No new blog posts now, but they’ll be back


Blogging cartoon

For a week or two, I won’t be on the Internet.

However, after that, new Dear Kitty. Some blog posts will be back; with, I hope, beautiful inspiration from somewhere where I had not been before.

So, see all of you again then!

‘Scientology covered up sexual abuse’


This video from the USA says about itself:

3 March 2017

Los Angeles police are probing allegations of sexual assault against That ’70s Show actor Danny Masterson, authorities told The Hollywood Reporter Friday. There is also a report of a possible cover up by the Church of Scientology.

From The Independent in Britain today:

Church of Scientology allegedly covered up abuse claims filed against That ’70s Show TV star Danny Masterson

The incidents were said to have occurred in the early 2000s

Jacob Stolworthy

Actor Danny Masterson, who appeared in sitcom That ’70s Show, is reportedly being investigated by the LAPD after allegations that accusations of sexual assault were covered up by the Church of Scientology.

Variety has reported that the LAPD is looking into claims of sexual assault that were said to have been committed by Masterson – a practicing Scientologist – in the early 2000s. Masterson has denied the claims.

A statement from the LAPD reads: “Three women have come forward and disclosed that they were sexually assaulted by Masterson during the early 2000s.”

The claims that the Church of Scientology covered up the allegations against the actor come courtesy of journalist Tony Ortega.

Masterson’s representative told Variety that the “false allegations appear to be motivated to boost Leah Remini’s anti-Scientology television series [Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath].“ …

Masterson appeared in That ’70s Show alongside Ashton Kutcher with whom he currently stars in Netflix comedy The Ranch.

81 WOMEN ACCUSE FORMER USA GYMNASTICS DOCTOR OF SEXUAL ABUSE USA Gymnastics president Steve Penny resigned on Thursday afternoon in response. [HuffPost]

Woodpeckers in Sweden, videos


This March 2014 video shows a three-toed woodpecker in Sweden.

This April 2012 video shows a white-backed woodpecker in Sweden.

Musician Django Reinhardt, new film


This 12 January 2017 video is called Berlin: Etienne Comar ‘Django’ at the 2017 Festival.

Another video which used to be on YouTube used to say about itself:

9 February 2017

The Berlin International Film Festival opens on Feb. 9th with the premier of Etienne Comar’s “Django.” The biopic is set in Nazi-occupied Paris in 1943 and tells the story of Sinti jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt.

By Bernd Reinhardt in Germany:

A film about the legendary guitarist: Django

4 March 2017

Finally, a feature film about the legendary jazz guitarist Django Reinhardt!

The timelessness of his music makes one too easily forget that it emerged in a very real and troubled world—characterised by an enthusiasm for everything American in the 1920s and 1930s, by socialist aspirations, by the threats of French fascists, by mass strikes—a time when Paris was regarded as a Mecca for American jazz musicians, the period of the German occupation of France, the Resistance and the flood of refugees from the war across Europe.

Django, the debut film of Étienne Comar—who deals relatively loosely with Reinhardt’s biography—focuses on the year 1943, when the Nazis tried unsuccessfully to convince Django to undertake a tour of fascist Germany.

Reinhardt (Reda Kateb, whose father was an Algerian actor) is initially uncertain. He is drawn to the prospect of sold-out concert halls. He is also of the opinion that the war between rival groups of “Gadjos” (non-Gypsies) is none of his business. In the end, artistic considerations lie behind his rejection of the offer. The Nazis, who could not entirely block the spread of jazz in Germany, demand a “clean” jazz from Django, preferably without syncopation, without blues, played only in optimistic major tones and with very brief improvisations; in short, a completely neutered music. This is unacceptable to the artist.

A blonde admirer, Louise de Klerk (Cécile de France), advises him to flee, but the vain musician enjoys his reputation in Paris as the “King of Swing” (following the departure of a number of outstanding American musicians) and continues to rely on the protection of a jazz-loving Nazi officer. Only when the pressure increases and Manouche [Romani people in France] are sent to “work deployments” in Germany—as the deportations are officially called—does Django flee with his family to the French-Swiss border.

For the many Manouche and Sinti [Romani people of Central Europe] in Django, who speak exclusively in their language, Romanes, the film must have been an affair of the heart. Comar (who also co-wrote the screenplay, based on a 2013 novel by Alexis Salatko) dispenses with such banalities as presenting Roma as spontaneous anarchists who instinctively reject bourgeois society, or as representatives of a nature-based, alternative way of life. Roma families playing idyllically in a forest are suddenly confronted with Nazi machine guns. In the next scene we see Django Reinhardt, the acclaimed guitarist, in a magnificent concert hall. This is the tightrope that someone in his position walks.

The illiterate Django laps up the glamorous world of the rich and famous, and imitates Hollywood film star Clark Gable. On the Swiss border, however, the King of Swing becomes a defenseless refugee whose mother (Bimbam Merstein) fights for her son to play for a few francs in a pub in order to feed the family. When Django plays the French national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” the bar-keeper’s face lights up.

Occasionally Django is contemptuous of Gadjos, but the film refrains from condemning his audiences and refrains from clichés about “other” forms of culture. Rather it reveals the lack of perspective of an oppressed minority, which has internalized its suffering as fugitives and outsiders over many generations. On several occasions Django makes clear that the French police and military hounded Roma with the same ruthlessness as the Nazis. But we also witness Roma joining the Resistance.

Django lives in the middle of Paris. He is not indifferent to the opinion of Gadjos who also play in his band. What Django shared with “non-gypsies” of his generation was, above all, an enthusiasm for America and its music. The arrival of jazz in Europe was a major cultural event and something of a symbol of freedom. Already as a 13-year-old banjo player, Reinhardt listened enthusiastically to bands from the US. Unfortunately, the film makes barely any reference to this formative period that contributed to Reinhardt’s original musical path.

The film’s Django exudes a strong attachment to traditional gypsy music (the film features prominently at the start his well-known “gypsy” song “Black Eyes”—albeit in swing style). In fact, the real Django Reinhardt drew inspiration from many sources. He was interested in the music of Bartok and Debussy (the latter inspired many Hollywood composers), he went to the ballet and began to paint. Unlike many European contemporaries, he was able to swing as well as the best American jazz players and (according to legend) could personally replace a whole rhythm section. This is why so many of the US greats lined up to jam with him.

Reinhardt’s music is finely played in the film by the outstanding Stochelo Rosenberg Trio. Kateb plays the guitarist with the “poker face,” who, with bells attached to his ankles, could entice an entire concert hall of the “master race” into dancing to his tune. Even the hardline Nazis, who raise their glasses and quote the German poet Friedrich Rückert for a “free, a German Europe”, succumb to the power of his music and lose control for a short time.

Reinhardt undoubtedly undergoes a development in the film. At the outset he is very naive. On seeing Hitler in 1943 for the first time in a cinema, Django chortles at the “clown” on the screen. At the end of the film, however, Reinhardt’s “Requiem” is performed; a piece he composed for and devoted to all the Roma victims of the Second World War. His tonal language has changed and become more universal.

The score of the “Requiem” has been lost and only fragments remain. Nevertheless, the score based on the fragments composed by the Australian musician and composer Warren Ellis is deeply touching, in particular during the choral section (sung in Romanes). The notion that Django Reinhardt might have opened up different musical paths is fascinating and, one hopes, may encourage young Manouche and Sinti musicians to go further than the limits imposed by playing exclusively gypsy swing.

Django is to be welcomed for dealing with a neglected chapter of history—the persecution of Roma under the Nazis. At the same time, Comar shows the contradictory nature of his main character who pragmatically tries to survive “between the fronts.” His ignorance of social and political developments and not least his egoism render Reinhardt blind to the impending catastrophe. He is free only in music. In the film, he is able to make it to Switzerland with his family. In reality, Reinhardt’s situation was more desperate. Swiss officials refused him entry due to his status as a “gypsy.”

Steller’s sea eagles, kittiwakes, other birds


This video says about itself:

1 March 2017

4 million breeding sea birds, including a variety of puffins, make their annual journey to Talan, an island in the northern Sea of Okhotsk in Eastern Russia, to form an amazing avian colony. Watch this breath-taking wildlife video to see a Steller’s Sea Eagle take advantage of the nesting season to pluck a Kittiwake bird from mid air.

Taken From [BBC] Blue Planet Series 1.

Donald Trump’s USA, deportation and militarism


This video from the USA says about itself:

Daughters of Rómulo Avelica-González, detained for deportation in Los Angeles, speak out

3 March 2017

Rómulo Avelica-González was picked up by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials on Tuesday morning while dropping two of his daughters off at school. He is currently being held in an ICE facility in Adelanto, California and faces deportation if his emergency visa application is denied. González has lived in the United States for 25 years and has four daughters, who are all US citizens.

The family has not been able to visit the detention center because the facility to which he was sent is under quarantine for a measles outbreak. González was pulled over by unmarked ICE cars shortly after dropping off one of his daughters. He was hauled away as his wife and other daughter remained in the vehicle. The detention and deportation has sent shock-waves through the school that one of his daughters attends, with children fearful that their own parents could be forcibly removed from the country. The WSWS spoke to two of Gonzalez’s daughters, Brenda, 24, and Jocelyn, 19, about their ordeal.

Despite Trump’s anti-immigrant hysteria, US polls show broad support for immigrants: here.

Army Vet Who Served Two Tours In Afghanistan To Be Deported, Judge Rules: here.

Trump’s anti-immigrant orders and the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850: here.

Freedom House, a facility in Detroit that has helped asylum seekers for decades, may be forced to close due to the cutoff of federal funding: here.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday that the Trump administration is considering military attacks and regime-change operations against North Korea as part of a review of US strategy regarding the small, isolated state. Any aggressive US action toward the Pyongyang regime threatens to provoke retaliation that could plunge the Korean Peninsula into conflict: here.

United States military budget, cartoon

Every gun that is made, every rocket fired, signifies in the final sense a theft from those who hunger and are not fed. -Dwight D Eisenhower.

Canada’s Liberal government is set to unveil the extension and possible expansion of two of its foreign military deployments. Announcements are expected in coming days on extending the Canadian Armed Forces’ mission in Ukraine, where 200 soldiers are training Ukrainian Army units to fight pro-Russian separatists in the country’s east, and on continuing Canada’s role in the Mideast war and possibly expanding it into Syria. The latter move would be made in conjunction with an anticipated decision by US President Donald Trump to drastically increase the US military presence in Syria and Iraq: here.

Arrests of immigrants have jumped by nearly one-third since President Donald Trump took office, compared to the same period a year ago. The Immigration and Customs Enforcement unit of the Department of Homeland Security arrested 21,362 allegedly undocumented immigrants from January 20 through mid-March, according to statistics released to the Washington Post, compared to 16,104 in the same period of 2016: here.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THIS DEPORTED DREAMER “At stake is whether the Trump administration can credibly claim that it isn’t targeting DACA recipients, even as the president brags that he has unleashed immigration agents to make their own decisions about whom to remove from the country.” [HuffPost]

Agents with the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), working with a host of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, concluded a six-week operation last weekend in which they arrested 1,378 people, of whom 993 were US citizens. Major raids were carried out in Houston, New York City, Atlanta and Newark, New Jersey: here.