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Words of limited importance

August 13, 2012

There is a time for everything.
There is a time for dreaming.
There is a time for hope and love.
There is a time for reflection.
There is a time for writing blog posts.
There is a time for working in the garden.

The time for garden work is right now. And that means watering, weeding, mulching, transplanting, pruning, harvesting vegetables and fruits, preparing the soil in unused areas for the next year.

The garden is huge and eight hours a day (which is the amount of time that I spend now) are barely enough to do all necessary work. Something has to give.

This summer is the hottest that I ever experienced and also one of the most humid. It rains nearly every day, and with rain I mean not only a few drops but rather cloudbursts or even torrential rains.

My dear friends in the USA, Africa, Russia, China, Korea, if you wonder where all the water is that you would need so desperately for irrigating your crops — it is here in the alpine regions of Europe.

Why gardening is important

Daily rain and high humidity means that all plants grow well (weed and crop alike), but also that fungal diseases spread. The apple, pear, and peach trees in my area are nearly all infected with ugly dark spots on the leaves and very few fruits. My lovely (lonely) pear tree has just one pear and one of the apple trees has only three apples.

I will cherish these four fruits and eat them with deep appreciation. Next year will be better!

The blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, gooseberries are all doing well and have been mostly harvested, the freezer is filled up with small packages of berries which will keep me alive and well during the winter — provided there is not a severe power outage.

The freezer is an up-to-date and well isolated model which can keep its content frozen for two days without power, but a blackout like it recently happened in India could thaw the fruits and force me to eat for several days a special diet containing nothing else than berries.

The strawberries have been struck by all kind of diseases and pests, leaf spot being the most dangerous and widespread one. I can somehow control leaf spot by removing all infected leaves but I have killed quite a few plants this way and the strawberry harvest is not that great.

Slugs and snails are not a problem anymore despite the frequent rainfalls because I installed snail barriers around all beds. The barriers are made out of aluminum grid like it is used for fly screens and though they are not completely unsurmountable for the slugs they apparently significantly hinder their migration.

The most effective measure though is going out early in the morning and late at night and murdering the beasts with scissors. I despise mass murderers like soldiers, butchers, hunters, fishermen, drone operators, politician, etc., but in the case of slugs, mosquitos, fleas, ticks I don’t care about the ethical principle of nonviolence and commit mass murder myself.

This is one of the many examples who show that all morals or ethical frameworks are in the end practical based, regardless of any lengthy treatises and artfully crafted logical constructs which are presented to proof their validity.

Another example confirming the futility of philosophical explanations: My beloved cats are terrible killers, slaughtering mice, rats, voles, moles, squirrels, birds, and any other creatures that are running, hopping, crawling, flying around in the forest and in the garden. It would be wonderful if cats and all other animals would be herbivores like the elephants and would treat their fellow critters kindly — it would be heaven, paradise, Shangri-La, it would be the garden eden!

This ideal situation would nevertheless create some severe problems: I would have to defend my strawberries not only against the slugs and the birds (birds love strawberries and I have to cover the bigger strawberry beds with nets), but also against the cats. Princess Min Ki, who is an excellent tree climber, wound be on top of the cherry tree and eat all the fruits that the starlets left, instead of chasing away the starlets. Maybe she would also eat my only peach, the plums, the grapes, and the apples.

Furthermore I would have to share my home not only with six cats but with 20 or more mice and the garden would be populated by several vole families who would eat the roots of young bushes and trees and would destroy all young plants.

I think I should accept the world as it is and give my cats credit for their efforts of pest control.

Back to the strawberries: They are quite intelligent and like many other plants increase reproduction when they are under strain, meaning that they grow many runners which I am constantly pegging down into small pots. When the root system of the plantlet is developed enough the connection to the mother plant can be cut.

Timing is crucial, because the little plants don’t develop well and are more vulnerable to diseases when the connection is severed too early.

Gardening is an art and a science. There are thousands of webpages, brochures, and books available, but studying them would prevent me from doing the pending work that has to be done right now. I use the book The Natural Garden by Roger Grounds as a reference guide but I have dozens of other books which I didn’t even look into until now.

Fortunately many things can be done intuitively by following a few rules: Plants need sun, water, and nutrient rich soil. Diseases and pests can be diminished by mixing plant species and by crop rotation.

I never wanted to dig that deep into gardening, I just wanted to proof for myself that industrial agriculture can be replaced by subsistence farming and gardening. I’m nowhere near independence from big agriculture and still have to buy staples like rice, lentils, rolled oats, and bread. I could grow lentils and oat but it would be uneconomic, it would be not worth the effort. Rice doesn’t grow in my area, the one that I buy (labelled organic) is harvested in Italy about 1000 kilometers away from here.

So much about buying local. Am I allowed to compromise, can I continue eating rice?

Gardening is not an unhealthy occupation, it is also not boring and it needs lot of brain. Is it imaginable that people spend their time with garden work instead of watching the TV screen or computer screen, attending a ball game, strolling in a mall, languishing in a pub?

Living in a rural area makes things surely easier but even the city dwellers could work their gardens (vertical gardening).

Garden work keeps oneself fit, it surely includes all the muscle training that a visit to the gym will provide with the advantage that it doesn’t cost anything and even reaps substantial benefits.

Most of the envisioned gardening activities would still be a hobby pastime rather than a profession but they would significantly reduce the dependence on industrial agriculture.

Why this blog is of limited importance

After explaining the reason for not writing any blog posts for three weeks it is a logical step to discuss if there are any vital reasons for writing blog posts. I could as well stop writing blog posts at all but right now I have still the feeling that I can draw from my life experience, intuition, common sense, and logical thinking, to contribute useful ideas, opinions, and analysis to the permanent discussion process of the blogosphere.

I often take a few days, even a few weeks off to get my head clear. My ideal modus operandi would be to start writing only when fresh and novel ideas have fermented in my brain, but as I found out over the years, most of my thoughts have already been thought, most of my ideas have already been published, most of my phrases have already been coined.

In light of this discovery I now settle for less and try to amplify public moods, sentiments, and movements, that I consider as right and helpful.

I would like to engage in discussions and be part of a “group fermentation process” but — as I found out after several tries — public forums are not adequate. Dunbar’s number is mere theory but the cognitive limit to the number of people with whom I can interact is an undeniable personal reality, proven during my whole life. There are for sure individual differences and people who are outgoing and communicative will be able to handle an above average number of contacts. I don’t belong to this kind of people, the number of intensive meaningful contacts for me personally is not more than eight.

Ernest Callenbach suggested in his Epistle to the Ecotopians to connect, communicate, build networks. Until now I have not found my circle of friends but I will continue searching.

The following statement about the blog was written last year after 102 blog posts. There are  210 blog posts now and so I repost this statement here with a few actualizations:

At present I’m the only author and that is a serious shortcoming for two reasons:

First: it would be a big advantage to have somebody to correct or amend the analyses and conclusions in the blog posts and it would be undoubtedly helpful to view issues from differing angles.

Second: one main theme of the blog is gender inequality and feminism. I am male and therefore don’t have the authority and legitimacy to discuss this subject in depth and in all its bearings.

To all female visitor of this blog: please help, any contribution is appreciated!

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The main themes of this blog formulated both in negative and positive terms:

– Weapons, war, violence
+ Disarmament, peace, pacifism

– Consumerism, Capitalism, Globalization
+ Simple living, social responsibility, small-scale economy

– Gender inequality, abuse and violence against women
+ Feminism, supporting and empowering women

– Environmental destruction, mass extinction, depletion of resources
+ Nature conservation, protection of animals, lifestyle change

– Gloomy prognoses, doomsday scenarios, nightmares
+ Bold plans, uncommon ideas, crazy visions, thinking “out of the box”

– Information overflow, TV-brainwashing, confusion and spiritual emptiness
+ Meditation, music and art in general, cats

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A few informations about me:

I’m a music teacher and due to tenure and seniority financially independent. I started as a journalist (Arbeiterzeitung Wien) before I studied on the University of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna. Twenty years ago I was an environmental activist and published for 6 years a magazine “Umweltschutz Nachrichten” (in German language, as the title indicates).

The mentioned environmental publication started as a fanzine with copied leaflets but it grew constantly to become a monthly published magazine which had in the last year of its existence about 2600 subscribers. I only stopped doing this because the workload was too much and I was burned out.

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This blog is not a news aggregator though posts will refer to news events as a starting point for general considerations.

There are many dangerous developments that could make life very uncomfortable for future generations. The blog tries to describe the dangers and present remedies. Most of the texts will include a harsh criticism of the ruling elites (politicians, bankers, CEOs, generals, Forbes-billionaires) and their minions.

If authorities takes notice of the blog (using data mining and computerized sentiment analysis), it could well be, that some of the here published observations, assessments, analysis, recommendations, ideas, and visions will be earmarked as subversive or inflammatory. As long as free speech is allowed the postings will nevertheless use plain and simple words. It could be necessary though that one day I will have to switch to more ambiguous and cryptic formulations.

Future plans:

I hope to find co-authors (especially female authors).

The website has between 60 and 100 visitor a day, which is more than I ever expected. I don’t intend to promote the blog. I will occasionally repost updated and improved versions of old texts and also will reorganize and sort the archived posts into more categories for easier access (if there ever will be time left for this task).

The posts include pictures but there is a text-only parallel mirror site for visitors with slow connections. http://mato48.blogspot.co.com/

This blog will never ask for donations.

Please contact me via a comment or via Google+ (search for ”Wolf Mato” or “Wolfgang Masarie“).

Why cats are important

I live in a small and rather peaceful nation with one of the lowest crime rates and the lowest incarceration rate in the world. My homeland is also one of the most affluent nations and per capita wealth is higher than in the USA, if one takes purchasing power into account.

This country has also probably the highest human to cat population ratios in the world. Internet sources claim that eight million cats live here, but that is nonsense, the number of cats is more likely to be about two million — which means that there is one cat for every fourth human.

Considering the fact that many families host more than one cat there are still an awful lot of people who are cat-less.

How sad — I pity them!

It is astonishing that despite the malignant and vicious nature of humans, the terrible human induced destruction of the natural word, and the resulting suffering of animals there are still species that are willing to deal with us, live with us, even help and comfort us.

One has to admit that the cooperation between cats and humans is only possible because cats are lenient, tolerant, and forgiving.

Cats are lenient, tolerant, kind, generous, soft, quiet. They spark our imagination, galvanize our feelings, teach us, soothe and comfort us. They are there for us when we fall on hard times (provided that they don’t just have something more interesting to do and that the food is okay). Cats are flexible, resourceful, headstrong, unfortunately though not very social and empathetic.

But that doesn’t matter so much, because we humans are not very social  and empathetic either.

Dr. Steve Best, an associate Professor of Humanities and Philosophy at the University of Texas, El Paso, but first and formats an animal rights activist, wrote on his blog a poetic eulogy for his deceased cat Willis which is a striking testimony about the deep emotions our dear cat friends can evoke.

http://drstevebest.wordpress.com/2012/07/30/willis-best-1999-july-30-2012-3/#comment-5561

A prominent theme of this blog are the cats in my household. Cats are important because they stabilize my psyche and they teach me to respect my fellow creatures and nature in general.

Cats unfortunately don’t live that long and are threatened by car drivers, hunters, and other villains. I had to bury already three of my dear furry friends, a fourth member of my cat family disappeared and was most probably killed by a hunter.

I didn’t have a cat companion for twelve years after my cat friend Babycat was slaughtered by an idiot, who drove by my house in his fancy convertible at much too high speed, but in spring 2002 my wife one day unexpectedly brought home Harry, a castrated tomcat who had a slightly damaged shoulder as a result of being hit by a car and not adequately being treated afterwards.

All the cats that joined and increased the cat family since then were either rescued from certain death or came to us by their own free will. None of the cats were shelter cats — I avoid visiting animal shelters. I’m deadly sure that if I would step by the animal asylum in the nearby town 12 km from here I would come back with at least three other cats. The cat family would not be pleased with this addition and my time, which is already to a large extent consumed by the cats, would be even more scarce.

One month ago the cat family unexpectedly expanded to nine members after my sister in law dumped a cat mother with three tiny kittens into my home. My sister in law has some personal trouble and moved out of her home to a place where cats are not allowed.

The cat mother is called Mia (a common name of female cats in Germany) and she is a small, gracile cat. She has a black fur with irregular brown patches which looks very elegant and she has beautiful green bluish eyes.

Mia is the nice of our cat Rosy, though this kind of family relations don’t matter much for cats and Rosy still growls at Mia every time she sees her. We got Rosy together with her two siblings from an acquaintance of my wife who invited us to have a look at them. The kittens were really sweat but I was very reluctant to take them because we had already two cats (Harry and Lizzy, both sadly have died since then). I considered (and still consider) two cats as enough a benefit for a family.

When the woman realized my reluctance she said: “Do you take them or shall I put them away right now?” “Put them away” in this case meant killing the kittens, which is usually done by either throwing them against a wall till they don’t scream anymore or drowning them in a bucket of water.

It was blackmail and it left me with no choice.

My wife transferred Rosy’s sister Mary later to Munich, where my sister in law lives. My sister in law doesn’t spade her cats and also deems worm pills and vaccinations as unnecessary and as a scam to enrich the pharmaceutical industry and the veterinarians.

The later assertion may have some truth in it but when we brought Mia and her three babies to the vet they all were infected with worms, Mia had also a dangerous tape worm. The worm infections are hopefully cured now and Mia is gaining weight. When she arrived here she was exhausted, desperate and so thin that one could feel every bone in her body, but she looks fine now and seemingly feels well.

Caring for nine cats is a major logistic operation and my home resembled for a few weeks rather an animal asylum than a normal household. The kittens were developing well, they were healthy and pretty and soon became distinct personalities.

One of them was a completely black male who interestingly despite being the smallest kitten was ahead of his siblings in his metal development. He very fast found out anything he needed and wanted to know — he will became a very intelligent cat. His sister was also black but had a brown stripe on her forehead which made her look quite peculiar.

Fortunately we found a nice family who took these two and they are now romping on the families big estate and enjoying the remaining days of summer.

The third kitten is a ginger male and it soon became clear that this was the most friendly and most playful of the three cat babies. It seems that this kitten will stay here and become a family member. I call it Gandhi — Gandhi Jr. or “little Gandhi,” to be precise.

There exists already a ginger tomcat with the name Gandhi, though Gandhi may not be his real name. This tomcat was a regular visitor during last years summer and autumn and he also frequently joined the walks that I make with the cats in the adjacent forest nearly every day and occasionally even two times a day.

Gandhi was (and hopefully still is) a huge cat despite the fact that he was seemingly very young. He was not neutered but nevertheless peaceful and not aggressive at all. He went along well with all the other cats accept with Ma Xi, who is neutered but despite that not peaceful and rather aggressive.

Ma Xi’s bullying and occasional attacks were the reason why Gandhi in the end gave up and didn’t join the walks anymore. I saw him a few times during winter and he always came with high lifted tail and a welcoming meow to great me but when Ma Xi appeared on the scene Gandhi turned away and vanished in the bushes.

I have not seen Gandhi for a few month now and I hope he is still okay. I was told by neighbors that his host family feeds him and also occasionally brings him to the vet but that he is not allowed into the house even in winter.

A beautiful big tomcat like Gandhi will easily find another host if he is not satisfied with his present situation. I just wait to find an announcement pinned on a tree along the road: “cat lost, we would appreciate any info leading to his return….”

It is not likely that Gandhi Jr. will meet the same fate as his elder namesake, because Ma Xi is slowly disengaging himself from the family. During last year he seemed to become well integrated into our cat community despite the fact that he spent his first years as a feral cat but in spring he relapsed into his old behavior of bullying his fellow cats and they in turn shunned him and excluded him.

He is now an outsider again and since one week he also doesn’t attend the walks anymore.

Ma Xi is not a pretty cat but he is neutered, strong and healthy. It should be possible for him to find a new home if he really wants to change place. I would wish him well and always remember him fondly in this case because he is a good friend and we often sat together quietly and still sit together when he visits.

Some things simply don’t work out.

Gandhi Jr. seems to have reached his puberty and he is cavorting and roistering in the whole house and in the garden. Mia was quite shocked when her two black babies suddenly disappeared but she was also relieved that she had only to look for one kitten. She is a perfect mother, she rarely leaves Gandhi Jr. alone for a longer time.

Sometimes she is fetching a mouse from the forest but she doesn’t take him with her yet. When Mia sees that I am around she occasionally disappears for a longer time. Gandhi Jr. is lovely and a really nice boy but he is also rambunctious and tiresome. He loves to play with the tail of his mother and though she has told him in no uncertain terms that he shall leave her alone and play with his own tail he still is bothering her regularly.

If he is too strenuous Mia looks at me with a certain expression and meows, clearly telling me that I have to help her and I have to take over the education of her little boy for a while.

It takes a village to raise a child.

Mia is a single mother who is raising a single child. No father, no elder siblings, no grandparents can assist her. Many human mothers are in this position now because large family units in which several generations live together are not existing anymore and the principle of a shared responsibility for all tasks has been largely replaced by individualism, a social paradigm where everybody is on her or his own.

Many human mothers are overburdened and stressed, especially when they have to earn a living in addition to educating the child. How will that affect the children?

Mia is grateful that I try to help her and yesterday she attended our evening walk in the forest for the first time. The other cats were a bit puzzled but they seemingly accepted her and we all together made the usual round without any disruption.

Human children rarely grow up in a secure, quiet, natural environment. The overburdened mothers often place them in front of the TV or buy electronic toys and game consoles just to get a little relief and have some time for themself. This is understandable but it means that the children are indoctrinated, conditioned, and brainwashed from early age on.

Children in conflict zones are even worse off because they hear the battle noise and the explosions and they see destruction, blood, and dead bodies. They often see their mother cry.

One wonders what the psyche of the children in Gaza could be. They must be all deeply traumatized and they probably will hate Israel with every fiber of their heart.

One wonders what the psyche of the children in Iraq and Afghanistan could be….

It takes a village to raise a child, it takes a war zone (refuge camp, occupied territory) to raise a terrorist.

I am one of the privileged humans who never experienced war and who lives in a rather peaceful country. But even here there are certain people who run around armed with guns. They call themselves hunters, but they are psychopaths and potential mass murderers who are only restrained by a tightly woven social fabric and a solid social contract.

I once met a hunter while I was walking with the cats. When the cats saw the hunter, they instantly jumped into the bushes and disappeared. I didn’t follow them, first because my reaction in not that fast and second because I thought that maybe I could safe the cats by engaging and distracting the hunter. The hunter walked in a moderate tempo roughly at the same pace than I and after a few seconds he stood in front of me.

We greeted each other and he said: “You are walking with your cats again?” He was talking like a normal person. He also was not spiting fire when he opened his mouth and it didn’t smell of sulfur. Furthermore I noticed with bewilderment that he didn’t shout “Heil Hitler” or “death to all vegetarians” or something similar.

People often disguise themselves very cleverly.

I was hardly able to speak but I tried to hide my horror and answered with a slightly trembling voice: “Yes, I make my walk as every day. The cats are very well-behaved, they are not poaching and always stay near me. I hope you will not shoot them.”

He replied: “Don’t worry. I have seen you before walking with the cats. They are like doggies.”

I was astonished to hear that, though I know that this guys often sit for hours in hunting stands and watch the area with their binoculars. I had already been told by a neighbor that the hunters repeatedly mentioned me and my walks with the cats at their meetings in the local pub.

The hunter greeted again and went his way. I had to wait for the cats to reappear from the underbrush what they actually did after approximately two minutes.

They are like doggies” — this is probably the most flattering commendation a cat will ever be able to get from a hunter.

Why Syria is important

This blog posts are discussing a variety of themes and normally avoid the dominance of one single issue, but the conflict in Syria is a necessary exemption.

It has to be stressed again that the war in Syria is a pivotal moment in the history of the US empire and that the outcome of this war will have global repercussions and will impact every human being. The stakes are extremely high and this conflict will become even more bloody and more dangerous as it already is.

Until now it seems that Syria, unlike Libya, is not a fast and comparatively easy conquest. The Syrian army has proven to be a serious impediment and an insurmountable hurdle in the geo-strategic moves of the Western powers.

The strategic plan of the Western powers is based on the use of religious fanatics and the exploitation of sectarian and tribal tensions in order to set the Middle East and after that the Caucasus and Central Asia ablaze, thereby creating serious troubles for Russia (Ingushetia, Dagestan, Chechnya) and China (Xinjiang Uyghur region).

The Central Asian former Soviet Republics of Kazakhstan (70 percent Muslims), Kyrgyzstan (86 percent Muslims), Tajikistan (98 percent Muslim), Turkmenistan (92 percent Muslims), Uzbekistan (94 percent Muslim) are already seeing increased activities of Hizb-ut-Tahrir and other radical islamic movements. Most of the radical Islamists are funded by the Gulf monarchies.

In addition to Ingushetia, Dagestan, and Chechnya, Tatarstan and Bashkurtistan, two Russian republics in the Volga region with Muslim majorities could become infected with Islamic separatist movements. The legislature of Tatarstan just gathered in an unprecedented session to take measures against violent extremism. The move came after terrorists attacked two top Muslim clerics, killing one and wounding the other.

The Western strategists envision that this sectarian strife combined with increased economic and military pressure (encirclement by NATO basis, NATO’s missile defense shield) plus from outside organized “color revolutions” will finally lead to the breakup of the Russian Federation.

While the big picture is clear and the motives and grand strategies of the major players are obvious the operational details and the facts on the ground are hardly to make out. Western media on one hand is just plain propaganda, disinformation, lying, but alternative media sources on the other hand are often unprofessional, unsound, overly enthusiastic, and influenced by wishful thinking.

There is no unbiased media, there is no “fair and balanced” reporting, the best a remote observer can do is to filter out the obvious propaganda lies, compare a multitude of sources, gauge and correct the news, interpolate and reconstruct the facts with the help of common sense, logic, and life experience.

One additional reason that I waited so long before publishing this new post was, that I wanted to include the outcome of the battle in Aleppo, a city of 2.5 million people and the main commercial center of Syria.

This battle has now dragged on for three weeks and while the army easily routed the FSA rebels from Damascus, in Aleppo the Syrian forces seem to fail and the insurgents are holding out in several neighborhoods (Salaheddin, Bab al-Hadeed, Hanano) and have conquered several police stations.

The FSA rebels were able to abduct Sheikh Mahmoud Hassoun, the brother of Syria’s grand mufti Badruddien Hassoun, during prayers in the Osama bin Zaed mosque and they captured and summarily executed four elders of the Al-Berri tribe, including its leader Zaino al-Berri (the berry tribe is Sunni but pro government).

There are several possible explanations about the rebels success in Aleppo:

It could be a sign that the rebels are strengthened by improved coordination, increased involvement of foreign instructors, more high-tech communications equipment and more powerful weapons. The rebels have for sure access to data from US spy satellites and surveillance drones and they reportedly possess heavy weapons, including tanks.

The rebels success could be sign of a weakening army, bad moral and bad leadership. Some analysts stress that the Syrian Army is not performing well and has taken huge losses. Army tanks reportedly tried to assault an insurgent stronghold without infantry support and predictably got destroyed by RPG volleys from the side streets.

It could be that the army has no other option than to starve out the rebels from their strongholds in the center. The rebels have entrenched themselves in densely populated neighborhoods and effectively taken the population hostage. The old city with its narrow and labyrinthine streets is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the 800-year-old citadel is a prominent tourist attractions. The Aleppo elites are powerful, they do not want their city destroyed, so the army has to take extreme care and has to avoid damage to buildings and infrastructure.

The Syrian army has not tried to assault the insurgents in some suburbs, launching only probing skirmishes to find their exact position. That again may be part of a plan to suck more insurgents into the fight before fixing them in place and finishing them off.

Where it is possible the authorities have switched off electricity and other services, urging the population to evacuate. Police and soldiers have set up mobile check points on main roads leading into the city from the north.

Pro Syria groups now use the same methods of disinformation the Western media outlets have honed and brought to perfection in the last decades, placing fake news reports like this:

Syrian troops have stormed the FSA command center, established in a school in the Salaheddin district, killing at least 150 rebels.

Reuters blog was hacked and showed for a short time the following reports:

The Syrian rebels fighting the forces of Assad have fallen in key districts of their stronghold Salaheddin in Aleppo. This comes hours after the army has announced that it has destroyed the communication network provided by Turkey. Earlier the rebel forces have complained that they are running low on ammunition as the city has been completely surrounded by government forces, coupled with lack of communications, has left the rebels in disarray. Several trucks with mounted heavy machine guns have been destroyed, leading to the deaths of 20 rebels.

According to footage on the ground, the rebel forces in Aleppo have failed to take Aleppo Citadel, contrary to earlier reported news. A journalist on the ground, Hussein Murtada, has reported that an attempt to damage the ancient Citadel’s walls by rebel missiles was repelled by security forces, resulting in the death of General Mustafa Al Sheikh and Abdul Jabar Aqede, field Marshals of the Free Syrian Army in Aleppo.

The chief leader of Syrian Free Army (FSA) has stated on Friday that the Syrian Free Army has tactically withdrawn from Aleppo province after severe clashes took place yesterday between the regular army and FSA.

[Riad] Al-Asaad confirmed on a phone call to Reuters that the regular army killed 1000 soldiers of Free Syrian Army and arrested around 1500.

This was of course not real and right now it seems unlikely that the Syrian army will be able to achieve such a resounding victory, though the latest news confirm the rebels retreat from Salaheddin district.

The pro Syria blog Syrian Perspective posted the following assessment:

http://syrianperspective.blogspot.com/2012/08/august-1-2012-first-post-showdown-with.html

This report talks about 30 Russian warships gathering near the Syrian coast, which is certainly overstated when until recently there were all together not more than about 12 Russian war ships stationed in the Black Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.

Russian warships have though conducted a military exercise in the Mediterranean sea with three amphibious assault ships, two Neustrashimy class frigates, an Udaloy class destroyer, and two support ships.

Moscow has sent three large landing ships, each carrying 120 marines, to Tartus, and China’s fifth fleet (really just one destroyer and one frigate) sailed through the Suez Canal and is lurking around the Eastern Mediterranean sea.

In hindsight, it is clear that Operation Volcano, the attack on Damascus, was a classical military diversionary maneuver. Damascus was never the prime target, because it is too far from the main supply lines of the FSA. A few hundred jidadists were sacrified to divert attention from the forces that built up in Turkey just 44 km away from Aleppo.

These forces could then reach Aleppo in just a few hours to overrun the Syrian military posts and create chaos and mayhem. The objective of this operation was never to liberate the city, because Aleppo’s population is overwhelmingly pro government, but to cause as much damage as possible and to destroy local businesses.

Even if Aleppo is eventually reconquered by the Syrian army, the damage will be considerable and will further weaken the Syrian economy.

In hindsight, it is also clear that the Kofi Annan peace plan was never more than a Western ploy to give time for replenishing and regrouping the insurgents.

Several bloggers and commenters have at various stages of the conflict assumed, that in the end a secret and for all participants face saving deal will be struck, but this is wishful thinking of people who still have not realized the true nature of the imperial powers.

As stated in earlier posts, Western leaders are, like their puppeteers on Wall Street and in the CEO offices, high stake gamblers who don’t care about anything than power and profits, who don’t mind to risk human lives and the future of humanity, and who have no ethical restraints.

As stated before, these are monsters and one cannot expect them to act cautious and responsible.

US President Barack Obama has reportedly signed a secret order, authorizing more support for rebels fighting against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. The decree, called  an “intelligence finding” broadly permits the CIA and other US agencies to aid militants in Syria and the fact that it is secret means that this is dodgy and the recipients are not peace loving democrats.

The US Treasury has authorized FSA representatives to conduct financial transactions on behalf of the organization and US personal is involved in a command center in the southern Turkish city of Adana, 10 kilometer away from the US air base Incirlik.

President Obama’s decision to provide additional aid to the Syrian rebels clearly answers the question of whether the USA intends to back down on regime change in Syria. Defense Secretary Panetta’s warning to Assad “to get the hell out now” (to safe himself and his family) was telling as well. There is no intent of changing course and this political high-wire act without safety net will continue.

(The last formulation is not from me but excerpted from a comment on the Moon of Alabama blog, which is excellent and is right now also focusing on Syria.)

The Washington Post has prepared the ground for more direct US involvement by publishing an editorial, “Getting around a dead-end in Syria,” in which US military action against Syria is demanded. The US and Turkey indicated they might impose no-fly zones in Syria; France has sent troops to Jordan “to help refugees” in the border areas, the notorious US security firm Academi (Blackwater) is reportedly training al-Qaeda militants in Saudi Arabia and Turkey.

Could this lead to a direct military confrontation with Russia? There are claims that up to 100,000 Russian technicians, advisers, instructors are in Syria. This is surely overstated but the signs are clear that Russia has understood the gravity of the threat and lately without much publicity increased its presence in Syria to counter the military buildup of rebel forces in Turkey and Jordan.

What else could Syria’s supporters do? China could dump USA notes and bonds, Russia could sharply increase energy prices for Europe or even stop delivery. The Western economies are on the edge and it would not take much to first crush the global financial system and second send the national economies of Western Europe and the USA into a downward tail spin ending in a deep depression.

Finally a hint to defy internet censorship: The internet address of the Syrian news agency SANA is often not accessible because of DDoS attacks, but the direct IP will load the page http://208.43.232.81/index_eng.html

Why the US elections are not important

US elections are a non-event and the election campaigns of the Republicans and the Democrats are a disgusting spectacle. Especially the forthcoming presidential elections seem to be about nothing.

Both candidates embrace militarism and national hubris. Both candidates are willing to set further areas of the world on fire and create further failed states. Both candidates are willing to strangle the middle class with the biggest shot of austerity they can muster, after the election dust has settled. Both candidates will gut social security, medicare, and medicaid in the name of budget consolidation. Both candidates are eager to negotiate trade treaties that will nullify the rights of governments to sue, or regulate, transnational corporations. Both candidates are for the surveillance state and the militarization of police departments and federal agencies.

The presidential election is just a contest to find out who is the better pitchman for the plutocracy.

Obama is the best representative that the plutocrats ever had. He served the Military Industrial Complex well, the big corporation well, the banking sector well while at the same time keeping the remaining lefties, progressives, liberals quiet. The Progressive Caucus of the Democratic Party is still good to gather some votes, but otherwise is ignored by the White House and the Party leaders.

Choosing a mixed race candidate was quite a stunt for the establishment!

How could one characterize a person who is signing a 700 billion dollar bailout for fraudulent bank bosses, who is approving dangerous and destructive projects of energy companies, who is ordering the prosecution of whistleblowers and dissidents, who is concealing war crimes and shielding war criminals, who is sending soldiers and secret agents into foreign countries, who is arming criminal warlords and religious psychos, who is regularly signing assassination orders (kill-lists).

This is an evil person for sure, a villain, a brute, a sociopath. None of this characterizations though adequately reflects the severity of the crimes this person has committed and there is only one label left for such a person:

This is a monster!

It is surprising for me that some of my US-American friends still maintain that the current president is a good man, only misguided by his advisers. Didn’t the president chose his advisers and aids purposely and deliberately?

This persistent allegiance to the current office holder seems to be a classical example of cognitive dissonance.

I mention the US presidential elections only because a few brave people will take the chance and address crucial issues in the campaigns of third parties.

The alternative candidates are:

Dr. Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala are running for the Green Party. Dr. Stein  is a physician who has been active with the Massachusetts Coalition for Healthy Communities, Honkala is an anti-poverty advocate.

The Green Party advocates the creation of a Green New Deal based on four principles:

1. The right to a job at a living wage;
2. The transition to a sustainable, green economy;
3. A financial sector serving Americans;
4. Citizen empowerment.

Stein and Honkala were recently arrested during a protest at the Fannie Mae office in Philadelphia against foreclosures.

http://www.gp.org/index.php
http://www.jillstein.org/

Roseanne Barr and Cindy Sheehan are running for the Peace and Freedom Party. Roseanne Barr is a comedienne, TV producer, and writer.

Cindy Sheehan became a peace activist when her son was killed during his deployment in Iraq. I have mentioned her already several times here.

The Peace and Freedom Party declares itself to be an open, multi-tendency, movement-oriented socialist party, who is united in the commitment to socialism, democracy, feminism, and unionism and the opposition to capitalism, imperialism, racism, sexism, and elitism.

http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/home/
http://cindysheehanssoapbox.blogspot.com

Peta Lindsay and Yari Osorio are running for the PSL (Party for Socialism and Liberation).

Lindsay is an anti-war activist and social activist, she is ineligible to become president because she is too young but that will not deter her from campaigning. She is a graduate of Howard University and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in education to become a teacher. Yari Osorio grew up as an illegal immigrant. He has a BA degree in forensic psychology and is a certified Emergency Medical Technician.

http://pslweb.org/

So there are options to cast a vote and there is also the option not to vote (the sofa option), which could de-legitimate the system by bringing down the number of actual voters to under 40 percent. A compelling case for this option was made on http://fubarandgrill.org/node/1172

Why technology is important

Google is not your friend, Google is advertising, Google is surveillance. Amazon, one of the meanest and most ruthless corporations, is on top of most searches. Your search will not easily unearth sites who promote the free flow of information and knowledge (torrent trackers, digital libraries).

The ranking algorithms of Google are opaque and amount to censorship — non commercial sites will inevitably be on the bottom of the pile. Internet censorship is common, Facebook has closed down many accounts (Electronic Intifada). Microsoft is censoring MSN Messenger conversations.

Human knowledge is now intellectual property, owned by powerful corporation. You have to pay for knowledge, you have to pay for the wisdom of the ages (you don’t have to pay for indoctrination — indoctrination still is for free).

Google is not your friend, but Facebook is not your friend either. Like Goggle it is advertising and surveillance. Facebook knows everything about you. Facebook is a time waster.

It doesn’t matter if one uses Google, Facebook, MS services, or Yahoo. Everything is advertising, everything is e-commerce, every mouse click is monitored and analyzed to construct a profile of the user.

Do you like to support weapons production? Hewlett Packard, Dell, Samsung are all deep involved in weapons production and are main suppliers of the military.

Do you like your iPhone, iPad, iPod, Mac computer? As a user of Apple products you are participating in the exploitation of Chinese migrant workers by Foxconn (a Taiwanese company) and you contribute to the contamination of Chinas biosphere. Beside that, Apple represents the ultimate celebration of consumer culture.

How many electronic gadgets do we need to achieve happiness? How many twitter messaged do we have to read to discover the essence of human nature? How many hours do we have to spend on the computer to understand the wisdom of the elders and to solve the riddle of life?

Technology is a drug to keep the population quiet, it has partly replaced religion. The drug religion is used in regions where technology has not yet permeated everyones everyday life (Islamic fundamentalism in Arab countries).

US-citizens in average spend the astonishing amount of eight hours in front of TV or computer screens. Worldwide 250 billion email are sent every day. One hour of YouTube video clips is uploaded every minute.

A recent Nielsen report shows that children aged 13 to 17 receive and send an average of 3,417 text messages a month. This breaks down to seven texts “every waking hour,” or roughly one every 8 1/2 minutes. Mobile phones in general, and texting in particular, have taken over the minds of  young people, heavy texting has even been linked to a growing problem of sleep deprivation.

These kids will not revolt or question the system.

The ubiquity of texting may accelerate the decline of what our struggling societies would most desperately need: Independent thinking and reasoning.

Bertrand Russell wrote a marvelous essay on this subject, titled “In Praise of Idleness.” Russell’s point is that when we are idle, the brain, if properly trained, is following its own path. Only when we spend time in reflection (in idleness) we are able to think thoughts of our own.

In todays world we are forced to respond instantly rather than reflect and as young people increasingly fill their free hours with texting and other similarly fast-paced, attention-absorbing activities, the opportunities for sustained reflective thought disappear.

As a consequence people are unable to question and critically analyze and dissect the media spin. People are helplessly and mindlessly parroting the officially sanctioned narrative, the public debate is characterized by standardized sound bits. There is no dialectic discussion, there is only the attempt to drown opposing voices by the sheer power of mainstream media propaganda.

In Conway, Arkansas, more than 23,000 computer servers are collecting, collating and analyzing consumer data for the Acxiom Corporation. Acxioms database contains information about 500 million active consumers worldwide, with about 1,500 data points per person. The consumer database includes a majority of adults in the United States.

Recorded Future and Quid are newly established companies mining vast quantities of public data on the Internet as well as classified data to help the Pentagon and security services predict civil unrest, terrorist activity, and political upheavals.

The TrapWire surveillance system uses facial recognition technology and behavior pattern analysis, it is installed in major cities and landmarks across the USA. TrapWire is constantly sending data to a central database where sophisticated computer algorithms check for suspicious activities.

The NSA is building the worlds biggest data center in Bluffdale, Utah. The heavily fortified two billion US$ installation should be up and running in September 2013, it will consist of four 25,000-square-foot halls filled with servers and will have its own power plant to satisfy the 65-megawatt electricity demand.

NSA software already examines every email, instant message, phone call, tweet and the NSA experts are on the verge of breaking all known encryption algorithms.

Governments around the world disperse spyware like Flame, Stuxnet, DuQu, Gauss, CIPAV, Staatstrojaner, DarkComet 3.3, Xtreme RAT, FinFisher to infect computers in enemy countries or computers of dissidents in their own country and gather personal data from the infected machines. Spyware is also used for cell phones, tablets, e-book readers, GPS devices, and any other kind of gadgets who connect to the internet or to satellites.

You don’t mind to be watched and profiled? You use Google or Facebook or Twitter without second thoughts? You don’t mind that every message and every phone call is stored indefinitely?

Maybe one day you will come to the conclusion that you are ripped off, short changed, exploited, and enslaved by unfavorable and deceptive loan contracts. You maybe will come to the conclusion that the politicians are corrupt, the corporate bosses are greedy and ruthless, and the media is lying.

Maybe you will be infuriated and deeply hurt in your pride by the realization that you have been mislead, fooled, tricked, cheated, deceived, lied to. You maybe will be depressed and devastated, asking yourself how you could have been that naive and trusting.

Maybe you one day will realize the full scale of the environmental destruction, which inevitably will make your life more and more miserable, and you will discover that the rulers grab as much as they can as fast as they can, leaving you with nothing.

Maybe you will try to break out, drop out, or to change the system and if that fails you maybe will try to obstruct and sabotage the system.

You will be dealt with swiftly and decisively.

You think there will be a trial, where you can make your case and turn the tables on the rulers to unveil their crimes?

Be assured, there will be no trial. Trials are not needed anymore, all what is needed is a signature written by the supreme monster into the weekly kill-list.

One comment

  1. ffrozenzaino.wordpress.com



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