Dutch bluethroat sings on video


This 1 May 2019 video is about a Dutch bluethroat singing.

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Baltimore oriole eats orange in New York


This video from New York state in the USA says about itself:

Male Baltimore Oriole Has Orange For Breakfast – May 7, 2019

Baltimore Orioles have just returned from their wintering grounds in the Caribbean and Central and South America to the Cornell Lab FeederWatch cam in Sapsucker Woods. Offering fruit, like oranges, to the orioles in your area can provide them with sugars that can be readily converted into fat. It’s a great source of energy after completing a long migration! Are you seeing orioles in your area?

Corporate Democrats support Trump’s xenophobia


This 21 January 2018 CNN TV video from the USA says about itself:

Schumer: I offered Trump border wall

Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (Democrat-New York) says that he offered to include the border wall in any immigration deal while blaming the shutdown on President Trump and Republicans.

By Kevin Martinez in the USA:

Democrats line up behind Trump’s war on immigrants

NY Times demands: “Give Trump his border money”

7 May 2019

The victory of the Democratic Party in last November’s congressional elections has done nothing to halt Trump’s police state assault on immigrants. On the contrary, the Democrats, having taken control of the House of Representatives, have shifted further to the right and lined up more openly behind the administration’s anti-immigrant policies.

Perhaps the clearest expression of this shift to date is the lead editorial in Monday’s print edition of the New York Times. Headlined “Give Trump His Border Money”, the statement demands that Congress approve the request sent by the White House to Congress last week for an additional $4.5 billion in “emergency” funding, ostensibly to manage the surge in the number of refugees from Central America crossing into the US to seek asylum.

Summing up what has become the mantra of both big business parties and the whole of the corporate media, the editorial begins, “President Trump is right: There is a crisis at the southern border.”

The Times goes on to make the cynical and dishonest argument that the money Trump is requesting is not for his border wall, but to deal with the “humanitarian crisis of overcrowding, disease and chaos.” It cites poverty and violence in the refugees’ homelands as the cause of the border surge, but remains silent on the US government’s history of imperialist exploitation and intervention in Central America, well as the Trump administration’s illegal refusal to process asylum claims and its dispatch of troops to turn the US-Mexican border into a militarized no-man’s land.

Nor does it mention Trump’s authoritarian declaration of a national emergency on the border and his allocation of Pentagon funds to expand his border wall, in defiance of Congress and the US Constitution. Or his more recent moves in defiance of international and US law to effectively deny refugees the right to file for asylum and strip immigrants caught up in the US immigration system of their habeas corpus rights. Nor does it note last month’s purge of the Department of Homeland Security, carried out to move, as Trump put it, in a “tougher direction” on the border.

Echoing the “human rights” imperialist pretexts used to justify neo-colonial wars in Iraq, Libya and Syria, the editorial declares: “Something needs to be done. Soon.” It then demands, expressing the position of the Democratic congressional leadership, that recalcitrant House Democrats end their “political gamesmanship” and “finger-pointing” and give Trump the money he is demanding to shore up his anti-immigrant campaign.

Far from using its control of the House to seriously oppose Trump’s war on immigrants, the Democratic leadership, beginning with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, has repeatedly rejected the launching of impeachment proceedings against Trump. Their major consideration is not the virtual certainty that the Republican-controlled Senate would refuse to convict Trump, or the fact that even if he were removed he would be replaced by his equally reactionary vice president, Mike Pence, but rather that a protracted impeachment process might provide an opening for mass working class opposition to Trump to take an independent form and move in an anti-capitalist direction.

Just last week, Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer emerged from a closed-door White House meeting with Trump to hail the meeting as “productive” and reiterate their eagerness to work with the White House. This came one day after Trump’s memorandum ordering the imposition of asylum application fees and the use of border cops to determine whether applicants have a “credible fear” of injury or death in their homeland. It also followed an op-ed column by the TimesThomas Friedman supporting Trump’s border wall …

Meanwhile, there is mounting violence and misery along the southern border of the US. Last week, the Border Patrol recovered the body of a ten-month old infant and declared two other children and a man to be missing following the capsizing of a raft bearing nine people seeking to cross the Rio Grande near Eagle Pass, Texas. The missing include a boy and girl, both age 7, who were part of group of immigrants from Honduras.

In fiscal 2018, border agents recorded 283 deaths along the US-Mexico border, including drownings, accidents and the discovery of human remains. …

These deaths do not include immigrants who have died in the detention camps or while in the care of the US government, such as the 16-year-old Guatemalan boy who died last week while hospitalized with a brain infection.

Two new giant “tent cities” to house hundreds of undocumented immigrants were opened last week in Texas, one near El Paso and the other in the state’s Rio Grande Valley next to the Donna-Rio Bravo international bridge. The camps are meant to house immigrants for no more than 72 hours, until families are broken up and taken away by either Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) or the Department of Health and Human Services.

Many of the ICE detention centers are called “iceboxes” or “hieleras” by the immigrants because of the freezing temperatures they endure while detained inside them. Physical abuse and sexual violence are rampant in the camps and immigrants may be detained for many days, not just 72 hours.

One tent city in Texas was found by the American Civil Liberties Union in 2014 to have problems with bug infestations, overcrowding, overflowing sewage, extreme temperatures and rotten food.

… The bipartisan character of the war on immigrants was underscored on Sunday when Trump named Mark Morgan as the new permanent head of ICE. Morgan will replace former acting director Ronald Vitiello, who resigned after Trump refused to make him the permanent head as part of his purge of the immigration apparatus.

Morgan was head of the Border Patrol during the last six months of the Obama administration, which carried out the highest number of deportations in US history. Morgan has denounced Congress for failing to gut the so-called Flores Settlement, which limits the length of time the government can detain immigrant children. He is also on record supporting Trump’s proposal to send undocumented immigrants detained by ICE to “sanctuary cities.”

Birds, flowers of Tilos in Greece


This March 2017 video is about Tilos island in Greece.

After 1 May on Tilos came 2 May.

Early in the morning, golden oriole and bee-eater sounds.

At Agios Antonios harbour, a yellow-legged gull flies.

Along the path back to Megalo Chorio, a clouded yellow butterfly flies.

Field bindweed, 2 May 2019

These field bindweed flowers grow there.

Hawkweed, 2 May 2019

As do these flowers of one of the many hawkweed species of Tilos.

White flowers, 2 May 2019

And these white flowers.

British Conservative Javid’s anti-immigrant policies


Workers and young people march in London to say that all refugees, including those stuck in the French Calais 'jungle', are welcome in the UK

From daily News Line in Britain:

Javid’s vicious anti-immigrant policies

7th May 2019

‘It’s Sajid Javid’s first anniversary as Home Secretary, so we’ve taken a look at his track record,’ Gracie Bradley, Liberty Policy and Campaigns Manager wrote last week.

So far he has:

1. Refused to end the hostile environment

Apart from pausing a few data-sharing agreements, promising a fairer and more humane immigration system, and rebranding to emphasise ‘compliance’ over hostility, this brutal set of policies has gone nowhere.

Without a firewall between immigration enforcement and essential public services, children’s school records, patient data and police information on victims of crime are still handed to the Home Office.

And we now know that the government is secretly building a massive migrant database to embed border controls even deeper within our communities.

2. Left Windrush citizens facing continuing hardship

So far only nine Windrush citizens have been granted access to the emergency hardship fund.

The full compensation scheme was only launched a matter of weeks ago, to significant criticism.

Six hundred people have so far been refused leave to remain under the Windrush scheme and it’s unclear what happens next: there is no legal aid for applicants, and no clear right of appeal.

An unknown number of people remain too fearful to come forward.

At least 12 Windrush citizens who were wrongly removed by the Home Office have since died.

3. Resisted calls to end indefinite immigration detention

Tens of thousands of people continue to be locked up without release dates every year on immigration grounds.

Ultimately, immigration detention must end.

In the meantime, the Home Office continues to resist calls for a 28-day time limit on detention which has support across every political party.

4. Continued the draconian and unnecessary practice of citizenship-stripping

The Home Secretary’s reactionary treatment of Shamima Begum, and the subsequent death of her third child, have thrown citizenship-stripping into sharp relief.

This executive, extra-judicial measure is now routinely used in response to allegations of serious crime.

But there are more than enough offences on the statute books if investigations indicate that a person should be prosecuted for suspected involvement in criminal activity.

This is what the government has to do in the cases of British-born citizens who do not hold another nationality.

5. Introduced a counter-terror law that puts civil liberties at risk

The new Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act criminalises mundane activities like clicking on online content, overseas travel, discussion of banned groups and publishing images – all without requiring criminal intent.

The new law also introduces intrusive suspicionless powers of search and detention at the border.

6. Accused critics of Prevent of being ‘on the side of extremists’

Rather than engaging substantively with the breadth of concern about the government’s discriminatory and counterproductive Prevent programme, that Liberty and many others have expressed over the years, instead, the Home Secretary accused these campaign groups of siding with extremists.

7. Backed the roll-out of spit hoods to police forces across the country

In his first major speech as Home Secretary, Javid called for these degrading and dangerous devices to be given to all frontline police officers.

8. Proposed criminalising children as young as 12 with new knife ASBOs

Police will now be able to apply for a knife ASBO where they suspect ‘on the balance of probabilities’ that someone has carried a knife in the last two years.

People – including children as young as 12 – may be limited in where they go, who they see, and what they watch online, based on a weaker standard of proof than they would face going through criminal proceedings.

Failing to comply with the orders is a criminal offence, funnelling children into the criminal justice system while doing nothing to address the root causes of serious violence.

9. Relaxed safeguards on stop and search – despite soaring race disproportionality

A black person is now nine times more likely to be stopped and searched than a white person, even though the rate at which prohibited items are found is similar across all ethnicities. Race disproportionality is even worse under suspicionless powers, but Javid has made them even easier to use.

10. Ignored police use of lawless facial recognition technology

Parliament has given scarcely any consideration to the impact that this inaccurate and discriminatory mass surveillance tool will have on our rights and freedoms.

This inaction has allowed South Wales Police to use it in public spaces at will, and the Met are considering whether or not to roll it out as an operational tool following a long and controversial trial.

Standing up to power

But the Home Secretary’s inadequate performance has been met with acts of resistance across society.

More than 70,000 people have signed a Liberty petition to end indefinite immigration detention; and momentum is building across Parliament to amend the Immigration Bill to secure a 28-day time limit for everyone.

Liberty and Big Brother Watch have launched landmark legal challenges to stop unlawful police use of facial recognition technology. Liberty’s case against South Wales Police will be heard later in May.

The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants proved in court that the Home Office’s landlord immigration checks cause discrimination and breach human rights.

And the movement for migrants’ rights coalesced in support of the Stansted 15, whose peaceful direct action stopped a mass deportation flight.