An analysis by the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) revealed that the Crescent City recorded the highest homicide rate of any major city so far in 2022, with 41 homicides per 100,000 residents. In contrast, Chicago only had 11.5, Los Angeles had 4.8 and New York City had 2.4 homicides per 100,000 people over the same period.
Another analysis, this time by the nonprofit Metropolitan Crime Commission (MCC), bolstered the WSJ‘s findings. MCC works on crime-reducing strategies in New Orleans.
The nonprofit found that the homicide rate in the Big Easy went up by 141 percent compared with the same period in 2019. It also noticed an increase in other crimes. Carjackings increased by 210 percent, shootings rose by 100 percent and armed robberies went up by 25 percent.
“The homicide rate is on pace to surpass last year’s rate, which was the worst since Hurricane Katrina in 2005,” noted the publication.
City officials and residents point to the overwhelmed New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) as a major factor in the gargantuan increase in crime. According to Loyola University New Orleans criminal justice professor Ronal Serpas, the Crescent City has about 50 to 60 percent of the officers it needs to offer adequate protection for residents.
However, New Orleans District Attorney (DA) Jason Williams – a self-proclaimed “progressive prosecutor” – is also to blame for the rising homicide rate. When he became the DA for the New Orleans metro area in early 2021, Williams promised a “more selective” approach when it comes to prosecuting criminals on the streets.
“Being more selective about prosecutions will allow us to focus on the crimes that matter most to all of us,” the DA said at the time. “We’ve got to go beyond punishment and invest in our community.”
This approach, MCC pointed, has resulted in a “drastic decline in accountability for violent felony offenders.”
New Orleanians moving away from crime-infested Big Easy
Several New Orleans residents who spoke to the WSJ revealed plans to leave the crime-riddled city.
Grocery cashier Nhu Vu, 40, shared that she is planning to move away from the city with her children. She recounted a daytime shooting incident in May 2022 that happened across her workplace, which left two dead and four wounded. A more recent incident she shared involved an angry homeless man throwing a beer can at her.
Vu called law enforcement right after the incident, but an officer only showed up the next day. “The only way you can really get police to come is if you say you are shot and bleeding,” she commented.
Auto shop owner Ibrahim Rabee, meanwhile, said he no longer feels safe at his own business. He recounted one instance when a man threatened one of his employees who would not put air in the customer’s tire. Rabee called 911 after someone walked in with a gun and threatened to shoot up the business, but a police officer only showed up the following day.
“I’m thinking I’m not going to work another year here,” the auto shop owner remarked, adding that he is considering moving near his brother in New York state.
Conway Herzog, who works for an automotive oil supplier, visited Rabee’s business to check on orders. He moved to Mississippi after living in New Orleans for more than 50 years, mainly to escape the Crescent City’s rampant crime.
According to Herzog, he carries a gun whenever visiting the block where Rabee’s auto shop is located. He recounted seeing two shootings in the area in broad daylight. Records from the NOPD attested to this: At least seven people have been killed within blocks of the auto shop since the beginning of 2022.
“Man, am I glad to get out of here,” remarked Herzog. “I don’t see it getting any better.”
Violence.news has more stories about rising crime rates in U.S. cities.
During a “60 Minutes” interview with CBS broadcast on Sunday, Sept. 18, correspondent Scott Pelley asked Biden about recent concerns that China could attack Taiwan. United States policy since 1979 has been to recognize Taiwan as part of China, but to remain ambiguous on whether the military would defend the island’s democratic government.
“We agree with what we signed onto a long time ago,” said Biden. “And that there’s one China policy, and Taiwan makes their own judgments about their independence. We are not moving – we’re not encouraging their being independent. That’s their decision.”
“But would U.S. forces defend the island?” asked Pelley.
When Pelley asked Biden to clarify if that means supporting Taiwan with American servicemen and women being sent to the island in the event of a Chinese invasion, Biden simply replied: “Yes.”
Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed its thanks to Biden for reaffirming the “U.S. government’s rock-solid security commitment to Taiwan.” The ministry added that Taiwan will continue to strengthen its self-defense capabilities and deepen the already close security partnership that it has with the United States.
Biden has had a reputation of willingness to go beyond long-standing stated U.S. policy on Taiwan, which is to remain ambiguous about what kind of support the country would give during a war.
An analysis by Politico has found that this is the fourth time since Aug. 2021 that Biden has stated he would militarily defend Taiwan during a Chinese invasion attempt.
White House claims Biden’s words are not official policy
Officially, the U.S. maintains a policy of “strategic ambiguity” regarding whether it would commit to sending troops to Taiwan in the event of an invasion. The Taiwan Relations Act of 1979 only obligates America to help equip Taiwan to defend itself during an invasion, and doing more would be at the discretion of the commander-in-chief.
It is this “strategic ambiguity” in U.S. policy regarding Taiwan that made a White House official release a statement following the “60 Minutes” interview to point out that Biden’s words don’t constitute official policy.
“The president has said this before, including in Tokyo earlier this year,” said a White House spokesperson. “He also made clear then that our Taiwan policy hasn’t changed. That remains true.”
But Oriana Skylar Mastro, a center fellow at Stanford University‘s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, believes this isn’t just a slip-up on Biden’s part if it has happened at least three other times.
“I think we can all be pretty certain at this point that it was not a gaffe – four times in a row … [means] what’s happening is there are people in the administration who think that by demonstrating a greater willingness to defend Taiwan, that’ll help reestablish deterrence,” said Mastro.
She added that the Biden administration’s current challenge is to figure out how to balance its desire to deter an invasion of Taiwan while communicating clearly that it is willing to send American troops to the island to keep it out of the clutches of Beijing.
“Most people assume the U.S. will do something to defend Taiwan. The big question is, what are the costs we’re really willing to pay?” said Mastro. “Are we going to stick it out after 10,000, or 20,000, or 30,000 casualties? There’s nothing about Biden’s statement that adds any clarity to the Chinese on that issue.”
Learn more about the possibility of the U.S. going to war at WWIII.news.
Senior executives at some of America’s largest agribusiness and food processing companies like Bayer, Corteva, Archer Daniels Midland and Bunge warned that worldwide crop supplies remain tight due to persistent drought conditions in the U.S. and other agricultural heavy-hitters like countries in South America. Uncertainties over crop production in conflict-hit Ukraine are also making the situation precarious.
High temperatures and drought conditions have affected crop quality all over the U.S. West and the Great Plains. In places like Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma, heatwaves hit at a time when corn crops required the most water, causing a lot of yield losses.
“It looks like a large part of the corn belt, in my opinion, is going to be dealing with below-normal precipitation, so we’re looking at a drier harvest,” said Ryan Martin, an agricultural meteorologist from Indiana. “From mid-September and going through the end of October, I think we’re going to be looking at below-normal precipitation.”
Martin added that parts of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and the northern Great Lakes may see some more precipitation. But for the central and southern plains regions, drought conditions will likely persist and they will receive “well-below-normal precipitation.”
“We’ve already seen some wheat dusted-in in parts of Kansas and Oklahoma. Right now, there’s nothing to change that,” said Martin. “And when the rains come through, the systems are not overly moisture-laden, so we do see a little bit of moisture, but if you get half an inch and if you need an inch-and-a-half [of precipitation] or more to kind of get the soil profile back, it’s just not going to happen and not going to work.”
America needs at least two years of good harvests to get back to normal
“When it comes to the global food supply situation, I think things are going to continue to be tight for the time being,” warned Werner Baumann, CEO of Bayer.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture on Sept. 12 released a statement lowering its nationwide corn production estimate to just 13.9 billion bushels, three percent lower than its projection last month and eight percent below the 2021 harvest total. Soybean production estimates are also down three percent from a record-high projection in August. The current estimate is also lower than last year’s total harvest.
Agriculture consultancy firm Professional Farmers of America also cut its outlook for corn yields by 13 percent in Nebraska and 22 percent in South Dakota.
Chuck Magro, chief executive of seed and pesticide producer Corteva, noted that the corn harvest this year is currently expected to come far below recent yields in North America and Europe, hindering the world’s ability to restock global corn supplies.
“The current market expectation is that global grain and oilseeds markets need two consecutive normal crop years to stabilize global supplies,” said Magro.
Markets have already reacted to the possibility that food supplies will remain restrained. Futures prices for wheat at the Chicago Board of Trade is already up 17 percent year-over-year, and corn prices have already risen by 28 percent and soybeans by roughly 14 percent compared to last year.
(Natural News) The price of nitrogen fertilizer is expected to keep increasing this fall. Analysts have noted that the cost of natural gas, a key component in the production of nitrogen fertilizer, is no longer the only driver of high prices.
In America’s Corn Belt, the price of common nitrogen fertilizer ammonia has increased by nearly 24 percent since Sept. 2020. The average cost in the region is currently around $1,300 per ton. Up from around $330 per ton in Sept. 2020 and $670 per ton in Sept. 2021.
Prices peaked during the spring earlier this year at around $1,550 per ton before falling to $950 per ton in July. Since then, prices have only gone up.
In Missouri, one retailer noted that it currently costs around $1,325 to purchase a ton of anhydrous ammonia fertilizer. In Iowa, one retailer said it costs $1,400 per ton to buy the same kind of fertilizer.
In Europe, the cost of carbamide or urea fertilizer has already surged to nearly $1,000 per metric ton (1.1 tons) and could soar above $2,000 or even $3,000 by year’s end.
“Against the background of the high cost of natural gas, we should not expect a drop in prices for carbamide and other types of nitrogen fertilizers in Europe,” noted Leonid Khazanov, an independent Russian analyst.
Rising cost of corn likely to affect price of nitrogen fertilizer
But despite what Khazanov believes, other analysts have noted that natural gas prices are no longer the only driver of nitrogen fertilizer costs.
“Historically we might have thought fertilizer is primarily an energy cost input,” said Brad Lubben, an agricultural economics expert at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). “Energy drives the cost of fertilizer, but so does output, so does the price of corn. So do the supply shocks overseas in terms of foreign suppliers. So do the current energy shocks in Europe, which leaves all kinds of questions about the winter natural gas supply and availability, as well as transportation and everything else that we see going on here with the challenges we’re seeing today.”
“Volatility is something producers are going to have to manage,” he concluded.
Other analysts have agreed that the price of corn could be considered a major driver in the price of nitrogen fertilizer. Cory Walters, another agricultural economist with UNL, agreed that the price of corn is one of the factors in play.
“You have corn prices heading back up. You have issues over in Europe. You have tariffs. You have transportation costs,” he said. “Everything across the board is leading to this price level and this level of volatility, and I’d expect more of that going forward as we move into the fall and winter.”
The average cost of growing food in the United States is on track to jump by 18 percent, the highest ever increase, with much of the rise attributed to the price of fertilizers. Unfortunately, this increase is creating a feedback loop due to the connection of the price of corn to the price of nitrogen fertilizers, and farmers everywhere could see prices keep going up until something changes.