Links November 21 2020

November 21, 2020

Garden work, music practice, and the cats take most of my time. I wanted to write about Belarus, Nagorno-Karabakh, and isolated self-sufficient small groups, but all I can manage is to write down a few central points and ideas. 

The color revolution in Belarus, ignited and fueled by Western NGOs, has failed.

The protest movement still sets the tone in online media and on social networks. But even there, the presence of the opposite side is quite noticeable, suggesting that Lukashenko’s base persists and even broadens. It’s not only factory workers and the rural communities, there is no shortage of business owners supporting Lukashenko.

Alexander Klaskovsky, the doyen of opposition journalism, writes: “… but the representatives of the opposition will probably have to look for compromises with Lukashenko.”

A success of the attempted color revolution would not necessarily have meant a turn to the West. Well known opposition leaders like Viktar Babarika, Siarhei Tsikhanousk, Andrei Dmitriev, and Tatyana Korotkevich are thought to be pro Russia and there is a turf war between the various factions. 

Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya calls from abroad for a general strike on October 26 ultimately fell flat. And street demonstrations have been shrinking with each passing week in Minsk, while vanishing in provincial towns. In this situation, conditions finally seem right for the Kremlin to nudge President Lukashenko into starting political reforms.

Moscow wants those reforms in order to decentralize power in Belarus after Lukashenko’s departure. A leadership with competing actors would open Belarus to Russian influence. Russia exploits Lukashenko’s current vulnerability to impose those reforms on him. Moscow needs Lukashenko as president to shepherd the constitutional reform through a time-limited transition period and then bow out.

The Belarusian leader though is widely believed to be playing for time, and given the volatile situation in Minsk, Putin cannot risk pushing for a fast track of constitutional reforms or for new elections. 

The War between Azerbaijan and Armenia about the enclave Nagorno-Karabakh, populated by ethnic Armenians and independent since 1994, ended with the victory of Azerbaijan, which conquered the southern half of the enclave and most of the surrounding districts which were lost in a bloody war raging from 1988 to 1994.

The victory of Azerbaijan was enabled by massive military support from Turkey and the use of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles, commonly called drones).

Russian President Vladimir Putin coaxed the two sides to a ceasefire agreement, which will be monitored and, if necessary, enforced by 2,000 Russian peacekeepers. 

The Lachin corridor, a mountain pass in the province of Kashatagh, will be the only passageway between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia has already set up seven temporary observation posts, tanks and Grad missile launchers from the Transcaucasian military district were also spotted.

Turkey’s parliament approved a troop deployment to join Russian forces at an observation post in Nagorno-Karabakh, but Russian officials say that Ankara’s involvement will be limited to the monitoring center’s work on Azerbaijani soil, and Turkish peacekeepers would not go to Nagorno-Karabakh.

There are signs of Turkish efforts or preparations beyond the joint monitoring center with Russia. Erdogan might be mulling a military presence for other eventualities, including military intervention and even war.


Putin is still brilliant, he outshines every other world leader with only Xi Jinping left as equal (no wonder the two are loathed in Western political circles and demonized in the media).

The 2018 Armenian color revolution, which replaced Serzh Sargsyan by Nikol Pashinyan, may be now regretted by most Armenians. While Sargsyan had a friendly, even close relationship with Putin, Pashinyan was seen as Western leaning, up to the point of aspiring NATO membership.

But the West did not come to Armenia’s rescue and Putin remained an observer on the side lines, though a Krasukha-4S EW system in Armenia downed some Turkish drones just to show what could be.

Feline news:

Beautiful pictures and a heartwarming story.

Against the odds:

The coronavirus pandemic is bringing US greenhouse gas emissions to their lowest level in three decades.

Caused largely by a steep drop in air and automobile travel, the 9 percent reduction in 2020 emissions projected by a private research organization would put the nation back on track to meet its commitments under the Paris climate accord, though President Trump has pulled out of the agreement.


Recently I met a person which was unusually calm and composed. I watched for a while and then I had to ask frankly: “Are you happy?”

Yes,” was the answer.

I continued: “But look, there are so many unhappy people here. How can one be happy in this ocean of unhappiness?

The person, a woman in her fifties, answered: “What sense does it make to be unhappy? What would be the benefits? Feeling unhappy only makes everything worse. It drains your energy, it makes you sick, it hinders you acting reasonable.”

You could be poor, hungry, unloved, and in pain. You could be destitute, with your pleas for help being unheard. You could be rejected and prevented to reach the places of affluence and abundance.”

A billion people experience such dire conditions. Me and you, we surely are better off then they are. So what reason do we have to be unhappy? The only reason I see is our inability to alleviate their suffering.”

I know, many people are mentally disturbed, traumatized, even psychotic. They are deeply unhappy and envy the happy ones. They will try to backstab you, trick you, make you as unhappy as they are.”

Just avoid them and look out for persons who are sane, wise, and happy. They can teach you about happiness and maybe one day you yourself can become a teacher of happiness.”

Meditation will help, a frugal, humble lifestyle will help, smiling, laughing will help, embracing nature will help, caring for others will help.” 

Bobby McFerrin sang a simple song about this. It’s a simple song because it’s a simple matter. It is not rocket science and one doesn’t have to be a scientist to understand it.”

She stopped and smiled: “Sorry that I talk so much. I don’t want to proselytize, I just tried to answer your question truthful and completely. I hope my answer was understandable and helpful.”

There’s not much more I need to say. I told you the direction, the journey you have to make yourself. Have a good day and have a good life!


Environmental news:

The usual diet of industrial food contains too much sugar, fat, salt, and meat. it is contaminated with agricultural chemicals (pesticides, fertilizer) and many other substances, which are emitted or disbursed by human activity and can be found in air, water, and soil. 

Humans emit more than 250 billion tonnes of chemical substances a year. This can be agricultural chemicals, mining residues, industrial waste and spills, degrading plastic materials (micro-plastics), household chemicals, paint, ink, household waste, pharmaceutical drugs, batteries, and discarded electronics.

The pollutants are found everywhere; mercury is found in polar bears, Mount Everest’s snow is so polluted it fails to meet WHO drinking water standards, DDT, banned since 1972, can be detected in every human hair sample.

Some 40,000 to 60,000 chemicals are used in consumer products, and most of them are not tested for safety. Even if they would be tested, synergistic effects in combination with other chemicals and long time genetic defects, appearing only in future generations, could still not be ruled out.

Main contaminants are: pesticides (atrazine, chlorpyrifos, glyphosate, neonicotinoids, malathion, metolachlor, pyrethroids, paraquat, alachlor, 2,4-D, dicamba, bifenthrin, CCA), plastics (which can include dioxins, phthalates, vinyl chloride, ethylene dichloride, lead, cadmium, etc), phthalates (endocrine disrupters), flame retardants (brominated OFRs, TBBPA, HBCD OPFRs), bisphenol (like BPA), PFAS (forever chemicals), dioxins and furans, heavy metals (mercury, lead, arsenic, cadmium, etc.), widely used household chemicals (ethylene glycol, Carpet cleaners with naphthalene or perchloroethylene, ammonia, formaldehyde), bleach (sodium hypochlorite, chlorine), micro-plastics, and nanoparticles.

These chemicals, found in food and in everyday consumer goods can result in cancers, chronic diseases, and damage to immune system. 60 percent of US-Americans have one and 40 percent have multiple chronic conditions, like allergies, arthritis, asthma, cancer, cystic fibrosis, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, obesity, osteoporosis, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis.

This is a useful overview of the current situation, but one crucial aspect is missing: Technology (TV, telecommunication), urbanization, specialization, digitalization (computers, robots, smartphones) lead to a sedentary lifestyle, which causes high blood pressure, cardiovascular diseases, thromboses, and strokes.
Some numbers to illustrate agricultures essential contribution to climate change.
The European Union fails again to reduce waste.
First subsidies for industrial agriculture, now for natural gas. The European “Green Deal” is systematically undermined.
How to frustrate, sabotage, corrupt, or co-opt environmental movements.
Should we be scared? Only if the future of our children and grandchildren matters to us. Only if nature with its richness of life matters to us.
This is maybe anti-Iran propaganda, but the accusations look plausible.
Humanities war against hedgehogs (and all other fellow animals).

Economic news:

Business Travel might never look the same in the wake of the virus, because the ease of videoconferencing could put a permanent dent in corporate trips. That’s chilling news for airlines, hotels, restaurants, and others that rely on business travelers. Corporate travel until now represented 21 percent of all travel spending globally.

The European Central Bank will step up intervention as European banks face a rise in non-performing loans.
Destroying small farms and promoting meat factories with unproven assumptions and a flawed argumentation.
China needs globalization to secure its position as the world’s factory and to increase its influence. The RCEP has been heralded as a strategic and symbolic win for China, but the direct economic impact may be marginal and will not offset the US trade war impact on China’s economy.
Forced self-sufficiency for Ozzies. It could be beneficial in the long term.
Airline industry downsizing.
1 percent of people cause half of global aviation emissions.
World economy engulfed by “debt tsunami.”

Pandemic news

How do city dwellers deal with lockdowns, social distancing, and isolation? They probably break the rules, and one cannot blame them for that, because we are mostly social animals. People will go crazy if this goes on for some more month.

Could self-sufficient circles of friends, eco-villages, neighborhood communities, remote hamlets, or other organized groups of people be a solution?  Ideally group membership should be below the Dunbar number of 150. Ideally members should have a wide variety of skills and interests. A physician (or medic or nurse), a baker, an electrician, a plumber, a teacher, an organizer should be in the group or in a nearby group. People who like to fix and mend things would be very welcome.

Such a group should be able to minimize physical contacts with the outside world. All necessary supplies would be either produced locally or ordered online. The delivery of ordered goods and the pick up of self-produced and exported ware would follow strict rules avoiding any physical contact.

Even such a group with the strong common goal of making it alive through a deadly pandemic will see personal tensions, disagreements, antipathy, even hostility. There has to be a counselor, maybe also a judge and a police officer in bigger groups.

There have been many trials and experiments of self-sufficient groups, some well documented. The results were often disheartening, but the pandemic would surely increase the urgency to make such a group work. 

UN warnings of a growing hunger crisis are becoming reality in multiple countries. The pandemic is adding a further burden on families struggling to feed themselves already amid collapsing economies and war. UN agencies say some 250 million people in 20 countries are threatened with sharply spiking malnutrition or even famine, and billions in aid would be needed.

The wisdom of pandemics: Eliminate the agents of instability.
The wise response of humans: Integrate harmoniously (in the least disruptive way) into nature. Don’t fight nature, because nature will fight back and exterminate homo sapiens.
A Covid-19 infection could make one mentally retarded.
Another study finds brain damage in recovered Covid-19 patients.
An asymptomatic Covid-19 carrier did shed virus particles for 70 days.
Why are there 15 million Mink held captive to be killed for their fur? Why are fur coats still allowed?
If mink on a farm are infected , suffering respiratory problems and are not being culled, their welfare will also be seriously compromised.” How humane, to care about the welfare of farmed animals by killing them.
Remote learning cannot adequately replace regular classes.
Competition to Pfizer’s vaccine has to be eliminated.
PFAS (known as “forever chemicals”) could reduce the efficacy of vaccines.

Media, technology, and propaganda news:

Caitlin Johnston about propaganda:

If people were able to see clearly what’s actually happening, none of our major problems would exist. Wars could not happen. Exploitative financial and economic models would not be tolerated. Political systems rigged to advantage the wealthy and the powerful would be torn down. Anyone who attempted to manipulate perception away from truth to the advantage of the powerful would be immediately rejected and marginalized. Anyone who allowed the weak to suffer so the affluent can have more would be seen as a monster.

The USA has complete control over the internet and is able to close down any web address it doesn’t like.
ICANN is the not-for-profit organization that regulates online addresses, known as domain names, and their suffixes, such as “.com” and “. org”. Since ICANN reports to the US government’s Department of Commerce, the domain name process is effectively overseen by the US government.
Early adopters are underwhelmed by 5G performance.

Imperial news:

At the moment I’m listening to gospel great Bishop Rance Allen, who passed away at the age of 71. He had an incredible voice. This kind of music, easily drowned out by the mechanical, computer generated noises of todays pop culture, still finds its audience.

African American music is an essential contribution to the worlds cultural heritage. Blues, jazz, gospel, R&B, soul. How could a nation with such great music become a menace to the world? Yet, this is a very diverse society with little social cohesion. Few rules apply — it’s the Wild West, literally. 

There is also C&W, punk, heavy metal, hip hop, disco, techno, all styles which reflect the deep fissures in US society. Kurt Cobain committed suicide, one of many famous musicians who found a violent end.

As expected, the presidential candidate representing the coalition of deep state (CIA, State Department, Washington bureaucracy), MIC (military industrial complex), Wall Street, the bigs (Ag, Food, Pharma, banks, corporations, etc), and the billionaire class has won. Actually, there were even two candidates from the coalition, but that is a minor detail. One of them has won and business (profit) friendly policies will continue. 

The US establishment is in a dark mood, one that is not encouraging for peace under any president. China has earned extreme dislike because the USA cannot compete economically. It is silly to think that you must lead the world when you are constantly outrun, but that is the attitude of US elites, used to having things their way. 

The main area where the USA still stands out is the extraordinary quantity of weapons it makes, uses, and sells to others. That is also one of the enduring grievances against Russia, which has the capacity from its Soviet legacy to obliterate the USA. A country like that cannot just be ignored while you stomp around the globe commanding people.

Will Biden stop military and economic war against disliked nations? No.
Will he “bring the boys home” from Afghanistan, Syria, Iraq, and the hundred other countries where US forces are deployed? No.
Will he reduce yearly military spending of (all included) one trillion US$? No.

So, why all the fuss about the elections?

Three Catholic activists from the group known as the Kings Bay Plowshares Seven were sentenced to between 10-14 months in prison.
Thinning out the prison population.
An FBI report on hate crimes found that more murders motivated by hate were recorded in 2019 than in any year before.
The US health care system at breaking point.

Imperial conquest news:

Conflicts the United States initiated, escalated, or participated in — specifically, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, the Philippines, Somalia, Syria, and Yemen — have displaced between 40 and 60 million people.

A war hawk as Secretary of Defense.
A second coup can still not be ruled out.
This is outrageous, but everyone who brings up this atrocity will be called an antisemite.
Israeli checkpoints.
Mafia state Kosovo.
Ottoman empire.
Australian elite troops murdered 39 Afghan civilians in cold blood.

Armageddon and WWIII news:

NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg: “in such an uncertain world, nuclear weapons continue to play a vital role in preserving peace.” That should make it clear to everybody: The more nuclear warheads, the more peace!
Or: No peace without nuclear bombs. Or:
war is peace
freedom is slavery
ignorance is strength

Uncategorized news:

Ukraine and Turkey have moved further to strengthen a rapidly growing military alliance that is aimed at cornering Russia out of the Black Sea region.
More refugees and less willingness to help.
An armed conflict in Tigray threatens the break up of Ethiopia.

News from cat land

Here in the middle of Europe it is mild and it rains quite often. Some plants think that spring comes again and develop new sprouts or leaves. This is not good because when it gets really cold all their effort will be in vain and the plants will have less energy to grow again and repeat everything in spring. Nature has a hart time to adapt to global warming.

Second pandemic lockdown here. I don’t go anywhere outside my territory, which is the house, the garden, and the adjacent forest. An area big enough that one never feels claustrophobic. I didn’t enter any other building since March, I didn’t go shopping, and I replenished supplies via a delivery service. My pantry and the four freezers are full, my stocked essentials should last for one year.

It is more quiet here again. No trucks, tractors, hunters SUV’s, or some annoying neighbors who avoid even the shortest walk — driving from here to there just for the fun of it.

It is peacefully, bur eerily quiet. I should love it, and yet, without my dear cat companions I would feel a bit uncomfortable.

Our sweet cat girl Rita is at the top of her game. Over summer and especially in autumn it became clear that she is now the fastest and most skilled cat of the family, the most accomplished mouse catcher and best tree climber. Who could have imagined that when I brought her home from the animal asylum, a little kitten suffering from a persistent cold, infected with fleas and mites. 

Rita was not timid or hesitant even then. She knew exactly what she wanted and needed. Right from our first encounter in the animal asylum, where I volunteered, she showed me her affection and told me to adopt her and take her home.

What I finally did.

Rita reminds me of Pippi Longstocking (in Swedish Pippi Langstrump), the main character in four children’s books by the famous Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Maybe I will call her Rita Longstocking.

Just like Pippi, Rita is playful, independent, and full of boundless energy. Rita has no suitcase with gold coins like Pippi, but she doesn’t need one. She catches more mice than she can eat and presents the surplus every morning on the kitchen floor.

Rita is a female ginger cat, which is rare (most ginger cats are male) and, even more remarkable, she is already the second female ginger cat in my life.

The first one was Lizzy, a feral cat which I saved from certain death after the mowing machine of a farmer cut off her left front paw. Lizzy was the cat love of my life and though the memory of her slowly fades, I will never forget her.


Rita is not a replacement of Lizzy, she is a person in her own right, just like Lizzy was a person in here own right. 

Rita and Gandhi Jr., the other ginger cat of the family are still best friends. She adores him, but her vitality and constant activity are often too much for him. He certainly would like to have a little more peace and quiet. Rita has still to learn that sometimes he just needs a break.

Gandhi Jr. is now as old as his mother Mia was, when she died of cancer five years ago. I hope that he has no genetic disposition to cancer, because his death would be a devastating blow to Rita — and also of course to me.

Gandhi Jr. was Ritas mentor, he told her everything he new, the rest she discovered by herself. Now she is the boss. As the saying goes: “The teacher who is not eclipsed by his best pupils is not a good teacher.”



  1. What lovely advice you shared from the happy woman! Cheers to you and the cats!


  2. Like always, an amazing amount of information. Good news about Belarus. Maybe the color revolutions fail when people know what they are. Yay!

    I have become convinced that the fearmongering attending the covid epidemic is politically motivated. I have looked and looked, and the only way to find out what is happening is to look at “total natural deaths” (often published weekly) and to see if there is anything unusual going on by comparing with last year, or even better, comparing with the average of the last 5 or 6 years. Look for what statisticians term “excess deaths.” Clearly, something is going around, but is it the horror all MSMs try to portray it as?

    Wonderful to see your kitties doing so well. You are lucky to have them to help you stay sane. Great pics, as usual. :-) Hug.


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