Sunday, March 18, 2018

Doug Ford, Jagmeet Singh, the Tar Sands & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List March 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  March 11 - 18. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

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

1) Make catcalling a hate crime? First get current laws to work for women

Julie Bindel, The Guardian

With her call this week for the criminalisation of catcalling and other types of public sexist abuse, the Labour MP Melanie Onn has reopened the debate about how best to deal with the everyday harassment experienced by women and girls.

Read the full article.

2) We need to talk about sexual assault in marriage

Anonymous, Vox

Eight years into our marriage, sitting in a therapist’s office with my husband, I mustered all my courage and said my deepest, darkest truth: “When we have sex, I feel like I’m being violated.” The unwanted sex at times made me sick: Once I had to run straight from bed to the bathroom, where I retched into the toilet. I spared him and the therapist that detail.

Read the full article.

3) To Boldly Stay: How Deep Space Nine Upended Star Trek by Exposing Utopia's Dark Side

Eleanor Tremeer, io9

If you could condense Star Trek into one core principle, you’d probably choose “to boldly go,” the grand quest that has been the mandate of all Star Trek TV shows—except one. Riding the warp-trail of the groundbreaking Next Generation, Deep Space Nine first premiered 25 years ago, and the new show chose not to boldly go, but to boldly stay, with the story focusing on life aboard a space station. For many fans this seemed far too static, and the show faced a lot of criticism during its time on air. Yet Deep Space Nine only becomes more relevant as the years go by, as the series had a lot to say about the complacency of utopia—and there are many lessons within the show’s seven seasons that we still desperately need to learn, especially if we’re ever going to seek out new life among the stars.

Read the full article.

4) Pedestrian deaths won’t end as long as Toronto panders to cars and drivers

Brian Doucet, The Globe and Mail

More than one pedestrian a week has been killed on Toronto's streets this year. Toronto's leaders have responded to this crisis with pathetic and counterproductive ideas that placate drivers and their precious road spaces.

Read the full article.

5) China’s War on Pollution Will Change the World

 Jeff Kearns, Hannah Dormido and Alyssa McDonald, Bloomberg

China is cracking down on pollution like never before, with new green policies so hard-hitting and extensive they can be felt across the world, transforming everything from electric vehicle demand to commodities markets.

Read the full article.

6) India's Farmers March Under Red Flag, Demand Agrarian Reform


 A sea of hammer and sickles and red flags swept the Indian state of Maharastra, as Indian farmers protested neoliberal policies and demanded agrarian reform.

Read the full article.

7) Doug Ford drags the Ontario PCs further into the abyss

Randall Denley, The Ottawa Citizen

It was no surprise that the most dramatic six weeks in the history of Ontario politics would end with even more drama.  Doug Ford’s narrow victory at a convention where nothing went right was a fitting finale to the train wreck that has ensued since the Ontario Progressive Conservative executive, in its wisdom, decided that a quickie leadership race was just what the party needed.

Read the full article.

8) Doug Ford’s Minimum Wage Scheme Will Cost Workers $800 /Year

North 99

Doug Ford, Ontario’s new Conservative leader, has announced his plan for the minimum wage — and it’s not good news for workers.

Read the full article.

9) $15 minimum wage or a tax cut: what are the trade-offs?

Sheila Block, Behind the Numbers

In the lead up to the June 7th election in Ontario, the minimum wage continues to be a hot button issue.

Read the full article.

10) Minimum wage bump means $1,500 more a year for low-income workers, economist says

Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star

Progressive Conservative leader Doug Ford calls the Liberal and NDP pledge to increase rates to $15 an hour by 2019 a tax grab. According to economist Sheila Block, the move would mean an extra $1,465 in the pockets of the working poor.

Read the full article.

11) Progressive Conservatives outline plan for northern Ontario

CBC News

The leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party is promising to move the Ring of Fire mining project forward immediately if elected.

Read the full article.

12) 'A Wrinkle in Time' isn't a film for critics. It's Ava DuVernay's love letter to black girls.

Aramide A. Tinubu, NBC News

It was never going to be an easy task for acclaimed filmmaker Ava DuVernay to bring “A Wrinkle in Time” to the big screen; with 26 rejections, author Madeleine L’Engle had a tumultuous journey to get her story published at all. The acclaimed children’s book tells the story of teenager Meg Murry (portrayed now by Storm Reid) as she grapples with the pitfalls of adolescence while coming to terms with the disappearance of her physicist father, Dr. Alex Murry (portrayed by Chris Pine). Though L’Engle‘s story seems straightforward on the surface, Meg’s journey to find her father is full of intrigue, theoretical physics, science fiction and an earnest nod toward love and light.

Read the full article.

13) Tina Fontaine Is Further Proof That Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls Need Justice

Nahanni Fontaine, Teen Vogue

In this op-ed, Nahanni Fontaine, longtime advocate for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG) and New Democratic Party Member of Legislative Assembly for St. Johns, explains how the death of 15-year-old Tina Fontaine mobilized a movement, despite no justice from the courts.

Read the full article.

14) Ontario coroner finds ‘potential’ crime in review of foster care deaths

 Kenneth Jackson, APTN

An investigation into the deaths of children living in residential care, including seven Indigenous children, has found potential criminality according to Ontario’s chief coroner.

Read the full article.

15) B.C.'s child representative 'appalled' after ministry's apprehension of Indigenous baby

Angela Sterritt, CBC News

The chief councillor of the Huu-ay-aht Nation on Vancouver Island says the number of children in his nation being taken into provincial care has reached a crisis level.

Read the full article.

16) Instead of being in jail, Haspel is CIA director

Heather Mallick, The Toronto Star

The new CIA director, Gina Haspel, is a torturer. Her office skill set includes overseeing torture and taunting victims as they lie gasping and near death. President Trump is revving up Big Torture again.

Read the full article.

17) Ontario NDP has no answers for Toronto’s homeless death crisis

Mitchell Thompson, Canadian Dimension

Toronto’s homeless death crisis is the sort of social catastrophe the Ontario NDP was created to fight. Yet, the current party is offering little in the way of solutions.

Read the full article.

18) James Laxer on Canadian social democracy

Matt Fodor, Rabble

In this wide-ranging interview, conducted in April 2014, James Laxer discusses his personal history and involvement in the NDP and the Waffle, the ideological trajectory of Canadian social democracy and the continuing relevance of a socialist vision for the future.

Read the full interview.

19) By Glorifying Churchill, Britain Is Committing New Crimes Against India

Bedatri Datta Choudhury, BuzzFeed

In a post-Brexit cultural crisis, Britain is using cinema to glorify its past, even when that means glorifying a racist, evil man who let millions of Indians die.

Read the full article.

20) Sorry Alberta, BC Will Not Pay for Your Bungling

Mitchell Anderson, The Tyee

Last month Suncor announced it was eliminating 400 bitumen-mining jobs by purchasing self-driving ore trucks. This is only the latest indignity (or “efficiency” as industry calls it) for a sector that produces more carbon and less and less employment and public revenue.

Read the full article.

21) The fatal flaw of Alberta's oil expansion

Paul McKay, National Observer

Two weeks ago, the first supertanker capable of holding two million barrels of oil departed for the first time from America’s newly upgraded—and only—terminal able to dock and load crude-carrying behemoths of this size. Bound for China, the inaugural run signals a major shift in global oil shipping patterns, economics, and the highly competitive oil refinery business.

Read the full article.

22) Employers are firing injured workers unjustly — and getting away with it

Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star

An injured steel worker fired for taking a side job in exchange for food, after his employer didn’t pay him and he couldn’t afford to eat.

Read the full article.

23) When men remind feminists that grooming is worse than groping, they reveal their complicity

Glosswitch, The New Statesman

Andrew Neil and Piers Morgan berate women for calling out sexism that they see as minor. But what have they ever done for women’s refuges or FGM victims?

Read the full article.

24) The Iraq Death Toll 15 Years After the U.S. Invasion

Medea Benjamin and Nicolas J.S. Davies, Truthdig 

March 19 marks 15 years since the U.S.-U.K invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the American people have no idea of the enormity of the calamity the invasion unleashed. The U.S. military has refused to keep a tally of Iraqi deaths. General Tommy Franks, the man in charge of the initial invasion, bluntly told reporters, “We don’t do body counts.” One survey found that most Americans thought Iraqi deaths were in the tens of thousands. But our calculations, using the best information available, show a catastrophic estimate of 2.4 million Iraqi deaths since the 2003 invasion.

Read the full article.

25) On 10th Anniversary of Wall Street Crash, Democrats Help GOP Set Stage for Next One

Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

Democrats had the power to stop a massive big bank giveaway from passing the Senate Wednesday night, but instead they decided—with a "green light" from Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y)—to hand the GOP more than enough votes to ram the deregulatory bill through instead, commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 2008 financial crisis by significantly increasing the risk of another one.

Read the full article.

26) Canada on wrong side of Venezuelan conflict

Linda McQuaig, The Toronto Star

What’s going on in Venezuela is a bitter class war, with millions of poor people committed to defending a revolution carried out in their name, and Canada taking the side of the wealthy, well-armed opposition.

Read the full article.

27) The truth behind the story engulfing Canada's Sikh politicians

Sandy Garossino, National Observer

So, the Trudeau India debacle just keeps on spreading, and is now engulfing Jagmeet Singh. This thing isn't over yet. Not by a long shot.

Read the full article.

28) Let's expose mainstream media nonsense about NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh

Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight

This week, the national Canadian media worked itself up into a lather over NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh's previous public appearances alongside Sikh nationalists.

Read the full article.

29) Sikh Perspective Too Often Missing From Canadian Coverage Of Sikhs

Jaskaran Sandhu, Canadaland 

Some veteran reporters show outright hostility, as if their 30-year-old notes have finally become topical again, and they can dust them off for one more go.

Read the full article.

30) Jeremy Corbyn is right about Russia

Melanie McDonagh, The Spectator

Either way, I can’t help thinking that Jeremy Corbyn cuts a more convincing figure in this awful affair than either Mrs May or poor Gavin Williamson who told the Russians they should ‘just shut up’. Show how it’s done, Gavin; show how it’s done.

Read the full article.

31) Stunned viewers say BBC Newsnight crossed the line with last night’s assault on Jeremy Corbyn

Tracy Keeling, The Canary

BBC Newsnight stunned viewers with its coverage of Jeremy Corbyn on 15 March. They are saying the BBC crossed a line by portraying the Labour leader as a “Lenin wannabe” in its coverage of his response to the Salisbury poisoning.

Read the full article.

32) ‘Even today, after a century of feminism, we can’t fully be ourselves’

Elena Ferrante, The Guardian

On principle, I refuse to speak badly of another woman, even if she has offended me intolerably. It’s a position that I feel obliged to take precisely because I’m well aware of the situation of women: it’s mine, I observe it in others, and I know that there is no woman who does not make an enormous, exasperating effort to get to the end of the day. Poor or affluent, ignorant or educated, beautiful or ugly, famous or unknown, married or single, working or unemployed, with children or without, rebellious or obedient, we are all deeply marked by a way of being in the world that, even when we claim it as ours, is poisoned at the root by millennia of male domination.

Read the full article.

33) Cuba: Economic Reforms Bring First Wholesale Food Market


Amid talks of economic reforms in Cuba, the country inaugurated Mercabal, its first wholesale food market on Saturday. The move is a part of border modifications being made to the country's economy by Cuban President Raul Castro.

Read the full article.

34) Another Salvadoran Woman Freed After Years in Jail for Stillbirth


In 1998, the Central American country passed a draconian law preventing women to abort under any circumstance, even if it was to save her own life.

Read the full article.

See also: The Crimes of Churchill, Colten Boushie, IWD Strikes & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List March 4 - 11

See also: The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List February 18 - March 4, with a Special Memorial Section for James Laxer

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