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Barack Obama Is On Track To Be The Only President In History To Never Have A Year Of 3% GDP Growth

Barack Obama Giving A Speech - Public DomainWe just got another extremely disappointing GDP number.  It was being projected that U.S. GDP would grow by 2.5 percent during the second quarter of 2016, but instead it only grew by just 1.2 percent.  In addition, the Census Bureau announced that GDP growth for the first quarter of 2016 had been revised down from 1.1 percent to 0.8 percent.  What this means is that the U.S. economy is just barely hanging on by its fingernails from falling into a recession.   As Zero Hedge has pointed out, the “average annual growth rate during the current business cycle remains the weakest of any expansion since at least 1949″.  This is not what a recovery looks like.

In addition, Barack Obama remains solidly on track to be the only president in all of U.S. history to never have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent.  Every other president in American history, even the really bad ones, had at least one year when U.S. GDP grew by at least 3 percent.  But this has not happened under Obama even though he has had two terms in the White House.

The following are the yearly GDP growth numbers under Obama.  They come directly from the official website of the World Bank

2009: -2.8 percent

2010: 2.5 percent

2011: 1.6 percent

2012: 2.2 percent

2013: 1.5 percent

2014: 2.4 percent

2015: 2.4 percent

Does that look like a “recovery” to you?

Of course not.

And many are anticipating that this latest extremely disappointing GDP number will discourage the Federal Reserve from raising interest rates any time in the near future

The disappointing report could keep the Federal Reserve on hold longer as it considers another interest rate hike. The Fed lifted its key rate in December for the first time in nine years but has held it steady since.

According to the pundits in the mainstream media, this was supposed to be the year when the U.S. economy finally returned to “normal”, but that has not happened at all.  In fact, in recent days we have gotten a spate of bad news about the economy.  We just learned that the homeownership rate in the United States has hit the lowest level ever, and Gallup’s U.S. economic confidence index has fallen to the lowest level so far this year.

With the election coming up rapidly, this is the kind of news that Hillary Clinton definitely does not need.  She needs to be able to sell the American people on the idea that the Obama years have been very good for the U.S. economy.  If things take a sharp turn down in the coming months, that may be enough to cost her the election.

So far, Hillary Clinton’s economic agenda has not received that much scrutiny, but the truth is that she hopes to increase taxes in a whole bunch of ways which would be very harmful for the economy.  The following comes from an excellent piece by John Kartch and Alexander Hendrie

Hillary has endorsed several tax increases on middle income Americans, despite her pledge not to raise taxes on any American making less than $250,000. She has said she would be fine with a payroll tax hike on all Americans, she has endorsed a steep soda tax, endorsed a 25% national gun tax, and most recently, her campaign manager John Podesta said she would be open to a carbon tax. It’s no wonder that when asked by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if her pledge was a “rock-solid” promise, she slipped and said the pledge was merely a “goal.” In other words, she’s going to raise taxes on middle income Americans.

Hillary’s formally proposed $1 trillion net tax increase consists of the following:

Income Tax Increase – $350 Billion: Clinton has proposed a $350 billion income tax hike in the form of a 28 percent cap on itemized deductions.

Business Tax Increase — $275 Billion: Clinton has called for a tax hike of at least $275 billion through undefined business tax reform, as described in a Clinton campaign document.

“Fairness” Tax Increase — $400 Billion: According to her published plan, Clinton has called for a tax increase of “between $400 and $500 billion” by “restoring basic fairness to our tax code.” These proposals include a “fair share surcharge,” the taxing of carried interest capital gains as ordinary income, and a hike in the Death Tax.

Taxes tend to be a pet peeve of mine, so looking at that list of proposed taxes definitely makes me cringe.

If Donald Trump wants to hit the Democrats really hard on the economy, all he has to do is point out the fact that Barack Obama is going to be the only president in American history to never see 3 percent economic growth for an entire year, and he had two entire terms in which to try to turn things in a positive direction.

Sadly, things are very likely going to be worse for the economy no matter who wins the election.  Under Obama, our national debt, our trade deficit, and most of our other long-term economic problems have gotten much, much worse, and so the table is set for a major economic disaster during the next presidential administration.

And if what I have to share about the future of America in my new book is correct, we are definitely moving into a “perfect storm” that will not just be economic in nature.  The things that are coming are going to shake this nation to the very core, and I believe that we will soon face the consequences for decades of exceedingly foolish decisions.

So in the end, we may look back and long for the days of 1.2 percent economic growth, because what is on the horizon is going to make that look like a Sunday picnic.

Terror Attacks And Mass Killings Are Becoming A Daily Event

Globe On Fire - Public DomainTerror attacks and mass killings are happening so rapidly now that it is really difficult to keep up with them all.  In fact, as you will see below, so far there have been several this week alone.  This latest attack in France during which radical Islamic terrorists slit the throat of a Catholic priest was particularly disturbing.  Just a few days ago I warned that churches in the western world would be targeted, and now it is happening.  According to thereligionofpeace.com, there have been 1274 Islamic terror attacks in 2016.  These attacks have been spread across 50 different nations, and as a result of these attacks more than 11,000 people have been killed and more than 14,000 people have been injured.  When are we going to finally wake up and understand how serious this threat really is?

Very few people would have imagined that a sleepy Catholic church in France would be the target of an Islamic terror attack on Tuesday morning, but that is precisely what happened.  The following description of the attack comes from the New York Times

Mass was ending around 9:30 a.m. when two young men with knives burst in. They forced the auxiliary priest, the Rev. Jacques Hamel, 85, to kneel. When he resisted, they slit his throat. They held several worshipers and at least one nun hostage, while another nun escaped. Officers from a specialized police unit descended on the church. A short while later, officers shot the young men dead when they emerged from the church.

We have all seen images of ISIS slitting the throats of Christians in the Middle East, but now it is taking place in Europe.

As the terrorists emerged from the church, they reportedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” before being shot dead by the police.

ISIS has already taken responsibility for the attack and is referring to these two young men as “two soldiers of the Islamic State“.  And France knew that one of them had tried to go to Syria to join ISIS twice, but still allowed him to roam free for at least part of the day…

One of a pair of ISIS knifemen who stormed a church in Normandy before slitting the throat of an elderly priest has been named as known terror threat Adel Kermiche.

The 19-year-old ‘ISIS soldier’ was being monitored with an electronic ankle tag after he was arrested for twice attempting to flee France to join the terror group in Syria.

Despite having been released early from prison, Keriche’s bail conditions allowed him to roam unsupervised between 8.30am and 12.30pm, leaving him free to murder the priest in the attack which was carried out between 9am and 11am.

This horrific attack in France came on the heels of a tremendous tragedy in Japan.  Mass killings are fairly rare over there, and so virtually the entire Japanese nation is in shock at this point.  The following comes from the Washington Post

Early on Tuesday morning, a man identified as Satoshi Uematsu allegedly attacked a care home for disabled people in Sagamihara, about 35 miles west of Tokyo. Armed with three knives and tie cables, the assailant killed 19 people and wounded many before he drove to a police station and turned himself in.

And that mass killing in Japan came on the heels of a suicide bombing in Ansbach, Germany on Sunday

The Syrian man who blew himself up outside a bar in Ansbach vowed the people of Germany “won’t be able to sleep peacefully anymore” in a video filmed before the attack.

Investigators said the suicide bomber, known only as Mohammad D., had declared loyalty to Islamic State in the recording – and announced “a revenge act against Germans because they are standing in the way of Islam”.

Further details have emerged about the 27-year-old, who injured 15 people – four of them seriously – when he detonated a backpack filled with explosives and shrapnel after being turned away from a music festival being attended by thousands of people.

Of course just prior to the suicide bombing in Ansbach, there were two other acts of terror in Germany that made headlines all over the globe

The bombing has rattled the German public following a week of violence in southern Germany that began on July 18, when an immigrant teen, apparently also inspired by ISIS, stabbed passengers on a train in Wurzburg in Bavaria.

That was followed by a shooting spree Friday in which nine people were killed in the Bavarian state capital, Munich, before a Syrian asylum seeker killed a woman in Reutlingen, in the neighboring southern German state of Baden-Wurttemberg, on Sunday, hours ahead of the Ansbach attack.

Are you starting to get the point?

In the summer of 2016, it has been terror attack after terror attack and mass killing after mass killing.

And in this article I haven’t even mentioned Orlando, Dallas, Nice or Baton Rouge at all.

As I have written about extensively, we have entered a period of time when our world seems to be going crazy.  The love of most people has grown cold, and we are being hammered with headlines about horrific acts of violence almost every single day now.

The terrorists are not just going after military and political targets.  In fact, they seem to take glee in hitting us where we are most vulnerable.

Just recently, I wrote about how all the members of one particular church here in America ended up on an ISIS kill list.  It appears that ISIS is collecting names from church directories and synagogue directories that they find on the Internet.  So if you run a church or a synagogue you should take note of this.

Even bigger attacks than we have seen so far are coming.  At some point Islamic terrorists will get their hands on chemical, biological and potentially even nuclear weapons, and they will not hesitate to use them.

Many of our politicians are promising to rid the world of these terrorists, but I don’t think that they even know what we are really dealing with or how to really fight this battle.

After a decade and a half of dropping bombs and spending trillions of dollars fighting in the Middle East, the threat of Islamic terror is worse than ever.  And even nations that were never heavily involved in the “war on terror” are seeing Islamic terror rise to unprecedented levels.

The blind are leading the blind, and meanwhile the terror attacks and the mass killings are just going to continue to get even worse.

Michael Moore Explains Why Donald Trump Will Win In November – And It Actually Makes Perfect Sense

Michael Moore - Photo by Nicolas GeninMichael Moore is a radical leftist that is trying to destroy everything that America once stood for, but for once he is making sense.  In his recent article entitled “5 Reasons Why Trump Will Win“, he makes a compelling case for why Donald Trump could win the election in November.  I can’t remember the last time I actually agreed with Michael Moore about something, but in this instance I do.  The American people are very angry and very frustrated, and they want someone that is going to shake things up in Washington.  Needless to say, that is not going to be Hillary Clinton.  According to Real Clear Politics, Trump has won five of the last six major national polls, and top Democrats are starting to understand that they could actually lose to the New York billionaire.

As Michael Moore has pointed out, the key to the election may be the upper Midwest.  That is why it may turn out to be very wise that Trump has picked a running mate from the region.  Residents of the upper Midwest have watched NAFTA and other “free trade deals” turn their formerly booming economy into an area now known as “the rust belt”.  Now that there is a major presidential candidate that is openly speaking out against these “free trade deals”, they will finally have a real opportunity to let their voices be heard.  The following is from the Michael Moore article that I mentioned above…

I believe Trump is going to focus much of his attention on the four blue states in the rustbelt of the upper Great Lakes – Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Four traditionally Democratic states – but each of them have elected a Republican governor since 2010 (only Pennsylvania has now finally elected a Democrat). In the Michigan primary in March, more Michiganders came out to vote for the Republicans (1.32 million) that the Democrats (1.19 million). Trump is ahead of Hillary in the latest polls in Pennsylvania and tied with her in Ohio. Tied? How can the race be this close after everything Trump has said and done? Well maybe it’s because he’s said (correctly) that the Clintons’ support of NAFTA helped to destroy the industrial states of the Upper Midwest.

Since NAFTA went into effect on January 1, 1994, the United States has lost tens of thousands of manufacturing facilities and millions of good paying jobs.  Once upon a time, the city of Detroit had the highest per capita income in the entire country, but now it is a rotting, decaying, crime-infested disaster zone that the rest of the world makes jokes about.

It was under Bill Clinton that NAFTA was implemented, and Bill and Hillary have long been supportive of NAFTA and other “free trade deals” that have been responsible for systematically dismantling America’s economic infrastructure.  Trump has already made this a major theme of his campaign, and the voters in the rust belt states could potentially make the difference in who wins in November.  Here is some additional analysis from Michael Moore

And this is where the math comes in. In 2012, Mitt Romney lost by 64 electoral votes. Add up the electoral votes cast by Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. It’s 64. All Trump needs to do to win is to carry, as he’s expected to do, the swath of traditional red states from Idaho to Georgia (states that’ll never vote for Hillary Clinton), and then he just needs these four rust belt states. He doesn’t need Florida. He doesn’t need Colorado or Virginia. Just Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And that will put him over the top. This is how it will happen in November.

But there is another factor that Michael Moore has pointed out that I think we should consider as well.  While most American voters take their votes very seriously, there is a small minority that will let some of the most frivolous reasons imaginable decide their votes.

Some Americans just want a good story.  Others want to stick it to the establishment.  Yet others just “want to see what will happen” if a certain person gets into the White House.  And it seems quite likely that Donald Trump will win the “curiosity vote”, the “anger vote”, and “the twisted sense of humor vote”.  Everyone pretty much knows what we will get with Hillary Clinton in the White House (and it would be horrible), but there is a great mystery as far as what Donald Trump would do as president.  I happen to agree with Michael Moore that this is a factor that greatly favors Trump

You can take as long as you need in there and no one can make you do anything. You can push the button and vote a straight party line, or you can write in Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck. There are no rules. And because of that, and the anger that so many have toward a broken political system, millions are going to vote for Trump not because they agree with him, not because they like his bigotry or ego, but just because they can. Just because it will upset the apple cart and make mommy and daddy mad. And in the same way like when you’re standing on the edge of Niagara Falls and your mind wonders for a moment what would that feel like to go over that thing, a lot of people are going to love being in the position of puppetmaster and plunking down for Trump just to see what that might look like.

But before you get too excited about a Trump presidency, let us not forget that the electoral map tends to greatly favor Democrats.  All Hillary has to do is to win all of the states that she is expected to win and add one battleground state

Perhaps you enjoy talk of battleground states. Well, there’s a scenario for you, too. First, pick the six “closest” swing states (VA, NH, IA, OH, FL, NC). Got it? Now understand that New Hampshire excepted, Clinton only has to win one of them in order to reach the requisite 270 electoral votes to win.

It remains my contention that the establishment will do whatever they have to do to keep Donald Trump out of the White House.  And now that the general election looks like it will be much closer than anticipated, we may get to see what lengths the establishment is willing to go to in order to get rid of a “problem candidate”.

Hillary Clinton is an utterly evil and extremely corrupt politician, but the establishment absolutely loves her.  She would say and do just about anything to get elected, and the establishment knows that she will do their bidding.

So we shall see what happens between now and November, but personally I don’t see any way that this is going to end well…

Donald Trump’s Convention Speech Highlighted The Truth About America’s Decline

American Dream - Public DomainAmerica is in decline.  There are some that still attempt to deny this, but the reason why Donald Trump’s campaign slogan has so strongly resonated with the American people is because deep inside most of us realize that America is not as great as it used to be.  Our economy is a mess, we are 19 trillion dollars in debt, our infrastructure is crumbling, crime is on the rise, moral decay is all around us, other countries don’t respect us as much anymore, and our nation is the most divided that it has been in decades.  Anyone that believes that America is better than it has ever been in 2016 is either completely delusional or simply has not been paying attention.

As I write this article, the prepared text of Trump’s speech has already been released to the press.  So the following remarks may differ slightly from how he actually delivered them, but the differences are not likely to be too great.  At one point during his speech, Trump highlighted the rising crime and violence in our cities, and the numbers that he had to share were more than just a little bit alarming…

Decades of progress made in bringing down crime are now being reversed by this Administration’s rollback of criminal enforcement. Homicides last year increased by 17% in America’s fifty largest cities. That’s the largest increase in 25 years. In our nation’s capital, killings have risen by 50 percent. They are up nearly 60% in nearby Baltimore.

In the President’s hometown of Chicago, more than 2,000 have been the victims of shootings this year alone. And more than 3,600 have been killed in the Chicago area since he took office.

The number of police officers killed in the line of duty has risen by almost 50% compared to this point last year. Nearly 180,000 illegal immigrants with criminal records, ordered deported from our country, are tonight roaming free to threaten peaceful citizens.

And it is really hard to argue with Trump about this.  We have all seen what just happened in Orlando, in Dallas and in Baton Rouge.  As I have said so many times before, a spirit of violence and civil unrest is rising in America.

Donald Trump thinks that he can fix this.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that any politician will be able to do that at this point.

Our long-term economic decline is another puzzle that our national leaders have been unable to solve.  Gallup’s U.S. economic confidence index just hit the lowest level so far this year, and poverty levels continue to rise all over the country.  The following is another excerpt from the text of Trump’s speech…

Nearly 4-in-10 African-American children are living in poverty, while 58% of African-American youth are not employed. Two million more Latinos are in poverty today than when the President took his oath of office less than eight years ago. Another 14 million people have left the workforce entirely.

Household incomes are down more than $4,000 since the year 2000. Our manufacturing trade deficit has reached an all-time high – nearly $800 billion in a single year.

The budget is no better. President Obama has doubled our national debt to more than $19 trillion, and growing.

Yet, what do we have to show for it? Our roads and bridges are falling apart, our airports are in Third World condition, and forty-three million Americans are on food stamps.

Even during Obama’s so-called “economic recovery”, the middle class has continued to shrink.  Right now, 62 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings, and millions upon millions of ordinary families find themselves desperately clawing and scratching as they try to survive from month to month.

One very frustrated mother recently shared her feelings about her family’s ongoing financial struggles on scarymommy.com

I’m tired of my stomach flipping inside when my son mentions he’d like to take a computer class after school. Or when my other son wants to enroll in swim lessons, take an art class, or buy a new bicycle. I’m tired of wondering where on earth we’ll come up with the cash for our children to pursue their interests.

I’m tired of never, ever going on vacations that don’t involve someone flying us out to see them or crashing at someone’s house for free.

I’m tired of wondering how on earth we’ll be able to send our kids to college.

I’m tired of renting, and the almost certain feeling I have that we’ll never be able to afford to buy a house.

I’m tired of having to pretend I’m not worried about it all.

I’m tired of my kids overhearing our worries, of knowing that money is a constant struggle for us.

Before I wrap up this article, I want to share one more stunning example of America’s decline.

Under Barack Obama, corruption and incompetence has spread throughout every part of our government.  Sadly, that even includes the Secret Service.

Secret Service agents are supposed to be “the best of the best”, and they are charged with protecting our most important national leaders.

But instead of doing their jobs with seriousness and professionalism, they have been acting like wild animals.  Documents that have just been made public reveal that the Secret Service has become an absolute disgrace in recent years…

They highlight incidents in which agents had sexual encounters with underage girls, married agents took part in ‘wheels up, rings off’ parties, and a manager who sexually harassed female subordinates dubbed the National Threat Assessment Center (NTAC) the ‘Nice **** and *** Club.’

The documents contain a report about “a male agent who had his gun stolen by a male prostitute he solicited using his government computer in Puerto Rico“, and they also detail the behavior of one agency manager in particular that deserves to be immediately fired

The report says the manager kept alcohol in his office and forced employees to drink ‘so he could trust them.’

‘He sexually harassed every female subordinate,’ the report says.

The manager would ‘publicly’ male employees: ‘Where are my little whores/*******? Have you slept with them yet?’

If this is what is happening in the Secret Service, can you imagine what is going on in other federal agencies behind closed doors?

America is a complete and total mess, and Donald Trump is completely correct when he talks about the need to make America great again.

But is that even possible, and if so, what would that look like?

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

Erdogan’s Staged Coup Has Resulted In A Purge Of 50,000 Teachers, Judges, Soldiers And Government Officials

Erdogan Staged Coup - Photo by Kemal5105Barack Obama’s “friend” in Turkey is a deeply corrupt radical Islamist dictator that has just staged a coup to consolidate his grip on power.  As I have reported previously, 1,845 “journalists, writers and critics” have been arrested for “insulting” President Erdogan over just the past two years, and a couple of years ago he had a monstrous 1,100 room presidential palace built for himself that is 30 times larger than the White House.  With each passing day, more evidence emerges which seems to indicate that the recent “coup” was a staged event meant to enable Erdogan and his allies to eliminate their enemies and solidify their stranglehold over the nation.  At this point the number of victims of “Erdogan’s purge” has hit 50,000, but the final number will not be known for quite some time.

Of course there is a possibility that the coup was not staged, but if it wasn’t staged it was the worst military coup that I have seen in my entire lifetime.  As Fox News has pointed out, not a single high level member of government was killed or detained…

Among the questions being asked are why coup plotters didn’t execute the most basic steps in seizing power, like securing Erdogan and other top officials. Not a single member of his cabinet and inner-circle AKP party leadership was detained. Nor did coup plotters effectively take control of TV, radio and internet outlets. The government TRT station and CNN Turk were for a time occupied by alleged coup plotters, who quickly retreated as the putsch fell apart.

It is being reported that soldiers that took part in the coup claimed “that they thought that they were taking part in military exercises”, and those running the “coup” allowed Erdogan’s plane to fly across the country without incident.  Here is more from Fox News

Coup plotters also failed to secure most airports and other transportation hubs, didn’t occupy or attack Erdogan’s $600 million presidential palace, and failed to intercept his plane before, during or after he flew from one of the country’s busiest and most accessible airports back to Istanbul. This despite the supposed active participation of top generals in Turkey’s Air Force, which maintains a fleet of F-16 aircraft easily capable of tracking, intercepting or – if it came to it – shooting down Erdogan’s plane.

There were opposition soldiers that did occupy Ataturk International Airport for a short time, but they suspiciously left just in time for Erdogan’s plane to land.

So much about this supposed “coup” absolutely stinks, and that includes the fact that lists of judges, teaches, soldiers and government officials to be rounded up after the coup appear to have been prepared ahead of time.  This is so obvious that even the EU commissioner in charge of Turkey’s membership bid, Johannes Hahn, is commenting on it…

It looks at least as if something has been prepared. The lists are available, which indicates it was prepared and to be used at a certain stage,” Hahn said.

I’m very concerned. It is exactly what we feared.”

So far, at least 50,000 people have been rounded up or stripped of their positions since the coup.  The following breakdown of “the purge” comes from the BBC

  • 6,000 military personnel have been arrested, with more than two dozen generals awaiting trial
  • Nearly 9,000 police officers have been sacked
  • Close to 3,000 judges have been suspended
  • Some 1,500 employees of Turkey’s finance ministry have been dismissed
  • 492 have been fired from the Religious Affairs Directorate
  • More than 250 staff in Mr Yildirim’s office have been removed

Not included in that list are 15,200 education workers and 1,577 university deans that were just sacked

But while Turkey’s press is already mostly under Erdogan’s control, it is the educational witch hunt fallout that is far more troubling, and just as expected over the past hour we have gotten a glimpse of just how extensive the Turkish’s president cleansing of secular society will be, when the state-run Anadolu news agency reported that Turkey’s ministry of education has sacked 15,200 personnel for alleged involvement with a group the government claims is responsible for Friday’s failed coup.

Even more shocking, Anadolu reports that Turkey’s Board of Higher Education has requested the resignations of all 1,577 university deans, effectively dismissing them.  Of the deans dismissed, 1,176 worked in public universities and 401 in private institutions.

In addition, the teaching licenses of 21,000 teachers there were employed at private educational institutions have been revoked.

In one fell swoop, Erdogan is eliminating as much institutional opposition to his leadership as he possibly can.  And not only is he stripping them of their jobs and arresting many of them, CNN is reporting that he actually wants to push for the death penalty for anyone that has any connection to “treason”…

Turkey’s President refuses to rule out the death penalty for thousands of people arrested after a failed military coup Friday, despite warnings that reintroducing capital punishment could dash Turkey’s chances of joining the European Union.

Speaking through his translator in an exclusive interview with CNN’s Becky Anderson, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan called the failed military coup a “clear crime of treason.”

The Turkish people have made it clear they want death for the “terrorists” who plotted the coup, Erdogan said in his first interview since the July 15 attempt.

Erdogan has been a radical Islamist throughout his entire political career, and his goal has always been to transform Turkey from a highly secular society into a highly Islamic one.

Sadly, now he has the power to do just that.

So what does the future hold for people of other faiths in Turkey?  Well, we may have gotten some clues on the night of the alleged “coup”

During the night of 15 July, unidentified assailants broke the glass panels in the door of the Malatya Protestant Church. The pastor, Tim Stone, said he thought someone with a grudge against the church had taken advantage of the general unrest.

Meanwhile, in Trabzon, on the northern coast, around 10 people smashed the windows of the Santa Maria Catholic Church, where in 2006 a priest, Fr. Andrea Santoro, was murdered. The attackers tried to break into the church, but a group of Muslim neighbors drove them away, before contacting a priest.

And as Erdogan continues to transform into a Turkish version of Adolf Hitler, he is putting his nation’s membership in NATO in jeopardy.  The following comes from the Telegraph

In an ideal world, it would be in everyone’s interests for Mr Erdogan to cease his efforts to turn Turkey into an Iranian-style Islamic republic, thereby allowing Turkey to retain its place at Nato’s top table. But if he really is determined to pursue his radical Islamist agenda, then Nato will have no option but to rid itself of its troublesome Turkish ally.

What is happening in Turkey right now is truly chilling.

A country that is already a member of NATO and that was supposed to become a member of the European Union is rapidly becoming a hardcore radical Islamic dictatorship.

Let us keep a close eye on these developments, because ultimately they could have tremendous implications for Europe and for the entire Middle East in the years ahead.

Axe-Wielding Terrorist Attacks Train Passengers In Germany And A Police Car Is Firebombed In Florida

Stop Terrorism Wall - Public DomainCrazy people committing random acts of senseless violence is rapidly becoming the “new normal” in the western world.  On Monday, a police vehicle was firebombed in Daytona, Florida by someone that was enraged by the recent shooting deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.  And over in Europe, an axe-wielding Islamic terrorist shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he started wildly attacking passengers on a train in southern Germany.  Authorities say that the young man was originally from Afghanistan, and according to the Mirror he was shot dead before he could flee the scene of the attack…

The horror began at around 9mpm local time when the teenager stormed a train that was traveling close to Wurzburg in southern Germany.

He then shouted “Allahu Akbar” – which means God is greatest – before launching into the terrifying attack on innocent passengers and then attempted to flee.

News outlets in Germany have claimed the crazed attacker was shot dead by armed police as he tried to escape.

Even though this 17-year-old Afghan terrorist was armed with an axe and a knife, none of the passengers were killed, although a few of them were seriously injured.

It is likely that this was a copycat attack.  This young Afghan probably saw the attention that the horrible attack in Nice received, and he probably thought that he could become famous too by jumping on a train and hacking innocent people to death with his axe.  Unfortunately for him, he is now dead and facing the afterlife, and most of the rest of the planet will probably forget about him by tomorrow.

Meanwhile, the wave of violence against police in the United States continues to intensify.  On Monday, a police vehicle in Daytona, Florida was firebombed by an unknown individual.  The following comes from the Daily Mail

A squad car in Florida was set on fire with a Molotov cocktail in what appears to be more anti-cop backlash following the shootings of two black men that have sparked protests throughout the nation.

The police cruiser was parked in front of the Islamic Center of Daytona about 2:30am Sunday when it was set on fire.

The car was fully engulfed in flames when police firefighters arrived.

By itself, it may have been difficult to connect this incident with the recent attacks on police in Dallas and in Baton Rouge, but the perpetrator removed all doubt about his or her motivation by leaving a note at the scene of the crime

Police said a note was found at the scene.

‘BLACK LIVES MATTER. A. Sterling. P. Castile,’ the note said, referencing the shootings of Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and Philando Castile in St. Paul, Minnesota.

There was a bit more to the note, but it contained an expletive directed toward police that would not be appropriate for young readers to see.

On Sunday, the deaths of three police officers in Baton Rouge overshadowed another very disturbing incident that took place in Wisconsin.  A suspect shot and seriously wounded a police officer while he was just sitting by himself in his vehicle

A domestic violence suspect opened fire on a Milwaukee police officer who was sitting in his squad car early Sunday, seriously wounding him before fleeing and apparently killing himself shortly afterward, authorities said.

The shooting, coming the same day that three police officers were killed in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, prompted the Milwaukee Police Department to send all officers out in two-person squad teams, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

I think that what the Milwaukee Police Department has done is very wise.  No police officer should be alone in any major city at this point.

Sadly, I think that what we have seen so far is just the beginning of the violence.  Once the conventions are over, things will swing into full general election mode, and emotions on both sides will be running extremely high.

In particular, the radical left is being absolutely inundated with messages telling them that Donald Trump is basically the American equivalent of Adolf Hitler.  Of course that is complete and utter nonsense, but after hearing it enough times a lot of them are starting to believe it, and some of them are actually discussing the possibility of real violence against the government if Trump wins in November.  Just consider the following

The failed coup in Turkey that killed more than 200 people and wounded thousands more could be coming to America — if Donald Trump is elected and #BlackLivesMatter activist and Daily News columnist Shaun King has his way.

King tweeted this weekend that the U.S. would suffer the same fate as Turkey if the soon-to-be Republican nominee won the presidency.

If Donald Trump becomes President, you are fooling yourself if you think we’re far from having a coup our own selves,” King tweeted. “I’m dead serious.”

And of course I think that most people are anticipating that riots, protests and violence will follow the Trump campaign around the country between now and election day in November.  The radical left hates Donald Trump with a passion, and they have already shown what they are willing to do to disrupt Trump rallies.  If Donald Trump looks like he has a realistic shot at winning as we approach election day, that will just send activists on the radical left into overdrive.

We have entered a period of time when America is the most divided that it has been in decades.  The mainstream media loves to pit us against one another, and they love to focus on hatred and dissension.  This country is starting to come apart at the seams, and what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning.

As a nation, we have made certain choices, and at first those choices didn’t seem to have any serious consequences.  But now decades later we stand poised to reap what we have sown, and it is going to be a very, very bitter harvest.

Baton Rouge, Nice, Dallas, Orlando – A Dark And Distressing Time Has Descended Upon The Civilized World

New York Skyline Lightning - Public DomainDoes it not seem as though events are starting to accelerate significantly?  Since I warned that something “had shifted” and that things had “suddenly become more serious“, we have seen the worst mass shooting in U.S. history in Orlando, we have seen the massacre of five police officers in Dallas, we have seen the horrifying terror rampage in Nice, and now we have seen the brutal murder of three police officers in Baton Rouge.  On Sunday morning, the peace and quiet in Baton Rouge were shattered when “dozens of shots” erupted less than one mile from police headquarters.  By the end of it, 29-year-old Gavin Eugene Long had killed three officers and seriously wounded three others.  It was a crime fueled by pure hatred, and Long specifically waited for his 29th birthday to launch the attack

The shooter who killed three law enforcement officers and wounded three others in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, on Sunday was a Missouri man who launched a deadly rampage on his 29th birthday, police sources said.

Gavin Long, who was born on July 17, 1987, was the man who gunned down officers before he was killed in a gunbattle with other officers responding to the shootings.

Two Baton Rouge police officers — ages 41 and 49 — died, said Police Chief Carl Dabadie. The gunman also killed a 45-year-old sheriff’s deputy and critically wounded a 41-year-old deputy who is “fighting for his life,” said East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff Sid Gautreaux.

So what motivated Long to commit this horrible crime?

Here is what the Daily Caller found…

A Youtube account operated by Gavin Eugene Long and discovered by The Daily Caller reveals key insight into what might have motivated the 29-year-old black man who killed three Baton Rouge police officers Sunday morning.

Videos on Long’s account show that he was a former Nation of Islam member. He also ranted against “crackers” and made references to Alton Sterling, the black man killed by police in Baton Rouge on July 5.

Did Long actually believe that gunning down innocent police officers would honor the memory of Alton Sterling?

Sadly, it appears that there are a lot of other people out there that feel the exact same way that Long did.  In fact, there were a number of people that were openly celebrating the shooting of police officers in Baton Rouge on Twitter and calling for more cops to be killed.

This country is starting to come apart at the seams, and from now on it is going to be very, very dangerous to be a police officer in America.  Perhaps you may not have heard of this yet, but there was actually another plot to kill police officers in Baton Rouge that was foiled ahead of time

Police in Baton Rouge were on high alert earlier this week after a gang – including boys aged just 12 and 13 – were arrested as they tried to steal handguns as part of a ‘substantial, credible threat’ to harm police officers in Baton Rouge.

Authorities discovered the alleged plot while responding to a burglary at a pawn shop early on June 9.

They arrested one suspect – Antonio Thomas, 17 – at the scene with a handgun and a BB gun.

During questioning, Thomas said that he and three other suspects stole the firearms and ‘were going to get bullets to shoot police,’ authorities said.

And another police officer was shot on Sunday in Milwaukee while he was just sitting in his squad car…

A Milwaukee police officer was shot in a “vicious” attack early Sunday as he sat in his squad car while colleagues investigated a domestic disturbance call, an official said.

The suspected shooter, identified by police as a 20-year-old West Allis man with two felonies on his record, was found dead in a nearby yard, they said.

The incident began as a response to a domestic disturbance call near South 17th Street and West Morgan Avenue at about 2 a.m. During that investigation, someone fired shots into the squad car, striking an officer “multiple” times,” Asst. Police Chief William Jessup said in a morning press conference.

Can you imagine the stress that many police officers and their families are feeling these days?

Could you imagine leaving home each day realizing that there is a huge target painted on your chest and that you might not make it home that night to see your family?

I am sure that a lot of law enforcement officers are having some very serious family discussions these days.  And I am sure that a lot of them are actually considering leaving law enforcement altogether.  All it takes is a single bullet to change your life forever, and right now there are way too many people out there that want to harm anyone in a police uniform.

I think that a recent piece by Scott G. Erickson put it very succinctly…

What feelings must resonate within the patrolman who is responding to a call of domestic violence or simple larceny? Am I the next target? Is this really a routine call for service or is it an ambush?

No longer can the patrolman simply worry about the reported crime itself but rather he or she must approach these events as though they are potentially walking into the next Dallas or Baton Rouge.

And that is no way to function as a police officer. The stress, strain, and uncertainty would be unbearable.

And it isn’t just police officers that need to be concerned about the rising violence.

The Republican National Convention is next week, and it could be a big, fat, juicy target for Islamic terrorists, police haters, or anyone else that is out to make some sort of huge statement.  There are going to be thousands of people protecting the convention, but there are still concerns that something unexpected may happen

The sunny celebration butts uncomfortably against a massive security operation that shows the other side of Cleveland’s big moment. City and U.S. officials are preparing for the worst, aware that tensions over race relations and police use of force, as well as reaction to Trump’s polarizing campaign, could result in violence on the streets.

Clevelanders are also aware of the backdrop for their convention: the mass shooting in Orlando that killed 50 people in June, the sniper attack that killed five Dallas police this month, and the truck assault that killed 84 this week in Nice.

Let us hope and pray for safety in Cleveland, and let us hope and pray that tensions ease in major cities all over the nation.

A dark and distressing time has descended upon the civilized world, and virtually everywhere you look anger and frustration are rising to very dangerous levels.

We were warned that this might be a “summer of chaos”, and so far that has definitely been the case.  Let us hope that things start to cool off before events start to spiral completely out of control.

America Wastes About HALF The Food That It Produces While Hunger Runs Rampant Around The Globe

Tomatoes - Public DomainIs the United States the most wasteful nation on the entire planet?  We are all certainly guilty of wasting food.  Whether it is that little bit that you don’t want to eat at the end of a meal, or that produce that you forgot about in the back of the refrigerator that went moldy, the truth is that we could all do better at making sure that good food does not get wasted.  It can be tempting to think that wasting food is not a big deal because we have so much of it, but an increasing number of people around the world are really hurting these days.  In fact, it has been estimated that there are more than a billion hungry people around the globe right now.  So as a society we need to figure out how to waste a whole lot less food and how to get it into the mouths of those that really need it.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, close to a third of all food in the United States gets wasted after it gets to the store.  This is commonly referred to as “downstream” waste.  When you add all of this “downstream” waste up, it comes to a grand total of 133 billion pounds of food each year

Nearly a third of the 430 billion pounds of food produced for Americans to eat is wasted, a potential catastrophe for landfills and a wake-up call to officials scrambling to feed the hungry, according to a stunning new report from the Department of Agriculture.

The just-issued report revealed that in 2010, 31 percent, or 133 billion pounds, of food produced for Americans to eat was wasted, either molded or improperly cooked, suffered “natural shrinkage” due to moisture loss, or because people became disinterested in what they purchased.

How many people do you think we could feed with 133 billion pounds of food?

But that isn’t all of the food that we waste.  In addition to “downstream” waste, we also have to add “upstream” waste to the equation.  Massive amounts of food are wasted each year because American consumers don’t want to eat fruits and vegetables that are “imperfect”.  The following comes from the Guardian

Americans throw away almost as much food as they eat because of a “cult of perfection”, deepening hunger and poverty, and inflicting a heavy toll on the environment.

Vast quantities of fresh produce grown in the US are left in the field to rot, fed to livestock or hauled directly from the field to landfill, because of unrealistic and unyielding cosmetic standards, according to official data and interviews with dozens of farmers, packers, truckers, researchers, campaigners and government officials.

And I know that as a consumer I am guilty of this.  Just yesterday, I was picking through the apricots at the grocery store looking for the prettiest ones that I could find.  Of course they were all good to eat, but most of us are in the habit of wanting produce that looks as “perfect” as possible.

As a result, a lot of perfectly good food that may look a little ratty ends of being wasted

“Sunburnt” or darker-hued cauliflower was ploughed over in the field. Table grapes that did not conform to a wedge shape were dumped. Entire crates of pre-cut orange wedges were directed to landfill. In June, Kirschenman wound up feeding a significant share of his watermelon crop to cows.

As the Guardian article quoted above noted, when you add “downstream” waste and “upstream” waste together, we end up wasting about half our food.

This is tragic, because there are a whole lot of people in our own country that could use this food.  According to one estimate, there are 49 million Americans dealing with food insecurity.  But if we didn’t waste nearly half our food, we could likely feed just about everyone sufficiently.

Globally, about one-third of all food is wasted.  That is better than the U.S. number, but it is still way too high.

At this point, we just don’t have a lot of resources to waste.  So many people are suffering these days, and this includes an explosion of crushing poverty in the country that is hosting the Olympics this summer.  Just yards away from the primary stadium that will be used by the Olympic games, people actually have raw sewage running through their homes

In the Mangueira ‘favelas’ no more than 750m away from the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, which will host the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, young families are living in makeshift houses with no sanitation.

The stadium will stage both the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics in August, and as global superstars such as Usain Bolt, Mo Farah, Jessica Ennis-Hill and Justin Gatlin take to the track, the favela residents will be dealing with raw sewage running through their homes.

It has been estimated that more than 20 percent of the population of Rio lives in “favelas”.  But instead of doing something for those people, the government of Brazil has spent hundreds of millions of dollars hosting the World Cup and the Olympics.

What is wrong with that picture?

Meanwhile, things continue to get even worse elsewhere in South America.  In Venezuela, 47 percent of the country can no longer provide three meals a day for their families, and the lack of toilet paper has become a national crisis

Venezuela’s government said it occupied Kimberly-Clark Corp.’s local plant, days after the company had halted operations because of shortages of raw materials in the socialist crisis-stricken country.

“Kimberly-Clark will continue producing for all Venezuelans and is now in the hands of the workers,” Labor Minister Oswaldo Vera said Monday in a televised address from the company’s plant in central Aragua state, before signing an order to take it over, according to WSJ. The labor ministry claims Kimberly-Clark had violated Venezuelan law by firing more than 900 workers without consulting the government.

“It doesn’t matter who’s running the factory,” said Henkel Garcia, director of the Caracas business consultancy Econometrica told WSJ. “The bottom line is that there are no raw materials that anyone can afford to import.”

As the global economy continues to deteriorate, the need to waste less food and less resources will become even more acute.  Over the past several decades, we have grown accustomed to not even thinking twice about wasting food.  In fact, I rarely come across parents that insist that their children finish everything on their plates these days.

But in the not too distant future, things are going to completely change.  Even in the United States, we will eventually get to the point where every scrap of food is considered to be precious.

We are moving into a time when wasting nearly half our food will no longer be an option, and so we should start coming up with better ways of doing things as soon as we can.

War Is Coming And The Global Financial Situation Is A Lot Worse Than You May Think

city skyscrapers clock time stopwatch seconds - public domainOn the surface, things seem pretty quiet in mid-July 2016.  The biggest news stories are about the speculation surrounding Donald Trump’s choice of running mate, the stock market in the U.S. keeps setting new all-time record highs, and the media seems completely obsessed with Taylor Swift’s love life.  But underneath the surface, it is a very different story.  As you will see below, the conditions for a “perfect storm” are coming together very rapidly, and the rest of 2016 promises to be much more chaotic than what we have seen so far.

Let’s start with China.  On Tuesday, an international tribunal in the Hague ruled against China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea.  The Chinese government announced ahead of time that they do not recognize the jurisdiction of the tribunal, and they have absolutely no intention of abiding by the ruling.  In fact, China is becoming even more defiant in the aftermath of this ruling.  We aren’t hearing much about it in the U.S. media, but according to international news reports Chinese president Xi Jinping has ordered the People’s Liberation Army “to prepare for combat” with the United States if the Obama administration presses China to abandon the islands that they are currently occupying in the South China Sea…

“Chinese president Xi Jinping has reportedly ordered the People’s Liberation Army to prepare for combat,” reports Arirang.com. “U.S.-based Boxun News said Tuesday that the instruction was given in case the United States takes provocative action in the waters once the ruling is made.”

A U.S. aircraft carrier and fighter jets were already sent to the region in anticipation of the ruling, with the Chinese Navy also carrying out exercises near the disputed Paracel islands.

Last October, China said it was “not frightened” to fight a war with the U.S. following an incident where the guided-missile destroyer USS Lassen violated the 12-nautical mile zone China claims around Subi and Mischief reefs in the Spratly archipelago.

Meanwhile, the relationship between the United States and Russia continues to go from bad to worse.  The installation of a missile defense system in Romania is just the latest incident that has the Russians absolutely steaming, and during a public appearance on June 17th Russian President Vladimir Putin tried to get western reporters to understand that the world is being pulled toward war…

“We know year by year what’s going to happen, and they know that we know. It’s only you that they tell tall tales to, and you buy it, and spread it to the citizens of your countries. You people in turn do not feel a sense of the impending danger – this is what worries me. How do you not understand that the world is being pulled in an irreversible direction? While they pretend that nothing is going on. I don’t know how to get through to you anymore.

And of course the Russians have been feverishly updating and modernizing their military in preparation for a potential future conflict with the United States.  Just today we learned that the Russians are working to develop a hypersonic strategic bomber that is going to have the capability of striking targets with nuclear warheads from outer space.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration does not feel a similar sense of urgency.  The size of our strategic nuclear arsenal has declined by about 95 percent since the peak of the Cold War, and many of our installations are still actually using rotary phones and the kind of 8 inch floppy disks for computers that were widely used back in the 1970s.

But I don’t expect war with China or Russia to erupt by the end of 2016.  Of much more immediate concern is what is going on in the Middle East.  The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate, but it is Israel that could soon be the center of attention.

Back in March, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration wanted to revive the peace process in the Middle East before Obama left office, and that a UN Security Council resolution that would divide the land of Israel and set the parameters for a Palestinian state was still definitely on the table…

The White House is working on plans for reviving long-stalled Middle East negotiations before President Barack Obama leaves office, including a possible United Nations Security Council resolution that would outline steps toward a deal between the Israelis and Palestinians, according to senior U.S. officials.

And just this week, the Washington Post reported that there were renewed “rumblings” about just such a resolution…

Israel is facing a restive European Union, which is backing a French initiative that seeks to outline a future peace deal by year’s end that would probably include a call for the withdrawal of Israeli troops and the creation of a Palestinian state. There are also rumblings that the U.N. Security Council might again hear resolutions about the conflict.

For years, Barack Obama has stressed the need for a Palestinian state, and now that his second term is drawing to a close he certainly realizes that this is his last chance to take action at the United Nations.  If he is going to pull the trigger and support a UN resolution formally establishing a Palestinian state, it will almost certainly happen before the election in November.  So over the coming months we will be watching these developments very carefully.

And it is interesting to note that there is an organization called “Americans For Peace Now” that is collecting signatures and strongly urging Obama to support a UN resolution of this nature.  The following comes from their official website

Now is the time for real leadership that can revive and re-accredit the two-state solution as President Obama enters his final months in office. And he can do this – he can lay the groundwork for a two-state agreement in the future by supporting an Israeli-Palestinian two-state resolution in the United Nations Security Council.

Such a resolution would restore U.S. leadership in the Israeli-Palestinian arena. It would preserve the now-foundering two-state outcome. And it would be a gift to the next president, leaving her or him constructive options for consequential actions in the Israeli-Palestinian arena, in place of the ever-worsening, politically stalemated status quo there is today.

Sadly, a UN resolution that divides the land of Israel and that formally establishes a Palestinian state would not bring lasting peace.  Instead, it would be the biggest mistake of the Obama era, and it would set the stage for a major war between Israel and her neighbors.  This is something that I discussed during a recent televised appearance down at Morningside that you can watch right here

At the same time all of this is going on, the global economic crisis continues to escalate.  Even though U.S. financial markets are in great shape at the moment, the same cannot be said for much of the rest of the world.

Just look at the country that is hosting the Olympics this summer.  Brazil is mired in the worst economic downturn that it has seen since the Great Depression of the 1930s, and Rio de Janeiro’s governor has declared “a state of financial emergency“.

Next door, the Venezuelan economy has completely collapsed, and some people have become so desperate that they are actually hunting cats, dogs and pigeons for food.

Elsewhere, China is experiencing the worst economic downturn that they have seen in decades, the Japanese are still trying to find the end of their “lost decade”, and the banking crisis in Europe is getting worse with each passing month.

In quite a few articles recently, I have discussed the ongoing implosion of the biggest and most important bank in Germany.  But I am certainly not the only one warning about this.  In one of his recent articles, Simon Black also commented on the turmoil at “the most dangerous bank in Europe”…

Well-capitalized banks are supposed to have double-digit capital levels while making low risk investments.

Deutsche Bank, on the other hand, has a capital level of less that 3% (just like Lehman), and an incredibly risky asset base that boasts notional derivatives exposure of more than $70 trillion, roughly the size of world GDP.

But of course Deutsche Bank isn’t getting a lot of attention from the mainstream media right now because of the stunning meltdown of banks in Italy, Spain and Greece.  Here is more from Simon Black

Italian banks are sitting on over 360 billion euros in bad loans right now and are in desperate need of a massive bailout.

IMF calculations show that Italian banks’ capital levels are among the lowest in the world, just ahead of Bangladesh.

And this doesn’t even scratch the surface of problems in other banking jurisdictions.

Spanish banks have been scrambling to raise billions in capital to cover persistent losses that still haven’t healed from the last crisis.

In Greece, over 35% of all loans in the banking system are classified as “non-performing”.

Even though U.S. stocks are doing well for the moment, the truth is that trillions of dollars of stock market wealth has been lost globally since this time last year.  If you are not familiar with what has been going on around the rest of the planet, this may come as a surprise to you.  During my recent appearance at Morningside, I shared some very startling charts which show how dramatically global markets have shifted over the past 12 months.  You can view the segment in which I shared these charts right here

I would really like it if the rest of 2016 was as quiet and peaceful as the past couple of days have been.

Unfortunately, I don’t believe that is going to be the case at all.

The storm clouds are rising and the conditions for a “perfect storm” are brewing.  Sadly, most people are not going to understand what is happening until it is far too late.

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