Sunday, July 14, 2019

Epstein, Censoring Palestinian Voices, Syriza & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos July 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 July 7 - 14.

1) In Patriarchy No One Can Hear You Scream

 Rebecca Solnit, Literary Hub

One of my favorite books when I was young was T. H. White’s The Once and Future King, and one of its central themes is the attempt of King Arthur to replace an ethos of “might is right” with something closer to justice. Justice means everyone is equal under the law—and equality means both that everyone has equal value under the law and that everyone is subject to the law. That’s been a foundational concept for the United States, but might is right has never ceased to be how things actually work at least some of the time. In White’s novel, might means in part the capacity for physical violence on the part of individual warriors, armies, tribes, and kingdoms, but the ability of individuals (and corporations and nations) to commit that violence with impunity is another kind of might that matters now.

2) Jeffrey Epstein: Trump once praised financier charged with sex trafficking minors for liking women 'on the younger side'

Kat Tenbarge, Business Insider

In light of Jeffrey Epstein's reported Saturday-night arrest on charges of sex trafficking minors, a quote from President Donald Trump praising the financier's fondness for young women has resurfaced.

3) Jeffrey Epstein’s Sick Story Played Out for Years in Plain Sight

Vicky Ward, The Daily Beast

A couple of years ago, I was interviewing a former senior White House official when the name Jeffrey Epstein came up.

4) Jeffrey Epstein and the Oxymoron of ‘Underage Women’

Tracy Clark-Flory, Jezebel 

Since Jeffrey Epstein’s arrest on sex trafficking charges on Saturday, TV news anchors and radio hosts have repeatedly trotted out a telling oxymoron: “underage women.” The phrase on its own is contradictory—a woman is an adult, while an underage person is a minor—but it’s especially so in context. Consider the CNN reporter who recently said on-air, “Epstein [allegedly] lured underage women, some as young as 14 to massage him and engage in sexual acts.” A 14 year old is not an “underage woman.” No “woman” is underage.

5) Trump labor secretary who cut Epstein deal plans to slash funds for sex trafficking victims

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian 

Alexander Acosta, the US labor secretary under fire for having granted Jeffrey Epstein immunity from federal prosecution in 2008, after the billionaire was investigated for having run a child sex trafficking ring, is proposing 80% funding cuts for the government agency that combats child sex trafficking.

6) Trump Labor Secretary Acosta resigning after criticism over Epstein plea deal in sex case

Adam Edelman, NBC News

Embattled Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta, who came under fire this week over a decade-old plea deal with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, is resigning, President Donald Trump said Friday.

7) Too many men think teenage girls are fair game. That gave Jeffrey Epstein cover

Moira Donegan, The Guardian 

Epstein is an extreme example of how heterosexual pedophilia is both normalized and often cast as aspirational: the reward for male success.

8) New Jeffrey Epstein accuser: He raped me when I was 15

Sarah Fitzpatrick, Savannah Guthrie and Rich Schapiro, NBC News 

Jennifer Araoz says she was 14 years old when a young woman approached her outside her New York City high school in the fall of 2001.

9) Why Are Judges So Concerned About the Future Potential of Rapists?

E.J. Dickson, Rolling Stone

A judge in New Jersey sparked outrage by giving a 16-year-old alleged sexual abuser a slap on the wrist, citing his sterling academic record.

10) Two Guatemalan Indigenous Leaders Killed


The organization reported the crimes occurred during a peaceful action in defense of the Right of the Land, demanding that those responsible "be captured and receive an exemplary sentence” for the killings.

11) Portugal Passes ‘Right to Housing’ Law As Prices Surge

Peter Yeung, City Lab

A bill passed on Friday by Portugal’s parliament sets out a legal basis for housing being treated as a citizens’ right. Under the new law, the Portuguese government becomes responsible for ensuring adequate housing for all citizens as “the guarantor of the right to housing.”

12) “The Class Enemy Remains Stronger and has got Wider Mechanisms to Divide the Working Class”

Muhammed Shabeer , News Click

Nicolas Maury of the French Communist Party (PCF) analyzes the situation following the European parliament elections in May, and looks into the victories of the far-right, especially in France.

13) Despite talk of promoting democracy Trudeau in bed with repressive monarchy

Yves Engler

Given his personal history perhaps it is no surprise that Justin Trudeau is fond of monarchies.

14) Abolish Eton: Labour groups aim to strip elite schools of privileges

Richard Adams, The Guardian

Labour activists are aiming to capitalise on Boris Johnson’s likely election as Conservative leader with an aggressive campaign against his old school, Eton, and other elite private schools in England.

15) 'This isn't about national security': Civil liberties group publishes CSIS reports related to alleged spying

Jim Bronskill · The Canadian Press

The B.C. Civil Liberties Association has released thousands of heavily redacted documents by the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) in regards to allegations the agency had spied on peaceful protesters of the now-defunct Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project.

16)  'KKE will fight against the new anti-people government'

International Communist Press

 "This result was achieved in conditions of the change of the correlation of forces amongst the bourgeois parties, a generalized trend towards increasing conservatism, blackmail, disillusionment that had been sowed by the anti-people political line of the 'left' SYRIZA government."

17) Syriza: the denouement

Richard Seymour 

What a miserable object-lesson. What a miserable end.

18) In Albania, call centre workers are organising for better working conditions

Louis Seiller, Equal Times

In one of the few old houses still standing in central Tirana, a small courtyard covered with colourful posters of social struggles from around the world has become the meeting place for a new generation of Albanian activists. “Fatjon, that’s the name I prefer to use,” says a tall, young man, slightly embarrassed. “I’m one of the members of this union. Solidariteti was created by call centre operators.” Fatjon’s reluctance to reveal his real name is understandable: he is now a unionised employee of Teleperformance, the world’s leading telemarketing company. The French multinational set up a call centre in Albania 11 years ago. Last February, the company learned that some of its employees had formed a trade union, a new development in the industry. Teleperformance Albania did not respond to Equal Times’ request for an interview.

19) Half of Indigenous children live in poverty, above national rate, study says

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press 

The worst child-poverty problem in the country was dropped in the laps of the country's premiers on Tuesday, as the Assembly of First Nations presented them with new numbers to show about half of Indigenous children live in poverty -- just as they did a decade ago.

20) First Nations launch new legal challenges against Trans Mountain

Coast Protectors 

Vancouver, Musqueam, Squamish and Tsleil-Waututh Territories: Several First Nations officially launched their appeals of the recent re-approval of the Trans Mountain Pipeline and Tanker Expansion Project (TMX) today. If successful, these legal challenges could once again stop the project in its tracks by quashing or nullifying the approval, announced on June 18th by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

21) Despite Death Threats, Glenn Greenwald Speaks Out About Exposing Large Corruption Scandal in Brazil

Democracy Now

A political crisis in Brazil is growing in the wake of The Intercept’s investigation into a judge who likely aided federal prosecutors in their corruption case against former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. The Bolsonaro administration announced Monday that Brazilian Justice Minister Sérgio Moro has been granted a leave of absence from July 15-19 to “deal with personal matters.” Leaked cellphone messages among Brazilian law enforcement officials and other data obtained by The Intercept point to an ongoing collaboration between then-Judge Sérgio Moro and the prosecutors investigating a sweeping corruption scandal known as Operation Car Wash. Lula was considered a favorite in the lead-up to the 2018 presidential election until he was put in jail and forced out of the race on what many say were trumped-up corruption charges. The leaked documents also reveal prosecutors had serious doubts about Lula’s guilt. The jailing of Lula helped pave the way for the election of the far-right former military officer Jair Bolsonaro, who then named Judge Sérgio Moro to be his justice minister. The news of Moro’s leave of absence comes amid increased calls for him to step down after new revelations of Moro’s questionable role in Operation Car Wash were published in Brazil’s leading conservative magazine, Veja, in partnership with The Intercept. We speak with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and one of the founding editors of The Intercept. Greenwald has faced death threats and a possible government investigation due to his reporting on the scandal.

22) Maxime Bernier photographed with members of alleged hate group in Calgary

Sarah Rieger · CBC News 

People's Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier posed for a photo with members of an organization described as a hate group in Calgary Sunday.


 Teeranai Charuvastra, Khaosod English 

An ex-leader of the Communist guerilla movement, who later took up the cause of democratizing Thailand, died today at the age of 98.

24) Beware of betrayal by the military, Sudanese Communist Party warns protesters

Pavan Kulkarni, People's Dispatch

In a statement, the Sudanese Communist Party has asked the protesters to stay on the streets to ensure that the military sticks to its side of the July 5 agreement on a new transitional government.

25) Under pressure from Zionists, church cancels Palestinian youth event

Nora Barrows-Friedman, Electronic Intifada 

Under pressure from Israel lobby groups, a Canadian church canceled an event celebrating a scholarship award in honor of the iconic Palestinian writer Ghassan Kanafani.

26) United Church suppresses Palestinian youth cultural event

Yves Engler

The Jewish Defence League and B’nai Brith are boasting that they convinced the Trinity-St. Paul Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts to cancel a room booking “to celebrate the artistic and cultural contributions of Palestinians in the diaspora.” The Toronto United Church had agreed to provide space to the Palestinian Youth Movement for “an evening of spoken word, music and food” to “showcase the winners of the Ghassan Kanafani Resistance Arts Scholarship.” Planned for July 13, the event was suppressed after the anti-Palestinian groups complained it included the name of Ghassan Kanafani, a famous novelist who was a spokesperson for the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine in the early 1970s.

Related: PYM Responds to Cancellation of Ghassan Kanafani Resistance Arts Scholarship Celebration in Toronto Due to Zionist Pressure

27) Palestinian child shot in head by Israeli forces in West Bank

MEE and agencies

A 10-year-old Palestinian child was shot in the head with live ammunition used by Israeli forces during a protest in the occupied West Bank town of Kafr Qaddum, the Palestinian WAFA news agency said.

28) Netanyahu meets with head of Ukrainian party that includes neo-Nazis

Sam Sokol, The Times of Israel 

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who has come under fire in recent years for allegedly failing to confront anti-Semitism and revisionism in Central and Eastern Europe, met Wednesday with the head of a Ukrainian political party whose membership includes ultranationalists and neo-Nazis.

29) Nelson Mandela's grandson slams 'Israeli apartheid'

Gavin O'Toole, Al Jazeera

The grandson of anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela has delivered a damning condemnation of "Israeli apartheid", in a high-profile expression of solidarity between South Africans and Palestinians.

30) Intermarriage Among Diaspora Jews Is 'Like a Second Holocaust,' Israel's Education Minister Says

Shira Kadari-Ovadia , Danielle Ziri and The Associated Press

Israel's education minister has likened intermarriage among diaspora Jews, and particularly North American Jews, to the Holocaust in a recent cabinet meeting. A spokesman for Education Minister Rafi Peretz confirmed Tuesday that Peretz said that "assimilation is like a second Holocaust."

31) Entry ban at Israeli city park provokes apartheid warnings

Jonathan Cook, Middle East Eye 

The barring of a lawyer and her infant from a public park in the Galilee last week has triggered a legal battle over whether local authorities in Israel can segregate citizens on a racial basis.

32) In drought-hit Delhi, the haves get limitless water, the poor fight for every drop

Mayank Bhardwaj, Reuters 

 In this teeming capital city of more than 20 million people, a worsening drought is amplifying the vast inequality between India’s rich and poor.

33) The Koch Brothers and the Tar-Sands

John McMurtry, Canadian Dimension 

As we know, big lies can run free across borders with few people joining the dots. For example, no media has been reporting that China’s growing dispute with Canada is based on Canada’s enforcement of the Trump administration’s unilateral embargo against Iran. This is what politicians called ‘the rule of law’. In fact, it is assisting the US takedown of China’s superior IT competition – Huawei – for not obeying the illegal US embargo.

34) Immigration officers conduct I.D. checks on Toronto streets

680 News

Advocates are sounding the alarm after reports of citizens allegedly being randomly stopped for I.D. checks by immigration officers. Ginella Massa with what could be behind the practice, and whether it’s legal.

35) Ahead of ICE raids, Miami advocacy groups set up secret shelters for immigrants in fear

Monique O. Madan, Miami Herald

An expected crackdown by immigration authorities throughout the country on Sunday is spreading panic among undocumented immigrants in South Florida, with some families deciding to leave their homes or the state altogether, and advocates preparing safe sanctuary spaces in secret locations for those seeking to avoid being caught up in the raids.


Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept

WHEN NEWS BROKE that thousands of current and former Border Patrol agents were members of a secret Facebook group filled with racist, vulgar, and sexist content, Carla Provost, chief of the agency, was quick to respond. “These posts are completely inappropriate and contrary to the honor and integrity I see — and expect — from our agents day in and day out,” Provost said in a statement. “Any employees found to have violated our standards of conduct will be held accountable.”

37) Migrant kids in overcrowded Arizona border station allege sex assault, retaliation from U.S. agents

Jacob Soboroff and Julia Ainsley, NBC News

The poor treatment of migrant children at the hands of U.S. border agents in recent months extends beyond Texas to include allegations of sexual assault and retaliation for protests, according to dozens of accounts by children held in Arizona collected by government case managers and obtained by NBC News.

38) Venezuelan Gov’t and Opposition to Continue Negotiation Talks in Barbados


Norway’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs informed on Sunday that representatives from both the Venezuelan government and the country’s opposition have decided to continue the process of dialogue mediated by the Scandinavian nation.

39) ‘Weaponizing human rights’: UN chief Bachelet’s Venezuela report follows US regime change script

Anya Parampil, The Gray Zone

Former UN special rapporteur Alfred de Zayas slams UN High Commissioner Bachelet’s report on Venezuela as a politicized collection of baseless accusations by “advocates of regime change”

40) UN Report on Human Rights in Venezuela Faulty by Design

Nino Pagliccia -

Following Michelle Bachelet's visit to Venezuela last June, the official report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR) on the human rights situation in the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela was released on July 4, a day before initially scheduled. Judging by the quick review I made, the mainstream media is gloating on the uncritical details of reported violations. It appears to be the perfect gift for the US Fourth of July celebration. But one that did not stop Venezuela from celebrating the 208th anniversary of its independence from Spain, on July 5th, and its 20th from US domination.

41) A first: Red-red-green coalition wins in Bremen, Germany’s poorest state

John Wojcik, People's World 

In an election last week in Bremen, Germany’s poorest state, the voters put into power the first red-red-green coalition ever elected in a state that was part of the old West German Federal Republic of Germany.

42) Donald Trump tells AOC and Ilhan Omar to ‘go back’ to their ‘original’ countries

Jane Dalton, The Independent

Donald Trump has said some Democrat congresswomen from countries “whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe” should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime-infested places from which they came”.

See also: Freeland 'America First', Israeli Apartheid, Climate Emergency & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos June 30 - July 7

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