Leftnews.org | News and Views from the Left

by Editors — last modified 2017-12-11T18:41:35-05:00
Contributors: Faiz Ahmed, JBB, Graham H. Cox, R. Dubois, JA Cox
The best of the political left-wing from around the web.

Census shows racial pay gaps persist | CUPE

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Dec 14, 2017 04:24 PM
"On average, both racialized and Indigenous workers in Canada had an average income of just $25,500, about 30 per cent less than the $36,500 average of white Canadians. ... On average, these second-generation racialized Canadians had incomes 12 per cent lower than white Canadians, a pay gap of over $6,100 annually. The racial pay gap is worse for second-generation working-age Black Canadians, who had average incomes 28 per cent or $14,000 lower than white Canadians in the same category."

Ottawa opens doors for Canadian arms exports to Ukraine | The Toronto Star

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Dec 13, 2017 06:57 PM
"Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland announced Wednesday that Ukraine has been added to the Automatic Firearms Country Control List, which is a list of countries eligible for arms exports. ... “The addition of Ukraine reflects the close ties our countries share,” Freeland said in a statement. “Canada and Canadians will continue to stand with the people of Ukraine and support Ukraine’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.” ... Ukraine is the 40th country on the list, which is dominated by NATO allies but also includes Australia, Botswana, Chile, Colombia, Finland, Israel, Kuwait, New Zealand, Peru, South Korea, Sweden and Saudi Arabia."

Progressive trade requires more than just titles and talking points | The Toronto Star

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Dec 13, 2017 05:05 PM
"[P]ulling out of NAFTA would have some economic downsides in the short term, but realigning trade priorities and shifting monetary policy “would work to mitigate the economic damage”, according to BMO Chief Economist Doug Porter. In other words, the sky wouldn’t fall after all. That’s pretty much what organizations like CUPE have been saying since the 1990s. And, in fact, it proves Canada is in a position to walk away from NAFTA if we can’t get a deal that respects workers, communities, and the environment."

When Waze Won't Help, Palestinians Make Their Own Maps | Wired

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Dec 13, 2017 03:30 PM
"In the 1967 Six-Day War, Israel captured the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem. It annexed the latter—a move the international community largely rejects. ... the Palestinian Authority, based in Ramallah, has had semiautonomous control over parts of the West Bank, called Area A and B. At the same time, Israeli settlements (illegal under international law) have expanded in the largest section of the West Bank, called Area C, land the Palestinians claim as their own. Gaza, meanwhile, has been ruled by Hamas (considered a terrorist group by the United States and Europe) and under blockade by Israel and Egypt after a civil war in 2007 pushed out the Palestinian Authority. ... In Israel, Waze—a homegrown app—is an indispensable resource and includes perks like warning you of upcoming police and speed traps. But in the West Bank, it gets more complicated. In Area C (where Israelis are allowed), many of the roads are new, built to connect those contested settlements to the rest of Israel. As Waze bases directions on what others report, these are the main roads and highways to which Waze directs drivers. It makes sense. It can also be a problem for people in cars with Palestinian license plates, which are restricted from some of those streets."

UN shocked by level of poverty in Alabama: 'We haven't seen this in the first world' | The Independent

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Dec 13, 2017 10:18 AM
"People in the region frequently suffer from E. Coli and hookworm, a disease associated with extreme poverty and which was thought to have been eradicated in the US more than 100 years ago but which was recently found to persist in pockets of Lowndes County, located just 20 miles from the state capital, Montgomery, where many residents are too poor to afford a septic system and make their own sewer lines using PVC piping. The lines run from the people’s homes some 30ft above the ground before emptying into ditches or waste ground."

How the Jerusalem issue plays into Iranian, Turkish (and Russian) hands | Asia Times

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Dec 13, 2017 09:52 AM
"Iran and Turkey have both long wished for an end to Saudi Arabia calling the shots in the Muslim Middle East. Now that the issue of Jerusalem has come to the fore, the Saudi regime must be wary of being seen to coordinate with Israel, or dancing to Trump’s tune. ... The Arab states have tended to pay mere lip service to the Palestine issue. Now, for the first time, the baton of leadership is passing into non-Arab (Turkish-Iranian) hands, and Palestine is now a Muslim rather than an Arab issue – something Iran has always sought. ... If the US’ game plan was to get the Saudis to open a parallel track and push Jared Kushner’s peace plan, Erdogan will shoot it down. Turkey, Iran and Qatar are sure to promote Hamas as the authentic voice of the Palestinian people."

Tax Overhaul Risks Making the US Tax and Transfer System (Even) More Regressive | PIIE

by Graham H. Cox — last modified Dec 12, 2017 09:47 AM
The take-home is that Canada has a lot of room to shift in progressive taxation and more re- distributive spending. There are several graphs in the report that compare OECD countries with a specific focus on highlighting the regressive nature of the US tax system. This is particularly relevant in the current US discussion on the effect of the Trump Presidency’s budget changes. What is of relevance here in Canada is how close Canada is in many measures to the US, but also how far away from even the average within the OECD our (regressive) tax and spending policies are. Canada is not particularly fair in our economy and we are not using a sufficient amount of our taxation and spending system to reduce inequality.

The Corbyn Doctrine | Jacobin

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Dec 11, 2017 08:10 PM
"International cooperation, solidarity, collective action are the values we are determined to project in our foreign policy. Those values will inform everything the next Labour government does on the world stage, using diplomacy to expand a progressive, rules-based international system, which provides justice and security for all. ... [O]ur Governments pay lip service to a comprehensive settlement and two state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict but do nothing to use the leverage they have to end the oppression and dispossession of the Palestinian people. 70 years after the UN General Assembly voted to create a Palestinian state alongside what would become Israel, and half a century since Israel occupied the whole of historic Palestine, they should take a lead from Israeli peace campaigners such as Gush Shalom and Peace Now and demand an end to the multiple human rights abuses Palestinians face on a daily basis. The continued occupation and illegal settlements are violations of international law and are a barrier to peace."

With foes abstaining, Venezuela mayoral contests to boost socialists | Reuters

by Faiz Ahmed — last modified Dec 11, 2017 07:13 PM
"Some other parties in the opposition coalition did not join Sunday’s boycott and ran candidates. ... After the socialists notched surprise wins in October gubernatorial elections, they were confident of repeating the feat on Sunday to increase the party’s current share of roughly 70 percent of mayorships. ... the election board announced participation of 47 percent, compared to more than 60 percent in the October poll. ... Despite the nation’s economic problems and the accusations of squashing democracy, [Maduro] is enjoying a political upturn after the October gubernatorial vote."
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