Mass Exodus From The Church: The Percentage Of Young Adults With No Religious Affiliation Has Nearly QUADRUPLED Since 1986

We are witnessing a religious shift that is unprecedented in size and scope in American history.  With each passing year, the percentage of Americans that claim no religious affiliation is growing, and this trend is especially pronounced among our young people.  If things continue to steadily move in this direction, that is going to have enormous implications for the future of our society.  The United States was founded by people that were extremely committed to their faith, and now we are rapidly becoming a nation where people are choosing no religion at all.  We live at a time when there is a mass exodus from Christian churches, and while it is true that some smaller faiths are growing, the reality of the matter is that most of the people that are leaving are remaining unaffiliated.  According to PRRI, if you go back to 1991 only 6 percent of all Americans were “unaffiliated”, but today that number has shot up to 25 percent…

In 1991, only six percent of Americans identified their religious affiliation as “none,” and that number had not moved much since the early 1970s. By the end of the 1990s, 14% of the public claimed no religious affiliation. The rate of religious change accelerated further during the late 2000s and early 2010s, reaching 20% by 2012. Today, one-quarter (25%) of Americans claim no formal religious identity, making this group the single largest “religious group” in the U.S.

The most dramatic change during this time period has been among our young people.

If you go all the way back to 1986, just 10 percent of Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age group were “unaffiliated”.  Today, that number has skyrocketed to 39 percent.  Here is more from PRRI

Today, nearly four in ten (39%) young adults (ages 18-29) are religiously unaffiliated—three times the unaffiliated rate (13%) among seniors (ages 65 and older). While previous generations were also more likely to be religiously unaffiliated in their twenties, young adults today are nearly four times as likely as young adults a generation ago to identify as religiously unaffiliated. In 1986, for example, only 10% of young adults claimed no religious affiliation.

And just because Millennials claim a religious affiliation of some sort does not mean that they actually go to church.

In fact, a study from the Pew Research Center discovered that only 27 percent of Millennials say that they “attend religious services on a weekly basis”…

Millennials – especially the youngest Millennials, who have entered adulthood since the first Landscape Study was conducted – are far less religious than their elders. For example, only 27% of Millennials say they attend religious services on a weekly basis, compared with 51% of adults in the Silent generation. Four-in-ten of the youngest Millennials say they pray every day, compared with six-in-ten Baby Boomers and two-thirds of members of the Silent generation. Only about half of Millennials say they believe in God with absolute certainty, compared with seven-in-ten Americans in the Silent and Baby Boom cohorts. And only about four-in-ten Millennials say religion is very important in their lives, compared with more than half in the older generational cohorts.

Of course not all of those that are “attending religious services” are going to Christian churches.  Some are going to mosques, others are attending synagogue, and yet others are involved in other faiths.

At one time you could count on fast growing groups such as the Southern Baptists and the Mormons to produce positive growth numbers, but those days are long gone

The Southern Baptists have lost more than a million members over the last decade, according to LifeWay. Giving and attendance are down, and Baptists are seeing more gray and silver heads in the pews.

Meanwhile, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has seen its once-enviable U.S. growth rate slow to under 1 percent in each of the last two years. Mormonism, which grew by just .75 percent in this country in 2017, is barely keeping pace with the growth of the U.S. population (+.71 percent).

Europe has been described as a “post-Christian society”, and we are well on our way to joining them.

So what is causing this to happen?

Well, there is certainly a lot of debate about this within Christian circles.  From the outside, many experts are pointing to demographic changes.  The following comes from a recent article by Jana Riess

One of the biggest demographic trends of our time is that millennials are delaying marriage or not getting married at all. And since there’s a strong correlation between being married and being involved in religion, the fact that fewer Americans are getting married is worrisome news to clergy.

In addition to a decline in marriage numbers, experts also point to the fact that Americans are having fewer children these days

The number of children a family has is related to the couple’s religious involvement — couples without kids are a bit less likely to be religious. So the fact that fertility is on the decline is, again, worrisome news for organized religion.

But are those factors a cause of the decline of religious faith in America, or are they the result of it?

It could be argued that churches have always heavily promoted marriage and family, and if young Americans are no longer as engaged in church it would make sense that they put less of a priority on those things now.

The good news for churches is that even though atheism is rapidly growing, most Americans (even the unaffiliated ones) still believe in God

Despite their lack of connection to formal religious institutions, most unaffiliated Americans retain a belief in God or a higher power. A majority of unaffiliated Americans say God is either a person with whom people can have a relationship (22%) or an impersonal force (37%). Only one-third (33%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans say they do not believe in God. Strong majorities of Americans who belong to the major Christian religious traditions hold a personal conception of God. Compared to Christians, Americans who identify with a non-Christian tradition are significantly less likely to hold a personal conception of God (33%) and are more likely to say God is an impersonal force in the universe (49%).

Americans still have a keen interest in spiritual things, but many of them are now attempting to fill that void in alternative ways.  For example, it has been claimed that Wicca (a very popular form of witchcraft) is now the fastest growing faith in America.

Many like to focus on the political changes that are happening in this country, but the truth is that these cataclysmic shifts in our faith numbers are going to have far more to do with determining the future course of this nation.

If we ever hope to restore the Constitutional Republic that our founders once established, we must return to the Christian values and principles that this nation was originally founded upon.

Any other approach is simply not going to work, and time is running out.

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

Silicon Valley Exec Has Created A New Religion That Will Worship A ‘Godhead’ Based On Artificial Intelligence

I know that the headline sounds absolutely crazy, but this is actually a true story.  A Silicon Valley executive named Anthony Levandowski has already filed paperwork with the IRS for the nonprofit corporation that is going to run this new religion.  Officially, this new faith will be known as “Way Of The Future”, and you can visit the official website right here.  Of course nutjobs are creating “new religions” all the time, but in this case Levandowski is a very highly respected tech executive, and his new religion is even getting coverage from Wired magazine

The new religion of artificial intelligence is called Way of the Future. It represents an unlikely next act for the Silicon Valley robotics wunderkind at the center of a high-stakes legal battle between Uber and Waymo, Alphabet’s autonomous-vehicle company. Papers filed with the Internal Revenue Service in May name Levandowski as the leader (or “Dean”) of the new religion, as well as CEO of the nonprofit corporation formed to run it.

So what will adherents of this new faith actually believe?

To me, it sounds like a weird mix of atheism and radical transhumanism.  The following comes from Way of the Future’s official website

We believe in science (the universe came into existence 13.7 billion years ago and if you can’t re-create/test something it doesn’t exist). There is no such thing as “supernatural” powers. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

We believe in progress (once you have a working version of something, you can improve on it and keep making it better). Change is good, even if a bit scary sometimes. When we see something better, we just change to that. The bigger the change the bigger the justification needed.

We believe the creation of “super intelligence” is inevitable (mainly because after we re-create it, we will be able to tune it, manufacture it and scale it). We don’t think that there are ways to actually stop this from happening (nor should we want to) and that this feeling of we must stop this is rooted in 21st century anthropomorphism (similar to humans thinking the sun rotated around the earth in the “not so distant” past).

But even though Way of the Future does not embrace the “supernatural”, they do believe in a “God”.

In this new religion, the worship of a “Godhead” that will be created using artificial intelligence will be actively encouraged

The documents state that WOTF’s activities will focus on “the realization, acceptance, and worship of a Godhead based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed through computer hardware and software.” That includes funding research to help create the divine AI itself. The religion will seek to build working relationships with AI industry leaders and create a membership through community outreach, initially targeting AI professionals and “laypersons who are interested in the worship of a Godhead based on AI.” The filings also say that the church “plans to conduct workshops and educational programs throughout the San Francisco/Bay Area beginning this year.”

So how “powerful” will this newly created “God” actually be?

Well, Levandowski says that he envisions creating an artificially intelligent being that will literally be “a billion times smarter than the smartest human”

“What is going to be created will effectively be a god,” he said. “It’s not a god in the sense that it makes lightning or causes hurricanes. But if there is something a billion times smarter than the smartest human, what else are you going to call it?”

He added, “I would love for the machine to see us as its beloved elders that it respects and takes care of. We would want this intelligence to say, ‘Humans should still have rights, even though I’m in charge.’”

But what if this “super-intelligence” gets outside of our control and turns on us?

What then?

I am not sure that Levandowski has an answer for that.

Other transhumanists also believe that artificial intelligence will grow at an exponential rate, but instead of AI ruling over us, they see a coming merger between humanity and this new super intelligence.  In fact, world famous transhumanist Ray Kurzeil believes that this will enable us to “become essentially god-like in our powers”

Kurzweil and his followers believe that a crucial turning point will be reached around the year 2030, when information technology achieves ‘genuine’ intelligence, at the same time as biotechnology enables a seamless union between us and this super-smart new technological environment. Ultimately the human-machine mind will become free to roam a universe of its own creation, uploading itself at will on to a “suitably powerful computational substrate”. We will become essentially god-like in our powers.

And prominent transhumanist Mark Pesce takes things even further.  He in absolutely convinced that rapidly advancing technology will allow ordinary humans “to become as gods”

“Men die, planets die, even stars die. We know all this. Because we know it, we seek something more—a transcendence of transience, translation to incorruptible form. An escape if you will, a stop to the wheel. We seek, therefore, to bless ourselves with perfect knowledge and perfect will; To become as gods, take the universe in hand, and transform it in our image—for our own delight. As it is on Earth, so it shall be in the heavens. The inevitable result of incredible improbability, the arrow of evolution is lipping us into the transhuman – an apotheosis to reason, salvation – attained by good works.”

Throughout human history, there has always been a desire to create our own gods or to become our own gods.

But no matter how hard these transhumanists try to run from death, it will eventually find them anyway, and at that point all of their questions about who God really is will be answered once and for all.

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

Just Like Our Founders 241 Years Ago, We Need To Unashamedly Declare That Our Rights Come To Us From God

Why do we celebrate the 4th of July?  If you were to ask average people on the street this question, many of them would mumble something about “independence”, but the truth is that most Americans would not be able to tell you clearly why it is a holiday.  According to Wikipedia, the 4th of July “is a federal holiday in the United States commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776.”  Unfortunately, most Americans have never read the Declaration of Independence, and if a similar document was authored today it would be banned from our public schools because it mentions God four times.  We have allowed the liberal elite to gain such a stranglehold over our society that even our most cherished founding principles have become politically incorrect.

If you ask most Americans to quote from the Declaration of Independence, almost everyone will give you something from this sentence…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

This is one of the most famous sentences in the English language, but do most of us still proudly believe this?

And if you happen to be someone that does not believe in God, then where do your rights come from?

If they come from men, then men can take them away.  But if they come from God, then nobody can take them away.  This is a point that President Trump brought up in a major speech that he just delivered to a group of veterans

Since the signing of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago, America always affirmed that liberty comes from our creator. Our rights are given to us by God, and no earthly force can ever take those rights away. That is why my administration is transferring power out of Washington and returning that power back where it belongs to the people,” Trump said.

“Our religious liberty is enshrined in the very first amendment in the Bill of Rights. The American founders invoked our creator four times in the Declaration of Independence,” said Trump. “Benjamin Franklin reminded his colleagues at the Constitutional Convention to begin by bowing their heads in prayer. Inscribed on our currency are the words: ‘In God We Trust.’”

It is so refreshing to hear a president talk like this, because these days most of our politicians are so careful to be politically-correct.  And I am not just talking about Democrats.  Many politicians that are supposedly “conservative” seem quite uncomfortable when matters of faith come up, and if you can get them to talk about God they usually want to switch topics as quickly as possible.

But in the old days, Republicans and Democrats both acknowledged the importance of faith in our society.  The following comes from an excellent article by Dr. Gary Scott Smith

Dwight Eisenhower insisted that the Founding Fathers “wrote their religious faith into our founding documents, stamped their trust in God upon our coins and currency, [and] put it squarely at the base of our institutions.” They strove to obey God’s commandments, live in freedom, and create a prosperous country. “The knowledge that God is the source of all power,” Eisenhower maintained, gave birth to and sustained America. Human dignity depended on the God-given rights that were “eloquently stated” in the Declaration of Independence.

Faith in Almighty God, John F. Kennedy contended, “was a dominant power in the lives of our Founding Fathers.” He urged Americans to “dwell upon the deep religious convictions of those who formed our nation.”

Ronald Reagan repeatedly stressed the religious commitments of the Founding Fathers, especially their contention that the United States would flourish only if its people acted morally. The founders, he declared, “believed faith in God was the key to our being a good people and America’s becoming a great nation.” Reagan regularly recounted how the founders, especially Washington, had relied on God in leading the nation. The Declaration of Independence, Reagan claimed, expressed America’s recognition of God’s power and authority. He noted that Benjamin Franklin, John Jay, Thomas Jefferson, and James Madison all accentuated God’s providential guidance and the importance of prayer. The Founding Fathers ensured that Congress began each day with prayer, Reagan proclaimed, because they valued prayer so highly.

Of course in our day and time teens are actually being threatened with arrest for praying in school.

If we truly want to restore our Republic, we can’t throw out the principles and values that the Republic was founded upon.  The First Amendment guarantees that there will never be an official state church and that we will always get to worship God the way that we want, but there is absolutely nothing in there that says we must have a godless government.  On the contrary, our founders were more influenced by the Bible than any other book, and they quoted from it more than any other book.  Dr. Daniel L. Dreisbach is the author of “Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers“, and I have used this quote from him previously, but I wanted to use it again here because it fits my point perfectly…

The founders, as I document in my new book “Reading the Bible with the Founding Fathers,” lived in a biblically literate society. Their many quotations from and allusions to both familiar and obscure biblical texts confirm that they knew the Bible from cover to cover. Biblical language and themes liberally seasoned their rhetoric. The phrases and intonations of the King James Bible, especially, influenced their written and spoken words. Its ideas shaped their habits of mind.

The Bible left its mark on their political culture. Legislative debates, pamphlets and political sermons of the age are replete with quotations from and allusions to the Bible. Following an extensive survey of American political literature from 1760 to 1805, political scientist Donald S. Lutz reported that the Bible was cited more frequently than any European writer or even any European school of thought, such as Enlightenment liberalism. Approximately one-third of all citations in the literature he surveyed were to the Bible. The book of Deuteronomy alone was the most frequently cited work, followed by Montesquieu’s “The Spirit of the Laws.” In fact, Deuteronomy was referenced nearly twice as often as Locke’s writings, and the Apostle Paul was mentioned about as frequently as Montesquieu.

The biggest reason why our federal government is such a mess today is because it has pushed God completely out of the picture.

So instead of defending life, our nation has murdered nearly 60 million children since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.

Instead of defending liberty, the control freaks at the federal level are suffocating us with hundreds of thousands of laws, rules and regulations, and if you throw in the state and local levels, the number of laws, rules and regulations governing us is in the millions.

And instead of promoting the pursuit of happiness, all of us have to work several months each year just to pay the dozens of different taxes and fees that various levels of government impose on all of us.  But we don’t actually have to have such a system.  If we got rid of our debt-based financial system and went to a much smaller federal government, we could abolish the income tax, the IRS and the Federal Reserve.

Government is not the solution to our problems.

As Ronald Reagan once famously said, government is the problem.

If we work together, we can dismantle the monstrous federal bureaucracy that the liberal elite have spent decades constructing, and we can restore the Republic that our founders risked everything to establish.

It won’t be easy, but we can get there, and the first step is getting back to the principles and values that made America great in the first place.

50 Shocking Questions That You Should Ask To Anyone That Is Not A Prepper Yet

50 Shocking Questions That You Should Ask To Anyone That Is Not A Prepper Yet - Photo by GiggyShare this list of shocking questions with everyone you know that needs to wake up.  Sometimes asking good questions is the best way to get someone that you care about to understand something.  When I attended law school, I became very familiar with something called “the Socratic method”.  It is a method that has been traditionally used in law schools all over the United States.  Law professors will bombard their students with questions, and the goal is to stimulate critical thinking and allow students to discover the answers for themselves.  Many times those of us that can see what is happening to this country get frustrated when we try to get others to see what is so apparent to us.  But instead of preaching to them, perhaps asking questions would be more helpful.  When you ask someone a question, they are almost forced to think about what you just said and come up with a response.  And without a doubt, the fact that America is in decline is undeniable.  Those that would choose to blindly have faith in the system are foolish, because it is glaringly obvious that the system is failing.  Our economy is heading for collapse and the world around us is becoming more unstable with each passing day.  So it shouldn’t be a surprise that the number of preppers in the United States is absolutely exploding.  Some estimates put the number of preppers in the U.S. as high as 3 million, and the movement continues to explode.

So exactly what is a “prepper”?  Well, the truth is that there is a tremendous amount of diversity among the people that fall under that label.

To me, you don’t have to move to Montana and store 500 cases of MREs in a nuclear fallout shelter to be considered a prepper.  I believe that anyone that can see a very serious crisis coming and that is taking steps to prepare for that crisis would be considered a prepper.  You might be living next to one and never even know it.  Many families have converted spare rooms into food pantries or are taking survival training on the weekends.  Others have renewed their interest in gardening or have started to invest in precious metals.  As far as I am concerned, anything that you can do to become more self-sufficient and more independent of the system is a good thing, because the system is rapidly failing.

Perhaps you are reading this and you are thinking that people who are “preparing for disaster” are being rather foolish.  Well, I encourage you to read the list of questions that I have compiled below and come to your own conclusions.

The following are 50 shocking questions that you should ask to anyone that is not a prepper yet…

#1 Why are sales of physical silver coins breaking all sorts of all-time records?  The U.S. Mint is on pace to sell more silver eagles during the first month of 2013 than it did during the entire year of 2007.

#2 Why has Germany announced that it will be moving gold from New York and Paris to its own vaults back home?  Is this a sign of a breakdown in trust among global central banks?

#3 Why is China systematically hoarding gold?

#4 Why have billionaires such as George Soros and John Paulson been hoarding massive amounts of gold?

#5 Why are billionaires buying up so much ranch land up in Montana?

#6 Why is Russia warning that we are rapidly approaching a global “currency war”?

#7 Why has Barack Obama chosen this moment to launch an all-out attack on the Second Amendment?

#8 Why does Barack Obama want doctors to ask their patients questions about firearms?

#9 Why is there an incredibly severe nationwide ammunition shortage all of a sudden?

#10 Why has a bill been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives that “would ban Internet or mail order ammunition purchases“?

#11 Why are gun control advocates such as Piers Morgan pushing for us to become more like the UK when the UK actually has a much higher violent crime rate than we do?

#12 Why was a Forbes article that made a connection between the use of psychiatric drugs and the mass shootings that we have seen in recent years almost immediately taken down from the Internet?

#13 Why does the federal government want to start putting “black boxes” in all new motor vehicles?

#14 Why are some U.S. states now using computers to predict “future crimes“?

#15 Why are “black-clad federal SWAT teams” raiding farms and ranches all over the United States?

#16 Why are we all being trained to spy on one another?

#17 Why are highly advanced facial recognition cameras being put up all over the United States?

#18 Why have police departments all over America begun to deploy unmanned surveillance drones in the skies over our cities?

#19 Why are schools all over America beginning to require students to carry IDs with RFID microchips in them wherever they go?

#20 Why are more Americans not outraged that nearly 400 TSA employees have been fired for stealing from travelers since 2003?

#21 Why are Americans not more outraged that TSA goons are manhandling the private areas of our women and our children in the name of “national security”?

#22 Why is an elderly survivor of the Nazi occupation of Austria, Kitty Werthmann, warning that America is heading down the exact same path that she experienced?

#23 If the economy is in good shape, then why are more than one out of every four U.S. workers with a 401(k) raiding those funds in order to pay current expenses?

#24 Why does the Federal Reserve continue to insist that the economy is “improving” when it obviously is not?

#25 Why can so few Americans explain how money is created in the United States?

#26 Why has the U.S. dollar declined in value by well over 95 percent since the Federal Reserve was created?

#27 Why is the U.S. national debt more than 5000 times larger than it was when the Federal Reserve was created?

#28 Why isn’t the mainstream media in the U.S. discussing the fact that the U.S. dollar is in danger of losing its status as the primary reserve currency of the world?

#29 Why don’t more Americans know about the quadrillion dollar derivatives bubble?

#30 Why did the U.S. national debt grow during the first four years of the Obama administration by about as much as it did from the time that George Washington took office to the time that George W. Bush took office?

#31 Why is the middle class in America bringing home a smaller share of the overall income pie than has ever been recorded before?

#32 If the U.S. economy is producing a healthy number of good jobs, then why are we spending nearly a trillion dollars a year on welfare?

#33 If the U.S. economy is not collapsing, then why has the number of Americans on food stamps grown from 17 million in the year 2000 to more than 47 million today?

#34 If America is still an economic powerhouse, then why have we lost more than 56,000 manufacturing facilities since 2001?

#35 Why are we losing half a million jobs to China every single year?

#36 Why were one out of every ten homes sold in the state of California last year purchased by Chinese citizens?

#37 Why has the percentage of men with jobs in the United States fallen so dramatically?  Back in 1950, more than 80 percent of all men in the United States had jobs.  Today, less than 65 percent of all men in the United States have jobs.

#38 Why are so many Americans poor today?  According to the U.S. Census Bureau, more than 146 million Americans are either “poor” or “low income”.  Why is this happening?

#39 Why does the U.S. government have a website that teaches immigrants how to sign up for welfare programs once they arrive in the United States?

#40 Why has the number of gang members living in the United States risen by an astounding 40 percent just since 2009?

#41 Why does approximately one out of every three children in the United States live in a home without a father?  Can such a society prosper in the long run?

#42 Why are our supermarkets being flooded with genetically-modified foods when a whole host of studies have shown that they are potentially dangerous to human health?

#43 If the economy has “improved” during the Obama years, then why are hunger and poverty still absolutely skyrocketing in the United States?

#44 Why are more than a million public school students in the United States homeless?

#45 Why are more than 50 percent of all children in Detroit living in poverty?  Detroit used to be one of the greatest cities in the entire world.  How did such prosperity turn into such desolation?

#46 Why did a violent riot break out at an event where government-subsidized section 8 housing vouchers were being handed out in a suburb of Detroit earlier this month?  Is this the kind of unrest that we can expect to see all over the country when things get really bad?

#47 Why are cities all over the United States making it illegal to feed the homeless?

#48 Why is the UN trying to take control of the Internet?

#49 Why have global food supplies sunk to their lowest level in nearly 40 years?

#50 Why is global power concentrated in so few hands?  According to the Swiss Federal Institute, a network of 147 mega-corporations control 40 percent of all the wealth in the world, and in a previous article I described how just six obscenely powerful corporations completely dominate the media industry in the United States.  Is it good for such incredible power to be concentrated in the hands of so few people?

Please share this article with as many people as you can.  It only takes a few moments to share an article, but the person on the other end that reads it might have their life changed forever.

Do you have any questions that you think should be added to this list?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by leaving a comment below…

Questions

Four Reasons To Be Even Less Optimistic About The Global Financial System Than You Were Last Month

The cracks in the ice are getting bigger.  At this point it is really hard to have much confidence in the global financial system at all.  They told us that MF Global was an isolated incident.  Well, the horrific financial scandal over at PFGBest is essentially MF Global all over again.  They told us that we would not see a huge wave of municipal bankruptcies in the United States.  Well, three California cities have declared bankruptcy in less than a month.  They told us that we could have faith in the integrity of the global financial system.  Well, now we are finding out that global interest rates have been fixed by insiders for years.  They told us that Greece was an isolated problem and that none of the larger European nations would experience anything remotely similar.  Well, what is happening in Spain right now looks like an instant replay of exactly what happened in Greece.  So who are we supposed to believe?  Why does it seem like nearly everything that “the authorities” tell us turns out to be a lie?   What else haven’t they been telling us?

The following are four reasons to be even less optimistic about the global financial system than you were last month….

#1 PFGBest Is MF Global All Over Again

Do you remember that whole MF Global thing?

Do you remember how hundreds of millions of dollars of customer funds were “missing” due to “accounting irregularities”?

Well, it is happening again.

PFGBest is a brokerage firm in Cedar Falls, Iowa that mostly handles agricultural futures.

All hell broke loose when the National Futures Association discovered that a bank account that was supposed to be holding 225 million dollars of customer funds was only holding about 5 million dollars instead.

So where is the other 220 million dollars?

That is a very good question.

Of course it is not a promising sign that the head of PFGBest tried to commit suicide when this news came out.

A lot of PFGBest clients are going to be absolutely devastated by this scandal.  The following is from a recent Reuters article….

Farmers on Tuesday fumed at the prospect of financial losses, or at a minimum a lengthy wait for the return of frozen funds, due to alleged mismanagement at brokerage PFGBest, and some said they had been burned for the last time.

The U.S. futures industry reeled as regulators accused Iowa-based PFGBest of misappropriating more than $200 million in customer funds for more than two years, a new blow to trader trust just months after MF Global’s collapse.

Centered in the heart of farm belt, the firm handled agricultural futures accounts for a number of clients who grow corn, soybeans and cotton.

But it is not just PFGBest clients that are going to feel the pain of this scandal.

The truth is that this is going to deeply shake confidence in the entire global financial system.

Many dismissed what happened at MF Global as an “isolated incident”.

But now it is happening again.

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

#2 A Third California City Goes Bankrupt In Less Than A Month

First it was Stockton.

Then it was Mammoth Lakes.

Now it is San Bernardino’s turn.

On Tuesday, the city council of San Bernardino, California voted to file for bankruptcy.

An article in the Los Angeles Times detailed the issues at the heart of San Bernardino’s financial problems….

The city’s fiscal crisis has been years in the making, compounded by the nation’s crushing recession and exacerbated by escalating pension costs, lucrative labor agreements, Sacramento’s raid on redevelopment funds and a city reserve that is tapped out, officials said.

While it would be easy to dump on the state of California (and that is something I have done quite often), the truth is that we are seeing municipal debt problems erupting all over the United States.

For example, the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania has such severe financial problems that the mayor of Scranton has ordered that all city employees be paid minimum wage until a solution to the crisis is found.

If this was television, Dwight Schrute would find a way to save the day for Scranton.

Unfortunately, this is real life and Dwight Schrute does not exist in real life.

#3 The Liborgate Scandal Keeps Getting Worse

We have been taught that we should all have faith in the integrity of the global financial system.

What a bunch of baloney that turned out to be.

It turns out that banksters have been colluding to fix global interest rates for years.

“Liborgate” is being called the biggest financial scandal in history.  Libor is important because it is one of the key benchmarks used to set prices for hundreds of trillions of dollars of loans, securities and derivatives.

British banking giant Barclays has already admitted that they were involved in manipulating Libor.

Barclays has already agreed to pay $453 million in fines to British and U.S. authorities.

But the truth is that it would have been totally impossible for Barclays to have manipulated Libor by themselves.

So who else was involved?

That was a question that was discussed in a recent article in The Economist….

Over the past week damning evidence has emerged, in documents detailing a settlement between Barclays and regulators in America and Britain, that employees at the bank and at several other unnamed banks tried to rig the number time and again over a period of at least five years. And worse is likely to emerge. Investigations by regulators in several countries, including Canada, America, Japan, the EU, Switzerland and Britain, are looking into allegations that LIBOR and similar rates were rigged by large numbers of banks. Corporations and lawyers, too, are examining whether they can sue Barclays or other banks for harm they have suffered. That could cost the banking industry tens of billions of dollars. “This is the banking industry’s tobacco moment,” says the chief executive of a multinational bank, referring to the lawsuits and settlements that cost America’s tobacco industry more than $200 billion in 1998. “It’s that big,” he says.

As many as 20 big banks have been named in various investigations or lawsuits alleging that LIBOR was rigged. The scandal also corrodes further what little remains of public trust in banks and those who run them.

So what does all of this mean?

The Wall Street Journal says that the credibility of the entire global financial system is at stake….

At stake is both the integrity of the world’s financial system and the credibility of the U.K. authorities to police it. Long before the current scandal, many European policy makers had concluded that London during the boom was the Wild West, whose loose standards are a threat to European financial stability. The Libor scandal suggests U.S. regulators have reached similar conclusions. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. regulatory body that first started investigating rate-fixing, left little doubt how seriously it regards the abuses it uncovered.

Once faith is shattered, it is incredibly difficult to rebuild.

And right now it is really hard to come up with a decent argument why anyone should trust their money to such a corrupt system.

#4 Spain Is Turning Into Greece

A central government drowning in debt?

Check.

A banking system on the verge of collapse?

Check.

Politicians pushing a forced austerity program that includes much higher taxes, much lower government spending and greatly reduced pay for government workers?

Check.

Wild rioting in the streets by protesters?

Check.

Let’s see….where have we seen this before?

Can anyone still possibly deny that Spain is going down the exact same road that Greece has gone?

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is proposing a huge slate of tough austerity measures including a 3 point increase in the Value Added Tax on goods and services.  If that 3 point hike is implemented, the Value Added Tax will rise to 21 percent.

Could you imagine going to the store and paying a 21 percent sales tax?

Ouch.

Rajoy is promising that these measures will get Spain back on the right track.

Of course we have already seen how well such austerity measures have worked in Greece.

The unemployment rate in Spain is already up to 24.4 percent, and now these austerity measures will slow the economy down even more.

No wonder there is rioting in the streets.  You can see high quality footage of the rioting that has been going on in Spain this week right here.  At one point police were seen firing rubber bullets at the protesters.

But of course the citizens of Spain could not live way above their means forever.  At some point every debt bubble ends, and when that happens the results are often incredibly painful.

This is a lesson that the United States has not learned either.  When we stop racking up more than a trillion dollars of additional government debt every year our “adjustment” will be exceedingly painful as well.

A little over a week ago, I wrote an article entitled “17 Reasons To Be EXTREMELY Concerned About The Second Half Of 2012“. I never imagined that things would get so much worse in just a week.

Everything seems to be accelerating these days.

That includes the decay that is happening in society.  A few days ago I made a list of 25 signs that society is falling apart, but then another story came along after I had finished my article that topped all of the examples in my list.  The following is how one man in West Virginia has been treating his wife….

During the conversation, according to the criminal complaint, Lizon’s wife told the woman that her husband had kept her chained up with metal padlocks and chains for about 10 years. The woman noticed scar tissue on the victim’s hands and ankles. Lizon’s wife told the woman that the scars were from the chains tearing into her skin.

Lizon’s wife told the woman that she and her husband were originally from Czechoslovakia, and that they live in Leroy, W.Va.

According to the complaint, the woman told investigators that the feet of Lizon’s wife were “mutilated and swollen,” one of which was missing a considerable amount of skin. Lizon’s wife told the woman that her husband smashed her foot with a bucket or scoop attachment of a farm tractor.

Lizon’s wife also told the woman Lizon called her his “slave,” and that whenever her husband entered the room she had to kneel down before him, according to the complaint.

Can you imagine anyone doing that?

Can you imagine any husband chaining his wife up for 10 years?

That is so sick that it is beyond words to describe it.

Unfortunately, that is not just one isolated incident of depravity in a world filled with goodness.

The truth is that the entire world system is saturated with depravity and corruption.

If anyone is willing to stand up for “the integrity of the global financial system”, I challenge you to leave a comment below explaining to the rest of us why we should still have blind faith in the system after everything that has happened.

I don’t imagine that too many people will even attempt to take me up on that challenge.