17.01.2017

Trump, the Deep State, and Russia

No, it is not at all astonishing, that US President elect Donald Trump is viciously attacked, slandered, and blackmailed by the CIA, culminating in a frontal assault just a few days before his inauguration. This is the time, when he has not yet the ability to defend himself by dismissing James Clapper, John Brennan, and other high ranking officials of CIA, NSA, FBI. This is the last chance for the CIA to damage Trump so severely that he needs to cow and toe their line, unable to retaliate even after the inauguration.

It could of course also be that this is just a warning shot and preparations are underway to neutralize Donald Trump just as John F. Kennedy was neutralized by Allen Dulles (an assumption many historians now consider to be correct).

Billionaire Trump would normally be a perfectly suitable candidate to lead the “greatest nation,” also called “leader of the free world,” “beacon of democracy,” or “shining light.” He and his cabinet of fellow billionaires should make sure, that the needs of the superrich are met, corporations will have free hand to increase their profits in whatever way they see fit, and resource exploitation can continue no matter how dire the ecological consequences may be.

There is only one hitch (two actually): Trump has a different idea how to deal with Russia. He wants to mend political and economic ties, increase investment, conquer the country slowly by corrupting its elite intelligentsia and entangling it in the web of global finance.

The second hitch: Trump has castigated NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) as obsolete and characterized its members as ungrateful allies who benefit from US largesse. He said that the USA can no longer afford to protect countries in Europe and Asia without adequate compensation, suggesting he would eventually withdraw US forces.

This would be very bad for US weapons producers.

Donald Trump intends to charm Vladimir Putin like Ronald Reagan charmed Boris Yeltsin. The soft method worked well for Reagan, plunging Russia into its deepest crisis since the invasion by Nazi-Germany in World War II, allowing a new emerging class of criminal looters, called oligarchs, to seize public assets, and lowering life expectancy of Russians by 10 years.

But Boris Yeltsin was a spineless party apparatchik, an opportunist, a drunkard, and he was not very bright, to say it mildly. Reagan was not bright either, but he was likable, a good performer, a perfect figurehead, willing to do everything what his advisers, representing the “deep state” or “permanent government,” told him to do.
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Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is not Yeltsin, he is in a completely different category. Only 170 cm tall, with unassuming and quiet demeanor, he was not taken seriously for some time and when Western leaders finally realized, that he systematically stabilized Russia, reigning in the oligarchs and blocking Western interference, it was too late. Putin had solidified his position, Russia left the nightmare of the Yeltsin years behind and ascended again.

The Washington political elite, the “deep state,” “permanent government,” MIC (military industrial complex) or however one likes to call it, fears that Putin will outsmart Trump. They realize that the exploitative and wasteful economies and societies of the West have reached their limits, that vital resources like drinking water will become scarce, that inequality is increasing and with it social unrest and political instability.

They know that time is running out and that the US imperium is in danger to break apart under the heavy load of it’s internal contradictions. This may not occur immediately or even in the next years, but one day it will be.

Russia has everything what is needed to keep consumerism and extreme wealth accumulation in the Western world going on for a little while longer. Russia has the largest territory of all nations (17.1 million square kilometers) with only 143 million inhabitants. The territory includes prime forests and an abundance of untapped natural resources. Global warming will devastate many countries and make some areas near the equator uninhabitable (Arab Peninsular), but it will leave Russia nearly unscathed and even ease living conditions in Siberia and other northern areas.

The CIA and fellow “deep state” agencies also know that Russian deep rooted culture, national pride based on a rich history, and an intact social contract will make it nearly impossible to install a “comprador class” and a puppet regime.
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As the soft method will not work, Russia has to be conquered by military means. The military buildup by NATO along Russian boarders is going on since month. Right now 4,000 US soldiers with 2,800 tanks and other armored vehicles have arrived in Bremerhaven to be deployed in Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, and the Baltic states. A 800 million US$ missile system in Romania has been installed, another one is planned for Poland in 2018. Overall the USA has 70,000 troops in Europe.

A pretext to start a low level war will be easily found. The conflict in Ukraine’s Donbass region ist still simmering, with heavy shelling and casualties reported by both sides. If that is not enough, airplanes can be shot down again, front lines can unexpectedly go hot with exchange of artillery fire, terror bombings can be attributed to Russian agents.
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The assault Donald Trump is now facing shows not only the power of the “deep state” but gives also an idea how a case against Russia could be constructed.

On Dezember 29 the US administration expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the embassy in Washington and the consulate in San Francisco, it also closed two compounds in New York and Maryland. A “fact sheet” claimed: “Russia’s cyber activities were intended to influence the election, erode faith in US democratic institutions, sow doubt about the integrity of our electoral process, and undermine confidence in the institutions of the US government.”

That same day the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security published a 13-page “Joint Activity Report” on what it called “Grizzly Steppe,” or malicious cyber activity by Russia “to compromise and exploit networks and endpoints associated with the US elections.”

On January 7 Director of National Intelligence James Clapper released an “Intelligence Community Assessment,” which states that “Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered an influence campaign in 2016 aimed at the US presidential election. Russia’s goals were to undermine public faith in the US democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and harm her electability and potential presidency. We further assess Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

These reports were based on assessments and judgements without factual prove, acknowledged even in the reports themselves: “Judgments are not intended to imply that we have proof to show that something to be a fact.” “High confidence in a judgment does not imply that the assessment is a fact or certainty.” “Such judgments might be wrong.”

The reports also conflated alleged cyberattacks with the activities of Russian “state-controlled” media outlets which were critical of US democratic processes and the candidate Hillary Clinton. Criticism of the US political system and of certain candidates is seemingly not considered to be a First Amendment right (free speech) but is regarded as an undue interference and a malicious activity.

One has to ask if only Russian entities, or all media outlets, web journals, blogs, (including the one which you are just reading) have to refrain from criticism.

The reports about Russian hacking could not be based on facts, because the FBI had no direct access to the servers involved and was compelled to carry out its investigation based upon the technical report of Crowdstrike, a private cyber security company payed by the Democratic Party.

Crowdstrike attributes its claims that Russian intelligence was behind the cyber intrusion to a report by the German domestic intelligence service (BfV) about a cyber attack on the German Parliament in 2015. “Many of these attack campaigns,” the German report, published in January 2016, noted, “have technical similarities, such as malicious software families, and infrastructure — these are important indicators of the same authorship. It is assumed that both the Russian domestic intelligence service FSB and the military foreign intelligence service GRU run cyber operations.”

These are still not proven facts, but assumptions, one could call it “educated guesses.”

Russia for sure has capable mathematicians, programmers, and hackers and it is not unlikely, even plausible, that they tried to get access to US-networks just like US cyber warriors try all the time to get access to Russian networks.

Yet, even if Russians were behind the leaked Podesta emails, wouldn’t it be a beneficial and most welcome service to make the electorate aware of a candidates weaknesses? The email leak was not smear and slender, it was not denigration, it just made transparent the thinking and the true intentions of the candidate.
Why should this be wrong?
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The CIA, with unprecedented clarity, throughout the election campaign overtly threw its weight behind Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and sought to defeat Donald Trump.

For former CIA and NSA Director Gen. Michael Hayden, Trump was “the useful fool, manipulated by Moscow, secretly held in contempt, but whose blind support is happily accepted and exploited.”

Former CIA Director Michael J. Morell in August informed the readers of the New York Times in an opinion piece, that Trump was “not only unqualified for the job, but he may well pose a threat to our national security.” Russia’s Putin “had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

It is not hard to understand why the CIA preferred Clinton over Trump. Clinton was critical of Obama for restraining the CIA’s proxy war in Syria and was eager to expand that war, while Trump denounced it. In general, Clinton defended and intended to extend the decades long international military order on which the CIA and Pentagon’s preeminence depends, while Trump posed a threat to it.

On January 10, the CIA unleashed its until now tawdriest and most aggressive assault via news channel CNN, who reported about a 35-page dossier alleging that Russia has compromising information on Trump, including corruption and despicable personal conduct (sexual perversion). A few hours later the full dossier was published by BuzzFeed.

It has become known since then that the paper was compiled by Christopher Steele, an ex-MI6 agent and founder of Orbis Business Intelligence. It was available both to spy agencies and the press because its author had been shopping it around broadly for publication. Initially almost without exception, the press considered it unreliable and wouldn’t touch it. Hardliner and war-hawk Senator John McCain delivered the report to the FBI, but the FBI didn’t follow it up.

Ted Malloch, a Trump insider, says that Steele’s report had been commissioned by the Jeb Bush campaign and that Democrats took over the contract after Bush dropped out. This has been since backed up by some evidence.
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The document accuses Trump of treason, corruption, and salacious private conduct, yet cites no evidence of any kind but instead relies on stories by a string of anonymous Russian officials.

According to the dossier Vladimir Putin has an eight year plan to run Donald Trump as a “Manchurian candidate” and Trump is an active and knowing partner in Putin’s scheme. The dossier also alleges that Trump’s lawyer and adviser Michael Cohen held meetings in Prague with Russian hackers to arrange payment, along with senior officials of the Russian security services (the FBI has found no evidence that Cohen traveled to the Czech Republic).

James Clapper issued a statement in the aftermath of a conversation with Trump on the Steele dossier, suggesting that the agencies had “not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable.” 

Senior Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer issued a warning to Trump, telling TV host Rachel Maddow that Trump was being “really dumb” by challenging the intelligence community because of “all the ways they possess to destroy those who dare to stand up to them.”

Maybe he is right — we will find out soon.

One possible outcome will be a bruised and battered President Trump, who tries to avoid the slightest impression that he pursues a detente with Russia, quietly waiting for his chance of revenge, while the spy agencies are paralyzed by the turf war and experienced personal are scrambling for the exit.

Not a bad outcome from the point of anti-imperialism.

But this is US-America, a violent society where the gun rules, and no one should be surprised, if a lone gunman miraculously bridges all security barriers and assassinates President Trump, to be killed instantly after having done his job.

08.01.2017

Links January 2017

Feline news:
http://edition.cnn.com/2016/12/28/architecture/asia-cat-friendly-flats/
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-38415906
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/dec/26/hopes-for-saving-scottish-wildcat-rest-on-captive-breeding-plan A captive breeding plan will not succeed if their habitat is not restored. Habitat restoration though would mean, that humans have to keep away from large areas, which will not happen.

Environmental news:
http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/2017/0103/Stifling-smog-shows-China-s-struggle-to-balance-economic-needs-with-public-health
https://news.mongabay.com/2017/01/the-end-of-a-people-amazon-dam-destroys-sacred-munduruku-heaven/
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/jan/02/china-smog-millions-start-new-year-shrouded-by-health-alerts-and-travel-chaos
http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2017/01/02/1-will-industry-plan-further-harm-bats.html
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/energy-environment/wp/2016/12/29/the-u-s-isnt-the-only-big-country-at-risk-of-backsliding-on-climate-change
https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/12/22/whats-happening-to-the-bees-and-butterflies/
http://www.newstatesman.com/culture/nature/2016/12/anthrax-arctic-why-wolves-are-least-reindeer-s-worries-christmas
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/21/smog-refugees-flee-chinese-cities-as-airpocalypse-blights-half-a-billion
https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2016/dec/15/breathe-less-ban-cars-cities-make-radically-different-responses-to-pollution
http://www.anthropocenemagazine.org/2016/12/when-nature-gets-sick-so-do-we/
http://www.pri.org/stories/2016-12-13/climate-change-meet-your-apocalyptic-twin-oceans-poisoned-plastic No need to complain about plastic trash pollution —  it’s of our own making. Estrogen imitating chemicals like BPA most likely reduces human fertility. Less humans = less pollution. Will nature protect and heal itself by reducing human population to a sustainable level?
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/dec/12/china-riot-police-seal-off-city-centre-after-smog-protesters-put-masks-on-statues
https://ensia.com/features/open-source-seeds/
https://medium.com/in-praise-of-scaling-down This is actually not a news report but a collection of important articles about methods to avoid natures collapse.
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-farming-pulses-food-climatechange-idUSKBN13U2IH
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-environment-giraffes-idUSKBN13X009Giraffes “silent extinction.”
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2016/dec/07/the-holocene-hangover-it-is-time-for-humanity-to-make-fundamental-changes
children scavenging
Economic news:
http://www.asianage.com/opinion/oped/020117/beware-of-digital-dictatorship.html
http://norberthaering.de/en/home/27-german/news/745-washington-s-role-in-india#weiterlesen
http://www.countercurrents.org/2016/12/27/9341/
http://theantimedia.org/cash-no-longer-king/
http://wolfstreet.com/2017/01/04/power-profit-fuel-war-on-cash-in-europe/
http://wolfstreet.com/2016/12/27/cost-of-monte-dei-paschi-bailout-balloons-italian-banking-crisis/
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/13/entrenching-capitalist-agriculture-in-india-under-the-guise-of-development/
http://theantimedia.org/cash-no-longer-king/ I don’t agree with the presented ideas in the article. Building and expanding the own local / personal networks to organize the necessary supplies and reduce dependency on big centrally organized and controlled supply chains is the only way to escape the high finance mafia.
http://www.globalresearch.ca/indias-war-on-cash-the-demonetization-blitzkrieg-the-ice-nine-solution/5561601
https://www.oxfam.org/en/pressroom/pressreleases/2016-12-12/worlds-worst-corporate-tax-havens-exposed-oxfam-report-reveals

Imperial news:
Some basic facts first: US population is 4.38 percent of the total world population but nevertheless creates half of the globe’s solid waste. US congress just authorized the Department of Defense to spend 618 billion dollars in 2017, with more to come in future authorizations for next year.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-cabinet-so-white_us_585176a8e4b0ee009eb4c799
http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/12/08/88929/
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176219/tomgram%3A_nomi_prins%2C_the_march_of_the_billionaires/http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/12/us-life-expectancy-declines-in-2015-unintentional-injuries-rise.html

Imperial conquest news:
https://www.propublica.org/article/children-of-agent-orange-editors-note This is about the veterans, who’s children had a third higher chance of birth defects if they were in contact with Agent Orange. But what about the Vietnamese, who were doused with that stuff?
http://www.alternet.org/grayzone-project/british-government-funded-outlet-offered-us-journalist-17000-month-produce
propaganda-brainwashing
Media news:
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2017/01/corporate-censorship-independent-sites-begun.html
http://truepublica.org.uk/global/obama-quietly-signs-propaganda-act-counter-fake-news-eu-follow-suit/
https://raniakhalek.com/2016/12/21/western-media-romanticized-the-afghan-rebels-too-even-as-they-threw-acid-in-womens-faces/
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2016/834-bbc-propaganda-watch-tell-tale-signs-that-slip-through-the-cracks.html
https://freedom.press/news/how-obama-administration-laid-groundwork-trumps-coming-crackdown-press/
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2016/833-fake-news-about-fake-news-the-media-performance-pyramid.html

Uncategorized news:
http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/africa-drought-starvation-crisis-international-aid-zimbabwe-malawi-madagascar-horn-of-africa-a7493221.html
http://www.survivalinternational.org/news/11549
http://voxeu.org/article/origins-happiness
lucia-snow-entrance-door-dscn4971
News from cat land

Just as everybody was wondering if there ever will be a winter like the one depicted in old paintings, showing snow covered roads and roofs, icicles, and snowmen, it started snowing and it continued snowing. It is still snowing and both garden and forest are blanketed with a layer of snow which is at least 30 centimeters thick.

Two times a day I need to remove the snow from the canopy which I have attached to the old tool shed and also from the roof panels of the green houses because the heavy load of snow could break them. I also have to shovel away the snow from the AC power outlets in the garden. They are waterproof with a cover but that doesn’t help when the snow reaches them.

Though I could hardly open the garden door and the snow was so high that it even seeped into my boots I made a short walk into the forest with Linda and Lucia, plowing a furrow in the snow with the boots in which they could move forward like in a defile and follow me. They were excited first but soon got tired. After ten minutes we had to turn and go back to the house.
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When we reached the entrance door again I discovered that the cat flap was broken. In the night it had probably been blocked by ice and when one of my little friends wanted to go out and pushed it open it broke. This cat flap has lasted for ten years and considering the fact that it is used a hundred times a day this is a good record.

Fortunately I have long time ago bought a second cat flap of the same kind and only had to fetch it from the cellar, unscrew and remove the broken one, and screw on the new one. The newly mounted flap unfortunately rubbed at the right sidewall of the door opening, so I had to rasp away a little bit on the side to make it open smoothly, but that didn’t take more than two minutes.

All the needed tools were at hand, I didn’t have to search or ponder how to proceed, the whole operation didn’t last more than 20 minutes. This is the advantage of an organized household.
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News about travel chaos in Europe and multiple death are just in. I wonder how homeless people are faring? As flat roof snow usually is about 70 percent of ground snow it seems to be good advice to avoid supermarkets and shopping malls (this is good advice at any time, according to the anti-consumerism guerrilla).

Increased heating, traffic accidents, collapsed flat roof buildings, and well booked Alpine ski resorts will boost GDP numbers, so win-win, the economy is fine.

Many pests, especially slugs, lice, ticks, will be decimated by the cold weather, which is good. I fear for the hedgehogs, frogs, and toads, who are now buried in their hideouts under a thick layer of snow.

Global warming is no worry at the moment, lets celebrate the cold days!
linda-rolling-snow-dscn1260

04.01.2017

New Years notions and rants

About refugees, migrants, intruders, conquerors

1. Throughout history humans have migrated from high population areas to less populated regions. This is similar to the flow of energy, which according to the second law of thermodynamics always goes from high to low level zones till an equilibrium is reached.

Throughout history patriarchal societies, which mostly also were warrior societies, have aggressively, irresponsibly exhausted natures resources and were forced, after ruining their own lands, to conquer new territory, often destroying peaceful, harmonious societies which were not used to wage war and therefore were an easy pray.

This is the reason todays dominating social and economic system is capitalism, based on competition, social Darwinism (survival of the fittest) wealth accumulation, and expansion.

2. The wealth of Western countries comes from the exploitation of colonies. The colonies gained independence but the exploitation continues via trade agreements (WTO, NAFTA, TTP, TTIP, CETA, TISA) the Brenton Woods system (IMF, World Bank), the global financial system (Wall Street, London city) and a corrupt “comprador class,” installed by Western spurred coups, uprisings (color revolutions), or by the cooption of in Europe or USA educated (and indoctrinated) national leaders.

Western affluence and lavishness is the envy of the world’s have-nots who try to catch a bigger part of the cake in one way or the other. The countries of the “Third World” insist that the “developed nations” have the moral obligation to help them and share the resources of this planet.

3. Human overpopulation destroys nature. Societies with high fertility rates (especially Muslim and tribal societies) exhaust the natural resources and destroy their land by over-grazing, poaching, clear cutting forests for charcoal, soil erosion, sinking water tables. Resulting deforestation, desertification, water shortages destroy the agricultural base, leading to widespread famine and driving people to less densely populated regions, where they will add to the pressure on nature alone by their shier numbers.
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The choice is: Let migrants freely move to countries where nature’s carrying capacity is not yet reached and take the risk that nature will be destroyed there as well? Or close the borders and let people in troubled countries slowly starve to death?

3. Climate change will exacerbate the problem, because large areas of the globe will become uninhabitable (Arab Peninsula with Yemen and the Gulf monarchies, Gaza Stripe, the expanding deserts in Iran, Iraq, Syria, the Sahel zone with Mauritania, Mali, Niger, Chad, Sudan, Eritrea). Rising sea levels will force coastal populations to move inlands (Bangladesh),  island nations will have to be evacuated.

Where shall all these people go?

4. Many of the migrants are traumatized by grinding poverty and war. They would need psychological counseling and treatment of their psychoses and traumas, but there are not thousands of psychologists available. Some of the migrants are psychopaths or criminals, full of resentment and hate against Westerners, whom they (rightly) blame for their misery. Many Muslim migrant are on Hijrah, which is jihad by migration. They don’t intend to integrate and assimilate, they want to carve out enclaves and expand them gradually, like it is already happening in France, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Britain.

The majority of migrants are male, leading to gender imbalances and social tensions, because uneducated and penniless male migrants, having no chance to find a mate, will manifest their sexual frustration in violent and criminal behavior.

These people cannot be employed, they are unfit for any job because of the language barrier and lack of education. They also cannot be sent back, their home countries will not take them (migrants routinely destroy their personal papers). Paying a monthly allowance to appease them will not go well with the local natives in a time of austerity und social welfare cuts.
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Put them into concentration camps? The Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos has been burned down already once, while migrants also looted shops and vandalized restaurants. In Crete Muslim migrants tried to set a church on fire.

More than one million migrants made it to Europe in 2016, while 5,000 are believed to have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. But this is only the start of the flood, as wars continue and ecological disasters intensify. In future it will be tens of millions a year, while tens of thousands will drown.

Ignorance rules the world

It is astonishing, nearly unbelievable, how highly educated and experienced people, meaning the technocrats and political leaders who are in charge of the worlds economies and the global financial system, cannot grasp the simple idea that unlimited growth of industrial activity is not possible on a planet with limited land and limited resources.

One would think, that the notion of limited land and resources is easy to understand with just a minimum of common sense, because on a globe even the most powerful and aggressive nation cannot expand endlessly and after circling the globe one day will inevitably end at the borders on the back side of its own empire.

The conquests and exploitations could only go on endlessly without ever reaching a natural limit if the earth would have a plain surface and extend endlessly in all directions — this is obviously the concept which todays leaders, technocrats, and economists are embracing.
world-is-flat
In early Egyptian and Mesopotamian thought the world was portrayed as a flat disk floating in the ocean. This belief was also shared by pre-Socratic philosophers (Thales, Leucippus, Democritus) and by ancient Chinese and Indian astronomers and philosophers. Perceiving the world as a disk though also implies that there are limits.

Even the International Flat Earth Society, founded in 1956 by Samuel Shenton, doesn’t claim that their flat earth has no boundaries.

Thomas L. Friedman wrote a bestselling book: The World Is Flat, but he meant it a little bit different. According to him, globalization and free trade have created a level playing field, where all competitors have an equal opportunity. Friedman praises the complex global supply chains which he regards (maybe even rightfully) as a way of conflict prevention. He ignores the environmental costs of transport and packaging and the fact, that powerful multinational corporations try to destroy local producers with predatory pricing in order to conquer a market.

He ignores the fact, that local leaders are bribed to help the neocolonial powers with the exploitation of resources and the use of cheap labor in new built industries. This is the true purpose of free trade. Not creating equal opportunities but facilitating the exploitation of resources and people.
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While the real economy is slowly grinding to a halt, the stock and bond markets are still growing nicely. Fortunes are made and wealth accumulation continues unabated, fueled by negative interest rates of the central banks to privileged clients (big banks) and by debt. US debt is 18 trillion US$ (or is it already 19 trillion?).

The 8 billion Euro which will be needed to save the troubled Italian Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena are peanuts compared to that, but the money will nevertheless have to be squeezed from the taxpayers via increased austerity and additional welfare cuts.

Austerity is not a bad idea, because it means less industrial activity, and less industrial activity means less environmental devastation. Yet, the austerity measures are one sided, targeting (and hurting) only common people, while the big corporations and the billionaires are spared and even get tax exemptions and state subsidies in order to “stimulate growth.”

The industrial revolution, which brought coal mining and the steam engine, devastated large areas in Britain and later around the world, but it was nothing to what is happening now. In the 1950s industrial production started to increase exponentially and has now reached a level which the ecosphere simply cannot absorb. Some scientists call this “the great acceleration.”

Over 300 million tons of plastic are produced every year, and two-thirds are for packaging, which means that most will end up in landfills or in the oceans.
smoke-stacks-orange
Mercury emissions are estimated to be 8,000 tons a year, cadmium, lead, arsenic, are maybe even higher. Nobody knows how much it really is, but the amounts are unimaginable in any case. These substances, together with POPs (persistent organic pollutants like DDT), endocrine disruptors (phthalates, bisphenol-A), asbestos, dioxins / furans, and countless other synthesized or by human activity disbursed toxins are contaminating soil, water, food, and the contamination is steadily increasing.

Some readers may object, that air pollution has eased and waterways were cleaned up in the last years. That has happened indeed in rich countries because industrial production has been outsourced to China, India, Mexico, and other Asian and Latin American countries.

Some readers may object, that technological progress will solve pollution problems and renewable energies like wind and solar will us help to turn away from fossil fuels.

Until now the world-saving technological breakthroughs have not happened and because of dwindling and harder to access mineral deposits the real costs of resource extraction eat up more and more of the world’s total economic output. All the alternative energy installations, especially of bio-fuels and photovoltaic solar systems, are only possible because of still comparatively cheap fossil fuels. The energy return of such power generating systems is not much better than that of traditional systems and meager compared to any form of conservation.
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click on the picture to see it in high resolution

So, while negative interest rates, debt, and state subsidies at the cost of common people will keep the financial markets from reflecting the actual, increasingly dismal state of the economy, the hard fact that curbing human activity to a sustainable level and leaving carbon and other resources in the ground means giving up our habitual lifestyle (which depends on digging it up and burning or disseminating it) is not something that more than a few people (the tree-huggers) are willing to face.

The increasingly complex and opaque financial sector allows to siphon off profits, rent income, interest, dividends, and stash away gigantic sums of money in tax havens. This money can be used to destabilize countries through currency speculation (George Soros), to blackmail, sanction, topple uncooperative governments (Argentina, Venezuela, Brazil), to take over companies in surprising attacks (hostile takeovers).
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The superrich, the billionaires who control this money control the world. No conspiracy theories about “New World Order,” about Freemasons, Illuminati, Rothschild, Bilderberg (though they may be involved) are needed. The illustrious circle of billionaires is the world government, and the billionaires club who will govern the USA after Trump’s inauguration is only a sign that ruling via straw-men is deemed as too hazardous in these times and the superrich have decided to lead the government directly.

While the rising spiral of crises facing industrial civilization can still be managed with an array of clever accounting tricks, the unworried pursue of growth will one day inevitably end in a sudden total economic or ecological collapse.

Nobody can say when this will occur, but he election of Donald Trump as US President could hasten the collapse which would be positive because the sooner the party ends the lesser the hangover will be.

About humanities war on nature

Nearly every day I make a walk with my feline friends in the forest which starts across the garden fence. The forest is not much used, every now and then the owner, who is a nice man whom I know well, cuts a few trees to be sold to a sawmill, but this is for sure less than what is growing new.

The forest is also not frequented by neighbors or tourists. The people in the village, as it seems, preferably spend their time in front of the TV, and the region is not a tourist hotspot.

So the forest is left alone, and over the years it has become a miraculous, secret wonderland with areas which nobody enters except me, my feline friends, deer, hares, and other animals of the forest. I have found plants there which I have not seen in any other place. Fortunately there are also no hunters in this forest, because it lies just in between the territories of two hunting groups who prefer not to interfere with each other.

The forest is protecting its secret places with a wall of thorny shrubs, mainly wild blackberries, hawthorn, and buckthorn. Not even the forest owner and occasionally hired lumberjacks try to penetrate this barrier, and yet, the cats and I have found a few narrow gaps in the fortifications where one can slip through. This is risky and one has to be careful not to get entangled and trapped in the maze of thorny branches —  I always have a small branch cutter in my pocket just in case.
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Under the thick canopy of young pine trees one can find shallow pits where the deer huddle together in winter. Once I found a well preserved skeleton of a deer and since then I know that this is the place, where old and sick deer in an icy cold winter night end their life. If they would have a proper shelter they could survive and enjoy another spring and summer, but the luxury of shelter is reserved for humans, our favorite pets, and some domesticated animals.

The forest, which I love so dearly, is despite its isolation and purity a documentation of the worrisome changes in nature. Strange invasive varieties of grass and shrubs have in most clearings overgrown and partly suffocated the original vegetation. Wildlife is diminishing year by year, bats and owls are nearly extinct, while lizards, frogs, toads, and hedgehogs have become rare (bats have suffered an estimated mortality rate of as high as 99 percent, driven by a fungal disease called white-nose syndrome).

My private observations are confirmed by international research projects and reports according to which half of global wildlife has been lost in the last 40 years. There are no refuges left for wild animals, no places where they can live undissturbed, humans have occupied every little spot of the land.

City dwellers are not aware of these changes, because in urban areas nature has been mostly eliminated. The few scattered trees and alleys, the manicured parks and lawns don’t count as nature, they are not constituting a self-sustaining ecosystem, they are not a suitable habitat for animal communities.
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Since thousands of years human have claimed more and more land on this planet, have paved roads and lots with asphalt and concrete, clearcut forests, devastated wide areas with mining and fossil fuel extraction. The remnants of nature have become landfills and waste deposits, the lakes and rivers have become sewers. The rivers are not blue anymore, they are grey or brown, with foam floating on the surface. Who in her / his right mind would take a bath in this water or jump in and swim to the opposite river bank?

Yet, this will not go on forever, because nature will defend itself and show humans, that they are not the “masters of creation,” and that they have to integrate themselves harmoniously into nature if they want to survive. It will be an arduous and painful learning process which will end either in a more humble and restrained human society or, if we are not able to adapt and change ways, in our destruction.
  
The fascinating world of weapons and explosives

Traditionally I’m spending Dezember 31 with the cat family because on this day they need me more than on any other day. At New Year’s Eve I always have to comfort them and calm them down, as they are terrified by the bangs, blasts, bursts, and thuds of the fireworks.

It was the same this year and the cats all gathered in my bedroom, hiding either under the bed or under the blanket. I was sitting beside them, stroking them and telling them that the stupid people who explode the fireworks are far away and will never come into the house because I have locked the door. I told them that I will defend them with the biggest kitchen knife I can find in case an intruder should try to break in and that I will call 911 and the police will be there in no time to arrest the thugs who try to harm us.

Police patrols are indeed driving around on New Year’s Eve because fireworks are forbidden in residential areas and authorities are cracking down on offenders. Hardline fireworks-terrorists are forced to do their noisy business at the outskirts of the village — that’s where I live.

Why do people spend their money on rockets, firecrackers, and other pyrotechnic devices? It is such a waste of resources. If people like the sound of explosions, if they like to blow things up, they should enlist in the army or go to Syria instead of bothering innocent little cats.
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Through six years of merciless war waged by criminals and religious psychopaths Syrians have get accustomed to the sound of gunfire and explosions. The extensive fireworks and celebratory gunfire in Latakia, Damascus, Aleppo seem to proof that they even love the noise of war and the bright flashes when things blow up, and that they don’t mind the waste of precious resources.

One effect of the war nobody seems to worry about is, that most Syrians in military age will suffer from hearing loss or even complete deafness. People will have to shout with each other, the deaf and hearing impaired will be socially isolated, prone to accidents, limited on the workplace. Educating and training them will be difficult.

This is a large-scale social experiment with a very uncertain outcome.

Russia, Turkey, Iran brokered a ceasefire and things have quiet down for a few days. Fighting goes on, though on a lower level. Islamic terrorists, unhappy with such a development, which would drive them out of business, contaminated water wells for Damascus with diesel. Four million inhabitants of Damascus face severe water shortages. 

This is a war crime and as it happens with all the other warcrimes committed by the so called “moderate rebels,” Western media tries to deflect the blame from the Islamists and reports that the Syrian regime barrel-bombed the wells which the heroic rebels tried to defend from harm.
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I cannot wish them to “burn in hell,” because I’m not religious, but I would celebrate if Reuters, the Guardian, the New York Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, Spiegel, and all the other outlets of the “Ministry of Truth” would go bankrupt. And if the columnists, editors, opinion writers would get sick from their own poison and die from cancer I would not mind, I would not pity them.
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I know of course that resentment and loathing only will hurt myself and that I should calm down and shower everyone with universal love, including even the most evil and disgusting New York Times media worker. I will try to improve, try to ignore them, still hoping that the New York Times stuff will be downsized to zero as advertising revenue plummets.
When the big crash happens they will be gone anyway.

I don’t want to end with a negative note and so let me express my gratitude to the subscribers and reader of this blog. The blog was never meant to be more than a pasteboard of my ideas, a message board for my friends, a little road sign for the curious and the accidental passer-by who was seeking advice and direction.

Blogs come and go, and many which I thought made essential contributions have sadly disappeared. I’m still surprised about the more than 130 subscriber of my blog and the between 60 and 100 views per day. Thank you to everyone again who takes the time and pays attention.

In 2017 I intend to write more about nature, the forest, the garden, the cat family, and all my other animal friends. This is more enjoyable and encouraging than writing about political, social, environmental, economic issues. I hope my readers will enjoy it too.