Monday, April 21, 2008

Second Verse, Same As The First

I saw this article in the New York Sun today and I was reminded how tyrants use famine as a tool to obliterate perceived enemies. Stalin used it in the Great Ukrainian Famine in 1933 in which over six million people starved to death.

In 2002 Robert Mugabe denied food to millions of Zimbabweans who supported his political rivals. Communists starved hundreds of thousands during the Ethiopian famine of 1984-85. But no one can touch the Chinese for brutally killing millions of peasants. In the Great Chinese Famine of 1959-60, approximately 30 million Chinese starved to death in forced collectivization of peasant farms.

And now in America, the land of plenty, the land of fruited plains, it seems possible that food storages may be possible.

Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.

[...] spot shortages seemed to be most frequent in the Northeast and all the way along the West Coast. He said he had heard reports of buying limits at Sam’s Club warehouses, which are owned by Wal-Mart Stores, but a spokesman for the company, Kory Lundberg, said he was not aware of any shortages or limits.

An anonymous high-tech professional writing on an investment Web site, Seeking
, said he recently bought 10 50-pound bags of rice at Costco. “I am concerned that when the news of rice shortage spreads, there will be panic buying and the shelves will be empty in no time. I do not intend to cause a panic, and I am not speculating on rice to make profit. I am just hoarding some for my own consumption,” he wrote.

For years we have been warned about the effect of diverting food crops in order to produce ethanol for fuel. A recent article in the UK Telegraph reports that:

The UN says it takes 232 kg of corn to fill a 50-litre car tank with ethanol. That is enough to feed a child for a year. Last week, the UN predicted "massacres" unless the biofuel policy is halted.

At 2.2 pounds per kilo, that's 510 pounds of corn. A quarter ton of corn? I'd say that's more than enough.

[...] world grain stocks have fallen to a quarter-century low of 5m tonnes, rations for eight to 12 weeks. America - the world's food superpower - will divert 18pc of its grain output for ethanol this year, chiefly to break dependency on oil imports. It has a 45pc biofuel target for corn by 2015.

Argentina, Canada, and Eastern Europe are joining the race.

The USDA reported that in 2007, 13.1 billion bushels of corn were harvested. If the 18% biofuel target is realized for a similar harvest this year, 2.35 billion bushels of corn will be diverted towards the production of ethanol. If the 45% biofuel target is reached for the same size harvest, 5.9 billion bushels will be diverted. It seems that even with record breaking harvests, there will be shortages of grain for food consumption. Let's take a closer look at corn production:

The United States grew 42 percent of the world's corn in during fiscal year 2006, producing 282.3 million metric tons (11.1 billion bushels). Other major corn producing countries in 2006 included:
China -139.4 million metric tons (5.5 billion bushels)
Brazil - 41.7 million metric tons (1.64 billion bushels)
European Union - 48.3 million metric tons (1.9 billion bushels)
Mexico - 19.5 million metric tons (767 million bushels)
Argentina - 15.8 million metric tons (622 million bushels)
India - 15 million metric tons (590.5 million bushels

Believe it or not, the world's second largest producer of corn is China. The US is posed to divert domestic harvest equal to the entire production of the world's second largest producer of corn (and then a half billion bushels more) just to satisfy the fanaticial rantings of Al Gore and his global warming circus.

This is what is truly troubling to me. Food has been used as a weapon in the past by communists. The new communists are nothing more than a politicized oligarchy (Surprise! Same as the old!) but with a new empowerment. They are not going to make the world over into a workers paradise anymore, they've moved beyond that. Al Gore and his neocommies will make the world over into a primodial paradise where nothing is safe except for crabgrass and newts. And of course those lucky enough to climb on the carbon off set bandwagon. And if you don't buy into the global warming nonsense, they'll starve you. They have done it in the past and they'll do it again.

And inspite of record high grain prices, US farm subsidies go rolling along. In 2006 the US taxpayer ponied up $13,405,000,000 in subsidies. The largest recipients are listed here. The top recipient is Riceland Foods, Inc.; since 1995 Riceland has received over $554 million in commodity subsidies. This translates into the following:
Rice Subsidies - $526,296,548
Soybean Subsidies - $20,258,260
Wheat Subsidies - $7,742,225
Corn Subsidies - $44,799

The goodie train continues in the 2008 budget. Between the greedy Gorebots and the run of the mill thieves in Congress we don't stand a chance. We'll be working full time just so we can purchase either food or gas, but not both.

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