Open Thread

An Angel On My Shoulder

There we were – focussed on a political tsunami across South America and Chris B has to raise the subject of genetically modified foods.

Then our inimitable Kirribilli Removals (KR) throws in a rebuttal and Enemy Combatant (EC) throws a counter argument and things escalate (go figure). Thing is – there are multiple valid positions here.

Me? I appreciate food, I understand the construction of that instance when food enters you mouth and your brain takes a moment to pause – the ambient noise dissipates and for a few moments you recognise that while Italian opera is good, Italian cuisine is better. But KR is throwing up the lowest common denominator – the solution to feed the masses on GM based crops. KR is right – but if KR is right we are simultaneously selling our souls.

70 minutter, efter at have begået dem. Planter, Køb Kamagra Cialis og Viagra u… som besidder en lagdelt generic viagra ramme priser.

I like locally grown fresh vegetables (and I like British aged beef but that’s another subject). I like going to a restaurant that has a vegetable patch with 45 different vegetables on offer and 145 different varieties (and it happens to be a French restaurant in France). I like vegetables that are really fresh (and I’m talking hours from harvest). I love diversity – a cross between a Coz and a Buttherhead is just entertainment in the making.

What I don’t like is the feeling that the agriculture business is our next incarnation of an unregulated financial market. And I figure KR has a feeling for where this could be taking us to and I hoping EC is the angel on KR’s shoulder.

526 replies on “An Angel On My Shoulder”

Ah, Cat, what a stoush it was! There’s not a big picture gal or guy in cyberspace who wouldn’t have enjoyed it. Chris B’s enthusiasm was not only responsible for the thread itself but also for the free and frank exchange on the ramifications of widespread GM tucker…. as well as getting Flaneur involved. Take a bow, Chris B!

Let’s see now….not sure this is my job description……
will give it a flutter for now, though 🙂

Bill Maher proffers, “we’re McDonalds with tanks” in this clip which is unlikely to be a ratings winner in Japan. Still, having authors of little faith like Rushdie and Hitchens on the panel together demonstates Bill’s deep and abiding commitment to scepticism.

Cat- my mouth still waters when I remember the exquisite flavour of freshly picked tiny strawberries in some remote small village restaurant in France, grown just outside their back door. Bliss!
Coming from a long line of commercial horticulturists,(who grew the hardy/edible and not necessarily the tastiest/nutritious 🙂 ) I was initially thrilled with the ‘global good’ and ‘full bellies’ prospect of GM.
However, as is usual with anything that seems too good to be true, these are some of my concerns:
– irreversability
– corporatisation of seed
– GM becoming weed
– research limited in time/criteria
– future reduction of diversity
– litigation, as in David&Goliath
The tobacco industry succesfully slipped under the radar and still continues to make trillions despite the toxicity of their product, showing that the cash cow wins over the health of it’s populace when it comes to govts.
That horse has bolted, but we can still hold the reins on GM food – I’m balanced on the fence, and concerned they may set it free without anticipating all the consequences. Technology’s consequences can take years to become evident.There are already enough troubling health issues such as the frightening increase recently in autism-related conditions in our very young, where no cause has yet been found. Neurological consequences are so much harder to trace.
Can understand Kirri’s ‘fed-uppedness’ tilling organic fields in 70’s….been there,done that….but the huge agri business at work these days is not a pretty sight either.
The future matter of choice is what bothers me most..if I don’t want to eat GM food ,I should not have to.
And, I feel it is our ‘duty of care’ to be cautious as this will affect generations to come.
But I do look forward to the introduction of GM modified fire-resistant Eucalypts.

In an effort to answer Flaneurs back of the envelope numbers:

International Food Policy Research Institute data is very clear, with lots of nice graphs. Here are the salient points:

1. About 98 percent of the increase in world population between 1995 and 2020 will occur in the developing world. The absolute population increase will be largest in Asia, 1.1 billion, but the relative increase will be greatest in Sub-Saharan Africa, 80 percent.

4. Global demand for cereals is projected to increase by 39 percent between 1995 and 2020 to reach 2,466 million tons.

8. Per capita demand for meat is projected to increase by 40 percent in the developing world between 1995 and 2020. The increase will be largest in East Asia and smallest in South Asia. By 2020 East Asia’s per capita demand for meat would be as much as seven times that of South Asia.

9. The world’s farmers will have to produce 40 percent more grain in 2020. Increases in cultivated areas are expected to contribute only one-fifth of the global cereal production needed to meet demand between 1995 and 2020. Higher crop yields will be required to bring about the necessary production increases.

10. Growth in farmers’ cereal yields is slowing in both developed and developing countries from the heyday of the Green Revolution in the 1970s.

20. The depletion of nutrients from Africa’s agricultural soils is contributing to stagnant or declining crop production. Over 8 million tons of nutrients are lost every year, representing a total loss of US$1.5 billion per year.

21. Fertilizer use has increased in both developed and developing countries, but growth was much faster in developing countries, which increased their share of global fertilizer consumption from 10 percent in 1959/60 to 43 percent in 1989/90. By 2020 fertilizer demand in developing countries is forecast to reach 122 million tons.


There’s also some sobering statistics on malnutrition in Sub Saharan Africa and Asia which move the discussion from the academic to the really tragic.

From the above figures it is clear that in the areas that matter, food production is going to need to increase dramatically to keep pace with population growth and it will be a significant challenge.

My argument is that GM will be part of that solution, and the hysterical rejection of GM on quasi-religious or anti-corporate grounds is going to make implementation of GM so much harder. There’s already been a third world reaction, based largely on the false claims of Western ‘protestors’ so that the ludicrous situation of a country rejecting aid supplies of GM rice let their population starve instead. Vitamin A enhanced rice that would save thousands of lives per year and raise the health of millions has already been blocked by African states on the same irrational fears.

In my humble opinion, this is a tragic outcome for millions.

But it can get worse, and probably will.

As for Catrina’s ‘lowest common denominator’ quip, I’d answer with: “imagine yourself in the lowest calorie intake percentile” and then ask if you’re against GM food IF it helps to raise your calorie input?

I do find it a bit depressing that for a population that suffers from way too much eating we find reasons to argue against food technology on the grounds that it MIGHT cause some as yet unspecified health problem despite the fact that none has occurred in any proven medical examination.

It’s the modern equivalent of ‘let them eat cake’ but no one would ever consider themselves French aristocrats.

As for fresh food, local grown, and the whole urban agriculture thing, I’m ALL for it. Recycle and reclaim land, yep, use rooftop hydroponics (the BEST lettuce I’ve eaten recently) and any technology that reduces our ‘footprint’, but also realise that these ideas are NOT going to feed Africa or Asia now, nor the millions of new mouths in the coming decades.

Harry H

A good explanation of the situation re the US banks is on the last page of this ex IMF guys article:

…it’s clear and covers the salient points.

Having said that, the whole thing is a game in progress with Obama throwing down the gauntlet to the auto industry. Is he flagging further tough love with the banks?

It is possible. Bank stocks got hit last night too, so the punters may be expecting some action here.

But Geithner’s rhetoric is still sounding like they will ‘lend a helping hand’ rather than takeover and force change:

“Some banks are going to need large amounts of assistance,” the Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, said Sunday, “and we’re going to make sure that assistance comes with conditions designed to make sure they restructure, provide accountability for management and ensure that these institutions are cleaner and stronger going forward.”

(NY Times)

But according to the IMF guy, if you covered the name of the country and showed the numbers to any IMF old timers they’d say the same thing: nationalise the banks and raise taxes.

So they were happy to give tough love to every little country that got into trouble, but now they’ve committed the same mistakes on a grand scale they refuse to take the medicine that always fixes it.

Power of the oligarchs and the incestuous inbreeding between Wall Street and Washington appears to have sapped the will or lowered the IQ or something similar! LOL


I agree with you completely on GM food. I think that it is an anti-science reaction, personally, which is having the same effect in the third world as anti-vaccination campaigns.

If you think Madoff could do a good scam, then remember the US banks which said they had a ‘profitable’ month recently? Well, and AIG insider has sent a long email explaining what happened in full detail, which is pretty much acronym soup for most of us, but the meaty bit is spelled out in simple letters here:

What this all means is that the statements by major banks, i.e. JPM, Citi, and BofA, regarding abnormal profitability in January and February were true, however these profits were 1) one-time in nature due to wholesale unwinds of AIG portfolios, 2) entirely at the expense of AIG, and thus taxpayers, 3) executed with Tim Geithner’s (and thus the administration’s) full knowledge and intent, 4) were basically a transfer of money from taxpayers to banks (in yet another form) using AIG as an intermediary.

…so the market rallied and the suckers got skinned raw yet again.

Ponzi schemes like this make Madoff look like a boy scout.

It is freakin’ criminal what’s going down over there, and by everything Geithner says, they aren’t going to stop it until the USA is swallowed by the vortex the banks have created.


I still do not understand how nationalising the banks would help. Wouldn’t that be simply yet another way of transferring the massive debt that these banks have straight to the taxpayer?

Sure, you could put in place all sorts of rules about how they operate and have direct control. But wouldn’t these rules stifle lending and thus slow the economy even more? And how do you get rid of the debt without lending and thus investing in things that offer reasonable returns?

DG, you need to read at least this page:

…and realise there are no ‘easy’ solutions, just tough ones and very, very bad ones.

Writing off the shareholders and wiping out the bondholders is essential to starting from a clean slate, but their power over Washington is ENORMOUS. So the people who kept these organisations going on their destructive paths are the very ones who are stopping the government from calling time on it.

Instead of giving these players the tough love, they are giving handouts which are NOT big enough to fix the solvency issue and are keeping credit markets in dislocation.

If the Federal government took over the big banks, set aside the dodgy assets and held them apart while breaking up and restructuring the viable bits of the banks, some of those assets will have some value when property markets stabilise, but that is not the main issue.

Essentially Geithner is trying to reflate the economy by pumping billions and billions into insolvent institutions that will not lend it because they are distressed. The Fed and Treasury cannot cover these losses so it will not solve the problem. Also, the longer the recession goes on, the deeper the banks losses become, so time is of the essence here.

There’s no faith in the US banks, DESPITE the massive injections by the Treasury and Fed, but had they taken over the banks, ie bought their entire stock at market prices, then sidelined their toxic assets, these institutions would have 100% government guarantee and could be functioning with full confidence.

And this would have cost a fraction of what they have poured down the toilet so far! And they ain’t stopped yet!

So why didn’t they?

Simply, the power of the oligarchs who are so up Washington’s arse they control its brain, to put it crudely. Look, if this was Russia we were talking about, it would be universally accepted that they should take these institutions from the oligarchs for the stability of their economy. But in the USA?

Undreamed of. That’s the problem. It is mostly about raw power and the power of a ‘private capital is best’ ideology despite the stark evidence that it has FAILED in the most spectacular manner.

Geithner is trying to put Humpty Dumpty back to together again, but it is literally impossible.

This is headed to hell in a handbasket, and the Czech minister was more right than not.

But aren’t the shareholders of the banks mainly major corporations? If they are wiped out, then isn’t there simply a further domino effect?

I understand that there are no good solutions here. But I still cannot see how nationalising the banks is better than other solutions.

Yes, precisely DG, corporations who ‘own’ Washington. They will lose both control and money, but it’s either them or the taxpayer (and the latter is mostly NOT to blame for what has occured). This would spread the losses amongst those who are largely at fault, either due to direct influence or lousy oversight, and while it may be painful, so is pouring taxpayer’s money into a black hole because these institutions are ‘too big to fail’.

Well they should never have become so big in the first place. They went from 6% of corporate profits to 40% recently and yet no one asked how does this happen? Why are these people earning astronomical salaries, how is these ginormous bets being covered?

It was systemic failure, and the perpetrators, so far, are NOT the ones being taken out. This is wrong both morally and in remedial terms, in my opinion. Talk about feeding moral hazard!

Until Citi and BoA et al get the General Motors treatment, CEO’s are removed and the companies put into bankruptcy, this ‘re-inflation’ is smoke and mirrors for the benefit of the perpetrators and will prolong and worsen the crisis.

I think HarryH is right, this will fester until the US Federal government is forced to take over the banks (well via the FDIC in the same manner it is doing almost weekly to very many smaller banks).

Sorry, but the notion that government should not take over banks is wrong because they already do…but they are shit scared of the big ones for lots of reasons which are, in my opinion, the wrong ones.

Further on GM foods, all food is genetically modified. This is what is known as ‘evolution’. In the case of crops grown for food, human need has been the main selecting factor in evolution since the agricultural revolution. This includes the deliberate manipulation of crops through crossbreeding.

Everything that you eat has been genetically modified. The only difference is that today we can do it at much faster speeds.

As to the corporatisation of food, um, that’s already happened, folks. It happened decades ago, and the transitition from your friendly neighbourhood farmer to multinational corporations had absolutely nothing to do with genetic modification of the products.

Again, KR, if these major corporations fail, who will lose their jobs, their pension funds, their investments? Ordinary people.

IMO, *that* is why government’s are scared, not because of corporate influence. In Australia, Labor is absolutely shit scared that unemployment will topple them. They will do pretty much anything to keep unemployment to a minimum. I am pretty sure that this is Obama’s fear, too.

It is easy to say, ‘Oh, let them fail, because they are owned by rich bastards who got us into this mess.’ But that ignores the consequences of letting them fail, which will fall on ordinary people in many other ways.

Basically, the way I see it is that there is a choice between letting ordinary people suffer and letting ordinary people suffer. The difference is in the immediacy of it. The government propping up these banks delays the suffering (some of it, at any rate). And that increases the likelihood of the government getting re-elected.

America is broken, and it’s broken because they’ve allowed the big financial institutions to own government and make it a slave to their interests, and whilst everything ‘seemed’ to be going along well, nobody could stop this. (Many individuals could see it was wrong, but powerful people from Greenspan to congressmen, silenced them one way or another).

Now that it’s utterly failed, there is only one way to go: break the power of these institutions now, or be enthralled by them until they screw up again. And screwing up is coded into their DNA, they are casinos, testosterone fueled jet engines for dreaming up wild schemes to make money on a scale that’s impossible to imagine. All of this is madness and has been so proven by recent events.

To not clip the wings of these institutions, but to try and tape the wings back on with copious amounts of taxpayer’s glue (ie money) is madness. They ain’t gonna fly straight this time either, and no sane person with any understanding of why they are in this mess would conclude otherwise.

So why is Obama letting Geithner apply the glue pot so liberally (to strain a metaphor!)? They are all part of the problem, they are all ‘owned’ by Wall Street, and the power over them is much too strong. They feel they are all on that plane, and they are desperate to keep it in the air when all the evidence is saying they must take a crash landing as soon as possible and then salvage what they can. The higher they try to get this clapped out bird, the bigger the fall, the harder the crash.

Like Krugman, I despair.

Thanks for that (Comment #3) Kirribilli Removals.

On the assertion that GM is the only way solve the problem, I think you may find this article informative:

The basic summary is:

However, under more realistic assumptions—that a switch to organic agriculture would mean the relatively lower developed world yield ratios would apply to production in the developed world and the relatively higher developing world yield ratios would apply to production in the developing world—the result was an astounding 4,381 kcal/person/day, a caloric availability more than sufficient for today’s population. Indeed, it would be more than enough to support an estimated population peak of around 10-11 billion people by the year 2100.

And on the corporatisation of food:

Critics and proponents of organic agriculture alike can agree that there are serious problems in a food system that produces more than sufficient calories worldwide, but still has 840 million people who cannot acquire enough food for their basic needs. Though the discussion regarding organic agriculture is certainly not over, if it is to address world hunger, it cannot avoid food sovereignty: people’s right to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, no matter how much is produced. This implies the democratization of our food systems—not their further industrialization.

DG, the result of nationalising the big banks would be tough on some, but pouring money into a black hole will be tough on everybody. Taking the hard course, short term, or the slow lingering death is one of courage over pressure from huge vested interests who have patently not served the general good.

Why should taxpayers cough up?

It’s ironic that on the one hand you applaud private capital, ‘free enterprise’, but the moment banks have lost a trillion dollars in lousy gambles, you think the public should shore them up?


Why should the public underwrite this mess? By what logic is the public responsible?

I actually don’t think nationalising the banks would be any worse than were they are going. If credit markets fail to ease the destruction will be even more protracted and severe, as it will stop all growth. On the other hand, taking over the banks will at least remove the insolvency question and get things moving again, albeit on a smaller scale to begin with.

But transferring the loss to the taxpayer while at the same time leaving these institutions to continue as before (which largely they will, just watch!) is bordering on madness.


I do not necessarily think that the banks should be supported with taxpayer funds.

Indeed, what is wrong with, for example, doing nothing at all?

How would letting everything that is broken fall over compare with nationalising or propping up? It would certainly cost the taxpayer the least amount of money – ie, none.

The main reason that I think that on balance the banks do need to be supported in some fashion – whether nationalisation or taxpayer funds – is that the consequences of letting them fail would for ordinary people simply be too great.

Simply letting the companies that own the bank cop the losses – which means lots of people losing their jobs and lots of people losing their pensions – does not seem to me to be the compassionate option. As a taxpayer, I want to support those in trouble, rather than simply saying, ‘Well, screw you – I don’t want to pay extra taxes for the next 30 years.’

It seems to me that nationalising the banks is a recipe for a massive surge in unemployment “*now*. Am I wrong in thinking this?

As to letting the companies largely continue as before, I agree that that is a problem. But don’t some of the rules that Geithner has laid out mitigate against this somewhat? Isn’t that what Krugman himself has said?

Of course, if the failure of these banks is unavoidable then nationalising becomes the only option. That is probably the point that I am missing.

KR @ 16 “……On the other hand, taking over the banks will at least remove the insolvency question and get things moving again, albeit on a smaller scale to begin with.”

But would nationalization remove the insolvency question? The sums involved are huge, and the resources of the US Government are certainly finite. Fannie and Freddie have effectively been nationalized, and yet have been dumped as an asset class by reserve banks all round the world. If the US Treasury were to say, effectively, we are going to guarantee – say – even 70% of the assets in the US banking system, how long would the dollar last as an asset? I would say about 30 seconds. Nationalization will be taken as an admission that the system cannot be fixed – that the private capital markets cannot be nursed or cranked back into action. Any doubt about the ability of the US Treasury to support its liabilities would profoundly jeopardize the system of international foreign exchange reserves and intensify the very very difficult circumstances already so noticeable in global trade. At a stroke, the current recession would become the super-depression.

It is very easy to call for nationalization. But nationalization just transfers all the solvency burdens to the public treasury. This is ok as long as there is an IMF on hand to support whichever national treasury is affected. Clearly, the IMF at the moment would be hard-pressed to support any G7 economy, let alone the USA.

There is no “return to go” card in this game for the US and for the global capital market system. Quite obviously, the US can expect no help from the Europeans, who, as usual, are hoping for a free ride. The UK cannot help – and in fact is more likely to be supplicant than a benefactor. The Japan economy is on the point of having to repatriate capital, but has still made a big new contribution to the IMF. China will play very very hard. They will not want a return on every yuan they might ante up. Peripheral and emerging economies are already experiencing rapid capital flight and in any case are too small to help hold the system together.

Post-nationalization, the “smaller scale” you are talking about would be microscopic.

There is no “good, better, best” series of choices here. The range is from terrible to futile as well as terrible. As the Chinese are apt to say, be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

1 Enemy Combatant It wasn’t me. It was the one armed man.
That was a great Bill Maher clip. Up to his usual high standard.

Webb Crime Bill Gets Unlikely Support.
im Webb stepped firmly on a political third rail last week when he introduced a bill to examine sweeping reforms to the criminal justice system. Yet he emerged unscathed, a sign to a political world frightened by crime and drug issues that the bar might not be electrified any more.

“After two [Joint Economic Committee] hearings and my symposium at George Mason Law Center, people from across the political and philosophical spectrum began to contact my staff,” says Webb in a statement to the Huffington Post. “I heard from Justice Kennedy of the Supreme Court, from prosecutors, judges, defense lawyers, former offenders, people in prison, and police on the street. All of them have told me that our system needs to be fixed, and that we need a holistic plan of how to solve it.”

Webb’s reform is backed by a coalition of liberals, conservatives and libertarians that couldn’t have existed even a few years ago.

Webb’s bill calls for the creation of a bipartisan commission to study the issue for 18 months and come back with concrete legislative recommendations.

Liberals, who for decades were labeled “soft on crime” by conservatives, crept out to embrace Webb’s proposal. The bill was cosponsored by the entire Senate Democratic leadership and enthusiastically welcomed by prominent liberal bloggers. The blogosphere, dominated by younger activists, has been particularly open to calls for drug and criminal justice policy reform.

Support for the proposal has come in from the right, too. The Lynchburg News and Advance a conservative paper that publishes in the hometown of Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, weighed in favorably.

read the whole article on The Huffington Post.

Jim Webb is good, for someone I thought would be a moderate, he is doing some extremely good work. Jim is doing the Change We Need.

Most States Will Choose a Governor in 2009-2010

While many people are focused on the midterm congressional elections already, there are other elections in 2010 that may be even more important: governors races in 36 states in 2010, as well as two more in 2009. These 38 races are especially important this cycle because the House will be reapportioned after the 2010 census, which means that the gerrymanders will crawl out from under their logs and bask in the sun briefly, as they always do once in a decade. In nearly all states, congressional districts are set by law, which means the state legislature gets to draw the district boundaries and then the governor signs or vetoes the bill. If the legislature and governor are from the same party, they can do pretty much whatever they want to and can be expected to draw the boundaries to benefit their party. Of course, if a state has only one representative, like Alaska, there is not much they can do (although state legislative districts are still fair game). But in a state like Florida, with 25 representatives now and more expected after 2010, there is enormous potential for mischief.

continued along with a review of the New England battle grounds by the Votemaster

I am happy with whatever Obama comes up with as far a the banks go. As long as their is no electoral backlash and the band aid is big enough to cover the hole in the dike. Whoops! Rush won’t like that word.

Electoral backlash is the most important consideration. Letting Godzilla loose in 2010 is something I do not want to see.

Godzilla, Limbaugh, whats the difference? Limbaugh would claim it was his doing. Thereby claiming defacto leadership of the party.

Nate Silver: It’s the President, Stupid!
Do Democrats need an economic miracle to avert a serious setback in congressional elections next year? The stats guru’s new model shows that Obama will need about a 65-percent approval rating to hold the mid-terms.
2010: OBAMA’S TO LOSE. Historically, a president’s approval rating matters more than the economy (or the popularity of Congress itself) in determining his party’s fate in midterm congressional elections, as shown by the trendline at right. It tracks presidential popularity against the outcome of those elections since 1946. In fact, of the eight years in which the president exceeded 55 percent approval, his party lost twenty seats or more only once (1958).

continued in the Esquire
Timing! Nothing like a good article to back up my caution, regarding the mid term elections.

Chris B, it’s heads on pikes time in the US. Obama will suffer no electoral backlash from head kicking the banks which employ lots of shiny arses, like he is head kicking GM which employs lots of blue collar, small town USA types. Obama’s treatment of the banks is purely ideological.

An article on Obama’s poll numbers:
‘Obama’s Poll Numbers Are Falling to Earth’

The Plum LineGreg Sargent’s blog
Dem Strategists: Sarah Palin Is The New Rush Limbaugh.
Multiple Democratic strategists say the party plans to increasingly elevate Palin in the same manner it has employed Rush for weeks, using her high-visibility, her social conservatism, and memories of her harsh attacks on Obama during the campaign to tar the GOP as partisan, obstructionist, and backward-looking.

James Carville, a key architect of the Limbaugh strategy, says Dems will be seeking to elevate Palin more and more, because she’s “an identifiable person who has a hook,” unlike GOP leaders like Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell.

“Her name conjures up all kinds of reactions in people’s minds,” Carville told me, adding that her association with the campaign will be used to portray the GOP as hidebound and to alienate moderates. “She’s an uncomfortable figure for a lot of Republicans,” Carville says. “They want to move beyond her. We like her.”

Another new one. This is a Washington Post job. Catrina looks worth putting in our RH column.

Central America in “crossfire” of drug war: U.N.
Central American states are “caught in the crossfire” of the drug war affecting Mexico and the United States, the top U.N. crimefighter said on Wednesday and he called for regional moves to halt the violence.

Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), praised U.S. steps taken Tuesday to tighten security on the U.S.-Mexico frontier to try to stem cross-border flows of drugs, arms and cash.

But he urged more regional cooperation to confront drug gang violence which killed more than 6,000 people in Mexico last year and has also hiked murder rates in Central American countries along the drug routes north to the United States.

“These are countries which are caught in a crossfire — between the major drug producing countries in the south, in the Andean region, and the major drug-consuming countries in North America,” said Costa, speaking in a phone interview from Guatemala. He visited Panama this week and will also go to El Salvador to seek support for a regional anti-drug initiative.

more of this story on Reuters

30 HusseinWorm Trust the Wall Street Journal to come out with something like that. Wouldn’t be catering to its readers would it? Expect the head kicking to last for a long time. Especially Bush and co. 😈

Did you even read the article, CHrisB? All it’s doing is discussing polling numbers. How does treating the banks exactly the same way that Bush did equate to kicking him? The bank bailouts are a big part of why Obama is losing support. FFS man, stopping being a cheerleader. 😀

I will be a cheerleader as long as I like. 😈 We desperately need this man. Although if he drops the ball. I certainly will yell at him. Besides. I look good in a short skirt and with pom poms. The alternative is Godzilla. That is scary!

36 Chris B Maybe yell is a bit soft. If it is really bad, I’ll kick him in the bum. So far there is no sign of that.

34 HusseinWorm I did mean to say, kicking Bush right up to the election for his past mistakes. As well as car makers and Wall Street. That will soon boost any drop off in popularity in November 2010. Steve Bracks and other ALP politicians certainly know how to maintain the rage against past conservative governments. I hope Obama does the same.

30 HW

Quoting a hack article manipulating hack numbers by Fox News hacks like Doug Schoen and Scott Rasmussen that was written for Wall Street Journal readers is not a way to win an argument…whatever it is.

You think Obama is just another sellout…after 8 weeks of trying to manage the turd sandwich from hell…that’s fine, that’s your opinion, but maybe use a more honest source for your arguments next time.

Mar 31:;_ylt=Aqt2EsSdvrI8cBvtcz1Et8vmcLQF

Mar 31:;_ylt=Atx0O5CefLyXLfTymRT7tyDX.sgF

Just a few thoughts from the shoulder, Ticsters….. 🙂

Starvin’ Marvin is going to need a lot more than Vitamin A to stay alive and have a chance at a healthy life. He and his family are going to need a sustainable ecosystem which tragically, are a diminishing global resource.
The homile, “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach him how to fish and you feed him for a lifelife” contains more than a GM grain of truth.
Handouts are a short-term solution to famine; skills development and self-help are for the long term.

Factors stacked against “self-help” :

– over-population due to ignorance and/or total disdain for birth control due to tribal traditions and fundamentalist religious dogma.

– long-term climate change causing shrinkage of arable land and diminishing fecundity of rivers, lakes, seas and oceans.

– the attitude of Josef Konrad’s neo-Kurtzs whose hearts essentilly dwell in darkness while voraciously glomming all the available “ivory”.

-dirty little wars and great big wars which stimulate refugee numbers.

The cost is high enough already, even without nationalization….

Financial Rescue Approaches GDP as U.S. Pledges $12.8 Trillion
Share | Email | Print | A A A

By Mark Pittman and Bob Ivry

March 31 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. government and the Federal Reserve have spent, lent or guaranteed $12.8 trillion, an amount that approaches the value of everything produced in the country last year, to stem the longest recession since the 1930s.

New pledges from the Fed, the Treasury Department and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. include $1 trillion for the Public-Private Investment Program, designed to help investors buy distressed loans and other assets from U.S. banks. The money works out to $42,105 for every man, woman and child in the U.S. and 14 times the $899.8 billion of currency in circulation. The nation’s gross domestic product was $14.2 trillion in 2008.

I hate to sound moronic, but when you start taikng in Trillions my eyes just glaze over and the whole thing sounds like some science-fiction twilight zone.
How on earth can the average reasonably-well-educated person even begin to comprehend this stuff?
it’s like the whole concept of ‘Light-Years’ from stars – completely does my head in.

more wine…

BlindO, good to see you, and yep, she’s a mess on a grand scale.

I didn’t say the Federal government should guarantee all the dodgy assets, just separate them from what is still sound, sink the banks that can’t float, and nurse the rest to health. (Much of this stuff does not have to be unwound immediately).Meanwhile they’ve pumped trillions into the system, the banks are still insolvent and there’s very little movement in the credit markets (although there’s been some new corporate issues in the last few weeks as punters looking for yield make punts on which companies will survive).

Time will tell, but pouring trillions into the hole whilst the dodgy assets sit there, still technically on the balance sheets and valued on imaginary metrics, is not going to fix the underlying problem of the colossal power to corrupt the system that they have. It’s just feeding the mania in an attempt to go back to the same conditions that preceded the wreck.

It won’t. And Geithner’s slight of hand to underwrite hedge funds buying these toxic assets is, well, just more of the same.

I guess there’s no way of knowing which would have been better, but we’re in for a hell of a show if this fails, eh? LOL

# 24 David Gould Says:
March 31st, 2009 at 12:50 pm
Is the failure of these banks inevitable at this point?

I don’t know, David. Many commentators seem to think they have failed in all but name already. Citibank and B-of-A seem to be virtual shells, if you believe the bond markets, which value their equity at zero. But the stock markets have not written them off yet.

At the moment, they are hanging on. They can generate enough cash to meet their commitments, so they are not facing imminent seizure. Whether they are technically solvent or not depends on whether their boards can say they will be able to meet their debts when they fall due. I think their fate is the hands of the economy: if the economy can be revived – or at least stabilized – they should be able to restore their cash-flows and capitalization. But if the economy continues to deteriorate – or if there are any more deep systemic shocks, such as sovereign defaults perhaps, or maybe some big hedge-fund failures – then the standing of the major US banks could become irretrievable. Who knows? Not me, I dare say.

ok, I a going to take a stab at it. Does it mean that basically they are printing paper money with nothing to back it?
In which case …
even more wine.
and close my business and grow my own tomatoes.
And maybe pot.. there’s always money in drugs.

Hiya KR. You have been loud on the point: nationalize the banks. I’m not intrinsically against it. But I think it is very high risk for all kinds of reasons. Partly, I think it would be likely to provoke a run on the USD, which would be calamitous. But then again, it may not. In this case, it could provoke a run on all the banks that were not nationalized. The US Treasury might end up owning nearly all the banking system. This would be the 1930’s revisited and would be one of the worst things that could happen. The US is already crooked enough without having the Congress and the Treasury having the right to run banks. Fanny and Freddie has been bad enough. Inevitably, since the US does not have the financial muscle today that it did in Rooseveldt’s day, it will spell the end of the current international financial system. This may be necessary – even desirable – but should not be brought about by default. Too much is at stake. I say one step at a time…..

Jen Says:
March 31st, 2009 at 8:14 pm

sovereign defaults??? wtf does that mean.

Hiya Jen….this would be when sovereign borrowers – countries, as against individuals or companies – are unable to service their loans and default on their payments. It has happened every now and then: Russia, Argentina….In the 1930’s the NSW Government lead by Jack Lang wanted to repudiate their debts (leading to default). The Premier was sacked by the Governor, the party split and Jack lived on to become Paul Keating’s mate.

At the moment, there are quite a few candidates for default: Greece, Ireland, The Baltic States, Hungary, Romania, Ukraine…and if you believe George Soros, the UK too.

Jen, I think there will be quite a lot of printing going on eventually. So I’d get those crops in if I were you.

On the subject of panic though, last year in the days following the collapse of Lehman Bros, for one terrifying afternoon (it was a Thursday) the foreign exchange markets basically stopped functioning. It was possible to enter transactions for immediate settlement. But there was no forward market. It was not possible to say on Thursday what the exchange rate would be on Friday, because no-one would accept the risk of possible future non-performance. Effectively, the Westpacs of the world had ceased to accept the promises of the Citibanks. The financial world nearly completely imploded. We are quite a long way from there just now. I really hope we don’t revisit the precipice, because next time we may not be so lucky. So once more: patience, caution and vigilance are the qualities required, even if nothing seems to really pass the Krugman sniff test.

thought so blindo – so where to now??
all around me are poor saps saying ” oh well, it could never get that bad” and looking at me like I am a madwoman when i suggest it could get even worse.

Well Jen, I’m not completely dejected about things. There are signs that the shock waves from 2008 are passing. Things are slow now, for sure. But some banks are out looking for safe new business. Producers of goods (like me) are trying to find ways to keep the wheels turning. Households are re-building their savings and adapting their spending. Life is continuing. Some of the biggest financiers and manufacturers are re-capitalizing, taking advantage of the flight to quality. Demand for goods and services will stabilize and can be re-built.

There are two caveats for me. First, we have to ensure that no new big calamities hit the markets, so the multinational framework of regulation and financial support have to be strengthened without delay. And second, we have to remind ourselves that the era from the early 1990’s to 2007 was not “normal”. There can be – and should not be – any return to the era of run-away debt-creation and asset inflation. “Normal” will mean more saving, more taxation, and more investment in the “real” economy and more laws; it will mean less pointless consumption and less speculation. This will take time, discipline and co-operation….and shrewd politics.

So Jen, to put it more succinctly: things could get really bad, but it is not pre-ordained. Everything depends on what people do: on what governments, legislatures, officials, financial firms, everyday businesses, households. The scene is in constant motion. At least this situation has people’s attention. This is a start. And there is resolve to make sure the ass doesn’t fall out of everything. That is important too.

I expect that in my line of trade, things will be very slow at least through 2009. Maybe things will improve in 2010, but maybe some stability is the best we can hope for. Money will be hard to get, for sure.

Jen, this might help you visualise those really bignormous numbers:

A million seconds, for example, is about 10 days, while a billion seconds amounts to some 32 years. And a trillion seconds ago, in circa 30,000 B.C., the last of the Neanderthals were betting the rent on a Powerball lottery, without bothering to consider the odds.

…cute, huh?

About printing money…..let’s hope they have some presses in Brussels:

Eurozone inflation plunges to record low

By Ralph Atkins in Frankfurt

Published: March 31 2009 11:31 | Last updated: March 31 2009 11:31

Eurozone inflation has fallen to a record low, strengthening the case for further European Central Bank action to boost the economy of the 16-country bloc and head off any risk of deflation.

The annual rate of eurozone price increases fell more than expected, from 1.2 per cent in February to just 0.6 per cent in March, according to an initial estimate on Tuesday by Eurostat, the European Union’s statistical unit.

Some people think it will get worse….

OECD predicts a social crisis

If you think we are pessimistic, you should listen to what OECD general secretary Angel Gurría said yesterday: He predicted that the financial crisis is about to turn into a big political and social as it turns into a crisis of unemployment. He predicts that the 30-nation group of advanced OECD countries will contract 4.3% this year with zero growth next year – a much worse estimate that the IMF’s already pessimistic forecast for the same group of countries – and that unenemployment will reach 10% of the population – the largest and most rapid increase in unemployment ever recorded. Mr Gurria criticised that the stimulus is not being targeted sufficient to counteract those large social shocks.

KR, I read your posting from the NYT on Dyson. He certainly sounds like a clever enough chap, but he is the first person I’ve heard of who agrees the climate change is definitely happening but, far from being apprehensive about it, thinks it is to be welcomed. It is not clear, but I wonder if he thinks climate change should be accelerated. As he is in his 80’s he will not have to live with the consequences either way.

I can’t help thinking Dyson must enjoy being a thorn in the side of the keepers of orthodoxy. But another word for this is just plain old cussedness.

less consumption….more saving…’s about time

Consumer Spending May Drop by $1 Trillion, AlixPartners Says
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By Allison Abell Schwartz

March 31 (Bloomberg) — Annual consumer spending in the U.S. may decline by more than $1 trillion after the recession ends and shoppers adjust their spending habits, according to a survey conducted by AlixPartners LLP.

Americans may save 14 percent of their earnings and focus on replenishing retirement savings, according to the survey of 5,031 people released yesterday. Last year, the savings rate was 1.6 percent, AlixPartners said, citing U.S. government statistics.

Kirri @58
Thanks for that – had to go to bed ‘cos my head exploded at that point!
So now the multi-trillion dollar payouts have some context -they equal going back to before the beginning of time in seconds. Fabulous. i’m feeling better all the time 🙄
perhaps a tad too early for More Wine, but then again, whyTF not…

btw- are they still in denial over the fence, and saying that you are a doomsayer, or have they shutTF up now?

I don’t know Jen, I never go there, as the culture is toxic and the loudest mouths are connected to the smallest brains! LOL

BlindO, it’s looking dire indeed. If, as I suspect, the refusal to let the banks be broken up and toxic assets sidelined becomes a muddle through strategy, it may be a very protracted and nasty period.

When it gets down to the level of political instability anything could happen.

me either- but as much as I wish you had been wrong, it really is pretty funny remembering the bollocking you copped just for being um.. right.

You have to shake your head and wonder when you hear the young turk trader interviewed about last night’s Wall Street session and he says the “blue chip banks” were higher! LOL

Let’s remind ourselves that those “blue chip” banks have lost billions of dollars and carry large volumes of toxic debts and are currently living on government handouts! Their future is by no means certain if the debt can’t be sold at something like the book value. In other words, they are mostly insolvent!

But habits die hard, so ‘blue chip’ they still are! LOL

re…..smallest brains…,
Can accept those…….luck of nature’s draw..
but not
meanest spirit.

But I too wish you were SO wrong!! LOL!

Yup, the US banks are just speculative issues these days – less like blue chips than yesterday’s fries.

Sounds like Obama is going to see GM and Chrysler go into bankruptcy. I have to say, I think he’s right. There has to be an orderly and transparent reconstruction that doesn’t rely on the Treasury. It will be very painful, but it is better than a lingering malaise. i wonder what will happen to GMH?

Q & A Internet censorship.
It is usually the case with Q&A that particular ministers attract questions relating to their portfolios, but never has there been anything like the deluge of questions provoked by Stephen Conroy’s plan for an internet filtering scheme. More than 2000 questions came in via email, SMS and from audience members, and virtually every one of them was opposed to the filtering proposal. A question from Stephen Davies on this topic kicked off a 30-minute discussion in which Stephen Conroy was challenged repeatedly to justify the filter plan.

Conroy is enough to put you to sleep.
The full episode.

A three-judge state panel convened to review an election contest brought by former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman (R) in his race against entertainer Al Franken (D) has dealt the Republican a serious setback in its ruling this afternoon.

The panel will allow the consideration of only 400 wrongly rejected absentee ballots to be reviewed and possibly counted — making it very difficult for Coleman to make up the 225-vote deficit he currently carries. (Here’s the full ruling.)

“We feel pretty good about where we stand,” said Marc Elias, a lawyer for Franken’s campaign, on a conference call conducted moments ago. “This court has spoken clearly about the legal standards are” for the inclusion of ballots.

Ben Ginsberg, the lead attorney for Coleman, referred to the ruling as an “April Fools Day” judgment (one day early) and stated that the decision “gives us no choice but to appeal that order to Minnesota Supreme Court.” Ginsberg offered no thought about whether or not an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court would be considered.

Ginsberg said it would be a “long shot” for Coleman to make up the necessary ground on Franken with just 400 ballots being included.

The ballots will be opened, sorted and potentially counted by the Minnesota Secretary of State on April 7. It remains unclear how many of the 400 votes will actually be counted. It’s also unknown whether Coleman will appeal the ruling to the state Supreme Court, which is within his rights.

read the whole article in the Washington Post. You may need to be registered.

And more….

Court ruling favors Franken.
fter seven weeks of reviewing a hand recount, millions spent on legal fees and a tough legal ruling Tuesday afternoon, Norm Coleman still looks like the loser in the Minnesota Senate race.

But even as Democrat Al Franken’s campaign celebrated a three-judge panel’s decision to put at most 400 ballots back in play, the Coleman camp is still promising to take its case to the Minnesota Supreme Court. And it’s not ruling out an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court or filing a new lawsuit in federal district court.

Ben Ginsberg, a central player for George W. Bush during the 2000 Florida recount and Coleman’s lawyer, said, “If the court does not reverse its decision, it will give us no choice but to appeal that order to the Minnesota Supreme Court.”

And Ginsberg said it was “an open legal question” on whether the candidate leading after the Minnesota Supreme Court rules should be certified the winner and thus be seated in the Senate.

In its ruling Tuesday, the three-judge panel ordered absentee ballots to be turned over to the Minnesota secretary of state’s office by April 6. The ballots would then be counted in open court by April 7.

read the rest on Politico

Well that was a very good break in Bris Vegas. The highlight being thundering up the Pacific motorway from Gold Coast to Bris at 5 am in dark, pissin down rain and at 110kph. They are fuckin lunatics and i thought all my Generic Food consumption was going to end right there and then. What a wonderful way to get to work and home each day.
Must catch up with the Rude Pundit now.

Why Are We Not Giving The Man A Chance?
People are angry with President Obama for sending more troops to Afghanistan. They’re angry with him for his stimulus package, the proposed budget and the bank bailout. They say he’s spreading himself too thin. They say they’re tired of seeing his face all over the media.

These are some of the very same people, however, that complained that George W. Bush shunned the media and dissed the American People. These are some of the very same people that said too much deregulation and too many displaced tax cuts are responsible for much of what got us into the current crisis we’re in. These are also some of the very same people that have no other solution but are quite content to snipe and complain.

It would appear that no matter what is done by this man, it will never be good enough.

Here you are Hussienworm. I couldn’t agree more with this, it reflects how I feel as well.
more on Op Ed News

Oh gawd, here we go again!

What’s Next In NY-20: The Courts.
Frequent readers of this site might recognize the next steps in New York’s 20th Congressional District, where tonight’s special election for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s old House seat has left Democratic candidate Scott Murphy leading Republican Jim Tedisco by 65 votes with 100% of precincts in: Courtroom proceedings, as the lawyers sort their way through absentee ballots.

The key issues here is that the Republican Party filed a legal complaint today to contest the election results, before the polls even closed — which is not actually unheard of in New York, I’ve been told by state board of elections spokesman Bob Brehm.

Ballots have already been impounded tonight, for safekeeping. A hearing has been scheduled for this coming Monday, at which the candidates and the government will hammer out the procedures for counting, challenging and resolving ballots — and you can bet the absentees will play a major part in this.

“There are statutory processes for canvassing and re-canvassing,” Brehm explained, “and basically they’re on hold until the court can set up a calendar that is mutually agreeable.”

more on Talking Points Memo

Glad you made it back safe and sound, Gaffy. Sure you didn’t click a cursor on the weather and drag it down south of the Tweed, you old geomancic bastard? 🙂

Apr 1:;_ylt=At3aNDYiamc.PAFrJ9my.QLX.sgF

Apr 1: contract love:;_ylt=AlzbtEVeMjWSN0fBQ9RCRS4l6ysC

Apr 1: no bank left behind:;_ylt=AnJPx68dxVzY8JKyuD9gO1jmcLQF


Inside Da Vinci’s circle
Econo Sapiens limbs outstretched
Lay supine upon the earth
Some say he ascended,
Others swear he fell into the sky.
Apr 1:;_ylt=AjwlCcDEw8239thfl88141bV.i8C

Obama referendum: no winner, one loser.
There’s no winner yet in the Upstate New York special election and it might be mid-April before the race is settled. But a few things are clearer after Tuesday’s contest, none of it welcome news to the Republican Party.

The first election to take place during the Obama administration was a push, with neither side winning big or losing big. But that in itself ranks as a defeat of sorts for the GOP, which invested heavily in the race.

Republicans made this race a referendum on President Obama, his stimulus plan and big government policies. But voters divided almost exactly down the middle, showing almost no sign they wanted to brush back the new administration. And this is the precisely the kind of place where it would have been obvious had voters been so inclined—a Republican-leaning, small-town district that voted for Obama in 2008.

Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine, the Democratic National Committee chairman, was quick to frame the race as a validation of Obama administration policies.

“Scott Murphy embraced President Obama’s message of change and his plans to fix our economy and create jobs, and as a result he stormed from more than 20 points down to winning a majority of votes cast tonight,” Kaine said in a statement.

In the House, where Democrats have a nearly 40-seat majority, it hardly matters whether Democrat Scott Murphy, who ended the night leading by just 65 votes out of over 154,000 ballots cast, or Republican James Tedisco is declared the winner.

read the entire article on Politico

The light at the end of the tunnel, like the financial black hole, is probably the same destination Ecky.

Hi gaffers – and the rest of y’all.
Is anyone of our Tickster’s drowning in the deluge… ffs if you want a sample of impacts of Climate Change: we’ve had among our own little select group in the last 6 months:
Ferny , DogB and others getting their roofs ripped off, my family almost incinerated, cyclone threats to Ecky and others, drought that brings some communities to their knees… and now the Northern NSW coastal paradise awash.
Pretty much btween xmas and now.
Wait till next year – due to the GFC we’ll also be so poor that we won’t be able to pay the insurance premiums.
Then it will get really interesting.

Could well be, Kirri. A String Theory ‘brane-drain type situation; as our fiscal event horizon draws nearer, all our singularities will come at once.
Better rides than Luna Park on offer here, orright 🙂

Sez jen: “Wait till next year – due to the GFC we’ll also be so poor that we won’t be able to pay the insurance premiums.
Then it will get really interesting.”

Insurance companies are mostly thieves anyway, jen.
Rule # 1: Deny all incoming claims as a matter of “principle”.
Many illiterates and society’s down-trodden and citizens lacking self-steem walk away and cop it sweet with naught but a token grumble. The dispossessed are far too busy solving their daily economic problems like feeding their families and paying for life’s bare essentials.
Such insurance companys are immeasurably worse than scientists and corporations. John Grisham’s “Rain Makers” are almost the exclusive province of what were formerly known as penny-dreadfuls but now catergorised as airport novels, however, one excludes most Picador brand paperbacks from this Luddite lash out.

Kirribilli Removals Says:
April 1st, 2009 at 7:24 pm

Stiglitz runs the slide rule over the Geithner plan…….and tells us it stinks.

Well, who doesn’t think it stinks. Of course it does. The trouble is – at least as far as I can see – the US cannot really afford to get into nationalizing the big-money banks. Or, to be more exact, no-one knows if nationalization is affordable because its scale and duration cannot be predicted. Who can really say how much capital would be required to purge the balance sheets of the wounded banks? Where would the capital replenishment come from? Would the Congress be prepared to appropriate the necessary money? Would the money be borrowed or paid for with new taxes? What would happen if Congress baulked? How many banks would end up being owned by the Treasury? What would happen to the standing of US debts if the Treasury was effectively guaranteeing the solvency of most major banks?

I think it is very risky to embark on such a policy and, in the last analysis, you only take very big risks when there is no alternative.

I also think that the stink factor is a red herring (sorry). The issue is not aroma. The issue is keeping the system liquid and re-building solvency with a very tight budget. If nationalization finally becomes unavoidable, the budget will have to be entirely rewritten – and not merely in the US.

EU 2008 Verified Carbon Dioxide Exceeded Grant by 25% (Update1)
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By Mathew Carr

April 1 (Bloomberg) — Power stations and factories in the European Union emission trading program emitted 25 percent more carbon dioxide than the amount of permits they received for free in 2008, according to Bloomberg calculations based on European Commission data.

Power stations and factories emitted 1.98 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide last year, according to data on the Web site of the European Commission, which regulates the program. The same units were allocated 1.59 billion tons of free allowances, according to Bloomberg calculations.

The data is about 91 percent complete, Stavros Dimas, the bloc’s energy commissioner, said earlier today in Brussels. Both totals exclude factories and power plants that haven’t reported. Some installations with emissions have no allocation.

The commission slashed allocations by 9.4 percent on average for the second phase, the five years through 2012, compared with the previous three years. That’s because the first phase was oversupplied and prices fell to 1 euro cent ($0.013) a metric ton in 2007. The EU program is the world’s biggest greenhouse gas market.


The U.S. labor market worsened again in March, as private-sector firms cut 742,000 jobs, signaling another terrible employment report on Friday, according to the ADP employment index released Wednesday.
It was the largest job loss recorded by ADP in its nine-year history.
The report comes two days before the Labor Department reports its estimate for nonfarm payrolls.

…it’s grim.

BlindO, it stinks, and if the difficulties in taking over the big banks are big, so is the stink coming from this gouging of public wealth for private gain.

Sorry, but if Stiglitz, Krugman and a host of serious economists think it’s possible and necessary, I’m not going to argue the details.

Let’s just agree to disagree and watch the American taxpayer get returned to serfdom! LOL

Dr Fedoroff has been the science and technology advisor to the US secretary of state since 2007, initially working with Condoleezza Rice.

Under the new Obama administration, she now advises Hillary Clinton.

“We have six-and-a-half-billion people on the planet, going rapidly towards seven.

“We’re going to need a lot of inventiveness about how we use water and grow crops,” she told the BBC.

“We accept exactly the same technology (as GM food) in medicine, and yet in producing food we want to go back to the 19th Century.

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