Saturday, February 11, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Paula Span discusses how older Americans (and their peers elsewhere) have been left to navigate the pandemic with no consideration for their health and safety. Kailin Yin et al. examine the ways in which long COVID can affect immune system function. And Linda Geddes highlights the risk that COVID-19 is making people more vulnerable to bacterial and fungal threats.

- Jim Stanford writes about the problems with treating human beings as mere commodities in building economic policy around employers' desire for access to cheap labour. And the Canadian Press reports that even RBC Economics' analysis which is being cited as an excuse to hike interest rates shows that wages have fallen short of keeping up with inflation.

- Grace Blakeley rightly argues that the consistent pattern of oil companies abandoning their climate commitments even while swimming in windfall profits shows that free market will never solve climate change. And needless to say, the petropolitical choice to funnel money to fossil fuel corporations only makes matters worse - with David Climenhaga and Dean Bennett each exploring how the UCP's RStar scandal represents a particularly egregious example of polluter-paid governance.

- Meanwhile, Roshan Abraham reports on the laughable attempt by the oil-allied alt-right to turn walkable cities into an object of conspiracy theory and hate.

- Finally, Cory Doctorow discusses the regressive "time tax" resulting from wealth translating into constant service and convenience while people of less means face far greater time impositions trying to navigate the necessities of life.

Friday, February 10, 2023

Musical interlude

Metric - I Will Never Settle

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Philip Ritchie writes about new research into natural receptors which may help limit infection by COVID-19 and other viruses, while Alice Klein reports on the development of an inhaled powder which could line the respiratory tract to provide an additional layer of protection. But Spencer Kimball's report on Pfizer's windfall profits (racked up as it inflates the cost of vaccines and treatments) serves as a warning as to why the means of protecting public health can't be put into corporate hands.  

- Meanwhile, David Moscrop weighs in on Loblaws' profiteering as it falsely blames others for inflated prices while bringing in obscene profits. 

- Robert Reich points out that the current corporate stranglehold on public policy is the result of the working class losing sight of the importance of class politics during the Keynesian consensus. And Canadians for Tax Fairness examines how corporations exploited that dynamic to turn massive COVID subsidies  into cash cows while public anger was selectively directed at individuals receiving money to survive. 

- Linda McQuaig discusses how private foundations serve to further the power and shelter the assets of the wealthy few while actual charities struggle to stay afloat. And Angella MacEwen offers a warning that the "employee ownership trust" system mentioned in yesterday's post is designed primarily to funnel money to departing capitalists rather than to give workers any meaningful benefit. 

- Finally, Umair Irfan reports on new research showing that even a relatively modest transition to electric vehicles can lead to substantial improvements in respiratory health. 

Thursday, February 09, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Scott Rivkees writes that COVID-19 denialism has come to dominate public policy around an ongoing viral threat, while Kelly Skjerven reports that the relentless minimization of the ongoing pandemic has led Canadians to stop getting updated vaccinations. Eric Reinhart discusses how doctors are understandably demoralized by systemic failures which prevent them from helping to treat patients. And Joyce Sampson writes that there are plenty of benefits to face masks even beyond the reduced transmission of (and infection by) COVID. 

- Kat Echner comments on the potential for employee ownership trusts to allow employees to share in the benefit from their work. And Jon Brodkin reports on Apple's violations of employee rights in preventing workers from gathering wage data or discussing working conditions.  

- Jen Hassum writes about the need for progressives to recognize and channel people's rightful anger at a system rigger against them - rather than allowing the Cons to coast on that sentiment while planning to make matters worse. 

- Meanwhile, Martin Wolf discusses the advantages of a land value tax to ensure idle assets don't exacerbate inequality. And Guio Jacinto makes the case for industrial policy (dealing with steel and other vital inputs) to ensure that Canada rebuilds an industrial base while transitioning to a clean economy. 

- Finally, Pete Evans highlights the juxtaposition between record fossil fuel profits and attempts to walk back previous climate commitments, while Alex Lawson takes note of the particularly glaring profit-taking by BP as it breaks emission reduction promises. Julia Levin points out the continued lack of an evidentiary basis to think carbon capture will accomplish anything but greenwashing continued environmental destruction. And Drilled News surveys the oil industry's determination to bully people into believing we can't live without their exploitation. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Expressive cats.

Tuesday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- Emma Beddington rightly questions the determination of the powers that be to pretend that COVID-19 never happened - though her attempt to treat an ongoing pandemic as merely a past issue is itself misplaced. Megan Ford discusses long COVID's especially damaging impact on nurses. And C. Raina McIntyre et al. offer a reminder of the role masks play in reducing spread (despite a renewed wave of spin to the contrary). 

- The Guardian calls out the latest attempt by the UK Cons to declare a policy of perpetual booms for capital owners and doom for workers. And Baher Kamal comments on the desperate need to ensure the wealthy around the world pay their fair share as inequality continues to worsen. 

- David Olive rightly questions why the oil patch would think for a second that it can bank massive windfall profits at consumers' expense, then turn around and demand that every available public dollar be handed over as a subsidy for carbon capture schemes. Anupriya Dasgupta discusses how the PR industry has transferred its tobacco playbook into manufacturing equally destructive anti-science propaganda on behalf of the fossil fuel industry. And Caroline Orr Bueno highlights the role of Russian state media as the primary foreign state sponsor of the #FluTruxKlan (which was of course a joint operation with the oil industry). 

- Meanwhile, Andrew Rawnsley notes that an obsession with extending dirty energy production is leaving the UK and other countries far behind international peers in building an economy for the future. 

- Finally, Umair Haque discusses the psychological effects of life in an age of avoidable extinction. 

Monday, February 06, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

- Catherine Albright et al. study how the wide transmission of COVID-19 - due in no small part to the "let 'er rip" mindset of far too many governments - has facilitated the development of new variants which escape existing immunity and treatments. And Fisher Phillips summarizes new, permanent California regulations for COVID-19 safety - which are far from ideal in relaxing standards and imposing costs on workers, but at least reflect the recognition that the dangers require ongoing remedial steps.

- Danielle Martin, Edward Greenspon and Geogina Black write about the need for every Canadian to have access to primary health care (even as provincial governments make nothing but excuses for letting access erode). 

- Ricardo Tranjan calls out the landlords who have chosen to inflate the cost of a home - and the governments who have chosen to enable them to do so. The Canadian Press reports on new data showing that upwards of 30% of homes are now owned by investors rather than residents in some Canadian provinces, signaling how a necessity of life is becoming increasingly commodified and put out of reach of the working class. And Rebecca Zandbergen interviews Juha Kaakinen about Finland's success in meeting the right to housing while simultaneously saving money by funding the construction of housing directly, rather than counting on developer-based bank shots as the only means of increasing supply. 

- Philippe Van Parijs writes about Pranab Bardhan's A World of Insecurity, and particularly its recognition that a secure basic income would work wonders in mitigating that insecurity which has given rise to the forces of fascism and hate. 

- Finally, David Moscrop discusses the connection between dwindling trust in public institutions and future well-being, and the understandable concern that power is increasingly being used to benefit the wealthy at the expense of everybody else.