Nine meals from anarchy – how Britain is facing a very real food crisis

Today, we stand on the brink of a longer-term problem. In the words of Tim Lang, Professor of Food Policy at City University, London: ‘We are sleep-walking into a crisis.’
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The phrase ‘nine meals from anarchy’ sounds more like the title of a bad Hollywood movie than any genuine threat.

But that was the expression coined by Lord Cameron of Dillington, a farmer who was the first head of the Countryside Agency – the quango set up by Tony Blair in the days when he pretended to care about the countryside – to describe just how perilous Britain’s food supply actually is.


Crisis: Britain’s food supply is in peril

Long before many others, Cameron saw the potential of a real food crisis striking not just the poor of the Third World, but us, here in Britain, in the 21st Century.

The scenario goes like this. Imagine a sudden shutdown of oil supplies; a sudden collapse in the petrol that streams steadily through the pumps and so into the engines of the lorries which deliver our food around the country, stocking up the supermarket shelves as soon as any item runs out.

If the trucks stopped moving, we’d start to worry and we’d head out to the shops, cking up our larders. By the end of Day One, if there was still no petrol, the shelves would be looking pretty thin. Imagine, then, Day Two: your fourth, fifth and sixth meal. We’d be in a panic. Day three: still no petrol.

What then? With hunger pangs kicking in, and no notion of how long it might take for the supermarkets to restock, how long before those who hadn’t stocked up began stealing from their neighbours? Or looting what they could get their hands on?

Read moreNine meals from anarchy – how Britain is facing a very real food crisis

Tribune Co. Plans Sharp Cutbacks at Papers

Tribune Company newspapers like The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune will quickly cut costs – by printing fewer papers and employing fewer journalists – top company executives said on Thursday.

Samuel Zell, the chairman and chief executive of Tribune, and Randy Michaels, the company’s chief operating officer, revealed the cuts during a conference call with Wall Street analysts.

They also said the struggling company has looked at the column inches of news produced by each reporter, and by each paper’s news staff. Finding wide variation, they said, they have concluded that it could do without a large number of news employees and not lose much content.

Mr. Michaels said of the changes, “This is going to happen quickly.”

Mr. Zell said, “I promise you he’s underestimating the level of aggressiveness with which we are attacking this whole challenge.”

They said the company would aim for a 50-50 split between ads and news across all the news pages (excluding classified ads and advertising supplements). Mr. Michaels said this would mean eliminating 500 pages of news a week across all of the company’s 12 papers.

“If we take, for instance, The Los Angeles Times to a 50-50 ratio, we will be eliminating about 82 pages a week,” Mr. Michaels said, leaving the smallest papers of the week at 56 news pages.

Since being taken over in an $8.2 billion deal that took the company private in December, Tribune has downsized newspapers that had already been trimmed under the previous regime. During the call and in a note from Mr. Zell to Tribune employees, the executives signaled that bigger cuts are coming.

Mr. Michaels said that, after measuring journalists’ output, “when you get into the individuals, you find out that you can eliminate a fair number of people while eliminating not very much content.” He added that he understood that some reporting jobs naturally produce less output than others.

Read moreTribune Co. Plans Sharp Cutbacks at Papers

U.S. Media Blackout On Bilderberg 2008

The 2008 Bilderberg Meeting is now in full swing at the Westfields Marriott in Chantilly, Virginia, USA but you wouldn’t know it from the media blackout of this event by virtually all mainstream media outlets in the United States. Each year, Bilderberg hosts some of the most powerful people in North America and Europe where these individuals set and shape policies for the world. The 2008 Bilderberg Meeting is slated to run from June 5th through June 8th. Since 1954, Bilderberg has met in secrecy primarily thanks to the intentional lack of media attention paid to it. One would think that an event where over 100 of the most high profile and powerful people from North America and Europe are meeting would receive a great deal of mainstream media attention, but there is virtually none. As a result of the media blackout, only independent journalists and alternative researchers have been covering this event on a year to year basis. Due to a greater amount of attention being paid to this event, a press release on the Bilderberg Meeting was issued from a group that identified themselves as the American Friends of Bilderberg. The press release provides spin on how wonderful Bilderberg is and even provides a contact number that can be used to obtain a list of attendees. The Logan Act states that it is illegal for those holding public office in the United States to attend secret meetings like Bilderberg where policy is set. Regardless, that has not stopped people like Rick Perry from attending the 2007 Bilderberg Meeting as the sitting Texas governor. Jim Tucker, who has covered the Bilderberg meeting for over 30 years, has accurately made future predictions based upon information he has received from moles within Bilderberg. There is no doubt that policy is set at this meeting and quite frankly if you think that some of the most powerful people in the world are getting together just for laughs, you are sorely mistaken.

Below is taken directly from the press release on the Bilderberg Meeting issued by the American Friends of Bilderberg which provides positive spin for the Bilderberg Meeting.

Read moreU.S. Media Blackout On Bilderberg 2008

Bilderberg meeting attracts prominent politicians, businessmen

The 56th Bilderberg Meeting, an annual conference of influential politicians and businessmen, began Thursday in Chantilly, Virgina, according to a press release from the organization.

The Conference will end Sunday and deals mainly with a nuclear free world, cyber terrorism, Africa, Russia, finance, protectionism, US-EU relations, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Islam and Iran.

According to the press release, the meeting is private in order to encourage frank and open discussion.

About 140 participants will attend, of whom about two-thirds come from Europe and the balance from North America. About one-third is from government and politics, and two-thirds are from finance, industry, labor, education and communications.

An official list of the attendees can be found at Alex Jones’ Infowars.

Although it is an international forum, many prominent American officials and politicians attend the conference, including Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Chairman of the Federal Reserve Ben Bernanke and Paul Wolfowitz.

James Johnson, the man tasked with selecting Barack Obama’s running mate, is also on the list to attend the conference.

InfoWars also reported that Senator Barack Obama’s office has refused to deny that the Democratic nominee attended Bilderberg last night following reports that he and Hillary Clinton were present at “an event in Northern Virginia.”

Read moreBilderberg meeting attracts prominent politicians, businessmen

Oil hits new high as Israel calls strike on Iran ‘unavoidable’

Oil prices leaped to record highs yesterday as Israel warned about Iranian nuclear sites and the dollar slumped on the biggest jump in American unemployment for 22 years.

The global crude price ended a run of lower prices earlier this week as it jumped by more than $9 a barrel to $136.79 (£69.44) – it has risen by over $14, or 10%, in just two days. The week before last saw an all-time high of $135.09 a barrel but, by Wednesday this week, prices had receded to as low as $122.

Already jittery oil markets were sent into spasms by remarks from Israel’s transport minister that an attack on Iranian nuclear sites looked “unavoidable”. Iran is a big Opec oil producer and any attack on the country would threaten oil supplies from the whole region.

Prices were also boosted by a prediction from investment bank Morgan Stanley that crude prices might reach $150 by July 4.

Earlier in the day the dollar – in which oil is priced – had fallen against the euro partly on speculation that the European Central Bank might consider raising interest rates to curb inflation.

But subsequently markets were rocked by a monthly report from the US showing that unemployment suffered its biggest monthly rise since February 1986.

Shares on Wall Street dived after the US unemployment rate unexpectedly??? jumped to 5.5%, intensifying fears that the world’s biggest economy is sliding into recession.

The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 300 points, or 2.2%, to around 12,320. In London the FTSE 100 closed the week down 1.5%, or 88 points, at 5,906.

Read moreOil hits new high as Israel calls strike on Iran ‘unavoidable’

Has the Government Looted the Gold at Fort Knox?

A group called the Gold Anti-Trust Action Committee claims that the U.S. government has defrauded the American people out of the nation’s wealth. Specifically, the group claims that the U.S. has secretly sold, leased or otherwise frittered away half of its entire gold reserves to pay for past military adventures abroad and other ill-conceived actions. Furthermore, the group claims that the government has intentionally covered up this loss of gold reserves through accounting fraud.

Are they right?

Well, as described by Darryl Robert Schoon !!! in his book “How to Survive the Crisis and Prosper in the Process”:

Read moreHas the Government Looted the Gold at Fort Knox?

The Derivatives Market is Unwinding!

Worldwide, it is $596 TRILLION dollars *. The derivatives market dwarfs the real market for goods and services, and acts likes an unregulated black market.
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A couple of months ago, a financial analyst who sells derivatives told me that fears about a meltdown in the derivatives market were unfounded.
Yesterday, he told me – with a very worried look – “THE DERIVATIVES MARKET IS UNWINDING!”

What does this mean? What are derivatives and why should you care if the market is unwinding?

Well, it turns out that the reason that Bear Stearns was about to go belly-up before JP Morgan bought it is that it had held trillions of dollars in derivatives, which were about to go south. (The reason that JP Morgan was so eager to buy Bear Stearns is that it was on the other side of these derivative contracts — if Bear Stearns had gone under, JP Morgan would have taken a huge hit. But the way the derivative agreements were drafted, a purchase by JP Morgan canceled the derivative contracts, so that JP Morgan didn’t experience huge losses. That is probably why the Fed was so eager to broker – and fund – the shotgun marriage. JP Morgan is a much larger player, and if Bear’s failure had caused the derivatives hit to JP Morgan, it probably would have rippled out to the whole financial system and potentially caused an instant depression).

In addition, the subprime prime loan crisis is intimately connected to the unwinding of the derivatives market. Specifically, loans were repackaged into derivatives called collateralized debt obligations (or “CDO’s”) and sold to both big and regional banks and investment companies worldwide. The CDO’s were highly-leveraged — many times the amount of the actual loans. When the subprime loan crisis hit, the high leverage magnified the fallout, and huge sums of CDO derivatives became essentially worthless.

Do you remember when wealthy Orange County, California, went bankrupt in 1994? Yup, that was because it had invested in bad derivatives.

And, according to a recent article by one of the world’s top derivative insiders, the market for credit default swap (“CDS”) derivatives is also unraveling.

And reported just today, Lehman Brothers is now on the edge, due to exposure to derivatives.

Derivatives are the Elephant in the Living Room

The subprime mortgage crisis is bad, and is hurting many people, and slowing the economy. High oil and food prices are bad, and are hurting many people, and bringing down the economy. But — according to top insiders — derivatives are the elephant in the room . . . the single largest threat to the U.S. and world economy.

One reason is that, according to Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, the entire modern financial system is based upon derivatives, and the financial system today is entirely different from the traditional American or global financial system because derivatives – a relatively new concept – now underly the entire fabric of the financial system. In short, many of the people who know the most about derivatives say that the current system is a house of cards built upon derivatives.

Moreover, as mentioned above, the subprime and derivatives crises are closely linked. Similarly, Britian’s New Statesman newspaper links derivatives and rising food and commodity prices:

Read moreThe Derivatives Market is Unwinding!

Water crisis to be biggest world risk

A catastrophic water shortage could prove an even bigger threat to mankind this century than soaring food prices and the relentless exhaustion of energy reserves, according to a panel of global experts at the Goldman Sachs “Top Five Risks” conference.


The melting of Himalayan glaciers threatens the water supply to the world’s rivers

Nicholas (Lord) Stern, author of the Government’s Stern Review on the economics of climate change, warned that underground aquifers could run dry at the same time as melting glaciers play havoc with fresh supplies of usable water.

“The glaciers on the Himalayas are retreating, and they are the sponge that holds the water back in the rainy season. We’re facing the risk of extreme run-off, with water running straight into the Bay of Bengal and taking a lot of topsoil with it,” he said.

“A few hundred square miles of the Himalayas are the source for all the major rivers of Asia – the Ganges, the Yellow River, the Yangtze – where 3bn people live. That’s almost half the world’s population,” he said.

Lord Stern, the World Bank’s former chief economist, said governments had been slow to accept the awful truth that usable water is running out. Fresh rainfall is not enough to refill the underground water tables.

“Water is not a renewable resource. People have been mining it without restraint because it has not been priced properly,” he said.


Water sector outperformance relative to the S&P 500

Farming makes up 70pc of global water demand. Fresh water for irrigation is never returned to underground basins. Most is lost through leaks and evaporation.

A Goldman Sachs report said water was the “petroleum for the next century”, offering huge rewards for investors who know how to play the infrastructure boom. The US alone needs up to $1,000bn (£500bn) in new piping and waste water plants by 2020.

Read moreWater crisis to be biggest world risk

US banks fear $5 trillion balance impact

Accounting changes could force US banks to take thousands of billions of dollars back on to their balance sheets in the coming months in a move that is likely to curb further their lending and could push them into new capital raisings, analysts have warned.

Analysts at Citigroup said a planned tightening of the rules regarding off-balance sheet vehicles would force banks to reconsider arrangements and could result in up to $5,000bn of assets coming back on to the books.

The off-balance sheet vehicles have been used by financial institutions to keep some assets off their balance sheets, thereby avoiding the need to hold regulatory capital against them.

Birgit Specht, head of securitisation analysis at Citigroup, said: “We think it is very likely that these vehicles will come back on balance sheet.

“This will not affect liquidity because [they] are funded, but it will affect debt-to-equity ratios [at banks] and so significantly impact banks’ ability to lend.”

Ms Specht told a seminar at a conference on asset-backed securities in Cannes that the uncertainty about what might change was making banks uneasy about their investments. “Banks are not investing [in assets] right now because of funding issues and regulatory uncertainty.”

Read moreUS banks fear $5 trillion balance impact

Up to 25,000 on Wall St. face the axe, report says

NEW YORK-New York City’s financial sector might only slice 15,000 to 25,000 jobs in the current downturn, which could prove shorter than the mayor has predicted, the city comptroller said.

In contrast, the financial sector that is such a vital part of the city’s economy slashed 40,200 jobs in the previous 2000 to 2003 retreat that straddled the Sept. 11, 2001 air attacks, Comptroller William Thompson said in a report.

Battered by profit-gouging subprime mortgage loans, New York Stock Exchange member firms that do business with the public lost $7.3 billion (U.S.) last year, and the current job-losing cycle that began in August 2007 should run through March 2009, Thompson added.

Read moreUp to 25,000 on Wall St. face the axe, report says