Skip to main content

Senator Elizabeth Warren has noted that ISDS is a policy in the new TPP, and she, other lawmakers, environmentalists and human right activists object to ISDS for good reasons.

The full name of Investor-State Dispute Settlement sounds like a harmless process to settle disputes between a foreign government and a corporation that invests in that country. If the host country "violates" rights granted to the corporation under a trade agreement, then the investor may bring the matter before an "arbitration tribunal."  

The U.S. is proud of our democracy and the rule of law so it is curious that this ISDS basically operates in direct opposition to our rule of law whenever possible.

Joseph E. Stiglitz (and other distinguished professors and former judges and justices) wrote a letter to Congressional leaders to state their opposition to ISDS based on impacts to our rule of law. The ISDS is a new legal system for only foreign investor/corporations, it is not available to "nations, domestic investors, or civil society groups alleging violations of treaty obligations."  ISDS panels do not have to follow legal precedent and its decisions cannot be appealed to a court. The ISDS arbitrators are not public servants, but "highly paid corporate lawyers [who] go back and forth between representing corporations one day and sitting in judgment the next" in secret proceedings. Supporters of ISDS counter that arbitrations are generally confidential in order to foster resolution of disputes; however, this ignores that typical arbitration is between two parties of a dispute while ISDS affects the general public.

ISDS gives foreign investors an exemption from the rules of law and our judicial system. Foreign investors can skip courts and take their issues to a private tribunal to argue that government actions have de-valued their investments.

"Under investor-state, if a regulation gets in the way of a foreign investor’s ability to profit from its investment, the investor can sue a country for monetary damages based on both alleged lost profits and 'expected future profits.'There are no monetary limits to the potential award."
As noted by Senator Warren, these "corporate courts" are on the rise around the globe. From 1959 to 2002, there were fewer than 100 ISDS claims worldwide. But in 2012 alone, there were 58 cases."

While ISDS tribunals are not based on precedent, prior cases are a good example of how ISDS can prevent effective actions to address climate change and climate justice, protect environmental resources and protect our health and safety.  ISDS allows corporations to bully nations and people into changing or watering down policies in order to prevent ISDS actions. An investor/corporation claim or even the threat or concern about a claim can inhibit governments from passing effective measures to address matters of public concern that should be handled by government.

Continue Reading

from 2015 White House Correspondents' Association Dinner: You won't wanna miss this!

full video here

Full transcript of President Obama’s White House Correspondents’ Association dinner toast

some more laughs!

Obama also reminded the chuckling audience that Texas Senator Ted Cruz recently denied the man-made causes of global warming: "Ted Cruz said that denying the existence of climate change made him like Galileo."

"Galileo believed the earth revolved around the sun," the president continued, leading to a punch line. "Ted Cruz believes the earth revolves around Ted Cruz."

Anyway, it’s amazing how time flies. Soon, the first presidential contest will take place, and I for one cannot wait to see who the Koch brothers pick. It’s exciting. Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, who will finally get that red rose?

The winner gets a billion dollar war chest. The runner-up gets to be the bachelor on the next season of “The Bachelor.”


When questioned about his ban on "climate change," you would think Scott would simply respond by using THE words to show there is no such ban. But NO -  Gov. Scott has his own little phrases to refer to "climate change": "this issue" or "talk about" and thus he also refuses to use THE words.

Continue Reading

Wings is a lifelong activist on political and human rights issues, including honoring and protecting Mother Earth. Wings's silverwork (NDN Silver by Wings here) is an expression or extension of his environmental advocacy:

Beauty, magic, and the mysteries of the earth and sky connect . . . .

This is how I express Nature’s balance of the elements through the creation of my art. Fire, earth, metal, water, wood, air, and all living animals – winged, four-legged, others – all are my friends and help to create movement.

My art unfolds in stories, their expression and rhythms celebrating life in all worlds – especially with those who have walked before us.

You don't have to be an environmental activist to love the beauty of Mother Earth or to enjoy opportunities to connect with and use her mountains, lakes, rivers, forests, deserts and skies or to enjoy the existence of her beautiful wildlife and critters.

You will see and feel the magic of Mother Earth in his silverwork! Wearing your eco – for you, your friends and family!

Supporting our Daily Kos Village!

Some of the beautiful silverwork artwork by Wings is pictured below. Descriptions of each piece is available by clicking onto the title.

Payment options include checks, money orders, credit cards or Paypal.  Payment contact information here. Paypal is available with this email address: and please state the item in the "Note."

 Shopping is political! Very common for dominant groups to compete with Indian artists and try to appropriate culture by doing fake Indian jewelry.  Wings creates stunning wearable art reflecting Native themes and culture. Each piece is one of a kind in sterling silver, using traditional silverwork processes to give form and expression to a piece.
In the midst of our own battles against racist appropriation, theft, forced assimilation, and cultural genocide, I have become increasingly attuned to the existential threats faced by other people of color in this country, and have sought ways to help effect positive change for all of us. (full statement here)

Shopping is eco advocacy!  Wings's artwork jewelry/silverwork is sourced to and honors Mother Earth and all her wonders. In his silverwork, you may enjoy seeing  delicate squash blossoms, snowflakes, tiny shells from our beaches, wildlife and critters (e.g., turtles, dragonflies), ribbons of rain or gathering of clouds, mountains, peaks and valleys with secret sacred places; deserts, and shadows of the day. And there is Wings's breathtaking photography of birds and endangered Monarch butterflies mating in the aspen.
Wings and Aji still live as their peoples have always done:  close to the land, where daily life is bounded by time and season and weather. At The NDN Silver Blog, Aji regularly writes about the environment from an indigenous perspective, especially about the local effects of climate change, since their peoples are on the front lines of its impact. She does so mostly in the context of Wings's art — reflecting their own daily experience, and with a mostly light touch, but pointedly enough to bring the urgency of the issue of climate change to bear in the minds of their clientele around the country and the world.
Shopping is supporting community, our beloved Aji and Wings!  And all the wildlife and critters that they rescue, giving needed medical attention and loving care to those abused or harmed, and a new life of peace. For all the horses, dogs, birds, elk and all the critters so lucky to find Aji and Wings!

Continue Reading

This diary is written by Aji. She can't post at Daily Kos anymore because it does not download for her, so I am cross-posting for her from her blog.

Photo copyright Wings, 2014; all rights reserved.

On Friday, a member of the community at the GOS posted a diary. It was a very quiet, unassuming post, one that clearly sought not to be the center of attention even though it needed to be: So. Um. I need some help.

It reminded me of how I felt as a child, when I needed something but was afraid to say so, sitting at my schooldesk and barely raising my hand, then putting it back down again promptly and sort of hoping against hope that no one had noticed. It's a horrible feeling. It's what happens when you live in a society that doesn't take care of its own, and when circumstances combine in the worst ways to leave you hanging off the ledge by two fingertips, no safety net to break your fall a hundred stories down.

First, the important part: At the time she wrote that Rachel had admitted that she needed a good $1,900 to get her electricity back on (and keep it on). It's the middle of November, for heaven's sake; she can't head into winter with no power. I'm sitting here right now looking at four inches of snow, all dropped since 10 PM last night; tonight it's supposed to get down near zero. It's probably a bit milder where she is at the moment, but that won't last, and she certainly can't depend on the good graces of the weather to keep her warm and safe.

But yesterday, DallasDoc wrote a diary on her behalf, and it became clear that he'd wormed more of the real situation out of her. He set a goal of $4,500, which probably lowballs it a bit, based on her subsequent comments, it looks like something approaching $6,000 is closely to what she really needs to get completely caught up, forget about having any sort of breathing room. It appears that they were able to raise something over $1,300 toward that goal yesterday, but more is obviously needed.  
[UPDATE: Dallasdoc informed me this morning that total of declared contributions is now $1380! (PDNC)]

Please Help TiaRachel

If you've never used PayPal to send money to anyone, it is really simple.

  • Go to You do not have to have an account to send money.
  • Click Send Money to Family and Friends.
  • Enter TiaRachel's email address (which is and amount you are sending.  The sender's name is visible to the recipient
  • If you'd rather send a check in the mail, you can Kosmail TiaRachel to get her mailing address.

Here is the plea for help posted yesterday morning by TiaRachel - So. Um. I need some help.  Please help her as much as possible.  Tip/rec Aji's diary.  Republish to your Daily Kos Groups.  Link to your Facebook pages.  Tweet to your friends.  Many thanks.

If that's all you need, you're set; you've helped someone in a very real, very tangible way. But if you need to know more about why her situation is so complex, so vexedly difficult, follow me over the jump, because I think this is where I come in.

Continue Reading

Wings EONM Resized

This diary is written by Aji and Wings.

One of the great advantages of the Kos Katalogue is that it provides both buyers and sellers a chance to do business with fellow liberals who support progressive values and causes. For artists, this is doubly significant: Like all else in life, art is inherently political. Oh, I know artists who insist that they are not involved in politics in any way, but scratch the surface of their work by more than a millimeter, and you'll find clear political statements, whether they're conscious of them or not.

In Wings's case, his art has always been political, even when he doesn't think of it in partisan terms. For Indians especially, our work — in any medium — is necessarily an expression of identity and culture (even among those who expressly reject slapping a "Native" label on any particular work; its absence tells its own story, whatever the context). But Wings will tell you himself that his own art is, and has always been, a soul-deep manifestation of his own identity as a Native man, both inspired and inspirited by his people's culture and history. In recent years, his work has become more overtly political, particularly on select fronts: his opposition to racism and other forms of bigotry, and to all forms of appropriation and cultural theft (as made clear yet again last Monday in his public statement, posted here as well as on his own site); his rejection of  violence, particularly that directed toward women and children; his support for the health, harmony, and well-being of our peoples; and his support for the protection of Mother Earth. As an established artist in his own right, Wings has been afforded a platform to which many don't have access. Recently, he has renewed his intent to use that platform, to use his voice and reach as a Native artist, to press for positive change and growth on these and other fronts.

Of course, to do so, the lights must remain on and other obligations must be met, and so while it would be gratifying to be able to produce his art purely for its own sake, with no thought to having to sell it, it's impossible in today's economic environment. And so we're fortunate to have this opportunity to make his art available to people who share our personal and political values.

As many of you know, we upgraded Wings's Web site over the summer and relaunched it on a whole new platform. It's much larger, and far more flexible; we're able to provide better descriptions and better navigation for visitors. We've also been able to expand it far beyond its previous constraints. In addition to the wide array of art on offer, the site now includes The NDN Silver Blog, where I post daily. usually, it's an opportunity to feature a particular piece or set of pieces, but some days are built around themes, and it gives me an opportunity to showcase Native art in a breadth and depth not available to us before. We hope you'll visit it occasionally, and that it at least occasionally provides you with valuable information.

For now, as we head into the holidays, we have some new and very exciting pieces to show you, both Wings's own work and that of other Native artists whose work we carry. Over the jump, you'll find some incredible showpieces among his silverwork, examples of his photography (including work from his one-man show at the Jean Cocteau Cinema in Santa Fe this spring), and a host of work from other artists, including fetishes, leatherwork, pottery, sculpture, and other items, many of which are very modestly priced), as well as links to much more. And in the weeks to come, he'll have a variety of new work available, particularly smaller popular items like earrings.

Continue Reading

This diary is written by Wings.

    This is the announcement that triggered a statement by Wings:  R-team representatives "will be in Zuni at the Tribal Conference Room" on Monday August 11th "looking to buy jewelry, fetishes, beadwork, etchings, pottery, and other art work. Preferred items will be those that have the Washington [R-word] team logo, or use of team colors …embedded in the art work."

[Aji and Wings respond below the DK squiggle.]

update: Aji sent me this, and I forgot to add...thank ono for posting in comments tonight:

"One thing I should add: We have a few pieces of Zuni work - old petitpoint jewelry (gorgeous stuff) and a few fetishes. But if people really want to do some good here, contact Zuni artists directly and buy from them. If you're in the market for a specific type of Zuni art and don't know of an artisan who could provide it, leave me a comment, or message me, and I'll happily look up contact info for you to put you in touch with Zuni artists directly. Takes out the middlemen, and leaves Snyder & Co. high and dry....

To contact us go to our Web site, the Contact form goes straight to my inbox. You can also e-mail me directly at Ajijaakwe [at] gmail [dot] com."

Continue Reading

A recent national survey on registered voters shows support for candidates who want to address global warming. The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication issued a July 15th study on Politics and Global Warming to focus on the role of our government to fight global warming and also what actions citizens should take to address the failure of government to take action.  This report shows that people have really been thinking about global warming, and how it interconnects with other issues, such as public health and the quality of life for future generations. The study shows that many Americans are so committed to our government addressing global warming that they favor engaging in political actions in addition to voting for candidates, such as civil disobedience, volunteering for campaigns, donating money to candidates, as well as their own personal boycotts against companies who refuse to take steps to reduce global warming. The report implicitly shows voter opposition against GOP positions and lies, such as the GOP trying to scare people away from taking action as being too costly.  The results also indicate the potential for a "coalition" of Democrats and liberal/moderate GOP against the conservative GOP deniers, whose views are often in the minority.  It also shows implicit support for some actions President Obama is taking that the GOP oppose and would love to use against Democrats in the midterms, such as the EPA's proposed regulations to reduce carbon pollution. Reviewing this study can be beneficial to environmental writers and activists in terms of improving our messaging to reach a wider audience and focusing on what take-action items might be favored.

Continue Reading

Over the past few years, young people across the U.S. have been suing the federal government for violating their constitutional rights by ignoring climate change. The issue is obvious: refusing to take effective measures against climate change is "destroying their futures."

Continue Reading

Some lawmakers say jobs are important, not so much for us, but their jobs are so critical that they would do anything to remain in Congress.  Not just taking money from the fossil fuel industry, but also seeking to enact laws that violate existing laws and precedent because they can't get their way without stacking the decks.  When the price is right, like say $21 million, then a foreign corporation can get a permit for a project with devastating impacts, including worsening climate change that affects people globally, creating racist sacrifice zones targeted at Indian and African-American communities, risking water sources, including the Ogallala Aquifer that has a high water table in many locations, negatively impacting the health of adults and children sufficient to cause Senators Boxer and Whitehouse to request a study on public health risks, and risking harm to our wildlife and natural resources.

Sen. Landrieu and Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) introduced recently bill (Bill S. 2280) that would nix President Obama as decisionmaker; nix National Interest Determination standard, federal agency review and public participation from the cross-border permitting process for TransCanada; approve existing XL pipeline immediately and the future unknown route in Nebraska as special legislation for TransCanada, and nix a full NEPA  (National Environmental Policy Act) analysis. A few Democrats are joining with Republicans against the leader of their party hoping to save their jobs from GOP campaign attacks, but no compromise of principle will appease the GOP.  

Continue Reading

We are holding a blogathon, coordinated with and around 16 other NGOs, in a campaign to encourage people to submit public comments opposing the Keystone XL pipeline during the National Interest Determination (NID) public comment period.  This might be the last opportunity for the public to submit comments (depending on the legal limbo created by the recent court decision in a key Nebraska lawsuit).

Continue Reading

Senators Boxer and Whitehouse held a press conference today to "share dramatic new information that will shine a spotlight on the health impacts of tar sands oil - health impacts that are already being felt in communities exposed to one of the filthiest kinds of oil on our planet." (Link to Boxer's statement as prepared for delivery.) The senators are rightfully concerned that the "health impacts of tar sands oil are being ignored." They want to connect the dots between tar sands and health risks "from the extraction to the transport to the refining to the waste disposal."

In a letter to Secretary Kerry, Sen. Boxer and Sen. Whitehouse ask for an "immediate and comprehensive study on the human health impacts of tar sands and the proposed pipeline." The senators state how the Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement is "woefully inadequate regarding human health impacts," and "peer reviewed research on these issues [should be] fully considered before any decision is made on the Keystone XL pipeline."

While the XL pipeline impacts will affect everyone, as I wrote about earlier this month, Racist 'Sacrifice Zones' With XL Pipeline are Grounds Alone for Rejecting Permit, yet the harm to people's lives is an issue missing from the debate on whether to approve the pipeline:

The public debate whether President Obama should approve Keystone XL pipeline is focused on the salient impacts to climate change, natural resources and wildlife. What is missing from this debate is the overriding issue of how does the pipeline directly harm people? Under the law, this is key to any decision. The pipeline should be rejected because it creates (or expands) sacrifice zones for Indians, other minorities and low-income communities. This violates the legal mandate of compliance with environmental justice principles that the State Department must consider when evaluating whether approving the pipeline is in the national interest, a process which is now underway.
The XL has 3 sacrifice zones: First Nation communities in Canada, U.S. tribal communities, and West Port Arthur, which is 95% African American. The Senators cover briefly two of these sacrifice zones.
Continue Reading
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.


Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site