Links October 2016

October 12, 2016

Feline news:
https://www.rt.com/viral/361719-isis-ban-cats-mosul/ Will the cats be beheaded, burned alive, or buried alive? Burning them alive was popular in Europe from the 15th to 18th century, when elderly women, accused of witchcraft, were burnt alive on the stake together with their beloved cats. Maybe for that reason the Christian tradition of burning cats alive will be deemed as un-Islamic.

Environmental news:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/19/loss-of-planet-reflectivity-an-impending-catastrophe/ Another positive feedback loop to accelerate global warming not everybody would have thought of.
https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/07/tick-bites-that-trigger-severe-meat-allergy-on-rise-around-the-world Will Mother Nature force humans to become vegetarians?
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2016/10/11/flooded-north-carolina-farms-are-likely-littered-with-drowned-livestock/ Floods after hurricane Matthew have killed thousands of pigs and millions of chickens in North Carolina’s meat farms. Bloated corpses and flooded manure pools are becoming a health risk. Nobody cares about what the poor animals, trapped in their tiny cages, went through when the waters were rising over their heads. Nobody took the effort to bring them in safety or release them. They are considered just living meat.

Economic news:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/09/21/un-fears-third-leg-of-the-global-financial-crisis-with-epic-debt/ This article doesn’t, in accordance with most economic discussions and analysis, take into account resource scarcity caused by depletion and contamination, natures destruction, and global warming. When drinking water runs out and crop failures cause famine, even the most sophisticated economic trickery won’t help.
Neoliberal austerity recipes on the back of the poor and powerless are immoral, but they reduce industrial activity and thereby give nature a break. Keynesian “deficit spending” increases industrial activity. The discussion goes in circles and always comes up with the same limited options, while wealth and income redistribution, nationalization, and a paradigm shift in Western consumer societies are not on the table, never considered and never even mentioned.
It is said, that humans only learn from catastrophes, if ever, and so we have to wait. We probably will not have to wait long.
https://euobserver.com/institutional/135227 Institutionalized corruption. EU commission works for Goldman Sachs.
http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-09-30/secret-swiss-gold-vaults-are-the-new-swiss-bank-accounts Tax free?
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/deutsche-bank-global-financial-crisis/ US-German fission?

Media news:

Imperial news:
https://news.vice.com/article/washingtons-governing-elites-think-were-all-morons-a-new-study-says Rise up against the ignorant masses.
http://dgrnewsservice.org/civilization/colonialism/unflattering-cultural-poaching-moana/ Right from the start the expansion of US territory and colonization of new lands had catastrophic consequences for all indigenous people who had the misfortune to live in the targeted areas. The colonization is still going on, it is now called “globalization,” “spreading democracy, upholding Western values,” and R2P (responsibility to protect).

Imperial conquest news:
http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_empire_strikes_back_20161002 Evil has a name.
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2016/827-the-great-libya.html A useful compilation and a reminder of the most shameful war crime of the Western alliance.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/10/05/the-dreadful-chronology-of-gaddafis-murder/ A similar piece one year ago on this blog:


As the Islamic militants in Syria see their fortunes decline, they pin all hopes on a future presidency of Hillary Clinton. A few hundred Tomahawk cruise missiles against Syrian targets, sparing Russian assets, could indeed chance the course of the war in their favor again without evoking World War III.

Yet, as the merciless Saudi bombing campaign against Yemen (epitomized by the recent funeral bombing) shows, blowing people up from the air is not necessarily assuring victory, because the surviving adversaries may flee, hide, recover, wait for their chance of revenge and strike back unexpectedly.

15 years Afghanistan, 13 years Iraq, nearly 6 years Libya and Syria, the list of devastating wars and destroyed societies becomes longer and longer. There is much unfinished business and potential for further mayhem. The kids who grow up in Gaza Strip, West Bank, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, and quite a few other war zones, have been denied a future, many of them will become tomorrows terrorists.

By continuous occupations, invasions, and air campaigns the imperial powers, especially USA and Israel, make sure that the war against terror, not identical but overlapping with the war against imperialism, will go on indefinitely. This is good for the weapons producers and will secure some jobs at home, but the ruthless and immoral actions abroad will morally corrupt and dehumanize US society itself. The harsh rules of war, harsh rules of engagement, shock and awe (rapid dominance), iron fist, full-spectrum superiority, these rules are not only applied in foreign countries, they are applied at home as well, called law and order, zero tolerance, three-strikes law, shoot first – talk later.

There will be no room for compromise, lenience, compassion, and the virtues and emotions of grace, mercy, honesty, understanding, love will become distant myths, only found in romantic music, novels, movies, or in the privacy of the remaining intact families. Competition trumps cooperation, wealth accumulation trumps sharing, private interest trumps common good, only the bottom line counts, success justifies the means, social responsibility is replaced by the responsibility to shareholders.

This is social darwinism (the survival of the fittest), also called cutthroat capitalism.

Is this just the way the world is? Is this human nature indeed? Was sharing and caring never more than a stopgap to survive deadly threats, to overcome critical situations? Can the safety of family, of friendship, of a humane society be outweighed and replaced by the safety of wealth and military power? Are billionaires happier?

These are open questions and the idea that one can tell a lie endlessly, but one cannot live a lie without becoming frustrated, breaking down, getting mad, may be just a comforting self deception of hapless idealistic dreamers. Some of the most notorious fakers, deceivers, cheaters (Murdoch, Soros, Trump, Gates, Bezos, Buffet, etc.) seem to be quite happy and healthy. They are not ashamed of pretense, hypocrisy, double standards, and manage their cognitive dissonances well.

This rant is not about justice or the victory of good against evil, because the vulnerable and least culpable will suffer the most when the empire finally collapses and nobody can predict what comes next after that.

Uncategorized news:


News from cat land

It is raining again and one cannot work in the garden. That is the reason I can finish this post and publish it. All fruits, berries, grapes, herbs are harvested, but there would be still a lot of work to do, mainly weeding, pruning, collecting leaves, transplanting.

September was unusual warm and October will probably be the same (every month is unusual warm now) but I nevertheless have to heat the stove every day. Many fruit trees, berry bushes, and grapevines still bear leaves, it doesn’t look like autumn.

The fennel plants have not yet developed seeds and I will transfer some into the green houses and cut them back, maybe they grow again in spring. There are also hundreds of tiny marigold and camomile sprouts coming out, I wonder if they will die when it gets cold or if there will be still enough life in the seeds to start growing again in spring.

Most of the tadpoles in the garden ponds seem to have grown up, when I cleared out the algae in one of the ponds I only found one tadpole left, big enough to have a fair chance of becoming a proper froglet or toadlet in the remaining weeks of the year.

Yet, hopping out of the garden pond is only the first step into a cruel and unforgiving world where deadly dangers lurk at every corner. Last week I found again a dead toad near the biggest pond. This pond is surrounded by wild blackberries, who cordon it off with their sharp thorns and make it the ideal refuge for amphibians. The poor toad had probably tried to escape a murderous predator and reach the pond, but it was not fast enough. It was a young toad, maybe two years old, for sure one who grew up here and made this place its home.

As I said before, nature is cruel and unforgiving, and the Garden of Eden is a religious myth and probably never existed at anytime anywhere, except maybe on some remote Polynesian islands. I don’t want to start a theological discussion, so please don’t nail me on this.

I took the dead toad with a paper tissue and buried it in one of the compost containers. When I put it into the container I saw the stain of red blood on the paper tissue and thought: toads have red blood just like we have, they are after all our fellow animals.

The murderous predator who took the life of the toad was surely one of my cat friends. Fortunately the cats are not very interested in toads or frogs and this was one of only two dead toads which I discovered in the garden this year. Last year was worse, either the cats have found out that toads don’t taste good, or the resident toads and frogs have become more careful.

The cats are maybe not interested anymore in frogs and toads, but they are still very much interested in mice, voles, and birds. I find mice remains all the time, mostly gallbladders. I also find occasionally littered feathers. I pity the mice but regard it as necessary to curb the rodent population if one wants to harvest anything in the garden. Many readers will agree with this sentiment. I pity also the birds, but the blackbirds and starlings have eaten at least one-third of the grapes and a good part of the blueberries. For that very reason I’m not unhappy when the cats chase away the birds and if they occasionally kill one, I’m sorry to admit, I don’t consider it to be a tragedy. 

Damn me, but I don’t pity the slugs and snails, I even kill them by the hundreds.

As I wrote before, the feeling of empathy is selective, never universal, and different for everyone. 


At the moment most of the cats are in the sitting room laying around the stove, only Gandhi Jr. is resting on my lap. I suspect him to be the killer of the young toad, and though this makes me a bit resentful I try not to let him feel my resentments. He would not understand the reason anyway.

I don’t blame him for not being a herbivore, and in fact I’m glad that he is not, because he probably then would eat the grapes and blueberries which the starlets and blackbirds have left. I also don’t blame my human friends who are not vegetarians. 

I don’t blame my carnivorous friends and the issue of meat eating is only seldom raised in our conversations. If we talk about meat production, the prevalent opinion will be, that these animals (poultry, pigs, cattle) don’t know it differently, that they are cared fore and euthanized humanly.

They have no idea what’s really going on. They should visit a meat farm, visit a slaughter house, though they will probably not even be let in. The meat producers are not interested to get their practices known.

Meat farms are prisons where hapless animals live a short miserable life in tiny cages without any chance to fulfill their natural desires and urges. They are distressed, confused, and sad, they therefore get easily sick and have to be pumped up with antibiotics.

They realize it when they are dragged to the slaughterhouse, they are not that dump. Some will resist, try to break out, will get beaten and wounded or killed on the spot.

The chickens will be beheaded in an automated process which not always works and often leaves the animals badly wounded and in pain. Such animals are just picked from the container belt and thrown to the waste, buried alive among body parts and corpses.

Sorry, I just got carried away. I didn’t want to denounce or condemn my carnivorous friends, I will not frown on them, will not end my contacts with them, I only wanted to defend my cat friend Gandhi Jr.

Life is cruel, nature is cruel. We are a part of nature. Are the “social Darwinists” right? Or could we step above the fray to be at least as social-minded as elephants, dolphins, and bonobos?

gandhi-hall-dscn3685 gandhi-couch-dscn4346-2 gandhi-hiding-bookshelf-dscn4409 gandhi-treestump-dscn3646


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