Saturday, September 21, 2019

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- The Initiative on Global Markets finds substantial agreement among economists that inequality poses a threat to democracy. And Paul Krugman writes about the concerted efforts of corporate-funded Republicans to undermine the successes of California and other states implementing progressive policies.

- Andray Domise discusses the white supremacist roots of blackface and other means of dehumanizing minorities. Ritika Goel lists a few of the major instances of continued systemic racism in Canada. Sarmishta Subramanian points out the need for acknowledgements of racism to give rise to genuine change. And Jolson Lim notes that the NDP is the only party whose platform includes plans to deal with that ongoing discrimination.

- Martin Lukacs highlights how reconciliation with Indigenous people is just one of the areas in which Justin Trudeau's flashy photo ops have been followed by no substance whatsoever. And Jorge Barrera reports that Trudeau is ducking questions about whether he'll bother to comply with the rulings of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ordering an end to discrimination against First Nations children.

- Finally, Damian Carrington points out the role that re-wilding can play in repairing our natural environment. Jennifer Wells examines the feasibility of a publicly-owned push toward building electric vehicles at the Oshawa GM plant which is otherwise set to shut down. And UK Labour has announced its plan to make loans for electric vehicles interest-free.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Musical interlude

Phantogram - Into Happiness

Friday Evening Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Grace Blakeley discusses how the financialization of the economy has enriched a few at the expense of everybody else. And Blakeley and Harry Quilter-Pinner point out how social care in particular is suffering for having been turned into a profit centre.

- David Macdonald examines the anticipated effect of the NDP's wealth tax. George Monbiot proposes to go much further by setting an effective limit on individual wealth. And John Michael McGrath suggests that taxes on property flipping could both generate valuable revenue while also restraining excesses in housing speculation.

- Naomi Klein comments on the need for an ambitious Green New Deal, rather than the limited market mechanisms which are front and centre in Canada's discussion of climate policy. Andre Mayer points out that there's no conflict between the goals of transitioning to a clean economy and ensuring the availability of good jobs. And Andrew Nikiforuk reminds us that the people engaged in climate strikes aren't asking for anything more than for the rest of the world to catch up with what plenty of jurisdictions have already managed to achieve.

- Finally, Sarah Berman discusses what we'd see if Canada actually approached the fight to save a habitable planet as if it were a war.

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Thursday Evening Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Martin Regg Cohn writes that Doug Ford's brutal austerity against the people who most need social support has been based on entirely made-up numbers. And David Climenhaga points out that Alberta's civil service has been shrinking over the past decade, showing that Jason Kenney is peddling lies of his own in pretending that public-sector workers can afford to take on more work for unconstitutionally-limited pay.

- Alex Hemingway discusses the need to extend democracy into our workplaces and economic planning - as even the U.S. and UK are having far more serious conversations about worker control than we are.

- Patrick Butler reports on new research showing that homeless people in the UK are being denied social housing precisely because they're poor enough to need it.

- Emma White suggests that it's time to explain climate change to recalcitrant politicians in terms that small children could understand. Lynn Giesbriecht reports on the Saskatchewan Party's choice to pull the plug on a solar installation program which was producing both clean energy and substantial economic activity. And Alex Kotch points out how Koch funding and Republican political power are being used to try to stifle the development of electric vehicles to keep people burning dirty fossil fuels.

- Finally, Shree Paradkar offers some important context for Justin Trudeau's multiple blackface and brownface revelations. And Debbie Douglas and Shalini Konanur recognize that Canada still needs to answer for and correct massive racial disparities.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Emily Stewart reports on Elizabeth Warren's message about the need to end corruption and corporatism in order to make U.S. politics work for people. Martin Wolf writes that a rigged economic system is undermining the prospect of viable democracy. And Andrew MacLeod examines where Canada's federal parties stand when it comes to tax fairness.

- Jennifer Wells makes the case for the federal government to buy GM's Oshawa plant as a hub for the development of electric vehicles in Canada. And the Guardian's editorial board offers its support to the spread of worker-owned industries as a means of sharing wealth and power.

- Oliver Milman reports on the growing desire for strong climate action in the U.S., with two thirds of the public demanding a policy response to our climate breakdown. Ben Ehrenreich discusses how public activism is vital in building the action needed to counter entrenched interests in business and government, while Geoff Dembicki wonders whether we'll see Canada's political parties match leading Democratic presidential contenders in calling out the oil industry as a villain. And Bill McKibben points out the significance of large pools of capital concluding they're not prepared to fund the continued degradation of our living environment.

- Meanwhile, Max Fawcett highlights how Jason Kenney is trying to amplify the most toxic of petro-politics.

- Finally, Fair Vote Canada has released the results of a new poll showing a strong majority of Canadians in favour of a proportional electoral system.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Huddled cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ann Pettifor discusses how a Green New Deal will pay for itself while making use of readily available sources of financing. And Clive Thompson points out the positive social impacts of Dunkirk's decision to offer free transit.

- Meanwhile, Emily Holden reviews some of the most severe health issues caused by an ongoing climate breakdown. And Damian Carrington reports on the Food and Land Use Coalition's study into the massive agricultural subsidies which are contributing to environmental devastation.

- Matt Bruenig writes that the U.S.' existing welfare state is already doing plenty to alleviate poverty - and that it's entirely possible to eradicate poverty altogether by making better choices with current budget numbers:
(T)he market income poverty gap is $512 billion, which is to say that poor families are collectively $512 billion below the poverty line based on the distribution of market income. For disposable income, the poverty gap is $173 billion. This means that the welfare state cut the poverty gap by 66 percent.
(I)ncomes get above the poverty line at the 13.1st percentile, indicating that the disposable income poverty rate is 13.1 percent. But notice how much information you miss out on by only doing a head-count measure.

The head-count measure implies that only the red wedge between the 13.1st percentile and the 24th percentile matters when we are talking about poverty reduction. But clearly all of that red to the left of the 13.1st percentile also matters. Indeed, that is the majority of the poverty reduction delivered by the welfare state.

What these poverty gap figures show us is that the welfare state is perfectly capable of cutting poverty dramatically. We just need to make it bigger.
- But then, Melissa Healy points out how the rural counties facing the most ongoing poverty also suffer from higher suicide rates.

- Finally, David Macdonald examines how the Cons' tax slashing plan - like so many before it - tries to use language about helping lower-income Canadians to shovel money toward the upper middle class while doing nothing for people actually living in poverty.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- The L.A. Times' editorial board comments on the need for everybody to pitch in toward a just transition which preserves a habitable planet - including by moving away from reliance on fossil fuels. But Natalie Hanman interviews Naomi Klein about what instead looks to be the start of barbarism which dehumanizes the people facing the worst effects of a climate breakdown.

- Kelly Grant reports on a plan for Toronto's University Health Network to build affordable housing to address some of the causes of ill health - signalling the lack of supports available outside the health care system. And Richard Schneider laments how many mental health issues are addressed through criminal courts.

- Torsten Bell discusses how any proposal to eliminate the UK's inheritance tax would provide grossly disproportionate benefits to the wealthy - offering a reminder of how Canada is exacerbating intergenerational inequality by lacking one to begin with.

- Finally, John Ashton writes about the need for public activism across Alberta to challenge the Kenney UCP's plans for austerity and attacks on workers.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Kerri Breen reports on the public's understandable frustration with Canada's political system. Don Martin offers a prime example as to why that's justified, as Justin Trudeau has cynically concluded that it would be counterproductive to stand up for people facing religious discrimination in Quebec as a result of Bill 21. And Karl Nerenberg examines Trudeau's track record of broken promises - including some of the most important commitments which earned him a look from progressive voters in 2015.

- Meanwhile, Charlie Smith notes that Jagmeet Singh may be ideally positioned to offer a desperately-needed alternative to corporate service as usual.

- Common Dreams takes note of a new study showing both the ubiquity of plastic ingredients in the bodies of German children, and a familiar pattern of inequality in which less wealthy children are more likely to face dangerously elevated levels of pollution.

- Chris Varcoe points out that the City of Medicine Hat has joined the ranks of traitors to Jason Kenney's fossil fuel cause by planning to shut down gas wells which can't produce a viable return.

- Finally, William Horobin discusses Thomas Piketty's latest book, including its proposals for political and economic remedies to the scourge of undue inequality.