Posts Tagged ‘Commodity’

California’s Drought Could Tip America Toward Economic And Social Turmoil

by John Myers on Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014

This is article 67 of 72 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies
California’s Drought Could Tip America Toward Economic And Social Turmoil


“We never know the worth of water, till the well is dry.” — saying No. 5451, as collected and listed in Gnomologia by Thomas Fuller, M.D.

Some of the worst drought conditions in recorded history have stricken California, and this will have a blistering effect on America’s economy.

California is into its third year of severe drought, a situation that promoted U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to announce $9.7 million in new agriculture aid. This will top the Barack Obama Administration’s aid to the Golden State at more than $50 million dollars, a total that will undoubtedly grow because of Washington’s worries of a perfect storm — a tsunami of illegal immigrants and a dearth of water.

Last Saturday, the Los Angeles Times carried a story headlined, “California drought will only get worse, experts say.” The story reported that 80 percent of the State is suffering extreme drought, and Brian Fuchs of the National Drought Mitigation Center believes that conditions are not likely to improve. When asked if it is possible that the State is suffering its worst water shortage in 50 years, Fuchs suggested it could be the worst drought in 200 to 300 years and then understated the situation by saying, “It would be a significant event.”

Fuchs echoed what B. Lynn Ingram, a professor of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley told The New York Times in February, “We are on track for having the worst drought in 500 years.”

An understanding of the implications of a major weather change dating back half a millennium on a crucial region of the world is difficult to understate.

The Most Precious Commodity

Economic implications in themselves from such drought have to be seriously weighed. California Ag-growers are a critical part of the State’s economy, which is the largest in the Union. Besides being the No. 1 agriculture-producing State in the U.S., California has the world’s eighth-largest economy, with a gross State product of more than $2 trillion, or more than 13 percent of the total U.S. gross domestic product. A key component to California’s economy is agriculture.

As a cattle and grain writer for my first few years out of college, I can tell you water is the key component in being able to raise livestock or grow crops. And I know the stories that my father and uncle told about the Dust Bowl and how it endured in their memory because of the personal hardship they saw.

Given that California is the fifth-largest supplier of food and agriculture commodities in the world with annual sales of more than $44 billion, a catastrophic drought will have serious implications that will be felt throughout North America and beyond.

Fortune reported last week that the drought will cost the State $2.2 billion alone this year. And if dry conditions persist as expected, that total will escalate quickly, leaving the U.S. particularly vulnerable to inflation. Already, the dollar has been severely undermined by the Federal Reserve’s campaign of buying U.S. Treasuries, creating escalation in the money supply over the past few years.

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Obama waits until after the election to ban accounts by Americans

by John Lott on Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

The Empire of Poverty

by Daniel Greenfield on Monday, April 30th, 2012

This is article 114 of 191 in the topic Government Regulations

Controlling a large number of people isn’t easy. The United States alone consists of 312 million people spread out across nearly 4 million square miles. Add on nearly 500 million for the population of the European Union and another nearly 4 million square miles of territory. Then pile on Canada with 34 million people and another 4 million square miles, Australia with 22 million and 3 million square miles and a few other stragglers here and there, and the postmodern rulers of the progressive empire have to cope with nearly a billion people spread out across 15 million square miles.

Large territories and large numbers of people are very difficult to govern. Structures tend to break down and people further away from the centers of power don’t listen to the boys at the top. The only way to make a going proposition of it is to consolidate as much power as possible at the center and the very act of centralizing power leads to tyranny.

The most direct chokehold possible is physical. China’s rulers, faced with vast territory and population, turned to the water empire. The modern West is quickly rediscovering a more sophisticated form of hydraulic despotism, cloaked in talk of saving the planet and providing for everyone’s needs.

Western resources are not innately centralized, which makes seizing control of them and routing them through a central point more difficult. This has to be done legislatively and has to be justified by a universal benefit or a crisis. One example of this is FDR’s Agricultural Adjustment Act which allowed the government to control wheat grown on a farm for private consumption. Another is nationalizing health care by routing the commercial activity of medicine through government organs. Both services and commodities can be controlled in this manner.

But the larger challenge is that the West is rich and a water empire depends on scarcity. Central control is much less potent if there is plenty of the commodity or service available. It’s only when shortages are created in bread or health care that the system really wields power by rationing a scarce commodity or service.

If a resource is scarce, then the water empire has to distribute it efficiently. But if a resource is widely available, then the water empire has to find ways of making it scarce, until the demand vastly outstrips the supply.

The modern water empire is dependent for its power on manufactured shortages. The rise of the progressive state was closely tied to its exploitation of shortages. Its challenge has been to win the race with industrial productivity by manufacturing shortages and destroying wealth faster than it could be created. While the machine of industry created wealth, the machine of government destroyed it. Today the machine of government is very close to winning the race, creating a state of permanent shortages.

Manufactured shortages are the great project of modern governments. This manufacture is done by prohibitively increasing the cost of creating and distributing products and services, by controlling the means of production in the name of wealth redistribution and by prohibiting the production on the grounds that it is immoral or dangerous. Over the 20th century the transition was made from the first to the second and finally to the third.

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New piece in Philadelphia Inquirer: Speculators smooth out the rough spots

by John Lott on Tuesday, March 13th, 2012

This is article 60 of 75 in the topic Oil Industry/OPEC

My new piece with Grover Norquist in the Philadelphia Inquirer starts this way:

With regular gas prices topping $3.70 last weekend, angry politicians are blaming the higher prices on speculators and greedy oil companies. On Monday, The Hill newspaper reported that 23 senators and 45 congressmen, all Democrats except for one independent, called for urgent action against the “speculators” they hold responsible. Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania demanded, “Consumers shouldn’t be forced to pay higher prices at the pump because of speculative bets on Wall Street.”

These politicians want the Commodity Futures Trading Commission to use its new regulatory powers under a law signed by President Obama two years ago to limit the amount of oil that speculators can buy.

This isn’t a new concern. Last April, when regular gas prices hit $4 a gallon, the president launched a Department of Justice investigation into what he called “manipulation in the oil markets that might affect gas prices.”

Unfortunately, neither the Democrats in Congress nor Obama appear to have a clue how markets work. The policy reminds one of Richard Nixon’s attacks on speculators during the 1970s. . . .

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Nutty Sen. Bob Casey on oil prices

by John Lott on Monday, March 5th, 2012

Do any of these Democrats understand that speculation smooths prices over time? That speculators make money by causing price differences to get smaller over time? This article also shows how dangerous the stupid Dodd-Frank bill is. From The Hill newspaper:

Democratic Sen. Bob Casey (Pa.) is pressing the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to help ease rising gasoline prices.
In a letter sent to CFTC Chairman Gary Gensler on Sunday, Casey called on the agency to implement a rule that would limit speculation in the oil market and is two years in the making.
“Consumers shouldn’t be forced to pay higher prices at the pump because of speculative bets on Wall Street,” Casey said.
“Nearly two years ago Congress gave the CFTC the tools to crackdown on speculation in the oil market, and with sky high prices at the pump it’s time they used it.”
The Dodd-Frank law gives the CFTC the authority to limit the ability of speculators on Wall Street to inflate the price of oil by putting in place position limits. . . .

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Hollywood Moonbat Quote of the Day

by Doug Powers on Friday, September 2nd, 2011

Actress and career misdemeanor environmentalist Daryl Hannah and others were arrested near the White House for refusing to comply with Park Police during a protest over the Keystone XL pipeline, which will funnel oil from Canada to Texas.

Here’s what Hannah said:

“Sometimes it’s necessary to sacrifice your freedom for a greater freedom…”

She was probably in jail for, what, two hours maybe? Not exactly Nelson Mandela, but she’s trying her best to be an eco-martyr. If she really wants to feel imprisoned she should force herself to watch the remake of Attack of the 50 Ft Woman.

One thing Daryl most certainly is not protesting is the construction of the pipeline that will funnel Hollywood’s most valued commodity from the Botox factory to her plastic surgeon’s office:

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Gold And Silver In A Bubble?

by Bob Livingston on Friday, April 8th, 2011

This is article 141 of 393 in the topic economy

Gold And Silver In A Bubble?

At this writing, silver is $39.57 and gold is $1,459.86. Silver and gold are not in a bubble and should be bought. Before this market is topped out, precious metals will be much higher.

Paper money and all fiat currencies are in a bubble. The people who are saying that silver and gold are in a bubble are talking their book.

They are betting against gold and silver by shorting the market, or either not buying it.

As we have cautioned many times, do not invest in any kind of proxy for gold and silver, meaning any kind of scheme, exchange traded fund (ETF) or any type of “storage or security” system. Keep your metals in your possession at all times, the same as you would your firearm.

In my wide reading of the metals market I am reading about silver being in backwardation.
This means that many forms of silver are not available at the retail price.

The U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is considering rule changes that would set limits on the amount of shorts that can be bought. This would limit the manipulation of the gold and silver market by the big bullion banks like J.P. Morgan and Goldman Sachs. Many writers believe that this will make the price of silver and gold explosive.

Normally speaking, silver and gold are due for a correction and I believe it will substantially correct. Just always keep in mind how much and how fast it has gone up.

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Alternative Alternatives

by Larry Wilke on Monday, February 28th, 2011

This is article 34 of 270 in the topic energy

As the events keep unfolding relative to the cries of “freedom” and “democracy” (real or imaginary..) from the Middle East, we have no choice but to look at how this will effect our country and our need for the only commodity of any importance from this recalcitrant region. The commodity of “mindless spontaneously exploding foreign exchange students and cab drivers” readily available from this area may be incredibly important to the Mooselim “practitioners of the religion of peace”, but that is another story for another day..

These events afford an “opportunity” as the left likes to call them, for these urchins to punish those who truly do believe in “freedom” as ANY real or imaginary excitement from this area invariably results in the reflexive raising of crude oil prices. Without fail, as the price of crude (aptly named..) begins to climb from the absurd to the ridiculous, EVERYONE begins to consider the possibilities of “alternatives”. The liberals have an altogether different idea than the rest of us do as to what “alternative” really means..

When the price of petroleum begins to march or race upward, the left without hesitation begins to pule and moan about their progressive pet project, the unrealistic “alternative” fuels fallacy. From solar to wind to fuels made from any number of objects or items, they have managed to create about enough actual “fuel” to power a box fan for about a week..

Please keep the following four thoughts in mind relative to the liberal’s “alternative” fools/fuels.. The exorbitant “price” of these liberally inspired faux fuels is irrelevant. The fact that these faux fuels are made using the very fuels that we are constantly blackmailed over is irrelevant. The fact that these “fuels” are manufactured using products that should be used to “feed the world”, another liberal puling point, is irrelevant.. THESE are the ONLY “alternatives” offered up as acceptable by the left and there are two reasons for this.

The first is that the highest priority for the liberals as relates to the “alternative” nonsense is their desire to protect and enhance ALL of their personal investments that they have made. Since they have had the taxing and spending reigns of power in their greasy hands since 2006, they have tried to “control” where the tax monies stolen from the middle class can be most effectively “redistributed” in terms of this “science”, which then most effectively PROFITS THEM. In the world of “Wall Street”, this is known as “insider trading” and when participants are caught scheming, they are summarily canned and paraded before the “impartial” media in their prison togs.. Within the “world” of liberal politics, “insider trading” is considered the “spoils of victory” and the “impartial” media looks the other way.. Unfortunately, when those on the left are caught “insider trading” they are just reelected to office (and sometimes placed into HIGHER office..) by those who are dependent upon them for their “benefits”..

The second reason is a bit more clandestine. These so called “alternative fuels” are bound to fail.. Liberalism itself has “failure” hardwired into its DNA.

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Peanut Butter Pandemic

by Larry Wilke on Friday, January 7th, 2011

This is article 15 of 72 in the topic Food/Natural Remedies

The liberal “leader” has again proved that progressive omniscience is still alive and well. Their “need” to be overly over-involved in literally everything possible is important when “overhauls” and “takeovers” dominate your political playbook.. The ulterior motive in this latest socialist sobbing is no different than any other that we have had to suffer through since January of 2009.. The liberals need to take “action” and when they do so, it “costs” the rest of us literally and figuratively..

So the socialist super zero donned his red cape with the nifty hammer and sickle emblem embroidered in the center as well as his pink tights and it was time to go about poking his progressive proboscis into another area of the already bloated Bolshevik bureaucracy.. In an article entitled, “Obama to sign bill to improve nation’s food safety” (Yahoo dot com 01/04/2011) Obama “said consumers should be able to have confidence that their government will keep peanut butter-eating children safe..”

With the ever-diligent liberals in control, “peanut butter-eating children” might be alleged to be “safe”, but I would ask, if these “children” actually feel “safe” knowing that the liberals who have destroyed the public schools while they were trying to “save” them are now trying to “save” peanut butter.. Do they feel “safe” knowing that the liberals have saddled them with a debt that they may NEVER be able to overcome in their lifetime and now its on to peanut butter.. Since the liberal government feels the need to jump in on the issue of peanut butter safety, since Obama has destroyed so many of America’s jobs, I have a few questions.. Just how much will jars of this consumable commodity end up costing due to their Marxist meddling and who other than the liberals will be able to afford to pay for a jar after they are done?

The next question becomes why did Obama choose to get so upset over peanut butter? I would imagine that he is so concerned for an altogether different reason than the first lady/Richard Simmons.. Barack wants to “overhaul” peanut butter but this substance has to be on Michelle’s “no fatty” list since this “cause” of “childhood obesity”, according to her is a “national security threat”.. That is correct, fat five-year olds are a “threat to national security”, Middle Eastern Mooselims, well they are the “practitioners of the religion of peace” after all..

Yes the “government” needs to make kids “safe”.. Here is all the excuse that the liberals need to again waltz in and demand a “takeover” or an “overhaul”.. “He is set to sign a $1.4 billion overhaul (see, I told you..) of the food safety system, giving Washington new power to increase inspections at food processing facilities..” Again, I just have to ask, how about doing a few “inspections” relative to all of the ILLEGALS who just might be working there as well.. Just call it a “win-win”, safe peanut butter, safe country..

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Congress Lifts Its Skirt Again

by US Weapon on Thursday, December 16th, 2010

This is article 83 of 308 in the topic Taxation/IRS

As I seem to be doing on a fairly regular basis at the moment, I must again apologize for the randomness of my posting schedule lately. As it turns out, time is such a limited commodity currently. But soon my tenure as a two job employee will be at an end. There is little doubt that the topic of the day seems to be the deal struck between the President and the Republicans in Congress to extend the Bush tax cuts for all Americans in exchange for an extension of the unemployment benefits for those who need them. I have to say that the world of Washington DC as I know it appears to be “Bizarro World”. The Democrats are lambasting the President and spouting off about standing up for their principles. The Republicans are lambasting the President and spouting off about standing up for their principles. Well, now USWeapon is going to NOT lambast the President and point out the lack of principle in Washington DC. What a bunch of hypocritical children we have in Congress.

So the deal is basically this: President Obama agreed to extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone, including those making over $250k a year, for an additional 2 years (the 2011 and 2012 tax years). In exchange, the Republicans agreed to extend unemployment benefits for 13 months. They proposed bill would also cut social security taxes for next year and set the estate tax at 35% with an exemption of $5 million.

Let me first say that I am going to support this particular legislation for one simple reason… every single thing that was mentioned above, with the exception of the unemployment provision, was a reduction in the amount of taxes that private citizens would have to pay. I, of course, would prefer that the estate tax be done away with completely. What right does the government have to that money? (answer: none). While I would like to see dramatic reductions in payroll taxes, far beyond what these “tax cuts” provide, I will support anything that makes the number lower rather than higher.

Personally, I think that the President was particularly wise in working this deal out now and attempting to get it done before the end of the year. The reality is that come January, the balance of power will shift in Congress and the Republicans would be able to get the tax cut extensions passed without conceding anything at all. Obama knows that and took the opportunity to at least get something out of the deal. The GOP took the deal because doing it this way is certainly easier than doing it in January without the White House’s help. What baffles me completely is the behavior of the far left in Congress, and truthfully, in the media as well.

Pelosi and her fair-weather friends are all the sudden at odds with the messiah in a way that I haven’t seen thus far.

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