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Links September 2018

September 14, 2018

You will not read the following notions in mainstream media, because they would be rejected as alarmist, hysterical, and outright absurd. They would be ridiculed as panicking, overreacting, and imprudent fear mongering.

You will not read the following notions in mainstream media, because they cannot be commercialized, don’t go well with advertising, don’t promote shopping, consuming, disposing and replacing of stuff.

Are you fed up with mainstream media, popular culture, consumerism, and politics? How did you come to the website here or subscribe the blog? Are you worried and furious? If so, please calm down and take it easy. And take my word: Whatever happens, it will not go on forever, it will end one day.

Do you love cats, do you love nature? Please stay.
Do you love guns, fast cars, the newest gadgets? Please leave.
Are you well informed, well-intended, still curious? Please stay.
Are you posh, imperious, unperturbed, bored? Please leave.

Anyway, for the curious, furious, and worried, right to the point:

Rapid changes, extreme circumstances, and deadly dangers demand bold and radical responses, solutions, and counteractions.

As the ecological crisis becomes more evident, the financial and political elites become more disconnected from reality, not interested in anything else than defending their loot. The ordinary citizen, facing an Orwellian control system and armies of henchmen, sycophants, and hirelings, has few options left besides dropping out of the consumer society, hiding in the forests, and becoming an ecological resistance fighter.

Personal priority lists may differ, depending on individual situations, but at the top undoubtedly should be: Preparing to survive the coming breakdown, developing or learning and implementing alternative lifestyles, organizing or joining local resistance cells. 

1. Preparing to survive the breakdown

Stockpile non-perishable essentials (the organic prepper).
Learn to produce, preserve, and cook your own food (subsistence).
Acquire tools and spare parts, learn to mend and improve things by yourself (maker movement).

2. Developing or learning and implementing alternative lifestyles

Live modestly with the lowest possible carbon footprint. No travel, no fancy gadgets, no new cloth, furniture, or appliances. Exert and promote car sharing, bicycling, sharing of tools and equipment.
Reduce, reuse, recycle, repurpose, mend, improve. Join barter or swapping groups, use flea markets, boot fairs, second hand shops, transfer stations, scavenge.
Grow your own food, learn gardening or farming without chemicals or big machines and with the highest possible production of biomass (humus, rich soil = carbon sink).
Don’t live alone, become part of a family, a team, a community. Make friends with everyone who accepts you.
Grow spiritually, breathe calmly, smile, meditate.

3. Organizing or joining local resistance cells

Talk and hook up with your neighbors, with local craftsmen, merchants, communal workers, with clergymen (even if you are an atheist), activists, notables, the mayor and members of the municipal council. Ask, listen, answer questions, inform, explain, convince.
Take part in local activities (community gardens, choirs, chamber music, art and craft workshops), join advocacy groups (consumer protection, social justice, animal rights), volunteer (care for sick, disabled, elderly, take part in waterway and forest litter cleanup, participate in tree planting).
Found or join a co-op, which serves a special local or regional need.

All this will be insufficient, as the incorrigible and unteachable will not change ways and only will lampoon your efforts. They will use mighty machines and weapons, they will build new roads, dams, mines, pipelines, power plants, factories, skyscrapers. They are enemies of life, they are evil.

The ecological resistance movement has to deal with the enemies of life in ways which cannot be openly discussed. Except: It has to be done silently, invisibly, noon-violent. The sages and saints of the resistance will find a way. You will not be involved but maybe eventually you will come across them and get a chance to support them.

Quotes:

For the first time in a decade, the number of people who are undernourished has increased – from 777 million people in 2015 to 815 million in 2016 – fundamentally undermining our commitment to leaving no one behind….Poverty is becoming increasingly urban, with most of the world’s extreme poor projected to live in urban settings by 2035;  250 million more people in Africa have no access to clean fuels for cooking compared to 2015!!  We are seeing alarming decline in biodiversity, rising sea levels, coastal erosion, extreme weather conditions and increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases….At the same time we have not yet managed to unlock and direct the scale of the resources needed, towards the financing of the sustainable development agenda.”

UN Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed in her opening speech on July 16, 2018 at the UN Political Forum on Sustainable Development.

Your discussions have made clear that we are lagging or even backtracking in other areas that are fundamental to our shared pledge to leave no one behind […] Investment in critical sustainable infrastructure remains entirely inadequate […] At the same time, we face mounting challenges. Runaway climate change, a growing number of conflicts and inequality, an erosion of human rights., an unprecedented global humanitarian crisis and persistent pockets of poverty and hunger.”

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ concluding remarks on July 18 at the same event.

An important biological species – humankind – is at risk of disappearing due to the rapid and progressive elimination of its natural habitat. We are becoming aware of this problem when it is almost too late to prevent it. It must be said that the consumer societies are chiefly responsible for this appalling environmental destruction… They have poisoned the seas and rivers. They have polluted the air. They have weakened and perforated the ozone layer. They have saturated the atmosphere with gases, altering climatic conditions with the catastrophic effects we are already beginning to suffer.”

Then Cuban President Fidel Castro Ruz at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.

I just read through the Dark Mountain Project manifesto, (https://dark-mountain.net/), and it is indeed very similar to the ideas, notions, analyses, and proposals published here on this blog since 2011, it is undoubtedly more lyrical and better crafted, but maybe less practical oriented and systematic.

Another site, called “Transformation,” also strikes a familiar chord:
https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/jason-angell/how-does-change-happen-one-man-s-journey-through-personal-and-political?utm 

Which again confirms, that we (readers and author of this blog) are not alone, that we belong to a broad movement. A movement, which is ignored by the media, but which grows quietly and works diligently on the foundation for a new “postindustrial” society.

It could well be a society built on ruins and graveyards, most likely distinguished by scarcity, hardship, and self-reliance. For half of todays humans it will make no difference, for many it will even be an improvement.

We should remain optimistic. Life is more resilient than one can imagine. Just look at the dandelions growing in the cracks of the tarmac.

Feline news:

https://lithub.com/from-chester-himes-to-judy-blume-10-writers-and-their-cats/
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/aug/30/paw-outcome-new-zealand-council-proposes-banning-all-cats Terrible.
https://siberiantimes.com/other/others/news/rescuing-cobalt-eyed-baby-of-the-worlds-fluffiest-cat/ 

Environmental news:

https://www.desmogblog.com/2018/08/16/nutrient-pollution-florida-toxic-algae-crisis-sanibel-island
https://www.ehn.org/apparent-slow-death-of-nuclear-power-2596688957.html
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/sep/05/japan-admits-that-fukushima-worker-died-from-radiation
https://www.ecowatch.com/generational-harm-of-pesticides-2596453994.html We all take part in a gigantic field test.
https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/9/11/17614540/plastic-food-containers-contamination-health-risks Nothing new, but a useful compilation of facts.
https://therevelator.org/climate-pollution-mental-illness/
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/23/fire-a23.html Greek forest fires.
https://www.wired.com/story/germany-proves-cars-must-die/ Cars, along with guns, one will have to pry from their cold dead hands.
https://metamag.org/2018/09/11/five-worrying-things-we-just-learnt-about-the-eus-air-pollution-crisis/
https://www.consumersafety.org/legal/roundup-lawsuit/
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/08/brazils-pesticide-poisoning-problem-poses-global-dilemma-say-critics/
https://www.rt.com/news/436811-vietnam-agent-orange-compensation-monsanto/
https://thenarwhal.ca/grieving-with-the-worlds-whale/ If mass extinction is our fault, what will be our punishment?
https://thenarwhal.ca/the-lost-summer-the-emotional-and-spiritual-toll-of-the-smoke-apocalypse/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/aug/27/air-pollution-causes-huge-reduction-in-intelligence-study-reveals Another reason the political class is not keen on implementing meaningful environmental regulations.
https://medicalxpress.com/news/2018-08-air-pollution-cognitive-decline-people.html
https://www.circleofblue.org/2018/india/toxic-water-toxic-crops-indias-public-health-time-bomb/ 70 percent of India’s fresh water is contaminated. Raw sewage and industrial wastewater are used for irrigation.
https://www.dawn.com/news/1429142
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/08/widespread-degradation-deforestation-in-african-woodlands/?utm
https://www.nationofchange.org/2018/09/04/87-elephants-found-dead-in-botswana-sanctuary-poaching-to-blame/ It’s human nature.
https://earther.gizmodo.com/unprecedented-poaching-frenzy-in-botswana-leaves-near-1828807354?utm
https://www.asiasentinel.com/econ-business/china-wolf-down-southeast-asia-wildlife/
https://www.treehugger.com/animals/whats-happening-all-hedgehogs-england-and-wales.html
https://www.ehn.org/monsanto-science-ghostwriting-2597869694.html Monsanto – the epitome of evil.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/11/monsanto-bayer-merger-hurts-farmers-and-consumers/ This merger will make no difference, because the two companies generally stayed out of each others territories, avoiding competition.
There was a farm crisis before and it will get worse because of climate change (droughts, floods, storms, heat waves, cold spells) and soil depletion. Small industrial farms will go bankrupt, the land bought by big corporations. But the corporations will go bankrupt too when the soil finally is destroyed by industrial farming and nothing grows anymore despite tons of fertilizer and pesticides.
Then everyone with a patch of land will grow her/his own food, without big machines or chemicals, getting their seeds from friends and neighbors. While in the bigger towns and cities there will be hunger riots.

Economic news:

http://www.atimes.com/article/crashing-currency-chaos-spreads-across-the-global-south/?utm
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/06/mkts-s06.html It’s time to deglobalize.
http://www.ipsnews.net/2018/09/revisiting-privatizations-claims/
https://truthout.org/articles/fossil-fuels-are-next-in-line-for-a-bailout-heres-how-we-respond/ 

Media and technology news:

http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/23/pers-a23.html More Facebook censorship.
https://russia-insider.com/en/incompetent-facebook-identifies-former-british-ambassador-russian-troll-deletes-his-post-history Former British ambassador identified as “Russian troll.”
https://us10.campaign-archive.com/?e=0cfc6c9be8&u=8c573daa3ad72f4a095505b58&id=2ae9806bd8
http://www.atimes.com/article/mobile-phone-use-continues-to-rise-in-china/?utm Bright smartphone world.
http://www.atimes.com/article/china-now-has-802-million-internet-users-report/?utm
https://money.cnn.com/2018/08/21/technology/google-data-collection/index.html There’s no escape.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/06/google-and-apples-systems-to-track-you-in-person-what-the-media-isnt-telling-you/
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/07/pers-s07.html Google censorship.
https://digitalcontentnext.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/DCN-Google-Data-Collection-Paper.pdf
https://therealnews.com/stories/facebook-google-play-the-censor-are-our-civil-liberties-endangered Rolling Stone’s Matt Taibbi, hailed as a progressive and an icon of old school trustworthy journalism, tells us about censorship via Facebook and Google.
And he also wants to make us believe, that traditional media (like for instance his employer Rolling Stone) never will bow to government pressure and always will aim to inform unbiased and impartial. He refers to a golden age of journalism, when the press fought for its independence and professionals were paid for the quality and significance of their writing and not for their compliance with government propaganda.
But the fairy tale of present day ethical journalism has long been debunked, and authors in the tradition of Mark Twain, Jack London, and Ernest Hemingway, journalists like Ida Tarbell, Upton Sinclair, Murrey Marder, and Helen Thomas would not be published in todays mainstream media.
Keepers of the flame, like Seymour Hersh, Chris Hedges, William Blum, Robert Hunziker, and others indeed are blacklisted.
How can Matt Taibbi think that anybody believes his narrative of honest, principled, incorruptible media? How dump and gullible does he think his audience is?
https://boingboing.net/2018/09/05/mozart-bach-sorta-mach.html Can that really be? J.S.Bach owned by Sony? Does one now have to pay a fee to Sony every time one plays Bach?
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/878-empire-journalism-venezuela-the-us-and-john-mccain.html 

Imperial news:

The duopoly party system plus the gigantic role of money in America means that no matter which candidate is elected, the US establishment wins. And the role of money has become central. It has been declared “free speech” by the Supreme Court. In US national politics, you can’t even play at the table without the kind of huge stakes Democrats and Republicans have in their pockets.

Winning an election means very little in the way of change. It does not change the role of big money, does not change the role of powerful lobbies, the role of the Pentagon, the role of the CIA – in short, America’s quasi-plutocratic government and its empire and its powerful organizations of support do not change no matter who wins.

In that important sense, US national elections aren’t all that different than the elections of the old Soviet Union. The US candidates just spend immensely more money and make a lot of noise in the press, and people think something is happening.

John Chuckman

https://onestruggle.net/2018/08/15/supreme-court-repping-capitalists/
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/21/life-a21.html
https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/americas-broken-retirement-system-is-a-recipe-for-political-chaos
https://www.nbcnews.com/health/sexual-health/stds-continue-rapid-rise-u-s-setting-new-record-cdc-n904311
http://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2018/08/oregon-construction-worker-fired-for-refusing-to-attend-mandatory-bible-study/
https://www.marketwatch.com/story/40-of-americans-struggle-to-pay-for-one-basic-need-like-food-housing-or-health-care-2018-08-28
https://abcnews.go.com/US/soaring-bankruptcy-rates-signal-coming-storm-broke-elderly/story?id=57150897 

Imperial conquest news:

There is almost no connection between what average Americans want and believe and what Washington does. And this has been true for a very long time. Did the public want the holocaust in Vietnam or the long list of other military intervention horrors?

They are simply dragged along for the ride when Washington is determined to do something. They have nowhere to turn with their votes even. Republican or Democrat, the results in terms of war and empire will be the same.

The United States’ power establishment doesn’t care what anyone thinks anymore when it wants to do something. Oh, I’m sure they’d rather like that the public “bought in,” but whether they do or not simply is not a “deal breaker.”

Washington ignores the UN. It ignores international law. It ignores many traditions and norms. Oh, it will offer up some excuse, some flimsy excuse for what it is doing, but, in the end, it doesn’t matter what the US public believes, any more than it matters what the other 95 percent of humanity represented by the UN believes.

The US public is virtually uninformed about what goes on abroad anyway. Their press and government representatives work hard towards that end. And the truth is the US public is largely uninterested. Many people also are just trying to keep body and soul together in the changed economic realities of contemporary America. They have no time to be concerned about what goes on “out there.” America’s establishment actually counts on such realities in its imperial calculations.

The only time the US public ever gets worked up over foreign policy matters is when US soldiers die in considerable numbers. The USA has arranged its foreign dirty work so that not too many US soldiers die, so the public is not used to bloodletting.

The casualty numbers at a certain point during the Vietnam war began to generate something like a national discontent and division. Through many mechanisms, such a discontent and division have never been allowed to happen again.

Look at the dirty work in Syria. We know, right now, a new phony gas attack is being planned around Idlib. There is significant intelligence on the matter. And it is just a set-up for a new round of bombing Syria, a country with which America is not legally at war and a country where it has no business having any forces without permission.

John Bolton’s ugly public threat about even more devastating bombing if chemical weapons are used again (“again,” entirely begging the question of whether such weapons had ever been used by the government, with virtually all indicators saying they had not) serves as a public invitation to the paid mercenaries in al-Nusra and such affiliates as the phony humanitarians of the White Helmets, to get on with the job of generating a needed provocation.

And will even one newspaper or network in the US question the fraud? Or question the excessive response?

And what will it matter if the public supports it or not? They know absolutely nothing anyway about what goes on in Syria and the US’s big, long-term role in it on behalf of Israel and others, including Saudi Arabia, to work towards destroying a legitimate government and cripple a beautiful country.

John Chuckman

http://www.defenddemocracy.press/can-the-us-keep-lying-about-israels-nukes/
https://www.globalresearch.ca/video-largest-us-weapons-store-in-italy/5653901
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/14/dutc-s14.html 

Armageddon news:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/08/17/hothouse-earth/ After this summer, runaway global warming and a catastrophic breakdown of the ecosphere (and human civilization) becomes a plausible scenario.
http://www.atimes.com/article/kerala-flood-disaster-made-worse-by-bad-development/?utm We ignored the importance of wetlands. We ignored the sensitivity of ecologically fragile land. And in cities, we built buildings on leveled farmland. Now, where will the water drain?” T. Gangadharan, president of the Kerala Sastra Sahitya Parishad.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/greenhouse-gases-continue-their-massive-rise/5651274
https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2018/august/1533045600/james-bradley/end-oceans The maritime nightmare, well documented. Yet, people, numbed by the virtual reality of electronic devices, remain indifferent and may only look up from their screens when it’s already too late. What will be then? Mayhem, lawlessness, fascist dictatorships, a breakdown of civilization?
https://www.bloomberg.com/features/2018-rich-new-zealand-doomsday-preppers/?srnd=premium
https://www.globalresearch.ca/climate-refugees-will-vastly-outweigh-recent-migrant-numbers/5653683 

Uncategorized news:

https://chinachannel.org/2018/08/27/dragonfly-eyes/
http://www.atimes.com/dissent-is-being-muzzled-across-our-planet/?utm
https://godsandradicals.org/2018/08/30/expert-opinion/ This is not exactly news, but nevertheless recommended reading.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/04/braz-s04.html Brazil’s national museum burned down and with it the most valuable artifacts of indigenous culture. They lost their land, their last hideouts in the Amazon jungle, their freedom, and now their history.
Anyway, in an age of globalized and commercialized culture, who needs a national museum?

News from cat land:

It is a bit cold today and I have to admit, that one really could get used to global warming, if it were not for the drought. Unfortunately, as warmer air can absorb more water, a warmer climate inevitably means less rain. Less precipitation together with more evaporation then cause drought.

Despite drought, the garden harvest was incredible with yields higher than I ever expected or dreamed of. All four freezers in the cellar are completely full and there are still huge amounts of peaches and grapes to pluck. I thought about buying a fifth freezer, but that would only postpone the problem, because I hardly can consume the content of the four freezers (they are large chest freezers the size of dining tables). Tomatoes will be canned, but I don’t make jam because sugar is banned here. After considering all options I decided, that every friend and acquaintance will be offered grapes and peaches for free. I will also give away fruits at the next meeting of the barter group and carry a few boxes to the animal asylum where I volunteer (not for the animals but for the other volunteers).

The cats are happy and healthy, I wonder, how long this idyllic situation will last. It will not last forever, as we all get older, day by day.

I’m currently reading reports about the drought in Europe and its impact on agriculture. The farmers want money (from the taxpayers). That they destroy the soil with their intensive mechanized agriculture and poison the environment with pesticides and fertilizer is still not an issue. That their big machines, the chemical fertilizers, and livestock emit greenhouse gases (CO2, N2O, methane) doesn’t bother. That they bought with borrowed money machinery far too big for their farm just to impress the neighbors is not mentioned. It will take a few more drought catastrophes to make these people understand whats going on, and some will never learn the lesson.

The inveterate und unteachable farmers shall go bankrupt, they shall lose the land which they treated so carelessly. This is a punishment still far too mild for their environmental crimes which make us all suffer.

A recent study, published in Nature Sustainability, found, that 29 percent of all farms on the planet use sustainable farming techniques like for instance: a. little or no tilling to maintain healthy soils, b. integrating fruit trees with crops to promote biodiversity and supplement harvests with valuable tree fruits, c. collecting rain water for irrigation, d. using humus rich soil, composting heaps, shrubs, ground cover plants as natural water storage, e. reducing machinery, chemical fertilizer, pesticides to cut general operating costs.

29 percent of farmers got it, but these are small farms with not more than 10 percent of global farmland, and the small farms are economically threatened because subsidies for Big Ag keep commodity prices artificially low, GM-seeds and patented heirloom seeds force all land holders regardless of size to buy expensive seeds from corporations (some countries even make it illegal to save seeds), and nationwide supermarket chains put local groceries, street vendors, and farmers markets out of business. The small farmers and gardeners also have no money to employ lobbyists and bribe politicians.

Tilting at windmills” or “constant dropping wears away the stone“?

While many small farmers understand what’s going on, the politicians, bureaucrats, technocrats, and corporate managers are clueless (or malevolent). The European Union offers derogations from specific greening requirements, namely crop diversification and ecological focus area rules on land lying fallow, to allow such land to be used for the production of animal feed. Which means: After the farmers have ruined their soil by intensive industrial farming they are allowed to destroy the land which until now was spared for ecological reasons.

In addition to that in many countries around the world farms and big agricultural companies who recklessly exploited the soil and have declared themselves “drought victims” are rewarded with generous relief payments, while the farmers who worked responsibly and preserved the soil get nothing.

Big Ag gets bailed out just like the big banks in 2008. This is the true meaning of “free market capitalism,” where not the best and brightest, but the most ruthless and best connected succeed.

After having published countless photographs of MATO’s cat family, this month post concludes with pictures from the already mentioned animal asylum. The asylum is still overcrowded, but people come to look and cats are constantly adopted to start a fresh and hopefully happy life with their new human host and guardian.