Trump’s horrible prisons for immigrating

This 12 June 2019 video from the USA is called Overcrowding, Rotten Food & Nooses: DHS Watchdog Confirms Horrific Conditions at Immigrant Jails.

This 12 June 2019 video from the USA is called Horrific conditions revealed in migrant detention centers.

CAGES ‘WITH KIDS’ POP UP AROUND NYC More than 20 cages were placed around New York Wednesday, each containing a child-size mannequin, with audio playing of migrant children crying. They were intended to highlight the plight of migrants being held in alarming conditions at the U.S.-Mexico border. [HuffPost]

Baberowski whitewashes dictatorships with German taxpayers’ money

This 15 March 2019 video from England says about itself:

Christoph Vandreier, author of Why Are They Back? [about the rise of the far right, including Jörg Baberowski, in Germany] at the 2019 London Book Fair

By the International Youth and Students for Social Equality in Germany:

Dictatorships as alternative orders”: Not on our watch

Berlin’s Humboldt University plans to finance right-wing think tank

12 June 2019

Humboldt University’s Academic Senate (AS) will decide on Tuesday, 18 June whether to finance a right-wing think tank to conduct research on dictatorships. The initiator and driving force behind this project, which has been prepared for the past five years under the title “Dictatorships as alternative orders”, is the right-wing extremist professor and Eastern European historian Jörg Baberowski. The public part of the session begins at 1 p.m. in the Senate hall. Baberowski’s project is due to be rubber-stamped at the end of the session (TOP 26). We call on all students to attend the meeting of the AS and register their opposition to the plan.

Even the AS’s decision to place Baberowski‘s project on the agenda against the expressed wishes of the student body reveals its utterly anti-democratic character. On April 25, the student parliament voted almost unanimously against the project. Only two of the three deputies from the RCDS, the student organisation of the Christian Democrats, voted against the motion. The student parliament not only condemned Baberowski‘s project on dictatorships, but also the attempts by the university administration to suppress student opposition. The full text of the resolution read:

“The student parliament condemns the personal and political attacks on a student member of the AS from university administration, several media outlets, and professors. They legitimately published parts of the document on Twitter that will serve as the basis for the discussion in the public part of the AS on whether a centre for research into comparative dictatorships should be established.

The student parliament opposes the use of Humboldt University funds to create the centre, which is conceived of as a think tank based on the theories of Carl Schmitt, the ‘crown jurist of the Third Reich‘, and aims to advise political decision-makers on options for action. The issue here is not the scholarly examination of dictatorships, but the legitimation of authoritarian forms of rule. The student parliament calls on the members of the Academic Senate to continue to oppose the creation of such a centre in the future.”

Baberowski filed the motion in support of creating the centre with Anna-Bettina Kaiser, a law professor who secured her professorship in 2017 on the topic of constitutional law in states of emergency. Several other professors are involved in the project. They are demanding that HU provide €50,000 in funding for the coming three years, with this sum to be topped up with financial support from third parties.

The project will consider dictatorships as a legitimate and attractive alternative to democracies, and examine them with an “impartial” approach. The motion describes dictatorships as “orders that are not only based on a lack of freedom, violence, and repression”, but also “represent configurations of the politically possible that must be understood.” In modern times, they have always been an alternative “which became attractive under certain conditions.”

The motion goes on: “In some countries, citizens were able to profit mentally or materially from them, because open societies cannot afford under precarious conditions what dictatorships can achieve under other circumstances.”

The centre is explicitly conceived of as a think tank that will pursue the goal of “making offers to politicians that could be used in the day-to-day decision-making process.” In other words, Baberowski, who is notorious for his trivialisation of the Nazis (“Hitler was not vicious”), and his agitation against refugees (“Merkel should shut the borders”), wants to advise political decision-makers on how opposition to the shift to the right, militarism and social inequality can be suppressed.

Baberowski enjoys the German government’s explicit support. In an official statement, which was published on the 70th anniversary of the passage of the Basic Law on the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, Education Minister Anja Karliczek (CDU) gave her backing to the right-wing extremist professor. “In Germany, freedom of scholarship is a guaranteed fundamental right. It goes hand in hand with freedom of opinion,” stated the education minister. “This also includes acknowledging other opinions. Opinions like those of […] Professor Baberowski from Berlin, who was demonized.”

While Baberowski‘s opinions, which include the trivialisation of Hitler, agitation against refugees and political opponents and the drumming up of support for a return to military violence, are deemed by the government to be protected under Germany’s Basic Law, criticisms of these positions are apparently not. “Controversial discussions must in principle take place everywhere, but especially where pro and con positions are at home, in the universities,” wrote Karliczek. “However, a precondition for this is that the discussions and their participants remain on the basis of the free democratic order.”

This recalls nothing so much as George Orwell’s 1984. If anyone is hiding behind phrases about “freedom and democracy” while operating outside of the free democratic order, it is the anti-democratic conspirators at Baberowski’s centre for dictatorships and their backers in the AS and in government.

It is important to understand the historical and political background to these developments. Confronting the deepest capitalist crisis since the 1930s, the preparation of new wars and mounting conflicts between the major powers, the ruling class is returning to its old authoritarian and fascistic traditions to impose its policies of militarism, the strengthening of state repression at home and the armed forces abroad and social spending cuts.

Baberowski and his colleagues repeatedly cite Carl Schmitt, who was already calling for authoritarian forms of rule during the Weimar Republic and backed the Nazis’ consolidation of power following 1933. In honour of this Nazi jurist, Baberowski delivered the Carl Schmitt lecture at the university in late 2016 after being invited to do so by the Carl Schmitt Foundation.­­

Through a number of cooperation agreements, Baberowski’s project is to be expanded both nationally and internationally. His department was recently invited to a “dictatorships in transition” workshop at Princeton University, which made available $300,000 for a joint project.

Baberowski’s initial attempt to have the AS quietly pass the motion on January 15 failed.

Prior to the vote, the project met with strong opposition in the review process, when it was attacked by two out of the four academics and by the students. Prior to the AS meeting, a student representative posted extracts from the motion on Twitter along with critical comments. The IYSSE posted a statement titled “‘Dictatorships as alternative orders’: Not on our watch” on its homepage. The TAZ newspaper also took up the issue and published a critical article.

This triggered a storm of outrage, led by Baberowski himself. He denounced his students as criminals and left-wing extremists on Facebook and insulted the TAZ journalist in the style of the far-right Alternative for Germany as a “denunciator.” Several right-wing media outlets that previously backed Baberowski, including Cicero, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Die Welt rushed to his defence.

HU President Sabine Kunst, a Social Democrat who had previously taken legal action against the student council at the initiative of the AfD, resorted to authoritarian measures to suppress the opposition among students to Baberowski’s right-wing think tank and the manoeuvres of the HU administration.

At the next AS sitting, she introduced a motion to change the order of business and restrict in principle access to the documents of the session. Although this motion was not immediately passed by the Senate, it pursues a definite goal: the university’s decisions on which dubious, right-wing think tanks to fund should remain private affairs. Any criticism from students or the media is to be blocked from the outset and its authors intimidated.

The university administration’s dictatorial actions, supported by their allies in the AS, underscores the extent of the shift to the right within ruling circles. To prevent the return of dictatorship and fascism, students require above all a political perspective directed against the roots of these evils: the capitalist profit system. The IYSSE therefore calls on students and young people to give voice to their protests against the creation of the centre on dictatorships at the session of the AS. We cannot allow HU to be transformed into a state-directed cadre training camp for right-wing extremist and militarist ideologies, as was the case in previous German history.

The attempt of far-right professor and Eastern European historian Jörg Baberowski to set up a right-wing think tank on “Dictatorship Research” at Berlin’s Humboldt University has failed. The reversal is the result of massive opposition expressed by students and the campaign of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE), which in recent months has revealed the true nature of the project and mobilized opposition to it: here.

Following the abject failure in June of right-wing extremist professor Jörg Baberowski’s attempt to establish a reactionary center for the research into dictatorships at Berlin’s Humboldt University, it was only a matter of time before his house organ, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (F.A.Z.), published an angry opinion piece on the subject: here.

Bernhard Kempen is using his position as president of the German Association of University Professors and Lecturers to defend the right-wing extremist historian Jörg Baberowski: here.

Right-wing extremist Professor Jörg Baberowski physically assaults socialist student: here.

How beewolves preserve food

This August 2018 video says about itself:

This is the European Beewolf (Philanthus triangulum triangulum) a large solitary species of wasp while feeding on pollen & nectar as adults. The grubs require an insect-based diet. Constructing tunnels up to 1m deep. These tunnels have at least 3 and up to 34 side tunnels with a brood cell at the end. These contain between 1-5 paralysed bees collected by the female and in here she will lay an egg per chamber and after hatching the grubs will feed on the living bees.

From the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Germany:

Beewolves use a gas to preserve food

European beewolf eggs produce nitric oxide which prevents the larvae’s food from getting moldy

June 11, 2019

Summary: Scientists have discovered that the eggs of the European beewolf produce nitric oxide. The gas prevents the larvae’s food from getting moldy in the warm and humid brood cells.

Food stored in warm and humid conditions gets moldy very quickly und thus becomes inedible or even toxic. To prevent this, we use refrigerators and freezers as well as various other methods of preservation. Animals do not have such technical appliances and therefore need to find other ways to preserve food. The European beewolf Philanthus triangulum, a solitary wasp species whose females hunt honey bees, has evolved a successful method of food preservation. A female takes up to five honey bees into its brood cells where they serve as food for a young beewolf. Female beewolves prefer to build their nests in sunlit and sandy places. The nests are deep and therefore the brood cells are warm and humid. Such conditions are favorable for the development of the beewolf larvae; however, they also foster the growth of mold fungi. As a matter of fact, bees stored under such conditions in the lab were overgrown by mold within one to three days. Surprisingly, the mold risk for bees was much lower in the nests of beewolves, so that most beewolf larvae were able to finish their eight to ten-day development until they spin a cocoon.

Researchers from the University of Regensburg and the Johannes Gutenberg University in Mainz (previously at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena) have discovered an amazing mechanism that the beewolves have evolved in order to make sure that their larvae’s food does not get moldy. “Shortly after oviposition, the brood cells of beewolves smell strikingly like ‘swimming pool’. This smell comes from the egg itself,” explains Prof. Dr. Erhard Strohm, the leader and main author of the study. Bioassays showed that beewolf eggs emit a gas that efficiently kills mold fungi. A chemical analysis revealed the surprising result that the gas is nitric oxide (NO). The eggs produce nitric oxide in large quantities and release it to the air where is reacts with atmospheric oxygen to nitrogen dioxide (NO2). The measured NO2 concentrations in the brood cells exceed both the occupational exposure limits of NO and NO2 as well as the EU maximum permissible values in cities.

Both NO and NO2 are very reactive and have a strong oxidizing effect. Therefore it is not surprising that high concentrations of the gases kill mold fungi. But how can beewolf eggs synthesize such amounts of NO? The scientists hypothesize that the fact that NO plays an extremely important role in many biochemical processes in almost all organisms from bacteria to mammals is a crucial precondition for the evolution of these mechanisms. In low doses and due to its high diffusion and reactivity, NO functions as a signal molecule and is, for example, involved in the adjustment of blood pressure and in developmental processes. Higher concentrations are used by many animals as an immune response to kill pathogens. Although beewolf eggs produce enormous amounts of NO, they use the same enzymes, NO synthases, which are also used by other organisms. Also, the responsible NO synthase gene in beewolves does not have any special characteristics. However, the researchers found a modification in the translation of the gene into the protein, which may be responsible for the unusually high synthesis rate of NO in beewolf eggs. “Due to so-called alternative splicing the enzyme in the beewolf eggs lacks a segment which may be responsible for regulation. This may have led to the significant increase in enzyme activity,” says Dr. Tobias Engl, the second main author of the publication.

The use of a reactive gas to control mold on food supplies has improved survival of beewolf offspring considerably and represents an evolutionary key invention. This novel defense mechanism against microorganisms is a fascinating example of how existing processes are modified in the course of evolution in such a way that completely new functions are generated. The discovery of NO as a key defense component against mold fungi increases the spectrum of natural antimicrobial strategies and adds a surprising and intriguing facet to our understanding of this biologically important molecule

The most amazing aspect of the defense strategy of beewolf eggs is the fact that the eggs are obviously able to survive the extremely toxic conditions they produce themselves. Which mechanism the eggs deploy is the subject of current investigations. The results may not only be interesting for basic research, but also for possible applications in human medicine. A harmful overproduction of NO may also be the result of certain diseases or acute infections. The mechanisms that beewolf eggs use to protect themselves from NO may help to find new therapeutic approaches.

British Conservative austerity kills 131,000 people

This May 2013 video from the USA says about itself:

Austerity Kills: From Greece to U.S., Crippling Economic Policies Causing Global Health Crisis 1/2

In their new book, “The Body Economic: Why Austerity Kills”, economist David Stuckler and physician Sanjay Basu examine the health impacts of austerity across the globe. The authors estimate there have been more than 10,000 additional suicides and up to a million extra cases of depression across Europe and the United States since governments started introducing austerity programs in the aftermath of the economic crisis.

For example in Greece, where spending on public health has been slashed by 40 percent, HIV rates have jumped 200 percent and the country has seen its first malaria outbreak since the 1970s.

An economist and public health specialist, Stuckler is a senior research leader at Oxford University. Dr. Basu is a physician and epidemiologist who teaches at Stanford University. “Had austerity been organized like a clinical trial, it would’ve been discontinued given evidence of its deadly side effects,” Stuckler says. “There is an alternative choice that we found in the historical data and through the present recessions: When we place people and their health at the center of economic recovery, it can help get our economy back on track faster and yield lasting dividends to our society.”

This video is the sequel.

By Barry Mason in Britain:

Tory cuts result in 131,000 preventable deaths in the UK

12 June 2019

A reversal of public health initiatives has led to 130,000 preventable deaths since 2012. The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) think tank lays the blame on austerity measures pursued by the 2010 Conservative/Liberal Democrat government and continued by the Tory government of Theresa May.

The report’s title, “Ending the Blame Game”, is a critical reference to right-wing nostrums asserting that individual bad behaviour is responsible for health problems without any consideration of deteriorating social conditions.

The report notes that more than “half of the disease burden in England is deemed preventable, with one in five deaths attributed to causes that could have been avoided.”

The “disease burden has shifted away from infectious diseases to long-term chronic conditions… An estimated 15 million people in England live with a long-term condition for which there is no cure and the number of people living with multiple conditions is expected to rise significantly… [I]n many cases they are entirely preventable.”

The report noted the improvement in the UK’s ranking among 35 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries had slowed markedly since 2010. In fact, it had “hit a wall.” Between 1990 and 2010 the UK ranking for the number of disability-adjusted life years [the number of years lost due to ill-health, disability or early death] resulting from preventable illnesses rose from 26th to 17th position, but between 2010 and 2017 it rose by only one percent to 16th position. In terms of preventable deaths, the ranking improved from 29th in 1990 to 21st by 2010, but by 2017 this had slowed, with the ranking in 2017 at 20th.

The IPPR concluded that had the rate of improvement in cutting preventable deaths continued beyond 2012, 131,000 deaths from preventable causes would have been avoided.

The report highlights the role of austerity measures in this development, explaining that a “decade of austerity has resulted in cuts to public health, prevention and mental health budgets in the NHS [National Health Service], and wider national and local government services which help drive better health.”

Noting the importance of spending on preventative measures, the study adds “for every £1 [$US1.27] spent on prevention the median return is £14 [$US17.81].”

Highlighting the role of deteriorating social conditions, the IPPR argues, “Often the most vulnerable in society are at the greatest risk of developing preventable conditions through personal behaviour which is influenced by social pressures such as poverty or job insecurity… [M]any prevention policies continue to rely on the agency of the individual to make changes. This approach fails to recognise the vast range of social, environmental and commercial determinants of poor health.”

Dean Hochlaf, lead researcher and one of the authors of the report, told the Guardian, “We have seen progress in reducing preventable disease flatline since 2012. At the same time, local authorities have seen significant cuts to their public health budgets, which have severely impacted the capacity of preventative services. Social conditions for many have failed to improve since the economic crisis, creating a perfect storm that encourages harmful health behaviours. This health challenge will only continue to worsen.”

Cuts in funding for physical education in schools are impacting on children’s health outcomes. “Funding for physical education—supposedly coming from the sugar tax revenues—was reduced in 2017 from £415m to £100m.”

The workload of health visitors who give preschool children advice and monitor their health is too large for them to be able to deliver effective outcomes. Fully 40 percent of health visitors have caseloads above 400, when the recommended level is 250.

Responding to the IPPR report, Shirley Cramer, chief executive of the Royal Society for Public Health, said, “At the heart of this report’s worrying findings are the years of chronic underfunding experienced by public health teams … who provide vital services and support … [I]t undermines the future sustainability of our NHS.”

Ian Hudspeth, chairman of the Local Government Association Community Wellbeing Board, said that “prevention is the bedrock to a healthier, more equal and prosperous society. Focusing on early intervention and prevention… is the most effective use of local government and NHS resources to help people live longer… and reduce health inequalities.” He called on the government to reverse the £700 million reduction in public health grants to local councils.

In November last year, Professor Philip Alston, United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights investigated social conditions in the UK. In his final report issued in May this year, he concluded, “The bottom line is that much of the glue that has held British society together since the Second World War has been deliberately removed and replaced with a harsh and uncaring ethos.”

The IPPR findings follow a report published in November 2017 by a team of researchers at University College London (UCL). Details were published on the online medical journal BMJ Open. It noted, “The squeeze on public finances since 2010 is linked to nearly 120,000 excess deaths in England with the over 60s and care home residents bearing the brunt … The critical factor in these figures may be changes in nurse numbers (that could lead) to an additional 100 deaths every day from now on in.”

Between 2010 and 2014, real term spending on social care “has fallen by 1.19 percent every year… despite a significant projected increase in the numbers of over 85s—those most likely to need social care—from 1.6 million in 2015 to 1.8 million in 2020,” the researchers found.

Using data on death rates between 2011 and 2014, they compared them with projected trends in such rates that could have been expected had it not been for government spending cuts. They projected that by the year 2020 there would be around 200,000 excess deaths resulting from the spending cuts since 2010.

Figures released earlier this year by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries showed a six-month cut in life expectancy for UK adults. This is the largest fall since evidence emerged in 2010-11 of a slow-down in increased life-expectancy. Actuaries have concluded that the ongoing slowing of life expectancy represents “a trend as opposed to a blip.”

Sir Michael Marmot, Professor of Epidemiology at UCL, has been a leading authority on health inequalities for over four decades. Last month he addressed a packed meeting at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health in Boston, Massachusetts on health inequalities.

The institution’s website reported, “Something is very wrong in the United States and the United Kingdom… While the rich continue to enjoy good health and longer lives… the poor are getting sicker and dying younger.”

It continued, “Marmot said that it is social conditions surrounding poverty that cause health inequalities… [S]tressful experiences in childhood (can lead to) a lifetime of poor health outcomes … [O]ne of the ways that the root causes of health inequalities could be addressed would be to reduce childhood poverty. The US and UK have the financial capability to do so… [and] not doing it is a political decision.”

Commenting on declining life expectancy for the poor in both the UK and the US, Marmot told the meeting, “Social injustice is killing people on a grand scale.”

The above reports show how the financial crisis of 2008 has been used by the ruling elites in the UK, US and other leading capitalist economies to accelerate the destruction of social welfare and to greatly increase the wealth of the super-rich.

Monday, March 23, 2020: Call for probe into ‘early DWP deaths’. LABOUR MP Debbie Abrahams has warned of “growing evidence” that sick and disabled people in receipt of benefits have died prematurely. The former shadow work and pensions secretary called yesterday for an independent review to find out whether government “incompetence and cover-up” has left vulnerable claimants unprotected. She said that the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) should not be “marking its own homework” after it decided not to retain reviews linked to deaths and suicides of benefits claimants: here.

United States flight attendants’ uniforms cause illness

One of many United States flight attendants with irritated skin symptoms. Credit: AFA-CWA

By Brian Brown and Tom Hall in the USA:

US flight attendants speak out over uniforms that cause illness

12 June 2019

Body rashes. Burning throat and eyes. Coughing and headaches. These are just some of the medical symptoms American Airlines flight attendants have been dealing with since the rollout of new uniforms for more than 70,000 airline employees in September 2016.

Many Delta Air Lines workers are reporting similar health issues with their work uniforms, which were produced by a different manufacturer.

“They rolled out three years ago, and when I opened the box, this awful fishy, chemical smell hit me,” one American Airlines flight attendant told the World Socialist Web Site.

“I washed everything several times. My house stunk. I tried to wear it, and it gave me rashes, headaches, chest tightening, dry cough,” she continued. “I figured out it was the uniform. I quit wearing it and was better, but if I was around others wearing the uniform, I got the symptoms. I would get rashes on my chest, neck and arms. I wore the skirt that was lined. My arms would get a rash because they would brush against the skirt. It’s been going on three years.”

After discussing her symptoms with co-workers, she realized that her physical ailments were widespread and that their uniforms were likely the cause. “We just sort of figured it out. That was the only common denominator, and you felt better when you took it off within an hour,” she said. Over 5,000 American Airlines employees have filed complaints that their uniforms have made them ill.

The company is preparing to replace the uniforms with those provided by a different supplier. However, this change will not be completed until 2022. In the meantime, American Airlines is allowing workers who experienced illness to choose alternative clothing until the new line of uniforms is completed sometime in 2022. However, uniforms from the new manufacturer, Lands’ End, have been the source of almost identical complaints from flight attendants at Delta.

American Airlines and the company that supplied the uniforms—Twin Hill, a subsidiary of the company Tailored Brands, which also owns clothing outlets Men’s Wearhouse and Jos. A. Bank—have stated, “The uniforms are safe and designed with the appropriate levels of chemicals used to sustain the quality of the work uniforms.” American Airlines insists that its uniforms are safe to wear and have spent millions on tests to prove that the uniforms are safe.

Twin Hill has been dealing with lawsuits from other airline industry workers making similar complaints about the safety of their uniforms. Around 10 percent of employees at Alaska Airlines reported adverse reactions when it rolled out Twin Hill uniforms in 2011. Alaska Airlines later dropped Twin Hill as its uniform vendor, but not before flight attendants filed a lawsuit against Twin Hill in 2013. A similar suit by American Airlines flight attendants filed last year is still pending.

Independent studies have found high levels of carcinogenic material in the uniforms’ fabric. However, the Association of Professional Flight Attendants (APFA) union conducted its own research on the uniforms and found that one piece of the uniform, a collar, was found to have levels of cadmium higher than the acceptable textile industry standard. The APFA’s test also determined the uniforms contain formaldehyde, nickel, and tetrachlorophenol, a corrosive chemical known to cause eye irritation.

A Harvard study from 2017 also found a high correlation between the introduction of Twin Hill uniforms at Alaska Airlines and self-reported symptoms such as rashes and irritated skin, shortness of breath and blurred vision.

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), a unit of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, issued a health hazard evaluation of symptomatic reactions believed to be tied to uniforms supplied to the tens of thousands of American Airlines employees.

“We are the new Radium Girls,” Heather Poole, a flight attendant and published author who has detailed working conditions facing flight attendants, told the World Socialist Web Site. This refers to female factory workers in the early 20th century poisoned by the radioactive material in the self-luminous paint they used to paint watch dials. The companies lied to their workforce, claiming the paint was harmless, even as their employees suffered from anemia, necrosis of the jaw and other symptoms of radiation poisoning.

Heather Poole, American Airlines flight attendant. Credit: Heather Poole

“It took them years to get sick, so the company would deny responsibility. But they had tumors on their faces and other horrific injuries. Their bones would disintegrate from the inside out and their jaws would fall off. And the company was able to legally deny it when it was so obvious. It was mostly women workers, who considered it a highly desirable job. It’s the same with us.

“You have to understand that these uniforms are not resale clothing. At Lands’ End, the shirt you wear is not the same as my uniform. That’s part of our problem because the airline, in public statements, compares our uniforms to retail items by the same companies. But they put chemicals like formaldehyde in our uniforms, and a lot of other things we don’t know about, to make it durable.”

Heather took medical leave in August 2018 after she began to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath, elevated heart rate and fatigue. “Then I started having anxiety. I almost dreaded going to the airport. Why was I having these feelings? And this young flight attendant said that the heart monitor on her watch saw heart-rate spikes.”

She says that, to her knowledge, not a single worker has successfully obtained workers’ compensation benefits due to adverse reactions to their uniforms. American Airlines uses the infamous claims administration company Sedgwick to handle its workers’ comp cases. The World Socialist Web Site has interviewed Delta flight attendants and Amazon workers who have suffered serious workplace injuries only to be systematically denied care by Sedgwick and even harassed by Sedgwick’s private detectives.

“Sedgwick spins it by claiming that it is just allergies, meaning they don’t have to cover it,” Heather said. “How do you find a doctor? When you do, how does he know what the chemicals are when the company keeps insisting it is safe?

“The union is doing nothing,” she added. “They are just counting numbers. Twin Hill got to them, I think, because they are not helpful at all anymore.”

The widespread health problems reported by airline workers come in the context of a regime of brutal cost-cutting and exploitation by management at major air carriers, the result of years of consolidation and layoffs in the industry. Delta Air Lines recently was exposed attempting to lock a flight crew into their aircraft as it sat at the gate. The crew was approaching the company’s maximum duty hours, the most they can be required to work without a break.

Fearing a delay or cancellation if the crew insisted on taking their break, and without a backup crew available, Delta management instructed the gate agent to keep the door to the jet bridge closed.

“A lot of flight attendants are afraid to speak,” Heather said. “They will just fire you. It’s like an abusive relationship. Because of seniority, you don’t just start over where you left off, you start off at the bottom at less than $20,000 per year. If you speak out, they’ll find a reason to fire you. There are so many loopholes that it’s easy to fire.

“At first, I felt so hopeless. I felt like, ‘they’re just going to get away with it.’ But I decided to publicize it. Every day I write about it and tweet about it. My co-workers hear me and are going to learn about it. Before social media, they could bury this kind of stuff. Now, they can’t make it disappear.

“It’s criminal what they’re doing and they think they can get away with it, and they have for so long. But then it gets to be too big. And then they get caught. They’ve gotten so cocky they can’t cover it up anymore.”

Are you an airline worker, flight attendant or a pilot facing poor working conditions or health issues? Contact us to tell your story.

Flight attendants from Taiwan’s EVA Air are on strike demanding higher wages as well as a reduction in long working hours. The action is just one of numerous walkouts and protests being held by airline and airport workers around the world in response to attacks on wages and working conditions in one of the most globally interconnected industries in the world: here.

11,000 US airline catering workers vote for strike: here.

Fish eats baby alligator, video

This 11 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Baby Gator v. Fish | Predator in Paradise

When a baby alligator swims away from its mother, it encounters an unexpected fate.

Restricted oxygen during early life development might result in lasting heart damage for many creatures, but not for alligators. Low oxygen doesn’t hurt their hearts; it makes them stronger: here.

Corporate Democrat warmongering in the USA

This 11 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

[Presidential candidate] Tulsi [Gabbard] lit up this Iowa Dem[ocratic party] event with the TRUTH

We must bend the arc of history away from war & toward peace, prosperity, opportunity, & justice for all.

I will take the $ now WASTED on regime change wars, new cold war & nuclear war, & invest in: Medicare for all. Protect the environment. Education. Rebuild infrastructure and more.

By Andre Damon in the USA:

Democratic candidates demand the US prepare to fight the “wars of the future”

12 June 2019

As the Trump administration intensifies the conflict with China and rearms the US military in preparation for “great power” conflict, the leading Democratic candidates are lining up to demonstrate their commitment to America’s “wars of the future”.

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the Democratic frontrunner and the fourth-ranked candidate, respectively, gave speeches on foreign policy Tuesday, positioning themselves as more aggressive and reliable stewards of the US-China conflict than Trump.

The two right-wing Democrats spoke bluntly about a potential US war with China, safe in the knowledge that the US media would bury their war-mongering threats beneath the inane campaign sound bites by means of which it transforms politics into a series of personal insults and platitudes.

“Our military capabilities exist for a reason… we stand ready to use force,” Buttigieg declared, adding that the US must prepare for the “wars of the future.”

Calling China a “threat”, Biden, speaking in Davenport, Iowa, said, “We are in a competition with China. We need to get tough with China. They are a serious challenge to us.” The former vice president criticized Trump for alienating US allies and said as president he would “build a united front of allies to challenge” China, adding, “We need to rally more than half the world’s economy to hold China to account.”

Last month, Biden was attacked by sections of the US national security establishment … when he criticized Trump’s single-minded focus on confronting China. “China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man,” he said. “I mean, you know, they’re not bad folks, folks… they’re not competition for us.”

At the time, national security analyst Gordon Chang condemned Biden’s remarks, declaring them “inexplicable, absolutely incorrect.” …

Biden’s declaration Tuesday that China is a “threat” to the United States is just the latest manifestation of the emerging bipartisan consensus within the American political establishment that the United States must intensify all aspects of the economic, technological and military confrontation with the nuclear-armed country of 1.3 billion people.

It confirms the statements of Steve Bannon, the far-right ideologue credited with masterminding Trump’s 2016 victory, that a Democratic president would be just as aggressive against China as Trump. “The China relationship is going to be the central theme of this election of 2020”, Bannon told the South China Morning Post last month. “The person who wins the election, be it a Democrat or not, will be as big or a bigger hawk than Donald Trump… The Democrats are just as hard on this as the Republicans.”

As Robert Daly of the Kissinger Institute on China told the newspaper, “There is a bipartisan consensus that China is America’s greatest long-term strategic challenge.”

But an even more unvarnished—and more chilling—statement about the implications of the US-China conflict came from Buttigieg, the former naval intelligence officer and current small city mayor who has inexplicably skyrocketed in the opinion polls to the top ranks of Democratic candidates.

Speaking Tuesday at Indiana University, Buttigieg said the United States has set its “defense spending priorities based on the wars of the past rather than the wars of the future,” making clear that, were he elected president, he would make sure that the US was prepared to fight these future wars.

America, he said, must “refocus on future threats”, adding, “Our military capabilities exist for a reason… we stand ready to use force.”

He implied that Trump was insufficiently aggressive toward North Korea, declaring that “you will not see me exchanging love letters on White House letterhead with a brutal dictator.” To underscore the point, he said, “Sanctions must remain in place.”

Turning to China, he said, “Meeting the challenge of China means maintaining investments in the military.”

The most chilling part of his foreign policy speech was his statement that a common external enemy would serve as the basis for “national unity” and the “battle” at home. “The new China challenge provides us with an opportunity to come together across the political divide”, he said. “At least half the battle is at home.”

He called for “revitalizing” America’s intelligence services so they can engage in “spreading the right kinds of information”, and stressed the need to “disseminate truth” by “bridging private and public sectors”.

The promotion by state intelligence agencies of what they judge to be the “right kinds of information” is more commonly known as state propaganda, and their efforts to “combat falsehoods” are more commonly known as censorship.

This is the language of war and dictatorship. It makes clear that the danger to the working class comes not just from Trump, but from the political and economic system that spawned him and all of the system’s representatives.

American capitalism, having engaged in over a quarter century of wars all over the world, is making preparations for a massive “great power” conflict with China, to be accompanied by an increasingly open turn to dictatorship and censorship at home.

The Democrats argue merely that they would take a “smarter” and more “strategic” approach to this conflict than Trump, who, according to Buttigieg, thinks “all that matters is the import-export balance on dishwashers.”

The inevitable and inescapable conclusion is that no struggle against Trump is possible on the basis of any connection to … the intelligence officer Buttigieg to the old war-monger Biden.