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Links July 2020

July 13, 2020

Sitting on the computer and wondering: “What for heavens sake am I doing, I should work in the garden, plant, prune, weed, and harvest! There is so much work to do outside and I’m sitting here, typing and staring at the screen.”

A fellow blogger wrote:

That’s all we’re ever fighting to accomplish here: expanding awareness in individuals and in the collective beyond the barriers of propaganda and status quo normalization to reveal the true nature of essential issues.

In our private life we need to expand awareness and knowledge of our innate archaic impulses and urges. We further have to be aware of subconscious blockages, traumata, and nasty mental habits which were imprinted into us by bad education, propaganda, abuse, and other misfortunes. We have to overcome these harmful compulsions with mind-body interventions (meditation, mindfulness, tai chi, yoga, artistic activity).

As a collective humanity needs to expand knowledge and awareness beyond the distortions of ignorance and propaganda to the point where a critical mass of people understand what’s really happening in their world, using the power of their numbers to force an end to oppression, exploitation, violence, and ecocide by the powers which rule the planet.

On every level there are forces which have a vested interest in keeping people unaware and uninformed, whether it’s global power structures hiding their malfeasance with the help of obedient mass media, corporations hiding their crimes with PR spin and secrecy, religious and cult leaders hiding their depravity with doctrines, abusive parents and partners hiding their abusiveness with the help of psychological manipulation.

There is constantly more stuff produced and more poison emitted. Nature is dying, the threat of nuclear war still looms (and is even increased by the USA), social tensions and aggression are rising, and people get more and more miserable and hopeless.

Things should change fast and momentously, but as much as we desire change, we are creatures of habit and instinctively resist change. There is also this glitch in human cognition known as “status quo bias,” which causes us to tend toward holding to the familiar as a default preference and perceive the risk of losing what we have as far less favorable than the reward gaining something better.

Hence, being open minded and ready to try something new is another absolutely necessary mental condition.

Tim Hayward, professor of environmental political theory at the University of Edinburgh and director of the university’s Just World Institute, wrote a post with the title “Free Intelligence: notes for a manifesto.”
https://timhayward.wordpress.com/2020/07/08/free-intelligence-notes-for-a-manifesto/ 

And I commented:

The issues which this text addresses are a concern for many writers, educators, and thoughtful people in general. Blogger and “rogue journalist” Caitlin Johnstone writes about the “establishment narrative” and the need to expand collective and personal consciousness. I personally leave the term “consciousness” in the neurological realm and use instead “knowledge” and “awareness.”

Collecting information, sorting the correct and essential from the deceptive and trivial, and being aware of our cognitive and sensory limits is a crucial survival skill. In our ever changing world we have to take notice of newly emerging threats and understand where things are heading.

The word “curiosity” explains it clearly. I learned curiosity from my beloved cats, and it always has been a driving force in my life. We live in interesting times with sudden unexpected conversions and evolutions. Only a curious mind will be able to detect, discern, correctly interpret, and correlate the incoming sensory data.

We need to be open minded, be aware of our own “conformation bias” and deep rooted prejudices. Even more important, we need to be skeptical and aware that mainstream media, advertising, and internet bots relentlessly push the establishment storyline (or narrative, as Caitlin Johnstone calls it). We need to be aware that everything which could question the story (or narrative) is suppressed, that cheating, deceiving, lying is the norm.

Objectivity is a mirage, everyone has an agenda, every media report is tainted. This applies to all sides, including “alternative media” independent bloggers, and social media’s opinion makers.

Edward Bernays “Public Relations” are the basis of todays media world. Sophisticated psychological tricks enable journalists, authors, and pundits to drive their point home.

Why is this bad?

The establishment storyline (or narrative) aims to keep the population quiet and accept the status quo.

The status quo means: politics focused on corporate gain, exploitation of nature and people by the rentier and billionaire class, increasing inequality and social injustice, irresponsible destruction of nature, wars for resources and profits. 

When the next pandemic hits, when the biosphere collapses, when some nuclear warheads explode, the billionaires will retreat to their private islands, their superyachts, or their luxury doomsday bunkers in New Zealand.

While the servants and minions of the rentier and billionaire class may either be injudicious or uncaring, the broad population naive, confused, and distracted by the relentless media bombardment.

Pacified by media brainwashing, superficial entertainment, and worthless electronic gadgets.

This (the status quo) we have to change by counter information, by the presentation of alternative views including alternative solutions, by solid analysis and fact checking, and most important: by our personal conduct.

Teachers, prophets, saints, and sages of the world, unite!

You may say: “I don’t want to be a saint, I want to be a sinner and carry on with my bad habits, routines, and rituals. I’m used to that and I don’t give a damn about brown people in faraway countries, about critters, and about nature.”

But are you ready to endure the pain that this attitude may entail one day?

Feline news:

Some studies have warned that cats are particularly susceptible to coronaviruses, so cats should be monitored for signs of the virus.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/coronavirus-cats-spread-covid-19/
https://blog.theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com/cat-with-two-toned-face-has-kittens/
https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0235188
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/worlds-oldest-cat-rubble-dies-22295787 

Against the odds:

https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/oureconomy/another-town-possible-community-wealth-building-basque-country/

Environmental news:

We all too often tend to take the many gifts of the earth we live on for granted, while continuing to destroy her, because we wrongly assume ourselves to be untouchable.

https://www.ehn.org/european-parliament-endocrine-disruptors-2646227143.html Covert lobbying for the chemical industry.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/in-pandemic-recovery-efforts-polluting-industries-are-winning-big After the pandemic pause, polluting industries get special love from governments all over the world.
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/science/2020/06/why-covid-19-will-end-up-harming-the-environment Polluters are bailed out and clearcutting of the Amazon rainforest increases. The war against nature rages on unabated.
https://truthout.org/articles/siberian-forest-fires-increase-by-fivefold-in-week-since-record-high-temperature
https://thenarwhal.ca/carbon-emissions-increasing-arctic-ocean-acidification
https://e360.yale.edu/features/listening-to-silence-why-we-must-protect-the-worlds-quiet-places
https://www.minnpost.com/second-opinion/2020/06/overuse-on-cattle-feedlots-is-a-key-factor-in-antibiotic-resistance-report-says
https://www.chicagotribune.com/featured/sns-climate-change-home-garden-20200630-5ucfiou7drgfvdxz6rws24wveu-story.html
https://apnews.com/f2706b256cb163c1e662c2e4f9d7f78e E-waste increase.
https://asiatimes.com/2020/07/china-reverts-to-its-dirty-coal-ways Despite green rhetoric, China’s coal consumption in 2019 was up by 1 percent over the previous year, driven by stronger energy demand. That marked the third consecutive annual rise in coal use.
https://www.odi.org/publications/16958-china-s-distant-water-fishing-fleet-scale-impact-and-governance
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2020/07/pandemic-roadkill Less roadkill because of the pandemic. But, as travel bans have eased, traffic has gone up again, especially as commuters spurn public transit for the socially distant cocoons of their personal vehicles.
https://meta.eeb.org/2020/07/06/corporations-weaponise-obscure-legal-instruments-to-declare-war-on-green-reforms/
https://theconversation.com/global-electronic-waste-up-21-in-five-years-and-recycling-isnt-keeping-up-141997 

Media and technology news:

https://asiatimes.com/2020/06/covid-19-will-accelerate-march-of-the-robots/?mc_cid=629bde81e1&mc_eid=b0b2e73191
https://taibbi.substack.com/p/the-news-media-is-destroying-itself
https://fair.org/home/cnns-portrayal-of-north-korea-as-lawless-aggressor-reverses-reality/
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/06/28/this-russia-afghanistan-story-is-western-propaganda-at-its-most-vile/
https://ehtrust.org/eu-parliament-members-expose-5g-safety-authority-being-influenced-by-telecom-industry/
https://www.medialens.org/2020/conspiracy-theories-malign-and-benign-face-masks-and-israeli-training-of-us-police/
https://fair.org/home/in-russian-bounty-story-evidence-free-claims-from-nameless-spies-became-fact-overnight/
https://fair.org/home/nyt-acknowledges-coup-in-bolivia-while-shirking-blame-for-its-supporting-role/
https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2020/07/09/as-long-as-mass-media-propaganda-exists-democracy-is-a-sham/

Imperial news:

A recent survey conducted by the University of Chicago, mostly before George Floyd’s murder happened, found that just 14 percent of US adults say they’re very happy – down from 31 percent in 2018. Another poll, from Monmouth University, shows that only 21 percent of US inhabitants think that the country is on the right track. Just three months ago, 39 percent were happy the way things are going.

As the USA faces massive social justice protests, a pandemic, and financial catastrophe, it is also confronting a spike in gun violence in some of its major cities. In March two million Americans purchased guns, the second highest monthly total since such records have been kept.

https://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176717/tomgram%3A_andrew_bacevich%2C_the_all-american_way/ US racism.
https://truthout.org/articles/three-north-carolina-police-fired-for-racist-rants-threats-to-kill-black-people/
https://www.blackagendareport.com/yes-defund-cops-and-put-them-under-community-control
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/06/26/will-covid-start-a-trade-war-over-u-s-meat-exports/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/06/19/amputating-capitalism/
https://hcrenewal.blogspot.com/2020/06/do-cry-for-those-in-arizona-what.html
https://edition.cnn.com/2020/07/01/politics/fbi-background-check-june-record/index.html More guns, more safety — at least so they think.
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/03/pand-j03.html
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jul/02/texas-masks-coronavirus-covid-battle
https://www.cnbc.com/2020/07/01/sheldon-and-miriam-adelson-top-list-of-billionaire-political-contributors.html
https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-i-predicted-2020-would-be-a-mess-for-the-us-could-that-help-prevent/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/07/07/gimme-shelter-the-brief-and-strange-history-of-chop-aka-chaz/ Self organizing and creating a new society without a sound and detailed plan is impossible.
https://truthout.org/articles/number-of-food-insecure-households-with-children-doubled-from-pre-covid-levels

Imperial conquest news:

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/06/25/us-qatari-intelligence-deception-produced-the-caesar-sanctions-syria-famine/amp/
https://consortiumnews.com/2020/06/25/trumps-second-thoughts-on-juan-guaido-are-not-enough/
https://dezayasalfred.wordpress.com/2020/07/04/sputnik-news-high-court-ignores-justice-bank-of-england-theft-from-venezuela-upheld/
https://www.globalresearch.ca/сriminal-roots-kosovo-exposed-thaci-indictment-hague/5717350
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/kosovo-indictment-proves-bill-clintons-serbian-war-atrocities/
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/06/kosovo-president-thaci-indicted-war-crimes-200624140752094.html
https://www.blackagendareport.com/syria-corporate-media-lies-and-true-face-imperialism-interview-richard-medhurst This is the real McCoy.
https://www.youtube.com/richardmedhurst
https://thegrayzone.com/2020/06/25/us-qatari-intelligence-deception-produced-the-caesar-sanctions-syria-famine/ Sanctions against Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, Iran, Russia, North Korea, and China may be painful at the moment, but they will hurt Western economies too and with a looming economic collapse because of the coronavirus pandemic, some countries may be glad that they are isolated from Western economic misery.
https://thegrayzone.com/2020/06/18/crippling-new-sanctions-punish-syrian-civilians-for-us-defeat-in-proxy-war/#more-25950
https://oilprice.com/Geopolitics/Middle-East/Americas-Caesar-sanctions-On-Syria-Will-Damage-The-Middle-East.html
https://consortiumnews.com/2020/07/09/the-angry-arab-silence-over-lebanons-suffering/
https://consortiumnews.com/2020/07/05/bountygate-scapegoating-systemic-military-failure-in-afghanistan/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176723/tomgram%3A_william_hartung%2C_what_makes_us_safer/#more

Pandemic news:

https://www.latimes.com/science/story/2020-07-10/injection-prevent-coronavirus-feds-manufacturers-fail-to-act Plasma treatment is already successfully used for infected persons, it should also work as a preventive measure.
https://www.technologyreview.com/2020/07/11/1005087/coronavirus-airborne-fighting-wrong-way/
https://www.commondreams.org/news/2020/07/11/covid-19-deaths-rise-hardest-hit-states-report-hospitals-are-near-capacity-following
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2020/07/13/flor-j13.html

Armageddon news:

Imagine the amazing good fortune of the generation that gets to see the end of the world. This is as marvelous as being there in the beginning.”
Jean Baudrillard

https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/06/22/the-final-100-seconds/
https://www.medialens.org/2020/six-months-to-avert-climate-crisis-climate-breakdown-and-the-corporate-media/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2020/06/25/amazon-rainforest-hit-by-killer-droughts/
https://www.ehn.org/covid-19-pandemic-going-back-to-normal–2646261313.html
A significant paragraph from this article: In that tiny 300-year stretch of its roughly 300,000-year history, Homo sapiens expanded some 15-fold in numbers, fouled the atmosphere, disrupted the climate, wiped out most other large animals and huge tracts of primeval forests, used most of the easily accessible non-renewable mineral resources, destroyed or depleted much of the planet’s rich agricultural soils and underground freshwater stores, and spread novel hormone-mimicking chemicals everywhere.
https://dgrnewsservice.org/resistance/the-life-support-systems-of-planet-earth-are-failing/

Uncategorized news:

https://www.rt.com/usa/492963-amazon-bezos-climate-arena/
https://aeon.co/essays/ashokas-ethical-infrastructure-is-carved-into-indias-rocks
https://www.ehn.org/black-farming-food-sovereignty-2645479216.html
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2020/07/2020s-plague-of-locusts-spreads-to-india-and-south-america.html
https://thegrayzone.com/2020/07/08/bill-gates-global-health-policy/#more-26964
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/black-lives-matter-a-lot-in-cuba-since-1959/

News from cat land:

As I already reported, Aunt Rosy, one of my beloved cats, has disappeared. I asked all neighbors and drove around on the bike, calling her. A friend did hang up leaflets in all nearby shops (she doesn’t mind the infection risk) and I put a classified ad in the local newspaper which offered a reward for helpful information.

But there was no reaction, no suggestions, no hint, nothing. I have resigned to the idea that I will not see my friend Rosy again and also never know what happened to her.

Princess Min Ki has a worm infection. I regularly give the cats deworming pills, but Min Ki fiercely objects to taking any pills. Not even the veterinarian was able to administer a pill. So she got a spot-on treatment (applied to the back of her neck), but I’ve more confidence in pills. I downloaded and watched a few YouTube videos with advice how to administer a pill and will try it later again. 

Princess Min Ki has become very thin and only weighs 3.2 kilogram. So this is serious. She is getting better now but is still thin. She always was a picky eater and she prefers natural food (rodents and birds), which surely is nutritious and appropriate for cats, but entails the danger of parasitic infections.

When I searched for videos, I was reminded of the adage that there are two main categories of videos on the web: One is about cats, the other (smaller) one about everything else.

Cats may inflict some ecological damage by killing endangered species like frogs, toads, blindworms, and lizards, but one should not underestimate their contribution to making society more peaceful and the life of millions of humans more bearable.

Everything is growing fast, strawberries, raspberries, and most currants are already ripe and ready to harvest. The Siberian blueberries (Lonicera Kamtschatica) were ripe already in May. Two of the four freezers in the basement are still on and partly full. 

I didn’t shop for three and a half months but I use a delivery service to replenish stocks of food staples and household necessities as the possibility of a supply breakdown still cannot be ruled out. I only have to plan carefully in regard to the available storage space in the freezers and the expiration (best before) dates.

We still keep up our now 16 year old tradition of daily walks in the forest. Following are some photographs from the latest walk. Cats are not the easiest photo models and it is nearly impossible to make a picture of the whole group.