Friday, October 15, 2021

Musical interlude

The War On Drugs feat. Lucius - I Don't Live Here Anymore

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Michael Bang Pedersen argues that the COVID pandemic offers a prime example of the importance of telling hard truths to the public - rather than engaging in the wishful thinking, sugar-coating and general denial we've come to expect from Scott Moe. And Susie Flaherty writes about new research confirming that children are spreaders of COVID-19 (and particularly its variants), while Lynn Giesbrecht reports that over a hundred Saskatchewan schools (plus several dozen daycares) are currently experiencing outbreaks.  

- Paddy Bettington rightly criticizes the UK Cons' version of "building back" for providing nothing but worse conditions for workers. And Paul Krugman points out the rightful revolt of American workers against being underpaid, put at risk and taken for granted.  

- Max Callaghan and Carl-Friedrich Schleussner discuss their new study showing how the vast majority of people are already affected by the climate crisis. And Oliver Milman, Andrew Witherspoon, Rita Liu and Alvin Chang observe that a climate disaster isn't merely a remote future prospect, but an imminent reality.  

- Simon Evans notes that the IEA's latest World Energy Outlook shows fossil fuel use peaking in 2025 if countries meet their climate commitments. But Rob Davies highlights how that limited and delayed change would be nowhere near enough to actually avert climate breakdown. 

- Meanwhile, Siddharth Joshi, James Glynn and Shivika Mittal discuss the obvious potential for solar power alone to meet the world's energy needs. And Dana Nuccitelli points out how a faster transition to a clean economy will also be a more affordable one.

- Finally, Brent Patterson examines what we know about the RCMP's unit dedicated to violating human rights to protect extractive industries. 

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Amativa Banerjee writes about the cognitive dissonance involved in living through the COVID-19 pandemic. And Ian Sample reports on scientists' recognition that the UK's deadly second COVID wave was the result of the repetition of mistakes and a failure to learn from the first wave. 

- Needless to say, that makes an especially dangerous and deadly fourth wave all the more preventable and inexcusable. On that front, Mickey Djuric reports on the continuing erosion of care for Saskatchewan residents in need of surgery, while Zak Vescera reports that the province is on the verge of needing to ship ICU patients to Ontario for lack of health care capacity. 

- Meanwhile, Marlene Leung reports that many of the experts trying to help save lives in the midst of a pandemic have themselves faced threats of violence for daring to do so. 

- Norm Farrell writes that David Card's Nobel prize helps to signal how empirical reality is on the side of progressive policy - even as the wealthiest few set up self-serving default assumptions to the contrary. 

- Jacob Lorinc reports on the CCPA's research into the hundreds of thousands of workers who have left thankless and abusive service-sector jobs for ones which offer greater pay and security - and the employers trying to spin that as reflecting a "labour shortage" rather than a need to do better themselves. Robert Reich characterizes the newfound willingness of U.S. workers to reject unacceptable work as an unofficial (and entirely necessary) general strike. And Shannon Waters documents the lobbying by B.C. employers against a basic standard of paid sick leave. 

- Finally, Mariana Mazzucato highlights the need for a new international consensus in which governments plan, and deploy public resources toward, a new economic structure which serves the common good rather than the rich. 

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- David Fickling responds to the attempt by petropoliticians to blame high gas prices on limited climate action rather than the vagaries of commodity economics. Lisa Friedman reports on the agreement among 30 countries to slash methane emissions as a crucial short-term step in mitigating a climate breakdown. And Pratyush Dayal reports on the embarrassing gap between Saskatchewan residents' acknowledgment of the reality of the climate change, and their unwillingness to be part of the solution in fighting it. 

- Emma Black argues that any successful push toward a just transition needs to originate in the working class. Chris Saltmarsh highlights the importance of a Green New Deal which reflects state planning in the public interest, rather than attempting to get capital interests to develop a clean economy. 

- Lucy Ellman discusses how we've prioritized frequent and gratuitous air travel over basic health and safety (among other far more important concerns).   

- Kim Moody writes about the needless fragility of just-in-time supply chains as exposed by events ranging from the COVID-19 pandemic, to the disruption caused by a single stuck ship. 

- Jennifer Sweet reports that out-of-control housing markets are pricing cooperatives out of the picture along with most individuals. 

- David Climenhaga writes about the dangers of Jason Kenney's all-in bet on an equalization referendum to salvage public support. 

- Finally, Doug Cuthand notes that the racism which led to Joyce Echaquan's death remains embedded in Canada's history and established social structures. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Uplifted cats.


Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Ian Sample and Peter Walker report on the Parliamentary inquiry which has found the UK's response to COVID-19 to be one of the country's most severe public health failures in history. Denis Campbell reports on a new study showing that the UK's growing gap in lifespans based on income has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. And Jackie Dunham reports on the long-term damage to the nervous system being observed in people who have suffered from long COVID. 

- Meanwhile, Jake Johnson discusses the U.S.' hoarding of COVID vaccines. And Rebecca Robbins points out how after being gifted a vaccine developed through public investment and targeted donations, Moderna is going out of its way to avoid making any supply available to the poor countries where they're most needed. 

- Julieta Caldas chimes in on how philanthropy generally serves to entrench wealth and power. And Lori Nikkel writes that Canada now has significantly more food charities than grocery stores - while asking how we can accept that reality. 

- CBC News offers a reminder of some of the revelations about tax evasion prior to the Pandora Papers - while at the same time making clear that mere knowledge of offshoring has been far from enough to ensure that the wealthy are required to pay their fair share. And Roman Lanis and Peter Wells warn that we'll continue to see more of the same unless we eliminate the secrecy that allows assets to be hidden. 

- The Associated Press reports on the first step of achieving agreement among 140 countries on a minimum corporate tax rate. But Michael Galant highlights the problems with hoping for inequality to be solved based on the self-interested designs of the wealthiest countries. 

- Finally, Stuart Trew discusses how investment treaties continue to give corporate owners precedence over democratic governance in the public interest - even under newer models which supposedly respond to environmental and labour concerns. 

Monday, October 11, 2021

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Blair McBride writes about the long-term medical crisis Alberta can expect as people are unable or unwilling to have normal diagnoses carried out while the health care system is overrun by COVID-19.  And Mickey Djuric reports on the frustration of Saskatchewan families with their inability to access medical care for children.

- Faiz Shakir writes that organized labour is managing to win some important concessions for workers in the U.S. But Brett Wilkins offers a reminder of how far there is to go in ensuring that workers benefit from the riches that are being created, as the 1% now holds more wealth than the entire U.S. middle class.

- Matt Gurney takes note of Canada's housing crisis which is progressing beyond being an economic issue to a profound social illness. 

- Jeremy Lent discusses how a capitalist mindset is entirely incompatible with any solution to the climate crisis. And Amy Salyzyn and Penelope Simons theorize that an entirely new model of professional responsibility needs to be adopted to ensure that the legal profession doesn't continue trampling human rights and environmental imperatives in the service of extractive industries.

- Finally, Simon Evans examines historical greenhouse gas emissions from a few standpoints - including a per-capita calculation which shows Canada as the absolute worst offender in spewing carbon pollution.

Sunday, October 10, 2021

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Ricky Leong discusses the complete lack of any reasonable explanation for the UCP's failure to protect the health of Albertans in the face of the fourth wave of COVID-19. And Murray Mandryk comments that the Sask Party likewise insists on doing too little, too late even as people suffer as a result of their negligence.

- Adam King writes that the Pandora Papers offer just the latest reminder that any refusal to fund the society we want is a matter of choice rather than lack of resources.

- Matt Bruenig points out the U.S.' dangerous combination of gratuitously-slashed unemployment benefits and a lack of new employment. And Lysa Lloyd offers her perspective on the precarity and drudgery that come with surviving on social assistance. 

- Sandy Carrier discusses how a general disability benefit in particular would provide a desperately-needed basic standard of living. And Andre Picard writes that all parties should be able to agree on the need to ensure people with disabilities aren't trapped in poverty.

- Angela Smith interviews Jessica Whyte about the neoliberal movement's use of human rights language to impose cruel capitalist structures. 

- And finally, Alan Finlayson discusses the need to present progressive politics based on concrete proposals and demands, rather than nebulous values which are easily distorted by opponents while offering little of substance for potential supporters to draw upon.