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April 2, 2009

G20 Gives Super Powers To The IMF

imf  The International Monetary Fund has received super financial powers at the G20 meetings and it seems to me that we might be on our way to a New World Financial Order.

Let me say that I am not a financial whiz by ANY stretch of the imagination.  I’m just reading between the lines and trying to explain what I see with my limited financial vocabulary.  If you’re a financial expert and see any mistakes I made I would appreciate it if you let me know.

The IMF is a group of 185 countries who contribute money to a ‘pool’ and members can borrow from the pool on a temporary basis.  All UN member countries contribute to the IMF except for Taiwan, North Korea, Cuba, Andorra, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Tuvalu, and Nauru. The IMF was set up in 1944 to help countries who get into short-term financial crises because they don’t have enough currency to pay their bills — it offers short-term loans to help those countries get through financially difficult times.

Like the financial bailouts here in America, if you have to borrow from the IMF then you give up some of your independence and power.  Once you borrow from the IMF it imposes strict conditions on countries that take out a ‘loan’ — for example, strict requirements that the borrowing countries cut their budget deficits.

Initially it was mostly European countries that turned to the IMF for help. But as you can imagine in recent years developing countries have been forced to ask for help since times are especially hard and with more countries going to the IMF for financial assistance its supply of funds is dwindling fast.

Because of this the G20 has decided that the IMF should have more money for loans.  The G20 wants the IMF to have enough money in its coffers to triple its lending and ensure that it has enough money to offer loans to needy countries. New monies for the IMF would come from member countries. So far both Japan and the EU have already committed to loan the IMF $100 billion each. 

Right now the IMF is trying something new, instead of waiting for countries to get into financial difficulties the IMF is now offering countries a line of credit to help them protect their currencies before they fall on their financial knees. Up until now countries were reluctant to ask for this kind of loan since the financial markets would get worried that they were a big risk and react negatively toward these countries. Mexico is the first country to ask for this kind of bridge loan and the stigma once associated with kind of loan seems to have vanished — another sign of the times. Most of these funds will be available to middle income countries that have relatively sound economies.

The G20 leaders also agreed on a revolutionary move that will give individual countries an additional $250 billion in available and accessible (liquid) funds. These countries would be able to create more of their own currency supported by the SDR or special drawing right.  The SDR is an international reserve currency that operates as a supplement to existing reserve assets. This new initiative would give countries essentially free money, which they could use as they wish without having to negotiate deals with the IMF, and would do much to boost confidence among poorer and developing countries.

In the past Germany has been against this kind of assistance since creating money is inflationary. But in the current deflationary climate Germany seems to be lifting their opposition.

The IMF is also developing an early warning system for financial problems and taking a larger role in looking at the problems of the financial sector as a whole, in conjunction with a new global regulator the Financial Services Board in hopes of helping to prevent future world wide crisis.

In 2012 there will be another HUGE change at the IMF – they will evaluate their voting structure which could lead to the US losing its veto power.  At the same time China (Russia’s cousin) and other up-and-coming countries would have greater influence.

It has also been decided that going forward the tradition that the World Bank and IMF must be headed by an American and a European respectively will be abandoned and will be open to any member state .  In return China will lend some of its reserves to the IMF and China will also continue to lobby that the SDR will become a real reserve currency that will ultimately replace the dollar.

The changes to the capital and the role of the IMF are historic and perhaps the most important outcome of the G20 summit and it seems to me that this is a move towards a more global system of international finance and maybe a global currency.


March 15, 2009

US Food Safety — Currently ONLY 5% Of Food Processing Plants & Warehouses Inspected!

fda-eat-safely1The Republican Party is full of prophets. 

During his administration President George W. Bush thought that our financial institutions and corporations could and would adequately police themselves so he squashed or crippled agencies created to enforce governmental standards. Then Bush let the corporations redefine and rewrite the standards they should uphold and now it is almost impossible to prosecute these same corporations for breaking the laws because they wrote the laws and know how to get around the laws.  Now we find America in the midst of a preventable economic meltdown. 

When our country started to crumble because of lack of regulation and poor government management by the Republicans, the Republicans couldn’t see the forest from the trees and quickly and gleefully started chirping, tweeting and twittering that government does not work and government cannot do anything right – becoming self-fulfilling prophets.

By proclaiming that government does not work the Republicans were admitting loudly and publically that they believed themselves to be an across-the-board colossal failure, flop and a fiasco.

The United States is suppose to have one of the world’s safest food supplies, thanks in large part to an interlocking monitoring system that watches over our food production and distribution at every level — locally, statewide and nationally.

Continual monitoring is to be provided by food inspectors, microbiologists, epidemiologists, and other food scientists working for city and county health departments, state public health agencies, and various federal departments and agencies. Their precise duties are dictated by local, state and national laws, guidelines and other directives. Some monitor only one kind of food, such as milk or seafood. Others work strictly within a specified geographic area. Others are responsible for only one type of food establishment, such as restaurants or meat-packing plants. Together they make up the U.S. food safety team. The Clinton administration’s Food Safety Initiative which began in 1997 strengthened the efforts of all the members of the United State’s food safety team in the fight against food-borne illness, which badly affects between 6.5 million and 33 million Americans every year.

In 1988 a major initiative by the Department of Health and Human Services which includes FDA, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Environmental Protection Agency signed a memorandum of understanding to create a Food Outbreak Response Coordinating Group, or FORC-G. This great initiative was taken apart piece by piece under the mismanagement and negligence of the George W. Bush administration and Americans found our self in the midst of crisis after crisis with new and emerging threats to the U.S. from China — from toys to pet food to baby formula.  We also learned that it wasn’t just Chinese food and drug imports that could kill us — many of those bargain priced products (baby furniture, baby clothes, toothpaste, etc.) you and I picked up at WalMart, Target or Sam’s Club could hurt us or cause serious accidents. It seems to me that George W. Bush was criminally negligent because he gave his unqualified buddies these very important government jobs.  He gave his cronies jobs to govern these life altering agencies that are vital to the well-being of every American and his incompetent friends screwed up royally.

During the George W administration we also learned that arsenic, a poison and a carcinogen (a substance that produces cancer) commonly found in groundwater, is strongly linked with the onset of diabetes in adults.  Arsenic increases the risk of bladder cancer, lung, kidney, skin, and possibly prostate cancer.

Dr. Navas-Acien and colleagues at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore found a “relatively strong” association between levels of arsenic commonly found in the urine of patients with type-2 diabetes in a study of adult Americans.

Navas said that there can be no safe level of arsenic.  20% of the nearly 800 participants in the John Hopkins study who had more arsenic in their bodies are 3.6 times more at risk of developing diabetes later in life than those in the 20% with the less amount of arsenic in their bodies.

Arsenic levels are 26% higher in people with diabetes or late development of type-2 diabetes than people without the disease the study found.

The U.S. government sets a limit of 10 micrograms of arsenic per liter (about the size of an individual bottle of spring water) in water Americans consume but that level is exceeded by about 13 million Americans plus arsenic accumulates in our bodies.  The accumulation of arsenic in our body ruins the body’s ability to use insulin and perform the vital task of converting blood sugar into energy.

President Obama is a thinking President who believes in social, economic and political reform that will make United States live up to its promises to the American people that are outlined in the Declaration of Independence and made legal in The Constitution of America.  The first sentence of our constitution states:

We the People of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

President Obama is striving to fulfill the promises of our constitution and shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon and Republicans obviously can’t keep up with him.  If Republicans are unable to keep up with President Barack Obama then we as Americans who love our country should help Republicans find another line of work by voting them out of office in 2010. 

I am so pleased that Barack Obama is our President. For eight years we were paying taxes without any representation. Once again we have a President who is working for the people of America.


August 2, 2008

Olympics – China To Athletes: “WIN Gold At Any Cost For Motherland”

  China assembled its elite athletes for their final rally before the Olympics, earlier this week; their orders from the government were clear and urgent:  “To achieve Olympic glory for the motherland is the sacred mission ordered by Communist Party Central,” Sports Minister Liu Peng told the 639 hand-picked Olympic athletes in their newly issued red-and-yellow uniforms.

“We have to fulfill our historic responsibility,” he exhorted the Chinese Olympians in his speech at a vast government meeting hall.

The Chinese athletes will be under enormous pressure to fulfill the country’s expectations in Beijing when the Olympics begin. Nothing less than gold – and plenty of it – will be acceptable.

Most experts are predicting China will top the gold-medal table, pushing ahead of the United States for the first time. It’s an extraordinary achievement for a country that did not even join the Olympics until 1984. Home advantage is far from the only reason for its expected success.

China has poured massive resources into its Olympic program in the past eight years. Its team this year is the biggest and strongest in its history, with twice as many athletes as it sent to the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Its annual sports budget has increased exponentially since 2001. It has hired more than 50 foreign coaches since the last Olympics in 2004, including top coaches from Europe, North America, Australia and the former Soviet Bloc.


Olympics – Basketball: USA Redeem Team 3-0, Looking Really Good

 Team U.S. A has arrived in Macau, China.  Macau is on the SE coast of China just a 50 minute ferry ride SW of Hong Kong and a three hour flight to Beijing.  Macau was both the first and the last European colony in China.  Portuguese traders first settled in Macau in the 16th century and subsequently administered the region until the ‘handover’ on December 20, 1999.  Macau is the most densely populated region in the world; with a population density of 18,428 persons per kilometer (one kilometer is .062 of a mile). 

Five percent of Macau’s population is Chinese; another two percent is of mixed Chinese/Portuguese descent, an ethnic group often referred to as Macanese. Macau is believed to have the best food on the Chinese continent and Macau is clean and fog free!

Before they arrived in China, Team USA had their exhibition opener against Canada.  They scored, they dazzled and they dunked – they beat Canada 120-65.  Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Michael Redd each had game-high total of 20 points each.

 Kobe Bryant played 23 minutes and scored 15 points, making six of 10 shots.  The U.S. shot 65.7%, Canada just 33.3%. The rebounding department was equally one-sided, the U.S. outrebounding Canada, 38-24.


July 15, 2008

Frankenstein Weather? China May Artificially Change Weather For The Olympics

Xinhua, BEIJING — If bad weather threatens the August 8 opening of Beijing’s Olympic Games, then meteorologists may change the weather, according to a Chinese meteorology official. CHINESE scientific research weather experts say they have stopped the rain from falling in experiments aimed at guaranteeing a dry opening ceremony at Augusts’ Olympic Games.

With no roof on the showpiece Bird’s Nest stadium, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau has been charged with developing methods of preventing wet weather spoiling what promises to be a spectacular start to the Games on the evening of August 8.
“Our experiments with rain mitigation have been aimed at light rain,” said Zhang Qian, head of weather manipulation at the bureau.

“With heavy rain it is more difficult. The results with light rain have been satisfactory.”

Ms. Qian said different strategies were used to stop rain on different types of clouds, but both had proved not to harm the environment.

“For cold clouds below zero degrees, we use a coolant made from liquid nitrogen to increase the number of droplets while decreasing their mean size,” she said.

“As a result, the smaller droplets are less likely to fall and precipitation can be reduced. For clouds above zero degrees we use the seeding agent silver iodide to accelerate the droplets’ collision and coalescence, producing a downdraft which suppresses the formation of clouds.”

China has long used weather manipulation to increase rainfall in the parched north of the country, firing seeding agents into the clouds using anti-aircraft guns.

This method might also be used to prevent wet weather at the stadium by inducing the rain to fall before it reached the target area.

The weather bureau is also working hard on preparing for one of the pre-Games highlights, the ascent of the Olympic torch to the top of Mount Everest.

“We will have very detailed forecasts,” Mr. Wang said. “We will be able to tell the organizers: the winds are too strong, you cannot do it on this day, or, you can do it on this day.”





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