The John James Newsletter 224

posted May 17, 2018, 1:39 PM by Clement Clarke
The John James Newsletter 224

14 April 2018 

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My heart trembles when I reflect that God is just
Thomas Jefferson 

There is something fundamentally wrong with treating the Earth as if it were a business in liquidation
 Herman Daly

The habitual modus operandi is: subvert a weak country, accuse it of human rights violations, impose economic sanctions, trigger riots and militarily intervene to defend “democracy”, “freedom” and “self-determination.” That’s the political recipe
South Front

All it will take from is one bullet fired at a Russian or US coalition soldier, one shell landing in the wrong place, one self-serving lunatic from the many factions in the theatre of the Syrian conflict to carry out what could be misinterpreted by another lunatic. America has clearly decided. France has decided. Britain is seemingly hesitating. Within days, Syria could determine the outcome of many things, not least, if East and West head into full-blown conflict, an outcome that could be far worse than we have ever seen before.

World May Hit 2 Degrees of Warming in 10-15 Years Thanks to Fracking
Leaking methane from the shale gas fracking boom could make burning fracked gas worse for the climate than coal. The cumulative impact of American fracking appears to have set the entire world on a collision course with climate change's most extreme effects. The climate is changing faster and more dramatically than it might have otherwise, and — far from serving as a bridge fuel — fracking huge amounts of natural gas has already played a significant role in pushing the world toward a vastly more difficult future.
Why a half-degree temperature rise is a big deal 
With a jump from 1.5 to 2C heat waves would last around a third longer, rain storms would be about a third more intense, the increase in sea level would be approximately that much higher and the percentage of tropical coral reefs at risk of severe degradation would be roughly that much greater. At 1.5C tropical coral reefs stand a chance of adapting and reversing a portion of their die-off in the last half of the century, but at 2C, the chance of recovery vanishes and tropical corals are virtually wiped out. And the Mediterranean area is forecast to have about 9% less fresh water at 1.5C while at 2C, that water deficit nearly doubles. So does the decrease in wheat and maize harvest in the tropics. On a global scale, production of wheat would increase with a 1.5C partly because warming is favourable for farming in higher latitudes and partly because the added C02 could have a fertilization effect. But at 2C, that advantage disappears entirely, while pests and pathogens may spread more rapidly at higher temperatures. Above certain temperature thresholds, corn doesn't die but it doesn't grow seed.

Gulf Stream current at its weakest in 1,600 years
Warm current that has historically caused dramatic changes in climate is experiencing an unprecedented slowdown and may be less stable than thought - with potentially severe consequences that would see western Europe suffer far more extreme winters, sea levels rise fast on the eastern seaboard of the US and would disrupt vital tropical rains. The new research shows the current is now 15% weaker than around 400AD, an exceptionally large deviation. During the last ice age, some big changes in Amoc led to winter temperatures changing by 5-10C in as short a time as one to three years, with major consequences.

Facebook CEO presents plans for mass censorship at Senate hearing
Since the 2016 election, Zuckerberg said, the company had undergone a transformation. “We need to make sure they are used for good” by “policing” the Facebook “ecosystem.” These AI tools will be used to identify accounts that spread “fake news,” and they have helped the company “proactively remove tens of thousands of accounts before they could contribute significant harm.” 
Does that mean my Newsletter gets removed because some government thinks our real news might cause "significant harm"? This is an Orwellian world in the making.
Does Facebook Know You Better Than You Do?
What makes you tick, who you know, where you go, even where you might end up. The information you share in your profile is a mere snippet of what Facebook and its partners really know about you. 

Iran Struggles with Potentially Explosive Environmental Crisis
Like Syria, Iran has been confronting a drought that has affected much of the country for more than a decade with precipitation dropping to its lowest level in half a century. Environmental concerns have figured prominently in protests in recent years, often in regions populated by ethnic minorities like Azeris, and Iranian Arabs. Demonstrators in the province of Isfahan last month clashed with security forces after they took to the streets to protest water shortages. The protest occurred some three months after Iran was wracked by weeks of anti-government demonstrations. The protest was the latest in a series of expressions of discontent. 

Antarctica Saw More Snowfall Over Past 200 Years. Sounds Like Good News … But It’s Not
that more snow means faster sea level rise. More snow piling up on Antarctica’s ice exerts pressure, recent research shows, which speeds up the rate at which ice flows off Antarctica and into the ocean. (Remember: ice on Antarctica is on land, unlike the sea ice floating at the north pole. That means when ice melts off Antarctica, it’s like dropping a whole bunch of ice into an already-full glass. 

What is being missed in the discussion? That we have less than a week’s supply of petrol in the country, and with the Middle East being so unstable we could find ourselves prostrate without supplies. Only the electric car can safeguard our people and our way of life no matter what happens in the Persian Gulf.
Australia debates value of electric vehicles while China pushes ahead
In 2017, 652,000 plug-in battery cars were sold in China, up 59%, or almost half of worldwide sales. Chinese electric vehicle sales are expected to grow another 40% this year, to 1 million vehicles. But the Chinese government wants to go further, with a goal of 5 million electric vehicles to be produced domestically each year by 2020.

Cambridge Analytica bosses claimed they invented 'Crooked Hillary' campaign, thus won Trump the presidency
"We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign, and our data informed all the strategy," 
How to check right now if Cambridge Analytica has got your data
An estimated 87 million people had their data shared. You can now check immediately if your account was affected

Moscow confronts London with 14 questions on ‘fabricated’ Skripal case 
Moscow has denied all accusations, decrying them as a “provocation,” and demanded proof from the British side. However, London refused to cooperate with Russia on the case, denying its consular staff access to Russian citizen Yulia Skripal and turning down the request to provide a sample of the toxic substance in question. All they want is to blame and punish.

Portugal reaches 100% renewables, ends fossil fuel subsidies
Portugal’s renewable energy sources generated enough power to exceed total grid demand across the month of March, a new report has found, setting a standard that is expected to become the norm for the European nation. The new record coincides with the move by the Portuguese government, last Tuesday, to suspend annual subsidies of around €20 million for guaranteed power supplies paid to producers – most of which goes to fossil fuel plants left in stand-by mode.

Google Officially Hits Its 100% Renewable Energy Target 
The tech giant’s renewable energy purchases met—and even exceeded—the amount of electricity used in its operations last year.
Apple is now completely powered with renewable energy
The achievement covers all the different parts of Apple's operations: its shops, offices and data centres, which are spread across 43 different countries. And it is gradually encouraging more of its suppliers to do the same thing, 

Vegans, You’re doing it wrong: How to get people to eat less meat
Are the words ‘vegan’ and ‘vegetarian’ helpful or harmful to the quest to reduce society's ravenous meat consumption? Gregg Sparkman is a PhD student in social psychology at Stanford University who specialises in the study of how to get people to eat less meat. In this interview he takes us through the many fascinating (and often counter intuitive) dynamics of what it takes to get people to eat less meat.

What if mayors rule the World? 
The Global Parliament of Mayors believes the world is ready for City States to replace the Nation States that are failing to act. Find out more in this TedX talk with the award-winning mayor of Mannheim who is also vice chair of the Global Parliament of Mayors. The critical place to determine your future is located. Regarding global demographic trends, our future lies in urban areas. He is convinced, to master the global challenges like climate change or civil conflicts and the effects which emerge from it, we need to act on a local level.

US retrains ISIS and ISIS-like jihadists in east Syria and re-brands them 'democratic forces’ 
Evidence has emerged that the US is retraining jihadist militants in east Syria and re-branding them as 'democratic forces.' After many, many months of complaints by Russia a video released by the Deir Ezzor-based opposition media outlet Euphrates Post has confirmed it. The video is the centrepiece in a puzzle of otherwise vague information that has been leaked about US intelligence activities in east Syria over the last year.

Assad had no reason to launch chem attack, unlike those who want US involvement 
What drives the US to keep entrenching in Syria, that the "ulterior goal" is to contain Iran. "It's been Iran for a long time, and it has a lot to do with Saudi Arabia and Iran. I think that's the number one," he said, adding that tensions between Sunnis and Shia are part of the conflict.
Any US Strike Will Lead to Escalation
The alleged 'gas attack' in east Ghouta likely never happened. A video shows a number of presumably dead kids in a basement or dark apartment. Another video shows an undamaged yellow gas cylinder which, we are told, was dropped from some unseen helicopter and crashed through a concrete roof. We do not know when or where these videos were made. The Russians said they will respond to any severe US attack with a strike against US missile launching platform - be they jets or ships.

Microplastics may enter freshwater and soil via compost
Plastic pollution is as prevalent in land and freshwater ecosystems as it is in the oceans, where it’s found “from the equator to the pole”. Plastic “is seen in the high Arctic, where we suspect it comes down in rain. We know it’s in drinking water, in our seafood and spread on our agricultural fields,” Composting waste is heralded as being good for the environment. But it turns out that compost collected from homes and grocery stores is a previously unknown source of microplastic pollution,

Smartphones are warming the planet far more than you think
Among devices, smartphones will be worse for the environment. By 2020, their carbon footprint will exceed that of desktop computers, laptops, and displays, the study shows. Greenhouse gas emissions of ICT often fly under the radar. If anything, the industry is “often highly praised for enabling efficiencies that help reduce other industry sectors’ footprint,” A smartphone’s energy cost comes from production. Making a phone accounts for 85–95 percent of its annual carbon footprint because manufacturing its electronics and mining the metals that go into them is energy-intensive. Smartphone emissions will go up from 17 to 125 megatons of carbon dioxide equivalent between 2010 and 2020. 

The Bolton-Pompeo Package
This week John Bolton assumes the job of national security advisor. Given that a key function of that position is to ensure that the bureaucracy provides the relevant options and most accurate information to the president before major national security decisions, it is hard to think of anyone more ill suited to that duty. Bolton’s method of policy formation has been to try to bully any part of the bureaucracy that does not subscribe to his personal agenda and bully away any part of the truth that does not serve his objectives. Bolton has never met a war or prospective war he didn’t like. 

Lawyers and Victims’ Families File Petition for Federal Grand Jury Investigation 
The Twin Towers: “The Lawyers’ Committee has reviewed the relevant available evidence . . . and has reached a consensus that there is not just substantial or persuasive evidence of yet-to-be-prosecuted crimes related to the use of pre-planted explosives and/or incendiaries . . . on 9/11, but there is actually conclusive evidence that such federal crimes were committed.”

Documents Detail What Shell Knew About Climate Change Decades Ago
And reaffirm that fossil fuel companies have been—and always will be—bad actors, Environmental advocates say the documents—which bolster an investigative report published last year—demonstrate the "stunning" immorality of oil and gas companies. The records are expected to aid global efforts to hold the industry to account for its contributions to global warming.

China has the 'financial arsenic' to ruin the US - but will it use it?
China has little to gain and much to lose from irate and impulsive gestures. Its deep interests are better served by seeking out the high ground - hoping the world will quietly forgive two decades of technology piracy - and biding its time as Mr Trump destroys American credibility in Asia. The US president is a strategic gift if handled carefully. He is so ignorant and fundamentally shallow that he might even be induced to hand over Taiwan in exchange for a face-saving frippery on trade. That truly would be the "art of the deal". For China.

A State-Sponsored Mass Shooting
Israeli army sharpshooters and snipers have shot over 1,000 unarmed Palestinian protesters inside the Gaza Strip in the past week, killing more than 30 people. This past Friday, at least sixPalestinian journalists were reportedly among those shot at the Great Return March. One of them, Yasser Murtaja, a photographer for “Ain Media” who was reportedly wearing a helmet and vest clearly marked “PRESS” when he was shot, later died of his wounds.

The New “Long War”
Think of it as the most momentous military planning on Earth right now. Who’s even paying attention, given the eternal changing of the guard at the White House, as well as the latest in tweets, sexual revelations, and investigations of every sort? And yet it increasingly looks as if, thanks to current Pentagon planning, a twenty-first-century version of the Cold War (with dangerous new twists) has begun and hardly anyone has even noticed. The Pentagon has officially announced that that long war is drawing to a close and a new long war has begun, a permanent campaign to contain China and Russia in Eurasia. 
The End Of The “Wars On The Cheap” For The US
US strategists, mostly from Special Ops, developed “war on the cheap.” First, the CIA funds, arms and trains local insurgents; next, US Special Forces embed with the insurgents as front line soldiers who direct close support aircraft to strike enemy forces; finally, enough aircraft are deployed in and around the combat zone to support 24 hour combat operations. The objective is to provide overwhelming firepower advantage to friendly insurgents. US and “coalition” forces then advance until they come under fire and, unless they rapidly prevail, they call in airstrikes which result in a huge BOOM!!! – followed by the enemy’s annihilation. The process repeats as necessary for easy, cheap victories over outgunned enemies. 

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