5 Dangers To Global Crops That Could Dramatically Reduce The World Food Supply

The world food situation is starting to get very, very tight.  Unprecedented heat and wildfires this summer in Russia and horrific flooding in Pakistan and China have been some of the primary reasons for the rapidly rising food prices we are now seeing around the globe.  In places such as Australia and the African nation of Guinea-Bissau, the big problem for crops has been locusts.  In a world that already does not grow enough food for everyone (thanks to the greed of the elite), any disruption in food production can cause a major, major problem.  Tonight, thousands of people around the world will starve to death.  So what happens if things get even worse?  Many agricultural scientists are now warning that global food production is facing dangers that are absolutely unprecedented.  Crop diseases such as UG99 wheat rust and the “unintended effects” of genetic modification pose challenges that previous generations simply did not have to face.  The outbreak of a real, live global famine looks increasingly possible with each passing year.  So are you and your family prepared if a global famine does strike?

Already, there are huge warning signs on the horizon.  Just check out what agricultural commodities have been doing.  They have been absolutely soaring.      

A recent article on the Forbes website noted a few of the agricultural commodities that have skyrocketed during this year….

Here’s what’s happened to some key farm commodities so far in 2010…

•Corn: Up 63%
•Wheat: Up 84%
•Soybeans: Up 24%
•Sugar: Up 55%

Are you ready to pay 84 percent more for a loaf of bread?

You better get ready – these raw material prices will filter down to U.S. consumers eventually.

So what is going to happen if the world food situation gets even tighter?

Don’t think that it can’t happen.

The following are 5 potential dangers to global crops that could dramatically reduce the world food supply…. 

UG99 Wheat Rust

UG99 is commonly known as “wheat rust” or “stem rust” because it produces reddish-brown flakes on wheat stalks.  The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center in Mexico believes that approximately 19 percent of the global wheat crop is in imminent danger of being infected with UG99.

Ultimately, it is estimated that about 80 percent of the wheat on the globe is capable of catching the disease.

There is no known cure.

This current strain of wheat rust was discovered in Uganda in 1999 and has spread into areas of Kenya, Sudan, Ethiopia, Yemen and Iran.  It is feared that this crippling disease will spread even farther into south Asia, devastating the fertile growing regions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.

If that happens, you might as well kiss world food stability goodbye.

A recent article in the Financial Times contained an absolutely stunning quote from one prominent agricultural scientist….

“You can talk about crying wolf,” says Ronnie Coffman, director of the Durable Rust Resistance in Wheat project at the University of Cornell in the US, “but it is a wolf”, he asserts, driving across the corn fields of Kansas.

Later on in the same article, Coffman warns that this disease could cause a devastating famine in which literally millions of people would die….

“It can be absolutely devastating if environmental conditions are right,“ he says. “You can count the number of people who could die from this in the millions.”

Mad Soy Disease

Mad Soy disease is spreading at an alarming rate among soy farms down in Brazil.  Previously the disease had been confined to the north part of the country, but now it has been increasingly spreading south.  This disease retards the maturation of infected plants, and it has been causing yield losses of up to 40 percent.  The USDA says that “there are no known effective treatments.”

Verticillium Wilt

Verticillium Wilt is a fungus that prevents lettuce from absorbing water, causing it to quickly grow yellow and eventually wilt.  This dangerous fungus is very hard to get rid of totally because it can stay in the soil for up to seven years.

Today, Verticillium Wilt is spreading all over Monterey County, California.  Considering the fact that Monterey County produces more than 60 percent of the lettuce in the United States, that is very bad news.

Late Blight

In 2009, a disease known as “late blight” attacked potato and tomato plants in the United States with a ferocity never seen before.  According to a press release from Cornell University, late blight had “never occurred this early and this widespread in the U.S.” when it started showing up all over the place early last year.

Late blight begins as ugly brown spots on the stems of potato and tomato plants, and as the spots increase in size, white fungal growth develops until finally a soft rot completely collapses the stem.

This was the disease that was responsible for the Irish potato famine in the 1850s.  A major new outbreak could occur without warning.

Genetic Modification

While it may or may not technically be a disease (depending on how you look at it), genetic modification is having a very serious affect on crops around the globe.

For example, about 10 years ago Chinese farmers began to widely adopt Monsanto’s genetically modified Bt cotton.  Well, researchers have found that since that time, mirid bugs that are resistant to the Bt pesticide have experienced a complete and total population boom.

Today, six provinces in Northern China are experiencing what can only be described as a “mirid bug plague”.  Mirid bugs eat more than 200 different kinds of fruit, vegetables and grains.  Chinese farmers in the region are completely frustrated.

In the United States, a different problem is developing.  The complete and total reliance of so many U.S. farmers on Monsanto’s Roundup herbicide has resulted in several varieties of glyphosate-resistant “superweeds” developing in many areas of the United States. 

The most feared of these “superweeds”, Pigweed, can grow to be seven feet tall and it can literally wreck a combine.  Pigweed has been known to produce up to 10,000 seeds at a time, it is resistant to drought, and it has very diverse genetics.

Superweeds were first spotted in Georgia in 2004, and since then they have spread to South Carolina, North Carolina, Arkansas, Tennessee, Kentucky and Missouri. 

In some areas, superweeds have become so bad that literally tens of thousands of acres of U.S. farmland have actually been abandoned.

But that is what we get for trying to “play God”.

We think that we can just do whatever we want with nature and there will not be any consequences.

One of the most frightening things about genetic modification is that it actually reduces that amount of crop diversity in the world.

For example, if nearly all farmers start using the same “brand” of genetically modified plants that are all virtually identical, it sets up a situation where crop diseases and crop failures can cascade across the planet very easily.

Genetic variety is a very desirable thing, but today our scientists are just doing pretty much whatever they want without really considering the consequences. 

It has been said many times that genetic engineering is similar to “performing heart surgery with a shovel”.

The truth is that we just do not know enough about how our ecosystems work to be messing around with them so dramatically.

Perhaps even more frightening is that once these genetically engineered monstrosities have been released into our environment, it is absolutely impossible to recall them.  They essentially become a permanent part of our ecosystem.

But can we afford to make any serious mistakes at this point?

The truth is that we already live in a world that is not able to feed itself.

Tonight, approximately 1 billion people across the globe will go to bed hungry.  Every 3.6 seconds someone in the world starves to death, and three-fourths of those who starve to death are children under the age of five.

It is currently being projected that global demand for food will more than double over the next 50 years.

So what is going to happen if we start seeing widespread crop failures in the coming years?

The global food supply is not nearly as stable as most people believe.  At some point, it is going to be tested severely.

Is Crime Making A Comeback? 12 Crime Statistics That Make You Wonder What Is Happening To America

For about a decade and a half, crime rates in the United States have generally fallen.  That is the good news.  The bad news is that even during those “good” years, the United States still had the most car thefts, the most rapes and the most murders in the world.  And even though the United States has the most people in prison in the entire world by a large margin, there are all kinds of signs that there are still enough criminals out there for crime to start moving back up again.  Sure, there are some areas that are still recording small decreases in the crime rate, but there are other areas where the jump in crime statistics is more than a bit alarming.  There are millions of Americans that have been out of work for over a year at this point, and when people lose everything that they have they tend to totally lose it.  People get desperate when they lose their homes and they don’t have anything to eat.  For example, police in Chesterfield, Virginia are investigating 16 separate incidents just this month in which thieves stole food or drinks from homes, cars and even people walking on the street.  It wasn’t money that these crooks were after.  They just wanted something to eat.  As the economy gets even worse over the next couple of years, it is inevitable that we are going to start to see a lot more of this kind of thing.  Frustration and anger are on the rise from coast to coast, and when people don’t feel like they have anything to live for they become very dangerous.

As mentioned at the beginning of the article, it is undeniable that violent crime rates are significantly lower than they were 15 or 20 years ago in many areas of the nation.  An unprecedented standard of living fueled by our addiction to debt has kept most Americans fat, happy and generally sedated.  However, there are indications that we are approaching a “turning point” – a moment when crime rates start to go up significantly once again.

In fact, there are some forms of crime (such as sexual crime against children) that are already at ridiculously high record-setting levels.  For example, how in the world did we ever get to the point as a society where we have 400,000 registered sex predators running around?

As the economy continues to unravel, things are not going to get any better.  In fact, people who are suffering are only going to become more desperate.  Already, there are quite a few troubling signs out there.  The following are 12 crime statistics that make you wonder what is happening to America….

#1 The murder rate in New York City has increased more than 15 percent in 2010, and the number of rapes has shot up from 943 in 2009 to 1075 so far this year.

#2 In the city of Detroit, crime has gotten so bad and the citizens are so frustrated by the lack of police assistance that they have resorted to forming their own organizations to fight back.  One group, known as “Detroit 300”, was formed after a 90-year-old woman on Detroit’s northwest side was brutally raped in August.

#3 Crime in Miami Beach was up almost 11 percent during the first half of 2010.

#4 The murder rate in Tempe, Arizona is now the highest it has been in 10 years.

#5 Shoplifting is completely and totally out of control.  According to the National Association of Shoplifting Prevention, every single day Americans steal more than $35 million worth of goods from retail stores.

#6 Today, there are approximately 400,00 registered sex offenders in the United States.

#7 U.S. authorities claim that there are now over 1 million members of criminal gangs operating inside the United States. According to federal statistics, these 1 million gang members are responsible for up to 80% of the violent crimes committed in the U.S. each year.

#8 The median age of the victims of imprisoned sex offenders in the United States is 13 years old.

#9 The crime rate in the San Diego school system is escalating out of control. The following is what San Diego School Police Chief Don Braun recently told the press about the current situation….

“Violent crime in schools has risen 31 percent. Property crime has risen 12 percent. Weapons violations (have gone up) almost 8 percent.”

#10 53 percent of all investigated burglaries in the states of California, New Mexico, Nevada, Arizona and Texas are perpetrated by illegal aliens.

#11 Law enforcement officials estimate that about 600,000 Americans and 65,000 Canadians are trading dirty child pictures online.  They also say that the total profit from creating and trading these images is approximately two to three billion dollars every year.

#12 Each year, one out of every five people in the U.S. is victimized by crime.  No other nation on the planet has a rate that is higher.

So will the police step in to protect us all as crime increases?

Well, unfortunately police forces all across the United States are being slashed because the money just isn’t there anymore.

So all of us may soon be facing much more crime with much fewer police to assist us.

For example, because of extreme budget cuts and police layoffs, Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts has announced that there are a number of crimes that his department simply will no longer respond to due to a lack of resources.  The following is a partial list of the crimes that police officers in Oakland will no longer be responding to….

  • burglary
  • theft
  • embezzlement
  • grand theft
  • grand theft: dog
  • identity theft
  • false information to peace officer
  • required to register as sex or arson offender
  • dump waste or offensive matter
  • loud music
  • possess forged notes
  • pass fictitious check
  • obtain money by false voucher
  • fraudulent use of access cards
  • stolen license plate
  • embezzlement by an employee
  • extortion
  • attempted extortion
  • false personification of other
  • injure telephone/power line
  • interfere with power line
  • unauthorized cable tv connection
  • vandalism

Not that Oakland wasn’t already a mess before all this, but now how long do you think it will be before total chaos and anarchy reigns on the streets of Oakland?

But this kind of thing is not just happening in Oakland.

The sheriff’s department in Ashtabula County, Ohio has been reduced from 112 deputies to 49 deputies, and now there is just one vehicle remaining to patrol all 720 square miles of the county.

So what in the world are the citizens of that county supposed to do to protect themselves?

Well, Judge Alfred Mackey said that the citizens of the county should do the following….

“Arm themselves.”

So is that where all of this is going?

Every man and woman for themselves?

The truth is that there are already many communities across the United States where it is simply not a good idea to go out of your home at night.

There has never been a bigger gang problem in U.S. history than we are facing today, there have never been more sex predators running around, and millions of Americans are going to become increasingly desperate as they lose their homes and can’t find jobs.

So how is crime where you live?  Feel free to leave a comment with what you are seeing in your neighborhood….

30 Reasons Why People Should Be Getting Really Nervous About The State Of The U.S. Economy

The mainstream media is full of happy economic news these days.  The S&P 500 has shot up 16 percent since the beginning of July.  Ford Motor Company just reported a profit that jumped nearly 70 percent in the third quarter.  It was Ford’s best third quarter performance ever and it was the 6th quarterly profit in a row for the company.  Other major firms have announced earnings that have far exceeded expectations in recent weeks.  Hooray!  The pundits are proclaiming that the economic collapse is over and that the U.S. economy has won.  It is almost enough to make one tear into a stirring rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again”.  But perhaps we should take a moment and get a hold of ourselves first.  After all, the underlying economic fundamentals have not changed.  The same long-term trends that were ripping the U.S. financial system apart a month or two ago are still continuing to do so.  Millions upon millions of American families are still deeply suffering.  So exactly what in the world is going on here?  Well, this is what is known as a “sucker’s rally”.  Those on the inside know better than to throw money at this market.  In fact, corporate insiders are now selling off stock so fast you would think it is going out of style.  Meanwhile, hordes of innocent rubes are jumping back into the stock market thinking that it is the perfect time to get in. 

The truth is that these “good times” are only temporary.  Don’t get used to them.  The following are 30 reasons why people should be getting really, really nervous about the state of the U.S. economy…. 

#1 Corporate insiders are selling off stock at a blinding pace and are looking for the exits.  Alan Newman, the editor of the Crosscurrents newsletter, examined a number of the top performing stocks in the market including Google, Apple and Target and found that the ratio of corporate insider stock sold to corporate insider stock purchased over the last six months for those companies was 3,177 to 1.  At the group of firms that Newman looked at, corporate insiders had purchased 38,000 shares of stock over the last six months and yet had sold off over 120 million shares.

#2 Analysts at both Bank of America and Goldman Sachs both believe that the U.S. Federal Reserve is going to initiate a new round of quantitative easing in November.  It does not take a genius to figure out that this is very likely to push up inflation and have very serious consequences for the U.S. dollar.

#3 Economists at Goldman Sachs are projecting that the Fed will have to purchase at least $4 trillion in assets during this next round of quantitative easing to get the U.S. economy moving in a positive direction once again.

#4 In the United States today, there are 5,057 janitors with Ph.D.’s, other doctorates, or professional degrees.

#5 Investors have very little faith in the U.S. dollar (and in paper currencies in general) at this point.  Precious metals are soaring to obscene heights.  The price of gold has increased more than 20 percent in 2010.  The price of silver has skyrocketed about 40 percent this year.  These are not signs that indicate that the U.S. financial system is stable.

#6 Robin Griffiths, a technical strategist at Cazenove Capital, told CNBC on Monday that the U.S. dollar is in danger of becoming “toxic waste”.

#7 In the United States today, 317,000 waiters and waitresses have college degrees.

#8 U.S. lending institutions repossessed an all-time record total of 102,134 homes in the month of September.  That was the first time that home repossessions in the U.S. had ever exceeded the 100,000 mark during a single month.

#9 According to a Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller home price report that was released on Tuesday, single family home prices in the United States declined  for a second straight month in August.

#10 In the United States today, over 18,000 parking lot attendants have college degrees.

#11 During the months of August and September, the state of Nevada had an unemployment rate of 14.4 percent, which was the highest in the history of the state.  Not that the rest of the country is doing any better.  The state of California has become a complete and total economic disaster zone, and the city of Detroit, Michigan is literally dying.

#12 The “official” unemployment rate in the United States has been at nine and a half percent or above for 14 consecutive months.

#13 The number of people unemployed in the state of California is approximately equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

#14 According to the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, there are approximately 3 million more vacant housing units than usual in the United States.

#15 China has reduced the export quota on rare earth elements for the second half of 2010 by 72%, thus strengthening their position in the world economy even more.  Rare earth elements are absolutely crucial to the manufacture of a vast array of high technology products, and now even more of them will have to be made in China.

#16 In 1985, the U.S. trade deficit with China was 6 million dollars for the entire year.  In the month of August alone, the U.S. trade deficit with China was over 28 billion dollars.

#17 Wheat, corn and other staples are absolutely soaring in price on world markets.  These higher food prices are going to hit U.S. consumers hard.

#18 In 2007, 3 U.S. banks failed.  In 2008, 25 U.S. banks failed.  In 2009, 140 U.S. banks failed.  Last Friday, it was announced that 139 U.S. banks have failed so far this year and it is not even the end of October yet.

#19 Total student loan debt in the United States is climbing at a rate of approximately $2,853.88 per second.

#20 Back in 1980, the United States imported approximately 37 percent of  the oil that we use.  Now we import nearly 60 percent of the oil that we use.

#21 According to an analysis by the Congressional Joint Committee on Taxation, the health care reform legislation that Congress didn’t read but passed into law anyway will generate $409.2 billion in additional taxes on the American people by the year 2019.

#22 Median household income in the U.S. declined from $51,726 in 2008 to $50,221 in 2009.  That was the second yearly decline in a row.

#23 One out of every six Americans is now enrolled in a government anti-poverty program, and yet the number of Americans signing up for food stamps and other social programs just continues to set new all-time records month after month after month.

#24 The number of Americans working part-time jobs “for economic reasons” is now the highest it has been in at least five decades.

#25 American 15-year-olds do not even rank in the top half of all advanced nations when it comes to math or science literacy.

#26 According to a recent poll conducted by CNBC, 92 percent of Americans believe that the performance of the U.S. economy is either “fair” or “poor”.

#27 After analyzing Congressional Budget Office data, Boston University economics professor Laurence J. Kotlikoff came to the conclusion that the U.S. government is now facing a “fiscal gap” of $202 trillion dollars.

#28 A trillion $10 bills, if they were taped end to end, would wrap around the earth more than 380 times.  That amount of money would still not be enough to pay off the U.S. national debt.

#29 According to the U.S. Treasury Department, the U.S. national debt is rapidly closing in on 14 trillion dollars and and will climb to an estimated $19.6 trillion by 2015.

#30 At our current pace, the Congressional Budget Office is projecting that U.S. government public debt will hit 716 percent of GDP by the year 2080.

The U.S. economy is in the midst of a long-term decline.  There are always going to be moments when it seems like things are getting a bit better, but then reality will kick in and the depressing slide will continue.

If you really want to understand what is happening to the U.S. economy, do not become fixated on the short-term numbers.  Instead, always keep an eye on the long-term trends.

The U.S. economy is dying.  We are getting whipped by the rest of the world and we are drowning in a sea of debt.  A little rally in the stock market is not going to do a thing to fix our very deep fundamental economic problems.

The Economic Collapse