Krakatoa Alert: Another Eruption Could Potentially Kill Millions And Significantly Lower Global Temperatures For 5 Years

Because most Americans are so focused on preparations for Christmas, not a lot of attention is being paid to the massive disaster that just took place in Indonesia, and that is a huge mistake.  Anak Krakatoa has sprung to life, and there is a reason why it is known as one of the most dangerous volcanoes on the entire planet.  When Krakatoa erupted on August 27th, 1883 the explosion was so loud that it was literally heard 3,000 miles away, and it was estimated that the tsunami waves were over 100 feet tall in some places.  If such an eruption happened today, it would be an even worse disaster than the 2004 Indonesian tsunami which killed more than 200,000 people globally.  We are talking about an event that would instantly alter all of our lives for reasons that I will share below.

So the fact that this mountain of fire has come alive is a really big deal.  The following comes from the Daily Mail

Footage of the volcano which erupted and caused a 20ft tsunami killing at least 220 people in Indonesia on Saturday has shown fireballs spewing from the mountain island in the sea.

New video of the fiery rock – known as Child of Krakatoa – glowing bright orange before billowing thick, black smoke was filmed over the weekend.

At least 220 people were killed and 800 injured after the tsunami, caused by the volcanic eruption, struck beaches in Indonesia overnight.

Just like in 2004, there was no warning.  Those that were close to shore were taken completely by surprise, and many of them are now dead.

That includes most of the members of one very unfortunate band that was engulfed by the tsunami as they were performing on stage

Jaw dropping footage of the exact moment the 20ft wave came crashing down on the stage, engulfing the band, emerged on Sunday morning as it was revealed 281 are dead.

A video which was being recorded in the seconds before the wave hit showed families enjoying a performance by Seventeen when suddenly the entire stage is smashed to pieces by the wave.

The band’s lead singer Riefian ‘Ifan’ Fajarsyah told his 300,000 followers in a tearful video he was looking for the rest of the band.

After the 1883 eruption, Krakatoa collapsed into the ocean, and it was hoped that it would never rise again.  But then in 1927 the “Child of Krakatoa” began to emerge

Anak Krakatoa meaning ‘Child of Krakatoa’ was named by Indonesian people over its formation.

The island emerged from the sea in 1927, decades after a cataclysmic natural disaster in 1883 when a larger island with three volcanic peaks erupted, causing huge tidal waves which killed 36,000 people.

The series of explosions were among the worst recorded in history, between 26 and 27 August 1883. It was so loud, Australians in Alice Springs heard the eruption 3,600 km away.

Just because Anak Krakatoa has erupted once does not mean that this crisis is over.  In 1883, a series of eruptions that year led up to the final climactic explosions on August 27th.  According to Wikipedia, the largest of these explosions was four times more powerful than the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated…

On August 27, four enormous explosions occurred. At 5:30 am, the first explosion was at Perboewatan, triggering a tsunami heading straight to Telok Betong, now known as Bandar Lampung. At 6:44 am, Krakatoa exploded again at Danan, with the resulting tsunami stretching eastward and westward. The largest explosion, at 10:02 am, was so violent that it was heard 3,110 km (1,930 mi) away in PerthWestern Australia, and the Indian Ocean island of Rodrigues near Mauritius, 4,800 km (3,000 mi) away, where they were thought to be cannon fire from a nearby ship. The third explosion has been reported as the loudest sound heard in historic times.[2][3]:79 The loudness of the blast heard 160 km (100 mi) from the volcano has been calculated to have been 180 dB.[4] Each explosion was accompanied by tsunamis estimated to have been over 30 meters (98 feet) high in places. A large area of the Sunda Strait and a number of places on the Sumatran coast were affected by pyroclastic flows from the volcano. The energy released from the explosion has been estimated to be equal to about 200 megatons of TNT,[5]roughly four times as powerful as the Tsar Bomba, the most powerful thermonuclear weapon ever detonated.

Back in 1883, Indonesia was much less densely populated.

Today, more than 260 million people live in Indonesia, and an eruption similar to what took place in 1883 would absolutely devastate the entire nation.

Here are more facts about the historic 1883 event that come from Oregon State University

  • The explosions were heard on Rodriguez Island, 4653 km distant across the Indian Ocean, and over 1/13th of the earth’s surface.
  • Ash fell on Singapore 840 km to the north, Cocos (Keeling) Island 1155 km to the SW, and ships as far as 6076 km west-northwest. Darkness covered the Sunda Straits from 11 a.m. on the 27th until dawn the next day.
  • Giant waves reached heights of 40 m above sea level, devastating everything in their path and hurling ashore coral blocks weighing as much as 600 tons.
  • At least 36,417 people were killed, most by the giant sea waves, and 165 coastal villages were destroyed.
  • When the eruption ended only 1/3 of Krakatau, formerly 5×9 km, remained above sea level, and new islands of steaming pumice and ash lay to the north where the sea had been 36 m deep.
  • Every recording barograph in the world documented the passage of the atmospheric pressure wave, some as many as 7 times as the wave bounced back and forth between the eruption site and its antipodes for 5 days after the explosion.
  • Tide gauges also recorded the sea wave’s passage far from Krakatau. The wave “reached Aden in 12 hours, a distance of 3800 nautical miles, usually traversed by a good steamer in 12 days”.
  • Blue and green suns were observed as fine ash and aerosol, erupted perhaps 50 km into the stratosphere, circled the equator in 13 days.
  • Three months after the eruption these products had spread to higher latitudes causing such vivid red sunset afterglow that fire engines were called out in New York, Poughkeepsie, and New Haven to quench the apparent conflagration. Unusual sunsets continued for 3 years.
  • Rafts of floating pumice-locally thick enough to support men, trees, and no doubt other biological passengers-crossed the Indian Ocean in 10 months. Others reached Melanesia, and were still afloat two years after the eruption.
  • The volcanic dust veil that created such spectacular atmospheric effects also acted as a solar radiation filter, lowering global temperatures as much as 1.2 degree C in the year after the eruption. Temperatures did not return to normal until 1888.

And Krakatoa is certainly not the only volcano capable of producing this kind of an eruption.

Could you imagine what the world would look like after five years of significantly reduced temperatures?  Even a minor change in global temperatures would be absolutely devastating to food production, and hundreds of millions of people would suffer in the resulting global famine.

As I keep stressing, we live at a time when our planet is becoming increasingly unstable, and what is taking place in Indonesia is a perfect example.

Just a few days before the eruption of Anak Krakatoa, there was an eruption of Mount Soputan which shot hot volcanic ash “7,000 feet into the air”.

And at this moment, it is being reported that a total of 20 volcanoes in Indonesia are currently “under some kind of watch”

Volcanoes in Indonesia have been showing increased activity recently, according to reports from the Volcanological Survey of Indonesia (PVMBG). The area of Asia is located in the infamous Pacific Ring of Fire, known for its volatile volcanoes and frequent earthquakes. Up to 70 percent of the World’s volcanoes are located in the region, and many in Indonesia have been put on some kind of alert. One such volcano is ‘El Fuego’, the volcano of fire, which has erupted twice this year with disastrous consequences.

According to Indonesian officials, 20 volcanoes in the country are under some kind of watch.

Of course Indonesia sits directly along the Ring of Fire, and the Ring of Fire also runs up the entire west coast of the United States.

There has been a lot of very unusual activity along the Ring of Fire lately, and those that live in Anchorage, Alaska certainly don’t need to be reminded about that.

You may not have heard, but the east coast of Russia (also along the Ring of Fire) was just hit by a magnitude 7.4 earthquake.  These major seismic events are happening so quickly now that it really is hard to keep up with them all.

As many have said, the shell of our planet has been cracked, and we are living on the floating pieces.  And now those pieces are becoming very unstable, and that has very serious implications for all of us.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Donald Trump Is Going To Have To Shut Down The Government For At Least A Month If He Really Wants Border Wall Funding

President Trump has decided to stand up and fight for funding for the border wall that he has been promising the American people.  And that is probably a very good thing for Trump’s political future because news that he was going to surrender to the Democrats on border wall funding had already stirred up a tremendous conservative backlash.  Without the enthusiastic support of conservatives, there is no way that Trump can win in 2020, and so he needs to be a man of his word and keep his promises.  But now that he has announced that he is going to fight, he also needs to be prepared to be in this for the long haul.  Chuck Schumer is not going to give in after a few days.  In fact, Democrats in Congress are convinced that a government shutdown could be completely blamed on Trump and would be very good for them politically, and so they have no intention of compromising with Trump.  So, if President Trump really wants border wall funding, he is going to have to shut the government down for at least a month, and ultimately it may take even longer than that.

It isn’t about the money.  If Trump had asked for a measly five billion dollars for just about anything else, he could have easily gotten it.

The Democrats simply do not want a single mile of border wall to be constructed, and so far they have been successful.  This is a “red line” issue for them, and they know that there will be a tremendous liberal backlash if they ever give in to Trump even a single inch on this.

And they thought that they had already beaten Trump, and so they were already celebrating their victory.  But then Trump stunned the world on Thursday by announcing that he would not sign any spending bill unless it contained funding for a wall

“We just had a very long, productive meeting with the president,” Ryan told reporters after House Republicans met with Trump for more than an hour. “The president informed us that he will not sign the bill that came up from the Senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns for border security.”

At a bill signing Thursday afternoon, Trump laid out in more detail why he would not back the legislation. He said “any measure that funds the government must include border security.” He pushed for a wall — “also called, so that I can give them a little bit of an out, steel slats.”

The first step was to get the House of Representatives to pass a bill with five billion dollars in border wall funding, and Paul Ryan was able to quickly deliver that

The Republican-led House has approved funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall in legislation that pushes the government closer to a partial government shutdown.

The House voted 217-185, largely along party lines. The bill now goes to the Senate, where it has almost no chance of passing.

But now comes the hard part.

Thanks to ridiculously outdated Senate rules that desperately need to be changed, the Democrats can block any bill that comes through the Senate even though they are in the minority.  Chuck Schumer is saying that Republicans can “pound their fists on the table” as much as they like, but they are simply “not going to get a wall.”

Senate Democrats have been accustomed to getting their way for decades, and Chuck Schumer is an absolutely ruthless New York politician.  He will gladly allow the government to be shut down, and he will gleefully watch as the media heaps all of the blame for the government shutdown on Trump.

Is Trump willing to play hardball and extend this game for as long as it takes no matter how painful it may become?

At this point, it is unclear when a Senate vote would even take place.  Most members of the Senate have already departed from Washington for the holidays, although they could be called back for a vote if necessary.  And Trump is scheduled to leave Washington on Friday for an extended vacation.

When she learned of Trump’s decision to fight for border wall funding, this is what Senator Susan Collins said to the press

“You’re ruining my life,” Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) said when told by reporters of Trump’s decision.

Oh, boo-hoo!  Let’s all cry a river because Susan Collins might be inconvenienced a little bit.

We may be ruining her holiday plans, but politicians like her have been ruining the entire country for decades.

If there is a government shutdown, it will only be a partial one, because some departments have already been funded.  The following comes from USA Today

That will trigger a partial government shutdown, meaning that all but essential operations in those departments will be closed and some 800,000 federal employees will be furloughed or forced to work without pay until the standoff is resolved.

Departments impacted are Agriculture, Commerce, Justice, Homeland Security, Interior, State, Transportation, Treasury and Housing and Urban Development, as well as several smaller agencies.

Not much work gets done in Washington around the holidays anyway, and so the first couple of weeks of a partial government shutdown won’t be that painful.

But if this fight stretches into mid-January, the pressure on President Trump is going to be immense.

Is he ready for the biggest political fight of his presidency?

And all of this comes at a time when support for a border wall is growing.  In fact, one recent survey found that border wall support is at an all-time high

Forty-three percent of voters support building the border wall, while 54% oppose it, according to the national survey of 1,147 voters, conducted Dec. 12-17, 2018.

The record 43% support represents a five-point jump from its August 15, 2018 level of 38% and is up seven points from its year-ago level of 36% (Dec. 13, 2017). Back on April 20, 2017, only 33% of voters nationwide supported building a border wall.

Those that supported Trump in 2016 believed him when he promised that he would build a border wall.

But in order to get one, Trump is going to have to defeat Chuck Schumer, and that is going to require a long and extended battle.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

This Was The Worst Week For The Stock Market Since The Financial Crisis Of 2008

Just when you thought that things couldn’t get any worse, they did.  During normal times, a Friday before Christmas is an extremely boring trading session, but these are not normal times.  On Friday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down another 414 points, and that brought the total drop for the week to 1,655 points.  The marketplace has been completely gripped by panic, and CNN’s Fear & Greed index has just registered the highest “fear rating” that we have ever seen.  I keep saying that we have not witnessed anything like this since the last financial crisis, and the numbers clearly back that assessment up.  In fact, this was the largest weekly percentage drop for the Dow since October 2008

The Dow just suffered its deepest weekly plunge since 2008and the Nasdaq is officially in a bear market.

The miserable performance reflects deepening fears on Wall Street of an economic slowdown and overly-aggressive Federal Reserve.

Apprehension about a looming government shutdown and anxiety over higher interest rates were two of the major factors that pushed stocks down on Friday.

Normally trading volume is very, very light in the days leading up to Christmas, so what we just witnessed was extremely unusual.  Trading volume on Friday was “really heavy” with “more than 12 billion shares” changing hands…

In a bad sign on Friday, volume was really heavy. More than 12 billion shares changed hands on U.S. exchanges on Friday, the biggest volume in at least two years.

When I have warned about a “rush for the exits” in the past, this is the kind of thing that I am talking about.

Many investors were panic-selling on Friday because they wanted to be out of the market before things closed down for the holidays, and stock prices just kept getting hammered lower and lower.

For the week, the carnage was absolutely colossal.  The following is how CNBC summarized what happened…

  • The Dow lost 6.8 percent and 1,655 points on the week. It was its worst percentage drop since October 2008.
  • The Nasdaq lost 8.3 percent on the week and is now 22 percent below its record reached in August, a bear market.
  • The S&P 500 lost 7 percent for the week and is now down 17.8 percent from its record.
  • The Dow and S&P 500, which are both in corrections, are on track for their worst December performance since the Great Depression in 1931, down more than 12 percent each this month.
  • Both the Dow and the S&P 500 are now in the red for 2018 by at least 9 percent.

It should also be noted that the number of stocks hitting 52-week lows right now is at historically high levels.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

Since 1984, there were only eight days when a bigger proportion of shares did so, according to Sundial Capital Research. Two of them were in 1987 — during the famous Black Monday crash, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 23 percent in one day, and then again during the following session. The rest were in the aftermath of the collapse of Lehman Brothers in October and November 2008.

And it isn’t just stocks that are getting hammered.  In fact, at this point 93 percent of all asset classes are down for the year.

As so many have already said, 2018 is a year when literally nothing is working.

A similar thing is happening over in Europe, where stocks are on pace for their worst year since 2008.  We are watching a truly global meltdown take place, and trillions upon trillions of dollars of paper wealth is being washed away.

Of course, not everybody has lost money.  Those that sold before this stock market crash started made out like bandits, and it is very interesting to note that over the past couple of months “the smart money” has been getting out of stocks at a pace that we have never seen before.

So what happens next?

For now, there will be a pause.  The stock market will be closed for the weekend, then it will open for half a day on Monday, and then it will be closed for Christmas on Tuesday.

Hopefully this “cooling off period” will help things to be much calmer by the time the markets open on Wednesday.

But even if things do calm down during the holidays, the truth is that this crisis is far from over.

The largest financial bubble in U.S. history is starting to burst, and a great deal of pain is ahead.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Ann Coulter, Ben Shapiro & Other Conservatives Blast Trump Over Apparent Surrender To Democrats Over Border Wall Funding

Many conservatives are absolutely furious that President Trump has reversed course and has decided not to fight for funding for a border wall.  With the Democrats poised to take control of the House of Representatives in January, this was Trump’s last best chance to get border wall funding, and now the battle is over before it even began.  But the border wall was the centerpiece issue of Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, and a lot of top conservatives are publicly slamming Trump because they feel completely betrayed.  Of course, this isn’t the first time that Trump has angered conservatives.  The bump stock ban is just one recent example.  But many on the right were still willing to stand with Trump because he was going to fight tooth and nail for a border wall.  Less than a week ago, he boldly proclaimed to the entire nation that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security”…

“I am proud to shut down the government for border security … because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country,” Trump said in an explosive White House meeting with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on Dec. 11. “So, I will take the mantle. I will be the one to shut it down.”

But just a few days later Trump has completely caved, and many conservatives are deeply angry.

For example, author Ann Coulter says that without a border wall “Trump will just have been a joke presidency who scammed the American people”

“They’re about to have a country where no Republican will ever be elected president again,” Coulter said. “Trump will just have been a joke presidency who scammed the American people, amused the populists for a while, but he’ll have no legacy whatsoever.”

When asked if she would vote for Trump in 2020 if there is no wall, the author of the book “In Trump We Trust” said, “No. Nor will, I think, most of his supporters. Why would you? To make sure, I don’t know, Ivanka and Jared can make money? That seems to be the main point of the presidency at this point.”

Ben Shapiro is very frustrated with Trump too, and he is calling Trump’s surrender “a pretty gutless move”

In any case, it’s a pretty gutless move for the administration to back down from a fight over the wall after revving up Republicans for precisely that fight – especially since back in January, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) was forced to back down from his own shutdown attempt while trying to push President Trump to grant amnesty to so-called DREAMers. Americans don’t understand the Democrats’ agenda with regard to the wall. They do understand Trump’s. If Trump agrees with that assessment, backing off a fight is a mistake. Meanwhile, the Trump administration is about to send $4.8 billion to Mexico in development aid. So much for Mexico paying for the wall.

And Michelle Malkin referred to Trump’s move as a “cave” during an interview with Fox & Friends…

“Well, I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” conservative commentator Michelle Malkin told “Fox & Friends” on Wednesday. “I’m not going to spin it. I wish I could but I can’t. This is a cave. This was a blink.”

Will Trump be able to win in 2020 without the support of hardcore conservatives?

That doesn’t seem likely, but Trump seems to assume that they will back him no matter how he performs while in office.

Some of the most conservative members of Congress are also deeply frustrated that a deal is being made with the Democrats that includes zero money for a border wall.  The following is what U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows had to say about this deal on Twitter

Punting to Feb. 8 on a CR not only gives Democrats a Christmas present, it offers them a Valentine’s Day gift. Democrats will win, the wall will not be built, and Congress will once again have punted when we should’ve been taking a stand. The time to fight is now. Zero excuse.

And on his Twitter account, U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan made an excellent point

Congressional leadership introduces CR until Feb. 8th WITHOUT $5 Billion for the Wall.

Let me get this straight… our chances of getting the Wall will be better in February when Nancy Pelosi is Speaker than now when we have the majority?

President Trump is never going to win over the left, and so the only hope that he has of winning another term is to fire up his base and have them enthusiastically turn out in huge numbers to vote in November 2020.

But if conservatives keep feeling like they have been stabbed in the back, that is not going to happen.  Many of them feel like Trump has talked a good game, but that he has always backed down in the end.

At this point, even Fox News is pointing out Trump’s “shifts”

The shift on the issue would not be the president’s first this year. In March, Trump vowed after signing a $1.3 trillion spending bill with a warning: “I say to Congress: I will never sign another bill like this again.” In September, Trump wrote on Twitter on the importance funding the wall, “REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!”

Either you are a man of your word or you aren’t.

If President Trump wants to win in 2020, he needs to keep his promises.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Is The Federal Reserve Actually TRYING To Cause A Stock Market Crash?

The Federal Reserve has decided not to come to the rescue this time.  All of the economic numbers tell us that the economy is slowing down, and on Wednesday Fed Chair Jerome Powell even admitted that economic conditions are “softening”, but the Federal Reserve raised interest rates anyway.  As one top economist put it, raising rates as we head into an economic downturn is “economic malpractice”.  They know that higher rates will slow down the economy even more, but it isn’t as if the Fed was divided on this move.  In fact, it was a unanimous vote to raise rates.  They clearly have an agenda, and that agenda is definitely not about helping the American people.

Early on Wednesday, Wall Street seemed to believe that the Federal Reserve would do the right thing, and the Dow was up nearly 400 points.  But then the announcement came, and the market began sinking dramatically.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 720 points in just two hours, and the Dow ended the day down a total of 351 points.  This is the lowest that the Dow has been all year, 60 percent of the stocks listed on the S&P 500 are in bear market territory, and at this point, approximately four trillion dollars of stock market wealth has been wiped out.

We haven’t seen anything like this since the last financial crisis.  This is officially the worst quarter for the stock market since the fourth quarter of 2008, and it is the worst December that Wall Street has experienced since 1931.

It is insanity to raise interest rates when stocks are already crashing, but the Federal Reserve did it anyway.

They knew what kind of reaction this would cause on Wall Street and in other global markets, but that didn’t stop them.  The financial world is in utter turmoil, and this move by the Fed has definitely added fuel to the fire.

Could it be possible that they actually want a stock market crash?

Some are suggesting that the reason why the vote was unanimous was because they wanted to send a “strong signal” to President Trump.  He has been extremely critical of the Federal Reserve in recent weeks, and this could be a way for the Fed to show Trump who is really in charge.

They are calling this “the Trump economy”, but that is simply not true.  And when Barack Obama was in the White House, it wasn’t “the Obama economy” either.  Ultimately, it is the Federal Reserve that is running the economy, and they fiercely guard their independence and their authority.

President Trump knows that the only way that he is going to win in 2020 is if the economy is doing well, and he also understands that higher interest rates will slow the economy down.

So essentially the Federal Reserve has a tremendous amount of political power in their hands.

During the Obama era, the Fed pushed interest rates all the way to the floor and kept them there for many years.

But now the Federal Reserve has raised interest rates seven times since Donald Trump took office, and four of those rate hikes have been under current Fed Chair Jerome Powell.

Needless to say, it certainly doesn’t take a lot of imagination to figure out how Donald Trump is feeling about Powell at this moment.

Meanwhile, we continue to get more indications that the U.S. economy is heading for difficult times.  Just consider the following news about FedEx

FedEx shares are plunging after what Morgan Stanley called a “jarring” cut to its annual forecasts, suggesting global growth is slowing far more than most expect – in fact, the bank hinted at the possibility of a “severe recession” unfolding – and prompting expectations of an “uber-dovish hike” by the Fed.

The global logistics bellwether slashed its outlook just three months after raising the view, reflecting an unexpected and abrupt change in the company’s view of the global economy amid rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China. Not only were the cuts were deeper than the Street expected according to Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker, but everyone is pointing to the following comment from the press release: “Global trade has slowed in recent months and leading indicators point to ongoing deceleration in global trade near-term.”

To see the term “severe recession” used in such a context is more than just a little bit alarming.

The last time the U.S. economy went through a recession, millions of Americans lost their jobs and we saw a wave of mortgage defaults unlike anything we had ever seen before in modern American history.

Are we about to go through something similar?

Earlier today, a CNN article also used the term “recession”, and it discussed the fact that investors now want big corporations to focus on paying down their debts instead of buying back shares of stock…

Fears of an economic slowdown — or even recession — have turned a spotlight on the debt that businesses piled up during the past decade, when borrowing costs were historically low.

For the first time since the Great Recession, investors want companies to prioritize paying down debt rather than investing in the future or share buybacks and dividends, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch survey of global fund managers.

But stock buybacks are one of the only things that has been propping up the stock market.  The only way for the bubble to continue is for corporations to go into dizzying amounts of debt in order to fund massive stock buybacks, because the Federal Reserve clearly does not intend to support the markets right now.

At least for the short-term, the Federal Reserve could have calmed the markets and encouraged economic activity by leaving interest rates alone.

In the end, they decided not to do that, and that makes one wonder what they are really trying to achieve.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Top Economist: “If The Fed Raises Interest Rates Tomorrow They Should All Be Fired For Economic Malpractice”

The Federal Reserve is responsible for creating the stock market boom that we have witnessed in recent years.  Are they now also setting the stage for a stock market bust?  After hitting an all-time high earlier this year, the Dow has plunged more than 3,000 points from the peak of the market, and it would appear that it would be extremely irresponsible for the Fed to raise interest rates in such a chaotic environment.  In addition, evidence continues to mount that the U.S. economy is slowing down, and everyone knows that raising interest rates tends to depress economic activity.  So it would seem that it would not be logical for the Federal Reserve to raise interest rates at this time.  In fact, economist Stephen Moore told Fox Business that if the Fed raises interest rates “they should all be fired for economic malpractice”

“The Fed has been way too tight. They made a major blunder three months ago with raising the rates. It’s caused a deflation in commodity prices. And I will say this, David, if the Fed raises interest rates tomorrow they should all be fired for economic malpractice.”

If the Federal Reserve raises interest rates and indicates that more rate hikes are coming in 2019, it is quite likely that the markets will throw another huge temper tantrum.

But as Jim Cramer has noted, if the Federal Reserve make the right choice and leaves rates where they currently are, we could potentially see a significant market rally…

“Today was a dress rehearsal for the kind of rally we can get if the Fed does the right thing tomorrow and repudiates the idea that we need a series of rate hikes in 2019, not just one more tomorrow,” Cramer said Tuesday. “If we get the Fed on board, expect more positive action like we had this morning before the market gave up much of its gains.”

Unfortunately, there is a factor that is complicating things.

In recent weeks, President Trump has been extremely critical of the Federal Reserve and Fed Chair Jerome Powell.  If the Fed decides to leave interest rates where they are, that could be interpreted as them giving Trump exactly what he wants, and it is likely that they do not want to be viewed as siding with Trump.

This is yet another reason why we need to end the Fed.  The Fed has become just another player in the game of politics, and the truth is that the Federal Reserve is a deeply un-American institution.  Our founders intended for us to have a free market capitalist system, but instead, we have an unelected panel of central planners setting our interest rates and running our economy.

Since the Federal Reserve was created in 1913, there have been 18 major economic downturns, and now we are heading into another one.  Central banking manipulation endlessly causes boom and bust cycles, and hopefully, this time around the American people will finally decide that enough is enough.

As losses on Wall Street mount, hedge funds are starting to go down like dominoes, and that is going to cause huge problems for some of our largest financial institutions.  For example, we just found out that Citigroup could potentially lose 180 million dollars due to bad loans that it made to a prominent Asian hedge fund

It’s not just hedge funds that are blowing up left and right: so are the banks that are lending them money.

Citigroup is facing losses of up to $180 million on loans made to an unnamed Asian hedge fund which saw major losses on its FX trades Bloomberg reports citing a person briefed on the matter. The hedge fund and Citi “are in discussions on the positions and how they should be valued” which is usually a bad sign as when it comes to FX the mark to market is, at least, instantaneous. Bloomberg adds that the situation is fluid and the eventual losses may end up being smaller depending on how the trades are unwound.

We haven’t seen anything like this in 10 years, and if the Fed raises interest rates this new financial crisis could begin to escalate quite rapidly.

At this point, even former Fed chair Alan Greenspan is urging investors to “run for cover”

The former Federal Reserve chairman who famously warned more than two decades ago about “irrational exuberance” in the stock market doesn’t see equity prices going any higher than they are now.

“It would be very surprising to see it sort of stabilize here, and then take off,” Greenspan said in an interview with CNN anchor Julia Chatterley.

He added that markets could still go up further — but warned investors that the correction would be painful: “At the end of that run, run for cover.”

The markets were calmer on Tuesday because everyone was kind of waiting to see what the Fed would do on Wednesday.

The decision should be obvious, but unfortunately, things are never that simple.

We live in very uncertain times, and the shaking of our financial system has begun.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

New York Times Article Suggests That Human Extinction Would Not Be A Bad Thing Because Climate Change Is Destroying The Planet

Would our planet be better off if humanity ceased to exist?  That is quite a morbid question, but today an increasing number of intellectuals are bringing it up, because they are convinced that we are the source of everything that is wrong with our world.  According to these zealots, humans are the primary source of climate change and if we do not alter our course the planet will be destroyed.  But since humanity apparently lacks the will to end the behaviors which are destroying the planet, many of them also believe that it would be a good thing if we were to be completely wiped out somehow.  Most normal people would never think this way, but these are the sorts of discussions that intellectuals and elitists are now having all the time, and sometimes this bleeds over into the mainstream media.  For example, the New York Times just published a very long article by Clemson University professor of philosophy Todd May entitled “Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?”  The following is a brief excerpt from that article…

To make that case, let me start with a claim that I think will be at once depressing and, upon reflection, uncontroversial. Human beings are destroying large parts of the inhabitable earth and causing unimaginable suffering to many of the animals that inhabit it. This is happening through at least three means. First, human contribution to climate change is devastating ecosystems, as the recent article on Yellowstone Park in The Times exemplifies. Second, increasing human population is encroaching on ecosystems that would otherwise be intact. Third, factory farming fosters the creation of millions upon millions of animals for whom it offers nothing but suffering and misery before slaughtering them in often barbaric ways. There is no reason to think that those practices are going to diminish any time soon. Quite the opposite.

Humanity, then, is the source of devastation of the lives of conscious animals on a scale that is difficult to comprehend.

The New York Times did not have to publish Professor May’s article, but they did.

So they must believe that this is a reasonable opinion.

Later in that same article, May suggests that “the elimination of the human species would be a good thing” if it wasn’t for humanity’s wonderful creative endeavors

If this were all to the story there would be no tragedy. The elimination of the human species would be a good thing, full stop. But there is more to the story. Human beings bring things to the planet that other animals cannot. For example, we bring an advanced level of reason that can experience wonder at the world in a way that is foreign to most if not all other animals. We create art of various kinds: literature, music and painting among them. We engage in sciences that seek to understand the universe and our place in it. Were our species to go extinct, all of that would be lost.

But what about those cultures that are not engaged in such pursuits?

Should those that are not adding something of “value” to our world simply be eliminated?

That would seem to be the logical conclusion of such thinking.

There are many intellectuals today that are very much into promoting population control or population reduction, but Professor May doesn’t really see the need to take such measures.  At this end of his article, he suggests that there is a very strong possibility that we are going to be the ultimate cause of “our own tragic end”

It may also turn out that it is through our own actions that we human beings bring about our extinction, or at least something near it, contributing through our practices to our own tragic end.

Another elitist that is seemingly obsessed with climate change and population issues is Bill Gates.

Just recently, Gates publicly stated that he believes that millions of people in poor countries will die by the end of this century as a result of climate change

On the issue of climate change, Gates predicted that for countries like Africa — which are “completely dependent on the rain coming” — climate change presents a “threat to … survival.”

He also predicted “millions of deaths because of climate change between now and the end of the century.” He said a significant portion of that count will be in “very, very poor countries, because of the subsistence farming.”

So what must be done?

Well, since humans are the primary cause of climate change, reducing the human population is essentially equivalent to “saving the planet” according to their twisted way of thinking.

And perhaps that may explain why the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been pouring such vast amounts of money into the development of a male contraceptive pill.

Most of us never think much about population issues, but for elitists such as Gates, it can become something of an obsession.  They truly believe that the human population is a ticking time bomb that will explode in the not too distant future.

But the truth is that our planet could easily support a human population that was twice as large if our resources were managed properly and new technologies which already exist were allowed to flourish.

Sadly, those things are not happening, and instead, humanity is being herded into incredibly overcrowded cities.  And such overcrowding can have very negative consequences as a scientific study involving mice once demonstrated

Scientist John B. Calhoun created mouse utopias in which the rodents had all the food, water and bedding they required.

But after several generations, the booming population descended into chaos with male mice becoming savagely violent and females failing to nurture their young.

The subsequent generation became known as the “beautiful ones” – non-violent but interested in little else other than grooming themselves.

Could it be possible that our own version of the “beautiful ones” is starting to emerge?

Today, we have millions of self-obsessed young adults that are continuously staying indoors, isolating themselves and spending endless hours on the Internet.

In Japan, they actually have a term for this, and it is recognized as a national crisis

And in densely-populated Japan, a disturbing trend dubbed “hikikomori” has gripped the younger generation, with an estimated half a million Japanese youth living as social recluses.

The Japanese government defines hikikomori as people who haven’t left their homes or interacted with others for six months or more.

Our world is changing, and not for the better.

Those that are suggesting human extinction as the answer are totally on the wrong track.  Instead of giving up on life, we need to rediscover what makes life worth living in the first place.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Trump vs. Schumer: Someone Is Leaving This Cage Match Completely Neutered

The stage is set for a battle of political willpower that could potentially be unlike anything that we have ever seen before in American history.  Last Tuesday, there was a shouting match in the Oval Office that changed everything.  During a very heated exchange with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, President Trump boldly declared that the border wall will get built and that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security”.  The Democrats are going to take control of the House of Representatives in January, and so Trump realizes that it is now or never for his top campaign promise.  If he doesn’t get funding for the wall now, he will never get it, and he will go into the 2020 election without anything to show the voters on his signature issue.

Trump has essentially painted himself into a corner, and maybe that is what he intended to do.  Perhaps he understands that this is the time to take a stand, and perhaps he is ready to do whatever it takes to achieve his goal.

But if he is not willing to do whatever it takes, then he should never have made such bold statements.  Because if he backs down now, he will lose all credibility with millions upon millions of American voters.

And Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has put himself in the exact same position.  In the aftermath of Tuesday’s shouting match, Schumer appeared on the Senate floor and unequivocally declared that there will be no money for a border wall

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D.-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor on Thursday that there will be no funding for President Donald Trump’s plan to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border because the Democrats in Congress will never allow it.

“I want to be crystal clear. There will be no additional appropriations to pay for the border wall. It is done,”Schumer said.

There is no possibility of a compromise with Trump in that statement.

And he doubled down on his position during a subsequent interview with NBC News

Schumer argued that there are not enough votes for the full $5 billion authorization in either the House or Senate, a point that Republicans have contested. Accusing the president of putting government funding at risk to “throw a bone to his base,” Schumer said that it’s up to Republicans to get Trump to the table.

“They just have to have the guts to tell President Trump he’s off on the deep end here and all he is going to get with his temper tantrum is a shutdown. He will not get a wall,” Schumer said.

Somebody is going to come out of this as a big loser.

Will it be Chuck Schumer or will it be Donald Trump?

Whoever loses this cage match will essentially be neutered politically.

In the end, this fight doesn’t have a thing to do with money.  The five billion dollars that Trump is asking for is a pittance when compared to the enormous sums of money that are poured into other programs.  If Trump was asking for five billion dollars for roads that would be no problem at all.

Ultimately, what this is about is a battle of the wills.  Donald Trump wants a border wall and the Democrats are absolutely determined not to give him one.

And so far the Democrats have succeeded.  As Ann Coulter has noted, some fencing has been put up, but no construction of any portions of the border wall has taken place…

Coulter, who also writes a syndicated column, linked to an article in the Washington Post that details what new construction has occurred along the U.S.-Mexico border. The article reveals that none of the wall Trump pledged to build in his 2016 presidential campaign has been built.

Some new fencing — not a wall — has been erected in Calexico, Calif. But this area to fence was identified by the Border Patrol in 2009 and the material is “bollard fencing,” which is hollow steel beams spaced several inches apart, reported The Post.

So this is it.

This is the moment when Trump will really show us how committed he is to a border wall, because if he doesn’t get funding now he will never, ever get it once the Democrats control the House.

And in order to get that funding, Donald Trump is going to have to force a government shutdown, and at this point it looks like that is precisely what is going to happen.  The following comes from the Hill

It’s a perilous moment for the Grand Old Party. Either Trump folds and backs off his demand for the wall — the signature promise of his 2016 campaign — or the government will shut down over the holidays.

“The odds are 65/35 we’re shutting down. I’m not optimistic we’re going to see some kind of compromise on appropriations on Homeland Security,” said Rep. Paul Mitchell (R-Mich.), the freshman representative to the GOP leadership team. “I don’t see that they’re going to get done bickering.”

Like previous government shutdowns, not that much will actually change for the first few days.

But the longer a government shutdown lasts, the more painful it will become.

Things will really start getting hairy once some people eventually stop receiving government checks, and it will take a tremendous amount of resolve to keep going at that point.

This could be a defining point in Donald Trump’s presidency.  If he is a man of his word, he will force a government shutdown and fight for what he believes.

But if he caves and gives the Democrats everything that they want once again, the entire nation will know that he is just another typical Republican.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

2 Major Volcanic Eruptions & Dozens Of Significant Earthquakes Have Struck The Ring Of Fire Within The Last 24 Hours

Global earth changes appear to be accelerating once again, but the mainstream media in the United States is not talking about it, and so most Americans have absolutely no idea what is happening.  Within the last 24 hours, we have seen close to 40 significant earthquakes of at least magnitude 2.5 along the Ring of Fire, but even more alarming are the two major volcanic eruptions which just took place.  Mount Soputan is one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Indonesia, and it erupted twice on Sunday morning.  According to the Daily Mail, authorities are reporting that hot volcanic ash was shot 25,000 feet into the sky…

A volcano in central Indonesia has erupted, sending columns of thick ash spewing as high as 25,000 feet into the sky.

Mount Soputan, a 6,000ft peak in Minahasa on the northern part of Sulawesi island, erupted twice on Sunday morning.

A two-and-a-half mile exclusion zone has been enforced around the mountain as the national disaster agency warns local residents to avoid the peak.

Those eruptions may have been more spectacular, but the eruption that we just witnessed down in Mexico is potentially much more concerning.

Mt. Popocatepetl has been called the most dangerous mountain in North America for a reason, and officials are carefully watching “Don Goyo” after it “exploded” on Saturday evening…

The active volcano Popocatepetl, located in Central Mexico, has exploded Saturday evening, sending ash two kilometers into the air with the cloud of smoke moving in a northeast direction.

Videos from the eruption show a powerful explosion and traces of magma flowing out of the crater. Possible ash fall is expected in areas surrounding the summit. At the moment the volcanic warning issued by the Federal Civil Protection remains at ‘Phase 2’.

Approximately 25 million people live within striking distance of Mt. Popocatepetl, and scientists assure us that someday the 5,426-meter-high “smoking mountain” will devastate the entire Mexico City region.

And when I say “devastate”, I am not just talking about a disaster that will inconvenience people for a few weeks.

I am talking about an event which will cause death and destruction on an absolutely immense scale.  According to the experts, in the distant past “Don Goyo” actually produced gigantic mudflows that buried entire Aztec cities

Historians tell us that Popocatepetl had a dramatic impact on the ancient Aztecs. Giant mud flows produced by massive eruptions covered entire Aztec cities. In fact, some of these mud flows were so large that they buried entire pyramids in super-heated mud.

But we haven’t witnessed anything like that in any of our lifetimes, so it is hard to even imagine devastation of that magnitude.

In addition to Mexico City’s mammoth population, there are millions of others that live in the surrounding region. Overall, there are about 25 million people that live in the immediate vicinity of Popocatepetl. Thankfully, we haven’t seen a major eruption of the volcano in modern times, but at some point that will change.

Meanwhile, significant earthquakes continue to rattle areas all along the Ring of Fire.

Indonesia was hit by a magnitude 6.1 earthquake within the last 24 hours, and a magnitude 5.9 earthquake in Australia made headlines all over the world

A 5.9 magnitude eathquake has struck Western Australia, 203km northwest of Carnarvon at 22.26pm local time (2.26pm BST) at a depth of 10km.

Locals in Carnarvon reported feling tremors, after the massive earthquake shook the region this afternoon.

One resident reported to EMSC earthquake tracker: “I am holidaying with my children we all felt the beds shake.”

We live at a time when seismic activity is becoming more intense and more frequent.  Some of the “experts” in the United States insist that the numbers are rising simply because we are doing a better job of “detecting” seismic activity these days, and they promise that we have absolutely nothing to worry about.  But a lot of people are skeptical of that explanation because they can see that our planet appears to be getting increasingly unstable.

Could it be possible that an era of dramatically increased seismic activity is about to change all of our lives in a major way?

Earlier today, I came across a British article that discussed the fact that scientists that have studied a supervolcano near Naples, Italy are extremely concerned that it may be “reawakening”…

Yellowstone volcano has a rival in Europe, according to a recent study from scientists based in the region. The volcano is based in Naples to the west, in a place known as Phlegrean fields, once the site of a world-changing eruption. Scientists have now picked up on new signs of the volcano complex starting another cycle. This particular volcano is a threat as the end point of the major cycle could be a significant eruption, rivalling the outcome of a Yellowstone eruption in the US.

Scientists observing the volcanic cycle of one Campi Flegrei, located in Napoli, are concerned of a “potential reawakening”.

Of course, we have seen many formerly “dormant volcanoes” reawaken in recent years.

Something very unusual definitely appears to be happening to our planet, and unlike the mainstream media in the United States, this is something that we will be keeping a very close eye on.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

US Stocks Plunge Again: Worst Quarter In 7 Years

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plummeted another 496 points on Friday as panicked investors continue to pull billions of dollars out of the stock market.  With less than two weeks to go until Christmas, the markets are not supposed to be experiencing this kind of turmoil, but it is happening and there is no end in sight.  During the fourth quarter of 2018, we have already seen the S&P 500 fall 11 percent.  Even if it doesn’t go down any further, that will be the worst quarter in 7 years.  And of course the S&P 500 is not alone – at this point, all of the major indexes are officially in correction territory.  Things are certainly getting quite frightening on Wall Street, and many believe that the worst is yet to come.

Despite widespread assurances from the mainstream media that the wise thing to do is to keep your money in the market, investors are pulling money out of equities at a near record pace

Jittery investors yanked a record $39 billion from global equities in the latest week, according to a Bank of America Merrill Lynch report released Friday. That included $28 billion that exited US stocks, the second-highest on record. And a record $8.4 billion was pulled from investment grade bonds.

The “race for the exits” that we have been witnessing really is turning into a bit of a stampede, and once panic starts to spread, it can be very difficult to stop it.

So why is all of this happening?

Well, one market strategist told CNN that “something is wrong here” and that his firm cannot deny that we are in a “global slowdown”…

Markets were dinged by a batch of negative corporate and economic developments, especially weak growth numbers out of China and Europe.

“Something is wrong here. There is this global slowdown. We can’t deny it,” said Michael Block, market strategist at Third Seven Advisors, a private wealth management firm.

We most certainly are in a global economic slowdown, and this is something that I have been telling my readers for months.

On Friday, we got more troubling numbers out of China.  The following comes from CNBC

China reported industrial output and retail sales growth numbers for November that missed expectations. This is the latest sign shown by China that its economy may be slowing down. The data also underscored the rising risks to China’s economy as Beijing works to resolve an ongoing trade war with the U.S.

“The economic data continues to bear out growth is slowing,” said Tom Martin, senior portfolio manager at Globalt. “There is still a lot of positive positioning out there. As the data continues to slow, people are feeling less comfortable with that and start to sell.”

Markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and the losses are really starting to pile up.

Here is how Zero Hedge summarized the carnage that we have witnessed over the last several months…

  • Dow -10.5% from highs
  • S&P -11.3% from highs – lowest weekly close since March 2018
  • Nasdaq Comp -14.6% from highs
  • Trannies -17.8% from highs – Nov 2017 lows, worst 2-week drop since Aug 2011
  • Russell 2000 -18.5% from highs – lowest since Sept 2017

Financial stocks have been getting hit particularly hard.

S&P financials have now declined 20.3 percent from the 52-week high, and that officially puts them in bear market territory.

The S&P bank index has fallen even farther.  It is now down 24 percent from the 52-week high, and global banking stocks overall have been absolutely crashing.

Banking stocks led the way down in 2008, and now it is happening again.

This is very quickly becoming an extremely serious situation.  Trillions upon trillions of dollars worth of “paper wealth” is evaporating all over the globe, and we are witnessing disappointing economic numbers just about everywhere.

We will see what happens on Wall Street next week.  The second half of December is normally a very sleepy time for the markets, but that may not happen this year.  Volatility has returned with a vengeance, and we have already set an all-time record in 2018 for big moves of the VIX

The S&P 500 has averaged a daily range of 2 percent for the month, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has closed with triple-digit moves in all but three sessions.

Big moves have pushed the VIX to a record 13 one-day moves of more than 20 percent this year.

Over the past few years, a lot of Americans have become deeply complacent, and that is a huge mistake.  Just because our long-term financial problems were delayed does not mean that they were canceled.

The truth is that nothing has changed as far as the long-term outlook is concerned.  Without a doubt, we will pay a very great price for our mistakes, and a day of reckoning is inevitably coming.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Democrats Drooling: 2 New Legal Developments They Believe Could End Trump Presidency

There never was any “collusion with Russia”, but the Mueller investigation opened the door for investigators to keep turning over rocks, and it was inevitable that they were eventually going to find something.  In America today, we are governed by literally millions of laws, rules and regulations, and nobody has more laws that they must follow than the president of the United States.  So, if the Deep State really wants to get the resident of the White House, there are lots of ways that they can do it.  Over the past several days, there have been a couple of new legal developments that potentially represent great threats to the Trump presidency, and Democrats are drooling with delight.

The first development involves a potential violation of campaign finance laws.  In August, lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to arranging payments to two women “at the direction” of Donald Trump.  A $130,000 payment was made through a shell company to Stormy Daniels, and it was arranged that a $150,000 payment would be made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal through American Media Inc., which is the parent company of the National Enquirer.  It was ruled that these payments were made “for the principal purpose of influencing” the election, and it is one of the reasons why Michael Cohen is going to prison for three years.

Personally, I am quite skeptical that these hush money payments constitute “campaign expenses” which must be reported, but this is the interpretation that is being pushed by the Deep State, and it is being widely accepted by the mainstream media and by members of both political parties.

In August 2015, there was a meeting between Michael Cohen, American Media Inc. CEO David Pecker and “at least one other member of the campaign” during which a plan to “catch and kill” negative stories about Trump was discussed.  According to NBC News, it has been confirmed that the “other member” in the room was Trump himself…

As part of a nonprosecution agreement disclosed Wednesday by federal prosecutors, American Media Inc., the Enquirer’s parent company, admitted that “Pecker offered to help deal with negative stories about that presidential candidate’s relationships with women by, among other things, assisting the campaign in identifying such stories so they could be purchased and their publication avoided.”

The “statement of admitted facts” says that AMI admitted making a $150,000 payment “in concert with the campaign,” and says that Pecker, Cohen and “at least one other member of the campaign” were in the meeting. According to a person familiar with the matter, the “other member” was Trump.

With Cohen and Pecker now both cooperating with federal investigators, Trump could potentially be in a huge amount of trouble, and the left is loving it.

As a former assistant U.S. attorney explained to NBC News, it would essentially be a slam dunk to prove “a conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud”…

Daniel Goldman, an NBC News analyst and former assistant U.S. attorney said the agreement doesn’t detail what Trump said and did in the meeting. “But if Trump is now in the room, as early as August of 2015 and in combination with the recording where Trump clearly knows what Cohen is talking about with regarding to David Pecker, you now squarely place Trump in the middle of a conspiracy to commit campaign finance fraud.”

But once again, that is only true if the hush money payments actually constituted “campaign expenses”, and it is my opinion that they do not.

Meanwhile, federal authorities have also opened up a new investigation into potential corruption by President Trump’s inauguration committee.  The following comes from USA Today

The investigation is being led by federal prosecutors in Manhattan and is examining whether donors gave money in return for access to Donald Trump and his administration, the Wall Street Journal and CNN reported.

The Journal, citing unnamed officials, reports the probe is in its early stages but aims to determine whether some of the donors to Trump’s $107 million inauguration fund attempted to gain influence within the administration on policy decisions, something that could violate federal corruption laws.

This new investigation never would have occurred if federal authorities had not already been investigating Michael Cohen.

Reportedly, they came across some potentially incriminating information when they raided his home, office and hotel room in April

During the April raids on Cohen’s home, office, and hotel room, federal investigators discovered a taped conversation between Cohen and Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who worked with the inaugural committee, the WSJ reported.

The contents of the recording are unclear but Wolkoff, according to the Journal, voiced concerns over how some of the inaugural funds were being spent.

During the Nixon administration, the Department of Justice ruled that a sitting president could not be indicted, but now there are quite a few Democrats that are calling for that ruling to be “reevaluated”.  One of those Democrats is Representative Adam Schiff

‘I think the Justice Department needs to re-examine that OLC opinion, the Office of Legal Counsel opinion, that you cannot indict a sitting president under circumstances in which the failure to do so may mean that person escapes justice,’ Schiff told CNN on Wednesday, hours after Donald Trump’s longtime lawyer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to breaking campaign finance laws and other matters.

In the short-term, it is probably unlikely that Trump will be indicted, and so if Democrats want to get rid of him they will need to go down the road of impeachment.

Now that Nancy Pelosi and the Democrats have taken control of the House, they could probably pull off a vote to impeach Trump.  But the tricky part would be the Senate because the Republicans still have a majority there.

But it is a very small majority, and it would only take a handful of Republican votes to remove Trump from office.

Let us hope that the Democrats do not decide to pursue impeachment because that would only create even more division in a country that is already greatly divided.

We live in very troubled times, and unfortunately, things are likely to become even more troubled in 2019.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Two-Thirds Of Americans Think That They Are Middle Class – But Millions Of Them Are Dead Wrong

The middle class has been steadily shrinking, but most Americans still believe that they are a part of it.  Perhaps this is due at least in part to the egalitarian values which have been pounded into our heads for most of our lives.  Very few Americans would have the gall to define themselves as “upper class”, and I have never met anyone that would describe themselves as “lower class”.  In place of “lower class”, many politicians now like to use the much more politically correct term “working class”, but a more apt description might be “the working poor”.  Today, half of all American workers make less than $30,533 a year, and you certainly cannot support a middle class lifestyle for a family with children on that kind of income.

Our incomes have stagnated as the cost of living has soared, and the middle class has experienced steady erosion as a result.  But despite all that, 68 percent of all Americans still consider themselves to be “middle class”

That’s according to new data from Northwestern Mutual’s 2018 Planning & Progress Study, which found that 68 percent of Americans consider themselves middle-class, down 2 percent from last year. However, because of the fuzziness of the definition, far more Americans consider themselves middle-class than technically qualify based on income.

In reality, the middle class now makes up just over 50 percent of the total U.S. population, according to a recent report from Pew Research Center, which used 2016 data. That’s compared to 61 percent in 1971.

So according to that survey, somewhere around 18 percent of all Americans wrongly believe that they belong to the middle class.

There are 325 million people living in the United States today, and so we are potentially talking about 58 million people that think that they are middle class but really aren’t.

Other surveys have come up with similar numbers.  For example, one recent survey discovered that 22 percent of non-middle income Americans identified themselves as middle income

Overall, 22 percent of the non-middle-income Americans surveyed incorrectly classified themselves as middle income. The majority of those people are actually lower-income, with approximately 19 percent of the low-income Americans surveyed defining themselves as middle income. Only approximately 2 percent of upper-income Americans mistakenly defined themselves as middle income.

Of course even if someone can be defined as “middle income” does not necessarily mean that things are going well.

Today, most Americans are living paycheck to paycheck at least part of the time.  Living on the edge financially can be a constant source of stress, and it can easily start taking over your entire life.  To illustrate this point, I would like to share with you a short excerpt from a recent article by Lauren Wellbank

Like so many Americans, we struggle to get by each and every month. The compounding interest we rack up by always being a breath away from being broke plays a large role in that. We pay interest on purchases that we can’t afford to pay out of pocket in the moment (like our electric bill when my pay was short last month), and then we pay late fees when we have to take advantage of that grace period. Our monthly payments never go down because we can’t get out in front of any of it.

All of this has a psychological and emotional impact. I’m constantly running our budget through my mind, trying to reassure myself that the numbers will work out this month. I’m never not thinking about money. I dread going to the store or having to buy gas because each purchase moves us closer back down to that zero balance. The anxiety over our finances never goes away.

Have you ever been there?

Perhaps you are there right now.  If so, you are definitely not alone.  Most American families are deeply struggling, and it is getting worse with each passing year.

Meanwhile, the folks at the very top of the pyramid have been thriving.  In fact, one study discovered that the gap between the wealthy and the poor in the United States is the largest that it has been since the 1920s.

We truly are living in a “new Gilded Age”, and the biggest winners have been those in the “top 0.1 percent”.  The following comes from Matthew Stewart

It is in fact the top 0.1 percent who have been the big winners in the growing concentration of wealth over the past half century. According to the UC Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, the 160,000 or so households in that group held 22 percent of America’s wealth in 2012, up from 10 percent in 1963. If you’re looking for the kind of money that can buy elections, you’ll find it inside the top 0.1 percent alone.

It has been said that money cannot buy happiness, and that is true.

But without a doubt the numbers show that there are some tremendous disadvantages to being poor.  Here is more from Stewart

Obesity, diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, and liver disease are all two to three times more common in individuals who have a family income of less than $35,000 than in those who have a family income greater than $100,000. Among low-educated, middle-aged whites, the death rate in the United States—alone in the developed world—increased in the first decade and a half of the 21st century. Driving the trend is the rapid growth in what the Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton call “deaths of despair”—suicides and alcohol- and drug-related deaths.

Unfortunately, economic conditions are starting to deteriorate once again, and it is those at the bottom of the totem poll that are going to feel the pain first.

The period of relative stability that we had been enjoying is rapidly ending, and just about everyone can see that hard times are ahead of us.

A new survey of corporate CFOs was just released that contains some eye-popping numbers.  It turns out that 49 percent of them believe that a recession will start by the end of next year, and a whopping 82 percent of them believe that a recession will have started by the end of 2020

Considering that major corporations have been busy shedding workers, it follows that corporate finance leaders see a U.S. recession ahead. Evidence of a slowing economy has been popping up, including recent large-scale cuts in head count by U.S. corporations such as General Motors and Verizon.

Eighty-two percent of chief financial officers polled believe a recession will have started by the end 2020, and nearly 49 percent think the downturn will arrive sometime next year, according to the Duke University/CFO Global Business Outlook, released Wednesday.

This is yet another example of the major psychological shift that is taking place in our nation.  The overwhelming consensus is that economic activity is going to slow down, and it won’t be people with millions of dollars in their bank accounts that will be suffering.

No, once again it will mostly be people that are barely getting by that will be losing their jobs and their homes, and nobody is going to come riding to their rescue.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Largest Earthquake In 45 Years Hits Tennessee – Is The “Deep Underground Scar” In The Center Of The United States Awakening?

Large earthquakes aren’t supposed to happen in Tennessee.  On Wednesday, the largest earthquake in 45 years hit eastern Tennessee, and it made headlines all over the nation.  The magnitude 4.4 quake was so powerful that it was felt in portions of Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and Kentucky.  Significant shaking was even felt as far away as Atlanta, and that was highly unusual.  The original earthquake was rapidly followed by a magnitude 3.0 aftershock, and subsequently, there were several other noteworthy aftershocks.  We live at a time when earthquakes are increasing in size and frequency, and many are concerned about what this may mean for our future.  The recent earthquakes in Alaska were a shock, but at least they made sense since much of the coastline of Alaska sits directly along the Ring of Fire.  But eastern Tennessee is not an area that has traditionally been prone to quakes.  Could it be possible that the “seismic scar” that was created when the North American continent was formed is beginning to reawaken?

Prior to Wednesday, the last time that eastern Tennessee had experienced an earthquake of this magnitude or greater was on November 30th, 1973.

That was 45 years ago, and many of you that will be reading this article were not even alive at that time.

Some experts had regarded eastern Tennessee as one of the “safest” areas in the eastern half of the country, but after what we just witnessed they may want to reevaluate things.  When the earthquake happened, the shaking was so violent that it actually woke people from their sleep all the way over in neighboring North Carolina

“Felt it here in Arden off Brevard Rd for sure. Sitting on the couch at 4:15 am reading news on laptop and it felt like the house swayed back and forth for a few seconds. Weird…….” – Wayne Womble

“I felt the earthquake in Alexander, NC around 4:15 am. It woke me from my sleep.” – Megan S. Bottego

“We felt the earthquake in Marshall, Madison County, NC (just outside the Buncombe County line). It woke me up about 4:20am as it shook enough to cause items on dresser to shake and rattle. It only lasted about 5-10 seconds. ” – Paula Seay

But this isn’t the only earthquake that has happened in the region recently.

In fact, in the center of the United States there have been 27 significant earthquakes of magnitude 1.5 or greater within the last 7 days.

Eastern Tennessee is not in the New Madrid Seismic Zone, but it is not too far away either.  And there are some that are speculating that the “deep underground scar” that was created during the formation of the North American continent may be awakening once again.  The following is what Wikipedia has to say about the formation of that scar…

The faults responsible for the New Madrid Seismic Zone are embedded in a subsurface geological feature known as the Reelfoot Rift that formed during the breakup of the supercontinent Rodinia in the Neoproterozoic Era (about 750 million years ago). The resulting rift system failed to split the continent, but has remained as an aulacogen (a scar or zone of weakness) deep underground, and its ancient faults appear to have made the Earth’s crust in the New Madrid area mechanically weaker than much of the rest of North America.

This relative weakness is important, because it would allow the relatively small east-west compressive forces associated with the continuing continental drift of the North American plate to reactivate old faults around New Madrid, making the area unusually prone to earthquakes in spite of it being far from the nearest tectonic plate boundary.[16]

As noted above, because of this scar the crust of our planet in that region is “mechanically weaker” and thus more vulnerable to shaking.

What that means is that earthquakes in that area could potentially be far more damaging.

According to the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, any earthquakes that occur along the New Madrid fault could “shake and damage an area approximately 20 times larger than earthquakes in California”

Due to the harder, colder, drier and less fractured nature of the rocks in the earth’s crust in the central United States, earthquakes in this region shake and damage an area approximately 20 times larger than earthquakes in California and most other active seismic areas. Even though large earthquakes occur much less frequently in the NMSZ than in California, the long term average quake threat, in terms of square miles affected per century, is about the same because of the approximately 20 times larger area affected in the central United States.

And even though most Americans don’t realize this, some of the worst earthquakes in all of U.S. history have happened right in the middle of the country.

In 1811 and 1812 three massive earthquakes struck directly along the New Madrid Seismic Zone, and the damage was off the charts.  The following comes from a previous article

Those earthquakes in 1811 and 1812 tore thousands of very deep fissures in the ground, they caused the Mississippi River to actually run backwards in some places, and they caused sidewalks to crack in Washington D.C. and church bells to ring in Boston.

In our time, the U.S. Geological Survey has admitted that the New Madrid fault zone has the “potential for larger and more powerful quakes than previously thought“, and we have seen the number of significant earthquakes in the middle part of the country more than quintuple in recent years.

There is a reason why I included a catastrophic New Madrid earthquake in The Beginning Of The End, and scientists assure us that it is only a matter of time before one takes place.

Giant earthquakes and huge volcanic eruptions are starting to happen with such frequency now that they almost immediately start receding from our memory after they happen.  We have been witnessing one historic seismic event after another, and they are happening so fast that it is hard to keep up with them all.  And when you throw in wildfires, floods, hurricanes and all other major disasters, what we have been witnessing is truly historic.

According to CNN, 2017 was the costliest year for natural disasters ever, and it looks like there is a good chance that we will break that record again this year.

Our planet is changing, and many believe that very dark days are ahead for all of us.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

U.S. Debt Poised To Hit The $22 Trillion Mark As “Storm Clouds” Indicate “We Could Have Another Financial Crisis”

The rapidly exploding U.S. national debt is about to cross another critical threshold.  According to the U.S. Treasury, the debt of the federal government is currently sitting at $21,854,296,172,540.94, and at our current pace we will likely hit the $22 trillion mark next month.  This is a horrifying national crisis, and yet nothing is being done about it.  When Barack Obama entered the White House in January 2008, the U.S. was $10.6 trillion in debt, and so that means that we have added 11.2 trillion dollars of new debt to that total in less than 11 years.  Needless to say, it doesn’t take a math genius to figure out that we have been adding an average of more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt for more than a decade.  But instead of getting our insatiable appetite for debt under control, Congress is actually accelerating our spending.  At this point, there is no possible scenario in which this story ends well.

Meanwhile, the global financial elite are really starting to talk up the possibility of a new financial crisis.

For example, the deputy head of the IMF just said that he sees “storm clouds building”

The storm clouds of the next global financial crisis are gathering despite the world financial system being unprepared for another downturn, the deputy head of the International Monetary Fund has warned.

David Lipton, the first deputy managing director of the IMF, said that “crisis prevention is incomplete” more than a decade on from the last meltdown in the global banking system.

“As we have put it, ‘fix the roof while the sun shines’. But, like many of you, I see storm clouds building and fear the work on crisis prevention is incomplete.”

And according to CNBC, Janet Yellen is warning that “we could have another financial crisis”…

“I think things have improved, but then I think there are gigantic holes in the system,” Yellen said Monday night in a discussion moderated by New York Times columnist Paul Krugman at CUNY. “The tools that are available to deal with emerging problems are not great in the United States.”

Yellen cited leverage loans as an area of concern, something also mentioned by the current Fed leadership. She said regulators can only address such problems at individual banks not throughout the financial system. The former fed chair, now a scholar at the Brookings Institution, said there remains an agenda of unfinished regulation. “I’m not sure we’re working on those things in the way we should, and then there remain holes, and then there’s regulatory pushback. So I do worry that we could have another financial crisis.”

It almost sounds as if they have been reading The Economic Collapse Blog.  Of course, they probably aren’t, and the truth is that at this point the next crisis is so close that just about everybody should be able to see it.

So what can be done?

Well, Texas hedge fund manager Kyle Bass wants a trillion dollars in new infrastructure spending.

That sounds nice, but we are already adding more than a trillion dollars to our national debt every year.  If we want to spend a trillion dollars fixing up our crumbling infrastructure, where is that money going to come from?

We have been spending far, far more money than we have been bringing in, and that has been propping up our economy for quite some time now.  But we are progressively making our long-term problems much worse, and there is no way that we can sustain this Ponzi scheme for much longer.

And it isn’t just the national debt that is a massive problem.  U.S. consumers are more than 13 trillion dollars in debt, and a new report has discovered that credit card debt continues to surge to new heights

Americans are carrying a record amount of credit card debt, according to a new study.  The average American family has about $7000 in revolving debt compared to $6081 this time last year. And as interest rates rise, so will those monthly payments to service these debts.

This year’s report focused on revolving debt (debt that is carried over month after month) because it is a “more accurate indicator” of financial hardship, said NerdWallet, who compiled the report.  “Credit card debt is the stain on millions of Americans’ finances that doesn’t scrub off easily, if ever,” says NerdWallet credit card expert Kimberly Palmer. “High interest rates combined with expenses that continue to outweigh income mean that some households are unable to fully rid themselves of debt and, in fact, continue to take on more.”

We are a society that is absolutely addicted to cheap debt, but now interest rates are going up, and that is going to cause some enormous financial problems.

Our world has never seen anything like the debt bubble that we are facing right now, and most of that debt was accumulated when interest rates were low.  The system simply cannot handle higher rates at this point, and according to Michael Pento “a worldwide depression is coming like we have never seen before”…

“Unfortunately, a worldwide depression is coming like we have never seen before because we have never before had so much debt sit on top of artificially depressed interest rates,” said Pento in an interview with USA Watchdog‘s Greg Hunter back in May.“The hubris and arrogance of central banks to take that away, they are way too late in doing so, and they think they can do this with impunity.  They are dead wrong.  They (central banks) have always caused recessions.  We are heading into a global depression.”

Whenever you go into debt in order to enjoy a higher standard of living than you currently deserve, there are short-term benefits but long-term pain.

For decades, America has been stealing from the future in order to make the present more pleasant, but now we have painted ourselves into a corner.

If we had made wiser choices, things could have turned out differently, but that didn’t happen.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

The Shouting Match In The Oval Office That Could Change Everything

Thanks to a wild shouting match in the Oval Office on Tuesday, there is a very good chance that there will be a partial government shutdown starting on December 21st.  With the cameras rolling and the room full of reporters, President Trump went at it with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, and it truly was a bizarre scene unlike anything that we have ever witnessed before.  Yes, Republicans and Democrats have always been calling each other names, but watching these leaders rip into one another live on national television inside the Oval Office was truly unprecedented.  The following is how the Washington Post described what took place…

President Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer berated each other on camera Tuesday over Trump’s border wall, an Oval Office spectacle that underscored the distance between the two sides as they confront a fast-approaching deadline for a partial government shutdown.

If you have not seen video of this altercation yet, you can watch it right here.

Almost the entire time, the focus of the shouting match was border security.  President Trump wants to build the wall that he promised the American people, and obviously, the Democrats are determined to keep him from doing that.  Since the Democrats will be taking control of the House once the new session of Congress begins in January, this is probably Trump’s last best chance to make progress on the wall, and so he is threatening to shut the government down if he doesn’t get the funding that he needs.

In fact, during the shouting match, he told Chuck Schumer that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security”

‘I am proud to shut down the government for border security, Chuck, because the people of this country don’t want criminals and people that have lots of problems and drugs pouring into our country. So I will take the mantle,’ he said. ‘I will be the one to shut it down. I’m not going to blame you for it. The last time you shut it down, it didn’t work. I will take the mantle of shutting down.’

After the shouting match was over, Nancy Pelosi was visibly disturbed, and she was extremely critical of Trump once she returned to the Capitol

The California congresswoman, who’s vying to become the next House speaker, made the blistering remarks after returning to the Capitol from a tense Oval Office sit down with Trump, during which he repeatedly threatened to shut down the federal government if Congress fails to cough up at least $5 billion for his long-sought border wall with Mexico.

“It’s like a manhood thing for him,” Pelosi told the Dems of Trump’s wall obsession, according to the source. “As if manhood could ever be associated with him.”

And subsequently, she stated that if you “get into a tinkle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you.”

Needless to say, Tuesday’s “negotiating session” will make it much more difficult for the two sides to come to any sort of an agreement.  Anyone that backs down now is going to look weak, and neither side is going to want to do that.

So how is this going to end?

That all depends on Trump.  The spineless Republican leadership in Congress is more than willing to play ball with the Democrats, and so everything depends on how much Trump wants the wall.

If Trump buckles now, he will never make any progress once Democrats officially take control of the House, and he will go into the 2020 election without being able to deliver on his primary campaign promise from the 2016 election.

So it would make sense for Trump to choose this moment to fight for the wall, but it certainly does not sound like Chuck Schumer has any intention of giving him what he wants.  The following comes from Axios

The president taking ownership of any potential government shutdown hinders Republicans’ ability to pin the blame on Democrats, while also giving a glimpse into what Trump’s negotiating style with a Democrat-controlled House may look like over the next two years.

Trump has demanded $5 billion for the border wall, but Schumer has drawn a red line on providing no more than $1.3 billion — not for a wall, but for border security. “This temper tantrum that [Trump] seems to throw will not get him his wall and it will hurt a lot of people because he will cause a shutdown,” Schumer said in a press conference following the Oval Office altercation.

In the end, this is another perfect example of how broken our government has become.  We are nearly 22 trillion dollars in debt, but there isn’t even any discussion about reducing the size of our deficits.  Instead, the Democrats are trying to paint Trump into a corner on border security, and they probably truly believe that they are going to force his hand.

But a government shutdown this time of the year might not be such a bad thing.  If it happens, it will begin on December 21st

If the president follows through on the threat, about 25 percent of the federal government would begin to run out of money on Dec. 21, putting hundreds of thousands of federal workers at risk of getting furloughed without pay just before Christmas.

Let’s imagine that a government shutdown lasts into early January.  What government worker wouldn’t want to have a couple of weeks off around the holidays?

They all know that they will be returning to work eventually, and not much work usually gets done around the holidays in Washington anyway.

However, if a shutdown stretches beyond a couple of weeks, there will be tremendous pressure on Trump to end it.

Will he stand strong and keep fighting for a wall that the Democrats have pledged to never give him, or will he end up caving?

We don’t have the answer to that question right now, and it will be fascinating to see how this plays out.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

The Next Generation Of “America’s Thought Police” Is Being Birthed On Our College Campuses

If you want to understand the zeal with which social media platforms are now being censored, all you have to do is to look at what has been happening on our college campuses.  There is a national movement to combat “offensive speech”, and this movement has been working very hard  “to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense”.  And these days, just about anything that you might say or think is probably going to deeply offend someone.  For example, saying that “America is the land of opportunity” is now considered to be a “microaggression”, and even the act of hanging an American flag in front of your dwelling can also be considered to be a “microaggression” depending on the context.  It can be tempting to laugh at how ridiculous our college students have become, but it is imperative to remember that these students all eventually enter the real world, and many of them end up in positions of power.  And from those positions of power, they can make life extremely uncomfortable for all the rest of us.  The “social media purge” is a perfect example of this, and the censorship of speech is only going to become more widespread as time goes on.  The next generation of “America’s thought police” is rising, and they intend to make sure that the future belongs to the politically correct.

Things have already reached such absurd levels that even those that are attempting to “raise awareness of microaggressions” are being accused of “microaggressions” themselves.  Just check out the following example

Some recent campus actions border on the surreal. In April, at Brandeis University, the Asian American student association sought to raise awareness of microaggressions against Asians through an installation on the steps of an academic hall. The installation gave examples of microaggressions such as “Aren’t you supposed to be good at math?” and “I’m colorblind! I don’t see race.” But a backlash arose among other Asian American students, who felt that the display itself was a microaggression. The association removed the installation, and its president wrote an e-mail to the entire student body apologizing to anyone who was “triggered or hurt by the content of the microaggressions.”

We are rapidly getting to the point in this country where a large portion of the population will be deathly afraid of saying or doing anything the least bit controversial for fear that someone might be “offended”.

And even if you are exceedingly careful, you still might end up offending someone and find yourself mired in an endless investigation.  For instance, consider what happened at one community college in New Jersey

For instance, last year administrators at Bergen Community College, in New Jersey, suspended Francis Schmidt, a professor, after he posted a picture of his daughter on his Google+ account. The photo showed her in a yoga pose, wearing a T-shirt that read I will take what is mine with fire & blood, a quote from the HBO show Game of Thrones. Schmidt had filed a grievance against the school about two months earlier after being passed over for a sabbatical. The quote was interpreted as a threat by a campus administrator, who received a notification after Schmidt posted the picture; it had been sent, automatically, to a whole group of contacts. According to Schmidt, a Bergen security official present at a subsequent meeting between administrators and Schmidt thought the word fire could refer to AK-47s.

This time of year is often particularly bad, because the thought police are particularly active.

Some Americans celebrate Christmas, some celebrate Hanukkah, some celebrate other holidays and some don’t celebrate any holidays at all.

But at schools all across America, the thought police are feverishly working to make sure that everything is in line with the latest standards of political correctness.  At one school, they even banned the colors red and green, because administrators felt that those colors represented Christmas and therefore were not legal.

And students that wish to send cards to the troops are being instructed not to include the words “Merry Christmas”

Students asked to send seasonal cards to military troops have been told to make them “holiday cards” and instructed not to use the words “Merry Christmas” on their cards.

Many schools have redubbed their Christmas concerts as “winter holiday programs” and refer to Christmas as a “winter festival.” Some schools have cancelled holiday celebrations altogether to avoid offending those who do not celebrate the various holidays.

Honestly, sometimes I don’t even recognize this country anymore.

From the cradle all the way through college, we are raising a generation of overprotected “snowflakes” that have been trained to throw temper tantrums whenever their protective bubbles are somehow pierced by the real world.

When I was growing up, I walked myself to elementary school.  And every day after school, we would play in the streets without any parental supervision whatsoever.

But if you allowed your kids to do those things today, you would be considered an extremely irresponsible parent.

By the time our overprotected children get to college, they have become very accustomed to their protective bubbles, and they believe that anyone that disrupts those protective bubbles should be punished.  Unfortunately, by treating our children this way we are preparing them very poorly for the real world.  A recent article in the Atlantic made this point very well…

But vindictive protectiveness teaches students to think in a very different way. It prepares them poorly for professional life, which often demands intellectual engagement with people and ideas one might find uncongenial or wrong. The harm may be more immediate, too. A campus culture devoted to policing speech and punishing speakers is likely to engender patterns of thought that are surprisingly similar to those long identified by cognitive behavioral therapists as causes of depression and anxiety. The new protectiveness may be teaching students to think pathologically.

In order for freedom of speech to exist, we must be willing to live in a society with people that have different viewpoints from our own.

Sadly, an increasing number of Americans don’t want that.  Instead, what they want is for those that hold “intolerable” views to be punished by society.  We see this in the headlines on a daily basis in 2018, and it is getting progressively worse with each passing year.

John Whitehead, the author of Battlefield America: The War On The American People, summed things up quite well in his most recent commentary

Never forget, the police state wants us to be a nation of snowflakes, snitches and book burners: a legalistic, intolerant, elitist, squealing bystander nation willing to turn on each other and turn each other in for the slightest offense.

Political correctness has become institutionalized, and if you think that the “thought police” are bad now, the truth is that the next generation is going to be even worse.

If our founders could see what we have become they would be rolling over in their graves, because this is not what they intended.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Sabotage: The Deep State Has Destroyed Trump’s Chances Of A Trade Deal With China, And The Stock Market Is Tanking As A Result

Somebody out there apparently does not want President Trump to make a trade deal with China.  Just after U.S. and Chinese officials agreed to suspend the implementation of new tariffs for 90 days, one of China’s most important tech executives was literally kidnapped as she was changing planes in Canada.  Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou was simply on her way to Mexico, but at the urging of U.S. authorities the Canadians grabbed her and are refusing to let her go.  Reportedly, the plan is to extradite her to the United States where she will apparently face charges relating to Huawei’s evasion of U.S. sanctions against Iran.  When Trump was negotiating face to face with the Chinese, he was not aware that this was taking place.  So now all of Trump’s hard work is out the window, and our relations with the Chinese are probably the worst that they have been since the Korean War.

If U.S. authorities wanted to punish Huawei, they should have just slapped a big fine on them and have been done with it.

The Chinese would have been annoyed, but not that much damage would have been done.

But kidnapping a high profile member of Chinese tech loyalty and throwing her in prison is something that the Chinese will not forgive.

The Chinese are a deeply nationalistic people, and the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou is being treated as a grave national insult in China.  If the goal of the Deep State was to really upset the Chinese, they picked a perfect target.  The following comes from Robert Wenzel

“This is a really big deal. Ms. Meng is by birth and position a member of China’s corporate royalty,” David Mulroney, a former Canadian ambassador to China, is quoted by TGM as having said.

According to TGM, Meng, 46, who also goes by the name Sabrina, was appointed CFO of Huawei in 2011 and is also one of four deputy chairs. She appears to be being groomed for the top job at Shenzhen-based Huawei, which is now the world’s second-largest maker of telecommunications equipment.

Just imagine how Americans would feel if China kidnapped a high profile member of our tech royalty and multiply that outrage by about 10.

Until Meng Wanzhou is let go, there is not going to be any deal with China.  Many Americans are not familiar with Huawei, but they are essentially China’s version of Apple or Microsoft.  The following originally comes from CNN

Huawei is one of the world’s biggest makers of smartphones and networking equipment. It is at the heart of China’s ambitions to reduce its reliance on foreign technology and become an innovation powerhouse in its own right.

The country is pumping hundreds of billions into its “Made in China 2025” plan, which aims to make China a global leader in industries such as robotics, electric cars and computer chips. The introduction of 5G wireless technology, which hinges on Huawei, is a top priority.

Meng Wanzhou is not just the CFO of the company.  She is also the daughter of the founder of the company and she is considered to be a hero by millions of Chinese.

So what in the world is the Deep State thinking?  Are we going to start regularly kidnapping individuals that work for foreign corporations that have somehow violated U.S. laws?

And should Americans expect the same treatment?  How would you like it if your mother or daughter was kidnapped while changing planes in a foreign country because the company that she works for had committed some sort of violation?

I don’t want to make it sound like Huawei is perfectly innocent, because they aren’t.  But this is a move that is not just going to ensure a nightmarish trade war with China.  Ultimately, things could get a whole lot worse than that.

At this point, the Chinese have summoned the U.S. ambassador and have formally demanded Meng Wanzhou’s release

The Chinese foreign ministry on Sunday summoned U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad to protest the detention of a senior tech executive by the Canadian authorities “at the unreasonable behest of the United States.”

Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng demanded the release of Meng Wanzhou, chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, who is accused by U.S. officials of attempting to circumvent U.S. sanctions on Iran.

It would be wonderful if Meng Wanzhou was released, but it doesn’t look like that is going to happen.

So now our relationship with China is officially in the toilet, and this is one of the factors that could push stock prices much lower once again this week.  In fact, as I write this article Dow futures are way down

U.S. stock futures fell on Sunday night as traders feared an intensifying trade war between the United States and China.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped 197 points, implying a decline of 173.95 points at Monday’s open. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also declined. The losses would add to a steep decline from last week.

This current “correction” was supposed to be over by the time December rolled around, but instead, stock prices accelerated their decline last week.

And many of those that work in financial circles are starting to use language that is much more pessimistic than we have become accustomed to seeing.  Here is just one example

“We’re very mindful once again where we’re at in the cycle,” Gregory Carmichael, chief executive of the Cincinnati-based lender Fifth Third, said at a conference last week. “We’re well positioned to deal with the downturn in the economy, and we’ll be very cautious.”

I don’t know what “well positioned to deal with the downturn in the economy” means exactly, but it sounds nice.

It frustrates me that so few people seem to understand the gravity of the situation that we are facing.  Our stores are filled with cheap products that come from China and they own more than a trillion dollars of our national debt.  The two largest economies in the entire world are decoupling from one another, and if the Chinese conclude that they are not able to salvage the relationship, then they will rapidly become an exceedingly dangerous enemy.

This is a major turning point, and the kidnapping of Meng Wanzhou has put us on a road that doesn’t lead anywhere good.  Hopefully, things can rapidly be fixed because if not, events are likely to start escalating quite dramatically.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Trump Considering Replacing Mike Pence With Nikki Haley For 2020?

It is a rumor that won’t go away.  Mainstream news outlets Newsweek and Vanity Fair have both reported that Donald Trump and his political advisers have been considering replacing Mike Pence with Nikki Haley for the 2020 election.  Of course, there is always at least a little speculation about such a move whenever a sitting president runs for re-election, but it is something that is just not done.  No president in recent American history has made such a move, but Donald Trump is no ordinary president.  Outside of his immediate family, most of the other key figures that Trump originally brought with him to the White House are now gone, and it appears that Mike Pence may soon be on the chopping block.

Most Republicans had assumed that Pence was completely safe, but apparently, that is not the case.

According to Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair, a “2020 strategy meeting” that Trump hosted on Monday included a discussion about whether Mike Pence should be replaced…

On Monday, Trump hosted a 2020 strategy meeting with a group of advisers. Among the topics discussed was whether Mike Pence should remain on the ticket, given the hurricane-force political headwinds Trump will face, as demonstrated by the midterms, a source briefed on the session told me. “They’re beginning to think about whether Mike Pence should be running again,” the source said, adding that the advisers presented Trump with new polling that shows Pence doesn’t expand Trump’s coalition. “He doesn’t detract from it, but he doesn’t add anything either,” the source said. Last month, The New York Times reported that Trump had been privately asking advisers if Pence could be trusted, and that outside advisers have been pushing Nikki Haley to replace Pence.

If that report is accurate, it is a bombshell.

But is it accurate?

Vanity Fair is definitely not a friend of the Trump administration, and they could just be trying to stir up trouble.

However, it should also be noted that Newsweek has also reported that the Trump team is thinking about replacing Pence, and the reason why such a move would be made would be to help Trump with women voters

Pence, the former Indiana governor and staunch ally of evangelical voters and leaders, was originally viewed in 2016 as a running mate who could help Trump win the Midwest, the South and the religious right.

But Haley, who is reportedly close with White House adviser and Trump daughter Ivanka Trump, as well as Trump’s son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner, could increase the president’s profile among women voters.

Trump does far better with male voters than he does with female voters, and women could end up being the determining factor in the 2020 election.

But why get rid of Pence?

Normally, a sitting president would never dump a running mate unless there was an overwhelming reason to do so.  Up to this point, Mike Pence has been an exemplary vice-president, and there would seem to be no justification for unceremoniously dumping him.

Unfortunately for Pence, Trump has a very long memory, and he is reportedly still bitter about what Pence said after the release of the infamous Access Hollywood recording

The president has reportedly never forgiven Pence for his critical comments following the release of an Access Hollywood tape in which Trump bragged that he could kiss women and grab them by the genitals without their consent because of his celebrity status, The New York Times reported on Friday.

Still, the idea of replacing Mike Pence with Nikki Haley would seem to be unthinkable, and it would undoubtedly upset a whole host of conservatives that greatly admire Pence.

And by making such a move, Donald Trump would be breaking his word.  About a month ago, reporters directly asked Trump if Pence would be on the ticket in 2020.  The following comes from CNSNews.com

“A lot of people are going to be rushing to Iowa, rushing to New Hampshire. You know that the Democrats are already looking ahead to 2020,” the reporter said. “Do you want to lock down your ticket right now, sir? Will the vice president be your running mate in 2020?”

In response, Trump was very straightforward with his answer

“Well, I haven’t asked him, but I hope so,” Trump said, to laughter from the press pool.

“Where are you?” the president asked, looking around the East Room. “Mike, will you be my running mate? Stand up, Mike, please, raise your right hand – no, I’m only kidding. Will you?”

Pence stood up and nodded, to which Trump responded, “Thank you, okay, good. The answer is yes.”

So there you go.

If Donald Trump is a man of his word, Mike Pence will be on the ticket in 2020.

But if he isn’t, and Nikki Haley replaces Pence, a lot of Trump’s current supporters are going to lose faith in him.

In normal times, the choice to keep Pence would seem to be exceedingly obvious.  But we do not live in normal times, and with President Trump we have come to expect the unexpected.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

The Myth Of American Capitalism Exposed: Competition Is Dying As The Biggest Corporations Gobble Up Everything

Vibrant competition is absolutely essential in order for a capitalist economic system to function effectively.  Unfortunately, in the United States today we are witnessing the death of competition in industry after industry as the biggest corporations increasingly gobble up all of their competitors.  John D. Rockefeller famously once said that “competition is a sin”, and he was one of America’s very first oligopolists.  According to Google, an oligopoly is “a state of limited competition, in which a market is shared by a small number of producers or sellers”, and that is a perfect description of the current state of affairs in many major industries.  In early America, corporations were greatly limited in scope, and in most instances, they were only supposed to exist temporarily.  But today the largest corporations have become so huge that they literally dominate our entire society, and that is not good for any of us.

Just look at what is happening in the airline industry.  When I was growing up, there were literally dozens of airlines, but now four major corporations control everything and they have been making gigantic profits

AMERICA’S airlines used to be famous for two things: terrible service and worse finances. Today flyers still endure hidden fees, late flights, bruised knees, clapped-out fittings and sub-par food. Yet airlines now make juicy profits. Scheduled passenger airlines reported an after-tax net profit of $15.5bn in 2017, up from $14bn in 2016.

What is true of the airline industry is increasingly true of America’s economy. Profits have risen in most rich countries over the past ten years but the increase has been biggest for American firms. Coupled with an increasing concentration of ownership, this means the fruits of economic growth are being monopolised.

If you don’t like how an airline is treating you, in some cases, you can choose to fly with someone else next time.

But as a recent Bloomberg article pointed out, that is becoming increasingly difficult to do…

United, for example, dominates many of the country’s largest airports. In Houston, United has around a 60 percent market share, in Newark 51 percent, in Washington Dulles 43 percent, in San Francisco 38 percent and in Chicago 31 percent. This situation is even more skewed for other airlines. For example, Delta has an 80 percent market share in Atlanta. For many routes, you simply have no choice.

And of course, the airline industry is far from alone.  In sector after sector, economic power is becoming concentrated in just a few hands.

For a moment, I would like you to consider these numbers

  • Two corporations control 90 percent of the beer Americans drink.
  • Five banks control about half of the nation’s banking assets.
  • Many states have health insurance markets where the top two insurers have an 80 percent to 90 percent market share. For example, in Alabama, one company, Blue Cross Blue Shield, has an 84 percent market share and in Hawaii, it has 65 percent market share.
  • When it comes to high-speed Internet access, almost all markets are local monopolies; over 75 percent of households have no choice with only one provider.
  • Four players control the entire U.S. beef market and have carved up the country.
  • After two mergers this year, three companies will control 70 percent of the world’s pesticide market and 80 percent of the U.S. corn-seed market.

I knew that things were bad, but I didn’t know that they were that bad.

Capitalism works best when competition is maximized.  In socialist systems, the government itself becomes a major player in the game, and that is never a desirable outcome.  Instead, what we want is for the government to serve as a “referee” that enforces rules that encourage free and fair competition.  Jonathan Tepper, the author of “The Myth of Capitalism: Monopolies and the Death of Competition”, made this point very well in an excerpt from his new book

Capitalism is a game where competitors play by rules on which everyone agrees. The government is the referee, and just as you need a referee and a set of agreed rules for a good basketball game, you need rules to promote competition in the economy.

Left to their own devices, firms will use any available means to crush their rivals. Today, the state, as referee, has not enforced rules that would increase competition, and through regulatory capture has created rules that limit competition.

Our founders were very suspicious of large concentrations of power.  That is why they wanted a very limited federal government, and that is also why they put substantial restrictions on corporate entities.

When power is greatly concentrated, most of the rewards tend to flow to the very top of the pyramid, and that is precisely what we have been witnessing.  The following comes from the New York Times

Even when economic growth has been decent, as it is now, most of the bounty has flowed to the top. Median weekly earnings have grown a miserly 0.1 percent a year since 1979. The typical American family today has a lower net worththan the typical family did 20 years ago. Life expectancy, shockingly, has fallen this decade.

So what is the solution?

Well, one of the big things that we need to do is to stop crushing small business.

In America today, the rate of small business creation has been hovering near all-time lows and the percentage of Americans that are working for themselves has been hovering near all-time lows.

In order for more competition to exist, we need more competitors to enter the marketplace, but instead, we have been crushing “the little guy” with mountains of regulations and deeply oppressive taxes.

And you know what?  Many of the big corporations actually like all of the red tape because they know that they can handle it much easier than their much smaller competitors can.  That gives them a competitive advantage, and it creates a barrier to entry that is difficult to overcome.

When I was in school, I was taught that one of the reasons why the U.S. system was so much better than communist systems was because we had so many more choices.

But today our choices are very limited in industry after industry, and the gigantic corporate entities that dominate everything don’t really care if we like it or not.

We can do so much better than this, but in order to do so we must return to the values and principles that this nation was originally founded upon.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Amazing Miracle: Christian Actor Kevin Sorbo Says That A Giant California Wildfire Stopped 3 Feet From His Home

This story is absolutely amazing.  Like so many others, actor Kevin Sorbo and his wife were forced to evacuate from their home during the recent California wildfires, and once they left they were not sure if they would ever see it again.  And sure enough, firefighters were not able to hold back the blaze and flames came racing through their neighborhood.  Homes all along the street were burned to the ground, including the house immediately next door, but Kevin Sorbo’s house was not touched.  In fact, they could see where the flames had literally come within three feet of the house, but then they mysteriously stopped

“We survived the fires and our house is intact, even though the fire approached and got very close,” Sam Sorbo said in a recent holiday video released by PureFlix.com.

Kevin Sorbo explained that the flames came within three feet of the house — but that the blaze mysteriously stopped short of touching the house.

“Why it stopped, I don’t know,” he said, expressing gratitude that the family home was safe during the deadly blaze. “It’s a miracle.”

If you don’t think that this was a miracle, then how do you explain what happened?

The house right next door was destroyed, along with many others all along that street, but for some reason Kevin Sorbo’s house was unscathed.

Be skeptical if you want, but it is a fact that Kevin Sorbo is a very outspoken believer in Jesus Christ.  He has appeared in numerous Christian films, but Hollywood has shunned him in recent years.  The following comes from Wikipedia

Sorbo is a Christian and attends a nondenominational church.[34] Sorbo believes his religious views have caused Hollywood to limit his career, stating “There’s a negativity towards Christians in Hollywood, and a negativity towards people who believe in God.”[35]

Perhaps this was a way that God could show that He watches out for those that are unafraid to stand up for Him.

And this wasn’t the only incredible miracle story to come out of the recent California wildfires.  In a recent article on Unexplained Mysteries, I shared two other stories about supernatural protection in the midst of the raging flames…

What I am about to share with you is literally a miracle.  Actress Brenda Epperson is best known for her work on The Young and The Restless, and her home was directly in the path of one of the giant wildfires that recently ravaged so many communities in southern California.  Many celebrities lost their homes during the fires, but Epperson’s home was totally spared.  She just kept praying Psalm 91 over her home again and again, and her home was completely untouched by the fires.  In fact, Epperson says that you can literally see where the fire stopped “right at the border of her property

Epperson says in a Facebook video that she prayed Psalm 91 over her home, and the fire miraculously stopped right at the border of her property.

“I just kept praying Psalms 91 over our home, ‘whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in his mighty shadow. I will say of the Lord he is my refuge and my God in whom I trust. Surely, he will save you from the fowler’s snare and the deadly pestilence. A thousand may fall at your side, ten thousand at your right hand but it will not come near you.”

How can you explain something like this?

The truth is that her home should have completely burned to the ground, but it didn’t.

Posted by Brenda Epperson on Sunday, November 11, 2018

Epperson was only able to evacuate three of her horses, and many of the horses that belonged to her neighbors took refuge on her property as well.

If the fire had not been miraculously stopped, all of those horses could have potentially burned to death.

But the fire did stop, and now Epperson’s property “is an oasis of green and life in the midst of her scorched neighborhood”

Epperson’s home is an oasis of green and life in the midst of her scorched neighborhood. Even the horses from other farms took refuge at her home during the fire.

“We could only evacuate the horses that could fit in our trailer which was three horses. And then all of our neighbors had borders so all of their horses, 25, 30, horses went in that pen. And so there were 35 horses there and the fire stopped. God stopped that fire, Wendy, right at our property line,” she said. “Every horse was okay. They had water, they didn’t even have ash on them.”

Now that the power of God has been demonstrated in such an amazing manner, do you think that her neighbors will be more receptive when Epperson talks to them about Christ in the future?

Our precious friends who were closer stopped at police block area rode his bike to Check on our horses that where there last night I cried tears and tears LOOK they are ok. The other horses were saved also!!! These were ours that I couldn’t fit in trailer.Please rejoice with me! #JustBElieve Thanku for your prayers keep praying for everyone!!! Thanku to @mattbattaglia and @TinaBattaglia for checking on our animals we love you!

Posted by Brenda Epperson on Saturday, November 10, 2018

A similar miracle also took place during the Camp Fire in northern California.

The pastor of Magalia Pines Baptist Church was about to leave town with about 30 other people, but the fire moved so fast that they were all suddenly trapped.

So they took shelter in the church building, but when the Subway restaurant across the street from them “exploded”, they wondered if they would be able to survive

With the Camp Fire speeding toward Magalia in the early hours of the morning Nov. 9, Crowder, pastor of Magalia Pines Baptist Church, was loading into vehicles about 30 people who had been unable to evacuate the town. They had taken shelter at the church building with him and four other church members. “We were in the driveway planning to leave,” Crowder told Baptist Press through tears, “and the entire world erupted.”

There had been no fire in the adjacent businesses or woods, he said. But suddenly “the woods exploded. The Subway restaurant across the street exploded, and on all sides of us was fire.”

They began to pray, and they could see huge flames shooting up between buildings and they heard “thousands of gallons of propane detonate at a hardware store next door”

So the church members hurried people back inside the building and prayed — watching flames shoot horizontally between buildings and listening to thousands of gallons of propane detonate at a hardware store next door.

When they emerged the next day, everything around the church had been incinerated, but “we were totally unscathed — totally,” Crowder said. “The fall leaves were still on the trees” on the church’s property.

There is no way that the church building should have survived, but it did.

Even in the midst of the horrific California wildfires, God was there, and he answered the diligent prayers of His people.

Now that such incredible miracles have happened, will the people of California respond by turning to the God that performed those miracles?

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Elite Creating Authoritarian ‘Beast System’ – Those Opposed Could Lose Everything

They are transforming the Internet into the greatest tool of surveillance that humanity has ever seen, and if we stay on the road that we are currently on it is only a matter of time until our society becomes a hellish dystopian nightmare.  I wish that this was an exaggeration, but it isn’t.  Over the past couple of decades, the Internet has completely changed the way that we all communicate with one another.  At one time, all forms of mass communication were tightly controlled by the elite, but the Internet suddenly allowed us to communicate with one another on a massive scale without having to go through their gatekeepers.  This radically altered the landscape, and at first, the elite were unsure of how to respond to this growing threat.  There was no way that they could roll back time to an era before the Internet was invented, and so they have decided to use it for their own insidious purposes instead.

Today, the Internet has become the centerpiece of their “Big Brother surveillance grid”, and they are gathering information on all of us on a scale that has never been seen before in all of human history.  But of course, it was never going to stop there.  Over the past couple of years, we have started to watch the elite use all of this information to punish those that are doing or saying things that they do not like.

Perhaps the most extreme example of this phenomenon is what is going on in China.  The following comes from BuzzFeed

Chinese journalist Liu Hu always knew he’d have trouble with the authorities; he had been exposing corruption and wrongdoing for years. He was used to being hassled with regular fines and forced apologies imposed by his authoritarian government. He nevertheless persisted in truth-telling.

One day in 2017, Hu logged onto a travel site, but couldn’t book a flight because the site said he was “not qualified.” Soon he discovered he was blocked from buying property, using the high-speed train network, or getting a loan. And there was nothing he could do about it. His rights to essential goods and services were now circumscribed through an algorithm designed to discriminate against the 7.5 million people on China’s “Dishonest Persons Subject to Enforcement” list.

In China they call it a “social credit score”, but in reality, it is nightmarish authoritarianism at its worst.

They are monitoring all that their citizens do and think – their political opinions, their shopping patterns, their travel history, their Internet behavior, etc. – and if they upset “the Beast system” then they could ultimately lose access to everything.

Put yourself in their shoes for a moment.

Just imagine a world in which you will no longer be able to buy, sell, open a bank account, get a loan, use public transportation or get a job.

Chinese authorities are even putting up surveillance cameras in the schools so that they can constantly monitor students

Here, the surveillance cameras took the data on individual facial expressions and used that information to create a running “score” on each student and class. If a score reached a predetermined point, the system triggered an alert. Teachers were expected to take action: to talk to a student perceived to be disengaged, for example, or overly moody.

You would think that the Chinese would rebel against such a system, but most are already too fearful to say anything about it.

And some are actually embracing the new system

In Beijing and throughout China, closed-circuit cameras and other surveillance devices are so ubiquitous that they’ve become part of the landscape. If facial recognition helps with public safety, some say, that’s a good thing.

“Perhaps people would behave themselves more,” said Xia Chuzi, a 19-year-old student interviewed in Beijing.

But we would never allow such a thing to happen here in the United States, right?

Wrong.

While not yet as advanced as what the Chinese have done, our own version of “the Beast system” is expanding with each passing day.

If you use the Internet, the technocratic elite know virtually everything about you.  And as we have seen so frequently in recent months, they also have the power to “deplatform” those that they do not like

Independent Media readers are well aware of the multitude of ways big tech and social media platforms have been censoring conservatives, from demonetizing video channels, to blocking, banning and shadow banning conservatives, to limiting the reach of promotions and by “tweaking” algorithms so that search results push Independent Media sites so far down that they can rarely be found.

And restricting buying and selling is starting to happen too.  In fact, we have seen numerous online payment platforms ban individuals and organizations that hold “extreme views” recently.

Over time, the information that the elite have about all of us will continue to grow, as will their desire to punish those that think or act “offensively”.  But in the process of creating a “utopia”, they will actually be creating an authoritarian nightmare.  The following comes from Ethan Huff

Social media is arguably the greatest accomplishment thus far of the “deep state” in establishing a new world order. For one, it allows the various ministries of propaganda around the world to project their official narratives without impediment using authoritarian censorship tactics. It also creates a virtual echo chamber of leftism that, once all the conservatives are finally removed from all the tech platforms, will create the online liberal “utopia” that the social engineers are striving to achieve.

We live at a time when political correctness has become institutionalized.

One wrong opinion, and you can lose a social media account that you spent years building up.  And one wrong statement can cost you a career that you spent years training for.

Ultimately, we are heading down the exact same path that China has gone.  Their “social credit score” system is being hailed as the next great thing all over the world, and those that hate freedom of speech can’t wait to fully implement such a system in the western world.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Over 1,400 Earthquakes Have Rattled Alaska Over The Past 3 Days

The shaking in Alaska still hasn’t stopped, and that has many residents wondering if the worst is still yet to come.  Friday’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake could be felt 400 miles away from Anchorage, and it was the most destructive quake that the city has experienced since 1964.  But those living in the region can’t really shift into recovery mode yet because the ground continues to shake.  In fact, it is being reported that there have been more than 1,400 aftershocks that have been recorded so far…

Since Friday’s tremor, the strongest to strike The Last Frontier since a 7.9 in the remote Rat Islands in 2014, the U.S. Geological Survey has recorded 166 aftershocks of magnitude 3.0 or higher around Anchorage as of 4:50 p.m. PST Sunday, USGS geophysicist Brad Aagaard told USA TODAY. Earthquakes of 3 or higher are strong enough to be felt.

There have been hundreds of smaller disturbances: 1,406 aftershocks of at least magnitude 1.0.

None of the news reports that I have found include aftershocks that are under magnitude 1.0.

If those were included, how high would the total be?

This is yet another reminder that our planet is becoming increasingly unstable.  One resident that has been living in the area for 37 years described the chaos that she experienced when the initial quake hit…

Palmer resident Kristin Dossett described the initial jolt as “absolutely terrifying.”

It was the biggest quake she has felt in her 37 years in a region where temblors are common, Dossett said. One aftershock moved her piano a foot and half from the wall.

“It just didn’t stop. It kept going and got louder and louder, and things just fell everywhere — everything off my dressers, off my bookcases, my kitchen cupboard. Just broken glass everywhere.”

But this definitely was not a worst case scenario.

In fact, the magnitude 9.2 earthquake that hit Alaska in 1964 “produced 1,995 times more energy” than the earthquake that we saw on Friday…

The 1964 Alaska temblor, the second-largest earthquake in the modern record, produced 1,995 times more energy than Friday’s quake. It lasted 4½ minutes and, along with its tsunamis, killed more than 120 people. It was felt all the way to Seattle, where witnesses said they felt the landmark Space Needle swaying.

A later U.S. Geological Survey study found that an area of 185,000 square miles was disrupted. There were areas that dropped as much as eight feet and others rose 38 feet. Barnacles attached to rocks that used to be two feet underwater were suddenly in the open air. A section of downtown Anchorage sank. Underwater landslides in Alaska’s fjords caused tsunamis within minutes of the shaking. Three huge waves washed into Whittier from Prince William Sound within three minutes.

Scientists tell us that someday such a quake will happen again, and if it strikes as close to Anchorage as Friday’s earthquake did, the city will instantly be reduced to a giant pile of rubble.

And it may happen a lot sooner than many were anticipating.  Our planet appears to be in great turmoil, and we have been witnessing a lot of extremely unusual seismic activity lately.

For example, on November 11th very strange seismic waves rippled across the entire globe, and scientists still do not understand why it happened.  The following comes from National Geographic

The seismic waves began roughly 15 miles off the shores of Mayotte, a French island sandwiched between Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. The waves buzzed across Africa, ringing sensors in Zambia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. They traversed vast oceans, humming across ChileNew ZealandCanada, and even Hawaii nearly 11,000 miles away.

These seismic waves were not like normal earthquake waves, and they lasted for 20 minutes.

One prominent seismologist told National Geographic that he had never seen anything like it

What the French Geological Survey (BRGM) called the “atypical very low-frequency signal” was a repeating wave that would register about every 17 seconds and lasted some 20 minutes total. Strangely, nobody felt it.

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it,” Columbia University seismologist Göran Ekström told National Geographic.

In addition, it is undeniable that we have witnessed a lot of significant earthquakes in recent months.  In fact, in one recent 30 day period the number of global earthquakes was more than 50 percent above normal.

Could something truly unusual be happening to our planet?

Interestingly, as 2018 began Newsweek reported that some geologists were warning that we could see a substantial increase in the number of global earthquakes because the Earth’s rotation has slowed down a little bit…

About four years ago, the Earth’s rotation slowed slightly. Although the decrease was not enough to notice, the Earth’s slower rotation may spark an increase in severe earthquakes for 2018, researchers from University of Colorado Boulder predicted in the fall.

According to the team’s research, which they presented at the Geological Society of America annual meeting in Seattle this October, there may be a trend between slower Earth rotations and more global earthquakes. Over the past 100 years, there was a 25 to 30 percent increase in the number of significant earthquakes associated with a slowdown in the Earth’s rotation.

Were they on to something?

And what happens if the Earth’s rotation slows down even more?

It should also be noted that scientists are telling us that the west coast is overdue for a major earthquake even if you discount any unusual factors.  Just check out these numbers

The USGS predicts that, within the next 30 years, the probability of at least one magnitude-6.7 or higher earthquake is 60 percent in the Los Angeles area and 72 percent in the San Francisco Bay area.

It is just a matter of time before “the Big One” hits the west coast, and it will be a disaster unlike anything that our country has ever seen before.

Unfortunately, for those that do not live in Alaska, the earthquake that just happened is already beginning to fade from their memory, and most people simply assume that nothing like that will ever happen where they live.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Giant 7.0 Earthquake Devastates Anchorage, Alaska – Is The West Coast Next?

We just got more evidence that our planet is becoming increasingly unstable.  On Friday a magnitude 7.0 earthquake destroyed homes, ripped apart roads and destroyed infrastructure all throughout Anchorage, Alaska.  According to the USGS, the earthquake hit at 8:29 AM and the epicenter was approximately 7 miles north of Anchorage.  That quake was followed by a highly destructive magnitude 5.7 aftershock just a little while later.  Alaska Governor Bill Walker has declared a state of emergency, and the entire region is in a state of chaos.  Unfortunately, as global seismic activity continues to increase, more quakes like this are inevitable.  Like Alaska, the entire west coast of the United States sits directly along the “Ring of Fire”, and many have warned that “the Big One” is coming sooner rather than later.

Tonight, large numbers of Anchorage residents are suddenly homeless, and that includes Alaska’s most famous politician

Light fixtures fell, glass shattered, roadways and supermarket aisles were awash from food spilled from broken jars. Video images showed some roadways had collapsed.  One man tweeted a photo of his toppled chimney and a local television station showed its studio filled with debris.

Former Alaska governor and vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin tweeted, saying her family is intact but her “house is not.”

At this point it is extremely difficult to get around Anchorage.  Numerous roads were shredded by the quake and that includes the only road to Wasilla

The quake was so strong it broke windows, cracked buildings and knocked local news station KTUU off air. Several highway and local roads crumbled in the temblor, stranding cars in the asphalt mess. The shake also broke up the only road connecting Anchorage and the nearby towns of Wasilla and Palmer.

It is going to take an extended period of time for authorities to assess the economic damage and to figure out how many human casualties there were.

Many took cover under desks and in closets as the shaking happened, but those caught out in the open didn’t have anywhere to go.

One local resident named Melissa Lohr said that it “felt like the ground was gonna open up” underneath her…

“It felt like my car was uncontrollably sliding left and right and I just didn’t understand because it was going perfectly fine up until then. It felt like the ground was gonna open up underneath you,” Lohr said.

In the aftermath of this Anchorage earthquake, many are wondering how long it will be before the west coast is struck by a major quake.

And the truth is that we have already been seeing quite a bit of shaking.  In fact, a rather sizable earthquake did hit southern California very early on Thursday morning

A 4.1 earthquake has rattled California and parts of Mexico, with San Diego among the cities hit.

The earthquake struck California at 5.48am, waking up many residents in the south of the state and north-west Mexico. One resident said on earthquake tracking website EMSC-CSEM: “The roof creaked and the ground rumbled.” Another reported: “It woke me up.”

Those that have been living in California have been hearing about “the Big One” for decades, but it hasn’t happened yet.

So many of them have been lulled into a false sense of security, but that is a huge mistake.

According to Cal State Fullerton professor Matt Kirby, when “the Big One” finally does hit, large portions of the coastline could be plunged into the ocean “relatively instantaneously”

Cal State Fullerton professor Matt Kirby, who worked with the Leeper on the study, said the sinking would occur quickly and likely result in part of California being covered by the sea.

“It’s something that would happen relatively instantaneously,” Prof Kirby said. “Probably today if it happened, you would see seawater rushing in.”

Further north, the Cascadia Subduction Zone is a major concern.

Scientists assure us that someday a massive earthquake will strike along the Cascadia Subduction Zone which will destroy pretty much everything west of Interstate 5.  The following comes from one of my previous articles

One day it will happen.  With little or no warning, the Cascadia Subduction Zone will produce a catastrophic earthquake and accompanying tsunami that will essentially destroy everything west of Interstate 5 in the Pacific Northwest.  It will be the worst natural disaster up to that point in American history, and as you will see below, the experts are saying that we are completely and utterly unprepared for it.  Of course the San Andreas Fault gets more publicity, but the truth is that the Cascadia Subduction Zone is capable of producing a quake “almost 30 times more energetic” than anything the San Andreas Fault can produce.  The Cascadia Subduction Zone stretches from northern Vancouver Island all the way down to northern California, and one expert recently told CBN News that all of the major cities in the region are essentially “built on a time bomb”…

For years I have been warning about the instability of the west coast, and this earthquake in Alaska should be a major wake up call.

The west coast is home to the core of our tech industry and some of the most expensive real estate in the entire world, but the clock is ticking for that entire region.

Without warning, someday “the Big One” will literally shred the entire coastline, and it will be a disaster unlike anything that we have ever seen before in American history.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Experts Shocked: New Home Sales Plunge 8.9 Percent

The U.S. economy is definitely deviating from the script, and we just got more evidence that “Housing Bubble 2” is bursting.  Experts were expecting that new home sales in the U.S. would rise in October, but instead, they plunged 8.9 percent.  That number is far worse than anyone was projecting, and many in the real estate industry are really starting to freak out.  And to be honest, things look like they are going to get even worse in 2019.  One survey found that the percentage of Americans that plan to buy a home over the next 12 months has fallen by about half during the past year.  Mortgage rates have steadily risen as the Federal Reserve has been hiking interest rates, and at this point, most average Americans have been completely priced out of the market.  Home prices are going to have to come way down from where they are right now, and just as we witnessed in 2008, rapidly falling home prices can put an extraordinary amount of stress on the financial system.

It is hard for me to put into words just how bad this latest number is.  Even though I write about our growing economic problems on a daily basis, even I didn’t expect to see a number anywhere near this bad.  Sometimes a really bad number from one part of the U.S. can drag down the overall number, but that wasn’t the case this time.  According to Reuters, there were “sharp declines in all four regions”…

Sales of new U.S. single-family homes tumbled to a more than 2-1/2-year low in October amid sharp declines in all four regions, further evidence that higher mortgage rates were hurting the housing market.

The Commerce Department said on Wednesday new home sales dropped 8.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 544,000 units last month. That was the lowest level since March 2016. The percent drop was the biggest since December 2017.

But of course, it isn’t as if this latest report is coming out of nowhere.  The truth is that new home sales have fallen in four of the last six months, and so a very clear trend is now developing.

Sadly, most mainstream economists still don’t seem to be understanding what is happening.  According to Reuters, the consensus estimate was that we would see new home sales rise 3.7 percent in October, and so an 8.9 percent plunge came as a real shock.

New home sales have now missed expectations for seven months in a row, and the similarities to 2008 are starting to become undeniable.

Sales of previously owned homes have been falling as well.  In fact, in October we witnessed the largest drop for previously owned home sales in four years

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes posted their largest annual decline since 2014 in October, as the housing market continues to sputter due to higher mortgage rates that are reducing home affordability.

If you want to blame someone for this mess, blame the Federal Reserve.

They created a “boom” in the housing market by pushing interest rates all the way to the floor during the Obama years, and now they are creating a “bust” by aggressively jacking up interest rates at a pace that our economy simply cannot handle.

If we had allowed the free market to be setting interest rates all this time, we would not be on such a roller coaster ride.

Just like during “Housing Bubble 1”, millions of Americans have been buying houses that they cannot afford, and that could mean another massive wave of mortgage defaults as this new economic downturn intensifies.  At this point, the debt to income ratio for mortgages insured by the FHA is at an all-time record high

One worrying indicator: The average debt-to-income ratio for mortgages insured by the Federal Housing Administration, which makes up about 22% of the housing market, is now at its highest level ever.

This is yet another indication that we are even more vulnerable than we were just prior to the subprime mortgage meltdown during the last financial crisis.

Let me try to shed some light on what is coming next.  Even if economic conditions remained stable, housing prices would need to start falling dramatically in order to attract buyers.  In fact, we are already starting to see this happen in southern California and other markets that were once extremely “hot”.  As housing prices fall, millions of Americans will suddenly find themselves “underwater” on their mortgages.  In other words, they will owe more on their homes than their homes are worth.  During the last recession, many “underwater” homeowners ultimately decided to walk away rather than continue to service ridiculously bloated mortgages.

But the truth is that economic conditions are not likely to remain stable.  In fact, many are projecting that the approaching downturn will be even worse than 2008.

In such a scenario, millions of Americans will lose their jobs, and that means that millions of Americans will suddenly not be able to make their mortgage payments.  As a result, mortgage defaults will skyrocket and home prices will drop like a rock.  Just like last time around, there could be people that wake up one day and realize that they owe two or three times as much money on their mortgages as their homes are currently worth, and the stampede of people walking away from “underwater” mortgages could become an avalanche.

Needless to say, millions of mortgages suddenly going bad is a scenario that our financial system is not equipped to handle.  What happened in 2008 was absolutely catastrophic for our large financial institutions, and what is coming is going to be even worse.

Of course, the big financial institutions will want the federal government to bail them out, but there may not be much of an appetite for more corporate bailouts this time around.

And considering the fact that we are already 22 trillion dollars in debt, we can’t exactly afford to be throwing money around.

The Federal Reserve has set the stage for a giant mess, and it is going to shake the housing industry to the core.

We should have learned from the mistakes that we made in 2008, but we didn’t, and so now we are going to pay a very great price for our negligence.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

8 Shocking Demographic Trends Shaping America’s Future

We are witnessing a fundamental transformation of America.  Some welcome the changes that are happening, while others are greatly resisting them.  But one thing is very clear – the United States is a very different place than it was 40 or 50 years ago.  Our population is aging, lifestyle patterns are dramatically shifting, and young adults view the world very differently than Baby Boomers do.  The changes that we are watching happen are going to take our society in new directions, and already the pace of change is accelerating at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking.  The following are 8 shocking demographic trends which will greatly shape America’s future…

#1 Like Japan and many countries in Europe, the population of the United States is rapidly aging.  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, children will soon be outnumbered by those that are 65 and older, and that will be the first time that this has ever happened in all of U.S. history

Adults 65 and older will soon outnumber children for the first time in America’s history, it has been revealed.

The US Census Bureau released new projections this year that showed the country’s changing – and aging – demographics.

By 2030 all baby boomers will be older than age 65 and one in every five Americans will be retirement age.

Without a doubt, it is a good thing that people are living longer, but we are facing a Social Security crisis of unprecedented size and scope in future years.  Nobody has any idea how we are going to keep the financial promises that we have made to our seniors, and neither political party has put forth a realistic plan to fix the system.

#2 The American family is changing.  50 years ago, barely anyone “lived together” before marriage, but now the number of Americans that are “living together” without being married is at a record high

Living together is become more popular than marriage for young American couples, according to Census Bureau data. Fifteen percent of people in the 25-to-34 age group shared quarters with an unmarried partner this year, up from 12 percent in 2008.

Among those between 18 to 24, cohabitation is more prevalent today than marriage with 9 percent living with an unmarried partner versus 7 percent living with a spouse. Fifty years ago, only 0.1 percent of people between 18 and 24-year and 0.2 percent between 25 and 34 lived with an unmarried partner.

#3 American women are having fewer children, and they are having them later in life than ever.  According to the CDC, U.S. birth rates have continued to plummet in recent years

Since 2007, fertility rates have plummeted 18 percent in large cities, 16 percent in mid-sized counties, and 12 percent in rural areas.

As expected, the average age that women have their first child continues to climb – now at 24.5 years old in rural counties and 27.5 in metropolitan areas.

#4 The institution of marriage is almost becoming irrelevant in our society.  At one time, having a child “out of wedlock” was greatly frowned upon, but now that stigma is totally gone.  According to the United Nations Population Fund, 40 percent of all births in the U.S. now happen outside of marriage.  But if you go back to 1970, that figure was sitting at just 10 percent.

#5 As the middle class disintegrates, more Americans are choosing a nomadic lifestyle than ever before.  Today, a million Americans are living in their RVS, and that number is rising with each passing year.

#6 For decades, the Baby Boomers have been the largest living adult generation in the United States, but in 2019 the Millennials will officially surpass them

Numbering 71 million in 2016, Millennials in the United States are approaching Baby Boomers (74 million) in population and are projected to surpass them as the nation’s largest living adult generation in 2019. The Millennial generation, defined as Americans born from 1981 to 1996, corresponds to adults ages 22 to 37 in 2018.

From the time they were born, the Baby Boomers have greatly defined life in America, but now that is changing.  The Millennials are rapidly becoming the dominant generation in our society, and that has fundamental implications for our future.

#7 America is turning blue.  Millennials turned out in unprecedented numbers during the recent mid-term elections, and that is one of the big reasons why Democrats were able to pick up 39 seats in the House of Representatives.  According to one recent survey, Americans from the age of 18 to the age of 29 favor Democrats over Republicans by a 66 percent to 32 percent margin.  As older Americans die off, areas of the country that are red or purple today will increasingly be turning blue.

#8 In recent years, migration has become one of the biggest global trends.  According to the United Nations, there are now 250 million migrants around the globe, and this crisis just seems to grow with each passing year.  Those that live in countries that are suffering from war, poverty or tyrannical leadership can see that life is much better in Europe and North America, and many of them are extremely desperate to secure a more promising future for themselves and for their children.  But mass migration has caused tremendous problems all over Europe, and it has become a political flashpoint in the United States.  As our world becomes increasingly unstable, more people than ever are going to want to migrate in the years ahead, and this is going to create great challenges.

Without a doubt, our world has been through a lot in recent years, but the challenges that we have faced so far are nothing compared to what is coming.  Our planet is running out of clean water, oil and food.  Our oceans are filling up with trillions of pieces of plastic, and animal species are going extinct at a rate that is absolutely unprecedented.  Meanwhile, our political systems are being shaken, global financial systems are on the verge of collapse, and natural disasters are increasing in both frequency and intensity.

The pace of change is only going to become even greater, and our world is never going to be the same again.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

General Motors & General Electric Were Both Victimized By The Same Ponzi Scheme – Both Are Telling Us The US Economy Is In Huge Trouble

America’s twin economic “generals” are both in very deep trouble.  General Electric was founded in 1892, and it was once one of the most powerful corporations on the entire planet.  But now it is drowning in so much debt that it may be forced into bankruptcy.  General Motors was founded in 1908, and at one time it was the largest automaker that the world had ever seen.  But now it is closing a bunch of factories and laying off approximately 14,000 workers as it anticipates disappointing sales and a slowing economy.  If the U.S. economy really was “booming”, both of these companies would probably be thriving.  But as you will see below, both of them have been victimized by the exact same Ponzi scheme, and both firms are sending us very clear signals that the U.S. economy is heading for troubled waters.

Whenever you hear the word “restructuring”, that is always a sign that things are not going well for a company.

And it turns out that GM’s “restructuring” is actually going to cost the firm 3.8 billion dollars

General Motors said Monday it plans to effectively halt production at a number of plants in the U.S. and Canada next year and cut more than 14,000 jobs in a massive restructuring that will cost up to $3.8 billion.

Of course, GM doesn’t have 3.8 billion dollars just lying around, and so they are actually going to have to borrow money in order to close these plants and lay off these workers.

Needless to say, President Trump is not very happy with General Motors right now…

Trump said he spoke Monday with GM’s CEO, Mary Barra, and ‘I told them, “you’re playing around with the wrong person”.’

He told reporters as he left the White House for a pair of political rallies in Mississippi that the United States ‘has done a lot for General Motors. They better get back to Ohio, and soon.’

There is no way that Mary Barra should have ever been made CEO of General Motors, and now the entire world is getting to see why.

In addition to the elimination of about 6,000 factory jobs, GM will also be cutting about 8,000 “white collar jobs”

In addition to the production cuts, GM said it will reduce its North American white-collar workforce by about 8,000. The deadline passed last week on a voluntary buyout for those workers, and GM spokesman Pat Morrissey told the Free Press that only 2,250 employees have asked to take the offer, meaning as many as 5,750 workers could be cut if the company keeps to its announced total. Analysts told the Free Press to expect involuntary cuts in January.

So why is General Motors doing this?

After all, if the U.S. economy really is “booming” that should mean increased sales for all of the major automakers in the coming years, right?

Unfortunately, the truth is that hard times are already here for automakers.  In fact, Bob Lutz told CNBC that “we’ve got a demand problem on cars”…

Former GM Vice Chairman Bob Lutz said the automaker historically would have raised sales incentives to try to sell more cars before resorting to plant closures.

“Nowadays GM looks at the hard reality, says we’ve got a demand problem on cars, what are we going to do about it. We have to shut some facilities and move production to truck plants,” Lutz said on CNBC’s “Halftime Report. ” “So I think what we are seeing is a fast-acting and reality-oriented GM management.”

In other words, sales are not good and so now is the time to shut down factories.

Of course, GM is not the only one that is shutting down facilities and laying off workers.  If you doubt this, please see my previous article entitled “U.S. Job Losses Accelerate: Here Are 10 Big Companies That Are Cutting Jobs Or Laying Off Workers”.

But if General Motors had been much wiser with their money, they wouldn’t have had to initiate a “restructuring” so quickly.

Over the past four years, General Motors spent a staggering 13.9 billion dollars on stock buybacks.

GM executives were able to prop up the stock price for a while, but at this point, the stock is down about 10 percent from where it was four years ago.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

During this four-year period in which GM blew, wasted, and annihilated nearly $14 billion on share buybacks, the price of its shares, including today’s 5.5% surge – getting rid of workers is always good news for shares – fell 10%.

These stock buybacks are a massive Ponzi scheme, and everyone that was involved in blowing such a giant mountain of cash at GM should be fired.

And now thousands of hard-working Americans are going to lose their jobs, but it didn’t have to happen.

General Electric has also been victimized by the exact same Ponzi scheme, and at this point, they are in a struggle for survival which they are probably going to lose.

On Monday the stock slid another couple of percent, and so far this year it is down a total of 58 percent

Not a day passes lately without GE stock getting hit by some unexpected development, and today was no exception.

GE shares, which are down 58% YTD, dropped over 2% on Monday, after sliding as much as 4.1% earlier in the session and approaching its financial crisis low of $6.66, following a research report by Gordon Haskett analyst John Inch which prompted fresh questions about the treatment of goodwill at GE Capital.

In the end, GE is probably heading for total collapse.

But if GE had not blown 40 billion dollars on stock buybacks in recent years, they would be in far, far better shape.  The following comes from the Marketwatch article that I quoted the other day…

GE was one of Wall Street’s major share buyback operators between 2015 and 2017; it repurchased $40 billion of shares at prices between $20 and $32. The share price is now $8.60, so the company has liquidated between $23 billion and $29 billion of its shareholders’ money on this utterly futile activity alone. Since the highest net income recorded by the company during those years was $8.8 billion in 2016, with 2015 and 2017 recording a loss, it has managed to lose more on its share repurchases during those three years than it made in operations, by a substantial margin.

Even more important, GE has now left itself with minus $48 billion in tangible net worth at Sept. 30, with actual genuine tangible debt of close to $100 billion. As the new CEO Larry Culp told CNBC last Monday: “We have no higher priority right now than bringing those leverage levels down.”

Combined, General Electric and General Motors have blown more than 53 billion dollars on stock buybacks, and now both companies are in huge trouble.

The executives that gutted the finances of both firms by engaging in these sorts of Ponzi tactics should all be fired and should never be hired by anyone else in the corporate world.

For years, big corporations have been borrowing massive amounts of money to fund reckless stock buybacks, and that has helped to fuel an amazing bull market run.

But now the game is imploding, and the unraveling of this massive Ponzi scheme is not going to be pretty.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Russia & Ukraine On Brink Of War – Why It Could Lead To World War 3

A respected foreign journalist living in Ukraine is warning that a war that most Americans cannot even imagine “teeters on the razor-thin edge of becoming real”.  When Russia opened fire on Ukrainian Navy vessels and captured three of their ships, it made headlines all over the globe.  An emergency meeting of the UN Security Council was hastily arranged for Monday at 11 AM, and hopefully, there will be a positive outcome from that meeting.  Because right now Moscow and Kiev are on the brink of war, and once a Russian invasion happens there will be no turning back.  At that point the U.S. would have a major decision to make, and if we chose to defend Ukraine that could mean that we would suddenly find ourselves fighting World War 3.

Most people don’t realize that this crisis has been simmering for over a week.  The following is from a U.S. News & World Report article that was posted on November 19th

A dispute over shipping lanes is threatening to reignite the 4-year-old simmering war between Ukraine and Russia following confrontations sparked by both sides in recent days.

Russian border guards on Monday detained Ukrainian fishing vessels in the Sea of Azov, a strategically important body of water contained to the north by Ukraine, to the west by the Crimean Peninsula and to the east and south by Russia. Monday’s incident came days after Russian President Vladimir Putin slammed Kiev for detaining Russian commercial ships also in the Azov in what he described as “a totally illegal move” and which Kremlin officials have warned may prompt retaliation.

When you realize what has already taken place, it puts the most recent events in an entirely different context.

The Russians blocked the Kerch Strait in retaliation for having had their own commercial vessels detained by the Ukrainian government.

And when the Ukrainians decided to test the Russians by sailing Ukrainian Navy vessels into the Kerch Strait, the Russians decided not to back down.  The following comes from Sky News

Russia has opened fire on Ukrainian ships and captured three vessels in a major escalation of tensions off the coast of Crimea.

Three sailors have been wounded after the Ukrainian navy said two artillery boats were hit by the strikes in the Black Sea.

Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko called an emergency session of his war cabinet and said he will propose that parliament declare martial law.

So the truth is that neither side is exactly “innocent” in this situation.

The Kerch Strait is absolutely critical, because it is the only way into and out of the Azov Sea

The strait connects the Azov Sea with the Black Sea and runs between the Crimean Peninsula and Russia. It’s a shallow, narrow stretch of water just two to three miles (3.2 to 4.8 kilometers) wide at one point near the Chuska landspit.

The strait is an important economic lifeline for Ukraine, as it allows ships leaving the port city of Mariupol to access the Black Sea.

It’s also the the closest point of access for Russia to Crimea, a peninsula Moscow annexed in 2014. The international community has largely not recognized Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but that did not stop Russia from building a bridge over the Kerch Strait connecting Crimea to mainland Russia. The Kerch Strait bridge was opened in May.

In addition to asking for a declaration of martial law, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has also been gathering with his top military leaders.  Poroshenko is pledging that Ukraine will not take any “offensive” military actions, but he also says that they are ready to defend against any attacks from Russia.

The Russians are accusing Poroshenko of manipulating this crisis in order to pump up his flagging approval ratings for the upcoming presidential elections.  There is a very real possibility that Poroshenko could lose, and he is desperate to stay in office.

Of course, the Ukrainians are blaming Russia for everything, and Poroshenko says that what happened on Sunday “was an act of war”

Finally, Ukraine has called for an urgent UN Security Council meeting over ‘Russian aggression’ while Ukraine’s secretary for national security, Oleksander Turchynov, accused Russia of engaging in an act of war: “We heard reports on incident and have concluded that it was an act of war by Russian Federation against Ukraine”.

At this point, it is unclear what the Russians will do next.

Hopefully, they will see that a full-blown invasion of Ukraine would not be wise.

But if they decide that such a war is inevitable, they will move with lightning speed as we have seen in other conflicts.  For example, Russia had already annexed Crimea before the rest of the world even started talking about it.  And we all remember what happened in Georgia.

If and when Russia finally pulls the trigger, their forces will be halfway to Kiev before the mainstream media in the western world even realizes what is happening.

And if Russia does invade, the Trump administration will be under tremendous pressure from Republicans, Democrats and other NATO members to intervene.  Already, there has been some very tough talk from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

It’s yet unclear how far the U.S. is willing to go in support for Ukraine. In a joint statement after Klimkin’s meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo last week, both sides “condemned Russia’s aggressive actions against international shipping transiting the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Kerch Strait to Ukrainian ports” and agreed that “Russia’s aggressive activities in the Sea of Azov have brought new security, economic, social, and environmental threats to the entire Azov-Black Sea region.”

But if we directly intervene in a military conflict between Russia and Ukraine, that could very easily trigger World War 3.

Most Americans are not concerned that a conflict between Russia and Ukraine could potentially affect the United States, but the threat is very real.  In fact, according to foreign correspondent Nolan Peterson such a war “teeters on the razor-thin edge of becoming real”…

This is the most dangerous moment I’ve seen in Ukraine in years. Tonight, a war that many people in America can only imagine thanks to Hollywood movies, teeters on the razor thin edge of becoming real. Tonight in Ukraine we go to sleep not knowing what tomorrow will bring.

Let us hope for peace because right now the world is becoming a more chaotic place with each passing day…

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Next US Housing Crisis Has Arrived: Existing Home Sales Post Their Biggest Decline In 4 Years

Things just continue to get even worse for the U.S. housing industry.  New homes sales have been absolutely plummeting, homebuilder stocks have lost over a third of their value, and existing home sales just posted their biggest decline since 2014.  For years, we had been witnessing a real estate boom in the United States, but now that has officially ended.  It is starting to feel like 2008 all over again, and many of those that work in the industry are really starting to freak out.  The Federal Reserve has been aggressively raising interest rates, and it is having the exact same effect on the housing industry that it did just before the last recession.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.  A supposedly “booming” economy was supposed to lead to a surge in demand for housing, but instead, sales of existing homes had an absolutely terrible month in October

Sales of previously owned U.S. homes posted their largest annual decline since 2014 in October, as the housing market continues to sputter due to higher mortgage rates that are reducing home affordability.

And this certainly was not an anomaly.  Existing home sales have been down on a yearly basis for quite some time, and it doesn’t appear that things will turn around any time soon.

Just look at what is happening in California.  Not too long ago prices were soaring, but now a luxury estate has just sold for more than 50 percent off.

That would have been unthinkable just a few months ago.

Meanwhile, sales of new homes have been depressingly low as well.  As a result, homebuilders have been implementing extreme measures in order to get sales.  The following comes from Bloomberg

Ram Konara, a real estate broker in suburban Dallas, is raking in freebies this year: trips to Lake Tahoe and Santa Barbara in California, Cabo San Lucas in Mexico, and a dude ranch in Wyoming. The homebuyers he represents are cashing in, too. They’re winning price cuts of more than $100,000, on top of free upgrades such as media rooms, cabinets, and blinds.

This generosity flows from increasingly desperate homebuilders. Hot markets are cooling fast as interest rates rise. In the great housing slowdown of 2018, shoppers are reclaiming the upper hand, after years of soaring prices that placed most inventory out of reach for many families. “Everybody is hungry for the buyers,” Konara says.

Unfortunately, buyers are rapidly disappearing from the landscape.  One recent survey discovered that just 13 percent of all Americans plan to purchase a home during the next year.  That number has declined for three consecutive quarters, and it has now fallen by nearly half over the past 12 months.

But of course, Americans still need homes.  That hasn’t changed at all.  In fact, we have millions of young adults that should be buying their first homes right now, but instead, record numbers of them are living with Mommy and Daddy.

If you can believe it, one new study just found that a third of all young adults in the United States live with their parents

More adult millennials are moving home to save money, and it’s making them more depressed, new research reveals.

And it’s making their parents pretty miserable too, according to other recent research.

A full third of young adults in the US live with their parents. In fact, millennial men and women are more likely to live with mom and dad than in any other living arrangement.

Thanks to a lack of good paying jobs, a lot of those young adults simply cannot afford to buy homes.

And as the middle class disintegrates, the number of Americans that are homeless just continues to rise.  Just consider these numbers

In Seattle, the number of “unsheltered” homeless counted on a single night in January jumped 15 percent this year from 2017—a period when the value of Amazon.com Inc., one of the city’s dominant employers, rose 68 percent, to $675 billion. In California, home to Apple, Facebook, and Google, some 134,000 people were homeless during the annual census for the Department of Housing and Urban Development in January last year, a 14 percent jump from 2016. About two-thirds of them were unsheltered, the highest rate in the nation.

At least 10 cities on the West Coast have declared states of emergency in recent years. San Diego and Tacoma, Wash., recently responded by erecting tents fit for disaster relief areas to provide shelter for their homeless. Seattle and Sacramento may be next.

More than half a million Americans are homeless right now, and all of them could use homes.

So it isn’t as if we have too many homes in America.  We have plenty of people that could fill all of the homes that already exist, but our broken system is not able to connect those people with homes.

In order to have a healthy housing industry, we need a thriving middle class, and right now the middle class is shrinking.  Most American families are barely scraping by from month to month, and debt delinquencies are on the rise.

In fact, credit card debt delinquencies at small banks are now even higher than they were during the last recession

In the third quarter, the “delinquency rate” on credit-card loan balances at commercial banks other than the largest 100 banks – so the delinquency rate at the 4,705 smaller banks in the US – spiked to 6.2%. This exceeds the peak during the Financial Crisis for these banks (5.9%).

The credit-card “charge-off rate” at these banks, at 7.4% in the third quarter, has now been above 7% for five quarters in a row. During the peak of the Financial Crisis, the charge-off rate for these banks was above 7% four quarters, and not in a row, with a peak of 8.9%.

Most Americans seem to believe that the problems that caused the last crisis were fixed, but that never happened.  They simply patched together the old system and inflated the bubbles bigger than ever before.  As a result, we have a giant mess on our hands now.

In my most recent book, I set forth some solutions for fixing our fundamental economic and financial problems, and they are pretty radical.

But what we are doing now is simply not working, and as the U.S. economy continues to fall apart hopefully that will become increasingly apparent to everyone.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Think Your Cell Phone Is Secure? Authorities Using New “Mysterious Tool” To Unlock Virtually Any Phone

Your cell phone is a gold mine of information about where you have been, who you have been talking to, and what you have been doing online.  And now a “mysterious new tool” is enabling law enforcement authorities all over the nation to get access to that information on virtually any phone.  So if you end up going to prison someday, it could be the evidence that is pulled out of your cell phone that ultimately puts you away.  Of course most Americans never even consider that their own cellphones could be systematically gathering evidence against them.  For most of us, cell phones are simply extremely convenient tools that allow us to communicate effectively with the rest of the world.  But if the authorities decide to investigate you, your cell phone is going to be one of the first things that they want, and what they find on there could put you behind bars for a very, very long time.

There are some people out there that are still operating under the assumption that the data on their cellphones is safe from the prying eyes of law enforcement authorities.  That actually has not been true for a long time, and now a new tool is enabling them to unlock virtually any cell phone.  The following comes from WHIO

Law enforcement agencies are using a mysterious new tool to unlock the cellphones of criminal suspects and access their text messages, emails and voice messages. Some agencies around the country, concerned about security, are not even acknowledging use of the devices. Adding to the secrecy surrounding the new tool, one of the companies that makes and sells the devices to police and government agencies does not display their products on the company website.

These are basically “hacking devices”, and it may take a number of hours, but they will eventually get into your cell phone.

These hacking devices reportedly cost between $15,000 and $30,000, so they are quite expensive, but apparently, law enforcement agencies all over the nation have been heavily buying them.

Because if you can get into the cellphone of a suspect, it often provides everything that is needed to solve a case

Dave Langos, Director of the sheriff’s Criminal Intelligence Unit, said the unlocking of the phone can be critical to a criminal investigation, revealing where that phone has been and potentially placing a suspect at the scene of a crime.

“With the proper search warrant and so forth for the phone the information you retrieve from those is very valuable in solving cases and that has been proven over and over again,” Langos said.

For those that are skeptical of how valuable this kind of tool can be for law enforcement, I would remind you that the “homeless vet” GoFundMe scammers were caught because of cellphone text messages that authorities were able to uncover.

And it was a cellphone that helped investigators track down and catch package bomber Cesar Sayoc

DNA found on at least one of the packages, as well as Sayoc’s cell phone, helped investigators identify him, multiple law enforcement officials said. He was not previously known to the Secret Service, law enforcement sources said, but Florida records show a string of arrests dating back to the early 1990s.

We live at a time when you should simply assume that nothing that you do online or while carrying your cellphone is ever private.  Yes, there are measures that you can take to make your cellphone more private, but in the end authorities will find one way or another to get that information if they really want it.

Apple is aware of these cellphone hacking devices, and the newest Apple phones are supposedly not vulnerable.  But an appellate court in New Jersey has just ruled that law enforcement authorities can now force you to hand over the passcodes to your iPhones

New Jersey appellate court has ruled that people must allow law enforcement officers access to their cellphones once they receive a warrant.

The ruling issued Thursday means Essex County Sheriff’s Officer Robert Andrews would have to hand over passcodes to two iPhones he gave investigators.

Aren’t we supposed to have a Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination?

Yes, we are, but law enforcement authorities and the courts have not been following the Constitution for a very long time.  This is one of the reasons why I ran for Congress because we desperately need to restore the Bill of Rights and the rest of the U.S. Constitution.

In “The Beginning Of The End”, I detailed a lot of the other new technologies that authorities are systematically using to watch, track and monitor us in violation of our constitutional rights.  A “Big Brother total control grid” is going up all around us, and our children and our grandchildren will be growing up in a dystopian nightmare is something is not done now.

In his most recent commentary, John Whitehead summarized what we are facing…

Here’s what I know: this Thanksgiving finds us saddled with a government that is a far cry from Washington’s vision of a government that is:

  • governed by wise, just and constitutional laws
  • faithfully executed and obeyed by its agents
  • assisting foreign nations with good government, peace, and concord
  • promoting true religion, virtue and science
  • and enabling temporal prosperity.

Rather, with every passing day, the U.S. government more closely resembles an evil empire, governed by laws that are rash, unjust and unconstitutional; policed by government agents who are corrupt, hypocritical and abusive; a menace to its own people; and the antithesis of everything Washington hoped the government would be—a blessing to all the people.

I couldn’t have said it any better myself.

Wake up America, because our rights are being trampled on and you have a government that is completely and utterly out of control.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Just Before Tech Stocks Crashed: George Soros Sold Huge Amounts Of Facebook & Netflix

George Soros avoided a loss of more than 17 million dollars by dumping shares of Facebook, Netflix and Goldman Sachs just before the big crash started happening.  In other words, he made out like a bandit by selling at the peak of the market.  Is he smarter than all the rest of us, did he have some inside information, or was he simply lucky?  In recent months, tech stocks have lost approximately a trillion dollars in value, and many investors have been absolutely devastated.  But not George Soros.  According to the most recent filing with the SEC, Soros Fund Management was able to dump shares in Facebook and Netflix just in time

Soros Fund Management, which Soros founded and chairs, exited social-network giant Facebook (FB) completely in the third quarter, while also slashing positions in Netflix stock (NFLX) and Goldman Sachs Group stock (GS). Those three stocks have tumbled in the fourth quarter so far, with Facebook and Goldman setting new lows Tuesday. They are down almost 20% and 15%, respectively, so far this quarter. Highflying streaming-content giant Netflix has tumbled almost 29% since the end of September.

Soros saved a chunk of cash by selling: Barron’s estimates that, had he maintained positions in those stocks, he would have unrealized losses of about $17.7 million so far in the fourth quarter.

Perhaps we will never know what prompted those moves, but with George Soros these strange “coincidences” have happened again and again throughout his career.

Unfortunately, the top executives at the major tech companies were not as prescient, and so some of them have literally lost billions of dollars

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has lost a stunning $42 billion since early September, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as the e-commerce giant’s stock has dropped more than 25 percent.

Embattled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also taken a beating as reports indicate he’s lost some $34 billion since late July and is now worth $52 billion – ranking as the seventh-richest person in the world.

Google chiefs Larry Page and Sergey Brin have lost a combined $20 billion from their peak wealth in July as the search engine’s stock has dropped 20 percent and closed in a bear market on Monday for the first time since 2011.

Could you imagine losing 42 billion dollars?

If I lose 42 dollars I get upset.  So I couldn’t even imagine how I would feel if I lost $42,000,000,000.

The atmosphere on Wall Street has completely shifted over the last couple of months.  Not too long ago those of us that were calling for a bear market were being mocked, but nobody is mocking anymore.

One of the big things that has been propping up the stock market in recent years has been corporate buybacks.  In fact, I wrote a major article about this not too long ago that you can find right here.  Big corporations have literally been spending hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up their own stock prices, and many of these corporations have been going into tremendous amounts of debt in order to do this.

For a long time General Electric was one of the biggest offenders.  They borrowed billions upon billions of dollars for stock repurchases, and it worked for a while.  But now GE shares have been absolutely tanking, and they can’t keep the game going anymore because they are drowning in about 100 billion dollars of debt.  The following comes from an excellent Marketwatch article

GE was one of Wall Street’s major share buyback operators between 2015 and 2017; it repurchased $40 billion of shares at prices between $20 and $32. The share price is now $8.60, so the company has liquidated between $23 billion and $29 billion of its shareholders’ money on this utterly futile activity alone. Since the highest net income recorded by the company during those years was $8.8 billion in 2016, with 2015 and 2017 recording a loss, it has managed to lose more on its share repurchases during those three years than it made in operations, by a substantial margin.

Even more important, GE has now left itself with minus $48 billion in tangible net worth at Sept. 30, with actual genuine tangible debt of close to $100 billion. As the new CEO Larry Culp told CNBC last Monday: “We have no higher priority right now than bringing those leverage levels down.”

GE was once one of the greatest corporations on the entire planet, but now they stand on the precipice of collapse because they were addicted to borrowing money for stock buybacks.

Of course GE is far from alone.  Other corporations that have gone into serious amounts of debt in order to fund share repurchases are also now paying a very great price for doing so.  Ultimately, it was a giant Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, but now the game is collapsing.

In my first novel, there is a stock market collapse that begins in the fall, and things begin to deteriorate very rapidly in this country thereafter.  Unfortunately, we are starting to watch a very similar scenario play out right in front of our eyes.  In recent years a booming stock market has been a big point of pride for a lot of Americans, but now that bubble is bursting.

For many people, money is more important than anything else in life.  In fact, a recent survey discovered that Americans find more meaning and purpose in life from “career” and “money” than they do from “faith”.

But when “the god of money” fails, how are most Americans going to respond?

I do not believe that the United States is going to handle another economic meltdown very well.  We are already a deeply angry and divided nation, but at least our debt-fueled “prosperity” has kept things relatively calm.

If that “prosperity” completely disappears, we are going to have a complete and utter national nightmare on our hands.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Shock Survey: Americans Find More Meaning In Life From “Money” Than They Do From “Faith”

What gives you a sense of meaning and purpose in life?  That may seem like a very unusual question, but I believe that it is a very important one considering how deeply unhappy our society currently is.  Everyone needs a reason to get out of bed in the morning because there wouldn’t seem to be much point to living a life that was completely void of meaning and purpose.  So what motivates most Americans to do what they do?  Well, a new survey that was just released by the Pew Research Center has some rather startling results.  When people were asked an open-ended question about what gives them a sense of purpose and meaning in life, 69 percent mentioned family, 34 percent mentioned career, 23 percent mentioned “money” and only 20 percent mentioned faith.

In other words, Americans find more meaning and purpose in life from money and from their careers than they do from faith.

Wow.

I have previously written about the stunning decline in church attendance in America, but I still would have figured that more than 20 percent of all Americans would mention faith when discussing what gives them a sense of meaning and purpose in life.

And the question was not limited to just one answer.  If you will notice, the combined total for just the top four answers was well over 100 percent.  So respondents could have actually chosen to mention as many factors as they would have liked.

But only 20 percent mentioned faith at any point during their answers.

As you can probably guess, conservatives were far more likely to mention faith than liberals were

Spirituality and faith are commonly mentioned by very conservative Americans as imbuing their lives with meaning and fulfillment; 38% cite it in response to the open-ended question, compared with just 8% of very liberal Americans – a difference that holds even when controlling for religious affiliation.

That is a huge gap, and I think that it helps to explain some of the division that we are witnessing in our nation right now.

Of all of the religious groups, the survey found that evangelical Protestants were the most likely to mention faith in their answers

Spirituality and religious faith are particularly meaningful for evangelical Protestants, 43% of whom mention religion-related topics in the open-ended question. Among members of the historically black Protestant tradition, 32% mention faith and spirituality, as do 18% of mainline Protestants and 16% of Catholics.

Millions of Americans find a sense of meaning and purpose in the Christian faith, but so many others have been burned by hypocritical religious leaders that do not live out what they supposedly believe.

For example, check out what just happened in San Francisco

San Francisco police on Tuesday announced a sweeping child-porn bust that netted five suspects, including the senior pastor at a Sunset District Lutheran church who allegedly possessed hundreds of pictures and videos of children engaged in sexual acts and was sharing them on social media.

The suspect, the Rev. Steven Sabin, 59, is senior pastor at Christ Church Lutheran on Quintara Street, where he has been since 2001, according to the church’s website. Church officials did not return multiple phone calls or messages.

Nobody wants that kind of sick behavior from our faith leaders.

But just because there are some really bad people out there, does that mean that Americans should abandon faith altogether?

In “Living A Life That Really Matters”, I lay out a blueprint for what a truly faith-filled life can look like.  There is a reason why hundreds of millions of people around the world find meaning and purpose in the Christian faith, and no matter what has happened in the past, God can take the broken pieces of your life and turn them into a beautiful thing.

If your meaning and purpose come from your career and your bank account, what happens when you lose your job and your money dries up?

Or if your meaning and purpose come from family and friends, what happens when they let you down?

People change, and so do circumstances.  And if you allow your sense of meaning in life to be based on such temporal things, it is a recipe for disaster.

Today, Americans are more anxious than ever before.  The following comes from an outstanding article for The Week by Damon Linker entitled “American Anxiety”

The United States is a country consumed by anxiety. This has been true for a very long time. But it’s getting worse.

Be honest: You sense it in yourself. The vague mist of worry that always lurks in the background, ebbing and flowing through the day, the sense of creeping inadequacy that prompts you to work ever-harder. You can detect it in the agitated drive to do ever-more to protect those you love from an endless stream of dangers and threats — and in the urge to keep up with friends, acquaintances, and news online during almost every waking moment, perhaps even crowding out sleep, making it impossible to settle down or drive away the subtle sensation of insufficiency.

And Linker also shared some statistics to back up his bold assertions…

Nearly one-third of adolescents and adults suffer from some form of anxiety disorder, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. A poll released in May by the American Psychiatric Association, meanwhile, found that 39 percent of respondents were prepared to describe themselves as more anxious than they were just a year ago. Another 39 percent say they are equally anxious, while only 19 percent feel less anxious now than they did in the recent past.

Right now, more Americans are on anti-depressants than ever before in our history, and the suicide rate has risen 34 percent since the year 2000.

What we have been doing is clearly not working.

We desperately need a different path as a nation, and let us hope that people start waking up while there is still time to do so.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Obama Suggests Trump An “Angry,” Hateful Racist With “Mommy Issues”

Editor’s Note:  Personally, I think Barack Hussein Obama Soetoro Sobarkah has both mommy and daddy issuesHe definitely has an American issue.

Barack Obama has suggested that sitting president Donald Trump has “mommy issues” and is a hateful racist because Trump hasn’t solved “climate change” and “education” problems. Obama thinks these “problems” are simple too.  Which begs the question: why the hell didn’t he fix them?

After all, Obama isn’t “Shrouded in racism” with “mommy issues,” right? But there’s a cure for all the world’s problems, or so he thinks. They are so simple. Of course, if that was actually the case, wouldn’t he have solved all the problems during his eight years on the throne as a political master? As Breitbart’s John Nolte so masterfully put it:

Obama, who famously wrote an entire autobiography called Dreams from My Father as a means to work through his lifelong daddy issues, is certain we can solve all the world’s problems — “climate change, education, agriculture and so on” — quite easily because they are “not nearly as complicated as they are made out to be.”

The “reason we don’t do it,” Obama explained, “is because we are still confused, blind, shrouded with hate, anger, racism, mommy issues.”

The Daily Mail firsreported the former president’s remarks from the Obama Foundation in Chicago on Monday and added that there was yet another dig at Trump:

And in another dig at Trump on Monday, Obama suggested the US was a better place before he was sworn into office.

In a conversation with author Dave Eggers, Obama also repeated his belief that if you could choose a time and place to be born, you would choose the US.

But he amended that thought and said: “You’d choose now – or maybe two years ago.” –The Daily Mail

There is no record of Eggers asking Obama why it would be so easy to fix the world and not the former president’s hometown of Chicago, where Obama spent more than a decade working as a community activist and legislator. Democrats have enjoyed unrivaled control of that city for decades. It is a place where nothing has ever stopped them from realizing their political goals, and, as a result, Chicago is a nearly bankrupt war zone. Well, the politicians are rolling in the tax money stolen from the poverty-stricken civilians.  Talk about major income inequality – the rich politicians steal from the poor civilians.

“There is also no record of Eggers asking Obama why he believes it is so easy to fix the world’s problems but believes a “magic wand” is necessary to bring back manufacturing jobs to the Midwest,” writes Nolte.

Article posted with permission from Mac Slavo

FANG Stocks Now In A Bear Market – Facebook Investors Have Already Lost 39 Percent Of Their Paper Wealth

These large stock market declines are starting to become a regular thing, and tech stocks are getting hit particularly hard.  But we have been in a bull market for such a long time that many investors are having a difficult time comprehending what is happening.  Many just keep believing that their beloved tech stocks will eventually bounce back because they just can’t accept the fact that the party is over.  At this point, all of the “FANG stocks” have officially entered bear market territory.  Facebook is down 39.5 percent from their 52 week high, Amazon is down 25.4 percent, Netflix is down 35.6 percent and Google is down 20.3 percent.  And since many throw in Apple to make the acronym “FAANG”, we should also note that Apple’s stock price is now down more than 20 percent from the peak.  The tech stock crash that so many have been waiting for has arrived, and many analysts believe that it is going to get a whole lot worse.

The combined market value of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google has fallen by 610 billion dollars so far.

Just think about that for a moment.

Most Americans don’t even realize that tech stocks have been crashing, and many of them simply assume that their investments are safe.

And at one time Facebook was considered to be a very safe investment, but now 39.5 percent of the value of Facebook has already been completely wiped out.

It looks like November will be Facebook’s third month in a row in the red, and that will be the longest monthly losing streak that it has ever had.

A lot of people are shocked that this is happening so rapidly.  But really the only surprise is that it has taken this long for these massively overvalued stocks to crash and burn.

The truth is that these companies have been priced beyond perfection.  So when even the smallest piece of bad news comes along, investors can start to panic.

For example, one of the big reasons why Apple has declined so much is because production orders for all three of the new iPhones that were unveiled in September have been slashed.  It looks like iPhone sales are not going to be at quite the level everyone had anticipated, and Wall Street responded by throwing a huge temper tantrum.

And things look even more ominous for Facebook.  As Joel Kulina of Wedbush recently noted, the number of people that are using Facebook on a daily basis in North America is falling…

Joel Kulina of Wedbush says problems in the company have been evident longer than this month. “If you go back to that earnings report back in July, they missed across the board and what really jumps out at me is that we’re seeing declining daily and monthly active users in North America or stalling active user metrics in North America, declining in Europe and the only regions that are seeing growth is in Asia where the average revenue per user is much lower than the Western world,” Kulina said.

When Facebook decided to start censoring people for their political views on a massive basis, that was the beginning of the end for the company.  At this point they have alienated millions upon millions of users that were once addicted to the service, and that is damage that will never be repaired.

And it is inevitable that something newer, better and more engaging will eventually come along.  Not too long ago, MySpace was the unbeatable giant in social media, but then Facebook came along and crushed them.  Now it is clear that Facebook has peaked, and the void that is being created as Facebook declines will certainly be filled by someone else.

But what we are witnessing in the financial marketplace is not just about tech stocks.  This is a broad-based global decline, and it has been going on for quite some time.

In fact, just check out the following tidbit from Simon Black

Deutsche Bank says 89% of all asset classes it tracks are negative this year – the worst year since 1901.

This is often how a big downturn begins: gradually, then suddenly. Asset prices stew and fester, slowly grinding downward for months while people maintain hope that prices will recover.

Yes, you read that correctly.

89 percent of all the asset classes that they track are down in 2018.

That is an absolutely astounding number.

We haven’t seen anything like this since the last financial crisis.  Most people seem to assume that the problems that caused the last financial crisis have been fixed, but that is not the case at all.  Instead, things were patched together and the global financial bubble was made even bigger.  Here is more from Simon Black

Instead of giving million-dollar mortgages to unemployed borrowers with a history of default, investors are loaning billions of dollars to money-losing zombie businesses, or to governments that are already in debt up to their eyeballs, all while pretending these are safe, credible investments.

Total global debt back in 2008 was about $173 trillion, worth about 280% of GDP.

Today total global debt is $250 trillion, worth about 320% of GDP. It’s only gotten worse.

Now the “Bubble To End All Bubbles” is starting to burst, and great chaos is ahead.  What we experienced in 2008 and 2009 is nothing compared to what is in front of us, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what is coming.

At the moment, one key thing to keep a close eye on is the high yield bond market.

High yield bonds (also known as “junk bonds”) crashed really hard just before the financial crisis of 2008 erupted, and now it is happening again.

Even if high yield bonds didn’t go down any further, they have already dropped to a level that indicates that stocks still have a lot more room to fall.

But if high yield bonds do continue to plummet like this, it is a clear indication that it is time to put your crash helmet on.

These are interesting times, and I have a feeling that they are about to get a whole lot more interesting.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Oil, Copper And Lumber Are All Telling Us The Next Economic Downturn Is Here

Oil, copper and lumber are all telling us the exact same thing, and it isn’t good news for the global economy.  When economic activity is booming, demand for commodities such as oil, copper and lumber goes up and that generally causes prices to rise.  But when economic activity is slowing down, demand for such commodities falls and that generally causes prices to decline.  In recent weeks, we have witnessed a decline in commodity prices unlike anything that we have witnessed in years, and many are concerned that this is a very clear indication that hard times are ahead for the global economy.

Let’s talk about oil first.  The price of oil peaked in early October, but since that time it has fallen more than 25 percent, and the IEA is warning of “relatively weak” demand out of Asia and Europe

The International Energy Agency said on Wednesday that while US demand for oil has been “very robust,” demand in Europe and developed Asian countries “continues to be relatively weak.” The IEA also warned of a “slowdown” in demand in developing nations such as India, Brazil and Argentina caused by high oil prices, weak currencies and deteriorating economic activity.

“The outlook for the global economy has deteriorated,” the IEA wrote.

Meanwhile, the price of copper has been declining for quite some time now.  The price of copper also fell substantially just before the last recession, and many analysts are pointing out that “Dr. Copper” is now waving a red flag once again

The message of weakening demand on the oil front was reinforced by the falling price of copper. The base metal is often referred to as “Dr. Copper” on its presumed ability to forecast the peaks and troughs of business cycles since it is used in different areas of the economy such as homes, factories and electricity generation. Copper has served as a leading indicator of both recessions and economic booms.

The price of lumber is a “third witness” that indicates that big trouble is looming.

Last month, lumber dropped more than 10 percent, and that was the biggest monthly drop that we have seen in more than 7 years

In October, prices for softwood lumber in the U.S. dropped 10.3% – the largest decline since May 2011, according to the Producer Price Index (PPI) release by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The producer price index for softwood lumber has fallen 21.2% since setting the cycle and all-time high in June.

If oil, copper and lumber are all telling us the same thing simultaneously, don’t you think that we should be listening?

At this point, even Bloomberg is admitting that the global economy is heading toward “a generalized slowdown”…

These developments suggest the synchronized growth that the global economy has enjoyed in recent years is likely to be replaced by a generalized slowdown. Just take a look at the data out of Japan and Germany this week, which showed the world’s third- and fourth-largest economies contracted in the third quarter.

How many signs is it going to take before people start understanding what is happening?

Wells Fargo just notified about 1,000 employees that they will be laid off.  Job losses are starting to mount, and it is likely that we will start to see these sorts of news stories on an almost daily basis now.

And as the shaking on Wall Street accelerates, we are going to see more financial firms get into trouble.  In fact, we just witnessed the total collapse of OptionSellers.com.  The following comes from a notice that they sent to investors informing them that they lost all their money and that the firm is being liquidated…

I am writing to give you an update on the situation here with your account.

We have spent the week unwinding our short natural gas call position as expediently as possible.

Today which was to be the final day of liquidation, the market flared as prices appear to have been caught in a “short squeeze.”

The speed at which it took place is truly beyond anything I have seen in my career. It overran our risk control systems and left us at the mercy of the market.

In short, it was a rogue wave and it overwhelmed us.

Unfortunately, this has resulted in a catastrophic loss.

Our clearing firm, FC Stone now requires us to liquidate all positions. We hoped to have this done today. If not, it will be completed tomorrow.

Your account could potentially be facing a debit balance as of tomorrow. OptionSellers.com will be processing fee credits over the course of the coming days to help alleviate debit balances. What these will be will be determined after all positions are cleared.

This has in effect, crippled the firm. At this point, our brokers at FC Stone have been assisting us in liquidation.

Our offices will remain open and we will all still be here to answer your questions and process account closings. We will do everything in our power to ease what discomfort we can.

I am truly sorry this has happened.

I will be updating you again via memo in 24 hours.

Regards,

OptionSellers.com

Those investors are among the first to be completely wiped out, but they certainly won’t be the last.

The ironic thing is that Americans are less concerned about another crisis than they have been at any point since 2008 at a time when they should be more focused on getting prepared than ever.

You know that it is really late in the game when even Jim Cramer of CNBC is saying that the U.S. economy is really slowing down.  A few of my readers wrote me after that article because they didn’t like the fact that I had quoted Jim Cramer.  But I don’t think that they really got my point.  I was not endorsing Jim Cramer as some sort of financial guru.  Rather, I was pointing out that even mainstream media celebrities that were previously cheerleaders for the economy are now recognizing the reality of what we are facing.

Global economic activity is slowing down, and things are shifting very rapidly now.  The weather is already getting very cold, the mood of the nation is very dark, and it would only take a very small push to send us completely tumbling over the edge.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

November Snow In Texas? Experts Warn Decreased Solar Activity Will Shatter All Global Climate Models

Our sun has been behaving very strangely, and this unusual behavior is really starting to affect our weather patterns.  There have been virtually no sunspots in 2018 as solar activity has dropped to alarmingly low levels.  As a result, our atmosphere has been cooling and shrinking, and experts are warning that we are heading for a bitterly, bitterly cold winter.  And even though the official start of winter is well over a month away, winter weather is already sweeping the nation.  As you will see below, a giant winter storm is about to slam into the east coast, but what is happening in Texas is even more unnerving.  On Wednesday morning, the temperature in San Antonio plummeted to just 23 degrees, and that absolutely shattered the old record

“This shatters the old record low of 28 degrees set back in 1916,” the National Weather Service tweeted of Wednesday’s weather. Tuesday night just before midnight, the city hit 28 degrees, breaking the previous record of 29 set in 1907, records show.

Typically, November temperatures are significantly warmer. The average high for the month is about 71 degrees and the normal low is 51 degrees. San Antonio’s average low this year has been comparable to other years, but its average high, a cool 66.6 degrees, has been lower than normal.

Over in Houston, things were even stranger.  When Houston residents woke up on Wednesday morning, they were stunned to see snow on the ground

An incredible sight danced over the cities glistening skyscrapers of Houston this morning and likely caused many to rub their eyes and shake their heads. No, it wasn’t your lying eyes but rather the earliest snowfall ever observed in the city of Houston and surrounding areas.

It’s official, according to the National Weather Service, that Houston has recorded it’s earliest snowfall ever observed — and not just by a day or two but by 10 days! The previous earliest trace snow was November 23rd, 1979.

It isn’t supposed to snow in mid-November in Texas.

Louisiana got snow too.  On Twitter, one resident of West Monroe posted a photo of snow blanketing his vehicle on Wednesday morning, and it quickly went viral.

Something very usual is happening, but the mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about it because it doesn’t fit the narratives that they are pushing.

And all over the eastern half of the country, approximately 80 million people are about to be slammed by a perfect example of our new climate reality…

A winter storm that’s already responsible for 2 deaths will bring a messy mix of snow, sleet and freezing rain to portions of the central and eastern U.S. over the next two days. Power outages, travel headaches and school closings are all likely as the storm strengthens.

Over 80 million people live where some level of a winter storm alert is in effect, all the way from Arkansas to Maine over a distance of about 1,500 miles.

Yes, everyone knew that we were headed toward a solar minimum eventually, but solar activity was not supposed to drop off this much so soon.

This extremely unusual decline in solar activity is causing our atmosphere to rapidly cool down and shrink, and this is greatly alarming climate scientists such as Dr. Tony Philipps

Scientists say Earth’s atmosphere is about to get hit by some record cold – but it’s not because of anything caused by humans. It’s because of a lack of sunspots which means a major decrease in ultraviolet waves coming in our direction.

Dr. Tony Philipps of SpaceWeatherArchive.com says there have been practically no sunspots in 2018, and that’s causing earth’s upper atmosphere to cool down and even shrink.

Another scientist that is sounding the alarm is Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center.  According to him, NASA’s Thermosphere Climate Index is now showing a reading that is “10 times smaller than we see during more active phases of the solar cycle”

To help track the latest developments, Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center and his colleagues recently introduced the “Thermosphere Climate Index.”

The Thermosphere Climate Index (TCI) tells how much heat nitric oxide (NO) molecules are dumping into space. During Solar Maximum, TCI is high (meaning “Hot”); during Solar Minimum, it is low (meaning “Cold”).

“Right now, it is very low indeed … 10 times smaller than we see during more active phases of the solar cycle,” says Mlynczak.

10 times smaller?

That doesn’t sound good.

And according to Mlynczak, this decrease in solar activity could result in “a Space Age record for cold”

“We see a cooling trend,” says Martin Mlynczak of NASA’s Langley Research Center. “High above Earth’s surface, near the edge of space, our atmosphere is losing heat energy. If current trends continue, it could soon set a Space Age record for cold.”

So I hope that you are ready for a very chilly winter.

Across the Atlantic, another expert that is sounding the alarm is Piers Corbyn.  He believes that the lack of solar activity that we are witnessing could rapidly produce another “mini ice age”

Solar activity and jet stream forecasts suggest a pattern of cold similar to the historic Mini Ice Age which occurred during the mid-17th century.

The period otherwise known as the Little Ice Age gripped Europe and North America and saw Britons hold frost fairs on the frozen River Thames.

“What we are looking at is a pattern of circulation similar to that which was observed during the mini ice-age,” Mr Corbyn said.

What he is referring to is a period of substantial global cooling that occurred during “the Maunder Minimum”.  If you are not familiar with “the Maunder Minimum”, the following is what Wikipedia has to say about it…

The Maunder Minimum, also known as the “prolonged sunspot minimum”, is the name used for the period around 1645 to 1715 during which sunspots became exceedingly rare, as was then noted by solar observers.

During that time, farming became much more difficult and horrific famines erupted all over the globe.

If our planet is now entering a similar period, we are going to be in very deep trouble very rapidly.  Today, we barely produce enough food to feed the entire globe, and so a major worldwide climate shift could potentially produce unprecedented chaos on a global scale.

So let us hope that solar activity returns to normal soon, because if it doesn’t, the unthinkable is going to begin to happen.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder

Post-Election Blue Wave: Democrats Have Flipped 2 Senate Seats & Large Number Of House Seats Since Election Night

Initially, it did not appear that the much-hyped “blue wave” would be that impressive, but since election night we have seen race after race flip in favor of the Democrats.  In fact, vote totals have moved in favor of the Democratic candidate in almost every race that was not officially settled on November 6th.  As a result, it has now become clear that a “blue wave” has materialized, and Republicans are scrambling to try to save some of the seats that are still being contested.  The biggest prize is the Senate seat in Florida where a recount is currently being conducted.  But there are also a number of House seats that are still up for grabs, and as you will see below, vote totals are rapidly moving in favor of the Democratic candidates in several of those races.

Since November 6th, the political landscape has shifted dramatically.  The following summary of how things have changed since election night comes from Gateway Pundit

Democrats had a decent haul on election night but since Election Day the Democrats have had a spectacular run.

In the US Senate Democrats picked up two seats since Election Day.

** In Montana Senator Jon Tester — who was behind on election day — had a huge haul overnight and won by 5 points.
** In Arizona Taliban-supporting Marxist Kyrsten Sinema was declared the winner a week after votes were cast after being behind on election night
** In Florida Democrats have discovered a secret stash of 83,000 votes since election day! Senator Bill Nelson is now surprisingly only 12,000 votes down here.

Democrats have performed even better in the US House. Since election day Democrats have added close to 17 seats from Republicans who were winning on Election Day.

Curiously, there doesn’t seem to be any races where Democrats were leading on election night that has now flipped in favor of Republicans.

If you find one, please let me know.

Of course very few would dispute the fact that Democrats won the popular vote on November 6th.  The following vote totals for the House come from Newsweek

As they took back the House for the first time in eight years, Democrats received 51.2 percent of all votes cast in House races, or more than 51.5 million in total. Republicans, in turn, won more than 47.3 million votes, or 47.1 percent, and lost 28 total seats.

And the vote totals for Senate races were even more impressive for the Democrats

The Senate results were by far more favorable to Democrats, even though they lost two seats and could lose two more. Republicans had 41.5 percent of all votes cast in Senate races, and Democrats 56.9 percent. The GOP received more than 33.5 million votes to the Democrats more than 46 million.

With all other things being equal, you would think that the final results of closely contested races all over the nation would not overwhelmingly favor one party over another.

In other words, you would expect Democrats to win some and Republicans to win some.

But that isn’t happening, and some Republicans are extremely outraged by this.  For example, this is what Ann Coulter is saying…

Election recounts would be more plausible if Democrats occasionally let the Republican win. But they don’t. Ballots miraculously discovered days and weeks after the election — in the back seat of a car, after helpful “corrections” to the ballots by election supervisors, etc. — invariably result in a surprise win for the Democrat.

Voters are just supposed to accept that, unless Republicans win an election by an insuperable margin, the Democrats will steal it.

According to WQAD, there are still nine House races that are up for grabs, and three of them have flipped in favor of the Democratic candidate since election night…

CA-39: Republican Young Kim leads Democrat Gil Cisneros

CA-45: Democrat Katie Porter leads Republican Rep. Mimi Walters (lead has flipped since election night)

CA-48: Democrat Harley Rouda leads Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (lead has grown since election night)

CA-49: Democrat Mike Levin leads Republican Diane Harkey (lead has grown since election night)

GA-7: Republican Rep. Rob Woodall leads Democrat Carolyn Bourdeaux

NJ-3: Democrat Andrew Kim leads Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur (lead has flipped since election night)

NM-2: Democrat Xochitl Torres Small leads Republican Yvette Herrell (lead has flipped since election night)

UT-4: Democrat Ben McAdams leads Republican Rep. Mia Love

ME-2: Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin (46.1%) leads Democrat Jared Golden (45.9%) (this race is headed to a ranked-choice runoff)

And you can actually cross NJ-3 off of that list.

The AP has called that race, and as you may have guessed, the Democrat won

Votes are still being counted in several House races. But the AP has now called another race in New Jersey, projecting Democrat Andy Kim the winner in the suburban Philadelphia 3rd Congressional District over incumbent Republican Tom MacArthur.

That means, more than a week after Election Day, Democrats have increased their House gains to a net of 34 seats — and, when all the vote is counted, they may get to 39.

Make no mistake: That is a very big wave.

It is certainly understandable why so many Americans are losing faith in the system and are desperate for a change.  We are supposed to be an example for the rest of the world, and there is no excuse for having elections that are so chaotic.

With all of the advanced technology that we now have available to us, we should be able to have our votes counted quickly, accurately and fairly.

If our founders could see us today they would be disgusted.  The integrity of our elections is of paramount importance, and what is taking place down in Florida right now is absolutely shameful.

We need to get our elections fixed, but unfortunately, I do not anticipate that will happen any time soon.

Article posted with permission from Michael Snyder