Gas Chambers: ICE is HDQ Neutral Evil

As we all know, the ICE concentration camps are chambers of horrors.  ICE has (I suspect intentionally) employed sexual predators and allowed them to molest and rape children.  But they don’t see that as their problem; ICE denies any responsibility for the sexual abuses.

As of this week, they have begun poisoning the hostages and kidnapped with “HDQ Neutral”, a toxin that will cause painful and irreversible damage.  It’s dangerous and debilitating when used on adults, potentially fatal when used on children.

Did I say used on?  I’m sorry, I meant that ICE are not spraying directly on people (no doubt for “plausible deniability”).  They are spraying it on surfaces inside of buildings, while the victims are inside, forced to breathe it in aerosol form.  The instructions for HDQ Neutral specify adequate ventilation with no people around, time to allow it to disperse AND rinsing or washing it off.  (Why does the corporate media repeated use “say”?  Are they inferring the victims are all liars and ICE is telling the truth?)

Immigrant detainees say ICE is using coronavirus disinfectant sprays that cause bleeding, burns and pain

Advocacy organizations have filed complaints against Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention facilities in Florida and California, claiming that migrants being held there are suffering severe side effects from disinfectant sprays being used to combat the coronavirus.

One of the complaints was sent by Inland Coalition for Immigrant Justice and the advocacy group Freedom for Immigrants on May 21. That complaint, which focused on the Adelanto detention center in California, included testimonials from detainees who called in to a hotline run by Freedom for Immigrants.

“The guards have started spraying this chemical everywhere, all over everything, all the time. It causes a terrible reaction on our skin,” one of the detainees said, adding, “When I blow my nose, blood comes out. They are treating us like animals. One person fainted and was taken out, I don’t know what happened to them. There is no fresh air.”

[. . .]

Some of the detainees who called the hotline identified the chemical being sprayed at Adelanto as a disinfectant called HDQ Neutral, based on labeled bottles they saw at the facility.

Safety guidelines for HDQ Neutral issued by its manufacturer, Spartan Chemical, warn that the disinfectant is “harmful if inhaled” and that it “causes severe skin burns and serious eye damage.” The guidelines specify that HDQ Neutral should be used “only outdoors or in a well-ventilated area” and protective gear should be worn while handling the chemical.

According to the complaint about Adelanto, which is one of the country’s largest ICE detention centers, staff there are spraying HDQ Neutral “every 15-30 minutes” on surfaces throughout the housing unit, which lacks ventilation. The complaint said “at least nine” detainees have experienced severe symptoms from the spray since May 11, including blisters, rashes, bleeding, fainting, breathing difficulties, headaches, stomach pain and nausea. Multiple detainees complained of receiving inadequate care for these symptoms.

The warning labels issued by the government of Hawai’i say this about HDQ Neutral:

PRECAUTIONARY STATEMENTS

HAZARDS TO HUMANS AND DOMESTIC ANIMALS

DANGER. CORROSIVE.

Causes irreversible eye damage and skin burns. Harmful if swallowed. Do not get in eyes, on skin,or on clothing. Wear protective eyewear (goggles, face shield or safety glasses), protective clothing and protective gloves(rubber or chemical resistant). Harmful if inhaled. Wash thoroughly with soap and water after handling. Removecontaminated clothing and wash clothing before reuse.

FIRST AID

IF IN EYES: Hold eye open and rinse slowly and gently with water for 15 – 20 minutes.  Remove contact lenses, if present,after the first 5 minutes, then continue rinsing eye.

IF ON SKIN OR CLOTHING: Take off contaminated clothing. Rinse skin immediately with plenty of water for 15 – 20 minutes.

IF SWALLOWED: Call a poison control center or doctor immediately for treatment advice. Have person sip a glass of water ifable to swallow. Do not induce vomiting unless told to do so by the poison control center or doctor. Do not give anything bymouth to an unconscious person.

IF INHALED: Move person to fresh air. If person is not breathing, call 911 or an ambulance, then give artificial respiration,preferably by mouth-to-mouth, if possible.Call a poison control center or doctor for treatment advice. Have the product container or label with you when calling apoison control center or doctor or going for treatment.

NOTE TO PHYSICIAN: Probable mucosal damage may contraindicate the use of gastric lavage. Measures against circulatoryshock, respiratory depression and convulsion may be needed.

ICE, Cheetolini and the regime couldn’t be any more blatant about their intent if they were using Zyklon B.

I Wonder: Who are the real terrorists?

So Cheetolini plans to label Antifa a “terrorist group” because a few members vandalized a pigsty or two.  It sounds like another “domino theory”, another “war on drugs”, another “war on terror”: excuses to perpetrate violence for no reason other than to terrorize and demonstrate white power.

What does that make him and his government that continue to poison the water in Flint and North Dakota?  That continue to deny water to First Nations people in Arizona?  How is that not terrorism and destruction of people property, endangerment of their lives?

A burnt pigsty WON’T kill anyone once the fire goes out.  Poisoned water and intentionally starving a popuation of water definitely will kill, both now and for years to come.

Please Note: May 31 is World No Tobacco Day

As the title says, Sunday May 31 is the WHO’s World No Tobacco Day.  The theme this year is “Tobacco Breaks Your Heart”, about the damage tobacco does to organs other than the lungs.  That’s fortuitous, considering it was chosen before COVID-19 appeared and started causing strokes and other problems to people with pre-existing conditions.  The death rates for people with cancer are high, and smokers are at least twice as likely to die as non-smokers.

I wrote several posts about World No Tobacco Day on my fascistbook page.  They are public, so you should be able to view the images, read the text, and link to the news items I cited.

Banners and posters for the day

The increased health risks from COVID-19

Racism and predatory capitalism: tobacco companies and developing countries

The harm that smoking can do

Smokers are not environmentalists, no matter what they claim. Cigarette butts are made of plastic and do not biodegrade; they just break up into microfibres. Every butt thrown down a sewer goes into rivers, lakes, oceans and animal stomachs.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

If you consider this an acceptable image, you’re unacceptable.  Animals eat cigarette butts because they’re small and soft.  They suffer for it twice: first because they’re full of toxins, second because the animal thinks it’s full, so it ends up malnourished.

Storm drains are for STORM WATER, not for filthy and toxic cigarette butts.  Storm drains send water to rivers, lakes and oceans, and the cigarette butts thrown into them will make that same journey.

 

Twice as many LGBTQIA People smoke as in the general population, a ludicrous number caused by tobacco marketing, social ostracism, and possibly some people’s desperate need for inclusion.

Smoking isn’t just about the smokers.  Second hand smoke is proven to kill.  According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, it takes 52 smokers to kill one non-smoker.  A million people die every year from smoke that they never voluntarily chose to breathe, from garbage they were assaulted with by selfish people.  Don’t be a butthead.

If there is one positive to come out of COVID-19, smokers worldwide have quit smoking by the hundreds of thousands.  Limited access to cigarettes, social distancing, quarantines, lack of income and other reasons are causing people to quit voluntarily.  With any luck, permanently.

Now if only governments around the world would do what Australia has done: charge a reasonable price for cigarettes.  Australians currenly pay AUD$40 (TWD$800, USD$26.70) for a pack – a single box of twenty cancer sticks, not an entire carton.  But it should be more.  Let them pay to cover health care costs and to clean up the environment.

A TERF Turfed: Rowling is a three time loser this week

First time: Around May 19, JK Rowling (aka TERFling, aka Scowling) retweeted a hate filled, anti-Trans post by Fred Sargeant.  He is a cis white gay male who was around and part of the elimination of Transgender and non-white people from the New York pride parades in the early 1970s.

Second time: Nicola Spurling of Vancouver (former Green Party candidate and Transgender activist) posted an innocuous comment on twitter:  “Definitely something to keep a close eye on. In recent years, Rowling has made it clear that she can no longer be trusted around children.”  Being unhinged as only a TERF can be, TERFling and her overeager lawyers threatened Spurling into silence.

TERFling has made it clear opposes internationally recognized WPATH medical care for Transgender childre.  Given that TERFling does not have a PhD in pediatrics and has given Wakefield-level quality “advice” on Transgender kids, it could hardly be called libellous for Spurling to say TERFling is a danger to the health and welfare of Transgender children.

Third time: TERFling incompetently spat profanity filled anti-Trans hate speech in the direction of a nine year old child.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling has continued her streak of endorsing anti-transgender speech, but this time the beloved writer has accidentally involved a nine-year-old girl in her prejudice.

Rowling has been retweeting children’s drawings of an upcoming character for a project she’s working on. But when she shared the girl’s sketch, she also included a line copied from an anti-transgender website that included the f-bomb and extremist rhetoric.

Did TERFling have another “senior moment”, as she calls it?  Was she tired when she wrote it?  Or was she perhaps feeling emotional after her bigotry was twice pointed out in a week?  (Those are questions, not accusations or statements.)

You Can’t Spell: “Lysol drinker” without Lysenko

The incompetence of Cheetolini’s regime is comparable to that of Nikita Khrushchev: the mass deaths, the Lysenkoism, the failed foreign policies.  The big difference between the coup in the USSR in 1964 and the US of today is that no one has the spine to do to Cheetolini what the Soviets did to Khrushchev.  No doubt Cheetolini, his cast of clowns and trumpkins would be ignorant enough to take that as a “threat of violence”.  From Politico, emphasis in the text is mine:

Bad state data hides coronavirus threat as Trump pushes reopening

Federal and state officials across the country have altered or hidden public health data crucial to tracking the coronavirus’ spread, hindering the ability to detect a surge of infections as President Donald Trump pushes the nation to reopen rapidly.

In at least a dozen states, health departments have inflated testing numbers or deflated death tallies by changing criteria for who counts as a coronavirus victim and what counts as a coronavirus test, according to reporting from POLITICO, other news outlets and the states’ own admissions. Some states have shifted the metrics for a “safe” reopening; Arizona sought to clamp down on bad news at one point by simply shuttering its pandemic modeling. About a third of the states aren’t even reporting hospital admission data — a big red flag for the resurgence of the virus.

The spotty data flow is particularly worrisome to public health officials trying to help Americans make decisions about safely venturing out. The lack of accurate and consistent Covid-19 data, coupled with the fact that the White House no longer has regular briefings where officials reinforce the need for ongoing social distancing, makes that task even harder.

New examples seem to sprout up daily. The District of Columbia this week became the latest jurisdiction to endure scrutiny, with the city using a “community spread” metric — excluding nursing homes, correctional facilities and others — as a justification for reopening the area.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds told reporters that the state will share information about outbreaks at meatpacking plants only upon request. And Georgia has only just begun to differentiate between the two types of coronavirus tests it’s been adding into its testing totals for weeks.

“All these stories about undercounts, overcounts, miscounts, are undermining our ability to deal with the pandemic,” said Irwin Redlener, a public health expert at Columbia University. The country, he said, is confronting an “unheard of level of chaos in the data, the protocols, the information.”

Originally the falsified numbers were likely to cover up the inherent racism of Cheetolini’s policy, i.e. causing the deaths of as many Black, People of Colour and poor as he could.  But now, like Khrushchev listening to Lysenko, Cheetolini and his sycophants (Birx is his Lysenko) think they can dictate reality from the white people’s house, that money will trump the disease.

In reality, he’s destroying the foundations of the entire economy and society and will end up in collapse.  But unlike the six times he went bankrupt before, there’s no one big enough to bail him out this time.  Not even the IMF or World Bank have that much.

Someone really needs to grow a spine and replicate the bloodless coup of 1964 while Cheetolini is golfing.  Compared to Cheetolini, Khrushchev was competent.

They Lied: “Marriage equality” is a sham and a shambles

In 2018, Taiwan’s supreme court’s decision that there was no argument against marriage equality and that it would have no bearing on anyone else’s rights.  The various parties in the Legislative Yuan could not come agreement on marriage legislation, so on May 19, 2019, Taiwan maggaige equality supposedly became automatic.

A year on, that claim has proven to be a farce.  There is no “equality” when some are excluded from the rights that others enjoy.  Perhaps some of the four thousand couples who married in the past year may benefit from this, but others do not and face discrimination.

If a cisgender binary foreigner wants to marry a cisgender Taiwanese national of the opposite cisgender, they can, and their marriage will be recognized and the foreigner have all the rights and privileges of marriage.

If an LGBTQIA foreigner wants to marry a Taiwanese national, that marriage will only be recognized by Taiwan if the foreigner’s own country would recognize it.  In other words, an LGBTQIA foreigner from a bigoted and repressive state cannot legally marry a Taiwanese person, not even they would face oppression, imprisonment or murder in their former country.  If Cheetolini manages to overturn rights in the US, marriages between Taiwanese and those from the US would be voided.

This is not marriage equality.  It is exclusion at best, pandering to oppressive regimes at worst especially for foreigners who have emigrated from (read: escaped) a country where their very existence was under threat.  And because their marriage is not recognized, they could be forced back against their will if their residency visa expires.  Emphasis below is mine:

LGBT groups launch petition to allow cross-national same-sex marriage

Taipei, May 9 (CNA) Scores of volunteers from LGBT groups in Taiwan embarked on a signature campaign Saturday to petition the government on laws that restrict same-sex marriage between couples from different countries, under certain circumstances.

[. . .]

The petition stems from the Act Governing the Choice of Law in Civil Matters Involving Foreign Elements that in effect excludes couples that are from countries where gay marriage is prohibited, and also in cases where one partner is from such a country.

Under that act, people from all but 28 countries in the world are excluded, the [Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights] said.

 – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Rights group urges Taiwan to allow cross-national same-sex marriage

Taipei, May 17 (CNA) The Taiwan Alliance to Promote Civil Partnership Rights (TAPCPR) and several same-sex couples on Sunday urged Taiwan’s government to allow same-sex marriages between couples from different countries.

[. . .]

“For many cross-national same-sex couples, including me and my wife, our efforts to be with our loved ones are symbolized by our old plane ticket stubs,” said Kaili Lai, a Taiwanese LGBT married to a Malaysian Tan Bee Guat.

According to Lai, she and Tan held a simple wedding in Malaysia in 2016 with the blessings of their parents.

Tan was not allowed to live in Taiwan, however because she was not a Taiwanese citizen and could not get a residence certificate because her marriage to Lai was not recognized.

They had to fly frequently between Taiwan and Malaysia to see each other, leaving Tan little choice but to enroll in a university in Taiwan as a freshmen at the age of 35 to be able to stay in Taiwan on a student visa.

But Tan is graduating next month and will have to enroll in a graduate school program to continue staying in Taiwan.

Another cross-national same-sex couple, Joyce from Taiwan and Queenie from the Philippines, are facing the same predicament — Queenie has to enroll in National Taiwan Normal University for the same purpose.

These are not the only people.  There is at least one person from Honduras and others from Latin American countries where they could face violence (physical assault, the torture of “reparative therapy”), imprisonment or murder for being LGBTQIA.

There is no justifiable reason for an exclusionary rule, especially since (as I write) Taiwan is offering refugee status to people from Hong Kong who have no personal, familial, social or legal connection to the country.

93 percent say marriage equality law has had no impact on them

Taipei, May 15 (CNA) As Taiwan approaches the one-year anniversary of its legalization of same-sex marriage on May 24, nearly 93 percent of Taiwanese say the policy has had no impact on them, according to the results of a survey released Friday.

At a press conference, Equal Love Taiwan — a coalition of five LGBT rights organizations — announced the results of an April 29-May 2 survey it conducted on the Taiwan public’s attitudes toward a range of issues affecting the LGBT community.

Music Rules: It’s Bruce Cockburn’s birthday and career anniversary

Bruce Cockburn was born May 27, 1945, seventy five years old today. He is a Canadian music legend, releasing albums since 1970 until today, fifty years into his career.  Along with being the face of Canadian folk-rock, he has been a voice of conscience for people and causes both within Canada and abroad.  He is certainly no friend or fan of the US government.

The Canadian Encyclopedia: Bruce Cockburn

Bruce Cockburn (official site)

Cockburn Project (fan site)

On the left, Cockburn circa 1983 and the album “Stealing Fire”.  On the right, an undated photo from the 2010s.

Below the fold is a selection of his songs from his earlier and most commercially succesful period (1970-1987).

[Read more…]

Pipe Dreams: 44 terabits per second

Standard internet transfer speeds are around 100 megabits per second (12.5 megabytes), which allows can allow real time viewing at a moderate quality, or buffered video at higher quality.  Australian researchers claim to have increased transfer rates to 44 terabits per second (5525000 megabytes) which is 440,000 times faster.  This would allow transfer of entire movies in one second, and they are using current internet connections to do it, not new systems.  (For comparison, a 56K dialup modem sends 7KB per second, 1 megabit DSL sends 125KB per second.)

Ultra-dense optical data transmission over standard fibre with a single chip source

Abstract

Micro-combs – optical frequency combs generated by integrated micro-cavity resonators – offer the full potential of their bulk counterparts, but in an integrated footprint. They have enabled breakthroughs in many fields including spectroscopy, microwave photonics, frequency synthesis, optical ranging, quantum sources, metrology and ultrahigh capacity data transmission. Here, by using a powerful class of micro-comb called soliton crystals, we achieve ultra-high data transmission over 75 km of standard optical fibre using a single integrated chip source. We demonstrate a line rate of 44.2 Terabits s−1 using the telecommunications C-band at 1550 nm with a spectral efficiency of 10.4 bits s−1 Hz−1. Soliton crystals exhibit robust and stable generation and operation as well as a high intrinsic efficiency that, together with an extremely low soliton micro-comb spacing of 48.9 GHz enable the use of a very high coherent data modulation format (64 QAM – quadrature amplitude modulated). This work demonstrates the capability of optical micro-combs to perform in demanding and practical optical communications networks.

Although it sounds great (excuse my cynicism), it still presumes everyone has access to such technology.  Internet penetration is still low in most of the world’s poorest countries, and the networks needed are cost prohibitive.

Today, the Philippines mostly uses wifi and cable internet on Luzon.  But in the 2000s when most countries were adopting cable internet, the PI couldn’t afford it.  Many people still used dialup internet until around 2010, and DSL was and is still common in more rural areas because it piggybacks on phone networks that already exist.  It’s slower, but they didn’t have to build anything.  For much of the world, it’s still like that.  44.2 Tbit lines will only widen the disparity between the haves and have nots.

Am I saying we shouldn’t increase the potential transfer rates?  No.  I’m saying we shouldn’t dictate to other countries, “You have to go this fast or you can’t use the internet!”  The “information superhighway” shouldn’t be dictated by roadhogs and Sunday drivers.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

When quarantines were enacted two months ago, youtube and other online services lowered their bandwidth’s transmission quality.  With so many more people at home using the internet, lower bandwidth reduced throttling and increased how many users could connect at once.  It was a reasonable tradeoff to prevent the system from crashing.

So why can’t we have similar tradeoffs?  Not just now during a pandemic but all the time.  Too many websites are poorly designed and bloated, some pages containing 100-500KB of HTML, CSS and Javascripts, not counting autoloaded flash advertising or other resource hogging garbage.  If companies have the technical knowhow to built that much bloat, why don’t they know how to built “light” pages?

In 2017 during Hurricane Maria and other disasters of recent years, some companies built text-only sites both to reduce bandwidth and to prioritize vital information at a time when connections were finicky and battery (and recharging) power limited.

CNN’s “lite” website

Text NPR

Facebook mobile will work on a laptop or desktop, but avoid their phone “app”

Other websites have made light versions though some have since disappeared or were destroyed (e.g. BBC).

There are many sites that offer information on how to create full featured, low bandwidth sites:

wikimedia blog: How to design for low-bandwidth users: a conversation with members of Wikimedia’s Global Reach, Audiences, and Performance teams

oAfrica: Designing websites for low bandwidth

Smashstack: Life in the Slow Lane: Web Designs for Slow Internet Connections

Aptivate dot org: Why Design your Website for Low Bandwidth?

Aptivate lists Ten Rules for Designing for Low Bandwidth. My list would have different suggestions, but it’s a good starting point.

And while it’s a bit outdated, the Any Browser Campaign offers some good suggestions for website design.

If there’s one rule that I would tell site designers above all others: Stop acting like teenagers in 1999.  Stop designing for your favourite browser to the exclusion of all others.  If you build sites using the W3’s standard HTML5, it will work on every browser, including HTML4 and HTML3.2 browsers.

They Suffered Silently: College sports and the medical perversion

Chuck Christian played on the University of Michigan football team forty years ago under coach Bo Schembechler.  Medical checkups are common practice among “student” athletes, but what Christian didn’t know at the time was that the team’s doctor Robert Anderson (now dead) was sexually abusing him.  And hundreds of other athletes over several decades.

He thought he was getting football physicals. He was being abused.

For more than 40 years, Chuck Christian did not call himself a victim because he did not think he was one.

He was a muralist who had played tight end at Michigan. He grew up poor in Detroit but came to be a world traveler. He contracted prostate cancer and outlived his doctors’ predictions.

Then, in February, an old teammate called.

Remember Dr. Robert Anderson? The team doctor at Michigan who performed painful, unexplained rectal examinations? Someone reported him, the former teammate said, and it turns out that what he did to you, and to so many other players, was probably a crime.

“I realized that he had victimized so many of us,” Christian said in a recent interview.

Since February, when the university revealed findings of a secret, long-running investigation, hundreds of people have complained about Anderson’s conduct. As the inquiry unfolded, lawyers said it was increasingly clear that while Michigan achieved decades of success with many of the nation’s finest athletes, it also harbored a vast sexual abuse scandal.

Christian soon learned that, like him, many other athletes had quietly left the campus without recognizing that Anderson’s behavior demanded an investigation.

How much did toxic masculinity affect players’ willingness (or unwillingness) to come forward?  How many knew they were sexually abused but afraid of being viewed as “less of a man” by reporting sexual assault?  How many other predators took up jobs in sports, in positions where they wouldn’t face close scrutiny?

There will be a year without college sports.  Independent investigators should be sent into every US college and university sports program and look at their records, medical and otherwise.  Find out how many schools have allowed predators to rape and abuse with impunity for decades.

Violent and abusive “coaches” like Mike Leach, Mike Rice and Bobby Knights are bad enough, but for “schools” to allow and protect rapists like Robert Anderson, Larry Nassar and Jerry Sandusky is beyond reprehensible.

Don’t Pay To Vote: Ron Dysentery’s vote rigging failed

Sorry, I misspelt Ron DeSantis‘s name.

A corrupt Florida law was rescinded last year, finally allowing those who have finished their prison sentences to regain their vote.  Denial of voting after prison isn’t just punitive, it’s an incentive for politicians to arrest those likely to vote against them, i.e. republiclowns arresting and inprisoning the poor and non-white people.  (Speaking as a Canadian, losing your vote while in prison is an obscene idea.  Prisoners have time to be informed and motivation to vote.  Canadian prisoners vote at the same rate as the general population.)

Republiclowns like Ron Dysen…er, DeSantis couldn’t allow that to go unchallenged, so they decided to create a poll tax and claim it wasn’t a poll tax: The person released from prison would have to “reimburse the state’s legal fees” before being able to vote.  Needless to say, only the rare wealthy person who went to prison could ever afford to do that.  For those who leave prison broke (i.e. nearly all of those incarcerated) it was a yet another barrier to regaining their rights.

Thankfully, a federal judge saw the poll tax for what it was and struck it down.

Federal judge rules Florida ex-felons can vote despite fines or fees

ORLANDO, Fla. — A federal judge’s ruling Sunday opens the door for hundreds of thousands of ex-felons to be able to vote in Florida despite owing fines and fees.

Pending an appeal from Gov. Ron DeSantis, the ruling on Amendment 4 by U.S. District Court Judge Robert Hinkle in Tallahassee is potentially one the largest expansions of the voter franchise in Florida history, and it comes just months before the state could play a deciding role in the November election for president.

Hinkle ruled that a law passed by the Legislature and signed by DeSantis was unconstitutional because “the State of Florida has adopted a system under which nearly a million otherwise-eligible citizens can vote only if they pay an amount of money. … Many do not know, and some may not be able to find out, how much they must pay.”

The judge called the law a “pay-to-vote system.”

“Today’s ruling by U.S District Judge Robert Hinkle finally clears up an argument that should not have taken place,” the Florida League of Women Voters said in a statement. “The voters were clear in 2018 when more than 64% of the electorate voted in favor of Amendment 4, which restored the constitutional right to vote to ex-felons not convicted of murder and felony sexual assault. But after the passage of Amendment 4, the Florida Legislature, via SB 7066, sought to ensure that ex-felons, without the means to pay back all financial obligations, would essentially endure a lifetime ban on voting.

Such “fees” remind me of what “british commonwealth countries” have done to refugees.  People that Australia has imprisoned (instead of treating them as refugees) have been “billed” for their imprisonment (food and “rent”, is if a concrete cell were a hotel room).  Until people “pay restitution” they will be denied refugee status in the future – not just in Australia, but by any commonwealth country.

Rats Nest: Could New York be a lab test for the US?

Scientists use rats in laboratory tests in multiple ways (diseases, medicines, behaviour, etc.) because they can be used as a microcosm or simulation for humans.  And they may be again.

Due to the closure of restaurants in New York, many rats that normally feed around them are turning cannibalistic, eating each others’ young and smaller adults.  However, rats that live around apartment buildings (where food can still reliably be found) have not exhibited that behaviour.  From the New York Times:

C.D.C. Warns of ‘Aggressive’ Rats Searching for Food During Shutdowns

Humans are not the only ones who miss dining out.

As restaurants and other businesses have closed during the coronavirus pandemic, rats may become more aggressive as they hunt for new sources of food, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned.

Environmental health and rodent control programs may see an increase in service requests related to “unusual or aggressive” rodent behavior, the agency said on its website on Thursday.

“The rats are not becoming aggressive toward people, but toward each other,” Bobby Corrigan, an urban rodentologist who has both a master’s degree and Ph.D. in rodent pest management, said on Sunday. “They’re simply turning on each other.”

Dr. Corrigan said there are certain colonies of rats in New York that have depended on restaurants’ nightly trash for hundreds of generations, coming out of the sewers and alleys to ravage the bags left on the streets. With the shutdown, all of that went away, leaving rats hungry and desperate.

In New Orleans, hordes of rats took over the streets after people emptied out. Hundreds of thousands of rats in Chicago have started boldly searching for food, traveling farther and during the daytime. Some have even moved into car engines.

Dr. Corrigan said pest control professionals in the city have sent him photos of rodent cannibalization and slaughter.

“They are going to war with each other, eating each other’s young in some populations and battling each other for the food they can find,” Dr. Corrigan said. “But the rats that live and eat in residential blocks probably haven’t noticed a single bit of difference during the shutdown.”

Food shortages have already begun across the US due to labour shortages.  They haven’t caused starvation and an absence of meat can be coped with. But what would happen if the supply of bread, fruit and produce dried up?  I can picture Cheetolini using forced labour at gunpoint (if a “re-election” were rigged), but what about other countries?

And I can picture the wealthy being like the rats still able to obtain food, and not caring about the others who are starving.

Politico: Trump deems farmworkers ‘essential’ but not safety rules for them. That could threaten the food supply.

Sioux City Journal: Worker shortage concerns loom in immigrant-heavy meatpacking

Agriculture_com: COVID-19 pandemic causes labour shortage for Malaysia’s palm industry

City Press (South Africa): Fruit is ripe but farmers have to contend with Covid-19, labour shortages

CNBC: Feeding strawberries to cows: Farmers forced to throw fruit and flowers as coronavirus disrupts supplies

NPR: Germany Struggles To Fill Its Farm Labor Shortage After Closing Its Borders

Unsurprisingly, a financial rag is calling average people “lazy” for not accepting backbreaking work that pays pennies:

This Is Money UK: Farmers are crying out for 80,000 people to pick fruit and vegetables and keep our supermarket shelves full, but are Britons up for the work?

I am not predicting or guaranteeing total social breakdown, but the situation has that potential.  A year without a harvest, just like 1815.

She Escaped: Amy Dyess talks about the cult of TERFdom

Amy Dyess is a lesbian from Seattle.  She first rose to prominence after writing a “TERF is a slur” article that went viral among hate groups (e.g. TERFs).

Dyess now says TERF ideology isn’t just a problem.  She brands it a cult.

The ‘gender critical’ feminist movement is a cult that grooms, controls and abuses, according to a lesbian who managed to escape

Back then [October 2018], Amy was connected to an international network of powerful lesbians.

She believed, like many people in the “gender critical” feminist movement do, that the lesbian community to which she belonged was under attack from trans-rights activists.

She believed that lesbian identity itself was being infringed on and erased by trans women, and that the media didn’t care – more than that, she believed that the media was being controlled by trans people.

She believed that she was part of the fight back against trans-rights activists – part of the fight back against homophobia.

Amy, who is based in Seattle, doesn’t believe those things any more. Looking back on her time in the “gender critical” feminist movement, she is unequivocal: it’s a cult.

A cult that groomed her when she was vulnerable and sleeping in her car; a cult that sought to control her, keeping tabs on her movements and dictating what she could and couldn’t say; a cult that was emotionally and sexually abusive towards her.

[. . .]

While Amy was being told by influential lesbians that her voice was important, she had also just lost her marketing job and was living in her car.

“Mentally, I was in a vulnerable state,” she says. “I was going through a hard time.”

For the first time, Amy’s voice breaks a little as she recounts what this period of her life was like. “I felt like everybody knew. And they just would exploit. Instead of helping, they would just keep taking from you.”

“They wanted you to be unstable,” she pauses. “That’s something I noticed.”

It was at this point that the emotional and sexual abuse she experienced at the hands of the gender-critical movement was at its worst, Amy says.

Another pause. “The more stabilised I got, the less they could control me. And they try to control you.”

One of the things some people have a hard time believing about anti-Trans bigots is their willing and close association with far right wing media and groups.  I knew that TERF bigots like Julia Beck appeared on Fox Nuisance, that Posie “Nosy” Parker had appeared on white supremacist podcasts.  What I didn’t know until today is how close they are connected.

I knew the UK’s “LGB Alliance” is an anti-Trans hate group that has been denied access to funding sites because of its hate speech.  But it turns out they have a chat forum called “Spinster” that is part of the “alt-right” site Gab, and both groups collaborate.  UK neo-nazi groups have openly spoken in support of LGB Alliance.  When asked to disavow neo-nazis, they refuse to.

There is a disturbing image below the fold, separated so you only see it by choice.

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Let’s Remember: Florence Nightingale, 1820-1910

Florence Nightingale was born May 12, 1820, and died August 13, 1910.  While she wasn’t the first proponent of improved hygiene and sterilization in hospitals (Ignaz Semmelweis, working in obstetrics in Germany), it was Nightingale’s work in the Crimean war that showed how drastically important hygiene is at saving lives.

Her life’s work was groundbreaking three times over.  She professionalized nursing, invented methods for epidemiology and containing disease, and almost singlehandedly invented statistical analysis.  Her 200th birthday is timely, considering the world today.  Here are a few links about her:

The Florence Nightingale Museum

Science Museum UK: Florence Nightingale: The pioneer statistician

Business Insider: Florence Nightingale wanted much more than applause. So do the nurses working during the coronavirus pandemic.

This Is Statistics: Florence Nightingale: The Lady with the Data

Normally I prefer to write up biographies myself, but the biography on Treehugger is long and comprehensive.  There’s no point reinventing the data wheel, or Coxcomb Graph as it’s known.  Nightingale’s charts were among (if not) the first data visualization charts.

Bigots Turfed And Trashed: May 17 is IDAHoBiT

Sunday May 17, 2020, is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, or IDAHoBiT for short. From the May 17 website:

What is May 17?

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia was created in 2004 to draw the attention to the violence and discrimination experienced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender, intersex people and all other people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

The date of May 17th was specifically chosen to commemorate the World Health Organization’s decision in 1990 to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder.
The Day represents a major global annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, corporations, opinion leaders, local authorities, etc. to the alarming situation faced by people with diverse sexual orientations, gender identities or expressions, and sex characteristics.

May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal. Thousands of initiatives, big and small, are reported throughout the planet.

As the link says, the WHO removed natural sexual attractions as a “mental disorder”, though I’m sure Xi (the Beijing butcher) would like Tedros to reinstate that.  More below the fold.

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Governor Approved: Why Ahmoud Arbery was murdered with impunity

As I’m sure all will have heard, Ahmoud Arbery was murdered by Gregory McMichael and his son Travis McMichael.  They saw a Black man alone in a public place, chased him down, shot and murdered him for absolutely no reason other than the colour of his skin.  They claimed they were “stopping a criminal” while inactuality the sought an excuse to commit a crime.

Equally appalling, the state of Georgia did nothing for two months, only arresting the murderers after a video came out and a public outcry forced them to act.  The cops and courts had zero intent of arresting the two let alone prosecuting.  As someone noted elsewhere:

They weren’t arrested because THEY (cops) saw the video.

They were arrested because WE (the public) saw the video.

As others have pointed out to me, the individual pictured (now below the fold) is James Stachowiak, not McMichael, which means there are two white racist “separated at birth?” scumbags out there.  And probably more.

Since the arrest, an interesting picture has turned up: George governor Brian Kemp and Gregory McMichael.  Maybe this explains why Kemp didn’t want cops to arrest them: he wants racists to roam free with impunity unless it’s politically embarrassing.

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