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Notre Dame Fire Exposes Deep Hypocrisy, Ontario Austerity Attacks, Revolution in Sudan and more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos April 14 - 21

21 hours 32 min ago
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 April 14 - 21.

It starts with sections related to the Notre Dame fire and the ongoing austerity attacks of the government in Ontario.

1) The billionaires’ donations will turn Notre Dame into a monument to hypocrisy

Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian 

Not least among this litany of ironies is that it takes a Catholic cathedral to remind us that we have barely advanced an inch from the medieval buying of indulgences, when the rich could amass their fortunes in as filthy a fashion as they liked – and then donate to the Church to launder their reputations and ensure their salvation. What was it that old Friar Tetzel used to say? “As soon as gold in the coffer rings, the rescued soul to heaven springs.”

2) Reaction of the rich to the Notre Dame fire teaches us a lot about the world we live in

Carl Kinsella, JOE

The next time someone tries to pretend like you need to choose between homelessness or immigration, nurses' pay or a tax cut, a children's hospital or a motorway, remember this moment. The money is there at a click of a finger. It just isn't in our hands.





3) Normandy Yellow Vests Statement About the Notre Dame Disaster

Stalker Zone

When we triumph, when democracy – true, direct, without a state, leaders or representatives – will be there, when we will self-manage our lives and our places of life, so we will decide what is necessary, vital, and important. So the markets, profits and money will be distant memories.

4) Notre Dame fire: Alt-right conspiracy theorists are using the cathedral blaze to spread anti-Muslim rhetoric

Clark Mindock, The Independent 

The inferno that has engulfed the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris has been seized upon by far right provocateurs to spread anti-Muslim hate and conspiracies, even as officials said they have ruled out arson as the cause.



5) Ontario’s cuts to legal aid for refugees: Racist, xenophobic and possibly unconstitutional

Sharry Aiken and Sean Rehaag, The Conversation 

The recent Ontario budget included a 30 per cent cut to legal aid. This will cause hardship for many low-income residents of Ontario, who are disproportionately drawn from racialized communities.


6) Province slashes Ontario Library Service funding by 50%

CBC News 

Southern Ontario Library Service says it's facing a 50 per cent budget cut from the province, which would need to be absorbed into the current 2019-20 fiscal year.

7) Ontario budget cuts millions in compensation to victims of violent crime, advocates say

Alyshah Hasham, The Toronto Star 

Victims of violent crimes will get significantly less compensation after proposed changes in the provincial budget, including capping awards for pain and suffering at $5,000, advocates say.



8) Another 155 teachers receive surplus letters as Ford deflects questions about cuts

 Shanifa Nasser, CBC News 

Just one day after hundreds of teachers in Peel Region received word that they would no longer have permanent positions come September, over 150 more in neighbouring Halton Region learned they face a similar fate, the union representing them says.

9) Ontario’s Right-Wing Ford Government Advances Unconstitutional Bill To Silence Critics of Israel

Dimitri Lascaris

With the support of Ontario’s right-wing Premier, Doug Ford, a staunchly pro-Israel member of Ontario’s legislature is pushing a private member’s bill designed to silence critics of Israel.

10) Ontario slashes Toronto Public Health funds by $1B over a decade, board chair says

Lauren Pelley · CBC News

The Ontario government is slashing Toronto Public Health's funding by $1 billion over a decade as part of a plan to consolidate local public health units across the province, says the chair of the city's board of health — a move that's prompting an outcry from city officials.

11) Ont. university funding will be tied to graduates' earnings, minister says

The Canadian Press

Ontario's minister responsible for post-secondary education says institutions' future funding will depend on metrics such as graduates' earnings.

12) ACLU Warns of “Fascist Militia” Holding Migrant Border Crossers at Gunpoint

Democracy Now


The American Civil Liberties Union is warning that armed vigilantes are working directly with the U.S. Border Patrol to unlawfully detain hundreds of migrants at gunpoint along the U.S.-Mexico border. The ACLU cites videos posted on social media showing members of a militia group pursuing migrants in New Mexico’s desert west of El Paso, Texas, and effectively kidnapping them against their will. In one video, vigilantes armed with assault rifles are seen approaching a group of several dozen people seated on the ground, as the video’s narrator, a man named Jim Benvie, films.

13) The FBI Has Arrested The Leader Of An Armed Militia Detaining Migrants At The Border

Adolfo Flores, BuzzFeed News 

The FBI arrested the head of an armed right-wing "patriot" group that had detained hundreds of migrants at the New Mexico border on Saturday for being a felon in possession of a weapon.

14) Police Chief Rails At 'Nazis' Enforcing Laws After Girl Is Ordered Deported Without Mom

Mary Papenfuss, HuffPost US

An infuriated Houston police chief blew up Friday on Twitter after an 11-year-old girl was ordered to be deported without her family.

15) Defiant Resistance: The Venezuelan Crises and the Possibility of Another World

Jeremiah Gaster, Socialist Project Bullet 

Bob Dylan once said, “Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.” February 23rd, 2019, was the day that Juan Guaidó, the self-proclaimed President of Venezuela, had “authorized” “humanitarian aid” to enter Venezuela, an attempt to force the Maduro government, and thus the Venezuelan people, to their knees. There is great urgency as an ever-increasing escalation of violence is being perpetuated by those who would destroy Venezuela, including several attacks on Venezuela’s electrical grid over the last few weeks. But let me be clear: the Venezuelan poor are resilient, and any change will be on their terms. Most importantly, Venezuelan politics is collective, and there is a deep form of solidarity across communities along with an abiding interest in building a different form of politics. In short, if one does not unearth this collective politics, one cannot understand what is happening in Venezuela.

16) Russia To Help Venezuela Probe Cyber Attacks on Electric Grid

Telesur 

Russian deputy foreign minister said Russia will help Venezuela in investigating the cyber attacks on the country which cause nation-wide blackouts.

17) Attendees of Secret Meeting for 'US Military Assault' on Venezuela Revealed

Eoin Higgins, Common Dreams 

A group dedicated to regime change in Venezuela held a secret meeting on overthrowing the country's government last week, according to reporting from The Grayzone Project.

18) US Pushing for War with Venezuela: Moncada

Telesur 

The President of the United States (US), Donald Trump, is secretly preparing for a war against the government of Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, Venezuela's Ambassador to the United Nations (UN), Samuel Moncada, said on his Twitter account.

19) With tightening of blockade, U.S. seeks to strangle Cuba…again

W. T. Whitney Jr., People's World 

“The Trump administration has declared the most severe new sanctions against Cuba since President John F. Kennedy imposed an economic embargo banning all trade with the communist island in 1962.” That was the assessment of William M. LeoGrande, a widely respected Cuba analyst, in reaction to announcements on April 17 by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton concerning new economic sanctions being imposed on Cuba.

20) Cuba just started giving PrEP away for free to those who need it

 Gwendolyn Smith, LGBTQ Nation 

A pilot program that began on March 6 has Cuban officials distributing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to those in need.

21) 'Pompeo has Lost His Mind': Chinese Ambassador to Chile

Telesur 

“There are numerous examples, including the relentless blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for more than half a century, President Trump's construction of a separation wall along the border between the United States and Mexico, and the very little assistance provided by the United States to Haiti and Central American countries. Chileans are also well aware that Chile's development achievements are not the result of American charity."

22) Bolivian Lawmakers Ask for US Intervention in a Letter to Trump

Telesur 

A group of 10 deputies, two senators and three representatives of political and non-government organizations sent a letter to United States President Donald Trump asking to “intercede” in their country’s affairs, resulting in heavy criticism from Bolivian President Evo Morales.



23) The far right is trying to make crucifixes mandatory across Italy


Andy Hayward and Andrew Potter, Vice News

A northern Italian town in the heartland of Italy’s far-right League Party has adopted a new emblem, one that sends a clear message about the country's history: a Christian cross.

Cops in schools is the ultimate bad policing idea:



24) Contempt charges dropped against 14 protesters blocking B.C. pipeline project


Betsy Trumpener · CBC News

All contempt charges have been dropped against 14 people who were arrested at a blockade in northern British Columbia in January for barring access to a pipeline company.

25) Finland's Left Wing Party Scores Narrow Election Victory, Far-right Party Comes in 2nd

Telesur 

Finland’s leftist Social Democrat party (SDP) leader Antti Rinne has declared victory in Sunday’s general election after results showed his party winning by a very tight margin with 17.7 percent.

26) “Democracy has been hijacked in Guatemala”

People's Dispatch 

Daniel Pascual, coordinator of the Committee for Peasant Unity (CUC), speaks about the struggle for the rights of Indigenous and peasant people and for the defense of territory in Guatemala at a conference in Basque Country.

27) Man Charged with Hate Crimes over Fires at 3 Black Louisiana Churches

Democracy Now

A man accused of setting fire to three historically black churches in Louisiana was charged with hate crimes Monday. Holden Matthews, the 21-year-old son of a deputy sheriff, was also charged with three counts of arson after being arrested last week. The first blaze occurred at the end of last month, and the two others in early April. All three churches were in St. Landry Parish, about 30 minutes north of Lafayette.

28) Leaked Docs Show Saudis 'Overwhelmingly Dependent' on Western Weapons to Wage War on Yemen

Jessica Corbett, Common Dreams 

Leaked documents from France's military agency "show that Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are overwhelmingly dependent on Western-produced weapon systems to wage their devastating war in Yemen," The Intercept reported Monday.

29) What Alberta’s new UCP majority government means for the environment

Sharon J. Riley, The Narwhal 

Regulations and renewables are on the outs and battles with environmental groups are in, as Kenney promises to accelerate approvals of energy projects, scrap efficiency measures and fund an ‘energy war room’ to fight anyone who criticizes the province’s energy sector.



30) Ultranationalism in Ukraine – a photo essay

Felipe Dana, The Guardian 

The growing presence of far-right groups in Ukraine leaves the west in a quandary. The ultranationalists have played a key role in fighting Russia-backed separatist rebels and are now challenging government corruption. But they are pushing for changes that go against democratic ideals.

31) Rethinking Ottawa’s Transit System

Julia Szwarc, Socialist Project Bullet 

During the week of February 4-10, Free Transit Ottawa challenged Ottawa’s City Councillors and Mayor to take the Transit Week Challenge. The idea was simple: To get the people who make decisions about public transit to experience the system firsthand. To the surprise of the organizers, the majority of Council chose to participate. Some, such as Shawn Menard, Laura Dudas, and Theresa Kavanagh, enthusiastically took the challenge.

32) Half of England is owned by less than 1% of the population

Rob Evans, The Guardian 

Half of England is owned by less than 1% of its population, according to new data shared with the Guardian that seeks to penetrate the secrecy that has traditionally surrounded land ownership.


33) ‘Citizens don’t feel safe’ as hate fills Edmonton’s streets

Omar Mosleh, Star Edmonton

Standing onstage, a man in a video recites a white supremacist slogan in Churchill Square — a place named after a world leader instrumental in defeating the Nazis.

34) Which has failed—capitalism or socialism?

Rick Nagin, People's World 

Although nearly every issue of The Wall Street Journal tries to combat growing public support for socialism, this only proves that Marx and Engels got at least one thing right when they wrote in the Communist Manifesto that the specter of communism continually haunts the ruling class.


35) Illinois Approves Ban On ‘Right-To-Work Laws’

CBS Chicago 

With the support of labor unions, a new bill prohibiting municipalities in the state from enacting “right-to-work laws” was signed into law by Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker last week.

36) Sudan sit-in shows how ordinary people can run society and win real change

Charlie Kimber, Socialist Worker 

Sudan’s ruling class is desperately trying to reassert control as protests continue demanding fundamental change.

37) A First Victory for the Sudanese Revolution

Sungur Savran, Socialist Project Bullet 

Omar al Bashir, the 30-year long dictator of Sudan, the perpetrator of the massacre of hundreds of thousands of civilians in the Darfour and South Sudan wars, the enemy of the working class and the poor of Sudan, the ally of the Muslim Brothers (the Ihwan), the collaborator of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP of Turkey, has been ousted. This is a result of the power and resilience displayed by the popular movement, the revolutionary struggle that has lasted for four and a half months. Blessings to the peoples of the Middle East and Africa! We owe a debt of gratitude to the people of Sudan for having demonstrated once again that despots are not stronger than a people in action. Our hearts beat for the success of the Sudanese revolution.

38) The Sudanese Revolution seeks unity against US imperialism and reactionary governments

International Communist Press

According to the statement of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Sudanese Communist Party, issued on 15 April, the forces for Freedom and Change, including the Sudanese Communist Party, continue to play a leading role in furthering and consolidating the unity of the masses in the streets.

39) Our leaders are ignoring global warming to the point of criminal negligence. It's unforgivable

Tim Winton, The Guardian 

Humanity survived the cold war because no one pushed the button. On climate change, the button has been pushed again and again.

See also: Ontario Austerity, Far Right Win in Israel, Libya & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos April 7 - 14

No matter how many visits Horwath makes to the Canadian Club, business will never support the NDP

Sat, 2019-04-20 04:45

Every once in a while left wingers, socialists and leftists will make the mistake of thinking what passes for social democrat politicians these days somehow share their values in some meaningful sense.

Happily, to avoid undue confusion, the "social democrats" will always make sure, eventually, to clear the air as to what their political function is and what side they are really on.

Take the leader of Ontario's Official Opposition, Andrea Horwath. Horwath, of course, is facing one of the most reactionary governments in recent memory. A government that has made being "open for business" a signature slogan and that places the interests of business first as it did with its cancelling of the minimum wage increase, its attacks on labour laws brought in by the Liberals and its vicious austerity budget attacks on education, healthcare, and pretty much every other area that makes life livable for working people.

There is little doubt that these measures and attacks enjoy the support of Ontario's business "community" and capitalist class, but today's progressives still want to make sure that the enemies of working people know that they are not their enemies.

Hence Horwath's pilgrimage to that noted left institution the Canadian Club on April 17 to let the capitalists know that what is really needed "is guaranteeing stability for businesses" and countering all that Ford has done to put a "chill on investment".

"“Businesses should be able to trust the contracts they sign with the government will be upheld, and investors should see our province as a safe bet,” said Horwath."

Exciting stuff. That will surely get the business community on board with pushing for the steady hand of the social democratic quisling approach.

Of course the history of the last three decades of capitalist retrenchment and reaction, as well as their relentless attempts to get governments to launch attacks on working people and their unions and organizations would indicate otherwise. Amazingly the capitalists prefer an environment of social destabilization and disharmony so long as the victims of it are working people and the state.

This is abundantly clear to anyone who takes a moment to pull their head out the sand and stop pretending the "left" can somehow befriend the enemy with our commitment to capitalist efficiency and order.

The NDP can try and try and try again, but the business community will never be impressed by its lapdog desire to please it.

Canadian capitalists and the Canadian business community are engaged in a class war against Canadian working people that they are, for now, winning. This will not be defeated by courting their support. The socialist left should never be waxing poetic about how to create "stability" for business. Instead we need to, at long last, re-embrace the notion that the only way to create stability and prosperity for workers, the marginalized and people living in poverty is to fight our class enemy in the business world and their ideological minions head on.

And to win doing so.

See also: ONDP MPP crosses protest picket line to attend Fedeli Chamber of Commerce event

See also: NDP's Horwath appears at Ontario Chamber of Commerce event mere days after the gutting of rights of workers

Imperialist forces driven from the Bay of Pigs, April 19, 1961

Sat, 2019-04-20 02:28

On April 19, 1961 the revolutionary forces of the Cuban people defeated the last of the imperialist forces who had invaded the country at the behest of their American puppet masters at the Bay of Pigs mere days earlier. 

In addition to those killed over 1,100 of the imperialist troops were captured. As Life Magazine noted the revolutionary government revealed "the wealth of the captured invaders: 100 plantation owners, 67 landlords of apartment houses, 35 factory owners, 112 businessmen, 179 lived off unearned income, and 194 ex-soldiers of Batista."

While the American imperialists have tried unsuccessfully to strangle Cuba via their criminal blockade ever since, at the Bay of Pigs the Cuban people ensured the survival of their revolution and freedom. 

Warsaw 1972 - Vintage Streetscapes and Other Photos

Fri, 2019-04-19 00:41
East - West RoadToday we are taking a look at 18 images of some of the streets and sights of Warsaw, Poland in 1972. These vintage photographs were from a postcard folder that was aimed at Russian/Soviet visitors with the text in Russian.

There are a number of streetscape images -- which are our favourite type overall -- that include photos of the city centre, Marszałkowska Street, Krucza Street, Jerusalem Avenue, Constitution Square, overpasses and other spots.

In a number of these photos you can see the Konstal 13N trams. Based on the design of the iconic Czech Tatra tram, the Konstal trams were built in Poland in the 1960s and remained in service until 2012.

There are also photos of a variety of monuments including the famous Monument to the Heroes of Warsaw.

One of the more interesting photos in terms of subject and framing is of a staircase that led from the street to the Gdansk Bridge.

We have translated all of the image descriptions from the original Russian.

(Click on images to enlarge)

City Center

New Homes on Marszałkowska Street

Monument to the Heroes of Warsaw, 1939-1945

Grand Opera and Ballet

Monument to Brotherhood in Arms

Old Town Market Square

Monument to Soviet Soldiers who Fell for the Liberation of Warsaw

Palace of Culture and Science

Towers of the Old City Walls

Overpass on the Bank

On the Bank of the Vistula

Grave of the Unknown Soldier

Staircase of the Gdansk Bridge

Krucza Street

On Constitution Square

Monument to Frederic Chopin in Lazienki Park

Jerusalem Avenue

We are Internationalists! - Lenin reads the April Theses, April 17, 1917

Wed, 2019-04-17 22:24

We are Internationalists! - Poster, USSR 1987Artist:  V. G. Yalansky
"We must take the initiative in creating a revolutionary International, an International against the social-chauvinists and against the “Centre”" - From the April Theses, read by Lenin at two meetings of the All-Russia Conference of Soviets of Workers’ and Soldiers’ Deputies on April 17, 1917 (April 4 according to the old calendar). 

Lenin read his list of ten revolutionary directives the day after his arrival in Petrograd back from a decade of exile. These theses became of tremendous importance in moving the Bolsheviks tactically and ideologically along a path that would lead to the socialist revolution in November and the eventual formation of the USSR. 

You can read the full text of the April Theses at : The Tasks of the Proletariat in the Present Revolution [a.k.a. The April Theses]




Death to the Fascist Reptile - WWII Poster USSR

Wed, 2019-04-17 20:56

Death to the Fascist Reptile - WWII Poster USSRArtist: Alexei Kokorekin

New Successes, Comrades! - April 16, 1917 Lenin returns to Russia

Tue, 2019-04-16 21:18

New Successes, Comrades! - Soviet Poster, N. Tereshchenko 1980On April 16, 1917 Lenin returned to Russia via Petrograd after a decade of exile.

Ontario Austerity, Far Right Win in Israel, Libya & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos April 7 - 14

Mon, 2019-04-15 02:11
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 April 7 - April 14.


It starts with sections related to the Ontario austerity budget and the Israeli election.

1) Harmony Movement, Anti-Racism Group In Ontario, Shutting Down After 25 Years Due To Funding Cuts

 Mohamed Omar, HuffPost 

An Ontario organization that has been providing anti-racism education programs to teachers and students across the province says funding cuts are forcing it to shut down its operations.

2) Ontario gas stations could be fined $10,000 a day for missing anti-carbon-tax stickers

Allison Jones · The Canadian Press 

Buried in Ontario's budget bill are fines of up to $10,000 per day for gas station operators who don't display government-mandated stickers about the price of the carbon tax.

3) High speed train between Toronto and Windsor has been cancelled

Lauren O'Neil, BlogTO

Try as they might to distract you with easier access to alcohol, the Ford government's first budget contains some crushing news for Southwestern Ontario (and the many Torontonians who work, go to school or visit family there).

4) Legal Aid funding cut nearly 30% in Ontario budget

Ryan Tumilty · CBC News

Legal Aid Ontario got hit with a major cut in Thursday's budget as the provincial government pulled $133 million and said the organization could no longer use provincial funds for refugee and immigration cases.


5) Toronto slams Doug Ford's transit plan as unrealistic and bizarre

Lauren O'Neil, BlogTO

The dust is starting to settle in Toronto after yesterday's bombshell announcement of a $28.5 billion transit expansion plan from Ontario Premier Doug Ford, leaving in its wake some serious concerns about existing TTC projects.

6) Provincial budget cuts $1.1 billion in funding to Toronto transit

Francine Kopun & Jennifer Pagliaro, The Toronto Star 

Mayor John Tory said Thursday that he is “incredibly disappointed” that the provincial government has reneged on a promise to double the city’s share of the gas tax — a broken promise that will cost Toronto $1.1 billion in funding for transit over the next 10 years.

7) Ontario employers to ‘educate themselves’ on workplace obligations to cut costs


Sara Mojtehedzadeh, The Toronto Star

Ontario’s Ministry of Labour will “modernize and streamline” its enforcement efforts by helping employers to “educate themselves” on their workplace obligations, according to Thursday’s provincial budget.

8) Ontario Budget 2019 Announces $1 Billion in OW and ODSP Cuts

ISAC

The 2019/2020 Ontario Budget was announced today, and creates even more uncertainty for people who receive benefits from the Ontario Works (OW) and Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) system.

9) Ontario PCs want to make it next to impossible to sue the government

Lucas Powers - CBC News

Premier Doug Ford's Progressive Conservatives are moving to make it harder to sue the Ontario government.

10) How is labour going to fight Ford?

David Bush, Rank and File 

The political ground in Ontario is shifting. On April 4, 150,000 high school students from 700 schools across the province walked out of class in protest of the Tory government’s proposed cuts to education. Just two days later, over 30,000 teachers, education workers, and allies rallied at Queen’s Park against the cuts. These are the largest mobilizations against the Ford government to date.

11) Car carrying Durham MPP Lindsey Park bumps into protesters in Ajax

 Reka Szekely, Durham Region 

Durham police had to intervene after a vehicle carrying Durham MPP Lindsey Park bumped into several protesters in Ajax on Friday.

(Related: ONDP MPP crosses protest picket line to attend Fedeli Chamber of Commerce event)



12) Israelis, You Are Scary

Amira Hass, Haaretz 

Why is it a surprise that the Right is so strong? It is best at promoting the ideologies that justify the expulsions that have been and are still being committed by Israel. The right is best at promising to safeguard the spoils and booty and to continue the plundering and expulsion — to protect the purity of the nation, its mansions and its vacations abroad.

13) Communist Party of Israel on the Israeli election results

People's World

The corrupt, far-right Benjamin Netanyahu secured a unprecedented fifth term as Israel’s prime minister on Wednesday morning, April 10, after more than 99% of the votes from the previous day’s general election gave the right-wing and clerical bloc a 10-seat lead over the center, left and Arab parties.

14) PR Firm Behind Likud's Hidden Cameras in Arab Polling Sites Boasts of Lowering Voter Turnout

Noa Landau, Haaretz 

Netanyahu's party placed 1,200 hidden cameras in Arab polling stations on Election Day ■ 'We managed to lower the voter turnout to under 50 percent, the lowest in recent years!' firm boasts on Facebook.

15) Netanyahu's Next Coalition: Annexation for Immunity From Indictment

Aluf Benn, Haaretz 

The new Netanyahu government will have two main goals: Get rid of the indictments looming in his future, and annex the settlements to Israel, in coordination with the Trump administration.

16) U.S. Denies Entry To Leader Of Movement To Boycott Israel

Hannah Allam, NPR

The U.S. government has denied entry to Palestinian activist Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BDS movement, which urges boycott, divestment and sanctions to pressure Israel on security and settlement policies in the West Bank.

17) Israel converts historical mosque into a bar and events hall

Middle East Monitor 

As one of the most historical mosques in the Arab city, which was occupied by the Jewish gangs in 1948, the building was first turned into a Jewish school, then into a centre for Likud’s elections campaigns and then into a clothes warehouse before finally being converted into a nightclub.

18) Trump warns ICC against prosecuting Israeli forces for war crimes

The New Arab

US President Donald Trump warned the International Criminal Court on Friday against probing Israeli forces, after hailing the Hague-based tribunal for turning down a request to open a war crimes probe against US troops in Afghanistan.

19) VENEZUELA PREPARED TO DEFEND THE REVOLUTION AGAINST US IMPERIALISM (Video)

Redfish 

While Trump is threatening Venezuela with military intervention, Venezuelans are not waiting to organize themselves to be ready to confront any threats that they may face, both from inside and outside the country. The country not only has 200,000 armed forces, but it also has a civilian People’s Militia of 2 million people who are organized, armed and trained to defend the revolution. Venezuela wants peace but will not allow the United States to dominate their country again.

20) Venezuela Announces Strategic Alliances with African, European, and Middle East nations

Telesur 

"With this tour through countries in Africa, the Middle East and Europe, we continue to diversify our international relations, receiving all the support and solidarity of these nations," Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza said at a press conference.

21) Cuban Doctors Attend to Venezuelan Oil Workers Amid US Blockade

Telesur 

Many Cuban doctors who are members of the "Barrio Adentro" mission are attending to the workers of the Electronic Corporation of Venezuela in order to help the people while they restore the Latin American nation´s power grid.

23) Is the U.S. Prepared to Accept a Defeat in Venezuela?

Marco Teruggi, Venezuela Analysis 

The attack should have been short since the Maduro administration was not strong enough to resist. This was the conviction of the United States as they carried out a strategy to overthrow him: they built a President 2.0 Juan Guaido; they gave him a fictionalized government, international recognition, a collective narrative among mass media companies, accelerated economic sanctions at different levels. Overlapping these variables, different results were expected to be achieved on their path of getting a forced negotiation or the toppling of the government.

24) Is Chicago’s new mayor as progressive as she claims?

Neeti Prakash, People's Dispatch 

The media has been hailing the victory of Lori Lightfoot, who is a black woman and openly gay, as a historic moment. However, activists point out that she has a history of working against the interests of the very communities whose interests she claims to champion.

25) Alberta’s longest-serving party leader says Communist message is gaining traction

Kevin Maimann, Star Edmonton

Naomi Rankin stands outside a grocery store in Old Strathcona with a stack of papers asking shoppers if they live in the area.

26) Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party launched in South Africa

Rafael Stedile &  Zoe PC, People's Dispatch 

“Equality, work and land” is the slogan of the new radical political party in South Africa that seeks to revolutionize South African politics and contest elections this coming May. The Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (SRWP) held its launch congress from April 4-6 in Johannesburg, South Africa with attendance from over a thousand of the party’s militants and cadre from distinct provinces from across the country, as well as international guests from countries such as Zambia, Argentina, Brazil, Sweden, Morocco, and Nepal.

27) Street check report confirms what Black Haligonians have known for years 

Julia-Simone Rutgers, The Coast 

Time and time again the stories are told, and time and time again no change has come. For years, Nova Scotia's Black community has been recounting stories of pain, frustration and fear in its interactions with police.

28) NDP law presumes guilt, violates constitution, civil libertarians say

Jeremy Hainsworth / Glacier Media

B.C.’s new Community Safety Act violates the basic democratic principle of the presumption of innocence and is unconstitutional, say federal and provincial civil liberties groups.

29) Privileged

Kyle Korver, The Player's Tribune 

When the police break your teammate’s leg, you’d think it would wake you up a little.

30) No golden era in Canada’s foreign policy

Yves Engler, Canadian Dimension 

Some people on the left seem keen to perpetuate Canadian foreign policy mythology.

31) A change in government has done little to alter B.C.’s environmental path

Justine Hunter, The Globe and Mail 

Before the 2017 election that would make him Premier of British Columbia, John Horgan stood with opponents of the proposed Site C dam, a hydroelectric project he described as a multibillion-dollar boondoggle. To acknowledge his support, protest organizers inscribed Mr. Horgan’s name on a yellow stake, which was planted within the footprint of the megaproject that the Liberal government of the day was advocating.

32) Why Latin America’s oldest insurgent communist army is growing

Oliver Dodd, The Morning Star 

COLOMBIA’S National Liberation Army (ELN) is Latin America’s oldest insurgent movement.

33) Trump administration ends MLB/Cuba baseball deal

Michael Weissenstein, People's World 

The Trump administration is moving to end a deal allowing Cuban baseball players to sign contracts directly with Major League Baseball organizations. The change will once again require Cuban players to cut ties with their national program before signing with MLB.

34) MMR vaccine myth debunked, again

The Morning Star

The doctor who started the ‘vaccines cause autism’ scare was later struck off and his research invalidated – but the theory lingers on, lament ROX MIDDLETON, LIAM SHAW and JOEL HELLEWELL.

35) Low pay, long hours, isolation - a taxi driver speaks out

Socialist Party 

A Bristol taxi driver: I'm writing this because I'm angry. We are constantly told that things are pretty good, or not so bad at least. Everyone from Theresa May and right-wing Labour representatives to the media keep on telling us this.

36) Both Notley and Kenney Hiding from a $260-Billion Cleanup Problem

 Andrew Nikiforuk, The Tyee

The main thing Jason Kenney and Rachel Notley have in common, other than their affinity for pipelines, is their joint fear of the possible $260-billion cleanup bill for the province’s aging oil and gas fields.

37) Global Warming Is Shrinking Glaciers Much Faster Than Scientists Thought, Study Finds

Seth Borenstein, Time 

Earth’s glaciers are melting much faster than scientists thought. A new study shows they are losing 369 billion tons of snow and ice each year, more than half of that in North America.

38) National Assembly proclaims new Constitution

Raul Castro Ruz, Granma 

As he did in 1976, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, Party first secretary, again had the honor of proclaiming Cuba’s new Constitution in an extraordinary session of the National Assembly of People’s Power.

39) Climate change is a class issue

Richard Burgon, People's World 

“It is worse, much worse, than you think.” This is the terrifying introduction to David Wallace-Wells’s timely new book The Uninhabitable Earth.

40) Raul Castro warns Cubans to brace for worsening shortages due to Trump policies

Japan Times 

Communist Party leader Raul Castro warned Cubans on Wednesday that they should brace for worsening shortages due to Trump administration policies, but said the island won’t return to the extreme deprivation of the post-Soviet period.

41) Trudeau government panders to fears of an invasion of refugees

Karl Nerenberg, Rabble

The Trudeau government has dropped the other shoe on refugee policy.

42) Inuk boy takes a stand by sitting down during anthem

CBC News

When a 12-year-old Inuk boy decided to stop standing for O Canada in class, it wasn’t that his legs were tired.

43) McGill dumps Redmen team name after calls from Indigenous community

Jessica Deer · CBC News

Montreal's McGill University has announced it will change the name of its men's varsity sports teams — the Redmen — after Indigenous students, faculty and staff said the name is discriminatory.

44) Fundraising effort launched for 11-year-old girl ordered deported without family

Ileana Najarro, Houston Chronicle 

Dora Alvarado felt something was off when she arrived at immigration court in Houston March 12 with her two daughters. A court translator told her that she and her 15-year-old, Adamaris Alvarado, were listed on the docket that day. Her 11-year-old, Laura Maradiaga, was not.

45) Inside the International Socialist Organization’s Dissolution After a Rape Cover-Up

ISO Leaks 

The story of precisely how and why the International Socialist Organization (ISO) decided to dissolve itself just shy of the 42-year anniversary of its founding in April 1977 remains something of a mystery to those outside its ranks. Perhaps this is because the group’s members themselves have not been able to fully understand, process, and make sense of the events that undid almost four decades of effort in just under two weeks. Perhaps they have been too busy living the crisis and the attendant traumas to write about what happened in a way that outsiders can comprehend.

46) How Doctors And The Church Conspired To Stop An 11-Year-Old Girl From Having An Abortion After Rape

Karla Zabludovsky, BuzzFeed 

Lucía sat up in her hospital bed as the priest made the sign of the cross on her forehead, the 11-year-old’s bulging belly visible underneath her pajama shirt.

47) Trump Assails Ilhan Omar With Video of 9/11 Attacks

Maggie Haberman, The New York Times 

President Trump on Friday targeted Representative Ilhan Omar for remarks she made during a speech on civil rights and Muslims in America with a graphic video featuring the burning World Trade Center towers and other images from Sept. 11, 2001, that he tweeted to millions of his followers.

48) “Volcano of anger”: What you need to know about the escalating crisis in Libya

David Gilbert, Vice News 

The U.N.-backed government in Libya has launched a counteroffensive to win back territory seized by renegade General Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army in a surprise assault on the capital Tripoli that could drag the country back into civil war.

49) The anti-war movement has been utterly vindicated over Libya

Kevin Ovenden, The Morning Star 

There has not been a single day of peace in Libya since Cameron and co proclaimed the overthrow of tyranny.

50) Poverty-hit pupils so ashamed of worn-out clothes and lack of equipment they skip school, teachers say

Eleanor Busby, The Independent 

‘It is truly shaming for the UK – one of the richest countries in the world,’ union leader says.

See also: Ontario Student Walkouts and Rallies, "Dinner With a View of the Rich", Israeli Elections & more -- The Week in News, Opinion and Videos March 31 - April 7

ONDP MPP crosses protest picket line to attend Fedeli Chamber of Commerce event

Sun, 2019-04-14 06:39

Fresh off of tabling a vicious austerity budget that cut funding to Indigenous Affairs, Legal Aid, healthcare, education and many other programs and portfolios on Thursday, Doug Ford's chief thug Minister of Finance Vic Fedeli must have been thrilled knowing he had a receptive audience at lunch on Friday.  No less than a gathering of capitalists and business "leaders" at the Annual General Meeting of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce. Fedeli was to be the keynote speaker. 
Of course, not everyone was happy that Fedeli was coming to town. In fact the Durham Region Labour Council showed up to picket and protest the love fest. According to Tiffany Balducci, the council's President:
Protest photo via twitterWe quickly organized a picket through word-of-mouth, WhatsApp, email, and phone chats – keeping our organizing private as to keep our plans under wraps for the element of surprise. The protest was in response to a budget that is clearly for the corporate elite and not for the people.
The AGM was slated to begin at 11am on April 12. By 10:30 AM we had all four entrances completely blocked with around 80 protesters from all walks of life: local autism coalition, several local unions including Unifor, OPSEU, CUPE, ETFO, IBEW; $15 and Fairness/We Are Oshawa, Health Care coalition and more.
By 10:45 AM the Mercedes and BMWs began to roll in – or attempted to, but were met with a completely blockaded Convention Centre and peaceful protesters with literature on the various cuts to public services and the impact they will have. The Chamber of Commerce attendees either parked in the road and walked up or just drove away, deciding not to attend after we chatted with them.Fedeli addresses a friendly crowdConservative Durham MPP Lindsey Park showed her party's usual contempt for working people and democracy when she decided to drive her car right into the protesters. Happily no one was hurt. She eventually made her way in to hear Fedeli address what amounts to a fan club for Ford and company.

Also there was Jennifer French, the NDP MPP for Oshawa. Given the nature of the budget, the action by the local Labour Council and the fact that it was a Fedeli propaganda session, you would assume she was there to protest. But you would be wrong.

She was there to attend the event despite Fedeli, despite the fact that the Chamber of Commerce is what it is and despite the pickets.

And attend she did.

Here she is in photos with the Mayor of Oshawa as well as with Nancy Shaw, the CEO & General Manager of the Greater Oshawa Chamber of Commerce.

French at right

French second from right
(Photos via Facebook & Instagram)
Now this strikingly counter-intuitive and counter-productive decision is nothing new for a party that seems forever desperate to gain a capitalist cloak of respectability no matter how unfortunate the context.

Just days after it successfully lobbied the Ford government to rip up Bill 148 that granted new rights and protections to workers in Ontario and that was to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour the ONDP leader herself Andrea Horwath appeared at an Ontario Chamber of Commerce event. 

Then in November Horwath and fellow ONDP caucus "resistance" fighters attended an event by a real estate lobby group that had celebrated the end of rent control.

It is all part of a very longstanding and very predictable pattern of pandering to the enemy by Canada's alleged social democratic and labour party. It is one that should be very troubling to those seeking to build a mass resistance to the Ford government and the years of attacks that lie ahead.

You don't do that by crossing protest and picket lines to take a seat at a Chamber of Commerce table to hear a speech by a Ford cabinet minister.


A look at the Soviet space program on the anniversary of Gagarin's flight

Sat, 2019-04-13 04:33
Across Worlds and CenturiesOn April 12, 1961, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first man in space. This was a remarkable accomplishment for Soviet science and the Soviet people having come out of the incredible devastation of the Second World War just 16 years previously.

(We looked at Gagarin previously at: Yuri Gagarin, First Man in Space, born March 9, 1934)

It was not the only Soviet space accomplishment. The USSR had already sent the first satellite into space as well as the first animal. In the following years they would send the first and second woman into space, a Soviet cosmonaut would perform the first spacewalk and they would be the first (and only) country to put a lander on Venus, among other achievements.

The Soviet Union took great pride in its space program as well as the practical advances that it resulted in in other areas such as creating the world's first satellite TV network, its impact on agriculture and climate knowledge, scientific understanding and advancement.

Here we look at some Soviet articles related to their space program. These are drawn from Socialism: Theory and Practice magazine and from Soviet Life in the 1980s. They deal with Gagarin's flight, other "firsts", a look at life aboard a Soviet space station (including a fascinating photo of showering in space), why space exploration is worth the expense, Soviet-Indian space co-operation, the Venera Mission to Venus, a look at the second woman in space, Svetlana Savitskaya and more.

Savitskaya, who went into space in 1982 notably says "A hundred years from now no one will remember the flight, and if they do, it will sound strange that it was once questioned whether a woman should go into space".

(We profiled Savitskaya previously at: Svetlana Savitskaya, Soviet Cosmonaut, born August 8, 1948)

We have also included some Soviet posters and art related to space flight.










Soviet Poster c. 1985




Letter from India to STP Magazine with response.








Quality is a Guarantee of Progress - Soviet Poster








Life on the Salyut Space Stationw. Svetlana Savitskaya, the second woman in space and the firstto serve on a space station.










Svetlana Savitskaya, the second woman in space.






From the triptych artwork Kazakhstan's Land and TimeKanysh Mullashev, 1978

India - Soviet Space Co-OperationUltimately Rakesh Sharma became the first citizen of India in spacewhen he flew on the Soviet Soyuz T-11, April 2, 1984










Venera











Pigtails and Froglegs w. Coconut-Beer Shrimp, Peanut Butter Cupcakes, Challah & more -- Vintage Cookbook TBT

Fri, 2019-04-12 07:45
Vintage Cookbook: Pigtails and Froglegs 

Publication Details: Neiman Marcus, 1993

Pigtails and Frog Legs is a fairly standard community style charity cookbook but for one thing. It is illustrated by the famed Looney Tunes cartoonist Chuck Jones.

Jones, of course, was behind many of the most beloved shorts involving characters like Bugs Bunny, Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner and Daffy Duck. An Academy Award winner his impact and influence on 20th Century popular culture was pronounced.

Here he put his considerable talents to use with a variety of very cute and charming illustrations to frame the recipes which were submitted to help several children's charities including the Pediatric Aids Foundation and the Special Olympics.

A relatively large cookbook for its type, it is divided into fairly standard sections along "Breakfast", "Lunch", "Dinner", "Dessert", etc lines. The emphasis is entirely on home-style cooking.

Today we share a variety of recipes each with a different Jones illustration.

(Click on images to enlarge)











Armenia - Oil on Canvas, Martiros Saryan, 1923

Thu, 2019-04-11 06:45

Armenia - Oil on Canvas,  Martiros Saryan, 1923
This wonderful combination of abstract and landscape art was painted one of the most famous modern Armenian artists Martiros Saryan. Saryan, though born in Russia, was of Armenian descent. He was the seventh of nine children. After the revolution and the formation of the USSR he went to live in the Armenian SSR where he stayed until his death in 1972 at the age of 92. 
Saryan was a Deputy to the Supreme Soviet of the USSR and a winner of the Order of Lenin. His son was killed fighting the Nazis during the Second World War. He was the artist who designed the Armenian SSR's coat of arms seen below. 
Recently we looked at the Armenian SSR in our post: The Armenian Soviet Socialist Republic 1987: Photos, Culture, Economy, History & more -- Socialist Republics of the Soviet Union Series


Give Joy to the Housewarmers! - Social Housing Poster, USSR 1988

Wed, 2019-04-10 03:38

Give Joy to the Housewarmers!We Will Build 2.3 Billion Square Meters of Housing by the Year 2000- Social Housing Poster, USSR 1988
For more about the aims and challenges of social housing construction in the former Socialist Bloc see: Problems of the Construction of Social Housing, International Symposium on Social Housing Construction, World Federation of Trade Unions, Prague, 1975

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