Sunday, August 4, 2019

American Mass Shootings, Brazil, Venezuela, the Climate Emergency & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos July 28 - August 4

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 28 - August 4.

1) Zelenskiy’s party sweeps Ukrainian parliamentary elections: what has changed?

Peter Mikhailenko, In Defence of Marxism

Last Sunday, Servant of the People, the parliamentary party of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, swept the elections, gaining 254 out of a possible 424 seats. This represents one of the largest parliamentary majorities ever, but with another record low turnout of less than half of potential voters.

2) Why remain a communist?

Peter Miller, Rebel Youth

We often are asked what made us become communists, but I think the more interesting question we should ask is why we remain communists? Becoming a communist is not as hard as remaining one, and the latter question is more critical to our struggle against imperialism and for socialism.

3) Colombian Social Leader Shot a Day After Global March Against Activists' Killings


Colombian social leader Yisella Trujillo and her husband were shot dead less than 24 hours after an international march calling for an end to murders of social activist in the country.

4) Climate change is bringing Britain to boil. So let’s make all public transport free like Luxembourg

Josie Cox, The Independent 

Car pollution is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Which is why we desperately need to incentivise other forms of transport instead.

5) Nearly 4,000 Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan This Year: UN


“The fact remains that only a determined effort to avoid civilian harm, not just by abiding by international humanitarian law but also by reducing the intensity of the fighting, will decrease the suffering of civilian Afghans."

6) Saudi Forces Kill 13 in ‘Massacre’ at Yemen Market


Saudi forces launched Monday airstrikes at a busy market in Yemen's northern province of Saada, killing 13 and injuring 26, along with destroying much of the market produce, as the country suffers one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world.

7) Gravel to form liberal think tank after suspending campaign

Tess Bonn, The Hill

Former Sen. Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) said he will form a left-leaning think tank that aims to help create a strong network of activists after earlier announcing he was suspending his presidential campaign.

8) Democrats Use Trump’s Tweets to Hide Neoliberal Policy Failures

The Real News Network

The reactions to Trump's tweets show that the "Diverter in Chief" has effectively derailed the conversation around Baltimore City, and has allowed establishment Democrats to avoid their own culpability in the segregation and poverty in our cities.

9) We have a racism problem

 Toula Drimonis, Cult MTL

A couple of weeks ago, two videos went viral in Quebec. One was a personal testimonial from a Muslim man who was attacked with a knife in Quebec City in an alleged hate crime. The second video was of a woman being verbally harassed by a man as she was picking up her three-year-old daughter from daycare. The incident was motivated by the fact that she was speaking Arabic to her daughter. In it, the man approaches the crying child, menacingly lowers himself to her height and tells her, “Ask your mother if I can f*ck her.”

10) Ronald Reagan’s Long-Hidden Racist Conversation With Richard Nixon

Yim Naftali, The Atlantic 

The day after the United Nations voted to recognize the People’s Republic of China, then–California Governor Ronald Reagan phoned President Richard Nixon at the White House and vented his frustration at the delegates who had sided against the United States. “Last night, I tell you, to watch that thing on television as I did,” Reagan said. “Yeah,” Nixon interjected. Reagan forged ahead with his complaint: “To see those, those monkeys from those African countries—damn them, they’re still uncomfortable wearing shoes!” Nixon gave a huge laugh.


AF3IRM Purple Rose Campaign and AF3IRM International Department 

We of AF3IRM, a multi-ethnic organization of primarily women of color engaged in transnational feminism, view with extreme alarm the on-going disinformation regarding the sex trade.  One of the most grievous of such disinformation is that pimps, traffickers, recruiters, brothel keepers, and those who comprise “management” should have equal rights and protections as those who are bought and sold.  The other is that industrializing the sex trade by having it run as legal corporations would protect the welfare of the bought and sold. Those of us who depend on corporations for our living fully understand why Noam Chomsky called corporations “the most tyrannical invention of humankind.”  


Lee Fang, The Intercept

KAMALA HARRIS’S PRESIDENTIAL CAMPAIGN, while releasing a new health care proposal yesterday, balked at criticism that private industry interests would seek to influence her election effort.

13) GTA secondary schools faking grades in exchange for cash

Tammy Sutherland, CITY News

Falsifying report cards, inflating marks and faking attendance records. It’s happening at a handful of high schools in the GTA and could be impacting which students get into Canadian colleges and universities.

14) “It Wasn’t a Golden Age”: Cornel West Says Democrats Have to Reckon with Mixed Obama Legacy

Democracy Now

Harvard professor Cornel West joins us from Detroit, where he attended both nights of the Democratic debate. He talks about the troubling legacy of the Obama administration and why he is supporting Bernie Sanders again for president.

15) Son of Killed Chilean Communist Demands 'Nuremberg-Type' Trial For Dictators


Ivan Donato, son of Chilean communist leader Jaime Donato, asked for an international court similar to the Nuremberg tribunal set up after World War II to judge the dictatorship's crimes against humanity.

16) The Catholic Case for Communism

Dean Dettloff, America - The Jesuit Review

“It is when the Communists are good that they are dangerous.”

17) Canada’s Federal Court Rules that “Product of Israel” Labels on West Bank Settlement Wines Are “False, Misleading and Deceptive”

Dimitri Lascaris

Dr. Kattenburg, a member of Winnipeg’s Jewish community and a child of Holocaust survivors, complained in early 2017 to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) about two wines produced in Israel’s illegal West Bank settlements.

18) Bernie Sanders Would 'Absolutely' Consider Cutting Military Aid to Israel if Elected President


The 2020 Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders said in an interview that he would consider cutting U.S. military aid to Israel.

19) Tulsi Gabbard tries to defend anti-Palestinian vote

Ali Abunimah, The Electronic Intifada 

Congress member Tulsi Gabbard is feeling the heat over her vote last week in favor of a resolution that misrepresents and harshly condemns the nonviolent BDS – boycott, divestment and sanctions – movement for Palestinian rights.

20) Attack on Palestine solidarity turned back in Vancouver

John Clarke, Counterfire

When I drafted an article for Counterfire on July 4 that dealt with the adoption of the IHRA definition of antisemitism by the Trudeau government, I fully expected that supporters of Israel would seek to build upon this and press home their advantage. What I didn’t know, however, was how rapidly this would take place and how significant a target would be selected.

21) Israeli Police Summon 4-year-Old Palestinian For Interrogation


Israeli police summoned a four-year-old Palestinian boy Monday for interrogations who allegedly threw stones at a police vehicle.

22) Can we talk about Israel and the Palestinians? No?

Stephen Kimber, Halifax Examiner 

Between Rana Zaman’s nomination as a federal NDP candidate in May and the end of June, someone dredged up a number of her impassioned social media posts, which focused on Israel and its treatment of Palestinians. The NDP almost instantly dumped her. But what had she said that was so awful?

23) With criticism crushed in the west, Israel can enjoy its impunity

Jonathan Cook, Mondoweiss

Recent events have shone a spotlight not only on how Israel is intensifying its abuse of Palestinians under its rule, but the utterly depraved complicity of western governments in its actions.

24) To understand violent men, talk to the women who know them

Joan Smith, The Guardian 

So what’s the plan? Has rape effectively been decriminalised in Britain? I think we should be told, because that’s what it looks like to me – and no one in authority is prepared to do anything except order another bloody review.

25) An Epidemic of Disbelief

Barbara Hagerty, The Atlantic

Robert Spada walked into the decrepit warehouse in Detroit and surveyed the chaos: Thousands of cardboard boxes and large plastic bags were piled haphazardly throughout the cavernous space. The air inside was hot and musty. Spada, an assistant prosecutor, saw that some of the windows were open, others broken, exposing the room to the summer heat. Above the boxes, birds glided in slow, swooping circles.

26) U.S. Marines 'likely' to enter Venezuela, says socialist party No. 2


Venezuelan Socialist Party Vice President Diosdado Cabello on Saturday predicted U.S. Marines will “likely” enter the South American country, speaking a week after a confrontation between aircraft belonging to the two countries’ armed forces.

27) US Admits Violating Venezuela Airspace


The United States confirmed Sunday that it violated the Venezuelan airspace earlier that week with what the country's military's calls "surveillance flights," according to comments made by the head of the Southern Command, admiral of the Navy Craig Faller.

28) Venezuela: Massacre of revolutionary activists in Barinas

Green Left Weekly

Six members of the Bolívar and Zamora Revolutionary Current were murdered on July 27 by an as yet unidentified armed group, presumably mercenaries paid by sections of the local right-wing landowners.

29) Venezuela: Disturbing Echoes of History

Maria Paez Victor, Counterpunch 

Amidst the cacophony of misinformation about Venezuela there are three key questions that need answers: 1) What is really happening in Venezuela, 2) Why is it happening, and 3) What will happen next?

30) Cuba does not betray its friends or its principles

Yaima Puig Meneses, Granma 

The President of Cuba’s Councils of State and Ministers, Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, was on Venezuelan soil, July 28, for less than nine hours, during which the epicenter of solidarity, integration, and anti-imperialism of the people was once again in the city of Caracas, where the XXV edition of the Sao Paulo Forum was held over four days.

31) The 18-year-old US citizen detained for 23 days by border officials said conditions were so bad that he almost requested deportation

Alexandra Ma, Business Insider 

Francisco Erwin Galicia, the US citizen mistakenly detained by border officials for over three weeks, told The Dallas Morning News on Wednesday that conditions in federal custody were so bad that he almost requested to be deported.

Activists set up swing sets for children to play with each other on opposite sides of the Mexico-US border.

32) ACLU: Administration Is Still Separating Migrant Families Despite Court Order To Stop

Richard Gonzales, NPR

The Trump administration continues to separate hundreds of migrant children from their parents despite a federal court ruling that ordered an end to the practice, according to court documents filed in California by the American Civil Liberties Union.

33) Time to put the racist-in-chief in his place

Communist Party USA

Trump’s recent Twitter rants against Rep. Elijah Cummings and the women of the Squad represent an intensification of his regime’s appeal to white supremacy.  The president has made it clear that he does not consider Black legislators as having the right, or the power, to govern.

34) This Terrifying Video Shows Just How Bad the Ice Melt Has Gotten in Greenland

Tim Marcin, Vice News

Remember that massive heat wave that ripped through Europe? Well, now it’s over Greenland and melting billions of tons of ice.

35) July was world's hottest month on record, WMO says

The Associated Press

The latest data from the World Meteorological Organization shows the month of July "at least equalled if not surpassed the hottest month in recorded history" — and it followed the hottest June ever, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said Thursday.

36) Charred forests not growing back as expected in Pacific Northwest, researchers say

Jon Hernandez · CBC News

Camille Stevens-Rumann was a student of raging wildfires well before she began formally researching their impact on the environment.

37) Amazon gold miners invade indigenous village in Brazil after its leader is killed

Dom Phillips, The Guardian

Dozens of gold miners have invaded a remote indigenous reserve in the Brazilian Amazon where a local leader was stabbed to death and have taken over a village after the community fled in fear, local politicians and indigenous leaders said. The authorities said police were on their way to investigate.

38) Brazilian President Bolsonaro Threatens Glenn Greenwald with Imprisonment

Democracy Now

Brazil’s far-right President Jair Bolsonaro threatened journalist Glenn Greenwald with possible imprisonment Saturday, following recent reporting by Greenwald’s news website The Intercept implicating Justice Minister Sérgio Moro in a possible plot to smear and convict former Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Speaking to a reporter, Bolsonaro said Greenwald could not be deported because he was married to a Brazilian, but that he might be imprisoned instead. Journalists and press freedom activists blasted Bolsonaro’s threats, and Greenwald responded via Twitter: “Contrary to what the president says, he is not (yet) a dictator. He doesn’t have the power to order people to stop. To detain someone, you need to present evidence to a court showing that a crime was committed. That evidence does not exist.” 

39) Brazilians Fight Far-Right Campaign to Silence Greenwald & Intercept Leaks

The Real News Network

Hundreds of Brazilians rallied in defense of U.S. journalist Glenn Greenwald, on Tuesday. Greenwald has been threatened to be deported, imprisoned, and even killed, because of his role in the release of the on-going bombshell Intercept leaks, which revealed right-wing bias in the corruption investigations that saw former president Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva jailed.

40) Exterminating the Future: World Outcry Grows as Brazil Rapidly Expands Deforestation of Amazon

Democracy Now

New government data in Brazil shows that deforestation in the Amazon has dramatically increased since the far-right former military officer Jair Bolsonaro became president in January. Brazil has lost more than 1,300 square miles of forest cover this year, and the pace of deforestation is increasing. One report claims that the equivalent of three soccer fields are being deforested every minute in the Amazon. In June, deforestation increased by 88% over the same month last year. The drastic spike is due to Bolsonaro’s rolling back of regulations and allowing illegal land invasions, logging and burning. Climate scientists say the protection of the Amazon rainforest is crucial in the global effort to fight climate change. Meanwhile, residents of a remote indigenous village in the Amazon say at least 10 heavily armed gold miners in military uniforms raided their community last week, stabbing Wajapi tribe leader Emyra Wajapi to death. We speak to Carlos Rittl, executive secretary of Climate Observatory, a network of Brazilian civil society organizations.

41) Sudanese CP, New Massacre in Al-Obeid city


The past week witnessed very serious developments in Sudan. However, the massacre perpetrated by the army and the security forces today, Monday 29t July, in Al-Obeid city, where 8 people were cowardly shot, all in the head, and tens were injured has led to thousands of mass protesters taking to the streets in the capital and other major cities condemning this cold-blooded crime, demanding that the culprits be brought to justice and holding the Transitional Military Council (TMC) as sole responsible for this crime. Condemning the crime, it demanded an immediate halt to contacts with the TMC until all the culprits of the various massacres since 11 April 2019 are brought to justice. The Sudanese CP will hold a special press conference on Wednesday the 31st June.

42) Communist Party of Sudan withdraws from negotiations with junta


The Communist Party of Sudan (CPoS) has decided to withdraw from the negotiations with the military junta. The party will continue “to struggle with the people in the street until a radical change has been achieved”.

43) Assault-style rifle used in Gilroy shooting could not be sold in California, state attorney general says

Dan Simon, Eric Levenson and Darran Simon, CNN

An AK-47 style rifle legally purchased in Nevada and used to attack people at the Gilroy Garlic Festival in northern California couldn't have been purchased legally in California, state Attorney General Xavier Becerra said Monday.

44) 9 Killed, 27 Injured In Shooting In Dayton, Ohio


Authorities are searching the home of the man suspected of killing nine people and injuring 27 others in a mass shooting in Dayton, Ohio.

45) El Paso shooting: 21-year-old suspect 'posted anti-immigrant manifesto'

Lois Beckett and Sam Levin, The Guardian 

A mass shooting at a Walmart in the Texas border city of El Paso that has left 20 people dead and 26 injured is being investigated as a possible hate crime, Texas officials said.

See also: ICE, Ricardo Rossello Resigns, Venezuela and more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos July 21 - 28

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