If you read any economic, financial, or political analysis for 2010 that doesn’t mention the food shortage looming next year, throw it in the trash, as it is worthless. There is overwhelming, undeniable evidence that the world will run out of food next year. When this happens, the resulting triple digit food inflation will lead panicking central banks around the world to dump their foreign reserves to appreciate their currencies and lower the cost of food imports, causing the collapse of the dollar, the treasury market, derivative markets, and the global financial system. The US will experience economic disintegration.
The 2010 Food Crisis Means Financial Armageddon
Over the last two years, the world has faced a series of unprecedented financial crises: the collapse of the housing market, the freezing of the credit markets, the failure of Wall Street brokerage firms (Bear Stearns/Lehman Brothers), the failure of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, the failure of AIG, Iceland’s economic collapse, the bankruptcy of the major auto manufacturers (General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler), etc… In the face of all these challenges, the demise of the dollar, derivative markets, and the modern international system of credit has been repeatedly forecasted and feared. However, all these doomsday scenarios have so far been proved false, and, despite tremendous chaos and losses, the global financial system has held together.
The 2010 Food Crisis is different. It is THE CRISIS. The one that makes all doomsday scenarios come true. The government bailouts and central bank interventions, which have held the financial world together during the last two years, will be powerless to prevent the 2010 Food Crisis from bringing the global financial system to its knees.
Financial crisis will kick into high gear
So far the crisis has been driven by the slow and steady increase in defaults on mortgages and other loans. This is about to change. What will drive the financial crisis in 2010 will be panic about food supplies and the dollar’s plunging value. Things will start moving fast.
Dynamics Behind 2010 Food Crisis
Early in 2009, the supply and demand in agricultural markets went badly out of balance. The world experienced a catastrophic fall in food production as a result of the financial crisis (low commodity prices and lack of credit) and adverse weather on a global scale. Meanwhile, China and other Asian exporters, in an effort to preserve their economic growth, were unleashing domestic consumption long constrained by inflation fears, and demand for raw materials, especially food staples, exploded as Chinese consumers worked their way towards American-style overconsumption, prodded on by a flood of cheap credit and easy loans from the government.
Normally food prices should have already shot higher months ago, leading to lower food consumption and bringing the global food supply/demand situation back into balance. This never happened because the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), instead of adjusting production estimates down to reflect decreased production, adjusted estimates upwards to match increasing demand from china. In this way, the USDA has brought supply and demand back into balance (on paper) and temporarily delayed a rise in food prices by ensuring a catastrophe in 2010.
Overconsumption is leading to disaster
It is absolutely key to understand that the production of agricultural goods is a fixed, once a year cycle (or twice a year in the case of double crops). The wheat, corn, soybeans and other food staples are harvested in the fall/spring and then that is it for production. It doesn’t matter how high prices go or how desperate people get, no new supply can be brought online until the next harvest at the earliest. The supply must last until the next harvest, which is why it is critical that food is correctly priced to avoid overconsumption, otherwise food shortages occur.
The USDA—by manufacturing the data needed to keep supply and demand in balance—has ensured that agricultural commodities are incorrectly priced, which has lead to overconsumption and has guaranteed disaster next year when supplies run out.
An astounding lack of awareness
The world is blissful unaware that the greatest economic/financial/political crisis ever is a few months away. While it is understandable that general public has no knowledge of what is headed their way, that same ignorance on the part of professional analysts, economists, and other highly paid financial “experts” is mind boggling, as it takes only the tiniest bit of research to realize something is going critically wrong in agricultural market.
USDA estimates for 2009/10 make no sense
All someone needs to do to know the world is headed is for food crisis is to stop reading USDA’s crop reports predicting a record soybean and corn harvests and listen to what else the USDA saying.
December 21, 2009
The Wall Street Journal
By Siobahn Gorman, Yochi J. Dreazen, and August Cole
Militants in Iraq have used $26 off-the-shelf software to intercept live video feeds from U.S. Predator drones, potentially providing them with information they need to evade or monitor U.S. military operations.
Senior defense and intelligence officials said Iranian-backed insurgents intercepted the video feeds by taking advantage of an unprotected communications link in some of the remotely flown planes’ systems. Shiite fighters in Iraq used software programs such as SkyGrabber — available for as little as $25.95 on the Internet — to regularly capture drone video feeds, according to a person familiar with reports on the matter.
U.S. officials say there is no evidence that militants were able to take control of the drones or otherwise interfere with their flights. Still, the intercepts could give America’s enemies battlefield advantages by removing the element of surprise from certain missions and making it easier for insurgents to determine which roads and buildings are under U.S. surveillance.
The drone intercepts mark the emergence of a shadow cyber war within the U.S.-led conflicts overseas. They also point to a potentially serious vulnerability in Washington’s growing network of unmanned drones, which have become the American weapon of choice in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The Obama administration has come to rely heavily on the unmanned drones because they allow the U.S. to safely monitor and stalk insurgent targets in areas where sending American troops would be either politically untenable or too risky.
The stolen video feeds also indicate that U.S. adversaries continue to find simple ways of counteracting sophisticated American military technologies.
U.S. military personnel in Iraq discovered the problem late last year when they apprehended a Shiite militant whose laptop contained files of intercepted drone video feeds. In July, the U.S. military found pirated drone video feeds on other militant laptops, leading some officials to conclude that militant groups trained and funded by Iran were regularly intercepting feeds.
In the summer 2009 incident, the military found “days and days and hours and hours of proof” that the feeds were being intercepted and shared with multiple extremist groups, the person said. “It is part of their kit now.”
A senior defense official said that James Clapper, the Pentagon’s intelligence chief, assessed the Iraq intercepts at the direction of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and concluded they represented a shortcoming to the security of the drone network.
“There did appear to be a vulnerability,” the defense official said. “There’s been no harm done to troops or missions compromised as a result of it, but there’s an issue that we can take care of and we’re doing so.”
Senior military and intelligence officials said the U.S. was working to encrypt all of its drone video feeds from Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but said it wasn’t yet clear if the problem had been completely resolved.
Some of the most detailed evidence of intercepted feeds has been discovered in Iraq, but adversaries have also intercepted drone video feeds in Afghanistan, according to people briefed on the matter. These intercept techniques could be employed in other locations where the U.S. is using pilotless planes, such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia, they said.
The Pentagon is deploying record numbers of drones to Afghanistan as part of the Obama administration’s troop surge there. Lt. Gen. David Deptula, who oversees the Air Force’s unmanned aviation program, said some of the drones would employ a sophisticated new camera system called “Gorgon Stare,” which allows a single aerial vehicle to transmit back at least 10 separate video feeds simultaneously.
December 21, 2009
The Detroit Health Department is fighting swine flu with pepperoni. When kids return to school after the holiday break, each class has the opportunity to get a free pizza party – if they sign up for the shots.
It’s a simple fact–kids don’t like vaccinations – even when they can get them in a spray.
Their parents, like Leslie Ethridge however, are often eager to get their kids protected, “Your children get 20 some odd inoculations, this is just another one, so if it’s available you should get the shot.”
But when Detroit schools – both public and private– sent home permission slips for students to get H1N1 vaccine at school, the return rate was only about ten percent.
Dr. Walter Davis, Detroit Pandemic Flu Coordinator, told us, “talking to principals and some parents we find that a lot of them are never receiving consent forms.”
The Detroit Health Department has already been working especially hard to get the vaccine into the community.
For instance, today parents attending the Christmas program at the Foreign Language Immersion School on Outer Drive had the chance to get shots for themselves and their children before or after the program.
Mom, Kimberley Wallace said, “This is the easiest for me. This way I don’t have to take them to the doctor’s office, take them out of school or anything so it works out real well.”
But apparently not well enough. So Dr. Davis and his team came up with an innovative idea. They teamed up with Happy’s Pizza. And each class in the city that has a permission slip return rate of 80-percent or more will get a pizza party for the entire class.
According to Neil Master, Director of Advertising for Happy’s Pizza, “Kids love pizza and we love kids in Detroit and we take care of them whenever we can.”
And while the kids may sign up for the pizza, the parents need to know it’s important to sign the forms because flu season isn’t over just because the number of cases have leveled off.
Dr. Davis told us, “With our flu season, the peak is usually in February and it goes into March. I can tell you we will get hit again. We’re in December now. In January and February, the flu will increase tremendously.”
Another mom, L’Tonya Felder got shots for her children, “I think it’s extremely important. It’s important that the Detroit community come together and realize this is important for our health for our protection and we’re combating the h1n1 as well as the regular seasonal flu.”
December 21, 2009
By Kristin Allen
“It’s smaller than the old one, but can do a lot more,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière said in a statement.
The information on the card itself will be digitally stored on the RFID chip inside the card, in addition to two fingerprint scans that German citizens can choose to opt out of. The ID will also have a digital signature that can be used to complete official business with government offices and possibly beyond – accessed only by a six digit PIN number.
“The citizens choose who they want to give what data to,” Interior Ministry official Hans Bernhard Beus said.
But data protection advocates say the RFID chip, which can be detected via radio frequencies from about two metres away without the owner’s knowledge, is problematic despite the fact it has already been incorporated into German passports.
Dr. Andreas Pfitzmann, head of the privacy and data security group at Technische Universität Dresden, told The Local on Monday that there is no reason to use RFID chips for identification cards, and that in the worst case scenario, the chips could be used to carry out such things as terrorist attacks.
“An extreme example would be that assuming German passports react differently to the radio frequency than American passports, I could use this frequency to set off a bomb where I know there are only Americans or Germans,” he said.
Pfitzmann, who specialises in privacy and identity management in Europe, spoke out against using RFID “e-passports” in parliamentary hearings during the late 1990s. He said the new ID cards raise similar concerns.
“Unfortunately the technology tempts people to give personal information that shouldn’t be made public to dubious machines,” he told The Local, adding that there was no way to indicate whether a reading machine is officially authorised. “The new identification card has inherited many of the bad traits of the passport.”
But the new Perso, as it’s known colloquially in German, also has some positive new additions such as the digital signature, which could help streamline Germany’s notoriously opaque bureaucracy, he said.
“There is no easy answer. One could have done some things better, but I wouldn’t simply say that it’s only negative just because mistakes were made,” Pfitzmann said.
All old identification cards will be valid until they expire, though German residents will have the option to trade up for the new ID early if they wish.
December 21, 2009
By Dr. Mercola
Lincoln University has introduced a unique way of tackling obesity. In 2006, the Pennsylvania university introduced its Fitness for Life program with the aim of encouraging students to lose weight.
The premise was that if a student had a body mass index (BMI) of above 30, which indicates obesity, then they should take some college-sanctioned steps to show they had lost weight or at least tried — or they cannot graduate.
The Fitness for Life course includes walking, Pilates, exercises and fitness games.
This year, some students have not completed the program, so they may not be able to graduate. Around 30 students are unlikely to graduate because they have not taken steps to reduce their BMI.
That obesity is a growing problem in the United States and many parts of the world is not in question.
It would certainly seem that Lincoln University made this decision with good intentions. However, obesity itself is not the underlying cause of any health problem. The underlying cause is usually an unhealthy diet which is overloaded with processed food and sugars like fructose, lack of exercise leading to increased insulin and leptin levels, and an overload of emotional stress that has not been addressed.
These are some of the primary factors that cause your body to become overweight or obese … and the cycle continues from there.
This is not an aesthetic issue, it’s a functional one; your body is designed to operate best when it’s at an ideal weight. Carrying around extra pounds will inevitably increase your risk of developing just about every chronic degenerative disease known to man.
To get an idea of how far-reaching the problems can be, browse through these 20 diseases and conditions that are directly attributable to being overweight. The list includes diabetes, cancer, heart failure, erectile dysfunction and many more.
Obesity has been on a steady rise since the 1960s, and today has been labeled the fastest-growing health threat in the United States.
Already, two-thirds of the U.S. population is already overweight, and a recent study found it’s possible that virtually every American adult could be overweight by 2048. Left unchecked, it seems the rates are climbing to 80% — or four out of five people.
December 21, 2009
All Headline News
By David Goodhue
An outbreak of the mumps is sweeping through New York’s Jewish community.
The outbreak is being linked to a summer camp in the state’s Sullivan County, where an 11-year-old boy attending the camp brought the illness home with him unknowingly from a recent trip to England.
After camp ended, about 24 children contracted the mumps and brought it home with them to their respective hometowns, New York City television station WPIX reported.
So far, the outbreak hasn’t gone beyond the Orthodox and Hasidic Jewish communities in the state. The Israeli news organization Arutz Sheva reports that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has confirmed a total of 179 cases of the mumps in New York and Canada.
Mumps is highly contagious and causes swelling in the salivary glands in the neck. It usually lasts for about 10 days.
December 21, 2009
By Miriam Falco
A new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds that one in 110 children in the United States had autism in 2006.
“The average prevalence of autism among 8-year-olds increased by 57 percent,” according to Catherine Rice, lead author of the report and a behavioral health scientist at the CDC’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
The research shows that boys still outnumber girls in autism prevalence. One in 70 boys were diagnosed with the disorder, compared with one in 315 girls. However, girls diagnosed with autism often have more severe symptoms.
To better understand the prevalence of autism, the CDC reviewed the records of children diagnosed with autism from physicians and schools in 11 sites across the country that are part of the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network.
The new report tracks autism prevalence among 8-year-olds from 2006 in 11 states and compares it with data collected at 14 monitoring sites in 2002, when the prevalence of autism averaged 1 in 150 children. Ten of these sites are represented in both reports.
Geri Dawson, chief science officer for the advocacy group Autism Speaks, said this report validates early estimates of how many children are affected by autism.
“We now have firm evidence that autism spectrum disorders affect a staggering 1 percent of children, and this increase cannot be fully accounted for by broader diagnosis or earlier diagnosis.”
“Autism spectrum disorder” is an umbrella term for three types of neurological disorders that can lead to significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. According to the CDC, those are autistic disorder, or classic autism, and the two milder forms: Asperger’s syndrome and atypical autism called Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified.
“I was surprised by the increase [in prevalence],” Dr. Gary Goldstein said. Goldstein is president and CEO of the Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Maryland.
“Nine of the 10 sites had an increase; nobody had a decrease,” Goldstein added.
The Kennedy Krieger Institute provides therapies and services for children with autism and conducts research to find the causes of autism spectrum disorders. The institute also works with Autism Speaks.
Not all experts are convinced that there is a surge in autism cases. Dr. Max Wiznitzer, a pediatric neurologist at Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, believes that some children may be given the autism label without meeting the actual case definition for the disorder.
He points to a part in the report that said 54 percent of children were confirmed as meeting the autism spectrum disorder case definition, which means almost half did not. “This suggests that overdiagnosis is occurring in the population,” Wiznitzer said.
The CDC report also found a slight improvement in when children were diagnosed with the disorder. The average age of diagnosis was 4½ years, a five-month improvement from 2002. But that’s too late, according to some experts.
“The other shocker for me is how little the age of diagnosis changed,” Goldstein said. “What didn’t change was the average age of parental concern.”
Rice says the new CDC report found that in most cases, parents had concerns before their children were 2 years old, and yet children weren’t getting the official diagnosis until more than three years later. The longer it takes for a child to get diagnosed with autism, the more the start of therapy is delayed.
“That is still too late,” Wiznitzer said. He added that he would consider a diagnosis between 4 and 5 years a “late diagnosis” in his practice. “We need to do a better job of identifying children earlier on.”
Goldstein agrees. He says that to diagnose “at 53 months [4½ years] is too late to get into early intervention. We know that we can diagnose at 24 months, and we know early intervention works.”
December 21, 2009
By Glenn Adams
A Maine legislator wants to make the state the first to require cell phones to carry warnings that they can cause brain cancer, although there is no consensus among scientists that they do and industry leaders dispute the claim.
The now-ubiquitous devices carry such warnings in some countries, though no U.S. states require them, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. A similar effort is afoot in San Francisco, where Mayor Gavin Newsom wants his city to be the nation’s first to require the warnings.
Maine Rep. Andrea Boland, D-Sanford, said numerous studies point to the cancer risk, and she has persuaded legislative leaders to allow her proposal to come up for discussion during the 2010 session that begins in January, a session usually reserved for emergency and governors’ bills.
Boland herself uses a cell phone, but with a speaker to keep the phone away from her head. She also leaves the phone off unless she’s expecting a call. At issue is radiation emitted by all cell phones.
Under Boland’s bill, manufacturers would have to put labels on phones and packaging warning of the potential for brain cancer associated with electromagnetic radiation. The warnings would recommend that users, especially children and pregnant women, keep the devices away from their head and body.
The Federal Communications Commission, which maintains that all cell phones sold in the U.S. are safe, has set a standard for the “specific absorption rate” of radiofrequency energy, but it doesn’t require handset makers to divulge radiation levels.
The San Francisco proposal would require the display of the absorption rate level next to each phone in print at least as big as the price. Boland’s bill is not specific about absorption rate levels, but would require a permanent, nonremovable advisory of risk in black type, except for the word “warning,” which would be large and in red letters. It would also include a color graphic of a child’s brain next to the warning.
While there’s little agreement about the health hazards, Boland said Maine’s roughly 950,000 cell phone users among its 1.3 million residents “do not know what the risks are.”
All told, more than 270 million people subscribed to cellular telephone service last year in the United States, an increase from 110 million in 2000, according to CTIA-The Wireless Association. The industry group contends the devices are safe.
“With respect to the matter of health effects associated with wireless base stations and the use of wireless devices, CTIA and the wireless industry have always been guided by science, and the views of impartial health organizations. The peer-reviewed scientific evidence has overwhelmingly indicated that wireless devices do not pose a public health risk,” said CTIA’s John Walls.
James Keller of Lewiston, whose cell phone serves as his only phone, seemed skeptical about warning labels. He said many things may cause cancer but lack scientific evidence to support that belief. Besides, he said, people can’t live without cell phones.
“It seems a little silly to me, but it’s not going to hurt anyone to have a warning on there. If they’re really concerned about it, go ahead and put a warning on it,” he said outside a sporting good store in Topsham. “It wouldn’t deter me from buying a phone.”
While there’s been no long-term studies on cell phones and cancer, some scientists suggest erring on the side of caution.
Last year, Dr. Ronald B. Herberman, director emeritus of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, sent a memo to about 3,000 faculty and staff members warning of risks based on early, unpublished data. He said that children should use the phones only for emergencies because their brains were still developing and that adults should keep the phone away from the head and use a speakerphone or a wireless headset.
Herberman, who says scientific conclusions often take too long, is one of numerous doctors and researchers who have endorsed an August report by retired electronics engineer L. Lloyd Morgan. The report highlights a study that found significantly increased risk of brain tumors from 10 or more years of cell phone or cordless phone use.
Also, the BioInitiative Working Group, an international group of scientists, notes that many countries have issued warnings and that the European Parliament has passed a resolution calling for governmental action to address concerns over health risks from mobile phone use.
But the National Cancer Institute said studies thus far have turned up mixed and inconsistent results, noting that cell phones did not come into widespread use in the United States until the 1990s.
“Although research has not consistently demonstrated a link between cellular telephone use and cancer, scientists still caution that further surveillance is needed before conclusions can be drawn,” according to the Cancer Institute’s Web site.
Motorola Inc., one of the nation’s major wireless phone makers, says on its Web site that all of its products comply with international safety guidelines for radiofrequency energy exposure.
December 21, 2009
Fixed it is not. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-NV) latest health care “manager’s amendment” would STILL levy a new “abortion premium” fee on Americans under the Democrats’ health care plan. Just like the original 2,032-page, government-run health care plan from Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) and the last version of Senator Reid’s 2,074-page bill, this latest 383-page amendment levies an abortion premium and does not fix the problem of government funds being used to subsidize elective abortions.
Under Reid’s “manager’s amendment,” there is no prohibition on abortion coverage in federally subsidized plans participating in the Exchange. Instead the amendment includes layers of accounting gimmicks that demand that plans participating in the Exchange or the new government-run plan that will be managed by the Office of Personnel Management must establish “allocation accounts” when elective abortion is a covered benefit (p. 41). Everyone enrolled in these plans must pay a monthly abortion premium (p. 41, lines 5-8), and these funds will be used to pay for the elective abortion services. The Reid amendment directs insurance companies to assess the cost of elective abortion coverage (p. 43), and charge a minimum of $1 per enrollee per month (p. 43, lines 20-22).
In short, the Reid bill continues to defy the will of the American people and contradict longstanding federal policy by providing federal subsidies to private health plans that cover elective abortions. The new language does include a “state opt-out” provision if a state passes a law to prohibit insurance coverage of abortion, but it’s a sham because it does nothing to prevent one state’s tax dollars from paying for elective abortions in other states.
A majority of Americans believe that health care plans should not be mandated to provide elective abortion coverage, and a majority of Americans do not believe government health care plans should include abortion coverage. Currently, federal appropriations bills include language known as the Hyde Amendment that prohibits the use of federal funds to pay for elective abortions under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, while another provision, known as the Smith Amendment, prohibits federal funding of abortion under the federal employees’ health benefits plan. Under the Reid “manager’s amendment” the new health care plan that will mirror the federal employees’ plan and be managed by the Office of Personnel Management will NOT be subject to the Smith Amendment.
Leader Reid’s latest health care proposal is an affront to the American people and drastically moves away from current policy. In a statement released by National Right to Life Committee legislative director Douglas Johnson said, “The new abortion language solves none of the fundamental abortion-related problems with the Senate bill, and it actually creates some new abortion-related problems.” The American people deserve more from their government than being forced to pay for abortion. The pro-life Stupak/Pitts amendment passed the House by a vote of 240 to 194, enjoying the overwhelming support of 176 Republicans and 64 Democrats. The Stupak/Pitts Amendment codifies current law by prohibiting federal funding of elective abortions under any government-run plan or plans available under the Exchange. The Reid plan ignores the will of a bipartisan majority of the House, and indeed the American people, by rejecting this bipartisan amendment.
Health care reform should not be used as an opportunity to use federal funds to pay for elective abortions. Health reform should be an opportunity to protect human life – not end it – and the American people agree. House Republicans have offered a common-sense, responsible solution that would reduce health care costs and expand access while protecting the dignity of all human life. The Republican plan, available at HealthCare.GOP.gov, would codify the Hyde Amendment and prohibit all authorized and appropriated federal funds from being used to pay for abortion. And under the Republican plan, any health plan that includes abortion coverage may not receive federal funds.