Two important things to do during your Thanksgiving holiday to help fight world hunger

From David Kane, at the Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, reprinted in the Tikkun DAILY blog by Dave Belden, posted there on November 26th, 2010

Two urgent situations require quick action from those who are concerned about world hunger. Your action can help counteract the massive presence of banking lobbyists in Washington. At a time when we give thanks for food on our plates, let’s help make sure that is a reality for people across the U.S. and around the world.

In 2008, price bubbles in food and energy prices led to $4 gasoline in the U.S. and, according to the UN, forced over 130 million people around the world to go hungry. A significant factor behind those price bubbles was excessive speculation in food and energy commodity markets. For more information about excessive commodity speculation, go to

While the recently passed Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act includes good steps to rein in speculation and bring common sense rules back to the commodity markets, important details were left to be defined by regulatory agencies. Wall Street is working feverishly to undermine and weaken the law during this process. You can help show regulators that big bankers are not the only ones interested in financial reform.

Please do these two things during the Thanksgiving holiday

First, contact your Senator and ask him/her to vote to remove Section 201 from HR 4337/S 3948, the Bill to Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986
The issue: Current rules require that 90 percent of investment gains realized by mutual funds must come from securities, and only 10 percent may be realized through alternative investments, such as commodity investments. Section 201 of HR 4337 would modify this restriction and allow commodity investments to be realized as part of the 90 percent. This could open a new floodgate to speculative dollars in essential commodities, such as food and energy, without thorough Congressional hearings or public debate on the potential harms of such a move.
This bill already passed the House by voice vote and is now being rushed through the Senate. Please call your Senator’s office before November 30 as the vote on the Bill to Amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 (HR 4337/S 3948) could happen next week. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senators’ offices (make sure to call both), or call their local office.

Second, go to Maryknoll’s ‘Stop Gambling on Hunger’ website to send a letter to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC)
The issue: The CFTC is in the process of defining the details of how the Dodd-Frank bill will be enforced. Wall Street has thousands of lobbyists in D.C. working to water down the bill. Over 90 percent of the lobby visits to the CFTC have been from Wall Street banks, hedge funds and other financial players trying to get exemptions for their profiting. The letter you can send to the CFTC points out five key areas where the CFTC needs to stay strong.
The CFTC is accepting public comments until November 30, so please write to them now and encourage your friends and family to do the same during the Thanksgiving holiday.
Here are a few links that provide further context:-
David Kane, a Maryknoll lay missioner, served for nine years in Joao Pessoa, Brazil, and currently works in Maryknoll’s Office for Global Concerns in Washington, D.C., covering Latin American and economic issues. In “Latin America’s Rising Left” in the current Tikkun he reviewed Oliver Stone’s movie South of the Border.

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