Another Major Disaster Hits The U.S. – A Massive ‘Firestorm’ Is Burning Tens Of Thousands Of Acres In Northern California

The nation is still reeling from a series of major disasters in recent weeks, and now another one has hit us.  At this moment, an enormous “firestorm” is consuming tens of thousands of acres in eight counties in northern California. Wind gusts of up to 50 mph are rapidly driving 15 large wildfires across Napa, Sonoma, Lake, Mendocino, Yuba, Nevada, Calaveras and Butte counties, and the devastation that is taking place is being described as “like Armageddon”.  Ultimately, it looks like this is going to be one of the worst months for wildfires in the history of the state, and all of this comes on the heels of Hurricane Harvey, Hurricane Irma and the Las Vegas shooting.  Ever since late August, it seems like all hell has broken loose in America.

So far at least 1,500 structures have been destroyed, at least 20,000 people have been evacuated and at least 73,000 acres have been burned.  The smell of smoke has reached San Jose, Oakland and San Francisco, and California Governor Jerry Brown has officially declared a state of emergency.

If these wildfires were just consuming isolated parts of northern California, this wouldn’t be such a big story.  The reason why this crisis is getting so much attention from the national media is because some of these fires are raging “unchecked through high-end resorts, grocery stores and tree-lined neighborhoods”

More than a dozen wildfires whipped by powerful winds swept through California wine country Monday, destroying at least 1,500 homes and businesses and sending thousands fleeing as flames raged unchecked through high-end resorts, grocery stores and tree-lined neighborhoods.

As he fled through the ember-stewn streets of his neighborhood in Santa Rosa, Jeff Okrepkie knew it was probably the last time he would see his home of the past five years standing.

His worst fears were confirmed Monday morning, when a friend sent him a photo of what was left: a smoldering heap of burnt metal and debris.

Could you imagine how helpless you would feel if you were forced to evacuate and you knew that your home and everything that you owned was about to be consumed by fire?

That is what thousands of northern Californians are facing right now.  In fact, many are getting out with so little time to spare that they can literally feel the heat from the flames as they drive away

“It was an inferno like you’ve never seen before,” said Marian Williams, who caravanned with neighbors before dawn as one of the wildfires reached the vineyards and ridges at her small Sonoma County town of Kenwood.

Ms Williams could feel the heat of her fire through the car as she fled. “Trees were on fire like torches,” she said.

At this point, Santa Rosa appears to be getting hit worse than just about anywhere else.

According to Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott, one major neighborhood within the city has already been completely destroyed

When winds pushed the Tubbs fire into Santa Rosa on Sunday night, it created “a firestorm within a city,” Cal Fire director Ken Pimlott said.

“It’s fair to say it’s been destroyed,” Pimlot said of Santa Rosa’s Fountaingrove neighborhood. Hotels, a big box store and a high school burned as the flames danced around the 101 Freeway.

“Late last night starting around 10 o’clock you had 50-60 mph winds that surfaced — really across the whole northern half of the state,” he said. “Every spark is going to ignite.”

Authorities are telling us that the big box store that was destroyed was a Kmart, and the hotel that was burned to the ground was a Hilton.  But even more disturbing was what happened to Journey’s End retirement community

In Santa Rosa, the fire gutted a Hilton hotel and flattened the Journey’s End retirement community, a trailer park not far from the freeway that crosses the city. Most of the trailers were leveled, leaving a smoldering debris field of household appliances, filing cabinets and the charred personal effects of more than 100 residents. Pieces of ash fell like snowflake flurries, and a pall of white smoke across the city blotted out the sun.

Insurance will cover the Kmart and the Hilton, but it is probably fair to say that a lot of the people living in that trailer park did not have adequate coverage.

Sadly, many of them will now be forced to start over with essentially nothing.

I don’t know if you have noticed, but wildfires are becoming a much bigger problem than they used to be.  We were already not too far behind the record pace that was set in 2015, and if this month continues to be really bad we could potentially set the all-time national record for number of acres burned in a single year by the end of 2017.

As I discuss in my brand new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters”, our planet is becoming increasingly unstable.  And for those living in the state of California, I would be extremely concerned about all of the shaking that we have been witnessing along the North American portion of the “Ring of Fire” lately.  The experts assure us that we are way overdue for “the Big One”, and when it happens it is going to be the worst disaster in the modern history of the state.

But hopefully things will start to settle down for at least a little while in our nation, because we have been put through quite a lot lately.  After Harvey, Irma, Las Vegas and now these California wildfires, we could definitely use some time to recover.

And if you happen to live in northern California, we would love to hear from you.  Please feel free to tell us what is going on in your area by posting a comment below…

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Why Is The Weather So Crazy All Of A Sudden?

Crazy Weather - Public DomainAll over the planet, global weather patterns have gone completely nuts.  Just over the past few days we have seen “life threatening” heatwaves, extremely dangerous wildfires, vicious tornadoes and unprecedented flooding – and that is just in the United States.  And of course this is just the continuation of a trend that stretches back to last year, when extremely weird weather created “apocalyptic-like conditions” in many areas around the world.  So why is this happening?  For decades, we could count on weather patterns falling within fairly predictable parameters, but now that is completely changing all of a sudden.  All over the globe we are seeing things happen that we have never seen happen before, and the weather just seems to get even more crazy with each passing month.

Just consider what has been going on the past few days.  Let’s start with the “life threatening” heatwave that is currently hammering the west coast

The West Coast is in the grip of a ‘life threatening’ triple-digit heatwave that is set to continue well into next week, raising the risk of wildfires.

The National Weather Service has issued excessive heat warnings for southeastern California, southern Nevada, western and southern Arizona, western Oregon and far southwest Washington.

From Oregon to Nevada temperatures are set to top 100F tomorrow and into Monday, with Phoenix, Arizona, predicted to top out at 116F.

These are temperatures that you might expect to see in July or August, but right now summer has not even officially begun yet.

And as the article quoted above noted, these extremely high temperatures bring with them a much higher risk of wildfires.  In fact, firefighters in southern California are currently fighting a horrible fire that is raging wildly out of control and that has already forced thousands of people (including Kim Kardashian and Kanye West) out of their homes

A massive brush fire Saturday in the Calabasas area forced mandatory evacuations as rapid flames consumed 516 acres and threatened 3,000 homes, the Los Angeles County Fire Department said.

“This is a fast-moving, dangerous fire,” Los Angeles County Fire Chief Dennis Cross said. “It’s hard for people to see where this fire is because of the dense canopy and the canyons.”

If you follow my work closely, you already know that 2015 was the worst year for wildfires in all of U.S. history.

More acres burned in the U.S. last year than we had ever seen before.

And so far this year, we are more than a million acres ahead of the pace set last year.

Meanwhile, CNN is reporting that this “is the second year in a row that Texas has been hit by 500-year floods“…

“It could just be really bad luck,” said CNN Senior Meteorologist Brandon Miller. “A 500-year flood doesn’t mean you will go 500 years between them. It just means it is such an extreme event that the odds of it happening are very low, therefore it only happens on average every 500 years.

“It just so happens that parts of Texas have seen them now in back-to-back years, and maybe even twice this year. The odds of that happening are infinitesimally small.”

In a recent article, I noted that the United States has now been hit by 10 major flooding events since the end of last September.

Never before in U.S. history have we ever seen so many major floods in such a compressed period of time.

And the hits just keep on coming.  On Sunday, the east coast was bracing for a series of storms which appeared poised to produce very high winds, severe thunderstorms and even possibly some tornadoes.  The following comes from the Daily Mail

The East Coast is braced for an incoming storm that could see up to seventeen million people hit with tropical rain, thunderstorms and even tornadoes.

People from New York through North Carolina could be affected, as thunderstorms were expected to blast winds up to 55 miles per hour later on Sunday.

The Governors Ball in New York City was cancelled for safety reasons after organizers saw the forecast for lightning.

And on top of everything else, Florida is about to be hit by tropical storm Colin.

But don’t worry, because all of this is perfectly “normal”, right?

Across the Atlantic, Europe is also dealing with some extremely crazy weather.  Major flooding is being reported all over the continent, and the French just experienced their wettest month since 1886

Segments of France’s border with Belgium received six-week’s worth of rain in under 24 hours earlier this week, causing widespread flooding across the country. May has been the country’s rainiest month since 1886, Radio France Internationale says.

As a result of that rain, French meteorologists expect the already-swollen Seine in Paris to peak at 6.5 meters (21 feet) above its usual level on Friday. The Louvre is closed due to flooding concerns, and workers have been busy moving priceless works of art as a precautionary measure.

On the other side of the planet, many areas of India have been dealing with an unprecedented heatwave.  On Thursday, May 19th, the all-time record for the highest temperature ever recorded in India was broken.  And this was part of a crippling heatwave that pushed temperatures in northern India “above 104 degrees for weeks”

A severe heat wave warning is in place for much of India through Saturday. Temperatures in northern India have risen above 104 degrees for weeks, the BBC reported. The weather has killed hundreds of people and destroyed crops in more than 13 states, the Associated Press reported.

If this happened where you live, you could just go inside and turn on the air conditioning.

But most of those people do not have air conditioning, and that is why hundreds of them have been dying.

At the exact same time when the crust of our planet is becoming increasingly unstable, our weather is starting to become really crazy too.

Some people are going to dismiss all of this as just a bizarre series of coincidences, others will want to blame “global warming”, and yet others will see all of this as a sign that Jesus is coming back soon.

But what is truly frightening to consider is this…

What if our weather just keeps getting crazier and crazier?

If our weather continues to spiral out of control, it is inevitable that there will be major famines, widespread riots and tremendous political unrest all over the planet.

Is our world equipped to be able to handle seven billion people going absolutely nuts all at once?

Let us hope and pray for weather patterns to begin to return to normal, because I don’t think that we are.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

Welcome To Hell: The Giant Fort McMurray Fire Is The Worst Blaze In Canadian History

Fort McMurray Fire - Photo by DarrenRDThe gigantic wildfire that has forced the evacuation of the entire city of Fort McMurray in northern Alberta has been nicknamed “the Beast“, and mainstream news reports are telling us that it is now approximately 25 percent larger than New York City.  88,000 people have already been forced out of their homes, at least 1,600 buildings have been destroyed, and smoke from the fire has been spotted as far away as Iowa.  To say that this is a “disaster” is a massive understatement.  Northern Alberta is “tinder dry” right now, and authorities say that high winds could result in the size of the fire doubling by the end of the weekend.  One-fourth of Canada’s oil output has already been shut down, and the edge of the fire is now getting very close to the neighboring province of Saskatchewan.  This is already the most expensive natural disaster in the history of Canada, and officials fully expect to be fighting this blaze for months to come.

At this point, only rain is going to stop this fire.  Canadian authorities insist that they are not going to be able to defeat this raging inferno no matter how many resources they throw at it.  The best that they can hope for is to try to steer it away from heavily populated areas until the rain comes.

Nobody knows precisely how this tragedy is going to end, but everyone agrees that it is going to last for quite some time.  According to the Washington Post, this fire has the potential to keep on burning “for months”…

The images are ones of devastation — scorched homes, virtually whole neighborhoods burned to the ground. And Canadian officials say they expect to fight the massive wildfire that has destroyed large parts of Alberta’s oil sands town for months.

There’s fear the growing wildfire could double in size and reach a major oil sands mine and even the neighboring province of Saskatchewan.

I have relatives that live up in Alberta, and this is the biggest thing to hit that part of the world in many, many years.

This massive fire is making headlines all over the planet, and some of the video footage that is emerging is so shocking that it can be hard to believe.  Some of the terms being used to describe the devastation are “hell”, “the end of the world” and “Armageddon”

“It was something like Armageddon,” said Morgan Elliott, who traveled with his fiancee, Cara Kennedy, and their baby, Abigail. “Everything was burnt, houses gone. Leaving the city, it was like a scene out of a movie. It reminded me of the TV show ‘The Walking Dead’ where you’re going on the highway, and there’s just abandoned vehicles everywhere; hundreds of cars, just abandoned vehicles.”

In this YouTube video, you can watch vehicles attempt to escape Fort McMurray as hot embers from towering flames just a few feet away rain down on them.  What would you do in this kind of situation?…

The amount of resources that has been committed to fighting this fire has been unprecedented, and yet it just continues to rage wildly out of control.  The following comes from CNN

The blaze is moving in a northeast direction and could reach the border with Saskatchewan by the end of Saturday, Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said.

The response has been massive. Notley said more than 500 firefighters are battling the blaze around Fort McMurray, with the help of 15 helicopters and 14 air tankers. More than 1,400 firefighters and 133 helicopters are fighting blazes across the province.

Unfortunately, a lot of Americans simply are not going to care what is happening up in Alberta because it is in Canada.

But let us not forget that 2015 was the worst year for wildfires in all of U.S. history.  Last year more acres burned in the United States than we had ever seen before, and 2016 is already shaping up to be another very bad year.

In fact, according to the National Interagency Fire Center we are already more than a million acres ahead of the pace that was set last year.

I just checked the U.S. Drought Monitor, and much of the western third of the country is still extremely dry.  Conditions are certainly ripe for another horrible wildfire season, and so let us pray for lots of rain between right now and the end of the summer.

Because all we have to do to see what a worst case scenario looks like is to watch what is going on in Fort McMurray right now.

To me, this is the closest thing that we have seen to “hell on Earth” in a very long time…

Another Reason To Move Away From California: ‘Conditions Are Like A Third-World Country’

Drought - Public DomainAs if anyone actually needed another reason to move out of the crazy state of California, now it is being reported that conditions in some areas of the state “are like a third-world country” due to the multi-year megadrought that has hit the state.  In one California county alone, more than 1,000 wells have gone dry as the groundwater has disappeared.  The state is turning back into a desert, and an increasing number of homes no longer have any water coming out of their taps or showerheads.  So if you weren’t scared away by the wildfires, mudslides, high taxes, crime, gang violence, traffic, insane political correctness, the nightmarish business environment or the constant threat of “the big one” reducing your home to a pile of rubble, perhaps the fact that much of the state could soon be facing Dust Bowl conditions may finally convince you to pack up and leave.  And if you do decide to go, you won’t be alone.  Millions of Californians have fled the state in recent years, and this water crisis could soon spark the greatest migration out of the state that we have ever seen.

Back in 1972, Albert Hammond released a song entitled “It Never Rains In Southern California“, and back then that was considered to be a good thing.

But today, years of very little rain are really starting to take a toll.  In fact, one government official says that conditions in Tulare Country “are like a third-world country”

Near California’s Success Lake, more than 1,000 water wells have failed. Farmers are spending $750,000 to drill 1,800 feet down to keep fields from going fallow. Makeshift showers have sprouted near the church parking lot.

The conditions are like a third-world country,” said Andrew Lockman, a manager at the Office of Emergency Services in Tulare County, in the heart of the state’s agricultural Central Valley about 175 miles (282 kilometers) north of Los Angeles.

As California enters the fourth year of a record drought, its residents and $43 billion agriculture industry have drawn groundwater so low that it’s beyond the reach of existing wells. That’s left thousands with dry taps and pushed farmers to dig deeper as Governor Jerry Brown, a 77-year-old Democrat, orders the first mandatory water rationing in state history.

The mandatory water restrictions that Governor Brown is imposing are going to be very painful for a lot of people.  We have just learned that some California communities will be required to cut their water usage by up to 36 percent

Californians are going to have to start preparing for a dry summer as the dehydrated state prepares for a water crackdown.

In a somewhat controversial move, California water officials drafted a set of mandatory conservation regulations outlining varying degrees to which communities will be required to cut back on water use, ranging from 8 to 36 percent, depending on their history of water consumption.

The regulations — slated for approval in early May — are part of California’s first-ever attempt at mandatory rationing. Earlier this month, Gov. Jerry Brown issued an executive order requiring a 25 percent reduction in urban water use, a historic step in a series of measures aimed at conservation ahead of the state’s fourth consecutive year of drought.

And of course it isn’t just the state of California that is dealing with drought.

All over the southwest United States, we are seeing conditions that we have not witnessed since the days of the Dust Bowl in the 1930s.

In fact, the water level in Lake Mead is now the lowest that it has been since those days, and it is expected to drop even lower in the months ahead

One of the most stunning places to see its impact is at the nation’s largest reservoir, Lake Mead, near Las Vegas. At about 40 percent of capacity, it’s the lowest it’s been since it was built in the 1930s.

“Just to see the rings around it, it’s just … kind of scary, you know,” says Darlene Paige, a visitor from New York. She’s standing at a vista point above the Hoover Dam on the Arizona side of Lake Mead.

That “ring” is the infamous bathtub ring around the rim of the reservoir. The levels have dropped 140 feet over the past 15 years, exposing a white stain on the gravelly brown mountains above the water. The level is forecast to fall an additional 10 feet by this summer.

According to the Government Accountability Office, it is being projected that a total of 40 U.S. states will be dealing with a shortage of water by the end of the next decade.

It has been said that “water is the new oil”, and this is just the beginning.  The truth is that as bad as things are here, we are actually in far better shape than almost everyone else in the world to deal with the emerging global water crisis.  All over the planet supplies of fresh water are disappearing, and the availability of water is going to increasingly become a major geopolitical issue in the years to come.

And even now, the U.S. government is taking all of this very seriously.  In fact, the EPA is already trying to train our kids to take showers instead of baths

Parents across America who struggle to keep their young rambunctious kids clean now have a new obstacle: the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

As part of its effort to help save the planet from the dangers of taking too many baths, the EPA’s WaterSense program is trying to convince kids they should avoid bathtubs in favor of showers, which it says is a far more efficient use of water.

“To save even more water, keep your shower under five minutes long—try timing yourself with a clock next time you hop in!” the “WaterSense for Kids” website says.

For most of our lives, most of us have been able to take water for granted.

But now things are changing, and we are going to have to adjust to these new realities.

So what do you think about this emerging water crisis?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

8 Economic Threats That We Were Not Even Talking About At The Beginning Of The Summer

In the crazy times in which we live, it helps to expect the unexpected.  Sometimes you can think that you have it all figured out and then this world can throw a real curveball at you. Very few people anticipated that we would see a massive outbreak of the West Nile Virus in Texas this year or that the Mississippi River would be in danger of drying up after experiencing historic flooding last year.  Who would have thought that we would see the worst drought in more than 50 years or that horrific wildfires would burn nearly 7 million acres of land?  This is why economic conditions are always so hard to predict.  A single “black swan event” can come along and change everything almost overnight.  Our world has become incredibly unstable, and so who really knows what the rest of 2012 will bring?  Will we see a stock market crash?  Will the hurricane season be unusually bad?  Will war erupt in the Middle East?  Will we see a major earthquake on the west coast or even a volcanic eruption?  Will the upcoming election cause an eruption of anger and frustration in America?  We don’t know the answers to those questions yet, and the truth is that we will probably see some things happen that very few of us are anticipating at this point.

This is an exciting time to be a “news junkie”, but unfortunately the vast majority of the news these days is bad.

It is almost as if a “perfect storm” is developing.  Our weather is going crazy, our financial system is on the verge of collapse, our politicians seem more insane than ever, there is evidence of social decay all around us and the drumbeats of war in the Middle East grow louder with each passing day.

As strange as 2012 has been so far, I fear that things are about to get a whole lot stranger.

Not that we haven’t had some very unanticipated events happen this year up to this point.

The following are 8 economic threats that we were not even talking about at the beginning of the summer….

#1 West Nile Virus

What is up with all of the strange disease outbreaks that we have seen so far this year?

Flesh eating disease and the bird flu have both been making global headlines this summer, but in the U.S. right now it is the West Nile Virus that is getting the most attention.

So far more than 1,100 cases of the West Nile Virus have been diagnosed in the United States and more than 41 people have died from it.

More than half of the cases so far have been in Texas, but we have also seen people come down with West Nile Virus in Mississippi, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Oklahoma.

If you live in any of those areas, you might want to do your best to avoid mosquitos for the rest of the summer.

#2 Historic Drought

This summer, the United States has experienced the worst drought that it has seen in more than 50 years.

This weather has been absolutely crippling for farmers and ranchers all over the nation.  As I wrote about the other day, about half of all corn being grown in the U.S. is currently either in “poor” or “very poor” condition.

As the drought has dragged on, many farmers and ranchers have become increasingly desperate.  In fact, one farmer has even been feeding his cows candy in an attempt to deal with rising feed prices.

Needless to say, this drought has been causing commodity prices to soar.

On Tuesday, the price of corn closed at a record $8.38 a bushel, and the price of soybeans closed at $17.30 a bushel.

#3 The Mississippi River Is Drying Up

Thanks to this drought, rivers and lakes all over the United States are drying up.  In fact, there have been reports that millions of fish have been dying because water levels have gotten so low in many areas.

Even the mighty Mississippi River has dropped to dangerously low levels.

At this point, the Mississippi is lower than most people living along the river can ever remember.  If it drops much lower, it could potentially have an absolutely devastating impact on the U.S. economy.

A recent NBC News report described what is at stake….

About $180 billion worth of goods move up and down the river on barges, 500 million tons of the basic ingredients for much of the U.S. economy, according to the American Waterways Operators, a trade group. It carries 60 percent of the nation’s grain, 22 percent of the oil and gas and 20 percent of the coal, according to American Waterways Operators. It would take 60 trailer trucks to carry the cargo in just one barge, 144 18-wheeler tankers to carry the oil and gas in one petroleum barge.

If all traffic along the Mississippi was forced to stop, it is estimated that it would cost the U.S. economy about 300 million dollars a day.

And already there have been stoppages along one 11 mile stretch of the river….

Nearly 100 boats and barges were waiting for passage Monday along an 11-mile stretch of the Mississippi River that has been closed because of low water levels, the U.S. Coast Guard said. New Orleans-based Coast Guard spokesman Ryan Tippets said the stretch of river near Greenville, Miss., has been closed intermittently since Aug. 11, when a vessel ran aground.

So what happens if the Mississippi gets even lower?

#4 Wildfires

The extreme heat has also been responsible for the horrific outbreak of wildfires that we have seen in the western United States this year.

So far in 2012, nearly 7 million acres have been burned up.

That is an area about as big as the states of Maryland and Delaware combined.

#5 The Global Elite Hoarding Gold

In the past, the global elite and the mainstream media would mock those who are hoarding gold in anticipation of a major financial collapse.

But now it is the global elite who are hoarding gold.

In a previous article, I discussed how men such as George Soros and John Paulson are investing mind-boggling amounts of money in gold right now.  The amount of money that these two individuals are investing in gold is difficult to comprehend….

There was also news last week in an SEC filing that both George Soros and John Paulson had increased their investment in SPDR Gold Trust, the world’s largest publicly traded physical gold exchange traded fund (ETF).

Mr Soros upped his stake in the ETF to 884,400 shares from 319,550 and Mr Paulson bought 4.53m shares, bringing his stake to 21.3m.

At the current price of about $156 a share, these are new investments of about $88m of Mr Soros’ cash and more than $700m from Mr Paulson’s funds. These are significant positions.

Combined, Soros and Paulson dumped more than three quarters of a billion dollars into gold during the second quarter of 2012 alone.

So what are they anticipating?

The central banks of the world have been very busy hoarding gold as well.  According to the World Gold Council, global central banks were net buyers of 157.5 metric tons of gold during the second quarter of 2012.

Over the past 20 years there has never been a time when global central banks have accumulated that much gold during a single quarter.

So just what in the world is going on?

#6 Recession In The UK

Everyone knew that Greece was in deep trouble.

And everyone knew that Italy and Spain were in deep trouble.

But it was a surprise to see the UK economy plunge deep into recession.  During the second quarter of 2012 alone, the UK economy shrunk by 0.7 percent.

At this point the British economy has contracted for three quarters in a row.

Hopefully things will not get even worse over there.

#7 Major Economic Slowdown In The United States

Considering the fact that the U.S. economy never even came close to recovering from the last recession, it is a bit disheartening to see that it looks like we are headed for another major downturn.

According to Michael Panzer of Financial Armageddon, measurements of economic activity compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia indicate that the U.S. economy is rapidly heading into another recession.  If you doubt this, just check out this chart.

And for a lot more reasons why the U.S. economy is entering another recession, check out this article.

#8 Hauled Off To A Mental Institution For What You Believe

Do you ever worry that what you post on Facebook could get you involuntarily committed to a mental institution?

Well, that is exactly what happened to one military vet recently.

A former Marine named Brandon Raub was hauled off to a mental institution because of what he posted on his Facebook page.

This is how the Economic Policy Journal summarized what happened to Raub….

The muscle used to grab Brandon Raub was local Chesterfield County, VA police. Also present during the grab were agents of the FBI and of the Secret Service.

Both the FBI and the Secret Service claim that they were only observing and not participating in the grab. The Chesterfield County police initially stated that they were only carrying out a request from the federal agencies.

The police also claim Raub is not under arrest, even though he was led away in handcuffs and is not permitted to leave the psychiatric ward of a hospital—even though it appears that Raub is not in  any way in need of psychological care.

I note this happened in the United States of America, with local police, FBI agents and Secret Service taking part.

The claim that Raub is “not under arrest” is completely and totally ridiculous.  The authorities came to his door, slapped handcuffs on him and are holding him in a mental institution against his will.

And now he has been transferred to a facility that is 3 hours away from his family, his supporters and his legal team.

What in the world is America turning into?

The Rutherford Institute is defending Raub, and the following is an excerpt from a statement about this case on their website….

“This is not how justice in America is supposed to work—with Americans being arrested for doing nothing more than exercising their First Amendment rights, forced to undergo psychological evaluations, detained against their will and isolated from their family, friends and attorneys. This is a scary new chapter in our history,” said John W. Whitehead, president of The Rutherford Institute. “Brandon Raub is no different from the majority of Americans who use their private Facebook pages to post a variety of content, ranging from song lyrics and political hyperbole to trash talking their neighbors, friends and government leaders.”

This is the kind of thing that we have seen under brutal totalitarian regimes in the past.  Dissidents are grabbed by authorities and taken to mental institutions where they are conveniently “disappeared”.

This kind of thing is not supposed to happen in America.

But it is happening.

And you know what?  Before the authorities start attacking people for exercising free speech on Facebook perhaps they should clean up their own house.

It turns out that thousands of DHS employees have been convicted of crimes in recent years.  The following is from a recent CNS News article….

There have been 2,527 Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees and co-conspirators convicted of corruption and other criminal misconduct since 2004, according to a federal auditor.

Our world is becoming a very crazy place.

One thing that most people did see coming this summer was the continuing economic decline in Greece.

At this point Greece is experiencing a full-blown economic depression and it gets worse by the day.

If you can believe it, 1,250 companies have shut down in the second largest city in Greece in 2012 alone.

Ouch.

And many in the financial world believe the the situation in Greece is going to go beyond the breaking point fairly soon.

In fact, analysts at Citibank believe that there is a 90 percent chance that Greece will leave the euro over the next 12 to 18 months.

90 percent?

They sound pretty sure of themselves.

Not that the rest of Europe is in such great shape either.

According to Bloomberg, it looks like Europe will soon be losing about half a million auto industry jobs….

Efforts by PSA Peugeot Citroen (UG) and Fiat SpA (F) to end losses in Europe could cost more than 500,000 people their jobs as automakers and parts suppliers grapple with the effects of the European sovereign debt crisis.

We live in very unusual times.

Things are falling apart all around us and we seem to be rapidly approaching another major economic crisis.

Central banks, governments and Wall Street insiders all seem to be preparing for the worst.

Are you?

Dead Crops, Extreme Drought And Endless Wildfires Are Now The New Normal In America

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.

America On Fire: Why Is The Number Of Wildfires In The United States Increasing?

As America watches large sections of Colorado literally burn to the ground, many are wondering why all of this is happening.  There have always been wildfires, but what we are experiencing now seems very unusual.  So is the number of wildfires in the United States increasing?  As you will see later in this article, the answer is yes.  2011 was a record setting year for wildfires and this wildfire season is off to a very frightening start.  Right now the eyes of the nation are focused on the Waldo Canyon Fire in Colorado.  It doubled in size overnight and it has consumed more than 300 homes so far.  It is threatening the city of Colorado Springs, and at this point more than 35,000 people have been forced to evacuate – including the U.S. Air Force Academy.  On Twitter and Facebook residents are describing what they are seeing as “the apocalypse” and as “the end of the world”.  But this is just the beginning of the wildfire season.  We haven’t even gotten to July and August yet.

The Waldo Canyon fire is rapidly becoming one of the most expensive and destructive wildfires in Colorado history.  The historic Flying W Ranch has already been burned totally to the ground by this fire.  Local authorities are struggling to find the words to describe how nightmarish this fire is.  The following are a couple of quotes from a CNN article….

Richard Brown, the Colorado Springs fire chief, described it as a “firestorm of epic proportions.”

Gov. John Hickenlooper surveyed the Waldo Canyon Fire, telling reporters it was a difficult sight to see.

“There were people’s homes burned to the ground. It was surreal,” he said late Tuesday night. “There’s no question, it’s serious. It’s as serious as it gets.”

But this is not the only wildfire that is raging in Colorado.  Right now there are 10 wildfires burning in the state.  Overall, there are 33 large wildfires currently burning in twelve U.S. states.

If you will remember, New Mexico just experienced one of the worst wildfires that it has ever seen.  Conditions throughout most of the western United States are ideal for wildfires right now.  As USA Today reports, much of the western half of the country is under a “red flag warning” right now….

Throughout the interior West, firefighters have toiled for days in searing, record-setting heat against fires fueled by prolonged drought. Most, if not all, of Utah, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana were under red flag warnings, meaning extreme fire danger.

But wait, didn’t this kind of thing happen last year too?

Yes it did.

In fact, 2011 was one of the worst years ever for wildfires in America.  The following is a short excerpt from an EarthSky article….

Thousands of wildfires raged across the United States last year, 2011, burning a record amount of land, especially in the southern U.S. In fact, 2011 the third-most-active fire season since 1960 (when this record-keeping began) with respect to acres burned, according to preliminary data released from the National Interagency Fire Center (NIFC) in late December 2011. The NIFC will be releasing an official summary report detailing the 2011 wildfire season later in 2012, but for now you can read some of the details in the State of the Climate Wildfires 2011 report from NOAA.

During 2011, a total of 73,484 wildfires burned an estimated 8,706,852 acres (35,235 square kilometers) of land across the United States. Wildfire activity during 2011 was exceptionally high and was only exceeded in the historical record by wildfire activity during the years 2006 and 2007.

We have seen highly unusual wildfire activity throughout America in recent years.  In the article quoted above you can find a chart which shows that wildfire activity in the United States has been far above normal during the past decade.

Wildfire records have only been kept since 1960.  The 6 worst years on record for wildfires in the U.S. have all happened since the year 2000.  The following is from an Earth Island Journal article that I found….

In the United States, where some of the most accurate wildfire statistics are kept, the six worst fire seasons in the past 50 years have occurred since 2000. In Texas, nearly 4 million acres were burned in 2011, double the previous record. This included the Bastrop Fire last September that destroyed 1,600 homes and became the most destructive fire in Texas history. In Arizona more than one million acres were burned in 2011, a new record. The Wallow Fire, which destroyed nearly a half million acres, was the largest fire in Arizona history. The Pagami Creek Fire in northern Minnesota became the third largest fire in state history when it burned 100,000 acres in September 2011, most of this in an unprecedented 16-mile run on a single day.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that the number of wildfires in the United States is increasing and wildfires are becoming more powerful and doing more damage.

So what is causing all of this?

The truth is that this is happening because we are seeing exceptionally dry conditions throughout the western half of the United States.  In fact, according to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, the U.S. interior west is now the driest that it has been in 500 years.

The eastern half of the country also gets very hot during the summer, but they don’t have as many wildfires because they get a lot more rain.

Many areas in the western half of the country have been experiencing drought conditions for quite a few years, and there seems to be no end in sight for the drought.

If you go check out the U.S. drought monitor, you will see that almost the entire southwest United States is experiencing some level of drought right now.

So what will July and August bring?

It is kind of frightening to think about that.

Earlier this year I wrote an article that postulated that we could actually see dust bowl conditions return to the middle of the United States.  Many readers were skeptical of that article.

But as much of the western United States continues to experience bone dry conditions and continues to be ravaged by wildfires, perhaps more people will understand how bad things are really getting in the interior west.

Just because we have made great technological advances as a society does not mean that we know how to tame nature.  We can attempt to contain the massive wildfires that are popping up all over the place and we can attempt to deal with the drought, but in the end we cannot stop what is happening.

So do you live in any of the areas that are being affected by these wildfires?

Do you have an opinion about why so much of America is on fire?

Please feel free to post a comment with your opinion below….

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