DROUGHT – Wake Up! This is NOT New News

Note:  I wrote this commentary over a year ago and find nothing much has changed –  but it might explain the land grabs … just a thought

DROUGHTS HISTORY

California is experiencing a horrific drought. Over 80% of the area is considered at risk. Climatologists – and of course the media – are espousing this as the worst in history. But actually, that ain’t so:

California has a history of droughts dating back to 850 A.D. (the earliest recording) in which two droughts lasted 180 and 240 years respectively! Given there were no fossil fuels or ozone depletion or carbon releasing industries polluting the atmosphere during these historical times, it is safe to say these droughts were persistent without blaming ‘climate change’. And in the last 1000 years, 10-20 year droughts have been documented as rather ‘typical’ of the state/area.

While these droughts can have drastic consequences, they are not uncommon. The real problem is the fact that this commonality has simply not been properly mediated. The government, climatologists, scientists, etc…know its going to happen. It happens all the time. And every single time, they act as though this is the worst, it is the end, it is unusual, it is ‘global warming’, caught off guard. But what has California done to prepare?

Nothing.

And that’s the true problem. Have they built more storage? No. More underground reservoirs? No. Have they built desalinization plants? No. Do they still allocate water to farms that grow nothing? Yes. Do they require lawns to be drought tolerant or rock gardens? No. (Note:  They just implemented this change).  Half of ‘individual’ water use is for lawns. But 80% of the water is used for agriculture. For rice paddies in desert land. For growing water absorbing Alfalfa which is mostly exported to China. Almond trees consume 10% of ALL water use – that’s NUTS! And yet they are preserving these cash crops – for hopes of greater $$$ – to the decimation of lower crop values like vegetables. Add to the fray that 60% of almonds are an export crop, its just not practical. Its not about what is best or right – it is about what is going to make me the most money in the quickest time and allow me to high-tail it outa here jack mentality!

So what are farmers doing to make it better? They’re digging deeper and deeper wells, more and more wells, sapping up every last dribble of water that they can without concern for the longer term consequences. And no one is stopping them. In some over-pumped areas, the ground has actually sunk a few dozen feet.

What is Governor Jerry Brown saying? Why after three years of consecutive drought, he is asking that the 20% users, citizens, voluntarily reduce their consumption by 20%. Honk! JIBE! Ugh. Have they? NO! Surprise. And the farmers are now selling water that is allocated to them for huge profits. Because they can make more money selling the water than irrigating crops.

What would be the economic effects of a prolonged California drought?

  1. Some experts feel the economy would not be impacted much because only 3% of California’s economy is derived from farming. However, that stat does not take into account – people. Nor does it understand the domino effect that drives an economy. No more farms, fewer jobs, more expensive food, restaurants close, small markets close, no more wine, less tourism, and all the support industries begin the domino effect.

  2. People begin mass exodus. Housing falls. Tax revenue falls.

  3. The state splits into factions of the only remaining uber rich – Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

The ripples can then be felt across the country as 50% or more of the nations fruits and vegetables come from California. Mexico, by far, is the greatest source of imported fruits and vegetables. But Mexico’s underground water is on an annual depletion rate. Mostly due to the same perils as the US, Alfalfa.

So the US is not the only country with drought issues and risk. The northern portion of South America, middle Europe, Pakistan, central Australia, western to central Africa, and most of Asia into Japan are all experiencing dramatic droughts.

Where is the rain? Northern Europe, southern South America, eastern US, Afghanistan, Iran, Siberia, Mongolia, southern China, south and western Africa and Colorado (go figure).

Where there is drought – somewhere else there is flooding. The problem is – we have historical reference of these occurrences, and instead of taking action, being pro-active, DOING something, we sit back and blame. Oh, it’s global warming – told ya! But our world weather has shifted continually since the beginning of time. So I guess that would mean global warming has been happening since the beginning of time. Nah. Climates shift. Period. El Nino. El Nano. El fresco… whatever, they move and ebb and flow and move. It is a constant.

But sitting back and blaming global warming does little to nothing about adapting to the continuum of shift. If every single year a tornado ripped your house to shreds, would you just keep rebuilding, or at some point would you say, “hey, maybe this isn’t the best place to build a house…”. Would you year after year build that house from wood sticks or would you build it out of rock?

I know most guys have this abject fear of change. It’s why you wear the same hairdo at 65 that you had when you were 25. “Hey, you liked it then…” But sometimes ‘change’ equates to survival.

“California agriculture is nearly a $36.6 billion dollar industry that generates $100 billion in related economic activity.”

California’s dairy industry generated $47 billion “in economic activity” in 2004 and employed over 400,000 people.”

The largest source of freshwater for central and southern California comes from Colorado. The second largest source is the Sacramento Delta which is polluted with salt water and unusable for most crops. It typically supports grapes and asparagus. A Bill on the floor now proposes to redirect 90% of the delta water to central and southern California at a cost of $25 billion, thereby decimating the grape and asparagus crops… The tension is high! Is it a solution or a bandage? Does the bandage cause more harm than good? Who pays?

But there is another issue; in the US, 25% of fresh fruits and 10% of fresh vegetables are exported out of the country. What if we – didn’t? If we really have a shortage, doesn’t it make sense that the first line of defense is to just stop exporting them? And farmers would save the cost of transportation to Transalvania… And do we really need to be growing rice? It is native to Asia and parts of Africa, if its native, let them do all the watering and growing. Initially, rice paddies were a crop of Georgia, Louisiana, the Carolinas – where it rains – ALL the time. Growing rice in California is like having a banana orchard in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado… Hello? Its like a 90 year old German woman wearing a bikini.

But then you’d have the Feds subsidizing the banana orchard and buying the bikinis. So its free…?

Where’s the Beef? Hopefully, in a climate where it rains a lot because raising cattle is notorious for using the most water – over 2500 gallons per pound. Ugh! Part of that water use is in the diet we demand these cows consume – corn and soy (Monsanto’s favorites) which are two of the highest water consumable plants. Comparable; veggies and fruits consume 1/10th of that per pound of output. Relocate those cows to Arkansas and Missouri, and Tennessee. Let them stand in the rain and eat grass for criminey sake. With an Anaerobic Digestor the methane from manure can provide all the farms energy need and has a huge positive impact on the environment – water, air and soil.

As a people why are we so obsessed in making square pegs fit into round holes?

UKRAINE – A Country For Sale – going, going – gone!

It has taken time, but finally, Mr. Soros has acknowledged a ‘financial’ interest in Ukraine. In fact, he has stipulated that infrastructure and agriculture are his prime targets of interest. And in a bid that looks strikingly similar to a threat, he has said he will invest $1 billion on the condition that the West and Europe ante up as well. He goes on to preach and banter, to reprimand, and to scold as though speaking to little bratty children, which is quite possibly exactly what he thinks of most people in this world.

So, the focus is not on oil or gold, but on the two resources that will out-pace those commodities for a millennium to come – water and food. It is estimated that by 2020 the world will see colossal food shortages. It can be assumed that Mr. Soros interest in Infrastructure is simply the means for transporting his newfound agri-goods to market. As for the citizens, for the country, they are of no consequence because the game is only about money. It is the same message I spoke about in Africa and Asia – land grabbing for agriculture. Food is the crisis. Many countries have destroyed their available land with poor farming methods, pesticides, and incompetent crop rotations so they need more. They need pristine land and they need water.

As it has panned, this was the goal from the beginning of the coup. Maybe the powers that be did not anticipate the revolts that would follow. Maybe the powers naively thought that the people would follow like cows or sheep to slaughter. The land grab of Ukraine has proven more difficult than expected, but still, they did prevail. The deaths were by-products of what was more important – the greater good for the wealthy. It is the new burgeoning entitlement, only it isn’t about the poor, it’s about the elite.

Ukraine has black soil, some of the most fertile in the world. But where is the water supply and who has access to it?

Ukraine has three major sources of water; the Dnepr Basin, Dnestr Basin, the coastal basin, the Donietsk Basin and the Danube. The Dnepr is by far the largest providing 65% of the fresh water and originates in Russia.

The land of Ukraine that is usable for agriculture is considered the second largest in all of Europe covering 41.5 million hectares. And since the coup, more and more private investors have been grabbing the land. The previous government was not hospitable toward foreign ownership of its land, despite many who tried. Land ownership was confined to the citizens of Ukraine. However, Poroschenko does not share that hesitancy and is more than willing to hand over any and all farmland to whomever he is told to sell to.

So far the largest contracts have originated with Luxembourg, Cyprus (which provides the ability to hide true ownership data), China, Qatar, Landkom International, Morgan Stanley, and France. In addition, Monsanto is now given free rein (the previous government had outlawed GMO’s). DuPont and Syngenta are busily building necessary plants and the country has for all intents and purposes been sold out.

The French firm, Agrogeneration, is one of the largest holders, as is a German trader Toepfer. Toepfer has a past that is quite questionable to say the least! In December 2013, a criminal lawsuit was filed against them, stating as follows:

“Archer Daniels Midland Company (“ADM”), a large agricultural processing company based in Illinois, is incorporated in Delaware and during the relevant period its stock was traded under the New York Stock Exchange. ADM also held a 80% interest in Alfred C. Toepfer, International GmbH (“ADM Hamburg”), a German limited liability company that is headquartered in Hamburg, Germany, and an indirect 80% ownership interest in Alfred C. Toepfer International (Ukraine) Limited (“ADM Ukraine). ADM Ukraine was an affiliate of ADM Hamburg.”

A plea deal was struck and a fine levied payable to the Ukraine with a depository bank in the US. Some of the more prominent figures affiliated with ADM have included; Warren Buffet’s son, Michael Andreas, Robert Strauss, and Brian Mulroney, former PM of Canada. Other connections include; Lady Margaret Thatcher, Henry Kissinger, Evelyn de Rothschild, and former Fed Chief, Paul Volcker.

There is a Clinton relationship in the country as well. Between 2009 and 2013, the Clinton Foundation received nearly $9 million in donations from the Pinchuk Foundation and a pledge for a total of $29 million over five years. Victor Pinchuk is married to a former Ukrainian president’s daughter, served two terms in parliament, and is said to be a great collaborator with George Soros.

And the circle is complete.

So, we now have Monsanto, Burisma Holdings (the Hunter Biden, Archer, Kerry, Heinz connection), ADM, Soros, Clinton, Rothschild, France, Qatar, and a host of ‘greasers’.

The game? Quite simply, it is a game of rule, of power, of control. It is the game to own the government, to own the resources, to control who will have food, and who will not, who will have water, and who will not.

So, who is shepherding the sheep?

What will be on your table in 2020?

FYI – Largest “agriculture” land holders in US: Mormon Church, TIAA CREF, and Hancock Agriculture – largest landowner = John Malone

The Raping of Africa

While our media persist in retelling the horrific stories of Boko Haram and Al Qaeda in Africa, a truly insidious story has been lurking in the shadows. Over the last 15 years, the systematic binge buying of Africa’s most fertile land and water is raping the continent. Large swathes of Ethiopia, Tanzania, Mozambique, Ghana, Madagascar, and Sudan have been bought or leased from those country’s governments.

Who are these buyers?

The most active buyers have been the US, UK, China, Germany, and The Netherlands. But they aren’t alone, the Middle East and Canada are in on the bounty as well. One report states that there were over 1000 separate purchases between 2000 and 2010 and the frenzy is only growing.

Why?

Because Africa still has some very fertile agricultural land with underground aquifers, and regional bountiful rainfalls that can be tapped. Most of the buyers engage in farming, quickly grazing the land in preparation for laying their fields. Others exploit the land for mining. Still others grow palm oil used to make biofuel. And while the grabs may appear friendly on the face, the truth is not so pretty. The land is typically bought for next to nothing, pennies per acre, the villagers that have lived on the land are uprooted and told they must vacate immediately taking what meager possessions they have, their homes are bulldozed, and their own farming livelihood evaporates completely. They are given nothing.

To date, it is estimated that the land grabs have divested Africa of 5% of its total land, or 70 million hectares which translates to over 173 million acres. There have been a spattering of incidences in which local farmers were beaten or killed for trying to resist giving up the land. Human Rights Watch has reported on incidences in which up to tens of thousands of locals were forcibly relocated as a result of a ‘land grab’. In Africa, most of the land is owned by the government which adds to the lacking oversight, corruption, and feeble resistance to make the agreements fair.

Unlike the photogenic pictures of smiling African farmers, the truth is more akin to the colonization of large swathes of land for high tech agricultural companies who need slave labor. Their pockets lined, the crops are exported to other countries around the world.

Refugee camps are swelling with displaced people, some fleeing skirmishes and war, others fleeing drought, and still others displaced by land grabs. Most refugee camps are on arid dry land, unusable for anything. Water is scarce and opportunity is dead.

Many of the land grabs are legal, the land technically owned by the government despite the fact that the farmers have been working the land and living on the land for twenty or thirty years. It then becomes an ethical question. Given that many of the Foundations that claim extensive ‘charitable’ work in Africa, the truth is much more cloudy. Are Africans benefiting? Are they really taught sustainable ways to care for themselves? Or are they becoming slave labor, cotton pickers, and tools for the wealthy to become – more wealthy?

Agriculture land and water are the new gold. As countries across the world grapple with future food shortages, they look to Africa and Asia’s carcass to support their economy and growing populations. The Netherlands faces climate change and rising ocean levels. But they also see opportunity that equates to $$$. The grabs have little to nothing to do with helping the impoverished and hungry in Africa and Asia, and everything to do with self preservation. In addition because there are no restrictions in place, these buyers can virtually do whatever they want. Including the use of heavy pesticides.

For example:

A Norwegian investor bought a 99-year lease for 179,000 hectares in South Sudan at an annual cost of just $0.07 a hectare ( one hectare = about 2.47 acres).

In 2013 the Clinton Foundation signed an agreement with the Tanzanian government whereby they promised to provide new ‘seeds’ to the farmers that will increase the use of fertilizers and pesticides and decrease the need for “God’s” rain.

The New Alliance For Food Security and Nutrition, an organization funded by the EU and the US states on its website that it brings together investors who want to buy or lease African land with their respective government. Of course, the website portrays a picture of progress and happy faces, but in reality it is a simply a conduit for making deals and making money.

According to the International Institute for Environment and Development: land disputes can become violent. The crops are exported with little benefit to Africa’s poor. Displaced refugees add to Africa’s plight. Without proper regulations in place, the large Agra companies have little incentive to consider the future of these people, water supplies, or food for the hungry.

It is a sad commentary of greed and fear, of little to no compassion, and of selfish desires.