Saturday, December 26, 2020

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your Boxing Day reading.

- Kyle Hanniman and Trevor Tombe examine the relative fiscal positions of Canada's federal and provincial governments - concluding that while there isn't a need for austerity anywhere, there's a lot more room to maneuver at the federal level than in most provinces (though Saskatchewan is a noteworthy exception). And Richard Murphy points out the absurdity of obsessing over deficits as an excuse not to spend on public goods.

- David Dayen is hopeful that the U.S. is seeing a much-needed antitrust revolution against the consolidation of corporate power - particularly in the hands of tech behemoths. But Umair Haque warns tha its foolish devotion to neoliberal economics is needlessly converting a rich country into a poor one. And Branko Milanovic discusses his concern that the Biden administration will do little more than return (to the extent possible) to a status quo ante whose inequality gave rise to Donald Trump's election. 

- Meanwhile, Nick Bano discusses how the UK's housing crisis was the result of deliberate choices to privilege the profits of landlords over people's right to a home. 

- Kenyon Wallace, Ed Tubb and Marco Chown Oved report on the privatized long-term care corporations which have paid out hundreds of millions of dollars in dividends - even as they've cried poor in failing to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic which has killed countless people under their care. And Moira Welsh takes note of the conditions found by a doctor asked to pitch in to save lives where corporate owners wouldn't.

- Badvertising examines the role of ads in pushing us toward needless and environmentally-destructive consumption.

- Finally, Carl Meyer reports on the Cons' determination to gift another set of handouts to the oil patch - this time by turning climate change policy into a subsidy scheme. But Chiara Eisner discusses how existing emissions tracking has grossly underestimated the damage done by leaking methane. And Bob Yirka highlights how Brazil's forest are being turned into net emitters rather than carbon sinks.

Friday, December 25, 2020

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- John Klein points out how Doug Ford's combination of abject failure and laughable deflection in response to the avoidable spread of COVID-19 is par for the course among Canada's conservative premiers. And Graham Thomson discusses Jason Kenney's opportunistic use of the pandemic to try to impose an unpopular, hard-right agenda on Alberta - even as he's also failed miserably in responding to the virus itself.

- Peter Zimonjic and Catherine Cullen note that the Libs are acknowledging that their new demands for CERB repayment are inconsistent with the direct message they offered about eligibility - even as they continue with plans to try to wring money out of people who can't afford to have it taken away. And Jordan Press reports on the effect a CERB clawback would figure to have on vulnerable young people.

- Ben Burgis writes that we shouldn't object to polarization in politics in all forms, but instead recognize the need for class to be the primary focus in choosing our battles. And Anita Balakrishian reports on the increase in union organizing resulting from workers recognizing how they've been treated as disposable during a pandemic.

- Brett Forrester reports on the nearly $100 million the Trudeau Libs have spent fighting against First Nations in court in their first three years in power - exceeding even Stephen Harper's propensity for using public money to defend discrimination. And Kristy Kirkup reports on the Libs' latest decision to appeal equal access to services for Indigenous children.

- Finally, Eric Dolan writes about new research showing a connection between psychopathic tendencies and an affinity for bigotry and authoritarianism.

Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Hibernating cats.


Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Katherine Scott and David Macdonald take a look at the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on Canada's labour force survey data - confirming that employment dominated by women has seen the most severe losses, and figures to take the longest to recover. Joel Dryden and Sarah Rieger offer a look at the large number of people with "co-morbidities" which are being cited by the likes of the Kenney UCP as reason not to worry about COVID-19 deaths. And Zak Vescera reports on the acute effect of the coronavirus on First Nations and their residents.

- Stephen Buranyi writes that we shouldn't be fooled by the spin of pharmaceutical companies seeking credit for COVID-19 vaccines developed with public support.

- Martin Lukacs highlights how the Libs' insistence on putting a carbon tax at the core of their climate change policy - rather than a Green New Deal which would include tangible benefits for most people - only figures to make the Cons' job easier in obstructing any progress. And Beth Gardiner notes that the best we can say about climate action globally in 2020 is that we didn't quite extinguish any hope of the transition we need.

- Jolson Lim reports on new research by the CRA showing that individuals pay their taxes far more quickly than corporations. And PressProgress highlights a new poll showing how Manitobans are rightly skeptical of for-profit care home operators.

- Finally, Nick Wells reports on the push for a safe national drug supply as the prospect of an even more deadly year looms. And Heidi Atter reports on the work being done by the Nēwo Yōtina Friendship Centre to set up a community-based supervised consumption site in Regina as the provincial government continues to drag its heels.

Monday, December 21, 2020

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Steven Lewis writes about the need for firm and decisive public health action to stop the spread of COVID-19, rather than the excuse-making and bothsidesing that have come to be the norm. And Kaitlin Peters discusses how the people already dealing with long-haul COVID infections are being confronted with the reality of an economic system designed to devalue people who can't be put to use as productive bodies.

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on the disconnect between tens of thousands of cases of workplace infection in Ontario even as only a single employer has faced so much as a fine for contributing to the spread of disease. And NPR examines the importance of vaccinating inmates in order to limit the dangers of a pandemic in particularly risky environments, while Dan Zakreski interviews Kyle Anderson about Saskatchewan's failure to properly test and trace in correctional institutions.

- Frank Graves highlights the high levels of disinformation about COVID-19 in Canada's prairie provinces - with Alberta standing out for the highest level of "very disinformed" people, Saskatchewan for a plurality of "mildly disinformed" people over any other category, and Manitoba for barely a third of its population being well-informed. And PressProgress points out how over-exposed anti-mask events are just the latest cry for attention on the part of racist conspiracy-mongers.

- In case it's not still clear that plainly inessential work is still going on in ways which put people at risk, the Canadian Press reports on a COVID-19 outbreak among Coastal GasLink pipeline workers. And the AP reports on the halt to travel to and from the UK due to the development of a new strain of the coronavirus.

- Finally, Jim Stanford discusses how a national child-care plan would work wonders toward a strong post-COVID recovery.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Luke Savage weighs in on the false promise of tax giveaways to the rich as an economic strategy for anybody else.

- Nichole Dusyk argues that it's past time to bridge the gap between Canada's climate change promises and our actual policies.

- Guy Quenneville reports on the early mistakes - including the movement of infected people around the facility and the continued use of 4-person rooms - which have led to a severe COVID outbreak at Regina's Parkside Extendicare long-term care home.

- Meanwhile, Geoff Leo reports on the underinvestment in Saskatchewan's health-care technology which is putting patients' lives at risk. And Jeremy Appel points out who stands to benefit from Jason Kenney's choice to limit any drug treatment to private, abstinence-only programs - with the hand-picked members of an advisory panel ranking among the largest recipients of public largesse.

- Justin Ling reports on Health Canada documents which confirm that the Libs' continued blood donation ban based on sexual orientation has no grounding in evidence.

- Finally, Sean Illing interviews Ethan Porter about his theory that political parties need to approach voters as shoppers rather than citizens. But it's worth noting exactly how that theory plays out, as Porter ultimately argues that voters are more open to making a fair contribution for important services than being persuaded by promises of something for nothing.