Archive for the ‘Links’ Category

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Links July 2019

July 15, 2019

A recent blog post on the Deep Green Resistance blog started with the words:

Nothing in human existence has had a more profoundly negative impact on our quality of life than civilization. As we have already seen, it introduced the unnecessary evil of hierarchy; it introduced the difficult, dangerous, and unhealthy agricultural lifestyle; it introduced endemic levels of stress, a diet and lifestyle maladapted and deleterious to our health, war, and ecological disaster, but it has given us nothing to counterbalance those effects.

The text continued to compare the supposedly carefree life of our early ancestors, who were hunting and foraging, with our dismal present existence. 

https://dgrnewsservice.org/civilization/civilization-reduces-quality-of-life/ 

It is an interesting point of view and it undeniably has some merits, but the main assumption of the post could not be left unchallenged and I wrote the following comment:

Making a living by hunting and foraging is only possible in a healthy and stable ecological system, where nature maintains itself and human activity is too small to upset the ecological balance. When human populations increase, their combined activities will also increase and soon reach a level where nature cannot absorb the impact anymore. Humans then will either destroy the ecosystem (overgrazing, deforestation, overfishing, overhunting) or migrate to areas which are still pristine and able to feed them.

Ecosystem collapse, famine, and migration waves happened countless times in human history. Even if they appeared to be the consequence of agriculture, civilization, technology, and war, the underlying basic cause was always overpopulation.

Agriculture, complex civilization, urbanization, and advanced technology emerged because of population growth and there’s no turning back. Hunting and foraging would not feed todays 7 billion people and there are also only small isolated patches of pristine nature left.

Anyway, we now have reached a point where global ecosystems are collapsing and their human designed artificial replacements are completely inadequate. Technological solutions (nuclear power, genetic modification, geo-engineering) make matters only worse. The only remedy one could think of is a significant reduction of human population and the universal adaption of an extremely modest lifestyle.

Less humans, and the remaining ones living modestly. It will happen in one way or the other — either intelligently managed by ourselves or forced upon us by resource scarcity, natural disasters, pandemics, mass poisoning by human introduced environmental toxins, and wars (about water, land, minerals, fossil fuels).

We don’t have the technological means to maintain current population levels and preserve nature at the same time, but we certainly have the means to wipe out life on this planet. This is also a possibility and unfortunately a highly probable one.

As I accidentally found out a few days ago, the comment elicited quite a few responses, some supportive and others dismissive. Interestingly all responses focused on the issue of overpopulation, while the issue of our wasteful and destructive lifestyle was universally ignored.

The idea, that we personally maybe have to change our habits and scale down our consumption of natural resources is seemingly even for readers of the Deep Green Resistance blog such an anathema that mentioning and discussing it is impossible.

Feline news:

https://www.boredpanda.com/funny-cat-veterinary-clinic-signs/
https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/survey-suggests-cat-breed-behaviors-are-largely-inherited-180972438/
https://gizmodo.com/a-common-household-chemical-may-cause-thyroid-problems-1836252202
https://www.boredpanda.com/kitten-four-years-one-eye-found-home/
http://hatchingcatnyc.com/2019/07/12/cigar-shop-cat-bushwick-brooklyn/
https://gizmodo.com/scientists-talked-to-cats-to-figure-out-if-they-know-th-1833785466

Environmental news:

BloombergNEF found that global investments in solar, wind, and other alternative energy sources was 117.6 billion US$ during the first half of 2019, a 14 percent decline from the same period last year and the lowest six-month figure since 2013.

China saw a 39 percent drop in investments, as the nation reduced its solar subsidies to get costs under control. Spending declined 6 percent in the US and 4 percent in Europe, partly because of policies that are being phased out but also because of weak demand for additional energy generation in saturated markets. Private investments into clean energy companies declined 2 percent down to 4.7 billion US$.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/behind-scenes-elections-koch-oil-big-lies-ecocide-writ-large-canada/5680807
https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/india-water-shortage-drought-chennai-1.5181641
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/06/this-city-in-india-is-running-out-of-water/
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/07/article/india-staring-at-a-water-apocalypse/
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/25/watr-j25.html
https://news.mongabay.com/2019/06/shift-to-renewable-energy-could-have-biodiversity-cost-researchers-caution/
https://www.independentsciencenews.org/health/fake-food-fake-meat-big-foods-desperate-attempt-to-further-industrialisation-food/
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/19/plastic-wrapped-in-plastic-the-wasteful-reality-of-americas-grocery-stores
https://investigatemidwest.org/2019/06/19/on-your-dinner-plate-and-in-your-body-the-most-dangerous-pesticide-youve-never-heard-of/
https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-refinery-acid-20190622-story.html About hydrofluoric acid, used in US refineries.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/06/26/the-monkeys-face/
https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/06/ancient-peruvian-engineering-could-help-solve-modern-water-shortages/
https://insideclimatenews.org/news/26062019/midwest-flooding-algae-blooms-dead-zone-climate-change-fertilizer-livestock-gulf-mexico-lake-erie
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/07/article/japan-resumes-commercial-whale-hunts/ Reprehensible. Japan will lose many sympathies.
https://www.wastedive.com/news/scrap-collector-japans-environmental-record-scrutinized-ahead-of-g20-mari/557846/
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/07/plastic-watch-g20-issues-pathetic-declaration.html
https://www.treehugger.com/lawn-garden/forest-garden-500-edible-plants-takes-few-hours-work-month.html Forest gardens are a great idea and I like this idea especially because that is what I’m doing. It is also the principle of tropical rainforests, adapted to a more moderate climate. But: “only lightly managed?” And “a few hours of work a month?”
What about irrigation? Or building up a humus layer on a ground of clay and rubble? what about invasive weeds, about fungal, viral, and bacterial diseases? What about insect pests (aphids, wood lice, mites), caterpillars, slugs, and snails?
What about pruning, clearing pathways so that all parts of the garden can be accessed? What about cleaning up the leaves in fall? If the leaves are not removed, the ground cover vegetation (moss and strawberries in my case) will die.
This is a well intended but unrealistic and misleading article. All the people who are indeed enticed by this text to start a forest garden project will encounter a myriad of problems and they may give up dispirited and disillusioned. If they are made aware of possible problems and setbacks they will prepare themselves thoroughly, gather information, and brace themselves for the coming years of backbreaking work.


https://modernfarmer.com/2019/06/the-modern-farmer-guide-to-small-space-gardening/ A more down-to-earth article with some useful advice.
https://heated.medium.com/iowa-crops-look-like-food-but-no-ones-eating-9360661c3664
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/07/opinion/burned-workers-the-newest-wave-of-climate-casualties/
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/07/article/chinas-busy-roads-getting-busier/
https://e360.yale.edu/features/china-wrestles-with-the-toxic-aftermath-of-rare-earth-mining The environmental costs of China’s rise.
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/07/adding-1-billion-hectares-forest-could-help-check-global-warming Plant trees, please!
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2019/jul/10/japans-famous-nara-deer-dying-from-eating-plastic-bags There are so many idiots around. Steep fines would be the only way to reign them in, but that of course requires constant intrusive surveillance. 

Economic news:

http://www.cadtm.org/Theoretical-lies-of-the-World-Bank,2190
https://www.globalresearch.ca/mechanism-economic-sanctions-changing-perceptions-euphemisms/5681547
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/28/ford-j28.html If companies are producing less cars, there will be less traffic pollution. New cars, on the other hand, though with better mileage and reduced emissions, will probably be larger and heavier, neutralizing thereby any improvements from new technologies. If an old car is sparsely used, its carbon footprint is probably still less than that of a brand new vehicle, where the heavy environmental burden of its production has to be added to the carbon footprint of fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions.
And the fired workers? Don’t they really have no other option than producing gas guzzling cars? Are assembly line jobs even desirable? What about learning new skills (for example mending appliances and gadgets, repurposing, recycling, or upcycling discarded things, developing tools and machines which work without fossil fuels, organizing co-ops and alternative distribution networks)?
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/07/02/phil-j02.html Again, are jobs in polluting or otherwise damaging industries (weapons production) really worth defending? Air quality in Philadelphia will improve significantly, if the refinery shuts down. Some workers will take the chance to find more meaningful and beneficial occupations, while others will sell their work and health for peanuts to another fossil fuel corporation. Maybe they are proud of their profession, maybe they love their cars and regard oil refining as absolutely necessary to keep up Western ways of life.
http://evonomics.com/value-of-everything-mariana-mazzucato/
http://johnhelmer.net/the-kolomoisky-pyramid-started-with-hillary-clinton-and-victoria-nuland-of-the-state-department-plus-christine-lagarde-of-the-imf/
https://mk0eeborgicuypctuf7e.kinstacdn.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Decoupling-Debunked-FULL-for-ONLINE.pdf
https://www.globalresearch.ca/how-pay-it-all-option-candidates-missed/5683275 Creating money out of thin air (fiat money) to achieve unlimited economic growth on a limited planet, what an ingenious idea!
https://www.macrobusiness.com.au/2019/07/deutsche-bank-highlights-society-risk/
http://evonomics.com/steve-keen-nordhaus-climate-change-economics/ 

Media and technology news:

No matter how paranoid or conspiracy-minded you are, what the government is actually doing is worse than you imagine.” (The late, great William Blum)

One really has to wonder: What are they so desperately trying to hide?

Do White House officials maybe have no clue about the consequences of their policies, making crucial decisions just by rolling the dice? Are they occupied with petty intrigues with no time left for serious considerations and reflections?

Are there connections to organized crime? Exist communication channels and business ties (revenue sharing) to street gangs (MS-13, 18th Street Gang), to Mexican drug cartels, European and Asian Mafia and Mob organizations, and the global financial Mafia (also known as Wall Street)? Are there extortion / protection rackets set up with the State Department as facilitators and the Pentagon as enforcers?

Or does the president have to wear diapers, because he otherwise, troubled by an enlarged prostate like many other men in his age, would wet his pants all the time? Do female White House interns have to uplift the president’s spirits with regular blow jobs? (don’t dismiss this as over the top, it has happened before).

Are there satanical rituals where immigrant children, fresh from detention centers at the Mexican border, are first gang raped and then, while still alive, cut into pieces to be barbecued and served as exquisite delicacy?

If none of this applies, why are the White House gates bolted and locked, why is there a thick dark shroud of secrecy, why are the inner workings of the administration completely off limits, and why are whistleblowers and leakers being snuffed out, persecuted, and hunted down?

How naive, how gullible, the establishment proponents will argue. How can we disclose our plans to the Maduro’s, Assad’s, and Putin’s of the world, who mercilessly butcher their own people and threaten global peace and stability?

Transparency, openness, and honesty would be utterly detrimental. In our fight against the dark forces of evil we have to mislead, deceive, dupe, fool, cheat, and trick them. We have to soothe and assuage them with a friendly face, our iron fist hidden behind our back.

Don’t forget, we are the chosen people who will bring democracy, stability, and prosperity to the nations of the world, but in order to do that we have to defeat the evil regimes and install leaders which share our values. This is no easy task even for the worlds undisputed superpower and it necessitates the use of subterfuge and propaganda.

It’s lying of course, but it’s lying for a good cause — for our cause.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/06/19/the-omnipresent-surveillance-state/
http://johnhelmer.net/reuters-is-now-a-unit-of-us-info-war-command-reporters-and-investors-revolt/
https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/bret-stephens-warmonger/
https://thenextweb.com/podium/2019/06/17/the-unforeseen-trouble-ai-is-now-causing/
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-csyber-yandex-exclusive-idUSKCN1TS2SX 
https://theholisticworks.com/2019/06/25/glastonbury-festival-goers-are-walking-into-an-emf-minefield/ 5G guinea pigs.
https://thegrayzone.com/2019/06/24/new-york-times-media-us-government-approval/ New York Times self censorship.
https://lobelog.com/when-npr-is-more-dangerous-than-fox-news/
https://truthout.org/articles/the-mainstream-media-wont-name-us-military-aggression/  We all know, that New York Times, Washington Post, LA Times, Guardian, Telegraph, and every other newspaper are propaganda outlets of the reigning plutocrats. And we know that for a long time. How come, that Tom Engelhard and other dissident journalists still waste their (and our) time referring to these papers and discussing their content?
http://www.bbc.com/capital/story/20190625-the-jobs-where-liars-excel Everyone lies at work, but in some professions it’s expected and rewarded,” are we told by the BBC.
And: Lying is natural, to some extent. “Nature is awash with deceit,” philosopher David Livingstone Smith writes early in his book Why We Lie: The Evolutionary Roots of Deception and the Unconscious Mind.
Now we know about the BBC’s ethics standards, though their positive attitude towards lying was obvious before. If BBC journalists lie, it is just the natural way, it’s just the way human society functions.
The article headline “The jobs where liars excel,” implies already the positive attitude, and — though never explicitly mentioned— journalism is certainly one of these jobs.
https://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2019/07/how-to-spot-a-twitter-troll/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/07/12/the-journalists-do-the-shouting/
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/07/09/government-that-tortures-journalists-bans-rt-from-media-conference/ 

Imperial news:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jun/23/chicago-latest-news-life-expectancy-rich-poor-inequality
https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-united-states-and-human-rights-a-long-and-violent-history/5682620
https://www.peoplespolicyproject.org/2019/07/02/50-million-adults-are-uninsured-every-single-year/
https://truthout.org/articles/10-ways-andrew-wheeler-has-decimated-epa-protections-in-just-one-year/

Imperial conquest news:

Caitlin Johnstone: There’s an ever-growing, globe-spanning, oligarch-run power alliance with the United States at its center, an alliance which functions as a single empire and works relentlessly to bully other nations into either joining it or collapsing. Iran is by far the strongest nation in the region that has refused to allow itself to be absorbed into the blob, so its government has found itself in the imperial crosshairs being commanded to either submit or be toppled.

https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/07/opinion/americas-economic-blockades-and-international-law/
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/06/21/euro-j21.html More war preparations.
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/06/opinion/the-hybrid-war-against-iran/
http://freedom-articles.toolsforfreedom.com/us-provoking-iran-again-66-years/
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/sanctions-tanker-iran-syria-uk-jeremy-hunt-us-gibraltar-a8990316.html
https://consortiumnews.com/2019/06/19/annexation-israel-already-controls-more-than-half-of-the-west-bank/
https://www.mintpressnews.com/international-watchdog-finds-israel-has-nearly-100-nuclear-weapons/259274/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/06/24/sorting-out-reality-from-fiction-about-venezuela/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/06/19/what-about-venezuelas-hacked-power-grid/
https://thegrayzone.com/2019/06/17/from-coup-leaders-to-con-artistry-juan-guaidos-gang-exposed-for-massive-humanitarian-aid-fraud/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/06/19/guaidos-star-fades-as-his-envoys-to-colombia-allegedly-commit-fraud-with-humanitarian-funds-for-venezuela/
https://thegrayzone.com/2019/07/06/weaponizing-human-rights-un-high-commissioner-bachelets-venezuela-report-follows-us-regime-change-script/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/07/08/faulty-by-design-the-un-report-on-human-rights-in-venezuela/


https://truthout.org/articles/washington-meddling-in-haiti-neglected-by-u-s-press/ Haiti has no oil, so why should anybody be interested in what’s going on there? And if something goes terribly wrong (like the emergence of another Aristide-like president), the USA will just again send in some UN-mandated Brazilian troops.
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2019/06/iraq-health-basra-cancer.html
https://ingaza.wordpress.com/2019/07/05/voices-from-syrias-rukban-refugee-camp-belie-corporate-media-reporting/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/06/25/bill-clinton-in-kosovo/
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/07/06/us-foreign-policy-is-a-war-on-disobedience/
https://theconversation.com/us-military-is-a-bigger-polluter-than-as-many-as-140-countries-shrinking-this-war-machine-is-a-must-119269
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/07/11/give-peace-a-chance-dont-believe-the-war-profiteers/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176583/ 

Armageddon news:

A few days ago I woke up after dreaming about an unexploded nuclear warhead near a town with several million people. The function of atomic bombs is not routinely tested for obvious reasons and nobody really knows if they will actually detonate in case of a nuclear war.

Calm down, there will be no nuclear war, no launch of intercontinental missiles, no mushroom clouds, no radioactive contamination, and no nuclear winter, told me the officially authorized expert in my head. There is no need to worry, the atomic bombs are only for deterrence.

And the intercontinental missiles, the ballistic missile submarines, the bomber jets are also only for deterrence? Why have they built and are still building, even at an accelerated pace, nuclear bomb shelters? Why spend the major powers billions of dollars to upgrade their atomic weapons?

If only the atomic bombs were dummies or decoys, if only the nuclear threat would be just pretension! But it is called Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD), not mutual pretended destruction.

Conventional ammunition regularly fails, but sometimes it is also triggered unintentionally, accidentally, and untimely. Ammunition depots are blowing up and devastate the surrounding area, this is a regular occurrence in war zones.

Could an atomic warhead be ignite similarly? How would the area around the missile silo look? What about a nuclear bomb detonating deep under sea?

The officially authorized expert in my head tells me: The trigger mechanism is quite complicated, so an accidental explosion is nearly impossible. In a fission bomb a uranium bullet is shot at the main uranium load, and as the two parts meet the critical mass for a chain reaction is reached and the bomb explodes. A fusion bomb is set off by a fission device, so it is even one additional step.

But could the uranium bullet maybe triggered accidentally? Could there be a short circuit or a failing electronic switch, could there be corrosive or oxidative wear of critical parts? Materials deteriorate over time, their elasticity and conductivity changes. What if the uranium bullet gets stuck just one millimeter before reaching the main mass, and even the softest knock against the bomb will move it this last millimeter?

In my dream the town with several million people is spared annihilation, but the threat remains. Should the millions of inhabitants evacuate or simply abandon the town? Where could they go in this crowded world? How could the bomb be defused?

In 2011 the Russian nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine K-84 (Ekaterinburg) caught fire in dry dock. It was likely loaded with 16 R-29RM nuclear missiles carrying 64 nuclear warheads. The fire burned for 20 hours and the submarine finally had to be submerged to put out the flames.

In 2009 the French submarine Triomphant and the British submarine HMS Vanguard, both with nuclear warheads, collided. Both had nuclear missiles on board.

In 1980, an accident in a missile silo in Arkansas sent a thermonuclear warhead hurtling a hundred feet into the air.

https://dgrnewsservice.org/civilization/ecocide/climate-change/climate-change-why-is-it-so-often-sooner-than-predicted/
https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/In-Climate-Apartheid-Worlds-Poor-Will-Be-Left-to-Suffer-UN-Report-20190625-0030.html
https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/transformation/one-hundred-years-after-world-war-i-are-we-heading-back-abyss/
https://befreedom.co/2019/07/05/doubling-down-the-military-big-bankers-and-big-oil-are-not-in-climate-denial-they-are-in-control-and-plan-to-keep-it-that-way/
https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/07/article/boomerangs-to-a-bombs-australia-debates-acquiring-nukes/ Making the world safer with more nukes.
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/07/completely-terrifying-study-warns-carbon-saturated-oceans-headed-toward-tipping-point-that-could-unleash-mass-extinction-event.html

Uncategorized news:

https://news.sky.com/story/seals-can-copy-human-speech-and-sing-star-wars-theme-tune-new-study-says-11745715
https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-ruler-of-dubai-condemns-his-runaway-wife-princess-haya-on-instagramin-a-poem Dependable Western allies. Shared values?
https://aeon.co/essays/if-we-talk-about-hurting-our-planet-who-exactly-is-the-we Ecological colonialism and exploitation.
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/07/03/remember-the-goal-is-always-to-make-dissident-ideas-mainstream/ Highly recommended reading.
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/07/08/fire-j08.html
https://truthout.org/articles/american-dark-money-is-fueling-the-rise-of-europes-far-right/ Promoting Western values.

News from cat land:

It is raining since three days, giving me ample time to write this blog post. June was hot but the hyped heat wave was rather underwhelming. I intended to clean up and reorganize my little workshop in the basement during the hottest days, because the cellar rooms are aways a few degrees cooler than the rest of the house. Yet, as temperatures never got hot enough to justify an all day retreat into the basement, clean up and reorganization will have to wait. 

There’s still the chance of a really hard hitting heatwave in August.

At the moment I live from strawberries, raspberries, gooseberries, jostaberries, and currants. The raspberries and strawberries are especially delicious, but I nevertheless will be glad when the main harvest is over, because I desperately long for some different food. My only lonely cherry tree, still suffering from a fungal infection, delivered for the first time fruits. Some tomatoes are ripening in one of the green houses, I planted just a few because I get sufficient amounts of tomatoes, together with salads and carrots, from a nearby organic gardener. It will though take another week before the first tomatoes are ripe.

The cats are healthy and happy, they regularly bring me little gifts (mice and voles). Fortunately there were no dead frogs, toads, and blindworms for quite some times, though these species surely still exist here. I discover tiny toads and frogs nearly every day. Two days ago I saw a frog, not bigger than two centimeters, busily hopping around. With only two centimeters, it should have still been a tadpole, but this one was obviously an “early bloomer.”

Environmental disaster is deferred still (at least in my corner of the world), but a lot of people in the neighborhood and some acquaintances got severely sick and are in hospital care. Could a sedentary lifestyle, ubiquitous environmental toxins, or the industrial food from supermarkets be possible causes?

I still buy too many things and keep too much stuff. Old habits die hard, as Mike Jagger used to sing in 2004, 15 years ago. It takes a long time to shed old habits, maybe even more than 15 years, maybe even more time than we have left. But this is another story for another post.