Greek nazis are criminals, court decides


Magda Fyssa (centre) the mother of late Greek rap singer Pavlos Fyssas, who was stabbed and killed by a supporter of the extreme right Golden Dawn party in 2013 triggering a crackdown on the party, celebrates immediately after the delivery of the verdict of a court in Athens

Magda Fyssa (centre) the mother of late Greek rap singer Pavlos Fyssas, who was stabbed and killed by a supporter of the extreme-right Golden Dawn party in 2013 triggering a crackdown on the party, celebrates immediately after the delivery of the verdict of a court in Athens.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Editorial: The Golden Dawn verdicts are a victory that should encourage anti-fascists everywhere

THE verdict that Greece’s fascist Golden Dawn party is a criminal organisation is a huge victory for the Greek left and international anti-fascism.

It is a vindication of years of work to mobilise against fascism and isolate the neonazi party.

And it’s a win for popular pressure that forced a reluctant Greek state to take action – pressure symbolised by the thousands who rallied outside the courthouse today, and reluctance symbolised by the state prosecutor who recommended that the charge that Golden Dawn was a criminal organisation should be dropped and the specific crimes committed considered as the acts of individuals.

Those crimes are a showcase of the targets prioritised by fascists. The murder of the anti-fascist rapper Pavlos Fyssas. The attempted murder of an immigrant fisherman. The attempted murder of a metalworkers’ trade-union leader and communist.

The fascists had friends in high places: the communist trade-union leader Sotiris Poulikogiannis pointed during the trial to Golden Dawn’s co-ordination with shipyard owners who wanted its help in smashing the militant union in their workplace. Lawyer Thanasis Kampagiannis has described the back channels that existed between Golden Dawn and the mainstream conservative party New Democracy – which forms the current Greek government.

They were defeated not by Greek officialdom but by years of community organising and anti-fascist unity to build what Kampagiannis calls a “democratic wall” to stop them. That is why Golden Dawn lost every parliamentary seat it had last year.

That mobilisation will need to continue. Illegality is a serious blow to fascists, but these dealers in death were already criminals.

Street violence is part of the core strategy of fascism. Mussolini’s Blackshirts were identified by Hitler as the key innovation of the original Fascist Party. Golden Dawn’s now convicted leader Nikos Mihaloliakos spoke to this truth when responding to election defeat: “We return where we became strong, on the streets and squares, in the tough struggle against Bolshevism.”

Violence precedes and underlies all its forays into “official” politics – as in India, where Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP was formed as the political wing of the RSS Hindu nationalist paramilitary organisations. To this day they act as his boots on the ground, breaking up opposition meetings, setting on and killing political opponents as the murder last weekend of Keralan communist organiser PU Sanoop illustrates.

Internationally fascism is far from dead. India’s BJP, with its virulent xenophobia, bids to rewrite history to erase non-Hindus from the national story and routine use of violence, is the governing party in the modern world closest to the classic model of fascism. But the threat also exists elsewhere.

Germany, reeling from an anti-semitic attempted murder whose suspected perpetrator carried a swastika in his pocket, has been forced to disband its entire elite KSK military unit – the German army’s equivalent to the SAS – because of officers’ links to far-right terror.

In the United States, gun-toting white supremacists march against Black Lives Matter demonstrators: when they kill, as Kyle Rittenhouse did in Kenosha, Wisconsin, they receive warm words from a US president who has also called on the far-right Proud Boys to “stand by” in an election whose official result he will not commit to accepting. In Britain, racists block the roads from Dover and the Home Secretary panders to them by calling on the navy to keep out refugees.

The left internationally should look to Greece for our response. Liberal officialdom will appease and collaborate: the socialist left must organise against fascism as only we can, since socialists understand the real causes of the fears fascists prey on, which lie in the insecurity and misery created by the capitalist system. Yet understanding those fears and offering real solutions does not mean giving an inch to the fascists’ lies.

As Communist Party of Greece general secretary Dimitris Koutsoumbas quoted after the verdict: “Understand fascism – it will not die by itself. Crush it.”

New mosasaur species discovery in Morocco


This 8 October 2020 video is called New species of mosasaur discovered in Morocco, more than 66 MILLION years ago.

From the University of Alberta in Canada:

Paleontologists identify new species of mosasaur

Ancient lizard’s long, crocodile-like snout suggests it carved out a niche in a competitive marine ecosystem

October 7, 2020

A new species of an ancient marine reptile evolved to strike terror into the hearts of the normally safe, fast-swimming fish has been identified by a team of University of Alberta researchers, shedding light on what it took to survive in highly competitive ecosystems.

Gavialimimus almaghribensis, a new type of mosasaur, was catalogued and named by an international research team led by master’s student Catie Strong, who performed the research a year ago as part of an undergrad honours thesis guided by vertebrate paleontologist Michael Caldwell, professor in the Faculty of Science, along with collaborators from the University of Cincinnati and Flinders University.

More than a dozen types of mosasaur — which can reach 17 metres in length and resemble an overgrown komodo dragon — ruled over the marine environment in what is now Morocco at the tail end of the Late Cretaceous period between 72 and 66 million years ago.

What differentiates Strong’s version, however, is that it features a long, narrow snout and interlocking teeth — similar to the crocodilian gharials, a relative of crocodiles and alligators.

Strong said this discovery adds a layer of clarity to a diverse picture seemingly overcrowded with mega-predators all competing for food, space and resources.

“Its long snout reflects that this mosasaur was likely adapted to a specific form of predation, or niche partitioning, within this larger ecosystem.”

Strong explained there is evidence that each species of the giant marine lizard shows adaptations for different prey items or styles of predation.

“For some species, these adaptations can be very prominent, such as the extremely long snout and the interlocking teeth in Gavialimimus, which we hypothesized as helping it to catch rapidly moving prey,” she said.

She added another distinctive species would be Globidens simplex — described last year by the Caldwell lab — which has stout, globular teeth adapted for crushing hard prey like shelled animals.

“Not all of the adaptations in these dozen or so species are this dramatic, and in some cases there may have been some overlap in prey items, but overall there is evidence that there’s been diversification of these species into different niches,” Strong noted.

Alternatively, the main contrasting hypothesis would be a scenario of more direct competition among species. Strong said given the anatomical differences among these mosasaurs, though, the idea of niche partitioning seems more consistent with the anatomy of these various species.

“This does help give another dimension to that diversity and shows how all of these animals living at the same time in the same place were able to branch off and take their own paths through evolution to be able to coexist like that,” she said.

The remains of the G. almaghribensis included a metre-long skull and some isolated bones. There was nothing to explain the cause of death of the specimen, which was uncovered in a phosphate mine in Morocco that is rich in fossils.

Morocco is an incredibly good place to find fossils, especially in these phosphate mines,” Strong said. “Those phosphates themselves reflect sediments that would have been deposited in marine environments, so there are a lot of mosasaurs there.”

US presidential elections, Pence, fascism, militarism


This 8 October 2020 video from Latin America says about itself:

Neither U.S. candidate supports cutting the Pentagon budget, despite polls results

Foreign policy is not a priority in this election, neither Biden nor Trump show a good neighbor policy towards Latin America.

PENCE, HARRIS CLASH ON COVID The vice presidential debate between Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Kamala Harris started with a clash on the COVID-19 pandemic ― one in which Pence, head of the White House coronavirus task force, repeatedly misrepresented the truth. Harris countered: “The American people have witnessed what is the greatest failure of any presidential administration in history,” Harris said. “210,000 dead people in our country. … Over 7 million people have contracted this disease. One in five businesses closed… Frontline workers… treated like sacrificial workers.” At the end of the night, Karen Pence, apparently in deference to her husband’s attitude, refused to wear a mask on stage, flouting the debate rules. [HuffPost]

LEADING MEDICAL JOURNAL CALLS FOR END TO TRUMP In a rare political statement from a scientific journal, the New England Journal of Medicine released an editorial Wednesday lambasting the Trump administration’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic and calling on Americans to vote Trump out of office next month. November’s election will have life-or-death consequences for people regardless of party alignment, the journal’s editorial board said. This is the first time in the journal’s 208-year history that the editors have ever published an editorial about elections. [HuffPost]

PENCE REFUSED TO SAY IF HE’D ACCEPT ELECTION RESULTS In the final question of Wednesday’s debate, moderator Susan Page asked Pence what he would do if President Donald Trump refused to peacefully transfer power if Democrat Joe Biden wins the election. Pence responded by insisting that his boss would win reelection — and by falsely claiming that mail-in voting creates a high risk of voter fraud, which is a largely nonexistent problem that Trump and the Republican Party have hyped as part of their efforts to sow doubt in the outcome of the election. [HuffPost]

Don’t believe Trump’s cynical lies: He is not the protector of Jews but our greatest threat/

NO ONE WANTED TO DISCUSS THEIR BOSS’S HEALTH Neither Pence nor Harris wanted to talk about the health of the septuagenarians at the top of their party’s respective tickets last night. When asked if the American people deserved more information about the health of both Trump, 74, and Biden, 77, their running mates quickly pivoted to other topics. Pence attacked Harris over her skepticism toward Trump’s effort to rush a coronavirus vaccine to market. Harris said Biden has been more transparent than Trump when it comes to health records as well as his tax returns. [HuffPost]

From Our Revolution in the USA today:

Mike Pence spent tonight’s debate lying and avoiding responsibility for the over 210,000 Americans who died on his watch as head of Trump’s COVID-19 task force.

Pence is a fascist with deep connections to the Koch network and other right-wing oligarchs who want to crush social programs, destroy worker rights, and replace our democracy with a perverse new era of corporate feudalism.

Unfortunately, the Democratic establishment isn’t taking this danger seriously enough — that’s why Our Revolution’s work to counter their lies in the critical Midwestern pivot counties that flipped from Obama to Trump is so crucial.

If we don’t beat Donald Trump and Mike Pence, the United States could descend into an era of corporate-authoritarian rule that will make progressive organizing close to impossible. Rush a donation here to help Our Revolution counter Trump and Pence’s lies and save our country!

In Ohio, Michigan and other critical battleground states, Our Revolution members are unmasking the false pro-worker populism peddled by Trump and Pence by organizing laid-off workers to call-out their failure to bring back manufacturing jobs to the once-strong industrial heartland.

The path to the White House goes through the Midwest, and our deep organizing in the factory towns that Hillary Clinton should have won is critical to avoid a repeat of 2016. Contribute now so we can ramp up our ground game in the final 26 days before the election!

Onward,

The whole team at Our Revolution

New dinosaur species discovered in Mongolia


This 7 October 2020 video is called Newly discovered species of toothless, two-fingered dinosaur thrived more than 68 million years ago.

From the University of Edinburgh in Scotland:

Toothless dino’s lost digits point to spread of parrot-like species

October 6, 2020

A newly discovered species of toothless, two-fingered dinosaur has shed light on how a group of parrot-like animals thrived more than 68 million years ago.

The unusual species had one less finger on each forearm than its close relatives, suggesting an adaptability which enabled the animals to spread during the Late Cretaceous Period, researchers say.

Multiple complete skeletons of the new species were unearthed in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia by a University of Edinburgh-led team.

Named Oksoko avarsan, the feathered, omnivorous creatures grew to around two metres long and had only two functional digits on each forearm. The animals had a large, toothless beak similar to the type seen in species of parrot today.

The remarkably well-preserved fossils provided the first evidence of digit loss in the three-fingered family of dinosaurs known as oviraptors.

The discovery that they could evolve forelimb adaptations suggests the group could alter their diets and lifestyles, and enabled them to diversify and multiply, the team says.

Researchers studied the reduction in size, and eventual loss, of a third finger across the oviraptors’ evolutionary history. The group’s arms and hands changed drastically in tandem with migrations to new geographic areas — specifically to what is now North America and the Gobi Desert.

The team also discovered that Oksoko avarsan — like many other prehistoric species — were social as juveniles. The fossil remains of four young dinosaurs were preserved resting together.

The study, published in the journal Royal Society Open Science, was funded by The Royal Society and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Council of Canada. It also involved researchers from the University of Alberta and Philip J. Currie Dinosaur Museum in Canada, Hokkaido University in Japan, and the Mongolian Academy of Sciences.

Dr Gregory Funston, of the University of Edinburgh’s School of GeoSciences, who led the study, said: “Oksoko avarsan is interesting because the skeletons are very complete and the way they were preserved resting together shows that juveniles roamed together in groups. But more importantly, its two-fingered hand prompted us to look at the way the hand and forelimb changed throughout the evolution of oviraptors — which hadn’t been studied before. This revealed some unexpected trends that are a key piece in the puzzle of why oviraptors were so diverse before the extinction that killed the dinosaurs.”

Coronavirus disaster continues in Trump’s world


This 7 October 2020 video says about itself:

COVID-19 lockdown strengthened across Europe

European governments are facing anger, confusion and fatigue as they grapple with rising infections.

Even within countries, rules vary – with partial lockdowns, new mask rules and tougher punishments.

Al Jazeera’s Nadim Baba reports.

SICK TRUMP CUTS COVID AID TALK President Donald Trump announced he is giving up on congressional negotiations over another coronavirus stimulus package until after the Nov. 3 presidential election, delaying critical aid to millions and handing Democrats a potent line of attack amid a devastating pandemic. “Immediately after I win, we will pass a major Stimulus Bill that focuses on hardworking Americans and Small Business,” Trump tweeted on Tuesday. As his Democratic rival Joe Biden pointed out, Trump’s announcement is a huge blow for thousands of airline workers facing layoffs, millions of small businesses, and 26 million unemployed Americans. Later, in a frenzy of tweets, Trump bizarrely suggested he might backtrack. [HuffPost]

STEPHEN MILLER TESTS POSITIVE Stephen Miller, Trump’s senior speechwriter, has tested positive for the coronavirus, the latest of several people in Trump’s inner circle who have been confirmed to have COVID-19 in the past week. Miller is among those who helped the president prepare for last week’s debate with Democratic rival Joe Biden. [HuffPost]

TOP U.S. GENERALS QUARANTINING Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and several other top military leaders are reportedly quarantining after a senior Coast Guard official tested positive for the coronavirus. Though Milley has so far tested negative for the virus, he and other defense officials are taking precautionary measures after the vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, Adm. Charles Ray, tested positive on Monday. The Coast Guard said Ray is quarantining at home and officials have started contact tracing. Ray recently attended several meetings at the Pentagon. [HuffPost]

Did a maskless, post-hospital Trump violate Jewish medical ethics?

More restrictive lockdown set for Israel as Coronavirus cases soar