Worms lived on Cambrian seafloor


This 2012 video from Canada says about itself:

Associate Curator Jean-Bernard Caron presents an overview of the fossil collection from the Burgess Shale, B.C., highlighting a number of specimens.

From the University of Saskatchewan in Canada:

500-million-year old worm ‘superhighway’ discovered in Canada

February 28, 2019\

Prehistoric worms populated the sea bed 500 million years ago — evidence that life was active in an environment thought uninhabitable until now, research by the University of Saskatchewan (USask) shows.

The sea bed in the deep ocean during the Cambrian period was thought to have been inhospitable to animal life because it lacked enough oxygen to sustain it.

But research published in the scientific journal Geology reveals the existence of fossilized worm tunnels dating back to the Cambrian period — 270 million years before the evolution of dinosaurs.

The discovery, by USask professor Brian Pratt, suggests that animal life in the sediment at that time was more widespread than previously thought.

The worm tunnels — borrows where worms lived and munched through the sediment — are invisible to the naked eye. But Pratt “had a hunch” and sliced the rocks and scanned them to see whether they revealed signs of ancient life.

The rocks came from an area in the remote Mackenzie Mountains of the Northwest Territories in Canada which Pratt found 35 years ago.

Pratt then digitally enhanced images of the rock surfaces so he could examine them more closely. Only then did the hidden ‘superhighway’ of burrows made by several different sizes and types of prehistoric worm emerge in the rock.

Some were barely a millimetre in size and others as large as a finger. The smaller ones were probably made by simple polychaetes — or bristle worms — but one of the large forms was a predator that attacked unsuspecting arthropods and surface-dwelling worms.

Pratt said he was “surprised” by the unexpected discovery.

“For the first time, we saw evidence of large populations of worms living in the sediment — which was thought to be barren,” he said. “There were cryptic worm tunnels — burrows — in the mud on the continental shelf 500 million years ago, and more animals reworking, or bioturbating, the sea bed than anyone ever thought.”

Pratt, a geologist and paleontologist and Fellow of the Geological Society of America, found the tunnels in sedimentary rocks that are similar to the Burgess Shale, a famous fossil-bearing deposit in the Canadian Rockies.

The discovery may prompt a rethink of the level of oxygenation in ancient oceans and continental shelves.

The Cambrian period saw an explosion of life on Earth in the oceans and the development of multi-cellular organisms including prehistoric worms, clams, snails and ancestors of crabs and lobsters. Previously the seas had been inhabited by simple, single-celled microbes and algae.

It has always been assumed that the creatures in the Burgess Shale — known for the richness of its fossils — had been preserved so immaculately because the lack of oxygen at the bottom of the sea stopped decay, and because no animals lived in the mud to eat the carcasses.

Pratt’s discovery, with co-author Julien Kimmig, now of the University of Kansas, shows there was enough oxygen to sustain various kinds of worms in the sea bed.

“Serendipity is a common aspect to my kind of research,” Pratt said. “I found these unusual rocks quite by accident all those years ago. On a hunch I prepared a bunch of samples and when I enhanced the images I was genuinely surprised by what I found,” he said.

“This has a lot of implications which will now need to be investigated, not just in Cambrian shales but in younger rocks as well. People should try the same technique to see if it reveals signs of life in their samples.”

The research was funded by the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Measles killing Ukrainian people


This 8 February 2019 video says about itself:

Ukraine is currently first in the ranking of measles morbidity in Europe. This is mentioned in the report of the World Health Organization.

Last year, the number of infected in Europe exceeded 82,000 people, which is the record-high amount over the last decade. Ukraine‘s share in this number makes 53,000 cases. The medics say that the reason of such intensive outbreak is the low vaccination level.

By Jason Melanovski:

Measles outbreak in Ukraine claims eight lives

28 February 2019

Ukraine’s Ministry of Health announced last Wednesday that eight people had died of measles thus far in 2019. The announcement marks a sharp rise in deaths due to the disease compared to 2018, when a total of 18 people died of measles during the entire year. Among this year’s victims are two children and six adults.

Measles is a highly contagious disease that is spread through the air by coughing, sneezing or coming into contact with saliva or nasal secretions of infected individuals. Initial symptoms, including fever, cough, runny nose, and inflamed eyes, usually start 10-12 days after infection, and are then followed by an infamous spotty red rash that spreads from the face to the entire body three to five days later. Death, while occurring in just 0.2 percent of infected cases, can occur in up to 10 percent of cases with malnutrition.

Measles today is a disease that is easily preventable thanks to the widespread availability of safe and effective vaccines that can be administered in early childhood. Even those who do not receive the vaccine are protected by “herd immunity” when approximately 95 percent of the surrounding population is vaccinated. This makes the outbreak in Ukraine all the more politically significant.

Ukraine has by far the highest rate of both measles infections and deaths in all of Europe. In 2018 over 53,000 people were infected with measles in Ukraine. Serbia, the country with the second highest rate of measles infections in 2018, had just over 5,000 cases. Meanwhile, Russia, a former Soviet state as well, with a population of approximately 100 million more people than Ukraine, experienced just over 2,000 cases of measles in 2018.

The outbreak is not limited to any single region: it has spread throughout the country, leading to the closing of schools, day care centers and playgrounds for quarantine. In the capital of Kiev, over 100 schools have been closed due to measles and an accompanying flu outbreak.

According to the Lancet medical journal, Ukraine’s “precipitous” fall in measles “vaccination level began after 2008, when 95% of eligible children in Ukraine received their second (and final) recommended dose of the MMR vaccine. By 2016, the rate was 31%, among the lowest in the world. Although now rising again, the latest 85% measles vaccination rate recorded by WHO remains below that needed for herd immunity.”

Ukraine also has relatively low rates of vaccinations for other diseases, such as polio and hepatitis. In 2018, only 67 percent of one-year-olds in Ukraine received the polio vaccine and 51 percent received the hepatitis vaccine.

According to World Health Organization vaccine specialist Katrine Habersaat, in addition to the promulgation of medical misinformation throughout Eastern Europe, “other factors include complacency about the threat of the disease, the convenience of vaccination services, and confidence in health workers who carry out vaccination campaigns.”

Mistrust of the medical establishment is particularly high in Ukraine since, due to extremely low salaries of around $200 a month, doctors and other medical workers are often forced to rely on bribes from patients to make ends meet. A recent poll by the Ukrainian government found that 68 percent of Ukrainians had experienced bribery and corruption in healthcare.

While medical care is theoretically free in Ukraine, nearly half of all healthcare payments are made out-of-pocket, further limiting the access of care to those who can afford it.

The country also faces a shortage of skilled workers such as medical doctors, who, faced with poverty wages, are fleeing the country in droves to earn better wages in countries like Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic. Between 2016 and 2017 alone, 66,000 doctors left the country.

Despite the fact that the rapid drop in vaccinations began in 2008, Lancet, in accordance with imperialist propaganda, blames the reports of measles outbreak on “Russian trolls” allegedly using social media. Lancet’s claim is ludicrous. The journal does not even bother to explain how or why these trolls would have carried out such a scheme.

This kind of propaganda seeks to divert attention from the fact that the current outbreak is the result of a massive social crisis, which is ultimately the product of the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the restoration of capitalism, and that has been significantly exacerbated in the wake of the imperialist-orchestrated, far-right coup in Kiev in 2014.

Following the dissolution of the USSR, Ukraine, as all former Soviet republics, has experienced an enormous spread of diseases that had hitherto been de facto wiped out, including tuberculosis and polio. Russia and Ukraine have also become the countries with the largest HIV epidemic outside of Africa, an epidemic that is bound up not only with a lack of sex education, but above all with extremely widespread heroin abuse, a stark expression of the social despair facing millions of workers. Ukraine also has one of the lowest life expectancy rates in Europe.

While the exact causes for the drop in measles vaccinations since 2008 remain to be investigated, it is clear that they are bound up with the devastating economic and social crisis that has ravaged the country. The financial crisis of 2009 has hit Ukraine particularly hard. As a result of a skyrocketing trade deficit, inflation and widespread layoffs between 2008 and 2009, Ukraine’s GDP fell by over 14 percent. Subsequently, health expenditures per capita fell by 22 percent between 2008 and 2009.

The western-backed coup in 2014 and the civil war in eastern Ukraine further exacerbated the crisis of Ukraine’s health sector and disrupted the country’s supply chain for vaccinations. In 2014, following the secession of parts of eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea by Russia, Ukraine began imposing sanctions on a wide variety of Russian goods, including medical supplies, thus forcing the country to find new sources of vaccines for import and causing shortages. The country’s current American-born health minister, Ulana Suprun, has admitted that several years ago the country imported ineffective vaccines that worsened the current crisis.

In 2014, as a result of the right-wing coup in Kiev, Ukraine’s GDP fell by 6.6 percent and then by another 9.8 percent in 2015. Ukraine’s health expenditures per capita fell in 2014 by over 35 percent and another 31 percent in 2015.

According to the World Bank, Ukraine continues to rank much lower than other European countries in per capita health care expenditures. While the country’s healthcare sector continues to falter and disease outbreaks that are rare in neighboring countries continue unabated, the Poroshenko regime plans to spend just $3.4 billion on healthcare in 2019, while spending $7.45 billion on the Ukrainian military.

Also, much Ukrainian taxpayers’ money that might be spent on saving Ukrainians from dying from measles or other diseases goes to ‘Panama Papers’ President Poroshenko and other corupt politicians; to monuments honouring World War II nazis or to subsidies to, or cushy jobs for, present day nazis‘ or to billionaire oligarchs and to useless expensive foreign advisers like Tony Blair.

Countries with the highest measles counts from January through March 2019

How the battle against measles varies around the world. Conflict, inequality and skepticism limit global vaccine coverage: here.

Measles erases the immune system’s memory. Beyond the rash, the infection makes it harder for the body to remember and attack other invaders: here.

In Ukraine today, there apparently is money to indoctrinate children with neo-nazi ideology … but no money to inoculate them against the crippling disease polio.

Kudos to the doctors and others who scored important anti-polio victories. Everywhere in the world, it seems, except in Ukraine. In many countries in Asia, Africa and South America, there are traditionally many poor people who often cannot afford health care. Yet, it seems that even in these poor countries the situation (like in Somalia, suffering from war) is better now than in Ukraine. And than in Afghanistan, ‘liberated’ by George W Bush in 2001, also now one of few countries where there still is polio.

MAJOR STUDY: NO LINK BETWEEN MMR VACCINE, AUTISM A major new study offers more evidence that the vaccine that protects against measles does not increase children’s risk of autism. The study examined 657,461 children and concluded that the “MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination.” [HuffPost]

MEASLES CASES SURPASS 1,000 IN U.S. The number of measles cases in the U.S. has surpassed 1,000 in the worst outbreak of the disease in 25 years. Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar expressed concern about undervaccinated communities contributing to the spread of the once-vanquished disease. [HuffPost]

U.S. RISKS LOSING MEASLES ELIMINATION STATUS In a potential major blow to public health, the United States is at risk of losing its measles elimination status by October as the number of cases, particularly in New York, continues to rise, health officials said. [HuffPost]

The U.S. narrowly eked out a measles win, keeping elimination status. International travelers may still import the virus, but a nearly yearlong outbreak is over: here.

Nearly 3,000 people across the southwestern Pacific, where poverty and poor health are endemic, have so far fallen victim to an outbreak of measles, a highly contagious and life-threatening disease. New Zealand is in the midst of its worst outbreak in 20 years, with 2,014 notified cases from January until November 8. Of these, 1,631 are in the Auckland region, with over two-thirds in the economically-deprived suburbs of South Auckland. Some babies admitted to hospital have almost died and two pregnant women lost their unborn children due to complications related to the disease: here.

First northern lapwing egg, earliest ever


This 2014 video is about a northern lapwing at its nest in Friesland province in the Netherlands. Lapwing eggs used to be sought there for eating; now, not for eating any more.

Translated from regional broadcaster Omrop Fryslân in the Netherlands today:

The first northern lapwing egg of Fryslân was found at Vegelinsoord village. Eduard van der Hoek (34) from Grou found the egg on Thursday morning at 11.45 am in a plot of farmer Henk Hosper. According to tradition Van der Hoek gets the Sulveren Ljip [silver northern lapwing in Frisian; a sculpture] for his discovery.

The Sulveren Ljip was presented at 3 pm by the provincial commissioner Arno Brok. This dod not happen in the meadow, but in Hospers’ farmyard in order to disturb the nest as little as possible.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

It is the earliest date ever that such an egg (in Frisian ljipaai) was found. There are records of finding the first egg ever since 121 years ago. It was always found in March until now.

This 17 March 2018 video in Frisian is about the awarding of last year’s Sulveren Ljip sculpture.

French Islamophobes threaten shop workers with gas chambers


This 19 August 2016 video is called France burqini ban: Muslim swimsuit’s creator speaks out.

By Will Morrow:

France’s ruling parties launch anti-Muslim campaign against sports veil

28 February 2019

On Tuesday evening, the French-based sports clothing retailer Décathlon announced that it could not proceed with plans to place on sale an Islamic sports veil, designed to be worn while jogging, at stores in France. The cancellation came in response to a three-day-long campaign of racist and anti-Muslim hysteria by the French political establishment, demanding the banning of the item. It resulted in the mobilization of fascist layers to threaten the company and its employees.

Lydia Guirgous, a spokeswoman for the right wing The Republicans (LR), launched the campaign on February 24, after a marketing blogger announced the upcoming release of the veil. Guirgous tweeted: “Décathlon is submitting itself to both #Islamism that only tolerates women whose heads are covered by a hijab to secure their place in the Ummah, and to men. Décathlon is thus renouncing the values of our civilization upon the altar of the market and communalist marketing.”

The Tweet triggered a deluge of anti-Muslim statements in the political establishment, some employing the same absurd and fraudulent pretext that they were seeking to defend women by banning the sale of a religious garment.

Valérie Rabault, the Socialist Party (PS) deputy in the National Assembly for Tarn-et-Garonne tweeted: “Boycott Décathlon in France?” …

The PS, the French Socialist Party, collapsed in recent elections because of their policies while in government of austerity and adapting to extreme right xenophobia. A major role in that played Blairite right-wing Prime Minister Valls, with his hatred of Roma and Islamophobic persecution of another sporting garment, the so-called ‘burkini‘. The PS supporters rejected Valls as their presidential candidate. He then tried, and failed, to join the new president Macron‘s party. He then moved to Spain, where he marched jointly with the Vox neonazi party against the social democrat government; joining a right-wing party that wants a coalition with the Vox fascists after the coming elections.

Unfortunately, it seems that the PS has not learned the lesson of their catastrophic election defeat, and that even though Valls is gone, some of his Islamophobic miasma remains.

Valérie Boyer, the LR deputy for Bouches-du-Rhone, said she was “revolted to see this French company choosing to prolong the sexual apartheid imposed on women in public spaces.”

The attacks escalated the next day, after Décathlon tweeted in reply to Guirgous that “the hijab was needed by certain runners, and we responded to this sporting demand.” The item is already on sale in Morocco.

The Macron government publicly joined the campaign on Tuesday morning. Solidarity and Health Minister Agnes Buzyn said, in an interview with RTL, “I would prefer that a French brand not promote the veil. It’s not outlawed, but nonetheless, this is a vision of women that I don’t share. I find that it does not correspond to the values of our country.” Another spokesperson for the governing party in the National Assembly, Aurore Bergé, tweeted that she would “no longer place trust in a brand that breaks with our values.”

The same morning, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, of the right-wing Stand Up France! party, was invited for a TV interview on France2, where he declared that he did not intend to allow his two young daughters to grow up in a country like Saudi Arabia, and demanded a boycott of Décathlon.

Mr Dupont-Aignan: if you don’t like the regime in Saudi Arabia, then you should ask President Macron to stop selling French weapons to the Saudi absolute monarchy for waging genocidal war on the people of Yemen. And you should criticize the right-wing ‘republican’ authorities for closing down a Riviera public beach to the public, reserving it for the Saudi royal family. You should not take it out in women on France who have nothing to do with the Saudi royals; who just happen to like clothes which you dislike. Maybe they dislike your clothes as well; but that should not give them the power to ban your favourite garments.

Just a week ago, Stand Up France! was forced to withdraw the candidacy of Emmanuelle Gave in the European elections, after news outlets published her social media posts, one of which said there were “too many blacks in the 100 meter race” and the other that “Muslims are totally unacceptable as housekeepers or nannies.”

The extreme-right National Rally of Marine Le Pen published a communiqué the same day, denouncing the “latest intrusion of Islamic communalism into public spaces.” While welcoming the anti-Muslim crusade by the Socialist Party and others, it demanded an end to what it called the “policies of massive immigration that are the most undoubted causes of sectarianism.”

The outpouring of filth had its intended effect, with a mobilization of fascistic layers to threaten the company and its employees. Décathlon tweeted that “Our customer services have received over 500 calls and emails since this morning. Our staff have been insulted and threatened, sometimes physically.”

Décathlon published extracts of various anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic messages it received. One stated: “Rotten gang. Money has no smell. You betray the values of the French Republic. Shame on you for contributing to the Islamist invasion. You’ll end up like the riff-raff in the ovens in Poland.”

Meaning that this Islamophobe advocated mass murder of shop workers like happened in World War II to Jews in concentration camps like Auschwitz and Sobibor To this French death threat fascist, these Jews were ‘riff-raff’ who deserved mass murder.

Not politicians or neonazis threatening shop workers with mass murder in Auschwitz should decide what clothes women wear. Only the women themselves should decide that. Whether it is about women wearing headscarves, ‘burkinis‘, bikinis, miniskirts, maxishirts, trousers, shorts; about short hair or about long hair; etc. etc.

Another asked whether the company planned on marketing “explosive belts”.

On Tuesday evening, Décathlon announced it was withdrawing the product indefinitely “in the face of the violent polemic it has triggered” and “out of concern to guarantee the safety of our staff.”

The Republicans deputy Lydia Guirons tweeted gleefully in response that the “mobilization of citizens” who uphold “the values of our civilization has won. I am happy that Décathlon is retreating from the sale of the hijab. It is a wise decision. The struggle against Islamism is a fight at every moment.”

This disgusting operation exposes the fraudulent character of the official campaign against “anti-Semitism” mounted by every one of the parties who are whipping up this anti-Muslim propaganda. It has nothing to do with opposing anti-Semitism, and everything to do with slandering growing left-wing opposition to social inequality in the working class as anti-Semitic and fascistic.

An effort is underway to downplay the indissoluble connection between anti-Semitism and fascism, and to associate anti-Semitism with socialist opposition to capitalism. As the past week’s events demonstrate, the campaign over anti-Semitism is being used to strengthen Le Pen’s National Rally and other fascistic forces with the promotion of anti-Muslim hysteria.

The entire political establishment is shifting rapidly to the right in response to a leftward movement of the working class, which has found only an initial expression in the “yellow vest” protests.

In a speech last Wednesday, Macron repeatedly warned about the growth of “radical Islam” and called for stepped up policing of working-class neighborhoods. “This ideology grows like gangrene in certain suburbs”, he said, calling for a “Republican conquest of these territories.”

The French political establishment has long utilized campaigns against the Muslim veil as a means of inciting anti-Islamic xenophobia and justifying attacks on democratic rights directed against the entire working class. In 2010, two years after the onset of the global financial crash and the initiation of austerity across Europe, President Sarkozy introduced a ban on full facial coverings.

Nazi in United States Marines


This 10 February 2012 video from the USA is called Marine Photo With Nazi S.S. Flag [in occupied Afghanistan] Won’t Mean Punishment for Marines.

By Samantha Grasso in the USA, 27 February 2019:

Marines Investigating Troop’s Ties to Nazi-Loving Twitter Account

Two weeks ago, authorities arrested Coast Guard Lt. Christopher Hasson, who allegedly had white supremacist connections, an arsenal of firearms, and a hit list of media personalities and liberal politicians. Now, the Marines are investigating a service member in their own ranks whose Twitter presence allegedly boasted racist, anti-Semitic ideology and posted Nazi propaganda, the Marine Corps Times reported on Tuesday.

The Twitter account, @Jacobite_Edward, was allegedly run by Lance Cpl. Mason Mead, a 20 year old infantry Marine stationed in Kaneohe Bay, HI, according to the publication. While the account has since been deactivated, screenshots show it posted Nazi propaganda, such as images of Nazi collaborators and men with their arms raised in a Nazi salute.

One photo from the account also showed a person arranging military explosives into the shape of a swastika. The poster captioned a photo of a Marine wearing dark camouflage face paint as, “Hello, fellow black men”, which the site Task & Purpose reported was a photo of Mead. Other posts reportedly referenced Mead’s unit, with some photos revealing part of his name taped to military gear.

1st Lt. David Mancilla, a Corps spokesman for the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, told Task & Purpose the Naval Criminal Investigative Service is investigating the matter. NCIS told the Times it wouldn’t comment on ongoing investigations, and Mead did not return the Times’ request for comment.

“The Marine Corps is aware of the derogatory online comments attributed to a Marine with 1st Battalion, 3d Marine Regiment, 3d Marine Division,” Mancilla said. “The Marine Corps takes every instance of misconduct seriously, whether on duty, off duty, or online. Any form of racism or discrimination undermines the core values of the Marine Corps and is not tolerated. NCIS is thoroughly investigating this situation and the command will address any misconduct at the appropriate judicial or administrative level.”

Hasson and Mead are just the latest troops whose racist behavior has been revealed. In August 2018, Lance Cpl. Vasillios Pistolis was kicked out after he was unmasked as a member of a neo-Nazi group who bragged about attacking a woman at the deadly Charlottesville white supremacist rally in 2017. The same year, two other Marines, Sgt. Michael Chesny and Staff Sgt. Joseph Manning, were arrested for flying a white supremacist banner at a Confederate Memorial Day rally in North Carolina.

Two Marines stationed near San Diego are being investigated after posting a video that appears to show them in blackface.

House wren feeding in Panama


This video says about itself:

House Wren Busily Gleaning On The Feeder – Feb. 25, 2019

Watch LIVE 24/7 with highlights and viewing resources at http://allaboutbirds.org/panamafeeders

The Panama Fruit Feeder Cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Canopy Family, and explore.org.

I have fond memories of house wrens in Suriname and in Costa Rica.

Children abused sexually in USA for immigrating


This 2 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Videos Show MASSIVE Child Abuse At Migrant Detention Camps

New video has been obtained showing just how disgusting and degrading the conditions are in the administration’s migrant detention camps. The video appears to show children being dragged by their hair and kicked by staffers at a detention facility in Arizona. This has to be the first issue that Democrats investigate when they retake the House this week, as Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins explains.

By Eric London in the USA:

Reports document sexual abuse of immigrant children detained in US

28 February 2019

Newly released US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) documents reveal that there were 4,556 complaints of sexual harassment of detained immigrant children from October 2014 to July 2018.

The documents highlight the criminality of American imperialism, which has torn thousands of children from the arms of their working class families after destroying their Central American home countries through decades of war, dictatorship and corporate exploitation.

Individual reports of abuse dating from both the Obama and Trump administrations paint a picture of the nightmare endured by many of the children in detention. Referring to the victims with the dehumanizing term “UAC”, for “unaccompanied alien child”, one report from the Shiloh Treatment Center in Texas reads:

“UAC reported he was abused by the same staff member twice… In the first instance, UAC said the staff grabbed his hand and pulled it towards his midsection while sitting. UAC pulled away, but staff member squeezed his hand and held it over his crotch for about 40 seconds. Staff then slapped the back of the UAC’s head. A few days later while UAC was sleeping, the staff member squeezed the UAC’s crotch area over his clothing. The staff threatened UAC not to say anything.”

The report notes that the matter was investigated but “no findings were made” and that the staff member remained employed.

Other reports tell similar stories.

“Minor said a staff member grabbed him in the crotch area and squeezed after he had been physically restrained,” says one write-up from Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Virginia. The report concludes: “The incident was not investigated.”

A child at Southwest Key Campbell in Phoenix, Arizona, said staff “entered her bedroom and touched her while she was sleeping,” and that “law enforcement interviewed staff but only took a report and did not investigate.”

Other examples of abuse include actions by older detainees against younger detainees as a result of indifference and negligence by government-contracted staff.

At the end of 2018, there were roughly 15,000 children in detention at any given time. A report published by the World Socialist Web Site in November 2018 exposed the brutal treatment and harsh punishment of detained immigrant children.

The latest exposure of widespread sexual abuse of detained immigrant children has passed with little comment in the corporate media. At press time, neither the New York Times nor the Washington Post had published an opinion article on the subject since the story broke Tuesday afternoon.

While the media has largely relegated this issue to the back pages, the major news outlets have instead focused attention on the “humanitarian” case for intensifying diplomatic and military pressure on Venezuela

The HHS documents expose the hypocritical character of the claims by the Trump administration and Democratic Party politicians that the US-led coup operation against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro is justified by the cruelty of the government and the need to restore “democracy”. …

If the US received reports that a government in its crosshairs (such as Syria, Russia, China or Venezuela) had jailed 15,000 children and was covering up sexual abuse by guards and staff, all of the television talking heads and New York Times columnists would exhaust themselves crying crocodile tears, expressing their outrage and lecturing about the “moral imperative” to bomb the country to smithereens.

In total contrast, the HHS documents show real sexual abuse on a large scale over several years carried out by the US government. Often the abuse is caught on camera. Those either committing or permitting the abuse are adult jailers operating as government contractors, in many cases with state-sanctioned impunity.

In 2018, Trump explicitly called for the abolition of due process for immigrants, tweeting: “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order.”

Trump and his neo-Nazi advisor Stephen Miller allege that immigrants are “rapists” and “criminals”. They have used these racist slanders to detain hundreds of thousands of people, rounding them up at schools, churches, work places and courthouses.

The broader anti-democratic implications of this pogrom against immigrants are already being seen in Trump’s claim of quasi-dictatorial powers via his national emergency declaration and his fascistic attacks on socialism. …

Building a movement against the fascistic attacks of the Trump administration requires opposing all calls for the abolition of democratic rights and due process. Such a movement will be based not on self-interested social climbers in the top 10 percent, but on the international working class through the revolutionary fight for social equality.

Thousands of Migrant Children Reported Being Sexually Abused While in U.S. Custody: here.

Red-crowned ant-tanager couple feeding in Panama


This video says about itself:

Red-crowned Ant-Tanager Pair Feed Together – Feb. 26, 2019

A pair of Red-crowned Ant-Tanagers visit the platform and feed together. The male (left) is red and the female (right) is olive-yellow. The larger brown bird is a Clay-colored Thrush.

Watch LIVE 24/7 with highlights and viewing resources at http://allaboutbirds.org/panamafeeders

The Panama Fruit Feeder Cam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, the Canopy Family, and explore.org.

Stop India-Pakistan conflict now


This October 2016 video says about itself:

A Pakistani peace activist’s message to Indian people

During peace demonstration by Aaghaz-e-Dosti in Lahore, a Pakistani activist gives a thought-provoking message to Indians.

Aaghaz-e-Dosti is a joint Indo-Pak Friendship initiative of India-based Mission Bhartiyam and Pakistan-based The Catalyst of Peace. Since 2012, it is striving towards its goal through interactive sessions in schools and colleges called Aman Chaupals, discussions, seminars, peace workshops, classroom to classroom connect, greeting card and letter exchanges in schools, an Indo-Pak Peace calendar which is a collection of paintings by school students from both sides, a virtual peace-building course called Friends Beyond Borders wherein we pair an Indian and a Pakistani who engage in a dialogue over different issues for eight weeks and various virtual campaigns that are run on its official Facebook page … and Twitter.

By K. Ratnayake in Sri Lanka:

Nuclear-armed India, Pakistan on brink of all-out war

28 February 2019

The danger of all-out war in Asia continued to rise yesterday, after the Indian air force bombed targets deep inside Pakistan on Tuesday. Yesterday, as fighting mounted, Pakistan announced that it had carried out a strike in India.

Amid heavy shelling across the Line of Control (LoC) between Pakistani- and Indian-administered Kashmir, the two countries’ air forces clashed and lost several fighter jets. The Pakistani Foreign Ministry released a statement claiming that its jets had struck “nonmilitary targets” in India from within Pakistani airspace. It added that the strike was “not a retaliation” for the Indian strike, though Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has pledged that Pakistan will retaliate, and that Pakistan is “fully prepared” for further escalation.

Pakistan’s military spokesman Major General Asif Ghafoor claimed two Indian MiG-21 fighters “crossed into Pakistani territory and were shot down”, and that the two pilots were captured.

Indian Foreign Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar claimed India shot down one F-16 jet belonging to the Pakistan Air Force (PAF), after Pakistan targeted military installations on the Indian side of Kashmir with airstrikes. The airman was identified as wing commander Abhinandan Varthaman, and Pakistani authorities released a picture of him in detention.

In a sign that they expect the conflict to continue to escalate, both countries announced the closure of airspace and the suspension of commercial flights. Pakistan reportedly closed its airspace altogether and indefinitely closed three airports in cities near the Indian border. All flights from major airports, including Karachi, Peshawar and Lahore are suspended indefinitely. India has suspended flights from airports in Kashmir and the state of Punjab until further notice.

Washington, which has sought for over a decade to develop India as a diplomatic and military ally against China, is pouring fuel on the fire, tacitly backing the Indian attack. This poses immense dangers to humanity. Should fighting continue to escalate to a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, hundreds of millions would die, and such a conflict could easily draw the two countries’ main allies, the United States and China, into a global conflagration.

Yesterday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo issued a statement legitimizing the Tuesday bombing, which was a clear violation of international law. Pompeo did not criticize the Indian attack. Instead, he said he had spoken to Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj “following Indian counter-terrorism actions on February 26,” to “emphasize our close security partnership and shared goal of maintaining peace and security in the region.”

With Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, on the other hand, Pompeo underscored “the priority of de-escalating current tensions by avoiding military action, and the urgency of Pakistan taking meaningful action against terrorist groups operating on its soil.”

While all the governments make empty statements opposing escalation, Washington, New Delhi and Islamabad are ratcheting up the conflict. Pompeo said he had told “both Ministers that we encourage India and Pakistan to exercise restraint, and avoid escalation at any cost.”

In Wuzhen, China, where she was meeting with Chinese and Russian officials, Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said India wants to avoid “further escalation of the situation.” Nonetheless, Beijing and Moscow bowed to Indian officials’ demands and endorsed moves to “eradicate the breeding grounds of terrorism”—the pretext New Delhi gave for bombing Pakistan, after blaming Pakistan for a deadly February 14 bombing of Indian forces at Pulwama, in Kashmir.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said: “China’s position is clear. We hope the two countries can exercise restraint, engage in dialogue and take action to ensure peace and stability in the region.”

The most direct warning came from the Pakistani prime minister, who addressed the nation warning of the danger of miscalculation and of world war. He declared, “All wars are miscalculated, and no one knows where they lead to. And World War I was supposed to end in weeks, it took six years [sic; four years] … The US never expected the war on terrorism to last 17 years.” Alluding to the nuclear weapons held by the armed forces of both countries, Khan said: “If this escalates, things will no longer be in my control or in Modi’s.”

Nonetheless, the US and Indian governments and Khan himself continue to escalate the fighting, even as they make veiled references to the danger of nuclear war.

The immense danger in this situation is that working people in Asia, in the United States and around the world are not fully aware of the imminent danger of a nuclear holocaust provoked by the policies of American imperialism and the bourgeoisies of South Asia. The decades-long war drive by US imperialism to dominate Eurasia, now targeting China, is coming together with the historic bankruptcy of the capitalist classes of the Indian subcontinent.

India is spiraling towards a catastrophic war with Pakistan rooted in the 1947 communal partition of the Indian sub-continent by British colonialism, with the connivance of the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, between Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan. Partition served to drown revolution against British colonialism in blood, divide workers along national lines and defend capitalist rule. Over 70 years later, these conflicts, which three times exploded into Indo-Pakistani wars costing millions of lives, threaten to unleash a world war.

Both the Indian and the Pakistani regimes are deeply unpopular among workers and the rural poor and, particularly in the run-up to the April–May 2019 Indian general elections, they are stoking war hysteria to press the population to rally behind them in war.

After the Pakistani strikes Wednesday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held an emergency meeting with top security officials. There were no reports on the contents of their discussions. According to PTI, Modi had been up all night Tuesday monitoring the Indian Air Force operation to attack an alleged terrorist camp at Balalkot, and relaxed after the bombing raid was over. Then he was “busy with the next day’s schedule,” meeting with defence officials and ministers to plan the next moves.

Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its Hindu extremist allies have organised rallies across the country since the attack Tuesday on Pakistan.

They are no doubt encouraged by US National Security Advisor John Bolton’s statement after the Pulwama attack that Washington recognizes “India’s right to self defence against cross-border terrorism.”

War fever is also spreading in Pakistan, as well. Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper reported yesterday that after the downing of Indian fighters, a “mood of belligerent triumph spread across Pakistani news stations and online.”

The enormous war danger vindicates the perspective of the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI) advanced in its statement, Socialism and the Fight Against War. The only way out is developing an international socialist movement of the working class against war …

The only way forward for workers is a break from all factions of the capitalist ruling elites and, rallying support from workers around the world, develop their independent political struggle for a Union of Socialist Republics of South Asia at the head of the toiling masses.