Saturday, December 11, 2021

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Bruce Arthur warns that the worst of the COVID pandemic may be just around the corner as the far more transmissible Omicron variant spreads throughout Canada, while Karen-Marie Elah Perry and Shila Avissa discuss the perpetual gaslighting effort aimed at persuading us the pandemic is over no matter how obvious its ongoing damage. Julie Johnson reports on one super-spreader wedding as an example of how the precautions which seemed sufficient are failing miserably against Omicron. And Ivan Semeniuk reports on the urgent effort among scientists to determine how it will affect vulnerable populations in particular.

- Meanwhile, Ian McGillis talks to Nora Loreto about the lethal policy failures we've seen throughout the pandemic. And John Paul Tasker reports on the findings of Auditor General Karen Hogan that the federal government completely failed to apply regulations to protect temporary foreign workers from COVID spread.

- Chris Hall reports on the push by activists to stop precipitating drug poisonings by treating addiction as a crime. And Moira Wyton reports on new research showing the wide-ranging health benefits of overdose prevention sites.

- Henry Grabar writes that the practice of systematically placing apartment buildings only on busy and polluted streets serves only to amplify inequality.

- Finally, Nikolaus Kurmayer reports on the important step taken by Austria's environment and transport minister in determining that a highway megaproject couldn't be justified in light of the need to take climate action. And Andrew Freedman reports that major businesses are beginning to move their operations away from areas which will soon be swamped by a climate breakdown.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Musical interlude

Dallerium feat. Olive - How Do I Sleep Now

Friday Afternoon Links

 Assorted content to end your week.

- Alejandro Jadad studies the social murder traceable to politicians' flawed responses to COVID-19 and other known causes of sickness and death, while Tara Moriarty points out the incomplete reporting of deaths across Canada. And Solarino Ho reports on the new federal modelling showing that Canada is on the precipice of another avoidable COVID wave. 

- Meanwhile, Kimi Chaddah writes that the burgeoning scandal of UK Cons partying in the midst of lockdown orders reflects the broader belief in ruling-class impunity. 

- Jennefer Laidley and Mohy Tabbara study the state of welfare in Canada, finding that even the temporary boost provided by COVID supports in 2020 left the incomes of people receiving social assistance below the poverty line in all ten provinces. Ayla Peacock asks how people are supposed to navigate a crisis of affordable housing while only bringing in poverty-level wages. And Stephen Wentzell reports on Campaign 2000's latest research indicating that we're not on pace to eliminate child poverty until the 2070s. 

- John Woodside reports on a new PBO review showing that Canada is forfeiting billions annually in tax giveaways to the fossil fuel sector, while Kenny Stancil highlights how the oil industry is rolling in profits (and handing out massive payouts to shareholders) while squeezing consumers. And Matt Simmons points out how Coastal GasLink is flagrantly breaking environmental laws is while calling in the RCMP to violently remove land defenders. 

- Finally, Patrick Galey notes that scientists are identifying nothing but reason for skepticism in long-term "net-zero" pledges which rely on offsets and nonexistent future technology rather than near-term emission reductions. And David Suzuki puts our environmental destruction in perspective while calling for us to use our brief time on Earth to improve our planet rather than degrading it. 

Thursday, December 09, 2021

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Bruce Arthur writes about the need for governments' responses to COVID to adapt to the increased risk posed by the Omicron variant. And Charles Blow writes that he's understandably lost patience with anti-vaxxers who are endangering us all in the service of ever-more-implausible claims and theories.

- Sarah Krichel interviews Nora Loreto about the failures of Canadian media in covering the pandemic. And Robert Reich discusses the similar pattern in the U.S. of corporate media serving mostly to comfort the already-powerful at the expense of people who need journalism on their side. 

- Mickey Djuric reports on Scott Moe's predictable choice to use the collapse he precipitated in the public health care system as an excuse to funnel money to corporate surgical centres.

- Marcus Baram offers a look inside the world of corporate union-busting, while Kim Moody discusses the power workers vital to logistical industries have if they choose to exercise it. And Ben Ger and Rebecca Kantwerg make the case for tenants to organize and bring collective bargaining to the world of housing.

- Finally, Stefanie Davis reports on Saskatchewan's looking place back at the bottom of list of Canadian provinces in providing anything close to a liveable minimum wage.

Wednesday, December 08, 2021

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Miquel Oliu-Barton et al. study the effects of different government approaches to COVID-19 - and find that elimination strategies have produced far superior outcomes to attempts to live with uncontrolled community spread. And Andre Picard begs us to stop repeating our mistakes in responding belatedly and insufficiently to the spread of increasingly dangerous mutations. But Bruce Arthur discusses how Ontario looks to be limiting any public health response, while Teri Carter writes about the arrival of Omicron in areas of Kentucky where the population is operating in denial of the pandemic. Katelyn Jetelina examines what we know about the Omicron variant so far. And Alexander Quon and Adam Hunter report on the confirmed arrival of Omicron in Saskatchewan, even as Scott Moe cozies up to anti-vaxxers.

- Meanwhile, a Nature editorial highlights the need for vaccine equity to limit global spread, rather than relying on selective and ineffective travel bans, while Glen Pearson warns against trying to hold to a risky lifestyle behind a wall of pandemic nationalism. And Umair Haque discusses how capitalist ideology has exacerbated the pandemic, while Walker Bragman calls out Joe Biden in particular for prioritizing pharmaceutical profits over the needed distribution of vaccines. 

- Jake Johnson writes about the continued concentration of wealth within a tiny proportion of the world's population, while Michael Read takes note of Australia's impending inheritance tsunami. And Jeff Ernsthausen, Paul Kiel and Jesse Eisinger highlight how some of the most prominent tycoons in the U.S. have avoided paying taxes on their fortunes by selectively booking business losses. 

- Adam Tooze writes that the U.S.' dependence on fossil fuels may drag its entire economy down in the decades to come - a warning which applies with equal force to Canada. John Michael McGrath discusses a new report from Ontario's Financial Accountability Officer on the immense costs of a climate breakdown (and the costs which couldn't yet be modeled), while Gordon Laxer suggests that we should limit the influence of foreign oil companies on our politics. And Nazanin Meshkat reports on a call from Ontario doctors to stop gratuitous highway construction due to its effect on people's health. 

- Finally, Barton Gellman discusses the wealth and privilege of the violent movement which launched a coup to try to keep Donald Trump in power this year regardless of the choices of voters - and will likely do far more toward that end in 2024. 

Tuesday, December 07, 2021

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Holiday cats.


Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Matt Gurney writes about what continues to be a woeful response to COVID in Ontario among other provinces, while Jason Herring reports on Alberta's collapsing emergency medical services. And Claire Pomeroy recognizes the tsunami of disability which will need to be addressed arising out of long COVID. 

- Umair Haque writes that our social system is collapsing due to the capitalist imperative to concentrate perpetually more wealth into fewer and fewer hands. And David Dayen highlights why so many workers have decided after facing the trauma of a pandemic that they're not willing to tolerate exploitative jobs. 

- Elaine Power, Paul Taylor and Valerie Tarasuk remind us that charities and food banks shouldn't be accepted as a response to poverty and hunger. 

- Scott Schmidt points out the obvious unsustainability of an economic system which relies on people taking on unmanageable debt to provide both jobs and profits. And Dan Darrah reports on the record profits being reaped and bonuses being paid out by Canada's big banks as they extract a growing share of our country's wealth. 

- Finally, Morgan Meaker writes that the U.S.' rejection of Meta's attempt to buy out Giphy may reflect a noteworthy first step in reversing the concentration of wealth and power through antitrust law.

Monday, December 06, 2021

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Supriya Dwivedi writes about the Groundhog Day-style loop we're trapped in due to a pandemic which is being allowed to continue and evolve. And while Daniel Wood and Geoff Brumfiel point out how the politicization of the pandemic is resulting in systematically higher death rates among Trump-supporting counties, Gaby Galvin reports on new polling showing that even in the U.S. a strong majority of the public favours doing far more to keep people healthy and safe - making the continued reluctance to do anything other than cater to the anti-social few all the more inexcusable. And Roni Caryn Rabin discusses how the pandemic has led to higher blood pressure among the public beyond anything traceable to the spread of the coronavirus.  

- Meanwhile, Karl Nerenberg calls out Canada's refusal to lift a finger to make vaccines more available around the globe. And Adeoluwa Atayero reports on Scott Moe's choice to put gratuitous barriers in the way of vaccinating children in schools. 

- Heather Rust exposes how the U.S.' corporate health care system is using worker burnout as an excuse to make conditions even worse for those trying to continue caring for patients, while Francis Racine reports on a warning from the Ontario Health Coalition that the Ford government is only increasing reliance on the private long-term care businesses who have caused so much avoidable suffering and death. And David Helps and Alexander Stephens point out that increased union organization and better conditions for workers are musts in order to rebuild a function economy and society. 

- Andrew Leach discusses how Alberta is past perceiving temporary oil price spikes as actual booms - suggesting that the fossil fuel industry's spin about being a source of wider prosperity has run its course everywhere but in the halls of power. Taylor Noakes rightly argues that we should be investing in a transition to a clean economy, rather than permitting and even subsidizing the continued destruction wrought by the existing oil and gas industry. And Kyle Bakx reports on the grim choice between maintaining the tailings ponds which have done so much damage to Alberta's land and wildlife, and allowing the companies responsible to release the water back into the broader environment.   

- Finally, Garret Ellison reports on the EPA's developing conclusion that there may be no safe level of several commonly-used bio-persistent chemicals. And Sasha Abramsky warns that the western U.S. may be on the verge of a drought that never ends. 

Sunday, December 05, 2021

Sunday Morning Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Bruce Arthur examines what the spread of the Omicron COVID variant figures to mean for Ontario. Rachel Emmanuel reports on the National Advisory Committee on Immunization's recommendation that all Canadian adults receive COVID booster shots. Alex Putterman examines how the need is exacerbated by the Omicron variant, while Josh Marshall points out that the gap in effect between vaccination and prior infection is only growing. And Anita Sreedhar and Anand Gopal write about the breakdown in social awareness which is resulting in large groups in the U.S. (and substantial ones in Canada as well) remaining unvaccinated with no regard for the danger to themselves and others.

- Meanwhile, Nicole Ireland reports on how patients and health care workers alike are feeling the effects of a health system bearing unmanageable burdens due to Scott Moe's fourth wave in Saskatchewan.

- Max Fawcett discusses why right-wingers fear allowing young people to vote on their own future - and why responsible political actors shouldn't let the reactionaries have their way. And Stella Levantesi and Giulio Corsi document how fossil fuel industry's latest set of scare tactics in their decades-old crusade to stifle climate action.

- Matt Gurney notes that we can't afford to let our future political choices be constrained by past expectations which don't fit into an evolving world at large - though it's worth noting that the expectation of a fossil fuel-based economy is likely the most important one currently limiting the perceived range of options in Canadian politics. 

- Finally, Kyla Tienhaara notes that two lawsuits arising out of Keystone XL signal how corporate trade agreements allow the ghosts of past trade negotiations to impose unacceptable costs on future democratic decision-making. And Jiwon Choi et al. trace how NAFTA produced first massive job losses in vulnerable U.S. counties, and then a shift in voting patterns away from the Democrats.