both male and female victims of sexual assault had no confidence in the justice system, ranging from actually filing a complaint on forward.
- A majority of people did not report either sexual assault or sexual abuse to authorities. Reasons given include fear of victim–blaming and a fear of not being taken seriously.
The results were released late last month. I searched for it on the Department of Justice’s website, but couldn’t find it.
Anyway, the implications of this survey are clear. We need to restore confidence in the justice system.