Posts Tagged ‘China’


News and Links February 2021

February 17, 2021

This will definitely be the last blogpost for a while. The competing occupations of working in the garden, playing music, and sitting on the computer have increasingly put me under pressure and, weighing the alternatives, I decided to drastically reduce computer usage.

The coronavirus pandemic has not yet destroyed the global financial system and the economic structures which are based on the exploitation of nature and humans, permanent growth, rent-seeking, and wasteful consumerism, but it has amplified all problems emanating from these traits and made it indubitably clear that current political and social structures are not sustainable.

Even more consequential: Human health is declining worldwide. Our immune systems are compromised, cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, allergies, respiratory illnesses, and exotic contagious diseases are on the rise, quality of life and life expectancy begin to fall. 

The main reasons for this development are: 

•Thousands of poisonous chemicals which are constantly produced and dispersed in unimaginable quantities.
•Plastic waste which is contaminating water, soul, and food.
•Unhealthy, processed, nutrient-depleted, contaminated food.
•A sedentary life with not enough exercise.
•Social isolation, replacement of personal social contact with social media, a confusing, hectic, digitized life, information overflow, no human touch, no kindness or tenderness, no love.
Experts paint a grim picture of the struggle with lockdown isolation and warn of a “mental health pandemic” that should be treated as seriously as containing the coronavirus.

On top of all this: The looming ecological catastrophes (habitat destruction, mass extinction, climate change / extreme weather) will cause famine, mass migration, and wars over dwindling resources (water, arable land, minerals).

Politicians, corrupted and paid for by the rentiers aristocracy, are subordinating the health and lives of working people to the profit drive of corporations and their shareholders, pumping billions of Dollars and Euros into the economy to the benefit of the financial markets and the biggest corporations. Large companies are using the pandemic to implement long-planned rationalization measures which destroy hundreds of thousands of jobs, while smaller businesses receive no meaningful government support.

Political leaders, hoping for a return of the old order, are eager to have children back in school and employees back on the job. They point to falling case numbers and the promise of vaccination campaigns.

The WHO reports a 17 percent drop in COVID-19 cases, yet, the scale of death being witnessed across the globe is still unprecedented outside of wartimes. We stand at 109 million officially registered cases and 2.4 million official deaths, though the true numbers will be much higher.

Halfhearted, half baked measures will not eradicate SARS-CoV-2, it will only mitigate the pain and prevent the health systems from being overwhelmed or even collapsing. Letting the virus linger, lurk, and evolve for another year could destroy societies.

Maybe that is the masterplan, maybe our digitized, urbanized, unequal, unjust societies are not worth preserving. 

Selected quotes from Caitlin Johnstone: 

World peace and inner peace are not separate endeavors. Go deep enough into one and you’ll eventually find yourself working on the other as well.

Amid the vast ocean of knowable and unknowable things, a grown adult has scarcely any more knowledge than a newborn. It’s easy to fall into the stale sense of having it all figured out, but in the relative grand scheme of things we’re just babies in a world we do not understand.

Feline news:
Coronavirus test for pets in South Korea.

Against all odds: 

Environmental news:
The bane of cryptocurrencies. 
A new US report found high levels of arsenic, lead, and cadmium in ingredients of baby food.

Economic news:

Lessons from this whole Wall Street/Reddit ordeal:
• The stock market is a scam.
• There is no “free market” and there never will be.
• Wall Street predators are among the most despised people on earth.
• The public can do more to fight back than it had previously assumed.
• Every single hedge fund CEO has at some point in live thought the words:
I can’t believe I’m getting away with this!
• Myth: The rich compete with each other and ordinary people benefit from it.
Reality: The rich collaborate with each other against ordinary people.
This is how “free markets” work! The insurgents try to beat the big Wall Street gamblers at their own turf, but they have to be fast, before the rules are changed to rig the game again.
The GameStop story from a socialist angle.
An informative and enlightening report about the GameStop saga.
Rapid Money Supply Growth Does Not Cause Inflation?
Desperate tries to keep the old order intact. 

Pandemic news:

Authorities had some success at ending the pandemic in China, Taiwan, South Korea, Vietnam, New Zealand, and Australia. Certainly, some island nations have a geographic advantage in being able to bar all air travel to help eliminate the virus. But large nations like China, South Korea, and Vietnam successfully fought the disease by adopting an “elimination strategy” rather than trying mitigation.

New mutations confirmed so far: B117 and B1525 which first appeared in Britain, B1351, first discovered in South Africa, and B1128, which first took hold in Brazil. All have in common that they are more infectious.

A recent study finds that SARS-CoV-2 may remain in people’s brains after infection and trigger relapses in patients who thought they had recovered. This could explain why patients who appear to be over COVID-19 sometimes relapse.

FFP3 masks (equivalent to international standards such as N99, EN149, and P3) are the best protection from droplets and aerosols of viruses (like SARS-CoV-2, measles, tuberculosis), bacteria, fungi, and dangerous dusts such as asbestos fibers or radioactive isotopes.

172 million doses of vaccine have been given so far, 52 million of them in the USA. Four people in Oregon, who have been fully vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine, have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Regional overview

The situation in Asia improves, with falling numbers in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In India infections plummet and the country is now reporting only about 11,000 new cases a day, compared to a peak of nearly 100,000. The Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia are stable, or over peaks. Japan and South Korea have brought their small waves down in a controlled manner. Vietnam and Thailand see only minor outbreaks. A highly contagious strain of COVID-19 was confirmed in Sri Lanka.

The Middle East and North Africa are relatively stable. In some countries the number of cases is going down (Israel), in others a little bit up (Iraq). Africa seems to be stable. In South Africa, the variant B1351 has completely taken over the infection pattern, but the country nevertheless pushed the case numbers way down.

In the USA and Canada case numbers fall. Infections in the USA are still high but going down in almost all states. Average daily new coronavirus cases in the US dipped below 100,000 in recent days, the seven-day rolling average for deaths is now around 2,500.

The seven-day rolling average of new infections was well above 200,000 for much of December and increased to 250,000 in January, as the pandemic came back after it had been tamed in some places over the summer.

In many Latin American countries, the situation is getting better. Mexico has turned the tide, Brazil too, but cases are only going down very moderately there. In Argentina, Colombia, and Bolivia numbers are also falling. In Chile and Peru case numbers remain high.

In Europe there is finally some good news: Spain and Portugal are over the peak and seeing a downward trend in cases. And while in many countries the cases have settled at levels that are much too high, there are a few, such as Germany, Croatia, and Denmark, where case numbers fall substantially.

In Hungary and Slovakia there seems to be an upward trend again. Slovakia has become the country with most virus deaths by size of population in the world with 1.78 deaths per 100,000 people. Portugal had topped the grim global list for more than three weeks, A Slovak epidemiologist says the highly contagious variant first found in Britain has significantly contributed to the situation.

In the UK infections are dominated by variant B117, which has little impact on vaccine efficacy but is more infectious. Nonetheless, the UK has brought the case numbers down.
The philanthropy of Bill Gates.
About mRNA vaccines. A “grande experiment.”
Many Western media channels report with unconcealed disgust about Sputnik V.
Long term symptoms of COVID-19.
Children have high viral loads.
Doctors predict global mental health crisis.
UN experts predict hunger crisis. 

Media, technology, propaganda news:

Soon social media in future will just be an app that sends everything you say to the FBI (or MI5, DGSI, Mossad, etc.) and gives you regular notifications that the government is your friend, and then everyone on every side will finally be happy.
Spy pixels in emails have become endemic.

Imperial news:

The US economy shrank by 3.5 percent in 2020, it was the worst year since World War II.

California Governor Gavin Newsom appears to have given up the on the coronavirus pandemic, announcing, that since deaths and infections in the state dropped slightly, it was time to lift some restrictions. The most populous state in the nation, which has also been the latest epicenter of the disease, may see some “potential economic rewards” as one report described Newsom’s decision. In other words, people may start to die again, but at least businesses may start to reap profits once more. 

The New York Times headline tells us to close ranks: “I’ve studied terrorism for over 40 years, let’s talk about what comes next.” And: “We spent decades looking for a threat from overseas, when we needed to be looking closer to home.”
A new report in the medical journal Lancet about US health care.
Activists against evictions and homelessness are arrested. 

Imperial conquest news:

Margaret Kimberley (@freedomrideblog): So far Biden is keeping the space force (militarizing space), recognizing Juan Guaido, not re-entering JCPOA (Iran nuclear agreement), keeping troops in Germany, deep sixing the Afghanistan peace agreement, and sending bombers to Norway. Did I miss anything?
US measures to subjugate Ecuador.
Ottoman empire.
The media may losing enthusiasm but Syria regime change is not off, because: “The empire never retreats or compromises.”’s-navalny-protests-177067
Rare good news. We have to watch, how this policy change works out. Biden also reversed Trump’s Terrorist Designation for Houthis, reacting to criticism, that the penalties would punish the millions of starving people in Yemen more than the Houthi rebels. Iran alleges, that the USA wants to establish a direct military presence in Yemen.
UAE + Israel gas and oil exploration in Socotra. Occupation of Yemeni territory, attempts to steal natural resources, Emirati collusion with the country who humiliated Arabs at every turn, and preparations for an environmental crime.
US gangster state takes hostages.
Double standards. If Russia or China would spend 21 million Euro to support dissidents in Western Europe or the USA, it would be a case of war.
Russophobia in former USSR republics is stirred by Western NGOs.
Haiti, another showcase of US nation building and development.
The United Nations International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea ruled that the UK has no sovereignty over the Chagos Islands, which includes Diego Garcia, home to one of the US’s largest airbases. Britain’s separation of the islands in 1965 from Mauritius before it became independent in 1968 and their incorporation into the specially created British Indian Ocean Territories violated UN resolution 1514 banning the breakup of colonies before independence.
Informative, please read!
Germany rearms and will spend 53.03 billion € (64 billion US$) for the military in 2021.

China news:

The pandemic has mercilessly exposed the inefficiency and incapability of US neoliberal (cut-throat) capitalism. It has again shown the incompetence and ignorance of US leaders. It has ushered in the demise of the US empire and the rise of China.

But the USA will not retreat quietly.

In a first phone conversation with his US counterpart Joe Biden, Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a return to cooperation and a mending of the relationship between the world’s two largest economies.

Xi Jinping knows that this appeal is futile. Joe Biden has launched a military task force to assess US policy toward Beijing, vowing to confront the “China challenge” as he continues Trump’s naval deployments in the South China Sea.

Biden announced the new task force during a Pentagon visit, declaring that his administration would “meet the growing challenges posed by China to keep peace and defend our interests.”

It will require a whole-of-government effort, bipartisan cooperation in Congress, and strong alliances and partners,” Biden said of the policy review, which will assess “strategy and operational concepts, technology, and force posture.

That is how we will meet the China challenge and ensure the American people win the competition of the future.”

While in Western countries GDP has fallen in the greatest recession since WWII, China’s economy keeps growing. This is hailed as a success, but there are clear ecological downsides. 

Most people have figured out by now, that infinite growth on a finite planet is not possible. Hard core believers in perpetual economic growth (like economists, politicians, and higher ranking company managers) try to solve their cognitive dissonance by throwing common sense over board and fleeing into meaningless technical terms and euphemisms, vaguely referring to “qualitative growth” or “green growth.”

Along with economic growth (and connected to it), the Chinese leadership’s blind faith in technological progress seems evenly misplaced and misguided. There has been tremendous technological progress since the 1950s, the years where ecological problems finally seeped into public consciousness (Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring) and which are also regarded as the start of the anthropocene epoch. (The anthropocene is a proposed geological epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems, including, but not limited to, anthropogenic climate change.)

If technology would have been the solution for these newly appearing ecological problems, we should live in paradise now! 

Xi Jinping, the most prolific politicians of our time (in my humble opinion), outshining even Vladimir Putin, must be aware of this. His speeches and books are well worth reading. There are small signs that China is trying to change course, for instance by prohibiting new high rises and skyscrapers, creating a shortage of coal, power cuts for industry, reversing urbanization, and emphasizing waste reduction.

We will see certainly more of this, but China is a gigantic supertanker who can change course only at a glacial pace. 

Coronavirus numbers have fallen again after a short spike in cases. In recent days no new locally transmitted confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported  across the Chinese mainland,
New anti-monopoly rules to reign in giant corporations.
A fawning report about Chinese grassroots organizations by a Turkish academic. Nevertheless informative.
“China will eat our lunch,” warns US President Biden.
Though rich in details, the article leaves the fundamental question unanswered, if capitalism, based on competition and the accumulation of private wealth, can ever be compatible with socialist ideals.
“Extreme competition” between USA and China, as US President Biden calls it, can only mean war, because the USA will lose against China in all civilian areas. 

Armageddon news:
There are still peace activists in the USA, but they are too few to make a difference. 

Uncategorized news:
They are our kin.
Well worth reading.
Are neckties a relict of colonialism and white supremacy? Are they a signal that one belongs to the oppressive and exploiting elites? Or that one is an obedient servant, minion, lackey of these elites? 

News from cat land:

My personal measures against SARS-CoV-2: No shopping or other visits to indoor places (all organizing and buying is online), 2 air purifiers with HEPA filters in the living room, 2 meters social distancing, and the ubiquitous use of FFP3 masks in all contacts with other people. All personal encounters are only across the garden fence. This is the hardest part, and I really miss the close personal contacts, but my wonderful cat companions help me getting used to it.

The cats are fine and we all wait for spring to arrive.