Links October 26 2020

October 26, 2020

Pandemic fatigue combined with seasonal autumn blues clouds many peoples minds. Time to remember the positive feelings which are so beneficial to our mental and physical health. Time to listen, watch, look at, or read mementos of these feelings.

Time to listen to ones musical favorites, which can be anything from Bach fugues to Indian Ragas, Gospel hymns, Flamencos, Tangos, Alpine yodeling, or Mongolian throat singing.

Time to watch the birds as they prepare for the cold and dark days of winter. Time to make a quiet walk in the forest. Time to read the books of wisdom and the stories of resilience. Time to recite softly some of the following words: content, satisfaction, fulfillment, happiness, harmony, pleasure, cheerfulness, joy, gladness, delight, gratification, ease, comfort, restfulness, well-being, peace, calm, equanimity, serenity, tranquillity.

And as you listen to music, or watch nature, or read a book, or speak one of these words, remember the associated feeling, relax, smile, breathe effortlessly, and let the feeling take over your body.

You my say: But how can I feel happiness and peace, when my most primal urges are unfulfilled, when the cold winds of adversity, injustice, discrimination, and exclusion blow in my face, when misfortune and loneliness make me suffer?

And the distant blogger can only respond: You share your fate with billions of fellow humans and trillions of fellow living beings. Life is suffering, the four Noble Truths of Buddhism still stand.

But why should you make your life even more miserable with desperation, distress, and agony? This will not help you, it will only make you sick. Feeling content and being calm doesn’t mean that you give up the fight for a better future, it rather helps you endure and gives you strength to improve your life.

Something completely different:

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s comments to the Valdai Club about a possible military alliance with China raised eyebrows. Asked about the possibility of such an alliance, Putin remarked that, “we don’t need it, but, theoretically it’s possible to imagine it.” Putin pointed to recent joint Russian-Chinese military exercises as evidence of the two countries’ growing cooperation, and noted that Russia has provided China with modern technology to enhance its military power. Speaking of a possible alliance, Putin concluded that, “time will show how it will develop.”

Somewhat similar ideas were coming out of the mouth of Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In response to the threat of more EU sanctions, Lavrov commented:

The people who are responsible for Western foreign policy do not understand the need for mutually respectful dialogue, we probably have to suspend dialogue with them for a while. Especially since Ursula von der Leyen [President of the European Commission] is saying that geopolitical cooperation with the current Russian authorities is not working. So let it be if that’s what they want.”

The pivot to Asia is an inevitable product not only of the rise of China but also of the fact that Europe is governed by international institutions established during the Cold War, most notably the EU (European Union) and NATO. These are by their very natures incapable of including the Russian Federation. 

There is, it seems, a growing realization in Russia that it will never be accepted as an equal partner and that the struggle for recognition by the West is pointless.

And yet, Putin declared in an interview aired on the Rossiya-1 TV channel: “I’ll say it once again: we have no need to fight the American presence [in Afghanistan]… The US presence in Afghanistan still contributes … to stability in that country.” 

Russia has long been supportive of the presence of US troops in Afghanistan as it believes they contribute to the region’s stability and ultimately aid Russia’s national interests, and it has also been sharing counterterrorism intelligence. In one instance described by Putin, Russia helped the US retrieve an American citizen arrested in Syria on espionage charges. This person was transferred to Moscow and handed over to US officials.

Putin said: “The cooperation, which is mutually beneficial, could be even better, but we are still satisfied with it as it is.”

This after US support for the mujahideen (Operation Cyclone – Charlie Wilson’s war) brought down Mohammad Najibullah, the most humane leader Afghanistan ever had, and ultimately led to the takeover of the Taliban and Najibullah’s murder!

One can only hope, that Putin didn’t mean it for real.

The current state of the coronavirus pandemic suggests that Russia can learn and benefit from China much more than from the West.

Incompetence, bureaucratic overreach, corruption, cronyism, and crime do exist in most countries, but China does something against it. The anti-graft campaign, which started with the National Congress of the Communist Party in 2012, is still going on with 485.000 officials punished in 2019 (among them top securities regulator Liu Shiyu).

US blatant corruption, called euphemistically lobbying or campaign financing, would not be tolerated in China.

One should not forget, that social responsibility, solidarity, and compassion are part of communist ideology, though Chinese political culture is probably more determined by the 5,000 year old history of Chinese civilization (Confucius, Lao-Tsu) with its emphasis on duty, commitment, and discipline.

The exemplary success of China in reducing poverty could be a model not only for Russia but also most other nations, while the environmental record is nothing the Chinese leadership can be proud of.

Habitat destruction, chemical or radioactive contamination, unsustainable exploitation of resources, and bind faith in technological progress unfortunately characterize both Chinese and Russian economic policies.

Maybe President Xi Jinping and the Politburo Standing Committee one day will have a change of hearts in the face of looming ecological disaster. One can only hope that it will not be too late then.

Feline news:


Against the odds:

Important, please read!

Environmental news:

Global methane emissions rose 32 percent this year despite the economic slowdown. Methane accounts for a quarter of global warming emissions from human activities.

This is an ongoing story and it will most likely get worse.
After some 160 years, farmers discover that they don’t need that much phosphorus. Unfortunately, fertilizer runoff has now contaminated all waterbodies and destroyed irreplaceable aquatic life.
The Big Ag-lobby is doubling down on the destructive practices of industrial farming. Full speed ahead, as long as there is some intact nature left to destroy.
Not buying more stuff seems indeed the only way to reduce container ship pollution.
Please read this!
Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station is expected to release more than one million tons of radioactive water from the destroyed nuclear power plant into the ocean after the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games.

Economic news:

People save money, probably not only in the USA but also in other rich Western countries. They should not save into bank accounts or hoard banknotes. Inflation, inevitable after trillions of stimulus money were created out of nothing by the central banks, will devalue all savings denominated in fiat currency.
Nature unfortunately has no lobby, so industry always wins in the political arena.
Good news for all. If the billionaires earn more they can employ more people and pay higher wages. How could inequality be a problem? Just ask the superrich politely to pay more taxes and fund community projects instead of election campaigns. And if that doesn’t help, pay stimulus money to everybody so that people can buy more stuff and factories can produce more and economic growth with higher profits will trickle down to even the poorest.
IMF reports on global economy.
China beats the world with 4.9 percent GDP growth. Good news for Chinese mega-corporations like Alibaba, bad news for nature.

Pandemic news:

Every person with some common sense and logical thinking ability predicted a second wave but no government prepared for it.

In most countries authorities didn’t restrict super-spreader events, like schools, day care centers, overcrowded buses or trains, they didn’t spend money to make places pandemic-proof with shields or capable ventilation systems equipped with HEPA filters, and they didn’t hire more health workers. Health care workers worldwide suffer from COVID-19 14 times more often than the general population and are exhausted and dispirited. Many have resigned.

Outbreaks in nursing homes, refugee shelters, and prisons are reportedly increasing again. Is this a covert policy to reduce overpopulation?

According to the US CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), the pandemic caused 299,000 more US deaths than in a typical year. Two-thirds of the excess deaths are from the disease itself and one-third from other causes. Covid-19 has taken a disproportionate toll on Latinos and Blacks, but, surprisingly, also has struck 25- to 44-year-olds hard.
About “long Covid.”
Persons with blood type O are less vulnerable to Sars-CoV-2. This was already confirmed by a study two month ago. So the evidence now seems quite solid.
Nothing new but a reminder not to ignore or downplay the risks.
The rise in chronic diseases, most likely caused by chemical pollution, unhealthy diets, and a sedentary lifestyle, makes people more vulnerable to Sars-CoV-2.
Again: Use N95 if possible. Unfortunately a tightly fitting N95 is very uncomfortable and unhealthy, if used longtime.
Next comes a pandemic of depression.
As predicted, the second wave is here.
Erdogan’s Turkey, another example of “back to school, back to work” policy.
Either using gloves when or washing hands after handling frozen food. Taking no chance and avoiding every possible risk gets more and more complicated.
Older people who report greater levels of social engagement have more robust gray matter in regions of the brain relevant in dementia. Which means that social isolation caused by the pandemic is likely to increase dementia.
The engines of SARS-CoV-2 spread.

Media, technology, and propaganda news:

Doubters of the official Syria narrative have to be silenced.
Twitter and Facebook tighten censorship to secure a Biden win.
The media smear-campaign against Jeremy Corbyn.

Imperial news:

Republican Senator Mitt Romney complained about “rabid” attacks from both sides. “The world is watching America with abject horror; more consequentially, our children are watching. Many Americans are frightened for our country — so divided, so angry, so mean, so violent.”

Rudeness and viciousness of US public discourse are only a symptom of a brutal and cruel society, where competition (cutthroat capitalism, social Darwinism), deception (Hollywood, bombastic TV-shows, ubiquitous advertising, propaganda by Edward Bernays’ disciples), and indifference (inequality, racism, insufficient health care and social security) are the norm.

What else would one expect from a nation which was built upon the genocide of native Americans and the slave labor of kidnapped Africans?

What else would one expect from a nation with the biggest military, the highest military spending (all funds included some 1 trillion US$), and the worldwide greatest number of firearms in civilian possession? The Pentagon is the worlds largest employer with 3.2 million on its payroll. There are 800 military bases spread all around the globe.

The USA has overtly or covertly intervened in 190 countries and is at the moment involved in some 130 military conflicts. The USA is the only nation who ever launched nuclear bombs. The USA ignores international law and even threatens the ICC and various UN organizations.

There is no sugarcoating around this and some nicer words will not change the character of US society. It is good that the uncivilized bickering in the election frenzy makes people around the world aware of the true “American spirit.”

We have to thank Trump for exposing the true nature of US America.

And yet, one should never generalize. There were and still are great US personalities, Nobel laureates, artists, and visionaries. Writers like Mark Twain, Upton Sinclair, Jack London, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Vonnegut. I enjoyed at one point in my life the small town stories of Garrison Keillor. His Lake Wobegon is now probably “flyover country” and in 2017 Keillor was undone by MeToo. 

African American Music (jazz, blues, R&B, gospel, soul) is arguably the greatest US contribution to world culture. It shows how diversity can spawn ingenious artistic expressions. Many of the most celebrated musicians though had a tragic end.

OWS (Occupy Wall Street) fizzled out. BLM (Black Lives Matter) seems to be strong at the moment and one can only hope that it doesn’t fade away like OWS. Unfortunately there are many individuals, who use the protests to riot, loot, or just let off steam, and they discredit the cause. 

The peace movement it represented by a few unwavering activists. On September 30 Ardeth Platte, Dominican nun and antinuclear activist, died at 84. Sister Ardeth spent years behind bars for her beliefs.

The US budget deficit will reach 3.1 trillion US$ in 2020.

Joe Biden’s record.

Imperial conquest news:

Color revolutions are failing quite often. And there is not one example where they improved peoples lives.
No, we have not forgotten Bandar bin Sultan (Bandar bin Bush), Saudi conspirator and dealmaker, and also not Mohammed Dahlan, envisioned Wester viceroy in Palestine, but their usefulness most likely has expired.
About Yemen.
MAS has won, and the coup plotters will hopefully held accountable. But there is an alternative view:
Arce’s victory does not represent a return to Morales’ national project.

WWIII news:
Progress everywhere. The US army will get new revolutionizing tanks. But it makes one wonder: They talk of defense spending and defense companies? Why does the US army need tanks to defend the homeland? Is there really a danger that millions of Chinese or Russian soldiers will cross the Pacific or Atlantic and invade the USA in a D-Day style operation?
This article makes many valid points but in the last third of the text mixes in a bold conspiracy speculation. Lockdowns are not a ploy to ruin China (though Western policy makers for sure would be quite happy if it would work out this way), but a desperate measure of last resort after the governments have run out of ideas how to slow the pandemic. China btw had the strictest lockdowns of all countries.
The mentioned “great reseat” or “green new deal” are just conceptual ideas to appease worried citizens who realize that the relentless poisoning, exploitation, and destruction of the worlds ecosystems leads straight to catastrophe. The distinction between “industrial capitalism” in China and “financial capitalism” in the West is also not that clear and there are other factors than geopolitical rivalry in play.
This piece could be considered as Western propaganda, especially because the Jamestown Foundation is mentioned, but it nevertheless contains useful informations.

Uncategorized news:
Forceful evictions in Berlin from the alternative housing project Leibig 34.

News from cat land:

My 12 year old cat girl Wendy has recovered, the anti-worming pill apparently did help. She regularly occupies now Princess Min Ki’s favorite resting place, but the Princess has already found another quiet location. Gandhi Jr. rests mainly in aunt Rosy’s favorite basket. Rosy sadly disappeared in spring and he surely is missing her. 

I will stop ordering food deliveries because stocks are now sufficient to last one year. In fall 2021 it should be apparent how the pandemic pans out, if the old normal is restored somehow, or if everything has to be reorganized and rebuilt from scratch.

Just imagine:

A new vision of sustainable, frugal technology, a new localized economy, a new regenerative agriculture, a new harmonious and cooperative integration with nature, a new equitable social contract based on love and respect, and new direct democratic institutions.

Aren’t that exciting prospects? Isn’t that something worth to fight for? Ain’t it justified to plan and prepare for such a development?

One comment

  1. I like the cat basket! I also enjoy your advice for healthy living.


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