This video shows a yellow wagtail in Sweden.
This video shows a yellow wagtail in Sweden.
This video says about itself:
20 May 2017
From Jacobin magazine in the USA:
Back to the Streets
A conversation with Eoghan Gilmartin, Brais Fernández, Jaime Pastor
Podemos has called a mass demonstration against the Rajoy government today as the party adopts a more combative approach.
It has been a dramatic few weeks in Spanish politics. Days after Easter, the former head of the Madrid regional government, Ignacio González, was arrested on corruption charges. This in turn led to a major internal crisis in the ruling Popular Party (PP) which saw the resignation of the party’s historic leader in the Spanish capital Esperanza Aguirre.
A polarizing figure, who was seen as the “Spanish Thatcher,” Aguirre’s position as head of the PP on the Madrid council was no longer tenable. With the regional party she had headed for over a decade already caught up in an investigation into illegal campaign financing, the arrest of her former right-hand man Gonzalez was the final straw.
Meanwhile, Mariano Rajoy, the country’s Prime Minster, has now been called as a witness in one of the largest corruption cases in recent Spanish history, the so-called Gurtel plot, which has seen a number of key former PP officials charged, including the party’s former treasurer Luis Bárcenas.
In this context Unidos Podemos has chosen to take the exceptional step of bringing a motion of censure against Rajoy’s government, only the third such motion since Spain’s transition to democracy. While it has little chance of passing in parliament given the centre-left Socialist Party’s (PSOE) opposition, it has robbed PSOE of the political initiative in a week in which they are holding internal leadership elections.
The PSOE leadership race is largely seen as a choice between former leader Pedro Sánchez and the establishment-backed Susana Díaz. Since his enforced resignation in November Sánchez has turned to the left, adopting Podemos’ proposals in a range of areas, while Diaz, who was instrumental in his ousting, has clung to the political center.
To ensure the focus remains firmly on the motion of censure, Podemos has called for a massive mobilization of their supporters in Madrid’s historic Puerta del Sol on Saturday. … As party leader Pablo Iglesias recently put it “we are hoping for a certain level of coherency from PSOE. The motion of censure is an ethical imperative” aimed against “the most corrupt party in Europe.”
This is also the first test of Podemos’ new strategic line after the party’s recent congress. Iglesias’ victory over his former deputy leader Íñigo Errejón has allowed him to pursue a more conflictual and left-wing direction, focusing on polarizing the political space along populist lines and seeking closer ties with social movements.
From an Associated Press report in the Irish Independent:
Sunday 21 May 2017
Protesters in Spain call for ousting of premier Mariano Rajoy
Thousands rallied in Madrid on Saturday to support a no-confidence vote against conservative prime minister Mariano Rajoy brought by the far-left Podemos party.
The rally under the slogan “We have to throw them out” was held in the Puerta del Sol, a large square in the heart of Spain’s capital.
Many protesters held signs that read “Enough!” or “Corruption!”
Podemos registered its intention on Friday to bring the no-confidence vote to Parliament.
The move includes presenting the party’s pony-tailed leader, Pablo Iglesias, as an alternative candidate to replace Mr Rajoy.
No date has been set for the no-confidence vote but the move appears designed to fail.
With only 71 members in parliament, Podemos would need help from other parties to reach the majority needed of 176.
No other major party says it will back the move to topple Mr Rajoy.
Speaking at a Podemos party congress before the rally, Mr Iglesias admitted that “the no-confidence vote won’t prosper”.
But hours later, Mr Iglesias struck a defiant tone at the rally, calling the Popular Party “a mafia-like party“.
“The people are not afraid. They are telling the corrupted to ‘get lost, we want a Spain of the 21st century,” Mr Iglesias said.
“This country is better than its parliament and we are showing the way to the future.”
Mr Rajoy has been dragged into the most damaging of corruption cases involving the Popular Party, an alleged kickbacks-for-contracts scheme to finance party activities.
Spain’s National Court has called Mr Rajoy as a witness in the case.
Like his party, Mr Rajoy has denied any wrongdoing.
He has asked to appear for the court hearing via video conference in July.
On Monday, Podemos will present a motion to hold a separate no-confidence vote against Madrid’s regional leader, Cristina Cifuentes, for another corruption investigation involving the Popular Party.
This is an ortolan bunting video from Sweden.
This video from the USA says about itself:
American Racism Inspired Nazi Nuremberg Laws
1 April. 2017
The first half of our interview with James Whitman, Professor at Yale Law School and author of the book “Hitler’s American Model,” who joins David to discuss American influence on Nazi Nuremberg laws, and similarities and differences between pre-World War II Germany and America today.
This video is the sequel.
From the Washington Post in the USA:
The Nazis as students of America’s worst racial atrocities
By Jeff Guo, May 19
Jeff Guo is a journalist in Washington, D.C.
When Adolf Hitler seized control of Germany in 1933, one of his priorities was to create a legal framework for his vision of an anti-Semitic state. Thus began a meticulous Nazi research project on race-based lawmaking aimed at erasing the rights of Germany’s Jews.
One foreign country in particular grabbed the Nazis’ interest because of its advanced and innovative system of legal racism.
The object of Nazi fascination? America.
“In the early twentieth century the United States was not just a country with racism,” writes Yale law professor James Whitman in his book “Hitler’s American Model.” “It was the leading racist jurisdiction — so much so that even Nazi Germany looked to America for inspiration.”
In his startling new history, Whitman traces the substantial influence of American race laws on the Third Reich. The book, in effect, is a portrait of the United States assembled from the admiring notes of Nazi lawmakers, who routinely referenced American policies in the design of their own racist regime.
As they drafted their own laws to exclude German Jews from public and civic life, Nazi lawyers carefully studied how the United States suppressed nonwhite immigrants and consigned minorities to second-class citizenship. In private hearings, they discussed how the U.S. model for white supremacy in the Jim Crow South could be transposed to Germany and inflicted on the Jews.
The Nazis were keenly influenced by America’s laws forbidding interracial marriage. Dozens of states not only banned black-white unions but subjected violators to lengthy jail sentences. The harsh criminalization of mixed-race marriages in America set an example for the Nazis as they created their Law for the Protection of German Blood and German Honour, which forbade German Jews from marrying non-Jews, invalidated existing mixed marriages and sent offenders to prison labor camps.
Whitman’s book contributes to a growing recognition of American influences on Nazi thought. Other historians have shown, for instance, that the vigorous U.S. eugenics movement emboldened the Nazis, who copied America’s forced-sterilization programs and took cover in the pseudoscientific theories of American eugenicists.
Biographer John Toland has noted that Hitler admired the American conquest of the West, particularly the decimation of the Native American population. The Nazi concentration camps may have been based, in part, Toland argued, on the Native American reservation system.
The Nazi atrocities held a dark mirror to some of America’s most shameful impulses. On some level, Americans understood this. After World War II, eugenics fell out of favor, and the United States gradually rolled back some of its racist laws. Jim Crow was dismantled, at least on paper, by the efforts of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. And the last anti-miscegenation laws were struck down in 1967. This was slow progress, but it probably would have been slower if the Nazi regime hadn’t horrified the world with its racial intolerance.
Two United States racists who influenced nazism were car factory boss Henry Ford, with his propaganda for the anti-Semitic forgery The Protocols of the Elders of Zion; and pseudo-scientist Lothrop Stoddard, who coined the word ‘subhuman’ (Untermensch in nazi Germany).
This 17 May 2017 video says about itself:
Sailfish Are Master Hunters – Planet Earth – BBC Earth
Stunning footage of Sailfish three metres long closing in on prey. Ever the resourceful hunter, they will only use just enough energy to make their kill, never wasting a fin stroke. What is more remarkable is how they can change colour to warn their companions or confuse their prey.
This video from the USA says about itself:
22 July 2015
By Eric London in the USA:
Veteran drives through crowd in Times Square: The war comes home
20 May 2017
On Thursday, a 26-year-old military veteran named Richard Rojas drove his Honda Accord through a crowded sidewalk in New York City’s Times Square, killing an 18-year-old Michigan woman and wounding 22. Rojas says he was on Phenycylidine (PCP) and that he intended to kill passers-by.
After crashing through the crowd, Rojas ran around screaming and waving his arms. He evidently told police that god told him to commit this horrible act. He had previously reported hearing voices in his head. He allegedly told police, “You were supposed to shoot me!”
At a press conference following the incident, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced, “There is no indication that this was an act of terrorism.”
By this, de Blasio meant that Rojas had no association with an organized terrorist group. But, in a larger sense, this tragedy is the product of the terror wreaked by US imperialism across the world, poisoning social relations domestically and breaking the minds of countless young enlisted people.
In an interview with the New York Times, Rojas’ childhood friend, Hansel Guerrero, explained that Rojas joined the Navy as “a journey out of the New York life.” Guerrero and Rojas lived in the same apartment building on Walton Avenue in the working-class neighborhood of Mount Eden, in New York’s Bronx borough.
Guerrero told the Times: “People go and they serve their country and they come back crazy and nobody helps them.”
Rojas, whose mother is Dominican, worked in auto shops and dreamed of graduating from college. He joined the Navy in 2011, working as an electrician’s mate until he was dishonorably discharged in 2014. It is not clear whether he served in a combat zone. While stationed at a Naval base in Jacksonville, Florida, Rojas was arrested in 2012 for threatening violence against police. In 2013, the Navy locked him up for two months in a military jail, though it has not been reported why.
Rojas’ friends explained that he wasn’t the same upon returning from the Navy. On April 15, 2015, he was convicted for driving while intoxicated.
Reuters spoke with another of Rojas’ friends, Harrison Ramos: “Rojas returned from his Navy service with a drinking problem and had posted ‘crazy stuff’ on social media,” the news service reported.
Ramos told Reuters: “Don’t make him out to be a terrorist or something. He served his country and when he came back, nobody helped him. He went through a real rough time. That’s my friend, and it hurts.”
“He finally came home, and it was hard for him to find a job,” Ramos added. “He was having a lot of bad nightmares. He was talking crazy. He was acting strange.”
The Times reported: “His mind was clouded with conspiracy theories. His dreams of opening his own clothing business had wilted. He lashed out at friends who challenged him; some thought his grasp of reality slipped and that he needed psychiatric help.
“During a string of arrests in recent years, Mr. Rojas once threatened to kill police officers, and last week accused a notary of trying to steal his identity and grabbed his neck, the authorities said.”
The sentiments expressed by Rojas’ friends are commonplace in a country where hundreds of thousands of veterans have been broken by the weight of a quarter century of war. There are many young people in the US who know a veteran who “came back crazy” with “nobody to help them,” as Rojas’ friends put it. Some counties have even set up special court programs for veterans convicted of crimes.
Last month, a 23-year-old Army veteran in North Carolina strapped her service dog to a tree and shot it five times before posting a video of the execution to Facebook. The dog was intended to help her with her Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and the episode calls to mind the first line of Phil Klay’s Redeployment, a series of short stories about returning veterans and the ongoing wars: “We shot dogs.”
On May 16, 24-year-old Edwin Fuentes was shot to death by police following a stand-off in Tustin, California. Fuentes was an Afghanistan veteran who suffered from PTSD. His neighbor, another veteran, told the OC Register that Fuentes “was having problems and he wanted other vets to talk to.”
A 2016 study from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) revealed that 20 veterans kill themselves every day—over 116,000 since 2001, roughly the size of the population of Michigan’s state capital, Lansing.
A survey of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans also revealed that a majority of veterans have contemplated suicide. A 2017 VA report found that female veterans are two to five times more likely to kill themselves than civilian women, in part due to the prevalence of rape and sexual abuse within the military.
The reactionary climate of nationalism and brutality engendered by the US military has transformed the social composition of the country.
The US Defense Department is the country’s largest employer, with 3.2 million employees, military and civilian. As the strike force of corporate America, the military exerts an immense power over all of the “official” institutions of American capitalism.
It’s reactionary culture, of idealizing violence and justifying its crimes in countries like Iraq and Afghanistan through hyper-nationalism, permeates into broader sections of society, altering not only the personal lives of millions of veterans, but also the social psychology of the country as a whole. No American is unfamiliar with the nauseating displays of militarism in everyday life: the bomber fly-overs before sporting events, Marine Corps recruiters in high schools, the use of tanks and assault rifles by local police.
In the words of Shakespeare’s Edward IV: “They shall have wars and pay for their presumption.” The personal breakdown of individuals like Richard Rojas exemplifies the breakdown of American society under the weight of US imperialism and capitalism.
This video from Bermuda says about itself:
Overnight Visit From Adult on Cahow Cam – May 18, 2017
It’s a full-belly Friday for the Bermuda Petrel chick thanks to a late night visit from this adult cahow on Thursday. Watch here as the two birds congregate in the burrow after reuniting in the nest tunnel. Over the next two weeks, the larger-than-life cahow chick will begin to shed its downy plumage and its first fresh set of flight feathers.
A new study finds that birds who freely choose their own mates have more offspring than those which were paired up by researchers in a sort of avian ‘arranged marriage’ — findings that have far-reaching implications for conservation and captive breeding practices: here.