Italy could DESTROY eurozone: Rome to inject 15 BILLION euros into banks to SAVE them

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Troubled lenders including Monte dei Paschi di Siena (MPS) and smaller competitors are in line to receive €15billion (£12.6bn) to help avoid a collapse, which could have devastating effect on the Italian economy.

Rome is stepping in as time runs out for MPS to find a solution to its €40bn (£33bn) book of bad loans.

Italy’s oldest bank only has until December 31 to find more cash, or face forced closure by the European Central Bank (ECB).

(Read the rest of the story here…)

Major Economic Warning Sign: The Euro Is Heading For Parity With The U.S. Dollar

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The collapse of the euro is accelerating, and it looks like we could be staring a major European financial crisis right in the face early in 2017. On Thursday, the EUR/USD fell all the way to $1.0366 at one point before rebounding slightly. That represents the lowest that the euro has been relative to the U.S. dollar since January 2003. Ever since 2011, I have been relentlessly warning that the euro is heading for parity with the U.S. dollar. When the EUR/USD was trading at about $1.40 that must have seemed like crazy talk, but I never wavered. I just kept warning people that the euro was going to weaken greatly relative to the U.S. dollar. Here is one example from March 2015: “How many times have I said it? The euro is heading to all-time lows. It is going to go to parity with the U.S. dollar, and then it is eventually going to go below parity.” After Thursday, we are almost there, and once we do hit parity that is going to be a sign that all sorts of chaos is about to erupt in Europe.

For years, so many people that write about our coming economic problems have been proclaiming that the death of the U.S. dollar is imminent.

But I have always taken a different approach. I have always maintained that the collapse of the euro comes first, and that the death of the U.S. dollar happens some time later.

So many people have wanted to get rid of all of their dollars in anticipation of the coming crisis, but that is a huge mistake.

First of all, without exception everyone needs an emergency fund that can cover at least six months of expenses in case there is a job loss, a health emergency or all hell breaks loose for some reason.

Secondly, cash is going to be king during the initial stages of the coming crisis. Later on the U.S. dollar will rapidly lose value, but at first it will pay to have significant amounts of cash available to you.

Most people out there seem to think that a strong dollar is great news and that it is a sign of good things to come under Donald Trump.

But the truth is that an overly strong U.S. dollar is actually very bad news for the global economy.

For the U.S., a strong dollar hurts our imports and tends to drag down our GDP.

For the rest of the world, a strong dollar makes it more expensive to borrow money. The economic boom in the developing world following the last financial crisis was fueled by mountains of cheap dollars that were borrowed at ultra-low interest rates. But now the U.S. dollar is surging and interest rates are spiking, and that is starting to cause major problems.

It now takes much more local currency to pay back those dollar-denominated loans that were made in emerging markets during the boom times. If the U.S. dollar continues to rise we are going to see a staggering number of defaults, and a credit crunch in many areas of the globe seems inevitable at this point.

Of course the big thing to keep an eye on over the coming weeks is the rapidly unfolding crisis in Italy. The Italians have the 8th largest economy on the entire planet, and we are in the process of watching their entire banking system completely implode.

In fact, their third largest bank is in imminent danger of collapse, and according to Reuters this could trigger “a wider banking and political crisis in Italy”…

Italy’s government is ready to pump 15 billion euros into Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI) and other ailing banks, sources said, as the country’s third-largest lender pushes ahead with a private rescue plan that is widely expected to fail.

The world’s oldest bank has until Dec. 31 to raise 5 billion euros ($5.2 billion) in equity or face being wound down by the European Central Bank, potentially triggering a wider banking and political crisis in Italy.

If needed, the government will pump 15 billion euros into the Siena-based lender and several other smaller banks to prevent that, two sources close to the matter said on Thursday.

This is so much more serious than the ongoing economic depression in Greece.

Greece is just the 44th largest economy on the planet, and we saw how much trouble Europe had trying to bail them out.

So what is the rest of Europe going to do when financial collapse hits Italy?

Here in the United States very few people are interested in hearing about a “global financial crisis” right at this moment, because in the aftermath of the election most people are feeling really good about where things are heading. Just consider the following three facts that I pulled out of a Bloomberg article

#1 “The National Association of Homebuilders’ index of sentiment soared to an 11-year high in December, despite the sizable rise in bond yields since the election.”

#2 “The University of Michigan’s December index of consumer confidence also continued its upward post-election trend, rising to 98. A sub-index that tracks respondents’ opinion of the government’s economic policies spiked to levels not seen since 2009.”

#3 “The National Federation of Independent Businesses’ index of optimism among small businesses posted its sharpest surge since 2009 in November to reach 98.4. An expected improvement in business conditions among small business owners surveyed after Nov. 8 was the largest contributor to the improvement in the headline print.”

Hopefully happy days will stick around for a while.

But it won’t last forever.

As I have warned so many times, the coming crisis is going to hit Europe first, and the United States will join the party not too long after.

And a key marker that we have been watching for is almost here. The euro is going to hit parity with the U.S. dollar just like I have been warning, and once that takes place expect events to start accelerating significantly.

About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The Most Important News. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

Global Financial Markets Plunged Into Chaos As Italy Overwhelmingly Votes ‘No’

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Italian voters have embraced the global trend of rejecting the established world order, but the “no” vote on Sunday has plunged global financial markets into a state of utter chaos. The euro has already fallen to a 20 month low, Italian government bonds are poised for a tremendous crash, and futures markets are indicating that both U.S. and European stock markets will be way down when they open on Monday. It is being projected that Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s referendum on constitutional reforms will be defeated by about 20 percentage points when all the votes have been counted, and Renzi has already announced that he plans to resign as a result. When new elections are held it looks like comedian Beppe Grillo’s Five-Star movement will come to power, and the European establishment is extremely alarmed at that prospect because Grillo wants to take Italy out of the eurozone. In the long run Italy would be much better off without the euro, but in the short-term the only thing propping up Italy’s failing banking system is support from Europe. Without that support, the 8th largest economy on the entire planet would already be in the midst of an unprecedented financial crisis.

I know that I said a lot in that first paragraph, but it is imperative that people understand how serious this crisis could quickly become.

This “no” vote virtually guarantees a major banking crisis for Italy, and many analysts fear that it could trigger a broader financial crisis all across the rest of the continent as well.

Just look at what has already happened. All of the votes haven’t even been counted yet, and the euro is absolutely plummeting

The euro dropped 1.3 percent to $1.0505, falling below its 1 1/2-year low of $1.0518 touched late last month, and testing its key support levels where the currency has managed to rebound in the past couple of years.

A break below its 2015 March low of $1.0457 would send the currency to its lowest level since early 2003, opening a way for a test of $1, or parity against the dollar, a scenario which many market players now see as a real possibility.

In early 2014, there were times when one euro was trading for almost $1.40. For a very long time I have been warning that the euro was eventually heading for parity with the U.S. dollar, and now we are almost there.

Meanwhile, Italian government bonds are going to continue to crash following this election result. This is going to make it even more difficult for the Italian government to borrow money, and that will only aggravate their ongoing financial troubles.

But the big problem in Italy is the banks. At this moment there are eight banks in imminent danger of collapsing, and virtually all of the rest of them are in some stage of trouble. The following comes from a Bloomberg article about the crisis that Italian banks are facing right at this moment…

They’re burdened with a mountain of bad loans. Their stocks have cratered. And they have to operate in an economy prone to recession and political upheaval.

Signs have been mounting for months that Italy’s weakest lenders, and in particular Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA, were sliding toward the precipice, threatening to reignite a broader crisis.

And we may get some news regarding the fate of Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena as early as Monday morning if what the Sydney Morning Herald is reporting is correct…

A last-gasp rescue for Monte dei Paschi di Siena, the world’s oldest surviving bank, has been thrown into doubt after reformist prime minister Matteo Renzi decisively lost a referendum on constitutional reform on Sunday.

MPS and advisers JPMorgan and Mediobanca will meet as early as Monday morning to decide whether to pull a plan to go ahead with a €5bn recapitalisation, the FT reports, citing people informed of the plan.

Senior bankers will decide whether to pursue their underwriting commitments or exercise their right to drop the transaction due to adverse market conditions, these people said. In the event the banks drop the capital plan, the Italian state is expected to nationalise the bank, say senior bankers.

If Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena fails, major banks all over Italy (and all over the rest of Europe) could start going down like dominoes.

So what were Italians voting on anyway?

Well, the truth is that the constitutional reforms that were proposed actually sound quite boring

“The changes involve sharply reducing the size of one of the chambers of Parliament — the Senate — shifting its powers to the executive, and eliminating the Senate’s power to bring down government coalitions.

“The amendments also shift some powers now held by the regions to the central government, thereby reducing frequent and lengthy court battles between Rome and the regional governments.”

The reason why this vote was ultimately so important is because it became a referendum on Renzi’s administration. The fact that he announced in advance that he would resign if it did not get approved gave a tremendous amount of fuel to the opposition.

So now Beppe Grillo’s Five-Star Movement stands poised to come to power, and that could be very bad news for those that are hoping to hold the common currency together.

The following is how NPR recently summarized the main goals of the Five-Star Movement…

“It calls for a government-guaranteed, universal income, abolishing Italy’s fiscal commitments to the European Union and a referendum on Italy’s membership in the Euro — a prospect that could unravel the entire single currency Eurozone.”

If Italy chooses to leave the euro, it will probably mean the end of the common currency, and the continued existence of the entire European Union would be called into question.

So this vote on Sunday was huge. The Brexit had already done a tremendous amount of damage to the long-term prospects for the European Union, and now the crisis in Italy is sending political and financial shockwaves throughout the entire continent.

Over the next few weeks, keep a close eye on the euro and on Italian government bonds.

If they both continue to crash, that will be a sign that a major European financial crisis is now upon us.

And what happens in Europe definitely does not stay in Europe.

If Europe goes down, we are going to go down too.

At this point we still have almost a month left in 2016, but 2017 is already shaping up to be a very troubling year. As always, let us hope for the best, but let us also keep preparing for the worst.

About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and The Most Important News. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

‘Currency Crash’ Drives British Pound To A 31 Year Low As Deutsche Bank Sinks To The Lowest Level Ever

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The fallout from the Brexit vote continues to rock the European financial system. On Wednesday, the British pound dropped to a fresh 31 year low as confidence in the currency continues to plummet. At one point it had fallen as low as $1.2796 before rebounding a bit. As I write this, it is still sitting at just $1.293. Meanwhile, the problems for the biggest banks in Europe just continue to mount. At one point on Wednesday Credit Suisse hit an all-time record low, and German banking giant Deutsche Bank closed the day at an all-time record closing low of 12.93. Overall, Europe’s Stoxx 600 Bank Index closed at the lowest level in almost five years. What we are watching is a full-blown financial meltdown in Europe, but because it is not personally affecting them yet, most Americans are not paying any attention to it.

The collapse of the British pound that we have seen since the Brexit vote has been nothing short of breathtaking. In fact, CNN says that this “is what a currency crash looks like”…

This is what a currency crash looks like. The pound has slumped to $1.28, its lowest level in more than three decades.

Investors are dumping the pound following Britain’s vote to leave the European Union on June 23. The pound has dropped roughly 15% since the referendum day, when it reached $1.50.

After appearing to stabilize, the pound resumed its decline this week after three big asset management firms halted withdrawals from real estate investment funds.

Of course this is likely only just the beginning. There are some analysts that are suggesting that the British pound could eventually hit parity with the U.S. dollar at some point. We are seeing seismic shifts on the foreign exchange market right now, and this is going to affect trillions of dollars worth of currency-related derivatives. It will be exceedingly interesting to see how all of this plays out.

Meanwhile, Deutsche Bank continues to get absolutely hammered.

If the biggest and most important bank in Germany is not completely imploding, then why does the stock price continue to crash time after time?

Since the start of 2016, the value of Deutsche Bank has fallen by half, and many have pointed out that the trajectory that it is on is very, very similar to Lehman Brothers in 2008.

My regular readers are probably sick and tired of hearing me warn about Deutsche Bank, so today I will let someone else do it. According to an article that was just published by the BBC, Deutsche Bank is now “the most dangerous bank in the world”…

Deutsche Bank shares hit a new record low today. It’s value has halved since the beginning of the year.

So is it now the most dangerous bank in the world?

According to the International Monetary Fund – yes.

Last week, the IMF said that, of the banks big enough to bring the financial system crashing down, Deutsche Bank was the riskiest. Not only that, Deutsche Bank’s US unit was one of only two of 33 big banks to fail tests of financial strength set by the US central bank earlier this year.

At this point Deutsche Bank is scrambling to raise cash to stave off an imminent implosion. Just today, I came across a report about how they plan to sell at least a billion dollars worth of shipping loans in order to bring in some much needed funds. Many of the steps that they are taking are reminiscent of what Lehman Brothers tried to do just prior to their collapse, and that alone should tell you something.

At the same time all of this is going on, things in Italy just continue to get even worse. As of this moment, approximately 17 percent of all bank loans held by Italian banks are considered to be “non-performing”. In other words, they are absolutely swamped by bad debts. At the height of the 2008 crisis, only about 5 percent of the loans held by U.S. banks were bad. So what we are watching unfold in Italy right now could definitely be described as “cataclysmic”.

Since the Brexit vote, Italian banks have been hit harder than anyone else. The following comes from CNN

Shares in Italy’s Banca Monte Dei Paschi Di Siena have crashed 45% in 10 days, forcing regulators to temporarily ban short-selling in the stock. The bank has been given until Friday to come up with a plan to reduce its bad loans by 40% by 2018.

It’s not alone. Other Italian bank stocks have fallen by about 30% since June 23, when the U.K. voted to leave the European Union. Italian officials are trying to find ways to shore up the country’s financial system.

Italian banks have been choking on bad debt for years, but the U.K. vote has thrown their problems into sharp relief.

Personally, I have been amazed that the European financial system has been able to hold it together for this long. A total collapse was inevitable, but I really thought that it would have started before now. Up until this time we have seen small crisis after small crisis, but in 2016 the full-blown meltdown has finally arrived.

And this growing crisis in Europe is going to have a dramatic impact on the entire planet. Everywhere you look the economic fundamentals are getting worse, and if you won’t believe me, perhaps you will believe this editorial by Tim Quast on CNBC

The bottom line is that the fundamentals of the economy and market don’t look good: Whoever you’re listening to — the Federal Reserve, to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, to the International Monetary Fund — hoary heads of the dismal science see deepening malaise worsened by the Brexit, creaky European banks, possible copycat flight from the euro zone — even a slowdown for the U.S.

Can a market characterized by declining money flows, weakening fundamentals and arbitrage that has posted no material gain in over 18 months gather steam? Anything is possible. But it’s not a sound conclusion.

Whenever I post an article about Europe, it tends to get significantly less response than many of my other articles do.

But I hope that my fellow Americans will start paying attention to this growing crisis, because it is going to deeply affect all of us.

What is happening to the European financial system right now is truly history in the making, and I believe that it is going to be one of the biggest news stories of the second half of 2016.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and End Of The American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

The Price Of Silver Explodes Past 20 Dollars An Ounce As The European Banking Crisis Deepens

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Have you seen what the price of silver has been doing? On Monday, it exploded past 20 dollars an ounce, and as I write this article it is sitting at $20.48. Earlier today it actually surged above 21 dollars an ounce for a short time before moving back just a bit. In late March, I told my readers that silver was “ridiculously undervalued” when it was sitting at $15.81 an ounce, and that call has turned out to be quite prescient. The Friday before last, silver started the day at $17.25 an ounce, and it is up more than 18 percent since that time. Overall, silver is up more than 30 percent for the year, and that makes it one of the best performing investments of 2016. So what is causing this sudden surge in the price of silver? This is something that we will discuss below…

This sudden spike in the price of silver has definitely caught a lot of analysts off guard. Some are suggesting that the fact that the Fed is now less likely to raise rates after the Brexit and the fact that the dollar has been slipping a bit lately are the primary reasons for silver’s rise

This isn’t a gradual increase either. It’s an explosive growth spurt. Just three months ago silver had reached an 11 month high. Now silver prices have reached a 23 month high. Several factors appear to be influencing these gains, including a weakening dollar, and the fact that the Fed may cut interest rates in light of the Brexit vote.

Personally, I don’t buy those explanations.

To me, the continuing implosion of major banks over in Europe is the main factor that is driving investors to safe haven assets such as silver.

Rumors continue to spread that Deutsche Bank is essentially insolvent at this point, and many are watching for the imminent collapse of the largest and most important bank in Germany. When this happens, it will be a much, much more cataclysmic event for the global financial system than the collapse of Lehman Brothers was back in 2008.

But today I want to focus on the ongoing implosion of the major banks in Italy.

Italy has the 8th largest economy on the entire planet, and their banks are drowning in approximately 400 billion dollars worth of non-performing debt.

The Italian government would like to bail these banks out, but the rest of the EU appears ready to block that effort because it would violate EU rules. As a result, the big Italian banks experienced a bloodbath on Monday

Italy’s Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA BMPS, -13.99% closed down 14%. The move came after a report that the European Central Bank is pushing the lender to draft a new plan aimed at reducing non-performing loans.

Other Italian bank shares were lower, with Banca Popolare dell’Emilia Romagna BPE, -6.73% down 6.7%, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA ISP, -3.04% off 3% and Banca Popolare di Milano SpA PMI, -1.40% lower by 1.4%.

And these stunning declines come on the heels of last week’s nightmare

As a reminder, the Euro Stoxx Banks index was down -0.88% last week and is nearly 19% down from its pre-referendum levels. Italian Banks are at the heart of that weakness with the likes of Unicredit, Intesa, Banco Monte dei Paschi and UBI down -9.78%, -3.44%, -15.79% and -6.11% respectively last week, in the process sending Italian stocks to levels not seen since Draghi’s famous “whatever it takes” speech.

So what happens when all of the major banks of a country collapse at the exact same time?

Basically, Italy is facing “financial Armageddon” if nothing is done, and so some Italian politicians are desperate to step in and do something about this crisis even if it means defying the EU

The Financial Times reported Sunday that Italy was prepared “to defy the EU and unilaterally pump billions of euros into its troubled banking system if it comes under severe systemic distress … despite warnings from Brussels and Berlin over the need to respect rules that make creditors rather than taxpayers fund bank rescues.”

Citing “several officials and bankers familiar with the plans,” the FT said that the threat has raised alarm along Europe’s regulators “who fear such a brazen intervention would devastate the credibility of the union’s newly implemented banking rule book during its first real test.”

But of course the rest of the EU is not about to let this happen because it would be a gross violation of European Union rules

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Under current EU state aid rules any attempts to help banks must involve a bail-in process that doesn’t involve using taxpayer’s money.

“Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi has tried to argue that the Brexit uncertainty has destabilised Italy’s already fragile banks.

“The reality is the problems of Italy’s banks predate last week’s Brexit vote, and he knows it.”

So what is going to happen?

Could Italy be forced to leave the EU?

Will the rest of the European Union eventually cave in and save Italy?

We all remember how difficult it was for the EU to save Greece, and they are just the 44th largest economy on the planet.

So where in the world are they going to come up with the resources to rescue the 8th largest economy on the planet?

Immediately following the Brexit vote on the Friday before last, we witnessed the biggest one day global stock market loss in world history. But since that time many global markets have bounced back, and a lot of people seem convinced that the crisis has passed.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the crisis is just getting started. As I warned before the Brexit vote, European banks were going to continue to implode no matter what the result was, and that is definitely what we are seeing come to pass right now.

Without bailouts, virtually all of the major banks in Italy are going to fail. It is just a matter of time. And each of those failures would send financial shockwaves all over the planet.

Personally, I am convinced that the second half of 2016 is going to be even more eventful that the first half of 2016, and this new global economic crisis is going to continue to accelerate.

Unfortunately, most Americans are preoccupied reading about Taylor Swift’s new boyfriend and things of that nature, and so they are totally oblivious to the global events that are about to turn their lives totally upside down.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog and End Of The American Dream. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

The United States Of Europe: Germany And France Hatch A Plan To Create An EU Superstate

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If you believe that the Brexit vote is going to kill the idea of a “United States of Europe”, you might want to think again. In fact, it appears that the decision by the British people to leave the European Union is only going to accelerate the process of creating an EU superstate. As you will see below, one of the largest newspapers in the UK is reporting that the foreign ministers of France and Germany have drafted “a blueprint to effectively do away with individual member states”. So even though men like George Soros are warning that the eventual dissolution of the European Union is “practically irreversible” after the Brexit vote, the truth is that the globalists are not about to give up so easily.

For a very long time, advocates of increased European integration have dreamed of going all the way and creating a true “United States of Europe”, but Britain was always one of the stumbling blocks that stood in the way.

But now that Britain is out and there is great fear that the entire European project may be in jeopardy, there seems to be a rush to go for broke and try to complete the job of European integration. The Express is one of the biggest news organizations in the UK, and they are reporting that the foreign ministers of France and Germany already have a blueprint “to effectively do away with individual member states”

The foreign ministers of France and Germany are due to reveal a blueprint to effectively do away with individual member states in what is being described as an “ultimatum”.

Under the radical proposals EU countries will lose the right to have their own army, criminal law, taxation system or central bank, with all those powers being transferred to Brussels.

Controversially member states would also lose what few controls they have left over their own borders, including the procedure for admitting and relocating refugees.

When I read that earlier today I was absolutely stunned.

Did they come up with this blueprint before the Brexit vote or after?

And do they plan to allow the citizens of individual nations to vote on any of this?

It is being reported that the following paragraph comes from the preamble to the document

“Our countries share a common destiny and a common set of values that give rise to an even closer union between our citizens. We will therefore strive for a political union in Europe and invite the next Europeans to participate in this venture.”

Of course it would have been totally unrealistic to expect backers of European integration to go down without a fight. After all, what did we expect them to do – throw up their hands and admit that the British people are right and that the European Union is a failure?

No, that was never going to happen.

As I mentioned in the other article that I published today, the elite are going to make the British people pay for what they have done. The British pound has already been smashed, British stocks are getting pounded, and the UK economy is going to suffer greatly. In addition, the British people are being inundated by mainstream news stories telling them what a horrible mistake they made.

And as the crisis in Europe gets progressively worse, the “solution” that will be heralded by mainstream news organizations will be increased European integration. In fact, this is something that CNN is already promoting

The elite are desperate to rescue a European project that is considered to be “dying” in the eyes of many. For example, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman just compared what is happening in Europe right now to the collapse of the Soviet Union

The upheaval in the U.K. after its Brexit referendum in favor of leaving the European Union has similarities to the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, according to Russian President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman.

While it’s “unreasonable to draw direct parallels,” it’s obvious that the U.K. is going through a “turbulent, confusing and unpredictable period,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Monday. Russia “has gone through the collapse of the Soviet Union and many generations clearly remember the period of the Soviet collapse, that period of uncertainty.”

So those that are in favor of European integration are in full damage control mode at this point. Just today, there was a report in the Daily Mail about how German Chancellor Angela Merkel is telling people that it is vital to keep any other members of the European Union from leaving…

Mrs Merkel said the EU needs to stop other countries following Britain out of the door amid market fears that the bloc is ‘no longer governable’ after Brexit.

The German Chancellor told her conservative party board in a conference call that it was necessary to prevent other European Union members going down the same path as Britain.

Merkel is also said to have revealed that international financial markets are concerned the EU is ‘no longer governable’ in the wake of Britain’s exit vote.

The elitists that run the EU don’t really care about the will of the people, and they will work very hard to prevent more referendums from being held. In an age of “democracy”, the EU is one of the most undemocratic political institutions in the entire western world. I know, because I studied EU law when I was in law school.

If you have any doubt about this, just check out this recent quote from European Parliament President Martin Schultz…

“The British have violated the rules. It is not the EU philosophy that the crowd can decide its fate“.

Say what?

In the short-term, it is entirely possible that we could see more nations leave the EU. I would watch Greece in particular.

But in the long-term, we will see a major push for more European integration. Germany and France will be at the core of this movement, and other European nations will join them.

The British people may not participate any time soon, but the dream of a United States of Europe is far from dead.

And if the advocates of increased European integration have their way, we will be seeing their dream become a reality sooner rather than later.

(Originally published on End of the American Dream)

European Banks Have Their Worst Two Day Stretch EVER As The Global Financial Crisis Intensifies

Stock Exchange Trading Floor - Public DomainOver the last two trading days, European banks have lost 23 percent of their value. Let that number sink it for a bit. In just a two day stretch, nearly a quarter of the value of all European banks has been wiped out. I warned you that the Brexit vote “could change everything“, and that is precisely what has happened. Meanwhile, the Dow was down another 260 points on Monday as U.S. markets continue to be shaken as well. Overall, approximately three trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has been lost over the last two trading days. That is an all-time record, and any doubt that we have entered a new global financial crisis has now been completely eliminated.

But of course the biggest news on Monday was what happened to European banks. The Brexit vote has caused financial carnage for those institutions unlike anything that we have ever seen before. Just check out this chart from Zero Hedge

European Banking Crash - Zero Hedge

I knew that things would be bad if the UK voted to leave the European Union, but I didn’t know that they would be this bad.

Prior to all of this, a whole bunch of “too big to fail” banks all over Europe were already in the process of imploding, and now this chaotic financial environment may push several of them into full-blown collapse mode simultaneously. Just consider the following commentary from Wolf Richter

Healthy big banks would get over Brexit and the political turmoil it is spawning, particularly non-UK banks. But there are no healthy big banks in Europe. And non-UK banks are crashing just as hard, and some harder. This is about a banking crisis morphing into a financial crisis.

These bank stocks got crushed on Friday. And they got crushed again today. Italian banks have been reduced to penny stocks. Spanish banks are getting closer. Commerzbank, Germany’s second largest bank, and still partially owned by the German government as a consequence of the last bailout, is well on the way.

One institution that I have been warning about for months is German banking giant Deutsche Bank. On Monday, their stock fell another 5.77 percent to a fresh all-time closing low of 13.87. I have been convinced that Deutsche Bank is going to zero for a long time, but these days it seems in quite a hurry to get there.

Of course Deutsche Bank is far from alone. The following are other “too big to fail” European banks that have lost at least one-fifth of their value over the past two trading days…

-Barclays
-Royal Bank of Scotland
-Lloyds Banking Group
-Credit Suisse
-BNP Paribas
-Societe Generale
-UniCredit
-Intesa SanPaolo
-Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena
-Banco Santander
-CaixaBank

This is what a full-blown financial crisis looks like, and U.S. banks have been getting hit very hard too

The Brexit contagion is spreading as USD liquidity and counterparty risk in the interconnected global financial system has reached US banks with Goldman at 3 year lows and BofA and Citi plunging over 12%. This happens just two days after the Fed released its latest stress test results finding that none of the 33 banks tested would need additional capital in case of a “severe” financial crisis. That conclusion may be tested soon.

Meanwhile, the British pound continues to get absolutely pummeled. As I write this, the GBP/USD is down to 1.32, and some are now warning that the British pound may hit parity with the U.S. dollar by the end of the year.

One of the reasons why I expect the British pound to continue to tumble is because the global elite have to show the British people that they made the wrong decision, and they need to scare off any other countries that would consider holding similar votes.

So it was no surprise that the elite had two of their major credit rating agencies downgrade the UK on Monday

Two major rating agencies downgraded the United Kingdom’s credit rating on Monday.

S&P Global Ratings lowered the UK to AA from AAA, with a “negative” outlook. And, Fitch cut its rating to AA from AA+, with a negative outlook as well.

And as I mentioned yesterday, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs have already projected that the UK economy is heading into recession.

As much economic and financial pain as possible will be inflicted upon the British people, and meanwhile they will be bombarded by mainstream news stories telling them that they made a stupid decision.

Hopefully the British people will stand strong and will not give in to the pressure.

But of course it isn’t just the British people that will be feeling the pain. The Brexit vote has sent shockwaves all over the planet, and global investors are losing tremendous amounts of money. For instance, here in the United States approximately 1.3 trillion dollars of stock market wealth has been wiped out so far…

Brexit isn’t just a European problem after all. The United Kingdom’s decision to quit the European Union is costing U.S. investors a pretty penny.

U.S.-based companies in the broad Russell 3000, including online advertising company Alphabet (GOOGL), software maker Microsoft (MSFT) and global bank JPMorgan Chase (JPM), have suffered a collective loss of $1.3 trillion since Friday’s shocker from the United Kingdom, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Hopefully tomorrow will be better. It is very rare for global financial markets to crash for three days in a row, but it could happen. More likely, however, is that we will see some kind of temporary bounce as long as some really negative event doesn’t hit the news.

But let there be no doubt about what has just happened. The collapse of Lehman Brothers was the “trigger event” that really accelerated the crisis of 2008, and now it appears as though the Brexit vote will be the “trigger event” that greatly accelerates the crisis of 2016.

Global investors had already lost trillions over the past 12 months, and a full-blown financial implosion was going to happen no matter how the vote turned out, but thanks to British voters the fun and games have arrived early.

Unfortunately, only a very small fraction of the population understands just how bad things are going to get in the months ahead…

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

The Future Of America? – More Than Half Of All U.S. Adults Under Age 30 Now Reject Capitalism

Young People Abstract - Public Domain

A shocking new survey has found that support for capitalism is dying in America. In fact, more than half of all adults in the United States under the age of 30 say that they do not support capitalism at this point. You might be tempted to dismiss them as “foolish young people”, but the truth is that they are the future of America. As older generations die off, they will eventually become the leaders of this country. And of course our nation has not resembled anything close to a capitalist society for quite some time now. In a recent article, I listed 97 different taxes that Americans pay each year, and some Americans actually end up returning more than half of what they earn to the government by the time it is all said and done. So at best it could be said that we are running some sort of hybrid system that isn’t as far down the road toward full-blown socialism as most European nations are. But without a doubt we are moving in that direction, and our young people are going to be cheering every step of the way.

When I first heard of this new survey from Harvard University, I was absolutely stunned. The following is from what the Washington Post had to say about it…

The Harvard University survey, which polled young adults between ages 18 and 29, found that 51 percent of respondents do not support capitalism. Just 42 percent said they support it.

It isn’t clear that the young people in the poll would prefer some alternative system, though. Just 33 percent said they supported socialism. The survey had a margin of error of 2.4 percentage points.

Could it be possible that young adults were confused by the wording of the survey?

Well, other polls have come up with similar results

The university’s results echo recent findings from Republican pollster Frank Luntz, who surveyed 1,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 26 and found that 58% of respondents believed socialism to be the “more compassionate” political system when compared to capitalism. And when participants were asked to sum up the root of America’s problem in one word, 29% said “greed.”

This trend among our young people is very real, and you can see it in their support of Bernie Sanders. For millions upon millions of young adults in America today, Hillary Clinton is not nearly liberal enough for them. So they have flocked to Sanders, and if they had been the only ones voting in this election season, he would have won the Democratic nomination by a landslide.

Sadly, most of our young people don’t seem to understand how socialism slowly but surely destroys a nation. If you want to see the end result of socialism, just look at the economic collapse that is going on in Venezuela right now. The following comes from a Bloomberg article entitled “Venezuela Doesn’t Have Enough Money to Pay for Its Money“…

Venezuela’s epic shortages are nothing new at this point. No diapers or car parts or aspirin — it’s all been well documented. But now the country is at risk of running out of money itself.

In a tale that highlights the chaos of unbridled inflation, Venezuela is scrambling to print new bills fast enough to keep up with the torrid pace of price increases. Most of the cash, like nearly everything else in the oil-exporting country, is imported. And with hard currency reserves sinking to critically low levels, the central bank is doling out payments so slowly to foreign providers that they are foregoing further business.

Venezuela, in other words, is now so broke that it may not have enough money to pay for its money.

We are losing an entire generation of young people. These days, there is quite a lot of talk about how we need to get America back to the principles that it was founded upon, but the cold, hard reality of the matter is that most of our young people are running in the opposite direction as fast as they can.

And Americans under the age of 30 are not just becoming more liberal when it comes to economics. Surveys have found that they are more than twice as likely to support gay rights and less than half as likely to regularly attend church as the oldest Americans are.

So why is this happening?

Well, the truth is that our colleges and universities have become indoctrination centers for the progressive movement. I know, because I spent eight years at public universities in this country. The quality of the education that our young people are receiving is abysmal, but the values that are being imparted to them will last a lifetime.

And of course the same things could be said about our system of education all the way down to the kindergarten level. There are still some good people in the system, but overall it is overwhelmingly dominated by the progressives.

Meanwhile, the major entertainment providers in the United States are also promoting the same values. In a recent article entitled “Depressing Survey Results Show How Extremely Stupid America Has Become“, I discussed a Nielsen report which detailed how much time the average American spends consuming media on various electronic devices each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

Overall, the average American spends about 10 hours a day consuming one form of entertainment or another.

When you allow that much “programming” into your mind, it is inevitable that it is going to shape your values, and our young people are more “plugged in” than any of the rest of us.

So yes, I believe that it is exceedingly clear why we should be deeply concerned about the future of America. The values that are being relentlessly pounded into the heads of our young people are directly opposed to the values that this nation was founded upon, and it is these young people that will determine the path that this country ultimately takes.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

More Islamic Terror Coming: ISIS Has Sent 400 Trained Fighters Into Europe To Conduct Terror Attacks

Skull Smiling - Public Domain

The recent attacks in Paris and in Brussels were just the tip of the iceberg of a massive wave of Islamic terror that is soon coming to Europe. As you will see below, the Associated Press is reporting that ISIS has specially trained “at least 400 attackers” and has already sent them into Europe with specific instructions to conduct terror operations. So Barack Obama may not think that we have anything to be concerned about, but the facts on the ground tell us a completely different story. Thanks to Europe’s openness to “war refugees” from Syria, it is very easy for radical jihadists to get into countries such as France, Belgium and Germany. And once they are on European soil, there are plenty of other disgruntled Islamic refugees that they can recruit to their cause. Europe stands on the precipice of the greatest terror crisis that it has ever known, and the attacks that are coming next are likely to be far more deadly than anything we have seen so far.

As I mentioned above, the Associated Press is reporting that ISIS has already sent “at least 400” trained fighters into Europe for the purpose of conducting terror attacks…

Security officials have told The Associated Press that the Islamic State group has trained at least 400 attackers and sent them into Europe for terror attacks.

The network of interlocking, agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria. The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, describe camps designed specifically to train for attacks against the West.

And just in case you were tempted to think that this threat was not real, you may want to consider what happened in France on Thursday.

According to NBC News, police in Paris were able to foil a terror attack that was in “the advanced stages” of planning…

Raids in northwest Paris have foiled a terrorist attack, French officials said late Thursday.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve gave a press conference in Paris announcing there was an operation underway in Argenteuil, a commune in the northwest suburbs of Paris.

One man was arrested Thursday morning Cazeneuve said, adding that the operation thwarted a potential attack. Police were raiding his home again later Thursday evening.

The suspect was a French national who was in “the advanced stages” of a terror plot, the minister said, calling it a “major arrest.”

Of course much of the rest of the world is already solidly in the grip of Islamic terror. The number of people killed by Islamic terror attacks has been increasing year after year, but the western media only seems to get excited when an attack happens in North America or Europe.

I came across the following tweet earlier today, and it makes this point perfectly…

For instance, did you even hear about the horrific Islamic terror attack that happened in the Ivory Coast earlier this month? Gunmen opened fire on a very crowded beach in a key resort area on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the bloodshed. The following comes from the New York Times

Gunmen opened fire on picnickers and swimmers enjoying a perfect day at three beach resort hotels near the Ivory Coast’s capital on Sunday, killing 16 people and leaving bodies strewn across the bloodstained sand. It was the third major attack in West Africa since November, and verified fears that the spread of terrorism across the region was far from over.

The attack, on the first sunny Sunday in weeks, took place in Grand-Bassam, a popular palm tree-lined getaway for Ivorians and foreigners. Fourteen civilians and two members of the country’s special forces were killed, as well as six gunmen, according to a spokeswoman for the president.

So why do we get so bent out of shape when there is an attack in France or Belgium, but not when there is an attack in the Ivory Coast?

And what does that say about us?

As ISIS and other Islamic terror groups conduct more attacks in North America and Europe, the pressure to conduct military action in the Middle East is going to become very intense. For a long time I have been warning about the potential for World War III to erupt in Syria, and U.S. troops are already taking on a more prominent role in Iraq.

In fact, the International Business Times is reporting that U.S. marines are now “on the front line” in the fight against the Islamic State…

The Islamic State group is trying to retake control of the oil fields it lost two years ago in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan by launching rockets at Kurdish and Iraqi soldiers. In an attempt to earn back the massive amount of cash it used to fund its international terrorism in 2014, the group has focused its resources on attacking Makhmur, a city just 75 miles miles from the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. So far, the group, also known as ISIS, has succeeded in outgunning the Iraqi forces in the city, but a new contingent of American Marines might change the outcome on the ground.

“Several weeks ago, thousands of Iraqi troops began occupying a tactical assembly area in Makhmur. This is part of the force generation associated with the liberation of Mosul,” Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said in a press briefing this week. Mosul is the de facto ISIS headquarters in Iraq. “These Iraqi forces, along with their coalition advisers, require force protection,” Warren said. “So we constructed a small fire base to do just that.”

The U.S. Marines in Iraq are on the front line and have been tasked with protecting Iraqi units in Makhmur — a scenario President Barack Obama wanted to avoid as long as possible during his time in office.

And what happens when ISIS or another terror group is able to set off a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon in a major western city?

That would change the world literally overnight.

As I have been warning, most people have no idea how incredibly fragile our society truly is. Humanity has created weapons that are frighteningly powerful, and it is only a matter of time before terrorists acquire these weapons and begin using them.

The free and open society that we are all enjoying today is on borrowed time.

All it is going to take is the detonation of a single weapon of mass destruction in a major western city and everything will change.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

The Collapse Of Italy’s Banks Threatens To Plunge The European Financial System Into Chaos

Italy Flag Map - Public Domain

The Italian banking system is a “leaning tower” that truly could completely collapse at literally any moment. And as Italy’s banks begin to go down like dominoes, it is going to set off financial panic all over Europe unlike anything we have ever seen before. I wrote about the troubles in Italy back in January, but since that time the crisis has escalated. At this point, Italian banking stocks have declined a whopping 28 percent since the beginning of 2016, and when you look at some of the biggest Italian banks the numbers become even more frightening. On Monday, shares of Monte dei Paschi were down 4.7 percent, and they have now plummeted 56 percent since the start of the year. Shares of Carige were down 8 percent, and they have now plunged a total of 58 percent since the start of the year. This is what a financial crisis looks like, and just like we are seeing in South America, the problems in Italy appear to be significantly accelerating.

So what makes Italy so important?

Well, we all saw how difficult it was for the rest of Europe to come up with a plan to rescue Greece. But Greece is relatively small – they only have the 44th largest economy in the world.

The Italian economy is far larger. Italy has the 8th largest economy in the world, and their government debt to GDP ratio is currently sitting at about 132 percent.

There is no way that Europe has the resources or the ability to handle a full meltdown of the Italian financial system. Unfortunately, that is precisely what is happening. Italian banks are absolutely drowning in non-performing loans, and as Jeffrey Moore has noted, this potentially represents “the greatest threat to the world’s already burdened financial system”…

Shares of Italy’s largest financial institutions have plummeted in the opening months of 2016 as piles of bad debt on their balance sheets become too high to ignore. Amid all of the risks facing EU members in 2016, the risk of contagion from Italy’s troubled banks poses the greatest threat to the world’s already burdened financial system.

At the core of the issue is the concerning level of Non-Performing Loans (NPL’s) on banks’ books, with estimates ranging from 17% to 21% of total lending. This amounts to approximately €200 billion of NPL’s, or 12% of Italy’s GDP. Moreover, in some cases, bad loans make up an alarming 30% of individual banks’ balance sheets.

Things have already gotten so bad that the European Central Bank is now monitoring liquidity levels at Monte dei Paschi and Carige on a daily basis. The following comes from Reuters

The European Central Bank is checking liquidity levels at a number of Italian banks, including Banca Carige and Monte dei Paschi di Siena , on a daily basis, two sources close to the matter said on Monday.

Italian banking shares have fallen sharply since the start of the year amid market concerns about some 360 billion euros of bad loans on their books and weak capital levels.

The ECB has been putting pressure on several Italian banks to improve their capital position. The regulator can decide to monitor liquidity levels at any bank it supervises on a weekly or daily basis if it has any concern about deposits or funding.

 

A run on the big Italian banks has already begun. Italians have already been quietly pulling billions of euros out of the banking system, and if these banks continue to crumble this “stealth run” could quickly become a stampede.

And of course panic in Italy would quickly spread to other financially troubled members of the eurozone such as Spain, Portugal, Greece and France. Here is some additional analysis from Jeffrey Moore

A deteriorating financial crisis in Italy could risk repercussions across the EU exponentially greater than those spurred by Greece. The ripple effects of market turmoil and the potential for dangerous precedents being set by EU authorities in panicked response to that turmoil, could ignite yet more latent financial vulnerabilities in fragile EU members such as Spain and Portugal.

Unfortunately, most Americans are completely blinded to what is going on in the rest of the world because stocks in the U.S. have had a really good run for the past couple of weeks. Headlines are declaring that the risk of a new recession “has passed” and that the crisis “is over”. Meanwhile, South America is plunging into a full-blown depression, the Italian banking system is melting down, global manufacturing numbers are the worst that we have seen since the last recession, and global trade is absolutely imploding.

Other than that, things are pretty good.

Seriously, it is absolutely critical that we don’t allow ourselves to be fooled by every little wave of momentum in the stock market.

It is a fact that sales and profits for U.S. corporations are declining. This is a trend that began all the way back in mid-2014 and that has accelerated during the early stages of 2016. The following comes from Wolf Richter

Total US business sales – not just sales by S&P 500 companies but also sales by small caps and all other businesses, even those that are not publicly traded – peaked in July 2014 at $1.365 trillion, according to the Census Bureau. By December 2015, total business sales were down 4.6% from that peak. A bad 18 months for sales! They’re back where they’d first been in January 2013!

Sales by S&P 500 companies dropped 3.8% in 2015, according to FactSet, the worst year since the Financial Crisis.

I know that a lot of people have been eagerly anticipating a complete and total global economic collapse for a long time, and many of them just want to “get it over with”.

Well, the truth is that nobody should want to see what is coming. Personally, I rejoice for every extra day, week or month we are given. Every extra day is another day to prepare, and every extra day is another day to enjoy the extremely comfortable standard of living that our debt-fueled prosperity has produced for us.

Most Americans have absolutely no idea how spoiled we really are. Even just fifty years ago, life was so much harder in this country. If we had to go back and live the way that Americans did 100 or 150 years ago, there are very few of us that would be able to successfully do that.

So enjoy the remaining days of debt-fueled prosperity while you still can, because great change is coming, and it is going to be extremely bitter for most of the population.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Global Stocks Continue To Crash As Oil Plummets And Gold Skyrockets

Clock Image - Public Domain

Stock markets around the world continue to collapse as this new global financial crisis picks up more steam. In the U.S., the Dow lost 254 more points on Thursday, and it has now fallen for five days in a row. European stocks continued to get obliterated, and financial institutions are leading the way. But this week what is happening in Japan has been the most sobering. After falling 918 points the other day, the Nikkei plunged another 760 points early on Friday. The Nikkei has now fallen for seven of the past eight days, and investors in Japan are in full panic mode. Overall, global stocks are well into bear market territory, and nearly 17 trillion dollars of global stock market wealth has already been wiped out.

As panic rises, investors are seeking alternative investments. On Thursday, the price of gold hit $1,260 an ounce at one point before settling back a bit. But even with the fade at the end of the day, it was still the biggest daily gain in more than two years. Overall, gold is having its best quarterly performance in 30 years.

Whenever a financial crisis happens, investors seek out safe havens such as gold that can help them weather the storm. In particular, demand for physical gold is going through the roof all over the planet. Just check out the following excerpt from a Telegraph article entitled “Investors ‘go bananas’ for gold bars as global stock markets tumble“…

BullionByPost, Britain’s biggest online gold dealer, said it has already taken record-day sales of £5.6m as traders pile into gold following fears the world is on the brink of another financial crisis.

Rob Halliday-Stein, founder and managing director of the Birmingham-based company, said takings today had already surpassed the firm’s previous one-day record of £4.4m in October 2014.

BullionByPost, which takes orders of up to £25,000 on the website but takes higher amounts over the phone, explained it had received a few hundred orders overnight and frantic numbers of phone calls this morning.

Meanwhile, the price of oil continues to drop to stunning new depths. On Thursday U.S. oil dropped as low as $26.21, which was the lowest price in 13 years. Not even during the worst parts of the last financial crisis did oil ever go this low.

And remember, the price of oil was sitting at about $108 a barrel back in June 2014. Since that time it has fallen about 75 percent.

Needless to say, this crash is having some very serious consequences for the energy industry. Previously, I have reported that 42 North American energy companies have gone into bankruptcy since the beginning of last year.

But I just found out that the true number is much worse than that.

According to CNN, “67 U.S. oil and natural gas companies filed for bankruptcy in 2015″…

Bankruptcy filings are flying in the American oil patch.

At least 67 U.S. oil and natural gas companies filed for bankruptcy in 2015, according to consulting firm Gavin/Solmonese.

That represents a 379% spike from the previous year when oil prices were substantially higher.

With oil prices crashing further in recent weeks, five more energy gas producers succumbed to bankruptcy in the first five weeks of this year, according to Houston law firm Haynes and Boone.

A lot of people tend to think that my writing is full of “doom and gloom”, but the truth is that I often understate how bad things really are. I’ll often report one number and find out later that an updated number is even worse than the one that I originally reported.

What we desperately need is for the price of oil to go back up.

Unfortunately, the International Energy Agency says that isn’t likely to happen any time soon

The International Energy Agency said earlier this week that it expects the global oil glut to grow throughout the year.

With the market already awash in oil, it is very hard to see how oil prices can rise significantly in the short term,” the IEA said in its monthly report.

And of course all of this is incredibly bad news for financial institutions all over the world.

During the boom times, the big banks showered energy companies with loans. Now those loans are going bad, and the big banks are feeling the pain. The following comes from CNN

It’s never a good sign when the country’s financial lifelines are under stress. Large U.S. banks JPMorgan Chase (JPM) and Wells Fargo (WFC) that helped bankroll the energy boom are already setting aside billions to cover potential loan losses in the oil industry. Investors are worried about imploding energy loans for European banks like Deutsche Bank (DB). High yield bonds in your investing portfolio wont be looking good either — Standard & Poor’s warned that half of all energy junk bonds are at risk of defaulting.

Speaking of Deutsche Bank, their stock price continued to plummet on Thursday, as did the stock prices of most other European banks.

Things were particularly bad for France’s Societe Generale. Their stock price plunged 12 percent on Thursday alone.

This is what a global financial crisis looks like. It began during the second half of last year, and now it is making major headlines all over the planet.

At this point, things are already so bad that the elite are starting to freak out about what this could potentially mean for them. I want you to carefully consider the following two paragraphs from an editorial that I came across in the Telegraph earlier today…

We are too fragile, fiscally as well as psychologically. Our economies, cultures and polities are still paying a heavy price for the Great Recession; another collapse, especially were it to be accompanied by a fresh banking bailout by the taxpayer, would trigger a cataclysmic, uncontrollable backlash.

The public, whose faith in elites and the private sector was rattled after 2007-09, would simply not wear it. Its anger would be so explosive, so-all encompassing that it would threaten the very survival of free trade, of globalisation and of the market-based economy. There would be calls for wage and price controls, punitive, ultra-progressive taxes, a war on the City and arbitrary jail sentences.

I think that the author of this editorial is correct.

I do believe that another financial crisis on the scale of 2008 would trigger “a cataclysmic, uncontrollable backlash”.

In fact, I believe that is what we are steamrolling toward right now.

We can already see the anger of the American people toward the establishment being expressed in their support of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump.

But if the financial system completely collapses and it becomes exceedingly apparent that none of our problems from the last time around were ever fixed, the frustration is going to be off the charts.

Many people believed that this day of reckoning would never come, but now it is here.

The “coming nightmare” is now upon us, and this is just the start.

The rest of 2016 promises to be even more chaotic, and ultimately this new crisis is going to turn out to be far worse than what we experienced back in 2008.

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Rape Epidemic In Europe: Why Won’t European Politicians Do Anything To Stop It?

Rape Epidemic In Europe - Public Domain

An epidemic of rape is sweeping all across Europe, and yet European politicians seem almost completely unwilling to stand up and do something about it.  In some major European cities, women are absolutely petrified to go out by themselves – especially at night.  Things have gotten so bad that some people are now making up entirely new words to describe what is going on.  Steve Quayle has labeled this crisis “rapeageddon“, and I think that fits.  Things are particularly bad in Germany, which has welcomed more refugees than any other European country in recent years.  If you can believe it, Germany opened the doors for 1.1 million “asylum seekers” last year.  That is an astounding number, and it is starting to have dramatic consequences for German society.

Just consider what happened in the city of Cologne on New Year’s Eve.  According to police, there were nearly 400 reports of groping, sexual assault, theft and rape.  The following comes from a column written by Cal Thomas

In the city of Cologne, what is being described as an “Arab sex mob” of as many as 1,000 men surrounded groups of women on New Year’s Eve. The men, who were identified as being of Arab or North African appearance, fondled and sexually harassed the women. One city councilor, Judith Wolter, said Cologne’s town center has recently become a “no-go” area for women because of a rise in crime in the area. The city accepted more than 10,000 predominantly Muslim refugees last year. More than 30 women lodged complaints of similar New Year’s assaults in Hamburg and Stuttgart.

The German media have been accused of covering-up this and other incidents and Chancellor Angela Merkel has been revealed as the ultimate wishful thinker for refusing to do anything until recently to stem the flow of migrants from Islamic countries.

Actually things were even worse than Thomas reported in his article.  According to the authorities, there were 133 crimes against women in the city of Hamburg on New Year’s Eve…

Police in the northern German city of Hamburg said Sunday they have recorded 133 cases of offences including sexual assaults allegedly committed against women during New Year’s celebrations.

Investigators have not identified any suspects for the assaults that allegedly took place at the port city’s party avenue Reeperbahn.

But victims have described the perpetrators as having “African, Arab, or south European appearance”, a police spokesman told AFP.

Needless to say, a lot of Germans are completely and totally fed up at this point.  Many Germans are now referring to these immigrants as “rapeugees”, and some Germans are even calling for Angela Merkel to resign.

The frightening thing is that some of these “refugees” actually do have allegiance to the Islamic State.  Here is just one example that was recently in the news

Over the weekend, some 1,700 people showed up for a PEGIDA rally where demonstrators held up signs carrying slogans such as “Rapeugees not welcome.” Some speakers at the event called for Merkel’s ouster.

Now, we learn that the man who last Thursday ran into a police station in northern Paris shouting “Allahu Akbar” and waving a meat cleaver spent time in a house for asylum seekers in Germany. That residence was raided on Saturday when German police, acting on a tip from French intelligence, stormed the building and found SIM cards, “documents” in Arabic, kitchen knives, and a banner reading “Islamic State forever” hanging in the kitchen.

And it isn’t just Germany that is experiencing an epidemic of immigrant violence.

In Sweden, violence against women has spiraled totally out of control.  But the Swedish media has been caught covering it up because they didn’t want to make Muslim immigrants look bad.  In recent days, the cover up of this violence against women has erupted into a huge scandal over there…

Nyheter Idag is now able to disclose in detail how major Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter deliberately covered up stories about widespread sexual abuse in central Stockholm in connection with a concert in the Kungsträdgården public square this August.

On Saturday August 15th, the nationally acclaimed and outspoken feminist artist Zara Larsson headlined the youth festival ‘We Are Sthlm” with a crowded concert in Kungsträdgården in central Stockholm. Thousands of young people were in attendance to take part in the event during the last summer nights of the year.

But for an unknown number of young girls the festival soon became a nightmare. Hordes of young men pressed against young girls, fondled and tried to cop a feel over and under skirts, pants and shirts. There were severe sexual assaults happening right in front of the stage, where artists such as Larsson and rapper OIAM performed.

In Sweden, this is something that has been building for years.  Once upon a time, it was one of the most crime-free nations in the world, but now that has totally changed.  According to Infowars, the number of rapes in that nation has risen by an astounding 1,472 percent since the mid-1970s…

Rapes in Sweden have skyrocketed by a shocking 1,472% since the mid-70’s, with 6,620 sexual assaults being reported to police in 2014 compared to just 421 in 1975.

77.6 percent of the country’s rapists are identified as “foreigners” (and that’s significant because in Sweden, “foreigner” is generally synonymous with “immigrant from Muslim country”), writes Selwyn Duke. “And even this likely understates the issue, since the Swedish government — in an effort to obscure the problem — records second-generation Muslim perpetrators simply as “Swedes.”

Other European nations are dealing with similar problems.  Just check out these numbers

In Norway, recent statistics revealed that 100 percent of violent street-rapes committed in the capital city of Oslo were committed by “non-western” immigrants. It’s a similar story in Denmark, where the majority of rapes are committed by immigrants, usually Muslim.

In England, it’s been rape after rape – tens of thousands of young British girls are brutalized, tortured, beaten and raped by organized gangs comprised almost exclusively of Muslims.

As the United States and Canada import thousands of these “refugees”, it is only a matter of time before similar things start happening here.

In fact, there was quite a chilling incident that happened in Calgary just the other day.  31-year-old Mohamed Elmi and 29-year-old Mohamed Salad have been charged with attempted murder for firing shots into a very busy Calgary nightclub

Two bouncers who tackled a gunman holding a cocked pistol after shots were fired into a busy Calgary nightclub early Sunday morning are being credited by police and witnesses with risking their own lives to prevent further trauma.

While a 38-year-old man in the club was struck by a bullet and taken to hospital in stable condition with serious soft-tissue injury to his upper torso, officials believe many more patrons could have been hurt if it weren’t for the quick-thinking doormen.

So why didn’t we hear about this attack by two Islamic gunmen on the news?

Could it be possible that just like the European media, the mainstream media in Canada does not want to make Islamic immigrants look bad?

It has gotten to the point where the extreme political correctness that exists in our society is actually endangering our safety.

We need to see the world the way that it really is, and not the way that we wish that it would be.

There is a price to be paid for importing vast numbers of violent Islamic immigrants that do not have any respect for us or for our way of life.

This is something that Germany and Sweden have already discovered, and if we are not very careful our women will soon be paying the price as well.

Stock Markets All Over The Globe Are Crashing

Dominoes - Public Domain

The first trading day of 2016 was full of chaos and panic.  It started in Asia where the Nikkei was down 582 points, Hong Kong was down 587 points, and Chinese markets experienced an emergency shutdown after the CSI 300 tumbled 7 percent.  When European markets opened, the nightmare continued.  The DAX was down 459 points, and European stocks overall had their worst start to a year ever.  In the U.S., it looked like we were on course for a truly historic day as well.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 467 points at one stage, but some very mysterious late day buying activity helped trim the loss to just 276 points at the close of the market.  The sudden market turmoil caught many by surprise, but it shouldn’t have.  The truth is that a whole host of leading indicators have been telling us that this is exactly what should be happening.  The global financial crisis that began in 2015 is now accelerating, and my regular readers already know precisely what is coming next.

The financial turmoil of the last 24 hours is making headlines all over the globe.  It began last night in China.  Very bad manufacturing data and another troubling devaluation of the yuan sent Chinese stocks tumbling to a degree that we have not seen since last August.  In fact, the carnage would have probably been far, far worse if not for a new “circuit breaker” that China recently implemented.  Once the CSI 300 was down 7 percent, trading was completely shut down for the rest of the day.  The following comes from USA Today

Under a new market “circuit breaker” rule in China established last year, which is designed to slow down markets and halt panic in the event of moves of 5% or more, the CSI 300, a large-company stock index in mainland China was halted for 15 minutes in mid-afternoon trading after diving more than 5%. But when shares headed lower once again just minutes after the initial trading halt, and losses for the day swelled to more than 7%, the new circuit breaker rules kicked in, prompting a shutdown of mainland China’s stock market for the day, according to Bloomberg.

After the first 15 minute halt, panic set in as Chinese traders rushed to get out of their trades before the 7 percent circuit breaker kicked in.  This resulted in an absolutely chaotic seven minutes as investors made a mad dash for the exits…

The sell orders piled up fast on Monday at Shenwan Hongyuan Group, China’s fifth-biggest brokerage by market value.

China’s CSI 300 Index had just tumbled 5 percent, triggering a 15-minute trading halt, and stock investors were scrambling to exit before getting locked in by a full-day suspension set to take effect at 7 percent. When the first halt was lifted, the market reaction was swift: it took just seven minutes for losses to reach the limit as volumes surged to their highs of the day.

“Investors rushed to the door during the level-one stage of the circuit breaker as they fretted the market would go down further,” said William Wong, the head of sales trading at Shenwan Hongyuan in Hong Kong.

The financial carnage continued once the European markets opened.  Markets were red all across the continent, and things were particularly bad in Germany.  The DAX was down 459 points, and it is rapidly approaching the psychologically-important 10,000 barrier.  Overall, it was the worst start to a year that the European markets have ever experienced.

When U.S. markets opened, unexpectedly bad U.S. manufacturing data seemed to add fuel to the fire.  Monday morning we learned that our manufacturing sector is contracting at a pace that we haven’t seen since the last recession

America’s manufacturing sector shrank for the second straight month in December. The industry’s key index — ISM — hit 48.2% in December, the lowest mark since June 2009. Anything below 50% is a contraction and a month ago it hit 48.6%.

The index has fallen for six straight months.

The trend is certainly heading in a direction that would ring alarm bells,” says Sam Bullard, senior economist at Wells Fargo.

This is yet another sign that tells us that the U.S. economy has already entered the next recession.

And what happens to the markets during a recession?

They go down.

In addition to the bad data that we got from the U.S. and China, there was another number that was also extremely troubling.

South Korean exports have traditionally been considered a key leading indicator for the entire global economy, and on Monday we learned that they were down a whopping 13.8 percent in December from a year earlier…

One of the more reliable indicators of the global economy continues to confirm fears of a worldwide slowdown.

South Korean exports — also referred to as the world’s economic canary in the coal mine — fell 13.8% in December from a year earlier.

This was a deterioration from the 4.8% decline in November, and it was much worse than the 11.7% decline expected by economists.

The “nothing is happening” crowd may not be willing to admit it yet, but the truth is that a major global economic slowdown is already happening.

And what happened to global markets today is perfectly consistent with the longer term patterns that have been emerging over the past six months or so.

In the weeks and months to come, things are going to get even worse.  There will always be days when the markets are up, but don’t let those days fool you into thinking that the crisis is over.  In the western world we are so accustomed to 48 hour news cycles, and many of us seem to be incapable of focusing on trends that develop over longer periods of time.

If I was going to put together a scenario for a global financial crisis for a textbook, what we have seen over the past six months or so would be perfect.  Things are playing out exactly how they should be, and that means big trouble for the rest of 2016.

But that doesn’t mean that we have to live in fear.  In fact, I just wrote an entire article entitled “2016: A Year For Living With No Fear“.  It is when times are at their worst that our character is put to the test.  Some will respond to what happens in 2016 with courage and strength, and others will respond with fear and panic.

As things start falling apart all around us this year, how will you respond?

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

War On Cash: European Nations Such As Sweden And Denmark Are ‘Eradicating Cash’

Cashless Society - Public Domain

Did you know that 95 percent of all retail sales in Sweden are cashless? And did you know that the government of Denmark has a stated goal of “eradicating cash” by the year 2030? All over the world, we are seeing a relentless march toward a cashless society, and nowhere is this more true than in northern Europe. In Sweden, hundreds of bank branches no longer accept or dispense cash, and thousands of ATM machines have been permanently removed. At this point, bills and coins only account for just 2 percent of the Swedish economy, and many stores no longer take cash at all. The notion of a truly “cashless society” was once considered to be science fiction, but now we are being told that it is “inevitable”, and authorities insist that it will enable them to thwart criminals, terrorists, drug runners, money launderers and tax evaders. But what will we give up in the process?

In Sweden, the transition to a cashless society is being enthusiastically embraced. The following is an excerpt from a New York Times article that was published on Saturday…

Parishioners text tithes to their churches. Homeless street vendors carry mobile credit-card readers. Even the Abba Museum, despite being a shrine to the 1970s pop group that wrote “Money, Money, Money,” considers cash so last-century that it does not accept bills and coins.

Few places are tilting toward a cashless future as quickly as Sweden, which has become hooked on the convenience of paying by app and plastic.

To me, giving money in church electronically seems so bizarre. But it is starting to happen here in the United States, and in Sweden some churches collect most of their tithes and offerings this way

During a recent Sunday service, the church’s bank account number was projected onto a large screen. Worshipers pulled out cellphones and tithed through an app called Swish, a payment system set up by Sweden’s biggest banks that is fast becoming a rival to cards.

Other congregants lined up at a special “Kollektomat” card machine, where they could transfer funds to various church operations. Last year, out of 20 million kronor in tithes collected, more than 85 percent came in by card or digital payment.

And of course it isn’t just Sweden that is rapidly transitioning to a cashless society. Over in Denmark, government officials have a goal “to completely do away with paper money” by the year 2030

Sweden is not the only country interested in eradicating cash. Its neighbor, Denmark, is also making great strides to lessen the circulation of banknotes in the country.

Two decades ago, roughly 80 percent of Danish citizens relied on hard cash while shopping. Fast forward to today, that figure has dropped dramatically to 25 percent.

We’re interested in getting rid of cash,” said Matas IT Director Thomas Grane. “The handling, security and everything else is expensive; so, definitely we want to push digital payments, and that’s of course why we introduced mobile payments to help this process.”

Eventually, establishments may soon have the right to reject cash- a practice that is common in Sweden. Government officials have set a 2030 deadline to completely do away with paper money.

Could you imagine a world where you couldn’t use cash for anything?

This is the direction things are going – especially in Europe.

As I have written about previously, cash transactions of more than 2,500 euros have already been banned in Spain, and France and Italy have both banned all cash transactions of more than 1,000 euros.

Little by little, cash is being eradicated, and what we have seen so far is just the beginning. 417 billion cashless transactions were conducted in 2014, and the final number for 2015 is projected to be much higher.

Banks like this change, because it enables them to make more money due to the fees that they collect from credit cards and debit cards. And governments like this change because electronic payments enable them to watch, track and monitor what we are all doing much more easily.

These days, very rarely does anyone object to what is happening. Instead, most of us just seem to accept that this change is “inevitable”, and we are being assured that it will be for the better. And no matter where in the world you go, the propaganda seems to be the same. For example, the following comes from an Australian news source

AND so we prepare to turn the page to fresh year — 2016, a watershed year in which Australia will accelerate towards becoming a genuine cashless society.

The cashless society will be a new world free of $1 and $2 coins, or $5 or $10 bank notes. A new world in which all commercial transactions, from buying an i-pad or a hamburger to playing the poker machines, purchasing a newspaper, paying household bills or picking up the dry-cleaning, will be paid for electronically.

And in that same article the readers are told that Australia will likely be “a fully cashless society” by 2022…

Research by Westpac Bank predicts Australia will be a fully cashless society by 2022 — just six years away. Already half of all commercial payments are now made electronically.

Even in some of the poorest areas on the entire globe we are seeing a move toward a cashless society. In 2015, banks in India made major progress on this front, and income tax rebates are being considered by the government as an incentive “to encourage people to move away from cash transactions“.

Would a truly cashless society reduce crime and make all of our lives much more efficient?

Maybe.

But what would we have to give up?

To me, America is supposed to be a place where we can go where we want and do what we want without the government constantly monitoring us. If people choose to use cashless forms of payment that is one thing, but if we are all required to go to such a system I fear that it could result in the loss of tremendous amounts of freedom and liberty.

And it is all too easy to imagine a world where a government-sponsored form of “identification” would be required to use any form of electronic payment. This would give the government complete control over who could use “the system” and who could not. The potential for various forms of coercion and tyranny in such a scenario is obvious.

What would you do if you could not buy, sell, get a job or open a bank account without proper “identification” someday? What you simply give in to whatever the government was demanding of you at the time even if it went against your fundamental beliefs?

That is certainly something to think about.

Many will cheer as the world makes a rapid transition to a cashless society, but I will not. I believe that a truly cashless system would open the door for great evil, and I don’t want any part of it.

What about you?

Would you welcome a cashless society?

Please feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

(Originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog)

Global Elite Promotes ‘Digital Identification System’ That One European Nation Has Established

Identification - Public Domain

Would you like to have a digital identity card that is automatically issued to you at birth? In one European nation, residents use such a card when they go to the hospital, when they do their banking, when they go shopping and even when they vote. This card has become so popular that this particular European country actually plans to start issuing them to millions of non-citizens all over the planet who request them. Never heard about this? Neither had I before this week. The Economist, a well-known mouthpiece for the global elite, is calling for the entire planet to adopt this “national identification system” that the little nation of Estonia has adopted. The Economist is touting all of the “benefits” of a “national identification card”, but are there dangers as well? Could adopting such a system potentially open the door for greater government tyranny than we have ever known before?

The Economist article about this national identification scheme went largely unnoticed because it had a very boring title: “Estonia takes the plunge“. But the content of the article is absolutely startling. The Economist article calls the Estonian national identification system a “cyberdream” and makes it sound like it will solve all of our problems…

There is one place where this cyberdream is already reality. Secure, authenticated identity is the birthright of every Estonian: before a newborn even arrives home, the hospital will have issued a digital birth certificate and his health insurance will have been started automatically. All residents of the small Baltic state aged 15 or over have electronic ID cards, which are used in health care, electronic banking and shopping, to sign contracts and encrypt e-mail, as tram tickets, and much more besides—even to vote.

If this was just limited to Estonia, it would be disturbing enough. But according to the Economist, the Estonian government plans to start issuing these cards to millions of “satellite Estonians” all over the world…

That has left a gap in the global market—one that Estonia hopes to fill. Starting later this year, it will issue ID cards to non-resident “satellite Estonians”, thereby creating a global, government-standard digital identity. Applicants will pay a small fee, probably around €30-50 ($41-68), and provide the same biometric data and documents as Estonian residents. If all is in order, a card will be issued, or its virtual equivalent on a smartphone (held on a special secure module in the SIM card).

Some good ideas never take off because too few people embrace them. And with just 1.3m residents, Estonia is a tiddler—even with the 10m satellite Estonians the government hopes to add over the next decade. What may provide the necessary scale is a European Union rule soon to come into force that will require member states to accept each others’ digital IDs. That means non-resident holders of Estonian IDs, wherever they are, will be able not only to send each other encrypted e-mail and to prove their identity to web-service providers who accept government-issued identities, but also to do business with governments anywhere in the EU.

The Economist hopes that Estonia will become a model that the rest of the world will follow.

But do we really want government to have that much control over our lives?

If we need this “digital identity card” to go shopping, do banking or get health care, it would also give the government the power to revoke those “privileges” in a heartbeat.

Already there are countless examples of how governments around the world are using information databases in abusive ways. For instance, one new lawsuit in the U.S. alleges that average citizens have been put in a ‘terror database’ for doing such things as buying computers and waiting for family members at train stations.

Do we really want to go even further down this road?

And of course “identity cards” can be lost, stolen and forged. The next logical step would be to permanently implant our identity cards.

To many older Americans, such a notion sounds ludicrous, but many younger Americans are so eager to adopt this kind of technology that they are actually doing it to themselves. Just check out the following excerpt from a recent NBC News article about “biohackers”…

In tattoo parlors and basements around the world, people are turning themselves into cyborgs by embedding magnets and computer chips directly into their bodies.

They call themselves biohackers, cyborgs and grinders. With each piece of technology they put beneath their skin, they are exploring the boundaries — and the implications — of fusing man and machine.

Welcome to the world of biohacking.

It’s a niche community at the literal bleeding edge of body modification, and it attracts fervent fans from a variety of schools of thought. Some simply enjoy experimenting with new tech. Others use the magnets and chips for utilitarian purposes.

Does that sound creepy to you?

It should.

But it isn’t just people on the fringes of society that are interested in these kinds of technologies.

For example, electronics giant LG says that it wants to put an electronic tracking device on your child

Various tech companies have introduced wearable devices over the last few years that track your steps or heartbeat and even deliver your e-mails to your wrist.

Is electronically tracking your kid the next frontier?

LG announced a new device Wednesday morning, the KizON wristband, designed to let parents keep track of their child’s whereabouts. The KizON uses GPS, WiFi and mobile Internet signals to identify the user’s location in real time and sends the information to an Android app.

And billionaire Bill Gates is helping to develop an implant that “acts as a contraceptive for 16 years”

Helped along by one of the world’s most notable billionaires, a U.S. firm is developing a tiny implant that acts as a contraceptive for 16 years — and can be turned on or off using a remote control.

The birth control microchip, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, would hold nearly two decades worth of a hormone commonly used in contraceptives and dispense 30 micrograms a day, according to a report from the MIT Technology Review.

The new birth control, which is set to begin preclinical testing next year with hopes of putting it on shelves in 2018, can be implanted in the buttocks, upper arm or abdomen.

Whether you are ready or not, these technologies are coming.

For now, they are voluntary.

But eventually a day may come when you will be required to have an “identity chip” in order to buy, sell, conduct banking, have a job or go to the hospital.

When that day arrives, what will you do?

(Originally posted at The American Dream)

Draghi Disaster: European Household Loans Plunge By Most On Record

European Central Bank, Frankfurt - by jpatokal

Where things get really messy is when one looks at the actual components of the contraction. As Goldman explains, “Euro area bank lending to non-financial corporations (NFCs) fell by €7.6bn in May, after a €6.3bn contraction in April. Lending rose in France and declined in Spain and Italy, while it was roughly unchanged in Germany. There was a significant decline in lending to households for house purchase related to sales and securitisation. Broad money growth rose from +0.7%yoy to +1.0%yoy, stronger than expected (Cons; +0.8%yoy).”

Lending to non-financial corporations, on a seasonally adjusted basis, declined by €7.6bn in May, after a €6.3bn fall in April. The decline was smaller (at €4.5bn) when adjusted for securitisations and sales and broadly similar to the April figure. While this is still clearly disappointing, the rate of decline in bank lending to NFCs has eased somewhat over the past year.

So far so good. But here is the punchline, and proof that anything the ECB can and will try to do, will be a complete disaster: Loans to households fell by €42.8bn (its largest decline on record), having risen by €5.1bn in April.

(Read the rest of the story here…)

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