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Links August 24 2020

August 24, 2020

Another hastily compiled post with assorted thought splinters and links. 

Who keeps the show going?

It is people from communities of ethnic minorities, immigrants, guest workers, the poor, and the marginalized, that now constitute the majority of rich countries critical workers. It is they, during this pandemic, who keep the economy running and provide essential services. Their vital contribution to society has become apparent as many of their communities are the most severely impacted by the virus — both because of their inhabitants’ exposure in the workplace and because those communities are often neglected and suffer gross social, economic, and environmental inequities.

For example: More than 381,000 people across California work in the essential agriculture industry, and this vulnerable, essential laborers, already disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, keep working as others flee and take shelter from the smoke by out of control wildfires.

A headline on an anti-empire site: “Every Country not yet under US Control needs Nukes until US Disarms.”

No! There are other, less dangerous ways of deterrence. Weapons of mass destruction, no matter in whose hands they are, constitute an existential threat to humanity. They can go off by accident, by a false alarm, by deranged and mentally sick custodians. Pilots have deliberately flown planes with hundreds of passengers into the ground (France, Egypt, Malaysia), that could also happen with nukes. There were reports of drug abuse among the crews of silos with Minuteman-III ICBM’s. People get mad all the time, especially if they are involved in MAD (mutual assured destruction). 

A united, motivated, and determined population in targeted countries, an alliance of nations, military pacts with other big powers (China, Russia), the danger of low moral, subversion, obstruction, and sabotage by disillusioned, remorseful, guilt-ridden, and ashamed citizens of the empire could be powerful deterrents. 

Everyone who had to deal with ant heaps knows that one better leaves them alone. The ants are tiny and they are not very intelligent on their own, but the social intelligence (hive mind) of an ant colony is remarkable. They do all the right things to make an encounter with them as unpleasant as possible.

The problem: Western media propaganda is unmatched and unequalled (Edward Bernays, Hollywood, TV-shows, global pop culture, social media memes, bots, video games). Relentless 24/7 brainwashing makes a difference and impedes resistance against the empire. 

Fighting against mainstream media propaganda is a crucial part of the struggle against imperial conquests.

Every big power tries to increase its territory or sphere of influence. The USA and NATO allies are the most aggressive, followed by Turkey. China is right behind, though they act in a more cautious and until now more humane way. Russia doesn’t need to increase its territory, it has enough sparsely populated land. 

Feline news:

https://www.rte.ie/brainstorm/2020/0805/1157393-cats-coronavirus-research/
https://egghead.ucdavis.edu/2020/07/30/contrafreeloading-and-cats/
http://hatchingcatnyc.com/2020/08/13/cameo-dog-cats-regeneration/

Against all odds:

https://investigatemidwest.org/2020/08/06/while-covid-19-upends-supply-chains-farms-that-sell-locally-thrive/
http://greensocialthought.org/content/how-che-guevara-taught-cuba-confront-covid-19
https://www.resilience.org/stories/2020-07-03/summary-and-review-of-cuban-health-care-the-ongoing-revolution/
https://truthout.org/articles/community-based-farms-rise-to-the-occasion-as-big-food-supply-chains-stall
https://www.localfutures.org/in-peru-ancestral-values-shine-during-covid-19-crisis/
https://www.kosmosjournal.org/kj_article/what-indigenous-wisdom-can-teach-us-about-economics/

Environmental news:

Large parts of the world’s economy have ground to a halt by restrictions that were imposed to curb the spread of the coronavirus, causing carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and other emissions to drop 10-30 percent globally.

Global emissions from the burning of coal, oil and gas could fall up to eight percent in 2020, but in absence of a systemic change in how the world powers and feeds itself, experts warn that the emission reductions during lockdown and during restricted travel would be meaningless.

https://www.worldfishmigrationfoundation.com/living-planet-index-2020/
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/04082020/china-n2o-super-pollutant-nylon-emissions-climate-change
https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/3096373/climate-change-china-must-seize-day-coal-or-toxic-cocktail-winter
Does the economic reset caused by the virus offer a chance to slow things down permanently and protect the lives of urban residents, not to mention the climate?
https://www.ehn.org/ocean-pollution-2646936848.html
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/08/microplastics-in-virtually-every-crevice-on-earth/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/aug/10/pesticides-us-birds-species-biodiversity-study
https://www.ehn.org/glyphosate-organic-food-2646939278.html
https://www.shareable.net/empowering-local-communities-to-build-own-wealth-to-recover-from-pandemic/
About regenerative agriculture.
https://civileats.com/2020/08/11/what-u-s-investment-in-africa-means-for-agroecology/
https://www.spiegel.de/international/world/bolzonaro-s-vendetta-assault-on-the-rainforest-continues-in-the-shadow-of-covid-19-a-aada674b-35be-446c-aaf4-337107f546d4
The destroyers of nature and the destroyers of life on a rampage. Who has voted these monsters into power? What could the international community do to stop them? There is the Westphalia principle of national sovereignty, but the destruction of the Amazon rainforest has global implications and stopping Bolsonaro would be a matter of self defense.
https://apnews.com/56a278cf4b849dc06dadc309d06aa63f
https://news.mongabay.com/2020/08/why-are-some-endangered-species-ignored/
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/aug/16/the-plastic-we-use-unthinkingly-every-day-is-killing-our-planet-and-slowly-but-surely-killing-us
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/08/mauritius-oil-spill-tragedy-how-why-the-mv-wakashio-ran-aground-and-aftermath.html
https://www.maritime-executive.com/article/mauritius-arrests-officers-and-tows-wakashio-as-questions-persist
http://www.mauritiustimes.com/mt/there-are-many-questions-that-need-to-be-answered-about-how-this-incident-was-allowed-to-happen-trust-has-been-lost/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/08/17/mining-the-deep-sea/
https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-chinas-expanding-fishing-fleet-is-depleting-worlds-oceans
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/charles-darwins-famous-galapagos-islands-22562406
Seize the vessels and arrest its crews, nothing else will help.
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2020/08/24/what-have-we-done-to-the-whale
https://www.salon.com/2020/08/17/scientists-studied-five-different-types-of-seafood-100-percent-were-contaminated-with-plastics
https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/how-the-agricultural-lobby-is-sabotaging-europes-green-deal/
https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20200821-how-wildfire-pollution-may-be-harming-your-health
The BBC comes to the stunning conclusion, that smoke from fires may be unhealthy! So what? That is simply the price we have to pay for the progress of our consumer civilization. No need to change course, no need to scale down human industrial activity, and, after a short coronavirus lockdown, back to normal at any cost.

Economic news:

US retail sales rise for third month, a sign that consumerism remained resilient, while in Europe, millions of jobless are falling through the cracks, the New York Times writes.

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/497617-jeff-bezos-amazon-shares/
https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/UK-Economy-Plunges-Into-Deepest-Recession-Amid-COVID-19-20200812-0020.html
https://www.zerohedge.com/markets/did-buffett-just-bet-against-us-berkshire-buys-barrick-gold-dumps-goldman
Zerohedge is not one of my trusted sources, but this article makes some valid points. What is not written: The safety of the billionaires assets are guaranteed by the strength of the US military machine and the global finance system. If the finance system collapses and the US military is paralyzed by internal unrest, the billionaires wealth could be seized anytime and used for the common good (habitat restoration, social welfare, infrastructure for instance).
https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/3097442/its-time-ditch-crashing-us-dollar-and-buy-groceries-gold-heres
https://evonomics.com/the-sweet-spot-between-laissez-faire-and-centralized-planning/
https://evonomics.com/why-garbage-men-should-earn-more-than-bankers/
https://apnews.com/6cadd78335fd98926ffb1e5d6ecb2916
The stock market is not the economy. Explanations from a neoliberal view, based on the hope that somehow “normality” will return one day.
https://www.scmp.com/comment/opinion/article/3098246/us-coronavirus-stimulus-end-its-americans-who-must-pay-it

Media and technology news:

https://www.medialens.org/2020/a-perpetual-motion-machine-of-killing-alleged-cover-up-of-civilians-murdered-by-uk-special-forces-in-iraq-and-afghanistan/
https://fair.org/home/media-show-little-interest-in-israeli-bombing-of-gaza/
https://fair.org/home/reuters-unsurprisingly-looks-away-as-ecuador-tries-to-outlaw-opposition-parties/
https://truthout.org/articles/facebook-has-begun-purging-accounts-tied-to-anti-fascist-groups
Anti-establishment groups shouldn’t use Facebook anyway.
https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/YouTube-Shuts-Down-New-Channels-from-Venezuela-and-Cuba-20200821-0005.html
More internet censorship from the nations which guaranteed free speech in the First Amendment of its constitution. 

Imperial news:

In the first half of 2020, gun sales have increased by 95 percent (ten million guns), and ammunition sales are up by 139 percent.

A selection of quotes from Caitlin Johnstone:

The dumbest thing about believing foreign countries attacked American democracy is believing America has any democracy to attack.

Saudi Arabia is just an honest version of America. The tyranny is right out in the open, state censorship is straightforward instead of being outsourced to Silicon Valley, the oligarchs and the official government are the same people, they don’t pretend their wars are humanitarian, and they just directly murder journalists they dislike instead of a using a fake judicial system to do it.

I really wish I lived in this alternate universe people keep talking about where the worst thing about America is Donald Trump.

A political establishment which thinks it’s crazy and extremist to reduce a $740 billion military budget by 10 percent is a crazy and extremist political establishment.

Bombs should not exist. Explosives designed to blow fire and shrapnel through human bodies should not be a thing. In a sane world, there wouldn’t be bombs, and if some mentally unbalanced person ever made and used one it would be a major international news story.

Instead, bombs are cranked out like iPhones at enormous profit, and nearly all bombings are ignored. Many bombs are being dropped per day by the US and its allies, with a massive civilian death toll, and almost none of those bombings receive any international attention. The only time they do is generally when a bombing occurs that was not authorized by the US-centralized empire.

There’s no legitimate reason why Biden and Trump shouldn’t be grilled about Yemen in every single interview and press conference they do.

Eminent peace activist Cindy Sheehan sent the following email to her followers:

Dear Brothers, Sisters, and Comrades, 

To say 2020 has been a difficult year would be like saying the U.S. is a vicious Empire–obvious, yet understated. 

As if things weren’t hard enough due to the Covid restrictions and mandates, this past week saw many Californians, including me and my family, running from devastating fires. 

This past Tuesday (the 18th), during a record heatwave, PG&E had turned off my power when smoke from the LNU-Lightning Fire Complex had already been polluting our air. However, the fire was still contained over nearby Mt. Vaca. 

That night it was still 101 degrees at 8:30 and the smoke was getting heavy, so I asked my daughter to come get me so I could stay at her house because she still had power. 

We were all asleep that night until about 4:30 am when a neighbor started ringing the doorbell. Alarmed, we went out to see a blizzard of ash falling from the sky and, even more alarmingly: flames. In the course of a few hours, the flames had crested Mt. Vaca and were encroaching on the city limits.  

Even though the fire was still a few miles away and we were about three blocks away from the mandatory evacuation area, we packed up and left–taking our cue from the devastating Paradise fire of a couple of years ago that caught most of the residents by surprise with disastrous results. 

About 200 buildings were destroyed in the country surrounding Vacaville and four lives were lost, but as the fire moved north-west away from Vacaville proper, my entire family of three surviving children and five grandchildren are able to count ourselves as extremely fortunate to still have our homes and lives. 

With almost 600 fires burning around the state and with the weather being so volatile, we know we are not out of those proverbial woods, yet, but we have our “bugout” bags packed, gas tanks filled, and our shoes lined up near our various front doors to flee at a moment’s notice. 

What is the future of life in California for 40 million people? 

Whatever it is, it seems like our beautiful state will be transformed into ash heaps unless some drastic measures are taken—soon. 

Love, peace, health, 

Cindy Sheehan 

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/08/wildfires-burning-through-california/
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/24/fire-d08.html
https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/21/oligarchic-dozen-wealth-of-these-12-tops-1-trillion/
https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/10/chris-hedges-americas-death-march/
https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/10/lee-camp-the-executions-of-elephants-and-americans/
https://truthout.org/articles/cdc-director-warns-mask-up-or-face-possibly-the-worst-fall-in-us-health-history
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/15/poli-a15.html
Infiltration of protest movement.
https://theweek.com/articles/931090/are-bread-riots-coming-america
https://blackagendareport.com/trump-wrong-joe-biden-not-radical-left-he-enemy-humanity

Imperial conquest news:

US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper slips up, says NATO should share burden to “deter Russia and avoid peace in Europe.”

https://geopolitics.news/asia-pacific/us-navy-seizes-ship-carrying-supplies-from-china-to-iran/
https://blackagendareport.com/freedom-rider-tiktok-and-war-china
https://hrp.law.harvard.edu/press-releases/black-november-report/
Summary executions and widespread repression under Bolivia’s interim government.
https://thegrayzone.com/2020/08/04/usaid-document-nicaragua-coup/
https://www.rt.com/usa/498038-doj-confirms-iranian-tankers-seized/
If this is true, and if this act of piracy is condoned by the nations of the world, any maritime treaties (UNCLOS, SUA Convention) are made invalid and “might makes right” is the only law left.
https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/iranian-president-denies-us-statements-on-tankers-seizures-20200815-0003.html
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/19/vene-a19.html
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2020/08/us-seize-iran-oil-bound-venezuela-petroleum.html
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/us-seizes-four-iranian-tankers-now-en-route-to-houston-report/
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/498700-us-iran-un-sanctions/
http://www.wrongkindofgreen.org/2020/08/09/human-rights-fraud-from-ukraine-to-nicaragua/
https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/20/theres-enough-blame-to-go-around-in-belarus/
https://asiatimes.com/2020/08/risk-of-a-russian-intervention-rising-in-belarus/
Last year the US National Endowment for Democracy financed at least 34 projects and organizations in Belarus. The USA does not do that out of charity.
Color revolutions are usually launched over controversial elections. The results are put into doubt even before the election date. When the results arrive Western media will claim that they diverge from the expectations the media itself created and therefore must have been manipulated. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and NGOs will incite people to protest. To increase the chaos agent provocateurs may be put to work attacking police or protesters like it was done in Ukraine. The revolt ends when it is either violently suppressed or when the US favorite candidate is put into place.
https://gowans.blog/2020/08/19/cruelty-with-a-point-the-continuing-us-immiseration-of-syria/
https://investigativejournal.org/a-new-libya-ceasefire-and-the-syrian-mercenary-rumor-mill/
The “freedom fighters” of Syria. Fighting for freedom not only in Syria but around the world.

Pandemic news:

An approved coronavirus vaccine could end up being effective only 50 to 60 percent of the time, meaning public health measures will still be needed to keep the pandemic under control, said Dr Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious diseases expert.

Face masks with valves or vents do not prevent the spread of Sars-CoV-2 (even the US CDC says). Officials warn against wearing this type of face covering primarily made for hot and dusty construction work. Proper adjusted and tightly closing KN95 FFP2 masks without vent are best. Unfortunately they are also the most cumbersome to wear because one has to suck the air through the mask material. This can be exhausting when regular pauses where the mask can be taken off are not feasible.

https://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/scientists-weigh-the-benefits-of-air-purifiers-in-fighting-covid-19-a-7adb980e-be0a-4030-ba93-2d9040caefcb
https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2020/08/coronavirus-pandemic-developing-world/614578/
It’s only getting worse.
https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/cuba-havana-to-resume-strict-measures-to-halt-covid19-surge-20200808-0002.html
Cuba is stricken by a second wave. Tourism may be the cause.
https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2020/08/covid-19-survivors-face-lifetime-of-disability/
https://apnews.com/2a03a4e685316eb7d5a6e7181000fbfe
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/2020/08/disinfectant-public-cities-pandemic-urban-wildlife-cvd
Animals (and humans most likely too) are poisoned by disinfectants.
https://theconversation.com/three-major-scientific-controversies-about-coronavirus-144021
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/12/exce-a12.html
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/15/covi-a15.html
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/society/article/3097198/authorities-southern-china-find-coronavirus-frozen-chicken-wings
Trying not to get paranoid, but freezing preserves the virus and it’s not clear if the freezing and thawing sequence deactivates it.
https://www.sciencealert.com/can-imported-frozen-foods-really-spread-covid-19-here-s-what-experts-say
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/big-pharma-covid-19-profits-1041185/
The narrow focus on profits and disregard for everything else (safety, side effects, affordability) is understandably fueling the anti-vaccination movement.
https://apnews.com/084ff2b09e52d751f57e52b78564d226
Globally, air travel is down more than 85 percent from a year ago. Taxpayers shall subsidize the people who still dare to board a plane.
https://www.rt.com/uk/498333-uk-depression-doubles-pandemic/
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/08/20/covi-a20.html
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-53881212
Travel companies want government subsidies, and they warn of job losses. So, dear traveler, your next trip to whatever fancy location you choose shall be co-paid by your fellow taxpayers. You will like that for sure.
https://www.scmp.com/news/world/article/3098460/global-coronavirus-death-toll-tops-800000-nations-ramp-restrictions 

WWIII news:

https://www.scmp.com/week-asia/opinion/article/3097274/under-us-pressure-china-planning-economy-can-survive-protracted
China is preparing for a protracted war.

Armageddon news:

https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2020-08-05/hiroshima-anniversary-japan-atomic-bombs
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176738/tomgram%3A_engelhardt%2C_the_unexpected_past%2C_the_unknown_future/#more
https://dgrnewsservice.org/civilization/ecocide/habitat-loss/90-chance-of-civilization-collapsing-within-20-40-years/

Uncategorized news:

https://www.rt.com/op-ed/497422-generation-frexit-carla-bruni-eu
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/08/08/economy/china-food-economy-flooding-intl-hnk/index.html
https://www.globalresearch.ca/hunger-crisis-guatemala/5721355
https://consortiumnews.com/2020/08/21/protecting-food-from-the-hungry/

News from cat land:

Rita was again away for a few days but unceremoniously reappeared as if nothing had happened. She was very hungry and emptied two food cups. Then she laid down in her favorite cardboard box and slept the whole day. When she woke up, I showered her with love and attention, cuddled her, stroke her, spoke softly to her. She liked it very much and constantly purred. Will it be enough to keep her from exploring the wider world?

Hunting season starts and I’m worrying.

Princess Min Ki had an eye infection, but it apparently has healed again without need of medical intervention. She always was very healthy but with 15 years all kind of age related ailments emerge and the immune response is not as robust as in younger years. 

Princess Min Ki was always very self assured, confident, and independent. Yet, as she gets older, she more and more seeks my attention and really relishes the time I spend with her.

Now you know why I don’t have time to write long blog posts.

One comment

  1. Lovely pictures. It’s good to know the kitties are all well!
    I am hoping you’ll write about Belarus. You always manage to dig up the hard to find stuff.

    Like



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