Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Shell Game
Novel by New York Times best-selling author, Steve Alten, which relies heavily on Mike Ruppert's Crossing the Rubicon.
Did My Gold Analysis Spot Informed Buying Before Bhutto Assassination?
Shopping for Bombs: Nuclear Proliferation, Global Insecurity and the Rishe and Fall of the A.Q. Khan Network
Air of Uncertainty: Pakistan in Turmoil

The US has also become singularly focused on individual leaders like Bhutto. Her murder is a tragedy, and Musharraf has called for a three- day mourning period. As the world remembers her contributions, it should also keep her record in perspective. Under Bhutto, Pakistan provided support to the Taliban in the 1990s. Some observers note that Bhutto was not the saviour of democracy she claimed to be, including Bhutto's niece in a recent, biting op-ed in the Los Angeles Times. And it was also in part on Bhutto's watch that Pakistani nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan, the father Pakistan's nuclear programme, built an international network that led to dangerous transfers of nuclear technology.

More Liquidity Without Inflation?
Replace Dollars With An Even More Imaginary Currency
Iran Stops Selling Oil in Dollars
Emergency Alert System Glitch Prompts City Action
This pratfall as the new emergency alert system ran out of the gate is being billed as a success since the purpose of the test was to catch just such glitches.

Superbugs Reaching Epidemic Stage
Can the World Survive China's Emulation of the U.S.?
However hypocritical it may be of us to engage in China-bashing, the following still gives us pause.

China is:

• The world’s largest consumer of coal, grain, fertilizer, cell phones, refrigerators, and televisions
• The leading importer of iron ore, steel, copper, tin, zinc, aluminum, and nickel
• The top producer of coal, steel, cement, and 10 kinds of metal
• The No. 1 importer of illegally logged wood
• The third-largest producer of cars after Japan and the United States; by 2015, it could be the world’s largest car producer. By 2020, there could be 130 million cars on its roads, compared to 33 million now.

More Facts:

• China produces half of the world’s cameras, 1/3 of its television sets, and 1/3 of all the planet’s garbage.
• There are towns in China that make 60% of the world’s button supply, 1/2 of all silk neckties, and 1/2 of all fireworks.
• China uses half of the world’s steel and concrete and will probably construct half of the world’s new buildings over the next decade.
• Some Chinese factories can fit as many as 200,000 workers.
• China used 2.5 billion tons of coal in 2006, more than the next three highest-consuming nations—Russia, India, and the United States—combined.
• It has more than 2,000 coal-fired power plants and puts a new one into operation every 4 to 7 days.
• Between 2003 and 2006, worldwide coal consumption increased as much as it did in the 23 years before that. China was responsible for 90% of the increase.
• China became the world’s top carbon dioxide emitter in 2006, overtaking the United States.
• Russia is China’s largest timber supplier; half of all logging there is illegal. In Indonesia, another timber supplier to China, up to 80% of all logging takes place illegally.
• 90% of all wood products made in China are consumed in the country, including 45 billion pairs of wooden chopsticks each year.
• The value of China’s timber-product exports exceeds $17 billion. About 40 percent go to the United States.
• More than 3/4 of China’s forests have disappeared; 1/4 of the country’s land mass is now desert.
• Until recently, China was losing a Rhode Island-sized parcel of land to desertification each year.
• 80% of the Himalayan glaciers that feed Chinese rivers could melt by 2035.
• In 2005, China’s sulfur-dioxide emissions were nearly twice those of the United States.
• Acid rain caused by air pollution now affects 1/3 of China’s land.
• Each year, at least 400,000 Chinese die prematurely of air-pollution-linked respiratory illnesses or diseases.
• A quarter of a million people die because of mo tor-vehicle traffic each year—6 times as many as in the United States, even though Americans have 18 times as many cars.
• Of the world’s 20 most polluted cities, 16 are in China.
• Half of China’s population—600 to 700 million people—drinks water contaminated with human and animal waste. A billion tons of untreated sewage is dumped into the Yangtze each year.
• 4/5 of China’s rivers are too polluted to support fish.
• The Mi Yun reservoir, Beijing’s last remaining reliable source of drinking water, has dropped more than 50 feet since 1993.
• Overuse of groundwater has caused land subsidence that cost Shanghai alone $12.9 billion in economic losses.
• Dust storms used to occur once a year. Now, they happen at least 20 times a year.
• Chinese dust storms can cause haziness and boost particulate matter in the United States, all the way over to Maine.
• In 2001, a huge Chinese storm dumped 50,000 metric tons of dust on the United States. That’s 2.5 times as much as what U.S. sources produce in a typical day.
• Currently, up to 36 percent of man-made mercury emissions settling on America originated in Asia.
• Particulate matter from Asia accounts for nearly half of California’s annual pollution limit.
• Environmental damage reportedly costs China 10 percent of its GDP. Pollution-related death and disability heath care costs alone are estimated at up to 4 percent of GDP.
• In 2005, there were 50,000 pollution-related disputes and protests in China.
• China’s middle class is expected to jump from 100 million people today to 700 million people by 2020.
[Summary by http://www.dailyreckoning.com/]

Arctic is Screaming


Rice Farmer said...

Matt Simmons' 2008 oil outlook

A "good" way to start off the new year.

Tyler Havlin said...

Oil Close to $100 on Nigera Violence


Oil prices jumped sharply Wednesday, once again approaching $100 a barrel on supply concerns sparked by renewed violence in Nigeria and a warning that OPEC may not be able to meet its share of global oil demand by 2024.

"Although the violence has not impacted oil flow out of the country, it has reignited supply concerns as militant attacks have reduced Nigeria's crude output by roughly 20 percent since 2006," said John Gerdes, an analyst at SunTrust Robinson Humphrey in a research note. Nigeria is Africa's largest oil producer.

Gas prices peaked at $3.227 a gallon in May as refiners faced unprecedented maintenance issues and struggled to produce enough gasoline to meet demand. A similar scenario is expected this spring, when gas prices could peak above $3.40 a gallon, according to the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration.

Tyler Havlin said...


Oil Futures Rise to $100 a Barrel


Crude oil prices soared to $100 a barrel Wednesday for the first time, reaching that milestone amid an unshakeable view that global demand for oil and petroleum products will outstrip supplies.

Tyler Havlin said...

North India facing serious power crunch


"The abnormal increase in demand in all sectors has widened the gap between demand and availability of power resulting into low grid frequency, which is the cause of the unscheduled power cuts," a spokesman for Haryana Power Utilities said here Wednesday.

He said that all possible efforts are on to procure maximum power from all available sources even at higher rates to meet the present demand.

Tyler Havlin said...

Iran struggles to meet gas demand


"After the sharp falls in temperature over the last days and the halt in deliveries by Turkmenistan, exports of gas to Turkey have been cut to a minimum," an Iranian source told the Fars news agency.

The source said the volume of gas exports to Turkey had been cut from 20 million cubic meters to five million cubic meters.

Iran was previously forced to completely halt its gas exports to Turkey for five days in January 2007 in order to compensate for a domestic consumption crunch.

"The cold and the drop in gas pressure have created problems throughout the country," Manouchehr Mottaki, the foreign minister told state television.

Officials cite technical problems for the complete halt in gas supplies from Turkmenistan which normally provides five per cent of Iran's consumption needs.

Rice Farmer said...

Today, January 4, is the day that everything officially starts up in Japan in the new year. The nation got off to a bang with the morning news, which informed us that because of higher-priced energy, EVERYTHING ELSE is going up. We were treated to a list of major corporations and industries that are jacking up prices substantially, many of them in the 10-20% range. Food was primary among them.

Yesterday I visited with neighbors, who said, "Everything you told us years ago is happening. We're glad we stayed out here in the boondocks instead of moving to town!"

Tyler Havlin said...

Unemployment Up, Stoking Recession Fears


Wary employers clamped down on hiring and pushed the unemployment rate to a two-year high of 5 percent in December, an ominous sign that the economy may slide into recession. President Bush explored a rescue package, including a tax cut, with his economic advisers.

The civilian unemployment rate jumped from 4.7 percent in November to 5 percent in December, the highest since November 2005 after the Gulf Coast hurricanes dealt the country a mighty blow. Total payrolls -- both private employers and government -- grew by just 18,000 last month, the worst showing since August 2003, when the economy suffered job losses as it struggled to recover from the 2001 recession.

"This is a major warning shot that the economy is in trouble," said economist Joel Naroff, president of Naroff Economic Advisors.

Toban said...

I see Stan Goff is now supporting Ron Paul for president. I know he has written for FTW in the past; does his opinion still carry any weight?
What do the rest of you think?
Here's the article: http://www.counterpunch.org/goff01042008.html

Rice Farmer said...

Chinese govt puts export tariff on grains

I'll give you one guess what effect this is having in Japan.

Japan to Increase Emergency Stockpiles of Grains

Rice Farmer said...

I don't know why Stan Goff is supporting Ron Paul, but I might voice support for him because of his "spanner in the works" effect. Of course if he proves to be a real threat to the Republicrats, he might well be "accidented" or otherwise incapacitated.

Rice Farmer said...

Super-Sized Autopsy Tables Needed For Big Corpses

I'm afraid a lot of Americans are going to be in for a period of, shall we say, adjustment.

Rice Farmer said...

Cynthia McKinney will be one of several people participating in the Green Party presidential debate on January 13.


Rice Farmer said...

Iran says many OPEC states can't raise output


There has been much speculation that the proclamations of OPEC that "the market is well supplied with oil" are actually a cover for the inability of some OPEC members to increase production. The big question is, Is Saudi Arabia also maxed out? We might not have long to wait to find out. If the situation gets really serious and Saudi gives the world only a token increase, it could be a very bad sign.

Tyler Havlin said...

Iran plays down Gulf incident with US


The Pentagon said that in the incident early Sunday, five small Iranian boats repeatedly "charged" U.S. warships in the Gulf's Hormuz Strait and dropped boxes in the water. The boats warned the U.S. ships that they would set up "explosions," a U.S. Defense Department official said.

The U.S. craft were on the verge of opening fire when the Iranian boats fled, the official said, calling the incidident "the most serious provocation of its sort" in the Gulf. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

The incident occurred at about 5 a.m. local time Sunday as Navy cruiser USS Port Royal, destroyer USS Hopper and frigate USS Ingraham were on their way into the Persian Gulf and passing through the strait — a major oil shipping route.

The official said he didn't have the precise transcript of communications that passed between the two forces, but said the Iranians radioed something like "we're coming at you and you'll explode in a couple minutes."

gaelicgirl said...

There's a quite fascinating, if long, article on The Oil Drum by (I think) Stuart Staniford entitled, "Modeling Biofuel Production as an Infectious Growth on Food Production". Stuart is one of their main writers, and he says that after studying this issue in depth, he feels that the near-term situation with ethanol production affecting food prices and availability is much more serious than he'd thought; that it could potentially cause mass starvation among the global poor in the next few years. Here it is:


A peon said...

"Sibel Edmonds Speaks"

Tyler Havlin said...

Here's an interesting quote from the article that gaelicgirl was referring to:

"The core problem is that gasoline price elasticity in the US is about -0.05, versus the -0.7 price elasticity for food consumption by poor consumers. This makes clear who is going to win the bidding war for food versus biofuels in a free market."

The end of cheap food is a lot closer than people realize. Get those gardens started.

A peon said...

"A Fungus Brings Dinosaurs’ Fate to Frogs"

miskit said...

I know this is off topic, but..., I'm trying to get the word out. Sibel Edmonds has spoken to the British Press. See the Brad Blog, bradblog.com or the "Australian" came up also carrying the article in a google search of news about Sibel Edmonds. We are talking high treason here including the sale of nuclear secrets with moles for foreign countries in DOD, DOJ with operatives at Los Alamos. Check it out, pass the news and demand open investigations.

Tyler Havlin said...

Price of gold reaches an historic high


Gold futures surged above $880 Tuesday to their highest level ever, not accounting for inflation, propelled higher by rising oil prices and a weak U.S. dollar. An ounce of gold for February delivery climbed as high as $884 on the New York Mercantile Exchange, topping by almost $10 its previous record of $875 set in 1980, and later settled at $880.30, up $18.30.

Market analysts who have watched gold’s ascent weren’t surprised that gold had reached a new high.

"I’m telling my friends," said Ashraf Laidi, an analyst at CMC Markets. "I’ve told them for the past three years to invest in gold."

Rice Farmer said...

Those who took MCR's advice on gold are now gloating over their new-found riches.