How to put up a nest box in your garden

This March 2019 video from Britain says about itself:

How to put up a nest box in your garden

Want to attract more birds to your garden during the breeding season? Here’s my tips on how to put up a nest box.

This February 2017 video from Britain says about itself:

The Brushwood Robin Nester with Simon King

The Brushwood Robin Nester is an original design by Simon, who has used his knowledge of birds and robins in particular to create a habitat that is tailored to the nesting habits of the species. Unlike many other bird species, robins are known to prefer open fronted nesting spots and can be found building their nests in flowerpots, boxes and kettles! With this in mind, Simon King and Wildlife World created the Brushwood Nester to reflect this particular habit and create a beneficial habitat for the species, which doubles up as an attractive feature for gardens. The brushwood finish allows the nester to be hidden easily amongst foliage, or as an eye-catching focal point in a garden.

Costanera Sur, Argentina wildlife, one hour video

This video says about itself:

One hour raw ambient footage of some of the prettiest wildlife of the Reserva Ecologica Costanera Sur located in the city of Buenos Aires and around the International Airport Ezeiza of the Argentinian metropolis.

Footage was filmed in 4K UHD during the month of December [2018].

I was in this beautiful area many years ago.

Pedophilia billionaire Jeffrey Epstein’s death, still unsolved

This 29 August 2019 video says about itself:

In the United States, dozens of alleged victims of the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein have this week been telling their stories at a hearing in New York. They say they were sexually abused as part of a sex-trafficking ring orchestrated by Epstein … Although Epstein will never stand trial, the judge called for the hearing to go ahead in order to allow the victims to tell their stories.

By David Walsh in the USA:

Only one-third of Americans believe Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide—so why does the New York Times?

31 August 2019

According to Emerson College Polling, only one-third of Americans believe that financier and alleged sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein committed suicide August 10 at the Metropolitan Correction Center (MCC) in New York City. The survey, conducted August 24-26, found that 34 percent of those contacted believed Epstein was murdered, 33 percent believed he committed suicide and 32 percent were unsure.

The new poll essentially jibes with the results of a Rasmussen Reports poll carried out in the immediate aftermath of Epstein’s unexplained death. On August 14, Rasmussen indicated that 42 percent of Americans thought Epstein “was murdered to prevent him from testifying against powerful people with whom he associated,” while 29 percent thought he had killed himself and 29 percent were undecided.

Three weeks of US media propaganda to the effect that anyone who has doubts about the death is under the influence of “conspiracy theories” has only had a limited effect. A stubborn percentage of the population continues to be skeptical about the “official story”. As the German writer Bertolt Brecht wrote under very different circumstances, “Would it not be easier / In that case for the government / To dissolve the people / And elect another?”

In any event, even as portions of the media, out of one side of their mouths, so to speak, have worked assiduously to convince everyone that Epstein’s death was “indisputably” a suicide, out of the other, they have acknowledged important details that only serve to undermine the preferred version of events.

The latter include the fact that Epstein suffered multiple broken bones in his neck more frequently associated with strangulation than hanging, that strict instructions stipulating the financier should not be left in his cell alone were ignored by numerous prison staffers immediately prior to his death, that guards assigned to check in on him every half-hour were allegedly asleep at the time of his death, that he was taken off suicide watch and his mental condition treated with suspiciously cavalier indifference, that at least one camera outside Epstein’s cell had footage deemed unusable, etc.

Moreover, we learned this week from Epstein’s lawyers that their client, deludedly or not, was in a relatively upbeat mood. His legal team was about “to pursue an appeal regarding some of the preliminary decisions made before trial. They thought they had a high chance of success because … lawyers involved in the original 2008 non-prosecution agreement that largely let Epstein off the hook for the full measure of the allegations levied against him said it was ‘global’, meaning that New York prosecutors would not be allowed to pursue this case. … Given their faith in the strength of this argument, they allege, Epstein’s decision to take his own life was somewhat inexplicable.”

“Portions of the media” continue to report on inconvenient and troubling aspects of the Epstein case. The New York Times for the most part is not among them. The newspaper has “crime beat” and other investigative reporters on its payroll, and the death of Epstein occurred under their jurisdiction, New York City. Evidently, the word has come down from on high—this is not a story to be covered.

There must be some reporters in the Times newsroom angered that it has been left to the Washington Post to get the scoop on a number of startling developments, including the abovementioned fact that at least “eight Bureau of Prisons staffers knew that strict instructions had been given not to leave multimillionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein alone in his cell, yet the order was apparently ignored in the 24 hours leading up to his death, according to people familiar with the matter.” The Times has not commented on this.

Likewise, the revelation that the camera or cameras located outside Epstein’s cell were not functioning properly has been covered widely. That information even prompted one of Epstein’s attorneys to comment, “There are conspiracy theories galore. … What if the tapes only broke down on the day he was killed or he died?”

The Times merely carried an item on its website from Reuters on the broken cameras. (In passing, one of Epstein’s lawyers shed light on the brutal character of the American prison system, noting that, according to a “person with knowledge”, defendants awaiting trial at the MCC were kept in more “dreadful” conditions than suspected terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay).

Since Jeffrey Epstein’s apprehension in July, the Times has been regularly weighing in on the need to shut down any serious investigation of the circumstances surrounding his activities and then, later, his death. It editorialized in July that Congress’s looking into Epstein’s 2008 plea deal would be “a poor use of lawmakers’ limited time and resources.” This was addressed to a legislature swollen with millionaires that spares no time or expense when it comes to prosecuting enemies or rewarding itself.

The Times jumped on the medical examiner’s conclusion August 16 that Epstein had committed suicide to argue that the terse statement from New York City’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Barbara Sampson, “refutes conspiracy theories that he may have been murdered.”

The Times went on to assert that “Mr. Epstein’s death had set off a wave of unfounded conspiracy theories, as people speculated online, without evidence, that he might have been killed to keep him from providing information to prosecutors about others in his social circle, including President Trump, former President Bill Clinton and Prince Andrew of Britain.”

As the WSWS has noted previously, Epstein was associated with many high-placed, dangerous people. His particular obsessions, in fact, allegedly included seeking out and drawing in the wealthy and influential and entangling them in various sexual and drug fantasies of his, or perhaps theirs. This was all very well when Epstein was out and about, and seemingly immune to serious prosecution. Once he was taken into custody and facing years in prison, however, there was genuine cause for alarm.

The Times did lift the lid a little in the form of columnist James B. Stewart’s August 12 piece, “The Day Jeffrey Epstein Told Me He Had Dirt on Powerful People.” Stewart explained that the “overriding impression” he drew from an August 2018 conversation with Epstein was that the multimillionaire “knew an astonishing number of rich, famous and powerful people. … He also claimed to know a great deal about these people, some of it potentially damaging or embarrassing, including details about their supposed sexual proclivities and recreational drug use. So one of my first thoughts on hearing of Mr. Epstein’s suicide was that many prominent men and at least a few women must be breathing sighs of relief that whatever Mr. Epstein knew, he has taken it with him.”

Epstein told Stewart that his very notoriety “was what made so many people willing to confide in him. Everyone, he suggested, has secrets and, he added, compared with his own, they seemed innocuous. People confided in him without feeling awkward or embarrassed, he claimed.” At another point in the conversation, he told the Times reporter “he was considering becoming a minister so that his acquaintances would be confident that their conversations would be kept confidential.”

If such dialogue were to occur in a scene from an Orson Welles film of the proper vintage, The Lady from Shanghai or Confidential Report, for example, or any decent film noir from the late 1940s, the viewer would instantly know what it meant. A character who spoke such lines would shortly disappear and an intrepid reporter would dedicate him or herself to tracking down those responsible for his death.

The Epstein affair is not a film, and the events of August 10 remain obscure. But is there not enough in the unexplained facts and Stewart’s piece alone to prompt an honest publication, with a fraction of the Times’ resources, into launching a genuinely searching investigation?

The newspaper, which downplays the possibility of foul play and generally protests too much against “conspiracy,” exudes about as much trustworthiness and sincerity as Saudi authorities following the October 2018 death of Jamal Khashoggi.

The government of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (coincidentally, another associate of Epstein, who visited the New York financier “many times” and with whom Epstein “spoke often,” according to Stewart) initially denounced allegations of Riyadh’s involvement in the disappearance of Khashoggi from its Istanbul consulate as a “conspiracy theory” and suggested the journalist and Saudi dissident had merely left through the back door!

The Times is part of the New York City’s financial and political establishment. Its editors hobnob with these circles, imbibe their atmosphere, share their outlook, partake of their wealth, learn their secrets.

One is entitled to ask: What is the editorial board of the Times so anxious about coming to light? Whom might it be protecting?

Irish fish shoal swims to Beethoven music

This 2017 video from Ireland says about itself:

The music of Beethoven, and fish swimming in a shoal formation.The music is Symphony no.9 by Ludwig Van Beethoven, the finale with Ode to Joy is also known as ‘the Choral’.

Twenty years of the Young Euro Classic festival: Beethoven caught between rebellion and EU propaganda: here.

World War II started 80 years ago

This May 2018 video says about itself:

In the first installment of Footsteps, we visit Gleiwitz Radio Tower in Poland, where the European phase of World War II began on August 31, 1939.

That start was a fake ‘Polish assault’, staged by Heinrich Himmeler‘s SS, on the German radio tower in Gleiwitz.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Eighty years since the outbreak of World War II

31 August 2019

Eighty years ago, on September 1, 1939, the Nazi government of Germany launched its invasion of Poland. Two days later, Britain and France declared war on Germany. The Second World War—which would expand across the globe and last for six years before coming to an end in 1945—was waged with unspeakable brutality and haunts the collective memory of mankind as the most barbaric event in history.

Bestial crimes against humanity were committed during this war. Claiming the lives of more than 70 million human beings, the war erased all boundaries between combatants and civilians, with unarmed men, women and children dying in roughly twice the numbers as soldiers on the battlefield.

The 1859 bloody Battle of Solferino inspired the Swiss founding father of the Red Cross, Henry Dunant, to set up that movement to help war victims. At Solferino, only one civilian was reportedly killed. Compare that with 21st century conflicts in Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Iraq, Sri Lanka, Gaza or Somalia. You will find that post-1945 warfare takes a comparatively even more widespread physical and emotional toll on civilians than the two-thirds civilian death rate of Wold War II.

Relentless bombardment of cities, along with wholesale famines caused by economic disruption, were joined with systematic attempts to exterminate entire peoples.

Even before Germany sent 1.5 million troops along with more than 2,000 airplanes and 2,500 tanks across the Polish border on September 1, 1939, the drive to war had already claimed massive casualties. Italy had invaded Ethiopia in 1935, exposing the impotence of the League of Nations and slaughtering nearly 400,000 civilians over a period of six years. Japan had invaded and occupied China, carrying out the infamous Rape of Nanjing of 1937–38 in which up to 300,000 civilians were slaughtered in one city. Before the war was over, 15 million Chinese would be killed.

World War II introduced a grim catalogue of new words into the world’s political and military lexicon: genocide, blitzkrieg, Total War, Holocaust, death camp, Final Solution, Zyklon B, A-bomb, mushroom cloud, fallout, Auschwitz and Hiroshima.

There are many people still alive who went through the horrors of World War II. Those who survived, both soldiers and civilians, bore scars—physical, mental and emotional—for the rest of their lives. Their bitter experiences played an immense role in shaping the lives of their children and in instilling within them a broad popular revulsion toward war.

The anniversary of such a world-historic cataclysm should obviously be the occasion for sober reflection, the studying of the lessons of the events of 80 years ago and acting upon them in order to prevent the outbreak of yet another world war that would put an end to human civilization.

Needless to say, this is the last thought on the minds of the world’s capitalist leaders as they assemble in Warsaw for an official commemoration of the anniversary on Sunday. Rather, they are staging a celebration of the kind of militarism and right-wing nationalism that accompanied the war’s onset in the first place.

Polish President Andrzej Duda has ordered the ceremony, traditionally held in the opposition-led city of Gdansk, where the first shots were fired in 1939, relocated to Warsaw’s Pilsudski Square, a shrine to right-wing Polish nationalism. His ruling Law and Justice Party (PiS) has conducted a massive assault on basic democratic rights and spearheaded a campaign of xenophobia and anti-Semitism, going so far as to make it a crime to even mention Polish complicity in crimes against Jews during the Holocaust. It intends to turn the ceremony into a paean to Polish military “heroism”.

Trump, whose fascistic nationalism, anti-immigrant chauvinism and attempts to assume dictatorial powers mirror the politics of Duda and the PiS, canceled his trip to Warsaw for the ceremony, citing the approach of Hurricane Dorian. Vice President Mike Pence will appear in his stead, and his Polish hosts hope that he will announce a further escalation of the number of US troops deployed in the country to 4,500. The Polish government has agreed to spend $2 billion for a base to house the US soldiers, a facility that they initially proposed would be named “Fort Trump”.

While Pence will be there to represent the US, and Chancellor Angela Merkel is going to Warsaw to represent Germany, the government of Russia and its president, Vladimir Putin, received no invitation. Moscow bitterly protested its exclusion from the anniversary event, given the immense price paid by the Soviet Union in defeating Nazi Germany and driving the Wehrmacht out of Poland.

It is an undeniable fact that the invasion of Poland by Nazi Germany was facilitated by the signing of the infamous Stalin-Hitler Non-Aggression Pact on August 23, 1939. … These were acts of reactionary political treachery characteristic of the Stalinist regime, which had by the time the war began already betrayed every basic principle of socialism and revolutionary working-class internationalism.

But it is also a fact that approximately 27 million Soviet citizens lost their lives during the four years that followed the Nazi invasion of the USSR on June 22, 1941. The Soviet Union bore the brunt of what was consciously planned by Nazi Germany as a war of extermination. In terms of military casualties alone, 80 Soviet soldiers died for every US fatality. Moreover, the Soviet Red Army—backed by the war production of the USSR’s nationalized industries—was responsible for more than three-quarters of the casualties inflicted upon Hitler’s armies, breaking the back of the Wehrmacht in the battles of Stalingrad and Kursk.

The decision not to invite Russia is not, in any event, a response to the crimes of Stalinism. The representatives of German imperialism will be in Warsaw as honored guests. A spokesman for Poland’s President Duda stated: “The invitations were issued according to a contemporary, not a historical, context.”

This “contemporary context” is one in which every major power is preparing for war, and Poland is offering itself as the spearhead of the aggressive US-NATO encirclement of Russia.

Washington has officially declared that its strategic policy is one of preparing for war against “great powers”, such as Russia and China, as it passes successive military budgets of over $700 billion. Trump has recently inaugurated a Space Command dedicated to turning outer space into yet a new battlefield, and, for the third time in recent months, has mused over how he could end the war in Afghanistan by “killing 10 million people”, apparently contemplating an act that would rival even the crimes of Hitler.

The Second World War cannot be explained, any more than the first, by the actions of a single country, much less those of one malignant individual. The roots of both conflicts—separated by little more than two decades—lay in the insoluble contradictions of the global capitalist order: between world economy and the outmoded nation-state system on the one hand, and socialized production and the private ownership of the means of production on the other.

Nonetheless, the circumstances under which the Second World War erupted and the form that it took were unquestionably determined in the first instance by the war aims of Nazi Germany, which was responsible for crimes unprecedented in human history.

The invasion of Poland in September 1939 already revealed the methods that would find culmination in the policies of Total War, i.e., a war of extermination, and Hitler’s “Final Solution” of the “Jewish question”.

The invasion saw the carpet-bombing of Polish cities and, according to one Polish historian, during the September campaign there were roughly 15 massacres a day, which presaged the mass extermination of some 6 million European Jews. Within Poland itself, some 3 million Polish Jews were put to death, along with as many as another 3 million non-Jewish Poles.

Given the unfathomable scale of the crimes committed by the Nazis, the fact that there are today substantial political forces in Germany that seek to justify and legitimize these crimes constitutes a deadly warning to the international working class.

The racist Alternative für Deutschland, whose principal leader recently dismissed the Nazi atrocities as insignificant “bird poop” that should not detract from a thousand years of “glorious” German history, has emerged as the main opposition party in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament. Right-wing terrorists operate with impunity in Germany, enjoying the protection of the country’s intelligence agencies.

Hitler himself is undergoing a process of rehabilitation. One of the most prominent and politically influential academics in the country, Professor Jörg Baberowski, is outspoken in his trivializiation of Nazi bestialities. He stated in an interview published in Der Spiegel in February 2014. “Hitler was not a psychopath. He was not cruel. He did not like to hear of the extermination of the Jews at his table.”

US imperialism was able during the course of the Second World War to mask its own imperialist aims behind a democratic appeal to the intense hostility of working people in the US and internationally to Hitlerite fascism. Today, after nearly three decades of uninterrupted wars of aggression, it cannot credibly make any such appeal and confronts a population at home that is increasingly hostile to foreign military interventions.

The decisive question in preventing a new world war is one of revolutionary leadership in the international working class.

It is impossible to understand how the Second World War began outside of the role played by the dominant parties within the working class internationally, and particularly in Germany. The rise of Hitler and the Nazis was, in the final analysis, the product of the betrayals carried out by both German Social Democracy (SPD) and the Stalinist Communist Party, which repeatedly worked to paralyze the revolutionary strivings of the German working class.

Once again, conditions of insoluble economic and financial crisis, intensifying trade war and global militarization threaten to erupt into an uncontrollable and ferocious struggle of each against all. The same capitalist crisis is simultaneously provoking a worldwide renewal of the class struggle, as workers in country after country fight back against the assault on living standards and basic democratic rights together with the unending growth of social inequality.

Just as in 1914 and 1939, the threat of a global imperialist conflict confronts humanity with the choice of socialism or barbarism. The potential for the outbreak of a third world war is greater today than at any time since 1945. Among the greatest dangers in the present situation is the absence of mass awareness of the depth and extent of the geopolitical conflicts that are driving the imperialist powers to war. As in the years that preceded the outbreak of World War II, they are—to use the words of Trotsky—tobogganing toward a catastrophe. As the international conflicts interact with mounting social turmoil within their own countries, the crisis-ridden capitalist regime increasingly sees war as a way out of the present political, economic and social impasse.

… Opposition to war requires the political unification of the working class, on the basis of an international socialist program, against the capitalist system.