Socio-Economics History Blog

Socio-Economics & History Commentary

Gulf Oil Spill Methane Fears!

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July 6, 2010 Posted by | Disaster | , | 2 Comments

Drought Threatens Global Rice Supply!

A farmer ploughs through harden soil on a rain-dependent rice field in a rural Ciampea, a district West of Bogor regency. Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/dmahendra/3743846699/

  • Global food stocks are at an all time low. (See: US corn stocks are much lower than anyone thought. Lower than the lowest trade estimate.) Any crop failure can cause a global famine. This is especially the case for 3rd world countries. Any sharp rise in commodity grains prices will cause people at the poverty margin to go into starvation. See also:
     
    – High food costs force Indians to do more with less   
    – Food inflation rises to 16.90%; fuel price meeting eyed
    – With protests over wages, anger over meat prices, Egyptians’ economic woes turn political
      
    Drought threatens global rice supply
    BANGKOK – Thailand and Vietnam, the world’s two largest rice exporters, face severe drought conditions that threaten to severely undermine this year’s crops and global supplies. Climate change and El Nino are variously being blamed for the unusually hot weather and lack of rainfall, which began with an early end to last year’s tropical rainy season.
     
    Poor weather and low rice stocks contributed to a regional food shortage scare in 2008. Then prices spiraled to more than US$1,000 per tonne and many exporting countries put in place restrictions on overseas sales to guard domestic supplies. Across Asia, rice production was expected to be up this year before signs of drought became more apparent. The possibility of a new scare is rising as crop conditions deteriorate.
     
    For Thailand, which accounts for about one-third of global rice exports, analysts are provisionally predicting a drop of at least one million tons. On June 4, Thai officials declared 53 provinces as disaster areas because of severe water shortages. The Ministry of Interior’s disaster prevention and mitigation department said nearly 6.5 million people had been adversely impacted by drought.
     
    North and northeastern provinces have been the worst hit, and an estimated 58,300 hectares of farmland have been severely damaged, according to official statistics. In addition to rice, sugarcane, maize, cassava, rubber and fruit crops have also been impacted.
     
    A report issued by the Thai Department of Water Resources in May showed critically low water levels in every river basin except for the central Chao Phraya River and the Mae Khlong River in western Kanchanaburi province. Critically low water levels indicate that a river is carrying less than 10% of its capacity.
     
    Lack of rain and low water levels in feeder waterways have drained key reservoirs, with dams in the north and northeast at 32% and 34% capacity respectively. Several dams have halted releasing water downstream for agriculture irrigation due to consumption and electricity generation needs. Around 70% of Thailand’s total water supply is used for agriculture.
     
    Authorities at the Lam Takhong dam in Nakhon Ratchasima province stopped releasing water for irrigation purposes in June and the dam is now operating at 29% capacity. At Queen Sirikit dam, the country’s largest, situated in northern Uttaradit province, water levels are at an 18-year low. Some believe that water shortages could extend into 2011.
     
    Thailand produces about 20 million tonnes of rice annually in two or more cycles, around half of which is exported. The government also reserves about 10% of the harvest as a reserve to stabilize prices and stave off food shortages as a result of bad harvests.
     
    The Thai government has asked rice farmers to put off planting the year’s main rice crop for a month until rains predicted by the Thai Meteorological Department begin in July. Many farmers, however, have ignored the official advice and started planting in June in often parched conditions. They reportedly argued that the lack of water may reduce yields, but so will the shorter growing season as a result of late planting. Thailand’s millions of small-scale rice farmers are particularly vulnerable.
     
    The dry season’s second rice crop to be harvested in August and which accounts for 25% of Thailand’s annual rice output is expected to drop from 8.4 million tonnes last year to 7 million tones this year.
     
    Thai rice prices are considered the benchmark in Asia, but they have recently fallen to their lowest level in two years due to a drop in export demand. In the first five months of this year, Thai rice exports fell by 5.2% to 3.4 million tonnes over the same period in 2009. With many of the world’s leading rice trades based in debt crisis-hit Europe, the decline of the euro against the US
    dollar, in which international trade is usually priced, has impacted commodity trades.
     
    The government instituted a price guarantee scheme in May to insure farmers against rice prices falling below a certain minimum. The plan was aimed, however, at preventing losses from falling rice prices and not as a safety net against bad harvests.
     
    Some interpreted the government’s request for later planting as indicative of a plan to offer compensation to cooperative farmers. Reports indicated that the Agriculture Ministry was considering a plan to provide 1,000 baht (US$30) cash handouts to drought-stricken farmers.
     
    Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva reportedly opposed the plan, saying that manufacturing and material support would be preferable to cash handouts. On June 22, he announced a new debt relief program to be offered to about 900,000 drought-affected farmers with a budget allocation of between $6.2 billion and $9.2 million. Under the program, farmers would be exempt from paying interest charges for a month-and-a-half and allowed to delay principle payments for one month.
     
    In Vietnam, the drought is shaping up to be the worst in a century, with little rainfall across the entire country since last September. The Red River in the north is at record low levels, but it is the Mekong Delta – the country’s premier rice-growing region – that has been the most severely affected. The Vietnamese Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development predicted in March that some 100,000 hectares in the delta were under threat.
     
    Low rainfall has resulted in increased salinization of the Mekong Delta. In normal years there is an ebb and flow of salt and fresh water, with salt water reaching as far as 30 kilometers inland during the dry season due to reduced fresh water flows. This year, salt water has flowed as far as 60 kilometers upriver, putting a wider swathe of crops and farmland in danger of over-salinization.
     
    Dam reservoirs are also at extremely low levels in Vietnam. The reservoir of the Hoa Binh dam, which supplies over 40% of the electricity consumed in the north and 15% nationally, is only slightly above levels that would require severe restrictions on electricity production. In March, the state-owned electricity company said it could not release much more water for irrigation purposes and still meet demands for electrical power.
     
    More than half of Vietnam’s estimated 44 million workforce is involved in agriculture. Hanoi announced in mid-June that it would release $5.3 million from state coffers for drought relief in the northern city of Haiphong as well as in 11 northern and central provinces. This follows an earlier grant of $2.4 million to six northern provinces and $7.6 million to 13 Mekong Delta provinces for drought relief. Another $5.3 million has been spent on improving irrigation to mitigate the impact of last year’s drought. 
     

Drought Turns Southern China into Arid Plain! Hydropower Production Down, Farmers and Wildlife in Crisis!

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July 6, 2010 Posted by | Economics, Social Trends | | 1 Comment

Oil or Chemical Rain in South Carolina? Toxicologist’s Warning On Gulf Oil Dispersant! It’s Raining Oil in New Orleans?

July 6, 2010 Posted by | Disaster | , | Comments Off on Oil or Chemical Rain in South Carolina? Toxicologist’s Warning On Gulf Oil Dispersant! It’s Raining Oil in New Orleans?

With the US Trapped in Depression, This Really is Starting to Feel Like 1932! Dow Repeats Great Depression Pattern: Charts!

  • I have often remarked that this current period we are in is very much like the period 1929 – 1939. The Illuminists are following the 1st Great Depression script very tightly. They know what to expect and how the sheeple will react in the coming days. I am also of the opinion that these Luciferians are using the Weimar Republic, Germany as a template for the transformation of America into a militaristic fascist state. Of course, America is already a military state. But in the coming days, it will be more and more like Nazi Germany. Regrettably, many good people (and I view most Americans as good people) will suffer. Hyper-inflation and the collapse of America is around the corner.
     
    With the US trapped in depression, this really is starting to feel like 1932
    The US workforce shrank by 652,000 in June, one of the sharpest contractions ever. The rate of hourly earnings fell 0.1pc. Wages are flirting with deflation.
     
    “The economy is still in the gravitational pull of the Great Recession,” said Robert Reich, former US labour secretary. “All the booster rockets for getting us beyond it are failing.”
      
    “Home sales are down. Retail sales are down. Factory orders in May suffered their biggest tumble since March of last year. So what are we doing about it? Less than nothing,” he said.
     
    California is tightening faster than Greece. State workers have seen a 14pc fall in earnings this year due to forced furloughs. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is cutting pay for 200,000 state workers to the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour to cover his $19bn (£15bn) deficit.
     
    Can Illinois be far behind? The state has a deficit of $12bn and is $5bn in arrears to schools, nursing homes, child care centres, and prisons. “It is getting worse every single day,” said state comptroller Daniel Hynes. “We are not paying bills for absolutely essential services. That is obscene.”
     
    Roughly a million Americans have dropped out of the jobs market altogether over the past two months. That is the only reason why the headline unemployment rate is not exploding to a post-war high. Let us be honest. The US is still trapped in depression a full 18 months into zero interest rates, quantitative easing (QE), and fiscal stimulus that has pushed the budget deficit above 10pc of GDP.
     
    The share of the US working-age population with jobs in June actually fell from 58.7pc to 58.5pc. This is the real stress indicator. The ratio was 63pc three years ago. Eight million jobs have been lost. The average time needed to find a job has risen to a record 35.2 weeks. Nothing like this has been seen before in the post-war era. Jeff Weninger, of Harris Private Bank, said this compares with a peak of 21.2 weeks in the Volcker recession of the early 1980s.
     
    “Legions of individuals have been left with stale skills, and little prospect of finding meaningful work, and benefits that are being exhausted. By our math the crop of people who are unemployed but not receiving a check amounts to 9.2m.” Republicans on Capitol Hill are filibustering a bill to extend the dole for up to 1.2m jobless facing an imminent cut-off. Dean Heller from Vermont called them “hobos”. This really is starting to feel like 1932.
     
    Washington’s fiscal stimulus is draining away. It peaked in the first quarter, yet even then the economy eked out a growth rate of just 2.7pc. This compares with 5.1pc, 9.3pc, 8.1pc and 8.5pc in the four quarters coming off recession in the early 1980s.
     
    The housing market is already crumbling as government props are pulled away. The expiry of homebuyers’ tax credit led to a 30pc fall in the number of buyers signing contracts in May. “It is cataclysmic,” said David Bloom from HSBC.

      
    Dow Repeats Great Depression Pattern: Charts
    The Dow Jones Industrial Average is repeating a pattern that appeared just before markets fell during the Great Depression, Daryl Guppy, CEO at Guppytraders.com, told CNBC Monday. “Those who don’t remember history are doomed to repeat it…there was a head and shoulders pattern that developed before the Depression in 1929, then with the recovery in 1930 we had another head and shoulders pattern that preceded a fall in the market, and in the current Dow situation we see an exact repeat of that environment,” Guppy said.
     
    The Dow retreated 457.33 points, or 4.5 percent last week, to close at 9,686 Friday. Guppy said a Dow fall below 9,800 confirmed the head and shoulders pattern.
     
    The Shanghai Composite is seeing a very rapid collapse, falling below 2,500, which suggests the major fall in the Dow, he added.

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July 6, 2010 Posted by | Economics, GeoPolitics, History | , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on With the US Trapped in Depression, This Really is Starting to Feel Like 1932! Dow Repeats Great Depression Pattern: Charts!

Dubious Intelligence on Iran’s Nuclear Program Used to Justify UN Sanctions and US War Threats!

  • All the lies and propaganda used against Iraq are now used against Iran. The western Illuminist power and their Zionist colony are very adept at fabricating evidence to justify mass murder. Where were the weapons of mass destruction in Iraq? Iraq was said to have links to Al Qaeda (Al CIAda really). Subsequently, they admitted there were no ties. This coming genocidal war is a racket. It is for the extension of the Illuminist New World Order via the Satanic World War 3 plan. Do not be taken for a ride!
     
  • If this is really about Iran having nuclear weapons, why did the Obama administration and western Europe reject the solution of Turkey and Brazil? Iran was willing to accept shipment of their nuclear material to these countries for storage under IAEA supervision. Isn’t this what the Obama administration had been asking for previously? The Illuminist hypocrisy knows no bounds. Its real intent is World War 3: Zionist West against Muslim world.
     
    Dubious Intelligence on Iran’s Nuclear Program Used to Justify UN Sanctions and US War Threats
    Olli Heinonen, the Finnish nuclear engineer who resigned Thursday after five years as deputy director for safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), was the driving force in turning that agency into a mechanism to support U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran.
     
    Heinonen was instrumental in making a collection of intelligence documents showing a purported Iranian nuclear weapons research programme the central focus of the IAEA’s work on Iran. The result was to shift opinion among Western publics to the view that Iran had been pursuing a covert nuclear weapons programme.
     
    But his embrace of the intelligence documents provoked a fierce political struggle within the Secretariat of the IAEA, because other officials believed the documents were fraudulent. Heinonen took over the Safeguards Department in July 2005 – the same month that the George W. Bush administration first briefed top IAEA officials on the intelligence collection.
     
    The documents portrayed a purported nuclear weapons research programme, originally called the “Green Salt” project, that included efforts to redesign the nosecone of the Shahab-3 missile, high explosives apparently for the purpose of triggering a nuclear weapon and designs for a uranium conversion facility. Later the IAEA referred to the purported Iranian activities simply as the “alleged studies”.
     
    The Bush administration was pushing the IAEA to use the documents to accuse Iran of having had a covert nuclear weapons programme. The administration was determined to ensure that the IAEA Governing Board would support referring Iran to the U.N. Security Council for action on sanctions, as part of a larger strategy to force Iran to abandon its uranium enrichment programme.
     
    Long-time IAEA Director-General Mohammed ElBaradei and other officials involved in investigating and reporting on Iran’s nuclear programme were immediately sceptical about the authenticity of the documents. According to two Israeli authors, Yossi Melman and Meir Javadanfar, several IAEA officials told them in interviews in 2005 and 2006 that senior officials of the agency believed the documents had been “fabricated by a Western intelligence organisation”.
     
    Heinonen, on the other hand, supported the strategy of exploiting the collection of intelligence documents to put Iran on the defensive. His approach was not to claim that the documents’ authenticity had been proven but to shift the burden of proof to Iran, demanding that it provide concrete evidence that it had not carried out the activities portrayed in the documents.
     
    From the beginning, Iran’s permanent representative to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, denounced the documents as fabrications. In Governing Board meetings and interviews, Soltanieh pointed to several indicators, including the absence of official stamps showing receipt of the document by a government office and the absence of any security markings.
     
    The tensions between Heinonen and the senior officials over the intelligence documents intensified in early 2008, when Iran provided detailed documentation to the agency disproving a key premise of the intelligence documents. 
      …..
    The same official said of the collection of intelligence documents, “It’s not difficult to cook up.”
     
    Nevertheless, Heinonen’s position had clearly prevailed. And in the final year of ElBaradei’s leadership of the agency, the Safeguards Department became an instrument for member states – especially France, Britain, Germany and Israel – to put pressure on ElBaradei to publish summaries of intelligence reports portraying Iran as actively pursuing a nuclear weapons programme.
     
    The active pressure of the United States and its allies on behalf of the hard line toward Iran was the main source of Heinonen’s power on the issue. Those states have been feeding intelligence on alleged covert Iranian nuclear activities to the Safeguards Division for years, and Heinonen knew that ElBaradei could not afford to confront the U.S.-led coalition openly over the issue.
     
    The Bush administration had threatened to replace ElBaradei in 2004 and had reluctantly accepted his reelection as director-general in 2005. ElBaradei was not strong enough to threaten to fire the main antagonist over the issue of alleged studies.
     
    ElBaradei’s successor Yukio Amano is even less capable of adopting an independent position on the issues surrounding the documents. The political dynamics of the IAEA ensure that Heinonen’s successor is certain to continue the same line on the Iran nuclear issue and intelligence documents as Heinonen’s.
     

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July 6, 2010 Posted by | GeoPolitics, History | , , , , , | Comments Off on Dubious Intelligence on Iran’s Nuclear Program Used to Justify UN Sanctions and US War Threats!

Gold Better than Currencies!

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July 6, 2010 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Comments Off on Gold Better than Currencies!

Hundreds of Gulf Swimmers Complain of Illness!

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July 6, 2010 Posted by | Disaster | , | 1 Comment