Saudi arms sales illegal, British court decides


Andrew Smith, spokesperson for Campaign Against Arms Trade in Britain, speaks to the media outside the Royal Courts of Justice, London, after they won a landmark legal challenge at the Court of Appeal over the Government's decision to continue to allow arms sales to Saudi Arabia

By Ceren Sagir in Britain:

Thursday, June 20, 2019

The government broke the law over its arms sales to the Saudis, court rules

Campaign Against the Arms Trade, represented by solicitors Leigh Day, brought legal action against International Trade Secretary Liam Fox

VICTORY was declared by anti-arms trade campaigners today as a British court ruled that the government broke the law over its sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.

The Court of Appeal in London decided to overturn a 2017 high court judgement that allowed the government to continue licensing the export of arms to Saudi Arabia that may be used against Yemen.

After today’s judgement the government announced that it has stopped approving the sale of weapons that could be used in Yemen.

International Trade Secretary Liam Fox said the government would challenge the ruling but suspended new export licences for Saudi Arabia and its coalition partners amid an internal review.

Campaign Against Arms Trade (CAAT), represented by solicitors Leigh Day, brought legal action against Mr Fox in April.

CAAT spokesman Andrew Smith welcomed the verdict but said it “should never have taken a court case brought by campaigners to force the government to follow its own rules.

The Saudi Arabian regime is one of the most brutal and repressive in the world, yet, for decades, it has been the largest buyer of UK-made arms.

“No matter what atrocities it has inflicted, the Saudi regime has been able to count on the uncritical political and military support of the UK.

The bombing has created the worst humanitarian crisis in the world. UK arms companies have profited every step of the way.”

Mr Smith said that the war could not have been possible without British arms sales, despite public opposition, and said campaigners hope the decision sends a message to other governments that they “can’t get away with this.”

The legal action was based on reports that Saudi forces had violated international humanitarian law (IHL) in their ongoing assault on Yemen.

The law states that export licences should not be granted if there is a clear risk the equipment might be used in a serious violation of IHL.

While announcing the court’s decision, Master of the Rolls Sir Terence Etherton said the government “made no concluded assessments of whether the Saudi-led coalition had committed violations of international humanitarian law in the past, during the Yemen conflict, and made no attempt to do so.”

Leigh Day solicitor Rosa Curling said the “horrors” witnessed in Yemen can no longer be ignored by the British government.

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle, who sits on the House of Commons committee on arms export controls, spoke outside the court to demand a public inquiry into the sales of arms to the Saudi regime.

Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry said: “This devastating judgement proves everything Labour has been saying for years: that ministers have wilfully disregarded the evidence that Saudi Arabia was violating international humanitarian law in Yemen while nevertheless continuing to supply them with weapons.

“What we now need is a full parliamentary or public inquiry to find out how that was allowed to happen and which ministers were responsible for those breaches of the law.

“This also shows beyond doubt why we need the root-and-branch reform of our arms export rules that Labour has promised, so these decisions are never again made by ministers in such a careless, reckless and arbitrary way.”

War Child’s Rocco Blume said: “This landmark ruling shows the UK government has failed Yemen’s children.

“As the UK continues to seek to make a name for itself on the international stage post-Brexit, now is the time to stand up for the very rules and guidelines that we claim to uphold.”

A Downing Street spokeswoman said the government was “disappointed” with the judgement and was seeking permission to appeal.

Netherlands, Canada, Cameroon women continue World Cup football


This 19 June 2019 Dutch video is about the Dutch women’s football team travelling to Reims in France for the 20 June match against Canada.

Canada is #5 in the FIFA ranking, the Netherlands #9. So maybe one might expect Canada to win.

However, the Netherlands won, two goals to one. The first goal was by Anouk Dekker. Then, Canadian Christine Sinclair equalized. Finally, Lineth Beerensteyn made the winning goal.

This video is the summary of the match.

To celebrate, here are two videos about Dutch birds.

This 2015 video is about Texel island birds.

This 2012 video is called Bird Pool Visitors Veluwe.

And this one about Canadian birds.

It is a June 2019 video about a Baltimore oriole singing in Canada.

This means that both teams will continue to the knockout part of the tournament.

This Tuesday, the Netherlands will play against Japan in Rennes.

Not only the Dutch ‘orange lionesses’ will continue for the World Cup.

In the same group, Cameroon, the ‘indomitable lionesses‘ reached the number three spot, also enough for qualifying for the knockout matches, by beating New Zealand 2-1; by a goal in the very last second of the match.

This video is the summary of that match.

To celebrate, two videos about Cameroon birds.

This 2008 video is called African Grey Parrots waking up in Cameroon.

This 2017 video is about the Grey-necked picathartes in Cameroon.

And one about New Zealand birds.

This 2014 video is called The world’s cutest animal? – Baby Kiwi.

Narwhals, belugas can interbreed, new research


This September 2018 video says about itself:

Belugas adopt wayward narwhal in Canadian waters

A lonely narwhal finds majestic company in Canadian waters. Having strayed far from its Arctic habitat, the juvenile managed to join a pod of belugas.

From the University of Copenhagen in Denmark:

Narwhals and belugas can interbreed

June 20, 2019

A team of University of Copenhagen researchers has compiled the first and only evidence that narwhals and beluga whales can breed successfully. DNA and stable isotope analysis of an anomalous skull from the Natural History Museum of Denmark has allowed researchers to confirm the existence of a narwhal-beluga hybrid.

For nearly thirty years, a strange-looking whale skull has gathered dust in the collections of the Natural History Museum of Denmark. Now, a team of researchers has determined the reason for the skull’s unique characteristics: it belongs to a narwhal-beluga hybrid.

A Greenlandic hunter shot the whale in the 1980’s and was puzzled by its odd appearance. He therefore kept the skull and placed it on the roof of his toolshed. Several years later, Professor Mads Peter Heide-Jørgensen of the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources visited the settlement and also immediately recognized the skull’s strange characteristics. He interviewed the hunter about the anomalous whale he had shot, and sent the skull to Copenhagen. Since then, it has been stored at the Zoological Museum, a part of the Natural History Museum of Denmark.

“As far as we know, this is the first and only evidence in the world that these two Arctic whale species can interbreed. Based on the intermediate shape of the skull and teeth, it was suggested that the specimen might be a narwhal-beluga hybrid, but this could not be confirmed. Now we provide the data that confirm that yes — it is indeed a hybrid,” says Eline Lorenzen, evolutionary biologist and curator at the University of Copenhagen’s Natural History Museum of Denmark. Lorenzen led the study, which was published today in Scientific Reports.

Using DNA and stable isotope analysis, the scientists determined that the skull belonged to a male, first-generation hybrid between a female narwhal and male beluga.

Bizarre set of chops

The hybrid’s skull was considerably larger than that of a typical narwhal or beluga. But the teeth were markedly different. Whereas narwhals have only one or rarely two long spiraling tusks, belugas have a set of uniform conical teeth that are aligned in straight rows. The hybrid skull has a set of long, spiraling and pointed teeth, that are angled horizontally.

“This whale has a bizarre set of teeth. The isotope analysis allowed us to determine that the animal’s diet was entirely different than that of a narwhal or beluga — and it is possible that its teeth influenced its foraging strategy. Whereas the other two species fed in the water column, the hybrid was a bottom dweller”, according to Mikkel Skovrind, a PhD student at the Natural History Museum and first author of the paper.

The researchers do not know what prompted the two species to mate, but it suggests a new phenomenon:

“We have analyzed the nuclear genomes of a narwhal and a beluga, but see no evidence of interbreeding for at least the past 1.25 million years of their evolutionary histories. So, interbreeding between the species appears to be either a very rare or a new occurrence. To my knowledge, it has not been observed or recorded before,” says Eline Lorenzen.

Gems among the museum collections

Lorenzen points out that she and her colleagues used novel analytical methods that have only recently been developed.

“There are some true gems in the world’s natural history collections that can provide us with key insights into the evolution and diversity of life on Earth. It is incredible when material — such as this skull, which has been stored in our collection for decades — can be revisited with new methodologies to gain novel biological insights” says Eline Lorenzen.

Mikkel Skovrind adds: “It would be interesting to find out if similar hybrid whales have been spotted elsewhere.”

FACTS:

  • By extracting DNA from the anomalous whale skull and comparing it to a genetic reference panel of narwhal and beluga, researchers established the whale’s genomic affiliation.
  • Researchers analyzed reference stocks of narwhal and beluga for stable isotopes and compared these with isotope values from the hybrid skull. By measuring bone carbon and nitrogen concentrations, researchers were able to discern whether the whale’s diet consisted of food from the water column or from the sea floor. The isotopes demonstrated that the hybrid whale’s dietary choices were very different than those of either narwhal or beluga.
  • Narwhals and belugas are the only toothed whales endemic to the Arctic region. While they are each other’s closest relatives and roughly equal in size, the two species differ in their morphology and behaviour. The narwhal is characterized by its long, spiraled tusk and has a greyish-brown, mottled pigmentation, whereas belugas have two rows of uniform teeth, and adults are completely white. Narwhals are specialists when it comes to dietary choice, and belugas are generalists.
  • The research is a collaboration between the Natural History Museum of Denmark at the University of Copenhagen, the Greenland Institute of Natural Resources and the Department of Anthropology, Trent University (CA).
  • The research is supported by the Carlsberg Foundation, the Villum Fonden Young Investigator programme and the Canada Research Chair programme.

British Conservatives ally with Spanish Franco fascists


This 30 May 2019 video says about itself:

Inside Spain’s far-right battleground: ‘When Franco was alive, it was safer

Vox became the first far-right party to win more than a single seat in Spain’s parliament since the Franco era when it won 24 in the general election. Last week, it fought its first mayoral campaign in El Ejido, a town in Andalucía with a population of 90,000 people, 30% of whom are migrants. Many of them work in the 150 square miles of greenhouses that surround the town. We follow the campaign and talk to Spaniards and migrants.

The recent European elections were a disaster for the British Conservative party of, basically already ex-, Prime Minister Theresa May. They have only four members of the European parliament (MEPs) left. Still, these MPs are members of the international European Conservatives and Reformists caucus in the parliament.

From the euobserver site, 19 June 2019:

Spain’s far-right Vox joins ECR group

The three MEPs elected on the list of Spanish far-right party Vox joined the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), the … group announced on Wednesday. It said ECR now consisted of 62 MEPs from 15 EU countries, down from 70 in the previous five-year parliamentary period. The ECR, previously the third-largest group, looks set to be the sixth-largest group, falling behind [the Christian democrats, the social democrats,] the liberals, greens, and the … ID group.

The ID group is the caucus of French neo-fascist leader Marine Le Pen.

Apparently, the British Conservatives are happy to be in the same caucus as the admirers of Spanish dictator Franco of Vox. That is not totally surprising. As the British Tories used to be in a caucus with the Latvian Waffen SS of Adolf Hitler.

Not all European right-wingers are happy with the Vox neo-fascists. The Belgian Nieuw-Vlaamse Alliantie (N-VA; right-wingers, but not as far-right as that other party in Flanders, Vlaams Belang), according to Belgian daily De Standaard today, did not want Vox to join the European Conservatives and Reformists caucus. The feelings of dislike are very mutual. ‘We would love N-VA not to be there’, a Vox spokesman said.

This is because Vox wants violent repression of the Catalan people, like happened in the ‘good old days’ of Franco. While the N-VA favours Catalan independence.

Vox are not the only extreme rightists now becoming the political friends of the British Conservatives. Also in the ECR are now three MEPs of the Dutch FvD party. FvD leader Thierry Baudet is inspired by French anti-Semite and ex-MEP Jean-Marie Le Pen, and by United States racist Jared Taylor. The Dutch Christian Union did not want to be in the same caucus as the FvD. The Christian Union is one of the four parties in the Dutch right-wing coalition government. Though right-wing (anti-abortion, anti-equal marriage for LGBTQ people), Thierry Baudet’s blatant xenophobia goes too far for them. So, they left the ECR caucus.

Rare pink grasshopper, photo


Pink grasshopper

This photo, by 1968Tj from the Netherlands, shows a grasshopper which officially should have been green, but is pink.

That colour condition is called erythrism. It occurs rarely, also in, eg, rabbits, snakes, frogs and birds’ eggs.

It is a bit similar to melanism making a ‘grey’ seal a black seal.

Or to a supposedly black blackbird being white or whitish because of albinism or leucism.

German secret police spying on punk rockers


This live music video, recorded on 28 February 2015 in Hamburg, Germany, shows a concert by punk rock band Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch.

The word ‘Undeutsch’ in the name of the band, meaning ‘un-German’ was what nazis during the Hitler era called opponents of nazism.

By Martin Nowak in Germany:

Punk band files lawsuit against surveillance by German intelligence agency

20 June 2019

Last week, the German punk band Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch filed a lawsuit against the Saxony State Office for the Protection of the Constitution (the German domestic intelligence agency at the state level, LfV). The injunction seeks to ensure that the 2018 intelligence agency report, which lists the band in the category “left-wing extremist music scene”, “can no longer be published in this form.”

The band, based in the eastern German state of Saxony, justified its lawsuit by arguing that it was not clear “how our music infringed on the freedom of art and made us enemies of democracy.” The band also states in its press release: “What is obvious, however, is that this classification criminalises us and will be used by the authorities to make it harder for us to obtain venues, hosts and concert promoters.”

The press release refers to the disproportionate deployment of police at the band’s concerts and the fact that organisers are pressured on a regular basis to cancel concerts by Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch, or concerts are cancelled for no good reason. This took place most recently in Leubsdorf, near where the band is based in Grünhainichen, when the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) mayor canceled an entire Alternative Rock Night concert.

The LfV has included the “left-wing extremist music scene” in its reports since 2015. In the current report, eleven bands are named. Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch was first mentioned in 2017. The LfV in Bavaria also listed the band for the first time in its 2017 report, although it has only played two concerts in the south German state.

The Saxon “constitution protection” report for 2018 had already hit the headlines prior to the punk band’s lawsuit, after it accused the organisers of an anti-Nazi concert, attended by 70,000 people in Chemnitz following riots by far rightists, of giving left-wing “extremists” a platform to spread “their extremist ideology to non-extremists.” The report cited as proof for its claims shouts by the crowd of “Alerta, alerta Antifascista.”

In a similar manner, the report indicts Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch for its anti-fascist stance, its opposition to repression and its alleged “rejection of the democratic constitutional state.” The report offers as evidence lyrics from the song “Punk” from 2017 (no longer on the market) which ended: “I hate the system. I hate this state.”

“Upon closer examination of the individual who is president of the Saxon State Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Mr. Gordian Meyer-Plath”, the band writes, “it quickly becomes clear why above all in Saxony, there is alleged to have been an above-average growth of left-wing extremist music. The former undercover agent in charge of the NSU [neo-fascist National Socialist Underground]
Carsten Szczepanski, alias Piatto, remains up until today one reason why a thorough and proper review of the NSU murder series seems almost impossible.” Between 2000–2007 the National Socialist Underground carried out a series of ten murders and numerous bank robberies under the noses of and possibly in collaboration with German intelligence agencies.

The fact that the LfV president Meyer-Plath is also a member of the Marchia fraternity, which until 2011 was affiliated to the far-right umbrella organisation, German Fraternity, the band points out, demonstrates that he “is not exactly a democratic role model.”

The public prosecutor in Potsdam is currently examining whether to take action against the Saxon LfV president for making false statements. Meyer-Plath, who had previously worked for the Brandenburg state intelligence agency, was interviewed in April 2018 by the NSU investigation committee of the Brandenburg state parliament regarding his role in the case of neo-Nazi and undercover agent Szczepanski.

The Left Party chairman of the investigation committee, Volkmar Schöneburg, accuses Meyer-Plath of having helped the neo-Nazi, who has been convicted of attempted murder, to produce a magazine for the militant Nazi scene while in prison. Meyer-Plath denied the claim that he had exchanged mail with relaxed safety rules with “Piatto”. Schöneburg told the Tagesspiegel newspaper that Meyer-Plath’s version of events had been refuted by documents and statements by prison staff.

Szczepanski, a former functionary of the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD), also participated in establishing the Ku Klux Klan in Germany. Meyer Plath is alleged to have passed on information to Szczepanski relating to weapons procurement and raids planned by the NSU terror gang. In order to protect his undercover agent, Meyer Plath allegedly did not forward this same information to the police.

The action undertaken by the state office of constitution protection against Dr. Ulrich Undeutsch is an attack on basic democratic rights and, above all, on the freedom of expression and art. The band’s lawsuit should be supported.

The Socialist Equality Party (SGP) is suing the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, which illegally classified the party in its 2017 report as “left-wing extremist” and therefore subject to surveillance. The criminalisation of antifascism, criticism of capitalism and state repression, as the SGP writes, is “a component of government policy that is increasingly based on authoritarian forms of rule and the reliance on right-wing extremist forces so as to enforce militarist policies, the strengthening of the repressive state apparatus and attacks on social spending, and to suppress all opposition that emerges.”

Germany’s Verfassungsschutz Secret Service was abusing its “constitutional role in a legally impermissible manner” when it “stigmatises criticism of the capitalist system and the advocacy of its overcoming as ‘anti-constitutional’,” declared a legal brief submitted to the Berlin District Court by the German Socialist Equality Party (SGP) on 30 July: here.

Cambrian life explosion, because of volcanoes?


This 2016 video says about itself:

Right at the beginning of the Paleozoic, there was a huge explosion of more complex life. And that’s when things started to get really interesting.

From the University of Exeter in England:

Plate tectonics may have driven ‘Cambrian Explosion’

June 19, 2019

The quest to discover what drove one of the most important evolutionary events in the history of life on Earth has taken a new, fascinating twist.

A team of scientists have given a fresh insight into what may have driven the “Cambrian Explosion” — a period of rapid expansion of different forms of animal life that occurred over 500 million years ago.

While a number of theories have been put forward to explain this landmark period, the most credible is that it was fuelled by a significant rise in oxygen levels which allowed a wide variety of animals to thrive.

The new study suggests that such a rise in oxygen levels was the result of extraordinary changes in global plate tectonics.

During the formation of the supercontinent ‘Gondwana’, there was a major increase in continental arc volcanism — chains of volcanoes often thousands of miles long formed where continental and oceanic tectonic plates collided. This in turn led to increased ‘degassing’ of CO2 from ancient, subducted sedimentary rocks.

This, the team calculated, led to an increase in atmospheric CO2 and warming of the planet, which in turn amplified the weathering of continental rocks, which supplied the nutrient phosphorus to the ocean to drive photosynthesis and oxygen production.

The study was led by Josh Williams, who began the research as an MSc student at the University of Exeter and is now studying for a PhD at the University of Edinburgh.

During his MSc project he used a sophisticated biogeochemical model to make the first quantification of changes in atmospheric oxygen levels just prior to this explosion of life.

Co-author and project supervisor Professor Tim Lenton, from the University of Exeter’s Global Systems Institute said: “One of the great dilemmas originally recognised by Darwin is why complex life, in the form of fossil animals, appeared so abruptly in what is now known as the Cambrian explosion.

“Many studies have suggested this was linked to a rise in oxygen levels — but without a clear cause for such a rise, or any attempt to quantify it.”

Not only did the model predict a marked rise in oxygen levels due to changes in plate tectonic activity, but that rise in oxygen — to about a quarter of the level in today’s atmosphere — crossed the critical levels estimated to be needed by the animals seen in the Cambrian explosion.

Williams added: “What is particularly compelling about this research is that not only does the model predict a rise in oxygen to levels estimated to be necessary to support the large, mobile, predatory animal life of the Cambrian, but the model predictions also show strong agreement with existing geochemical evidence.”

“It is remarkable to think that our oldest animal ancestors — and therefore all of us — may owe our existence, in part, to an unusual episode of plate tectonics over half a billion years ago” said Professor Lenton.

Trump, Biden, racism and billionaires


This 19 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump parrots Fox hosts in 2020 campaign speech

During his 60th rally as president, Donald Trump said, “Our radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice, and rage. They want to destroy you, and they want to destroy our country as we know it.” This rhetoric directly mirrors what Fox News personalities regularly say.

Before Trump spoke at that Florida rally, there was his religious adviser, televangelist Paula White.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Trump kicks off 2020 presidential campaign with fascistic rally

While Biden pledges to protect billionaires

20 June 2019

The campaign rally held by President Trump Tuesday night in Orlando, Florida, marked the semi-official beginning ofthe 2020 election campaign, an eighteen-month contest between the two right-wing parties that exercise a political monopoly in the United States.

The Trump rally featured the fascistic appeals to nationalism and anti-immigrant chauvinism that have been the hallmark of his political activity since he launched his first campaign for the Republican presidential nomination four years ago.

But today, unlike 2015, Trump appeared at the Orlando rally as the unchallenged leader of the Republican Party. Surrounded by the trappings of the presidency, demonizing both the media and his Democratic Party opponents, Trump appeared to be bidding for the role of Führer rather than seeking to win a majority of votes in a democratic election.

In a typically meandering and incoherent presentation, riddled with lies, exaggerations and vicious slanders, Trump vilified immigrants, attacked the media (whose reporters at the rally he denounced repeatedly, prompting catcalls and threats from his supporters), and denounced the Democratic Party, which he described as “radical”, “un-American”, “socialist”, “extreme”, “depraved”, and guilty of “the greatest betrayal of the American middle class, and, frankly, American life.”

When he said, at one point, “Our Radical Democrat opponents are driven by hatred, prejudice and rage”, he was clearly engaged in projection. He spent much of the speech re-fighting the 2016 elections, rehashing three-year-old attacks on Hillary Clinton and encouraging chants of “lock her up” from the crowd.

Anyone who takes politics seriously would conclude from this speech that Trump will treat victory in 2020 as a mandate to eliminate opposition, even from the right-wing, conservative and pro-capitalist perspective of the Democratic Party. This is the ominous implication of his closing declaration, “We are one movement, one people, one family and one glorious nation under God.”

The tendency to authoritarianism is expressed most nakedly in Trump’s constant appeals to the police and military, which began as early as his inauguration, when uniformed troops suddenly lined up behind him to form a military backdrop as he was giving his address.

In Orlando, Trump called on his supporters to attend the Fourth of July celebration in Washington, which for the first time in modern history has been commandeered by the White House to serve as a political platform for the president. Trump is set to deliver a televised address before the fireworks, using the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the National Mall as props in staging his latest effort at self-glorification.

Significantly, Trump said nothing at all about the 2018 elections, which saw record turnout for a midterm election and resulted in a resounding defeat for the Republican Party, which lost control of the House of Representatives for the first time in eight years. Trump has effectively refused to acknowledge the outcome of the 2018 vote, defying congressional authority now that it is in the hands of the Democrats, and ordering his aides to ignore subpoenas, refuse to testify and withhold documents from the House of Representatives.

Trump has flatly denied that he is trailing in opinion polls projecting the vote in 2020, and last week fired three of his own Republican polling firms when they produced results that confirmed the deep unpopularity of this administration. His Orlando speech was one more demonstration that he could well refuse to acknowledge the outcome of the 2020 vote if it goes against him. Only two days before the rally, he said in a tweet that his supporters might well demand that he stay in the White House after 2024—in defiance of the two-term limit set by the 22nd Amendment to the US Constitution.

Unlike 2016, when he made at least a limited appeal to the social anger arising from deindustrialization, economic decline and widespread social misery—particularly in industrial states like Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia—Trump goes into the 2020 election campaign proclaiming that conditions of life for masses of working people have never been so good.

In Orlando, his rapture over the economy had a delusional character. “Our country is now thriving, prospering and booming,” he said. “And frankly, it’s soaring to incredible new heights. Our economy is the envy of the world, perhaps the greatest economy we’ve had in the history of our country… Our future has never ever looked brighter or sharper.”

This is under conditions where the actual conditions of life for tens of millions of working people remain little changed from four years ago, and in many cases have deteriorated further, particularly for youth and young workers, the first generation in American history to live under far worse conditions than their parents.

Most dangerously for Trump, the past year has seen the beginning of a movement from below, initially among teachers and other public service workers, but now threatening to spread to masses of industrial workers with the expiration of contracts for 155,000 autoworkers in September. Any significant offensive by workers against corporate America will rapidly destroy Trump’s populist pretenses and expose him as a billionaire thug and enemy of the working class.

Trump has one political advantage: that his nominal opposition is the Democratic Party, just as committed to the defense of big business as the Republicans. Congressional Democrats have sought to divert all popular opposition to Trump in a right-wing direction through their campaign over alleged “Russian meddling” in the 2016 elections.

The one genuine note that sounded in Trump’s speech is when he accused the Democrats of spending the last two-and-a-half years seeking to overturn the results of the 2016 vote.

The Democrats have done so in alliance with a section of the military-intelligence apparatus which opposes Trump on foreign policy questions …

The name-calling and mudslinging between the Republicans and Democrats, frequently conducted at mind-numbing volume, serve to disguise their agreement on fundamentals: support for big business and the capitalist system; defending the worldwide interests of American imperialism; subservience to the military-police apparatus that is the ultimate guarantor of the wealth and property of the US ruling class.

The campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination has been underway for many months, but the first official event, a televised debate over two nights, takes place June 26–27 in Miami, Florida.

The Democratic frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, set the stage for the debate with a series of flagrantly right-wing comments: declaring that the only alternative to collaborating with Republicans was “physical revolution”; reminiscing fondly about his days in the Senate rubbing shoulders with segregationists like James Eastland and
Herman Talmadge, who treated him with respect (while they supported lynching and other brutalities);

This 19 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Biden Brags About Segregationist Ties

Joe Biden wants you to know that he loved working with segregationists. John Iadarola and Jayar Jackson break it down on The Damage Report.

This 19 June 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Joe Biden spoke at a fundraiser and reminded us just how out-of-touch he is. Ana Kasparian, Nando Vila, and Brooke Thomas, hosts of The Young Turks, break it down.

“Joe Biden, speaking at a fundraiser in New York on Tuesday night, fondly remembered the days he served in the Senate with James O. Eastland, a white supremacist Democrat from Mississippi.

The New York Times has this extraordinary description of his remarks: “I was in a caucus with James O. Eastland”, Mr. Biden said, slipping briefly into a Southern accent, according to a pool report from the fund-raiser. “He never called me ‘boy’, he always called me ‘son’.”

It’s not the first time Biden’s ties to Eastland, a man who called the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education a “monstrous crime”, have drawn scrutiny. As CNN has reported, as a young senator, Biden tried to enlist Eastland’s help in his fight to prevent busing in school desegregation. He also had this to say at a Doug Jones rally in 2017:”

Read more here.

The Patrick Martin article continues:

and telling an audience of financial backers in Manhattan that a Biden administration would protect the wealthy from popular anger fueled by widening economic inequality.

This 20 June 2019 video from the USA is called Joe Biden Says He Will Protect the Rich.

Biden’s remarks in Manhattan, where he held three fundraisers in a single evening, deserve attention because they demonstrate the class basis of the Democratic Party and show how Trump is able to use the prostration of the Democrats before Wall Street as part of his phony populist appeals.

“You know what I’ve found is rich people are just as patriotic as poor people,” Biden said. “Not a joke. I mean, we may not want to demonize anybody who has made money.” He went on to warn, however, “when we have income inequality as large as we have in the United States today, it brews and ferments political discord and basic revolution.”

Twice in as many days, the Democratic frontrunner has publicly raised the possibility of revolution in America. And every day, the Republican president declares that he is the bulwark against the spread of socialism in America.

Clearly what both parties fear most is that the emerging mass movement among working people will take on a clear socialist political direction and challenge the profit system, and the wealth and power of the ruling elite that both the Democrats and Republicans serve.

Take It From A Civil Liberties Professor – Trump And Hitler Have A Lot In Common: here.

Former Vice President Joe Biden came under increasing fire Wednesday and Thursday from his rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination, after he reiterated his comments about how he had valued working in the Senate with ultra-right segregationists like James Eastland of Mississippi and Herman Talmadge of Georgia, diehard defenders of Jim Crow: here.

BIDEN WON’T BUDGE ON COMMENTS ON SEGREGATIONISTS Despite scathing criticism from his Democratic 2020 rivals, former Vice President Joe Biden has refused to apologize for his remarks about working with unapologetically segregationist colleagues in the Senate. Biden told reporters he does not “have a racist bone” in his body and said Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) should be the one apologizing for suggesting otherwise. [HuffPost]

JOE BIDEN CALLED CORY BOOKER AFTER BOOKER SLAMMED BIDEN’S REMARKS ON SEGREGATIONISTS “Booker said privately what he said publicly,” a Democrat with knowledge of the call told HuffPost ― meaning the senator did not back off his criticism of Biden. [HuffPost]