About stuartbramhall

Retired child and adolescent psychiatrist and American expatriate in New Zealand. In 2002, I made the difficult decision to close my 25-year Seattle practice after 15 years of covert FBI harassment. I describe the unrelenting phone harassment, illegal break-ins and six attempts on my life in my 2010 book The Most Revolutionary Act: Memoir of an American Refugee.

A Third of All Birds Have Disappeared From the US and Canada Since 1970

Quote

American and Canadian bird populations have decreased 29% in the last 50 years, finds a study just published by Cornell University researchers in the journal Science.

All together, the population is down by 2.9 billion breeding adult birds.

Researchers day the losses are driven primarily by habitat loss.

A billion of those birds formerly lived in forests, and 700 million in grasslands.

More than 90 percent of the losses come from  12 commonly known bird species, including sparrows, blackbirds, warblers and finches.

Dark-eyed juncos (little gray snowbirds) and meadowlarks were among the hardest hit, with 160 million and 130 million lost respectively.

“It’s a strong signal that our human-altered landscapes are losing their ability to support birdlife,” said Ken Rosenberg, lead author and conservation scientist at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology in a press release.

“And that is an indicator of a coming collapse of the overall environment.”

“It’s telling us that our environment is not healthy. Not for birds, and probably also not for humans.” […]

via A Third of All Birds Have Disappeared From the US and Canada Since 1970 — Return to Now

The Legal Argument That Could Destroy Uber Is About To Be Tested

“The case, which originated as Meyer v. Kalanick in 2015, was indeed a simple one: Uber’s drivers are independent contractors, a legal distinction Uber views as central to its business model. Yet Uber also sets the price that all those independent contractors must charge for their businesses. When a bunch of independent businesses agree to charge the same price for a product or service, that is generally called price fixing, and price fixing is very much illegal under the Sherman Antitrust Act.”

Uber Lyft Drivers

On October 23, an arbitrator will sit down in Uber’s New York office and hear arguments in a case that could determine the ride-hail giant’s future. It is not about the employment status of a single driver, but rather the very legality of Surge Pricing, Uber’s flagship feature that adjusts the price of rides according to supply and demand principles.

If the arbitrator rules against Uber, it could, in essence, make Surge Pricing illegal and, more broadly, call into question the legality of Uber’s entire business model of controlling the prices hundreds of thousands of independent contractors are permitted to charge.

“This has always been a simple case,” said Andy Schmidt, the lawyer who filed the original federal district court action back in late 2015. “Uber wants to have it both ways.”

And now, after almost four years, this “simple case” faces a big test. It’s the first time anyone…

View original post 831 more words

Update on Catalan Struggle for Independence from Spain

The Catalonia Trials: Justice or Vengeance

Al Jazeera (2019)

Film Review

This documentary examines the arrest and imprisonment of nine leaders of the Catalan Popular Assembly for holding an independence referendum in 2017. In a region where children were historically forbidden to speak their native tongue (Catalan) in school, the movement for Catalan rights and independence has a long history.

Catalan public opinion is evenly divided over the independence issue. Nearly 50% of the population voted or tried to vote on the 2017 referendum. Most opponents of independence boycotted the ballot. Of the 43% who successfully cast votes, 90% opted for independence.

On the day of the poll, national police raided many polling stations, confiscating ballot boxes and trying to drag voters away.

Following the failed referendum, the Catalan Popular Assembly voted to declare independence and was suspended by the Spanish government. Twelve assembly leaders were arrested and spent 17 months in prison before going to trial. Other leaders, including Carlos Puigemont, the former Catalan president, fled to northern Europe to avoid arrest.

Spain’s center left socialist government, which took power in June 2018 opposes Catalan independence. For some reason, they are allowing members of the right wing Vox party to participate in prosecuting the Catalan leaders.

In April 2019, the socialist government fell, because Catalan members of its governing coalition refused to support their proposed budget. Because the Catalan independence movement is as strong as ever, several of the imprisoned Popular Assembly leaders stood in the new election. Four, who were elected, were let out of jail to take their oath of office before the new government suspended their right to take their seats.

They were also elected (along with two exiled Catalan leaders) to the European Parliament, as well.

Although the trial ended June 12, 2019, the verdict isn’t expected until fall.  See New York Times

All 12 face a potential 17-year sentence for rebellion.

Bye Bye, Google! New Huawei Smartphones Use Its Own Browser and Apps Amid US Sanctions

Huawei smartphones are quite popular here in New Zealand.

PG.Chrys' No Agenda Linkblog

In August, the company unveiled its very own operating system HongmengOS, or in English HarmonyOS, claiming it is “completely different from Android and iOS”, and that it would be launched later this year on Huawei smart screen products.

Source: Good Bye, Google! New Huawei Smartphones Use Its Own Browser and Apps Amid US Sanctions – Sputnik International

View original post

Cops can remove your stuff without consent

“The most egregious case of civil asset forfeiture of which we are aware comes from Oklahoma. To keep society safe, sheriff’s deputies in Muskogee County, Oklahoma robbed a church and an orphanage of $53,000. “

© blogfactory

Constitution

TOPICS:Civil ForfeitureCivil LibertiesConstitutionJack BurnsJusticePolice

SEPTEMBER 21, 2019

ByJack Burns

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hasuphelda ruling which declared police can constitutionally steal your possessions. Called “civil asset forfeiture,” the police are under no obligation to give the property back to you. Instead, police departments will steal your stuff, hold it in storage (accruing fees in most cases), and then sell your stuff to the highest bidder.

Police have no qualms about stealing your property, especially after you’ve been arrested for a crime. Even though every citizen is supposedly innocent until proven guilty, police will routinely confiscate, cash, guns, and real property from those who’ve been charged with a crime, even property from other members of a family living under the same roof. After all, it is difficult to prove ownership without a receipt. More sinister, however, is the fact…

View original post 711 more words

Millions Could Lose Insurance in Flood, Fire Areas

According to new data, over 340,000 California homeowners lost property insurance coverage between 2015 and 2018 due to wildfires that are increasing in frequency and intensity.

Climate Denial Crock of the Week

Imelda dropped 40 plus inches of rain on Texas with little warning. Not a hurricane, a climate pumped Tropical depression. The Future is now.

Insurance Journal:

By the time David Kaisel got back from selling his flour at a farmers’ market, a wildfire in California’s Capay Valley had burnt both his tractor and the shipping container where he kept some tools. His insurer is set to pay out a sixth of his losses.
He is now considering widening his coverage in the future to include fire insurance for his business.

Kaisel is the kind of customer making insurers rethink their approach to climate change so they can sell policies without incurring too much risk.
“I’m already accustomed to drought, but in the past year I learned first-hand the consequences of both record rainfall and wildfire,” Kaisel said. “I’ll certainly consider insuring against environmental risks when my cash flow permits.”
Other…

View original post 866 more words