Monday, December 26, 2016

Car Culture, the CIA, Pope Francis & more -- The Left Chapter Holiday Reading List December 18 - 25

This week's list of articles, news items and opinion pieces that I see as must reads if you are looking for a roundup that should be of interest to The Left Chapter readers.

This list covers the week of December 18 - 25. It is in order of date of the article's  release. As Christmas fell on a Sunday it comes one day later than usual.

1) Still fighting for our seat at the table: Keep the national inquiry focus on Indigenous women and girls

Cherry Smiley, Feminist Current

Our lives as Indigenous women and girls are severely impacted by male violence, poverty, and other expressions of patriarchy, capitalism, and racism. We should, therefore, be allowed to prioritize issues that directly impact us. But some Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals believe that we should now, at the eleventh hour, rethink and redo decades of focused political strategy and no longer support a national inquiry into disappeared and murdered Indigenous women and girls. Rather, they say we should expand the national inquiry to include disappeared and murdered Indigenous men and boys.

Read the full article.

2) Obama and the Clintons still have no earthly idea why the Democratic Party lost the presidential election 

Shaun King, New York Daily News

Over the past few days, the Obamas and the Clintons have made a series of statements on why the Democratic Party lost the presidential election to Donald Trump. The statements, if anything, reveal what happens when politicians are isolated from the American public for so long. While some nuggets of truth could be found there — by and large they all severely miss the mark on how and why Hillary Clinton lost. Instead of looking internally at mistakes they made, they continue to look outward — casting blame on anybody and everybody but themselves.

Read the full article.

3) ‘Fake News’ in America: Homegrown, and Far From New

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

The media landscape in America is dominated by “fake news.” It has been for decades. This fake news does not emanate from the Kremlin. It is a multibillion-dollar-a-year industry that is skillfully designed and managed by public relations agencies, publicists and communications departments on behalf of individuals, government and corporations to manipulate public opinion. This propaganda industry stages pseudo-events to shape our perception of reality. The public is so awash in these lies, delivered 24 hours a day through electronic devices and print, that viewers and readers can no longer distinguish between truth and fiction.

Read the full article.

4) Canadians are wrong about Muslims, happiness, and homosexuality

CBC Radio

Canadians think there are way more Muslims in Canada than there really are.
We think a third of Canadians believe homosexuality is immoral, but in reality, only a sliver of the population thinks so.

On average, Canadians believe a quarter of the population think it's wrong to have sex before marriage. In reality, only 15% of us think you should get hitched before hooking up.

Read/hear the full article.

5) Letter to a “comrade” who insists on justifying the unjustifiable

 Julien Salingue, Medium


For several weeks now I’ve been saying to myself that I’m going to write to you, and the tragic events of Aleppo and your reaction to them, and sometimes your non-reaction, is what eventually persuaded me that the time had come to address you.

Read the full article.

6) The top 10 most irritating Canadians of 2016 (TV-related)

John Doyle, The Globe and Mail

What a year, my dears. Are we jaded yet?

Trump and Brexit, terrorist attacks and death. The endless deaths. All those celebrities passing away and, well, in case somebody feels like fixating on that, the countless dead in wars, bombings and shootings as the viciousness of human hatred was on full display. A year of hackers, hotheads and liars.

Read the full article.

7) Private car, socialized costs

Yves Engler, Rabble

The second in a four-part series on the "great Toronto toll debate."

When are capitalists in favour of public ownership? When it earns them a profit. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than when looking at car companies.

Read the full article.

8) Michigan Dem Meeting Breaks Into Violence as Clinton Fans Repel Sanders Partisans

Michael Sainato, Observer

On December 3, the Michigan Democratic Party held a committee meeting, open to the public and party members, to vote on delegates to represent Michigan at the Democratic National Committee. Unfortunately, rather than learning from Hillary Clinton’s presidential election loss, and sincerely welcoming Bernie Sanders supporters into the party after scolding them for more than a year, the Democratic establishment has continued treating progressives as second class citizens.

Read the full article. 

9) Car-centric landscape, not tolls, harm the poor

Yves Engler, Rabble

The third in a four-part series on the "great Toronto toll debate."

There's no doubt tolls hurt poor people, but a car-dominated transportation system does far more damage and everyone who wants a more just society should support measures that help rid our over-heating planet of private automobiles.

Read the full article.

9) A black mother told police a white man assaulted her child. They arrested her instead.

Peter Holley, The Washington Post

A Fort Worth police officer has been placed on “restricted duty status” after a viral video emerged Wednesday showing the officer arresting a mother who called authorities to report that her 7-year-old son has been assaulted.

Read the full article.

10) The CIA Is Not Your Friend

Jordy Cummings, Jacobin

The Central Intelligence Agency used to be the “bad guy.” After the coup in Chile and Operation Phoenix in Vietnam; after spying on and repressing the antiwar movement; after secret mind-control experiments and bizarre assassination plots, the agency became liberals’ ultimate bogeyman.

Read the full article.

11) Trump’s unpopularity threatens to hobble his presidency

Steven Shepard, Politico

President-elect Donald Trump will descend on Washington next month, buoyed by his upset victory and Republican control of Congress to implement his agenda.

But he’s facing a major obstacle: Trump will enter the White House as the least-popular incoming president in the modern era of public-opinion polling.

Read the full article.

12) Unhappy Holidays: Houston Police Force Homeless People to Throw Away Food

Jeremiah Jones, Counter Current News

Local activists attempting to hand out food and gifts were shocked on Thursday afternoon when Houston police forced the homeless to throw away the donations.  Around 1 pm on Thursday,  several individuals met in downtown Houston to distribute plates of hot food, blankets, and other supplies to the city’s growing homeless population. Soon after, Houston police arrived on the scene of two different intersections where the homeless advocates were giving out gifts and food.

Read the full article. 

13) Pope Francis: Christmas has been ‘taken hostage’ by materialism


Pope Francis said Christmas has been “taken hostage” by dazzling materialism that puts God in the shadows and blinds many to the needs of the hungry, the migrants and the war-weary.

Read the full article.

14) Germany moves to atone for 'forgotten genocide' in Namibia

Jason Burke, The Guardian

It has become known as the first genocide of the 20th century: tens of thousands of men, women and children shot, starved, and tortured to death by German troops as they put down rebellious tribes in what is now Namibia. For more than a century the atrocities have been largely forgotten in Europe, and often in much of Africa too.

Read the full article.

See also: Climate Change, Porn Culture, Tolls & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List December 11 - 18

See also: Last Tango in Paris, the TDSB, Duterte & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List December 4 - 11

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