Bounty Island shags video


This 1 May 2020 video says about itself:

Bounty Island shag – New Zealand Bird of the Week

Living only on a small group of islands, Bounty Island shags are a rare species, with a population likely under 1,000, and as such, are vulnerable. Nonetheless, they are remarkable birds, and they still manage to survive in a world of competition. I hope you enjoy.

COVID-19 disaster in Donald Trump’s USA


This 1 May 2020 satiric animated cartoon video by Mark Fiore from the USA says about itself:

Dr. Donald J. Trump, M.D.

President Trump just can’t help himself. If a thought enters his head, it must be the most tremendous and correct thought imaginable and he must immediately share it with the world. No need for research or relying on experts, watching Fox News is enough.

Amid back-to-work drive and state reopenings. US government prepares for hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 deaths. 2 May 2020. Press inquiries have found that the federal government is ordering enough body bags for at least five times the current US death toll.

Massive opposition by US meatpacking employees to forced return to work. By Anthony Bertolt and Christopher Davion, 2 May 2020. With nearly 900 meatpacking workers at the Tyson Foods plant in Logansport, Indiana testing positive for COVID-19, workers in meatpacking and processing across the United States are expressing their opposition to Trump’s executive order forcing the reopening of meat processing plants.

“They are willing to kill us for their profits”. US autoworkers oppose early return to factories. By Shannon Jones, 2 May 2020. Detroit auto companies are pushing for a May 18 restart but workers are resisting this attempt to force them into the factories during the uncontained COVID-19 pandemic.

Trump escalates attacks on China over COVID-19. By Peter Symonds, 2 May 2020. US President Trump has stepped up his propaganda war and threats against China, blaming it for the deadly COVID-19 pandemic that has cost the lives of more than 230,000 people internationally.

Trump tweets support for armed right-wing protesters in Michigan. By Kevin Reed, 2 May 2020. The right-wing demonstration in the Michigan state Capitol is part of a high-level campaign to force a return to work in the midst of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic … In addition to carrying automatic long arms, some protesters wore pro-Trump paraphernalia and others reportedly displayed swastikas, waved Confederate flags and brandished nooses.

As southwestern states begin to reopen. Navajo Nation COVID-19 cases rise while emergency federal aid remains delayed. By Evan Cohen, 2 May 2020. Endemic impoverishment and a lack of critical infrastructure imposed on Native Americans by Washington have contributed to some of the worst coronavirus infection rates in the country.

Trump blocks federal funeral aid to families of COVID-19 victims. By Jacob Crosse, 2 May 2020. While $45 billion has been allocated to the Federal Emergency Management Agency through the CARES Act, a memo from Trump bans the agency giving burial funds to thousands of victims.

Disoriented Baillon’s crake freed in Malta


This 2 May 2020 video from Malta says about itself:

Disoriented Baillon’s Crake released back into the wild

Occasionally we are called to recover birds in strange circumstances. Bird migration can be a stressful experience for many birds, especially when along their way they find cities, buildings and man-made structures which at times renders their lives more difficult. Many birds, such as crakes and moorhens, prefer to migrate through the night to avoid being caught by predators, and it is often the case they end up in the middle of our urban areas completely disoriented, especially with light pollution.

This Baillon’s Crake (Maltese name: Gallozz tal-Faxxi) is one of such birds we have recovered during this spring migration, after it was found within the courtyard of a residence in Paola. Luckily the person who found this bird did recognise this is a wild bird which does not belong in a courtyard and called upon us to retrieve it. After a quick check by the vets, the bird was actually found to be in a fit condition so it was just a matter of it being ringed and released in a more suitable wetland habitat such as that of Għadira Nature Reserve.

Given their cryptic nature of hiding in vegetation and the fact that they migrate night, Baillon’s Crakes are hard to spot and we are uncertain of how many of them migrate through the Maltese Islands. It was a sure honour for us to return this healthy yet disoriented bird back to nature – definitely one we don’t get to see that often.

Footage by BirdLife Malta. Editing by Nathaniel Attard.

Coronavirus disaster, European news


This 2 May 2020 video from Britain says about itself:

EXPOSED: Where Did Myth Most Elderly People Killed by Coronavirus “Would Have Died Anyway” come from?

Most elderly people killed by Coronavirus would not have died otherwise, a new study by Liverpool university concludes.

A callous myth previously peddled by the BBC & Sky News.

Where did that myth come from? A Key Government Advisor, that’s where.

UK: Delays to medical treatment during pandemic will cost thousands of lives. By Jean Gibney, 2 May 2020. Reports claim that deaths due to the disruption of cancer services alone are likely to outnumber deaths from the coronavirus itself over the next five years.

Nearly 300 meat-processing workers infected by coronavirus at German slaughterhouse. By Marianne Arens, 2 May 2020. While almost 300 workers at a Baden-Württemberg slaughterhouse have COVID-19, the plant remains open.

German government accelerates its deadly back-to-work initiative. By Johannes Stern, 2 May 2020. Despite the continuing spread of the COVID-19 internationally, the German government is accelerating its lifting of the limited restrictions imposed to prevent transmission of the virus.

Russia: Two ministers, one deputy test positive for COVID as workers’ protests grow. By Clara Weiss, 2 May 2020. Just one day after Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin was hospitalized for COVID-19, the minister for construction, housing and communal services and his deputy also tested positive.

Brazilian footballers, die, far-right President Bolsonaro says


This 30 April 2020 video says about itself:

‘So what’? Bolsonaro‘s response to coronavirus deaths riles Brazilians

Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro angered many in Brazil after he answered questions about the country’s death toll from Covid-19 by saying: ‘so what?’. This week, Brazil‘s coronavirus death toll topped 5,000 and there are more than 73,000 confirmed cases reported.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 1 May 2020:

Jair Bolsonaro: Football can return because players have a ‘small chance of dying’ from Covid-19

BRAZIL’S right-wing President, Jair Bolsonaro, wants to see football competitions start back up again soon despite the country’s high number of coronavirus cases, arguing on Thursday that players are less likely to die from Covid-19 because of their physical fitness.

Bolsonaro is one of the few world leaders still downplaying the serious risks brought by the pandemic, which he has likened to “a little flu“.

Most football tournaments in Brazil were suspended on March 15. The Brazilian championship was scheduled to begin in May, but that looks unlikely as the country has become Latin America’s coronavirus epicentre with more than 5,900 deaths.

Photomontage artist John Heartfield, new online exhibition


This video says about itself:

John Heartfield, Fotomonteur by Helmut Herbst

For more about John Heartfield, including never-before-seen private media from his grandson’s collection, please visit here.

Mr. Herbst was kind enough to allow me to present the first five minutes of his documentary “John Heartfield, Fotomonteur” on YouTube.

By Sybille Fuchs in Germany:

German photomontage artist John Heartfield: A new online exhibition

30 April 2020

Numerous museums forced to close by the COVID-19 pandemic have placed current or past exhibitions online, thereby providing the public access to them.

The Academy of Arts (Akademie der Künste—ADK) in Berlin, which controls the estate of the legendary left-wing photomontage artist John Heartfield (1891-1968), has placed online a virtual, multimedia presentation of photos, documents and audio-visual testimonials dealing with Heartfield’s life and work. The online presentation, Kosmos Heartfield, is available in English.

The ADK exhibition, John Heartfield—Photography plus Dynamite, was due to have opened at the end of March.

The virtual exhibition is well done and, in many respects, highly relevant in the present situation. More than virtually any other visual artist, except perhaps his friend George Grosz (1893-1959), Heartfield is associated with the struggle against reactionary forces in Weimar Germany (1919-1933). His innovative and slashing political montages became directed at the rise of Nazism in particular.

As Christoph Vandreier vividly describes in his book Why Are They Back?, which bears one of Heartfield’s photomontages on its front cover, militarists, nationalists and fascists are once again coming out of the pores of crisis-ridden capitalism as in the 1920s and early 1930s and taking up leading positions in the state apparatus, police, military, judiciary and intelligence agencies. Reactionary ideologies are being revived in the universities and frequently picked up and promoted in the media.

Once again, and for the first time since the end of World War II, a far-right party, the Alternative for Germany (AfD), sits in the German parliament as the official party of opposition and occupies leading posts in Bundestag committees. Its xenophobic and anti-refugee policy has been increasingly adopted as official German government policy.

John Heartfield was born on June 19, 1891, in Berlin-Schmargendorf, the son of the writer Franz Held (actually Franz Herzfeld) and his wife Alice. He was the first of four children. He changed his name, Helmut Herzfeld, to an English one to protest Germany’s chauvinist, anti-English propaganda during World War I.

Heartfield was one of a small group of artists and intellectuals who decisively opposed war and militarism in a period when many others went to war enthusiastically, praising the virtues of combat as a “cleansing thunderstorm.” Heartfield’s poor health and nervous conditions meant he was able to avoid murderous trench warfare.

Heartfield’s younger brother, Wieland Herzfelde, also played an important role. The two brothers founded the magazine Neue Jugend (New Youth) and later the Malik Verlag (Malik Publishing House), which specialised in contemporary political art and communist literature during WWI. Heartfield designed the covers for the books published by the Malik Verlag. In typical Dada fashion, he designed a portfolio for Grosz, which appeared in Neue Jugend in 1917.

John Heartfield, War and Corpses, the Last Hope of the Rich

A closer examination, however, of Heartfield’s biography, his problems, the political decisions he made, and the prevailing political circumstances would have helped a contemporary audience to better understand the artist’s rather tragic role and fate. The presentation notes that Heartfield joined the KPD immediately after its foundation in 1919 (as did Grosz). He received his party book from KPD leader Rosa Luxemburg herself, but his decision to side with the working class remains unexplained in the current exhibition.

In fact, Heartfield regarded a workers’ revolution along the lines of the Russian October Revolution of 1917 as the only alternative to capitalist exploitation and warmongering. Further research in the Akademie’s online archive reveals the numerous references, photos and documents that testify to his intense preoccupation with the Russian Revolution. Like many other artists and intellectuals, Heartfield regarded the Communist Party as the only political force that could effectively combat capitalist reaction and its drive towards dictatorship.

It was therefore not surprising that Heartfield produced the powerful photo montages which appeared on the front pages of the KPD newspapers Die Rote Fahne (The Red Flag) and the Arbeiter-Illustrierte-Zeitung (AIZ, Workers Pictorial Newspaper). Many of these montages can be seen in the presentation and a complete documentation is available in the ADK Heartfield online archive.

In the course of the 1920s, the AIZ developed into a publication that found support not only in the working class. The paper published contributions by leading artists and writers such as Käthe Kollwitz, Anna Seghers, Erich Kästner, Maxim Gorky and Kurt Tucholsky (Theobald Tiger). …

John Heartfield, Hitler, Tool in God's Hand? Plaything in Thyssen's Hand!

This John Heartfield photomontage is called Hitler, Tool in God’s Hand? Plaything in Thyssen‘s Hand!

Heartfield remained loyal to the AIZ in Prague where he fled after escaping from a gang of Nazi thugs by jumping from the balcony of his apartment in Berlin in 1933. In exile in Prague along with many other Communists, Social Democrats and left-wing intellectuals who had fled Germany, he created some of his most impressive and politically astute photo montages. He continued to work for his brother’s Malik Verlag, also forced into exile.

Heartfield’s trip to the Soviet Union in 1931 is not mentioned in the presentation. There is also relatively little information about his half-year stay in the USSR in the ADK online archive and in the exhibition catalog. He lived in Moscow with the writer Sergei Tretyakov, a friend of Brecht and a leading member of the Russian avant garde, who, like many other artists and intellectuals, was not prepared to accept the official Stalinist doctrine of “Socialist Realism” in artistic production. Tretyakov was a victim of the Stalinist purges in 1937. In Odessa, Heartfield helped build the exteriors for Erwin Piscator’s film Revolt of the Fishermen (1934) based on the novel by Seghers. …

In 1938, the Nazis occupied Czechoslovakia and Heartfield began his second exile, in London. He chose flight to the West rather than fleeing east into Stalin’s sphere of influence. This was no accident—he evidently avoided exposing himself to Stalin’s repression. In England … he was involved in various activities organised by German artists in exile, in particular the Free German Cultural Association (Freier Deutscher Kulturbund).

In the summer of 1940, he was interned as an “enemy alien,” but released after seven weeks for health reasons.

After the war, his first attempt to return to Germany was initially delayed for health reasons and then became problematic following the outbreak of the Cold War. …

Even after Heartfield was able to return, he had problems building on his previous successes in the German Democratic Republic. The narrow-minded GDR cultural bureaucracy disparaged his photomontages as “formalistic.” …

Heartfield was able to make some advances in the theatrical field in the GDR, but in a relatively conventional manner. He was unable, however, to recreate his powerful collaboration with Piscator in the 1920s. His admission to the GDR ruling party, the SED, and then to the East German Academy of Arts only took place following the personal intervention of Brecht in 1957.

Heartfield died on April 26, 1968 in East Berlin.

Should the ADK exhibition with its 400 items eventually open to the public, it is well worth visiting. It is due to travel to Zwolle (Netherlands) and London.

The Photography plus Dynamite catalog by Angela Lammert, Rosa von der Schulenburg and Anna Schultz is available from the Academy of the Arts bookshop at a special price of €29.90 (from July €39.90) plus shipping costs. In the foreword, the ADK draws attention to the growing influence of far-right radicalism today.

Black-chinned hummingbird in Texas, USA


This video from the USA says about itself:

Male Black-chinned Hummingbird Dips And Sips In West Texas – May 1, 2020

The West Texas Feeder cam is about to be aflutter with migrant hummingbirds this spring. Watch this male Black-chinned Hummingbird dip and sip while it hovers (as this species often does while foraging) at the feeder.

May Day 2020 during coronavirus, reports


This 1 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

ILWU 10/34 Shutdown On 2020 May Day Rally/Caravan In Oakland. An Injury To One Is An Injury To All!

ILWU Locals 10 & 34 on 5/1/20 shutdown the docks and joined with other unionists and community members to commemorate May Day with a rally and also a labor community caravan through Oakland.

The ILWU talked about the fight to protect their health and safety with PPE and the [billionaires’] demand that workers go back to work under unsafe conditions. Striking UCSC graduate students spoke out as well as teachers and immigrant worker organizers.

This 1 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Workers Raise Middle Finger To America’s Largest Companies

An unprecedented coalition of workers from America’s largest companies strike. John Iadarola and Brett Erlich break it down on The Damage Report.

“AN UNPRECEDENTED COALITION of workers from some of America’s largest companies will strike on Friday. Workers from Amazon, Instacart, Whole Foods, Walmart, Target, and FedEx are slated to walk out on work, citing what they say is their employers’ record profits at the expense of workers’ health and safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

The employees will call out sick or walk off the job during their lunch break, according to a press release set to be published by organizers on Wednesday. In some locations, rank-and-file union members will join workers outside their warehouses and storefronts to support the demonstrations.

“We are acting in conjunction with workers at Amazon, Target, Instacart and other companies for International Worker’s Day to show solidarity with other essential workers in our struggle for better protections and benefits in the pandemic,” said Daniel Steinbrook, a Whole Foods employee and strike organizer.”

Read more here.

This 1 May 2020 video from the USA is Senator Bernie Sanders‘ May Day 2020 message.

This 1 May 2020 video says about itself:

May Day 2020 Special – Srećko Horvat

The coronavirus crisis is revealing that the powers that be of the European Union have learned nothing from the Eurocrisis.

They are currently betraying the interests of the majority of Europeans in the same way that they have done so in 2010 — by failing to mobilize existing money and public financial instruments in the interests of the many. With their current decisions, they are jeopardizing public health, public goods and the interests of Europeans.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 1 May 2020:

May Day 2020 around the world: in pictures

AS THE world still grapples with the Covid-19 pandemic, this year’s International Workers’ Day is like no other.

Below are images from around the world of working people standing up for their rights as workers and marking the struggles of those who fought before.

People in Paris take part in a banned gathering as part of the May Day demonstrations.

Turkish police officers trampling carnations left by demonstrators during banned May Day protests in Istanbul

This photo shows Turkish police officers trampling carnations left by demonstrators during banned May Day protests in Istanbul.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 1 May 2020:

Workers across the world demand protections for key workers in scaled back May Day celebrations

WORKERS across the world pressed demands for the protection of those on the front line as May Day celebrations were scaled back as a result of the global Covid-19 pandemic today.

General secretary of France’s CGT trade union federation Philippe Martinez said: “This is an opportunity to bear the social demands that we have been defending for a long time and that the crisis has highlighted.”

The country remains on lockdown and the rally traditionally held in Paris was cancelled with people urged to flood social media and join solidarity actions on their balconies.