Thursday, February 28, 2019

Light and Crisp Steak and Vegetable Lettuce Rolls

Today we are going to take a look at a way to make a lettuce wrap with marinated steak and vegetables that is inspired by Asian flavours.


To begin you want to get some thin cut steak filets. You want these as thin as possible. 


Slice the filets coarsely into strips. It is easier to do this if they are partially frozen.

In a bowl toss the strips in the following quick marinade:



Ingredients:

2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
1 teaspoon of an Asian-style hot sauce (I used Saigon Hot Chilli Sauce which is slightly sweet with a nice heat level)
1 minced clove garlic
squeeze of lime juice
dash of cayenne pepper
a drop or two of honey



Adjust the ingredients depending on how much steak you are making. 

Let the steak strips sit in the marinade for around an hour.



Meanwhile, slice some cucumber rounds cut on the bias, into long, thin pieces. Toss these in a bowl with some salt, a little rice vinegar and some red pepper flakes. 

Slice a carrot into matchsticks,  and toss with 1/4 Napa cabbage shredded and 1/2 a small sliced red onion in a third bowl with some rice vinegar and lime juice. 

In a small amount of olive oil fry up your beef strips until done, which should really only take around a minute or so.



Lay out some washed (shake or pat dry) romaine lettuce leaves. You can also use Boston or iceberg lettuce if you choose. 

Top each lettuce leaf with some steak, cucumber and the carrot, cabbage, onion blend and roll. You can also add some room temperature rice if you like and, of course, more hot sauce and lime juice. Serve with lime slices.



If you wish you can secure the rolls with a toothpick, but I rather like the messy eating. 

Enjoy.




Peace Poster - US Artists for Nuclear Disarmament, USA 1985


Peace Poster - US Artists for Nuclear Disarmament, USA 1985

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

The "fare evasion" narrative on the TTC is a total fraud. Here's why.

Every year the same line is trotted out by the TTC and various civic politicians in Toronto with the damage done monetarily always increasing from 20 to 40 to now allegedly over $60 million a year. Fare evasion, they say, is a serious problem and then they tsk-tsk about the "cheaters" and the need for more enforcement and get to shift the narrative of blame about the TTC's woes from themselves and decades of mismanagement, incompetence and underfunding to those mean and nasty freeloaders, i.e. TTC riders themselves.

Never mind that the newest claim of "loss", approximately $61 million, is but a tiny percentage of the system's operating budget of just over $2 billion let alone of the many billions it needs but is not getting. It sounds impressive and politicians can pound tables and promise to stop the rot with more policing despite the risks this poses to riders and the marginalized and without, of course, mentioning that more "enforcement" does not come for free.

But the bigger point -- and the one that gets lost because of how deeply we are indoctrinated into capitalist and neo-liberal narratives -- is that these projections of alleged loss (it is at best a supposedly educated guess) are predicated on the notions that these are fares that would be collected if only there were better enforcement and that these "lost" fares therefore have a direct impact on operating costs. Both of these notions are basically false.

I have already looked at this more extensively in two pieces linked to below, but it is worth revisiting this again due to all the brouhaha now.

The first assumption is that if the TTC was able to make it completely impossible to evade fares, which would likely cost significantly more than $61 million, then all those who had been evading fares would use the system and pay to do so. This is clearly not true.

Many people evade fares either because they cannot afford to pay or they are taking trips on the system (short hopping on and off trips, for example) that they would not take if they had to pay. In other words, in the perfect neo-liberal fantasy world where buckets of money were poured into making the TTC 100% fare evasion proof the vast majority of the "lost fares" would remain lost as these riders would simply not use the system. Given the costs associated with making sure they did not the net impact of heavily policing the fare evasion would actually cost the TTC much more in real terms than they would recoup as they would be stopping people from not paying fares they were never going to pay in the first place.

This is tied to the second point that the only other way lost fares are actually theoretically a cost given that the fares are highly unlikely to be recouped in a way that would not be offset by higher enforcement costs, is if the numbers of fare evaders were significant enough to force the system to add new buses, streetcars or subways to the already existing routes and schedules. Seeing that even the latest high end estimate claims that approximately 5% of riders are not paying at any given time this is clearly not the case. The TTC obviously does not have to increase vehicles on routes for a handful of extra people per ride.

Since it is not the case, and this is the point that the politicians and planners rambling on about this either don't get or don't want you to get, that means that the allegedly lost fares have no impact whatsoever because the buses, streetcars and subways are running anyway. The costs are not going to change if an extra 3 non-fare paying riders are on a bus with 50 people or not. These costs are already there. The only costs that will increase are on the enforcement side.

Even if you believe the conveniently always advancing estimates of evasion, they don't impact the operating costs on the routes at all.

However, one thing is clear, increasing enforcement will mean more harassment of and hassles for riders. A few years ago Edward Keenan wrote about one aspect of the problem with fare crackdowns in The Toronto Star:
This isn’t because it isn’t annoying that some people cheat the system. It’s because some people will always cheat the system, and the cost and hassle of making it difficult for them is not worth it — especially since most enforcement measures make the system a hassle for all riders. And what you want to focus on, if you want more riders, more honest, fare-paying riders, is making the system as hassle-free as possible.  
With the unfolding Presto fiasco and aggressive enforcement by highly paid rent-a-cops it is important to keep this in mind. Don't let the TTC administrators and various politicians use the hugely overblown fare evasion non-issue as a smokescreen to cover their monumental and generational failures to properly fund and expand the system.

Further Readings:

The TTC 'fare evasion' fraud and Toronto's fiscal chickens coming home to roost

TTC fare fallacies -- Neoliberal delusions in transit costing

For more transit resources see our Free Transit Resource Page

Monday, February 25, 2019

Speech at the Anniversary of the People’s Paper, 1856 (Excerpt) - Karl Marx



On the one hand there have started into life industrial and scientific forces which no epoch of the former human history had ever suspected. On the other hand there exist symptoms of decay, far surpassing the horrors of the latter times of the Roman Empire. In our days, everything seems pregnant with its contrary. Machinery, gifted with the wonderful power of shortening and fructifying human labor, we behold starving and overworking it. The newfangled sources of wealth, by some strange, weird spell, are turned into sources of want. The victories of art seem bought by the loss of character. 

At the same pace that mankind masters nature, man seems to become enslaved to the other men or to his own infamy. Even the pure life of science seems unable to shine but on the dark background of ignorance. All our invention and progress seem to result in endowing material forces with intellectual life, and in stultifying human life into a material force. 

This antagonism between modern industry and science, on the one hand, and modern misery and dissolution, on the other hand; this antagonism between the productive forces and the social relations of our epoch is a fact, palpable, overwhelming, and not to be controverted. Some may wail over it; others may wish to get rid of modern arts, in order to get rid of modern conflicts. Or they may imagine that so signal a progress in industry wants to be completed by as signal a regress in politics. For our part, we do not mistake the shape of the shrewd spirit that continues to mark all these contradictions. We know that if the newfangled forces of society are to work satisfactorily, they need only to be mastered by newfangled men -- and such are the working men. They are as much an invention of modern time as machinery itself. 

In the signs that bewilder the middle class, the aristocracy, the poor prophets of regression, we recognize our brave friend Robin Goodfellow, the old mole that can work in the earth so fast, that worthy pioneer -- the revolution. - Karl Marx,  Speech at the Anniversary of the
People’s Paper, 1856

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Socialist Nkrumah Government of Ghana Overthrown, February 24, 1966



We in Ghana, are committed to the building of an industrialised socialist society. - Kwame Nkrumah

On February 24, 1966 a violent military coup backed by the CIA overthrew the socialist government of Ghana led by the Convention People's Party and President Kwame Nkrumah. Hundreds were killed.

The new military dictatorship rounded up and imprisoned officials and supporters of the CPP government, and Nkrumah, who was out of the country on a peace mission to Vietnam, was forced into exile for the rest of life.

The new pro-western regime reversed many of the strides forward socially of the Nkrumah era and opened the country up to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank with much of the economy and natural resources being privatized and put under the control of western business interests.

What is past is prologue.

See also: In Venezuela as in Chile, what is past is prologue

Venezuela Resists, Unrest in Haiti, Canadian 'Yellow Vest' Fiasco & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos February 17 - 24

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


This list covers the week of February 17-24.


In addition to a general overview of news and opinion this week's installment begins with a section of articles and videos devoted to events in Venezuela and Haiti.

1) Is Venezuela Canada’s Modern Day El Dorado?

Nino Pagliccia, Venezuela Analysis 

The search for gold in the mythical place of El Dorado in Latina America drew armies of Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century and caused many deaths of indigenous people. The gold remained elusive but Spain colonized most of the region and exploited other riches until the Latin American independence movements of the 19th century.

2) The Trump-Trudeau Venezuelan 'Lima Group' Policy and Its Nemesis

Arnold August, Venezuela Analysis 

After spending two days in Caracas on February 3 and 4, including a semi-private meeting with President Maduro, what follows below is my basic impression. It coincides with the documented, virtually daily on-the-ground reporting by Venezuelanalysis reporters including among the opposition. My perception has more recently been buttressed by the current on-the-spot reporting by, among others, American journalist Max Blumenthal.



3) Canadian policy on Venezuela, Haiti reveals hypocrisy that media ignores

Yves Engler

If the dominant media was serious about holding the Canadian government to account for its foreign policy decisions, there would be numerous stories pointing out the hypocrisy of Ottawa’s response to recent political developments in Haiti and Venezuela.


4) Venezuela's defence minister offers defiant response to Trump speech

CBC News

Venezuelan troops will remain stationed along the country's borders to prevent territorial violations, the defence minister said on Tuesday, ahead of the opposition's plan to bring in humanitarian aid to alleviate an economic crisis.

5) Is Trudeau’s Venezuela policy the Monroe Doctrine reborn?

Yves Engler, Canadian Dimension 

Many Canadians are familiar with the Monroe Doctrine. First issued by the United States in 1823, it warned European powers against renewed colonization of the Western Hemisphere. Presented as anti-imperialist, the Monroe Doctrine was later used to justify US interference in regional affairs.

6) US Media Erase Years of Chavismo’s Gains

Gregory Shupak, FAIR

Venezuela’s Bolivarian Revolution, which took off with the election of President Hugo Chávez in December 1998, frequently and even quite recently received praise for its social gains from the United Nations, international humanitarian organizations and economists. This aspect of the country’s story has been almost entirely written out of media coverage of the effort to overthrow the Venezuelan government by the US, Canada and their right-wing partners in Venezuela and the region.

7) How the U.S. Is Strangling Haiti as It Attempts Regime Change in Venezuela

Vijay Prashad, Common Dreams

Last year, in October, Haitians followed two Twitter hashtags that went viral—#PetrocaribeChallenge and #KotKobPetwoKaribea. If you are not Haitian and do not follow Haitian politics carefully, you can be forgiven for not noticing this development. The complaint on Twitter—and soon on the streets—was simple: what has happened to the billions of U.S. dollars that was in the Venezuelan-financed Petrocaribe program?

8) Venezuela gets foreign aid with Maduro’s consent. Canadian state media is ‘comfortable’ denying it.

Joe Emersberger, The Canary 

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), which is owned by the Canadian government, ran a Venezuela-related news article on 8 February. It said “[Venezuelan president Nicolás] Maduro says aid not needed in Venezuela, [opposition leader Juan] Guaido wants to allow it”. The CBC claimed Maduro “has been firm that this country does not need handouts from abroad”.

9) Arrest Of Heavily Armed Former U.S. Military Members In Haiti Sparks Many Questions

Bill Chappell, NPR

We know their names, and where they were. But no one has given a public explanation for what several former elite U.S. service members were doing in Haiti — and why they were driving without license plates, carrying an assortment of automatic rifles, drones and other gear.

10) Attack on Venezuela 1st step in US Attempt to Recolonize Latin America: Maduro

Telesur

The United States has relaunched its colonialist aspirations against Latin America, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro warned Thursday during an interview with the Iranian media HispanTV, adding that the Venezuelan military was ready to defend the independence and sovereignty of the Latin American nation.

11) 'Investigate US for War Crimes' in Venezuela: Saint Vincent PM

Telesur 

Dr. The Honorable Ralph Everard Gonsalves, Prime Minister of the Caribbean country of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, called a local radio station after a journalist from the country reported on-the-ground realities from Venezuela's capital Caracas.

12) This Is Not Humanitarian Aid: A Maduro Critic in Venezuela Slams U.S. Plan to Push Regime Change

Democracy Now 

We go to Caracas, Venezuela, for an update on the escalating standoff between President Nicolás Maduro and opposition leader and self-proclaimed president Juan Guaidó. Guaidó claims he is preparing to deliver humanitarian aid from the Colombian border Saturday. Maduro has rejected the plan, saying the effort is part of a broader attempt to overthrow his regime. This comes as Trump’s special envoy to Venezuela and right-wing hawk, Elliott Abrams, is leading a U.S. delegation traveling by military aircraft to the Colombian border, supposedly to help deliver the aid. The United Nations, the Red Cross and other relief organizations have refused to work with the U.S. on delivering that aid to Venezuela, which they say is politically motivated. We speak with Venezuelan sociologist Edgardo Lander, a member of the Citizen’s Platform in Defense of the Constitution. “This certainly is not humanitarian aid, and it’s not oriented with any humanitarian aims,” Lander says. “This is clearly a coup carried out by the United States government with its allies, with the Lima Group and the extreme right wing in Venezuela.”

13) Venezuela: Trade Unions Ratify Anti-Imperialist Stance

Ricardo Vaz, Venezuela Analysis 

Trade unions and political organizations reaffirmed their opposition to what they term an imperialist coup attempt while stressing the urgent demands of the Venezuelan people and working class.

14) Venezuela Closes Border With Colombia

Telesur 

Venezuela has announced the closure of the nation's border with Colombia, citing serious and illegal threats to the sovereignty of the Bolivarian Republic which have consistently been emanating from the neighboring country.

15) Unity in defense of the homeland

Anti-imperialist and Anti-fascist Front (FPAA)

The political parties and social movements below signed, members of the Popular Anti-imperialist and Anti-fascist Front (FPAA), condemn the onslaught of US imperialism, in partnership with the European Union and the Group of Lima, against our nation. Their actions represent an act of provocation and interference that violates the sovereignty and peace of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and across Latin America and the Caribbean.

16) Why Venezuela’s Chavistas are fiercely loyal to Maduro, despite economic crisis

PBS

Violence has broken out in Venezuela as opposition groups, led by Juan Guaido, attempt to bring in foreign aid against the will of President Nicolas Maduro. Despite international support for Guaido, a fiercely loyal minority of Venezuelans known as Chavistas are determined to keep Maduro in power -- and the U.S. out. Special correspondent Nadja Drost and videographer Bruno Federico report.

17) Haiti: Funeral of Two Riot Victims Unleashes New Protests

Telesur 

The funeral Friday of two victims of the Haitian security forces repression, which has caused at least nine deaths in recent weeks, was transformed into a massive protest against President Jovenel Moise.

18) Canadian military in Haiti. Why?

Yves Engler

Canadian troops may have recently been deployed to Haiti, even though the government has not asked Parliament or consulted the public for approval to send soldiers to that country.

19) Venezuela Condemns Staged Operation at Border with Colombia

Telesur

A group of low-level soldiers of the Venezuelan National Guard Saturday took over multiple armored vehicles that belong to the Venezuelan force and rammed into border barriers at the Venezuelan-Colombian border in a staged operation ordered by right-wing opposition members in Colombia. 

20) Venezuela Cuts Ties with Colombia As Maduro Declares 'Coup Has Failed'

Telesur

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro broke all "all diplomatic and politic relations" with Colombia Saturday, after stating that President Ivan Duque has supported a "foreign military invasion" against Venezuela.

21) Canadian ‘aid’ to Venezuela part of plan to overthrow government

Yves Engler

If more people understood that “aid” often goes hand in hand with military intervention there would be less uncritical support for it.



Says it all right here...


The ongoing attempt at an imperialist coup in Venezuela was planned well in advance...and it is all about the oil!



22) Former Pinochet secret police agent Adriana Rivas arrested in Sydney

Green Left Weekly

After years of eluding justice, notorious Chilean torturer Adriana Rivas has finally been arrested and her extradition request by the Chilean state accepted by Australian authorities.

23) Doug Ford, Jason Kenney Endorse Anti-Immigrant, Far-Right Yellow Vests Convoy

North 99

Doug Ford and Jason Kenney have issued endorsements of the United We Roll Convoy, formerly known as the Yellow Vests convoy, a group endorsed by prominent Canadian neo-Nazis, and who’s founders and members have embraced far-right anti-immigrant beliefs and expressed support for hate groups.


"While I’ve been here in Ottawa throughout this week, media coverage of events back home in Halifax, and here in Ottawa, have gripped me during the few moments that I haven’t been locked in meetings."

- Read the full post on Facebook


24) Andrew Scheer Criticized For Support of United We Roll Convoy

Tamara Khandaker, Vice

Scheer spoke at the same rally as Faith Goldy, the notorious white nationalist. Anti-hate activists say the United We Roll campaign has been plagued by racist messages.

25) Yellow vests, brown shirts: convoy runs out of fuel

John Bell, Socialist.ca 

After weeks of hype, with the CBC giving it endless coverage and right-wing opposition parties trying to put wind in its sails (you should pardon the expression), the pro-pipeline truck convoy was an embarrassing flop.

26) Trudeau's principal secretary Gerald Butts resigns

Rachel Aiello, CTV News 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s principal secretary and longtime friend Gerald Butts has resigned from one of the highest positions within Trudeau’s office amid ongoing questions about alleged PMO interference in a criminal prosecution of SNC-Lavalin.

27) Wilson-Raybould to testify in parliamentary probe of SNC-Lavalin scandal, but no witnesses from PMO called

Kathleen Harris, CBC News 

Former justice minister and attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould will be called to testify before a parliamentary committee probing the SNC-Lavalin scandal — but opposition critics are furious that no past or current aides in the Prime Minister's Office will be invited to appear.

28) Liberals defeat call for SNC-Lavalin inquiry

Joan Bryden and Kristy Kirkup, The Canadian Press

The Liberals used their majority Wednesday to defeat an opposition motion calling for a public inquiry into allegations that the Prime Minister's Office pressured Jody Wilson-Raybould to help SNC-Lavalin avoid criminal prosecution.

29) Kaepernick Won. The NFL Lost.

Jemele Hill, The Atlantic 

Technically, Colin Kaepernick withdrew his collusion case. Technically, the NFL did not admit that it conspired to blackball Kaepernick from the league after he began taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice. But nontechnically speaking, the NFL lost. Massively.

30) The deregulation of overtime in Hungary has triggered a social uprising

 Corentin Léotard, Equal Times

“All together now: ‘We will not be slaves!’”. “We are not afraid to tell them: ‘We will not be slaves!’”. There is an arctic chill, but the atmosphere is heating up on Saturday, 5 January in Budapest, the Hungarian capital, where a crowd of about 10,000 people are marching from Heroes’ Square to the monumental neo-gothic parliament building looming over the Danube. For the third time since mid-December, trade unions, political parties and civil society organisations are demonstrating, arms linked, to protest against Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s nationalist government that has been ruling Hungary since 2010.

31) Angela Smith’s ‘funny tinge’ comment is just the tip of the iceberg – these Labour defectors are anything but progressive

Lester Holloway, The Independent 

This group hardly consisted of the creme-de-la-creme of politics. Unless what is left at the bottom of the barrel can be redefined as ‘creme’

32) Legal status of Newly formed Independent Group means they can flout electoral law

Alejandro Javierre, The People's News Online

The Independent Group, formed out of a Labour Party split earlier today that led to 7 MPs resigning the Whip, is officially listed as a Private Company and not a political party, it has been found.

33) Trump’s Grand Coalition Against Iran Is Completely Falling Apart

Juan Cole, Truthdig 

France24 reports that Trump’s attempt to dissuade the Europeans from continuing their support for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal has backfired.

34) UN Agency Says Iran Is Compliant With Nuclear Deal Terms

Telesur 

The nuclear watchdog’s quarterly report found, yet again, that Tehran has adhered to the terms of the agreement despite pressure from newly reimposed sanctions from Washington.

35) Bernie Sanders launches second presidential campaign with big fundraising haul

Gregory Krieg and Ryan Nobles, CNN

After months of deliberation, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced Tuesday that he is running for president again in 2020. It will be Sanders' second consecutive bid for the Democratic nomination after losing to Hillary Clinton in 2016.

36) LET’S USE BERNIE’S 2020 CAMPAIGN TO LAUNCH A MASS WORKING CLASS FIGHTBACK

Kshama Sawant, Socialist Alternative 

Yesterday, Bernie Sanders formally launched his 2020 run for the U.S. presidency, vowing to mount “an unprecedented and historic grassroots campaign that will begin with at least one million people from across the country.”


VICTORY IN WEST VIRGINIA: Under pressure from today's teachers' strike, the Republican-led House just voted 53-45 to kill the pro-privatization bill. 

Strikes work — and West Virginian educators have again made history.




37) WHY THE BRAZILIAN FAR RIGHT LOVES THE EUROPEAN MIDDLE AGES

Paulo Pachá, Pacific Standard Mag

In Jair Bolsonaro's Brazil, the new government and far-right groups are propagandizing a fictional version of the European Middle Ages to legitimize their reactionary agenda.

38) Canada needs an Ilhan Omar

Shahroze Khan, Rabble

Over the past week in the United States, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has faced heavy and dishonest criticism for daring to speak out against the pro-Israel lobby and in support of the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement and Palestinian rights.

39) OSAP Protesters Thrown Out Of Queen's Park

Emma Paling, HuffPost 

Student protesters were thrown out of Ontario's legislature Tuesday morning after unfurling a banner to demand free tuition and hurling insults at Premier Doug Ford.

40) Ford government to make changes to Police Services Act

City News

The Ontario government is planning on making some substantial changes to the Police Services Act, virtually dismantling the legislation passed by the Wynne government.

41) Jewish Canadians deeply divided over Israel, poll finds

Ali Abunimah, Electronic Intifada 

Jewish Canadians are deeply divided in their opinions on Israel, and many are highly critical of it. Moreover, a majority does not see criticism of Israel as necessarily anti-Semitic.

42) $140K-a-year EQAO job for failed PC candidate sparks criticism

Isabel Teotonio, The Toronto Star

Failed Progressive Conservative candidate Cameron Montgomery has landed a $140,000-a-year job chairing the agency that administers province-wide standardized testing for students — a post for which his predecessor earned less than $4,000 last year.

43) Speaker condemns 'racial profiling' of black visitors to Parliament Hill

Kathleen Harris · CBC News

The Speaker of the House of Commons today condemned publicly a "racial profiling" incident involving a group of black visitors to Parliament Hill.

44) Brazil: Bolsonaro Seeks To Up Retirement Age in Pension Reform

Telesur 

On Wednesday Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro delivered his Social Security Reform Proposal to the country's National Congress, which would mandate a minimum retirement age of 65 for men and 62 for women at the end of a 12-year transition period.

45) Macron says France will define anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism

Middle East Eye 

French President Emmanuel Macron told a Jewish-French group that Paris will define anti-Zionism as a form of anti-Semitism, France 24 reported on Wednesday.

46) Labor Secretary Acosta covered up sex abuse at Palm Beach mansion

Matt Greunberg, People's World

A federal judge’s ruling in Florida has added GOP President Donald Trump’s Labor Secretary, Alexander Acosta, to the ever-lengthening parade of ethically suspect Trump Cabinet choices.

47) Ontario lobbyists fear loss of access unless they sell Ford fundraiser tickets

Jill Mahoney & Adam Radwanski, The Globe and Mail

Ontario’s Progressive Conservative Party has asked registered lobbyists to help sell tickets to Premier Doug Ford’s coming fundraising dinner, an event that companies and industry groups say they feel pressure to attend to maintain high-level access to the government.

48) Pulling Teeth: Budget 2019 a big disappointment

Raise the Rates

After a year of poverty reduction “consultations” with the BC government, we at Raise the Rates are extremely disappointed to see that they did not hear us. Another year of rapidly rising housing prices, unlivable costs of living, and government inaction on welfare and disability rates means more suffering, trauma, and deepening debt for folks living on income assistance.



49) Zapped: Unravelling the NDP’s new spin around power prices and the Site C dam

Sarah Cox, The Narwhal 

B.C.'s NDP is now doing precisely what it criticizes the Liberals for doing — manufacturing a need for power while pushing forward with a project that produces energy that can’t be sold for even close to the price it will cost to produce it.

50) Jordan Peterson’s claims about Marxism?

Lowell B. Denny, III, CPUSA

"What's the response of CPUSA towards right-wing activist Jordan Peterson's claim that 'Marxism is equal to Nazism' and that, since people are biologically unequal, trying to create equality ends in dictatorship?"     

51) Oakland educators join the nationwide wave of teacher strikes

Marilyn Bechtel, People's World

Joining the wave of teachers’ strikes that are sweeping the country, Oakland teachers and school staff hit early-morning picket lines throughout the Oakland Unified School District’s 86 elementary, middle and high schools Feb. 21, before packing the City Hall plaza for a lively noontime rally with other union leaders and members, parents, students and community supporters.

52) Alabama Is Going to Execute Rocky Myers. He Might Be Innocent.

Ashoka Mukpo, The Nation

The case of an intellectually disabled prisoner on death row is a window into the many flaws in the death penalty in America.

53) The Subways Should Be Free

Christopher Baum, Socialist Project Bullet 

Last month, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio finally launched his eagerly anticipated Fair Fares program offering half-price transit fares for low-income New Yorkers – but the early reviews were decidedly mixed.

54) For U.S. Jewry, Kahanist Caper Casts Netanyahu as Prince of Darkness and Trump on Steroids

Chemi Shalev, Haaretz

Even AIPAC broke its usual silence after Netanyahu legitimized followers of the infamous Rabbi Kahane, who was a household name in America before setting foot in Israel.

55) It's taboo to talk about Canada's real corporate scandal

Matthew Behrens, Rabble

While the SNC-Lavalin scandal has torn another strip off the "sunny ways" prime minister, there's another corporate scandal that makes the financial figures in that case -- mere hundreds of millions of dollars in fraud and bribes -- seem like pocket change. But no major political party will touch it, which speaks to the manner in which an all-party commitment to bedrock Canadian militarism squelches democratic discourse and strangles any opportunity for real economic justice.



56) What Do You Need to Know About Sunday's Cuban Referendum?

Telesur 

On Sunday, Feb. 24, the Cuban people will participate in a referendum to approve the Republic's new Constitution, a text that modernizes the current one through 760 modifications, which range from the elimination of articles, phrases and words to additions of new laws.

See also: Venezuela Resists Imperialism, Haitian Unrest, Climate Change & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos February 10 - 17



Saturday, February 23, 2019

Remembering James Laxer, 22 December 1941 – 23 February 2018


On the first anniversary of the death of James Laxer we share some remembrances and reflections on his remarkable life and legacy in Canadian socialism and political thought.

James Laxer -- Canadian iconoclast 1941-2018

By Michael Laxer

A unique figure during these past few decades of Canadian politics, Jim always tried to fight for and suggest a path forward towards a fairer and more just Canada, an independent and socialist Canada, regardless of whose feathers this ruffled or whose feet he stepped on. Not one to shy away from what he believed, he provides a lesson to all of us on the left of how to stand up for what we think is right no matter the short term cost and irrespective of careerist goals.


That, as much as anything else, is a legacy worth embracing and one I hope is not soon forgotten.



An interview with Matt Fodor 

In this wide-ranging interview, conducted in April 2014, James Laxer discusses his personal history and involvement in the NDP and the Waffle, the ideological trajectory of Canadian social democracy and the continuing relevance of a socialist vision for the future.




By Mel Watkins

Let me share with you how I came to know Jim Laxer almost 50 years ago, for he had a powerful effect that has never left me.




By Karl Nerenberg

From his public persona one could tell that James Laxer had a sharp intelligence, an unquenchable curiosity and a questing spirit. It is fitting that he was fulfilling his role as a public intellectual right up to the end of his life.  



By Barry Weisleder & Bob Lyons

James Laxer will be remembered far longer and with much more fondness than most of his antagonists in the right wing of Canadian social democracy.


"...in fact I see socialism as the future, I think capitalism is a failed system and I see socialism in new forms being created for the future" - James Laxer


Thursday, February 21, 2019

The Complete Book of Chicken Wings, 1985 w. Buffalo Wings, Tea Smoked, Maple Ginger Beans & more -- Vintage Cookbook TBT

Vintage Cookbook: The Complete Book of Chicken Wings, Joie Warner

Publication Details: Totem Books, 1985

Published in 1985 The Complete Book of Chicken Wings came out when the dish was still something of a novelty and had not yet exploded into the ubiquitous bar food that we know it as today.

The cookbook is written by Joie Warner, an acclaimed and prolific cooking writer who wrote for the Toronto Globe and Mail at the time. It begins with an overview of the history of the bar-style wing and its origins in Buffalo, New York at the famous Anchor Bar. There follows a section on techniques and then various sections devoted to different styles of chicken wings and sauces/side dishes.

Finally there is a humorously small section -- reflecting the far more limited range of options at the time -- that gives various places where you can eat wings in cities across North America including Canadian ones like London, Vancouver and Toronto. We have included this list as a walk down memory lane!

Otherwise we have focused on a few diverse recipes and sauces.

If you are a wing fan, tracking an edition of this one down (and there were many later ones) is a must.




















Wednesday, February 20, 2019

The problem with Imperialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money


The problem with Imperialism is that you eventually run out of other people's money

International Day of Action in Solidarity with Venezuela, Saturday, February 23

On Saturday, February 23 dozens of rallies, protests and actions are being planned around the world in solidarity with the people of Venezuela to mark the one month anniversary of the start of the ongoing imperialist attempt at a coup in the country.

Despite pressure and threats of violence from the Trump Administration and its right-hand partner in the Trudeau government in Canada -- as well as a variety of lackey governments in the Americas and Europe -- so far the people of Venezuela have stood up to the blockade and the undemocratic attempt to install American stooge puppet Juan Guaido.

The impressive list of solidarity actions ranges from Albany, New York to Winnipeg, Manitoba alphabetically and are occurring in North and South America, Europe, India, Australia and elsewhere.

The full list can be found on the No War on Venezuela website.

According to the page the following actions are being planned in Canada (with links to event pages where available):

Courtenay, BC

No war on Venezuela!
Saturday, February 23 | 1pm
Courtenay Public Library | 300 6th Street
Organized by Comox Valley Peace Group | 250-338-4067

Vancouver, BC

No Sanctions! Hands off Venezuela! No military intervention!
Saturday, February 23 | 12pm
Gather in front of the CBC at Georgia and Hamilton Streets
Rally organized by the Venezuela Peace and Solidarity Committee of Vancouver

————————————————-

No War on Venezuela! – International Day of Action
Vancouver, Canada Rally & Petition Campaign

No Coup in Venezuela!
U.S./Canada Hands Off Venezuela!
No more U.S./Canada Sanctions & Threats!

Saturday February 23 | 2pm
Vancouver Art Gallery
Robson St. at Howe St.
Downtown Vancouver

Organized by: Fire This Time Movement for Social Justice (FTT) – Venezuela Solidarity Campaign
Endorsed by: Mobilization Against War and Occupation (MAWO), Vancouver Communities in Solidarity with Cuba (VCSC), Iranian Community Against War

Calgary, Alberta

No War on Venezuela from Calgary
Saturday, February 23 | 12pm
615 MacLead Trl SE

Regina, Saskatchewan

No War on Venezuela!
Saturday, February 23 | 2pm
City Hall, Peace Fountain

Winnipeg, Canada

Solidarity with Venezuela
Saturday, February 23 | 1pm
Gerald James Lynch Park | south side Osborne Street Bridge by Osborne & Roslyn
Organized by: Venezuela Peace Committee

London, Ontario

No war on Venezuela!
Saturday, February 23 | 12pm
NW corner of Victoria Park
Co-hosted by Communist Party of Canada – Forest City Club; People for Peace, London, Ontario; and London Common Front

Toronto, Ontario

No War On Venezuela! Hands Off Venezuela!
Saturday, February 23 | 11am
Rally Outside CBC Office – 250 Front Street West | March to Bay Street/ Financial District

The participants and endorsing organizations of the February 23rd “No War On Venezuela” rally in Toronto demand that the federal government immediately recognize the democratically elected president of Venezuela, lift the sanctions, and stop laying the groundwork for military intervention. CBC: stop the lies! Bay street: not your gold, not your oil, hands off Venezuelan soil!

Respect Venezuelan sovereignty and self-determination! Hands off Venezuela!

Ottawa, Ontario

No war on Venezuela!
Saturday, February 23 | 12pm
Gather at the Prime Minister’s office for a march to the U.S. Embassy!

Montreal, Quebec

Non à l’intervention Trump – Trudeau
Saturday, February 23 | 2pm
Carré Philipps | Montréal, Québec

Halifax, Nova Scotia

No war on Venezuela!
Saturday, February 23 | 1pm
Peace and Freedom Park (formerly Cornwallis Park) | Hollis St
Organized by Alliance for Venezuela Halifax and is co-sponsored by the Halifax Peace Council

For links to an extensive array of articles about the situation in Venezuela and its background see The Left Chapter's last four weekly news and information round-ups here, here, here and here.

From the last few days see also:

How the U.S. Is Strangling Haiti as It Attempts Regime Change in Venezuela

Canadian policy on Venezuela, Haiti reveals hypocrisy that media ignores

The Trump-Trudeau Venezuelan 'Lima Group' Policy and Its Nemesis

Is Venezuela Canada’s Modern Day El Dorado?

See also:

In Venezuela as in Chile, what is past is prologue

Which of these countries is not like the other? -- A Justin Trudeau and Chrystia Freeland Imperialism Quiz!

Monday, February 18, 2019

Spectacular Winter Lake Views and the Skating Trail at Sam Smith Park in Winter -- The Lakeside Parks of South Etobicoke VI

Looking out at Lake Ontario from the park trail at the bottom of 23rd
We have visited the magnificent South Etobicoke waterfront Colonel Samuel Smith Park  before on The Left Chapter in posts like A Trip to Whimbrel Point -- One of Toronto's Best (and Least Known) Lake Ontario Nature Gems and The New Outlook @ Sam Smith Park -- The Lakeside Parks of South Etobicoke I. 

Today we went back to see the skating trail on a nearly picture perfect Family Day early afternoon.

The public outdoor skating trail has been open for several years now and is an enormously popular and successful park attraction. It is completely free. There is a public indoor room to put on your skates in a spectacular looking former power plant that is open daily (with shorter hours on holidays) during the season from 9 am to 930 pm though the trail can be used 24 hours a day. There is a covered wood outdoor fireplace feature which is used on weekends or holidays.

The trail is right beside many of the park's exceptional paths and spectacular views of Lake Ontario. These can be especially impressive in the winter's cold, clear air.

There is also a hill very popular for tobogganing just to the west of the trail off of 23rd St.

Be sure to visit for the first time or again before it closes for the season sometime next month.

(Click on images to enlarge. All photography by Michael Laxer.)

North of the Skating Trail with Views of Humber College





The Skating Trail w. Fire Pit & Power Plant Skate Room













Tobogganing!


The path just south of the skate trail runs west along the lake to 23rd St.
It offers some of the most spectacular Lake Ontario views in the city.










Colonel Samuel Smith Park is located south of Lake Shore Blvd. W. in the area of Kipling Ave. The park is on the 501 Queen streetcar line. The skate trail lies at the very end of the 44 Kipling South bus line.