“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, May 09, 2008

Growing Trouble or Bad News in a Rice Bowl

Remember how Zimbabwe became Zimbabwe? Successful immigrants created rich bountiful efficient farms in a land they called Rhodesia. The problem was the immigrants were white. Rhodesia being in Africa had to be black. That was the skin tone of politics at the time. The Brits, pale and white in those days, were going through some anglo angst and decided white things in Africa were bad. So the west in wightful indignation decided to destroy Rhodesia and they did. Wowy-zimbowy we ended up with a true hell hole and lots of trouble. What does this have to do with China?

China is loaded with cash and loaded with people. The people are smart, hard working and global and in case you didn't notice, Chinese. The Chinese have been buying into overseas resources in major ways. They are now venturing into the social and political mine fields of farm land. You can guarantee that some of the major future crops will be resentment, jealousy and social upheaval.

China eyes overseas land in food push
By Jamil Anderlini in Beijing

May 8 2008 Financial Times
Chinese companies will be encouraged to buy farmland abroad, particularly in Africa and South America, to help guarantee food security under a plan being considered by Beijing.

A proposal drafted by the Ministry of Agriculture would make supporting offshore land acquisition by domestic agricultural companies a central government policy. Beijing already has similar policies to boost offshore investment by state-owned banks, manufacturers and oil companies, but offshore agricultural investment has so far been limited to a few small projects.

If approved, the plan could face intense opposition abroad given surging global food prices and deforestation fears. However an official close to the deliberations said it was likely to be adopted.

“There should be no problem for this policy to be approved. The problem might come from foreign governments who are unwilling to give up large areas of land,” the official said.

The move comes as oil-rich but food-poor countries in the Middle East and north Africa explore similar options. Libya is talking with Ukraine about growing wheat in the former Soviet republic, while Saudi Arabia has said it would invest in agricultural and livestock projects abroad to ensure food security and control commodity prices.

China is losing its ability to be self-sufficient in food as its rising wealth triggers a shift away from diet staples such as rice towards meat, which requires large amounts of imported feed.

China has about 40 per cent of the world’s farmers but just 9 per cent of the world’s arable land. Some Chinese scholars argue that domestic agricultural companies must expand overseas if China is to guarantee its food security and reduce its exposure to global market fluctuations.

“China must ‘go out’ because our land resources are limited,” said Jiang Wenlai, of the China Agricultural Science Institute. “It will be a win-win solution that will benefit both parties by making the maximum use of the advantages of both sides.”

In the first quarter of this year, food prices in China rose 25 per cent from a year earlier, the highest level of farm inflation since the early 1990s, said UBS.

China is still a net exporter of agricultural commodities but is increasingly reliant on soybean imports and is about to become a net buyer of corn.

It imported up to 60 per cent of the soybean it consumed last year and the crop would be a focus of policy support for companies acquiring land overseas, along with bananas, vegetables and edible oil crops, said an official familiar with the ministry’s proposal. The ministry is already talking to Brazil about the possible acquisition of land for soybean, according to this official.

Some countries would find it particularly problematic if Beijing supported Chinese firms to use Chinese labour on land bought or rented abroad – common practice for most companies operating overseas.


  1. This is a wonderful opportunity for a synergistic revolution at home and abroad.

    Here, it has been decided (and implemented since Kennedy's 1965 Bill) that not only should whites be systematically discriminated against wrt equal treatment concerning immigration, but most people, regardless of color, should wait at the end of the line simply for not being Latinos, and more than that, preferably poorly educated peasants with little desire to assimilate.

    Thus, the opportunity:
    Use our unequalled military power to clear Mexican farmland of Mexican farmers so that the Chi-coms can "buy" it at very attractive prices, providing food for the starving Chinese, and forcing MORE millions of Homeless Mexican Peasants into this country. This will not only ingratiate us with the Chi-coms in perpetuity, but will radically speed up the process of systematically destroying our schools, hospitals, and social services, and bankrupting our governments.

  2. Just think about the size of a navy the Chinese are going to need to protect their sea lanes bringing in oil, minerals and food from their refineries, mines and farm lands. Nothing to worry about there I am sure.

  3. China's deep sea plans alarm India
    3 May 2008, 0057 hrs IST,Rajat Pandit,TNN

    "NEW DELHI: China continues to take huge strides in building its strategic transborder and "area-denial" military capabilities, with the latest stunning development being the extent of its major underground nuclear submarine base on the southern tip of the Hainan Island.

    The splashing of new satellite images of the underground base in the British media on Thursday has reinforced the belief in the Indian defence establishment that it will not be long before the rapidly-modernising Chinese navy begins to make active forays into the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).

    "The Chinese SSBN (nuclear submarines armed with long-range strategic missiles) programme is very active. We have not really seen their submarines in IOR till now but it's only a matter of time before they start flexing their muscles here," said former navy chief Admiral (retd) Arun Prakash.

    China and India, after all, are fighting for the same strategic space in the IOR, with the former hugely dependent on the oil shipping sea lanes passing through the region. Much more than Pakistan, Indian defence experts view China as the real long-term military threat.

    There is concern over the stark military asymmetry with China, with the latter's military budget showing straight double-digit hikes for the last two decades.

    China, of course, has a very active cruise and ballistic missile programme, which includes the new DF-31 and DF-31A road-mobile intercontinental ballistic missiles.

    It's leagues ahead of India in virtually all aspects of military projects. Take submarines, for instance. To India's 16 conventional diesel-electric submarines, China has 57 attack submarines, including a dozen of them nuclear ones. "

  4. I'm no Military Genius, Historian, or Fortune Teller, but somehow I could foresee the resources needed for an industrialized, first World China back in the 1970's, and sometime decades ago it became equally obvious that if they were putting Gazzilions of dollars in the bank, they would also be building a Chinese Military not to be ignored.
    (aided by their thousands of spies, and our eagerness to give or sell them only the very best technological rope to hang us all with.)

    Brilliant Strategy on our part, all the way around.

  5. I don't like the idea of much of anything being foreign owned in the United States. Maybe a cab company, or two. Around here there is a little farm land that is foreign owned, but not much. Don't know about the other parts of the country. It's a bad idea, for lots of reasons. It's one of the things I don't like about the US. Foreign ownership. Also too much concentration of wealth. I quess real wealth isn't in the farms anymore but still it really rankles me, foreign absentee landlords. A bad policy.

  6. I know a guy that farms some land next to me, the owners US citizens I think, from some other state. In something over twenty years he has never met them. There is a Dutch Land Bank that has some around here too, I've noticed it on the land maps. A little here, a little there. An American absentee landlord is one thing, foreign something else, to my way of thinking. It's gotten too concentrated and it's bad for society as a whole.

    On the other hand, I also know from being around here a long time, some of the bigger ones have more problems than the smaller ones. I've seen some big ones go under. If prices aren't good, it takes folks that don't much care about the profit, and are in it for the long term. Free labor(one's own) doesn't cost much, you know.

  7. Henry, Henry, play the China card, Henry.

    Maybe shipping costs will go so high one of these days, that it will be so expensive to import, that it will bolster our domestic industries up, get us going again. I'm tired of all these Chinese and other goods everywhere. Importing from our friends is one thing, building up China another.

  8. The Sahara Desert is getting more rain. Maybe in another 6 or 8 thousands years it'll be a game park again. We have that to look forward to. :)

    Nah, the Bedouin would overgraze it.

  9. After the priesthood, Ward worked as a schoolteacher, served as legislative assistant for then-Rep. Barbara Boxer for three years and was hired by KGO in 1985. As an investigative reporter, he won a national award for a series of stories in the mid-1990s, in partnership with the San Francisco Examiner, that exposed financial and sexual improprieties in the San Francisco Archdiocese.

    As a talk show host since 1992, Ward was called the "lion of the left" by KGO and had a devoted following. His "God Talk" show, which he described as the work closest to his heart, included discussions of the Christian mission to help the poor and of misconduct in organized religion, especially in his own Catholic faith.

  10. (savage's site says he had 2 sexual misconduct charges when he was a priest, but none of savages links are working)

  11. Savage Link

    "It's easier to ask forgiveness than permission."

    yup, he ended every program with that misleading advice.

    Some of the comments are interesting.

  12. You want to know where all the corn went? You ain't gonna believe This.

  13. You asshole!
    That Giovanni33 character is almost as perverse as 'Rat!

    There should be virtual hands in the Worlds of Internets that reach out and choke people like him to death when 98% of the readers want it to be done.

  14. Corn, that's another Idea:
    The virtual hands could cornhole Giovanni33,prior to choking him to death.

  15. you did it AGAIN Rufus!
    GD pdf's plus vista = I have to shut down IE and start over!
    Please LABEL the damned things!

  16. Yup, Rufus, my Bio courses back in '66 made quite a deal about the conversion factors of cows vs eating grain directly.
    10 to 1 difference in efficiency comes to mind.
    Chickens, quite a bit less wasteful than cows, but still nothing like eating the grains.

    Let the Chi-coms eat mush!

    PLUS: There's all that deadly METHANE in Cow Farts eliminating Polar Bears from the melted Ice Shields.
    Wo is us.
    Better yet:
    Bring back Curtis LeMay, and do China right!

  17. Guess G33 must have linked you to a PDF file, some time in the past, doug.

    Better watch out, rufus.
    Or little virtyal hands could be popping out of your monitor screen.

  18. Algore's Scare Tactics

    This has been around since he made the movie, but I'd never seen it, and it is helpful, since I haven't seen Algore's movie either.
    Has anyone?

    (that Polar Bear Scene is so Lame, it would garner a "C" in a HS Multimedia Class)

  19. Naw, 'Rat:
    Ya gotta follow al-Bob's link and read the comments.
    That Giovanni guy must be a Roman, or something!

  20. Now doug echo French royalty of the past
    "Let them eat cake"
    "Let them eat corn!"

    So little compassion, doug, for short people that want their children to be tall.

  21. ...and you don't need Rev Wright to remind you about ROMANS.

  22. I did, doug, but was just funnin' with you and rufus.

    Doin' research

  23. Romans ended up eatin' to much lead.

  24. ...that 15% growth of the USA in a decade thanks to the Invasionists and their Breeders ain't sustainable either.

    Giving the shining city on a hill away as fast as we can find ways.

    Mad Rush to the Socialist Sewer.

  25. Doug: GD pdf's plus vista = I have to shut down IE and start over!

    The only thing I use Vista for is getting my girlfriend's paycheck stub from her company's website, because those idiots have their site set up to only allow Internet Explorer to access it. That's on Tuesday morning for about five minutes maybe. The other 99.9% of the time I run Linux, which comes pre-installed with more software than you can shake a stick at. Linux eats PDFs for lunch. Viruses? HA.

  26. 2164th: Just think about the size of a navy the Chinese are going to need to protect their sea lanes bringing in oil, minerals and food from their refineries, mines and farm lands. Nothing to worry about there I am sure.

    Those sea lanes become their jugular vein, just like it was for the Greater East Asian Co-prosperity Sphere.

  27. So, has anyone seen Algore's movie? about my link to the debunk?

  28. Algore brings up up "increased hurricane activity"
    ...but in the middle of the World's Largest Ocean, we ain't had big hurricanes for FIFTEEN YEARS!

    Far as I know, the Hurricane Capital, Guam, has been doin pretty well too, for almost as long.

  29. "The bombing of Tokyo by the United States Army Air Forces took place at several times during the Pacific campaigns of World War II and included the most destructive conventional bombing raid in all of history."
    As if the Nukes were worse.
    Ignorance reigns supreme.

  30. "raid" not "raids" so maybe so.
    Still, Tokyo ate the big one before Curtis was through.

  31. March 10, 1945 279 B-29s dropping incendiaries destroy ~267,000 buildings; ~25% of city (Operation Meetinghouse) killing some 100,000 civilians (more than the Nukes)
    (windy night)
    May 24, 1945 520 B-29s bomb urban-industrial area south of the Imperial Palace

  32. "With the increasing appreciation of the nutritional value to the ruminant of the
    volatile fatty acids produced by fermentation in the reticulo-rumen (hereafter termed
    rumen for brevity), the need has arisen to assess the amounts of such acids involved.
    When a cow consumes her diet in two equal meals at 12 h intervals, the mean weight
    of food digested in the rumen in any 12 h period can be calculated from the rumendigestibility
    coefficient. By incubating, under conditions similar to those present in
    the rumen, a sample of the diet with rumen liquor from the cow receiving that diet,
    a value for the weight of volatile fatty acids produced per unit of food digested can
    also be obtained.
    Rumen Liquor on the House!
    I'm buyin!

  33. Forget about sea lanes - If things really get catastrophic, how will China protect those crops on those foreign farms? The white farmers in Zimbabwe didn't fare so well.

  34. And how will they get around severe export quotas?

  35. One of the latest NGO terms:

    Food insecurity.

    Despite the fact that huge numbers of the world population have been lifted out of "poverty" in the last thirty years, the professional Henny-Pennys have managed to scare most of the world's population into pessimism and anxiety.

  36. For the life of me, I cannot figure why anyone uses anything other than a mac.

  37. McCain will not drill in the "pristine wilderness of ANWR" (his words).

    Either he is ignorant or interested only in getting the moderate vote to get elected. Well, that's not entirely right. It's not an either/or situation. We know that he is interested in getting the moderate vote.

    What we're seeing is a repeat of the Tory party in the UK which has gone quite a bit to the left in the last twenty years.

    Prior to the Florida primary, he sent a recorded message promising to build the fence and get the border under control before doing anything else about immigration. This week, he talked about comprehensive immigration reform. His plan places responsibility on the border-state Governors for certifying border security.

    It's a changing world.

  38. 93% of the computer users are morons, Deuce!
    ...go figure!

  39. (but since Apple switched to BSD, my envy level has increased...
    now multiplied by Intel inside)
    Jobs is an amazing guy.
    Repulsive, or not.

  40. Whit,
    Big John picks Duncan Hunter for Veep,
    is assasinated prior to inauguration.
    ...I can dream, can't I?

  41. You're a dreamer, alright. This particular dream though could you get you hauled in the Brave New World.

  42. 2164th: For the life of me, I cannot figure why anyone uses anything other than a mac.

    The answer to every question that begins with the word "why" is "money".

    My Vista/Mandriva box cost $300 at Frys.

  43. In addition to the cost factor Microsoft OS has Direct X and there is much that can be done with that. In other words, what drives the adoption of a platform is what it does for you and there is some very good software/hardware that only works on a PC.

  44. Ash, there is Open GL which competes with Direct X, and if your computer is fast enough like mine is now, Google Earth runs very smooth. As for games, who needs 'em, except my 10 year old godson?

  45. Doug: Jobs is an amazing guy.
    Repulsive, or not.

    The best way to accelerate a Mac is at 32 feet per second squared.

  46. Whit: McCain will not drill in the "pristine wilderness of ANWR" (his words).

    We've already peaked in US production, whit, and drilling one field won't turn that around. But people are selling their F-350s and getting hybrids, just like they did in 1974 when we went from Buick Rivieras to Gremlins.

  47. Speaking of the Brave New World, Diana West says We're deluding ourselves. She writes:

    "...a crazy new government guide called "Words that Work and Words that Don't" urging federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security, to eliminate all references to Islam when discussing, well, Islamic terrorism.

    Not only does that mean no more talk of "Islam," it also means no more talk of "jihad." ("Extremism" is the new "jihad.") And forget about the "caliphate." (Try "global totalitarian state.") Even such politically correct terms as "Islamist" and "Islamofascist," which take the traditional teachings of Islam off the hook, are now verboten. And so, more curiously, is the term "Muslim moderate." Says the government: "The term `moderate' has become offensive to many Muslims, who believe that it refers to individuals whom the USG prefers to deal with, and who are only marginally religious."

    So "moderates" don't want to look like patsies next to "jihadists," and the USG doesn't want to be insensitive to their needs. Sounds like a rest cure for Uncle Sam is long overdue." continued...

  48. No, ANWR would be only a part of a Comprehensive Energy Policy.

    The problem is we can't agree on an energy policy because of arguments like "ANWR will not matter." We can't even talk about coal or clean coal because that natural resource has been so demonized by the left..
    We have some of the largest coal fields in the world, and yet we take that natural resource out of the energy picture because of Carbonphobia?

    Drilling for Oil in the Gulf of Mexico? Forget about it. It's an environmental sin. Never mind that others will "drink our oil" while we bow down to Gaia, the goddess of the carbon hysterics.

  49. Doug,

    This is for you:

    No need to feel these sour BDS feelings. :D

  50. Hey, if I could get some of my hardware to work in a UNIX based environment I'd be there but alas it doesn't.

  51. Whit: We have some of the largest coal fields in the world, and yet we take that natural resource out of the energy picture because of Carbonphobia?

    The preference is to be carbon-neutral (CO2 is taken from the air to make ethanol before it is burned and returned). If we make this work, then we've got a renewable resource. It's a fancy way to capture the sun's energy in portable liquid fuels. If it doesn't work then we will be trapped in the mode of mining oil until it's gone, then we will fall back on coal locomotives. It will be 1870 all over again, but not by choice.

  52. Take a look at China's environment for an example of a dirty burning coal energy model.

  53. The preference is to be carbon-neutral (CO2 is taken from the air to make ethanol before it is burned and returned). If we make this work, then we've got a renewable resource.

    Yeah, well ethanol is now being demonized. Not at all carbon neutral, requires more energy than it produces and is impacting world food prices.

  54. Btw, as a 20 long years Mac guy, I recently sold my 20" iMac G5 machine and bought my first PC with Vista installed. And I'm liking it. I'll probably install OSX86 later on the 2nd HD, but for now, I'm very satisfied with Vista. It's a Quad Core Intel machine with a 24" Dell LCD, and it's still cheaper than what a Dual Core iMac would have cost.

  55. There is no way ahead without using oil and coal. The objective should be to reduce dependence on oil (especially foreign oil) and develop clean coal technologies. After all, we already have the coal burning plants, it makes sense to convert them particularly since we seem to have bought into the CO2 scare. We can then sell the technology to the Chinese while we move on to nuclear.

  56. "There is no way ahead without using oil and coal."

    I think very near future you'll be pleasantly surprised as to how false that statement will turn out to be.

  57. Don't get me wrong. I'm totally down with alternate energy sources that are economically viable but I suspect that the agenda is being driven by groups with ulterior motives.

  58. ..think ^in very near future..

  59. "agenda is being driven by groups with ulterior motives"

    Such as? As opposed to?

  60. You know, the usual suspects. On one side, the coalition of anti-growth, environmentalist watermelons, population control groups and climate hysterics and on the other side the oil producers.

  61. I'm waiting for someone to say 'the two magic words', but no one has, yet. 6 syllables, hint, hint.

  62. The magic number today is 126. $126/barrel.

  63. Look at Germany. They have spent fortunes on solar technology. Way more per capita than anyone else and what do they get for it? Solar contributes less than .5% percent of their energy needs. They hope to increase it to 3% by 2020.

  64. I certainly don't put myself in that category. And certainly other investors in Solar energy don't think that way.

  65. From what I heard they hope to increase it to 30% by 2020.

  66. Ignorance is bliss.

    According to Professor Wagner we may not have much time.

    If they muck around at CERN and create a black hole, we may have big problems.

    If the gamma ray busters don't get us, CERN might.

    No wonder I get no sleep.

    It does put $126 oil in perspective though.

    What me worry?

  67. German solar production:
    "It's been very important to create the necessary market in Germany," Koernig said. "We not only want to master the German market, but to conquer the world market as well."

    For now, the technology remains expensive and barely registers as a fraction of total energy production -- less than 0.5 percent. The government hopes to increase that figure to 3 percent by 2020.

    Washington Post,May 2007

    I should have included good old fashioned capitalists in the agenda driving groups.

  68. I hear $200/bbl is in the works, Bob. Meantime, GM is proud to release a Chev Malibu with styling and technology that they should have released 10-20 years ago.

  69. Whit,

    Electricity from Renewable Energies


    The Deutsche Energie-Agentur GmbH (dena) - the German Energy Agency - has
    just given the go-ahead for further research into the expansion of wind energy in Germany. The second part of the dena Grid Study will show how the percentage of renewable energies contributing to the electricity supply can be increased to 30 percent between 2020 and 2025.


  70. If anyone commented of this already, sorry I missed it:

    Mexico's National Police Chief Assassinated.

    MEXICO CITY, May 8 -- Gunmen assassinated Mexico's national police chief Thursday, blasting him with nine bullets outside his home in the capital and dealing a significant setback to the government's campaign against drug cartels.

    Edgar Eusebio Millán Gómez, the public face of Mexico's offensive against drug cartels, became the highest-ranking law enforcement official to be killed since the launch of the effort 17 months ago. The assassination could give new confidence to drug cartels blamed for 6,000 killings in the past 2 1/2 years, and embolden other anti-government groups in this violence-plagued nation.

  71. Why am I not surprised, Burmese thug Government seizes UN relief supplies.

    UN officials wet their pants. Later, in private, stamped their feet.

  72. We could help them, whit, but the US capacity is streeeetched so thin, already.

    Even though Mexico is our number two oil supplier.

    A zebra don't change its' stripes, its' one America from Pole to Pole, with Johm McCain, that natural born American, from Panama.

  73. It a classic example of a Burma shave, whit.

  74. DR: It a classic example of a Burma shave, whit.

    Does your lady
    Grunt and grumble
    Rant and rave?
    Tame that bull with
    Burma Shave!

    Unless your legs
    Are stinger free
    You'd better let
    Your Honey be
    Burma Shave!

  75. If you
    The Storm
    And then
    The rain
    If you
    Freshen up
    With Burma Shave