Saving baby sloths, birds in Costa Rica


This 2 April 2019 video says about itself:

Rehabilitating Baby Sloths in Costa Rica – 360 | National Geographic

Witness the recovery and release of wildlife at the Toucan Rescue Ranch in Costa Rica.

More bloodshed in NATO’s ‘new’ Libya


This 5 April 2019 video says about itself:

Troops belonging to Libya’s strongman Khalifa Haftar were pushed back on Friday from a key checkpoint just 27 km from capital Tripoli.

He had ordered his troops on Thursday to march on the capital, escalating a conflict with the [Tripoli] government.

Militiamen from the coastal town of Zawiya retook the base after a “short exchange of fire”, though Haftar has vowed to continue the fight.

Latest news on the proxy oil war between Macron‘s France and Salvini‘s Italy, waged by pro-Salvini paramilitaries against pro-Macron Haftar paramilitaries. Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Despite appeals to calmness and restraint, there is fear internationally of a new civil war in Libya.

Not really new. It never stopped ever since NATO’s ‘humanitarian‘ 2011 regime change war.

The government in Tripoli, threatened by the Libyan National Army of warlord Haftar, has announced a counter-offensive called “Volcano of Anger”.

Prime Minister Sarraj of the … government in Tripoli had a military spokesperson declare that the operation aims to clear all cities in the country from illegal forces. Sarraj blames Haftar for plunging the country into a new cycle of violence, and says that only personal motives play a role for him. …

Both parties have combat aircraft with which attacks are carried out. Since Thursday, 23 people are said to have been killed in the fighting.

Today there was a battle at the international airport of Tripoli, 24 kilometers south of the city. Yesterday Haftar’s troops reported that they had taken the airport. …

The US government has withdrawn some of its soldiers from Libya, given the unpredictable situation on the ground.

Panamanian lance-tailed manakins dancing


This video says about itself:

Hail Hail The Lance-tailed Manakin Gang’s All Here – April 5, 2019

A female, two adult males and a juvenile male all shared the display perch at once today. The males took turns practicing their display. The juvenile male in attendance got a thorough and vigorous dance lesson.

Watch Live at http://allaboutbirds.org/manakins

This cam shows one display perch in a population of Lance-tailed Manakins on Isla Boca Brava, Chiriquí, Panamá, that has been monitored intensively since 1999.

French President Macron victim of own authoritarianism


This 31 March 2019 video from France is called (translated) Emmanuel Macron‘s full burnout? “Luckily he’s wearing makeup, otherwise we would see his real situation”.

Translated from Dutch daily Algemeen Dagblad, 2 April 2019:

“Macron on the verge of burnout”

According to his inner circle, the French president is not doing well. They testify to the French newspaper Le Parisien that Emmanuel Macron is completely exhausted by the “lonely” way in which he exercises power. He wants to be in control as much as possible, but that is not without consequences.

The past year in which his country staggered from one crisis to another has left its mark on Macron, who is now 41 years old. The energetic and driven impression that the head of state invariably leaves behind in public appearances is only a facade. His loved ones know better and are very worried. The politician is exhausted. A burnout is lurking. …

Worst manager ever

… Macron is increasingly dependent on himself when exercising power. The situation is likely to become problematic. Since the start of his mandate, the president has seen many members of his team leave. Substitutes are hardly found. “All Macron confidants have disappeared. He is the worst manager which the world has produced”, Le Parisien says.

Meanwhile the protests of the yellow vests are continuing and the president is risking even more sleepless nights. In the meantime, some have begun to doubt his capacity to defuse the crisis in his country. “I don’t see how the crisis can end. With spring in sight, the yellow vests will soon be organizing barbecues on the roundabouts in Paris”, says a worried friend.

Macron dreams of nipping the unrest in the bud with a measure that produces a “wow effect” and blows everyone off their socks. But his intimates see that gloomily. “If he disappoints, then he is done. And he will disappoint … “

United States prisons horrors


This August 2014 video from the USA says about itself:

Modern Day Debtors’ Prison in the Deep South

An SPLC lawsuit in Montgomery, Alabama, has stopped the jailing of indigent people who can’t pay traffic fines – a modern-day version of debtors’ prison that is finding new life across America. This is Harriet Cleveland’s story.

By Niles Niemuth in the USA:

America the Barbaric

6 April 2019

Rapes, murders, beatings, stabbings, mutilations and arson are rampant. Pleas for help, scrawled in blood, stain the walls from prisoners held in solitary confinement. Fifteen suicides have been recorded in the last 15 months.

This is not the description of a torture chamber in el-Sisi’s Egypt or Bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia. Nor is it about the abuse of detainees at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay or a CIA black site.

These are the nightmare conditions in the Alabama state-run prison system, described in a Justice Department report released this week. They constitute a gross violation of the US Constitution’s Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.

More than 2,000 photos of abuse in one Alabama prison given to the media by the Southern Poverty Law Center in advance of the report’s release depict the gruesome reality of the conditions detailed in hundreds of interviews with prisoners and their families conducted by federal investigators over more than two years.

While particularly horrific, such conditions are by no means unique. They are repeated in different forms in the prisons of every state, county and city across the United States. More than 2.3 million people are packed like cattle into America’s overflowing system of state and federal prisons, local jails and immigration detention camps. Including those on probation or parole, nearly seven million Americans are caught up in what is absurdly called the “criminal justice system”.

The US accounts for more than one-quarter of the world’s incarcerated population. For every 100,000 residents, there are 698 people in detention. More than 540,000 of those held in jail on any given day have not been convicted of any crime. Many are kept in detention simply because they are too poor pay to pay the median bail of $10,000. Another half a million, one in five inmates, are serving long prison sentences for nonviolent drug convictions.

Researchers estimate that 61,000 prisoners are held in solitary confinement on any given day, a form of incarceration that the UN has declared to be tantamount to torture. At least 4,000 of those held in complete isolation from the outside world suffer from severe mental illness. Confinement to these living coffins is known to drive prisoners to suicide.

While debtors’ prisons are officially outlawed, poor workers are routinely held for their debts. A mother in Indiana was detained for three days in February in a squalid jail alongside convicts because of an unpaid ambulance bill, which she had never received in the mail. Such stories are common.

Under the Trump administration, extending the policies developed by Obama, the federal government is waging a war on immigrants, holding thousands of men, women and children in degrading conditions. Some 77,000 people were detained in February for seeking to cross the southern border. Immigrant workers are being hunted down and arrested in their homes and at their work places.

The cruelty of the American government was on full display this week when 280 undocumented workers were detained by federal agents in Allen, Texas. It was the largest such raid in more than a decade.

Then there is the unending wave of police killings, with more than 1,000 people shot, tased or beaten to death every year on the streets of American cities. Criminal charges for police killings are rare and convictions almost unheard of. Cops are given a green light to kill, maim and brutalize with impunity.

With boundless hypocrisy, Democrats and Republicans proclaim their outrage over alleged human rights violations in whatever country the American ruling class is targeting for regime change or invasion. They proclaim one of the most cruel and unequal societies in the world, where the three richest Americans control more wealth than the bottom half of the population, to be a beacon of democracy to the world.

If the conditions that exist in US prisons were exposed in Russia or China, there would be a hue and cry in the press and the halls of Congress for economic sanctions and “humanitarian” military intervention that would resound in the media.

Fifty years ago, a report such as that exposing the conditions in Alabama prisons would have been met, even within sections of the political and media establishment, with shock and demands for action, but today it passes with barely a murmur.

The Democratic Party is silent because it is complicit in the vast retrogression in conditions in US prisons. President Bill Clinton signed the legislation that paved the way for a historic increase in the prison population. The Democrats oversee a prison system in California that was found by the Supreme Court in 2011 to be “cruel and unusual” and in violation of the Constitution.

The upper-middle class, self-obsessed layers in and around the Democratic Party are disinterested. The promoters of the #MeToo campaign in the media and academia have nothing to say about sexual violence in American prisons, nor about the violence inflicted on immigrants fleeing to the United States.

The media has made as little as possible of the report, with no coverage on the major nightly news programs. As with the photos of abuse at Abu Ghraib and the Senate report on CIA torture, there has been an effort to suppress information of what is happening in Alabama. The New York Times and other media outlets have chosen not to publish most of the photos documenting abuse and death.

In the end, this is their state. The conditions of American prisons, and the overall apparatus of violence, is a noxious expression of the reality of American “democracy”. The state apparatus will be utilized in the suppression of social and political opposition to the demands of finance capital. It is the real face of American capitalism.