Thousands of dairy farmers on Monday protested low prices for their product, choking traffic in the Belgian capital with their tractors and spraying European Union headquarters and police with milk. One group started a fire in the street, but despite some pushing and shoving with police, there was no major violence. Farmers from several EU nations are demanding higher prices for milk, which currently is often being sold at below production costs, threatening the survival of their farms.
If you have a farm or a small business, would you like to pass it on to your children when you die? Well, unless Congress does something, it is going to become much, much harder to do that starting next year. Right now, there is a 5 million dollar estate tax exemption and anything above that is taxed at 35 percent. But on January 1st, the exemption will go down to 1 million dollars and the tax rate will go up to 55 percent. A lot of liberals are very excited about this, because they believe that the government will be soaking wealthy people like Warren Buffett and Bill Gates. But the truth is that a lot of farms, ranches and small businesses will be absolutely devastated by this change in the tax law. There are many farmers and ranchers out there today that do not make much money but are sitting on tracts of land that are worth millions of dollars. According to the American Farm Bureau, approximately 97 percent of all farms and ranches in the United States would be subject to the estate tax if the exemption was reduced to just a million dollars. That means that the children of these farmers and ranchers would be faced with a very cruel choice when it is time to inherit these farms and ranches. Either they come up with enough money to pay the government about half of what the farm or ranch is worth, or they sell the farm or ranch that may have been in their family for generations. Needless to say, most farm and ranch families do not have that kind of cash lying around. Most of them are just barely making it from year to year. So this change in the tax law is going to greatly accelerate the death of the family farm in America. This is also going to devastate many family-owned small businesses. Many small businesses don’t make much money, but they have buildings or land or assets worth millions of dollars. Children that may have wanted to continue the family legacy will be forced to sell because of the massive tax bill that they get from Uncle Sam. This is an insidious cruelty, and it shows just how broken our system has become. Continue reading »
Our morning ritual speaks of our love affair with cotton: we throw off crisp cotton sheets, shower and dry ourselves with thick cotton towels, sweep fluffy cotton balls over our face, then slip on cotton panties, socks, t-shirts, jeans and jackets. With cotton so much in demand, we ask growers and seed developer Monsanto if the trade is fair, in a film that beats to the ancient rhythms of cotton production.
India is the world’s second largest producer, one of the largest consumers and one of the largest producers of organic cotton. Rural life revolves around it. Barefoot farmers plough their cotton fields. Traditional handlooms work the yarn – weavers working for wages their children would never accept. When the cotton is “sized” huge swathes of fabric run through the village.
Since 2002 India has replaced almost all its native varieties with genetically modified seeds – known as BT cotton – containing toxins that destroy pests. The price of cotton seed has soared from 9 rupees a kilo to a staggering 4,000. The cotton farmer’s life is a hard one; they treat their crops “like children,” since wildlife may destroy them and “man is so dependent on money.” Children toil in the fields for less than $2 a day.
Monsanto says farmers buy seeds developed with its technology as they have confidence in their yields. But Greenpeace claims GM farmers get into 80% more debt. Farmers blame suppliers when their seed turns out to be sterile: “Everything they said was a lie.” Experts examine plants and fail to find male/female parts to them. Monsanto denies its seeds carry a “Terminator” gene but Tiruvadi Jagadisan – former head of Monsanto India – alleges they do: “Introducing genetically modified seeds is murder!”Continue reading »
Two weeks ago we explained why the drought-inspired soaring price of Soybeans – specifically from the US – would notably influence global central-planners’ actions – and more specifically the Chinese (given its high impact on food price inflation). Food prices remain elevated and the PBoC is undertaking Reverse Repos – the exact opposite of an RRR-driven easing program so many expected. However, there is a further, deeper, and more troubling consequence than ‘simple’ inflationary arguments – that of social unrest. Confirming our insight, the LA Times points out,
Soybean oil is the most important edible oil in China with more than two-thirds of cooking oil consumed in China coming from soybeans – and most of those soybeans are supplied by the US (more than half of US exports are to China and the US is China’s number 1 supplier). According to one official this “makes [China] vulnerable to the drought” and bound to the fortunes of farmers in the American heartland. The Chinese devote more than 20% of their income to food (three times more than Americans – according to the USDA).
People around the world are noticing that our planet’s weather is dramatically changing. They are also beginning to notice the long lingering trails left behind airplanes that have lead millions to accept the reality of chemtrail/geoengineering programs. Could there be a connection between the trails and our severe weather? While there are many agendas associated with these damaging programs, evidence is now abundant which proves that geoengineering can be used to control weather. In this documentary you will learn how the aerosols being sprayed into our sky are used in conjunction with other technologies to control our weather. While geoengineers maintain that their models are only for the mitigation of global warming, it is now clear that they can be used as a way to consolidate an enormous amount of both monetary and political power into the hands of a few by the leverage that weather control gives certain corporations over the Earth’s natural systems. This of course, is being done at the expense of every living thing on the planet.
The parched prairies of the Midwest are facing a natural disaster not seen since the ‘dusters’ of the 1930s
The jam jar sitting on John Vannatta’s kitchen table appears to be filled with coffee, until he shows you the label on the lid. The preserve inside is history, saved from a time when black blizzards filled the sky, turning day into night; a time when Americans starved. “Pure 1930s Blow Dirt,” it reads. It might also say: don’t forget, lest it happens again.
Not that Mr Vannatta, 92 – or his neighbour Huston Hanes – needs reminding. Both retired farmers, they are members of a very small club indeed: the last survivors of that great American epic, the Dust Bowl, that spanned 1932 to 1936 and coincided with the Great Depression.
In “Why in the World Are They Spraying?,” we talk about how Monsanto has a patent on genetically engineering plants able to withstand abiotic stresses such as drought and how it stands to profit from the effects of “climate change.” Therefore, with drought conditions worsening, like any good disaster capitalist, Monsanto is about to cash in. I expected it, others expected it, and here it is… just what we’ve been expecting… Continue reading »