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Hopium: How Far Can Irrational Optimism Take The U.S. Economy?

Thought Bubble - Public DomainIf enough people truly believe that things will get better, will that actually cause them to get better?  There is certainly something to be said for being positive and thinking that anything is possible.  And as Americans, optimism seems to come naturally for us.  However, no amount of positive thinking is ever going to turn the sun into a block of wood or turn the moon into a block of cheese.  Any good counselor will tell you that one of the first steps toward recovery is to stop being delusional and to come to grips with how bad things really are.  When we deny reality and engage in irrational wishful thinking, we are engaging in something called “hopium”.  This is a difficult term to define, but the favorite definition of hopium that I have come across so far goes like this: “The irrational belief that, despite all evidence to the contrary, things will turn out for the best.”  In hundreds of articles, I have documented how the U.S. economy is mired in a long-term decline which is about to get a lot worse.  But most Americans see things very differently.  In fact, according to a brand new CNN/ORC poll, 52 percent of Americans describe the U.S. economy as “very” or “somewhat good”, and more than two-thirds of all Americans believe that the U.S. economy will be in “good shape” a year from right now.  But if you asked most of those people why they are so optimistic, they would probably mumble something about “Obama” or about how “we’re Americans and we always bounce back” or some other such gibberish.  Well, it’s wonderful that so many people are feeling good and looking forward to the future, but are those beliefs rational?

We witnessed a perfect example of this “hopium” on Wednesday.  Sales at McDonald’s restaurants have been in decline for quite a while, and the numbers for the first quarter of 2015 were just abysmal

The ubiquitous burger-and-fries chain said US sales, the largest share of global income, fell 2.6 percent from a year ago for comparable outlets.

Sales in the Asia-Pacific and Middle East region dropped 8.3 percent, helping bring overall global sales down 2.3 percent, “reflecting negative guest traffic in all segments,” the company said.

Total revenue sank 11 percent to $5.96 billion in the quarter to March 31, and net income plunged 32.6 percent to $812 million, or 84 cents a share (-31 percent).

So you would think that the stock price would have tanked on Wednesday, right?

Wrong.

Thanks to news that a “turnaround plan” would be announced on May 4th, McDonald’s stock actually skyrocketed

McDonald’s closed up 3.13 percent after spiking more than 4.5 percent in early trade as investors cheered a turnaround plan expected on May 4. However, the fast food chain’s earnings missed on both the top and bottom lines.

This is pure hopium.  Why don’t McDonald’s executives just tell us what the plan is now?  But instead, the mystery of a “secret turnaround plan” gives people just enough hope to keep the stock from tumbling – at least for the moment.

And of course there are all sorts of other stocks that are being massively inflated by hopium right now.

Many years ago, when I was an undergraduate, I was taught that a price to earnings ratio of more than 20 was really, really high.

But these days that is the norm on Wall Street, and at the moment there are quite a few stocks that actually have price to earnings ratios that are greater than 100

There are 10 stocks in the Standard & Poor’s 500, including industrial giant General Electric, video-streamer Netflix and oil and gas explorer Cabot Oil & Gas that are trading for 100 times their diluted earnings the past 12 months excluding extraordinary items, according to a USA TODAY analysis of data from S&P Capital IQ.

And if you can believe it, General Electric has a PE on its training earnings of more than 200

Take General Electric, the industrial giant that’s swiftly selling off banking assets so it can return to its manufacturing roots. GE sports a PE on its trailing earnings of 227, says S&P Capital IQ.

This is completely and totally irrational.  General Electric is a giant mess and is being very badly mismanaged.  But investors continue to pay a massive premium for GE stock because they hope that things will turn around eventually.

Look, hope will get you a lot of things in life, but it won’t put money in your pockets or dinner on the table.

Our politicians and the mainstream media continue to sell us hard on the idea that things are getting better in America, but meanwhile our economic infrastructure continues to decay.  Just check out what is happening in the steel industry

United States Steel Corporation issued layoff notices to 1,404 workers in the latest sign of struggle for the American steel industry. The missives went out in recent days to workers producing pipe and tube products that are used in the oil and gas sector. Job cuts could come as early as June for 17 to 579 employees at a plant in Lone Star, Texas, 166 at a factory in Houston, 255 at a mill in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, and 404 managers across the company’s tubular operations nationwide.

Since last June, the company has informed 7,800 employees of potential job cuts, a tally from Pittsburgh Business Times indicated. U.S. Steel spokeswoman Sarah Cassella said the ongoing layoffs are the result of “challenging market conditions and global influences in the market including a high level of imports, reduced prices for oil and natural gas and reduced steel prices.”

A little over a month ago, I published an article entitled “10 Charts Which Show We Are Much Worse Off Than Just Before The Last Economic Crisis” in which I demonstrated that we are in far worse economic shape than we were just prior to the last recession, and now another great economic crisis is at our door.

Unfortunately, most Americans have no idea what is going on out there.  Most of them get their news from the giant propaganda matrix that very tightly controls the flow of ideas and information in this country.  This is something that I explain on my new DVD.  Six colossal corporations control over 90 percent of the news, information and entertainment that Americans consume, and that gives them an awesome amount of power.

And right now that propaganda matrix is assuring the American people that everything is going to be just fine.

Well, they better be right.  Because if not, they are going to have millions of people extremely angry with them when things really start falling to pieces.

The Shemitah: The Biblical Pattern Which Indicates That A Financial Collapse May Be Coming In 2015

The Shemitah- Financial Collapse In 2015Does a mystery that is 3,500 years old hold the key to what is going to happen to global financial markets in 2015?  Could it be possible that the timing of major financial crashes is not just a matter of coincidence?  In previous articles on my website, I have discussed some of the major economic and financial cycle theories and their proponents.  For example, in an article entitled “If Economic Cycle Theorists Are Correct, 2015 To 2020 Will Be Pure Hell For The United States“, I examined a number of economic cycle theories that seem to indicate that the second half of this decade is going to be a nightmare economically.  But the cycle that I am going to discuss in this article is a lot more controversial than any of those.  In his most recent book, Jonathan Cahn has demonstrated that almost all of the major financial crashes in U.S. history are very closely tied to a seven year pattern that we find in the Bible known as “the Shemitah”.  Since that book was released, I have been asked about this repeatedly during radio appearances.  So in this article I am going to attempt to explain what the Shemitah is, and what this Biblical pattern seems to indicate may happen in 2015.  If you are an atheist, an agnostic, or are generally skeptical by nature, this article might prove quite challenging for you.  I would ask that you withhold judgment until you have examined the evidence.  When I first heard about these things, I had to go verify the facts for myself, because they are truly extraordinary.

So precisely what is “the Shemitah”?

In the Bible, the people of Israel were commanded to let the land lie fallow every seven years.  There would be no sowing and no reaping, and this is something that God took very seriously.  In fact, the failure to observe these Sabbath years was one of the main reasons cited in the Scriptures for why the Jewish people were exiled to Babylon in 586 BC.

But there was more to the Shemitah year than just letting the land lie fallow.

On the last day of the Shemitah year, the people of Israel were instructed to perform a releasing of debts.  We find the following in Deuteronomy chapter 15

At the end of every seven years you shall grant a relinquishing of debtsThis is the manner of the relinquishing: Every creditor that has loaned anything to his neighbor shall relinquish it. He shall not exact it of his neighbor, or of his brother, because it is called the Lord’s relinquishment.

This happened at the end of every seven years on Elul 29 – the day right before Rosh Hashanah on the Biblical calendar.

So what does this have to do with us today?

Well, if you go back to the last day of the Shemitah year in 2001, you will find that there was an absolutely horrifying stock market crash.

On September 17th, 2001 (which was Elul 29 on the Jewish calendar), we witnessed the greatest one day stock market crash in U.S. history up to that time.  The Dow fell an astounding 684 points, and it was a record that held for precisely seven years until the end of the next Shemitah year.

At the end of the next Shemitah year in 2008, another horrifying stock market crash took place.  On September 29th, 2008 the Dow plummeted 777 points, which still today remains the greatest one day stock market crash of all time.  It turns out that September 29th, 2008 corresponded with Elul 29 on the Jewish calendar – the precise day when the Bible calls for a releasing of debts.

So on the very last day of the last two Shemitah years, the stock market crashed so badly that it set a brand new all-time record.

And now we are in another Shemitah year.  It began last fall, and it will end next September.

Could it be possible that we will see another historic market crash?

Author Jonathan Cahn has correctly pointed out that we should never put God in a box.  Just because something has happened in the past does not mean that it will happen again.  But we should not rule anything out either.

Perhaps God is using His calendar to make a point.  Cahn believes that if we are going to see something happen, it will probably occur as the Shemitah year comes to an end

Cahn has pointed that, according to his research, the worst of the worst usually happens at the end of the Shemitah year, not at the beginning. In fact, the last day of the year, Elul 29 on the Hebrew calendar, which will occur on Sept. 13, 2015, is the most dreaded day.

The pattern revealed in “The Mystery of the Shemitah” is that the beginning of the Shemitah’s impact is often subtle, but leads to a dramatic climax.

“The beginning may mark a change in direction, even a foreshadow of what will come to a crescendo at the Shemitah’s end,” he said.

And this time around, far more people are paying attention.  Back in 2001 and 2008, most Americans had absolutely no idea what a “Shemitah year” was.  But now it is being talked about on some of the most prominent alternative news websites on the Internet.  For example, the following is what Joseph Farah of WND has to say about the Shemitah year…

Farah believes the date Sept. 13, 2015 bears close watching – though he is quick to admit he has no idea what, if anything, will happen in America.

“A clear pattern has been established,” he says. “I don’t believe it’s a coincidence what happened in America on Elul 29 in 2001 and 2008. It would be foolish to ignore the possibility that a greater judgment might be in the works – especially if America continues to move away from God and His Word.”

The Shemitah year that we are in now does end on September 13th, 2015 – and that falls on a Sunday so the markets will be closed.

But what it comes to the Shemitah, we aren’t just looking at one particular day.

And it is very interesting to note that there will also be a solar eclipse on September 13th, 2015.  Over the past century, there have only been two other times when a solar eclipse has corresponded with the end of a Shemitah year.  Those two times were in 1931 and 1987, and as Jonathan Cahn has told WND, those solar eclipses foreshadowed major financial disasters…

In 1931, a solar eclipse took place on Sept. 12 – the end of a “Shemitah” year. Eight days later, England abandoned the gold standard, setting off market crashes and bank failures around the world. It also ushered in the greatest monthlong stock market percentage crash in Wall Street history.

In 1987, a solar eclipse took place Sept. 23 – again the end of a “Shemitah” year. Less than 30 days later came “Black Monday” the greatest percentage crash in Wall Street history.

Is Cahn predicting doom and gloom on Sept. 13, 2015? He’s careful to avoid a prediction, saying, “In the past, this ushered in the worst collapses in Wall Street history. What will it bring this time? Again, as before, the phenomenon does not have to manifest at the next convergence. But, at the same time, and again, it is wise to take note.”

So what is going to happen this time?

We will just have to wait and see.

But without a doubt so many of the same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the financial crash of 2008 are happening again right before our very eyes.

It has been said that those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Perhaps you believe that there is something to “the Shemitah”, or perhaps you think that it is all a bunch of nonsense.

But at least now you know what everyone is talking about.  What you choose to do with this information is up to you.

 

An Even Bigger Scandal: Why Are IRS Audits Being Used To Punish Obama’s Political Enemies?

Obama Using IRS Audits To Attack His Enemies?Is it right for Barack Obama to use IRS audits to punish his political enemies?  As crazy as that sounds, there is a mounting body of evidence that indicates that this is actually happening.  And if this can be proven, it is a much, much larger scandal than the IRS giving “extra scrutiny” to the applications of conservative non-profit groups.  Let me be clear – if Barack Obama has been using IRS audits to punish his political enemies, that is an impeachable offense.  Of all of the other scandals that are out there right now, this is the one that could actually bring down the presidency of Barack Obama.  That is how serious this is.  As you will read about below, there is a huge amount of circumstantial evidence that political enemies of Barack Obama have been singled out for IRS audits.  We need to find out who initiated these audits.  Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, this kind of abuse of government power should sicken and horrify you.  If it can be proven that Barack Obama has been using IRS audits to attack his enemies, every single U.S. citizen should be calling for him to resign.  This is something that is beyond politics – this is a direct threat to the very integrity of our system.

The recent revelation that the IRS has been specifically targeting patriot groups and Tea Party organizations for “extra scrutiny” has opened up the floodgates.  In recent days, a large number of highly respected people have come forward claiming that they were the subject of IRS audits that were politically motivated.

For example, Larry Conners, a respected local news anchor at KMOV Channel 4 in St. Louis, Missouri says that he was hit with an IRS audit almost immediately after he conducted an interview with Barack Obama in April 2012

Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS.

I don’t accept “conspiracy theories”, but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me.

At the time, I dismissed the “co-incidence”, but now, I have concerns … after revelations about the IRS targeting various groups and their members.

Originally, the IRS apologized for red-flagging conservative groups and their members if they had “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their name.

Today, there are allegations that the IRS focused on various groups and/or individuals questioning or criticizing government spending, taxes, debt or how the government is run … any involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, or social economic reform/movement.

In that April 2012 interview, I questioned President Obama on several topics: the Buffet Rule, his public remarks about the Supreme Court before the ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I also asked why he wasn’t doing more to help Sen. Claire McCaskill who at that time was expected to lose. The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending.

I said some viewers expressed concern, saying they think he’s “out of touch” because of his personal and family trips in the midst of our economic crisis.

The President’s face clearly showed his anger; afterwards, his staff which had been so polite … suddenly went cold.

That’s to be expected, and I can deal with that just as I did with President George H. Bush’s staff when he didn’t like my questions.

Journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance to me. My job is to ask the hard questions, because I believe viewers have a right to be well-informed. I cannot and will not promote anyone’s agenda – political or otherwise – at the expense of the reporting the truth.

What I don’t like to even consider … is that because of the Obama interview … the IRS put a target on me.

Can I prove it? At this time, no.

But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview … the IRS has been pressuring me.

Reverend Franklin Graham, the son of Reverend Billy Graham, recently wrote a letter to Barack Obama claiming that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse were both hit with IRS audits very shortly after they ran full-page ads supporting North Carolina’s Marriage amendment.  In fact, both organizations were notified about the audits on the same day.  The following is from a recent article posted on redstate.com

The man known as America’s pastor was among those targeted by the Internal Revenue Service after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ran newspaper advertisements promoting traditional marriage and biblical values.

“I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the Administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us,” wrote Franklin Graham in a letter to President Obama. “This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.’”

Graham is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as well as the international charity Samaritan’s Purse. Both organizations received word of audits on the same day – not long after they ran full –page ads supporting North Carolina’s Marriage amendment.

The ads encouraged voters to “cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.”

The ad concluded with the words, “Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me (Billy Graham) that America will remain one nation under God.”

Graham said on Sept. 6, 2012 they received notification that the IRS would audit their taxes.

“In light of what the IRS admitted to on Friday, May 10, 2013, and subsequent revelations from other sources, I do not believe that the IRS audit of our two organizations last year is a coincidence – or justifiable,” Graham wrote.

You can find a full copy of Franklin Graham’s letter to Barack Obama right here.

The Blaze is reporting on another example of this phenomenon.  A respected Catholic professor that had written things critical of the Obama administration was hit with an IRS audit that she believes was politically motivated…

On Wednesday, Dr. Anne Hendershott, a devout Catholic and a noted sociologist, professor and author, exclusively told The Blaze that she believes she may have been one of the IRS’s targets.

According to Hendershott, the IRS audited her in 2010 and demanded to know who was paying her and “what their politics were.”

It all started with a phone call she received at her home in May of that year — a call during which Hendershott was told she would be audited. A letter that followed on May 19, 2010 solidified the IRS’s request to meet her in person two months later in July.

Unfortunately, these are not just isolated incidents.  In fact, attorney Cleta Mitchell recently told Newsmax that she has seen a systematic pattern of politically motivated IRS harassment that only began once Barack Obama entered the White House…

In the case of one such client, she and her family subsequently became targets for audits to their personal and business tax returns, and were even visited by three different government agencies. She also knows of other groups who had surprise visits from the FBI after they applied for IRS status.

Mitchell said she doesn’t believe the president or the White House was uninvolved in the IRS activities, as the administration has claimed.

“I’ve thought for some time that this is politically motivated and that’s the reason it was happening. And, as I said, I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this until 2009, 2010. And the only thing that changed was we had a different administration,” she said.

There are some that have been trying to bring awareness to these politically motivated audits for quite some time.  One of these individuals is a former classmate of Obama’s named Wayne Allyn Root

“I feel like a million bucks. I feel absolutely vindicated. I knew this was going on,” Wayne Allyn Root told WND.

Root, the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate in 2008 who has claimed Obama was strangely unknown to him and his fellow Columbia University classmates, recounted his story to WND last October of becoming the target of unusual audits, beginning in January 2011, despite a “spotless” 30-year tax record.

He charged in October that the order to audit him came from Obama himself, and he is even more convinced now.

“I believe this is not rogue agents, who would be risking their pension and careers,” he said.

In October, Root said the order to audit him “must have come from the highest levels of government.”

“Obama is using the power of the IRS and other government agencies to punish his political opposition and intimidate and silence his critics,” Root charged at the time.

In that same article, a number of other examples of this phenomenon were cited…

Last year, billionaire Frank VanderSloot became the target of investigations by both the IRS and the Labor Department after he gave $1 million to a super PAC that supported Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The GOP’s biggest donor, Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, said a federal criminal investigation into his company’s business practices was politically motivated. Another casino giant, Steve Wynn, also has been investigated.

This week, Root has received many emails from people who identify as conservative and believe the IRS has been harassing them for political reasons.

What happened to businessman Frank VanderSloot is particularly noteworthy.  The following is from an article that Rob Bluey authored last year…

On April 20, President Obama’s campaign named VanderSloot to the first presidential “enemies list” since the Nixon era. Eight private citizens were singled out for their donations to Romney. They committed no crimes, sought no attention, and yet they became the subject of Obama’s scorn.

VanderSloot is now facing persecution from the federal government. Kimberly Strassel reveals in The Wall Street Journal that two federal agencies — the Internal Revenue Service and Labor Department — both launched investigations of VanderSloot after his name appeared on Obama’s enemies list.

No matter what you think of Obama’s politics, shouldn’t we all be deeply alarmed that he has an “enemies list”?

With each passing day, the similarities between Barack Obama and Richard Nixon become more glaring.

And Obama has even joked about sending the IRS after people that he does not like.  When Obama found out that he was not going to be receiving an honorary doctorate from Arizona State University, he made the following statement

“President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS.”

The IRS is not supposed to be used as a weapon, and the White House is not allowed to use information gathered by the IRS for political gain either.  But apparently last year someone at the IRS was leaking tax information to someone within the Obama campaign.  The following is from a recent article by Matt K. Lewis

A little over a year ago, I reported that, ”It is likely that someone at the Internal Revenue Service illegally leaked confidential donor information showing a contribution from Mitt Romney’s political action committee to the National Organization for Marriage, says the group.”

Now — on the heels of news the IRS’s apology for having targeted conservative groups — NOM is renewing their demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the people responsible.

“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,” said NOM’s president Brian Brow, in a prepared statement. “The only questions are who did it, and whether there was any knowledge or coordination between people in the White House, the Obama reelection campaign and the Human Rights Campaign. We and the American people deserve answers.”

The IRS has been doing all sorts of things that they should not be doing.  They are a rogue agency that is completely out of control.

In fact, one new lawsuit alleges that the IRS stole the health records of approximately 10 million Americans

The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.

According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.     “This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.

And guess what?

The IRS is going to be the primary government agency in charge of implementing Obamacare.

Will we soon see the IRS use health information to attack the political enemies of the man or woman sitting in the White House?

Unfortunately, thanks to new “Big Brother” technology that the IRS has been implementing, pretty soon there will be very little about us that the IRS does not know.  The following is from a recent article by Richard Satran of U.S. News & World Report

Consumers are already familiar with Internet “cookies” that track their movements and send them targeted ads that follow them to different websites. The IRS has brought in private industry experts to employ similar digital tracking—but with the added advantage of access to Social Security numbers, health records, credit card transactions and many other privileged forms of information that marketers don’t see.

“Private industry would be envious if they knew what our models are,” boasted Dean Silverman, the agency’s high-tech top gun who heads a group recruited from the private sector to update the IRS, in a comment reported in trade publications.

So what is the IRS going to do with all of this information?

Well, the following are just a few of the things that they have already said that they plan to do with it…

• Charting and analyzing social media such as Facebook

• Targeting audits by matching tax filings to social media or electronic payments

• Tracking individual Internet addresses and emailing patterns

• Sorting data in 32,000 categories of metadata and 1 million unique “attributes”

• Machine learning across “neural” networks

• Statistical and agent-based modeling

• Relationship analysis based on Social Security numbers and other personal identifiers

So are you alarmed by all of this?

You should be.

As I discussed in my previous article entitled  “100 Years Old And Still Killing Us: America Was Much Better Off Before The Income Tax“, Congress should close the doors of the IRS and throw away the key.  It is a deeply, deeply corrupt government agency that has gotten wildly out of control.

After what you have just read above, is there anyone out there that would disagree with me?

America: #1 In Fear, Stress, Anger, Divorce, Obesity, Anti-Depressants, Etc.

America - #1 In Fear, Stress, Anger, Divorce, Obesity, Anti-Depressants, Etc. - Photo by IshupragunThe United States is a deeply unhappy place.  We are a nation that is absolutely consumed by fear, stress, anger and depression.  It isn’t just our economy that is falling apart – the very fabric of society is starting to come apart at the seams and it is because of what is happening to us on the inside.  The facts and statistics that I am going to share with you in this article are quite startling.  They are clear evidence that America is a nation that is an advanced state of decline.  We are overwhelmed by fear, stress and anxiety, and much of the time the ways that we choose to deal with those emotions lead to some very self-destructive behaviors.  Americans have experienced a standard of living far beyond the wildest dreams of most societies throughout human history, and yet we are an absolutely miserable people.  Why is this?  Why is America #1 in so many negative categories?  Why are we constantly looking for ways to escape the pain of our own lives?  Why are our families falling apart?  There is vast material wealth all around us.  So why can’t we be happy?

Just look around you.  Are most of the people around you teeming with happiness and joy?  Sadly, the truth is that most Americans are terribly stressed out.  Yeah, many of them may be able to manage to come up with a smile when they greet you, but most of the time they are consumed by internal struggles that are eating away at them like cancer.

So why is this happening?  Is modern life structured in a way that is fundamentally unhealthy?

Below I have posted a short excerpt from a message that one of Charles Hugh Smith’s readers named Kenneth Daigle recently sent to him.  I think that it does a good job of describing the incredible stress that many people contend with on a daily basis…

Think about how our culture is now structured for the average adult: STRESS, everywhere you look–commuting in horrible traffic, as you want to scream in frustration–money stress, to pay rent/house note, tuition, utilities, gas, insurances, vacations, cable bill, rising food costs, and on and on and on–stress from family problems, divorce, delinquency, drugs, crime, infidelity, keeping up with the Jones, etc.

People have too high an expectation of what they should have out of life, and get overly stressed over it all. How does all of this manifest itself? A prescription drug culture (Zoloft, Xanax, etc.) that tricks people into thinking a pill will knock back the stress, when these drugs, in my opinion, only make things worse.

I am hearing more and more that people just want to drop out from it all, as they are reaching a breaking point, and have decided less income and dependency on entitlements will reduce their stress, and is not so humiliating, so giving up working becomes more acceptable, to KEEP ONE’S SANITY.

I know I am correct, from the feedback I hear every day, and the financial media does not see this like I hear it every day. People don’t want to admit that they are too weak to deal with stress, so the financial pundits are not aware of this critical factor because they don’t talk to Joe Sixpack.

Most Americans live lives of “quiet desperation” that are punctuated by moments of great crisis.  We spend our prime years working for others (making them rich) in order to pay off debts that we have foolishly accumulated (thus making the banks even wealthier).  When most Americans reach the end of their lives, they look back and wonder what they actually accomplished.

James Altucher published an incredible article the other day entitled “Why Do People Hate Their Jobs?”  It did a great job of describing what life is like for the modern worker in America.  The following are a few of the reasons that he says people tend to hate their jobs…

-Jobs are modern-day slavery. We are paid just enough to live and not more. You are punished if you ask for more.

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-We are often verbally abused on the job and we take it because we think it’s normal that people would yell at us.

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-The government gets up to 50% of your paycheck and then 10-20% of that goes to kill people on other parts of the planet, including our own children.

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-From 7am to 7pm you are either A) going to work, B) at work, or C) coming back from work. Hence, the times when you can be most creative are garbage-compacted into your cubicle.

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-When you are paranoid at a job, you are probably correct. THEY are, in fact, talking about you and backstabbing you right now.

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-You realize that all the dollars you spent on degrees to get you a job that will make you happy were completely wasted. You were scammed but you can’t let the next generation know how stupid you were so now you become part of perpetuating the scam.

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-Your spouse is tired of hearing about your job after six months. And you couldn’t care less about hers. Ten years later you wake up next to a total stranger. 40 years later you die next to one.

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-When you were a kid you liked to draw, and read, and run, and laugh, and play, and imagine a magical world. You’re never going to do any of that again.

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-Over time everyone is getting fired and being replaced by younger, cheaper, more temporary, more robotic, versions of you. You see this but are afraid to do anything about it.

And of course when we get home from work there is even more stress.  In America today, we are witnessing a breakdown of the family unlike anything we have ever seen before.  The United States leads the world in divorce and in single person households.  We are having an increasingly difficult time relating to one another, and many of us drown our sorrows in our addictions.  We are addicted to pills, to alcohol, to food, to entertainment, to sex, to gambling, to shopping and to anything else that will make us feel good and forget about our problems for a while.

The following is a collection of facts and statistics that prove that America is being absolutely consumed by fear, stress, anger and depression…

-Suicide has now actually surpassed car accidents as the number one cause of “injury death” in the United States.

-More U.S. soldiers killed themselves than were killed in combat last year.

-As I mentioned in another article, Americans will spend more than 280 billion dollars on prescription drugs during 2013.

Nearly one out of every four women in the United States are taking antidepressants.

-The percentage of women taking antidepressants in the U.S. is higher than in any other country in the world.

-In 2010, the average teen in the U.S. was taking 1.2 central nervous system drugs.  Those are the kinds of drugs which treat conditions such as ADHD and depression.

-Children in the United States are three times more likely to be prescribed antidepressants as children in Europe are.

-According to a recent article by David Kupelian, “one-third of the nation’s employees suffer chronic debilitating stress, and more than half of all ‘millennials’ (18 to 33 year olds) experience a level of stress that keeps them awake at night, including large numbers diagnosed with depression or anxiety disorder.”

-Tens of millions of Americans use alcohol and drugs to numb the pain that they are experiencing.  In the United States today, there are about 28 million Americans with a drinking problem and about 22 million Americans use illegal drugs.

-More people have been diagnosed with mental disorders in America than anywhere else on earth.

-There are also tens of millions of Americans that try to deal with anxiety and stress by eating.  Of all the major industrialized nations, America is the most obese.  Mexico is #2.

-Back in 1962, only 13 percent of all Americans were obese.  Today, approximately 36 percent of all Americans are obese.

-Many people try to escape from the pain of reality by getting lost in entertainment.  Incredibly, the United States is tied with the UK for the highest average number of hours spent watching television each week.

-The United States has the highest divorce rate in the world by a good margin.

-The United States has the highest percentage of one person households on the entire planet.

-According to the Pew Research Center, only 51 percent of all American adults are currently married.  Back in 1960, 72 percent of all adults in the United States were married.

-At this point, approximately one out of every three children in America lives in a home without a father.

-For women under the age of 30 living in the United States today, more than half of all babies are being born out of wedlock.

-The United States has the highest child abuse death rate in the developed world.

-In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.

-The United States has the highest teen pregnancy rate in the world by a very wide margin.

-The United States produces more pornography than any other nation in the world.

-If you can believe it, there are 20 million new STD infections in the United States every single year.

-The U.S. has the highest STD infection rate in the entire industrialized world.

-It is estimated that about one out of every six Americans between the ages of 14 and 49 have genital herpes.

-Sadly, one out of every four teen girls in the U.S. has at least one sexually transmitted disease.

-The United States leads the world in eating disorder deaths.

-Nobody in the world gets more plastic surgery done than Americans do.

-Americans spend more time sitting in traffic than anyone else in the world.

-America has the highest incarceration rate and the largest total prison population in the entire world by a very wide margin.

Fear is one of the primary things that motivates the American people, and that is a very powerful weapon that can be used against us.

As I wrote about yesterday, those that commit acts of terror want to get attention and they want to create fear.

And that is exactly what the Boston Marathon bombing accomplished.  It captured the attention of the nation for days on end, and it absolutely paralyzed the entire Boston area with fear.

When we allow ourselves to be terrorized, we actually encourage more terror attacks.  When we give terrorists what they want, it just encourages more psychos to commit acts of terror.  If you don’t believe me, just check out the following links that I found posted on The Drudge Report on Monday…

*”3 Alabama hospitals evacuated after bomb threats“*

*”Connecticut Courthouse Evacuated After Bomb Threat“*

*”South Hills Village Evacuated After Bomb Threat“*

*”Rock Island neighborhood evacuated after bomb threat“*

*”Bomb threat forces evacuation of Seabreeze office building“*

The appropriate response to a terror attack is to refuse to be terrorized.  Yes, we should also work to expose and punish the individuals, organizations and governments that are behind terror.  But we should also not let terror change how we live our lives, and we should definitely not allow terror to be used as an excuse to rip our liberties and freedoms away.

Sadly, as Ron Paul has detailed, some of our politicians are already calling for “tighter security” in the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing…

Sadly, I expect this week’s tragic attacks in Boston to be used to justify new restrictions on liberty. Within 48 hours of the attack in Boston, at least one Congressman was calling for increased use of surveillance cameras to expand the government’s ability to monitor our actions, while another Senator called for a federal law mandating background checks before Americans can buy “explosive powder.”

I would not be surprised if the Transportation Security Administration uses this tragedy to claim new authority to “screen” Americans before they can attend sporting or other public events. The Boston attack may also be used as another justification for creating a National ID Card tied to a federal database with “biometric” information. The only thing that will stop them is if the American people rediscover the wisdom of Benjamin Franklin that you cannot achieve security by allowing government to take their liberties.

But no matter how much liberty and freedom we give up, we will never be 100% safe.  Bad people are always going to do bad things, and unfortunately we are probably going to see some pretty nightmarish things in the years ahead as the world becomes even more unstable.

If we allow the bad guys to get us so frightened that we throw out the U.S. Constitution and abandon our liberties and our freedoms, then we are the ones who lose.

Yes, the years ahead are going to be tough.  The economic collapse is going to accelerate greatly, there will be tremendous natural disasters, there will be war in the Middle East and there will be other problems that we cannot even conceive of right now.  At the same time, the American people will continue to become even angrier and even more frustrated.  According to a recent Pew Research survey, the percentage of Americans with a favorable view of the federal government is now at an all-time low.  As the economy crumbles, there will likely be great civil unrest as people demand solutions.  Unfortunately, our problems took decades to develop and they will not be solved overnight even if we did have good people in office.

So why am I saying all of this?

And why am I constantly warning about the coming economic collapse?

Is it because I want to create fear?

No, just the opposite of that.

I am a watchman on the wall.

In ancient times, a watchman would warn the people when the enemy was approaching.

When you receive the warning, there are a few different ways that you can respond to it…

#1 You can become consumed with fear and run away from the enemy.  Unfortunately, cowards never get the victory in the end.

#2 You can dismiss the warning and pretend that the enemy is not approaching.  But then when the enemy comes you will be completely unprepared.

#3 You can do everything possible to get prepared to face the enemy that is coming with strength and courage.

And that is how I would encourage all of you to approach the coming economic collapse and the other great problems that we will soon be experiencing as a nation.

Do not be afraid.

Instead, be strong and courageous and prepare well for the storms that are coming.

Do Wall Street Insiders Expect Something Really BIG To Happen Very Soon?

Do Wall Street Insiders Expect Something Really BIG To Happen Very Soon? - Photo by nosha on flickrWhy are corporate insiders dumping huge numbers of shares in their own companies right now?  Why are some very large investors suddenly making gigantic bets that the stock market will crash at some point in the next 60 days?  Do Wall Street insiders expect something really BIG to happen very soon?  Do they know something that we do not know? What you are about to read below is startling.  Every time that the market has fallen in recent years, insiders have been able to get out ahead of time.  David Coleman of the Vickers Weekly Insider report recently noted that Wall Street insiders have shown “a remarkable ability of late to identify both market peaks and troughs”.  That is why it is so alarming that corporate insiders are selling nine times as many shares as they are buying right now.  In addition, some extraordinarily large bets have just been made that will only pay off if the financial markets in the U.S. crash by the end of April.  So what does all of this mean?  Well, it could mean absolutely nothing or it could mean that there are people out there that actually have insider knowledge that a market crash is coming.  Evaluate the evidence below and decide for yourself…

For some reason, corporate insiders have chosen this moment to unload huge amounts of stock.  According to a CNN article, corporate insiders are now selling nine times more of their own shares than they are buying…

Corporate insiders have one word for investors: sell.

Insiders were nine times more likely to sell shares of their companies than buy new ones last week, according to the Vickers Weekly Insider report by Argus Research.

What makes this so alarming is that corporate insiders have been exceedingly good at “timing the market” in recent years.  The following comes from a recent CNBC article entitled “Sucker Alert? Insider Selling Surges After Dow 14,000“…

“In almost perfect coordination with an equity market that was rushing toward new all-time highs, insider sentiment has weakened sharply — falling to its lowest level since late March 2012,” wrote David Coleman of the Vickers Weekly Insider report, one of the longest researchers of executive buying and selling on Wall Street. “Insiders are waving the cautionary flag in an increasingly aggressive manner.”

There have been more than nine insider sales for every one buy over the past week among NYSE stocks, according to Vickers. The last time executives sold their company’s stock this aggressively was in early 2012, just before the S&P 500 went on to correct by 10 percent to its low for the year.

“Insiders know more than the vast majority of market participants,” said Enis Taner, global macro editor for RiskReversal.com. “And they’re usually right over a long period of time.”

There are other indications that the stock market may be headed for a significant tumble in the months ahead.  For example, as a Zero Hedge article recently pointed out, the last time that the financial markets in the U.S. were as “euphoric” as they are now was right before the financial crisis of 2008.

And as I mentioned above, some people out there have recently made some absolutely jaw-dropping bets against stocks which will only pay off if there is a financial crash at some point in the next few months.

According to Business Insider, the recent purchase of 100,000 put options by a mystery investor has a lot of people on Wall Street talking…

According to Barron’s columnist Steven Sears, someone made a big bet against the financials ETF yesterday (ticker symbol XLF), and it has everybody buzzing.

The trader bought 100,000 put options on the ETF (a put option increases in value when the price of the underlying asset, in this case, the ETF, goes down).

To put that number in perspective, Sears writes, “Few investors ever trade more than 500 contracts, so a 100,000 order tends to stop traffic and prompt all sorts of speculation about what’s motivating the trade.” According to Sears, the trade “has sparked conversations across the market.”

Reportedly, those put options expire in April.

And as Art Cashin of UBS has noted, there was also another extremely large bet that was placed recently that is banking on a financial crash within the next two months…

A Very Big Bet In A Somewhat Unlikely Instrument – My friend, Jim Brown, the ever-alert consummate professional over at Option Investor pointed us to a rather unusual trade. Here’s what he wrote in last night’s edition of his valuable newsletter:

In past years I have reported on trades that were so large it appeared someone had inside knowledge of a pending event. Sometimes those were massive put positions on the S&P. A new trade just appeared that suggests there will be a market event in the near future. Last week somebody put on a call spread on the VIX using the April 20 and 25 puts. They bought 150,000 contracts for a net of $75 per contract. That is an $11,250,000 bet that the VIX will move over 20 over the next 60 days. You would have to be VERY confident in your outlook to risk $11 million on a directional position with the VIX at five year lows and the markets trying to break out to new highs.

So does all of this guarantee that the stock market is going to move a certain way?

Of course not.

But when you step back and look at the bigger picture, it does appear that Wall Street insiders are preparing for something.

Meanwhile, the government continues to assure us that happy days are here again for the U.S. economy and that we don’t have anything to worry about.

The Congressional Budget Office has just released a report that contains their outlook for the next decade.  The report is entitled “The Budget and Economic Outlook: Fiscal Years 2013 to 2023″, and if you want a good laugh you should read it.

Here are some of the things that the CBO believes will happen…

-The CBO believes that government revenues will more than double by 2023.

-The CBO believes that government revenue as a percentage of GDP will rise from 15.8 percent today to 19.1 percent in 2023.

-The CBO believes that the unemployment rate will continually fall over the next decade.

-The CBO believes that the federal budget deficit will fall to just 2.4% of GDP in fiscal year 2015.

-The CBO believes that the federal budget deficit will only be $430 billion in 2015.

-The CBO believes that we will not have a single recession over the next decade.

-The CBO believes that inflation will stay at about 2 percent for the next decade.

-The CBO believes that U.S. GDP will grow by a total of 67 percent by 2023.

Wow, all of that sounds great until you go back and take a look at how CBO projections have fared in the past.

In fact, Bruce Krasting has gone back and looked at the numbers from the Congressional Budget Office’s Budget and Economic Outlook 2003.  I think that you will find the differences between the CBO projections and what really happened to be very humorous…

Estimated 10-year budget surplus = $5.6T.

Reality = $6.6T deficit. A 200+% miss.

 

Estimate for 2012 Debt Held by Public = $1.2T (5% of GDP).

Reality = Debt Held by Public = $11.6T. A 1000% miss.

 

Estimated fiscal 2012 GDP = $17.4T.

Reality = $15.8T. A $1.6T (10%) miss.

So should we trust what the CBO is telling us now?

Of course not.

Instead, perhaps we should listen to some of the men that successfully warned us about the last financial crisis…

-“Dr. Doom” Marc Faber recently stated that he “loves the high odds of a ‘big-time’ market crash“.

-Economist Nouriel Roubini says that we should “prepare for a perfect storm“.

-Pimco’s Bill Gross says that we are heading for a “credit supernova“.

-Nomura’s Bob Janjuah believes that the financial markets will experience one more huge spike before collapsing by up to 50%

I continue to believe that the S&P500 can trade up towards the 1575/1550 area, where we have, so far, a grand double top. I would not be surprised to see the S&P trade marginally through the 2007 all-time nominal high (the real high was of course seen over a decade ago – so much for equities as a long-term vehicle for wealth creation!). A weekly close at a new all-time high would I think lead to the final parabolic spike up which creates the kind of positioning extreme and leverage extreme needed to create the conditions for a 25% to 50% collapse in equities over the rest of 2013 and 2014, driven by real economy reality hitting home, and by policymaker failure/loss of faith in “their system”.

The truth is that no matter how much money printing the Federal Reserve does, it is only a matter of time before the financial markets catch up with economic reality.

The U.S. economy has been in decline for a very long time, and things just continue to get even worse.  Here are just a few numbers…

-The percentage of the civilian labor force that is employed has fallen every single year since 2006.

-According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, truly accurate numbers would show that U.S. GDP growth has actually been continuously negative all the way back to 2005.

-U.S. families that have a head of household that is under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

-One recent survey found that nearly half of all Americans are living on the edge of financial ruin.

-According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are more than 146 million Americans that are considered to be either “poor” or “low income” at this point.

For many more statistics that demonstrate that the U.S. economy has continued to decline in recent years, please see this article: “37 Statistics Which Show How Four Years Of Obama Have Wrecked The U.S. Economy“.

So where is all of this headed?

Well, after the next major financial crisis in America things are going to get very tough.

We can get a hint for how things are going to be by taking a look at what is going on over in Europe right now.

Can you imagine people trampling each other for food?  That is what is happening in Greece.  Just check out this excerpt from a Reuters article

Hundreds of people jostled for free vegetables handed out by farmers in a symbolic protest earlier on Wednesday, trampling one man and prompting an outcry over the growing desperation created by economic crisis.

Images of people struggling to seize bags of tomatoes and leeks thrown from a truck dominated television, triggering a bout of soul-searching over the new depths of poverty in the debt-laden country.

The suffering that the Greeks are experiencing right now will come to this country soon enough.

So enjoy this false bubble of debt-fueled prosperity while you can.  It is going to end way too soon, and after that there will be a whole lot of pain.

Wall Street - Photo by Andrés Nieto Porras

15 Signs That The Economy Is Rapidly Getting Worse As We Head Into 2013

How can the mainstream media claim that the U.S. economy is “improving” when it is painfully obvious to anyone with a brain that the middle class is being absolutely eviscerated?  According to numbers that were just released, the number of Americans on food stamps rose by more than 600,000 in a single month to an all-time record high of 47.7 million.  Youth unemployment in the U.S. is at a post-World War II high and large companies have announced the elimination of more than 100,000 jobs since Barack Obama won the election.  Consumer debt just hit a new record high and the federal government is accumulating debt at a much faster pace than it was at this time last year.  So where is the evidence that the economy is getting better?  The mainstream media says that the decline of the unemployment rate to “7.7 percent” is evidence that things are improving, but I showed how fraudulent that number is yesterday.  The percentage of working age Americans with a job today is exactly where it was back in September 2009 in the midst of the last major economic crisis.  The mainstream media is desperate for any shred of evidence that it can use to make people feel good and show that the Obama administration has our economy on the right track, and so they jump on any number that even looks remotely promising and they ignore mountains of evidence to the contrary.  They don’t seem to care that poverty is absolutely exploding and that the number of Americans on food stamps has risen by nearly 50 percent while Obama has been in the White House.  They don’t seem to care that the U.S. share of global GDP has fallen from 31.8 percent in 2001 to 21.6 percent in 2011.  They don’t seem to care that more good paying jobs are being shipped overseas with each passing day.  They don’t seem to care that formerly great U.S. cities that were once the envy of the entire globe are now crime-infested hellholes.  All they seem to care about is putting out news that makes people feel warm and fuzzy and making sure that Obama looks good.  Unfortunately, the truth is that the U.S. economy is steadily getting worse, and 2013 is not looking very promising at all right now.  Hopefully at some point the mainstream media will take a break from coverage of the royal pregnancy and the latest celebrity scandals to report on the real problems that we are facing right now.

The following are 15 signs that the economy is rapidly getting worse as we head into 2013…

#1 According to numbers that were just released, the number of Americans on food stamps has risen to a new all-time record of 47.71 million.  That is a huge increase of more than 600,000 over the previous reading of 47.10 million.  After about a year of slow growth, it looks like the number of Americans on food stamps is starting to skyrocket once again.  Back in the 1970s, about one out of every 50 Americans was on food stamps.  Today, about one out of every 6.5 Americans is on food stamps.

#2 Youth unemployment in the United States is now at the highest level that we have seen since World War II.

#3 According to Gallup, unemployment in the United States shot up very sharply during the month of November.

#4 It looks like the unemployment numbers are likely to get even worse.  Since the election, dozens of large companies have announced major layoffs.  Overall, large companies have announced the elimination of more than 100,000 jobs since November 6th.

#5 According to the Wall Street Journal, of the 40 biggest publicly traded corporate spenders, half of them plan to reduce capital expenditures over the coming months.

#6 Small business owners all over America are declaring that Obamacare is going to force them to start replacing full-time workers with part-time workers during 2013.

#7 One recent survey discovered that 40 percent of all Americans have $500 or less in savings.

#8 A different recent survey found that 28 percent of all Americans do not have a single penny saved for emergencies.

#9 62 percent of middle class Americans say that they have had to reduce household spending over the past year.

#10 Many Americans are trying to make ends meet for their families by going into more debt.  Consumer borrowing hit another brand new record high in October.  It looks like the American people have not learned from their past mistakes and have decided to roll up consumer debt at a faster pace than ever before.

#11 Median household income in America has fallen for four consecutive years.  Overall, it has declined by over $4000 during that time span.

#12 Wall Street bankers are expecting “the worst bonus season” since 2008.  Not a lot of people are going to shed tears over this one, but this is a sign that there is trouble in the financial world.

#13 Food banks all over America are reporting that more needy families than ever before are showing up to get food.

#14 As I wrote about yesterday, the federal government has run a deficit of $292 billion dollars during the first two months of fiscal 2013.  That figure is $57 billion higher than it was during the same period last year.  Government debt continues to soar wildly out of control and at some point all of that debt is absolutely going to crush us.

#15 I have written previously about how the once great city of Detroit has become a symbol of the downfall of the U.S. economy.  Well, now the state of Michigan is laying the groundwork for a “managed bankruptcy” of Detroit.  Sadly, many other large U.S. cities will likely follow suit over the next couple of years.

We should truly mourn for what is happening to Detroit.  At one time, it was one of the most beautiful cities on earth.  But now it is on the cutting edge of America’s economic decline.  You can see some amazing before and after pictures of an abandoned Detroit school right here.  Sadly, what is happening to Detroit will soon be happening to the rest of the country.

A similar thing is happening over in Europe.  Greece is on the cutting edge of Europe’s economic decline, and people over there are becoming very desperate.  The following is an excerpt from a Financial Post article about how the Greek middle class is turning to crime as the depression in that nation gets even worse…

In the once stable neighborhood of Kordelio, the unemployed and drug users gather in the parks, scaring away mothers and children, and crimes like chain snatching are on the rise. Many long-time residents have left, moving abroad or to their families’ villages, leaving behind empty houses, said Evangelia Rombou, 58, who has lived in Kordelio for 22 years.

But it is not just Greece that is grappling with these kinds of issues.  Now even countries that had been thought to be “stable” are experiencing significant problems.  For example, a massive crime wave has broken out in France.  The crime wave in France is being blamed on “austerity”, but the government of France still spends far more than it brings in.

So how bad would things get in France if the French government actually did go to a balanced budget?

And how bad would things get in the United States if the federal government was not stealing more than 100 million dollars an hour from our children and our grandchildren?

Even in the midst of our debt-fueled prosperity we are starting to see glimpses of how desperate people will become when our country is someday forced to live within its means.  For example, the following is from a report about an incident that happened in Columbus, Ohio the other day…

Columbus Police sprayed Mace on several people in a crowd that had gathered to sign up for a list to get subsidized housing at a northwest Columbus apartment complex.

Police said the crowd started to gather Friday night for the Saturday morning event at The Heritage apartment complex on Gatewood Road near Sunbury Road in northeast Columbus.

Authorities said that its highest number, the crowd reached 2,000 people.

Our entire economy is a giant mirage.  Our prosperity has been purchased by stealing from the future.  A few people have been warning that we have completely destroyed our future in the process, but both major political parties just continue to do it and the mainstream media just continues to cheer them on.

At some point this con game will end and this economic mirage will disappear.  When that happens, millions of people all over this country are going to become very angry and very desperate.

I hope that you have a plan for what you will do when that happens.

A Jobs Report Conspiracy?

Well, isn’t that convenient?  The Obama campaign desperately needed the last employment report to be released before the election to show that the unemployment rate had fallen below 8 percent, and somehow it magically happened.  Even though non-farm payroll employment only increased by 114,000 last month (not enough to even keep up with population growth), the official unemployment rate fell from 8.1 percent to 7.8 percent.  So how did that happen?  Well, the unemployment number is not based on the survey of employers that showed that 114,000 jobs were added to the economy last month.  Rather it is based on a survey of households.  And that survey showed that the total number of Americans employed last month increased by a whopping 873,000 – almost eight times the number that the employer survey showed.  That figure for September (873,000) was the biggest one month increase in 29 years.  And it just happened to come at the exact perfect time for Barack Obama.  So was there a jobs report conspiracy?  Examine the evidence and decide for yourself.

The number of Americans with a job fell by 195,000 in July.

Then it fell by another 119,000 in August.

But somehow in September it miraculously exploded in the other direction and 873,000 jobs were added to the economy?

If you believe that, I have a bridge that I want to sell you.

Somehow, the largest increase in jobs in 29 years happened just when Barack Obama needed it the most.

Nah, that doesn’t sound fishy to me at all.

We are being told that a big reason for the huge increase was the number of Americans working part-time for “economic reasons”.  That number surged from 8.0 million in August to 8.6 million in September.

Why the sudden jump?

Nobody can really explain it.

And if you look at the U6 unemployment rate, nothing has really changed at all.  U6 is still at 14.7 percent just like it was last month.

But the media is not going to talk about the U6 rate.  Instead, all of the headlines are going to be about “7.8 percent”.

According to the survey of employers, the U.S. economy added fewer jobs in September than it did in August, and it added fewer jobs in August than it did in July.

So according to the survey of employers, the employment situation in the United States is getting worse.

But according to the household survey, we just had the greatest month of job creation since the first term of Ronald Reagan.

Something does not add up.

And as I have written about previously, the unemployment rate would actually be up around 11 percent instead of 7.8 percent if not for the millions of workers that the government claims “dropped out of the labor force” over the past few years because they became too discouraged to look for work.

So unemployment in America is still a massive crisis, but the media is boldly proclaiming that things are getting better and that we are on the road to recovery.

Of course Obama looks like the cat who ate the canary today.  He is just thrilled with the “7.8 percent” number.

But the truth is that according to the employer survey, job growth in the United States is actually slower than last year.  The following is from the Calculated Risk blog….

All that said, the economy has only added 1.3 million payroll jobs over the first nine months of the year. At this pace, the economy would only add around 1.8 million private sector jobs in 2012; less than the 2.1 million added in 2011.

Are you starting to see why people are so skeptical of this jobs report?

When the “7.8 percent” figure was released, there was immediately a wave of shock and unbelief throughout the financial world and all over the Internet.

The following is a sampling of skeptical quotes about this jobs report….

Former GE chief Jack Welch

Unbelievable jobs numbers..these Chicago guys will do anything..can’t debate so change numbers

Chapwood Capital Investment Management Managing Partner Ed Butowsky

I feel like I’m watching a movie. There is no way in the world these numbers are accurate.

Neil Irwin of the Washington Post

“Weird that payrolls are exactly on forecast but household survey is far better.”

Conn Carroll, senior editorial writer for the Washington Examiner

While it is highly improbable that BLS conspired to cook the books, there is still a huge 756,000 job gap between the number of jobs employers told the Labor Department they created in September (114k), and the number of Americans who told the labor department that they got new jobs (873k).

U.S. Representative Allen West

I agree with former GE CEO Jack Welch, Chicago style politics is at work here. Somehow by manipulation of data we are all of a sudden below 8 percent unemployment, a month from the Presidential election. This is Orwellian to say the least and representative of Saul Alinsky tactics from the book “Rules for Radicals”- a must read for all who want to know how the left strategize . Trust the Obama administration? Sure, and the spontaneous reaction to a video caused the death of our Ambassador……and pigs fly.

Gluskin Sheff’s David Rosenberg

That the 7.8 percent jobless rate takes it to the level that prevailed when the President took office in January 2009 has raised many an eyebrow. I don’t believe in conspiracy theories. But I don’t believe in the Household Survey either. 

This notoriously volatile indicator has become even more so in recent months. It showed a 195K slide in July and a 119K decline in August, to only then reveal a massive 873K surge in September.

Radio host Laura Ingraham

“Jobs #s from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis are total pro-Obama propaganda–labor force participation rate at 30-yr low. Abysmal!”

Americans for Limited Government

“Either the Federal Reserve, which has its fingers on the pulse of every element of the economy, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics manufacturing survey report are grievously wrong or the number used to calculate the unemployment rate are wrong, or worse manipulated. Given that these numbers conveniently meet Obama’s campaign promises one month before the election, the conclusions are obvious.”

Rick Santelli of CNBC

“I told you they’d get it under 8 percent — they did! You can let America decide how they got there!”

Of course the backlash in the media against skepticism of the jobs report has been very forceful.

Already, those that are doubtful of the legitimacy of the jobs report are being called “truthers” – as if there is something wrong with wanting to know the truth.

Sadly, that is how things work these days.  If you don’t like the viewpoint that some people are expressing, you just label them “conspiracy theorists”.

And when someone is labeled a “conspiracy theorist”, that is code for “that person is so crazy that you should not listen to anything they say”.

But the truth is that we live in a world where often people do things that they are not supposed to be doing.

When something rather strange happens, it is not wrong to investigate and try to figure out what is going on.

And this jobs report seems very, very odd.

It sure does seem rather strange that the household survey is showing almost 8 times as many jobs created as the employer survey does.

It sure does seem rather strange that 873,000 more Americans were working in September (the largest increase in 29 years) after decreases in both July and August.

It sure does seem rather strange that the unemployment rate dropped under 8 percent at the exact moment when Barack Obama needed it the most.

But perhaps all of this is just a coincidence.

What do you think?

Startling Evidence That Central Banks And Wall Street Insiders Are Rapidly Preparing For Something BIG

If you want to figure out what is going to happen next in the financial markets, carefully watch what the insiders are doing.  Those that are “connected” have access to far better sources of information than the rest of us have, and if they hear that something big is coming up they will often make very significant moves with their money in anticipation of what is about to happen.  Right now, Wall Street insiders and central banks all around the globe are making some very unusual moves.  In fact, they appear to be rapidly preparing for something really big.  So exactly what are they up to?  In a previous article entitled “Are The Government And The Big Banks Quietly Preparing For An Imminent Financial Collapse?“, I speculated that they may be preparing for a financial meltdown of some sort.  As I noted in that article, more than 600 banking executives have resigned from their positions over the past 12 months, and I have been personally told that a substantial number of Wall Street bankers have been shopping for “prepper properties” this summer.  But now even more evidence has emerged that quiet preparations are being made for an imminent financial collapse.  That doesn’t guarantee that something will happen or won’t happen.  Like any good detective, we are gathering clues and trying to figure out what the evidence is telling us.

Why Is George Soros Selling So Much Stock And Buying So Much Gold?

I am certainly not a fan of George Soros.  He has funneled millions upon millions of dollars into organizations that are trying to take America in the exact wrong direction.

However, I do recognize that he is extremely well connected in the financial world.  Soros is almost always ahead of the curve on financial matters, and if something big is going to go down George Soros is probably going to know about it ahead of time.

That is why it is very alarming that he has dumped all of his banking stocks and that he is massively hoarding gold.  The following is from shtfplan.com….

In a harbinger of what may be coming our way in the Fall of 2012, billionaire financier George Soros has sold all of his equity positions in major financial stocks according to a 13-F report filed with the SEC for the quarter ending June 30, 2012.

Soros, who manages funds through various accounts in the US and the Cayman Islands, has reportedly unloaded over one million shares of stock in financial companies and banks that include Citigroup (420,000 shares), JP Morgan (701,400 shares) and Goldman Sachs (120,000 shares). The total value of the stock sales amounts to nearly $50 million.

What’s equally as interesting as his sale of major financials is where Soros has shifted his money. At the same time he was selling bank stocks, he was acquiring some 884,000 shares (approx. $130 million) of Gold via the SPDR Gold Trust.

Why would you dump over a million shares of stock in major banks and purchase more than 100 million dollars worth of gold?

Well, it would make perfect sense if you believed that a collapse of the financial system was about to happen.

Earlier this year, George Soros told the following to Newsweek….

“I am not here to cheer you up. The situation is about as serious and difficult as I’ve experienced in my career,” Soros tells Newsweek. “We are facing an extremely difficult time, comparable in many ways to the 1930s, the Great Depression. We are facing now a general retrenchment in the developed world, which threatens to put us in a decade of more stagnation, or worse. The best-case scenario is a deflationary environment. The worst-case scenario is a collapse of the financial system.”

It looks like he is putting his money where his mouth is.

Perhaps even more disturbing is what he believes is coming after the financial collapse….

As anger rises, riots on the streets of American cities are inevitable. “Yes, yes, yes,” he says, almost gleefully. The response to the unrest could be more damaging than the violence itself. “It will be an excuse for cracking down and using strong-arm tactics to maintain law and order, which, carried to an extreme, could bring about a repressive political system, a society where individual liberty is much more constrained, which would be a break with the tradition of the United States.”

That doesn’t sound good.

George Soros has told us what he believes is going to happen, and now he is making moves with his money that indicate that he is convinced that it is actually about to start happening.

But he is not the only one that has been busy accumulating gold.

Billionaire John Paulson (the one that made 20 billion dollars on the subprime mortgage meltdown) has been buying gold like crazy and his company now “has 44 percent of its $24 billion fund exposed to bullion.

So why are Soros and Paulson buying up so much gold?

Central Banks Are Also Hoarding Gold

According to the World Gold Council, the amount of gold bought by the central banks of the world absolutely soared during the second quarter of 2012.  The 157.5 metric tons of gold bought by the central banks of the world last quarter was an increase of 62.9 percent from the first quarter of 2012 and a 137.9 percent increase from the second quarter of 2011.

Prior to 2009, the central banks of the world had been net sellers of gold for about two decades.  But now that has totally changed, and last quarter central banks stocked up on gold in quantities that we have not seen before….

At 157.5 metric tons, gold buying among central banks came in at its highest quarterly level since the sector became a net buyer of the precious metal in the second quarter of 2009, data in the organization’s quarterly Gold Demand Trends report show.

So why have the central banks of the world become such gold bugs?

Is there something they aren’t telling us?

Rampant Insider Selling

Wall Street insiders have been dumping a whole lot of stock this year.

In my previous article, I linked to a CNN article from back in April….

First quarter earnings have been decent, if not spectacular. And many corporate executives are issuing cautiously optimistic guidance for the rest of the year.

But while insiders’ lips are saying one thing, their wallets are saying another. The level of insider selling among S&P 500 (SPX) companies is the highest in nearly 10 years. That is not good.

A lot of insiders appear to be getting out at the top of the market while the getting is still good.

Other insiders appear to be bailing out before the bottom falls out from beneath them.

Just check out what has been happening to Facebook stock.  It hit another new record low on Thursday as insiders dumped stock.  The following is from a CNN article….

Facebook’s life as a public company has been a nightmare from day one, and the pain continued on Thursday as some company insiders got their first chance to dump shares.

Facebook stock hit a new intra-day low of $19.69 Thursday morning, and ended the day 6.3% lower at $19.87.

Sadly, Facebook has now lost close to half of its value since the IPO.

Will Facebook end up being the poster child for the irrational stock market bubble that we have seen over the past couple of years?

Overall, retail investors have been very busy pulling money out of stocks in recent weeks.

The following are the net inflows to equity funds over the past five weeks (in millions of dollars) according to ICI….

7/11/2012: -537

7/18/2012: 637

7/25/2012: -2,999

8/1/2012: -6,866

8/8/2012: -3,684

According to the figures above, more than 10 billion dollars has been pulled out of equity funds over the past two weeks alone.

So does this mean anything?

Maybe.

Maybe not.

But it is very interesting and it bears watching.

Why Does The U.S. Government Need So Much Ammunition?

In my previous article, I also noted that the U.S. government appears to be very rapidly making preparations for something really big.

This week, it was revealed that the Social Security Administration plans to buy 174,000 hollow point bullets which will be delivered to 41 different locations all over America.

Now why in the world does the Social Security Administration need 174,000 bullets?

And why do they need hollow point bullets?  Those bullets are designed to cause as much damage to internal organs as possible.

But of course this is only the latest in a series of very large purchases of ammunition by U.S. government agencies.  The following is from a recent article by Paul Joseph Watson….

Back in March, Homeland Security purchased 450 million rounds of .40-caliber hollow point bullets that are designed to expand upon entry and cause maximum organ damage, prompting questions as to why the DHS needed such a large amount of powerful bullets merely for training purposes.

This was followed by another DHS solicitation asking for a further 750 million rounds of assorted bullets, including 357 mag rounds that are able to penetrate walls.

Now why in the world would the government need over a billion rounds of ammunition?

If it was the U.S. military I could understand this.  You can burn through a whole lot of ammunition fighting wars.

But this makes no sense – unless they believe that big trouble is coming.

Personally, I wouldn’t blame them for getting prepared.  Our economy continues to fall apart and there are signs of social decay everywhere around us.

The American people are more frustrated and more angry than at any other time in modern history.  This upcoming election is only going to cause Americans to become even more angry and even more divided.

All it would take is just the right “spark” to cause this country to erupt.

It could be the upcoming election.

It could be the collapse of the financial system.

Or it might be something else.

But the conditions are definitely there for it to happen.

Unfortunately, the American public is never told to prepare because authorities never want “to panic” the general population.

We are always the last to know, and that stinks.

So don’t wait for someone to come on the television and announce that a crisis is happening.

If you wait that long, it will be too late.

Instead, open up your eyes and think for yourself.

We all need to work hard to get prepared for the coming crisis while we still can.

As you can see, Wall Street insiders, the U.S. government and the central banks of the world are busy getting prepared.

Don’t put your head in the sand.

The warning signs are there and time is running out.

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