Monday, November 9, 2009


Of the nearly 3 million tons of food aid provided by the U.S. annually to developing nations, nearly 25% is Title I sales in which food is sold to third world governments on easy credit terms for resale to local livestock industries as feed, and to food-processing companies (often from the U.S. or other lender nations) who make pasta, bread, cooking oil, and other products for urban consumers - Title I sales are used as a primary tool to create new markets for U.S. grain exports (recipient developing and so-called "third world" nations often come to depend on foreign food supplies since the initial aid ties create a structural dependency where the local food crops are replaced by companies and factories - which use the land and other resources - that ultimately displace the local food supply and replace it with an export food market)

Year the United States declared independence from England: 1776

Percent of Americans over age 20 surveyed in 2005 who could not name the country from which the U.S. gained independence: 43%

First person to issue an official proclamation freeing enslaved Africans in the U.S.: John Murray, Governor of Virginia, 1775 (Abraham Lincoln's proclamation came nearly a century later)

Nearly 30% of all U.S. foreign food aid is entirely tied to purchases from companies in the U.S. - an amount greater than the total assistance the U.S. gave to Sub-Saharan Africa last year

Humanitarian relief has been positive for the image of the U.S. around the world, and it comes at a high price - even though relief aid, which is the assistance given to a nation in a crisis or emergency, accounts for less than 3% of the aid the U.S. offers each year and an overall tiny fraction of the federal budget, the money spent to promote U.S. humanitarian relief most often exceeds the amount of money spent on relief in a region by a ratio of 2:1

The U.S. benefits from the aid it gives out by attaching conditions to those benefits that open new markets for U.S. goods and food exports, and often contain a condition that the U.S. also supply "military aid" - the U.S. supplies "military aid" to countries that may not even have a full army - by selling weapons and technology, however, the U.S. creates a new market for exports

The United States currently is the chief supplier of guns, ammunition and other weapons globally, and in as many as 50 conflicts is the supplier of munitions to both sides (armed conflict has been named as a leading cause of hunger and famine worldwide by the United Nations, the International Red Cross, and Amnesty International)

When the United States gives food aid, it attaches "covenants" - these are conditions that the recipient country must meet that usually alter the structure of that nation's local economies (for example, between 1982 and 1990, Costa Rica received 9 assistance packages that contained a total of 357 covenants that made receiving the aid conditional on many structural changes that have remained permanent, including eliminating local grain markets; slashing support prices for locally grown corn, beans and rice; allowing more imports from the U.S.; and easing restrictions on foreign investments)

Only 12% of the world's population uses 85% of the world's water - none of this 12% lives in the "third world"

U.S. foreign aid entirely- emergency assistance, humanitarian relief, and longer-term food relief programs- account for less than 0.15% of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product - and less than all other industrialized nations' foreign aid relief

In a 2005 survey, nearly 2 out of 3 Americans expressed negative perceptions of foreign relief estimating that the U.S. gave out "at least 10%" of GDP to foreign nations, that this was "charity" and that the foreign nations were frequently "not at all grateful" - less than 0.01% of respondents claimed that the U.S. and other industrialized nations "owed" aid to recipient nations (in exchange for centuries of profit through conquest and colonialism, mineral and natural resource extraction, labor exploitation, and unequal trade practices internationally)

Sneak Peek at Global Spending:
*Military spending: $780 Billion (US)
*Alcoholic drinks in Europe: $150 Billion (US)
*Cigarettes in Europe: $50 Billion (US)
*Business entertainment in Japan: $35 Billion (US)
*Pet food in Europe and U.S.: $17 Billion (US)
*Perfumes in Europe and U.S.: $12 Billion (US)
*Ice cream in Europe: $11 Billion (US)
*Cosmetics in the U.S.: $8 Billion (US)
*Universal education (basic): $6 Billion (US)

The U.S. ranks 15th out of the wealthiest 19 industrialized nations in the prevention of deaths that are "amendable to treatment" (the U.S. ranked last among these nations in the category of "child welfare")

Globally, 40% of the diseases measured by YLD (Years Lived with Disability) are psychiatric (most common are schizophrenia, depression, bipolar disorder, and alcohol/substance abuse)

Globally, 1 out of 4 people will develop a psychiatric disorder in their lifetime, with major depression being the most common disorder (schizophrenia and depression have been found in every known culture)

3000 people in the world will start smoking cigarettes today

U.S. military spending accounts for nearly half the world's total military spending, or $350 Billion (US)

Most U.S. tax dollars are spent on "national defense" (such as the wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan) while 6.5% of taxes are spent on education, and less than 6% is spent on health

Women on "the pill" are 30 times more likely to suffer gum disease

Last year 2,953 Americans were treated at hospitals for toothbrush-related injuries

Odds that an American will visit a hospital for an injury related to an automatic garage door: 1 in 106,300

The world has 193 officially recognized sovereign nations - the United States has over 1700 military bases in 154 nations in the world

The odds that a U.S. congressional representative has experience as a mayor are the same odds that a woman in the U.S. has had an ulcer: 1 in 15

Odds that a white person in the United States aged 68 will live to be 100 years of age: 1 in 34

Odds that a Native American will live to be 68 years of age: 1 in 100

2.4% of Americans live past 100 years
22.4% - past 90 years
54.5% - past 80 years
76.3% - past 70 years

FEED*YOUR*HEAD on Facebook