Hummingbirds at Texas, USA feeders


This 14 July 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, and Lucifer Hummingbirds Start Their Day In West Texas – July 14, 2020

A male Black-chinned, male Broad-tailed, and female Lucifer Hummingbird all visit the center feeder on the West Texas Hummingbird cam. More than a dozen different species of hummingbirds are known to make their way through this area of the Davis Mountains, and may even stop in front of the cam, at the height of migration activity.

COVID-19 pandemic in Donald Trump’s USA


This 14 July 2020 video says about itself:

Trump pushing for schools to reopen, experts warn against it

In spite of a spike in cases in several states, the Trump administration is continuing to push for schools to reopen. Some states and school systems have refused.

The US accounts for more than a quarter of the world’s coronavirus cases, with more than 3.3 million recorded infections.

Top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has ascribed the surge in US coronavirus cases to the country’s failure to shut down completely, then a rush to reopen too soon, and urged a commitment to guidelines to snuff out the disease.

Al Jazeera’s Patty Culhane reports from the US state of Maryland.

CALIFORNIA SHUTS DOWN AGAIN California’s governor clamped new restrictions on businesses, and the state’s two largest school districts, Los Angeles and San Diego, said children would not return to class for the new term as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations soared. Gov. Gavin Newsom, a Democrat, ordered bars closed and restaurants, movie theaters, zoos and museums statewide to cease indoor operations. Newsom said churches, gyms and hair salons must close in the 30 hardest-hit counties. [Reuters]

LEAVING THE PANDEMIC RESPONSE TO STATES DOOMED THE COUNTRY TO FAIL TOGETHER Unlike many developed countries, the United States remains in a coronavirus crisis, getting worse by the week in nearly 40 U.S. states. On Sunday, Florida broke the U.S. record for most coronavirus cases in a day with 15,300 new cases ― that’s more cases than were detected in all of Europe the same day. In Arizona, confirmed and possible COVID-19 patients were using a record number of intensive care unit beds and ventilators on Sunday. A day later, California announced it would roll back reopenings, as cases in the state continue to surge. [HuffPost]

MEDICAL SCHOOLS VOICE SUPPORT FOR FAUCI AMID WHITE HOUSE ATTACKS The Association of American Medical Colleges released a statement in support of Dr. Anthony Fauci, who the White House has attempted to smear for his dire warnings about soaring coronavirus infections. “The AAMC is extremely concerned and alarmed by efforts to discredit Anthony Fauci, MD, our nation’s top infectious disease expert,” the letter said. “Dr. Fauci has been an independent and outspoken voice for truth as the nation has struggled to fight the coronavirus pandemic.” Fauci returned to the White House to meet with the chief of staff on Monday, a day after the White House press office released an unattributed statement attempting to discredit him. [HuffPost]

CANADIANS SAY ‘KEEP IT’ TO U.S. CALLS TO REOPEN BORDER A bipartisan group of United States politicians is pushing for the U.S.-Canada border to reopen. But Canadians are having none of it, and they aren’t sorry they feel this way. In a letter this week shared by New York Rep. Brian Higgins, 27 members of Congress called on the U.S. and Canadian governments to begin a phased full reopening of the border when the current agreement expires on July 21. Restrictions on the border were first introduced in March, and have renewed them three times over the course of the coronavirus pandemic. [HuffPost]

GOP SENATOR: BACK TRUMP BECAUSE LIFE WAS GOOD BEFORE COVID-19 GOP incumbent Sen. Thom Tillis (Republican-North Carolina.), facing what polls show is a tough reelection race this fall, argued that voters should judge his party based on the economy’s performance before the spread of the disease ― and not President Donald Trump’s bungled handling of a public health crisis that has resulted in the deaths of more than 130,000 people and left about 30 million unemployed Americans. Most GOP leaders ― including Tillis ― have been unwilling to publicly hold Trump accountable for the failed response. [HuffPost]

COURT SHOOTS DOWN GOP DEMAND THAT HOUSTON HOST ITS IN-PERSON CONVENTION In a major win for coronavirus-battered Houston, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court ruled 7-1 Monday that the state’s GOP can’t force the city to host the party’s in-person convention this week. The city, grappling with a record number of COVID-19 cases, last week canceled the convention that was scheduled to begin Thursday at the George R. Brown Convention Center. It was expected to draw about 6,000 Republicans. “These are very serious times,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner (D) said. “Simply, the public health concerns outweighed anything else.” [HuffPost]

Pediatricians: Science, not politics, should decide school reopenings.

For teachers who are parents, schools reopening in the fall is bad news.

The people who say they’re not boarding an airplane until there’s a Covid-19 vaccine: here.

Wild boar swim across canal


This 7 July 2020 video shows a group of wild boar swimming across a canal near Son en Breugel in the Netherlands.

Wild boar can swim well, but have rarely been filmed doing so.

Usually, it is easier for them to swim than to get on the other bank, because canal banks are often steep, a problem for wildlife.

In this case, that was not a problem.

Maarten Royackers made this video.

Coronavirus disaster in the USA


This 13 July 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Florida Sets Record for New COVID-19 Cases | NowThis

Just one day after Disney World in Orlando partially reopened, Florida set the national record for the highest single-day report of new COVID-19 cases.

From the World Socialist Web Site, 13 July 2020:

Lockout of performers at Walt Disney’s Florida theme park

The union representing some 750 park employees at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, charged the company with locking out members of Actors’ Equity for demanding testing for coronavirus. The union alleges Walt Disney backed out of a pledge to provide testing as a condition for returning to work ahead of the theme park’s July 11 reopening.

Disney justified its retaliation against Actors’ Equity workers by trumpeting the fact that seven other unions agreed to its safety protocols concerning the virus. The company stated, “We are exercising our right to open without Equity performers.”

Actors’ Equity cited recent data last week revealing that Florida had just registered more than 114,000 new COVID-19 cases. The union has insisted on testing given that social distancing for many of the workers who perform as actors is not practical.

From the New York Times in the USA today:

Coronavirus Live Updates: A Record 5.4 Million Americans Have Lost Health Insurance, Study Finds

“We’re not going to compromise because this is our safety”. Meatpacking, auto and health care workers take action to protect lives as pandemic surges in US. By Jessica Goldstein and Jerry White, 14 July 2020. Meatpacking workers in Greeley, Colorado, walked out Friday, and autoworkers are setting up rank-and-file safety committees to protect themselves from the deadly virus.

The uncontrolled spread of the coronavirus in the United States is a social crime. Definite individuals, acting on behalf of the financial oligarchy, are responsible for the deaths of thousands of people: here.

Trump wages war against science and Dr. Fauci, not coronavirus. By Patrick Martin, 14 July 2020. At an appearance Monday, Trump continued to deny that the coronavirus is actually spreading in the United States, claiming the skyrocketing number of cases is due entirely to more testing.

Houston hospitals overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients as Texas continues to reopen. By Chase Lawrence, 14 July 2020. Coronavirus skyrockets in Texas’ largest city as reopening continues.

Hundreds of workers infected and four dead from COVID-19 at Los Angeles sweatshop. By Marc Wells, 14 July 2020. The Los Angeles Apparel factory was shut down after months of reports and formal complaints filed by garment workers and advocacy groups.

From the Legal Defense Fund of the NAACP in the USA today:

BREAKING: LDF’s Prepared to Vote team finds a dangerous and unacceptable lack of basic safety protections in Louisiana’s primary election

This is outrageous.

During Louisiana’s primary election over the weekend, we witnessed a dangerous and unacceptable lack of basic safety protections that put voters’ health at risk.

Here’s what LDF’s Prepared to Vote team found:

  • Polling place changes in some cities and parishes with late or no notification.
  • Absentee ballots that did not arrive before Election Day.
  • Lack of hand sanitizer in polling places.
  • Several instances of inaccessible polling places.
  • The refusal of many poll workers to wear masks and mocking voters who raised concerns about the lack of masks.

No one should have to put their life at risk to vote. No one should have to leave their polling place without voting because a poll worker makes them feel unsafe. Donate now to help make sure what happened in Louisiana never happens again.

Poll workers play a critical role in safeguarding American democracy and guaranteeing that all votes are counted. Mocking voters who are concerned about the lack of face masks, especially with the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black communities, is bound to make Black voters worry for their safety at the polls.

This underscores how the refusal to wear masks could serve as an instrument of voter suppression, and we cannot allow this to happen in November.

LDF is ready to fight back and will make sure that what happened this weekend in Louisiana isn’t a dry run for the general election, but we need to make sure we have all the resources we need to win this fight.

Thank you for standing with us in this fight.

With you in solidarity,

Sherrilyn A. Ifill
President and Director-Counsel

Squirrel and rail at Panama bird feeder


This video says about itself:

Red-tailed Squirrel And Gray-cowled Wood-Rail Take Turns On The Panama Fruit Feeder – July 12, 2020

Red-tailed and Variegated Squirrels both come to the feeder in search of bananas. This Red[-tailed] Squirrel had a delightful surprise when it discovered a wealth of untouched bananas. There would, however, be some competition for this bounty of fruit in the form of a hungry Gray-Cowled Wood-Rail.

British Conservatives and Saudi war on Yemen


British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir at the G20 Summit in 2018

This photo shows British Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson at a meeting with Saudi Arabia‘s foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir at the G20 Summit in 2018.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 13 July 2020:

Britain’s fingerprints are all over Saudi Arabia’s murderous war

GETTING on for 100,000 people have died in Saudi Arabia’s war on the Yemeni people and the number of children and infants dying from hunger, malnutrition and other conflict-related afflictions is also close to that number.

Imperial Britain’s exploitative relationship with the Middle East is a long-standing affair. One distinctive mark of imperialism’s poisonous legacy is the post-colonial persistence of ethnic and political divisions which have bedevilled Britain’s former colonies.

India, Ireland, Cyprus, Malaya, Sri Lanka, Guyana are all places where independence has been disfigured by divisions that, in the main, owe their toxicity to the tactics of a British ruling class that was and is a past master in the techniques of divide and rule.

If the most toxic of the time bombs it left behind is to be found in the irreconcilable expectations engendered by the Balfour declaration, in which a beneficent Britain promised both Palestinians and zionists the lands on which Palestinians lived, then the dispensation which divided up the neighbouring Arab lands with set square and ruler runs it close.

When the British empire still included millions of subject peoples east of Suez, an obscure tribal figure was plucked from the remote Arabian hinterland to rule over the sands that covered the precious oil needed to fuel the Royal Navy in its defence of imperial plunder. And no less important was the Yemeni port of Aden, a way station and refuelling point for their majesties’ ships.

It is that impossibly reactionary regime, driven by its deeply obscurantist Wahhabi brand of primitive religion and today headed by the murderous Mohammed bin Salman, that is responsible for the air war on Yemen. The Saudi air force is trained by Britain, our country and the United States supply the aircraft, the bombs, the replacement parts and maintenance services that keep it flying.

Beyond the criminal complicity of our government in this war is the hypocrisy which finds any excuse to clothe imperial ambition in the guise of “humanitarian” intervention when the local regime is out of favour – Syria, Iraq and Libya spring to mind – but when the crimes are committed by a favoured ally, no sanctions can be applied.

Labour under Jeremy Corbyn established a baseline of opposition to the unsavoury alliance of Britain and Saudi Arabia, an alliance sanctified by intimate ties between the two royal families, cemented by massive flows of capital and lubricated with the exchange of oil and armaments.

Keir Starmer won office by promising Labour members that he would continue the party’s progressive policies and if there is a critical starting point for an ethical foreign policy in the Middle East, it is in ending the supply of aircraft, parts, training and logistic support for this inhuman war.

Death in Bahrain

THE decision by Bahrain’s Court of Cassation on Monday to reinstate the death sentences for two local Shi’ite men is a transparently prejudicial act and an illustration of the double standards that Britain displays in its relations with its favoured regimes in the Middle East. Bahrain repays hypocritical words from Britain with more of the same.

It was pressure from solidarity and human rights groups that led to the earlier court ruling that the confessions of these two men had followed torture.

Reprieve director Maya Foa was spot on when she said: “To Western partners, Bahrain promises human rights reform. To citizens, it threatens that if you speak out, you will be imprisoned, tortured and convicted of crimes you did not commit.

“These unlawful death sentences are intended as a warning to would-be dissidents.”

It is time to clip the claws of these despotic regimes.