Posts Tagged ‘Silk Road project’

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Links February 2019

February 9, 2019

Confident, self-assured, assertive people consider the evidence, decide what is true, and from then on dismiss all contradicting information.

For skeptical minds like me though there is no absolute truth and there’s always the possibility that even the most careful observer, researcher, analyst may be wrong in various details, mislead by illusions, projections, and misinformation.

Having said that, if observations point to dangerous developments, one has to act, to be on the safe side. One must not wait till it is too late. The poisoning of the ecosphere for instance is obvious. And that we are swamped with plastics and dangerous chemicals is obvious, I see it, smell it, and feel it.

Mass extinction, meaning less bats, hedgehogs, owls, bumblebees, bees, butterflies,  birds, frogs, toads, lizards, salamanders, blindworms, etc. is obvious, I see it with my very own eyes. The vegetation changes, with less biodiversity, I experience it since years, and I mourn and grief for the mystery forests of my youth.

People tell me: “Some species decline, others thrive, look at the cockroaches and ticks!” Well, the cockroaches and ticks shall inherit the earth after the ecological collapse, maybe they make a better use of it than we do.

Furthermore, a nuclear arsenal which could end all life in a day, is that just a myth, a fable, a fabrication? Please convince me that it is, because that would take a heavy emotional burden from me.

Convince me or let yourself be convinced. One day the contradicting views and opinions have to converge and be consolidated in one focal point, one day the discussions have to end with a conclusion.

Beside that, the motley political discussions in every place in the world where discussions are allowed are mostly a deliberate distraction from the fundamental issue of natures, and with it humanities, survival.

These discussions are distracting us from the existential dangers to all life on earth, which are, to recount and summarize it once again: The poisoning of the biosphere, the obliteration of ecosystems, mass extinction, and a nuclear arsenal in the hands of scoundrels and idiots, ready to blow up the planet and create another dead star.

Only a fundamental reorientation of every aspect of our lives, including social relations, culture, the economy, and the political apparatus, can ensure our survival.

We have to live with the smallest possible carbon footprint, stop reproducing, and drop out of the existing traditional social, economic, and political systems. We have to convince our fellow humans to do the same, and we have to obstruct, sabotage, cripple, break the current structures with novel and intelligent techniques and mechanisms.

But who wants to do that, who will take the risk, when a few more years of easy, carefree living and conspicuously consuming are still in reach?

Kick the can down the road, delay, defer, procrastinate, wait it out. Most issues resolve themselves – humatity will also resolve itself. Destroy itself?

Hush baby, just let’s head to the cliffs.

From a comment in John Chuckman’s blog:

China has begun to take center stage in the world’s economy with its magnificent Silk Road project. Their efforts are going to make things better for hundreds of millions of people in the future.

And we may ask just what benefits contemporary America brings to our world’s future with a Pentagon budget exceeding $700,000,000,000 and God knows how much for its high-tech Stasi at the NSA and CIA and FBI?

China builds and America bombs, and America does not like the comparison or the implicit challenge.

It wants to be regarded as “the indispensable nation,” but what’s indispensable about a giant military bully?

This has to be contradicted:

The US empire conquers, exploits, enslaves, plunders, ransacks, destroys, and it is undoubtedly the most dangerous and despicable entity on this planet.

But China’s policy of building, investing, of giving loans freely drives globalization, causes environmental destruction, and creates dependencies (debt trap).

Globalization, free trade (WTO, multilateral and bilateral trade agreements, unelected industry-friendly arbitration courts) and especially the global financial system (IMF, World Bank, big US, Japanese, and EU banks) enables the economic exploitation of weaker countries and lets the international rentier class siphon off their unfair, undeserved share.

China builds infrastructure and increases economic growth, but that is not what humanity needs in the face of environmental catastrophe. Maybe some Chinese development money goes to local co-ops, small farmers, bakeries, local health care, but it’s not the main focus. 

The main focus are gigantic construction projects, including ports, rail lines, highways, pipelines, transmission networks, etc. Huge areas of natural land are destroyed and vast amounts of materials and energy spent. 

The fast railway lines from Yiwu to London and to Madrid have benefits and may temporarily improve peoples lives but in the end they mean, that Europeans can get more Chinese made consumer goods. In the end they mean more consumerism and more environmental destruction.

China has fouled its environment, Xi Jinping’s One Belt, One Road initiative incites Eurasian nations (Mongolia, the “stans,” Eastern Europe) to foul theirs. Nobody can deny China’s heroic and unprecedented efforts to lift people out of poverty (China’s poverty rate fell from 88 percent in 1981 to 6.5 percent in 2012), but cancer diseases are exploding, with four million new diagnoses every year. What good does the comfort of a Western lifestyle bring, if you are dying from cancer?

Beside that, China is building its own empire and seeks global dominance, though in a less savage and bloody way than the United States. As some developments in Africa (for example in Zimbabwe) show, China is not on a charity mission but tries to create dependencies and get access to (mainly mineral) resources.

Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin fortunately are more conscientious, rationale, sensible, and intelligent than Western leaders, but they are blind to the ongoing ecological catastrophe. Opening their eyes, making them (and the whole Chinese and Russian leadership) aware of this catastrophe would go a long way to increase our survival chances.

Feline news:

https://www.thedodo.com/close-to-home/delivery-man-saves-three-tiny-black-kittens-in-snowstorm
https://aeon.co/essays/the-uncanny-familiar-can-we-ever-really-know-a-cat?utm This is not news, but it is entertaining and highly recommended reading.
A caveat: Cats are not that mysterious and much of what we think about them are just our projections. Yet, it is true that they react and adapt to our idiosyncrasies and antics, and by that they are an unerring mirror of our personality. They tell us more about ourselves than any psychoanalyst could do.
https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-hampshire-47002338 This cold weather is not good for little kittens.
https://abcnews4.com/news/local/the-purr-fect-match
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/05/crazy-cat-men-how-new-yorks-feline-frenzy-made-headlines-decades-ago

Environmental news:

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said mid January 2019 marked the hottest days on record. Authorities are blaming the pounding heat wave for massive die-offs of bats and fish on a biblical scale, as well as ruined orchards with “fruit still on the trees cooked from the inside out.”

https://www.ehn.org/desalination-plant-waste-oceans–2625733077.html
Between 1.5 and 2 billion people live in areas of water scarcity; desalination plants could bring relief, but they need lot of energy and discharge huge amounts of brine contaminated with copper, chlorine, and other harmful substances.
https://truthout.org/articles/more-salt-in-our-water-is-creating-scary-new-chemical-cocktails/
https://www.telesurenglish.net/news/Brazil-Poisonous-Agrotoxin-Found-Over-80-of-Breast-Milk-Samples-in-Urucui-20180809-0008.html
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/15/insect-collapse-we-are-destroying-our-life-support-systems
https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/01/18/heat-j18.html Heatwave in Australia.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/a-highway-megaproject-tears-at-the-heart-of-papuas-rainforest
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/jan/21/founders-of-plastic-waste-alliance-investing-billions-in-new-plants
https://earther.gizmodo.com/how-australia-s-deadliest-fires-made-thousands-of-stude-1832026674?utm
https://qz.com/1532970/climate-change-puts-half-earths-groundwater-in-danger/
https://www.dw.com/en/water-wars-are-india-and-pakistan-heading-for-climate-change-induced-conflict/a-47203933
https://edition.cnn.com/2019/01/30/health/thailand-air-pollution-intl/index.html
https://cen.acs.org/environment/pollution/pervasiveness-microplastics/97/i5

Reducing plastic:

Don’t use one way utensils and avoid services which depend on one way plastics. Keep reusable grocery bags with you.
Don’t buy clothing made from plastic (Lycra, spandex, nylon, polyester, etc.).
Choose food products distributed in recyclable paper or reusable containers.
Support your local municipality’s recycling program by thoroughly separating your garbage.
Support a local ban on plastic bags and containers.
Support local businesses already changing their practices, or ask your favorite businesses to make a change.
Let your local politicians know you support a healthy environment and want to see changes made locally, statewide, and nationally.
Purchase items for long-term use, rather than short-term convenience.

Economic news:

Unsustainable debt levels, created by companies binging on cheap credit since 2009, “could be systemically threatening.” Corporate debt levels in the USA alone have doubled to more than 9 trillion US$ since 2009 (most of it are high risk “junk bonds” and nearly as risky “BBB’” investment grade bonds).

Almost as worrisome is the now more than 1 trillion US$ leverage loan market debt in the US (i.e. loan equivalent of junk bonds). US household debt is similarly rising and approaching 15 trillion US$. US national government debt, at 21 trillion US$, is about to surge over the next decade to 33 trillion US$ due to the Trump 2018 tax cuts. That’s not counting trillions more in US state and local government debt; or the tens of trillions of new debt undertaken by emerging market economies since 2010; or the 5 trillion US$ in non-performing bank loans in Europe and Japan; or the even more private sector debt escalation in China.

Emerging defaults are heralding a critical phase that typically follows asset markets’ decline and slowing profits. In the US there’s the Sears default, with JCPenney in the wings. General Electric, once one of the largest companies in the world, is slowly drifting toward default. Its global profits slowing and stock price imploding, GE is now desperately selling off its best assets to pay its excess debt.

GE is not alone. Scores of energy companies involved in US shale oil and gas production are teetering on the brink. In Europe, there’s deepening troubles at Deutsche Bank, and at nearly all Italian banks, and UBS in Switzerland, and the Greek banks. In Japan, there are trillions of dollars in non-performing bank loans as well, which Japan’s central bank continues to cover up. And then there’s China, with more than 5 trillion US$ in bad loans held by local governments, by shadow bankers, and by state owned enterprises that the China central bank and government keep bailing out by issuing “trusted loans.”

This could become ugly and painful, because in a capitalist economy all services are privatized, and when companies default, the services stop. Utilities don’t deliver water or electricity, there is no maintenance of sewage systems and no waste collection, infrastructure and transport decay, food deliveries stop.

Don’t wait for the “invisible hand” of the market to bring relief and put everything into the right place again. Don’t wait for the billionaires to share their wealth.

https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2019/01/22/pers-j22.html
26 billionaires control as much wealth as the poorest half of humanity.
http://www.atimes.com/the-blood-money-of-big-pharma-profits/?utm
http://evonomics.com/doubt-capitalism-useless-jobs-rutger-bregman/
https://voxeu.org/article/artificial-intelligence-algorithmic-pricing-and-collusion 

Media and technology news:

https://caitlinjohnstone.com/2019/01/10/a-new-narrative-control-firm-works-to-destroy-alternative-media/ Newsguard.
https://thefreethoughtproject.com/newsguard-fact-checkers-war-mongers/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/01/11/everything-the-western-mainstream-media-outlets-get-wrong-when-covering-poor-countries-2/
http://fortune.com/2019/01/30/schools-students-cellphones-yondr/
https://www.mintpressnews.com/newsguard-european-union/

Imperial news:

Cindy Sheehan writes:

Thinking Positively! 

These days, there is so much to be negative about! 

We loathe Trump. 

We are fearful of the future due to catastrophic climate change! 

Some of us (I think most of us reading this) are appalled and distressed by the ongoing US imperial wars. 

There are continuing attacks on workers, women, Muslims, and people of color in disadvantaged communities. 

I can’t help thinking that all of these are signs of an empire in its death throes and I am positive that the demise of the US empire as we know it will be rejoiced by the rest of humanity and we need to continue or begin solidarity actions to make sure we survive or thrive during the coming collapse.

http://cindysheehanssoapbox.benchurl.com/c/v?e=DE8F11&c=1BD0F&t=0&l=54F39C9&email=fZ0E1awabLzvoouBnIlWpwif8GG0Zxj9
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2019/01/off-roading-chopped-joshua-trees-overflowing-toilets-national-parks-shutdown.html
https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/wj3v5n/american-phone-companies-are-literally-letting-their-networks-fall-apart
https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-private-governments-that-subjugate-u-s-workers/5665548
https://www.localfutures.org/education-jobs-and-capitalism/
https://truthout.org/articles/shutdown-exposes-how-many-americans-live-paycheck-to-paycheck/
https://truthout.org/articles/millions-of-americans-flood-into-mexico-for-health-care/ Health-care refugees from USA invade Mexico.
https://truthout.org/articles/the-military-is-poisoning-americas-groundwater/

Imperial conquest news:

http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/16074-procurement-lists-reveal-us-embassy-s-clandestine-operations.html
US embassy Helsinki.
https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2019/01/10/secret-logistics-of-america-global-deep-state.html
US embassy Baghdad and the inaudible Pentagon.
https://www.globalresearch.ca/top-10-reasons-not-to-love-nato/5665733
https://www.globalresearch.ca/okinawa-activists-petition-white-house-to-stop-military-base-construction/5665719
https://www.oann.com/white-house-considers-oil-embargo-on-venezuela/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/01/21/new-us-economic-attack-against-cuba-long-threatened-may-hit-soon/
https://blackagendareport.com/dr-congo-post-election-interview-maurice-carney

Armageddon news:

https://www.muckrock.com/news/archives/2019/jan/09/fbi-bethe-banned-sciam/
What would an all-out war fought with hydrogen bombs mean? It would mean the obliteration of all large cities and probably of many smaller ones, and the killing of most of their inhabitants. After such a war, nothing that resembled present civilization would remain. The fight for mere survival would dominate everything. The destruction of the cities might set technology back a hundred years or more.
In a generation even the knowledge of technology and science might disappear, because there would be no opportunity to practice them. Indeed it is likely that technology and science, having brought such utter misery upon man, would be suspected as works of the devil, and that a new Dark Age would begin on earth. We know what physical destruction does to the moral values of a people. We have seen how many Germans, already demoralized by the Nazis, lost all sense of morality when during and after the war the bare necessities of life, food, clothing and shelter were lacking. Democracy and human decency were empty words; there was no reserve strength left for such luxuries. If we have learned any lesson from the aftermath of World War II, it is that physical destruction brings moral destruction.
https://truthout.org/articles/a-planet-in-crisis-the-heats-on-us/
https://www.localfutures.org/why-the-anthropocene-is-not-climate-change/
As mentioned many times before, it’s not only climate change, it’s the poisoning of nature, mass extinction, resource depletion, breakdown of ecosystems (oceans), and a human society which becomes unstable and unmanageable because of overcrowding.
https://truthout.org/articles/the-world-will-end-in-fire/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/01/25/end-times-dead-ahead/
https://truthout.org/articles/we-are-destroying-our-life-support-system/
https://truthout.org/articles/as-the-climate-collapses-we-ask-how-then-shall-we-live/
Armageddon poetry. Forget about new age, alternative spirituality, post-industrialism, armageddon — doomsday, end times, and nothing else, is the zeitgeist.

Uncategorized news:

https://sabrinamazzora.wordpress.com/2019/01/30/lets-do-it-like-they-do-it-on-pirate-bay/
https://gowans.wordpress.com/2019/01/29/when-liberal-democracy-means-plutocracy/

News from cat land:

Our food system is broken. Fruits and vegetables are bred for long shelf lives rather than flavor or nutrition. Transporting food around the world uses vast quantities of energy. And people throw tons of food away because it is rotten, contaminated, or nobody wants it or has the money to buy it.

Factory farms pollute the already scarce drinking water with nitrogen, antibiotics, and growth hormones. Runoff from fields contains pesticides and fertilizers (nitrogen, phosphorus), which either kill life in waterways, lakes, and oceans, or cause deadly algae blooms.

Industrial agriculture is unsustainable, it depletes the soil, creates large amounts of greenhause gases (CO2, methane, nitrous oxide), and kills wildlife.

Climate change makes plant based food less nutritious (because of higher CO2 levels and increased UV radiation). All food is contaminated with man-made chemicals and heavy metals, industrial processed food contains synthetic replacements of natural nutrients, flavors (monosodium glutamate, aspartame), and colors (canthaxanthin).

Burger’s synthetic meat for example contains: water, textured wheat protein, coconut oil, potato protein, natural flavors, leghemoglobin (soy), yeast extract, salt, soy protein isolate, konjac gum, xanthan gum, vitamins, and zinc.

To keep food fresh, it is irradiated and preservatives are added (benzoic acid, sodium benzoate, butylated hydroxyanisole, etc).

This can’t be healthy, and therefore we (the ecologically conscious folks) either grow our food by ourselves or get it from nearby people which we know and whom we trust. But what can a little cat do, to avoid unhealthy industrial processed food?

It can either refuse to eat the cheap pet food from the supermarket, look for another host who provides better food, or catch mice and other prey. The mice should be preferably from the forest, because mice from the fields are contaminated with pesticides and carry worms or infectious diseases.

So: My cat friends are busy catching mice, and I am busy looking for healthy pet food. I buy some organic food from Yarrah, Teeling Petfood, Almo Nature (all European producers), and I choose mainly chicken and turkey, because according to consumer tests poultry is less polluted than beef, pork, or fish.

Most importantly, once or twice a week a chicken is cooked. The chickens come either from a farmer whom I know personally, or are organic labeled, bought in a shop (the farmer has not enough chickens to spare).

These chickens are not dying from natural causes, and neither are the hapless animals whose mortal remains are used for packaged cat food. At every step of our life we have to compromise, act against your principles, and choose between bad and worse options.

My feline companions don’t mind and don’t care – they are not that compassionate.