20.10.2018

A new message of what?

Environmental catastrophes have become more frequent and severe. Storms, floods, droughts, wildfires, extreme weather events like hail or dust storms, algae blooms, and mass extinctions are a prominent and expanding part of news reporting.

Human wellbeing is threatened by silent pandemics like diabetes, chronic allergies, skin cancer, diseases of lung, heart, kidney, and liver. There are lingering threats of heavy metal poisoning, neurodevelopmental disorders, swine flu, bird flu, SARS, MERS, drug-resistant bacterias (MRSA), Marburg, and Ebola. An airborne strain of Ebola would be hard to contain.

Unsustainable exploitation (overexploitation) of mineral deposits and of nature (forests, soil, fishing, hunting), together with steadily increasing emissions of pollutants cause the collapse of ecosystems and threaten the most basic resources fresh air, clean water, and healthy food. All other resources, needed to maintain our modern lifestyle, are also getting scarce and expensive.

People unsurprisingly are disturbed, confused, and don’t feel well. Public health is declining because of polluted air and water, unnatural and contaminated processed food (fast food), and a sedentary lifestyle. Mental health is declining because of sensory overload (over-stimulation) by electronic media, increasing noise and electric light, sleep deprivation, unraveling of social (family) support structures, individualism, and loneliness. Job insecurity, workplace pressure, and long commutes take their toll too.
People are brainwashed via advertising, which promises instant gratification by more and more consumption, they are lured into debt slavery by loans for unnecessary goods and tourist travels. They experience increasing exploitation and inequality, they feel the distain and neglect by the wealthy elites, they see the vanity and opulence of these elites, complemented by ubiquitous dishonesty, hypocrisy, corruption, and nepotism of political leaders.

Deliberately misinformed and miseducated, unsettled and frightened by declining living standards, declining health, and rapid social, cultural, economic, and ecological changes, they are a defenseless prey for the populist pied pipers. Confused and clueless, they grasp for easily understandable answers, and the pied pipers deliver.

The populist con men (and rare con women), competing with each others for attention, get more shrill, more extreme, more reckless. Their recipes to solve all ills are simple and brutal: Find scapegoats, exterminate them, solve conflicts by force, with weapons, with wars.

As disillusionment, distress, desperation, and aggression increase, the population falls for the daredevil pied pipers and embraces their programs. This is the unraveling of society, the end of the social contract. Self-interest, egoism rules, everybody is on her/his own. Compassion, cooperation, grace, tolerance are replaced by loyalty to a clan leader or warlord, blind ideology, religious fanaticism, ethnocentrism, hate against outsiders, against everyone who is different and who deviates from one’s own standards.

It feels good to be a part of the “developed world,” the “free West,” it feels good to be exceptional, to live in the “shining city upon a hill.” It feels good to belong to the “chosen people,” to the “master race,” to be an “uebermensch.”

Where will this end?

In fascist dictatorships with emergency rules, military tribunals, and extermination camps? In failed states where roque, out of control militias pillage, rape, torture with impunity and where warlords stake their claims? In World War III and nuclear armageddon?

Unimaginable but nevertheless possible, even plausible. Everybody with an intact brain has to do something against this mortal danger, search for solutions to the various crises, look for an antidote to the poison of the reckless charlatans, the evil ideologues, the prophets of hate.
The antidote would be: Tranquility, curiosity, generosity, openness, understanding, tolerance. And: Kindness, gentleness, tenderness, grace, sympathy, affection, love. And: Modesty, faith, hope, confidence, happiness, peace.
It seems easy and logical – but this is not the prevalent popular mood, not the spirit of the 21th century, not the “zeitgeist.”

What can we do to turn the tide?

1) Unify and organize the scattered and chaotic army of lonely warriors, who at the moment are tilting at windmills? 
One needs a plan, a program, a reference model (blueprint of an organizational structure).

The plan is to take over existing organizations (NGOs, State institutions, UN-organizations), and integrate them.
The program: Localize, downsize, simple and modest living, leave nature alone.

Reference models: The spread of Buddhism, early Christianity, and other peaceful religions, the labor movement of the 19th and early 20th century.

2) Become an ecological guerrilla and disrupt, subvert, obstruct, sabotage, monkey-wrench whenever and wherever it is possible (Deep Green Resistance)? 

This is not for the faint hearted and the guerrilla fighters will have to put their lives on the line.

Yet, widespread civil disobedience could not be easily suppressed. “Disobedience is the true foundation of liberty. The obedient must be slaves.”(Henry David Thoreau). Dropping out and making a modest living in the informal economy or moving to the countryside and starting subsistent farming and gardening is not a crime.

3) Hide in the woods or join a sleeper cell of ecological Davids, looking for weaknesses in the armor of the industrial Goliath, waiting for the right time to strike?

This cannot be publicly discussed and only hinted: Subliminal messages inserted into broadcasts and internet video clips, the art of hacking (disabling network servers, planting computer viruses, causing devices to self-destruct), genetically modified diesel bugs, disabling engines by micro and nanoparticles, invasive superweeds and bugs in urban areas and industrial agriculture, pandemics in factory farming.

Nature will do its part with storms, floods, droughts, and wildfires of until now unseen intensity and ferocity.

4) Grow spiritually to a larger-than-life person, become a teacher, preacher, sage, saint? 

People grow to the challenge, there are thousand examples for that. As the challenge is so steep and so highly demanding, talented individuals will be able to grow extraordinarily and they will make a difference.

They will be heard, they will inspire, will instill calm, hope, and confidence. They will open and warm everybody’s heart, they will pierce the armor of discomfort, mistrust, and cynicism with ease.

They will walk and move effortlessly in perfect harmony — just watching them will already enlightening their disciples and make all dreams of love, peace, and happiness come true.

They will be the keepers of the flame, will spark new movements with global reach, they will be the founders of new cultures, new religions, a new civilization.

The cultures and social standards will be based on kindness, equality, compassion, cooperation, ease, and joy. Cultural rituals will be artistic, with music, dance, painting, poetry, arts and crafts.

The religions may be animism, paganism, pantheism, or existing religions in radical new interpretations. The old religions will wither away.

The new civilization will be based on harmonic integration into nature, careful stewardship of resources, modesty, simplicity, and the avoidance of fancy, extravagant, or expensive technologies.

It ain’t necessarily so!

Three developments have shaped the discussion in the last years:

a) The scientific community and dedicated activist groups have become united about the  prospects of environmental catastrophe if business goes on as usual.

b) Casandra calls about environmental armageddon and the need for immediate action have become urgent and desperate.

c) Mass media and the broad public in response became disengaged, numb, denying scientific evidence or avoiding the issue altogether. Because calls for action inevitably include calls for drastic lifestyle changes, people switch off as soon as these changes are mentioned and think or talk about something more pleasant. There are not many good-hearted persons who are willing to sacrifice the amenities of modern life for the sake of future generations.

The fault for this development lies also with the messengers, who have become messengers of doom. The pleas for action and change shouldn’t be framed as sacrifice, but as a relief from the burden of consumerism, information overflow, distracting and annoying high tech gadgets, noise and hectic of urban life, the merciless rat-race for fortune and fame.

Furthermore, the accusation of fascistic tendencies should be used carefully because it can be easily dismissed and it can become a meaningless catchphrase.

The term fascism is not clearly defined, but usually applied to totalitarian one-party states based on nationalism and militarism. There are theories that capitalism inevitably will implode into fascism, though logical analysis and historical evidence are not conclusive. Fascists oppose laissez-faire capitalism, though Benito Musolini, Adolf Hitler, and fascist dictators after WWII (Francisco Franco, Antonio Salazar, Augusto Pinochet, Jorge Rafael Videla) were on good terms with industrialists. Capitalists may have been involved in genocide (IG Farben), but there were autocratic mass murderers also in pre-capitalist times (Roman emperor Nero, Genghis Khan, Kublai Khan, Tamerlane, Shaka Zulu, Leopold II of Belgium, Mehmed Talaat).
Surely, present cultural, social, economic, and political tensions may culminate in civil unrest, subsequently in a police state, and finally in a dictatorship.

And yet

It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future.”

Whoever coined this phrase (Yogi Berra, Niels Bohr, Robert Peterson, some Danish ancestors), she/he was deadly right.

To the messengers of doom: So much things can happen, unexpected, surprising, never thought to be possible.

What if the global financial system disintegrates and globalization ends?
What if new strains of microorganisms (viruses, bacterias, archaea, fungi, protozoa, algae) cause concrete to fall apart and electronics to fail?
What if science got it all wrong and until now undiscovered negative feedback loops reduce the impact of greenhouse gases and chemical contamination?
What if a volcanic eruption clouds the skies, like in 1816?
What if unprecedented natural disasters force governments to act?
What if a pandemic reduces human populations to sustainable levels?
What if scientists find a smart and not harmful solution to sequester CO2?
What if an accidental explosion in one of the nuclear rocket silos, bunkers, or vaults incites nations to global mutual disarmament?

Just to name a few possibilities. Some of them are terrible, frightening ideas which nevertheless would give humanity a chance to survive.

And even if nothing like that happens, there is still the power of hope, love, and joy. If you feel it, your message will be distinctive, and you will be heard.

You will make a difference!

01.10.2018

Links October 2018

To make it clear, the author and probably most readers of this blog post do not belong to the downtrodden, utterly deprived, hapless and hopeless parts of humanity, because in such a case we would not be in the mood or have enough time to write or read articles on the internet, would not possess a computer, tablet, or smartphone to surf the web, and would not speak English.

To make it clear further, the author and probably most readers live in Western consumer societies and thereby participate in the ongoing colonial exploitation of weak countries, (euphemistically called “third world”, “global south”, “underdeveloped countries” or “emerging economies”) by the triad of Anglosphere (USA, UK, Canada, Australia, New Zealand), European Union (Western Europe, led by Germany and France), and Japan plus Asian Tigers (South Korea, Taiwan, Singapore).

To make it clear, the author and probably (hopefully) most readers are not severely affected and troubled by dysfunctional utility services, contaminated water and food, inadequate or nonexistent health care, rising sea levels, and increasing frequencies of storms, floods, heatwaves, wildfires, and droughts.

The author and most readers are not living on the street, starving, languishing in prison or in a migrant detention camp, hiding in cellars, bunkers, caves as bullets fly and bombs explode.

So why dramatize, why ponder, why bother? Why not being content, being glad with what one has, feeling at ease, feeling happy, being deeply in love?

Is that possible while watching the lemmings march towards the cliffs? Is it possible to be a disengaged observer of humanities full speed race into catastrophe?

Will there be a catastrophe? At the moment, besides a few wars and natural disasters, everything looks fine.

Will we lose our privileged status as the age of abundance gradually morphs into the age of scarcity, exploited countries try to brake the shackles of neocolonialism, desperate migrants amass at the boarders, and ecosystems break down?
Is it possible to continue the rat race through the labyrinth course of a merciless job market with no exit? Why not drop out and start a meaningful life?

Why not give redundant and obsolete stuff to someone who really needs it? Why not streamline the daily routines? Why not watch birds, butterflies, flowers, clouds in the sky, sunrise and sunset, an occasional rainbow, instead of watching TV, computer, and smartphone screens?

To make it clear, writing and reading this text and contemplating the raised issues takes only a tiny part of my and your time and alone for this reason it cannot achieve much, it will not be live changing. Even if the readers agree with the presented assumptions and conclusions, this blog post may be forgotten in a few seconds.

So why do I write? Playing silly word games? Absolving myself from guilt? Telling my fellow humans what I learned from life experience?

Change the world by changing yourself! Postulated thousands of times and still resonating — it doesn’t hurt to mention it here again.

What could one do beyond writing and reading? Donating?

This blog is not a charity, it is not giving away goods to the needy, it is not collecting and distributing funds. It would fail anyway, Even well established UN relief agencies and humanitarian NGOs face severe funding shortfalls.

There is too much need on one side and too much greed on the other.

UN Aid Agencies:

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
UN Population Fund (UNFPA)
UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
Pan American Health Organization (PAHO)
World Food Program (WFP)
World Health Organization (WHO)

That are a lot of job opportunities for well connected people and a lot opportunities for influence peddling or blackmail by the big powers.
Human history is a history of crime, injustice, and unimaginable suffering. The presence is not much better, as humans don’t appear to have learned anything. If some individuals here or there are enlightened, they will not be at the levers of power.

In the rare case where they reach the top they will be smeared and slandered (Vladimir Putin, Bashar al-Assad, Hugo Chavez), and overthrown or assassinated (Patrice Lumumba, Salvador Allende, Mohammad Najibullah, Yasser Arafat, Muammar Gaddafi).

Christine Fernandez will be missed by Argentineans. Why did she need to leave, why was no charismatic and principled successor stepping into her place? 

After going broke in 2001, Argentinas Presidents Christina Fernandez and her husband Nestor Kirchner could slowly but steadily ease the debt stranglehold, but when conservative candidate Mauricio Macri won against the uninspiring Daniel Scioli, Macri paid out the US vulture funds (led by Paul Singer) and took again IMF (International Monetary Fund) loans.

At the start of the 20th century Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world and an important grain and meat exporter. Its GDP represented halve of all Hispanic America and ranked 10th in the world’s economy, its trade amounted to 7 percent of the world’s total. In 1913, per capita income was higher than that of France, twice that of Italy, and almost five times that of Japan.

Now the country is broke. How could such a severe economic decline happen?

It’s easy to explain. WTO (World Trade Organization), World Bank, IMF, the international dispute settlement and arbitration courts, the large US and European banks, and last but not least the US Federal Reserve work all together to ensure that the already mentioned triad (Aglosphere, EU, Japan) can buy commodities like minerals and food cheaply in exchange for overpriced services, technology, and consumer goods (like Apple iPhones for instance). Banks and equity firms are also able to acquire local companies for little money and often at fire sale prices.

The global integrated monetary and financial system depends on the US$ (also called “petrodollar”) which is the international reserve currency and used for most trade. The system is controlled by the US Treasury and the Federal Reserve Bank, which sets the interest rate and creates money by buying back US treasury bonds in order to cover Americas annual one trillion US$ deficit.

US national debt stands by 21,6 trillion US$, this debt will never be paid back and nobody will even dare to ask.
The Falklands War (Guerra de las Malvinas) in 1982 was a genuine colonial war. Britains Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (the Iron Lady) put Argentinians into their place and showed them who still rules the world.

Argentina since 1976 was governed by a military junta, who had overthrown Isabel Peron. The USA was either involved or sympathetic, the coup plot was known at least two months in advance and US secretary of state Henry Kissinger met several times with Argentinian military leaders after the coup, urging them to destroy their opponents quickly before the outcry over human rights abuses would grow in the USA. 30,000 Argentinians subsequently disappeared in the “Dirty War.”

The dictatorship’s finances were opaque, and it borrowed heavily abroad. People’s standard of life declined, and the return to civilian rule in 1983 did not change that trend.

In the 1990 President Carlos Menem got rid of regulations which had restricted foreign trade and sold government-owned companies to foreign investors. Menem and Domingo Cavallo, his minister for economic affairs, accepted the neoliberal dogmata preached by international financial institutions. The IMF funded the policy with several loans.

Today President Macri plays the same game again. The IMF offers 57 billion US — and the next financial meltdown is guaranteed.
International finance is a dirty business and it is intimately connected to war. For instance HSBC Bank plc, one of the largest banks in the world with some 7,400 offices in over 80 countries, is involved in the most dubious dealings.

In 2008 the British anti-poverty charity War on Want released a report documenting the extent to which HSBC and other UK commercial banks invest in, provide banking services for, and give loans to weapons companies. According to the report HSBC holds shares in the global arms industry totaling 589 million US$, and serves as principal banker for Meggitt, one of Britain’s largest arms companies.

HSBC also makes or made business with Mexican drug cartels, which is completely in line with the institutions history. British Finance Capital created HSBC in 1865 shortly after the Opium Wars to finance opium trade.

Disaster capitalism is also war capitalism. Wars and disasters are big business. They are profitable even for the media, because war and disaster porn draws large audiences, making the hours spent in front of TV or computer more entertaining.

Who would not be thrilled or at lest deeply touched by the suffering and agony of the relentlessly bombed Yemenis, the newest Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the never-ending wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria. Not to forget Libya, since 2011 a failed state.

Interestingly, mainstream media is rather coy in reporting the mentioned events. Flooding of the Carolinas, the Skripal affair, and Indonesia get more coverage.

Mass burials in Sulawesi, Indonesia are planned as the death count approaches one thousand. In 2004, just 14 years ago, 228 thousand died in an Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami. Can societies get used to such tragedy?

Anyway, most citizens watch what their media minders want them to watch and they are never shown anything that would allow them to connect the dots and discover the big picture, the master plan, the long-time geopolitical plot.

Maybe in this respect I can help a little bit.

Feline and raccoon news:


Environmental news:

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/09/scientists-reveal-how-much-world-s-forests-being-destroyed-industrial-agriculture
https://dgrnewsservice.org/civilization/ecocide/habitat-loss/kenya-un-says-lake-turkana-is-endangered/?utm
https://www.salon.com/2018/09/16/seed-diversity-is-disappearing-and-3-chemical-companies-own-more-than-half/
https://theintercept.com/2018/09/15/oregon-pesticides-aerial-spray-ban/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/18/inconvenient-realities-climate-change-and-the-south-pacific/
https://earther.gizmodo.com/1-7-million-chickens-have-drowned-in-florences-floodwat-1829150599?utm Who cares about some dead birds, even if their death was agonizing and painful?
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/09/18/649132289/florence-engulfs-hog-farms-and-chicken-houses-thrashing-north-carolina-agricultu
https://in.reuters.com/article/us-bayer-glyphosate-lawsuits/bayers-monsanto-asks-us-court-to-toss-289-million-glyphosate-verdict-idINKCN1LZ0H7 Armies of lawyers will be mobilized and every available pundit will predict (rightfully) the end of industrial agriculture if this verdict holds, while in the laboratories devilish chemists work overtime on new deadly poisons just in case of.
This is the core of their business model: poisoning all undesirable life in disregard of ecological disruption, mass extinction, and human collateral damage.
As the saying goes: “All is fair in love, war, and business.”
And according to another (slightly amended) aphorism: “Big business is the continuation of war by other means.” (Clausewitz)
https://news.mongabay.com/2018/09/as-indias-ganges-runs-out-of-water-a-potential-food-shortage-looms/
https://safehaven.com/news/Breaking-News/How-Climate-Change-Is-Impacting-Global-Hunger.html
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/21/hamb-s21.html Defending the forest. Until now one defender died.
https://www.kqed.org/science/1931569/why-are-beneficial-bugs-disappearing
https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-45617662 No sustainable food in Switzerland because industrialists and politicians warned of higher food prices.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/21/hurricane-florence-and-9-7-million-pigs/ Glad to be a vegetarian.
https://india.mongabay.com/2018/09/27/andhra-pradeshs-push-for-zero-budget-natural-farming-inspires-others/ 

Economic news:


Media and technology news:

https://www.alternet.org/how-do-we-know-whats-true
https://codeactsineducation.wordpress.com/2018/09/14/new-tech-power-elite-education/amp/
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-45543964? Journalists for sale.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/09/21/pers-s21.html NY-Times election plot dossier.
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/09/19/hold-the-front-page-the-reporters-are-missing/
https://www.rt.com/op-ed/438925-eu-copyright-law-internet/
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/09/25/the-battle-for-our-minds/ For more than a century the various media companies of print, radio, and TV were able to disburse the establishment-approved storylines without much interference from dissenters. Reuters, Associated Press, BBC, New York Times, Washington Post, and the various spokespersons of Western governments made the initial selections and omissions, the rest of the media pack followed suit, just adding some minor details to distinguish themselves from the competition.
But then came the internet, which made dissenting views easily accessible to the broad public. So called “alternative” or “fringe” media gained popularity, the “blogger sphere” found their dedicated audience, unsettling questions were asked and differing stories were told in social media posts, some of which got viral, reaching millions of readers.
The establishment is now scrambling to regain control of the information flow by 
a) censoring social media (fake news), 
b) slandering or prosecuting independent journalists and bloggers,
d) reducing views of dissident sites by low ranking in search engines,
c) co-opting, banning, or economically strangulating alternative and fringe media.

Imperial news:

As debt rises, the US government will soon spend more on interest than on the military. The recent tax cuts, spending increases, and higher interest rates will make it harder to avert future recessions or deal with infrastructure decline and environmental emergencies.
https://www.axios.com/newsletters/axios-sneak-peek-08e07e35-16a4-4ec9-ac9b-40138905d43c.html
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/17/american-fascism/ Genocide, slavery, and fascism are compatible with Western style representative democracy. Agreed, but then: “The problems are systemic, not personality quirks.”
And what about the prejudices, tensions, fears, aggressions, phobias, and psychoses of each individual contributing to the general social climate? They don’t disappear just by destroying the old system and replacing it with something new.
https://williamblum.org/aer/read/160
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/09/hurricane-maria-anniversary-puerto-rico-trump/570928/
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/09/20/puerto-ricos-unnatural-disaster-rolls-on-into-year-two/
https://www.postandcourier.com/news/for-women-who-drowned-in-sc-flood-ride-in-jail/article_ebc520dc-bd9a-11e8-bd9e-ababfe0e6ef1.html 

Imperial conquest news:

Armageddon news:


Uncategorized news:


News from cat land:

Everything is okey, the cats are healthy and in good spirit. I still didn’t have time to bring them to the veterinarian for their annual vaccination and physical.

The freezers are full and most grapes are distributed to friends and acquaintances. Now starts the period of collecting leaves, which will go on for two month. It has to be done painstakingly by hand, because the trees, bushes, herbs, ferns, flowers make it impossible to use a rake

Today it rains, this is the reason I’m able to write this text. It has cooled down and I’ve heated the stove for the first time after summer.
Most of the older cats in the animal asylum have found a new home, only two middle aged shy and rather grumpy cats remain. But there are many kittens, playful, funny, cute, lovely, and adorable. They jump around and run after each other and after the little balls which are laying everywhere. 

One of them, a pretty ginger cat, laid down beside me, smiled at me, and started licking my hand. I was smitten, I was deeply moved, and I was a bit sad. No, not another young cat in the family. Linda is now four years old, which could mean another 14 years and more to fulfill this particular mission, the mission to accompany and guard my beloved feline friends till the hopefully peaceful and painless end of their lives.

When Miss Marple died in December last year I was sad but also relieved. She had a peaceful end — I told about that here on this web page in detail Links December 2017. After I had buried her I thought: “One done, six still to go.” And I thought: “We will make the best of the remaining years, we will always stay together, we will have a good life.”