Saturday, June 22, 2019

Light blogging ahead

Expect this space to go quiet for the next week-plus. For those not following on Twitter, I'll still be somewhat active at @juristblog.

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Lana Payne discusses the need for outrage about the lack of enforcement even of corporate tax obligations which have been slashed for decades. And Hassan Yussuff writes about the obvious merits of a universal pharmacare system, along with the wealthy few determined to stop anything of the sort since it might cut into their windfall profits:
(Y)ou can bet there are plenty of wealthy corporate shareholders who are very satisfied with the status quo and who will always put those inflated profits ahead of people’s health care needs.

In fact, a report by the Canadian Federation of Nurses Unions earlier this year uncovered a 600% increase in lobbying by at least one major industry group between 2017 to 2018.

“The pharmaceutical industry sees the implementation of pharmacare as worthy of the deployment of unprecedented lobbying resources,” concludes the report.

Our governments, though, serve the public good, not private interests. That’s why the independent advisory council has provided the clearest blueprint yet for this major investment in the people of Canada.

Will our elected officials support this national vision? Or will they toe the industry line and support half-measures that will continue to line industry pockets while putting people’s health at risk?
- J. David Hughes and Laura Cameron each discuss how an ongoing climate crisis demands that we transition to clean energy rather than subsidizing and forcing the further extraction of fossil fuels. Holly Lake exposes the shoddy and biased "research" used to secure the approval of dangerous industrial projects. And Tristan Hughes calls out Justin Trudeau's attempt to triangulate in the face of a threat to our living environment as a particularly dangerous form of denialism.

- Rhiannon Moore points out that climate change and plastic pollution are both symptoms of the same problem of consumerism. And Sandra Laville discusses the costs to people and to the planet of a culture of cheap and disposable clothing.

- Finally, Scott Smith writes that the right to repair should be extended to include farm machinery to ensure farmers aren't at the mercy of large equipment monopolists.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Musical interlude

Phantogram - Fall In Love

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Lawrence Mishel points out that Donald Trump's giveaways to the rich actually resulted in a sharp decline in bonuses paid to workers.

- Robert Plummer reports on the precarity facing lower-income workers in the UK. And John Clapp writes from experience about the catch-22s standing between people and desperately-needed housing in Toronto.

- Gerald Kutney comments on the utter lack of content in the Cons' saw excuse for a climate change plan. Jasper Jolly discusses the role a shift toward electric airplanes will need to play as part of a transition to a sustainable economy. And Nicole Mortarillo writes about Canada's certain role as a haven for refugees driven from newly-uninhabitable areas as our climate crisis worsens.

- Jim Stanford points out a new report from the Conference Board of Canada showing how investment in education pays off many times over - even as right-wing governments across the country slash from students to give to the rich.

- Finally, Cam Holmstrom duly criticizes the Cons' unelected Senators who took it upon themselves to block legislation to implement UNDRIP. And Graham Thomson discusses what Jason Kenney's decision to hand earplugs to his trained seals to avoid even hearing the opposition in Alberta's legislature says about his attitude toward democracy.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood offers an electoral primer for voters who want to avert a climate breakdown in this fall's federal election. And Paul Wells takes a look at the Cons' undercooked nothingburger of a climate plan, while Hilary Beaumont notes that it's actually designed to coordinate with fossil fuel barons' plans to increase emissions.

- While Jason Kenney explicitly launches a war against anybody who questions the most extreme elements of the oil sector, Mark Schapiro points out that environmental reporting has long been an area in which anybody pursuing the truth has been at risk of being silenced by force. And Marion Guégan and Cécile Schilis-Gallego highlight the specific threats against reporters who dared to expose human rights abuses and corruption in Tanzania.

- Meanwhile, Duncan Cameron examines the NDP's election platform - including its broad view as to how the federal government can improve the well-being of Canadians. And as a reminder of what happens when governments operate under the opposite set of assumptions, CUPE examines the social costs of pseudo-"balanced" budgets which slash needed public services in order to fund tax cuts for the rich.

- Finally, Ed Finn points out the contrived complaints about the cost of pharmacare when governments regularly hand over billions of dollars to the corporate sector.

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellanous material for your mid-week reading.

- David Dayen interviews Elizabeth Warren about the role of government in ensuring that the needs of people take precedence over the power of corporations. And Press Progress duly challenges the claim that corporate directors are overworked in putting in five to seven hours a week to carry out their duties, while Marco Chown Oved and Robert Cribb report on the tens of billions of dollars in taxes left unpaid by Canada's largest businesses.

- Michael Kwet examines how retailers track customers' movement without permission or accountability, while David Beer discusses the importance of regulating who's able to analyze personal information online.

- PressProgress examines a few of the realities Brian Pallister is hoping to sweep under the rug with a snap election call - including his slashing of rental assistance programs. Arthur White-Crummey reports on the Saskatchewan Party's elimination of support for utility costs in favour of blather about self-sufficiency. Jinny Sims calls out the B.C. Libs' billion dollars in land sales which papered over the cost of tax cuts at the expense of sorely-needed common property. And the Parliamentary Budget Officer's report (PDF) on the Trudeau Libs' housing policy finds that it's served only to shuffle around even lower amounts of money than were available under the unabashedly-austerian Harper Cons.

- Julia Knope reports on a Toronto rally seeking full labour rights and fair immigration opportunities for migrant workers. And David Climenhaga discusses how Alberta's Kenney Conservatives are seeking to set workers up for further exploitation while avoiding answering for their plans until after the federal election.

- Finally, Alex Ballingall reports that the United National Human Rights Office has joined the voices demanding more serious evaluation of the genocide against Indigenous people identified in the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Tuesday Evening Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Farhana Yamin discusses the need to answer the imminent threat of climate breakdown with direct action to force politicians to develop an adequate response (which, to be clear, does not include new pipelines or other subsidies for fossil fuels). Peter Armstrong reports on how a deteriorating climate is making homes uninsurable. And the Sprawl writes that Alberta can't afford continued climate denial.

- Meanwhile, Marc Lee points out the absurdity of pretending that the increased extraction and burning of natural gas will do anything but exacerbate our climate crisis. And Simon Lewis and Charlotte Wheeler note that monocultural plantations are no substitute for natural forest ecosystems in mitigating carbon pollution.

- The Guardian reports on the worldwide consequences of the U.S.' generation and disposal of plastic waste.

- Dave Meslin writes about the undue corporate influence on Canadian politics. And Amanda Follett Hosgood questions why the same RCMP which pays short shrift to disappeared Indigenous women can find the capacity to serve as a private army for pipeline construction.

- Finally, Michael Salmato discusses how corporations and wealthy individuals pocketed the Trump tax giveaway while ensuring no benefits would trickle down to U.S. workers.

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Packaged cats.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Ed Miliband writes that there's no contradiction between a climate change plan and an effective economic strategy - and to the contrary, they can and should be entirely aligned. And the Guardian's editorial board recognizes the need to get to net zero emissions sooner rather than later - even if the UK Cons are still working on the latter timeline.

- Meanwhile, Matthew Todd argues that the Extinction Rebellion has helped to turn the tide of public opinion toward greater acknowledgment of the need for urgent climate action. And John Geddes notes that severe weather events have also played a part in forcing people to consider the climate crisis - including in deciding who to support politically. 

- Camille Bains reports on new data from the Canadian Institute for Health Information showing that alcohol remains the substance most responsible for hospitalizations and deaths in Canada. And the Stoney Creek News points out the absurdity of actively promoting the increased sale and distribution of alcohol under those circumstances - though it's well worth noting that Doug Ford has company in recklessly encouraging the increased use of alcohol and its resulting harms. 

- Finally, Mel Watkins discusses how the Waffle movement offers a blueprint - if a dated one - for what progressive nationalism might look like in Canada.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Michal Rozworski examines the factors which have contributed to Canada's ongoing housing crisis, including public austerity, consumer debt and undue speculation. Dan Fumano points out how homelessness is growing in Vancouver despite a few preliminary steps being taken to provide long-absent housing, while Jennifer Ackerman notes that the same goes for Regina where increased vacancy rates haven't helped matters for people who can't afford the units left empty by the market. And Fatima Syed notes that multigenerational homes may play a role in ensuring that more people have access to the housing they need.

- Morris Pearl wonders why anybody still attempts to claim that trickle-down economics produce anything but an increased concentration of wealth at the top in the face of decades of evidence to the contrary. And Andrew MacLeod reports that George Abbott, a prominent B.C. Liberal cabinet minister, is finally recognizing the folly of declaring that tax giveaways for the rich somehow pay for themselves (if only long after holding the power to do something with that knowledge).

- Meanwhile, Margaride Jorge theorizes that it should be possible to ensure that U.S. politicians begin to act on the public's desire for more taxes on the rich and a more egalitarian economic system. 

- Pam Palmater offers a needed reminder that Indigenous rights aren't contingent on public opinion. Daphne Bramham writes that one of the key takeaways from the report of the inquiry into missing and murdered Indigenous women should be increased recognition of the ongoing reality of human trafficking in Canada. And Kyle Edwards points out that another area demanding followup is the link between resource extraction and the exploitation of Indigenous women.

- Finally, Chris writes about the importance of acting against homophobia in all of its forms, not only the most extreme examples such as the violent attack against her on a UK bus.