When the United Nations released a report estimating that food prices have risen eighty-three percent (83%) in the past three (3) years, it was an astounding figure that caught many people by surprise. As with most issues that “only affect third world countries”, Americans are finally awakening to the fact the crisis is also hitting home in the United States as well. Rising food prices and the subsequent starvation that is gripping many third world countries not only affects those who are literally starving to death, but raises serious security concerns as well:
Food crisis threatens security, says UN chief (Excerpts)
Alexandra Topping, The Guardian,
Monday April 21 2008
The UN secretary general issued a gloomy warning yesterday that the deepening global food crisis, in which rapidly rising prices have triggered riots and threatened hunger in dozens of countries, could have grave implications for international security, economic growth and social progress.
“If not handled properly, this crisis could result in a cascade of others … and become a multidimensional problem affecting economic growth, social progress and even political security around the world,” Ban told the conference.
The World Bank estimates food prices have risen by an average of 83% in the past three years (Emphasis added), and warns that at least 100 million people could be tipped into poverty as a result. A range of factors has been blamed, including poor harvests, partly due to climate change, rising oil prices, steep growth in demand from China and India, and the dash to produce biofuels for motoring at the expense of food crops.
“One thing is certain,” Ban said. “The world has consumed more than it has produced” over the last three years. MUCH MORE
Throughout history, food has been used as a weapon, one that is as effective as WMD’s, and even in our own country the effects of rising food prices have resulted in an unprecedented escalation of Americans relying on Food Stamps to supplement our own rising food prices, and millions of Americans are struggling to keep their families fed and gas in their tanks so they can continue working – often for less and less as wages become stagnant and in many cases are actually being lowered as corporate America greedily cashes in on our suffering while increasing their bottom-line:
Record numbers of Americans rely on food stamps
Author: John Wojcik
CHICAGO — Human suffering, more than Wall Street indicators, tells us the world’s richest nation is plunging into its most severe economic crisis since the Great Depression, while the Iraq war continues to drain the nation’s Treasury. As Congress heard the Bush administration’s top general and ambassador in Iraq argue for continuing to pour billions into an open-ended occupation there, news reports showed an all-time record of 28 million Americans now survive only because of food stamps.
The Congressional Budget Office predicts that as many as 30 million Americans will, by October, be using food stamps to buy their most essential foods. That will be the highest number in U.S. history relying on what has traditionally been considered the symbol of poverty.
“When people have trouble getting food on the table you know there’s a problem,” said Carol Waters, a Chicago social worker at a downtown homeless shelter. “People at the shelter here have needed food stamp assistance for a while,” she said. “But now people around their kitchen tables all over this land are needing those same food stamps. Without that aid there would be nothing on those tables to eat. The children would go hungry.”
The increased reliance on food stamps, up from an already record-breaking 26.5 million last year, results from the squeeze on people by an economy not working for them. Close to 200,000 were tossed onto the jobless pile in the first quarter of this year alone. (Emphasis added) MORE
In the United Nations report, cited above, the underlying cause of the food shortage and it’s effects on the global community were summed-up in one paragraph – and understanding the implications of using essential grains for biofuels and the subsequent disaster it is causing were manufactured in the United States by the Bush administration – whose only concern is that corporate America reap huge profits while the rest of the nation is diving into poverty at a rate that is a tsunami of human suffering:
The UN’s special rapporteur on the right to food, Jean Ziegler, earlier blamed the crisis on biofuels, speculation on commodities markets, and EU export subsidies. “Hunger has not been down to fate for a long time – just as Marx thought,” he told the Austrian newspaper Kurier am Sonntag. “This is silent mass murder.” (Emphasis added)
President Bush, in his refusal to grasp reality, stated that the US is not is a recession, but a “slowdown”:
Bush says U.S. not in a recession
By Ben Feller, April 22, 2008
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — President Bush, replying to criticism from Democratic presidential candidates, said today that “now is not the time to renegotiate … or walk away from” the North American Free Trade Agreement. He also denied the U.S. was in a recession, calling it a slowdown instead.
Asked about the state of the U.S. economy, Bush said: “We’re not in a recession. We are in a slowdown.” MORE
President Bush was correct – we are not in a “recession”, but plunging headlong into another “Great Depression”, one that appears to have been manufactured by the Bush administration to increase corporate profits at the expense of millions of lives throughout the global community and one that is now beginning to affect nearly every segment of the American population except the wealthy, the only people this President appears to care about!
Stephen Lendman, In a brilliant Op-Ed, has unmasked this carnage that Bush and corporate America have unleashed upon the American consumer and the global community, and as you examine his truly astute observations, as usual, it’s corporate America increasing their profits that are behind the current food crisis:
Hunger Plagues Haiti and the World
Holt-Gimenez sees agrofuels as a “genetic Trojan horse” that’s letting agribusiness giants like Monsanto “colonize both our fuel and food system,” do little to offset a growing demand for oil, reap huge profits from the scheme, get them at taxpayers’ expense, and that’s exactly what’s happening with Big Oil in on it, too, as a way to diversify through large biofuel investments. More on this below.
The Ghost of Henry Kissinger
Kissinger made a chilling 1970 comment that explains a lot about what’s happening now – “Control oil and you control nations; control food and you control the people.” Combine it with unchallengeable military power and you control everything, and Kissinger likely said that, too.
He said plenty more in his classified 1974 memo on a secret project called National Security Study Memorandum 200 (NSSM 200) for a “world population plan of action” for drastic global population control. He meant reducing it by hundreds of millions, using food as a weapon, and overall reorganizing the global food market to destroy family farms and replace them with (agribusiness-run) factory ones. It’s been ongoing for decades, backed since January 1995 by WTO muscle, and characterized now by huge agribusiness giants with monstrous vertically integrated powers over the food we eat – from research labs to plantings to processing to the supermarket and other food outlet shelves around the world.
But it’s even worse than that. Today, five agribusiness behemoths, with little fanfare and enormous government backing, plan big at our expense – to control the world’s food supply by making it all genetically engineered with biofuels one part of a larger scheme.
By diverting crops for fuel, prices have exploded, and five “Ag biotech” giants are exploiting it – Monsanto, DuPont, Dow Agrisciences, Syngenta and Bayer CropScience AG. Their solution – make all crops GMO, tout it as a way to increase output and reduce costs, and claim it’s the solution to today’s soaring prices and world hunger.
In fact, agribusiness power raises prices, controls output to keep them high, and the main factor behind today’s situation is the conversion of US farmland to biofuel factories. With less crop output for food and world demand for it growing, prices are rising, and rampant commodity speculation exacerbates the problem with traders profiting hugely and loving it. It’s another part of the multi-decade wealth transfer scheme from the world’s majority to the elite few. While the trend continues, its momentum is self-sustaining, and it works because governments back it. They subsidize the problem, keep regulations loose, give business free reign, and maintain that markets work best so let them. MUCH MORE If you desire to understand the current food crisis, this is a MUST READ Op-Ed that unmasks those who seek to dominate and control the world using food as a weapon!
Californians are now facing limited food rationing, and this is only the beginning:
Food Rationing Confronts Breadbasket of the World
By JOSH GERSTEIN, Staff Reporter of the Sun | April 21, 2008
MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif. — Many parts of America, long considered the breadbasket of the world, are now confronting a once unthinkable phenomenon: food rationing.
Major retailers in New York, in areas of New England, and on the West Coast are limiting purchases of flour, rice, and cooking oil as demand outstrips supply. There are also anecdotal reports that some consumers are hoarding grain stocks.
An employee at the Costco store in Queens said there were no restrictions on rice buying, but limits were being imposed on purchases of oil and flour. Internet postings attributed some of the shortage at the retail level to bakery owners who flocked to warehouse stores when the price of flour from commercial suppliers doubled.
“I’m surprised the Bush administration hasn’t slapped export controls on wheat,” Mr. Rawles said. “The Asian countries are here buying every kind of wheat.” MUCH MORE
In the above article, Mr. Rawles stated that he was “surprised the Bush administration hasn’t slapped export controls on wheat,” I’m not surprised at all; think about it and then digest the political and social ramifications that food shortages and rising fuel costs in the United States are having upon the general population. As gas prices rise and millions of Americans struggle to feed their families, how many of those people will be able to afford to participate in protests and other forms of legal outrage at our government’s obvious efforts at controlling the general population by breaking each and every one of us economically? If you read and understand the vicious cycle of plunging the US into economic chaos, it becomes obvious that food and gas prices are being used against America to force us into compliance with the Bush administration’s goal of controlling every aspect of our lives. Our Internet and phones calls are being monitored, the NSA has turned our military spy satellites against the American public, and still, the Congress refuses to protect the people – which is their duty and why we elected them into office. The only hope we have is to stand together in solidarity, an finally, there is a plan – but we all have to participate to make it effective!
There is a new site on the Internet, http://www.votestrike.org/. This site propose a general strike to begin on 9-11-08, and while I support this site 100%, I do not agree that we should wait until 9-11-08 to implement a general strike. The country is being devastated by rising gas and food prices, and while a general strike would certainly force Congress to take action, it is the writer’s opinion that if we wait until September to implement such a strike, too many people will be unable to participate, devastated by an economy that is spiraling out of control at a rate that boggles the mind! If we were to call for a general strike that began tomorrow, millions would be hesitant to participate because they cannot afford to lose even a days worth of wages; what will it be like in September as fast as this economy is falling apart? I urge each and every one of you to visit http://www.votestrike.org/ and urge them to reevaluate the date for this proposed strike and with your support, we can make a difference, but if we fail to acct now, September may be too late…
Another great article: The End of Cheap Food?