Links June 2019

June 20, 2019

More hyperlinks, less text this month.

Nobody writes, what I think. Am I really that wrong, trapped in my distorted universe of erroneous assumptions? And if I’m wrong, why are most developments proving me right?

A born skeptic, heretic, dissenter, and nonconformist, my misgivings, suspicions, and doubts were confirmed at every step of my way. Education, conditioning, re-education, indoctrination, brainwashing by family, school, institutions, advertising, and media could not pacify and appease me, good old government propaganda just bored me. It’s all lies, mirage, chimera — that’s my final word.

Of course, being reasonable, not overdoing it, keeping the right balance is difficult.

Sifting through old posts, it seems to me that some of my writings could be misunderstood as patronizing, as smug, presumptuous, and even arrogant. Though I have written again and again that I don’t claim to know the absolute truth and am ready to question even my most hardcore beliefs, in the many instances where I strongly disagree with the experts, pundits, specialists, scientists, and analysts of mainstream media and of government or industry funded think tanks or research institutes, I could occasionally indeed appear as overconfident and overbearing.

Well, these experts, pundits, specialists, scientists, and analysts don’t even get the weather forecast right, not to mention their failure to develop appropriate social, economic, and ecologic remedies for the countless existential problems humanity is facing.

That’s the reason I still dare to present my often divergent and contrasting opinion, based on common sense, life experience, some expertise, and some science. Expertise and science are preferably derived from minority, rogue, and unauthorized sources.

Nobody writes, what I think. Nobody writes for instance:

Stop the machines, switch off the loudspeakers and screens, quit the apps, ground the airplanes, park the trucks, cars, and trains.

Enjoy the silence.

If the silence makes you uncomfortable, because all the unpleasant, disturbing memories that you tried to suppress your whole life come up again and haunt you, go out and find a fried, or simply ask somebody for help.

Maybe you will encounter a person which just like you is haunted by suppressed memories. You could exchange experiences with her or him, talk about your anxieties, resentments, aggressions, and traumas.

Talking and listening alone will ease some tensions and lift some of the burdens which industrialized, computerized, commodified, commercialized consumer society has put onto your shoulders.

Maybe you could make a walk in the forest together, listening to the whispering leaves and the tweedling birds? Maybe you could arrange another meeting, growing mutual trust and respect, getting used to each other, accepting each one’s antics and quirks?

Maybe you could, if the moment is right, look deep into each others eyes, hold hands, hug each other, feel each other?

If you live in the wrong place (in a big city for instance), it could be that you don’t find anybody who is willing to help and share. So many people are screwed up, petrified, are soulless, walking zombies.

Even if you live in the right place, with lush nature, a largely intact social fabric, and a culture of kindness and peace, you have to be on guard and beware of criminal, sociopathic predators. They wait for a chance to jump onto you, rob you, suck you dry.

We live in a dangerous world. Anyway, if you are not able to find a tender-hearted, generous, affectionate soul, you can still visit an animal shelter and take home one of the cats from there. The cat was lonely just like you. Now you have each other. Talk with you feline friend, she will listen and purr. Everything will be fine, life will be easy, and life will be good.

Feline news:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/05/researchers-strapped-video-cameras-16-cats-and-let-them-do-their-thing-here-s-what-they? s

Environmental news:

The weather becomes more and more unpredictable. An estimated 40 percent of India is facing drought and more than 500 million people living in at least 10 states are badly affected. After the wettest 12 months in the USA since records began, fields in the Midwest are flooded or soil is waterlogged, which makes planting crops (mainly corn and soy) very risky.
https://www.ehn.org/monsanto-trial-in-st-louis-on-roundup-2637374300.html Cancer victims sue Bayer/Monsanto because the corporation did hide or downplayed the risks of using the pesticide roundup.
https://truthout.org/articles/exposing-the-dirty-business-behind-the-designer-label/ Buy your cloth at the flea market.
https://features.propublica.org/brazil-carbon-offsets/inconvenient-truth-carbon-credits-dont-work-deforestation-redd-acre-cambodia/ Carbon credits don’t work.
https://www.gizmodo.com.au/2019/05/is-the-world-really-overpopulated/ Gizmodo asked the experts, if there is an overpopulation crises, and the experts said: Of course not, because we have technological fixes, the populations with high birth rates (the brown people) don’t consume that much anyway, and there is enough food.
The experts forgot, that humans need more than food: We need clean, unpolluted air, we need potable water, we need pristine soil and an intact ecosystem to provide food without the thousands of poisons that human activity produces and spreads across the globe.
The experts forgot, that we cannot dupe the second law of thermodynamics. All the promising “green” technologies which should aid us and help us to live carefree without resource scarcity fail in practice, using immense energy and materials to be set up and then causing “unforeseen” problems.
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/28/plastics-toxic-america-chemicals-packaging Grow your own food, or buy it directly from people who grow it.
https://www.apnews.com/e9c5fa42a1244de48e3edea7a1bb14eb PFAS (polyfluoroalykyl substances) are everywhere forever.

Economic news:

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/24/chin-m24.html The economic war between USA and China heats up.

Media and technology news:

God used to know our inner secrets, our deepest fears, darkest thoughts, and greatest hopes. Now Google does.

All of us have become like good Catholics from the Middle Ages, who were regularly going to the Confessional, doing so completely voluntarily and letting the people who ruled their lives know their most intimate secrets.

Today the confessional is a computer or smartphone, and the priest is Google.

The internet was hardwired to be a surveillance tool from the start” (Yasha Levine).

Russian President Vladimir Putin has more than once referred to the Internet as a CIA tool.

The Passion of Julian Assange:

UN Special Rapporteur on torture Nils Melzer: “In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonize and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law. The collective persecution of Julian Assange must end here and now!

In the course of the past nine years, Mr. Assange has been exposed to persistent, progressively severe abuse ranging from systematic judicial persecution and arbitrary confinement in the Ecuadorian embassy, to his oppressive isolation, harassment and surveillance inside the embassy, and from deliberate collective ridicule, insults and humiliation, to open instigation of violence and even repeated calls for his assassination.

Nils Melzer clarified later on:

We also have to take a step back and look at this whole narrative of suspected rapist; narcissist; selfish, ungrateful person; hacker, and scratch the surface and see what’s below there. When I was first approached by his defense team seeking protection from my mandate in December last year, I was reluctant to do so, because, me, too, I had been affected by this prejudice that I had absorbed through all these public narratives spread in the media over the years. And only when I scratched the surface, I saw how little foundation there was to back this up and how much fabrication and manipulation there is in this case.

Maybe we should scratch the surface also in the cases of Milosevic, Castro, Aristide, Chavez, Maduro, Gaddafi, Assad, Putin, and other persons who stand or stood in the way of the empire and were mercilessly defamed and slandered by Western mass media.

Nils Melzer gave interviews to BBC and Sky News, but they were not aired. When it comes to propaganda, lies by omission are even more pernicious than outright lies because they are difficult to confront.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/21/mann-m21.html About Manning and Assange.
https://lobelog.com/newspaper-of-wreckage/ About New York Times’ war propaganda.
https://www.dw.com/en/as-extinctions-loom-biodiversity-warnings-fail-to-resonate-with-governments-media/a-48819307 One royal baby is more important than mass extinction of a million species.

Imperial news:

The richest 10 percent of households now represent 70 percent of all US wealth. The three richest billionaires (Jeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, Bill Gates) own more than the bottom half of US society.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/05/18/floo-m18.html Sea level rise will make many iconic US cities uninhabitable and New Orleans will be one of the first.

Imperial conquest news:

SIPRI estimated that global military spending in 2018 rose to $1,822 billion.

John Bolton hates the governments of Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, calling them the “troika of tyranny” and the “three stooges of socialism.” He is determined to use his time as US National Security Advisor to eliminate the vestiges of socialism in Latin America. He has openly stated that the 1823 Monroe Doctrine is “alive and well,” conveying that the USA will dictate the terms of governance in the Western Hemisphere, by economic pressure or military force if necessary.

Despite the island’s devastation from Hurricane Irma and additional restrictions from the Trump administration in 2017, Cuba had a record number of visitors in 2018–4.75 million, with the US and Canada being the largest contributors. In just the first four months of 2019, over 250,000 US visitors traveled to Cuba, an increase of 93 percent from the same months in 2018.

New US travel restrictions will prohibit group educational trips to Cuba, known as “people-to-people” travel, as well a visits from recreational vessels, private aircraft, and passenger vessels. The will impact an estimated 800,000 cruise passenger bookings, cutting the island out of millions of dollars a year in docking fees and payments for on-shore excursions.

Cuba is struggling to pay imports of basic food and other supplies following a drop in aid from Venezuela. The new travel restrictions will surely hurt.

Caitlin Johnstone writes:

At this point you almost wish America would just pick a target and stick with it. The US war machine is like a belligerent drunk at a pub with a broken bottle in his hand, menacing customer after customer while everyone silently prays he has a few more drinks and passes out on the floor. From Iran to Venezuela to Syria and more, the agenda to bully all the world’s nations into allowing themselves to be absorbed into the blob of the US-centralized empire is causing conflict after conflict all around the globe, with devastating consequences for the civilians caught in the crossfire.

You may be certain that Syria remains a geostrategically crucial location for the empire because they keep working on manufacturing consent for interventionism there. They work to manufacture that consent because they need that consent; if everyone saw their government doing horrific things they widely disapproved of, the illusion of freedom and democracy would be shattered, and they’d lose their ability to propagandize the masses. Without the ability to propagandize the masses, they could not rule.

So the good news is that we can slow them down by using truth to disrupt their use of their narrative control arsenal. The bad news is that they’re as depraved and determined as ever.

http://cluborlov.blogspot.com/2019/05/america-you-are-fired.html Right about gold and shale oil, but otherwise far too optimistic about the possibility to disable the empire peacefully. Sympathetic to nuclear energy.
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/05/21/how-the-wests-war-in-libya-spurred-terrorism-in-14-countries/ And what about the Libyans? How did they fare after the “liberation” from Muammar Gaddafi?
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/03/stat-j03.html The looming war against China.
https://truthout.org/articles/the-us-cult-of-bombing-and-endless-war/ In 2016, the USA dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. In 2017, the USA and allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs onto “IS capital” Raqqa.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/haiti-silent-chaos/5680132 The Western press doesn’t write anything about Haiti, because US culpability is so embarrassingly clear.
https://truthout.org/articles/we-are-witnessing-imperial-decline-in-an-age-of-planetary-decline/ Many good points, but it shows no way out and makes no suggestions how to relieve the growing pain.

The war against Iran has already begun, unofficially but forcefully.

Bombs and missiles are not raining down yet, but the USA tries to destroy the Iranian economy. The Trump administration has sanctioned the oil sector, the metals industry, and military leaders by cutting them off from the US-led international financial system. To coerce unhappy Western allies into compliance, Washington has threatened to cut off their companies as well if they continue doing business with Iran.

The USA has targeted Iranian oil shipments since May 2, when it announced its intention to “bring Iran’s oil exports to zero, denying the regime its principal source of revenue.” China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, and all other Iranian trading partners are pressured to end oil purchases.

More than 800 Iranian banks, companies, and individuals have been targeted. Foreign or US companies who try to do business with Iran are severely penalized. The US goal is to completely cut off Iranian oil sales and blockade the country economically.

US economic warfare on Iran has caused the value of the country’s currency, the rial, to plunge. This, in turn, has led to a sharp increase in the prices of imported goods. By raising the cost of imports, the currency collapse has sparked a massive inflation. Inflation is running at 40 percent, it has bankrupted businesses and put many imported goods, such as critical medicines, beyond the reach of ordinary Iranians. The IMF predicts that the economy will continue to undergo significant contraction which will increase the misery of ordinary Iranians.

If Iran retaliates in one way or the other, the USA will use this as justification to strike militarily. The United States Navy’s Fifth Fleet patrols the Persian Gulf. US forces are deployed in Iraq to the east, Afghanistan to the west and in other neighboring countries, including Turkey, Bahrain, and Qatar. Recently, Washington has increased its military pressure, sending the carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (with 40 F-18 Super Hornets), accompanying ships, the amphibious assault ship USS Arlington (with troops, vehicles, and helicopters), a bomber task force (B-1, B-52H), and two squadrons of F-35A stealth fighters to the region.

Armageddon news:

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-019-01735-0 Ebola in DRC.

Uncategorized news:

https://aeon.co/ideas/youre-simply-not-that-big-a-deal-now-isnt-that-a-relief? My favorite text this month. I even read it twice.

News from cat land:

The cats are healthy and they enjoy the warm weather. They keep the garden clean from mice, voles, and rats, unfortunately they also kill frogs, toads, blindworms, lizards, birds, and moles. I try to create as many hideouts for amphibians and reptiles as possible, unfortunately these hideouts are also used by the rodents. Tricky! Does anybody have a solution?

The snails, slugs, beetles, millipedes, and woodlice are active again. Pumpkins, caigua (cyclanthera pedata), coneflower (echinacea), thyme have to be raised in especially protected places which cannot be easily reached by the pests. 

Mites, aphids, and caterpillars attack the berry bushes and grapevines, fortunately the spiders (heaven bless them) mostly take care of them. Some fruit trees (cherry, pear) suffer from fungal infections. The peach trees are fine, peach leaf curl is not completely eradicated but under control. It’s just a minor nuisance. Powdery mildew has infected some glover plants, but until now has not spread (grapevines could be vulnerable).

At least one hedgehog roams the garden. I’ve seen the droppings since some time but yesterday I encountered one face to face. The hedgehog looked at me shortly before disappearing in the bushes, grunting and snorting. Hedgehogs eat slugs and snails, but they unfortunately also kill blindworms and when they dig for slugs they cause some damage to strawberry plants and other ground cover vegetation.

Everything grows like crazy, especially the blackberries and grapevines. More CO2 in the atmosphere and higher UV radiation (because of the thinning ozone layer) increase photosynthetic metabolism but also make the plants more vulnerable to diseases and pest infestations.

My oldest grapevine didn’t wake up from hibernation and I was very sad. I looked at it and said to myself: “If you only would grow at least one leave, please!” Getting myself ready to cut the vine down I indeed discovered a little leave, and then even a second one. So I just pruned my old plant friend drastically (though carefully) and when I looked the next day there were two more leaves growing. The day after that I counted already eight leaves and now they are too many to count. My old friend will survive, it probably will not have fruits this year, but next year will be great again. I’m so relieved!

After a short period of rain it is now dry again and I have to irrigate the garden excessively. Being a subsistence gardener is laborious and challenging. 

One comment

  1. I’m so glad your old grapevine survives! My gardening has shifted into maintenance mode…. with climate catastrophe, I don’t have the feel for what to plant when anymore. So I keep the plants as happy as possible and wait to see if we’ll get summer rains this year.

    I love your cat baskets and especially your staircase!

    I think that Eckhart Tolle writes what you do about silence and human connection through being.


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