Saturday, January 16, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Owen Jones points out how attempts to primarily blame the public for the spread of COVID serve primarily to distract from unsafe workplace and other systemic risks which have been left in place to serve corporate interests. And Jolson Lim reports on the increasing push for provincial sick leave policies - which are particularly necessary due to the federal Libs' decision that it was more important to cut off the CERB program than to ensure people have the support they need to survive the pandemic.

- Randy Robinson discusses how the pandemic has made it all the more painfully obvious how Doug Ford's hatred of government makes him unable to lead one. Sarmishta Subramanian rightly notes that empty "stay at home" messaging was doomed to fail when it was accompanied by an insistence that business be able to carry on as usual. And Rick Salutin calls out the Ford PCs' choice to claim that the only form of COVID control they'll ultimately accept is a vaccine - no matter how much avoidable sickness and death results from a lack of responsible action in the meantime. 

- Murray Mandryk offers a periodic reminder that more of the same shouldn't be acceptable for Saskatchewan - which of course doesn't mean we can expect anything different from Scott Moe. And Laura Woodward interviews Kyle Anderson about the prospect that nothing short of a full lockdown will be enough to get the virus under something resembling control.

- Meanwhile, Brian Platt highlights how Nova Scotia has succeeded in using rapid testing to get a handle on community spread.

- Finally, Linda McQuaig discusses how the trend toward privatized long-term care has exacerbated the crisis for residents in Ontario. And Amy Dempsey reports on the for-profit care nursing home operators who have pocketed money explicitly targeted for personal care workers.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Wednesday, January 13, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Bruce Arthur calls out Doug Ford's choice to blame his constituents rather than himself and his government for a gross lack of leadership in trying to limit the damage from COVID-19. John Michael McGrath discusses the reality that no level of restrictions will stop the spread of the coronavirus as long as governments aren't ensuring people have social supports to tide them over in order to avoid taking risks. PressProgress focuses on Ford's refusal to offer paid sick leave in particular as an obvious step to protect the public which he refuses to take in order to keep a bit more money in the pockets of his corporate funders, while Anna Mehler Paperny notes that the problem extends across Canada. 

- Meanwhile, Murray Mandryk notes that Scott Moe's bad choices have led to Saskatchewan's disastrous recent outbreaks. And Heidi Atter and Phil Tank each report on the growing calls for stronger measures which Moe refuses to implement.

- Rosa Saba writes that a push for air travel by airlines - as well as their political mouthpieces such as the UCP - reflects a gross lack of respect for public health. And Dan Darrah notes that one worthwhile step in pushing back against anti-vaxxer messaging would be to remover the profit motive from vaccine production. 

- Tod McCoy takes a look at some recent examples of successful collective action in discussing how to fight against austerity in Alberta (and elsewhere).

- Finally, Sandy Hudson points out that the U.S.' coup attempt should remind us of the limitations and dangers of centrist complacency in the face of both systemic inequality and a well-funded right-wing hate machine. And Paul Krugman discusses how Trump Republicans' attempt to overturn the presidential election results by force has been decades in the making - and doesn't figure to end with Trump himself.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

 Curled-up cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- The Globe and Mail's editorial board asks whether Doug Ford will again fall painfully short in responding to the public health threat posed by COVID-19 - though at this point the questions appears to be entirely rhetorical. Murray Mandryk discusses the lives put at risk by the Saskatchewan Party's selective interest in following experts' recommendations. And Paul Willcocks points out how Erin O'Toole's posturing to dehumanize incarcerated people represents a crucial unmasking for a leader mostly trying to keep his party's misanthropy hidden.

- Alex Crozier offers a reminder that lockdown orders are useless if they aren't accompanied by the means for people to survive in the meantime. And if we needed a reminder of the dangers of hoping employers will keep workers and their families safe, Dave Seglins, Sarah Rieger and Inayat Singh report on the RCMP's investigation into Cargill's role in the avoidable spread of COVID-19 which caused at least one death among hundreds of cases. 

- The Canadian Press reports on the effects of British Columbia's real estate speculation tax - which is raising tens of millions of dollars while also ensuring that more affordable housing is available for people who need it. And Rebecca Shapiro studies the positive effect rental assistance has on recipients in multiple areas.

- Finally, the CP reports on the Libs' continued delays in taking even first steps toward reducing prescription drug costs through pricing regulations. Kenyon Wallace discusses the need to substantially ramp up vaccinations even to meet a target of this fall. And Geoffrey York reports on the Libs' choice not to make any effort to donate COVID-19 vaccines to developing countries - which means that the people in the most need around the world will share in the price of the Libs' choice not to order available doses.

Monday, January 11, 2021

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Roger McNamee argues that online platforms need to be held to account for their role in fomenting political violence. And Rebecca Traister writes about the need for U.S. Democrats to focus on improving people's lives rather than sacrificing the public good in the name of political compromises with hostile Republicans. 

- Meanwhile, PressProgress offers a reminder that the same forces which have let to Donald Trump's violent insurrection can be found in disturbing numbers in Canada as well. And CBC News reports on Ryan Meili's call for a unified message against the conspiracy theories and misinformation which have led to the U.S.' coup.

- Anna McMillan reports on the call by Cindy Blackstock and others for the federal government to stop making excuses as to why it refuses to implement fair access to public services for Indigenous children.

- Jeremy Klaszus examines how Jason Kenney's UCP (at the request of well-connected lobbyists) has conspicuously promoted high-priced travel to Hawaii and elsewhere while demanding anybody who can't afford that type of jaunt stay at home. 

- Finally, Damian Carrington reports that 2020 has officially been measured as the hottest year on record despite reduced activity as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And Marc Lee writes about the need for British Columbia to do far more to chart a path to meeting its greenhouse gas emission reduction targets.

On privileged positions

It's bad enough that Saskatchewan is governed by a party whose foundational principle is that a wealthy person' vacation home is more important that your life. But it certainly takes a step toward a Kenneyian level of absurdity for the likes of Joe Hargrave to now be whining that it's bullying to suggest the contrary.

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Rebecca Solnit discusses the importance of accurately describing Donald Trump's attempted coup, rather than euphemizing a violent attack against democracy. Enzo DiMatteo highlights the similarities between Trump's playbook and that of the federal Cons. Murray Mandryk writes that the U.S.' experience with authoritarian demagoguery should result in our recognizing the need to strengthen our own political systems against similar threats, while David Climenhaga warns conservatives that de-Trumpification is coming to Canada. And Christina Warner notes that part of the process of strengthening our defence against political violence is to use our collective power and wealth to ensure nobody is left out from the essentials of social and political life. 

- Arthur White-Crummey exposes how the Sask Party was fully aware of the imminent risk of a COVID spike even as it hemmed and hawed about new public health measures following last fall's election. Bruce Arthur points out the need for something far more than desperation to lead a province to safer terrain. And Andrew Nikiforuk examines Yaneer Bar-Yam's work trying to get us to aim for zero COVID, rather than accepting needless sickness and death.

- Michael Johansson, Talia M. Quandelacy, Sarah Kada et al. study how much COVID transmission has been asymptomatic - concluding that over half of spread is from people who aren't yet experiencing, or never will experience, symptoms to provide any warning. And Amanda Follett Hosgood reports on the justified concerns that limitations on industrial work camps fall short of what's needed to avoid spread through particularly vulnerable northern communities. 

- Elizabeth Payne reports on the risks posed by personal support workers who are so underpaid in their high-risk jobs as to have to rely on homeless shelters to sleep at night. And Christopher Curtis writes about the crisis in Montreal's homeless shelters as a curfew decrees that people stay at home whether or not they actually have one.

- Finally, PressProgress talks to health care workers about their reaction to the politicians who have seen a pandemic as an opportunity for a beach vacation, rather than a time to share in sacrifices for the common good. And Elizabeth Thompson points out how Conservative Senator Don Plett ranks high on the list of offenders after signing a directive barring international travel and admonishing people to stay home - only to take his own personal jaunt to Mexico.