Saturday, June 06, 2020

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Sheila Smith examines how private equity is hollowing out the real economy in the name of profit-taking. And Klaus Schwab suggests a "Great Reset" - though his preference for a continued capitalist model misses many of the most important opportunities for a more fair economy.

- Jennifer Robson writes that our economy needs to be rehabilitated, not given a jolt of adrenaline through temporary stimulus. And Matt Elliott writes that we should take the opportunity to put an end to poverty.

- In the first Canadian report of the Centre for Future Work, Jim Stanford examines some of the ways we can improve work in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. But Jack Healy discusses how U.S. governments and employers are instead combining their powers to force people back into unsafe jobs.

- Anne Jarvis comments on the barbarity of sending migrant agricultural workers home in body bags. And D.C. Fraser points out how agricultural workers generally are grossly underpaid given their contribution to our basic needs.

- Andray Domise writes about Canada's history of racial oppression, while Doug Cuthand points out the lack of awareness of its impact in shaping our society. Shree Paradkar offers some questions and answers on the realities of racial inequality. And Vicky Mochama argues that it's long past time for privileged people to start acting against systemic racism, while Celina Caesar-Chavannes calls for governments to start acting on long-recognized policy responses.

- Finally, Bill McKibben discusses the connection between racism, state violence and environmental injustice. And Greig Oldford argues that denialism about both racism and climate change has to end.

Friday, June 05, 2020

Musical interlude

PVRIS - You and I

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Linda McQuaig writes about the policies which were needed to sustain us through the COVID-19 crisis so far - but whose success can lay the groundwork for a fair and inclusive economy for the future:
For years, we’ve submitted to the economic orthodoxy dictated by Bay Street: that governments must deliver balanced budgets and low spending or economic disaster will follow — as surely as gravity will bring a heavy object plunging to the ground.

Then along came the pandemic. Suddenly the Bank of Canada is creating vast amounts of money, which the federal government is distributing to Canadians across the country. 

Nobody told us we could do that!
...Now that we see how it can be done, one is tempted to ask: could this be a way to pay for increased government spending on future things we truly need — like building hospitals and public transit and investing in renewable energy?

This is the sort of dangerous thinking that a phalanx of powerful interests — from the Fraser Institute to the financial press — are keen to crush, realizing it could spread more easily than coronavirus at a crowded, maskless beach party.

But, as economist Jim Stanford suggests, “the genie is out of the bottle.”
- Meanwhile, as part of Policy Response's comparison between the 2008 and 2020 crises, Angella MacEwen highlights the importance of investing in the care economy, David Macdonald emphasizes the work done to put money into people's pockets quickly, and Alex Himelfarb notes that we can deal with any fiscal impact by ensuring an increasingly wealthy elite pays its fair share.

- Joy Thomas writes that the pandemic offers a golden opportunity to ensure corporate transparency and crack down on money laundering.

- Sam Gindin points out the need to move beyond merely praising care workers to ensuring fair wages and working conditions, while CBC News reports on Scott Moe's continued failure to do anything of the sort. And Adam Carter reports on the mocking attitude of one private long-term care executive who carelessly let her contempt for residents and their families get heard by the people affected.

- Finally, Jim Storrie discusses how both the U.S. and Canada have been built on foundations of racial injustice. Peter Donolo calls out the Canadian leaders - including Justin Trudeau - who are unwilling to speak out against the U.S. deliberate violent repression of civil rights activists. And Rinaldo Walcott writes about the importance of fighting to abolish racial inequality once and for all.

Thursday, June 04, 2020

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- David A. Green, J. Rhys Kesselman, Lindsay Tedds discuss some of the complications involved in designing a basic income system. And David Roberts makes the case for a universal basic services model to ensure people have access to the necessities of life and social participation regardless of their income level.

- Meanwhile, Lauren Pelly discusses how shared and cramped housing can turn one's home from the best means of avoiding COVID-19 into a concentrated transmission zone.

- Penney Kome writes that there's an achievable path to convert to a sustainable, equitable economy. But Martin Hirst highlights how neoliberals are looking to put an end to the hope that we can build a stronger society in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Sharon Lerner discusses how big pharma is trying to exploit a massive social problem by price-gouging when it comes to any possible prevention or treatment. And Emma McIntosh documents the painfully long list of environmental protections which have been opportunistically set aside to allow corporations to maximize their damage to our planet in the midst of a public health crisis.

- Finally, Amir Attaran writes about Canada's failure to manage that crisis. And Kendall Latimer and Alicia Bridges report on the expert consensus that Saskatchewan's choice not to be transparent about the spread of the coronavirus can't be justified as a matter of privacy.

Wednesday, June 03, 2020

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- George Monbiot opines that the UK has ceased to be a functioning democracy as unelected people exercise unchecked power. And Bruce Livesey wonders whether the U.S. is tearing itself apart as the racial divisions used to undermine class cohesion become untenable, while Rebecca Solnit recognizes that the violence being inflicted on a peaceful protest movement is entirely top-down at the direction of Donald Trump and police forces following his lead. 

- Vanmala Subramium calls out Rex Murphy and anybody else seeking to perpetuate denial of Canada's ongoing racial injustice, while Andre Picard takes note of the public health effects of racism. Roshini Nair discusses the need for people in positions of privilege to put in the effort to identify systemic racism.

- Alicia Elliott rightly questions why there's been so little action three years after the release of the report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, while Chris Selley points out how the Trudeau Libs have fallen far short of their promises to fight racism. And Max FineDay writes about the need for Canada's rebuilding plan from COVID-19 to be rooted in reconciliation.

- Finally, Marieke Walsh reports on the NDP's push for race-based data collection to ensure Canada can identify and address racial inequality. And Tom Parkin discusses the successes of the NDP in pushing the Libs to help people otherwise left behind, particularly compared to the do-nothing anger of the Cons:
(O)ur Prime Minister announced his economic support plan—waiving the one week “waiting period” for Employment Insurance sickness benefits for workers quarantined or required to self-isolate. That plan collapsed to immediate criticism. “The vast majority of Canadians will not have access to his plan,” Jagmeet Singh warned from the Commons that day. “Sixty per cent of workers have no access to Employment Insurance.”

One week later the Liberals announced a new program—CERB, the $2,000 per month Canadian Emergency Response Benefit. But it continued to be a complicated program that cut people out. Singh and his caucus again pointed to gaps. And on April 15, the Trudeau government took what it called “decisive action,” expanding CERB eligibility to include seasonal workers and some others not eligible for EI.

On March 11, the Trudeau government also introduced a 10 per cent wage subsidy program for hard-hit businesses. Singh brought together a coalition of union leaders and small business owners to press for wage support of 75 per cent. And on March 27, the Trudeau government did that, too.

For weeks Singh and his caucus advocated for students, excluded from CERB, who face bleak summer job prospects. Finally on April 22, the Trudeau created the Canada Emergency Student Benefit.

Singh has ramped up his call for a national paid sick leave plan. And after a week of Trudeau saying that wasn’t his jurisdictional concern, on May 25, Singh got the PM on-side.

Conservatives pundits—for reasons perhaps as much psychological as ideological—seem miffed and perplexed at Singh’s string of wins for Canadians. Wrong, but self-convinced as ever, Conservatives’ big push was to cut CERB, which hit a wall of backlash. Can anyone recall any tangible win for Canadians engineered by Conservative leader Andrew Scheer?

Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Flattened cat.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Robert Reich writes about the end of any pretense that Donald Trump was acting as a president rather than a self-serving social media influencer.

- Branko Milanovic discusses why it's useless to make modeled economic predictions in a time of complete uncertainty about the effect of reverberating shocks.

- Gary Mason points out that a national report on violence against women has been awaiting followup for three decades. And Chris Hall writes about the disproportionate burden being borne by women during the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, while Laurie Penny examines the data as to the share of vital domestic work being taken on.

- CBC News reports that Scott Moe is lagging behind even his western conservative counterparts in taking note of the desperate need for activities for children. And Cally Stephanow reports on the lack of addiction services and supports when they're needed even more than usual.

- Finally, Kaitlyn Matulewicz and David Fairey chart a path to establish a system of paid sick leave through provincial employment standards. But Andrew Hills notes that Doug Ford is joining Moe and others in using the pandemic to hack away at employment standards.

Signs of the times

It's been awhile since I've done much with Photoshop, and I can't take credit for the concept of working with this background. But for those interested, a couple of takes on Donald Trump's most prominent recent sacrilege:

Monday, June 01, 2020

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Eric Cadesky writes about the psychology behind adherence to - and deviation from - the social distancing rules needed to keep us all safe.

- Nora Loreto discusses how COVID-19 has exposed the lethal problems with Canada's long-term care system. Karl Belanger points out that among the other warnings, Howard Hampton tried to highlight the neglect of residents in 2007 - only to see austerian governments continue to hold power. And Susan Delacourt discusses the role the federal government can play in ensuring that seniors are treated with care, while Scott Schmidt calls out Jason Kenney's UCP for declaring it's willing to sacrifice residents' lives if it means profits keep flowing.

- Kelly Grant and Carly Weeks examine Ontario's hot spots for community transmission of the coronavirus - as well as the social inequalities they reflect. And Jennifer Yang discusses the prospect that workplaces will be the new danger zones.

- Fair Vote Canada makes the case to restore democratically-determined per-vote funding to our federal political parties.

- Finally, Sandy Garossino discusses how Stephen Harper has cemented his place as an embarrassment since being voted out of office.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Andrew Nikiforuk writes about the need to emerge from the COVID-19 crisis into a new normal, rather than trying to return to the distorted society that existed before.

- Sophie Ikura and Joshua Tapper discuss the other curves of ill health beyond the spread of the coronavirus which also need to be flattened as we respond to COVID-19. And Ian Hilton explores some of the options to organize a more fair and inclusive economy.

- Rasha Mourtada points out that we can't operate under the assumption that women will assume the full burden of caring for children. And Lana Stermac, Jenna Cripps, Touraj Amiri and Veronica Badali study how sexual violence damages women's academic performance and persistence.

- Louis Blouin and Peter Zimonjic report that the Libs are leaving their economic consultations to the wealthy few most responsible for the inequality we're already facing. And David Sirota offers a reminder that the real looting going on in the U.S. involves the gluttonous raising of public coffers by big business.

- Finally, Eric Holthaus discusses how the climate crisis is an example of racism which can only be confronted with an explicit anti-racist response. Shree Paradkar writes about the absurdity of white people taking offense at their privilege being pointed out, particularly in contrast to the life-and-death dangers created by racist social structures. And Paul Butler calls out the U.S.' criminal law system as serving to enforce different rights and obligations by race. 

Musical interlude

Metric - Youth Without Youth