Why are Preppers the Center of Attention?

Reuters equals prepared people to Harold Camping followers and labels them a “kooky” subculture.

by Luis R. Miranda
The Real Agenda
January 23, 2012

Being prepared for the worst is not move that should only come in times of crisis. The folks that are best fitted to face uncommon and sudden shake ups in what we call society as usually the ones who laugh hard at last. Keeping food and water for difficult situations such as natural disasters and social unrest is the least a responsible, independent individual should think about.

However, the main stream media has taken it upon themselves to call people who prepare for what all signs seem show will be a global social collapse, a bunch of doomsday religious freaks. A recent article on Reuters begins by derogatively calling those who save food and water for the purposes of surviving a natural or man-made crisis, a subculture. The piece written by Jim Forsyth, who is responsible for most of the name calling, implies that if you firmly believe in a possible end to society as we know it, then you may be a kook.

Mr. Forsyth presents the case of a Viriginia resident, Patty Tegeler, who believes everything can change “in any instant”. The author compares people like Tegeler with the hippies of the 60’s and the preppers of the 90’s. Both groups are seen as extreme due to the fact they chose to partially or totally separate themselves from the society as they knew it in an effort to remain free an self-reliant. “Tegeler, 57, has turned her home in rural Virginia into a “survival center,” complete with a large generator, portable heaters, water tanks, and a two-year supply of freeze-dried food,” reads the article, which then targets the vendors who offer their products to people who desire to be prepared.

In addition to trying to make preppers the laughing stock of the day, Reuters’ article includes the opinion of an “end-times” expert, who Forsyth cites as saying that fear and suffering are the main causes of people becoming prepared for whatever they see as a threat. How about the simple reason of being prepared? The so-called expert indirectly compares preppers with followers of preacher Joseph Miller, who in 1844 decided to sell their properties and form a commune to wait for the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Somehow, being worried about the end of a working economy, filling a room with food and water, getting energy generators and moving to the woods seems to be an exaggerated move. Never mind the fact that over 40 million Americans are dependent on food stamps to survive. They wished they could have prepared, don’t they? This fact alone answers the question asked by the article as to why are so many people are going insane about being prepared. With not even half of the crisis gone by and over 40 million people dependent on government welfare, the surprising outcome would be that people did not prepare themselves, wouldn’t it?

In an effort to balance the content of the article, the author includes the opinion of Michael T. Snider, a news writer who agrees with the fact people must be prepared. “Most people have a gut feeling that something has gone terribly wrong, but that doesn’t mean that they understand what is happening,” said Snider. Perhaps it will take a year or two for the preppers to be proven right, just as it happened with the alternative news media -today considered the real main stream media- that warned about the impending economic collapse, its causes and consequences. Maybe after firefights break out on the streets of the United States, as the country collapses, news organizations will stop making fun of preppers, and will begin to show others how the preppers did it.

The Reuters’ article ends with a quote from Mrs. Tegeler: “I think it’s silly not to be prepared,” she said. “After all, anything can happen.”

Worldwide Food Crisis Looms

Despite abundance of food forecasters see record high prices due to artificial scarcity and use of crops to produce biofuels.

PreventDisease.com

Rising food prices and shortages could cause instability in many countries as the cost of staple foods and vegetables reached their highest levels in two years, with scientists predicting further widespread droughts and floods.

Although food stocks are generally good despite much of this year’s harvests being wiped out in Pakistan and Russia, sugar and rice remain at a record price.

Global wheat and maize prices recently jumped nearly 30% in a few weeks while meat prices are at 20-year highs, according to the key Reuters-Jefferies commodity price indicator. Last week, the US predicted that global wheat harvests would be 30m tonnes lower than last year, a 5.5% fall. Meanwhile, the price of tomatoes in Egypt, garlic in China and bread in Pakistan are at near-record levels.

“The situation has deteriorated since September,” said Abdolreza Abbassian of the UN food and agriculture organisation. “In the last few weeks there have been signs we are heading the same way as in 2008.

“We may not get to the prices of 2008 but this time they could stay high much longer.”

Former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said more protests in other developing nations appear likely. “We are going through a very serious crisis and we are going to see lots of food strikes and demonstrations,” Annan told reporters in Geneva.

However, opinions are sharply divided over whether these prices signal a world food crisis like the one in 2008 that helped cause riots in 25 countries, or simply reflect volatility in global commodity markets as countries claw their way through recession.

“A food crisis on the scale of two or three years ago is not imminent, but the underlying causes [of what happened then] are still there,” said Chris Leather, Oxfam’s food policy adviser.

“Prices are volatile and there is a lot of nervousness in the market. There are big differences between now and 2008. Harvests are generally better, global food stocks are better.”

But other analysts highlight the food riots in Mozambique that killed 12 people last month and claim that spiralling prices could promote further political turmoil.

They say this is particularly possible if the price of oil jumps, if there are further climatic shocks – such as the floods in Pakistan or the heat wave in Russia – or if speculators buy deeper into global food markets.

“There is growing concern among countries about continuing volatility and uncertainty in food markets,” said Robert Zoellick, president of the World Bank. “These concerns have been compounded by recent increases in grain prices.

“World food price volatility remains significant and in some countries, the volatility is adding to already higher local food prices.”

The bank last week said that food price volatility would last a further five years, and asked governments to contribute to a crisis fund after requests for more than $1bn (£635m) from developing countries were made.

“The food riots in Mozambique can be repeated anywhere in the coming years,” said Devinder Sharma, a leading Indian food analyst.

“Unless the world encourages developing countries to become self-sufficient in food grains, the threat of impending food riots will remain hanging over nations.

“The UN has expressed concern, but there is no effort to remove the imbalances in the food management system that is responsible for the crisis.”

Mounting anger has greeted food price inflation of 21% in Egypt in the last year, along with 17% rises in India and similar amounts in many other countries. Prices in the UK have risen 22% in three years.

The governments of Kenya, Uganda, Nigeria, Indonesia, Brazil and the Philippines have all warned of possible food shortages next year, citing floods and droughts in 2010, expected extreme weather next year, and speculation by traders who are buying up food stocks for release when prices rise.

Food prices worldwide are not yet at the same level as 2008, but the UN’s food price index rose 5% last month and now stands at its highest level in two years.

World wheat and maize prices have risen 57%, rice 45% and sugar 55% over the last six months and soybeans are at their highest price for 16 months.

UN special rapporteur on the right to food, Olivier de Schutter, says a combination of environmental degradation, urbanisation and large-scale land acquisitions by foreign investors for biofuels is squeezing land suitable for agriculture.

“Worldwide, 5m to 10m hectares of agricultural land are being lost annually due to severe degradation and another 19.5m are lost for industrial uses and urbanisation,” he says in a new report.

“But the pressure on land resulting from these factors has been boosted in recent years by policies favouring large-scale industrial plantations.

“According to the World Bank, more than one-third of large-scale land acquisitions are intended to produce agrofuels.”

But the World Development Movement (WDM) in London warned that food speculation by hedge funds, pension funds and investment banks was likely to prompt further inflation.

According to the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission, speculators on the trading floor of the Chicago Exchange bought futures contracts for about 40m tonnes of maize and 6m tonnes of wheat in the summer.

Longtime hedge fund manager Mike Masters, who has worked with WDM, said: “Because there is already much more capital available in the world than hard commodities, speculators can increase the price of consumable commodities, like foodstuffs or energy, much higher than traditional consumers and producers can react.

“When derivative markets are linked to commodity markets, this nearly unlimited capital from the financial sector can cause excessive price volatility.”

US government reports of much cooler-than-normal water temperatures in the Pacific, which traditionally lead to extreme weather around the world, last week added to food price uncertainties.