Saturday, July 17, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Robert Booth and Heather Stewart report on Boris Johnson's insistence on lifting COVID-19 protections even as case counts rise in the UK. And Annette Dittert discusses how Johnson's government has relied on being able to dispense with concepts such as the rule of law and objective reality whenever it suits their purposes (and without pushback from compliant media).

- Michelle Ghoussoub reports on the rise of climate anxiety in B.C. as extreme weather becomes an everyday reality.

- David Hasemyer reports on the intersection between climate breakdown and fossil fuel infrastructure, as a major Alaska pipeline is on the verge of collapsing and spilling due to melting permafrost. CBC News reports on British Columbia's inability to keep up with the spread of wildfires. 

- Meanwhile, Patrick Brethour writes about the obvious flaws in Scott Moe's demand to receive credit for doing less than the bare minimum to regulate carbon emissions. And D.C. Fraser rightly argues that there's no value in trying to claim future credits based on past actions.

- Finally, Justin Rowlatt reports on a new study discussing the need to make healthy food more readily available compared to junk food alternatives. And Joyce Nelson writes about the movement pushing for meaningful regulation of toxic plastic products in the face of the usual anti-social lobbying from the oil industry. 

Friday, July 16, 2021

Musical interlude

LAUREL - Scream Drive Faster

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Claire Pomeroy and the Financial Times each highlight the likelihood that survivors of long COVID will be affected for the rest of their lives by a disease which governments have decided to allow to spread. And a group of health experts in the UK weighs in on the folly of condemning thousands of people to illness or death in the name of "personal responsibility" in response to a social threat. 

- Apoorva Mandavilli and Benjamin Mueller discuss how the Delta variant is exacerbating the gap in outcomes between the reality-based portion of the U.S. and the Trumpist death cult. And Jonathan Bernstein discusses the willingness of Republicans to sacrifice the lives of their supporters for political gain. 

- Umair Haque makes the point that none of the interlocking crises which are endangering our health and our living environment are anything close to normal - even as far too many people have accepted (at the behest of those in power) that we should normalize a state of catastrophe. 

- Ezra Klein points out the absurdity that we would let our natural environment burn even as we're experiencing the results of a climate breakdown. And Sofia Andrade reports that climate scientists are recognizing that they've underestimated the climate impacts of increased greenhouse gas emissions and temperatures so far. 

- The Associated Press reports on Greenland's decision to reject oil development which would provide temporary profits at the expense of long-term survival. Mike de Souza reports on new polling showing that oil and gas workers are more than willing to transition to work in the renewable energy sector as long as petrostates aren't standing in their way. But Noam Scheiber points out the need to ensure that green development actually results in the creation of good jobs, rather than following a corporatist model which suppresses wages and working conditions.

- Finally, Lisa Carter highlights how women stand to bear the brunt of yet another set of impossible demands in navigating a reopening after exhausting available time away from work and losing pandemic-related supports. And Arisa Valyear points out the CCPA's work showing how families would stand to benefit from a full national child care plan.

Thursday, July 15, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Umair Haque discusses how the UK is headed for yet another avoidable wave of COVID-19 disaster. Sarah Rieger reports on the rising spread of COVID-19 in Alberta, while James Keller reports that Jason Kenney's declaration of surrender has predictably convinced people not to bother getting vaccinated. Martin Finucane reports on the dozens of COVID deaths and hundreds of hospitalizations even among fully vaccinated people in Massachusetts. 

- David Tynar and Matthew Johnson study how actual methane emissions from fossil fuel facilities are far higher than assumed in British Columbia's regulations and climate plans. 

- Dharna Noor discusses how extreme temperatures have a disproportionate effect on poorer communities and populations. But lest anybody take that as a basis to think Western Canada won't be affected, Olivia Condon reports on warnings from climatologists that extreme heat and desertification are coming Alberta's way, while Kevin Ma writes about the crops already scorched by the recent heat dome (to say nothing of the high temperatures yet to come). And Tez Dhalizal reports on the dangers posed by exceptionally high temperatures and numerous wildfires in Saskatchewan, while Kathryn Blaze Baum and Ivan Semeniuk point out the damage caused by wildfires goes far beyond what actually gets burned. 

- All of which is to say that there's plenty of force behind a new call for Canada to invest in protecting people from pandemics, the climate crisis and other real problems, rather than burning tens of billions of dollars on fighter jets which serve little practical purpose. 

- John Michael McGrath calls out the misguided push against rooming houses in Toronto which only figures to make housing availability even worse. Marc Lee discusses both the positive ideas and the limited scope of options presented by the Canada-British Columbia Expert Panel on the Future of Housing Supply and Affordability. And Charlotte Dalwood makes the case for a more ambitious plan to provide universal public housing. 

- Finally, Anne Levesque highlights how Indigenous children still facing systemic discrimination need action rather than another round of empty thoughts and prayers. And PressProgress takes note of the failure of the prairie provinces to address systemic racism in the criminal justice system. 

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Marlene Habib writes about the continued efforts of grocery workers to ensure we have access to food and supplies in the face of the pandemic (and now complete abandonment by governments and employers). Celine Castronuovo reports on the hospitalizations of children resulting from the spread of the Delta variant in the U.S. And CBC News talks to David Fisman about the lessons to be drawn from the recent outbreak in the Yukon - including both the importance of continued public health measures (no matter how determined irresponsible governments are to reject them), and the limitations of current vaccination rates. 

- Carys Roberts asks why politicians in the UK - like those around far too much of the globe - are refusing to take bold action to protect our climate in the face of massive public demand. 

- Damian Carrington reports on new research showing that an obsession with resource extraction and commercial development has turned the Amazon rainforest into a net emitter of greenhouse gases. Jaweed Kaleen and Thomas Curwen write about the western U.S. where temporary droughts caused by climate breakdown are giving way to outright aridification and the loss of vital water sources. 

- Meanwhile, Aidan MacNab reports on a study showing the problems with federal environmental assessment legislation which fails to enable assessment of fossil fuel projects which create obvious dangers to climate systems and biodiversity. 

- Finally, Sam Gindin writes about the need to develop political movements which challenge the fetishization of competition (particularly due to the corrosive effect of systematic competition for position within the working class). 

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Attentive cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Kit Yates offers a reminder of ignoring the exponential growth of COVID-19 as the Delta variant puts many jurisdictions back on that same path. And the BBC reports on the belated recognition by Dutch prime minister Mark Rutte that the slashing of public health protections was leading to high infection levels - particularly in bars and nightclubs. 

- John Agliata writes about the prolonged pain, stress and anxiety experienced by COVID long-haulers which creates obvious risks of suicide - a point which is distinctly ignored by the people who have demanded the relaxation of restrictions based on a supposed concern about mental health. Ashley Okwuosa discusses how an outbreak was allowed to overrun Brampton's Ontario Correctional Institute, resulting in dozens of COVID-19 cases among inmates, staff and their families. 

- Murray Brewster reports on a review panel's findings that Canada's pandemic warning system was gutted under the Harper Cons and never rebuilt while the Libs were in power. And Tom Parkin discusses how Justin Trudeau has undermined the movement for paid sick leave across Canada by shirking responsibility and pointing fingers at provincial governments. 

- Fair Vote Canada points out the risk that one of the Libs' most glaring broken promises could combine with Trudeau's cynical election posturing to produce the most unrepresentative majority government Canada has ever seen. 

- Finally, the Broadbent Institute calls for a fair tax system which doesn't reward idle capital owners with lower tax rates compared to workers. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

On mood disorders

Summer is the time for reruns. And when your local political columnist keeps repeating the same patently false assertions about public opinion in the face of actual evidence, well...

How actual people (PDF) see the need for continued public health rules to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

Do you think governments should lift all restrictions related to COVID-19 right now? Yes 24% / No 69% / Don't Know 6% (Canada); Yes 33% / No 58% / Don't Know 9% (SK/MB)

How Murray Mandryk spins the public's mindset where it means giving Scott Moe an excuse to put us all at risk:

“After 485 days of the government telling you how to live your life, all those restrictions are coming to an end,” Moe said. “Outside of war time, I don’t think a government has asked so much.”

One gets it. It was a message reflective of his government’s philosophy, its general approach to this COVID-19 fight and — quite frankly — the mood of the province right now.

And as a consequence, the type of gross disregard for the health and well-being of others that's being legitimized as the basis for public health policy:

“The pandemic is (expletive) done! It’s over,” he said. “I don’t give a (expletive) about your variants. I don’t give a (expletive) about your Delta variant. I don’t give a (expletive) about your tetra variant (not a real variant). All the variants can (expletives).”

Needless to say, Scott Moe has found a future cabinet candidate, and Mandryk a "man in the street" whose destructive whims will be taken as more representative of the province than any plausible polling data. And when more people die as a result...that's the price of putting anti-government talking points over actual governance. 

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Crawford Kilian draws from Alex de Waal's New Pandemics, Old Politics to make the case that plagues and the associated responses are invariably political. Adam Miller writes that there's an opportunity for Canadian governments to build off of low COVID-19 case counts and keep further spread contained, including by planning and investing to make sure schools are safe this fall. But the Globe and Mail's editorial board warns that Canada is falling far short of the vaccination rate necessary to lift public health restrictions safely. And Laura Elliott discusses how premature declarations of "freedom" from an ongoing pandemic will force vulnerable people back into personal lockdowns. 

- David Moscrop writes that Michael Lewis' The Premonition signals the need for the U.S. to rebuild its public institutions. And Shailly Gupta Barnes discusses the resources available to do so if the wealthy way just part of their fair share, while Maureen Dowd interviews Bernie Sanders about his hope that it will be possible to prove nihilistic Republicans wrong about the capacity to do good through government.  

- But Umair Haque points out that the foundational bad faith which underpins the county's political and economic institutions makes it impossible to build for the common good. 

- Meanwhile, Rodger Moran highlights why Ontario voters (among others) have every reason to be suspicious of Libs asking voters to ignore their attacks on public institutions and workers while in power based on the bare claim that this time will be different. 

- Finally, Bob Berwyn discusses how the recent spate of record temperatures can only be traced to a climate breakdown in progress. And Alex Bozikivic discusses the ramifications now that extreme heat is here to stay. 

Sunday, July 11, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Richard Hurley discusses the findings of an inquiry showing that COVID-19 was treated largely as an opportunity for corporate profiteering rather than an emergency requiring action in the public interest. And Brook Baker calls out the continued refusal of wealthy countries to lift intellectual property restrictions which are limiting vaccine access around the globe, while Jessica Corbett reports on the World Health Organization's warning that we're all at greater risk as a result.

- Annina Claesson highlights how worker organization is a must to achieve improvements in living conditions such as a four-day work week. Brandie Weikle discusses how Canada's essential workers in particular deserve a better deal. And Peyton Forte reports on research confirming that gratuitously making life worse for workers - in this case through Republicans stripping away COVID unemployment benefits - does nothing to improve the labour market. 

- Winston Choi-Schagrin and Aatish Bhatia discuss the dangers of record-breaking overnight temperatures (which are climbing even faster than daytime ones).

- David Roberts writes about the centrality of clean electrification to any attempt to limit catastrophic climate change.

- Finally, Entrepreneur points out the connection between the systematic enrichment of the wealthiest few, and the increasing debt burden being dumped on everybody else.