Archive for the ‘Mato’s Cats’ Category


News, observations, guesses June 2022

June 3, 2022

Fifty years ago this spring the Club of Rom published a book called The Limits to Growth, which arrived at stark and simple conclusions:

If the present growth trends in world population, industrialization, pollution, food production, and resource depletion continue unchanged, the limits to growth on this planet will be reached sometime in the next one hundred years. The most probable result will be a rather sudden and uncontrollable decline in both population and industrial capacity,” causing “overshoot and collapse” with a tipping point around 2020-30.

Here we are.

Western economies face a period of GDP decline and rising inflation – a return to the stagflation of the 1970s. Developing countries meanwhile are struck with food, energy, and debt crises. Faced with the choice of feeding their populations or paying international creditors, governments (hopefully) will opt for the former. Sri Lanka was the first country to default on its debts — it will not be the last.

The World Bank cut its global economic growth forecast for this year by almost a full percentage point, to 3.2 percent (still way too optimistic). This development was attributed to China, where full or partial lockdowns in pursuit of Zero-COVID have been imposed in dozens of cities in March and April, including a long shutdown of Shanghai. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang issued a warning about the state of the economy in a report to a teleconference involving 100,000 officials in which he called on them to do more to ensure continued economic growth.

Instead of calling for accepting ecological reality, adjusting to a stagnant GDP, reducing waste and unnecessary luxury, Li called for “continued economic growth.”

They never learn!

China has recently increased the burning of coal even as it pledges to face out coal in the long term. China is mining more coal than ever and is releasing increased amounts of methane into the atmosphere. 

Although India has pledged to be a leader in renewable energy, recent reports have shown, that the country is still heavily reliant on coal to meet soaring power demand. Just four countries (China, India, Russia, and the USA) will generate 50 percent of residual global emissions in 2050 if current trends hold.

And all that for fancy luxuries and deadly weapons!

World military spending has passed 2 trillion US$. This rising tide of military spending is an immense waste of human resources that could otherwise be used for hospitals, schools, housing, and dealing with the threat posed to all human life by steadily increasing pollution, contamination, collapse of biological systems, and climate change.

I don’t intend to publish another special post about Ukraine. I don’t like to write about war, war is a crime, war is organized mass murder. To fight for survival, to fight against a deadly threat may be an exception. Is a war against US imperialism and hegemony justified? Is a war against the destroyers of nature justified?

Should permaculture practitioners, who often become insular “preppers,” “lifeboaters,” or “survivalists,” link their work to political resistance movements (deep green environmentalists)?

Should we join the Earth Liberation Front, should we bomb transformer stations and electricity pylons? Burn Caterpillar D6T machines and other earth moving equipment? Slash SUV tires and spread caltrops on highways?

Should we sabotage, obstruct, spoil, disrupt Western consumerism and try to dismantle technology driven industrial civilization before nature is completely destroyed?

(I will answer these questions privately.)

An astonishing number of people made their sympathies for Russia’s position clear. They have to cope with the resulting cognitive dissonance.

If Russia’s military can overwhelm NATO-trained and equipped Ukrainian troops even when being significantly outnumbered, the collective West should seriously reconsider its policy of constantly “poking the bear.”

Maybe NATO is indeed a paper tiger.

Maybe Russia could have prevented Muammar Gaddafi’s terrible end. 

Maybe we can breath a little bit easier when this is done. 

Feline news:
Keeping the cats indoor during the birds breeding season is better than killing them, as Australia tried to do, thereby increasing a devastating mouse plaque.
Cats are a deadly menace for many other creatures. Thats what makes them so similar to humans.

Against all odds:

Environmental news:

Pollution caused 1 in 6 deaths globally from 2015 to 2019 and remains the world’s largest environmental health threat. In 2015, 9 million people worldwide died from poor air quality, unsafe water and toxic chemical pollution. In 2019, that number hadn’t changed, according to a report by Lancet Planetary Health.

Economic news:

Oil prices are rising above 120 US$ a barrel. Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov predicted that Russia’s output would fall by 17 percent over the course of 2022. Sanctions imposed by the West on Russia, a major fertilizer exporter, have disrupted supply chains and left farmers in despair worldwide.

Inflation reached new record highs in the Euro Area in the month of May, clocking in at 8.1 percent, well above the consensus estimate of 7.7 percent. In six of the 19 Euro Area countries the inflation rate was in double digits: Estonia (20.1 percent), Lithuania (18.5 percent), Latvia (16.4 percent), Slovakia (11.8 percent), Greece (10.7 percent) and Netherlands (10.2 percent).

The energy-related aspects of Russian Arctic strategy just looked as if they were beginning to bear fruit. In January 2022, Russia’s gas giant Novatek concluded a long-term deal with China’s ENN Natural Gas and Zhejiang Energy, committing to supply 1 million tons of LNG per annum to the Chinese market for the next 15 years. Earlier, in February 2021, Novatek had signed another LNG contract with the Chinese Shenergy Group. 

But European Union’s fifth sanctions package specifically bars EU producers from supplying Russia with advanced technologies. German Linde provides technologies vital for the production of LNG, but now Russia is likely to encounter grave obstacles to completing the strategic Arctic LNG2 mega-project, especially its second and third production lines. Russia’s only LNG-related project that exclusively relies on domestic technologies (Yamal LNG fourth line) is not functioning well and has faced various technical difficulties.

Foreign investors continue to abandon Russia’s Arctic-based energy projects. Shell decided to pull out of the Gydan Energy joint venture with Gazprom Neft, where it held a 50 percent stake. Shell and Gazprom Neft had previously planned to use this joint venture as a foundation for creating a new energy cluster in the Arctic region (the onshore Leskinsky and Pukhutsyayakhsky areas), with the commercialization phase of this proposed project starting in 2028. Furthermore, Japanese Mitsui and JOGMEC as well as French TotalEnergies recently declared their withdrawal from the strategic Arctic LNG2 mega project, due to the “inability to carry out financial transactions, stemming from economic sanctions.”

Leave it in the ground, finally! 
The article lists contributing factors to the food crisis. Calling this a global conspiracy is pure speculation and implausible, because the elites in power will rather try to pacify the populace witch affordable (junk)food in order to avoid hunger riots. 
Pakistan’s Russian wheat import deal. 

Pandemic news:

The sixth surge of COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations in the USA is deepening every day, driven by the highly infectious and immune-resistant Omicron BA.2 and BA.2.12.1 subvariants.

Recently the USA recorded nearly 190,000 new cases in 24 hours, pushing the seven-day average of daily new cases to well over 100,000. Hospitalizations now stand at 22,875, a 27 percent increase over the last 14 days. Cases are rising in 49 states, and hospitalizations are rising in 45 states, with Puerto Rico and Washington D.C. also seeing a rise in both figures.

Various countries see a decline in cases despite completely abandoning mitigation measures (masks, travel restrictions). This is counterintuitive and can only be explained by changed public perceptions and attitudes. People accept COVID-19 and Long-COVID as a fact of life. They stoically bear the infection just like they have to bear a heart disease or cancer diagnosis.

In the long term this will give China a decisive advantage, as the collective creativity and inventiveness of its people, not impaired by COVID-9 aftereffects, will outcompete anyone else. 

Why is COVID-19 no apparent issue in the Ukrainian war? The refugees, the movement of troops, and people crammed in close quarters, constitute ideal conditions for spreading the virus. Is this a matter of ignoring, neglecting, underreporting? 

Media, technology, and propaganda news:

If you want information instead of virtual reality entertainment, it is time to finally unplug from mainstream media or fake “alternative” media. There are enough truly alternative sources available, just follow the links which are posted here.

Imperial news:

Joe Garcia, the husband of a teacher who was killed in a Texan school, died of a broken heart just two days after his wife was shot dead. 

They do things differently in Texas (and most other US states), as social tensions and inequality are rising, with people getting angry and depressed.

Is this the way the worlds nations should take? Is the USA still the lighthouse, the shining city upon a hill? US gun production tripled since 2000, fueled by handgun purchases. Recently approved legislation in Texas requires firms to declare that they don’t “discriminate” against the firearm industry. If they don’t comply, they risk losing lucrative business with the state.

The Washington Post writes: Gas prices rattle economy, but Americans keep driving.

Imperial conquest news:

The key forces managing US foreign policy (White House, State Department, Pentagon, CIA, NED, USAID, and all the rest) are single-mindedly devoted to preserve US world leadership (world hegemony), with the effort always dressed in handsome words about freedom and democracy. 

For many years “a free market economy” was sewn on as part of the outfit. Nowadays this phrase is seen less often; with the crash of 2008 and a currently growing crisis it no longer looks so alluring! Yet it remains the basic foundation, while “freedom and democracy,” still good for shop windows, have been repeatedly ignored, with Pinochet in Chile and apartheid in South Africa, from the Somozas in Nicaragua to the Saudis in Arabia in a long, tragic list.–Cuba-20220517-0007.html 
Erez Israel.
Yemenis have felt no difference between truce and non-truce.

Ukraine news:

How it all started:

In February 2021, Ukrainian President Zelensky ordered troops and heavy weapons to deploy near the contact line in Donbas. After the 2021 attempt on Donbas had failed, the USA immediately prepared for a new attack to provoke Russia taking action in Ukraine. The Ukrainian assault began on February 16, 2022, when over several days Ukrainian artillery increased its bombardment of Donbas by a factor of 40. Russia reacted to that and on February 24 preempted the planned Ukrainian assault with its own special military operation.

While the fighting rages in Donbass, Zelensky’s family is safely settled in Israel, in a mansion worth eight million US$. He also has a multi-million dollar villa property near Miami and another in Tuscany. Who would have thought that being president of the poorest country in Europe could bring such material rewards?

Ukraine’s economy may have shrunk by 45 percent at the end of 2022.

The anti-Russia hate campaign has reached extremes with cancelling Russian artists like soprano Anna Netrebko at the Met or conductor Valery Gergiev at the Munich Philharmonic, calling for boycotts of Dostoyevsky or Chekhov, and inspiring attacks on Russian children in Berlin schools.

Ukraine cannot replace personal losses and has to look abroad. In April, about 60 Islamic State militants aged 20-25 were released from Kurdish prisons and transferred to the US military base Al-Tanf, located in Syria near the border with Jordan and Iraq, for combat training and subsequent deployment to Ukraine.

The Ukraine announced the formation of an “International Legion”, which will include up to 20,000 volunteers from 52 countries. Foreign volunteers are recruited through a website and must demonstrate military or police experience. They have to make their way to the Poland-Ukraine border, where they will sign a contract and be assigned to a unit.

New “wonder weapons” are on the way:

The M142 HIMAR (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) can launch multiple precision-guided missiles at targets as far as 80 km away. The M270 MLRS (Multiple Launch Rocket System) has similar maximum range. Both systems are complicated and difficult to operate. Harpoon anti-ship missiles were sent from Denmark, The M109 Paladin armored self-propelled howitzers are tracked and very heavy, which limits their deployment). The MQ-1C Gray Eagle drones can launch Hellfire missiles.

M777 howitzer performance summary:

Out of 90 M777 sent by the US to Ukraine, only 18 have been deployed and used in combat.
Lot of ammunition (US and Canadian) was destroyed in Ukraine ammo dumps before making it to front.
Range is just 20km and can be extended only with rocket-assisted projectiles, which Ukraine does not have.
Needs a 7-man crew that normally requires nine weeks of training and months of additional training to gain proficiency.
80 percent of the howitzers arrived in Ukraine without targeting electronics. Canadian electronics are used as hasty replacement, but fail in field due to Russian electronic warfare (jamming of GPS).
Operating M777s are usually located in under 30 minutes by Russian drones or counter-battery due to unique acoustic signature. M777s might get off four or five rounds before being destroyed.

The new weapons will make no difference on the battlefield. Numbers of HIMAR and drones will be only single digits. It would make no sense to send more because the Ukraine doesn’t have the personal to operate them and not even enough skilled people to be eligible for training on them. The Ukraine also doesn’t have the necessary logistic capacity to move weapons and ammunition to the front lines.

Russia has depleted Ukraine’s war-fighting capabilities by destroying 185 Ukrainian aircraft and 129 helicopters, 1,077 unmanned aerial vehicles, 326 anti-aircraft missile systems, 3,363 tanks and other armored combat vehicles, 457 multiple launch rocket systems, 1,744 field artillery and mortars, as well as 3,329 units of special military vehicles.

About Elon Musk’s Starllink:

Starlink has become an information lifeline for Ukraine, serving as a link to drones targeting artillery strikes against Russian forces. Ukraine’s aerial reconnaissance force has used Starlink to connect directly to drones that have knocked out numerous Russian tanks, mobile command centers, and other military vehicles.

Ukraine’s Digital Transformation Minister Mykhailo Fedorov reported, that there are more than 10,000 Starlink terminals operating in Ukraine. Unlike cellphone transmission towers, the satellite dishes used by Ukrainian forces for Starlink reception are small and movable to evade detection. 

Russia failed to jam the Starlink connection used by the Azovstal garrison in Mariupol. When Russia resorted to electronic countermeasures, Starlink pushed out software updates to prevent these, according to Dave Tremper, director of electronic warfare at the Office of the US Secretary of Defense.
Rump-Ukraine’s future as a Polish province.
UK plans naval intervention against Russia in the Black Sea.
Scott Ritter at his best.
Must read!
Important! Scott Ritter has been sounding the alarm on very important issues (including NATO rearming Ukraine) for several weeks. If NATO doesn’t back off this war could go on for a long time and escalate to the most dangerous levels.

China news:

The official unemployment rate in China (only covering urban dwellers) has increased to 6.1 percent, while unemployment for people aged 16 to 24 has risen to a historic high of 18.2 percent. This is significant because the government regards strong growth as essential for maintaining “social stability.”

A major trend in the US siege of China is an attempted de-Sinification of supply chains. The IPEF (Indo-Pacific economic framework) aims to accelerate the transfer of supply chains from China to Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and India. Furthermore, the US is attempting to form a four-party chip alliance with South Korea, Japan, and China’s Taiwan, implying that there is a policy to cut connections with China in the semiconductor industry, starting with high-end semiconductors.

Shiu Sin-por, Executive Director of the New Paradigm Foundation, said that “as a result of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict, China and Russia have created a large space for cooperation and a good opportunity that has never before existed in the history of the two countries. It’s now up to the two governments to decide what to do with it. In terms of energy and food security, the Russia-Ukraine conflict presents a significant opportunity for China.” 

Dr. Tian Feilong, an associate professor at Beijing’s Beihang University Law School, writes that “throughout history, the US has utilized a variety of forces to infiltrate China. It has also deployed many layers of containment mechanisms throughout the global system. All of these actions are meant to lay the stage for a color revolution in China, as well as restructuring and dismembering China as a second Soviet Union.”

Tian thinks that getting the United States to act like a “normal” country again, that respects and values the international order of sovereign equality, is “as difficult as getting an addict to rehab.”
It seems, that China succeeded with the Zero-COVID policy, setting an example for the whole world and humiliating incompetent and callous Western officials who propagate “herd immunity” and “living with COVID.”

News from cat land:

Still reeling from the loss of Wendy, who sadly passed after 14 years of a sometimes joyful, sometimes painful life. Princess Min Ki still keeps going despite suffering from kidney failure. The ailments of Min Ki and Wendy were diagnosed one year ago, but thanks to medical intervention they could live a nearly normal life until in the last three weeks Wendy’s condition suddenly deteriorated.

Could that happen also to Princess Min Ky? I told her that she has to live at least another year, but will she obey? She doesn’t eat enough and weighs only 3 kilo despite being offered exquisite food of proven high quality. Min Ki doesn’t like the kidney diet food and still catches a significant part of her nutrition in the garden and the forest.

Min Ki is now 17 and the other cats are also getting older. Gandhi Jr. is 10 years old, Lucia 9, Linda 8, Rita 4. Will I be able to accompany and guide them till their hopefully peaceful end? I’ve already lived many years longer than my father and two cousins who all died of heart failure in a family with a history of myocardial problems. 

Notably: My mother had known heart problems too though she was killed very young by a faultily manufactured medicine (I was 14 when we lost her). My best friends and a woman with whom I shared a long stretch of my life died many years before the age which I now have reached. 

How can I expect to be luckier than all these friends and relatives? Will it help to live healthy, avoid distress, never be angry or unhappy? Making the most prudent choices is not easy in these times of fast changing environmental, social, and cultural conditions, of information overflow and relentless commercial and political propaganda.

How long will our little cat paradise last?