Links March 2020

March 2, 2020

Still trying to figure out, if the new coronavirus pandemic is the defining event to redirect or end our foolish ways and to show humans that they are not the masters of the universe, to show humans that they depend on nature and are not allowed to overstep natural boundaries.

Will this be the event which ends globalization (including global trade, the global financial system, global mega-corporations, and the petrodollar), exploitation of third world countries (neocolonialism), tourism, industrial agriculture, and industrial food production?

Or will it just be the first of many pandemics to strike in the near future?

Anyway, climate change, the collapse of vital eco-systems, mass extinction, ever increasing pollution, increasing chronic ailments, and antibiotics resistance alone will force us to shed many destructive and wasteful habits. Not to forget locust swarms, fungal infections, armyworms, and other pests causing famine.

If all this is not enough to bring fundamental change, wars fought about water, food, arable land, and mineral resources will finally do the job.

Margaret Atwood wrote already in 2015: It’s Not Climate Change — It’s Everything Change.

So why am I parroting the Cassandra calls of her and others? Well, even if I have not to tell anything new, it’s necessary to remind everyone who is willing to listen that change is inevitable. It will either be enacted by us voluntarily or forced upon us.

Good, if we are prepared!

Feline news:

Peggy Gavan’s blog “The Hatching Cat” is well written, funny, and informative. I link to most of the posts because just adding the blog address to the blog roll at the right side of the page is of no use, as nobody bothers to read the blog roll.


Against all odds:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2020/03/how-a-circular-economy-could-save-the-world-feature Informative.
https://www.bbc.com/news/business-51658693 Climate campaigners win the Heathrow Airport expansion court case. If the coronavirus pandemic gathers steam, a third runway will not be needed anyway.

Environmental news:

Europe just posted its warmest January on record. Helsinki, Oslo, Copenhagen and Stockholm surpassed freezing every day in January for the first time.

https://www.ehn.org/bees-climate-change-2645035345.html One of my favorite fellow species is threatened.
https://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/please-kill-your-lawn.html Did it, and replaced it with a forest garden. The community accepts it, but people think that it is weird, and they have no idea, what this is all about. I try to explain: a) Most possible production of biomass to sequester CO2. b) Creating a habitat for endangered species, bolstering biodiversity. 3) Growing food, making me partly independent from the food industry. “Aha,” they say, looking either skeptical or amused, and they probably think: “What else can one expect from an artist and teacher.”
https://truthout.org/articles/permafrost-is-already-thawing-will-it-tip-the-scales-in-the-climate-crisis This is not news but the article is detailed and informative.
https://meta.eeb.org/2020/02/12/meps-reject-poison-plastics-plan/ Recycling is a pipe dream, is wishful thinking, is a cheap excuse, is a fraud, because there is no commercially viable technology to separate the various materials in composites (which practically all plastics are) or remove toxic ingredients. Most plastic trash, collected in blue eyed recycling schemes, is burned in incinerators.
https://www.independentsciencenews.org/news/extensive-chemical-safety-fraud-uncovered-at-german-testing-laboratory/ Chemical safety testing is another fraudulent scheme. Even the most stringent tests cannot rule out long-term risks, genetic or epigenetic defects, and harmful synergies in combination with other substances. 40,000 chemicals have never been tested anyway (which has spared thousands of animals from being tortured to death in the laboratories).
https://theintercept.com/2020/02/12/jordan-cove-oregon-pembina-pipeline/ The corporations, owned by the billionaire class, already pay the politicians (by election campaign funding and countless perks). They now start to directly pay the security services. They also try to corrupt the judiciary and all other relevant state agencies. In the end the whole state will be directly funded (and consequently directly controlled) by the corporations. This will be institutionalized, just as lobbying (bribery) has been institutionalized and people will be told, that this is the logical and natural way to organize state institutions.
https://metro.co.uk/2020/02/27/breathing-tiny-plastics-tyres-clothes-may-slowly-killing-us-12314228/ Poisoning our lungs with microplastics is the perfect preparation for covid-19 and other respiratory diseases.

Economic news:

As stock markets around the planet, led by Wall Street, climbed to record highs, increasing the wealth of the ultra-rich by billions of dollars every day, growth in the world economy was falling to its lowest levels since the global financial crisis of 2008. Once again, the employees had to pay, with announcements of major job cuts and reduced salaries.

Economic data from the major economies point to an accelerating downturn. In the USA, the world largest economy, growth is little more than 2 percent. This is the lowest for any recovery in the post-war period. China, the world’s second largest economy, experienced its lowest growth rate for 30 years in 2019. Large areas of the Chinese economy are still in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak, with estimates for first-quarter growth being slashed, in some cases to below zero.

Japan, the world’s third largest economy, has been delivered a shock by the announcement that it contracted at an annual rate of 6.3 percent in the fourth quarter of 2019. While this was mainly the result of an increase in sales taxes, the hit was far larger than expected and the downturn is set to continue, due to the effects of the coronavirus.

Growth in Germany, the world’s fourth largest economy, has flat-lined, with predictions that it could enter a recession, dragging down the rest of the Eurozone, which showed growth of just 0.1 percent in the fourth quarter last year.

In South Korea, one of the world’s major manufacturing centers, the government has called for “emergency” measures because of the downturn in China and Japan. Australia, the world’s 12th largest economy, will most likely end its 28-year recession free run.

As the billionaires and multi-millionaires frantically search for “safe haven” investments, job cuts are sweeping through the manufacturing industry, particularly the auto production. French car producer Renault unveiled a 2.2 billion US$ cost-cutting program, including job cuts. Volkswagen pledged to slaughter “sacred cows” as it announced 20,000 job cuts in Germany alone. In India, there are warnings that as many as 1 million of the country’s 5 million auto parts industry jobs could be at risk. Around 100,000 jobs will be eliminated in the global auto industry in 2020. This is on top of more than 500,000 job cuts in auto-related industries around the world last year. 

The London-based HSBC (Hong Kong Shanghai Banking Corporation) said it would reduce its workforce by 35,000 in the coming period as part of what its chief executive Noel Quinn called one of the “deepest restructurings” in the global bank’s 155-year history. The HSBC announcement followed last year’s decision by Germany’s Deutsche Bank to slash 18,000 jobs as part of a restructuring process.

The retail industry is likewise being devastated. Tens of thousands of so-called brick-and-mortar stores in the US and around the world have been shut down, with more job cuts to come.

This week the Washington Post reported that the US retail giant Walmart is planning to cut jobs as part of a restructuring to develop online sales to compete with Amazon. In the brutal language of the corporate world, it said store managers should follow “standard termination procedures” for any “active associate who has not been selected for another position in the company.” This edict will potentially affect thousands of workers, sometimes with decades of service.

The worldwide job massacre is being driven by several processes: Fewer sales as a result of falling demand (due not least to the stagnation of wages), overproduction (as a result of unrealistic “forever” growth expectations), unsustainable debt levels of both consumers and companies, and sweeping changes in technology.

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/transformation/breakdown-or-breakthrough-degrowth-and-great-transition/ The coronavirus pandemic will shrink (degrow) the globalized economy faster and more efficient than we ever would have dreamed of. 

Media and technology news:

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/02/03/huffpost-uk-editor-censorship-dsma-russia-jess-brammar/ There is a well established procedural protocol that news and media adhere to in many countries when it comes to sensitive information. In Britain for example there is the DSMA-Notice, often called by its pre-1993 name, D-Notice. The British government has not officially put out a D-Notice regarding the OPCW Douma investigation, but had an “informal” meeting with heads of British media in relation to it.
The media blackout in Western countries was nearly complete, and the only web-channels with a wider audience to write about the newest OPCW revelations were RT, The Gray Zone, and Consortium News. To keep this topic out of public discussion is of crucial importance because if people realize, how corrupt and partisan the OPCW and other with Syria concerned international organizations are, the defamation campaign against Syria would be much more difficult to sustain.
There were eyewitnesses who went to Switzerland to testify before the OPCW and the OPCW refused to hear them. These eyewitnesses included victims and the doctors who appeared in the White Helmet video of the victims being brought into the underground hospital.
The USA for some time has conducted a dirty war against international organizations (UN, ICC, ICJ, WTO, UNESCO, OPCW, etc.) to either corrupt them, infiltrate them, or hinder their work:
In 2018 then US national security adviser John Bolton openly threatened ICC (International Criminal Court) judges with serious sanctions.
The USA owes the UN about a billion US$ in back dues.
The USA withdrew completely from the important work of UNESCO
The USA withdrew all funding for the UNRWA (UN Relief and Works Agency) which supports Palestinian refugees.
The USA has a number of times not complied with its treaty obligation to issue visas to diplomatic staff visiting the UN headquarters in New York.
https://www.medialens.org/2020/burned-at-the-stake-the-un-special-rapporteur-on-torture-demolishes-the-fake-claims-targeting-julian-assange/ Don’t forget Julian Assange!
https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/MLB-to-Cancel-Roger-Waters-Tour-Promotions-Over-BDS-Support-20200211-0008.html The thought police reaches everywhere.
https://spectrum.ieee.org/tech-talk/telecom/wireless/radio-frequency-exposure-test-iphone-11-pro-double-fcc-limits The largest field test in human history. And G5 will set the bar even higher.

Imperial news:

The telling thing about Bernie Sanders is, that for people outside the USA, nothing about him seems particularly radical. To most Europeans, his promises sound like the standard offerings of a functioning, humane society. It is no wonder, that so many US-citizens, faced with staggering levels of inequality, buckling under crippling debt, and unable to access affordable health care are being drawn to his campaign and socialist ideals.


Imperial conquest news:

https://www.blackagendareport.com/libya-and-after-muammar-gaddafi He is missed by many Libyans.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176659/ The author argues, that the USA has not won a war since WWII, which is not true (Korea, Yugoslavia, Panama, Iraq, Libya) and also not necessary. The US military doesn’t need to win a decisive victory, it only needs to create chaos, death, and destruction in order to deter both allies and enemies from resisting exploitation.
Without this deterrence the USA could not enforce its unfair trade rules (selling overpriced technology and services, buying cheap commodities), sustain the hegemony of the dollar, control the global financial system, control most UN agencies and international bodies, and continue borrowing, accumulating 23.4 trillion US$ debt which will never be paid back.
https://www.asiatimes.com/2020/02/article/trump-bans-melia-official-over-cuban-interests/ Avoiding any economic or social interaction with the USA would be the appropriate answer to the constant bullying, but without a major reorganization of the global economy this will not be possible. Will the coronavirus pandemic do the job?

Armageddon news:

In the wake of Australia’s devastating bushfires , a new threat has emerged: Rainstorms following the fires sent large pulses of ash into Australia’s streams and rivers, causing rapid declines in dissolved oxygen levels and clogging fish’s gills. Scientists have documented 14 ash-related fish die-offs in recent months. “We have never seen that extent of fire-related fish kills anywhere in the world,” says one scientist. 

https://chublicopinion.com/2020/02/04/wuhan-a-tale-of-immune-system-failure-and-social-strength/ The downside of central control, an entrenched bureaucracy marred by cronyism and nepotism, lack of transparency, censorship, and stifling of public criticism.

Uncategorized news:

https://www.blackagendareport.com/shocking-death-rwandan-gospel-singer-and-dissident-kizito-mihigo Paul Kagame, one of the most reliable Western allies.
https://aeon.co/essays/the-conversation-about-american-torture-is-400-years-old A short history of torture.
http://www.ekathimerini.com/249977/article/ekathimerini/news/after-island-violence-government-announces-partial-withdrawal-of-riot-police Locals don’t want any new migrant concentration camps.

News from cat land:

I write this text in between garden work. There is a lot to do, weeding, planting, pruning, managing the compost, and fertilizing.

I was so glad to see (and hear) the first bumblebee. Nature woke up early due to climate change and there are indeed two bushes already blooming. The blooms of these bushes are the only ones in the area and the bumblebee must have been very happy to find them.

Bumblebees are key pollinators, but their large bodies and preference for cooler climates make them vulnerable to extreme heat.

Bumblebee populations in North America and Europe have plummeted amid rising temperatures and heat extremes. A study in Science Magazine finds a 46 percent decline in areas inhabited by bees in North America and a 17 percent decline in Europe, most likely caused by increasingly severe heat, other climate extremes, habitat loss, and pesticides.

Garden work is hard work and it never ends. I do what I can, but many things remain undone. Relying on the cheap offerings of the food industry would be the easy choice, but this reliance comes at a price. A steep price, paid by both our personal health and the health of nature.

The cats are still fine, they grow older and wiser. Rosy has still her chronic cold, but it doesn’t seem to bother her. Rita caught a cold again, but has apparently overcome it already. She is all night in the garden, keeping it clean from mice and voles.

We resumed our daily forest walks again. Attendance is not as high as 10 years ago when up to 6 cats wandered with me through the woods and meadows, but Rita, Gandhi Jr., and Princess Min Ki still enjoy it and never miss a walk. Linda and Lucia join, when they are in the right mood, though they never walk together, as they unfortunately don’t like each other. Aunt Rosy and Wendy only seldom participate.

Everything changes, including our forest walks, which go on now since 16 years. I wonder, how many more years the sacred ritual of our forest walks may last.

I’m singing quietly Sam Cooke’s A Change Is Gonna Come:

I was born by the river, in a little tent
And just like the river I’ve been running ever since

It’s been a long, a long time coming
But I know, a change gonna come
Yes it will

It’s been too hard living, but I’m afraid to die
Cause I don’t know what’s up there beyond the sky


I go to the movie, and I go downtown
Somebody keep telling me “don’t hang around”


Then I go to my brother
And I say, brother, help me please
But he winds up, knockin’ me
Back down on my knees

There been times that I thought, I couldn’t last for long
But now I think I’m able, to carry on



  1. Really beautiful landscape!


  2. Reblogged this on Piazza della Carina.


  3. “ The coronavirus and the financial markets: we are in Sarajevo 1914. The bullet is the pandemic. Archduke Francesco Ferdinando is neoliberalism “.


  4. thanks so much for all these years of consistency. i will call you fidel. ;)


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