Saturday, October 03, 2020

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Crawford Kilian writes about the $47 trillion heist of wealth from the U.S.' working class to its wealthiest elites. And Umair Haque discusses how Donald Trump is a foreseeable consequence of the U.S.' structural inequalities, rather than an anomaly within its political system.

- Julia Rock discusses how the Trump administration's subsidies for fossil fuel development have left the public with additional bills to clean up the mess made by the oil industry, while Mitchell Anderson notes that the tar sands owe the Canadian public far more than they have any hope of repaying. And the Globe and Mail's editorial board warns that Alberta (and other fossil fuel-dependent provinces) shouldn't be counting on future booms to paper over their failure to develop diversified economies.

- Paul Willcocks points out the political desperation and economic illiteracy behind the B.C. Libs' attempt to gut the province's sales tax in the name of pandemic recovery. And Jim Stanford points out the folly of cutting taxes in a recession as a form of stimulus.

- Meanwhile, Elba Bendo, Deb Bryant, Shannon Daub and Viveca Ellis offer their take on what a potential government should be pursuing instead. And Lori Johb writes about the need to invest in public services in order to fully recover.

- Finally, the Saskatchewan NDP's election platform includes a wealth tax to ensure both improved social equity, and greater funding for needs like reduced class sizes. And Stephanie Taylor offers a look at Ryan Meili's background as a leader motivated by caring for others.

Friday, October 02, 2020

Musical interlude

 Texas King - Baby

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Reviewing Rick Perlstein's Reaganland, Martin Gelin writes that the U.S. is paying the price for allowing itself to be trapped in a corporate autocracy since the Reagan years - and that it will take a concerted push for systemic change to improve matters now. And Matthew Corbeil discusses the need for progressives to fight back both through electoral means, and through mass protest.

- CBC News reports that after a minuscule 13-cent increase, Saskatchewan's minimum wage remains the lowest in Canada. And Arthur White-Crummey reports that the province's reward for governing at the behest of the corporate class is a declining population to go with a deteriorating quality of life.

- Paul Wells discusses the complete lack of action from the Libs' infrastructure bank (even as they try to pitch it yet again as an alternative to actual public investment in social priorities). And Brent Patterson contrasts the Libs' insistence on pushing ahead with purchasing fighter jets against yet another delay in keeping promises to ensure First Nations have access to clean drinking water.

- Samir Shaheen-Hussain, Suzanne Shoush, Semir Bulle and Naheed Dosani remind us of Canada's medical colonialism which has ensured that Indigenous people have borne the brunt of past diseases.

- Finally, Lindsay McLaren discusses how a full set of policies aimed at improving public health would include responses to inequality and environmental degradation, as well as investments in children and seniors.

Thursday, October 01, 2020

Thursday Morning Links

 This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Tom Kibasi examines how the UK Cons' mismanagement - both before and during the COVID-19 pandemic - has resulted in disastrous public health consequences. And Denna Berg and Karin Taylor find that right-wing governments in general have seen far worse outcomes than parties which aren't hostile to the concept of state action in the public interest.  

- Bruce Arthur questions Doug Ford's absolute failure to take signs of rapid spread in Ontario seriously, while the Globe and Mail's editorial board notes that a fall wave is somehow catching conservative governments by surprise as it arrives on schedule. And Oliver Moore reports on the additional measures taken by Toronto's city council while the provincial government wastes valuable time.

- May Warren shares stories and suggestions from some of the people who have suffered from the coronavirus. Andre Picard warns against getting complacent about COVID-19 based on recent death numbers which don't reflect the continuing risk from the virus. And Zeynep Tufecki highlights why we should pay more attention to dispersion effects from superspreaders (rather than averages) in planning to mitigate harm. 

- Jillian Horton writes that mask wearing is the one free lunch available to us in limiting the spread of COVID-19. And that makes it particularly foolish of Scott Moe and his denialist crowd to be normalizing the anti-social choice to fall short of the bare minimum level of individual responsibility - particularly while refusing to respond adequately through public policy either. 

- Finally, Bob Weber reports on new research in the Canadian Medical Associaion Journal showing how income inequality is reflected in health outcomes. Kendall Latimer reports on the Saskatchewan Party's utter refusal to deal with an outbreak of HIV, particularly among Indigenous people. And Moira Wyton discusses how shortages of rural health care impose high costs on people who are often unable to afford them.

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Wednesday Night Cat Blogging

Alert cats.


Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Chris Arnold reports on the many Americans facing the impossibility of paying for the necessities of life as supports run out in the midst of a pandemic. And Carmina Ravanera and Sarah Kaplan point out that expanded EI and child are are among the best investments Canada can make in counteracting the inequality which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus. 

- Meanwhile, Aaron Wherry points out that we have reason not to put up with jurisdictional squabbles which have the effect of aggravating the spread of COVID-19 and its consequences.

- Joel Bakan reminds us not to be fooled by talk of "social responsibility" by corporations lobbying to avoid contributing their fair share to the social good. And Karissa Donkin and Frédéric Zalac discuss how Alberta and New Brunswick have both set themselves up to be used as havens for unscrupulous businesses.

- Julia Croome writes about the need for a specific and enforceable climate accountability law to get Canada somewhere close to a sustainable trajectory. Maria Trimarchi and Sarah Gleim warn about the looming prospect of massive numbers of climate refugees. And John Branch and Brad Plumer emphasize the need to act quickly, rather than continuing to procrastinate (or worse yet, subsidizing fossil fuels based on the laughable claim they'll produce more revenue than they'll cost).

- Finally, Colette Derworiz discusses the opioid death toll which continues to mount in Alberta (even as the UCP attacks any attempt to reduce the harm caused by drug use).

Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Tuesday Morning Links

 This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The Economist highlights the public health steps governments need to be taking while we wait for vaccines and therapies to make the spread of COVID-19 a less severe risk.

- Pete Evans discusses the stress and anxiety placed on CERB recipients due to the Libs' choices both to let it expire, and to prorogue Parliament rather than putting a reliable alternative in place. And Bryan Eneas talks to Peter Gilmer about the need for Saskatchewan to increase its own contribution to the standard of living for people on social assistance - rather than instead using the CERB as an opportunity to line its own pockets at their expense.

- Nick Falvo writes about the obvious dangers facing homeless people as governments cut off temporary supports while doing nothing to address longstanding housing needs. And Sula Greene writes about the plight of renters facing eviction in the midst of a pandemic where isolation at home is imperative for everybody's health.

- Ryan Felton discusses the U.S.' choice to allow polluters to contaminate drinking water with "forever chemicals". And Evan Radford reports on research showing that south Saskatchewan's water is becoming increasingly toxic.

- Finally, Andrew Nikiforuk offers some lessons about the virtually inevitable failure of resource megaprojects - and they're well worth keeping in mind as the Saskatchewan Party pushes a multi-billion-dollar, Diefenbaker-era irrigation scheme.

Monday, September 28, 2020

On telling tests

I've previously posted about the Moe government's painful delay in addressing the limitations in Saskatchewan's COVID testing capacity, even as it promised to more than double that capacity over the month of August. But as others have pointed out, in the absence of any accountability from the Saskatchewan Party, we can go to the federal government's data to see whether those promises (coupled with a massive influx of federal funding) have led to any improvement.

And the answer tells us all we need to know about the Moe government's competence to turn dedicated funding into any results:

Even starting from per-capita capacity well below that of our neighbours, and even with the federal government pitching in millions to try to protect public health as kids have returned to school, the Saskatchewan Party's government has accomplished somewhere between zero and worse than that (given that the previous capacity was up to 2,000 tests per day). 

Needless to say,  Moe's "stay the course" campaign theme sounds downright dangerous when it reflects his government's inaction to protect public health in the midst of a pandemic. And if we rightly think that it's at all possible to do better, then we'll need to ensure the Saskatchewan Party isn't left in power to continue its glaring lack of accomplishment.

Monday Morning Links

 Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Lauren Pelley discusses the importance of making it a habit to weak a mask to protect against the spread of COVID-19. And David Rider points out the giant loophole for private workplaces as sites of community spread, while Jason Warick highlights the futility of Brandt's policy requiring masks only after an outbreak hit its workers.

- PressProgress calls out Doug Ford for valuing profits over health in seeing nothing wrong with $400 private COVID tests.

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood argues that the recovery from COVID-19 represents a perfect time to move toward a low-carbon economy. And Andrew Jackson comments on the usual combination of ambitious claims and vague commitments in the Libs' throne speech, while Katherine Scott highlights the desperate need to turn rhetoric into action. 

- Finally, Gary Mason calls out the RCMP for its enabling of white supremacist violence in Ponoka and Red Deer. And James Pitsula offers a reminder of the KKK's history in Canada - including its role in influencing one Saskatchewan election.

Sunday, September 27, 2020

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Nicole Mortillaro notes that the reduction in pollution due to COVID-19-related shutdowns isn't keeping 2020 from being either the hottest or second-hottest year on record. Nina Chestney reports on new research showing that our current fossil fuel economy is utterly incompatible with any hope of limiting climate change even to 2 degrees. And Mariana Mazzucato discusses what we'll need to do in order to avoid climate lockdowns in the not-so-distant future:

(C)limate change will exacerbate the social and economic problems highlighted by the pandemic. These include governments’ diminishing capacity to address public-health crises, the private sector’s limited ability to withstand sustained economic disruption, and pervasive social inequality. 

These shortcomings reflect the distorted values underlying our priorities. For example, we demand the most from “essential workers” (including nurses, supermarket workers, and delivery drivers) while paying them the least. Without fundamental change, climate change will worsen such problems.

The climate crisis is also a public-health crisis. Global warming will cause drinking water to degrade and enable pollution-linked respiratory diseases to thrive. According to some projections, 3.5 billion people globally will live in unbearable heat by 2070.

Addressing this triple crisis requires reorienting corporate governance, finance, policy, and energy systems toward a green economic transformation. To achieve this, three obstacles must be removed: business that is shareholder-driven instead of stakeholder-driven, finance that is used in inadequate and inappropriate ways, and government that is based on outdated economic thinking and faulty assumptions.

- Caroline Evans points out how Alberta is seeing substantial expansion of wind and solar power despite the recalcitrance of the Kenney UCP. And CBC News reports on new polling showing strong support for a transition to green energy in Regina.

- Elizabeth Renzetti writes that we won't see a full recovery from the coronavirus pandemic until women are able to return to work. And Armine Yalnizyan and Kerry McCuaig take note of the opportunity to finally establish a national child care system.

- Jordan Press reports on the added stress and anxiety lower-income Canadians have faced due to the Libs' perpetual hemming and hawing over the continuation of coronavirus relief. And Alex MacPherson discusses how CERB recipients face the risk of being excluded from Saskatchewan's Legal Aid system due to a temporary shift to a slightly more liveable income level - highlighting just how many people are cut off from basic legal services. 

- But finally, on the bright side, John Paul Tasker reports on the federal government's plan to send out free automatic tax returns in order to ensure people receive the benefits available to them.