Saturday, August 31, 2019

Janet-Lynne Durnford's NDP nomination story a Kafkaesque travesty

Public photo via Facebook
We have little more to add on the ugly reality of the NDP's dictatorial streak and drive as well as exposing the travesty regarding Sid Ryan, but it is worth sharing this post by Janet-Lynne Durnford who was trying to run for the NDP nomination in Simcoe North.

What was the transgression to seemingly prevent her from getting approved?

She was unwilling to grant the folks running the centralized party paranoia bureau access to a private Facebook group that consisted of personal communications between her and friends and she belonged to an anti-conspiracy group that the sharp knives at HQ felt was a conspiracy group.

It would be hard to make this up.

This is all grotesque for very obvious reasons. Also note that the creepy Fred Checkers account is still around to spy on candidates. It is ironic that the NDP would demand that candidates be overt about everything while using a fake Facebook account (in violation of Facebook rules) to spy on them.

But that is the NDP HQ mentality right there.

It is time for left activists and candidates in the party to actually speak up and do something about this or to simply admit that they don't really care and it is all about getting elected and making good money in parliament or as a staffer by being a party parrot.

We all know this is wrong. If you really believe in left movement building take a stand or stop pretending.

Meanwhile, Fred Checkers is watching. Think about how sad a statement that is.

The cat is out of the bag with the Sid Ryan and NDP vetting fiasco

Sometimes, in politics and messaging, less is more. That is certainly a lesson the folks leading the shitshow at the federal NDP HQ might want to learn. Fast.

In the couple of days since labour leader Sid Ryan went public with his reasons for withdrawing from running for the NDP nomination in Oshawa, and another potential candidate in Simcoe North also dropped out after they left her in limbo for months, the party and leader Jagmeet Singh have been scrambling with the terrible optics of all this.

In the media they came up with the absurd contention that the delays were all about trying to find "diverse" candidates. 

This is obvious nonsense. The election date has been known for four years so they had a very long time to get their candidate search committees to do this.

Beyond that, though, that is not what vetting candidates is all about. Vetting is about making sure that there is nothing in the past to disqualify a candidate from running, something which the conformity obsessed NDP is tremendously dictatorial about as we have looked at numerous times before. 

Further, given that, as we noted above, the latest candidate to resign from their nomination run was a woman who put in her forms in May and still had not been approved, I think we can all see this for what it is.

The party hacks don't of course. They are even resorting to rubbish like saying Ryan filed too close to the deadline to get vetted quickly. Well, then why was that the deadline? Was it a fake deadline and people should have known that the real deadline was months earlier?

Or is this just horseshit? Again, I think we all know.

Just as it seemed matters could not get worse the geniuses running the show in the party decided to send out a message to riding associations about how to react to the Ryan controversy.

This was not clever as it clearly puts the lie to the other line:

The cat is out of the bag. It has been for a very long time.

That "democratic" part in NDP is a sham.



See also: Two months later, let's have a look at the shameful Parkdale NDP nomination fiasco again

Montreal Smoked Meat, Lime Pickle and Avocado Naan Wrap

As I have noted before I think Indian pickle, in its many varieties, is one of the great dishes on the planet.

Here we take an Indian style lime pickle and use it as the foundation for an explosively flavourful wrap.

Lime pickle is wonderfully salty, tangy and slightly spicy and its oils and texture work as a terrific base for a sandwich. I am very fond of lime pickle with ham and cheese on rye.

Here we are going to use mini-naans as a wrap. If you can't find mini-naans simply cut a regular sized naan in half. You can also use garlic naan or any other naan variant instead.

Lightly toast the naan and then top it with a slice or two of old cheddar cheese.

Spoon a layer of lime pickle on top of this. There are any number of lime pickle brands out there though the most common one in Canadian grocery stores is made by Patak's. There are brands I prefer but they are harder to find. As a variation you can also use mango pickle, which is slightly sweeter, instead. Another option, which I most enjoy, is to order an extra side or two of the house made lime or mixed pickle from your favourite Indian restaurant the next time you eat there or get delivery.

Top this with either pastrami or Montreal smoked meat.

Finally, add a slice or two of avocado.

Roll into a wrap and enjoy.

A vegetarian option is to skip the meat and add more cheese and avocado.

Nice with cold beer or even red wine, to me this is an almost perfect lunch treat.

Friday, August 30, 2019

The NDP's centralized culture of paranoid candidate oversight is coming back to haunt

In the wake of the withdrawal of labour leader Sid Ryan -- who had already run for the party previously both provincially in Ontario and federally -- from the race for the NDP nomination in Oshawa due to the inordinate length of time the party HQ was taking to "vet" and greenlight his run, another potential candidate has now withdrawn for the same reason. 

Janet-Lynne Durnford put her name forward to carry the party banner in Simcoe North all the way back in May, but as Labour Day weekend approaches her candidacy had still not been approved. Durnford publicly posted about this on Facebook August 29:

It turns out that this is a serious problem for the NDP across Canada. According to the CBC as of August 30:
...nearly half of the 338 ridings in Canada don't have a New Democrat candidate yet.
According to the NDP's website, the party has yet to nominate a single candidate in New Brunswick, P.E.I., Nunavut or the Northwest Territories.
Given that the election is nearly at hand this is not good. And it is in no small part due to the party's highly centralized and deeply paranoid vetting process where party bureaucrats scour the past comments, actions and social media posts of potential candidates for anything that might be seen as controversial on issues like Israel, for showing too much independent thinking, or for having made critical comments about the party in the past.

All parties have the right to and should make sure they do not have candidates who have committed certain types of criminal acts, who have made racist, bigoted or misogynist statements or who clearly have politics different from the party they are seeking to run for. But, as we have noted in the past, the NDP's paranoia about and desire for compliant conformity from its candidates goes much deeper than that and reflects its desire to be a tightly scripted mainstream bourgeois party as opposed to a democratic left movement with all of the different currents and activists that this would involve. This paranoia even included the creation of the creepy spying Facebook avatar Fred Checkers in 2015.

Excessive bureaucratic paranoia and candidate oversight takes a lot of time and effort on the part of staffers. Time that could be much better spent doing something more productive, which would be just about anything. And time that is now running out given that Trudeau could call the election as early as next week.

See also: Two months later, let's have a look at the shameful Parkdale NDP nomination fiasco again

Thursday, August 29, 2019

From the Highlands and the Sea w. Cape Breton Casserole, Hogmanay Rich Biscuits, Aspy Bay Fried Smelts & more -- Vintage Cookbook TBT

Vintage Cookbook: From the Highlands and the Sea

Publication Details: McCurdy Printing, 1973

This wonderful cookbook that was compiled by the Ingonish Women's Hospital Auxiliary in 1973 is a look at recipes from Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Done in a classic community cookbook bare bones, ringed style, there are dozens of recipes grouped into sections like Soup & Chowder, Breads, Desserts, etc. There is also, needless to say, a fish section and a lot of seafood based dishes in every applicable section. Lobster, scallops, shrimp, cod (and codfish tongues), smelts, salmon and others are all represented in the book. The Festive Oyster Pie below is quite spectacular.

A lot of this is very hearty, old-school Eastern North American fare. The book even opens with a section devoted to porridge and gruel! There are recipes for rabbit, beef tongue, seal, baked beans, turnips, etc. as well as a wide array of casseroles and stews and recipes like Mother's Corn Fritters and Jessie's Old Fashioned Molasses Cookies.

Here we have included a real cross-section of what the book has to offer as well as highlighting many that had local place names like Aspy Bay or Englishtown attached to them. We have also added a biscuit recipe meant to help celebrate Hogmanay (Scottish New Year).

For fans of the drink there are also a couple of those, including the delightful sounding, whiskey based Aberdeen Welcome.

(click on images to enlarge)

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Sid Ryan's nomination run in Oshawa yet another federal NDP debacle

Just over two months ago the Parkdale NDP engaged in an epic debacle of a nomination meeting whose optics were appalling by the standards of any observer outside of the party who is not a bigot. The photos from it, frankly, are shocking and we have looked at them before on The Left Chapter in several posts.

This was followed by the shameful ousting of Nova Scotia candidate Rana Zaman for comments she made about Israel. The NDP has a long tradition of censoring and blocking candidates who are outspoken about Israeli Apartheid. One of them, Paul Manly, has since been elected as a Green MP.

And now it would appear that Sid Ryan -- the well known militant labour leader and former head of the Ontario Federation of Labour who has actually run for the NDP both federally and provincially before -- has been de facto blocked from running after the federal party dragged its feet in approving his attempt to get the nomination in Oshawa.

Ryan posted of this publicly on Facebook August 28:

This all has echoes of Fred Checkers, the creepy avatar the federal NDP HQ invented in 2015 to spy on potential candidates.

As I noted then this type of behaviour is:
...indicative of so much of what is wrong with mainstream bourgeois politics.  Tightly scripted, poll-driven, messaging aimed at ever smaller groups of "wedge" voters, run entirely by the leader and their staff and inner circle, largely fatuous and specious rhetoric and with ever smaller differences of any meaning between the lot of them.
It would appear that Sid Ryan is the latest casualty of a long standing, right wing NDP trend. 

Monday, August 26, 2019

Traveling Down the Dnieper with Soviet Life, 1984

Recently we featured a remarkable Soviet book from 1985 that promoted tours along the Dnieper River in the Ukrainian SSR.

Here we are going to look at a voyage made by two editors of Soviet Life Magazine down the river in 1983 sharing the text and the colour and black and white photographs. They wrote of their trip in the February and March issues in 1984. As they did we will be breaking our post into the two parts.

The writers traveled on a smaller passenger yacht after spending several days in Kiev. They talk about the dramatic growth of the city, its various attractions and the central role the river plays in its life and history.

After leaving Kiev they stop in Kanev, 200 kilometers south, where among other things they visit the grave of and national museum dedicated to the famous Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko who has featured prominently in many of our past posts about Soviet Ukraine such as 17 Panoramic Views of Soviet Kharkov 1984.

In Kanev they spend some time talking to the captain of the larger Dnieper passenger ship the V. I. Lenin, who relates his rise to being a sea captain. After the war he was inspired by the writings of Mark Twain to run away from home when he was 13 and make his way to Kiev where he started as a kitchen boy and eventually went to a specialized maritime school.

In addition to visits to art studios and other cultural spots they go to the Druzhba (Friendship) Collective Farm where they see the facilities available to the farmers and discuss things like their wages and housing. They spend some time at a nearby sanatorium where farmers and other Soviet workers receive healthcare or can vacation to relax in the mud baths and on the beaches.

We have also included a photo of Wayne Gretzky and famed Soviet goalie Vladislav Tretiak that was in the issue since this should be of interest to hockey fans!

(Click on scans to enlarge)

Gretzky & Tretiak