Sunday, December 9, 2018

George Bush War Criminal, Doug Ford Fiasco, Yellow Vests & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos December 2 - 9

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 week's installment begins with selections of articles related to telling the truth about war criminal George Bush, the Doug Ford goat show in Ontario and the Yellow Vest uprising in France.

This list covers the week of December 2 - 9.

1) Mehdi Hasan on George H.W. Bush’s Ignored Legacy: War Crimes, Racism and Obstruction of Justice

Democracy Now

George H.W. Bush died in Houston on Friday night at the age of 94. Bush was elected the 41st president of the United States in 1988, becoming the first and only former CIA director to lead the country. He served as Ronald Reagan’s vice president from 1981 to 1989. Since Bush’s death, the media has honored the former president by focusing on his years of service and his call as president for a kinder, gentler America. But the headlines have largely glossed over and ignored other parts of Bush’s legacy. We look at the 1991 Gulf War, Bush’s pardoning of six Reagan officials involved in the Iran-Contra scandal and how a racist election ad helped him become president. We speak with Intercept columnist Mehdi Hasan. His latest piece is titled “The Ignored Legacy of George H.W. Bush: War Crimes, Racism, and Obstruction of Justice.”

Via Red Toronto on Facebook
2) 'Kinder Gentler Indifference': Activists Challenge George H.W. Bush's Record On AIDS

Camila Domonoske, NPR

As the remains of former President George H.W. Bush lie in state at the U.S. Capitol, LGBTQ activists and some journalists have been calling attention to his mixed legacy on the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which was raging during his administration.

3) George H.W. Bush’s record: Nothing to celebrate

Mark Gruenberg, NPR

The old Latin phrase is “De mortuis nil nisi bonum,” translated as “speak nothing but good of the dead,” but when it comes to George H. W. Bush, the 41st president of the U.S., who died last week, you really – despite the blather being aired – can’t apply that.

4) Greg Grandin: George H.W. Bush’s 1989 Invasion of Panama Set the Stage for U.S. Wars to Come

Democracy Now

The death of George H.W. Bush has dominated the U.S. news for days, but little attention has been paid to the defining event of Bush’s first year in office: the invasion of Panama. On December 19, 1989, Bush Sr. sent tens of thousands of troops into Panama, ostensibly to execute an arrest warrant against its leader, Manuel Noriega, on charges of drug trafficking. General Noriega was once a close ally to Washington and on the CIA payroll. In a nationally televised address, Bush claimed the invasion was needed to defend democracy in Panama. During the attack, the U.S. unleashed a force of 24,000 troops equipped with highly sophisticated weaponry and aircraft against a country with an army smaller than the New York City Police Department. An estimated 3,000 Panamanians died in the attack. We speak with historian Greg Grandin, prize-winning author and professor of Latin American history at New York University, on the lasting impact of the Panama invasion.

5) George H.W. Bush Empowered Atrocity Abroad and Fascists at Home

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

The television spent the entire weekend reminding me that George Herbert Walker Bush loved his country, his wife, his children, his grandchildren, his great-grandchildren, his dog, the city of Houston, the town of Kennebunkport, baseball, football, golf and so very much else besides.

6) How False Testimony and a Massive U.S. Propaganda Machine Bolstered George H.W. Bush’s War on Iraq

Democracy Now

As the media memorializes George H.W. Bush, we look at the lasting impact of his 1991 invasion of Iraq and the propaganda campaign that encouraged it. Although the Gulf War technically ended in February of 1991, the U.S. war on Iraq would continue for decades, first in the form of devastating sanctions and then in the 2003 invasion launched by George W. Bush. Thousands of U.S. troops and contractors remain in Iraq. A largely forgotten aspect of Bush Sr.'s war on Iraq is the vast domestic propaganda effort before the invasion began. We look at the way U.S. media facilitated the war on Iraq with journalist John “Rick” MacArthur, president and publisher of Harper's Magazine and the author of the book “Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War.”

7) Scandals reveal conflict, corruption and cult of personality surrounding Doug Ford

Enzo DiMatteo, NOW Magazine 

It took a year into Rob’s scandalous tenure as mayor before the wheels started coming off and Rob became a lame duck leader, no good to anybody. Doug is on his way. His decisions are not only bringing the workings of government into disrepute, they're costing taxpayers a bundle. That shit-eating grin he’s been walking around with since election day has turned into a sneer. Doug is looking a little nervous. And now he has declared war on the Queen's Park "media party," so it's only bound to get uglier. Question is, who's going to stop him?

8) Qualifications lowered for OPP commissioner job, allowing Ford family friend to apply

Marieke Walsh, iPolitics 

When the top job with the Ontario Provincial Police was posted in October, Ron Taverner couldn’t apply, because his rank was too low.

9) New OPP commissioner bought top Ford staffer’s house

Laura Stone & Jill Mahoney, The Globe and Mail

Connections between the Ontario Premier’s office and the newly appointed commissioner of the Ontario Provincial Police include a real estate deal with one of Doug Ford’s closest advisers.

10) Doug Ford to attend controversial Christian conservative leader's Christmas party

City News

Doug Ford plans to attend Charles McVety's Christmas party. McVety is a Christian conservative leader who has extreme views on issues such as the Pride parade and creationism.

11) Ford government's top political staff hold 'secretive' meeting with business leaders

Mike Crawley · CBC News 

The top political aides for nearly every cabinet minister in the Ontario government and more than a dozen of Premier Doug Ford's staff meet with business leaders tonight in an event that is being shielded from the public, CBC News has learned.

12) That ‘red tape’ Ford is cutting? It was meant to protect the environment, workers, lives

Edward Keenan, The Toronto Star

Pretty much everyone hates “red tape.” The problem is, we don’t all agree on what it is.

13) Ontarians, we’re all living in a Dukes of Hazzard show now

Stephen Maher, Maclean's 

Lately, whenever I see Ontario Premier Doug Ford on TV I think of Boss Hogg, the villain in The Dukes of Hazzard, a TV series that was popular in my youth.

14) Toronto outraged after Ontario government moves to scrap environmental protections

Lauren O'Neil, Blog TO

New legislation meant to make things easier for businesses to operate in Ontario is being condemned this week by environmental, labour and consumer protection groups for its potentially deadly impacts on everyday citizens.

Police beat a yellow vest demonstrator as Paris burned over the weekend. #GiletsJaunes

15) French protests surge as CP elects new leader

Emile Schepers, CPUSA

For the past week, there have been militant “yellow vest” protests in the streets of Paris and other cities over increased fuel taxes and other government policies seen as hurting the working class.  In response to the protests, the French Communist Party has called on the Macron government to resign.  Communist deputies in the French parliament are asking socialist and other progressive legislators to join their call for a no-confidence vote.  The French CP on  November 20, elected journalist and parliamentarian Fabien Roussel  as its new National Secretary.  He succeeds Pierre Laurent, who has been the National Secretary since 2010.

16) 'We Are In a State of Insurrection': Deep Inequality and Macron's Dedication to Elites Fuel Yellow Vest Uprising in France

Julia Conley, Common Dreams

After more than two weeks of protests over high fuel prices and intensifying inequality across France under centrist President Emmanuel Macron, the French government announced Tuesday that it would suspend planned price hikes for gas and electricity—but the demands of the so-called "Yellow Vest" protesters have become more broad, and more broadly embraced, as the demonstrations have swelled in size and energy.

17) Kemal Okuyan writes: "Yellow vests - Red flags"

Kemal Okuyan, SOL International

"France is unable to go forward, unhappy today, unwilling to go back, and thus trapped! It is a situation of indecisiveness that contains both moving forward and going back"

18) French parliament’s left parties to discuss vote of no confidence against government

Russia Today

At least three left-wing parties at the French parliament have agreed to discuss a vote of no confidence against the government amid sweeping protests, against Macron’s policies, which have gripped the country.

19) ‘Final outcome’: France to deploy 89,000 cops as protesters plan massive Saturday demonstration

Russia Today

With protesters planning to converge in the Elysee Palace in Paris on Saturday, French authorities are preparing to deploy 8,000 additional officers in Paris and 89,000 nationwide.

20) France protests: Footage of students 'humiliated' by police

BBC News

Footage of school students being forced to kneel with their hands behind their heads by French riot police has sparked outrage on social media.

21) French police fire tear gas at protesters in central Paris

Al Jazeera

Police fired tear gas canisters and pepper spray at 'yellow vest' protesters in central Paris and other parts of France on Saturday during demonstrations against the high cost of living.

22) Macron to meet unions as pressure over 'gilets jaunes' grows

Saskya Vandoorne and James Masters, CNN

France's beleaguered President Emmanuel Macron will hold talks with business leaders and trade unions Monday after a fourth weekend of protests that have challenged his grip on power.

23) CNN Fired Marc Lamont Hill to Comfort Conservative Snowflakes

Eric Levitz, New York Mag

For over half a century, Palestinians in the West Bank have been living under an illegal military occupation — one that provides their Jewish neighbors with the franchise and basic civil rights, while providing them with neither. In recent years, this de facto apartheid rule has been shading into the de jure variety. In 2017, the Israeli Knesset (i.e. parliament) enacted a law that instructs its army to confiscate privately owned Palestinian land, and transfer it to Israeli settlers. As Michael Sfard observed in the New York Review of Books, “This law is not only a naked sanction of land theft; it is also an unprecedented imposition of Knesset legislation on Palestinians who have no parliamentary representation.”

24) The Harsh and Unjust Punishment of Marc Lamont Hill

David Palumbo-Liu, The Nation

The attacks on the professor are a threat to academic freedom and the criticism of Israeli human-rights abuses.

25) 'Their ideas had no place here': how Crete kicked out Golden Dawn

Jessica Bateman, The Guardian

Teachers and activists in Heraklion explain how they drove the ultra-nationalist, far-right Greek party from the island.

26) Cuban Doctors in Bolivia Celebrate Latin American Medicine Day


Bolivia’s Cuban Medical Brigade (BMC) celebrated Monday the Day of Latin American Medicine and committed to extending their humanitarian work to the neediest.

27) Huge turnout for solidarity with Latin America at a crucial time

Cuba Solidarity Campaign

A huge turnout of around 600 people attended the 14th annual Latin America Congress at the TUC’s Congress House in central London – the biggest annual event of its kind in Britain – featuring over 75 politicians, trade unionists, ambassadors, academics, journalists and activist speakers including Dr Mariela Castro, Director of CENESEX (National Centre for Sex Education) and Cuban MP and a special video message from Jeremy Corbyn MP, Leader of the Labour Party.

28) Brazil will miss Cuban doctors


In the wake of Cuba’s withdrawal from the Brazilian More Doctors program, Former President Dilma Rousseff stated, “The end of the agreement was caused by the intemperate statements of President-elect Jair Bolsonaro.”


Josh Brady, Look Left

The second world war had a profound impact on Germany. Many hundreds of thousands were homeless, much of the infrastructure was destroyed, and 4,3 million displaced Germans from partitioned territory entered the the DDR. The Socialist Unity Party (SED) felt a responsibility to rebuild from the ruins. It was also an opportunity to demonstrate the value of a mass public housing project delivered by the state which would be publicly owned.

30) The Trump Administration Is Considering Making People Pay For The Right To Apply For Asylum

Hamed Aleaziz, BuzzFeed

The Trump administration is considering charging immigrants a fee to apply for asylum protection in the United States, according to sources close to the administration.

Robyn Allan, National Observer 

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley is aggressively advancing a false narrative about heavy oil’s deep discount. She presents the problem in two parts, neither of which stand up to scrutiny.

Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star

Activists are calling on the executive director of Pride Toronto to resign after an “undemocratic” and chaotic annual general meeting Tuesday shut down debate on the organization’s controversial decision to allow the Toronto Police Service to participate in next year’s Pride parade.

Jacob Boon, The Coast

Minimum wage workers in Nova Scotia could see a big bump in pay next year, if the province follows through with new recommendations from its minimum wage review committee. 

Peter Zimonjic · CBC News 

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer is being called out by a former immigration minister in Stephen Harper's government for factual inaccuracies in a public statement Scheer made Tuesday in which he called on the Liberals to reject a UN agreement on migration.

"Since our leaders are behaving like children, we will have to take the responsiblity they should have taken long ago."

15-year-old activist Greta Thunberg has inspired a global movement demanding action on climate change.

35) Colombian Senator Denounces Murders of Social Leaders


Murders and threats against social leaders and human rights defenders, especially in the rural areas of Colombia, have increased despite the peace agreement signed two years ago.

36) This GM plant closure is hitting younger employees hardest

Anne Gaviola, Vice News

Working at GM runs in Adria Wilson’s family. Her younger brother Kyle and her 58-year-old father work at the company’s Oshawa, Ontario facility. Her maternal grandfather is now retired, but used to be a GM employee and so did her uncle, who has since passed away.

37) Oshawa and Postal Workers: Big and Small Lies We Accept

Harry Glasbeek, Socialist Project Bullet 

In 1979, Canada’s postal union (CUPW) bargained and bargained with the employer. Eventually, having exhausted all possibilities, it made the decision, supported by a huge majority of its voting members, that its members would no longer provide their services on the basis of the existing terms and conditions of the now expired collective agreement. Workers had determined, democratically, not to sell their labour power on those terms. In a liberal democracy, they had every right to take such a decision. Only a slave society would deny them this right.

38) Luxembourg to become first country to make all public transport free

Daniel Boffey, The Guardian

Luxembourg is set to become the first country in the world to make all its public transport free.

39) Outrage after British MP suggests Irish food shortages could be used to force EU to drop Brexit backstop

Pat Flanagan, The Irish Mirror

A TORY MP’s claim that fears of food shortages here after Brexit should have been used to force the Ireland to drop its border backstop have been described as “despicable”.

40) Tell your MP to overturn Bill C-89 & protect the right to strike!


Labour rights, and our ability to win the economic transformation we need to survive, are under attack.

41) Neo-Nazi sympathizer found guilty in 'Unite the Right' trial of murdering Heather Heyer

Southern Poverty Law Center 

James Alex Fields Jr., a young neo-Nazi sympathizer from Ohio, was found guilty of first-degree murder and multiple other charges on Friday in a trial stemming from last year's racist "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

42) This Parkdale legal clinic has helped tenants fight landlords for nearly 50 years. Now it’s the one being evicted

Alyshah Hasham, The Toronto Star

Without help from the Parkdale Community Legal Service’s clinic in fighting an illegal eviction from his home of several years, Phil MacInnis says he would be homeless — or dead.

43) 'They lied to me': Nearly 600 people out of work as Sydney, N.S., call centre closes

Susan Bradley · CBC News 

Nearly 600 people lost their jobs in Sydney, N.S., on Thursday after call centre ServiCom declared bankruptcy and closed — a decision denounced as "a cowardly act," with Christmas less than three weeks away.

44) Trump resort worker: No regrets speaking out about abuse

Claudia Torrens And Bernard Condon, The Canadian Press

A Guatemalan living in the U.S. illegally who says she faced abusive working conditions as a maid at Donald Trump's New Jersey golf club doesn't regret speaking out, even though she might lose her job and be deported.

45) Jeremy Corbyn tells EU's centre-left politicians he wants to build a ‘socialist Europe’

Jon Stone, The Independent

A Labour government would work to build a “socialist Europe” both inside and outside the EU institutions, Jeremy Corbyn has said.

See also: George Bush, GM, India Protests & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos November 25 - December 2

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