Archive for the ‘About this blog’ Category

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Links November 2018

November 2, 2018

Most of us obtain our knowledge of the world by two different channels. Some things we discover from personal experiences and the direct messages of our senses, other information comes to us via external sources such as books, media corporations, and the internet. A crisis may develop when we discover that these two information channels are in sharp conflict.

Trustful media consumers will eventually suffer from cognitive dissonance, a mental discomfort and psychological stress which is experienced by people who simultaneously hold two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values.

More skeptical media users will desert corporate media, the established “alternative media,” and social media platforms to look for other information sources.

The blogosphere, independent journalists, and issue forums are still a viable option and a good chance to avoid corporate media brainwashing. One could of course investigate personally what is going on in the various corners of the globe, but that is dangerous, expensive, and long distance travel is ecologically harmful.

Having personal connections with people in other continents, building friendships and exchanging private thoughts with them will give you insights about what is really going on in their place. Speaking foreign languages fluently will allow you to discover hidden elements and subtleties in their stories, revealing aspects of their life that they themselves maybe are not even aware of. Unfortunately I can only speak two languages fluently, I’m not talented in languages.

Video chat could be the ideal way to build strong relationships with overseas people. I liked to use Skype, but after Microsoft bought Skype in 2011, it damaged and impeded the service with subsequent updates to a level where it is nearly unusable. Facebook’s Messenger video chat is out of the question. If you know an unobtrusive video chat service please let me know, I’m thankful for every hint. 

I would like to have more interaction with other bloggers, at least with the ones who are subscribers and readers of my blog. I should comment their texts, carefully read them and discuss their ideas, or at least encourage them with a click on the “like” button.

I should publish posts here more regularly.

If I only would have enough time for such activities. Compiling or composing a blog post takes a whole day or longer. Some bloggers publish several pieces a week, how are they able to do it? They are probably better writers, are more clever than I am, don’t mind to sit on the computer for hours.
I do what I can, telling the little wisdom which I gathered throughout my life in random and rare postings, hoping that it is helpful to the casual visitor.

I found this email in my inbox:

I’m writing to you in place of William Blum.
I’m his friend, his ex-wife, and the mother of his son, who lives in Germany.
He will not be able to write his
Anti-Empire Report.
He had a very bad fall in his apartment. There he lay for many hours, maybe up to two days, unable to move, until a friend found him.
He was taken to the ICU. He is no longer in critical condition, but he is still confused, extremely weak, and can’t move his right arm.
He has been in the hospital for more than two weeks now, and it is impossible to say how much longer he has to stay there, and he will certainly need long-term care.
As you may guess, he does not have the best of insurances. Which means: he eeds your help!
If you wish, you can donate to Bill using the button below:
DONATE

Feline and horse news:

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/esmod-international-fashion-show-cat-runway-istanbul-turkey/
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/cats-may-have-duped-us-about-being-great-rat-catchers/
https://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-news-from-elsewhere-46031042?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.com/news/topics/cvjk7vv0w40t/cats&link_location=live-reporting-story
https://www.treehugger.com/animals/why-miniature-horses-make-such-great-service-animals.html 

Environmental news:

According to the WHO (World Health Organization), nine out of 10 people in the world breathe polluted air and seven million people die every year due to exposure to fine particles, with outdoor air pollution comprising the lion’s share.

The US federal Climate Prediction Center foresees an El Niño system, a band of warm water that periodically appears in the Pacific Ocean, developing in time for this upcoming winter. This means that 2019 will likely be the hottest year in recorded history.

USA Today reported this latest harbinger of a climate apocalypse with the headline: “Forecasters Say El Nino Will Keep Cold Under Control.

The article twice tells that El Nino is a “natural climate pattern,” but never mentions that it is occurring in the context of human-caused climate change.

David Sirota writes: The planet’s biggest shield against climate change – the Amazon rainforest – was just put under the control of a maniacal right-winger who will likely pursue a deforestation plan. This will get zero media coverage, even though it threatens the survival of all life on Earth.

Frederick Engels warned in the nineteenth century, “Let us not…flatter ourselves overmuch on account of our human victories over nature. For each such victory nature takes its revenge on us. Each victory, it is true, in the first place brings about the results we expected, but in the second and third places it has quite different, unforeseen effects which only too often cancel the first.”

https://ensia.com/articles/wild-greens/
https://www.nrdc.org/onearth/how-did-farmer-brown-bring-his-dying-land-back-brink
https://www.scmp.com/news/china/science/article/2166542/air-pollution-killing-1-million-people-and-costing-chinese
https://www.mprnews.org/story/2018/10/02/report-nitrate-drinking-water-costly-problem-for-small-rural-cities The bane of industrial farming.
https://meta.eeb.org/2018/10/03/how-did-this-small-italian-town-take-on-the-powerful-pesticide-industry/ Four years after voting against pesticide use lawyer for industry and trade unions still block the implementation.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/05/drought-laden-rainforests/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/05/north-carolina-farmers-learned-nothing-from-previous-hurricanes-as-over-4-million-animals-drown-during-florence/
https://www.treehugger.com/green-home/what-our-mothers-can-teach-us-about-plastic-free-living.html
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-45775309 From the special report about climate change, recommendation of lifestyle changes:
• buy less meat, milk, cheese and butter and more locally sourced seasonal food – throw less of it away
• drive electric cars but walk or cycle short distances
• take trains and buses instead of planes
• use videoconferencing instead of business travel
• use a washing line instead of a tumble dryer
• insulate homes
• demand low carbon in every consumer product.
https://theconversation.com/climate-change-will-increase-deaths-by-suicide-102156
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/10/06/655135633/fda-bans-use-of-7-synthetic-food-additives-after-environmental-groups-sue Synthetic flavors for synthetic industrial food. If nature collapses, our food will be made from algae, grown in gigantic pools. Or it will be harvested from cloned meat. Or be made of synthesized carbohydrates, proteins, fats, fibers, and alcohols plus excavated minerals, all processed and mixed in large chemical laboratories and chemical plants. Chose the formula you like best.
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/10/plastic-trash-from-the-sachet-economy-chokes-the-philippines-seas/
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/10/plastic-trash-from-the-sachet-economy-chokes-the-philippines-seas/ Robotic bees if the real ones die out. Will they also reproduce by themselves or does one need an energy and resource intensive factory to mass-produce them? Will they need batteries which have to be recharged or replaced?
I’d stick with the real bees, that seems to be the far more sensible solution.
https://qz.com/1419211/the-worlds-worst-plastic-polluters-ranked/
https://www.thecut.com/2018/10/why-is-everybody-freaking-out-about-declining-sperm-counts.html A wide-ranging and informative article.
https://monthlyreview.org/2018/09/01/making-war-on-the-planet/?utm
https://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/arctic-council-mercury-pcb-report-1.4863930 Climate change alone would be bad enough, but chemical pollution makes it even worse. And few ask, if we humans are really immune against the poisons, which we constantly emit in gigantic amounts into air, water, and soil.
https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/plastic-pollution-south-atlantic_us_5bc788f4e4b0b7cd198dbbbc
https://meta.eeb.org/2018/10/12/breaking-a-third-of-chemicals-break-european-safety-laws/
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/climate-change-mental-health-extreme-weather-stress-depression-us-ipcc-a8583601.html?
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/10/plastic-watch-recycling-woes.html
https://truthout.org/articles/eating-locally-and-in-season-is-it-really-better-for-the-environment/?key=45584594
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/29/air-pollution-worlds-children-breathing-toxic-air-who-study-finds We all pollute the air, some of us more, others less, and we all get sick from air pollution. Dr Maria Neira, WHO director of public health and the environment, knows what to do:
“…accelerating the switch to clean cooking and heating fuels and technologies, promoting the use of cleaner transport, energy-efficient housing and urban planning […] preparing the ground for low-emission power generation, cleaner, safer industrial technologies and better municipal waste management.”
Simple and straightforward, but where shall the money for these measures come from? The big corporations and the billionaires of the world will not pay, they rather want more tax cuts “to support economic growth and innovation.” And the governments obey and impose austerity which means that most environmental programs are starved of funds or terminated.
https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/10/31/wilderness-areas-vanishing-worldwide-report-says/1832558002/ 

Economic news:

http://www.intellinews.com/moscow-blog-capital-flight-figures-to-make-your-eyes-water-148974/ The global financial system is designed to exploit connected countries by the triad of Anglosphere, Western Europe, Japan + Asia Tigers. This could be easily changed by:
a) exiting the global financial system.
b) setting up bilateral clearing houses between nations which want to maintain trade relations.
c) increasing self sufficiency and barter trade.
Russian dependence on oil and gas sales is a problem, but this could be alleviated by increased sales to China (this is already gradually happening). From an ecological point of view, the Russian fossil fuels should remain in the ground anyway.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/imf-wb-wto-scaremongering-threats-on-de-globalization-and-tariffs-the-return-to-sovereign-nations/5656922
http://www.atimes.com/article/who-has-the-real-leverage-on-us-treasuries/?utm 

Media and technology news:

http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/883-blanket-silence-corporate-media-ignore-new-report-exposing-distorted-and-misleading-coverage-of-corbyn.html
https://daily.jstor.org/seymour-hersh-future-american-journalism/
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/10/05/pers-o05.html Internet censorship is real, and, as inequality and with it social tensions rise, it inevitably will get worse. Dark and dangerous times are ahead.
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/ralph-nader-advertising-is-destroying-the-internet/
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/10/11/cens-o11.html
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2018/10/12/facebook-twitter-purge-more-dissident-media-pages-in-latest-escalation/ Contains some links to independent news sites.
http://www.medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/884-caught-in-the-cross-hairs-media-lens-and-the-mystery-of-the-wikipedia-editor.html Wikipedia as a political tool, edits by Philip Cross (Oliver Kamm).
https://off-guardian.org/2018/05/15/wikipedia-takes-down-article-on-philip-cross-life-bans-author/
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/10/24/facebook-censorship-of-alternative-media-just-the-beginning-warns-top-neocon-insider/
Imperial news:

https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/trump-white-house-climate-change-731440/
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/10/thats-hell-act-call.html? Joan Baez exposed (unmasked). Don’t miss the comments.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/01/the-odyssey-of-otis-rush-1934-2018/ Must read.
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/typhus-reaches-epidemic-levels-parts-los-angeles-area-n917271
https://www.mercurynews.com/2018/10/10/letter-realities-of-life-as-a-homeless-woman-in-san-jose/
https://truthout.org/articles/more-than-3-6-million-us-children-dont-have-affordable-health-care/.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/10/24/home-o24.html
https://www.ehn.org/us-dams-are-in-disrepair-2608360261.html
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/10/25/rail-o25.html Killing public transport.
https://www.business-standard.com/article/international/14-yr-long-gulf-of-mexico-oil-spill-may-become-us-worst-offshore-disaster-118102200390_1.html
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/10/23/women-march-on-the-pentagon/ The brave people who protest war and drone killings still exist and keep hope alive.
https://www.marchonpentagon.com/march
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/31/the-hypocrisy-of-the-united-states-cuba-edition/
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/11/02/pers-n02.html Well formulated, well meant, and hopeless. We know that all, we have passed the state of analyzing, revealing, and shaming. But maybe this is only the visible and publicly accessible part of a movement which clandestinely works systematically and determined on a new consciousness, a new culture, a new society, a new economic, social, and political order.

Imperial conquest news:

According to the US Department of Commerce, defense industries account for nearly 15 percent of the economy, employ millions of people, and are a major revenue generator.
https://www.statista.com 

Speaking at a campaign rally in Nevada, President Donald Trump said that Washington will repudiate the 1987 INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) treaty and develop intermediate range nuclear missiles. “We’ll have to develop those weapons,” he said. “We’re going to terminate the agreement and we’re going to pull out.”

With this decision, Washington is scrapping the entire nuclear arms control framework that emerged from the Cold War. In 2001, Washington repudiated the 1972 ABM (Anti-Ballistic Missile) treaty, so it could begin working on a “Star Wars” anti-ballistic missile system to shoot down enemy ballistic missiles. Now it is scrapping the 1987 treaty that bans US or Russian production and deployment of nuclear missiles with ranges of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. For the first time since 1972, there will be no treaty limiting the major powers’ deployment of nuclear arms.

With the nuclear powers intent to spend massive sums on their arsenals of missiles and nuclear warheads, led by the USA, who pledged in 2014 to spend one trillion US$ to modernize its nuclear arms, not only essential social resources are squandered but humans are edging even closer to the unimaginable catastrophe of a nuclear war. The costs of this insane policy will be borne by the ordinary people through austerity and attacks on living standards.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/everyone-washes-their-hands-as-gazas-economy-goes-into-freefall/5655785 Is Gaza the biggest concentration camp in history? 1.3 were sent to Auschwitz, 1.1 million died there, 90 percent of them Jews. 1.8 million Palestinians live in Gaza, but until now only between 4,000 and 6,000 have been killed. Norman G. Finkelstein counts 13,190 casualties till September but that includes also wounded, who maybe will be able, if they are lucky, to recover.
A cynic would say: “still a long way to go, till Gaza reaches Auschwitz status, but progress is being made.”
https://www.mintpressnews.com/meet-ten-corporate-giants-helping-israel-massacre-gaza-protesters/250617/
https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Imprisoned-Palestinian-Author-Threatened-With-Harsher-Punishment-If-He-Publishes-Book-20181016-0008.html Make their lives as miserable as possible and humiliate them at any chance.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/10/08/isra-o08.html defending the moral high ground.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/18/israels-psychological-obstacles-to-peace/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/02/regime-change-2-0-is-venezuela-next/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176474/ The USA exits some treaties and rejects the jurisdiction of the ICJ (International Court of Justice), after earlier already having rejected the jurisdiction of the ICC (International Criminal Court).
We knew it before: The USA simply is above the law.
http://www.atimes.com/the-royal-touch-how-saudi-money-keeps-washington-at-war-in-yemen/?utm
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-behravesh-khashoggi-commmentary/commentary-how-khashoggis-disappearance-could-change-middle-east-politics-idUSKCN1MK1VZ
https://www.rt.com/news/441450-khashoggi-body-cut-pieces/ Americas precious ally, helping to uphold democracy and human rights in the Middle East.
http://www.moonofalabama.org/2018/10/saudis-stonewall.html#more Gut-wrenching.
https://washingtonsblog.com/2018/10/jamal-khashoggi-where-the-road-to-damascus-the-path-to-9-11-converge.html Very detailed. Recommended reading!
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/08/the-incessant-drumbeat-of-mortal-danger/
https://www.quixote.org/nica-act-2-0-its-back-and-even-worse-than-before/
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/10/17/congo-in-the-abyss/ The cynical military and political games which colonial powers (USA, France, Britain) play in Africa have one main purpose: To make sure, that Western companies retain easy access to mineral and agricultural resources. Paul Kagame and Joseph Kabila are exemplary figures of the “comprador” class, selling their country to the highest bidder with no moral restrictions.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/norway-middle-natos-arctic-wargames/5657722 

Armageddon news:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/04/charting-a-jagged-course-through-the-apocalypse/ Not for the faint hearted.
https://grist.org/article/with-the-world-on-the-line-scientists-outline-the-paths-to-survival/
https://therealnews.com/stories/michael-mann-we-are-even-closer-to-climate-disaster-than-ipcc-predicts
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/05/why-the-next-four-months-are-crucial-for-future-of-planet-climate-change Climate change may be the defining issue now, but wait, till the impact of deforestation, soil erosion, mass extinction, collapse of ocean eco-systems, and steadily rising chemical and radioactive contamination of the biosphere starts hurting. The environmental catastrophes could come blow after blow, leaving humans speechless, helpless, hopeless.
People will stare flabbergasted at their smartphone screens, wondering why the pizza from Amazon or any other food service is not available anymore, wondering why their chronic allergies, their kidney and liver problems, their asthma cannot be healed. When they lift their eyes from the screens they will see a world so weirdly and spookily different from their familiar online reality, that they will instantly goggle at their smartphones again.
Eventually the smartphone batteries will be empty and there will be no electricity to recharge them. Other communal services may have broken down too. And people, abandoned by their trusty and for so many years largely reliable smartphones, will run out as hunger starts to hurt, only to find, that shops are closed, while armed looters and robbers, many of them policemen and soldiers, roam the otherwise dark and eerily quiet streets and avenues.
https://naples.floridaweekly.com/articles/under-our-toxic-sea/ Most environmental news could rightfully be categorized as armageddon news. The dying of all marine life because of low oxygen could subsequently make life on land impossible as well.
https://eand.co/how-capitalism-torched-the-planet-and-left-it-a-smoking-fascist-greenhouse-fe687e99f070 Very well written and interesting to read. But the assumption that capitalism inevitably will implode into fascism is not evident and fascism is not clearly defined. Amy Rand’s rational selfishness (homo economicus) and the invisible hand in markets are not a necessary ingredient of fascism. Fascism rather is the culmination of cultural, social, economical, political tensions and grievances which tear the social fabric apart, weaken established institutions, and open opportunities for extremists and ruthless dictators to take over.
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/amp/2018/10/un-says-climate-genocide-coming-but-its-worse-than-that.html It’s like pleading and talking to the deaf.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/26/the-great-drought/
https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/trump-surrenders-to-john-bolton-on-russia-and-arms-control/ 

Uncategorized news:

https://amp.theguardian.com/science/2018/sep/29/so-is-it-nature-not-nurture-after-all-genetics-robert-plomin-polygenic-testing That genetic inheritance (nature) together with environmental impacts (nurture) define our personality and talents is nothing new, the controversy is about the weight of each component. As our genes cannot be influenced, except by selective breeding (eugenics), the only possibility to improve is by family uprising, education, and lifelong learning.
https://theintercept.com/2018/10/08/brazils-bolsonaro-led-far-right-wins-a-victory-far-more-sweeping-and-dangerous-than-anyone-predicted-its-lessons-are-global/ The unraveling of society. This will be replicated in many countries as the breakdown of ecosystems and the subsequent scarcity of basic resources will cause the breakdown of the established order and the abandoning of the social contract.
https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2018/10/brazil-set-elect-fascist-president-and-business-board
https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/More-Migrant-Caravans-To-leave-from-Honduras-El-Salvador-20181021-0006.html

News from cat land:

The world is still largely intact here, though signs of environmental degradation (changing weather, changing vegetation, less insects and other wild life, drought) can only be ignored and willfully overlooked by insensitive and ignorant people.

Yesterday I harvested the last grapes. A good part of them are not completely ripe and therefore sour, but as the season progresses and it most likely will not be warm and sunny enough anymore to let them ripe completely I finally put them in. I will mix the sour grapes with apples and canned berries to form together with rolled oats, cacao powder, and herbal tea my kind of muesli.

People, who are used to a more traditional and conventional diet will shudder at the description of this meal, and they will assume that eating so much fruits, no meat, and no dairy products inevitably will cause diarrhea and all kind of other health problems. But the digestive system can adapt to a wide range of diets if enough essential nutrients and enough fiber are ingested.

Adaption takes time and changes in diet should be gradually and well planned. We undeniably are omnivores and some people may have difficulties to live completely without meat. I suffer from iron deficiency, though there are no symptoms and I’m only reminded about it by my physician during the annual health check.

I don’t buy pet food from Nestle, Mars, or other corporations, and always order organic cat food online. During spring and summer mice are a big part of the cats diet but in winter natural food is hard to come by. Two of my feline friends, which I will not name and embarrass, are also a bit clumsy or maybe lazy, they prefer pet food. Occasionally I cook a chicken (organic surely) for them and I eat a little bit of it myself. The cats are always thrilled when they find out that we eat the same food.

I have still not taken anything from the four freezers, which are completely full and also didn’t visit a supermarket for weeks.

A woman who switched to natural gas heating (bad move in my opinion) wanted to get rid of her stored firewood, and I bought it cheaply. Loading, unloading, and stacking it into a stable woodpile at the only place in the garden which still has not been occupied by berry bushes, fruit trees, and grape vines is back-breaking work. Two thirds of the wood is collected, the last third will be fetched in February. The wood is of excellent quality, dry, mostly beech, cut and split into handy pieces.

The cats are fine. Most of them were at the vet for their annual physical, including vaccination and anti worming pills. Princess Min Ki had a black spot on her snout which worried me because it reminded me of Miss Marples deadly skin cancer, but the black spot fortunately has disappeared now.

Gandhi Jr, Linda, Lucia, and Princess Min Ki regularly have scratches on their snouts and ears, a sign that they vehemently defend the garden from invading foreign cats.

We got a new family member which is seizing a significant part of my time and my heart. This is the risk of volunteering in an animal asylum. I will tell more in another post.