This and that for your Thursday reading.
– Owen Jones highlights the toxic stress and other health problems borne disproportionately by members of the LGBT community who face systematic discrimination. And Tayla Smith and Jaitra Sathyandran discuss how temporary foreign workers (and others facing precarious work situations) tend to suffer preventable harm to their health . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Ellen Gould comments on how the CETA and other trade deals constrain democratic governance – and the fact that corporate bigwigs are threatening any government which considers giving effect to popular opposition doesn’t exactly provide any comfort. Meanwhile, Scott Sinclair points out the dangerous effects of the . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
This and that for your weekend reading.
– Naomi Klein discusses how Canada’s longstanding – if far from inevitable – identity as a resource economy is standing in the way of both needed action on climate change and reconciliation with First Nations:
In Canada, cultivation and industrialization were secondary. First and foremost, this country was built on voraciously devouring wildness. Canada was an extractive company – the Hudson’s Bay Company – before it was a country. And that has shaped us in ways we have yet to begin to confront.
Because such enormous fortunes have been built purely on the extraction of wild animals, intact forest and interred metals and fossil fuels, our economic elites have grown accustomed to seeing the natural world as their God-given larder.
When someone or something – like climate science – comes along and says: Actually, there are limits, we have to take less from the Earth and keep more profit for the public good, it doesn’t feel like a difficult truth. It feels like an existential attack.
The trouble isn’t just the commodity roller coaster. It’s that the stakes grow larger with each boom-bust cycle. The frenzy for cod crashed a species; the frenzy for bitumen and fracked gas is helping to crash the planet.
Today, we have federal and provincial governments that talk a lot about reconciliation. But this will remain a cruel joke if non-Indigenous Canadians do not confront the why behind those human-rights abuses. And the why, as the Truth and Reconciliation report states, is simple enough: “The Canadian government pursued this policy of cultural genocide because it wished to divest itself of its legal and financial obligations to Aboriginal people and gain control over their land and resources.”
The goal, in other words, was to remove all barriers to unrestrained resource extraction. This is not ancient history. Across the country, Indigenous land rights remain the single greatest barrier to planet-destabilizing resource extraction, from pipelines to clear-cut logging.
– Susan Delacourt highlights
Charlie Angus’ frustration with the Libs’ Teletubbie political style, while Tony Burman notes that Middle East relations represent just one more area where Justin Trudeau’s actions couldn’t be much further from his rhetoric.
– But Ethan Cox’ report
on an Indigenous treaty alliance also signals what may the most effective response – as rather than allowing the Libs to feign friendship while pursuing another agenda, First Nations are presenting a united and direct contrast to Trudeau’s plans. And Doug Cuthand points out
the widespread protest against the Dakota Access pipeline as the latest and largest example of that solidarity being put into action.
– Meanwhile, Marc Lee signals what we might expect from a federal climate change action plan based on the working groups currently reviewing the options.
– Laurie Monsebraaten reports on a needed push to ensure that child care funding is used to create not-for-profit spaces. And Ashifa Kassam points to Wellington’s loss of water rights to Nestle as a prime example of what happens when corporate dollars trump public needs.
– Finally, Alon Weinberg discusses why now is the time to implement a proportional electoral system in Canada. And Craig Scott makes the case for mixed-member proportional over the other options under consideration. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links
The next world wars won’t be about land or oil. They’ll be about water. And Canada could be the next Iraq, invaded and decimated for the abundance of our natural resources. We have to stop corporate control over our most necessary resource now before … . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: Water Wars and the Last Straw
Members of the Treat 8 “Justice for the Peace” Caravan (Photo: Gary McNutt)
Submitted by Andrea Palframan
On September 12, the Federal Court of Appeal in Montreal will hear the latest legal challenge to the massive Site C hydroelectric dam already under construction on Treaty 8 territory in northeast British Columbia. First Nations . . . → Read More: The Common Sense Canadian: Justice for Peace Caravan tells Trudeau: Keep your promises to First Nations
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
– Brendan Duke examines the connection between wage growth and worker productivity, and makes the case that the former may lead to the latter:
The 1929–1950 increase in wages was at first a result of several policies that directly raised workers’ wages, including the first federal minimum wage, the first federal overtime law, and the National Labor Relations Act, which made it easier for workers to join a union and bargain with their employers. The entry of the United States into World War II further drove investment higher, as the economy converted into what Gordon describes as a “maximum production regime.”
It is striking that during this period of rapid productivity growth, wages for production workers grew even faster than productivity growth did. The current debate about whether a typical worker’s compensation has kept track with the economy’s productivity typically envisions productivity growth as the precondition for wage growth. But Gordon’s research implies that the relationship can go both ways: Not only can productivity growth raise wages, but higher real wages also can boost productivity growth—the main reason for slow gross domestic product growth—by giving firms a reason to purchase capital.
Can higher wages raise productivity growth in 2017? Basic economic theory and common sense suggests that an increase in the price of labor—wages—achieved through higher labor standards will cause firms to invest in more capital, raising the economy’s productivity.
– Guy Caron points out that international tax agreements which should serve to facilitate enforcement are instead allowing the greedy rich to evade meaningful taxes everywhere, while the Star argues that no corporation should be able to avoid social responsibilities through sweetheart tax deals. And James Wright warns of an impending deal on services which may tie the hands of governments seeking to work in the public interest more directly than any existing trade agreement.
– James Walsh reports on the devastating effects of the UK Conservatives’ efforts to push people out of social housing – which will of course sound far too familiar for many in Saskatchewan.
– Finally, Michelle Chen comments on the gigantic ecological deficit being imposed on future generations through unchecked climate change, while David Roberts discusses the environmental devastation (and cleanup costs) which figure to be borne by the public as the coal industry ceases to be viable. And Brent Patterson highlights a noteworthy study on the lasting effects of the Husky oil spill in the North Saskatchewan River. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links
This and that for your Sunday reading.- Chris Hamby starts off what looks to be a must-read investigation on the effect of ISDS rules by discussing how they’re used to prevent governments from punishing corporate wrongdoing:(A)n 18-month BuzzFeed News … . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
This and that for your Sunday reading.
– Chris Hamby starts off what looks to be a must-read investigation on the effect of ISDS rules by discussing how they’re used to prevent governments from punishing corporate wrongdoing:
(A)n 18-month BuzzFeed News investigation, spanning three continents and involving more than 200 interviews and tens of thousands of documents, many of them previously confidential, has exposed an obscure but immensely consequential feature of these trade treaties, the secret operations of these tribunals, and the ways that business has co-opted them to bring sovereign nations to heel.
Reviewing publicly available information for about 300 claims filed during the past five years, BuzzFeed News found more than 35 cases in which the company or executive seeking protection in ISDS was accused of criminal activity, including money laundering, embezzlement, stock manipulation, bribery, war profiteering, and fraud.
Among them: a bank in Cyprus that the US government accused of financing terrorism and organized crime, an oil company executive accused of embezzling millions from the impoverished African nation of Burundi, and the Russian oligarch known as “the Kremlin’s banker.”
Some are at the center of notorious scandals, from the billionaire accused of orchestrating a massive Ponzi scheme in Mauritius to multiple telecommunications tycoons charged in the ever-widening “2G scam” in India, which made it into Time magazine’s top 10 abuses of power, alongside Watergate. The companies or executives involved in these cases either denied wrongdoing or did not respond to requests for comment.
Most of the 35-plus cases are still ongoing. But in at least eight of the cases, bringing an ISDS claim got results for the accused wrongdoers, including a multimillion-dollar award, a dropped criminal investigation, and dropped criminal charges. In another, the tribunal has directed the government to halt a criminal case while the arbitration is pending.
– And Dharna Noor interviews James Henry about the need for international cooperation – at both the government and public level – to crack down on tax evasion.
– Tyler Hamilton discusses the health effects of climate change. And Joseph Erbentraut examines how a changing climate is affecting both the quantity and quality of the water we depend on.
– Kev responds to the spread of #goodriddanceharper by pointing out that as satisfying as it was to turf the Cons from office, we’re still facing most of the same anti-social policies with a more media-savvy face. And Doug Nesbitt reminds us that the Trudeau Libs are no friends of labour – with Canada Post’s appalling attacks on vulnerable workers serving as just the latest example.
– Finally, the Canadian Press reports on a much-needed push for resources to address mental health in Canada. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Sunday Morning Links
Assorted content for your weekend reading.- Erika Hayasaki surveys the developing body of research on how poverty and deprivation affect a child’s long-term brain development:Early results show a troubling trend: Kids who grow up with higher levels of… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links
Assorted content for your weekend reading.
– Erika Hayasaki surveys the developing body of research on how poverty and deprivation affect a child’s long-term brain development:
Early results show a troubling trend: Kids who grow up with higher levels of violence as a backdrop in their lives, based on MRI scans, have weaker real-time neural connections and interaction in parts of the brain involved in awareness, judgment, and ethical and emotional processing.
…Though it’s still largely based on correlations between brain patterns and particular environments, the research points to a disturbing conclusion: Poverty and the conditions that often accompany it—violence, excessive noise, chaos at home, pollution, malnutrition, abuse and parents without jobs—can affect the interactions, formation and pruning of connections in the young brain.
Two recent influential reports cracked open a public conversation on the matter. In one, researchers found that impoverished children had less gray matter—brain tissue that supports information processing and executive behavior—in their hippocampus (involved in memory), frontal lobe (involved in decision making, problem solving, impulse control, judgment, and social and emotional behavior) and temporal lobe (involved in language, visual and auditory processing and self-awareness). Working together, these brain areas are crucial for following instructions, paying attention and overall learning—some of the keys to academic success.
The second key study, published in Nature Neuroscience , also in 2015 , looked at 1,099 people between ages 3 and 20, and found that children with parents who had lower incomes had reduced brain surface areas in comparison to children from families bringing home $150,000 or more a year.
“We have [long] known about the social class differences in health and learning outcomes,” says Dr. Jack Shonkoff, director of the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. But neuroscience has now linked the environment, behavior and brain activity—and that could lead to a stunning overhaul of both educational and social policies, like rethinking Head Start–style programs that have traditionally emphasized early literacy. New approaches, he says, could focus on social and emotional development as well, since science now tells us that relationships and interactions with the environment sculpt the areas of the brain that control behavior (like the ability to concentrate), which also can affect academic achievement (like learning to read).
– Adria Vasil discusses the worldwide trend of water being made available first (and for inexplicably low prices) to for-profit bottlers over citizens who need it. And Martin Regg Cohn examines how the story is playing out in Ontario in particular.
– Mike De Souza reports on how the National Energy Board, rather than acting as a neutral regulator, misled Denis Coderre to try to take free PR for both the NEB itself and fossil fuel development in general. And Carrie Tait points out how the Husky oil spill is raising questions about Saskatchewan’s fully captured regulatory system.
– Ian MacLeod reports on a sudden and unexplained increase in CSE interception of private communications.
– Finally, Andray Domise discusses what Colten Boushie’s shooting and its aftermath say about the blight of racism in Canada. . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Saturday Afternoon Links
Here (via PressReader), on how the North Saskatchewan River oil spill may not lead directly to a needed reevaluation of the risks of pipelines – but a public expectation that we’ll shift away from dirty energy may be more significant in the long run.Fo… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: New column day
“People are advised not to consume fish caught in the river, and to avoid water activities that may result in river water being ingested,” said a news release put out Tuesday morning. – six days later. “Good work Premier Brad Wall. No loss of life like at Lac Megantic oil tanker rail disaster. Naturally occurring […] . . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: #PremierPipeline: Good Work Premier Brad Wall
Yah, who cares about contaminated water supplies for Sask citizens, as long as the oil industry is okay. https://t.co/RPoe5incfR #skpoli — Larry Hubich (@LHubich) July 23, 2016 @MeridianBooster here is what #PremierPipeline is talking about since yesterday – sports. pic.twitter.com/fhvqhHLcb3 — Saskboy (@saskboy) July 23, 2016 But one of the big issues for Brad Wall, […] . . . → Read More: Saskboy’s Abandoned Stuff: #PremierPipeline’s Slick Advice in Wake of Husky Oil Spill: Don’t Turn to Trains
Showering is something that a lot of North Americans do everyday: and if you’re one of them then you should stop. Showering daily can actually do more harm to your health than good. So relax about your daily urge to cleanse and just roll with your micro biome! As we learn more about the relationship […]
The post No Need to Shower so Much appeared first on Things Are Good.
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The world’s oceans are incredibly important to the overall wellbeing of our planet. They absorb a lot of CO2 and harbour multiple ecosystems that we are still learning about. Despite the importance of the world’s oceans we often ignore their health. World Oceans Day is today and it’s a reminder how amazing these oceans are […]
The post Happy World Oceans Day appeared first on Things Are Good.
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This and that for your Thursday reading.- Christopher Jencks discusses why the U.S.’ poor are only getting poorer (in part due to the misapprehension that social programs aren’t available) in reviewing Kathryn Edin and Luke Shaefer’s $2.00 a Day: Livin… . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Thursday Morning Links
I had the honour and the enjoyment of attending two municipal conferences last week. While no longer directly involved in politics, I am able to keep my finger in some of the political pies through my current work for an NGO. Plus, I like to remain inf… . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Two conferences and a show
In 2014, Toledo experienced a water crisis that caused the city to issue a “do not use” warning for more than 500,000 residents. They had to rely on bottled water; boiling wasn’t safe because it further released toxins into the water…. . . . → Read More: Scripturient: Banning Phosphorus
BC Hydro is being used to funnel tens of billions in public dollars through construction contracts to Liberal friends, says Norm Farrell after reviewing the utility’s financial data.
The post BC Hydro being used to funnel tens of billions to Liberal friends appeared first on The Common Sense Canadian.
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Here is an excellent post from Lehanna Green’s blog–Stop Dumping Contaminated Soil in Shawnigan lake Submitted by Lehanna Green, April 22nd, 2016 ‘I read the news today, oh boy.’ – Lennon/McCartney Headlines like Read more… . . . → Read More: Cowichan Conversations: BC Court of Appeal Decision – Victory for Shawnigan Lake
In this TED talk David Sedlak explores options that can be used to fend off drought in cities. The last century saw massive developments that treated water in a very unsustainable way (from dams to pathetic water policies). This century we will have to correct the mistakes of the past and focus on changing how […]
The post How We Can Fend Off Drought appeared first on Things Are Good.
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Walking down here yesterday and this valve thing started to blow. It’s a strange sight with pipes leading from one fire hydrant to another. The other side of the street […] . . . → Read More: PostArctica: Trouble On Troy?
A new examination of Energy East reveals that TransCanada’s proposed tar sands pipeline “threatens the drinking water of more than five million Canadians.” The post Energy East threatens the drinking water of over 5 million Canadians: Report appeared f… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Energy East threatens the drinking water of over 5 million Canadians: Report