We always knew that this would start happening. Earlier this month, I wrote about the severe economic problems that are plaguing South America, but up to this point I have neglected to discuss the horrific famines that are breaking out all over Africa. Right now there is a desperate need for food in South Sudan, Somalia, northeast Nigeria, Eritrea and Kenya. And Yemen, even though it is not technically part of Africa, is being affected by many of the same factors that are crippling nations all over eastern Africa. The United Nations says that more than 20 million people could die from starvation and disease if nothing is done. When I write about economic collapse, this is the kind of thing that I am talking about, and we are starting to see alarming conditions spread across the globe. Many believe that we could never possibly face this kind of food crisis in the western world, but unfortunately wishful thinking will only get you so far.
The United Nations was formed in 1945, and the UN has just announced that what we are facing this year is “the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN”. The following comes from a CNN article entitled “20 million at risk of starvation in world’s largest crisis since 1945, UN says“…
“We stand at a critical point in history. Already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the UN,” UN humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said Friday.
“Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease.”
It would be hard to overstate the level of human suffering that we are witnessing in many parts of Africa at this moment. In Somalia, the UN estimates that more than 6 million people are in desperate need of food aid…
As Somalia inches closer to a calamitous famine, the prospect of utter devastation and colossal loss of human life is once again becoming an imminent reality. The humanitarian situation in Somalia is deteriorating by the day with up to 6.2 million people in need of urgent aid. People across Somalia have been forced to walk hundreds of miles in search of food, water and shelter- with women and children disproportionately affected. Over 300,000 children under the age of five are severely malnourished, with over 200,000 more children at risk of acute malnutrition.
In South Sudan, close to half the population is in dire need of assistance, and things have gotten so bad there that people will literally eat grass if they can find it…
Across South Sudan more than one million children are believed to be acutely malnourished and UNICEF have said that if urgent aid does not reach them, many of them will die. “There is no food, we eat anything we can find,” one South Sudanese mother told ITV. “We will find grass, we will eat it. That’s just the way it us for us now.”
Over in Yemen, there are about seven million people in need of food help, and authorities are warning that if nothing is done “millions of children” could starve to death…
“The numbers affected are absolutely extraordinary,” said Mark Kaye, Save the Children’s Yemen spokesperson.
“We keep on talking about a country that’s on the brink of famine, but for me these numbers highlight that we’re at the point of no return. If things are not done now we are going to be looking back on this and millions of children will have starved to death, and we’ll all have been aware of this for some time. That will shame us as an international community for years to come.
Eritrea was not specifically included in the recent UN alert, but it should have been. Much of the country has been hit by a crippling drought, and approximately half of all children in Eritrea are stunted…
But we cannot understand why Eritrea is not included in the appeal. Unicef has confirmed what we know from our friends and families inside the country. In a report in January, the agency said that the El Niño drought has hit half of all Eritrea’s regions. Acute malnutrition is widespread. As Unicef put it: “Malnutrition rates already exceeded emergency levels, with 22,700 children under five projected to suffer from severe acute malnutrition in 2017 … Half of all children in Eritrea are stunted, and as a result, these children are even more vulnerable to malnutrition and disease outbreaks.”
We have been warned that there would be famines in diverse places in these times. But here in the western world we tend to be lulled into a false sense of security by our comfortable lives, not realizing that the massively inflated standard of living that we have been enjoying has been fueled by the largest mountain of debt in the history of the planet.
In Kenya, a national emergency has been declared due to drought and famine. For those of you that are parents, what would you do if your children were crying out for food but you didn’t have anything to give them? The following story from Kenya is beyond heartbreaking…
Emmanuel Ayapar is three years old and can no longer walk. The flesh on his legs, which dangle from his mother’s hip as she carries him around, is wasting away.
He seems listless and sad, tongue flicking repeatedly in and out of his mouth.
‘We do not have enough food,’ said Veronica, his 28-year-old mother. ‘We eat only once a day.’
The little boy is suffering from severe malnutrition and is at risk of starving to death. He weighs just 15lb – half the typical weight for a boy of his age.
I don’t even know what to say after that.
In the western world we can be so incredibly self-absorbed that we don’t even realize that children are literally starving to death on the other side of the planet.
Hopefully those of us that live in “wealthy” western countries will step up to the plate and aid those in need, and hopefully this crisis will also help us to understand that we need to prepare for the day when things get difficult in our own nations too.
The ninth largest economy in the entire world is currently experiencing “its longest and deepest recession in recorded history”, and in a country right next door people are being encouraged to label their trash so that the thousands upon thousands of desperately hungry people that are digging through trash bins on the streets can find discarded food more easily. Of course the two nations that I am talking about are Brazil and Venezuela. The Brazilian economy was once the seventh largest on the globe, but after shrinking for eight consecutive quarters it has now fallen to ninth place. And in Venezuela the economic collapse has gotten so bad that more than 70 percent of the population lost weight last year due to a severe lack of food. Most of us living in the northern hemisphere don’t think that anything like this could happen to us any time soon, but the truth is that trouble signs are already starting to erupt all around us. It is just a matter of time before the things currently happening in Brazil and Venezuela start happening here, but unfortunately most people are not heeding the warnings.
Just a few years ago, the Brazilian economy was absolutely roaring and it was being hailed as a model for the rest of the world to follow. But now Brazil’s GDP has been imploding for two years in a row, and this downturn is being described as “the worst recession in recorded history” for that South American nation…
Latin America’s largest economy Brazil has contracted by 3.6 percent in 2016, shrinking for the second year in a row; statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday. It confirmed the country is facing its longest and deepest recession in recorded history.
Data shows gross domestic product (GDP) fell for the eighth straight quarter in the three months to December, down 0.9 percent from the previous quarter. The figure was worse than the 0.5 percent decline economists had forecast and left the country’s overall GDP down 3.6 percent for the full year following a 3.8 percent drop in 2015.
“In real terms, GDP is now nine percent below its pre-recession peak,” Neil Shearing, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, told the Financial Times.
“This is comfortably the worst recession in recorded history,” he added.
It had been hoped that things in Brazil would be getting better by now, but instead they just keep getting worse.
The number of bankruptcy filings has soared to an all-time record high, and the official unemployment rate has more than doubled since the end of 2013. The following comes from Wolf Richter…
In a stunning deterioration, the unemployment rate in Brazil spiked to 12.6% in the rolling three-month period through January, a record in the new data series going back to 2012, according to Brazil’s statistical agency IBGE. Up from 11.8% in the three-month period through October. Up from an already terribly high 9.5% a year ago. And more than double the 6.2% in December 2013.
Meanwhile, hordes of hungry people are rummaging through garbage cans in Venezuela in order to find something to fill their aching stomachs.
Things have gotten so bad that one of President Maduro’s chief opponents has urged citizens to label which trash bags have food in them so that people that are searching through the garbage can find food scraps more easily…
Controversial Priest and opponent to President Nicolás Maduro’s administration Father Jose Palmar posted on social media this week about labeling discarded waste so those looking through it for food can do so more easily and “with dignity.”
Palmar called on Venezuelans to celebrate Lent by identifying bags where food has been discarded for those with no where else to turn. That way, they don’t have to dig through non-edible items to find it.
And previously I have written about how people are so hungry in Venezuela that some of them are actually slaughtering and eating cats, dogs, pigeons and zoo animals.
I keep telling people that this is coming to America, but a lot of people out there don’t want to believe me.
But it is most certainly coming.
Thanks to chronically empty store shelves and severe food shortages, people in Venezuela are losing weight at an astounding pace. In the United States it would be a good thing if much of the population lost this much weight, but in Venezuela it definitely is not…
Three quarters of the country’s population lost an average of over 18 pounds over food shortages in 2016, according to a survey by Venezuelan universities and nonprofit groups. Last year, over 80 percent of foodstuffs disappeared from shelves and many had to get by with one meal a day, Foreign Policy reported.
Venezuela was once South America’s most powerful petrostate. But decades of government mismanagement sent the country into decline. Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez choked the economy with heavy-handed regulations, price controls, and a campaign to nationalize major industries that chased out foreign investments.
Further north, very alarming signs are starting to pop up in Mexico.
It probably won’t happen next week or next month, but there are indications of emerging “liquidity problems” which could precipitate a major debt crisis at some point…
In Mexico foreign investors hold around $100 billion of the country’s local-currency government debt, the most for any emerging market economy. That’s almost 20 times what it was 20 years ago. They also hold billions of euros worth of corporate bonds, which are also showing signs of strain, prompting some Mexican business leaders to call for “new programs” to be implemented before the situation causes “a large-scale crisis” among Mexican companies.
The most ominous sign yet came last week when Bloomberg reported sources saying that the Bank of Mexico (or Banxico, as it is referred to) had sought a swap line from the Federal Reserve in case of “liquidity problems,” which immediately triggered furious denials from Banxico. “I can say clearly and unequivocally that we are not in the process of asking for any credit line from any authority,” said the central bank’s governor, Agustin Carstens, who has postponed by six months his departure from the bank, initially scheduled for May.
One of the biggest problems for nations such as Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico is the strength of the U.S. dollar. During the good times they went into tremendous amounts of debt, and much of that debt was denominated in U.S. dollars. So when the U.S. dollar becomes stronger, it takes more of their own local currencies to pay that debt back.
And if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates at their next meeting, that will strengthen the U.S. dollar even more and put even more pressure on emerging market economies.
Unfortunately, it appears that this is precisely what the Fed is going to do…
Even one small interest rate increase by the Fedcould have a sweeping impact on U.S. and world economies, Komal Sri-Kumar told CNBC on Monday.
“I think they are going to hike” on March 15, Sri-Kumar said on “Squawk Box,” echoing a theory shared by many analysts. “But that is going to prompt capital outflows from the euro zone, especially with the political risk. It is going to increase the capital outflow from China, and the U.S. economy will feel the impact.”
The global economy is more interconnected than ever before, and pain that starts in one region can rapidly spread to others.
The biggest debt bubble that the world has ever seen is starting to burst, and over the coming years we are going to see financial pain on a scale that would be unimaginable to most of us at this moment.
But even now there are those that would suggest that this colossal debt bubble can continue growing much faster than global GDP indefinitely, and this sort of exceedingly reckless optimism is leading many astray.
Now that the shoe is on the other foot, many liberals all over America have suddenly become extremely interested in prepping. Fearing that a Trump presidency could rapidly evolve into a “Trumpocalypse”, a significant number of leftists are now stockpiling food, guns and emergency supplies. In fact, even though many had expected a sharp drop in gun sales following Trump’s victory, what actually happened is that fear of what is coming under Trump pushed background checks for gun sales to an all-time record high on Black Friday. The election of Donald Trump has awakened the left to a degree that we haven’t seen in decades, and some on the left are embracing hardcore survivalism without any apologies.
What is ironic about all of this is that on the other end of the political spectrum interest in prepping is probably the lowest that it has ever been in the history of the modern prepper movement. A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article about how it was like “a nuclear bomb went off in the prepping community“, and nothing has changed since that time.
In fact, since I originally wrote that article we have gotten some hard numbers that show how dramatically optimism about the future has surged among those on the right.
Just before the election, CNBC’s All-America Economic Survey found that only 15 percent of all Republicans believed that the economy would improve over the next year, but after the election that number skyrocketed all the way up to 74 percent.
But among Democrats it is a different story altogether. That same CNBC survey found that optimism about the economy on the left fell by more than half after the election. At this point, it is sitting at just 16 percent.
It would be hard to overstate how negatively many on the left feel about Trump. We have seen many of them take to the streets to angrily protest his election, and according to the BBC others have decided to stockpile food and guns “in preparation for social and economic collapse”…
In America, stockpiling weapons and food, in preparation for social and economic collapse, has tended to be the preserve of right-wing libertarians and foes of “big government”. But the Liberal Prepper Facebook group – up to now a small band – reports a big increase in enquiries.
“A lot of people are worried that not only will [a Trump presidency] fail but that it will fail spectacularly to the point that we are going to end up on in one or more critical situations that we are just not prepared for,” says Jeff, 36, one of the group’s members.
So could we see “social and economic collapse” under Trump?
Despite the wild optimism that we are seeing on the right at the moment, without a doubt this is a possibility.
It is funny how a single election can change our perspective on things so dramatically. During the Obama years, it seemed like the left was constantly talking about disarming everyone, but now Trump has sparked a renewed interest in gun ownership among many liberals. Prominent progressive author Ana Marie Cox is just one example…
Witness Ana Marie Cox, a popular progressive writer with gigs at MTV and the New York Times. “So who else has been researching basic disaster prep stuff?” she polled her Twitter audience on Wednesday. “Bc—congrats, right wingers—I do not trust the government to help anymore!” Her next tweet extended the holiday merriment to our nation’s Second Amendment enthusiasts: “Getting my rifle out of storage this week.”
And did you know that leftists even have their own gun organization?
It is known as “the Liberal Gun Club”, and since Trump’s victory it has experienced a huge surge in membership…
Lara Smith, national spokesperson for the Liberal Gun Club, says her organization has seen a “huge” rise in enquiries since November’s election and a 10% increase in paid members.
US gun sales hit record levels in October amid fears a Hillary Clinton election victory would lead to draconian gun control measures.
The election of Donald Trump, who was backed by the National Rifle Association early on, was thought to bring an end to panic buying. Shares in gun manufacturers even dropped by as much as 18% following his victory.
Instead, FBI background checks for gun transactions soared to a new record for a single day – 185,713 – during the Black Friday sales on 25 November, according to gun control news site The Trace.
Many on the right have responded to Donald Trump’s election victory by deciding that the battle is over and that it is time to go to sleep. But many on the left have been suddenly awakened and are now preparing for extremely challenging times ahead.
I hate to say this, but in this case those on the left that are busily preparing are showing much more wisdom than many on the right that have chosen to abandon prepping altogether at this point.
Of course most of those on the left don’t really understand the storm that is approaching. All they know is that Trump is “really bad” and therefore they need to try to get through the next four years the best that they can. Here is more from the BBC…
“We are not looking for end of the world Mad Max-type scenarios, we are not looking at a zombie apocalypse,” says the author of a left wing survivalist blog, who also reports a surge in interest since Trump’s victory.
He says it is “fairly easy to predict” an economic collapse under Trump but adds: “No matter what, the country is still going to be here in four years, there’s going to be another election.”
I would have to agree that a major economic downturn is quite likely in the very near future. We have been on the greatest debt binge in history during the Obama years, and it is inevitable that this bubble will burst.
Donald Trump basically has two choices. He could try to prolong this debt bubble for as long as possible, but that would make the ultimate outcome even worse. Or he could try to deal with the crisis right away, but that would mean an extraordinary amount of pain for all of us.
No matter who won the election, we were going to have to deal with the consequences of decades of incredibly foolish decisions sooner or later.
Let us certainly hope for the best, but without a doubt those that are preparing for challenging times ahead are showing incredible wisdom, and this includes both liberals and conservatives.
Can Donald Trump turn the U.S. economy around? This week Trump unveiled details of his new economic plan, and the mainstream media is having a field day criticizing it. But the truth is that we simply cannot afford to stay on the same path that Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and the Democrats have us on right now. Millions of jobs are being shipped out of the country, the middle class is dying, poverty is exploding, millions of children in America don’t have enough food, and our reckless spending has created the biggest debt bubble in the history of the planet. Something must be done or else we will continue to steamroll toward economic oblivion. So is Donald Trump the man for the hour?
If you would like to read his full economic plan, you can find it on his official campaign website. His plan starts off by pointing out that this has been the weakest “economic recovery” since the Great Depression…
Last week’s GDP report showed that the economy grew a mere 1.2% in the second quarter and 1.2% over the last year. It’s the weakest recovery since the Great Depression – the predictable consequence of massive taxation, regulation, one-side trade deals and onerous energy restrictions.
And Trump is exactly right about how weak this economic recovery has been.
So how would he fix things?
The following are 10 things that every American should know about Donald Trump’s plan to save the U.S. economy…
#1 Donald Trump would lower taxes on the middle class
The tax savings under Trump’s plan would actually be quite substantial for middle class families. The following numbers come from a recent Charisma article…
• A married couple earning $50,000 per year with two children and $8,000 in child care expenses will save 35% from their current tax bill.
• A married couple earning $75,000 per year with two children and $10,000 in child care expenses will receive a 30% reduction in their tax bill.
• Married couple earning $5 million per year with two children and $12,000 in child care expenses will get only a 3% reduction in their tax bill.
#2 Donald Trump would lower taxes on businesses
Under his plan, no business in America would be taxed more than 15 percent. Alternatively, Hillary Clinton’s plan would tax some small businesses at a rate of close to 50 percent. So Trump’s plan would undoubtedly be good for businesses, and it would encourage many that have left the country to return.
But where would the lost tax revenue be made up?
#3 Childcare expenses would be exempt from taxation
For working families with children this would be a great blessing. Without a doubt this is an effort to win over more working women, and this is a demographic that Trump has been struggling with.
It is definitely an idea that I support, but once again where will the money come from to pay for this?
#4 U.S. manufacturers will be allowed to immediately fully expense new plants and equipment
This would undoubtedly lead to a boom in capital investment, but it would also reduce tax revenue. As an emergency measure this would be very good for encouraging manufacturers to stay in America, but it would also likely increase the budget deficit.
#5 A temporary freeze on new regulations
Red tape is one of my big pet peeves, and so I greatly applaud Trump for this proposal. I think that Bob Eschliman put it very well when he wrote the following about Trump’s planned freeze on new regulations…
In 2015 alone, federal agencies issued over 3,300 final rules and regulations, up from 2,400 the prior year. Studies show that small manufacturers face more than three times the burden of the average U.S. business, and the hidden tax from ineffective regulations amounts to “nearly $15,000 per U.S. household” annually. Excessive regulation is costing our country as much as $2 trillion dollars per year, and Trump will end it.
#6 All existing regulations would be reviewed and unnecessary regulations would be eliminated
In particular, Trump’s plan would focus on getting rid of regulations that inhibit hiring. The following are some of the specific areas that he identifies on his official campaign website…
- The Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan, which forces investment in renewable energy at the expense of coal and natural gas, raising electricity rates;
- The EPA’s Waters of the United States rule, which gives the EPA the ability to regulate the smallest streams on private land, limiting land use; and
- The Department of Interior’s moratorium on coal mining permits, which put tens of thousands of coal miners out of work.
#7 Donald Trump would fundamentally alter our trade relationships with the rest of the globe
Donald Trump is the first major party nominee in decades to recognize that our trade deficit is absolutely killing our economy. I write about this all the time, and it is a hot button issue for me. So I definitely applaud Trump for proposing the following…
- Appoint trade negotiators whose goal will be to win for America: narrowing our trade deficit, increasing domestic production, and getting a fair deal for our workers.
- Renegotiate NAFTA.
- Withdraw from the TPP.
- Bring trade relief cases to the world trade organization.
- Label China a currency manipulator.
- Apply tariffs and duties to countries that cheat.
- Direct the Commerce Department to use all legal tools to respond to trade violations.
#8 Donald Trump’s plan would be a tremendous boost for the U.S. energy industry
Barack Obama promised to kill the coal industry, and that is one of the few promises that he has actually kept. Obama also killed the Keystone Pipeline, and right now the energy industry as a whole is enduring their worst stretch since the last recession. To turn things around, Trump would do the following…
- Rescind all the job-destroying Obama executive actions including the Climate Action Plan and the Waters of the U.S. rule.
- Save the coal industry and other industries threatened by Hillary Clinton’s extremist agenda.
- Ask Trans Canada to renew its permit application for the Keystone Pipeline.
- Make land in the Outer Continental Shelf available to produce oil and natural gas.
- Cancel the Paris Climate Agreement (limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius) and stop all payments of U.S. tax dollars to U.N. global warming programs.
#9 Trump would repeal Obamacare
Trump claims that Obamacare would cost our economy two million jobs over the next ten years. And without a doubt, it has already cost the U.S. economy a lot of jobs.
Not only that, but Obamacare has also sent health insurance premiums soaring, and this is putting a tremendous amount of financial pressure on many families.
Trump says that he would “replace” Obamacare, but that is a rather vague statement.
What exactly would he replace it with?
#10 Trump’s plan says nothing about the Federal Reserve
This is a great concern, because the Federal Reserve has far more power over the economy than anyone else does. It is at the very heart of our debt-based system, and unless something is done about the Fed our debt bubble will continue to get even larger.
Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, the value of the U.S. dollar has fallen by more than 96 percent and our national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger. For Trump to not even mention the Federal Reserve in his economic plan is a tremendous oversight.
We are in the midst of a long-term economic decline, and things have not gotten better during the Obama years. If you can believe it, a study that was just released by Harvard even acknowledges this…
America’s economic performance peaked in the late 1990s, and erosion in crucial economic indicators such as the rate of economic growth, productivity growth, job growth, and investment began well before the Great Recession.
Workforce participation, the proportion of Americans in the productive workforce, peaked in 1997. With fewer working-age men and women in the workforce, per-capita income for the U.S. is reduced.
Median real household income has declined since 1999, with incomes stagnating across virtually all income levels. Despite a welcome jump in 2015, median household income remains below the peak attained in 1999, 17 years ago. Moreover, stagnating income and limited job prospects have disproportionately affected lower-income and lower-skilled Americans, leading inequality to rise.
That same study found that the percentage of Americans participating in the labor force peaked back in 1997 and has been steadily declining since that time…
If we continue to do the same things, we will continue to get the same results.
Donald Trump is promising change, and many of his proposals sound good, but there are also some areas to be concerned about.
Ultimately, just tinkering with the tax code and reducing regulations is not going to be enough to turn the U.S. economy around. We need a fundamental overhaul of our economic and financial systems, and Trump’s plan stops well short of that. But without a doubt what he is proposing is vastly superior to Hillary Clinton’s plan, and so he should definitely be applauded for at least moving in the right direction.
When people get hungry enough, they will do just about anything for some food. According to brand new research that was just released this week from Feeding America and the Urban Institute, there are millions of teenagers in America that live in “food insecure” households, and researchers were stunned to learn what some of these teens are willing to do to feed themselves. Some resort to shoplifting, others deal drugs, and there were a surprising number of participants in the study that actually admitted to trading sex for food. It wouldn’t be a shock to hear that these kinds of things are going on in an economically-depressed nation such as Venezuela, but this is the United States of America. We are supposed to be the wealthiest nation on the entire planet. Sadly, even while the stock market has been soaring in recent years, poverty in America has been on the rise. For those on the low end of the economic scale, things have gone from bad to worse since the end of the last recession, and millions of children are deeply suffering as a result.
Let’s start with some of the hard numbers. The following comes directly from the Urban Institute website…
An estimated 6.8 million people ages 10 to 17 are food insecure, meaning they don’t have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food. Another 2.9 million are very food insecure, and roughly 4 million live in marginally food secure households, where the threat of running out of food is real.
Food insecurity takes a tremendous toll on teenagers. Poor nutrition—and the stress of hunger and poverty—can jeopardize their physical and mental health and development and their academic success. But despite the gravity and prevalence of teen food insecurity, we know very little about how these young people experience and cope with hunger.
The researchers already knew that lots of young people were hungry in America. But what surprised them were the lengths that many of these youngsters said that they would go to in order to get food…
Some of the youths said they or someone they know — mostly young men — have turned to shoplifting food, selling drugs or stealing items to sell.
The teens also reported knowing young women who have sold their bodies for food or had sex for money so they could buy food for their families.
Going to jail or failing a class in order to have to attend summer school were also some of the lengths teens went to.
Could you imagine your daughter or your granddaughter exchanging her body for food?
For most of us that is absolutely unthinkable, but the truth is that this is taking place on the streets of America every single day.
And this wasn’t just some blind random phone survey. The researchers conducted personal interviews with focus groups, and what these kids were willing to admit doing was absolutely astounding. Here is another excerpt directly out of the report…
- When faced with acute food insecurity, teens in all but two of the communities said that youth engage in criminal behavior, ranging from shoplifting food directly to selling drugs and stealing items to resell for cash. These behaviors were most common among young men in communities with the most limited job options.
- Teens in all 10 communities and in 13 of the 20 focus groups talked about some youth selling sex for money to pay for food. These themes arose most strongly in high-poverty communities where teens also described sexually coercive environments. Sexual exploitation most commonly took the form of transactional dating relationships with older adults.
- In a few communities, teens talked about going to jail or failing school (so they could attend summer classes and get school lunch) as viable strategies for ensuring regular meals.
Many of these young people understand that what they are doing is wrong. Just consider what some of them told the researchers…
A girl in Portland, Oregon told researchers: “It’s really like selling yourself. Like you’ll do whatever you need to do to get money or eat.”
Another comment from Portland: “You’re not even dating … they’ll be like … ‘I don’t really love him, but I’m going to do what I have to do.’”
Many prefer to rationalise what they are doing as dating of sorts. A boy in rural North Carolina said: “When you’re selling your body, it’s more in disguise. Like if I had sex with you, you have to buy me dinner tonight … that’s how girls deal with the struggle … That’s better than taking money because if they take money, they will be labeled a prostitute.”
When I read the information in this report, I was stunned. Yes, I write about our economic decline and the rise in poverty all the time, but I didn’t know that things were this bad.
And the researchers were surprised by what they were hearing as well. One of them said that the fact that girls are trading their bodies for food “was really shocking to me”, and she believes that things are “just getting worse over time”…
“I’ve been doing research in low-income communities for a long time, and I’ve written extensively about the experiences of women in high poverty communities and the risk of sexual exploitation, but this was new,” said Susan Popkin, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and lead author of the report, Impossible Choices.
“Even for me, who has been paying attention to this and has heard women tell their stories for a long time, the extent to which we were hearing about food being related to this vulnerability was new and shocking to me, and the level of desperation that it implies was really shocking to me. It’s a situation I think is just getting worse over time.”
But aren’t we being told that things are getting better?
Aren’t we being told that our leaders “fixed” the economy?
Of course the truth is that America is mired in a long-term economic decline that stretches back for decades. With each passing year the middle class gets smaller as a percentage of the population, and poverty continues to grow. Last year the middle class became a minority of the population for the first time ever, and a lot of formerly middle class Americans are now among those that aren’t sure that they are going to have enough food to eat this month.
Hunger in America is a major crisis and it is growing. Just because you may live in a comfortable home in a wealthy neighborhood does not mean that this problem is not real.
Tonight there are millions of Americans that do not know where their next meal is going to come from, and they deserve our love and compassion.
Is the United States the most wasteful nation on the entire planet? We are all certainly guilty of wasting food. Whether it is that little bit that you don’t want to eat at the end of a meal, or that produce that you forgot about in the back of the refrigerator that went moldy, the truth is that we could all do better at making sure that good food does not get wasted. It can be tempting to think that wasting food is not a big deal because we have so much of it, but an increasing number of people around the world are really hurting these days. In fact, it has been estimated that there are more than a billion hungry people around the globe right now. So as a society we need to figure out how to waste a whole lot less food and how to get it into the mouths of those that really need it.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, close to a third of all food in the United States gets wasted after it gets to the store. This is commonly referred to as “downstream” waste. When you add all of this “downstream” waste up, it comes to a grand total of 133 billion pounds of food each year…
Nearly a third of the 430 billion pounds of food produced for Americans to eat is wasted, a potential catastrophe for landfills and a wake-up call to officials scrambling to feed the hungry, according to a stunning new report from the Department of Agriculture.
The just-issued report revealed that in 2010, 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds, of food produced for Americans to eat was wasted, either molded or improperly cooked, suffered “natural shrinkage” due to moisture loss, or because people became disinterested in what they purchased.
How many people do you think we could feed with 133 billion pounds of food?
But that isn’t all of the food that we waste. In addition to “downstream” waste, we also have to add “upstream” waste to the equation. Massive amounts of food are wasted each year because American consumers don’t want to eat fruits and vegetables that are “imperfect”. The following comes from the Guardian…
Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a “cult of perfection”, deepening hunger and poverty, and inflicting a heavy toll on the environment.
Vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the US are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill, because of unrealistic and unyielding cosmetic standards, according to official data and interviews with dozens of farmers, packers, truckers, researchers, campaigners and government officials.
And I know that as a consumer I am guilty of this. Just yesterday, I was picking through the apricots at the grocery store looking for the prettiest ones that I could find. Of course they were all good to eat, but most of us are in the habit of wanting produce that looks as “perfect” as possible.
As a result, a lot of perfectly good food that may look a little ratty ends of being wasted…
“Sunburnt” or darker-hued cauliflower was ploughed over in the field. Table grapes that did not conform to a wedge shape were dumped. Entire crates of pre-cut orange wedges were directed to landfill. In June, Kirschenman wound up feeding a significant share of his watermelon crop to cows.
As the Guardian article quoted above noted, when you add “downstream” waste and “upstream” waste together, we end up wasting about half our food.
This is tragic, because there are a whole lot of people in our own country that could use this food. According to one estimate, there are 49 million Americans dealing with food insecurity. But if we didn’t waste nearly half our food, we could likely feed just about everyone sufficiently.
Globally, about one-third of all food is wasted. That is better than the U.S. number, but it is still way too high.
At this point, we just don’t have a lot of resources to waste. So many people are suffering these days, and this includes an explosion of crushing poverty in the country that is hosting the Olympics this summer. Just yards away from the primary stadium that will be used by the Olympic games, people actually have raw sewage running through their homes…
In the Mangueira ‘favelas’ no more than 750m away from the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which will host the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, young families are living in makeshift houses with no sanitation.
The stadium will stage both the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics in August, and as global superstars such as Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Justin Gatlin take to the track, the favela residents will be dealing with raw sewage running through their homes.
It has been estimated that more than 20 percent of the population of Rio lives in “favelas”. But instead of doing something for those people, the government of Brazil has spent hundreds of millions of dollars hosting the World Cup and the Olympics.
What is wrong with that picture?
Meanwhile, things continue to get even worse elsewhere in South America. In Venezuela, 47 percent of the country can no longer provide three meals a day for their families, and the lack of toilet paper has become a national crisis…
Venezuela’s government said it occupied Kimberly-Clark Corp.’s local plant, days after the company had halted operations because of shortages of raw materials in the socialist crisis-stricken country.
“Kimberly-Clark will continue producing for all Venezuelans and is now in the hands of the workers,” Labor Minister Oswaldo Vera said Monday in a televised address from the company’s plant in central Aragua state, before signing an order to take it over, according to WSJ. The labor ministry claims Kimberly-Clark had violated Venezuelan law by firing more than 900 workers without consulting the government.
“It doesn’t matter who’s running the factory,” said Henkel Garcia, director of the Caracas business consultancy Econometrica told WSJ. “The bottom line is that there are no raw materials that anyone can afford to import.”
As the global economy continues to deteriorate, the need to waste less food and less resources will become even more acute. Over the past several decades, we have grown accustomed to not even thinking twice about wasting food. In fact, I rarely come across parents that insist that their children finish everything on their plates these days.
But in the not too distant future, things are going to completely change. Even in the United States, we will eventually get to the point where every scrap of food is considered to be precious.
We are moving into a time when wasting nearly half our food will no longer be an option, and so we should start coming up with better ways of doing things as soon as we can.
On Sunday night, we are going to see something take place that only happens four or five times a century. A lunar eclipse is going to occur while the moon is making its closest approach to our planet. When this happens, the moon will temporarily appear to be red as sunrises and sunsets all over the world are reflected off the surface of the moon. This blood red “supermoon” has created apocalyptic fears all over the globe, and many people have stocked up on enormous amounts of food and supplies in anticipation of this event. This particular blood moon is the fourth in a series of blood moons that have fallen on Biblical festival days in 2014 and 2015, and this one will be clearly visible from the city of Jerusalem. Personally, I do not know if anything will or will not happen tonight or tomorrow. I want to make that very clear.
What we do know is that there has not been a “super blood moon” since 1982, and there will not be another one until 2033. The following is what the Telegraph says we should expect to see on Sunday night…
Amateur astronomers will be given a rare chance to capture a spectacular celestial event that has not occurred for 30 years tonight- a lunar eclipse with the moon near to its closest point to the Earth.
An awe-inspiring blood-red “supermoon” will cast its eerie light on the Earth early on Monday, creating an atmosphere of wonder and fear across the world.
When the moon is at “perigee”, its shortest distance from the Earth, it is 226,000 miles away and appears 14 percent larger and 30 percent brighter than when it is at its furthermost point.
The last time this coincided with a lunar eclipse, when the moon is covered by the Earth’s shadow, was in 1982 and the event will not be repeated until 2033.
Like I said, I do not know of any specific event that either will or will not happen over the next couple of days.
But a lot of people out there are freaking out about this “super blood moon” as if the end of the world is coming. For instance, the Mormon hierarchy has issued a statement in an attempt to calm down some of the apocalyptic speculation that is taking place among their members…
A rare lunar eclipse set to happen this weekend has prompted the Mormon church to issue a statement to followers warning them not to worry about apocalyptic speculation that is running high.
The church cautioned followers to not get caught up in speculation about a major calamity. It’s unclear how many Mormons buy the theory, but leaders were worried enough that they took the rare step of issuing the statement.
Sunday night’s “blood moon” has led to a rise in sales at emergency preparedness retailers.
Of course it isn’t just Mormons that are freaking out.
I recently had lunch with one of the owners of one of the largest emergency food companies in America. He says that they have had to go to three shifts a day, seven days a week just to keep up with demand. And even with the increased production, there is a significant delay in getting orders out to customers.
Millions of people seem to have a sense that something ominous is coming. And without a doubt, we have already seen some extraordinary things happen over the past 60 days. The stock markets of the 10 largest global economies are all crashing, volcanic eruptions and major earthquakes are happening at a rate far higher than usual, and absolutely crazy things are taking place at the United Nations.
So will any specific event happen in conjunction with this “super blood moon”?
I do not know.
But I do believe that this “super blood moon” is significant.
I do believe that it is yet another warning. But just like so many of the other warnings that we have seen, it too will be ignored by most people and quickly forgotten.
I think that what Pastor Mark Biltz recently told WND about this “super blood moon” is very wise…
Pastor Mark Biltz, discoverer of the blood moons phenomenon and the author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs,” says Christians are being given signs from the heavens.
In Biltz’s opinion, the current sequence of four blood moons – a tetrad – “is a sign for today’s Christians as judgment always begins in the house of God.”
“I believe the current blood moons also signal the end of an era,” he said.
Like Pastor Biltz, I believe that we have come to the end of an era.
For so long, people have been mocking the idea that judgment is coming to America, not realizing that it is only because of God’s grace that we have been given so much time to repent.
Now, I believe that the period of grace is coming to an end and a time of judgment is beginning.
So what do you think?
Do you believe that this “super blood moon” has any significance?
Do you believe that America is entering a time of judgment?
Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…
Those that run food banks all over America say that demand for their services just continues to explode. It always amazes me that there are still people out there that insist that an “economic collapse” is not happening. From their air-conditioned homes in their cushy suburban neighborhoods they mock the idea that the U.S. economy is crumbling. But if they would just go down and visit the local food banks in their areas, they would see how much people are hurting. According to Feeding America spokesman Ross Fraser, 46 million Americans got food from a food bank at least one time during 2014. Because the demand has become so overwhelming, some food banks are cutting back on the number of days they operate and the amount of food that is given to each family. As you will see below, many impoverished Americans are lining up at food banks as early as 6:30 in the morning just so that they can be sure to get something before the food runs out. And yet there are still many people out there that have the audacity to say that everything is just fine in America. Shame on them for ignoring the pain of millions upon millions of their fellow citizens.
Poverty in America is getting worse, not better. And no amount of spin from Barack Obama or his apologists can change that fact.
This year, it is being projected that food banks in the United States will give away an all-time record 4 billion pounds of food.
Over the past decade, that number has more than doubled.
And that number would be even higher if food banks had more food to give away. The demand has become so crushing that some food banks have actually reduced the amount of food each family gets…
Food banks across the country are seeing a rising demand for free groceries despite the growing economy, leading some charities to reduce the amount of food they offer each family.
Those in need are starting to realize what is going on, so they are getting to the food banks earlier and earlier. For example, one food bank in New Mexico is now getting long lines of people every single day starting at 6:30 in the morning…
“We get lines of people every day, starting at 6:30 in the morning,” said Sheila Moore, who oversees food distribution at The Storehouse, the largest pantry in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and one where food distribution has climbed 15 percent in the past year.
Does that sound like an “economic recovery” to you?
Just because your family doesn’t have to stand in line for food does not mean that everything is okay in America.
The same thing that is happening in New Mexico is also happening in Ohio. Needy people are standing in line at the crack of dawn so that they can be sure to get something “before the food runs out”…
Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, executive director of the Ohio Association of Food Banks, who has been working in food charities since the 1980s, said that when earlier economic downturns ended, food demand declined, but not this time.
“People keep coming earlier and earlier, they’re standing in line, hoping they get there before the food runs out,” Hamler-Fugitt said.
And keep in mind that we are just now entering the next global financial crisis and the next major recession.
So how bad will things be when millions more Americans lose their jobs and millions more Americans lose their homes?
Rising poverty is also reflected in the number of Americans on food stamps. The following graph was posted by the Economic Policy Journal, and it shows how food stamp use has absolutely exploded in the five most populated states…
I don’t see an “economic recovery” in that graph, do you?
Instead, what it shows is that the number of Americans on food stamps continued to rise for years even after the recession ended.
Sadly, things are only going to get worse from here. Eventually, the kinds of things that we are seeing happen in places such as Venezuela will be coming here as well. At this point, young mothers in Venezuela are sleeping outside of empty supermarkets at night in a desperate attempt to get something for their families when morning arrives…
As dawn breaks over the scorching Venezuelan city of Maracaibo, smugglers, young mothers and a handful of kids stir outside a supermarket where they spent the night, hoping to be first in line for scarce rice, milk or whatever may be available.
Some of the people in line are half-asleep on flattened cardboard boxes, others are drinking coffee.
Most Americans cannot identify with this level of suffering, but it is coming to our country someday too. Here is more from Reuters…
“I can’t get milk for my child. What are we going to do?” said Leida Silva, 54, breaking into tears outside the Latino supermarket in northern Maracaibo where she arrived at 3 a.m. on a recent day.
Just a couple of days ago, I wrote about how the number of Americans living in concentrated areas of high poverty has doubled since the year 2000.
In case you are wondering, that is not a sign of progress.
Just because you might live in a comfortable neighborhood that does not give you the right to look down on those that are suffering.
And when you add increasing racial tensions to the mix, it becomes easier to understand why there is so much anger and frustration in our urban areas. According to Business Insider, the percentage of Americans that consider race relations to be in good shape in this nation has dropped precipitously…
Over the last two years there has been a 23% drop in the number of Americans who see relations between blacks and whites as “very good” or “somewhat good.”
Today, only 47% of Americans see black-white relations positively, according to a Gallup poll, the lowest it has been in the last 14 years.
The poll also showed that blacks see the relations more positively (51%) than whites (45%), but both percentages experienced sharp declines in the last two years.
All of the ingredients are there for civil unrest to erupt in cities all over the United States.
When the next major economic downturn happens, anger and frustration are going to flare to extremely dangerous levels. At this point, it will not take much to set things off.
Desperate people do desperate things, and desperation is rising even now in this country.
So how did things get so bad?
Stupid decisions lead to stupid results, and very soon we will start to pay a very great price for decades of incredibly stupid decisions.