Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Nicola Davis reports on new research showing that the effects of long COVID include sustained damage to organs including the heart, lungs and kidneys. 

- Neal Wilcott and Sean Cleary discuss why businesses would be smart to plan for a net-zero emission world rather than delaying climate action and facing the risk of ecological system breakdowns as a result. But Oil Change International assesses the much-ballyhooed climate claims of the major oil companies, and finds that none of them are remotely close to operating within the imperative of meeting the world's Paris targets:



- Meanwhile, Fiona Harvey reports on the need for sharp methane cuts in order to avoid unacceptable near-term harm to our global environment. 

- Jen St. Denis writes about the potential for collective action by renters to shift a balance of power that now entirely favours commercial landlords. 

- Finally, Gaby Hinsliff notes that the resounding defeat of Australia's right-wing coalition offers hope that similar results are in store for the UK Cons and other right-wing, know-nothing populists. But Catharine Tunney reports on warnings from security experts that Canada needs a plan to decouple from the U.S. if it succumbs to the Republicans' anti-democratic bent.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Monday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to start your week.

- The Associated Press reports on Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus's warning that the COVID-19 pandemic is far from over. Mary Papenfuss discusses how people living in Trump-supporting counties (with lower vaccination rates driven by COVID denialism) have thus far been twice as likely to die of the coronavirus. And Ja'Han Jones writes about the latest research showing how widespread the ill effects of long COVID have been even among people fortunate enough to avoid severe initial symptoms.

- Meanwhile, Zak Vescera reports that the list of public health crises being allowed to run rampant by the Moe government includes Saskatchewan worst-ever level of HIV infection.

- Nisha Patel writes about the "shrinkflation" which is allowing corporations to pad profits while providing less of what people need. And Scott Horlsey discusses the corporate concentration that resulted in the U.S. having no baby formula available for families which desperately need it. 

- Jon Quealley writes about Oxfam's call for taxes on concentrated wealth and windfall profits to reduce poverty and inequality. And Will Bunch notes that even the oligarchs of the world are ultimately better off not competing for total domination.

- Dave Robbins interviews George Monbiot about his new book on how to sustainably feed the planet. And Mia Rabson points out the need for more resilient infrastructure and more effective disaster response to address the harm already wrought by climate change.

- Finally, Brian Topp offers a post-mortem on Jason Kenney's tenure in charge of Alberta. But Scott Schmidt warns that nobody should assume the UCP can't find someone even worse.

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your Sunday reading.

- Irelyne Lavery reports on the increasing number of Canadians needing medical attention for the flu as COVID-related protections have been scrapped. And Wallace Immen reports on some of the possibilities to try to improve a health care system which has been put under intolerable strain by the pandemic - though it's worth noting the distinction between the people working on improving the system, and those looking to enable the extraction of wealth from it.

- Meanwhile, Ian Tucker interviews Peter Kalmus about the dangers of trying to stay on auto-pilot in a system which is obviously breaking down absent major repair. And Fiona Harvey reports on the first steps being taken toward managing geoengineering as a risky substitute for reducing avoidable carbon pollution.

- Matt Krupnick reports on research showing that thousands of dangerous chemicals can be found in food packaging.

- Kriston Capps and Sarah Holder report on the workplace organizing happening among architects in an occupation where long hours and heavy debt are the norm.

- Finally, Jordan Bollag discusses the need for the left to build capacity as a movement willing to fight for social outcomes, rather than merely as an electoral machine hoping to harvest votes on election day. And Melanie Paradis points out how the anger-driven strategy which has become the norm on the right is ultimately untenable for any party or leader.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- William J. Barber and Tope Folarin write that the U.S.' grim milestone of one million COVID-19 deaths already serves as a searing indictment of its policy choices and disregard for people living in poverty - and this before a combination of Republican cruelty and Democratic fecklessness results in there being no resources at all to meet a new wave of the coronavirus. And Alicia Wittmeyer looks at some of the human toll through the last messages between victims and their loved ones.

- John Smith discusses how rising costs and declining standards of living are pushing people living in poverty into perpetual fear and desperation. And Listen Chen examines how supportive housing may do as much harm as good in attempting to address homelessness - particularly by creating excuses for commercial landlords to evict the people in need of a home. 

- Bill McKibben points out how major corporations are feeding into the climate breakdown through their financial holdings while pretending to be green in their direct operations. And Emily Chung highlights how Canada's oil sector is trying to claim credit for carbon emission reductions when all it's done is to disclaim responsibility for the dirty energy it exports - or as Paul Dechene puts it:

- Meanwhile, Kevin Philipupillai reports on the Libs' latest move to avoid answering for continuing to pour public money into the Trans Mountain pipeline (among other fossil fuel subsidies), this time by reclassifying Trans Mountain Corporation to evade a need for Parliamentary approval for financing.

- Finally, Adam Serwer discusses how the "great replacement" bigotry underlying the Buffalo mass shooting (among other massacres) has become mainstream Republican messaging.

Friday, May 20, 2022

Musical interlude

PVRIS - Old Wounds


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Ed Yong discusses how we may have created a "pandemicine" era by fundamentally changing how viruses are able to mutate and spread. The Globe and Mail's editorial board is rightly aghast that Canadian governments are doing nothing to respond to another approaching wave of COVID-19, while the NZ Herald reports on an International Science Council study warning that we could still be facing regular waves in 2027 if it doesn't start taking the continued pandemic seriously now. And Nicole Lyn Pesce discusses how long COVID has spoiled the career and retirement plans of millions of Americans already. 

- Armine Yalnizyan writes that while a car might have reason to keep Ford in power, any human being should be looking to replace him with somebody more interested in people's well-being. Jessica McDiarmid highlights how the Ford PCs' destruction of climate policies is costing Ontarians billions of dollars (in addition to causing large amounts of needless carbon pollution). DT Cochrane and Toby Sanger examine (PDF) how Ontario's private long-term care operators were able to rake in massive profits with Ford's support while leaving vulnerable residents to die without necessary care. And Mitchell Thompson reports on the PCs' funneling of public money toward anti-union forces, while the Ontario Federation of Labour reminds us that the NDP is working to empower workers instead. 

- Josh Eidelson reports on the U.S. National Labour Relations Board's move toward prosecuting Amazon for intimidating workers. Robert Reich writes about the foreign wealth exerting increasing influence over U.S. politics. Brett Wilkins discusses the activist push for a windfall tax on oil and gas profiteering in addition to the call for an investigation which has already passed in the House of Representatives. 

- Finally, George Monbiot warns that our food system is on the verge of the same type of collapse as the global financial system faced in 2008 - and that it can't be so easily fixed with temporary liquidity. And Tom Perkins reports on Abbott's gigantic payout to shareholders while it failed to ensure that it was capable of production needed baby formula. 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Pam Belluck reports on a new study showing that people who weren't initially hospitalized for COVID make up over three-quarters of the U.S.' long COVID cases, while Andrew Romano discusses the likelihood that people will face constant infection absent better vaccine protection than we have now. And Jennifer Rigby reports on the lamentable conclusion of a World Health Organization panel that we're no better equipped to respond to a pandemic than we were before the ongoing one struck.  

- Meanwhile, Emily Leedham exposes the Ford PCs' place among the right-wing governments who went out of their way to hand pandemic supply contracts to people linked into the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church. Mitchell Thompson calls out Doug Ford's responsibility for anti-LGBTQ candidates including Will Bouma. And Environmental Defence examines how the Ford government has destroyed climate policy in Ontario.

- Ricardo Tranjan examines what Ontario's parties have on offer for people who rent homes, while Bailey Martens reports on the story of a family which has spent eight years trying to find a wheelchair-accessible house suitable for their son. And David Shield reports on a projection that Saskatchewan needs to build 100,000 new housing units in only 8 years - when leaving building to the provide sector has resulted in fewer than that over the past 22 years including multiple boom periods. 

- Damian Carrington reports on new research showing that pollution, including toxic air and contaminated soil and water, is responsible for one in six deaths globally. And Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood reminds us that Canadian mining firms are using trade deals to bully governments into allowing them to keep poisoning people and destroying natural environments without consequence.

- Finally, Mark Bou Mansour and Jake Johnson each discuss a new edition of the Tax Justice Network's Financial Secrecy Index that shows the U.S. emerging as the worst offender in allowing wealth to be concealed. And Jemima Kelly points out the moral case against cryptocurrency which is only strengthened by its role in evading taxes and social responsibility. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Ross Barkan takes stock of the reality that the U.S. has allowed a million people to die of a disease whose transmission could largely have been prevented, while Alexander Quon reports on the latest data showing that official death totals in Saskatchewan significantly undercount the lives lost to COVID-19. Holly Else notes that a more thorough accounting of the COVID damage would include recognition of the time and function lost due to disability as well, while Danielle Wenner and Gabriella Arguidas Ramirez point out that a lack of messaging about the reality of long COVID is likely distorting both public policy and individual actions. And Malia Jones writes that while the decision by governments to deny us current and accurate information makes it impossible to fully assess our risks, we're still best off doing all we can to avoid catching and spreading COVID. 

- Max Fawcett writes that the meltdown in cryptocurrency just as Pierre Poilievre put it at the centre of his Con leadership campaign highlights the need for exactly the public-interest regulators who will be the first to go under fanatic libertarians. And Jessica McKenzie discusses how the harm done by bitcoin includes an assertion of entitlement to burn gas and spew carbon pollution without regulation or regard for the planet. 

- Chris Turner offers a valiant defence of climate optimism even as the likelihood of success in averting climate breakdown appears grim. And Damian Carrington reports on new research showing that in order to avoid catastrophe we need to not only stop the 195 carbon bombs in the planning stages, but also shut down existing fossil fuel production sites. 

- David Wallace-Wells writes that temperatures which are now being reported as unprecedently extreme will likely be the norm (or even the lower end of expectations) in the decades to come. Olivia Rosane highlights the UN's research showing that 75% of the world could face drought by 2050 due to climate change and land degradation. And Karin Brulliard reports on New Mexico's largest-ever fire which is still burning after a month. 

- Christopher Mathias reports on the concerted effort by violent extremists to hijack Idaho's entire political system through both intimidation and abuse of electoral systems.  

- Finally, Jared Abbott interviews Jonathan Smucker and Alison Troy about the opportunities available for left-wing populism to offer a positive alternative to the hatred and nihilism of the right. 

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Slumbering cats.








Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Xue Cao et al. find that infection with COVID-19 produces accelerated physical aging among its other alarming effects, while Jan Hennigs et al. discuss the development of respiratory muscle dysfunction as a product of long COVID. Which means - as noted by Moira Wyton - that the decision to get an additional booster vaccine is an easy one for the people in a position to receive it.  

- Eve Darian-Smith highlights how the same anti-social industries (including resource extraction and finance sectors) are lobbying both to perpetuate carbon pollution and install authoritarian governments to ensure that efforts to build a healthy population and planet don't serve as barriers to short-term profits. Vanessa Nakate warns against outside efforts to impose gas dependence on Africa when its development can be powered with cleaner technology. 

- Diana Kruzman writes about the developing phenomenon of "flash droughts" which are threatening the availability of food and water in the U.S.' midwest. And Christy Climenhaga discusses how glaciers have melted past the point of no return in the western Canadian Rockies, making our water supplies far more precarious. 

- Cory Doctorow points out the problems with accepting "vote with your wallet" as a means of expressing values in the context of choices severely constrained by corporate decision-making. And Judd Legum writes about the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to constitutionalize the right to corruption on the part of the people whose extreme wealth can swamp democratic politics. 

- Jake Johnson discusses the record executive pay being handed out even as workers are told (at both the firm and social levels) that they need to accept cuts in real income to avoid inflation. Richard Burgon writes that the UK should be capping prices and profits rather than wages. And Heather Scoffield approves of the NDP's plan to ensure that inflation doesn't create more poverty and inequality by having the wealthy pay more to double the low-income GST credit. 

- Finally, Umair Haque pleads for Americans to pay attention to the violent takeover of their society by white supremacists. 

Monday, May 16, 2022

On historical echoes

Ontario's ongoing provincial election is presenting some interesting echoes from previous campaigns - particularly the 2015 federal election which similarly involved a seemingly vulnerable Conservative majority, an NDP official opposition and a Lib attempt to jump back into default-government status. 

At the outset, I'll reiterate my longtime view that contrary to conventional wisdom, the 2015 NDP strategy - which involved focusing largely on making the case to defeat the Harper Cons, and positioning Thomas Mulcair as a broadly acceptable option in the event voters reached the judgment Justin Trudeau wasn't ready for the job of prime minister - was neither entirely unreasonable nor unsuccessful. 

The first necessary step to achieve anything was to make the case for a change in government, and Mulcair's work prosecuting Harper and his record played a huge role in achieving that. And while Trudeau's performance was beyond the NDP's control, there was a plausible path to government if he'd failed to live up to expectations. (Of course, it ultimately helped Trudeau that dismissive messaging about him lowered the bar considerably.) 

To the extent that calculation failed to achieve all of the desired outcome, it's one that Andrea Horwath's Ontario NDP seems determined not to repeat: it's rightly keeping a focus on the continuity between PC and Lib policies as representing a series of failures that need fixing. But there are also a couple of other distinguishing factors which offer the prospect of a better outcome in Ontario. 

The first is the one which was entirely outside of the federal NDP's control: following Jack Layton's death, the leader whose popularity helped boost the party into Official Opposition status was no longer around to help it take the next step into government.

It's bizarre in that context to see commentary (mostly from Lib spinners, but somewhat from others as well) suggesting that Ontario's NDP should have jettisoned its leader voluntarily after achieving its best result in a generation. But for now, the party enjoys the advantage of Andrea Horwath's relatively strong approval ratings and consistent ability to boost the NDP's standing, while the Libs have a comparatively unknown leader who remains ripe for a campaign collapse.  

Of course, that leaves the major avoidable failing of Mulcair's federal campaign, being the lack of a strong pushback against the Libs' messages about the relative progressive positioning of the two parties. That allowed Trudeau to win over far too many voters with a claim to progressivity which was entirely unwarranted based on the parties' actual platforms. 

But while the Ontario Libs are trying to similarly claim to be challenging the NDP from the left, Horwath's team has done plenty to ensure that type of attack is neither plausible nor successful.

Indeed, if there's anything that's gone glaringly unmentioned in most coverage of the Ontario election, it's the deep policy work already done (and yes, promoted) by the NDP in areas where the Libs have spent the campaign hastily cribbing a platform for themselves. 

Want to see Canada's most populous province actually be a leader in implementing a Green New Democratic Deal? The NDP has worked out how to get there (PDF). 

Think a party's commitment to increasing housing supply should be backed by a meaningful analysis of how to get there, as well as specific plans to ensure homes are available for vulnerable groups? The NDP has it covered (PDF). 

A detailed plan to bring long-term care under public control and protect residents from the neglect set up by decades of Lib and PC privatization? That's been developed (PDF) as well.

Want to see a promise to provide universal mental health care which is actually supported by a road map to get there? That's been done too (PDF). 

In each case, the NDP's detailed plans - supported by significant research and analysis - have been copied in part by the Libs in two- to four-page platform entries. But there's little room for dispute both as to which party has the more progressive policies, and which has put meaningful thought and analysis into how to implement them. 

Unfortunately, those plans won't amount to much if the broader electorate isn't convinced to vote the PCs out and the NDP in. But that's where it's essential to let people know that there is a viable alternative - and that it's ready to fix the most important issues facing Ontario if given the chance.  

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Mark Kline warns against accepting continuing denialism about the impact of COVID-19 on children. Andre Picard discusses Canada's grim milestone of 40,000 (reported) COVID deaths. And Dennis Thompson notes the reality that long COVID may be a chronic condition requiring constant treatment, while Sky News reports on the warning from Asthma and Lung UK that people are being abandoned to try to hunt down oxygen and other necessities through private channels rather than receiving the care they need through the NHS. 

- David Milstead reports that long-term care executives managed to rake in extra-large bonuses even as their residents were dying at unconscionable rates in the first year of the pandemic. And Mitchell Thompson exposes how PC assistant labour minister Deepak Anand sought to profit from privatized long-term care while his government was neglecting residents and grinding workers. 

- Jiaying Zhao and Lorne Whitehead rightly ask why a basic income to fully eliminate poverty remains in the realm of pilot projects and preliminary consultations rather than full implementation. 

- David Knowles reports on new research showing that we've reached a new record for carbon concentration in our atmosphere. And Serhii Plokhy writes that we only need to look at the historical dangers of nuclear power to see why it's not a viable answer to the need for a clean energy transition. 

- Finally, Juliette Kayyem discusses the dishonesty of treating the Buffalo mass shooter as a "lone wolf" when his plans and motivations are readily traceable to a large and organized group of white supremacist terrorists. And Talia Lavin recognizes that the underlying values are in fact shared and amplified by the entire Republican party. 

Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Judy Melinek offers a coroner's perspective on the large number of ways in which COVID infection can result in death or severe illness, while Lixue Huang et al. find that long COVID remains an issue even for many of the people who were first infected two years ago. And Zak Vescera talks to some of the immunocompromised people who can only see the admonition to "live with the virus" as a declaration that their lives aren't valued. 

- Don Braid discusses how Alberta patients are dying due to the UCP's choice to impose ever-larger burdens while refusing to pair them with adequate resources. And Stephen Parnis expresses the frustration of an emergency-room worker who's burning out due to the decision to treat his existence as an excuse to let preventable diseases and risks run rampant. 

- James Devitt-Nyu discusses new research showing that neoliberal policies tend to produce anti-social and inegalitarian attitudes. And Spencer van Vloten offers a reminder of the large number of Canadian families struggling with poverty and deprivation of the necessities of life. 

- Fiona Harvey, Matthew Taylor and Damian Carrington report on IEA Executive Director Faith Birol's warning that massive new fossil fuel projects are certain to doom us to climate catastrophe if they're allowed to proceed. 

- Finally, Josh Eidelson writes about the growing successes of labour organizers putting unions in place for Starbucks workers and others whose employers had previously managed to use their power to avoid collective bargaining. 

Saturday, May 14, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- David Dayen discusses how manufacturing monopolies have produced the U.S.' shortage of baby formula. And Alyssa Rosenberg recognizes that any reasonably-governed country would be moving heaven and earth to ensure infants don't suffer due to corporate greed. 

- Meanwhile, Nina Lakhani exposes how meat packing giants and the Trump administration sacrificed workers' lives rather than allowing any health and safety protections to be applied even in the face of a deadly virus. And Nora Loreto asks why we still don't have anything remotely approaching an accounting of the lives lost to workplace-spread COVID in Canada. 

- thwap points out how anti-inflation rhetoric is being used as yet another excuse for class war against workers. 

- Alexander Furnas et al. study how lobbying leads to changes in policy - finding donations to be less of a direct influence than ideological sorting. 

- On the bright side (and in a prime example of policy we should be looking to emulate) Sam Jones reports on Spain's plans to provide menstrual leave among other additional measures to ensure improved gender equity.

- Finally, Stephen Maher discusses the increasing threats and harassment facing people seeking to run for office - though it's well worth noting the asymmetry based on ideological orientation as fascist groups primed to treat others as subhuman apply that theory to the political sphere. 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Musical interlude

Arcade Fire - Unconditional I (Lookout Kid)


Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Phil Tank offers a reminder that Saskatchewan's citizens shouldn't follow the lead of its government in wrongly pretending the COVID-19 pandemic is over. Sumathi Reddy writes about the growing recognition that reinfection - with a risk of both severe and long-term symptoms every time - is going to be the reality for people who fail to take precautions. And Keren Landman discusses a few of the questions about long COVID which have yet to be answered. 

- Peter Hannam talks to some of the economists pushing back against the attempt to suppress wages as a response to inflation in Australia. And Ethan Wolff-Mann warns that the U.S. Federal Reserve is effectively pressuring employers not to hire workers, sacrificing labour in the name of an issue which (as Michael Roberts notes) is almost entirely the result of corporate greed and profiteering

- Aditi Mukherji writes that putting water at the heart of climate policy will help point the way toward thoroughly and equitably addressing the climate crisis. And Zoya Teirstein points out that after decades of cynical delay tactics by the oil industry and its bought-and-paid-for political puppets when there was time for a gradual transition, there aren't many climate options left which don't involve some trade-offs. 

- That said, David Suzuki notes that there's plenty of room for adapting personal practices to be good for both ourselves and our planet. 

- Mitchell Thompson and Luke LeBrun report on Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce's participation in a "slave auction" as a leader of his frat house. And Stephanie Fung, Anna Liu, karine ng and Chris Ramsaroop discuss how the pandemic has exposed the racism which remains to be identified and uprooted in all kinds of communities. 

- Finally, Aditya Chakrabortty calls out just one of the systematic campaigns of targeted abuse generated by the UK's right-wing hatred machine. 

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Danny Halpin reports on new research showing that people who have suffered from long COVID are at far greater risk of blood clots, while Mary van Beusekom discusses how COVID-19 and other severe respiratory infections can lead to psychiatric disorders. And Johanna Reidy, Don Matheson and Rhema Vaithianathan write that we should be treating our public health system as essential infrastructure for its ability to avoid the time lost to illness and death when diseases are needlessly allowed to spread. 

- The Guardian reports on the numerous "carbon bombs" which are being planned by fossil fuel companies - and the reality that no climate plan can survive the damage major oil and gas companies plan to inflict on our planet if given the chance to do so. James Dyke and Julia Steinberger write that every increment of global warming we can prevent is worth the effort in the name of survivability even if we're falling short of the promises made to future generations. Natasha Bulowski and John Woodside report on the Libs' continued subsidies for carbon pollution - most recently through a loan guarantee putting the public on the hook for the Trans-Mountain pipeline. Darren Shore argues that it's long past time to stop handing out tax breaks to the oil industry. And Abacus Data finds plenty of interest among Ontario's population in switching to electric vehicles if their provincial government was willing to provide incentives or infrastructure.

- Pat Van Horne writes that there's no excuse for the Libs' failure to move ahead on pharmacare given the strong support from both the general public and the people working in the health care sector. But Kelly Crowe reports that the Libs have fully reversed their promises in throwing the force of the federal government behind pharma-sector profits at the expense of access to needed medications.  

- Finally, Emily Leedham points out the secretive religious sect which funneled tens of thousands of dollars into a third-party advertiser aligned with the oil sector, the Saskatchewan Party and UCP to run anti-Trudeau ads in the 2019 federal election campaign. Mack Lamoureux reports that while visible public disruptions may have ebbed and flowed, the anti-vax convoy has become a well-funded way of life for some of its participants. And Robert Reich warns that the U.S. is on the verge of what looks at best to be a profound divide, with the obvious risk of escalation into a second civil war. 

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction highlights the fundamentally flawed evaluation of risk which is resulting in our suffering from far more disasters than necessary. But while recognizing the problems with misplaced optimism and obliviousness to danger, Talia Lavin discusses the need to nonetheless hold out hope (and act toward its fulfilment). 

- Sam Pizzigati discusses the still-underestimated concentration of wealth as calling for the richest few to contribute far more to the common good (rather than using unimaginable riches to consolidate their own power). 

- Hannah Levintovia offers a thorough look at how private equity is taking over more and more of the U.S.' economy (and leaving less and less viable businesses in its wake while looting immediate wealth). And Matthew Cunningham-Cook warns that Wall Street is taking over more and more of the U.S.' health care system, with the goal of turning the increased denial of care into additional profits. 

- David Macdonald and Martha Friendly examine whether the child care infrastructure set up in the last couple of years actually figures to achieve the promised reductions in fees. 

- Dawn Paley writes that safe supply is the obvious answer to the epidemic of drug poisonings, even as the issue is mostly left unaddressed while countless Canadians die. 

- Finally, Monica Kidd notes the movement toward extended producer responsibility for plastic waste which is being introduced in Alberta among other provinces. 

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Dozing cats.





Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Smriti Mallapaty reports on new research indicating that a two-thirds of U.S. children short of vaccination eligibility have been infected with COVID-19. Hannah Farrow reports on the U.S.' preparations for another wave this fall and winter (even as Congress refuses to fund vaccines or treatments), while Ian Welsh discusses the effect of China's zero COVID policy compared to the defeatism of so many other governments.  

- Ricardo Tranjan laments the lack of willingness among Ontario's political parties to eliminate poverty. And Brennan Doherty reports on the grassroots push for a liveable income for people with disabilities. 

- Matt McGrath reports on new research showing we have at best a 50/50 chance of even limiting climate change to 1.5 degrees over the next 5 years. The Chicago Sun-Times' editorial board endorses the passage of the Biden administration's climate change investment plans. And Natasha Bulowski offers a look at the type of lobbying efforts which have undermined the type of action needed to avert a climate breakdown, while Rachel Thrasher, Blake Alexander Simmons and Kyla Tienhaara point out that the oil industry is using the threat of exorbitant claims under free trade agreements to strongarm less-compliant governments. 

- Mark Vosler offers an overview of the health effects of relying on gas for energy. And Roberta Staley examines how livestock are both affected by and contributing to the climate crisis. 

- Mike de Souza and Matt Simmons report on the RCMP's false cover stories for their violent attack on Wet’suwet’en pipeline protestors and the journalists trying to provide an accurate account of the circumstances. 

- Finally, Vanessa Balintec reports on the alarming number of Canadian workplaces which offer no safety training whatsoever to employees. And Alex Hemingway discusses how British Columbia's reintroduction of one-step certification for unions will help to ensure workers are better able to stand up for their interests.

[Edit: fixed typo.]

Monday, May 09, 2022

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Sheryl Gay Stoberg discusses how concerns about pharmaceutical profiteering and a lack of access in the developing world are developing for COVID-19 treatments just as they did for vaccines. And Cory Doctorow warns that the single positive-sounding story about stolen Ukrainian farm implements being disabled remotely shouldn't serve to excuse the glaring risks of allowing technology to be so easily disabled from afar.  

- Jeremy Klaszus discusses the inexplicable privatization of sanitation work in Calgary in the absence of even a plausible argument about either cost or service effectiveness. And Nancy Olivieri writes about the dangers of privatizing health care even as Doug Ford and other right-wing premiers push to make that the response to the impossible demands they've put on the public system through their gross negligence in the midst of a pandemic. 

- Mike Crawley notes that the cost of living is becoming the main issue in Ontario's election campaign. And Matt Gurney discusses how the Libs have chosen not to offer any meaningful policy on that or any other issue (though they do seem to be hastily copying the NDP's work in a few areas now). 

- Better Dwelling highlights how the Canadian real estate has become infused with money laundering and fraud. And Mike Hager points out that British Columbia's beneficial ownership registry is providing information useful for far more than real estate enforcement alone. 

- Finally, Jeff Shantz writes about the role of police in suppressing and even killing people living in poverty. 

Sunday, May 08, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Yan Wang et al. examine the feasibility of a zero COVID policy, and find that the even the development of the Omicron variants hasn't ruled out containment through appropriate interventions. Kirsten Wiens et al. study the spread of COVID-19 in U.S. schools, finding that while public health protections were effective, their elimination resulted in substantial avoidable spread. And Jen Christensen writes about the children suffering from long COVID - and the many different ways it can manifest itself. 

- Meanwhile, Bruce Arthur warns that Pierre Poilievre is determined to turn the Cons into the Convoy Party of Canada - with hostility to both science and public health ranking among its most dangerous traits. 

- The Energy Mix highlights new research concluding that Canada stands to lose trillions of dollars as the cost of climate breakdown, making for a far higher price than taking action to reduce carbon pollution. And Kat Kerlin reports on new research about California's 2020 wildfires - with the primary new issue being one of severity rather than area. 

- Jen St. Denis discusses the distributional problems with pushing existing tenants out of the way to build transit infrastructure (and new, more expensive housing). 

- Lana Payne points out that cost-of-living clauses negotiated by unions are one of the most effective ways to make sure workers don't bear the brunt of inflation. 

- Finally, Alejandra Bravo discusses the importance of building power as part of the effort to bring about change. 

Saturday, May 07, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Naomi Grimley, Jack Cornish and Nassos Sylianou report on the World Health Organization's recognition that COVID-19 deaths far exceed official totals, while Sheryl Gay Stoberg reports on the Biden administration's warning that there are more deadly waves to come. Ian Froese reports that Winnipeg is already filling up hallways and staff lounges due to a lack of space for patients in the midst of the current wave, while Karen Bartko reports on the deterioration of emergency care at Edmonton's children's hospital due to the UCP's choice to place the burden of uncontrolled spread on the health care system. And Laura Osman reports that the Public Health Agency of Canada is just beginning to figure out how to track long COVID even as so many governments have decided to make it the expected future for large segments of their population. 

- Linda McQuaig writes that nobody with the intelligence and social awareness of a 5-year-old should be supporting a Ford government which has chosen avoidable death for so many people. And Fred Hahn and Angella MacEwen discuss how Ford is trying to buy voters off with shiny trinkets to get them to ignore the PCs' gross mismanagement. 

- Neel Dhanesha reports on the widespread pollution by plastic beads which is going unregulated even as it causes growing damage to wildlife and people alike. And Katharine Gammon reports on the U.S.' pitiful record in recycling even the plastic waste which it has chosen to document and regulate. 

- Natasha Bulowski reports on ShiftAction's research into the entanglement between fossil fuel companies and pension plans which has offered the industry roasting our planet with massive pools of capital. And Saphora Smith discusses how the UK Cons' political case against a windfall profit tax is indefensible even on the account of the oil companies who are actually taking the profits. 

- Finally, Marc Fawcett-Atkinson discusses the combination of commodity speculators and corporate profiteers who are inflating food costs for the general public. 

Friday, May 06, 2022

Musical interlude

Shallou - Here


#SKNDPLDR: Membership Deadline

I'll be posting more about the Saskatchewan NDP's leadership race in the days to come, including putting together candidate profiles and updating my campaign reference page.

For those interested in having a say, though, today is the last day to buy or renew a membership in order to have a say. So for those looking to influence the future course of the NDP and the province, now is the time to get involved. 

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Vaibhav Upadhyay and Krishna Mallela discuss the development of new COVID-19 vaccines, and the hope that they'll offer more protection as variants continue to evolve. Ofra Amir et al. examine the effect of booster vaccinations - finding that a third COVID vaccine remains effective at preventing severe disease, but that a fourth offers substantial additional protection. Siouxsie Wiles summarizes what we know about the rapidly-spreading BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants which appear to combine Omicron's infectiousness with Delta's propensity for infecting deep lung tissue. And Andreas Zollner et al. study the possible connection between viral antigens in the gut and long COVID. 

- Seth Klein calls out the Libs for a climate policy which relies on their traditional philosophy of doing nothing by halves which can be done by quarters, rather than serving as a meaningful response to the urgent need to avert climate breakdown. And as an example of how progress actually is possible through focused public action, Nick Romeo discusses how Oslo has managed to outpace nearly all other jurisdictions in its climate change policy through thorough carbon budgeting. 

- Avit Bhowmik and Neil Grant point out that trying to bolt carbon capture and storage onto business as usual is at best a delay tactic, while Chloe Farand writes about the fossil fuel sector's demand to put the public on the hook even for that fatally flawed concept. Frances Schwartzkopff and Natasha White report on the dishonesty of financial asset managers who have tried to claim to run green funds while refusing to count fossil fuel assets which are held passively. And Craig Welch writes in depth about the problems with relying on forests as carbon offsets when they're vulnerable to the very droughts and diseases exacerbated by climate change. 

- Finally, Max Sawicky weighs in on the recognition that the majority of inflation in the U.S. can be traced directly back to corporate profiteering. And Lindsay Owens offers an account of businesses' earnings calls in which they openly discussed plans to exploit consumers while falsely claiming they're responding to outside factors. 

Thursday, May 05, 2022

Thursday Morning Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Eric Topol describes how COVID-19's infectiousness has been steadily increasing with time even as so many governments have gone out of their way to declare it to be over, while Reuters reports on new research showing that the Omicron variant is no less severe than its predecessors. Anna Edney writes about the children fighting the long-term effects of long COVID after being falsely reassured that they wouldn't be affected. And Eric Luellen discusses the prospect of a pan-coronavirus vaccine - which, like any other future possibility for prevention and treatment, seems rather hollow in light of current policy to encourage mass infection.  

- Alex Himelfarb writes that austerity is no cure for inflation - and that the proper answer to rising prices is to make sure people can weather them, not to abandon them to the whims of the market. And Heather Scoffield calls out the deliberate policy choice to let the corporate sector gorge itself on windfall profits while seeking to suppress wages the moment they had any prospect of catching up to price increases. 

- Alan Broadbent and Elizabeth McIsaac highlight how reliance on private-sector developers is a fatally flawed strategy to deal with the housing crisis. And Shaina Luck reports that one result of the NDP-Lib confidence and supply agreement is to ensure that funding intended for affordable housing actually provides it. 

- Leanna First-Arai discusses how the fossil fuel sector is trying to hold the U.S.' education system hostage. Geoff Dembicki points out that Canada's big banks are a major obstacle to an energy transition due to the money they've already sunk into dirty tar sands projects. And the Canadian Climate Institute studies how a rapid transition to renewable energy is both the most affordable and most environmentally responsible path forward in our power sector.  

- Matthew Cunningham-Cook writes about the systematic funneling of workers' pension funds into the hands of a few well-connected financial firms, turning the retirements of a large portion of the working class into a cash cow for a lucky few. 

- Finally, Alex Hemingway discusses the much-needed restoration of card check union certification in British Columbia in order to reduce the effect of employer interference and intimidation. 

Wednesday, May 04, 2022

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Alexander Martin reports on new research showing the cognitive effects of a severe COVID case can be similar to the effect of twenty years of aging. Moira Wyton discusses how the premature elimination of public health protection systematically excludes high-risk and immunocompromised people from any "new normal". Erin Prater reports on the rapid spread of new Omicron variants across the U.S. And Marla Broadfoot reports on the potential for nasal spray vaccines to provide more effective immunity against new variants - which would represent far more of a reason for hope if people weren't being deliberately subjected to mass infection before they're available. 

- Zak Vescera reports on a survey showing massive levels of burnout and dissatisfaction among the physicians dealing with the fallout from the Moe government's neglect. And Alexander Quon reports that even the small number of tickets issued for violations of Saskatchewan's public health rules have been nearly as likely to lead to a withdrawal as to a conviction. 

- Oliver Milman weighs in on the likelihood that the consequences of a climate breakdown will include an increased risk of future pandemics. And Helena Horton and Adam Bychawski report on the less-than-surprising revelation that the fossil fuel industry continues to fund dishonest climate change deniers in order to keep its stream of profits flowing. 

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood offers his take on what's needed to ensure a just transition to a clean-energy economy in Canada. 

- Finally, Marjorie Griffin Cohen rightly criticizes the Libs' continued insistence on doing the bare minimum to strengthen Canada's desperately-strained social safety nets. And David Moscrop calls for the Libs to stop insisting that any development include a tithe to the corporate class through its financialized infrastructure bank. 

Tuesday, May 03, 2022

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Cuddly cats.





Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Elisabeth McClymont et al. study the risks COVID-19 creates for maternal and perinatal outcomes, while Jessica Widdifield et al. find that vaccines are particularly effective at reducing the severity of COVID for people with immune disorders. Jacquie Miller reports on the calls from Ontario public health experts to reinstate masking requirements, while Zak Vescera reports on Haisam Haddad's warning that Saskatoon is far short of having the hospital capacity it needs. And Kristen McEwen highlights new research documenting the effect of the pandemic on mental health among young people. 

- Christopher Holcroft calls out Pierre Poilievre's complete lack of concern for people's suffering in the midst of a pandemic, while Dennis Raphael writes that the destructive response of the Ford PCs (among other governments) shows that social murder remains a gruesome reality. And Umair Haque writes that the record-breaking temperatures devastating India represent an introduction to an age of cataclysm which so many leaders are eager to deny or minimize. 

- Bob Lord and Frank Clemente write about the rise of "dynasty trusts" which are placing more billionaires' assets than ever out of the reach of any U.S. taxation. 

- Meanwhile, David Sirota and Andrew Perez discuss the con of means-testing which makes social benefits more expensive to administer and more vulnerable to political attacks. 

- Max Fawcett argues that Canada needs to call the oil industry's bluff as it demands ever more exorbitant subsidies to faclitate its continued generation of windfall profits and carbon pollution. And Cristen Hemingway Jaynes reports on the case scientists are making to cut down on plastic production rather than relying on ineffective recycling programs as the sole means of reducing plastic waste.

- Finally, Karl Nerenberg writes that the Ontario NDP (unlike its competitors) is offering a needed start in addressing the housing crisis, but that there's plenty more left to be done. 

Monday, May 02, 2022

Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Jeremy Corbyn writes that the cause of workers remains the greatest force for hope that we have. And Hannah Appel discusses the prospect of uniting the aligned interests of workers seeking to reduce the abusive use of concentrated corporate power in the workplace, and debtors with a similar goal in the marketplace.  

- Meanwhile, Michael Scherer and Sarah Ellison discuss the dangers of putting the most important conduits for information in the hands of the world's wealthiest men. 

- Jason MacLean writes about a May 3 day of action to push Canada to at least stop subsidizing continued carbon pollution, while Natasha Bulowski reports on the Libs' continued failure to deliver on the promise of a just transition plan. And Ben Elgin calls out the sketchy explanations for treating the continued presence of existing forests as a carbon credit which is then used as an excuse to allow for greenhouse gas dumping.  

- Finally, Jacqueline Howard tells the stories of people who are now facing severe and extended cases of long COVID even after seemingly mild (or even asymptomatic) initial infections. 

Sunday, May 01, 2022

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- Beatrice Adler-Bolton discusses how the U.S.' debate over the most basic of COVID-19 protections reflects fundamental choices as to whether people should have even the slightest respect for each others' health and well-being. Glen Pearson notes that a (however unjustifiable) willingness to accept protections in order to avoid needless COVID spread will necessitate other, far larger changes in how we live our lives. And Public Health Ontario offers (PDF) a look at the current state of knowledge about long COVID - including the reality that it's going to cause mass disability among people who have been infected even with "mild" cases.

- Igor Derysh calls out corporate profiteers for falsely blaming price increases on labour costs - even as it's profit shares and executive pay that have gone up disproportionately. And Ben Winck writes that U.S. workers actually faced substantial real wage cuts in the last year.

- Meanwhile, Darren Shore points out how Canada is lagging even behind the U.S. in ensuring that entertainment for the executive class isn't treated as a tax writeoff. 

- Nick Gottlieb discusses how the new climate denialism is wrapping itself in false assertions that we're already doing enough to avert a climate breakdown. Kate Aronoff writes that any subsidies to try to boost the immediate supply of fossil fuels should include strict controls to avoid long-term climate damage. And Nick Grover argues that we need to stop pouring money and resources into building highways which serve only to increase pollution and sprawl.

- Finally, Chloe Chaplain reports on the large number of young people who see themselves and their interests being completely neglected in the UK's political system. And Doug Cuthand writes that education is crucial to ensure that Indigenous people in particular are able to be full participants in Saskatchewan's future.

Saturday, April 30, 2022

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Mickey Djuric writes about the rising COVID-19 hospitalization numbers driven by unvaccinated people - but lest anybody treat past shots as an excuse for complacency, Fenit Nirappil and Dan Keating report on an increase in deaths among vaccinated people who are elderly and/or immunocompromised. Jason Moyer-Lee writes that there's no reason to celebrate the elimination of masking and other protections for people who will needlessly face avoidable disease and suffering. Adam Miller discusses what it might look like for COVID to become a more seasonal disease - while noting that we're still far short of the point of being able to predict its future waves. And Morgan Godfery calls out the right-wing attempts to diminish and criticize the successes of zero-COVID policies in New Zealand and elsewhere as more government simply abandon their constituents to the pandemic. 

- Austin Lee reports on a new study showing that a safe consumption site in Calgary resulted in savings of millions of dollars (to say nothing of the improved well-being of the people able to use it). And Zak Vescera reports that the federal government has gone so far as to invite Prairie Harm Reduction to apply for its funding directly for lack of any willingness by Scott Moe to make similar investments in health and safety in Saskatchewan.

- Drew Anderson highlights how refineries and other industrial polluters are doing untold damage to residents of Edmonton and surrounding areas. And the Canadian Press reports on the fine eventually issued to Husky for releasing harmful substances into a North Saskatchewan River tributary in 2018.

- Aryn Baker writes that the food supply crisis caused by Russia's invasion of Ukraine offers a deadly preview of what's in store as climate breakdown affects agriculture around the globe. And CBS News reports that California is already facing drought conditions long before its usual dry season.

- Finally, Leah Gazan and Kim Pate make the case for a guaranteed liveable basic income in the wake of a pale imitation thereof which nonetheless managed to reduce poverty and improve welfare in the midst of a pandemic.

Friday, April 29, 2022

Musical interlude

The Paper Kites - Revelator Eyes


#SKNDPLDR Roundup

So far, the Saskatchewan NDP's leadership campaign has been awfully quiet. And with a membership deadline looming for anybody who wants to be able to vote in the leadership election, time is running out for anybody looking to attract support from outside the party's existing membership base.

While it remains to be seen whether she'll success, Kaitlyn Harvey has taken a couple of steps which should pique some interest: announcing the endorsement of Seth Klein as one of the country's prominent voices for climate action, and unveiling a platform based on principles of sustainability and harm prevention, as well as a far more honest assessment of the costs of maintaining the status quo. 

There's some obvious potential for those messages both in establishing Harvey's bona fides within the climate justice movement, and for the party's future path as a part of that movement. But time is running short to convert that potential into memberships and votes. 

Meanwhile, Carla Beck's campaign has demurred from releasing a detailed platform. Instead, she's offered a list of priorities with a few policy proposals, along with an explanation for not going into much more detail than that. (And there's actually another reasonable argument on that point which she doesn't address, which is the effort underway to improve the NDP's internal policy development.) 

Not surprisingly, Beck has also added to her list of endorsements - though it's hard to see those as a novel development in a race where she's had establishment support lined up behind her from day one. 

We'll find out fairly soon whether there are any surprises in the membership numbers which may affect the balance of the race. In the meantime, though, a quiet campaign looks to favour Beck as the default favourite. 

Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Zak Vescera reports on the combination of high rates of hospitalization and virtually nonexistent vaccination that's resulted from Scott Moe's surrender to COVID-19. And Nicholas Larsen et al. add autonomic dysfunction to the list of post-COVID symptoms which are common even among people fortunate enough to avoid a severe case. 

- Jonathan Josephs reports that the deliberate decisions of corporate vaccine manufacturers have resulted in a more severe pandemic due to a choice not to make supplies available more equitably. And Joel Lexchin discusses how the Libs have caved to big pharma in failing to keep their promise to rein in prescription drug prices. 

- Ed Yong writes that the systemic consequences of climate change include increasing the frequency and severity of infectious diseases. Oliver Milman reports that we're approaching a cataclysmic extinction of marine life. Shirin Ali reports on a new study finding that half of the U.S.' water is too polluted to be used for swimming, fishing or drinking. 

- Anders Fremstad and Mark Paul discuss how neoliberal ideology has been used to stifle meaningful action to protect our climate and planetary environment. And Jessica Scott-Reid reports on the obstruction by the meat industry seeking to stop the development of plant-based products. 

- Umair Haque discusses how the right in the U.S. has managed not only to shatter the Overton window with shifts not just off the political spectrum but outside objective reality, but also to convince itself that the exact opposite has happened. And David Sirota warns that an ineffectual and captured Democratic administration is only reinforcing that nihilistic sentiment. 

- Finally, Alex Himelfarb offers a message of hope and solidarity for collective action in a time which demands it.