The John James Newsletter 244

posted Sep 4, 2018, 6:52 PM by Clement Clarke
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The John James Newsletter  244

18 August 2018

I think that in future people will look back on 2018 as the year when climate reality hit. This is the moment when people start to realise that global warming is not a problem for future generations, but for us now
      Johan Rockström

Some inconvenient truths:
The unemployment dropped 0.66% each year under Obama, and 0.33% under Trump.
Wages went up 0.25% each year under Obama, and they have declined by 0.25% under Trump.
The stock market rose 25% per year under Obama, and and only 15% under Trump.
Obama inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.  
Trump inherited the Obama Recovery.

       The Resistance

Global population estimates for end of century,
     9.1 billion in 2004
    10.8 billion in 2010
    11.2 billion in 2017
In thirteen years the UN increased the prediction by 2.1 billion, which was the whole world population in 1930. The magnitude of this change indicates ......

       UN population predictions

There is almost unanimous agreement among climate scientists that human beings have caused a dramatic increase in the amount of atmospheric carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide and that this is driving the unfolding and imminent climate catastrophe
       Robert J. Burrowes

Under globalisation, competition has increased dramatically, job security has become a thing of the past, and most people find it increasingly difficult to earn a liveable wage. At the same time cultural diversity is replaced by a consumer monoculture where people become increasingly insecure, and therefore easier to exploit and highly vulnerable to those who blame the cultural “other” for their plight
        Helena Norberg-Hodge

How many quarrels, conflicts and wars, and with how many adversaries, can even the mighty US sustain? A list of our adversaries would contain the Taliban, the Houthis of Yemen, Bashar Assad of Syria, Erdogan’s Turkey, Iran, North Korea, Russia and China - a pretty full plate. Are we prepared to see these confrontations through, to the total capitulation of our adversaries? What do we do if they continue to defy us? And if it comes to a fight, how many allies will we have in the battles and wars that follow? Was this the foreign policy we voted for?
       
Pat Buchanan

The injection of trillions of dollars into global financial markets and the accompanying ultra-low interest rate regime produced a bonanza for the very finance houses whose speculative activities set off the collapse and has since built a new financial house of cards
        Nick Beams

World is finally waking up to climate change
Report predicting spiralling global temperatures has been downloaded 270,000 times in just a few days. The scorching temperatures and forest fires of this summer’s heatwave have finally stirred the world to face the onrushing threat of global warming, claims the climate scientist behind the recent “hothouse Earth” report. it is economically and technologically feasible to make more drastic emissions cuts that can keep warming at 1.5C. What is unrealistic is to be on a trajectory towards 3C. Solutions exist, but they have to be adopted by the leadership of countries and companies.    Read more
What is the single most serious threat to the planet?
A sudden and huge pulse of methane out of the East Siberian Arctic Shelf originating from its extraordinarily shallow waters <50 meters, or a similar burst out of the Laptev Sea, where 53% of the seawater rests on continental shelf averaging depth of <50 meters. Those extraordinarily shallow waters expose vulnerability to global warming over miles upon miles of methane concentration, hydrates as well as free gas, believed to be the world’s largest. The vulnerability relates to methane in sediments capped by layers of permafrost left over from the last Ice Age. The permafrost cap is rapidly thawing as a result of the retreat of summer sea ice.
My follow up question was "What will be the impact of a 50Gt pulse?"
Dr Peter Wadhams' answer: “It would wipe out our civilisation within 5 years."     Read more
Here’s how many times you actually need to reuse your shopping bags
Researchers calculate greenhouse gas emissions, waste disposal, water and energy consumption and a variety of other impacts. What are the best replacements for single-use plastic bags? Given that reusable bags are much sturdier, how many times must we use them to compensate for their larger environmental impact? The simple answer is “life cycle assessment” can work out the impact of common types of reusable bags.     Read more
Capitalism killed our Climate momentum, not “Human Nature”
We humans really were on the brink of saving ourselves in the ’80s, but were swamped by a tide of elite, free-market fanaticism — one that was opposed by millions of people around the world. We have not done the things that are necessary to lower emissions because those things fundamentally conflict with deregulated capitalism, the reigning ideology for the entire period we have been struggling to find a way out of this crisis. We are stuck because the actions that would give us the best chance of averting catastrophe — and would benefit the vast majority — are extremely threatening to an elite minority that has a stranglehold over our economy, our political process, and most of our major media outlets.  The really inconvenient truth is that it’s not about carbon — it’s about capitalism.     Read more
Discussed by Naomi Klein in This Changes Everything: capitalism v. The climate   Read more
‘Father of the Web’ working on privacy-focused project called Solid
The intention of Solid is simple: decentralise the Web again so that it is controlled by users rather than corporations. Solid is an open source coding project which anyone can join and contribute code or ideas. “There are people working in the lab trying to imagine how the Web could be different. How society on the Web could look different. What could happen if we give people privacy and we give people control of their data. “We are building a whole eco-system.”    Read more
American elites have long had it in for the Islamic Republic
They have many reasons, but high on the list is a point of honour: years after it happened, they still want payback for “the hostage crisis,” the government supported humiliation that revolutionary Iranian students inflicted upon the American Empire in the final 444 days of the Carter administration. Nearly everything disappears down the memory hole in “the United States of Amnesia” – except affronts to American authority, which are never forgotten.     Read more
How the French protect nature
A French network of nature corridors is a success story in the fight against biodiversity loss. At the height of summer, France’s celebrated ‘green and blue belt network‘ — a network of nature corridors and reserves — will be teeming with amazing biodiversity such as European roe deer, Mediterranean horseshoe bats or beech marten. The network was established in 2007 to establish a joined-up ecological network that would ensure protection for biodiversity across Europe.    Read more
Halfway to boiling: the city at 50C
In a city at 50C, the only people in sight are those who do not have access to air conditioning. It is the temperature at which human cells start to cook, animals suffer and air conditioners overload power grids. Once an urban anomaly, 50C is fast becoming the city reality. The pavements are empty, the parks quiet, entire neighbourhoods appear uninhabited. Nobody with a choice ventures outside during daylight hours. Only at night do the denizens emerge into the streets – though, in temperatures that high, even darkness no longer provides relief. Uncooled air is treated like effluent: to be flushed as quickly as possible. School playgrounds are silent as pupils shelter inside. In the hottest hours of the day, working outdoors is banned. The only people in sight are those who do not have access to air conditioning, who have no escape from the blanket of heat: the poor, the homeless, undocumented labourers. Society is divided into the cool haves and the hot have-nots.     Read more
Crop failure and bankruptcy threaten farmers as drought grips Europe
Abnormally hot temperatures continue to wreak devastation across northern and central parts of the continent. States of emergency have been declared in Latvia and Lithuania, while the sun continues to bake Swedish fields that have received only 12% of their normal rainfall, about 50 wildfires rage. The abnormally hot temperatures – which have topped 30C in the Arctic Circle – are in line with climate change trends. If no rain comes soon, agricultural losses of up to £700m this year and widespread bankruptcies.     Read more

Farmers challenge Nationals' claim drought unrelated to climate change
Farmers  are ‘increasingly frustrated’ at the lack of action on climate change.      Read more
Worsening drought pushes farmers to the brink
“It’s terrible on the back of seven below-average rainfall years in a row, We can’t get over a string of really hot summers. With the sheer consistency of extreme temperatures, the rate of evaporating is so high. We don’t have any surface water left on our property.”     Read more
Australian droughts may be the worst in 800 years
Recent shifts in rainfall variability are either unprecedented or very rare over the reconstructed period. The two most striking patterns were in tropical northern Australia, which as been unusually wet over the past century, and southern Australia, which has been unusually dry.      Read more
IPCC's political surrender on 1.5°C will undermine its credibility
The coming report will use unwisely low assumptions about the Earth's climate sensitivity to pull a rabbit out of a hat: a carbon budget that from any sensible risk-management perspective simply does not exist. The political effect will be to say that the climate crisis is less bad than it is, and that we can "allow" more fossil fuel emissions. This is a scandalous outcome that may finish the IPCC as a credible and dispassionate compiler of climate science research.     Read more
How to get away with fraud: the successful techniques of scamming
So far this year, Australians have reported losing more than AU$76 million to all types of fraud, with phishing scams being the most prevalent. Given fraud has one of the lowest reporting rates, this is likely to be the tip of the iceberg.     Read more
Banks and Retailers Are Tracking How You Type, Swipe and Tap
When clients log in to their accounts, software begins recording more than 2,000 different interactive gestures. On phones, it measures the angle at which people hold their devices, the fingers they use to swipe and tap, the pressure they apply and how quickly they scroll. On a computer, the software records the rhythm of their keystrokes and the way they wiggle their mouse.    Read more
The Real Story of the Fake Story of One of Europe’s Most Charismatic CEOs
Very important about the power of fake news and what it can do. This is an actual case study. How governments all over the world are fashioning digital hate mobs to squelch dissent.       Read more
Global guide to state-sponsored trolling
Only a few years after Twitter and Facebook were celebrated as the spark for democratic movements worldwide, states and their proxies are hatching new forms of digitally enabled suppression that were unthinkable before the age of the social media giants, according to evidence collected from computer sleuths, researchers and documents across more than a dozen countries.   Read more
The global struggle between the people and the conservative elite is epitomised in what is happening in Australia right now. Gupta reflects what we all know in our hearts and daily lives: that we have to change our energy source, and that we have to do so quickly. We see the people installing solar as fast as they can while our conservative government undermines renewable energy and plans to build three more coal power stations.
The chasm between what the people know and how they are persuaded to vote is enormous - and for that we have to thank the capitalist system that protects assets and property against reason and the common good.
This titanic struggle - the global struggle - is now being acted out in Australia.

Gupta launches 1GW renewable plan at Cultana solar project
Gupta reinforced his goal to expand Australia’s manufacturing and heavy industry around a supply of cheap and reliable renewable energy. The contrast with the policy debate in Canberra, where the Coalition endorsed a National Energy Guarantee policy designed to ensure no new renewable energy is built over most of the next decade, could not have been more marked.      Read more
Coalition votes to kill renewables, encourage new coal generation
Coalition MPs embraced the promise by the Energy Security Board that the NEG – at its current emission reduction target – would ensure there would be zero investment in new large-scale wind, large-scale solar or large-scale battery storage from 2022 to 2030. That unprecedented investment drought will take Australia from one of the leading countries in the adoption of renewable energy to bottom of the pile.      Read more
Reports slam NEG as “renewables killer” designed for “short-term” politics
As the Turnbull government’s National Energy Guarantee prepares to try and clear another political hurdle this week, two new reports have emphasised the devastating impact the policy would have on renewable energy in Australia, and the negligible impact on emissions reduction.      Read more
The Age of Cretinism
There is no doubt that India is in a full-blown reactionary moment. It is hard to grasp the nature of this reaction because it wears the garb of deep democratic legitimacy; it is an admission of despair described as the politics of hope. All the attributes of a reactionary politics are now gathered in one coherent form. The question is which elements of this politics transcend political lines. what is happening to India today clearly explaining the danger, why it is so difficult to change and how the evil of it will most likely outlast the BJP even if it loses the next election. Not comforting at all, and a huge number of things he says apply to American politics as well as to the politics of fascism that seems to be spreading like wild fire in country after country.     Read more
America’s Militarized Economy
Donald Trump’s biggest success, thus far into his Presidency, has been his sale of $400 billion of US-made weapons to the Saudi Arabian Government. This sale alone is big enough to be called Trump’s “jobs plan” for Americans. It is also the biggest weapons-sale in all of history. It is 400 billion dollars, not 400 million dollars; it is gigantic, and unprecedented in world-history.     Read more

The global implications of the Turkish lira crisis
It is highly significant that the immediate spark for the lira crisis was the decision by the Trump administration to double the steel tariffs imposed on Turkey in an effort to force it to support US foreign policy and military objectives in the Middle East. Compromise and diplomacy has gone by the board under the “America First” agenda of the US administration. The US would have known the consequences of its Turkey intervention for European banks that had heavily invested in the country. But as far as Washington was concerned this may well have been regarded as an additional benefit under conditions where Trump has characterised Europe as a “foe” so far as economic relations are concerned.     Read more

How tax havens threaten Earth’s environment
Industries involved in deforestation and illegal fishing operations have strong ties to territories considered as tax havens.     Read more
Weeds growing in poor city areas are more nutritious than store-bought produce
The “urban food deserts”, are more than one to one-and-a-half kilometres from the nearest shop that sells fresh produce. Six different species were tested for nutrition content: chickweed (Stellaria media), dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), dock (Rumex crispus), mallow (Malva sylvestris), nasturtium (Tropaeolum majus) and oxalis (Oxalis pescaprae). All compared favourably to kale – arguably one of the most nutritious domesticated greens – for several nutrients. The wild greens boasted more dietary fibre, protein, vitamin A, sodium, calcium, iron and vitamin K, and provided more energy and wild mustard (Hirschfeldia incana) and wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum).     Read more

And I quote a letter from Lorna Salzman
We foraged and ate many of these on a regular basis, especially pokeweed. There is also dock, very common and easy to cook. Southern style “greasy greens” cooked with chicken or bacon fat or oil and water and garlic until the water is gone and the greens are soft is very good for either dock or pokeweed. Pokeweed needs to be boiled three times, with water poured off each time and refilled because it is slightly toxic. (The berries are dangerous).
Aside from that, I am not aware of any toxic weeds.
Nasturtium leaves are delightfully spicy, sort of like arugula. Catbriar shoots, when young, are also very nice steamed and served cold with oil and lemon. All are best when gathered very young in spring before the leaves are big. Dandelion greens are bitter and need re boiling three times also. However, dandelion CROWNS are fabulous! This is not the top of the plant but the white part just under the soil where all the individual leaves clump together. You have to pull up the whole plant and then trim off and wash the heart. Since it is white, it retains its sweetness and is not at all bitter. It is one of the most delicious wild plants but it takes work to dig up enough.
Then there are mushrooms….but it is best to stay away from them until you have studied and become familiar with the edible species. There are only a few poisonous ones (mostly Amanita), which Europeans sometimes confuse, with fatal results, with the Agaricus (common field mushroom sold in stores).
There are only a handful or two of really delicious mushrooms. Most are just OK or sometimes boring. Boletus are generally safe except for the purple ones. Get a good mushroom book and start doing spore prints and learning all the characteristics. There is NO general rule about poisonous and nonpoisonous mushrooms.
I love David Arora’s mushroom book, Mushrooms Demystified,  with wonderful photos and amusing descriptions. He writes mostly about west coast mushrooms but there are some families that are widespread. We learned about mushrooms originally from two large Czech books that had drawings instead of photos and full page descriptions. The Czechs are the big experts on mushrooms in Europe.
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