Sunday, February 18, 2018

Parkland, Colten Boushie, the NDP, Oxfam and more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List February 11-18

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  February 11 - 18. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

This installment has two entries from before the period. They have been integrated into the post.

1) Exploited: Inside the Dark World of Child Trafficking (6 articles to date)

Tim Swarens, Indy Star 

More than 1 million children, according to the International Labour Organization, are exploited each year in the commercial sex trade. IndyStar columnist Tim Swarens, with the support of a Society of Professional Journalists fellowship, spent more than a year investigating a lucrative trade where children are abused at low risk to buyers or traffickers.

Read the full article.

2) Greece is playing a dangerous game in the Middle East

Ramzy Baroud, Morning Star

Ramzy Baroud believes that the country’s growing alliance with Israel is not only a betrayal of the Palestinian cause but also spells new dangers for the whole region.

Read the full article.

3) The prostitution claims surrounding Oxfam don’t surprise me. I’ve seen it all before with charities across the world – and the UN

Julie Bindel, The Independent

Just when I thought my opinion of pro-prostitution lobbyists could not get any lower, I see a tweet by one about the Oxfam scandal: “Buying sex from professionals is not sexual misconduct and women in Haiti may well have been glad to get the sex work. I hate prissy Establishment fiddle-faddle implying ‘development’ workers are ethical puritans or saints.”

Read the full article.

4) Racist threats expose 'something very rotten' in Sask., says Idle No More co-founder

CBC News

The fallout from Friday night's not guilty verdict in the Gerald Stanley trial is emboldening racism, say Indigenous people who say they have seen and felt the effects of threatening behaviour.

Read the full article.

5) 'Clearing the plains' continues with the acquittal of Gerald Stanley

David MacDonald, The National Post

The decision by an all-white jury, presided over by a white judge, to acquit the killer of Colten Boushie, a young Indigenous man from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan, is a severe test of the settler-based Canadian legal system.

Read the full article.

6) Cases like Colten Boushie's are handled unjustly, and there's nothing wrong with saying that

Neil Macdonald, CBC News

Juries will always bring their biases, racial and otherwise, to the deliberation room. We need to let Indigenous people bring theirs.

Read the full article.

7) Stanley trial highlights colonialism of Canadian media

Candis Callison & Mary-Lynn Young, The Conversation

What can the events surrounding Colten Boushie’s death, the trial verdict and its media coverage tell us about the role of journalism and journalists in relation to Indigenous concerns in Canada? All too much.

Read the full article.

8) Israel Police Recommend Charging Prime Minister Netanyahu With Bribery in Two Cases

Josh Breiner  and Revital Hovel, Haaretz

The Israeli police announced on Tuesday that there was sufficient evidence indicating Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took bribes in two separate cases and acted "against public interests."

Read the full article.

9) Justice Minister: Israel Must Keep Jewish Majority Even at the Expense of Human Rights

Revital Hovel, Haaretz

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said Monday that if not for the fence erected some years ago on the Egyptian border, “We would be seeing here a kind of creeping conquest from Africa.” The fence effectively stopped asylum-seekers from Sudan and Eritrea from entering the country.

Read the full article.

10) German cities to trial free public transport to cut pollution

Philip Oltermann, The Guardian

“Car nation” Germany has surprised neighbours with a radical proposal to reduce road traffic by making public transport free, as Berlin scrambles to meet EU air pollution targets and avoid big fines.

Read the full article.

11) Kimmel writer quotes every GOP lawmaker’s post-Florida ‘thoughts and prayers’ tweet — and how much money they took from the NRA

Noor Al-Sibai, Raw Story

As Republicans begin heaping “thoughts and prayers” on the families of the 17-plus people killed in Wednesday’s deadly shooting at a high school outside Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, a writer for Jimmy Kimmel Live! made sure to note how much each had taken from the National Rifle Association.

Read the full article.

12) America’s Failure to Protect Its Children from School Shootings Is a National Disgrace

 John Cassidy, The New Yorker

Early on Wednesday afternoon, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, in Parkland, Florida, had a fire drill, an eleventh-grader named Gabriella Figueroa told MSNBC’s Brian Williams. “Then we heard gunshots,” Figueroa said. “Then it went to code red. And then it was crazy.”

Read the full article.

13) This is America: 9 out of 10 public schools now hold mass shooting drills for students

 Alexia Fernández Campbell, Vox

"Are you kids good at running and screaming?" a police officer asks a class of elementary school kids in Akron, Ohio.

Read the full article.

14) 'We are going to be the last school shooting': Student survivors at Florida rally call for gun law changes

CBC News

Tearful student survivors of Wednesday's shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., were among speakers at an emotionally charged gun control rally Saturday outside a courthouse some 40 kilometres from where 17 people were killed.

Read the full article.

15) Teen who survived massacre rips Trump to pieces in emotional takedown

Oliver Willis, Shareblue Media

Emma Gonzalez issued a powerful cry at a Florida rally on gun violence, directly calling out Trump, the GOP, and the NRA for enabling the murder of children.

Read the full article/see the video.

16) Another Mass Shooting. Another Case in Which Signs of White Violence Didn’t Raise Alarms.

Shaun King, The Intercept

IT WAS TRUE for Dylann Roof in Charleston. It was true about for any number of violent white men in Charlottesville. And it was true for Nikolas Cruz in Parkland, Florida.

Read the full article.

17) Incels hail “our savior St. Nikolas Cruz” for Valentine’s Day school shooting 

David Futrelle, We Hunted the Mammoth

The Internet’s incels long ago adopted Isla Vista killer Elliot Rodger, the maladjusted twentysomething who murdered six in cold blood as a kind of revenge for his “involuntary celibacy,” as a patron saint of sorts.

Read the full article.

18) What Kind of Leader Is Patrick Brown?

Jen Gerson, The Walrus

Patrick brown still doesn’t get it. The former Ontario Progressive Conservative leader came forward this week to refute the explosive sexual-misconduct allegations that torpedoed his position as presumptive premier of the province. (The provincial election is in June.) In an exclusive Postmedia interview published on Saturday, he called the claims “absolute lies” and said that the situation was “an execution before the trial. It’s frontier justice.” This was followed by a Facebook post on Sunday morning, in which he wrote that “no words can describe the hurt and pain suffered by me and my family.” And that in turn was followed by another Facebook post on Wednesday, in which he added, “Here is my message to my accusers-both of them. If you truly stand by your allegations, then I urge you to contact Barrie Police and have them lay charges.…These types of allegations should be dealt with in a proper and fair forum.” Thursday, he announced that he was suing CTV, which originally published the allegations. (In another turn of events, Brown is now denying a separate report that he hadn’t, actually, resigned as leader; developments continue to unfold rapidly.)

Read the full article.

19) Patrick Brown enters the race for his old job, hours after the PC caucus turfed him

Robert Benzie, Rob Ferguson & Kristin Rushowy, The Toronto Star

Ousted former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown is running again for the right to battle Premier Kathleen Wynne in the June 7 election — even though he has been banished from the Tory caucus at Queen’s Park.

Read the full article.

20) Patrick Brown accusers stand by allegations

CTV News

The two women who accused former Progressive Conservative leader Patrick Brown of sexual misconduct are not backing down despite a concerted effort to refute their allegations and discredit them publicly with the help of a hired private investigator.

Read the full article.

21) 7 Disturbing Facts About the Fraser Institute

North 99

Most Canadians have heard of the Fraser Institute, the British Columbia-based “think tank”. Its reports and “studies” are often covered in the mainstream media as independent and objective.

Read the full article.

22) Canada vs. Venezuela: Have the Koch Brothers Captured Canada’s Left?

Joyce Nelson, Counterpunch

With a U.S.-backed military coup or invasion in Venezuela looking ever more likely, Canada’s progressive leftists are pushing for the federal New Democratic Party (NDP) to abandon its “reactionary” foreign policy position on that country. As well, at the annual NDP convention (February 15 – 18), the NDP Socialist Caucus will present a motion requesting the removal of NDP Foreign Affairs Critic Helene Laverdiere from that role.

Read the full article.

23) Has It Become NDP Policy to Support US-backed Coups in Latin America?

Yves Engler, Venezuela Analysis

The foreign policy critic for Canada's New Democratic Party (NDP), Hélène Laverdière, has certainly remained silent regarding US leaders musing about a military coup or invasion of Venezuela and has openly supported asphyxiating the left-wing government through other means.

Read the full article.

24) Unprecedented Support For Palestinian Cause At NDP Convention Blocked By Party Establishment Maneuvering


Independent Jewish Voice Canada is frustrated by anti-democratic steps taken by the NDP establishment to block a strong resolution supporting Palestinian rights from reaching the convention floor for debate. Instead, a much weaker resolution, which reflects the existing position the party has taken on Israel-Palestine, will be debated.

Read the full article.


Rebecca Solnit

This thing has gone too far. It has terrified people, driven them out of their workplaces and even professions, made them afraid to speak up and punished them for speaking. This thing, by which I mean misogyny and violence against women (and girls, and men, and boys, and even babies, but I’m going to skip the horrific baby story that was reported last week). The #MeToo upheaval is an attempt to address something old and deep and very destructive, and if you’ve forgotten how serious it is let’s take a visit to my favorite radical-feminist data center, the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics. There you can learn that there were an estimated 323,450 rapes or sexual assaults in 2016, as well as 1,109,610 reported incidents of domestic violence. Less than a quarter of those rapes are reported to police; slightly over half of the domestic violence incidents are.

Read the full article.

26) The Keynesian Counterrevolution

Mike Beggs, Jacobin

What is it about capitalism that makes Keynesianism a horizon even would-be revolutionaries have trouble seeing past?

Read the full article.

27) Ontario PC Leadership Candidate: School Children Are Too Distracted By ‘Anal Sex’ To Focus On Math

Press Progress

Just when you thought Ontario’s Progressive Conservatives had hit rock bottom, the Tories still find a way to dig themselves into a deeper hole.

Read the full article.

28) Elon Musk is Not the Future

Paris Marx, Jacobin

Silicon Valley has no shortage of big ideas for transportation. In their vision of the future, we’ll hail driverless pods to go short distances — we may even be whisked into a network of underground tunnels that will supposedly get us to our destinations more quickly — and for intercity travel, we’ll switch to pods in vacuum tubes that will shoot us to our destination at 760 miles (1,220 km) per hour.

Read the full article.


Natasha Lennard, The Intercept

IF A READER were to judge from popular media accounts, the biggest threat to university life and public discourse would be obvious: the left-wing students on campus fighting various forms of bigotry and other injustices. From liberal broadsheets to, commentators have taken up a strawman debate — largely shaped by the far right — about campus free speech. Tactics like “no-platforming” and physically confronting neo-Nazis have come under the liberal microscope; the ethics questioned, the proponents decried as the real fascistic force on campus.

Read the full article.


Idle No More

Thank you to those who contributed to the discussion guide.  The guide is meant as an open source resource.  If you have suggestions please email  Please feel free to share the discussion guide. It is meant to be a living document.

Read the full guide.

31) Paying for sex is always an abuse of power

Janice Turner, The Sunday Times

Kate Allen, the UK director of Amnesty International, was “shocked” by the Oxfam scandal, she told Woman’s Hour. She demanded an inquiry; for “lessons to be learnt”. I’d hoped Jenni Murray would follow through with a question: so what is Amnesty’s view on aid workers in poor countries paying women for sex? But she didn’t ask it, so I did.

Read the full article.

See also: Justice For Colten -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List February 4-11

See also: Police Violence and Misconduct, Colten Boushie, the Presumption of Innocence & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List January 28-February 4

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