The John James Newsletter NO. <204>

4 November, 2017 John James Newsletter0

The John James Newsletter 204

4 November 2017

Hurricane Harvey may ultimately cost $180 billion, Irma may cost $65 billion, and Maria may ultimately cost $100 billion; add in the $85 billion for the California wildfires and the total cost may top $430 billion – all linked to climate change

Robert Scribbler

Now that efforts by the US military against al-Qaida are in their 12th year, we must ask ourselves how will this conflict end? War should not be forever, but a finite, extraordinary and unnatural state of affairs

Jen Johnson

We know that government is no longer the servant of the people but has become the people’s master. We have stood by like timid sheep while the wolf killed — first the weak, then the strays, then those on the outer edges, until at last the entire flock belonged to the wolf

Gerry Spence

Preventing a nuclear war between the US and North Korea may be the most pressing challenge facing the world right now. Our childish, ignorant, and incompetent president is shoving all of us ever nearer to catastrophe

Rebecca Gordon

Every minute our overstressed planet adds 145+ people every minute, which amounts to around 8,700 per hour, 208,000 per day, and 76 million per year—more than three times the population of Australia! At the current rate world population could double in 60 years

Population Clock

There is no such thing as a limited nuclear war. A full scale nuclear war between the US and Russia would lead to nuclear winter — a new ice age, killing most humans and and other complex life forms on earth. A nuclear war fought with just 1% of deployed, operational, nuclear weapons could lead to the deaths of close to 1 billion people from nuclear famine

Helen Caldicott

An open letter to the Right Hon. Malcolm Turnbull MP, Prime Minister of Australia from 200 Australian scientists in the medical, environmental and physical disciplines, as well as scholars in the humanities.  

Last call on the climate and nuclear twin perils

Over the course of 2016, the global security landscape darkened as the international community failed to come to grips with humanity’s most pressing existential threats, nuclear weapons and climate change. These twin perils are not unrelated. As the full horror of climate change unfolds, conflict among nations and peoples over diminishing liveable environments and disrupted food and water supplies will increase. Nuclear holocaust is a plausible component of a climate change endgame. We respectfully request you meet a delegation of scientists to discuss the issue. 

There Is a New Urgency to the Threat of Nuclear Annihilation

The real terrorists  are the US and Russia. They possess 94% of the nuclear weapons on the planet, and they hold the rest of the world hostage to their provocative and self-serving foreign policies and misadventures. As a result, we are closer to nuclear war now than we’ve ever been before, even during the height of the Cold War. Helen Caldicott writes “While we must be concerned about global warming it is imperative that we do not take our eyes off the nuclear threat. To do so is to risk sleepwalking to Armageddon.”

Global CO2 Levels at Highest in 3 Million Years

We know that, as climate change intensifies, the ability of the land and oceans to mop up our carbon emissions will weaken. There’s still time to steer these emissions down and so keep some control, but if we wait too long humankind will become a passenger on a one-way street to dangerous climate change. CO2 concentrations increased from 400 ppm in 2015 to 403.3 ppm last year. Data on C02 spanning approximately 800,000 years, shows the last time the planet had a comparable concentration was 3 to 5 million years ago, during the Pliocene, when the global temperature was 3°C warmer and sea level was about 66 feet higher than today. 

Here’s why the 2017 flu season was so bad

This was a busy flu year with H1N1 strains and different strains of flu B all circulating, sometimes in the same person at the same time. It’s normal for less than 60% of those vaccinated against the flu to develop a protective immune response. Over the past year, H3N2 mutated after it was chosen as a vaccine strain. Additionally, the egg-grown H3N2 vaccine virus strain changed during vaccine production. For both these reasons, the vaccine no longer matched what we faced. 

The Arctic is Changing the Jet Stream – This Is Important 

Global warming is increasing the strength of hurricanes. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapour and sea surface temperatures are rising. Both of these changes strengthen hurricanes. The narrowing temperature difference between the Arctic and lower latitudes is weakening the speed at which the jet stream circumnavigates Earth and may be making the jet stream more wavy. As the Arctic keeps warming, the jet stream is expected to become more distorted, bringing ever more heat and moisture into the Arctic. This constitutes a self-reinforcing feedback loop that keeps making the situation worse. 

Arctic and Antarctic Temperatures to Rise to 20-30 C Above Average in Some Locations

Under polar amplification, the warming effects of elevated greenhouse gasses are concentrated at the poles. This is due to reduced reflectivity (albedo) from smaller snow and sea ice concentrations, due to the increased intensity of the greenhouse effect in colder and darker regions and increased energy transfer from lower latitudes into upper latitudes due to weakening of the polar Jet Stream.

“Ecological Armageddon” Amid Waves of Heat and Climate Refugees 

We are already in the midst of the Earth’s sixth mass extinction event. Plant and animal species are the very foundation of our own food supply, are as endangered as our rapidly disappearing wildlife. “If there is one thing we cannot allow to become extinct, it is the species that provide the food that sustains each and every one of the seven billion people on our planet,” 

Death of the Birds and the Bees Across America

One-third of our total diet is dependent, directly or indirectly, upon insect-pollinated plants. The immediate threat comes from the widespread proliferation of commercial insecticides containing the highly-toxic neonicotinoids. They act on the central nervous system of insects. But also on bees and  small song birds. 

Seafood May Be Gone in 30 years

The loss of ocean biodiversity is accelerating, and 29% of the seafood species humans consume have already crashed. If the long-term trend continues, in 30 years there will be little or no seafood available for sustainable harvest.The increasing pace of diversity loss thus imperils the “ecosystems services” that many human populations depend on for survival 

Ocean Acidification Is Fatal To Fish 

Fish egg survival in one fish species drops with increased levels of CO2. Survival rates plummeting some 75% under 1000ppm. Considerable tissue damage and dead tissue in fish larvae. In experiments, this damage to internal organs was so extensive it lead to the death of afflicted larvae. 

Endless war will destroy us all

History shows that the US government earnestly believes military intervention and war can solve any problem. The US insisted it must invade Iraq because of lies about weapons of mass destruction that it knew did not exist. Then it had to de-Baathify and completely dissolve the Iraqi government. Then it needed a troop surge to fight militant resistance against its illegal military occupation. Then it had to carry out airstrikes against the extremist groups that emerged out of this militant resistance against its illegal military occupation. Then it needed to send more ground troops to combat the extremist groups it could not defeat with airstrikes. Then it had to carry out airstrikes in and send ground troops to another country thousands of miles away to combat the extremist groups that spread to a whole new continent. This process can and will only continue ad infinitum.

Tillerson and Mattis Justify Endless Wars of Aggression

The Trump administration “should not be time constrained” and “must not be geographically restricted.” Any congressional limitations on warmaking “embolden(s) our enemies”. Unjustifiably claiming “the President has the power under Article II of the Constitution to use military force in certain circumstances to advance important US national interests.” 

It is important we understand why Trump has removed most of the directors in the State Department and left it in the hands of an Exxon director. The State Department is the diplomatic wing of the federal government, with the primary job of promoting American foreign policy throughout the world. Doing so without the professional advice of its career diplomats can mean that the unfettered will of the chairperson rules, and that is dictatorship.

Leaked Document Shows Tillerson Power Play

“This says to me that they are developing a new foreign policy structure that is designed to largely ignore those who know these regions and who know these issues; a power grab by a small cabal of Tillerson aides. Making policy with a token effort to engage policy experts is a recipe for disaster and further evidence that the political forces in this administration will do anything they can to dismantle the State Department.” 

US masses ships and aircraft outside North Korea

US Defence Secretary James Mattis has again warned North Korea that the US is ready to obliterate the country of 25 million people unless it abandons its nuclear arsenal. The threat, backed by an unprecedented US military build-up in North East Asia, places the region and the world on the brink of a catastrophic war. US war plans are offensive, not defensive, in character. 

Tensions Mount In The Golan Heights Over Oil And Territory

The oil reserves under the Golan Heights may prove viable, adding one more complication to this region that is of vital importance to Israel as it is a critical buffer zone between Syria and Israel. 

Capitalism Exacerbates the Vulnerability of “Extreme Cities” to Climate Change 

Today’s big cities are ground zero for the impacts of climate disruption, at risk of floods, cyclones and heat waves. There is a precariousness to urban life in the face of climate change-induced disasters like Hurricane Sandy. After Sandy, endemic subway delays from heavy rain would no longer seem like mere temporary inconveniences, but rather prologues to a permanently drowned New York City. We wait anxiously for the next superstorm, fearing that the efforts of officials to prepare the city will turn out to be inadequate. 

The Fall of the House of ISIS

Having seized much of Europe and parts of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany reached the peak of its expansion by the fall of 1942. Then, stopped at Stalingrad and unable to overwhelm Britain, the Nazis began to fall back, and the war turned into a race between the Soviet troops marching from the east and the Allied soldiers surging from the west. The Islamic State likewise reached its peak expansion in mid-2014 when it controlled large chunks of Iraq and Syria. It has experienced a rise and fall even more precipitous than the Nazis’. By mid-2016, a mere two years later, it had already lost 45% of its territory in Syria and 20% in Iraq. 

Buying fresh potatoes and carrots all year round is destroying Australia’s soil

Consumers’ expectations that certain types of produce will always be available mean that farmers must engage in unsustainable and destructive practices. In winter, during seasonal rainfall peaks, the combination of wet earth and heavy machinery results in severe soil compaction and soil structure degradation that can last for decades. This reduces the soil’s fertility and ultimately reduces crop yields. 

The One Paragraph You Need to Read From The JFK Assassination Files Changes Everything

President Kennedy was killed in Dealey Plaza by crossfire, meted out by shooters firing from multiple directions, from both the front and behind — therefore, he was felled by a conspiracy, by definition. The windshield bullet hole evidence, all by itself, proves a conspiracy; and its clumsy and unsuccessful suppression, all by itself, is proof of a government cover-up since the government controlled all of the windshield evidence. The facts contained in this tale prove that we had a coup in America in 1963, and that powerful and influential people were still covering it up

Reflections on how little is revealed by just-released JFK assassination documents

It matters because the murder of President Kennedy was not only a conspiracy but a true coup d’etat. The powers behind it, did not only come away with it, but took control over the new government and orchestrated the cover-up. These powers included some of the highest elected officials like president Lyndon Johnson and later presidents, FBI director J. Edgar Hoover, former CIA director Allen Dulles, John McCloy and Arlen Specter. It matters because a coup d’etat that was successfully kept secret in a democratic country means, by default, that succeeding governments were illegitimate.

What Happened to the JFK Records?

Most news reports correctly noted the release of about 2,800 documents, but added that only a few were held back, in some cases saying “300 documents” remain withheld (see CNN, and Washington Post for example). They are off by a factor of 100. In fact, tens of thousands of documents, possibly as many as 30,000, remain sealed at the National Archives. 

China Could Soon Overtake the US in AI Development

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the US would soon lose the AI race to China. A combination of restrictive immigration and lack of investment in AI is making it difficult for the US to maintain its lead. China plans to become the world leader in AI by 2030. They are going to use this technology for both commercial and military objectives, with all sorts of implications.

Julian Assange speaks about AI controlled Facebook propaganda

Julian Assange is providing a great heroic service to the entire world. The fact that he is under siege by those who bring harm to humanity, reveal the wounds he has given. Bribery, blackmail and intimidation, have turned bad and immoral politicians into dangerous tools, that may bring terrible times to good people’s children and grandchildren

Yale ‘Decolonizes’ English Dept. After Complaints Studying White Authors ‘Actively Harms’ Students

“A year spent around a seminar table where the literary contributions of women, people of colour, and queer folk are absent actively harms all students, regardless of their identity.” 

Give them memories

Most, if not all, our schools are run like prisons. The school is owned by an entity, maybe the state or private; most American prisons today are privately owned and run for profit. Prisons have a set of professionals who run them, called Jailor. In the case of schools, they are called Teachers. Children are admitted into the school just as prisoners are admitted into prison. And their entire existence in the system is characterised by one overwhelming reality; lack of autonomy. Just like the existence of prisoners in a jail. They enter at a designated time and must serve their term and can’t leave until that time is over. The gate shuts behind them and they can’t open it. What they do is totally regulated and this is informed to them by bells or buzzers. We believe that young adults including their teachers can’t be trusted to keep to time limits but must be rudely awakened by ringing bells. Students can’t eat, sleep, play, talk or even go to the toilet without asking permission.

Do we really want a war with Russia?

Russia’s hypersonic Zircon anti-ship missile reaches eight times speed of sound 

Hypersonic weapons are missiles and aircraft capable of reaching speeds of Mach 5 and more – or five times the speed of sound. They are extremely difficult to intercept due to their overwhelming speed and manoeuvring capabilities. Hypersonic technologies in general, used in weapons systems and prospective aircraft, are a game changer in future warfare. 

Netanyahu Is Leading Trump to War with Iran

Israelis are busy manufacturing Holocaust-level predictions that a non-nuclear Iran is preparing to ‘vaporize’ Israel.  The buffoonish US President has swallowed this fantasy wholesale and is pushing our nation toward war for the sake of Israel and its US-based supporters and agents. We will cite ten recent examples of Israeli-authored policies, implemented by Trump in his march to war (there are scores of others). 

Whyalla steel city goes green with 1GW of solar and storage

UK billionaire Sanjeev Gupta has made good on his commitment to transform his newly acquired Australian steel business into a renewable energy powerhouse, announcing massive investments in solar and storage that will knock 40% off his electricity costs with a 1 gigawatt (1,000MW) of dispatchable renewables in and around Whyalla.

World’s First Hydrogen-Powered Tram Up and Running in China

The tram refills within 15 minutes and can run for 40 kilometers at a maximum speed of 70 km per hour consuming 2 kilograms of hydrogen. 

Italy To Phase Out Coal By 2025

Coal accounted for roughly 30% of the electricity generated in the UK in 2014, the year before its government made its own announcement to phase out the fossil fuel by 2025. In 2016 that figure had fallen to 9%, and on April 21st  the UK had its first 24-hour period without coal-fired power generation since shortly after the Industrial Revolution.

Devolution Everywhere: Spain, Italy, Britain And The Problems Of Complexity

At first complexity works well to solve problems. Later in the life of a society, complexity—a new bureaucracy here, another layer of complexity in the infrastructure there—continues to work but with diminishing returns. Finally, a society now used to solving its problems successfully with greater and greater complexity is blinded by this success and cannot see the point when the returns turn negative. The key is that the returns from complexity are not evenly distributed. And, when such returns go negative, those implementing the changes that increase complexity—usually the people in power—may, in fact, benefit while the majority suffer. And, the negative returns may not just be economic. They may also have to do with status, the workings of justice, public safety, and any number of other civic functions.

Where’s the Urgency? UN Slam US Emergency Response to Puerto Rico

“With winter approaching, we call for a speedy and well-resourced emergency response that prioritises the most vulnerable and at risk—children, older people, people with disabilities, women, and homeless people.” While nearly 70% of Puerto Rico remains without power six weeks after Hurricane Maria devastated the island, eleven United Nations human rights experts have issued a joint statement decrying the “absence of adequate emergency response” by the US. “We can’t fail to note the dissimilar urgency and priority given to the emergency response in Puerto Rico, compared to the states affected by hurricanes in recent months. Thousands of people are displaced, with homes destroyed, and without any relief in sight,” Close to 2.8 million people, continue to live without electricity. Few hospitals are functioning. There are allegations that the water available—for those who have access to it—may be contaminated. 

Amid devastation, Tesla begins restoring power in Puerto Rico

Current estimates suggest 80% of Puerto Rico is still without power, but thanks to Elon Musk’s efforts at least one children’s hospital has been able to turn the lights on. Energy storage company Sonnen has shipped its storage systems to the island and is distributing them to emergency medical facilities first.

The Agrifood Atlas: How Corporations Are Tightening Their Stranglehold On People’s Food

The dramatic impacts of the global food system being rapidly monopolised by ever-fewer, ever-larger corporations at every stage of the food chain. This alarming trend poses risks to consumer choice, jobs and working conditions and food production in the future, with less consumer choice and risk to future food production.

For graphs: 

Wind Power Set a New Renewable Energy Record in Europe

Thanks to a powerful storm that passed over Europe last week, wind energy provided nearly 25 percent of all power in the EU on 28 October. With numerous existing and new wind projects in the EU, this record should be only the beginning.

When Afghan Mothers Speak, The World Must Listen

One-third of the population lives below the poverty line (earning less than $2 a day) and a further 50% are barely above this. Much of the suffering voiced was common: most of the women had to support their families as they moved from house to house, not being able to come up with the rent for a more permanent space, and many women experienced severe body pains from chronic stress.

Afghanistan’s Painful, Never-Ending War Takes A New Bad Turn

A long and conflictual history that we should remember. The last person to conquer Afghanistan was Alexander, and he did not stay long.

Three US carriers Are Now in Pacific Amid Tensions with North Korea 

The USS Nimitz, USS Roosevelt, and USS Reagan are all Nimitz-class aircraft carriers.—109778021 

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