Sunday, 19 April 2015

The Pacific

A 1,000 Mile Stretch Of The Pacific Ocean Has Heated Up Several Degrees And Scientists Don’t Know Why
Michael Snyder

Pacific Ocean Anomaly

13 April, 2015

According to two University of Washington scientific research papers that were recently released, a 1,000 mile stretch of the Pacific Ocean has warmed up by several degrees, and nobody seems to know why this is happening. 

This giant “blob” of warm water was first observed in late 2013, and it is playing havoc with our climate.  And since this giant “blob” first showed up, fish and other sea creatures have been dying in absolutely massive numbers.  So could there be a connection?  And what is going to happen if the Pacific Ocean continues to warm up?  Could we potentially be facing the greatest holocaust of sea life in the Pacific that anyone has ever observed?  If so, what would that mean for the food chain and for our food supply?

For a large portion of the Pacific Ocean to suddenly start significantly heating up without any known explanation is a really big deal.  The following information about this new research comes from the University of Washington
In the fall of 2013 and early 2014 we started to notice a big, almost circular mass of water that just didn’t cool off as much as it usually did, so by spring of 2014 it was warmer than we had ever seen it for that time of year,” said Nick Bond, a climate scientist at the UW-based Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean, a joint research center of the UW and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Bond coined the term “the blob” last June in his monthly newsletter as Washington’s state climatologist. He said the huge patch of water – 1,000 miles in each direction and 300 feet deep – had contributed to Washington’s mild 2014 winter and might signal a warmer summer.
It would be one thing if scientists knew why this was happening and had an explanation for it.

But they don’t.

In fact, according to the Washington Post, they are calling this something that is “totally new”…
Scientists have been astonished at the extent and especially the long-lasting nature of the warmth, with one NOAA researcher saying, “when you see something like this that’s totally new you have opportunities to learn things you were never expecting.”
The following map comes from the NOAA, and it shows what this giant “blob” looks like…
Pacific Ocean Anomaly
According to CBS News, ocean temperatures inside this blob have risen anywhere from two to seven degrees Fahrenheit above normal…
This warm blob, which is about 2 to 7 degrees Fahrenheit (1 to 4 degrees Celsius) warmer than the usual temperature for this region, means the winter air that crosses over the Pacific Ocean wasn’t cooled as much as it normally would be. That, in turn, spelled warmer, dryer conditions for the West Coast.
Meanwhile, while this has been going on, scientists have also been noticing that sea creatures in the Pacific have been dying in record numbers.

In fact, last summer I wrote an article entitled “Why are massive numbers of sea creatures dying along the west coast right now?

Since then, things have continued to get even worse.

For instance, it was recently reported that the number of sea lions washing up on Southern California beaches is at an all-time record high…
A record 2,250 sea lions, mostly pups, have washed up starving and stranded on Southern California beaches so far this year, a worsening phenomenon blamed on warming seas in the region that have disrupted the marine mammals’ food supply.
The latest tally, reported on Monday by the National Marine Fisheries Service, is 20 times the level of strandings averaged for the same three-month period over the past decade and twice the number documented in 2013, the previous worst winter season recorded for Southern California sea lions.
And of course fish are being deeply affected as well.  Sardines have declined to their lowest level in six decades, and National Geographic says that a whole host of tiny fish species at the bottom of the food chain are dying off rapidly…
Since the 1950s, researchers every year have dropped nets 1,000 feet (300 meters) down to catalog marine life many miles off California. Most track commercially important species caught by the fishing industry. But J. Anthony Koslow tallies fish often credited with keeping marine systems functioning soundly—tiny midwater bristlemouths, the region’s most abundant marine species, as well as viperfish, hatchetfish, razor-mouthed dragonfish, and even minnow-like lampfish.
All are significant parts of the seafood buffet that supports life in the eastern Pacific, and all are declining dramaticallywith the vertical rise of low-oxygen water.
If it was a 10 percent change, it wouldn’t have been worth noting, but they’ve declined by 63 percent,” says Koslow, of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
So if the bottom of the food chain is experiencing a catastrophic collapse, what is that going to mean for the rest of the food chain in the Pacific Ocean?
In turn, what is that going to mean for the seafood industry and for the price of seafood in our grocery stores?

Some really strange things are happening on the other side of the Pacific right now as well.

Over in Japan, the media is buzzing about the recent mass beaching of 150 melon-headed whales.  A similar incident was observed just six days before the great earthquake and tsunami of 2011.  The following comes from the Japan Times
The mass beaching of over 150 melon-headed whales on Japan’s shores has fueled fears of a repeat of a seemingly unrelated event in the country — the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami that killed over 18,000 people.
Despite a lack of scientific evidence linking the two events, a flurry of online commentators have pointed to the appearance of around 50 melon-headed whales — a species that is a member of the dolphin family — on Japan’s beaches six days before the monster quake, which unleashed towering tsunami and triggered a nuclear disaster.
Very strange stuff.

For our entire lives, we have been able to take for granted that our oceans would always be stable and healthy.

But now it appears that things may be changing.

Jane Kelsey press release on TPP fast track bill

Obama’s Fast Track Bill a last-ditch move to rescue TPPA
Jane Kelsey

US Trade Representative Mike Froman (C) speaks at a press conference for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), in Sydney last year.US Trade Representative Mike Froman (C) speaks at a press conference for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), in Sydney last year. - Photo: AFP/FILE

17 March, 2015

With less than two months until the window is likely to close for President Obama to get a deal in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) under his watch, the administration has put a bill before Congress to grant him “fast track” authority’, according to Professor Jane Kelsey who monitors the negotiations.
The controversial process of Fast Track, euphemistically called Trade Promotion Authority, would require Congress to vote yes or not to a final text and it time limits the debate to prevent filibustering.
According to Professor Kelsey a number of governments at the TPPA table have recently said they won’t reach a final deal unless Obama has Fast Track, including New Zealand.
Doing something this week was really do or die for the President, even though he doesn’t have the votes to get the bill through, especially in the House of Representatives’, Kelsey said.
The 110-page Bill is a generalised wish list of what the US wants from the TPPA, while protecting its domestic interests. Although the content has been heavily negotiated before being introduced, the negotiating objectives can be ignored.
What’s most significant, and the reason there will be a dog-fight, is Section 4 that says what powers Congress is giving up. It is little changed from an earlier Fast Track law that sank last year’, Kelsey said.
There were no House Democrats willing to co-sponsor the Bill. Powerful ranking Democrat on the House Ways and Means Committee Sander Levindescribed the negotiating objectives as ‘obsolete or woefully inadequate’ while putting ‘Congress in the back seat’.
ronically, Obama is relying heavily on support from Republicans, but there is a substantial bloc of conservative Republicans who consider Obama to be an ‘imperial president’ and are loathe to grant him any more executive power through Fast Track. Republican leaders have said he would need 50 votes from the Democrats. The latest counts from Washington analysts such as Politico put him well short.
The New York Times predicts it will be one of the toughest legislative battles of Obama’s last 19 months in office.
US consumer group Public Citizen says there is no guarantee the Bill will even get to a vote, and might be withdrawn rather than fail. The three major attempts to get Fast Track in the past 25 years saw one pass by 27 votes in 1991 and another passed by 2 votes; the third failed.
Tabling the Bill now is meant to have a demonstration effect, ahead of the make or break ministerial meeting scheduled for late May. Obama hopes it will give the talks new momentum by convincing the eleven other countries to ignore the evidence and believe he can get it passed.
'Let’s hope for New Zealand’s sake that Trade Minister Groser and Prime Minister Key actually stick by their statements and refuse to make any political trade-offs they know Congress can pick apart', Kelsey said.

An outrage

This is an outrage that in this previously-peaceful country someone who is trying to do his civic duty is targeted by police.

Comments from Kevin Hester -

Marx called me the day after this happened and I have been supporting him through his legal case.

I believe that Marx is being punished for his former activism and has been unfairly singled out by the NZ police.

What is happening to Marx Jones should send a chill up the spine of every activist in this country.

Please sign and share this link for our old mate who flour bombed Eden Park”

Drop charges against veteran protester and facilitate restorative community solution instead
The armed offenders squad and police trained their rifles on and arrested veteran protester Marx Jones, simply for doing his civic duty

Please sign the petition HERE

The armed offenders squad and police trained their rifles on and arrested veteran protester Marx Jones, simply for doing his civic duty. The charges against Marx Jones must be dropped. Marx Jones - father, builder and flour bomb hero from the Spring Bok Tour

Marx was mobbed by a violent throng of young people leaving a night club close to his house on Nicholas Street, off Hobson Street in Auckland CBD. After returning to his home, he was disturbed by the noise of an out of control crowd of young people. Unable to sleep he went outside and politely asked if they could keep the noise down. Living in the CBD, Marx is accustomed to the noise of the city night-life, and he accepts that people have the right to have a good time and that on occasion there will be a bit of noise. But the ongoing behaviour at closing time at the near by establishment was just over the top. Neighbours had been complaining about it for some time. 

When Marx approached the crowd he was mobbed and pushed back to his house, he was physically threatened and had to defend himself, he produced a level and an unloaded nail gun in an attempt to get the crowd to back off. He went inside his house for protection as the crowd chanted outside his door.

What transpired was nothing less than an outrage. The police, along with the armed offenders squad arrived and instead of trying to diffuse the situation, trained their guns on Marx and arrested him. He is now charged with wounding with intent to injure- a penalty which carries 7 years imprisonment.

Marx Jones was simply trying to resolve an ongoing community problem. The Police are punishing the wrong person. Marx is going to take up the issue with the police complaints authority. His neighbours, friends and the broader community are supporting him. The police must drop the charges and facilitate a solution that satisfies the inhabitants of the street as well as the night club owner.

Please sign the petition HERE

Here is some footage from the time

Prior to the rewriting of history - Russia's war

This was prior to the rewriting of history, albeit during the Cold War. It was also from the era in which the BBC made top-notch documentaries.

The World At War 1973 - Red Star The Soviet Union (1941–1943) - Episode 11

The rise of the Red Army, mobilisation of Soviet production, the Siege of Leningrad, the Soviet partisans and the Battle of Kursk.

Bent on fulfilling Hilter's policy of colonizing Russia, German forces invade subjecting inhabitants of occupied lands to servitude or death. Russians respond with a mass evacuation and scorched earth policy, reestablishing their industrial capacity far to the east. After German forces fail to break Leningrad or to capture Kursk and the surrounding Russian forces Russia goes on the offensive with its military production at full capacity.

The series has 26 episodes. Producer Jeremy Isaacs asked Noble Frankland, then director of the Imperial War Museum, to list fifteen main campaigns of the war and devoted one episode to each.

Putin warns Israel over weapons to Ukraine

Putin warns Israel against selling arms to Ukraine

Russian leader said that any Israeli deal with Ukraine would be "counterproductive."

Russian President Vladimir Putin makes a speech during the Victory Parade on Moscow's Red Square

18 April, 2015

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned Israel against supplying weapons to the Ukrainian government, which is battling a Russian- backed insurgency in its eastern province.

This is a choice, a choice of the Israeli leadership; they have the right to do what they consider appropriate. I think it is counterproductive, if it concerns lethal weapons, because it will only lead to yet another swirl of confrontation, to more human casualties, but the result will be the same,” Putin said in an interview on Rossiya 1 TV on Saturday.

His words were reported as well on the English-language news website for Sputnik International.

In Israel, the Prime Minister’s Office and the Defense Ministry had no response to the report.

Israel has been upset by Russia’s decision last week to lift its five-year ban on the sale of the S-300 anti-missile system to Iran and to deliver those weapons by the end of 2015.

It had voluntarily halted the sale of the weapons to Iran in 2010 under pressure from the West and because it was believed that such a ban would help sway Iran to enter negotiations over its nuclear program.

Earlier this month, six world powers – Russia, the US, China, France, the UK and Germany – reached a framework agreement to curb Iran’s nuclear program. Israel has argued that the deal, which has yet to be finalized, would not prevent Iran from producing nuclear weapons. Russia’s actions, it has said, is proof of the deal’s danger.

On Thursday, Putin explained the deal in a special call-in broadcast on Rossiya 1 TV, in which he answered questions from the public.

Now that there is obvious progress on the Iranian track, we do not see why we should continue imposing this ban unilaterally,” he said.

The S-300, Putin said, “does not pose any threat to Israel whatsoever. It is a solely defensive weapon. Moreover, we believe that under the current circumstances in the region, especially in view of the events in Yemen, supplies of this kind of weapon could be a restraining factor.”

The Iranian Army held its annual parade in Tehran on Saturday to mark Army Day.

Many new domestic weapons were unveiled during the event, including the Bavar-373 air-defense missile system. The system received much attention, as it was said by the Iranian media as being equivalent to Russia’s S-300 missile system.

Meanwhile, the US military option to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, and to encourage a diplomatic solution, remains intact despite Russia’s decision to deliver the S-300 system to Tehran, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, told a news conference on Thursday.

We’ve known about the potential for that system to be sold to Iran for several years and have accounted for it in all of our planning,” Dempsey said.

The military option that I owe the president to both encourage the diplomatic solution and, if the diplomacy fails, to ensure that Iran doesn’t achieve a nuclear weapon, is intact.”

Russia's economic crisis

Having predicted the collapse of the Russian economy it won’t be easy to admit its recovery

World Bank admits peak of Russia economic crisis over

18 April, 2015

The World Bank has agreed with President Vladimir Putin’s comment that Russia has successfully managed to overcome the worst of its current economic difficulties due to the government’s fiscal and monetary policy.

In the last two months, the level of confidence in the Russian economy has slightly strengthened and the ruble rallied due to fiscal and monetary policy, World Bank Vice President for Europe and Central Asia Laura Tuck told TASS, commenting on Putin’s statement that the country’s economy has overcome the worst.
However, Tuck warned that the downturn is not over yet and Russia is likely to face a number of economic challenges in future, as there is still much uncertainty in how oil prices will fluctuate. Tuck believes they are most likely to go down again and return back to what is considered a ‘new normal’.
Moreover, the adjustment to new conditions may still continue to be rather painful, she said, referring to the redistribution of various factors necessary to take advantage of a lower ruble’s exchange rate.

On April 16, Vladimir Putin said during his annual Q&A session that Russia's economy has passed its most difficult period, as the government managed to prevent the rise of inflation and to achieve GDP growth of 0.6 percent in 2014. At the same time, Putin acknowledged the Russian economy still has difficulties to deal with.

Ocean temperature anomalies

The Great Unraveling

18 April, 2015

The great unraveling of how climate catastrophe is unfolding on land and in the oceans, in the atmosphere and the cryosphere, is becoming more and more clear every month.

March 2015 temperatures were the highest for March in the 136-year period of record. 
NOAA analysis shows that the average temperature across global land and ocean surface temperatures combined for March 2015 was 0.85°C (1.53°F) higher than the 20th century average of 12.7°C (54.9°F).

Ocean temperature anomalies on the Northern Hemisphere for March 2015 were the highest on record. In many ways, the situation looks set to get worse. For the 12-month period from April to March, data from 1880 contain a trendline that points at a rise of 2 degrees Celsius by the year 2032, as illustrated by the image below.

Click on image to enlarge

The rise in Northern Hemisphere ocean temperatures was especially profound in September and October 2014, when methane started to erupt from the Arctic Ocean seafloor in huge quantities.

The image below shows a polynomial trendline pointing at an October Northern Hemisphere sea surface temperature anomaly rise of 2°C (3.6°F) by 2030, and a rise of more than 5°C (9°F) by 2050, compared to the 20
th century average, from an earlier post.
From: Ocean Temperature Rise continues

The images below give an idea of the current sea surface temperature anomalies around North America.

On April 11, 2015, a sea surface temperature of 22.2°C (71.96°F) was recorded off the North

American coast (green circle bottom), a 12.6°C (22.68°F) anomaly (green circle top).

A continued rise of ocean temperatures on the Northern Hemisphere threatens to unleash huge eruptions of methane from the seafloor of the Arctic Ocean, further accelerating the temperature rise in the Arctic. 

Temperature anomalies as high as 10.2°C (or 18.3°F) were recorded for March 2015 on Kolguyev Island in the Barents Sea.

A rise in ocean temperatures on the Northern Hemisphere of 2°C (3.6°F) by October 2030 looks set to go hand in hand with a 7°C (12.6°F) rise in Arctic temperatures by 2030, fueling runaway global warming.

Without action, similar temperature rises look set to hit the globe at large a decade later, accompanied by huge temperature swings that threaten to cause depletion of supply of food and fresh water, as illustrated by the image below, from another earlier post.

In conclusion, the situation is dire and calls for comprehensive and effective action, as discussed at the Climate Plan blog.


New Zealand's water

Who owns New Zealand’s water?


17 April, 2015

A recent expose by Campbell Live has shown New Zealanders the truth surrounding how water resources are allocated and profited from, which leaves us with the question, who owns New Zealand’s high quality fresh water?

The answer seems pretty simple, New Zealanders as a collective own the water. However, is this reflected in current council regulations in how water resources are allocated?

A Chinese owned bottling plant, One Pure has recently set up in the Hawke’s Bay and once operating at full capacity, will run 24/7 to export an expected 400 million litres of pristine aquifer water per year back to China. Fresh drinking water makes up only 2.5% of all water on the planet, with the remaining 97.5% being salt water. 

New Zealand has such a high quality of aquifer water that foreign investors are shipping millions of bottles out of the country per year, all of which has been taken at zero cost besides a tiny council resource consent. Surely our water should be allocated to New Zealanders, so our businesses and economy can benefit from our resources. Currently, this water will all be taken at the cost of New Zealanders at a time when water is increasingly becoming polluted around the country.

Thanks to intensive dairy farming, our rivers and lakes now have high concentrations of nutrients, sediments and faecal bacteria, and a result a large increase in algae blooms. Heavy amounts of fertilisers from farm run-off enters our waterways and causes destruction throughout the entire ecosystem. The result is half of New Zealand’s rivers and lakes are now of such poor water quality that they are a health hazard to swim in. This is all in a country which attempts to market itself internationally as ’100% Pure NZ’. The irrigation needs of these dairy farms is also sucking dry the rivers which support entire communities further down the line.

The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, Jan Wright, recently released a water quality report focused on the two nutrient pollutants – nitrogen and phosphorus.

On land they are valuable nutrients, helping plants to grow. But when there is too much of them in water, they become pollutants, and can lead to excessive growth of weeds, slime and algae.

New Zealand is undergoing huge changes to land use and decision makers need to be aware of the consequences for the future.

Over recent years, hundreds of thousands of hectares used for sheep and beef farming have been converted to dairy farming on the one hand, and forestry on the other.

Conversion to dairying increases nutrient loads on water; conversion to forestry does the opposite.”

So who is to blame?

The council and government only see dollar signs and do not listen to the concerns raised by industry experts. The dairy farming lobby groups have a strong grip around the neck of the country, led by a government which relies heavily on the farmers for re-election. The government is also attempting to alter the Resource Management Act, which of course would also have a devastating effect on the protection of water resources and the environment going forward.

Fresh water will soon be the new gold, and we need to have much tighter council and government regulation around what companies can profit from our aquifers, what levels of nitrates and pollution will be allowed in waterways and what projects will have resource priorities. The changing climate is also going to put heavy pressure on water in New Zealand as summer droughts become more common and water restrictions placed on every day New Zealanders while foreign companies and farmers still have full water resource consents.

The cost of not acting now is a future where our once pristine water needs to be treated before consuming in a country which has an abundance. Unfortunately there’s also an underlying mindset of greed and profit at any cost, filtered down from the government which is causing considerable damage to our environment. If concerns are not voiced now, the ability to provide sustainable fresh water to future generations will be lost

To watch Campbell Live programme GO HERE

Greek debt

The Greek "White Knight" Emerges: Putin To Give Athens €5 Billion For Advance Gas Pipeline Fees

18 April, 2015

With Greece teetering on the edge of insolvency and forced to raid pension and most other public funds, ahead of another month of heavy IMF repayments which has prompted even the ECB to speculate Greece should introduce a parallel "IOU" currency, a white knight has appeared out of nowhere for Greece, one who may offer $5 billion in urgently needed cash. The white knight is none other than Vladimir Putin. “Just because Greece is debt-ridden, this does not mean it is bound hand and foot, and has no independent foreign policy,” Putin said previously.

According to Spiegel, citing a senior figure in the ruling Syriza party, Greece is poised to sign a gas deal with Russia as early as Tuesday which could bring up to €5 billion into the depleted Greek coffers.

The move could now "turn the tide" for the debt-stricken country according to a senior Greek official.

As Reuters adds, during a visit to Moscow earlier this month, Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras expressed interest in participating in a pipeline that would bring Russian gas to Europe via Turkey and Greece.

Under the proposed deal, Greece would receive advance funds from Russia based on expected future profits linked to the pipeline. The Greek energy minister said last week that Athens would repay Moscow after 2019, when the pipeline is expected to start operating.
Greek government officials were not immediately available to comment on the Spiegel report.

Of course, this being Greece, the probability of actual repayment is negligible: after all the likelihood of a Greek default is astronomical, and €5 billion will do little to change the mechanics of Greek debt sustainability. And Putin very well knows this.

However, the Russian leader is not acting out of the kindness of his heart, but merely engaging in another calculated move, one which kills two birds with one stone:
  • Following the death of the South Stream, whereby the EU pressured Bulgaria to refuse passage of the Russian gas pipeline to Europe, Russia needed an alternative route of bypassing Ukraine (and Bulgaria) entirely, something which according to Kremlin's plan should happen over the next 3 years. And with Hungary and Serbia all eager to transit Russian gas to the Austrian central european gas hub, Greece was the missing link for a landline transit. With this agreement, Russia gets the green light to extend the Blue Stream all the way to Austria and preserve its dominance over the European energy market while leaving Ukraine in a completely barganining vacuum.

  • Perhaps just as importantly, suddenly Russia will energy as the generous benefactor riding to Greece's salvation, in turn even further antagonizing the Eurozone and further cementing favorable public opinion. As a reminder, several weeks ago we showed that Russia already has a higher approval rating among the Greek population thatn the Eurozone. In this way, Russia has just won a critical ally for the very low price of just €5 billion, without even having to restructure the entire Greek balance sheet should Greece have exited the euro and been attracted to the Eurasian Economic Union. Which also means that all future attempts to impose further sanctions on Russia by Europe will fail thanks to the Greek veto vote.

Russia is not alone in seeking to divide the spoils of the collapsing Eurozone: Beijing has also sought to invest in Greece's infrastructure and bought up €100m worth of short-term government debt last week the Telegraph reports.

Ironically, it was none other than Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schauble who said the Greeks are free to pursue deals with Russia and China as they rush to avoid an impending bankruptcy. Turns out the Greeks decided to do precisely as the German suggested, and the outcome will certainly not be to Germany's liking.

The only question following what may well be another masterful stroke by Putin is what will Europe do, now that Putin has in the span of under one year, not only "annexed" Crimea but fully drawn Greece (and the Mediterranean courtesy of Cyprus) into its sphere of influence.

*  *  *

While we are sure the European leadership will be 'disappointed' at Greece's get-out-of-Troika-jail card thanks to Russia, The Greek people have already expressed their opinion on just who they trust more...

Despite all the western propaganda...

*  *  *

Finally, for those confused about the flow of funds, here it is:

Russia (Gazprom) gives Greece money, which Greece uses to repay the IMF, which uses the Greek money to fund a loan to Kiev, which uses the IMF loan to pay Russia (Gazprom).

A perfect circle.