Saturday, February 16, 2019

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Suresh Naidu, Dani Rodrik and Gabrien Zucman write about the developing movement toward an economic discipline which recognizes the importance of human well-being, rather than being bound by neoliberal ideology and an assumption that GDP is the only end to be pursued.

- PressProgress examines the stranglehold on public policy enjoyed and exploited by a few major Canadian corporations. And Lana Payne discusses the problem with the concentration of wealth and power.

- Alex Paterson laments the Trudeau Libs' decision to add one more piece to a patchwork of prescription drug coverage rather than developing a national pharmacare program.

- Meanwhile, Theresa Boyle reports on the latest study showing that billions of dollars are wasted on unnecessary lab tests. And Bob Bell points out how Doug Ford appears set to hand increased profits to home care operators with no regard for the well-being of residents. 

- Finally, George Monbiot offers due credit to the young people now leading the way in building a mass movement toward action on climate change. But Jonathan Freedland argues that our reaction to the activism being led by high school students should be one of shame rather than admiration alone.

Friday, February 15, 2019

Musical interlude

The 1975 - Love It If We Made It

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- The Courage Coalition makes the case for Canada to pursue a Green New Deal of its own. And Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood points out the intergenerational harm of leaving climate breakdown to continue unabated, while Alastair Sharp reports on a new paper as to the problem with oil companies rewarding executives for unsustainable fossil fuel dependence.

- Meanwhile, James MacLean sees the Saskatchewan Party's just-concluded carbon tax reference as a prime example of the problems with trying to use posturing in court as a substitute for reasonable policy-making.

- Laura Stampler reports that in the midst of its attempt to turn a new corporate headquarters into a reality TV show, Amazon is paying precisely zero in U.S. federal taxes. And Bryce Covert argues that other cities should follow New York's lead in rejecting corporate giveaways at the expense of the common good.

- But sadly, Tom Parkin writes that the Libs' willingness to sell out the rule of law for the benefit of SNC-Lavalin shows Canada is far from the mark. And Andrew Coyne comments on how Lib backbenchers used their committee votes to prevent any meaningful investigation.

- Finally, Hillary Hoffower and Andy Kiersz report on the yawning gap between the U.S.' minimum wage and the cost of housing. And PressProgress documents how Jason Kenney plans to make it even more difficult for Alberta workers to make a living, while Ariel Fournier reports on the particularly pernicious effects of artificially low minimum wages for young workers.

Thursday, February 14, 2019

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Chris Jackson presents a new Ipsos survey showing that the majority of American workers face stress issues at work. And Arthur White-Crumley reports on a spate of injuries at Evraz' Regina steel mill.

- Rob Ferguson reports on Doug Ford's attempt to ram through major health care restructuring (including a focus on privatization) without allowing the public a chance to fight back. And Elianna Lev talks to Danyaal Raza about the predictable harm from privatizing health care services.

- Meanwhile, Sherri Brown weighs in on Ford's appalling decision to limit per-child funding for autism based on the expectation that nobody deserves more of a chance than will fit into an arbitrary spending cap.

- Naomi Klein discusses the battle lines between advocates for a Green New Deal, and defenders of polluting the planet for the sake of further enriching present-day fossil fuel investors. And Marc Lee examines the future of carbon pricing in Canada.

- Finally, Craig Scott highlights how "trust us" is nowhere close to a sufficient response from Justin Trudeau as his government covers up its attempts to protect SNC-Lavalin from prosecution. And Adam Hunter reports on Ryan Meili's push for a review of Saskatchewan's dealings with SNC-Lavalin.

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Patricia Cohen and Maggie Astor discuss what they perceive as the boldness of the emerging debate about taxing the wealthiest in the U.S. But John Nichols points out that even the most "radical" progressive tax plans under discussion would only restore the principles that applied through some of the country's most prosperous eras.

- Jonathan Watts reports on a new study from the Institute for Public Policy Research on the systemic environmental and economic threats posed by a climate breakdown, while Roger Harrabin emphasizes the multiple crises we're facing. And Damian Carrington takes note of the impending collapse of insect populations in particular. 

- Owen Jones highlights the need for UK Labour (among other progressive parties) to lead the charge in fighting to protect our planet from those clear and present threats. And Avi Lewis makes the case for a Canadian equivalent of the Green New Deal.

- Sharon Riley reports on the rapidly-increasing bills being foisted on the public as the Alberta oil sector abandons its responsibilities. And Justin Mikulka notes that the recent rail accident in Field, B.C. resulted from many of the same factors as the Lac-Mégantic explosion - signalling how much work still needs to be done to address threats that we know all too well. But Dawn Wolfe points out the lengths corporatist parties are going to in preventing the public interest from being considered by pointing out how Michigan Republicans have given corporate polluters a veto over any environmental regulations. 

- Finally, Anita Huberman and Hassan Yussuff offer a reminder as to how families and small businesses stand to gain from universal pharmacare. But Kelly Crowe reports on big pharma's lobbying efforts to ensure Canadians keep paying exorbitant prices out of pocket.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Toyland cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Keith Stewart writes about the determination of the oil industry to push people to vote for environmental destruction. But as an alternative, Ann Pettifor highlights the important economic and environmental progress on offer through the Green New Deal:
The Green New Deal demands major structural (governmental and inter-governmental) changes (not just behavioural change) in our approach to the ecosystem. In addition, and as in the 1930s, such change to be driven by radical structural transformation of the finance sector, and the economy. It was developed on the understanding that finance, the economy and the ecosystem are all tightly bound together. Protecting and restoring the ecosystem to balance cannot be tackled effectively without transformation of the other sectors. Financing the transformation of the economy away from its dependence on fossil fuels cannot be achieved without a transformation of the finance sector.
Its ambition is on a much grander scale than Roosevelt’s 1930s New Deal. (Recall that his administration also faced an ecological catastrophe: the dust bowl). The climate threats we face are on a scale beyond the imagination of New Dealers. Still we must learn from Roosevelt’s administration. To tackle climate change we need simultaneously to tackle the root cause of growing toxic emissions: a self-regulating, globalised financial system that injects exponential supplies of unregulated credit into the hands of speculators and consumers. Credit that is used in turn to inflate the prices of existing assets, and to fuel consumption of the earth’s finite assets extracted via the energy of fossil fuels. Only once we switch off, regulate and moderate the “tap” of “easy money” will it be possible to regulate and “switch off” the toxic emissions of fossil fuels.
- Rebecca Burns comments on the U.S.' much-needed conversation about ensuring the rich pay their fair share. And Jonathan Chait chimes in on the failure of corporate tax slashing to provide any economic benefit.

- Meanwhile, Paul Krugman offers a reminder of the perpetual double standard on deficits and debt - which are always treated as acceptable as long as they're caused by tax cuts for the wealthy. And Robert Reich notes that Donald Trump is happy to bail out the rich while insisting that everybody else fend for themselves.

- Finally, Andrew Coyne points out the Libs' conspicuous refused to directly answer the accumulating issues with their free pass for corporate corruption. And Alex Boutilier and Alex Ballingall report on the tens of millions of dollars in federal contracts being handed out to SNC Lavalin.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Luke Savage comments on the need for progressive leaders to stand up to the interests of the uber-wealthy, rather than promising them that nothing will be done which could possible improve the position of the public. And Eric Levitz offers a reminder that the right-wing version is blowing up in the face of politicians who turned populist anger into an opportunity to tilt the balance of power even further in favour of the rich. 

- Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie offer a reminder of the dangerous effects of plastics which accumulate in bodies and ecosystems alike - including in ways most people wouldn't suspect.

- Andre Bear highlights the importance of addressing the combination of overt historical bigotry and ongoing discrimination which both places barriers in the way of Indigenous peoples, and stands in the way of nation-to-nation reconciliation. And Doug Cuthand points out the continued lack of action to address the welfare of Indigenous children.

- Meanwhile, Shenaz Kermalli calls out the Cons' politics of fear (particularly to the extent it's converted into violence) as the most important threat to Canada. And Kathleen McAuliffe examines the role of disgust as a predictor of political leanings.

- Finally, Andrew Coyne weighs in on the Libs' use of government power to hand SNC Lavalin a get-out-of-prosecution-free card.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Paul Krugman duly mocks Donald Trump's attempt to turn any discussion of social investment into a threat of "socialism":
Some progressive U.S. politicians now describe themselves as socialists, and a significant number of voters, including a majority of voters under 30, say they approve of socialism. But neither the politicians nor the voters are clamoring for government seizure of the means of production. Instead, they’ve taken on board conservative rhetoric that describes anything that tempers the excesses of a market economy as socialism, and in effect said, “Well, in that case I’m a socialist.”

What Americans who support “socialism” actually want is what the rest of the world calls social democracy: A market economy, but with extreme hardship limited by a strong social safety net and extreme inequality limited by progressive taxation. They want us to look like Denmark or Norway, not Venezuela.

And in case you haven’t been there, the Nordic countries are not, in fact, hellholes. They have somewhat lower G.D.P. per capita than we do, but that’s largely because they take more vacations. Compared with America, they have higher life expectancy, much less poverty and significantly higher overall life satisfaction. Oh, and they have high levels of entrepreneurship — because people are more willing to take the risk of starting a business when they know that they won’t lose their health care or plunge into abject poverty if they fail.
- Meanwhile, Aamna Mohdin reports on new research showing that nearly a million more young adults in the UK are living with their parents due to an economy which has kept wages stagnant while driving prices and debt upward.

- PressProgress points out the problems with the Libs' infrastructure bank which prioritizes corporate profits over the delivery and accessibility of needed services.

- Murray Mandryk discusses how Scott Moe is feeding into anti-immigrant bigotry by putting pipeline development above all else. And Sharon Kelly writes that the Keystone pipeline - one of the Saskatchewan Party's previous hobby horses - is once again spilling oil while failing to live up to promised environmental standards.

- Finally, Felicity Lawrence writes that our current food system is affecting both our health, and that of our planet.