50 Numbers From 2019 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

One of the best ways to determine where things are heading is to look back at how much has changed over the past 12 months. 2019 has been one of the most memorable years in our history, and it has certainly set the stage for the critical events of the decade to come. However, not everyone views this moment in our history the same way. For example, one “expert” that is being heavily quoted by the mainstream media is claiming that 2019 was the culmination of “the best decade in human history”. His main argument seems to be that since “the ecological footprint of human activity” appears to be shrinking, the world must be a better place than it was before as a result. And certainly there are many other voices out there that are boldly proclaiming that we have entered a golden new era of peace and prosperity and that the best is yet to come. You can buy that argument if you want, but there are other voices that believe that everything that is wrong with our society is reaching a very dangerous crescendo. For those with that perspective, it appears that we are very close to a societal tipping point and that the years ahead are when we will finally pay the price for decades of exceedingly bad decisions.

So what do you think?

Will the 2020s be the best of times or the worst of times?

As you ponder that question, here are 50 numbers from 2019 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 According to a Gallup poll that was just released, Barack Obama and Donald Trump came in tied for “the most admired man in America” this year. They both got 18 percent in the survey, and no other man had more than 2 percent.

#2 At 10 percent, Michelle Obama topped the list in the Gallup poll for “the most admired woman in America” this year.

#3 Global stocks have increased in value by more than 25 trillion dollars over the past 10 years.

#4 In the United States, 84 percent of all stocks are owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of all Americans.

#5 The U.S. government is now more than 23 trillion dollars in debt.

#6 During the Obama and Trump administrations, we have added more than 12 trillion dollars to the national debt.

#7 Over the past 12 months alone, we have added another 1.1 trillion dollars to the national debt.

#8 Every single hour of every single day, we are stealing more than 100 million dollars from future generations of Americans.

#9 According to the IMF, total global debt has now reached the 188 trillion dollar mark.

#10 U.S. corporations are now close to 10 trillion dollars in debt.

#11 Total corporate debt has now reached 47 percent of U.S. GDP. That is the highest level in our history.

#12 Total U.S. household debt is about to cross the 14 trillion dollar mark.

#13 A study that was recently released found that 70 percent of all Americans are struggling financially right now.

#14 The average family in the United States cannot afford to buy a home in 71 percent of the country.

#15 58 million jobs in the United States pay less than $793 a week.

#16 According to the Social Security Administration, 50 percent of all Americans make less than $33,000 a year.

#17 63 percent of the jobs that have been created in the United States since 1990 have been low wage jobs.

#18 Roughly 40 million Americans struggle with food insecurity.

#19 70 percent of Americans “have cried about money”.

#20 A recent survey found that more than two-thirds of all U.S. households “are preparing for a possible recession”.

#21 According to the most recent government figures, 24.6 million Americans have used an illegal drug within the last 30 days.

#22 If you can believe it, 46 percent of all Americans have taken at least one legal pharmaceutical drug within the last 30 days. That is almost half the country.

#23 A New York woman named Alexa Kasdan recently went to see her doctor because she had a cold and a sore throat. Her insurance company was billed $25,865.24 for the visit.

#24 Americans spend more than 140 billion dollars a year treating cancer.

#25 If you are an American woman, there is a 1 in 3 chance that you will get cancer at some point in your life.

#26 If you are an American man, there is a 1 in 2 chance that you will get cancer at some point in your life.

#27 Over the past decade, the suicide rate among young Americans has risen by 56 percent.

#28 The suicide rate for the overall population increased by 41 percent between 1999 and 2016.

#29 One survey has discovered that 15-year-old students in China are almost four full grade levels ahead of 15-year-old students in the United States in mathematics.

#30 A different survey discovered that one-third of all American teenagers haven’t read a single book in the past year.

#31 According to a recent survey of 2,000 adults, a whopping 88 percent of all Americans believe that the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year.

#32 48 million Americans still have holiday debt from last year.

#33 23 percent of all U.S. children live with a single parent. That is the highest rate in the entire world by a wide margin.

#34 Today, approximately 40 percent of all babies in America are born to unmarried women.

#35 The U.S. fertility rate has fallen 15 percent since 2007 and is now at the lowest level ever recorded.

#36 One very alarming survey found that the average American spends 86 hours a month on a cellphone.

#37 The average person will watch more than 78,000 hours of television programming over the course of a lifetime.

#38 Today, almost half of all homeless people in the entire nation live in the state of California.

#39 Over half of all California voters have considered leaving the state.

#40 According to an American Bar Association survey, only 38 percent of all Americans know that the U.S. Constitution is the highest law in the land.

#41 58 percent of American adults under the age of 35 agree that some version of socialism “would be good for the country”.

#42 Almost one-third of all U.S. Millennials are still living with their parents.

#43 According to the Pew Research Center, only 65 percent of Americans now consider themselves to be Christians. That is the lowest level ever recorded.

#44 The bird population of North America has declined by 3 billion since 1970.

#45 Scientists are telling us that at the current rate of extinction, nearly all insects could be gone “in 100 years”.

#46 African Swine Fever has already killed one out of every four pigs in the world, and many experts believe this crisis is still in the very early stages.

#47 Within the last 365 days, there have been approximately 37,000 earthquakes of at least magnitude 1.5 in the United States.

#48 The upcoming election is a “significant source of stress” for 56 percent of U.S. adults.

#49 A survey that was conducted a couple of months ago found that 67 percent of all Americans believe that we are “on the edge of civil war”.

#50 The final full moon of this decade was on 12/12 at precisely 12:12 AM eastern time. And it turns out that it was also exactly 6,666 days from 9/11.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Years That End In “9” Tend To Be Times Of Great Upheaval

Will 2019 continue the trend? The other day I was talking with a close friend, and he pointed out to me that all throughout history years that end in 9 have tended to be times of great change and upheaval. I was intrigued by what he shared with me, and so I went out and did some research, and I discovered that he was right on target. In particular, over the last 100 years we have seen an unusual number of key historical events take place during years that end in 9, and that seems quite strange. Could it be possible that the ending of one decade and the imminent start of a new one somehow triggers something inside of us psychologically? I don’t know, but there does seem to be a pattern. In this article I will summarize some of the things that I have discovered, and I will let you come to your own conclusions.

Let’s start with 1929. As I repeatedly remind my readers, most large stock market crashes tend to happen during the fall, and on October 29th, 1929 there was a devastating stock market crash unlike anything that the United States had ever seen before. That date is generally considered to be the start of the Great Depression, which to this day is the worst economic downturn the western world has ever experienced. The Great Depression lasted for ten years, and that brings us to the next “9” on our list…

1939 was the year when World War II started. It was the most catastrophic war that the world has ever seen, and it didn’t end until 1945. It is estimated that somewhere between 70 million and 85 million people were killed, and the war shocked the planet so much that we haven’t seen a war like it since.

1949 was a year of great change, and it was really when the battle lines of the Cold War between the east and the west definitely solidified. During this year, the Communist Party of China was able to take full control of mainland China, and the People’s Republic of China was formally established. In addition, in 1949 the Soviet Union tested their first atomic bomb, it was the year of the Berlin blockade, and NATO was formed on April 4th, 1949.

1959 was the year when Fidel Castro came to power. Thanks to the success of the Cuban revolution, Cuba became the first communist power in the western hemisphere, and this ultimately led to the Cuban missile crisis of 1963.

1969 was so tumultuous that a number of documentaries have been made about that single year, and author Rob Kirkpatrick wrote an entire book about it entitled “The Year Everything Changed”. It was the year of the Moon landing, Woodstock and the Manson murders. During this year Richard Nixon was sworn in as the president of the United States, 250,000 Americans marched on Washington to protest the Vietnam War, and the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded.

1979 was the year of the Iranian Revolution. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power in February, and the Iranian hostage crisis began in November. If there had been no Iranian hostage crisis, it is possible that Ronald Reagan may have been defeated by Jimmy Carter in 1980. 1979 was also the year when Margaret Thatcher first became prime minister of the UK, and she served all the way until 1990.

1989 was another year of revolution. In June of that year the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing were brutally crushed by the Chinese government. On the other side of the world, 1989 was the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia which ultimately resulted in a peaceful division of that nation into the Czech Republic and Slovakia. George H.W. Bush was sworn in as the president of the United States during this year, and huge protests on both sides of the Berlin Wall ultimately resulted in the collapse of the East German government.

1999 was the year when Bill Clinton came very close to being removed from office. On February 12th, the United States Senate narrowly acquitted Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice. 1999 was also the year when the euro become the official currency of the European Union, and at the end of the year the Y2K scare was making headlines all over the globe.

2009 was definitely a year of “change”. On January 20th, Barack Obama became the first African-American to become the president of the United States. Meanwhile, the nation was greatly suffering from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. It is estimated that 8.8 million jobs were lost during the “Great Recession”, and millions of Americans also lost their homes as a result of the subprime mortgage meltdown. As 2009 was ending, the Economic Collapse Blog was launched.

So now here we are in another year that ends in 9. So far in 2019, we have seen mass shootings, crop failures, dramatic escalations in our trade war with China, and a potential war with Iran is looming on the horizon. Americans are angrier, more frustrated and more divided today than ever before in modern American history, and the mainstream media continues to stir the pot on a daily basis.

The stage is definitely set for things to explode during the second half of this year, and a lot of people that I have been talking to feel like things could really start breaking loose at any moment.

To a large degree, 2019 has already been a year of tremendous upheaval, but many believe that the worst is still yet to come. So buckle up and hold on, because I think that things are about to get very bumpy.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Hard Working Americans Sure Do See The Economy A Lot Differently Than The “Experts” Do

Right now the entire nation is buzzing about the very first debates for Democratic presidential contenders in 2019, and much of the focus of those debates will be on the economy. A total of 20 candidates will participate in those debates, and the vast majority of them don’t have a prayer of actually winning the nomination. Of course all of them will have “plans” for “fixing” the economy, but the truth is that most of those plans really aren’t that radically different from what has been tried in the past. No matter who has been in the White House, our insatiable appetite for debt has allowed us to enjoy a tremendously bloated standard of living that was far beyond what we actually deserved. We have been consuming far more wealth than we have been producing for so long that most Americans have come to accept this state of affairs as “normal”. And under no circumstance will Americans elect any presidential candidate that would suggest that we should be willing to accept a lower standard of living and quit going into so much debt. Everyone wants to hear that we will be able to have an even higher standard of living in the future, and of course that is what a lot of our politicians eagerly tell them.

But it isn’t true.

Sadly, the reality of the matter is that we are at the very end of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and the way we live is about to dramatically change no matter who we send to Washington.

As I discussed yesterday, the evidence that the U.S. economy has already entered a significant downturn continues to grow. All of the economic numbers that we have been getting lately have been bad, and yet so many of the “experts” continue to claim that the U.S. economy is in great shape.

In fact, a survey that was just released had some rather starting results. 100 percent of the “experts” that were surveyed rated the performance of the U.S. economy as either “excellent” or “good”, but average hard working Americans were a lot more evenly split

A new survey from financial information website Bankrate.com found that everyday Americans have a less favorable view of the economy than experts do. All the experts rated the economy as being “excellent” or “good,” compared to just 59 percent of others. And 39 percent of everyday Americans said the economy was “not so good” or “poor.”

Bankrate surveyed around 1,000 people and nine economic experts for the study.

The survey also included a question about when the next recession would begin. Approximately 40 percent of average hard working Americans felt that a recession had either already begun or would begin very soon, but none of the “experts” felt that way

Everyday Americans also said they expect a recession to hit sooner than the experts predict. A fifth of Americans polled said they believe the recession has already begun, and 21 percent said they expected it to begin within six months or a year. However, all the experts said they don’t expect a recession to begin for either one to two years or more than two years.

Perhaps we should stop calling them “experts”, because they appear to be completely and utterly clueless.

And we had better hope that the economy can hold up, because a different survey has found that 71 percent of all Americans say that they “are unprepared for another financial crisis”…

Meanwhile, 43% of Americans say they feel financially insecure and 71% are unprepared for another financial crisis, such as going bankrupt or losing their home, a survey of 24,070 adults released this week by market researcher YouGov found. Some 55% of those who feel unprepared say they’re not confident that they will be able to afford retirement; they’re more likely than those who feel financially secure to say the government should make sure everyone has health insurance.

Today, 59 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and U.S. consumer debt just soared to another brand new record high. People are partying when they should be preparing, and this new economic downturn is going to catch most of us completely off guard.

And day after day we continue to get more numbers that are telling us that the economic outlook is very bleak. For example, it is now being projected that U.S. auto sales will drop substantially over the next two years

The U.S. auto market hit a record for new cars, with 17.5 million in sales, in 2015. Sales the following year were flat then dipped to 17.2 million in 2017 and rebounded in 2018, rising to 17.3 million. But the first half of this year has plunged into negative territory. Edmunds anticipates sales for all of 2019 will drop to 16.9 million. That’s the same estimate from AlixPartners, which is forecasting a further dip to 16.3 million in 2020 and just 15.1 million in 2021.

Now we are in election season, and all sorts of different candidates will be touted as the one “that can turn the economy around” and restore “the promise of America’s future”.

Every election cycle they spout the same nonsense, and it is amazing that anyone still falls for it anymore.

Right now, America is on a highly self-destructive path that only leads to economic oblivion. We are 22 trillion dollars in debt, we have been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt for more than a decade, state and local governments are drowning in record levels of debt, corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, U.S. consumers are almost 14 trillion dollars in debt, and the world as a whole is now 244 trillion dollars in debt.

If we keep doing the same things over and over again, we are going to keep getting the same results.

Under our current system, there is no way that this game is going to end well for any of us. The only thing left to do is to extend the party for as long as possible, and that is precisely what our politicians have been doing for a long time.

But at some point “extend and pretend” simply won’t work anymore, and a day of reckoning for America will finally arrive.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Top U.S. Officials Gather To Discuss “Military Options” In Venezuela As Russia Warns Of “Grave Consequences” If America Invades

On Wednesday afternoon, senior U.S. officials gathered at the White House to discuss possible military options for Venezuela. Meanwhile, the Russians are warning of grave consequences if the U.S. invades, and so the stage is being set for a potential showdown between the world’s two foremost military powers. Previously, administration officials had hoped that the Venezuelan people would rally around Juan Guaido to such a degree that it would not require military intervention to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but that hasn’t happened. In fact, Guaido’s big push to start a revolution in the streets over the past few days has ended up being a total flop. The following comes from Yahoo News

Guaido had called for the “largest march” in Venezuela’s history and said on Twitter that “millions of Venezuelans” were in the streets in “this final phase” of his move to oust Maduro.

But by late afternoon, many of the protesters in the capital Caracas were drifting home.

Despite Guaido’s calls for the military to support him, the armed forces leadership has so far remained loyal to Maduro, who has been in power since 2013.

In the long-term, the situation in Venezuela isn’t going to change much if the U.S. is able to replace one socialist president (Maduro) with another socialist president (Guaido). Socialism always ends badly, and the people of Venezuela are going to have to decide for themselves that they don’t want socialism any longer.

But that isn’t what this is about. U.S. officials have decided that it is time to impose their will on the people of Venezuela, and they have determined that Maduro must go. If Guaido cannot create a successful internal revolution, then other options will be explored.

And as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, there was a very, very important gathering of top U.S. officials at the White House on Wednesday afternoon

Senior U.S. administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, will meet at the White House Wednesday afternoon. With the situation on the ground still “extraordinarily fluid,” according to Shanahan, the U.S. says it is still weighing military options.

Don’t you wish that you could have been a fly on the wall for that meeting?

Of course we already know what Pompeo and Bolton are thinking. This is what Pompeo just told Fox Business

“Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do.”

In other words, if Guaido can’t get the job done, our boys and girls are going in.

And John Bolton has repeatedly insisted that “all options are on the table” regarding Venezuela, and he just told reporters the following about potential Russian interference

“This is our hemisphere,” he told reporters outside the White House. “It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering. This is a mistake on their part. It’s not going to lead to an improvement of relations.”

So precisely what would Bolton like us to do about it?

The Russians already have troops and military equipment in Venezuela, and they are there with the permission of the Venezuelan government. Does Bolton really want us to attack and risk a war with Russia?

And for what? Venezuela certainly has a lot of oil, but the truth is that there is no fundamental national security interest at stake in Venezuela.

Unfortunately, there is a growing consensus in Washington that something must be done about Venezuela, and the hysteria has already reached absolutely ridiculous levels. For example, just consider the words of U.S. Senator Rick Scott

“Here is what is going to happen. We are in the process, if we don’t win today, we are going to have Syria in this hemisphere. So, we can make sure something happens now, or we can deal with this for decades to come. If we care about families, if we care about the human race, if we care about fellow worldwide citizens, then we’ve got to step up and stop this genocide.”

Did you catch that?

Apparently, if you are not in favor of a U.S. invasion of Venezuela, you don’t “care about families” and you don’t “care about the human race” either.

In response to those comments, this is what Tucker Carlson had to say

When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country? Has it ever worked? How are the democracies we set up in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and Afghanistan right now? How would Venezuela be different? Please explain — and take your time.

Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that?

If we are going to ask members of our military to shed their blood, it had better be for a really, really good reason.

And switching out one socialist leader for another socialist leader in Venezuela definitely does not qualify.

Of course that is the best case scenario.

In a worst case scenario, a U.S. military invasion of Venezuela would spark a war with Russia, and the Russians are making it very clear that there will be “grave consequences” if we attack…

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Pompeo by phone on Wednesday that further “aggressive steps” in Venezuela would have grave consequences, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is getting dangerously close to war with Iran as well. The Iranians are threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for Washington cutting off all their oil exports, and if the Strait of Hormuz gets shut down all hell could break loose.

U.S. officials want to “get tough” with all of our enemies around the world, and that is fine as long as you know what are you doing.

Because even one miscalculation can result in missiles flying back and forth, and once peace is taken from the Earth things could get wildly out of control very rapidly.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail, because right now we are quickly approaching a tipping point.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

2 Aircraft Carriers Have Left Port – Are The USS Eisenhower And The USS Roosevelt Headed South Toward Venezuela?

Juan Guaido has initiated a violent uprising in an attempt to overthrow Nicolas Maduro, and it appears that the U.S. may be preparing to intervene in the conflict militarily. The USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker accurately tracks the current positions of U.S. naval assets, and according to them the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has left port on the east coast and the USS Theodore Roosevelt has left port on the west coast. In both cases, each aircraft carrier was originally slated for “training” exercises, but now there is lots of speculation that they are both steaming south toward Venezuela. Since there has been no official confirmation from Washington, let me stress that once again that any talk about the potential destination of these carriers is just speculation. But considering what is taking place in Venezuela at this moment, it certainly would not surprise anyone if the waters off Venezuela is precisely where they are heading.

Earlier today, the Intel_Radar Twitter account created quite a stir with a series of seven tweets

BREAKING: US Navy deploys two aircraft carriers, both southbound, one from each coast, amid Venezuela crisis.

Update 1 : Eisenhower left Virginia headed South, on the same day Roosevelt deployed out of San Diego headed for the Panama Canal.

Update 2 : US Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (MMSI:368962000|CS:NIKE) departed Norfolk ~2019-04-26, was off AIS for 4 days, and seems to be headed South, off the US East Coast.

Update 3 : American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC) RoRo Integrity (IMO:8919934|MMSI:367063310) departed Mexico with a fake destination, “hiding their destination”.

Update 4 : USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has earned a number of awards, including the Battle “E” in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2012 as the most battle efficient carrier in the Atlantic Fleet.

Update 5 : 6248 kHz LSB Venezuela naval freq still active. Also morse code in background.

Update 6 : A US Navy fast combat support ship departed Norfolk just a little bit ago.

If all of this information is true, it would certainly seem to indicate that something is up.

Could it be possible that the U.S. is about to go to war with Venezuela?

If you are not familiar with what happened in Venezuela on Tuesday, here is a pretty good summary

It was a ploy that from its outset felt like a long shot. Before dawn Tuesday, Juan Guaido, flanked by his political mentor Leopoldo Lopez and a handful of soldiers who had broken ranks, issued a message to Venezuela and the world: The time to topple Nicolas Maduro’s authoritarian regime was right now.

By dusk, with Maduro still firmly in control of the military command, Lopez had sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas and the streets were beginning to empty of the protesters who had heeded Guaido’s call to join what he called Operation Liberty.

Either Guaido is completely suicidal, or he is coordinating with the U.S. and he believes that U.S. military help in on the way.

The second option seems more likely, and on Tuesday John Bolton even admitted that “a deal had been struck” with key members of Maduro’s regime…

The whole episode was so bizarre — with Guaido seemingly lacking the military might to have any chance at all — that it was hard to understand the day’s events. One explanation, as related by National Security Adviser John Bolton, was that a deal had been struck behind the scenes and that key members of Maduro’s regime had agreed to flip, paving the way for Guaido to easily assume power.

Well, either Bolton was bluffing or those officials double-crossed him, because it just hasn’t happened.

And perhaps that would help to explain this very angry tweet from Bolton

.@vladimirpadrino, @Ivanr_HD, @MaikelMorenoTSJ: Your time is up. This is your last chance. Accept Interim President Guaido’s amnesty, protect the Constitution, and remove Maduro, and we will take you off our sanctions list. Stay with Maduro, and go down with the ship.

In response to Bolton’s tweet, one top Venezuelan official posted the following

Dream on … Not today!

Subsequently, Bolton once again told the press that “all options are on the table” when it comes to Venezuela…

Bolton later told reporters that the U.S. would consider intervening in Venezuela.

“We want, as our principal objective, the peaceful transition of power, but I will say again as the president has said from the outset and as Nicolas Maduro and those supporting him — particularly those who are not Venezuelan — should know, is all options are on the table,” Bolton said.

But if the U.S. goes into Venezuela, it will be a full-blown war against a seasoned military with more than 300,000 troops in a country twice the size of Iraq.

In addition, the Russians and the Cubans already have troops there, and they have no intention of pulling their forces out.

In other words, an invasion of Venezuela could potentially spark World War 3.

But John Bolton doesn’t seem fazed by any of that. He is a hardcore war hawk, and he has been calling for military conflict for years. If you will remember, he actually called for a pre-emptive war against North Korea just two months before joining the Trump administration

For John Bolton, the national-security adviser, the summit represented a conundrum. Two months before he entered the White House, in April, 2018, he had called for preëmptive war with North Korea. During the past two decades, Bolton has established himself as the Republican Party’s most militant foreign-policy thinker—an advocate of aggressive force who ridicules anyone who disagrees. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he argued that Kim’s regime would soon be able to strike the United States with nuclear weapons, and that we should attack before it was too late. “The threat is imminent,” he wrote. “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.”

We truly live in ominous times, and many are deeply concerned that Bolton seems to have so much influence over U.S. foreign policy right now.

Ultimately, we don’t know what is going to happen next, but it is interesting to note that White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney also used the phrase “all options are on the table” during an interview with Maria Bartiromo…

“The only messages I think we are trying to get out there is that we want to make sure the Russians and the Cubans know they are not supposed to get involved and that we do and have said a bunch of times that all options are on the table” said Mulvaney during a conversation with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo from the Milken Institute Global Conference Opens a New Window.

They are making it very clear that a full-blown invasion of Venezuela is a real possibility, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what that would mean.

We are talking about a conflict that would be several magnitudes greater than the Iraq war, and it could be right around the corner.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Give This Stock Market Bubble A Round Of Applause – The S&P 500 And The Nasdaq Just Hit Brand New Record Highs

Stocks just closed at a brand new all-time record high, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is coming to theaters, and a 24-year-old man from Wisconsin just won the 768 million dollar Powerball jackpot. If those are the top headlines today, then everything must be good in ‘Murica at the moment, right? Of course that is not true at all, but as far as the stock market is concerned we must give credit where credit is due. Our financial engineers have created the largest stock market bubble in all of U.S. history, and we should all be hoping that it lasts for as long as possible. Because once this financial bubble is destroyed, the aftermath is going to be truly horrible for the entire country.

Up to this point in the year, the stock market is off to the best start that we have seen since 1987.

Of course we all remember what happened toward the end of 1987.

But for now everything is rainbows and unicorns on Wall Street. The following comes from Fox Business

The benchmark S&P 500 index is up 17%, its best start to a year since 1987, while the Nasdaq has gained 22%, its best start since 1991. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remains about half a percentage point from its record last October.

Tuesday’s move to a record high for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq index comes less than six months after a sharp decline in late December, which led the S&P 500 to its worst annual performance since 2008.

Last December, stocks were plunging dramatically, and it looked like a brand new financial crisis was potentially beginning.

But stocks pulled out of their nosedive, and most investors are feeling really happy for the moment.

If we could just freeze this moment in time somehow, we would be in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, time inevitably rolls on, and many believe that there is a lot of pain ahead for investors.

Of course there are other “experts” that believe the best is yet to come. For instance, Kevin Barry just told CNBC that the stock market turmoil that we witnessed late last year “actually prevented a recession”…

“These market levels are justified,” said Kevin Barry, chief investment officer at Captrust Advisors. “The fourth-quarter sell-off actually prevented a recession because policymakers responded extremely quickly. Both President Xi and President Trump cooled off the rhetoric and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell came out and reversed course.”

I have read that paragraph over and over, and I still can’t believe that someone actually had the gall to say such a thing.

According to Barry, the coming recession has been postponed indefinitely and everybody can start partying like its 1999 all over again!

If only life were so simple.

Look, the reality is that even Fox Business is admitting that stock buybacks are one of the major factors driving this latest rally…

However, the rally this year has been despite outflows from equity funds, according to Bank of America data, suggesting some of the gains have been driven by corporate buybacks of stocks.

Our largest corporations are going hundreds of billions of dollars in debt to pump up their own stock prices. It is a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, and when things start to go bad there is going to be a race to bankruptcy court.

But for the moment the Ponzi scheme continues, and a lot of people are becoming exceedingly wealthy as a result.

For average Americans, it is absolutely imperative to remember that the stock market is not the economy. Yes, the stock market has been soaring, but the U.S. economy has not had a full year of 3 percent growth since the middle of the Bush administration. This has been the longest stretch of sub-three percent economic growth in our history by a very wide margin, and now all of the numbers are telling us that economic activity is slowing down once again.

Instead of partying, most people should be using this time to prepare for what is ahead, but we know that is simply not going to happen.

And when the end of this bubble finally comes, it is likely to come very quickly. As I always stress to my regular readers, markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and that is especially true during times of crisis.

In 2008, enormous amounts of money were lost in the blink of an eye. The following comes from an outstanding article by Bob Henderson entitled “What I Learned From Losing $200 Million”

The day after Lehman fell I lost $20 million, and the day after that $30 million—enough in two days to wipe out all the profits I’d made the previous year. (And that had been a pretty good year.)

But worse was that I felt trapped. My models showed I was destined to lose far more money in the coming weeks, no matter what I did. All roads seemed to lead to an unavoidable abyss. I could practically feel that hot hole breathing under my desk. I actually got dizzy, and lost my ability to think. When my boss stopped by to warn me that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley looked likely to fall next, he seemed almost amused when he told me that I looked green.

I stumbled home early that day, mentally incapacitated for the first time in my career.

Someday we will see similar things happen again, but we should all want that day to be put off for as long as possible.

For the moment, happy times are here again on Wall Street, and we should enjoy them while we still can.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Uh Oh: The Number Of Job Openings In The U.S. Dropped By More Than Half A Million In Just One Month

According to the Labor Department, the number of job openings in the United States just plunged by the largest amount we have seen in nearly four years. The latest JOLTS report shows that the number of job openings has declined by 538,000, and that is a really big number for just a single month. But we shouldn’t be surprised by this at all, because it is perfectly consistent with all of the other dismal economic numbers that have been coming in recently. An economic slowdown is here, and many believe that it is just getting started.

Very briefly, let’s review some of the reasons why we should expect to see the employment numbers get worse. As the economy slows down, goods begin to pile up in our warehouses, and that is precisely what the numbers show. In fact, the inventory to sales ratio in the U.S. has now increased for five months in a row.

Fewer sales should result in less stuff being shipped around the nation by freight, rail and air, and this is yet another thing that we see happening right now. Overall, U.S. freight shipment volume has dropped for three months in a row.

Once businesses realize that economic conditions have changed, then they start reducing the number of job openings and laying off workers. That is why employment statistics are often referred to as “trailing indicators”. The employment numbers don’t usually start to go down until other indicators start dropping first.

And without a doubt, the employment numbers are starting to move. Continuing jobless claims have been rising at the most rapid pace in 10 years, and U.S. businesses have been adding jobs at the slowest pace in 18 months.

With all of that in mind, we should not be surprised at all by this latest number

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, tumbled by 538,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.1 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, report on Tuesday. The drop was the biggest since August 2015.

That is a really dreadful number, and there is no way to spin it to make it look good.

One factor that is shifting the employment environment is all of the minimum wage laws that are being passed around the country.

A number of liberal enclaves have raised the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour, and as a result a lot of small businesses have been forced to let workers go

In what has become just one more example of government intervention going the exact opposite of what socialists intend, minimum wage laws are driving a “payroll tsunami.” Small businesses are being forced to lay off workers in order to comply with a law demanding an increase in wages.

This isn’t all that surprising. Economists, small business owners, and other analysts have said that the net result of higher wages is a loss of jobs. And small businesses, who don’t have the capital or return that large corporations do, are feeling the proverbial pinch. According to Fox News, several mom-and-pop coffee shops and restaurants, are responding by cutting hours, eliminating jobs or closing down entirely because they can’t keep up with rising wages under the law.

My very first job was flipping burgers for McDonald’s, and I made $3.35 an hour doing it. As a teenager, I was grateful to have such a job, but now such minimum wage jobs are in danger. Wal-Mart and other major corporations are already making extensive use of robots to perform basic tasks, and making human workers more expensive is going to hurt those at the bottom of the economic food chain the most.

But for the moment, things are still relatively stable. Most Americans still seem to believe that the bubble of debt-fueled economic “prosperity” that we are currently enjoying is going to continue for the foreseeable future, and they are spending money as if tomorrow will never come.

According to Zero Hedge, U.S. consumer credit has now surged past the 4 trillion dollar mark…

After a few months of wild swings in mid 2018, in February US consumer credit continued to normalize, rising by $15.2 billion, slightly below the $17 billion expected, following January’s $17.7 billion increase. The continued increase in borrowings saw total credit storm above $4 trillion, and hit a new all time high of $4.045 trillion on the back of a America’s ongoing love affair with auto and student loans, and of course credit cards.

We better hope that the U.S. economy is able to pull out of this new slowdown, because most of us are living right on the edge financially.

Sadly, we never seem to learn. The same mistakes that we made last time around are all happening again, and Americans are completely and totally unprepared for what is coming.

And the warnings are all around us. On Tuesday, the IMF downgraded their forecast for global economic growth for the third time in six months. Commenting on this downgrade, IMF executive director Christine Lagarde noted that this is a “delicate moment” for the global economy…

Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s executive director, said the global economy is in a “delicate moment.”

“Only two years ago, 75% of the global economy experienced an upswing,” Lagarde said, according to the text of a speech she’s due to give at the US Chamber of Commerce. “For this year, we expect 70% of the global economy to experience a slowdown in growth.”

It is not often that I agree with a globalist like Christine Lagarde, but she is quite right in saying that this is a “delicate moment”.

Global economic numbers have not been this bad since the last financial crisis, and many believe that we have now reached a major turning point.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Economic Slowdown Confirmed: Here Are 14 Very Alarming Numbers That Reveal The Current State Of The Economy

The economic numbers just continue to get worse and worse, and at this point it has become exceedingly clear that an economic slowdown is happening. In fact, even the chair of the Federal Reserve is using the term “slowdown” to describe what is taking place. But of course many are still hoping that the U.S. economy can pull out of this slump and avoid the sort of crippling recession that we experienced in 2008. Unfortunately, that may be really tough because the entire global economy is slowing down right now. Our world is more interconnected than ever before, and what happens on one side of the planet is invariably going to affect the other side of the planet. Some parts of the globe are already mired in deep economic problems, and the U.S. appears to be following down the same path.

If you still think that the economy is in “good shape”, please read over the following list very carefully.

The following are 14 very alarming numbers that reveal the true state of the economy…

#1 Continuing jobless claims are rising at the fastest pace in 10 years.

#2 U.S. businesses are adding jobs at the slowest pace in 18 months.

#3 General Motors, Ford, Nissan and Fiat Chrysler all reported sales declines of at least 5 percent on a year over year basis in March.

#4 Tesla vehicle deliveries were down a whopping 31 percent during the first quarter of 2019.

#5 U.S. consumer confidence fell more than 7 points in March.

#6 Manhattan real estate sales have now fallen for six straight quarters. That is the longest losing streak in 30 years.

#7 London real estate sales just dropped by the most we have seen in 10 years.

#8 The owner of Kay, Zales and Jared jewelers just announced that they will be closing 150 stores.

#9 Retail layoffs are 92 percent higher than they were at this time last year.

#10 U.S. freight shipment volume has fallen for three months in a row.

#11 The inventory to sales ratio in the United States has risen sharply for five months in a row.

#12 At this point, almost half of all renters in America spend more than 30 percent of their incomes on rent.

#13 The real median net income for Minnesota farmers was only $26,055 in 2018, and that was before many of them were absolutely devastated by the recent flooding.

#14 Overall, U.S. economic numbers are off to their worst start for a year since 2008.

We didn’t see economic numbers like this last year.

But now things have clearly changed. It is starting to feel more like 2008 with each passing day, and this is a point that Mac Slavo made in his most recent article

The signs of yet another economic recession are everywhere. In fact, it seems hard to find any positive economic news anymore, even though a mere few months ago, it was difficult to find a report signaling the United States might be headed for some turmoil.

These days, many people get offended at the thought that the U.S. economy is heading for trouble. But the truth is that we have been heading for trouble for a very long time.

Our economy is built on a foundation of sand. More specifically, we have borrowed our way into “prosperity”.

The other day, I wrote an article about our $22,000,000,000,000 national debt. It is the biggest single debt in the history of the world, and we continue to add to it at a rate that is absolutely insane. In fact, our 234 billion dollar deficit in February broke the all-time record for a single month. If we continue to do this, there is no way that our story ends well.

But that 22 trillion dollar debt is only a fraction of our overall debt.

When you add up all forms of debt in the United States, it comes to a grand total of more than 72 trillion dollars. And that doesn’t even include a single dollar of our unfunded liabilities on the federal, state and local level.

When Ronald Reagan took office, the total amount of debt in the U.S. was less than 5 trillion dollars.

When historians look back on this time in history, they will not be surprised that our society ultimately collapsed. What will surprise them is that it took so long for it to do so.

Sometimes I get criticized for urging people to get prepared. But those that really deserve the criticism are those that are assuring everyone that everything is going to be just fine. If we got the smartest minds in the entire country together and treated this like a major national emergency, perhaps we could find a way to engineer some sort of a soft landing when this debt bubble bursts.

But as it stands, there is no plan and our long-term problems get worse with each passing day. Our economy is headed for a crash of epic proportions, and it isn’t going to matter who is in power in Washington when it happens.

And at the rate that our economy is currently slowing down, America may become an economic horror show a lot sooner than many people had anticipated.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

War With Russia? Trump Says Russian Troops Must “Get Out” Of Venezuela And “All Options Are Open” To Make That Happen

Instead of “collusion with Russia”, will the mainstream media soon be buzzing about a potential war with Russia? The Trump administration and the Russian government are currently engaged in a very heated war of words regarding the deteriorating situation in Venezuela, and at this point it is difficult to see how this crisis will end well unless one side is willing to back down. The Russians are backing current president Nicolas Maduro, and as you will see below, they now have troops on the ground in the country. That absolutely infuriated President Trump, because it greatly complicated his plans for regime change in Venezuela. He told the press that Russia must “get out” and that “all options are open” as far as accomplishing that goal. In other words, President Trump is actually threatening Russia with military force if they refuse to pull their troops out of the country.

Of course the Russians are not going to do that. They have been strongly speaking out against the possibility of U.S. military intervention, and they seized the upper hand strategically when they were able to get boots on the ground in Venezuela over the weekend

One flight tracking website shows two aircraft left a Russian military base for the Venezuelan capital Caracas on Friday, with a further jet leaving on Sunday.

The arrival of the military jets was confirmed by Javier Mayorca, an independent journalist, who said an Antonov-124 cargo plane and a smaller jet touched down late on Saturday.

He said approximately 100 soldiers – led by General Vasily Tonkoshkurov, who is head of the Mobilization Directorate of Russia’s armed forces – was also seen, as well as 35 tons of equipment.

Having the backing of the Russian military greatly, greatly strengthens Maduro’s position, and it is going to be much more difficult for the Trump administration to get rid of him now.

In recent public statements, Russian officials have made it exceedingly clear that they will not tolerate U.S. military intervention in Venezuela, and they underscored that point by sending in troops.

In response, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is warning that the U.S. “will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela”

The influx of Russian forces, reportedly with intelligence officers among them, prompted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to call his Russian counterpart on Monday and warn him, “that the United States and regional countries will not stand idly by as Russia exacerbates tensions in Venezuela.”

Okay, so what does “not stand idly by” actually mean?

When asked by reporters for specifics on the situation in Venezuela, this is what President Trump had to say

“Russia has to get out,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office, where he met with Guaido’s wife, Fabiana Rosales.

Asked how he would make Russian forces leave, Trump said: “We’ll see. All options are open.”

But Russia is not going to get out of Venezuela.

So either Trump will have to back down, or he will have to risk a full-blown war with Russia by taking military action.

Yes, we have actually reached that point.

On a note that may or may not be related, the U.S. Army has just placed an order for 167,195 assault rifles

The Army Contracting Command-New Jersey (ACC-NJ) has issued a pre-solicitation to the defense industry, on behalf of Project Manager Soldier Weapons (PM-SW), for the request to procure 167,195 M4/M4A1 Carbines to be manufactured exclusively within the United States or its Territories.

The M4/M4A1 carbines provide a shorter and lighter variant of the M16A2 assault rifle to the United States Armed Forces. The lightweight assault rifle fires 5.56×45mm NATO ammunition from a 30-round magazine and has semi-automatic and three-round burst firing modes.

Is this just a routine order, or does someone anticipate that our troops will be doing some fighting soon?

Whether military action is coming in the short-term or not, it is clear that the U.S. intends to continue to increase the pressure on Maduro. President Trump met with Juan Guaido’s wife on Wednesday, and the day before another crippling power outage paralyzed much of Venezuela

Venezuelans reacted with despair and resourcefulness on Tuesday as nationwide power cuts closed schools and businesses, paralyzing a nation that was only starting to recover from its worst blackouts earlier this month.

The new outages, which began Monday, forced people to follow now-familiar routines: scour neighborhoods for food and water in the few shops that were open or seek out the few spots where they could find a signal on their mobile phones and get in touch with family and friends.

Now that the Mueller investigation is over, hopefully there will be a vigorous national debate about our policy regarding Venezuela, because the American people deserve to know what another war would cost us.

A war in Venezuela would be far more complicated and far more difficult than our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Just consider Ron Paul’s assessment of such a conflict

So is President Trump about to attack Venezuela? At a recent US House hearing, one of the expert witnesses testified that such an invasion would require between 100,000 and 150,000 US troops, going up against maybe three times that number of Venezuelan troops in a country twice the size of Iraq. With a lot of jungle. All for a “prize” that has nothing to do with US security. If the president makes such a foolish move he might find the current war cheerleaders in the Democrat Party changing their tune rather quickly. Let’s hope Trump changes his tune and returns to his promises of no more regime change wars.

On top of all that, an invasion of Venezuela would risk sparking a full-blown war with Russia.

It would be a foreign policy mistake of epic proportions, and we must not do it.

Without a doubt, the situation in Venezuela is heartbreaking, and we should all hope for their economy to be restored.

But this is something for the people of Venezuela to sort out. As I have repeatedly stressed, the U.S. cannot be the police of the world, and the U.S. military should not be used to overthrow governments just because we do not like who is currently running things.

If we are going to ask young American men and women to shed their blood and sacrifice their lives, it had better be for a really, really, really good reason, and regime change in Venezuela definitely does not qualify.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Just Before The Great Recession, Mountains Of Unsold Goods Piled Up In U.S. Warehouses – And Now It Is Happening Again

When economic conditions initially begin to slow down, businesses continue to order goods like they normally would but those goods don’t sell as quickly as they previously did. As a result, inventory levels begin to rise, and that is precisely what is happening right now. In fact, the U.S. inventory to sales ratio has risen sharply for five months in a row. This is mirroring the pattern that we witnessed just prior to the financial crisis of 2008, and it is exactly what we would expect to see if a new recession was now beginning. In recent weeks, I have been sharing number after number that indicates that a serious economic slowdown is upon us, and many believe that what is coming will eventually be even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

And even though I write about this stuff every day, I was stunned by how rapidly inventory levels have been rising recently. The following numbers come from Peter Schiff’s website

This comes on the heels of the largest gain in wholesale inventories in more than five years in December.

Inventories rose 7.7% from a year ago in January. Meanwhile, sales only rose by 2.7%. Overall, total inventories were $669.9 billion at the end of January, up 1.2% from the revised December level.

The increase in durable goods inventories at the wholesale level was even starker. These inventories were up 11.7% from January a year ago, and are up 17% from January two years ago, hitting $415 billion, the highest ever.

Businesses don’t like to have excess inventory, because carrying excess inventory is expensive and cuts into profits. So they try very hard to manage their inventories efficiently, but if the economy slows down unexpectedly that can catch them off guard

There are few indications of economic slowing that are more convincing than an unwanted build in inventories — and that apparently is what’s underway in the wholesale sector.

When inventory levels get too high, businesses often start reducing the amount of stuff they are ordering from manufacturers.

So we would expect the numbers to indicate that manufacturing output is down, and that is precisely what we have witnessed over the last couple of months

U.S. manufacturing output fell for a second straight month in February and factory activity in New York state hit nearly a two-year low this month, offering further evidence of a sharp slowdown in economic growth early in the first quarter.

If manufacturers are making and sending less stuff to businesses, and if businesses are selling less stuff to their customers, then we would expect to see less stuff moved around the U.S. by truck, rail and air.

And wouldn’t you know it, the numbers also tell us that this has been happening too. The following comes from Wolf Richter

Now it’s the third month in a row, and the red flag is getting more visible and a little harder to ignore about the goods-based economy: Freight shipment volume in the US across all modes of transportation – truck, rail, air, and barge – in February fell 2.1% from February a year ago, according to the Cass Freight Index, released today. The three months in a row of year-over-year declines are the first such declines since the transportation recession of 2015 and 2016.

So there you have it. Anyone that tries to tell you that the U.S. economy is “booming” is simply not being accurate.

And when you throw in the fact that we just witnessed one of the worst disasters for U.S. agriculture in all of U.S. history, it is easy to understand why the economic outlook for the remainder of 2019 is rather bleak. One agribusiness company just announced that it will have “a negative pretax operating profit impact of $50 million to $60 million for the first quarter” as a result of all the flooding…

Already suffering from low crop prices and the U.S.-China trade war, Mother Nature has delivered yet another blow to the beleaguered American farmer. Growers in the heartland this year have seen arctic cold blasts, been blanketed by snow and just in the last week were inundated by floods. Archer-Daniels-Midland Co., one of the world’s biggest agribusinesses, said Monday that it expects weather disruptions to have a negative pretax operating profit impact of $50 million to $60 million for the first quarter.

Korth said he fears the worst for local farmers, citing a friend who lost 85 cows to flooding and another who sells seeds and has already seen order cancellations.

“It’s going to put a lot of people out of business,” Korth said. “It’s just a terrible deal.”

Unfortunately, the flooding in the middle portion of the country is just getting started. According to the National Weather Service, we are going to see more catastrophic flooding for the next two months.

As you can see, the elements for a “perfect storm” are definitely coming together, and I encourage everyone to get prepared for rough times ahead.

But many people are not that concerned about a new crisis, because they remember that global central banks were able to pull us out of the fire last time around.

Unfortunately, they may not be able to do it this time. Just consider the words of the deputy director of the IMF

Major financial institutions may be powerless to prevent the next global economic downturn from tuning into a full-blow recession, the International Monetary Fund has warned.

In a speech on the future of the eurozone, the IMF’s deputy director David Lipton, warned of the depleted power of central banks and governments to combat another sharp economic shock.

“The bottom line is this: the tools used to confront the global financial crisis may not be available or may not be as potent next time” he said.

But I am sure that global central banks will try to patch the system back together again, and at certain moments it may even look like they are having some success.

In the end, however, they will not be able to stop the “Bubble To End All Bubbles” from completely bursting.

It has taken decades of exceedingly foolish decisions to get us to this point, and there is simply no way that we can avoid the day of reckoning that is coming.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Chair Of The Federal Reserve Just Used The Term “Slowdown” To Describe What Is Happening To The U.S. Economy

Now even the Federal Reserve is publicly admitting that the U.S. economy is slowing down. And that is quite remarkable, because usually the Federal Reserve is extremely hesitant to say that an economic slowdown is taking place. As I pointed out the other day, in 2008 former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke kept insisting that a recession was not coming, but we found out later that a recession had already begun when he was making those statements. Normally the Federal Reserve tries very hard to paint a rosy picture of our economic future, and one of the big reasons for that is because they want us to believe that they are doing a good job and that they have everything under control. So it was quite stunning to hear Fed Chair Jerome Powell use the term “slowdown” to describe what is coming for the U.S. economy on Wednesday…

Citing a more modest outlook for the economy, the Federal Reserve on Wednesday held interest rates steady and signaled it did not plan to raise rates at all this year and would bump them up just once in 2020, providing a road map for a sustained period of easy-money policy.

“The U.S. economy is in a good place,” Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said at a news conference, adding policymakers foresee “a modest slowdown, with overall conditions remaining favorable. We see no need to rush to judgment (by lifting or cutting rates).”

Admittedly, he did only say that it would be a “modest slowdown”, and so to most people that won’t sound that bad.

But this is the very first time that Powell has talked like this, and the truth is that the Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model is currently forecasting that U.S. growth in the first quarter will be less than half a percent. Fed officials are hoping that growth will be better in the second quarter, but there is also a very strong possibility that the economy will continue to decelerate.

Because the economy is entering a “slowdown”, the Federal Reserve announced on Wednesday that it does not anticipate any more interest rate hikes for the rest of the year.

Normally Wall Street would experience a huge surge of euphoria upon hearing such news, but stocks were actually down on Wednesday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 closed lower on Wednesday after the Federal Reserve’s latest monetary-policy announcement dragged Treasury yields lower, pushing bank shares down.

Goldman Sachs led the 30-stock Dow to end the day down 141.71 points at 25,745.67. The S&P 500 closed 0.3 percent lower at 2,824.23. The Nasdaq Composite eked out a gain, closing 0.1 percent higher at 7,728.97.

This certainly could not have been the reaction that the Federal Reserve was hoping for.

Could it be possible that bad news for the U.S. economy is no longer good news for Wall Street?

Without a doubt, we are witnessing a huge wave of pessimism in the business community right now. Yesterday, I noted that Federal Express is talking as if a global recession had already started, and other corporate leaders are making similar statements.

For example, just consider what the CEO of banking giant UBS just said

The head of UBS was among the latest to blame the world’s backdrop for weaker-than-expected results. CEO Ermotti told a conference in London on Wednesday that it “one of the worst first-quarter environments in recent history,” Reuters reported. The Swiss bank slashed another $300 million from 2019 costs after revenue at its investment bank plunged. Investment banking conditions are among the toughest seen in years, especially outside the U.S., he said.

And the CFO of BMW told investors on Wednesday that BMW’s earnings may be exposed to “additional risks” from the global economy in the months ahead…

“Depending on how conditions develop, our guidance may be subject to additional risks; in particular, the risk of a no-deal Brexit and ongoing developments in international trade policy,” CFO Nicolas Peter said in BMW’s quarterly earnings report Wednesday.

Last, but certainly not least, the co-CEO of Samsung just said that his company is anticipating “slowing growth in major economies” for the remainder of 2019…

“We are expecting many difficulties this year such as slowing growth in major economies and risks over global trade conflicts,” Samsung Co-Chief Executive Kinam Kim said.

Here in the United States, whoever is in the White House at the time usually gets most of the credit or most of the blame for how the economy is performing.

But the truth is that President Trump did not create the financial bubble that caused the boom on Wall Street.

The Federal Reserve did.

And President Trump is not going to be responsible when that bubble bursts either.

The Federal Reserve has far, far more control over the performance of the U.S. economy than either the president or Congress does. And since the Federal Reserve was initially created in 1913, there have been 18 distinct recessions and/or depressions, and now we are heading into the 19th one.

If we want to finally get off this economic roller coaster ride permanently, we need to abolish the Federal Reserve. But this isn’t even part of the national political discussion at this point.

However, that could soon change. In the aftermath of the financial crisis of 2008, we witnessed a huge backlash against the Federal Reserve system. Eventually that backlash subsided, but now that we are entering a new crisis, perhaps it is time to start dusting off all of those old “End the Fed” signs.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

FedEx Is Talking As If A Global Recession Has Already Begun – And The Numbers Back That Up

“Slowing international macroeconomic conditions” is just a fancy way to say that the global economy is in big trouble. For months, I have been warning that economic conditions are deteriorating, and we just keep getting more confirmation that we are facing the worst global downturn since the last financial crisis. For the second time in three months, FedEx has slashed its revenue forecast for this year. In an attempt to explain why revenue is declining, FedEx’s chief financial officer placed the blame squarely on the faltering global economy. The following comes from CNBC

The multinational package delivery service reported declining international revenue as a result of unfavorable exchange rates and the negative effects of trade battles.

“Slowing international macroeconomic conditions and weaker global trade growth trends continue, as seen in the year-over-year decline in our FedEx Express international revenue,” Alan B. Graf, Jr., FedEx Corp. executive vice president and chief financial officer, said in statement.

The use of the word “trends” implies something that has been going on for an extended period of time, and obviously FedEx doesn’t expect things to get better any time soon if they have cut profit projections twice in just the last three months.

And FedEx certainly has a lot of company when it comes to having a gloomy outlook for the global economy. In one recent article, Bloomberg boldly declared that the global economy is in the worst shape it has been “since the financial crisis a decade ago”

The global economy’s in its weakest shape since the financial crisis a decade ago, Bloomberg Economics analysis shows. And the reminders are all around: China got more affirming evidence of its big slowdown, with industrial output and retail sales softening and a jump in unemployment. The question now is how big that slowdown will be, and what China’s stimulus — and the U.S.-China negotiations — will do to put a floor under it. The Chinese premier pledged Friday that they wouldn’t use quantitative easing or massive deficit spending to ease the pain. Japan got more bad news on manufacturing sentiment and in the hard investment data. Germany, Europe’s growth driver, can’t hide from the daunting external risks. And Turkey just entered its first recession in a decade.

In recent weeks I have been sharing lots of numbers that back up the claim that global economic conditions are getting worse, and over the past few days we got a few more…

-U.S. freight volume has dropped for three months in a row.

-In February, orders for Class-8 freight trucks were down 58 percent from a year ago.

-U.S. manufacturing output was down for a second straight month in the month of February.

-U.S. residential construction spending just plunged for the sixth month in a row.

-Industrial production on a year-over-year basis in Europe has fallen for three months in a row.

When we see numbers like those, normally everyone is screaming “recession” by now.

And retailers continue to shut down at a staggering pace here in 2019. Sadly, we just learned that Shopko is officially heading for bankruptcy and liquidation

Shopko will liquidate its assets and close all of its remaining locations by mid-June.

The company was unable to find a buyer for the retail business and will begin winding down its operations beginning this week, the company said in statement released Monday. The decision to liquidate will bring an end to the brick-and-mortar business that began in 1962 with one location in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

There is a Shopko about 20 minutes from where I live, and it will definitely be missed.

Meanwhile, things just continue to get even harder for farmers in the middle part of the country. I wrote about the devastating impact that this historic flooding is having on Midwest farmers a few days ago, and now Fox Business is reporting that all of this flood damage is likely to make our rapidly growing farm bankruptcy crisis even worse…

The number of farms filing for bankruptcy already spiked, following low prices for corn, soybeans, milk and beef, according to analysis from the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis. In the 12-month period ending in June, 84 farms filed for bankruptcy in Wisconsin, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota and Montana — double the number over the same period in 2013 and 2014.

Now, some of these farmers have lost their livestock as a result of the devastating flooding. Some farmers, the Times reported, said they’ve been separated from their animals by walls of water, while others are unable to get into town for food and other supplies for the livestock.

We can see so many elements of “the perfect storm” starting to come together, and many believe that events are going to start greatly accelerating in the months ahead.

And as the global economy continues to deteriorate, we could quickly have a giant mess on our hands, because the global financial system is far more vulnerable today than it was in 2008. Just consider these numbers

Global debt levels have become “higher and riskier” than that of a decade ago, meaning that “another credit downturn may be inevitable”, S&P Global Ratings has warned.

In a report entitled Next Debt Crisis: Will Liquidity Hold?, published on Tuesday (12 March), S&P found global debt has surged by around 50% since the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, led by major-economy governments and Chinese non-financial corporates, while global debt-to-GDP ratios have risen to more than 231%, compared with 208% in June 2008.

Shipping companies often feel the effects of an economic slowdown earlier than just about anyone else. When a lot less stuff is being moved around by truck, rail and air, that should be a clear indication for the rest of us that economic activity is really starting to slow down significantly.

So the fact that FedEx has such a bleak outlook for our immediate economic future is a very ominous sign.

Tough times are ahead, and considering how tense things already are in our country, an economic downturn at this time could ultimately set off a very disturbing chain of events.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

New Numbers Confirm That The Global Economy And The U.S. Economy Are The Weakest They Have Been Since The Last Recession

Even mainstream economists are admitting that economic activity is slowing down. And at this point that fact would be very difficult to deny, because the numbers are very clear. We haven’t faced anything like this in a decade, and many are deeply concerned about what is coming next. Will it be just another recession, or will it be an even greater crisis than we faced in 2008? According to Bloomberg Economics, the global economy experienced a “sharp loss of speed” over the course of 2008 and global economic conditions are now “the weakest since the global financial crisis”…

The global economy’s sharp loss of speed through 2018 has left the pace of expansion the weakest since the global financial crisis a decade ago, according to Bloomberg Economics.

Its new GDP tracker puts world growth at 2.1 percent on a quarter-on-quarter annualized basis, down from about 4 percent in the middle of last year. While there’s a chance that the economy may find a foothold and arrest the slowdown, “the risk is that downward momentum will be self-sustaining,” say economists Dan Hanson and Tom Orlik.

This is definitely the worst condition that the global economy has been in since I started The Economic Collapse Blog, and I am personally very alarmed about where things are heading. The tremendous economic optimism of early 2018 has given way to a tremendous wave of pessimism, and the speed at which the economic environment is changing has stunned a lot of the experts.

In fact, Bloomberg economists Dan Hanson and Tom Orlik openly admit that they are “surprised” by how quickly the global economy has shifted…

“The cyclical upswing that took hold of the global economy in mid-2017 was never going to last. Even so, the extent of the slowdown since late last year has surprised many economists, including us.

Of course the U.S. has not been immune from the changes. The U.S. economy is rapidly slowing down as well, and this is something that I have been heavily documenting on my website.

And now we have just received more confirmation that the economy is decelerating. The Atlanta Fed has just updated their GDPNow model yet again, and with this new revision they are now projecting that the U.S. economy will grow at a rate of just 0.2 percent during the first quarter of 2019…

Moments ago we got another confirmation of this, when following the latest retail sales report which saw a dramatic cut to December retail sales even as January surprised modestly to the upside, the Atlanta Fed slashed its Q1 GDP nowcast, and after rebounding modestly from 0.3% to 0.5% a week ago, it has once again slumped, and is now at the lowest recorded level, and just 0.2% away from economic contraction.

This is how the AtlantaFed justified its latest Q1 GDP cut, which as of March 11 was just 0.2 percent, down from 0.5 percent on March 8: “After this morning’s retail sales report from the U.S. Census Bureau, the nowcast of first-quarter real personal consumption expenditures growth declined from 1.5 percent to 1.0 percent.”

In other words, we are just a razor thin margin away from entering an economic contraction.

Last week, we learned that U.S. job cut announcements were up 117 percent in February when compared to last year. All of the economic momentum is in a negative direction right now, and it is going to be exceedingly difficult to avert a recession at this point.

And of course a lot of analysts believe that what is coming will be a whole lot worse than just a recession. The greatest debt bubble in the entire history of our planet is in the process of bursting, and the consequences are going to be absolutely horrific. I really like how financial expert Egon von Greyerz recently made this point

People must understand that the world has never faced risk of this magnitude. We are now in the final seconds of the global mega bubble, the likes of which the world has never seen before. What will happen next will be worse than the fall of the Roman Empire, much worse than the South Sea and Mississippi Bubbles, and will create a disaster that will dwarf the Great Depression of the 1930s.

The problem is simple to define and is all based around debts and liabilities. At the beginning of this century, global debt was $80 trillion. When the Great Financial Crisis started in 2006, global debt had gone up by 56% to $125 trillion. Today it is $250 trillion.

There is no way that a 250 trillion dollar bubble is going to burst in an orderly fashion. Essentially, we are looking at the sort of apocalyptic financial scenario that I have been warning about for a long time, and most people have no idea that it is coming.

And if people only listened to the financial authorities, it would be easy to get the impression that everything is going to be just fine.

For example, Fed Chair Jay Powell just told 60 Minutes that the outlook for the U.S. economy “is a favorable one”. The following comes from Fox Business

Jay Powell, the head of the Federal Reserve, says he does not see a recession hitting the U.S. economy anytime soon.

“The outlook for our economy, in my view, is a favorable one,” Powell said Sunday in an interview with CBS’s Scott Pelley for “60 Minutes.”

If you are tempted to believe Powell, let me remind you of what former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke told Congress in early 2008

“The U.S. economy remains extraordinarily resilient,” the U.S. central bank chief said in answering questions after testifying before the House of Representatives Budget Committee.

Bernanke added that growth will be worse this year. “We currently see the economy as continuing to grow, but growing at a relatively slow pace, particularly in the first half of this year,” he said.

Of course we all remember what happened next. The U.S. economy plunged into the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and we are still dealing with the aftermath of that crisis to this day.

Nobody is going to ring a bell when the next recession starts. It is just going to happen, and just like last time, most Americans are going to be blindsided by it.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

U.S. Job Cut Announcements Rise 117 Percent To The Highest Level That We Have Seen In More Than 3 Years

We have not seen anything like this since the last recession. Layoff announcements are coming fast and furious now, and the speed at which workers are being laid off is shocking a lot of people. In this day and age, big companies have absolutely no loyalty to their workers. The moment it becomes financially advantageous for them to start laying off employees, most of them will do it in a heartbeat. I personally know someone that was an extremely hard worker and that put in extra time and effort for his company for many, many years, but he was just laid off because that is what the number crunchers determined was the right move. It is a cold, cruel world, and as we witnessed back in 2008, job losses can occur at a pace that is absolutely breathtaking when a recession strikes.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have been documenting the numbers that indicate that a major economic slowdown has begun, and we may have gotten the biggest one so far on Thursday.

According to Challenger, Gray & Christmas, the number of job cut announcements in February was up 117 percent compared to the same period last year. The following comes from Fox Business

While many experts and investors are eagerly awaiting data on status of the labor market Opens a New Window. to be released by the government on Friday, a new report shows U.S. employers cut more jobs Opens a New Window. last month than they have in the past 3.5 years.

Even though it is the shortest month of the year, U.S. employers announced plans to cut 76,835 jobs last month, according to a report from Challenger, Gray & Christmas. That’s a 117 percent year-over-year increase, and a 45 percent increase over January’s numbers.

You have to go all the way back to 2015 to find a month that was as bad as February.

Are you starting to see that the momentum for the economy has clearly shifted?

The economic news just keeps getting worse and worse as we roll through 2019, and the retail sector is being hit harder than just about anyone else.

In fact, retailers announced more job cuts in February than any other sector did

The retail sector had the most planned job cuts, with 41,201 so far this year – the highest January-February total since 2009. The industrial goods sector – including some manufacturers – followed with nearly 32,000 cuts announced during the same time period.

The primary reasons employers cited for eliminating positions were restructuring and bankruptcy.

This is being called a “retail apocalypse”, and we are on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year.

At this point, retailers have already announced the closure of more than 5,300 stores. The following list of retailers that have announced that they are shutting down at least 10 locations comes from Business Insider

Payless ShoeSource: 2,500 stores
Gymboree: 805 stores
Family Dollar: 390 stores
Shopko: 251 stores
Chico’s: 250 stores
Gap: 230 stores
Performance Bicycle: 102 stores
Charlotte Russe: 520 stores
Sears: 70 stores
Destination Maternity: 42-67 stores
Victoria’s Secret: 53 stores
Kmart: 50 stores
Abercrombie & Fitch: 40 stores
Christopher & Banks: 30-40 stores
JCPenney: 27 stores
Beauty Brands: 25 stores
Henri Bendel: 23 stores
Lowe’s: 20 stores

And that list doesn’t even include the fact that Amazon is closing all 87 of its pop-up stores.

I have repeatedly warned that we will be facing a future of boarded up windows, empty retail stores and abandoned malls, and it is happening right in front of our eyes.

Of course it isn’t just the retail industry that is rapidly laying off workers. Here are just a few of the highlights from the workforce reduction announcements that we have seen in recent days…

-Tesla continues to struggle, and they have already laid off 8 percent of their entire workforce.

-Microsoft is cutting approximately 200 jobs in their commercial sales business.

-JP Morgan is steadily shutting down bank branches in lower income neighborhoods.

-We Work has announced that they have let 300 employees go.

-Devon Energy is eliminating about 200 workers.

-Whole Foods is cutting back worker hours.

-Encana has announced that it is laying off 274 workers in the Houston area.

-In North Carolina, Duke Energy has eliminated 1,900 positions.

-Ocwen Financial is planning to lay off approximately 2,000 workers over the course of 2019.

And in my article yesterday, I noted that General Motors is shutting down four major production plants this year.

It’s really happening.

The bubble of debt-fueled false prosperity that we have been enjoying is disappearing, and the road ahead is going to be really rough.

On Thursday we also learned that U.S. household wealth has been plummeting. In fact, the fourth quarter of 2018 was the worst quarter for household balance sheets since the last financial crisis

Americans’ net worth fell at the highest level since the financial crisis in the fourth quarter of 2018 as sliding stock market prices ate into the household balance sheet.

Net worth dropped to $104.3 trillion as the year came to an end, a decrease of $3.73 trillion from the third quarter, according to figures released Thursday by the Federal Reserve. The fall amounted to a drop of 3.4 percent.

An increasing number of families are feeling financially squeezed these days, and many of them are accumulating large amounts of debt as they attempt to keep things going.

But for a lot of Americans that are currently drowning in debt, the end of the road has already been reached.

In an article that I posted yesterday, I noted that an all-time record 7 million Americans are behind on their vehicle payments, 37 million credit card accounts are considered to be “seriously delinquent”, and 166 billion dollars worth of student loans are now in the “seriously delinquent” category.

This is a consumer debt crisis that already surpasses the numbers that we witnessed during the last recession.

Nobody is quite sure what is going to happen next. This is very much a developing story, and I will share new numbers with you as I get them in.

We haven’t experienced anything quite like this since 2008, and most Americans are completely unprepared for a new economic downturn.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Trade Deficit Continues To Explode, Factories Continue To Be Closed, And U.S. Jobs Continue To Be Sent Overseas

The long-term trends that are gutting the U.S. economy continue to get even worse. As you will see below, our goods trade deficit with the rest of the world hit a brand new record high in 2018, and most Americans simply do not understand why this is such a massive problem. Every year, we buy far more from the rest of the world than they buy from us, and that means that the amount of money going out of the country far surpasses the amount that is coming in. This constant outflow of cash is one of the reasons why we are unable to pay our bills, and so we have to keep begging the rest of the world to lend us our money back. Needless to say, this is one of the big factors that has fueled our 22 trillion dollar national debt. In addition, when we run absolutely massive trade deficits we lose factories and workers to other countries. Since China joined the WTO in 2001, the United States has lost more than 60,000 factories. As factories keep closing down, community after community is being gutted all across America, and without a doubt this is truly a major national crisis.

Many had been hoping that we could start to turn things around, but instead last year was an absolute disaster.

According to the Commerce Department, our goods trade deficit with the rest of the world was 891.3 billion dollars in 2018. That was a 12.4 percent increase from the year before, and it represented a brand new all-time record high.

If we stay on this path, it is a recipe for national economic suicide. We will continue to be unable to pay our bills, we will continue to have to beg the rest of the world for increasing amounts of money, and our national debt will continue to explode.

And of course countless numbers of factories will continue to shut down and countless numbers of workers will continue to lose their jobs.

We can see this happening all around us, but most Americans are not mentally connecting the factory closings and the layoffs to our horrific trade deficit. On Wednesday, the very last vehicle rolled off the assembly line at the GM plant in Lordstown, Ohio

General Motors is ending production at its Lordstown, Ohio plant Wednesday — two days earlier than previously expected.

A GM (GM) spokesperson said that’s when the plant will churn out its last Chevy Cruze sedan. At that point, the factory will be unallocated, which means no vehicles will be assigned to that facility.

That factory is just the first of four U.S. factories that GM is shutting down this year.

Needless to say, a lot of those workers don’t know what they are going to do next. One worker that had worked at the plant for 17 years said that seeing that last car roll off the assembly line “was a kick in the gut”

Signs with sayings such as ‘Save this Plant’ were scattered outside the plant where about 100 workers gathered to say goodbye in the cold.

‘It’s frustrating,’ said Jeff Nance, who has worked at Lordstown for 17 years. ‘I’m angry and bitter. Watching that last car go by was a kick in the gut.’

In the end, Lordstown is probably destined to become another rotting, decaying shell of a town just like we have seen happen to so many other formerly great communities in the Rust Belt.

Of course it isn’t just big corporations like GM that are cutting jobs.

Right now, small businesses are getting rid of workers at the fastest pace that we have seen in more than five years. A major economic slowdown is here, but most Americans still don’t seem to realize what is happening.

In recent days, there had been some optimism that a new trade deal with China would soon bring some positive momentum to the economy, but the status of that deal is very much up in the air.

And the U.S. military seriously angered China this week when they flew two B-52 bombers over disputed airspace in the South and East China Seas…

Two US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress long-range bombers, based in Guam, participated in “routine training missions” on Monday by flying through the disputed airspaces over the South and East China Seas. As one bomber “conducted training in the vicinity of the South China Sea,” the other practiced off the coast of Japan in “coordination with the US Navy and alongside our Japanese air force,” US Pacific Air Forces said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the trade war between Canada and China continues to escalate as well

Canada’s largest grain processor said Tuesday that Beijing has canceled its registration to ship canola seed to China, fueled by the arrest of a top executive for the Chinese tech giant Huawei, The Wall Street Journal reported.

The move suggests that rising diplomatic tensions between China and Canada are damaging commerce between the two countries. Tensions have already crushed hopes that senior officials in Ottawa and Beijing would develop further trade ties.

As long as the U.S. and Canada are holding Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, relations with China are going to continue to deteriorate.

And the truth is that the U.S. and Canada are not going to let her go.

Meanwhile, the U.S. economy continues to slide toward a new recession, and even the president of the New York Fed is now warning that economic conditions are likely to slow down “considerably” this year…

The US economy should slow “considerably” in 2019 as the boost from last year’s economic stimulus fades, the president of the New York Federal Reserve Bank said Wednesday.

Amid economic uncertainty, the Federal Reserve could “wait” before raising interest rates again, John Williams said in remarks to the Economic Club of New York.

There is a reason why everyone seems so pessimistic about the economy right now. All of the numbers say that another recession is coming, and it may arrive a lot sooner than most people had anticipated.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Investors Brace For Impact As The Cancer That Is Ravaging “The Real Economy” Starts To Spread

2019 sure has been a weird year so far. On Wall Street, everything has been coming up roses for investors up to this point. Stock prices have risen more than 10 percent year-to-date, and the horrible crashes of late last year are quickly fading from memory. Meanwhile, the real economy is literally falling to pieces right in front of our eyes. Debt delinquencies are at unprecedented levels, bankruptcies are soaring, retail stores are closing at a record pace, this is the worst economy for farmers since the early 1980s, exports are plummeting and a brand new real estate crisis has now begun. Economic cancer is rapidly spreading throughout our country, and the U.S. economy is deteriorating at the fastest pace that we have seen since the last recession. So how long will it be before Wall Street catches up with economic reality?

The retail industry is being hit particularly hard. At the end of last week, major retailers announced 465 store closings in a single 48 hour period…

The ‘retail apocalypse’ is alive and well this week with major chains such as Gap, JCPenney, Victoria’s Secret and Foot Locker all announcing massive closures, totalling the death of more than 465 stores over the last 48 hours.

And those closings already bring the grand total for 2019 to “a whopping 4,309 store closures”

That builds on recent store closure announcements by Gymboree, Payless ShoeSource, Charlotte Russe and Ann Taylor parent company Ascena Retail, to name a few. A whopping 4,309 store closures were announced by retailers just in the first two months of this year, Coresight Research said in a research note on Friday. That’s well ahead of the number of announcements the market research firm was tracking this same time a year ago, it said.

The term “retail apocalypse” is being thrown around so frequently these days that it has almost lost its meaning, but the worst is yet to come.

Meanwhile, layoffs are starting to come fast and furious now. For example, I was recently made aware of major job cuts that just happened in North Carolina

Duke Energy Corp. eliminated 1,900 positions in its latest round of job reductions, largely through voluntary buyouts but with some involuntary layoffs included.

For the first time since the last recession, I think that it is time to start visiting sites like Daily Job Cuts on a regular basis once again. Millions of Americans lost their jobs in 2008 and 2009, and a lot of you can still remember how painful that was.

In the middle of the country, the big news is “the farm apocalypse”. Last week, we learned that farm debt has now jumped 30 percent since 2013…

“Farm debt has been rising more rapidly over the last five years, increasing by 30% since 2013 – up from $315 billion to $409 billion, according to USDA data, and up from $385 billion in just the last year – to levels seen in the 1980s,” Perdue said in his testimony to the House Agriculture Committee.

As a result of this giant mountain of debt, a ton of small and mid-size farms are going under. As I noted the other day, farm debt delinquencies have now reached the highest level that we have witnessed in 9 years.

I really, really don’t understand the people that are telling us that everything is going to be okay.

Everything is not okay, and things are getting worse with each passing day. ISM’s manufacturing survey just hit the lowest level in 26 months, and for a whole bunch more extremely ominous economic numbers please see my previous article entitled “18 Really Big Numbers That Show That The U.S. Economy Is Starting To Fall Apart Very Rapidly”.

Of course it isn’t just the U.S. that is hurting. Up north, Canada is literally teetering on the brink of recession

The Canadian government shocked the professional financial and economic media with their latest fourth quarter GDP release showing the economy has essentially come to a grinding halt at 0.1% growth.

And over in Europe, things are arguably even worse. Germany is supposed to have the strongest economy in the entire region, but they are also right on the brink of recession

The country’s economy just escaped entering recession territory last month, with GDP growing at just zero percent following a 0.4 percent contraction in the previous three-month period. But Germany could be just weeks away from a recession-threatening double whammy as a potential no-deal Brexit and Donald Trump’s warning to hike car tariffs by up to 25 percent could send the economy tumbling. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ministers have entered into a frantic plan to avert an economic catastrophe which could end Europe’s biggest economy’s golden growth for a decade.

This is a global economic slowdown, and many believe that it will be even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

But as I have previously warned, we aren’t just heading toward an economic storm. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken, and that includes our governmental institutions.

On Sunday, we learned that the House Judiciary Committee is opening an investigation into obstruction of justice by President Trump. The following comes from Reuters

The House Judiciary Committee will seek documents from more than 60 people and organizations as it begins investigations into possible obstruction of justice and abuse of power by President Donald Trump, the panel’s chairman said on Sunday.

Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler told ABC’s “This Week” the panel wanted documents from the Department of Justice, the president’s son Donald Trump Jr. and Trump Organization chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, among others.

This is going to be a year of great governmental shaking. And no matter which side emerges victorious from the legal struggles and from the election of 2020, the truth is that our governmental institutions will never be the same again.

From 2016 through 2018, America experienced a time of relative peace and prosperity, and a lot of people out there were convinced that this bubble of unsustainable false prosperity could continue indefinitely.

Now it is becoming very clear what is ahead of us, and a lot of people are starting to freak out.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

18 Really Big Numbers That Show That The U.S. Economy Is Starting To Fall Apart Very Rapidly

Virtually every piece of hard economic data is telling us that the U.S. economy is slowing down dramatically. Many of the pundits have been warning that we could officially enter recession territory later this year or next year, but these numbers seem to indicate that it could happen a whole lot sooner than that. But the stock market has been surging over the last two months, and at this point stocks are off to their best start to a year since 1987, and as long as stock prices are rising a lot of people are simply not going to pay much attention to the economic alarm bells that are ringing. But everyone should be paying attention, because things are really starting to get bad out there. The following are 18 really big numbers that show that the U.S. economy is starting to fall apart very rapidly…

#1 Farm loan delinquencies just hit the highest level that we have seen in 9 years.

#2 We just learned that U.S. exports declined by 4 billion dollars during the month of December.

#3 J.C. Penney just announced that they will be closing another 24 stores.

#4 Victoria’s Secret has just announced plans to close 53 stores.

#5 On Thursday, Gap announced that it will be closing 230 stores over the next two years.

#6 Payless ShoeSource has declared bankruptcy and is closing all 2,100 stores.

#7 Tesla is also closing all of their physical sales locations and will now only sell vehicles online.

#8 PepsiCo has started laying off workers and has committed to “millions of dollars in severance pay”.

#9 The Baltic Dry Index has dropped to the lowest level in more than two years.

#10 This is the worst slump for core U.S. factory orders in three years.

#11 We just witnessed the largest decline in the Philly Fed Business Index in more than 7 years.

#12 In January, sales of existing homes fell 8.9 percent from a year earlier. That was the third month in a row that we have seen a decline of at least 8 percent. This is an absolutely catastrophic trend for the real estate industry.

#13 U.S. housing starts were down 11.2 percent in December compared to the previous month.

#14 Compared to a year earlier, home sales in southern California were down 17 percent in January.

#15 In December, home sales in Sacramento County fell a whopping 22.5 percent compared to a year earlier.

#16 Pending home sales in the United States have now fallen on a year over year basis for 13 months in a row.

#17 More than 166 billion dollars in student loan debt is now “seriously delinquent”. That is an all-time record.

#18 More than 7 million Americans are behind on their auto loan payments. That is also a new all-time record, and it is far higher than anything that we witnessed during the last recession.

It appears that “the recovery” has finally come to an end. After seeing all of those numbers, there is no way that anyone can possibly claim that economic conditions are “getting better”.

And even though the official government numbers are highly manipulated, we never even had one “boom year” throughout the entire “recovery”.

The final numbers for 2018 are now in, and last year was the 13th year in a row when U.S. GDP growth was below 3 percent.

The last time we had a “boom year” when economic growth was above 3 percent was all the way back in 2005. That was in the middle of the Bush administration.

We have never seen a bad streak like this before in modern American history. The following comes from CNS News

But prior to the current 13-year period when real GDP has failed to grow by 3.0 percent in any year, there has been no stretch (in the years since 1930) when the United States went as long as five straight years with real GDP failing to grow by at least 3 percent.

Even though the Federal Reserve pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system over the last decade, and even though we added nearly 12 trillion dollars to the national debt, the best that the authorities have been able to do is to stabilize the system for a while. Now it is starting to sputter once again, and many believe that the next crisis will be far worse than the last one.

By contrast, the Great Depression of the 1930s featured some really bad years, but following those bad years the U.S. experienced a tremendous economic boom

By contrast, after the stock market crash in 1929, the United States saw four years of negative annual GDP—1930 (-8.5), 1931 (-6.4), 1932 (-12.9) and 1933 (-1.2). But then in the nine full years from 1934 through 1942, real GDP grew by an average of 9.75 percent.

We should have had some boom years too, but we didn’t, and now things are going to get bad again.

The Democrats are going to blame the Republicans and the Republicans are going to blame the Democrats, but all of that arguing isn’t going to solve anything.

What is coming next has been a central focus of my work for a very long time. The last recession was very painful, but it did not fundamentally alter life in America.

This next crisis will.

The “Everything Bubble” is bursting, the “Perfect Storm” is coming, and all of our lives will never be the same again.

But that doesn’t mean that there isn’t hope. In fact, once things really start getting crazy hope is going to be one of the major themes in my work because people are really going to need it.

There will be great challenges, and life will be very different, but that doesn’t mean that life is over.

America is about to experience the consequences of decades of exceedingly foolish decisions, and the pain will be extreme. But difficult times also offer an opportunity for dramatic change, and that is something that we will need to embrace.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Airstrikes, Tanks Heading To The Border And Planes Shot Down – India And Pakistan Are In A State Of War

War has erupted in Asia. India is the second largest country in the world by population, and Pakistan is the fifth largest, and they both possess large nuclear arsenals. If this conflict continues to escalate, things could get really, really bad very quickly. On Wednesday, military aircraft were shot down by both sides, there was shelling across the border by both armies, and in recent hours videos have been posted of Pakistani tanks and Indian tanks both heading to the border. Once one army crosses the “Line of Control”, it is going to be very difficult to get the two sides to sit down at the negotiating table. War is one of the elements of “the perfect storm” that I have been warning you about, and I have a feeling that this is just the beginning of the conflict that we are going to see in 2019.

The Pakistani military was greatly embarrassed by the successful Indian airstrikes on Monday, and on Tuesday military aircraft from both sides were shot down

Earlier today Pakistan and India said they had shot down each other’s warplanes, in a dramatic escalation of the dangerous confrontation between the nuclear-armed rivals.

Pakistan said it downed two Indian jets in its airspace and captured two pilots, later amended to one: whom they then seemingly paraded – blindfolded and bloodied – for the camera.

On Tuesday evening, Islamabad used heavy calibre artillery to shell 12 to 15 places along the Indian side creating panic among the populace on the border where bunkers are being hastily thrown up to ease their fears.

When the Indian pilot that was shot down was discovered by locals in Pakistan, they started beating the living daylights out of him. The following comes from the Mirror

The brief clip shows the cameraman approach a group of people huddled around the stricken pilot in what appears to be a small creek.

The pilot, whose arms are being held above his head, is struck in the face twice before being kicked in the back of the head, with someone behind him appearing to attempt to knee him.

The Pakistani military was able to rescue the pilot from the locals, and they are now holding him in a detention facility.

In addition to airstrikes, it is being reported that both armies “have been shelling across the LoC (Line of Control)”. Needless to say, a lot of civilians that live along the border are really freaked out, and on the Indian side of the border a total of 14,000 bunkers are hastily being constructed to give concerned citizens some shelter.

Most westerners don’t really think of India and Pakistan as prominent global military powers, but the truth is that they both have very large standing armies. And at this point India is allocating even more money than the UK toward military spending…

India, home to 1.3 billion people, has a conventional army of about 1.4 million soldiers. Pakistan, with a population of over 200 million people, has about 650,000 troops. Both countries have spent billions developing conventional arms. Last year, Pakistan spent about $11 billion or about 3.6 percent of its gross domestic product on defense. India meanwhile allocated about $58 billion, or 2.1 percent of its GDP on defense, according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies. India’s ballooning military spending has propelled it to the world’s fifth-biggest defense spender, surpassing the United Kingdom, according to the IISS.

But the big concern is that this crisis could go nuclear.

If India and Pakistan fought a war and it stayed strictly conventional, the rest of the world would probably not be affected too much.

However, it is being reported that India and Pakistan both “possess more than 100 nuclear warheads each”, and if such weapons are actually used the global impact would be “devastating”…

Both India and Pakistan are believed to possess more than 100 nuclear warheads each and have conducted atomic weapon tests. Both countries have test-fired nuclear-capable missiles. Pakistan also has refused to renounce a first-strike option with its atomic bombs should it feel outgunned in a conventional war. It takes less than four minutes for a missile fired from Pakistan to reach India. The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists warns that “computer models have predicted that the physical impacts of a nuclear exchange between India and Pakistan, or even a single strike on a large city, would be devastating and would reverberate throughout the world.”

Approximately one out of every five people on the entire planet lives in either India or Pakistan.

So the death toll in a nuclear conflict between these two nations could result in a death toll that would be unimaginable.

And let us not forget that it looks like the U.S. is about to enter another new war as well. In an article that I posted yesterday, I discussed the fact that Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev has just accused the United States of shipping troops to Colombia and Puerto Rico in preparation for an invasion of Venezuela. China has come out very strongly against western military intervention in Venezuela, and the Russians already have special forces there.

If someone makes the wrong move, it could end up sparking World War 3.

We are living in one of the most pivotal times in all of human history, and most people don’t even realize it.

If India backs down, Pakistan will probably be willing to go to the negotiating table. But if India’s tanks cross the Line of Control, Pakistan may feel forced to resort to using nukes because they can’t match India’s military strength, and then all hell could break loose.

Similarly, if the U.S. backs down and doesn’t arm the opposition in Venezuela, there probably won’t be a bloody war in that nation. But if the U.S. arms the opposition and decides to invade on top of that, it is going to unleash a series of negative consequences that we will not be able to control.

Critical decisions are being made right now that are going to greatly alter our future, and let us hope that cooler heads prevail.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

World War Erupting? India Just Bombed Pakistan, And Russia Is Accusing The U.S. Of Preparing To Invade Venezuela

One country with a large nuclear arsenal just bombed another country with a large nuclear arsenal, and the mainstream media in the United States barely reported on it. And the mainstream media also almost entirely ignored the fact that Russia just publicly accused the United States of preparing to invade Venezuela. Could it be possible that the relative peace and stability that the globe has been experiencing is about to be greatly shaken? Even though I warned about a potential conflict between India and Pakistan just a few days ago, I was stunned when I found out that India had just bombed Pakistan for the first time in more than 40 years

On Tuesday morning, India launched an airstrike on Pakistani territory, reportedly targeting a militant training facility. The airstrike was in retaliation for a suicide bomb attack that killed dozens of Indian troops in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir, a disputed border region, earlier this month.

India blamed Pakistan for the suicide attack, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to “avenge every tear that was shed” for the victims. That vengeance came on Tuesday in the form of an airstrike — the first time India has sent warplanes into Pakistani territory since the 1970s.

The Pakistani military is the most important political entity in that entire nation, and this attack greatly, greatly embarrassed them. The Pakistani government is promising “to respond” to India’s surprise airstrike, and they have even called a special session of the group “that oversees the country’s nuclear weapons”

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has now promised to respond. Khan also called a special session of the National Command Authority, the Pakistani government arm that oversees the country’s nuclear weapons, according to the New York Times.

In other words, Pakistan is strongly hinting that they could go nuclear as this crisis escalates.

And one expert on the region is entirely convinced that “there will be some form of escalation”

“There will be some form of escalation,” Kamran Bokhari, an expert on Pakistani-Indian relations at the Center for Global Policy with the University of Ottawa told Bloomberg. “Pakistan will have to strike back I am not saying this will lead to an all out war, but I don’t see that it’s over.”

Let us hope that cooler heads prevail, but right now things are extremely, extremely tense.

And it may already be too late to settle things down. Following the airstrike, there were reports that the Pakistani military and the Indian military were “exchanging gunfire” along the border between the two nations…

An Indian Defense spokesman says Pakistan and India are exchanging gunfire along the Line of Control. Tensions continue between the two nuclear armed countries.

Most of us in the western world don’t spend too much time thinking about either India or Pakistan, but the truth is that they are both very important. Approximately one out of every five people on the entire planet lives in one of those two nations, and a nuclear conflict in the region would have enormous consequences for the entire globe.

Meanwhile, the Russians are now publicly accusing the United States of making preparations to invade Venezuela

Russian Security Council secretary Nikolai Patrushev claims the US is amassing troops near the Venezuelan border ahead of a military operation in the south American country.

US forces have been deployed to “overthrow the lawfully elected incumbent president [of Venezuela] Nicolas Maduro”, he said.

And he didn’t stop with just making a generalized accusation. Patrushev went on to specifically name the countries where U.S. troops have been deployed

“The transfer of American special forces to Puerto Rico, the landing of US forces in Colombia and other facts clearly indicate that the Pentagon is reinforcing the grouping of troops in the region in order to overthrow the lawfully elected incumbent president Maduro.”

If the Trump administration does ultimately decide to invade Venezuela, we could find ourselves directly fighting Russian troops, because they already have special forces there.

In addition, an invasion of Venezuela would cause our relations with China to deteriorate even further, because they have now come out very strongly against military intervention

“China maintains that all countries should abide by the basic principles of international law and international relations, opposes foreign interference in the internal affairs of Venezuela, and opposes military intervention in Venezuela,” Ma Zhaoxu, China’s permanent representative to the UN, said at a Security Council meeting on the situation in Venezuela.

The envoy also said China opposes US attempts to offer “humanitarian assistance” to the people of Venezuela, echoing a line used by the Maduro regime that the aid is merely a ploy to try and sow instability in the country.

“China opposes using the issue of so-called humanitarian assistance for political purposes to create disability or even turbulence inside Venezuela and in the neighboring region,” he added.

“This serves no party’s interest,” the ambassador noted.

These are the times that I have been warning about. All of the elements of “the perfect storm” are coming together, and war is one of those elements.

Let’s keep a close eye on the Middle East as well. A major regional war could erupt over there at literally any moment.

After so many horrible wars in the past, humanity has still not learned how to live in peace. And now we possess weapons of mass destruction of immense power, and it is inevitable that those weapons will be used in future conflicts.

The worst wars in human history are ahead of us, and the death and destruction are going to be absolutely unimaginable.

Unfortunately, much of the world seems to be in the mood for war right now, and that is deeply, deeply troubling.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Shocking Intel: It Is Being Alleged That Weapons And Ammunition Are Being Moved Into Position For The Coming War In Venezuela

It looks like the war in Venezuela could begin as soon as next month, and it doesn’t appear that there will initially be much opposition to the conflict in the United States. There is widespread bipartisan support for “regime change” in Venezuela among both Democrats and Republicans, and the mainstream media is clearly willing to go along for the ride. Donald Trump is now surrounded by extremely hawkish advisers that are very eager to do something about Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and if Trump decides to pull the trigger it is likely that the vast majority of his supporters will fully back the decision. And at this point most of the other major western nations are also calling for Maduro to go, but Maduro insists that he isn’t going anywhere. So a peaceful solution to this crisis appears to be out of the question, and that means that war is almost certainly coming.

This weekend was the first step. If western aid could be forced across the border, it would show that Maduro was losing control of the country. But if Maduro was able to block the aid that was coming across, that would make him look like a leader that doesn’t care about his people to those in the western world, and sympathetic media reports would help drum up support for war. Of course by now most of us have seen images of the violence that happened along the border over the weekend, and a lot of blood was needlessly shed. The following comes from Vox

Starting Friday, violent clashes erupted at several points along Venezuela’s border with Colombia as armed government forces tried to block shipments of aid from entering the country. By the end of Saturday, at least four people had reportedly been killed along that line and along the Latin American country’s border with Brazil; hundreds more were injured. Maduro has insisted that the humanitarian supplies are unnecessary and spent the weekend continuing to celebrate his ongoing rule with his supporters — even as the United States and other international leaders amped up calls for him to step down.

CNN, MSNBC and Fox News are going to endlessly run footage of the violent clashes over the weekend, and this will build support for whatever action is ultimately taken.

During the Bush years, direct military action was the preferred model, and we saw this in Afghanistan and Iraq. During the Obama years, arming the “resistance” and starting civil wars was the preferred model, and we saw this in Syria and Ukraine.

So what will Trump ultimately decide to do?

Well, the Russians appear to believe that in this case the Obama model will be followed, and they are accusing the United States of making preparations to arm the opposition in Venezuela. According to Russian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova, the U.S. has already transported special forces personnel and military equipment “closer to Venezuelan territory”

Zakharova alleged that the US had moved special forces and military equipment ‘closer to Venezuelan territory’ and was considering large-scale weapons purchases to arm the opposition.

Noting that it had been five years since the Ukrainian revolution that ousted a Russian-backed leader – which Moscow has accused the US of orchestrating – Zakharova said Washington was preparing for more regime change in Venezuela.

‘It seems that in Washington there is nothing to mark the fifth anniversary of the coup d’etat in Ukraine, so they decided to hold a new coup d’etat,’ she said.

She also told the press that the U.S. is planning to transfer “a large batch of weapons and ammunition” from an Eastern European nation to those that are ready to fight against Maduro’s government in Venezuela…

“We have evidence that US companies and their NATO allies are working on the issue of acquiring a large batch of weapons and ammunition in an Eastern European country for their subsequent transfer to Venezuelan opposition forces”, she said during the briefing.

If these allegations are true, the United States is about to turn Venezuela into a horrific war zone.

And Zakharova went on to say that “the cargo” is scheduled to arrive in Venezuela “in early March”

“The cargo is set to arrive in Venezuela in early March through a neighboring country on aircraft flown by an international shipping company,” she said.

Could it be possible that everything that the Russians are saying is untrue?

Sure.

But when they publicly call us out on something like this, they usually have their ducks in a row. And if these allegations are true and the Russians were able to acquire this information somehow, this represents a stunning security failure for the U.S. military.

Of course a civil war is quite unlikely to be successful in overthrowing Maduro, and it is still possible that President Trump may opt for direct action by the U.S. military.

In fact, it appears that Venezuela’s self-declared “acting president” Juan Guaido could be on the verge of formally asking the U.S. military for help in “the liberation of our homeland”

The threat comes just Guaido announced he would attend a summit of the Lima Group – a meeting of 12 American states which have recognized him as “legitimate” leader of Venezuela.

Crucially, Guaido is to meet with US Vice President Mike Pence at the summit where he will “propose formally to the international community that we should keep open all options for the liberation of our homeland, which is fighting and will continue to fight,” according to a tweeted statement Saturday evening.

If Guaido does officially request U.S. military intervention, it will only be because the U.S. has already assured him that he will get it.

In recent days, President Trump has repeatedly stated that all options are “open” when it comes to Venezuela, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed the same thing during an interview with Fox News on Sunday

It appears this weekend’s provocations and border showdown over US aid entering Venezuela were just the beginning. US State Secretary Mike Pompeo discussed the prospect of military action against Caracas on Fox News Sunday, saying the Maduro regime’s days are “numbered” and that “every option” is on the table toward making that happen.

Pompeo said the US is “going to do the things that need to be done” and this will not stop until “makes sure” that “there is a brighter future for the people of Venezuela,” which includes continued support for self-proclaimed interim president, Juan Guaido.

There are a few voices on the right and a few voices on the left that are speaking out against war in Venezuela, but right now the overwhelming consensus in Washington is that regime change is necessary.

Needless to say, whenever there is an overwhelming consensus on something in Washington, it is usually a really, really bad idea.

My regular readers already know that I believe that the U.S. should not be “the police of the world”, and that if we are going to ask young American men and women to die it should be for a very, very good reason.

Replacing one socialist leader in Venezuela with a slightly less socialist leader does not qualify.

But the winds of war are now blowing all over the globe, and this is something that I detailed in my recent article entitled “‘Wars And Rumors Of Wars’: The U.S., Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, India And Pakistan All Move Closer To Military Conflict”.

Steve Quayle has noticed all of the war talk as well, and in his most recent alert he called these “very dangerous times”

MANY DIFFERENT AREA’S IN THE WORLD SEEM TO HAVE BEEN KICKED INTO WAR MODE, AT THE FLIP OF THE GLOBALIST SWITCH-KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE ESCALATION BETWEEN PAKISTAN AND INDIA, AS WELL AS RUSSIA VERSUS THE UKRAINE. BACKROOM TALK OF CUBA BEING PUT ON WAR FOOTING ALSO. PRESIDENT PUTINS ANGER, IS OFF THE CHARTS AND THE WEST IS ABOUT TO INITIATE A SERIE OF EVENTS THAT WILL ESCALATE RAPIDLY-USE TOMORROW TO TOP OFF PREPS JUST IN CASE! RUN THROUGH YOUR LISTS TONIGHT -GOOD TIME TO RUN THROUGH YOUR CHECKLIST-AND CHRISTIANS PRAY AND INTERCEDE WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART-VERY DANGEROUS TIMES

I have written this article with a very heavy heart. I have a really bad feeling about what is going to happen, and I wish that I could do something to stop it.

Peace is being taken from the Earth, and what is coming next is going to shock all of us.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Average Time Until A Great Civilization Collapses Is 336 Years, And The U.S. Is Now 242 Years Old

Every great civilization throughout human history has eventually collapsed, and if we want to have any hope of escaping the same fate, we need to be willing to learn some lessons from the past. Because many of the same factors that caused the collapse of previous civilizations are weighing very heavily on the United States of America today. According to the BBC, the average lifespan of a great civilization is 336 years from beginning to end. But that doesn’t mean that America will make it that long. Our nation is currently 242 years old, and there are signs of advanced social decay all around us. If we remain on the road that we are currently on, there are many that believe that complete and utter collapse is not too far away.

Ultimately, what does a “society” consist of?

According to Luke Kemp of the University of Cambridge, societies are “just complex systems composed of people and technology”…

Societies of the past and present are just complex systems composed of people and technology. The theory of “normal accidents” suggests that complex technological systems regularly give way to failure. So collapse may be a normal phenomenon for civilisations, regardless of their size and stage.

We may be more technologically advanced now. But this gives little ground to believe that we are immune to the threats that undid our ancestors. Our newfound technological abilities even bring new, unprecedented challenges to the mix.

It is not easy to keep an extremely complex society running, and there have been so many factors that have played a role in collapsing previous civilizations. War, natural disasters, environmental shifts, social degradation, economic problems and disease are just a few examples.

And as Kemp has pointed out, sometimes societies simply collapse “under the weight of their own accumulated complexity and bureaucracy”

Collapse expert and historian Joseph Tainter has proposed that societies eventually collapse under the weight of their own accumulated complexity and bureaucracy. Societies are problem-solving collectives that grow in complexity in order to overcome new issues. However, the returns from complexity eventually reach a point of diminishing returns. After this point, collapse will eventually ensue.

Even if America wasn’t deteriorating in so many other areas, would our nation eventually collapse under the weight of our own bureaucracy as well? We have the biggest government in the history of the world, and when you total up all levels of government we literally have millions of laws, rules and regulations governing our lives today. It is a horrible system, and it is definitely not what our founders intended. To me, it makes sense that someday it could ultimately collapse as people simply stop believing in it.

In order for a civilization to function smoothly, there must be something that bonds it together. When the United States was originally established, we were united by a common set of values, but that is no longer true.

Today, America is more divided than it has been in my entire lifetime, and one of the biggest reasons is because there is no agreement about what our values should be.

Personally, I am a strong advocate for returning to the values that our nation was founded upon, and Mac Slavo echoed this sentiment in one of his recent articles

We now have the unique advantage of being able to learn from the wreckages of societies past, but instead of doing so and freeing mankind from government, many who are enslaved continue to push for shorter chains, more violence, control, domination, and theft by the ruling class – not just of themselves, but of all others too. Collapse is imminent in our opinion, as those in control will not willingly give up their stranglehold over the tax cattle slaves.

Unfortunately, many in our society want us to go in the exact opposite direction.

As a result, the fabric of our society is literally coming apart at the seams, and this is something that Jim Quinn commented on in one of his recent articles

Our society is now infinitely more materialistic, narcissistic, and greedy than it was in the 1950s. Moral degeneration has reached new lows, unthinkable during the relatively innocent 1950s. But the common theme is human failings, foibles, and fallacies. Whatever a culture values you get more of. Our culture values achievement, wealth and power, at any cost.

To illustrate his point, Quinn lamented the growing power that “social media influencers” now have in our society

Rather than make up our own minds about what we like, what we wear, where we eat, or what entertainment we enjoy, we need to be influenced into our decisions by famous people who are famous for being famous. These “influencers” generate their influential power through the number of social media followers they have accumulated by posting pictures of themselves in their underwear, leaked sex tapes, nude selfies, or generally being attractive.

Most of them are low IQ mouth breathers who can’t do basic math or write a comprehensible paragraph. But those 36DD breasts and pouty lips classify them as a grade A influencer. I can’t decide whether these narcissistic icons are more pathetic or the feeble-minded wretches who are actually influenced by these vacuous bimbos. Moral degeneration of society seems to have reached a new low.

We truly are becoming a real-life version of “Idiocracy”, and it is getting worse with each passing day.

But I can think of no better example of the decline of our society than Jussie Smollett.

Here is a guy that seemingly had everything. He was on a hit show, he had lots of money and he had hordes of devoted fans that loved him.

But he threw it all away because he believed that he was entitled to more, and he was willing to do anything to get it.

Apparently he was not happy that he was making just $65,000 an episode, and so he created one of the most despicable hoaxes in American history in a desperate attempt to get his salary raised.

Piers Morgan has described him as “the most hideous, reprehensible, disgusting, snivelling little liar in America”, and I think that is about right.

But you know what?

He represents the true state of our society better than anyone else that I know. Just like Smollett, we continue to insist that we are “the good guys”, but in reality our nation has become a cesspool of just about every sort of evil that you can possibly imagine.

If we will change our ways and return to the values that the first Americans embraced, we could turn things around.

But if we continue doing the things that we are currently doing, collapse is inevitable.

And it can happen very quickly. In 390 AD, the Roman Empire covered nearly 2 million square miles and it seemed unstoppable.

But by 476 AD it was gone.

As many have said, if we do not learn from history we are doomed to repeat it.

Please wake up America.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

“Wars And Rumors Of Wars”: The U.S., Venezuela, Cuba, Russia, India And Pakistan All Move Closer To Military Conflict

Humanity never seems to learn. During the 20th century, at least 108 million people were killed during all wars combined, and you would think that after so much bloodshed humanity would never want to go down that road again. And in this century, an enormous amount of American blood has already been shed in Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere. Unfortunately, the drumbeats of war are starting to get louder once again. Very angry talk often precedes military conflict, and right now there sure is a lot of angry talk going on.

Before we get to the U.S., let’s talk about India and Pakistan. They are both nuclear powers, and thanks to a horrific terror bombing last month, they are once again on the verge of war

Pakistan’s prime minister offered to hold talks with India, even as he warned New Delhi to refrain from launching any attacks on his country following last week’s suicide bombing in Indian-controlled Kashmir.

Imran Khan said he hoped “better sense” would prevail after the attack on a paramilitary convoy that killed at least 40 Indian troops. But he warned in a televised speech Tuesday that if India attacks, “Pakistan will not merely think of retaliation, but rather, we will retaliate.”

In fact, it is being reported on Twitter that Pakistan has even “begun its logistics preparations for possible war with India”…

: Pakistan has begun its logistics preparations for possible war with India, has put hospitals along the frontier on stand-by mode –

Of course most Americans don’t even know that this is happening.

Sadly, the truth is that most Americans couldn’t even point out where Pakistan and India are on a blank map of the world.

But Americans should at least be concerned that the U.S. could soon be entering a new war. President Trump has repeatedly threatened to use the U.S. military in Venezuela if the Maduro government does not step down peacefully, and that is definitely not going to happen.

In fact, Venezuelan Defense Minister Vladimir Padrino had said that if the U.S. wants regime change in his country, they are going to have to do it “over our dead bodies”…

Trump has refused to rule out US military action in Venezuela. He raised the pressure on Monday, issuing a warning to the Venezuelan military.

He told them that if they continue to support Maduro, ‘you will find no safe harbor, no easy exit and no way out. You will lose everything.’

Padrino rejected Trump’s threat, branding the US president ‘arrogant.’

If foreign powers try to help install a new government by force, they will have to do so ‘over our dead bodies,’ Padrino said.

And could it be possible that U.S. troops are already being positioned for an invasion of Venezuela? That is exactly what Cuba is claiming

Cuba said Wednesday that the U.S. is secretly moving special forces closer to Venezuela as part of a plan to practice military adventurism in the country under the guise of “humanitarian intervention.”

In a release from Granma, the Cuban government’s official press, Havana officials say that between Feb. 6 and 10 there has been military transport from the U.S. to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and other Caribbean nations without the knowledge of those countries.

Of course the U.S. is claiming that Cuba already has troops inside Venezuela and is helping to prop up the Maduro regime. And that is probably true. So if the U.S. decides to invade Venezuela, we could find ourselves fighting a war with Cuba also.

In addition, John Bolton is talking as if regime change is on the agenda for Nicaragua too. Just check out what he just posted on Twitter…

The Ortega regime has sentenced three farm leaders to 550 years in prison for their roles in protests in 2018, where Ortega’s police forces reportedly killed 300 activists. As President Trump said Monday, Ortega’s days are numbered and the Nicaraguan people will soon be free.

And previously Bolton had collectively referred to Venezuela, Nicaragua and Cuba as “the Troika of Tyranny”

The US has repeatedly backed the uprising against the left-wing government, and last November Bolton made a keynote speech calling for the “crumbling” of what he called the “Troika of Tyranny” – Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Cuba – saying the states represented a “a sordid cradle of communism in the Western hemisphere.”

On Monday, Trump name-checked the same three countries, saying their “great potential” would be unlocked with the collapse of socialism.

On top of everything else, Russian President Vladimir Putin is warning that U.S. that we could soon be facing “a Cuban Missile-style crisis”

Vladimir Putin has said that Russia is militarily ready for a Cuban Missile-style crisis – if Donald Trump is is ‘foolish’ enough to want one – and that his missiles could reach the US faster that theirs could hit Moscow.

Putin has said he does not want an arms race with the United States, but that he would have no choice but to act if Washington deployed new missiles in Europe, some of which he says would be able to strike Moscow within ten to 12 minutes.

When I hear people call President Trump “a Russian asset”, I just have to laugh.

Our relations with the Russians are going downhill very rapidly, and Trump and Putin are much more likely to start World War 3 than they are to sit down and have a beer together.

And the Russians continue to prepare for the coming war with the United States by creating impressive new weapons systems. For example, they just completed tests on a new intercontinental nuclear torpedo known as “the Poseidon”

The 24 m long UUV armed with a nuclear warhead is designed to navigate autonomously with a maximum speed of 107 kt and detonate near an enemy coastal city, generating a tsunami wave, Russian state media reported.

“On its way to a target, ‘Poseidon’ will be able to avoid and overcome any anti-submarine barriers and other enemy defence systems due to the fully automated operating system. All together, the intellectual and performance characteristics of the vehicle will make it invulnerable and secure a guaranteed target destruction,” an unnamed defence industry source told Russian state media.

We do not have a similar weapon, and we have absolutely no way to defend against it.

We live at a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and over the last several decades the nations of the world have armed themselves to the teeth with weapons of mass destruction that would have been unimaginable in previous eras of human history.

We literally have the technology to wipe ourselves off the face of the planet, and let us pray that cooler heads prevail before it is too late.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

“An Unavoidable Global Recession”: The Warnings Get Louder As Worldwide Economic Numbers Continue To Deteriorate

Economic numbers all over the world continue to get worse, and as you will see below, even New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is now warning of “an unavoidable global recession”. Unfortunately, most Americans still have absolutely no idea that this is happening. Most ordinary citizens are still under the impression that everything is going to be just fine, but the numbers suggest otherwise. The Baltic Dry Index just plummeted to the lowest level that we have seen in three years, and this is yet another indication that the global trade war is causing widespread economic pain. And according to Bloomberg, global economic growth has now dropped to the lowest level that we have seen since the Great Recession…

The global economy’s loss of momentum has left expansion now looking like its weakest since the global financial crisis, a development that’s already sparked a dramatic shift among central banks.

A UBS model suggests world growth slowed to a 2.1 percent annualized pace at the end of 2018, which it says would be the weakest since 2008-2009.

Unfortunately, it appears that things are getting even worse during the first few months of 2019. In North America, Europe and Asia, signs of a major downturn are seemingly everywhere

Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much sign of that. China car sales dropped in January, and data last week showed U.S. retail sales posted their worst drop in nine years in December. In Europe, where the slowdown has been particularly marked, sentiment indicators continue to weaken, and the latest OECD leading indicator has also declined.

The numbers coming out of China are particularly striking. Experts were stunned this week when it was announced that Chinese car sales had plunged 17.7 percent

Car sales in China continued to decline in January after their first full-year slump in more than two decades, adding to pressure on automakers who bet heavily on the market amid waning demand for cars from the U.S. to Europe.

Passenger vehicle wholesales fell 17.7 percent year-on-year, the biggest drop since the market began to contract in the middle of last year, while retail sales had their eighth consecutive monthly decline, industry groups reported Monday.

That is an absolutely disastrous number, and it is a sign that this will be a very, very tough year for the global auto industry.

Meanwhile, German industrial production is falling at a pace that we haven’t seen since the last global recession

“Unexpectedly,” German industrial production fell 3.9% in December 2018 compared to December 2017, after having fallen by a revised 4.0% in November, according to German statistics agency Destatis Thursday morning. These two drops were steepest year-over-year drops since 2009.

Even during the European Debt Crisis in 2011 and 2012 – it hit Germany’s industry hard as many European countries weaved in and out of a recession, with some countries sinking into a depression — German industrial production never fell as fast on a year-over-year basis as in November and December

But as bad as things are in Germany, they are even worse in Italy.

Italy’s economy has already fallen into a recession, and their debt problems continue to grow with each passing day.

Watch Italy, because it is going to be a key to the drama that is currently unfolding in Europe.

Here in the United States, we are still doing relatively better than much of the rest of the world, but our economy is slowing down too. U.S. retail sales just suffered their “biggest drop in more than nine years”, and the stunning bankruptcy and liquidation of Payless ShoeSource has made front page news all over the nation

Payless ShoeSource confirmed Friday that it will close its 2,100 stores in the U.S. and Puerto Rico and start liquidation sales Sunday. The company is also shuttering its e-commerce operations.

The closings mark the biggest by a single chain this year and nearly doubles the number of retail stores set to close in 2019.

So what does all of this mean?

What all of this means is that this is the beginning of the end for the global economic bubble. It is time to start getting serious about the economy again, and it is time to get prepared for the tough years that are ahead.

At this point, even the most clueless pundits in the mainstream media can see what is coming. For example, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman is now warning that we are heading for “an unavoidable global recession” either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year

Professor Paul Krugman has warned a series of isolated downward economic trends around the world will spiral into an unavoidable global recession towards the end of 2019 or the beginning of next year. Mr Krugman said there is not “one big thing” prompting the stark forecast but instead blamed a number of incidents happening at the same time. He said a slump in the eurozone combined with the long-running US-China trade war, President Trump’s tax policy and world leaders’ lack of preparedness are increasing the risks of a worldwide economic slowdown.

If even Paul Krugman can see what is happening, then you know that time is short.

Prior to the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009, most people never would have imagined that we were about to enter a terrible global economic downturn. Here in the U.S., it seemed like the economy was buzzing along quite nicely, and the vast majority of us had absolutely no idea what was really going on behind the scenes.

Similarly, right now most of us are conducting our lives as if nothing is going to change. To most people, the system seems to be functioning normally and there appears to be no cause for alarm.

Unfortunately, things are not that simple.

Rubber bands can keep stretching for quite a while, but if you put too much pressure on them they will eventually snap. At this point there is an enormous amount of pressure on our global economic bubble, and someday it will “snap” too.

It is just a matter of time.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Democrats Win Again? The Spending Bill Congress Just Passed Contains Restrictions That Make It Just About Impossible For Trump To Build His Wall

On Wednesday, the House and the Senate both passed a massive 1,159 page spending bill that they were given less than 24 hours to read. There was a concerted effort by the leadership of both parties to rush this bill through before the American people could be mobilized to oppose it. We are being told that this spending package represents a compromise, but as you will see below, the wording of the bill is so restrictive that it is going to make it just about impossible for President Trump to get anything built on the border. At this point I think that Trump is counting on declaring a national emergency in order to get his wall built, but the moment he does that the Democrats plan to tie him up in court indefinitely.

Before we get to the details of this bill, let’s talk about how ridiculous this legislative process has been. During her first term as speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi often rushed through enormous pieces of legislation without giving anyone time to actually read what was in them, and now she is doing it again.

This 1,159 page spending bill had an average of approximately 200 words per page, and as Breitbart has pointed out, a “fast reader” could get through such a document in about 40 hours…

The document has roughly 200 words per page — ensuring that a fast reader would need 40 hours just to reach to the end of the huge document, providing they did not stop to take notes, compare the text to existing laws, eat, or sleep.

But members of Congress were not given 40 hours. Instead, they had the bill for about 18 hours before they were expected to vote on it.

Needless to say, nobody that voted on this bill read the entire thing.

That should have been reason enough to vote no on this bill, and yet this bill overwhelmingly passed in both chambers.

You can find a list of all the members of the House of Representatives that voted yes on this bill right here. When the next election comes along, it is your job to hold them accountable.

We were told that this bill would include 1.375 billion dollars for Trump’s wall, but that is not true.

In the bill, it specifically says that the 1.375 billion dollars is for “the construction of primary pedestrian fencing”.

So there will be no concrete wall. Instead, it will just be the kind of pedestrian fencing that both Bush and Obama built.

In addition, the bill specifically says that this fencing can only be put up “in the Rio Grande Valley Sector”.

So why is construction of the fencing limited to that one area in Texas?

Well, the bill also contains a provision that gives Democratic lawmakers in those Texas border towns the power to block construction of the fencing

One poison pill would allow Democratic legislators in Texas border towns to block the construction of the 55 miles of border walls approved in the legislation.

A second poison pill would allow illegal migrants in the United State to get a legal shield against deportation by declaring their willingness to “sponsor” a teenager or child trafficked from Central America. Many the so-called “Unaccompanied Alien Children” who are being smuggled up to the United States by the cartels are the children or relatives of illegals who have already sneaked into the U.S.

These are the five border towns that Trump would need to get approval from, and they are all run by Democrats…

-Roma
-Rio Grande City
-Escobares
-La Grulla
-Salineno

In addition, the bill specifically says that no construction can take place “while consultations are continuing” with local officials.

On top of everything else, the bill also requires a public comment period of at least 60 days before construction can begin…

It is not just local elected officials who have to approve of border wall construction, though. The spending bill mandates DHS open a public comment period by July, giving the public at least 60 days to voice opinions about the construction of a barrier in their county.

In essence, the wording of this bill all but ensures that nothing is going to get built on the border before the 2020 presidential election.

The Democrats have done a masterful job of achieving their goals once again, and Republican leadership in Congress got played like a fiddle.

Our government is incredibly broken, and we desperately need to clean house.

The bill also puts all sorts of new restrictions on ICE. For example, it mandates a reduction in the number of ICE detention beds from 49,060 to 40,520 by the end of the fiscal year, and this is going to force ICE to “catch and release” a whole lot more illegal immigrants.

I could go on and on, but hopefully you get the point. This bill is a complete and utter nightmare, and President Trump should veto it. But the White House has already announced that Trump will sign the bill

Moments after McConnell’s remarks, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders confirmed in a statement that the president will sign the funding bill and take executive action to build the wall. “President Trump will sign the government funding bill, and as he has stated before, he will also take other executive action – including a national emergency – to ensure we stop the national security and humanitarian crisis at the border. The President is once again delivering on his promise to build the wall, protect the border, and secure our great country,” Sanders said.

Year after year, there are showdowns over spending in Congress.

And year after year, the Democrats always get what they want in the end.

The Republicans are playing checkers while the Democrats are playing chess, and meanwhile our entire country is going down the tubes.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Trade War Causing Severe Pain As Farm Bankruptcies Surge Way Past The Level From The Last Recession

Farmers all across the middle part of the country are going bankrupt at an astounding rate, and over half of all farms in America are now losing money. The trade war with China has been the most devastating crisis to hit the U.S. farming community in decades, and at this point there is no end in sight. Farm after farm is being financially wiped out, and we haven’t seen this kind of economic pain for farmers since the Great Depression of the 1930s. In fact, it is being reported that bankruptcies in the key farming regions of the country are way above the level that we witnessed during the last recession. The following comes from Zero Hedge

Bankruptcies in three regions covering major farm states last year rose to the highest level in at least 10 years. The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which includes Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin, had double the bankruptcies in 2018 compared with 2008. In the Eighth Circuit, which includes states from North Dakota to Arkansas, bankruptcies swelled 96%. The 10th Circuit, which covers Kansas and other states, last year had 59% more bankruptcies than a decade earlier.

There has been a lot of debate about whether or not the U.S. economy as a whole is heading into a recession in the near future, but the farming industry is already very, very deep into a major downturn, and this downturn has been caused by the trade war

Trade disputes under the Trump administration with major buyers of U.S. farm goods, such as China and Mexico, have further roiled agricultural markets and pressured farmers’ incomes. Prices for soybeans and hogs plummeted after those countries retaliated against U.S. steel and aluminum tariffs by imposing duties on U.S. products like oilseeds and pork, slashing shipments to big buyers.

Low milk prices are driving dairy farmers out of business in a market that’s also struggling with retaliatory tariffs on U.S. cheese from Mexico and China. Tariffs on U.S. pork have helped contribute to a record buildup in U.S. meat supplies, leading to lower prices for beef and chicken.

In addition, it is also being reported that more than half of all U.S. farms are now losing money even though they continue to operate. Needless to say, this is not sustainable, and many more farms will go out of business if this current crisis persists.

This could be the final nail in the coffin for America’s family farms. After this crisis is over, if it ever actually ends, we may be left with only giant corporate farms and farms owned by foreign interests.

As I noted in my article yesterday, over 27 million acres of U.S. farmland is now owned by foreigners. This should have never been allowed to happen, because it is a major national security risk.

If a trade agreement with China is reached soon, that would greatly ease the suffering of America’s farmers. But as long as the U.S. and Canada continue to hold Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, that is not going to happen. Instead, the Chinese are going to attempt to buy time by trying to get the U.S. to agree to suspend the implementation of additional tariffs as “negotiations” continue.

And on Friday, we got word that a new trade war between the United States and Europe may be about to begin

With little apparent progress in U.S.-China trade talks, the Trump administration could be about to open up a new front in the trade wars by taking on the European auto industry — and that could spook markets.

Global financial markets have bounced back a bit in recent weeks, but more trade chaos could easily send them tumbling once again

Some strategists fear investors are keenly focused on China, and expect a resolution, but could be surprised by ramped-up trade friction with Europe.

“The market would tank,” said Peter Boocvkar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “The market has spoken loud and clear that it’s had enough of these tariffs… The market is fed up with this. Global growth is slowing dramatically because of trade. You want to put another bullet in it’s head?

Meanwhile, we continue to get more indications that the global economy is slowing down substantially.

For example, we just learned that German industrial production plummeted dramatically for the second month in a row in December

“Unexpectedly,” German industrial production fell 3.9% in December 2018 compared to December 2017, after having fallen by a revised 4.0% in November, according to German statistics agency Destatis Thursday morning. These two drops were steepest year-over-year drops since 2009.

Even during the European Debt Crisis in 2011 and 2012 – it hit Germany’s industry hard as many European countries weaved in and out of a recession, with some countries sinking into a depression — German industrial production never fell as fast on a year-over-year basis as in November and December

And here in the United States, General Motors has begun giving out pink slips to thousands of workers

General Motors on Monday said it was starting to hand pink slips to about 4,000 salaried workers in the latest round of a restructuring announced in late November that will ultimately shrink its white-collar workforce in North America by 15 percent out of 54,000.

Two people briefed on the cuts said GM is cutting hundreds of jobs at its information technology centers in Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Michigan and more than 1,000 jobs at its Warren, Michigan Tech Center. GM is filing new required mass layoff notices with state agencies and disclosed the cuts to lawmakers.

Needless to say, General Motors would not be doing this if the U.S. economy really was “booming”.

A global economic downturn has arrived, and it looks like it is only going to escalate as we move deeper into 2019.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

If President Trump Tries To Declare A National Emergency To Build The Wall, The Democrats Plan To Use Lawsuits To Keep It From Ever Being Built

President Trump has repeatedly floated the idea of declaring a national emergency in order to pave the way for the wall to be built, and it is now being reported that the White House has actually drawn up a draft proclamation to be used if Trump decides to go in that direction. But there is a very strong reason why he hasn’t pulled the trigger on such a move yet. If Trump tries to make an end run around Congress in this manner, the Democrats plan to immediately take him to court. That would mean construction of the wall would be tied up in the court system for years, and if Trump lost in 2020 it would never happen at all.

So if Trump is really committed to the wall, he needs to keep going with this shutdown until the Democrats finally give in.

Using a national emergency to build the wall sounds like a simple solution to a lot of people, but the truth is that it would be a legal nightmare.

The easy part would be actually declaring the national emergency. Presidents have made 58 national emergency declarations since 1979, and 31 of them are still in effect right now.

And if a national emergency was declared, the Trump administration has identified 7 billion dollars in federal funds that could potentially be used for wall construction

According to options being considered, the administration could pull: $681 million from Treasury forfeiture funds, $3.6 billion in military construction, $3 billion in Pentagon civil works funds, and $200 million in Department of Homeland Security funds, the official said.

But of course the Democrats are not just going to stand by and allow President Trump to do that. As Politifact has noted, it is almost certain that there would be an immediate legal challenge…

If Trump declared a national emergency, expert said he might rely on 10 U.S. Code Section 2808 and 33 U.S. Code Section 2293. In very broad terms, they concern the use of the armed forces to undertake military construction projects, and the termination or deferment of Army civil works project and using those resources to undertake other construction “essential to the national defense.”

Trump would likely face a legal challenge if he invoked either of those two provisions, experts said. Potential arguments that would rise are whether the border wall is necessary to support the armed forces already deployed at the border, whether the construction has the appropriate approval, and whether the reallocation of funds is justified. Also a matter of debate is who would have legal standing to challenge the president’s declaration.

In particular, the Democrats would likely invoke the Antideficiency Act. It is unclear whether or not they would ultimately be successful, but this portion of federal law is certainly vague enough to keep the two sides tied up in the federal court system for a very long time. Ryan Alexander, the president of Taxpayers for Common Sense, recently gave us some insight into what the legal strategy for the Democrats could potentially look like

This latest idea of actually paying for wall construction out of the DoD Appropriations bill has a major stumbling block: the Antideficiency Act. Once the domain of only the most serious appropriations law nerds, the Trump era has pushed this statute out of the shadows of “Principles of Federal Appropriations Law” and made it an issue that must be discussed.

Simply stated, this is the law that says money appropriated by Congress cannot be spent in advance or in excess of a congressional appropriation. Also, the act prohibits “…involving the government in any obligation to pay money before funds have been appropriated for that purpose…” (emphasis added.) In effect this means funds may only be used to pay for the item or action for which the money was specifically appropriated.

If President Trump does not want the construction of the wall to be tied up in court indefinitely, then he needs congressional approval, and that won’t be easy.

Both sides have dug their heels in, and there does not appear to be any room for a compromise. The Democrats are pledging that they will never give Trump a single penny for a border wall, and if they break that promise they will have to deal with an overwhelming political backlash.

Meanwhile, the crisis on the border continues to escalate. For example, one rancher that lives on the border recently caught a smuggler in the act of trying to steal his truck

Grossman lives in the same area, and illegal crossers have entered his home a number of times. He recently caught a smuggler trying to steal his truck.

“I brought him back to the house,” Grossman recounted. “And then my wife called the sheriff, and the sheriff and border patrol come up and got him and then we went back to my pickup and there was a bale of marijuana in the back of my pickup and he had stolen a lot of stuff from the house.”

And the sheriff of Cochise County is desperate for the federal government to “fix this problem” that he has to deal with on a daily basis…

Cochise County Sheriff Mark Dannels oversees a border county covering more land than Connecticut. He says when the government fails to take a strong stand on immigration, it only makes things worse. “Those that want to come into this country and harm us – terrorists – have the infrastructure to get through here in Cochise County,” he explains. “Anytime this administration talks about amnesty or anything that has to do with the border we have an influx of people coming across. We sit back all the time and just wonder, why they won’t do something to fix this problem.'”

We desperately need some common sense solutions in Washington, but unfortunately most members of Congress seem to be greatly lacking in common sense these days.

So for now the government shutdown will continue, and it is not likely to end any time soon.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Trump Administration Is Warning That The U.S. Economy May Not Grow At All During The First Quarter Of 2019

This government shutdown is really starting to take a toll on the U.S. economy. On Wednesday, the chair of the White House Council of Economic Advisers made an absolutely stunning admission. We all knew that the global economy was slowing down, and we all knew that U.S. economic activity was beginning to sputter, but up until this week the Trump administration had always insisted that we are not heading for a recession. Well, all of that changed on Wednesday when Kevin Hassett publicly admitted that we could end up with zero GDP growth during the first quarter of 2019

A top economic adviser to President Donald Trump told CNN on Wednesday that the US economy may show no growth in the first quarter if the federal government shutdown lasts much longer.

White House Council of Economic Advisers Chairman Kevin Hassett said in an interview with CNN’s Poppy Harlow that he was not overly worried about the long-term effects of a government shutdown. But after Harlow asked him if the United States could wind up with zero GDP growth this quarter, he conceded that it was possible. “We could, yes,” he said.

With much of the government currently closed, and with no end to the shutdown in sight, it is inevitable that the economic numbers for the first quarter are not going to look as good as they could have been.

But if this shutdown lasts for the entire quarter, that could easily push us into an economic contraction, and that would send shockwaves all over the planet.

And at this point there is definitely a possibility that this shutdown could go on for a couple more months. Neither side intends to give in, and things are starting to get very personal. On Wednesday, Nancy Pelosi made it exceedingly clear that she will not allow President Trump to deliver the State of the Union address at the U.S. Capitol until the shutdown ends under any circumstances…

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi dug in Wednesday on her call to delay the State of the Union address even after President Trump vowed to proceed with the speech next week, sending a curt letter making clear she will not allow the event to take place during the government shutdown.

Reacting to Pelosi’s letter, Trump told reporters at the White House “we’ll do something in the alternative,” suggesting a speech of some kind will still happen next week.

This truly is unprecedented.

Donald Trump is the very first president in all of U.S. history to be “disinvited” from delivering the State of the Union address.

And the hundreds of thousands of federal workers that are not receiving paychecks right now are really starting to get restless. A lot of them have been living paycheck to paycheck, and so missing a couple of paychecks is a really, really big deal to those people. As Marketwatch recently noted, some of them are actually “turning to food banks to feed their families”…

Within just a few weeks into the government shutdown, people are struggling to cope. We hear stories about people turning to food banks to feed their families. We hear stories about people who are in dire straits because they can’t get loans. We hear stories about people who can’t pay their mortgages. That’s not even one month into the shutdown.

If something this minor can cause such widespread pain and suffering, what would we see if a real crisis actually hit this nation?

Of course the truth is that most Americans are simply not prepared to handle much of anything, and this is a point that Mac Slavo made quite well in one of his most recent articles

Almost 60% of Americans have less than $1000 in savings for a rainy day fund or an immediate emergency. It’s been ten years since the Great Recession left many Americans jobless with no money, and it appears most have learned nothing. The government shutdown serves as a painful warning and preview for what will happen once unemployment rises from 50-year lows. Americans are far too dependent on others, including the government, for their survival.

For now, many that are struggling financially due to this shutdown are trying to bridge the gap by going into more debt.

And if the shutdown doesn’t last too much longer, that might work for a lot of people.

But it is very dangerous to go into too much debt, and a large portion of the country has already crossed that line. For example, one recent survey discovered that approximately a third of all Americans are “afraid they’ll max out their credit card when making a large purchase”

Despite the dangers of high-interest loans, more consumers are testing the limits of plastic.

To that point, more than 1 in 3 people —or 86 million Americans — said they’re afraid they’ll max out their credit card when making a large purchase, according to a new WalletHub credit cards survey. (Most of those polled considered a large purchase as anything over $100.)

The only easy way out of this government shutdown would be for one of the two sides to completely fold, and that would be politically disastrous for whoever decides to do that.

The battle lines have been drawn, and this political game of chicken is going to go on until somebody blinks.

And if nobody blinks for a couple more months, the economic consequences of this government shutdown are likely to be quite severe.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Stocks Plunge, Consumer Pessimism Grows And U.S. Home Sales Just Hit Their Lowest Level In 3 Years

It appears to be more likely than ever that the U.S. economy is heading for a recession. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 301 points as investors were rattled by several very important pieces of news. Back in 2008, home sales began to fall precipitously just prior to the financial crisis in the second half of that year, and now it is happening again. Of course home sales are always going up and down, but the numbers that we are seeing now are definitely very unusual. According to the National Association of Realtors, existing home sales just hit their lowest level in 3 years

U.S. home sales tumbled to their lowest level in three years last month and house price increases slowed sharply, suggesting a further loss of momentum in the housing market.

The National Association of Realtors said on Tuesday existing home sales declined 6.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.99 million units last month — the lowest level since November 2015.

And when you compare December 2018 to December 2017, the numbers look even worse. According to Wolf Richter, last month existing home sales were down 10.3 percent on a year over year basis…

Sales of “existing homes” — including single-family houses, townhouses, condos, and co-ops — in December, plunged 10.3% from a year earlier, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate (SAAR) of 4.99 million homes, according to the National Association of Realtors this morning. This was the biggest year-over-year drop since May 2011, during the throes of Housing Bust 1

Those are absolutely horrible numbers, but thanks to high interest rates they aren’t going to get much better any time soon. Just like a decade ago, this is going to be a very tough time to be in the real estate industry.

During the “boom years”, the west was the hottest region for real estate in the entire nation, but now it is leading the way down. And last month was just abysmal, with sales falling 15 percent in that portion of the country…

  • Northeast: -6.8%, to an annual rate of 690,000.
  • Midwest: -10.5%, to an annual rate of 1.19 million.
  • South: -5.4%, to an annual rate of 2.09 million.
  • West: -15.0%, to an annual rate of 1.02 million.

Unfortunately, these are exactly the kinds of numbers that we would expect to see if the U.S. economy was heading into a recession.

Investors were also rattled on Tuesday by news that trade talks between the U.S. and China seem to be breaking down

Stocks fell to their lows of the day after the Financial Times reported the U.S. canceled a trade meeting with Chinese officials. CNBC later confirmed the report through a source. White House economic advisor Larry Kudlow denied the reports, saying the meetings are not canceled, giving stocks a boost into the close. China and the U.S. are trying to strike a permanent trade deal with the U.S. Both countries have been in a trade war since last year, slapping tariffs on billions of dollars worth of their goods.

We’ll see what happens, but the Chinese appear to be dragging their feet, and it does not look like there will be a major trade agreement between the two sides any time soon.

And when you throw in the fact that we are in the midst of the longest government shutdown in all of U.S. history, it becomes exceedingly clear that the elements for a “perfect storm” are definitely coming together.

In fact, Peter Schiff is entirely convinced that the coming recession is already “a done deal”…

“And they think simply because the Federal Reserve is no longer hiking rates that they no longer have to worry about the Fed pushing the economy into a recession. Well, it’s too late for that. The rate hikes of the past have already guaranteed that the economy is headed for recession. It doesn’t matter whether they continue to raise rates in the future. The recession is a done deal. It’s just now you have that calm between the storm while investors are still clueless and haven’t yet connected those, what should be, very obvious dots.

When the next recession comes, you will know who to blame. Every time the Federal Reserve has engaged in a rate hiking program since World War II, it has always ended in either a recession or a stock market crash. The Fed is the reason why the U.S. economy has been on a roller coaster ride for decades, and now we are steamrolling directly toward the “bust” portion of this cycle. If we ever want to end this madness, we need to abolish the Fed, and that means that we need to send people to Congress that are willing to take action on these things.

Sadly, it is probably going to take a major collapse before abolishing the Fed becomes a big political issue again. Economic issues have been on the back burner for a while, but that may be about to change, because pessimism about the economy is growing. According to Gallup, the percentage of Americans that believe economic conditions are worsening has risen by 12 points over the past two months…

Americans are not feeling very confident about the economy these days.

Almost half (48%) of Americans say economic conditions are worsening, up from 45% in December and 36% in November, according to a recent poll by Gallup, a Washington, D.C.-based research and consulting firm.

This is more evidence of the national psychological shift that I have been talking about. People are starting to realize what is happening, and they are becoming deeply concerned about what the future holds.

Well, the truth is that things are going to get a lot tougher. But instead of getting down in the dumps about it, we need to prepare for what is ahead, and we need to be ready to implement some positive solutions in the aftermath of the coming crisis.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

 

The IMF Issues A Worldwide Warning: “The Risk Of A Sharper Decline In Global Growth Has Certainly Increased”

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde made headlines all over the globe this week when she declared that “the risk of a sharper decline in global growth has certainly increased”. As you will see below, signs of economic trouble are popping up all over the planet, and pretty much just about everyone is now acknowledging that the global economy is slowing down. But does that mean that we are headed for a global recession in 2019? Well, things certainly do not look good right now, but there is still time to turn things around. But in order to turn things in a more positive direction, something has got to be done to stop the downward momentum that seems to be accelerating in the early portion of this year.

On Monday, the IMF slashed their forecast for global economic growth for the second time in three months

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) revised down its estimates for global growth on Monday, warning that the expansion seen in recent years is losing momentum.

The Fund now projects a 3.5 percent growth rate worldwide for 2019 and 3.6 percent for 2020. These are 0.2 and 0.1 percentage points below its last forecasts in October — making it the second downturn revision in three months.

But at least they are still projecting global economic growth this year, and many would argue that “a 3.5 percent growth rate” is wildly optimistic.

At this point, it seems like just about everywhere you look economic confidence is declining. For example, one recent survey found that the percentage of global CEOs that believe that the world economy will slow down over the next year has jumped dramatically

Rising populism, policy uncertainty and trade conflicts have led to a sharp drop in confidence among global CEOs.

The share of chief executives who think the global economy will slow over the next year has jumped to nearly 30% from 5% in 2018, according to a survey of 1,300 top business leaders by audit giant PwC.

At least publicly, corporate CEOs usually want to put a positive spin on the future, and so it is absolutely astounding that this number has risen so much in a single year.

But there is no denying what is happening around the world right now. Over in Asia, China just announced that 2018 was the worst year for economic growth that country had seen in 28 years.

In addition, Chinese corporate bond defaults soared to an all-time record high in 2018, and it looks like 2019 could easily be even worse.

On the other side of the globe, Europe’s largest economy actually contracted during the third quarter

In Europe, its largest economic powerhouse Germany has been dented after it was announced the German economy had contracted in the third quarter.

This left Berlin skirting on the fringe of recession territory with economists fearing the most powerful economy in Europe was on the brink of financial chaos.

Europe faces great uncertainty during the months ahead. There is a very real possibility that we could have a “no deal Brexit”, Italy is teetering on the brink of complete and total financial ruin, and the entire European banking system could begin to collapse at any time.

Meanwhile, we continue to get more indications that the U.S. economy is slowing down as well.

For example, on Monday we got news that JCPenney is “on the precipice of bankruptcy”

JCPenney already finds itself in a precarious position in the first month of 2019: stocks are dwindling, sales are falling, and its desolate boardroom is still waiting for a number of senior vacancies to be filled.

Analysts fear the multitude of problems the department store is now facing points towards a ‘broken business’ balancing on the precipice of bankruptcy.

And just like its once fierce competitor Sears, all 846 of its stores could face closure, potentially affecting thousands of workers and risking another heavy blow to an already beaten-and-bruised retail sector.

Just like Sears, JCPenney is headed for zero, but it will take some time for the process to fully play out.

And the same thing is true for the nation as a whole. As James Howard Kunstler observed in his most recent article, our financial system “is on a slow boat to oblivion”…

As in this age of Hollywood sequels and prequels, America prefers to recycle old ideas rather than entertain new ones, so you can see exactly how the 2020 presidential election is shaping up to be a replay of the Great Depression, with Roosevelt-to-rescue! — only this time it’ll be with somebody in the role of Eleanor Roosevelt as chief executive. Donald Trump, of course, being the designated bag-holder for all the financial blunders of the past decade, gets to be Herbert Hoover. As was the case in the original, economic depression will segue into war, with maybe not such a happy ending for us as World War Two was.

There should be no doubt that the money part of the story is on a slow boat to oblivion. The world has been running on loans to such a grotesque degree that it’s managed the impressive feat of bankrupting the future. The collateral for all that debt was the conviction that there were ample amounts of future “growth” up ahead to service that debt. That conviction is now evaporating as car sales plummet, and real estate goes south, and nations twang each other over trade, and global supply lines wither. Globalism is unwinding — and not for the first time, either.

Of course most ordinary Americans are not getting prepared for what is ahead because they do not believe that anything is going to happen.

Despite an abundance of evidence to the contrary, most people believe that the system is stable and that our political leaders can easily fix any problems that may arise.

Unfortunately, the truth is not that simple. Our problems have been building for decades, and at this point there is no way that this story is going to end well.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Investors Beware: “The World Economy Is Headed For A Recession In 2019 Unless Something Happens”

Global economic activity has been slowing down dramatically in recent months, and now the mainstream media is filled with dire warnings that a global recession is dead ahead in 2019. And without a doubt, things do not look good right now as economic numbers from all over the globe just get bleaker and bleaker. China’s trade numbers are imploding, Germany is “careening towards recession”, and the government shutdown in the United States is taking a huge toll on the U.S. economy. In past years, the mainstream media usually tried to put a positive spin on any bad numbers, but now their mood seems completely different. For example, in a Daily Mail article that was just posted we are told that “the world economy is headed for a recession in 2019 unless something happens”…

Global growth is slowing and the world economy is headed for a recession in 2019 unless something happens to give it renewed momentum.

The OECD’s (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) leading indicator fell to just 99.3 points in November, its lowest since October 2012, and down from a peak of 100.5 at the end of 2017.

It appears that we are at a critical level on that OECD index, because whenever that number has fallen under 99.3 a recession has almost always followed

In the last 50 years, whenever the index has fallen below 99.3, there has almost always been a recession in the United States (1970, 1974, 1980, 1981, 1990, 2001 and 2008).

The one exception was the weakening of the index in 1998, when the United States continued to grow, despite the weakening global economy in the aftermath of the Asian financial crisis.

Will we beat the odds this time?

I wouldn’t bet on it.

Meanwhile, Morgan Stanley’s chief equity strategist is warning of a potential recession and telling us that we should “embrace it”. The following comes from CNN

The S&P 500 will soon suffer a retest of the lows from Christmas Eve because of shrinking earnings estimates and mounting economic concerns, the investment bank warned in a Monday report titled “Don’t fear a potential recession; Embrace it.”

“Should the hard data deteriorate further, as we expect, we think the market will quickly return to pricing in a recession and rate cuts,” wrote Michael Wilson, Morgan Stanley’s chief US equity strategist.

When the “too big to fail” banks are warning that a recession is coming, you know that it is late in the game.

Also, a top economist at Moody’s Analytics just told Maryland’s Budget and Taxation Committee that they should be getting prepared for the coming recession

An economist has warned Maryland Senators that a recession is coming and that they should begin to prepare for it. The economist said that the indicators point to the recession happening in mid-2020, perhaps sooner.

Dan White, director of government consulting and fiscal policy research for Moody’s Analytics, told members of the Senate’s Budget and Taxation Committee that there are financial indicators of an upcoming recession according to the Baltimore Sun.

And the latest housing numbers seem to confirm that a recession may be coming sooner rather than later. In the month of December, U.S. home sales were down 11 percent

The median US home price rose 1.2% to $289,800 in December, the slowest monthly pace since March 2012, when the housing market was just beginning to climb out of the hole left by the collapse. Meanwhile, sales dropped by 11%, the biggest drop for any one month since 2016, according to a report released by real estate company Redfin said. This follows a drop in the hottest markets, like San Jose, California, where prices dropped 7.3%.

As BBG explains, the housing market is softening after years of rapidly rising prices as the shortage in homes is beginning to wane. With interest rates on the rise, mortgages are becoming more expensive, which is cutting in to demand.

But just because a recession is coming does not mean that we should be afraid.

You may have noticed that I write about a lot of hard things on The Economic Collapse Blog and End Of The American Dream. But my wife and I are not negative people at all. We are not down, we are not depressed, and we are not on any pills. We are excited about the future and we believe that our greatest days are still to come.

However, we are definitely realists. We are greatly saddened by what is happening to this country, but we also know that it is not going to be avoided. So we want to be in a position to make it through what is ahead, and we want to fulfill the purpose for why we were put on this planet.

Anxiety, fear and panic are for those that get their meaning in life from material possessions, that don’t understand what is happening, and that are going to totally freak out when everything falls apart. For example, the following comes from an article by a member of the Council on Foreign Relations named Christian H. Cooper

My most recent annual salary was over $700,000. I am a Truman National Security Fellow and a term member at the Council on Foreign Relations. My publisher has just released my latest book series on quantitative finance in worldwide distribution.

None of it feels like enough. I feel as though I am wired for a permanent state of fight or flight, waiting for the other shoe to drop, or the metaphorical week when I don’t eat. I’ve chosen not to have children, partly because—despite any success—I still don’t feel I have a safety net. I have a huge minimum checking account balance in mind before I would ever consider having children. If you knew me personally, you might get glimpses of stress, self-doubt, anxiety, and depression.

People like that are not going to be able to handle what is coming.

But if we understand the changes that are taking place and we have our priorities in order, we will be in a much better position to respond calmly to a world that is becoming more chaotic with each passing day.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

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