The Mighty Mississippi to Run Dry?

The Mighty Mississippi to Run Dry?

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If the world’s largest navigable river system goes dry, the economic consequences will be felt around the world.

What is the single greatest reason America is so wealthy? According to the analysts at Stratfor, it is because of a river.

They have to be joking, right?

What about America’s vast gold resources? What about its mountains of coal? America is the world’s third-largest oil producer—surely that is why. Then there is America’s temperate climate and fertile soils that traditionally make it the world’s breadbasket. And don’t forget America’s human capital, Yankee ingenuity, and Protestant work ethic. Surely these factors are cumulatively more important than a river.

Not according to one of America’s premier think tanks. Many countries have large natural resources and hospitable climates, but don’t even come close to having America’s wealth. What sets America apart from the rest of the world is the Mississippi River basin. It is what makes exploiting America’s resources economically possible.

But now, due to the worst drought since the 1950s, the Mississippi may be about to go dry.

In Memphis and Vicksburg, the shrinking river is obvious: slower river, exposed river banks, and more sandbars. The water is down more than 13 and 20 feet in each city respectively. The Mississippi on average is about 13 feet below normal—and a whopping 55 feet below where it was at this time last year. On some stretches, the water level is perilously low. On July 17 it was reported that a 100-mile stretch of the Platte River in Nebraska, had dried up.

A buoy used to help guide barges rests on the bank after the water level dropped on the Mississippi River July 18, near Wyatt, Missouri. (Getty Images)

In fact, water levels are now so low that barge operators are no longer able to operate at full capacity and have to shed both weight and number of towed barges.

For each one-inch loss of water, the standard barge must unload 17 tons of cargo—that is a loss of 204 tons, per barge, for every one-foot loss. A typical tow on the upper Mississippi river may have 15 barges. A one-foot loss of water translates into a loss of 3,000 tons of capacity. Tows on the lower Mississippi River may have up to 45 barges, resulting in a loss of capacity of over 9,000 tons. It would take almost 600 semitrucks to haul the freight unloaded by one large barge grouping under those conditions! There are thousands and thousands of barge strings that ply the Mississippi each year. The shutdown of the Mississippi would be an absolute catastrophe!

Already, the cost to ship bulk goods is rising. As the weight that can be put on barges shrinks, the cost per unit weight is rising. And that translates into higher costs on the consumers’ end. Products that are already only marginally profitable may not be economic at these higher transport costs.

The last time the Mississippi shut down due to low water was in 1988. Then just a small section of the river became unnavigable—but it cost the shipping industry $1 billion.

If the Mississippi shut down today, sources quoted by nbc estimate that the direct costs to the economy would be a massive $300 million per day—a cost that would skyrocket exponentially if the river did not reopen after more than a few days!

We are still a few feet of water away from that, but the summer isn’t over either.

1988 is the only time in recent memory that can compare with this summer, says Lynn Muench, senior vice president of American Waterways Operators. “For the last two or three weeks, the phrase I keep hearing is, ‘Close to 1988. Worse than 1988. Same as 1988,’” she says. “There’s a real possibility that it’ll be worse this year.”

Making matters worse for barge traffic, last year’s record flood stirred up debris and changed the location of underwater obstructions. The Army Corps of Engineers is working like crazy to dredge shallow areas and mark dangers.

But still, the number of barges going aground is rising. Shipping lanes are narrowing. And traffic is slowing. On Tuesday, a barge grounded in Minnesota. It took 24 hours to clear it, and another day to dredge the channel before other barge-trains could pass. The same day, another barge got stuck in La Crosse, Wisconsin. It took about a day to get traffic moving there again. cbs News says barge traffic is getting hung up all up and down the Mississippi, even in areas that normally don’t have any problem.

America’s Mississippi River system is an absolute jewel that America cannot afford to lose—no matter how short the duration.

The Mississippi River, in conjunction with Missouri, Red, Arkansas and Ohio rivers, comprises the largest interconnected network of navigable rivers in the world. Stratfor calls the Greater Mississippi river network “the circulatory system of the Midwest.” It is what opens up one third of America to the world. Even without the addition of canals, it is possible for products from anywhere in the world to reach nearly any part of the Midwest. With the addition of canals, goods can now be transported from the Great Lakes in the north to New Orleans in the south.

And this fantastic water highway just happens to sit astride the most fertile crop-growing region in the world.

It is hard to overstate the economic implications of this overlap. The geography of most nations requires their governments to devote scarce resources to lay endless rail and road to build the transport capacity that was gifted to America at no expense. And water transport costs a fraction of moving goods by road and rail.

The Mississippi River network virtually guaranteed that America would be rich.

But the Mississippi blessing may now be turning into a curse. Everybody is aware that America is in the midst of an epic drought. Contingency plans are being made for reduced corn, soybean and wheat crops. America has experienced droughts before. Markets are prepared for this reality, although they may be underestimating the global consequences of the drought.

America is now critically reliant upon the uninterrupted functioning of this vast intercontinental transport network. The drying up of the Mississippi—even for as short a period as a week—would be a huge, unexpected blow to this nation, never mind the global economy. And it is one that America and the world can ill afford at this time.

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Democracy Is Tearing Europe Apart, Moans Monti

Democracy Is Tearing Europe Apart, Moans Monti

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European leaders need to ignore their national parliaments more often or the euro could be forced to break up, Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti warned in an interview with Spiegel published August 5.

“If governments allow themselves to be completely bound by the decisions of their parliaments without maintaining some room for maneuver in international negotiations, then a breakup of Europe will be more likely than closer integration,” he said.

Monti, unelected leader, heading a government of technocrats and academics, came to power after Italy’s elected government made financial markets nervous.

But Monti is right. Parliaments in nations like Germany, Finland and the Netherlands have been a persistent stumbling block to EU integration. The public in these countries doesn’t want to see its money being sent overseas. Parliament tends to have a greater fear of the public than the top leaders.

The EU has been an undemocratic institution from the start. European integration has been consistently rejected in referenda across the Continent.

But the desire of national leaders to forge a new Carolingian empire has overcome the will of the public so far. In the face of the euro crisis, anti-European sentiment is hardening and spreading. In the Netherlands, Geert Wilders’s Freedom Party brought down the government, and in Finland the True Finns party is pushing the government toward Euroskepticism.

But it is German parliamentarians who have taken greatest offense at Monti’s remarks: “Greed for German taxpayers’ money is blossoming undemocratic blooms in Mr. Monti,” said Alexander Dobrindt, a Christian Social Union member of parliament.

But there is no democratic way to persuade the richer countries to part with their money and the poorer countries their sovereignty. The euro crisis is pushing Europe down an undemocratic path. An unelected leader calling for elected parliaments to have a smaller role in Europe is proof of this.

There will be protests, but watch for Europe to morph into an undemocratic superstate.

European Federation Will Form By 2016, Says Commissioner

European Federation Will Form By 2016, Says Commissioner

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‘Time is short’—the crises will force the EU to act quickly, says EU commissioner for financial services.

The European Union will have merged into a federal superstate by 2016, European commissioner for financial services, Michel Barnier, said in an interview published by the French newspaper Liberation August 2.

“The time is short: By 2016 the EU will have transformed into a federation of European nations in which their fates are merged, but their differences remain,” he said.

“A federation means economic governance, collective management of our budget guidelines, a banking union, industrial policy, and much stronger budget coordination,” he said.

Barnier explained that by becoming a federation, the EU is traveling in a direction forced upon it by the banking crisis. “Europe has done much in a short time to correct deficiencies accumulated over 10 years,” he said, adding: “Now it is moving toward a European federation, because the crisis has shown that we could not go it alone.”

Barnier said the plan to establish a European banking regulator by January 2012 was a step toward this federal union.

Barnier is right: The crisis is forcing Europe to become a federal union. His timescale is greatly accelerated compared to other EU officials who talk about these changes happening over the next 10 years.

But, as Barnier said, “The time is short.” The crisis will force Europe to change urgently.

Barnier is describing a huge change—a new superpower hitting the world scene very shortly. Watch this closely; it will change the world. A federal United States of Europe will be here in just a few years—if it even takes that long.

Gunman Kills Six at Milwaukee Sikh Temple

A gunman killed six people at a Sikh temple in suburban Milwaukee on Sunday in a rampage that left terrified worshipers hiding in closets.

The attacker entered the temple with a semi-automatic pistol as members filed in for morning meditation. He began his murderous rampage around 10:30 a.m., killing six and wounding two. According to reports, when police responded and an officer began helping one of the victims outside, Page ambushed and shot the officer. The police returned fire and killed the gunman.

The attacker has been identified as Wade Michael Page, described as a tattooed, heavy-set Caucasian man. Page had served in the U.S. army until 1998, when he received a less-than-honorable discharge. Several reports indicate that one of Page’s tattoos was in memory of the September 11 terrorist attacks. Authorities are currently investigating Page’s rampage as an act of domestic terrorism.

The murders mark the second high-profile shooting in the two weeks. Bible prophecy says that the United States would suffer curses, one of which is terror. If you would like to prove for yourself whether the Bible predicted the curse we are now experiencing, read our free book The United States and Britain in Prophecy by Herbert W. Armstrong.

European Banking Watchdog Could Gain Ability to Shut Down Banks

European Banking Watchdog Could Gain Ability to Shut Down Banks

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A glimpse at Europe’s plans for a new ‘uber-watchdog’

The new European Central Bank (ecb) watchdog could have the power to order banks and lenders to close down, Reuters news agency reported August 1, citing anonymous “officials and policymakers.”

“The right to withdraw the banking license, which is the hour of death for the bank, must be with the supervisor,” it quotes an official as saying. “If the ecb becomes the supervisor, it has to have this.”

“Speaking on condition of anonymity, they said the latest plans envisage giving the eurozone’s central bank the remit to police far more than just the currency area’s 25 top banks, as originally expected,” Reuters says. It reports that the watchdog will be able to overrule national lenders and intervene in smaller banks, if it believes it is necessary. Reuters has labeled the new body an “uber-watchdog.”

The plan for the watchdog will be finalized in the next few weeks and announced in September.

Trumpet columnist Brad Macdonald wrote last month: “One of the loftiest aspirations of European elites has been the acquisition—either directly, or indirectly via the Europeanization of English finance—of Britain’s lucrative banking sector.”

Now we find that EU officials are quietly planning a much stronger banking watchdog than expected.

“It’s an early test of how much power each country is willing to give up in terms of how it handles its own affairs. You start with bank supervision,” said the Wall Street Journal’s Brian Blackstone a fortnight ago. “Someday maybe you grow up to fiscal policy and economic policy, that they could share this within the eurozone.” So far, it looks like eurozone nations are willing to give up a lot of power.

The European commissioner for internal markets and services, Michel Barnier, said the watchdog would be designed to apply to euro area banks as well as banks from participating EU nations.

Britain has already said it has no interest in submitting to this regulator. But Prime Minister David Cameron may come under increasing pressure to do so. European leaders regularly criticize Anglo-American banks, which they say need to be brought under control.

Even without Britain, a euro-wide banking regulator would wield significant power over British and American banks. A national regulator could threaten to lock a bank out of a national market. This eurozone regulator could potentially lock banks out of the whole eurozone.

Bible prophecy warns us that a strong European financial market will soon dominate world trade. This new uber-regulator is a direct part of that prophecy.

For more information, read our article “Financial Regulation in Prophecy!

The Descent of the Anglo-Saxon Male

The Descent of the Anglo-Saxon Male

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The denigration of men by the opinion shapers of Anglo-Saxon society is a potent sign of our collapsing civilization.

A piece in the Washington Times caught my attention this week. It centered on a subject that the Trumpet has commented on from time to time—the emasculation of men and boys by Anglo-Saxon media.

Let me say from the beginning that I am totally secure in my manhood. I was born a male. I have thoroughly enjoyed my masculine roles as boy, youth, husband, father, grandfather. One of my greatest joys has been to see a third generation of boys in our family raised to be real men, with no confusion about their clear identity. Our extended family has been entirely successful in completely countering the influence of the feminization of society on it.

Thus it is with complete confidence in my male role that I will go on opening doors for women, offering to carry their bags, offering my seat to them and generally regarding them in their God-given roles as the physically weaker (not weak) vessel (1 Peter 3:7) in need of strong masculine protection for their general security. I will remain the provider for my wife and her leader in our marriage.

These are all God-given rights that I will yield up to no power, state or individual.

Having got that off my chest, let me quote some insightful text from that Washington Times article (August 1):

Casual observation of popular culture reveals that boys and men increasingly are being portrayed negatively, in contrast to women, who invariably are seen as more competent, efficient, successful and in charge. Television and Hollywood movies are producing a tsunami of negative stereotypes depicting guys as losers. The typical male portrayed in the entertainment media is clueless, socially inept, irresponsible and immature. He invariably disappoints the women around him ….

This is the stereotype that is being channeled into the minds of upcoming generations by their most influential source of education, the mass media.

The Times highlights a whole rash of current-day television sitcoms as guilty of peddling the theme of the emasculation of men:

Television sitcoms offer evidence of the historical devaluation of male traits in American culture. In the 1950s and 1960s, male characters were strong, yet sensitive to the needs of others. They were men who treated others, including women and children, with respect—men like Fred MacMurray in My Three Sons, Robert Young in Father Knows Best and Andy Griffith in The Andy Griffith Show. The qualities of the heroic men in those shows are quite a contrast to the cluelessness of Homer Simpson in The Simpsons, the ignorance of Carroll O’Connor in All in the Family, the degradation of Two and a Half Men, the stupidity of George Clooney’s Men Who Stare at Goats, the crudity and childishness of The Hangover, and the mockery of What to Expect When You’re Expecting.

We have often pointed to the feminization and homosexualization of Anglo-Saxon society yielding mass societal confusion as prophesied by the Creator for these times. The Prophet Isaiah declares of our day, “For behold, the Lord, the Lord of hosts, does take away from Jerusalem and from Judah … the mighty man, and the man of war, the judge, and the prophet, and the prudent, and the ancient, the captain of fifty, and the honourable man, and the counselor, and the cunning artificer, and the eloquent orator” (Isaiah 3:1-3). So much for the once virile manhood of the Anglo-Saxons and Jewry, once such a potent force in the family units of those peoples!

And the reason for this emasculation of the world’s previously most influential societies?

Let the Creator answer through His prophet: “O my people, they which lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths” (verse 12).

Surely there is no clearer example of this than British “leadership” today.

“Fathers are already disappearing. At the end of May, the National Health Service, the largest employer in Britain—and the fifth largest in the world—took the decision to excise the six-letter f-word from a pamphlet on rearing children that it has been giving to mothers- and fathers-to-be for the past 14 years. The pamphlet will no longer refer to fathers following a complaint from one person—yes, that is all it takes to airbrush people from history in modern Britain—who was concerned that such terminology is ‘not inclusive of people in same-sex relationships.’ From now on the pamphlet will refer to mothers and ‘partners.’ Dads are so 20th century” (American Conservative, July 30).

Who is to blame for this politically correct onslaught in Britain on the masculine gender?

“As part of the drive towards institutionalizing same-sex marriage—which is being spearheaded not by radical gays but by our posh, foppish Conservative prime minister, David Cameron—words such as ‘husband’ and ‘wife’ and ‘father’ and ‘mother’ are being airbrushed from much official government documentation” (ibid).

The grave danger that the denigration of manhood poses to a once stable society is that it chips away at the very foundation of stable authority within that society. As Janice Shaw Crouse, author of Marriage Matters, correctly observes:

Radical feminism’s disrespect for men and manliness has been especially harmful for children’s well-being because it calls into question all adult authority, including their fathers’. Cartoons, popular movies and television programs portray dads and other male authority figures as out of touch, old-fashioned and prudish. Children regularly are bombarded by derogatory media images of adults who respect or exemplify traditional moral values. Such adults typically are held in contempt, subtly mocked or openly ridiculed. Males in positions of authority and men who hold traditional values and beliefs often are portrayed as buffoons whom no one respects or admires.

Years ago, Herbert Armstrong wrote a very prophetic little booklet on this phenomenon. It was simply titled, Why Marriage! Soon Obsolete?

You ought to read it.

In that booklet Herbert Armstrong foresaw the destruction of Anglo-Saxon society in the wake of the denigration of the divine institution of marriage and the neutering of the God-given male and female roles. How his words should ring in our ears today! For, of a truth, we are literally living out, daily, in Western society, those very prophecies penned by the ancient Prophet Isaiah!