As for the commission’s claim that the trade deal will produce growth and jobs, this is also likely to be false. Barack Obama promised that the US-Korea Free Trade Agreement would increase US exports by $10bn. They immediately fell by $3.5bn. The 70,000 jobs it would deliver? Er, 40,000 were lost. Bill Clinton promised that the North American Free Trade Agreement would create 200,000 new jobs for the US; 680,000 went down the pan. As the commentator Glyn Moody says: “The beneﬁts are slight and illusory, while the risks are very real.”
This is the real election issue
Bryan Gould in The Standard today:
And could there be a clearer example of that abuse of power than the apparent secret complicity by a minister with a notorious muckraker and practitioner of the dubious art of destroying reputations with the intention of “gunning for” the chief executive of an important agency for which she had ministerial responsibility?
John Key tells us that he retains an open mind about the truth of these serious allegations. What is beyond doubt, however, is the close relationship between Judith Collins and Cameron Slater—the one treated by the other as his confidante and mentor—and her willingness to use his services in order to further her political goals …
[L]et us remind ourselves of the bizarre nature of John Key’s announcement of Judith Collins’ resignation and the holding of an inquiry. It is only a week or so ago that another inquiry was announced into yet another aspect of the dirty politics saga.
That inquiry was, in effect, into John Key’s own conduct. The inquiry will attempt to answer the question—did John Key know that the Security Intelligence Services, for which he is the responsible minister, would release a secret report, denied to all other media, but released with unusual alacrity to—that name again—Cameron Slater? That released report involved, of course, the then Leader of the Opposition and was used by Cameron Slater to denigrate him as a general election campaign got under way.
The other Judith Collins news: Bronwyn Pullar alleges Collins leaked false information to Whale Oil
Easy to miss the other Judith Collins news today, as reported by Chris Keall in the NBR.
In another development, this morning, Privacy Commissioner John Edwards conﬁrmed to NBR ONLINE that his ofﬁce has received a complaint from ACC claimant Bronwyn Pullar regarding Ms Collins.
ACC mistakenly sent 6500 ﬁles to Ms Pullar, some containing sensitive information. Whale Oil blogger Cameron Slater learnt her name, then published posts accusing Ms Pullar of trying to black mail the agency; she would go to the media if ACC did not pay out on her own claim, Mr Slater alleged. Police investigated the allegation, but dropped the case after Ms Pullar and Michelle Boag released a recording of their meeting with ACC managers — which contained no discussion of blackmail. The affair was revisited in Nicky Hager’s Dirty Politics.
Mr Edwards did not comment on the substance of Ms Pullar’s complaint, but it has been reported it relates to Ms Pullar alleging Ms Collins leaked false information about her to Whale Oil.
Last year, the Law Society felt impelled to report to the United Nations that Parliament had been used to pass a succession of acts that strip away rights, freedoms and protections from citizens, in breach of the Bill of Rights. Ministerial accountability has become a farce.
It is this steady erosion of democratic checks and balances in New Zealand that makes politicians feel above the law and contemptuous of those they represent. As the old adage goes, power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
If many Kiwis feel disgusted with politics and politicians, and powerless at present, they have good reason.
It is a surreal experience watching what happens to Nicky’s books in the days after their publication. It often seems as if the book that’s being discussed by politicians and in the media is entirely different from the one I’ve just spent weeks vetting.
What’s more amazing is that politicians who admit they haven’t read the book and don’t intend to are given free rein to speak authoritatively about its content. Often they say things that are completely contradicted by evidence that’s set out in the book, but aren’t even challenged about it.
The fact that trans women have just been completely booted out of this conversation on police brutality smfh…
In 2008, a black trans woman was severely beaten by police and was preparing to sue the Memphis Police Department. She was killed execution style shortly after and no one has yet to be arrested.. Her name was Duanna Johnson. Remember her name…
Forgotten in the US A life is a life is a life. That’s what the authorities there don’t seem to understand.
There was Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., and Oscar Grant in Oakland, Calif., and so many more. Michael Brown’s death wasn’t shocking at all. All over the country, unarmed black men are being killed by the very people who have sworn to protect them, as has been going on for a very long time now …
There are reasons why white gun’s rights activists can walk into a Chipotle restaurant with assault riﬂes and be seen as gauche nuisances while unarmed black men are killed for reaching for their wallets or cell phones, or carrying children’s toys.
someone needs to turn down that sass level
Two things to know about Canada!
- We are smart enough to know hot things should be hot.
- We are sorry if you don’t
fun story about the reason they do that (at least in America)
once this lady spilled her McDonald’s coffee on herself and ended up getting like 3rd degree burns and since there was no warning on the cup she was able to claim she didn’t know it would be hot (or at least that hot) and won a lawsuit against McDonald’s for $1 million
That’s what the media smear campaign against her would have you believe, anyway. The truth of the matter is that the McDonald’s in question had previously been cited - on at least two separate occasions - for keeping their coffee so hot that it violated local occupational health and safety regulations. The lady didn’t win her lawsuit because American courts are stupid; she won it because the McDonald’s she bought that coffee from was actively and knowingly breaking the law with respect to the temperature of its coffee at the time of the incident.
(I mean, do you have any idea what a third-degree burn actually is? Third-degree burns involve “full thickness” tissue damage; we’re talking bone-deep, with possible destruction of tissue. Can you even imagine how hot that cup of coffee would have to have been to inflict that kind of damage in the few seconds it was in contact with her skin?)
Yeah I’m tired of people joking about either the “stupid” woman who didn’t know coffee was hot or the “greedy” woman making up bullshit to get money.
She was hideously injured by hideous irresponsibility, it was an absolutely legitimate lawsuit and the warning on the cups basically allows McDonalds to claim no responsibility even if it happens again. Every other company followed suit to cover their asses.
So they can still legally serve you something that could sear off the end of your tongue or permanently demolish the front of your gums and just give you a big fat middle finger in court. “The label SAID it would be HOT, STUPID.”
obligatory reblog for the great debunking of the usual ignorance spouted about this case
obligatory mention that the media smear campaign to twist teh facts on this case and get public opinion against the victim was deliberate and fueled by the right wing tort reform movement
it was seized upon to limit the rights of consumers to hold giant corporations accountable for wrongdoing
watch the documentary Hot Coffee, it lays out all of the facts and examines the response to this case and explains why everything you think you know about this case is bullshit, and explains why tort reform is bullshit in an entertaining and informative manner
The woman injured in Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants was 79 years old at the time of her injuries, and suffered third-degree burns to the pelvic region (including her thighs, buttocks, and groin), which in combination with lesser burns in the surrounding regions caused damage to an area totaling a whopping 22% of her body’s surface. These injuries that required two years of intensive medical care, including multiple skin grafts; during her hospitalization, Stella Liebeck lost around 20% of her starting body weight.
She was uninsured and sued McDonald’s Restaurants for the cost of her past and projected future medical care, an estimated $20,000. The corporation offered a settlement of $800, a number so obviously ridiculous that I’m not even going to dignify it with any further explanation.
The settlement number most often quoted is not the amount that the corporation actually paid; the jury in the first trial suggested a payment equal to a day or two of coffee revenues for McDonald’s, which at the time totaled more than $1 million per diem. The judge reduced the required payout to around $640,000 in both compensatory and punitive damages, and the case was later settled out of court for less than $600,000.
Keep in mind that at the time, McDonald’s already had over 700 cases of complaints about coffee-related burns on file, but continued to sell coffee heated to nearly 200 degrees Fahrenheit (around 90 degrees Celsius) as a means of boosting sales (their selling point was that one could buy the coffee, drive to a second location such as work or home, and still have a piping hot beverage). This in spite of the fact that most restaurants serve coffee between 140 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit (60 to 71 degrees Celsius), and many coffee experts agree that such high temperatures are desirable only during the brewing process itself.
The Liebeck case was absolutely not an example of litigation-happy Americans expecting corporations to cover their asses for their own stupidity, but we seem determined to remember it that way. It’s an issue of liability, and the allowable lengths of capitalism, and even of the way in which our society is incredibly dangerous for and punitive towards the uninsured, but it was not and is not a frivolous suit. Please check your assumptions and do your research before you turn a burn victim’s suffering into a throwaway punchline.
#don’t fricking get me started on Liebeck v. McDonald’s Restaurants the level of misinformation floating around is staggering#I know that it’s an older case but it still makes me really mad that people treat it as this big dumb thing?#the fact that the media took a serious case and turned it into what it is to us today should piss people off#the level of distortion of facts is astonishing and upsetting and nobody seems to hear about it?#sorry I’m done I just#it upsets me when a legal travesty like this is just dragged out for some#’haha americans are sOOOOOOOo dumb!!1!’ humor#I MEAN GODDAMN IF YOU’RE GOING TO MAKE FUN OF AMERICANS AT LEAST MAKE FUN OF US WITH FACTS OKAY
jesus, i actually didn’t know about any of this, thanks for clearing that up
So someone mentioned the documentary Hot Coffee, which I watched just last night, and I want to share some tidbits with you:
In the US, people’s right to sue has been getting steadily eroded and things like making people believe the hot coffee case were frivolous are part of it. That’s how they get people to actually vote for limitations on their own rights to sue, or for caps on damages, when in fact ‘tort reform’ laws usually end up, e.g., reducing the amount you can get in a malpractice suit.
And there’s also a lot of sneaky shit like people unknowingly signing away their right to sue in the fine print (or being told they have in a ‘supplementary package’ of fine print delivered to them AFTER they signed the contract), and ending up in ‘binding mandatory arbitration’. You’ve probably signed dozens of contracts like this, e.g., for your cellphone and credit card. You have basically ‘agreed’ that is you have any dispute for any reason you cannot sue for damages, you have to have a secret meaning with an arbitrator hired by the person / entity that harmed you to act as judge.
There was some really striking examples in the documentary. One was a kid born with severe brain damage because he wasn’t delivered properly, resulting in oxygen deprivation for about 8 minutes during birth; professional estimates for his cost of living (including numerous surgeries and physical therapy, starting at just one year old) for the rest of his life was about $6 million. The jury awarded $5.6. That’s doable, right?
Well, except in that state (Nebraska) there was an award cap of $1.25 million, which, after paying legal bills and the already accrued medical expenses, left the kid with just a few hundred thousand. So, he’s now on medicaid to pay for his therapy, surgeries, and basic living expenses. The cost of his treatment has basically been transferred to the taxpayer, and should anything happen to his parents they have no idea what would happen to him or who would take care of him.
Another was a Haliburton employee who went to Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Miss Jamie Leigh Jones. (Warning for the next paragraph: discussion of rape.)
Long story short: she was lied to about her accommodations and ended up housed in barrack with 400 men. She was sexually harassed and threatened. She complained about it, twice, and was told she’d ‘get over it’. She ended up being drugged and gang raped. She needed reconstructive surgery for anal and vaginal tearing. What do you think happened next?
She was locked in a shipping container with two armed guards for days, until one of them, out of sympathy and in defiance of orders, let her borrow his cellphone. She called her father who called some congressman and got her out of there.
She then spent 4 years fighting for her day in court, because unbeknownst to her she’d signed a binding mandatory arbitration agreement. She was 19 when all of this happened.
So, conclusion: the myth of frivolous lawsuits is kinda like the myth of the welfare queen. There have probably been a few that occurred sometime, somewhere, sure, but I bet you’d be hard-pressed to find them. Most people who file a suit have damn good reasons, and if they don’t the suit usually gets thrown out of court by a judge before they even waste time assembling a jury.
(Oh, another bit of shady shit discussed in the movies: big businesses trying to influence judge elections, or defame / dethrone already elected judges, if it seems they’re actually in favour of the common people’s right to civil litigation. During Judge Oliver Diaz’s election, he was subject to a massive, multi-million dollar smear campaign. When he won anyway, he was subject to another smear campaign: because a friend had co-signed a loan with him, he was accused of accepting a bribe, even though he had never presided on any case having to do with this friend or his law firm. In effect, his reputation was ruined and he couldn’t get elected again. This was not an isolated incident.)
Meanwhile, laws and ‘reforms’ to curb ‘litigation abuse’ do more harm than good. If you hear a politician talking about ‘lawsuit lotteries’ and a need for ‘tort reform’, think of Reagan talking about ‘welfare queens’; think about how the vast majority of people on welfare do, desperately, need it.
What we’re really looking at is people eroding our social safety net, because they’re lucky / wealthy enough to view it as inconvenient.
An awful state of affairs Fascinating, and I thank the earlier Tumblrers for taking the time. The US is even more messed up than we thought—and it seems it’s hard for decent people to get heard in court.
I don’t use Google. I have used Skype and Google hangouts, which are great but unfortunately security compromised services, for public talks where they’ve been required but I wouldn’t use it for personal communications.