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By inflating Islamic extremism, David Cameron has lost sight of what really threatens us.

By George Monbiot Tuesday 21st July 2015.

Find Article Here:-

The real ‘struggle of our generation’ is not terrorism – in fact, that’s way down on the list.

Ben Jennings illustration

Illustration by Ben Jennings

Sir Winston Churchill’s statue in Parliament Square should be removed to a museum. All busts and portraits of the great man in parliament and the prime minister’s residence should be taken down and placed in storage. Why? To discourage his successors from slipping their tiny feet into his shoes.

Churchill was right when he claimed, in June 1940: “Upon this battle depends the survival of … our own British life.” Those who have borrowed the sentiment are in most cases wrong. The Taliban, al-Qaida, Saddam Hussein, Isis, Islamic extremism: none of these were, or are, existential threats to the life of this country. But all are inflated until they appear to be so, invested with almost supernatural power by prime ministers hoping to be cast in bronze. This inflation, as we discovered in Iraq, has consequences.

On Monday, David Cameron maintained that confronting Islamic extremism is “the struggle of our generation”. We must pursue this struggle in the spirit with which we “faced down Hitler”. Yes, Islamic extremism is real. Yes, it creates genuine problems and presents genuine threats. But to claim it as the struggle of our generation suggests a total collapse of perspective.

In terms of mortal risks to people in this nation, it might rank among the top 50, but that’s probably stretching it. Diet, smoking, alcohol, loneliness, the slow collapse of the NHS, child poverty, air pollution, traffic accidents, lack of exercise, even the wrong kind of bedroom slippers are likely to kill far more people in this country than Islamist terrorists will manage.

All (except the last) should demand more resources and political effort than are deployed to confront Islamic extremism. In the longer term, climate change, antibiotic resistance, soil loss and nuclear proliferation by states (including our own) are orders of magnitude more dangerous. But a Churchillian struggle against an identifiable enemy is grander and more glamorous than the battle against faceless but much greater threats. It is also politically less costly, as it offends the interests of neither corporations nor billionaires.

This is not the only sense in which Cameron’s claim is presumptuous. What, in his mouth, does “our” generation mean? “It cannot be right,” he said in the same speech, “that people can grow up and go to school and hardly ever come into meaningful contact with people from other backgrounds and faiths.” That’s true – and it applies as much to Eton as it does to faith schools in Birmingham. On social media, Cameron’s Bullingdon Club photograph is circulating, attached to another quote from his speech: “There are people born and raised in this country who don’t really identify with Britain – and who feel little or no attachment to other people here.”

There’s serious intent behind the joke. The former Republican analyst Mike Lofgren, disgusted with what his party had become, said this about the economic elite in the US: “The rich disconnect themselves from the civic life of the nation and from any concern about its wellbeing except as a place to extract loot. Our plutocracy now lives like the British in colonial India: in the place and ruling it, but not of it.” We suffer the same curse: a ruling class whose wealth lies offshore, and which identifies more readily with a transnational elite than with the other people of this nation. On behalf of this elite, the government now gives away £93bn a year in corporate welfare: a sum bigger than the deficit. It champions the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, a graver threat to the interests of this nation than Islamic extremism presents.

A failure to tax property effectively has fuelled a rise in house prices so severe that entire English regions are becoming almost uninhabitable to the poor. When Cameron warns that “there is a danger in some of our communities that you can go your whole life and have little to do with people from other faiths and backgrounds”, he could have been talking about posh parts of London or villages in the Cotswolds or the Chilterns rather than estates in Bradford or Oldham. Segregation in this country is primarily along economic not religious lines, but you can look in vain for a government policy to address it. The benefits gap the government has just tightened will drive the poor out of ever wider areas of England.

And if, as Cameron suggests, there’s a generation in this country engaged in an epic struggle, it’s certainly not his. Young people have been systematically disadvantaged by government policy – especially the latest budget – as both their benefits and the fruits of their labours are transferred to their seniors. Again, there’s a dangerous segregation developing here between the young, excluded from the living wage, housing benefit, university maintenance grants and any hope of buying a home, and elderly people with their rising pensions, winter fuel payments, property banks and new tax breaks. The government seeks only to widen the gap.

For perspective, you must look elsewhere. A global survey published last week by the Pew Research Centre found that while the people of North America, Britain, Australia, Japan, France and Germany see Isis as the greatest threat they face, most of the countries surveyed in poorer parts of the world – Africa, Latin America and Asia – place climate change at the top of the list. Even in Turkey (where, as the bombing on Monday suggests, the terrorist group is a real threat), more people said they were “very concerned” about climate change than they did about Islamic State. The nations least threatened by Isis rank this risk the highest. This is media-driven madness, an epidemic of transcontinental paranoia that governments are happy to foment and exploit.

Men such as Cameron, Tony Abbott in Australia and Stephen Harper in Canada won’t engage in generational struggles with real existential threats – climate breakdown first among them – for fear of alienating their sponsors. They have learned all the wrong lessons from Churchill’s legacy, seeking to invest themselves with belligerent glory while forgetting his ability at crucial moments to place the interests of the nation above the interests of his class.

So, as Hitler is reborn with a thousand faces, a new “struggle of our generation” emerges every six months, and all around us existential crises are ignored.

  • A fully referenced version of this article can be found at Monbiot.com.
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Categories: Environment, Government

The Truth About Climate Change.

By Kit Daniels  17th January 2015.

What’s really going on?

The Truth About Climate Change 011715polarbearzoo

Man-made “climate change” is largely a myth promoted by politicians to scare the public into accepting a vast expansion of government to supposedly stop “global warming.”

Global warming is a manufactured problem played up by the government to instigate a public reaction – fear – the government then exploits to offer a predetermined solution: the expansion of government at the public’s expense.

This strategy, now known as the Hegelian Dialectic, has been used successfully by politicians for millennia to expand government, which can only grow at the expense of individual liberties.

The Bush administration used the strategy successfully in 2003 when it gained enough public support for the invasion of Iraq by claiming the country had weapons of mass destruction, and the war ultimately expanded the military-industrial complex and America’s emerging police state.

Today “global warming” is used as the bogey man because it allows the United Nations to scare the world’s population into believing “man-made climate change” is too big of a threat for their country to handle alone and thus it can only be “defeated” through the expansion of the U.N. at the expense of their nation’s sovereignty.

And state-funded scientists are given thousands and even millions of dollars to help promote the myth of “global warming” by fitting their data into the fearmongering agenda.

“This was viewed as the most likely to succeed because it could be related to observable conditions such as smog and water pollution – in other words, it would be based partly on fact and, therefore, be credible,” G. Edward Griffin wrote in his book The Creature from Jekyll Island. “Predictions could be made showing end-of-earth scenarios just as horrible as atomic warfare.”

“Accuracy in these predictions would not be important; their purpose would be to frighten, not inform.”

And the latest claim that 2014 was the hottest year on record certainly rejected accuracy in favor of fear.

“Any temperature claim of ‘hottest year’ based on surface data is based on hundredths of a degree hotter than previous ‘hottest years,’” Marc Morano of Climate Depot reported. “This immeasurable difference is not even within the margin of error of temperature gauges.”

“The claim of the ‘hottest year’ is simply a political statement not based on temperature facts; ‘hottest year’ claims are based on minute fractions of a degree while ignoring satellite data showing Earth is continuing the 18-plus-year ‘pause’ or ‘standstill’ [in warming.]”

The standstill he refers to can be found in Remote Sensing Systems satellite data that shows there has been no significant rise in global temperature since Oct. 1996, which is more than half the 36-year satellite record.

And this pause in warming could last at least another decade.

“The Great Pause is a growing embarrassment to those who had told us with ‘substantial confidence’ that the science was settled and the [climate change] debate over,” climate analyst Lord Christopher Monckton wrote. “Nature had other ideas.”

Irony: 1,700 Private Jets Descend on Davos Economic Forum to Discuss Climate Change.

By Adan Salazar  21st January 2015.             Find Full Article Here:-

Living embodiment of “Do as I say, not as I do”.

Irony: 1,700 Private Jets Descend on Davos Economic Forum to Discuss Climate Change jet12

World leaders traveling to this year’s Davos Economic Forum in Switzerland will reportedly board about 1,700 private jet flights to reach their destination, where ironically the topic of how to tackle “climate change denial” will be discussed.

The annual globalist confab of power brokers, economists, journalists, world leaders, pop stars and titans of industry meets through Friday to flesh out various issues they believe to be affecting the planet.

One of the items on the agenda: “How can we tackle climate change denial?,” a problem threatening the implementation of a carbon tax scheme long in the works.

Oblivious to the irony, forum attendees from all over the world booked tens of hundreds of flights into Geneva, collectively spending hours polluting the airways.

“Roughly 1,700 private flights are expected over the course of the week, which is twice as many as normal, according to WINGX Advance, a tracking firm,” CNN Money reports.

A June 2008 Institute for Policy Studies report, entitled, “High Flyers: How Private Jet Travel is Straining the System, Warming the Planet and Costing You Money,” (.pdf) revealed “An hour of flying in a private jet burns as much fuel as an entire year of driving.”

“Four passengers flying in a private Cessna Citation X from Los Angeles to New York will each emit 8,892 pounds of CO2 into the atmosphere. This is more than five times as much CO2 emitted by a commercial air passenger making the same trip,” the report added.

“Don’t worry. I’m sure these will be non-polluting private jets powered by carbon offsets and unicorn magic,” jests FrontPageMag.com’s Daniel Greenfield. “They will not in any way add to the heat death of the earth. Unlike you, toting your groceries home in a plastic bag in the back on an SUV.”

Among this year’s meeting attendees is none other than climate change advocate, multi-millionaire and former vice president Al Gore, whose name has become synonymous with the ongoing effort to convince humans we’re the primary cause of global warming, a stance many non-establishment scientists largely contradict.

Genetically modified wheat is in the works again, but are we ready for it?

Published: January 15th, 2015.       Find Full Article Here:-

At the heart of Monsanto’s global research operation is a structure with a rather ordinary name. But on the fourth floor of Building GG is a room where the future of wheat may be changing.

The facility has dozens of rooms just like it. But inside this particular 10-foot by 20-foot growth chamber — whose mirrored walls and sun-bright lamps can imitate the weather of any U.S. field — is a batch of young wheat plants.

They’re part of an intensive effort to use breeding and gene manipulation to make a new kind of wheat. The plants represent several years’ worth of work aimed at creating a plant that’s resistant to a trio of herbicides.

The research has the attention of supporters and critics alike.

The supporters tout the work being done at the Chesterfield Village Research Center as critical to feeding a growing global population, while the critics say the world isn’t ready for the genetic modification of a dinner table staple.

For Creve Coeur-based Monsanto, it is an expensive and time-consuming quest. It costs $150 million or more to add just one new genetic trait to a seed. Add a long development timeline — including field trials and regulatory approvals — and it could be another decade before the company is ready to put its new wheat seeds in farmers’ hands.

“People think we’re being coy about it. But we really don’t know,” said Claire Cajacob, director of the company’s wheat research.

It takes a combination of traditional breeding and genetic enhancement to mate the ideal plant with the right genetic sequences to arm it with the ability to shrug off the herbicides dicamba, glufosinate and glyphosate — Monsanto’s signature weedkiller sold as Roundup.

To get there, researchers will sift through hundreds of thousands of plants.

“You have to find the one plant that’s going to be the parent of every other seed out there,” Cajacob said.

The funny thing (though the company probably sees no humor) is that this isn’t the first time Monsanto has sought the perfect wheat plant. They found it before.

———

A decade ago, the agriculture giant was on the verge of seeking regulatory approval for a Roundup-Ready version of hard red spring wheat, typically used for bread flour.

But in May 2004, Monsanto halted the program, citing changing market conditions. It was clear that growers — worried about consumer backlash — weren’t ready.

“There was massive opposition,” said Bill Freese, a GMO critic and science policy analyst for the Center for Food Safety.

It didn’t take long, however, before wheat farmers grew tired of watching neighbors switch to more profitable corn and soybeans — both having seen greater yield increases fueled by stronger breeding programs and genetic modifications. By 2006, the number of U.S. acres planted with wheat had dropped to 57 million, down from 75 million a decade earlier. Soybeans, on the other hand, surged from 64 million to 75 million during the same period, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“We came to the conclusion that we had to do something,” said Paul Penner, president of the National Association of Wheat Growers. “It’s no fun raising wheat if you are making a loss on it.”

So in 2008, the group asked its members if they were ready for GMO wheat.

A survey went to 21,000 growers in the organization. A third of them answered, with 76 percent saying yes.

The change of heart should not be surprising, said Jason Lusk, an agriculture professor at Oklahoma State University and a supporter of GMO wheat.

“They can see some of the benefits that other groups have enjoyed,” Lusk said. “Why deny producers the choice?”

With many wheat growers now clamoring for the same seed enhancements enjoyed by soybean and corn farmers, Monsanto changed course again.

In the summer of 2009, the company revived its wheat program and grabbed the raw seed materials needed by its scientists, spending $45 million on WestBred, a Montana wheat breeding company.

Greenpeace apologises to people of Peru over Nazca lines stunt.

December 11, 2014 2 comments

By   11th December 2014.         Find Article Here:-

Culture ministry says it will press charges against activists for damage to world heritage site as UN climate talks began in Lima.

Greenpeace's 'time for change' message next to the hummingbird geoglyph in Nazca.
Greenpeace’s ‘time for change’ message next to the hummingbird geoglyph in Nazca.

Greenpeace has apologised to the people of Peru after the government accused the environmentalists of damaging ancient earth markings in the country’s coastal desert by leaving footprints in the ground during a publicity stunt meant to send a message to the UN climate talks delegates in Lima.

A spokesman for Greenpeace said: “Without reservation Greenpeace apologises to the people of Peru for the offence caused by our recent activity laying a message of hope at the site of the historic Nazca lines. We are deeply sorry for this.

“Rather than relay an urgent message of hope and possibility to the leaders gathering at the Lima UN climate talks, we came across as careless and crass.”

Earlier Peru’s vice-minister for culture Luis Jaime Castillo had accused Greenpeace of “extreme environmentalism” and ignoring what the Peruvian people “consider to be sacred” after the protest at the world renowned Nazca lines, a Unesco world heritage site.

He said the government was seeking to prevent those responsible from leaving the country while it asked prosecutors to file charges of attacking archaeological monuments, a crime punishable by up to six years in prison.

The activists had entered a strictly prohibited area beside the figure of a hummingbird among the lines, the culture ministry said, and they had laid down big yellow cloth letters reading “Time for Change! The Future is Renewable” as the UN climate talks began in Peru’s capital.

“This has been done without any respect for our laws. It was done in the middle of the night. They went ahead and stepped on our hummingbird, and looking at the pictures we can see there’s very severe damage,” Castillo said. “Nobody can go on these lines without permission – not even the president of Peru!”

Peruvian authorities are also seeking the identity of the archaeologist who led the activists to the site and the plane from which the photos of the stunt were taken, he said. “It was thoughtless, insensitive, illegal, irresponsible and absolutely pre-meditated. Greenpeace has said it was planning this action for months.”

Tina Loeffelbein, a Greenpeace spokeswoman at the summit, said she was not aware of any legal proceedings being brought against the group. She said Greenpeace was cooperating with the Peruvian authorities and seeking to clarify what took place.

In a statement Greenpeace said it was concerned that it could have caused “moral offence to the Peruvian people”.

The statement read: “Our history of more than 40 years of peaceful activism clearly shows that we have always been most respectful with people around the world and their diverse cultural legacies.”

Castillo responded: “Disrespecting humanity’s cultural heritage – I don’t think that’s the message this summit or Greenpeace is trying to spread to the world! Most of us in the cultural sector agree with the message. But the means don’t justify the ends.”

“We took every care we could to try and avoid any damage. We have 40 years of experience of doing peaceful protests,” Kyle Ash, Greenpeace spokesman, told the Guardian. “The surprise to us was that this resulted in some kind of moral offense. We definitely regret that and we want to figure out a way to resolve it. We are very remorseful for any offense that we’ve caused and we’re very remorseful for that.”

He said Greenpeace met on Wednesday with Peru’s minister of culture, Diana Alvarez. He said the organization hoped to maintain a dialogue with the Peruvian government. He added Greenpeace would take “total responsibility” if any permanent damage had been caused to the archaeological site.

“It’s not a matter of money. The destruction is irreparable,” Ana Maria Cogorno, President of the Maria Reiche Association named after the German archaeologist whose groundbreaking research on the Nazca Lines from 1940 onwards saw them gain recognition and protection, told the Guardian.

The hummingbird etching on which the Greenpeace stunt was laid was the “only one of the lines which was completely untouched and perfectly conserved”, she said. “It’s one of the symbols of Peru,” she added.

Last week Greenpeace projected a message promoting solar energy on to Huayna Picchu, the mountain that overlooks the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, another protected archaeological site in Peru.

The coming nuclear crisis: All but one of Britain’s ageing reactors ‘will need to close in 15 years’.

By Steve Connor  1st December 2014.         Find Article Here:-

Nearly all the UK’s stations were built in the 70s and 80s.

All but one of Britain’s ageing fleet of nuclear reactors will have to be closed down within 15 years due to concerns over their economic viability or safety, a panel of experts has warned.

Only Sizewell B power station will still be operating beyond 2030, which would leave a shortfall of about 20 per cent in the UK’s power demands unless replacement nuclear reactors come on-stream in the 2020s, they said.

Britain’s existing nuclear reactors apart from Sizewell B are operating beyond their original lifetime specifications, but they are still working as safely as they were designed to be, said Professor Laurence Williams, a former chief inspector of nuclear installations.

“They have been designed safely to operate for a given period of time and the knowledge we’ve gained through the operation means we can extend that lifetime, so yes they are fit for purpose,” Professor Williams said at a press briefing in London.

However, Professor Williams warned that there will be a point when either it will be uneconomic to continue operating a given nuclear reactor, due to the additional maintenance work needed, or if it becomes too unsafe.

“With these types of reactors there comes a time when either it becomes too expensive to do the inspections to make the modifications necessary, or we come to the view that the utility can no longer make the safety case,” Professor Williams said.

“Are we as a country allowing reactors which are potentially unsafe to continue to operate because we need them and I would say categorically ‘no’,” he said.

“They are fit for purpose because they generate 18 per cent of the UK’s electricity and they are generating that safely and economically. Who knows when the decision will be taken that these reactors are no longer fit for purpose,” he added.

Almost all of Britain’s nuclear power stations were built in either the 1970s or 1980s and most had a design life of about 25 years. However, due to a Government moratorium on building new nuclear power stations, these ageing reactors have been kept running far longer than anticipated.

“Certainly the reactors are not getting any younger and you may expect as materials age, issues may arise,” said Professor Andrew Sherry, director of the Dalton Nuclear Institute at Manchester University.

“The reactors are ageing and just as you spend money keeping your car going there will come a point where it is just not cost efficient to keep a reactor operating,” Professor Sherry said.

“It’s a balance between ‘is it economic?’ and ‘can we make the safety case?’. For some of the reactors they will be working towards 50 years, which is the current best view,” he said.

One of the main concerns is the safety of the graphite moderators within the reactors, which absorb neutrons and prevent an uncontrolled chain reaction. Scientists are concerned that the graphite becomes brittle and cracked over time.

“A single crack is no big deal. It’s a question of how many, where they are and what’s going to happen in the future,” said Professor James Marrow of Oxford University.

“It’s thinking ahead to the long term of how this situation is going to change and at what point do I need to do something. The graphite is ageing as predicted,” he said.

Plutonium being pumped into ocean through miles of underwater pipes.

By   6th December 2014.             Find Article and Videos Here:-

Nuclear waste left lying on beach — Kids playing on sand where machines scoop up plutonium each day — Alarming test results 1,000% legal limit.

SWR (German public television broadcaster), 2013 (emphasis added):

  • 25:00 in — The dumping of nuclear waste in the sea was banned worldwide in 1993, yet the nuclear industry has come up with other ways. They no longer dump the barrels at sea; they build kilometers of underwater pipes through which the radioactive effluent now flows freely into the sea. One of these pipes is situated in Normandy [near] the French reprocessing plant in La Hague… The advantage for the nuclear industry? No more bad press… disposal via waste pipes remains hidden from the public eye, quite literally.
  • 28:30 in — 400 km from La Hague [as well as] Holland [and] Germany… we find iodine… 5-fold higher tritium value than [reported] by the operator Areva. It’s now obvious why citizens take their own measurements.
  • 30:15 in — Molecular Biologist: “The radioactive toxins accumulate in the food chain. This little worm can contain 2,000-3,000 times more radioactivity than its environment. It is then eaten by the next biggest creature and so on, at the end of the food chain we discovered damage to the reproductive cells of crabs… These genetic defects are inherited from one generation to the next… Cells in humans and animals are the same.”
  • 32:00 in — The 2nd disposal pipe for Europe’s nuclear waste is located in the north of England… Radioactive pollution comes in from the sea. Their houses are full of plutonium dust… The pipe from Sellafield is clearly visible only from the air… nuclear waste is still being dumped into the sea. Operators argue this is land-based disposal… It has been approved by the authorities.
  • 35:45 in — Plutonium can be found here on a daily basis, the toxic waste returns from the sea… it leaches out, it dries, and is left lying on the beach. The people here have long since guessed that the danger is greater than those responsible care to admit… Every day a small excavator removes plutonium from the beach… In recent decades the operator at Sellafield has tossed more than 500 kg of plutonium into the sea.
  • 42:00 in — We take a soil sample… The result turns out to be alarming. The amount of plutonium is up to 10 times higher than the permissible limit.

Yahoo News, Dec 5, 2014: All this radiation from the [Fukushima] disaster has definitely not been isolated to just Japan. Researchers monitoring the Pacific Ocean, in which much of the radiation spilled into, have detected radioactive isotopes this past November just 160 km [100 miles] off the coast of California. So this story will continue to unfold for many years to come.

Watch SWR’s investigative report here