Eating Fossil Fuels by Dale Allen Pfeiffer
© Copyright 2003, From The Wilderness Publications, www.fromthewilderness.com. All Rights Reserved. This story may NOT be posted on any
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[Some months ago, concerned by a Paris statement made by Professor Kenneth Deffeyes of Princeton
regarding his concern about the impact of Peak Oil and Gas on fertilizer production, I tasked FTW's
Contributing Editor for Energy, Dale Allen Pfeiffer to start looking into what natural gas shortages
would do to fertilizer production costs. His investigation led him to look at the totality of food
production in the US. Because the US and Canada feed much of the world, the answers have global
What follows is most certainly the single most frightening article I have ever read and certainly the most
alarming piece that FTW has ever published. Even as we have seen CNN, Britain's Independent and
Jane's Defence Weekly acknowledge the reality of Peak Oil and Gas within the last week,
acknowledging that world oil and gas reserves are as much as 80% less than predicted, we are also
seeing how little real thinking has been devoted to the host of crises certain to follow; at least in terms
of publicly accessible thinking.
The following article is so serious in its implications that I have taken the unusual step of underlining
some of its key findings. I did that with the intent that the reader treat each underlined passage as a
separate and incredibly important fact. Each one of these facts should be read and digested separately
to assimilate its importance. I found myself reading one fact and then getting up and walking away until
I could come back and (un)comfortably read to the next.
All told, Dale Allen Pfeiffer's research and reporting confirms the worst of FTW's suspicions about the
consequences of Peak Oil, and it poses serious questions about what to do next. Not the least of these is
why, in a presidential election year, none of the candidates has even acknowledged the problem. Thus
far, it is clear that solutions for these questions, perhaps the most important ones facing mankind, will
by necessity be found by private individuals and communities, independently of outside or governmental
help. Whether the real search for answers comes now, or as the crisis becomes unavoidable, depends
solely on us. ? MCR]
October 3 , 2003, 1200 PDT, (FTW) -- Human beings (like all other animals) draw their energy from the food
they eat. Until the last century, all of the food energy available on this planet was derived from the sun through
photosynthesis. Either you ate plants or you ate animals that fed on plants, but the energy in your food was
ultimately derived from the sun.
It would have been absurd to think that we would one day run out of sunshine. No, sunshine was an abundant,
renewable resource, and the process of photosynthesis fed all life on this planet. It also set a limit on the amount
of food that could be generated at any one time, and therefore placed a limit upon population growth. Solar
energy has a limited rate of flow into this planet. To increase your food production, you had to increase the
acreage under cultivation, and displace your competitors. There was no other way to increase the amount of
energy available for food production. Human population grew by displacing everything else and appropriating
more and more of the available solar energy.
The need to expand agricultural production was one of the motive causes behind most of the wars in recorded
history, along with expansion of the energy base (and agricultural production is truly an essential portion of the
energy base). And when Europeans could no longer expand cultivation, they began the task of conquering the
world. Explorers were followed by conquistadors and traders and settlers. The declared reasons for expansion
may have been trade, avarice, empire or simply curiosity, but at its base, it was all about the expansion of
agricultural productivity. Wherever explorers and conquistadors traveled, they may have carried off loot, but
they left plantations. And settlers toiled to clear land and establish their own homestead. This conquest and
expansion went on until there was no place left for further expansion. Certainly, to this day, landowners and
farmers fight to claim still more land for agricultural productivity, but they are fighting over crumbs. Today,
virtually all of the productive land on this planet is being exploited by agriculture. What remains unused is too
steep, too wet, too dry or lacking in soil nutrients.1
Just when agricultural output could expand no more by increasing acreage, new innovations made possible a
more thorough exploitation of the acreage already available. The process of ?pest? displacement and
appropriation for agriculture accelerated with the industrial revolution as the mechanization of agriculture
hastened the clearing and tilling of land and augmented the amount of farmland which could be tended by one
person. With every increase in food production, the human population grew apace.
At present, nearly 40% of all land-based photosynthetic capability has been appropriated by human beings.2 In
the United States we divert more than half of the energy captured by photosynthesis.3 We have taken over all
the prime real estate on this planet. The rest of nature is forced to make due with what is left. Plainly, this is
one of the major factors in species extinctions and in ecosystem stress.
The Green Revolution
In the 1950s and 1960s, agriculture underwent a drastic transformation commonly referred to as the Green
Revolution. The Green Revolution resulted in the industrialization of agriculture. Part of the advance resulted
from new hybrid food plants, leading to more productive food crops. Between 1950 and 1984, as the Green
Revolution transformed agriculture around the globe, world grain production increased by 250%.4 That is a
tremendous increase in the amount of food energy available for human consumption. This additional energy did
not come from an increase in incipient sunlight, nor did it result from introducing agriculture to new vistas of
land. The energy for the Green Revolution was provided by fossil fuels in the form of fertilizers (natural gas),
pesticides (oil), and hydrocarbon fueled irrigation.
The Green Revolution increased the energy flow to agriculture by an average of 50 times the energy input of
traditional agriculture.5 In the most extreme cases, energy consumption by agriculture has increased 100 fold or
In the United States, 400 gallons of oil equivalents are expended annually to feed each American (as of data
provided in 1994).7 Agricultural energy consumption is broken down as follows:
· 31% for the manufacture of inorganic fertilizer
· 19% for the operation of field machinery
· 16% for transportation
· 13% for irrigation
· 08% for raising livestock (not including livestock feed)
· 05% for crop drying
· 05% for pesticide production
· 08% miscellaneous8
Energy costs for packaging, refrigeration, transportation to retail outlets, and household cooking are not
considered in these figures.
To give the reader an idea of the energy intensiveness of modern agriculture, production of one kilogram of
nitrogen for fertilizer requires the energy equivalent of from 1.4 to 1.8 liters of diesel fuel. This is not
considering the natural gas feedstock.9 According to The Fertilizer Institute (http://www.tfi.org), in the year
from June 30 2001 until June 30 2002 the United States used 12,009,300 short tons of nitrogen fertilizer.10 Using
the low figure of 1.4 liters diesel equivalent per kilogram of nitrogen, this equates to the energy content of 15.3
billion liters of diesel fuel, or 96.2 million barrels.
Of course, this is only a rough comparison to aid comprehension of the energy requirements for modern
In a very real sense, we are literally eating fossil fuels. However, due to the laws of thermodynamics, there is
not a direct correspondence between energy inflow and outflow in agriculture. Along the way, there is a
marked energy loss. Between 1945 and 1994, energy input to agriculture increased 4-fold while crop yields only
increased 3-fold.11 Since then, energy input has continued to increase without a corresponding increase in crop
yield. We have reached the point of marginal returns. Yet, due to soil degradation, increased demands of pest
management and increasing energy costs for irrigation (all of which is examined below), modern agriculture
must continue increasing its energy expenditures simply to maintain current crop yields. The Green Revolution is
Fossil Fuel Costs
Solar energy is a renewable resource limited only by the inflow rate from the sun to the earth. Fossil fuels, on
the other hand, are a stock-type resource that can be exploited at a nearly limitless rate. However, on a human
timescale, fossil fuels are nonrenewable. They represent a planetary energy deposit which we can draw from at
any rate we wish, but which will eventually be exhausted without renewal. The Green Revolution tapped into
this energy deposit and used it to increase agricultural production.
Total fossil fuel use in the United States has increased 20-fold in the last 4 decades. In the US, we consume 20
to 30 times more fossil fuel energy per capita than people in developing nations. Agriculture directly accounts
for 17% of all the energy used in this country.12 As of 1990, we were using approximately 1,000 liters (6.41
barrels) of oil to produce food of one hectare of land.13
In 1994, David Pimentel and Mario Giampietro estimated the output/input ratio of agriculture to be around 1.4.14
For 0.7 Kilogram-Calories (kcal) of fossil energy consumed, U.S. agriculture produced 1 kcal of food. The input
figure for this ratio was based on FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN) statistics, which
consider only fertilizers (without including fertilizer feedstock), irrigation, pesticides (without including pesticide
feedstock), and machinery and fuel for field operations. Other agricultural energy inputs not considered were
energy and machinery for drying crops, transportation for inputs and outputs to and from the farm, electricity,
and construction and maintenance of farm buildings and infrastructures. Adding in estimates for these energy
costs brought the input/output energy ratio down to 1.15 Yet this does not include the energy expense of
packaging, delivery to retail outlets, refrigeration or household cooking.
In a subsequent study completed later that same year (1994), Giampietro and Pimentel managed to derive a
more accurate ratio of the net fossil fuel energy ratio of agriculture.16 In this study, the authors defined two
separate forms of energy input: Endosomatic energy and Exosomatic energy. Endosomatic energy is generated
through the metabolic transformation of food energy into muscle energy in the human body. Exosomatic energy
is generated by transforming energy outside of the human body, such as burning gasoline in a tractor. This
assessment allowed the authors to look at fossil fuel input alone and in ratio to other inputs.
Prior to the industrial revolution, virtually 100% of both endosomatic and exosomatic energy was solar driven.
Fossil fuels now represent 90% of the exosomatic energy used in the United States and other developed
countries.17 The typical exo/endo ratio of pre-industrial, solar powered societies is about 4 to 1. The ratio has
changed tenfold in developed countries, climbing to 40 to 1. And in the United States it is more than 90 to 1.18
The nature of the way we use endosomatic energy has changed as well.
The vast majority of endosomatic energy is no longer expended to deliver power for direct economic processes.
Now the majority of endosomatic energy is utilized to generate the flow of information directing the flow of
exosomatic energy driving machines. Considering the 90/1 exo/endo ratio in the United States, each
endosomatic kcal of energy expended in the US induces the circulation of 90 kcal of exosomatic energy. As an
example, a small gasoline engine can convert the 38,000 kcal in one gallon of gasoline into 8.8 KWh (Kilowatt
hours), which equates to about 3 weeks of work for one human being.19
In their refined study, Giampietro and Pimentel found that 10 kcal of exosomatic energy are required to produce
1 kcal of food delivered to the consumer in the U.S. food system. This includes packaging and all delivery
expenses, but excludes household cooking).20 The U.S. food system consumes ten times more energy than it
produces in food energy. This disparity is made possible by nonrenewable fossil fuel stocks.
Assuming a figure of 2,500 kcal per capita for the daily diet in the United States, the 10/1 ratio translates into a
cost of 35,000 kcal of exosomatic energy per capita each day. However, considering that the average return on
one hour of endosomatic labor in the U.S. is about 100,000 kcal of exosomatic energy, the flow of exosomatic
energy required to supply the daily diet is achieved in only 20 minutes of labor in our current system.
Unfortunately, if you remove fossil fuels from the equation, the daily diet will require 111 hours of endosomatic
labor per capita; that is, the current U.S. daily diet would require nearly three weeks of labor per capita
Quite plainly, as fossil fuel production begins to decline within the next decade, there will be less energy
available for the production of food.
Soil, Cropland and Water
Modern intensive agriculture is unsustainable. Technologically-enhanced agriculture has augmented soil erosion,
polluted and overdrawn groundwater and surface water, and even (largely due to increased pesticide use)
caused serious public health and environmental problems. Soil erosion, overtaxed cropland and water resource
overdraft in turn lead to even greater use of fossil fuels and hydrocarbon products. More hydrocarbon-based
fertilizers must be applied, along with more pesticides; irrigation water requires more energy to pump; and fossil
fuels are used to process polluted water.
It takes 500 years to replace 1 inch of topsoil.21 In a natural environment, topsoil is built up by decaying plant
matter and weathering rock, and it is protected from erosion by growing plants. In soil made susceptible by
agriculture, erosion is reducing productivity up to 65% each year.22 Former prairie lands, which constitute the
bread basket of the United States, have lost one half of their topsoil after farming for about 100 years. This soil
is eroding 30 times faster than the natural formation rate.23 Food crops are much hungrier than the natural
grasses that once covered the Great Plains. As a result, the remaining topsoil is increasingly depleted of
nutrients. Soil erosion and mineral depletion removes about $20 billion worth of plant nutrients from U.S.
agricultural soils every year.24 Much of the soil in the Great Plains is little more than a sponge into which we
must pour hydrocarbon-based fertilizers in order to produce crops.
Every year in the U.S., more than 2 million acres of cropland are lost to erosion, salinization and water logging.
On top of this, urbanization, road building, and industry claim another 1 million acres annually from farmland.24
Approximately three-quarters of the land area in the United States is devoted to agriculture and commercial
forestry.25 The expanding human population is putting increasing pressure on land availability. Incidentally, only
a small portion of U.S. land area remains available for the solar energy technologies necessary to support a
solar energy-based economy. The land area for harvesting biomass is likewise limited. For this reason, the
development of solar energy or biomass must be at the expense of agriculture.
Modern agriculture also places a strain on our water resources. Agriculture consumes fully 85% of all U.S.
freshwater resources.26 Overdraft is occurring from many surface water resources, especially in the west and
south. The typical example is the Colorado River, which is diverted to a trickle by the time it reaches the
Pacific. Yet surface water only supplies 60% of the water used in irrigation. The remainder, and in some places
the majority of water for irrigation, comes from ground water aquifers. Ground water is recharged slowly by the
percolation of rainwater through the earth's crust. Less than 0.1% of the stored ground water mined annually is
replaced by rainfall.27 The great Ogallala aquifer that supplies agriculture, industry and home use in much of the
southern and central plains states has an annual overdraft up to 160% above its recharge rate. The Ogallala
aquifer will become unproductive in a matter of decades.28
We can illustrate the demand that modern agriculture places on water resources by looking at a farmland
producing corn. A corn crop that produces 118 bushels/acre/year requires more than 500,000 gallons/acre of
water during the growing season. The production of 1 pound of maize requires 1,400 pounds (or 175 gallons) of
water.29 Unless something is done to lower these consumption rates, modern agriculture will help to propel the
United States into a water crisis.
In the last two decades, the use of hydrocarbon-based pesticides in the U.S. has increased 33-fold, yet each
year we lose more crops to pests.30 This is the result of the abandonment of traditional crop rotation practices.
Nearly 50% of U.S. corn land is grown continuously as a monoculture.31 This results in an increase in corn
pests, which in turn requires the use of more pesticides. Pesticide use on corn crops had increased 1,000-fold
even before the introduction of genetically engineered, pesticide resistant corn. However, corn losses have still
Modern intensive agriculture is unsustainable. It is damaging the land, draining water supplies and polluting the
environment. And all of this requires more and more fossil fuel input to pump irrigation water, to replace
nutrients, to provide pest protection, to remediate the environment and simply to hold crop production at a
constant. Yet this necessary fossil fuel input is going to crash headlong into declining fossil fuel production.
In the United States, each person consumes an average of 2,175 pounds of food per person per year. This
provides the U.S. consumer with an average daily energy intake of 3,600 Calories. The world average is 2,700
Calories per day.33 Fully 19% of the U.S. caloric intake comes from fast food. Fast food accounts for 34% of
the total food consumption for the average U.S. citizen. The average citizen dines out for one meal out of
One third of the caloric intake of the average American comes from animal sources (including dairy products),
totaling 800 pounds per person per year. This diet means that U.S. citizens derive 40% of their calories from
fat-nearly half of their diet. 35
Americans are also grand consumers of water. As of one decade ago, Americans were consuming 1,450
gallons/day/capita (g/d/c), with the largest amount expended on agriculture. Allowing for projected population
increase, consumption by 2050 is projected at 700 g/d/c, which hydrologists consider to be minimal for human
needs.36 This is without taking into consideration declining fossil fuel production.
To provide all of this food requires the application of 0.6 million metric tons of pesticides in North America per
year. This is over one fifth of the total annual world pesticide use, estimated at 2.5 million tons.37 Worldwide,
more nitrogen fertilizer is used per year than can be supplied through natural sources. Likewise, water is
pumped out of underground aquifers at a much higher rate than it is recharged. And stocks of important
minerals, such as phosphorus and potassium, are quickly approaching exhaustion.38
Total U.S. energy consumption is more than three times the amount of solar energy harvested as crop and
forest products. The United States consumes 40% more energy annually than the total amount of solar energy
captured yearly by all U.S. plant biomass. Per capita use of fossil energy in North America is five times the
Our prosperity is built on the principal of exhausting the world's resources as quickly as possible, without any
thought to our neighbors, all the other life on this planet, or our children.
Population & Sustainability
Considering a growth rate of 1.1% per year, the U.S. population is projected to double by 2050. As the
population expands, an estimated one acre of land will be lost for every person added to the U.S. population.
Currently, there are 1.8 acres of farmland available to grow food for each U.S. citizen. By 2050, this will
decrease to 0.6 acres. 1.2 acres per person is required in order to maintain current dietary standards.40
Presently, only two nations on the planet are major exporters of grain: the United States and Canada.41 By
2025, it is expected that the U.S. will cease to be a food exporter due to domestic demand. The impact on the
U.S. economy could be devastating, as food exports earn $40 billion for the U.S. annually. More importantly,
millions of people around the world could starve to death without U.S. food exports.42
Domestically, 34.6 million people are living in poverty as of 2002 census data.43 And this number is continuing
to grow at an alarming rate. Too many of these people do not have a sufficient diet. As the situation worsens,
this number will increase and the United States will witness growing numbers of starvation fatalities.
There are some things that we can do to at least alleviate this tragedy. It is suggested that streamlining
agriculture to get rid of losses, waste and mismanagement might cut the energy inputs for food production by up
to one-half.35 In place of fossil fuel-based fertilizers, we could utilize livestock manures that are now wasted. It
is estimated that livestock manures contain 5 times the amount of fertilizer currently used each year.36 Perhaps
most effective would be to eliminate meat from our diet altogether.37
Mario Giampietro and David Pimentel postulate that a sustainable food system is possible only if four conditions
1. Environmentally sound agricultural technologies must be implemented.
2. Renewable energy technologies must be put into place.
3. Major increases in energy efficiency must reduce exosomatic energy consumption per capita.
4. Population size and consumption must be compatible with maintaining the stability of environmental
Providing that the first three conditions are met, with a reduction to less than half of the exosomatic energy
consumption per capita, the authors place the maximum population for a sustainable economy at 200 million.39
Several other studies have produced figures within this ballpark (Energy and Population, Werbos, Paul J.
http://www.dieoff.com/page63.htm; Impact of Population Growth on Food Supplies and Environment,
Pimentel, David, et al. http://www.dieoff.com/page57.htm).
Given that the current U.S. population is in excess of 292 million, 40 that would mean a reduction of 92 million.
To achieve a sustainable economy and avert disaster, the United States must reduce its population by at
least one-third. The black plague during the 14th Century claimed approximately one-third of the European
population (and more than half of the Asian and Indian populations), plunging the continent into a darkness from
which it took them nearly two centuries to emerge.41
None of this research considers the impact of declining fossil fuel production. The authors of all of these studies
believe that the mentioned agricultural crisis will only begin to impact us after 2020, and will not become critical
until 2050. The current peaking of global oil production (and subsequent decline of production), along with the
peak of North American natural gas production will very likely precipitate this agricultural crisis much sooner
than expected. Quite possibly, a U.S. population reduction of one-third will not be effective for sustainability; the
necessary reduction might be in excess of one-half. And, for sustainability, global population will have to be
reduced from the current 6.32 billion people42 to 2 billion-a reduction of 68% or over two-thirds. The end of this
decade could see spiraling food prices without relief. And the coming decade could see massive starvation on a
global level such as never experienced before by the human race.
Considering the utter necessity of population reduction, there are three obvious choices awaiting us.
We can-as a society-become aware of our dilemma and consciously make the choice not to add more people to
our population. This would be the most welcome of our three options, to choose consciously and with free will
to responsibly lower our population. However, this flies in the face of our biological imperative to procreate. It is
further complicated by the ability of modern medicine to extend our longevity, and by the refusal of the
Religious Right to consider issues of population management. And then, there is a strong business lobby to
maintain a high immigration rate in order to hold down the cost of labor. Though this is probably our best choice,
it is the option least likely to be chosen.
Failing to responsibly lower our population, we can force population cuts through government regulations. Is
there any need to mention how distasteful this option would be? How many of us would choose to live in a
world of forced sterilization and population quotas enforced under penalty of law? How easily might this lead to
a culling of the population utilizing principles of eugenics?
This leaves the third choice, which itself presents an unspeakable picture of suffering and death. Should we fail
to acknowledge this coming crisis and determine to deal with it, we will be faced with a die-off from which
civilization may very possibly never revive. We will very likely lose more than the numbers necessary for
sustainability. Under a die-off scenario, conditions will deteriorate so badly that the surviving human population
would be a negligible fraction of the present population. And those survivors would suffer from the trauma of
living through the death of their civilization, their neighbors, their friends and their families. Those survivors will
have seen their world crushed into nothing.
The questions we must ask ourselves now are, how can we allow this to happen, and what can we do to
prevent it? Does our present lifestyle mean so much to us that we would subject ourselves and our children to
this fast approaching tragedy simply for a few more years of conspicuous consumption?
This is possibly the most important article I have written to date. It is certainly the most frightening, and the
conclusion is the bleakest I have ever penned. This article is likely to greatly disturb the reader; it has certainly
disturbed me. However, it is important for our future that this paper should be read, acknowledged and
I am by nature positive and optimistic. In spite of this article, I continue to believe that we can find a positive
solution to the multiple crises bearing down upon us. Though this article may provoke a flood of hate mail, it is
simply a factual report of data and the obvious conclusions that follow from it.
The Guardian (UK)
The myth of Satan's web
The internet isn't evil - and Microsoft's move to close
chatrooms is more about profit than paedophilia
By Emily Bell
Microsoft's decision to close its online chatrooms
yesterday for apparently providing a safe, social haven
for paedophiles and their naive prey was universally
praised by children's charities and campaigners. On the
face of it, it was an act of supreme social
responsibility - a company recognising that it could not
control its forum for adolescent interaction in a safe
way and therefore shutting it down.
But when businesses play the paedophile card, whether it
is Microsoft or the News of the World, it always leaves
a scintilla of suspicion lurking in the minds of those
more cynical than Carol Vorderman. My suspicions were
doubly aroused when Gillian Kent, of MSN UK, managed to
slip in two mentions of Microsoft's alternative talk
medium, its Messenger service, during an interview on
the Today programme.
Microsoft's decision to close its unprofitable and
potentially litigious chat rooms may have the halo
effect of disappointing a number of paedophiles for whom
the forum is a low-effort alternative to visiting the
local swimming baths or joining the Scouts or becoming
ordained into the Catholic church. But to pretend that
it was a primary motivation for the move is disingenuous
and, what's more, reinforces the disappointingly widely
held belief that the internet is a tool of Satan.
Microsoft, like all those of us with free talk areas on
their websites, is hosting an expensive online party
from which it could never hope to turn a profit. When
Microsoft launched its first internet browser, Explorer,
I visited its Redmond "campus" where a rueful head of
internet admitted: "I am running the division that Bill
Gates said we would never have."
The open nature of the web, its unpredictable and
uncontrollable proliferation of ideas and open source
software was anathema to the world's leading operating
systems company. But like all previous obstacles,
Microsoft embraced the challenge and crushed the
Netscape opposition to produce a democratic way of
accessing the web which only the technocracy abhorred.
It is not therefore entirely surprising that a company
which found the web a terrific threat should ham up some
of the more startling dangers of the medium. It is true
that if you let your children have unlimited and
unmonitored access to the web they might encounter all
the same unthinkably dreadful things they would if let
loose in a strange city. But the parental strategy for
dealing with this has to be to apply the same kind of
vigilance and apocalyptic warnings which accompanied
One could easily conclude from Microsoft's admission
that their chatrooms are full of appalling pornographic
spammers and that David Hope, the Archbishop of York,
was right when, in 2000, he described the internet as
"evil" and said it would "create a society without a
It is littered it seems not just with gurning
paedophiles, but with spotty-faced science students
"stealing music"; mad terrorists swapping bomb recipes;
snake-oil salesmen desperate to increase the size of
your penis; adverts for Viagra, Russian brides and cheap
loans. A refuge for the socially dysfunctional and the
sexually perverted. When Gary Hart was sentenced to five
years in jail for causing death by dangerous driving
after his car careered on to the rail tracks at Selby,
newspaper reports pointed to the fact he had spent the
previous evening talking to a woman he had met on the
internet - as if this was the signifier of a moral
turpitude which made his crime all the worse.
Social connectivity through the internet is an awesome
thing. It is beginning to undermine the vision of an
"atomised" society which so many sociologists and
theorists, including Noam Chomsky, feared that
television would create. Whereas TV, we were told,
sapped the will to collective action, the internet
refacilitates it. If television killed the art of
conversation, the internet restores it. If you have a
physical or mental disorder, however rare, your research
materials and support groups are available online. You
can shop without using your environmentally unsound car.
You can even construct a case for a just war, if you
download the relevant thesis.
Microsoft's move to monetise its chattering classes is
understandable, and I have as much sympathy with their
predicament as a business as I do their efforts to
safeguard my children - though I imagine most parents
would think this was their responsibility. It is quite
possible, as several competitors have pointed out, that
Microsoft's alternative methods of providing "chat" will
prove no safer.
Bill Gates the philanthropist has had a positive week in
terms of global public relations; his transformation
from anti-competitive leviathan to a good global citizen
is almost complete. But there is no doubt that a company
which at heart was profoundly uneasy with the concept of
the internet has found the best possible reason for
retreating from part of it.
The wider problem of who our children might talk to,
either on or offline, is no closer to a satisfactory
resolution and the power of the internet to deliver good
as well as evil is largely undiminished.
· Emily Bell is editor-in-chief of Guardian Unlimited
Whole Grains vs. Whole Wheat—which is better for our health?
Most of the doctors in this country are not teaching the people, medically speaking the correct way to live. In
order to extend the lives of untold millions of patients, we as doctors, health consultants, and medical caregivers
must make a change now. After all, the very title “Doctor” is derived from the Latin word “Docere”, which
mean “to teach”. Doctors must take the responsibility of educating patients because the knowledge—which
doctors have, or should have—is an essential part of the healing process.
When a patient is hospitalized for a health condition that was made by our lifestyles and dietary habits, it is not
good enough to just patch up the patient and send the patient home on medications, allowing the patient to make
the same mistakes all over again. This is a vicious cycle that must be broken in order for us to live in a
disease-sick-free society. Those who are hospitalized should never be discharged from the hospital until they
have been helped to understand and properly manage their condition. This process must be done by educating
the patients in the science of food and nutrition. As the old saying goes “It is better to educate than to
A British surgeon by the name of Denis P. Burkitt, M.D., once told a group of physicians that problems such as
obesity, hiatal hernia, appendicitis, diverticulosis, colitis, polyps, and cancer of the colon are virtually unheard of
among the rural eastern Africans. He compared the health and dietary habits of the rural people (in eastern
Africa) with those people living in the African cities as well as in Western Europe.
He found the rural eastern African’s diet to be high in fresh fruit, vegetables and coarsely ground cereal
grains. They used the whole of the wheat kernel that includes the wheat’s bran, germ and all of the endosperm.
Nothing was processed. The rough bran from these grains absorbs water, increase the bulk of bowel wastes,
and speeds elimination time, keeping the bowel clean and healthy. Noticeably absent from the rural diet were
the white flour, white sugar, and other refined carbohydrates so common in the western countries and in the
urban areas of Africa. Dr. Burkitt pointed out that African natives who move to cities tend to change their diet
and get more diseases. They ate more white sugar and flour, and fewer fibrous foods.
The time it takes for ingested food to travel the length of the intestinal tract and to be ready for elimination is
called the bowel transit time. In the rural eastern African culture the bowel transit time is more than twice that
of the average American, according to Dr. Burkkitt’s research. This is because the native’s average daily
intake of fiber, and whole grains, is about 100 milligrams, as opposed to less than half that amount for those
living in the western and urban areas of Africa.
The length of time food wastes remain in the bowel determines the extent of fermentation and putrefaction;
how much the undesirable bacteria multiply; how much fat is absorbed through the bowel wall; and what sort of
chemical toxins develop in and pass through the bowel.
Based on the data he gathered in the Congo, Kenya, Uganda, Sudan, and other underdeveloped parts of the
world, Dr. Burkitt was among the first physicians in the field of the management of proper bowel care through
correct nutrition. He taught that diet—especially one in which there is an increase in dietary fiber from whole
grains and a reduction in processed, fiber-depleted carbohydrates—is the key to preventing much disease and
He strongly believed that the over consumption of refined, processed, whole grain depleted carbohydrates is
responsible for arteriosclerosis and diabetes, and that the absence of sufficient whole grain in the diet promotes
colon disease, such as cancer. Excessive consumption of refined carbohydrates favor the growth of
putrefactive bacteria in the bowel, alters bowel chemistry, and invites colitis, diabetes, arteriosclerosis, polyps
and colon cancer.
Medical research has established his convictions, and those of others who promoted the same principles as
When we eat, peristaltic action in the bowel moves the food and its residue down to the last part of the
elimination system—the large intestine. The bowel transit time normally takes 18 hours for food to go through
the body and be eliminated. This is one of the reasons, we are taught by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad and
the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan to abstain from eating food for a 24-hour period.
In today’s highly commercialized world it is hard to get good whole wheat breads. Bread, for instance, which
was once thought of as the staff of life. The reason it was considered the staff of life was because it was one
of the best sources of complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, proteins, natural bran and dietary fiber, which
has beneficial effects on the digestive tract as well as the entire body. Now, with chemicals added to bread, it is
now devoid of important nutrients, contributing to a widespread vitamin and mineral deficiencies. So it is now,
more or less, the staff of death.
It was not until the industrial revolution of the nineteenth century when the food industry replaced grinding
stones—that were once used in the milling and grounding of flours—with high-speed, steel roller mills. So in an
increasingly commercialized world of mass production and mass marketing, health was and is sacrificed for
A major consequence of today’s highly commercialized world, has been, and still is, nutritional deficiencies,
sickness and diseases. Most of today's mass-produced and processed foods are seriously depleted of nutrients
and are highly processed with chemicals and other additives. Bleaching agents have been added to the flour.
Thus essential nutrients have been removed; making the products inferior to what it once was. Many products
are not in their original form, after they go through the high degree of heating. This heating process changes the
basic molecular structure of the products. All of this is poisonous to the human being.
As mentioned, it was not until recently that whole grains ceased to be grounded between large stones to make
flour. Under the old method, almost all of the original grain remained in the finished product, including the germ,
the fiber, the starch, and all of the vitamins, minerals and protein. This milling and grounding process is
As stated by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in How To Eat To Live Book One, “Some people eat the whole
of the wheat kernel, but this is not good to do because it is the hull of the seed and our stomach are not made to
digest the raw wheat seeds, regardless to the great property of vitamins in them. The whole wheat kernel
should be milled and grinded very finely”.
He taught us to eat the whole wheat—but not the whole grain—because it is too rough for the digestive system
to handle. He also taught us to eat wheat, but never white flour, which is robbed of its natural vitamins and
proteins. Minister Farrakhan is urging us to do as we were taught. This will provide us with one of the best
sources of high quality protein and essential vitamins.
Chemicals, such as calcium sulfate, ammonium chloride, mono and triglycerides, potassium bromate, potassium
iodide, calcium proprionate, benzoyl peroxide, tricalcium phosphate and others, are added to breads, despite
reports that these and similar chemicals previously thought to be safe are potential causes of cancer and other
diseases. You almost have to be a chemist just to know and understand what these chemicals are. Most of
these additives are added to the bread so that it can keep longer on the shelf. The Food and Drug
Administration approves more than 30 different chemicals for addition to bread.
Enriched and fortified bread is made from enriched white flour, which is milled from only the endosperm of the
wheat kernel; thus making it “unenriched.” White flour has been “enriched” with synthetic iron, B vitamins and
with calcium. Diets containing whole-wheat bread products occupy a major work of preventing diabetes,
cancer, heart disease, aging, and obesity.
Current research has demonstrated that ground and mill whole-wheat has more nutritional value than refined
flour. This is because of the presence of bran in whole wheat, which is an excellent source of dietary fiber and
other micronutrients like vitamins B and E, magnesium and zinc and possibly antioxidants such as flavonoids.
It has been backed up by scientific research that when whole grain is processed and made into refined white
flour, more than 25 essential nutrients are largely removed. Only a small number of those nutrients that are loss
are put back in a process called "enrichment." But most—if not all—of what is put back into the flour or
supermarket-breads are of poor quality ingredients and is not readily absorbed into the human body.
Consumers really need to be educated in the principles of good nutrition, starting by a careful reading and
understanding of the food labels. There are books the public can get which are helpful in helping the public
understand the nature of the ingredients.
If this were practiced, the food industry would be forced to admit that food itself is a primary reason the
American people are suffering with so much sickness and diseases. They would be forced by the public to
produce more nutritious products.
You may know of someone, or perhaps, someone in your family who may be allergic to wheat. But we need to
look more closely at the quality of that wheat. How was it processed? Oftentimes, when an important ingredient
is completely taken away or loss in the processing process, it may cause an allergic reaction in the body. But it
may not be the wheat itself. It may be some other ingredient masking itself as wheat that is the cause of the
Whole wheat aids the body in many ways. It can help in weight management and obesity because of their lower
calorie density and increased feeling of fullness and satisfaction. (In another writing I intend to recommend the
best flour to get and why in terms of total nutritional value.)
Whole wheat bread is made from whole-grain wheat flour. A grain food designated “whole grain” on the label
should mean that the entire kernel is still included. Here again, you must read the label very carefully. The very
first ingredient on the label should read “100% whole wheat flour.”
Again, it must be emphasized that the whole grain should be ground and milled very finely before its use. This
provides a good source of fiber, including antioxidants, which may repair cell damage that may otherwise lead to
heart disease and cancer. It also includes phytoestrogens, which potentially may help prevent breast cancer, as
well as hot flashes and osteoporosis in post-menopausal women. And guess what; you can get an abundant
amount of protein in bread containing good whole-wheat flour.
Wheat bread also includes various amounts of fiber and phytonutrients. We must also be careful of the food
industry’s deceptive marketing practices that are widespread. Some of the bread that is marketed as
"whole-wheat bread" may just be refined white flour with a little brown coloring added. Look at the ingredients
list, which must specifically say “100% whole wheat” rather than “made from” 100% whole wheat.
We must get in the habit of reading and understanding food labels. For instance, you may see the word
“caramel coloring”, which is added to breads, to give the bread its brown color. Take that for what it is:
“caramel coloring” and not whole wheat. Smile.
Medical scientists are now more than ever, realizing, that a diet low in fiber, high in refined processed foods, is
one major cause of cancer and other diseases. Without bran, bowel transit time through the digestive tract is
greatly lengthened. Constipation results, causing hemorrhoids, diverticulitis and an increased risk of colon and
I can’t stress enough that if we study the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as taught to us today by
the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan, and follow the dietary guidelines given to us in How To Eat To Live,
we have the keys to protecting ourselves against these deadly diseases such as cancer and heart disease. We
will soon be able to reduce our medical bills.
I bear witness that most of the recent studies that medical scientists have made, in their study of food and
nutrition, are coming closer and closer to what the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught and what Minister
Farrakhan continues to teach us, of how to eat to live.
Patina Muhammad, ND
August 16, 2003
1. Elmer M. Cranton, M.D., Modern Bread, The Broken Staff Of Life, www.drcraton.com.
2. Jensen, Bernard, Dr. Jensen’s Guide To Better Bowel Care, Bernard Jensen International, New York,
3. Muhammad, The Honorable Elijah, How To Eat To Live, Volumes One and Two Chicago, Illinois 1967,
4. Walker W. Norman, Colon Health: The Key to a Vibrant Life, Norwalk Press, Prescott Arizona 1995
CIA Seeks Probe of White House
By Alex Johnson with Andrea Mitchell
Exclusive | MSNBC and NBC News
Friday 26 September 2003
Agency asks Justice to investigate leak of employee’s identity
The CIA has asked the Justice Department to investigate allegations that the White House broke
federal laws by revealing the identity of one of its undercover employees in retaliation against the
woman's husband, a former ambassador who publicly criticized President Bush's since-discredited
claim that Iraq had sought weapons-grade uranium from Africa, NBC News has learned.
The Former Envoy, Joseph Wilson, who was acting ambassador to Iraq before the first Gulf War,
was dispatched to Niger in 2002 to investigate a British intelligence report that Iraq sought to buy
uranium there. Although Wilson discredited the report, Bush cited it in his State of the Union address
in January among the evidence he said justified military action in Iraq.
The administration has since had to repudiate the claim. CIA Director George Tenet said the
16-word sentence should not have been included in Bush's Jan. 28 speech and publicly accepted
responsibility for allowing it to remain in the president's text.
Wilson published an article in July alleging, however, that the White House recklessly made the
charge knowing it was false.
"We spend billions of dollars on intelligence," Wilson wrote. "But we end up putting something in
the State of the Union address, something we got from another intelligence agency, something we
cannot independently verify, in an area of Africa where the British have no on-the-ground presence."
White House Denials
The next week, columnist Robert Novak published an article in which he revealed that Wilson's wife,
Valerie Plame, was a covert CIA operative specializing in weapons of mass destruction. "Two senior
administration officials told me Wilson's wife suggested sending him to Niger to investigate," Novak
The White House has denied being Novak's source, whom he has refused to identify. But Wilson
has said other reporters have told him White House officials leaked Plame's identity.
NBC News' Andrea Mitchell reported Friday night that the CIA has asked the Justice Department to
investigate whether White House officials blew Plame's cover in retaliation against Wilson. Revealing
the identities of covert officials is a violation of two laws, the National Agents' Identity Act and the
Unauthorized Release of Classified Information Act.
Attempts to Remove Claim
When the Niger claim first arose, in February 2002, the CIA sent Wilson to Africa to investigate. He
reported finding no credible evidence that Iraq was seeking uranium from Niger.
The CIA's doubts about the uranium claim were reported through routine intelligence traffic
throughout the government, U.S. intelligence officials said. Those doubts were also reported to the
The Niger report included a notation that it was unconfirmed when it was published in the October
2002 National Intelligence Estimate, the classified summary of intelligence on Iraq's weapons
The CIA had the Niger claim removed from at least two speeches before they were given: Bush's
October address on the Iraqi threat, and a speech by U.N. Ambassador John Negroponte.
As the State of the Union address was being written, CIA officials protested over how the alleged
uranium connection was being portrayed, so the administration changed it to attribute it to the British,
who had made the assertion in a Sept. 24 dossier.
Bush Accused by Lords of the Bar
The Village Voice
Friday 19 September 2003
They Put Him in a Legal Black Hole
No citizen shall be . . . detained by the United States except pursuant to
an Act of Congress. -18 U.S.C. 4001 (a) a law passed by Congress in
The [president's] constitutional argument [in the case of Jose Padilla] would give every
President the unchecked power to detain, without charge and forever, all citizens it
chooses to label as "enemy combatants." -friend-of-the-court brief, Padilla v. Rumsfeld,
by the Cato Institute, the Center for National Security Studies, the Constitution Project,
the Lawyers Committee for Human Rights, People for the American Way, and the
Ignored by most media, an array of prominent federal judges, government officials, and other
members of the legal establishment has joined in a historic rebellion against George W. Bush's
unprecedented and unconstitutional arrogance of power that threatens the fundamental right of
American citizens to have access to their lawyers before disappearing indefinitely into military custody
without charges, without seeing an attorney or anyone except their guards.
The case, Padilla v. Rumsfeld, is now before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. In a compelling
friend-of-the-court brief on Padilla's behalf by an extraordinary gathering of the aforementioned former
federal court judges, district court judges, and other legal luminaries of the establishment bar, they
"This case involves an unprecedented detention by the United States of an American citizen, seized
on American soil, and held incommunicado for more than a year without any charge being filed against
him, without any access to counsel, and without any right to challenge the basis of his detention
before a United States judge or magistrate . . .
"[We] believe the Executive's position in this case threatens the basic 'rule of law' on which our
country is founded, the role of the federal judiciary and the separations in our national government, and
fundamental individual liberties enshrined in our Constitution."
On May 8, 2002, Jose Padilla, unarmed and showing valid identification, was arrested at Chicago's
O'Hare Airport by the FBI while getting off a plane. As his court-appointed lawyer, Donna Newman-who
has shown herself to be truly a credit to the bar-told Judge Andrew Napolitano on the Fox News
"What they allege is that he had some 'loose talk.' That's their words, not mine, that he was
planning, not a plan exactly, just loose talk about detonating a dirty bomb. Not him personally
because, of course, he had . . . not even a pamphlet about bomb making when he was seized in the
Padilla was not charged with a crime, or with planning a crime. He was held as a material witness
in a high-security prison in Manhattan. But suddenly, without Padilla's lawyer being informed, Padilla
was hauled away by the Defense Department to a military brig in North Carolina where, in solitary
confinement, he remains.
As Donna Newman says, "While the world knows about his case, he does not. They put somebody
in a legal black hole."
Padilla has been stripped of his rights-until now guaranteed by the Constitution-by the sole order
and authority of George W. Bush, who has designated him an "enemy combatant."
As the friend-of-the-court brief by the former federal judges and other prominent lawyers states:
"There is at present no constitutionally-approved definition of who is an 'enemy combatant'; there are
no constitutionally-approved procedures governing when and how persons seized in the United States
may be imprisoned as 'enemy combatants' or for how long . . .
"In the absence of such standards . . . the judiciary-and the historical 'great writ' of habeas
corpus-serves as the sole safeguard against what otherwise would be an unbridled power of the
Executive to imprison a citizen based solely on the Executive's hearsay assertions that he or she has
become an 'enemy' of the state."
Habeas corpus, embedded in the body of the Constitution, even before the Bill of Rights was added,
provides a citizen held by the government with the right to go to a court and make the government
prove he or she is being imprisoned legally.
As Donna Newman, impeded from her right to represent her client meaningfully, says: "To have the
government say to us, 'You have a right to bring a petition [for habeas corpus], [but] you just can't
speak to your client.' [That] is absolutely absurd."
And that is absolutely unconstitutional.
In a number of previous Voice columns and in my newly available book, The War on the Bill of
Rights and the Gathering Resistance (Seven Stories Press), I have reported both on the series of
radical abuses of the rule of law by Bush, Ashcroft, and Rumsfeld that have now reached a climax in
this case, and on the case of another American citizen, Yaser Esam Hamdi, also being held without
charges and without access to a lawyer in a military brig.
While the rest of the media failed to vigorously ring the liberty bell on Padilla v. Rumsfeld, The New
York Observer came through with Greg Sargent's front-page August 11 story, "Bush's Tactics in Terror
Case Called Illegal." It focused on the brief by the former judges, government officials, and renowned
lawyers alarmed by the president's bypassing of the Constitution. Quoted was Harold Tyler, a former
federal judge, and deputy attorney general under President Gerald Ford, who brought him in to cleanse
the Justice Department after Watergate:
"They should charge this man if they've got something against him. And they should give him the
right to counsel. These are all constitutional rights. . . . I have been a longtime Republican, but I'm a
disenchanted Republican in this case."
The amicus brief he and the other members of the establishment bar signed declares: "Throughout
history totalitarian regimes have attempted to justify their acts by designating individuals as 'enemies
of the state' who were unworthy of any legal rights or protections. These tactics are no less
despicable, and perhaps even more so, when they occur in a country that purports to be governed by
the rule of law." And George W. Bush regularly intones his allegiance to "the rule of law."
U.S. Plans to Attack Seven Muslim States
Monday 22 September 2003
Presidential hopeful General Wesley Clark says the White House devised a
five-year plan after the 9/11 strikes to attack seven majority-Muslim countries.
A former commander of NATO's forces in Europe, Clark claims he met a senior military officer in
Washington in November 2001 who told him the Bush administration was planning to attack Iraq first
before taking action against Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan.
The general’s allegations surface in a new book, The Clark Critique, excerpts from which appear in
the latest edition of the U.S. magazine Newsweek.
Clark says after the 11 September 2001 attacks, many Bush administration officials seemed
determined to move against Iraq, invoking the idea of state sponsorship of terrorism, "even though
there was no evidence of Iraqi sponsorship of 9/11 whatsoever".
Ousting Saddam Hussein promised concrete, visible action, the general writes, dismissing it as a
"Cold War approach".
Clark criticises the plan to attack the seven states, saying it targeted the wrong countries, ignored
the "real sources of terrorists", and failed to achieve "the greater force of international law" that would
bring wider global support.
He also condemns George Bush’s notorious Axis of Evil speech made during his 2002 State of the
Union address. "There were no obvious connections between Iraq, Iran, and North Korea," says Clark.
The former NATO commander acknowledges Iranian and Syrian support for resistance groups such
as Lebanon’s Hizb Allah and the Palestinian movement Hamas.
"But neither Hezbollah [sic] nor Hamas were targeting Americans," he writes. "Why not build
international power against Al Qaeda?"
Instead, Clark points the finger at what he calls "the real sources of terrorists - U.S. allies in the
region like Egypt, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia".
Clark blames Egypt’s "repressive policies", Pakistan’s "corruption and poverty, as well as Saudi
Arabia’s "radical ideology and direct funding" for creating a pool of angry young men who became
The recent Democrat Party convert says Bush should have adopted a more preventive measures
and targeted extremist leaders. "The way to beat terrorists was to take away their popular support,"
adds Clark, though he offers little to suggest how this would be achieved.
But White House policy was quickly set in order to achieve particular goals, Clark writes, saying
the U.S. administration used the 9/11 attacks to address broader objectives in the Middle East.
Clark, who supervised NATO’s campaign to oust Serbia’s forces from Kosovo in 1999, also takes a
swipe at the United States’ allies in Europe, which provided staging bases and planning headquarters
for "radical" groups.
The retired general last week declared his intention to win the Democrat nomination to challenge
George Bush for the presidency in 2004.
Just days after entering the presidential race, Clark has raced ahead of the nine other Democratic
contenders in the latest polls.
Many political observers have portrayed Clark as an anti-war candidate whose own war record – he
was decorated after being shot and wounded while serving in Vietnam – means he cannot be accused
of lacking courage or patriotism.
Clark has frequently criticised Washington’s policy towards Iraq.
He claimed previously that after the 9/11 attacks, he was pressed by the Bush administration to
link the strikes directly to Iraq but refused - a claim the White House denies. However, once the war
on Iraq began, he urged decisive action to achieve a rapid U.S. victory.
Despite his anti-war stand on Iraq, the general has had a reputation for being belligerent. He was
criticised during the Kosovo campaign for defending attacks on civilian Serbian targets, including the
bombing of a television station that left about 20 journalists and other staff dead.
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