Trump’s Iran-Iraq war and the military-industrial complex


This 7 January 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Admin‘s BOGUS Justification for Iran Assassination

Exploring the Trump administration‘s absolutely bogus justification for the assassination of Iranian leader Qassim Soleimani

From Bernie Sanders‘ Our Revolution organisation in the USA today:

Last week, President Trump ordered the assassination of a senior Iranian official without even consulting Congress.

Tragically, this strike came just weeks after the politicians who take money from the military-industrial complex killed a measure supported by Bernie Sanders in the 2020 defense funding bill that would have explicitly forced President Trump to get Congressional approval before taking such an aggressive action that could plunge us into war.

We need to take a stand against a potential war with Iran and the needless death it would bring. Add your name to stand alongside Our Revolution against war with Iran!

Add Your Name

The fact that 188 House Democrats voted to give President Trump an increased military budget without proper restraints is shameful.

However, we need to move forward because lives are at stake. We must stand up to the power of the military-industrial complex and its relentless lobbying of Congress.

With so much power and money against us, the only recourse we have is to organize and prove the power of our strength. That’s why we are reaching out to you directly. Sign if you oppose war with Iran!

Thank you for standing up for peace.

The whole team at Our Revolution

Earthquake in Puerto Rico


This 7 January 2020 video says about itself:

A 6.5 magnitude earthquake has struck the American territory of Puerto Rico according to the United States Geological Survey.

MAGNITUDE 6.6 EARTHQUAKE ROCKS PUERTO RICO An earthquake of magnitude 6.6 struck just off Puerto Rico, the largest in a series of quakes in recent days. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no significant threat of a tsunami to the region. [Reuters]

OVER HALF OF PUERTO RICANS WITHOUT POWER More than half of Puerto Rico’s 3 million people remained without power on Wednesday after earthquakes killed at least one person and damaged about 300 homes. Thousands were sleeping outdoors, afraid more homes may collapse. Tuesday’s quakes included the most powerful one to strike the U.S. territory in 102 years. [Reuters]

From CNN today:

A 6.4 magnitude earthquake and several other strong tremors rocked Puerto Rico Tuesday morning, just one day after a 5.8 magnitude quake shook the island, according to the US Geological Survey.

Power outages and damage to homes and buildings were reported near the island’s southern coast, though the extent wasn’t immediately clear.

The 6.4 quake struck at 4:24 a.m. local time (3:24 a.m. ET), centered just off Puerto Rico’s southern coast, about 6 miles south of Indios town, the USGS said. The mayor of Guayanilla, just north of Indios, reported damage to homes and a church. There were no immediate reports of injuries, Mayor Nelson Torres said in a phone interview with CNN affiliate WAPA.

Earthquake strikes Puerto Rico, killing one and knocking out power to the island: here.

Pedophile billionaire Epstein’s death, suicide or murder?


This 3 December 2019 CBS TV video from the USA says about itself:

Sharyn Alfonsi joins “CBS This Morning” to talk about Sunday’s upcoming 60 Minutes report on the death of Jeffrey Epstein.

This 6 December 2019 CBS TV video from the USA says about itself:

Pathologist hired by Epstein’s family says autopsy may point to murder

After a five-month investigation, 60 Minutes obtained photos of Jeffrey Epstein’s autopsy and the cell where the convicted sex offender was found dead. Forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden, who was hired by Mark Epstein to investigate his brother’s death, joins “CBS This Morning” to discuss new details in the case and why the autopsy may point to a homicide, not a suicide.

On Sunday the CBS television news program “60 Minutes” revealed important new details about the conditions before and after the death of millionaire sex offender Jeffrey Epstein in his jail cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center (MCC) in New York City on August 10. The details both substantiate and add to already existing evidence that Epstein did not commit suicide in his cell as determined by the New York Medical Examiner’s Office, but was, in fact, murdered: here.

Saving jaguars in Belize


This July 2017 video is called A Jaguar Family in Belize.

From the University of Bristol in England:

Protecting two key regions in Belize could save threatened jaguar, say scientists

January 6, 2020

Scientists studying one of the largest populations of jaguars in Central Belize have identified several wildlife corridors that should be protected to help the species survival. The study, led by the American Museum of Natural History and the University of Bristol and published in BMC Genetics, provide a new insight into where conservation efforts should be concentrated.

Jaguars are top predators inhabiting large areas of Belize’s tropical forests and have a vast range spanning thousands of square miles. However, high deforestation rates for large-scale agricultural development and a constantly changing landscape mean jaguars are under increased threat and now listed as ‘near threatened’ on the IUCN red list of threatened species.

Dr Angelica Menchaca, the study’s lead researcher who led the study while a PhD student at Bristol’s School of Biological Sciences, said: “Jaguars don’t stay in one place and can move long distances often through unprotected areas between reserves. Areas in between national parks with human activity may put jaguars at risk from retaliatory killing, conflict with cattle ranchers and limit connectivity between reserves.”

In order to improve conservation and management issues, the team monitored genetic population structure and predicted jaguars’ movement corridors to understand how they relate to each other, and how feasible it is to maintain connectivity between reserves.

Dr Menchaca and colleagues analysed samples of jaguar faeces collected over eight years of fieldwork in central Belize, a region which is of great importance for jaguar connectivity as it forms a bridge between the Selva Maya extending to Guatemala in the south, and Mexico in the north.

The team identified 50 different jaguars and observed high levels of gene flow within animals identified in the Cockscomb Basin Wildlife Sanctuary and the Maya Forest Corridor, making these two areas critical for conservation efforts. These areas are currently separated by Hummingbird highway but can potentially be connected through wildlife corridors and the expansion of natural protected areas.

Dr Menchaca added: “Our findings provide a screenshot of genetic patterns of animals inhabiting the area between 2003-2011 and provide important insight into the best routes for the jaguars to take across two key areas in Central Belize. If we are to help this threatened species, then our conservation efforts must expand protected areas to ensure the maintenance of this threatened species across its range.”

The study was funded by the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and the National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT).

Dead American soldier’s mother against Trump warmongering


This 6 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

AOC Condemns Killing of Soleimani: This Was An Act of Aggression Committed by the United States

Over the weekend, Democracy Now! spoke with New York Congressmember Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and asked her response to the assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. “We need to be tactical about how we can actively resist further escalation on already an unprecedented level of escalation and aggression by the president, and therefore by the United States,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “He did this on behalf of our entire country. And that’s what makes the potential illegality of his action so flagrant, because he did not consult Congress and this was not done with the support of the United States.”

By Karen Meredith in the USA, 6 January 2020:

I’m writing to you with a serious and important ask in light of Donald Trump’s recent erratic and dangerous foreign policy decisions.

Will you join me in signing VoteVets’ petition to demand Congress put a check on Donald Trump and stop him from starting a war with Iran? It only takes a minute to sign and stand in solidarity with all veterans and military families in this moment of uncertainty.

I lost my son in Iraq in 2004 when an unmanned machine gun mounted on his tank accidentally discharged during combat against members of the Iranian-backed Mahdi army.

I supported the Iran deal because had we tried diplomacy first, perhaps my son would be alive today. The deal was working, and I was shocked and alarmed when Donald Trump pulled out of it — exacerbating an already tense situation.

Now, he has brought our country back to the brink of war where the only thing we can be certain about is the uncertainty of what is coming next at any given hour.

I made a promise to my son when I buried him 15 years ago that I would do everything to stop any war, so no other mothers have to go through what I did when I buried my only son. That’s why I’m asking you today:

Will you join me and VoteVets in standing in solidarity with all Gold Star families, military families and veterans? Sign the petition demanding Congress act to stop another war with Iran today.

With no clear plan or strategy, the situation with Iran is devolving by the hour. It’s critical we make our voices heard on this issue as loud and as soon as possible to stop the possibility of a war with Iran. That’s why I’m asking you to join me in signing the petition today.

Thanks for your support,

Karen Meredith
Gold Star Families Liaison
VoteVets.org

This 6 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Iranian General Assassinated By Trump Was On Peace Mission At The Time

Desperate to justify the US drone assassination of Iranian Major General Qasem Soleimani, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that Washington had made an “intelligence-based assessment” that Soleimani was “actively planning in the region” to attack American interests before he was killed.

Read more here.

From the USA, 7 January 2020:

The people of the world must fight back and demand: No war on Iran!

On Saturday, January 25, actions across the world will oppose a new war in West Asia. Now is the time for all those opposed to war to speak up. Please join us.

Initiators for this call include the International Action Center, ANSWER Coalition, CODEPINK, Popular Resistance, Black Alliance for Peace, National Iranian-American Council (NIAC), Veterans For Peace, US Labor Against the War (USLAW), Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF), United National Anti-War Coalition (UNAC), Pastors for Peace/Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization (IFCO), International Workers Solidarity Network, United For Peace and Justice, FIRE (Fight for Immigrants and Refugees Everywhere), Alliance For Global Justice (AFGJ), December 12th Movement, World Beyond War, Peoples Opposition to War Imperialism and Racism (POWIR), Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Dominican Sisters/ICAN, Nonviolence International, Food Not Bombs, No War on Venezuela and many other anti-war and peace organizations.

This 6 January 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Former Top Bush Official: I Saw the March to War in 2003. I’m Seeing the Same Thing with Iran Now

We look at the Trump administration’s assassination of Iran’s top military commander Qassem Soleimani with Lawrence Wilkerson, a retired United States Army colonel who served as Secretary of State Colin Powell’s chief of staff from 2002 to 2005. On February 5, 2003, he watched as Powell made the case for war in a speech to the United Nations. He has since become an outspoken critic of U.S. intervention in the Middle East. In 2018, Wilkerson wrote an article for The New York Times titled “I Helped Sell the False Choice of War Once. It’s Happening Again.”

U.S. BARS TOP IRANIAN DIPLOMAT, VIOLATING UN AGREEMENT Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s top diplomat, planned to come to the U.S. to address the United Nations Security Council in a meeting on Jan. 9, but was denied a visa. He had been expected to speak on the U.S. assassination of Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani. [HuffPost]

U.S. WARNS CITIZENS IN ISRAEL OF ROCKET FIRE RISK The United States warned Americans in Israel and the Palestinian territories to be vigilant, citing the risk of rocket fire. The alert issued on the websites of the U.S. State Department and the U.S. embassy in Israel did not specifically mention the killing of Qassem Soleimani, but referred to heightened tensions in the Middle East. [Reuters]

‘Over-hunting walruses killed Viking Greenlanders’


This 2013 video says about itself:

Getting the perfect shot of a walrus can be a cold, exhausting task. On assignment in a Greenland fjord, photographer Paul Nicklen explains why—then dives in for a close encounter.

From the University of Cambridge in England:

Over-hunting walruses contributed to the collapse of Norse Greenland, study suggests

January 6, 2020

Summary: Norse Greenlanders may have chased dwindling walrus herds ever farther north in an effort to maintain their economy, when the value of walrus ivory tanked after the introduction of elephant tusks into European markets in the 1200s.

The mysterious disappearance of Greenland’s Norse colonies sometime in the 15th century may have been down to the overexploitation of walrus populations for their tusks, according to a study of medieval artefacts from across Europe.

Founded by Erik the Red around 985AD after his exile from Iceland (or so the Sagas tell us), Norse communities in Greenland thrived for centuries — even gaining a bishop — before vanishing in the 1400s, leaving only ruins.

Latest research from the universities of Cambridge, Oslo and Trondheim has found that, for hundreds of years, almost all ivory traded across Europe came from walruses hunted in seas only accessible via Norse settlements in south-western Greenland.

Walrus ivory was a valuable medieval commodity, used to carve luxury items such as ornate crucifixes or pieces for games like chess and Viking favourite hnefatafl. The famous Lewis chessmen are made of walrus tusk.

However, the study also indicates that, as time wore on, the ivory came from smaller animals, often female; with genetic and archaeological evidence suggesting they were sourced from ever farther north — meaning longer and more treacherous hunting voyages for less reward.

Increasingly globalised trade saw elephant ivory flood European markets in the 13th century, and fashions changed. There is little evidence of walrus ivory imports to mainland Europe after 1400.

Dr James H. Barrett, from the University of Cambridge’s Department of Archaeology, argues that the Norse abandonment of Greenland may have been precipitated by a “perfect storm” of depleted resources and volatile prices, exacerbated by climate change.

“Norse Greenlanders needed to trade with Europe for iron and timber, and had mainly walrus products to export in exchange,” said Barrett, lead author of the study published in Quaternary Science Reviews.

“We suspect that decreasing values of walrus ivory in Europe meant more and more tusks were harvested to keep the Greenland colonies economically viable.”

“Mass hunting can end the use of traditional haul-out sites by walruses. Our findings suggest that Norse hunters were forced to venture deeper into the Arctic Circle for increasingly meagre ivory harvests. This would have exacerbated the decline of walrus populations, and consequently those sustained by the walrus trade.”

Other theories for collapse of the colonies have included climate change — the “Little Ice Age”, a sustained period of lower temperatures, began in the 14th century — as well as unsustainable farming methods and even the Black Death.

“An overreliance on walrus ivory was not the only factor in Norse Greenland’s demise. However, if both the population and price of walrus started to tumble, it must have badly undermined the resilience of the settlements,” says co-author Bastiaan Star of the University of Oslo. “Our study suggests the writing was on the wall.”

Analysis using carved artefacts would risk damage, so researchers examined pieces of “rostrum”: the walrus skull and snout to which tusks remained attached during shipment, creating a protective “package” that got broken up in the ivory workshops of medieval trading centres such as Dublin, Trondheim and Bergen.

In total, the team studied 67 rostra taken from sites across Europe, dating between the 11th and 15th century. Ancient DNA (25 samples) and stable isotopes (31 samples) extracted from samples of bone, as well as tusk socket size, provided clues to the animals’ sex and origins.

The stable isotope analysis was conducted by Cambridge’s Dorothy Garrod Laboratory for Isotopic Analysis, and the DNA analysis by Oslo’s Department of Biosciences.

The researchers also studied traces of “manufacturing techniques” — changing styles of butchery and skull preparation — to help place the walrus remains in history.

While impossible to determine exact provenance, the researchers detected a shift in European walrus finds around the 13th century to walruses from an evolutionary branch most prevalent in the waters around Baffin Bay.

These animals must have been hunted by sailing northwest up the Greenland coast, and more recent specimens were smaller and often female. “If the original hunting grounds of the Greenland Norse, around Disko Bay, were overexploited, they may have journeyed as far north as Smith Sound to find sufficient herds of walrus,” said Barrett.

Norse artefacts have previously been found among the remains of 13th and 14th-century Inuit settlements in this most northern of regions. One former Inuit camp on an islet off Ellesmere Island contained the rivets of a Norse boat — quite possibly a hunting trip that never returned.

“Ancestors of the Inuit occupied northern Greenland during the time of the Norse colonies. They probably encountered and traded with the Norse,” said Barrett. “That pieces of a Norse boat were found so far north hints of the risks these hunters might have ended up taking in their quest for ivory.”

Barrett points out that the Inuit of the region favoured female walruses when hunting, so the prevalence of females in Greenland’s later exports could imply a growing Norse reliance on Inuit supply.

He says that hunting season for the Norse would have been short, as seas were choked with ice for much of the year. “The brief window of summer would have barely been sufficient for rowing the many hundreds of miles north and back.”

The legend of Erik the Red itself may mask what Barrett calls “ecological globalisation”: the chasing of natural resources as supply dwindles. Recent research revealed that Greenland might have been settled only after Icelandic walruses were hunted to exhaustion.

Ultimately, having been highly prized for centuries, the marbled appearance of walrus ivory fell out of favour as West African trade routes opened up, and the homogenous finish of elephant ivory became de rigueur in the 13th century.

One account suggests that in the 1120s, Norse Greenlanders used walrus ivory to secure their own bishopric from the King of Norway. By 1282, however, the Pope requests his Greenland tithes be converted from walrus tusk into silver or gold.

“Despite a significant drop in value, the rostra evidence implies that exploitation of walruses may have even increased during the thirteen and fourteenth centuries,” said Barrett.

“As the Greenlanders chased depleted walrus populations ever northwards for less and less return in trade, there must have come a point where it was unsustainable. We believe this ‘resource curse’ undermined the resilience of the Greenland colonies.”

Methodist church split about homophobia


This 22 October 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Homophobic Comments Made to UMC Pastors in the LGBTQ Community

The following statements are actual things said to pastors who are members of the LGBTQ+ community in United Methodist Churches in Greater New Jersey. Some by congregants, some by other pastors.

We invited several pastors who identify as straight to read them aloud. They have not seen these statements before being filmed.

Read more here.

By Orion Rummler in the USA, 3 January 2020:

Methodist church proposes plan to split over LGBTQ inclusion

United Methodist Church leaders announced plans on Friday for a historic split of its 13 million-plus denomination over allowing same-sex marriage within the church and LGBTQ clergy members.

What’s next: The church is expected to vote on the measure to implement the division of America’s second-largest Protestant domination at the general conference in Minneapolis this May.

Flashback: Momentum for the separation got underway last February, when the church’s “Traditional Plan” — to maintain status quo of banning LGBTQ clergy and same-sex marriages — won over a new, LGBTQ-inclusive plan.

Details: The proposal for a formal split was reached between progressive and traditionalist groups within the church, including the Reconciling Ministries Network, which has advocated for LGBTQ inclusion in the Methodist faith since the 1980s.

The proposal says that the right-wing homophobes will get $ 25 million when they will split.

Some well-known Methodist homophobic politicians were British Conservative Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and United States Republican President George W Bush.