Saturday, February 25, 2023

Saturday Afternoon Links

Assorted content for your weekend reading.

- Francesco Pierri et al. study the roots of COVID-19 vaccine denialism, with misinformation becoming more and more prevalent as the pandemic continues. And David Climenhaga discusses how Alberta (and many other Canadian provinces) are taking a new step in pandemic denialism by planning to limit citizens' access to vaccine boosters.

- Meanwhile, Crawford Kilian points out that we should be doing far more to reduce the death toll and health issues caused by air pollution. But Sharon Lerner reports that the oil industry is instead being permitted to label the burning of toxic plastics as a "biofuel".

- Philippe Fournier notes that a majority of Canadians want to see stronger climate action, and are thus being ill served by a Lib-Con debate between not doing enough and doing even less (if anything). And the Globe and Mail's editorial board weighs in on the complete lack of justification for Danielle Smith's plans to hand tens of billions of dollars to the oil industry to comply with its legal obligations.

- Mitchell Thompson reports on polling showing that even the Fraser Institute can't load the dice enough to find popular support for capitalism over socialism. But Judy Rebick points out the need for popular action to replace pay-for-play politics with government that's remotely representative of people's interests.

- Finally, Justin Ling discusses the connections between the Cons and the global alt-right - including Christine Anderson who has been feted by Con MPs and the Western petropolitical powers that be for her bigotry.

Friday, February 24, 2023

Musical interlude

Gorgon City, DRAMA - Nobody

Friday Afternoon Links

Assorted content to end your week.

- Eric Anderson writes that capitalism has been developed to exploit psychological vulnerability for profit. And Ludvig Weir and Gabriel Zucman highlight how the corporate profits shifted between countries for the purpose of tax avoidance approached a trillion dollars in 2019 (and likely soared past that milestone since). 

- Bill Curry reports on the PBO's findings that the Libs are spending a record $21.4 billion to outsource public service functions. And Jennifer Carr discusses how the outsourcing of public sector capacity results in both high costs and severe consequences for government's ability to make decisions in the public interest. 

- Maximilian Alvarez talks to railroad workers who have long been warning of the potential for derailments and associated risks to public health and safety as regulatory standards have been slashed in the name of profits. And Chris Isidore reports on Norfolk Southern's continued plan to hand over a thousand times as much money to shareholders in buybacks than to victims of the East Palestine chemical spill and fire. 

- Lindsay Ellis discusses how noncompete clauses have been turned into a systematic attack on worker wages - and how the U.S.' plan to ban them can help. And Leland Glenna writes about the right-to-repair laws being developed to ensure purchasers aren't helpless in the face of arbitrary corporate controls on the use and repair of consumer goods.  

- Alex Hemingway and Simon Pek discuss the problem with housing land use hearings which tend to include only objectors rather than the people who would benefit from approvals. 

- Finally, Sarah Gordon points out how drug decriminalization will improve the well-being and treatment options for people who use them - while also noting that there's still far to go from the standpoint of harm reduction. 

Thursday, February 23, 2023

Thursday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Thursday reading.

- Kimberly Atkins Stohr discusses her experience with long COVID - along with the reality that others have suffered far worse when they've lost employment as a result of it. Jasleen Gosal writes about the "silent pandemic" on and around Stanford's campus. And CanCOVID examines (PDF) the communications used to inform people about COVID - including the effect of delay and uncertainty in official communication which enabled conspiracy theories to spread. 

- David Suzuki writes that the East Palestine rail disaster offers an important reminder of the risks of valuing profit over human lives and health. Branko Marcetic discusses the connection between corporate and executive windfalls and increased numbers of train derailments. And Topher Sanders and Dan Schwartz report on the Norfolk Southern corporate policy allowing desk workers to tell rail crews to disregard safety alerts. 

- Jenna Benchetrit reports on yet another quarter of blatant profiteering by Loblaws, while Dan Guadagnolo notes that the public isn't buying its attempts to cast blame elsewhere for its inflated prices. And Jon Keegan discusses how beyond price-gouging for the necessities of life, grocery stores are also turning into massive brokerages for personal information about consumers. 

- Greg Jericho highlights how wages are failing to keep up with price increases in Australia (like in many other countries). And Emmanuel Saez finds (PDF) that the income distribution in the U.S. is more top-heavy now than ever before.  

- Finally, Kelly Crowe exposes how the Libs have given in to lobbying by the pharmaceutical sector and put off a process to develop more fair pricing for the medication people need. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Wednesday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material for your mid-week reading.

- Liam Mannix examines how the scientists with the deepest knowledge of the risks of COVID-19 are protecting themselves from the ongoing pandemic. And Robson Fletcher writes about the attempts of Calgary parents to gather data on how to keep schools safe (in the face of school board choices to prohibit either filters or any measurement of the effect of their absence). 

- Christina Frangou discusses how for-profit online providers are looking to cash in on the underfunding of primary care, while Mike Crawley reports on the use of nurse practitioners as a loophole to allow for pay-for-play access to medical care. Nora Loreto highlights how public-sector wage freezes are designed to push workers into privatized systems. And Gregg Gonsalves writes about the battle for even worse standards of health care in the U.S. - offering an obvious reply to the attempt to privatizers to claim that the development of profit-based systems has nothing to do with the decay of access to public health care. 

- Meanwhile, Mary Catt writes about the increased level of strike activity in the U.S. as workers stand up for themselves - particularly in the food and hospitality industry. And Stephanie Vozza discusses how people are more productive in "non-linear" work structures - rather than the heavily-monitored, employer-driven schedules which seek to control every second of a worker's day. 

- Alex Nurse, Alessia Calafiore and Richard Dunning contrast the anti-fact right's contrived panic over 15-minutes cities against the reality of navigable communities. And Jonathan Green interviews Brent Toderian about how basic liveability was turned into a conspiracy theory. 

- Finally, Rachel Aiello points out a few conclusions of the Public Order Emergency Commission's report which deserve more attention - including the #FluTruxKlan's connection to right-wing petropolitics, and the massive amounts of money which were dumped into its coffers based on that link. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2023

Tuesday Night Cat Blogging

Drowsy cats.

Tuesday Morning Links

This and that for your Tuesday reading.

- David Moscrop discusses how the Trudeau Libs have chosen to funnel money to cutthroat corporate consultants rather than building a functional public service. Alex Kerner follows up by pointing out how that choice reflects the class politics of a neoliberal state. And Kenan Malik writes that a focus on diversity in elite roles alone misses the deliberate effort to exacerbate inequality and stratify people by class. 

- Lawrence Scanlan comments on the glaring indifference toward the harm caused by avoidable poverty. And Pratyush Dayal reports on the rising homelessness in Saskatoon as the Moe government goes out of its way to avoid providing for the needs of the people stranded in the cold. 

- Hadrian Mertins-Kirkwood examines the first version of the Libs' Sustainable Jobs Plan (aka just transition plan) and finds very little of substance in transitioning to a clean economy.  

- Henry Grabar traces the coordinated rise of the alt-right crusade against walkable cities. And Yves Engler points out that the ultimate complaint is the prospect that the needs of people might be prioritized over obeisance to combustion-based car culture. 

- Meanwhile, Marc Fawcett-Atkinson both offers a primer on climate disinformation, and reports on Trans Mountain's purchase of carbon credits from a non-operational seaweed-additive supplier as a supposed offset against real carbon pollution. 

- Fred Lewsey discusses new research from the showing that a four-day work week results in immense benefits for workers at no real cost to employers. 

- Finally, Jack Mirkinson writes that the New York Times (among other media outlets) is repeating the horrific mistakes in its coverage of the gay rights movement and the AIDS crisis by choosing to platform and promote anti-trans messages. 

Monday, February 20, 2023

Monday Afternoon Links

Miscellaneous material for your Monday reading.

- Mark Jacobson writes that we already have the technology needed to make a full transition to a clean energy economy - as long as we don't allow fossil fuel interests to keep delaying the necessary and inevitable. James Price and Steve Pye discuss why countries reliant on oil and gas need to phase our their use faster in order to allow for the developing world to transition away from coal. Max Fawcett discusses the folly of Danielle Smith's plan to hand a free $20 billion to oil tycoons in order to fulfill their existing obligation to clean up well sites. And Sam Biddle reports on Google's attempt to greenwash its use to boost carbon pollution.

- John Michael McGrath discusses how developer-focused housing policies are resulting in Canada falling far behind the pace needed to provide people with homes. And Jesse Gourevitch et al. study the climate risk which is deliberately being excluded from the cost of housing in flood-prone areas.

- Taylor Lambert points out the predictable connection between the UCP's ideological aversion to harm reduction, and the soaring death rate from drug poisonings.

- Katherine Denkinson calls out Elon Musk for turning Twitter into the ultimate recruitment tool for the bigoted alt-right. And Anna Merlan discusses how even after getting their way as a matter of government policy, anti-vaxxers are bent on vengeance against anybody who cared for others' well-being in the midst of a preventable pandemic.

- Finally, Anand Giridharadas talks to Roger Cohen about his hope for the future of democracy even in the face of well-resourced actors determined to end it.

Sunday, February 19, 2023

Sunday Afternoon Links

This and that for your Sunday reading.

- John Launer offers his thoughts on how public health messaging around COVID-19 could have encouraged people to address risk management at both the personal and social level. And Clark Russell, Nazir Lone and J. Kenneth Baillie study the current evidence showing the dangers of combining COVID with co-morbidities. 

- Miranda Bryant and Jon Ungoed-Thomas report on a new study showing UK food bank use is at a record high. Mathew Silver interviews Jim Stanford about the direct responsibility Galen Weston and other grocery tycoons hold for soaring food prices (which are mirrored in record profits). And Sara Mojtehedzadeh reports on the dubious employment practices of Fiera Foods as it seeks to benefit from people's work while refusing to take responsibility for their livelihood or safety.

- Thom Hartmann discusses how the U.S. Supreme Court has undermined any prospect of democratic governance by treating political corruption as free speech. Tim Adams talks to Bernie Sanders about the oligopoly which has seized control of public policy debates as a result. And Bela Devaan writes that rich people's philanthropic whims can't be seen as an acceptable substitute for a paying a fair share of their excess wealth in taxes.

- Giorgios Gouzoulis points out the connection between escalating personal debt and a decline in labour's willingness to protect workers' interests through strike action. And Gleb Tsipursky writes that management edicts to return to office work by default correlate with a decrease in productivity.

- Finally, Susan Delacourt writes that one of the most important outputs from the Public Order Emergency Commission was its recognition that "freedom" shouldn't be defined in the terms of people looking to violently impose their prejudices on society at large. And Caroline Orr points out how Russian proxy sites played a major role in boosting the most destructive messages of the #FluTruxKlan (which remain staples of Pierre Poilievre's Con rhetoric to this day).