Volatility

February 10, 2011

The Revolution of Food

 

Two years ago a hideous surge in food prices triggered spontaneous crowd scenes the MSM termed “food riots”. These stout writers and editors didn’t let us know how they think they’d fare if they and their families were being intentionally starved amid plenteous food, on account of purely artificial scarcity generated by purely political choices made by criminals. Today this food stagflation is upon us again, and this time it looks permanent.
 
We’ve long known the nature of these political decisions. It’s fundamental to capitalism that scarcity be generated amidst plenty. This is accomplished by stealing the vast majority of what the productive people grow and craft. In the case of agriculture, the basic mechanisms of this crime were land enclosure in the West and globalization for much of the global South. The result in both cases was to drive vast amounts of people off the land, generating mass migrations similar to the barbarian migrations into Europe in the first millennium. This migration headed to the shantytowns of the cities (and their ghetto and project and trailer park, and now tent city, equivalents in America). In the wake of globalization, in line with the new feudalism, the South is undergoing a new onslaught of land enclosures, as regional kleptocracies “sell” vast amounts of land in Kenya, Ethiopia, Tanzania, and elsewhere to corporations and conglomerates from places like Sweden, the UK, South Korea, Saudi Arabia, and of course Wall Street.
 
The number one reason for this new colonial land grab is to grow jatropha and palm oil feedstock for biofuels. This is just the latest and most malevolent result of the West’s biofuel mandates, a policy as wicked as it is irrational. Within a country like the US, ethanol mandates are pure corporate welfare, and globally they serve only to degrade the environment, cause further rainforest destruction and greenhouse gas emissions, and drive up the price of food by diverting it from the mouths of billions of the most vulnerable to the gas tanks of the richest and fattest. Now they’re also the engine of the new feudal enclosures.
 
These assaults on the Southern farmer are the latest depredation of the same globalization in agriculture which has dumped subsidized Western commodities on the domestic markets of almost every country. The goal here was to force all agriculture on Earth, the vast amount of which is logically subsistence agriculture and agriculture grown for local and regional markets, to conform to the practices, prices, and power relations of globalized corporate commodity agriculture. At the same time the IMF, as part of its structural adjustment assaults, forced most of these countries to dismantle their well-functioning state investment programs whose explicit goals had been to assure decent prices for their farmers and make affordable credit available to them. This helped keep much of the wealth generated by small farmers in the hands of those farmers. (If one chose, one could cite this as an example of a liberal government program which worked well. In that case, the Western liberals’ betrayal of such enlightened Southern governments in favor of Western globalization and agribusiness is just another on the ledger of their great crimes.) Today the dumping includes subsidized GMO crops as well as the proprietary seeds, which cabals like Bill Gates’ AGRA (Alliance for A Green Revolution in Africa) are trying to force upon these already beleaguered farmers, to further enforce this global indenture.
 
Another major driver of grain prices, similar to biofuel mandates, is the diversion of grain from food to feed for livestock. As more people in the East can afford to eat more meat, this generates more demand for the inefficient use of grain to feed cattle and pork rather than be used directly for food. The conversion rates are c. 7 grain calories to produce 1 calorie of beef; for pork it’s 4-5:1. People wanting to eat more meat isn’t intrinsically wicked the way using food to fuel one’s SUV is. What is evil is the CAFO (concentrated animal feeding operation) mode of animal farming which has been designed to foster this conversion process. Everywhere CAFOs exist they’ve destroyed all independent cow and pig farmers and radically accelerated the food conversion process and concomitant structural price increase for grain. This process, too, has been subsidized by Western governments. 
 
Today every survey of food stagflation cites biofuel mandates, CAFOs (though they usually blame the consumers themselves; this was Bush’s favorite culprit) and the decline of agricultural investment as two of the main drivers. Over the last ten years, we can add food speculation to the indictment against Western capitalism. There’s been a lot of controversy lately over how much of an effect on prices food speculators really have. It’s true that they don’t have the same structural effect as subsidized commodity dumping, subsidized proprietary inputs and seeds, the forced privatization of investment, and biofuel mandates. These are all structural crimes. In light of these, speculators may serve as a scapegoat for some who want to politically shield these interests. Then we have globalization ideologues like Paul “It’s not class warfare” Krugman who are ardent to absolve all direct criminal actors of blame. So in desperation he blames poor harvests, this time in Russia, which are perhaps effects of climate change and its volatile weather patterns. He claims that the absence of evidence of significant grain hoarding proves his case. He trots out his stupid supply-demand graph which conveniently assumes and therefore conceals all the structural criminal aspects of the system, the crimes he spent years fighting to see committed. “Once we ignore the artificial scarcity built into the system, and all the rents it extracts, then we can call it a ‘market’. And once we’ve rationalized, moralized, normalized the status quo in this way, it’s easy to see that speculators can’t have any effect compared to a failed harvest.” 
 
But this whole line of argument is ridiculous. The very fact that climate change may be affecting harvests renders the effects of speculation all the more destructive, as the margin is that much more thin. The market already teeters on the brink of a price explosion even under the best conditions, on account of the system’s already being a hostage to global commodification in all its aspects. Under these conditions of structurally hardwired volatility, how much would a speculator have to hoard in order to drive up prices enough that his bets would win? I bet it’s not much. What other manipulations could a player like Goldman Sachs perform?
 
It’s common sense that if banksters start messing around with a market and the price explodes, they played a role in it, even if exactly how they did it isn’t always immediately clear. As Sherlock Holmes said to Watson, “If I asked you to prove two plus two is four you might have some trouble doing it, even though you know it’s true.”
 
So we have permanent food stagflation afflicting billions in the non-West as well as, increasingly, the West itself. We know this is not the result of supply-demand fundamentals, since supply has been grotesquely manipulated by power. Subsidies in the form of direct payments, tariffs, IP policy, and one-way globalization “treaties” which boil down to “free markets for me, prostrate victimization for you”, more than make up for any revenue which would otherwise be lost according to textbook supply inefficiencies. Globalization was never anything but colonialism by other means. And just as the original imperialism eventually came home politically to Europe in the form of totalitarian politics, so today’s globalization is coming home in the form of totalitarian corporate economic rule.
 
This is the essence of globalization, and it’s the structural reason for food stagflation as we descend into global depression and permanent mass unemployment (also an intentional policy). Food speculation is the last straw added to the already burning pile. Given how the banksters were the ones who coordinated the globalization onslaught, set in motion the process of mass permanent job destruction, and have now intentionally crashed the world’s real economy and used this as the pretext to steal trillions more in the form of the Bailout, it’s not surprising that their speculation in food is the most inflammatory element of the price explosion, even if relative to the structure its effect is supplementary. In essence, speculating in food, just like any predatory manipulation of food supplies, is a crime against humanity. All of commodity agriculture, and all proprietarianism related to it (it’s conceptually impossible to have a property right in any food plant, since commercialized plant varieties are already the result of thousands of years of grower selection and breeding, and any new work is merely a miniscule add-on, like placing a pebble on a mountain; any intellectual property is already long since hardwired into its public domain existence), is such a crime. So if food speculators are becoming the public face of infamy, this is really an armed robber and mass murderer being hanged for one of his lesser muggings. He still deserves it, of course. I’ll go along with whatever’s most politically effective, since it’s the same capital criminal. But our analysis should identify what’s fundamental (globalization itself, capitalism itself) and what’s ancillary. 
 
The peoples of the world know these crimes for what they are, evidently far better than those of the West itself. It makes sense – they have far more experience as the victims of these crimes. Unlike in 2008, they’re reacting to this new, permanent round of food price crime, not with “food riots” but with revolutions. I have high hopes that we’re finally seeing the anti-colonial movement resuming after so many decades of having been hijacked and subverted. This time the people of the world won’t fall for the lies of the West. They’ve been through this too many times before. This is the final bid for liberation, and although many of its initial demands will be political, it’s more profoundly about the people taking control of their economies. Most of all, it’s about food. These are lessons we’ll have to bring home to ourselves to meet the totalitarianism now coming home to us. Here too, it’ll be about food.
 
Meanwhile, I haven’t been seeing much of the MSM calling this a food riot anymore. That must be why they sound so confused, tentative, disgruntled – such easy dismissals will no longer be easy for them. Oh no! Somebody’s actually making them work! Horrible. Hopefully we’ll soon be making them work as well.
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27 Comments

  1. Here’s what it says on AGRA’s site regarding GMOs which seems strangely non committal and politically correct:

    AGRA uses conventional breeding to develop crop varieties. AGRA does not fund the development of GMOs. At the same time, AGRA recognizes the important role that science plays in addressing the complex challenges facing African farmers. We support science-based solutions and building the capacity of national research institutions and their scientists to develop the technologies needed to feed their people. We also support the development of responsible regulatory systems.

    African governments are responsible for decisions on GMOs. It is their role to assess the risks of such research and the food safety implications of these decisions. In all of its work, AGRA operates within established regulatory frameworks.

    operates within established regulatory frameworks…

    last time I checked these weren’t exactly exemplary ‘regulatory bodies’ never mind ‘frameworks’.

    just what exactly is going on here?

    Comment by ggirl — February 10, 2011 @ 3:04 am

    • Here’s a good rundown on the scam.

      http://www.grist.org/article/2009-10-21-bill-gates-reveals-support-for-gmo-ag/

      AGRA disclaims direct relationships with GMO rackets, but is deeply involved with them under the radar, and in speeches like the one cited in the piece I linked Gates explicitly declares his support for GMOs, castigates their foes, and reaffirms the Stalinist goal of maximizing production for its own sake.

      All of this is of course being done toward profiteering and domination goals. AGRA is the epitome of a front organization for a totalitarian regime, in this case seed proprietarianism.

      Gates knows perfectly well:

      1. “Intellectual property” in plants has zero moral or rational basis.

      2. GMOs do not yield more than conventional or organic agriculture.

      http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/science_and_impacts/science/failure-to-yield.html

      3. Agroecology has been proven to be more productive than corporate agriculture.

      http://www.mindfully.org/Farm/Small-Farm-Benefits-Rosset.htm

      So why the focus on GMOs and not agroecology?

      More to the core of it, why would anyone who was truly a humanitarian and a philanthropist and who was already so rich become involved in anything like this on a profiteering basis? Why would profits and patents be involved at all?

      We know the answers to these questions. Because corporatists are totalitarians, and literally everything they do must seek total enslavement and domination of all other people. Even if Gates subjectively meant well (not that I think he does), he wouldn’t be able to do things any differently: There’s an action, that action offers an opportunity for profiteering and patent enclosure, so the action must be carried out in that way, since the corporatist goal is the only conceivable goal.

      That’s why we can reject out of hand anyone who claims, “I’m here to help, but we have to get the corporations/stakeholders involved.” That person/group is an enemy who wants us dead.

      Comment by Russ — February 10, 2011 @ 3:52 am

      • Russ, I just can’t second your comment heartily enough. I’ve been trying to tell folks that this issue of corporations is literally a life-or-death issue, and *not* just w/r/t food sovreignty.

        In virtually any field you can name there will be a rush to monopoly, a race to the bottom in terms of the product service actually provided to the point where it becomes a dis-service or a straight-to-landfill product, all while the vast amount of waste that is imposed by the system—a fixed, mathematically-necessary part of the equation—is poisoning us and the planet.

        However, food is the product most critical for a large segment of the population, and is also the last line in the sand. It is so intimate and essential that it is alarming to imagine its total corporate takeover, though this has been happening inexorably over the course of our lifetimes.

        Comment by Lidia — February 10, 2011 @ 4:42 am

      • You got that right, Lidia. The devolution to oligopoly rackets is endemic to every sector under capitalism. And then, as we’ve been seeing, every bad effect follows: higher prices (rentier taxes, since as oligopolies who control the government, corporations become the equivalent of government, albeit with no sovereign basis), lower quality, no choice, more and more regulations, contracts of adhesion, enclosures, indentures, and from there to full scale tyranny.

        Comment by Russ — February 10, 2011 @ 4:59 am

  2. Here’s a piece I just found discussing the specifically Egyptian process of driving independent farmers into sharecropper status or off the land completely and into the slums.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/poverty-matters/2011/feb/08/egypt-landless-mubarak

    Today some of those dispossessed farmers finally have the chance to take their lives back into their own hands.

    http://amleft.blogspot.com/2011_02_01_archive.html#2130455495221699126

    7:18pm The situation seems to have heated up in Ismailiya, where protesters stormed a government building and set fire to the governor’s car. AFP reports that the protesters, angry that their requests for better housing had been ignored, came from a nearby slum where they’d lived in makeshift huts for 15 years. Police, notes the agency, have largely disappeared from the town since the protests started more than two weeks ago.

    Comment by Russ — February 10, 2011 @ 3:26 am

  3. Here’s a new Naked Capitalism post that makes the case for hidden hoarding more clearly than I did in this post.

    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2011/02/why-the-krugman-i-see-no-commodities-speculation-analysis-is-flawed.html

    And here’s my comment from the thread (sorry kcbill):

    He professes to be empirical, but as we will show, he is looking at dangerously incomplete data, so his conclusions rest on what comes close to a garbage in, garbage out analysis. And that’s been a source of frustration given his considerable reputation and reach.

    The fact that he has such a fraudulent reputation should be a source of frustration as well. The scam he’s running here is typical of him.

    Like most economists, he starts out with a fundamental lie, that supply is at some natural limit, and another, that the price is at some equilibrium naturally arising from a confluence of supply and demand. The truth is that under capitalism, and especially globalization, supply and price under severe artificial, political scarcity constraints. In the case of food, these include subsidized commodity monoculture, globalization treaties which force dumping of these commodities upon national markets, biofuel mandates, neo-colonial land grabs, IP regimes, and the IMF-driven gutting of public agricultural investment in much of the global South.

    Put it all together, and the price of food is already teetering on the verge of absolute disaster even under the best, most stable circumstances. So how much speculator involvement could be needed to cause a non-linear spike?

    The global food market is naturally based overwhelmingly on subsistence farming and growing for local and regional markets. Globalization violently forced the whole thing into the commodification strait jacket, the most extreme example of the tail wagging the elephant the real economy has ever seen.

    But Krugman, having safely hidden away this whole neoliberal overheating of this most critical of markets, literally life and death for billions, can then try to dispose of the the effect by attributing it to a failed harvest. But even that doesn’t make any sense, since it’s still the artificial destabilization of the world’s food markets which makes it possible for any failed harvest anywhere to have such an effect.

    It’s globalizers like Krugman who have radically destabilized the literal physical sustenance of our lives, such that any slight increment, speculatory and/or bad harvest, can plunge billions into starvation.

    And why does he argue this today? Is he still pushing his malign agenda, or is he merely trying to cover up for his past crimes? Either way, by extenuating these crimes against humanity, he continues to commit the same crimes.

    Comment by Russ — February 10, 2011 @ 5:31 am

    • I still don’t understand the point of Krugman’s argument. Let’s say he’s absolutely, 100% correct, and skyrocketing food prices are reflections of fundamentals. What am I supposed to draw from that? That it’s okay for people to be priced out of survival, because hey, it’s the market? Markets are tools. If you have a tool that is killing you, it’s usually a good idea to put it down. It’s incredible to me that Krugman can’t grasp that the rents extracted in the process of grain contracts changing hands a few thousand times before they get to the end user is pure waste.

      Comment by paper mac — February 10, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

      • I think he’s saying that as long as they don’t actually take delivery and hoard, then all they’re doing is making paper bets which don’t touch the underlying or affect its price.

        But as Yves says in the post, even if it were technically true that no speculator engages in hoarding personally (and we have badly inadequate information to judge whether or not that’s true, contrary to Krugman’s claims), that completely ignores the knock-on effects upon others who will hoard. (Especially if they see their own opportunities to speculate based on their ability to manipulate the supply – e.g. corrupt government officials.)

        That would still be the handiwork of the speculative market and therefore the ultimate responsibility and fault of the speculators themselves. But because Krugman wants to whitewash them, he’s making this fatuous argument which elides all realities except weather.

        Comment by Russ — February 10, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  4. Russ, food is oil. From the Financial Times:

    “Research by two economists at the International Monetary Fund finds a close correlation between the price of oil and fine wine. What is true for wine will hold for rice, wheat, potatoes and onions.”

    The Chinese believe that rising transportation costs have a large effect on rising food costs, so they just recently made a law allowing vegetable trucks to use toll roads without having to pay the tolls.

    Rising oil prices mean rising food prices, and the rise and fall of oil prices are due to speculation. It was not the forces of supply or demand that pushed the price of oil $147. It was not the forces of supply and demand that pushed the price of oil all the way down to $32 a barrel from its record $147 spike.

    Oil hit $147 purely due to speculation. Then, when hedge funds were hit with a massive wave of redemptions and margin calls, they had to deleverage. This collapsed the oil futures market. The rise and fall of agriculture prices paralleled the rise and fall of oil prices. Not only are agriculture futures prices largely a product of speculative, Wall Street driven oil prices, but, as oil prices rise, oil driven cost-push inflation becomes another factor causing food price hikes.

    “Another major driver of grain prices, similar to biofuel mandates, is the diversion of grain from food to feed for livestock.”

    That may be true, but it is not yet all that evident in the futures markets. Beef prices should be sky high. The last time feed prices spiked, beef was dumped on the market and cattle herds, too expensive to feed, were culled. With feed prices spiking again, and cattle herds already diminished, one would think that beef prices would be rising through the roof. However, the beef price rise has been fairly moderate compared to the price hikes in feed and grains. With prices of grains, soybeans and sugar at, or close to, all time highs, the price of beef is nowhere near its all time high. So, Russ, if you really believe that the price of beef and other food will stay at “stagflation” highs, shouldn’t you be hedging your higher meal costs with DBA, COW, ENY etc? Be very careful if you do, because my best guess is that when the oil spec bubble bursts with the next round of deleveraging (once the stock market collapses if the USD doesn’t collapse first), that the food price bubble will burst with it.

    In the meantime, Russ, if you are not one already, consider becoming a vegetarian. It is healthier than being a carnivore, and it is the environmentally correct thing to do. Wouldn’t you agree that one who believes, that the use of land for growing livestock feed drives up grain prices, should not be eating livestock? As Eldridge Cleaver once said in a speech, when quoting a very old African proverb, “You’re either part of the solution or part of the problem.”

    Comment by black swan — February 10, 2011 @ 7:15 am

    • I am finding a real disconnect in prices… For example pork loin (on sale) recently cost €2,99/kilo. Yet I recently paid €2,29 for six eggs, €3,98/kilo for scallions, €2.98/kilo for eggplant, leeks, broccoli…. Onions, usually a food of the poor, cost €2,00/kilo sometimes.

      As for grains by way of comparison, rice is €2,00/kilo; farro is €2-3,00/kilo.

      Local organic lentils can cost from €7.00-€15,00/kilo! These very well may be closer to a “true” cost, while the cheap meat is somehow benefiting from subsidies or arbitrage.

      Or it could just be that the distribution steps are so many, so wasteful, and so oil-intensive that in the aggregate they significantly overshadow the production cost of the food at its source, causing the prices of many foods to converge.

      —–
      As for vegetarianism, there’s something of a case to be made, but I think a stronger case is to be made for a moderate and judicious use of meat as a condiment. This, because animals like sheep, goats, rabbits, and cows do a valuable service to humans by turning inedible material (grass & brush) into garden fertilizer and delicious protein. Chickens turn unappetizing bugs into eggs and tasty meat. Sheep and goats can make use of marginal land or land that is steep and rocky—not suitable for vegetable/cereal farming.

      The Masai people have relied on cattle as a main food source… “Eskimo” peoples relied on whales and seals in addition to fish… I’d see the decision as a matter of context and scale. It’s only in the past few decades that animals have been fed cereals via industrial production systems (in fact a corn diet is bad for cows’ health and necessitates the use of antibiotics, apparently) and I think that is a situation that even carnivores should agree is detrimental.

      There are still the “Tower of Babel” technophiles who think we are going to grow all our meat in vats, though!

      A Dutch team’s lab-grown pork, for example, would cost around $45,000 per pound—assuming they could make an entire pound of the stuff. Bioreactors may be energy-efficient when compared with cattle, but they’re also expensive to design, build, and maintain. They also require highly skilled personnel to manage, in order to preserve aseptic conditions.
      http://www.slate.com/id/2191705/

      There is nothing more efficient than a plant to transform and capture the sun’s energy, and there is nothing more efficient than an animal to turn low-food-quality plant material into high-food-quality protein. Trying to mimic these processes is going to be a fool’s errand, IMO, and it pains me to see resources wasted on these efforts.

      Comment by Lidia — February 10, 2011 @ 9:06 am

      • That stuff is disgusting. I haven’t bothered to read about it, since it’s so vile on its face and can only have profiteering and domination purposes.

        Comment by Russ — February 10, 2011 @ 9:51 am

      • Lidia, I agree with you. However, when you state: “The Masai people have relied on cattle as a main food source… “Eskimo” peoples relied on whales and seals in addition to fish…”, that is because they are limited by their environments. The people of Detroit are also limited by their environment. There are no longer any supermarkets in Detroit to serve a population of roughly 800,000. If you live in Detroit, you most likely buy your food at the local shop-n-rob. What you find there is packaged junk food laced with corn by-products. In other words, you have an indigenous population living on a corn-based diet. If a corn diet is not good for cows, can it be much better for humans? It’s as if, in a couple of generations, these people have become genetic polymorphs, able to survive on a diet, high on the glycemic index, that promotes obesity, but does not do much to promote mental acuity.

        Detroit has a illiteracy rate of 47%, a high school graduation rate of less than 24%, and one of the highest crime rates in the nation. Perhaps diet plays a small part in all this.

        Comment by black swan — February 10, 2011 @ 10:04 am

      • Many people in Detroit are trying to make a fresh start.

        https://attempter.wordpress.com/2009/12/25/holiday-wish/

        Comment by Russ — February 10, 2011 @ 10:40 am

    • If you look at my categories, you’ll see there’s one entitled “Peak Oil”. I’ve written about such linkages plenty of times. Biofuel mandates are one such linkage.

      What makes you think I eat meat? While I’m not going to turn the blog into a “showing one’s wounds” about how well every non-rich person lives up to all the principles we discuss, I can assure you I do a pretty good job of living up to them.

      BTW, in the post I tried to say I wasn’t blaming people for eating meat, but was placing primary blame on the system which enables it in such a destructive way.

      I do agree that one shouldn’t eat beef and should minimize corporate-produced animal foods. There are sustainable modes of animal husbandry, of course, and manure will be one of the essential inputs we’ll need to rebuild the depleted soil.

      Comment by Russ — February 10, 2011 @ 9:50 am

      • “What makes you think I eat meat?”

        Nothing makes me think you eat meat, or makes me think that you don’t eat meat, which is why my post read:

        “Russ, if you are not one already, consider becoming a vegetarian.”

        I have a strong feeling that you don’t just talk the talk, but also walk the walk. I do not doubt that you are one of the blogosphere’s more socially and environmentally conscious individuals.

        Comment by black swan — February 10, 2011 @ 10:13 am

      • Thanks. I do the best I can. (And while I’m not a vegetarian, I don’t eat beef or pork or beleaguered fish. And not much animal stuff in general except milk.)

        Comment by Russ — February 10, 2011 @ 10:39 am

  5. I guess if you want to know what’s happening in the US, you’ve got to read Al Jazeera:

    http://blogs.aljazeera.net/americas/2011/02/09/patriot-act-falls-first-hurdle

    Comment by black swan — February 10, 2011 @ 7:36 am

  6. News flash:

    “There are reports from multiple outlets, including the BBC, that Mubarak is going to make a speech and transfer away power to either his VP or the military”

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/mubarak-transferring-power-2011-2#ixzz1DZTPjELy

    Comment by black swan — February 10, 2011 @ 10:44 am

    • This is looking good. Here’s more.

      http://english.aljazeera.net/news/middleeast/2011/02/20112101653445426.html#

      We see what making real demands and refusing to back down from them, but staying on the attack, can accomplish. (I wonder how many of our “progressives” are learning any kind of lesson at all from all this.)

      Now Suleiman and the whole regime need to be next.

      Comment by Russ — February 10, 2011 @ 11:53 am

      • Things are going to heat up. What with Obama inserting himself and his military to come and help the Egyptian military in the ‘orderly transition’ _ chilling words.

        Well, they’re shaking their shoes at him. And he’s in danger now of losing his head.

        Comment by LeeAnne — February 10, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

      • Russ, let me know if you’d rather I didn’t go so off topic.

        Tyler Durden reports this “EGYPT SECURITY HQ IN RAFAH ATTACKED BY ROCKET PROPELLED GRENADE” zerohedge.

        When you click on that article under “Presenting Heliopolis Presidential Palace” you’ll find a detailed map to the president palace.

        The article following this includes “US Aircraft Carrier Deployment Update -Feb 9

        “the most recent deployment map of US aircraft carriers across the world, as of February 9. It appears that there is a material concentration of naval capacity in the Middle-east region since last week, as CVN 65 Enterprise, CVN 70 Vinson and CVN 72 Lincoln are all in immediate proximity to Egypt and the Middle-East theater, as is the LHD 3 Kearsarge amphibious warfare ship which is lodged smack in the middle of the Red Sea.”

        and this

        “Since this will be a critical night for Egypt, as many of the protesters are now on the move, are expected to besiege both the TV station and the Presidential palace, as well as the amry HQ in Alexandria and other cities, it may be prudent to keep an eye on events as they progress. Select keywords to watch out for are: “oil”, “Suez”, “rocket-propelled grenades”, “escalation” and “onslaught.”

        :

        Comment by LeeAnne — February 10, 2011 @ 11:23 pm

      • That’s not off-topic, LeeAnne. Events fly so fast and furious it’s tough to tell what’s important and what’s not.

        For what it’s worth, I was underwhelmed when I first read about those ship movements a few days ago, and amused at the panic it seemed to trigger in some people. As if the US was going to invade Egypt or something.

        I suppose the ships are there in case they’re needed to remove Westerners, and also because, well, if you have no idea what to do, but you can move some expensive ships around, that can stand in as a proxy for action.

        No doubt it’s also meant to intimidate the people of Egypt, but I think they just laughed at it if they paid any attention to it at all.

        I think today might be the big day at the palace. All of Cairo may converge.

        Comment by Russ — February 11, 2011 @ 3:20 am

      • That’s a great comment Russ. Putting it in prospective for me is a gift.

        I have been concerned since they moved ships into the Strait of Harmuz and at the same time into Costa Rica with, officially, 8000 personnel. While the people objected, the US said it was for ‘drugs.’

        Its made me suspicious that something big was planned that would cause oil and food prices to soar with domestic fear of starvation and chaos the cover story for currency devaluation.

        Comment by LeeAnne — February 11, 2011 @ 8:32 am

      • I heard of threat to Costa Rica, but don’t know much about it. The “drug war” is obviously an aggressive imperial gambit, same as the “global war on terror”.

        There’s always ships in the Persian Gulf, which is the most critical sea lane on earth from the point of view of the empire.

        Comment by Russ — February 11, 2011 @ 10:46 am

    • Sadly, no.

      “With the whole world watching, Mubarak instead offered a meandering, confused speech promising vague Constitutional changes and defiance of foreign pressure. He offered a vaguely worded delegation of power to Vice President Omar Suleiman, long after everyone in Egypt had stopped listening. It is virtually impossible to conceive of a more poorly conceived or executed speech. ”
      http://lynch.foreignpolicy.com/blog/2202

      Comment by Lidia — February 11, 2011 @ 5:41 am

      • Pathetic and absurd.

        Comment by Russ — February 11, 2011 @ 10:47 am


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