White storks rest on church in Malta

This video says about itself:

Some of the White Storks which visited Malta in March 2020 roosted for several nights around Mosta and Birkirkara. The storks spent more than a week on Malta.

Notably, four of them settled for several nights on the steeple of St. Theresa’s Church in Birkirkara. Members of the public took photos and footage of these majestic birds in this urban setting.

White Storks (Ċikonja Bajda in Maltese) are large birds, tall, with a 155-200 cm wingspan. They are completely white except for the black wing flight feathers, and their red bill and legs, which are black on juveniles. They walk slowly and steadily on the ground. Like all storks, the White Stork flies with its neck outstretched. For us in Malta, the White Stork is a rare migrant, both in spring and autumn. It is more common in autumn than in spring.

Footage and editing by Nathaniel Attard.

‘United States armed forces, stop honouring Confederacy’

This August 2017 video from the USA says about itself:

The Truth About America: Army Bases Around Nation Named After Confederate War Figures

Roland Martin and #NewsOneNow are going to expose the Truth about America. #TruthAboutAmerica will feature and expose the lies and half-truths taught in schools that still promote white supremacy.

Today’s focus on #TruthAboutAmerica exposes military bases named after Confederate generals who LOST the Civil War. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, there are ten army bases named after Confederate generals.

From VoteVets.org in the USA today:

Add your name to our petition asking the Army, Navy and Air Force to join the Marines in banning all Confederate flags and materials, and to rename 10 Army bases named after Confederate generals.


Last month the commandant of the Marine Corps, General David Berger, ordered a ban on all Confederate flags and materials on Marine bases.

Now, VoteVets is launching a petition asking the secretaries of the Army, Navy, and Air Force to join the Marines in banning Confederate symbols and requesting the Army rename 10 bases that bear the name of Confederate generals.

This isn’t about history — it’s about keeping symbols of hate out of our nation’s military. Soldiers of the Confederacy have a place in books, museums, and other educational centers that can properly teach – not honor – what they fought a war against the United States of America for.

If you’re with us, we need your signature on this petition today. Our military should not honor the Confederacy or those who decided to take up arms against the United States to defend slavery. Sign if you agree.


These symbols have become rallying cries for hate, violence, and white supremacy. As the largest group representing veterans and military families, we have a unique voice to lend on this topic — so let’s send a message loud and clear.

Thanks for joining us,


Pacific robins, four, not one species

This 2012 video from Australia says about itself:

Scarlet Robin

Found in Eastern NSW, Victoria, South Australia, Tasmania and the Southern coastal areas of Western Australia.

From the University of Maryland Baltimore County in the USA:

One species to four: New analysis documents new bird diversity in the Pacific

March 6, 2020

Summary: New findings suggest several island bird populations in the Pacific that were previously designated as a single species actually comprise up to four distinct species. The results upend understanding of the islands’ robin populations, which have been used as a textbook example of evolution since the 1940s. The new findings have important implications for conservation, as some of the newly-designated species live only on a few isolated islands.

In the 1930s, famed biologist Ernst Mayr became the first to study Pacific Robins. Based on his observations of the robins and other birds on Australia and its outlying islands, he developed foundational concepts that continue to inform the study of evolution. He took copious notes on the birds’ physical characteristics, behaviors, and habitats. Always, he described the robin populations as a single species, albeit with significant variation from island to island.

Ernst Mayr made lasting contributions to evolutionary biology — but like most scientists, he wasn’t right about everything.

Bold new claims

Anna Kearns is a former UMBC postdoctoral fellow now at the Smithsonian Institution’s Conservation Biology Institute. With her UMBC postdoc advisor Kevin Omland and other colleagues, she has conducted new investigations into the relationships among Pacific Robins on various islands using many of the same bird specimens Mayr himself used. The difference is, “He would have mainly been just using his eyes” to compare specimens, Kearns says. She and her colleagues have had the advantage of major advances in technology since Mayr’s time.

Kearns has built on Mayr’s work by using techniques like DNA sequencing and spectrophotometry, which quantitatively compares the hue, brightness, and saturation of feathers. She has come to a more nuanced understanding of the relationships between, say, a robin on Fiji and one on the Solomon Islands.

As a result of this research, Kearns and colleagues from UMBC, the Australian National Wildlife Collection, Australian Centre for Ancient DNA, and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History are making bold new claims about the relationships between these birds. In a 2015 paper in Conservation Genetics, Kearns demonstrated that robins living on Norfolk Island, directly east of mainland Australia, are a distinct species from the rest. A new paper in the Journal of Avian Biology published this month indicates two more unique species — one that inhabits the Solomon and Bougainville Islands, and another that lives on Fiji, Vanuatu, and Samoa.

Preserving biodiversity

The new work demonstrates just how much is still unknown about avian biodiversity. “Even in this well-studied group of birds, that’s been a textbook example since 1942, we did not really know what the units of biodiversity were,” says Omland, professor of biological sciences at UMBC, and senior author on the new paper.

Understanding those “units of biodiversity” is critical for conservation. When all the Pacific Robins and mainland Australia’s Scarlet Robin were considered a single species (a single unit of biodiversity), the loss of the birds on one or two islands would be unfortunate, but not necessarily very impactful. If those birds were actually the only remaining members of a unique species, however, the same loss becomes catastrophic.

“What Anna’s work is showing is that the bird populations on these islands have very distinctive traits,” Omland adds, “so just knowing what the biodiversity is that we want to conserve is super important.”

Unpredictable patterns

The team’s work indicates that all the Pacific Robins are descended from an ancestral Australian population where males were brightly-colored and females were dull-colored. But as small groups of robins colonized the outlying islands, the population on each island took its own evolutionary path. Today, some island groups still maintain the bright male and dull female pattern, but on other islands both sexes have evolved bright coloration. On other islands, both sexes have evolved dull coloration.

“When you look at the genetics, you find two distinct lineages” leading from the common ancestor to all the island populations that exist today, Kearns says. “So that means these patterns have evolved independently multiple times.”

Kearns and Omland think the changes have more to do with random forces than evolutionary adaptation. “If we flipped two coins, this is about what we’d expect,” Omland says.

For example, the pattern an island’s population ended up with could depend on the color of the individuals that happened to get blown onto that island initially. Also, in a very small population, the random way genes are redistributed from generation to generation can have a significant impact — as much of an effect or more than natural selection.

Detective work

Kearns and Omland are both excited to have the opportunity to suggest names for the new species they’ve identified. Kearns suggests “Mayr’s Robin” for the Fiji/Vanuatu/Samoa population, in honor of Ernst Mayr’s pioneering study of these birds.

But their contribution to ornithology is more than a name. “Because these birds are all on very small isolated islands, and Pacific birds are often on many, many, many isolated islands, collecting is very difficult. So there haven’t actually been that many comprehensive studies,” Kearns says. Revealing the complexity of the relationships among these robins adds much-needed information to the field. It also raises the prospect that other birds — especially those on islands — might have undergone similar, as-yet-unstudied, evolutionary processes.

The work is a unique blend of past and present. “You really wouldn’t be able to do this study without using these old collections,” Kearns says. At the same time, discovering the new species also wouldn’t have been possible without modern techniques.

“It’s kind of like detective work in a way,” Kearns says. “I feel like there’s just so much more we need to know about it. But we feel like we have made a big step forward.”

‘Coronavirus treatment must be free’, Sanders says

This 6 March 2029 video from the USA says about itself:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks about fighting the coronavirus, supporting Bernie Sanders in the 2020 election and the youth vote.

From senator and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders in the USA today:

I know that we have a number of important primaries tomorrow, but I want to take a moment to write about the growing threat of COVID-19, otherwise known as the coronavirus — something I will be discussing at a roundtable in Michigan at 3:15pm Eastern today. I hope you will tune in online to watch.

Then, at the end of the email I am going to ask you to take action to make it clear that once a coronavirus vaccine is developed, it will be made available for FREE — something Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary could not agree to. And, any testing, treatment, or quarantine should be free too.

If you’re ready to sign that petition, you can do so here. And then I’ll talk more about this crisis and the steps we must take as a country going forward.

Right now in the United States, reports suggest over 500 confirmed cases across many different states and Washington, D.C., and at least 22 deaths. But the truth is, we cannot be sure about these numbers because the Trump administration has completely mismanaged making coronavirus testing available, and local clinics and hospitals are still woefully unprepared to diagnose potential cases.

And, unfortunately, the more we know about this developing crisis, the more it is becoming clear that not only is the Trump administration incompetent, but that our current dysfunctional health care system is vastly underprepared for this pandemic.

To start, we should not be having someone like Vice President Pence leading the task — somebody who, to be charitable, is not a great advocate for science in general.

Sadly, I have very little confidence in the Trump administration to do anything that is right or decent, or certainly based on science.

I know that we have a brilliant president who has clearly studied this issue very intently, but this is the guy, Donald Trump, who thinks climate change is a hoax, and just last month was telling us that this crisis would somehow magically end in April.

This is the guy, Donald Trump, who said he didn’t “necessarily agree with proactive testing,” and that we’d find out where people were infected “by waiting”.

This is the guy, our president, who said that we have “hundreds of thousands of people that get better, just by, you know sitting around and even going to work.”

And this is the guy who, at the Centers for Disease Control, said, “maybe I have a natural ability” to understand the deadly illness.

So no. I am not very confident in the president’s ability to manage this crisis.

The truth is, we need real scientists and health care professionals in charge of the coronavirus response and communicating updates to the public.

But we also need to acknowledge what the Trump administration has not been able to ignore: under our current, dysfunctional for-profit health care system, people don’t go to the doctor if they cannot afford it. And during an infectious health crisis like this one, that means that potential carriers of the virus may not get checked out if they’re showing symptoms.

And the truth is, even the Trump administration has figured out that maybe it’s not a great idea to have people who might have the virus walking around the streets and going to work if they can’t afford health care and to get a checkup from a doctor.

I think even they have figured out that it’s a good idea to make sure that people who feel sick or may have some of the symptoms actually go into a doctor’s office.

They’ve even proposed using federal funds to pay for medical treatment of people who lack insurance.

Sounds a little bit like Medicare for All.

Imagine that.

But I’m glad at least that they recognize it’s totally insane and dangerous to our society that if you’re walking around and infecting other people and you’re not going to the doctor when you should because you don’t have insurance that is counterproductive for the whole society.

I’m glad they at least recognize that.

Small steps…

So yes, this crisis is another clear example of why we must guarantee health care as a right for every single man, woman and child in this country. While some won’t get the treatment they need because they can’t afford it, others will be hit by massive medical bills simply for doing the right things. People will face bills in the hundreds of thousands for hospitalization, treatment and quarantine if they need it. That must end.

This crisis is another example of why we need universal paid family leave in this country, so people who are sick can stay home, recover, and prevent the virus from spreading.

This crisis is another example of why we must take on the greed of the pharmaceutical industry. It is outrageous that during his Congressional testimony, Trump’s HHS Secretary would not guarantee that a coronavirus vaccine would be affordable to all.

The vaccine, once developed, should be free. And testing, treatment, and quarantine should be free too.

Health experts agree that the spread of the coronavirus will likely get worse before it gets better.

Donald Trump must stop spreading lies and fear, and leave the science to scientists and health professionals, not politicians. We must make certain that we are prepared for a pandemic, just as we do with FEMA and natural disasters.

Thank you for reading.

In solidarity,

Bernie Sanders

This crisis has made clear that we need to guarantee health care as a right, universal paid family leave, and the need to take on the greed of the health insurance and pharmaceutical industries.

Sign my petition: tell the Trump administration that any coronavirus vaccine, as well as testing, treatment, and quarantine, must be FREE.


Paid for by Bernie 2020

(not the billionaires)

PO BOX 391, Burlington, VT 05402

It is still Sanders, not ‘senile’ Biden, who has the best chance of beating Trump — but the mainstream, ‘centrist’ media will say anything to convince voters otherwise: here.

Giant extinct swans of Sicily and Malta

This 8 March 2020 video says about itself:

At one point in time giant swans inhabited Sicily and Malta alongside dwarf elephants, resulting in a pretty unique ecosystem. But what were these swans – Cygnus falconeri – like when they were alive?

Bernie Sanders campaign in the USA news

This video from the USA says about itself:

WISE 12-Year-Old Bernie Supporter: “Human Rights Violation” to Deprive People of Healthcare

Status Coup’s Jenn Dize spoke to Jordan Chariton who spoke with Alan, a 12-year-old Bernie Sanders supporter, in Grand Rapids Michigan on March 8th, 2020 (yes, his mom gave us permission!).

This 8 March 2020 video from the USA is called Bernie Sanders & AOC Rally 2 Days Before Michigan Primary–Jenn LIVE From Ann Arbor Michigan.

How burying beetles raise their offspring

This 2019 video says about itself:

A beetle (Nicrophorus vespilloides) finds a dead shrew. He takes the shrew and feeds his larvae. Finally, the larvae pupate and a new generation arises. 3 weeks compressed in 4 minutes.

From the University of Exeter in England:

Older beetle parents ‘less flexible’

March 6, 2020

Older parents are less flexible when it comes to raising their offspring, according to a new study of beetles.

University of Exeter scientists studied a species of burying beetle which raises its young on carcasses of small animals such as mice or birds.

They found that younger females adapted the number and total weight of offspring, and the effort they put into caring for them, based on the size of the carcass (smaller carcasses mean less food is available).

Meanwhile, older females largely ignored the conditions and put consistently high effort into reproduction.

“Being flexible can help organisms adapt to rapid changes in their environment,” said Dr Nick Royle, of the Centre for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter’s Penryn Campus in Cornwall.

“It makes sense to produce more offspring when food is plentiful, and less when it’s scarce.

“However, such flexibility takes effort and energy.

“So, for older beetles that may not get the chance to breed again, the best strategy might be to invest everything you have, regardless of the situation.”

Like baby birds, young burying beetles beg to their parents for food and are fed by regurgitation in return.

The researchers varied the size of carcass available to the beetles to see how mothers responded.

Young mothers showed restraint — when less food was available, they saved resources for future reproduction — while the effort put in by older mothers was largely unaffected by the size of the carcass available.

Dr Royle said: “Parental care is hard work — it is costly — so it makes sense not to expend more energy than is necessary if there is a good chance you will get an opportunity to breed again.

“That is what the younger mothers are doing here — protecting assets for future reproductive opportunities by not engaging in high-risk behaviours.

“Flexibility is the key to this.

“But for older mothers, the chance of them breeding again is less likely so it is better to just go for it now as they might not have a future.”

He added: “To our knowledge, this is the first time such age-dependent plasticity (flexibility) in parental care has been shown.

“It helps us to understand why there is such variation in plasticity in the natural world and how this can help organisms adapt to changes in their environment.

“Being plastic is good for burying beetles, but only when they are young.”

Extreme right Rupert Murdoch Australian media monopoly

This April 2012 video about Britain says about itself:

Rupert Murdoch’s Political Influence

What really was the relationship between billionaire Rupert Murdoch and all those British Prime Ministers?

By Patrick O’Connor in Australia:

Murdoch’s News Corp shuts down Australian Associated Press

9 March 2020

Australian Associated Press (AAP) executives announced last Tuesday that the news agency will be closed on June 26. Majority AAP co-owners and media conglomerates News Corp Australia and Nine Entertainment triggered the shutdown to both slash costs and deny news content to rival newspapers and online news outlets.

AAP’s closure will further reduce the range of available news sources in Australia, which already has one of the most monopolised media industries in the world. The newswire service’s arbitrary shutdown at the hands of Murdoch’s News Corp and Nine underscores the corporate, right-wing domination of mainstream news.

Around 180 journalists and 400 other staff will lose their jobs. News Corp and Nine executives initially sought to attribute AAP’s closure to Facebook and Google’s distribution of free news content. AAP journalists were slashed by 10 percent in 2018 on this pretext. Last month, Nine chief executive Hugh Marks reported a 9 percent profit decline, at the same time declaring that cost-cutting had to proceed in divisions of the company that were not sufficiently profitable, including “big output deals like AAP.”

Last Thursday, however, the Guardian reported comments made by AAP chairman and News Corp executive Campbell Reid at an internal company meeting. He reportedly told news agency staff that “Nine and News Corp were tired of subsidising a breaking news service for their competitors” and that “News Corp would develop its own breaking news service.” He added that Murdoch’s company was “committed to the supply of breaking news,” but stated that “we don’t have to supply it for everybody else in Australia.”

These comments pointed to the strategic calculations underlying the AAP shutdown, centring on further extending the major media conglomerates’ domination of the market. No effort was made to sell off AAP or implement alternative corporate restructuring.

Murdoch’s News Corp controls more than 70 percent of the print media, a rate that places Australia among the worst five countries in the world for media diversity. Murdoch’s publications pump out a homogenous staple of right-wing politics, promoting anti-working class austerity measures, anti-refugee xenophobia, and other forms of reactionary nationalism.

Nine Entertainment is similarly a multi-billion dollar corporation with intimate ties to the political establishment. Former Liberal government treasurer Peter Costello serves as the company’s chairman. Its assets include the former Fairfax daily newspapers, the Sydney Morning Herald, Age, and Australian Financial Review, radio broadcaster Macquarie Media, various online publications, and the Nine Network, the highest rating free-to-air television station in the country.

AAP has been running since 1935. Its stories and photography are used by publications, including websites such as the Guardian Australia and the New Daily, television networks, radio stations, and regional newspapers. AAP provides 350 individual articles every day to its about 200 subscribers, as well as 300 domestic photos, 13,000 international photos, and 30 video reports.

New Daily managing director Paul Hamra reported that no effort was made by AAP’s owners to discuss options with the newswire’s subscribers, “such as increased syndication fees, restructured offerings or equity.” He added: “I get the impression News Corp and Nine just want to set up their own newswire service instead, with their own content, controlling more of the market and restricting access for new Australian journalism ventures.”

In addition to the sacking of around 180 AAP journalists and 100 contracted photographers, hundreds of others will lose their administrative positions. AAP also operates a profitable press release distribution arm, and a Pagemasters editorial production service, both of which are being closed down. …

The Liberal-National government, and the entire political establishment in Australia, is in fact a determined enemy of the people’s “right to know”.

Last week, Prime Minister Scott Morrison and opposition Labor leader Anthony Albanese shed a few crocodile tears in parliament over AAP’s demise. Morrison declared that the end of “such an important institution” was “a matter of real concern.” Albanese added that the closure of the newswire was “a tragedy for our democracy.”

This was hypocrisy of the highest order. Neither Morrison nor Albanese proposed to actually do anything to hinder the Murdoch-Nine destruction of AAP. Successive Labor and Liberal governments have dismantled previous provisions limiting monopoly control over the media, allowing a tiny number of corporate giants in the sector to accumulate enormous wealth and power.

More broadly, the last period has seen a bipartisan assault on journalism and freedom of the press in Australia. A raft of so-called national security laws has facilitated the prosecution of numerous whistleblowers, including through police state-style secret trials in which neither the defendant nor his or her alleged crimes can be publicly reported.

Last June, Australian Federal Police raided the national office of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation over its reports on brutal Australian military war crimes in Afghanistan, and News Corp journalist Annika Smethurst, because she reported plans to legalise internal surveillance by the Australian Signals Directorate spy agency.

The sharpest expression of the Australian ruling elite’s war on freedom of speech and freedom of journalism is its support for the attempted extradition to the United States of WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange, on bogus espionage charges. The entire Australian political establishment is implicated in the witch-hunt of Assange, which was triggered by his exposure of US war crimes in the Middle East and American diplomatic intrigue around the world. AAP journalists were among the minority of reporters to have written objective reports on the US-led ruthless pursuit of Assange.

News Corp and Nine executives no doubt hope to expand their dominance of the media by shutting down AAP. The longer-term effect, however, will be the continued discrediting of the mainstream media in the eyes of ordinary people and the increasing prominence of alternative, anti-establishment news outlets on the internet.

United States Bernie Sanders supporters interviewed

This 8 March 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Full Speech: Bernie Sanders Rally in Grand Rapids

Bernie Sanders talked about his policies and had harsh words for President Donald Trump during a rally in Grand Rapids on March 8, 2020, just two days before Michigan’s presidential primary.

‘We’re going to win it again,’ Bernie Sanders says of Michigan at Grand Rapids rally.

From the World Socialist Web Site in the USA:

“They want to keep the working class divided along racial and ethnic lines to keep all of the money to themselves

Sanders rally attendees in Michigan discuss socialism and the Democratic Party …

Sanders still enjoys popular support among layers of the working class and youth and drew thousands of attendees to rallies staged in Illinois and Michigan over the weekend. Since Friday, an estimated 6,000 attended a rally in Detroit, over 10,000 in Chicago, at least 4,000 in Grand Rapids in western Michigan, 10,000 in Ann Arbor, the home of the University of Michigan, and roughly 1,000 in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn. …

In Chicago, Sanders received endorsements from Illinois Representative Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, leaders of the Chicago Teachers Union. However, the Democratic established has largely given its backing to Biden … On Sunday Sanders received the endorsement of the Chicago based Rainbow/PUSH Coalition’s Jesse Jackson during the rally in Grand Rapids.

Reporters from the WSWS spoke to attendees at the rallies in Detroit and Grand Rapids. … Many attendees expressed anxiety and nervousness over the prospects that Biden could soon be the Democratic nominee, with some saying they would leave the party were he to become the candidate. Those our reporters spoke with expressed support for internationalism, opposition to imperialist war

In Detroit, Victor told the WSWS: “I am considering a vote for Bernie Sanders because of the conditions now facing young people and students in this country. The situation is becoming more and more intolerable on many levels, be it a lack of decent jobs, access to college, police brutality and war. It will be interesting to see what happens at the end of this primary.”


Victor added: “A lot of young people like me are getting more involved not because they support the Democratic Party per se, but because they want to see a movement to change things.” Commenting on the way that race is now being injected in the campaign behind Biden, Victor stated that the main issue was social conditions: “Yes, you have different groups of people, but what unites us is that we all face similar social problems.”

Olivia, a 20-year-old model from Michigan, came with her friends Sydney, 19 a production assistant in the film industry, and Arsinee, 18, who works at a boutique. Olivia told our reporters, “Capitalism just doesn’t work. We want socialism! The rich and the wealthy, the government, they want to keep the working class divided along racial and ethnic lines to keep all of the money to themselves.”

Olivia, Sydney, and Arsinee

Arsinee agreed: “It’s the old divide and conquer technique. We came because we wanted to see something different. There is power in numbers and we need to speak up. Our presence here speaks volumes. We know the Democratic party is not all that it says that it is. We know about the wars under Obama and his deportations. We all have to learn more. The Democrats are just as involved in taking money from wealthy donors.”

Chris, another attendee, told the WSWS: “The main reason that I am here is because of income inequality and the lack of adequate health care. People are afraid to go to the doctor, or urgent care, or a hospital, because of health care premiums and other out of pocket costs. I am living with my parents right now because I make $11.25 an hour at a paint store. I work about 30-35 hours a week after going to college.”


“I would like to see a break with the Democrats and an independent socialist party, but I don’t know how we would do it. The infrastructure it would take to build a party that would be able to compete with the two established parties, I don’t know how ready or able we are to undertake that right now.”

At the rally in Grand Rapids, Tre, who works as a server at a nearby Outback Steakhouse, said, “I’m about to turn 26 and will lose my health care, which I really depend on. If I lose insurance, I can’t imagine how expensive it will be.”

Tre continued: “I’m very concerned about the future. I just became an uncle to twins, and I’m scared that they won’t survive in the future due to climate change. I want to further my education, but I can’t afford college tuition and don’t want to go into debt. I have sisters who can’t buy homes because of how much college debt they have.”

Speaking on Sanders, Tre declared, “He’s really only a modern FDR, but that’s unacceptable to the establishment. It shows how far both parties have moved to the right in recent decades. I think Sanders is putting these issues back in the Democratic Party and they don’t want him to. They see him as a financial threat.”


Brett, an instructor at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, noted his frustration with the line-up of Democrats endorsing Biden. He commented, “I think it’s a testament to the fact that Sanders is leaning too far to the left, and that’s not acceptable to the Democratic establishment.” …

Brett declared: “I agree with the points you’ve made. … I champion internationalism, that’s the only way that we’ll ever be able to solve the problems we face.”

Jessica and Casey, who live in Holland, Michigan, were both deeply upset by Sanders’ losses on Super Tuesday. Jessica stated emphatically, “I think the whole thing was calculated, and it’s upsetting. I’ll leave the Democratic Party if Joe Biden is the nominee.” After discussing the need for the working class to build its own, independent political party, Jessica declared, “I feel like that’s where things are heading.”