Saturday, October 16, 2010

Saturday Morning Links

Some reading material for your weekend...

- Gerald Caplan goes somewhat further than I would in cheekily calling for asbestos exports to be considered a crime against humanity. But he's absolutely right to keep highlighting the embarrassment of being the lone developed country fighting to keep producing and exporting a product that's been long since deemed too dangerous for use at home.

- Longtime Saskatchewan Premier Allen Blakeney weighs in with his suggestion as to how to handle the province's potash reserves:
It is not easy to formulate a rule that would prevent consumers of potash from buying PCS shares but it would be relatively easy to formulate a rule under the Investment Canada Act that says 60 per cent of all shares of the corporation shall be owned by Canadian citizens who are resident in Canada.

It's hard to imagine any group or groups of Canadian citizens living in Canada who could own 60 per cent of PCS shares and also represent potash consumers.

The more likely owners would turn out to be the Ontario municipal employees pension plan, the Ontario Teachers' pension plan, the Quebec Caisse de Depot, the Canada Pension Plan and pension plans in other provinces.

Ownership by these groups and by a wide number of Canadians would be a good deal more comfortable for the Saskatchewan government to deal with than ownership by massive potash consumers' groups or the largest mining company in the world, BHP Billiton.
- Dr. Dawg and pogge point out the latest appalling development in Alex Hundert's treatment following his arrest for speaking on a public panel:
On the night of Wednesday October 14th, Alex was told by the security manager at the Toronto East Detention Centre that he had to sign the bail conditions or face solitary confinement in “the hole”, without access to phone calls or writing paper. He was put in solitary confinement after an initial confrontation with correction staff where he resisted initial attempts to make him sign. He was denied the right to call his lawyer, and told that if he didn’t sign now, they would revoke the bail offer and he would be held in solitary confinement until his eventual release from prison.

Coerced into signing these conditions, Alex was thrown out of Toronto East and left to find his own way home to his sureties’ house. The prison authorities forced him into a position where he could potentially be accused of further breaching his bail. Alex is now back on house arrest with an enforced curfew, with non-associations with co-accused and members of SOAR, AWOL, NOII and other community organizers. He also has the additionally imposed restrictions of no direct or indirect posting to the internet, no assisting, planning, or attending any public meeting or march, and no expressing of views on a political issue.
- Needless to say, Hundert would be a leading current candidate for a present-day internment list. And just think, it may only take 50 years for you too to find out whether you're mentioned on one!

- Finally, Michael Geist offers a partial rebuttal to Malcolm Gladwell's much-circulated piece on social media and activism. But I'd think the argument can be relatively easily boiled down to a distinction between what social media does well (particularly disseminating information which might not otherwise be shared across the weak ties brought into contact), and what it doesn't do at all on its own (the hierarchical organizing discussed by Gladwell, which may be facilitated and promoted over social media but still requires the development of closer ties).

No comments:

Post a Comment