Archive for the ‘Mato’s Cats’ Category

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Links October 2018

October 1, 2018

To make it clear, the author and probably most readers of this blog post do not belong to the downtrodden, utterly deprived, hapless and hopeless parts of humanity, because in such a case we would not be in the mood or have enough time to write or read articles on the internet, would not possess a computer, tablet, or smartphone to surf the web, and would not speak English.

To make it clear further, the author and probably most readers live in Western consumer societies and thereby participate in the ongoing colonial exploitation of weak countries, (euphemistically called “third world”, “global south”, “underdeveloped countries” or “emerging economies”) by the triad of Anglosphere (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), European Union (Western Europe, led by Germany and France), and Japan plus Asian Tigers (South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore).

To make it clear, the author and probably (hopefully) most readers are not severely affected and troubled by dysfunctional utility services, contaminated water and food, inadequate or nonexistent health care, rising sea levels, and increasing frequencies of storms, floods, heatwaves, wildfires, and droughts.

The author and most readers are not living on the street, starving, languishing in prison or in a migrant detention camp, hiding in cellars, bunkers, caves as bullets fly and bombs explode.

So why dramatize, why ponder, why bother? Why not being content, being glad with what one has, feeling at ease, feeling happy, being deeply in love?

Is that possible while watching the lemmings march towards the cliffs? Is it possible to be a disengaged observer of humanities full speed race into catastrophe?

Will there be a catastrophe? At the moment, besides a few wars and natural disasters, everything looks fine.

Will we lose our privileged status as the age of abundance gradually morphs into the age of scarcity, exploited countries try to brake the shackles of neocolonialism, desperate migrants amass at the boarders, and ecosystems break down?

Is it possible to continue the rat race through the labyrinth course of a merciless job market with no exit? Why not drop out and start a meaningful life?

Why not give redundant and obsolete stuff to someone who really needs it? Why not streamline the daily routines? Why not watch birds, butterflies, flowers, clouds in the sky, sunrise and sunset, an occasional rainbow, instead of watching TV, computer, and smartphone screens?

To make it clear, writing and reading this text and contemplating the raised issues takes only a tiny part of my and your time and alone for this reason it cannot achieve much, it will not be live changing. Even if the readers agree with the presented assumptions and conclusions, this blog post may be forgotten in a few seconds.

So why do I write? Playing silly word games? Absolving myself from guilt? Telling my fellow humans what I learned from life experience?

Change the world by changing yourself! Postulated thousands of times and still resonating — it doesn’t hurt to mention it here again.

What could one do beyond writing and reading? Donating?

This blog is not a charity, it is not giving away goods to the needy, it is not collecting and distributing funds. It would fail anyway, Even well established UN relief agencies and humanitarian NGOs face severe funding shortfalls.

There is too much need on one side and too much greed on the other.

UN Aid Agencies:

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
World Food Program (WFP)
World Health Organization (WHO)

That are a lot of job opportunities for well connected people and a lot opportunities for influence peddling or blackmail by the big powers.

Human history is a history of crime, injustice, and unimaginable suffering. The presence is not much better, as humans don’t appear to have learned anything. If some individuals here or there are enlightened, they will not be at the levers of power.

In the rare case where they reach the top they will be smeared and slandered (Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, Hugo Chavez), and overthrown or assassinated (Patrice Lumumba, Salvador Allende, Mohammad Najibullah, Yasser Arafat, Muammar Gaddafi).

Christine Fernandez will be missed by Argentineans. Why did she need to leave, why was no charismatic and principled successor stepping into her place? 

After going broke in 2001, Argentinas Presidents Christina Fernandez and her husband Nestor Kirchner could slowly but steadily ease the debt stranglehold, but when conservative candidate Mauricio Macri won against the uninspiring Daniel Scioli, Macri paid out the US vulture funds (led by Paul Singer) and took again IMF (International Monetary Fund) loans.

At the start of the 20th century Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world and an important grain and meat exporter. Its GDP represented halve of all Hispanic America and ranked 10th in the world’s economy, its trade amounted to 7 percent of the world’s total. In 1913, per capita income was higher than that of France, twice that of Italy, and almost five times that of Japan.

Now the country is broke. How could such a severe economic decline happen?

It’s easy to explain. WTO (World Trade Organization), World Bank, IMF, the international dispute settlement and arbitration courts, the large US and European banks, and last but not least the US Federal Reserve work all together to ensure that the already mentioned triad (Aglosphere, EU, Japan) can buy commodities like minerals and food cheaply in exchange for overpriced services, technology, and consumer goods (like Apple iPhones for instance). Banks and equity firms are also able to acquire local companies for little money and often at fire sale prices.

The global integrated monetary and financial system depends on the US$ (also called “petrodollar”) which is the international reserve currency and used for most trade. The system is controlled by the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank, which sets the interest rate and creates money by buying back US treasury bonds in order to cover Americas annual one trillion US$ deficit.

US national debt stands by 21,6 trillion US$, this debt will never be paid back and nobody will even dare to ask.

The Falklands War (Guerra de las Malvinas) in 1982 was a genuine colonial war. Britains Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (the Iron Lady) put Argentinians into their place and showed them who still rules the world.

Argentina since 1976 was governed by a military junta, who had overthrown Isabel Peron. The USA was either involved or sympathetic, the coup plot was known at least two months in advance and US secretary of state Henry Kissinger met several times with Argentinian military leaders after the coup, urging them to destroy their opponents quickly before the outcry over human rights abuses would grow in the USA. 30,000 Argentinians subsequently disappeared in the “Dirty War.”

The dictatorship’s finances were opaque, and it borrowed heavily abroad. People’s standard of life declined, and the return to civilian rule in 1983 did not change that trend.

In the 1990 President Carlos Menem got rid of regulations which had restricted foreign trade and sold government-owned companies to foreign investors. Menem and Domingo Cavallo, his minister for economic affairs, accepted the neoliberal dogmata preached by international financial institutions. The IMF funded the policy with several loans.

Today President Macri plays the same game again. The IMF offers 57 billion US — and the next financial meltdown is guaranteed.

International finance is a dirty business and it is intimately connected to war. For instance HSBC Bank plc, one of the largest banks in the world with some 7,400 offices in over 80 countries, is involved in the most dubious dealings.

In 2008 the British anti-poverty charity War on Want released a report documenting the extent to which HSBC and other UK commercial banks invest in, provide banking services for, and give loans to weapons companies. According to the report HSBC holds shares in the global arms industry totaling 589 million US$, and serves as principal banker for Meggitt, one of Britain’s largest arms companies.

HSBC also makes or made business with Mexican drug cartels, which is completely in line with the institutions history. British finance capital created HSBC in 1865 shortly after the Opium Wars to finance opium trade.

Disaster capitalism is also war capitalism. Wars and disasters are big business. They are profitable even for the media, because war and disaster porn draws large audiences, making the hours spent in front of TV or computer more entertaining.

Who would not be thrilled or at lest deeply touched by the suffering and agony of the relentlessly bombed Yemenis, the newest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the never-ending wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Not to forget Libya, since 2011 a failed state.

Interestingly, mainstream media is rather coy in reporting the mentioned events. Flooding of the Carolinas, the Skripal affair, and Indonesia get more coverage.

Mass burials in Sulawesi, Indonesia are planned as the death count approaches one thousand. In 2004, just 14 years ago, 228 thousand died in an Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Can societies get used to such tragedy?

Anyway, most citizens watch what their media minders want them to watch and they are never shown anything that would allow them to connect the dots and discover the big picture, the master plan, the long-time geopolitical plot.

Maybe in this respect I can help a little bit.

Feline and raccoon news:

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/croydon-cat-killer-mystery-solved-foxes-m25-met-police-investigation-a8546761.html Roadkill? And no humans at fault, according to authorities? (Are driverless cars already so ubiquitous?)
https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2018/09/19/raccoons-bust-into-toronto-womans-home-stare-her-down-while-defiantly-eating-her-bread.html
https://www.mnn.com/family/pets/stories/raccoon-may-be-smarter-your-toddler Not news, but nevertheless informative.
https://www.neatorama.com/pet/2018/09/03/Raccoon-Wants-to-Befriend-Cats/ 

Environmental news:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/09/scientists-reveal-how-much-world-s-forests-being-destroyed-industrial-agriculture
https://dgrnewsservice.org/civilization/ecocide/habitat-loss/kenya-un-says-lake-turkana-is-endangered/?utm
https://www.salon.com/2018/09/16/seed-diversity-is-disappearing-and-3-chemical-companies-own-more-than-half/
https://theintercept.com/2018/09/15/oregon-pesticides-aerial-spray-ban/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/18/inconvenient-realities-climate-change-and-the-south-pacific/
https://earther.gizmodo.com/1-7-million-chickens-have-drowned-in-florences-floodwat-1829150599?utm Who cares about some dead birds, even if their death was agonizing and painful?
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/09/18/649132289/florence-engulfs-hog-farms-and-chicken-houses-thrashing-north-carolina-agricultu
https://in.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuits/bayers-monsanto-asks-us-court-to-toss-289-million-glyphosate-verdict-idINKCN1LZ0H7 Armies of lawyers will be mobilized and every available pundit will predict (rightfully) the end of industrial agriculture if this verdict holds, while in the laboratories devilish chemists work overtime on new deadly poisons just in case of.
This is the core of their business model: poisoning all undesirable life in disregard of ecological disruption, mass extinction, and human collateral damage.
As the saying goes: “All is fair in love, war, and business.”
And according to another (slightly modified) aphorism: “Big business is the continuation of war by other means.” (Clausewitz)
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/09/as-indias-ganges-runs-out-of-water-a-potential-food-shortage-looms/
https://safehaven.com/news/Breaking-News/How-Climate-Change-Is-Impacting-Global-Hunger.html
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/21/hamb-s21.html Defending the forest. Until now one defender died.
https://www.kqed.org/science/1931569/why-are-beneficial-bugs-disappearing
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45617662 No sustainable food in Switzerland because industrialists and politicians warned of higher food prices.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/21/hurricane-florence-and-9-7-million-pigs/ Glad to be a vegetarian.
https://india.mongabay.com/2018/09/27/andhra-pradeshs-push-for-zero-budget-natural-farming-inspires-others/ 

Economic news:

https://wolfstreet.com/2018/09/21/uk-online-banking-systems-go-down-barclays-rbs-natwest-ulster-cashplus/
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/long_reads/capitalism-un-scientists-preparing-end-fossil-fuels-warning-demise-a8523856.html
https://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Suicidal-Argentine-Govt-Reaches-Deal-with-IMF-Recent-Borrowing-Reaches-57B-20180927-0003.html
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/26/the-age-of-fraud-the-link-between-capitalism-and-profiteering-by-deception/

Media and technology news:

https://www.alternet.org/how-do-we-know-whats-true
https://codeactsineducation.wordpress.com/2018/09/14/new-tech-power-elite-education/amp/
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45543964? Journalists for sale.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/21/pers-s21.html NY-Times election plot dossier.
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/09/19/hold-the-front-page-the-reporters-are-missing/
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/438925-eu-copyright-law-internet/
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/09/25/the-battle-for-our-minds/ For more than a century the various media companies of print, radio, and TV were able to disburse the establishment-approved storylines without much interference from dissenters. Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, and the various spokespersons of Western governments made the initial selections and omissions, the rest of the media pack followed suit, just adding some minor details to distinguish themselves from the competition.
But then came the internet, which made dissenting views easily accessible to the broad public. So called “alternative” or “fringe” media gained popularity, the “blogger sphere” found their dedicated audience, unsettling questions were asked and differing stories were told in social media posts, some of which got viral, reaching millions of readers.
The establishment is now scrambling to regain control of the information flow by
a) censoring social media (fake news),
b) slandering or prosecuting independent journalists and bloggers,
d) reducing views of dissident sites by low ranking in search engines,
c) co-opting, banning, or economically strangulating alternative and fringe media. 

Imperial news:

As debt rises, the US government will soon spend more on interest than on the military. The recent tax cuts, spending increases, and higher interest rates will make it harder to avert future recessions or deal with infrastructure decline and environmental emergencies.

https://www.axios.com/newsletters/axios-sneak-peek-08e07e35-16a4-4ec9-ac9b-40138905d43c.html
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/17/american-fascism/ Genocide, slavery, and fascism are compatible with Western style representative democracy. Agreed, but then: “The problems are systemic, not personality quirks.”
And what about the prejudices, tensions, fears, aggressions, phobias, and psychoses of each individual contributing to the general social climate? They don’t disappear just by destroying the old system and replacing it with something new.
https://williamblum.org/aer/read/160
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/09/hurricane-maria-anniversary-puerto-rico-trump/570928/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/20/puerto-ricos-unnatural-disaster-rolls-on-into-year-two/
https://www.postandcourier.com/news/for-women-who-drowned-in-sc-flood-ride-in-jail/article_ebc520dc-bd9a-11e8-bd9e-ababfe0e6ef1.html 

Imperial conquest news:

https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/27/illegal-us-nuclear-weapons-handouts/ 

https://southfront.org/u-s-history-of-chemical-weapons-use-and-complicity-in-war-crimes/
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2018/09/13/us-biological-warfare-program-in-spotlight-again.html
https://21stcenturywire.com/2018/09/20/video-report-us-diplomats-involved-in-trafficking-of-human-blood-and-pathogens-for-secret-military-program/
http://www.atimes.com/article/israel-takes-strategic-risk-with-detentions-of-us-jews/?utm
https://www.rt.com/news/438683-norway-libya-war-report/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/25/destroying-yemen-as-humanely-as-possible/

Armageddon news:

https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/climate-change-global-implications-by-j–bradford-delong-2018-09 

Uncategorized news:

https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/06/egypts-soundof-music-from-garbage-bins.html?

News from cat land:

Everything is okey, the cats are healthy and in good spirit. I still didn’t have time to bring them to the veterinarian for their annual vaccination and physical.

The freezers are full and most grapes are distributed to friends and acquaintances. Now starts the period of collecting leaves, which will go on for two month. It has to be done painstakingly by hand, because the trees, bushes, herbs, ferns, flowers make it impossible to use a rake

Today it rains, this is the reason I’m able to write this text. It has cooled down and I’ve heated the stove for the first time after summer.

Most of the older cats in the animal asylum have found a new home, only two middle aged shy and rather grumpy cats remain. But there are many kittens, playful, funny, cute, lovely, and adorable. They jump around and run after each other and after the little balls which are laying everywhere. 

One of them, a pretty ginger cat, laid down beside me, smiled at me, and started licking my hand. I was smitten, I was deeply moved, and I was a bit sad. No, not another young cat in the family. Linda is now four years old, which could mean another 14 years and more to fulfill this particular mission, the mission to accompany and guard my beloved feline friends till the hopefully peaceful and painless end of their lives.

When Miss Marple died in December last year I was sad but also relieved. She had a peaceful end — I told about that here on this web page in detail Links December 2017. After I had buried her I thought: “One done, six still to go.” And I thought: “We will make the best of the remaining years, we will always stay together, we will have a good life.”