Links January 2015

January 3, 2015

Feline news (the most important things first):
http://gawker.com/cat-finds-his-way-home-after-being-accidentally-sold-wi-1676191697 The comments are also entertaining.

Environmental news:

Economic news:
https://gowans.wordpress.com/2014/12/30/how-and-why-the-western-news-media-get-north-koreas-economy-wrong/ A very well argued and well formulated blog post and a “must read.”

One could add as a side note the following issues, rightfully left unaddressed in this article as they would have bloated the text:

While central planning, control, or supervision may be adequate in defense, finance, health care, and education, most other areas could gain by federalization, regionalization, localization.

While public ownership is certainly preferable to corporate ownership, limited private and co-operative ownership may be an incentive and provide flexibility in local economies.

While sanctions may be an initial burden, they also force the targeted country to become self-sufficient and shield it from outside interference and the exploitation by multinational corporations.

If one compares Cuba with other Caribbean nations (Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad) one could come easily come to the conclusion that the 55 year US embargo may have had even a beneficial effect. Cubans are clearly better off than the citizens of Mexico, which despite the most closest economic ties with its northern neighbor USA that one could imagine (NAFTA), approaches the status of a failed state.

And while North Koreans don’t enjoy the luxuries of their southern kin they may be better off than the broad populations of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, and various other Southeast Asian states.

Imperial news:
http://rt.com/news/216675-mh370-shot-down-us/ One of the open secrets that no Western journalist would ever dare to mention.

Imperial conquest news:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/World/WOR-02-231214.html Though a bit too optimistic about the outcome, Pepe Escobar accurately portrays the “Empire of Chaos.”
http://www.workers.org/articles/2014/12/28/haiti-protests-continue-despite-u-n-troops-bullets/ Thousands of people are protesting continuously, though unlike Maidan it is not reported. It is not reported, because this is not an US-controlled “color revolution,” but a popular uprising against exploitation and foreign occupation (disguised as a UN peacekeeping force).

Technology news:

Lindas first winter 20

2015 in my place started with a big bang. Or, to be correct, with many big bangs, with explosions, shots, bright flashes, with buzzing whizzing, droning and various other kinds of terrible sounds which one only would expect in the middle of an intense and protracted bloody battle.

The cats were all gathering in my bedroom under the bed or under the blanket, only Gandhi Jr. was in his favorite hideout, the narrow gap between the top of the kitchen furniture and the ceiling.

The acoustic mayhem lasted from 10 minutes before midnight till 30 minutes after midnight before is slowly subsided. Distant occasional shots and explosions could be heard for another hour.

In the morning I went out, accompanied by my little darling Linda, to look at the scene but there was nothing unusual to see. No burned down houses and collapsed roofs, no bullet riddled walls and flattened fences, no smashed utility poles, no smoldering wrecks of tanks and armed personal carriers. There were no craters from bombs or mortars and the little road which passes by was not littered with empty shells and shrapnel splinters. I also couldn’t find any cluster boomlets or other unexploded ordnance in the forest. 

In light of this evidence I have come to the conclusion that the horrifying noise was not the sound of military combat but the noise from countless fireworks rockets which some neighbors launched in an effort to enact what they deem to be an appropriate celebration of the New Year.

We had the noise of New Year fireworks before but it was never that bad. It could be that a reminder by the mayor that fireworks are not allowed in residential areas and offenders may face fines prompted some local hoodlums to drive their cars packed to the roof with fireworks rockets to this remote area at the outskirts of the village where normally no police is ever seen.

Scanning the news it seems that other places around the globe have seen greatly diminished New Year’s carnage. In Shanghai 36 people, mainly women (of course, they are the weaker ones), were trampled to death, when the crowd got agitated by fake banknotes, thrown out from the windows of a bar in the third floor of a building.

In the Philippines, which has a rich tradition of fireworks celebrations, casualty rates have significantly dropped compared to 2014. Only 354 people were injured, only 14 needed amputations of limps, only three died, and only about thousand houses burned down. Big progress!

Lindas first winter 9

I always enjoy the magic silence of the forest, the easiness and calmness of a quiet evening at home, only interrupted by the gentle purring of a cat and infrequent bird calls outside. The cat purring, the bird calls, the crackling of firewood, and the pounding of raindrops on the windowpane are nice, calming, reassuring sounds, but anything louder than that is an annoyance.

I cannot understand, and ask myself: Why do people like the sound of blasts and explosions?

And another not completely unrelated question: Why do people play violent computer games or watch violent movies and TV shows?

And a further not completely unrelated question: Why are people aggressive, violent, belligerent, mean, cruel, evil? Why do people hunt, fight, torture, kill?

Maybe Darwin’s theory of Evolution by Natural Selection can give an answer.

One of the evolutionary drivers, and probably even the most important one, is the process by which biological traits are transferred across generations through sexual reproduction, meaning that individuals which reproduce more successfully make their particular characteristics more prevalent in a given population.

In primitive societies the most brutal and ruthless males, the ones who eliminate as much male competitors as possible to get access to as much females as possible are clearly the most successful reproducers. We are all descendants of Genghis Khan, I read once, which is clearly hyperbole, because according to scientific studies of DNA samples only 0.5 of the world population can be traced back to the Khan clan.

0.5 percent is nevertheless an impressive genetic legacy.

Historians tell us that after Khan’s army defeated a new area, they would not only pillage the area but also would rape all surviving women. Khan, of course, would get the first pick, so who knows how many he impregnated. The success of his hairs is also well documented. One of Khan’s sons is said to have had 40 sons and one of his grandsons had 22 legitimate sons and an unknown number of other children born by the 30 virgins he added to his harem each year. That’s plenty of opportunity for Khan’s Y-chromosome to rampantly spread through the population, leaving a genetic legacy that may still be present in an incredible number of individuals today.

I understand.

The aggressive and angry young men are Genghis Khan’s legacy. They love noise, they love to rev the engines of their motor scooters, motorcycles, and cars, they love to blast the neighborhood with the pounding beats from the subwoofers of their car stereos, they love to wake the people from their sleep when they bawl, holler, and yell while they are staggering home intoxicated in the wee hours of the morning.

They are aggressive, high on testosterone, violent, and yet, in most modern societies their chance of reproductive success is greatly diminished.

Their muscle strength is not needed because machines make most of the hard work. In school they are outsmarted by the girls. If they don’t come from a well connected and wealthy family they will not get a job because employers prefer women, which are more reliable, agreeable, cooperative, and (still) cheaper. In former times women careers where interrupted ore completely stopped by childbirth, but easily available contraception allows women to avoid unwanted pregnancies and many opt to have no children at all.

The aggressive and angry young men feel (rightfully) redundant, unneeded, unwanted, unloved. Their testosterone levels are up to the ceiling, they are at the high of their sexual potency, and yet, women shun them. Which woman in her right mind would start an affair with an unemployed, penniless man? And who in the world could fall in love with a boorish and self-absorbed hapless loser?

The aggressive and angry young men are the guys who smash shop windows, vandalize public property, steal and deal, elect far right parties, and swarm out at New Year’s Eve with a load of fireworks rockets.

It is not their fault, but they are troublemakers nevertheless.

Lindas first winter 23

The aggressive and angry young men were always a welcome tool for the ruling elites, instrumentalized to keep the population in check by intimidation, arbitrary detention, torture, rape, and murder.

This may not hold true anymore for modern Western, Eastern, Northern, or Southern societies, where more sophisticated and subtle methods of suppression are available, but in the areas of Libya and Syria, which more or less moderate Islamic rebels liberated with the help of their Western friends, this is the law of the land for sure.

The problem of unemployable, unneeded young men has been discussed in many circles on many levels and it has also been addressed here in several blog posts.

A small portion of these individuals can be recruited for competitive sports, American Football or Ice Hockey for instance. But that only goes so far because many of the troubled men are overweight and unfit for physically demanding sports.

Another small portion can be recruited as drone operators, where they can discharge their aggression in a (for the weapons industry) meaningful way.

Some nations indict redundant young men at the first chance and sentence them to long prison terms so that they are out of the way for the bigger part of their life.

Wouldn’t it be a solution to send the surplus of aggressive young males to an unpopulated place, maybe to one of the due to climate change fast growing deserts of the Middle East, and let them do there whatever they want to do? In the barren and sparsely populated lands they could act out and follow their instincts unrestrained without doing much damage or bothering anyone except their peers.

In a further move one could declare the men in the deserts to be terrorists and either decimate them with missiles and bombs or press another portion of aggressive young men into military service and send them to the deserts to eliminate the terrorists.

As I developed this plan in my mind I realized, that I’m not the first person who hatched such a plan and that an operation to execute this very scheme is already in full swing. The plan in question is called “Islamic State caliphate.”

My guess is, and I’m not an expert and clearly biased, but one nevertheless has to disprove me first, that the strategists of Mossad, CIA, and MI6 initially developed this plan to increase the pressure on Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad and Iraqi President Nouri al-Maliki, who got too cosy with Iran. As the ISC (Islamic State caliphate) project gained traction they soon realized that it would have beneficial effects far beyond the initial purposes and they pulled all stops and just let things roll along.

Nouri al-Maliki has stepped down, but Bashar al-Assad is still in charge. Al-Assad was ordered already in 2011 and repeatedly after that to step down and make place for an US-appointed or at least US-approved leader, the fact that he stubbornly disobeys repeated orders now already since four years is a blatant breach of international law (US-version) and sets a dangerous precedent.

If Bashar al-Assad succeeds with his defiant stance, other presidents (Vladimir Putin or Nicolas Maduro for instance) could easily come to the conclusion that they can ignore orders from Washington without consequences.

The ISC (Islamic State caliphate) plan is now in a stage where missiles and bombs are used to reduce the surplus of aggressive young men. This makes the weapons producers (the so called “Military Industrial Complex”) happy, which is important because they are the real movers and shakers, the ones who install or dispose political leaders at will and pull the strings from behind the curtains.

When enough military hardware has been used up to bolster the profits of Lockheed Martin, Boing, Northrop Grumann, Raytheon, General Dynamics, United Technologies, and others, the next stage will obviously be to put “boots on the ground,” in other words: to send another group of surplus young man into the desserts, this time clothed in military uniforms and declared to be “heroic defenders of the homeland.”

Yet it depends when or if this stage will be reached and at the moment its everybody’s guess how things will turn out in the end.

Lindas first winter 16

Throughout human history sages, philosophers, scholars, prophets, teachers and preachers addressed the need of living a life of virtue and harmony, a life guided by ideals and noble intentions, a life in pursue of the common good and happiness for all.

Their opinions, conclusions, thoughts, teachings were included in codes of conduct, in ethical and moral frameworks, in law, in state religions. Their words were regurgitated by tribal chiefs, by kings and queens, by moguls, caliphs, sultans, by warlords and emperors, by generals and presidents.

Throughout history all these high-minded sayings were nothing than hollow phrases, nothing than mockery with whom the leaders fooled the population, the inferiors, peons, peasants, servants. Throughout history all the wise words, all the talk about kindness and dignity were nothing than a fig leaf, a cover for the appalling crimes of the rulers.

Human history is indeed a history of crime, and we don’t even know the whole truth because history has always been written by the ruling elites who naturally presented themselves in the best possible light.

Todays stenographers, journalists, publicists, commentators write down for this and the following generations the version of events, that state officials present, which means, they write down and publish the lies of the rulers. The media channels are the megaphone of the ruling class, their mission is not to inform the public, their mission is to mislead, confuse, indoctrinate, and brainwash the public.

And this is easily done because people are busy to make a living and to negotiate their way through a complicated wold, When they come home exhausted from work they just uncritical and unquestioning absorb everything what they are told and shown via TV or computer.

We know today that the Gulf of Tonkin attack, which led to the Vietnam War, never happened, we know that Saddam Hussein didn’t have WMDs (weapons of mass destruction), we know that the reports about mass rapes by Libyan soldiers and the alleged use of aircrafts against peaceful protesters in Tripoli were not true.

And yet, the reports of atrocities by the Syrian government, of chemical weapons attacks and indiscriminate bombings of civilian areas are believed, despite the fact, that most of the reports come from a single person, Rami Abdul-Rahman, affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, who invented a “Syrian Observatory for Human Rights” and acts as the spokesperson for the more or less moderate rebels.

The Muslim Brotherhood has a rich tradition of terror activities, it is outlawed in several countries, it is clearly an involved party, and yet, one of their operatives is allowed to single handedly determine the narrative of the Syrian conflict.

Nothing could illustrate more clearly the ethical conduct of Western journalists!

And nothing could illustrate more clearly the stupidity of Western media consumers as the fact, that they still believe the lies despite being lied to so many times before.

We know that they lied to us before but this time they tell the truth.”

That the first casualties of the Syrian conflict were police officers, who were shot by gunmen who did hide behind the protesters, that the officers had no chance to defend themselves, because policemen in Syria were for years unarmed, that the countless massacres at the start of the conflict were most likely committed by Islamic radicals and not by security forces, that the Ghouta sarin attacks could have well been launched by Islamic fighters (Seymour Hersh argued about this), is never mentioned. Any details which contradict the official narrative are blacked out.

It is astonishing and it would be even admirable if it would not be so disgraceful, how well synchronized and disciplined Western media outlets are.

No report about Syria without the obligatory statement about the bloody dictator Assad who butchers his own people with barrel bombs and starves them to death by preventing humanitarian assistance from Western NGOs to the liberated areas. This works like the jingle machine in a broadcast studio where a limited set of phrases are regularly inserted in the audio stream.

It is propaganda, reeducation, mind control, brainwashing at its best. Western media has achieved, what Edward Bernays and Josepf Goebbels only could have dreamed of. Big Progress again!

The foot soldiers of this media war, the correspondents, journalists, editors know well that they are replaceable, disposable at any time. They may have rent to pay, student loans, or mortgages, they may have a family to support. And yet, they made their career choice being well aware that they would have to be spineless sycophants, boot lickers, lackeys of the plutocrats.

They deserve neither sympathy nor pity.

Lindas first winter 31

The ISC (Islamic State caliphate) plan, clever as it may be, has still serious flaws, and it doesn’t care about (so called) “collateral damage.” The deserts designated for the AAYM (Aggressive and Angry Young Men) are not completely unpopulated, there are Sunni tribes and religious or ethnic minorities like Assyrians, Yazidis, Turkmen, Kurds. All these people are fair game for the AAYM, the men get summarily executed (if they are lucky, because that fate at least spares them being painfully tortured to death), the women and children are raped and used as sex slaves.

While the war criminals which reside in the Oval Office, in Downing Street Nr. 10, In the Elysee Palace, in the Bundeskanzleramt Berlin, in Riyadh and Doha couldn’t care less about civilian casualties, it is disheartening that the Western public is not shocked and deeply irritated by the nearly incomprehensible suffering, the ethnic cleansing, the mass executions.

Is the average Western consumer too stupid to connect the dots or look behind the curtain? Has the steady stream of “war porn” by the main broadcasters numbed viewers? Are empathy, compassion, altruism really that limited?

Are the beheadings, stonings, crucifixions, the mutilated or burned corpses on the TV screen just a welcome distraction, an amusement and entertainment?

Or is the only thing which counts in the end the price of gasoline and diesel for the car?

Lindas first winter 39

Why are the AAYM not educated, counseled, coached, why don’t they get special psychological treatment? Brainwashing works for all kind of evil purposes, it may as well work for nobel purposes too.

Why not utilize their energy for habitat restoration (reforestation), for environmental cleanups, for social services — taking care of the disabled, disenfranchised, ailing?

Environmental and social programs are of course not as profitable as weapons production.

News from cat land

Here it was mild weather till December 26 and then suddenly it became cold and it snowed a lot. We have not had that much snow since three years. Maybe the meteorologists who predict a cold winter are right this time.

I still continue the daily walk with my feline companions in the forest but most of the cats prefer to stay in the house, they are lazy and rather lay around the wood stove.

When I walked in the forest today only two of my cat darlings came with me, Linda, the young cat which I mentioned already, and Princess Min Ki. They were sinking into the deep snow up to their heads and I had to make a furrow for them in the snow by sliding my feet instead of stepping. When we reached the deep forest and walked between the trees it was easier for the cats because the canopy protects the ground and most of the snow is on the branches and has not fallen down.

Linda, Min Ki snow DSCN3464

It is Linda’s first winter and she is completely excited because everything looks different, everything is new for her. Princess Min Ki is more composed, she is a seasoned cat and there’s not much what could astonish and confuse her anymore. In her life she has seen quite a few other young cats grow up and enjoy their first winter, this is not new for her and so she always waits patiently while Linda sniffs around and looks into every corner.

When we came home from the walk, the other cats looked at us with envy. They are all bored sitting at home not knowing what to do the whole day except looking out of the window longingly. There are no mice in the house (fortunately), so what in the world could a cat do? Going out and frolic in the snow would have been a welcome diversion, and yet, they don’t blame themselves for not participating in our forest walk, they rather resent us who took the chance to get a bit fresh air and have some exercise.

I always thought only humans are that unreasonable and immature.

Linda Min Ki forest snow DSCN3431

Linda, Min Ki snow DSCN3454

Linda, Min Ki snow DSCN3452

Lindas first winter 25

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