Posts Tagged ‘consumerism’


News, observations, guesses July 2022

July 12, 2022

Too much links again. Who does want to read all this stuff? Maybe I stop with link lists, maybe I stop with environmental, social, and political comments as well, publishing just occasional updates from cat land.

But before that:

Western people, indulging in consumerism, are like drug addicts. Many of them are aware, that they will ruin their own life and the future of humans as a whole with this addiction, but nevertheless still don’t have enough determination and endurance to kick their habit. 

Many use flimsy excuses to absolve themselves from culpability or adopt “green” habits which are no improvement at all. Clever marketing managers have taken the chance and offer green shopping, green tourism, green technology, lithium battery powered cars, tools, appliances, renewable energy, and organic food.

Increasing numbers of young eople are in distress due to their environment (dysfunctional schools, broken and stressed out homes, poverty, non-stop mental overload, unrealistic expectations, sugar-laden diets with almost no nutrition).

Stable communities, extended families, religious or traditional values, clean air, water, food once gave the young a sense of stability, a secure place, and a predictable future, but no more.

Ask the depressed young about medical and community stigma. Ask them about how they hate themselves for being weird, weak, ugly, inept. Ask them about how they are so hopeless and stupid that they can’t even get well on anti-depressants like everybody else does.

And the WEF (World Economic Forum) experts ask, what to do with all these useless people? What to do against boredom and desperation, how to find some meaning in life beyond getting rich and famous? (As if the experts would have an answer for themselves.)

Will a combination of virtual reality (Metaverse), drugs, and computer games be a solution?

But wait, the next pandemic with a virus that combines the infectiousness of Omicron BA.5 with the lethality of Marburg or Ebola will change everything. will solve the problems of resource depletion, poisoning of the biosphere, and habitat destruction.

Maybe there is already a silent pandemic of the vaccinated going on, maybe everybody with a mRNA shot will contract an incurable form of cancer in the next few years.

Send in the clowns (I never liked that song though).

Boris Johnson is gone, he was just an embarrassment. Perhaps less embarrassing than Joe Biden, but it’s a close run thing. Why have European leaders subordinated their foreign policy to the insane, small clique that runs the USA? Bribery, blackmail, some strange groupthink, or collective madness which has infected the G7/EU?

There’s an easy explanation: Western leaders are the comprador class for the US empire and their fate is locked to the fate of the empire. They mostly have used up their intellectual capital to outsmart competitors and reach the position which they now hold, so, mentally exhausted, they just blindly follow the lead of “Uncle Sam.” They also fear that doubting the rationality and usefulness of US politics will end in an eruption of  criticism, disapproval, and civil unrest in their own countries.

The choice is:

Appoint or elect a war hero (various African and Asian nations, Cuba).
Nominate a bureaucrat / technocrat (China, Russia).
Appoint an accomplished member of the ruling party (various nations all over the world).
Elect a populist or a telegenic actor (the European model).
Nominate or simply not resist a fraudster and hustler (USA, Latin America).

Feline news:

Against the odds: 

Environmental news:

Air pollution takes more than two years off global average life expectancy, the Air Quality Life Index found — making breathing more dangerous globally than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol.

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration warned, that there is more carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere than at any time in the past four million years, as the world’s continued dependence on fossil fuels keeps humanity hurtling toward a global catastrophe.

A new OECD report warns that the amount of plastic waste worldwide is likely to nearly triple over the next four decades, leaving the world with a terrible fate by 2060 if “radical action” is not taken to curb the level of pollution.
Without plastic, industrial agriculture as we know it would be impossible.
Without industrial agriculture, people would have to grow their food themselves or buy and barter it from neighbors. Cities would be impossible and the environmental destruction caused by humans would be reduced to a sustainable level.
From the article: “we’d need shorter food chains – think farm shops and community-supported agriculture. But with over half of the global population now living in cities, this would require huge changes in where and how we grow food.” 

Economic news:

Russia expects trade with China to reach 200 billion US$ in 2022 as relations with the West deteriorate.

Though locked out of nearly half of its foreign reserves by Washington and its vassal allies, the government in Moscow has used its record balance of payments surplus to make up for the temporary loss.

While that balance of payments surplus (the result oil and gas sales continuing at lower volumes but higher prices while imports dropped precipitously) has mitigated the effects of domestic inflation, currently running at around 17 percent, it has not been able to prevent a contraction in Russia’s economic growth. Forecasters now anticipate that the GDP contraction will be 6.0 to 7.5 percent, significant lower than initial estimates of 15 percent. The rate of inflation is also falling and some prices are even deflating. Russian inflation is now close to the level of EU inflation.
Important! Dark and cold times are coming. 

Pandemic news:

COVID-19 is real, and one should take every possible precaution not to get it, because the virus can cause long term damage not only to the lungs, but also to heart, kidneys, liver, most other organs, blood vessels, the nervous system, and the brain.

The virus is airborne, a fact many people cannot comprehend, and more contagious than any other germs which are out there. Isolation, creating or joining a private bubble (family), efficient ventilation (with HEPA filters), and masks (N95, FFP2, FFP3 respirators) can minimize the risk.

Most existing vaccines, especially the mRNA type, don’t prevent infection and may have unknown longterm risks. More effective vaccines (in form of nasal sprays, inhalers) will only be approved when Big Pharma has made enough money with the crap which it is selling now.

The WHO reports that cases are on the rise in 110 countries, causing globally reported COVID cases to increase 30 percent in two weeks. The latest data shows cases are on the rise in Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Greece, Denmark, Portugal, Israel, and India. Cases and hospital admissions are increasing rapidly in the UK and France. UK cases reach 309,000 per day affecting currently over 1 in 20 people as this fifth wave of omicron BA.5 shows no signs of slowing and hospitals filling up steadily.

Five Omicron sub-variants are at the moment dominant in various countries around the world:

There are the BA.1 and BA.2 sub-variants, which since December have caused an estimated 3.6 million excess deaths worldwide. The newly emerging Omicron BA.4, BA.5, and BA.2.12.1 sub-variants are dominant in Europe, North America, and Australia, as well as many countries in South America, Africa and Asia. The new infection waves take place under conditions where global vaccination rates have plateaued and antibodies have waned for the majority of the world’s population.

BA.4 and BA.5 are more pathogenic than BA.1 and BA.2, and vaccinations or previous infections with BA.1 or BA.2 provide very little protection against infection from BA.4 or BA.5.

Data show that the BA.2.12.1, BA.4, and BA.5 sub-variants substantially escape neutralizing antibodies induced by both vaccination and infection. Moreover, neutralizing antibody titers against the BA.4 or BA.5 sub-variant and (to a lesser extent) against the BA.2.12.1 sub-variant were lower than titers against the BA.1 and BA.2 sub-variants

Booster vaccination provided some neutralizing-antibody titers against the BA.4/5 and BA.2.12.1 sub-variants, albeit to a lower extent than against BA.1 and BA.2.

A new sub-lineage BA.2.75 of the Omicron variant has been detected first in India and then in 10 other countries. This sub-variant seems to have a few mutations on the receptor-binding domain of the spike protein.

Singapore is currently facing a serious dengue fever wave, as the reported number of weekly dengue cases continues to rise sharply. More than 12,000 dengue cases have been reported this year (up from 5,258 cases in the whole of 2021) as Singapore enters the peak dengue season from June to October.

Some cases of long COVID are the result of continuous exposure to the virus. Public health officials in California say, that virus loads in indoor public spaces today are only exceeded by the highest virus loads from January (2022). They are saying that you should assume that you are inhaling BA.2.12.1 if you are in any indoor public space.

There were populations of viral variants found in the brain that were not detected in the respiratory tract suggesting there is seeding of the virus in the brain and ongoing replication in the brain.

Possible causes of Long Covid: Abnormal immune response, lingering virus, and blood clots (meaning damage to tiny blood vessels and so called MicroClots). The theory of persistent microclots gained credence in the summer of 2021, when researchers reported, that such clots were found in the blood of LongCovid patients.
The latest COVID-19 surge deepens across Europe and globally, fueled by Omicron BA.4 and BA.5.
BA.4/5 Omicron sub-variants produce a fifth wave of infection in South Africa.
Poor African countries have less mobility and less interconnection with other regions or the global economy. Many remote areas are isolated, with localized economies and a population which has neither the need nor the means to travel abroad.
The comments are interesting too.
Omicron BA.4 and BA.5 sub-variants fuel yet another global surge of COVID-19 infections.
COVID-19 infections are rising in Turkey.
A few month ago this could have been easily dismissed as anti-vaccine propaganda, but there are more and more worrying signs supporting this anti-narrative. 
About long COVID and viral RNA persistence.

Media, technology, and propaganda news:

One should not be unforgiving or self-righteous. The Atlanticists, the liberals, the St. Petersburg intelligentsia fell victims to the biggest propaganda (or reeducation) campaign the world has ever seen. With all the luxury, affluence, and ease of life displayed in US film and TV, who couldn’t be tempted to see the USA as a role model.

The pillars of the propaganda campaign:

a. A social fabric based on delusion, fantasy (rags to riches), ignorance, indoctrination, mind control. “A shining city upon a hill,” or “a beacon of hope,” or “leader of the free world.”

b. Every salesman, expert, pundit, politician is a con (confidence) man. The high art of creating illusions, of deceiving, misleading, and lying. Edward Bernays Public Relations. Relentless advertising of products nobody really needs.

c. The soft power of USA’s “dream machine” (Hollywood, TV), 24/7 propaganda by news channels and “newspapers of record”. 

d. The highjacking of global pop culture by US corporations. It didn’t help that Hitler banned “entartete Kunst,” forcing all creative minds to flee and bolster US culture (Weill, Holländer), which was already highly energetic due to African American music.

George Carlin: “The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it.”
Western intelligence agencies stole 97 billion global internet data in just 30 days. 

Imperial news:

From a comment on Cindy Shehan’s soapbox: My view from the distant location of Europe may be distorted, but for me the regular mass shootings appear to be just another symptom or manifestation of an inherently violent society with limited cohesion.

Why is US society violent? It’s a matter of history (genocide of Native Americans, slavery of kidnapped Africans), and of cultural paradigms created by the needs of capitalist profiteering and perpetuated by a media machine (Hollywood, TV, “newspapers of record”), which is second to none.

It’s also a matter of an unnatural urban lifestyle (noise, pollution, not enough sleep, not enough exercise), loss of any connection with nature (which could soothe people down), inequality or discrimination, and brutal competition (dog eat dog), factors which all are increasing social tensions and which make people mentally sick.

Until the adrenaline levels are too high to bear.

Never mind, the blob reigns unchallenged and undisrupted while the one supposedly in charge increasingly gives the impression of a 24-hour assisted living person.
US supreme court tacitly approves execution of innocent people.
Protests and curfew after police murder of Jayland Walker. 

Imperial conquest news:
Greece court rules against US theft of Iranian oil, cargo likely to be returned.
Leaks suggest US wants Lebanon to surrender Karish gas field to Israel.
USA and Israel intensify threats and aggression against Iran.
Special “partner nations” were invited to the NATO summit in Madrid, Spain, from June 29-30. In addition to the leaders of the 30 NATO member states, the leaders of South Korea, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, the president of Ukraine, and the prime ministers of Sweden and Finland were attending.
If you want a war with Iran, Russia, China, and Venezuela tell me why and how it would benefit Americans? 

Ukraine news:

More Western media censorship: Eutelsat stopped the rebroadcasting of the Russian channels RTR Planeta and Rossiya 24 on its satellites on June 25. Sputnik and RT are already blocked on Western internet and can only accessed via VPN.

The Washington Post writes: “Russia could soon exhaust its combat capabilities.” 

What does that mean after Russia trapped 4.5 thousand Ukrainian troops in the Lysychansk cauldron, cleared the Zolotoe cauldron, and launched some 40 cruise missiles overnight June 25-25, striking Ukrainian command centers, arms depots, and accumulations of troops and equipment?

According to Ukrainian reports, Russia has fired more than two thousand precision-guided missiles at Ukraine since February, but these attacks have become rarer in recent weeks, leading to speculation, that Russia’s missile stocks are running low.

Russia regularly uses the Kh-101 and Kh-55 cruise missiles, which are launched from fixed-wing aircraft such as the Tu-95 Bear and Tu-160 Blackjack bombers. Such missiles were used in April attacks on Odessa.

Precision-guided missiles, also known as “smart munitions,” are designed to be extremely accurate. They are fitted with “seeker” systems, which enable them to change flight paths after launch and hit specific targets from long distances. Russia’s Iskander-M missile, for example, can travel up to 500 kilometers and hit an area the size of a paddling pool.

Russia has fired a number of ground-launched ballistic missiles, including the Tochka-U and the Iskander-M. Whereas cruise missiles are self-propelled at subsonic speeds, ballistic missiles are much faster — they use an initial rocket motor to propel them in a mostly unpowered arc to their target. The Iskander-M is a short-range ballistic missile system, flying at an altitude of about 50 kilometers.

Russia has used a few Kh-47M2 Kinzhal (Dagger) hypersonic missiles in Odessa, Delyatin, Chasiv Yar, and other locations. The new Zircon hypersonic cruise missile has been tested successfully and will be deployed soon.


Elon Musk’s decision to support Ukraine’s Internet network against Russia with his company Starlink’s satellite kits has raised concerns in China, because SpaceX and Starlink are considered critical parts of the “US space military industrial complex.” 

The fear is that Musk’s low-earth orbit satellites, which now total over 2,000 globally, could be “deployed to conduct surveillance of China or, more sensitively, support Taiwan.”

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg promises, that NATO would increase its “high readiness forces” sevenfold, from 40,000 to 300,000, deploying tens of thousands of additional troops, as well as countless tanks and aircraft, directly to Russia’s border.

The UK trained more than 22,000 members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces as part of Operation Orbital, which ran from 2015 until the invasion in February.

The New York Times reports that US forces are secretly operating on the ground in Ukraine, as well as forces from the UK, Canada, France, Lithuania, and several other NATO countries. “But even as the Biden administration has declared it will not deploy American troops to Ukraine, some C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country…directing much of the vast amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces,” the Times writes.

The Ukrainian forces habitually set up depots or firing positions in buildings with civilians still inside, using the civilian inhabitants as human shields. When a shopping center in Kremenchuk, a town on the Dnieper River, was destroyed by Russian missiles, Ukrainian President Zelensky called the shopping center attack “one of most daring terrorist attacks in European history.” But Russian news on Sixty Minutes showed the crowd outside the shopping center – all soldiers, mostly carrying submachine guns; and no cars in the car park, no ambulances. There were also reports of secondary explosions.  

After taking Severodonetsk and Lisichansk, the last remaining cities in Luhansk oblast, Russia increases the pressure on Siversk and Bakhmut. When this defense line is eliminated, the encirclement of Sloviansk and Kramatorsk will be nearly complete and the assault on these cities will start. Taking Sloviansk and Kramatorsk will make it possible to roll up the enemy lines around Avdiivka and end the shelling of civilians in Donetsk city. After that the conquest of whole Donbass should be comparatively easy and there are no defense lines left which could protect central and western Ukraine. There is only open country until the Dnieper River and Dnipropetrovsk. 

There are indications that Ukraine is preparing a counterattack in the south against Kherson and the Russian controlled south of Zaporizhzhia. Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk called on residents of the occupied districts of Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions to evacuate as soon as possible by all available means.

There is no singular technology that will shift the war in Ukrainians favor at this point. Whatever one thinks of the HIMARs, they are not drastically better to displace the quantity of launchers and munitions the Russians have at their disposal. 12 HIMARs have thus been delivered and two have been already destroyed by Russia.

The problem for the Ukrainians at the current stage is logistics and ammunition. Ukraine is quickly running out of Soviet shells for their dated artillery systems because many of the existing stockpiles in Eastern Europe have already been given to them. This is well documented by the quantity of shells the Ukrainians use daily vs. their Russian counterparts in Donbas. 

The disparity in terms of quality and quantity is overwhelmingly in favor of the Russians at this point. Ukraine’s principal advantage is in terms of manpower and that they’re on the defensive. The new NATO summit commitment understands this better than all this garbage HIMARs talk. The new arms commitments may help them cover some large losses of equipment. The announced support is:

600 tanks, 500 artillery systems, 600 000 shells, 140 000 anti-tank weapons.

The question is, when this quantity of arms will be delivered and more importantly, how will it be delivered? Russia has deliberately targeted heavy logistic infrastructure going eastwards for the last two months. It’s much easier to load up a bunch of AKs and ATGMs into a commercial van and bring them to the front than several ton artillery batteries which require decent roads for trucks or more often than not rail as well as fuel. After-all, we are in the age of satellite imagery. It’s really hard for either side to make big logistic movements without the other side being privy to that knowledge. Furthermore, Russia has extensively targeted railway stations, fuel storage/refinement, key bridges, etc. with mostly missiles and some air strikes since they re-organized forces and concentrated on the DPR/LPR front. Short of some miracle, the trajectory east of the Dnieper currently looks very poor for Ukraine unless NATO makes a formal entry into the conflict which has its own dangerous implications.
Washington’s failed push for an anti-Russian global consensus.
Must read! US troops are on the ground in Ukraine. 
A Pentagon spokesperson refuses to preclude an attack on Kerch bridge. 

Chine news:

China is the last major economy committed to a zero-COVID strategy, stamping out all infections with a combination of targeted lockdowns, mass testing, and long quarantine periods.

Zero-COVID is still relentlessly pursued. Shanghai and Beijing appear basically under control, Jilin found one asymptomatic case, closed schools, suspended passenger transports, and tested everyone. China’s southern manufacturing powerhouse of Shenzhen closed wholesale markets, cinemas, and gyms in a central district bordering Hong Kong for three days after COVID cases were discovered.

Covid-19 remains the biggest source of economic uncertainty, but the Shanghai lockdown, the most damaging implementation of the government’s Zero Covid policy, is over. China has reported zero new COVID-19 infections in Shanghai for the first time since March, though the highly contagious Omicron strain will surely strike again in Shanghai, Beijing, or other cities. The latest news is that millions in Shanghai are queueing up for a third day of mass COVID testing and authorities in several other Chinese cities scramble to stamp out new outbreaks.

Macau closed all its casinos and around 19,000 people have been put in mandatory quarantine as the city tackles its worst Covid-19 outbreak since early 2020.

In another greenwashing effort Vice-Premier Han Zheng again has stressed efforts to “promote the clean and efficient use of coal, and pursue green, low-carbon and high-quality development.” Coal is certainly not low-carbon and should be faced out completely.

China has carried out a land-based missile interception test that “achieved its expected purpose,” the Defense Ministry said, describing it as defensive and not aimed at any country.
“New G8” and China’s “three rings.”
US policymakers caught in ignorance trap over Taiwan question.
US plants Trojan horse programs in hundreds of important Chinese information systems.

Uncategorized news:
Chris Hedge doomsday vision. The chilling fact is, that he is completely right, and every piece of information coming in indicates, that we are doomed. 

New pictures from cat land: