Saturday, December 04, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Crawford Kilian writes that even if the Omicron variant of COVID-19 doesn't prove as dangerous as it appears, it should serve as a reminder as to why we should be careful to protect everybody's health and safety. And Andrew Nikiforuk examines the evidence that Omicron is going to lead to the most dangerous wave yet, while Virginia Harrison reports on the exponential spread it's causing in South Africa.

- Nick Dearden discusses how big pharma's profiteering paved the way for variants to emerge. And Ketty Nivyabandi, Madhukar Pai and Christina Warner push for Canada to stop obstructing the availability of vaccines in the countries where they're needed most.

- Jim Stanford writes that the case for 10 paid sick days (rather than any lesser sop to corporate interests) is particularly compelling when that time frame matches the incubation period for COVID.

- Andrew Jackson argues that our response to inflation should be focused on making essential goods affordable, not on trying to funnel money to the owners of capital. And Paul Krugman highlights how the increases in prices people are facing result from supply chain limitations and corporate profiteering, not the printing of money.

- MiningWatch maps out the impacts on communities around the globe if new mining plans are allowed to run roughshod. And Pam Palmater discusses how the RCMP's role is still fundamentally one of clearing Indigenous lands for the benefit of corporate interests. 

- Meanwhile, James Whittingham challenges the Moe government's pathetic excuses for standing in the way of any transition toward electric vehicles in Saskatchewan.

- Finally, Amir Barnea encourages workers to organize in order to put their relatively high level of bargaining power to the best possible use.

Friday, December 03, 2021

Musical interlude

The Knocks feat. Powers - Classic

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Philip Bump discusses how partisan resistance to public health measures is making it harder for the U.S. to count on vaccinations to limit the spread of COVID-19. And Connor O'Donovan reports on how Saskatchewan's health care system is drowning under chronic short-staffing which has only been exacerbated by the Moe government's catering to anti-vaxxers, while Alexander Quon looks at the nine-figure budgetary cost of the additional health care needed during the fourth wave. 

- Meanwhile, Danny Dorling offers his take on what "normal" might look like in the wake of COVID-19, and how long it may take to get there.

- Jeffrey Jones rightly argues that the oil industry's windfall from a temporary increase in prices should be directed toward cleaning up its messes. But Amanda Stephenson reports on the continued refusal by the UCP to ensure that environmental damage is cleaned up either in a reasonable time frame, or using the proceeds of the current boom. 

- Barry Saxifrage discusses how Canada is actually going backwards in any effort to electrify transportation. Alex Ballingall reports that the Libs are once again stalling in the development of an overall plan to meet our climate commitments. And Emma Newburger reports on John Kerry's laughable claim that the work of averting climate breakdown can be left to the same private sector which has misled the public for decades in order to keep spewing pollution without consequences. 

- Al Jazeera reports on the devastating effects of air pollution in Delhi, requiring the shutdown of schools and all kinds of other activity. And Jim Robbins points out the unprecedented wildfires and high temperatures surfacing in the U.S.' prairies. 

- Finally, Jon Horler highlights how business lobbyists are disproportionately represented in Canadian media. And while the information we receive consists increasingly of corporate PR, Per Axbom discusses how algorithms serve to deprive people of needed services in the name of efficiency. 

Thursday, December 02, 2021

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Deborah Gleeson discusses how inequality in vaccine availability is making new variants an inevitability, while Joseph Stiglitz and Lori Wallach write that an intellectual property waiver is a must to ensure vaccines are available around the globe. And Rachel Cohen warns that the same issue looks to be developing when it comes to new COVID treatments. 

- Phil Tank reports on Nazeem Muhajarine's well-placed criticism of the Moe government's incomplete holiday advice. And CBC News reports on the Saskatchewan Party's truly destructive choice to require parents to be present for COVID vaccinations in schools, sending a message to anti-vaxxers that their cultivated distrust is a higher priority than public health. 

- Meanwhile, Anna Salleh writes that the pandemic has exposed the importance of ensuring improved indoor air quality at all times - while noting the reluctance of governments to actually make the effort to do so. 

- Marc Lee notes that even if the pollution caused by the burning of natural gas is offshored, fossil fuel production is the main obstacle to British Columbia meeting its emission reduction targets.

- Claudia Horn and Isadoro Cardoso write about the climate justice movement which is trying to push for progress even as corporate-influenced governments fail miserably. Mitchell Beer notes that a majority of oil industry workers would be happy to transition out of the sector. And Stephen Maher writes that any meaningful fight over the existence of carbon pricing in Canada should finally be over. 

- Meanwhile, Drew Anderson exposes the pitiful attempt of Alberta's tar sands operators to brand their environmental devastation and carbon pollution as "beautiful". And Mark Kaufman discusses the history of the industry's PR efforts to block any systemic progress against climate change - including the sham of substituting individual carbon footprints for discussion of industrial pollution. 

- Finally, Robert Kuttner makes the case that the excesses of corporate control have left us with a choice between capitalism which subjugates the population as a whole, and individual liberty protected by a social-democratic economy which limits corporate power. 

Wednesday, December 01, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Eric Topol writes that we have the public health tools at our disposal to overcome the Omicron COVID variant if our leaders are responsible enough to use them, though Susan Delacourt notes that repeated messages about the pandemic being over have created avoidable fatigue about the need for more. John Michael McGrath writes that our health care system can't bear another mismanaged COVID wave. And Tara Deschamps reports on a new survey showing a massive supermajority of Canadian workers facing burnout over the past two years. 

- Luke Savage highlights how the pharmaceutical companies peddling COVID vaccines developed through public research now stand to profit by denying inoculations to large swaths of the planet and extending the pandemic. And the Strategic Organizing Centre exposes how Amazon concealed tens of thousands of COVID cases among its workers from occupational health and safety authorities. 

- John Clarke writes that British Columbia's recent floods offer an indication both of the consequences of a climate breakdown, and our lack of preparation to meet them. Gerald Kutney observes that "natural" disasters are increasingly the result of human intervention and neglect. And Alex Cosh discusses how migrant workers have been put at particular risk. 

- Max Fawcett examines the actual causes of inflation in Canada - in contrast to the Cons' attempt to blame the existence of any social benefits whatsoever. And Justin Chandler asks why social assistance rates aren't keeping pace with any level of inflation, while Kristin Rushowy reports on the Ontario NDP's plan to at least ensure the province's minimum wage increases to something closer to the cost of living

- Finally, Armine Yalnizyan discusses the new fiscal federalism which is seeing at least some federal investments tied to policy improvements rather than being dumped into a black hole (as requested by far too many premiers).

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cats at rest.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Niels-Jakob Hansen and Rui Mano study the effect of mask mandates in saving tens of thousands of lives in the U.S. alone - while noting that far more could have been saved if they had been more widely applied. Anthony Vasquez-Peddie reports on a new study showing that thousands of Canadians died as a result of the systemic fallout from the pandemic beyond those who succumbed to COVID directly. And Bruce Arthur writes that we can't afford for our leaders to confuse hope for a strategy in responding to the Omicron variant, while Matthew Yglesias laments that the U.S. has chosen not to put substantial resources into improving its pandemic preparation.  

- Shannon Proudfoot writes that Canadian politicians will again have no choice but to reckon with the climate crisis in 2022. And Nadia Thunderwoman George reminds us of the persistent effects of environmental racism. 

- David Zipper notes that the theme of individual responsibility for car crashes serves to conceal the systemic factors which actually cause them. And andrea bennett makes the case for free transit as a safer and healthier alternative to car culture. 

- Cyrus Tharpe writes that the current shortage of truckers is the result of unacceptable pay and working conditions, not a lack of willing workers. PressProgress examines new documents showing the pressure Amazon puts on its workers to work like machines at the expense of their health. And Matt Bodie reviews Gali Racabi's forthcoming paper reminding us that the prioritization of "management rights" over any other interest in the workplace is entirely a legal construct rather than an unavoidable state of affairs.  

- Finally, Matt Bruenig highlights the value of universal benefits in ensuring that social goods can be provided without a disproportionate burden on anybody. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

On toxic preferences

From the standpoint of any reasonable observer, there's reason for outrage that Saskatchewan is one of the provinces pushing to undermine federal standards for water pollution from coal mines - especially when the argument being made is that regulations should allow for a certain amount of selenium to be released as a matter of expectation, rather than evaluating whether water is actually safe. 

But that doesn't mean anybody should be surprised. After all, the Moe government has made clear that its fanatical devotion to fossil fuel extraction at all costs extends even to allowing other provinces to dump their coal runoff into Saskatchewan's primary water sources - just as long as they follow the same standards the Sask Party is actively undermining.

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jill Lepore writes that the COVID pandemic has left no room for doubt that there is such a thing as society reflecting mutual obligations - and that its decay or subjugation to laissez-faire ideology produces disastrous results for everybody. And Randy Robinson discusses how inequality is resulting in the propagation of child poverty. 

- Fatima Hassan argues that vaccine nationalism only stands to draw out the suffering from COVID, while Peter Walker reports on the efforts nurses' unions are making to remove intellectual property obstacles to increased manufacturing and distribution. Larry Elliot discusses how the Omicron variant in particular shows the problem with leaving large swaths of the globe without access to vaccines. And while Katherine Wu and Kai Kupferschmidt each point out what we don't yet know about the variant, Ewan Birney writes that we shouldn't take that vacuum of knowledge for an excuse to hold off on the action need to limit transmission. 

- Meanwhile, Urbi Khan talks to eight nurses about the damage that's already been done to Ontario's health care system by the pandemic. And CBC News reports on the outbreak of tuberculosis which is devastating Pangnirtung years after a federal campaign was supposed to have put Canada on a path to eradicating it.  

- Lawrence Scanlan writes that people appear to be increasingly willing and eager to take back some power from the wealthiest few. Alan Murray and David Meyer point out the absurdity of granting preferential tax treatment to capital gains when capital is accumulating at unprecedented rates. And David Cay Johnston discusses how the rich further entrenched their power and privilege under the Trump Republicans. 

- But in case there was any thought there's nowhere to go but up in balancing the interests of the wealthy and the rest of us, Dan Fumano reports on the attempt by British Columbia businesses to claim extra votes for corporations in municipal elections. 

- Finally, Robin Sears discusses the lessons Canada could draw from Germany's successful cross-party cooperation if our two main parties weren't so obsessed with politics built around false majorities.