24.06.2017

Links June 2017

It is hot and dry here, as in many other parts of the world, yet the cats and I are lucky still because temperatures reach just 96°F — it could be worse. High temperatures of around 104°F caused disastrous wildfire in Portugal with 60 deaths, a heatwave in Morocco brought a record high of 109°F, Italy’s current heatwave could be the most intense in 15 years, Britain saw the first five-day stretch of temperatures over 86°F in June since 1995, and the US Southwest is sizzling with temperatures in Phoenix reaching 119°F, causing flight cancellations and other disruptions of services.

The WMO (World Meteorological Organization), confirmed that the first five months of the year were the warmest ever recorded and according to an analysis in the journal Nature Climate Change, about one-third of the world’s population is exposed to grueling heatwaves for at least 20 days a year, a number which could rise to three-quarters of humans by 2100.

The strong ones, the rich ones, and the ones with the best air condition will survive, so there’s no need to take action (business as usual).

Celebrated disabled physicist Stephen Hawking (A Brief History of Time) thinks we should prepare for a cosmic exodus in the next 200 to 500 years.

Feline news:

https://www.rbth.com/arts/2017/05/22/8-compelling-cats-that-changed-russian-culture_767529
http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2017/05/24/lead-mercury-arsenic-cadmium-found-in-popular-pet-foods/ They tested only US brands and none of the cat food used here is listed, but the assumption that chicken is the least contaminated protein source was confirmed.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/animalia/wp/2017/06/19/long-before-they-conquered-the-internet-cats-took-over-the-world/
http://gizmodo.com/the-secret-history-of-the-cat-who-authored-a-physics-pa-1795958374
http://www.nature.com/articles/s41559-017-0202

Environmental news:

http://inhabitat.com/giant-condor-returns-to-thank-man-who-saved-him-after-he-fell-from-his-mothers-nest/ A beautiful friendship.
https://qz.com/988592/switzerland-has-voted-to-phase-out-nuclear-power-and-replace-it-with-renewable-energy/
http://grist.org/living/the-missed-opportunity-of-a-tiny-tidy-life/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/28/the-worlds-most-toxic-town-the-terrible-legacy-of-zambias-lead-mines The gadgets are for us, the poison is for them.
http://www.hindustantimes.com/health/at-over-300-sites-across-india-hazardous-waste-is-part-of-the-landscape-and-life/story-gzplhSIuF3pNhMJRaKSizK.html
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/05/24/national/science-health/long-taboo-expert-says-japan-must-examine-male-infertility-amid-falling-birthrate/#.WS5tIVKB0UR
http://www.abc.net.au/news/science/2017-05-20/endocrine-disrupting-chemicals-is-your-home-making-you-sick/8536926 Nothing new, but a helpful overview. In short: Avoid plastic and chemicals.
http://www.dailyclimate.org/tdc-newsroom/2017/may/climate-change-could-cut-into-major-crop
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2017/may/16/armyworms-the-hungry-caterpillar-threatening-a-global-food-crisis
http://e360.yale.edu/features/vanishing-borneo-saving-one-of-worlds-last-great-places-palm-oil
https://news.mongabay.com/2017/05/peru-lost-more-than-1-million-hectares-of-amazon-forest-over-a-period-of-15-years/
https://theconversation.com/around-the-world-environmental-laws-are-under-attack-in-all-sorts-of-ways-77590
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2015/06/150623-sixth-extinction-kolbert-animals-conservation-science-world/
https://www.treehugger.com/health/no-unborn-baby-safe-toxic-pollutants.html Who will hear our calls for a “non-toxic world,” when the great global cacophony of advertising to buy new stuff will drown out all such calls?
https://www.vox.com/world/2017/6/1/15653970/south-sudan-hunger-crisis-famine
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/may/27/brazil-wild-amazon-faces-destruction-farmers-loggers-sierra-ricardo-franco-park Dilma Rousseff was not an environmentalist at all, but Michel Temer takes the war against the Amazon rain forest to a new, until now unseen level.
http://news.trust.org/item/20170515130758-w3cht/
https://news.mongabay.com/2017/06/deforestation-in-the-brazilian-atlantic-forest-increased-almost-60-percent-in-the-last-year/
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2017/jun/01/air-pollution-harm-humans-nature-wildflowers-car-exhaust-sparrows
http://www.workers.org/2017/06/11/why-nicaragua-refused-to-sign-paris-accords
https://www.nature.com/news/resistance-to-last-ditch-antibiotic-has-spread-farther-than-anticipated-1.22140
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40862-nuclear-regulators-flawed-analysis-leaves-millions-at-risk-from-radioactive-fires
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jun/19/a-third-of-the-world-now-faces-deadly-heatwaves-as-result-of-climate-change

Economic news:

https://qz.com/993819/gdp-growth-is-the-wrong-way-to-measure-global-economic-and-developmental-progress/
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/automation-and-migration-all-our-estimations-were-wrong-by-giulietto-chiesa/
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39981997
https://www.ineteconomics.org/perspectives/blog/the-business-of-government
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-16/amazon-to-acquire-whole-foods-in-13-7-billion-bet-on-groceries
http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2017-05-29/economists-puzzled-unexpected-plunge-saudi-foreign-reserves

Media and Technology news:

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/the-secret-ways-social-media-is-built-for-addiction
http://www.bbc.com/news/business-39947942
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/05/22/us-journalisms-new-golden-age/
http://www.wnd.com/2017/06/jeff-bezos-amazon-washington-post-and-the-cia/
Imperial news:

http://theweek.com/articles/703660/moved-kids-america-best-parenting-decision-ive-ever-made
http://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/will-american-childhood-create-an-authoritarian-society/
https://medium.com/@caityjohnstone/why-you-should-definitely-keep-talking-about-seth-rich-7880f4dbb198
http://insider.foxnews.com/2017/06/10/new-coal-mine-donald-trump-pennsylvania-fossil-fuels-regulations
http://www.workers.org/2017/05/26/global-poor-especially-women-under-attack Climate change deniers are usually also human overpopulation deniers.
http://www.marketwatch.com/story/55-of-american-workers-dont-take-all-their-paid-vacation-2016-06-15
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-31/the-u-s-has-forgotten-how-to-do-infrastructurehttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-06-16/the-u-s-is-where-the-rich-are-the-richest
A US government report found that hospitals faced 1.27 million patient visits for opioid-related problems in a single year. The 2014 numbers, the latest available for every state, reflect a 64 percent increase for inpatient care and a 99 percent jump for emergency room treatment since 2005. Women are now as likely as men to be hospitalized.
Don’t know where I read that: “The Big Money-managed USA is a near openly plutocratic oligarchy where the wealthy few get what they want again and again regardless of majority working class sentiment.
Imperial conquest news:

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/12/oliver-stone-reveals-a-vulnerable-putin/ A must read, conveying that Russian President Vladimir Putin is pragmatic, cautious, thoughtful, yet personally vulnerable and not the typical slick politician. The pictures with Putin on the piano in a concert hall, with cats in his arm or stroking dogs and other animals come to mind.
Putin is not flawless. He demonstrates his masculinity, trying to compensate his small height of only 170 cm. His judo training was the perfect method to overcome his natural shortcomings, and the general idea behind judo, which is to evade and outsmart a superior enemy, clearly is the core of his political thinking. 
Putin doesn’t deny climate change, but considers it as a natural phenomenon to which we have to adapt. He is surely not an environmentalist, though he is engaged in the protection of rare species.
Putin is social conservative, a proud Russian nationalist, his closeness to and collusion with the orthodox clergy (Patriarch Kirill) could make a secular person uncomfortable. His support for traditional family values didn’t hinder him to divorce from his wife Lyudmila after 31 years. 33 year old olympic champion Alina Kabaeva is rumored to be his girlfriend.
Even in the face of his undeniable flaws, one just has to admire his absolute brilliance, his realism and superb strategic thinking. Unlike many of his fellow world leaders, Putin is not a gambler and he knows his limits. He is one of the most mature and rational actors on the word stage and history will treat him kindly, he will, unlike Churchill, not even have to write it personally.
http://www.pogo.org/straus/issues/defense-budget/2017/americas-1-1-trillion-national-security-budget.html
http://landdestroyer.blogspot.com/2017/05/uk-government-harbored-terrorists.html A classic example of blowback.
http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/05/29/no-laughing-matter-the-manchester-bomber-is-the-spawn-of-hillary-and-baracks-excellent-libyan-adventure/
http://truepublica.org.uk/united-kingdom/truth-revealed-british-intelligence-received-warnings-manchester-bomber-attack/
http://johnpilger.com/articles/terror-in-britain-what-did-the-prime-minister-know
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2017/849-blowback-manchester-and-the-libya-connection.html
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/new-documents-on-kissinger-and-chile/The crimes of empire will not be forgotten.
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/06/01/missing-the-real-noriega-story/
http://www.workers.org/2017/05/31/venezuela-resists-u-s-sabotage/
http://johnhelmer.net/the-presidents-inferiority-complex-his-advisors-russia-hating-obsession-and-the-putsch-plotter-with-the-itchy-trigger-finger/
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/06/600-cholera-deaths-yemen-month-170602141857685.html
http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/M/ML_YEMEN_TORTURE_SITES_ABRIDGED?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-06-22-01-44-46
http://visionofhumanity.org/app/uploads/2017/06/GPI-2017-Report-1.pdfData and tables are informativ, even though the report is clearly biased and represents a Western point of view.
http://journal-neo.org/2017/06/13/bilderberg-group-is-calling-shots-in-the-middle-east/
https://www.theguardian.com/global-development/2017/may/24/world-is-plundering-africa-wealth-billions-of-dollars-a-year
Uncategorized news:

http://www.workers.org/2017/06/02/who-public-health-prize-goes-to-cuba/
https://www.opendemocracy.net/neweconomics/fire-worlds-laundromat/ This is not just a story about the Grenfell tower.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2017/06/23/why-i-reject-western-courts-and-justice/
News from Cat Paradise:

A few days ago as I made my morning round in the garden I found a dead squirrel laying on one of the main paths. It was big and beautiful with a black shiny fur. It had no visible injuries but as it is unlikely that a squirrel just drops dead in the middle of the garden I assume that it was killed by one of my cat companions.

Cats are murderous beasts, ruthless killers. They pray not only on mice, rats, voles (which is welcome), but also on birds, moles, snakes, lizards, frogs, and toads. Princess Min Ki in her younger ears used to hunt pheasants and my beloved Cindy once brought a young hare home which was nearly as big as herself.

Terrible! I see the point of people who argue to confine cats indoors, a measure which would lift much pressure from vulnerable species. Of course one could use the same logic to confine car drivers indoors or humans in general. What about the farmers who butcher and poison billions of animals with their heavy agricultural machines and with deadly pesticides? Compared to the suffering and pain in the animal kingdom, which humans cause, the cats are harmless, are artless casual offenders, are lovable ecological angels. 

Trapp, neuter, return doesn’t work with feral cats, it wouldn’t work with humans either, though there is a chance that the steadily rising and accumulating contamination of the biosphere with endocrine disrupting chemicals will render humans infertil, solving thereby most ecological problems in just a few decades.

My cat friends wouldn’t like to be jailed indoors. They would rebel and try to break out. They would shred the curtains, sharpen their claws on the furniture, pee on the carpets, knock over kitchenware and computer devices, chew on and tear apart books.

They would feel betrayed and end our friendship. I would lose the best friends I ever had.

We have a deal, and only crooks break a deal between friends. The deal is: The cats brighten my life, accompany me, learn me to enjoy life and to overcome setbacks and misfortunes, in turn I care for them, bring them to the veterinarian, feed them when mice are not so plentiful, pet them and snuggle with them.

At the moment my cat friends sleep most of the day, because, as I already mentioned at the start, we experience a prolonged heatwave. Unfortunately I cannot sleep as much as I want and need, on the contrary I have to go up at 4 am to turn on the sprinklers in the garden. After that I have a short breakfast and then I start irrigating with watering cans and hoses. The sprinklers do quit a good job but in the remote areas of the garden, on the borders, and in the green houses I have to water manually. I’m usually finished at 8 am, and then I have another three hours where I can do some gardening without being baked by blistering heat.

My concerns about a diminished fruit harvest were unfounded. The cold spells in April and early May have ruined many blooms of fruit trees, but there will be nevertheless enough apples and plums, while the peach trees, despite peach leaf curl, grow an extraordinary amount of fruits, enough to supply me with vitamins all over the winter. In autumn I will day in, day out cut and portion the peaches and put them into the freezers.

Strawberry yield is also exceptional, every day I fill up one or two stainless steel cans and carry them down into the cellar where the freezers are. When I kneel down at whatever point in the garden, I have to start plucking strawberries and when I go to the same place next day there are again new strawberries who have ripened over night. I never experienced and also not expected such a tremendous yield.

All berry bushes are doing great, and grapevines could also break records. If this is the result of climate change, why should one fight against it?

There’s a catch of course, which is low precipitation, dryness, drought. Higher temperatures make water evaporate faster, and warmer air can hold more water vapor, which means less rain. This is the reason I have to spend four hours a day irrigating. Fortunately I live in a “rainy country” (according to the CIA World Factbook), and water tables are okey until now.

Strawberries, blueberry bushes, and grapevines are vulnerable to drought stress. Mint and chamomile are especially drought tolerant, but other herbs (nettle, sage, thyme, marigold, lemon balm) also can cope with dryness. 

My concept, to plant lot of trees and use rampant growing plants like blackberry bushes and grapevines to create a tight canopy which shields the soil and other plants from heat, is bearing fruits — literally.

Though I have enough to do with the garden and with the cat family, at the moment I spend quite some time communicating with three people who by chance crossed my way in the last weeks.

One is a girlfriend from 20 years ago, who found me on Facebook, and as a lot has happened in these 20 years, she has a lot to tell. I’m listening patiently.

The second one is a psychologist who spent most of her life in the USA, working on Indian reservations and in other deprived areas. After retirement she moved back to the place of her birth, which is accidentally near my location. This could become interesting and informative.

The third one is a long time friend, a painter, whom I first met 30 years ago. He has heart problems and breathing difficulties, also suffers from insomnia. The physicist wants to send him to hospital. My friend has a loving wife and three grownup children who all made their way and are successful in their profession, he should be a happy man.

I had long talks with him trying to lift his mood and giving advice. He seemed very receptive and thankful and after one of these talks asked me to write down essential things as a task list. This is what I wrote, and I kept it as short and condensed as possible:

Breathing (diaphragmatic breathing, watch and enjoy your breathing).
Smile and laugh (about the oddities of life, about your fellow humans and animals, about yourself).
See, hear, feel. Experience sensory input as intensely as possible.
Enjoy, cherish, take your time. Be calm, serene, at ease.
Excerpt from the Micro-Thesaurus:
Love, affection, sympathy, tenderness, kindness, gentleness, grace, understanding, tolerance, openness, generosity, tranquility, curiosity, confidence, faith, hope.Only 16 words, limitless expandable.

He liked it obviously and painted a board with some ornaments and the 16 words. The Micro-Thesaurus btw can be found at
https://mato48.com/2011/11/30/sorting-words-a-micro-thesaurus/
Miss Marple, 19 years old, also suffers from the heat, but she has seen worse times and she is content. Whenever I talk to her and touch her she start purring.

23.05.2017

Links May 2017

There’s so much worth writing about, from the ongoing war against nature, where humanity marches from victory to victory, to the turmoil in Washington D.C., to the stalemate in Yemen, the attempted partition of Syria, or Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s self-inflicted defeats.

Garden work has preference though, the weeds and pests don’t make a pause, billions of living beings are competing for their place in the ecosystem and I have to make intelligent and efficient corrections to bend the flow of nature in a way which benefits me by resulting in higher yields of fruits, herbs, and vegetables.

This blog post is therefore not much more than a notification that I want to continue publishing posts but at the moment have not enough time to make sound research and write useful commentaries and analysis.

Most of the blog subscribers are US citizens and to revel about the political chaos of the Trump Presidency would amount to schadenfreude, an unworthy, even disgusting sentiment. But isn’t it desirable that the Western Imperium is weakened by internal conflict? Is that not what anti-imperialists and anti-globalists wish for?

Most of the US subscribers will be aware of the neocolonial exploitation of developing countries in Asia, Africa, and Latin America by trading overpriced services, high technology goods, and weapons against cheap commodities. Most subscribers will be aware that the global financial system is enabling this exploitation, that investment banks and the IMF are keeping countries in debt servitude, that big corporations are buying up land, expelling the natives, that US military power is enforcing the rules. Most subscribers will be aware that they are benefitting from the exploitation and yet, they will shudder at the thought that their living standard could be lowered as US global might suffers.

They are privileged and I, living in a Western European country, am privileged as well. My comfortable life is enabled by exploiting week countries and exploiting nature. The exploitation should stop as soon as possible. I know, that if it stops, life could become much more cumbersome. Maybe cumbersome isn’t the right word, but life at least will be very different and we will have to change our habits and learn how to get on with less. I’m preparing myself for these times.

Even the idyllic rural area where I live shows signs of environmental decay. It is most times quiet, no car can be heard throughout the night and after sunset moonlight and starlight are the only illumination. Occasionally a gang of adolescents in their late puberty terrorizes the village with their noisy and stinking motor scooters. Hunters drive by in their SUV’s, farmers tractors, big as battle tanks, pass by and curve across the fields. Plastic garbage litters the edge of the forest and swims in the few little creeks and rivers which agriculture has still not eradicated. Vegetation in the forest is slowly changing, as invasive grass species take over large areas. Bats and reptiles have disappeared. When the farmer sprays the nearby field with pesticides, my garden is full of dead or dying bumblebees.

This is unsustainable, is criminal, is insane, and has to stop! But how? I daydream about a crash and subsequent disintegration of the global financial system. I daydream about social unrest and political paralysis in the Western imperial nations, about a disintegration of the European Union and NATO. I daydream about a pandemic (flu, ebola, anthrax) spread by air travel, tourism, global shipments of goods, exacerbated by weakened human immune systems (weakened because of contaminated food, water, air).

This is an idea Dr. Eric Pianka (Lizard Man) vented in 2006, though he didn’t advocate it in earnest.

http://www.zo.utexas.edu/faculty/pianka/Pianka-did-NOT-advocate-ebola.html

The pain and suffering inflicted by such a pandemic is beyond comprehension and nobody in her or his right mind would hope for such a pandemic to occur.

I dismiss my daydreams. Has anyone a better idea? Paraphrasing the German philosopher Georg Friedrich Hegel: “The only thing we learn from history is that we do not learn from history.” Maybe we learn from catastrophes? But only if disaster is hitting hard and hitting near. And not even that is a given, because, to use the widely circulated quote, which Albert Einstein may or may not have coined: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

I cannot stop with this pessimistic notion, it is not my intent to convey desperation and despair. For many years I dreamt about and trained to feel content, serene, at peace even in the bleakest situations. For many years I dreamt about and trained to feel love and happiness, to understand, tolerate, forgive. I dreamt and still dream that one day I will radiate happiness and wisdom, enchanting and elating everyone whom I meet, casting a spell of love and peace onto everybody.

While global forces are beyond our control, our inner world is of our making — to some extent.

I’m still a novice in this respect, an amateur, making slow progress, experimenting, trying, failing, sometimes succeeding. I’m not giving up and maybe my blog posts prevent someone else from giving up. Enough said, every other words could be misunderstood as esoteric drivel.


Environmental news:
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176269/
http://oilprice.com/Energy/Crude-Oil/Low-Oil-Prices-Wont-Deter-Russia-From-Arctic-Drilling.html Sadly, Putin is not an environmentalist. This is the one area where Trump and Putin concur.
https://www.oxfam.org/en/famine-and-hunger-crisis-ethiopia-food-crisis/drought-east-africa-if-rains-do-not-come-none-us-will
https://ensia.com/features/19036/ Fungal diseases increase.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-colombia-environment-idUSKBN17R2FT
https://www.kcet.org/shows/earth-focus/that-perfect-toxic-lawn-american-suburbs-and-24-d
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/plastic-waste-oceans_us_58fed37be4b0c46f0781d426
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40427-giraffes-are-quietly-disappearing-but-the-us-can-help-stop-their-silent-extinction
http://e360.yale.edu/features/why-its-time-to-stop-punishing-our-soils-with-fertilizers-and-chemicals One doesn’t need to be a scientist to understand that pouring lot of chemicals onto the fields will disturb the natural processes and kill essential life, from microorganisms to pollinators to birds and hedgehogs. But it doesn’t hurt if scientists after extensive testing come to the same conclusion.
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/02/uk-killer-whale-died-extreme-levels-toxic-pollutants PCBs cause infertility in mammals, including humans. One step closer to a solution of the global environmental problems?
http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/05/09/521264/Tunnel-with-nuclear-waste-collapses-in-Washington-state
http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-hanford-nuclear-emergency-20170509-story.html Hot times in Hanford.
http://gizmodo.com/tunnel-collapses-at-nuclear-facility-once-called-an-und-1795058376
http://progressive.org/dispatches/tunnel-collapse-at-hanford-nuclear-dump-accelerates-the-coll/
http://thebulletin.org/predictable-nuclear-accident-hanford10774
http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2017/05/radioactive_contamination_foun.html
http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2017/05/where-have-all-insects-gone
http://climatenewsnetwork.net/ocean-oxygen-decline-greater-predicted/
https://ensia.com/features/19036/#
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/2017/05/20/vanishing-animals-future-generations-will-never-see/

Imperial news:
I published my take on the Trump Presidency already in February
In a weird way, Trump is our best hope.
As things turned out like expected, there needs not much to be added and one may just watching fascinated how the US media, spearheaded by Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post, builds up a case by mixing facts and fabrications, luring Trump into one trapp after the other, carefully choosing terms and phrases which are equivocal and yet suggestive, prompting to read between the lines.
They (the Washington political elite, called alternately “deep state,” “permanent government,” or “the Blob,”) are not fooling around, they are in for the kill. “They” (the insiders) will show Trump (the outsider) and anybody else, who is really running the show, who deals the cards, who pulls the strings.
Trump, the outsider, has to be destroyed to set an example and make it clear to whoever follows him and whoever in future runs for office that dissenting views are not allowed and unwritten rules must not be breached.
The Trump impeachment campaign is not yet as mean and vile as the smear and slander against Vladimir Putin, Muammar Gaddafi, and Dr. Bashar al-Assad, probably because public trust in government and the Presidency itself should not be eroded.
Donald Trump deserves no pity! Environmental regulations are gutted, the energy firms are jubilant, hoping for a windfall. Public goods are privatized everywhere, social services are cut back or starved by lack of funding. The big corporations and the superrich get tax cuts, while public spending for welfare and infrastructure is reduced. A 110 billion US$ weapons deal with Saudi Arabia, the greatest state sponsor of terrorism makes sure, that the weapons flow to Islamic militias never will stop, that the destabilization and destruction of Muslim countries can go on for another decade and longer.
https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-05-19/russians-are-laughing-at-the-u-s-not-just-at-trump
European allies officially express fear that Trump’s political chaos is undermining US power. There is mounting concern among European leaders that the scandals could sap the White House’s ability to respond to challenges ranging from Russia to terrorism to North Korea.
http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/04/obama-reportedly-accepts-usd400-000-for-a-wall-street-speech.html Now I know what center-left means: Faking, deceiving, and selling out like Barack Obama did.
http://petras.lahaine.org/?p=2140 A comprehensive review of recent US history, including an alternative view of Nixon, Carter, and other US Presidents, by one of the few great American journalists and commentators.
https://www.theautomaticearth.com/2017/05/comey-and-the-end-of-conversation/ Disinformation, echo chambers, social discontent and radicalization.
http://www.alternet.org/education/11-ways-chicagos-charter-schools-have-created-public-education-nightmare
http://www.workers.org/2017/05/10/congress-be-damned-fight-for-free-healthcare/
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/new-report-documents-pervasive-hunger-in-america/
Imperial conquest news:
http://nsiteam.com/social/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/A-multi-disciplinary-multi-method-approach-to-leader-assessment-at-a-distance-The-case-of-Bashar-al-Assad.pdf From 2014, but informative and astonishingly neutral.
Syrian President Dr. Bashar al-Assad gave an Interview to TV-channel TeleSur. The 5th question in the interview was:
How do you assess the current policy of Donald Trump in the world, and in Syria in particular?
President Assad replied: “The American President has no policies. There are policies drawn by the American institutions controlling the American regime which are the intelligence agencies, the Pentagon, the big arms and oil companies, and financial institutions, in addition to some other lobbies which influence American decision-making. The American President merely implements these policies, and the evidence is that when Trump tried to move on a different track, during and after his election campaign, he couldn’t. He came under a ferocious attack. As we have seen in the past few week, he changed his rhetoric completely and subjected himself to the terms of the deep American state, or the deep American regime. That’s why it is unrealistic and a complete waste of time to make an assessment of the American President’s foreign policy, for he might say something; but he ultimately does what these institutions dictate to him. This is not new. This has been ongoing American policy for decades.”
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2017/846-george-monbiot-responds-on-syria.html
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2017/845-an-impeachable-offence-professor-postol-and-syria.html
https://clarityofsignal.com/2017/05/08/direct-jihadist-collusion-over-one-dozen-videos-capture-white-helmets-working-side-by-side-with-terrorist-groups/
http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/resurrection-hope-amid-suffering-and-grief-in-syriahttp://news.antiwar.com/2017/05/02/yemeni-al-qaeda-leader-were-fighting-alongside-us-backed-forces/
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/apr/10/libya-public-slave-auctions-un-migration
http://theduran.com/kiev-cuts-electricity-lpr-prepares-dpr/
http://www.workers.org/2017/04/29/u-s-u-n-move-wont-end-occupation-of-haiti/#.WQS6wlKB0UQ Of all the failed UN missions this one stand out because it is not peace keeping, it is an occupation force for the USA who pays the bills and controls the UN bureaucracy.
http://thefreethoughtproject.com/us-foreign-policy-has-brought-80-of-the-entire-population-of-children-in-yemen-to-the-brink-of-death/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176278/ The costs of war. Must read.

Uncategorized news:
http://womenspost.ca/saudi-arabia-elected-to-un-commission-on-the-status-of-women/ This is not a joke and what else would one expect from the US dominated “United Nations” in New York. Saudi Arabia, the greatest initiator and patron of terrorist movements all around the world, has to be sanitized, has to appear to be inline with the endlessly cited “Western Values.”
http://exiledonline.com/russia-blog-day-3-about-that-credit-suisse-russia-inequality-report/ Must read.
https://nplusonemag.com/online-only/online-only/ecuador-after-correa/Informative.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-39784721
News from cat land:

Theres a ten hours working day again. Fruit harvest will be low this year, because a cold snap ruined many blooms of peach trees, apple trees, and plum trees. One old grapevine has died, it was the one with the most delicious grapes. Quite a few plants have not survived the winter. All rosemaries are gone, half of the lavender and sage, many strawberry runners who in other years would have had a good chance to survive.

The winter was not uncommonly cold, but marked by rapid temperature swings. In the last years such temperature swings have become common, a development predicted by climatologists (extreme weather).

Unseasonal mild wether in late winter entices the plants to wake up from dormancy and start growing new sprouts, branches, leaves. When a sudden merciless cold spell kills all the sprouts, branches, and leaves, the energy of the plant is often exhausted and it dies. This happened to my grapevine, and two years ago it happened to a three year old plum tree. It was the first to have fully developed leaves but after the cold spell all the leaves turned black and the tree died. I was very saddened because this tree was my dear friend. Many plants in the garden are my friends.

There is all kind of well meant advice on the various gardening websites how to protect plants against frost and freeze, but the proposed methods are impractical. How shall I cover the trees with fabric, when most of them are three to five meters high? I’m not Christo. Bringing the plants into the house over winter? That may be possible for a couple of bushes but not for hundreds. The berry bushes btw. have fared better than the trees — blueberry, gooseberry, jostaberry, raspberry, blackberry harvest should be okay this year.

I will replace the ruined plants with more robust varieties and find out which plants can adapt to the changing climate.

A forest alleviates climate extremes and the adjacent forest surely helps, but the surrounding fields on the other hand reduce this effect. Yet, as my little orchard grows, becoming higher, more compact, developing a dense canopy, the plants will be covered and protected from extreme temperatures. Plants, especially the grapevines, though need sun too, and I have to find out how to integrate these contradictory requirements into my garden plans.

The gooseberry sawfly or some moth larvae have striped complete braches of gooseberry bushes from all their leaves. It is not widespread and I’m already busy with the slugs and snails, so I have not taken action until now but I have to be vigilant because the gooseberry sawfly can produce up to three generations a year. I hope that my friends the spiders will take care of them.

Gandhi Jr. my big cat boy, killed two young toads and I was very upset and showed him my displeasure in no uncertain terms. I don’t know if that helps, I cannot imagine any method how to convey to the cats that they should hunt mice and voles but leave the frogs and toads alone. I find dead mice nearly every day, they are so plentiful that the cats don’t even eat them all.
Three days ago while I was just kneeling, weeding, I heard a strange squeaking sound behind me, As I turned I saw a young toad hop towards me, chased by Wendy, the longhair cat girl. I was not aware that toads could make such a loud squeaking sound. Fortunately Wendy is the slowest and most clumsy member of the cat family, so the toad had a chance to escape. I grabbed the toad and as I held it in my hand it stopped squeaking and calmed down.

I held the toad for some moments and talked softly to it before I carried it to one of the garden ponds. It didn’t try to jump off my hand. During my life I have held toads several times and they always were completely quiet and seemingly trustful. How do they know?

I had also bats, birds, and mice in my hand and they were not trustful at all, a bat did even bite me in my finger once, but that is a long story which I maybe will tell occasionally in another blog post.

Why are toads reacting so differently? Am I the toad whisperer?

19.04.2017

Links April 2017

This post is hastily written because I’m busy with garden work. The links are incomplete, I just trashed one week of email news alerts which I simply cannot check in the little time that I’m still able to spend on the computer.

A few people cancelled the blog subscription after the last post, which rejected the Western media narrative about “a murderous tyrant (Syrian President Assad) who committed another warcrime.” It would be easier of course for me just to howl along with the pack, but that’s not my nature, I always tried to sing my own tune.

A tale of two cities

The difference of reports about fighting in Mosul to the reports about the Aleppo siege are stunning. Thousands of civilians have died in Mosul, many of them in US bombing raids, at least five hundred thousand are on the run. The suffering and pain in Mosul dwarfs anything what happened in Aleppo, but while the liberation of Aleppo from Islamist gangs was covered daily and called hell-hole, slaughterhouse, bloodbath, holocaust, warcrime, torched earth, etc., Mosul is barely mentioned and the enormous civilian death toll is apparently regarded as inevitable. The Islamic State is blamed for using civilians as human shields, US bombings are deemed absolutely necessary, the resulting “collateral damage” seen as unavoidable.

A tale of two atrocities

After the alleged nerve gas attack in Khan Sheikhun, Western media instantly condemned Syrian President (butcher) Assad and called for his removal. The USA first conducted a retaliatory strike against the Syrian airbase Al Shayrat, then spoke of the necessity to carry out an investigation. President Donald Trump’s approval ratings rose significantly, showing off US military might has surely won him sympathies at home (where is the US “anti-war movement”?).

It appears that Trump finally has given in to the “permanent government,” becoming just another figurehead for the economic, political, military elite who reigns in Washington D.C.

In case you missed it and you could be forgiven to miss it, because the event barely made it into Western news reports: The BRICS block (Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa) issued a joint statement, that illegal military intervention in Syria is unacceptable.
Another event to be underreported was a suicide bombing against civilians with even more victims than the mentioned alleged nerve gas attack.

As part of a swap deal brokered by Qatar, a bus convoy with hundreds of civilians, mostly women and children, who had been evacuated from Foua and Kefraya, a Shia enclave in Idlib under siege by Tahrier al-Sham and their (moderate) Islamist friends, was driving towards Aleppo. The bus convoy was guarded by the jihadist group Ahrar al Sham. Shortly before reaching Aleppo, Ahrar al Sham blocked the convoy for two days, keeping the families on the buses in limbo with little food and water.

People were desperate and hungry, and when someone was handing out crisps and sweets to children, they all ran toward him. At this moment, a blue truck, apparently delivering food, drove along the column of buses and, as it reached the crowd of children, exploded in a gigantic blast. Four buses and six other vehicles were destroyed, 127 civilians, 95 of them children, died. Nearly 300 other people were severely injured. 200 evacuees are missing, thought to have been kidnapped by the Islamists in the chaos after the bombing.

Normally a swap deal would be denounced as “ethnic cleansing,” and the suicide bombing would dominate the front pages for days, declared as a heinous attack by deranged terrorists and called rightfully a warcrime, with enough graphic footage of injured and dead children to give you nightmares.

But not in this case, because, according to CNN and other Western media channels, the victims were just “Assad supporters,” killed in a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia. CNN told its audience: “Dozens of supporters of president Bashar al-Assad are the latest victim of Syria’s brutal civil war.”

Instead of looking to blame a particular side, most stories in the mass media focused on the human tragedy of the situation, basically absolving blame and trying to frame the Islamists in a sympathetic light despite that a) the attack was killing much more children than what happened in Khan Sheikoun and b) the attack most likely was carried out by one of the Islamist factions.
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21506&LangID=E

https://twitter.com/MmaGreen/status/853320893673635842
Never mind the killed “pro Assad” children, Assad has to go, as the USA ultimately told Russia. Assad has to go, ending the stranglehold of his minority Alawite sect onto power and ending the disenfranchisement of the Sunni majority.

Unfortunately there is no Sunni leader who could come even close to Dr. Bashar al-Assad’s popularity and most Sunni citizens of Syria don’t feel disenfranchised and are supporting him. Syrians have voted with their feet, and 14 millions prefer to live under President Assad, while 4 million refugees live abroad, 1,5 million in Tahrir al-Sham (al-Qaeda) controlled Idlib and Turkish controlled northern Aleppo along the border, 1.5 millions in Kurdish cantons, below 1 million in IS territory.

This is the reason the West calls for a transitional government and for banning President Assad to stand in a subsequent election. Everybody knows that he would win this election.
Feline news:
http://www.lifewithcats.tv/2017/04/16/this-family-got-much-more-than-a-boat-in-the-bargain-1/
https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/04/12/a-cat-halted-the-marlins-game-by-running-onto-the-field-leading/22037086/ Not fond of spectator sports, but this game I would have enjoyed.
http://news.trust.org/item/20170316194141-6h7pn/ Who buys cat food from Nestle and Mars anyway? (Purina, Felix, Friskies, Gourmet, Fancy Feast; Royal Canine, Pedigree, Whiskas, Sheba). Please treat your cat companion with something better!
http://www.boredpanda.com/evil-cats-demons-summoning-satan/

Environmental news:
https://dgrnewsservice.org/civilization/ecocide/habitat-loss/2-7-million-animals-killed-federal-wildlife-destruction-program-2016/
https://qz.com/934106/egypts-nile-river-delta-once-the-bread-basket-of-the-world-may-soon-be-uninhabitable/
http://www.dw.com/en/drought-and-forest-loss-cause-vicious-circle-in-the-amazon/a-37882115
http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/they-died-of-thirst-extreme-conditions-wipe-out-forest-over-1000-kilometres-20170313-gux252.html
http://www.globalresearch.ca/stop-protecting-the-criminality-of-the-global-pesticides-industry/5580188
http://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2017/04/01/national/real-cost-fukushima-disaster-will-reach-¥70-trillion-triple-governments-estimate-think-tank/#.WOXnjlKB0UQ
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-toshiba-accounting-board-idUSKBN17006KJubilation!
http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j1638.full Not surprising. Journalism for hire.
http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/cfia-report-glyphosate-1.4070275
https://www.minnpost.com/earth-journal/2017/04/agriculture-depleting-world-aquifers-new-satellite-measurements-show
http://earthfix.info/news/article/trees-or-bees-growers-fungicides/ The inevitable problems of monoculture and large scale food production.
http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/40223-the-legacy-of-monsanto-s-pcbs-oozing-pus-birth-defects-and-immune-problems

Media and technology news:
While the St. Petersburg subway bombing hardly was mentioned in Western media and if so with a certain amount of schadenfreude, the Stockholm truck terror had all the headlines. Well, “the Russians brought it upon themselves with their aggressive meddling in the Middle East,” one could read between the lines.
http://www.truthdig.com/avbooth/item/joel_whitney_cia_propaganda_cold_war_scheer_intelligence_20170317
https://hbr.org/2017/04/a-new-more-rigorous-study-confirms-the-more-you-use-facebook-the-worse-you-feel
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/teenage-technology-addiction-smartphone-rehab-seattle-clinic-children-aged-13-mobile-devices-a7684356.html
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-39617883?ocid=global_bbccom_email_16042017_top+news+stories Its on Facebook — how exiting!
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2017/843-nuking-the-west-coast-bbc-news-massively-hypes-north-korean-threat-to-the-united-states.html
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2017/844-trump-s-tomahawks-the-instant-certainty-of-the-mainstream-press.html
Imperial news:
http://www.counterpunch.org/2017/03/17/killing-the-elderly-social-security-starves-us-slowly-as-the-gop-tries-to-kill-us-by-gutting-health-care/
http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/03/20/americans-support-increasing-budget-most-wasteful-federal-department.html
http://www.workers.org/2017/03/21/detroits-lights-out-whos-to-blame/ This couldn’t happen without serious consequences in a civilized country.
https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/mar/27/us-facial-recognition-database-fbi-drivers-licenses-passports
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-aid-cuts-idUSKBN1752ME More weapons, less food. One has to set priorities.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/blog/176264/ Why should they treat their own land differently?
https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/military/2017/04/12/northern-edge-military-exercise-again-brings-unease-to-coastal-towns/
http://www.yesmagazine.org/people-power/what-is-it-like-to-live-without-running-water-detroit-families-know-20170411
Imperial conquest news:
http://www.smh.com.au/world/fury-in-cambodia-as-us-asks-to-be-paid-back-hundreds-of-millions-in-war-debts-20170311-guvxyp.html
https://www.liberationnews.org/china-sounds-the-alarm-trump-prepares-for-war-against-korea/
http://journal-neo.org/2017/03/13/north-korea-the-grand-deception-revealed/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4416406/Demand-home-bunkers-soars.html
http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/03/confirms-idlib-air-raid-denies-targeting-mosque-170317034322651.html
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/17/syria-mosque-airstrike-kills-dozens-of-civilians-near-aleppo Nothing to see here, because Russia and Syria were not involved.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/15/libya-national-army-oil-ports-sidra-ras-lanuf-russia-us Why Libyans yearn for a return of Gaddafi’s Jamahiriya, the West tries to keep the Islamists afloat. The warning about increased Russian influence shall prepare the public for another military intervention on behalf of the Islamic miscreants.
http://www.alternet.org/world/us-nato-invasion-libya-destroyed-country-beyond-all-recognition
Even US-media cannot hide anymore the devastation and pain which the US-NATO regime change in Libya has caused. Yet, mentioning Gaddafi still has to be avoided and any reference to the situation in Libya before his murder is forbidden.
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-39567632 This writes the BBC: “Libya has been in chaos since the 2011 Nato-backed ousting of Muammar Gaddafi.” The editor must have been asleep on the job to let this slip through.
http://news.trust.org/item/20170313181039-3p7o4/ Our (the West’s) Saudi friends cannot subdue the Yemenis despite having the third largest military budget in the world. So they just starve them to death.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/us-nato-is-using-saudi-arabia-the-west-is-the-true-perpetrator-of-genocide-in-yemen-genocide/5581737
http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/03/21/reality-and-made-usa-famine-yemen Even the (so called) US progressives (liberals, left), who abandoned their most lofty ideals in support of Obama and Clinton, realize that something is not right with the US/Saudi war against Yemen. Not so fast, shout the apologists. The USA only supplies the weapons and bombs occasionally, and the war is not against Yemen but against Iranian influence in Yemen. Help me! And tell that the seven millions wo are starving, the 400,000 malnourished children, the ten thousand who have been killed until now.
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/03/30/aiding-saudi-arabias-slaughter-in-yemen/
http://www.workers.org/2017/04/05/u-s-military-to-increase-aggression-in-yemen/
https://mideastshuffle.com/2017/03/22/danger-of-a-waterways-war-with-iran/
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/white-house/article141336388.html After Brasil and Argentina, Venezuela is next on the US regime change list in its South American backyard.
http://www.telesurtv.net/english/news/Ecuador-Farmers-Sue-US-Defense-Contractor-over-Toxic-Fumigation-20170403-0019.html
https://www.infowars.com/rebels-admit-responsibility-for-chemical-weapons-attack/ More infos about the Syrian gas attack.
https://www.rt.com/news/335069-kurds-turkey-syria-rebels-sarin/
https://consortiumnews.com/2017/04/08/where-was-cias-pompeo-on-syria/
http://necpluribusimpar.net/chemical-attack-syria/ Very detailed and in-depth analysis. Must read!
http://logophere.com/Topics2017/17-04/17_015-BLA-ShajulIslam.htm
http://theindicter.com/analysis-of-evidence-contradicts-allegations-on-syrian-gas-attacks/
http://blogs.rediff.com/mkbhadrakumar/2017/04/10/turkeys-role-in-idlib-chemical-attack-needs-to-be-probed/
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/syria-chemical-attack-al-qaeda-played-donald-trump_us_58ea226fe4b058f0a02fca4d This is from former weapons inspector Scott Ritter.
http://downwithtyranny.blogspot.co.at/2017/04/new-evidence-that-syrian-gas-story-was.htmlUncategorized news:
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/egypt-2016-who-is-worse-mubarak-morsi-or-sisi/ Egypt is one of the nations with too many people and too little arable land left. There are not enough mineral resources to trade for food, large portions of the population will fall into poverty, many will starve.
The Sisi regime at the moment is succeeding in fueling the fear of a fate like Syria, Iraq, Libya, or Yemen, and this fear is greater than any will to change. On the name of the war on terrorism, the regime justifies any unpopular measures, while the Islamists wait for their chance. They will have no peaceful solution for Egypts problems, because there are no solutions. They will call for jihad and the young men will go to war in foreign lands, because that is the only way they can make a living. More refugees, more terror, more failed states.

News from cat paradise

This morning I noticed, that peach leaf curl has resurged. I probably sprayed the fungicide two weeks too early. Two weeks before it would have been most effective. Maybe the pouring rain has washed it away. The peach trees bloomed beautifully, but freezing temperatures in the last two days may have ruined the blossoms anyway — there will not be many self grown peaches this year.

After the shocking discovery I visited three hardware stores and gardening centers in nearby towns to look for the peach trees on offer there and every tree I found was infected with peach leaf curl, most of them looked even worse than the trees in my garden. I felt somewhat relieved because if that happens to professionals, my failing may be not as unforgivable.

I know, another year lost…

The cats are in good spirit and good health. It is cold and it rains at the moment, giving me the chance to photograph the complete cat family in the sitting room.
Two more pictures of Linda
And one of Miss Marple, who is now 19 years old
Happy birthday, my lovely old lady! Have a good time and enjoy your life.