“Oligopoly in action.”

That’s how Kartick Raj, a Human Rights Watch researcher focused on poverty and inequality in Western Europe, responded Tuesday to The Guardian’s new reporting on the world’s four grain giants raking in record profits — which is fueling calls for a global windfall tax.

After noting United Nations agencies’ estimates that while about 345 million people endure acute food insecurity — up over 200 million from before the COVID-19 pandemic — food prices have skyrocketed by over 20%, journalist Fiona Harvey highlighted remarks from Olivier De Schutter, a co-chair of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems and U.N. special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights.

“The fact that global commodity giants are making record profits at a time when hunger is rising is clearly unjust, and is a terrible indictment of our food systems,” he told Harvey.

“What’s even worse, these companies could have done more to prevent the hunger crisis in the first place.”

As Harvey explained:

“Four companies — the Archer-Daniels-Midland Company, Bunge, Cargill, and Louis Dreyfus, known collectively as ABCD — control an estimated 70-90% of the global grain trade. ‘Global grain markets are even more concentrated than energy markets and even less transparent, so there is a huge risk of profiteering,’ said De Schutter.

“He said this year’s food price surge happened despite what are thought to be abundant global grain reserves, but there was insufficient transparency from the companies to show how much grain they hold and no way to force them to release stocks in a timely way.

“‘We need to be looking at the grain giants and asking what they could have done to avert the crisis, and what they could be doing now,’ De Schutter said.”

While the four companies declined to respond to Harvey’s request for comment, De Schutter added that:

“Ultimately, we need to break up the monopolies that have a stranglehold on the food chain. A handful of companies control global seed and fertilizer markets, animal genetics, the global grain trade, and food retail. They are making huge profits at the cost of farmers, consumers, and the environment.”

Using a term coined by author Naomi Klein, U.K. climate scientist Bill McGuire declared in response to Harvey’s article: “Disaster capitalism at its worst.”

1 - Goldco Free Silver

“As 345 million people suffer from acute food insecurity,” McGuire continued, “the four corporations that control virtually all grain trade stuff their pockets with cash, pop the champagne corks, and laugh all the way to the bank.”

Nick Dearden, director of the U.K.-based group Global Justice Now, similarly said that “food monopolies rake in bumper profits as speculation drives up food prices. We have enough food for everyone, but the financial markets dictate more and more people must go hungry to fill the coffers of the super wealthy.”

“Workers wages aren’t causing our #CostOfLivingCrisis. Profiteering is. Want proof?” UNI Global Union tweeted, pointing to Harvey’s reporting, which detailed some of what’s fueling the current issues, including Russia’s war on Ukraine.

The U.K. group Plan B Earth took aim at government leaders:

With food shortages hitting, patriots prepare themselves and their families with long-term storage food. We recommend THREE options.

“Bonanza for fossil fuel companies, while people can’t pay their bills. Soaring stocks for defense companies on the back of war. And while famine stalks East Africa and Afghanistan, food companies make record profits. None of us voted for this!”

As Common Dreams reported in June, Oxfam has spent the summer pushing for a windfall tax targeting major companies.

Harvey noted Tuesday that some campaigners and political figures have echoed that demand, including Natalie Bennett, a U.K. Green party peer, who said that:

“As a short-term measure there are strong arguments for a windfall tax on the food oligopoly — the handful of companies, with significant cross-ownership from hedge funds, that from seeds to supermarkets are major contributors to the inflation that’s driving the cost of living crisis to new heights.”

Cross-posted from Common Dreams.

Will America-First News Outlets Make it to 2023?

Things are looking grim for conservative and populist news sites.

There’s something happening behind the scenes at several popular conservative news outlets. 2021 was bad, but 2022 is proving to be disastrous for news sites that aren’t “playing ball” with the corporate media narrative. It’s being said that advertisers are cracking down, forcing some of the biggest ad networks like Google and Yahoo to pull their inventory from conservative outlets. This has had two major effects. First, it has cooled most conservative outlets from discussing “taboo” topics like Pandemic Panic Theater, voter fraud, or The Great Reset. Second, it has isolated those ad networks that aren’t playing ball.

Certain topics are anathema for most ad networks. Speaking out against vaccines or vaccine mandates is a certain path to being demonetized. Highlighting voter fraud in the 2020 and future elections is another instant advertising death penalty. Throw in truthful stories about climate change hysteria, Critical Race Theory, and the border crisis and it’s easy to understand how difficult it is for America-First news outlets to spread the facts, share conservative opinions, and still pay the bills.

Without naming names, I have been told of several news outlets who have been forced to either consolidate with larger organizations or who have backed down on covering certain topics out of fear of being “canceled” by the ad networks. I get it. This is a business for many of us and it’s not very profitable. Those of us who do this for a living are often barely squeaking by, so loss of additional revenue can often mean being forced to make cuts. That means not being able to cover the topics properly. Its a Catch-22: Tell the truth and lose the money necessary to keep telling the truth, or avoid the truth and make enough money to survive. Those who have chosen survival simply aren’t able to spread the truth properly.

We will never avoid the truth. The Lord will provide if it is His will. Our job is simply to share the facts, spread the Gospel, and educate as many Americans as possible while exposing the forces of evil.

To those who have the means, we ask that you please donate. We have options available now, but there is no telling when those options will cancel us. We just launched a new GiveSendGo page. We also have our GivingFuel page. There have been many who have been canceled by PayPal, but for now it’s still an option. Your generosity is what keeps these sites running and allows us to get the truth to the masses. We’ve had great success in growing but we know we can do more with your assistance.

Thank you, and God Bless!

JD Rucker

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