Thursday, January 27, 2022

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Stephanie Carvin, Kurt Phillips and Amarnath Amarasingam discuss how anti-vaxx themes in Canada are being pushed and used by the fascist right. Alex Boutilier and Rachel Gilmore highlight how the convoy supported by Scott Moe, Jason Kenney, and so many other right-wing politicians is explicitly seeking to create its own January 6th riot and overthrow the federal government. Emily Leedham exposes the conspiracy theories and racism of Moe's new friend Nadine Ness. And a medical officer of health offers some needed tips in responding to targeted harassment by the anti-vaxx cult. 

- Kate Aronoff writes that a return to meaningful public planning is a must to deal with climate change (among other problems which can't be solved by hand-waving in the general direction of "market forces"). And Stephen Leahy discusses the counterproductive realities of tax giveaways to the fossil fuel sector for promised carbon capture and storage. 

- Lisa Friedman reports on new research showing the health consequences of even small levels of soot pollution. And Raymond Zhong reports on research revealing that gas stoves and other appliances may be leaking methane even when not turned on. 

- Finally, Aaron Gordon and Lauren Kaori Gurley report on Amazon-funded high school courses intended to indoctrinate students into an exploitative corporate mindset. And Michael Smart and Sobia Hasan Jafry ask why Canada isn't applying reasonable inclusion rates to capital gains to ensure the rich pay their fair share. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Emma Farge and Mrinalika Roy report on the World Health Organization's warning that it's dangerous to act like the COVID pandemic is over. Davide Mastracci observes that governments who have been willing to bother protecting citizens against substantial community spread have been successful even against the Omicron variant - meaning that the illness and death sweeping over countries with less responsible governments are a matter of choice. Vincent McDermott reports on the Alberta Workers' Compensation Board's recognition of thousands of cases in the province's workplaces, while Zak Vescera reveals that Scott Moe and his government have blocked any enforcement of the vaccine mandate which was supposed to reduce the risk of transmission in Saskatchewan's health care system. And Sarath Peiris argues that we should be expecting Saskatchewan Party MLAs to speak up about their leader's refusal to keep the province healthy - though there's no apparent precedent for their doing anything of the sort. 

- Zackie Achmat discusses how Cuba's vaccine development and distribution efforts are creating a needed alternative to the corporate pharmaceutical industry which has sought to prolong the pandemic in the name of profiteering. But Joel Lexchin offers a reminder that the Libs are choosing to side with big pharma over the Canadian public when it comes to ensuring that people have the medication they need. 

- Dylan Matthews reports on new research reaching the entirely predictable conclusion that improved income supports enhance children's brain development. CBC News reports on the recognition by anti-poverty activists that the aspect of inflation which needs to be fought is its effect on people already struggling to get by - not the prospect of slightly reduced net returns on capital. And Meara Conway has released her consultation report on housing and social supports in Saskatchewan. 

- Finally, Rachel Snow discusses how the right-wing denial of mass graves and other residential school abuses represents a continuation of white supremacy and colonialism. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Puzzled cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Andre Picard recognizes that stoking sentiment about being "done with COVID" only increases the likelihood of further transmission and mutation, while Gail Bowen writes about the need to cultivate the strength to push back rather than succumbing to a sense of futility. Gwynne Dyer discusses the far more justifiable fatigue with anti-vaxxers and deniers who are making the pandemic worse for everybody. The Canadian Press reports on Statistics Canada's finding that life expectancies saw their most severe drop in nearly a century as the pandemic began in 2020, while Phil Tank reports on the stark gap between what's been reported in Saskatchewan and the far higher number of deaths likely attributable to the coronavirus. 

- Katie Hyslop talks to young British Columbians about their eagerness to get fully vaccinated. Leana Wen discusses the need to update vaccine policies to account for the importance of third (and additional) doses in maintaining continued protection. And Katherine Wu is hopeful that a three-dose vaccine will eventually help to protect children under 5 - though the prospect of that development in the near future makes it all the more senseless that kids are currently being sent into viral incubators. 

- Saleemul Huq writes about the need for any effective climate action plan to address the loss and damage a deteriorating climate imposes on the people who can least afford it, while Oliver Milman notes that the rarely-recognized consequences of the climate crisis include massive interference with insect populations. 

- Fatima Syed highlights how businesses are cashing in on the Ford PCs' cancellation of a previous provincial climate policy - signaling how destructive climate policy represents a corporate giveaway as well as environmental negligence. And Michelle Gamage reports on the latest example of the polluting fossil fuel sector being put in charge of deciding what to bother fixing and cleaning up - this time being site contamination in British Columbia. 

- Meanwhile, Marc Lee, Belinda Li, Sue Maxwell and Tamara Shulman point out how a focus on a zero-waste society can create both economic and environmental benefits.

- Finally, Robert Reich argues that corporate sedition is an even greater threat to democracy than the violent political version. 

Monday, January 24, 2022

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Katharine Wu examines how the effect of immunity is just one more area where people are seeing profoundly unequal results of the COVID pandemic - with a disproportionate burden being placed on those who were already facing disadvantages. Lauren Pelley reports on the current state of knowledge around long COVID, as well as the danger that many people may face symptoms and aftereffects for decades to come. And Ian Welsh discusses the example set by Western Australia in demonstrating that COVID has always been controllable - making for a particularly stark comparison to the resource-based provinces in western Canada which have instead chosen to let it run wild. 

- Jacob Lorinc points out that the workers who have left restaurant work during the course of the pandemic have done so for good reason. And Dan Darrah discusses the prospect of a four-day work week coming to Canada in the wake of successful trials elsewhere. 

- Diana Chen McNally and Naheed Dosani write that while we should be looking to eradicate homelessness altogether, we should at least ensure that all people have access to basic hygiene and sanitary services.

- Zoe Craig-Sparrow, Shelagd Day and Margot Young discuss how all levels of government in Canada have prioritized fossil fuel profits over Indigenous rights.

- Finally, David Climenhaga and Ryan Lindley each write about the combination of separatist fanaticism and cynical grifting behind the latest yellow vest convoy. 

Sunday, January 23, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Alex Ballingall and Raisa Patel ask why Canada's federal government seems to have learned nothing from four previous waves of COVID. And Kari Dequine Harden writes about the large number of children saddled with the effects of long COVID because their leaders didn't bother to keep public health protections in place for the benefit of those who couldn't yet be vaccinated.

- Umair Haque discusses how the U.S.' elite consensus around unrestrained capitalism has led to its political ruin - and while the U.S. may stand out for now, it's not hard to see the same dynamic playing out in Canada and elsewhere. And Elizabeth Meager points out that investor protection agreements have been treated as barring countries from meeting their climate commitments. 

- Meanwhile, Phil MacDonald and Sarah Brown note that soaring energy costs in the UK are the result of continued reliance on fossil fuels. And Marc Fawcett-Atkinson writes that access to safe food is just one more area in which inequality of income and wealth feeds into disparities in other aspects of well-being.

- Finally, Stephanie Kelton discusses the dangers of treating reflexive interest rate manipulation as the only - or best - means of responding to inflation.

Saturday, January 22, 2022

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Katharine Wu writes that contrary to the continued attempt by right-wing talking heads to equate mass viral transmission with immunity, we can't assume that the spread of the Omicron COVID strain will offer substantial protection from future infection. Kayla Rosen reports on new research showing the widespread cognitive dysfunction caused even by COVID cases treated as "mild", while Moira Wyton points out the "test trap" facing people with less-than-life-threatening symptoms who may not have access to the testing needed to support claims based on disabilities. And Danielle Groen discusses what would be needed for governments to be able to responsibly reopen - which (spoiler alert) means far more than simply asserting in the face of all evidence that the pandemic is over.

- Ben Cousins reports that a majority of Canadians are now having trouble feeding their families, making for an 18-point jump from just a few years ago. Umair Haque discusses how the greed of the wealthiest few is impoverishing everybody else, while Michael Schaub reviews Peter Goodman's "Davos Man" as a helpful reminder as to where wealth and power is currently concentrated. And Andrew Perez and David Sirota highlight how the Senate filibuster serves not as a democratic check, but as corporate America's kill switch to prevent any meaningfully progressive policy from being implemented no matter how necessary or popular.

- Tanya Talaga reminds us that deaths in house fires within First Nations are traceable to the poverty and deprivation which have been structurally embedded in communities. And Mitchell Thompson exposes how Tom Flanagan and his Conservative cronies continue to engage in brazen denial of the horrors of residential schools.

- Finally, Douglas Todd discusses how Singapore has implemented strong incentives against speculation in its housing market, and suggests that Canada pursue the same.

Friday, January 21, 2022

Musical interlude

Cowboy Junkies - White Sail

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Claire Horwell highlights how masking and other continued public health measures to rein in spread to the extent possible are the only way to avoid catastrophic results from the Omicron wave. Mickey Djuric reports on leaked modelling reaching the same conclusion based on Saskatchewan data (as well as the call by labour for public health action based on the science). Tyler Barrow talks to both Cory Neudorf and Alexander Wong about the painfully-misinformed spin being used by Scott Moe to avoid doing anything to keep people safe. And Alexander Quon interviews Nazeem Muhajarine about the Saskatchewan Party's choice to abandon any effort to even track, let alone contain, the spread of COVID. 

- Matt Keeling et al. study what circuit breaker policies can achieve in limiting infections as well as severe health outcomes. And Chansavath Phetsoupanth et al. find that people who suffer from long COVID can be expected to have long-term immunological deficiencies as a result. 

- Katharine Smart weighs in on how the pandemic has exposed the weaknesses caused by decades of neglect of our health care system. Nora Loreto points out how even the most immediate problems are primarily the result of neoliberal governments rather than individual anti-vaxxers. And Emma York discusses the shift toward for-profit health care as both a cause and consequence of the current crisis. 

- Tony Seskus and Kyle Bakx discuss the mountains of money being hoarded by fossil fuel companies even as they demand massive public subsidies, while Anya Zoledzowski reports on Shell's Quest plant as yet another example of a CCS project which only adds to carbon pollution even at massive expense. Gordon Laxer rightly notes that the UCP's spin about "foreign-funded" environmentalists represents nothing but blatant projection as Jason Kenney seeks to send more cash to foreign-owned petrogiants. And David Suzuki calls out climate-denying media for demonizing the people working on transitioning toward a sustainable society. 

- Finally, John Michael McGrath examines the preliminary findings of Ontario's housing task force -which would go some way toward encouraging multi-unit development, if doing so in ways which seem to cater more to developers than to people in need of homes.