The John James Newsletter 241

posted Sep 4, 2018, 6:42 PM by Clement Clarke

The John James Newsletter  241

28 July, 2018

Your task is not to seek love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it
      Jalal al-Din Rumi

We have achieved the Orwellian prediction - enslaved, the people have been programmed to love their bondage and are left to clutch only mirage-like images of freedom, its fables and fictions, all linked together by vast electronic chains of television that imprison not their bodies but their minds, with their desires programmed, their tastes manipulated, their values set for them
     Gerry Spence

In the emerging multipolar order, Russia should be perceived as an essential element of any new global equilibrium, not as a threat to the US
      Henry Kissinger

Trump’s a realist. The most important thing for him is international equilibrium, and he cares nothing for human rights or democracy
      Marcel van Herpen

While globalisation and technology have opened up new opportunities and driven remarkable economic growth in previously struggling parts of the world, globalisation has also upended the agricultural and manufacturing sectors in many countries, greatly reduced the demand for certain workers, weakened unions and labor’s bargaining power. It’s made it easier for capital to avoid tax laws and the regulations of nation-states, and can move trillions of dollars with a tap of a computer key. The result has been an explosion in economic inequality and with disproportionate economic clout the rich possess wildly disproportionate influence on their countries’ political life and its media; on what policies are pursued and whose interests end up being ignored
      Barack Obama

The gist of the Sino-Russian tripolar model as embraced and embellished by Donald Trump, is a world of constant military and economic contention among three regional power centres, generating crises of various sorts, but not outright war, and assumes those three centres will cooperate on matters affecting them all
      Michael Klare

We should be living well, not living better the is always at someone else’s expense. Living better is at the expense of destroying the environment
      Evo Morales

To avoid dramatic climate system tipping points, the world needs to decarbonise very quickly and start drawing down the level of carbon in the atmosphere to 300 ppm, because it’s already unsafe at 410 ppm [increasing at 2 ppm CO2 pa]. In the past  when greenhouse levels were similar temperatures were 3–6°C higher and sea levels around 25–40 metres higher. Climate warming is now an existential risk to human civilisation
      David Spratt

A Global Heat Wave Has Set the Arctic Circle on Fire

From Japan to Sweden, and Oman to Texas, a global heat wave is setting records, igniting wildfires, and killing dozens all across the world this week. In Kyoto, Japan, Thursday marked the seventh straight day of temperatures that exceeded 100 degrees, breaking all known records for the ancient capital city. Temperatures reaching 90 degrees above the Arctic Circle this when Sweden is normally in the 60s and 70s. Heat domes — high-pressure areas that trap hot air and increase temperatures — are being blamed for these heat waves and they have become more common as the climate has warmed.     Read more
      Fires within the Arctic Circle 
Wildfires are ravaging parts of the Arctic Circle, and they’re big enough to see from space. The wildfires started in early June, and more than 50 have now cropped up in parts of Sweden inside the Arctic Circle, according to the European Space Agency, which has kept tabs on the situation with satellites from space.   Read more
     As World Busts Heat Records, Global Warming Could Be Twice as Bad as Climate Models Project
"The carbon budget to avoid 2°C of global warming may be far smaller than estimated. Two degrees can seem very benign when you see it on paper, but the consequences are quite bad and ecosystems change dramatically."  Warming of 1–2°C has caused land and ocean ecosystems as well as climate zones to shift toward the poles or to higher altitudes in a significant way.  Climate shifts could ramp up permafrost thaw, which "may release additional carbon dioxide and methane to the atmosphere, driving additional warming. The carbon budget to avoid 2°C of global warming may be far smaller than estimated."     Read more

Massive Wildfires Ravage Greece & Media Avoids The Words “Climate Change”
Massive aggressive wildfires have ravaged Greece, killing at least 74 people, destroying seaside resorts and sending people fleeing into the ocean. This is likely the new normal on a planet that is steadily heating up, creating dry and flammable conditions. And it’s not just common sense that tells us the increase in wildfires is due to climate change. Scientific studies have shown the same. However, out of numerous mainstream (corporate) media reports, I haven’t seen any that mention climate change or global warming. CBS didn’t mention it. Reuters avoided the obvious conclusion. BBC kept clear of the words “climate change” and “global warming” despite linking to a separate article on the “global heatwave.” Of course the Washington Post wanted nothing to do with it, and neither did The New York Times.    Read more
British farmers fear fire as heatwave creates 'tinderbox'
Wildfire is now an over-riding concern for many farmers, who are taking extra precautions to stop fires spreading as the hot spell continues. “It’s like a tinderbox out here,” says Lesley Chandler, looking down at parched fields where bleached-out grass struggles through baked, stone-hard earth. “Just a spark could set it all alight.” The picture is the same across much of Britain, as the long, hot spell of the last two months has made the first half of this summer, from the beginning of June to mid-July, the driest in the UK since records began.    Read more
Tropics expansion nudges cyclone formation into new areas
Tropical cyclones are forming further from the equator as the planet warms, bringing new regions into the zone of the intense storms including parts of eastern Australia. In most of the ocean basins, there appears to be a decrease in tropical cyclone formation closer to the equator, accompanied by an increase in formation further away from the equator. With projections indicating continued tropical expansion [with climate change], these results indicate that tropical cyclone genesis will also continue to shift poleward, potentially increasing tropical cyclone-related hazards in higher-latitude regions.    Read more
   1996986.pngFrom Climate Reanalyzer  Read more
On the Front Lines of Climate Change
Baltimore Lawsuit aims to hold 26 fossil fuel Companies accountable. "These oil and gas companies knew for decades that their products would harm communities like ours. They could have warned us. They could have taken steps to minimise or avoid the damage. In fact, they had a responsibility to do both, but they didn't, and that's why we are taking them to court," Davis added. "Baltimore's residents, workers, and businesses shouldn't have to pay for the damage knowingly caused by these companies. Taxpayers in Baltimore can no longer afford to foot the bill for damages knowingly caused by climate polluters, nor should they have to."     Read more
Government’s Own Data Shows US Interfered In 81 Elections
One example of that was US intervention in Serbia in the 2000 election. Milosevic was running for re-election, and US didn’t want him to stay in power there due to his tendency to disrupt the Balkans and his human rights violations. The US intervened in various ways for the opposition candidate, with funding, training and campaigning aide that was crucial in enabling the opposition to win. The US undertook an extensive, secret operation to ensure the presidency of Boris Yeltsin. And many many more.   Read more

BRICS and the Fiction of “De-Dollarization”
The BRICS New Development Bank was set up to challenge two major Western-led giants – the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. NDB’s key role will be to serve as a pool of currency for infrastructure projects within a group of five countries with major emerging national economies – Russia, Brazil, India, China and South Africa. More recently, emphasis has been placed on the role of China’s new Asia Infrastructure Investment  Bank, which, according to media reports, threatens to “transfer global financial control from Wall Street and City of London to the new development banks and funds of Beijing and Shanghai”.     Read more
Bacteria-Powered Solar Cell Would Work When Cloudy
Many bacteria convert sunlight to energy using photosynthesis, just like plants. They use special dyes to do this, and the dye compound varies by the species. The bacterial solar cells  can work in dim light conditions, which makes them useful for producing solar power in places with overcast skies, and also for deep-sea exploration and mining. Nor do they require expensive materials to make.    Read more
The four-day work week is good for business
After spending two months testing a 20% shorter week, a New Zealand company found its employees happier, more focused, and producing the same amount of work. Now they’re making the change permanent. Employees could work four standard days instead of five, but would be paid their usual salary. Newly released numbers from a study of the project, which lasted eight weeks, show that it worked. Workers’ sense of work-life balance went from 54% to 78%. Stress went down. And the missed hours didn’t affect job performance, which actually slightly improved.    Read more
What Every Environmentalist Needs to Know About Capitalism
For those concerned with the fate of the earth, the time has come to face facts: not simply the dire reality of climate change but also the pressing need for social-system change and the inability of the capitalist system to address the accelerating threat to life on the planet. Knowledge of the nature and limits of capitalism, and the means of transcending it, has therefore become a matter of survival. In the words of Fidel Castro in December 2009: “Until very recently, the discussion [on the future of world society] revolved around the kind of society we would have. Today, the discussion centres on whether human society will survive.” Climate change does not occur in a gradual, linear way, but is non-linear, with all sorts of amplifying feedbacks and tipping points. There are already clear indications of accelerating problems that lie ahead. If there is to be any hope of significantly improving the conditions of the vast number of the world’s inhabitants—many of whom are living hopelessly under the most severe conditions—while also preserving the earth as a liveable planet, we need a system that constantly asks: “What about the people?” instead of “How much money can I make?” This is necessary, not only for humans, but for all the other species that share the planet with us and whose fortunes are intimately tied to ours.    Read more
Earth's resources consumed in ever greater destructive volumes
To maintain our current appetite for resources, we would need the equivalent of 1.7 Earths. While ever greater food production, mineral extraction, forest clearance and fossil-fuel burning bring short-term (and unequally distributed) lifestyle gains, the long-term consequences are increasingly apparent in terms of soil erosion, water shortages and climate disruption.    Read more
Why Germans are angry about US spying
To many, it feels as if post-war German democracy’s nurturing elder brother, the US, turned out to be Big Brother (and, to add insult to injury, seems to think that there’s nothing wrong with being Big Brother). To understand German reactions, one needs to understand both why the surveillance of  Merkel’s cellphone was so sensitive, and why the German understanding of privacy is so different from that in the United States.    Read more
The ozone hole leaves a lasting impression on southern climate
The ozone hole has pulled the polar jet stream further south, increasing its strength. These winds isolate Antarctica and help to keep most of it cold as the rest of the world warms. This has prevented sea ice melt and rising sea-levels. By changing atmospheric circulation, the ozone hole modifies wind, rain and snowfall patterns across the Southern Hemisphere. The changing pattern and strength of winds has caused shifts in the regions that get plenty of rain or snowfall, and those that stay dry. For example, the tip of South America is getting dryer but further north there is more rain.   Read more
A welcoming Europe?
The arrival of over one million asylum seekers and migrants to Europe in 2015 exposed serious flaws in the EU’s asylum system. Parliament has been working on proposals to create a fairer, more effective European asylum policy. Here is the relevant data about the migrant crisis, who migrants are, what the EU is doing to get to grips with the situation, and what financial implications there have been.    Read more

A Snapshot of Chemicals in Doctors and Nurses
A survey of twenty physicians and nurses tested for sixty-two chemicals in blood and urine—mostly organic chemicals such as flame retardants and plasticizers—found that each had at least 24 individual chemicals in their body, and two had a high of 39 chemicals. All had bisphenol A [used to make rigid polycarbonate plastics used in water cooler bottles, baby bottles, linings of most metal food containers—and present in the foods inside these containers, kitchen appliances etc.], and some form of phthalates [found in many consumer products such as hair sprays, cosmetics, plastic products, and wood finishers], PBDEs [Polybrominated diphenyl ethers used as flame retardants in computers, furniture, mattresses, and medical equipment] and PFCs [Perfluorinated compounds used in non-stick pans, protective coatings for carpets, paper coatings, etc.].   Read more
207 environmental activists murdered in 2017
This is the highest total number since the group started tracking violence against “land and environmental defenders” around the world. Previous reports documented 185 murdered activists in 2015 and 200 in 2016. Latin America is still the most dangerous place on Earth to protest the destruction of the environment and violations of land rights, with 60% of the killings. Mexico saw a large increase from three to 15, and Brazil 57 murdered — the most deaths Global Witness has ever recorded over the course of one year in a single country.  48 defenders were killed in the Philippines last year, the most ever in any Asian country. In one incident, eight members of the Taboli-manubo community who opposed a coffee plantation on their land were murdered in a single attack.  Read more
Sanjeev Gupta: Coal power is no longer cheaper – and we'll prove it
The British billionaire investing in South Australia believes renewables are the future of energy, because it makes economic sense. The British billionaire who rescued the Whyalla steelworks from administration and is spending more than $2bn on clean energy and green steel developments in regional South Australia says most Australians are yet to grasp that solar power is now a cheaper option than new coal-fired electricity.    Read more
    Renewables cheaper than coal, says Gupta, “it’s obvious”
Even in a ‘neutral’ scenario renewables will overtake coal sometime in 2032, when coal declines from 68% to 22 of the NEM, and renewables grow from 24% to 72. And this unstoppable shift to renewables, and away from coal, is driven by the same set of economic factors that make Gupta’s case for solar and storage powered manufacturing in Australia a no-brainer.     Read more

What if plants could make their own fertilizer—from the air?
Applying vast quantities of fertilizer to cropland is a major culprit behind the fact that agriculture now contributes one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. But, what if we could bypass this problem in its entirety by engineering plants that produce their own fertilizer–directly from the air?     Read more
Global marine wilderness has dwindled to 13 percent
Few corners of the globe have been left untouched by shipping, mining and commercial fishing. Just 13 percent of the world’s oceans hold intact ecosystems and are free of these impacts — the team’s definition of marine wilderness. And of the remaining underwater wilderness, less than 5 percent is protected. Unlike our understanding of how wilderness has disappeared on land, “we had no real global map of where those locations are” in the ocean. The highest concentrations of wilderness appear at the poles and in the high seas. In effect, the challenge of getting through the sea ice around Antarctica and the Arctic and the vast distances that must be traveled to reach distant points in the open ocean have protected these areas.    Read more
Invisible Hands
Dark money is undermining our democracies, and it’s never darker than when channelled through lobby groups masquerading as think tanks A mere two millennia after Roman politicians paid mobs to riot on their behalf, we are beginning to understand the role of dark money in politics, and its perennial threat to democracy. Dark money is cash whose source is not made public, that is spent to change political outcomes.    Read more
Why I wept at the Russian parade
When the television cameras zoomed in on President Putin who was also marching, he was walking freely and open amid the thousands of citizens, holding a picture of his deceased father who had served in the war. Putin was surrounded not by bulletproof limousines that any US President since the assassination of Kennedy would have, were he even to dare to get close to a crowd. There were three or four presidential security people near Putin, but there were thousands of ordinary Russians within arm’s length of one of the most influential world leaders. There was no climate of fear visible anywhere. My tears at seeing the silent marchers and at seeing Putin amid them was an unconscious reaction to what, on reflection, I realised was my personal recognition how remote from anything comparable in my own country such a memorial march in peace and serenity would be today.   Read more

The joint Russian-Chinese project to undermine the unipolar world system was first set in motion when then-Chinese President Jiang Zemin conferred with then-Russian President Boris Yeltsin during a state visit to Moscow in April 1997. Restoring close relations with Russia while building a common front against US global dominance was reportedly the purpose of Jiang’s trip. “Some are pushing toward a world with one center,” said Yeltsin at the time. “We want the world to be multipolar, to have several focal points. These will form the basis for a new world order.”  As Trump's recent assaults on NATO and his embrace of the Russian president suggest, he is visibly seeking to create this tripolar world so zealously promoted by Vladimir Putin ever since he assumed office.
Trump’s grand balance-of-power policy
Trump knows the Mackinder heartland theory.  He understands that Russia is the core of the Eurasian landmass. That landmass, when politically united, can rule the world. A naval power, the US now as the UK before it, can never defeat it. Trump’s opponents do not get what Zbigniew Brzezinski, the National Security Advisor of President Carter, said in his book The Grand Chessboard about a Chinese-Russian alliance. They do not understand why Henry Kissinger advised Trump to let go of Crimea. Trump said “One of the worst things that can happen to our country, is when Russia gets driven to China. We have driven them together. That’s a horrible thing for this country. We have made them friends because of incompetent leadership." The US has done everything possible to antagonise Russia and at the same time it invited China into the WTO and thereby enabled its explosive economic growth. This unbalanced policy took its toll. The US lost industrial capacity to China and at the same time drove Russia into China’s hands. Trump wants to reverse this situation by developing good relations with Russia to separate Russia from China.    Read more  and   Read more
China’s policies spur Central Asians to cautiously chart independent course
China’s brutal crackdown in its north-western province of Xinjiang and growing questions about the dark side of some of its Belt and Road investments is fuelling anti-Chinese sentiment, prompting some countries to explore ways to chart an independent course, and supporting rising populist leaders.   Read more
Russia ditching US Treasuries for gold
Gold is a tangible asset that can not be completely depreciated under any circumstances. In periods of global financial or political crises, gold will be much more useful than securities or cash”. Russia's liquidation of its US Treasury holdings, has an impact on the dollar. If you sharply dump a large volume of securities on the market, then the dollar rate will be shaken, and the yield on treasure will soar.     Read more
This is fascinating, and I suggest you read it carefully to understand how the military don't have to account for what they spend, and why a modern fighter costs a third as much in Russia than in the US.
The Political Economy of the Weapons Industry
The military/security complex has woven itself so tightly into the American social, economic, and political fabric as to be untouchable. President Trump is an extremely brave or foolhardy person to take on this most powerful and pervasive of all US institutions by trying to normalize US relations with Russia, chosen by the military/security complex as the “enemy” that justifies its enormous budget and power.     Read more
Apartheid is official in Israel
The Israeli government, emboldened by total support from the Trump Administration and the total cowardice of the international community, has passed one of the most discriminatory, racist bills, the Jewish Nation State Bill. The vote was 62:55 with two abstentions. The bill categorically states that the State of Israel is for Jews only who have exclusive rights to self determination. The rights of 1.7 million Palestinian Israelis, 20% of the population and citizens of Israel since 1948, are now officially stripped of their rights.    Read more
    A humanitarian crisis in Gaza
Only food and medical supplies are now allowed into Gaza. The entry of all other items, including fuel, cooking gas, building materials, furniture, wood, electronics and fabric, has been halted, as all export.     Read more
    Gaza's sole power station closes, residents to have no electricity for 18 hours
Gaza requires 600 megawatts of electricity a day, but the power station, when it functions, provides only 120. Israel provides about another 120 megawatts, while Egypt supplies another 20. Jared Kushner called on Hamas to take concrete steps toward peace if it wants economic aid.     Read more

Facial Recognition Toll Booths Identify Drivers and Passengers, Notify Police Within Seconds  
This Facial Detection System for use in a free-flow highway environment, where vehicle movement is unimpeded at highway speeds as well as bumper-to-bumper traffic, and license plate images are taken and matched to occupants of the vehicles with Facial Detection and Recognition methods from a gantry-based or road-side monitoring location. License plates scanned at the toll plazas, at least, are already being checked for warrants, suspected felons, parole violators, terrorist suspects and  the intel is passed within five seconds on to cop cars stationed at the crossings. Roughly one in every two American adults—117 million people—are in the facial recognition networks used by law enforcement.    Read more
Map of Indigenous massacres in Australia
For hundreds of years, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have spoken about the murders of Indigenous tribes that occurred across the nation during frontier times. From 1788-1930 the map now includes 250 sites. The research team have been contacted by hundreds of Australians offering insights about where Indigenous groups were killed. It is growing as more verifiable information comes in. "You put all those together and you get a very distressing story … it is very confronting, it is very confronting work." Each marker on the map defines a massacre of six or more people, and includes several deadly attacks on settlers committed by Aboriginal tribes. Details of who were killed, the approximate location of the conflict and, in some cases, the motive and the perpetrators are included. "The massacres don't seem to stop, they continue well into the 20th century,"     Read more