“The National Weather Service reported this past Thursday that more of the U.S. is affected by drought this summer than any time since it started keeping records through its Drought Monitor twelve years ago. Prolonged periods of extreme heat have not only set records in the Midwest, but drought conditions are spreading and intensifying.
According to the weekly Drought Monitor, 56 percent of the continental U.S is now affected by drought. That’s up five percentage points from the previous week and higher than the nearest record of 55 percent in 2003.
Though the current dry conditions don’t match the Dust Bowl of the 1930s, David Miskus, a meteorologist at the weather service’s Climate Prediction Center says we are close to the extreme drought of 1988.
While 1988 saw much drier conditions and an earlier start to the drought than this year, said Brad Rippey, a meteorologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2012 has its own interesting qualities. “This year the high temperatures have certainly played into this drought. There’s a lot more evaporation … and crop demands for water.”
The Drought Monitor noted that the drought is beginning to “take a significant toll” on food supplies. “In the primary growing states for corn and soybeans, 22 percent of the crop is in poor or very poor condition, as are 43 percent of the nation’s pastures and rangelands and 24 percent of the sorghum crop.””
“Two Seattle men say they spent more than two hours in a detention center at the Canadian border after U.S. border agents discovered illegal chocolate eggs in their car.
Brandon Loo and Christopher Sweeney told KOMO they decided to bring home some treats for friends and family during a recent trip to Vancouver, British Columbia. They bought Kinder Eggs — chocolate eggs with a toy inside.
The two men say border guards searched their car and said the eggs are illegal in the United States because young children could choke on the small plastic toys. Importing them can lead to a potentially hefty fine.
Sweeney says one border guard said they could be fined $2,500 per egg. The pair said they could have faced a $15,000 fine.
Sweeney says the bust was a waste of his time and the agents’ time. The men eventually got off with a warning.
Mike Milne with U.S. Customs and Border Protection told a Canadian paper that officers do not usually fine travelers for carrying the chocolates, but they do normally confiscate them. Roughly 60,000 Kinder eggs were seized last year.
“Kinder eggs are prohibited just like narcotics are prohibited,” he was quoted as said. “Our officers, if they encounter prohibited stuff, they’re subject to seizure.””
Via My FOX NY
“Joe Miller reports for WorldNetDaily that Obama’s war against U.S. energy independence continues unabated this month with a foreign-aid program that directly threatens Alaska’s sovereign territory. The Obama administration is giving away seven strategic, resource-laden Alaskan islands to the Russians.
Miller should know because he is an Alaskan. More than that, this is the same Joe Miller who was the 2010 Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate from Alaska. A West Point graduate, decorated combat veteran from the first Gulf War, and former judge, Miller holds a law degree from Yale and an advanced economics degree from the University of Alaska.”
“Despite the astonishing amount of manipulation that goes into our fiscal system by major banks, there are still a few fundamental rules to economics that never change. The bottom line? Demand around the world is derailing, hinting at a broad spectrum disintegration of public buying power. Where demand goes, so goes the economy.
As I have pointed out in the past when explaining the importance of the BDI, crashes in the index are usually made visible on mainstreet around 8 months to a year after the event. That is to say, the economies of multiple nations move into a widely felt crisis event around 8 to 12 months after the BDI crashes.
There is a strange delayed reaction between the initial exposure of weakness in the financial system and the public’s realization of the truth, sort of like Wile E. Coyote dashing off a cliff in the cartoons only to continue running in mid-air above the abyss below. It is a testament to the fact that beyond the math, there is an undeniable power of psychology in our economy. The investment world naively believes it can fly, even with the weight of endless debt around its ankles, and for a very short time, that pure delirious oblivious belief sustains the markets. Eventually, though, gravity always triumphs over fantasy… “
Via Alt Market
“It’s not just in the USA that a growing number of people are preparing for far-from-equilibrium scenarios resulting from economic or geo-political collapse.
Many Europeans have also taken note of the troubling signs all around them. In the following report, RT visits a man who wished to keep his name and location anonymous. Like many Americans, he is preparing for all hell to break loose and has spent the last few years gearing up his home and supplies for the worst.
Like most preppers and survivalist, he has modified his lifestyle to become more self reliant and less dependent on the grid and existing government infrastructure.
In addition to generating two thirds of his current energy consumption with wind and solar power, he grows his own food and raises cattle to supplement his diet in the event grocery stores run out of food or prices get so expensive in Euros that no one can afford to buy it.
As is this case for many of his like-minded counterparts in the United States, for this Euro prepper it’s not a matter of “if” the collapse happens – it’s only a matter of when. And when “when” finally happens, he’ll be ready for it.”
Via SHTF Plan
US spends more than ever on education, falls further behind in actually teaching the students useful skills and knowledge
“Although these proclamations are only the latest in a long series of exhortations to restore America’s school system to a leading position in the world, the U.S. position remains problematic. In a report issued in 2010, we found only 6 percent of U.S. students performing at the advanced level in mathematics, a percentage lower than those attained by 30 other countries. And the problem isn’t limited to top-performing students. In 2011, we showed that just 32 percent of 8th graders in the United States were proficient in mathematics, placing the U.S. 32nd when ranked among the participating international jurisdictions “
Via Education Next
“Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke delivered his annual address to Congress on Tuesday, and he did very little to give lawmakers much confidence about where the U.S. economy is heading. Bernanke told members of Congress that recent economic data points “suggest further weakness ahead” and that the Federal Reserve is projecting that the U.S. unemployment rate will remain at 7 percent or above all the way through the end of 2014. Now, it is important to keep in mind that Federal Reserve forecasts are almost always way too optimistic. The actual numbers almost always end up being much worse than what the Fed says they will be. So if Bernanke is saying that the U.S. unemployment rate will be 7 percent or higher until the end of 2014, then what will the real numbers end up looking like? During his testimony, Bernanke seemed unusually gloomy about the direction of the U.S. economy. He seemed resigned to the fact that there really isn’t that much more that the Federal Reserve can do to stimulate the U.S. economy. Yes, the Federal Reserve could try another round of quantitative easing, but the first two rounds did not really do that much to help. The truth is that the United States is absolutely drowning in debt, and when that debt bubble finally bursts the Federal Reserve is simply not going to be able to save us from the Great Depression that will happen as a result.”
“Is the petrodollar dead? Well, not yet, but the nails are being hammered into the coffin even as you read this. For decades, most of the nations of the world have used the U.S. dollar to buy oil and to trade with each other. In essence, the U.S. dollar has been acting as a true global currency. Virtually every country on the face of the earth has needed big piles of U.S. dollars for international trade. This has ensured a huge demand for U.S. dollars and U.S. government debt. This demand for dollars has kept prices and interest rates low, and it has given the U.S. government an incredible amount of power and leverage around the globe. Right now, U.S. dollars make up more than 60 percent of all foreign currency reserves in the world. But times are changing. Over the past couple of years there has been a whole bunch of international agreements that have made the U.S. dollar less important in international trade. The mainstream media in the United States has been strangely quiet about all of these agreements, but the truth is that they are setting the stage for a fundamental shift in the way that trade is conducted around the globe. When the petrodollar dies, it is going to have an absolutely devastating impact on the U.S. economy. Sadly, most Americans are totally clueless regarding what is about to happen to the dollar.”
“The big news in this is the implication the ECB will, in time, be able to stand behind the Eurozone banks because it will accept responsibility for them. This is probably why the markets rallied on the announcement, but it turned out to be another dead cat lacking the elastic potential energy necessary to bounce.
It was, however, the first Eurozone summit for France’s new President, Hollande. He was elected on a far-left socialist ticket, which has job protection as its top priority. Hollande and Chancellor Merkel disagree about this, with Merkel looking to eventually get some of her electors’ money back.”
Via Zero Hedge