Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008: What's Going On That We're Not Hearing About?

If Monica Lewinsky, Britney Spears and the winners and losers on American Idol can unsettle the reasoning minds, thus diverting our attention away from important current events, imagine the level of distraction as we face the horror and confusion that this fiscal crisis has produced.

As the powers that be rush to "repair" the havoc, that the egregious greed of the powers that be has wrought, by "borrowing" trillions of our dollars to reward themselves; in hopes that they can save our economy, I wonder what else are they up too? Let me rephrase that question without the annoying cynical overtones. What is happening or developing right now, that may affect our lives in the near future, as we focus all of our attention to the plight of our pocketbooks?

Global poverty is one issue that has and will suffer from the lack of attention that they might have otherwise received if not for the current fiscal crisis, especially if rich nations renege on their pledges of aid.

The world's wealthiest nations pledged billions of dollars at a U.N. food summit in June, following a spike in commodities prices that tipped 75 million more people into hunger last year.

But the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said very little of promised aid had been received so far, even though the outlook had darkened for the world's poorest.
Although, considering foreign aid represents 1% of the U.S. federal budget, and that the U.S. ranks last in the percent of gross national product spent on foreign aid - the Department of defense spending 20% of that 1% - it's not as if global poverty is a top priority anyway. However, those people, unfortunate enough to exist in a state of having no money, food, clean water, shelter etc, and most importantly no way of earning the necessities to ensure their survival, will undoubtedly take anything they can get.

Well, what does global poverty have to do with this financial crisis or us? Aside from moral imperative, there is the geopolitical one. As our world shrinks, we can no longer afford to ignore the combination of geographic. and political factors around the world. More and more, those factors will influence us, whether we want them too or not. Existing circumstances of hopelessness, marginalization, impoverishment and conditions where violation of human rights is the norm, are fertile breeding ground for terrorism, disease, backward thinking, and conflict, all of which can spread faster than William "The Refrigerator" Perry can scarf down 40 hotdogs.

What else are we missing?

On a more positive note, “Chinese leaders are expected to allow peasants to buy or sell land-use rights for the first time, a step that could draw hundreds of millions of farmers more firmly into the market economy, now centered around the cities.”

Iran is imposing the nation’s first ever sales tax.

History is being made in Zimbawbwe.

The U.S. and Iraq draft an agreement that will allow U.S. troops to stay until 2011 and gives Iraq the right to try U.S. soldiers for felonies committed off duty.

The Iraqi Government is putting 40 billion barrels of reserves up for grabs in biggest sale ever.

It was always oil. Here's the proof.

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