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The Stock Market Crash Of 2016: Stocks Have Already Crashed In 6 Of The World’s 8 Largest Economies

Network Earth Continents - Public DomainOver the past 12 months, stock market investors around the planet have lost trillions of dollars.  Since this time last June, stocks have crashed in 6 of the world’s 8 largest economies, and stocks in the other two are down as well.  The charts that you are about to see are absolutely stunning, and they are clear evidence that a new global financial crisis has already begun.  Of course it is true that we are still in the early chapters of this new crisis and that there is much, much more damage to be done, but let us not minimize the carnage that we have already witnessed.

In general, there have been three major waves of financial panic over the past 12 months.  Late last August we saw the biggest financial shaking since the financial crisis of 2008, then in January and February there was an even bigger shaking, and now a third “wave” has begun in June.  Not all areas around the globe have been affected equally by each wave, but without a doubt this new financial crisis is a global phenomenon.

The charts that I am about to show you come from Trading Economics.  It is an absolutely indispensable website that is packed full of useful data, and I encourage everyone to check it out.

Let’s talk about China first.  The Chinese economy is the second largest on the entire planet, and since this time last year Chinese stocks are down an astounding 40 percent

Chinese Stocks

As things have started to unravel in China, the Chinese have been selling off U.S. debt and U.S. stocks like crazy.  The following comes from Bloomberg

For the past year, Chinese selling of Treasuries has vexed investors and served as a gauge of the health of the world’s second-largest economy.

The People’s Bank of China, owner of the world’s biggest foreign-exchange reserves, burnt through 20 percent of its war chest since 2014, dumping about $250 billion of U.S. government debt and using the funds to support the yuan and stem capital outflows.

While China’s sales of Treasuries have slowed, its holdings of U.S. equities are now showing steep declines.

Unfortunately for China, their economy just continues to slow down, and George Soros is so alarmed by this and a potential “Brexit” that he has been selling off stocks and buying enormous amounts of gold in anticipation of an even bigger global downturn.

Japan has the third largest economy in the world, and over the past year Japanese stocks are down a total of 26 percent from the peak…

Japan Stocks

Personally, I have been extremely alarmed by what has been happening in Japan lately.  Japanese stocks were down almost 500 points last night, and overall the Nikkei is down a whopping 1,800 points so far in June.

Of course the Japanese economy as a whole is essentially a basket case at this point.  For a detailed analysis of this, please see my previous article entitled “Watch Japan – For All Is Not Well In The Land Of The Rising Sun“.

Germany has the fourth largest economy in the world, and over the past year their stocks have fallen 19 percent from the peak of the market…

German Stocks

The key thing to watch for in Germany are serious troubles at their biggest bank.  I wrote a long article about the slow-motion implosion of Deutsche Bank last month, and just this week Deutsche Bank stock hit an all-time low.

The fifth largest economy on the planet belongs to the United Kingdom, and since last June their stocks have fallen about 13 percent

British Stocks

One week from today, the “Brexit” vote will be held in the UK, and if they vote to leave the EU that could have very serious economic and financial implications for them and for the rest of Europe as well.  For an in-depth look at this, please see my previous article entitled “June 23, 2016: The Brexit Vote Could Change EVERYTHING And Plunge Europe Into Financial Chaos“.

France has the sixth largest economy in the world, and over the past year French stocks are down 20 percent from the peak of the market…

French Stocks

The French economy is really struggling these days, and we have not heard much about it in the U.S. media, but there have been tremendous riots in major cities in France in recent weeks.

The seventh largest economy on our planet belongs to India.  Even though India is facing some very serious economic problems, their stocks are doing okay for the moment.  Even though stocks in India are down over the past 12 months, we have not seen a major financial crisis over there just yet.

But there is definitely a major crisis in the eighth largest economy in the world.  Italian stocks are down a staggering 32 percent from the peak of the market.  That means approximately a third of all stock market wealth in Italy is already gone…

Italian Stocks

Earlier this year, I wrote about the horrifying collapse of the Italian banking system that has greatly accelerated since the start of 2016.  It looks like virtually all of their big banks will ultimately need to be bailed out, and this threatens to become a far bigger crisis than the crisis in Greece ever was.

And let us not leave off the ninth largest economy in the world.  Not too long ago, CNN ran an article entitled “Brazil: Economic collapse worse than feared“.  So not only are they admitting that the ninth largest economy on the globe is collapsing, they are also admitting that it is even worse than what the experts had anticipated.

So did I leave anyone off the list?

Ah yes, I haven’t even addressed what has been going on in the United States yet.

U.S. stocks did crash last August, but then they recovered.

Then they crashed again in January, but then they recovered again.

Now U.S. stocks have been taking another tumble here in June, but we are being assured that there is nothing to worry about.

Meanwhile, the underlying numbers for the U.S. economy just continue to get worse and worse and worse.  If you have any doubt about this, please see the article that I posted yesterday entitled “15 Facts About The Imploding U.S. Economy That The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want You To See“.

Hopefully this article will clear a lot of things up.  In this piece, I have presented undeniable evidence that a new global financial crisis has begun over the past 12 months.  We have not seen global stock declines of this nature since the great financial crisis of 2008, but much worse is still to come.

I would love to be wrong about that last part.

It would be wonderful if the worst was now behind us and good times for the global financial system were ahead.

Unfortunately, every single indicator that I am watching is telling me just the opposite.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

Why Are Thousands Of Millionaires Fleeing Chicago And Other Major Cities Around The World?

The Elite Fleeing - Public DomainThe elite are fleeing major cities around the globe at a staggering rate.  In fact, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that approximately 3,000 millionaires left the city of Chicago alone during 2015.  The same study discussed in that Chicago Tribune article found that 7,000 millionaires left Paris, France last year.  So why is this happening?  Why are thousands of millionaires suddenly packing up and moving away from the big cities?  Could it be possible that they have many of the same concerns that “preppers” do about what is coming?

For quite a while, I have been writing about how the elite have been preparing for the coming collapse.  But I had no idea that literally thousands of them are packing up and permanently leaving our major cities.  As I mentioned above, the Chicago Tribune is reporting that about 3,000 of them left the city of Chicago alone during the previous calendar year…

Millionaires are leaving Chicago more than any other city in the United States on a net basis, according to a new report.

About 3,000 individuals with net assets of $1 million or more, not including their primary residence, moved from the city last year, with many citing rising racial tensions and worries about crime as factors in the decision, according to research firm New World Wealth.

But of course this is not just happening in Chicago, nor is it just an American phenomenon.

Actually, the two cities that lost the most millionaires last year are both located over in Europe

Paris saw the largest exodus.

The French city lost 7,000, or 6 percent, of its millionaires, followed by Rome, which lost 5,000, or 7 percent.

It is true that some of these millionaires are moving for tax reasons, but many others are quite concerned that humanity is hurtling toward a deeply apocalyptic future, and they want to get prepared for what is about to happen while they still have time.

In eastern Germany, one company known as “Vivos” has spent an enormous amount of money converting an underground facility built by the Soviets during the Cold War into the largest private shelter on the planet.  It is called “Europa One”, and it is being billed as an ultra-luxury survival bunker for the elite.

The following comes from their official website

Located in the heart of Europe is one of the most fortified and massive underground survival shelters on Earth, deep below a limestone mountain. Built by the Soviets during the Cold War, this shelter was a fortress for military equipment and munitions. Now privately owned, this 76 acre above and below ground hardened facility is capable of withstanding a substantial close range nuclear blast, a direct airliner crash, biological and chemical agents, massive shock waves, earthquakes, electro-magnetic pulses, and virtually any armed attack.

This irreplaceable complex is now being re-tasked as Vivos Europa One, becoming the world’s largest and most fortified underground shelter for long-term, uncompromising protection of high net worth individuals, their families, and most precious assets when no other above-ground exfiltration solution will suffice.

The complex includes over 21,108 square meters (227,904 square feet) of secured, blast proof living areas; and, an additional 4,079 square meters (43,906 square feet) of above-ground office, apartments, warehouse buildings, and its own train depot. Collectively there are over 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) of continuous tunnel chambers.

An RT report that was posted on YouTube right here contains some stunning visuals from the inside of this facility.  Personally, I was quite stunned when I saw the extent of their preparations for the first time…

This is something that I could go on and on about, but I won’t.  If you are interested in reading more, please see my previous article entitled “Superyacht Getaway Subs And Luxury Bomb Shelters: The Elite Are The Most Paranoid Preppers Of All“.

As I was preparing for this article, I remembered something that Zero Hedge just reported that I think relates to this subject.  It turns out that “the smart money” has been net sellers of U.S. stocks for 11 weeks in a row…

Last week, during which the S&P 500 was down 1.2%, BofAML clients were net sellers of US equities for the 11th consecutive week. Net sales of $1.7bn were smaller than in the prior week, but all three client groups (hedge funds, institutional clients, private clients) remained net sellers, led by institutional clients.

So why are the elite dumping stocks like crazy right now?

Don’t they realize that the stock market has been going up?

Could it be possible that they have information that the rest of us do not?

Most people have absolutely no idea how vulnerable our society truly is, or how very easy it would be to plunge the general population into a state of utter chaos.

That is why I am so glad that Mike Norris (the son of Chuck Norris) is coming out with his new movie entitled “AmeriGEDDON”.  This film imagines a time when a global terror organization disables the U.S. power grid and martial law is instituted.  Rioting, looting and civil unrest break out, and the government moves in to disarm the citizens and “restore order”.  You can watch the official trailer for this new film right here

Could we actually witness such a scenario in our future?

Well, I don’t expect to see anything like this next month, but in my new book I explain why I believe that America is heading for a future that is even more apocalyptic than the one portrayed in “AmeriGEDDON”.

Everywhere you turn, our world is becoming increasingly unstable.  Economic collapse has already gripped some areas of the planet, there is tremendous geopolitical instability in the Middle East, Islamic terror is on the rise, there have been outbursts of civil unrest all around the world, and just this week we have seen a series of very alarming earthquakes and volcanic eruptions.

Many people believe that we are entering a period of time when an unprecedented confluence of events will combine to create a “perfect storm” which will shake the world to the core.

And it isn’t just “preppers” that feel this way.  As you have just seen, thousands of millionaires are so concerned about changing conditions that they are fleeing the major cities.

So before you dismiss all of this apocalyptic talk as “nonsense”, perhaps you may want to consider what the elite may know that you do not.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

More Islamic Terror Coming: ISIS Has Sent 400 Trained Fighters Into Europe To Conduct Terror Attacks

Skull Smiling - Public DomainThe recent attacks in Paris and in Brussels were just the tip of the iceberg of a massive wave of Islamic terror that is soon coming to Europe.  As you will see below, the Associated Press is reporting that ISIS has specially trained “at least 400 attackers” and has already sent them into Europe with specific instructions to conduct terror operations.  So Barack Obama may not think that we have anything to be concerned about, but the facts on the ground tell us a completely different story.  Thanks to Europe’s openness to “war refugees” from Syria, it is very easy for radical jihadists to get into countries such as France, Belgium and Germany.  And once they are on European soil, there are plenty of other disgruntled Islamic refugees that they can recruit to their cause.  Europe stands on the precipice of the greatest terror crisis that it has ever known, and the attacks that are coming next are likely to be far more deadly than anything we have seen so far.

As I mentioned above, the Associated Press is reporting that ISIS has already sent “at least 400″ trained fighters into Europe for the purpose of conducting terror attacks…

Security officials have told The Associated Press that the Islamic State group has trained at least 400 attackers and sent them into Europe for terror attacks.

The network of interlocking, agile and semiautonomous cells shows the reach of the extremist group in Europe even as it loses ground in Syria. The officials, including European and Iraqi intelligence officials and a French lawmaker who follows the jihadi networks, describe camps designed specifically to train for attacks against the West.

And just in case you were tempted to think that this threat was not real, you may want to consider what happened in France on Thursday.

According to NBC News, police in Paris were able to foil a terror attack that was in “the advanced stages” of planning…

Raids in northwest Paris have foiled a terrorist attack, French officials said late Thursday.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve gave a press conference in Paris announcing there was an operation underway in Argenteuil, a commune in the northwest suburbs of Paris.

One man was arrested Thursday morning Cazeneuve said, adding that the operation thwarted a potential attack. Police were raiding his home again later Thursday evening.

The suspect was a French national who was in “the advanced stages” of a terror plot, the minister said, calling it a “major arrest.”

Of course much of the rest of the world is already solidly in the grip of Islamic terror.  The number of people killed by Islamic terror attacks has been increasing year after year, but the western media only seems to get excited when an attack happens in North America or Europe.

I came across the following tweet earlier today, and it makes this point perfectly…

For instance, did you even hear about the horrific Islamic terror attack that happened in the Ivory Coast earlier this month?  Gunmen opened fire on a very crowded beach in a key resort area on a beautiful Sunday afternoon, and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility for the bloodshed.  The following comes from the New York Times

Gunmen opened fire on picnickers and swimmers enjoying a perfect day at three beach resort hotels near the Ivory Coast’s capital on Sunday, killing 16 people and leaving bodies strewn across the bloodstained sand. It was the third major attack in West Africa since November, and verified fears that the spread of terrorism across the region was far from over.

The attack, on the first sunny Sunday in weeks, took place in Grand-Bassam, a popular palm tree-lined getaway for Ivorians and foreigners. Fourteen civilians and two members of the country’s special forces were killed, as well as six gunmen, according to a spokeswoman for the president.

So why do we get so bent out of shape when there is an attack in France or Belgium, but not when there is an attack in the Ivory Coast?

And what does that say about us?

As ISIS and other Islamic terror groups conduct more attacks in North America and Europe, the pressure to conduct military action in the Middle East is going to become very intense.  For a long time I have been warning about the potential for World War III to erupt in Syria, and U.S. troops are already taking on a more prominent role in Iraq.

In fact, the International Business Times is reporting that U.S. marines are now “on the front line” in the fight against the Islamic State…

The Islamic State group is trying to retake control of the oil fields it lost two years ago in the semi-autonomous region of Iraqi Kurdistan by launching rockets at Kurdish and Iraqi soldiers. In an attempt to earn back the massive amount of cash it used to fund its international terrorism in 2014, the group has focused its resources on attacking Makhmur, a city just 75 miles miles from the oil-rich city of Kirkuk. So far, the group, also known as ISIS, has succeeded in outgunning the Iraqi forces in the city, but a new contingent of American Marines might change the outcome on the ground.

“Several weeks ago, thousands of Iraqi troops began occupying a tactical assembly area in Makhmur. This is part of the force generation associated with the liberation of Mosul,” Col. Steve Warren, spokesman for the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, said in a press briefing this week. Mosul is the de facto ISIS headquarters in Iraq. “These Iraqi forces, along with their coalition advisers, require force protection,” Warren said. “So we constructed a small fire base to do just that.”

The U.S. Marines in Iraq are on the front line and have been tasked with protecting Iraqi units in Makhmur — a scenario President Barack Obama wanted to avoid as long as possible during his time in office.

And what happens when ISIS or another terror group is able to set off a chemical, biological or nuclear weapon in a major western city?

That would change the world literally overnight.

As I have been warning, most people have no idea how incredibly fragile our society truly is.  Humanity has created weapons that are frighteningly powerful, and it is only a matter of time before terrorists acquire these weapons and begin using them.

The free and open society that we are all enjoying today is on borrowed time.

All it is going to take is the detonation of a single weapon of mass destruction in a major western city and everything will change.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But this is just the beginning.

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

The President Of France Wants Eurozone Members To Transfer Their Sovereignty To A United States Of Europe

EU Poster Tower Of BabelThe President of France has come up with a very creative way of solving the European debt crisis.  On Sunday, a piece authored by French President Francois Hollande suggested that the ultimate solution to the problems currently plaguing Europe would be for every member of the eurozone to transfer all of their sovereignty to a newly created federal government.  In other words, it would essentially be a “United States of Europe”.  This federal government would have a prime minister, a parliament, a federal budget and a federal treasury.  Presumably, the current national governments in Europe would continue to function much like state governments in the U.S. do.  In the end, there may be some benefits to such a union – particularly for the weaker members of the eurozone.  But at what cost would those benefits come?

When I first learned that French President Francois Hollande had proposed that the members of the eurozone should create their own version of a federal government, I was quite stunned.  But I shouldn’t have been surprised.  For the global elite, the answer to just about any problem is more centralization.  The following comes from a Bloomberg article that was posted on Sunday…

French President Francois Hollande said that the 19 countries using the euro need their own government complete with a budget and parliament to cooperate better and overcome the Greek crisis.

“Circumstances are leading us to accelerate,” Hollande said in an opinion piece published by the Journal du Dimanche on Sunday. “What threatens us is not too much Europe, but a lack of it.”

So precisely what would “more Europe” look like?

Hollande envisions a central government that has both a parliament and a federal budget

“I have proposed taking up Jacques Delors’ idea about euro government, with the addition of a specific budget and a parliament to ensure democratic control,” Hollande said.

His remarks touched on what analysts have seen as a major flaw in the euro.

Under the 1992 Treaty of Maastricht, countries which share a common currency must obey rules on borrowing and deficit spending.

But the Greek crisis saw one of the 19 eurozone members notch up successive worsening deficits and amass a mountain of debt. The problems were only addressed by bailouts from the European institutions and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Critics say the problem stems from a lack of centralised control over national fiscal policies, which today are jealously guarded areas of sovereignty.

In addition, this eurozone government would have its own prime minister.  In essence, he would be the European version of the president of the United States.  The following comes from the Independent

There would be a eurozone government with its own prime minister, the officials said. This government would have its own budget – separate from the EU budget – to aid and invest in more fragile countries, It would try to harmonise corporation and pay-roll taxes to ensure fair competition in the eurozone.

Of course Hollande is not the only one calling for more centralization.  Last month, European Central Bank President Mario Draghi, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem proposed a plan that would create a shared European treasury

Draghi called for the creation of a shared treasury within 10 years in a joint proposal with politicians including European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Eurogroup President Jeroen Dijsselbloem last month.

I don’t anticipate that we will see any of these things implemented immediately.

However, what is important is the fact that this is where the European elite plan to take Europe.  And when the next great European financial crisis erupts, these proposals will be offered as the “solutions” necessary to end the crisis.

During times of emergency, the elite are often able to push things through that they would never be able to accomplish under normal circumstances.  At the moment, it would be extremely difficult to get everyone to agree to a full-blown “United States of Europe”.  But if things were to start spinning wildly out of control and people were suddenly desperately clamoring for solutions, the environment would be quite different.

What that time arrives, the key will be to get Germany and France to agree on what a “United States of Europe” should look like.  If Germany and France can agree, it is inevitable that most of the other members of the eurozone would ultimately fall in line.

One potential hurdle for the creation of this new government would be the euro.  The current treaty agreements concerning the euro are quite complicated and quite restrictive.  If Germany and France decided that they did want to create a “United States of Europe”, they might have to create an entirely new currency in order to accomplish that.

I know that sounds kind of crazy right now, but at one time the concept of “the euro” sounded really crazy too.

For the moment, the debt crisis in Europe just continues to get even worse.  Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Spain, Belgium and France are all drowning in debt.  Whether or not we see a “Grexit” in the short-term, I fully expect that European bond yields will continue to rise and European stocks will take quite a tumble in the months ahead.

I believe that we are right on the verge of a very significant European financial crisis.  In particular, keep on eye on the big banks.  Just like in the United States, the “too big to fail” banks in Europe are massively overleveraged and are tremendously exposed to derivatives.

In fact, the bank with the most exposure to derivatives on the entire planet is Deutsche Bank.  It has been reported that Deutsche Bank has a whopping 75 trillion dollars worth of exposure to derivatives, their co-CEOs were recently forced to resign, and there are all sorts of rumblings about troubles going on behind the scenes at the bank.

What do you think would happen if the biggest and most important bank in Germany suddenly became the next Lehman Brothers?

That is something to think about.

Meanwhile, the euro continues to fall.  For a long time, I have been repeating my prediction that the euro would fall to parity with the U.S. dollar.

One year ago, the EUR/USD was sitting at 1.35.

Today, it has come all the way down to 1.08.

There will be more ups and downs, but we are almost there.

A time of great chaos is coming to Europe, and the eurozone will be deeply shaken.

But whether or not there is a break up of the eurozone in the short-term, in the long-term the goal of the European elite is even more integration and even more centralization.

So even though there will be significant bumps in the road, I fully expect to see the “United States of Europe” that French President Francois Hollande has proposed.

Do you agree?

What do you think the future holds for Europe?

Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…

Why Is The EU Forcing European Nations To Adopt ‘Bail-In’ Legislation By The End Of The Summer?

Question Smiley - Public DomainAre they expecting something to happen?  As you will read about below, the European Union says that any nation within the EU that does not enact “bail-in” legislation within the next two months will face legal action.  The countries that are being threatened in this manner include Italy and France.  If you fast forward two months from this moment, that puts us in early August.  So clearly the European Union wants everything to be squared away by the end of the summer.  Is there a reason for this?  Are they anticipating that something really bad will happen in September or thereafter?  Why such a rush?

We all remember what happened when major banks were “bailed out” during the last financial crisis.  A tremendous amount of taxpayer money was given to the big banks to help prop them up so they wouldn’t fail.  This greatly upset a lot of people.

Well, when the next great financial crisis hits Europe, banks are not going to get “bailed out” this time.  Instead, we are going to see “bail-ins”.

So precisely what is a “bail-in”?  Essentially, what happens is that wealth is transferred from the “stakeholders” in the bank to the bank itself in order to keep it solvent.  That means that creditors and shareholders could potentially lose everything if a major bank in Europe fails.  And if their “contributions” are not enough to save the bank, those holding private bank accounts will have to take “haircuts” just like we saw in Cyprus.  In fact, the travesty that we witnessed in Cyprus is being used as a “template” for much of the new legislation that is being enacted all over Europe.

The bottom line is that not a single bank account in the European Union will ever be truly safe again.

By this time, everyone in the EU was already supposed to have enacted “bail-in” legislation, but some countries in Europe have been dragging their feet.  So now the European Commission (the executive body of the European Union) is giving them a hard deadline.  According to Reuters, any nation that has not passed “bail-in” legislation within two months will be subject to legal action…

The European Commission on Thursday gave France, Italy and nine other EU countries two months to adopt new EU rules on propping up failed banks or face legal action.

The rules, known as the bank recovery and resolution directive (BRRD), seek to shield taxpayers from having to bail out troubled lenders, forcing creditors and shareholders to contribute to the rescue in a process known as “bail-in”.

So which countries are being threatened?

It turns out that there are 11 of them.  The following comes from Mark O’Byrne

The article “EU regulators tell 11 countries to adopt bank bail-in rules” reported how 11 countries are under pressure from the EC and had yet “to fall in line”. The countries were Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Romania, Sweden, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, France and Italy.

France and Italy are two countries who are regarded as having particularly fragile banking systems.

But why only two months to get this done?

When I was in law school, I took an entire course on European Union law.  Normally, things in Europe take a very long time to get done.  It is out of character for the European Commission to rush to get something like this done so quickly.

Could they be anticipating that this legislation will need to be put into use very soon?

What we do know is that bonds in Europe have already been crashing, and it appears that the European Central Bank is starting to lose control over European financial markets.

And we also know that there has been a sustained bank run in Greece.  In fact, it is being reported that 700 million euros were pulled out of Greek banks on Friday alone.  Personally, I think that anyone that still has any money in Greek banks is absolutely insane.  Some day in the not too distant future, Greek bank account holders are going to be in for a “haircut” just like we saw in Cyprus.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

While the Greek government believes it may have won the battle, if not the war with Europe, the reality is that every additional day in which Athens does not have a funding backstop, be it the ECB (or the BRIC bank), is a day which brings the local banking system to total collapse.

As a reminder, Greek banks already depends on the ECB for some €80.7 billion in Emergency Liquidity Assistance which was about 60% of total deposits in the Greek financial system as of April 30. In other words, they are woefully insolvent and only the day to day generosity of the ECB prevents a roughly 40% forced “bail in” deposit haircut a la Cyprus.

But of course Greece will only be just the beginning.  In the end, I expect major banks to fail all over Europe as we head into the greatest financial crisis that Europe has ever seen.  Bank account holders all over the continent could end up having to take “haircuts”, and that would just make the coming deflationary cycle in Europe a lot worse.

And I actually expect events in Europe to start accelerating greatly by the end of this calendar year.  Apparently the top dogs in the European Union are also concerned about the immediate future, because they are rushing to get “bail-in” legislation passed in every nation in the EU by the end of the summer.

Fortunately, the United States has not moved in a similar direction – at least not yet.  It is always possible that during an “emergency situation” anything can happen.  We saw that in Cyprus.  But for the moment, European bank accounts appear to be more vulnerable than U.S. bank accounts.

Not that any of us should have much confidence in the major banks in the United States either.  Since the end of the last financial crisis they have become more reckless than ever.  At this point, the six largest banks in this country collectively have 278 trillion dollars of exposure to derivatives.  A day is coming when the “too big to fail” banks will actually start failing, and that will absolutely cripple our economy.

We are moving into a time of great financial instability.  During such a time, one of the keys will be to not have all of your eggs in one basket.  That way it will be more difficult for your wealth to be wiped out by a single event.

So what other advice would you give to people that are wondering how to deal with the coming global banking crisis?  Please feel free to add to the discussion by posting a comment below…

They Are Slowly Making Cash Illegal

Cash - Public DomainThe move to a cashless society won’t happen overnight.  Instead, it is being implemented very slowly and systematically in a series of incremental steps.  All over the planet, governments are starting to place restrictions on the use of cash for security reasons.  As citizens, we are being told that this is being done to thwart criminals, terrorists, drug runners, money launderers and tax evaders.  Other forms of payment are much easier for governments to track, and so they very much prefer them.  But we are rapidly getting to the point where the use of cash is considered to be a “suspicious activity” all by itself.  These days, if you pay a hotel bill with cash or if you pay for several hundred dollars worth of goods at a store with cash you are probably going to get looked at funny.  You see, the truth is that we have already been trained to regard the use of large amounts of cash to be unusual.  The next step will be to formally ban large cash transactions like France and other countries in Europe are already doing.

Starting in September, cash transactions of more than 1,000 euros will be banned in France.  The following comes from a recent Zero Hedge article which detailed what these new restrictions will do…

Prohibiting  French residents from making cash payments of more than 1,000 euros, down from the current limit of  3,000 euros.

Given the parlous state of the stagnating French economy the limit for foreign tourists on currency payments will remain higher, at 10,000 euros down from the current limit of 15,000 euros.

The threshold below which a French resident is  free to convert euros into other currencies without having to show an identity card will be slashed from the current level of 8,000 euros to 1,000 euros.

In addition any cash deposit or withdrawal of more than 10,000 euros during a single month will be reported to the French anti-fraud and money laundering agency Tracfin.

French authorities will also have to be notified of any freight transfers within the EU exceeding 10,000 euros, including checks, pre-paid cards, or gold.

Of course Spain has already banned cash transactions of more than 2,500 euros and Italy has already banned cash transactions of more than 1,000 euros.

We don’t have these kinds of outright bans in the United States just yet, but what we do have are some very strict reporting requirements.

For example, if you regularly deposit large amounts of cash, there is a very good chance that you have been the subject of a “suspicious activity report”.  In 2013, approximately 1.6 million suspicious activity reports were submitted to the federal government.

The following guidelines for when a suspicious activity report should be filed come from a government website

*****

Banks, bank holding companies, and their subsidiaries are required by federal regulations53 to file a SAR with respect to:

  • Criminal violations involving insider abuse in any amount.
  • Criminal violations aggregating $5,000 or more when a suspect can be identified.
  • Criminal violations aggregating $25,000 or more regardless of a potential suspect.
  • Transactions conducted or attempted by, at, or through the bank (or an affiliate) and aggregating $5,000 or more, if the bank or affiliate knows, suspects, or has reason to suspect that the transaction:
    • May involve potential money laundering or other illegal activity (e.g., terrorism financing).54
    • Is designed to evade the BSA or its implementing regulations.55
    • Has no business or apparent lawful purpose or is not the type of transaction that the particular customer would normally be expected to engage in, and the bank knows of no reasonable explanation for the transaction after examining the available facts, including the background and possible purpose of the transaction.

*****

Most people don’t realize this, but there are minimum quotas for suspicious activity reports that banks must meet.  If they do not submit enough suspicious activity reports, they can be fined (or worse).

And now the Obama administration is saying that just filling out suspicious activity reports may not be good enough.

According to the Wall Street Journal, banks are actually being encouraged to directly contact law enforcement if they see something that does not look right…

The U.S. Justice Department’s criminal head said banks may need to go beyond filing suspicious activity reports when they encounter a risky customer.

“The vast majority of financial institutions file suspicious activity reports when they suspect that an account is connected to nefarious activity,” said assistant attorney general Leslie Caldwell in a Monday speech, according to prepared remarks. “But, in appropriate cases, we encourage those institutions to consider whether to take more action: specifically, to alert law enforcement authorities about the problem.”

The remarks indicate that banks may be expected to do more than just file SARs, a responsibility that itself can be expensive and time-consuming.

That should send a chill up your spine.

In a recent piece, Simon Black imagined a future scenario in which some unsuspecting American citizen goes to the bank to withdraw a large amount of cash…

Imagine going to the bank to withdraw some cash.

Having some cash on hand is always a prudent strategy, and especially today when more and more bank deposits are creeping into negative territory, meaning that you have to pay the banks for the privilege that they gamble with your money.

You tell the teller that you’d like to withdraw $5,000 from your account. She hesitates nervously and wants to know why.

You try to politely let her know that that’s none of the bank’s business as it’s your money.

The teller disappears for a few minutes, leaving you waiting.

When she returns she tells you that you can collect your money in a few days as they don’t have it on hand at the moment.

Slightly irritated because of the inconvenience, you head home.

But as you pull into your driveway later there’s an unexpected surprise waiting for you: two police officers would like to have a word with you about your intended withdrawal earlier…

Perhaps you don’t think that anything like that could ever happen to you.

Well, consider what the feds are doing to one widow in Iowa

A widow’s bank account was seized by the IRS and she now faces criminal charges for depositing her legal inheritance money in lumps instead of all together.

Janet Malone, 68, had $18,775 seized from her — money that was legally earned and was legally bestowed to her by her late husband, Ronald Malone. The problem, according to the government, was the fact that she deposited it in several lumps instead of all at once.

According to the Associated Press, Mrs. Malone deposited the cash in increments between $5,800 and $9,000. The widow’s private financial affairs evidently set off red flags under the watchful gaze of the federal government.

Remember, she was not guilty of committing any crime other than depositing cash in lumps instead of all at once.

If this is how ruthless the feds will be with an elderly widow, how would they treat you under similar circumstances?

So why are they doing this?

The truth is that they want to discourage the public from using cash.  Our government, just like governments all over the planet, is not being shy about the fact that it does not like cash.  If they can make people afraid to use cash, that suits their purposes very well.

And with each passing year the restrictions on the use of cash globally will just get tighter and tighter and the role that cash plays in our lives will just become smaller and smaller.

In the end, a transition to an almost entirely cashless society will seem almost natural.  Cash is being killed off one slow step at a time, and at this point hardly anyone is objecting.

Obama Declares War On ‘Extremism’ – Are You An ‘Extremist’ According To His Definition?

Prison Camp - Public DomainDo you know what an “extremist” is?  In the wake of the horrible terror attacks on the offices of Charlie Hebdo in France, Barack Obama is speaking very boldly about the need to win the war against “extremists”, and he has announced plans to host a major global summit on “extremism” next month.  And on the surface that sounds great.  But precisely how are we supposed to determine whether someone is an “extremist” or not?  What criteria should we use?  As you will see below, your definition of an “extremist” may be far, far different from the definition that Barack Obama is using.  When you do a Google search, you will find that an “extremist” is defined as “a person who holds extreme or fanatical political or religious views, especially one who resorts to or advocates extreme action.”  According to Wikipedia, “extremism” is “an ideology (particularly in politics or religion), considered to be far outside the mainstream attitudes of a society or to violate common moral standards.  Extremism can take many forms, including political, religious and economic.”  Please notice that neither of those definitions uses the word violence.  In this day and age, you can be considered an “extremist” simply based on what you believe, and as you will see later in this article there are now tens of millions of Americans that are considered to be “extremists” and “potential terrorists” according to official U.S. government documents.

When you use the word “extremist”, you may have in your mind a picture of ISIS fighters or the terrorists from the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

But for elitists such as Barack Obama, the word “extremist” has a much broader meaning.  In recent years, it has become a code word for those that do not have an “enlightened” view of the world.  If your views on politics, religion or social issues are extremely different from the liberal, progressive views of “the mainstream” (as defined by the mainstream media and by “mainstream” politicians such as Barack Obama), then they consider you to be an extremist.

Early in the presidency of George W. Bush, we were told that Islamic terrorists were the enemy.  And so most of the country got behind the idea of the War on Terrorism.  But over the years that has morphed into a War on Extremism.  In fact, the Obama administration has gone so far as to remove almost all references to Islam from government terror training materials

Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole confirmed on Wednesday that the Obama administration was pulling back all training materials used for the law enforcement and national security communities, in order to eliminate all references to Islam that some Muslim groups have claimed are offensive.

“I recently directed all components of the Department of Justice to re-evaluate their training efforts in a range of areas, from community outreach to national security,” Cole told a panel at the George Washington University law school.

Now, much of the focus in law enforcement training materials is on “domestic extremists”.  We are being told that “domestic extremism” is just as great a threat to our national security as terror groups overseas are.

But exactly who are these “domestic extremists”?

Well, the truth is that you may be one of them.

I want to share with you a list that I have shared in a couple of previous articles.  It is a list of 72 types of Americans that are considered to be “extremists” or “potential terrorists” in official U.S. government documents.  This list will really give you a good idea of what Barack Obama means when he uses the word “extremist”.  Each of these 72 items is linked, so if you would like to go see the original source document for yourself, just click on the link.  As you can see, this list potentially includes most of the country…

1. Those that talk about “individual liberties”

2. Those that advocate for states’ rights

3. Those that want “to make the world a better place”

4. “The colonists who sought to free themselves from British rule”

5. Those that are interested in “defeating the Communists”

6. Those that believe “that the interests of one’s own nation are separate from the interests of other nations or the common interest of all nations”

7. Anyone that holds a “political ideology that considers the state to be unnecessary, harmful,or undesirable”

8. Anyone that possesses an “intolerance toward other religions”

9. Those that “take action to fight against the exploitation of the environment and/or animals”

10. “Anti-Gay”

11. “Anti-Immigrant”

12. “Anti-Muslim”

13. “The Patriot Movement”

14. “Opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians”

15. Members of the Family Research Council

16. Members of the American Family Association

17. Those that believe that Mexico, Canada and the United States “are secretly planning to merge into a European Union-like entity that will be known as the ‘North American Union’”

18. Members of the American Border Patrol/American Patrol

19. Members of the Federation for American Immigration Reform

20. Members of the Tennessee Freedom Coalition

21. Members of the Christian Action Network

22. Anyone that is “opposed to the New World Order”

23. Anyone that is engaged in “conspiracy theorizing”

24. Anyone that is opposed to Agenda 21

25. Anyone that is concerned about FEMA camps

26. Anyone that “fears impending gun control or weapons confiscations”

27. The militia movement

28. The sovereign citizen movement

29. Those that “don’t think they should have to pay taxes”

30. Anyone that “complains about bias”

31. Anyone that “believes in government conspiracies to the point of paranoia”

32. Anyone that “is frustrated with mainstream ideologies”

33. Anyone that “visits extremist websites/blogs”

34. Anyone that “establishes website/blog to display extremist views”

35. Anyone that “attends rallies for extremist causes”

36. Anyone that “exhibits extreme religious intolerance”

37. Anyone that “is personally connected with a grievance”

38. Anyone that “suddenly acquires weapons”

39. Anyone that “organizes protests inspired by extremist ideology”

40. “Militia or unorganized militia”

41. “General right-wing extremist”

42. Citizens that have “bumper stickers” that are patriotic or anti-U.N.

43. Those that refer to an “Army of God”

44. Those that are “fiercely nationalistic (as opposed to universal and international in orientation)”

45. Those that are “anti-global”

46. Those that are “suspicious of centralized federal authority”

47. Those that are “reverent of individual liberty”

48. Those that “believe in conspiracy theories”

49. Those that have “a belief that one’s personal and/or national ‘way of life’ is under attack”

50. Those that possess “a belief in the need to be prepared for an attack either by participating in paramilitary preparations and training or survivalism”

51. Those that would “impose strict religious tenets or laws on society (fundamentalists)”

52. Those that would “insert religion into the political sphere”

53. Anyone that would “seek to politicize religion”

54. Those that have “supported political movements for autonomy”

55. Anyone that is “anti-abortion”

56. Anyone that is “anti-Catholic”

57. Anyone that is “anti-nuclear”

58. “Rightwing extremists”

59. “Returning veterans”

60. Those concerned about “illegal immigration”

61. Those that “believe in the right to bear arms”

62. Anyone that is engaged in “ammunition stockpiling”

63. Anyone that exhibits “fear of Communist regimes”

64. “Anti-abortion activists”

65. Those that are against illegal immigration

66. Those that talk about “the New World Order” in a “derogatory” manner

67. Those that have a negative view of the United Nations

68. Those that are opposed “to the collection of federal income taxes”

69. Those that supported former presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin and Bob Barr

70. Those that display the Gadsden Flag (“Don’t Tread On Me”)

71. Those that believe in “end times” prophecies

72. Evangelical Christians

Do you fit into any of those categories?

Personally, I fit into a couple dozen of them.

That is why alarm bells should go off whenever Barack Obama speaks of the need to crack down on “extremism”.

If Barack Obama wants to denounce Islamic terror, he should do so.  But because of his extreme political correctness, he goes out of his way to avoid any connection between Islam and terror.  Instead, he speaks of the need to recognize “Islam’s role in advancing justice, progress, tolerance, and the dignity of all human beings” and he insists that “the future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam.”

Meanwhile, our liberties and freedoms are being eroded a little bit more with each passing day.  In the name of fighting “terrorism” or “extremism”, our government is constructing a Big Brother police state control grid all around us.  I like the way that Ron Paul described what is happening to us just the other day

If Americans were honest with themselves they would acknowledge that the Republic is no more. We now live in a police state. If we do not recognize and resist this development, freedom and prosperity for all Americans will continue to deteriorate. All liberties in America today are under siege.

It didn’t happen overnight. It took many years of neglect for our liberties to be given away so casually for a promise of security from the politicians. The tragic part is that the more security was promised — physical and economic — the less liberty was protected.

With cradle-to-grave welfare protecting all citizens from any mistakes and a perpetual global war on terrorism, which a majority of Americans were convinced was absolutely necessary for our survival, our security and prosperity has been sacrificed.

It was all based on lies and ignorance. Many came to believe that their best interests were served by giving up a little freedom now and then to gain a better life.

The trap was set. At the beginning of a cycle that systematically undermines liberty with delusions of easy prosperity, the change may actually seem to be beneficial to a few. But to me that’s like excusing embezzlement as a road to leisure and wealth — eventually payment and punishment always come due. One cannot escape the fact that a society’s wealth cannot be sustained or increased without work and productive effort. Yes, some criminal elements can benefit for a while, but reality always sets in.

Reality is now setting in for America and for that matter for most of the world. The piper will get his due even if “the children” have to suffer. The deception of promising “success” has lasted for quite a while. It was accomplished by ever-increasing taxes, deficits, borrowing, and printing press money. In the meantime the policing powers of the federal government were systematically and significantly expanded. No one cared much, as there seemed to be enough “gravy” for the rich, the poor, the politicians, and the bureaucrats.

The country that our forefathers founded is dying.

Now, individuals and organizations that attempt to restore the values that our founders once believed in so strongly are regarded as dangerous “extremists” that need to be watched carefully.

Sadly, most Americans don’t even realize what is happening to this nation.  As long as they are fed a constant diet of mindless entertainment, most Americans are perfectly content to let “the experts” do their thinking for them.

We are steamrolling toward oblivion, and most of the country is dead asleep.

So is there any hope for us?  Feel free to share what you think by posting a comment below…

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