Dragonflies, sea urchins, birds of Terschelling island


Migrant hawker male, 21 September 2019

After 20 September 2019 on Terschelling island came 21 September. We walked from West-Terschelling to the North Sea coast. We saw migrant hawker dragonflies. We heard a jay.

A carrion crow on a meadow.

On a bush, a willow emerald damselfly.

Birch bolete fungi along the footpath.

Two kestrels hovering, and driving a sparrowhawk away.

A bit further, a buzzard flying.

Reed bunting female, 21 September 2019

As we approached the last sand dunes separating us from the beach, this female reed bunting.

Sand dunes, Terschelling 21 September 2019

The final sand dunes were steep; but still, we could see the sea already.

Atlantic jackknife clam shells, Terschelling, 21 Sepember 2019

On the beach, many Atlantic jackknife clam shells.

Also, many dead small shore crabs. Also some, bigger, brown crabs.

Two common gulls.

Sea urchins, Terschelling, 21 September 2019

Also, sea urchins on the beach.

Serpent stars, Terschelling 21 September 2019

And, among the Atlantic jackknife clams, some serpent stars.

Stay tuned, as there will be more on 21 September 2019 on Terschelling on this blog!

Belgian climate strikers-yellow vests together against repression


This 12 October 2019 Voice of America video about Belgium says about itself:

Police Make Mass Arrests in Brussels During Climate Protest

Belgian police arrested large numbers of climate protesters in Brussels, Saturday, October 12, as mass demonstrations by the Extinction Rebellion group entered a sixth day.

Dozens of arrests were made while demonstrators gathered around a pink boat, with at least one climate activist using a bike lock to attach himself to the vessel. Police officers at the scene used heavy-duty cutting tools to remove the lock from around the man’s neck before arresting him.

Earlier in the day activists staged a protest next to the gardens of the Royal Palace calling on the King to declare a climate emergency. (Reuters)

Translated from Belgian daily Het Nieuwsblad, 15 October 2019:

Climate truants and Yellow Vests now want to demonstrate together against police violence

By Cedric Lagast

Brussels – The “Students for Climate” and the Yellow Vests want to come together on Monday in Brussels to protest against police violence. The reason is not only the tear gas incident last Saturday, but also the arrest of 350 Yellow Vests on election Sunday.

United Against Police Violence“. Under that name, eight organizations are announcing a rally in the capital on Monday. They want to go to the Brussels Grand Place, where the city council meeting should start at that time.

“We have taken the initiative and have invited a number of other groups,” says Yuni Mertens of Students For Climate. He refers to an incident last Saturday, in which a handcuffed man still got pepper spray in his face during a protest by climate movement Extinction Rebellion.

“After the shocking images, we felt it was necessary to raise this issue,” says Mertens. “We cannot accept this in a democratic constitutional state such as Belgium. This issue is not new. Many groups and minorities do experience this repression. We want to raise the issue of police violence in general. That is why we also let those other groups speak about their experience with the police, which is never mediatised.”

Together with Yellow Vests

Remarkably, one of those other groups is the Yellow Vests. …

On Facebook, reference is made to the arrest of 350 Yellow Vests on 26 May, the day of the elections.

“During an announced and peaceful demonstration, to demand more social justice, the Yellow Vests were preventively arrested.”

“We are organizing a standing, peaceful demonstration as close as possible to the Brussels city hall where the city council is taking place on Monday,” says Mertens. “We ask the mayor to treat non-violent demonstrators also non-violently in the future.”

Mayor must decide

“We have received a request today, Tuesday,” confirms police spokeswoman Ilse Van De Keere. … It is Mayor Philippe Close who must ultimately decide whether the demonstration can go ahead.”

French police promise investigation after video shows Yellow Vest man hit in the eye by tear-gas grenade: here.

Why mammal ancestors became nocturnal


This April 2017 video says about itself:

Genetics Used To Pinpoint When Early Mammals Became Nocturnal

Using genetic analysis of modern species, researchers have confirmed what has long been assumed to be the case – the early mammals that evolved when dinosaurs were roaming the land became nocturnal early on, most likely to avoid the reptiles that were snacking on them.

“This method is like using the genome as a fossil record, and with it we’ve shown when genes involved in night vision appear”, says Liz Hadly, co-author of the study published in Scientific Reports, in a statement.

From the University of Chicago Press Journals in the USA:

Did early mammals turn to night life to protect their sperm?

October 15, 2019

Humans are diurnal — we are active in the day and sleep at night. But diurnalism is by far the exception rather [than] the rule in mammals. About 250-230 million years ago, the mammalian ancestors, called the therapsids, became exclusively nocturnal, and stayed so until the demise of the dinosaurs 66 million years ago. All of our mammal ancestors lived in the dark for about 200 [million] years, and the majority still do to this day. Humans are, essentially, nocturnal animals that have reverted back to living in the sun.

There has been much speculation about why the therapsids became nocturnal. The traditional argument is that the archosauriforms and the dinosaurs became ecologically dominant during the Triassic. To avoid being eaten by the multitude of new carnivorous reptiles, the archaic mammals, it is argued, fled into the dark, where reptiles had yet to dominate. In a new paper, “Obligatory nocturnalism in Triassic archaic mammals: Preservation of sperm quality?”, Barry G. Lovegrove proposes a simple, new, alternative hypothesis based purely upon physiological constraints.

The therapsids were becoming rapidly endothermic (producing more of their own internal heat through metabolism) to fuel new energy demands and to defend the consequent elevated body temperature, especially as they got smaller during the Triassic. And herein lies a problem. As their body temperature started to approach that of the air, around 93.2°F (34°C), they would not have been able to offload excessive heat generated by being active during the day without losing vast amounts of body water through evaporative cooling, such as by sweating or panting.

Archaic mammals did not have scrotums, in which the testes are kept cool, and if there had not been a way to keep sperm cool, quality would have declined through the accumulation of free radicals with the increases in temperature during sperm maturation. By becoming active during the cooler nights, these mammals were able to preserve sperm quality. A nocturnal lifestyle could solve this problem, now that they were “warm-blooded,” with the newly acquired thermoregulatory toolkit to cope with the cooler night air.

The colour yellow in ancient Egypt


This January 2018 video says about itself:

The world’s first artificial pigment, Egyptian blue, may help scientists prevent forgery and even save lives.

From the University of Southern Denmark:

Discovered: Unknown yellow colors from antiquity

October 15, 2019

Summary: Antique artefacts have been studied by chemists, revealing a hitherto unknown use of yellow in Ancient Egypt

Archaeologists have long known that artefacts from the Antiquity were far more colorful than one would think when looking at the bright white statues and temples, left behind for today.

The statues and buildings only appear white today because the colors have degraded over time. Initially, lots of colors were in use.

This was also true for King Apries I‘s palace in Ancient Egypt. This palace was situated in the Nile Delta, and from here King Apries ruled from 589 to approx. 568 BC.

Fragments of the palace are today kept at the Glyptoteket Museum in Copenhagen, and recently they have been the focus of a collaboration between archaeologists from Glyptoteket, the British Museum, the University of Pisa and a chemist from the University of Southern Denmark.

“We are interested in learning more about the use of pigments, binders and the techniques associated with using them in the Antuquity. It has an obvious relevance for art historians, but it can also tell us about how different cultures in the Mediterranean and the Near East exchanged materials and knowledge and thus connected,” says Cecilie Brøns, classical archaeologist at Glyptoteket.

With this in mind, the archaeologists have worked with professor of archaeometry Kaare Lund Rasmussen from the University of Southern Denmark.

Professor Rasmussen is an expert in conducting advanced chemical analyzes of archaeological objects. Among other things, he has examined the beard of renaissance astronomer Tycho Brahe, Italian monk skeletons, medieval syphilis-infested bones, sacred relics and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

For this project he has taken samples of the palace fragments to learn more about the pigments and binders used.

The project has resulted in two scientific articles, the last one just been published. They can both be found in the journal Heritage Science.

“We have discovered no less than two pigments whose use in Antiquity has hitherto been completely unknown,” says Kaare Lund Rasmussen.

These are lead-antimonate yellow and lead-tin yellow. Both are naturally occurring mineral pigments.

“We do not know whether the two pigments were commonly available or rare. Future chemical studies of other antiquity artefacts may shed more light,” he says.

Lead-antimonate yellow and lead-tin yellow have so far only been found in paintings dating to the Middle Ages or younger than that. The oldest known use of lead-tin yellow is in European paintings from ca. 1300 AD. The oldest known use of lead-antimonate yellow is from the beginning of the 16th century AD.

Analyzing binders is more difficult than analyzing pigments. Pigments are inorganic and do not deteriorate as easily as most binders which are organic and therefore deteriorate faster.

Nevertheless, Kaare Lund Rasmussen’s Italian colleagues from Professor Maria Perla Colombini’s research group at the University of Pisa managed to find traces of two binders, namely rubber and animal glue.

The rubber is probably tapped from an acacia tree and served as a solvent for powdered pigment. Rubber was widely used as a binder, and it has also been found on stone columns in the Karnak Temple and murals in Queen Nefertite‘s tomb.

Animal glue was also commonly available. It was made by boiling animal parts, in particular the hides and bones, in water to a gel-like mass which could be dried and pulverized. When needed, the powder was stirred with warm water and ready to use.

The researchers also found these color pigments:

  • Calcite (white).
  • Gypsum (white).
  • Egyptian Blue (a synthetic pigment, invented in the 3rd millennium BC)
  • Atacamite (green).
  • Hematite (red).
  • Orpiment (golden yellow).

20 ancient coffins discovered in Luxor, Egypt: here.

Two new porcelain crab species discovery


This April 2018 video says about itself:

Species Corner – Porcelain crab in a symbiotic relationship with a bubble-tip anemone

The Porcelain Crab is common throughout the tropical oceans of the world, and has a flat, round body with two large front claws. They are brown and orange in coloration with bright blue spots. These crabs have a pair of front arms called maxillipeds, which have ends that are feather-like in appearance. They use these appendages to filter the water for any passing food. They are peaceful and interesting invertebrates for the marine aquarium..

From the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute:

Two new porcelain crab species discovered

October 15, 2019

Summary: Two new symbiotic porcelain crab species have been described. One of them, from the South China Sea of Vietnam, inhabits the compact tube-like shelters built by the polychaete worm with other organisms. The other inhabits the intertidal vermetid snail formations in the Colombian Caribbean.

Two new porcelain crab species have been described in the ZooKeys journal by scientists from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI) and the Institut fur Tierokologie und Spezielle Zoologie der Justus-Liebig-Universitat Giessen. One of the new species, Polyonyx socialis, was discovered in the South China Sea of Vietnam. The other, Petrolisthes virgilius, has a new identity, after initially being taken for a similar-looking species — Petrolisthes tonsorius — four decades ago in the Colombian Caribbean.

Porcelain crabs belong to a highly diverse family of marine crustaceans, distributed in the shallow waters of oceans worldwide. They also are known as “false crabs”, because they evolved a crab-like form independently of true crabs. A relatively large number of porcelain crab species are symbiotic with other organisms, allowing scientists to tell a story of a long-time relationship between species from distantly related taxa.

“Most porcelain crabs live on the hard substrates of shallow waters like the surface of corals or rocks overgrown by algae, microbes and decaying material,” said STRI research associate Alexandra Hiller, co-author of the papers. “Others live as symbionts of invertebrates like sponges, anemones, sea urchins, polychaete worms and other crustaceans.”

The two recently described species are examples of these symbiotic porcelain crabs. P. socialis derives its name from the Latin word for “social” because it was found living with other organisms — including the larger porcelain crab species, Polyonyx heok — in the compact tube-like shelters built by the polychaete worm Chaetopterus sp. Its broad, flat walking legs and claw-bearing extremities appear to have been adapted for living tightly-attached to the worm tube walls and avoid being perceived as an obstacle for the other organisms.

Although initially mistaken for P. tonsorius in the 1970s, the uncommon colors and atypical habitat of P. virgilius — intertidal vermetid snail formations in the Colombian Caribbean — led the scientists to corroborate through genetic analyses that it was a new species. As a symbiont, P. virgilius has evolved in tight association to its distinctive surroundings: a reef-like microhabitat exposed to wave action and consisting of snail shells cemented to each other and to a hard substrate.

Despite the relatively high number of known symbiotic porcelain crab species, such as P. socialis and P. virgilius, the researchers believe this aspect of their ecology could hinder their long-term survival, particularly in the shallow-water ecosystems where they typically occur. These habitats are often more vulnerable to climate change, ocean acidification and contamination.

“Symbiotic species are thought to be more vulnerable to environmental challenges than free-living organisms,” said Prof. Dr. Bernd Werding, from the Institut fur Tierokologie und Spezielle Zoologie der Justus-Liebig-Universitat Giessen, and co-author of the studies. “Their fate depends on the fate of their host, which may also be affected by local and global conditions and abrupt changes.”

Ecuadorian victory against Trump-IMF puppet Moreno


This 14 October 2019 AFP video says about itself:

Protesters celebrate after Ecuador withdraws controversial order
Indigenous protesters burst with joy after Ecuador government announces it has withdrawn an order that removed fuel subsidies that sparked two weeks of protests.

By Andrea Lobo:

Mass strikes and protests force Ecuador’s president to cancel austerity decree

16 October 2019

A mass protest movement of 12 days—involving mass marches by workers, indigenous peasants and students, three days of national strike, widespread roadblocks and the occupation of key oilfields—forced the US-backed administration of Lenín Moreno late Sunday to annul the elimination of fuel subsidies dictated by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The decision does not mean IMF reforms are permanently off the table, only that the Ecuadorian ruling class, in league with US and European imperialism, is buying time to formulate a new strategy to enforce devastating austerity.

After Moreno’s announcement from the coastal city of Guayaquil where his government had retreated, the streets of the capital Quito turned from a battlefield into a mass celebration, with chants, music, caravans and fireworks celebrating the rescission of the measures after heavy sacrifices on the part of workers and peasants. In total, the repression left 8 people dead, 1,340 injured and 1,192 arrested, according to Ecuador’s Ombudsman Office.

On Tuesday, fuel prices, which had risen dramatically, were sliding back down. The agency in charge of transportation fees said it would meet to withdraw the recent hikes. Schools and the national congress re-opened after nearly two weeks closed, while the government said that all state-owned oilfields would resume operations this week. …

The workers and the toiling masses in Ecuador and internationally must use the breathing space to extract the sober lessons of this experience. This month’s events show that any struggle against social inequality and dictatorship must be based on the fight against imperialism and for the overthrow of the entire system of capitalist exploitation on an international scale. …

The repeal of “decree 883” eliminating fuel subsidies resulted after a round of talks between Moreno, his cabinet, and the indigenous leadership headed by the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities (CONAIE), which was leading the protests in partnership with the trade unions and several opposition parties. …

Ahead of the talks Sunday, the US State Department released a statement condemning the protests as the “violent campaign underway, which erodes Ecuadorian people’s hard-earned prosperity and only benefits anti-democratic forces.” …

The mention of “anti-democratic forces” refers to Moreno’s claims that the mass protests were being backed by Rafael Correa

his predecessor as president, of whom Moreno during his election campaign promised to continue the leftist policies, before Moreno took a U-turn towards Donald Trump and the IMF, once elected

and the Venezuelan government.

During the last two weeks, the US openly backed Moreno’s murderous state violence, a state of exception suspending democratic rights, the deployment of the army and curfews in the capital Quito and military control over “strategic” buildings, ports and bridges.

The extent to which ruling circles continue to move toward a fully-fledged dictatorship was revealed on Monday by the arrest of the pro-Correa politician Paola Pabón and the police raid of the headquarters of Correa’s Citizens Revolution party. Over the weekend, three opposition politicians and their partners were granted asylum by the Mexican embassy in Quito. Last week, civil rights groups were reporting that groups of demonstrators were being taken to Quito’s police barracks, while several reports and pictures on social media denounced government torture.

Moreover, Sputnik cited opposition politicians Friday who indicated that 13 journalists had been imprisoned and that the state “intervened” to crack down on nine media outlets. This included a police raid against Pichincha Universal for “inciting divisions”. On Saturday, the Venezuelan-linked TV channel TeleSUR was taken off air. Journalists were assaulted so brazenly by state forces that the government itself issued a condemnation. …

Since then, Moreno has re-invited the CIA, FBI and the US Office for Security Cooperation into the country, while handing the Pentagon a military base in the Galapagos Islands.

ECUADORIAN authorities were accused of a “set-up” on Tuesday after a leftist former parliamentarian was jailed on trumped-up charges of “rebellion” following last month’s anti-government protests: here.

Crackdown on protesters and opposition leaders in Ecuador gathers pace: here.

Corals fight back against global warming


This 2013 video is about Cladocora caespitosa coral in the Mediterranean.

From the University of Barcelona in Spain:

Survival strategy found in living corals which was only seen in fossil records

October 15, 2019

Some corals can recover after massive mortality episodes caused by the water temperature rise. This survival mechanism in the marine environment -known as rejuvenation- had only been described in some fossil corals so far. A new study published in the journal Science Advances reveals the first scientific evidence of the rejuvenation phenomenon in vivo in Cladocora caespitosa coral colonies, in the marine reserve in Columbrets, in the coast of Castellón (Spain).

The authors of the study are the experts Diego Kersting and Cristina Linares, from the Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ecology and Environmental Sciences from the Faculty of Biology and the Biodiversity Research Institute (IRBio) of the University of Barcelona.

Heatwaves, more and more common in Mediterranean

The Mediterranean Sea is one of the most affected areas by climate change and the increase of heatwaves. “We are used to hear and read on the general impacts related to the climate change, but we rarely get news on the life recovery after impacts related to global warming,” says Diego Kersting, first author of the article and researcher at the Free University of Berlin (Germany).

Since 2002, Kersting and Linares have been monitoring 250 coral colonies of Cladocora caespitosa in the marine reserve in Columbrets, an area for studies on the effects of climate change on the marine environment. This coral -the only one able to create reefs in the Mediterranean Sea– is listed as an endangered species, mainly because of the mortalities associated with global warming.

Experts had described that the unusual rise of water temperature in summer was killing many of these Mediterranean coral colonies. For instance, during the summer of 2003, one of the hottest ones, “the 25% of the surface occupied by these corals in Columbrets disappeared due a loss of the colonies,” says the authors of the study.

Some coral polyps survive under extreme conditions

In a Mediterranean Sea with higher and higher temperatures and frequent heatwaves, the survival alarms for these species had already rang. However, the long-run monitoring of the coral in Columbrets revealed a surprising result: some coral colonies that were considered lost years ago show some living parts.

According to the experts, this kind of recuperation was possible thanks to a procedure named rejuvenation. In particular, under stress conditions -for instance, excessive water warming-, some polyps in the coral colonies which are dying are able to become smaller until they can abandon their calcareous skeleton.

In this reduced state, these polyps can survive under extreme conditions which cause the death of the other polyps in the colony. When conditions improve, polyps recover its common size and form a new calcareous skeleton. Afterwards, they reproduce by budding until the dead colony recovers.

A hidden survival strategy

According to the authors, this survival strategy had been unnoticed until now due the external good image the colonies show once they have recovered, which masks the mortality that had taken place before. “The real story of these colonies can only be found if controlled every year, over the years, or if we study the skeleton, since the process leaves characteristic features!, warn Kersting and Linares.

So far, researchers had found signs of this rejuvenation only in Paleozoic corals, which lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Therefore, the results of this study will enable making comparisons between the in vivo observations and the description through the fossils, and therefore knowing the implication of these kinds of survival processes and adaptation in corals.

This discovery provides new perspectives for the survival of the only reef coral in the Mediterranean, which has a slow growth -about 3 mm per year- and a limited ability to create new colonies. “However, it is hard for these mechanisms to balance the serious increase of the frequency and severity of the heatwaves in the Mediterranean, so it is necessary to act urgently in order to slow the causes of climate change, and dedicate enough resources to maintain these monitoring procedures in the long run,” warn the authors.

Threats to coral reefs are everywhere — rising water temperatures, ocean acidification, coral bleaching, fishing and other human activities. But new research shows that 3-D printed coral can provide a structural starter kit for reef organisms and can become part of the landscape as fish and coral build their homes around the artificial coral: here.

Warmonger Trump’s impeachment, sacked warmonger Bolton’s revenge


This 9 April 2018 video about the USA says about itself:

John Bolton‘s hawkish credentials laid bare

Donald Trump’s new national security adviser has a reputation for his bellicose approach to international affairs and his fiery rhetoric. As he takes up his new position, here he is what John Bolton has had to say in the past about Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China and the UN.

An April 2018 Guardian article wrote that Trump and Bolton have ‘startlingly similar’ personalities. That may mean cooperation for some time. But such personalities, being warmongering, egomaniac, resentful and revengeful may also clash sooner or later.

That was then. And now …

By Barry Grey in the USA:

Testimony highlights key role of Bolton in impeachment inquiry against Trump

16 October 2019

In closed-door testimony Monday before the House Intelligence Committee, former national security adviser on Russian and European affairs Fiona Hill described the bitter opposition of departed National Security Adviser John Bolton to the efforts of Trump and his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani to force Ukraine to launch a corruption investigation into Trump’s potential opponent in the 2020 elections, former Vice President Joe Biden.

Hill is the first ex-White House aide to testify in the impeachment inquiry launched last month by the Democratic-controlled House of Representatives. She resigned her post on the National Security Council (NSC) shortly after a meeting last July 10, which she described as a tense confrontation between Bolton and Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, who, along with acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Giuliani, was heading up the White House Ukraine operation.

According to multiple press reports, Hill testified that after the July 10 meeting, Bolton instructed her to raise their joint concerns over the shadow Ukraine diplomacy with the chief lawyer for the NSC. She said Bolton told her to tell the White House lawyer, “I [Bolton] am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”

Hill also quoted Bolton as saying in a previous conversation, “Giuliani’s a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”

Bolton departed from the Trump administration under acrimonious circumstances (Trump said Bolton was fired, Bolton insisted he had resigned) on September 10. A ferocious war hawk who had called for military strikes against Iran and North Korea and pushed for US military intervention to overthrow the Maduro government in Venezuela, Bolton was known to have been at odds with Trump’s peace overtures in North Korea and Afghanistan and his decision to call off missile strikes against Iran earlier this year.

He also expressed the dismay within disaffected sections of the state with Trump’s personalist methods and disdain for established structures and procedures, as well as his erratic and unpredictable conduct of foreign policy.

Bolton’s angry response to Trump’s maneuvers with Ukraine were of a piece with his hard-line stance on foreign policy. He and others in the administration, including Hill and Marie Yovanovitch, whom Trump removed as ambassador to Kiev last May and who testified in the impeachment inquiry on Friday, considered Trump’s suspension of military aid to Ukraine and refusal to grant President Volodymyr Zelensky a White House meeting to be a political gift to Russia and part of Trump’s supposed softness toward Vladimir Putin.

Just five days before Bolton left the White House, the Washington Post published an editorial laying out the allegations that are at the center of the impeachment inquiry announced three weeks later by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The Post wrote:

Not only has Mr. Trump refused to grant the Ukrainian leader a White House visit, but also he has suspended the delivery of $250 million in US military aid to a country still fighting Russian aggression in its eastern provinces. Some suspect Mr. Trump is once again catering to Mr. Putin… But we’re reliably told that the president has a second more venal agenda: He is attempting to force Mr. Zelensky to intervene in the 2020 US presidential election by launching an investigation of the leading Democratic candidate, Joe Biden.

The Trump administration, as explained in the Socialist Equality Party Political Committee statement “No to American fascism! Build a mass movement to force Trump out!”, is an urgent danger to the working class. His response to the impeachment inquiry has underscored his contempt for constitutional processes and rejection of any congressional restraints on his power.

His recent speeches in Minnesota and Louisiana were overt appeals to racism, anti-Semitism and political violence, and declarations of support for police repression and militarism. He is seeking to establish a dictatorial regime and has repeatedly indicated that he may refuse to leave office if defeated in the 2020 election, and might call off the election altogether and remain in power in defiance of the Constitution.

He has continued to defy Congress in the impeachment inquiry, ordering past and present administration officials to refuse to cooperate with the House investigation. On Tuesday, Giuliani announced that he would not comply with a congressional subpoena requiring him to turn over documents related to the Ukraine operation.

Trump continues to tweet statements denouncing his political opponents as traitors, and on Monday a gruesome meme was circulated on the internet depicting Trump shooting, stabbing and hacking to death political opponents and journalists in a bloody rampage. The video was shown last week at a conference of far-right supporters that featured appearances by Donald Trump Jr., former White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski.

But Bolton’s role in the political warfare within the ruling class that has produced the impeachment inquiry underscores the fact that there is nothing democratic or progressive about the opposition to Trump by sections of the intelligence, military and national security establishment and corporate-financial oligarchy with which the Democratic Party is aligned.

The Democrats are conducting the impeachment inquiry in secret and focusing it entirely on the claim that Trump’s attempt to shake down the Ukrainian government for his personal political gain has damaged “national security”, i.e., the global strategic interests of US imperialism. They are doing everything they can to separate it from Trump’s real crimes against the social interests and democratic rights of the working class, with which they are in agreement. They want either to remove Trump or impose changes in his foreign policy by the methods of palace coup, without stirring up the broadly and deeply felt opposition to Trump among working people and youth.

The forces with which the Democrats are aligned include Bolton, who speaks for the most rabidly militaristic factions of the neo-conservative right wing.

The outrage within the ruling class over Trump’s withdrawal of US troops from northern Syria—denounced by both the Democrats and large sections of the Republican Party as a capitulation to Russia and Iran—has further inflamed the political warfare in Washington and fed into the impeachment crisis.

An editorial in the Tuesday print edition of the Wall Street Journal, the flagship Murdoch newspaper in the US, which has consistently defended Trump against the Democrats, carried the headline “Trump’s Syria Mess” and concluded with a warning to the White House:

Mr. Trump won’t like to hear it, but the Syrian mess is hurting him at home too. Republicans who have stood by him through the Russia fight and more are questioning his judgment as Commander in Chief in an increasingly dangerous world. With impeachment looming, he can’t afford to alienate more friends.

As long as the political crisis is limited to the divisions within the ruling class, there can be no democratic outcome. The victory of either faction will pose immense dangers to the working class. The struggle to remove Trump must be conducted as a mass movement in defense of democratic rights and the social interests of working class and in opposition to both big business parties and the capitalist system they defend.

As President delivers fascistic speech in Dallas. Democrats link Trump impeachment drive to dissent in military over Syria pullback: here.

BOLTON UP TO BAT As the impeachment probe pushes ever deeper into the White House, investigators want to hear from John Bolton, the hawkish former adviser who was openly troubled by President Donald Trump’s approach to Ukraine. He has since left the administration. Meanwhile, the House votes today on formalizing the impeachment inquiry, robbing the GOP of a major talking point. [AP]

In light of Thursday’s vote in the US House of Representatives to formalize the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump, it is worth contrasting the events now unfolding in Washington to those that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon 45 years ago. In July 1974, the House Judiciary Committee approved three articles of impeachment against Nixon. The direct cause of the impeachment proceeding was the Watergate scandal, in which Nixon directed a group of burglars known as the “White House Plumbers” to break into and wiretap the offices of the Democratic National Committee: here.

David Swanson says there are plenty of reasons for impeaching Trump, but the Democrats’ Ukrainegate case is weak and will not galvanize the nation or challenge the Senate to convict: here.

Yet neither the moderators of the Los Angeles event nor any of the candidates raised the fact that the House vote approving articles of impeachment against President Trump was bracketed by congressional votes in which the Democratic Party voted by wide margins to pass the White House’s key legislative priorities. These include a massive increase in military spending, a new North American trade pact (USMCA) directed particularly against China, and continued funding of Trump’s anti-immigrant border wall with Mexico: here.

The impeachment crisis and US war plans against Russia: here.

As Democrats promote anti-Russia hysteria. Trump steps up attacks on immigrants, democratic rights in midst of impeachment trial: here.

Democrats embrace war hawk Bolton in Trump impeachment trial: here.