The John James Newsletter 221

posted May 17, 2018, 1:35 PM by Clement Clarke
The John James Newsletter 221

24 March 2018 

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Those with no sides and no causes. Those who don't like to make waves-or enemies. Those for whom freedom, honour, truth, and principles are only literature. Those who live small, mate small, die small. If you keep it small, you'll keep it under control. If you don't make any noise, the bogeyman won't find you. But it's all an illusion, because they die too, those people who roll up their spirits into tiny little balls so as to be safe. Safe?! From what? Life is always on the edge of death; narrow streets lead to the same place as wide avenues, and a little candle burns itself out just like a flaming torch
Sophie Scholl   

This is an ecological catastrophe: our French countryside is becoming a desert. Birds are disappearing because the insects they depend on for food have been eradicated by pesticides
Vincent Bretagnolle

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
    Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me  
Martin Niemoller

When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history
James Comey

This is a "heavy" issues with vital matters that you need to have a grip on. It takes a lot of space to refine these entries to their essence, and remarkable that there should be three urgent issues coming to the fore in the one week, but that too may be a reflection to the times we are living in.
   Firstly, the impending war in Syria with the US, UK etc setting out to block Iranian influence and partition the country. How will the Russians react? This is of extraordinary danger.
   Secondly, the infamous use of gratuitous Facebook and targeted Google data to influence major elections and the Brexit decision. If we wonder at the unexpectedness of some popular decisions, we now know where too look.
   Thirdly the mounting abomination of plastic junk that can be stopped only by making plastics too expensive to use, and taxing the living daylights out of it.

The Russian Military Warns: a Major War in Syria Is Imminent
Washington’s plan includes the goal of partitioning Syria in such a way that a large chunk of it would remain under the control of the US-led coalition. The Americans are already assembling municipal councils on the lands east of the Euphrates River. This area must be retained at any cost in order to ensure that Washington has a say in the future settlement of this war-torn country, otherwise all the hard work put in so far will go down the drain, undercutting America’s global standing and diminishing its clout in the Middle East. Losing Syria would be tantamount to suffering a major defeat in its confrontation with Iran, which it considers its arch-enemy. 
    The plans include a rollback of Russian forces. Syria is the right place to do that. If the Russian military is openly warning the world of an imminent strike, that is a serious threat. And it does not look like a one-strike operation. This time we’re in for something much more serious — a large-scale operation to “contain” Russia, beat back Iran, win the support of the rich oil-exporting Arab nations and make them pay huge sums for American weapons, and show the world the US is omnipresent and adamant in its desire to dictate its will. 
    There are warships deployed by US Navy in the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Persian Gulf. They are ready to launch roughly 400 long-range Tomahawks against a target in the Middle East on any given day. Sea-launched cruise missiles were used to strike Syria in April. Anything that is at all related to the military operations on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean is hush-hush information, but it’s an open secret that the strategic bombers based there can launch at least a hundred cruise missiles and then use other high-precision munitions in a follow-up attack. On average, one bomber carries 20 AGM-86 ALCMs. Five bombers are believed to be normally stationed on this island that is off-limits to inquisitive outsiders. This means that at least 500 cruise missiles can be fired on short notice. 
    The US-controlled Al-Tanf military base, adjacent to the Iraqi border. This facility is prominently featured in NATO’s war planning in Syria. It blocks the corridor linking Iran to Lebanon via Syria and Iraq. The size of the deployment — about 2,300 troops accompanied by tanks and helicopters — is too significant just to be intended to fight Islamic State militants who are already on the run.
Syria Preparing for a Major US Military Attack
Russian troops have already been deployed to 'critical locations' to deter Washington.  letters were sent to Russia and Iran to request additional protection.

Trump’s election consultants filmed saying they use bribes and sex workers to entrap politicians
Senior executives at Cambridge Analytica – the data company that credits itself with Donald Trump’s presidential victory – have been secretly filmed saying they could entrap politicians in compromising situations with bribes and Ukrainian sex workers.  “… we just put information into the bloodstream of the internet, and then, and then watch it grow, give it a little push every now and again… like a remote control. It has to happen without anyone thinking, ‘that’s propaganda’, because the moment you think ‘that’s propaganda’, the next question is, ‘who’s put that out? …Many of our clients don’t want to be seen to be working with a foreign company… so often we can set up fake IDs and websites, we can be students doing research projects attached to a university, we can be tourists, there’s so many options we can look at. I have lots of experience in this.”

With such Orwellian control of attitudes, even if its targeting "only" the 20% more vulnerable, no elections are worth a damn.  On this scale it turns enough people into zombie-voters to sway the process of gaining power into a charade. Freedom will disappear, as in Orwell’s Oceaniawhose residents are victims of perpetual war, omnipresent government surveillance and public manipulation. 
This is as serious as it gets, my friends!

Here’s Why That Recent Abuse of Facebook Data Matters
The short version: Cambridge Analytica used a quiz app to scrape data such as users’ identities, their friend networks, and likes from millions of Facebook users. Users inadvertantly gave consent by agreeing to the user conditions in the app. The company later used that data to build targeted political ads for Donald Trump’s political campaign
Cambridge Analytica was offered politicians' hacked emails
The data analytics firm that worked on the Donald Trump election campaign was offered material from Israeli hackers who had accessed the private emails of two politicians who are now heads of state. Hired by a Nigerian billionaire to support the re-election of Goodluck Jonathan, Cambridge Analytica was paid an estimated £2m to orchestrate a ferocious campaign against his rival. 
Cambridge Analytica Uncovered: Secret Filming Reveals Election Tricks

50 million Facebook profiles harvested for Cambridge Analytica in major data breach 
Whistleblower describes how firm linked to former Trump adviser Steve Bannon compiled user data to target American voters. How Cambridge Analytica’s algorithms turned ‘likes’ into a political tool to build a system that could profile individual voters, in order to target them with personalised political advertisements.
‘I made Steve Bannon’s psychological warfare tool’
Working with a whistleblower who helped set up Cambridge Analytica, he lifts the lid on the data analytics firm that helped Donald Trump to victory. The company is currently being investigated on both sides of the Atlantic. It is a key subject in two inquiries in the UK - by the Electoral Commission, into the firm's possible role in the EU referendum and the Information Commissioner's Office - and one in the US, as part of special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Trump-Russia collusion.

Behind the Facebook data scandal lies the drive to censor the Internet
In his CNN interview, Zuckerberg pledged to redouble Facebook’s efforts to combat the efforts of “folks trying to sow division.” He said the company would “do a better job of tracing and using AI tools to be able to scan and observe a lot of what is going on"  Facebook now employs 15,000 people working on security and content review, and that this number would rise to 20,000 by the end of the year. This amazing admission means that, based on the company’s employee headcount of 25,000 most of the company’s employees are engaged in reviewing and censoring user content. From a company nominally dedicated to helping users share information and learn about the world, Facebook is being transformed into an instrument of police repression and censorship. The media is working to create the political climate for the further implementation of mass censorship on the world’s largest social media platform.

Facebook gave data about 57bn friendships to academic 
Facebook provided the dataset of “every friendship formed in 2011 in every country in the world at the national aggregate level” to Kogan’s University of Cambridge laboratory for a study on international friendships published in Personality and Individual Differences in 2015. Between June and August of that year, GSR paid approximately 270,000 individuals to use a Facebook questionnaire app that harvested data from their own Facebook profiles, as well as from their friends, resulting in a dataset of more than 50 million users. The data was subsequently given to Cambridge Analytica.

The great Pacific garbage patch may be SIXTEEN times as massive as we thought
A pooling of plastic waste floating in the ocean between California and Hawaii contains at least 79,000 tons of material spread over 1.6 million square kilometers, researchers. That’s the equivalent to the mass of more than 6,500 school buses. Known as the great Pacific garbage patch. Almost half of the total mass, for example, is from discarded fishing nets. A lot of that litter contains especially durable plastics, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, which are designed to survive in marine environments.

Plastic and how it affects our oceans
"No-one in their daily life within a period of 10 minutes isn't touching something that is made of plastic," It's used in everything from the keyboard or pen you are using, to your glasses or contact lenses, the Teflon on your frying pan, and the banknotes in your wallet. It's in your clothes, phone, car, mattress, and TV screen.

The Implications of Russia's New Weapon Systems
What happened on March 1st this year with the announcement and demonstration of new Russian weapons is not asymmetry, it was an acknowledgement of the final arrival of a completely new paradigm in warfare, military technology and, as a consequence in strategy and operational art. Old rules and wisdom have ceased to apply. The United Sates was not and is not prepared for this, despite many real professionals, including in the US itself, warning about the new unfolding military-technological paradigm and a complete American myopia and hubris in anything military related. 
Maps Show Why Russia Developed New Nuclear Weapons Systems
How NATO/USA has eaten away at Russia's defences by separating one country after another from her fold. Its very instructive and gives reason for not trusting current views on Putin.

Why the UK, the EU and the US Gang-up on Russia
Western regimes believe they can topple Russia via economic warfare including sanctions. In fact Russia has become more self-reliant and has diversified its trading partners, especially China, and even includes Saudi Arabia and other Western allies. The Western propaganda campaign has failed to turn Russian voters against Putin.
Three attempts by terrorists to use chemical weapons in Syria thwarted during one week

Everyone Comes From Somewhere
Don Arbor's tender and poignant lyric and melody 'Everyone Comes From Somewhere' is a song to save the Dreamers, who have lived here since childhood. This is the legacy of the United States.

The Long-Term Goal of "Janus" Is to Take Out Unions 
One of a network of corporate and conservative organizations with a thought-out plan to redraw the country's legal/political landscape more to their liking, including draining unions of their remaining power and influence. With a  Janus victory Seven million public-sector employees who pay between $4 billion and $8 billion a year in dues — a third of them will quit. Now try funding the Democratic Party without union dues — good luck.
Dont think this is only in America: what they do we have seen May and Turnbull copy
Behind Janus: Documents Reveal Decade-Long Plot to Kill Public-Sector Unions
A small group of people have bankrolled a series of lawsuits to end what they call “forced unionization.” They say they fight in the name of “free speech,” “worker rights” and “workplace freedom.” In briefs before the court, they present their public face: carefully selected and appealing plaintiffs like Illinois child-support worker Mark Janus and California schoolteacher Rebecca Friedrichs. The language they use is relentlessly pro-worker. Behind closed doors, a different face is revealed. Those same people cheer “defunding” and “bankrupting” unions to deal a “mortal blow” to progressive politics in America.

Sign the petition if you don’t want the American way with guns.
Stop the Gun Lobby
Peter Dutton is looking at handing the keys to gun regulation to gun corporations. Our gun laws have kept our communities and our children safe for decades. We can't let Dutton take us down the path of American gun violence. 

What "Industroyer" teaches us about critical infrastructure attacks
In April, the Shadow Brokers hacker group opened access to a National Security Agencyarchive containing exploits and attack tools. At first, Shadow Brokers tried to sell their archive. Later, most of it was published. The data that was made public included exploits for network equipment and routers, for banking systems, for UNIX-like systems and for various versions of Windows. Some of the vulnerabilities published were previously unknown zero-day vulnerabilities.

This is great news.
Wheat in heat: the 'crazy idea' that could combat food insecurity 
Following four years of trials, which saw thousands of wheat varieties tested in the unforgiving sub-Saharan heat, scientists have successfully turned what was first thought of as a “crazy idea” into a vital new food crop. With more than 1 million smallholders living along the Senegal River basin, which also runs through Mali and Mauritania, it was an important strategic area to trial the wheat. The strain of wheat can withstand constant 40C temperatures,

The Right Way to Remember Rachel Carson
Not until the end of her life did she write the work for which she is now known. Before then, she had always thought of herself as a poet of the sea. “Silent Spring” is no slouch of a book: it launched the environmental movement; provoked the passage of the Clean Air Act (1963), the Wilderness Act (1964), the National Environmental Policy Act (1969), the Clean Water Act and the Endangered Species Act (both 1972); and led to the establishment of the Environmental Protection Agency, in 1970. The number of books that have done as much good in the world can be counted on the arms of a starfish. Still, all of Carson’s other books and nearly all of her essays concerned the sea.

Climate Change Could Force Over 140 Million to Migrate by 2050: World Bank Report
More than 140 million people in just three regions of the developing world are likely to migrate within their native countries between now and 2050. The World Bank examined three regions, which between them account for 55% of the developing world’s population.

Big Auto Freaks Out as Tesla Model 3 Deliveries for Q1 Track Toward 8,000 to 10,000
The major automakers are increasingly in a bind. They’re faced with a choice — keep investing in dirty energy vehicles that pollute the air, the water and wreck the climate, jump feet first into the EV revolution, or play both sides. And it’s this dichotomy that’s producing some rather freaky behavior.

China’s Belt and Road Funding Terms Spark Criticism
Steep commercial terms for China’s investment in infrastructure projects across Eurasia related to its Belt and Road initiative may give it control of key ports and other assets as recipients of Beijing’s largess find themselves trapped in debt. Yet, that comes with a risky price tag: potentially rising anti-Chinese sentiment, questioning of Chinese intentions, and a tarnishing of the image China is seeking to cultivate. Cynically dubbed debt-trap diplomacy, multiple countries along China’s Belt and Road risk financial crisis. The Washington-based Center for Global Development recently warned that 23 of the 68 countries involved were “significantly or highly vulnerable to debt distress.”

MBS is kicking a dragon and he knows it.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has led an effort to sweep out the Muslim Brotherhood from teaching and leadership positions in elementary, middle and high schools as well as colleges and universities. The stakes of his fight with the Brotherhood could not be higher. If MBS succeeds, Saudi Arabia returns to pre-1979 roots, with movie theaters, women in the workplace, and features of a modern developing country. If MBS fails, he will be killed by the Brotherhood and Saudi Arabia will become more repressive than ever. The global stakes of MBS's internal fight with the Brotherhood are large, too. If the crown price wins, nearly all Saudi funding for violent Islamic radicals ends — and if he dies, it grows to new heights. His "Vision 2030" is the biggest planned change in any country since Turkey's Ataturk or Singapore's Lee Kuan Yew. With America's encouragement, Saudi Arabia could lead a regional transformation that would be truly historic.

Russian Scientists Explain 'Novichok' - High Time For Britain To Come Clean
But Porton Down did not agree with the British government to claim that the supposed nerve agent was "made by Russia." It only agreed to the compromise formulation "of a type developed by Russia" i.e. it could have been made anywhere. 
The bogus “spy poisoning” case, and the transparent corruption of the British establishment
‘Skripal case is a carefully-constructed drama’
Of a Type Developed by Liars: The Evolving “Novichok” Nerve Agent Saga
Porton Down scientists are not able to identify the nerve gas as being of Russian manufacture, and have been resentful of the pressure being placed on them to do so. Porton Down would only sign up to the formulation “of a type developed by Russia” after a rather difficult meeting where this was agreed as a compromise formulation. 

$100 Billion Chinese-Made City Near Singapore 'Scares the Hell Out of Everybody'
A decade ago, Malaysia decided to leverage Singapore’s success by building the Iskandar zone across the causeway that connects the two countries. It was modeled on Shenzhen, the neighbor of Hong Kong that grew from a fishing village to a city of 10 million people in three decades. 

Why did people who were getting all the advantages of a battery-based state power grid vote to deny themselves such security?? 
Marshall’s first promise as SA premier: Kill Tesla battery plan
It’s an extraordinary start for the new Liberal government – promising to ditch a private initiative that would provide loans to low-income households in favour of a $100 million government subsidy that would be out of reach of those households most in need of it.
Liberals take office in South Australia with a minority vote
Increasingly frustrated voters are unable to find within the capitalist political order any answers to the pressing issues they confront—declining living and working conditions, widening social inequality, deteriorating social services and the rising danger of global warming. Parties like Xenophon’s, Bernardi’s, Hanson’s and Lambie’s have sought to divert the mass popular hostility and resentment in nationalist and xenophobic directions. Yet they have failed to win sustained support. Their rises and falls have highlighted the instability of the existing political system.
Google sets up “news initiative” to censor political opposition and promote mainstream media
Google announced Wednesday that it is partnering with the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Financial Times and other major news outlets to reinforce their monopoly over news coverage by blocking independent news organisations.

Nearly Every Member of Trump's Wildlife Advisory Board Is a Trophy Hunter 

Scientists have established a link between brain damage and religious fundamentalism
Since religious beliefs play a massive role in driving and influencing human behavior throughout the world, it is important to understand the phenomenon of religious fundamentalism from a psychological and neurological perspective. Since religious fundamentalism involves a strict adherence to a rigid set of beliefs, cognitive flexibility and open mindedness present a challenge for fundamentalists. The data suggests that damage to certain parts of the brain promotes religious fundamentalism by suppressing both cognitive flexibility and openness.

After 20 years of uneasy peace, the forest wars are back 
The environmental reality of climate change, and the economic threats it poses, are not always seen clearly by the public. Yet it’s the experts and scientists who are pointing this out that get attacked. That’s what’s happened with climate change, and now it’s happening on native forest logging.  So what’s she still fighting for? “Scraps. Scraps of valuable forests that have not been logged yet … there’s so little left.”

Stephen Hawking's final legacy
Professor submitted research paper TWO WEEKS before he died revealing how we can detect other universes and predicting the end of the world. The multiverse is a theory that our universe is just one of many others out there caused by the Big Bang. Hawking and his co-author Thomas Hertog wrote the paper on his deathbed titled A Smooth Exit from Eternal Inflation. It details how we may be able to detect other universes using a spaceship and predicts that our universe will fade into darkness when the stars run out of energy.

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