Sunday, June 2, 2019

Climate Emergency, Ontario's Cuts, Venezuelan Sanctions, the KKE & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos May 26 - June 2

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 26 - June 2.

1) Australia plans coalfield the size of Britain in climate change U-turn

Bernard Lagan, The Sunday Times

Climate change was supposed to have won the Labor Party the Australian election. But yesterday, after having been routed by voters, its panicked leaders backed the mining of a coalfield bigger than the UK.

2) Jason Kenney vows to sue wildfires for defaming oil industry (Satire)

Mary Gillis, The Beaverton 

After wildfire smoke blanketed Edmonton yesterday and forced the cancellation of what should have been a triumphant celebration of the repeal of Alberta’s carbon tax, Premier Jason Kenney is vowing to take the culprit to court.

3)  US energy department rebrands fossil fuels as 'molecules of freedom' (Not satire)

Luke O'Neil, The Guardian 

America is the land of freedom, as any politician will be happy to tell you. What you don’t hear quite so often is that the stuff under the land is also apparently made of freedom as well. That is, at least according to a news release this week from the Department of Energy (DoE).

4) Elizabeth May wants to only use Canadian oil — a plan Quebec's Green Party leader can't support

CBC Radio

"I think it's very important for Greens all across Canada to take a clear position against the Alberta tarsands. It's an oil that comes out of there that is much more greenhouse gas emission intensive than conventional oil."

5) New study finds ‘strikingly high’ rates of cancer in some Ontario industrial cities

 Megan Robinson and Carolyn Jarvis, Global News, and Mike De Souza, National Observer

A new study by Canadian researchers suggests that living in industrial cities may increase your chance of getting cancer. As Megan Robinson reports, this disturbing new data - provides validation to some - who have long believed chemical pollution where they live is making them sick.

6) Jason Kenney Rewards Big Business Lobbyists By Clawing Back Wages for Young, Low-Income Workers

Press Progress

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney has unveiled a new plan to roll back workers’ wages and transfer  wealth to Canada’s biggest companies.

7) Louisiana's Democratic governor signs abortion ban into law

Associated Press

Louisiana's Democratic governor signed a ban on abortion as early as six weeks of pregnancy Thursday, a move that puts him squarely in line with the leaders of other conservative Southern states while provoking anger from members of his own party.

8) Latin American rape survivors who were denied abortions turn to UN

Liz Ford, The Guardian

Women from Nicaragua, Ecuador and Guatemala who suffered child rape take cases to UN human rights committee.

9) The Secret Money Behind the Push to Ban Abortion

Sue Sturgis, Common Dreams

An index from the Institute for Southern Studies.

10) ‘Mentrification’: how men appropriated computers, beer and the Beatles

Van Badham, The Guardian 

Throughout history, women have been written out of cultural moments they helped shape. And now we have a new word for it.

11) Philippines: Left prepares for ‘long fight’ after Duterte steals election

Tony Iltus, Green Left Weekly

The election of 12 new senators was proclaimed on May 22 by the Philippines electoral commission (COMELEC) following mid-term elections on May 13. All were from the grouping endorsed by authoritarian President Rodrigo Duterte.

12) Torrent Pharmaceutical workers in India beaten and fired after joining union


When Torrent Pharmaceutical workers in Himachal Pradesh became members of the Association of Chemical Workers Union in October 2018, management unleashed a series of vindictive actions aimed at union busting.

13) No to War on Iran

Greg Shupak, Jacobin

The jury long ago returned its verdict on US intervention in the Middle East: a similar catastrophe in Iran must be prevented.

14) BC Liberal MLA Says Child Labour is Needed to Prevent South Asian Kids From Joining Street Gangs

Press Progress

BC Liberal MLA Ian Paton fears South Asian children as young as twelve are more likely to join street gangs and rob convenience stores thanks to new legislation aimed at strengthening British Columbia’s child labour laws.

15) Kazakh communist party candidate seeks to fight poverty, promote economic integration with neighbouring countries

Yerbolat Uatkhanov, The Astana Times

Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan (CPPK) candidate for president Zhambyl Akhmetbekov promises to renounce Western influence and values, fight oligarchs and poverty and promote economic integration with neighbouring countries. If elected, he will also pursue tax reform.

16) The Strategic Question Revisited: Ten Theses

Panagiotis Sotiris, Socialist Project Bullet 

In 2006 Daniel Bensaïd made a very important call to reopen the debate on the ‘politico-strategic’ question. This call was made amidst a series of discussions within the European anticapitalist Left at a moment when signs of hope, such as the new wave of militancy associated with the anti-globalization movement, were combined with strategic contradictions, such as the ones that were already evident in the turn of the Lula government in Brazil toward classical social-democratic policies or in the limits of the ‘broad parties’ approach. What Bensaïd tried to do in that intervention was to remind the richness of the strategic revolutionary traditions that had dominated or even haunted the thinking of militants in the 20th century, the general strike, the armed insurrection and the prolonged people’s war, counter-posing them to either doing away with any revolutionary strategy, exemplified for him in interventions by theorists such as John Holloway or Toni Negri, or remaining within the frame of simply electoral politics. Above all, the importance of this intervention was exactly to reopen the debate and to rethink in strategic terms despite the weight of the defeat that the revolutionary left had suffered in the previous decades.

17) “I felt anger”: why Raptors star Marc Gasol helped rescue migrants

North 99

Driven by a sense of anger at the senseless suffering of migrants trying to escape violence and flee to Europe across the Mediterranean, Gasol spent last summer participating in rescue operations aboard the Open Arms Proactiva, a migrant rescue vessel.

18) 'Egg boy' Will Connolly donates $100,000 to Christchurch mosque attack survivors

Lisa Cox, The Guardian

Will Connolly, the Australian teenager who became known as “egg boy”, says he has donated almost $100,000 to help those affected by the Christchurch mosque attack.

19) Boris Johnson could go on trial for 'lying and misleading' in Brexit campaign, judge orders

Lizzie Dearden, The Independent

Boris Johnson faces trial for allegedly “lying and misleading the British public” about the consequences of Brexit.

20) New Zealand schools hit by 'mega-strike' as 50,000 teachers walk out

Eleanor Ainge Roy, The Guardian 

More than 50,000 primary and high school teachers have gone on strike in the biggest industrial action ever seen in New Zealand’s schools.

21) New Mexico Mayor Orders Group Building Border Wall To Stop Construction

 Donica Phifer, Newsweek

The mayor of Sunland Park, New Mexico, has issued a cease-and-desist order to a private group that raised millions to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

22) Guatemalan workers allege poor conditions at Aquilini berry farm

Paisley Woodward, Belle Puri · CBC News

A group of female farmworkers from Guatemala is alleging poor living and working conditions at a B.C. berry farm owned by the billionaire Aquilini family.

23) New Hampshire abolishes death penalty after lawmakers override governor

Mark Berman, The Washington Post

Lawmakers in New Hampshire voted Thursday to abolish the death penalty, overriding a veto from the state’s Republican governor and making it the 21st state to abandon capital punishment.

24) CPI-M reclaims, reopens 200 closed party offices in Bengal

Indo Asian News Service

Amidst the violent clashes and political slugfest between West Bengal’s ruling Trinamool Congress and the BJP, the CPI-M has reclaimed and reopened around 200 party offices which were allegedly captured by the Trinamool after coming to power in 2011.

25) The rise of the Greens: what it means

Marco La Grotta, Fightback 

Ignored for 36 years, Canada’s Greens may now have reason to celebrate. On May 6, Green Party candidate Paul Manly swept the by-election in Nanaimo, BC, placing 12 points ahead of the second place Tories. Manly now joins Green Party leader Elizabeth May in Ottawa, until now the sole Green MP since 2011. Before that, the Greens had no elected representatives, either federally or provincially. The party now boasts over a dozen. In PEI, the Greens are now the official opposition, while in BC they are part of the ruling coalition government. In the course of a few years, the Greens have gone from being a marginal, often eclectic sect, to now being a considerable force in Canadian politics. How can we explain the rise of the Green Party?

26) National inquiry calls murders and disappearances of Indigenous women a 'Canadian genocide'

Jorge Barrera · CBC News

The thousands of Indigenous women and girls who were murdered or disappeared across the country in recent decades are victims of a "Canadian genocide," says the final report of the national inquiry created to probe the ongoing tragedy.

27) Honduran Police Repress Protesters Amid National Teacher, Doctor Strike


Honduran doctors, teachers, and students Thursday demanded the repeal of two executive orders issued by President Juan Orlando Fernandez (JOH) and were repressed by state police forces in cities and towns around the country.

28) Protesters take to Brazil's streets – in pictures

The Guardian 

Tens of thousands of students, academics and teachers have marched throughout the vast South American country in protest against ultraconservative president Jair Bolsonaro’s cuts to education, including moves to dramatically reduce funding for federal universities.

29) Congressman Hunter Says He Probably Killed ‘Hundreds’ Of Civilians While In Combat

Lynn Walsh, KPBS

Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Alpine, said he probably killed “hundreds of civilians” while serving as an artillery officer in Fallujah.

30) Israeli forces shoot 16-year old through the heart

The Morning Star

Mourners carry the body of Abdullah Ghaith out of his family's home during his funeral in the West Bank city of Hebron.

31) Winnipeg police officers tried to cover up actions after family assaulted in hotel room, judge rules

Marina von Stackelberg · CBC News

Four Winnipeg police officers committed "egregious conduct" when they unlawfully entered a hotel room and assaulted three people inside, then charged one of the family members to "provide a cover" for their actions, a Manitoba judge has ruled.

32) Mass Shootings, Dinner, and the Cognitive Dissonance of Just Living in America

Shaun King, The Intercept

ON FRIDAY EVENING my wife and I were on our way to dinner with our three youngest kids when I happened to learn from Twitter that a man in Virginia Beach had just shot and killed 12 people. And so my struggle, which I am sure is also regularly your struggle, began. In almost every developed nation in the world, 12 people being killed in a mass shooting would make that incident the deadliest in years. In some nations it would be the deadliest ever. But in the United States, they happen so often, with such ferocity and carnage, that when we learn about the next one, we hardly skip a beat. Indeed, 2018 was by far the most violent year ever measured for school shootings in the United States and 2017 was the deadliest year in at least a half-century for gun deaths altogether in this country – with an astounding 40,000 people killed by guns. That’s 110 people per day. We couldn’t keep up if we tried.

33) Nearly 900 migrants found at Texas facility with 125-person capacity: DHS watchdog

Quinn Owen, ABC News

In a report out Friday, the Homeland Security inspector general has found “dangerous overcrowding” and unsanitary conditions at a Customs and Border Protection facility in El Paso, Texas, where hundreds more migrants were being housed than the center was designed to hold.

34) Declassified Cold War nuclear plans: U.S. would have blown up half the world

Shane Quinn, People's World

On August 30, 1945, Major General Lauris Norstad dispatched a document to his superior, General Leslie Groves, outlining a total of 15 “key Soviet cities” to be struck with U.S. atomic weapons, headed by the capital Moscow. This was followed by another 25 “leading Soviet cities” listed for annihilation, topping this latter group was Leningrad, almost destroyed during the Nazi siege finally lifted in late January 1944.

35)  Rats at the police station, filth on L.A. streets — scenes from the collapse of a city that’s lost control

Steve Lopez. The LA Times

The good news is that two trash-strewn downtown Los Angeles streets I wrote about last week were cleaned up by city work crews and have been kept that way, as of this writing.

36) US Senator Calls for Grenada-like Invasion of Venezuela


“I would do exactly what Reagan did. I would give Cuba the ultimatum to get out of Venezuela. If they don’t, I would let the Venezuelan military know, you’ve got to choose between democracy and Maduro. And if you choose Maduro and Cuba, we’re coming after you. This is in our backyard.”

37) US Sanctions Leave Millions of Venezuelans Without Water

The Real News Network

“You can’t blame the Maduro government, but as for the United States, this Donald Trump is mean. He’s mean and he’s blocked a lot of things. We have to support each other and this U.S. blockade has to end.” -- Yolimar Contreras

38) Palestinians Protest US Blockade on Venezuela


Activists and social movements in the Palestinian city of Ramallah held a rally calling for an end to U.S. sanctions against Venezuela and expressed their support for President Nicolas Maduro.

39) US Hints at Sanctions Against Venezuela CLAP Food Programme as Maduro Incorporates Militia

 Paul Dobson, Venezuela Analysis 

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced the incorporation of the National Bolivarian Militia into the subsidised CLAP (Local Supply and Production Committees) food programme.

40) Why is Ottawa aligning itself with Venezuela’s most anti-democratic elements?

Yves Engler, Canadian Dimension 

Not only has Canada financed and otherwise supported opposition parties in Venezuela, Ottawa has allied itself with some of its most anti-democratic, hardline elements. While the Liberal government has openly backed Voluntad Popular’s bid to seize power since January, Ottawa has supported the electorally marginal party for years.

41) Ontario eliminates Indigenous Culture Fund as government cuts millions of dollars in arts funding

The Canadian Press

Nishnawbe Aski Nation Grand Chief Alvin Fiddler says the arts, including music and storytelling, are a very important part of Indigenous culture, and cutting this fund sends a terrible message.

42) Doug Ford cancels retroactive cuts to municipalities

Robert Benzie & Rob Ferguson, The Toronto Star 

Caving in to pressure from Toronto Mayor John Tory and local leaders across the province, Premier Doug Ford has cancelled retroactive budget cuts hitting public health, child care and land ambulance services.

43) Students take Ford government to court over decision to allow opt-outs of certain fees

The Canadian Press

The Canadian Federation of Students has launched a court challenge against the Ontario government's decision to allow college and university students to opt out of certain fees.

44) Hard Right Turn Ontario

Greg Albo, The Socialist Project Bullet 

A decade after the global financial crisis, few of the initial political calculations on the trajectory of world capitalism remain intact. The assessments made by liberals and social democrats alike on the end of neoliberalism and a revival of Keynesian state intervention now seem like a bad joke. And the reading from many on the radical left that the economic slump would be met by a wave of social resistance and an opening for political rupture have fared no better in either economic analysis or political guidance. Indeed, neoliberalism has regained its pre-eminence in economic policy through re-financialization and austerity despite its ideological discredit and the endless multiplications of its contradictions.

45) Ontario cuts funding to program that helps youth quit smoking

Shawn Jeffords, The Canadian Press 

"It doesn't make any sense to do this. It's just slightly over a million dollars and that is a very small amount of money for the reach and effectiveness of the program and potential cost-savings down the road."

46) Doug Ford’s Social Services Minister is ‘Demonizing’ Child Refugees to Cut Anti-Child Poverty Program, Advocates Say

Press Progress

Child and refugee advocates are accusing Doug Ford’s social services minister of scapegoating child refugees to deflect attention from new cuts to programs that support children living in poverty.

47) Greek Communist Party Welcomes High Support from Greeks abroad in Euro-Elections

The National Herald

The high level of support for the Communist Party of Greece (KKE) from Greek voters abroad, where KKE placed third in the European elections with 14.09 pct of the overseas vote, “reflected their enthusiasm and optimism that KKE will emerge stronger in the general elections,” the party said on Friday.

48) Communist Party of Greece makes gains in elections

Fightback! News

With a powerful KKE we can make a truly great difference, for there to exist a genuine people's opposition, a genuine support for the people facing every anti-popular government that will arise, for a real wall to be raised against the far-right and fascism, conservatism, for us to open the road together with the people as the genuine leader of the developments.

49) Senseless hatred

Alfonso G. Nacianceno García, Granma 

U.S. hostility toward Cuba has once again been demonstrated with the cancellation of the agreement reached between the Cuban Baseball Federation and Major League Baseball (MLB).

50) Cuba, China Strengthen Bilateral Ties to Tackle US Sanctions


Foreign Ministers from both countries will analyze common interest issues, including the U.S. foreign sanctions.

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

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