Saturday, August 28, 2021

Saturday Morning Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Crawford Kilian takes note of new research showing that the Delta variant of COVID-19 produces more severe outcomes (including increased hospitalization rates) even taking into account its increased transmissibility. And the New York Times looks into one example of the variant infecting students and families in a California classroom.

- Meanwhile, Guy Quenneville reports on the projections which suggest Saskatchewan will soon be seeing upwards of 300 new cases per day due to the Moe government's choice to let the Delta variant run rampant. And UCP House Leader Nathan Neudorf has come out and admitted that his party's plan is to try to maximize how many people get infected as soon as possible, while Timm Bruch reports on UCP MLA Angela Pitt's lobbying to actually ban employers from implementing vaccination policies.

- Damian Carrington reports on new research on the connection between increased air pollution and harm to mental health.

- Finally, David Moscrop rightly points out that we can't expect capitalists to protect us from the harm done by capitalism. And Katie Way highlights the increased recognition of the importance of unions in protecting workers' interests.

#Elxn44 Roundup

The latest from Canada's federal election campaign.

- The Maple examines how the timing and format of the campaign chosen by Justin Trudeau could hardly have been designed for lower expected turnout.

- PressProgress looks into the background of Lib candidate Mary-Jane Bennett as both a cheerleader for privatization, and a senior fellow connected to climate change and residential school deniers at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. 

- Jim Stanford discusses how the Cons' plans predictably involve crushing austerity for Canadians in the name of balancing budgets, but no plan to actually reach that outcome. Stephanie Taylor points out how Erin O'Toole is rejecting the latest round of global agreements on climate change. And Aidan Chamandy talks to experts about how that choice to backtrack would violate Canada's commitments under the Paris agreement.

- Meanwhile, Matthew Alexandris points out how the NDP's benefit for renters can put a substantial dent in poverty and homelessness. And Pat Armstrong and Hugh Armstrong make the case to build a truly universal and complete health care system.

- Finally, Loretta Fisher interviews Paul Taylor about the importance of working through the political system to make sure nobody is left behind.

Friday, August 27, 2021

Musical interlude

Eve Owen - Mother


#Elxn44 Roundup

 The latest from Canada's federal election. 

- Alex Ballingall writes about the NDP's task in translating the general popularity of Jagmeet Singh into votes and seats. And Gary Mason highlights how Singh's strong campaign is complicating the Libs' expectation of waltzing into a majority. 

- PressProgress examines the superficiality of the Cons' plan to give workers token representation on corporate boards compared to their real track record of undermining workers' bargaining power. 

- David Macdonald crunches the numbers as to how parents would be far better off with a real child care system than with the Cons' limited tax baubles. And Chen Zhou talks to climate experts about the Cons' platform who agree it's at best far out of date and insufficient to meet the current crisis (particularly due to the irresponsibility of conservative premiers). 

- Finally, Jackie Sharkey reports on the effects of Elections Canada's plan to discontinue the Vote on Campus program due to unclear logistical concerns - as well as the organizing efforts seeking to ensure young voters don't face undue barriers to participating.  

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- BBC News reports on the record COVID numbers arising in Scotland, while Josh Lynn and Carla Shynkaruk report on Charlie Clark's call for vaccine passports as the fourth wave slams into Saskatoon. Gary Mason discusses how overly-reluctant governments are needing to be pressured by their constituents to take any action at all to push for further vaccinations, while Zak Vescera highlights how Scott Moe is refusing to follow the lead of even other conservative premiers in doing anything to limit the damage. 

- Lori Fox offers a personal perspective as to why workers aren't eager to endanger themselves and their loved ones in order to provide restaurant owners and patrons with cut-rate and precarious labour. 

- Meanwhile, David Macdonald updates his work in determining who has funded COVID supports, and finds that the federal government has continued to foot almost the entire bill (though that should give voters pause about the prospect of a Trudeau government determined to bring existing supports to an end, or an O'Toole administration which would have been opposed to them in the first place). 

- Andrew Elrod writes that contrary to what's become conventional wisdom in the U.S., the primary risk to progressive politics out of inflation is the danger of overreacting and sacrificing people's well-being to the goal of price stability. 

- Cassandra Jeffery explores how producers, workers and consumers alike are worse off due to corporate control over Canadian agriculture. 

- Finally, Linda McQuaig highlights the massive gap between a public demanding strong climate action and a just transition to a clean economy, and their elected representatives who are refusing to do anything of the sort. 

Thursday, August 26, 2021

#Elxn44 Roundup

The latest from Canada's federal election campaign.

- David Climenhaga offers a warning against Conservatives bearing gifts, both generally and in their plan for token representation on corporate boards. And the Canadian Labour Congress highlights how the Cons' interest in gig workers is limited to saddling them with far less retirement security and unemployment insurance rights than most workers. 

- Bradley Lafortune discusses the value of actually creating a child care system, rather than merely handing out money and hoping that will result in spaces emerging out of thin air. 

- Ricardo Tranjan warns against accepting definitions of "affordable" private rental housing which require upwards of half of a tenant's income to be handed over as rent, while pointing out the importance of public and non-profit housing to actually ensure people can afford homes. And PressProgress calls out Justin Trudeau's disingenuous attempt to cast blame solely on the Cons for severe cuts and devolution which were carried out primarily by Lib governments. 

- Seth Klein makes the case for voters to decide based on their assessment as to which candidate will be a champion for climate justice. 

- Finally, Chantal Hebert discusses how Justin Trudeau has become the candidate of petulance and gloom. And Angus Reid's polling shows that attitude is being reciprocated by voters.

Wednesday, August 25, 2021

#Elxn44 Roundup

This and that from the federal election campaign.

- Canadians for Tax Fairness sets out its platform for a fair and equitable tax system. And Katrina Vandenheuvel makes the case for a tax on windfall pandemic profits in particular. 

- Sue Capon reports that Revera's response to being required to provide basic protections to people in long-term care has been to start slashing staff. Which makes it particularly significant that Jagmeet Singh is pushing to nationalize Revera in particular as part of a plan to take for-profit operators out of the long-term care system. 

- PressProgress reports on just some of the appalling statements of Con candidate Arnold Viersen which have been deemed acceptable by Erin O'Toole, including denouncing even basic COVID response measures as "tyranny" while doubting whether there is any pandemic at all. And the Canadian Labour Congress points out how O'Toole is speaking out of both sides of his mouth in pretending to care about pension protections after working to eliminate them both in Stephen Harper's government and in the most recent Parliament. 

- Meanwhile, Aaron Wherry discusses how Justin Trudeau is failing to making any case for himself to remain in power. And Olivia Stefanovich notes how Singh has presented a compelling contrast to Trudeau for progressive voters in particular. 

- Finally, Luke Savage interviews Avi Lewis about the prospect that this election may prove a turning point toward a Green New Deal for Canada. 

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Rhianna Schmunk reports on British Columbia's application of a reinstated mask mandate. And Cameron MacLean reports on Manitoba's plan for both mask and vaccine requirements. But Adam Hunter finds no willingness whatsoever from the Moe government to acknowledge the cresting fourth wave, or do anything to keep people safe and healthy. Which is to say that it's well worth listening as Sarath Peiris makes the case for medical health officers to be fully independent to ensure that political motivations don't override public health. 

- Walker Bragman and David Sirota discuss how the refusal of employers to accommodate workers explains a substantial portion of the unvaccinated population in the U.S. And Brett Bundale talks to workers about their reasons for not flocking to low-paying and unsafe jobs in the restaurant industry. 

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on the Ontario labour ministry's policy of ignoring the science behind COVID-19 in order to pretend workers are safe in obvious outbreak hotspots. Meanwhile, in case there was any doubt the state has taken the side of COVID, Francine Kopun reports on the death cultists harassing a restaurant owner who cared enough to implement a vaccination requirement - along with the refusal of police to do anything about an actual danger to the public. 

- Kwame McKenzie makes the case for a national plan to support mental health - starting with the social determinants of health which are necessary for psychological well-being. 

- Finally, Eric Posner calls out the fallacious assumption that corporate decision-making is more efficient than that of elected governments. 

Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Tabled cats.


#Elxn44 Roundup

Noteworthy news and opinions from Canada's federal election campaign.

- Kiavash Najafi discusses how the Libs are struggling for lack of any reasonable explanation as to why they've precipitated an unnecessary election in the first place. And Jen Gerson wonders whether anybody in the Lib camp thought to question whether the election was a good idea. 

- Stewart Prest notes that this election is looking very much like 2015, only with the roles reversed between a Lib campaign attempting to brand itself with experience and moderation versus an NDP reaching out to younger and more aspirational voters with an appealing leader offering the promise of something better. 

- Innovative Research releases (PDF) poll results showing strong support for a government that takes better care of its citizens, including through a basic income and improved public services. 

- Finally, Justin Ling calls out Erin O'Toole's slippery posturing on "conscience rights" as an excuse to deny basic health care including abortion and services to trans people. And Andrew Jackson notes that the Cons' supposed promise of income benefits for working seniors (itself a problematic enough place to be intervening in the economy) would in fact be clawed back for many recipients. 

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- David Climenhaga discusses how Jason Kenney's detachment from the reality of COVID is leading to disaster for Alberta. Marilou Gagnon and Damien Contandriopoulos point out how even the beginning of the fourth wave is overwhelming health care workers in British Columbia. Andre Picard highlights the need for vaccine mandates to have meaningful consequences, while Rob Vanstone implores the Saskatchewan Roughriders to follow most of their fellow CFL franchises in mandating vaccines for their crowds. 

- Emily Mullin writes about the effect of COVID-19 on the brain, while Alison Escalante discusses the effects of long COVID in children. And Kristen Brown and Rebecca Torrence highlight the need not to assume we know more than we do about an ongoing pandemic - particularly when the downside risks of presuming we're safer than we are loom so large. 

- Rachel Gilmore points out the gap between anti-deficit hysteria and the realities of public finances.  Adam Tooze discusses the need to criticize wasteful war spending not as a matter of limited resources, but as a matter of grossly misplaced priorities and the creation of harmful power structures. And Isaac Stanley-Becker notes that U.S.' COVID response has been turned into a cash cow for corporate consultancies rather than focusing on public health. 

- Rebecca Solnit challenges the attempts of the fossil fuel sector to make the fight on climate change a matter of individual carbon footprints rather than corporate and governmental structures. 

- Finally, Umair Haque writes about the increasing influence of gleeful ignorance masquerading as enlightenment. 

Monday, August 23, 2021

#Elxn44 Roundup

News, notes and commentary from Canada's federal election.

- Heather Scoffield comments that there's reason for hope in this election based on the options available to voters. Jaime Watt concludes that Jagmeet Singh is ideally positioned to provide aspirational leadership in an election where voters are more interested in future plans than a referendum on the past. And Singh writes about the influence of Jack Layton's enduring legacy. 

- Bruce Anderson writes about the many unknowns thus far in the campaign, as well as the readily-available prospect of change. And Campbell Clark discusses how the Libs are the primary loser in calling an election without a purpose or shape. 

- Amir Barnea wonders why we're not hearing more about immensely popular wealth taxes - which are of course central to the NDP's budgetary plans, but being ignored by other parties dedicated to facilitating the accumulation of wealth. And Nick Falvo offers his breakdown of the NDP's housing platform. 

- Finally, Lori Lee Oates argues that we can't allow parties to green-wash their way through the election as the immediate consequences of a climate breakdown become clear. 

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Paul Krugman discusses the need for people who have been responsible about limiting the spread of COVID-19 to start speaking out and taking action to ensure that the reckless and nihilistic aren't able to impose avoidable disease and death. Adia Benton, Maimuna Majumder and Gavin Yamey write that the selfishness of rich countries - both in refusing to allow lower-income countries to produce their own vaccines, then hoarding the ones which are manufactured - stands to extend the ongoing pandemic until as late as 2028. And Ashleigh Stewart reports on David Fisman's resignation from Ontario's science advisory table due to Doug Ford's refusal to provide accurate information about an impending fourth wave. 

- Meanwhile, Paul Sakkal and Aisha Dow write about the importance of a ventilation revolution to stop the spread of COVID-19 through indoor environments including workplaces and schools. 

- Frederik Pleitgen, Claudia Otto, Angela Dewan and Mohammed Tawfeeq write that much of the Middle East may soon be uninhabitable as limited water reserves disappear due to our climate breakdown. Jonathan Tirone notes that newly-constructed refineries will lock in additional carbon pollution for decades to come.  And Kevin Crowley discusses how the fossil fuel industry is splitting in its response to global determination to protect our planet - though it can't escape notice that it's the worst climate offenders who are determined to double down on spewing greenhouse gas emissions.  

- Tony Seskus writes about the need for farmers (and consumers generally) to have a right to repair, rather than seeing major purchases rendered worthless by the whims of corporate intellectual property rules. 

- Matt Bruenig highlights how gratuitous Republican cuts to unemployment insurance in the U.S. led to added poverty and precarity without producing any of the promised increase in available employment. 

- Finally, Linda McQuaig and Neil Brooks comment on the need to tax billionaires out of existence, rather than allowing them to dictate public policy in the interest of extreme wealth accumulation.