Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Truth Will Out

Facing Reality,

Jim Kunstler lets it all hang out in his 2020 predictions, best I've seen. Here's some lead-in.
​ W​hat drove the American thinking class insane? I maintain that it comes from the massive anxiety generated by the long emergency we’ve entered — the free-floating fear that we’ve run out the clock on our current way of life, that the systems we depend on for our high standard of living have entered the failure zone; specifically, the fears over our energy supply, dwindling natural resources, broken resource supply lines, runaway debt, population overshoot, the collapsing middle-class, the closing of horizons and prospects for young people, the stolen autonomy of people crushed by out-of-scale organizations (government, WalMart, ConAgra), the corrosion of relations between men and women (and of family life especially), the frequent mass murders in schools, churches, and public places, the destruction of ecosystems and species, the uncertainty about climate change, and the pervasive, entropic ugliness of the suburban human habitat that drives so much social dysfunction. You get it? There’s a lot to worry about, much of it quite existential. The more strenuously we fail to confront and engage with these problems, the crazier we get.  

​George Monbiot on Christmas giving as currently practiced.
 Researching her film The Story of Stuff, Annie Leonard discovered that of the materials flowing through the consumer economy, only 1% remain in use six months after sale(1). Even the goods we might have expected to hold onto are soon condemned to destruction through either planned obsolescence (breaking quickly) or perceived obsolesence (becoming unfashionable)...
 People in eastern Congo are massacred to facilitate smart phone upgrades of ever diminishing marginal utility(3). Forests are felled to make “personalised heart-shaped wooden cheese board sets”. Rivers are poisoned to manufacture talking fish. This is pathological consumption: a world-consuming epidemic of collective madness, rendered so normal by advertising and the media that we scarcely notice what has happened to us.

China is investing in Africa for the long term. Wazzat mean? 
China is building Chinese economic areas, with Chinese workers, factories and products, Chinese autonomous cities, with good roads, railroads, ports and utilities. African governments are taking out loans from China to do this, and having to turn over state-owned assets, like electric utilities, when they can't make payments. 
This is colonialism-with-Chinese characteristics, isn't it. 
China could use another continent some day. 
Europeans tried some of this, so some African countries still speak French and English, and Europeans did try to populate South Africa and Rhodesia/Zimbabwe, which are more temperate.
Michael Snyder presents this as "much worse", but I can't really see that. 
It's mainly different, but it might become genocidal by the end of the century.

Google is different, suddenly quite different. A whole lot of core employees and top directors have suddenly left.
​ ​Workers told CNBC that 2018 was a pivotal point in the company’s shift away from upfront communication. That was when news of Project Dragonfly, a secret Google plan to develop a censored search engine for possible rollout in China, first broke in The Intercept. Internally, the existence of the project had been kept on a need-to-know basis.
​ ​The company later canceled Project Dragonfly after employees expressed concern over the secrecy of the project. Some workers left the company altogether.

​Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, talks about meeting with Donald Trump as the impeachment festivities kicked off 12/20/19. Thanks Eleni.
"I like the way Trump discusses international agenda and issues in bilateral relations. He avoids any ambiguity and tries to say what he thinks directly," Lavrov said in an interview aired by Russia's Channel One.
​ ​This "productive approach" that not many top politicians use allows parties "to better understand the opportunities, difficulties and prospects of relations."
​ ​The FM met with Trump on December 10 when the House Democrats announced the articles on which they were going to vote to impeach him for what they call pressure on Ukraine to launch an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden and his son's activities.
​ ​As Democrats had failed to impeach Trump previously for "collusion with Russia" because the probe found none, his meeting on that day fueled up the Resistance. But Lavrov insisted that it was just a "coincidence," with the date of his meeting with Trump agreed a month before his arrival to Washington.
Lavrov described his talks at the White House as "substantial," saying that at least "a dozen of substantial issues" were discussed including bilateral ties, strategic stability, arms control and various regional conflicts, such as those in the Middle East, Ukraine and the Korean Peninsula. "There was an extremely direct conversation on all those topics, with no attempts to cut corners or avoid contentious issues."  

 Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has hailed the completion of an against all odds landmark deal with Russia's Gazprom as ensuring "energy security and prosperity for Ukrainians."
​ ​It will keep natural gas flowing to Western Europe via Ukraine for the next five years, which is estimated to net Ukraine $7 billion (€6.25 billion) in gas transit fees by 2024
​ ​After a series of compromise breakthroughs over the past weeks, including Gazprom paying out $2.9 billion legal settlement to Naftogaz and Kiev in turn agreeing to wave a separate legal claim, the two sides finally inked the historic deal on Monday.  

"One Nation Conservatism" is a populist package the Tories are putting into place to give more support to places where most Britons live, that are not London, a completely novel initiative. It seems that this is a serious preparation for holding the country together through Brexit.

"I'm slowly dying", says Julian Assange on Christmas Eve, sounding groggy and sedated in Belmarsh Prison. (There is a lot of interest in having Assange die of something that resembles "natural causes" among certain imperial elites.)

Addicted to Anticipation, what goes on in the brain chemistry of a gambling addict 
​ ​“First you get that euphoric feeling, that rush and excitement,” Townsend-Lyon says, “Once you become addicted, then you get to the point where you don’t care about anything. You’re in a zone and you don’t realize what’s going on around you.”
The high is in expecting an outcome, desiring it, imagining it, not in its fulfillment.

W​all Street Gambler​

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