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Archive for October, 2011

Cain camp denies harassment allegations

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2011 4:34 am by HL

Cain camp denies harassment allegations

The presidential campaign of Republican Herman Cain is pushing back against allegations that he engaged in inappropriate behavior with at least two women when he was head of the National Restaurant Association.

The allegations, first reported by Politico on Sunday night, come as Cain is atop a new poll in Iowa, a key early state where social conservatives are likely to decide who wins the GOP nomination.

Read full article >>

Obama to pitch economic program at Group of 20 summit

President Obama, who has struggled to advance his vision for economic renewal at home, will take his pitch overseas this week to an audience of world leaders who could prove equally skeptical of his message at a time of global anxiety.

“It’s very hard for us to preach the economic gospel to Europe when they watched our debt-ceiling debate here and our [credit-rating] downgrade,” said Heather Conley, director of European programs at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS).

Read full article >>

Supreme Court to take another look at prosecutorial misconduct

Prosecutors, says Angela Davis, former head of the D.C. public defenders office, “are the most powerful officials in our criminal justice system.”

Davis, a professor at American University’s Washington College of Law, explains:

“They decide whether a person’s going to be charged, what to charge them with, whether there’s going to be a plea bargain and what the plea bargain will be. As they make those decisions, they exercise almost boundless discretion.”

Read full article >>

Efforts against Equatorial Guinea official shows challenge for U.S. in foreign corruption cases

In the spring of 2001, Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mangue, at age 33, bought a $6.5 million house in the fashionable Los Angeles enclave of Bel Air.

About the same time, Nguema, the son of Equatorial Guinea dictator Teodoro Nguema Obiang Mbasogo, twice went to a Beverly Hills dealership and purchased two Bentley automobiles.

Read full article >>


Flat Tax a Flat-Out Fraud

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 31st, 2011 4:31 am by HL

Flat Tax a Flat-Out Fraud
Robert Reich, San Francisco Chronicle
The so-called flat tax is all the rage among Republican presidential hopefuls. Herman Cain was the first. Now, Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich have come up with their own flat-tax proposals.The flat tax is a fraud. It raises taxes on the poor and lowers them on the rich.The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that Cain's flat-tax plan (the only one that's been set out in any detail) would lower the after-tax incomes of poor households (incomes below $30,000) by 16 to 20 percent. 

“Lord of Flies” in Zuccotti Park
Michael Goodwin, New York Post
They’re railing against freeloaders and ex-cons for stealing their stuff and spoiling their utopia. They’re squabbling with each other over money and power. The weather is turning frightful and a cumbersome bureaucracy of their own making is strangling their spontaneity.Their invasion is costing downtown Manhattan businesses and residents a boatload of money. But watching the Occupy Wall Street vagabonds bang their heads against the laws of human nature — that’s priceless!

The Pentagon vs. the Welfare State
Robert Samuelson, Newsweek
WASHINGTON — We shouldn't gut defense. A central question of our budget debates is how much we allow growing social spending to crowd out the military and, in effect, force the United States into a dangerous, slow-motion disarmament.People who see military cuts as an easy way to reduce budget deficits forget that this has already occurred. From the late 1980s to 2010, America's armed forces dropped from 2.1 million men and women to about 1.4 million. The downsizing — the “peace dividend” from the end of the Cold War — was not undone by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan….

Obama’s Party Dodge


Lt. Dan Gives Back to Veterans

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 30th, 2011 4:44 am by HL

Lt. Dan Gives Back to Veterans
Actor-director Gary Sinise often travels overseas to honor and entertain the troops with his Lt. Dan Band, and his Gary Sinise Foundation helps support them when they return home. “On my wife’s side, I have Vietnam veterans. … On my side, I have veterans,” he said. “And then I played one in Forrest Gump and I got involved with the Disabled American Veterans organization, and I became keenly aware of what people who lose their limbs and parts of their body have sacrificed in service of their country.”



Late Late Night FDL: The Night of the Living Duck

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 30th, 2011 4:43 am by HL

Late Late Night FDL: The Night of the Living Duck
Daffy DuckThe Night of the Living Duck. This Warner Bros. Cartoons Inc. Merrie Melodies cartoon was released in 1988.

Daffy DuckThe Night of the Living Duck.  This Warner Bros. Cartoons Inc. Merrie Melodies cartoon was released in 1988.

Directed by Greg Ford and Terry Lennon. Produced by Steven S. Greene. Co-produced by Kathleen Helppie-Shipley (as Kathleen Helppie). Story by Greg Ford and Terry Lennon. Animation by (in alphabetical order) Francesca Allen, key assistant animator (as Francesca Freeman); Brenda Banks, animator (as Brenda L. Banks); Edy Benjamin, assistant animator; Dorris Bergstrom, assistant animator; Alan Bodner, background artist (as Alan M. Bodner); Laura Craig, final checker; Lou Dellarosa, assistant animator; Edward Faigin, assistant animator; Robert Givens, layout artist; Dan Haskett, additional character designer’ Mark Kausler, animator; Lin Larsen, assistant layout artist; Norm McCabe, animator; Rebecca Rees, animator; Sonja Ruta, assistant animator; Richard H. Thomas, background artist; Frans Vischer, animator; Dick Williams, assistant animator, and Dora Yakutis, scene planner. Production Design by Robert Givens. Production Management by Jim Champin, post-production supervisor, and Bill Exter, production supervisor. Editorial work by Rick Gehr, assistant editor, and Steve New, negative cutter. Sound Effects Editing by Frank Raciti. Voices by Mel Blanc (Daffy Duck voice) and Mel Tormé (Daffy Duck singing voice). Music composed by Milt Franklyn (classical cartoon music) and Carl W. Stalling (classical cartoon music as Carl Stalling). Classic cartoon music coordination by Hal Willner. Titles by Don Foster. Voice Direction by Gordon Hunt.

Grab your popcorn, put your feet up on the coffee table, and try to keep the spitballs off the screen please.  This is Late Late Night FireDogLake, where off topic is the topic … so dive in.  What’s on your mind?

Sunday Talking Heads: October 30, 2011
I have a little Halloween fun for you in the video, Be Ware. Bev scheduled a macabre treat for Halloween Eve’s Book Salon, The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses, a beautifully illustrated book. Virtually Speaking tonight, at 9pm, has our own David Dayen, plus Avedon Carol. And FDL Movie Night Monday features Carl Colby and his film about his spy father, The Man Nobody Knew: In Search Of My Father CIA Spymaster William Colby. A must see, imho. Here are the listings, a whole lot of horse racing going on, sure seems like so much so early but perhaps I was more interested in 2007-2008 than I am this time around. And a little bit on Libya and Iraq. Glenn Greenwald will be on Up with Chris Hayes, that will be good. So pour some more coffee or hot chocolate and tune in.

I have a little Halloween fun for you in the video, Be Ware.

Bev scheduled a macabre treat for Halloween Eve’s Book Salon, The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses, a beautifully illustrated book. Virtually Speaking tonight, at 9pm, has our own David Dayen, plus Avedon Carol. And FDL Movie Night Monday features Carl Colby and his film about his spy father, The Man Nobody Knew: In Search Of My Father CIA Spymaster William Colby. A must see, imho.

Here are the listings, a whole lot of horse racing going on, sure seems like so much so early but perhaps I was more interested in 2007-2008 than I am this time around. Plus a little bit on Libya and Iraq. Glenn Greenwald will be on Up with Chris Hayes, that will be good. So pour some more coffee or hot chocolate and tune in.

Washington Journal: 8:00 – Katrina Vanden Heuval. 8:30 – Buddy Roemer9:00 – Financial Times Editor Robin Harding, WSJ correspondent Sudeep Reddy.

ABC’s This Week: Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)Roundtable: George Will, Cokie Roberts, Ron Brownstein, Austan Goolsbee, Dick Armey.  Then, Bill Gates on Steve Jobs, taxes, education and foreign aid.

CBS’ Face the Nation: Herman Cain. Plus, John Dickerson on the horse race.

CNN’s State of the Union: Senior Obama Campaign Strategist David Axelrod. Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX). Primary States Roundtable: Local reporters, Florida’s Adam Smith, Iowa’s O. Kay Henderson and South Carolina’s Gina Smith.  Then, Ellen Davis from the National Retail Federation on the economics of Halloween.

Chris Hayes: Glenn Greenwald, John Heilemann, Karen Hunter,  Maria Teresa Kumar.

Chris Matthews: 50 Years Since JFK: Barack Obama “Had” the Magic Four Years Ago. What Can He Learn From JFK Now? Why Conservative Leaders Fear Romney’s GOP Opponents Are Losing the Election for Him.

Fareed Zakaria – GPS: Niall Ferguson, Jeffrey D. Sachs. Libya – Bernard henri Lévy.

Fox News Sunday: Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX)Roundtable: Brit Hume, Mara Liasson, Dana Perino, Juan WilliamsPower Player of the Week: Senate Chaplain Rear Adm. Barry Black (Ret.).

NBC’s Meet the Press: Senior White House Adviser David PlouffeRoundtable: Tom Brokaw, Walter Isaacson, Jennifer Granholm, Mike Murphy.

Newsmakers: Edward DeMarco, Acting Director of the  Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), who discusses proposed changes to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) and other refinancing programs. The administration hopes these moves will double the number of homeowners receiving aide for “under water” home loans. However, the FHFA will not consider principal forgiveness or lowering of the amount borrowed, Mr. DeMarco tells reporters…

Q & A: Jill Abramson discusses her new position as executive editor of The New York Times, as well as her new book, “The Puppy Diaries: Raising a Dog Named Scout.”

Religion & Ethics.

60 Minutes: Madoffs -In their first interview about the crimes of Bernard Madoff, the son and the wife of the man who scammed billions of dollars provide the first inside account from the immediate family. Ruth Madoff and son Andrew tell Morley Safer how Madoff confessed his crimes to them, their reaction and the subsequent family strife of the past three years. All American – Beating the odds in a fight against a deadly cancer for most people would mean staying alive. For Mark Herzlich, who was diagnosed with bone cancer while he was a football star at Boston College, living meant playing football in the NFL.

To the Contrary: Topics: Women and the Occupy Movement – Interview with Karen Nussbaum, Working America; Pinkwashing for Breast Cancer Awareness; 7 Billion People on the Planet. Panelists: Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC); The Heritage Foundation’s Genevieve Wood; Villanova University Professor Lara Brown; and The Daily Caller’s Tara Wall.

Univision’s Al Punto: House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD); Rep. Luis Gutierrez (D-IL); Adolfo Franco, Republican Strategist; Adela Navarro Bello, Editor of Tijuana’s “Zeta” Newsweekly; Pepe Aguilar, Singer and Songwriter.

Virtually Speaking: Avedon Carol and David Dayen discuss developments of the week, highlighting issues neglected or misrepresented on the Sunday morning broadcasts,  drawing from their work of the prior week and the wickedly funny Bobblespeak Translations. Worth tuning in for Culture of Truth on the Most Outrageous Moment on the Sunday morning talk shows.

C-SPAN”s Book TV.

FDL’s Book Salon: The Empire of Death: A Cultural History of Ossuaries and Charnel Houses. “The sites in this specially photographed and brilliantly original study range from the Monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Palermo, where the living would visit mummified or skeletal remains and lovingly dress them; to the Paris catacombs; to fantastic bone-encrusted creations in Austria, Cambodia, the Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Germany, Greece, Italy, Peru, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, and elsewhere.” Chat with Paul Koudounaris about his new book, hosted by Wendy Fonarow.

FDL’s Movie Night Monday: The Man Nobody Knew: In Search Of My Father CIA Spymaster William Colby. “A son’s riveting look at a father whose life seemed straight out of a spy thriller.”  With director/producer Carl Colby, hosted by Lisa Derrick.  8pm ET.



Wall Street: You’ve Got Hate Mail

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 30th, 2011 4:42 am by HL

Wall Street: You’ve Got Hate Mail
Some 400 Occupy Wall Street protesters got into costume Friday, but the occasion wasn’t an early observance of the beloved pagan-inspired holiday that is Halloween. Rather, the messengers from among OWS ranks paid visits to big bank headquarters in Manhattan to deliver mail from thousands of Americans who claim to have been negatively impacted by the financial shenanigans that contributed to the Great Recession. AP via CBS News: One group of protesters headed down a Fifth Avenue sidewalk, chanting, “You’ve got mail! You’ve got mail!” About 50 police officers accompanied them, on foot and in vehicles. The marchers stopped at a Citigroup office on Park Avenue. A building employee accepted a few letters but declined the rest. So the marchers folded them into paper airplanes and tossed them at a Citibank sign out front. One message, from LaShuna Garcia, in the Tucson, Ariz., area, told how her parents lost their jobs through downsizing and budget cuts. “Savings are difficult to accrue when the ends don’t even come close to meeting,” Garcia’s letter said. “Please help keep the American people alive.” Jeremy Wattles, in the Geneva, N.Y., area, wrote that he was concerned about a U.S. Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the free speech rights of corporations, which many protesters say has encouraged corporate campaign donations. Read more

Some 400 Occupy Wall Street protesters got into costume Friday, but the occasion wasn’t an early observance of the beloved pagan-inspired holiday that is Halloween. Rather, the messengers from among OWS ranks paid visits to big bank headquarters in Manhattan to deliver mail from thousands of Americans who claim to have been negatively impacted by the financial shenanigans that contributed to the Great Recession.

AP via CBS News:

One group of protesters headed down a Fifth Avenue sidewalk, chanting, “You’ve got mail! You’ve got mail!” About 50 police officers accompanied them, on foot and in vehicles.

The marchers stopped at a Citigroup office on Park Avenue. A building employee accepted a few letters but declined the rest. So the marchers folded them into paper airplanes and tossed them at a Citibank sign out front.

One message, from LaShuna Garcia, in the Tucson, Ariz., area, told how her parents lost their jobs through downsizing and budget cuts.

“Savings are difficult to accrue when the ends don’t even come close to meeting,” Garcia’s letter said. “Please help keep the American people alive.”

Jeremy Wattles, in the Geneva, N.Y., area, wrote that he was concerned about a U.S. Supreme Court ruling guaranteeing the free speech rights of corporations, which many protesters say has encouraged corporate campaign donations.

Read more


Portraits of Misery in Coachella
For those who live there, life at the wrong end of Avenue 54 in Southern California’s eastern Coachella Valley is a hot, rotting hell. As you head east, the “Bermuda shorts, putting greens and picture-window champagne dinners” found in abundance near the Arnold Palmer Golf Course give way to “arsenic-tainted water, frequent blackouts and raw sewage that backs up into the shower.” With this unflinching look at the lives of those who barely survive in the Coachella region, California Watch reporter Patricia Leigh Brown does honor to the withered tradition of no-frills investigation into the condition of the American dispossessed—people who appear to have been forgotten by much of the nation during the course of the latest great neoliberal race to the top. —Alexander Reed Kelly California Watch: Israel and Fatima Gutierrez – the parents of Neftoli, 7, and Alexis, 5, and residents of the Rancho Garcia Mobile Home Park – live the nightmare daily. The vinyl floors of their disintegrating trailer, which they rent, are dimpled with moisture. Plywood covers holes where windows once were, affixed with duct tape to walls in a slow state of collapse. Rats are a constant presence; sometimes, frogs make their way through the pipes. An extension cord leads from a single light bulb hanging from the bedroom ceiling to a socket with exposed wires. “Sometimes, the niños shock themselves and scream,” Israel Gutierrez said. In the tumbledown warrens of America’s pre-fab favelas – California’s Third World – the 20th century is a dim memory. Basic needs like potable water, safe and reliable electricity, rudimentary sanitation, and clean air can go unmet. Read more

For those who live there, life at the wrong end of Avenue 54 in Southern California’s eastern Coachella Valley is a hot, rotting hell. As you head east, the “Bermuda shorts, putting greens and picture-window champagne dinners” found in abundance near the Arnold Palmer Golf Course give way to “arsenic-tainted water, frequent blackouts and raw sewage that backs up into the shower.”

With this unflinching look at the lives of those who barely survive in the Coachella region, California Watch reporter Patricia Leigh Brown does honor to the withered tradition of no-frills investigation into the condition of the American dispossessed—people who appear to have been forgotten by much of the nation during the course of the latest great neoliberal race to the top. —Alexander Reed Kelly

California Watch:

Israel and Fatima Gutierrez – the parents of Neftoli, 7, and Alexis, 5, and residents of the Rancho Garcia Mobile Home Park – live the nightmare daily.

The vinyl floors of their disintegrating trailer, which they rent, are dimpled with moisture. Plywood covers holes where windows once were, affixed with duct tape to walls in a slow state of collapse. Rats are a constant presence; sometimes, frogs make their way through the pipes. An extension cord leads from a single light bulb hanging from the bedroom ceiling to a socket with exposed wires.

“Sometimes, the niños shock themselves and scream,” Israel Gutierrez said.

In the tumbledown warrens of America’s pre-fab favelas – California’s Third World – the 20th century is a dim memory. Basic needs like potable water, safe and reliable electricity, rudimentary sanitation, and clean air can go unmet.

Read more



Obama, First Lady Hand Out Halloween Candy At White House

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 30th, 2011 4:41 am by HL

Obama, First Lady Hand Out Halloween Candy At White House
WASHINGTON — Turns out, the White House did not get egged. Trick-or-treaters marched up the White House driveway on a wet, snowy Saturday, past the…

Michelle Richardson: The Patriot Act Was Just the Start: 10 Years of Unrestrained Surveillance
As members of Congress and the administration debate a new cybersecurity proposal, for once, our privacy must be considered just as high a priority as our security.

Leading Addition Doctors: Don’t Legalize Marijuana
SAN FRANCISCO — A medical society for addiction doctors has reiterated its opposition to marijuana legalization as its California chapter considers voicing its support for…

Ron Paul Wins Iowa Straw Poll
Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul won a straw poll of Iowa voters Saturday, beating out his fellow GOP contenders by a huge margin. The Texas…


Accused Syrian Spy Says Feds Botched Interpretation, Used Google Translate

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 30th, 2011 4:40 am by HL

Accused Syrian Spy Says Feds Botched Interpretation, Used Google Translate
Federal authorities botched a translation of a conversation between accused Syrian spy Mohamad Anas Haitham Soueid and his wife and even used Google Translate for some interpretations, his lawyers aid in a court filing.


John Edwards Defense Strategy: But What About John Ensign?
Lawyers for former Democratic presidential candidate and Senator John Edwards have a question for the Justice Department officials prosecuting his case: what ever happened with that whole John Ensign thing?

Eric Holder To Testify On Fast And Furious As Dems Call On Ex-ATF Director Melson
Attorney General Eric Holder is set to testify before the House Judiciary Committee on Dec. 8 about ATF’s flawed Fast and Furious operation that let guns flow to Mexican drug cartels, a Justice Department spokeswoman confirmed to TPM.


Rick Perry Tries Praying to a New God

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 30th, 2011 4:38 am by HL

Rick Perry Tries Praying to a New God


Presented By:

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 30th, 2011 4:37 am by HL

Presented By:

Sanctioning Iran
From reading the last couple days’ coverage of the US and international response to the Iranian assassination plot, you can get a pretty good picture of the wide gulf that often separates American domestic politics from international politics — and,…


Markets, New Media, the Occupation, and What’s Next
Long before I dabbled in new media I was a timorous dabbler in markets, my investments driven algorithmically by computers at speeds that left me ignorant of what I “owned” from day to day. By comparison, the rapid convergence of…



Up to 5 Feet of Rain in 10 Days Spurred by Warming Waters is ?One of the Most Dramatic Disasters in its History,” Prez Says

Posted in Main Blog (All Posts) on October 30th, 2011 4:36 am by HL

Up to 5 Feet of Rain in 10 Days Spurred by Warming Waters is ?One of the Most Dramatic Disasters in its History,” Prez Says
Thailand’s Great Flood Likely to Peak this Weekend and Damage One Quarter of Rice Crop of World’s Top Exporter No, the main headline wasn’t about Thailand — it was about El Salvador (as is the picture).  We’ve been seeing twin uber-deluges this month on opposite sides of the Earth, both spurred by warming waters, as […]

Thailand’s Great Flood Likely to Peak this Weekend and Damage One Quarter of Rice Crop of World’s Top Exporter

No, the main headline wasn’t about Thailand — it was about El Salvador (as is the picture).  We’ve been seeing twin uber-deluges this month on opposite sides of the Earth, both spurred by warming waters, as meteorologist and former hurricane hunter Dr. Jeff Masters explains on his blog.

The Thai floods have gotten more attention, because of their epic nature — and global economic impact on rice prices (see below).  So let’s start with El Salvador and Central America:

“I want to tell the world that El Salvador is going through one of the most dramatic disasters in its history,” President Mauricio Funes said on national radio and television Wednesday night, as he appealed for international aid. A week of torrential rains across Central America have triggered extreme floods and landslides that have killed 105 people, according to media reports. El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua have declared states of emergency due to the disaster. El Salvador and Guatemala have seen the worst flooding, with 34 and 38 people killed, respectively. Another 18 have died in Honduras, 13 in Nicaragua, and 5 in Costa Rica. The rains were due to a large area of low pressure that was moistened by the landfall of Tropical Depression 12-E near the Mexico/Guatemala border last week.

Contributing to the record-intensity rains were ocean temperatures off the coast of El Salvador that were 0.5 – 1°C above average during the first half of October, allowing more water vapor than usual to evaporate into the air. Over the past ten days, rainfall amounts of over a meter (39.4″) have fallen over a large area of southwest El Salvador (Figure 2.) At Huizucar, an astonishing 1.513 meters (4.96 feet) of rain fell in the past ten days.

Climatologist Kevin Trenberth explained the deluge-warming connection in an interview with Climate Progress last year:

I find it systematically tends to get underplayed and it often gets underplayed by my fellow scientists. Because one of the opening statements, which I’m sure you’ve probably heard is “Well you can’t attribute a single event to climate change.” But there is a systematic influence on all of these weather events now-a-days because of the fact that there is this extra water vapor lurking around in the atmosphere than there used to be say 30 years ago. It’s about a 4% extra amount, it invigorates the storms, it provides plenty of moisture for these storms and it’s unfortunate that the public is not associating these with the fact that this is one manifestation of climate change. And the prospects are that these kinds of things will only get bigger and worse in the future.

The AFP reports that many in Central America do understand the connection between warming and deluging:

Officials have blamed the effects of global warming for the spate of deadly rains and flooding.

“Climate change is not something that is coming in the future, we are already suffering its effects,” said Raul Artiga with the Central American Commission on Environment and Development (CCAD).

Here’s a graphic of the “astonishing” amount of rain El Salvador has been hit by:

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE OR COMMENT

Rainfall [in mm] in El Salvador for the 10-day period ending on Friday, October 21, at 8 am EDT. At Huizucar, an astonishing 1.513 meters (4.96 feet) of rain fell during those ten days. Image credit: Hydrological Service of El Salvador.

Here’s the latest on the unfolding catastrophe in Thailand:

Thailand’s Great Flood likely to peak this weekend
The most damaging natural disaster in Thailand history is growing more serious, as the flood waters besieging the capital of Bangkok continue to overwhelm defenses and inundate the city. Heavy rains during September and October have led to extreme flooding that has killed 373 people and caused that nation’s most expensive natural disaster in history, with a cost now estimated at $6 billion. Thailand’s previous most expensive disaster was the $1.3 billion price tag of the November 27, 1993 flood, according to the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). Floodwaters have swamped fields and cities in a third of Thailand’s provinces, affected 9 million people, and damaged approximately 10% of the nation’s rice crop. Thailand is the world’s largest exporter of rice, so the disaster may put further upward pressure on world food prices, which are already at the highest levels since the late 1970s. The highest tide of the month occurs this weekend at 8:07 am ICT in the capital of Bangkok, and the additional pressure that incoming salt water puts on the flood walls protecting the city is a major concern. Fortunately, the monsoon has been quiet this week over Southeast Asia, and the latest GFS model precipitation forecast show little additional rain over the country in the coming week. Heavy monsoon rains are common in Thailand and Southeast Asia during La Niña events, and we currently have a weak La Niña event occurring.

Ocean temperatures in the waters surrounding Thailand during September and October have been approximately 0.3°C above average, which has increased rainfall amounts by putting more water vapor into the air. The remains of Tropical Storm Haitang and Typhoon Nesat also brought heavy rains in late September which contributed to the flooding.


Figure 3. Top ten most expensive natural disasters in Thailand since 1900, as tabulated by the Centre for Research on the Epidemiology of Disasters (CRED). This month’s disaster (number one on the table above) is not yet in the CRED data base.

And here’s what the deluge is doing to food insecurity:

BANGKOK: Thailand may lose a quarter of its main rice crop in the nation’s worst flooding in decades, the government estimates, which could boost prices of the staple and further squeeze shipments from the world’s top exporter. The flood damage to rice comes at a time when Thailand, which accounts for about 30% of global trade, has in place an intervention scheme that is likely to push prices even higher, encouraging buyers to seek alternative origins.

A rally in the market for Asia’s main staple could stoke tensions across a region where several nations are struggling with a double-digit increase in food inflation, although ample global reserves and new supplies in the pipeline are expected to keep buyers calm for now.

“The 6 million tonnes damage (to rice paddy) is just an initial estimate. We need to conduct a survey again after flood water recedes,” Apichart Jongsakul, head of the Office of Agriculture Economy, told Reuters, adding that the figure, which is a 50% jump from early estimates, referred to the main crop.

As a result, Thailand may not be able to meet its rice export commitments to Indonesia, the Indonesian trade minister said on Friday, forcing Southeast Asia’s largest economy to explore other sources.

“I just received information that they (Thailand) don’t appear to be able to fulfill their commitment to sell and ship rice to Indonesia,” trade minister Gita Wirjawan said….

The worsening flood situation could cut Thai production to 19 million tonnes of paddy, Apichart said, nearly a quarter down from the previous forecast of 25 million. Thailand has a second smaller crop producing around 7 million tonnes a year.

Thailand has seen about 1.6 million hectares of farmland inundated, forcing the government to cut its estimate for this year’s main crop by 24%.

High Water is here.

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