Presidents have always exercised emergency powers, but now thanks to dozens of new laws, regulations, court decisions and executive orders, Barack Obama is the most powerful president in all of U.S. history. Of course the U.S. Constitution does not actually give the president any special powers during a time of national emergency, but over time presidents have decided that they should be able to exercise such powers and the courts have generally agreed with them. During World War II and prior to that, these emergency powers were largely uncodified and were primarily used during times of war. But since World War II things have completely changed, and this has particularly been true since 9/11. Over the past decade or so, a whole host of extraordinary powers have specifically been given to the office of the president, and all that it takes to exercise them is a major “national emergency”. So if we do have a full-blown economic collapse, a historic natural disaster, a significant war or a massive pandemic, Barack Obama could use the emergency powers that he has been given to essentially take authority over everything.
There is not a single document or series of documents that contain all of the emergency powers that Barack Obama could potentially wield during a major national emergency. As I mentioned above, these powers come from literally dozens of laws, regulations, court decisions and executive orders. But in this article I will discuss a few important documents. One of these is a presidential directive that was issued during the second term of George W. Bush. It is entitled NATIONAL SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/NSPD – 51/HOMELAND SECURITY PRESIDENTIAL DIRECTIVE/HSPD – 20, and you can take a look at it on the FEMA website right here. This document is primarily concerned with the continuity of our federal government in the event of a catastrophic emergency. So precisely what would constitute a “catastrophic emergency”? The following is how the document defines that term…
“Catastrophic Emergency” means any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government functions;
That sounds quite broad to me. It could apply to all sorts of scenarios.
If we do have such a “catastrophic emergency”, the president essentially becomes a dictator at that point. The document certainly talks about the need to ensure that “constitutional government” continues, but during the course of the emergency there really is not much of a role for the other two branches of government to play. Instead, the “shadow government” takes over under the overall command of the president. The following is a short excerpt from the document…
The President shall lead the activities of the Federal Government for ensuring constitutional government. In order to advise and assist the President in that function, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism (APHS/CT) is hereby designated as the National Continuity Coordinator. The National Continuity Coordinator, in coordination with the Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs (APNSA), without exercising directive authority, shall coordinate the development and implementation of continuity policy for executive departments and agencies. The Continuity Policy Coordination Committee (CPCC), chaired by a Senior Director from the Homeland Security Council staff, designated by the National Continuity Coordinator, shall be the main day-to-day forum for such policy coordination.
Of course the 11 page document that we have on the FEMA website is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to continuity of government planning. Unfortunately, most of the plans are top secret and are not allowed to be seen by the public. Astonishingly, this even applies to members of Congress. The following comes from Wikipedia…
On July 18, 2007, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR), a member of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security, requested the classified and more detailed version of the government’s continuity of government plan in a letter signed by him and the chairperson of the House Homeland Committee, which is supposed to have access to confidential government information. The president refused to provide the information, to the surprise of the congressional committee.
Another document that raises a lot of red flags is an executive order entitled “National Defense Resources Preparedness” that was issued by Barack Obama on March 16th, 2012. This particular executive order updates previous executive orders, and it gives the president extraordinary authority during a time of national emergency. Below, I have posted most of section 201 of that executive order. As you can see, it potentially gives Barack Obama authority over just about everything during a time of national emergency if he feels it is needed for “national defense”…
Sec. 201. Priorities and Allocations Authorities. (a) The authority of the President conferred by section 101 of the Act, 50 U.S.C. App. 2071, to require acceptance and priority performance of contracts or orders (other than contracts of employment) to promote the national defense over performance of any other contracts or orders, and to allocate materials, services, and facilities as deemed necessary or appropriate to promote the national defense, is delegated to the following agency heads:
(1) the Secretary of Agriculture with respect to food resources, food resource facilities, livestock resources, veterinary resources, plant health resources, and the domestic distribution of farm equipment and commercial fertilizer;
(2) the Secretary of Energy with respect to all forms of energy;
(3) the Secretary of Health and Human Services with respect to health resources;
(4) the Secretary of Transportation with respect to all forms of civil transportation;
(5) the Secretary of Defense with respect to water resources; and
(6) the Secretary of Commerce with respect to all other materials, services, and facilities, including construction materials.
(b) The Secretary of each agency delegated authority under subsection (a) of this section (resource departments) shall plan for and issue regulations to prioritize and allocate resources and establish standards and procedures by which the authority shall be used to promote the national defense, under both emergency and non-emergency conditions. Each Secretary shall authorize the heads of other agencies, as appropriate, to place priority ratings on contracts and orders for materials, services, and facilities needed in support of programs approved under section 202 of this order.
A similar executive order regarding national communications was issued on July 6th, 2012.
But the powers that Barack Obama could potentially wield during a time of national emergency are not just limited to what is written down. This may shock many Americans, but it is true. In the past, presidents have used their “emergency powers” to suspend habeas corpus, to place American citizens in internment camps and to seize private property. The following comes from Wikipedia…
A claim of emergency powers was at the center of President Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus without Congressional approval in 1861. Lincoln claimed that the rebellion created an emergency that permitted him the extraordinary power of unilaterally suspending the writ. With Chief Justice Roger Taney sitting as judge, the Federal District Court of Maryland struck down the suspension in Ex Parte Merryman, although Lincoln ignored the order. 17 F. Cas. 144 (1861).
President Franklin Delano Roosevelt similarly invoked emergency powers when he issued an order directing that all Japanese Americans residing on the West Coast be placed into internment camps during World War II. The U.S. Supreme Court upheld this order in Korematsu v. United States. 323 U.S. 214 (1944).
Harry Truman declared the use of emergency powers when he seized private steel mills that failed to produce steel because of a labor strike in 1952. With the Korean War ongoing, Truman asserted that he could not wage war successfully if the economy failed to provide him with the material resources necessary to keep the troops well-equipped. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, refused to accept that argument in Youngstown Sheet & Tube Co. v. Sawyer, voting 6-3 that neither Commander in Chief powers nor any claimed emergency powers gave the President the authority to unilaterally seize private property without Congressional legislation. 343 U.S. 579.
And it is important to keep in mind that Barack Obama now possesses far more power than any of those presidents ever did. All it is going to take for him to exercise those powers is a major national emergency. This is something that Jim Powell discussed in an article for Forbes…
Not long after that, we found ourselves in an open-ended national emergency declared on September 14, 2001 and extended since by both George W. Bush and Barack Obama. This means the president has standby powers from hundreds of statutes that would enable him to re-introduce military conscription, seize private property and in myriad ways establish a government-run economy.
Thankfully, things are still somewhat stable for the moment so Obama does not have a reasonable excuse to use all of the powers that he has been given. But that could change at any time. If we do see a “catastrophic emergency” in the next year or so, there are very few limits on what Barack Obama would be able to do. That includes potentially postponing or suspending the 2016 election so that he can remain in office throughout the course of the national emergency.
We have never seen such a thing happen before, and hopefully we never will. And of course it isn’t just Barack Obama that we need to be concerned about. A future leader of this nation could potentially be even worse than him. It has been exceedingly foolish for us to give a single person so much power in the event of a “catastrophic emergency”, and in the end we may regret this bitterly.
As you read this, the United States is experiencing the worst drought it has seen since the Dust Bowl days of the 1930s. As you read this, nearly half of all corn crops in the United States are in “poor” or “very poor” condition. As you read this, 38 major wildfires are ripping across the central and western United States. The brutal wildfires in Oklahoma have been so bad that they have made national headlines. The price of corn has hit a brand new record high this summer and so has the price of soybeans. More than half of all the counties in this country have been declared to be “natural disaster areas” by the U.S. Department of Agriculture at this point. Things are so bad for ranchers that the CEO of Smithfield Foods is projecting that meat prices will rise by “significant double digits” in the months ahead. Sadly, this drought is projected to continue throughout August and into September. As you will read about below, some meteorologists are even openly postulating that there may not be enough moisture to avoid another drought next year. Yes, things are really bad this year, but when you step back and take a look at the broader picture they become truly frightening.
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, as of July 31st close to two-thirds of the continental United States was experiencing at least some level of drought….
Keep in mind that brown is “severe drought”, red is “extreme drought” and dark brown in “exceptional drought”.
This is truly a historic drought. We have never seen anything like this in modern times in the United States.
The week before, this is how the U.S. Drought Monitor described conditions in the center of the country….
“Over 90 percent of the topsoil was short or very short of moisture in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, and Ohio, with virtually all (99 percent) short or very short in Missouri and Illinois”
There had been some hope that rain would bring relief to farmers in the central part of the country, but instead things just keep getting worse and worse.
At this point, close to half of all corn being grown in the U.S. is either in “poor” or “very poor” condition.
For ranchers, the outlook is even more dismal. The following is from a recent CNN article….
Nearly three-quarters of the nation’s cattle acreage is now inside a drought-stricken area, as is about two-thirds of the country’s hay acreage, the agency reported.
What that means is that a lot of animals are being slaughtered now and the price of meat is going to be moving substantially higher later in the year.
The following is what the CEO of Smithfield Foods, Larry Pope, recently told the Financial Times….
Beef is simply going to be too expensive to eat. Pork is not going to be too far behind. Chicken is catching up fast. Are we really going to take protein away from Americans?
He also told the Financial Times that he expects meat prices to rise by “significant double digits”.
Those are very frightening statements.
The CEO of a major food company says that beef is going to “be too expensive to eat”?
That doesn’t sound good at all.
Meanwhile, this drought is absolutely devastating farmers and ranchers all over the United States….
“When I was a kid in the ’50s … it got real dry, but nothing like this,” said Marvin Helms, a 70-year-old farmer and rancher in central Arkansas who was compelled to sell his beef cattle after being short on feed.
His thousand acres of farmland near Arkadelphia include corn and soybeans, which Helms says is normally sufficient to sustain his family and provide for his cattle.
“We’ve got some insurance on the crops, but it’s not enough,” he said. “It will help, but it won’t pay the bills.”
Of course the federal government is going to step in and try to help these farmers and ranchers, but the truth is that the federal government is already drowning in debt. Any additional help will have to be done with more borrowed money.
It is hard to describe how oppressive the heat and the drought have been in the middle part of the nation this year. We have seen some unprecedented things happen.
Another major problem throughout the central part of the country right now is all of the horrible wildfires that are ravaging the wilderness areas. The following is from a recent Chicago Tribune article about the recent fires in Oklahoma….
Wildfires burned out of control on Friday in Oklahoma, destroying homes and shutting down highways in a state that has suffered 18 straight days of 100-plus degree temperatures and persistent drought.
Emergency officials counted 11 different wildfires around the state, with at least 65 homes destroyed in parched areas north and south of Oklahoma City and south of Tulsa.
Oklahoma joins several states that have been plagued by wildfires this summer, including Colorado, Arkansas and Nebraska. Fires are being fed by a widespread drought.
But these fires in Oklahoma are only part of a very distressing long-term trend. As I have written about previously, 6 of the 10 worst years for wildfires ever recorded in the United States have all come since the year 2000.
Another major change that we have seen is that massive dust storms called “haboobs” are becoming much more frequent in the southwest part of the country.
Just the other day, a dust storm that was approximately 2,000 feet high and nearly 100 kilometers wide ripped through the city of Phoenix, Arizona at 35 miles an hour.
Such events were once very rare in Phoenix.
But not anymore.
Meanwhile, much of the central and western United States is rapidly running out of water.
And I am not just talking about surface water.
A lot of the key aquifers that have allowed us to build cities and irrigate crops in the western half of the United States are being drained completely dry. The following is from a recent San Diego Union-Tribune article about what is happening in California….
Few places in Southern California is that more evident than the desert sands of Borrego Springs, where residents, farmers and golf course operators are sucking about four times as much water from the ground each year as nature replaces.
They’ve been pumping so hard for so long that the community’s main aquifer could essentially run dry after a few more decades. That’s a dire possibility: A recent study showed it would be prohibitively expensive to build a pipeline to an outside source.
Did you catch that last part?
The truth is that someday entire cities may have to be abandoned because it will be “prohibitively expensive” to build water pipelines stretching hundreds of miles to bring them water.
Sadly, this is not just happening in California. This kind of thing is going on all over the nation….
Similar concerns are bubbling up along San Diego County’s backcountry and across the nation — particularly in places such as the Central Valley and the Great Plains, where residents have dug deep to withstand a drought that has squeezed the nation’s midsection dry.
“It took Mother Nature in some cases thousands of years to accumulate the water in the aquifers, but we are pumping it out in mere decades,” said Robert Glennon, a law professor and water expert at the University of Arizona. “It’s a huge national and international problem. … It is utterly unsustainable and scary.”
I have previously written about how the largest underground water source in the United States, the Ogallala Aquifer, is being drained at an almost unbelievable pace. You can read my previous report about the Ogallala Aquifer right here.
So even when this summer ends our problems will be far, far from over.
But right now the most immediate concern is the condition of our corn and our soybeans.
Corn is found in about 74 percent of the products we buy in the supermarket, and it is used to feed livestock all over the country.
In addition, the United States exports more food to the rest of the world than anyone else does.
So if our crops fail that is a very big deal.
Right now, it is being reported that this drought “will likely cost the U.S. food export industry billions in lost revenue.”
Considering the fact that the “employment rate” in the United States is lower than it was during the last recession and that the U.S. economy is in the midst of a horrible long-term economic decline, this is the last thing that we need.
And what happens to all of the countries that are depending on us for food?
A recent Wired article had this startling headline….
“U.S. Drought Could Cause Global Unrest”
When people cannot feed their families, they tend to lose it.
Unfortunately, this year might just be the beginning.
According to a recent article in the Guardian, some scientists say that the drought has been so bad this year that it is going to take a “freak event” to avoid catastrophic damage to next year’s corn crops….
What matters now is whether there will be enough rain to get next year’s crops off to a good start.
“This drought isn’t going anywhere,” he said. “The damage is already done. What you are looking for is enough moisture to avert a second year of drought,” he said.
However, Svoboda conceded that might require a freak event, especially in the mid-west which has already passed its rain season. “In the entire corn belt, from Indiana to Nebraska to the Dakotas, we have already reached the maximum precipitation periods for year. From here on in, it’s all downhill,” Svoboda said.
“As far as widespread general relief for the whole region it would take a really freakish dramatic change to make that happen. That doesn’t appear to be in the cards, given the time of year we are in.”
The skies are dry and our fields are scorched.
Our crops our failing and millions of acres are burning.
Our groundwater supplies are being rapidly depleted and giant dust storms are sweeping across some of our major cities.
Welcome to the new normal.
It isn’t going to be pleasant.
Are you ready for the next major global food crisis? The price of corn hit an all-time record high on Thursday. So did the price of soybeans. The price of corn is up about 50 percent since the middle of last month, and the price of wheat has risen by about 50 percent over the past five weeks. On Thursday, corn for September delivery reached $8.166 per bushel, and many analysts believe that it could hit $10 a bushel before this crisis is over. The worst drought in the United States in more than 50 years is projected to continue well into August, and more than 1,300 counties in the United States have been declared to be official natural disaster areas. So how is this crisis going to affect the average person on the street? Well, most Americans and most Europeans are going to notice their grocery bills go up significantly over the coming months. That will not be pleasant. But in other areas of the world this crisis could mean the difference between life and death for some people. You see, half of all global corn exports come from the United States. So what happens if the U.S. does not have any corn to export? About a billion people around the world live on the edge of starvation, and today the Financial Times ran a front page story with the following headline: “World braced for new food crisis“. Millions upon millions of families in poor countries are barely able to feed themselves right now. So what happens if the price of the food that they buy goes up dramatically?
You may not think that you eat much corn, but the truth is that it is in most of the things that we buy at the grocery store. In fact, corn is found in about 74 percent of the products we buy in the supermarket and it is used in more than 3,500 ways.
Americans consume approximately one-third of all the corn grown in the world each year, and we export massive amounts of corn to the rest of the world. Unfortunately, thanks to the drought of 2012 farmers are watching their corn die right in front of their eyes all over the United States.
The following is from a Washington Post article that was posted on Thursday….
Nearly 40 percent of the corn crop was in poor-to-very-poor condition as of Sunday, according to the U.S. Agriculture Department. That compared with just 11 percent a year ago.
“The crop, if you look going south from Illinois and Indiana, is damaged and a lot of it is damaged hopelessly and beyond repair now,” said Sterling Smith, a Citibank Institutional Client Group vice president who specializes in commodities.
About 30 percent of the soybean crop was in poor-to-very-poor condition, which compared with 10 percent a year ago.
Conditions for both crops are expected to worsen in Monday’s agriculture agency report.
More than half of the country is experiencing drought conditions right now, and this is devastating both ranchers and farmers. Right now, ranchers all over the western United States are slaughtering their herds early as feed prices rise. It is being projected that the price of meat will rise substantially later this year.
The following is from a recent MSNBC article….
For example, you may want to make room in your freezer for meat because prices for beef and pork are expected to drop in the next few months as farmers slaughter herds to deal with the high cost of grains that are used as livestock feed, said Shawn Hackett of the agricultural commodities firm Hackett Financial Advisors in Boynton Beach, Fla. But, he added, everything from milk to salad dressing is going to cost more in the near term, and eventually the meat deals will evaporate as demand outstrips supply.
So there may be some deals on meat in the short-term as all of these animals are slaughtered, but in the long-term we can expect prices to go up quite a bit.
But it isn’t as if food is not already expensive enough. The price of food rose much faster than the overall rate of inflation last year.
As I wrote about yesterday, American families found their grocery budgets stretched very thin during 2011. Just check out these food inflation rates from last year….
- Beef: +10.2%
- Pork: +8.5%
- Fish: +7.1%
- Eggs: +9.2%
- Dairy: +6.8%
- Oils and Fats: +9.3%
If prices rose that fast last year, what will those statistics look like at the end of this year if this drought continues?
Sadly, America is not alone. According to Bloomberg, the U.S. is not the only place that is having problems with crops right now….
Dry weather in the U.S., as well as the Black Sea region; a poor start to the Indian monsoon and the possibility of emerging El Nino conditions suggest agricultural products may rally, Barclays said in a report e-mailed yesterday.
And all of this is very bad news for a world that is really struggling to feed itself.
In many countries around the globe, the poor spend up to 75 percent of their incomes on food. Just a 10 percent increase in the price of basic food staples can be absolutely devastating for impoverished families that are living right on the edge.
You may not have ever known what it is like to wonder where your next meal is going to come from, but in many areas around the world that is a daily reality for many families.
Just check out what is happening in Yemen….
Crying and staring at his distended belly, 6-year-old Warood cannot walk on his spindly legs.
“We become so familiar with sickness,” said his mother, who according to social norms here does not give her name to outsiders.
She says she has watched two of her children die. “I have to decide: Do I buy rice or medicine?”
The United Nations estimates that 267,000 Yemeni children are facing life-threatening levels of malnutrition. In the Middle East’s poorest country hunger has doubled since 2009. More than 10 million people — 44% of the population — do not have enough food to eat, according to the United Nation’s World Food Program.
In the United States, we aren’t going to see starvation even if nearly the entire corn crop fails. Our grocery bills might be more painful, but there is still going to be plenty of food for everyone.
In other areas of the world, a bad year for global crops can mean the difference between life and death.
Sadly, it is being projected that the current drought in the United States will last well into August at least.
But even when this current drought ends, our problems will not be over. The truth is that we are facing a very severe long-term water crisis in the western United States.
Just check out the following facts from foodandwaterwatch.org….
-California has a 20-year supply of freshwater left
-New Mexico has only a ten-year supply of freshwater left
-The U.S. interior west is probably the driest it has been in 500 years, according to the National Academy of Sciences and the U.S. Geological Survey
-Lake Mead, the vast reservoir of the Colorado River, has a 50 percent chance of running dry by 2021
The 1,450 mile long Colorado River is probably the most important body of water in the southwestern United States.
Unfortunately, the Colorado River is rapidly dying.
The following is from a recent article by Jonathan Waterman about how the once might Colorado River is running dry…
Fifty miles from the sea, 1.5 miles south of the Mexican border, I saw a river evaporate into a scum of phosphates and discarded water bottles. This dirty water sent me home with feet so badly infected that I couldn’t walk for a week. And a delta once renowned for its wildlife and wetlands is now all but part of the surrounding and parched Sonoran Desert. According to Mexican scientists whom I met with, the river has not flowed to the sea since 1998. If the Endangered Species Act had any teeth in Mexico, we might have a chance to save the giant sea bass (totoaba), clams, the Sea of Cortez shrimp fishery that depends upon freshwater returns, and dozens of bird species.
So let this stand as an open invitation to the former Secretary of the Interior and all water buffalos who insist upon telling us that there is no scarcity of water here or in the Mexican Delta. Leave the sprinklered green lawns outside the Aspen conferences, come with me, and I’ll show you a Colorado River running dry from its headwaters to the sea. It is polluted and compromised by industry and agriculture. It is overallocated, drought stricken, and soon to suffer greatly from population growth. If other leaders in our administration continue the whitewash, the scarcity of knowledge and lack of conservation measures will cripple a western civilization built upon water. “You can either do it in crisis mode,” Pat Mulroy said at this conference, “or you can start educating now.”
People need to wake up because we have some very serious water issues in this country.
In the heartland of America, farmers pump water from a massive underground lake known as the Ogallala Aquifer to irrigate their fields.
The problem is that the Ogallala Aquifer is rapidly being pumped dry.
According to the U.S. Geological Survey, “a volume equivalent to two-thirds of the water in Lake Erie” has been permanently drained from the Ogallala Aquifer since 1940.
Once upon a time, the Ogallala Aquifer had an average depth of about 240 feet.
Today, the average depth of the Ogallala Aquifer is just 80 feet, and in some parts of Texas the water is totally gone.
Right now, the Ogallala Aquifer is being drained at a rate of approximately 800 gallons per minute.
Once that water is gone it will not be replaced.
So what will the “breadbasket of America” do then?
Most Americans do not realize this, but we are facing some major, major water problems.
Let us pray that this current drought ends and let us pray that everyone around the world will have enough to eat.
But even if we get through this year okay by some miracle, that doesn’t mean that our problems are over.
There has been a natural disaster that has caused at least a billion dollars of damage inside the United States every single month so far this year. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there have been 10 major disasters in the United States this year. On average, usually there are only about 3 major disasters a year. At this point, disasters are happening inside the United States so frequently that there seems to be no gap between them. We just seem to go from one major disaster to the next. Last year, FEMA declared an all-time record of 81 disasters inside the United States. This year, we are on pace for well over 100. We just got done dealing with Hurricane Irene, and now we are dealing with historic wildfires in Texas and unprecedented flooding up in the northeast part of the country. This has been the worst year for natural disasters in U.S. history, and we still have nearly four months left to go. Hopefully after everything that has happened this year it has become abundantly clear to all of us why we need to prepare for emergencies. The world is becoming an increasingly unstable place, and you never know what is going to happen next.
Thankfully, the U.S. has not experienced a disaster on the level of Hurricane Katrina so far this year, but what makes this year different is that we have never seen so many major disasters happen so rapidly. Since the beginning of the year we have had to deal with record-setting winter storms, nightmarish tornadoes, “once in a century” earthquakes, historic flooding all over the country, severe drought and some of the worst wildfires the U.S. has ever experienced.
Is there a reason why the United States is being hit by major disaster after major disaster or is all of this just a really unfortunately coincidence? The following are just a few of the nightmarish natural disasters that the U.S. has had to deal with so far this year…..
At this point, the state of Texas has been on fire for nearly 300 consecutive days. This has been the worst wildfire season that Texas has ever experienced.
So far, an astounding 3.6 million acres has been burned. Vast stretches of Texas have been transformed into desolate wastelands.
Over the past week alone, the Texas Forest Service has responded to more than 180 new fires. The incredibly dry weather and the scorching temperatures have combined to turn the state of Texas into a tinderbox.
One massive wildfire near Austin, Texas has burned approximately 1,400 homes and continues to spread. The state desperately needs rain and it needs it now.
To get an idea of just how fast the fires in Texas are spreading, just watch this video.
Right now, approximately 81 percent of the state of Texas is experiencing “exceptional drought” conditions. Not only has this created an ideal environment for wildfires, it is also absolutely crippling ranchers and farmers.
Farmers in Texas have lost over half of the cotton crop so far. This is likely to cause clothing prices to rise substantially in the months ahead.
Ranchers in Texas have been forced to slaughter huge numbers of cattle because the drought has made it incredibly difficult to feed them. Sadly, the number of U.S. cattle is now down to its lowest level since 1963.
You might want to stock up on beef. In the coming months the price of beef is likely to go significantly higher.
It is hard to describe just how bad things are down in Texas right now. Overall, it is estimated that the drought has caused more than $5 billion in damage to the agricultural industry so far.
But wait, there is more bad news. In fact, if things don’t improve soon we could see massive problems with winter wheat. Just check out what an article recently posted on Yahoo news had to say….
The bad news does not stop there. Winter-wheat-planting season runs from September through October and rain is vital to germination. Texas and Oklahoma produce almost a third of winter wheat in the U.S. – the hard wheat used in bread products. This week, Bloomberg financial news quoted wheat economists predicting a 50% jump in winter-wheat prices. If the dearth of rain continues and there is no moisture in the soil to germinate the wheat, prices could climb higher still.
Flooding In The Northeast
We just got done with Hurricane Irene, and now Tropical Storm Lee is dumping huge amounts of rain all over the northeast United States. In fact, there has been so much rain up in Pennsylvania that more than 100,000 people were evacuated from the Wilkes-Barre area on Thursday because of rising waters on the Susquehanna River.
Rivers and creeks all over Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey are flooding. The region desperately needs a break from rain, but it does not look like that is going to happen quite yet.
The big problem is that many of these areas had already been hit really hard by Hurricane Irene. As a result of Hurricane Irene, millions of people lost power and dozens of people lost their lives. Hurricane Irene caused the worst flooding that Vermont had experienced since 1927, and the total economic damage from Irene could reach as high as $16 billion.
Now there are three more storms in the Atlantic that we will have to keep an eye on. Hopefully Tropical Storm Nate, Tropical Storm Maria and Hurricane Katia will not cause major problems, but with the way this year has been going you never know what is going to happen.
As I have written about previously, the number of major earthquakes around the globe is significantly increasing. Back in 2001, the world had 1361 earthquakes of magnitude-5.0 or greater. This year, we are on pace to have over 2800, which would be the highest number this decade by far.
Just a couple of weeks ago, the U.S. experienced two of the weirdest earthquakes that it has seen in ages. The earthquake in Virginia that made headlines all over the nation is being called a “once a century” earthquake. The east coast very rarely sees anything like this happen.
The earthquake in Virginia was felt all the way down in Georgia and it was felt all the way up in Ottawa, Canada. It was felt as far west as Cleveland, Ohio.
In Washington D.C., the earthquake caused quite a bit of panic. Congressional buildings were evacuated and so was the Pentagon. The earthquake actually cracked the Washington Monument and it also caused significant damage to the U.S. Treasury building.
That exact same day, there was another very “unusual” earthquake in another area of the United States. A magnitude-5.3 earthquake shook the area along the Colorado/New Mexico border. That was the largest earthquake that region had experienced in more than 40 years.
Sadly, it is not just the U.S. that has been hit by significant earthquakes this year. Just check out what a recent article in the Guardian had to say about what has been going on around the globe so far this year….
6.2 or above earthquakes have hit New Zealand, the Philippines, Japan, the Fox Islands, Papua New Guinea, Mexico, Indonesia, Fiji, Thailand, Burma, Vanuatu, Argentina, Chile and Iran in the first six months of 2011.
With all of the other natural disasters that we have had recently, it is easy to forget that we just went through one of the worst tornado seasons of all time.
In a recent article, I discussed the incredible damage that some of these monstrous tornadoes did….
The United States experienced a truly bizarre tornado season this year. In April, there were approximately 600 tornadoes all across America. That is the most tornadoes that have ever been recorded in a single month inside the United States. Usually, we only have about 1,200 tornadoes for the entire year.
The massive tornado outbreak in the southeast at the end of April is being called the worst natural disaster since Hurricane Katrina. One F5 tornado that ripped through the Tuscaloosa, Alabama region was reportedly a mile wide and some scientists estimated that it had winds that exceeded 260 miles an hour. By the time it passed, Tuscaloosa resembled a war zone.
The tornado that ripped through Joplin, Missouri a few months ago is being called the deadliest single tornado in more than 60 years. It ripped a path of destruction more than a mile wide and more than 6 miles long directly through the city. One British newspaper has some amazing before and after pictures of Joplin that you can view right here.
After viewing pictures such as those, what else is there to say?
Sadly, there were a lot of other major disasters this year that deserve be discussed as well.
For example, I have not even mentioned the nightmarish flooding along the Mississippi and Missouri rivers. River systems all over the central part of the country experienced “hundred year floods” this year.
So why is all of this happening? Is there a reason for all of this chaos, or has it just been one of those years?
Whatever your opinion is, what we all should be able to learn from this year is that it is imperative that we all get prepared ahead of time for emergencies.
Natural disasters can strike at any time. Whether it is a hurricane, a tornado, a flood, an earthquake, a volcano or a wildfire, if you wait until the disaster strikes to prepare then you are going to be too late.
But most natural disasters are only temporary. Even more frightening is what an economic collapse, a war, a deadly plague, a nuclear disaster, an EMP strike or a weapon of mass destruction could mean.
As we have seen during so many disasters in the past, when something really bad happens food and supplies vanish from store shelves almost immediately. If transportation is cut off, you could be on your own for an extended period of time.
Our world is becoming a highly unstable place. If someone had told you all of the crazy things that were going to happen this year, would you have believed them?
It seems like with each passing year things are getting crazier and crazier. Yes, we can all hope that things will return to “normal”, but we would be foolish if we also did not take precautions.
As I have written about before, the global economy is starting to collapse, the fabric of society is coming apart and the earth itself seems to be going crazy.
We certainly do live in interesting times. The years ahead promise to be some of the most exciting in human history. But those that are unprepared could end up going through a massive amount of pain.
So please prepare while there is still time. You will not always be able to run out to Wal-Mart and buy up all of the cheap stuff that you need.
Anyone with half a brain can see the dark storm clouds gathering on the horizon. Very, very difficult times are coming, and you do not want to enter them unprepared.
The worst natural disaster in the United States since Hurricane Katrina just happened, and many in the mainstream media are already treating it like back page news. It can be really tempting to want to talk about whatever the next “news cycle” brings us, but right now we really need to pray for those affected by “the tornadoes of 2011″. There are parts of Alabama, Mississippi and Georgia that will never, ever be the same again. Entire towns have been wiped off the map. Hundreds are dead and thousands have been seriously injured. Over a million people lost power. One of the tornadoes that ripped through the region was reported to be a mile wide. How in the world are you supposed to get away from something like that once it is on top of you? Many in the mainstream media have already acknowledged that this was the worst natural disaster in the U.S. since Hurricane Katrina took 1,800 lives back in 2005. Over and over and over, those living in the region are describing the devastation by saying that they have “never seen anything like it”. This truly was one for the history books.
The F5 tornado that ripped through the Tuscaloosa, Alabama area was reportedly so monstrous that it is still kind of difficult to believe that it was actually real. The thing was a mile wide and scientists are estimating that it had winds that exceeded 260 miles an hour.
According to National Geographic, this monster tornado may have traveled a whopping 300 miles across Alabama and Georgia.
Can you even imagine the kind of devastation that we are talking about?
It is hard to even conceive of how much damage a mile-wide F5 tornado with winds of up to 260 MPH would do as it traveled across 300 miles.
Dozens are dead and close to a thousand people are injured in the city of Tuscaloosa alone.
At this point, the city looks like a war zone. In fact, Tuscaloosa mayor Walter Maddox says that his city has been “obliterated”.
A stunned Maddox was quoted by The Telegraph as saying the following about the devastation….
“I don’t know how anyone survived,” said Mr Maddox. “It’s an amazing scene.
A state of emergency has been declared in Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma and Tennessee.
But this disaster will not be “cleaned up” in a few days or a few weeks.
This was literally a history changing event for millions of people.
The last time the death toll from a tornado outbreak was this high was back in March 1932.
If you have the time, try to watch some videos of the devastation caused by these tornadoes. It is incredibly difficult to try to do the damage caused by these tornadoes justice using only words.
The following is how an article posted on USA Today describes the devastation in the town of Smithville, Mississippi….
Powerful tornadoes swept through this northeastern Mississippi hamlet and across much of the South on Wednesday, splintering homes, shearing roofs and destroying lives. Smithville’s Town Hall was destroyed, as were the local high school, four churches and each of the town’s 14 businesses. Mattresses hung from tree branches, cars were flattened as if stepped on by giant feet, and rows of three-story pine trees snapped in half.
Do you think that Smithville will ever be the same?
Yes, the tornadoes of 2011 will be remembered for a very, very long time.
The people living in these areas deserve our prayers.
Thousands of lives have been permanently altered forever. The following is just one example that CNN reported on….
Janet Puckett stands outside what’s left of her home on 30th Avenue in Alberta. Its walls crumbled under the force of the storm. Her living room and a front bedroom disappeared. The roof of the house got sucked up, too.
“A war zone,” she says of the mountains of broken 2-by-4s and other debris all around.
How would you feel if your roof and half your house were suddenly missing?
Would you rebuild?
Would you feel safe living in the same area?
Would your life ever be the same again?
Sadly, massive tornado outbreaks seem to be happening with increasing frequency in the South.
Back on April 16th, a similar wave of very violent thunderstorms spawned approximately 140 tornadoes. During that event, 22 people were killed in the state of North Carolina.
Overall, there have been approximately 600 tornadoes in the United States during April. That is the most tornadoes that have ever been recorded in a single month.
Usually, the U.S. only experiences about 1,200 tornadoes for the entire year. So what we are seeing right now is highly unusual.
The tornadoes that just ripped through the South also had a massive impact on the economy down there.
It has been estimated that up to 25 percent of all of the poultry houses in Alabama were either significantly damaged or destroyed. It is also believed that millions of birds were killed.
Alabama produces more chicken than anywhere else in the United States except for Georgia and Arkansas.
So get ready to pay more for chicken.
Meanwhile, many key agricultural areas of Texas are experiencing their worst drought in decades. According to CNBC, climate experts are becoming extremely concerned about the lack of rainfall….
Data issued Thursday by a consortium of national climate experts said 95 percent of Texas was suffering “severe drought,” or worse, up from 92 percent a week earlier. More than 70 percent of the state was in the worse conditions of “extreme drought” or “exceptional drought.” That is up from 68 percent a week ago in extreme and exceptional drought.
Not only that, some areas along the Mississippi River are having to deal with “historic flooding” right now. The following is from a recent article on Accuweather.com….
As if tornadoes and damaging thunderstorms were not enough, historic flooding is also threatening the Mississippi River, below St. Louis, as well as the lower part of the Ohio River.
The rising waters are expected to top levels set during February 1937. This mark is the middle Mississippi Valley’s equivalent to the 1993 event farther north along Old Man River.
Things are really crazy out there right now.
Please pray for those that lost family and friends during these recent tornadoes. There are thousands upon thousands of good people down in the South that are really hurting right now. They could really use our prayers.
As I have written about previously, our world is seemingly going crazy right now and nothing is stable anymore. The earth is shaking, natural disasters are becoming worse, the economy is falling apart and America appears to be coming apart at the seams.
Unfortunately, I believe that things are going to become even more unstable in the months and years ahead.
So what do all of you believe? Feel free to leave a comment with your opinion below….