This video is about a red-backed shrike couple in Sweden.
This video is about a red-backed shrike couple in Sweden.
By Laura Tiernan in England:
UK Royal Mail workers wildcat strike over racist insult by management
4 October 2019
Royal Mail postal workers in Merseyside walked off the job Tuesday to protest a racist comment against a Muslim co-worker. The solidarity action continued yesterday with a picket outside company headquarters in Bootle.
According to a report in the Liverpool Echo, a manager insulted a Muslim worker at the Royal Mail sorting and delivery office in Bootle and Seaforth. The popular staff member was said to be “very upset” and fellow workers quickly demonstrated their support with an “unofficial” wildcat walk-out.
Around 50 workers picketed and continued their action yesterday in a powerful reply to the nationalist climate promoted by the ruling class and its political servants and media over Brexit. Eton-educated Prime Minister Boris Johnson has sought to incite backward anti-Muslim prejudice, describing veiled women as “bank robbers” and “letter boxes”, but Royal Mail workers have advanced an opposing principle: class solidarity.
Workers stood firm yesterday despite management declaring their action was “unballoted” and therefore illegal. Under the Trade Union Act 2016, staff can only strike after a bureaucratic and secret ballot process aimed at suppressing industrial action. The anti-union laws build on those introduced by the hated Thatcher government and are routinely cited by union officials to stifle workplace grievances, strikes and secondary boycotts.
Management stated, “We are disappointed that unballoted industrial action is taking place … Royal Mail is fully committed to resolving our colleagues’ concerns in co-operation with the Communication Workers Union (CWU).”
Tuesday’s walkout in Merseyside follows a pattern of wildcat strikes provoked by Royal Mail management bullying and harassment, including at Swindon, Scarborough, Hamilton, Cambridgeshire, Canterbury, East London and Carmarthen.
In the comments section of the Liverpool Echo Tuesday, one Royal Mail worker wrote, “Given the behaviour and bullying culture among RM management I’d speculate that this comment was simply the breaking point … if you dare speak up for yourself or refuse to put work before anything else such as looking after your children or your health then you will become the target of prolonged and insidious harassment.”
In Nottingham, postal workers at the Glaisdale delivery office will be balloted for strike action over a colleague sacked in August. Ian Green, a postman for 15 years, was accused of “aggressive” behaviour when lodging a complaint over working conditions. Green’s colleagues believe he was sacked because he challenged management.
The Merseyside strike takes place as nationwide balloting concludes among Royal Mail’s 120,000-strong workforce. The ballot is certain to deliver an overwhelming strike vote with anger at boiling point over a new round of restructuring and job losses.
As the World Socialist Web Site explained last month, “RMG’s [Royal Mail Group’s] intention is to increase profitability through a five-year restructuring plan aimed at splitting its Parcelforce parcel delivery from the traditional postal service. Postal workers face the introduction of ‘gig economy’ conditions prevailing across the parcel delivery industry, while a planned review of the Universal Service Obligation threatens six-day week postal deliveries and could lead to the axing of as many as 20,000 jobs.”
The opposition among Royal Mail workers must be unified into a powerful industrial and political offensive to oppose the diktats of a management hell bent on subordinating postal services and the livelihoods of workers to the interests of corporate shareholders.
Tuesday’s walkout has been met with media censorship—only the Liverpool Echo reported the strike. This is due to fears that publicity could encourage similar strikes at Royal Mail but also throughout transport, education, the National Health Service and across the logistics industry, including Amazon.
CWU General Secretary Dave Ward tweeted of the strike, “A new era of trade unionism is being born and we stand at the forefront of it.”
This 2 October 2019 video says about itself:
Male Thick-billed Euphonia Extended Singing Session – Oct 2, 2019
One of the most common visitors to the Panama Fruit Feeder, the Thick-billed Euphonia, is quite a skilled mimic. The Thick-billed Euphonia’s song is a rambling string of original notes and mimicked notes from other birds. Both males and females sing a variety of musical notes including a loud sharp “preet” and harsh, buzzy rattled “tziit”. Listen to this male perform his lovely song for us at the feeder.
Must be a coincidence…
This video from Belarus says about itself:
Nightingale bird is singing in the spring morning. Close-up of the singing bird. Amazing bird song. Thrush nightingale, Luscinia luscinia.
This video from the USA says about itself:
Trump’s Anti-Immigration Policies Are a Deepening of Previous Administration Policies
Although Trump’s rhetoric on immigration is shocking, suggesting border patrol should shoot border crossing immigrants in the legs, his policies are an intensification of policies that began under Obama,
I’d say, a lot earlier than Obama.
not a dramatic departure, says Aviva Chomsky.
By Peter Beinart in the USA:
With Anti-Semitic Attack On ‘Shifty’ Foe, Trump Shows Off The Mechanism Of His Racism
October 3, 2019
On Wednesday, Donald Trump again referred to House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff as “shifty Schiff”. If you think that sounds vaguely anti-Semitic, you’re right. And it’s likely only the beginning. As the impeachment inquiry escalates, Trump’s anti-Semitic rhetoric probably will too.
It won’t escalate because Trump is any more hostile to Jews than he is to other religious or racial minorities. It will escalate because Trump thinks in terms of stereotypes. Thus, when challenged by an adversary, he often invokes bigoted tropes about their race, religion or gender. And for the next few months, as Trump’s presidency hangs in the balance, one of his biggest adversaries will be Adam Schiff, a Jew.
It’s no surprise that Trump called Schiff “shifty” — which means tricky or deceitful, or that in the past he’s called him “little pencil-neck”. When discussing Jews, Trump often plays on well-worn caricatures about cleverness, deviousness and physical weakness. He was quoted in 1991 as saying “The only kind of people I want counting my money are short guys that wear yarmulkes.” In 2015, he told the Republican Jewish Coalition that, “This room negotiates deals. Perhaps more than any room I’ve ever spoken to” but “you’re not going to support me because I don’t want your money.”
Trump does something analogous when challenged by African Americans. He responds with racist stereotypes about their supposed lack of intelligence. When LeBron James criticized him in an interview with Don Lemon, Trump called the CNN host “the dumbest man on television… He made LeBron look smart, which isn’t easy to do.” Trump even called Barack Obama “a terrible student” who didn’t deserve admission to Columbia and Harvard Law School.
Another favored Trump stereotype about blacks is that they’re poor and unsanitary. When Representative John Lewis announced he wouldn’t attend Trump’s inauguration, Trump declared that Lewis’s district was “in horrible shape and falling apart.” When Representative Elijah Cummings challenged Trump’s policies at the border, Trump called his district “a disgusting, rat and rodent infested mess.”
When women challenge Trump, he often calls them ugly. “Look at that face!” he exclaimed about Carly Fiorina in September 2015, when she was rising in the polls. “Would anyone vote for that?” When Morning Joe host Mika Brzezinski criticized him in 2017, Trump mocked her for “bleeding badly from a face-lift.” When Stormy Daniels sued him, he called her “horseface”.
And when Trump’s critics are women of color, he mixes and matches his stereotypes. Thus, when African American Representative Maxine Waters said Trump should be impeached, Trump called her not only a “seriously low IQ person” but also a “real beauty”. After Khizr Khan’s speech at the 2016 Democratic national convention, Trump suggested that his wife, Ghazala Khan, a Muslim woman, had remained silent on stage because “she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say.”
Trump has done something similar with the disabled. When New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski disputed his claim that “thousands” of Arabs in New Jersey celebrated the 9/11 attacks, Trump mimicked the way Kovaleski — who suffers from arthrogryposis — moves his arms and hands.
Like many of Trump’s responses, the attack was a non-sequitur. The way Kovaleski moves his limbs, or the condition of Elijah Cummings’ district, or the size of Adam Schiff’s neck, have no bearing on their criticisms of Trump. They are simply a way of undermining his perceived adversaries by conjuring negative stereotypes about the group of which they are a part.
To some, these taunts may seem too juvenile to be truly dangerous. Trump’s is the bigotry of the playground; when threatened, he simply picks up whatever negative material is most readily at hand. When attacked by a newspaper, he says it’s losing money; when attacked by a comedian, he says the comedian is not funny; when attacked by a Jew, he says the Jew is skinny and devious.
But they are dangerous. When Trump speaks, millions of Americans nod in fervent agreement.
Will one of them show up at a local synagogue looking to exact revenge on Trump’s shifty, pencil-necked tormentors, just as Robert Bowers last year went seeking revenge against the Jews who were supposedly facilitating what Trump often called an immigrant “invasion”? Probably not. But, all things being equal, I’d feel safer living in a country in which the president didn’t invoke anti-Semitic stereotypes at all.
Peter Beinart is a Senior Columnist at [US Jewish daily] The Forward and Professor of Journalism and Political Science at the City University of New York. He is also a Contributor to The Atlantic and a CNN Political Commentator.
This 2015 video is called 10 Amazing Extinct Animals from the Pleistocene.
Microscopic evidence sheds light on the disappearance of the world’s largest mammals
New, state-of-the-art methods provide detailed insights into the timing and causes of ‘megafauna’ extinctions in the past
October 2, 2019
Understanding the causes and consequences of Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions is increasingly important in a world of growing human populations and climate change. A new review, led by scholars at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum and the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, highlights the role that cutting-edge scientific methods can play in broadening the discussions about megafaunal extinction and enabling more localized insights into ecosystems and species-specific responses to climate change and human activities.
The disappearance of many of the world’s largest mammal species occurred around the same time that two other major transformations in Earth’s history were unfolding: dramatic climatic change at the Pleistocene-Holocene boundary (c. 10,000 B.P.) and the dispersal of Homo sapiens to new continents. Untangling the role each of these played in Late Quaternary megafaunal extinctions has been the subject of intense scholarly debate for decades. However, recent advances in archaeological and paleontological science methods have helped demonstrate that megafaunal extinctions are more complex than any single humans-versus-climate answer can provide.
The new article, published in BioScience, emphasizes contributions from five different approaches: radiocarbon dating, stable isotope analysis, ancient DNA, ancient proteins, and microscopy. These techniques can offer robust, high-resolution insights into climate change and extinction chronologies, past habitat transformations, ecological relationships, and species diet and ranging. Especially when used in combination, these advanced methods offer unprecedented levels of detail that can help to better understand causes of extinctions in the past, which can then be applied to contemporary animal management aims, including risk assessments and rewilding efforts.
The review is an international and multidisciplinary collaboration between leading experts in megafaunal extinction research and emerging laboratory science methods. “When we started this collaboration, we were worried that we’d never get everyone to see eye-to-eye on megafaunal extinctions,” says Jillian Swift, lead author and archaeologist at the Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. “But it was easy to agree on the urgency of understanding deep-time human impacts to Earth systems, so that we can continue to make informed conservation decisions for our future.”
“Approaches to extinctions of ‘megafauna’ in the past are often based on sweeping narratives that assume that all species are equally vulnerable to external threats such as environmental change and human hunting,” says Patrick Roberts, of the Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and co-author on the study. “Archaeological science methods allow us to get past these generalizations and explore how the diets, demography, and mobility of individual species and populations changed through time, providing a far more complex, and accurate, picture of past ecosystems.”
“We believe that large, multidisciplinary collaborations such as this offer the best way to approach questions of such magnitude as ‘megafaunal extinctions‘”, says Nicole Boivin, Director of the Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and co-author. “It is only by coming together, from a variety of fields and backgrounds, that we can apply very different expertise and methodologies to build up more detailed understandings of the past that have major, pressing implications for present-day processes and threats.”