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Do You Remember When Black Friday Actually Still Mattered In America?

Bored - Public DomainOnce upon a time, “Black Friday” was a major event in the United States.  Yes, the mainstream media is still endlessly hyping it up, and major retailers are still rolling out their “incredible deals”, but it appears that most Americans are tiring of this particular gimmick.  Or perhaps it is just that U.S. consumers don’t have as much discretionary income as they once did.  As you will see below, retail traffic this Black Friday was “much, much slower” than anticipated.  And expectations were not great anyway – the number of shoppers was down last year, and it was being projected that there would be another decline in 2015.  Yes, there were still a few fights on Black Friday, but mostly the “holiday” was marked by giant piles of unsold merchandise sitting around collecting dust.  The inventory to sales ratio in the U.S. has surged to levels not seen since the last recession, and so the truth is that most retailers were hoping for much more contrived chaos on Black Friday than we actually witnessed.

Personally, I wish that this whole phenomenon would just simply disappear, because it definitely doesn’t bring out the best in the American people.

Who wants to see fellow citizens trampling one another and fighting with one another for cheaply made electronics that aren’t even manufactured in this country anyway?

Black Friday was always a disgusting spectacle, and now it appear to be fading.

Let’s start with Thanksgiving sales.  More stores than ever are opening on Thanksgiving Day itself, and according to SunTrust that was a total “bust” this year…

We believe Thanksgiving shopping was a bust. We note that traffic seemed below last year both on- and off-mall. Members of our team who went to the malls first had no problem finding parking or navigating stores. Crowds were tame and, with some exceptions there seemed to be more browsing than buying and less items purchased. We heard many people discussing that deals were not that compelling compared to years past. Interestingly, many retailers closed at midnight- which contributed to a sharp decline in traffic shortly thereafter. Off-mall, members of our team visited Walmart and Target for the openings and had no problem finding parking. Customers at both were focused on electronics. Lines, even early, were about half of what they were last year and quickly dissipated. The only off-mall big box retailer we visited with consistently long lines and customers making multiple item purchases was Kohl’s — where buys were focused on deals not available online.

Once Black Friday rolled around, things didn’t get any better.  For example, one analyst said that traffic at the Mall of America didn’t “look much busier than an average Saturday morning”

At the Mall of America in Minneapolis, the largest in the country, Edward Yruma, managing director at KeyBanc Capital Markets, said he’s seeing less traffic than years past as well. He was there from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. last night and arrived again at 8 a.m. this morning.

It doesn’t look much busier than an average Saturday morning,” said Yruma.

And in North Carolina, retailers saw “much less traffic than was anticipated”

Jeff Simpson, a director at Deloitte Consulting LLP’s retail practice, surveyed shopping centers in North Carolina and saw smaller crowds than expected for Black Friday.

Across the board, much less traffic than was anticipated,” he said. “Much, much slower.”

Of course this wasn’t much of a surprise.  A global recession has already begun, and investors were dumping retail stocks ahead of Thanksgiving in anticipation of a horrible shopping season.  The following comes from the New York Post

Wall Street, fearful that consumers are running out of cash heading into the crucial Christmas retail season, are selling off retail stocks and everything else sensitive to consumer spending.

So why are consumers running out of cash?

Well, it is because the middle class is dying, poverty in America is exploding and the cost of living continues to soar.

Just look at what is happening to healthcare costs.  It turns out that employees that work for medium and large companies in the U.S. are now paying more than double for health insurance than they were a decade ago…

Employees of midsize and large companies in 2015 paid an average of $4,700 for their health insurance, up from $2,001 in 2005, according to recent analysis from Aon Hewitt.

For much more on how the cost of living is absolutely crippling families all over this nation, please see my previous article entitled “Inflation Is Crushing The Middle Class“.

Meanwhile, things continue to get worse around the rest of the globe as well.  The number of unemployed job seekers just hit a brand new record high in France, Puerto Rico is on the verge of a major debt default, and on Friday there was an absolutely massive stock market decline in China

In China, equities saw a significant sell off as a result of investigations by the Chinese securities regulatory body into several brokerages for breaking regulations. The Shanghai Composite closed 199 points, or 5.48 percent, lower; the Shenzhen Composite closed 6.1 percent lower, the Chinext was down 6.1 percent, and the CSI300 Index saw a decline of 5.38 percent.

Chinese brokerages took major hits, with Citic Securities, Founder Securities, and China Merchants closing 10.1, 10, and 9.98 percent lower after news broke that the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) has launched investigations into these firms to weed out short selling and speculation.

I hope that you enjoyed this Thanksgiving as much as you possibly could, because all of the underlying economic numbers are absolutely screaming that hard times are ahead.

This year, Americans are going to spend an average of $130 on “self-gifting” and more than $800 on the holiday season overall.  People are spending money that they don’t have on things that they don’t need, and meanwhile very few of us are actively preparing for what promises to be a very challenging 2016.

So yes, let us enjoy the time that we have with our families, but let us also not be completely oblivious to the huge changes that are literally happening all around us.

The Triumph Of Materialism: The Average American Will Spend 830 Dollars On Christmas In 2015

Christmas Gift - Public DomainHas there ever been a major holiday more focused on materialism than the modern American Christmas?  This year, Americans are planning to spend an average of 830 dollars on Christmas gifts, which represents a jump of 110 dollars over the average of 720 dollars last year.  But have our incomes gone up accordingly?  Of course not.  In fact, real median household income in the United States has been experiencing a steady long-term decline.  So in order to fund all of our Christmas spending, we have got to go into even more debt.  We love to pull out our credit cards and spend money that we do not have on lots of cheap, useless stuff made on the other side of the world by workers making slave labor wages.  We do the same thing year after year, and most of us have grown accustomed to the endless cycle of growing debt.  In fact, one Pew survey found that approximately 70 percent of all Americans believe that “debt is a necessity in their lives”.  But then we have to work our fingers to the bone to try to make the payments on all of that debt, not realizing that debt systematically impoverishes us.  It may be hard to believe, but if you have a single dollar in your pocket and no debt, you have a greater net worth than 25 percent of all Americans.  I know that sounds crazy, but it is true.

Overall, when you add up all forms of debt (consumer, business, local government, state government and federal government), Americans are more than 60 trillion dollars in debt.

Let that sink in for a bit.

40 years ago, that number was sitting at about 3 trillion dollars.

We have been on the greatest debt binge in the history of the world.  Even though we were “the wealthiest, most prosperous nation on the entire planet”, we always had to have more.  We just kept on borrowing and borrowing and borrowing from the future until we completely destroyed it.

And we still haven’t learned anything.  Instead, this Christmas season we will be partying like it’s 2007

Americans are planning on celebrating Christmas like it’s 2007.

A November survey by Gallup found that US adults are planning on spending about $830 on average on Christmas gifts this year.

That’s a huge jump from last year’s $720 average.

Notably, American consumers haven’t suggested a number that high since November 2007, when they were planning on spending $866 on average.

Sadly, our incomes simply do not justify this kind of extravagance.  As Zero Hedge has pointed out, household incomes “actually peaked at least 15 years ago in 81% of U.S. counties.”

So why can’t we adjust our lifestyles to match?

Why must we always have more?

Here are more details on our declining incomes from the Visual Capitalist

  • Income peaked one year ago for many of the counties that are a part of the shale boom. This includes much of North and South Dakota, as well as parts of Texas, Nebraska, and Oklahoma. Income in Washington, D.C. and neighboring Arlington County also peaked then.
  • In 1999, a total of 1,623 counties had their households reach peak income. The majority of these counties are in the Midwest and Southeast.
  • The most southern part of California and parts of New England both peaked around 25 years ago.
  • Many states along the Rocky Mountains such as Wyoming and Montana had counties that peaked roughly 35 years ago.
  • Household income peaked in upstate New York, the northern tip of California, and southern Nevada at the same time that humans were first landing on the moon in 1969.

But you won’t hear this reported on the mainstream news, will you?

They want us to think that happy days are here again.

The following chart comes from the Federal Reserve, and it shows that real median household income in the United States has been trending down since 1999…

Real Median Household Income - Federal Reserve

Americans should be having smaller Christmases instead of bigger ones, but that doesn’t fit the image of who we still think that we are.

Recently, I published an article entitled “Goodbye Middle Class: 51 Percent Of All American Workers Make Less Than 30,000 Dollars A Year” that was shared more than 44,000 times on Facebook.  In that article, I included brand new figures that were just released by the Social Security Administration.  As you can see, the quality of our jobs is not great…

-38 percent of all American workers made less than $20,000 last year.

-51 percent of all American workers made less than $30,000 last year.

-62 percent of all American workers made less than $40,000 last year.

-71 percent of all American workers made less than $50,000 last year.

Without a doubt, most American families should not be spending hundreds of dollars a year on Christmas gifts.

At these income levels, most American families are just barely surviving.

But once again this year, millions upon millions of Americans will flock to the malls and big box stores in a desperate attempt to make themselves happy.

Sadly, those efforts will be in vain.  In fact, in a previous article I highlighted the fact that Christmas is the unhappiest season of the year.  The suicide rate spikes to the highest level of the year during “the holidays”, and 45 percent of all Americans report that they dread the Christmas season.  The following is an excerpt from a Psychology Today article

We are told that Christmas, for Christians, should be the happiest time of year, an opportunity to be joyful and grateful with family, friends and colleagues. Yet, according to the National Institute of Health, Christmas is the time of year that people experience the highest incidence of depression. Hospitals and police forces report the highest incidences of suicide and attempted suicide. Psychiatrists, psychologists and other mental health professionals report a significant increase in patients complaining about depression. One North American survey reported that 45% of respondents dreaded the festive season.

In recent years, an increasing number of Americans have given up the tradition of Christmas gifts entirely, and many of them that I know seem quite happy to have done so.

Of course most people are still quite satisfied with the status quo, and there are many that will get very angry with you if you dare to suggest that the way that Americans celebrate Christmas has gotten way out of hand.

But shouldn’t it alarm us that for most Americans the biggest holiday of the year is all about the “stuff” they are going to buy, the “stuff” they are going to give and the “stuff” they are going to get?

As a society, we are obsessed with things, but those things are never going to make us happy.

Perhaps we should all take some time to reflect on the traditions that we choose to participate in and what they really mean to us during this “holiday season”…

America Is Charlie Sheen: The CDC Says There Are 20,000,000 New STD Cases In America Each Year

Charlie Sheen - Photo by Angela George on FlickrCharlie Sheen’s announcement that he is HIV positive has created a huge uproar as critics attack him from every direction, but the truth is that Charlie Sheen is simply a reflection of our society as a whole.  You see, the truth is that it isn’t just big Hollywood stars that are engaged in insanely risky sexual behavior.  According to the CDC, there are 110 million cases of sexually-transmitted disease in America today, and another 20 million STD cases are added to that total every year.  The United States has the highest STD infection rate in the entire industrialized world, and more than half of all Americans will have a sexually-transmitted disease at some point during their lives.  Approximately one out of every four teen girls in the U.S. has at least one sexually transmitted disease, and our nation spends $16,000,000,000 a year treating STDs.  So go ahead and point a finger at Charlie Sheen if you want, but just remember that he is only a very small part of a raging national epidemic.

Now don’t get me wrong – I am certainly not defending Charlie Sheen.  I am simply pointing out our hypocrisy.  We love to tear others down while not realizing our own faults.

On Tuesday morning, Charlie Sheen told the world that he is HIV positive.  The following is how USA Today announced the story…

Charlie Sheen is HIV positive, he told Matt Lauer during a much-touted exclusive Today show interview Tuesday morning.

The actor, whose drug use, rehab stints, legal issues, outbursts, on-set antics and many romantic entanglements have shaped his bad-boy image, confirmed the news, which had been swirling since Monday.

Of course Charlie Sheen is not being criticized for being HIV positive.  Rather, the reason why so many people are jumping on him is because he continued to have unprotected sex even after he learned that he had HIV

When Lauer asked Sheen if he had engaged in unprotected sex since his diagnosis, the actor responded in the affirmative. “The two people I did that with were under the care of my doctor and they were completely warned ahead of time.”

Talk about stupid.

And yet millions of other Americans are also running around having casual sex with people even after becoming infected with a sexually-transmitted disease.

For example, let’s take a look at chlamydia.  According to the CDC, last year we broke the all-time record for the number of new chlamydia cases reported…

Chlamydia cases had dipped in 2013, but last year’s total of more than 1.4 million — or 456 cases per 100,000 — was the highest number of annual cases of any condition ever reported to the CDC.

The chlamydia rate was up almost three percent from 2013, new figures revealed.

The CDC is also reporting that cases of gonorrhea and syphilis are rising as well

The CDC report revealed gonorrhea cases totaled 350,062, up five percent from 2013, and the most contagious forms of syphilis jumped 15 per cent to 20,000 cases.

What makes these numbers even more heartbreaking is the fact that our young people are being disproportionately hit by these diseases.

Of the 20 million new STD cases each year, Americans from the age of 15 to 24 account for about half of them.

This should not be happening.  We have dramatically failed our young people, and the numbers just keep getting worse.

But instead of changing course and trying to do things differently, our entire culture continues to promote casual sex.  As I wrote about just recently, the average American spends an average of 293 minutes a day watching television.  And these days it is hard to find any show on television that is not talking about sex, and sometimes the commercials are the worst.  I get so disgusted when I am trying to watch a football game and a Viagra commercial comes on.  The reason I get so disgusted is that I know that millions of little boys are watching the games along with their fathers, and these commercials are communicating things to them that they do not need to know yet.

We need to teach our young people that there are rules, and that there can be very serious consequences for breaking those rules.

Above, I wrote about the latest numbers for chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis, but there are other STDs that are raging out of control as well.  The following statistics for HBV, genital herpes and HPV come from the American Sexual Health Association

  • One out of 20 people in the United States will get infected with hepatitis B (HBV) some time during their lives. Hepatitis B is 100 times more infectious than HIV.
  • Approximately half of HBV infections are transmitted sexually. HBV is linked to chronic liver disease, including cirrhosis and liver cancer.
  • It is estimated that as many as one in five Americans have genital herpes, a lifelong (but manageable) infection, yet up to 90 percent of those with herpes are unaware they have it.
  • With more than 50 million adults in the US with genital herpes and up to 776,000 new infections each year, some estimates suggest that by 2025 up to 40% of all men and half of all women could be infected.
  • Over 14 million people acquire HPV each year, and by age 50, at least 80 percent of women will have acquired genital HPV infection. Most people with HPV do not develop symptoms.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that we have a massive problem in this country.

But we certainly don’t want to hear about “morality”, do we?

We don’t want it anywhere in our schools, in our courts, in our government or in our entertainment.

We just want to do whatever we want to do, but then we are shocked when we learn that there are very serious consequences for being so reckless.

This STD epidemic is going to continue to rage out of control until we find a solution.

So how do we solve this problem?

Is there any hope that things can be turned around?

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

Russia’s New ‘Nuclear Torpedo’ Can Create Giant Tsunamis And Wipe Out Entire Coastal Cities

Nuclear Explosion - Public DomainWhile the eyes of the world are on ISIS, Russia is creating weapons unlike anything the world has ever seen before.  Plans for a giant self-propelled nuclear torpedo that can create a giant tsunami more than 1,000 feet tall were recently “leaked by mistake” by the Russian media.  Apparently the warheads on these torpedos are designed to create so much radiation “that everything living will be killed” – including those that try to survive the attack by hiding in underground shelters.  These “robotic mini-submarines” would have a range of up to 10,000 kilometers and would be able to evade all existing U.S. detection systems.  To say that such a weapon would be a “game changer” would be a massive understatement.

I know that you are not just going to take my word for any of this.  So like I do in all of my articles, I am going to carefully document what I am saying.

The reason why we know about the plans for this new nuclear torpedo is because they were displayed on Russian state television for a few moments during a recent broadcast.  According to Russian officials, this was an “accident”.  The following comes from a report in the Independent

Secret plans for a new Russian nuclear torpedo system have been shown on state-controlled television in what the Kremlin said was an accident.

A close-up of a confidential document detailing “Ocean Multipurpose System: Status-6” was broadcast for several seconds by Channel One Russia and NTV during coverage of a meeting between Vladimir Putin and military officials.

Could it be possible that this “accident” happened on purpose?

Could it be possible that it was intended as a warning for the Obama administration?

You never know.

But without a doubt, this is the kind of weapon that would keep military planners up at night.  According to RT, this new nuclear torpedo is designed to create “extensive zones of radioactive contamination” that would ensure that no “military, economic, business or other activity” would occur in that area for a very long time…

The presentation slide titled “Ocean Multipurpose System: Status-6” showed some drawings of a new nuclear submarine weapons system. It is apparently designed to bypass NATO radars and any existing missile defense systems, while also causing heavy damage to “important economic facilities” along the enemy’s coastal regions.

The footnote to the slide stated that Status-6 is intended to cause “assured unacceptable damage” to an adversary force. Its detonation “in the area of the enemy coast” would result in “extensive zones of radioactive contamination” that would ensure that the region would not be used for “military, economic, business or other activity” for a “long time.”

In addition, Konstantin Sivkov of the Russian Geopolitical Academy told the BBC that this kind of weapon could be used to create a tsunami more than 1,000 feet high…

A warhead of up to 100 megatons could produce a tsunami up to 500m (1,650ft) high, wiping out all living things 1,500km (930 miles) deep inside US territory

As I have written about previously, a whopping 39 percent of all Americans live in counties that directly border a shoreline.  The detonation of just a handful of these weapons could wipe out the entire east coast and kill off a very substantial percentage of the U.S. population.

On top of all that, the BBC is reporting that a state-run Russian publication is suggesting that these new torpedos are being fitted with extremely radioactive cobalt warheads…

According to state-run Rossiiskaya Gazeta, the destructive power attributed to the new torpedo’s warhead would fit the description of a cobalt bomb.

That would be a type of thermonuclear warhead with a layer of cobalt-59, which on detonation would be transmuted into highly radioactive cobalt-60 with a half-life longer than five years.

Such a weapon would guarantee “that everything living will be killed”, the paper said – there would not even be any survivors in bunkers.

A cobalt bomb has never been tested because of the devastating radiation it would unleash.

Worst of all, we would have no advance warning that these torpedos were coming.  They can be launched from anywhere, they reportedly have a range of up to 10,000 kilometers, and they are designed to “avoid all acoustic tracking devices and other traps”

On the diagram the giant torpedo’s range is given as “up to 10,000km” (6,200 miles) and depth of trajectory is “up to 1,000m” (3,300ft).

It was developed by Rubin, a submarine design bureau in St Petersburg.

It would, apparently, be launched by nuclear-powered submarines of the 09852 “Belgorod” and 09851 “Khabarovsk” series.

Rossiiskaya Gazeta called the torpedo a “robotic mini-submarine”, travelling at 100 knots (185km/h; 115mph), which would “avoid all acoustic tracking devices and other traps”.

We already know that Russia has been building “black hole submarines” that NATO officials admit are undetectable.

So Russia already has the capability to approach our coastlines without us even knowing about it.

But these new nuclear torpedos take the game to an entirely new level.

And of course this is not the only new weapons system that Russia has been developing in anticipation of World War III.  Earlier this year, I discussed several more in an article entitled “The Next-Generation Weapons That Russia Will Use Against The United States In World War III“.

Sadly, the Obama administration seems almost totally oblivious to this threat.  Our strategic nuclear forces are so outdated that floppy disks and rotary phones are still being used, and Barack Obama is fond of saying that “the Cold War’s been over for 20 years“.

Unfortunately for us, the Russians do not see things the same way.  Anti-American sentiment inside Russia is at an all-time high, and every time the U.S. interferes in Syria or Ukraine the Russians get even angrier.

Just like we do, there are “talking heads” on Russian television that tell people what to think.  And many of these “talking heads” on Russian television are openly talking about how war with the United States is inevitable.  These days, the Russians consider themselves to be the great force for good in the world, and they consider America to be the great force for evil in the world.  In fact, one of their most popular talking heads named Alexander Dugin has publicly called the U.S. the “kingdom of the Antichrist”.

And even though the Russian economy has dipped into recession, the Russians continue to feverishly prepare for war.  This year alone, Russian military spending is up 33 percent.

Yes, ISIS is a far greater threat than most Americans would even dare to imagine as I discussed yesterday.  In the times to come, I fully expect to see terror attacks inside this country unlike anything we have ever seen before.

But I am completely convinced that the greater long-term strategic threat is Russia.

The Russians are feverishly preparing for World War III while Barack Obama acts like it could never possibly happen.

Hopefully Obama is right, because if he is wrong the consequences for this nation will be absolutely unthinkable.

Widespread Terrorism Is Just Part Of The Perfect Storm That Is Now Descending On The Western World

Perfect Storm - Public DomainWords cannot adequately describe the utter horror that was unleashed on the streets of Paris, France on Friday.  CNN is calling it “the worst violence witnessed in France since World War II“, and even though it happened a couple of days ago now, many of us are still having a really tough time processing what took place.  Somehow, a small group of less than 10 radical Islamists was able to unleash a coordinated wave of attacks that killed at least 129 people and injured at least 350.  All of this comes less than a year after the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris, and many in the western world are now starting to understand that something has fundamentally changed.  Even though France has a highly advanced anti-terrorism infrastructure, and even though it also has some of the strictest anti-gun laws in Europe, none of that did anything to prevent these attacks.  Despite all of our advanced technology, the openness of our society makes us highly vulnerable to Islamic terror.  And as more waves of refugees from the Middle East are absorbed by both Europe and the United States, it is inevitable that there will be more attacks like this.

According to Google, the definition of a “soft target” is “a person or thing that is relatively unprotected or vulnerable, especially to military or terrorist attack.”  And as we just saw in France, the western world is literally teeming with soft targets.  I am talking about sporting events, concert halls, schools, churches, shopping malls, power stations, water treatment facilities, mass transit, etc.

For those that wish to create terror, the opportunities are endless.

In the western world, we generally rely on certain deterrents in order to maintain order.  Most sane people do not want to be shot, and most sane people do not want to go to prison.

But what do you do when there are large numbers of crazy people that are actually looking forward to being martyrs?

We don’t really have a defense for the kind of attack that we just witnessed in France.  What can you really do when you are dealing with large numbers of homicidal maniacs that are not afraid to die and that can strike anywhere at any time?  Unless you can identify the terrorists or their plans ahead of time, it becomes a guessing game.

And the level of evil demonstrated by these terrorists is truly astounding.  At the Bataclan Theater, two of the terrorists fired their AK-47s indiscriminately into the crowd for a full 10 minutes

At the Bataclan Theater, at least 75 people attending a concert by a U.S. rock band were killed and many more injured, according to authorities. Eyewitnesses spoke of two young men armed with AK47 assault rifles firing repetitively and dispassionately into the crowded venue, targeting helpless victims cowering on the floor.

Julien Pearce, a radio reporter who was inside the concert hall, told CNN he saw two terrorists at the back of the venue, “firing randomly to the crowd. People yelled, screamed, everybody lying on the floor. And it lasted for ten minutes, ten minutes, ten horrific minutes, where everybody was on the floor covering their heads.”

But these latest attacks are just part of a wider trend of chaos and terror that has descended upon western Europe.  For much, much more on this, please check out this video.

Sadly, what Europe is currently experiencing is coming here too.

When I first start dealing with someone new, I watch to see if that individual will actually follow through on what he or she has promised.  Sometimes this happens, but sometimes it does not.

In the case of ISIS, I would have to say that they are indeed following through on what they said they would do.  Tonight, much of Europe is completely gripped by fear and terror, and the head of ISIS has promised a “direct confrontation” with the United States as well…

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), issued a rare audio message back on January 21 in which he flatly stated his group’s intention to march on Baghdad and move into “direct confrontation” with the United States.

“Our last message is to the Americans. Soon we will be in direct confrontation, and the sons of Islam have prepared for such a day,” Baghdadi said. “So watch, for we are with you, watching.”

As WND has pointed out, there have been dozens of Islamic terror attacks on U.S. soil since 2001, but most of them have been relatively small.

Unfortunately, I believe that we are moving into a new era.  Instead of just being satisfied with killing dozens or hundreds of people, these terrorists will start getting a hold of weapons that can kill thousands.  Eventually we will see terror attacks inside this country that will make 9/11 look like a Sunday picnic.  And Barack Obama is certainly not helping things by “resettling” thousands upon thousands of Syrian refugees in communities all over America.

Of course increasing terror is just a part of the overall picture.  Many have described what is coming to the United States and Europe as a “perfect storm”, and I would agree with that assessment.

Even without Islamic terror, we live at a time of rising civil unrest.  The deep divisions in our country have been demonstrated by what happened in Ferguson, in Baltimore and more recently at the University of Missouri.  Americans are angrier and more frustrated than ever before, and the mainstream media is constantly playing up the divisions between various groups.  And thanks to Barack Obama’s refusal to protect our borders, there are now 1.4 million members of criminal gangs living in our cities.  Violent crime is already on the rise in our urban areas, and it is going to get even worse as we plunge into recession.  For instance, the city of Baltimore recently recorded its 300th homicide of the year after only seeing 211 for all of 2014.  Our major cities have never been more primed for civil unrest, and I believe that we are going to see widespread rioting, looting and chaos in the years ahead as the economy totally falls to pieces.

In addition to increased Islamic terror and civil unrest, I also believe we are moving into a time of great governmental shaking, increased tensions between global superpowers, unprecedented natural disasters, and the greatest financial unraveling the world has ever seen.

All of these trends will feed into one another to create the “perfect storm” that I mentioned earlier.  What this is going to mean is a dramatic change in our standard of living, our liberties and freedoms will continue to be stripped away, and our world is going to be transformed at a pace that very few of us ever imagined was possible.

If you have the feeling that everything has changed after what just happened in France, you are right.

But this is just the beginning.

What is coming in the weeks and months ahead is going to be even worse, and it is going to shock the entire planet.

Ted Koppel Is Buying Freeze-Dried Food For The Day When A Cyberattack Takes Out The Power Grid

Central Park - Public DomainMost Americans have absolutely no idea how incredibly vulnerable our electrical grid is, but Ted Koppel does.  For many years, Koppel was the level-headed host of Nightline on ABC, but now he is issuing a very chilling warning to America.  For more than a year, he investigated potential threats to our power grid, and he has detailed what he discovered in a new book entitled “Lights Out“.  He is convinced that a massive cyberattack could take down our entire electrical grid for an extended period of time, and he was horrified to learn that the Department of Homeland Security really doesn’t have a plan for how to deal with this kind of a scenario.

What Koppel found out during the course of his investigation freaked him out so much that he actually decided to buy freeze-dried food for himself, his children, and even his grandchildren.  The following comes from CBS News

In “Lights Out,” Koppel paints a grim picture of a paralyzing power outage in the form of an all-out cyberattack on the nation’s electrical grid.

“It’s frightening,” Koppel said. “I mean, it is frightening enough that my wife and I decided we were going to buy enough freeze-dried food for all of our kids and their kids.”

Koppel believes that Russia, China and Iran already have the ability to conduct such attacks.  And actually, the truth is that many other nations such as North Korea have been rapidly developing the capability to conduct such operations as well.

It is only a matter of time until we see absolutely massive cyberattacks unleashed against national power grids, and the United States is the most likely target.  Unfortunately for us, our government has done very little to prepare for this eventuality.  Here is more from CBS News

Koppel says the one agency that would be ready to counter a cyberattack such as this is the Department of Homeland Security. But are they ready?

“No,” he said. “I’ve talked to every former Secretary of Homeland Security, and they all acknowledge there is no plan.”

And the current Secretary, Jeh Johnson, didn’t offer much guidance to Koppel, either: “I kept asking ‘What’s the plan?’ Why wait until disaster strikes? Why not tell ’em? Do you have a plan?’ And he just sort of pointed up at a shelf filled with white binders and he said, ‘Look, I’m sure there’s something up there somewhere.'”

But we have been warned.  In fact, just recently there was a major congressional hearing about this.  At that hearing, one member of Congress explained that there is a significant attack on our power grid once every four days

Such attacks hit the nation’s electric grid once every four days, according to estimates, Rep. Randy Weber, a Texas Republican, said at the House Subcommittee on Research and Technology hearing. The session was focused on better protecting the nation’s power grid and identifying its vulnerability to cyberattacks.

In over 300 cases of significant cyber and physical attacks since 2011, suspects have never been identified,” Weber said.

And of course it isn’t just a cyberattack that we need to be concerned about.  As I wrote about just over a month ago, a giant electromagnetic pulse either from the sun or from a weapon could fry our grid at any time as well.

Perhaps this is not something that you are making preparations for personally, but the White House sure is.  According to the Houston Chronicle, the White House just released a plan that details how it would respond to an EMP event…

The White House Thursday released a contingency plan for about the most terrifying scenario possible: a massive electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that wipes out the power grid.

Just imagine no more cell phones, Internet, credit cards, gas pumps, running water, electric lights or industry in a single fateful moment.

It could come from a solar flare that sends ultra-high-energy particles cascading toward the earth, frying every electrical transformer they encounter. So the White House, in conjunction with 24 other federal agencies, published a “National Space Weather Strategy” and accompany action plan, outlining a response if such a disaster were to occur.

I don’t know if any of us can really imagine how crazy things would get if the lights went out and never came back on.  We have all become so incredibly dependent on computers, cell phones, televisions, ATMs, heating and cooling systems, credit card readers, gas pumps, cash registers, refrigerators, hospital equipment etc.  What would life be like if suddenly we couldn’t use any of those things anymore?

At some point there will be a massive power grid failure.  It is just a matter of time.  And as space weather consultant John Kappenman recently told Gizmodo, when it happens power might not be restored for months or even years…

“If you take electricity away, either immediately or within a short period of time, you’ll suffer the failure of all critical infrastructure,” Kappenman said. This includes things like water, sewage treatment, gas stations, banks and hospitals. “One of the concerns that we have is that in the worst case scenarios, we could be looking at weeks, months, maybe even years before restoration of the grid.”

That’s why preppers are taking a longer view. “I have a five year supply of food for employees and family,” a source who requested anonymity told Gizmodo. This individual says he’s rigged up a 12.5 kW solar array in the “remote wilderness,” complete with “power outlets and water spigots about every 50 feet” to support a small fleet of RV trailers for the long haul. Other preppers agree that a multi-year food and water supply is crucial. Some are also stockpiling large quantities of medications (“five year supplies of meds can be obtained from Asia without prescriptions,” one source told Gizmodo).

For much more on what we could potentially be facing, I encourage you to check out the following articles…

-“Electromagnetic Pulse: One Day We Will Wake Up In An America Without Electricity And Society Will Totally Break Down

-“The EMP Threat: All It Would Take Is A Couple Of Explosions To Send America Back To The 1800s

-“What Are You Going To Do When A Massive EMP Blast Fries The U.S. Electrical Grid?

So how can we get prepared?  The YouTube video that I have posted below was produced by Infowars, and it contains advice from renowned survivalist experts including James Wesley Rawles.  I think that you will find it to be very helpful…


Violent Shaking Along The Ring Of Fire Continues A Progression Of Disasters That Began In September

The Ring Of Fire - Photo from WikipediaHave you noticed that seismic activity along the Ring of Fire appears to be dramatically increasing?  According to Volcano Discovery, 39 volcanoes around the world have recently erupted, and 32 of them are associated with the Ring of Fire.  This includes Mt. Popocatepetl which sits only about 50 miles away from Mexico City’s 18 million inhabitants.  If you are not familiar with the Ring of Fire, it is an area roughly shaped like a horseshoe that runs along the outer perimeter of the Pacific Ocean.  Approximately 90 percent of all earthquakes and approximately 75 percent of all volcanic eruptions occur along the Ring of Fire.  Just within the last 24 hours, we have witnessed a 4.4, a 5.4 and a 5.7 earthquake in Alaska, a 6.8 earthquake in Chile and 20 earthquakes in Indonesia of at least magnitude 4.3.  And as you will see below, this violent shaking along the Ring of Fire seems to continue a progression of major disasters that began back during the month of September.

For whatever reason, our planet suddenly seems to be waking up.  Unfortunately, the west coast of the United States is one of the areas where this is being felt the most.  The little city of San Ramon, California is about 45 miles east of San Francisco, and over the past several weeks it has experienced a record-breaking 583 earthquakes

A total of 583 small earthquakes have shaken San Ramon, California, in the last three weeks or so – more than five times the record set 12 years ago, according to the latest US Geological Survey updates.

“It’s the swarm with the largest number of total earthquakes in San Ramon,” said USGS scientist David Schwartz, who is more concerned about the size of quakes than he is the total number of them. Still, the number tops the previous record set in 2003, when 120 earthquakes hit over 31 days, with the largest clocking in at a magnitude of 4.2.

Could this be a prelude to a major seismic event in California?

We shall see what happens.

Meanwhile, records are being shattered in the middle part of the country as well.

For instance, the state of Oklahoma has already set a brand new yearly record for earthquakes

The state recorded its 587th earthquake of 3.0 magnitude or higher early this week, breaking the previous record of 585. That record was set for all of 2014, meaning that Oklahoma has now had more 3.0 magnitude or higher earthquakes so far in 2015 than it did in all of 2014. So far this year, E&E News reports, Oklahoma’s averaged 2.5 quakes each day, a rate that, if it continues, means the state could see more than 912 earthquakes by the end of this year.

Oklahoma has also experienced 21 4.0 magnitude or greater earthquakes so far this year — an increase over last year, which saw 14.

And just over this past weekend there was a very disturbing series of earthquakes in the state

Starting with a magnitude-4.1 temblor at 5:11 a.m. close to the Oklahoma-Kansas border, the region experienced a series of six earthquakes within a 75-minute period Saturday morning, the U.S. Geological Survey reported on its website.

The largest earthquake Saturday morning was the 4.1, which had an epicenter nine miles northwest of Medford, Okla., 59 miles southwest of Wichita.

That was followed by five more quakes near Medford with magnitudes of 2.5, 2.8, 2.5, 3.1 and 2.9 – the last of which came at 6:24 a.m.

A seventh earthquake – this one a magnitude-4.2 temblor – was recorded at 12:29 p.m., 10 miles north-northwest of Medford.

So why aren’t more Americans alarmed that these records are being broken?

We are seeing things that we have never seen before, and I believe that it will soon get even worse.

And this dramatic increase in seismic activity that we are now seeing appears to fit into a larger pattern of major disasters that we have been witnessing over the past couple of months.

As we approached the end of the summer, all of a sudden massive wildfires erupted all across the western third of the country.  According to the National Interagency Fire Center, the only time in U.S. history when wildfires had burned more acres by the end of October was during the record-setting year of 2006.

In 2015, a lot of these wildfires have really been threatening highly populated areas.  I know, because at one point a major fire came within about 10 miles of my own house.  Since the beginning of August, Barack Obama has made an astounding 25 disaster declarations related to fires, and by the end of September the horrible fires that were threatening key areas of the state of California were making headlines all over the world.

Then as we got to the very end of the month of September, a new kind of disaster began to take center stage.  As I wrote about just recently, the storm that would later became known as Hurricane Joaquin developed into a tropical depression on September 28th.

Even though that hurricane never made landfall in the United States, moisture from that storm caused a tremendous amount of chaos along the east coast.

The governor of South Carolina, Nikki Haley, said that it was the most rain that some areas of her state had witnessed “in a thousand years”, and it is being projected that the economic damage that was done by all of the flooding “will probably be in the billions of dollars”.

Shortly after the flooding in South Carolina, a massive storm dumped an enormous amount of rain on southern California.  Because that area had been experiencing severe drought for so long, all of that rain caused tremendous flooding and massive mudslides.  Rivers of mud literally several feet thick completely stopped traffic along many major roads across the region.  If you got caught in those rivers of mud, you were lucky to get out with your life.  In fact, authorities pulled one dead man out of a vehicle that got completely buried by mud several days after the storms had passed.  It took them that long to finally get to him.

The middle of the country was not spared either.  Hurricane Patricia ended up being one of the strongest hurricanes ever measured, and the remnants of that storm dumped an incredible amount of rain on the state of Texas.  There was so much flooding that a train was literally knocked off the tracks by the water.  And about a week after that there was more flooding in the state that caused at least six deaths.

Overall, it has really been a bad couple of months for major disasters, and this sequence of events seems to have begun during the month of September.

So what should we make of all this?  Please feel free to add your voice to the discussion by posting a comment below…

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