Slowly but surely, the decline of a once great civilization is unfolding right before our eyes.
It's not pretty. Here we go.
U.S. Manufacturing Decline in June
The ISM Manufacturing Index declined for the first time since the recession "ended" in June, 2009. Bloomberg had the story last in week in Manufacturing in U.S. Unexpectedly Contracted in June.
What the hell do they mean unexpectedly?
The Institute for Supply Management's index fell to 49.7, worse than the most-pessimistic forecast in a Bloomberg News survey, from 53.5 in May, the Tempe, Arizona-based group’s report showed today. Figures less than 50 signal contraction. Measures of orders, production and export demand dropped to three-year lows.
This next bit does and does not explain the "unexpectedly" part. The economists were 0 for 70.
The ISM index, which dropped to its lowest level since July 2009, was less than the median forecast of 52 in the Bloomberg survey. Estimates of 70 economists ranged from 50.5 to 53.5. The gauge averaged 55.2 in 2011 and 57.3 the prior year.
This easily comprehensible development is unexpected only if you are an economist who is clinging desperately to reassuring incantations of mumbo-jumbo, aka. standard economic models. If you are an actual on-the-ground American, and not a High Priest of Progress, the ISM decline doesn't surprise you at all. For months now we've been waiting for the other shoe to drop. And now it has.
Corn Futures Jump 30% In One Month
Perhaps you've heard there's a major drought in the midwest, formerly known as the Breadbasket of the World. Well, you can kiss that goodbye. The Daily Ticker has the story in Corn Prices Surge 30%: Why It Matters To Your Bottom Line (video below).
Corn prices have spiked roughly 30 percent in the last month because of droughts and extreme heat conditions in the Midwest. Corn prices for December delivery rose another 3 percent on Tuesday to $6.56 a bushel.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported additional crop deterioration in its weekly crop progress report released Monday afternoon. Supply of corn in good to excellent condition dropped to 48 percent from 56 percent in one week according to a tally of the country's 18 corn-producing states.
This year was supposed to be a banner year for corn production. In its annual planting report released Friday, the USDA estimates that farmers will plant 96.4 million acres of corn this year — the largest amount of corn planted in the past 75 years. But that bumper crop won't matter much if Mother Nature continues her wrath.
"If you get heat during the pollination phase, or the reproductive stage, of the corn market, and you could get irreversible yield damage," says Terry Roggensack, founding principal at The Hightower Report.
Mother Nature's wrath? I guess that's one way of putting it. I would have said Revenge.
U.S. Power Grid Failures
As you know, a major power outage ensued after the so-called "derecho" storm on the East Coast last week. It seems that utility workers are having a lot of trouble getting the juice flowing again. The Associated Press has the story in Easy fix eludes power outage problems in U.S.
WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of violent storms that knocked out power to millions from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic , sweltering residents and elected officials are demanding to know why it's taking so long to restring power lines and why they're not more resilient in the first place.
Demanding to know? Can you fucking believe this shit?
The answer, it turns out, is complicated: Above-ground lines are vulnerable to lashing winds and falling trees, but relocating them underground involves huge costs – as much as $15 million per mile of buried line – and that gets passed onto consumers...
"It's a system that from an infrastructure point of view is beginning to age, has been aging," said Gregory Reed, a professor of electric power engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. "We haven't expanded and modernized the bulk of the transmission and distribution network."
Here's my favorite paragraph.
Though the country's power infrastructure is reliable, it was mostly built between the 1930s and 1970s and is starting to age, said Reed of the University of Pittsburgh.
The infrastructure is starting to age? It's mostly over 40 years old, and some of it is 80 years old.
Is this something like the climate is beginning to change? The oil is starting to get pricey? The oceans are beginning to be overfished?
Do Something! Please help these people!
Because they certainly can't help themselves.