Sunday, July 21, 2019

Puerto Rico Protests, Ilhan Omar, Israeli Apartheid & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos July 14 - 21

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 14 - 21.

1) Puerto Rico Governor Defies Calls To Resign Amid Growing Protests Over Text Chats

Adrian Florido & Vanessa Romo, NPR

The governor of Puerto Rico is resisting calls to resign despite growing protests against his government after leaked text chats revealed conversations rife with homophobic and misogynistic slurs.

2) These Dramatic Pictures Show The Huge Protests Against The Puerto Rico Governor

Gabriel H. Sanchez, BuzzFeed

Thousands of people have taken to the streets of Puerto Rico in protest against Gov. Ricardo Rosselló following the leak of his misogynistic and anti-gay text messages.

3) Why Half a Million Puerto Ricans Are Protesting in the Streets

 Ed Morales, The Nation

This week has been unlike any other in Puerto Rican history. An estimated 500,000 demonstrators filled Old San Juan’s cobblestone streets on Wednesday to demand the resignation of Governor Ricardo Rosselló. He has lost public confidence because of mounting scandals in his government and damning revelations from a leaked trove of private chats, published on July 13 by the island’s Center for Investigative Journalism.

4) BBC Panorama hatchet job on Labour antisemitism is a farce

David McAllister, Counterfire 

The BBC's Panorama on antisemitism in the Labour Party provides no real evidence and shows how cynical the smear campaign is.

5) Jeffrey Epstein’s crimes remind us of how millions of women are exploited in the sex industry

Sonia Ossorio & Lauren Hersh, New York Daily News

In the world of prostitution, Epstein is the norm, not the exception. And if we are outraged about what he did, we ought to be equally outraged by this insidious effort underway to legalize and legitimize pimping, the buying of sex and the owning of brothels.

6) Amazon workers walk out across the world on Prime Day

The Morning Star

WORKERS worldwide walked out of Amazon warehouses today in protest over pay and conditions during the company’s Prime Day.

7) There's An Environmental Disaster Unfolding In The Gulf of Mexico

 Rocky Kistner, HuffPost US

As fishermen deep in the Louisiana bayou, Kindra Arnesen and her family have faced their share of life-altering challenges in recent years.

8) Planting ‘Billions of Trees’ Isn’t Going to Stop Climate Change

Madeleine Gregory and Sarah Emerson, Vice News

Planting billions of trees is the most effective way to combat climate change. At least that’s what a recent Science study claimed. Its findings were initially celebrated by a wave of articles, but the response is being met with a flood of criticism—from Indigenous activists, policy experts, and climate scientists.

9) Nazi collaborator involved in killing of 8,000 Jews honoured with statue in Ukraine

Ben Chacko, The Morning Star

UKRAINE’s rehabilitation of fascist war criminals continued this week after authorities unveiled a monument honouring an Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) officer involved in the murder of 8,000 Jews in Poltava in 1941.

10) A Judge Ruled A Neo-Nazi Blogger Should Pay $14 Million To A Woman Targeted In A Racist “Troll Storm"

Salvador Hernandez, BuzzFeed

The judgment against Andrew Anglin included $10 million in punitive damages for what the judge called "particularly egregious and reprehensible" behavior.

11) Call me a communist

Rossana Cambron, People's World

As an activist in my early 20s, I didn’t know much about what communism really was; all I’d heard was they were bad people that could hurt you and your loved ones. Being active in the Chicano student movement, I came across a member of MEChA (Movimiento Estudiantil Chicanx de Aztlán) who mentioned to me that the Communist Party USA was giving a class on Marxism and asked if I was interested in going.

12) Another Ontario First Nation declares a state of emergency over water

Jorge Barrera · CBC News

Another fly-in First Nation in Ontario has declared a state of emergency over of its water quality.

13) The Innisfil experiment: the town that replaced public transit with Uber

Leyland Cecco, The Guardian 

Ridership is high and there’s plenty of work for drivers, but success has come at a cost to this Ontario town.

14) 5 Years After Eric Garner's Death, Activists Continue Fight For 'Another Day To Live'

Yasmeen Khan, NPR

The news that federal prosecutors will not charge a New York City police officer in the death of Eric Garner, who repeated the phrase "I can't breathe" almost a dozen times while being arrested for an alleged misdemeanor, closed another door for Garner's family and police reform activists seeking accountability.

15) NDP Suppresses Palestinian Solidarity Again

Yves Engler

One side is playing for keeps. They oust elected representatives and block members from voting on efforts to challenge a brutal occupation. On the other side, members defending a morally righteous cause twist themselves in knots to avoid directly criticizing nakedly authoritarian party leaders.

16) Ecuador: Roads Blocked, Media Silence as National Strike Hits 2nd Day


As the national strike called for this week in Ecuador, by social and political organizations, enters its second day Tuesday, major roads were blocked and manifestations were reported all across the country including the country’s capital, Quito.

17) Peru: Doctors, Health Workers Begin Nationwide Strike


Both the Peruvian Medical Federation (FMP) and the National Federation of Health Workers (FENUTSSA) started Wednesday a 48-hour national strike to demand that President Martin Vizcarra's administration increase the budget assigned to the public Integral Health System (SIS).


People's Voice

Bombardier’s recent announcement that it will cut 550 jobs at its Thunder Bay Rail Transportation facility has sparked outrage within labour, community and political circles. It has reignited the debate around public takeover of industries that are key to the economy and society.

19) Tensions rise in Oka as mayor speaks of being 'surrounded' by Mohawks

Colin Harris · CBC News

The grand chief of the Mohawk community of Kanesatake, northwest of Montreal, is demanding the mayor of the neighbouring town of Oka apologize for what he's calling "hate-filled" and "racist" remarks over a contentious land transfer proposal.

The Sandinista revolution of 1979, led by the FSLN, overthrew the U.S. backed dictatorship of the Somoza family.

20) Trump admin dramatically limits asylum claims by Central Americans

 Priscilla Alvarez, CNN

The Trump administration on Monday moved to dramatically limit the ability of Central American migrants to claim asylum if they enter the United States by land through Mexico, the latest attempt by the White House to limit immigration and toughen the US asylum process amid overcrowded conditions at border facilities.

This is one of the single most racist moments in modern American political history. As Trump began attacking my friend Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, the crowd began chanting “SEND HER BACK, SEND HER BACK.” It’s utterly despicable and dangerous. We are here. We are in THAT time. And it is ugly. - Shaun King

21) A Racist in the White House

 David Remnick, The New Yorker

On November 4, 2008, Barack Obama beat John McCain by nine and a half million votes and became the country’s first African-American President. In 2016, Donald Trump, an unapologetic racist, lost the popular ballot by three million votes but, thanks to the antediluvian rules that still govern our voting system, succeeded Obama in the Oval Office. Understanding the role of racism and its persistence in this dismal pivot will be as central to our understanding of our times as it was to our understanding of Reconstruction.

22) Racism Is an Impeachable Offense

Shaun King, The Intercept

DONALD TRUMP HAS a rich, varied history of racism, bigotry, and discrimination going back to at least 1973, when the Justice Department filed a racial bias suit against him for mistreating Black applicants and tenants all over New York. At the time, it was one of the largest lawsuits of its kind. That was 46 years ago. Since then, the list of offenses has piled up. In a better time, his racist behavior would have prevented him from ever being elected, but here we are. He’s president and now he’s openly carrying that bigotry right into the Oval Office. Not only do I think he is violating his oath of office — I think his open, flagrant bigotry is an impeachable offense.

23) The Real Trouble with Ilhan Omar

Sarah Jaffe, The Progressive 

Ilhan Omar has spent most of her adult life making trouble—good trouble, as her colleague John Lewis, with whom she’s just introduced a resolution supporting Americans’ right to participate in boycott movements, likes to say. So it’s perhaps understandable that she maintains an impressive cool under the repeated onslaught of criticism, threats, and rage thrown her way, from the right as well as well as from the Democratic leadership.

24) Ilhan Omar Introduces Bill Backing Pro-Palestine BDS Movement


U.S. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar introduced a resolution in the House of Representatives Wednesday defending the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and  Sanctions (BDS) movement the lawmaker told the news outlet Al-Monitor.

25) Top Dems imply they’d pressure Israel to end the occupation, but none will even commit to moving the embassy back to Tel Aviv

Michael Arria, Mondoweiss

Last month, the progressive Jewish group IfNotNow officially became a tax-exempt organization legally permitted to lobby politicians. Since then, IfNotNow activists have been confronting Democratic candidates on the campaign trail and asking them about the occupation of Palestine.

26) Israel lobby groups hatch plan to divide the left

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada 

Influential Israel lobby groups are offering “rules” for how Jewish communal organizations can divide the left and break up emerging intersectional coalitions.

27) ‘They shot to kill’: residents of West Bank village in shock after Israeli snipers shoot 10-year-old boy in the head

 Yumna Patel, Mondoweiss 

For eight years, the residents of the northern occupied West Bank village of Kafr Qaddum have protested every single Friday, rain or shine, against Israeli land confiscations and the closure of the village’s southern road by Israeli forces.

28) Israeli plan to raze East Jerusalem homes may be first step towards mass demolitions across the West Bank

Yumna Patel, Mondoweiss

In less than 24 hours, 42-year-old Ismail Obeidiya, his wife Nida, and their six kids, could be made homeless. It’s a terrifying reality that Obeidiya is struggling to grapple with, his unease and frustration more palpable with every word.

29) BDS in the face of Israeli Apartheid

Palestinian BDS National Committee, Socialist Project Bullet 

On July 9th, Palestinians marked with a mix of alarm and hope the 14th anniversary of the BDS Call (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions), launched by Palestinian society in 2005 in pursuit of freedom, justice and equality.

30) ‘The Lion King’ is a fascistic story. No remake can change that.

Dan Hassler-Forest, The Washington Post 

No matter how you look at it, this is a film that introduces us to a society where the weak have learned to worship at the feet of the strong.

31) 'Intensely stupid': Health community challenges Scheer's pledge to review new Food Guide

Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press 

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer faced strong criticism from nutrition experts on Thursday after he pledged to review the new Canada Food Guide should the Tories win power this fall.

32) The lesson from the ruins of Notre Dame: don’t rely on billionaires

Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian 

The French super-rich promised to dig deep, but such philanthropy comes at a steep price.

33) Ford Government fails to host mandatory anti-racism conference

Yusra Javed, iPolitics 

Ontario appears unlikely to host a mandatory anti-racism conference in 2019, prompting fresh accusations that Premier Doug Ford’s government doesn’t take the anti-racism file seriously.

34) Doug Ford is Quietly Planning Over $100 Million in Cuts to Housing and Rent Support Programs

Press Progress

The Ontario government’s 2019-2020 expenditure estimates for the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing show more cuts are coming to housing supports, rent support and homeless assistance efforts.

35) More than 3,000 new Toronto child care spaces at risk due to provincial cuts

 Laurie Monsebraaten, The Toronto Star 

Thousands of new child cares spaces approved by the previous provincial government — including 3,049 in Toronto — may never get built due to the latest Ford government cuts.

36) Venezuela: Trump Diverts Central America Aid to Guaido as EU Threatens More Sanctions

Ricardo Vaz, Venezuela Analysis 

The Trump administration is reportedly diverting over US $40 million of aid destined for Central America to the Venezuelan opposition.

37) Cuba: Safest Country in Latin America to Be a Child and an Adolescent


The annual Save the Children report evaluates 176 countries using international indicators on infant mortality, access to education, nutrition, protection against harmful practices, such as child labour, child marriage, homicides and forced displacement.

38) Boris Johnson’s take on Islam is historically illiterate

Jerry Brotton, The Guardian 

No printing press until the 19th century? Wrong. But why let reality get in the way of a story that fires up his base?

39) Baby H is in her fifth foster home and family services has stopped communicating with family says grandfather

Melissa Ridgen, APTN

Baby H, the B.C. infant who was seized from hospital after medical staff reported her mother was neglecting her 90 minutes after having a C-section is back in a stranger’s care after her aunt asked for a break.

40) Low-Income Workers Can’t Afford Rent in 91% of Canadian Cities

 Anne Gaviola, Vice News

A new study shows how unaffordable this country has become as cities like Vancouver and Toronto are basically out of reach for anyone making less than $70,000.

41) Waste only: How the plastics industry is fighting to keep polluting the world

Sharon Lerner, The Intercept 

THE STUDENTS AT Westmeade Elementary School worked hard on their dragon. And it paid off. The plastic bag receptacle that the kids painted green and outfitted with triangular white teeth and a “feed me” sign won the students from the Nashville suburb first place in a recycling box decorating contest. The idea, as Westmeade’s proud principal told a local TV news show, was to help the environment. But the real story behind the dragon — as with much of the escalating war over plastic waste — is more complicated.

42) Why I’m Fed Up With Being Told To ‘Go Back Where I Came From’

Piya Chattopadhyay, Chatelaine 

For years, I’ve told myself not to let those words bother me. But they do. And why shouldn’t they? The only place I’m from is Saskatoon.

43) Five Men Sentenced to Life for Operation Condor Killings Trained at School of the Americas

Brett Wilkins, Common Dreams

Five of the 24 men sentenced last week by an Italian court to life in prison for their roles in a brutal and bloody U.S.-backed Cold War campaign against South American dissidents graduated from a notorious US Army school once known for teaching torture, assassination, and democracy suppression.

44) Sudan CP hails broad coalition for democracy

Emile Schepers, CPUSA

The Sudanese Communist Party, in its latest bulletin updating the world on the dramatic events that have roiled that African country since the beginning of a mass uprising which gained strength in December of last year and which led to the fall of long time dictator Omar Hassan al Bashir, is sounding an optimistic note.

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

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