Links April 2019

April 21, 2019

How shall we use our limited time and energy in this complicated, dangerous, but nevertheless fascinating and beautiful life?

First, we have to enjoy life and make it enjoyable for our fellow beings, a task which unfortunately is not as easy as it sounds, because there are dark clouds on the horizon and the prospects of environmental collapse or nuclear annihilation call for urgent action. 

Books such as David Wallace-Wells’s Uninhabitable Earth paint a picture so frightening that to some it already feels like “game over.” Bill McKibben’s latest book Falter envisions the stop of oxygen production by phyto-plankton, which would make us all suffocate.

A strange new phenomenon is emerging: While mainstream mass media ignores the warnings of experts and the scientific evidence, increasing numbers of people are resonating with those who say it’s now already too late to save civilization. People have switched from denial of the mortal danger straight to accepting it as inescapable, thereby avoiding an uncomfortable discussion about collective lifestyle changes which would be needed to heal nature and achieve peace.

The concept of “Deep Adaptation” is beginning to gain currency, with its proponent Jem Bendell arguing that “we face inevitable near-term societal collapse,” and therefore need to prepare for “civil unrest, lawlessness and a breakdown in normal life.”

So, is becoming an Organic Prepper the only option left? Or what else could one do?

Writing flaming appeals for civil disobedience in protest of government inactivity, while the environmental catastrophes of ecosystem collapse, mass extinction, climate change, and chemical contamination are unfolding and tipping points (points of no return) are approached or maybe have been already surpassed?

Joining protests, getting arrested, and spending a few days in holding cells as an environmental hero?

Joining a deep green guerrilla and sabotage industry, industrial agriculture, and consumer society installations? (Spending a few years in prison or getting shot dead is an occupational risk one has to consider).

Trying to keep a small eco-enclave alive by weeding, planting, irrigating in one’s own natural garden?

If I would sit in a cell or serve a longtime sentence or work hour after hour on the computer, the weeds would overgrow the herbs, strawberries, and young berry bushes, the ideal time for planting would pass, and the plants would dry and die because at the moment there is no rain, at the moment we have a severe drought.

The cat family would miss me.

I don’t want or need to be a hero.

I will not be an environmental hero, and when the children one day ask me, what I did against the looming catastrophe, I will have to say: “I planted herbs, bushes, and trees, I dug little ponds for the frogs and toads, and I spent most of my time watering and weeding to keep the little environmental enclave which I created alive. 

The frogs have spawned already and cute little tadpoles are frolicking in the ponds. What would they do without my efforts? There are no other ponds nearby and the nearest creek is one kilometer away.

In Syria it rained a lot in the last time, which is good for agriculture. 

The drought fortunately has ended, but floods submerged many refugee camps in northern Syria and made life of the refugees even more burdensome and perilous.

The US war against Syria goes on unabated. As mentioned in this blog several times, the empire never retreats or compromises, and after the regime change plans didn’t work out, the nation has to be at least wrecked economically.

The SDF, a 60,000-strong, mainly Kurdish US-proxy army, controls about one-third of the country, containing more than 90 percent of Syria’s remaining oil reserves and a significant portion of its viable agricultural land. Washington has no intention of giving this territory back to any government not under its sway. Is that what Apo (Abdullah Oczalan) envisioned? 

Denying Damascus access to the country’s oil and arable land ties in with Western sanctions that have ravaged Syria’s economy for the past 15 years, starting long before the 2011 Islamist uprising. By strangling the economy, the USA is hurting not only Syria, “but its backers in Moscow and Tehran, who are stuck propping up an expensive, economically moribund partner.”

In Aleppo 11 Syrians, including 6 civilians and 2 children, died when terrorists blew up a police car. 10 members of the Al-Quds Brigade died in an ambush by IS in the DeirEz-Zor desert and IS remnants attacked Syrian patrols in the Homs desert, causing severe casualties.

The SDF has brought reinforcements towards Syrian Army’s lines near Albu Kamal and Al-Mayadeen. An attempt to expel the SAA from the area would mean war between the Kurds and the government, making any reconciliation impossible.

Israel airstrike from Lebanese airspace in Masyaf area targeted the Syrian Ministry of Defense’s Faculty of Administrative Affairs. The facility is a school for armed forces officers in logistical fields. Israel conducted past airstrikes on Syria Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) facilities for missile development and chemicals weapons in the Masyaf area in September 2017 and June 2018.

Masyaf is an important city because it is considered headquarters of the Tiger Forces and several other military units. At least one S-300 system has been installed nearby. There are two explanations why the SAA was not able to shoot down Israeli fighter jets: Either the S300 missiles delivered to Syria by Russia are not completely handed over to the Syrian Air Defense by the Russian suppliers, or the 4 decades old S-300 are incapable of spotting and shooting down the Israeli US-made fighter jets.

US sanctions against Iraq’s IRGC have a direct effect in Syria: The government put several deals with IRGC on hold, the most important ones are the Latakia port lease and the T3 pumping station deal. Egypt still prevents oil shipments to Syria Via the Suez Canal.

And yet, despite all bad news, Caitlin Johnstone writes:

I remain optimistic because what the hell else am I going to do? The alternative is to roll over and stop fighting against the depraved sociopaths who are poisoning our world, and fuck that. Optimism and pessimism are choices that you make of your own volition; one means staying in the fight, the other means tapping out and preparing for death. For me it’s a no-brainer.

The other half of optimism is having enough basic humility to understand that there are things you don’t know. It’s easy to look at a bunch of data and trends and conclude that it’s all hopeless, but that’s actually a very arrogant and dishonest thing to do. By saying you know it’s hopeless, you’re pretending to know everything about humankind and its limitations, to know that we’ve got no surprises left. Nobody who’s explored their own inner world with a good amount of sincere effort would ever do that, because looking within reveals that there are vast universes within us which are almost entirely unexplored. There’s no way to know that humanity doesn’t have any surprises lurking in those huge dark caverns, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that it does.

Feline news:

https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2019-04-02/usda-ends-program-that-led-to-deaths-of-thousands-of-cats I’m speechless.
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47721807 Kill them all, because killing living things is our true passion. “Feral cats can kill wildlife,” but humans can kill even more wildlife. Why are scientists not calling for a widespread cull of humans instead of feral cats? This not only would save most endangered species but solve a lot of other environmental problems too.

Environmental news:

A dead whale was found in the Philippines with 88 pounds of plastic bags and other disposable plastic products in its stomach.

A report from the International Energy Agency established that not only are carbon dioxide emissions still increasing, but that the world’s growing thirst for energy has led to higher emissions from coal-fired power plants than ever before.

Energy demand across the globe grew by 2.3 percent over the past year. To meet that demand, largely fueled by a booming economy and growing heating and cooling needs in some regions, countries turned to an array of sources, including renewables.

But nothing filled the void quite like fossil fuels, which met nearly 70 percent of the skyrocketing electricity demand.

The 2018 assessment of global land degradation by IPBES (the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services), tasked with assessing the state of the natural world, says salt it is one of the major factors reducing plant growth and productivity worldwide, affecting around 20 percent of the world’s 300 million hectares of irrigated farmland, increasing poverty and undermining biodiversity.


Economic news:

China has made itself indispensable to Western consumer societies by manufacturing cheap appliances and gadgets, most of it short life crap or overpriced bling (iPhone), which people in materialist societies of the so called “developed world” love to buy and throw away at an ever increasing pace.

It is a pact with the devil, which has made China not only an economic superpower but also one of the most polluted countries. 

China’s economic success depended on globalization, meaning increased trade, specialization, mass production, and a worldwide finance system. Globalization has certainly increased profits for shareholders (rentiers), it also increased inequality, debt slavery, privatization of public goods, and the commoditization of drinking water or other bare necessities of life.

Globalization went hand in hand with neoliberalism, which brought the disintegration of social bonds and a form of social Darwinism in which misfortune is equated to weakness and where a “war of all against all” replaces any vestiges of shared responsibility and compassion for others.


Media and technology news:

We live in the era of post-truth.

WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange has been arrested and faces extradition to the USA. Both Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning are in jail now. They revealed US warcrimes and are seen as heroes by the remaining resistance movement, but that doesn’t help them.

The warning is explicit towards journalists. What happened to Assange can happen to anybody reporting, investigating, editing, and publishing in print, TV, radio, and internet.

It is not the first time, whistleblowers and journalists have been put on notice. 

In 1983, a Foreign Office clerk, Sarah Tisdall, leaked British Government documents showing when American cruise nuclear weapons would arrive in Europe. The Guardian published the documents but revealed Tisdall, who was prosecuted and served six months.

Mordechai Vanunu, who revealed Israel’s nuclear program, spent seventeen and a half years in prison, the first eleven of these in solitary confinement. At present, he is appealing a further six-month prison sentence imposed by an Israeli court for having spoken to foreigners and foreign press.

Anat Kamm revealed, that the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) had been engaging in extrajudicial killings. She was convicted of espionage and sentenced to four and a half years in prison, but released after 26 months in January 2014.

John Kiriakou disclosed that the CIA tortured detainees (waterboarding). He was sentenced to 30 month imprisonment.

Edward Snowden released classified material on top-secret NSA programs including the PRISM surveillance program. He was granted asylum in Russia. 

CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, who revealed “Operation Merlin”, was convicted of espionage and sentenced to three and a half years in prison.

NSA Whistleblower Thomas Drake was only sentenced to a year of probation, after more serious charges had been dropped, but he said to have been “personally and professionally shattered” by the vindictive and malicious prosecution.

A decade ago, the British Ministry of Defense produced a secret document which described the “principal threats” to public order as threefold: Terrorists, Russian spies, and investigative journalists. 

No one is above the law, told Theresa May in regard to Assange. No one is above the law, except the imperial masters of course, who are the law and who make it and break it as they please. They decided that the exposure of US warcrimes is itself a crime. Not a crime against humanity, but a crime against the empire. And they sent out their henchmen to uphold the imperial law and get Assange.

Everything else argued here is a distraction and irrelevant.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague got the message and abandoned an Afghanistan War Crimes Inquiry, after the USA revoked the visa of the court’s chief prosecutor, Ms. Fatou Bensouda. 

Ms. Bensouda’s inquiry would have examined alleged abuses by the CIA and US military personnel at secret detention centers in Afghanistan, Poland, Lithuania, and Romania (black sites). She argued, relying on studies conducted by the Pentagon and Congress (Senate Torture Report), that there was “a reasonable basis to believe that, since May 2003, members of the US armed forces and the CIA committed the war crimes of torture and cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, rape, and other forms of sexual violence pursuant to a policy approved by the US authorities.”

A new restrictive EU copyright law.
There should be no copyright at all, because if something new and useful is created or discovered in culture, technology, science, it should be available to anybody without restriction and the creator or researcher should be rewarded by donations, a privileged status, increased merit, and support for further projects.
This would be of course only be possible in an egalitarian society without rentiers and class distinctions, in a society where profit making and wealth accumulation would not be the superior goal.
Who would be hurt by an abolishment of copyright?
Big tech companies, Big Pharma, the media and music industry, a few famous and rich artists.
https://truthout.org/articles/surveillance-capitalism-is-destroying-our-freedom-and-our-intimacy/ The surveillance and the targeted advertising will stop, when the buying and consuming stops. It’s in our hands, they cannot force us to buy things. They cannot prevent us to mend old equipment, to recycle, repurpose, upcycle things, to swap and barter.
http://johnhelmer.net/cia-deputy-director-lies-to-the-president-of-the-united-states-showing-him-fake-photographs-alleged-to-be-from-the-british-government-of-ducks-and-children-poisoned-by-a-russian-spy-operation-in-sali/ Good old propaganda.

Imperial news:

https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article228704849.html The environmental costs of nuclear weapons production are usually not covered by mainstream media. Whatever authorities and politicians want to make us believe, it’s not smooth going.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176553/ How the empire will defeat itself, starting with education.

Imperial conquest news:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/03/28/vene-m28.html Tensions rise on the eve of WW III.
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/04/01/cnn-and-wapo-demand-that-trump-further-escalate-tensions-with-russia/ Get used to the idea, that we all have to die one day, so it might be as well collectively in a nuclear apocalypse. We (as a species) surely deserve to be annihilated, the sad thing is, that we will take so many innocent creatures with us who really would have liked to enjoy their lives a little bit longer.

Armageddon news:


Uncategorized news:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/03/22/drug-m22.html Big Pharma kills.
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/04/19/life-a19.html Falling life expectancy not only in the USA, but also in Britain. This will probably become a worldwide trend.

News from cat land:

Princess Min Ki has astonished me again with a completely unexpected ability. She is an ordinary European shorthair with a black mask. She is also not very big, just normal sized. Despite a deep scar on her nose, which she acquired in her early youth, she looks pretty.

14 years ago I lived in an old farmhouse surrounded by meadows, fields, and some fruit trees.  The nearest neighbor was a farm some 100 meters away. This was the place were Princess Min Ki grew up. The cats at such farms are practically feral cat colonies, the farmers need them to keep the rodent population down, but they don’t feed the cats or provide any veterinarian care.

Min Ki was not born on this farm, the farmer fetched her together with a bunch of other kittens from a friend after the whole cat population on the farm was wiped out by an epidemic.

There were always straying tomcats in this area and Min Ki soon became pregnant, but after raising her babies she decided that farm life was not for her and joined my cat family. She was not welcomed (no newcomer ever was welcomed), but proceeded very carefully to gradually gain thrust and acceptance. I can remember when she first followed us (the cats and me) at our daily walks across the fields trailing some 20 meters behind. This distance became smaller every day and after one week she suddenly was inside the group and nobody objected anymore. 

Min Ki is a princess because after she got sterilized she certainly is not a queen anymore. Raising kittens, having heat cycles, and the whole reproduction business in general is a cumbersome affair, I never had the impression that she resented the decision to get her spayed.

It was only one year later, when after the untimely death of Harry, the undisputed patriarch of the cat family, she outsmarted Aunt Rosy’s brother Paul, who had hoped to take over the reign, to become the new leader of the family. Paul never forgave her and when we moved into a new house he stayed behind. He had long since found another family and only occasionally had visited to eat a bit and join the walks across the meadows and fields which we then still made.

Princess Min Ki is a proud cat. She is friendly but not submissive. When she comes to me, she demands undivided attention, a few strokes or hugs and some friendly words alone won’t cut it. She wants to be respected and treated as equal. I composed a little verse for the Princess which I think has been already published here, but it doesn’t hurt if I repeat it:

Princess Min Ki,
Leader of the family
Be my sweetheart
Be my lovely little darling
Stay with me.

Princess Min Ki was the undisputed leader of the family for eight years, but when Gandhi Jr. and Lady Linda grew up and became massive cats with nearly 6 kilogram weight, she resigned quietly and informally. Competing with this heavy weight contenders seemed to be too great a risk. It would not have been necessary to resign. Gandhi Jr. has no ambition to become a leader, he just wants to live an easy life. Linda is occasionally bullying the other cats, but she faces the closed phalanx of all family members. Maybe if Linda over time becomes friendlier, more diplomatic, and more accommodating, she will be accepted as a kind of spokesperson or representative but there will never be a leader again, the cat family has irreversibly transitioned to a democratic shared leadership. 

A few years ago Princess Min Ki sneaked into the garage while I was unloading the car and got trapped when I closed the door, unaware of her presence. The windows were also closed and the only escape route left was a narrow ventilation shaft near the ceiling. Princess Min Ki could reach it by jumping onto a wall mounted shelf and from there to a higher one and a third one which then was high enough that she could reach the ventilation shaft and squeeze herself in. 

There was only one barrier left to overcome, a metal blind which covered the shaft to keep rodents out. The blind was held in place by four robust snap-in brackets but the Princess somehow managed it to loosen the bracket, push the blind out, and crawl through the shaft into freedom. The blind fell into one of the rainwater barrels positioned at this side of the house and that was also the reason I became aware of the incident as I was searching for the missing blind.  

Two days ago Princess slipped into the toilet and became trapped there when I went out. The house has two toilet rooms and I mainly use the other one. When I opened the toilet door in the evening I found the Princess and I also found that she had used the toilet exactly as it is intended to be used, defecating and urinating into the toilet bowl just like a human would do it. This is not easy for a cat because she has to keep balance on the toilet seat.

I have heard before that potty training cats is possible and there are special cat toilet seats available, but I didn’t bother because all cats go into the forest where they dig a little hole and cover it then properly.

Princess Min Ki is now 14 years old but in very good health. I hope that we will spend many more years together and I’m sure that there will be more occurrences where she shows how clever she is.


  1. She’s a very beautiful cat!


  2. <3<3<3


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