Links May 2019

May 15, 2019

This world is full of mysteries and there is so much we don’t know or are unable to understand. Astronomer Neil deGrasse Tyson once said: “The Universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.” So, be careful with your assessments and be aware, that truth is what you at this moment believe to be the case or what appears to have happened. Even when the evidence is clear and all data point to one outcome, “it ain’t necessarily so” — and life may have the most surprising twist and turns in store.

It rained. Beautiful, live giving rain. It is cold and uncomfortably wet outside, time to sit down and write a few notions or sing a little, innocent song. Like this one:

Imagine, there’s a state of mind
Where troubles are all left behind
Where one is easy, calm, and kind
Eager to listen, search, and find

Where all is true, nothing’s concealed
And plains are not a battlefield
Where laws of war have been repealed
No hate, no wounds are left unhealed

No plans of war to be enacted
And calls for peace are not rejected
Sages and saints will be elected
The weak and poor not be neglected

Ditching old habits can be tough
We don’t need more, we have enough
Bright beauty of the stars above
The final, sacred word is: Love

We live in the era of post-truth, a reality confirmed again by mainstream media coverage of the latest events in Venezuela. No meticulous and accurate situation reports, no weighing of evidence, no honest and astute analysis. Instead round the clock fact free propaganda.

Juan Guaido called it the moment for Venezuelans to reclaim their democracy once and for all. But as the hours dragged on, he stood alone on a highway overpass with his friend Leopoldo Lopez (leader of the right-wing Voluntad Popular party) and the same small cadre of 25 military defectors. No other soldiers and no civilians had joint them.

As Guaido’s “Operation Liberty” fizzled, months of insistence, that the people of Venezuela stood with him basically went up in smoke.

The Miami Herald nevertheless insisted, that the “military rebellion” in Venezuela “can be called many things. But don’t call it a coup attempt.”

CBS, Reuters, and CNN chose the word “uprising,” NPR and the New York Times chose “protest,” and Yahoo! News went with the phrase “high-risk gamble.” BBC, the Guardian and Al-Jazeera only used the word “coup” in quotations.

CNN told viewers, that the US must “root for the people” of Venezuela, before explicitly stating, “Rooting for the Venezuelan people means hoping that Maduro will step down” (the people of Venezuela apparently are the white upper class Venezuelans who wholeheartedly agree with the US government). CNN also aired a report claiming, that the forces of “socialist dictator” Maduro were “mowing down citizens in the streets.”

Caitlin Johnstone wrote on her blog, what the main players in the Venezuelan crisis would say, if they were honest:

Juan Guaido: I would like to be regarded as the interim president of Venezuela because the current president of Venezuela, Nicolas Maduro, stands opposed to the interests of the political bodies with which I have aligned myself. Also, he stands opposed to my own personal ambitions of becoming powerful.

Washington, DC: We too would like for Juan Guaido to be regarded as the interim president of Venezuela, because the current President of Venezuela is too cozy in policy and practice with our geopolitical opponents. We would not mind this so much if Venezuela didn’t sit atop the world’s largest proven oil reserves. If we can’t control what happens to those oil reserves, we won’t be as dominant on the world stage.

US allies: We too would like it if Juan Guaido were president instead of Nicolas Maduro, because that’s what the United States wants and it is in our interests to go along with whatever they say. If we go along with Washington’s dictates we are treated favorably, whereas if we don’t we’ll end up getting treated the way the Venezuelan government is being treated currently.

Donald Trump: I’ve been told by the neoconservatives who I have appointed to guide my foreign policy that it would be good for America’s resource control agendas if I apply more sanctions to Venezuela’s economy at this time. This will force the Venezuelan civilians, and more importantly their military, to overthrow Maduro or else see their loved ones die of malnutrition and lack of healthcare.

John Bolton: I too encourage Venezuela’s citizens and military to turn against their government and begin inflicting violence upon it until Nicolas Maduro is either dead or removed from power. If you do this, you won’t have to starve and die because of our steadily increasing sanctions, and we’ll get to control the oil that your country happens to sit on top of. As an added benefit, hurting large numbers of human beings gives me sexual gratification.

CIA [via bullhorn]: Umm, excuse me, Venezuelans? This is the CIA. Will you all please start having a civil war now to overthrow your government? That would make us very happy, thank you.

Mainstream media: The US government, and of course the powerful unelected individuals who run it from behind the scenes without any accountability or oversight from the public, is attempting to topple Venezuela’s only recognized government using starvation sanctions, CIA operations, and an open campaign to delegitimize the sitting president of that nation. They are doing this because controlling as much of the world’s oil supplies as possible helps them to control the world, and controlling the world is what they want to do. These are the things we would be telling you if we weren’t owned by the same plutocratic class which owns the US government.

Wealthier Venezuelans: We would like to see Nicolas Maduro replaced with a government installed by the United States and its allies, because we feel that that would benefit us financially.

Juan Guaido: I am now standing here with Leopoldo Lopez and a handful of military personnel in an attempt to persuade Venezuela’s military to turn against Nicolas Maduro and begin killing anyone who stands in their way. I went to university in the United States of America.

Leopoldo Lopez: I too went to university in the United States of America. Also, I would like to be the regular president of Venezuela when Juan Guaido is done being the interim president of Venezuela.

Venezuelans: This is awful and we hate all of this.

Mike Pompeo: It is good that all of these things are happening. Definitely keep doing all of these things everyone.

Juan Guaido says, he is considering asking the USA to launch a military intervention.

Erik Prince (founder of the once prominent private security firm Blackwater and an ardent supporter of US President Donald Trump) discussed a plan in private meetings with US and European officials of employing 5,000 mercenaries to help topple Venezuela’s president Nicolas Maduro.

5000 young stuntmen
Will stumble more often
Approaching the brick wall
That will be their last call
This wall has no bypass
And so they will die fast
As dreams turn to dust
And present to past

5000 young widows
Are tapping with their toes
The chorals sound nice
As they are sung twice
The brass band is playing
The preacher is praying
The church bells are ringing
Sweet angels are singing

The dues are all paid now
The memories fade now
The lawsuits are settled
The big fights are battled
A new generation
Will seek recreation
Give in to temptation
And fight for the nation

(Or for money).

A report co-authored by Mark Weisbrot and Jeffrey Sachs for the US-based Center for Economic and Policy Research estimates, that 40,000 Venezuelans died because of Western sanctions, a partly blockade, and other economic warfare measures.

This finding is based on an estimated 80,000 people with HIV who have not had antiretroviral treatment since 2017, 16,000 people who need dialysis, 16,000 people with cancer, and 4 million with diabetes and hypertension (many of whom cannot obtain insulin or cardiovascular medicine).

The sanctions are depriving Venezuelans of lifesaving medicines, medical equipment, food, and other essential imports. This is illegal under US and international law, and violates treaties that the USA has signed.

Question time

How does one detect propaganda? What is propaganda? Are lies, omissions, misinterpretations, euphemisms, fabrications propaganda?

Didn’t state sponsored lies play a crucial ideological role in justifying US / NATO wars in Vietnam, Iraq, Yugoslavia, Somalia, Afghanistan, Libya, Syria, didn’t they legitimate the use of torture under the Bush administration, and cover up crimes of the financial elite in the economic crisis of 2008.

How to distinguish between facts and fiction, knowledge and falsehoods, good and evil?

How to distinguish between cynics, hypocrites, pretenders, and true believers? 

How to distinguish between careerists, media mercenaries (journalists for sale), ideologists, reporters, researchers, analysts, teachers, sages, and prophets?

Can heuristics be helpful? What about intuition? Are mathematical equations the only way to find out, what’s really going on?

Does language serve to depoliticize and infantilize as it offers no way for individuals to translate their private troubles into broader systemic considerations? What is manic consumerism? Magic populism?

Should poetry rhyme? For instance: Privatization, deregulation, militarization, criminalization, financialization. Or: Arrogance and ignorance, audacity, stupidity, depravity, profligacy, indecency, ferocity, atrocity, monstrosity. Or: Education, information, exhortation, obfuscation, defamation, domination, exploitation, isolation, alienation, hibernation.

Do with that, what you want, I for my part go now into the garden to plant some additional blueberry bushes and weed out fig buttercup, ground elder, and creeping buttercup.

Feline news:


Environmental news:

We are all hypocrites, aren’t we? We are all pretenders and fakers: we are all liars — more or less. In this competitive society one can only succeed by lying, faking, and pretending. 

We deceive ourselves, being proud of booking an eco-hotel when the airplane which brings us to our holiday destination burns more fuel than we can save in a lifetime.

We are proud of replacing old appliances with new energy efficient ones, even as the manufacturing of the new devices uses more resources and energy than they can possibly save in a decade.

We buy organic produce from companies who hijacked the “organic” label and devoid it of any meaning instead of buying it from the farmer or growing it by ourselves.

We spend our time and energy working in a useless job for the benefits of parasitic shareholders instead of joining a co-op.

https://ensia.com/notable/1-5-degree-lifestyle-carbon-footprint/ Reducing our carbon footprint by 80 to 93 percent? Which politician dares to demand this?
https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/bumblebees-decline-pollinators-1.5106260 Bumblebees are one of my favorite fellow species. I often touched them, rescued them when they had fallen into a rain water barrel, I grew lot of echinacea, which they like very much, they were sitting on my hand, resting before continuing to search for food. When one guy told me, that they sting and that it will hurt more than any wasp sting, I was surprised. They never stung me and I don’t expect ever to be stung – they know that I’m their friend.
https://truthout.org/articles/the-world-is-burning-and-those-in-power-are-stoking-the-flames/ The world is burning, the calls for action and for a change of direction become more desperate, the broad public remains unmoved and tries to look and listen away. Collective suicide of the incorrigible and irredeemable, collective murder of the lucid and rational minority, of the ones who unsuccessfully warned and tried to convince.
https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2019/04/29/trees-dont-grow-on-money-or-why-you-dont-get-to-rebel-against-extinction/ Environmental movements frequently get hijacked by industry and financial establishment. Therefore: Camouflage, move at night, coordinate via informal communication channels, be creative and surprise them (everything else what needs to be done and how it has to be done you have to imagine by yourself).
https://www.globalresearch.ca/glyphosate-worse/5674472 The poisoning of everything.
https://truthout.org/articles/hydroponically-grown-produce-threatens-real-organic-agriculture/ It’s a fraud, everything is a fraud. That’s the way Western consumer economies work.
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/05/opinion/flying-into-climate-crisis/ Vastly expanding (flyaway) air travel contributes to runaway climate change. And hypocrites in the need of self-promotion fly to environmental congresses and demos.
https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/04/190430121755.htm Rapid permafrost thaw.
https://dgrnewsservice.org/civilization/ecocide/the-problem-with-putting-a-price-on-nature/ Important, please read.

Economic news:

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-trend-is-not-your-friend/  The collapse of US-Chinese trade negotiations may be marked by historians as the day that globalization died.
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/27/land-a27.html Only 8.5 percent of Britain’s land is owned by the public, everything else is owned by aristocrats, corporations, and oligarchs.
http://evonomics.com/how-to-destroy-neoliberalism-kill-homo-economicus/ Nick Hanuer, winner of the MIT Humanist of the Year award, paints a much too rosy picture of capitalisms potential to benefit humanity and be a “force for good,” but he at least addresses some crucial issues.
http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2019/05/09/the-climate-movement-what-next/ Must read!

Media and technology news:

https://www.localfutures.org/is-5g-worth-the-risks/ Supporters of wireless technology argue that electromagnetic radiation in the radio frequency band and below, meaning everything below 100 GHZ, is not ionizing and therefor cannot cause DNA damage in cells. They argue further that the radiation intensity is too small to cause any king of effect (thermal or magnetic resonance) in cells.
This is wrong, the amount of ionized atoms indeed diminishes with lower frequencies but there is no point where the ionizing effect completely disappears. About the intensity: The inverse-square law of physic states, that a specified physical quantity or intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source of that physical quantity. Which means that a radio signal has to be quite strong to be detected by the antenna of a receiver a few kilometers away. The antennas of both mobile phones and cell phone towers don’t send beams of radiation, they emit their radiation evenly in every direction, so the inverse-square law fully applies.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/04/googles-sensorvault-can-tell-police-where-youve-been Bury your mobile phone.
https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/3006933/forget-hype-why-5g-about-disappoint-you Fingers crossed, that the author is right.
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/05/01/assange-sentenced-50-weeks-for-bogus-bail-charge/ The Passion of Julian Assange.
https://gowans.blog/2019/05/02/jacobin-stabs-venezuela-in-the-front/ About Jacobin magazine and the US “Left.”
https://fair.org/home/for-nyt-israel-is-always-nearing-apartheid-but-never-quite-gets-there/ Even more “fair and balanced” than Fox.
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/11/hale-m11.html US indicts drone program whistleblower. 

Imperial news:

Revolutionary change does not come as one cataclysmic moment…but as an endless succession of surprises, moving zigzag toward a more decent society. We don’t have to engage in grand, heroic actions to participate in the process of change. Small acts, when multiplied by millions of people, can transform the world.”

Howard Zinn. This quote appears in the book Speaking of Peace: Quotations to Inspire Action.

https://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/the-trend-is-not-your-friend/ (Already listed in economic news, but I repeat it here because of its importance).
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/04/26/death-can-be-a-slow-traveler-peltier-mumia-and-rap-brown/ About US political prisoners.
http://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/07/how-defence-industry-buys-washington.html Lobbying = corruption, election campaign contributions = corruption.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/09/the-melting-of-the-fortress-of-solitude/ A poetic rant about US culture.

Imperial conquest news:

Donald Trumps neocon handlers (advisors) want war with Iran, as the blockade and the economic war against Venezuela is apparently not sufficient to satisfy their bloodlust.

The USA and Britain have been meddling in Iran since the 50s, when they installed the conservative dictatorship of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi by overthrowing the democratic government of Mohammad Mosaddegh, which was threatening their monopoly on oil. Then during the Iran-Iraq war 1980 to 1988 the USA supported Iraq and Saddam Hussein who committed war crimes against the Iranians and fought a needless WW1 style trench war which led to a million dead for nothing. The US also shot down an Iranian civilian passenger jet in 1988, killing 290 innocent people, including 66 children.

Until the Iran nuclear deal in 2015, the political climate between the nations remained hostile, but the deal allowed both sides to begin a process of reconciliation. For a short time it appeared that both sides wanted to end the period of sour relations, but then the USA unilaterally pulled out of the agreement despite its European allies and Iran itself wanting the deal to continue.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/05/09/the-militarization-of-empathy/ About war propaganda, selective empathy, and US warcrimes.

Armageddon news:

Wow – gasping for air. Perturbed, desperate, wretched, dispirited, shocked, horrified, sickened. The prophets of doom are getting pretty good at presenting their apocalyptic visions. Science is on their side and every new study surpasses the previous already dire and frightening projections.

So – we are done, basically. Maybe we will have another few more or less comfortable or at least bearable years. Have the opioid overdose ready. Don’t forget to euthanize your beloved pets first. Your spouse and children will have to make the decision by themselves when to escape the hell which will be life on this planet in a few years.

The last one to go shall not forget to turn off all lights and appliances. Don’t forget to phone the undertaker before you lose consciousness, so that your body is collected and disposed of in an orderly way.

As if this would matter in the final stages of civilizations collapse. 

https://www.newyorker.com/news/the-new-yorker-interview/bill-mckibben-and-elizabeth-kolbert-on-the-un-extinction-report We’re not playing for stopping climate change. We’re playing maybe for being able to slow it down to the point where it doesn’t make civilizations impossible.”

In case, that you are not a wimp, who falters as troubles mount, in case that you are not an idiot who cannot grasp the severity of the situation, in case that you are not a psychopath who revels in the misery of fellow creatures:

Stem the tide, fight heroically, unhesitating, tenacious till your last breath against the exploitation, the poisoning, the destruction of nature. Become a role model, a teacher, a prophet, a saint. 

Become the savior of life, the irresistible force of kindness and grace, the shining star, the white knight, the guarding angel, the one who unites humanity, who leads the way, who inspires, arouses, awakens human ingenuity, perseverance, and toughness to overcome the deadly dangers and let the forces of evil melt away.

“But I’m just struggling with my own shortcomings, with the burden of anxieties, phobias, blockages, traumatic memories, and miseducation. How can I ever be a role model?”

Don’t worry, you don’t need to be perfect and you will grow with the challenge. You only need to stop being self-centered. Look at the situation as a detached, uninvolved observer. Just do what is needed, do it systematically, stay calm and composed whatever may happen. Take your time, wait for your chance, be fearless. What should you fear? Death? You will die anyway one day or the other.

One last note:

Don’t forget the importance of curbing human population, though this will happen anyway involuntarily if humans don’t address the problem on their own.

Uncategorized news:

https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/05/07/5-httlpr-a-pointed-review/ Don’t believe the experts, and especially not those who want to sell something.

News from cat land:

The cats are fine, they are innocent, lovely, adorable, enjoying spring. It is Rita’s first spring and she is completely exited. I just saved a blindworm from her. Blindworms (or slowworms) can live 30 years and longer. I like them, though they are not as cuddly as cats. To be precise, they are not cuddly at all, but just like toads and frogs they are useful to reduce slugs and snails.

Blindworms, toads, frogs, bumblebees, they all are endangered and their populations decline, I’m proud that they have found a home here. Please make your surroundings hospitable for them wherever you are.
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