Sunday, March 31, 2019

Israeli Attacks, Venezuela Resists, Climate Change & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos March 24 - 31

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 March 24 - 31.

1) Ford government cancels electricity conservation programs

Krystalle Ramlakhan, CBC News 

Ontario's government has cancelled a number of electricity conservation programs, including one which offered pool owners a $400 rebate for upgrading to energy-efficient pumps.

2) 9-year-old US citizen detained at the border for more than 30 hours

 Aris Folley, The Hill

A 9-year-old United States citizen was detained by Customs and Border Patrol officials for more than 30 hours this week after she tried to cross the U.S-Mexico border on her walk to school.

3) Autopsy For 7-Year-Old Migrant Who Died In U.S. Custody Shows She Died Of Sepsis

Shannon Van Sant, NPR

An autopsy report has revealed that a 7-year-old girl who migrated to the United States from Guatemala died from a bacterial infection known as streptococcal sepsis while in the custody of U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

3) 12 signs we're in the middle of a 6th mass extinction

Aylin Woodward, Business Insider 

The planet is undergoing a mass extinction, the sixth time in the history of life on Earth that global fauna has experienced a major collapse in numbers.

4) Chicago's Democratic socialists on brink of transforming city's politics

Eric Lutz, The Guardian 

Six Democratic socialists may join city council this year, reflecting the progressive momentum in national politics.

5) US: Democrat Presidential Candidates Boycott AIPAC Convention


2020 Democrat presidential candidates will skip AIPAC annual conference revealing the growing discontent of progressives with the pro-Israel lobby in the U.S.

6) Free Transit in Ottawa

Socialist Project Bullet 

Ottawa’s public transit system has many shortcomings. Too often buses are congested and/or infrequent. Few stops have shelters and many users face lengthy trips to get where they want to go. ParaTranspo is often inaccessible to those most in need. And the system is expensive! OCTranspo’s (Ottawa-Carleton Transportation Commission) fares are among the highest in the country. It is lower income people who depend on public transit to move around the city who are most affected by these shortcomings. There is an urgent need, and a question of social justice, to improve the quality and accessibility of the public transit system.

7) Montrealers take to the streets for anti-racism demonstration

CBC News

Several hundred people came out Sunday afternoon in Montreal to denounce racism and xenophobia, in the wake of the mosque shootings in New Zealand.

8) Hijab-wearing teacher threatens to leave Quebec if secularism bill becomes law

CBC News 

"I wouldn't let a man tell me to wear [the hijab]. I won't let a man tell me to remove it"

9) Omar Khadr's war crimes sentence is finished, Alberta judge rules

CBC News 

Former Guantanamo Bay prisoner Omar Khadr has completed his sentence, an Alberta judge ruled Monday.

10) Message from Omar Khadr to his supporters

Omar Khadr

On Monday, March 25, Chief Justice Mary Moreau granted me the freedom I have been long awaiting. This decision did not bring an end to my legal battles but it has removed the shadow of indefinite chains from my life. I would like to thank everyone who has stood by me throughout the years.

(Related: Omar Khadr is 'innocent' even if he is 'guilty')

11) The Three Intersecting Reasons Ilhan Omar Gets Singled Out

Vanessa Taylor, The Intercept 

What has been displayed is not genuine concern regarding anti-Semitism and violence against Jewish people because, as has been well-documented, anti-Semitic comments by nonblack, non-Muslim elected officials barely make a blip in the news cycle. Omar, instead, was condemned by everybody from the president of the United States — no stranger to anti-Semitic tropes himself — to Democratic leadership. Omar’s case puts on display the United States’s unwavering support for Israel, its violent protege, and the use of anti-black Islamophobia to carry that message.

12) Republican Lawmaker Prays for Forgiveness as Pennsylvania State House Swears in First Muslim Woman

Prachi Gupta, Jezebel 

As Pennsylvania made history on Monday, swearing in the first Muslim woman elected to the state House, one Republican lawmaker prayed to Jesus for forgiveness.

13) Trump tells aides "he doesn't want another single dollar" sent to hurricane-torn Puerto Rico: report

Shira Tarlo, Salon 

President Donald Trump wants to limit additional federal aid from going to Puerto Rico as the territory continues to recover from Hurricane Maria, The Washington Post reported Monday, citing senior administration officials.

(Related: Puerto Rico puts the lie to America's supposed "humanitarian" concern for Venezuela's blackout)

14) Mexico's AMLO Requests Apology From Spain, Church For Conquest


During a Facebook video recording in front of Mayan ruins, President Lopez Obrador says Spain, Pope should apologize to 'original people' for Conquest 'massacres'.

15) Still an Emergency, Still No Action: BC’s Homeless Deaths Have Skyrocketed

Jessica Hannon, The Tyee

Two years ago, when the coroner released the 2015 homeless deaths numbers — a then unprecedented 73 deaths — Megaphone called upon the next provincial government to support a review panel on homeless deaths. Before the 2017 election, both the BC NDP and the BC Greens said they supported the creation of the panel.

But that call has gone unheeded.

16) Who benefits politically from the B.C. NDP government's love of LNG? Elizabeth May, of course

Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight 

On this issue, the B.C. NDP is on the same side as the federal Liberals.

17) Cuba Sends Field Hospital to Help Mozambique amid Cyclone Idai


Cuban cooperation includes doctors and equipment to counteract the public health effects of the worst southern hemisphere tropical storm ever.

18) Uber and Lyft drivers in Los Angeles strike over pay, working conditions

Ben Kesslen and Ted Chen, NBC News

“I’m drowning in this gig economy," one striking driver told NBC News.

19) Bolsonaro To 'Commemorate' Brazil's 1964 Military Coup


Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro gave the Ministry of Defense freedom to carry out the "due commemorations" of the 55th anniversary of the country’s 1964 military coup on March 31, spokesman of the presidency Otavio Rego Barros said Monday.

20) Food banks are no solution to poverty

Open Letter, The Guardian 

Charitable food aid is a sticking plaster on a gaping wound of systemic inequality in the UK and US, say signatories including Prof Olivier de Schutter, a former UN special rapporteur on the right to food.

21) Tributes paid to assassinated communist commander

The Morning Star 

Commander of the Rojava MLKP, Bayram Namaz, was killed in a car bomb attack in northern Syria on Saturday morning.

22) Spain election: Prime minister Pedro Sanchez set to stay in power with left-wing coalition, polls show

Jon Stone, The Independent 

The socialist leader would be able to govern with support of left-wing parties.

23) Mueller Report Ends a Shameful Period for the Press

Chris Hedges, Truthdig 

The Mueller report’s categorical statement that Donald Trump and his campaign did not collude with Russia ends one of the most shameful periods in modern American journalism, one that rivals the mindless cheerleading for the Iraq War by most of the press. It further erodes and may prove fatal to the credibility of a press that has steadfastly rendered most of the country invisible and functions as little more than an array of gossiping courtiers to the elites.

24) Communists protest against Kremlin policies

The Japan News 

Several thousand supporters of Russia’s Communist Party rallied in Moscow against government policies, with some attacking President Vladimir Putin, who they said was personally responsible for entrenched corruption and rising prices.

25) Caribou have quietly gone extinct in the Lower 48

Karin Brulliard, The Washington Post

This year, in the dead of winter, America’s wild caribou went extinct in the contiguous United States.

26) Bill Morneau Announced a Plan to Provide Meals to Low-Income School Children. The Plan Has No Funding.

Press Progress 

Believe it or not, but Canada is the only G7 and OECD country without a national school meal program for low-income children.

27) Dr Who the leftist

Matthew Trinder, The Morning Star 

From their ecological critique of capitalism, their awareness of class issues, to their steadfast opposition to racism, Dr Who has been flying the red flag for decades.

28) Racist street checks are a white silence problem

Robert Devet, The Nova Scotia Advocate 

The Wortley report, dealing with racist profiling within the Halifax police force, with all its stats and stories, only confirms  what the Black Nova Scotian community has known forever, and has said forever.

29) HUD Charges Facebook With Enabling Housing Discrimination

Matt Novack, Gizmodo 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on Thursday charged Facebook with discrimination under the Fair Housing Act. HUD says it believes the company was “encouraging, enabling, and causing housing discrimination through the company’s advertising platform.”

30) Shrinking Arctic sea ice linked to less rain further south

Bob Weber · The Canadian Press

Research has uncovered powerful evidence linking shrinking sea ice in the Arctic to snow and rain in central North America.

31) China becoming more of an open book to much of the world

Cameron Orr, People's World 

Earlier this month, 22 communists from the United States, Canada, the U.K., Finland, Norway, and Sweden returned home after their two-week visit to Zhejiang Province and Beijing in China. While there, they learned about the history of China and current developments of “Socialism with Chinese Characteristics.”

32) 100 Years of Fighting for People, Peace and Planet Before Profits

Communist Party USA

Celebrating 100 years in the struggle for working-class and people’s democracy, equality, peace, a sustainable environment, and socialism, the Communist Party USA will convene its 31st National Convention in Chicago from June 21 to 23, 2019.

33)  'There is no racism in Canada': Beyak leaves controversial letters online as minister calls for action

John Paul Tasker · CBC News

More than a week after the Senate Ethics Officer ordered Non-affiliated Ontario Sen. Lynn Beyak to take down letters posted to her website that have been condemned by politicians of all stripes as racist and hateful, the correspondence is still featured prominently on her taxpayer-funded page.

34) Lethal Fungus Threatens 'Earth's Sixth Mass Extinction' Event


A fungus-borne disease that has spread to over 60 countries has been killing large populations of amphibians over the last 50 years.

35) Argentina: Poverty Increases to 32% and Extreme Poverty Reaches 7%


Argentina's statistics agency published a study on Thursday which shows that poverty affects 32 percent of the population with 6.7 percent living in extreme poverty. In one year, indigence increased from 4.8 percent to 6.7 percent.

36) Those who are fighting back are in danger

Sebastien Brulez, The Morning Star

Brazilian feminist activist TALIRIA PETRONE talks to Sebastien Brulez about the struggle today against the reactionary government of Jair Bolsonaro and the political assassination of her comrade Marielle Franco last year.

Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams

Hundreds of migrants are being held by border agents in a fenced in encampment under a bridge in El Paso, leading to anger and accusations that the American government is holding people in "concentration camps."

Adam Johnson, FAIR

A FAIR survey of the phrase “renounce violence” in the New York Times over the past 10 years shows that 95 percent of the time the demand is made of Muslim organizations, people or political parties, the most prominent being the Taliban and Hamas. There are zero instances of anyone in the Times—whether reporters quoting officials or columnists—from March 28, 2009, to March 28, 2019, insisting or suggesting that the United States, Israel or any white-majority country “renounce violence.”

Teachers really are paid terribly in America. This is how bad.

39) Good riddance to Amsterdam’s disgraceful red-light district tours

Julie Bindel, The Spectator 

The city of Amsterdam is to finally ban guided tours around its most notorious window brothel area, the sex tourist trap known as De Wallen. Since Holland legalised its already burgeoning sex trade back in the year 2000, it has become apparent that if you display women in windows, wearing nothing but a bikini and a fake smile, and market them like pieces of meat, that is how they will be treated by those that flock into the area to have a laugh at the human zoo.

40) An Awkward Kiss Changed How I Saw Joe Biden

Lucy Flores, The Cut

In 2014, I was the 35-year-old Democratic nominee for lieutenant governor in Nevada. The landscape wasn’t looking good for my party that year.

41) Georgia Lawmakers Approve ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Ban

Emma Hurt, WABE

The Georgia House of Representatives put its final stamp of approval on an anti-abortion, so-called “heartbeat” bill Friday, by just one vote. It now needs Gov. Brian Kemp’s signature to become law.

42) Russian Troops, Military Advisers Land in Venezuela, Report Says


'Russia has various contracts that are in the process of being fulfilled, contracts of a technical military character,' confirmed Russian government-owned news agency Sputnik, quoting an unnamed source.

43) 'Arrogant': Russia Tells Trump Troops To Remain in Venezuela as Long as Needed


Russia's Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova rejected Thursday President Donald Trump's statements regarding the presence of Russian military in Venezuela and noted that her country's actions were legitimate and agreed upon with the President Nicolas Maduro administration.

44) Chinese Aid Arrives in Venezuela


China delivered 65 tons of medicine and supplies to Venezuela Thursday as a result of a strategic cooperation between the two countries. The delivery of aid is one of many, according to government officials.


Tom O'Connor, Newsweek 

China has defended Russia's recent deployment of troops to Venezuela amid U.S. statements suggesting Moscow and Beijing had no right to support a Latin American government disavowed by Washington.

46) Fake Photos of Venezuelan Health Situation on Social Media: AFP


A publication with ten photos that supposedly shows the health situation in Venezuela has been shared on Facebook but not all of the photos were taken in Venezuela and none of them are recent.

47) Defending the Bolivarian Revolution, one commune at a time

Fernando Arce, Rabble

In Venezuela, socialist communes play a key role in the production and distribution of food directly to families as hyperinflation, price speculation and illegal U.S. and Canadian sanctions limit access to many necessities. In the wake of Juan Guaido's unconstitutional self-proclamation as president, communes have also taken a more active role in the defence of the Bolivarian Revolution by holding those who are leading it accountable, including incumbent president Nicolas Maduro's government.

48) Pathological Deceit: The NYT Inverts Reality on Venezuela’s Cuban Doctors

Ricardo Vaz & Lucas Koerner, FAIR

After debunking Washington’s lies about the burning of “humanitarian aid” trucks on the Venezuelan/Colombian border (more than two weeks after being scooped by independent journalists), the New York Times quickly reverted to form in an article by Nicholas Casey headlined “‘It is Unspeakable’: How Maduro Used Cuban Doctors to Coerce Voters”.

49) University of Ottawa Professor Melts Down at #HandsOffVenezuela Presentation

Dimitri Lascaris

As for Nahon–Saferty’s assertion that I would fail his journalism class, I have only this to say: one of the very reasons that journalism is so pathetic in this country is that ‘professors’ like Nahon-Serfaty are teaching it.

50) Venezuelan Gov’t Presents Evidence of Alleged Opposition Paramilitary Plot

Ricardo Vaz, Venezuela Analysis 

Venezuelan authorities claim to have uncovered the plot from a conversation between Guaido and Russian pranksters impersonating the president of Switzerland.

51) Venezuela Denounces New Attack On Its National Electric System


A new attack on Venezuela’s National Electric System, which left many sectors of the country without service, was denounced Monday by Vice President of Communication, Tourism and Culture Jorge Rodriguez.

52) US sanctions don’t work, make human rights situation worse – UN sanctions rapporteur


From Venezuela to Iran, Liberia to Belarus, there’s barely a corner of the world not sanctioned by the US. But economic penalties don’t help regime change and unfairly impact civilians, the UN sanctions rapporteur told RT.


Ivar Andersen, Popular Resistance 

More than 60 countries have recognized Juan Guaidó as legitimate interim president. But among international trade unions, support for Venezuelan self-determination is resolute .

54) No More US Financial Aid for Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador


United States President Donald Trump has ordered to suspend financial assistance to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador, the U.S. Department of State (DOS) said.

55) How War Criminal Elliott Abrams Orchestrated the 2007 Hamas-Fateh Palestinian Civil War

 Utsa Sarmin and Mohamed Hemish, Telesur 

Elliott Abrams, the convicted war criminal behind many U.S. interventionist policies, was also behind the coup against a democratically elected Hamas in Palestine in 2007.

56) What you need to know about the bombings in Gaza

Mike Merryman-Lotze, AFSC

Israel has begun bombing targets in Gaza and has issued call-up orders for thousands of reserve troops, signaling that a new large-scale attack on Gaza may be in its early phases. Political action is needed now in the U.S. to push for a halt to violence that could result in the deaths of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza.

57) Cuba condemns U.S. recognition of Israeli occupation


The U. S. government’s announced intention to recognize the occupied Syrian Golan as Israeli territory constitutes a flagrant violation of the UN Charter and the Security Council’s Resolution 497 of 1981.

58) Palestinian junior medic shot and killed by Israeli soldiers

Ceren Sagir, The Morning Star 

Mourners pray by the body of Sajed Mizher, 18 during his funeral in the Palestinian Refugee camp of Dheisheh, near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, today.

59) Gaza border protests: 190 killed and 28,000 injured in a year of bloodshed

Oliver Holmes and Josh Holder, The Guardian 

One year ago, Palestinians trapped in Gaza began a protest movement at the frontier with Israel that was intended to last six weeks.

60) Over 450 Brazilian Jurists Call for Release of Lula


A manifesto signed by 464 Brazilian jurists calls for the release of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, who has been held as a political prisoner since April 7, 2018, after being sentenced on the second instance for passive corruption and money laundering without any evidence against him.

61) Playgrounds only for the rich kids? What grotesque social apartheid

Gaby Hinsliff, The Guardian 

A developer has fenced off social housing residents from a playground outside their homes. This is society at its most mean-spirited.

See also: Christchurch Aftermath, Venezuela, Israel, Climate Change & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos March 17 - 24

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