The John James Newsletter 217

posted Mar 20, 2018, 8:34 PM by Clement Clarke
The John James Newsletter 217

24 February 2018 

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When the return on capital increases faster than the growth of economic output, inequality spirals, social mobility stalls and the enterprise economy is replaced by a rentier economy
Thomas Piketty

It's discouraging to think how many people are shocked by honesty and how few by deceit
Noël Coward

No one can find a safe way out if society is sweeping towards destruction. Therefore everyone, in his own interests, must thrust himself vigorously into the battle, and none can stand aside with unconcern; the interests of everyone hang on the outcome 
Ludwig von Mises

Temperatures over central and northern Greenland are predicted to range between 10 and 25 C above average even as parts of the high Arctic spike to 30 C above average, conditions more typical of June than February
Robert Scribbler

Junk Planet: Is Earth the Largest Garbage Dump in the Universe?
Approximately 19 million premature deaths occur annually as a result of the way societies use natural resources and impact the environment to support production and consumption. This will give you a reasonably comprehensive summary of the types of garbage being generated (focusing particularly on those that are less well known), the locations into which the garbage is being dumped and some indication of what is being done about it and what you can do too. 
Desperate Need to Halt ‘World’s Largest Killer’ — Pollution
Analyses impacts on human health and ecosystems brought on by air, land, freshwater, marine, chemical and waste pollution. “None of us is now safe, so now all of us have to act. The health effects are stark, with air pollution alone killing some 6.5 million annually, affecting mostly poor and vulnerable people.”
Deposit schemes reduce drink containers in the ocean by 40%
Some eight million metric tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean every year. There has been a push to get rid of plastic straws, and even Queen Elizabeth II has banned single use plastics from Royal Estates. How effective is a cash for containers program? While there is evidence that container deposits increase return rates and decrease litter, until now there has been no study asking whether they also reduce the sources of debris entering the oceans.

Losing Biodiversity Could Lead to “Extinction Cascades”
A loss of biodiversity puts the entire ecosystem at risk of a domino effect, where a single extinction could cause countless others. The fewer species that exist in an area, the fewer that are available to “fill the gap” left by other extinctions. Other species in the ecosystem will have fewer alternatives to turn to. For example, if there are fewer insects left overall across a region, the bats and amphibians that eat them will feel the loss of just one species much more severely. Biodiversity loss could cause “run-away extinction cascades.”
And excellent video
Orangutang numbers in Borneo plummet by more than 100,000 in just 16 years 
This leaves "around 70,000 to 100,000" in the wild. From habitat loss and hunting. "People frequently told me how good and sweet orangutang meat was".

The Precautionary Principle Asks "How Much Harm Is Avoidable?" Rather Than "How Much Harm Is Acceptable?" 
In 1980, breast milk in the US was so contaminated with DDT, PCBs and other industrial poisons. If it were cow's milk, it would be banned. After two decades of failed "chemical regulation," babies everywhere in the world are drinking industrial toxicants in breast milk. In 2005 umbilical cord blood from newborns showed that babies are now  "pre-polluted" with 200 industrial compounds. In the US, children's health is deteriorating. childhood cancers has risen 27% since 1974; childhood asthma, obesity, learning and behaviour problems doubled.  Industrial poisons have spread worldwide because regulators have relied on a quantitative risk assessment to determine which chemical releases are "safe." But "safe" amounts of 80,000 chemicals have contaminated the entire planet, so today noone is safe.

June-Like High Pressure Ridge Brings Record-Smashing Temperatures to Eastern US in February
The North Atlantic and Arctic weather pattern is a real mess. Frequent episodes of severe polar warmth relative to normal conditions for this time of year have been a persistent feature. Arctic sea ice extents are at record lows. Severe warming, both at the surface and in the upper atmosphere over the Arctic helped to generate a polar vortex collapse during recent days. This collapse, in turn, generated a number of high amplitude waves in the Jet Stream — one of which produced a record high pressure ridge over the East Coast on Wednesday.

The Dismantling of the Middle East State System
This process began in 2003 with the US-led invasion of Iraq. Since then, the Iraqi state as a viable institution has nearly disappeared. The country has been plunged into turmoil and civil war. Its Kurdish-inhabited areas nearly became independent, and various proposals have been aired about dividing the country into three different entities based on ethnic and sectarian criteria. 
The US is Executing a Global War Plan
The three unfolding war scenarios are seen in Syria, North Korea and Ukraine. These are not disparate, disassociated conflicts. They are inter-related expressions of the American war plans that involve moving strategic military power into position.

A President Held Hostage
They've got him surrounded. The War Party cannot tolerate a President who questions the most basic premises of the American Empire. Trump was elected to carry out a very different mandate: to start putting America first. He railed against regime change. And now the regime-changers want to carry out a change of regime against him.

Exceptional heat pushes up ocean temperatures off Australia
Australia is home to a global hot spot for sea-surface temperatures, with a record burst of prolonged heat in the country’s south-east helping to make conditions three degrees warmer than average

Environmental Activists Are Suing Governments Over Climate Change — and Winning
This is the third court case the UK government has lost to organizations of environmental activists. The new ruling will require clean air policies to be overseen by the courts rather than ministers and local officials. The High Court ruled the government’s current stance on air pollution is “unlawful” because the government has failed to impose new policies on 45 local authority areas with illegal levels of air pollution. 

54 Palestinians die as Israel refuses medical permits
More than 25,000 permit requests were submitted to Israeli authorities. Of those, 719 were refused, often under the pretext of security. Another 11,281 applications are still pending approval - meaning thousands of people are in a state of jeopardy. There is no "real rational reason" why patients in need of urgent medical assistance are denied hospital access.

A New Perspective on the Possible Cause of Alzheimer's Disease: Microbes
Most bioscience research over the past 20 years has focused on the first question. This question has now been answered. First, normal elderly people can have large amounts of amyloid, but be as sharp as youngsters. Second, large clinical trials, for example using immunological methods to remove amyloid, have been able to purge the brain of amyloid, but the Alzheimer patients do not get better. In fact, 10% get worse. Therefore, amyloid does not cause the disease. Is then amyloid a consequence of disease?

Admiral Harris : Ambassador or Viceroy ?
It is difficult to see how, as Ambassador in Canberra , Harris would not seek to carry on this campaign  with Australian politicians on both sides and the powerful defence security elite in Canberra which is already so well locked into the US system. There is little evidence that Harris will be able to assist in getting the White House to understand Australian concerns on strategic as well as other important issues in our wider relationship. He will be very much a “Make The US Great Again” ( at all costs!)  ambassador.

Chinese Police Add Facial Recognition Glasses to Their Surveillance Arsenal
The sunglasses are connected to a handheld device that uses facial recognition software to compare who the wearer sees against a pre-loaded database packed with photos of 10,000 suspects. And it does so in just one tenth of a second. Many have also pointed out that the devices could lend themselves to racial profiling, and even more broadly, have the potential to infringe on citizens’ privacy.

A US-UK trade deal threatens to export the horrors of US corporate livestock production
Around 75% of the antibiotics used in the US are fed to farm animals. Our city is under siege, and we are knocking down our own defences. The EU and the UK are no paragons. The Guardian has revealed that both pork and chicken sold here are infected with resistant superbugs.

Tesla battery + solar enow significantly cheaper than greed power.
Analysis has shown that households are better off installing 5 kW solar and a battery rather than relying on grid only supply. South Australia’s consumers bought 20% less electricity from the grid in 2017 than they did in 2010. I imagine that by 2025 the amount will be at least 20% less again.
Battery storage leaves fossil fuels and regulators in state of intertia
Ever since the opening of the Tesla big battery next to the Hornsdale wind farm in South Australia last month, it is as though a new era has dawned for the management of Australia’s electricity supply. This is not just about flexibility, smoothing out renewables, or responding to peak demand and speed of response – it is also about grid security and grid stability. And it is causing a massive re-think. Here’s why:
Jay Weatherill to ramp up SA target to 75% 
South Australian premier also promises country’s first renewable energy storage target in a ‘rejection of the federal government’s approach’.

Venal Waster - the VW scandal
What if someone offered you a job which paid a million bucks, but you knew it would kill a million people? How about if it meant the end to a hundred thousand, or, say, ten thousand… or a thousand? Would you take the job?

Peak population
St Matthew Island by Stuart McMillen. In just 1 years the reindeer population ballooned from 29 to 1,350; within one year 98% were dead.

2018 Starts With “Record Lows In Arctic Sea Ice Extent”
Sea ice fell to its lowest level since human civilisation began more than 12,000 years ago. And as it melts, we enter a vicious circle: the more it melts, so the less heat gets reflected, so the more the planet warms. “We are losing sea ice in all seasons now.” Now, as in the past, the heating of the Arctic has the most profound consequences.

$16 Billion Bottled Water Industry's Predatory Marketing Practices
The industry spends billions of dollars per year convincing Americans that bottled water is safer than tap—even though more than two-thirds of the product comes from municipal water sources. The bottled water industry has an enormous environmental footprint, using about four billion pounds of plastic for packaging in 2016—which required an energy input equal to at least 45 million barrels of oil.

Nearly 60 industrial sites get green light to increase emissions, cancelling cuts by Coalition using public money
The regulator has signed contracts worth $2.25bn under the emissions fund, mostly with businesses that plan to plant trees and repair degraded habitat over the next decade. The idea is the vegetation will store carbon dioxide drawn from the atmosphere. But an analysis of data on the regulator’s website found the regulator had simultaneously allowed 57 industrial sites to increase emissions above their previous highest level. By 2030, emissions from large industrial sites were projected to be 30% higher than in 2005, and 16% higher than when the safeguard mechanism was announced four years ago.

Orangutang numbers in Borneo plummet by more than 100,000 in just 16 years 
This leaves "around 70,000 to 100,000" in the wild. From habitat loss and hunting "People frequently told me how good and sweet orangutang meat was"

11 Cities Likely to Run Out Of Water as ‘Day Zero’ Looms Near
Compiling a list of other countries that may soon suffer the same fate, the BBC suggests Cape Town is merely the “tip of the iceberg” when it comes to dwindling water supply and extreme drought.

How Israel’s secret services built the most robust assassination machine in history
at what point does violence in the name of self-defense become an end in itself, so addictive to its practitioners, who in time become so adept at its use, that it undermines the very values it is meant to preserve? 

The List Of Attackers The FBI Was Warned About But Still Failed To Stop
As more is uncovered about the FBI’s mishaps in handling persons of interest — such as Cruz — a list has been compiled by Grabien News that suggests the Valentine’s Day shooting isn’t the only one they’ve been tipped off about.
Gun violence summary 2014-2017