Murdoch’s Fox News supports Trump’s Iraq warmongering


This 3 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Geraldo DESTROYS Fox News Warmongering

Geraldo destroys Fox News panel, which has no answers, for warmongering. John Iadarola and Brett Erlich break it down on The Damage Report.

“Geraldo: Don’t for a minute start cheering this on, what we have done, what we have unleashed — Kilmeade: I will cheer it on. I am elated. Geraldo: Then you, like Lindsey Graham, have never met a war you didn’t like. Kilmeade: That is not true, don’t even say that.”

Canada jay at Canadian bird feeder


This video from Canada says about itself:

Canada Jay Visits Ontario Feeder – Jan 3, 2020

A Canada Jay displaces a Blue Jay on the Ontario FeederWatch Cam. Canada Jays are highly curious birds and seemingly always on the lookout for food. They are known for their intrepid nature and diverse appetite. During the summer months, they hoard food for the winter.

Micronesian kingfisher, extinct in the wild


This 3 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Extinct in the wild, the brilliantly colored Micronesian kingfisher thrives in captivity at the Smithsonian’s National Zoo. Join the Zoo’s experts for an inside look at some of its 2,000 rare and extraordinary creatures.

African immigrants die in Trump’s jails


This 2 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

French National Dies in ICE Custody, Marking Agency’s Ninth Death in 2019

A French national being held by the U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency passed away on Sunday, marking the agency’s ninth death in custody in 2019. According to a statement shared by ICE, the individual, whose identity has yet to be released as officials work to identify next of kin, was a 40-year-old native of Angola. It is still unclear how the French national came to arrive in the U. S. or why they were being held under ICE custody. The agency has yet to detail what led up to the individual’s death. Newsweek has requested more information from ICE. On Monday, BuzzFeed News reported that a French national had died in ICE custody, citing a person with knowledge on the matter. The outlet reported that the individual had been a man detained by ICE since November 12. The agency has yet to confirm those details, however.

By Kevin Reed in the USA:

Three African migrants die in US custody during Christmas and New Year holidays

3 January 2020

During the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, three African migrants died while in the custody of two divisions of the US Department of Homeland Security.

On Saturday, December 21, a 56-year-old Nigerian man who was being held by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) at the Worcester County Jail in Snow Hill, Maryland, was found unresponsive in his cell. He was pronounced dead at 5:23 a.m. after efforts by medical staff to revive him were unsuccessful.

ICE officials reported that Anthony Oluseye Akinyemi committed suicide within 24 hours of being convicted of sexually assaulting a minor in Baltimore City Circuit Court. The agency said, “the preliminary cause of death appears to be self-inflicted strangulation; however, the case is still under investigation.”

ICE reported that a detainer had been issued against Akinyemi in July for the assault charge. The agency also said that he had violated the terms of his entry on a non-immigrant visa into the US in December 2017. Following his conviction in Baltimore, immigration authorities moved to have Akinyemi deported.

With the number of deaths at its detention facilities rapidly on the rise, ICE issued what can only be described as a boilerplate public relations statement following Akinyemi’s death: “ICE is firmly committed to the health and welfare of all those in its custody and is undertaking a comprehensive agency-wide review of this incident as it does in all such cases.”

Attempting to present the number of deaths in ICE custody in a favorable light, the statement went on, “Fatalities in ICE custody are exceedingly rare statistically and occur at a fraction of the national average for the detained population in the U.S.”

On Christmas Day, a 41-year-old Congolese woman died shortly after she entered the US border station at the Gateway to the Americas Bridge in Laredo, Texas. US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) has not yet identified the woman.

The perfunctory CBP statement on the death said that on Christmas Eve, “During initial processing, she was medically screened to include a review of paperwork she provided highlighting a previous medical condition, cleared by on-site contracted medical personnel, and transferred to the Lincoln Juarez Bridge for additional immigration processing and overnight holding.”

The CBP statement reported the woman told them on Christmas morning that “she was suffering from abdominal pain and had vomited.” The agency reported it then transported her to the Laredo Medical Center for an evaluation but, “The subject’s health declined rapidly and she passed away at the hospital.”

The agency said that, “The Webb County Medical Examiner’s Office has determined that the death is not suspicious, as the individual had a preexisting medical condition.” According to USA Today, CBP declined to answer follow-up questions about the case and the medical examiner’s office and the embassy for the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Washington, D.C., did not return messages.

The death of the Congolese woman brings to at least 11 the number of people who died in CBP custody in 2019. As was shown in the death of a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy at a CBP detention facility in Weslaco, Texas, last May, the official explanations of what has happened to those who die in US immigrant detention centers cannot be trusted. Video surveillance footage exposed that Carlos Hernández Vásquez was left on the floor unresponsive for hours and had not been checked on by staff as official reports had claimed.

On New Year’s Day, ICE reported that a 40-year-old Angolan native with French citizenship in their custody died on Sunday, December 29, at Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The report said that an autopsy to determine the official cause of death was pending but the preliminary cause was identified as a heart attack.

Samuelino Pitchout Mavinga, who was pronounced dead by hospital medical staff at approximately 12:20 p.m., had been brought there on December 12 for evaluation and treatment for bowel obstruction. The ICE statement said, “According to DHS records, Mavinga was admitted into the United States on Nov. 28, 2018, by immigration officials at the John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York City under the Visa Waiver Program. Under the program, he was required to depart the U.S. no later than Feb. 27, 2019.”

Mavinga had been taken into custody on November 11, 2019, by CBP and handed over to ICE the following day for “remaining in the United States for a period longer than authorized.” He was initially detained at the Otero County Processing Center in Chaparral, New Mexico, and was transferred to Torrance County Detention Facility (TCDF) in Estancia, New Mexico, on December 11 pending his removal from the US.

The official ICE statement also concludes with boilerplate PR verbiage that is designed to protect the agency from legal claims by the loved ones of the deceased, saying, “ICE’s Health Service Corps (IHSC) ensures the provision of necessary medical care services as required by ICE Performance-Based National Detention Standards and based on the medical needs of the detainee. Comprehensive medical care is provided from the moment detainees arrive and throughout the entirety of their stay.”

A recent study reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune found that the number of African migrants entering the US through Mexico has increased dramatically over the past two years. According to data provided by the US government, the number has doubled from 2,700 in 2018 to 5,800 in 2019. The majority of those coming to the US through Mexico continue be from Latin American countries.

Highlighting the shifts in migrant populations moving throughout the world, the increase in African migrants at the US southern border poses many challenges for those making the journey.

As the Union-Tribune explained: “The journey isn’t easy, many of them are robbed and beaten while traveling north. On top of these dangers, African migrants face additional obstacles in the way of language and cultural barriers. They also have less access to services from legal aid organizations who do not have staff who speak the same language as the migrants.”

In August, the Mexican government stopped issuing transit visas to African migrants in an effort to stop the number of people coming to North America to escape civil wars and ethnic conflict instigated by US and European imperialism across the African continent.

According to a website maintained by the American Immigration Lawyers Association, forty-four deaths have occurred at ICE adult detention facilities since December 2015. The growing number of deaths shows that the mistreatment of immigrants by the US government, including the detention at a network of concentration camps, is not incidental but deliberate. The purpose is to discourage workers from coming to the United States in search of a better life for themselves and their families.

In a cowardly act of belated and false protest, Democrats in the House of Representatives issued a call on December 23 for an investigation into the “troubling pattern of abuse and poor treatment” of migrants. A letter from Carolyn B. Maloney (Democrat from New York), chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, to Chad Wolf, Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, calls for documents related to all CBP deaths to be submitted to the committee by January 10.

The fraud of this exercise is fully exposed by the fact that the House Democrats voted with the Republicans on December 17 to approve a record $738 billion military appropriations that includes $1.375 billion for Trump’s border wall and removed a provision that would have barred the president from transferring money from other Pentagon accounts for the anti-immigrant wall project.

Daniel Okrent’s book The Guarded Gate examines the decades-long campaign in the US to restrict immigration that led to the passage of the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924, legislation which established a quota system designed to virtually bar immigration to the US from Southern and Eastern Europe. A century later, at a time when xenophobia, anti-Semitism and racism are once again on the rise in the US and around the world, much of this history is little known: here.

DHS BANS NEW YORKERS FROM GLOBAL ENTRY The Department of Homeland Security banned New Yorkers from taking part in trusted traveler programs, including the popular Global Entry, as retaliation for state lawmakers enacting sanctuary protections for undocumented immigrants. [HuffPost]

Trump administration moves forward with unconstitutional DNA testing of immigrants: here.

Fraud suspect billionaire Ghosn’s miraculous Japanese escape


This 30 December 2019 video from Australia is called Carlos Ghosn, ex-Nissan boss, escapes custody and flees to Beirut | Auto Expert John Cadogan.

By Nick Beams:

Many unanswered questions in Carlos Ghosn’s escape from Japan

3 January 2020

The successful escape of former Nissan chief executive Carlos Ghosn from Japan, where he was facing four charges, two of which related to understating his pay by more than $80 million in the company’s financial statements, underscore the fact that the rich and super-rich inhabit a world above the law, supported by government and state institutions.

In his latest statement on his escape from the Japanese judicial system issued in Lebanon yesterday, Ghosn said: “It was I alone who organised my departure.”

However, according to the head of his own Japanese legal team Junichiro Hironaka: “A very large organisation must have acted to pull this off.”

Ghosn was arrested in November 2018 on charges arising from financial practices he engaged in as the head of Nissan and was being held on bail of almost $14 million awaiting trial. He had been forced to surrender three passports—Lebanese, Brazilian and French—but apparently had been able to keep a second French passport in order to meet a Japanese requirement that foreigners carry identification.

While the full details of his escape have yet to emerge, he was apparently able to leave Japan on a private jet from Osaka airport which went to Istanbul’s Ataturk airport after which it continued to Lebanon. Turkish police are reported to have opened an investigation into Ghosn’s transit because neither his entry nor his exit was registered.

Interpol has issued a “red notice” to Lebanon asking it to arrest Ghosn, with which it is highly unlikely to comply. According to an Interpol statement issued yesterday: “Each country decides for itself what legal value to give to a red notice within their borders.”

The circumstances of his escape, under conditions where he was one of the most well-known faces in Japan, where his every move was supposedly monitored by authorities, raise the question of how much assistance he had from state authorities in Turkey, Lebanon, France and possibly even from Japanese authorities.

Ghosn was arrested at Tokyo’s international airport on November 7, 2018 as the result of an internal power struggle within the Nissan auto company of which he was the chief executive and the chairman of a global car-making alliance involving the French firm Renault, Nissan and the Japanese firm Mitsubishi.

Ghosn had previously been hailed as a hero of the Japanese business world for his organisation of an alliance between Nissan and Renault at the end of the 1990s that had pulled the Japanese firm from the edge of bankruptcy. Initially working at Michelin, he became known at Renault as Le cost killer for his ruthless restructuring of the company.

Under the deal with Nissan, in which Renault acquired a 43 percent shareholding, he became Nissan’s chief operating officer in June 1999, organising the closure of five of the company’s plants and the axing of 21,000 jobs.

But with the continuing stagnation of the global economy in the aftermath of the global financial crisis of 2008, the entire auto industry has been confronting an intensified struggle for markets and the enormous capital costs associated with the production of electric cars and the use of artificial intelligence.

Reportedly under pressure from the French government, Ghosn was pushing for a closer integration of Renault and Nissan. But this move brought a conflict with other Nissan executives opposed to what they saw as a takeover of the company by Renault.

The opposition was led by Ghosn’s former ally at Nissan, later to become its chief executive, Hiroto Saikawa, who was himself removed from his post last September after an internal investigation revealed he had received what it said was improper stock-based performance compensation in 2013.

The conflict over the Renault merger was to lead to the bringing of charges against Ghosn. The head of the Nissan legal department, Hari Nada, began an investigation into Ghosn’s financial dealings and in the summer of 2018 entered a plea bargain deal with Japanese prosecutors that led to the arrest of Ghosn in November.

The main charges against Ghosn are that he falsified company statements by understating his pay by more than $80 million and using company assets for his own benefit. Such charges could only have been brought on the basis of insider knowledge provided by the highest levels of the Nissan company.

Ghosn has insisted that his pay and financial arrangements were known to the company’s board and executives.

In September last year, however, he agreed to pay $1 million to settle a fraud charge brought against him by the US Securities and Exchange Commission that alleged he hid more than $140 million of his pay. Ghosn neither admitted nor denied the charges.

Another charge is that he used a private asset management company during the 2008 financial crisis to transfer losses from a derivatives contract worth $16.7 million to Nissan.

He is also accused of transferring $14.7 million over four years from a Nissan subsidiary account to a Saudi friend’s company. Ghosn has said the payments were made for “legitimate and vitally important business services.”

Last April, further charges were brought when prosecutors claimed that he had diverted $5 million from Nissan to benefit companies with ties to his family. There are also accusations that nearly $20 million of Nissan money was spent on houses used by Ghosn in Beirut, Rio de Janeiro and Paris and there are questions about who paid for a lavish party organised at the Palais de Versailles in honour of his second wife Carole in 2016.

The Ghosn case brought a predictable class response in an editorial published in the Wall Street Journal. Describing the start of the Ghosn saga as “dubious”, it called for “Japan to reform its justice system and corporate governance so they are more appropriate for a modern-day free-market economy.”

In other words, corporate disputes must be kept in-house. Likewise, the appropriation of millions of dollars by the chief executives of the corporate world to finance their lavish lifestyles should be kept under wraps.

Around the world, however, millions of people, no doubt, will contrast the treatment of Ghosn, and the support he has received and continues to receive, with the situation confronting Julian Assange, whose very life is in danger as he languishes in London’s maximum-security Belmarsh prison.

Ancient fish fins before evolution to amphibians


This 2016 video says about itself:

The evolution of fish began about 530 million years ago during the Cambrian explosion. Early fish from the fossil record are represented by a group of small, jawless, armoured fish known as ostracoderms. Jawless fish lineages are mostly extinct. An extant clade, the lampreys may approximate ancient pre-jawed fish. The first jaws are found in Placoderm fossils. The diversity of jawed vertebrates may indicate the evolutionary advantage of a jawed mouth. It is unclear if the advantage of a hinged jaw is greater biting force, improved respiration, or a combination of factors. The evolution of fish is not studied as a single event. since fish do not represent a monophyletic group but a paraphyletic one (by exclusion of the tetrapods).

From the University of Chicago Medical Center in the USA:

How fish fins evolved just before the transition to land

December 31, 2019

Research on fossilized fish from the late Devonian period, roughly 375 million years ago, details the evolution of fins as they began to transition into limbs fit for walking on land.

The new study by paleontologists from the University of Chicago, published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, uses CT scanning to examine the shape and structure of fin rays while still encased in surrounding rock. The imaging tools allowed the researchers to construct digital 3D models of the entire fin of the fishapod Tiktaalik roseae and its relatives in the fossil record for the first time. They could then use these models to infer how the fins worked and changed as they evolved into limbs.

Much of the research on fins during this key transitional stage focuses on the large, distinct bones and pieces of cartilage that correspond to those of our upper arm, forearm, wrist, and digits. Known as the “endoskeleton”, researchers trace how these bones changed to become recognizable arms, legs and fingers in tetrapods, or four-legged creatures.

The delicate rays and spines of a fish’s fins form a second, no less important “dermal” skeleton, which was also undergoing evolutionary changes in this period. These pieces are often overlooked because they can fall apart when the animals are fossilized or because they are removed intentionally by fossil preparators to reveal the larger bones of the endoskeleton. Dermal rays form most of the surface area of many fish fins but were completely lost in the earliest creatures with limbs.

“We’re trying to understand the general trends and evolution of the dermal skeleton before all those other changes happened and fully-fledged limbs evolved,” said Thomas Stewart, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher who led the new study. “If you want to understand how animals were evolving to use their fins in this part of history, this is an important data set.”

Seeing ancient fins in 3D

Stewart and his colleagues worked with three late Devonian fishes with primitive features of tetrapods: Sauripterus taylori, Eusthenopteron foordi and Tiktaalik roseae, which was discovered in 2006 by a team led by UChicago paleontologist Neil Shubin, PhD, the senior author of the new study. Sauripterus and Eusthenopteron were believed to have been fully aquatic and used their pectoral fins for swimming, although they may have been able to prop themselves up on the bottom of lakes and streams. Tiktaalik may have been able to support most of its weight with its fins and perhaps even used them to venture out of the water for short trips across shallows and mudflats.

“By seeing the entire fin of Tiktaalik we gain a clearer picture of how it propped itself up and moved about. The fin had a kind of palm that could lie flush against the muddy bottoms of rivers and streams,” Shubin said.

Stewart and Shubin worked with undergraduate student Ihna Yoo and Justin Lemberg, PhD, another researcher in Shubin’s lab, to scan specimens of these fossils while they were still encased in rock. Using imaging software, they then reconstructed 3D models that allowed them to move, rotate and visualize the dermal skeleton as if it were completely extracted from the surrounding material.

The models showed that the fin rays of these animals were simplified, and the overall size of the fin web was smaller than that of their fishier predecessors. Surprisingly, they also saw that the top and bottom of the fins were becoming asymmetric. Fin rays are actually formed by pairs of bones. In Eusthenopteron, for example, the dorsal, or top, fin ray was slightly larger and longer than the ventral, or bottom one. Tiktaalik’s dorsal rays were several times larger than its ventral rays, suggesting that it had muscles that extended on the underside of its fins, like the fleshy base of the palm, to help support its weight.

“This provides further information that allows us to understand how an animal like Tiktaalik was using its fins in this transition,” Stewart said. “Animals went from swimming freely and using their fins to control the flow of water around them, to becoming adapted to pushing off against the surface at the bottom of the water.”

Stewart and his colleagues also compared the dermal skeletons of living fish like sturgeon and lungfish to understand the patterns they were seeing in the fossils. They saw some of the same asymmetrical differences between the top and bottom of the fins, suggesting that those changes played a larger role in the evolution of fishes.

“That gives us more confidence and another data set to say these patterns are real, widespread and important for fishes, not just in the fossil record as it relates to the fin-to-limb transition, but the function of fins broadly.”

British Conservative criticizes Trump’s Iraq assassination


This 3 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

U.S. Killing of Soleimani Is Major Escalation, Could Spark “Another Round of Civil War” in Iraq

After the United States assassinated Iranian commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in a major escalation of the conflict between Iran and the United States, which now threatens to engulf Iraq and the Middle East, we get response from Iraqi journalist Ghaith Abdul-Ahad, who says the U.S. killing of Soleimani was reckless. “Did anyone consult Iraqis about the assassination of Qassem Soleimani on Iraqi soil?” he asks. “We don’t want another round of civil war.”

We also hear from Iranian scholar Trita Parsi, who is executive vice president of the Quincy Institute; Democratic Congressmember Ro Khanna of California; Phyllis Bennis of the Institute for Policy Studies; and Iranian-American journalist Negar Mortazavi who is the diplomatic correspondent for the U.K.-based Independent newspaper.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Britain had not been informed about the US air raid on Soleimani [at Baghdad international airport in Iraq], says [Conservative] MP Tom Tugendhat. He is the British committee of Foreign Affairs chairman. Tugendhat is not happy, according to The Guardian, that one of their greatest allies is not informing them.

“I’ve long believed that the purpose of having allies is that we can surprise our enemies and not each other, and it’s been a pattern, sadly, which has been a bit of a shame, that the US administration of late has not shared with us, and that is a matter of concern.”

Nevertheless, one should fear that Mr Tugendhat’s fellow Conservative, Prime Minister Boris Johnson, will behave as Donald Trump’s poodle on Trump’s escalation; like Johnson’s Conservative predecessor, Theresa May, was Trump’s poodle when Trump bombed Syria.

Australian bushfire survivors angry on government


This 3 January 2020 video says about itself:

“This Country Is a Tinderbox”: Australia Braces for More Devastation as Government Denies Climate Crisis

Australia is bracing for what is expected to be the worst weekend yet in an already devastating climate-fueled wildfire season that has ravaged the southeastern part of the country, killed at least 18 people and nearly half a billion animals, and destroyed 14.5 million acres of land. As thousands of evacuees fled to the beaches, conservative Prime Minister Scott Morrison is facing growing outrage for his inaction on climate and close ties with the coal industry. As fires blazed in December, the prime minister went on a holiday to Hawaii. He told reporters this week that fighting the fires — not climate change — was his top priority. On Thursday, Morrison was shouted out of the town of Cobargo after being confronted by angry fire victims. We go to Melbourne, Australia, to speak with Tim Flannery, chief councilor at the Australian-based Climate Council.

By James Cogan in Australia:

As Australia burns, anger turns on climate change-denying Prime Minister Morrison

3 January 2020

With fire engulfing entire swathes of the country, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison—who built his political reputation by denying the reality of global warming and rejecting the need for any reduction in fossil fuel use—has become the legitimate target of mass popular anger. In the eyes of millions, he personifies the responsibility of the ruling elite for the social consequences of the climatic change underway and the drastic impact it is having on their lives.

The first days of 2020 have witnessed harrowing scenes. Fire has threatened lives and property across the continent—from Western Australia to Queensland in the northeast, to South Australia and the southern island state of Tasmania. Communities in the eastern region of the southern state of Victoria and the adjoining South Coast region of New South Wales (NSW), have suffered some of the greatest destruction.

Captured in graphic footage that has travelled around the world, some 5,000 residents and stranded tourists in the Victorian coastal town of Mallacoota were ordered, on December 31, to seek safety on the beach and instructed to await a siren signal that would mark the necessity for them to flee into the ocean. With all access roads blocked by fire, a Navy troop transport has now been dispatched to evacuate Mallacoota’s population.

At least 450 homes have gone up in flames since Wednesday. Since late August, when the fire season began months earlier than usual, some 1,300 houses have been destroyed. At least five million hectares of bushland have been incinerated. Hundreds of millions of wild animals are believed to have been killed, including up to one-third of the koala population. Stock losses have not yet been tallied.

Mallacoota is only one of dozens of communities in Victoria and southern NSW that have become inaccessible by road. In many areas, electricity and mobile phone reception has been lost, due to the destruction of power lines and signal towers.

And the human toll is growing. Three volunteer firefighters in NSW have been killed combatting the blazes. In total, at least 19 people have lost their lives in the fires. Sydney and its sprawling suburbs are ringed with fire to the northwest, west and southwest. Fires have affected the outer reaches of Melbourne. The most populated areas of Australia are blanketed with toxic smoke and the air contamination is expected to cause large numbers of premature deaths.

Temperatures are predicted to soar past 40 degrees Celsius across most of the continent this weekend. Combined with strong winds, which will exceed 100 kilometres an hour in some regions, the latest heatwave will exacerbate the fires and the pressure on already under-resourced and increasingly exhausted volunteer firefighting crews. The Victorian state government has declared a “state of disaster”, giving it the power to order evacuations and impose what effectively amounts to martial law. The NSW government has declared another seven-day “state of emergency”, providing it with similar powers.

Under these conditions, Prime Minister Morrison made an unannounced visit yesterday to what remains of the small southern NSW township of Cobargo, which was ravaged by a wall of flame early on January 1. Two people were killed there trying to defend their home.

This 2 January 2020 video is called Residents Confront Australian Prime Minister Over Wildfires.

Morrison was greeted with unconcealed hostility by traumatised residents. A young woman refused to shake his hand, demanding that he increase support for the volunteer firefighting services and provide “help” to those who had lost their properties. Another resident shouted that the prime minister “should be ashamed of himself” for having abandoned the “country to burn”. Others shouted that he was “not welcome.”

Last month, the prime minister left Australia for a holiday in Hawaii, as the fire situation worsened. He provoked further fury and incredulity on New Years’ Eve, with a statement that the blazes were the “backdrop” to a cricket match between Australia and New Zealand.

When Morrison and an accompanying media pack strode into the Cobargo fire brigade building, a firefighter refused to stand up to greet him or shake his hand. Later, Morrison attempted to rationalise the man’s actions by stating he was probably “tired”. He was bluntly told that the reason was more likely that the firefighter’s own home had burnt down the day before.

The local member of parliament, part of Morrison’s Liberal-National Coalition government, told journalists: “To be honest with you, the locals probably gave him the welcome he probably deserved.”

Morrison’s reception in Cobargo was only one indication of the outrage that exists toward federal and state governments and the Coalition and Labor parties that dominate official politics. For decades, climate scientists have warned that global warming would drastically intensify the impact of weather-related disasters around the world, including the scale and destructiveness of the fires that break out each year across the Australian continent.

The warnings were simply ignored, even as the evidence of climate change was being registered in the rise of average temperatures. Between 2005 and 2019, Australia experienced ten of its hottest years on record. The drought conditions affecting much of the continent, and giving rise to the current fire emergency, are no aberration, but a long-term trend. At the same time, the tropical north of the continent is experiencing increased rainfall, bringing with it more frequent and devastating flooding and cyclone intensity.

Like their counterparts around the world, Australian governments, on behalf of the financial and corporate elites, have turned a blind eye. Australian capitalism, the largest exporter of coal in the world, has, in many respects, led the way internationally in resisting any serious reductions in global carbon emissions.

Nothing has been done to prepare the population for the consequences. While tens of billions of dollars have been squandered by successive governments, equipping the military with everything from new warships to jet fighters and armoured vehicles, the largely volunteer, state-based firefighting services have faced further funding cuts. A well-resourced and highly-trained professional emergency service does not exist to carry out the necessary preventative measures required each year to contain fires, or to respond to the type of emergency now unfolding.

Australian federal and state governments do not even own their own substantial fleet of firefighting aircraft and helicopters. Instead, during each fire season it contracts them, mainly from the United States. More than a decade after the catastrophic 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria, a national policy has still not been enacted to place the powerlines, which sparked many of the fires, underground.

The relationship between the corporate profit that flows to the capitalist class and the criminal refusal of the ruling elite to take action to stem climate change was summed up last week by Bob Dudley, retiring chief executive of energy conglomerate British Petroleum (BP). Dudley declared: “Some say, ‘we’d like you to move from oil and gas quickly to renewables.’ We say ‘OK, do you want us to cut the [stock] dividend?’”

The answer of the stockholders, Dudley observed, has been “no, don’t do that.’” He predicted that, with the current profit-driven prerogatives of corporations and governments, the world would “not even come close” to phasing out fossil fuel use over the next 20 years or, by implication, achieve the emissions reductions necessary to avoid further severe global warming.

As millions of working-class people pay the price, the anger already being vented at politicians such as Morrison will only intensify, and begin to focus ever more sharply on the financial and corporate interests they serve.

Searched for and found: climate researchers can now detect the fingerprint of global warming in daily weather observations at the global scale. They are thus amending a long-established paradigm: weather is not climate — but climate change can now be detected in daily weather: here.