Links September 2020

September 2, 2020

The paywalls of Western newspapers like New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Guardian, Telegraph, and others get more sophisticated and nearly impenetrable. There are methods to overcome the paywalls but it isn’t worth the effort, because the reporting is flawed, inaccurate, distorted, and mostly propaganda. To find the sporadic well-researched and informative articles one has to wade through a swamp of banalities and lies.

It is more sensible to spend ones limited time with independent alternative news sources (some are listed in the blog roll at the right side of this page). They are biased as well, they are propaganda just like mainstream media, but they cover the topics from many different angles, and by using differences, similarities, contradictions, and correlations in the various reports one can get a pretty good idea what is really going on.

Fact check against factcheck against fact check — and if possible over several instances.

What then comes out if one finally is able to pierce the media smokescreen?

Skimming through alternative media headlines, most of them are about well known issues like:

a. We, and all other living things, are poisoned by industrial chemicals carelessly applied and constantly dispersed in enormous quantities. Air, water, and soil are contaminated.

b. Human industrial activities cause the collapse of ecosystems like forests, wetlands, coral reefs, estuaries, lagoons, etc. 

c. Habitat destruction, industrial poisons, plastic waste, hunting, poaching, and industrial fishing cause the mass extinction of species. 

d. Short term profit and economic growth paradigms trump longtime goals of saving, healing, or restoring nature.

e. The danger of armed conflict, including nuclear annihilation, grows bigger, as demagogic authoritarian leaders try to deflect blame for the decreasing life quality of the broad population by creating scapegoats and as a challenged global empire tries to defend its position against competitors.

f. Nobody does anything to solve the mentioned issues or at least lessen the damage and decrease the risks. Worse, nobody at the upper echelons of power has an idea how to ease the pain and how to spark or encourage a paradigm change (they are too busy enriching themselves and organizing their luxury hideaways to think about how to save humanity).

Feline news:

How many cats do you need to heat an energy-efficient home?
Dwarfism in cats is rare.

Against the odds:

Take this from a completely non-spiritual, non-religious, non-new age skeptic who doesn’t believe in anything beyond the scientific method, common sense, and the power of love:

Love, peace, and happiness may seem outdated terms in a time when Millennials and a smartphone raised Generation Z dominate social media and corporate media. They all feel intuitively, that something is wrong with our industrialized, commercialized, monetized, digitized, hectic and noisy way of life, but most answers are wrong and most proposed solutions are woefully inadequate.

Contempt, cynicism, fatalism, distrust are cool and are an integral part of internet culture, yet nobody has an idea how to improve things. Important insights and ideas are discredited, suppressed, or censored, while information overflow, distraction by irrelevant topics, and total control of media and communication by big tech companies (which are in the hands of the billionaire class) makes it impossible to organize the skeptics, doubters, and dissidents into a force for change.

Back to love, peace, and happiness, which could be the lifeline for dropouts, for anyone who tries to quit the rat race, escape the social media prison, and exit the mainstream mass media horror cabinet.

Try it again and again, don’t give up, don’t let yourself get discouraged. Let intuition, creativity, and common sense guide you. Be determined, unwavering, unrelenting.

Feel kindness, gentleness, tenderness, grace, compassion, care, respect, understanding, tolerance, gratitude, sympathy, generosity, empathy, serenity, peace, love, and happiness. Feel the beauty of life, the beauty of it all, smile, watch your breath, and relax as you slowly exhale. 

Air pollution by traffic or industry and contaminated soil could be a problem.

Environmental news:

Renewable energy like solar, wind and hydropower is not the one stop solution. Every renewable energy power generator needs fossil fuels to be set up and maintained; every power generator has negative ecologic impacts.

The obsession of the environmental movement with renewable energy and climate change could easily confuse people by hiding the true scale of the ecological problems which we are facing. 

Energy shortages and climate change by greenhouse gases represent just a facet of the ecological crisis; chemical contamination of air, water, soil, habitat destruction, mass extinction, ecosystem collapse, and resulting pandemics are equally severe threats to humans.

Not to forget the possibility of nuclear annihilation.

To reduce this complex of crises to energy and climate is delusional.

PFAS contaminates ocean wildlife.
Rising desperation.
There is no problems collecting fruits, but with leaves, blooms, and branches one has to carefully select and only take what the population of a species can tolerate.
Why not avoiding plastic waste in the first place?

Economic news:

Workers are hostages: American Airlines said it would furlough 19,000 workers if US lawmakers do not extend aid to the industry, which has been hammered by the coronavirus pandemic.

This strategy will fail in the long term, because catastrophes like droughts or the recent floods will invalidate all economic plans.

2020 second quarter GDP in industrial countries:
China: +3.2 percent
South Korea: -3.3 percent
Germany: -10.1 percent
Italy: -12.4 percent
France: -13.8 percent
Spain: -18.5 percent
UK: -20.4 percent
Japan: -27.2 percent
US: -32.9 percent
Singapore: -41.2 percent
The view of a former Wall Street Journal correspondent. Informative, but take everything with a grain of salt.
French billionaires tripled their wealth.

Pandemic news:

While coronavirus cases across Europe are rising in recent weeks, the overall situation still is different from early spring. European countries tested way less in March, April, and May, resulting in under-reporting of cases. Vulnerable groups and places (hospitals, homes for the elderly, etc.) didn’t have adequate protection. Mask-wearing was not widespread until March, leading to more infections and – due to higher viral loads per infection – often more serious progressions of the disease.

People now tested positive are younger, their viral load tends to be lower and the infection is often detected early. Furthermore, medicine has got better at treating patients with COVID-19 at different stages of the disease, leading to much lower rates of serious and fatal cases.

Yet, people are fed up and desperate to return to their normal life. The USA, Britain, Germany, Switzerland, and dozens of other countries saw already well attended protests against government imposed restriction and mandates (like wearing masks, social distancing, curfews, and travel bans). These protests and the many social gatherings (parties, pubs) in defiance of restrictions will be super spreader events which could render any anti-pandemic policies irrelevant.

There may be also officials and politicians who see the pandemic as a cleaning process which eliminates the old and unhealthy, the ones which are only a burden and don’t contribute to economic growth and productivity. This is called eugenics. Nobody will dare to publicly voice this standpoint, but the careless and negligent handling of the pandemic in certain countries suggests that it is a common perspective. Eliminating the old and unhealthy is also an inevitable outcome of the “herd immunity” strategy, which is favored in the USA, Britain, and Sweden. 

There is a widespread and active counterculture which labels the pandemic as “scandemic,” as conspiracy to create a “new world order,” as a hoax or fraud. The QAnon online movement and anti-vaccination campaigners, spearheaded by Robert F Kennedy Jr. (son of the assassinated US president) have joined. Doubts and suspicions of the detractors are strengthened by the undeniable fact that powerful players in politics and business try to take advantage of the pandemic.

In addition to all this, the start of a new school year with in-person classes, flu season, and cold weather in the northern hemisphere, which keeps people indoor, could lead to new outbreaks and a resurgence of COVID-19.

Politicians in Europe and the Americas have ruled out a second lockdown, even if there is a substantial resurgence. The national economies and especially the global financial system are already overstretched and another lockdown would cause irreversible damage and make a return to “normality” impossible. Profits trump lives.

A “more infectious but milder” D614G mutation of Sars-CoV-2 has been found in genome sequencing data from samples collected by the Jakarta-based Eijkman Institute for Molecular Biology. 

Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott slams “health dictatorship” of Covid-19 lockdowns.
Several cases of reinfection with Sars-CoV-2 are reported. Please read the comments.
Public transport in big urban centers is dead because of social distancing. This is the biggest negative environmental effect of the pandemic. Telecommuting, moving to the countryside, and workspace — living space integration are the remedies.
How to spread the virus most efficiently.
About aerosol transmission.
Informative, because the discussed issues are relevant in all places.
Is healthcare a human right or a luxury, which only the affluent can afford? As said before, for-profit providers and medicines from pharmaceutical corporations are not health care, but “exploiting sickness” care.
Heart problems for up to 50 percent of the 17 million “recovered” Covid-19 patients. This will have a major impact on the health of populations all around the world.
A real danger of SARS-CoV-2 infection is not only its highly transmissible and contagious nature and lethality, but also its simultaneous and multipronged attack on many human cell and tissue types involving vital and critical respiratory, immunological, vascular, renal-excretory and neural systems as well as an unprecedented coordinated disruption of the complex neurophysiology, neurochemistry, neurobiology and neurology of the cells of the brain and central nervous system.
A summary of the current situation.

Media, technology, and propaganda news:


John Chuckman writes about the alleged poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny:

We are experiencing almost total misinformation in our press about Navalny and this incident.

First, from the Russian doctors’ information, it seems likely that what he experienced was diabetic shock (Hypoglycemia). Tests were conducted in both countries, Russia and Germany, and there is a problem with one of his systems, as they found alcohol in his urine, but that problem has many potential causes, including some drugs, and no agent has yet been identified.

Russia has nothing to hide. It allowed Navalny quickly to be taken to Germany, and the Siberian hospital shared all of its information about the patient.

Second, he has never been a threat to Putin. He is not taken seriously by great numbers of Russians. He’s regarded as a bit of a flake. Yet our press suggests that he is more important than he is.

Third, the only thing he ingested before the incident was tea, and it came from the hands of his own companion. The airport restaurant or bar where it was purchased had absolutely no idea for whom it was intended. Security cameras recorded the purchase.

Russia has announced a preliminary investigation, but it is largely to please Angela Merkel who insisted on it.

All the dark suggestions and name-calling we read have no basis in fact. The approach is starting to resemble former British Prime Minister Theresa May’s disgraceful handling of the Skripal Affair, the supposed poisoning of former-spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yullia, in Salisbury, England by means of an exotic nerve agent. No proof ever was supplied concerning a single claim about that mysterious event, and the supposed victims literally disappeared at the hands of British security services.

The outfit that promptly sent an air ambulance all the way to Siberia to bring Navalny to a hospital in Germany is called the Cinema for Peace Foundation, a rather odd-sounding and well-financed entity based in Germany with a rather vague declared purpose. Its web site says, “We are here to encourage greater awareness of global social, political and humanitarian challenges of our time through film.”

I know nothing about the organization and make no claims, but its odd name and declared purpose and its richly-resourced activity in this case do remind one of the CIA’s many well-financed front organizations, which include NGOs abroad.

These events are typical of what we see so often these days. Hysteria with no information. Just so someone whom the United States doesn’t like can be smeared or belittled. As far as American authorities are concerned, there can never be enough Russophobia.

A final note, Navalny is no hero. The very fact that he is promoted that way is suspicious. He has publicly compared migrants to cockroaches.

Statement of the Charité hospital:

Since his admission at the weekend, Alexei Navalny has been receiving treatment at Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin. The patient is being treated in intensive care and remains in a medically induced coma. While his condition is serious, it is not currently life-threatening.

Following his admission, Mr. Navalny underwent extensive examination by a team of Charité physicians. Clinical findings indicate poisoning with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. The specific substance involved remains unknown, and a further series of comprehensive testing has been initiated. The effect of the poison – namely, the inhibition of cholinesterase in the body – was confirmed by multiple tests in independent laboratories.

Imperial news:

Using tax dollars to move whole communities out of flood zones, an idea long dismissed as too radical, is swiftly becoming policy, marking a new and more disruptive phase of climate change.

The author of this piece has an agenda, like any other author of any other article, and portraits the Democratic party as progressive or even left. The observations about Trump may be correct, but Joe Biden is just as flawed. Biden would be nothing more than a figurehead, a spokesperson for the “Deep State.” US citizens face an impossible choice, they should not vote but instead drop out from the traditional political process and start to organize new parallel and truly democratic institutions.
Or emigrate.
Supporting the “lesser evil” is still supporting evil. The most ethical decision would be to opt out of the system.
How to get rid of elder people who don’t contribute to the economy anymore and are only a financial burden.
In the old days, when families still existed, children took care of their elderly parents, who were active members of the family and had their dedicated tasks and responsibilities (mainly child care and advice in crucial decisions) till the very end.
This is a global problem and it is not a new problem. People suffered throughout human history and the rulers seldom cared. A compassionate, cooperative, kind society will alleviate the suffering, and wise, empathic leaders will use the available resource to help and heal.
They’ll call in the National Guard.

Imperial conquest news:

Unimaginable suffering is caused by the coldblooded exploitation of laborers and natural resources in foreign countries near and far. Where resistance cannot be easily crushed, sanctions, blockades, subversion, and sabotage trie to spread chaos. Criminal gangs and religious or fascist extremists are paid, armed, and trained. These are crimes against humanity, concealed by the imperial global media with a smokescreen of disinformation and lies. 

How a comprador class, backed by US and multinational corporations, destroys a country with repression, privatizations, corporate takeovers, and suspension of infrastructure projects.
US state pirates stealing Iranian oil meant for Venezuela.
A sloppy translation from Arabic, but quit informative.
US sanctions now impact one fourth of the global population. The USA will isolate itself with this sanctions, force the targeted countries to become economically independent, and end globalization. Under this aspect sanctions are positive.

WWIII news:

Don’t underestimate the delusion of US warmongers.
How many people could be fed with the money that is now used to develop new weapons?

Armageddon news:

About the Ivan RDS-220 hydrogen bomb and the fact that human life could end at any moment. A very important text!

Uncategorized news:

Millions of people will move and try to find a new place when their homeland becomes uninhabitable because of environmental degradation, climate change, or war. They are not welcome anywhere. What needs to be done?
Let them all drown?
An Islamic insurgency in Mozambique hinders resource exploitation.
Persistent and ubiquitous noise from traffic, industry, construction, from thousands of large or small machines, from thousands of large or small loudspeakers has become part of our life. Human activity is noisy, and humans want to be heard. Humans apparently like noise, listening to background music in the car, in the workplace, in stores, at home, with earbuds while walking, jogging, waiting in line or waiting at the bus/train station.
Loud noise projects power and vigor. Thats why heavy metal and related music styles are inherently loud.

News from cat land:

Lucia and Rita are very skilled mouse catchers. Unfortunately they both like to carry the mice, which are still alive and mostly unharmed, in their snout, bring them in and let them run free. 

For the cat it is prolonged fun, for the mouse it is deadly torture, and for me it is the worry, that the mouse escapes to safety behind the kitchen furniture and parishes there, what would mean that I have to disassemble part of the kitchen to recover the mouse body. A decaying mouse cadaver is not what I want to have in the kitchen.

Lucia just brought a mouse in and let it free. Fortunately the mouse didn’t discover a nearby gap in the kitchen furniture paneling through which it could have easily escaped and just ran to a corner where the food cups stand. Lucia was a bit confused and I took the chance to catch the little rodent with my bare hands.

And there it laid in the palm of my hand, on its back, not even trying to escape or bite. I felt the warmth of its little body. It was a shrew, not a mouse, and shrews are quite useful in the garden because they eat snails, slugs, and other pests. The cats unfortunately don’t discriminate between shrews and mice.

I swiftly carried the shrew out and let it free at a heap of branches under a cherry laurel bush. It disappeared instantly. I hope that it doesn’t gat caught again and that it has some happy moments in its life. Shrews don’t live longer than two years, so they have to do everything in a hurry.

This was not the first shrew I held in my hand and I have also picked up other animals to carry them into safety: Toads, blindworms, hedgehogs, birds, lizards, bumblebees, butterflies, and a bat (just listing what comes to my mind instantly).

Blindworms have a dry skin, they are comfortable to hold and carry. Toads in comparison are moist and slippery. I like them nevertheless. Once a toad hopped in terror towards me, chased by Wendy, who fortunately is not the most skilled hunter of the cat family. The toad had a fighting chance to escape but it was very relived when I grabbed it and it kept completely quiet as I carried it to the biggest pond in the garden and gently put it into the water. “Good luck,” I said, as it disappeared into the depth of the pond.

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