Sunday, April 14, 2019

Ontario Austerity, Far Right Win in Israel, Libya & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos April 7 - 14

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 April 7 - April 14.

It starts with sections related to the Ontario austerity budget and the Israeli election.

1) Harmony Movement, Anti-Racism Group In Ontario, Shutting Down After 25 Years Due To Funding Cuts

 Mohamed Omar, HuffPost 

An Ontario organization that has been providing anti-racism education programs to teachers and students across the province says funding cuts are forcing it to shut down its operations.

2) Ontario gas stations could be fined $10,000 a day for missing anti-carbon-tax stickers

Allison Jones · The Canadian Press 

Buried in Ontario's budget bill are fines of up to $10,000 per day for gas station operators who don't display government-mandated stickers about the price of the carbon tax.

3) High speed train between Toronto and Windsor has been cancelled

Lauren O'Neil, BlogTO

Try as they might to distract you with easier access to alcohol, the Ford government's first budget contains some crushing news for Southwestern Ontario (and the many Torontonians who work, go to school or visit family there).

4) Legal Aid funding cut nearly 30% in Ontario budget

Ryan Tumilty · CBC News

Legal Aid Ontario got hit with a major cut in Thursday's budget as the provincial government pulled $133 million and said the organization could no longer use provincial funds for refugee and immigration cases.

5) Toronto slams Doug Ford's transit plan as unrealistic and bizarre

Lauren O'Neil, BlogTO

The dust is starting to settle in Toronto after yesterday's bombshell announcement of a $28.5 billion transit expansion plan from Ontario Premier Doug Ford, leaving in its wake some serious concerns about existing TTC projects.

6) Provincial budget cuts $1.1 billion in funding to Toronto transit

Francine Kopun & Jennifer Pagliaro, The Toronto Star 

Mayor John Tory said Thursday that he is “incredibly disappointed” that the provincial government has reneged on a promise to double the city’s share of the gas tax — a broken promise that will cost Toronto $1.1 billion in funding for transit over the next 10 years.

7) Ontario employers to ‘educate themselves’ on workplace obligations to cut costs

Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour will “modernize and streamline” its enforcement efforts by helping employers to “educate themselves” on their workplace obligations, according to Thursday’s provincial budget.

8) Ontario Budget 2019 Announces $1 Billion in OW and ODSP Cuts


The 2019/2020 Ontario Budget was announced today, and creates even more uncertainty for people who receive benefits from the Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) system.

9) Ontario PCs want to make it next to impossible to sue the government

Lucas Powers - CBC News

Premier Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives are moving to make it harder to sue the Ontario government.

10) How is labour going to fight Ford?

David Bush, Rank and File 

The political ground in Ontario is shifting. On April 4, 150,000 high school students from 700 schools across the province walked out of class in protest of the Tory government’s proposed cuts to education. Just two days later, over 30,000 teachers, education workers, and allies rallied at Queen’s Park against the cuts. These are the largest mobilizations against the Ford government to date.

11) Car carrying Durham MPP Lindsey Park bumps into protesters in Ajax

 Reka Szekely, Durham Region 

Durham police had to intervene after a vehicle carrying Durham MPP Lindsey Park bumped into several protesters in Ajax on Friday.

(Related: ONDP MPP crosses protest picket line to attend Fedeli Chamber of Commerce event)

12) Israelis, You Are Scary

Amira Hass, Haaretz 

Why is it a surprise that the Right is so strong? It is best at promoting the ideologies that justify the expulsions that have been and are still being committed by Israel. The right is best at promising to safeguard the spoils and booty and to continue the plundering and expulsion — to protect the purity of the nation, its mansions and its vacations abroad.

13) Communist Party of Israel on the Israeli election results

People's World

The corrupt, far-right Benjamin Netanyahu secured a unprecedented fifth term as Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday morning, April 10, after more than 99% of the votes from the previous day’s general election gave the right-wing and clerical bloc a 10-seat lead over the center, left and Arab parties.

14) PR Firm Behind Likud's Hidden Cameras in Arab Polling Sites Boasts of Lowering Voter Turnout

Noa Landau, Haaretz 

Netanyahu's party placed 1,200 hidden cameras in Arab polling stations on Election Day ■ 'We managed to lower the voter turnout to under 50 percent, the lowest in recent years!' firm boasts on Facebook.

15) Netanyahu's Next Coalition: Annexation for Immunity From Indictment

Aluf Benn, Haaretz 

The new Netanyahu government will have two main goals: Get rid of the indictments looming in his future, and annex the settlements to Israel, in coordination with the Trump administration.

16) U.S. Denies Entry To Leader Of Movement To Boycott Israel

Hannah Allam, NPR

The U.S. government has denied entry to Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, which urges boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel on security and settlement policies in the West Bank.

17) Israel converts historical mosque into a bar and events hall

Middle East Monitor 

As one of the most historical mosques in the Arab city, which was occupied by the Jewish gangs in 1948, the building was first turned into a Jewish school, then into a centre for Likud’s elections campaigns and then into a clothes warehouse before finally being converted into a nightclub.

18) Trump warns ICC against prosecuting Israeli forces for war crimes

The New Arab

US President Donald Trump warned the International Criminal Court on Friday against probing Israeli forces, after hailing the Hague-based tribunal for turning down a request to open a war crimes probe against US troops in Afghanistan.



While Trump is threatening Venezuela with military intervention, Venezuelans are not waiting to organize themselves to be ready to confront any threats that they may face, both from inside and outside the country. The country not only has 200,000 armed forces, but it also has a civilian People’s Militia of 2 million people who are organized, armed and trained to defend the revolution. Venezuela wants peace but will not allow the United States to dominate their country again.

20) Venezuela Announces Strategic Alliances with African, European, and Middle East nations


"With this tour through countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, we continue to diversify our international relations, receiving all the support and solidarity of these nations," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said at a press conference.

21) Cuban Doctors Attend to Venezuelan Oil Workers Amid US Blockade


Many Cuban doctors who are members of the "Barrio Adentro" mission are attending to the workers of the Electronic Corporation of Venezuela in order to help the people while they restore the Latin American nation´s power grid.

23) Is the U.S. Prepared to Accept a Defeat in Venezuela?

Marco Teruggi, Venezuela Analysis 

The attack should have been short since the Maduro administration was not strong enough to resist. This was the conviction of the United States as they carried out a strategy to overthrow him: they built a President 2.0 Juan Guaido; they gave him a fictionalized government, international recognition, a collective narrative among mass media companies, accelerated economic sanctions at different levels. Overlapping these variables, different results were expected to be achieved on their path of getting a forced negotiation or the toppling of the government.

24) Is Chicago’s new mayor as progressive as she claims?

Neeti Prakash, People's Dispatch 

The media has been hailing the victory of Lori Lightfoot, who is a black woman and openly gay, as a historic moment. However, activists point out that she has a history of working against the interests of the very communities whose interests she claims to champion.

25) Alberta’s longest-serving party leader says Communist message is gaining traction

Kevin Maimann, Star Edmonton

Naomi Rankin stands outside a grocery store in Old Strathcona with a stack of papers asking shoppers if they live in the area.

26) Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party launched in South Africa

Rafael Stedile &  Zoe PC, People's Dispatch 

“Equality, work and land” is the slogan of the new radical political party in South Africa that seeks to revolutionize South African politics and contest elections this coming May. The Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) held its launch congress from April 4-6 in Johannesburg, South Africa with attendance from over a thousand of the party’s militants and cadre from distinct provinces from across the country, as well as international guests from countries such as Zambia, Argentina, Brazil, Sweden, Morocco, and Nepal.

27) Street check report confirms what Black Haligonians have known for years 

Julia-Simone Rutgers, The Coast 

Time and time again the stories are told, and time and time again no change has come. For years, Nova Scotia's Black community has been recounting stories of pain, frustration and fear in its interactions with police.

28) NDP law presumes guilt, violates constitution, civil libertarians say

Jeremy Hainsworth / Glacier Media

B.C.’s new Community Safety Act violates the basic democratic principle of the presumption of innocence and is unconstitutional, say federal and provincial civil liberties groups.

29) Privileged

Kyle Korver, The Player's Tribune 

When the police break your teammate’s leg, you’d think it would wake you up a little.

30) No golden era in Canada’s foreign policy

Yves Engler, Canadian Dimension 

Some people on the left seem keen to perpetuate Canadian foreign policy mythology.

31) A change in government has done little to alter B.C.’s environmental path

Justine Hunter, The Globe and Mail 

Before the 2017 election that would make him Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan stood with opponents of the proposed Site C dam, a hydroelectric project he described as a multibillion-dollar boondoggle. To acknowledge his support, protest organizers inscribed Mr. Horgan’s name on a yellow stake, which was planted within the footprint of the megaproject that the Liberal government of the day was advocating.

32) Why Latin America’s oldest insurgent communist army is growing

Oliver Dodd, The Morning Star 

COLOMBIA’S National Liberation Army (ELN) is Latin America’s oldest insurgent movement.

33) Trump administration ends MLB/Cuba baseball deal

Michael Weissenstein, People's World 

The Trump administration is moving to end a deal allowing Cuban baseball players to sign contracts directly with Major League Baseball organizations. The change will once again require Cuban players to cut ties with their national program before signing with MLB.

34) MMR vaccine myth debunked, again

The Morning Star

The doctor who started the ‘vaccines cause autism’ scare was later struck off and his research invalidated – but the theory lingers on, lament ROX MIDDLETON, LIAM SHAW and JOEL HELLEWELL.

35) Low pay, long hours, isolation - a taxi driver speaks out

Socialist Party 

A Bristol taxi driver: I'm writing this because I'm angry. We are constantly told that things are pretty good, or not so bad at least. Everyone from Theresa May and right-wing Labour representatives to the media keep on telling us this.

36) Both Notley and Kenney Hiding from a $260-Billion Cleanup Problem

 Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee

The main thing Jason Kenney and Rachel Notley have in common, other than their affinity for pipelines, is their joint fear of the possible $260-billion cleanup bill for the province’s aging oil and gas fields.

37) Global Warming Is Shrinking Glaciers Much Faster Than Scientists Thought, Study Finds

Seth Borenstein, Time 

Earth’s glaciers are melting much faster than scientists thought. A new study shows they are losing 369 billion tons of snow and ice each year, more than half of that in North America.

38) National Assembly proclaims new Constitution

Raul Castro Ruz, Granma 

As he did in 1976, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, Party first secretary, again had the honor of proclaiming Cuba’s new Constitution in an extraordinary session of the National Assembly of People’s Power.

39) Climate change is a class issue

Richard Burgon, People's World 

“It is worse, much worse, than you think.” This is the terrifying introduction to David Wallace-Wells’s timely new book The Uninhabitable Earth.

40) Raul Castro warns Cubans to brace for worsening shortages due to Trump policies

Japan Times 

Communist Party leader Raul Castro warned Cubans on Wednesday that they should brace for worsening shortages due to Trump administration policies, but said the island won’t return to the extreme deprivation of the post-Soviet period.

41) Trudeau government panders to fears of an invasion of refugees

Karl Nerenberg, Rabble

The Trudeau government has dropped the other shoe on refugee policy.

42) Inuk boy takes a stand by sitting down during anthem

CBC News

When a 12-year-old Inuk boy decided to stop standing for O Canada in class, it wasn’t that his legs were tired.

43) McGill dumps Redmen team name after calls from Indigenous community

Jessica Deer · CBC News

Montreal's McGill University has announced it will change the name of its men's varsity sports teams — the Redmen — after Indigenous students, faculty and staff said the name is discriminatory.

44) Fundraising effort launched for 11-year-old girl ordered deported without family

Ileana Najarro, Houston Chronicle 

Dora Alvarado felt something was off when she arrived at immigration court in Houston March 12 with her two daughters. A court translator told her that she and her 15-year-old, Adamaris Alvarado, were listed on the docket that day. Her 11-year-old, Laura Maradiaga, was not.

45) Inside the International Socialist Organization’s Dissolution After a Rape Cover-Up

ISO Leaks 

The story of precisely how and why the International Socialist Organization (ISO) decided to dissolve itself just shy of the 42-year anniversary of its founding in April 1977 remains something of a mystery to those outside its ranks. Perhaps this is because the group’s members themselves have not been able to fully understand, process, and make sense of the events that undid almost four decades of effort in just under two weeks. Perhaps they have been too busy living the crisis and the attendant traumas to write about what happened in a way that outsiders can comprehend.

46) How Doctors And The Church Conspired To Stop An 11-Year-Old Girl From Having An Abortion After Rape

Karla Zabludovsky, BuzzFeed 

Lucía sat up in her hospital bed as the priest made the sign of the cross on her forehead, the 11-year-old’s bulging belly visible underneath her pajama shirt.

47) Trump Assails Ilhan Omar With Video of 9/11 Attacks

Maggie Haberman, The New York Times 

President Trump on Friday targeted Representative Ilhan Omar for remarks she made during a speech on civil rights and Muslims in America with a graphic video featuring the burning World Trade Center towers and other images from Sept. 11, 2001, that he tweeted to millions of his followers.

48) “Volcano of anger”: What you need to know about the escalating crisis in Libya

David Gilbert, Vice News 

The U.N.-backed government in Libya has launched a counteroffensive to win back territory seized by renegade General Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army in a surprise assault on the capital Tripoli that could drag the country back into civil war.

49) The anti-war movement has been utterly vindicated over Libya

Kevin Ovenden, The Morning Star 

There has not been a single day of peace in Libya since Cameron and co proclaimed the overthrow of tyranny.

50) Poverty-hit pupils so ashamed of worn-out clothes and lack of equipment they skip school, teachers say

Eleanor Busby, The Independent 

‘It is truly shaming for the UK – one of the richest countries in the world,’ union leader says.

See also: Ontario Student Walkouts and Rallies, "Dinner With a View of the Rich", Israeli Elections & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos March 31 - April 7

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