The High Cost Of Locking Down America: “We’ve Seen A Year’s Worth Of Suicide Attempts In The Last Four Weeks”

Locking down much of the country may have helped to “flatten the curve” a bit, but it has also had some very serious consequences that public health officials did not anticipate.  Humans were created to be social creatures, and forcing us to isolate ourselves from one another for weeks on end has turned out to be quite problematic.  This has especially been true for those that live alone.  Today, the U.S. has a higher percentage of one person households than ever before, and keeping those individuals totally isolated in their own homes is not that different from putting prison inmates in solitary confinement for an extended period of time.  In both cases, it can be just a matter of time before people mentally break.

Even before this pandemic came along, the suicide rate in the United States was already soaring, and now the number of suicides is spiking like we have never seen before.  Just consider what Dr. Mike deBoisblanc of John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek, California says is happening in his area

“We’ve never seen numbers like this, in such a short period of time,” he said. “I mean we’ve seen a year’s worth of suicide attempts in the last four weeks.”

And suicide helplines all over America are seeing an enormous increase in the number of people calling in…

Many crisis centers are reporting 30% to 40% increases in the number of people seeking help. The helpline at Provident is experiencing a tenfold increase compared with this time last year, when no national disaster was occurring.

In addition to being isolated in their own homes, Americans have also been bombarded by endless coverage of this pandemic by the mainstream media, and this has definitely helped to fuel a lot of anxiety

In all, 66% are watching and consuming more news than ever before, which is particularly puzzling considering that 68% also admitted that COVID-19 coverage gives them considerable anxiety. It’s not just anxiety either; 65% said they feel overwhelmed by coronavirus news, 56% just get plain angry, 67% feel burnt out, 59% experience fearfulness, and 50% can’t help but feel hopeless after hearing the nightly news.

And of course Americans are not just watching more news than ever before.  According to Comcast, the average U.S. household has actually been watching 66 hours of TV a week during this pandemic…

New research from telecomms firm Comcast has revealed viewing time has soared as a result, with households watching an extra eight-plus hours of TV each week – equivalent to the time spent on a full days’ work shift.

This means the average household now watches 66 hours of TV a week, up from 57 hours a week in early March.

Watching endless hours of television is one of the worst possible things that you can do for your mental health.

If you put garbage into your mind, you are going to get garbage out.

And allowing the corporate media elite to endlessly feed hour after hour of “programming” directly into your mind is incredibly self-destructive.

In addition to binge-watching television, many Americans have also been dealing with this crisis by turning to drugs and alcohol

Findings by The Recovery Village, a Florida-based network of addiction treatment facilities, reflect an “expected” increase in substance use during the pandemic, with Americans reporting a 55% rise in alcohol consumption in the last month. When it came to illicit drugs, 36% of Americans reported increased use of marijuana and prescription opioids, among others.

Needless to say, this is more self-destructive behavior that is just going to fuel even more anxiety, depression and despair.

Yes, this pandemic has been bad.  There have been more than 1.7 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the United States so far, and about 100,000 Americans have died.

But this isn’t the worst thing that we are going to face.  In fact, it isn’t even close.

So if we can’t handle what is happening right now, how in the world are we going to be able to handle what is coming?

The good news is that this pandemic is causing a lot of people to wake up and reflect on what really matters.

Prior to COVID-19, a lot of Americans were living for their careers.  But this crisis has demonstrated how rapidly those jobs can disappear.  There is absolutely no loyalty in the corporate world today, and most corporations will not hesitate to lay off workers once they start bleeding money.  At this point, more than 38 million Americans have already lost their jobs, and more job losses are coming in the weeks and months ahead.

Other Americans were living for the pleasures of this life before this pandemic came along.  But now bars, clubs and movie theaters all over the country have been shut down, professional sports leagues have been paralyzed, and this virus has even transformed dating into a hazard that many people simply don’t want to deal with.

So many of the things that we once valued so highly have been taken away, and maybe that is precisely what we needed.  Wrestling legend Hulk Hogan created quite an uproar when he made this point very strongly on Instagram…

“Word up, can you handle the truth my brother only love HH,” wrote Hogan, who has 1.5 million followers on Instagram. “In three short months, just like He did with the plagues of Egypt, God has taken away everything we worship.

“God said, ‘you want to worship athletes, I will shut down the stadiums. You want to worship musicians, I will shut down Civic Centers. You want to worship actors, I will shut down theaters. You want to worship money, I will shut down the economy and collapse the stock market. You don’t want to go to church and worship Me, I will make it where you can’t go to church.

“‘If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.  I wrote an entire book urging people to start focusing on what really matters, because true hope will not be found in the temporal things that the world is constantly chasing.

And it has definitely been encouraging to hear that many young people have taken this crisis as an opportunity to start thinking about spiritual issues more

A majority of teens and young adults say they are praying more or thinking about spiritual issues more than they were prior to the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new survey.

The poll of 800 high school students and 800 post-secondary students found that 67 percent said they’re either praying more often or thinking about spiritual issues more compared to the time before the virus.

There is hope, but it won’t be found on a television screen, at the bottom of a bottle or at the end of a needle.

So please don’t give up.  Despite all of the craziness in our world today, the best chapters of your life can still be ahead of you.

But if you keep feeding your mind endless hours of media “programming” and you keep chasing the things that they tell you to chase, all that is ahead of you is more pain, more anxiety, more depression and more despair.

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 BlogEnd 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 EndGet 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. 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.  During these very challenging times, people will need hope more than ever before, and it is our goal to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with all many people as we possibly can.

Hope For A U.S.-China Trade Deal Is Completely Dead, And Wall Street Is Starting To Panic

The reality of what we are now facing is starting to sink in for Wall Street investors, and they are starting to panic. Hope that the U.S. and China would be able to agree to a trade deal had fueled a tremendous stock market rally over the last couple of months, but of course it just turned out to be a cruel mirage. There isn’t going to be a trade deal prior to the 2020 presidential election, and at this point even President Trump is telling us not to expect one before November 2020. Just check out what he told the press on Tuesday

“In some ways, I like the idea of waiting until after the election for the China deal, but they want to make a deal now and we will see whether or not the deal is going to be right,” Trump told reporters earlier on Tuesday.

When asked if he had a deal deadline, he added: “I have no deadline, no … In some ways, I think it is better to wait until after the election if you want to know the truth.”

President Trump is attempting to spin things to make it sound like it is his decision to hold off on a trade deal, and that may be a politically savvy thing to do.

But the truth is that the Chinese never wanted to do a comprehensive trade deal with Trump. They have been stringing him along all this time, because they wanted to delay Trump’s tariffs for as long as possible. But their original intention was to wait until a Democrat was in the White House to cut a deal.

Of course at this point the Chinese have soured on the Democrats as well. The Chinese government views the pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong the way that we view ISIS and al-Qaeda, and from the very beginning they have accused the United States of starting those protests. And now that President Trump has signed the “Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019” after it was overwhelmingly passed by both the House and the Senate, the Chinese are beyond angry. At this point our relationship with China has been completely destroyed, and from now on we are going to have a deeply adversarial relationship with them no matter who is in the White House.

President Trump has threatened to go ahead with more tariffs on China on December 15th, and since there is zero chance of a trade deal by then, that is exactly what we should expect.

And if that happens, Wharton Business School Professor of Finance Jeremy Siegel is warning that chaos could be unleashed on Wall Street

If Trump doesn’t reach a trade deal with China and “the tariffs get put on on Dec. 15 … I don’t know if I want to be around equities then,” Siegel said on CNBC’s Closing Bell on Tuesday.

Unfortunately, Siegel is precisely correct. In fact, stock prices have already fallen for three days in a row, and the downturn really started to accelerate on Tuesday

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 280.23 points, or 1% to 27,502.81. The 30-stock average was led lower by trade-vulnerable Apple, Caterpillar and Boeing. The S&P 500 slid 0.7% to 3,093.20 amid losses in chip stocks like Nvidia, Micron and Advanced Micro Devices. The Nasdaq Composite lost about 0.6% to end the day at 8,520.64.

At its lows of the day, the Dow was down 457.91 points, or 1.7%. The S&P 500 dropped as much as 1.7% while the Nasdaq traded lower by as much as 1.6%.

Hopefully things will settle down for the rest of this week, but if December 15th comes and the tariffs are fully implemented, many analysts are warning that there could be panic. Here is one example

And while the US may (or may not) end up victorious in such a showdown, it will give Wall Street strategists – who have all flipped a U-turn and reversed from extremely optimistic to suddenly pessimistic – copious opportunities to impress their clients with superlatives such as this one from Manulife managing director Sue Trinh, who said that “if tariffs scheduled for Dec. 15 are implemented it would be a huge shock to the market consensus,” adding that “Trump would be the Grinch that stole Christmas” if the December 15 tariffs go through.

Even though there isn’t going to be any sort of an agreement with China, it would be helpful for the U.S. economy if Trump decided to delay the December 15th tariffs.

I don’t think that is going to happen though.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is also looking at raising tariffs on goods from France, Brazil and Argentina

Heightened trade fears come a day after Trump threatened new tariffs on several more countries. On Monday, the president said he would raise tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Brazil and Argentina. He also proposed slapping tariffs on France’s exports.

As I recently discussed, global trade has now fallen for four months in a row, and it certainly appears that things could get even worse in the months ahead.

And that means that it is more likely than ever that the U.S. economy as a whole will plunge into a deep recession. In fact, Legg Mason is warning their clients that “the probability of a recession over the next 12 months is 50%”

Legg Mason, a diversified global asset management firm, said the probability of a recession over the next 12 months is 50%.

According to the variables the firm looks at to determine the health of the economy, recession risk is rising, said Jeff Schulze, the investment strategist for ClearBridge Investments, at Legg Mason’s market outlook for 2020 last Monday in New York.

Of course in the long-term what we are facing is going to be far worse than just another recession.

The “bubble to end all bubbles” is starting to look exceedingly vulnerable, and it isn’t going to take very much at all to push us into a new financial crisis.

Investing is all about hope. People put their money into stocks and bonds because they anticipate a positive future in which the value of their investments goes up.

If you take that hope away, the entire foundation crumbles. And now that the relationship between the United States and China has been destroyed, the future is looking a whole lot more bleak for investors than it was just a few weeks ago.

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.

This Is What Social Media Is Doing To Us…

Scientific study after scientific study is showing that too much time on social media can be extremely harmful both mentally and physically. But even though most of us know this, very few of us actually alter our behavior in a meaningful way. When Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and other major social media platforms first emerged, we welcomed them with open arms. They were a lot of fun and they allowed us to interact with family, friends and society as a whole in ways that we had never been able to do before. But they were also extremely addictive, and they rapidly became transformed into dumping grounds for just about everything toxic, negative and malevolent that you can possibly imagine. Today, many of us spend far more time on social media than we do with real people, and as you will see below, that has enormous implications for our future.

A growing body of scientific research clearly indicates that spending too much time on social media can be very bad for us. For example, just consider what a long-term study that was conducted by Gallup over a period of two years ultimately concluded

Holly Shakya, assistant professor at UC San Diego, and Yale professor Nicholas Christakis spent two years following 5,208 adults who are part of a Gallup long-term study. After asking permission, they monitored these subjects’ Facebook use directly from Facebook, rather than asking subjects to report their own use. (People often don’t realize how much time they spend on the social network.) And they checked in with subjects on their emotional and physical well-being, as well as their body-mass index (BMI), three times over the course of two years.

“Overall, our results showed that, while real-world social networks were positively associated with overall well-being, the use of Facebook was negatively associated with overall well-being,” the researchers wrote in a Harvard Business Review article. “These results were particularly strong for mental health; most measures of Facebook use in one year predicted a decrease in mental health in a later year.”

That doesn’t sound good at all.

If you knew that something was going to consistently degrade both your mental and physical well-being, would you engage in that activity every single day?

And yet most of us simply cannot go 24 hours without checking our social media accounts.

One way that social media is affecting our mental health is that it is making all of us a whole lot more impatient. Just check out what a survey of 2,000 British adults found

Patience is a virtue, but it’s becoming an exceedingly rare quality in modern society. According to a new survey of 2,000 British adults, all of the luxuries of modern life have made most people incredibly impatient — across pretty much every aspect of their lives. Three quarters of those surveyed said they believe the dominance of digital technology, such as smartphones and on-demand TVs, are to blame for this ever growing lack of patience.

Respondents reported becoming frustrated after just 16 seconds of waiting for a web page to load, and after 25 seconds of waiting for a traffic light to change.

When I read those paragraphs, I found myself nodding my head in agreement.

These days, I have a hard time waiting for anything, and I always feel like I am in a hurry.

Can you identify with that?

I have a feeling that many of you can.

Another study that focused on teens found that “emotional investment in social media was strongly correlated with higher levels of anxiety”

A study of more than 450 youth aged 11 to 17 found that 97 percent of participants indicated that they used social media. Thirty-five percent of participants were categorized as poor sleepers. Forty-seven percent of participants were identified as anxious. Also (and here’s the kicker), higher emotional investment in social media was strongly correlated with higher levels of anxiety.

Do we really want our young people to be bundles of nerves? Anxiety continues to be a growing problem in our society, and it appears that social media is playing a major role.

In addition, yet another study that was conducted not too long ago discovered a direct link between social media use and increased levels of depression and loneliness

A new study concludes that there is in fact a causal link between the use of social media and negative effects on well-being, primarily depression and loneliness. The study was published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

“What we found overall is that if you use less social media, you are actually less depressed and less lonely, meaning that the decreased social media use is what causes that qualitative shift in your well-being,” said Jordyn Young, a co-author of the paper and a senior at the University of Pennsylvania.

Today, Americans take more anti-depressants than anyone else on the entire planet. “Deaths of despair” have hit an all-time record high in our nation, and all around us people seem so incredibly unhappy.

One of the biggest reasons for all of this unhappiness is the fact that we are all so isolated. According to a recent YouGov poll, over 20% of American Millennials say “that they don’t have a single friend”

More than 20% of millennials surveyed in a YouGov poll released this week claimed that they don’t have a single friend. And less than a third of millennials said they have double-digit friends, according to the data, culled online in early July.

Even if younger Americans are overstating their isolation, the jarring numbers reflect long-term rising trends in loneliness. Studies have indicated that loneliness has myriad negative mental and physical health effects.

Of course if we all weren’t staring at screens all day long we would have much more time to make real friends in the real world.

But instead we find much more value in the online world that we have created, and at this point the average adult in the U.S. spends six hours and 43 minutes a day staring at a screen

Perhaps it’s no surprise then that Americans spend nearly half of their waking hours looking at screens, according to a survey of 2,000 adults.

More specifically, the survey found that 42% of the time Americans are awake, their eyes are fixated on a television, smartphone, computer, tablet, or other device. Supposing the average American slept eight hours a night (not even close to the case for most adults), the researchers calculated that people spend about six hours and 43 minutes a day staring at a screen. Over a typical lifespan, that’s 7,956 days.

Another survey discovered that 45 percent of teens say that they are online “almost constantly”. We have decided that it is the online world that really matters, but that is not true at all. Life is supposed to be an adventure, but we will never live life to the fullest if we are all staring at screens endlessly day after day.

Sadly, the truth is that social media is not going anywhere. The big social media companies are going to just keep coming up with more ways to make their products addicting, and most of us will be sucked into the vortex without any resistance whatsoever.

But hopefully the awakening regarding the harmful effects of social media will continue to grow, and hopefully more Americans will start choosing to make healthier choices regarding how they use their 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.

An Indicator With A 100% Perfect Track Record Of Predicting Recessions Says That Another One Is Coming

You can believe that we will somehow beat the odds this time if you want, but history is completely against you. One of the biggest reasons why there is so much anxiety on Wall Street right now is because of how the yield curve is behaving. We have seen yield curve inversions before each of the last seven U.S. recessions, and now it has happened again. Perhaps this helps to explain why insiders are dumping stocks right now as if there will be no tomorrow. If you were looking for a giant waving red flag to tell you that it is time to run for the exits, it doesn’t get much better than this. This week, we watched the yield curve do something that it hasn’t done in 12 years

The spread between the 10-year Treasury yield and the 2-year rate fell to negative 5 basis points, its lowest level since 2007. This is called a yield curve inversion. Experts fear it because in the past it has preceded recessionary periods. The 3-month Treasury bill rate also traded higher than the 30-year bond yield.

“The primary thing is yields are going down and going down with some acceleration,” said Art Cashin, the director of floor operations at UBS.

In addition, the spread between 3 month Treasury bonds and 10 year Treasury bonds just hit negative 50 basis points. We haven’t seen that happen since March 2007.

And as David Rosenberg has noted, when the spread between 3 month Treasury bonds and 10 year Treasury bonds goes negative for at least three months, we have a recession 100% of the time…

We now have had three months of a 3-mo/10-yr yield curve inversion. The track record this has had in predicting recessions: 100%.

Yes, it is theoretically possible that this indicator could be proven wrong this time.

But do you really want to bet against an indicator with a track record of 100% accuracy?

Plus, we have a trade war with China to deal with this time around. Hopeful comments from President Trump briefly bolstered the markets on Monday, but over in China prominent voices continue to pour cold water on the notion that a deal will happen any time soon. Here is an example from Tuesday

Sentiment was also dampened after Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of the Global Times in China, tweeted that China is “putting so much emphasis on trade talks,” adding that “it’s more and more difficult for the US to press China to make concessions” as China’s economy becomes increasingly driven by its domestic growth. China announced measures aimed at boosting consumption, including potentially removing car-buying restrictions.

Unless one side chooses to fold like a 20 dollar suit, there isn’t going to be a resolution to this trade war any time in the near future, and that is going to mean a tremendous amount of pain for the U.S., China and the entire global economy.

Another indication that things are about to get bad is the fact that investors are starting to flock to precious metals.

Gold and silver are considered to be “safe haven assets” during a financial crisis, and right now gold and silver are both surging

Gold prices are moderately higher in early U.S. trading, while the silver market is again sharply higher and hit another two-year high overnight. Bullish technical postures in both metals continue to invite the chart-based buyers to climb on board the long side. A weaker U.S. dollar index is also supportive to the precious metals markets today. December gold futures were last up $4.60 an ounce at 1,541.90. December Comex silver prices were last up $0.295 at $18.075 an ounce.

But for most hard working Americans, it is going to be far more important to build up an emergency fund as we head deeper into this new crisis, and this is something that I have written about repeatedly. The reason why so many Americans lost their homes during the last recession was because they were living right on the edge financially. It is imperative that you have a financial cushion so that you can pay your basic expenses when things start getting really hard.

Unfortunately, it is often young people that get the hardest during an economic downturn, and this is something that Annie Lowrey discussed in her most recent article

Recessions are never good for anyone. A sputtering economy means miserable financial, emotional, and physical-health consequences for everyone from infants to retirees. But the next one—if it happens, when it starts happening — stands to hit this much-maligned generation particularly hard. For adults between the ages of 22 and 38, after all, the last recession never really ended.

Millennials got bodied in the downturn, have struggled in the recovery, and are now left more vulnerable than other, older age cohorts. As they pitch toward middle age, they are failing to make it to the middle class, and are likely to be the first generation in modern economic history to end up worse off than their parents. The next downturn might make sure of it, stalling their careers and sucking away their wages right as the millennials enter their prime earning years.

I understand that a lot of people may not want to hear this, but every economic indicator is telling us that a U.S. recession is coming, and many experts believe that it will be far worse than the last one.

If you prepare in advance for what is coming, that is going to help to take fear out of the equation. Because when things get really crazy, it is those that don’t understand what is happening that are going to give in to fear, depression and despair.

We have not seen an economic environment like this in a decade, and there is no reason to believe that a miracle is going to come along and rescue us from the storm that is now looming above us.

The months ahead promise to be quite “interesting”, and not in a good way.

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.

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.

“I Cry When I Think Back How Things Used To Be” – What In the World Has Happened To The America We Grew Up In?

Earlier today, my attention was directed to a thread on an Internet discussion forum that lamented how much America had changed over the years. I don’t know exactly why, but the posts on that thread really touched me. Those of us that are old enough to remember what America was like before the Internet grew up in a much simpler time. Yes, we didn’t have all of the luxuries that we take for granted in 2019, but we found joy in the simple things and people were generally much happier. Today, we seemingly have so much going for us, and yet people are lonelier, more disconnected and more depressed than ever before. The suicide rate in the United States is up 34 percent since the year 2000, approximately 40 million American adults have an anxiety disorder, and overdosing on drugs is now the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50. Clearly our society is not heading in the right direction.

So that probably explains why a thread entitled “I Cry When I Think Back How Things Used To Be” got my attention so much. This is what the author of the thread posted…

I can never go back to my early days growing up on the farm. Had time to enjoy each day, the warm sun the hay in the barn. Even with all the work there was to be done. Eating an apple off the tree, taking a long drink from the cool spring. Working the garden…..What the hell happened.

In just five sentences, this individual captured what so many of us have been feeling.

Of course most of us didn’t grow up on a farm. I certainly didn’t. But without a doubt there are lots of people out there that are saddened by the contrast between what America used to be and what America is today.

Another person that grew up near Boston also shared memories of simpler days

me too..

only it was just suburbs Boston.

actually, just sitting and talking with neighbors, drinking lemonade in summer as Boston is insanely humid then..

or even more recently, in Wisconsin.. listening to thunderstorms roll in.. the state is so flat you can see these beautiful storms for miles…

Once upon a time in America, people actually sat on their porches and talked with their neighbors. I know that may sound quite strange to many of you, but it is true.

Sadly, most houses that are being built today don’t even have real front porches because they are considered to be a waste of space.

So what has caused such a dramatic shift in our country?

Well, the truth is that there are a lot of factors, but one that kept coming up over and over in the thread was social media. Here is what one astute poster had to say

Social media made people cold, uncaring and combative.

People have lost their connection to one another. They’ve lost the drive to socialize and have friends and form solid connections. Instead they opt to argue, fight and divide themselves.

This has made society negative, bitter, and have no hope or joy for the future.

You arent sad because you look back into the past, you are sad because you are looking into the present and future and you realize the path humanity is currently on is a very bad one. A path that is very different than the path humanity was on not that long ago.

You don’t have to spend much time on social media to realize that a lot of people are downright nasty, mean and cruel.

It isn’t healthy to spend much time mentally immersed in that type of environment, but many of our young people are online almost constantly, and as a result they are developing all sorts of problems

Teens and young adults are in the midst of a unique mental health crisis, suggests a new study out Thursday. It found that rates of depressive episodes and serious psychological distress have dramatically risen among these age groups in recent years, while hardly budging or even declining for older age groups.

Lead author Jean Twenge, a 47-year-old professor of psychology at San Diego State University, has spent much of her career studying the attitudes and beliefs of younger generations. Most recently, in 2017, Twenge published a pop-science book laying out her central argument that teens and young adults coming of age are especially lonely and disconnected, thanks in part to the growing abundance of social media and devices like smartphones. Her book is titled iGen: Why Today’s Super-Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy—and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood.

And one shocking study that was conducted not too long ago found a direct link between social media use and levels of depression and loneliness

A new study concludes that there is in fact a causal link between the use of social media and negative effects on well-being, primarily depression and loneliness. The study was published in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.

“What we found overall is that if you use less social media, you are actually less depressed and less lonely, meaning that the decreased social media use is what causes that qualitative shift in your well-being,” said Jordyn Young, a co-author of the paper and a senior at the University of Pennsylvania.

The implications of this are staggering. As Americans become more and more immersed in the online world, we are likely to become increasingly unhappy.

So is there anything that can be done?

Well, some are suggesting that the social media giants should change their algorithms

The solution is obvious: change the algorithms. Which is to say: make less money. Ha.They could even remove the algorithms entirely, switch back to Strict Chronological, and still make money — Twitter was profitable before stock options before it switched to an algorithmic feed, and its ad offerings were way less sophisticated back then — but it’s not about making money, it’s about making the most money possible, and that means algorithmically curated, engagement-driven, misery-inducing feeds.

Of course that isn’t likely to happen, and it would probably only have a marginal impact anyway.

In the end, the reality of the matter is that technology is always going to be a part of our lives, but we need to strive to find proper balance.

Because those that spend too much time on the hate-filled Internet are in danger of turning out like this crazed woman

A crazed leftist with a mohawk attacked an elderly gentleman minding his own business inside of a Starbucks in Palo Alto, CA because he was wearing a red MAGA hat.

A ‘woman’ who goes by the name Parker Mankey, posted photos of the elderly Trump supporter to her Facebook page Monday and called on her Facebook friends to find out who the “freak” is and “confront him.”

Parker Mankey, who declared her support for Bernie Sanders, says screaming at him, stalking him and doxxing him is a way to fight back against Fascism.

Do you think that this woman would have turned out this way if she had been raised on a farm with no access to the Internet, television or the mainstream media?

Of course not.

What we regularly feed our minds determines what we will become.

The Internet can be used for great good, but there is also much online that is highly toxic. And the more toxic the Internet becomes, the more toxic our nation as a whole will become.

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 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.

Rural Sheriff’s Ominous Warning To Citizens: “LOCK YOUR DOORS, LOAD YOUR GUNS AND GET YOU A BARKING, BITING DOG”

Is this a sign of what is coming for the rest of the nation? In Martin County, Kentucky times are very tough right now. Thanks to severe budget cutbacks, there are only two paid law enforcement officers covering a deeply impoverished 231-square-mile area that sits right in the heart of America’s raging opioid crisis. Needless to say, Martin County Sheriff John Kirk feels greatly outnumbered by the thieves, sexual predators and drug dealers that he has to contend with on a daily basis, and he recently issued a very ominous warning to the citizens of his county

Before making a wave of cutbacks across his department, Martin County Sheriff John Kirk delivered a grim warning to residents of this hardscrabble Appalachian community.

“Law enforcement as we have known for the last four years will not exist,” he posted on Facebook last month. “WE ARE BROKE… LOCK YOUR DOORS, LOAD YOUR GUNS AND GET YOU A BARKING, BITING DOG. If the Sheriff’s office can’t protect you, WHO WILL?”

So why can’t Martin County afford more law enforcement officers?

Well, like so many other local communities all across America right now, they are deep in debt and flat broke

The county has accumulated $1.4 million in debt — a surprise to many of its new officials.

“I don’t sleep well,” said Susan Hale, the county’s new treasurer, who is sifting through the bills left by the previous administration: $230,000 to a regional jail that houses its inmates, $140,000 to a state association that provides liability insurance, plus dribs and drabs for mundane items such as office supplies and toilet paper.

As economic conditions continue to deteriorate, we are going to hear a lot more stories like this all over the country.

And the truth is that things will ultimately be far worse in our major cities than in our rural areas.

Just take a look at Chicago. Today it is a war zone, and the growing poverty in the city has fueled the rapid growth of criminal gangs.

According to a study conducted at the University of Illinois at Chicago, approximately half of the city was considered to be “middle income” in 1970, but now that number has dropped to just 16 percent

UIC’s maps show that fully half of the city was middle income in 1970, including large swaths on every side of town. Today, just 16 percent of the city’s 797 census tracts are considered middle income. Those middle income areas are confined mostly to the corners of the city, and to thin strips between areas of wealth and poverty.

Those numbers are absolutely staggering.

Right now, there are about 12,000 law enforcement officers and more than 100,000 gang members in the city of Chicago.

That means that the gang members outnumber the police by an almost 10 to 1 margin.

Things are not quite as bad in other major cities, but trouble is definitely brewing. For example, the murder rate in New York City is up 37 percent so far this year, and more gang members are moving in with each passing day.

Philadelphia has also seen the murder rate rise substantially, and this is something that Jim Quinn commented on in his most recent article

Facts are always inconvenient to welfare state Democrats, but the ignorance of their constituents is what keeps them in power. The narrative of Philadelphia getting safer is obliterated by the 351 murders in 2018, up 43% since 2013, and the highest level since 2007.

Assaults involving a gun totaled 2,327, up 13% since 2014. There were over 14,000 violent crimes and 63,000 robberies and thefts in 2018. The vast majority of these crimes occur in West and North Philadelphia, as local news stories lead with multiple murders and shootings every night (average of 4 shootings per day).

If things are this bad already, what are things going to look like when economic conditions get really bad?

We live at a time when Americans are becoming increasingly pessimistic. And even though economic conditions have been relatively stable in recent years, the combined national death rate from alcohol, drugs and suicide has been steadily rising

Feelings of hopelessness and despair are overwhelming many in the U.S. So much so, that people are turning to alcohol, drugs, and suicide to numb the pain of their lives. Government enslavement and the stranglehold on the economy are making life even more difficult on those already struggling to get by. And this is seen in new death numbers released.

The national rate for deaths from alcohol, drugs, and suicide rose from 43.9 to 46.6 deaths per 100,000 people in 2017, a 6 percent increase, the Trust for America’s Health and the Well Being Trust reported Tuesday. That was a slower increase than in the previous two years, but it was greater than the 4 percent average annual increase since 1999, reported USA Today.

The big reason why people are turning to alcohol, drugs and suicide to deal with the pain in their lives is because they don’t have any hope. And as this country continues to literally fall apart all around us, unfortunately a lot more Americans are likely to give in to anxiety, depression and despair.

If we want to turn this nation around, we need to act now.

Illegal immigration has been one of the biggest factors behind the explosive growth of gang violence in America, and a new report in the Washington Times is telling us that the number of people trying to come across our borders illegally is currently at an all-time record high…

Illegal immigration continues to break records on the southwestern border — and they’re not good ones.

The number of families snared trying to sneak into the U.S. soared by 50 percent in one month alone, setting an all-time record with more than 36,000 family members apprehended, Homeland Security officials announced Tuesday.

The government has also encountered some 70 groups of at least 100 migrants during the first five months of the fiscal year, shattering records and placing new challenges on Border Patrol agents.

Bad choices lead to bad consequences, and we have been making really bad choices for a very long time.

If we are not able to reverse course as a nation, you may want to take Sheriff Kirk’s advice and “lock your doors, load your guns and get you a barking, biting dog”…

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 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.

The “Stock Market Crash Of 2018” Is Rapidly Transforming Into “The Financial Crisis Of 2019”

Stock markets are crashing all over the world, we are seeing extremely violent “flash crashes” in the forex marketplace, economic conditions are slowing down all over the globe, and fear is causing many investors to become extremely trigger happy. The stock market crash of 2018 wiped out approximately 12 trillion dollars in global stock market wealth, but things were supposed to calm down once we got into 2019. But clearly that is not happening. After Apple announced that their sales during the first quarter are going to be much, much lower than previously anticipated, Apple’s stock price started shooting down like a rocket and by the end of the session on Wednesday the company had lost 75 billion dollars in market capitalization. Meanwhile, “flash crashes” caused some of the most violent swings that we have ever seen in the foreign exchange markets…

It took seven minutes for the yen to surge through levels that have held through almost a decade.

In those wild minutes from about 9:30 a.m. Sydney, the yen jumped almost 8 percent against the Australian dollar to its strongest since 2009, and surged 10 percent versus the Turkish lira. The Japanese currency rose at least 1 percent versus all its Group-of-10 peers, bursting through the 72 per Aussie level that has held through a trade war, a stock rout, Italy’s budget dispute and Federal Reserve rate hikes.

This is the kind of chaos that we only see during a financial crisis.

Investors are also being rattled by the fact that China just experienced its first factory activity contraction in over two years

The People’s Bank of China said on Wednesday evening it had relaxed its conditions on targeted reserve requirement cuts to benefit more small firms.

The move came after China reported its first factory activity contraction in over two years in December. A long-term Chinese slowdown would cause global havoc.

But of course the biggest news of the day was what happened to Apple. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 660 points on Wednesday, and the huge hit that Apple took was the biggest reason for that decline.

Including the 75 billion dollars that was just wiped out, the value of Apple has now fallen by 452 billion dollars since October 3rd…

In only three months, Apple has lost $452 billion in market capitalization, including tens of billions on Thursday as the tech giant’s stock sank further.

Apple shares have fallen by 39.1 percent since Oct. 3, when the stock hit a 52-week high of $233.47 a share. With its market cap down to about $674 billion, those losses are larger than individual value of 496 members of the S&P 500 — including Facebook and J.P. Morgan.

Ironically, the truth is that Apple is actually one of the strongest companies on Wall Street financially. It is just that the company was priced well beyond perfection, and so any hint of bad news was likely to cause a decline of this magnitude.

The amount of paper wealth that stock market investors have just lost is absolutely staggering. To put this in the proper perspective, here are some more facts about the money that Apple investors have lost that come from CNBC

At this point U.S. financial markets are hypersensitive to any piece of bad news, and the fact that Apple sales are way down in China is definitely bad news.

One analyst said that this was “Apple’s darkest day in the iPhone era” and he expressed his opinion that “the magnitude of the miss with China demand …was jaw-dropping.”

Of course Apple is far from alone. Economic activity is slowing down substantially all over the planet, and on Wednesday we learned that U.S. factory activity just declined by the most since the last recession

Beyond Apple, investors were also rattled by the biggest one-month decline in US factory activity since the Great Recession. The closely-watched ISM manufacturing index tumbled to a two-year low, providing further evidence of slowing growth and pain from the US-China trade war.

In addition, both of Bloomberg’s economic surprise indexes have “turned negative for the first time since Trump was elected”.

The hits just keep on coming, and it is becoming quite clear that this is going to be a very tough year.

As this crisis continues to escalate, keep an eye on our big financial institutions. Italy’s tenth largest bank just imploded, and it is likely that we will see more financial dominoes start to topple as the losses mount.

Over the past decade, there have been other times when Wall Street has been rattled, but those episodes only lasted for a few weeks at the most.

It has now been three months, and this new crisis shows no signs of abating any time soon.

What that means is that we are in a heap of trouble. Because once this giant financial avalanche fully gets going, it is going to be impossible to stop.

For the moment, I think that this current wave of panic selling is subsiding and that Friday will be better for investors. Of course the markets are so jittery at this point that a single piece of bad news could instantly send them tumbling once again. But barring any bad news, hopefully things will be calmer on Friday.

There will be good days and there will be bad days in 2019.

There will be ups and there will be downs.

But it has become exceedingly clear that the downturn that so many have been anticipating has finally arrived, and the financial crisis of 2019 looks like it is going to be a doozy.

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.

A Surprise Announcement Has Just Unleashed Another Wave Of Panic On Wall Street

Well, that sure didn’t take long. Many had been hoping that 2019 would be a calmer year for Wall Street, but so far that has not materialized. In fact, a surprise announcement by Apple has just sparked another wave of panic selling on Wall Street. In a letter to shareholders, Apple CEO Tim Cook admitted that first quarter revenue is going to be way, way below expectations. That immediately set off “flash crashes” all over the globe as investors reacted to this unexpected news. According to Cook, the primary reason for the coming “revenue shortfall” is a slowing economy in China

Apple said it sees first-quarter revenue of $84 billion vs. a previous guidance of a range of $89 billion and $93 billion. Analysts expected revenue of $91.3 billion for the period, according to the consensus estimate from FactSet. Apple blamed most of the revenue shortfall for struggling business in China. But the company also said that upgrades by customers in other countries were “not as strong as we thought they would be.”

Once this letter was released, many investors rushed to dump as much Apple stock as they could, and trading in the stock was temporarily halted

After being halted temporarily, Apple shares resumed trading at 4:50 p.m. ET, quickly falling over 8 percent to $145.12. The plunging shares wiped out more than $50 billion in the company’s market value, according to Bloomberg data. Apple, which was trading around $146 in after-hours trading is now down more than 37 percent from its Oct. 3 high and has fallen mightily since becoming the first U.S. company to reach a $1 trillion market cap in August.

And many investors generally assume that pretty much any bad news for Apple is bad news for the tech sector as a whole, and so just about every big tech stock was being pummeled in the aftermath of this surprise announcement. The following numbers come from Business Insider

As I warned just yesterday, it looks like 2019 is going to be a very, very challenging year.

At this point the mood of the nation has turned downright gloomy. Economic activity is slowing down all around the globe, the current government shutdown looks like it could last for a very long time, the endless investigations in Washington threaten to derail the Trump presidency, our trade war with China is becoming more painful with each passing week, and even many former optimists are openly admitting that the outlook for Wall Street looks very grim. For example, just check out what venture capitalist Fred Wilson is saying

Like many of his peers in the Valley, legendary New York VC Fred Wilson – the founder of Union Square Ventures – is typically a dewy eyed optimist (just take a look at Union Ventures’ many flailing crypto investments). But in a surprising twist, a list of Wilson’s market calls for 2019 is so gloomy, it reads as if it were ghostwritten by SocGen’s Albert Edwards.

According to Wilson, the S&P 500 will visit 2,000 (a roughly 500 point – 25% – drop from current levels) some time during 2019 as the bottom falls out of the global economy. President Trump will agree to resign after being impeached by the House following the publication of the Mueller report. And the slate of highly anticipated tech IPOs (Uber, Lyft, Airbnb etc.) will fall flat. In other words, 2019 will be a “doozy”, as Wilson describes it.

The new session of Congress begins at noon on Thursday, and Nancy Pelosi will once again be the Speaker of the House. If something suddenly happened to President Trump and Vice-President Pence, she would become the president of the United States.

I don’t know about you, but just the thought of that chills me to the bone.

Now that the Democrats control the House, they are going to investigate the living daylights out of Trump, and it is likely to be a very, very tough year for him.

Many on the left are entirely convinced that Trump will be out of the White House by the end of 2019. Perhaps they will be successful in that mission, but instead of fixing things that would just unleash a whole lot more chaos.

As this year rolls along, the bickering and fighting in Washington is going to continue to intensify, but meanwhile very little is going to get done. With the Democrats in control of the House, the Republicans in control of the Senate, and Trump in control of the White House we have a recipe for gridlock that is pretty much unprecedented in modern American history.

What that means is that if things go really, really bad, we shouldn’t really expect any solutions to come out of Washington. We desperately need real change, but the voters just keep on sending the same old faces back to D.C. and they just keep on pushing the same old tired policies.

It is funny how I often drift into talking about politics, but the truth is that economics and politics are inseparable. And it is undeniable that what is going on in D.C. is going to have a dramatic impact on the U.S. economy throughout 2019.

As I write this, the numbers coming from Wall Street just keep getting worse and worse. It looks like it is going to be a really tough day, and without a doubt it looks like it is going to be a really tough year.

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.

2019: It Is Going To Be Much Worse Than You Think…

The beginning of a new year is supposed to be all about hope, right? And I would certainly like to tell you that 2019 is going to be America’s best year ever and that everybody is going to receive a double portion of blessing, prosperity and happiness, but that simply would not be true. Unfortunately, the truth is that the elements for a “perfect storm” are rapidly coming together and 2019 is going to be an exceedingly challenging year. Of course 2018 wasn’t exactly a wonderful year either. I really like how Dave Barry made this point in his most recent article

We can summarize 2018 in two words:

It boofed.

We’re not 100 percent sure what “boofing” is, despite the fact that this very issue was discussed in a hearing of the United States Senate Judiciary Committee. All we know for certain about boofing is that it is distasteful and stupid.

As was 2018.

But as bad as 2018 was, the year that has just started threatens to greatly surpass it.

Let’s start by talking about politics. According to Axios, Donald Trump is currently the subject of 17 different investigations.

Yes, you read that correctly.

We have never seen anything like this in American history. Even during the Nixon era there was some measure of restraint, but at this point they are trying to come up with any angle that they possibly can to get rid of Donald Trump.

And the left truly believes that this is the year that they are going to get rid of him. In fact, the Hill just published an article containing 30 predictions for 2019, and these were the top three

  • Donald J. Trump’s presidency will not survive 2019;
  • The downward trajectory of every aspect of his tenure indicates we are headed for a spectacular political crash-and-burn — and fairly soon;
  • His increasingly erratic and angry behavior, his self-imposed isolation, his inability and refusal to listen to smart advisers that he hired, all are leading him to a precipice;

For a moment, let’s assume that the left is successful and they get rid of Trump. Will everything go back to normal?

No, Mike Pence will become president and they will immediately start investigating him. And then if a Democrat wins in 2020, revenge-seeking Republicans will investigate the living daylights out of whoever enters the White House.

Personally, I can’t understand why so many Democrats are lining up to run for president. Are they absolutely insane? After what has been done to Trump, his family, Brett Kavanaugh and countless others, why would anyone want to subject themselves to such endless public torture?

We are rapidly getting to the point where America will be ungovernable. No matter who is in power, there is going to be anger, strife, discord and resentment. Tens of millions of Americans hated Barack Obama and did not consider him to be their president, and now tens of millions of Americans hate Donald Trump and do not consider him to be their president. Our political institutions are breaking down, and faith in the system is at an all-time low.

But at least economic conditions have been relatively stable, and this has done much to pacify most Americans in recent years.

Unfortunately, economic conditions are really starting to slow down, and big corporations are beginning to announce large scale layoffs. Just like we saw during the last recession, eventually there will be millions of Americans that lose their jobs, and mortgage defaults will spike dramatically once again.

And just like in 2008, the stock market is starting to plunge in a major way.

2018 was the worst year for the stock market in a decade, we just witnessed the worst month of December for Wall Street since the Great Depression, and at this point approximately 12 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been wiped out.

And the really bad news is that things are likely to get even worse in 2019.

History has shown that tough economic conditions make military conflict more likely, and the world continues to teeter on the brink of war.

In the Middle East, Turkish tanks have been lining up along the Syrian border in anticipation of a possible invasion, and Syrian forces have been massing to defend against a potential attack. Elsewhere, Hezbollah and Hamas seem to be in a race to see who can start a war with Israel first. If war does break out, Israel may find themselves fighting both of them simultaneously.

As for the United States, our relationships with both Russia and China are rapidly deteriorating. The Russians continue to prepare for a coming military conflict with the United States, and the Pentagon is officially freaked out by the new hypersonic missiles that the Russians have just developed. Meanwhile, the trade war with China continues to escalate and one Chinese general just suggested that the Chinese military should not be afraid to “sink two U.S. aircraft carriers”.

And let us not forget Iran, North Korea and the potential for a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Sadly, I have a feeling that there is going to be a whole lot less “peace on Earth” by this time next year.

On top of everything else, the crust of our planet appears to be getting increasingly unstable and climate conditions are changing at a very rapid pace. Dozens of volcanoes are currently erupting, and one expert is warning that about 100 others could be on the brink of erupting. Massive earthquakes have been striking along the Ring of Fire with increasing regularity, and major storms just keep getting larger and more intense.

We could keep going if you like. I haven’t even mentioned the potential for a global pandemic, the impending collapse of the European Union, civil unrest, terrorism, the death of our oceans or the horrible drought in the western half of the country.

Yes, people desperately need hope, but giving them false hope by telling them that everything is going to be just wonderful in 2019 is not a good thing.

Our world is in turmoil, and it is going to get even worse in 2019. So put on your seatbelts and get ready, because it is going to be a bumpy ride.

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.

2018 Was The Worst Year For The Stock Market Since The Financial Crisis Of 2008

Now that the year is finally over, we can officially say that 2018 was the worst year for stocks in an entire decade. Not since the last financial crisis have we had a year like this, and many believe that 2019 will be even worse. And of course the truth is that stocks are still tremendously overvalued. Stock valuation ratios always return to their long-term averages eventually, and if the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged another 8,000 points from the current level that would begin to get us into that neighborhood. Unfortunately, the system is so highly leveraged that it will not be able to handle a price decline of that magnitude. The relatively modest drops that we have seen already have caused a tremendous amount of chaos on Wall Street, and a full-blown meltdown would quickly result in a nightmare scenario potentially even worse than what we experienced in 2008.

For investors that had become accustomed to large gains year after year, 2018 was a brutal wake up call. The following comes from Fox Business

2018 may be remembered as the year the Grinch stole your retirement or stock investment account.

December was the worst month for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 since 1931, as tracked by our partners at Dow Jones Market Data Group. The S&P 500, the broadest measure of stocks, lost 9 percent and the Dow over 8.5 percent.

For the year, stocks turned in the worst performance since 2008.

According to the bulls, this wasn’t supposed to happen. In the middle of the year, they were projecting that a “booming” U.S. economy would continue to drive stock prices higher, but instead we just witnessed the worst three month stretch for stocks since the 4th quarter of 2008, and the month of December was the most painful of all

December was a particularly dreadful month: The S&P 500 was down 9% and the Dow was down 8.7% — the worst December since 1931. In one seven-day stretch, the Dow fell by 350 points or more six times. This year’s Christmas Eve was the worst ever for the index.

The S&P 500 was up or down more than 1% nine times in December alone, compared to eight times in all of 2017. It moved that much 64 times during the year.

Not even in 2008 did we have a December like this. This was the second worst December for the Dow Jones Industrial Average ever, and you know that things are getting bad when you have to go all the way back to the Great Depression of the 1930s to find a time when stock prices were deteriorating more rapidly.

The amount of stock market wealth that has already been wiped out is absolutely staggering. For example, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s net worth plummeted by 20 billion dollars in 2018…

American billionaires saw the biggest loss this year, collectively dropping $76 billion, largely because of December’s market rout. Mark Zuckerberg saw the sharpest drop in 2018 as Facebook Inc. veered from crisis to crisis. His net worth fell nearly $20 billion, leaving the 34-year-old with a $53 billion fortune.

And this was not just a U.S. phenomenon. Virtually every major stock market around the world was hit extremely hard, and a total of nearly 12 trillion dollars in global stock market wealth was wiped out over the course of the year.

The only time when more stock market wealth was wiped out in a single year was in 2008.

Are you starting to understand the magnitude of the crisis that has now erupted?

Of course the mainstream media continues to insist that this is just a temporary thing, and that markets will begin surging again soon as investors start scooping up stocks at “bargain prices”. For example, just check out this excerpt from a CNBC article that was posted on Monday

John Stoltzfus, chief investment strategist at Oppenheimer Asset Management, said these declines are “setting the stage for upward surprises in 2019.”

“With what we believe to be almost all but the kitchen sink priced into current valuations, we see opportunity for multiples to return to levels seen at the end of the third quarter … with multiple expansions resulting in a global equity rebound in the coming year,” Stoltzfus wrote in a note.

It sure would be nice if the optimists are correct. Even for those that are relatively poor, the truth is that we live very comfortably in the United States today. The vast majority of us really have nothing to complain about, because we are enjoying a standard of living that is substantially higher than almost everyone else in the world.

Of course we don’t actually deserve this standard of living, but most Americans don’t want to hear that. We consume far more than we produce, and only by going into increasingly absurd amounts of debt are we able to keep the game going.

It is easy to say that this bubble will inevitably burst, but it will be a very sad day when it does.

Those that gleefully look forward to the coming collapse of our financial system do not really understand what we will be facing. It won’t be like 2008 when the authorities were able to patch things together and fairly rapidly restore our standard of living. When this thing finally shatters, nobody is going to be able to put the pieces back together like they were before ever again.

This is a very dark time. As I have stressed repeatedly, the elements for a “perfect storm” have been rapidly coming together, and 2019 is going to look a whole lot different than 2018 did.

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.

This Is Exactly The Kind Of Behavior That You Would Expect During A Stock Market Implosion…

If a doctor tells you that his patient’s condition is swinging up and down wildly, is that a good sign or a bad sign? Of course the answer to that question is quite obvious. And if a doctor tells you that his patient’s condition is “stable”, is that a good sign or a bad sign? Just like in the medical world, instability is not something that is a desirable thing on Wall Street, and right now we are witnessing extreme volatility on an almost daily basis. On Thursday, the Dow was already down several hundred points when I went out to do some grocery shopping with my wife, and at the low point of the day it had fallen 611 points. But then a “miracle happened” and the Dow ended the day with an increase of 260 points. As I detailed yesterday, this is precisely the sort of behavior that you would expect during a chaotic bear market.

As Fox Business has noted, bear market rallies are typically “sharp, quick and usually short”. I figured that the momentum from Wednesday would carry over into the early portion of Thursday, so I was surprised when the Dow was down by so much as we neared the middle of the day. But then around 2 PM we witnessed an extraordinary market surge

The Dow Jones Industrial Average posted a 865-point swing in less than two hours. The blue-chip index had been down in mid-afternoon more than 500 points to cut the previous session’s gains in half, before bargain hunters and short covering turned a big decline into a modest gain.

An 865 point swing in less than two hours is not “normal”.

In fact, it is about as far from “normal” as you can get.

Let’s talk about short covering for a moment. During huge market downturns, speculators often try to make a lot of money very rapidly by shorting stocks. But if momentum suddenly shifts, those short sellers can be caught with their pants down and the consequences can be quite dramatic. The following comes from Marketwatch

Indeed, market veterans warn that massive, one-day rallies are often more characteristic of downturns, occurring as selloffs lead to significantly oversold technical conditions that leave markets ripe for short covering only to give way to renewed selling once the frenzy of forced buying is exhausted. Investors who short a stock are essentially betting that its price will fall by first borrowing the shares, but those traders can be forced to buy shares back if prices suddenly swing higher, which, in turn, can amplify price swings.

In addition, it appears that on Thursday there was more of the “forced pension rebalancing” that Zero Hedge has been talking about

It certainly has the smell of a massive pension reallocation as the moment stocks started to surge, bonds were dumped

No stock market crash in U.S. history has ever gone in a straight line. There are always huge ups and downs during every market crash, and this market crash is no exception.

Ultimately, there is no way that you can possibly interpret the behavior of the market in recent days as “healthy”

Here’s the problem: as we discussed last night, since 1990, every comparable reversal – with a few exceptions – came during the 2008-2009 bear market. According to Bloomberg data, in eight previous bear markets the S&P 500 experienced rallies of greater than 2.5% more than 120 times as the benchmark plunged from peak to trough. From the collapse of Lehman to the financial crisis bottom in March 2009, the S&P 500 rallied more than 4 percent on 13 different occasions.

This is not the kind of price action you see in normal bull markets,” said Robert Baird equity sales trader Michael Antonelli. “This is just a face ripping short cover rally. I am 100 percent not saying we are in a situation like 2008 now, but look at October 10, 2008 to October 13, 2008: the market rose nearly 12 percent in one day. October 27 to October 28, 2008, it rose 11 percent.”

Meanwhile, it appears that one of America’s most iconic retailers is about to go down in flames.

For years I have been warning that Sears was eventually “going to zero”, and if a last ditch rescue attempt does not materialize by the end of the day on Friday, Sears will be liquidated

The employer of more than 68,000 filed for bankruptcy in October. Its last shot at survival is a $4.6 billion proposal put forward by its chairman, Eddie Lampert, to buy the company out of bankruptcy through his hedge fund, ESL Investments. ESL is the only party offering to buy Sears as a whole, people familiar with the situation tell CNBC. Without that bid or another like it, liquidators will break the company up into pieces.

But as Lampert stares down a deadline of Dec. 28 to submit his offer, he is quickly running out of time. As of Thursday afternoon, Lampert had neither submitted his bid, nor rounded up financing, the people familiar said.

The inevitable demise of Sears could be seen from a mile away, and the same thing can be said about the country as a whole.

Our debt-fueled standard of living has been propped up by the biggest debt binge in the history of the world, and Wall Street has been transformed into the largest casino on the entire planet.

The entire U.S. economic system has become one huge Ponzi scheme, and all Ponzi schemes ultimately collapse.

Right now, we are in the early stages of a game that is going to take some time to fully play out. The pessimism that has gripped Wall Street is starting to spread throughout the general population, and many experts were stunned to learn that consumer confidence just declined for a second month in a row

The confidence Americans feel in the economy fell for the second month in a row and touched the lowest level since last summer, perhaps a sign that worries about the 9 1/2-year U.S. expansion have spread from Wall Street to Main Street.

The consumer confidence index dropped to 128.1 this month from a revised 136.4 in November, the Conference Board said Thursday. Economists polled by MarketWatch had forecast a 133.3 reading.

If you have been a regular visitor to my websites, then nothing that will happen over the next few months should be a surprise to you.

The inevitable consequences for decades of exceedingly foolish decisions are starting to roll in, and the bursting of “The Bubble To End All Bubbles” is going to be beyond excruciating.

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.

U.S. Stocks Just Had Their Best Day Ever – And Here Is Why That Is A REALLY Bad Sign…

The Dow Jones Industrial Average just posted its biggest single day point gain ever. On Wednesday, the Dow shot up 1,086 points, which shattered the old record by a staggering 150 points. It truly was a remarkable day, and this is the sort of “Santa Claus rally” that investors had been hoping for. Many are convinced that this rally is an indication that the crisis of the last three months is over, but as you will see below, this sort of extreme volatility is actually a really bad sign. But for the moment, the mainstream media is pushing the narrative that everything is once again peachy keen in the financial world. Just consider the following quote from CNN

“Investors went bargain shopping the day after Christmas, where stocks just got too cheap relative to earnings, future earnings, any reasonable assessment of earnings,” said Chris Rupkey, managing director of MUFG. “The coast is clear, back up the truck, investors are saying enough already, the world is not ending.”

The coast is clear?

Really?

Do you think that they were saying the same thing on October 13th, 2008? On that day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 936 points, and at the time it was the biggest daily point increase that Wall Street had ever seen by a very wide margin.

Of course that was right in the middle of the last financial crisis, and stocks just kept on tumbling after that massive rally.

But then on October 28th, 2008 the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 889 points. Up until Wednesday, that was the second biggest daily point increase in U.S. history.

Was the crisis over then?

No way. Subsequently, the Dow kept on falling until it eventually bottomed out in early 2009.

As I have explained many times before, there is going to be extreme volatility that goes both ways during any crisis on Wall Street.

When markets are calm, stock prices generally tend to go up. And when markets get really choppy, the overall trend tends to be in a downward direction.

14 out of the 20 biggest daily point gains in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average happened either this year or during the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

During the great bull market that we witnessed during the intervening time period, stocks rarely shot up dramatically on any particular day. Instead, it was more of a slow and steady rise, and that is what investors should really be wishing for.

On the flip side, 15 out of the 20 biggest point declines in the history of the Dow Jones Industrial Average happened either this year or during the last financial crisis.

So it goes both ways. Extreme volatility is a clear indication that a crisis has arrived, and that means that what we witnessed on Wednesday should be very troubling for all of us.

And even with Wednesday’s dramatic gains, it is important to note that the stock market is still on pace for its worst December since 1931.

So don’t get too excited yet.

And you won’t hear this from the mainstream media, but the primary reason why stocks shot up so much on Wednesday was because of forced pension rebalancing. The following comes from Zero Hedge

For those who missed our Friday post on the topic, Wells explained where this massive rebalancing comes from: the huge, end-of-quarter buy order was precipitated by the jarring divergence between equity and bond performances both in Q4 and the month of December. The stocks in the bank’s pro forma pension asset blend had suffered a 14% loss this quarter, including about an 8.5% drop in December. Contrast this with a roughly +1.6% quarterly total return for the domestic aggregate bond index. The gap between equity and bond performance in pension portfolios would have been even larger had IG credit OAS not widened nearly 40 bps in Q4.

As a result of this need for massive quarter-end rebalancing, corporate pensions would need to boost their equity portfolios by as much as $64 billion into year-end. Getting a bit more granular, Wells analyst Boris Rjavinski wrote that domestic stocks – both large cap and small cap – may need disproportionately large boosts of $35 billion and $21 billion, respectively, compared to “only” $9 billion for global developed equities (see table below). This is driven by large performance gaps within equity markets: U.S. stocks have trailed global and EM equities in Q4 and December after outperforming the ROW for quarters on end.

So the truth is that we may see more big stock rallies in the waning days of 2018 as tens of billions of dollars of corporate pension money shifts from bonds to stocks.

But if you think that this crisis is “over”, you are going to be in for quite a shock in 2019.

Meanwhile, global economic activity continues to deteriorate

A global economy that until recently was humming has broken down, a sharp contrast to the picture just a year ago when the world was experiencing its best growth since 2010 and seemed poised to do even better.

Already, builders in the United States are erecting fewer single-family homes. German factories are sputtering, and in China, retail sales are growing at their slowest pace in 15 years.

In the final analysis, nothing that happened on Wednesday changed the long-term outlook one bit.

What we witnessed was simply a great deal of forced pension rebalancing, and that is only going to be a very short-term phenomenon.

Hopefully things will calm down as we approach the new year, but I wouldn’t count on it. Extreme volatility appears to be here to stay, and that is definitely not good news for the markets.

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 Worst Is Yet To Come Next Year”

When talking heads on mainstream news networks are using phrases such as “the worst is yet to come next year”, that is a clear indication that a new financial crisis has arrived. And that is an extremely bold statement to make considering that this is already the worst quarter for the stock market in 10 years, this is the worst December for stock prices since 1931, and we just experienced the worst Christmas Eve that Wall Street has ever seen. So when Mark Jolley made the following statement during a recent guest appearance on CNBC, it definitely raised some eyebrows…

“I would love to be more optimistic but i just don’t see too many positives out there. I think the worst is yet to come next year, we’re still in the first half of a global equity bear market with more to come next year,” Mark Jolley, global strategist at CCB International Securities, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

At this point last year, nobody on Wall Street was talking like this.

In fact, nobody was talking like this even four or five months ago.

But after three extremely painful months the outlook has completely changed, and a lot of market participants are really starting to freak out.

And this is not just happening in the United States. The truth is that most most markets around the world started to fall well before U.S. markets did, and at this point almost all of the big global indexes are in a bear market

Bear markets — typically defined as 20 percent or more off a recent peak — are threatening investors worldwide. In the U.S., the Nasdaq Composite closed in a bear market on Friday and the S&P 500 entered one on Monday. Globally, Germany’s DAX, China’s Shanghai Composite and Japan’s Nikkei have also entered bear market levels.

This is the first global bear market that we have seen in a decade, and if central banks are going to try to stop the bleeding they will need to move very quickly.

But the Federal Reserve has already indicated that they do not plan to intervene. In fact, they just told everyone that they plan to keep raising interest rates.

That is completely insane, but since they aren’t accountable to us they can literally do whatever they want.

So if the central banks don’t step in, who is going to come riding to the rescue?

Individual national governments could try to stimulate economic activity by spending more money, but most of them are already drowning in debt.

Just look at the mess that the U.S. government has created. Since the beginning of the last financial crisis, we have been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt. And over the last 12 months our debt problems have actually accelerated. Between December 25th, 2017 and December 25th, 2018 we added almost 1.4 trillion dollars to the national debt. The following comes from CNS News

The federal government has added another $1,370,760,684,441.54 to the debt since last December 25, according to numbers published by the U.S. Treasury.

On Dec. 25, 2017, the federal debt was 20,492,874,492,282.58, according to the Treasury.

According to the latest numbers published by the Treasury, which show where the debt stood on Dec. 20, 2018, the federal debt was $21,863,635,176,724.12.

So the reality of the matter is that there is simply no room for more “stimulus spending”, because we have already been spending money like drunken sailors that think that they are likely to die tomorrow.

Right now the government is shut down as President Trump and Chuck Schumer square off over 5 billion dollars in border wall funding. But nobody on Capitol Hill is even talking much about the 1.37 trillion dollars that we just added to the national debt, and that is really what everybody should be focusing on.

We are literally committing national suicide. No matter what happens with border wall funding, the U.S. will continue to steamroll toward financial oblivion unless something is done about this horrific debt that we are accumulating.

As I wrap up this article, I would like to share something that Austin Murphy wrote that really struck a chord with me. Over the course of a 33 year career in journalism, Murphy interviewed five presidents and wrote thousands of articles for Sports Illustrated. But now he is delivering packages for Amazon

Let’s face it, when you’re a college-educated 57-year-old slinging parcels for a living, something in your life has not gone according to plan. That said, my moments of chagrin are far outnumbered by the upsides of the job, which include windfall connections with grateful strangers. There’s a certain novelty, after decades at a legacy media company—Time Inc.—in playing for the team that’s winning big, that’s not considered a dinosaur, even if that team is paying me $17 an hour (plus OT!). It’s been healthy for me, a fair-haired Anglo-Saxon with a Roman numeral in my name (John Austin Murphy III), to be a minority in my workplace, and in some of the neighborhoods where I deliver. As Amazon reaches maximum ubiquity in our lives (“Alexa, play Led Zeppelin”), as online shopping turns malls into mausoleums, it’s been illuminating to see exactly how a package makes the final leg of its journey.

Like Murphy, America’s future is going to be far less bright than its past if we don’t get things turned around, and right now there is absolutely no indication that this is going to happen.

Our national problems are multiplying, the conditions for a perfect storm are rapidly coming together, and pessimism is quickly growing all across America.

Mark Jolley believes that “the worst is yet to come next year”, and in the end he may turn out to be exactly correct.

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 Worst Christmas Eve For The Stock Market EVER – The Dow Has Now Fallen More Than 5000 Points From The Peak

This is definitely not the gift that investors wanted for Christmas. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 653 points as panic swept through Wall Street like wildfire. That represented a 2.9 percent daily decline, and that made it the worst Christmas Eve for the Dow ever recorded. Incredibly, the previous record had lasted for exactly 100 years. Normally the day before Christmas is a very, very quiet day on Wall Street, but right now there are no “normal” days for the financial markets. If you go back to early October, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time record high of 26,951.81, and on Monday the Dow closed at just 21,792.20. That means that the Dow has now plummeted more than 5,000 points in less than three months, and that is a major milestone.

The S&P 500 also crossed a major milestone on Monday when it entered bear market territory

The term on Wall Street is synonymous with serious, long-lasting declines in stock markets. In numeric terms, a bear market is a 20 percent or more drop from a recent peak.

The S&P 500 hit that milestone on Monday, dropping 20 percent from its 52-week high. Markets have stumbled through what is usually one of their best months of the year, with indexes on track for their worst December performances since the Great Depression in 1931.

What this means is that the longest bull market in all of U.S. history is officially dead.

And there is still about a week left in the month. If things continue to unravel, this could ultimately turn out to be the worst December that the stock market has ever experienced.

Now that a bear market has begun, it is likely to stick around for a while. Just consider these numbers

Since World War II, bear markets on average have fallen 30.4 percent and have lasted 13 months, according to analysis at Goldman Sachs and CNBC. When that milestone has been hit, it took stocks an average of 21.9 months to recover.

Of course all of the “experts” consulted by the mainstream media are going to assume that there will eventually be a recovery.

But could it be possible that this is the beginning of the “big crash” from which we will never recover?

Without a doubt, the elements for a perfect storm have been coming together for a long time. We are witnessing great political shaking, our relationships with both Russia and China are rapidly deteriorating, a trade war has begun, social decay is spreading through our society like cancer, and the crust of our planet is becoming increasingly unstable. Now we can add economic and financial instability to the mix, and a scenario is emerging that is eerily similar to what I have been warning about for a very long time.

Even before the markets crashed on Monday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had scheduled an emergency call with the “Plunge Protection Team”. The following comes from Reuters

The Treasury said Mnuchin will convene a call on Monday with the president’s Working Group on Financial Markets, which includes Washington’s main stewards of the U.S. financial system and is sometimes referred to as the “Plunge Protection Team.”

The group, which was also convened in 2009 during the latter stage of the financial crisis, includes officials from the Federal Reserve as well as the Securities and Exchange Commission.

But instead of calming the markets, many were concerned that this would actually accelerate the panic on Wall Street

“Panic feeds panic, and this looks like panic in the administration,” said Diane Swonk, chief economist at Grant Thornton. “Suggesting you might know something that no one else is worried about creates more unease.”

And without a doubt, what we witnessed on Monday was sheer panic.

Consumer lending has already been tightening up over the past couple of months, and the chaos on Wall Street is almost certainly going to cause financial institutions to become even tighter with their money.

As credit conditions tighten, economic activity will slow down, and that will make the coming recession even more inevitable.

There is one more key data point that I would like to share with you all today. Since 1960, there have only been 13 years when the stock market has declined for the year. As Joe Zidle has noted, most of the time those declines occur “before or during a recession”…

“I think there’s a massive gap between sentiment and fundamentals” for the market, Blackstone investment strategist Joe Zidle said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“If the market closes down for the year, which looks likely … it will only be the 13th time that we’ve seen a full year decline since 1960,” Zidle said. Of those 13 full year declines in the past 58 years, seven occurred before or during a recession.

Now that the Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen more than 5000 points, I think that we can safely say that this is a stock market crash.

But how bad will this stock market crash ultimately turn out to be?

If the Federal Reserve had rushed in with emergency measures at the first signs of trouble, they probably could have stabilized things. But the longer they wait, the harder it is going to be to stop the process that has been set in motion.

The Bubble of All Bubbles is starting to burst, and unless we see dramatic central bank intervention soon it is likely that an unprecedented financial nightmare is ahead.

I hope that you are able to rest and relax with family and friends this time of the year, because it looks like what is ahead in 2019 is going to be extremely painful.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So what happens next?

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

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

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

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

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.

Worst Market Crash In A Decade: The Dow Has Fallen More Than 4000 Points As Stocks Rapidly Approach “The Capitulation Phase”

We have not seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008. On Thursday the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost another 464 points, and over the last five trading sessions it has lost a total of more than 1,700 points. CNN’s Fear & Greed index has swung all the way over to “extreme fear”, and there has only been one December in all of U.S. history that was worse for the stock market than this one. But back at the very beginning of October, most of the experts never would have imagined that the year would end this way. According to CNBC, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit an all-time record high of 26,951.81 in early October, and investors were feeling really good about things at that point. But on Thursday the index closed at just 22,859.60, and that means that the Dow has lost more than 4,000 points in less than three months.

All of the major trend lines have been shattered and all of the key support levels have been breached. When analysts look at stock charts these days, all they are seeing is sell signal after sell signal. One investment strategist told CNN that stocks are “quickly approaching the capitulation phase”

“Equity markets are quickly approaching the capitulation phase after having broken below critical support,” Sam Stovall, chief investment strategist at CFRA Research, told CNN Business.

According to Google, “capitulation” means “the action of surrendering or ceasing to resist an opponent or demand.” In this case, the bulls are on the verge of surrendering to the bears, and if that happens we could see a tremendous amount of chaos break loose on Wall Street.

And the damage that has already been done has been extraordinary. At this point firms listed on the S&P 500 have seen 2.39 trillion dollars in market cap wiped out, and a grand total of 16.7 trillion dollars in stock market wealth has been wiped out globally.

Many are pointing the blame for what is happening at the Federal Reserve. Here is just one example

“We, too, were very vocal in recommending heavily that the Fed not hike yesterday,” said Julian Emanuel, chief equity strategist at BTIG.

“This is all about the speed of things,” Emanuel added. “The problem with ignoring the consequences of the balance sheet reduction really tells you that the Fed is not paying attention to that fact that financial markets correct much more rapidly on the downside than they do in bull markets to the upside.”

Even though the U.S. economy is slowing down substantially, and even though financial markets have already been crumbling, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates anyway.

And they knew that the financial markets would respond very negatively, so nothing that has happened the last couple of days is any sort of a surprise.

Of course it isn’t just stocks that are plunging. Junk bonds just had their worst day since the Brexit vote, and that is an extremely ominous sign. The following comes from Zero Hedge

High yield bond prices are collapsing, but it is clear that liquidity has evaporated as traders have sent high yield bond ETFs (more liquid) dramatically below its fair-value as they seek hedges ahead of their liquidation needs.

Today is HYG’s worst day since Brexit, with price crashing to lowest since April 2016…

As I have discussed before, the collapse of junk bonds was an early sign that stocks were going to totally crash in 2008, and now we see a very similar pattern playing out in 2018.

One of the signature moments from the crisis of 2008 was Jim Cramer’s famous rant about the Federal Reserve on CNBC, and he referenced that rant during remarks that he made on Thursday

For CNBC’s Jim Cramer , the worst part about the Federal Reserve’s latest interest rate hike is that the central bank’s chief, Jerome Powell, seemed to ignore what Cramer regards as “serious” weakness in the U.S. economy.

“I have a better read on the economy than the Fed and I know they’re not going to listen to me,” the “Mad Money” host said Thursday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell to a 14-month low . “I feel powerless, just like 2007 , when I ranted that the Fed needed to start easing aggressively in order to stave off a financial catastrophe.”

Does Jim Cramer really believe that he has a better grasp on how the U.S. economy is performing than the Federal Reserve does?

That is quite a bold statement, but based on what the Fed has been doing lately it is tempting to think that they are utterly clueless at this point.

But of course they aren’t clueless. They know exactly what they are doing, and it isn’t about helping the American people.

Meanwhile, just like we saw in 2008, the mainstream media is trying to assure everybody that they should keep their money in the stock market. In fact, CNN posted an article earlier today that encouraged people to put more money in because this latest downturn is a “buying opportunity”

“The market’s behaving like a two-year-old,” said David Kelly, chief global strategist at JPMorgan Funds. “The Federal Reserve is doing its job — and it’s doing it patiently and cautiously.”

Kelly said the recent market slide could present an entry point, especially for investors who previously felt stocks were too expensive.

You can believe that if you want, but there is a reason why corporate insiders were selling stocks at the fastest pace in 10 years just before the market started to crash.

This ridiculously absurd stock market bubble was not going to last forever, and now it is imploding at a speed that is absolutely breathtaking.

Hopefully things will stabilize a bit as we roll through the holidays, but there is no guarantee that will happen.

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.

Stocks Are On Pace For Their Worst December Since The Great Depression – The Dow Is Now Down Over 3,300 Points From The Peak

U.S. stocks have not fallen this dramatically during the month of December since the Great Depression of the 1930s. On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost another 507 points, and it is now down more than 1,000 points from Thursday’s close. This fresh downturn has pushed the Dow and the S&P 500 very firmly into correction territory, and the Russell 2000 is now officially in bear market territory. The ferocity of this stock market crash is stunning many of the experts, and many investors are beginning to panic. Back in early October, the Dow hit an all-time high of 26,951.81, but on Monday it closed at just 23,592.98. That means that the Dow has now plunged more than 3,300 points from the peak of the market, and many believe that this stock crash is just getting started.

When it was first being reported that the stock market was on pace for the worst December since the Great Depression, I have to admit that I was skeptical.

But CNBC has the numbers to back up that claim…

Two benchmark U.S. stock indexes are careening toward a historically bad December.

Both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 are on pace for their worst December performance since 1931, when stocks were battered during the Great Depression. The Dow and S&P 500 are down 7.8 percent and 7.6 percent this month, respectively.

And we still have two weeks remaining in December. If things continue to unravel, we could potentially be talking about a truly historic month for Wall Street.

But we certainly don’t need things to get any worse, because the damage that has already been done has been immense. The following numbers come from Zero Hedge

  • Dow -12.7% from highs (correction)
  • S&P -13.7% from highs (correction)
  • Nasdaq Composite -17.3% from highs (correction)
  • Dow Transports -19.4% from highs (correction)
  • Russell 2000 -20.6% from highs (bear market)

The Russell 2000 is often an early indicator of where the rest of the market is going, and if that turns out to be the case this time around then we should expect the Dow and the S&P 500 to fall a lot farther.

When asked about this market downturn by CNBC, one equity strategist actually used the “R” word

“The sell-off comes from the risk-off sentiment. Small caps are riskier than large caps, and there are some concerns about the end of a cycle in the U.S. and that we are entering a recession,” said Tobias Levkovich, chief U.S. equity strategist at Citi.

We haven’t even had any sort of a major “trigger event”, and yet stock prices have been steadily falling for weeks.

How bad could things ultimately get if there is some sort of “Lehman Brothers moment” that sets off a full-blown state of panic?

Already, many are using the term “bear market” to describe what is happening. For instance, Jeffrey Gundlach attracted a huge amount of attention when he made the following statement on Monday…

DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said Monday that he “absolutely” believes the S&P 500 will go below the lows that the index hit early in 2018.

“I’m pretty sure this is a bear market,” Gundlach told Scott Wapner on CNBC’s Halftime Report. The major averages fell to session lows following his comments.

And some high profile stocks are already well beyond bear market territory. Goldman Sachs is now down 40 percent from the 52-week high, and the banking sector as a whole is just getting crushed.

Trillions upon trillions of dollars of paper wealth has disappeared, and needless to say, hedge funds are starting to go down like dominoes. Earlier today, a New York Post article used phrases such as “losing their shirts” and “financial wipeout”…

The stars of the biggest hedge funds are losing their shirts as analysts fear a major financial wipeout is imminent.

From Ken Griffin’s Citadel, to Israel Englander’s Millennium Management, one big name after another is racking up negative returns lately, amid bad bets in a saturated market.

On Monday, we witnessed more forced hedge fund liquidations, and that was one of the major factors that pushed prices down

As we noted previously, you are witnessing a massive culling of the hedge fund industry as hundreds of funds are liquidated and thousands more get sizable redemptions. Many of these funds own the same companies—the outcasts from the indexed world, the cheap, the unloved; the same stocks that many other hedge fund managers own. With the hedge fund industry going in reverse, there is suddenly no natural buyer for what must be sold. As a result, you are seeing waves of forced sell orders and few buyers (which for those so inclined, is creating good bargains all around).

Those of you that have been waiting for the stock market to implode can finally stop waiting.

It is here, and it is really, really bad.

Meanwhile, a new survey contains more evidence that average Americans are becoming increasingly pessimistic about the U.S. economy. In fact, the numbers in the survey were “essentially reversed” from earlier this year…

Overall, 28 percent of Americans said the economy will get better in the next year, while 33 percent predict it will get worse, according to the survey, which was released Sunday. Those numbers were essentially reversed from January, when 35 percent said the economy would get better and 20 percent said it would get worse.

The psychological shift that I wrote about a few weeks ago appears to be accelerating. It is starting to become exceedingly clear that a major crisis has begun, and now the big question is this – how bad will things get in 2019?

Well, Ron Paul told CNBC that “it could be worse than 1929″…

Paul said Thursday on CNBC‘sFutures Now that “Once this volatility shows that we’re not going to resume the bull market, then people are going to rush for the exits.” Paul added that “it could be worse than 1929.” He was referencing the fateful day in October of 1929 when the stock market crashed, and the United States was flung into the Great Depression that lasted ten years. During that year, a worldwide depression was ignited because of the U.S.’s market crash. The stock market began hemorrhaging and after falling almost 90 percent, sent the U.S. economy crashing a burning.

Will it ultimately be that bad?

Only time will tell, but right now things certainly do not look good, and I have a feeling that they are about to get a whole lot worse.

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.

“Something Is Wrong Here”: U.S. Stocks Plunge Again And Are Having Their Worst Quarter In 7 Years

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

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

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

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

So why is all of this happening?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Financial stocks have been getting hit particularly hard.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 to do so.

“Panic-like selling” grips Wall Street as the economic numbers point to “a lot of unpleasant things that nobody wants to admit”

Fear is spreading like wildfire on Wall Street, and on Friday we witnessed yet another wave of panic selling. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell another 559 points, closing at 24,389. Previously I had warned that once we solidly broke through 25,000 that it could trigger an avalanche of panic selling, and that is precisely what has happened. The Dow is now down more than 9 percent from the peak in early October, but the S&P 500 is doing even worse. The S&P 500 is now down 10.2 percent from the September peak, and that means that it is officially in correction territory. It has now been two solid months, and the sell-off on Wall Street shows no signs of abating.

And for certain sectors, the carnage that has been unfolding can definitely be called a “crash”.

FANG stocks are now down 24 percent from the peak, and global systemically important banks have now fallen a whopping 33 percent from the 52-week high.

Ladies and gentlemen, the big banks are officially in trouble once again, and it is going to be a wild ride moving forward.

And the way that things wrapped up for the markets on Friday has many wondering what Monday will bring. According to one key index, investors were dumping stocks so rapidly on the Nasdaq on Friday afternoon that it was officially considered to be “panic-like activity”

Selling on the Nasdaq reached panic-like proportions Friday afternoon with less than an hour left in regular trade, as the exchange’s Arms index rose. The Arms is a volume weighted breadth measure, that tends to rise when the broader market falls, as the intensity of the selling in declining stocks is usually greater than the intensity of buying in rising stocks. Levels above 2.000 are considered panic-like activity. The Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, -3.05% was off 3% at 6,969. The number of advancing stocks compared against decliners was at 2,108 to 787, pushing the Arms index on the exchange to 2.068.

Thanks to Friday’s nightmare, this week ended up being the worst week for U.S. stocks since March.

This wasn’t supposed to happen in December. According to the experts, we were due for a nice “Santa Claus rally” and everybody was supposed to go home for the holidays really happy.

But that hasn’t happened. Instead, the markets are coming apart like a 20 dollar suit.

And guess who CNN is blaming for the stock market decline?

I’ll give you just one guess, and his name rhymes with “Gump”. The following comes from CNN

From “Tariff Man” tweets and inverting yield curves to conflicting messages from Trump advisers and the arrest of a Chinese executive, there is no shortage of headlines keeping investors awake at night.

They don’t want to admit that the same thing would be happening if Hillary Clinton was in the White House.

This isn’t about politics. This is about a financial system that has always been destined to collapse.

Meanwhile, the stunning implosion of the cryptocurrency bubble continues to accelerate. At this point, the price of Bitcoin has now fallen more than 80 percent from where it was a year ago…

In December 2017, bitcoin prices hit a record high of just under $20,000. Flash forward to December 2018 and bitcoin is now trading a little below $3,400. That’s a more than 80% plunge. Bitcoin is at a 15-month low.

But prices have really gotten whacked this week, falling nearly 20% in just the past five days alone.

Other major cryptos such as Ripple, Ethereum and Litcoin have experienced similar crashes.

Yes, this is really happening. Bubble after bubble is bursting, and a day of reckoning for the global financial system is here.

Things are unfolding just as myself and so many others have been warning. Over the past couple of years, there has been a bubble of false hope even though none of the problems that caused the last financial crisis were ever fixed. Instead, the Federal Reserve and other global central banks simply patched things together and inflated the bubbles to a much larger degree than we had ever seen before.

Now everything is unraveling, and many of the “experts” are still in denial. I really like how Peter Schiff made this point during a recent interview…

“What has happened in the last week is very, very bullish for the price of gold, and the price of gold is not catching much of a bid. I think again, the main reason for this is because nobody gets it. People still think this is a bull market. They’re not worried about the decline. They think it’s just a buying opportunity. It’s just a correction. They still think the economy is good. Even though the bond market doesn’t, even though the yield curve is inverting in the front end of the curve, people are dismissing that. They’re dismissing the housing data; they’re dismissing the build in the crude inventories. They’re not looking at any of the real data because nobody wants to believe it. Everybody still wants to believe all the hype — that this economy is great, that this economy is booming. Nobody wants to deal with the truth; because you know how grim the reality is? Because if you have to accept the fact that this economy is going into recession, then you have to accept a lot of unpleasant things that nobody wants to admit.

As always, Peter Schiff is making a lot of sense.

If you follow my work on a regular basis, than you already know that I have been highlighting the gloomy economic numbers as they have been steadily rolling out.

All of the numbers tell us that economic activity is slowing down.

All of the numbers tell us that we are heading into a recession (if we are not already in one).

And all of the numbers tell us that another great financial crisis is now upon us.

The time for false hope is over. Now is a time to come to grips with reality, because things are going to get very tough in the months ahead.

About the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is publisher of The Most Important News and the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

The Dow Falls By Triple Digits As Anxiety Over The Senate Tax Plan Grows

It is becoming quite clear that even if Congress passes a tax reform bill in 2017 that it won’t actually be that significant. On Thursday, anxiety about the Senate’s version of the bill pushed the Dow down more than a hundred points, and that was the biggest decline that we have seen in two months. Could it be possible that the massive stock market bubble that we are currently witnessing is about to burst? Anticipation of what this tax bill would mean for U.S. companies has been the foundation for so much of the euphoria that was have seen on Wall Street this year, and now reality is starting to set in

The Dow suffered its biggest drop since early September as investors reacted to reports that the Senate’s tax proposal would delay tax cuts for corporations for year, a development that pushes back a key part of the plan Wall Street was betting on to provide a boost to corporate profitability.

Reducing our corporate tax rate is very important, because right now we are not competitive with the rest of the western world. Almost every other major industrialized nation has a much lower corporate tax rate than us, and that encourages major corporations to locate operations elsewhere.

So if we are able to reduce the corporate tax rate to 20 percent, that is likely going to mean good things for the U.S. economy and more jobs for U.S. workers, but unfortunately the Senate version of the bill would delay that tax cut until 2019

The top corporate rate would drop from 35% to 20% in 2019, a year later than it would in a revised bill approved Thursday by the House Ways and Means Committee. That change, which reduces the overall cost of the tax cut package, delays one of President Trump’s main priorities for overhauling the tax code, but administration officials did not seem concerned during a brief appearance with Hatch on Thursday afternoon.

And then if the Democrats take back control of the White House in 2020, they would probably jack corporate tax rates back up to where they were before, and so in the end the change would not make much of an impact at all.

Other than reducing the corporate tax rate, the Senate version of the “tax reform bill” does not actually accomplish that much. The following comes from Zero Hege, and it is a good summary of what is contained in the bill…

  • 20% permanent corporate tax cut delayed by 1 year
  • Complies with the $1.5 trillion cost (will cost $1.44 trillion)
  • Preserves 7 tax brackets: top tax bracket is 38.5%, down from 39.6%
  • Doubles standard deduction from $12,700 to $24,000 (married couples)
  • Ends state and local tax (SALT) deduction; keeps business deduction
  • Keeps the mortgage Interest deduction cap at $1 million
  • Preserve the estate tax, doubling the current $5.49 million exemption for individuals
  • Raises the child tax credit to $1,650 from $1,000
  • Sets 10% tax rate for US companies with IP in foreign low-tax jurisdictions
  • Full expensing of capital investments for five years
  • Preserves 401(k)s IRAs,
  • Sets repatriation rate at 12% for liquid assets, 5% for illiquid assets
  • Carried interest loophole unchanged
  • Electric Vehicle tax credit is spared (good news for Elon Musk)

This bill also repeals the alternative minimum tax, and that is a change that has been needed for ages.

But overall, our members of Congress are simply rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic.

We have the most abominable system of taxation on the entire planet. I once spent an entire year studying our tax code, and at the end of that year I came to the conclusion that the best thing that we could do would be to throw the entire thing in a shredder and start over.

Today, the tax code is more than two million words long, and the regulations are more than seven million words long. I used to have to lug these books to class with me, and that was not pleasant. Our system greatly favors the wealthy, because they can hire lobbyists to influence members of Congress, and they can pay accountants and tax attorneys to find every single loophole possible. Meanwhile, ordinary people like you and me always end up with the short end of the stick.

The next time you are talking to a politician, ask them to defend our current system of taxation. None of them will be able to, because it is an abomination.

Ultimately, I would like to abolish the IRS and the income tax completely. We did not have an income tax between 1872 and 1913, and it was the greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history.

Of course we would need to greatly reduce the size of the federal government in order to do that, and that might take a while. So in the short-term we could go to a flat tax or a fair tax, both of which would be greatly superior systems to what we have right now.

Simply reducing rates a little bit and tinkering with the regulations is not going to fundamentally change anything. Real tax reform means getting rid of our current abominable system entirely, and if I am elected to Congress that is precisely what I am going to fight for.

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

Tech Stocks Experience Their Longest Losing Streak In 5 Years As Panic Begins To Grip The Market

S&P 500 tech stocks have now fallen for 9 days in a row. The last time tech stocks declined for so many days in a row was in 2012, and that was the only other time in history when we have seen such a long losing streak. As I have stated before, the post-election “Trump rally” is officially done, and the market is starting to roll over as investors begin to realize that all of the buying momentum has completely evaporated. Tech stocks tend to be particularly volatile, and so the fact that they are starting to lead the way down should definitely be alarming to many in the investing community.

Of course it isn’t just tech stocks that are falling. The Dow was down another 59 points on Wednesday, and the S&P 500 has closed beneath its 50 day moving average for the very first time since the election. For those that have been waiting for a key technical signal before getting out of the market, there is one for you.

The price of gold was up again, and that is definitely not surprising in this geopolitical environment. The closer we get to war the higher gold and silver prices will go, and if we actually get into a major conflict we will see them blast into the stratosphere.

Another key indicator that I am watching very closely is the VIX. On Wednesday it shot up above 16 for the very first time since the day after Trump’s election victory, and many believe that it could soon go much higher. The following is an excerpt from a CNBC report

The VIX measures the size of the S&P 500’s expected moves over the next 30 days, and consequently tends to run just a bit hotter than volatility over the past 30 days. Yet one-month realized volatility is just 6.7, meaning the VIX is at a roughly 9-point premium, which Chintawongvanich calls “highly unusual.”

That said, he notes that implied volatility was also at a large premium preceding the U.K. referendum to leave the EU and the U.S. presidential election. The obvious conclusion is that the market is now similarly preparing itself for the French presidential election, which is set to be held on April 23. Some fear that a populist candidate could prevail, which may cause more problems for the European Union and thus for economic stability.

As noted in that excerpt, the upcoming French election is absolutely huge. If the election goes “the wrong way” according to the globalists, it could literally mean the end of the European Union as it is configured today.

And of course of even greater concern is the global march toward war. It is being reported that North Korea is on the verge of a major nuclear weapons test, and such an act of defiance could be enough to push Donald Trump into conducting a major military strike.

But if Trump does hit North Korea, it is quite likely that North Korea will hit back. The North Koreans are promising to use nuclear weapons in any conflict with the United States, and if Trump bungles this thing we could easily be looking at a scenario in which millions of people end up dead.

Things also continue to get more tense in the Middle East. The Russians and the Iranians are promising to respond to any additional U.S. strikes “with force”, and on Wednesday Trump declared that our relationship with Russia “may be at an all-time low”.

Of course this came shortly after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson used similar language following his face to face meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Russian President Vladimir Putin held more than two hours of “very frank” talks Wednesday in the Kremlin amid tensions over a U.S. airstrike against a Syria air base blamed for last week’s deadly chemical attack.

In remarks to reporters after the meeting, Tillerson said he told the Russian leader that current relations between the two countries are at a “low point.”

If the Trump administration conducts any more strikes on Syria, it is quite likely that the Russians and Iranians will make good on their threats and will start firing back.

And once U.S. aircraft or U.S. naval vessels come under fire, the calls for war in Washington will become absolutely deafening.

Unfortunately, Trump is not likely to back down any time soon because the recent missile strike in Syria has dramatically boosted his popularity. According to every recent survey, the American people overwhelmingly approve of what Trump did…

A Morning Consult/Politico poll released Wednesday found that 57% of Americans supported airstrikes in Syria, 58% supported establishing a no-fly zone over parts of Syria including strikes against Syria’s air-defense systems, and 63% of Americans thought the US should do more to end the Syrian conflict. Even more, 66% of respondents said they supported the Trump administration’s strike last week specifically.

This mirrored results of another recent poll from CBS News in which 57% of Americans said they approved of the US strike. A Pew Research Center survey from this week showed a similar level of support, with 58% of Americans approving of the strike.

Sadly, this is a time when the majority is dead wrong. Many of those that are supporting military action against Syria now were vehemently against it when Barack Obama was considering it.

Even Donald Trump spoke out very strongly against military intervention in Syria in 2013, and he was quite right to do so, and so what has suddenly changed that now makes it okay?

There is nothing to be gained in Syria, but we could very easily end up in a direct military conflict with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah which could ultimately prove to be the spark that sets off World War III.

And of course a military strike on North Korea could also potentially spark a global war. The first Korean War resulted in a direct military conflict between the United States and China, and the second Korean War could easily result in the exact same thing happening again.

Do the American people really want war with both Russia and China at the same time?

It has been said that you should be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

You Do Not Go To War With Your Own People

Donald Trump is making the exact same tragic mistake that other prominent leaders have made in the past.  You never, ever, ever go to war with your own people.  Yes, you may have some very serious disagreements with your own team sometimes, but you never go to war with them.  When Trump openly declared war on the Freedom Caucus, he immediately lost the support of millions of conservatives.  And now Trump is going to have a tremendously difficult time getting anything on his agenda through Congress, because without Freedom Caucus votes the Democrats will be able to block just about everything that Trump wants to do.

Yes, I understand that Trump is upset because his healthcare legislation failed.  But instead of getting angry and lashing out at the people that should be his closest allies in Congress, perhaps he should take another look at the bill.

The truth is that it was called “Obamacare Lite” for a reason.  It was an absolute nightmare of a bill, and conservatives all over the nation were united in their opposition of it.

When you are a leader, sometimes you have to be willing to admit that you were wrong.

Unfortunately, Donald Trump is not very good at admitting when he is not right about something.

Instead of the path of humility, Trump has decided to go to war with the Freedom Caucus.  On Friday, Trump actually posted a tweet that urged his supporters to “fight” the Freedom Caucus during the election of 2018…

The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast. We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!

No, conservatives will definitely not be attempting to remove the best members of Congress in 2018.  For Trump to even suggest this is absolute madness.

Trump desperately needs friends in Congress, and the members of the Freedom Caucus could be his best friends if he would just work with them.

But instead he is deeply alienating them, and after Trump’s tweet on Friday a couple members of the Freedom Caucus struck back at him.  One of them was U.S. Representative Thomas Massie

@realDonaldTrump it’s a swamp not a hot tub. We both came here to drain it. polls 17%. Sad!

Another member of the Freedom Caucus that fired back at Trump was U.S. Representative Justin Amash

It didn’t take long for the swamp to drain @realDonaldTrump. No shame, Mr. President. Almost everyone succumbs to the D.C. Establishment.

What in the world is Trump hoping to accomplish by feuding with these conservatives?

If Trump wants to repeal Obamacare, he should just push the same clean repeal bill that was passed by the House right near the end of Obama’s time in office.

During the campaign season, Trump’s desire to fight with everyone ended up working for him, but in Washington you are going to need some friends if you actually want to accomplish anything.  The members of the Freedom Caucus would have supported more of Trump’s agenda than any other group in the House of Representatives, but now he has gone to war with them.

I don’t know if I have the words to describe the utter foolishness of that move.

But even after threatening to go after their jobs in the next election, some members of the Freedom Caucus are still being conciliatory.  One of them is Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador

@realDonaldTrump Freedom Caucus stood with u when others ran. Remember who your real friends are. We’re trying to help u succeed.

And Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan told Fox News that his group is “trying to help the president”

Freedom Caucus co-founder Jim Jordan, however, refused to take Trump’s bait during an interview on “America’s Newsroom.”

“We appreciate the president,” Jordan said. “We’re trying to help the president, but the fact is you have to look at the legislation.”

He added: “I’m not here to assign blame to anyone…what I focus on doing is doing what I told the voters we’re going to do.”

Instead of trying to bully his friends, Trump should try listening to them instead.

But even before it became clear that Obamacare Lite would not pass, he was threatening members of the Freedom Caucus with primary challenges if they would not vote the way that he wanted…

President Trump dared Rep. Mark Sanford to vote against the Obamacare repeal bill last week so he could put a primary challenger against the former governor in 2018, the congressman said.

According to Sanford, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney told him, “The president asked me to look you square in the eyes and to say that he hoped that you voted ‘no’ on this bill so he could run (a primary challenger) against you in 2018,” according to The Post and Courierwhich first reported the story. Mulvaney, a friend of Sanford’s, was a South Carolina congressman before he joined the administration.

This is one of the signs of a weak and ineffective leader.  I have seen other “leaders” try to use their power to bully people into doing what they want done, and it rarely works.

If Trump keeps acting like this, pretty soon he is not going to have any friends left.  During the campaign season, Matt Drudge was one of Trump’s most fervent supporters, but now even Drudge appears to be turning on him

In early February, Drudge tweeted that the “Republican party should be sued for fraud. NO discussion of tax cuts now. Just lots of crazy. Back to basics, guys!” and “No Obamacare repeal, tax cuts! But Republicans vote to shut Warren? Only know how to be opposition not lead! DANGER ”

One month later, Drudge was even more direct, saying “Republicans lied about wanting tax cuts. Can we get our votes back?”

Then, last Thursday, amid the struggle to rally enough Republican votes to pass an ObamaCare repeal-and-replace plan, he tweeted, “The swamp drains you,” which many saw as a jab at President Trump’s campaign pledge to “drain the swamp.”

When a leader goes to war with his own people, it almost always results in a tragic ending.

Yes, Trump could perhaps take down a couple members of Congress in the 2018 election, but Trump will find that his entire presidency is paralyzed if he doesn’t have any friends in Congress.

For example, if a spending bill in not passed by April 28th, a government shutdown will begin on April 29th.

So without the help of the Freedom Caucus, where is Trump going to get the votes that he needs to avoid a shutdown?

Is Trump going to team up with the Democrats?

I don’t think so.

Without some friends in Congress, there will be no spending bill, the debt ceiling will not get raised, there will be no border wall, there will be no tax cuts, there will be no enhanced border security, there will be no trillion dollar infrastructure plan, there will be no new military spending and nothing else that Trump wants to do will get done either.

Trump is going to learn a very hard lesson that many other prominent leaders in the past have also learned.

You do not go to war with your own people.

Broken America

Is this the beginning of the end for the United States of America? It has been said that a house divided against itself will surely fall, and today we live in a shattered union. In all my years, I have never seen so much strife, discord, bitterness and resentment in this country. Everyone can see what is happening, but nobody can seem to stop it. Politically, you have got tens of millions of people trying to pull America one way, and you have got tens of millions of people trying to pull it the exact opposite way. As I discussed in a previous article, the term “civil war” is now being thrown around by some pundits even though nobody has started shooting yet. We are a deeply divided and broken nation, and if we don’t find a way to fix things America will not survive.

Every survey and opinion poll that has been taken recently backs up what I am saying. For example, a Gallup survey that was conducted after the election in November found that an all-time record high 77 percent of all Americans believe that “the nation is divided on the most important values”…

Seventy-seven percent of Americans, a new high, believe the nation is divided on the most important values, while 21% believe it is united and in agreement. Over the past 20+ years, the public has tended to perceive the nation as being more divided than united, apart from two surveys conducted shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

So how do you fix this?

Nobody can force half the population to suddenly change their views on the most important issues of the day.

Earlier today, I wrote an article about how America is becoming a “politically-correct madhouse“, and there really is no compromising with the forces of political correctness. Either you get in line or you are the enemy.

Once upon a time the values enshrined in the U.S. Constitution by our founders united us, but today about half the country has completely rejected those values.

Those that would like to restore our constitutional values find themselves diametrically opposed to the agenda that progressives are trying to shove down our throats, and personally I don’t see much room for compromise between the two sides.

Given enough time, one side would ultimately vanquish the other side, but I don’t know if America has enough time left for that to happen.

There were some that had been hoping that our new president would unite the country, but you can throw that idea right out the window. According to numbers from Public Policy Polling, nearly half the nation already wants him to be impeached…

On our first poll of his Presidency voters were evenly divided on Trump, with 44% approving of him and 44% also disapproving. Now his approval rating is 43%, while his disapproval has gone all the way up to 53%. If voters could choose they’d rather have both Barack Obama (52/44) or Hillary Clinton (49/45) instead of Trump.

Just three weeks into his administration, voters are already evenly divided on the issue of impeaching Trump with 46% in favor and 46% opposed.

The political divisions in this nation are just going to grow worse and worse.

But just because we vehemently disagree with someone politically does not mean that we should hate that person.

I know that it can be infuriating to see some politician get up and start spouting off ideas that would be extremely damaging to this country. But if we choose to hate our political “enemies”, we become part of the problem.

It is easy to love someone that agrees with you about most things. The real challenge is finding a way to love those that believe things that you may find truly repulsive.

That doesn’t mean that you have to agree with what they believe. I am not saying that at all. You can disagree very strongly with someone and still love that person.

Unfortunately, the hearts of most people have grown cold in America. As hatred, anger and frustration continue to grow, it is only a matter of time before we start seeing outbursts of violence. Rioting, looting and civil unrest are going to become commonplace in communities all over the U.S., and eventually some of our major cities will burn. In my latest book I warned that the “thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted will disappear”, and thousands upon thousands of Americans that can see this coming are already fleeing the big cities.

What particularly disturbs me is when I see people that are supposed to be on the same side fighting each other.

If you are around someone long enough, eventually they are going to do or say something to offend you. None of us is going to agree 100 percent on everything, and it is a horrible shame to allow one disagreement to ruin what should be a great relationship.

If you do not learn to forgive, every relationship that you ever have in your life will ultimately fail, because everyone is going to let you down at some point.

And you may think that you are making the other person pay a price by refusing to forgive, but the truth is that you will be the one that will end up suffering. Even medical science has found that there are health benefits to forgiving and that unforgiveness can actually help bring on serious illnesses. The following comes from the official website of Johns Hopkins Medicine

Whether it’s a simple spat with your spouse or long-held resentment toward a family member or friend, unresolved conflict can go deeper than you may realize—it may be affecting your physical health. The good news: Studies have found that the act of forgiveness can reap huge rewards for your health, lowering the risk of heart attack; improving cholesterol levels and sleep; and reducing pain, blood pressure, and levels of anxiety, depression and stress. And research points to an increase in the forgiveness-health connection as you age.

“There is an enormous physical burden to being hurt and disappointed,” says Karen Swartz, M.D., director of the Mood Disorders Adult Consultation Clinic at The Johns Hopkins Hospital. Chronic anger puts you into a fight-or-flight mode, which results in numerous changes in heart rate, blood pressure and immune response. Those changes, then, increase the risk of depression, heart disease and diabetes, among other conditions. Forgiveness, however, calms stress levels, leading to improved health.

There are people that are reading this article that need to pick up the phone right now and apologize to someone that they have been refusing to forgive.

Yes, without a doubt that would be difficult.  But you might just be surprised how much grace a little humility can unleash.

You may not be able to fix our broken nation, but you certainly can fix the broken relationships in your own life.

And if millions of Americans decided to choose love and forgiveness rather than hatred, anger, bitterness and resentment, it would most definitely have a transformative effect on the entire country.

I would like to close with some very wise words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Radical Leftists Are Warning That The Trump Years Will Be ‘Apocalyptic’ – And They Just Might Be Right

Is the United States about to plunge into an apocalyptic nightmare from which it may never recover?  During the Obama era conservatives often warned of such scenarios, but now things have completely shifted.  At the moment, conservatives are generally more optimistic than they have been in many years, but quite a few liberals are warning that the Trump years could have absolutely disastrous consequences for this country.  They are concerned that Trump’s policies could burst the giant debt bubble that we have been living in and trigger economic collapse, they are concerned that widespread civil unrest could soon erupt in our cities, they are concerned that our rapidly deteriorating environment and major natural disasters could soon kill millions, and they are also concerned that faltering relationships with other nations could lead us into World War III.

Of course leftists are generally wrong about just about everything, but in this case they might be exactly correct.

The truth is that our world is becoming increasingly unstable with each passing week, and this time around it is conservatives that are guilty of reckless optimism.

Just because Donald Trump has been elected does not mean that everything around us is going to be transformed into some sort of utopia.  Anyone that is guilty of this kind of thinking is simply delusional.

So as much as it pains me to say it, these days it is often liberals that have a more accurate assessment of what the times immediately ahead of us are going to be like.  And while many conservatives have totally given up on preparing for the difficult times that are coming, many liberals have suddenly become extraordinarily interested in emergency food, water filters and guns.  They are extremely concerned about what America is going to look like in a few years, and the mainstream media is starting to do stories about their rising anxiety.  The following is an excerpt from a Christian Science Monitor article entitled “In age of Trump, apocalyptic rhetoric becomes mainstream“…

The longer President Trump is in office, the more Cat Deakins worries about the future – for herself and her children.

With every executive order and cabinet appointment, she envisions another scenario: an America that rejects immigrants, that succumbs to climate change, that erupts in war.

“It’s scary to me that [people within the administration] are promoting this idea of, ‘We are at war with Islam.’ That’s the kind of thinking that leads to World War III,” says Ms. Deakins, a cinematographer in Los Angeles. “I don’t think we can be alarmed enough.”

To many conservatives that may sound like nonsense, but the truth is that we are on a road that could potentially lead us to World War III.  Anti-Russian hysteria has reached a fever pitch in Washington, and our relationship with China is the worst that it has been in decades.  Of course the Middle East continues to be a tinderbox, and one false move could cause a major war to erupt in the region.

Meanwhile, the ground under our feet continues to shake with increasing regularity.  In fact, an enormous magnitude 6.9 earthquake struck along the “Ring of Fire” just this weekend

A HUGE earthquake measuring 6.9 magnitude struck off the coast of New Britain island in Papua New Guinea this morning, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) said.

The quake was so powerful that it was felt as far away as the capital Port Moresby, 750 km (460 miles) away on the country’s south coast.

Papua New Guinea is on the Pacific “Ring of Fire” which has frequent earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

And our environment continues to deteriorate all around us as well.  According to one recent study, half of the species on our entire planet could be facing extinction by the end of this century unless something is done…

One in five species on Earth now faces extinction, and that will rise to 50% by the end of the century unless urgent action is taken. That is the stark view of the world’s leading biologists, ecologists and economists who will gather on Monday to determine the social and economic changes needed to save the planet’s biosphere.

“The living fabric of the world is slipping through our fingers without our showing much sign of caring,” say the organisers of the Biological Extinction conference held at the Vatican this week.

But of more immediate concern is our very serious economic problems.  For much more on this, please see the article that I published on Sunday entitled “Retail Apocalypse Gains Momentum As David Stockman Warns ‘Everything Will Grind To A Halt’ After March 15th“.

We have already seen very angry protests and riots from coast to coast during the first month of Trump’s presidency, and it wouldn’t take much to push the millions upon millions of Americans that completely hate Trump entirely over the edge.  If we do see a severe economic downturn or a major natural disaster (remember Katrina?) or the U.S. enters a new war, any of those things could potentially be enough to spark widespread civil unrest in cities all over America.

A lot of people can see what is coming, and many wealthy elitsts are securing adequate accommodations to ride out the “Trumpocalypse” while they still can.  For example, a former nuclear missile silo in Kansas has been transformed into a series of luxury survival condos

The door to the Survival Condo closes slowly, sending a resounding thud through the concrete parking garage.

Those inside have surrounded themselves with walls up to 9 feet thick, ready to withstand a nuclear explosion, the eruption of Yellowstone’s supervolcano or an outbreak of avian flu.

Larry Hall, project manager and owner of the Luxury Survival Condo Project, says he feels safer with the doors closed.

He says he’s sold all 12 luxury condos in the former Atlas missile silo — which once housed a nuclear warhead — not far from Concordia, about two hours north of Wichita. He’s working on a second silo.

The condos are all sold out at this point, but the vast majority of us could have never afforded one anyway.  According to the article quoted above, an 1,820 square foot unit costs three million dollars.

Ouch.

In the end, the truth is that America was headed for disaster whether Trump or Clinton won the election.  And actually, many of the apocalyptic scenarios that I lay out in my novel are much more likely to happen with a Republican in the White House.  For instance, radical leftists are far more likely to go wild in the streets if someone that they hate with all of their might is leading the nation.

And instead of trying to bring peace, the top Democrats in Washington are now calling for “total war” against Donald Trump.  The following comes from the Daily Caller

Democrat Party leaders are planning to agree on a strategy of all-out war against President Donald Trump at meetings this weekend, rather than work to achieve their policy goals through compromise.

Following the election that devastated the party’s power at every level of government, some in the party were considering a strategy of working with the Trump administration to get things done. Indeed, Trump has signaled he would be willing to cross the aisle to achieve some less-than-conservative policy changes he has taken up. But senior party officials told The New York Times that option is likely off the table, and those inside the party who favor an aggressively confrontational strategy will win out.

The left is not just going to lay down and die just because Donald Trump won the election.

They are absolutely determined to fight Trump every step of the way, even if that means causing more division in a nation that is more deeply divided than it has been in decades.

I know that there is a lot of optimism out there among conservatives right now, but the truth is that the elements for a “perfect storm” are coming together very rapidly, and it is very easy to see how all of this could end very, very badly.

So when liberals say that the coming years could be “apocalyptic”, they may not actually understand what they are talking about, but they might end up being precisely correct.

Four hidden policy changes in Trump’s immigration memos

Though draconian, the two memos released by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday were also expected: the executive orders Trump released five days after his inauguration had already outlined his broad crackdown on illegal immigration. The new guidance is just the “how-to” plan to make it happen.

But in the days since it was issued, immigration experts have been combing the documents to figure out the full impact — and buried in their 19 pages have found a number of small but important policy shifts that hadn’t been seen before. “There are real and meaningful changes ahead,” Michael Neifach, a lawyer who held senior positions at DHS during the Bush administration, wrote in an email.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

O’Keefe Releases Over 100 Hours of Audio From Inside CNN, Promises More to Come

(By Chris Menahan of InformationLiberation) James O’Keefe just released 119 hours of audio from within CNN and says there’s 100 more hours which are soon to come.

His organization is also putting up a $10,000 reward for any inside content “that exposes media malfeasance.”

From VeritasLive:

Project Veritas released 119 hours of raw audio in a WikiLeaks style dump, with over 100 more hours still yet to be released. The audio was secretly recorded in 2009 by an anonymous source inside CNN’s Atlanta headquarters who we are identifying as Miss X. The tapes contain soundbites from current and previous CNN employees Joe Sterling, Arthur Brice, and Nicky Robertson, as well as numerous others. Project Veritas is also offering a $10,000 award for content that exposes media malfeasance. The tapes show CNN’s misrepresentation of polling data:

Miss X: “I read a CNN poll that was taken on June 26 and 28th, and I know that the hearing for the case, the fire fighters case was on the 29th, so the poll was done right before it, and those are still the poll results we’re reporting, so I asked someone in DC who does the poll results about why we hadn’t updated it, and said there were a few newer polls from last week and the week before and there’s CBS news polls and a Rasmussen poll, and he said we don’t use Rasmussen, and I said does CNN plan to do another poll if we’re only using that. He said we’re not going to be doing another poll, those are the results we’ll be using. So I don’t see how that’s reporting all sides because that poll said hold for release until Friday the 10th.”

Arthur Brice: “Who did you talk with?”

Miss X: “Paul [CNN’s Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser].”

Arthur Brice: “Yeah, he’s your director. Yeah, he’s pretty high up in the food chain. I agree. I think it’s dishonest to use outdated information if new information shows something that is in variance with what you’re reporting. It’s just, it’s dishonest.”

The same apathy towards reporting accurate poll numbers was seen in the way CNN released inaccurate poll numbers about Supreme Court Justice Sotomayor.

Miss X: “This wasn’t released until two weeks after. So can we say a newly released poll?”

Joe Sterling: “No, you can’t say that. You can’t say that at all. This isn’t a newly released.”

Miss X: “But it says newly released on Friday.”

Joe Sterling: “I know, how did we write about this? Did we write a wire about this? “I don’t think we stand to change how people think of her [Sotomayor]. Geez, I mean if someone picked this up it’s not going to change – it’s not going to change anybody’s opinion.”

Richard Griffiths, who is now CNN’s Vice President and Senior Editorial Director, was caught explaining that the role of a journalist is to “aid the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

“If we are journalists, what is our role as a journalist? What is the fundamental role as a journalist, for us to do?

“Tell a story. Tell what’s going on. There’s a secondary corollary to that, right? Aid the afflicted and afflict the comfortable. To a degree, right? Is that not part of the traditional role of a journalist. It’s actually one of the things I can be most proud of as a journalist. You know we try to show the ugly side of humanity so we can do something about it. It’s hard, very hard.”

In the secretly recorded tapes, CNN’s liberal, anti-Republican, and anti-Fox News bias is clear.

“Fox News, I think Fox News is unbearable. It’s horrible,” said Nicky Robertson, who was at that time the CNN Assignment Desk Editor.

Joe Sterling, who was then the News desk editor for CNN’s online venue ‘The Wire’ was also recorded speaking profound liberal bias.

“That issue, climate change, I mean science is pretty much on board and there are a few dissenters. There’s no debate. It’s like you know, born-agains saying there’s a debate over, you know creationism, and all that stuff. There is no debate.”

If the media wasn’t panicked enough already, this is sure to send them into fits of paranoia hereto unforeseen.

Well done, Mr. O’Keefe.

Why Is NASA Using The Discovery Of 7 New Earth-Sized Planets To Promote The Idea That Alien Life May Exist?

NASA told us in advance that there would be a huge announcement on Wednesday, and it certainly was not a disappointment. NASA’s declaration that 7 new Earth-sized planets had been discovered approximately 40 light years away from our sun made headlines all over the globe, and the Internet immediately started buzzing with lots of discussions about the possibility that these newly discovered worlds may have life on them. This isn’t the kind of thing that I normally write about on The Economic Collapse Blog, but some of the things that were being said by the scientists involved in this discovery seemed quite odd. It is one thing to say that some new planets have been found, but it is another thing entirely to start speculating about life on those planets. With each new discovery that is made, why does it always seem like NASA is trying to promote the idea that alien life may exist somewhere out there? Could it be possible that they are trying to mentally prepare us for something?

After the announcement was made on Wednesday, I went to the official NASA website, and sure enough in the article that had just been posted about this new discovery there was discussion about the possibility of alien life

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”

If this discovery is confirmed, it is definitely quite remarkable.

But why engage in speculation about whether or not we are alone in the universe?

You can view a YouTube video from NASA about this new discovery right here. As you can see from the video, the scientists involved in this project are extremely excited…

Of course we must acknowledge that nobody has actually seen any of these planets. Based on data that astronomers have been able to observe, they assume that those seven planets must be there. The following comes from Smithsonian Magazine

To detect these other worlds, Gillon and his team used the so-called “transit” method, one of several techniques for hunting planets. Other techniques include measuring the wobble of a star caused by a planet’s gravitational pull, observing how light from a distant star bends around a planet or capturing a direct image of the planet.

The power of the transit method comes from its simplicity: Astronomers measure the level of light from a star, and look for any dips in brightness that could be the result of a planet passing between the star and Earth. By seeing how much and how often the level of light is reduced during each “transit” of the planet in front of the star, astronomers can then estimate its size and orbit.

So it is entirely possible that scientists may be misinterpreting the data.

Someday we may find out that there are more planets in the system, or we may discover that there aren’t any planets there at all.

But assuming that those planets are actually there, what has astronomers buzzing more than anything else is the possibility that they may contain “life”

“Looking for life elsewhere, this system is probably our best bet as of today,” study co-author Brice-Olivier Demory, a professor at the Center for Space and Habitability at the University of Bern in Switzerland, said in a statement.

The key is that these planets appear to have the right conditions for water to exist. Without water, it is generally assumed that a planet would not be able to support life. The following comes from an article posted on the website of The Independent entitled “Nasa’s ‘holy grail’: Entire new solar system that could support alien life discovered“…

No other star system has ever been found to contain so many Earth-sized and rocky planets, of the kind thought to be necessary to contain aliens.

The researchers might soon be able to find evidence of life on the planets, they have said. British astronomer Dr Chris Copperwheat, from Liverpool John Moores University, who was part of the international team, said: “The discovery of multiple rocky planets with surface temperatures which allow for liquid water make this amazing system an exciting future target in the search for life.”

And of course NASA is not just looking at these planets in their obsessive search for alien life.

In fact, NASA is sending a probe to one of Jupiter’s moons named Europa specifically to search for alien life

NASA believes there’s a gigantic ocean locked beneath its frozen surface and is planning to send a robotic craft to see if aliens are swimming in it.

This week, the space agency has revealed its three goals for the upcoming search for life.

It wrote: “The primary goal is to search for evidence of life on Europa.

“The other goals are to assess the habitability of Europa by directly analyzing material from the surface, and to characterize the surface and subsurface to support future robotic exploration of Europa and its ocean.”

So why is NASA so sure that alien life must be out there somewhere?

Do they know things that they aren’t disclosing to the rest of us?

As a society, we are constantly being conditioned to the idea that “alien life” must exist. This is one of the major themes in our movies, our television shows and our video games.

And now the scientific community has fully embraced this idea.

Could it be possible that the stage is being set for “the great deception” that authors such as L.A. Marzulli are constantly warning us about?

If someday a big announcement is made that “we are not alone” in the universe, humanity will already have been heavily conditioned to accept it as the truth.

Unfortunately, we live at a time when deception is running rampant, and that is why it is absolutely critical to not let someone else do your thinking for you.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

In Letter Sent Home To All Parents, Chicago Public Schools Promise To Obstruct ‘The Enforcement Of Federal Civil Immigration Law’

The Chicago public school system has decided to openly defy the president of the United States.  More than 392,000 students attend public schools in Chicago, and on Tuesday a letter was sent home with each of those students telling their parents that Chicago schools will not “assist in the enforcement of federal civil immigration law”.  In fact, the letter actually says that federal officials will not even be allowed “to access CPS facilities”.  In essence, every Chicago public school has now officially been declared to be a “sanctuary” for illegal immigrants.  If you would like to see the original document, you can do so right here.  This is just another example of how deeply divided we are as a nation.  The entire public school system of one of our largest cities is now in open rebellion against the president, and that is a very dangerous sign.

Of course Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel had already established a precedent earlier this year when he pledged to defy Donald Trump and to continue to keep Chicago as a “sanctuary city” for illegal immigrants.  The following comes from the Chicago Tribune

As President Donald Trump signed an executive order Wednesday to cut off some federal funding from sanctuary cities, Mayor Rahm Emanuel vowed Chicago would remain one and continue to protect immigrants from deportation.

“We’re gonna stay a sanctuary city,” Emanuel said in a news conference after Wednesday’s City Council meeting. “There is no stranger among us. We welcome people, whether you’re from Poland or Pakistan, whether you’re from Ireland or India or Israel and whether you’re from Mexico or Moldova, where my grandfather came from, you are welcome in Chicago as you pursue the American Dream.”

Emanuel makes it sound like you are “anti-immigrant” if you are against sanctuary cities.  But that is not accurate at all.  The truth is that America was built by immigrants, but for years we have had an immigration policy that is completely upside down.

We have allowed millions upon millions of people to pour across our borders illegally, but meanwhile we have made legal immigration a complete nightmare.  I am familiar with the process that someone has to go through to legally immigrate to this country, and it is exceedingly complex and very expensive.

So we are keeping out the hard working, law abiding people that we should want to come here, but we have been keeping the back door wide open for criminals, gang members and those that are seeking to take advantage of the system.

What kind of sense does that make?

And the truth is that the Trump administration does not even want to deport all illegal immigrants.  At this point, they are only focusing on those that have done something wrong, and that is very similar to the approach that was implemented under the Obama administration.  The following comes from the Los Angeles Times

Immigration officers were directed to focus first on deporting convicted criminals or those charged with crimes. But Kelly also freed them to conduct more raids in immigrant communities and detain people who don’t have criminal convictions.

In addition to deporting those convicted of crimes, immigration officials will also target:

  • people in the country illegally who have been charged with crimes not yet adjudicated.
  • those who have not been charged but are believed to have committed “acts that constitute a chargeable criminal offense.” That would include the 6 million people believed to have entered without passing through an official border crossing.
  • those who receive an improper welfare benefit.
  • those who committed minor infractions such as driving without a license.

Unfortunately, if you speak out against illegal immigration these days, it could cost you your job.

This is becoming one of the most hotly contested political issues in the nation, and as we have already seen there are a lot of leftists that are not afraid to openly defy the federal government.

Of course the truth is that it is already probably too late to try to turn things around.  It has been estimated that there are well over 100,000 gang members in the city of Chicago alone, and a very large percentage of them are illegal immigrants.

Someday when things get really bad in this country, gang violence will help fuel tremendous civil unrest all across the United States.  The coming civil unrest is a major theme in my novel, and it is one of the reasons why so many concerned Americans have been moving away from the big urban centers.

And it isn’t just leftists that are openly defying Trump.  This week, it is being reported that Mexico “will vigorously fight U.S. mass deportations of undocumented immigrants”…

Mexico will vigorously fight U.S. mass deportations of undocumented immigrants back to Mexico and refuse to accept any non-Mexicans expelled across the border, Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray vowed Wednesday.

A day after the Trump administration unveiled tough new guidelines for enforcing immigration laws, Videgaray said the treatment of Mexican migrants in the United States would top his country’s agenda when President Enrique Peña Nieto meets Thursday with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly.

Relations between the United States and Mexico are already the worst that they have been in my entire lifetime, and they could potentially get a whole lot worse in the months ahead.

When it comes to immigration, Donald Trump is trying to do things very differently from how Barack Obama was doing them, and that is causing a lot of chaos, pain and confusion.

We always need to remember that every single person on this planet is of extraordinary value no matter what they look like or where they are from.  And we will always need people to immigrate to this country.  It is just that we need to make sure that everyone comes in through the front door instead of sneaking through a back door that has been purposely left wide open by careless politicians.

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