Daily Archives: April 7, 2011
Written by Bob Adelmann
Wednesday, 30 March 2011 10:14
When billionaire George Soros wrote two years ago that what the world needed now was “a new world architecture,” he was already laying plans for Bretton Woods II, April 8-11, 2011, to be held at the Mount Washington Hotel in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire (pictured, above).
While international cooperation on regulatory reform is difficult to achieve on a piecemeal basis, it may be attainable in a grand bargain that rearranges the entire financial order.
A new Bretton Woods conference, like the one that established the international financial architecture after World War II, is needed to establish new international rules…reconstitute the International Monetary Fund (IMF)…[and] to reform the currency system…
Claiming that the international monetary system “cannot survive in its present form,” Soros argues that it could and should be revamped so that American leadership would be “re-established…in a more acceptable form. ”
In the formal announcement of the meeting, sponsored and funded to the tune of some $50 million by Soros’ Institute for New Economic Thinking (INET), the stated purpose of bringing together “more than 200 academic, business and government policy leaders” is to move beyond the original Bretton Woods conference agreements in 1944 which established the IMF, the World Bank, and the United Nations and to “engage the larger European Union, as well as the emerging economies of Eastern Europe, Latin America, and Asia. ”
Such a meeting should surprise no one watching the current scene. Soros has made clear his economic and political philosophy, writing back in 1997 that “the main enemy of the open society, I believe, is no longer the communist but the capitalist threat. ” Writing for the Atlantic, Soros explained his position as an economic and political progressive:
Insofar as there is a dominant belief in our society today, it is a belief in the magic of the marketplace. The doctrine of Laissez-faire capitalism holds that the common good is best served by uninhibited pursuit of self-interest. [However] unless it is tempered by the recognition of a common interest that ought to take precedence over particular interests, our present system…is liable to break down [Emphasis added.].
Ironically (as Soros became fabulously wealthy as an international financial and currency speculator), he wrote: “Wealth does accumulate in the hands of its owners, and if there is no mechanism for redistribution, the inequities can become intolerable.” He then quoted Francis Bacon, the 16th century English philosopher: “Money is like muck, not good except that it be spread. ”
The best way to accomplish this, of course, is to promote international controls and regulations so that that nasty private wealth can be monitored, tracked, followed, and moved into places where it will do the most good.
Soros is bringing many stars of the Anglo-American universe to New Hampshire for the meeting, including Paul Volcker, former head of the Federal Reserve System; Jeffrey Sachs, Director of The Earth Institute; Joseph Stiglitz, holder of the Nobel Prize in Economics; and Rob Johnson, INET Executive Director.
The goals of the meeting have been widely explored and analyzed elsewhere on this website here and here, and reinforce the internationalists’ continuing perceived “need” for international cooperation through international agreements and sanctions.
The role of Soros in such machinations has been made out to be more than it is. When Media Research Center first wrote about the meeting, Dan Gainor concluded that “this is a Soros event from top to bottom.” That may well be the case for this particular meeting, but as Anthony Wile noted:
The one world conspiracy goes back at least 100 years in its modern incarnation and probably longer. Soros hasn’t been alive that long. He’s a Johnny-Come-Lately, relatively speaking.
Sure, Soros has a role to play in this monetary drama. But the Anglo-American elite operating mostly out of the one-square-mile City of London is evidently and obviously behind this currency evolution. The IMF, Soros [and others]…are instrumentalities, not initiators.
One of the beauties of the Internet is that this meeting, which had initially been clandestine and low key, was brought out into the open by Media Research Center and then picked up by the Wall Street Journal. In years past, meetings, conferences, and events such as this one (i.e., Jekyll Island in 1910, Bretton Woods in 1944) would have been brought to the public’s attention only after the fact. Today, the whole world is watching, and proving (if more proof be needed) that sunshine is the best disinfectant after all.
( Original Article )
What would you think if George Soros were organizing his fellow anti-American, globalist, neo-Marxist “thought leaders,” in pursuit of globally governed banking and finance, in a second Bretton Woods conference?
Would you consider that their goals include dragging American influence and incomes down, while confiscating much of our personal finances and giving them to other nations (and yes, the age-old financier network behind them) in the name of “communitarianism?”
Would you find their goal is to replace the bad influences of the IMF and the World Bank, with a much worse, more powerfully controlling, post-American global apparatus?
What would you think, if that meeting were being held this April 8th through 11th?
I got an email, last week; it was Tuesday the 22nd. It was from George Soros. To hear as straight from the dragon’s mouth as feasible, I had subscribed. In this emailed article, he lamented the inequities of wealth among the nation-states of Europe, under the strains of their continuing insolvency crisis. He warned of the dangers of national interest. Rather, he proposed, not surprisingly, a further blowing of the global insolvency bubble, so the more indebted European nations may get along owing, while their lending nations get along being owed — all the while, blending and worsening the financial and monetary crises and spreading this yeasty recipe further throughout the world, especially to America.
That was quite provocative.
Please be patient to let this article be a rather personal narrative and a kind of portal, and follow its links. Then, follow the links within the those articles. Perhaps, even one more layer. That will limit the redundancy involved and inform you as well as a book might, but in much less time. To begin, here are my observations upon receiving his email, “Oh. My. George. Soros on Europe’s Worsening Banking Crisis & the Most Evil Plan Yet.” Go ahead. Big Government will generously wait.
“’Most evil plan yet,’ was that an overstatement?” I wondered. No, knowing what one may see about Soros, it was not hyperbole and the statement was well with my soul. The next day, confirmation came from Dan Gainor of Business & Media Institute and Media Research Center, by his “Unreported Soros Event Aims to Remake Entire Global Economy,” first published in Business & Media Institute and at Fox News.
If you read nothing else stemming from this introduction, do peruse that. There, Gainor puts this iniquitous plan into context and elucidates. Nope, not going to excerpt, nor even quote. Just read it if you have not by now, please.
It was my privilege to interview Dan last Monday night, for about a half-hour. That discussion may be found here.
Again, no reiterations offered, except that I will repeat that the documentation shows we were raped by European banks, in their own, deep insolvency trouble in 2008, using us at exactly the time it hurt us the most — during the Mortgage Meltdown’s peak, right before the general election. You know how that went. (It was also swept along as in the sport of curling, by peculiarly timed internal operations, including those of Soros comrades, Herb and Marion Sandler, and Senator Charles Schumer’s tongue. One must not distract further, by going on about the Community Reinvestment Act(s), Franklin Raines and Fannie Mae, the Pelosi Congress and their shoot-to-miss regulations, Goldman Sachs and friends, etc.)
That being our reminder of how they operate, what may we expect from our nation’s finances being thoroughly and systematically controlled by a megacartel of despotic foreign interests?
For further reading
Just presented by colleague, Kelleigh Nelson:
“Klaus Warns Euro Pact will Lead to Full Political Union,” in euobserver.com, 3/29/2011
See the observations of compatriot blogger, Maggie Thornton and the related articles she links at the bottom of her piece:
“George Soros Bretton Woods II Conf: Changing Finance World-Wide — New World Order: God’s Gonna Cut You Down…”
And three caveats about this subject matter
1. Yes, this is anti-American and grossly evil. It is warfare against our People. America has been given us at great sacred cost, to preserve and pass along our freedom to our progeny. Just as our Constitution rests squarely upon our Declaration of Independence, our freedom rests upon our personal, intra-national, and national sovereignties. There is no exception to this rule, whether it is assailed by any seemingly altruistic ideas and ideals of global governance, or of global finance. And even the most generous offerings of internationalism require its antecedent, nationalism.
2. One must neither be taken with, nor be deterred by any coincidences of ethnic heritage, when studying banking, globalism, and collectivism. While antisemites will at times present lies and distortions as facts, facts by their nature, can not be prejudiced nor bigoted. Each individual is a free and ontologically equal, moral (and immoral) agent, all are sinners, all are offered redemption.
3. Come, let us be conspiracy investigators, regardless of the connotations and prior concoctions. I suggest you start, or start afresh, with the startling and paradigm shifting research led by a gentleman named Norman Dodd, an energetic but humble young banker from the prior century, who eventually found himself going to Washington and working for Congress. (Much of the records of the Reece Committee have been destroyed, hidden, or buried, but they are still preserved.) If you saw Glenn Beck’s TV program last Friday the 25th, about the Federal Reserve, you will recognize Mr. Dodd’s interviewer.
One reason there are so many wild claims in this subject matter is that not enough people of discipline and sound epistemology engage in it. But remember your Alinsky and do not be intimidated by ridicule. There is a vast, worldwide conspiracy shown a few inches from your nose right now and many near the core of it meet next week in New Hampshire.
( Original Article )
Published: April 6, 2011
The starchy cassava root has long been an important ingredient in everything from tapioca pudding and ice cream to paper and animal feed.
But last year, 98 percent of cassava chips exported from Thailand, the world’s largest cassava exporter, went to just one place and almost all for one purpose: to China to make biofuel. Driven by new demand, Thai exports of cassava chips have increased nearly fourfold since 2008, and the price of cassava has roughly doubled.
Each year, an ever larger portion of the world’s crops — cassava and corn, sugar and palm oil — is being diverted for biofuels as developed countries pass laws mandating greater use of nonfossil fuels and as emerging powerhouses like China seek new sources of energy to keep their cars and industries running. Cassava is a relatively new entrant in the biofuel stream.
But with food prices rising sharply in recent months, many experts are calling on countries to scale back their headlong rush into green fuel development, arguing that the combination of ambitious biofuel targets and mediocre harvests of some crucial crops is contributing to high prices, hunger and political instability.
This year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reported that its index of food prices was the highest in its more than 20 years of existence. Prices rose 15 percent from October to January alone, potentially “throwing an additional 44 million people in low- and middle-income countries into poverty,” the World Bank said.
Soaring food prices have caused riots or contributed to political turmoil in a host of poor countries in recent months, including Algeria, Egypt and Bangladesh, where palm oil, a common biofuel ingredient, provides crucial nutrition to a desperately poor populace. During the second half of 2010, the price of corn rose steeply — 73 percent in the United States — an increase that the United Nations World Food Program attributed in part to the greater use of American corn for bioethanol.
“The fact that cassava is being used for biofuel in China, rapeseed is being used in Europe, and sugar cane elsewhere is definitely creating a shift in demand curves,” said Timothy D. Searchinger, a research scholar at Princeton University who studies the topic. “Biofuels are contributing to higher prices and tighter markets.”
In the United States, Congress has mandated that biofuel use must reach 36 billion gallons annually by 2022. The European Union stipulates that 10 percent of transportation fuel must come from renewable sources like biofuel or wind power by 2020. Countries like China, India, Indonesia and Thailand have adopted biofuel targets as well.
To be sure, many factors help drive up the price of food, including bad weather that ruins crop yields and high oil prices that make transportation costly. Last year, for example, unusually severe weather destroyed wheat harvests in Russia, Australia and China, and an infestation of the mealy bug reduced Thailand’s cassava output.
Olivier Dubois, a bioenergy expert at the Food and Agriculture Organization in Rome, said it was hard to quantify the extent to which the diversions for biofuels had driven up food prices.
“The problem is complex, so it is hard to come up with sweeping statements like biofuels are good or bad,” he said. “But what is certain is that biofuels are playing a role. Is it 20 or 30 or 40 percent? That depends on your modeling.”
While no one is suggesting that countries abandon biofuels, Mr. Dubois and other food experts suggest that they should revise their policies so that rigid fuel mandates can be suspended when food stocks get low or prices become too high.
“The policy really has to be food first,” said Hans Timmer, director of the Development Prospects Group of the World Bank. “The problems occur when you set targets for biofuels irrespective of the prices of other commodities.”
Mr. Timmer said that the recent rise in oil prices was likely to increase the demand for biofuels.
It can be tricky predicting how new demand from the biofuel sector will affect the supply and price of food. Sometimes, as with corn or cassava, direct competition between purchasers drives up the prices of biofuel ingredients. In other instances, shortages and price inflation occur because farmers who formerly grew crops like vegetables for consumption plant different crops that can be used for fuel.
China learned this the hard way nearly a decade ago when it set out to make bioethanol from corn, only to discover that the plan caused alarming shortages and a rise in food prices. In 2007 the government banned the use of grains to make biofuel.
Chinese scientists then perfected the process of making fuel from cassava, a root that yielded good energy returns, leading to the opening of the first commercial cassava ethanol plant several years ago.
“They’re moving very aggressively in this new direction; cassava seems to be the go-to crop,” said Greg Harris, an analyst with Commodore Research and Consultancy in New York who has studied the trade.
In addition to expanding cassava cultivation at home, China is buying from Cambodia and Laos as well as Thailand.
Although a mainstay of diets in much of Africa, cassava is not central to Asian diets, even though the Chinese once called it “the underground food store” because it provided crucial backup nutrition in lean harvest years. So the Chinese reasoned that making fuel with cassava would not directly affect food prices or create food shortages, at least at home. The proportion of Chinese cassava going to ethanol leapt to 52 percent last year from 10 percent in 2008.
More distant or indirect impacts are considered to be likely, however. Because cassava chips have been commonly used as animal feed, new demand from the biofuels industry might affect the availability and cost of meat. In Southeast Asian countries where China is paying generously for stockpiles of cassava, farmers may be tempted to grow the crop instead of, for example, other vegetables or rice.
And if China turned to Africa as a source, one of that continent’s staple food crops could be in jeopardy, although experts note that exporting cassava could also become a business opportunity.
“This is becoming a more valuable cash crop,” Mr. Harris said. “The farmland is limited, so the more that is devoted to fuel, the less is devoted to food.”
The Chinese demand for cassava could also dent planned biofuel production in poorer Asian nations: in the Philippines and Cambodia, developers were recently forced to suspend the construction of cassava bioethanol plants because the tuber had become too expensive.
Thailand’s own nascent biofuel industry may have trouble getting the homegrown cassava it needs because it may not be able to match the prices offered by Chinese buyers, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.
Biofuels development in wealthier nations has already proved to have a powerful effect on the prices and the cultivation of crops. Encouraged by national biofuel subsidies, nearly 40 percent of the corn grown in the United States now goes to make fuel, with prices of corn on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange rising 73 percent from June to December 2010.
Such price rises also have distant ripple effects, food security experts say. “How much does the price of corn in Chicago influence the price of corn in Rwanda? It turns out there is a correlation,” said Marie Brill, senior policy analyst at ActionAid, an international development group. The price of corn in Rwanda rose 19 percent last year.
“For Americans it may mean a few extra cents for a box of cereal,” she said. “But that kind of increase puts corn out of the range of impoverished people.”
Higher prices also mean that groups like the World Food Program can buy less food to feed the world’s hungry.
European biofuels developers are buying large tracts of what they call “marginal land” in Africa with the aim of cultivating biofuel crops, particularly the woody bush known as jatropha. Advocates say that promoting jatropha for biofuels production has little impact on food supplies. But some of that land is used by poor people for subsistence farming or for gathering food like wild nuts.
“We have to move away from the thinking that producing an energy crop doesn’t compete with food,” said Mr. Dubois of the Food and Agriculture Organization. “It almost inevitably does.”
( Original Article )
Apr. 6 2011 – 12:06 pm
Cuba has announced plans to start drilling for oil off its shores, in the Gulf of Mexico, as early as this summer. The first well will likely be spudded by Spain’s Repsol, in partnership with Norway’s Statoil. They have reportedly contracted a drilling platform. Other companies lined up to drill include Russa’s Gazprom, India’s ONGC-Videsh, Malaysia’s Petronas, and Venezuela’s Pdvsa. All of these are state-controlled companies; none (except for Statoil) have much, if any, experience drilling deepwater wells anywhere, let alone in the Gulf of Mexico.
The deepwater drilling would likely take place about 100 miles from Key West, Fla. Should Americans be worried about a deepwater disaster in Cuban waters sullying Florida beaches? Well, not according to Rafeal Tenrreyro, head of exploration for Cuba’s state oil company Cupet. Tenrreyro reportedly said on Monday that “safety is more than guaranteed. Cuban institutions have made sure that is the case.”
Perhaps Cuba’s offshore drilling regulators are just as capable as the seasoned engineers reviewing permits at the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEMRE), but I doubt it.
The U.S. economic embargo against Cuba is clearly a failure and now that the Cold War is over its continuation has only served to force Cuba into the arms of Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez, who provides Cuba with 100,000 bpd of cut-price oil through Pdvsa.
Now is the time to lift the embargo, or at least ease it to allow U.S. oil companies and drilling contractors to compete for drilling prospects in Cuba.
It’s a no-brainer that we would rather have Chevron drilling 100 miles off Florida than Gazprom or Pdvsa. Plus, the U.S. offshore drilling industry needs the business–which would be substantial if estimates of a possible 20 billion barrels come to pass.
Though BOEMRE has finally begun to issue new drilling permits in the U.S. part of the Gulf, the pace of activity remains glacial. It makes no economic or even political sense to prevent American capital, know-how, and newfound emphasis on deepwater safety from being deployed in Cuba.
President Obama’s Interior Secretary Ken Salazar met with officials in Mexico Monday to discuss the creation of a “gold standard” on drilling in the Gulf. But any agreement would be more like a lead standard unless Cuba were included.
( Original Article )
Posted February 28, 2011
Cathy Zoi, former Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, announced this week that she will be leaving her post to go to work for George Soros’ new venture capital firm focused on green energy.
According to her bio on the DOE website , Zoi “manages over $30 billion of American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funds.” It should come as no surprise that her new job will have her working to secure ‘green energy’ taxpayer handouts and subsidies. Working for the government, Zoi has proved quite capable in that task. You’ll remember that she came under much criticism for funneling large amounts of that money to Serious Materials where her husband, Robin Roy, is a lobbyist. Not only that—the two jointly hold over 120,000 stock options in the same company.
Soros, who is notorious for betting against America, has potentially hit a home run on this one. By investing hundreds of millions of dollars into advocacy groups – like the Center for American Progress – that lobby for increased energy subsidies, he’ll now have a fund on the receiving end to take in those billions in subsidies. To ensure that this scheme goes off without a hitch, he has hired a person very familiar with giving away the taxpayers’ money. This could certainly prove to be a huge moneymaker for Soros and Zoi, given the fact that President Obama this month proposed another $29.5 billion for the DOE in 2012.
Venture Beat reports that Soros’ new fund will target growth-stage companies with “proven technologies and business models.” Given the market failure rate of the so-called green energy economy, one has to wonder if the business model is merely a replication of the world’s oldest profession.
( Original Article )