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In Yemen, It’s The Bad Guys Vs. The Bad Guys

Yemen - Photo by Addicted04Saudi Arabia and Egypt stand poised to conduct a massive ground invasion of Yemen, and the western media will be full of tales about how “Operation Decisive Storm” is liberating that country from the evil Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.  And without a doubt, the Houthis are bad guys and so are their Iranian benefactors.  But don’t be fooled into thinking that the war in Yemen is a battle of good vs. evil.  The truth is that the conflict in Yemen is actually a proxy war between two sets of bad guys that both ultimately plan for Islam to take over the entire planet.  On one side, the Iranians are very honest about the fact that they view us as an enemy, and they plan to impose their version of radical Shia Islam worldwide as soon as they can.  On the other side, the Saudis pretend to be our friends, but they don’t hide the fact that they believe that their version of Sunni Islam will eventually rule the world.  And their version of Sunni Islam includes constant beheadings, the destruction of all churches and the death penalty for anyone caught smuggling a Bible into Saudi territory.  At the end of the day, there is very little difference between the Saudis and ISIS.  In fact, ISIS gets a lot of funding from Saudi sources, and there is more support for ISIS on Twitter from Saudi Arabia than from anywhere else.  Saudi Arabia is a horribly repressive regime where women are treated like dirt, where the secret police conduct a never ending reign of terror and where even a minor deviation from sharia law can mean the loss of a limb.  But because our politicians and the mainstream media constantly tell us that they are “our friends”, we cheer them on.

It is being reported that the Saudis have mobilized 150,000 troops for a ground invasion of Yemen, and Egypt says that it is ready to contribute a very large force as well.  The Saudis simply were not going to just sit back and watch as pro-Iranian forces took total control of their neighbor.  The following is how the Telegraph recently described what the Iranians have been up to in Yemen for the past several years…

For the past four years the Quds force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards have been smuggling weapons to the Houthis, as well as providing expert military training, with the result that the Shia Houthi militia finally succeeded in seizing control of the capital Sana’a last year, forcing the Western-backed president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, to seek refuge in Aden.

Last week it was claimed that Tehran was increasing its support for the Houthis with the delivery of a 185 ton shipment of weapons and other military equipment.

This is how Iran likes to fight wars.  They like to fund and arm proxy organizations that will do their fighting for them.  That way they don’t have to get their hands messy or risk direct retaliation.  Hezbollah is a prime example of this.

And the Iranians were winning in Yemen.  In fact, they were on the verge of complete and total victory.

So the Saudis felt forced to step in.  The Saudis don’t like to fight their own wars either, but in this instance they felt there was no other choice.

But let there be no misunderstanding.  This is not a conflict between Saudi Arabia and some rebel group in Yemen.  This is part of an ongoing war between Saudi Arabia and Iran, and at this point relations between the two nations are at an all-time low

“The Saudis were caught off guard by how quick and aggressive the Houthi offensive was and felt they needed a sharp and immediate response,” geopolitical expert Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia group, told Business Insider over email. “They didn’t want Iran to think they needed Egypt or anyone else to come rescue the Kingdom. This is the worst tension we’ve seen between Iran and Saudi Arabia, period.”

And of course Yemen is far from the only front in this war.

For instance, Saudi-backed fighters “are poised for a massive battle” with Iranian-backed Hezbollah fighters on the Syria-Lebanon border…

Islamist forces armed and aided by Saudi Arabia are poised for a massive battle in the coming days targeting the Syrian regime and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah organization, according to Egyptian security officials speaking to WND.

The officials said the Saudis have directed the Islamist forces, including the Al Nusra Front, to lead an imminent counterinsurgency focusing on the Syria-Lebanon border, with particular emphasis on the Qalamoun region.

Qalamoun is a strategic site that serves as a supply line to Damascus from Lebanon. Control of the area would give the rebels a base of operations to target Damascus.

In the western media, this ongoing conflict is being characterized as a conflict between “good” Saudi Arabia and “evil” Iran.

But should we really be cheering on Saudi Arabia?

As I mentioned above, more funding for ISIS comes out of Saudi Arabia than anywhere else.

And ISIS also gets more support on social networks such as Twitter from Saudi Arabia than anywhere else

Part of ISIS’s success is its adoption of social media as a way to spread the group’s messages and find new members. A study by The Independent analyzed the origin of posts supporting ISIS on Twitter, and found that Saudi Arabia provides by far the most.

If you believe that ISIS is wrong for beheading people, you should keep in mind that there is a beheading in Saudi Arabia every four days.

The truth is that ISIS is simply just copying what the Saudis have been doing for centuries.

And for writing what I just did, I could be sentenced to 1,000 lashes if I was living in Saudi Arabia.  In fact, that is exactly what happened to one Saudi blogger.  Another Saudi man was recently sentenced to death for renouncing Islam.

The Saudis don’t believe that it will happen tomorrow, but they are fully convinced that their version of Islam will eventually dominate every inch of our planet.

Are you ready to live like the Saudis do?  In Saudi Arabia, women are not allowed to drive, religious police can drag you away at any time for any reason, and the penalty for smuggling a Bible is death.

If you are tempted to think that the Saudis do not plan to impose their rules on the rest of the world, you should consider what the top religious leader in the entire country recently had to say.  Earlier this month, he declared that every single church on the entire Arabian Peninsula (not just Saudi Arabia) must be destroyed

Saudi Arabia’s top Muslim cleric called on Tuesday for the destruction of all churches in the Arabian Peninsula after legislators in the Gulf state of Kuwait moved to pass laws banning the construction of religious sites associated with Christianity.

Speaking to a delegation in Kuwait, Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Abdullah, who serves as the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, said the destruction of churches was absolutely necessary and is required by Islamic law, Arabic media reported.

These are the “good guys”?

The truth is that the Saudis are not our friends.  They like our money and they like our military might, and we make a convenient ally for them right now.

But what the Saudis stand for is the antithesis of everything that the United States is supposed to stand for.  It is a brutally oppressive regime that is promoting tyranny all over the planet.  Barack Obama may be comfortable with such “friends”, but the American people should not be.

So what do you think?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

 

The Price Of Ground Beef Has DOUBLED Since The Last Financial Crisis

Burger And Fries - Photo by Ewan MunroSince the depths of the last recession, the price of ground beef in the United States has doubled.  Has your paycheck doubled since then?  Even though the Federal Reserve insists that we are in a “low inflation” environment, the government’s own numbers show that the price of ground beef has been on an unprecedented run over the past six years.  In early 2009, the average price of a pound of ground beef was hovering near 2 dollars.  In February, it hit a brand new all-time record high of $4.238 per pound.  Even just 12 months ago, the price of ground beef was sitting at $3.555 per pound.  So we are talking about a huge increase.  And this hits American families where they really live.  Each year, the average American consumes approximately 270 pounds of meat.  The only nation in the world that eats more meat than we do is Luxembourg.  If the paychecks of American workers were going up fast enough to deal with this increase, it wouldn’t be that big of a deal.  But of course that is not happening.  In an article just last week, I showed that real median household income is a couple thousand dollars lower now than it was during the depths of the last recession.  The middle class is being squeezed, and we are rapidly getting to the point where burgers are going to be considered a “luxury” item.

The following chart was posted by the Economic Policy Journal on Wednesday, and it incorporates the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.  When I first saw it, I was rather stunned.  I knew that the price of ground beef had become rather outrageous in my local grocery stores, but I had no idea just how much damage had been done over the past six years…

Beef Price - Economic Policy Journal

The biggest reason why the price of ground beef has been going up is the fact that the U.S. cattle herd has been shrinking.  It shrunk seven years in a row, and on January 1st, 2014 it was the smallest that it had been since 1951.

The good news is that the decline appears to have stopped, at least for the moment.  According to the Wall Street Journal, the size of the U.S. cattle herd actually increased by 1 percent last year…

The U.S. cattle herd expanded in 2014 for the first time in eight years, offering hope to consumers that beef prices could start to subside after soaring to a series of records.

The nation’s cattle supply increased 1% in the year through Jan. 1 to 89.8 million head, according to data released Friday by the U.S. Agriculture Department, reversing a steady decline fueled by prolonged drought in the southern U.S. Great Plains and industry consolidation that encouraged many ranchers to thin herds.

But an increase of 1 percent is just barely going to keep up with the official population growth rate.  If you factor in illegal immigration, we are still losing ground.

And if we have another major drought in cattle country this summer, the cattle herd is going to start shrinking again.

In addition, the price of food overall has been steadily rising for years.  Here is a chart that I shared the other day

Presentation Food Inflation

It boggles the mind that the Federal Reserve can claim that we are in a “low inflation” environment.  Anyone that goes grocery shopping feels the pain of these rising prices every time that they go to the store.

In the list that I put together yesterday, I included the following statistic…

Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.

One of the primary reasons why so many Americans are not saving any money is because many families simply cannot save any money.  Their paychecks are stagnant while the cost of living just keeps going up and up.

There simply are not enough “good jobs” out there anymore.  Our economy continues to bleed middle class jobs and the competition for the jobs that remain is quite intense.

Do you know what the two most common occupations in America today are?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, they are “retail sales clerk” and “cashier”.

And of course neither of those “occupations” pays even close to what is required to support a middle class family.

On average, a retail sales clerk makes $24,020 a year, and a cashier makes $20,670 a year.

Because the quality of our jobs has declined so much, there are millions of American families today in which both the mother and the father are working multiple jobs in a desperate attempt to make ends meet each month.

But don’t worry, the Federal Reserve says that we are nearly at “full employment“, and Barack Obama says that everything is going to be just fine.

Actually, the truth is that things are about to get a lot worse.  At this point, we are even getting pessimistic numbers out of the Federal Reserve.  Just this week we learned that the Fed is now projecting that economic growth for the first quarter of 2015 will be barely above zero

From almost 2.5% GDP growth expectations in February, The Atlanta Fed’s GDPNow model has now collapsed its estimates of Q1 GDP growth to just 0.2%plunging from +1.4% just 2 weeks ago. The reality of plunging capex and no decoupling is starting to rear its ugly head in the hard data and as the sun warms things up, weather will start to lose its ability to sway sentiment.

We are at a turning point.  The bubble of false stability that we have been living in is rapidly coming to an end, and when people start to realize that another great economic crisis is coming there is going to be a lot of panic.

And as far as food prices go, they are just going to keep taking a bigger chunk out of all of our wallets.

As high as prices are already, the truth is that your food dollars are never going to go farther than they do right now.

So let us hope for the best, but let us also get prepared for the worst.

33 Strange Facts About America That Most Americans Would Be Shocked To Learn

33 SignDid you know that about one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States?  Did you know that Apple has more money than the U.S. Treasury?  Did you know that if you have no debt and also have 10 dollars in your wallet that you are wealthier than 25 percent of all Americans?  Did you know that by the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television?  There are some things that are great about the United States, and there are definitely some things that are not so great.  Once upon a time we were the most loved and most respected nation on the entire planet, but those days are long gone.  We have wrecked our economy, we have lost our values and we have fumbled away our future.  But if you look close enough, you can still see many of the things that once made this country a shining beacon to the rest of the world.  This article includes some weird facts, some fun facts, but also some very troubling facts.  It has been said that a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down, and hopefully as people enjoy reading the fun facts in this article they will also take note of the more serious facts.  If we are ever going to change course as a nation, we need to come to grips with just how far we have fallen.  The following are 33 strange facts about America that most Americans would be shocked to learn…

#1 The amount of cement that China used from 2011 to 2013 was greater than the total amount of cement that the United States used during the entire 20th century.

#2 In more than half of all U.S. states, the highest paid public employee in the state is a football coach.

#3 It costs the U.S. government 1.8 cents to mint a penny and 9.4 cents to mint a nickel.

#4 Almost half of all Americans (47 percent) do not put a single penny out of their paychecks into savings.

#5 In 2014, police in the United States killed 1,100 people.  During that same year, police in Canada killed 14 people, police in China killed 12 people and police in Germany didn’t kill anyone at all.

#6 The state of Alaska is 429 times larger than the state of Rhode Island is.  But Rhode Island has a significantly larger population than Alaska does.

#7 Alaska has a longer coastline than all of the other 49 U.S. states put together.

#8 The city of Juneau, Alaska is about 3,000 square miles in size.  It is actually larger than the entire state of Delaware.

#9 When LBJ’s “War on Poverty” began, less than 10 percent of all U.S. children were growing up in single parent households.  Today, that number has skyrocketed to 33 percent.

#10 In 1950, less than 5 percent of all babies in America were born to unmarried parents.  Today, that number is over 40 percent.

#11 The poverty rate for households that are led by a married couple is 6.8 percent.  For households that are led by a female single parent, the poverty rate is 37.1 percent.

#12 In 2013, women earned 60 percent of all bachelor’s degrees that were awarded that year in the United States.

#13 According to the CDC, 34.6 percent of all men in the U.S. are obese at this point.

#14 The average supermarket in the United States wastes about 3,000 pounds of food each year.

#15 Right now, more than 200 million people around the planet are officially considered to be unemployed.  Meanwhile, approximately 20 percent of the garbage that goes into our landfills is food.

#16 There is a city in Bangladesh called Dhaka where workers are paid just one dollar for every 1,000 bricks that they carry.  Meanwhile, the “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years in the United States is hovering near record high levels.

#17 According to one recent survey, 81 percent of Russians now have a negative view of the United States.  That is much higher than at the end of the Cold War era.

#18 Montana has three times as many cows as it does people.

#19 The grizzly bear is the official state animal of California.  But no grizzly bears have been seen there since 1922.

#20 One recent survey discovered that “a steady job” is the number one thing that American women are looking for in a husband, and another survey discovered that 75 percent of women would have a serious problem dating an unemployed man.

#21 According to a study conducted by economist Carl Benedikt Frey and engineer Michael Osborne, 47 percent of the jobs in the United States could soon be lost to computers, robots and other forms of technology.

#22 The only place in the United States where coffee is grown commercially is in Hawaii.

#23 The original name of the city of Atlanta was “Terminus“.

#24 The state with the most millionaires per capita is Maryland.

#25 There are more than 4 million adult websites on the Internet, and they get more traffic than Netflix, Amazon and Twitter combined.

#26 86 percent of men include “having children” in their definition of success.  For women, that number is only 73 percent.

#27 One survey of 50-year-old men in the U.S. found that only 12 percent of them said that they were “very happy”.

#28 The United States has 845 motor vehicles for every 1,000 people.  Japan only has 593 for every 1,000 people, and Germany only has 540 for every 1,000 people.

#29 The average American spends more than 10 hours a day using an electronic device.

#30 48 percent of all Americans do not have any emergency supplies in their homes whatsoever.

#31 There are three towns in the United States that have the name “Santa Claus“.

#32 There is actually a town in Michigan called “Hell“.

#33 There are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body.  If they were stretched out in a single line, they could go around the planet more than twice.

 

They Are Slowly Making Cash Illegal

Cash - Public DomainThe move to a cashless society won’t happen overnight.  Instead, it is being implemented very slowly and systematically in a series of incremental steps.  All over the planet, governments are starting to place restrictions on the use of cash for security reasons.  As citizens, we are being told that this is being done to thwart criminals, terrorists, drug runners, money launderers and tax evaders.  Other forms of payment are much easier for governments to track, and so they very much prefer them.  But we are rapidly getting to the point where the use of cash is considered to be a “suspicious activity” all by itself.  These days, if you pay a hotel bill with cash or if you pay for several hundred dollars worth of goods at a store with cash you are probably going to get looked at funny.  You see, the truth is that we have already been trained to regard the use of large amounts of cash to be unusual.  The next step will be to formally ban large cash transactions like France and other countries in Europe are already doing.

Starting in September, cash transactions of more than 1,000 euros will be banned in France.  The following comes from a recent Zero Hedge article which detailed what these new restrictions will do…

Prohibiting  French residents from making cash payments of more than 1,000 euros, down from the current limit of  3,000 euros.

Given the parlous state of the stagnating French economy the limit for foreign tourists on currency payments will remain higher, at 10,000 euros down from the current limit of 15,000 euros.

The threshold below which a French resident is  free to convert euros into other currencies without having to show an identity card will be slashed from the current level of 8,000 euros to 1,000 euros.

In addition any cash deposit or withdrawal of more than 10,000 euros during a single month will be reported to the French anti-fraud and money laundering agency Tracfin.

French authorities will also have to be notified of any freight transfers within the EU exceeding 10,000 euros, including checks, pre-paid cards, or gold.

Of course Spain has already banned cash transactions of more than 2,500 euros and Italy has already banned cash transactions of more than 1,000 euros.

We don’t have these kinds of outright bans in the United States just yet, but what we do have are some very strict reporting requirements.

For example, if you regularly deposit large amounts of cash, there is a very good chance that you have been the subject of a “suspicious activity report”.  In 2013, approximately 1.6 million suspicious activity reports were submitted to the federal government.

The following guidelines for when a suspicious activity report should be filed come from a government website

*****

Banks, bank holding companies, and their subsidiaries are required by federal regulations53 to file a SAR with respect to:

  • Criminal violations involving insider abuse in any amount.
  • Criminal violations aggregating $5,000 or more when a suspect can be identified.
  • Criminal violations aggregating $25,000 or more regardless of a potential suspect.
  • Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more, if the bank or affiliate knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that the transaction:
    • May involve potential money laundering or other illegal activity (e.g., terrorism financing).54
    • Is designed to evade the BSA or its implementing regulations.55
    • Has no business or apparent lawful purpose or is not the type of transaction that the particular customer would normally be expected to engage in, and the bank knows of no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining the available facts, including the background and possible purpose of the transaction.

*****

Most people don’t realize this, but there are minimum quotas for suspicious activity reports that banks must meet.  If they do not submit enough suspicious activity reports, they can be fined (or worse).

And now the Obama administration is saying that just filling out suspicious activity reports may not be good enough.

According to the Wall Street Journal, banks are actually being encouraged to directly contact law enforcement if they see something that does not look right…

The U.S. Justice Department’s criminal head said banks may need to go beyond filing suspicious activity reports when they encounter a risky customer.

“The vast majority of financial institutions file suspicious activity reports when they suspect that an account is connected to nefarious activity,” said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell in a Monday speech, according to prepared remarks. “But, in appropriate cases, we encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem.”

The remarks indicate that banks may be expected to do more than just file SARs, a responsibility that itself can be expensive and time-consuming.

That should send a chill up your spine.

In a recent piece, Simon Black imagined a future scenario in which some unsuspecting American citizen goes to the bank to withdraw a large amount of cash…

Imagine going to the bank to withdraw some cash.

Having some cash on hand is always a prudent strategy, and especially today when more and more bank deposits are creeping into negative territory, meaning that you have to pay the banks for the privilege that they gamble with your money.

You tell the teller that you’d like to withdraw $5,000 from your account. She hesitates nervously and wants to know why.

You try to politely let her know that that’s none of the bank’s business as it’s your money.

The teller disappears for a few minutes, leaving you waiting.

When she returns she tells you that you can collect your money in a few days as they don’t have it on hand at the moment.

Slightly irritated because of the inconvenience, you head home.

But as you pull into your driveway later there’s an unexpected surprise waiting for you: two police officers would like to have a word with you about your intended withdrawal earlier…

Perhaps you don’t think that anything like that could ever happen to you.

Well, consider what the feds are doing to one widow in Iowa

A widow’s bank account was seized by the IRS and she now faces criminal charges for depositing her legal inheritance money in lumps instead of all together.

Janet Malone, 68, had $18,775 seized from her — money that was legally earned and was legally bestowed to her by her late husband, Ronald Malone. The problem, according to the government, was the fact that she deposited it in several lumps instead of all at once.

According to the Associated Press, Mrs. Malone deposited the cash in increments between $5,800 and $9,000. The widow’s private financial affairs evidently set off red flags under the watchful gaze of the federal government.

Remember, she was not guilty of committing any crime other than depositing cash in lumps instead of all at once.

If this is how ruthless the feds will be with an elderly widow, how would they treat you under similar circumstances?

So why are they doing this?

The truth is that they want to discourage the public from using cash.  Our government, just like governments all over the planet, is not being shy about the fact that it does not like cash.  If they can make people afraid to use cash, that suits their purposes very well.

And with each passing year the restrictions on the use of cash globally will just get tighter and tighter and the role that cash plays in our lives will just become smaller and smaller.

In the end, a transition to an almost entirely cashless society will seem almost natural.  Cash is being killed off one slow step at a time, and at this point hardly anyone is objecting.

How Much Time Do Americans Spend Plugged Into The Matrix Every Day?

The Matrix - Public DomainThe average American spends more than 10 hours a day using an electronic device.  And most of that activity is not even interactive.  The vast majority of the time we are just passively absorbing content that someone else has created.  This very much reminds me of the movie “the Matrix”, but with a twist.  Instead of humans being forcefully connected to “the Matrix”, we are all willingly connecting ourselves to it.  There is a giant system that defines our reality for us, and the length of time that the average American spends connected to it just continues to keep growing.  In fact, there are millions upon millions of us that simply do not “feel right” unless there is at least something on in the background.  Just think about it.  How much time do you spend each day with all electronic devices completely turned off?  Thanks to technology, we live at a time when more news, information and entertainment is at our fingertips than ever before, and we are consuming more of it than ever before.  But this also gives a tremendous amount of power to those that create all of this news, information and entertainment.  As I have written about previously, more than 90 percent of the “programming” that we absorb is created by just 6 enormously powerful media corporations.  Our conversations, attitudes, opinions and belief systems are constantly being shaped by those entities.  Unfortunately, most of us are content to just sit back and let it happen.

The following numbers regarding the media consumption habits of average Americans come directly from Nielsen’s most recent “Total Audience Report“.  The amount of time per day that Americans spend using these devices is absolutely staggering…

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

When you add it all up, the average American spends more than 10 hours a day plugged into the Matrix.

You have heard the old saying “you are what you eat”, right?

Well, the same applies to what we put into our brains.

When you put garbage in, you are going to get garbage out.

In my recent article entitled “It’s Official: Americans R Stupid“, I discussed how the U.S. population is being systematically “dumbed down” and how we are now one of the least intelligent industrialized nations on the entire planet.

A big contributor to our intellectual and social demise is the Matrix that has been constructed all around us.

Virtually every television show, movie, song, book, news broadcast and talk show is trying to shape how you view reality.  Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly being bombarded with messages about what is true and what is not, about what is right and what is wrong, and about what really matters and what is unimportant.  Even leaving something out or ignoring something completely can send an extremely powerful message.

In this day and age, it is absolutely imperative that we all learn to think for ourselves.  But instead, most people seem more than content to let the Matrix do their thinking for them.  If you listen carefully, you will notice that most of our conversations with one another are based on programming from the Matrix.  We all love to talk about the movie that we just saw, or what happened on the latest reality show, or what some famous celebrity is doing, or what we saw on the news that morning.  The things that matter to us in life are the things that the Matrix tells us should matter.

And if someone comes along with information that contradicts the Matrix, that can cause anger and confusion.

I can’t tell you how many times someone has said something like the following to me…

“If that was true I would have seen it on the news.”

To many people, the Matrix is the ultimate arbiter of truth in our society, and so anything that contradicts the Matrix cannot possibly be accurate.

Fortunately, more people than ever are waking up enough to realize that they have a choice.

It is kind of like that moment in the Matrix when Neo is being offered the red pill and the blue pill.

Admittedly, a lot of people that do begin to wake up choose to take the blue pill and go back to sleep.

But there are so many others that are grabbing the red pill.  That is why we have seen such an explosion in the popularity of the alternative media in recent years.  Millions of people all over the planet now understand that they are not getting the truth from the Matrix and they are hungry for real information.

Yes, the Internet is being used for unspeakable evil, but it can also be used for great good.  The Internet has allowed ordinary people like you and I to communicate on a mass scale like never before in history.  The Internet has allowed us to reclaim at least some of the power that we have lost to the Matrix.  I don’t know how long this period of history will last, so we should make full use out of this great tool while we still have it.

On my own website, I have felt called to mainly focus on economics in recent years.  And I will continue to chronicle economic conditions as we descend into the greatest economic crisis in U.S. history.  What is coming is going to be worse than 2008, it is going to be worse than the Great Depression, and it is ultimately going to be worse than most Americans would ever dare to imagine.

But I also want to take my readers on a journey down the rabbit hole.

Our world is about to get really, really strange, and I would like to be a light in the chaos.

Yes, I believe that great darkness is coming.  But I also believe that a great awakening is coming.

Personally, I believe that it is a great privilege to be alive at this time in human history.

It is a time of great evil, but it is also a time of great opportunity.

It is a time when everything that can be shaken will be shaken, but it will also be a time when those that stand for what is right will shine like the stars.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to add your two cents by posting a comment below…

It’s Official: Americans R Stupid

Brain - Public DomainAs Americans, we tend to be pretty full of ourselves, and this is especially true of our young people.  But do we really have reason for such pride?  According to a shocking new report from the Educational Testing Service, Americans between the ages of 20 and 34 are way behind young adults in other industrialized nations when it comes to literacy, mathematics and technological proficiency.  Even though more Americans than ever are going to college, we continue to fall farther and farther behind intellectually.  So what does this say about us?  Sadly, the truth is that Americans are stupid.  Our education system is an abysmal failure, and our young people spend most of their free time staring at the television, their computers or their mobile devices.  And until we are honest with ourselves about this, our intellectual decline is going to get even worse.

According to this new report from the Educational Testing Service, at this point American Millennials that have a four year college degree are essentially on the same intellectual level as young adults in Japan, Finland and the Netherlands that only have a high school degree

Americans born after 1980 are lagging their peers in countries ranging from Australia to Estonia, according to a new report from researchers at the Educational Testing Service (ETS). The study looked at scores for literacy and numeracy from a test called the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies, which tested the abilities of people in 22 countries.

The results are sobering, with dire implications for America. It hints that students may be falling behind not only in their early educational years but at the college level. Even though more Americans between the ages of 20 to 34 are achieving higher levels of education, they’re still falling behind their cohorts in other countries. In Japan, Finland and the Netherlands, young adults with only a high school degree scored on par with American Millennials holding four-year college degrees, the report said.

How in the world is that possible?

I can tell you how that is possible – our colleges are a joke.  But more on that in a moment.

Out of 22 countries, the report from the Educational Testing Service found that Americans were dead last in tech proficiency.  We were also dead last in numeracy and only two countries performed worse than us when it came to literacy proficiency

Half of American Millennials score below the minimum standard of literacy proficiency. Only two countries scored worse by that measure: Italy (60 percent) and Spain (59 percent). The results were even worse for numeracy, with almost two-thirds of American Millennials failing to meet the minimum standard for understanding and working with numbers. That placed U.S. Millennials dead last for numeracy among the study’s 22 developed countries.

It is in this type of environment that Coca-Cola can be marketed to Americans as “a healthy snack“.

As I mentioned above, our system of education is one of the biggest culprits.  From the first grade all the way through post-graduate education, the quality of education that our young people are receiving is absolutely pathetic.  In a previous article, I highlighted some statistics from USA Today about the declining state of college education in America…

-“After two years in college, 45% of students showed no significant gains in learning; after four years, 36% showed little change.”

-“Students also spent 50% less time studying compared with students a few decades ago”

-“35% of students report spending five or fewer hours per week studying alone.”

-“50% said they never took a class in a typical semester where they wrote more than 20 pages”

-“32% never took a course in a typical semester where they read more than 40 pages per week.”

I have sat in many of these kinds of college courses.  It doesn’t take much brain power to pass the multiple choice tests that most college professors give these days.  The truth is that if you fail out of college you really, really have to try hard.

In another previous article I shared some examples of real courses that have been taught at U.S. universities in recent years…

-“What If Harry Potter Is Real?

-“Lady Gaga and the Sociology of Fame

-“Philosophy And Star Trek

-“Learning From YouTube

-“How To Watch Television

-“Oh, Look, a Chicken!

This is a national crisis.  Parents should be screaming bloody murder about the quality of the education that their children are receiving.  But because very few of them actually know what is going on, they just continue to write out huge tuition checks all the time believing that their kids are being prepared for the real world.

To show how “dumbed down” we have become, I want to share with you a copy of an eighth grade exam from 1912 that was donated to the Bullitt County History Museum in Kentucky.

Would eighth grade students be able to pass such an exam today?

Would college students?

As you look over this exam from 1912, ask yourself how you would do on it…

Eighth-Grade-Exam

In addition, I find it very interesting that the reading level of the State of the Union addresses delivered by our presidents has steadily declined since the inception of this nation.

And it should be no surprise that Barack Obama’s State of the Union addresses have been some of the dumbest of all.

But could it be possible that I am being too harsh?

After all, scientists are now discovering that our diminishing intellectual capabilities are actually the consequence of natural processes.

For example, a Stanford University biology professor named Gerald R. Crabtree has published two papers in which he detailed his conclusion that humans have been getting dumber for thousands of years

Are humans becoming smarter or more stupid? Comparing our modern lives and technology with that of any preceding generation, one might think we are becoming increasingly smarter. But, in two papers published in Trends in Genetics, Gerald R. Crabtree of Stanford University claims that we are losing mental capacity and have been doing so for 2,000–6,000 years! The reason, Crabtree concludes, is due to genetic mutations—which are the backbone of neo-Darwinian evolution.

Why is this happening?

Professor Crabtree believes that this loss of intellectual capability is due to the accumulation of errors in our genes

Based on data produced by the 1000 Genomes Project Consortium and two recent papers in Nature, Crabtree estimates in the first article that, in the past 3,000 years (approximately 120 generations), about 5,000 new mutations have occurred in the genes governing our intellectual ability. He claims most of these mutations will have no effect, while about 2–5 percent are deleterious and “a vanishingly small fraction will increase fitness.” Crabtree bases his conclusion that humankind is losing mental capacity on the ratio between the deleterious and the beneficial mutations.

Our DNA is mutating, and it has been for thousands of years.  And no, those mutations are not helping us.  Each one of us has tens of thousands of errors in our DNA that we have inherited, and we will add even more errors which we will pass on to future generations.

Given enough time, many scientists believe that humanity would eventually degenerate into a bunch of gibbering idiots incapable of rational thought.

Or could it be possible that a large segment of the population has already arrived at that state?

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

 

California Is Turning Back Into A Desert And There Are No Contingency Plans

Drought - Public DomainOnce upon a time, much of the state of California was a barren desert.  And now, thanks to the worst drought in modern American history, much of the state is turning back into one.  Scientists tell us that the 20th century was the wettest century that the state of California had seen in 1000 years.  But now weather patterns are reverting back to historical norms, and California is rapidly running out of water.  It is being reported that the state only has approximately a one year supply of water left in the reservoirs, and when the water is all gone there are no contingency plans.  Back in early 2014, California Governor Jerry Brown declared a drought emergency for the entire state, but since that time water usage has only dropped by 9 percent.  That is not nearly enough.  The state of California has been losing more than 12 million acre-feet of total water a year since 2011, and we are quickly heading toward an extremely painful water crisis unlike anything that any of us have ever seen before.

But don’t take my word for it.  According to the Los Angeles Times, Jay Famiglietti “is the senior water scientist at the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/Caltech and a professor of Earth system science at UC Irvine”.  What he has to say about the horrific drought in California is extremely sobering

As our “wet” season draws to a close, it is clear that the paltry rain and snowfall have done almost nothing to alleviate epic drought conditions. January was the driest in California since record-keeping began in 1895. Groundwater and snowpack levels are at all-time lows. We’re not just up a creek without a paddle in California, we’re losing the creek too.

Data from NASA satellites show that the total amount of water stored in the Sacramento and San Joaquin river basins — that is, all of the snow, river and reservoir water, water in soils and groundwater combined — was 34 million acre-feet below normal in 2014. That loss is nearly 1.5 times the capacity of Lake Mead, America’s largest reservoir.

Statewide, we’ve been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011. Roughly two-thirds of these losses are attributable to groundwater pumping for agricultural irrigation in the Central Valley. Farmers have little choice but to pump more groundwater during droughts, especially when their surface water allocations have been slashed 80% to 100%. But these pumping rates are excessive and unsustainable. Wells are running dry. In some areas of the Central Valley, the land is sinking by one foot or more per year.

Are you starting to understand why so many experts are so alarmed?

For much more from Famiglietti, check out this 60 Minutes interview.

According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, essentially the entire state is suffering drought conditions right now.  And as you can see from the map below, most of the state is currently experiencing either the highest or the second-highest classification of drought…

US Drought Monitor California 2015

Nearly 40 million people live in the state of California at the moment.

What are they all going to do when the water is gone?

In some rural areas, reservoirs are already nearly bone dry.  And in other areas, the water quality has gone way down.  For example, in one Southern California neighborhood black water is now coming out of the taps

Residents of a Southern California neighborhood are concerned about the fact that the water flowing out of the taps in their homes is the color black. That’s right; the water coming out of their faucets is indeed black — not gray, not cloudy — but black. Inky, opaque black water that the water company says is okay to drink.

Those who live in Gardena, California, are understandably skeptical when asked to consume water that strongly resembles crude oil or something emitted by a squid. The water reportedly also has an “odor of rotten eggs or sewer smell,” according to one resident.

Perhaps you don’t care about what happens to California.

Perhaps you believe that they are just getting what they deserve.

And you might be right about that.

But the truth is that this is a crisis for all of us, because an enormous amount of our fresh produce is grown in the state.

As I discussed in a previous article, the rest of the nation is very heavily dependent on the fruits and vegetables grown in California.  The following numbers represent California’s contribution to our overall production…

-99 percent of the artichokes

-44 percent of asparagus

-two-thirds of carrots

-half of bell peppers

-89 percent of cauliflower

-94 percent of broccoli

-95 percent of celery

-90 percent of the leaf lettuce

-83 percent of Romaine lettuce

-83 percent of fresh spinach

-a third of the fresh tomatoes

-86 percent of lemons

-90 percent of avocados

-84 percent of peaches

-88 percent of fresh strawberries

-97 percent of fresh plums

Without the agricultural production of the state of California, we are in a massive amount of trouble.

And of course there are other areas all over the globe that are going through similar things.  For instance, taps in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paolo are running dry as Brazil experiences the worst drought that it has seen in 80 years.

The world simply does not have enough fresh water left at this point, and that is why water is being called “the new oil”.  The following comes from CBS News

It’s been said that the wars of the 21st century may well be fought over water. The Earth’s population has more than doubled over the last 50 years and the demand for fresh water — to drink and to grow food — has surged along with it. But sources of water like rainfall, rivers, streams, reservoirs, certainly haven’t doubled. So where is all that extra water coming from? More and more, it’s being pumped out of the ground.

Water experts say groundwater is like a savings account — something you draw on in times of need. But savings accounts need to be replenished, and there is new evidence that so much water is being taken out, much of the world is in danger of a groundwater overdraft.

And if scientists are right, what we are experiencing right now may just be the very beginning of our problems.  In fact, one team of researchers has concluded that the Southwestern United States is headed for a “megadrought” that could last for decades

Scientists had already found that the Southwestern United States were at great risk of experiencing a significant megadrought (in this case meaning drought conditions that last for over 35 years) before the end of the 21st century. But a new study published in Science Advances added some grim context to those predictions.

Columbia University climate scientists Jason Smerdon and Benjamin Cook, and Cornell University’s Toby Ault were co-authors on the study. They took data from tree rings and other environmental records of climate from the Southwest and compared them to the projections of 17 different climate models that look at precipitation and soil moisture. When they made the comparison between past and future, they found that all the models agreed: the next big megadrought is coming, and it will be way worse than anything we’ve seen in over 1,000 years–including droughts that have been credited with wiping out civilizations.

Needless to say, along with any water crisis comes a food crisis.

Virtually everything that we eat requires a tremendous amount of water to grow.  And at this point, the world is already eating more food than it produces most years.

So what is going to happen to us as this water crisis gets even worse?

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

Why I Wouldn’t Want To Be A Police Officer In America Today

Police - Public DomainCan you imagine going to work each day knowing that there are lots of people out there that would love to see you dead?  Despite what a lot of Americans may think, it takes real courage to be a police officer in this country today.  Every time you put on that uniform and walk out the front door, it might be the very last time that you ever see your spouse and family.  Yes, there is a whole lot of needless police brutality in the United States in 2015, and I am going to address that later in this article.  But most police officers are just regular people that are trying to do their jobs and serve their communities.  And on Wednesday, we got a reminder of just how dangerous those jobs can be.  At around midnight on Wednesday, two Ferguson police officers were ambushed.  A 32-year-old officer named Webster Groves was shot just beneath his right eye, and another 41-year-old officer was hit in the shoulder.  Sadly, this is probably only just the beginning.  Racial tensions continue to escalate, and we are on the verge of a great financial crisis which will cause economic conditions in our cities to deteriorate rapidly.  By the end of this decade, I fully expect civil unrest, rioting, looting and mindless violence to become commonplace in large cities all across America.  In such an environment, it will be extremely dangerous to be a police officer.

The good news for the two police officers that got shot in Ferguson is that it looks like they are going to be okay.

But the same cannot be said for many other police officers that have been ambushed over the past year.

According to CNN, the number of police officers that were shot to death increased by more than 50 percent in 2014…

The number of law enforcement officers shot to death in the line of duty is up by more than 50% this year, and the leading method of those shootings was ambush-style attack.

That’s according to the nonprofit Washington-based National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, which released its findings Tuesday.

And like I said, this is probably only just the beginning.

Sadly, a whole lot more police are going to die before this is all over.

You can try to blame this latest incident in Ferguson on a “deranged individual” if you want, but I think that the reactions that we saw on social media to these police shootings say a whole lot about where we are as a country.

In the immediate aftermath of the shootings, a lot of people were actually celebrating.  The following is a sampling of comments  from Twitter

-#ChiefJackson steps down and two pigs get shot? Best day #Ferguson has had in years

-im glad 2 pigs wounded in #Ferguson lol

-#Ferguson kill the pigs

-serves those two pigs right, i hope organized public militancy continues #ferguson

-#Ferguson pigs shouldnt grab ppl; thugs deserved it. Wish it was #DarrenWilson. Sound familiar? #MichaelBrown #VonderittMyers #AntonioMartin

-Racist cops shot not gonna cry 4 pigs #Ferguson

-I heard two pigs in #Ferguson got shot? We’re they left on the ground bleeding out and dead like Mike Brown?

-hopefully they’ll be off the street for a long time. two less pigs out harassing & kidnapping people. #Ferguson

Could you imagine trying to be a police officer in Ferguson in this kind of environment?

And it isn’t as if we didn’t see this coming.  Just consider an excerpt from an article that I authored a while back entitled “It’s WAR On The Streets Of America“…

The mainstream media and many national leaders on the left end of the spectrum have been stirring up strife and division for months on end.  So now a toxic environment has been created which is inevitably going to lead to even more violence.  At some recent “protest marches”, we have heard demonstrators enthusiastically chant extremely threatening slogans such as this: “What do we want? Dead cops!”  And when news broke that Ismaaiyl Brinsley had brutally murdered two NYPD police officers, lots of very twisted people on Twitter were actually celebrating.

The sick thing is that there are a lot of people out there that actually want to turn this into a full-blown war.  Some want a race war, some want a “war on cops”, and others just seem to want a general excuse for crime, looting and mayhem.

Unfortunately, if I am right, this is just a small preview of what we can expect in the years ahead.  Just like we have witnessed in Ferguson, I anticipate that we will eventually see a number of our larger cities burn.

And it never had to be this way.

Why can’t we all just love, respect and honor one another?

Yes, police brutality in the United States is wildly out of control.  In many areas of the nation, police officers are actually trained to bark orders, act like thugs and physically abuse people at the drop of a hat.  Our entire culture of policing needs to change.

I think that John W. Whitehead put it very aptly in one of his recent commentaries

For those of us who have managed to survive 2014 with our lives intact and our freedoms hanging by a thread, it has been a year of crackdowns, clampdowns, shutdowns, showdowns, shootdowns, standdowns, knockdowns, putdowns, breakdowns, lockdowns, takedowns, slowdowns, meltdowns, and never-ending letdowns.

We’ve been held up, stripped down, faked out, photographed, frisked, fracked, hacked, tracked, cracked, intercepted, accessed, spied on, zapped, mapped, searched, shot at, tasered, tortured, tackled, trussed up, tricked, lied to, labeled, libeled, leered at, shoved aside, saddled with debt not of our own making, sold a bill of goods about national security, tuned out by those representing us, tossed aside, and taken to the cleaners.

As I point out in my book A Government of Wolves: The Emerging American Police State, we’ve had our freedoms turned inside out, our democratic structure flipped upside down, and our house of cards left in a shambles.

We’ve had our children burned by flashbang grenades, our dogs shot, and our old folks hospitalized after accidental” encounters with marauding SWAT teams. We’ve been told that as citizens we have no rights within 100 miles of our own border, now considered “Constitution-free zones.” We’ve had our faces filed in government databases, our biometrics crosschecked against criminal databanks, and our consumerist tendencies catalogued for future marketing overtures.

Now a large segment of our population either detests the police or is extremely fearful of ever dealing with them.

Is that a recipe for a healthy society?

Police brutality has become a permanent part of our culture, and that has got to change.  If it doesn’t, protests against the police are going to get worse and worse.

But what most protesters don’t seem to understand is that we actually need the police.

Without the police, our society would descend into utter chaos very rapidly.  Thanks to unchecked illegal immigration, there are approximately 1.4 million gang members roaming our cities now.  And the moral decay that we see all around us is getting worse with each passing year.  We are a nation that is absolutely teeming with addicts, sickos, perverts and psychopaths.  I don’t even want to imagine what our society would look like without police.

Like I said, most police officers are just average people that are trying to do their jobs and serve their communities.

Unfortunately for them, their jobs are becoming a lot more difficult and a lot more dangerous.

So what do you think?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

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