Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts
Showing posts with label USA. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

American poverty

It is not just third world African countries that has difficulty in feeding its people .
Almost 700,000 U.S. children lived in households that struggled to put food on the table at some point in 2007, according to a federal report.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's annual report on food security showed that those 691,000 children lived in homes where families had to eat non-balanced meals and low-cost food, or even skip meals because of a lack of money. The number of children struggling to feed themselves adequately rose 50 percent from 430,000 children in 2006.

Nearly 36.2 million children and adults struggled to put proper food on the table in 2007, according to the report. Of the 36.2 million, nearly a third were not able to eat what was deemed a proper meal.
The other two-thirds -- 11.9 million people -- changed their eating habits by eating low-cost foods, participated in federal food and nutrition assistance programs, ate less varied diets or obtained emergency food from pantries or emergency kitchens, according to the report. That number is up more than 40 percent since 2000.

Families headed by single mothers, Hispanic families, African-American families and households with incomes below the poverty line struggled the most, according to the report.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Who Owns the North Pole - Part 12

Committed to keeping our readers updated on the competition for the Arctic and North Pole regions that has become viable for economic exploitation due to global warming , Socialist Courier reads that a growing array of military leaders, Arctic experts and lawmakers say the United States is losing its ability to patrol Arctic waters . The Pentagon’s Pacific Command, Northern Command and Transportation Command strongly recommended in a letter that the Joint Chief of Staff endorse a push by the Coast Guard to increase the country’s ability to gain access to and control its Arctic waters. The letter from the three military commands to the Joint Chiefs last spring said reliable icebreakers were essential to controlling northern waters and to maintaining American research stations in Antarctica. But the Arctic was clearly the commands’ biggest concern, with the letter citing “climate change and increasing economic activity” as reasons for upgrading the icebreaker fleet.

Adm. Thad W. Allen, the commandant of the Coast Guard, who toured Alaska's Arctic shores two weeks ago with the homeland security secretary, Michael Chertoff, said that whatever mix of natural and human factors is causing the ice retreats, the Arctic is clearly opening to commerce — and potential conflict and hazards — like never before.

Meantime, a resurgent Russia has been busy expanding its fleet of large ocean-going icebreakers to around 14, launching a conventional icebreaker in May and last year, the world's largest icebreaker named 50 Years of Victory, the newest of its seven nuclear-powered, pole-hardy ships. At the same time, the Russians are developing the means to build offshore platforms that can move from field to field, can withstand the new ice conditions of the North and can condense gas on site to a liquefied state ready to be loaded on to carriers. Only the Russians are currently developing ways to ship both oil and gas from Arctic offshore platforms.
But surely the major North American companies must now be looking at the possibility of using a similar system. If they are built on the American side of the Arctic, Canada can expect the sovereignty crisis of 1969 and 1970 to be renewed. There have been no changes in either the American or Canadian position about the passage of tankers through the Northwest Passage. If the Americans develop a shipping capability and decide to send their vessels to the east, they would need to go through Canadian waters. They would probably not be any more willing to ask Canada's permission than they were in 1969.
On the other hand, if the extraction platforms are placed on the Canadian side — and the ice-capable tankers leave from Canadian locations — there will be no sovereignty problem, but Canada will still have a problem of control. Our ability to assert control in our northern waters is limited. Canada's Coast Guard's icebreaking fleet is small and aging; its navy has a very limited ability to go north. The current Canadian government has promised to build six to eight naval Arctic offshore patrol vessels and to replace the largest and oldest Coast Guard icebreakers.
"To be able to protect the Arctic archipelago properly, the waters have to be considered our internal waters. Nobody recognizes that. In order to enforce our position, we need tools to do that," said retired colonel Pierre Leblanc, former commander of the Canadian Forces' Northern Area.

There are already more than 400 oil and gas fields north of the Arctic Circle. Shell has quietly spent $2bn (£1bn) acquiring drilling leases off Alaska. ExxonMobil and BP have spent huge sums on exploration rights off Canada. The US government lifted a 17-year ban on offshore drilling to make the US less reliant on imports. The powers that border the Arctic – Canada, the United States, Russia, Norway and Denmark – have begun jostling for advantage. the United States Geological Survey – suggesting that the region contains about one-third of the world's undiscovered gas and about one-sixth of its undiscovered oil

Monday, October 29, 2007

Whats good for the goose - is good for the gander

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa said Washington must let him open a military base in Miami if the United States wants to keep using an air base on Ecuador's Pacific coast.
Correa has refused to renew Washington's lease on the Manta air base, set to expire in 2009.

"We'll renew the base on one condition: that they let us put a base in Miami -- an Ecuadorean base," Correa said in an interview during a trip to Italy."If there's no problem having foreign soldiers on a country's soil, surely they'll let us have an Ecuadorean base in the United States."

Monday, October 08, 2007

Who owns the North Pole - Part 9

Reported by the BBC , in another sign of potential friction in the warming Arctic, Canada has warned that it will step up patrols of the North West Passage . Canada maintains the waterway that connects the Atlantic with the Pacific lies within its territorial waters and that it can bar transit there. The retreating ice, coupled with rising costs of petroleum, has set off maneuvering among nations bordering the Arctic as each attempts to extend claims to the continental shelf where oil might be found.

The Canadian Coast Guard is preparing to send one its research vessels, the Amundsen, through the North West Passage with about 40 scientists on board. Equipped with a remotely operated robot submarine and a sonar system, the ship will undertake a detailed survey of the sea-bed - essential if the waterway is to become more open to commercial shipping.
Bush is pushing the Senate to ratify a long-spurned high seas treaty that has gained new relevance with the melting of the polar ice cap and anticipated competition for the oil that lies below. Ex-President Reagan opposed the treaty because of a section dealing with deep seabed mining. Even after that section was overhauled in 1994 to satisfy U.S. concerns and President Clinton signed it, Congress has showed little interest in ratification. Opponents say it would impinge on U.S. military and economic sovereignty.
But , "Far from threatening our sovereignty, the convention allows us to secure and extend our sovereign rights," said the Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, Sen. Joseph Biden

And "Currently, as a nonparty, the United States is not in a position to maximize its sovereign rights in the Arctic or elsewhere," Deputy Secretary of State Negroponte said.
Paul Kelly, a former vice president of an oil drilling company, now president of Kelly Energy Consultants in Houston expects "substantial" additions to U.S. territory once the United States joins the treaty.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Short Anti-miltarism Video

Follow this link and click on an imaginative 2 minute video , speculating on who are behind the current American war -fever . We would question if there is a distinct military-industry complex that operates independently and solely in its own interests .
We would counterpose that wars for raw materials and for control of trade routes is the natural state for the enormous economies of the USA ( and of the EU and all the other other capitalist countries ) .
But arms traders certainly fan the flames of conflict .