Sunday, April 16, 2017

Mélenchon, US Bombings, Christie Blatchford & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List April 9 - 16

This week's list of articles, news items and opinion pieces that I see as must reads if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of April 9 - April 16. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

1) Is There Any Accountability for Canadian Columnists? A response to Christie Blatchford's astonishing column about a sex assault survivor

Mandi Gray, Robson Crim Legal Blog

On March 15, 2017, the National Post published an opinion piece titled “Mandi Gray’s Astonishing Remark at Sex Assault Appeal Hearing: It’s Not Worth It” by Christie Blatchford. Blatchford’s commentary solidifies why sexual assault is often unreported, especially if the perpetrator is in a position of power.

Read the full article.

2) Leftist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon shakes up France's presidential race

Agence France-Presse, The Guardian

The French Communist-backed presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is closing in on the frontrunners Emmanuel Macron and Marine Le Pen, according to new polls.

Read the full article.

3) Migrants from west Africa being ‘sold in Libyan slave markets’

Emma Graham-Harrison, The Guardian

West African migrants are being bought and sold openly in modern-day slave markets in Libya, survivors have told a UN agency helping them return home.

Read the full article.

4) Great Barrier Reef at 'terminal stage': scientists despair at latest coral bleaching data

Christopher Knaus and Nick Evershed, The Guardian

'Last year was bad enough, this is a disaster,’ says one expert as Australia Research Council finds fresh damage across 8,000km

Read the full article.

5) Alberta Catholic high school under fire for pro-life presentation comparing abortion to Holocaust

Emily Mertz. Global News

A Catholic high school in Red Deer is being criticized for a pro-life presentation to students that compared abortion to the Holocaust.

The presentation in March by Red Deer and Area Pro Life was recorded by a student at École Secondaire Notre Dame High School during a mandatory Grade 10-12 religion class.

Read the full article.

6) Sean Spicer: ‘Hitler didn’t even sink to using chemical weapons’

David Edwards, Raw Story

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer asserted on Tuesday that Adolf Hitler had never used “chemical weapons.”

Read the full article.

7) The Latest San Bernardino Shooting Reveals A Far More Common Form Of Terror

 Melissa Jeltsen, The Huffington Post

When news of an active shooter inside an elementary school broke on Monday morning, it triggered panic and alarm. For residents of San Bernardino, California, a community still reeling from the trauma of a terrorist attack that killed 14 people less than two years ago, it was as though a fresh wound had been ripped wide open.

But as the details of the shooting emerged, it became clear that what took place inside that classroom was driven by domestic violence, not ideology. The story police told was as American as apple pie: A rage-filled man taking his wife’s life.

Read the full article.

8) France is angry. The left must show Europe that bigotry is not the answer

Owen Jones, The Guardian

The radical left candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is surging in the presidential election, challenging far-right xenophobia and the complacency of the centre

Paisley Dodds, The Toronto Star

“Imagine if the UN was going to the United States and raping children and bringing cholera,” said one lawyer in Haiti, where UN peacekeepers face hundreds of allegations of child sex crimes.

Desmond Cole, The Toronto Star

Police oversight in Ontario isn’t broken — it is designed to protect police from accountability, and in that sense it’s working just fine.

After years of public discontent, the provincial government recently launched a comprehensive review of three police oversight bodies. The Special Investigations Unit, which looks into any death, serious injury, or allegation of sexual assault involving police, is the agency most tied to public trust, and therefore the one most in need of an overhaul.

The Real News Network

Vijay Prashad and Paul Jay ask if the US "mother of all bombs" dropped on Afghanistan and the missile attack on a Syrian airbase, are PR events to show Trump and the US military will "fight without restraint" and "take on Russia"

Tariq Ali, The Guardian

A century after the Bolsheviks seized power for communism, Tariq Ali chooses some of the best books about an uprising that changed the world forever.

Socialist Worker

April 13 marks the one-year anniversary of the start of a nationwide strike at Verizon that won important gains for Verizon workers. Danny Katch talked to Dominic Renda, a call center worker and member of Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1105, and Amy Muldoon, a technician and shop steward in CWA Local 1106, about their memories of the strike, and some of the lessons it can hold for workers and others fighting to defend their rights under the Trump presidency.

The Canadian Press

Alberta's NDP premier has a message for anyone in her government who is thinking of going to British Columbia to campaign for the New Democrats in that province's election: Think again.

Nika Knight, Common Dreams

In a surprising twist in the French presidential election, leftist candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon is surging in the polls, raising the possibility of a run-off vote between the pro-worker and pro-immigrant candidate and his far-right rival Marine Le Pen.

Murray Dobbin, Counterpunch

The irrational has begun to dominate our politics as if the American virus has stealthily moved north to infect our national narratives. It reflects itself in various ways but it seems that war – old wars, current wars and future wars – have gripped the minds of our political elite and their courtiers in the media. Most problematic is Chrystia Freeland whose well-documented hostility towards Russia raises questions about her suitability for the Foreign Affairs post. She got off almost scot free for blatantly lying about her Nazi grandfather. Justin Trudeau lost his reason regarding the US missile attack on Syria and we were subjected to an extra-heavy dose of non-sense about Vimy Ridge with Trudeau opining that ‘this was Canada at its best.’.

Sune Engel Rasmussen, The Guardian

Locals describe the moment the ‘mother of all bombs’ was dropped, as critics question the wisdom of deploying the weapon.

Gregory Shupak, Middle East Eye

When the US accused the Syrian government of carrying out a chemical attack in Khan Sheikhoun and then bombed Syria's Shayrat air base, the secular priesthood in the US media praised the supposed morality of the US air strikes.

Read the full article.

Also, on April 13th a debate was held in Toronto around the idea of a Basic Income.

"The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) has been championed by both progressives and conservatives. Not everyone on the left, however, is behind the idea. Is the UBI a means of redistributing wealth, attacking poverty and protecting workers from technological displacement? Or will basic income serve to advance an agenda of austerity and privatization? This important debate features two speakers speaking in favour of the left support for Basic Income and two against."

Socialist Project posted a video of the entire debate which you can watch here.

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