Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

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Links April 2018

April 1, 2018

The weather is still nasty and the news are a mixed bag. Warmonger John Bolton is Trump’s new security adviser, but the Islamists in eastern Ghouta near Damascus are surrendering (Jaish al-Islam, the last holdouts, will be evacuated to the Turkish border town Jarabulus). This will be a big victory for the Syrian army, one wonders, what the USA will do next to keep the war going. Saudi Arabia intends to buy 6,600 more TOWs (anti-tank missiles) from Raytheon, enough to wipe out all Syrian tanks.

Donald Trump is allegedly considering to pull US troops out from Syria, but it would be surprising if he is allowed to do that.

Feline news:

https://www.inverse.com/article/42180-why-do-cats-knock-everything-over-science-explains My cat companions don’t knock over anything. They also don’t sharpen their claws on the furniture, after I told them that I don’t like it.
https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/mar/31/tim-dowling-the-cat-is-in-charge
https://www.dallasnews.com/news/texas/2018/03/29/police-cat-south-texas-department-enlists-feline-duty-lift-spirits-fight-crime

Environmental news:

About inappropriate terminology: “climate change” should replaced with the better fitting words “climate crisis” or climate catastrophe.

According to a new sea and aerial survey, the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” between Hawaii and California is at least 4 times as big as scientists thought. In an area three times the size of France, 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic, weighing 80,000 tons have been accumulated by global ocean currents. Plastic pollution, which can poison ocean life, is growing exponentially, as new land-based studies project, that humans are increasing the rate at which they dump plastic into the ocean.

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article207235314.html
https://www.bangkokpost.com/news/world/1424046/fukushima-must-do-more-to-reduce-radioactive-water
https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/as-climate-change-parches-somalia-frequent-drought-comes-with-conflict-over-fertile-land
http://www.dw.com/en/corruption-fueling-deforestation-in-cambodia/a-42674051
http://www.atimes.com/article/five-unsolved-mysteries-fukushima/
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-03-14/debilitating-disease-leaving-australians-allergic-to-chemicals/9546422 As we are increasingly exposed to chemicals and plastics, debilitating multiple chemical sensitivity is on the rise.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/12/microplastic-pollution-in-oceans-is-far-greater-than-thought-say-scientists
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/mar/28/plastic-crisis-urgent-recycling-bottles-no-fix
https://phys.org/news/2018-03-bottled-brands-contaminated-plastic-particles.html There’s no escape from plastic.
https://metamag.org/2018/03/15/chemical-industry-says-attempt-to-clean-up-toxic-textiles-is-abuse-of-industry-regulations/ Formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, and tetrachloroethylene.
https://qz.com/1231792/a-battery-recycling-plant-owned-by-indian-businessmen-caused-a-lead-poisoning-crisis-in-kenya/
http://www.mcgilltribune.com/sci-tech/how-many-people-is-too-many-people200318/ A well meant article with one crucial flaw: The author writes that we have to avoid reaching the Earth’s carrying capacity for human beings, but the carrying capacity has already been surpassed, resulting in the large scale contamination of the biosphere and the collapse of ecosystems.
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/19/overpopulation-cities-environment-developing-world-racist-paul-ehrlich Consumption is as important as population.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/despite-government-pledges-ravaging-of-indonesias-forests-continues
https://apnews.com/e0ceae76d5894734b0041210a902218d Hurricane Harvey’s toxic impact.
http://news.trust.org/item/20180322150906-xv3f0/ Famine.
Bird populations collapse, because insects they feed on have disappeared.
https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hedgehogs-a24-trap-lethal-goodnature-uk-declining-population-a8268991.html Lets kill hedgehogs.
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/ne9nkq/how-will-we-produce-food-in-the-future-soil-degradation-climate-change-pollution

Economic news:

http://michael-hudson.com/2018/03/a-travesty-of-protectionism/ Trump’s imperial trade wars will hurt the USA most and will make steel and aluminum more costly. Everything one could wish from an environmental point of view. Using aluminum for one-way food packaging is an environmental crime.
http://www.businessinsider.de/trump-trade-war-brings-economy-endgame-sooner-than-expected-albert-edwards-2018-3?r=US&IR=T The next crash may come sooner that expected. Good so!
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/16/drenched-in-crude-its-an-oil-free-for-all-but-thats-not-a-new-thing/
https://oilprice.com/Energy/Natural-Gas/Germanys-Pivot-From-Russian-Gas-Will-Be-Costly.html Germany tries to replace Russian gas.

Media and technology news:

About inappropriate terminology: “mainstream media”  should be replaced with the better fitting words “corporate media” or “imperialist media” or “The Ministry of Truth.”
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/09/americas-troll-farm-media/ 
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/zmwaee/there-are-no-guardrails-on-our-privacy-dystopia If you feel, that technology invades and controls your life, just don’t use it!
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/864-follow-your-bliss-the-tweet-that-brought-corporate-journalism-to-the-brink-of-a-nervous-breakthrough.html
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176400/ About NY-Times biased and misleading reporting.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/03/22/russ-m22.html Google teams up with corporate media.
http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/is-facebook-listening-through-your-smartphone-microphone-whistleblower-says-yes/ Delate Facebook.
https://mobile.slashdot.org/story/18/03/22/2333203/worlds-largest-animal-study-on-cell-tower-radiation-confirms-cancer-link Just get used to it.
https://qz.com/1241867/cell-phone-radiation-can-cause-cancer-in-rats-according-to-the-final-results-of-a-us-government-study/ The two main arguments against a possible cancer risk of cell phones are: Cell phone radiation is non-ionizing (cannot remove electrons of protein molecules in DNA) and is of low intensity.
a.) Ionization increases with frequency in the electromagnetic spectrum. X-ray and gamma ray are high frequency and highly ionizing, UV light is less frequency and less ionizing, radio signals have much lower frequency and also much lover risk of ionizing, but to say they are completely unable to ionize is wrong.
b.) The intensity of a cell phone signal, which has to reach a cell phone tower a few kilometers away, has to be quite high, especially as the intensity decreases with the square root of the distance (inverse square law).
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/865-no-spirit-of-liberty-the-salisbury-case-corbyn-and-the-need-for-dissent.html

Imperial madness news:

More than 26,000 children and teens have been killed in gun violence since 1999 and 187,000 students have been exposed to gun violence at school since Columbine.

John R. Bolton, the second-most dangerous US politician? Bolton, the next national security adviser, is likely to reinforce Mr. Trump’s instincts to dump the Iran nuclear deal and to confront North Korea, raising fears of instability. Tong Zhao, a nuclear policy expert at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing: “People are trying to avoid appearing terrified, but people are deeply concerned.”

John Bolton’s view’s about Iran: 

End all landing and docking rights for Iranian aircraft and ships at key allied ports.
End all visas for Iranians, including so called “scholarly,” student, sports, or other exchanges.
Demand payment with a set deadline on outstanding US federal-court judgments against Iran for terrorism, including 9/11.
Announce US support for the democratic Iranian opposition.
Expedite delivery of bunker-buster bombs.
Announce US support for Kurdish national aspirations, including Kurds in Iran, Iraq, and Syria.
Provide assistance to Balochis, Khuzestan Arabs, Kurds, and others — also to internal resistance among labor unions, students, and women’s groups.
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/fracking-health-risk-asthma-birth-defects-cancer-w517809 Being a fossil fuel super power comes at a cost (except for the wealthy).
https://warisboring.com/how-the-pentagon-devours-the-federal-budget/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/15/privatized-rivers-us-public-lands-waterways Everything will be privatized.
https://williamblum.org/aer/read/156 Anti-Empire Report 156. Despite his failing health William Blum keeps going. Please support him if you can. 

Imperial conquest news:

John Chuckman

“Never Forget, 50 Years Ago the US Slaughtered 500 Unarmed Men, Women, & Children in My Lai, Vietnam.”

It is important to realize that it was only one of a number of massacres, some small, some large. The others weren’t witnessed and photographed.

There were also many individual atrocities. I once met a US deserter in Toronto who had raped and then blasted with his rifle a Vietnamese girl. My understanding then was that kind of savagery was not unusual among young conscripts far from home and unhappy about being there, ignorant young men from far away, holding absolute power over the people they likely blamed for making them be in such a “hellhole.”

More importantly, the fact is that the entire war was an atrocity.

The USA killed about 3 million Vietnamese and did so in their own land, a place America had no business even being. It used all kinds of pretenses and lies to put itself there.

America left the place a horror of bomb craters and death, with vast deposits of Agent Orange and other poisons left to kill and maim for decades to come. So, too, countless land mines left to blow off peasants’ legs when they tried reclaiming their farms.

And the secret bombings and incursions into Cambodia – all totally illegal – destabilized a neutral government, allowing monsters to come to power, monsters who killed another million people while the United States watched and picked its collective nose.

So-called “heroes” of the war, men like John McCain, represented nothing so much as America’s desperate wish for something worthy or heroic to be discovered out of the dark horrors for which they were responsible.

America’s government, too, encouraged the thought of there being something positive or worthy. After all, it had been utterly humiliated in being defeated by a nation of peasants, after using every form of destruction they could think of, short of nuclear weapons, which indeed had been seriously considered.

McCain was a war criminal, shot down while bombing civilians in Hanoi. The rich creep never even properly thanked the humble Vietnamese man who saved his life. He had landed in water and would have drowned.

His fellow prisoners also said he received special treatment, and some say he cooperated with his captors. The Vietnamese knew perfectly well who this life-long spoiled brat was, the son and grandson of American Admirals.

His entire life story is one of a fairly shabby man with an ugly temper, never very able in anything he tried, who bullied everyone to make his way up under the influence and reputations of his father and grandfather. Later, of course, his status as “hero” catapulted him into politics, a field in which he frequently disgraced himself.

America’s Vietnam War was a true modern holocaust, killing about 4 million people in total including what happened in Cambodia. Many died horribly with new American weapons and ghastly practices such as large-scale use of napalm and carpet bombing.

There were also horrors like the CIA’s Operation Phoenix which murdered somewhere between 20,000 and 40,000 peasants in an effort to destroy social cohesiveness in the country. Night-crawling special forces went out to villages in the dark, under CIA guidance, and literally used large knives to cut the throats of residents such as mayors or other officials.

My Lai was terrible, but it was only the tiniest part of this deliberately created hell.

None of it served any good purpose. It just reflected immense US arrogance and the brutality born of immense power. Its only purpose was to hold America’s artificially created foothold in Asia, South Vietnam, a place itself run by ugly dictators.

US presidents lied countless times about what they were doing, and what they were doing was indistinguishable from some of the work of the Nazis themselves.

You see, there is nothing in slogans about democracy or freedom that saves a people from sinking into the most depraved behavior, and that is the real lesson of the Vietnam War, but it is ignored to this day.

On a related note:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/mossad-assassinations-israel-foreign-operations-arafat-book-shin-bet-ronan-bergman-interviews-a8181391.html A book has just been published about Israel’s 2,700 assassinations, and some of the assassins telling their stories. Political assassination literally has been a significant industry in modern Israel, a business much like the 1930s mafia murders-for-hire out of Detroit by the Purple Gang or Murder Inc.
https://www.al-monitor.com/pulse/originals/2018/03/yemen-us-weapons-saudi-arabia-uae.html The is the greatest humanitarian catastrophe today, yet the USA sold weapons worth more than 650 million US$ to Saudi Arabia and the UAE as the Yemen war expanded in2017.
http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/sergei-skripal-theres-more-to-this-story-than-meets-the-eye/ War preparations.
https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2018/03/14/urgent-communication-questions-to-be-addressed-regarding-novichoks/
https://petras.lahaine.org/why-the-uk-the-eu-and/ Cold War II. A useful compilations of facts about the Western campaign against Russia.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/21/it-is-us/ A poetic version of Cold War II.
https://journal-neo.org/2018/03/25/let-s-call-to-end-war-profiteering-in-yemen/
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/03/24/6700-more-u-s-missiles-for-saudi-arabia-to-shoot-at-yemeni-kids/
https://www.justsecurity.org/53635/lesson-trump-administration-failed-learn-yemen/

John Chuckman

The recent set of behaviors by the US government is almost beyond belief.

It’s an astoundingly dangerous set of stunts, much like holding massive mock air raids over crowded cities using real bombers loaded with real bombs.

And to what purpose?

Just to discredit Russia? To prepare the ground, so to speak, for some new aggression against Russia, creating a cloud of hysteria and confusion for the general public just before some real fireworks go off? This is quite possible, and of course, immensely dangerous. I have little doubt Russian authorities regard this as a real possibility.

The fact is that the United States today, in international affairs, is not being led by completely rational people. And, most certainly, not people with much in the way of human values and respect for others. They demonstrated that amply over the last decade and a half by blowing up and burning through huge portions of the Middle East.

“To hell with all the people killed and the immense numbers made homeless and the destruction of comparatively well-run and peaceful states” is basically what America’s long violent march tells the world, and it’s hardly reassuring when new threats are offered, as they are being offered now.

America is led in these matters by unaccountable people with unknown goals and using deadly means.

America’s Deep State now not only makes democratic government inside America pretty well meaningless, a simulacrum of representative government, it threatens much of the world with completely unfounded fears to get its way. Bullying on a global scale.

And no one in what is still quaintly called “Western civilization” raises a voice against such dangerous insanity because they are themselves all threatened and intimidated. There would be enough decent people, but it’s a matter of inability to do anything about it. Passivity in the face of truly MAD terror.

All of the West has utterly buckled to America’s new hyper-aggressiveness. There isn’t a voice to be heard in Europe about anything important, except, “yes, sir, yes, sir, three bags full,” as the American establishment tears up and burns much of the planet.

As for Americans, they have no real choices in politics. It’s a pathetic stage play of democracy. No matter who you vote for, the Washington establishment wins. Kerry vs. Bush? Romney vs. Obama? Clinton vs. Trump? Maybe Biden vs. Trump?

There isn’t a major influential figure in America who stands for anything different than what we see.

Big Money buying national politics plus uncontrolled lobbyists plus a cancerous Pentagon and CIA pretty well assure the results we see. Those are the rotten building materials for today’s godawful Washington establishment.

Sometimes, I feel like I’m watching one of those magnificent old Greek tragedies in which, no matter how hard he struggles, the protagonist goes down to his fate.

One more point:

To what extent is Trump – or indeed any US President – actually in charge of his own office? At least as far as world affairs and war and killing and threats go?

There was every indication before the election that Trump had some welcome contrarian views in important matters.

He openly asked why Israel couldn’t pay for its own defense? He openly asked why the United States didn’t develop better relations with Russia? He openly asked why the United States was in Syria, why not leave it to Russia to end that terrorism?

These and other exciting prospects about crucial matters have simply disappeared.

We do not see the same Trump, a man who for me had at least some promise, always ignoring his dumber ideas like building the wall with Mexico which had a high probability of never happening.

I am reminded of his predecessor, a man supposedly from the other end of the political spectrum and a man the whole world once regarded as promising change after eight agonizing years of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld’s bloody horror.

That man, Obama, ended by being a colossal disappointment, just providing for the most part in world affairs a continuation of Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld. Here was a man who bombed human beings every day of his term in the White House despite his early promise.

Obama even put the United States into the extrajudicial killing business on a grand scale, something Trump has extended, happily handing over to the psychopaths at CIA the role of judging who dies in addition to acting as executioner.

Further, I refer to the Bush administration as Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld for a very good reason. Bush pretty much proved that the United States does not really need a president except for the formal signing of legal documents placed before him and making speeches. That pathetically ignorant man decided nothing. The grimacing eminences grises, standing behind him, very much did.

So, all the recent history of US Presidents tends to confirm strongly the unpleasant idea that America really is run by a Deep State, that the role of Presidents is pretty much symbolic, at least when it comes to all of America’s deadly activity in the world.

The Deep State apparently is largely indifferent to internal social issues, so the American people get to enjoy an illusion that they actually have some choice in their politics with debates over those.

However, if we accept the truth of this, it has huge implications for diplomacy and world affairs. Summits between well-intentioned leaders, for example, can settle nothing where the US is involved. Appeals to reason and the principles of the rule of law also are meaningless because the audience which must be addressed cannot be addressed.

Here, too, for that last point, we do tend to see confirmation in matters such as the Skripal Affair and various American behaviors in Syria. No logic or evidence is deemed necessary. No one you can address is accountable. Trump appears for all the world a kind of ventriloquist’s dummy sitting at his desk.

Statistical comparison USA – Russia:

US Defense Budget – 700 billion US$
US National Debt: 21,041,399,045,500 US$
Interest per Year 189,306,690,094 US$
Interest per Second 6,003 US$
Debt per Citizen 64,872 US$
Debt as percentage of GDP 109.32 percent
GDP 19,248,300,000,000 US$
Population 324,352,551

Russian Defense Budget – 47 billion US$
Russia National Debt: 197,906,347,208 US$
Interest per Year 12,805,556,000 US$
Interest per Second 406 US$
Debt per Citizen 1,353 US$
Debt as percentage of GDP 19.65 percent
GDP 1,007,000,000,000 US$
Population 146,300,000

Armageddon news:

https://www.globalresearch.ca/homo-sapiens-on-track-to-extinction-climate-and-nuclear-threats-can-humanity-survive/5631303
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/30/getting-ready-for-nuclear-war/
https://www.rbth.com/international/2016/02/12/how-realistic-is-bbc-film-about-russia-nato-nuclear-war_567243
http://turcopolier.typepad.com/sic_semper_tyrannis/2018/03/the-geo-political-poker-game-wheres-the-off-ramp-by-.html
https://www.inverse.com/article/42618-sixth-mass-extinction-biodiversity-shrimp
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/mar/29/us-wildlife-extinction-species-report
http://www.dw.com/en/time-running-out-to-save-the-earths-plants-and-animals/a-43091288
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/mar/22/collapse-civilisation-near-certain-decades-population-bomb-paul-ehrlich

Uncategorized news:

http://www.greattransition.org/publication/farewell-to-development Alternative models in the Global South. No individualism, competition, industrialism, market primacy.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/03/13/the-classist-racist-history-of-jaywalking/ Cars rule by brute force — pedestrians or cyclists who are in the way are just run over with impunity. You think this is cynical? I knew a physician, the only one in his little town and very well respected. He was a  fitness enthusiast and cycled every day in early morning 30 kilometers. On one of this bicycle rides he was killed by a reckless driver, who got away with a three-month suspended sentence. After a public uproar the judge justified the leniency with the argument, that “one should not destroy somebodies life just because of a driving error.”
http://www.atimes.com/western-pundits-no-clue-china/

News from cat land:

My Rosmarin all died in the “Beast from the East” cold snap and the cold weather could last beyond Easter. Siberian air is said to be responsible, no wonder, that the European Union wants to go to war against Russia. Yet, while the Cold War getting hot surely would cause some heat temporarily, a nuclear winter would leave us longing for the good times when temperatures were still around freezing.

Gardening season is nevertheless starting in earnest and blog posts will be rare throughout spring and summer.

Lucia, my little cat angel, is making not much progress with weight loss. I serve her only food which she profoundly dislikes, but I have no control about how many mice from the garden and the forest she consumes.

Every time I go to the kitchen she runs to the food cups and she looks at me so pleadingly, that it makes my heart bleed and gives me nightmares. All the hardship and suffering of the worlds felines is reflected in the wide open eyes of my cat angel. I often wake up sweating, trembling, and deeply disturbed by vivid dreams about starving cats. 

I now avoid going into the kitchen, so at least one person (I) looses weight. Unfortunately that doesn’t solve Lucia’s weight problem.

One could rightfully call her a “barrel cat,” but that would be disrespectful and the term corresponds too closely with the barrel bombs Bashar al-Assad allegedly uses to butcher Syria’s children.

I will have to make many long walks in the forest with her, which means, that there will be even less new blog posts. Life will have to go on (or end) without my comments.