Saturday, November 06, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Zak Vescera reports on the Moe government's full awareness that their elimination of public health measures would produce exactly the spike in cases and calamity for Saskatchewan's health-care system that have developed this fall. And Allison Bamford reports on the warnings from doctors that there may be another wave yet to come, while Nick Cumming-Bruce reports that Europe is now seeing a new wave of its own.

- Sarah Zhang writes that the U.S. is conspicuously refusing to talk about managing COVID-19 even as it continues to pose a massive public health risk. And PressProgress calls out British Columbia's corporate lobby for claiming that COVID doesn't pose a significant workplace hazard in an effort to ensure employees don't receive sick leave or other protections.

- Donald Light and Joel Lexchin highlight how an unaffordable vaccine is effectively no vaccine at all for much of the world's population - and thus no protection for anybody against the development of increasingly dangerous variants.

- Hadrian Metrins-Kirkwood discusses how decarbonization will require reimagining our municipal planning. Anthony Vasquez-Peddie reports on new research showing how industrialized countries can shift to an extremely high proportion of wind and solar energy - with Canada's large land mass making us particularly well-suited to the change.

- Meanwhile, J.-F. Mercure et al. study how best to persuade the general public of the value of climate action, and find a need to emphasize the economic benefits of a just transition.

- Finally, Peter Zimonjic reports on the nearly 90,000 people facing Guaranteed Income Supplement clawbacks as punishment for having received the CERB in the wake of the pandemic. And the Leader-Post reports that mayors even from Sask Party strongholds are joining the chorus demanding that the Moe government provide adequate social benefits and stop pushing people out on the street.

Friday, November 05, 2021

Musical interlude

Purple Disco Machine feat. Eyelar - Dopamine

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content for your Friday reading.

- Emma Buchanan writes about the restrictions on media access that have resulted in people being poorly informed about the damage done by COVID-19. Meredith Wadman reports on new research showing that the increased infectiousness of the Delta variant is the result of its leaving more of its genetic code in host cells. And Matt Gurney discusses the importance of increasing vaccine supply around the globe - though he leaves out the obvious source of the current shortage as wealthy countries continue to prohibit the release of intellectual property over publicly-developed vaccines to let developing countries establish their own supply.  

- Corry Anderson-Fennell writes about the benefits for everybody when workers have access to paid sick leave, rather than being financially compelled to work through illness and pain. And Kim Siever debunks the corporate lobby's rhetoric about Alberta workers choosing federal pandemic benefits over work - as the only sectors seeing less employment are the ones where employers (government or otherwise) have chosen to restrict operations. 

- Meanwhile, Mario Canseco discusses new poll data showing an increasing number of Canadians recognizing the opioid crisis as a major problem and recognizing the need for political leadership. 

- David Suzuki calls out the continued subsidization of fossil fuels even as climate science points to an urgent need to transition away from them. Liang Jing et al. study (PDF) the carbon intensity of oil, and find Canada to be the second-worst polluter on the planet for the amount of crude it produces. And Aaron Wherry makes the seemingly obvious point that the high-pollution, low-efficiency tar sands are logically among the first resources which need to be left unextracted as we work on reducing our fossil fuel dependence. 

- Chen Zhou highlights how wealthy countries are trying to shift the goalposts to avoid meeting existing commitments to fund climate finance. Phoebe Weston reports on new research showing the grossly disproportionate share of emissions attributable to luxury carbon consumption. And Andrew Nikiforuk writes about the need to reduce our energy use in order to rein in the climate crisis.

- Finally, Susan Ferguson discusses how the systemic violence of capitalism has dictated a woefully insufficient response to COVID-19 (and to other crises). And Alex Steffen calls out the plutocrats who are using the spoils of existing wealth inequality to corner the market on the necessities for survival in a foreseeable climate apocalypse. 

Thursday, November 04, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Christine Gibson writes about the need to start seriously fighting against the dangers posed by a climate breakdown, rather than merely hoping the problem goes away on its own. And George Monbiot observes that any plan which fails to account for the need to keep fossil fuels in the ground is at best a distraction tactic. 

- Which is to say that an agreement only to prioritize domestic production over foreign projects falls far short of the mark - particularly as Canada's oil companies are planning to ensure that carbon pollution continues to get dumped into our atmosphere for decades regardless of the damage done to our planet.  And Silvia Pastorelli makes the case to ban fossil fuel advertising as a needed step to stop corporate disinformation from getting in the way of climate action. 

- Meanwhile, Annie Hylton discusses how Canadian resource companies continue to commit human rights abuses in Guatemala and elsewhere (with the full support of the federal government in the name of the "business environment"). Gregg Mitman highlights how the concealment of history in the form of corporate records prevents us from knowing and acting in response to some of the most powerful forces shaping our world. And David Sirota and Andrew Perez write that unchecked corporate power is central to the U.S.' slide away from anything resembling democracy. 

- Molly Murphy points out how defunding the police fits into the goal of protecting our climate. But Laura Sciarpelletti reports that the Moe government is instead echoing Jason Kenney's desire to pay more for a police force under provincial political control.

- Finally, Murray Mandryk writes about the vaccine hesitancy problem within the Saskatchewan Party as one of the causes of Moe's fourth COVID wave. 

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Sarath Peiris rightly calls out Scott Moe and his government for making it a goal to punish the poor within Saskatchewan. 

- Marco Ranaldi and Branko Milanovic study the connection between inequality of income sources and of income totals. And Ricardo Tranjan writes that we can't expect the pandemic (or any other event) to produce the end of neoliberalism, but instead need to fight for it against forces who remain determined to extract value from both the general population today, and the future of generations to come. 

- On that front, PressProgress exposes how private long-term care homes in Ontario profiteered off the pandemic by charging extra to move residents out of the risk of four-to-a-room overcrowding. Guy Quenneville reports on the prospect that it may take over a year and a major resource boost to make up the backlog in Saskatchewan's health care system - which is particularly problematic given the Sask Party's desire to hand health services over to the corporate sector.

- Michael King and Morgan Black report on the escalating death count from opioid poisoning in Alberta even as the UCP tries to ignore the options which would most obviously save lives. And in contrast, Michelle Ghoussoub reports on British Columbia's move toward decriminalization to ensure people don't fall victim to toxic drug supplies.   

- Environmental Defence examines how the oil industry's attempt at greenwashing with "net zero" spin falls far short of anything resembling a viable climate plan. And Megan Gibson and Phil Clarke Hill interview Jagmeet Singh about the work needed to push Justin Trudeau to fund a just transition to a clean economy, rather than decades of fossil fuel infrastructure.  

- Chen Zhou writes about the need for wealthier countries to pull our weight in funding global climate action. And Brian Kahn's survey of climate scientists show that the people best informed about our climate breakdown are begging our leaders to avert an imminent catastrophe.

- Finally, for those interested in a deeper look at climate change issues, a couple of new sites worth visiting have recently gone live: the David Suzuki Foundation's Climate Emergency Unit as a road map for action, and Amy Westervelt's Rigged as a source on corporate disinformation. 

Tuesday, November 02, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Costumed cats. 

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Mark Armstrong reports on the G20's agreement on a painfully-unambitious vaccination target for poor countries which is still unlikely to be reached. And Tahir Amin draws a connection between the dystopia of Squid Game and the reality of vaccine exclusion. 

- Jennifer Schuessler discusses David Graeber and David Wengrow's The Dawn of Everything as signaling the evolution of social structures far earlier and more broadly than we usually assume. And Wengrow takes that history as a basis for optimism about our current challenges - including the need to join forces to protect our living environment in the face of imminent climate breakdown.  

- David Wallace-Wells makes the compelling case for climate reparations - including the need for wealthier countries to both bear our share of the loan in mitigating the damage we're doing to our planet, and ensure that the people we've exploited along the way have opportunities to adapt and develop. And Laurie Macfarlane writes that we can't address the climate crisis without also addressing economic and social injustices. 

- Umair Haque discusses why the U.S. looks to be just beginning a full-on societal collapse. 

- Adam Lachacz reports on the frustration of Alberta municipalities with the UCP's blinkered devotion to promoting a costly and unnecessary provincial police force, rather than doing anything to actually improve people's lives. And Sheila Wong and Emma McIntosh explore just how corrupt and counterproductive the Ford PCs' push for another major bypass actually is. 

- Finally, John Clarke calls out the absurdity of Justin Trudeau's effort to equate left-wing activism toward equality and justice with right-wing bigotry. 

Monday, November 01, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Trevor Howlett warns not to treat a short-term drop in case numbers from an alarming peak as an excuse  to stop taking COVID-19 seriously. And Alexander Quon and Bonnie Allen offer a look at the painful and lonely plight of ICU patients sent to Ontario due to Scott Moe's choice to overload Saskatchewan's health care system. 

- Emma Jones reports on the increased number of liver conditions likely arising out of pandemic drinking. And Stephen David Cook reports on the deadliest year yet for drug poisonings in Alberta. 

- Brett Dolter discusses some of the lessons we should take from our COVID response in dealing with the generational challenge of climate change - though there's reason for concern that the main takeaway is that self-serving profiteers will find excuses to stake fraudulent claims to the entire world before the public can get its shoes on in response. Bob Ward reviews Katharine Hayhoe's Saving Us as a resource in trying to reach people who are hesitant to contribute to climate solutions. And Fiona Harvey reports on Antonio Guterres' message that we can't rely on optimism without action, even as the obvious plan of the leaders who need to step up is based on wishing rather than effort. 

- Roy Culpeper points out the need for Canada in particular to start contributing our fair share to global emission reductions. And Jay Wilson discusses how cleaner infrastructure is a vital part of the picture. 

- Finally, the University of Cambridge studies the amount of work necessary to achieve the positive mental health outcomes associated with it - and finds that a day per week is the point of diminishing returns for work for its own sake. And Sara Zaske reports on new research confirming that parents living in poverty who are offered a basic income will put the new resources toward their children. 

Sunday, October 31, 2021

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Fiona Harvey reports on the warning from climate scientists that a 1.5 degree target is non-negotiable. Adam Tooze explains why we shouldn't let fossil fuel flacks convince us to mistake a temporary price fluctuation for a reason to entrench our reliance on dirty energy. And PressProgress notes that the UCP's anti-environmental inquiry inadvertently exposed how much foreign money actually got poured into fossil fuel astroturf projects.

- Meanwhile, Scott Neigh discusses the oil sector workers looking for a transition to more sustainable jobs. 

- Mohamed Adow discusses the growing climate debt as wealthier countries (and people) continue to blow through our planetary carbon budget while expecting people with less resources to absorb the cost and risk. And Phillip Inman notes that colonial debts are keeping poorer countries from investing in any mitigation or adaptation (among other vital priorities).

- Kenny Thomas highlights a new tool to expose UK corporations which have committed regulatory offences. But in case we needed a reminder that we shouldn't presume malfeasance by the wealthy has actually been investigated and prosecuted, the Canadian Press reports on the continued failure of CRA audits of ultra-wealthy people arising out of the Panama Papers to produce a single prosecution.  

- Finally, Eric Levitz laments how the U.S.' Congress has chosen to learn nothing from the COVID-19 pandemic. And Umair Haque discusses how the UK has eliminated its own capacity to function as a state - while choosing in response to keep up appearances even as essential services disappear.