Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Food, Fuel and Bio-fuel, Part 2

"U.N. Warns Food Shortage Will Continue Up To 2010"
"Price Shock In Global Food"
"Seattle Food Bank Facing Its Own Rice Shortage"
"Wales Warning of Food Shortage"
"Food Prices Rising, But No Shortage In US"
"UN Says Gaza Facing Food Shortage"
"Forget Oil, the New Global Crisis Is Food"

Sounds sort of surreal and shocking, doesn't it? But it's where we are... The UN's WFP (World Food Program) data shows that prices of some food rose by up to 40 percent last year in many nations, citing that the escalating energy and grain costs, the effects of climate change and demand for bio-fuel are primarily responsible for the soaring prices. Josette Sheeran of the WFP says that it "is not a short-term bubble and will definitely continue." She did say this while briefing the European Parliament and asking for vast sums of money for the program, but she probably has a point. 

Food is an issue. The demand for bio-fuel (which I loosely covered in Part 1) is a contributing factor. Droughts in some areas, floods in others is also a contributing factor. Weather extremes such as this are not conducive to growing healthy crops. People in the East are clamoring for a lifestyle that more closely resembles that of the West, which means more driving and more meat eating. The amount of grain necessary to feed livestock is taking away from the grain available to feed people around the world. Supply and demand... demand is high, price goes up. 

So I was asked how I think all this will affect the general election this year... 

Well, it might not affect it at all. Simply put, most people don't have a real grasp on what's going on... the majority of people in the United States vote based on the sound bytes they hear on the news and in television commercials or what they hear from family and friends. There are some people who vote strictly based on party affiliation - and because their entire family has voted either Republican or Democrat for generations. 

But I think the issues of food, of grain, of bio-fuel, of clean energy, of gas prices, etc... those ISSUES will affect the election. But who will benefit? Who will lose out? Well, who can tell the prettiest lies? We know Hillary is able to tell lies... but she doesn't tell pretty ones, and she doesn't do it well. We know that Barack can tell a whopper or two... and some of his even put on some nice clothes and makeup, but they're not really pretty lies, either. John McCain can lie to achieve his ends... but I honestly don't know how pretty he can make them, mostly because I still can't manage to make myself stay awake while he's talking. 

But the truth is, no matter who is elected come November, the food crisis, the oil crisis, the "global warming" crisis, and any other "crisis" that can be dreamed up between then and now, won't be fixed. This is due, in part, to the fact that some of these crises are manufactured by politicians (if I hear the term "scientific consensus" one more time, I'm going to flip my lid). Government is itself responsible for some of the food crisis. Last time I checked, our government was paying subsidies to farmers in an effort to limit the amount of food they grow. Government is also responsible for the idiotic idea of using our tax dollars to make gasoline from corn... and not only are they not considering putting a stop to this, they are considering putting MORE of our tax dollars into that business. 

So, here's what I think. 

Barack Obama will speak to some of these issues... he'll talk about the gas prices and let everybody know that he's not in bed with "BIG OIL." If he talks about the food shortage, he will make sure that everybody understands that he's for change - and that means taking care of feeding the poor. And he will talk about how global warming is a serious issue affecting all of us - and we need to pull together, black and white, to solve this dilemma.

Hillary Clinton will talk about how the Bush administration's failed policies are what brought us to this point and she will take us back to the prosperity and plentiful food and cheap fuel of the 90's. Any time anybody asks her a question about any of these issues she will say, "You know, back in the 90's when my husband was President, we didn't see food shortages. Gas prices were at an all time low. And Global Warming was almost unheard of. I intend to bring us back to the progressive times we shared then!"

John McCain? I'm not sure what he'll say, but I'll do my best to stay awake this time.

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