Sunday, April 28, 2019

Reckless Ontario Cuts, Creeping Towards a Biden Disaster, the NDP and more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos April 21 - 28

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 21 - 28.

Among many others it has links to articles related to the Ontario cutbacks, the disastrous idea of a Biden nomination and opens with an excellent article and a podcast that take the blinders off about the NDP.

1) Want to Know What the NDP Believes In? Believe New Democrats

Stuart Parker 

We go to great lengths to perform a folk exegesis on the pronouncements of NDP officials so that we can understand them to be statements of practicality, unrelated to values and principles. We do that work. Nobody asks us to. We just do it for ourselves. The idea that the NDP wants to do something different than its actions in government and election platforms say has no evidentiary basis. This belief is derived not from evidence but from wishful thinking by social movement activists who do not want to face the work of creating new electoral political strategies and organizations.

2) Predictably: Welcome to Hellberta

Alberta Advantage Podcast 

Predictably, the Alberta NDP’s focus-grouped and poll-driven strategy to get re-elected failed, despite Jason Kenney’s campaign having multiple run-ins with xenophobia and white nationalism. Who could’ve foreseen after the 2016 Clinton-Trump contest that people would vote for magic nostalgic “make the economy better” beans, even if the leader in question is an asshole? Surely in Alberta, where Ralph Klein was Premier for 14 years, people at the ballot box ask themselves “hrmm I wonder who is more fit to be Premier?”

3) Public transit should be free, Victoria council says

Lindsay Kines,  Times Colonist

Victoria city council wants to see free public transit for everyone in the capital region.

4) If Victoria wants free transit, let city pay for it, premier says

Katie DeRosa  & Lindsay Kines, Times Colonist

Premier John Horgan pumped the brakes on the City of Victoria’s suggestion that the province fund free public transit in Greater Victoria, saying that if Victoria wants it, they can pay for it.

5) Worst timing ever: Ford budget cuts funds for flood protection

 Randy Robinson, Behind the Numbers

It seems like the wrong time to be cutting back on flood protection.

6) A Tory MPP wanted to triple Ontario's 50 Million Tree Program in 2015. Doug Ford just cancelled it

Fatima Syed, National Observer 

Not so long ago, a Progressive Conservative politician in Ontario was dreaming about trees.

7) Mississauga students learn electives being cut as Ontario moves to increase class sizes

Caroline Alphonso, The Globe and Mail

Senior students at a high school in Mississauga have learned that a number of courses in the arts, technology and social sciences are being scaled back or cut in the next academic year – providing a first glimpse into the impact of the Doug Ford government’s plans to increase class sizes.

8) 'An attack against libraries.' Officials react to loss of inter-library loan program

Denis Langlois, Owen Sound Sun-Times

Reactions from local library officials range from disappointment to anger over a massive government funding cut to the Southern Ontario Library Service that will result in an end to the inter-library loan program.

9) Rainforest Cafe workers strike against Ford’s race to the bottom

Leanne Pearce-Graham and Ryan Hayes, Rank and File

A pitched battle is currently taking place in Niagara Falls with implications for the future of decent work in Ontario. On Clifton Hill, the heart of Niagara’s tourist district, a courageous group of nearly 100 restaurant workers are on strike against one of the region’s largest employers: Canadian Niagara Hotels Inc.

10) CHEO issues list of fees for autism services: 'We are used to people handing us an OHIP card, not a bank card'

Elizabeth Payne, Ottawa Citizen

For the first time ever at CHEO, parents will be asked for a bank card so their children can receive autism treatment services.

11) A Massive "Strike Against Doug Ford" Is Being Held In Ontario Next Week

Jordyn Posluns, Narcity

Ontarians are fighting against the Premier's countless policy changes next week. A "General Strike Against Doug Ford" is being planned at Toronto City Hall on May 1st.  The strike's organizer describes on the event's Facebook page that the objective of the rally is "To make our voices heard, our numbers seen and our opinions respected by Mr. Doug Ford."

12) 4 Caricom Leaders Leave OAS Meeting to Boycott Guaido Rep


Ambassadors from four Caribbean countries—St Vincent, Barbados, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago—boycotted the spokesperson for the self-proclaimed interim president of Venezuela, Juan Guaido, before he addressed the Organization of American States (OAS) in New York. The Caribbean leaders got up and left the room just before Gustavo Tarre spoke to the OAS to protest Guaido's claims and in support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.

13) Venezuela Blackouts Part of Planned US Operation: Russia Defense Ministry


Russian Deputy Defense Minister Colonel General Alexander Fomin said the recent series of blackouts in Venezuela was due to a planned operation led by the United States.

14) Cuban Workers' Congress Raises its Voice Amidst U.S. Blockade


Besides renewing commitments to their country, Cuban workers expressed their solidarity with the Venezuelan people.

15) US Sanctions 'Have Taken Thousands of Venezuelan Lives' Says Arreaza to UN


Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza at a United Nations (U.N.) meeting denounced the unilateral sanctions imposed by the United States and asserted that they are not against officials, but against the general population.

16) US imposes sanctions on Venezuela's foreign minister


Washington has slapped sanctions on Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza and a judge based in Caracas. The sanctions come a day after a damning report implicated US sanctions in the deaths of 40,000 Venezuelans.

17) US Ends Sanction Waivers for Countries Importing Iranian oil


The waiver allowed China, India, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Turkey, Italy and Greece to buy Iranian oil without the risk of sanctions by Washington.

18) Moroccans protest prison sentences of anti-poverty activists

Amira El-masaiti, Associated Press

Thousands of demonstrators marched in Morocco's capital Sunday to condemn lengthy prison sentences given to dozens of activists, including the leader of the Hirak Rif poverty-fighting movement.

19) Bolsonaro: the First 100 days

Jörg Nowak, Socialist Project Bullet 

Near the end of the first 100 days of the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro – the first radical-right Brazilian president since the moderated transition from military dictatorship in 1985 to a democratic regime – the first meaningful protests, apart from some popular mocking and chants directed against him during Carnaval in February, took place since he assumed office on January 1st of this year.


Emily Green, Vice News 

Defendant #5 was sleeping in his father’s arms when his name was called.

21) The Greek Island That Became an Open-Air Prison for Refugees

Helen Benedict, The Nation 

A three-year-old EU-Turkey deal has made living on Samos a nightmare, especially for women.

22) Turkey's only communist mayor vows small steps to socialism


Turkey’s sole socialist mayor, who just stepped into office as mayor of the central district of the eastern province Tunceli, believes that despite capitalism’s firm roots in Turkey, he will have success in nudging it along “the path to socialism,” Reuters reported.

23) Oilsands CO2 emissions may be far higher than companies report, scientists say

Zach Dubinsky · CBC News

A number of major oilsands operations in northern Alberta seem to be emitting significantly more carbon pollution than companies have been reporting, newly published research from federal scientists suggests, which could have profound consequences for government climate-change strategies.

24) Why gender pay-gap truthers are on the rise

Zoe Williams, The Guardian 

The gender pay-gap truther”. It is such a distinctive phrase: that neologism of “truther” sitting peculiarly against the throwback of “pay gap”. Something about it tells you immediately that these truthers, like anti-vaxxers, like Russian trollbots, have been around longer than you realise. And you would be right: in polemical YouTube comment sections and Reddit threads, the gender pay gap is already a myth. End of. Simples.

25) Why Do Coops Hate Unions?

Marianne Garneau, Organizing Work 

Grocery coops not only inflict the same indignities on workers as corporate, for-profit stores – low pay, harassment, lack of benefits, etc. – but they are just as intolerant of unions. In fact, coops are arguably even worse than corporate groceries, because they cynically use the language of community and social mission to deepen their exploitation of workers, while using their supposedly democratic structures to evade accountability. They are a nightmare masquerading as a utopia.

26) Ilhan Omar Was Right on 'Black Hawk Down' Events in Somalia Despite Right-wing Media's Lies


In the latest attack on Ilhan Omar, the right-wing media dug out an old tweet criticizing death of Somalian civilians by U.S. troops but she was not wrong.

27) What a false accusation of antisemitism from Winnipeg’s mayor reminds us about political power

James Wilt, Canadian Dimension 

On Tuesday, Winnipeg mayor Brian Bowman delivered a press conference calling for Linda Sarsour, a prominent Palestinian rights activist and New York-based co-chair of the Women’s March, to be removed from an upcoming speaking event for the Social Planning Council of Winnipeg’s centennial anniversary event.


Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept 

LAST WEEK, American vigilantes captured hundreds of migrants — including women and small children — along a darkened stretch of the border in New Mexico. The group, calling itself the United Constitutional Patriots, or UCP, uploaded video of its score to Facebook. Illuminated by the fluorescent glow of flashlights, the shaky footage showed weary mothers, fathers, and toddlers kneeling in the dirt, heads bowed, as the armed men circled around them.

29) In an election with religious undertones, Kerala’s Communists campaign on tolerance

Diana Kruzman, The Groundtruth Project 

On a sweltering March evening in India’s far south, as rows of red flags fluttered limply around a sea of red chairs, hundreds of people stood to watch Mariam Alexander Baby make his entrance.

30) Rahul Gandhi may think Wayanad is a safe seat, but the local Communists disagree

 Annalisa Merelli, Quartz India 

Wayanad, a rural district in the southern Indian state of Kerala, is the kind of place that could have inspired the descriptions of the Garden of Eden.

31) Why Is My Teacher Hanging Out With Sebastian Gorka?

Ben Pike, Jewish Currents 

LAST MONTH, a delegation of my fellow students from TanenbaumCHAT, a Jewish high school in Toronto, attended the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Policy Conference in Washington. They were accompanied by a teacher, Aviva Polonsky, and a vice principal. One of the many speakers who addressed them over the course of the weekend was Sebastian Gorka, former advisor to Donald Trump, who was taking part in a National Congregation of Synagogue Youth (NCSY) event separate from the AIPAC festivities. Polonsky, who is the president of the Federation of Teachers in Hebrew Schools in Toronto, took to her personal Twitter account to share a photo of her and Gorka, as well as one including a group of students. The tweet, since deleted, read: “Honoured to finally meet the great @SebGorka the former Deputy Assistant to @realDonaldTrump and expert on #counterterrorism. #students of @TanenbaumCHAT heard an inspirational talk &Thank you for taking the time to empower them to stand up to #Antisemitsim &#AntiIsraelrhetoric.”

32) Schools out in Poland as 600,000 join strikes

Andy Zebrowski, Socialist Worker 

An all-out education strike in Poland is deepening as workers develop new forms of organisation to run the action.

33) OPP officer videotaped throwing girl to the ground during arrest in Sioux Lookout

Willow Fiddler, APTN National News

The incident, including a struggle where the officer is seen throwing the teen to the ground, was recorded by Dr. Debby Wilson Danard and her daughter.

34) Teen in care ends up in coma after complaining to family services about pain for weeks

Marina von Stackelberg · CBC News

The family of a Manitoba teenager who ended up critically ill in hospital says her medical concerns were ignored and dismissed for weeks by the youth detention centre and the group home responsible for her care.

35) 'You did not act in time': Greta Thunberg's full speech to MPs

Greta Thunberg, The Guardian 

My name is Greta Thunberg. I am 16 years old. I come from Sweden. And I speak on behalf of future generations.

36) Greta Thunberg teaches us about autism as much as climate change

Ian Birrell, The Guardian 

The young environmental activist has shown that being different is a gift. But too many people with autism still face cruel treatment.

37) Thousands of penguin chicks wiped out

BBC News

Thousands of emperor penguin chicks drowned when the sea-ice on which they were being raised was destroyed in severe weather.

38) U.S. Forces and Allies Killed More Afghan Civilians in Early 2019 Than the Taliban

Democracy Now

In Afghanistan, the United Nations says U.S., its NATO allies and Afghan security forces have killed more civilians so far this year than the Taliban. New U.N. figures show that, between January and March, anti-government fighters killed 227 civilians, while Afghan and international forces killed 305 civilians. The report also found U.S. and NATO airstrikes have killed 145 civilians so far in 2019—half of them women and children.

39) NYT Report: Navy SEALs Were Ordered to Remain Silent on War Crimes

Democracy Now

The New York Times is reporting that Navy SEALs who witnessed their platoon chief commit war crimes in Iraq were encouraged not to speak out, and told they could lose their jobs for reporting him at a private meeting with a superior officer last year. According to a confidential Navy criminal investigation obtained by the Times, the commandos said they saw Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher stab and kill an unarmed teenage captive, shoot to death a young girl and old man, and fire indiscriminately into crowds of civilians. But when the men on Gallagher’s team called a private meeting with their troop commander and demanded an investigation, they were told to stay quiet on the matter, and no action was taken. The group of seven SEALs eventually were able to force an investigation, and Chief Edward Gallagher was arrested in September on more than a dozen charges, including premeditated murder and attempted murder. If convicted, he could face life in prison. His trial begins May 28.

40) One year after the van attack, 'incels' are unrepentant

CBC News 

One year after the deadly van attack in Toronto, the misogynistic online community that inspired it remains unchanged. The alleged driver left posts on Facebook shortly before the attack using language from "incel" (involuntary celibate) forums, where men post anti-women vitriol and threats of sexual violence. Reporter Zack Beauchamp talks about the year he spent investigating incels. He says they continue to take no responsibility for the attack.

41) GOP judges launch bizarre attack on Black Lives Matter and the First Amendment

Ian Millhiser, Think Progress 

An opinion handed down Wednesday by three Republican judges could chill the First Amendment rights of protesters — and potentially allow police to shut down political movements by filing lawsuits harassing movement leaders.

42) Kansas Supreme Court Rules State Constitution Protects Right To Abortion


The Kansas Constitution protects a woman's right to an abortion, the state Supreme Court ruled Friday.

43) “A Shameful Week for the U.S.”: Trump Admin Guts U.N. Resolution to End Rape as Weapon of War

Democracy Now

The Trump administration is under fire after the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to end rape as a weapon of war on Tuesday that excluded any mention of sexual and reproductive health. The resolution was gutted after the U.S. threatened to veto the measure altogether unless language referencing reproductive health was taken out due to the Trump administration’s belief that the language was code for abortion. The watered-down measure also weakened references to the International Criminal Court, making it harder for women and girls to seek justice. We speak with Jessica Neuwirth, director of the Human Rights Program at Roosevelt House at Hunter College and the director of the Sisterhood Is Global Institute. She sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo protesting the U.S. stance on the Security Council resolution. We also speak with Planned Parenthood President Dr. Leana Wen.

44) Rape and reproductive coercion are forms of violence against women. The UN should oppose both

Glosswitch, New Statesman 

What the Trump administration is doing is not about protecting unborn lives. It’s about power. It’s always about power.

45) REDress Forces Canada to Remember Murdered Indigenous Women


The color red signifies blood as a source of energy and power, but also a representation of violence and "the loss of that sacred lifeblood  through violence."

46) Exclusive: Some of the men executed in Saudi Arabia claimed their confessions were forced

Tamara Qiblawi and Ghazi Balkiz, CNN

Long before Saudi Arabia announced it had carried out one of the largest mass executions in its history earlier this week, some of the men condemned to death had made impassioned pleas to the courts in a bid to save their lives.

47) Bernie Sanders Calls Out Netanyahu's 'Racist Government'


U.S. Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders blasted Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his government in a recent discussion with CNN.

48) Israeli forces shoots blindfolded, handcuffed 16-year-old Palestinian boy in West Bank village

Yumna Patel, Mondoweiss

The Israeli military is coming under criticism after its forces opened live fire on a bound and blindfolded Palestinian teenager as he ran away from a group of soldiers attempting to detain him.

49) For NYT, Israel Is Always Nearing ‘Apartheid,’ but Never Quite Gets There

Gregory Shupak, FAIR

For almost 20 years, the paper has suggested that Israel/Palestine risks devolving into an apartheid state if it continues to rule over Palestinians in the territories—Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem—who cannot choose their rulers. This population includes approximately 4.75 million occupied Palestinians—320,000 in East Jerusalem, 2.8 million in the rest of the West Bank and 1.8 million in besieged Gaza—to say nothing of the millions of Palestinian refugees who cannot return to their homes and participate in elections because the people who put on those elections won’t let them.

50) 'Enough with Threats, Ultimatums,' Cuba Tells US


Cuba has had enough of U.S. threats and ultimatums, said President Miguel Diaz-Canel, denouncing 60-years-worth of northern power’s attempts to destabilize Cuba.

51) Police: Man plowed his car into crowd because he thought they were Muslim

Kiley Kroh, Think Progress

Isaiah Joel Peoples, a 34-year-old army veteran, deliberately drove his car into a crowd of people in Sunnyvale, California, because he thought some of them were Muslim, police said Friday.

52) San Diego Area Synagogue Shooting Leaves One Dead, Suspect in Custody

Audrey McNamara, Pilar Melendez, Justin Miller & Pervaiz Shallwani, Daily Beast

Officials called the incident a “hate crime” based on “statements the shooter made when he entered.” The shooting took place six months to the day since Pittsburgh attack.

53) Anita Hill Won’t Support Joe Biden After Disappointing Call Earlier This Month

Matt Shuham, TPM

Anita Hill, who testified before the Joe Biden-led Senate Judiciary Committee in 1991 that then-Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas had sexually harassed her, said Thursday that she was not satisfied with a recent conversation she had with Biden about his conduct.

54) Joe Biden Is a Disaster Waiting to Happen

Branko Marcetic, Jacobin

Joe Biden just announced his candidacy for president. Of all the terrible candidates vying for the Democratic nomination, he is the worst.

55) Joe Biden is the Hillary Clinton of 2020 – and it won't end well this time either

Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian 

His is the vaguest and most centrist of battle cries: let’s go back to, you know, ‘all those good things’.

See also: Notre Dame Fire Exposes Deep Hypocrisy, Ontario Austerity Attacks, Revolution in Sudan and more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos April 14 - 21

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