Saturday, September 11, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Umair Haque discusses how the COVID-19 pandemic has been turned into a cash cow to be extended for profit, rather than a public health emergency to be ended for the sake of people's safety. And Jay S. Kaufman notes that science alone can't fully answer a pandemic where social trust and cohesion have broken down in ways that prevent people from working toward a common end.

- Don Braid writes that both the UCP's political plans and the provincial health care system are collapsing in Alberta, while PressProgress points out the shortage of ambulances in Calgary and Edmonton as one example of how the COVID crisis is affecting the health care system as a whole. 

- Guy Queeneville reports on Scott Moe's cuts to contact tracing just as the fourth wave began to rise, while Jessie Anton reports on the Saskatchewan Health Authority's restrictions on services due to the unchecked pandemic. Zak Vescera reports on the existence of modeling showing that mandatory masking could reduce community transmission by 50%. And Jason Warick discusses why Scott Moe can't be bothered to take even that basic step to keep people healthy and safe, while Phil Tank points out the giant load of nothing that was Moe's announcement yesterday.

- Luke Savage rightly makes the case for John Horgan's government to take the lead in legislating paid sick days for all.

- Finally, Peter Kalmus writes that both halves of a "net zero emissions by 2050" target represent grossly inadequate levels of concern for the preservation of our living environment. And Umair Irfain summarizes the IPCC's main scenarios for climate change going forward - with the "middle of the road" scenario in which countries fulfill their existing commitments and cooperate somewhat on environmental goals resulting in a catastrophic 2.7 degrees of warming.

#Elxn44 Roundup

The latest from Canada's federal election campaign.

- The Climate Emergency Alliance highlights the crucial climate change question which was left out of the federal debates - which is what parties will to do keep fossil fuel reserves in the ground when we manifestly can't afford to exploit them.

- Gordon Cleveland compares the Cons' tax bauble to the positive effects of an actual child care system which the Libs are promising and the NDP plans to deliver. Antony Hodgson looks at what's on offer for electoral reform, finding both the Greens and the NDP to have strong proposals. And PressProgress examines what the parties have on offer for workers and the labour movement.

- Tanya Talaga discusses how the Libs have utterly missed the point of reconciliation. And Kristy Kirkup and Bill Curry report on Justin Trudeau's unfathomable hesitancy to ensure fire safety for First Nations.

- Ben Cohen reports on Oshawa Lib candidate Afroza Hossain's pay-for-access policy for community appearances.

- Finally, Matthew Green offers his vision for a just recovery:

Friday, September 10, 2021

Musical interlude

Jax Jones. feat. Ella Henderson - This Is Real

#Elxn44 Roundup

Assorted content from Canada's federal election campaign. 

- Seth Klein examines the considerations to take into account in casting a ballot for real climate action. And Michelle Gamage compares the parties' positions on fossil fuel subsidies. 

- Andre Picard asks whether voters will actually be motivated by health care - a key question given the NDP's commitment to head-to-toe health care while the other parties try to keep their plans as vague as possible. And Ken Dryden theorizes that the key issue for voters should be child care. 

- Linda McQuaig calls out Erin O'Toole's blatant bullshitting as a means of smuggling anti-social policy into the halls of power. And the Canadian Labour Congress points out his dishonesty on pensions in particular. 

- Meanwhile, PressProgress fact-checks Justin Trudeau's indignant refusal to accept he's engaged in litigation against Indigenous children against his track record. And Kristy Kirkup reports on the increased risk of fire-related deaths on reserve as one more area in which Indigenous people are facing unnecessary dangers due to a lack of policy action. 

- Samantha Reusch writes about the importance of engaging young voters - even as Elections Canada has made their participation more difficult by eliminating its campus voting program. And Menaka Raman-Wilms reports on Jagmeet Singh's work in meeting younger voters on their platforms of choice. 

- Finally, Alex Marland laments the tendency of voters to cast ballots based on party affiliations rather than local candidates. 

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Kevin Maimann discusses how Alberta's health care system is on the brink of collapse due to a complete COVID governance failure. Zak Vescera reports on the health care workers begging Scott Moe to make some effort to avoid the same in Saskatchewan, while Yasmine Ghania reports on the people trying to do their part by getting tested who are facing unconscionable delays due to the lack of testing capacity. And CBC News reports that public support for vaccine passports is soaring in both Saskatchewan and Alberta despite provincial governments taking the side of COVID. 

- Meanwhile, in case there was any thought that the Delta variant would be the last source of further COVID waves, Kenyon Wallace reports on the spread of the Mu variant in Ontario. And Katharine Wu discusses why people who may have given up on wearing masks while being told the pandemic was over should be rethinking that course of action. 

- Amy Westervelt calls out the oil industry's "discourses of delay" as a means of pushing for continued fossil fuel extraction and avoiding the action we need to avert a climate catastrophe. And Martin Lukacs discusses how the Trudeau Libs have eagerly served Canada's oil barons while attempting to greenwash themselves and the industry. 

- But Carbon Tracker points out how anybody looking past the short term will need to reckon with the inevitability of leaving fossil fuel assets unexploited. And Adam Hoverman and Melissa Lem weigh in on the increasing calls among health care professions to end our reliance on fossil fuels.

- Finally, as we plan pandemic and energy transitions, David Beers offers a reminder of the roads that were open to us after 9/11 - and the loss we've suffered by accepting violent imperialism rather than a more caring society. 

Thursday, September 09, 2021

#Elxn44 Roundup

The latest from Canada's federal election campaign.

- David Miller discusses the steps Canada needs to take to help avert climate disaster - as well as the differences in the federal parties' plans to achieve them (or not). And Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood writes about some crucial climate myths, with the overall message that we can't pretend we're doing enough or on the right track already. 

- David McLaren rightly criticizes the Cons' attempt to entrench precarious gig work as a permanent trap for workers. 

- Elise Stolte discusses how the financialization of the housing market has made it impossible for many people to find affordable and acceptable rental homes. And Patrick Condon highlights the need for far more ambition in ensuring the right to housing is met, while also noting the crucial differences among the parties. 

- Christine Dobby takes a look at voters' choices on telecommunications, with particular attention to the Libs' broken promises to make connections to the world more affordable. 

- Brett Forester examines the parties' platforms on issues facing Indigenous people. 

- PressProgress contrasts the well-known answers to the opioid crisis (including ensuring a safe supply) against Erin O'Toole's insistence on pushing only access to private institutional rehab facilities. 

- Finally, Our Politics offers a slick (if necessarily simplified) look at the policies on offer from the major federal parties. And the Courage Coalition provides its take on the choices facing progressive voters and activists. 

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Steven Lewis writes about the increased COVID risk Saskatchewan is facing as a result of Scott Moe's refusal to govern. And Duane Bratt discusses how Jason Kenney has proven himself to be far out of touch with Alberta's values, while Charles Rusnell points out the combination of negligent government and inaccurate modeling which has pushed Alberta's health care system into a state of crisis.

- Sam Mellins highlights how the U.S. could be sharing vaccine manufacturing information with the world to prevent untold amounts of human suffering. 

- Dan Welsby, James Price, Steve Pye and Paul Ekins study the realities of the climate crisis, and find that only a small fraction of the planet's fossil fuel reserves can be used without producing calamitous consequences. 

- But Walker Bragman discusses how fossil fuel corporations are trying to wriggle out of any responsibility for the damage they've done to our living environment. And Drew Yewchuk notes that Alberta is using money supposedly collected for climate remediation to fund oil propaganda. 

- Finally, Binyamin Appelbaum writes about the workers fighting to exercise their collective strength in the face of a U.S. economy that's been rigged against them for decades. 

Wednesday, September 08, 2021

#Elxn44 Roundup

The latest from Canada's federal election campaign.

- PressProgress offers some background on the agitators disrupting Justin Trudeau's campaign events, while Max Fawcett points out why there's no reason for us to lend any undeserved credence to anti-vaxxers. But Meshall Awan notes that we also shouldn't allow posturing over fringe views to distract us from fundamental issues including the climate crisis.  

- Gillian Steward is rightly appalled at Erin O'Toole's willingness to follow the Kenney/Moe road to disaster in responding to COVID-19 and handling our Medicare system. 

- Adam Radwanski takes note of the seemingly unanimous agreement on the need for a rapid transition to electric vehicles. 

- Camellia Wong criticizes Elections Canada's refusal to allow for on-campus voting as a failure for democracy - which is particularly unacceptable when concentrated within a population which is about to set habits defining its level of participation for decades to come. 

- Finally, Luke Savage discusses why Justin Trudeau's attempt to manufacture a majority for himself is backfiring as voters decide they're ready for change. 

On false tax freedoms

The past few Canadian election cycles have seen plenty of discussion of the realities of tax-free savings accounts. And for the most part, their critics have been proven right: a scheme pitched at enabling savings by lower-income individuals has instead served mostly as a means of redirecting more free money to the already-rich. And in 2015, the Cons' doubling of existing TFSAs was rejected by voters. 

Which makes it striking that the Libs are now the ones pushing a TFSA scheme as part of their housing platform.

As Nick Falvo notes in his brief comment, there's an obvious danger that the Libs' plan - like other TFSA systems - will merely allow the wealthy to drain money from federal coffers, while accomplishing little for the people who are supposed to benefit (but who don't have spare money to stash away in the first place). And the Libs' throwaway line about including "integrity measures to deter tax avoidance" rings entirely hollow coming from the same party trying to criticize the NDP's plan for a more progressive tax system based on the claim that better tax enforcement isn't possible. 

As is the case in so many policy areas, voters will need to choose between policies which actually address the right to housing, and ones which serve only to inflate the wealth of existing homeowners and people with money to burn. And it's especially damning that the Libs are so bereft of ideas as to be copying from the Harper playbook toward the latter end.

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Frank Addario asks how any politician can claim to be a leader while taking a mulligan on the COVID-19 pandemic. Amy Kaler writes that Jason Kenney's decision to pay off non-vaccinated people while doing virtually nothing to limit community spread has only made matters worse in trying to make any case for collective action. And Adam Hunter points out Scott Moe's choice to do nothing and point fingers while Saskatchewan careens into disaster.  

- Meanwhile, Greg Sargent points out the potential for a strong political response to the "Jonestown Republicans" (and similarly destructive Conservatives in Canada) encouraging an antisocial response to a social crisis. 

- Paul Krugman welcomes us to to autumn of anxiety as a COVID wave driven by the most dangerous variant yet is accompanied by the removal of the supports which enabled people to survive its earlier incarnations. Hayes Brown warns that one of the virtually certain results is an escalation in poverty levels which dipped when somewhat better income supports were available. And the Houston Chronicle's editorial board notes that it's entirely understandable that workers aren't eager to endanger themselves and their families for precarious and low-paying work. 

- Sarah Zhang notes that the ventilation improvements which are being demanded by forward-looking people as a means of reducing the spread of COVID would carry the side benefit of stopping all kinds of respiratory viruses. 

- Nick Toscano writes that temporary price hikes aren't fooling most investors into thinking there's any real future in fossil fuels. But Carlos Joly points out that in the midst of its election, Norway (like Canada) is seeing most of its political parties continue to push carbon pollution exports rather than transitioning to a clean economy. 

- Jasmine Banks documents how the Koch brothers' dark money empire is behind the contrived U.S. uproar over "critical race theory" - making for a particularly stark example of how capital stokes racism in order to preserve its position of privilege. And John Tattrie reports on the the apparently race-motivated killing of Truro taxi driver Prabhjot Singh Katri as an ugly example of the consequences of letting racism fester.

- Finally, Arwa Madhawi writes that it's long past time to start paying attention to the people accurately warning of the dangerous consequences of anti-social neglect, rather than allowing the people who benefit from maintaining it to tell us there's nothing to worry about. 

Tuesday, September 07, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Keen cats.

#Elxn44 Roundup

The latest from Canada's federal election campaign. 

- Sam Hammond argues that we should expect our federal parties to strengthen public education in the wake of a pandemic which has exposed the iniquities faced by disadvantaged students. And Ricardo Tranjan highlights why we can't afford to let parties treat rental housing as a temporary and undesirable phase for citizens.

- Dylan Reid discusses what a wealth tax can accomplish based on our extensive experience with property taxes. 

- John Chidley-Hill reports on Jagmeet Singh's promise to double transit funding and transition to an all-electric transit fleet - combining the goals of improved transportation and a cleaner economy in a single policy. 

- Rawan Abdelbaki writes that Erin O'Toole's attempts to claim to support workers are only part of his running con. And Laura Stone and Marieke Walsh report on O'Toole's laughable attempt to want to increase vaccination rates while refusing to say which of his own candidates can't be bothered to protect against the spread of COVID-19. 

- Finally, while Justin Trudeau tries to frame the campaign around the agitators protesting his appearances, Chris Campbell points out how Singh has faced longstanding and virulent racism in the course of his political work (and indeed throughout his life).

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Peter Hotez writes that the U.S. is facing a new nightmare phase in responding to COVID-19, while Frank Newport reports on the strong public support for far more public health protections than have been put in place. And Jeremy Chrysler discusses the historical background which explains the reluctance of so many - including health authorities - to acknowledge that COVID is airborne. 

- Meanwhile, Stephanie Dubois reports on the utter ineffectiveness of Alberta's vaccine lottery. And Sarah Rieger reports on Jason Kenney's decision to pay inflated wages to privately contracted nurses while starving the public health care system of resources in the midst of a pandemic. 

- Brian Bethune notes that there's no escaping the development of epidemics - which should serve as strong incentive to ensure we're not governed by people who are ideologically incapable of responding to them. 

- Finally, V.S. Wells highlights how Canadian workers have been under attack by state authorities as well as by a deadly virus over the past year. 

Monday, September 06, 2021

#Elxn44 Roundup

Assorted content from Canada's federal election campaign.

- Mitchell Thompson offers a reminder as to why voters can't trust Justin Trudeau's election promises based on both his party's track record of austerity, and his suspicious insistence on precipitating an election rather than supporting Canadians through a pandemic with  the NDP backing that effort in Parliament.

- Marc Goldgrub highlights the flaring flaws with the Cons' convoluted and warped carbon emission scheme. And Markham Hislop examines how the Cons' supposed climate change plan fails to account for increase fossil fuel production:

And it's worth noting that the same problem applies to the Libs' insistence on subsidizing fossil fuel exports, rather than working toward the transition we need to a clean economy.

- Katherine Scott examines the health care proposals on offer, with the NDP's plan for head-to-toe health care representing an importance contrast against the "more of the same" plans of the Libs and Cons. 

- Sara Mojtehedzadeh examines what the parties are offering to essential workers. And the Canadian Press reports on Jagmeet Singh's new commitment to protect health care workers from violence and intimidation.

- Finally, Avneet Dhillon writes about the ongoing popular demand for electoral reform - even as the Libs and Cons go out of their way to try to take it off the table as an option.

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your Labour Day reading.

- CBC News reports on Saskatchewan's soaring rate of COVID-19 infections which (just barely) trails only Alberta among Canadian jurisdictions. James Keller discusses Alberta's tragically false assumption that COVID hospitalizations were a thing of the past.  And Dayne Patterson reports on the call from the Saskatchewan Union of Nurses for Scott Moe's government to once again take responsibility for contact tracing after having gallingly abandoned that effort, while  Zak Vescera reports on the health services the Saskatchewan Health Authority may have to abandon to deal with an uncontrolled pandemic.

- PA Media reports on the 200+ health journals who have taken the unprecedented step of joining forces to demand urgent action to avert a climate disaster. But Nick Cohen points out the slipperiness of climate delayers and deniers - while rightly treating them as a historical analogue to those who fought to preserve slavery.

- David Sirota offers a reminder of the powerful role of union organization in reducing wealth inequality. 

- Finally, Ian Welsh reminds us that businesses only end up shooting themselves in the foot by trying to trample on the income which people need to buy their products and services. 

Sunday, September 05, 2021

Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- The Economist charts how face mask use helps to slow the spread of COVID generally. And Supriya Dwivedi writes that the Conservative approach treating vaccination as a purely personal decision rather than one embedded in communal needs and obligations is only extending the pandemic.

- Brittany Gervais reports that Alberta's contact tracers are warning that their province is now flying blind into a storm. And Brian Goldman interviews public health experts about the risk that we'll face lockdowns again this fall as the price of failing to do anything to control the spread of the Delta variant.

- Meanwhile, Luke Savage highlights how the executive class was able to raise its own income while most people were struggling even more through the pandemic.

- Finally, Owen Jones writes about the growing number of homophobic and transphobic hate crimes in the UK - due largely to the normalization of continued bigotry against trans people in particular.

#Elxn44 Roundup

The latest from Canada's federal election campaign.

- Jim Stanford writes that the direction of our rebuilding from and after the COVID pandemic is one of the core issues at stake. Anna Desmarais highlights how people are suffering from the arbitrary rules the Trudeau Libs attached to CERB with unmanageable income reductions even as the COVID pandemic continues. And Kiavash Najafi discusses why ensuring the rich pay their fair share of taxes is a policy with appeal across all parties and ideological backgrounds, while Sheila Block rightly defends the practicality and desirability of a wealth tax against Philip Cross' attempts to paint the richest few as the truly hard-done-by.

- Anya Zoledziowski offers a summary of the climate change plans on offer from the major national parties. And Anjali Helferty and George Tjensvoll Kitching write that cutting off fossil fuel subsidies is a bare minimum to ensure that we're not funding the destruction of our own health.

- Meanwhile, the CCPA Monitor examines the Libs' platform - including its maddeningly ponderous incrementalism as compared to the NDP's commitments in areas like climate change and housing. 

- Justin Ling reviews the back-and-forth over racism in the first French debate, with Jagmeet Singh's contribution offering desperately-needed recognition of the realities of system racism:

“I’ve talked to people who lost their family member, because of police violence,” Singh told Blanchet.

“When I introduced a motion to deal with this racist discrimination, I didn’t see any MP say no—even the Conservatives didn’t say no—except a single MP,” Singh began, referring to Therrien. “When I looked at him, he did this-” Singh proceeded to make a sweeping motion with his hand, as though Therrien was brushing him off. “This is exactly the kind of thing which happens for Indigenous communities, like Joyce Echaquan,” Singh continued, before being drowned out by an interrupting Blanchet. 

It was a stunning moment, and a rare mention of Echaquan—or, indeed, any issues of systemic racism—on the campaign.

- Joyce Nelson discusses why military spending should be a significant election issue - and why neither the Libs nor Cons offer an acceptable plan to direct our resources toward peace and well-being rather than the military-industrial complex.

- Finally, David Molko reports on the continued embarrassments of Lib candidate Taleeb Noormohamed, who wants to be treated as an advocate for affordable housing while having made massive amounts of money carrying out the property flipping he pretends to decry.