Sunday, May 26, 2019

Abortion Rights, Economic War on Venezuela, Iran Tensions & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos May 19 - 26

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 May 19 - 26.

1) We Spoke With a Rape Survivor About Alabama’s New Abortion Ban: “There Are No Words”

Carter Sherman, Vice News

When Sam Blakely first heard about Alabama’s plan to ban almost all abortions in the state, she was driving. She pulled over and cried.

2) Extremists Are Winning the War on Abortion

Vegas Tenold, Vice News

The rise of the radical anti-abortion movement has transformed statehouses, courts, and the White House. Experts worry violence will follow.

3) Abortion Limits Carry Economic Cost For Women

Scott Horsley, NPR

As Republican-led states pass laws restricting abortion in hopes the Supreme Court will overturn its Roe v. Wade decision, supporters of abortion rights are pushing back.

4) Andrew Scheer Told Anti-Abortion Group He’d Let Conservative MPs Reopen the Abortion Debate

Press Progress

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer wants Canadians to have “absolute confidence” he will never reopen the abortion debate, even though he said the exact opposite when he was running for leader of the Conservative Party of Canada.


Daniel Newhauser, Vice News 

In the days since Alabama’s passage of the most restrictive abortion law in the nation, national Republicans have tried to distance themselves from its most controversial provisions that would outlaw abortion even in the case of rape or incest.

6) As the far right grows, its mask comes off

Phil Hearse, Green Left Weekly 

The brutal face of hard right and fascist reaction has been on vivid display on the issues of women’s rights and the climate crisis in the past few weeks.

7) ACLU and Planned Parenthood file lawsuit against Alabama abortion ban

Erin Durkin, The Guardian 

Civil rights groups have filed a lawsuit to stop Alabama from implementing a law making abortion a crime at any stage of pregnancy.

8) Federal Judge Blocks Mississippi Abortion Law

Antonia Blumberg, HuffPost US

A U.S. district judge on Friday blocked Mississippi’s restrictive abortion law, setting the stage for more court battles as conservative lawmakers continue to challenge Roe v. Wade.

9) Law professor 'very angry' with new manslaughter trial in Cindy Gladue's death

CBC News 

Beverly Jacobs, who acted as an intervener in the Supreme Court case, thinks it should be a murder trial for Ontario trucker Bradley Barton instead.

10) ‘The College does not care’: How the medical watchdog closed the door on sex-abuse complainants

Karen Howlett & Vjosa Isai, The Globe and Mail 

Women sought out a Toronto pain specialist in search of help. Instead, former patients allege, he abused their trust. When they complained to the province’s medical watchdog, they expected their allegations would be heard.

11) Moby's treatment of Natalie Portman is a masterclass in nice-guy misogyny

Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian 

If someone had said the word “Moby” a week ago, chances are the first thing you’d have thought is “Dick.” That probably hasn’t changed – but now you’d likely be referring to the 90s musician rather than the 19th century whale. Over the past few days, Moby has been stress-testing the adage that “all publicity is good publicity” by repeatedly insisting that he and Natalie Portman used to be an item, even if she says they weren’t.

12) Brazil’s Military Police Kills 434 in Rio de Janeiro in 2019 


Brazil's military police killed 434 in 2019, making it the most violent period in recorded history. Most of the killings occurred against Black men in favelas in Rio de Janeiro.

13) Italian dock strike blocks deadly cargo headed for Saudi Arabia

Steve Sweeney, The Morning Star 

Activists holds up a banner which says ‘Disobey Salvini’ as they protest against the Saudi Arabian freighter Bahri Yanbu docked in Genoa's port.

14) Organizing in the textile and garment sector in Thailand


IndustriALL organized the first workshop in Thailand on organizing in the supply chain for textile, garment, shoes and leather (TGSL) sector affiliate, Textile Garment and Leather Workers’ Federation of Thailand (TWFT) on 3-4 May in Bangkok.

15) Family of Jailed Saudi Feminist Loujain Al-Hathloul: She Was Waterboarded, Flogged & Electrocuted

Democracy Now

It’s been a year since women’s right activist Loujain Al-Hathloul was detained and jailed in Saudi Arabia for leading a movement to lift the kingdom’s ban on female drivers and overhaul its male “guardianship” system. Despite international outcry, she’s been imprisoned ever since. During that time, her family says, she’s been held in solitary confinement and faced abuse, including electric shocks, flogging and threats of sexual violence. The Saudi government has resisted calls from human rights groups and lawmakers from around the world to release Loujain and the other jailed activists. We speak with two of Loujain’s siblings, Walid and Lina Al-Hathloul.

16) Right-wing media defends Navy SEAL accused of killing Iraqi civilians, posing with corpses

Luke Barnes, Think Progress

Conservative media has jumped to the defense of Special Operations Chief Edward Gallagher, the Navy SEAL accused of war crimes against unarmed civilians, whom President Donald Trump is reportedly considering pardoning this week.

17) NDP MP Randall Garrison’s disgraceful anti-Palestinian politics

Yves Engler

Randall Garrison is an embarrassment to everyone who supports universal human rights. The Victoria area New Democratic Party MP’s anti-Palestinian politics are beyond disgraceful.

18) Human Rights Defender Paula Rosero Killed in Colombia


According to a recent count, after the signing of the peace agreements in Colombia, in November 2016, 596 social leaders have been killed.

19) Death squads in Colombia - paid for by big business

Oliver Dodd, The Morning Star 

OLIVER DODD exposes the role of wealthy groups, including multinationals like Coca Cola and United Fruit, in sponsoring paramilitary murder in Latin America.

20) China's electric buses are killing oil demand

Callum Burroughs, Business Insider 

A new report from Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggests that China's electric-bus revolution could kill off oil demand in the future.

21) The U.S. Has a Fleet of 300 Electric Buses. China Has 421,000

 Brian Eckhouse, Bloomberg 

Plodding down DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn is a bus moving under the power of an eerily quiet motor. It looks newer than most buses on the route, with a vivid digital display facing the driver and doors that part with a futuristic pneumatic swoosh. Commuters trundling aboard at rush hour don't seem to realize this is one of the few electric buses—300 last year, to be exact—in America.

22) 126 cases and 0 criminal charges: Is Quebec's police watchdog doing its job?

Kate McKenna · CBC News 

There are still nights when June Celik wakes up crying, wishing she hadn't called police on her son Koray.

23) New Poll Shows More People in US View Socialism as 'Good'


The rise of congresspeople like Senator Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, mirrors the shifting opinions of the populace.

24) The Federal Election 2019

Australian Communist Party 

If people attached importance to pre-election polls, the result of Saturday’s federal election would have come as a great shock. The outcome will be analysed at great length by the corporate media but at a very superficial level. Bill Shorten lacked “charisma”, the Coalition targeted their pork barrelling well and carried out an effective and misleading scare campaign about increased taxes, and so on.

25) How Australia’s Labor Party Lost an Un-Losable Election

Daniel Lopez, Jacobin

Pundits are blaming the Australian Labor Party's left-wing turn for its shocking defeat in Saturday's election. But the failure lies in the fact that this leftist program came too little, too late.

26) Labor was not radical enough

Sam Wainwright, Green Left Weekly 

Barely had we digested the news of the unexpected Coalition victory when the corporate media commentators and a number of senior party leaders were blaming Labor’s election loss for it being too left-wing — “too ambitious”, “a large target” and “bit off more than it could chew”.

27) New York-born GI who defected to the East back in USA

Cameron Orr, People's Voice 

“You know what today is?” Victor Grossman asks a gathering of 30 here during a stop on his book tour. He is coming to the end of his talk.

28) Should we fear for India's democracy?

 Nilanjan Mukhopadhyay, Al Jazeera 

Weeks before the general elections in India, opinion polls were already showing that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had a fair chance of returning to office. He was riding on the crest of militaristic nationalism which gripped the nation after the military escalation with Pakistan in February.

29) Outcry after Trump officials reveal sixth migrant child died in US custody

Oliver Laughland, The Guardian 

The Trump administration has been forced to reveal that a 10-year-old migrant girl died in its custody more than seven months ago, sparking further outcry after a spate of recent migrant child deaths while detained by the US government.

China and Cuba are teaming up to revamp the island nation’s railroad system. The ambitious program, which includes these beautiful bright blue train cars, will modernize the country’s railways, putting them on par with the best in the world:

30) The NDP Is Class Conscious, Just Not How You Think

Stuart Parker 

In my last post I suggested that the New Democratic Party of Canada and its ilk are not unprincipled as many on the left suggest but instead have ideologically changed over the past generation and a half. For some, the knowledge that former social democratic parties, Third Way parties like the NDP are no longer socialist in character is sufficient. But I think that we need to go further to understand our present predicament. As we can now understand that these parties are here to actively stymie efforts to redistribute wealth or arrest the extinction event, it is important to comprehend and anticipate their actions, not so that we can work in concert with them but so as to prepare ourselves for their next move against us.

31) Brazil: More than 1 million take to the streets


A nationwide education strike on May 15 became the platform for the biggest anti-government protests since President Jair Bolsonaro took power.

32) France’s ‘Yellow Vests’: 6 months of struggle

Richard Greeman, Green Left Weekly

I am writing from Montpellier, France, where I am a participant-observer in the Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vest) movement, which is still going strong after six months, despite a dearth of information in the international media.

33) Shed No Tears for Theresa May

Dawn Foster, Jacobin 

Theresa May climbed her way up the political ladder by pushing policies that brought misery to others. Her ignominious fall is richly deserved.

34) Jason Kenney’s Economic Policies Would Eliminate More Jobs Than 2015 Oil Crash, New Study Shows

Press Progress 

Jason Kenney’s $3.7 billion corporate tax giveaways and deep cuts to public services would kill nearly 60,000 jobs.

35) UN poverty expert hits back over UK ministers' 'denial of facts'

Robert Booth, The Guardian 

The United Nations expert whose warning of deepening poverty in Britain was this week dismissed as “barely believable” by ministers, has said the government’s denial is as worrying as the poverty itself.

36) Kenya court upholds ban on gay sex in major setback for activists

Jason Burke, The Guardian 

LGBT campaigners have reacted with anger and dismay after judges at Kenya’s high court rejected a bid to repeal colonial-era laws criminalising gay sex.

37) Trump Threatens “Official End of Iran” Via Tweet If It Provokes the U.S.

Democracy Now

As tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to flare, President Trump issued a threatening tweet Sunday, writing: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” He did not specify what threat he was referring to. On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated that Iran does not want war and that no country has the “illusion it could confront Iran,” according to state media.

38) Trump Says the Military Industrial Complex is Pressuring him Into a War With Iran

The Real News Network

With a thirty year Boeing veteran at the Pentagon, Patrick Shanahan as Acting Secretary of Defense, and with John Bolton and Mike Pompeo at the helm, war with Iran is likely says the former chief of staff to Secretary of State, Col. Larry Wilkerson.

39) Second Venezuelan Child Dies As US Blockade Stops Transplant 


Relatives of these chronic patients called on the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, to intercede in the suspension of the blockade against Venezuela.

40) Venezuela: Maduro Proposes Early Parliamentary Elections as ANC Extends Mandate

Ricardo Vaz, Venezuela Analysis 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro proposed holding early parliamentary elections as a way to defuse the country’s political crisis.

Denying Impact of Venezuela Sanctions is 'Like Climate Denial':

41) Timeline of Half a Decade of US Economic War Against Venezuela


As of Jan. 23, 2019 when the self-declared 'president' Juan Guaido attempted to lead a coup, the hostility of the U.S. blockade against Venezuela increased substantially.

42) Venezuela: Widespread Gasoline Shortages as Sanctions Take Toll on Oil Sector

Lucas Koerner and Ricardo Vaz, Venezuela Analysis 

Large parts of Venezuela are suffering acute gasoline shortages as US oil sanctions begin to take effect on the nation’s fuel supply.

43) Oslo To Host New Talks Between Venezuela Gov't, Opposition 


The Venezuelan government and the opposition will soon be reuniting for a second round of negotiations in Norway, said the Norwegian Foreign Ministry Saturday.

43) The U.S. put nuclear waste under a dome on a Pacific island. Now it’s cracking open.

Kyle Swenson, The Washington Post

At 6:45 a.m. on March 1, 1954, the blue sky stretching over the south Pacific Ocean was split open by an enormous red flash.

44) ABC News spent more time on royal baby in one week than on climate crisis in one year

LISA HYMAS & TED MACDONALD, Media Matters for America 

Here's media misconduct in a nutshell: ABC’s World News Tonight spent more than seven minutes reporting on the birth of royal baby Archie in the week after he was born -- more time than the program spent covering climate change during the entire year of 2018.


Lee Fang, The Intercept 

THE BANKRUPTCY OF one of the largest domestic coal producers in the country has revealed that the company maintains financial ties to many of the leading groups that have sowed doubt over the human causes of global warming.

46) B.C. can't impose environmental laws that could kill Trans Mountain pipeline, court rules

Jason Proctor · CBC News

British Columbia doesn't have the right to impose environmental laws that could kill the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, the province's Court of Appeal has ruled.

(Related: Blind partisan hypocrisy is not what we need to confront the climate crisis)


Alex Emmons, The Intercept 

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION chose the Friday afternoon before Memorial Day weekend to invoke an obscure state-of-emergency provision that would allow it to sell billions of dollars in weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates without giving Congress a chance to block the sale.

48) Injured workers face benefit cuts as compensation board assigns them ‘phantom jobs’ with ‘ghost wages’: Report

Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star

Permanently injured workers are having their benefits slashed because the provincial compensation board deems them capable of doing “imaginary” jobs with “ghost wages,” a new report says — even though the board’s own audits have identified significant barriers to finding real employment.

49) Ontario government slashes funding to children’s aid societies

Sandro Contenta, The Toronto Star

The Ford government is reducing funding for children and youth at risk by $84.5 million, according to an analysis of provincial spending estimates by the Ontario Association of Children’s Aid Societies.

50) Low-income students to be hardest hit as TDSB looks to trim outdoor education programs, some warn

CBC Radio

As the Toronto District School Board looks to trim spending amid a $67-million shortfall, some are warning low-income children stand to be some of the hardest hit when it comes to outdoor education.

51) Ontario’s poverty reduction strategy is built on the idea that people deserve to be poor

Madeleine Ritts, Healthy Debate

As a community mental health social worker in downtown Toronto, I encounter the most extreme conditions of poverty and social inequality in the city. The people I work with are often forced to find shelter in profoundly undignified environments. Some pay upwards of $1,000 a month to share a shoebox-sized room with strangers in boarding homes where sickness is rampant and pest infestations are chronic. When I search for people in dangerously cramped city respite shelters, I’m struck by their resemblance to natural disaster relief centres. There is no privacy; there are rarely any showers; and leaving your “cot” means risking the few possessions you have to theft. I often reflect on how quickly my mental health would deteriorate should I ever wind up staying in one.

52) Ford government pulls the plug on electricity program in Peel

 Marta Marychuk, Mississauga News

Students from Judith Nyman Secondary School in Brampton are angry and disappointed after the Ministry of Education pulled the plug on funding for the school’s electricity program.

See also: Abortion Rights Under Attack, American Imperialists Push for War with Iran, Climate Change & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos May 12 - 19

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