Saturday, June 30, 2018

10 Best Songs of 2018...So far

2018 is halfway done...and the time is at hand for a roundup of the best songs of the far!

Here are my picks for the Top Ten.

This has been a strong year for what used to be called singles and it was hard to choose. There were a lot of close runner-ups...but lists are arbitrary, so here are my choices:.

From the brilliant, instant classic album Dirty Computer...Janelle Monae could have had 3 or 4 songs on this list, but this starts our list and will not be her last appearance:

#10 - Janelle Monáe – Django Jane

Another straight up great album, this song stands out lyrically and emotionally.

Also the "You can have your space...cowboy" lyric with the pregnant pause is brilliant.

p.s....the guy is clearly a schmuck.

#9: Kacey Musgraves - Space Cowboy

Great vocals, a great throwback vibe, a great song.

#8 Lake Street Dive - Good Kisser

Such a lovely song:

#7: Ray LaMontagne - Such A Simple Thing

Marvelously produced, terrifically self-indulgent, it benefits greatly from a Rivers Cuomo intervention.

#6: AJR - Sober Up (feat. Rivers Cuomo)

"I hate it when dudes try to chase me
But I love it when you try to save me
'Cause I'm just a lady
I love it when we play 1950
It's so cold that your stare's 'bout to kill me
I'm surprised when you kiss me"

A moving and striking lesbian love song.

#5 King Princess - 1950

Dream like, hypnotic, nostalgic, a little piece of anxious genius.

#4: Japanese Breakfast - Boyish

Disturbing, intense, irreverent, angry, comic...a song for our time.

#3 Childish Gambino - This Is America

I can listen to this song three times daily and five times on Sunday!

Just wonderful. Romantic, soaring vocals, touching, heartfelt.

About as good a love song as you will ever hear.

#2 Leon Bridges - Beyond

It is pretty hard to imagine a greater stand alone song this year. With Prince influences, clever lyrical twists, amazing hooks...Monáe strikes in ways both new and familiar.


#1 Janelle Monáe – Make Me Feel

Charcoal BBQ Jerk Style Chicken

Today we are going to take a look at making jerk style chicken on the charcoal BBQ. While the method works just fine with store bought jerk marinades (and there are a few good ones, most notably Walkerswood) we are also making our own jerk marinade that is fiery and delicious.

We BBQed 5 full chicken legs using these portions so adjust the portions accordingly if you are making more or less.

When making jerk chicken I like to use skin-on chicken legs, though skin-on chicken thighs or drumsticks work equally well.

To begin you make the marinade. Depending on how hot you want it use 1 or 2 scotch bonnets. If you want it fiery hot, do not seed them. While you can forgo the bonnets altogether, that really detracts from the flavour. 

Marinade Ingredients:

1 or 2 scotch bonnet peppers, seeded or unseeded
1 chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
4 chopped green onions
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon ground cloves
2 teaspoons mustard powder
2 teaspoons curry powder
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
juice of 1 lime
1 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Take all of these ingredients and blend them together in a food processor until you have made a slightly watery paste.

Coat all of your chicken pieces with the marinade in a large bowl or in freezer bags and marinade in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours or as long as overnight.

When ready to cook prepare your charcoal BBQ as always. While I have a method of making jerk chicken in the clay baker that I plan to share soon, there is no method that beats the charcoal grill.

Once you have the coals going place all your chicken pieces directly on the grill and sear them for around 2 minutes a side.

Transfer the chicken to aluminum BBQ trays. These are widely available and should have small slits in the bottom.

Take any left over marinade and spoon it onto the chicken. While generally, of course, you should discard any marinade in this case you need not worry as you will be cooking the chicken for another hour.

Place the trays of chicken on the grill and cook for 1/2 an hour using the lid to regulate the heat and any flame ups. You will have the lid on more often than not. I find I usually have the lid on for around 10-12 minutes and then off for 3-5 minutes to keep a steady heat going.

After 1/2 an hour flip the chicken pieces and cook for another 30 minutes or so. If you have any doubts the chicken is done when it has been cooked to at least 165 degrees.

Either serve whole or, if you like, use a meat cleaver to separate the legs at the joint.

This dish is great served with rice and a salad and pairs well with ice cold beer or Vinho Verde.


See also: Clay Baked Caribbean Style Curried Chicken w. Green Seasoning and Scotch Bonnet Pepper Sauce

See also: Spanish-Style Fried Chicken Strips w. Spicy Mayo

Friday, June 29, 2018

Korean Style BBQ Beef Short Ribs with Grilled Eggplant

Today we are going to take a look at making a Korean style beef short rib marinade for the BBQ. This recipe relies on hours of marinading to make for very tender ribs on the charcoal grill. We will accompany them with some grilled eggplant.

Here we used around 2 - 3 pounds of short ribs. For this type of recipe you need to use thinner cut or "flanken" style ribs.

I like to use somewhat less sugar than many recipes call for, add a small amount of apple juice for extra tartness and to add a little more heat than some do. Adjust the proportions as necessary to fully marinade depending on how many ribs you have.


1 1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup rice wine (mirin) or dry sherry
1/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
2 tablespoons sesame oil
10 minced cloves of garlic
1 minced onion
3 tablespoons minced ginger
2-4 teaspoons red chili pepper flakes (optional and to taste)
1 tablespoon black pepper

Mix all of the ingredients together thoroughly. Marinade the ribs in the mixture in a large bowl or in large freezer bags for at least 4 hours but if at all possible for 12 hours or overnight.

Just before grilling slice an eggplant in to large, 1/4 inch or so thin pieces. Toss them in some olive oil, salt and pepper.

Take the ribs out 1/2 hour or so before cooking and let sit at room temperature. Discard the marinade after this.

Prepare your charcoal grill to a high heat and grill the ribs 3-4 minutes a side for medium rare or to the desired doneness. Turn only once. 

Serve to eat immediately garnished with chopped green onion and sesame seeds.

To make the eggplant grill 2-3 minutes a side until softened and charred to your liking. Grilled eggplant is easy to do, tastes great and goes nicely with just about any BBQ main.


See also: Beef Short Ribs Charcoal Barbecued with Homemade BBQ Sauce

See also: West Indian Style Beef Short Ribs and Potato

Chaos Theory: For Doug Ford disruption will be the plan

On his first day in office in 2010 newly elected Toronto Mayor Rob Ford strode out before assembled reporters and proclaimed “Ladies and gentlemen, the war on the car stops today . . . Transit City is over".

Years of planning and securing funding were gone, just like that. LRT routes that would be helping countless communities today in 2018 or in the relatively near future simply vanished in the blink of an eye.

That there was no "war on the car" and that greater transit infrastructure helps ease congestion as one of its secondary benefits was irrelevant. That cancelling the project cost $65 million in penalties was irrelevant. That Ford almost certainly did not have the authority to cancel Transit City was irrelevant. That Ford's fantasy fiction that he would build two complete subway lines which would be completed by the 2015 Pan Am Games in the city almost immediately began to unravel (it of course never happened and would never have been possible to achieve) was irrelevant.

Ford's objective was secured. Disruption. The appearance of "doing what he said he would do" and "taking action" when in fact what he was doing was tearing down what government was going to do and accomplish. A fake crisis, "the war on the car" was used to justify the true goal, which was to destroy.

Never underestimate the damage that can be done by simply cancelling or disrupting plans and then miring governance in self-created perpetual chaos.

Similarly with his brother Doug now whose "platform" during the election was pure contradiction and incoherence yet who circumstance has delivered to power.

Ford, who will be sworn in today as Ontario's Premier, seems to lack a basic understanding of what the provincial government can or cannot do and how it functions, though that will likely be helpful to him given his underlying end game. He talks of finding billions of dollars in "efficiencies" and promises fiscal prudence while also claiming no jobs will be cut, no services gutted, and muses about things like building expensive subways to places that don't need them like Pickering.

A Pickering subway will never happen, needless to say, but that is not the point.

Like his late brother, Ford will almost certainly start by stopping. After a great show of "looking at the books" plans that were being rolled out or proposed by the previous government will be cancelled outright, scaled back dramatically or delayed indefinitely.

The years long farce and fiasco of the Scarborough subway looks to coming back into play as well with Ford saying he wants the three stop option, presumably planning to overrule the city's one-stop plan (both plans are expensive white elephant alternatives to an original proposed LRT that could have already been well on its way to completion).

Will the three stop option ever be built? Who knows, but by pushing the city to go back to the drawing board yet again, zero gets built and Ford can claim to be championing local Scarborough residents while, in fact, ensuring that they get nothing anytime soon. Neat trick that. Just one example of many to come.

This chaos theory of governance sets the stage for what will be the almost seemingly surreptitious introduction of deep, vicious austerity. As plans are cancelled, crazy new ideas floated, invented crises "averted", "efficiencies" introduced that are really cuts to necessary and important government spending, departments and infrastructure, the perpetual disruption provides a backdrop against which attacks on workers, women, people living in poverty and marginalized and racialized communities can be woven almost seamlessly into a constant barrage of boondoggles.

What exactly will be targeted and when remains to be seen, but now that it is about to be unleashed the Ford proverbial bull in the china shop will attempt to leave a path of total devastation in its wake over the next four years and -- for all of the times it will appear aimless or mindless -- this will have been its overarching ideological objective.

See also: For Ford fact and policy free is the way to go

See also: End Game -- The Ontario Election and Doug Ford

Thursday, June 28, 2018

In the Delta of the Volga -- Images of Soviet Astrakhan and Region, 1976

Astrakhan is a city that sits on both banks of the Volga River very near to the Caspian sea. During the Soviet era it was major administrative and commercial centre.

This collection of 21 postcards contains 40 images of the city and its surrounding area. They were meant for domestic consumption as the text is only in Russian. I have translated the image descriptions which are included below each one.

There are cinemas, plazas, and monuments to Lenin as well as to those who died fighting in the revolution and WWII.

Included is a view of an art gallery named for famed artist and Astrakhan native Boris Kustodiev who died in Leningrad in 1927. Also notable is the administrative building that served as headquarters for the Red Army's Political Department headed by Kirov during the civil war.

In addition the collection contains a number of regional photos as well as some from the Volga Delta. We see beautiful views of the Volga itself, watermelon and rice farms, pictures of the Lenin Nature Reserve (as it was known at the time), a floating drill rig and camels by the river's banks, among others.

One shot shows workers hanging Vobla -- also known as "Caspian Roach" -- a fish generally eaten dried and salted that is popular in various regions of the former USSR. 

(Click on images to enlarge)

Cosmic Summer Cinema / "Crystal" Department Store

Floating Fish Factory / Gifts of the River

Astrakhan Watermelons

Astrakhan Drill Company Floating Drill Rig /
The River Meets the Desert

Shipyard / Cellulose-Cardboard Combine

On the Water

Swan Lake

Ulyanov Family House / Ulyanov Monument

Boris Kustodiev Art Gallery / The "October" 3 Hall Cinema

Monument to the Red Guards Who Died Establishing Soviet Power /
Eternal Flame to Soldiers Killed in the Great Patriotic War/
Monument to Military Sailors Killed in the Civil War

Obelisk to the Fighters for Soviet Power /
Flower Garden in Lenin Square

Lotus Blooms / Bird's Nest

In the Lenin Nature Reserve

High Water / Hanging Vobla

Administrative Building "During the civil war the political department of the Red Army under Sergey Kirov was stationed here" /
Canal Embankment

At the Volga Berth

Evening on the Volga

Lenin Monument / Lenin Square

The Youth Theatre and its Foyer

Irrigation / Rice Harvesting

Autumn Market

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

News of the absurd: NDP MLAs get "Hammer and Sickle" vodka pulled from Alberta stores

In the latest -- and one of the most absurd -- example of "social democrats" and others pandering to cartoonish anti-communism, two Alberta NDP government MLAs have successfully pressured the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission to have a Russian vodka brand pulled from Alberta stores.

The reason? Because its name and logo, the hammer and sickle, have been deemed as "offensive to the general public".

"Ukranian Canadian Congress (UCC) Alberta chapter president Olesia Luciw-Andryjowycz likened it to “having a swastika on a bottle of cognac.”", which is a grotesque perversion of history, though one that is common among liberals and on the right.

Her comment is also deeply ironic given that the UCC helped to get a monument to Nazi collaborator Roman Shukhevych built in Edmonton  -- partly with public funds -- a monument that sits outside the Ukrainian Youth Unity Complex to this day.

These attempts to portray the long, complex and ongoing history of the international communist movement and communist states (past and present) as analogous to the genocidal and barbaric Nazis who started WWII are based on simplistic historical narratives that greatly benefit the rising East European nationalist far right.

In countries such as Ukraine, Poland and Latvia, this has led to a total whitewashing of histories of collaboration with Nazism by governments and nationalists. In some cases attempts have even been made to criminalize talking about this history.

Further Readings:

Secrets and Lies -- Chrystia Freeland's grandfather and collaborating with the Nazis

"Never to Be Forgotten..." Nazi and Nationalist Collaborator WWII Crimes in the Ukraine, Ukraina Society 1986

"Never to Be Forgotten..." Nazi and Nationalist Collaborator WWII Crimes in the Ukraine, Ukraina Society 1986- Olexander M.Butsko (Part II)

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Border Detentions, Duque Wins in Colombia, Roma Under Threat in Italy & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List June 17 - 24

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  June 17 - 24. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

There are two articles from prior to the period that have been included. They have been integrated into the post.

1) Human rights groups condemn Ukraine over its funding of nazi militias

The Morning Star

HUMAN rights groups in Ukraine hit out today after it was revealed that nazi militias involved in brutal and violent attacks against minorities have received cash from the government.

Read the full article.

2) Et Tu, Bernie?

Chris Hedges, TruthDig

There are two versions of Bernie Sanders. There is the old Bernie Sanders, who mounted a quixotic campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination as a democratic socialist who refused corporate cash and excoriated corporate Democrats. And there is the new Bernie Sanders, who dutifully plays by the party’s rules, courts billionaires, refused to speak out in support of the lawsuit brought against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) for rigging the primaries against him and endorses Democratic candidates who espouse the economic and political positions he once denounced.

Read the full article.

3) Report looks at child poverty across Canada

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press 

Anti-poverty groups are raising the stakes on the Liberal government's promise to reduce the prevalence of low-income families by detailing child poverty rates in all 338 federal ridings -- including the above-average rates facing constituents of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

Read the full article.

4) Colombian Far-Right Candidate Duque Wins Presidential Elections


One hour after the polls closed on Sunday for the second round of Colombian presidential elections, electoral authorities announced that far-right candidate Ivan Duque won over the leftist alternative Gustavo Petro with 53,98 percent versus 41,81 percent as 100 percent of the vote was counted.

Read the full article.

5) Colombia: FARC Willing to Meet With Duque to Maintain Peace


The Common Alternative Revolutionary Force, the FARC, is worried that Duque's victory could hurt the historic peace process.

Read the full article.

6) Colombia: Duque Torpedoes Peace Before Taking Office


Colombia’s Senate has heeded a call from Ivan Duque to indefinitely postpone a bill on the procedures to apply the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.

Read the full article.

7) The Democrats’ Myopic Reaction to the Trump–Kim Summit

James Careden, The Nation

In his recent Nation report from the Singapore summit, the redoubtable Tim Shorrock observed, “Even as the first images flashed across the world of Trump and Kim shaking hands against the unusual background of US and DPRK flags flapping together, social media and op-ed sections of media sites were filled with denunciations of Trump. Democratic leaders in the House and Senate led the attack.”

Read the full article.

8) Ontario Looks Right

Herman Rosenfeld, Jacobin

Canada is not immune to the rise of right-wing populism. Case in point: the recent election of Doug Ford as Premier of Ontario after years of Liberal rule.

Read the full article.

9) Chimps and orangutans among species in danger of being wiped out in imminent mass extinction of primates, scientists warn

Josh Gabbatiss, The Independent

Primate species including chimpanzees and orangutans are on the brink of extinction, and scientists fear that without a concerted global effort they will soon be gone for good.

Read the full article.

10) The unspeakable cruelty of Trump’s child-migrant camps

Sarah Kendzior, The Globe and Mail

Under the direction of Donald Trump and Attorney-General Jeff Sessions, the U.S. government has snatched roughly 2,000 children of asylum seekers from their parents – including an infant girl who was taken from her wailing mother while breastfeeding – and put them in detention camps. They are there for the crime of existing, as migrant children fleeing foreign violence and oppression, in Mr. Trump’s United States.

Read the full article.

11) Canada detains migrant kids, too, and it needs to stop, experts say

David P. Ball, The Toronto Star

Immigration experts and government critics say Canada Border Services Agency’s ongoing detention of minors — generally with their families — is deeply damaging to child welfare and mental health.

Read the full article.


Ryan Devereaux, The Intercept

THE TRUMP ADMINISTRATION’S program of systematically separating migrant children from their parents is steadily expanding, government officials confirmed Tuesday. Under Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s “zero tolerance” doctrine, U.S. authorities have been ordered to criminally prosecute all individuals arrested for illegally crossing the border without exception, including asylum-seekers and parents arriving with small children.

Read the full article.

13) Trump’s new immigration cruelty

Barry Sheppard, Red Flag

Washington has a long history of using deportations to strike fear among undocumented workers. In recent years deportations have increased – former president Barack Obama became known as “deporter in chief”.

Read the full article.

14) Canada aims to avoid detaining migrant children, but it happens

Benjamin Shingler · CBC News 

McGill study on Canadian practice finds 'psychiatric and academic difficulties long after detention'

Read the full article.

15) If Justin Trudeau really cares about keeping refugee women and girls alive, his government needs to rescind the Safe Third Country Agreement

Jaymie Heilman and Maria Walker, Feminist Current

Many Canadians are rightly horrified by the Trump administration’s recent move to begin separating children from their asylum-seeking parents when they cross the US-Mexico border. A related — and perhaps equally devastating — change to American policy has received far less attention: domestic violence and gang violence no longer qualify as grounds for asylum in the US. Because the Canadian government still adheres to the Safe Third Country Agreement with the US, Canada is complicit with a policy that could sentence tens of thousands of Central American refugee women to extreme physical abuse, sexual enslavement, and death.

Read the full article.

16) The Trump administration is keeping preschool children in “tender age” detention centers

David Gilbert, Vice News

The Trump administration is forcibly separating babies and toddlers from their parents on the border with Mexico and sending them to what they call “tender age shelters” in South Texas, according to a report from the Associated Press.

Read the full article.

17) Trump Signs Executive Order To Stop Family Separation At Border

Roberta Rampton, Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump backed down on Wednesday on an immigration policy that sparked outrage at home and abroad, signing an executive order to end the separation of children from their parents when immigrant families are caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border illegally.

Read the full article.

18) Migrant Children Drugged Without Consent At Government Centers, Court Documents Show

Roque Planas, HuffPost US

Staff working on the behalf of the Office of Refugee Resettlement are routinely drugging detained child migrants with psychotropics without their parents’ consent, according to legal filings.

Read the full article.

19) Ripping Children Away From Families Is As American As Apple Pie

Ricky Riley, Blavity

America has a long history of separating children from their families.

Read the full article.

20) Immigrant children beaten, stripped, placed in solitary confinement at U.S. detention centre: Court documents

Michael Biesecker, Jake Pearson and Garance Burke, The Associated Press

Immigrant children as young as 14 housed at a juvenile detention centre in Virginia say they were beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering in concrete cells.

Read the full article.

21) Dear America, we can teach you about cruelty to refugees. Love, Australia

Brigid Delaney, The Guardian

Yes, America, we have so much to teach you about cruelty and brutality and violence to some of the most vulnerable people on earth. We are a small nation, but on this issue we really punch above our weight!

Read the full article.

22) Think your ancestors came here legally and 'waited their turn'? Think again

Sheila Langan, Irish Central

As happens every time policies and practices against undocumented immigrants dominate the news, this week a vast array of memes and messages have been circulating from Americans who believe that their immigrant ancestors have nothing in common with today's undocumented immigrants.

Read the full article.


Debbie Nathan, The Intercept

A GUATEMALAN WOMAN whose child was taken from her last month by immigration authorities in Texas after coming to the U.S. seeking asylum was released after 38 days in detention last week. Immediately after being freed, she went to the federally funded facility that was managing her 5-year-old son’s care and recovered him.

Read the full article.

24) Brazil's Lula da Silva: 'This is Political Imprisonment'


In an exclusive interview, Brazil's favorite presidential candidate, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, says he'd never betray the trust of his supporters.

Read the full article.

25) Should Canada give up on NAFTA? Yes.

Gordon Laxer, The Toronto Star

NAFTA is a corporate rights agreement, not a free-trade agreement in the original sense.

Read the full article.

26) Australian war crimes

Ben Hillier, Red Flag

How many civilians have Australian special forces killed in Afghanistan? We don’t know and may never know. But it is becoming clearer that war crimes of a scale not previously reported or acknowledged have been carried out by some in Australia’s most venerated military units.

Read the full article.

27) Italy's far-right government announces 'census' and deportations of Roma traveller population

Jon Stone, The Independent

Italy’s new far-right interior minister has announced a “census” of the country’s Roma community and set the stage for deportations of the ethnic group.

Read the full article.

28) Italy's deputy PM Salvini called for 'mass cleansing, street by street, quarter by quarter', newly resurfaced footage reveals

Tom Embury-Dennis, The Guardian

Footage has re-emerged of Italy’s new interior minister calling for a “mass cleansing” of migrants from “entire parts” of the country.

Read the full article.

29) Salvini’s ‘Roma register’ marks a dangerous step towards fascism

The Morning Star

ITALIAN Interior Minister Matteo Salvini’s order that all Roma people in the country be registered so that “non-Italians” among them can be expelled looks like fascism.

Read the full article.

30) 'Commie cadet' who wore Che Guevara T-shirt kicked out of US army

The Associated Press

A West Point cadet who wore a Che Guevara T-shirt to his graduation and posted a message online saying “communism will win” has been discharged from the US army.

Read the full article.

31) Canada's Chrystia Freeland 'Blind To Emerging Multipolar World'

Nino Pagliccia, Telesur

In a strange case of reversed roles, Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland tried to convince U.S. President Donald Trump to return to his lost path of globalization and international trade agreements in an impassioned speech she gave at the Foreign Policy Forum on June 13 in Washington, D.C.

Read the full article.

32) Jewish extremists taunt ‘Ali’s on the grill’ at slain toddler’s relatives

Jacob Magid, The Times of Israel 

Two dozen far-right protesters shout outside courtroom in support of Duma terror attack perpetrators; relatives slam police for letting abusive chorus continue unabated.

Read the full article.

33) A Brief History of U.S. Intervention in the Countries of Origin of Central American Asylum Seekers

Mark Tseng-Putterman, Medium

At the margins of the mainstream discursive stalemate over immigration lies over a century of historical U.S. intervention that politicians and pundits on both sides of the aisle seem determined to silence. Since Theodore Roosevelt in 1904 declared the U.S.’s right to exercise an “international police power” in Latin America, the U.S. has cut deep wounds and left deeper scars throughout the region. These wounds are inextricable from the contemporary crisis of internal and international displacement and migration in the region.

Read the full article.

34) Hungary law bans helping migrants

BBC News

The Hungarian parliament has passed new legislation that criminalises lawyers and activists who help asylum seekers.

Read the full article.

35) 'Disgusting': 72% of Alberta inmates haven't been convicted of crimes — the highest proportion in Canada

Jonny Wakefield, The Edmonton Journal

Seven out of every 10 people behind bars in Alberta haven’t been convicted of their alleged crime, a statistic the head of a local prisoner advocacy group called “disgusting.”

Read the full article.

36) Three Tulsa schools don’t want to commemorate America’s racist past anymore

Christianna Silva, Vice News

Three schools in Tulsa decided to change their names from honoring a slave owner, a Confederate general, and Christopher Columbus to instead highlight positive reflections of America’s past.

Read the full article.

37) Anti-fascist lessons from Republican Spain

Jim Jump, The Morning Star

As the 80th anniversary of the decisive Spanish civil war battle of Ebro approaches, JIM JUMP recalls the heroism of the International Brigade and how European governments aided and abetted the victory of fascism.

Read the full article.

38) Jagmeet Singh Says NDP Won’t Bail On Canada-Israel Group, Despite Pressure

Althia Raj, The Huffington Post

The federal NDP says it has no plans to withdraw from the Canada-Israel interparliamentary group despite vocal concerns from some of its party members.

Read the full article.

Please note that this was in response to the Open Letter: A call for the NDP to withdraw from the Canada-Israel Interparliamentary Group that was published on The Left Chapter among other forums. 

39) Overrepresentation of Indigenous people in Canada’s prisons persists amid drop in overall incarceration

Emma McIntosh and Alex McKeen, The Toronto Star

The population of people behind bars in Canada, overall on the decline, continues to include a massive overrepresentation of Indigenous inmates, according to newly released government data.

Read the full article.

40) As 'Wealthiest and Freest Country in the World,' Nikki Haley Tells Bernie Sanders It's 'Ridiculous' to Examine US Poverty

Jake Johnson, Common Dreams

"As it happens, I personally believe that it is totally appropriate for the U.N. Special Rapporteur to focus on poverty in the United States," Sanders responded.

Read the full article.

41) Children's teeth are paying the price for the cancellation of fluoridation in Calgary

June Dabbagh, Leagh Harfield, Wendy Street-Wadey and Juliet Guichon, The Calgary Herald

As the school year draws to an end, it is time to consider how Calgary has been treating its children lately. In one respect, the answer is not well at all.

Read the full article.


Elizabeth Rowley, People's Voice

In late May, the Communist Party of China invited other Communist, workers’ and left parties from around the world to an important event marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of Karl Marx. About 70 delegates from 50 parties attended a theoretical conference held on May 29 in the southern city of Shenzhen, on “The Historical Contribution of Karl Marx and the Contemporary Significance of Marxism.”

Read the full article.

43) Fraser Institute Bombards Ontario With Ads Falsely Portraying Minimum Wage Workers as Teenagers

Press Progress

As Premier-designate Doug Ford prepares to roll back Ontario’s minimum wage, the Fraser Institute is blanketing social media with misleading ads that falsely portray minimum wage workers as teenagers.

Read the full article.

44) Extreme Inequality Creates Global Disorder

James K. Galbraith, The Nation

The principal driver of global inequality—both within and between countries—is the global financial regime. This has been a feature since the end of the Bretton Woods system in 1971, with recurrent catastrophic effects following the onset of the 1980s debt crisis, including the collapse of the socialist nations and the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Back then, it was a conservative stroke of genius to institutionalize “market exchange rates” on a global scale. Those markets work well enough for rich nations, but they guarantee problems for everyone else. Each exchange crisis has wiped out a decade or more of progress against inequality, as anyone in Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, or much of Africa will tell you. The rise of China, on the other hand, has everything to do with its refusal to play the game of open capital markets. And while inequality in China rose rapidly for internal reasons beginning in the 1990s, it stabilized more than a decade ago.

Read the full article.

45) Trump flips on North Korea, declaring country still an 'extraordinary threat'

The Guardian

Donald Trump has declared that North Korea still poses an “extraordinary threat” to the United States, just days after saying that the country’s nuclear program no longer constituted a danger.

Read the full article.

46) Why Canadians Don’t Care About the Air India Bombing

Chandrima Chakraborty, The Tyee

I have no personal connection to the tragedy, but our country’s broad indifference to it came to me as a surprise. A course I was teaching at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., 25 years or more after the bombing, called for a section on Air India Flight 182, but when I went to look up the scholarly research, I was astonished by how little there was.

Read the full article.

47) The age of patriarchy: how an unfashionable idea became a rallying cry for feminism today

Charlotte Higgins, The Guardian

On 7 January this year, the alt-right insurgent Steve Bannon turned on his TV in Washington DC to watch the Golden Globes. The mood of the event was sombre. It was the immediate aftermath of multiple accusations of rape and sexual assault against film producer Harvey Weinstein, which he has denied. The women, whose outfits would normally have been elaborate and the subject of frantic scrutiny, wore plain and sober black. In the course of a passionate speech, Oprah Winfrey told the audience that “brutally powerful men” had “broken” something in the culture. These men had caused women to suffer: not only actors, but domestic workers, factory workers, agricultural workers, athletes, soldiers and academics. The fight against this broken culture, she said, transcended “geography, race, religion, politics and workplace”.

Read the full article.

48) Canadian winemaker Norman Hardie accused of sexual misconduct

Ann Hui and Ivy Knight, The Globe and Mail

A Globe and Mail investigation reveals a wide-ranging pattern of alleged sexual advances and sexual harassment by Hardie, a major player in Canada’s food and wine industry.

Read the full article.

49) Eurydice Dixon: how one woman’s death put focus on ‘male rage’ in Australia

Gay Alcorn, The Guardian

The alleged rape and murder of a comedian has sparked anger about attitudes to women.

Read the full article.

50) 'Not as ironic as I imagined': the incels spokesman on why he is renouncing them

Justin Ling, The Guardian

In the wake of the Toronto van murders, Jack Peterson was the most prominent defender of the anti-feminist ‘incels’ – until the community turned on him.

Read the full article.

51) Trump’s Military Drops a Bomb Every 12 Minutes, and No One Is Talking About It

Lee Camp, TruthDig

We live in a state of perpetual war, and we never feel it. While you get your gelato at the hip place where they put those cute little mint leaves on the side, someone is being bombed in your name. While you argue with the 17-year-old at the movie theater who gave you a small popcorn when you paid for a large, someone is being obliterated in your name. While we sleep and eat and make love and shield our eyes on a sunny day, someone’s home, family, life and body are being blown into a thousand pieces in our names.

Read the full article.

52) 'We Don't Know... How Bad It Is': 31-Car Oil Train Derails Into Iowa Floodwaters

Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams

Adding to the mountain of evidence that "oil trains are a disaster for our health, our safety, and our climate"—an argument environmentalists have been making for years—a 31-car freight train derailed in Iowa and started leaking crude oil into floodwaters on Friday morning, forcing evacuations of nearby homes and raising concerns about drinking water contamination.

Read the full article.

See also: Border Separations, North Korea Summit, NAFTA & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List June 10 - 17

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic 1982 - History, Art & Development w. Photos & Illustrations

Recently we took a look at an overview of The Kazakh Soviet Socialist Republic 1982 - History, Art & Development w. Photos & Illustrations and followed this up with a look at the Georgian, Armenian and Azerbaijan SSRs at the time.

Today we are looking at the Byelorussian SSR in 1982 also as gleaned from the pages of  an issue of the Soviet English language publication Socialism: Theory and Practice. The article reviews various aspects of its development within the USSR and a brief overview of its art.

Among the things it touches on is the truly remarkable rebuilding and rebirth of the republic after the absolute and utter devastation wrought by the Nazi invaders during the Great Patriotic War (as WWII was known in the USSR). Almost 25% of the population was killed and all of the cities and villages greatly damaged or destroyed. The recovery from this unimaginable barbarity is one of the great accomplishments of Soviet socialism.

The article also mentions the Minsk tractor factory which we looked at in the posts The Minsk Tractor Plant USSR 1970s Part I - History, Models and Technology and Part II.

Included as well is an article that directly relates some of the horrific examples of Nazi atrocities.

As a bonus we have also included a look at the city and municipal government of Togliatti in 1982 (famous for its production of the Lada and named after an Italian Communist leader) and some general "information items" such as children's spacecraft models, the "Niva" and a gigantic Estonian ant farm.

(Click on scans to enlarge)