Thursday, August 30, 2018

Oil industry hack Rachel Notley's hypocritical concern for the "rule of law" now fully exposed

“Just because the B.C. government, in coalition with the Green Party, doesn’t like the decision gives them absolutely no right to ignore the law or… change the rules at half-time based on a whim,” - Rachel Notley
 “The B.C. government took aim at the jobs of hundreds of thousands of hardworking women and men in every industry that depends on governments acting within the rule of law.” - Rachel Notley
 "But at the end of the day, what I know is that when you become government, you have an absolute obligation to enforce the rule of law, and I've never seen any government refuse to do that — NDP, or Liberal or Conservative." - Rachel Notley
Funny how things change when the "rule of law" no longer goes the way of oil industry hack politicians, including faux "social democratic" ones.

This certainly applies to the increasingly reactionary Rachel Notley and her gang of oil industry stooges pontificating about it.

They were very  happy to do so when talking about rounding up peaceful Indigenous and environmental protesters and throwing them in jail.

Suddenly, though, Notley and crew could not care less about the "rule of law" and are withdrawing from the federal climate change plan because they cannot accept a legal decision made by a federal court based on Supreme Court precedent.

"In a stunning blow, the Federal Court of Appeals has quashed the government's approvals to build the Trans Mountain expansion project handing a major victory to Indigenous groups and environmentalists opposed to the $7.4 billion project.
In a decision written by Justice Eleanor Dawson, the court found that the National Energy Board's assessment of the project was so flawed that it should not have been relied on by the federal cabinet when it gave its final approval to proceed in November 2016.
The certificate approving conduction and operation of the project has been nullified, leaving the project hanging in a legal limbo until the energy regulator and the government reassess their approvals to satisfy the court's demands.
In effect, the court has halted construction of the 1,150-kilometre project indefinitely...
...The appellate court also found that the federal government did not adequately, or meaningfully, consult with Indigenous people and hear out their concerns after the NEB issued its report recommending that cabinet approve the project.
The court has ordered the federal government redo its Phase 3 consultation.
"Only after that consultation is completed and any accommodation made can the project be put before the Governor in Council (cabinet) for approval," the decision reads.
"The duty to consult was not adequately discharged in this case."
This, by the way, is the actual "rule of law".

With Notley and her faux "social democrat" bunch in Alberta we can now clearly see it was never about the law, Indigenous rights or the environment, it was always about pandering to Big Oil and Big Business in a vain attempt to ingratiate themselves to the ruling class.

Notley's erstwhile ally -- who she is now throwing under the bus -- Trudeau went so far as to toss billions of dollars towards nationalizing the pipeline even when no money can be found for such minor things as intercity public transit in western Canada or safe drinking water or proper infrastructure for Indigenous people.

Meanwhile the evidence of the damage being done by fossil fuel extraction has never been greater than in this summer of the "hothouse earth".

Notley and the Alberta NDP government are an apalling example of the bankruptcy and opportunism of Canadian "social democracy" and its willingness to debase itself for the illusion of "power". She was never actually committed to stopping climate change anyway. It was a sick, hypocritical joke.

She is not alone in her hypocrisy -- there is certainly a lot to go around including in the case of the BC NDP government -- but her attempt to tank any federal climate change plan because a pipeline she supported was stalled by a court acting according to the "rule of law" she claims to hold so dear is grotesque.

Solidarity is by definition a two way street and the Alberta NDP has displayed absolutely none for Indigenous peoples or for any people living beyond their narrow little borders and re-election "plan". They deserve none in return.

Notley will lose the next provincial election and, especially after tonight, she and her government deserve to.

Further Readings:
"Any "progressive" or "social democratic" party or government that wants to talk about jobs within a sector whose environmental outcomes are both staggering and global without acknowledging those outcomes on workers beyond its borders is not one that deserves support.
And that is the inconvenient truth that progressives who support or apologize for the terrible pandering of Notley and her adoption of truly vile rightist, anti-environmentalist propaganda and framing cannot afford to admit. When a politician talks about "workers" and ignores the interests of millions of them in Canada and hundreds of millions of them worldwide they are engaging in a deception that will, indeed, by applauded by big business and right-wing talking heads.
But they are also putting the lie to their pretensions to care about climate change and its demonstrable and terrible effects. It is impossible for Canada to take "action on climate change" without ultimately shutting down the tar sands and its pipelines and that is simply science fact.
A politician that does not understand that or accept that does not actually care in any meaningful way about fighting climate change. They are no more committed to it than the Republicans in the US.
So here is the thing, Rachel Notley: Climate change is already, right now, destroying millions of workers jobs and lives around the world. Climate change driven by fossil fuels and the tar sands. This is easily proven and is a scientific fact.
So please, smarten up." - from To Rachel Notley -- Climate change is destroying millions of workers jobs and lives around the world, so please, smarten up

The threat of climate change is immediate and real -- Ending 'car culture' is a key part of combating it

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Canada green lights arms sales to Ukraine as fascist militias attack Roma

Azov National Druzhyna militia destroyed a Romany camp, June 7, 2018
Bucking the trend of near total silence in the western media as Ukraine's government drifts further and further towards the far right, The Guardian published an article Monday detailing attacks by Ukrainian fascist militias against the Roma that have been met with little to no response from the authorities.

This has led to a situation where:
the European Roma Rights Centre (ERRC) is suing the national police for failing to investigate the attacks properly, and for negligence in protecting the Romani citizens from ethnic violence. Along with the National Roma Centre, they will allege failings under the European convention on human rights.
They claim there is growing evidence of collusion between the national police and far-right militias. Activists allege that, after the attack in Ternopil, a Romani woman said: “I don’t trust the police. The next day I saw the police officer drinking coffee with one of the guys who attacked our camp.”

This comes on the heels of news that the Ukrainian army has adopted the slogan "Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!", which originated with nationalist groups who collaborated with the Nazis during WWII.

It has been so sufficiently clear that the army has been both collaborating with and enabling the militias that even the Washington Post reported on it last year in the article: Ukraine turns a blind eye to ultrarightist militia.

It is also worth noting, again, that Nazi collaborators are now being re-framed as heroes with statues of them being erected in Ukrainian cities:

In spite of all this, Global Affairs Canada has green-lit the sale of the powerful LRT-3 .50 calibre sniper rifle to Ukraine’s military by Winnipeg-based PGW Defence Technologies. The odds that some of these will not end up in the hands of the militias is very low.

We cannot anticipate any serious reevaluation of these types of reckless and dangerous actions and arm sales as long as Chrystia Freeland -- who has made her sympathies with the Ukrainian nationalist cause abundantly clear --  remains Canada's Foreign Affairs minister. Given the subservience of the Liberals (along with the NDP and, of course, the Conservatives) to imperialist narratives such a reevaluation would be highly unlikely even with her departure.

It is likely just a matter of time before the racist, fascist militias of Ukraine are sporting Canadian made arms as they head out to commit new pogroms.

Further Readings:

With Axes And Hammers, Far-Right Vigilantes Destroy Another Romany Camp In Kyiv

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- Olexander M.Butsko

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Moscow 1972 in Black and White

Printed in 1972 this postcard folder has 10 very atmospheric black-and-white images of Moscow. These photos are fabulous and include views of various squares, streetscapes, famous buildings and monuments and of the Central Lenin Stadium.

The stunning photo of the Monument to the Conquerors of Space is one of the better postcards I have seen to date.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Monument to the Conquerors of Space

50th Anniversary of the October Revolution Square

TV Tower in Ostankino

CMEA Building

Monument to V.I. Lenin in the Kremlin

View of the Kremlin

Bolshoi Theatre

The Russia Hotel

Central Lenin Stadium

Red Square

Monday, August 27, 2018

Why are Toronto police officers striking a pose with far-right mayoral candidate Faith Goldy?

Faith Goldy, a "reactionary, islamophobic Rebel News contributor, turned “Euro-Canadian Catholic Nationalist”" held a campaign rally for her Toronto mayoral run today. As is common after such events she posted a photo of her and her volunteers on twitter.

Goldy is an extreme right neo-Nazi whose views were even too toxic for the odious far-right Rebel Media who terminated her contract after she appeared on the hate site The Daily Stormer.

As the Communist Party's Facebook account noted, though, there are not just "volunteers" in the photo.

There are Toronto police officers including one posing atop a police vehicle.

What, exactly, are they doing there?

Why are Toronto police officers striking a pose with an extreme right mayoral candidate?

This is shocking and shameful on many levels. It is disturbing to see police officers who are supposedly meant to objectively enforce the law (which we all already know is a fiction) doing a photo-op with a neo-Nazi.

We need to demand answers as to why any Toronto police officers would have participated in such a photo, what they were intending by doing this, and what the Toronto Police Service intends to do about it discipline wise.

Broccoli Chicken Alfredo Pasta

By Natalie 

Alfredo style pasta is a big hit in our house and this is a way to make it with chicken and broccoli that is perfect for a meal with family or friends.

for 4 servings
2 tablespoons   olive oil
3 chicken thighs, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
6 strips bacon, cooked, chopped
1 head blanched broccoli cut into segments
salt to taste approx 1 tsp.
2 teaspoons  pepper
2 cups heavy cream
2 cups spiral pasta, cooked
1 cup Parmesan cheese grated finely.


Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat.

Cook the chicken in the olive oil until no pink is showing.

Add the garlic, broccoli, salt, and pepper cooking until the broccoli is softened slightly, a bit al dente is nice in my opinion though you can do it softer if you prefer..

Pour in the cream and bring to a boil. Add the bacon.

Add the pasta and cheese, stirring until the pasta is coated evenly. Thin slightly if needed, with a bit of milk or pasta water.

Taste for seasoning and serve in bowls with a sprinkling of freshly grated parm!

Do you have a left point-of-view or opinion, event or petition, a recipe or a story you want to share?

Send them to The Left Chapter via!

See also: Zippy Pickle Soup

Sunday, August 26, 2018

John McCain, Michael Cohen, Climate Change, CNE Lockout & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List August 19 - 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 August 19 - 26. It is generally in order of the date of the article's release.

There are several articles from prior to the period that have been integrated into the post.

1) Indigenous PhD student to ‘map loss’ through atlas of missing women and girls

Anya Zoledziowski, StarMetro Calgary

A PhD student is creating a database of every Indigenous woman and girl who has either gone missing or been killed in Canada and the U.S. since 1900, with plans to use the data to craft an atlas mapping the crisis across North America.

2) Men's fixation on young women is another sign of masculinity in crisis

Arwa Mahdawi, The Guardian

Men attracted to emotionally unstable women, preferably no older than 18, studies show

3) The media refuse to name male violence against women in their reporting – and this harms our society

Ruth Hunt, The Morning Star

Two men whose mother and sister were murdered by their father have written a new book to improve awareness of the gendered nature of domestic abuse and how it should be viewed as a national and international health crisis.

4) Femicide in Canada: a mid-year snapshot

Pamela Cross

In April, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women (SR), Dubrovka Simonovic, made the first-ever official visit to Canada by her office. I was privileged to attend one of the many sessions she held as she travelled across the country meeting with government officials, statutory human rights agencies, the Chief Commissioner of the National Inquiry on Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls and NGOs as well as visiting shelters and women’s prisons.

5) ‘The lost summer’: the emotional and spiritual toll of the smoke apocalypse

Sharon J Riley, The Narwhal

Anxiety, fear and grief: what experts are learning about the mental health effects of wildfire haze.

6) Hundreds of neo-Nazis March in Berlin on Anniversary of Hitler Aide's Suicide

The Associated Press and Reuters

Around 500 neo-Nazis waving flags with the colors of the German Reich marched through central Berlin Saturday, marking the 31st anniversary of the prison suicide of Nazi convict Rudolf Hess.

7) We’ve seen the largest rise in poverty since Thatcher: resistance is a necessity

John Clarke, Counterfire

The latest figures on living standards tell us austerity’s class warfare is more dangerous than ever. Mass struggle is an urgent requirement.

8) ‘Every time they come back, we’ll be back’: Citizens shut down National Citizens Alliance rally in Dartmouth

Natasha Pace, Global News

The National Citizens Alliance (NCA) "Canadians First Rally" was quickly met with opposition in Dartmouth on Sunday.

9) Palestinians sort through 10.5 tonnes, 8 years’ worth of mail held by Israel

The Associated Press

Palestinian postal workers in the West Bank are sifting through eight years’ worth of undelivered mail held by Israel.

10) We can’t let smears be used to silence criticism of the Israeli state

Lindsey German, The Morning Star

WE have reached an incredibly dangerous moment for the left and the whole labour movement with the latest onslaught on Jeremy Corbyn.

11) National Living Wage 'fails to cover families' basic needs'

BBC News

Low-earning parents working full-time are still unable to earn enough to provide their family with a basic, no-frills lifestyle, research suggests.

12) John Baird slaughters ethics rules by siding with Saudi Arabia

Charlie Angus, Hamilton Spectator

Former foreign affairs minister has had business dealings with a gold company active in the desert kingdom

13) Worst in the world: Edmonton took dubious honour in air quality rankings

CBC News

Smoke from B.C. wildfires gave Edmonton worse air quality than thousands of other large cities in 85 countries.

14) US inmates stage nationwide prison labor strike over 'modern slavery'

Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

The first part of the prisons likely to be hit will be the kitchens, where stoves will remain unlit, ready-meals unheated and thousands of breakfasts uncooked.

15) Trump Moves To Let States Regulate Coal Plant Emissions

Nathan Rott, NPR

The Trump administration has moved to formally replace the Clean Power Plan, an environmental regulation that former President Barack Obama once lauded as the single-most important step America has ever taken to fight climate change.

16) There’s Been A Huge Drop In The Number Of People Saved By The EU’s Mediterranean Patrol Mission

Marcus Engert, Juliane Loeffler and Pascale Mueller, BuzzFeed

The European Union's patrol mission in the Mediterranean saved 83% fewer people between January and July this year than it did in the same period in 2017, BuzzFeed News can reveal.

17) Colombia and U.S. implicated in plot to kill Venezuelan president

Emile Schepers, People's World

Since the drone attack on Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro on August 4, there has been a rapid escalation of tensions between Venezuela and neighboring Colombia. There is a real danger that this escalation will lead to armed efforts to overthrow the Venezuelan government and even military conflict between the two countries. For us in the United States, there is also the danger that the reckless and bellicose attitude of the Trump administration will lead to an escalation of our own country’s involvement.

18) Arctic’s strongest sea ice breaks up for first time on record

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian

The oldest and thickest sea ice in the Arctic has started to break up, opening waters north of Greenland that are normally frozen, even in summer.

19) Was the Trudeau Heckling Incident Staged By Far-Right Groups?

North 99

Right-wing media has depicted the heckling incident as an impromptu outburst by an ordinary Canadian woman. But it appears that this was in fact a planned disruption staged by a far-right racist organization.


Gabrielle Bluestone, Vice News

Donald Trump’s self-described “fixer” and personal lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight federal charges, including violating campaign finance laws with a hush-money payment to two women who claimed to have slept with President Trump. Cohen appeared in New York’s federal court Tuesday after surrendering himself to the custody of the FBI earlier in the day.

21) Why Michael Cohen’s plea deal is bad for Trump: It puts him very close to an actual crime

Aaron Blake, The Washington Post

Tuesday brought the news we all suspected would come sooner or later: President Trump’s former personal lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen reached a plea deal with federal prosecutors in New York.

22) Michael Cohen's lawyer says he will not accept pardon from 'criminal' Donald Trump

Tom Embury-Dennis, The Independent 

Unexpected statement removes what was thought to be president's best chance of keeping former lawyer from revealing inner workings of his campaign and subsequent period in White House.

23) Trump, Corporate Media Are Both Enemies of the People

Paul Street, Truthdig

So, yes, U.S. corporate media are “enemies of the people,” even if that other great enemy of the people Donald Trump—himself a product and arguably a great “frenemy” of the corporate communications complex beneath all his anti-media bluster—says so for reasons that have nothing to with yours or mine.

24) Too many women languish in prison

Joy Thompson,

Prison cells are no place for vulnerable women, and there are better alternatives.

25) Saudi Arabia seeks to execute activist to 'make an example out of her,' says advocate

CBC Radio

Saudi Arabia is trying to "make an example" out of Israa al-Ghomgham, the first woman in the country to face execution for her activism, says human rights advocate Zena Tahir.

26) Saudi Arabia seeks death penalty for woman activist, rights group says

The Associated Press

Saudi Arabia's public prosecutor is seeking the death penalty against five human rights activists from the kingdom's Eastern Province currently on trial in a secretive terrorism court, groups including Human Rights Watch (HRW) said.


Alex Emmons, The Intercept

IN THE AFTERMATH of a horrific bombing earlier this month that killed dozens of children aboard a school bus in Yemen, the Trump administration urged the U.S.-backed, Saudi- and United Arab Emirates-led coalition to examine and account for the loss of civilian lives.

28) Union calls on Trudeau government to buy back Canadian Wheat Board from Saudi interests

 Rahul Kalvapalle, Global News

A union representing port and transportation workers in Churchill, Man. is calling on the Canadian government to buy back its majority interest in the Canadian Wheat Board, which was sold to G3 Global Grain Group – a partnership between Bunge Canada and a Saudi investment company – in 2015.

29) Chile: Opposition Introduces Bill to Legalize Abortion


Opposition legislators in Chile introduced a bill Tuesday to legalize abortions beyond the three grounds under, which it is currently legal. Protests in favor of and against the proposed legislation were held outside Congress.

30) Social conservatives see opportunity to re-open abortion debate with Andrew Scheer as opposition leader

Charlie Smith, The Georgia Straight

Two B.C. anti-abortion activists will attend this week's Conservative policy convention in Halifax to push the party to change its position on this issue.

31) Exhibition Place, union to resume bargaining as lockout mars CNE

David Rider, The Star

Talks between city-owned Exhibition Place and the union it locked out last month are set to restart as the Canadian National Exhibition loses visitors, revenue and performers to picket lines.

32) Lockout hurting ticket sales at CNE, says CEO

Laura Howells · CBC News

The CEO of the Canadian National Exhibition says the ongoing lockout is having a "significant negative impact" on attendance and revenue, with $1.5 million in projected losses so far.

33) Exhibition Place ‘not interested in meaningful negotiations,’ union says

Ilya Bañares, The Star

Negotiations between the city-operated Exhibition Place and locked-out workers have stalled after their most recent round of bargaining, the union said, only days after both sides agreed to resume talks under new conditions.

34) National Enquirer hid damaging Trump stories in safe during 2016 campaign

People's World

The National Enquirer kept a safe containing documents on hush-money payments and other damaging stories it killed as part of its cozy relationship with Donald Trump leading up to 2016 presidential election, people familiar with the arrangement told The Associated Press.

35) Argentina: Professors, Teachers Protest Against Budget Cuts


Argentina’s university professors end the third week of protest with 70 symbolic lectures in the Plaza de Mayo, outside the presidential palace, square Friday. They are protesting austerity and cutbacks that affect public higher education budgets and a proposed wage increase of 15 percent.

36) UN: Central American Drought Affects Over 2 Million People


The FAO and the WFP warned about El Niño aggravating the already precarious food security in the vulnerable rural communities of these Central American countries

37) Ontario pulls $500,000 grant promised to Toronto at-risk youth program

Gilbert Ngabo, The Star

The Ontario government has reversed a funding promise to a Toronto at-risk youth program, sending the community-based initiative into a financial scramble three weeks before the start of the new school year.

38) 'Genocidal' US Blockade Has Cost Cuba US$134 Billion


In a report detailing the impact of Washington's ongoing policy, Cuba's Foreign Ministry branded the blockade "the most unfair, severe and prolonged" in the world.

39) Amazon is paying people to tweet nice things about warehouse working conditions after horror stories of staff peeing in bottles

Isobel Asher Hamilton, Business Insider UK

A small army of accounts have popped up on Twitter to tweet positive things about the working conditions at Amazon's warehouses.

40) How Kerala Survived Its Worst Crisis In A Century

Brinda Karat, NDTV

As the flood waters in devastated Kerala recede, the extent of damage can be better though still not fully assessed and the way forward charted with lessons from what has occurred.

41) Brazil: LGBT Leader Killed in Bahia Amid Atmosphere of 'Impunity'


Marcelo Cerqueira, president of the Gay Group of Bahia, said the murder of Cruz Santana “is the most concrete expression of homophobia."

42) The fightback is on: hundreds rally behind Corbyn in London

Shabbir Lakha, Counterfire 

Over 500 people packed out London's Conway Hall on Tuesday evening to rally in defence of Jeremy Corbyn, against antisemitism and in solidarity with Palestinians. A number of people had to be turned away because there wasn't even standing room remaining in the hall.

43) Facebook filtering out news that doesn’t bolster US foreign policy

W. T. Whitney Jr., People's World

Facebook has its admirers. Shareholders are enamored of its profits – $15.9 billion in 2017 – and hordes of the world’s population – 1.47 billion people – look at Facebook every day.  Individually on their Facebook pages they are communicating with, on average, 338 so-called “friends.” Editors, the media, and political commentators are similarly entranced. One unpretentious website receiving the present writer’s contributions claims 89,834 Facebook friends and another, 125,060 of them.

44) Postal Workers launch campaign against anticipated Trump privatization scheme

Mark Gruenberg, People's World

Anticipating the Trump administration will propose privatizing the U.S. Postal Service – eliminating services and killing well-paid union jobs – the Postal Workers (APWU) launched a mass campaign to derail Trump’s scheme even before the pro-corporate president unveils it.

45) Sir John A Macdonald: Scotland disowns Canada's first PM

BBC News

Canada's first prime minister has been scrubbed - at least for now - from government websites in Scotland due to his treatment of indigenous people.

46) Conservative MP Promotes Fake News Article Claiming Muslims Want to Legalize Pedophilia

Press Progress

Conservative MP Larry Miller is using his official Twitter account to boost a dubious story falsely claiming Canadians Muslims are trying to legalize pedophilia.

47) South Africa blasts Trump over racially divisive tweet

CBC News

South Africa's government lashed out at U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday after he tweeted that his administration would be looking into alleged seizures of white-owned farms and the "large scale killing of farmers" in the country — an assertion it said was false and "only seeks to divide our nation and remind us of our colonial past."

48) Ontario government staff told not to mention climate change on social media

Blog TO

An email sent to Ontario Parks earlier this month suggests that Premier Doug Ford and his PC party have banned the mention of anything related to climate change on the government agency's social media channels.

49) Still blackballed: American football's most recognisable exile

 Khaled A Beydoun, Al Jazeera 

It has been roughly 600 days since the embattled American football player, Colin Kaepernick, suited up to compete in the National Football League. Another season of the sport, which has effectively succeeded baseball as America's favourite sport, is due to kick off on September 6, without supremely skilled Kaepernick on an NFL roster.

50) Chile: Students Protest 'McDonald's Law' Job Insecurity


Students Federation Secretary-General Javiera Lopez, with a clown's nose in her hand, told Sebastian Piñera that his government "is a joke." 

51) This a Freak Show, Not a Democracy (Thanks, Founders)

Paul Street, Counterpunch

The capitalist and imperialist havoc will persist well past the fall.  It will go forward no matter what happens to Trump in coming weeks, months, and years. It will continue if Trump is replaced by the revolting Mike Pence before 2021, or by some outwardly “liberal” Democratic corporatist and imperialist like Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Andrew Cuomo, Oprah Winfrey, James Comey, or Michael Avenatti in 2021.

52) If you want to save the world, veganism isn’t the answer

Isabella Tree, The Guardian

Intensively farmed meat and dairy are a blight, but so are fields of soya and maize. There is another way.

While the following article is from last year, it is well worth a read in light of the elevation of John McCain by some to "hero" status.

53) John McCain Is the Perfect American Lie

Drew Magary, GQ

This is vile. John McCain was never anyone’s white knight. This is the man who ushered in the age of troll candidacies by tapping Sarah Palin as his running mate. This is the man who caved to Donald Trump even after Trump had the audacity to mock his time as a POW. This is the man who called his own wife a cunt in public. This is a man who has spent all this time acting as if all the Bad Republicans were forcing him to go along with their nefarious deeds while voting in lockstep with them. He is not a reluctant Republican. He’s a shitbag, same as the rest of them.

54) John McCain, Sarah Palin, and the rise of reality TV politics

Laura McGann, Vox

McCain empowered a demagogue who put the Republican Party on the path to Donald Trump.

55) John McCain was an extreme right-wing lifelong warmonger. Here are some of his greatest (bloodiest) hits

Ben Norton

While the leading figures in the liberal Resistance™ are whitewashing him because of his criticism of the vile vomit-inducing billionaire-in-chief Donald Trump, McCain was in fact an unrepentant lifelong warmonger who fueled catastrophic, criminal US wars that killed millions of civilians.

See also: Maxime Bernier, Telesur English, Climate Change and Inequality & more -- The Left Chapter Sunday Reading List August 12-19

Saturday, August 25, 2018

John McCain, war criminal, dead

John McCain 1936 - 2018

Due to his personal conflict with Donald Trump some have confused this with McCain having been somehow a progressive. He is even being celebrated as a "hero". 

He was not. At all. 

- Above is the type of plane that war criminal John McCain flew to illegally bomb Hanoi during the imperialist war waged by the Americans in Vietnam. The bombings that he was involved in killed tens of thousands of people, most of them civilians, and devastated a developing nation struggling to rise out of poverty and to fight for independence. 

- McCain supported the illegal war in Iraq

- McCain was a consistent supporter of violent American military imperialism from Afghanistan to Libya

- McCain opposed federal funding of birth control and sex education

- McCain opposed abortion rights including co-sponsoring the Federal Abortion Ban

- McCain opposed the federal minimum wage and voted 149 times against raising it

- McCain opposed publicly funded health care and universal health care, helping to cause profound suffering, financial instability and premature death for millions of the most vulnerable American citizens

- McCain's Republicans have made hatred, bigotry, homophobia and misogyny central to the American political experience, and it is a myth of desperate liberals that he opposed this. As just one obvious example McCain made extremist Sarah Palin his running mate in 2008. 

Sarah Palin. 

- McCain was no "war hero" he was a war criminal. He helped to foster the ugly politics of today by remaining loyal to the most dangerous and reactionary party in the world, the Republican Party.

Have solidarity with the millions of people his politics and actions harmed and killed.
There is nothing that will make what this man did any better and it serves no purpose but helping reactionaries and Republicans to portray him as something he was not.

Family Values Austerity

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Nazis Defeated at Kursk by the Red Army, August 23, 1943

Today marks the anniversary of the end of the Battle of Kursk (August 23, 1943) where the soldiers of the Red Army beat back the Nazis at tremendous cost and turned the tide once and for all on the Eastern Front.

Kursk was the largest tank battle in human history and after Kursk -- though many hard days were still ahead -- the people of the Soviet Union through their courage and sacrifice had laid the path that would lead to the total defeat of the Third Reich in the streets Berlin just under two years later.

You can watch a Soviet Storm series documentary about Kursk from the Russian perspective for free on You Tube:

And you can learn more about the Soviet Storm series on The Left Chapter:

Sacco and Vanzetti Murdered August 23, 1927

Shortly after midnight on August 23, 1927, Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti were murdered in the electric chair by the US state of Massachusetts. Italian born anarchists, they were railroaded during a trial for robbery and murder in 1921 that was widely admitted -- even at the time -- as being rigged with a verdict based on their background and political beliefs as opposed to their "guilt".

The electrocutions occurred despite years of appeals both in the courts and in the international court of public opinion. Their killings led to protests and riots worldwide.

In 1979, on the 50th anniversary of their murders, Sacco and Vanzetti were acknowledged to have been victims of an unfair process and exonerated by Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis.

Following an idea of American folk singer icon Woody Guthrie, another iconic folk singer Pete Seeger adapted Sacco's powerful last letter to his son Dante into song lyrics:

If nothing happens, they will electrocute us right after midnight
Therefore here I am right with you, with love and with open heart, as I was yesterday
Don't cry, Dante, for many, many tears have been wasted
As your mother's tears have been already wasted for seven years
And never did any good
So, son, instead of crying, be strong, be brave
So as to be able to comfort your mother
And when you want to distract her from the discouraging soulness
You take her for a long walk in the quiet countryside
Gathering flowers here and there
And resting under the shade of trees, beside the music of the waters
The peacefulness of nature, she will enjoy it very much
And you will surely, too
But, son, you must remember: Don't use all yourself
But down yourself, just one step
To help the weak ones at your side
The weaker ones that cry for help, the persecuted and the victim
They are your friends, friends of yours and mine
They are the comrades that fight -- yes, and sometimes fall
Just as your father, your father and Bartolo, have fallen
Have fought and fell, yesterday, for the conquest of joy
Of freedom for all
In the struggle of life you'll find, you'll find more love
And in the struggle, you will be loved also
 Equally moving is the last letter of Vanzetti to Dante which read in part:
I tell you now that all that I know of your father, he is not a criminal, but one of the bravest men I ever knew. Some day you will understand what I am about to tell you. That your father has sacrificed everything dear and sacred to the human heart and soul for his fate in liberty and justice for all. That day you will be proud of your father, and if you come brave enough, you will take his place in the struggle between tyranny and liberty and you will vindicate his (our) names and our blood.
If we have to die now, you shall know, when you will be able to understand this tragedy in its fullest, how good and brave your father has been with you, your father and I, during these eight years of struggle, sorrow, passion, anguish and agony...
...Remember, Dante, remember always these things; we are not criminals; they convicted us on a frame-up; they denied us a new trial; and if we will be executed after seven years, four months and seventeen days of unspeakable tortures and wrong, it is for what I have already told you; because we were for the poor and against the exploitation and oppression of the man by the man.

Pete Seeger sings Sacco's Letter to his Son:

Monday, August 20, 2018

Soviet Frunze 1970 -- Vintage Photos of the City of Green Leaves

Yesterday we looked at The Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic 1987: Photos, Culture, Economy, History & more which is the first part of our new series Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union.

During the Soviet era the capital of the Kirghiz SSR was Frunze. The post above has a section devoted to Frunze called "The City of Green Leaves" due to the fact that the city had more trees per resident than any other in the USSR. Frunze was named after the Bolshevik revolutionary leader Mikhail Frunze who was a close associate of Lenin and who died in 1925. Frunze had been born in the city when it was a sleepy Czarist outpost called Pishpek. Since the fall of the Soviet Union the city has been renamed Bishkek.

Here we are looking at a small folder of nine vintage postcard photos of Frunze in 1970. At that time the city's population was around 430,000.

(Click on images to enlarge)

Monument to Lenin at the Polytechnical Institute

Monument to the Hero Members of the Young Communist League
Sculptor: V. Puzyrevski Architect: A. Korzhempo

Polytechnical School

M. V. Frunze Museum

Building of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Kirgizia
and the Council of Ministers of the Kirgizien SSR

City Soviet of Working People's Deputies

 Kirgizien State University

Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Kirghiz SSR

Manas Cinema

Sunday, August 19, 2018

The Kirghiz Soviet Socialist Republic 1987: Photos, Culture, Economy, History & more -- Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union Series

In the mid-1980s the Soviet press agency Novosti released a series of small books looking the USSR's 15 republics. Each book dealt with a republic's history, culture, development, industry, agriculture, etc. They provide a fascinating look at the Soviet Union's accomplishments and plans. The series was known as the "Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union".

Over the coming weeks we will be taking a look at these books and the republics. The books will be slightly edited for length and repetition in some cases and the photographs and illustrations will be dispersed more evenly throughout the text.

Here we are looking at the Kirghiz SSR, a mountainous region bordering China and the Tajik, Uzbek and Kazakh republics. Written by Kadyr Omurkulov, the booklet touches on the ancient past of the Kirghiz people and the dramatic growth of its economy, educational facilities, healthcare, etc, during the Soviet era.

It is full of remarkable stats such as the rise in hospital beds from 24.1 per 10,000 citizens in 1940 to 119.2 in 1985 or the astounding fact that the republic in 1987 turned out twice as many industrial goods in a single day as it had in all of 1924!

There are pages of incredible photographs showing buildings, squares, people and the breathtaking natural beauty of Kirghizia. Preserving this natural beauty and the environment while launching new enterprises and projects are dealt with as is the challenge of development in such difficult conditions. 

There are many stories included as well that one could point to such as the protection and study of ancient monuments like the Buran (or Burana) Tower, the revolutionary history of Frunze, that the republic had a community of Czechs and Slovaks who had immigrated to it for work and to help build socialism in the 20s and 30s (in fact Julius Fucik, a famous Czech Communist resistance fighter murdered by the Gestapo in 1943 visited Kirghizia several times), the way that the region's herdsmen went from what were seen as lowly servants to celebrated workers and legislators after the revolution or the example of Zuurakan Kainazarova who working as a child maid prior to 1917 was forcibly married at age 12 but who went on to throw off the shackles of domestic servitude and to lead a collective farm, save orphans during the war, be twice awarded the title of Hero of Socialist Labour and to serve in the country's Soviet.

(Click on images/scans to enlarge)

In the environs of Arslanbob

Members of an amateur art group at the Kugart State Farm

Embroidering a shirdak -- a woolen carpet

Ulak-Tartysh -- a game in which the team that captures the
carcass of a goat wins.

The shores of Karabalta River

Ancient stone sculptures

Lake Issyk-Kul "the Kirghiz Sea". Holiday makers come from
all parts of the USSR.
At bottom is a research vessel on the lake.

A lecture hall at Kirghiz State University

Catalysis laboratory of the
Institute of Chemistry, Kirghizian Academy of Sciences


Heart surgery performed at the
Cardiological Institute of Kirghizia

The museum of regional studies in the city of Osh

Soviet Square in Frunze

New Highways

A performance of King Lear