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New Years notions and rants

January 4, 2017

About refugees, migrants, intruders, conquerors

1. Throughout history humans have migrated from high population areas to less populated regions. This is similar to the flow of energy, which according to the second law of thermodynamics always goes from high to low level zones till an equilibrium is reached.

Throughout history patriarchal societies, which mostly also were warrior societies, have aggressively, irresponsibly exhausted natures resources and were forced, after ruining their own lands, to conquer new territory, often destroying peaceful, harmonious societies which were not used to wage war and therefore were an easy pray.

This is the reason todays dominating social and economic system is capitalism, based on competition, social Darwinism (survival of the fittest) wealth accumulation, and expansion.

2. The wealth of Western countries comes from the exploitation of colonies. The colonies gained independence but the exploitation continues via trade agreements (WTO, NAFTA, TTP, TTIP, CETA, TISA) the Brenton Woods system (IMF, World Bank), the global financial system (Wall Street, London city) and a corrupt “comprador class,” installed by Western spurred coups, uprisings (color revolutions), or by the cooption of in Europe or USA educated (and indoctrinated) national leaders. 

Western affluence and lavishness is the envy of the world’s have-nots who try to catch a bigger part of the cake in one way or the other. The countries of the “Third World” insist that the “developed nations” have the moral obligation to help them and share the resources of this planet.

3. Human overpopulation destroys nature. Societies with high fertility rates (especially Muslim and tribal societies) exhaust the natural resources and destroy their land by over-grazing, poaching, clear cutting forests for charcoal, soil erosion, sinking water tables. Resulting deforestation, desertification, water shortages destroy the agricultural base, leading to widespread famine and driving people to less densely populated regions, where they will add to the pressure on nature alone by their shier numbers.

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The choice is: Let migrants freely move to countries where nature’s carrying capacity is not yet reached and take the risk that nature will be destroyed there as well? Or close the borders and let people in troubled countries slowly starve to death?

3. Climate change will exacerbate the problem, because large areas of the globe will become uninhabitable (Arab Peninsula with Yemen and the Gulf monarchies, Gaza Stripe, the expanding deserts in Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Sahel zone with Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea). Rising sea levels will force coastal populations to move inlands (Bangladesh),  island nations will have to be evacuated.

Where shall all these people go?

4. Many of the migrants are traumatized by grinding poverty and war. They would need psychological counseling and treatment of their psychoses and traumas, but there are not thousands of psychologists available. Some of the migrants are psychopaths or criminals, full of resentment and hate against Westerners, whom they (rightly) blame for their misery. Many Muslim migrant are on Hijrah, which is jihad by migration. They don’t intend to integrate and assimilate, they want to carve out enclaves and expand them gradually, like it is already happening in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Britain.

The majority of migrants are male, leading to gender imbalances and social tensions, because uneducated and penniless male migrants, having no chance to find a mate, will manifest their sexual frustration in violent and criminal behavior.

These people cannot be employed, they are unfit for any job because of the language barrier and lack of education. They also cannot be sent back, their home countries will not take them (migrants routinely destroy their personal papers). Paying a monthly allowance to appease them will not go well with the local natives in a time of austerity und social welfare cuts.

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Put them into concentration camps? The Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos has been burned down already once, while migrants also looted shops and vandalized restaurants. In Crete Muslim migrants tried to set a church on fire.

More than one million migrants made it to Europe in 2016, while 5,000 are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. But this is only the start of the flood, as wars continue and ecological disasters intensify. In future it will be tens of millions a year, while tens of thousands will drown.

Ignorance rules the world

It is astonishing, nearly unbelievable, how highly educated and experienced people, meaning the technocrats and political leaders who are in charge of the worlds economies and the global financial system, cannot grasp the simple idea that unlimited growth of industrial activity is not possible on a planet with limited land and limited resources.

One would think, that the notion of limited land and resources is easy to understand with just a minimum of common sense, because on a globe even the most powerful and aggressive nation cannot expand endlessly and after circling the globe one day will inevitably end at the borders on the back side of its own empire.

The conquests and exploitations could only go on endlessly without ever reaching a natural limit if the earth would have a plain surface and extend endlessly in all directions — this is obviously the concept which todays leaders, technocrats, and economists are embracing.

world-is-flat

In early Egyptian and Mesopotamian thought the world was portrayed as a flat disk floating in the ocean. This belief was also shared by pre-Socratic philosophers (Thales, Leucippus, Democritus) and by ancient Chinese and Indian astronomers and philosophers. Perceiving the world as a disk though also implies that there are limits.

Even the International Flat Earth Society, founded in 1956 by Samuel Shenton, doesn’t claim that their flat earth has no boundaries.

Thomas L. Friedman wrote a bestselling book: The World Is Flat, but he meant it a little bit different. According to him, globalization and free trade have created a level playing field, where all competitors have an equal opportunity. Friedman praises the complex global supply chains which he regards (maybe even rightfully) as a way of conflict prevention. He ignores the environmental costs of transport and packaging and the fact, that powerful multinational corporations try to destroy local producers with predatory pricing in order to conquer a market.

He ignores the fact, that local leaders are bribed to help the neocolonial powers with the exploitation of resources and the use of cheap labor in new built industries. This is the true purpose of free trade. Not creating equal opportunities but facilitating the exploitation of resources and people.

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While the real economy is slowly grinding to a halt, the stock and bond markets are still growing nicely. Fortunes are made and wealth accumulation continues unabated, fueled by negative interest rates of the central banks to privileged clients (big banks) and by debt. US debt is 18 trillion US$ (or is it already 19 trillion?).

US G-SIBs (global systemically important banks) have more than 2 trillion US$ in total exposures to Europe. Roughly half of those exposures are off-balance-sheet. US G-SIBs have sold more than 800 billion US$ notional in credit derivatives to EU entities.

The 8 billion Euro which will be needed to save the troubled Italian Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena are peanuts compared to that, but the money will nevertheless have to be squeezed from the taxpayers via increased austerity and additional welfare cuts.

Austerity is not a bad idea, because it means less industrial activity, and less industrial activity means less environmental devastation. Yet, the austerity measures are one sided, targeting (and hurting) only common people, while the big corporations and the billionaires are spared and even get tax exemptions and state subsidies in order to “stimulate growth.”

The industrial revolution, which brought coal mining and the steam engine, devastated large areas in Britain and later around the world, but it was nothing to what is happening now. In the 1950s industrial production started to increase exponentially and has now reached a level which the ecosphere simply cannot absorb. Some scientists call this “the great acceleration.”

Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year, and two-thirds are for packaging, which means that most will end up in landfills or in the oceans.

smoke-stacks-orange

Mercury emissions are estimated to be 8,000 tons a year, cadmium, lead, arsenic, are maybe even higher. Nobody knows how much it really is, but the amounts are unimaginable in any case. These substances, together with POPs (persistent organic pollutants like DDT), endocrine disruptors (phthalates, bisphenol-A), asbestos, dioxins / furans, and countless other synthesized or by human activity disbursed toxins are contaminating soil, water, food, and the contamination is steadily increasing.

Some readers may object, that air pollution has eased and waterways were cleaned up in the last years. That has happened indeed in rich countries because industrial production has been outsourced to China, India, Mexico, and other Asian and Latin American countries.

Some readers may object, that technological progress will solve pollution problems and renewable energies like wind and solar will us help to turn away from fossil fuels.

Until now the world-saving technological breakthroughs have not happened and because of dwindling and harder to access mineral deposits the real costs of resource extraction eat up more and more of the world’s total economic output. All the alternative energy installations, especially of bio-fuels and photovoltaic solar systems, are only possible because of still comparatively cheap fossil fuels. The energy return of such power generating systems is not much better than that of traditional systems and meager compared to any form of conservation.

global-map-of-billionaires

click on the picture to see it in high resolution

So, while negative interest rates, debt, and state subsidies at the cost of common people will keep the financial markets from reflecting the actual, increasingly dismal state of the economy, the hard fact that curbing human activity to a sustainable level and leaving carbon and other resources in the ground means giving up our habitual lifestyle (which depends on digging it up and burning or disseminating it) is not something that more than a few people (the tree-huggers) are willing to face.

The increasingly complex and opaque financial sector allows to siphon off profits, rent income, interest, dividends, and stash away gigantic sums of money in tax havens. This money can be used to destabilize countries through currency speculation (George Soros), to blackmail, sanction, topple uncooperative governments (Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil), to take over companies in surprising attacks (hostile takeovers).

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The superrich, the billionaires who control this money control the world. No conspiracy theories about “New World Order,” about Freemasons, Illuminati, Rothschild, Bilderberg (though they may be involved) are needed. The illustrious circle of billionaires is the world government, and the billionaires club who will govern the USA after Trump’s inauguration is only a sign that ruling via straw-men is deemed as too hazardous in these times and the superrich have decided to lead the government directly.

While the rising spiral of crises facing industrial civilization can still be managed with an array of clever accounting tricks, the unworried pursue of growth will one day inevitably end in a sudden total economic or ecological collapse.

Nobody can say when this will occur, but he election of Donald Trump as US President could hasten the collapse which would be positive because the sooner the party ends the lesser the hangover will be.

About humanities war on nature

Nearly every day I make a walk with my feline friends in the forest which starts across the garden fence. The forest is not much used, every now and then the owner, who is a nice man whom I know well, cuts a few trees to be sold to a sawmill, but this is for sure less than what is growing new.

The forest is also not frequented by neighbors or tourists. The people in the village, as it seems, preferably spend their time in front of the TV, and the region is not a tourist hotspot.

So the forest is left alone, and over the years it has become a miraculous, secret wonderland with areas which nobody enters except me, my feline friends, deer, hares, and other animals of the forest. I have found plants there which I have not seen in any other place. Fortunately there are also no hunters in this forest, because it lies just in between the territories of two hunting groups who prefer not to interfere with each other.

The forest is protecting its secret places with a wall of thorny shrubs, mainly wild blackberries, hawthorn, and buckthorn. Not even the forest owner and occasionally hired lumberjacks try to penetrate this barrier, and yet, the cats and I have found a few narrow gaps in the fortifications where one can slip through. This is risky and one has to be careful not to get entangled and trapped in the maze of thorny branches —  I always have a small branch cutter in my pocket just in case.

Gandhi Min Ki Mia forrest DSCN0752

Under the thick canopy of young pine trees one can find shallow pits where the deer huddle together in winter. Once I found a well preserved skeleton of a deer and since then I know that this is the place, where old and sick deer in an icy cold winter night end their life. If they would have a proper shelter they could survive and enjoy another spring and summer, but the luxury of shelter is reserved for humans, our favorite pets, and some domesticated animals.

The forest, which I love so dearly, is despite its isolation and purity a documentation of the worrisome changes in nature. Strange invasive varieties of grass and shrubs have in most clearings overgrown and partly suffocated the original vegetation. Wildlife is diminishing year by year, bats and owls are nearly extinct, while lizards, frogs, toads, and hedgehogs have become rare (bats have suffered an estimated mortality rate of as high as 99 percent, driven by a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome).

My private observations are confirmed by international research projects and reports according to which half of global wildlife has been lost in the last 40 years. There are no refuges left for wild animals, no places where they can live undisturbed, humans have occupied every little spot of the land.

City dwellers are not aware of these changes, because in urban areas nature has been mostly eliminated. The few scattered trees and alleys, the manicured parks and lawns don’t count as nature, they are not constituting a self-sustaining ecosystem, they are not a suitable habitat for animal communities.

rabbit-crossing

Since thousands of years human have claimed more and more land on this planet, have paved roads and lots with asphalt and concrete, clearcut forests, devastated wide areas with mining and fossil fuel extraction. The remnants of nature have become landfills and waste deposits, the lakes and rivers have become sewers. The rivers are not blue anymore, they are grey or brown, with foam floating on the surface. Who in her / his right mind would take a bath in this water or jump in and swim to the opposite river bank?

Yet, this will not go on forever, because nature will defend itself and show humans, that they are not the “masters of creation,” and that they have to integrate themselves harmoniously into nature if they want to survive. It will be an arduous and painful learning process which will end either in a more humble and restrained human society or, if we are not able to adapt and change ways, in our destruction.  

The fascinating world of weapons and explosives

Traditionally I’m spending Dezember 31 with the cat family because on this day they need me more than on any other day. At New Year’s Eve I always have to comfort them and calm them down, as they are terrified by the bangs, blasts, bursts, and thuds of the fireworks.

It was the same this year and the cats all gathered in my bedroom, hiding either under the bed or under the blanket. I was sitting beside them, stroking them and telling them that the stupid people who explode the fireworks are far away and will never come into the house because I have locked the door. I told them that I will defend them with the biggest kitchen knife I can find in case an intruder should try to break in and that I will call 911 and the police will be there in no time to arrest the thugs who try to harm us.

Police patrols are indeed driving around on New Year’s Eve because fireworks are forbidden in residential areas and authorities are cracking down on offenders. Hardline fireworks-terrorists are forced to do their noisy business at the outskirts of the village — that’s where I live.

Why do people spend their money on rockets, firecrackers, and other pyrotechnic devices? It is such a waste of resources. If people like the sound of explosions, if they like to blow things up, they should enlist in the army or go to Syria instead of bothering innocent little cats.

homs destruction 2013 39

Through six years of merciless war waged by criminals and religious psychopaths Syrians have get accustomed to the sound of gunfire and explosions. The extensive fireworks and celebratory gunfire in Latakia, Damascus, Aleppo seem to proof that they even love the noise of war and the bright flashes when things blow up, and that they don’t mind the waste of precious resources.

One effect of the war nobody seems to worry about is, that most Syrians in military age will suffer from hearing loss or even complete deafness. People will have to shout with each other, the deaf and hearing impaired will be socially isolated, prone to accidents, limited on the workplace. Educating and training them will be difficult.

This is a large-scale social experiment with a very uncertain outcome.

Russia, Turkey, Iran brokered a ceasefire and things have quiet down for a few days. Fighting goes on, though on a lower level. Islamic terrorists, unhappy with such a development, which would drive them out of business, contaminated water wells for Damascus with diesel. Four million inhabitants of Damascus face severe water shortages. 

This is a war crime and as it happens with all the other warcrimes committed by the so called “moderate rebels,” Western media tries to deflect the blame from the Islamists and reports that the Syrian regime barrel-bombed the wells which the heroic rebels tried to defend from harm.

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I cannot wish them to “burn in hell,” because I’m not religious, but I would celebrate if Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Spiegel, and all the other outlets of the “Ministry of Truth” would go bankrupt. And if the columnists, editors, opinion writers would get sick from their own poison and die from cancer I would not mind, I would not pity them.

nyt-fiction-section

I know of course that resentment and loathing only will hurt myself and that I should calm down and shower everyone with universal love, including even the most evil and disgusting New York Times media worker. I will try to improve, try to ignore them, still hoping that the New York Times stuff will be downsized to zero as advertising revenue plummets.

When the big crash happens they will be gone anyway.

I don’t want to end with a negative note and so let me express my gratitude to the subscribers and reader of this blog. The blog was never meant to be more than a pasteboard of my ideas, a message board for my friends, a little road sign for the curious and the accidental passer-by who was seeking advice and direction.

Blogs come and go, and many which I thought made essential contributions have sadly disappeared. I’m still surprised about the more than 130 subscriber of my blog and the between 60 and 100 views per day. Thank you to everyone again who takes the time and pays attention.

In 2017 I intend to write more about nature, the forest, the garden, the cat family, and all my other animal friends. This is more enjoyable and encouraging than writing about political, social, environmental, economic issues. I hope my readers will enjoy it too.

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