John James Newsletter No. <56>

The John James Newsletter 55
17 April 2015

Politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don’t. . . . You have owners.
George Carlin,

Why more immigrants are dying in Mediterranean waters
A careful discussion of the failed state of Libya, the advantages IS is taking of the situation, the fear in Italy which gets most of its oil from Libya and the EU reaction to the deaths that is throwing European well-mannered affairs into disarray.

Ethiopia’s Economic Miracle Is Running Out of Steam
Ethiopia’s state-led development model has run its course and now faces diminishing returns. Many of the abuses associated with that model are galvanizing large segments of the population against the government.

Ethiopia’s Economic Miracle Is Running Out of Steam

Second Sydney airport to eclipse Mascot
Confidential maps reveal Badgerys Creek will rival JFK airport in size. Construction will require moving 100 million cubic metres of earth and could take 80m passengers per year by 2050. Rail costs not included in the estimate

Animals on the brink of extinction:
Maps reveal the countries with the most endangered mammals. Despite only occupying 1 per cent of the Earth’s land mass, Indonesia’s rainforests are home to 12% of mammal species. The region tops the list with the most threatened mammals and Madagascar is second, with 114, while Mexico is third with 101.


How America Became an Oligarchy
Using data from over 1,800 policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of the will of the majority. America’s political system has transformed to where power is wielded by wealthy elites.

Twitter moves non-US accounts to Ireland away from the NSA
Twitter Inc is governed by US law, it is obliged to comply with NSA-driven court requests for data, so data stored in Ireland is not subject to the same obligation.

Twitter moves non-US accounts to Ireland away from the NSA

Iran Is Winning the War for Dominance of the Middle East
We are witnessing a struggle for regional dominance between two loose and shifting coalitions — one roughly grouped around Saudi Arabia and one around Iran. Despite the sectarian hue of the coalitions, Sunni-Shiite enmity is not the best explanation for today’s regional war. It is a naked struggle for power.

Iran Is Winning the War for Dominance of the Middle East

It is hard to see how a deeply risk-averse China could step into a leadership role in any of the region’s fiery disputes.

Ruble on the rebound
The Russian ruble is outpacing all other currencies against the dollar. The 20% recovery this month stands in stark contrast to last year, when US officials smugly pointed to Russia’s plummeting currency as proof that Western sanctions against Moscow for meddling in Ukraine were working.

Ruble on the Rebound

The Dow when priced in the average blue-collar wage is now at an all-time high.
This means that it takes the typical worker more hours of sweat and labor to buy the Dow than ever before in at least the last five decades. Investing… saving money and trying to build wealth… is simply out of reach for the average guy.

Somebody show this chart to Jim Cramer

Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad S-300s?
The executive order issued by Putin, which lifts the ban on the export of weapons systems to Iran signals a significant shift in the geopolitics of the region.
S-400 missile defence strength doubled in Russia’s far east

Russia’s Missile Wall in Iran
There is a risk that should Israel or the US launch an attack on Iran once the S300s are in place and significant numbers of aircraft are lost, not only will the operation fail and an expensive and humiliating blow be dealt to the forces involved, but the veil of invincibility of Western military might, especially its airpower, will be lost forever. Could this trigger a cascade of rebellion the West has created primarily under the threat of military force?
Obama: US could ‘penetrate’ Iran S-300 defense system:
The US could penetrate any air defense system that Iran has.

US Intelligence: Houthis Are Not Iran Proxy
Iranian representatives discouraged Houthi rebels from taking the Yemeni capital… the rebels follow a different branch of Shiite Islam than Iran’s leaders and are believed to care more about corruption and the distribution of power than the spread of Shiite influence. “It remains our assessment that Iran does not exert command and control over the Houthis in Yemen, It is wrong to think of the Houthis as a proxy force for Iran,” a US intelligence official.

World on Fire: UN Helpless as Crises Rage in 10 Critical Hot Spots
The UN is fighting a losing battle against a rash of humanitarian crises in 10 of the world’s critical “hot spots.” Ban Ki-moon says even the UN’s 193 member states cannot, by themselves, help resolve these widespread conflicts. Last year the number of attacks on aid workers set an record at 460.

Imagine having a net worth of $57 billion.
That sounds like a lot. But not if you’re the US Federal Reserve.

Take a look at what they buried in this obscure report

Officer Under Saddam Hussein Drew Up Islamic State Master Plan
An ex-intelligence officer under the Saddam Hussein was “the strategic head” behind the IS and drew up the blueprints for the jihadists’ capture of northern Syria.

Deepwater Horizon Disaster: Five Years Later
Despite the dangers of drilling deep underwater, offshore drilling has only increased – there are 37 percent more wells since the spill and the average well is 40 percent deeper now than five years ago.

In Landmark Case, Dutch Citizens Sue Their Government Over Failure To Act On Climate Change
Public arguments are scheduled to begin Tuesday as nearly 900 Dutch citizens have filed a lawsuit against their government for failing to effectively cut greenhouse gas emissions and curb climate change. “We feel that there’s a shared responsibility for any country to do what is necessary in its own boundaries to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions as much as is needed.”

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