Saturday, August 14, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- The editorial boards of the Leader-Post and Star-Phoenix discuss the individual math which makes the case for vaccination compelling - though it's worth noting the equation is even more obvious on the government level where Scott Moe is being allowed to get away with social murder. Anya Zoledziowski points out how the UCP has been forced to reverse course from its disastrous declaration that the pandemic was over. And Lisa Rison interviews Alexander Wong about the only-increasing importance of masking and other protections in schools.

- Nick Fillmore asks whether we're past the point of no return when it comes to avoiding a complete climate breakdown. Willam Rees writes about the need to severely reduce our ecological footprint in order to have a sustainable society and economy. And George Monbiot discusses how our approach to ecology needs to allow our environment time to exist naturally, rather than being razed and replaced based on whims. 

- Meanwhile, Shannon Devine points out that the gains made by workers through collective bargaining tend to have a lasting effect. And that in turn helps to explain why the UCP's anti-labour government is perfectly willing to pay grossly inflated salaries to privately-contracted scabs with the goal of undermining the province's existing health care workers.

- Finally, Deepa Shivaram discusses the obvious connection between increased child tax benefits in the U.S. and a decrease in family hunger and precarity.

Friday, August 13, 2021

Musical interlude

CARIBOU - Can't Do Without You

Which you can do by one-three thousand, three hundred and thirty-thirds

Peter Julian highlights exactly how little the Liberals have done with the promise of Pharmacare in the course of two terms in government before precipitating an election:

That means that if Justin Trudeau were to pick up his pace of Pharmacare announcements to match the PEI commitment every week, it would take...a mere 64 years to finally reach full funding. (Of course, that ignores the inevitable inflation of drug costs in the meantime.) And even an equal announcement every single day would leave the Libs short of a universal pharmacare plan through two more full terms in power. 

So voters will have the choice between national pharmacare in the next Parliament under a NDP government...or only three thousand photo-ops later if Trudeau gets to choose the pace. 

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Aaron D'Andrea reports on Dr. Theresa Tam's recognition that most of Canada is now firmly trapped in a fourth wave of COVID. Alexander Quon reports on research confirming that the people avoiding vaccines are also the least likely to take other protective measures. Robyn Urback discusses how vaccine mandates may actually offer relief for people currently on the fence. And Christine Gibson asks what Alberta plans to do about the lasting effects of a disease which creates long-term problems for its victims. 

- The Broadbent Institute highlights how Canadians are dealing with substantial anxiety over affordability and economic stability as a federal election looms.

- Robert Hiltz writes about both the need for the election to include serious talk about climate change - and the risk that we'll end up falling for empty rhetoric rather than electing MPs who will actually insist on action. Fiona Harvey and Giles Tremlett report on the IPCC's research showing that greenhouse gas emissions need to peak globally within four years - and be halved over the next decade - in order to avoid climate breakdown. Adam Tooze points out that the U.S.' push for more oil production makes it difficult to take seriously in claiming to want to do its part. And Norm Farrell notes that the result of massive natural gas subsidies in British Columbia has been increased production but reduced public revenue at a time when any fossil fuel development is mostly spun as a matter of gathering resources to fund a transition. 

- Meanwhile, David Moscrop reminds us that the wealthiest few are planning to spend their way into isolated bunkers to avoid the damage they're doing to the environment the rest of us rely on. And Ainsley Harris writes about Katie Porter's success in both calling out those who exploit everybody else to accumulate wealth and power, and development means to improve the lives of people who can't pay for lobbyists to torque the government apparatus in their favour.

- Canadians for Tax Fairness offers its approval to the NDP's plans to ensure that wealthy people pay more of their fair share. 

- Finally, Hiltz also comments on Canada's history of undermining both any meaningful definition of genocide, and any substantial effort to measure our treatment of Indigenous people against it. 

Thursday, August 12, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Greg Jericho writes that the latest IPCC report confirms that we're running out of time to avert climate breakdown, but still have a narrow window in which to do so. Damian Carrington reminds us that the cost of climate negligence is far higher than that of planning for a just transition while we still have the chance. Simon Lewis discusses how the fossil fuel industry bears responsibility for endangering our future. Bill McKibben highlights the deliberate pollution of our political and social discourse which has only complicated any attempt to set us on a sustainable path. And Elizabeth Leier argues that we need to match the urgency applied to our initial COVID-19 response in addressing the climate crisis. 

- But in case there was any doubt how determined many people are to avoid dealing directly with any matter of public well-being, Max Fawcett points out the glaring gap between widespread public demand for vaccine passports, and a refusal to act by most Canadian political leaders. Jim Harding writes that Saskatchewan (among other jurisdictions) needs to demand better than the short-sighted government which has allowed COVID to run wild. Bruce Anderson examines the composition of Canada's as-of-yet-unvaccinated population, and finds that a substantial number of reluctant people would open up to vaccinations under the right circumstances. And Alexander Wong and Sean Tucker make the case for mandatory vaccinations in workplaces.  

- Kanecia Zimmerman and Danny Benjamin Jr. discuss the success of mandatory masking in limiting the spread of COVID in schools. And Lisa Schick reports on the rising number of cases among Saskatchewan children just as school is set to resume - together with Paul Merriman's complete lack of concern about the likelihood of outbreaks in schools. 

- Guy Quenneville provides a damning timeline of the Extendicare outbreak which killed 39 Saskatchewan residents. 

- Karen Weintraub and Adrianna Rodriguez write about the open question as to whether the Delta variant actually causes more severe symptoms than other forms of COVID-19 (in addition to being far more transmissible). And Ed Yong takes a general look at the current direction of the pandemic - including the certainty of "exit waves" as governments eliminate public health protections, and the eventual prospect of endemicity following whatever human toll we choose to accept in the meantime.  

- Finally, ProPublica exposes how the Republicans' tax cuts for the rich were not only a massive giveaway to the .1% generally, but specifically designed to hand extra goodies to a few closely-connected donors. And Alex Ballingall reports on the NDP's plan to apply a wealth tax to fortunes over $10 million in order to fund a functional set of social and health supports. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Lauren Pelley reports on the certainty that Canada is facing a fourth major wave of COVID-19 even as right-wing governments try to proclaim the pandemic over. Natalie Grover reports on the Oxford Vaccine Group's conclusion that any hope of herd immunity is "mythical" based on the spread of the Delta variant. Matthew Chapman reports on the catastrophic harm being done to children with COVID in Arkansas, while North Carolina State University models the likelihood that three-quarters of students in a given school could be infected in the absence of appropriate masking and testing. And Julia Wong reports on the expert response to Jason Kenney's decision not to bother tracking the spread of COVID-19 in Alberta even as that wave crests. 

- Meanwhile, David Suzuki reminds us that the break from a destructive business-as-usual scenario should open the door to reductions in the days and hours we treat as the default for work.   

-  Robin Shaban and Ana Qarri examine how competition law could be used to avoid corporate monopolies generally, and collusive anti-worker arrangements in particular. 

- The Broadbent Institute discusses new polling by Abacus Data showing the priorities of Canadian voters - including strong preferences for more progressive taxes, and increased investments in public goods. 

- Finally, Steven Chase reports on a new study by Project Ploughshares and Amnesty International into how the Libs' continued supply of military equipment to Saudi Arabia is flouting human rights and international law.

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cats on guard.


Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Brad Plumer and Henry Fountain discuss the IPCC's latest report confirming that some climate degradation is inevitable - but that we face the choice how much to accept. Adam Moreton notes that it's all the more unacceptable to rely on accounting tricks rather than actual emission reductions as the consequences of inaction become more glaring. Eric Holthaus comments on the implications of entering the era of rapid climate change. Damian Carrington points out the inescapable responsibility of political leaders for the decisions which have caused the damage that's already locked in. And Kate Aronoff argues that undue deference to fossil fuel profiteers is indistinguishable in substance from climate denialism, while Seth Klein makes the case to ban fossil fuel advertising as one step toward breaking the stranglehold carbon polluters have over any discussion of transitioning to a clean society. 

- Jen Zoratti discusses how our failure to properly respond both to the climate crisis and to COVID-19 can be traced to a failure to challenge systems which cause harm to people by design, then hold them individually responsible for their circumstances. 

- Andre Picard writes about the "nasty" fall looming as the Delta variant takes advantage of reckless governments, while Kevin Sepkowitz notes that vaccinated people are still prone to transmitting it even if they're relatively protected against acute effects. Loren Smith highlights new research as to the psychology behind COVID non-compliers. And the Globe and Mail's editorial board argues that vaccine mandates need to apply to all kinds of social interactions (particularly those involving vulnerable people). 

- Finally, Matt Lundy puts the complaints of the business lobby to the test and finds no evidence of any meaningful wage growth in the midst of the pandemic. 

Monday, August 09, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Peter Singer reminds us of the one-time-opposition to mandatory seat belts to make the case to apply a similar principle to vaccinations, while Lorenda Reddekopp discusses the growing public groundswell for vaccine passports. James Keller reports on the UCP's decision to turn COVID testing into a matter of pay-for-play access - with the side effects of enriching a Jack Mintz-affiliated business, and undermining Alberta's information as to the spread of COVID-19. 

- Anne Helen Petersen discusses how the Delta variant may have arrived at just the wrong time - though it certainly hasn't helped matters to have anti-social politicians downplaying the pandemic and looking for excuses to do as little as possible from day one. And Pam Belluck discusses the damage long COVID is doing to children who have been deliberately left unprotected. 

- Fiona Harvey reports on today's release of the latest assessment from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - confirming both the urgency to act to avert climate breakdown, and the utter failure of our current leaders to do anything of the sort. But Anna North offers some hope that it's not too late to fight climate change if we work within our communities rather than despairing over how little we can do individually. 

- Finally, Rich Penney discusses how the label of a "liberal" (in both small- and large-L terms) refers more to the defense of an unequal and unsustainable status quo than any progress from it.  

Sunday, August 08, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Erika Edwards reports on a push from U.S. pediatricians to speed up the development and distribution of COVID vaccines for children due to the significantly increased threat of the Delta variant.

- Jim Stanford responds to the spin of greedy bosses and antisocial politicians by pointing out how attempts to slash social supports due to supposed labour shortages have no basis in reality.

- Leyland Cecco reports on Monte Lake, the second B.C. community to be burned off the map by climate breakdown-induced wildfires this year. Daisy Nguyen and Noah Berger report on the California towns being destroyed by the Dixie fire. And Mehdi Leman juxtaposes a number of the unprecedented fires being seen around the globe as an indication of how severe and immediate our climate crisis is. 

- Stephanie Spera offers a primer on the upcoming IPCC climate change report set to be released tomorrow.

- Paul Thacker examines how corporations endangering the public and the planet have engaged in disinformation campaigns designed to call into question anybody who dares to point out their actions.

- Finally, Daniel Heath Justice and Sean Carleton suggest eight ways to respond to residential school denialism.