11.08.2018

Links August 2018

Another hastily compiled blog post with hyperlinks plus a few thought splinters and questions. Like for instance:

What shall we do, to save nature and ourselves from ourselves? Shall we fight the system and prevalent paradigms (centralism, capitalism, globalism, speciesism, etc.), or change our own life, develop our personality, learn new skills?

According to left wing theorists, changing ones personal habits, ones lifestyle will not achieve anything, because it’s the social and economic system which matters, not the individual conduct. But isn’t the system essentially the summation of individual dependencies and interactions?

Is “the system” a convenient excuse to avoid personal change?

“You must be the change you want to see in the world.” Mahatma Gandhi

There is no doubt that gathering strengths, improving oneself, thinking about the situation and possible strategies will make us act more effective, but imminent dangers nevertheless demand imminent responses. There is no time to ruminate, meditate, or contemplate, if flames are about to engulf our home, if flood waters rise, if food runs out, or malevolent political leaders are about to start the next war.

In order not to be overwhelmed, shocked, and helpless we have to think through all possible scenarios and prepare for emergencies. Preppers and survivalists are onto something, though their individualistic and militaristic approach is unhelpful.

Lone and isolated actors will not achieve much, so one should go out, join communities, organize, teach, persuade, convince. In order to be convincing one better should be a role model, an example of perfect virtue, a saint. Falling short of this it maybe is sufficient if one is sincere, humble, well intended, and unpretentious.

Feline news:


Hot environmental news:

For three decades climate models have predicted prolonged and intense heat waves and the predictions are coming true this summer across the Northern Hemisphere. According to meteorologists it will get even hotter and todays records will be the future norm. In the past weeks temperatures have soared to unseen highs. Here’s just a small sample:

•Death Valley National Park, California: 52 C (July 8)
• Ouargla, Algeria: The highest reliable recorded temperature of 51 C (July 5)
• Bardufoss, in Norway’s far north, a record was compiled of 33.5 C (July 19)
• Northern Siberia: Consecutive days with forecast above 30 C (July 9–16)
• Chino, Californiaå: Daytime record of 48.9 C (July 7)
• Tajimi, Japan: Record-setting temperature of 40.7 (July 17) 
• Kumagaya, Japan reported a temperature of 41.1C (July 23)

Japan has declared a heatwave sweeping the country a natural disaster, with at least 80 deaths recorded. More than 22,000 people have been admitted to hospital with heat stroke, nearly half of them elderly. Parts of Sweden, Norway, and Finland are recording temperatures almost twice the average.

In Sweden at least one person has been killed and dozens more injured by forest fires. More than 40 wildfires were raging from the south as far north as the Arctic Circle.

Neighboring Norway experienced its hottest May temperatures on record and has also suffered forest fires.

Parts of the UK are experiencing a prolonged heatwave and the government has issued a “heat-health watch” alert in the east and south-east of England.

Scorching temperatures have devastated crops across Europe, with parts of France and northern Germany showing serious damage to wheat yields. The European Union is ready to disburse funds to help farmers cope. German farmers have asked their government for 1 billion euros in financial aid to help cover losses from this year’s poor harvest.

In Greece more than 90 people have died in wildfires in the Attica region around Athens. Greece, Sweden, and Latvia have requested support from the EU to fight wild fires and neighboring states are sending fire brigades with aircraft, ground forces, and vehicles.

Wildfires burning in Siberia sent smoke plumes across the Arctic all the way to New England.

Reports from Algeria say that Africa’s hottest ever recorded temperature was registered in the northern city of Ouargla with 51.3 C (July 5).

A dry winter has intensified the worst drought in living memory in New South Wales, Australia. The area produces about a quarter of Australia’s agricultural output. Farmers tell harrowing stories of failing crops, severe water shortages, and being unable to feed livestock.

Eastern Canada suffered a deadly heatwave in early July, with at least 70 deaths in Quebec province alone.

A heatwave in Southern California saw record-breaking temperatures in some areas including 48.9 C in Chino, outside Los Angeles. A major wildfire burning on the western edge of the Yosemite National Park has generated so much smoke that air pollution levels in Yosemite Valley are worse than in Beijing. The National Park has since been evacuated.

Fueled by an incendiary combination of scorching temperatures, dry air and unpredictable winds, the deadly Carr Fire has forced thousands to flee, scorched more than 160,000 acres, torched 1000 buildings, and killed seven people until now. Across the western United States, 50 major wildfires are burning in 14 states.

The Mendocino Complex fire in Northern California is even bigger and has burned more than 300,000 acres, making it the largest blaze in the state’s history.
Nobody can complain. Meteorologists and climate scientists have forecast this development since years and all evidence point to the fact, that it is of our own making. Yet authorities around the world are quiet about possible causes of hot weather and persistent drought. The farmers will get additional subsidies and tax relief, the public is being advised to drink plenty of water, to use air conditioning, and to rest often. Nothing else is done. 

Our descendants will hate us.

https://www.vox.com/2018/8/7/17661096/california-wildfires-2018-mendocino-carr-ferguson-climate
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/08/10/fire-a10.html
https://www.globalresearch.ca/hothouse-earth-demise-of-the-planetary-life-support-system/5649902
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-el-salvador-drought/el-salvador-declares-emergency-to-ensure-food-supply-in-severe-drought-idUSKBN1KE338
https://godsandradicals.org/2018/07/19/questions-of-water/
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-44923654 Brown is the new green. The monthlong heat wave is breaking all records and a water shortage has left Britains lush parks and meadows parched and brown.
http://medialens.org/index.php/alerts/alert-archive/2018/875-world-on-fire-climate-breakdown.html
https://www.globalresearch.ca/mainstream-media-obscure-most-important-issues-from-public-eyes/5648348
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/27/the-burning-planet/
https://global.handelsblatt.com/politics/heat-affecting-german-agriculture-business-950181
https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/08/atmospheric-carbon-last-year-reached-levels-not-seen-800000-years
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/08/solar-geo-engineering-cant-save-the-worlds-crops/567017/ 

Other environmental news:

https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/07/four-rs-reduce-reuse-recycle-repair.html
https://truthout.org/articles/wealth-cant-protect-environmentally-ravaged-silicon-valley-from-climate-change/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/18/asthma-deaths-rise-25-amid-growing-air-pollution-crisis If you thought, that the problem of air pollution has been solved long time ago by outsourcing all manufacturing to China, you were wrong.
http://www.atimes.com/article/health-fears-as-ozone-level-hits-20-year-high-in-hong-kong/
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/19/rising-global-meat-consumption-will-devastate-environment
https://www.publicintegrity.org/2018/07/16/21834/plutonium-missing-government-says-nothing
https://www.tri-cityherald.com/news/local/hanford/article215575310.html
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/23/earths-resources-consumed-in-ever-greater-destructive-volumes
https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2018/07/environmental-defenders-death-report/ R I P.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/tomorrow/fast-food-nation-inside-india-s-growing-crisis-a-1218839.html Western modernization in India.
https://www.dw.com/en/biodiversity-collapse-imminent-in-worlds-tropics-study-says/a-44821288 We will kill it all.
https://e360.yale.edu/features/how-deforestation-affecting-global-water-cycles-climate-change
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/07/ocean-wilderness-vanishing.html
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-45097490 What kind of article can one expect from the BBC? The rich are supposedly saving a tropical paradise, even as their air travel generates more CO2 than a Bangladeshi farmer will produce in her/his whole lifetime. And exotic species are saved by killing animals which humans themselves brought to the island paradise. Saving the world by killing our fellow animals, how convenient, easy, and gratifying! Because killing other living beings is our true passion – that is what we do best.
http://nautil.us/issue/63/horizons/when-climate-change-starts-wars-rp?utm 
Economic news:

http://evonomics.com/how-maximizing-shareholder-value-turns-nice-people-into-psychopaths/?utm Maximizing shareholder value.
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/07/18/pers-j18.html Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos made another 50 billion US$ this year.
https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/07/can-globalization-reversed.html An article that ends with the phrase “hamper long-term growth” is highly questionable and only useful to prove, that globalization, GDP growth, and environmental destruction are unavoidably linked.
https://www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/jeremy-lent/five-ways-to-curb-power-of-corporations?utm 
Media and technology news:

Imperial news:

To set things straight: The USA, with the largest prison population and the highest rate of incarceration on earth, has about 100 times more people per capita in prison than Syria.

Media splinters who give some thought:

Fleeing the Carr Fire, Greg and Terri Hill evacuated their Redding home in the middle of the night with little more than medications, photo albums, clothes, and firearms, assuming they’d be back home in a few days. They returned two days later to find little more than ash. [Now we know, what a mainstream US family regards as the most precious possessions.]

81-year-old contract bulldozer operator Don Ray Smith died, as he was working to clear brush and vegetation to contain the Carr Fire and his position was overtaken by the blaze. [When do US citizens retire?]

The monthly anti-US rant by John Chuckman:

I’ve always regarded American football as resembling imperial Rome’s arena spectacles.

It’s a sports culture designed to reinforce the attitudes and values of American empire.

Marching bands in the full splendor of Ruritanian palace guards, monster flags carried by an obligatory real-soldier color guard with rifles and white shoulder straps, gals in Ruritanian military caps high-stepping with short skirts, sequined panties, and matching booties while twirling batons, the unsingable imperial anthem with a loud-speaker demand for all to rise, not infrequently sung by someone who can’t sing or garbles the words, and the crowds of tens of thousands straining their vocal cords.

A big war parade before armor-clad players come out the field to hit and smash each other.

They are very similar types of gatherings to those of Rome with the noise and displays and bloodlust, only football doesn’t kill the players, it just hurts them.

But I’m sure if it were possible America would have a big audience for the exact Roman spectacles.

Maybe it will come to that with all the spirit of killing, from the colonial wars abroad to local cops who kill about three people a day in America, with ignoring great human misery, as in the refugees of the Middle East or in the horrors of Gaza, and with readiness to accept the violation of many traditional laws and ethical principles and agreements that today characterizes America.

After all, in America’s South, well into the 1930s, while FDR was in the White House, lynchings were often treated as family picnic occasions with gatherings on the town square while a man was hanged. Eleanor complained to Franklin about it and asked him to intervene, but he said he could do nothing without losing his support from Southern Democrats.

Ah, yes, America, you do have some proud moments. The rah-rah is good for the guys you send off to places like Vietnam where you managed to kill 3 million souls or Iraq where you killed another million.

Imperial conquest news:

A bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation that would impose “the most hard-hitting ever” sanctions, would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate to allow the US to withdraw from NATO, and would require the State Department to determine whether Russia is a state sponsor of terrorism. Co-sponsor Republican Senator Lindsay Graham: ”“Our goal is to change the status quo and impose crushing sanctions and other measures against Putin’s Russia until he ceases and desists meddling in the US electoral process, halts cyberattacks on US infrastructure, removes Russia from Ukraine, and ceases efforts to create chaos in Syria.” 

Armageddon news:

From a DGR-post:

In my moments of greater clarity, I want to absolve myself of all political inclination. If I ask myself, point blank, “what is it I am most concerned about?” the answer comes quickly: Ecology, the living world. My great worry regarding the world at large centers on the fact that human industrial civilization is every day bringing the web of life closer to the brink of total collapse. Through climate change, extinctions, pollution, the promulgation of invasive species, and the conversion of wild spaces into regions managed and exploited for extraction and production, human civilization is destroying everything upon which it stands. With such an insurmountable threat bearing down, it seems silly to get drawn into conflicts over petty human arguments. Of course, most of what is trumpeted by TV and print news seems to be just this, at least in comparison to the storm looming over us.


Uncategorized news:


News from cat land:

Sitting on the computer is an unappealing option if the garden needs tending and fruits need to be harvested. Three weeks of scorching heat were concluded yesterday with a thunderstorm and torrential rain. Which means that for at least three days I don’t have to go up at 4 AM to start irrigating the garden.

The rainwater barrels were nearly empty, after the rain they are full again. Nine of the barrels are directly fed by two downpipe diverters from the house and another two diverters from the big greenhouse, the other 15 barrels have to be filled up by transferring water from the first group with an electric pump. When I see that the directly fed barrels are all full I have to rush out into the rain, putting the pump in one of the full barrels and the hose in one of the empty ones. This is very inconvenient but a fully integrated system would be too complicated and prone to technical defects.

The pouring rain overwhelmed the drainage system and flooded the garage for a few minutes, it took me an hour to clean up the floor with towel and bucket. No damage done fortunately.

The cats are fine, only a bit dazed by the heat. Some of the cats and I slept for a few days in the cellar where it is still pleasantly cool. Gandhi Jr. got his own fan from my collection of industry parts and he really appreciated it.
Since years I have prepared the garden for hot summers with protracted heatwaves. There is no lawn or meadow and at least half of the garden is covered by a tight canopy of leaves. More than 30 fruit trees, 18 grape vines, hundreds of berry bushes, and high growing herbs like mint, lemon balm, nettle, and sage protect the soil from sunlight. The vines climb on trellises, blackberry bushes don’t climb but they are tied to posts or trellises and together with the vines and fruit trees form arcades through which one can walk completely shielded from the sun.

Will this be enough to cope with rising temperatures or will it only delay the ecological collapse for a few years?
It’s Not Climate Change-It’s Everything Change,” as Margaret Atwood wrote 2015 in her notable and widely discussed essay.

I’m worried about mass extinction. There are no bats and only few owls in the forest. A huge hedgehog has discovered the garden but it is the only one I’ve seen for a long time. Bumblebees have disappeared. In March there were a few visiting but now they are gone. They liked the echinacea blooms so much, but at the moment only wild bees and butterflies are enjoying the echinacea.

Bumblebees are one of my favorite insects. I’ve touched them gently and I’ve held them in my hand, they never stung me. Butterflies are more fragile, I seldom touch them. A few days ago I heaved one carefully out of a spider web. It was unharmed and only a bit disoriented, when I sat it down on top of a box. It staggered around a little bit, flapped it’s wings, and flew away unceremoniously. There are many butterflies here, they like the butterfly bushes in the garden.

Will I see a bumblebee again? Will I be able to maintain my little paradise, the “cat paradise” for a few more years?
Will I have to watch powerlessly the ecological collapse?

City dwellers have no idea whats going on, because they are disconnected from nature and experience the world mostly via displays, which they are watching all the time. Country folks see the change, but many are clueless or indifferent. One neighbor just paved over a part of his scorched lawn with artful tiles. He will replant some of the dead bushes, others will be replaced by plastic plants.

Artificial plants will be in high demand in the coming years.
To hinder the forces which destroy nature, to obstruct and sabotage ecological genocide is a criminal offense. It is a crime because it impedes profits. Even suggesting and calling for actions to prevent destructive projects is regarded as criminal.

Such things cannot be discussed publicly. They can though be disguised as fiction. Writing crime stories never was a criminal offense, even if they inspired sinister plots, even if they were used as a template for criminal acts.

So, why not write stories which can be used as a template for ecological resistance?

In winter, when garden work is over, some short tales may appear here and on other blogs.
Beautiful Earth
With my beautiful fellow living beings
Can we protect and shield them
From the charlatans of modernity
Who have a chemical for every chore and a pill for every ill
Poisoning and sickening everything?

Swimming against the tide
How insignificant are we?
How insignificant are humans?
Will they destroy live for a million years?
Or only for a mere thousand years?
Questions that never will be answered

And yet I stubbornly resist

12.07.2018

Links July 2018

The drought which persisted from May to June has ended. It is raining and I’m writing down a few thoughts which may be published on the blog. I’m aware that everything written down is questionable, nothing is absolute knowledge.

Can there be any absolute knowledge? Strong leaders, beaming of confidence, pretend to know the solution to every ill. But they are guessing like everyone else. They may succeed or fail, may be admired, pitied, or hated, may end up as billionaires or prison inmates.

I use several mental models to understand whats going on around me. One is evolution by natural selection. Which is of course evolution by random mutation and adaptability. And even that is not the whole story, Jay Gold and other dissident biologists suggested important amendments. Natural selection is of course multileveled, adaptation at one level of the hierarchy is influenced by selections at other levels (cooperation between individuals at the lower level impacts competition between groups at the higher level for example).

Viewing everything what is going on as various interacting nonlinear systems is another mental model. This is not simply causality with various causal chains going on in parallel, no, everything is connected with and influenced by everything. Forces (which can also be represented as vectors) are sometimes adding up but most times modulating each other with nonlinear amplification curves. Network theory, probability theory, chaos theory have become the tools to vaguely understand what is clearly impossible to grasp in its whole complexity with the mere 86 billion neuronal cells in our brain.

Which brings us to neurology, the third mental model which I use to make sense of my surrounding; I wrote about that already several times, here only a few cue words: Our senses are limited, (visible light for instance is just a tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum). Our comprehension is limited (Quantum mechanics, Standard Model). Hebb’s axiom (cells that fire together wire together), brain plasticity, pattern recognition, brain waves synchronizing sub-networks, synapses as versatile OpAmps, astrocytes, excitatory and inhibitory neurotransmitters, hippocampus memory formation, hypothalamus to pituitary gland, and a thousand more things which could be discussed and explained (or guessed).

If one has nothing else to do.

Ruminating about the limitations of our mind is a humbling experience. Life is and will possibly forever remain a mystery, no matter what strife we take to advance our technological toys. Which is a comforting idea, because it leaves the possibility open, that nature (Mother Earth, Gaia), after having watched for ages patiently our foolish attempts and pursuits, will one day cleanup the mess and rectify everything with one powerful stroke.

Feline news:

Environmental news:

Persistent droughts in the US Southwest, India, all of the Middle East, and many other places around the world are a preview of what’s ahead in the decades to come. A shift to hotter, drier weather will change vegetation, reduce agricultural yields and food security, and cause conflicts and wars over diminished resources.

Global studies by the World Wildlife Fund suggest that a 3.2 percent rise in temperatures would put 78 percent of amphibians, 67 percent of mammals, 60 percent of plants, 55 percent of reptiles and 47 percent of birds at risk of extinction if they fail to find a new, cooler habitat.

https://www.eenews.net/stories/1060086059 About depleted aquifers in California and a looming global food crisis.
http://news.trust.org//item/20180705000101-gwp0x/ India’s water crisis.
https://metamag.org/2018/07/03/dams-and-dykes-narrowly-beat-farm-pollution-to-top-spot-on-list-of-threats-to-rivers-and-lakes/ This has been predicted since 30 years, and now, as environmental data clearly and undeniably confirm the predictions, hydropower dams are still built and hydropower is advertised as “clean energy.”
https://www.rt.com/news/429279-ukraine-radioactive-chernobyl-milk/
http://news.trust.org/item/20180614150010-558s9/ Intensive farming doesn’t end hunger. Nothing new, except that finally even Reuters reports about it.
https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/weeds-are-winning-in-the-war-against-herbicide-resistance/ If the weeds win indeed, maybe people will stop spraying poison onto fields, orchards, and gardens. Fingers crossed.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/06/20/the-public-value-of-forests-as-carbon-reserves/ Plant more forests, and leave the existing ones alone.
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/06/26/campaign-of-illusions-where-the-zero-cut-movement-to-save-the-national-forests-went-wrong/ The Zero Cut Movement needs to join Deep Green Resistance.
https://thewire.in/the-sciences/groundwater-in-northwest-india-has-a-uranium-contamination-problem
http://www.atimes.com/article/asian-states-urged-to-sign-treaty-to-avoid-tidal-wave-of-foreign-trash/?utm
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jun/28/deluge-of-electronic-waste-turning-thailand-into-worlds-rubbish-dump
https://theintercept.com/2018/07/07/dupont-carneys-point-chambers-works-chemours/
https://www.independent.co.uk/environment/heatwave-temperature-records-broken-europe-north-america-eurasia-middle-east-latest-a8432226.html
http://www.atimes.com/article/climate-change-is-a-quiet-killer-in-australia/?utm
https://www.dw.com/en/cradle-to-cradle-living-in-a-world-without-waste/a-43740165
https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/07/the-worlds-worst-industrial-disaster-is-still-unfolding/560726/

Economic news:


Media and technology news:


Imperial news:
https://godsandradicals.org/2018/06/14/is-the-revolution-your-religion/ This blogger deserves some publicity.
https://www.truthdig.com/articles/the-coming-collapse/ Another Chris Hedge tirade, one may be tempted to think. But go straight to the last two paragraphs and read them twice…
http://www.defenddemocracy.press/undercover-at-the-worlds-most-secretive-society-mail-reporter-infiltrates-shadowy-bilderberg-summit-where-the-wests-power-brokers-set-the-world-to-rights/
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/06/25/reti-j25.html Why should US-citizens be entitled to retire? The social contract is broken and everybody is on her/his own.
https://consortiumnews.com/2018/06/25/at-war-with-ourselves-the-domestic-consequences-of-foreign-policies/
https://www.mintpressnews.com/hepatitis-spikes-as-poverty-and-isolation-grip-the-homeless-and-forgotten/244762/
https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2018/07/being-black-in-america-can-be-hazardous-to-your-health/561740/

Imperial conquest news:

John Chuckman wrote another rant about the United States:

Just to start, there is America’s widespread use of mercenary terrorists, people who pose as independent jihadi-types, in its efforts to destroy a number of legitimate governments it doesn’t like. Outfits like al Nusrah and IS serve effectively as American allies, having received everything – weapons, transportation, intelligence, and money – through dark channels under US control.

This murky world has many dark aspects, including hellish outfits like the Western government-supported White Helmets. They are ceaselessly proclaimed to be humanitarian, but they are known in fact to be affiliated with terrorist groups in Syria, having been investigated closely by a number of independent journalists.

They were involved inciting illegal US missile attacks against Syria by staging faked chemical weapons incidents and producing disinformation videos for public consumption. Earlier, they may well have staged real incidents, too. We know with certainty that there was an elaborate American effort some years ago to supply small amounts of chemical weapons to some terrorist outfits in Syria from the murdered Gaddafi’s stocks. Hillary Clinton ran that scheme.

And there was good old Hollywood giving a “documentary” about this crummy organization an Oscar. Perhaps some technicians in Hollywood supplied the White Helmets with the equipment, know-how, and props they use in making disinformation videos?

We’ve even had photographic proof of White Helmets using make-up on children who would be filmed as poison-gas victims. Of course, it is the same Hollywood which each year puts on a huge gala dinner to raise money for Israel’s army. And Israel is known to be one of the main supporters of Syria’s destruction.

All of the ugly stuff in Europe labelled as “international terror,” such terrible activity as in Paris for example, is in fact direct “blowback” from the US-Israeli-Saudi efforts in the Middle East, which are well supported covertly by France and Britain, the countries where it is easiest to carry out reprisals.

We have America’s Neocon Wars burning through the Middle East with at least two million killings and countless refugees over the last decade and a half. We have Europe almost destabilized by armies of refugees, fleeing from bombing and US-supported mercenaries, with America itself not willing to lift a finger to help.

“Full-spectrum dominance” has become a stated national purpose of the United States, a goal the German Wehrmacht might well have embraced.

America now conducts aggression across a huge front in many lands, bombing daily, somewhere or other.

We have the stunning establishment of a permanent US industrial-scale machinery for extrajudicial killing, absolutely no different in its legality or morals to what the old much-hated junta in Argentina did by “disappearing” people it did not like.

But while this is stunning to someone of my age and sensibilities, we see no reaction of any degree against such an unholy institution from inside the United States. No reaction by political leaders. No reaction by the public. No reaction by the press.

This, in my view, might be the most-convincing measure of what a vastly changed-for-the-worst place America is. Call someone a “terrorist,” which, after all, is not so very different from calling someone a “witch,” and it is perfectly okay to murder them with no evidence or charges or rights.

Of course, the entire concept of this kind of “witchery” has been adopted from calmly watching Israel’s grisly operations in de-legitimizing an entire people from whom they have taken everything, right down to their dignity as human beings.

US (plus US-influenced European) reaction to Israel’s small army of snipers shooting down thousands of unarmed people in Gaza, killing and permanently crippling them through the use of illegal dum-dum bullets has been appalling. If you ever wondered how something like the Holocaust could happen, here is your number-one contemporary lesson about the poisonous nature of human psychology intermingling with politics and power.
Remember the President of the United States, Donald Trump, telling the CIA not long ago, that it should decide who is killed by drones and missiles? The CIA as judge, jury, and executioner? The concept simply leaves anyone with either a sense of justice or morality gasping. But was there any great protest? Organized mass killing by a security agency now quietly operates in the background almost like some air-conditioning equipment switched on.

We had the breathtaking establishment of a US International Torture Gulag with a number of dark sites used for victims who were simply kidnapped right off the streets in foreign countries and shipped off, each one of them legally guilty of nothing. All secretly subject to torture by the psychopaths of the CIA. And then, we have one of the reputedly bloodiest practitioners appointed as head of the CIA by Trump.

It is a changed America indeed.

We now have the established, systematic abuse of the rights and privacy of US citizens, with practices and technology which make the old East German Stasi look amateurish. While Trump and others go on over gun ownership, all of the truly vital parts of the Bill of Rights are being gutted with each passing day. The FBI enjoys close to unlimited powers to interfere and spy and incite and play dirty tricks. The CIA now openly interferes in domestic matters, its head actually having spoken out on political matters several times, all in complete violation of its own charter. Does anyone protest?

At home in the United States, a galaxy of massive NSA super-computer dark sites now work around-the-clock against the rights Americans thought they had. And here is an outfit whose very product, vast files of recordings of the most intimate communications, endangers ultimately every aspect of American life, certainly including elections.

The work of the NSA creates powerful opportunities for everything from blackmail to intimidation, and, in my observation over time, when something becomes a real possibility, it eventually emerges as a reality. That’s just the way power and human psychology work.

Today, we see America’s piece-by-piece work to bend to its will, or destroy, international organizations such as the United Nations. It feels entitled to withhold or end legal treaty obligations such as dues to various UN agencies. And we actually see open, public intimidation of members just before a vote. Has there ever been a more intimidating and disgraceful spectacle than Nikki Haley and Donald Trump warning people about the consequences of their votes? That’s some support for democratic rights. But where is the protest?

America has a United Nations ambassador with such retrogressive and outlandish views that she might happily have “worked for the Fuhrer,” as the Germans used to say, had she been born a century earlier and in Germany. And she boldly punctuates all of her excesses with crass public statements any decent person should be ashamed of.

Yes, indeed, it is a changed America, one infinitely worse than in the past cited, and it has very little to do with Russian President Putin, beyond the fact that he is a target for a great deal of the aggression and hatred we see coming from America. Why? Simply because he is seen as opposing much of the American aggression and unbalanced insistence on its own exceptionality. He is not a saint, but at any given time in world political affairs, one must carefully choose ones battles and one must choose allegiances which don’t threaten peace and cherished values.

We have a US power establishment, utterly corrupted by money and unchallenged power, now playing the 21st century-version of the Ancient Regime in 18th century France before the Revolution.


Uncategorized news:

Jal Souza from Brazil writes:
It is not necessary to be adept at Candomblé, Umbanda, Quimbanda, to be graced by the great kings and queens of the occult, the impalpable. Lord Time teaches, just open the mind to what is shown, to appropriate what is good, to distribute love, justly. The spiritual is not capitalist, it is not for sale, understood only by who knows gratitude and inner peace.

News from cat land:

The huge elderberry bush has grown higher than most of the trees. But it is dwarfed by the monumental fir tree which is now 20 meters high. The heirloom apple trees which I planted five years ago have also reached a respectable high and for the first time are full of fruits. Two young peach trees and several apple trees bear fruits for the first time. There will be plums but not as many as I hoped. 

The three oldest grapevines together with aggressively growing blackberries cover a significant part of the garden and shield the bushes and herbs below from the blistering sun. Supported by trellis and a big pergola they constitute arcades through which one can wander while casually plucking fruits, weeding, or planting. I pruned the vines in winter, though not as much as a professional grower would do, and they apparently like it that way and feel fine.

It will be a record harvest of grapes, peaches, apples, berries, and herbs. Only strawberries and camomile are a bit less than last year. The strawberries are attacked by slugs and other pests, the camomile got too much water. It’s difficult because each species has different needs, some like it wet, others dry, some like acidic, others basic soil, some like all the sunshine they can get, others like to grow in the shadows.

Over the years, the plants and I will find out, which place in the garden suits them best.
All grain on the adjacent field north of the garden was ruined by the drought. The farmer came with a combine harvester and curved around a bit only to give it up after a few minutes. His wife came an hour later with a mower to cut the few plants which were still standing and after that she turned up which a hay baler, but she did not get many bales.

A few days later the farmer appeared with a vacuum tanker and poured two full loads of raw (not composted) sewage sludge onto the field. He also applied chemical fertilizer. Fortunately it rained immediately after that so we neighbors weren’t bothered for too long by the stink.

One week later seeds were planted with a tractor mounted seeding machine but they don’t grow well. There are big patches of mud where nothing grows anymore, no grain, no weeds, no shrubs. It will take years till the soil recovers from this treatment – if it ever recovers.

How can people be that stupid and insensitive and disconnected from the natural world? The farmer and his wife look like normal persons. How can he make a living if he destroys the soil, basis of his financial existence? How can he afford the machines? Some are maybe rented or leased, but he has to pay for that too. And he has to pay for the seeds, only a few organic farmers here still save seeds.

I would love to be able to tell that this is an extreme example but I have seen several fields in the area which look like the one which I described.
All cats of the family are fine and they enjoy the summer. The animal asylum, where I volunteer, is completely overcrowded. Nearly every day tiny kittens are brought in, they are sweat and most of them swiftly find a home. Finding a family for the older cats though is difficult. Nobody wants an older cat, which could have some ailments, which is maybe disturbed and traumatized after being cruelly, heartlessly abandoned.

This is a no-kill shelter, nobody of us would ever consider to euthanize a pet which is not adopted after a certain amount of time. As it comes, most of the volunteers are fostering cats. Some have ten and more, 18 is the record. I refuse still, because I’m already fully occupied with the resident cats. If I would take in another feline, the time spent with it would mean less time for my old trusting cat companions. They would not like that.

Maybe I spend a few hours more in the animal shelter, the inmates there appreciate it. It is a good feeling to know, that one is needed.