Links October 2020

October 2, 2020

Lots of dramatic news lately. Things are accelerating and culminating to a maybe cataclysmic climax.

Azerbaijan, with the help of Turkey, goes to war against tiny Armenia. A sarcastic person would say, that Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to finish the Armenian genocide and end the nuisance of an archenemy on its eastern border once and for all.

Turkey has already intervened militarily in and sent troop to Syria, Libya, and Iraq. Turkey has since 1974 occupied northern Cyprus, it is in a standoff with Greece about Aegean islands and maritime rights, it is gradually, step by step taking over the Ajaria region of Georgia, and the substantial Turkic minorities are a worry for Iranian leaders and pose a threat to Irans stability.

The more enemies, the more honor.

Belarus protests are going on but make no news anymore. It may fizzle out just like the gilets jaunes in France.

The Jamestown Foundation, a leading US foreign policy think tank, estimates that Lukashenko indeed won the elections, but only by a slight margin. For propagandists and their journalist-stenographers such minor details don’t matter.

The coronavirus pandemic has decreased social cohesion and increased discontent, while mass protests will lead to more infections and subsequently more discontent. This is an ideal scenario for regime change, though the regime changers, operating from Poland via Telegram channels NEXTA, NEXTA Live, and LUXTA, may have overestimated their strength.

Russia only had to wait for Lukashenko calling to get help from the big brother. Putin will cut him down to size and take him on a short leash.

Whatever opinion one may have about the USA, US-Americans certainly know how to stage-manage a dramatic movie script. After an exceptional election debate (tagged with superlatives like: “the worst ever,” “the dirtiest ever,” “the most disappointing ever”) President Donald Trump and his wife Melanie have tested Covid-19 positive. 

Trump, who initially downplayed the importance of wearing masks and only reluctantly endorsed their use, has seldom worn face coverings. He didn’t follow social distancing rules either. The White House said that those precautions were not needed for Trump because people allowed in proximity would be tested for the virus.

Trump said he had no regrets about his response to the pandemic, even though he told journalist Bob Woodward in a taped conversation that he downplayed the threat it posed to avoid scaring Americans. He repeatedly casted doubt on whether masks effectively prevent transmission of the virus.

A lot of people don’t want to wear masks. There are a lot of people think that masks are not good,” Trump said in a September 15 town hall event with ABC News.

Trump has repeatedly hosted events where audience members didn’t wear masks or maintain distance from one another.

Trump is not the first global leader to get infected. UK’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson, Russian prime minister Mikhail Mishustin, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez, and Bolivia’s coup president Jeanine Anez also contracted Covid-19.

As I wrote before: If a political leader, who has all the information, scientific advice, and nearly unlimited financial means, get infected, it is a clear proof of incompetence and stupidity. He or she should be replaced immediately and banned from public office for life.

Many right and left fringe groups, supported by internet sites like ZeroHedge, Global Research, Anti-Empire, and RT (Russia Today), dispute the severity of Covid-19 and maintain that the “coronavirus scare” is being used to roll out a police state and transfer even more money to big corporations (in order to “restart the economy”).

Sure! The rich and powerful will use every crisis to grab even more power and wealth. But that doesn’t mean that the pandemic is a total fabrication. 34 million were infected, one million died, and the numbers are still climbing.

The pandemic deniers do the bidding of the billionaire class, which wants to go back to the old exploitative and growth oriented economy. This system serves them so well and they want to keep it up as long as possible, no matter what. Back to school, back to work, restarting the economy.

Until now 20,000 Amazon employees have caught the coronavirus.

The World Socialist Web Site (wsws.org), Trotskyist but nevertheless serious and informative, reported about and called for protests or strikes against the reopening of schools and factories. This is the way to go if one wants to bring down the capitalist, neoliberal economy.

The workers are hostages. If the political climate is not “business friendly,” they are fired. Why can’t they takeover the factories and workshops, run them as co-ops? Or start new businesses? Unfortunately most land, most buildings, most infrastructure is privately owned — this makes it quite difficult to organize a new economy.

And: most of us want change, but they don’t want to change their habits, their routines, their life. This is called cognitive dissonance.

Big crowds at places like the Beijing auto show are good news for the billionaires, but the old consumption patterns need to come back and also the less affluent need spend more before the growth engine in the industrial countries can return to full speed. More consumerism, more debt slavery, more profits, more inequality, more environmental destruction.

The threat of poverty, destitution, hunger, sickness looms large, and the only solution we are offered by politicians and pundits is: Back to the old normal, back into the rat race, back onto the hamster wheel.

For many environmentalists the coronavirus pandemic was rare good news, because it obstructed the most outrageous excesses of consumerism and reduced human industrial activity, giving nature a much needed breathing space. 

Tourism (cruise ships), air travel, motor sports and all other mass spectacles, fashion, luxury items, unnecessary gadgets and appliances are wasting resources when global poverty and hunger increase again and most of the Millennium Development Goals have been missed.

Wars and weapons production, the ultimately insane waste of lives and resources, are not even called into question. Why does no one, except a few lion-hearted peace activists, try to stop this?

Ignorance, stupidity, cowardice, convenience, cognitive dissonance?

The outlook is grim, as societies fall apart. The social contract is broken. In long bygone times the parents and grandparents were integrated in the family, looking for the children, helping with household chores, counseling, and advising.

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan cared for the cancer-stricken sister till her death, but she is a rare exception. Usually the elderly, disabled, and ailing are put away into nursing homes which are commonly underfunded, understaffed, and not able to guarantee the inmates a dignified life in their remaining years.

US nursing homes have started to oust unwanted patients with claims of psychosis, They are finding what families say are pretexts to send patients to hospitals for psychiatric care — and then refusing to let them return.

The family as basic social unit is disappearing anyway, most people live alone, everybody is on one’s own. Empathy, kindness, grace, tenderness, gratitude, respect become distant dreams. Social distancing happened even before the pandemic. We communicate via screens, we socialize with robots and computers.

If this pandemic doesn’t bring change, maybe the next one will, and there is a good chance of another one, one which may be even more disruptive.

We have to wait and prepare. Time for introspection and meditation. Time to step out of ones selfish self, understand and see.

Feline news:

My own experience confirms that cats indeed imitate and try to learn from us.

Against the odds:


Environmental news:

Atrazine, chlorpyrifos, glyphosate, neonicotinoid, malathion, metolachlor, pyrethroids, paraquat, alachlor, 2,4-D, dicamba, bifenthrin, and many other poisons are still used in industrial agriculture and increasingly contaminate food.

Plans for a new nuclear plant in Wales are ditched.
Ground level ozone is a serious threat to food production.
Hypocrites and egoists rule.

Economic news:

Imagine: Deutsche Bank collapses and this initiates a global banking crisis. Europe has no way of saving its banks as all European economies are severely damaged and 20 percent of workers have been laid off. It would be a Greek style banking crisis on steroids. People would be pulling out their savings in the expectation of daily cash limits. Physical gold though at this point would have already disappeared from the market place. 

US violates trade rules, WTO panel finds.
How to crush hope for a better world.
It is maybe even a bit more complicated, but China’s leaders have indeed shown, especially in their dealings with the US empire, that they are guided by sound strategic thinking, that they avoid risks, and that they plan ahead several steps and prepare for possible emergencies.
China is nevertheless an imperial power, though maybe with a 5,000 year history of Chinese civilization and the not so distant memories of defeats (Opium Wars, Boxer Rebellion), occupations by the West, Japan, and Russia (the century of humiliation), and atrocities (Rape of Nanjing, 20 million killed in WWII), Chinese imperialism may turn out to be not as barbarous and brutal as the Western version. One can only hope, that all these painful memories will evoke a craving for peace rather than revenge.

Media, technology, and propaganda news:

The age of deception:

Oligarchs masquerade as job-creators.
Terrorists masquerade as freedom fighters.
Metaphysical speculations masquerade as philosophy.
Politicians masquerade as the peoples representatives.
Advertising and propaganda masquerade as information.
Propagandists and PR-agents masquerade as journalists.
Advertising and brainwashing masquerade as entertainment.
Wealth transfers to corporations masquerade as job-creation.
Military aggression masquerades as humanitarian intervention.
Selling common goods masquerades as deficit and debt control.
Poisoning and killing nature masquerades as technological progress.
Brainwashing, indoctrination, and conditioning masquerade as education.
Billionaires and other white color criminals masquerade as philanthropists.
Social and economic dogmatism masquerades as scientific axioms or evidence.
Mixtures of dubious organic substances from food industry laboratories masquerade as food.
Conmen, pitchmen, swindlers, and demagogues masquerade as experts, teachers, sages, and prophets.

“Wise words” from the BBC about “clicktivism” (slacktivism), highlighting not only aspects of Internet culture but also the profound arrogance of mainstream mass media journalists.
Thousands protest in Bulgaria, but as the protests target EU and NATO friendly PM Borisov, they are ignored by European media outlets.
5G makes no economic sense and is possibly harmful to humans and nature.
The Assange trial looks different when you realize it’s really just a collaborative performance by the US and UK governments to explain why it is necessary to jail journalists for telling the truth.
Every news outlet and every journalist who is not speaking out for Assange with urgency and force is admitting that they are propagandists and so this trial poses no threat to them.

About a Syria propaganda operation by Western government-funded agencies who trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists.
A must read, especially for people who believed in the fairy tales of a Syrian “revolution” and “moderate rebels.”

Pandemic news:

There is no scientific consensus about how easily Sars-CoV-2 can mutate, but it has infected 32 million people and alone because of this huge number of hosts the chances increase that mutations emerge which are more infectious and which in the evolutionary selection process become the dominating variant.

The largest US genetic study of the virus, conducted in Houston, shows one viral strain (D614G) outdistancing all of its competitors. Separately, the new study has found some additional mutations that it calls “disconcerting.”

A patient from Seattle who became severely ill in March after contracting the first strains of Sars-CoV-2 was reinfected in August with the D614G mutation. This dominant mutation may be enabling easier transmission of the virus and is associated with a higher viral load among patients upon initial diagnosis.

Cases of reinfection with mutated strains could have implications for vaccines because nearly all the vaccines close to mass application were developed based on the coronavirus genome sequenced and released by scientists in January.

People are believed to have trouble fighting the SARS-CoV-2 infections because they make antibodies that deactivate their own interferon. Interferon issues might cause the most severe cases and as many as 14 percent of fatalities.

Science has still no answer about the “long haulers” (that are people suffering from symptoms that go on and on) or about possible long lasting damage of lung, heart, liver, kidneys, nerve system, and brain.

We better wait for a really safe one. Two participants in the AstraZeneca trial became seriously ill after getting its experimental vaccine.
Could that also happen with a COVID-19 vaccine production facility?
Isolation and opioids during the pandemic.
They have a point, when they warn about masks. Wearing tightly fitting KN95 masks without exhalation valve (the only ones which reliably protect against aerosol virus transmission) is strenuous and even unhealthy, if one has to use them for a longer time. One has to weigh benefits and risks in every individual situation.
Sars-CoV-2 is more resilient than other viruses.
Discussing the Swedish strategy.
A pandemic of bad science.
About possible neurological consequences of a Covid-19 infection.
COVID-19 can affect the heart.
Vietnam made it right a second time.

Imperial news:

Why did the USA pandemic response fail? Possible explanations:

Lack of social cohesion and profit-oriented health care (which doesn’t benefit from prevention). 

And: Lack of sober, reality based judgement and analysis at every level of society. Dreams of greatness (MAGA), illusions of superiority (shining city on the hill, leader of the free world), resulting in hubris, arrogance, and overconfidence. 

Further: A social discourse via slogans, catchphrases, posters, bumper stickers, memes, simplifying and misrepresenting every topic. 

Media deception and distraction (the Hollywood dream machine, pompous TV-shows, advertising everywhere), and a pretentious, artificial, and superficial pop culture (C&W, heavy metal, disco, techno, hip-hop).

(The mentioned features and traits cannot be generalized and there are for sure places, communities, and individuals where nothing of this applies.)

Drinking water contamination.
This is not health care, this is the shameless exploitation of the weak and vulnerable. This is weeding out the unfit.
Cindy Sheehan has survived the wildfires and the smoke and continues fighting the empire. Please visit her website.

Imperial conquest news:

There is a growing danger that the Trump administration, which has already announced it plans to dispute the results of the November presidential election, may try to start a war with Iran in a pre-election “October surprise.” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Iraqi President Barham Salih that he aims to withdraw US troops and diplomats stationed in Iraq since the 2003 US invasion. If they stayed, they would be vulnerable to revenge attacks in case of a war with Iran.

Iran launched limited missile strikes on US bases in Iraq after the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in January.

Reuters cited unnamed Western diplomats who said Pompeo was announcing this because Washington does not “want to be limited in their options” against pro-Iranian forces in Iraq. “Asked whether he expected Washington to respond with economic or military measures, the diplomat replied: Strikes.

These threats are bound up with Washington’s confrontation with both China, which is negotiating a military alliance and 400 billion US$ trade deal with Iran, and Russia. The USA is threatening to enforce a ban on renewed Russian and Chinese arms exports to Iran, which could see US warships seize Russian and Chinese vessels on the high seas.

To counter the danger of US piracy, the Venezuelan VLCC tanker AYACUCHO is now registered under the Russian flag and got the name MAKSIM GORKY.
Trump wanted to kill Syrian President Assad and regrets that he was deterred by then-Defense Secretary James Mattis.
It’s so hard to spin the Bolivian coup into a story that sees Morales as culprit that one could feel pity for the BBC journalists who are ordered to do this hatched job.
The arrogance of Western colonial powers is breathtaking.

Armageddon news (WWIII):


Armageddon news (wildfires):

Persistent bad air from wildfires.
Wildfires plus pandemic intensify economic pain.

Armageddon news (refugees):


Uncategorized news:

We are entering not only a period of deep recession but also a period of deep repression. Be on guard and wary of the “thought police.”

Important, please read!
Andre Vltchek was a gifted writer, an uncompromising, forceful critic and detractor of the ruling elites and the madness of imperial conquest. This is a great loss!
Every time, when scientific research shows that our fellow animals are more intelligent than we thought and their consciousness is highly developed, we have to ask, why we treat them so badly.
And the answer is: We kill them because we can and because we are savage beasts. We kill even our own kin. We are the scourge of the earth!
Another sober assessment and an emotional appeal for localization, for slowing down, and for respecting and saving nature.

News from cat land:

The cats are fine. As it gets cooler, they again change their status from outdoor to indoor cats. It’s good to have a dry, warm, and safe place. Most animals and even a sizeable number of humans don’t have that.

The harvest was good, the apple yield was exceptional. I’m collecting the fallen leaves who otherwise would suffocate the ground vegetation (moss, sedum variants, strawberries) and that will go on for many month.

The pictures are from recent forest walks, which will continue even as it gets colder.

One comment

  1. Glad that you, the cats, and the garden are well. We are well, and our garden is beautiful. Lots of rare birds, finding refuge from the West Coast fires.


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