Racism and police in the USA

This 9 July 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

The Chase Key: Exclusive report on how US Black man died of dehydration in custody

Exclusive investigation into death of Terrill Thomas, a Black man, who died of “profound dehydration” inside a Milwaukee jail in 2016, exposes how inmates with mental illness fail to get adequate care.

FAR-RIGHT ADOPTS ISIS TACTICS Black Lives Matter protesters nationwide have been the targets of vehicle-ramming assaults, a tactic used by Islamist extremist groups like ISIS, al Qaeda … but now adopted by the far-right. Propaganda and memes on social media encourage the violent tactics. [HuffPost]

Probably, the direct inspiration for that right-wing violence is not groups like ISIS or al Qaeda. Right-wingers in the USA, not just on social media, but on corporate Rupert Murdoch media like Fox News; not just ‘lone wolves‘, but also Republican party professional politicians, have for years propagated cars as weapons against demonstrators. Resulting in the murder of Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Virginia. And the Islamophobic murder at the Finsbury Park mosque in London, England. And Islamophobic attacks with cars in France.

Both the murder of Heather Heyer by a nazi driver in Charlottesville, Virginia and the attempted murder by Daniel Wenzek in California were inspired by ‘mainstream’ right-wing campaigns by the Rupert Murdoch empire and others encouraging drivers to violently attack Black Lives Matter and other activists with pro-crime slogans like ‘Black Lives Splatter’.

Black Lives Splatter racist decal from nazi site Daily Stormer

This variation on the United States racist “All Lives Splatter” decal which encourages drivers to wound or kill protesters against police brutality is specifically a call to kill or injure supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement. It is from the nazi Internet site Daily Stormer, one of the organisers of the Charlottesville violent fascist rally. The murderer of Heather Heyer got his inspiration from this.

‘THEY’LL KILL ME’ Transcripts of body camera footage released Wednesday show that George Floyd said more than 20 times that he couldn’t breathe during his fatal arrest May 25. Derek Chauvin, a white former Minneapolis police officer who has been charged in Floyd’s death, tells him, “It takes a heck of a lot of oxygen to talk.” The accounts add chilling details to the encounter that set off widespread protests against police brutality and racism.  [HuffPost]

SOLE DOJ POLICE PROBE FINDS ALARMING RESULTS The Justice Department has only investigated one police department since President Donald Trump took office. But that one probe — of the narcotics unit in Springfield, Massachusetts — found that officers “repeatedly punch individuals in the face unnecessarily” and use “excessive force without accountability.” [HuffPost]

Trump campaign: Jewish billionaires are using their money to try to ‘rig’ election.

How American bison help cliff swallows

This 6 July 2020 video from Yellowstone National Park in the USA says about itself:

How Bison Are Helping Cliff Swallows Build Their Nests

It’s a partnership that’s as unlikely as any: herds of bison on the move are kicking up chunks of earth. This, in turn, gives cliff swallows the valuable mud pellets they need to build their nests.

Pro-Big Business ‘centrism’ isn’t real centrism

This 19 September 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

Journalist Krystal Ball joins the show to talk about why centrism sucks, responding to Bill Maher’s Klobuchar for president suggestion, her time at MSNBC, and more.

From Our Revolution, the organisation of Senator Bernie Sanders in the USA, today:

Tell the media to stop using the word “centrist” to make pro-corporate policies seem more popular than they are!

One of the most toxic elements of our current media culture is the persistent misuse of the word “centrist” to refer to candidates who support unpopular pro-corporate policies.

Last year, New York Magazine published an article that used public opinion data to prove that what the media calls “centrism” is actually extreme, unpopular, and far from the “center” of public opinion.

But the media continues to actively misleading voters by referring to pro-corporate candidates and policies as “centrist.” With hatred and authoritarianism on the rise, voters deserve accurate information from the media.

Add your name here to demand that the media stop referring to pro-corporate candidates and positions as centrist!

The media needs to do better.

Their job is to inform voters so that we can make informed decisions about which candidate represents us.

Their misuse of the word centrist to refer to pro-corporate candidates like Joe Biden is intentionally misleading, and is designed to trick the audience into thinking that Biden‘s policies are more popular than they actually are.

Tell the media to focus on informing voters and stop intentionally misusing the word “centrist” to trick voters into accepting unpopular pro-corporate policies.


The whole team at Our Revolution

Racism and police brutality in the USA

This 22 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Cops Pepper Spray Amputee, Steal His Legs

What more is there to say. This took place in Columbus, Ohio.

More about this police attack on Black Lives Matters demonstrators is in Newsweek.

This 22 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Robert E. Lee Was a Brutal Slave Master”: Activist’s Call to Rename Louisiana School Goes Viral

We play a video that has now gone viral from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where community activist Gary Chambers Jr. calls out members of the Lee High School school board for their racism during a June 18 meeting to discuss a resolution to rename the school, which is named after Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Chambers urged members to choose a name in honor of people who fought slavery and racism, not someone who defended it, and addressed board member Connie Bernard, who had defended Robert E. Lee and was seen shopping on her computer during the meeting.

This 22 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

NASCAR Driver Bubba Wallace Finds Noose Hanging In Garage | NowThis

A noose was found hanging in the garage of Bubba Wallace, a Black NASCAR driver, days after the company banned Confederate flags at its events.

In US news and current events today, NASCAR is investigating a noose found hanging in the garage of Bubba Wallace, the only black driver in the sport.

Why United States young people demonstrate

This 7 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

The real reasons youth are protesting in record numbers

Genevieve Leigh is the US National Secretary of the International Youth and Students for Social Equality (IYSSE).

“You really can’t separate the question of #PoliceViolence from the questions of war… The ruling elite protects its interests abroad using military troops, and at home it uses its police“.

Racism in Donald Trump’s USA

This 9 June 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

Disturbing Video of Protester Shot in the Face With a Rubber Bullet | NowThis

WARNING: Distressing Content

In US news and current events today, police officers shot protester LaToya Ratlieff in the face with a rubber bullet during a Black Lives Matter march in Florida — now she’s considering suing the police.

As the Black Lives Matter protests and George Floyd protests continue to grow globally, the debate over police violence and police brutality has grown to a fever pitch, which makes it all the more curious why police have elected to respond to these BLM protests with more violence.

Protesters have been hit with batons, bean bags, tear gas, pepper balls, and rubber bullets, all technically non-lethal weapons, or less than lethal weapons, but still capable of doing immense physical harm. As calls grow to defund the police and demilitarize the police, we look at the damage one so-called rubber bullet can do to a peaceful protester.

Nationwide protests over the racism of America’s present have also reignited furor against the most powerful symbols of its racist past: the roughly 1,700 Confederate monuments and symbols that still dot the nation’s landscape.

Scant Evidence For Trump Claim That Antifa Is Behind Protest Violence. An Associated Press investigation into arrest records found that very few people were affiliated with organized groups: here.

America Has Tried And Failed To Explain Its Racism To The World [HuffPost]

Black birders in the USA

Danielle Belleny holds a scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch in Rotan, Texas, USA in March of 2016

This photo shows biologist Danielle Belleny holding a scaled quail (Callipepla squamata) at the Rolling Plains Quail Research Ranch in Rotan, Texas, USA in March of 2016.

By Jonathan Lambert in the USA today:

A #BlackBirdersWeek cofounder aims to amplify black nature enthusiasts

Wildlife biologist Danielle Belleny hopes to raise the profile of black birders in a hobby often stereotyped as white

A black youngster grins widely while holding a falcon bigger than his head. Beside a beaver pond, a black ecologist in waders inspects a sediment core sampler. A bat wriggles in the hands of a black evolutionary biologist doing fieldwork in Belize.

These photos and hundreds more bird facts, questions and experiences are flooding social media as part of #BlackBirdersWeek, an initiative aimed at recognizing and uplifting black birders and nature enthusiasts. The social media campaign runs May 31 through June 5 and includes Q&A sessions, a Facebook livestream discussion of Birding While Black, and prompts for sharing photos on Twitter and Instagram of birds and being out enjoying nature.

#BlackBirdersWeek comes amid nationwide protests against the deaths of George Floyd, Tony McDade, Breonna Taylor and many other black people at the hands of the police. The protests have elevated the importance and urgency of the campaign for its founders, @BlackAFinSTEM, a Twitter-based group of black individuals who work in science or related fields. They began planning #BlackBirdersWeek in the wake of an incident on May 25 — the same day George Floyd was killed — in which Christian Cooper, a black birder, asked a white woman in New York City’s Central Park to follow park rules on leashing dogs. The woman refused, eventually yelling that she was calling the police “to tell them there’s an African-American man threatening my life.”

Cooper’s experience resonated with other black birders. “What happened to him could have happened to any of us,” says Danielle Belleny, a wildlife biologist in San Antonio, Texas, and a co-founder of #BlackBirdersWeek.

She too has had the police called on her while working as a field biologist and while birding. One of her favorite birding memories — the first time she spotted a short-eared owl (Asio flammeus), “a gorgeous bird with brown streaks on its body, striking yellow eyes and these little feather tufts that look like ears on the top of their head” — while in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., is marred by the memory of a stranger trailing her for “looking suspicious.”

“I really hate the stereotype that black people don’t do outdoor activities,” Belleny says. “It’s just not true,” and makes it harder for black nature enthusiasts to recreate, relax and fully develop their interests.

Belleny’s love of the outdoors started early. “There’s a photo of me holding a huge rat snake as a 4-year-old,” she says. Nature shows hosted by people like wildlife conservationist Jeff Corwin further developed her love of nature, but she felt a disconnect because she didn’t see herself represented. “I didn’t know wildlife biology was a job I could have.”

Feelings of isolation as a black woman in wildlife science continued in graduate school at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, and her later work in conservation. “It can be really lonely when you don’t see other people like you,” enjoying and working in the outdoors, she says.

The field sciences are overwhelmingly white. In 2018, individuals who identify as black or African-American received less than 1 percent of doctorates awarded in the fields of ecology, evolutionary biology and wildlife biology, according to data from the U.S. National Science Foundation. Though Belleny loved her work, “I was really upset about my position and considered changing careers to one I could see more black people in,” she says.

Belleny’s doubts disappeared once she joined an online community of black birders and naturalists that would become @BlackAFinSTEM. “It’s just a place for us to hang out and talk to each other,” she says. Feeling part of a community made a huge difference — one they now seek to share with the greater online community.

#BlackBirdersWeek aims to amplify and expand that community by showing “that black people are outdoors, we do this, we love it, and we take up space,” Belleny says. “I hope young people interested in STEM will see it and realize that they belong here, too.”

And that community has solidified Belleny’s plan to continue working as a wildlife biologist focused on preserving biodiversity. Recently she has developed management strategies for species of conservation concern, like the eastern box turtle (Terrapene carolina carolina) or piping plover (Charadrius melodus).

“Ecological communities are more resilient when there’s more biodiversity,” Belleny says. #BlackBirdersWeek aims to show that diversity strengthens birding and the broader field sciences community, too. “We want to advocate for diversity in birding because it will create a stronger and better community for everyone.”

The campaign has allowed black birders to use their passion and expertise to stand in solidarity as a community against racism. The response has been overwhelming, with hundreds of black birders, scientists and nature enthusiasts sharing pictures and stories of them outside doing what they love. “I’ve shed a couple really happy tears. It’s just so nice to see so many beautiful black faces,” Belleny says. “We deserve to be in this space and we deserve to be safe.”

George Floyd, Ahmaud, Breonna, USA racist murders

This 29 May 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

New Details Of Deadly No-Knock Warrant Shows Just How Reckless Police Can Be

PAR uncovers new information on the dangers of serving no-knock warrants and analyzes the raid that killed 26-year-old EMT Breonna Taylor. Cop watcher Kenneth Dunham alleges continued intimidation from local Oregon police.

Trump threatens to mobilize the military to shoot protesters. Mass anger erupts throughout the US in protests against police murder of George Floyd. By Anthony Bertolt, 29 May 2020. The police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis has set off a wave of social anger, sparking demonstrations in Kentucky, Colorado, California, Ohio and other states throughout the country.

TRUMP CALLS PROTESTERS THUGS, THREATENS VIOLENCE President Donald Trump raged against those demonstrating in Minneapolis over the death of George Floyd. Trump called protestors “thugs” and threatened a violent intervention in a series of after-midnight tweets. “Either the very weak Radical Left Mayor, Jacob Frey, get his act together and bring the City under control, or I will send in the National Guard & get the job done right,” Trump wrote. “I won’t let that happen…. when the looting starts, the shooting starts.” [HuffPost]

Early today, Twitter applied a warning label on a Trump tweet about the death of George Floyd, in which the president called protesters “THUGS” and threatened to send troops to “get the job done right.” Twitter’s label said the tweet “violated Twitter Rules about glorifying violence.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP SAYS ‘THANK YOU’ TO VIDEO SAYING ‘ONLY GOOD DEMOCRAT IS A DEAD DEMOCRAT’ The president quote-tweeted a video shared by Cowboys for Trump. In the video, the group’s founder, Couy Griffin, is speaking in front of a New Mexico church, encouraging his audience to violate stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic. “I’ve come to a conclusion where the only good Democrat is a dead Democrat,” says Griffin, going on to add that he doesn’t mean that in a “physical sense,” but in a “political sense.” Trump then responded to the video by thanking them and saying that he’d see the group in New Mexico. [HuffPost]

DENVER DRIVER APPEARS TO TARGET MAN WITH CAR Protests in Denver over the death of George Floyd turned violent after an unknown person fired a gun several times near those gathered outside the Colorado Capitol. No one was injured, but a Denver resident at the protest uploaded a video of demonstrators walking toward the Statehouse after reports of the gunshots subsided. During a tense moment, a man can be seen jumping on the hood of a moving car, which then speeds away with him on the vehicle. The man eventually falls off the car and the driver appears to swerve toward him before speeding away. [HuffPost]

Protests broke out for the third day in a row over the death of George Floyd, a handcuffed Black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck. … Some protesters broke into the Minneapolis Police Department’s 3rd Precinct Station, setting part of the building on fire. As protests spread nationwide, Floyd’s brother, Philonese Floyd, stressed that protests should be peaceful, but he said people were acting out because they are “torn and hurt because they’re tired of seeing Black men die.”  [HuffPost]

Cop who killed George Floyd in Minneapolis had record of brutality. By Kristina Betinis, 29 May 2020.

Demonstration in San Jose, USA, after an earlier police killing – the family of George Floyd demand police involved be charged with murder

‘Charge police with murder’ say family of George Floyd: here.

FLOYD’S DEATH RESURFACES KLOBUCHAR’S EASY-ON-COPS RECORD The death of George Floyd has resurrected Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s record as a prosecutor in the state ― including her tense relationship with the Black community there ― at the politically sensitive time that she’s being considered by Joe Biden to be his running mate. “There is absolutely no way that she is qualified to become Biden’s VP nominee,” said Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer who served as head of the Minneapolis NAACP from 2015 to 2016.  [HuffPost]

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

Why Breonna Taylor’s Death & Kenneth Walker’s Arrest Are So Upsetting

I really hope there’s justice for Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend. Do you think the police officers who shot her will be charged??

7 PEOPLE SHOT AT LOUISVILLE PROTEST OVER THE DEATH OF BREONNA TAYLOR Seven people were struck by gunfire at a protest in Louisville, Kentucky, on Thursday night as tensions there continued to escalate over the fatal shooting of a black woman by three white police officers in March. Of those reported injured in the demonstration, two were taken for surgery and five were in good condition, [New York Times]

This 29 May 2020 video from the USA is called Michigan Sheriff’s Deputy Filmed Punching Black Woman During Arrest | NowThis.

Police attack on unarmed woman in Ypsilanti, Michigan sparks three days of protests. By James Brookfield, 29 May 2020.

Attorney Lee Merritt speaks on conspiracy to cover-up Ahmaud Arbery’s murder. By Matthew MacEgan, 29 May 2020. Merritt spoke to the WSWS Wednesday about developments in the Arbery case and what has been exposed about the efforts of the police and prosecutors to whitewash the killing.

Big Pharma infiltrates United States medical organisations

This 7 January 2019 video says about itself:

How Big Pharma secures drug monopolies | Tahir Amin

Scores of people — including many beloved musicians and celebrities — are dying from perfectly legal pharmacutical drugs. And many big companies are profiting. After cornering the market, these giant corporations inflate the prices to gouge the consumer. Lowering drug prices could be obtained by starting first in the patent office.

From daily News Line in Britain today:

A BRITISH MEDICAL JOURNAL STUDY reveals that almost three quarters of leaders of influential medical groups have financial ties to industry.

Payments to them totalled almost $130m, with an average $31,000 per leader.

Some organisations will require major reform to restore public trust, say experts.

The results show that up to 80% of the US-based medical doctors who lead influential professional medical associations had financial relationships with industry, and that during 2017-19, leaders of 10 influential groups received almost $130m from industry over about a five year period.

Although there was considerable variation among associations, these findings raise questions about independence and integrity, adding weight to calls for policy reform, say the researchers.

Evidence exists of extensive financial ties between health professionals and industry across many areas of healthcare, and calls for more independence from industry in production and use of evidence are growing.

But there is a lack of information on the extent of financial ties among leaders of medical associations and societies that are influential across research, education, and practice, including guideline development.

So a team of researchers set out to investigate the financial relationships between pharmaceutical and device manufacturers and the leaders of influential US professional medical associations that represent and educate doctors working across the most common and costly diseases areas.

These included heart disease, mental disorders, diabetes, osteoarthritis, cancer, chronic lung disease and asthma, back problems and infectious diseases.

They asked peers in each of the disease areas to name the key associations run by doctors for doctors, and then used publicly available documents to identify members of the boards or governing councils of those organisations.

They then searched the US government’s Open Payments database for details of those leaders’ financial relationships with companies making drugs and medical devices for their current year of board membership, and the four years before and one year after membership.

They found that 235 of 328 leaders (72%) had financial ties to industry. Among 293 leaders who were medical doctors or doctors of osteopathy, 235 (80%) had ties.

Total payments for 2017-19 leadership were almost $130m (£103m; 119m euros), with a median amount for each leader of $31,805.

However, there was considerable variation among the associations, with median amounts ranging from $212 for leaders of the American Psychiatric Association to $518,000 for the American Society of Clinical Oncology.

The largest research payments flowed to leaders of the American Society of Clinical Oncology ($54m) and the American College of Cardiology ($21m).

The largest general payments – which can include fees for consultancy, speaking, royalties and hospitality – were given to leaders of the North American Spine Society ($9.5m) and the Orthopaedic Trauma Association ($4.7m).

The researchers point to some limitations, which may have affected the accuracy and generalisability of their findings.

Nevertheless, they say a complete set of payments is not yet available for leaders in 2018 and 2019, suggesting these results could be an underestimate of the total amount of payments.

As such, they support recommendations that doctors’ groups and their guideline writers become free of financial relationships with industry.

‘Our study’s novel findings of enormous variation in the extent of these ties suggest that for some groups such independence will require time and major reform, whereas for others it will be quick and relatively easy,’ they conclude.

‘These powerful doctors’ groups have enormous influence in the US and globally, including over the definitions of disease which determine who’s healthy and who’s sick,’ says lead author Dr Ray Moynihan, Assistant Professor at Bond University in Australia, who researches the problem of overdiagnosis.

‘It’s basic common sense that these leaders should be free from financial ties to companies which stand to gain enormously from the work of these medical associations,’ he says.

These findings suggest that tackling financial conflicts of interest in medicine cannot rely on a ‘cookie-cutter’ approach for all specialities and associations, say researchers based at Oklahoma State University in a linked editorial.

They propose several actions, such as each association reviewing present conflicts and altering recruitment processes ‘to yield balanced and diverse groups of physician leaders largely free from financial conflicts of interest.’

They also call for greater reliance on resources like the Sunshine Act and Open Payments to help eliminate the need for the traditional ‘honour system’ of financial self-disclosure, which they say is ineffective and inaccurate at best.

‘These steps could mitigate or even eliminate the overwhelming presence of financial conflicts of interest among medical societies and associations,’ they write.

‘This would protect these groups from producing biased documents or policies, which in turn would protect all physicians and the patients they treat.’

Greater sage-grouse in the USA

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

Male Greater Sage-Grouse strut, fan out their tail feathers and swell their breasts to attract a hen. \Unfortunately, oil and gas development, overgrazing, sagebrush removal and wind energy have taken a toll on the bird’s habitat.