Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

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Links February 2018

February 7, 2018

Blog posts should not be controversial or disturbing for their core readership, they have to be uplifting, give hope, solace, calm fears, and bring peace of mind. Blog posts should give simple, easy to follow explanations, and they should not be too long. Attention spans are short and nobody has enough time to read long texts. Blog posts should be issued regularly, otherwise the readers will move on and never come back. It helps to visit fellow bloggers, awarding likes and posting encouraging comments.

This blog has broken all of these rules, and that is the reason it has only 150 subscribers and has received only 140,000 views during the eight years of its existence.

It’s okay. I’m not in a popularity contest, don’t compete with anybody, don’t want to convince and proselytize, don’t have greater ambitions than to tell friends, acquaintances, and folks who accidentally crossed my way what I read, heard, saw, found out, expect to happen. A new post ist published when there is spare time and new important material justifies the effort.

The good news:

If you are one of the rare persons who have enough energy and time left after scanning their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram accounts and emptying their email inboxes, to critically think about what they just read, sorting out nonsense, triviality, and propaganda, evaluating, proofing plausibility, analyzing, comparing, correlating, trying to see the bigger picture, and after doing all that end up being frightened by the current state of the world, rest assured. This will not go on indefinitely, it will end eventually in one way or the other.

How will it end?

Scenario 1: The biological systems will collapse due to decreasing biodiversity, chemical contamination, climate change, and human activities like for instance wars, mining, industrial agriculture, industrial production. The oceans will die, droughts, storms, floods will destroy the remaining natural habitats, an all-encompassing mass extinction will wipe out most life. Yet, some resilient and adaptable species will survive and build up a new ecosystem. Humans will not be among them. After a few million years nature will prosper again, it will be as dynamic, diverse, and beautiful as the one which we are just destroying.

Scenario 2: A nuclear war with dozens or even hundreds of megaton warheads exploded will lead to a nuclear winter. Humans will starve to death or freeze to death. Some pockets will keep going for a few decades but after supplies are used up and no replenisment possible because there is no agriculture and no manufacturing, they will falter too. After a few hundred thousand years radioactivity will have declined to normal levels, life will bounce back again, prospering, not imperiled anymore by humans.

Scenario 3: Human population will be reduced significantly because of a general decline in human health, increasing chronic illnesses, sweeping pandemics (caused by weakened immune systems), and infertility. Chronic illnesses, pandemics, and infertility are caused by man-made toxic chemicals (and to a lesser degree by all synthetic substances), by an unnatural environment and an unhealthy lifestyle. Life expectancy will be reduced to about 40 years, whole countries will become uninhabited.

Scenario 4: Humans will start acting rationally and responsibly, leaders will make perceptive and wise decisions, everybody will reduce her/his ecological footprint to the absolute minimum, a strict “one-child policy” or partly even “no-child policy” will decrease human population to environmentally sustainable levels between 2 and 4 billions. This is the least painful, but also the most unlikely outcome.

What can one do on a personal level to make one of these scenarios happen?

Scenario 1: Continue consuming, shopping, traveling, riding your SUV, watching screens. Business as usual, no change needed.

Scenario 2: Spread hate, demonize other nations and their leaders, defame, deride, stigmatize ethnic, cultural, and social minorities, smear and scorn dissenters, political opponents. Be tough, implacable, uncompromising, intolerant, unforgiving. Support the troops, support military interventions, support racist and fascist parties.

Scenario3: Eat cheap, fast, industrial produced food, avoid movement and exercise, spend your time with TV, social media, gaming, live in a city far away from forests and meadows.

Scenario 4: live in exemplary thrift, live modestly, inform people in an unobtrusive, unpretentious way, write a blog post. One shouldn’t write too many blogposts because that would imply that one spends long hours on the computer, which would again give a bad example. Don’t make children, your legacy will be your deeds, that should be enough. Even if you fail, you will have done the best you could under the circumstances. You are free of guilt, when you pass away, it will be peacefully — you will just pass the torch to the next generation and it’s up to them if they follow your example.

Feline news:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A0Z79ycisDU
https://www.treehugger.com/pets/become-professional-cat-cuddler-ireland.html
https://qz.com/1197978/ethereum-game-cryptokitties-is-launching-on-mobile-and-in-china/ No!
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-06/cat-plague-is-back-after-nearly-40-years-in-hiding/9401794
http://metro.co.uk/2018/02/05/man-transforms-home-sanctuary-300-cats-7288992/

Environmental news:

The all-important Atlantic ocean conveyor belt circulation pattern (thermohaline) is slowing down earlier than expected because of global warming. Oceans have lost 40 percent of plankton production over the past 50 years, threatening the loss of the major source of oxygen for the planet. In 2017, the Gulf of Mexico’s Dead Zone, where oxygen is so weak that fish die, was the largest ever at 8,800 square miles. Kelp Forests in the ocean, the equivalent of terrestrial Rain Forest, are being wiped out from Tasmania to California. Greenland experienced total surface melt for the first time in scientific history. An irreversible Antarctica ice sheet collapse has commenced. The massive Arctic meltdown threatens runaway global warming caused by a positive feedback loop, as methane hydrates are exposed.

https://www.fairwarning.org/2018/01/whack-mole-regulation/
https://dgrnewsservice.org/civilization/colonialism/conservation-giants-implicated-public-health-crises-among-pygmies/
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/01/08/575413910/soaring-popularity-of-grass-fed-beef-may-hit-roadblock-less-nutritious-grass
http://metamag.org/2018/01/08/german-cathedral-bulldozed-to-make-way-for-expanding-coal-mine/ Don’t pray, burn coal.
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/16188-2/ Fukushima.
https://www.ewg.org/research/170-million-us-drink-radioactive-tap-water-trump-nominee-faked-data-hide-cancer-risk#.Wljdg8aZMUQ
https://www.localfutures.org/farming-small-planet/ Useful overview about agro-insanity and alternatives.
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/01/when-humans-war-animals-die/549902/?utm War is hell. For animals even more than for humans.
Just a reminder, as this was reported before. A consoling idea: If we are next, maybe nature has a chance to heal again.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-42728251 Just another oil spill catastrophe.
http://www.atimes.com/article/sunken-iran-oil-tanker-threatens-environmental-disaster-off-china/
http://edition.cnn.com/2018/01/16/asia/china-sanchi-oil-spill-environmental-impact-intl/index.html
http://www.dailyclimate.org/climate-change-population-impact-to-water-2526378554.html
https://www.wunderground.com/cat6/weather-ground-how-biodiversity-can-help-shape-local-climate
https://thediplomat.com/2018/01/china-is-decimating-southeast-asian-wildlife/ First the rhinos, tigers, elephants, then the primates, including….
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-42943503 R.I.P.

Economic news:

2017 was the “Year of the Billionaires.” Every two days another fortunate person became a billionaire, and while 82 percent of all new private wealth went to the top one percent, absolutely nothing went to the poorest half of the global population.
http://evonomics.com/how-to-creative-collective-intelligence-david-wilson-mulgan/
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/01/17/cari-j17.html Privatizing profits, socializing losses.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/01/23/oxfa-j23.html Rising inequality. How could it be different, when the rich buy influence with an army of lobbyists and skew elections with unlimited campaign contributions? Representative democracy means, that politicians are representatives of the corporations and tycoons, who hoisted them into power.

Media and technology news:

http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/looking-for-an-exit-off-the-information-superhighway/ Must read!
http://ampletter.org
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/02/02/pers-f02.html
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/43160-when-intelligence-agencies-make-backroom-deals-with-the-media-democracy-loses
http://www.unz.com/pgiraldi/surrounded-by-neocons/ NYT dissident James Risen.
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/technology/your-smartphone-is-making-you-stupid/article37511900/
https://www.treehugger.com/family/smartphones-have-made-parenting-harder-ever.html
http://www.pewglobal.org/2018/01/11/publics-globally-want-unbiased-news-coverage-but-are-divided-on-whether-their-news-media-deliver/ This survey is based on the premise that objective, unbiased reporting is possible. Fairness, truthfulness, accuracy are desirable of course, nobody likes to be mislead and lied to. But to take a position, to have an opinion should nevertheless be allowed for journalists and in many cases, it is a moral duty. The reporter certainly has to make clear where she/he is coming from. Anyway, it is naive to assume, that a journalist will write against the interests of the media organizations owner.
In long gone times there was a clear distinction between news reporting and opinion. Even then, selective news reporting was an issue.
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/861-a-liberal-pillar-of-the-establishment-new-look-guardian-old-style-orthodoxy.html
https://www.pressherald.com/2018/01/23/teen-happiness-drop-phone-time-linked/
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/thought-police-21st-century/
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/01/28/robert-parrys-legacy-and-the-future-of-consortiumnews/ R.I.P.

Imperial news:

Chaos at JFK airport, two hours in darkness at CES, the worlds greatest consumer electronics show, no water in Kentucky’s Martin County, one million Puerto Ricans still without electricity four month after the storm, the “Fat Leonard” corruption scandal engulfing the US Navy’s 7th Fleet, another corruption scandal in Baltimore’s already troubled police department (why didn’t they just call it “lobbying”?), every other day a school shooting or unarmed black youth killed by police, wich is armed to the teeth and act like soldiers on a battlefield.

While maternal mortality ratios in the past 20 years have fallen 48 percent in developed nations and 44 percent worldwide, the number of maternal deaths in the United States has actually doubled.

A prescription opioid epidemic is ravaging US communities, it has cost about 700,000 lives since 1999. An estimated 15 percent of US construction workers suffer from substance abuse, leading to a shortage of skilled workers at building sites. Over 5 million are afflicted by prescription drug abuse or at least started on the road to addiction via prescription narcotics.

The US government intends to borrow nearly one trillion US$ in 2018 to make up for budget shortages, increasing federal debt to 21 trillion. The trade deficit with China last year increased to 375 billion US$.

These are not displays of US capitalisms superiority and if Donald Trump really aimed at “Making America great again,” he failed miserably in his first year in office.

Not to mention the media hysteria of “Russian Meddling in the 2016 Election,” with not a shred of evidence after one and half a year of investigation. Not to mention the Steele dossier, the indelicate behavior of high ranking FBI officers, and the tiresome bickering about the “Nunes intel memo.”
https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4365338/Nunes-memo.pdf

Trump, a Manhattan real estate dealer, a fairly good con man, but uneducated and ignorant about anything beyond how to cheat and trick his business partners, is battling a vicious, dishonest bureaucracy and in particular the gigantic, out-of-control “security” apparatus, also known as “deep state,” or “permanent government.”

Which is disgusting but in the broader context must be viewed as one of the few positive developments in the imperial sitcom (or reality show). All the statutory privileges amassed by Barack Obama and George W. Bush (to kill suspected adversaries without due process, to detain suspects indefinitely, to strip US-dissidents of their citizenship rights, to carry out mass surveillance, to suspend laws during wartime, to conduct secret wars and convene secret courts, to sanction torture, to sidestep the legislatures and courts with executive orders and signing statements, to let the military operate beyond the reach of law) give the US President dictatorial powers, put him above the law and beyond any real accountability, but Donald Trump has not time to use this powers, he is too busy with keeping his “deep state” foes in check.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/31/the-true-state-of-the-union-a-house-divided-enslaved-mired-in-the-mistakes-of-the-past/ This, in fact, is our new American moment. There has never been a better time to start living the American dream.” US President Donald Trump, in his State of the Union address.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-opioid-epidemic-in-america-killing-one-million-workers-the-triumph-of-capital/5627300
https://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21733980-thats-not-really-meant-happen-developed-countries-life-expectancy-america-has This was reported already in December, but here is another take.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/01/11/dent-j11.html Dental care(less) in the USA.
http://www.newsweek.com/new-york-lottery-winner-dies-weeks-after-scooping-jackpot-796957
http://www.baltimoresun.com/health/bs-hs-what-is-patient-dumping-20180111-story.html Patient dumping. Empathy is un-American.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/01/15/kent-j15.html Water bills come with a notice that drinking the water could increase the risk of cancer.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jan/21/public-land-battle-private-landowners-montana
https://eand.co/why-were-underestimating-american-collapse-be04d9e55235 Should the world follow the American model  —  extreme capitalism, no public investment, cruelty as a way of life, the perversion of everyday virtue  —  then these new social pathologies will follow, too. They are new diseases of the body social that have emerged from the diet of junk food  —  junk media, junk science, junk culture, junk punditry, junk economics, people treating one another and their society like junk  —  that America has fed upon for too long.
http://kunstler.com/clusterfuck-nation/stormy-weather/

Imperial conquest news:

A National Defense Strategy document released by the Pentagon made clear, the US military’s priority is no longer the so-called war on terrorism, but rather the preparation for a “great power” confrontation, including war with both Russia and China. The Nuclear Posture Review calls for new cruise missiles, sub-launched missiles and low-yield nuclear warheads.

https://assets.documentcloud.org/documents/4366388/2018-NUCLEAR-POSTURE-REVIEW-FINAL-REPORT-REVISION.pdf

US dissident Paul Craig Roberts summed it up: The new nuclear posture review is a reckless, irresponsible, and destabilizing departure from the previous attitude toward nuclear weapons. The use of even a small part of the existing arsenal of the United States would be sufficient to destroy life on earth. Yet, the posture review calls for more weapons, speaks of nuclear weapons as “usable,” and justifies their use in First Strikes even against countries that do not have nuclear weapons.

President Trump’s proposed 2019 budget would increase military spending by more than 7 percent over the 2018 budget.

The USA does everything possible to increase tensions with Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, and other nation which are not servile allies. There are continuing NATO military exercises along Russia’s borders, increased naval activity in the South China Sea and in the Black Sea, the Iranian nuclear deal and the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty are questioned, the US nuclear arsenals will be upgraded, new types of weapons introduced, all arms-control negotiations are put on hold.

In 2016 US soldiers were deployed in over 150 countries, Special Forces in 138 countries. Significant deployments of over 1,000 troops were stationed in 19 countries: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Belgium, Cuba, Djibouti, Germany, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, South Korea, Kuwait, Qatar, Spain, Syria, Taiwan, Turkey, the UAE (United Arab Emirates), and Britain. Some details as far as troop levels are known: Japan 51,400, Germany 47,000, South Korea 27,200, Afghanistan 16,500, Kuwait 16,700, Bahrain 10,000, Iraq 9,200, Qatar 6,700, Djibouti 4,700, UAE 4,200, Jordan 2,700, Turkey 2,200, Syria 2,000.

The USA accounts for 58 percent of the global arms trade (217 billion US$ worth). Saudi Arabia has agreed to buy precision guided munitions for 7 billion US$ from US companies. Raytheon and Boeing will primarily benefit from the deal that is part of a 110 billion US$ weapons agreement coinciding with President Donald Trump’s visit to Saudi Arabia in May 2017.

Will these weapons end up in Yemen or in Syria? 

https://journal-neo.org/2018/01/23/no-taxpayers-nickel-is-spared-in-washingtons-military-adventures-worldwide/
https://www.propublica.org/article/canadian-research-adds-to-worry-over-an-environmental-threat-the-pentagon-has-downplayed-for-decades RDX in explosives.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/09/rational-insanity-the-mad-logic-of-americas-nuclear-doomsday-machine/
Danial Ellsberg:
It is the smoke, after all (not the fallout, which would remain mostly limited to the northern hemisphere), that would do it worldwide: smoke and soot lofted by the fierce firestorms in hundreds of burning cities into the stratosphere, where it would not rain out and would remain for a decade or more, enveloping the globe and blocking most sunlight, lowering annual global temperatures to the level of the last Ice Age, and killing all harvests worldwide, causing near-universal starvation within a year or two…. Which meant that a large nuclear war of the kind we prepared for then or later would kill nearly every human on earth (along with most other large species.)
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/01/12/nuke-j12.html Limited nuclear war, the humane solution.
http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/trump-nuclear-posture-review-2018_us_5a4d4773e4b06d1621bce4c5
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176372/tomgram%3A_william_d._hartung%2C_2018_looks_like_an_arms_bonanza/#more
https://www.salon.com/2016/03/29/we_are_the_death_merchant_of_the_world_ex_bush_official_lawrence_wilkerson_condemns_military_industrial_complex/
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/01/15/turs-j15.html AFRICOM blacklists journalist.
https://journal-neo.org/2018/01/18/richard-e-lugar-body-of-evidence-suggests-new-us-biological-warfront-opening/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176378/tomgram%3A_danny_sjursen%2C_wrong_on_nam%2C_wrong_on_terror/
http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2018-02/06/c_136952336.htm

Click on the picture, to see it in high definition.

Armageddon news:

If you are psychically unstable and prone to depression, you should skip this category.
https://downwithtyranny.blogspot.com/2018/01/2017-breaks-climate-records-despite-no.html
https://thewire.in/217773/india-systematic-destruction/ From a man who should know.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/12/between-the-null-and-the-void/ Another poetic version of Armageddon.
http://greensocialthought.org/content/betting-earth-game-wrap-cut-smash
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/hidden-danger-of-ecological-collapse/ Insect Armageddon.
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/01/suffocating-oceans/550415/ Oceanic armageddon.
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/jan/24/end-civilisation-take-different-path?utm
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/01/30/pers-j30.html When even the Economist magazine becomes worried, it means something.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/02/02/countdown-to-doomsday-daniel-ellsberg-and-the-nuclear-papers/

Uncategorized news:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/01/08/the-storm-of-the-eye-an-american-dream-in-cuba/
http://www.atimes.com/article/australia-shoots-bigger-gun-sales/ If all the ingenuity, the time, energy, materials, which are now spent to develop, produce, and sell weapons, would be used to solve humanity’s urgent problems…. And they are not even ashamed of their plans!

News from cat land:

In January I was busy in the garden, clearing leaves away, cleaning and reorganizing the tool sheds, pruning, weeding. I eliminated early sprouts of fig buttercup and gallant soldier, also various grass species (couch grass, ryegrass, meadow-grass).

A day or two above freezing are opportunities not to be squandered and some more cleanup in the garden had to be done anyway. As the unseasonal mild temperatures in January persisted for another two weeks, nearly all necessary work could be done and for the first time ever I’m quite satisfied with how the preparations for spring are going.

And then I woke up one day looking at a winter wonderland, as hoarfrost had coated everything in white. That still didn’t deter me from going outside and spending some hours in the garden, there are lot of things one can do even in temperatures below freezing. I needed though to make occasional breaks to warm up again in the house.

The flue season saw me puzzled but indifferent. I didn’t have a flue or cold for 18 years and cannot even remember how that feels. People tell me that this year it is especially bad and vaccinations don’t seem to protect. Some shops and municipal services had to close because all the employees were on sick leave.

Today it is snowing and everything is covered with a thick blanket of snow. Winter has finally arrived. The cats are resting around the stove or on the windowsill. Aunt Rosy lies beside me and is softly snoring. She still has a chronic cold, it is not severe but never heals completely. As one of the veterinarian’s own cats has an incurable cold since two years, Rosy’s chances to ever get rid of her ailment may be slim.

It is snowing and there’s no chance to do anything outside, so I sit at the computer and start to assemble another blog post. A few short pieces I’ve already written in between, it will not take long, I hope. Maybe I have even time to visit some fellow bloggers. There are quite a few who would deserve encouragement.

A few days ago a friend wrote me in response to my last blog post, that humans are not that exceptionally evil and destructive, because many animals murder their fellow animals in huge numbers as well.

Usually such a statement is followed by a broadside against my feline friends, who kill birds, lizards, snakes, frogs, toads, moles, even squirrels and bats. Rats, mice, voles are murdered as well though these species are seldom mentioned because they are regarded as pests and including them in the kill-list would partly exonerate the cats.

My friend didn’t mention cats, she knows, that I would defend my beloved feline companions with a cascade of arguments and nothing good would come out from such a confrontation. Maybe she had the cats in mind but kept back.

I’m aware of the fact that cats are not empathetic creatures, that they are murderous beasts. They undeniably have an ecological impact, but it is negligible compared to the ecological impact of humans.

If cats would rule the world…. No, they never will rule the world, they are not that ambitious. They want to have a good time, they want to have fun, they want to have enough food and a warm place in winter.

But, assuming that they would be the dominant species on this planet, they for sure would not have developed nuclear weapons, they would not have increased the atmospheric CO2 concentration from 208 ppm (parts per million) to 410 ppm, they would not have caused the largest mass extermination of animal species since 66 million years, they would not have turned the rich forest areas of North Africa and Central Asia into deserts and would not have reduced the global forests to 3,900 million hectares, they would not have created gigantic dead zones in the seas, they would not have poisoned the global ecosphere with POPs (DDT, Aldrin, Heptachlor, Hexachlorobenzene, PCBs, etc), they would not have produced 8.3 billion tons of plastic, they would not produce year after year 10 million tons of toxic chemicals (including 2 million tons carcinogens), 300 million tons more plastic, and 4,200 million tons of cement.

Just to put things in perspective.