I don't think we can truly comprehend that number, but if it doesn't scare the living hell out of you, and make you FURIOUS, I have to doubt your intelligence and humanity.
Read the previous posts here if you're new to this. Or look here. Our faithful reader "Anonymous" sent this link to an outstanding article, with great detail, in the online English version of Der Spiegel (New York Times if you're German...)
Sharon, bless her, actually thinks we may have something here. And she's not easy to fool into blind optimism- which you can see with her post today (jeez, Sharon, I think you need to just be a little more serious about life!) :-)
If you're here reading this- we're in the "pitchforks and flaming torches mob" stage of this movement. Beyond angry. We're demanding ACTION - RIGHT NOW.
Action, in fact, is POSSIBLE- right now. We don't even have to move Congress in the US - just this weird little commission. Five presidential appointees. Just 5. They could, theoretically, ban hedge fund and index fund money in the agricultural commodities futures market- oh, this afternoon. No new money in. No re-investing money already in.
Actually, this kind of a target should be HIGHLY susceptible to the pitchforks and torches. Particularly if some of them are being carried by Senators and Representatives.
Here's what, and here's how.
A. We need a bigger mob- we're not big enough yet, even though others are moving too.
B. We need to sustain actions for the long term.
C. We need to have SPECIFIC - and realistic - actions to suggest/demand.
I'm going to give some quick answers to ALL those points right here. This IS a work in progress, though, and I'm going to be amending/adding to this post many times in the next 2 days; so check back here to see where we wind up. The first version is going to be sketchy; but it won't be sketchy when we're done. Your suggestions are wanted to- and I'll incorporate them here; put them in the comments.
A. We Need More People; More Attention;
More Discussion; More Anger.
1) There are many organizations in the world that deal with hunger- send these posts to them all; with your own comments-
2) re-email your friends; email more friends; let them know you're not quitting
3) email/call the CFTC Commissioners directly (phone #'s)
4) Call your Senators/representatives AGAIN. It counts. US Senate contact,
5) Do you know any journalists, in any of the media? Call/email- PUSH for coverage
6) Call in to any and all talk radio shows - National Public Radio, for example - and TELL IT. Tell them about the specifics- (below) - that we're asking for temporary actions- and we want half the profits already stolen to be given back- to the UN food program- now-....
7) Anybody know Larry King? :-) Get him to invite George Soros on the show for a discussion of all this... and to ask him- why not just give half back?
B. Sustaining Action Long Term
This is a big damn iceberg. It does no good to push just once. We have to keep pressure on the berg- for a long time.
1) BUDGET a little of YOUR time to work/call/email about banning speculation in food commodities. How angry are you? 15 minutes a day? 1/2 hour a week? Both of those can be hugely powerful. Set aside the time; and make sure it gets done.
2) Do you have friends locally who could be pulled in? Form a group- that MEETS, physically - once a week- to share and plan.
3) Get your church/synagogue, mosque, knitting club- to form a group
4) Link between groups- ally with other groups also acting-
5) Get the colleges and universities really involved. Many have "world hunger" groups- talk to them- get them marching- poverty groups, humanitarian groups- it's everyone's problem really, of course. Know some students? Professors ? Get in the doors, get the conversation started. And the anger.
6) Don't get us tangled up in endless "definitions" discussions. It's already happened a bit- just remember we're all on the same side here- we want profiteering stopped.
7) Don't let this drive you crazy. It's an iceberg we're pushing on, and it's not going to feel like much is happening. Budget your time- and spend time staying sane, too. I'm not converting this blog to a world hunger blog- in the next few days I'll be posting on something nice, cool, sweet. Puppies and kitties.
C. Specific - Realistic - Actions
1) Get the hungry country governments involved- and speaking up- and ACTING. How incredibly embarrassing for the USA it will be when Canada, a nation mostly of grown-ups, takes action and bans speculative money in commodities markets NOW. Or- Sweden. Or- China.
2) DEMAND ACTION NOW!! There is NO excuse for not acting. The advent of all this speculative money skewing the markets is RECENT. As an INTERIM; TEMPORARY action- have the markets REVERT to the previous situation - FOR TWO MONTHS, only. During those two months, we'll have time to think- and WATCH the markets when some of these pressures are removed.
3) FOCUS ON TEMPORARY EMERGENCY ACTION . The profiteer opponents are already screaming "just let the market work!" - (translation - let us make more money yet, before we change things). NO. People ARE DYING - stop it NOW. Make ANY action taken specifically temporary- and reversible.
4) ADD ENERGY SPECULATION to the demands- it's tied together, as we all know. Farmers can't afford seed, or fertilizer; food can't be shipped where it's needed. Hedge funds have been dumping billions into oil futures, too. Driving the price higher. It's in the postitive feedback bubble stage now- price goes up? More billionaires invest- driving it up- etc. Finally - an article stating that clearly by a US journalist - Energy Bubble - which nonetheless fails add 2 and 2 together. The price of oil is killing economies. Airlines have died, recently- and it's tied in like crazy to the cost of food. It's got to stop.
5) WHAT WE WANT: is NOT the closure of the ag futures markets - but the exclusion of the billions of dollars being pumped in just for profit - and/or for hedging against the falling dollar. Both are hugely destructive processes- regardless of details.
6) CALL FOR FULL CONGRESSIONAL HEARINGS/INVESTIGATIONS NOW; in all Houses; House, Senate, Commons, Lords, Whatever.
7) DEMAND THE REPAYMENT OF PROFITS already extracted from these markets by outside profiteers. (no, we probably won't get it; but boy I guarantee they'll pay attention to it when it's put on the list of what happens next!) Why the hell don't some of those hedge fund managers who took BILLIONS in payment just - GIVE BACK HALF - to the UN food program?? LET'S ASK THEM.
GIVE BACK HALF - TODAY.
Can't wait to hear their answers as to why they just can't. (sorry, but I NEED all 2 billion, for my kids' college...)
8) Organize, launch some ACTUAL demonstrations- MARCH - down the streets in the financial districts- Signs saying "MURDERERS!!" and "100 MILLION MORE STARVING!!" and "NO FUTURE for the World in Futures!!" and "JUST GIVE HALF BACK- NOW!!" and name names- "JOHN PAULSON - JUST GIVE HALF BACK!" "JAMES SIMMONS - JUST GIVE HALF BACK!" "GEORGE SOROS - JUST GIVE HALF BACK!!" Soros actually - might. Which would set an example for the others they'd be hard pressed to ignore. Can you say, "huge news"?
Please comment here- suggestions- your actions. It's HELPING. I guarantee.
Are YOU, personally, supposed to pick up and do ALL this? No, really. Very few of us could. For those with the passion- please go for it! But for most of us- it'll be a matter of that 15 minutes- and one or two actions. But do keep your mind open for opportunities. And keep your ammunition ready.
New links: Reuters: UN food costs and requests for help up