Rice Farmer - Evening Edition
Global Ponzi meltdown/House of Cards
"Global insurance companies are struggling to get a grip on their flood exposure in Asia nearly a year after one of the world's costliest disasters hit Thailand, with executives fearing an even worse event looms in the region."
The Disastrous 40-Year Debt Supercycle Is Coming To an End (interview with David Stockman)
Airline Death Spiral
Fault lines/flashpoints/powder kegs/military/war drums
"An explosion on Sunday rocked the Egyptian pipeline built to carry natural gas to Israel and Jordan, the 15th time it has been attacked since the start of the uprising in early 2011 that toppled President Hosni Mubarak."
"China's powerful Central Military Commission has approved the formal establishment of a military garrison for the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Sunday, in a move which could further boost tensions in already fractious region."
Global unrest/mob rule/angry people/torches and pitchforks
"The Amonix solar manufacturing plant in North Las Vegas went belly-up last week, closing its 214,000-square-foot facility just a year after it opened and becoming the latest tax-subsidized alternative energy operation to go bust."
"That was the industry's story right before a decade-long climb in oil prices that ended with an all-time high in 2008. Only the oil industry would now have the audacity once again to peddle a story that it has gotten wrong for more than a decade as if it were brand new. Enlisting the media and its army of paid consultants, the industry is once again telling the public that oil abundance is at hand. And, what is doubly audacious is that it is promoting this tale as oil prices hover at levels more than eight times the 1999 low. Clearly, the industry is counting on collective amnesia to shield it from ridicule."
"Congestion at Indian ports is delaying corn and rice shipments to Asia and Africa, dealing a fresh blow to buyers stung by record-high global grain prices as a worsening US drought threatens to spark a shortage in food supply. Ships faced up to 25 days of waiting at ports on India's east coast, traders and port officials said on Friday, delaying cargoes to millers who are heavily relying on cheaper South Asian shipments amid tight US and South American supplies."
"Coca-Cola (KO -0.67%), PepsiCo (PEP -0.66%) and the rest of the carbonated beverage industry can't afford to ignore Thursday's call by health activists and some cities for the U.S. Surgeon General to conduct a comprehensive study on the health effects of soda, much like the landmark report on the dangers cigarette smoking decades ago."
"As crowds of anti-nuclear protesters near the Prime Minister's Official Residence reach as many as 90,000, the networks of small groups that have organized the Friday night demonstrations are becoming victims of their own success."
"Supermarkets are being forced to import vegetables from abroad after the wet and cold summer weather has led to many traditional British crops running late and reduced yields."
Jenna Orkin - Morning Edition
"Japan's health ministry said it would investigate reports that workers at the stricken Fukushima nuclear power plant were urged by a subcontractor to place lead around radiation detection devices in order to stay under a safety threshold for exposure."
Wish I could be surprised. What I don't get is why any workers would comply - it's their own goose getting cooked. - Wes
"With Valencia bust, Spanish bonds at all-time record spreads to bunds, and yields at euro-era record highs, Spain's access to public markets for more debt is as good as closed. What is most concerning however, as FAZ reports, is that "the money will last [only] until September", and "Spain has no 'Plan B". Yesterday's market meltdown - especially at the front-end of the Spanish curve - is now being dubbed 'Black Friday' and the desperation is clear among the Spanish elite."
"China has a substantial military presence in the South China Sea and the move is essentially a further assertion of its sovereignty claims after it last month upped the administrative status of the seas to the level of a city, which it calls Sansha."
"Greece is in a "Great Depression" similar to the American one in the 1930s, the country's Prime Minister Antonis Samaras told former U.S. President Bill Clinton on Sunday.
Samaras's comments come two days before a team of Greece's international lenders arrive in Athens to push for further austerity measures if the debt-laden country wants to qualify for further rescue payments and avoid a chaotic default."
War or revolution is next. – Wes
"The powerful magnitude-8.6 earthquake that shook Sumatra on April 11, 2012, was a seismic standout for many reasons, not the least of which is that it was larger than scientists thought an earthquake of its type—an intraplate strike-slip quake—could ever be. Now, as Caltech researchers report on their findings from the first high-resolution observations of the underwater temblor, they point out that the earthquake was also unusually complex—rupturing along multiple faults that lie at nearly right angles to one another, as though racing through a maze."
Can any of you see the document clearly enough to verify whether it is what it claims to be? - JO
"What has happened instead is a multi-year squeeze on their activity that is shrinking Wall Street banks, cutting headcount and bonuses, and gutting the returns that shareholders used to enjoy."
I'm not buying it, but they couldn't die fast enough to suit me. - Wes
Do you think they will bail out any of the students saddled with unpayable debt because there are no jobs? Hell no. If a bailout comes, it will be to private banks only. The federal government will just buy up the bad loans. Then use the power of the IRS to collect down the road.- Wes
Latest Turmoil in Spain: What You Need to Know
"...intense protests across the country. 80 different cities engulfed and every single day there appears to be more austerity measures. the most upsetting is the spaniards are losing what they call the Christmas bonus."
"Desperate for a way out of a housing collapse that has crippled the region, officials in San Bernardino County, where Fontana is one of the largest cities, are exploring a drastic option — using eminent domain to buy up mortgages for homes that are underwater.
Then, the idea goes, the county could cut the mortgages to the current value of the homes and resell the mortgages to a private investment firm, which would allow homeowners to lower their monthly payments and hang onto their property."
It's a very creative idea, providing the housing market will get back to infinite growth. Without cheap infinite energy, we know that isn't going to happen. Putting that issue aside, where's the money going to come from in these broke counties to implement this idea? I see wheels spinning in panic. - Wes
All food prices are going up. Get as ready as you can.- Wes
"...a new report by the NGO Clean Air Task Force (CATF) shows that an oil spill isn’t the only risk that Arctic drilling poses to the environment. Methane and black carbon, two potent greenhouses gases, will likely be emitted in significant amounts if drilling in the Arctic proves as lucrative as many oil companies are hoping for. Exactly how much additional greenhouse gas will be released by the production of Arctic oil isn’t clear—and depends on whether drillers and regulators take steps to reduce the warming side effects of drilling."
IIn Zimbabwe, Land Takeover a Golden Lining? - from Per Fagereng
Wrong crop, but the right way of land reform. - PF
"In neighboring Colombia, drivers pay 40 times as much as Venezuelans to tank up — $1.25 a liter ($4.73 a gallon), compared to 3 U.S. cents a liter (11 cents a gallon).
So much gasoline is being taken out of Venezuela illegally that President Hugo Chavez's socialist government imposed rationing on motorists in one state bordering Colombia last year, and now it's touched off a furor in a second border state by announcing it will ration gasoline there, too."
Cheap power under our feet (geothermal)
"Hot rocks technology, which uses the heat of the Earth's core to generate power, will soon become a reality in Britain. Plans have been unveiled to tap into geothermal resources at five sites, including one in Manchester with the potential to heat 7m homes."
Spanish fish barons admit taking illegal catches in UK waters
"In June, Lightfoot's company, BrightFarms, announced a deal with The Great Atlantic and Pacific Tea Company, part of A&P, to provide New York City-grown vegetables to the local chain's supermarkets year-round. The goods will grow in what the company says will be the country's largest rooftop greenhouse farm, a high-tech hydroponic operation that will boost yields, allowing the company to face-off with organic vegetables trucked from California, cutting thousands of miles from the supply chain while aiming to provide a fresher product at a competitive price."
Glimmers of hope. - Wes
"It was one of the biggest secrets of the post-9/11 era: soon after the attacks, President Bush gave the CIA permission to create a top secret assassination unit to find and kill Al Qaeda operatives. The program was kept from Congress for seven years. And when Leon Panetta told legislators about it in 2009, he revealed that the CIA had hired the private security firm Blackwater to help run it. "The move was historic," says Evan Wright, the two-time National Magazine Award-winning journalist who wrote Generation Kill. "It seems to have marked the first time the U.S. government outsourced a covert assassination service to private enterprise.""
"HONOLULU - A federal judge dismissed human trafficking charges Friday against executives and business associates of a labor recruiting company accused of exploiting hundreds of farm workers from Thailand by putting them into debt, confiscating their passports and threatening to deport them.
The move came after prosecutors requested dismissal of the case against CEO Mordechai Orian and Director of International RelationsPraneeTubchumpol of Global Horizons Manpower Inc., and business associates."
The real bad guys always seem to get off the hook. It's another fine example of our "Just-Us" system at work. - Wes