Saturday, March 13, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Adam Hunter talks to epidemiologists about Saskatchewan's pitiful COVID-19 response and the avoidable disease and death that have resulted. Gary Mason warns that we shouldn't expect to be into a post-COVID period by this summer. And Crawford Kilian writes that not only can we not rush in pretending we're back to normal, but we also shouldn't accept what we put up with as normality before.

- Linda McQuaig reminds us that the Libs' infrastructure bank is designed to turn needed public services into a windfall for wealthy investors. And Shoo Lee, Brian Rowe and Sukhy Mahl study how privatized health care produces worse results for everybody other than the people extracting profits from the system. 

- Emily Dwyer writes about the futility of a mining "watchdog" which has been denied any authority to actually investigate complaints.

- Finally, Dan Darrah highlights how there's no reason for Niki Ashton (or anybody else) to be shy about engaging with Jeremy Corbyn in the development of the Progressive International. And Joe Roberts warns against allowing hostile and politicized actors to determine who's entitled to be involved in movement-building.

Friday, March 12, 2021

Friday Evening Links

 Assorted content to end your week.

- Alex Hemingway examines how a wealth tax could raise substantially more money than assumed by the PBO. And Caterina Lindman writes about the benefits of a basic income guarantee funded by progressive taxes.

- Stefan Nikola discusses how shortened work weeks are at long last - if still gradually - becoming more common. And Kaitlyn Matulewicz and Iglika Ivanova highlight how paid sick leave can help to close the gender gap (among other important benefits).

- Simon Enoch weighs in on the Saskatchewan Party's belated recognition that obsessing over balanced budgets is foolhardy in the midst of a health crisis. And Trish Hennessy offers a few reasons for hope as a path out of the coronavirus pandemic comes into sight.

- But lest there be any doubt about the consequences of relaxing public health measures too soon, Kate Kelland reports on research showing that the B.1.1.7 variant is more deadly as well as more susceptible to transmission - which makes it alarming that Regina is seeing that variant become the dominant strain of COVID-19, with dozens of cases confirmed and even more presumed. And James Keller and Ivan Semeniuk report on Jason Kenney's preposterous plan to prioritize social conservatives' vaccine choice over effective distribution to as many people as possible.

- Finally, Yvonne Hii and Henny Yeung discuss how COVID-19 has only confirmed the importance ensuring parents have access to child care.

Musical interlude

 Aly & AJ - Listen!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2021

Thursday Evening Links

 This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Christo Aivalis rightly points out that the NDP needs to be a party of labour and fight to ensure workers' needs are central to Canada's political discussion, rather than amplifying the rhetoric of the exploitative corporate lobby even when it's in the guise of "small business".

- Pete Hudson makes the case for a public vaccine manufacturer in Canada. And the latest Dispatches from the Left includes a reminder of the harm privatization does to the public interest:

Now is the time to put efforts into organizing around taking back our Crowns, restoring services like laundry, cleaning, and food services that have been contracted out to private companies, and putting a stop to privatization of any kind. For-profit service provision is violence. This year we have done nothing but pay for the short term profits gained by the privatization of vaccine labs, of long term care, of STC, of all the auxiliary services necessary to make our healthcare system function. The cost has been far more than we can bear. Privatization robs the public of control over the ways that our communities are run. It robs us of oversight, of opportunity, and, in the case of those who died so Extendicare could have its most profitable year ever, it robs us of our lives. Public ownership isn’t a panacea for the problems of our time. But it is a step towards justice and equity.  

- Andrew Nikiforuk calls out the Kenney UCP's word games as it barges ahead with coal mining in the Rockies. And the Star's editorial board criticizes Doug Ford's prioritization of enriching donor developers over preserving Ontario's environmentally sensitive areas.

- Richard Raycraft reports on the Libs' sudden cut in funding to supports for people with disabilities related to printed text.

- Finally, Luke Savage writes about the need to focus on the development of democracy even when it would be tempting to give up in the face of public choices.

Tuesday, March 09, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Fluffy cats.


Tuesday Evening Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Stephanie Taylor reports on the Saskatchewan Health Authority's warning that we can't afford to loosen the province's COVID-19 rules - which of course was followed immediately by Scott Moe loosening the province's COVID-19 rules. And Matt Gurney points out the need for guidance as to what people can do while only partially vaccinated.

- David Moscrop highlights how the thousands of COVID-19 deaths in Ontario long-term care homes to date could have been avoided. And Paola Lorrigio reports on the new revelations that doctors presented numerous life-saving options to the Ford government, only to have every single one them rejected as costing too much to be worth the bother.

- Danny Dorling and Annika Koljonen discuss the connection between Finland's relative equality and consensus-based policy-making, and its stellar rankings in measures of personal well-being. And conversely, the damage COVID-19 has done to previous social progress in Canada would seem an obvious culprit in the misery we're experiencing even compared to other countries faced with the same pandemic.

- Torsten Bell reminds us that the main effect of refusing to make sick leave available is to ensure that people keep putting themselves and others at risk by going to work while ill.

- Finally, Oliver Milman discusses how even locked-in levels of climate change are rendering tropical areas uninhabitable. And Roland Geyer writes that we need to end the use of fossil fuels to limit our climate breakdown to remotely tolerable levels, rather than counting on offset or credit trading schemes.

Monday, March 08, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Paul Krugman notes that hostility toward basic public health protection such as masks represents a stark example of conservatives sacrificing human lives to identity politics - though it's far from the first or the last one. And James Downie writes that the Republicans governments reversing mask mandates know perfectly well that the credence given to anti-social actors makes it impossible for people to take precautions for themselves.

- Colleen Barry reports on the new wave of COVID-19 in Europe due to increasingly dangerous variants. Camelia Dewan contrasts Norway's relative success in requiring everybody to contribute to limiting the spread of the coronavirus against the disastrous results of  Sweden's herd immunity strategy (complete with willingness to endanger the lives of elderly people along the way). And Lynn Desjardins reports that Canadians are understandably wary about our long-term care system now that its weaknesses have been exposed.

- Srinivas Murthy writes that the most effective strategy to contain COVID-19 involves making sure vaccines get where they're needed around the globe, rather than being systematically diverted to the wealthiest countries first. 

- Joseph Hall observes that economists don't share the right's insistence on putting selective deficit phobia ahead of relief and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

- Finally, PressProgress follows up on the Pallister PCs' secret legislative agenda.

Sunday, March 07, 2021

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Mark Tenforde, Kiva Fisher and Manish Patel study the activities most likely to spread COVID-19 - with restaurants, gyms, bars and churches ranking as the obvious sources of community transmission. And Bruce Arthur warns not to count on an increasing number of vaccine deliveries as a magic bullet against the coronavirus pandemic - particularly when variants are spreading among unvaccinated populations.

- Jim Stanford writes that the model being used to distribute vaccines - ensuring that the people who need a vital good most receive it at no cost - is one we should look to expand to cover more of the essentials of life. And Bernard Ho, Osman Raza and Andriy Katyukha ask when the Libs will live up to their promise to make that happen in ensuring access to medicine in particular. 

- Christine Dobby discusses how concentrated capital has caused a rental housing crisis even when there are far more homes available than people to occupy them. And Stephanie Allen makes the case for community land trusts to ensure that community-based housing is developed and made available for the people who need it.

- Lars Osberg writes that instead of using the end of the pandemic as an excuse to revert to neoliberalism as usual, we need to once again recognize and account for our interdependence. And even the Economist recognizes that we can't afford to simply go back to the status quo ante in designing our social supports.

- Finally, for those with time to explore some new online resources, offers a thorough look at the impact of the fossil fuel sector in Saskatchewan. And The Breach will soon be offering a needed independent national media outlet.