London Grenfell Tower fire killed artist Khadija Saye


This 2 September 2017 video from Britain says about itself:

Khadija Saye: The Artist Who Tragically Died In Grenfell Tower

Khadija Saye tragically lost her life in the Grenfell Tower fire at the age of just 24. In this interview filmed a month beforehand, she talks about her ambitions and her photography exhibition in Venice. The footage is taken from the BBC Arts programme Venice Biennale: Britain’s New Voices.

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Hurricane Harvey disaster not over for Texas, USA people


This video from the USA says about itself:

[Fundamentalist televangelist] Megachurch Leader Joel Osteen Keeps Doors Shut During Hurricane Harvey

4 September 2017

Megachurch leader Joel Osteen closed church doors to victims of Hurricane Harvey because he was safe and sound in his $10 million home. ThinkTank’s Hannah Cranston breaks it down.

By Tom Hall in the USA:

Media and political establishment begin to move on as Houston residents return to devastated city

5 September 2017

As the floodwaters begin to recede along the Texas Gulf Coast, hundreds of thousands of displaced residents are returning to scenes of devastation.

Approximately 156,000 dwellings have been flooded. An estimated one million cars have been destroyed in a sprawling city where access to a vehicle is a basic necessity. The city of Beaumont, Texas, east of Houston, still does not have clean drinking water, nearly a week after the city’s water treatment facilities went offline.

Conditions have been created for any number of public health crises, from mosquito-borne diseases and bacteria-infested floodwaters, to contamination from chemical plants, oil refineries and Superfund sites. Authorities carried out a controlled burn on Sunday at a chemical plant in Crosby, Texas, where fires have been raging after floodwaters knocked out the facility’s generators. The immense psychological toll of the hurricane will also likely produce a mental health crisis in the region, as in New Orleans, when the area experienced a suicide epidemic in the months after Katrina.

The devastation along the Gulf Coast could be repeated within a few days by Hurricane Irma, which has been upgraded to Category 4 [later to Category 5] and it makes its way through the Atlantic Ocean. Current forecasts predict that Irma will pass near Puerto Rico, Haiti and Cuba, before making landfall in the United States near Miami, the 8th largest metropolitan area.

While the full impact of Hurricane Harvey is only beginning to be felt, the American political establishment and the corporate media are moving to put it behind them as quickly as possible. Over the past two days, their focus has shifted to North Korea, seizing upon the North Korean government’s alleged test of a hydrogen bomb to issue provocative war threats while burying the ongoing catastrophe in Texas.

From the beginning, the media has sought to cover up the social and political causes of the devastation wrought by the hurricane, avoiding any discussion of the neglect of infrastructure that scientists have warned about for years, and of the incompetent and indifferent response of government officials to the catastrophe.

The New York Times, which sets the tone for the rest of the American media, has run a series of articles minimizing the impact of the storm and its class implications. On Thursday, the Times published an article, “Storm With ‘No Boundaries’ Took Aim at Rich and Poor Alike,” which explicitly rejected any comparisons with Hurricane Katrina in 2005, in which the immense class divide in New Orleans was revealed by “the desperation of the poor stranded at the Superdome and the devastated, largely black, low-income neighborhoods like the Lower Ninth Ward, which were among the ones most likely to suffer catastrophic flooding and the last ones to recover.”

It is, however, the poor who will be most devastated by Harvey as with Katrina, without access to insurance and unable to rebuild on the paltry aid from the federal government, mainly in the form of loans.

The insurance industry is expected to pay out only $10 to $25 billion in claims resulting from the storm, a tiny portion of the $180 billion in estimated damages. Most homeowners will receive no insurance payments for flooding damage because they do not own flood insurance, which is optional outside of federally designated flood zones. The insurance industry is sitting on between $150 and $300 billion of excess capital, according to Barron’s, equivalent to between 80 to 170 percent of the total cost of the storm.

The federal government will make available $7.8 billion dollars for relief funding, based on the initial proposal from the Trump administration. Even this, however, will not go towards new or expanded programs, but will primarily be used to fund the Federal Emergency Management Administration’s existing Disaster Relief Fund, which caps payments to individuals at $33,000 (with the majority receiving far less).

The other main source of “relief” funding will come in the form of loans from the Small Business Administration, headed by former pro wrestling executive Linda McMahon. Anyone applying for SBA funds must prove that they will be able to pay back their loans before their application is accepted, with the vast majority of applicants rejected, according to Politico.

The Times acknowledges that there are “huge differences between the options open to the poor and the well-to-do,” before insisting on its basic point: “What is clear is the devastation is connecting people of disparate means in one common experience: loss.”

The other major theme in the media coverage is that life is quickly returning to normal in Houston. On Sunday, the Times ran an article, “21 Miles of Highway, Snapshots of a Resilient Houston,” which enthused that Houston “can often be a place of remarkable heart and grit, a city built on inhospitable ground that fully expects to rebuild from the storm’s ravages.” Another Times article proclaims, “Hurricane to Cost Tens of Billions, but a Quick Recovery is Expected.”

The presentation of a quick and full recovery is aimed at obscuring the extent of the destruction, covering up for the paltry character of the government response, and setting the stage for businesses to resume profitable operations, and even seize on the opportunity.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, a Democrat, proclaimed on Sunday that “the City of Houston is open for business.” He continued, “Look, people are feeling good. Even at this shelter where we are right now… We’re not going to engage in a pity party.” Here Turner echoes the delusional and callous statement by Trump the previous day at a Houston shelter, when he declared, “As tough as this was, it’s been a wonderful thing,” and “They’re really happy with what’s going on.” Neither Trump nor Turner’s comments met with any significant backlash in the press.

As reflected in the media response, the ruling class is pulling together in response to Harvey, not to make the people of Houston whole, but to cover their own tracks.

Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, the top-ranking Democrats in the House of Representatives and the Senate, respectively, issued a joint statement indicating their willingness to work with the Trump administration on its domestic agenda, which includes a massive corporate tax cut. “Providing aid in the wake of Harvey and raising the debt ceiling are both important issues, and Democrats want to work to do both … Given the interplay between all the issues Congress must tackle in September, Democrats and Republicans must discuss all the issues together and come up with a bipartisan consensus,” the statement said.

The response in the media and the political establishment follows what is by now a well-worn pattern repeated after every major disaster, whether a hurricane, flood, tornado or wildfire. During the events themselves, they avoid any serious examination of the social and political conditions that prepared it. Once the waters recede, fires are extinguished, or the winds stop, the media works as rapidly as possible to divert popular attention from the class issues raised by the disaster to topics in line with the basic strategic interests of the American ruling class.

HOUSTON FAMILIES FACING RENT PAYMENTS ON FLOODED PROPERTIES “We don’t have any money. We don’t have anything.” [HuffPost]

United States Trump administration attacks immigrant children


This video from the USA says about itself:

Targeting Immigrant Children, Jeff Sessions Announces End of DACA

5 September 2017

Across the country, thousands rallied, walked out of school and carried out civil disobedience to protest the decision.

From Our Revolution in the USA today:

Donald Trump just sent Jeff Sessions in front of reporters to announce an end to DACA. He didn’t even have the courage to tell us himself.

The decision to throw 800,000 young people who came to the U.S. as children into legal jeopardy is despicable and immoral. Our Revolution believes that no human being is illegal. We need a path to citizenship not only for DREAMers, but all 11 million undocumented people living in the shadows today. When we bring people together and build stronger communities, everyone benefits.

It’s up to Congress to act and protect the DREAMers who came out of the shadows in the good faith of a government now threatening to betray them. Please call your member of Congress and tell them to pass protections for DACA recipients NOW.

There is a bipartisan consensus that DACA should be protected. It includes the most conservative and most progressive members of Congress. That’s why your action is so important.

Call your member of Congress to protect DACA recipients, and all those who are vulnerable, from deportation.

In solidarity,

Erika Andiola
Political Director
Our Revolution
DACA Recipient

The Trump White House sent a document to Congress Sunday night outlining its demands on immigration policy, calling for a further build-up of the federal police agencies that target undocumented immigrants, a legal witch-hunt against cities and states that are reluctant to cooperate in mass arrests and detentions, and a sharp reduction in legal immigration as well: here.

Neonazi terrorist plot in British army


This video says about itself:

5 September 2017

Four British Army soldiers arrested on suspicion of being neo-Nazis

FOUR alleged members of banned neo-Nazi group National Action who have been arrested on suspicion of preparing acts of terror are serving members of the Army. …

The document also links National Action to the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox in 2016.It said the group’s online propaganda material frequently features extremely violent imagery and language, and cited tweets posted in connection with her murder at the hands of right-wing extremist Thomas Mair.

After the neonazi terrorist plot in the German armynazis in the United States armed forcesnazis in the Belgian armed forces … in the Danish armed forces … in the Ukrainian armed forcesfrom daily The Independent in Britain:

Neo-Nazi arrests: Serving British soldiers held over terror offences as alleged members of National Action

Men arrested on suspicion of the ‘commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism’

Lizzie Dearden, Home Affairs Correspondent

Tuesday 5 September 2017 13:52 BST

Four alleged members of a banned neo-Nazi group arrested on suspicion of terror offences are serving members of the British Army, it has been revealed.

“We can confirm that a number of serving members of the Army have been arrested under the Terrorism Act for being associated with a proscribed far right group,” a spokesperson said. …

West Midlands Police said the suspects are a 22-year-old man from Birmingham, a 32-year-old man from Powys, a 24-year-old man from Ipswich and a 24-year-old man from Northampton.

A spokesperson added: “They have been arrested on suspicion of being concerned in the commission, preparation and instigation of acts of terrorism under Section 41 of the Terrorism Act 2000; namely on suspicion of being a member of a proscribed organisation, National Action. …

The arrests come months after a far-right terror cell was uncovered in the German army.

A Bundeswehr soldier [lieutenant] was found to have posed as a Syrian refugee for more than a year as part of an elaborate plan to launch a “false flag” terror attack that would be blamed on asylum seekers.

The man, named by prosecutors as Franco A, was also a suspected neo-Nazi.

An assault rifle case carved with a swastika was found in his room, where the letters HH [Heil Hitler] were inscribed on the wall and a Nazi-era pamphlet depicting a Wehrmacht soldier was discovered.

A second German soldier was arrested in relation to the plot amid fears of a wider neo-Nazi network within the country’s army, sparking a government investigation.

National Action became the first extreme right-wing group to be banned in the UK in December, but investigations have shown its members are still meeting in secret.

The Government’s list of proscribed terror groups describes it as “a racist neo-Nazi group” that was established in 2013 and had several branches in the UK that launched provocative protests and activity aimed at intimidating local communities. …

“The group is virulently racist, anti-Semitic and homophobic. Its ideology promotes the idea that Britain will inevitably see a violent ‘race war’, which the group claims it will be an active part of. …

National Action, which describes itself as a “National Socialist youth organisation”, was known for using the phrases “Hitler was right” and “Britain is ours, the rest must go” at marches and online.

Its online propaganda included images showing members performing Hitler salutes inside a German concentration campm praise for the man who murdered Jo Cox and posts “glorifying terrorism”. …

While counter-terror efforts in the UK are largely focused on Islamist extremism, the number of suspect far-right radicals flagged to an anti-terror programme has soared.

Just under a third of all people being monitored under the Channel programme in 2016/17 – part of the Prevent terror prevention scheme – believe in extreme right-wing ideologies and are vulnerable to radicalisation, according to unpublished Home Office figures.

Following the terror attack targeting Muslim worshippers in Finsbury Park, which left one man dead, the security minister warned that online propaganda was fuelling both jihadi and far-right extremism.