Saturday, May 16, 2020

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Bryan Borzykowski recognizes that many Canadian families are weathering the COVID-19 crisis only by taking on more debt - though it's worth questioning whether the burden should fall on individuals to dig their way out from under it, rather than receiving systemic relief.

- A distinguished group of academics writes about the importance of democratizing work in rebuilding from the pandemic. Cailynn Klingbeil discusses the importance of not replicating existing inequalities as we map out the path forward. And Larry Savage theorizes that we may see a surge in workers standing up for their rights through strike action.

- But Alex Doherty warns that while governments are doing something approximating the bare minimum to keep people afloat through the pandemic, far too many interests are pushing to return to the old neoliberal normal as soon (and with as little care for people's well-being) as possible. Reuters News Agency reports on the Modi government's push to gut workers' rights in India in the name of a coronavirus response. And David Climenhaga points out that demands to turn the crisis into even greater corporate control are coming from the likes of Stephen Harper and Jason Kenney.

- Homi Kharas and Kristofer Hamel discuss how the coronavirus is setting back progress in fighting poverty around the globe. And Shakti Jaising notes that cultural depictions of pandemics all too often leave out the class effects.

- Finally, Nicola Jones writes that while there's reason to point out where the public health response to the coronavirus could be improved, we should also pay attention to the millions of lives already saved by the steps taken so far.

Friday, May 15, 2020

Musical interlude

Esthero - Black Mermaid

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Annie Lowrey discusses how essential workers have been consistently undervalued due to political choices. And Patty Coates, Jan Simpson and Pablo Godoy discuss the need to ensure legal protections for workers' rights in the wake of Foodora fleeing the country after its attempt to find a loophole in employment law failed.

- Meanwhile, Vanessa Brcic argues that we have a much-needed opportunity to better apply principles of equity and public health to the design of our social supports. Rutger Bregman implores us to take advantage of the opening to change the world for the better. And Laura Spinney interviews Thomas Piketty about the prospect that the response to COVID-19 will result in fairer societies.

- Gregory Beatty notes that social programs and safety regulations have been under neoliberal attack for decades. And Nam Kiwanuka highlights the dishonesty and inhumanity underlying the right-wing assumption that people receiving needed income support must be gaming the system.

- Susan Delacourt offers a reminder that Stephen Harper's last call for austerity and corporatism in the wake of a global crisis produced little benefit for anybody but the wealthy and well-connected. And Bruce Arthur notes that while Harper tries to deliver right-wing messages to an American audience, Canada faces the need to protect itself from the U.S.' reckless choice to let the coronavirus run wild in the name of Trump and profits.

- Finally, Matt Taibbi writes that the COVID-19 corporate bailout has once again offered the wealthiest Americans the opportunity to avoid any losses from their financial gambling. And Sharon Riley reports on Alberta's use of the pandemic to let oil companies off the hook for the environmental damage done by abandoned wells, while Lawrie McFarlane notes that Alberta is facing the consequences of its own disdain for the rest of Canada.

Thursday, May 14, 2020

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- The Globe and Mail's editorial board argues that Canada has put far too few resources toward actually stopping the spread of the coronavirus, focusing instead on immediate financial concerns rather than the underlying health issue. Justin Kong and Tsui Yee Wu make the case for ensuring that everybody has access to high-quality masks. Andre Picard highlights the importance of dramatically expanding our testing capacity before we let our guard down and resume business resembling the previous normal. And the Star's editorial board discusses how child care is an absolute must for our economy to recover.

- Andrea Horwath writes that Ontarians have had enough of long-term care oriented toward profit rather than residents' well-being. And Jen St. Denis writes about the human cost of treating housing primarily as a source of wealth and profits, rather than a human right to be provided to people who lack it.

- Isaac Chotiner interviews Arif Husain about the potential for COVID-19 to cause catastrophic hunger around the globe.

- Charlie Smith and David Climenhaga each offer reminders that Canada's oil sands are primarily owned by outside capital, meaning that even the benefits of any future price increases would mostly flow out of the country. And Geoff Dembicki reports on Deborah Lawrence's analysis suggesting that oil sands extraction is past its shelf life as a viable business model.

- Finally, Shannon Gormley discusses the warped interpretation of "liberty" being pushed by the fringe movement determined to endanger everybody in order to avoid even the least intrusive of public health measures.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Wednesday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- PressProgress discusses now polling showing that a strong majority of Canadians favour a broad transformation of our society in the wake of the coronavirus crisis, with a focus on health and well-being. Tamara Lorincz suggests that we take the opportunity to withdraw from the purchase of fighter jets in order to put tens of billions of dollars toward more important ends. George Monbiot writes about the opportunity to make education more focused on the ecology which sustains us. And Naheed Dosani notes that the immediate response to COVID-19 demonstrates that there's no excuse for allowing homelessness to exist in Canada.

- Meanwhile, Andrew Jackson makes the case for any funding to large corporations being tied to equity stakes and consideration of larger social goals. Aaron Wherry discusses the minimal requirement that recipients of federal bailout money give at least a modicum of thought to climate change. And Tom Sanzillo notes that loans to the fossil fuel sector are virtually certain to turn out to be an utter waste of money.

- But in case anybody was under the impression that there would be anything less than a furious push to use COVID-19 to exacerbate the problems which led to its devastating impact, Jesse Snyder reports on corporate lobbying to eliminate any consideration of social and financial requirements in evaluating infrastructure projects. And Stephen Harper never passes up an opportunity to demand austerity and corporate obeisance, rather than making any effort to build a stronger society - while Grace Blakeley recognizes that the effort is based on little more than attempting to convince people not to believe their own eyes in seeing how public investment can make them better off. 

- Finally, Jason Warick reports on the push from Saskatchewan's Information and Privacy Commissioner - among many others - to ensure that the public has accurate information about the spread of COVID-19 in the face of the Moe government's inclination toward secrecy. And Adam Hunter reports on Moe's concurrent refusal to allow for any legislative accountability, while Murray Mandryk points out the absolute lack of justification for that stance.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Floored cat.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Jim Stanford highlights the drastic difference between Canada's already-high official unemployment rate, and the much higher level of loss of work. And Aaron Wherry discusses how the workers with the least are bearing the greatest risks arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Jean Twenge examines the damage the coronavirus crisis has caused to mental health - particularly for parents. And Gilbert Ngabo reports on the extreme precarity facing one lower-income family.

- Michael Rachlis argues that long-term care facilities should be built as communities rather than warehouses for their residents. And Gary Mason makes the case to bring seniors' care under the Canada Health Act.

- Gary Stevenson points out how the rich were able to consolidate their wealth and control in the wake of the 2008 crash - and warns us not to it that happen again.

- Alex Hemingway summarizes why we shouldn't let deficit or debt scolds get in the way of investing in relief and recovery from COVID-19. And Nesrine Malik notes that a combination of austerity and corporatism explains why the coronavirus has been particularly destructive in the U.S. and the UK.

- Finally, PressProgress examines the destructive protests aimed at Vancouver health care workers and facilities. And Andrea Huncar reports that Edmonton's police are being warned about far-right extremists emboldened by the lack of any response to their threats of violence.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Monday Morning Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- John Nichols writes about Pramila Jayapal's recognition that mass unemployment is a policy choice - and her plan for wage supports to make sure workers aren't left without needed income. Nicole Aschoff discusses how profiteers have been taking advantage of programs set up to favour the businesses least in need of support. And Regan Boychuk rightly slams Jason Kenney for insisting that recovery funding be few into zombie oil companies.

- Meanwhile, Duncan Kinney talks to one of the Cargill workers put at risk by the joint neglect of their employer and the UCP. PressProgress exposes Amazon's rush to take even unpaid leaves of absence away from its employees. Jan Malek points out that we can't protect against the disproportionate risks to residents of long-term care homes without addressing the working conditions of the people who care for them. And Paul Daley examines how work may change once the coronavirus lockdown is over.

- Catherine Wedge interviews Alex Neve about the human rights implications of the pandemic. And Ritika Goel discusses how the coronavirus poses extra dangers for people who already lack secure housing or social supports, while Megan Pietrus points out that the response to date has largely left homeless people behind.

- Finally, Philippe Lagassé and Srdjan Vucetic make the case that Canada's response to COVID-19 needs to include distancing ourselves from the U.S. - both due to its negligence in allowing the disease to spread, and its unreliability as a primary trading partner. Linda McQuaig writes that there's no excuse for appeasing the U.S. by continuing sanctions on vulnerable nations, particularly at a time when deprivation anywhere endangers people around the globe. And Gavin Charles and Shannon Kindornay argue that we should be boosting our international aid to ensure a full and fair recovery.

Sunday, May 10, 2020

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ronan Burtenshaw discusses the British public's strong support for a New Deal featuring higher wages and more fair tax contributions by the rich as the UK plans for a recovery from the coronavirus. But Naomi Klein calls out how COVID-19 is instead being used to give all the more power to tech billionaires who only want to remake society to enhance their power and goose their profits.

- The Economist points out the increasingly-glaring gap between the real economy and the stock market. And Chuck Collins discusses how the wealthiest few in the U.S. are only getting richer through the pandemic which has left nearly everybody else in a precarious financial position, while J.C. Pan likewise recognizes that billionaires are swallowing the rest of the economy whole.

- Meanwhile, Paul Krugman highlights the reasons why Republicans are determined not to help Americans facing hunger and hardship.

- Victoria Gill reports on Mark Carney's recognition that self-isolation won't save us from the effects of a climate breakdown. And Nina Lakhani discusses new researching showing that dangerous heart and humidity are on the rise.

- Finally, Tom-Pierre Frappé-Sénéclauze observes that a full building retrofit program would work wonders both in ensuring sustainable development and reducing the damage we do to our planet. And Sean McElwee, Julian NoiseCat and John Ray note that U.S. voters are all the more supportive of a Green New Deal in light of the need for massive public investments to sustain and rebuild economic activity in any event.