Sunday, May 19, 2019

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

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 12 - 19.

1) The War on Women Enters a New, Even More Dangerous Phase

 Dorothy Woodend, The Tyee

On the 50th anniversary of the publication of Our Bodies, Ourselves, the struggle for women’s bodily autonomy, for political representation and economic power, for freedom and equality is still being waged.

2) Alabama abortion ban: Republican state senate passes most restrictive law in US

Erin Durkin, Jessica Glenza and Amanda Holpuch, The Guardian 

Alabama’s Republican-controlled state senate has passed a near-total ban on abortion, making it a crime to perform the procedure at any stage of pregnancy.

3) In Alabama, abortion rights are under threat. In Northern Ireland, they never existed

Glosswitch, The New Statesman 

"Dear people facing abortion pushback, we know how you feel…” So starts an open letter from the Northern Irish activist organisation Alliance for Choice, advising residents of Alabama on what to expect when their access to reproductive care becomes almost as restrictive as that of residents of Northern Ireland.

4) 'We have to keep vigilant': Toronto pro-choice advocate on Alabama's abortion ban

CBC Radio 

The state of Alabama passed a near-total ban on abortion last night. Could it have cascading effects, potentially threatening the landmark Roe v. Wade case? We ask Torontonian Judy Rebick, an activist who was at the centre of the fight for the legalization of abortion here in Canada.

5) Republican vows to bring near-total abortion ban to Virginia

Josh Israel, Think Progress

After his party largely downplayed its desire to eliminate abortion rights in Virginia in recent years, Virginia Delegate Bob Thomas (R) admitted that the real goal is to win back the governor’s mansion and a narrow majority in the legislature to do just that.

6) Republicans in the US are criminalizing abortion. Canada’s Conservatives want to do the same.

North 99

On Tuesday, the Alabama Senate passed America’s most restrictive ban on abortion, making it illegal for abortion to be performed at any stage of pregnancy unless it is to avoid a serious health risk to the unborn child’s mother.”

7) Doug Ford Pledged to Defund Abortion During Leadership Race, Report Claims

North 99

According to a new story from Macleans, Doug Ford promised anti-abortion group Campaign Life Coalition that if elected leader he would defund abortion.

8) Sam Oosterhoff’s coffee with constituents event ended abruptly as protestors were calling out the MPP’s stance on abortion


100 people converged on the legion in Grimsby, in MPP Sam Oosterhoff’s riding upset with him because of his stance against abortion. Inside Oosterhoff was hosting a community coffee event with constituents. Many of the people in the legion were pro choice and confronting him about his beliefs, some were upset saying he would not answer their questions.

9) Alabama Passes Near Total Ban on Abortion as Part of “Stealth Campaign” to Overturn Roe v. Wade

Democracy Now

Alabama lawmakers voted to effectively ban abortion Tuesday, passing the most restrictive anti-choice law in the country in a direct challenge to Roe v. Wade. The bill approved by the Senate Tuesday and the Alabama House last month bans abortions at all phases. Doctors could face up to 99 years in prison for performing abortions. The bill’s only exception is grave risk to the mother’s life — not cases of rape and incest. The legislation is now heading to the desk of anti-choice Republican Governor Kay Ivey, and many expect she’ll sign it. Opponents say they’ll challenge the bill in court should it become law, but this is precisely the point. Architects behind the legislation want to use it to challenge Roe v. Wade, which recognizes the constitutional right to an abortion. We speak with Jessica Mason Pieklo of Rewire.News and Monica Simpson of Sister Song.

10) ‘Were you turned on by this at all?’: RCMP officer asks Indigenous youth during sexual assault report

Holly Moore and Brittany Guyot, APTN News

Video obtained by APTN Investigates shows a Kelowna RCMP officer interviewing an under-aged Indigenous teen for more than two hours after she reported a sexual assault while in care of the B.C child welfare system.

11) Doug Ford was just booed at the opening of the Special Olympics in Toronto

Jordan Steinhauer, Blog TO

People at the opening ceremonies of the 2019 Special Olympics Ontario Invitational Youth Games weren't too happy to see Premier Doug Ford show up and give a speech.

12) Ford government scraps funding for stem cell research

Mike Crawley · CBC News

The Ford government plans to stop all funding to an institute that supports Ontario scientists at the cutting edge of stem cell research.

13) Anti-poverty advocates shaken by cuts contemplated by Ford government

 Laurie Monsebraaten, The Toronto Star

Anti-poverty activists say they are shocked the Ford government had contemplated cuts to the Ontario Child Benefit as part of efforts to slay the province’s $11.7 billion deficit.

14) TDSB announces over 300 high school courses to be cut next year due to provincial changes

CBC News

More than 300 classes are being cancelled over the coming school year and another 300 or so will continue on with larger class sizes as a result of provincial changes to class size averages, the Toronto District School Board says.

15) Ford government blasted over cuts to office dedicated to keeping workers safe

 Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star 

Funding cuts to the office tasked with preventing workplace deaths and plans to “modernize” health and safety provisions in the province will make workers less safe on the job, opposition critics argued at Queen’s Park Tuesday.

16) Ontario government just cut $20 million more from Toronto Public Health

Lauren O'Neil, Blog TO

Ontario's PC government continues to slash and burn through Toronto's finances with the announcement of another $20 million in Public Health cuts, bringing the total amount of money being pulled from next year's budget to $106 million.


James LaPorta and Tom O'Connor, Newsweek

When President Trump’s top national security advisers met for a classified meeting at the Pentagon last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan laid out several U.S. military options for Iran, separated into two distinct categories: retaliatory and offensive.

18) 'Disturbing': Trump Reportedly Reviewed Bolton Plan to Threaten Iran by Sending 120,000 Troops to Middle East

Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

Observers warned the United States is hurtling down the same path that led to the disastrous invasion of Iraq 16 years ago following a report late Monday that President Donald Trump reviewed a plan to send 120,000 ground troops to the Middle East if Iran launches an "attack" on American forces or moves to develop nuclear weapons.

19) John Bolton Is the World's Worst Nightmare

Amy Goodman and Denis Moynihan, Truthdig 

“Time is terribly short, but a strike can still succeed.” —John Bolton, in a March 26, 2015, New York Times op-ed headlined, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran”

20) Communists warn risk of war with Iran and Venezuela ‘escalating’

The Morning Star

THE Communist Party warned of a “rapidly escalating danger of war” at its political committee this week.

21) ‘NY Times’ disgracefully joins the propaganda campaign to push for war against Iran

James North, Mondoweiss 

I’m old enough to remember the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident, which the U.S. used as the pretext to massively escalate the Vietnam war. In early August that year, the American press indignantly reported that the USS Maddox, innocently patrolling in the South China Sea, had been the victim of two attacks by North Vietnamese patrol boats. The truth later emerged; the attacks were either made up, exaggerated, or a deliberate U.S. provocation. But President Lyndon Johnson used the episode to convince Congress to pass the Gulf of Tonkin resolution, which enabled him to eventually send half a million American soldiers to Vietnam.

22) War With Iran Is America's Endgame

Maj. Danny Sjursen, Truthdig

Who do we think we are? Truly. The latest reports that the Trump administration is considering plans for deploying 120,000 troops to the Middle East – presumably to strike Iran – demonstrates how Washington’s foreign policy has finally gone off the rails. Crazier still, the impending war with Iran isn’t even the today’s biggest news story – what with all the nonsense, soap opera hullabaloo about the Mueller Report – on mainstream media outlets. What the proposed plan constitutes is nothing less than the most important, and disturbing, global issue of the day. This is how it should be reported by a truly adversarial media: The United States is preparing for an aggressive, illegal, and unwarranted war against another sovereign power thousands of miles from its shores. Again! All true citizens should be beyond appalled and screaming dissent from the rooftops.

23) Trump May Be Preparing Pardons for Servicemen Accused of War Crimes

Dave Phillips, The New York Times

President Trump has indicated that he is considering pardons for several American military members accused or convicted of war crimes, including high-profile cases of murder, attempted murder and desecration of a corpse, according to two United States officials.

24) Rainforest Cafe strike puts the spotlight on tip-sharing

Alison Braley-Rattai, The Conservation 

The ongoing labour dispute at the Rainforest Cafe in Niagara Falls, Ont., highlights a growing concern among hospitality workers across the country — employer control over their tips.

25) How Marxists Are Winning in Belgium

Aurore van Opstal, Jacobin

With this month's European Parliament elections approaching, the media is fixated on the far right. But in Brussels itself, it’s the radical left that’s changing the debate.

26) Europe’s Newest Finance Minister Wants to Keep His Country White

Andrew Langley  and Ott Ummelas, Bloomberg

He wants to keep his country racially pure and makes gestures used by white supremacists. And this week he will sit down with the rest of the euro region’s finance ministers.


Nino Brown, Liberation 

That China is a rising power is undeniable. Since its founding in 1949, the People’s Republic of China has undergone several substantial economic and social policy changes, in response to both the evolving domestic situation and international obstacles and challenges. Along the way, China has lifted 800 million people out of poverty, increased wages and the standard of living, raised life expectancy (even beyond US life expectancy), and is asserting itself on the international arena to the dismay of U.S. imperialism.

28) Ilhan Omar, Bernie Sanders Come Out in Support of Rashida Tlaib Amid Trump’s Attacks


Many progressives and activists like congresswoman Ilhan Omar, Shaun King, etc., came forward in defense of congresswoman Rashida Tlaib after she was attacked by the United States President Donald Trump for her comments on Holocaust.

29) Hatred of Jews terrifies me. So do false accusations of antisemitism

Aaron Freedman, The Guardian

On 27 June 1941, the Nazis marched into the Polish city of Bialystok. In this once vibrant, cosmopolitan city where Jews had made up two-thirds of the residents, German troops went door to door, pulling Jews into the streets. The lucky ones were shot. Much of the rest – including my great-great-grandparents, their children and their grandchildren – were packed into the Great Synagogue.

30) Secret archives show US helped Argentine military wage "dirty war" that killed 30,000

Rut Diamint, Salon

History books may never tell the full story of the dictatorship that terrorized Argentina from 1976 to 1984.

31) Promote Parenti, not Slavoj Zizek

Zoltan Zigedy, The Morning Star

In a blistering evisceration of phoney Marxists, ZOLTAN ZIGEDY excoriates those academics and their dupes who peddle trendy nonsense that was never a threat to capitalism

32) Jason Kenney is Giving Corporations a Massive Tax Giveaway That Will Cost Albertans $3.7 Billion

Press Progress

Alberta will lose 12% of the annual revenues it depends on to pay for public services thanks to a Donald Trump-inspired corporate tax giveaway announced this week by Alberta Premier Jason Kenney.

33) Green leader May supports same old pro-imperialist foreign policies

Yves Engler

Does Elizabeth May hate Palestinians? Does the Green Party leader want the Trump administration to attack Iran? Does she support efforts to overthrow Venezuela’s government?

34) 'You can’t really win': 4m Britons in poverty despite having jobs

Josephine Moulds, The Guardian 

"I’m a bit scatty with things like this,” Gemma* admits when talking about her finances. It was not scattiness that meant she struggled to make ends meet when taking home £399.69 a month for working 18 hours a week as a cashier at Betfred.

35) Rebel Youth remembers Stephen Endicott

Rebel Youth 

Rebel Youth remembers and salutes Stephen Endicott who passed away on May 4th as a giant for the Communist movement in Canada.

36) Far-right party in Hungary forms uniformed ‘self-defence’ force in spirit of outlawed vigilante group

Chris Stevenson, The Independent 

A far-right party in Hungary is forming a uniformed “self-defence group” akin to the vigilante Hungarian Guard which was banned a decade ago.

37) Winnipeg Transit drivers’ fare strike ATU’s first in North America

 Emily Leedham, Rand and File

On Tuesday, May 14, the majority of Winnipeg Transit drivers, who are members of ATU Local 1505, did not enforce payment from transit riders. This “fare strike” is the first time the ATU has done this type of action in North America.

38) Is ‘Left Over’ Food for ‘Left Behind’ People the Best We Can Do?

 Graham Riches and Kell Gerlings, The Tyee

The British Columbia government’s poverty reduction plan has made a serious miscalculation.

39) Desperate Guaido Asks EU To Impose More Sanctions On Venezuela


The self-proclaimed president of Venezuela is trying to recover from his embarrassing coup by punishing the people of the Bolivarian Republic with new sanctions.

40) Guaido Hits Hard Times, Begs US Military For Help


The self-proclaimed "interim president" of Venezuela failed to oust the legitimate President Nicolás Maduro last month after boasting about his alleged military 'support' inside the Bolivarian Republic.

41) US Police Illegally Invade Venezuelan Embassy in Washington DC


Metropolitan Police of Washington D.C arrived at the Venezuelan embassy on Monday afternoon to break the locks and carry out the illegal eviction of international NGO Code Pink who have barricaded themselves in the embassy. Protesters inside and outside the building reject the aggression as a violation of the Vienna Convention.

42) Is the Venezuela Opposition Really 'Pro-Democracy'? That's Worthy of Orwell

Gregory Shupak – FAIR

Writing of the failed US-sponsored coup attempt in Venezuela on April 30, Uri Friedman of The Atlantic (5/1/19) referred to the Venezuelan branch of the coup as Juan “Guaidó’s pro-democracy movement.” The logical contradiction could scarcely be more pronounced: A wave of Friedman’s wand transforms a political force seeking the military overthrow of Venezuela’s elected government into a “pro-democracy movement.”

43) Without Venezuela's oil, Haiti struggles to keep lights on

Loop News

When her daughter was 4 years old, Jennifer Jean started a small catering business in Bourdon, a lower-middle-class district of the Haitian capital.

44) The Nakba: a catastrophe that is still with us

Robert Massoud, Rabble

Around the world, every May 15 is commemorated as Nakba Day. In 1948, during the 12 or so months known to Palestinians as the "Nakba" (Arabic for "catastrophe"), an estimated 750,000 people were ethnically cleansed from their homes and land, and more than 600 villages destroyed. This was the "cost" of creating the State of Israel, paid by the indigenous people of Palestine. Few people suspected then and not many realize today that the events of that year would help steamroll future developments into the full-blown catastrophe facing the world 71 years later.

45) ‘Extraordinary thinning’ of ice sheets revealed deep inside Antarctica

Damian Carrington, The Guardian 

Ice losses are rapidly spreading deep into the interior of the Antarctic, new analysis of satellite data shows.

46) Alberta faces future flood, drought extremes as climate change hits Prairies hard, expert warns

Madeline Smith, Star Calgary

While southern Alberta knows all too well the impact of severe flooding, experts say that drought, made more severe by climate change, poses a serious risk that the city can’t ignore.

See also: John Bolton Pushes for War, Venezuela, Abortion Rights & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos May 5 - 12

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