The Economic Mood Darkens: iPhone Sales Plunge 15% As Consumer Confidence Falls For The 3rd Straight Month

Apple iPhone sales are never supposed to go down.  For nearly two decades, Apple has been an unbeatable economic miracle, but now it appears that times have changed.  Global sales for the iPhone were disastrous during the holiday quarter, and this is yet another indication that the global economic slowdown is accelerating.  Here in the United States, auto sales have been abysmal, retail bankruptcies have been surging and home sales have been seriously declining, but the big tech giants were supposed to be an economic bright spot that we could always rely on.  Perhaps that is why so many investors were shocked when Apple announced their most recent quarterly results on Tuesday

Sales of Apple’s flagship iPhones plummeted 15% during the holiday quarter, a sharp deterioration in a business that the company said Tuesday will continue to struggle in the coming months.

Apple gave a weaker-than-expected sales-and-profit forecast for its fiscal second quarter. Its guidance calls for sales to fall by as much as 10% and for its earnings per share to plunge by as much as 22%.

Apple is openly admitting that this is not just going to be a one quarter anomaly.

The company is telling us that sales are going to continue to fall in the months ahead, and that is very alarming news.

In fact, we haven’t seen Apple sales fall on a year over year basis since the year 2000

The last time Apple’s holiday quarter sales fell, America was consumed with Bush v. Gore and Tom Brady had one completed pass in his career.

Apple’s sales fell 15% in the last three months of 2018 — and that’s the first time Apple’s sales dropped during the final quarter of the year since 2000.

Speaking of Tom Brady, what he has accomplished is nothing short of remarkable.  This will be his ninth Super Bowl as quarterback with the Patriots, and that is a record that will never, ever be broken.

But we have to go all the way back before his first Super Bowl to find a time when Apple sales declined, and that just shows how dominant Apple has been over the years.

I have to admit that I have an iPhone myself, and I really like it.  I know that some people have complaints, but over the years Apple has made good products and it is easy to understand why they have been so successful.

Unfortunately, the economic winds are shifting.

One of the big factors that is hurting Apple is our trade war with China, and Apple CEO Tim Cook is reportedly in “regular contact” with President Trump about this…

Cook, who is in regular contact with U.S. President Donald Trump, told Reuters he sees some hope that trade tensions between the United States and China have eased, and that the company is considering pricing its phones in local currency in China and other international markets, which may spur sales.

Hopefully there will be a positive resolution to this trade conflict in the near future, but at this moment that is looking doubtful.  And now that the U.S. has formally requested the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the chances of a comprehensive trade agreement have deteriorated considerably.

Apple has been successful for a very long time, but the tech industry is constantly evolving, and consumer behavior is shifting at an extremely rapid pace.  For example, one recent survey indicated that almost 60 percent of all Americans have already canceled cable television

Nearly 60 percent of Americans have canceled their cable television subscription – and just 12 percent said they are committed to sticking with their cable package, according to a new survey.

An additional 29 percent of Americans are considering cutting the cord on their traditional cable subscription.

The entire cable television industry is living on borrowed time, and they are going to have to adapt to the new paradigm that is emerging if they are going to survive.

In the headline of this article, I also noted that consumer confidence has just fallen again.  In fact, Breitbart is calling it “the third consecutive steep monthly decline”…

Consumer confidence took another hit in January, as the government partially shut down while Capitol Hill Democrats and the Trump White House battled over funding for a border wall.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index decreased in January, the third consecutive steep monthly decline.

The index fell to 120.2 from December’s revised down 126.6. Economists had expected a milder decline to 124.3.

This is a clear indication that the economic mood in this country is getting darker.

But the good news is that things have calmed down on Wall Street.  After the worst December since the Great Depression, the stock market has bounced back a bit in recent weeks.

So the truth is that 2019 is off to a better start than many had anticipated.  That may not last for very long, but at least for the moment investors have a reason to smile.

And we should all be hoping for stability for the financial markets for as long as possible.  Because once this bubble finally bursts, it is going to be virtually impossible to put the pieces back together once again.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Somebody Pressed The Panic Button On Wall Street – Bank Stocks And Tech Stocks Crash As The Yield Curve Inverts

Stocks aren’t supposed to crash in December.  Most of the time we see a nice “Santa Claus rally” to close out the year, and so what happened on Tuesday is definitely extremely unusual.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 799 points, which was the fourth largest single day point decline in stock market history.  In fact, there was not a single day during the entire financial crisis of 2008 when the Dow dropped by as many points as it did on Tuesday.  Many believed that this “stock market correction” would be limited to October, but then it stretched into November, and now it has extended into the “safe month” of December.  What in the world is going on out there?

It would be difficult to overstate the carnage that we just witnessed.  The Russell 2000 had its worst day in seven years, financial stocks plunged 4.4 percent, and as you will see below FAANG stocks lost enough money to literally buy McDonald’s.

There are many factors that are influencing the markets right now, but the biggest thing that spooked investors on Tuesday was an inversion of the yield curve

Just when it looked like the battered bull was healing, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered a drop of nearly 800 points Tuesday when the bond market sent an ominous signal: The yield on the two-year U.S. government bond rose above the interest rate paid out by five-year notes.

Why the pessimism over that obscure-sounding shift? Historically, when short-term rates rise above longer rates – which is dubbed an “inversion of the yield curve” – it signals an economic slowdown is coming.

However, it should be noted that the yield on two year bonds has not yet risen above the yield on 10 year bonds, and until that happens many investors will still not consider the yield curve to have “officially” inverted yet.

But any way that you want to look at it, what has been happening in the bond market is really bad news for the big banks, because it is going to eat into their profits.  In an article posted on Tuesday, CNN explained how this works

The flattening yield curve also affects the income banks collect from lending, since banks pay interest on short-term rates and lend at long-term rates. They make money off the difference.

Once the yield on two year bonds fell below the yield on five year bonds, investors took that as a sign of big trouble for the financial sector, and they started dumping bank stocks like crazy

The flattening yield curve caused investors to bail on bank stocks on concern the phenomenon may hurt their lending margins. The SPDR S&P Bank ETF (KBE) dropped 5.3 percent. Shares of J.P. Morgan Chase, Citigroup and Bank of America all declined more than 4 percent. Citigroup and Morgan Stanley both reached 52-week lows along with Regionals Financial, Citizens Financial and Capital One.

Of course this is just a continuation of a trend that has been building for quite some time, and at this point the damage that has been done is immense.

The following numbers come from Zero Hedge

  • Global Systemically Important Banks are down 30% from 52-week highs.
  • US Financials down 14.5% from 52-week highs.
  • Goldman Sachs is down 33% from 52-week highs.

We haven’t seen anything like this since 2008, and we will want to watch the “too big to fail” banks very carefully during the weeks ahead.

Meanwhile, the FAANG stocks have been getting monkey-hammered as well.

By the end of the day on Tuesday, those stocks had combined to lose more than 140 billion dollars in market value

  • Facebook fell 2.2 percent, losing $7.6 billion in implied market value
  • Amazon fell 5.9 percent, losing $50.8 billion in implied market value
  • Apple fell 4.4 percent, losing $38.5 billion in implied market value
  • Netflix fell 5.2 percent, losing $6.5 billion in implied market value
  • Alphabet fell 4.8 percent, losing $37.5 billion in implied market value

That would be enough money to buy McDonald’s.

Yes, I am talking about the entire company.

Yesterday, I talked about the psychological shift that we have been witnessing.  Instead of endlessly promoting the idea that the U.S. economy is “booming”, the mainstream media is now using phrases such as “economic slowdown”, “the next recession” and “market crash”.  Here are just a few examples…

“Dow plunges nearly 800 points on rising fears of an economic slowdown”

“Worry Less About Inflation and More About Recession”

“The years of easy money in the stock market are coming to an end”

Normally, the markets get very sleepy during the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas, but that has not happened this year.

The markets will be closed on Wednesday due to the passing of former president George H.W. Bush, and perhaps this “time out” will have soothed a lot of nerves by the time the markets reopen on Thursday.

But as I have warned before, this crisis is not even close to being over.

In fact, it is only just beginning.

We have been waiting for a long time for the largest financial bubble in American history to burst, and now it is starting to happen.  It is being called “the Everything Bubble”, and as it implodes we are going to see things happen that we have never seen before.

When historians look back on this time of history someday, the crisis of 2008 will be just a footnote compared to what is coming.  It has taken decades of very foolish decisions to get us to this point, and the consequences for our unwise choices are going to be far more painful than most people would dare to imagine.

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

George Soros Sold Huge Amounts Of Facebook And Netflix Just Before Tech Stocks Crashed

George Soros avoided a loss of more than 17 million dollars by dumping shares of Facebook, Netflix and Goldman Sachs just before the big crash started happening.  In other words, he made out like a bandit by selling at the peak of the market.  Is he smarter than all the rest of us, did he have some inside information, or was he simply lucky?  In recent months, tech stocks have lost approximately a trillion dollars in value, and many investors have been absolutely devastated.  But not George Soros.  According to the most recent filing with the SEC, Soros Fund Management was able to dump shares in Facebook and Netflix just in time

Soros Fund Management, which Soros founded and chairs, exited social-network giant Facebook (FB) completely in the third quarter, while also slashing positions in Netflix stock (NFLX) and Goldman Sachs Group stock (GS). Those three stocks have tumbled in the fourth quarter so far, with Facebook and Goldman setting new lows Tuesday. They are down almost 20% and 15%, respectively, so far this quarter. Highflying streaming-content giant Netflix has tumbled almost 29% since the end of September.

Soros saved a chunk of cash by selling: Barron’s estimates that, had he maintained positions in those stocks, he would have unrealized losses of about $17.7 million so far in the fourth quarter.

Perhaps we will never know what prompted those moves, but with George Soros these strange “coincidences” have happened again and again throughout his career.

Unfortunately, the top executives at the major tech companies were not as prescient, and so some of them have literally lost billions of dollars

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has lost a stunning $42 billion since early September, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, as the e-commerce giant’s stock has dropped more than 25 percent.

Embattled Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has also taken a beating as reports indicate he’s lost some $34 billion since late July and is now worth $52 billion – ranking as the seventh-richest person in the world.

Google chiefs Larry Page and Sergey Brin have lost a combined $20 billion from their peak wealth in July as the search engine’s stock has dropped 20 percent and closed in a bear market on Monday for the first time since 2011.

Could you imagine losing 42 billion dollars?

If I lose 42 dollars I get upset.  So I couldn’t even imagine how I would feel if I lost $42,000,000,000.

The atmosphere on Wall Street has completely shifted over the last couple of months.  Not too long ago those of us that were calling for a bear market were being mocked, but nobody is mocking anymore.

One of the big things that has been propping up the stock market in recent years has been corporate buybacks.  In fact, I wrote a major article about this not too long ago that you can find right here.  Big corporations have literally been spending hundreds of billions of dollars to prop up their own stock prices, and many of these corporations have been going into tremendous amounts of debt in order to do this.

For a long time General Electric was one of the biggest offenders.  They borrowed billions upon billions of dollars for stock repurchases, and it worked for a while.  But now GE shares have been absolutely tanking, and they can’t keep the game going anymore because they are drowning in about 100 billion dollars of debt.  The following comes from an excellent Marketwatch article

GE was one of Wall Street’s major share buyback operators between 2015 and 2017; it repurchased $40 billion of shares at prices between $20 and $32. The share price is now $8.60, so the company has liquidated between $23 billion and $29 billion of its shareholders’ money on this utterly futile activity alone. Since the highest net income recorded by the company during those years was $8.8 billion in 2016, with 2015 and 2017 recording a loss, it has managed to lose more on its share repurchases during those three years than it made in operations, by a substantial margin.

Even more important, GE has now left itself with minus $48 billion in tangible net worth at Sept. 30, with actual genuine tangible debt of close to $100 billion. As the new CEO Larry Culp told CNBC last Monday: “We have no higher priority right now than bringing those leverage levels down.”

GE was once one of the greatest corporations on the entire planet, but now they stand on the precipice of collapse because they were addicted to borrowing money for stock buybacks.

Of course GE is far from alone.  Other corporations that have gone into serious amounts of debt in order to fund share repurchases are also now paying a very great price for doing so.  Ultimately, it was a giant Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, but now the game is collapsing.

In my first novel, there is a stock market collapse that begins in the fall, and things begin to deteriorate very rapidly in this country thereafter.  Unfortunately, we are starting to watch a very similar scenario play out right in front of our eyes.  In recent years a booming stock market has been a big point of pride for a lot of Americans, but now that bubble is bursting.

For many people, money is more important than anything else in life.  In fact, a recent survey discovered that Americans find more meaning and purpose in life from “career” and “money” than they do from “faith”.

But when “the god of money” fails, how are most Americans going to respond?

I do not believe that the United States is going to handle another economic meltdown very well.  We are already a deeply angry and divided nation, but at least our debt-fueled “prosperity” has kept things relatively calm.

If that “prosperity” completely disappears, we are going to have a complete and utter national nightmare on our hands.

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

Stock Market Crash: The Dow Has Fallen Nearly 2,500 Points And FAANG Stocks Have Lost A TRILLION Dollars In Value

Thanksgiving week was not supposed to be like this.  Normally things are slow in the days leading up to Thanksgiving as investors prepare to gorge themselves with turkey and stuffing as they gather with family and friends.  But this year the stock market is crashing, and Wall Street is in panic mode.  On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at 24,465.64, which is nearly 2,500 points lower than the all-time high of 26,951.81 that was set in early October.  But as I noted yesterday, what has been happening to tech stocks is even more dramatic.  Each one of the FAANG stocks is now down by more than 20 percent, and they have combined to lose more than a trillion dollars in value.  We haven’t seen anything like this since the financial crisis of 2008, and at this point all of Wall Street’s gains for 2018 have been completely wiped out.

Fear is a very powerful motivator, and right now a lot of investors are feverishly getting out of the market because they are afraid of losing their paper profits.

One analyst is describing what is going on as a rush for the exits

“The highways will be crowded this evening as the Thanksgiving rush will begin in earnest, but this morning investors are rushing for the exits,” Paul Hickey, co-founder of Bespoke Investment Group, wrote to clients on Tuesday.

But for many tech investors, the truth is that the cattle have already left the barn.

Just check out how much market capitalization the “big five” have already lost.  The following numbers come from CNBC

  • Facebook: $253 billion
  • Amazon: $280 billion
  • Apple: $253 billion
  • Netflix: $67 billion
  • Alphabet: $164 billion

When you add those figures together, you get a grand total of 1.02 trillion dollars.

If you were alive when Jesus was born, and you spent a million dollars every day since then, you still would not have spent a trillion dollars by now.

A trillion dollars is an amount of money so vast that it is difficult to comprehend, and those that hesitated to sell at the peak of the market mania are never going to get that money back.

And many believe that the tech losses are just beginning because several of these companies have now entered “death cross” territory

This could be the final nail in the coffin for the FANG trade.

Three of the companies within the big-tech quartet have entered into death crosses, with Facebook, Netflix and Google parent Alphabet seeing their 50-day moving averages cross below their 200-day moving averages.

We shall see what happens in the days ahead, but right now things do not look good.

Apple was supposed to be the strongest and most profitable of the FANG companies, but slowing sales have suddenly changed everything.  In fact, Goldman Sachs just cut their price target for the stock…

Goldman Sachs slashed its Apple price target on Tuesday. The firm said in a note there is a “weakness in demand for Apple’s products in China and other emerging markets,” as well as a disappointing reception for the iPhone XR model.

As the trade war intensifies, many in China have been encouraging a boycott of American goods.

Could this be one of the reasons why Apple phone sales are slowing over there?

The trade war is also being singled out as one of the reasons why the stock market as a whole is falling.  The following comes from CNN

The losses have been sparked by a flurry of concerns about everything from higher interest rates and crashing oil prices to the US-China trade war. But the overarching theme is that investors are bracing for the end of the fantastic economic and profit growth that marked the past year. Analysts expect a deceleration in 2019 driven by tariffs, the fading impact of the tax cuts and higher borrowing costs caused by the Federal Reserve.

“Put simply, stocks have already started to price in the risk of an economic slowdown,” Goldman Sachs chief US equity strategist David Kostin wrote to clients on Tuesday.

Ultimately, people buy stocks because they believe in the future.  If investors believe that they will get more money back than they are originally investing, they will buy stocks.  But if they don’t believe that will be the case, they won’t buy stocks.

For a long time, there was a tremendous amount of optimism about the future on Wall Street, but now that has disappeared.  Without that relentless optimism, it is inevitable that stock ratios will return to their long-term averages, and the S&P 500 sales to price ratio is telling us that stock prices still have a very long way to fall.

But our system will not be able to handle a decline of that magnitude.  There is more leverage on Wall Street today than ever before, and a huge decline in stock prices would lead to a meltdown unlike anything we have ever witnessed.

If we break 20,000 on the Dow, the panic on Wall Street will be off the charts, and the flow of credit will be absolutely strangled. As a result, economic activity would crash at a pace that would make 2008 look like a Sunday picnic.

Our economy is more dependent on Wall Street than ever, and it is absolutely imperative that we have a healthy financial system.  Now that the financial system is starting to crumble, a lot of people are becoming highly alarmed.

But according to Larry Kudlow, we have absolutely nothing to worry about…

‘Corrections come and go,’ he told reporters at the White House, saying that the economy is strong overall.

‘I’m reading some of the weirdest stuff how a recession is in the future,’ Kudlow said. ‘Nonsense.’

‘Recession is so far in the distance I can’t see it,’ he said after appearing in a Fox Business Network interview.

It would be wonderful if Kudlow turns out to be correct.  But in “Get Prepared Now”, I warned about what can happen when we allow others to do our thinking for us.  What is happening on Wall Street should be obvious to everyone, and no amount of optimistic chatter is going to change that.

And the truth is that even the mainstream media is starting to acknowledge the reality of what we are now facing.  CNBC just took a poll of global finance executives, and they discovered that more than half of them believe that the Dow will fall below 23,000…

More than half of the members of the CNBC Global CFO Council think the Dow Jones Industrial Average will fall below 23,000 — roughly 2,000 points from its current level — before the stock market barometer is ever able to top the 27,000 level. The 23,000 level would equate to another 8 percent in decline among the Dow group of stocks before the selling stops.

Ultimately the Dow is going to go much lower than 23,000, and it will shake Wall Street to the core.

But for now, hopefully everyone can have a happy Thanksgiving, because it is likely that there won’t be many happy days for investors after that as this financial meltdown accelerates.

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

All The FANG Stocks Are Now In A Bear Market And Facebook Investors Have Already Lost 39 Percent Of Their Paper Wealth

These large stock market declines are starting to become a regular thing, and tech stocks are getting hit particularly hard.  But we have been in a bull market for such a long time that many investors are having a difficult time comprehending what is happening.  Many just keep believing that their beloved tech stocks will eventually bounce back because they just can’t accept the fact that the party is over.  At this point, all of the “FANG stocks” have officially entered bear market territory.  Facebook is down 39.5 percent from their 52 week high, Amazon is down 25.4 percent, Netflix is down 35.6 percent and Google is down 20.3 percent.  And since many throw in Apple to make the acronym “FAANG”, we should also note that Apple’s stock price is now down more than 20 percent from the peak.  The tech stock crash that so many have been waiting for has arrived, and many analysts believe that it is going to get a whole lot worse.

The combined market value of Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google has fallen by 610 billion dollars so far.

Just think about that for a moment.

Most Americans don’t even realize that tech stocks have been crashing, and many of them simply assume that their investments are safe.

And at one time Facebook was considered to be a very safe investment, but now 39.5 percent of the value of Facebook has already been completely wiped out.

It looks like November will be Facebook’s third month in a row in the red, and that will be the longest monthly losing streak that it has ever had.

A lot of people are shocked that this is happening so rapidly.  But really the only surprise is that it has taken this long for these massively overvalued stocks to crash and burn.

The truth is that these companies have been priced beyond perfection.  So when even the smallest piece of bad news comes along, investors can start to panic.

For example, one of the big reasons why Apple has declined so much is because production orders for all three of the new iPhones that were unveiled in September have been slashed.  It looks like iPhone sales are not going to be at quite the level everyone had anticipated, and Wall Street responded by throwing a huge temper tantrum.

And things look even more ominous for Facebook.  As Joel Kulina of Wedbush recently noted, the number of people that are using Facebook on a daily basis in North America is falling…

Joel Kulina of Wedbush says problems in the company have been evident longer than this month. “If you go back to that earnings report back in July, they missed across the board and what really jumps out at me is that we’re seeing declining daily and monthly active users in North America or stalling active user metrics in North America, declining in Europe and the only regions that are seeing growth is in Asia where the average revenue per user is much lower than the Western world,” Kulina said.

When Facebook decided to start censoring people for their political views on a massive basis, that was the beginning of the end for the company.  At this point they have alienated millions upon millions of users that were once addicted to the service, and that is damage that will never be repaired.

And it is inevitable that something newer, better and more engaging will eventually come along.  Not too long ago, MySpace was the unbeatable giant in social media, but then Facebook came along and crushed them.  Now it is clear that Facebook has peaked, and the void that is being created as Facebook declines will certainly be filled by someone else.

But what we are witnessing in the financial marketplace is not just about tech stocks.  This is a broad-based global decline, and it has been going on for quite some time.

In fact, just check out the following tidbit from Simon Black

Deutsche Bank says 89% of all asset classes it tracks are negative this year – the worst year since 1901.

This is often how a big downturn begins: gradually, then suddenly. Asset prices stew and fester, slowly grinding downward for months while people maintain hope that prices will recover.

Yes, you read that correctly.

89 percent of all the asset classes that they track are down in 2018.

That is an absolutely astounding number.

We haven’t seen anything like this since the last financial crisis.  Most people seem to assume that the problems that caused the last financial crisis have been fixed, but that is not the case at all.  Instead, things were patched together and the global financial bubble was made even bigger.  Here is more from Simon Black

Instead of giving million-dollar mortgages to unemployed borrowers with a history of default, investors are loaning billions of dollars to money-losing zombie businesses, or to governments that are already in debt up to their eyeballs, all while pretending these are safe, credible investments.

Total global debt back in 2008 was about $173 trillion, worth about 280% of GDP.

Today total global debt is $250 trillion, worth about 320% of GDP. It’s only gotten worse.

Now the “Bubble To End All Bubbles” is starting to burst, and great chaos is ahead.  What we experienced in 2008 and 2009 is nothing compared to what is in front of us, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what is coming.

At the moment, one key thing to keep a close eye on is the high yield bond market.

High yield bonds (also known as “junk bonds”) crashed really hard just before the financial crisis of 2008 erupted, and now it is happening again.

Even if high yield bonds didn’t go down any further, they have already dropped to a level that indicates that stocks still have a lot more room to fall.

But if high yield bonds do continue to plummet like this, it is a clear indication that it is time to put your crash helmet on.

These are interesting times, and I have a feeling that they are about to get a whole lot more interesting.

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

Now That Facebook, YouTube And Apple Have Come For Alex Jones, Guess Who They Are Coming For Next?

August 6th was one of darkest days in the history of the Internet.  When I learned that Facebook, YouTube, Apple, Spotify, Pinterest and others had colluded to take down content from Alex Jones all on the same day, I knew exactly what was happening.  They timed their attack so that it would hit the press at the beginning of the weekly news cycle on Monday so that their purge would have maximum societal impact.  And the fact that there was such overt collusion was obviously meant to send a message.  We were supposed to understand that if they can do this to Alex Jones, they can do it to any of us, and so we better shut up and fall in line.  I can’t even begin to tell you how sick I feel right now.  The big tech giants have made it abundantly clear how they feel about all of us, and there is no future for alternative points of view on any of their platforms.

The current purge of conservative voices has been going on for months, but this is the biggest bombshell by far.  The following excerpt from a Los Angeles Times article is a typical example of how the mainstream media covered this story…

Major technology companies including Apple, Facebook and YouTube deleted years of content from conservative conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars platforms over allegations of hate speech, a sudden clampdown that is fueling the growing debate over how big technology companies choose to censor.

The move was unusual for its sweep and speed, suggesting a new assertiveness by technology companies that in the past have worked to avoid alienating conservatives, who often assert that left-leaning Silicon Valley is biased against them. The removals appeared to be prompted by more users flagging Infowars content for policy violations.

In addition to the “big three”, Spotify and Pinterest pulled down content from Infowars as well, and there is no way that this could have been done simultaneously unless it was planned well in advance.  Lawyers have to be consulted, CEOs have to give their approval, etc.  This was a cold-blooded move that was carefully calculated down to the finest details.

So is there anything that conservatives can do?

Well, Mike Adams has suggested that these tech companies could be prosecuted for conspiracy…

This coordinated, illegal censorship is clear proof of an organized criminal racket being conducted by the tech giants. The RICO Act allows for federal prosecution of such criminal conspiracy.

The internet Dark Ages has now descended upon us, where radical left-wing tech giants run by deranged, mentally ill communists will decide whether your content qualifies as “hate speech.” What is hate speech? It’s anything uttered by a conservative.

I think that he is theoretically correct, but I doubt that it will ever actually happen.

Right now, the global elite do not have control of the White House, but they have discovered a powerful new weapon in the tech companies.  They are trying to use this new weapon to smash Alex Jones and other top conservative voices, and they are doing it with a tyrannical flair that is absolutely frightening.  I think that it was quite appropriate that the official WikiLeaks Twitter account made a parallel between this purge and an old Star Wars movie…

The empire strikes back: Apple, Spotify, Facebook and Google/Youtube all purge Infowars/Alex Jones. Yes, Infowars has frequent nonsense, but also a state power critique. Which publisher in the world with millions of subscribers is next to be wiped out for cultural transgression?

And it is quite noteworthy that this comes almost exactly three months before the mid-term elections.

Do you think that is just a coincidence?

After all of the uproar about “election interference”, now the big tech companies are overtly doing it very publicly and in a way that nobody can misunderstand.

The biggest reason why they are lashing out at Alex Jones, Mike Adams and a whole host of other top conservative voices is because Donald Trump never would have gotten elected without them.  I guess they figure that if they can start silencing some of those voices that they can turn future elections in their favor.

If it was just a few conservative voices that were being censored, that would be one thing.  But the truth is that hundreds and hundreds of conservatives have had Facebook pages taken down, YouTube accounts terminated and Twitter accounts shadowbanned.  I won’t repeat all of the information that I have previously published on this topic in this article.  Instead, if you would like to learn more I would recommend checking out some of my previous articles…

-“This Is The Worst Purge Of Conservative Voices In The History Of The Internet

-“Governments And Social Media Companies Are Collaborating To Censor Anyone That Would Dare To Question Mainstream Media Narratives

-“The Big Social Media Companies Are Being Used As A Weapon To Advance The Agenda Of The New World Order

-“The Censorship Is Real – EndOfTheAmericanDream.com Is Being Completely Blocked By Library Internet Filters

In the end, this is not about Alex Jones.

This is about a once free society that is becoming more Orwellian with each passing day.

Now that they have come for Alex Jones, they aren’t going to stop.

It might not be tomorrow, but eventually they are going to come for you.

I would like to end this article with a few words from Dr. Michael Brown’s excellent article about all of this censorship…

Let me repeat what I said in my earlier article about Infowars: Whether you’re an Infowars fan or you find their work distasteful, their potential removal from YouTube should concern you.

Otherwise, soon enough, we’ll have our own version of Martin Niemöller’s famous poem, which will now sound something like this:

First they came for Infowars, and I did not speak out—because I found them offensive.

Then they came for Geller and Spencer, and I did not speak out­—because I found them obnoxious.

Then they came for Prager U, and I did not speak out—because I found them opinionated.

Then they came for a host of others, and I did not speak out—because I have my own life to live.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

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

Economic Slowdown Confirmed: The U.S. Economy Lost Jobs Last Month For The First Time In 7 Years

Don’t worry – even though the employment numbers are terrible the mainstream media insists that everything is going to be wonderful for the U.S. economy in the months ahead.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the U.S. economy lost 33,000 jobs during September.  That was the first monthly decline in seven years, and as you will see below, overall 2017 is on pace for the slowest employment growth in at least five years.  But the Bureau of Labor Statistics insists that the downturn in September was due to the chaos caused by Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, and they are assuring us that happier times are right around the corner.

Economists were projecting that we would see an increase of around 80,000 jobs last month, and we need to add at least 150,000 jobs each month just to keep up with population growth.  So the -33,000 number was a huge disappointment.

But even though we lost 33,000 jobs last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that the unemployment rate fell from 4.4 percent to 4.2 percent.

Yes, I know that doesn’t make any sense at all, but that is what they are telling us.

Perhaps if several volcanoes go off inside this country, terrorists detonate a dirty bomb in one of our major cities and Godzilla invades the west coast next month the unemployment rate will drop all the way to zero.

Of course I am being facetious, but I just want to point out the absurdity of what we are being told.  There is no way in the world that the official unemployment rate should be at “a new 16-year low”.

In the end, perhaps September will end up being a bit of an anomaly.  But as I mentioned above, we have been witnessing a broader trend build for months.  According to CNBC, we are on pace for “the slowest jobs growth in at least five years”…

In addition to September’s rough month, the July number was revised lower from 189,000 to 138,000 though August got a bump higher from 156,000. In all, though, 2017 thus far has seen the slowest jobs growth in at least five years.

Let that sink in for a moment.

Employment is not booming.  In fact, things haven’t been this slow “in at least five years”.  An economic slowdown is here, and yet most people are totally oblivious to what is happening.

And let me share something else with you.  The following chart shows the average duration of unemployment since the late 1940s…

This chart shows that workers remain unemployed far longer than they did in the “good old days”, but I want you to pay special attention to the very end of the chart.

The duration of unemployment is really starting to spike up again quite dramatically, and that is a very, very troubling sign for the U.S. economy overall, because spikes in this number almost always correspond with recessions.

But the Bureau of Labor Statistics says that we don’t have anything to be concerned about.  In fact, they are blaming all of the bad numbers from last month on Harvey and Irma

Our analysis suggests that the net effect of these hurricanes was to reduce the estimate of total nonfarm payroll employment for September. There was no discernible effect on the national unemployment rate. No changes were made to either the establishment or household survey estimation procedures for the September figures. For both surveys, collection rates generally were within normal ranges, both nationally and in the affected states. In the establishment survey, employees who are not paid for the pay period that includes the 12th of the month are not counted as employed. In the household survey, persons with a job are counted as employed even if they miss work for the entire survey reference week (the week including the 12th of the month), regardless of whether or not they are paid. For both surveys, national estimates do not include Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands.

And the “experts” that are being quoted by the mainstream media are assuring us that “the labor market remains in good shape”

“Despite the decline (in job gains), it’s really clear that the labor market remains in good shape,” says Joel Naroff of Naroff Economic Advisors.

The unemployment rate, which is calculated from a different survey than the headline job totals, edged lower. That’s because gains in the number of people employed outpaced an increase in the labor force, which includes people working and looking for jobs. In that survey of households, workers are counted as employed even if they were temporarily idled by the storms.

Hopefully they are right.

Hopefully happy times are here again and an economic boom is right around the corner.

Unfortunately, the longer term trends tell an entirely different story.  Our economic infrastructure has been gutted, we have shipped millions of good paying jobs overseas, the middle class is slowly being eradicated, and we are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in human history.

We have been able to maintain our ridiculously inflated standard of living for an extended period of time by borrowing absolutely colossal mountains of money year after year.  But no debt bubble lasts forever, and this one will not either.

The debt-fueled “prosperity” that we see all around us today is an enormous temporary illusion, and when the illusion collapses the economic pain is going to be greater than anything we have ever seen before in modern American history.

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