The Beginning Of The End
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Government Shutdown? 36 Facts Which Prove That Almost Everything Is Still Running

The West Front of the U.S. CapitolAll of this whining and crying about a “government shutdown” is a total joke.  You see, there really is very little reason why this “government shutdown” cannot continue indefinitely because almost everything is still running.  63 percent of all federal workers are still working, and 85 percent of all government activities are still being funded during this “shutdown”.  Yes, the Obama administration has been making a big show of taking down government websites and blocking off the World War II Memorial, but overall business in Washington D.C. is being conducted pretty much as usual.  It turns out that the definition of “essential personnel” has expanded so much over the years that almost everyone is considered “essential” at this point.  In fact, this shutdown is such a non-event that even referring to it as a “partial government shutdown” would really be overstating what is actually happening.  The following are 36 facts which prove that almost everything is still running during this government shutdown…

#1 According to U.S. Senator Rand Paul, 85 percent of all government activities are actually being funded during this “government shutdown”.

#2 Approximately 1,350,000 “essential” federal employees will continue to work during this “government shutdown”.

#3 Overall, 63 percent of the federal workforce will continue to work during this “government shutdown”.

#4 The U.S. Postal Service will continue to deliver our mail.

#5 U.S. military personnel will remain on duty and will continue to get paid.

#6 Social Security recipients will continue to get their benefits.

#7 Medicare recipients will continue to get their benefits.

#8 Medicaid recipients will continue to get their benefits.

#9 Food stamp recipients will continue to get their benefits.

#10 Those on unemployment will continue to get their benefits.

#11 Federal retirees will continue to get their pensions.

#12 The federal school lunch program has enough money to go through at least the end of this month.

#13 Public schools all over the country will continue to stay open.

#14 Almost all federal law enforcement officials will continue working.

#15 The Federal Reserve will remain “completely functional“.

#16 The Supreme Court will continue to operate normally and federal courts have enough money to keep going for at least two weeks.

#17 TSA employees will continue to molest travelers at our airports.

#18 Air traffic controllers will continue to monitor traffic at our airports.

#19 Hopelessly outmanned border patrol agents will continue to try to stem the tide of illegal immigration.

#20 Visas and passports will continue to be issued by the State Department.

#21 The Veterans Administration will continue to offer substandard medical services, and it will be able to continue processing benefit payments at least for now.

#22 The Obama administration apparently has plenty of money to spend on closing open-air memorials that are usually open to the public 24 hours a day.

#23 The Department of Defense announced the awarding of 94 new contracts worth a combined total of more than 5 billion dollars on September 30th – the day right before the “government shutdown”.

#24 The “government shutdown” has not prevented the new two billion dollar NSA spy center from opening up.

#25 Federal prisons will continue to operate normally.

#26 Amtrak trains will continue to run.

#27 The Patent and Trademark Office will be open.

#28 The Consumer Product Safety Commission will continue to issue product recalls if the products “create an immediate threat to the safety of human life“.

#29 The National Weather Service and the National Hurricane Center will continue to track weather patterns.

#30 If the federal government needs to respond to a natural disaster, this “shutdown” will not affect that.

#31 NASA will continue to support the Mars Rover and the two American astronauts up on the International Space Station.

#32 All city employees of the D.C. government have been deemed “essential” and will continue to go to work.

#33 Even though the Obamacare exchanges are not working properly, people will still be able to access them.

#34 The IRS will continue to collect taxes, but it will be suspending punitive audits of conservative organizations.

#35 Barack Obama will continue to get paid for the full duration of this “shutdown”.

#36 The U.S. Congress will continue to get paid for the full duration of this “shutdown”.

Of course not everything is operating normally during this government shutdown.  Government parks are closed.  The EPA and the Department of Energy have almost totally closed up shop.  But overall, most Americans are not going to notice much of a difference.

And perhaps now is a good time for the American people to evaluate whether or not they actually need a gigantic federal government that wastes enormous mountains of our money.

For example, our federal government recently spent $98,670 to construct a single outhouse in Alaska.

That is more than a lot of Americans pay for their entire houses.

For many more examples like this, please see my previous article entitled “The Waste List: 66 Crazy Ways That The U.S. Government Is Wasting Your Hard-Earned Money“.

It is about time that Washington D.C. started experiencing some of the “belt-tightening” that the rest of the country has been going through.  For far too long, the fatcats in D.C. have been living in an alternate reality where they have been able to live the high life at our expense.  A recent blog post by Daniel Greenfield discussed how this shutdown is going to affect the alternate reality that the Obamas have been living in…

The government shutdown has forced Obama to make do with only a quarter of his 1,701 person staff. That would leave 436 “vital” employees. The 90 people who look after his living quarters would be slashed to 15 to “provide minimum maintenance and support”.

Buckingham Palace, which is twelve times the size of the White House and has its own clockmaker, only has an 800 person staff. King Harald V of Norway and his court make do with 152 staffers. King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden gets by with 203.

On Twitter, Michelle Obama announced that she is unable to Tweet on her own without the aid of all of her sixteen assistants; many of whom take home six figure salaries. There are more directors, associate directors and deputy associate directors on Michelle Obama’s staff than there were in George Washington’s entire administration.

Presidents have fought wars and made peace, explored and annexed vast territories and built a nation out of a handful of colonies with fewer senior staffers than are needed to handle Michelle Obama’s Twitter account.

Oh the humanity!  Will Michelle Obama ever tweet again?  And how will the White House continue to function without at least one projectionist on duty at the White House 24 hours a day?

No wonder Barack Obama is so upset about this shutdown.

In the end, this shutdown could turn out to be very good for America.  We have a government that is wildly out of control and that desperately needs to be reigned in.

During the Obama administration, federal debt held by the public has risen by 90 percent, and overall federal government spending has risen by a whopping 317 percent since 1990.

So is it really a bad thing that the federal government has been forced to cut back for a little while?

Our politicians can whine and cry all they want.  They won’t be getting any sympathy from me.

25 Fast Facts About The Federal Reserve – Please Share With Everyone You Know

Great Seal - Photo by IpankoninAs we approach the 100 year anniversary of the creation of the Federal Reserve, it is absolutely imperative that we get the American people to understand that the Fed is at the very heart of our economic problems.  It is a system of money that was created by the bankers and that operates for the benefit of the bankers.  The American people like to think that we have a “democratic system”, but there is nothing “democratic” about the Federal Reserve.  Unelected, unaccountable central planners from a private central bank run our financial system and manage our economy.  There is a reason why financial markets respond with a yawn when Barack Obama says something about the economy, but they swing wildly whenever Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke opens his mouth.  The Federal Reserve has far more power over the U.S. economy than anyone else does by a huge margin.  The Fed is the biggest Ponzi scheme in the history of the world, and if the American people truly understood how it really works, they would be screaming for it to be abolished immediately.  The following are 25 fast facts about the Federal Reserve that everyone should know…

#1 The greatest period of economic growth in U.S. history was when there was no central bank.

#2 The United States never had a persistent, ongoing problem with inflation until the Federal Reserve was created.  In the century before the Federal Reserve was created, the average annual rate of inflation was about half a percent.  In the century since the Federal Reserve was created, the average annual rate of inflation has been about 3.5 percent, and it would be even higher than that if the inflation numbers were not being so grossly manipulated.

#3 Even using the official numbers, the value of the U.S. dollar has declined by more than 95 percent since the Federal Reserve was created nearly 100 years ago.

#4 The secret November 1910 gathering at Jekyll Island, Georgia during which the plan for the Federal Reserve was hatched was attended by U.S. Senator Nelson W. Aldrich, Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department A.P. Andrews and a whole host of representatives from the upper crust of the Wall Street banking establishment.

#5 In 1913, Congress was promised that if the Federal Reserve Act was passed that it would eliminate the business cycle.

#6 The following comes directly from the Fed’s official mission statement: “To provide the nation with a safer, more flexible, and more stable monetary and financial system. Over the years, its role in banking and the economy has expanded.”

#7 It was not an accident that a permanent income tax was also introduced the same year when the Federal Reserve system was established.  The whole idea was to transfer wealth from our pockets to the federal government and from the federal government to the bankers.

#8 Within 20 years of the creation of the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy was plunged into the Great Depression.

#9 If you can believe it, there have been 10 different economic recessions since 1950.  The Federal Reserve created the “dotcom bubble”, the Federal Reserve created the “housing bubble” and now it has created the largest bond bubble in the history of the planet.

#10 According to an official government report, the Federal Reserve made 16.1 trillion dollars in secret loans to the big banks during the last financial crisis.  The following is a list of loan recipients that was taken directly from page 131 of the report…

Citigroup – $2.513 trillion
Morgan Stanley – $2.041 trillion
Merrill Lynch – $1.949 trillion
Bank of America – $1.344 trillion
Barclays PLC – $868 billion
Bear Sterns – $853 billion
Goldman Sachs – $814 billion
Royal Bank of Scotland – $541 billion
JP Morgan Chase – $391 billion
Deutsche Bank – $354 billion
UBS – $287 billion
Credit Suisse – $262 billion
Lehman Brothers – $183 billion
Bank of Scotland – $181 billion
BNP Paribas – $175 billion
Wells Fargo – $159 billion
Dexia – $159 billion
Wachovia – $142 billion
Dresdner Bank – $135 billion
Societe Generale – $124 billion
“All Other Borrowers” – $2.639 trillion

#11 The Federal Reserve also paid those big banks $659.4 million in fees to help “administer” those secret loans.

#12 The Federal Reserve has created approximately 2.75 trillion dollars out of thin air and injected it into the financial system over the past five years.  This has allowed the stock market to soar to unprecedented heights, but it has also caused our financial system to become extremely unstable.

#13 We were told that the purpose of quantitative easing is to help “stimulate the economy”, but today the Federal Reserve is actually paying the big banks not to lend out 1.8 trillion dollars in “excess reserves” that they have parked at the Fed.

#14 Quantitative easing overwhelming benefits those that own stocks and other financial investments.  In other words, quantitative easing overwhelmingly favors the very wealthy.  Even Barack Obama has admitted that 95 percent of the income gains since he has been president have gone to the top one percent of income earners.

#15 The gap between the top one percent and the rest of the country is now the greatest that it has been since the 1920s.

#16 The Federal Reserve has argued vehemently in federal court that it is “not an agency” of the federal government and therefore not subject to the Freedom of Information Act.

#17 The Federal Reserve openly admits that the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are organized “much like private corporations“.

#18 The regional Federal Reserve banks issue shares of stock to the “member banks” that own them.

#19 The Federal Reserve system greatly favors the biggest banks.  Back in 1970, the five largest U.S. banks held 17 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.  Today, the five largest U.S. banks hold 52 percent of all U.S. banking industry assets.

#20 The Federal Reserve is supposed to “regulate” the big banks, but it has done nothing to stop a 441 trillion dollar interest rate derivatives bubble from inflating which could absolutely devastate our entire financial system.

#21 The Federal Reserve was designed to be a perpetual debt machine.  The bankers that designed it intended to trap the U.S. government in a perpetual debt spiral from which it could never possibly escape.  Since the Federal Reserve was established nearly 100 years ago, the U.S. national debt has gotten more than 5000 times larger.

#22 The U.S. government will spend more than 400 billion dollars just on interest on the national debt this year.

#23 If the average rate of interest on U.S. government debt rises to just 6 percent (and it has been much higher than that in the past), we will be paying out more than a trillion dollars a year just in interest on the national debt.

#24 According to Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution, the U.S. Congress is the one that is supposed to have the authority to “coin Money, regulate the Value thereof, and of foreign Coin, and fix the Standard of Weights and Measures”.  So exactly why is the Federal Reserve doing it?

#25 There are plenty of possible alternative financial systems, but at this point all 187 nations that belong to the IMF have a central bank.  Are we supposed to believe that this is just some sort of a bizarre coincidence?

44 Facts About The Death Of The Middle Class That Every American Should Know

44What is America going to look like when the middle class is dead?  Once upon a time, the United States has the largest and most vibrant middle class in the history of the world.  When I was growing up, it seemed like almost everyone was “middle class” and it was very rare to hear of someone that was out of work.  Of course life wasn’t perfect, but most families owned a home, most families had more than one vehicle, and most families could afford nice vacations and save for retirement at the same time.  Sadly, things have dramatically changed in America since that time.  There just aren’t as many “middle class jobs” as there used to be.  In fact, just six years ago there were about six million more full-time jobs in our economy than there are right now.  Those jobs are being replaced by part-time jobs and temp jobs.  The number one employer in America today is Wal-Mart and the number two employer in America today is a temp agency (Kelly Services).  But you can’t support a family on those kinds of jobs.  We live at a time when incomes are going down but the cost of living just keeps going up.  As a result, the middle class in America is being absolutely shredded and the ranks of the poor are steadily growing.  The following are 44 facts about the death of the middle class that every American should know…

1. According to one recent survey, “four out of five U.S. adults struggle with joblessness, near poverty or reliance on welfare for at least parts of their lives”.

2. The growth rate of real disposable personal income is the lowest that it has been in decades.

3. Median household income (adjusted for inflation) has fallen by 7.8 percent since the year 2000.

4. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the middle class is taking home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before.

5. The home ownership rate in the United States is the lowest that it has been in 18 years.

6. It is more expensive to rent a home in America than ever before.  In fact, median asking rent for vacant rental units just hit a brand new all-time record high.

7. According to one recent survey, 76 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck.

8. The U.S. economy actually lost 240,000 full-time jobs last month, and the number of full-time workers in the United States is now about 6 million below the old record that was set back in 2007.

9. The largest employer in the United States right now is Wal-Mart.  The second largest employer in the United States right now is a temp agency (Kelly Services).

10. One out of every ten jobs in the United States is now filled through a temp agency.

11. According to the Social Security Administration, 40 percent of all workers in the United States make less than $20,000 a year.

12. The ratio of wages and salaries to GDP is near an all-time record low.

13. The U.S. economy continues to trade good paying jobs for low paying jobs.  60 percent of the jobs lost during the last recession were mid-wage jobs, but 58 percent of the jobs created since then have been low wage jobs.

14. Back in 1980, less than 30% of all jobs in the United States were low income jobs.  Today, more than 40% of all jobs in the United States are low income jobs.

15. At this point, one out of every four American workers has a job that pays $10 an hour or less.

16. According to one study, between 1969 and 2009 the median wages earned by American men between the ages of 30 and 50 declined by 27 percent after you account for inflation.

17. In the year 2000, about 17 million Americans were employed in manufacturing.  Today, only about 12 million Americans are employed in manufacturing.

18. The United States has lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001.

19. The average number of hours worked per employed person per year has fallen by about 100 since the year 2000.

20. Back in the year 2000, more than 64 percent of all working age Americans had a job.  Today, only 58.7 percent of all working age Americans have a job.

21. When you total up all working age Americans that do not have a job, it comes to more than 100 million.

22. The average duration of unemployment in the United States is nearly three times as long as it was back in the year 2000.

23. The percentage of Americans that are self-employed has steadily declined over the past decade and is now at an all-time low.

24. Right now there are 20.2 million Americans that spend more than half of their incomes on housing.  That represents a 46 percent increase from 2001.

25. In 1989, the debt to income ratio of the average American family was about 58 percent.  Today it is up to 154 percent.

26. Total U.S. household debt grew from just 1.4 trillion dollars in 1980 to a whopping 13.7 trillion dollars in 2007.  This played a huge role in the financial crisis of 2008, and the problem still has not been solved.

27. The total amount of student loan debt in the United States recently surpassed the one trillion dollar mark.

28. Total home mortgage debt in the United States is now about 5 times larger than it was just 20 years ago.

29. Back in the year 2000, the mortgage delinquency rate was about 2 percent.  Today, it is nearly 10 percent.

30. Consumer debt in the United States has risen by a whopping 1700% since 1971, and 46% of all Americans carry a credit card balance from month to month.

31. In 1999, 64.1 percent of all Americans were covered by employment-based health insurance.  Today, only 55.1 percent are covered by employment-based health insurance.

32. One study discovered that approximately 41 percent of all working age Americans either have medical bill problems or are currently paying off medical debt, and according to a report published in The American Journal of Medicine medical bills are a major factor in more than 60 percent of all personal bankruptcies in the United States.

33. Each year, the average American must work 107 days just to make enough money to pay local, state and federal taxes.

34. Today, approximately 46.2 million Americans are living in poverty.

35. The number of Americans living in poverty has increased by more than 15 million since the year 2000.

36. Families that have a head of household under the age of 30 have a poverty rate of 37 percent.

37. At this point, approximately 25 million American adults are living with their parents.

38. In the year 2000, there were only 17 million Americans on food stamps.  Today, there are more than 47 million Americans on food stamps.

39. 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.

40. Right now, the number of Americans on food stamps exceeds the entire population of the nation of Spain.

41. According to one calculation, the number of Americans on food stamps now exceeds the combined populations of “Alaska, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.”

42. At this point, more than a million public school students in the United States are homeless.  This is the first time that has ever happened in our history.  That number has risen by 57 percent since the 2006-2007 school year.

43. According to U.S. Census data, 57 percent of all American children live in a home that is either considered to be “poor” or “low income”.

44. In the year 2000, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages was approximately 21 percent.  Today, the ratio of social welfare benefits to salaries and wages is approximately 35 percent.

And not only is the middle class being systematically destroyed right now, we are also destroying the bright economic future that our children and our grandchildren were supposed to have by accumulating gigantic mountains of debt in their names.  The following is from a recent article by Bill Bonner

Today, the U.S. lumbers into the future with total debt equal to about 350% of GDP. In Britain and Japan, the total is over 500%. Debt, remember, is the homage that the future pays to the past. It has to be carried, serviced… and paid. It has to be reckoned with… one way or another.

And the cost of carrying debt is going up! Over the last few weeks, interest rates have moved up by about 15% — an astounding increase for the sluggish debt market. How long will it be before long-term borrowing rates are back to “normal”?

At 5% interest, a debt that measures 3.5 times your revenue will cost about one-sixth of your income. Before taxes. After tax, you will have to work about one day a week to keep up with it (to say nothing of paying it off!).

That’s a heavy burden. It is especially disagreeable when someone else ran up the debt. Then you are a debt slave. That is the situation of young people today. They must face their parents’ debt. Even serfs in the Dark Ages had it better. They had to work only one day out of 10 for their lords and masters.

We were handed the keys to the greatest economic machine in the history of the planet and we wrecked it.

As young people realize that their futures have been destroyed, many of them are going to totally lose hope and give in to despair.

And desperate people do desperate things.  As our economy continues to crumble, we are going to see crime greatly increase as people do what they feel they need to do in order to survive.  In fact, we are already starting to see this happen.  Just this week, CNBC reported on the raging epidemic of copper theft that we are seeing all over the nation right now…

Copper is such a hot commodity that thieves are going after the metal anywhere they can find it: an electrical power station in Wichita, Kan., or half a dozen middle-class homes in Morris Township, N.J. Even on a Utah highway construction site, crooks managed to abscond with six miles of copper wire.

Those are just a handful of recent targets across the U.S. in the $1 billion business of copper theft.

“There’s no question the theft has gotten much, much worse,” said Mike Adelizzi, president of the American Supply Association, a nonprofit group representing distributors and suppliers in the plumbing, heating, cooling and industrial pipe industries.

The United States once had the greatest middle class in the history of the world, but now it it dying.

This is causing a tremendous amount of anger and frustration to build in this nation, and when the next major wave of the economic collapse strikes, a lot of that anger and frustration will likely be unleashed.

The American people don’t understand that these problems have taken decades to develop.  They just want someone to fix things.  They just want things to go back to the way that they used to be.

Unfortunately, the great economic storm that is coming is not going to be averted.

Get ready while you still can.  Time is running out.

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.

*****

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

*****

-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.

*****

-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.

*****

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

*****

-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.

*****

-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.

*****

-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.

*****

-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.

By The Numbers: 20 Facts About The Collapse Of Europe That Everyone Should Know

By The Numbers - 20 Facts About The Collapse Of Europe That Everyone Should KnowThe economic implosion of Europe is accelerating.  Even while the mainstream media continues to proclaim that the financial crisis in Europe has been “averted”, the economic statistics that are coming out of Europe just continue to get worse.  Manufacturing activity in Europe has been contracting month after month, the unemployment rate in the eurozone has hit yet another brand new record high, and the official unemployment rates in both Greece and Spain are now much higher than the peak unemployment rate in the United States during the Great Depression of the 1930s.  The economic situation in Europe is far worse than it was a year ago, and it is going to continue to get worse as austerity continues to take a huge toll on the economies of the eurozone.  It would be hard to understate how bad things have gotten – particularly in southern Europe.  The truth is that most of southern Europe is experiencing a full-blown economic depression right now.  Sadly, most Americans are paying very little attention to what is going on across the Atlantic.  But they should be watching, because this is what happens when nations accumulate too much debt.  The United States has the biggest debt burden of all, and eventually what is happening over in Spain, France, Italy, Portugal and Greece is going to happen over here as well.

The following are 20 facts about the collapse of Europe that everyone should know…

#1 10 Months: Manufacturing activity in both France and Germany has contracted for 10 months in a row.

#2 11.8 Percent: The unemployment rate in the eurozone has now risen to 11.8 percent – a brand new all-time high.

#3 17 Months: In November, Italy experienced the sharpest decline in retail sales that it had experienced in 17 months.

#4 20 Months: Manufacturing activity in Spain has contracted for 20 months in a row.

#5 20 Percent: It is estimated that bad loans now make up approximately 20 percent of all domestic loans in the Greek banking system at this point.

#6 22 Percent: A whopping 22 percent of the entire population of Ireland lives in jobless households.

#7 26 Percent: The unemployment rate in Greece is now 26 percent.  A year ago it was only 18.9 percent.

#8 26.6 Percent: The unemployment rate in Spain has risen to an astounding 26.6 percent.

#9 27.0 Percent: The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 in Cyprus.  Back in 2008, this number was well below 10 percent.

#10 28 Percent: Sales of French-made vehicles in November were down 28 percent compared to a year earlier.

#11 36 Percent: Today, the poverty rate in Greece is 36 percent.  Back in 2009 it was only about 20 percent.

#12 37.1 Percent: The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 in Italy – a brand new all-time high.

#13 44 Percent: An astounding 44 percent of the entire population of Bulgaria is facing “severe material deprivation”.

#14 56.5 Percent: The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 in Spain – a brand new all-time high.

#15 57.6 Percent: The unemployment rate for workers under the age of 25 in Greece – a brand new all-time high.

#16 60 Percent: Citigroup is projecting that there is a 60 percent probability that Greece will leave the eurozone within the next 12 to 18 months.

#17 70 Percent: It has been reported that some homes in Spain are being sold at a 70% discount from where they were at during the peak of the housing bubble back in 2006.  At this point there are approximately 2 million unsold homes in Spain.

#18 200 Percent: The debt to GDP ratio in Greece is rapidly approaching 200 percent.

#19 1997: According to the Committee of French Automobile Producers, 2012 was the worst year for the French automobile industry since 1997.

#20 2 Million: Back in 2005, the French auto industry produced about 3.5 million vehicles.  In 2012, that number dropped to about 2 million vehicles.

One thing that these shocking numbers cannot convey is the tremendous amount of pain that many average Europeans are living through on a daily basis at this point.  To get a peek into what life is like in Greece these days, check out this short excerpt from a recent Bloomberg article

Anastasia Karagaitanaki, 57, is a former model and cafe owner in Thessaloniki, Greece. After losing her business to the financial crisis, she now sleeps on a daybed next to the refrigerator in her mother’s kitchen and depends on charity for food and insulin for her diabetes.

“I feel like my life has slipped through my hands,” said Karagaitanaki, whose brother also shares the one-bedroom apartment. “I feel like I’m dead.”

For thousands of Greeks like Karagaitanaki, the fabric of middle-class life is unraveling. Teachers, salaries slashed by a third, are stealing electricity. Families in once-stable neighborhoods are afraid to leave their homes because of rising street crime.

All over Europe, people that have lost all hope are actually setting themselves on fire in a desperate attempt to draw attention.  Millions of formerly middle class Europeans have lost everything and are becoming increasingly desperate.  Suicide and crime are skyrocketing all over southern Europe and massive street riots are erupting on a regular basis.

Unfortunately, this is just the beginning.  Things are going to get even worse for Europe.

Meanwhile, those of us living in the United States smugly look down our noses at Europe because we are still living in a false bubble of debt-fueled prosperity.

But eventually we will feel the sting of austerity as well.  The recent fiscal cliff deal was an indication of that.  Taxes are going up and government spending is at least going to slow down.  It won’t be too long before the effects of that are felt in the economy.

And of course the reality of the situation is that the U.S. economy really did not perform very well at all during 2012 when you take a look at the numbers.  The cold, hard truth is that the U.S. economy has been declining for a very long time, and there are a whole bunch of reasons to expect that our decline will accelerate even further in 2013.

So if you are an American, don’t laugh at what is happening over in Europe at the moment.  We are headed down the exact same path that they have gone, and we are going to experience the same kind of suffering that they are going through right now.

Use these last few “bubble months” to prepare for what is ahead.  At some point this “hope bubble” will disappear and then the time for preparation will be over.

EU Poster Tower Of Babel

50 Mind Blowing Facts About America That Our Founding Fathers Never Would Have Believed

If our Founding Fathers were alive today, what would they think of America?  Surely they would be very proud that the United States stretches from the Atlantic to the Pacific and has built some of the most amazing cities that the world has ever seen.  They would probably be surprised that the country they founded went on to become the greatest economic machine in the history of the world, and they would be absolutely astounded by things like our interstate highway system and the Internet.  However, there are quite a number of things that they would be horrified about as well.  The fact that over 40 million Americans are dependent on the federal government for their daily food would be deeply disturbing to our founders.  Also, the fact that the U.S. government has accumulated the greatest mountain of debt in human history would be incredibly distressing to George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and the rest of the founders.  But perhaps most of all, our founders would be absolutely disgusted that the land where Americans could once be free to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness has become so tightly regulated and controlled that Americans dare not even squeak without the permission of the federal government.

Needless to say, our founders would certainly not understand many of our institutions or many of the advanced technologies that we have today.  But without a doubt they would be able to grasp how far we have fallen as a nation and how far we have strayed from the fundamental principles that they enshrined in our founding documents.  The United States is a much different place today than it was in 1776, and unfortunately many of the changes have been for the worse.

The following are 50 mind blowing facts about modern America that our Founding Fathers never would have believed….

#1 In 2010, not only does the United States have a central bank, but it also runs our economy and issues all of our currency.  The Federal Reserve has devalued the U.S. dollar by over 95 percent since 1913 and it has been used to create the biggest mountain of government debt in the history of the world. 

#2 The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that U.S. government agents can legally sneak onto your property in the middle of the night, place a secret GPS device on the bottom of your car and keep track of you everywhere that you go.

#3 The 50 wealthiest members of Congress saw their collective fortunes increase by 85.1 million dollars to $1.4 billion in 2009.

#4 The U.S. government has accumulated a national debt that is rapidly approaching the 14 trillion dollar mark.

#5 All over the United States, asphalt roads are being ground up and are being replaced with gravel because it is cheaper to maintain.  The state of South Dakota has transformed over 100 miles of asphalt road into gravel over the past year, and 38 out of the 83 counties in the state of Michigan have now turned some of their asphalt roads into gravel roads.

#6 Americans now owe more than $849 billion on student loans, which is more than the total amount that Americans owe on their credit cards.

#7 In 2010, Americans waste an astounding amount of food.  According to a study by the California Integrated Waste Management board, 63 percent of the average supermarket’s waste stream is food. When you break that down, it means that each supermarket wastes approximately 3,000 pounds of food each year.

#8 The city of Cleveland plans to sort through curbside trash to ensure that people are actually recycling properly.  If it is discovered that some citizens are not recycling they will be hit with very large fines.

#9 Once upon a time, U.S. industry was the envy of the world.  But since 1979, manufacturing employment in the United States has fallen by 40 percent.

#10 Even though the U.S. population has exploded in size, the number of Americans with manufacturing jobs today is smaller than the number of Americans who were employed in manufacturing in 1950.

#11 Having one out of every eight Americans enrolled in the food stamp program is now considered “the new normal” and Americans continue to drop into poverty in astounding numbers.

#12 One out of every six Americans is now being served by at least one government anti-poverty program.

#13 A family of four actually has difficulty surviving on an income of $50,000 a year in America in 2010.

#14 Barack Obama is backing a proposal to create a national database that will store the DNA of all individuals who have been arrested, even if they end up not being convicted of a crime.

#15 In 2010, it takes the average unemployed American worker over 8 months to find a job.

#16 The U.S. government has made some parts of Arizona off limits to U.S. citizens because of the threat of violence from Mexican drug smugglers.  The federal government has actually posted signs more than 100 miles north of the Mexican border warning travelers that certain areas are unsafe because of drug and alien smugglers.

#17 One recent survey of last year’s college graduates discovered that 80 percent moved right back home with their parents after graduation.

#18 In one of the very first military commissions held under the Obama administration, a U.S. military judge ruled that confessions obtained by threatening the subject with rape are admissible in court.

#19 The average American worker now pays literally dozens of different kinds of taxes each year.

#20 In recent years the U.S. government has spent $2.6 million tax dollars to study the drinking habits of Chinese prostitutes and $400,000 tax dollars to pay researchers to cruise six bars in Buenos Aires, Argentina to find out why gay men engage in risky sexual behavior when drunk.

#21 Christians are being arrested and thrown in jail in some areas of the United States for quietly passing out Christian literature on public sidewalks.

#22 The Florida State Department of Juvenile Justice has announced that it will begin using cutting edge analysis software to predict crime by young delinquents and will place “potential offenders” in prevention and education programs.

#23 Organic milk is now considered such a national crisis that the FDA has been conducting military style raids on Amish farmers in the state of Pennsylvania.

#24 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recently announced that they are considering a crackdown on farm dust.

#25 According to a new CDC report, nearly half of all Americans now use prescription drugs on a regular basis.

#26 Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts says that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer.  The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism.

#27 Today, Americans are losing their homes in staggering numbers.  One out of every seven mortgages was delinquent or in foreclosure during the first quarter of 2010.

#28 Many of our leading scientists are now calling themselves “transhumanists” and are openly proclaiming that a future where men have fully merged with machines is inevitable.

#29 Americans who spend large amounts of cash are viewed as “potential criminals” by the U.S. government in 2010.

#30 New full body security scanners going into airports all across the United States can actually see through our clothing and produce very clear and very detailed images of our exposed bodies as we walk through them.

#31 The U.S. financial system has become a massive gambling parlor in 2010.  As a result, a horrific derivatives bubble has developed that threatens to destroy our entire economy at any moment.  Nobody knows exactly how big the derivatives bubble is, but low estimates place it at around 600 trillion dollars and high estimates put it at around 1.5 quadrillion dollars.  Once that bubble pops there simply will not be enough money in the entire world to fix it.

#32 The U.S. government is spending an amount of money equivalent to approximately 25.4 percent of GDP this year.

#33 Today, 10,000 people make 30% of the total income in the United States.

#34 A 2006 Immigration and Customs Enforcement investigation discovered that 250 employees of the Defense Department used credit cards or PayPal to purchase images of children in sexual situations.  However, the investigation also found that the Pentagon investigated only a handful of those cases.

#35 According to a recent poll of Americans between the ages of 44 and 75, 61% said that running out money was their biggest fear. The remaining 39% thought death was scarier.

#36 Approximately 57 percent of Barack Obama’s 3.8 trillion dollar budget for 2011 consists of direct payments to individual Americans or is money that is spent on their behalf.

#37 A recent Department of Justice guide for investigators of criminal and extremist groups lists “constitutionalists” and “survivalists” alongside organizations like Al-Qaeda and the Aryan Brotherhood.

#38 The U.S. trade deficit has exploded to nightmarish proportions over the past two decades.  Every single month tens of billions more dollars goes out of the United States than comes into it.  Essentially, the United States is becoming far poorer as a nation each and every month.

#39 Factories are closing in droves across the United States because the American people would rather buy things made in China.

#40 Millions upon millions of good paying middle class jobs are being shipped off to China and they are never coming back.  Meanwhile, U.S. politicians stand by idly and do nothing.

#41 Some analysts now believe that China could become the largest economy in the world by the year 2020.

#42 If the U.S. government was forced to use GAAP accounting principles (like all publicly-traded corporations must), the annual U.S. government budget deficit would be somewhere in the neighborhood of four to five trillion dollars.

#43 According to one recent survey, 28% of all U.S. households have at least one person that is currently searching for a full-time job.

#44 The U.S. dollar continues to rapidly decline in value.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1970 will cost you $112.35 today.  An item that cost $20.00 in 1913 will cost you $440.33 today.

#45 Major international organizations are actually proposing that the United States start considering the adoption of a truly global currency.

#46 Students at a high school in Missouri have built a car that they claim can get up to 450 miles per gallon.  On another note, some of the top energy experts in the world believe that thorium could solve our energy problems and supply very cheap energy for society for hundreds of thousands of years.  But in today’s world technologies such as these are endlessly suppressed by the rich and powerful.

#47 One Colorado high school student is seeking an explanation from officials at his school after he was ordered by security guards to remove American flags from his truck because they might make other students at the high school “uncomfortable”.

#48 Three California high school students were recently forced to remove their American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo.

#49 Memorial crosses erected along Utah public roads to honor fallen state troopers have been found unconstitutional by a federal appeals court and now must be removed permanently.

#50 One group of high school students made national headlines recently when they revealed that a security guard ordered them to stop singing the national anthem during a visit to the Lincoln Memorial.

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