Sunday, November 11, 2018

US Midterms, Climate Change, Mass Shootings & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos November 4 - 11

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

This list covers the week of November 4 - 11.

1) U.S. militia groups head to border, stirred by Trump’s call to arms

Mary Lee Grant & Nick Miroff, The Washington Post

Gun-carrying civilian groups and border vigilantes have heard a call to arms in President Trump’s warnings about threats to American security posed by caravans of Central American migrants moving through Mexico. They’re packing coolers and tents, oiling rifles and tuning up aerial drones, with plans to form caravans of their own and trail American troops to the border.

People build the companies not the CEO's.

Venezuela Analysis

The Venezuelan President warned "U.S. imperialism is emboldened" and urged more unity for a peaceful Latin America.

Venezuela Analysis

President Nicolas Maduro described the U.S. sanctions on Venezuela as "crazy" and "criminal."

Raúl Antonio Capote, Granma 

U.S. National Security Adviser, John Bolton, announced September 20 that President Donald Trump had signed the plan for the new National Cyber Strategy that officially authorizes the U.S. government to conduct offensive cyber attacks.

Nathan Street, Counterfire 

There's just 12 years left to keep our environmental inhabitable. Campaigning from below is crucial; we can't depend on the climate dealmakers.

Richard L. Hasen, Slate 

In perhaps the most outrageous example of election administration partisanship in the modern era, Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who is running for governor while simultaneously in charge of the state’s elections, has accused the Democratic Party without evidence of hacking into the state’s voter database. He plastered a headline about it on the Secretary of State’s website, which thousands of voters use to get information about voting on election day.

Ben White, Al Jazeera 

Only 25 percent of US liberals view Israel as an ally, poll shows, as issue of support becomes increasingly partisan.

Alana Prochuk & Kasari Govender 

There is something disconcerting about the #MeToo movement. It’s not that it’s a scary time for men or that it’s a witch hunt. It’s not that it throws due process and the presumption of innocence to the wind.

It’s the backlash.

Democracy Now

Two women were shot and killed at a yoga studio in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday when a far-right extremist and self-proclaimed misogynist entered a yoga class and opened fire. Forty-year-old gunman Scott Beierle murdered 61-year-old Nancy Van Vessem, a medical doctor and a faculty member at Florida State University, and Florida State University student 21-year-old Maura Binkley in the deadly shooting. He critically injured four other women, including one woman who was shot nine times. Beierle also pistol-whipped a man in the rampage before turning the gun on himself. Police say Beierle was found dead at the yoga studio from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Beierle had a track record of attacking women, black people and immigrants via online videos and songs and had previously been investigated for harassing women and arrested at least twice, once on allegations of battery against women. We speak with Soraya Chemaly in Washington, D.C. She is a longtime writer and feminist activist and author of the new book “Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women’s Anger.” She is also director of the Women’s Media Center Speech Project.

Dan La Botz, Socialist Project Bullet 

Thousands of Google employees throughout the United States and around the world walked off their jobs on November 1, “to protest sexual harassment, misconduct, lack of transparency, and a workplace that doesn’t work for everyone.” Beginning in Tokyo and working its way around the globe the movement closed Google offices from Mountain View, California, in Boulder and New York, as well as in London, Dublin, Zurich and Berlin.

Travis Dhanraj, Global News

Global News has learned from multiple sources that two senior members of Premier Doug Ford’s inner circle were forced to resign Friday due to allegations of sexually inappropriate behaviour.

Rob Ferguson & Robert Benzie, The Toronto Star 

At least five female Progressive Conservative staffers received sexually inappropriate texts with photos attached from a former top aide to Premier Doug Ford, sources told the Star.

Toronto Star Editorial Board

Let’s say it plainly: the Ford government tried to mislead the public over why veteran minister Jim Wilson quit the Ontario cabinet.

Press Progress

Progressive Conservative MPP Rick Nicholls felt a little too under the weather to answer questions about why Doug Ford is ending paid sick days in Ontario.

Zoltan Grossman, Counterpunch 

Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller are very possibly advising President Trump to follow the Hungarian Model in confronting refugees at the southern border, in order to win wider support for his far-right authoritarian policies. Trump is now exactly following the playbook of far-right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who in 2015-16 deployed national police and army troops to the southern contiguous boundary of the EU, on the Serbian border. They interned Syrian and other Muslim refugees in cages, police beat refugees, troops built a barbed-wire fence, and fascist vigilantes threatened other migrants. A media photographer who tripped a Syrian father at the border was arrested, but last week had her conviction overturned. To respond to police violence and harassment as they tried to board trains at the Eastern Train Station in Budapest, and to find greater safety in numbers, the Muslim refugees held a dramatic march to a refuge across the Austrian border, in a scene that closely resembles the Central American refugee caravan.

 Catherine Rottenberg, Al Jazeera

Most of the women running for office in the November midterms in the US are unlikely to challenge the status quo.

 Martin Varese & Michael Blosser, Telesur 

The White House's Council of Economic Advisers (CEA) released a report earlier this week on "The Opportunity Costs of Socialism," apparently based on the fact that "coincident with the 200th anniversary of Karl Marx’s birth, socialism is making a comeback in American political discourse," even though Marx's birth was in May (1818).


A group of youths who identify as LGBT cross the road and seek out shelter at a distance from the larger group of thousands of Central American migrants who are moving north towards the U.S. border.

Monica Davey, The New York Times

Scott Walker, who moved Wisconsin to the right over the last eight years, cutting taxes and sharply diminishing the power of labor unions, conceded the governor’s race on Wednesday to the Democrat, Tony Evers, the state schools superintendent.

Historic U.S. midterm elections for women, LGBT, and other minority groups.

20) Trump loses Congress, but the Democrats are not the winners

Shabbir Lakha, Counterfire 

Last night's results show increasing polarisation in US politics, with establishment politics the loser.

21) Republicans Lost The House, But That Won’t Stop Them From Confirming Judges In The Senate

Zoe Tillman, BuzzFeed

A divided Congress will make it tougher for Trump and Republicans to pass legislation. But they only need control of the Senate to keep confirming federal judges to lifetime appointments.

22) Ten Commandments amendment overwhelmingly approved

John Sharp,

Alabama voters overwhelmingly supported an amendment to the state’s 1901 Constitution authorizing public displays of the Ten Commandments.

23) A Winning Idea: Medicaid Expansion Prevails In Idaho, Nebraska And Utah

Alison Kodjak, NPR

Voters in three traditionally Republican states supported ballot measures to extend Medicaid benefits to more low-income adults.

24) Big Oil Won Big In The Midterm Elections

Zahra Hirji & Dan Vergano, BuzzFeed

Some high-profile environmental initiatives fared badly in the 2018 midterms, with votes on climate taxes, environmental checks on oil drilling, and energy standards all falling short.


David Dayen, The Intercept

THE MOST HIGH-PROFILE bipartisan legislation of the Trump era turned out to be electoral poison — or at least, not a prophylactic — for the Senate Democrats who decided to support it, which could serve as a lesson for party leaders wishing to join with the president on other bills next year.

26) The midterms show Trump might not get re-elected in 2020

Simon Rosenberg, Al Jazeera

Contrary to what President Donald Trump has claimed, this was a bad election for him.

27) Jeff Sessions Forced Out As Attorney General After Constant Criticism From Trump

Carrie Johnson, NPR

Jeff Sessions, the president's earliest and most fervent supporter in Congress, resigned under pressure as attorney general on Wednesday after brutal criticism from the president, bringing an abrupt end to his controversial tenure as the nation's top law enforcement officer.

Adam Hunter · CBC News 

Saskatchewan has become the first Canadian province to introduce legislation allowing police to warn partners of someone's violent or abusive past.

The Guardian

Jean-Luc Melenchon, the head of the hard-left France Insoumise (France Unbowed) party, wrote on Twitter: “Marshal Joffre was the military victor of the 1914-18 war. Pétain was a traitor and an antisemite. His crimes and his betrayal cannot be erased from history. Macron, this time, you’ve gone too far.”


Senator Olga Sanchez Cordero, a prominent member of Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s National Renewal Movement (Morena) and future interior minister, presented a bill to decriminalize the use and commercialization of cannabis under a strict legal regulation, somehow following the example of Uruguay and Canada.

Ramzy Baroud, Middle East Monitor 

When Israeli troops stormed the house of Palestinian parliamentarian and lawyer Khalida Jarrar on 2 April, 2015, she was engrossed in her research. For months, she had been leading a Palestinian effort to take Israel to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Her research on that very evening was related directly to the kind of behaviour that allows a group of soldiers to handcuff a respected Palestinian intellectual, throw her in jail with no trial and have no accountability for their action.

As climate change escalates over the next 30 years, California is expected to see a 70 percent decline in area currently suitable for growing wine grapes.

32) Tony Clement's 'Weird On Instagram' Reputation Isn't New, Women Claim

Zi-Ann Lum, HuffPost 

When news broke Tuesday evening about Conservative MP Tony Clement's sexting, Claire McWatt wasn't surprised.

33) Shed no tears for Tony Clement

Bill Kelly, Global News

As more details come to light, it's clear that the main cause of the meteoric demise of disgraced MP Tony Clement is, Tony Clement.

34) Canada's Trudeau condemns BDS in apology to Jewish WWII refugees

Middle East Eye

Justin Trudeau used an apology for Canada’s historical rejection of Jewish refugees during World War II to condemn the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian human rights.

35) Deb Haaland, One of Nation’s First Native Congresswomen, Calls for Probe of Missing Indigenous Women

Democracy Now

Two Native American women have made history in the midterms, becoming the nation’s first Native congresswomen. Democrat Sharice Davids won the 3rd Congressional District in Kansas, unseating Republican Kevin Yoder. In New Mexico, Democrat Deb Haaland won in the 1st Congressional District, defeating Republican Janice Arnold-Jones. They will join more than 100 women in the U.S. House of Representatives—another historic first. We speak to Deb Haaland about her plans for Congress, the crisis of missing and murdered Native American women around the country, and whether she’ll attempt to impeach Donald Trump.

36) The Monster Has Awoken: the Last Testimony of Murdered Campesino Leader Luis Fajardo

Venezuela Analysis 

The communist leader was gunned down last Wednesday alongside his brother-in-law for their leading roles in the local land struggle. The ex-landlord has been accused.

37) David Attenborough has betrayed the living world he loves

George Monbiot, The Guardian

Knowingly creating a false impression of the world: this is a serious matter. It is more serious still when the BBC does it, and yet worse when the presenter is “the most trusted man in Britain”. But, as his latest interview with the Observer reveals, David Attenborough sticks to his line that fully representing environmental issues is a “turn-off”.

38) 'Without this I'd be dead': The Americans forced to wait outside for days to receive basic healthcare in pop-up hospitals

Lucy Anna Gray, The Independent

Camped out in below-freezing temperatures, Jo sits shivering in her tent. She’s been waiting outside for 36 hours. The 60-year-old grandmother is legally blind and relies on a wheelchair to get around due to metal bone replacements across huge swathes of her body.

Jason Gutierrez, The New York Times

One of the founding members of a Philippine lawyers’ group at the forefront of opposing President Rodrigo Duterte’s lethal war on drugs was gunned down on Tuesday, killed by three bullets as he was leaving his office for the night.

Anna Pigott, The Conversation 

The latest Living Planet report from the WWF makes for grim reading: a 60% decline in wild animal populations since 1970, collapsing ecosystems, and a distinct possibility that the human species will not be far behind. The report repeatedly stresses that humanity’s consumption is to blame for this mass extinction, and journalists have been quick to amplify the message. The Guardian headline reads “Humanity has wiped out 60% of animal populations”, while the BBC runs with “Mass wildlife loss caused by human consumption”. No wonder: in the 148-page report, the word “humanity” appears 14 times, and “consumption” an impressive 54 times.

Will Evans, Reveal News

When a worker gets smashed by a car part on Tesla’s factory floor, medical staff are forbidden from calling 911 without permission.

Melia Robinson, Skye Gould and Samantha Lee, Business Insider

The number of mass shootings in the US this year has already reached 307.

Vanessa Romo, NPR

The Borderline Bar & Grill could be counted on for a good time.

Nurith Aizenman, NPR

Every fall the University of Washington produces a report comparing the past year's rate of gun violence in the United States to the rates in other countries.

People's Voice

Tens of thousands of people took to the streets of Sao Paolo in Brazil’s first major demonstration since far-right Jair Bolsonaro’s presidential election victory. The protest was organised by the Brazil Popular Front, a federation of hundreds of social movement organisations, including the Landless Workers Movement (MST), the Urban Homeless Workless Movement, trade unions and student groups.

Helen Pike, CBC News

A federal judge in Montana filed an injunction to stop construction on the TransCanada Keystone XL pipeline on Thursday.

Scotty Hertz, Rank and File

I try not to tell people what I do for a living right away because that conversation will immediately turn to the work I’m supposed to stop by and do for them in the evening or on my day off. My absolute favourite demand for service was made during a Labour Day session at my local pub, when an acquaintance saddled up and said “You’re an electrician? Good, I need one fast and cheap! I’m flipping a house! I’ve got beer!”

A new list emerged on social media designating new enemies of Brazil's President-elected.


David Brennan, Newsweek 

The U.S. Navy faces allegations that one of its ships—the USNS Trenton—ignored distress calls from a sinking migrant dinghy that capsized in the Mediterranean Sea in June, killing 76 people.

49) Social assistance recipients met with locked doors and police officer at MPP's office

Dan Taekema · CBC News 

About two dozen anxious social assistance recipients who gathered outside MPP Donna Skelly's office Friday were met with locked doors, pulled blinds and a police officer.

In November 1971, Fidel Castro made a historic visit to Salvador Allende's Chile. In this excerpt, the two socialists discuss the obstacles of their revolutions and the threat of counter-revolution.


Melissa del Bosque, The Intercept

THE FIRST NEW segment of border wall to be constructed under President Trump will bisect a butterfly conservation center, a historic church, and a state park along the Texas border. The construction is set to begin in February.

51) Major Brazilian Television Channel Relaunches Dictatorship Slogan

New Militant 

One of Brazil's largest television channels, SBT, has launched a two part spot which pays homage to the most bloody period of the military dictatorship which ruled from 1964-1985.

See also: Bolsonaro's Victory, Trump and Pittsburgh, Honduran Migrants & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos October 28 - November 4

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