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40 Volcanoes Are Erupting Right Now, And 34 Of Them Are Along The Ring Of Fire

Volcano Erupting - Public DomainYou may not have noticed, but our planet is becoming increasingly unstable.  According to Volcano Discovery, 40 volcanoes around the globe are erupting right now, and only 6 of them are not along the Ring of Fire.  If that sounds like a very high number to you, that is because it is a very high number.  As I have written about previously, there were a total of 3,542 volcanic eruptions during the entire 20th century.  When you divide that number by 100, that gives you an average of about 35 volcanic eruptions per year.  So the number of volcanoes that are erupting right now is well above the 20th century’s average for an entire calendar year.  And of course we are witnessing a tremendous amount of earthquake activity as well.  Nepal was just hit by the worst earthquake that it had seen in 80 years, and scientists are telling us that the Himalayas actually dropped by an astounding 3 feet as a result of that one earthquake.  How much more does our planet have to shake before people start paying attention?

Of course the things that we have been seeing lately are part of a much larger long-term trend.  Seismic activity appears to have been getting stronger over the past few decades, and now things really seem to be accelerating.  The following is how one news source recently summarized what we have been witnessing…

If it seems like earthquakes and erupting volcanoes are happening more frequently, that’s because they are. Looking at global magnitude six (M6) or greater from 1980 to 1989 there was an average of 108.5 earthquakes per year, from 2000 to 2009 the planet averaged 160.9 earthquakes per year: that is a 38.9% increase of M6+ earthquakes in recent years. Unrest also seems to be growing among the world’s super-volcanoes. Iceland (which is home to some of the most dangerous volcanoes on the planet), Santorini in Greece, Uturuncu in Bolivia, the Yellowstone and Long Valley calderas in the U.S., Laguna del Maule in Chile, Italy’s Campi Flegrei – almost all of the world’s active super-volcanic systems are now exhibiting some signs of inflation, an early indication that pressure is building in these volcanic systems.

But of course most Americans are never going to care about any of this until it starts affecting them personally.

Well, perhaps they should start paying attention to the warning signs.  In recent weeks we have seen significant earthquakes in Michigan, Texas, Mississippi, California, Idaho And Washington.  In addition, it is being reported that pressure is building in dormant volcanoes in Arizona and California.  Just because we have not had a killer earthquake or a large volcanic eruption in the U.S. in recent years does not mean that it will always be that way.  Right now the entire planet appears to be waking up, and this especially seems to be true of the Ring of Fire.

If you are not familiar with the Ring of Fire, just imagine a giant ring that runs around the outer perimeter of the Pacific Ocean.  Approximately 90 percent of all earthquakes and approximately 75 percent of all volcanic eruptions occur within this area, and the entire west coast of North America is considered to be part of the Ring of Fire.

For so long, the west coast has been incredibly blessed not to have experienced a major seismic event.  But scientists tell us that it is only a matter of time.

And right now, just about every other part of the Ring of Fire is shaking violently.

For example, a magnitude 6.8 earthquake just hit Japan on Wednesday

A magnitude-6.8 earthquake that shook northeast Japan on Wednesday was an aftershock of the devastating 2011 quake that triggered a massive tsunami and nuclear power plant meltdown.

“We consider this morning’s earthquake to be an aftershock of the 2011 Northeastern Pacific Earthquake,” said Yohei Hasegawa, an official at the Japanese meteorological agency.

The temblor, which struck just after 6 a.m. local time (5 p.m. ET Tuesday), was sparked by the Pacific tectonic plate “subducting,” or moving under, the main land plate, he added.

Hasegawa warned that more tremors may be on the way.

One Japanese expert is warning that Japan “might have entered an era of great earthquakes and volcanic eruptions“, and considering the immense devastation that the great earthquake and tsunami of 2011 caused, that is a very sobering assessment.

Meanwhile, a series of very strong earthquakes have struck Papua New Guinea recently as well.  The following comes from the Washington Post

A powerful earthquake rattled Papua New Guinea on Thursday, the fourth strong quake to hit the South Pacific island nation in a week. The temblor prompted officials to issue a local tsunami warning, but it was lifted shortly afterward with no reports of damage.

The 7.1-magnitude quake struck about 150 kilometers (94 miles) southwest of the town of Panguna on Bougainville Island at a depth of 23 kilometers (14 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey reported.

Once again, just because things have always been a certain way does not mean that they will always be that way.

As Americans, we are not accustomed to being concerned about major earthquakes and massive volcanic eruptions, but that could soon change in a big way.

The truth is that our planet and our sun are changing in ways that are unpredictable and that our scientists don’t completely understand.

For example, a recent LiveScience article discussed the fact that scientists are deeply puzzled by the fact that the magnetic field of our planet is getting weaker 10 times faster than previously believed…

Scientists already know that magnetic north shifts. Once every few hundred thousand years the magnetic poles flip so that a compass would point south instead of north. While changes in magnetic field strength are part of this normal flipping cycle, data from Swarm have shown the field is starting to weaken faster than in the past. Previously, researchers estimated the field was weakening about 5 percent per century, but the new data revealed the field is actually weakening at 5 percent per decade, or 10 times faster than thought. As such, rather than the full flip occurring in about 2,000 years, as was predicted, the new data suggest it could happen sooner.

And in a previous article, I discussed how one scientist has discovered that activity on the sun is declining at a faster pace “than at any time in the last 9300 years” right now.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers for why these things are happening, but clearly some very unusual things are taking place.

So what do you think?

Do you believe that you know why our planet and our sun are experiencing such dramatic changes?

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

The Greatest Water Crisis In The History Of The United States

US Drought Monitor May 5 2015What are we going to do once all the water is gone?  Thanks to the worst drought in more than 1,000 years, the western third of the country is facing the greatest water crisis that the United States has ever seen.  Lake Mead is now the lowest that it has ever been since the Hoover Dam was finished in the 1930s, mandatory water restrictions have already been implemented in the state of California, and there are already widespread reports of people stealing water in some of the worst hit areas.  But this is just the beginning.  Right now, in a desperate attempt to maintain somewhat “normal” levels of activity, water is being pumped out of the ground in the western half of the nation at an absolutely staggering pace.  Once that irreplaceable groundwater is gone, that is when the real crisis will begin.  If this multi-year drought stretches on and becomes the “megadrought” that a lot of scientists are now warning about, life as we know it in much of the country is going to be fundamentally transformed and millions of Americans may be forced to find somewhere else to live.

Simply put, this is not a normal drought.  What the western half of the nation is experiencing right now is highly unusual.  In fact, scientists tell us that California has not seen anything quite like this in at least 1,200 years

Analyzing tree rings that date back to 800 A.D. — a time when Vikings were marauding Europe and the Chinese were inventing gunpowder — there is no three-year period when California’s rainfall has been as low and its temperatures as hot as they have been from 2012 to 2014, the researchers found.

Much of the state of California was once a desert, and much of it is now turning back into a desert.  The same thing can also be said about much of Arizona and much of Nevada.  We never really should have built massive, sprawling cities such as Las Vegas and Phoenix in the middle of the desert.  But the 20th century was the wettest century for western North America in about 1,000 years, and we got lulled into a false sense of security.

At this point, the water level in Lake Mead has hit a brand new record low, and authorities are warning that official water rationing could soon begin for both Arizona and Nevada…

Lake Mead, the largest reservoir in the US, has hit its lowest level ever. Feeding California, Nevada and Arizona, it can hold a mind-boggling 35 cubic kilometres of water. But it has been many years since it was at capacity, and the situation is only getting worse.

“We’re only at 38 percent full. Lake Mead hasn’t been this low since we were filling it in the 1930s,” said a spokeswoman for the US Bureau of Reclamation in Las Vegas.

If it gets much lower – and with summer approaching and a dwindling snowpack available to replenish it, that looks likely – official rationing will begin for Arizona and Nevada.

And did you know that the once mighty Colorado River no longer even reaches the ocean?  Over 40 million people depend upon this one river, and because the Colorado is slowly dying an enormous amount of water is being pumped out of the ground in a crazed attempt to carry on with business as usual

The Colorado River currently supplies water to more than 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles (as well as Las Vegas, Phoenix, Tucson, San Diego, Salt Lake City, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe—none of which lie directly on the river). According to one recent study, 16 million jobs and $1.4 trillion in annual economic activity across the West depend on the Colorado. As the river dries up, farmers and cities have turned to pumping groundwater. In just the last 10 years, the Colorado Basin has lost 15.6 cubic miles of subsurface freshwater, an amount researchers called “shocking.” Once an official shortage is declared, Arizona farmers will increase their rate of pumping even further, to blunt the effect of an anticipated sharp cutback.

The same kind of thing is going on in the middle part of the country.  Farmers are pumping water out of the rapidly shrinking Ogallala Aquifer so fast that a major crisis in the years ahead is virtually guaranteed

Farther east, the Ogallala Aquifer under the High Plains is also shrinking because of too much demand. When the Dust Bowl overtook the Great Plains in the 1930s, the Ogallala had been discovered only recently, and for the most part it wasn’t tapped then to help ease the drought. But large-scale center-pivot irrigation transformed crop production on the plains after World War II, allowing water-thirsty crops like corn and alfalfa for feeding livestock.

But severe drought threatens the southern plains again, and water is being unsustainably drawn from the southern Ogallala Aquifer. The northern Ogallala, found near the surface in Nebraska, is replenished by surface runoff from rivers originating in the Rockies. But farther south in Texas and New Mexico, water lies hundreds of feet below the surface, and does not recharge. Sandra Postel wrote here last month that the Ogallala Aquifer water level in the Texas Panhandle has dropped by up to 15 feet in the past decade, with more than three-quarters of that loss having come during the drought of the past five years. A recent Kansas State University study said that if farmers in Kansas keep irrigating at present rates, 69 percent of the Ogallala Aquifer will be gone in 50 years.

At one time, most of us took water completely for granted.

But now that it is becoming “the new oil”, people are starting to look at water much differently.  Sadly, this even includes thieves

With the state of California mired in its fourth year of drought and a mandatory 25 percent reduction in water usage in place, reports of water theft have become common.

In April, The Associated Press reported that huge amounts of water went missing from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and a state investigation was launched. The delta is a vital body of water, serving 23 million Californians as well as millions of farm acres, according to the Association for California Water Agencies.

The AP reported in February that a number of homeowners in Modesto, California, were fined $1,500 for allegedly taking water from a canal. In another instance, thieves in the town of North San Juan stole hundreds of gallons of water from a fire department tank.

In case you are wondering, of course this emerging water crisis is going to deeply affect our food supply.  More than 40 percent of all our fruits and vegetables are grown in the state of California, so this drought is going to end up hitting all of us in the wallet one way or another.

And this water crisis is not the only major threat that our food supply is facing at the moment.  A horrific outbreak of the bird flu has already killed more than 20 million turkeys and chickens, and the price of eggs has already gone up substantially

The cost of a carton of large eggs in the Midwest has jumped nearly 17 percent to $1.39 a dozen from $1.19 since mid-April when the virus began appearing in Iowa’s chicken flocks and farmers culled their flocks to contain any spread.

A much bigger increase has emerged in the eggs used as ingredients in processed products like cake mix and mayonnaise, which account for the majority of what Iowa produces. Those eggs have jumped 63 percent to $1.03 a dozen from 63 cents in the last three weeks, said Rick Brown, senior vice president of Urner Barry, a commodity market analysis firm.

Most of us are accustomed to thinking of the United States as a land of seemingly endless resources, but now we are really starting to bump up against some of our limitations.

Despite all of our technology, the truth is that we are still exceedingly dependent on the weather patterns that produce rain and snow for us.

For years, I have been warning that Dust Bowl conditions would be returning to the western half of the country, and thanks to this multi-year drought we can now see it slowly happening all around us.

And if this drought continues to stretch on, things are going to get worse than this.

Much worse.

Major U.S. Retailers Are Closing More Than 6,000 Stores

Closed - Public DomainIf the U.S. economy really is improving, then why are big U.S. retailers permanently shutting down thousands of stores?  The “retail apocalypse” that I have written about so frequently appears to be accelerating.  As you will see below, major U.S. retailers have announced that they are closing more than 6,000 locations, but economic conditions in this country are still fairly stable.  So if this is happening already, what are things going to look like once the next recession strikes?  For a long time, I have been pointing to 2015 as a major “turning point” for the U.S. economy, and I still feel that way.  And since I started The Economic Collapse Blog at the end of 2009, I have never seen as many indications that we are headed into another major economic downturn as I do right now.  If retailers are closing this many stores already, what are our malls and shopping centers going to look like a few years from now?

The list below comes from information compiled by About.com, but I have only included major retailers that have announced plans to close at least 10 stores.  Most of these closures will take place this year, but in some instances the closures are scheduled to be phased in over a number of years.  As you can see, the number of stores that are being permanently shut down is absolutely staggering…

180 Abercrombie & Fitch (by 2015)

75 Aeropostale (through January 2015)

150 American Eagle Outfitters (through 2017)

223 Barnes & Noble (through 2023)

265 Body Central / Body Shop

66 Bottom Dollar Food

25 Build-A-Bear (through 2015)

32 C. Wonder

21 Cache

120 Chico’s (through 2017)

200 Children’s Place (through 2017)

17 Christopher & Banks

70 Coach (fiscal 2015)

70 Coco’s /Carrows

300 Deb Shops

92 Delia’s

340 Dollar Tree/Family Dollar

39 Einstein Bros. Bagels

50 Express (through 2015)

31 Frederick’s of Hollywood

50 Fresh & Easy Grocey Stores

14 Friendly’s

65 Future Shop (Best Buy Canada)

54 Golf Galaxy (by 2016)

50 Guess (through 2015)

26 Gymboree

40 JCPenney

127 Jones New York Outlet

10 Just Baked

28 Kate Spade Saturday & Jack Spade

14 Macy’s

400 Office Depot/Office Max (by 2016)

63 Pep Boys (“in the coming years”)

100 Pier One (by 2017)

20 Pick ’n Save (by 2017)

1,784 Radio Shack

13 Ruby Tuesday

77 Sears

10 SpartanNash Grocery Stores

55 Staples (2015)

133 Target, Canada (bankruptcy)

31 Tiger Direct

200 Walgreens (by 2017)

10 West Marine

338 Wet Seal

80 Wolverine World Wide (2015 – Stride Rite & Keds)

So why is this happening?

Without a doubt, Internet retailing is taking a huge toll on brick and mortar stores, and this is a trend that is not going to end any time soon.

But as Thad Beversdorf has pointed out, we have also seen a stunning decline in true discretionary consumer spending over the past six months…

What we find is that over the past 6 months we had a tremendous drop in true discretionary consumer spending. Within the overall downtrend we do see a bit of a rally in February but quite ominously that rally failed and the bottom absolutely fell out. Again the importance is it confirms the fundamental theory that consumer spending is showing the initial signs of a severe pull back. A worrying signal to be certain as we would expect this pull back to begin impacting other areas of consumer spending. The reason is that American consumers typically do not voluntarily pull back like that on spending but do so because they have run out of credit. And if credit is running thin it will surely be felt in all spending.

The truth is that middle class U.S. consumers are tapped out.  Most families are just scraping by financially from month to month.  For most Americans, there simply is not a whole lot of extra money left over to go shopping with these days.

In fact, at this point approximately one out of every four Americans spend at least half of their incomes just on rent

More than one in four Americans are spending at least half of their family income on rent – leaving little money left to purchase groceries, buy clothing or put gas in the car, new figures have revealed.

A staggering 11.25 million households consume 50 percent or more of their income on housing and utilities, according to an analysis of Census data by nonprofit firm, Enterprise Community Partners.

And 1.8 million of these households spend at least 70 percent of their paychecks on rent.

The surging cost of rental housing has affected a rising number of families since the Great Recession hit in 2007. Officials define housing costs in excess of 30 percent of income as burdensome.

For decades, the U.S. economy was powered by a free spending middle class that had plenty of discretionary income to throw around.  But now that the middle class is being systematically destroyed, that paradigm is changing.  Americans families simply do not have the same resources that they once did, and that spells big trouble for retailers.

As you read this article, the United States still has more retail space per person than any other nation on the planet.  But as stores close by the thousands, “space available” signs are going to be popping up everywhere.  This is especially going to be true in poor and lower middle class neighborhoods.  Especially after what we just witnessed in Baltimore, many retailers are not going to hesitate to shut down underperforming locations in impoverished areas.

And remember, the next major economic crisis has not even arrived yet.  Once it does, the business environment in this country is going to change dramatically, and a few years from now America is going to look far different than it does right now.

 

16 Signs That The Economy Has Stalled Out And The Next Economic Downturn Is Here

Get Prepared NowIf U.S. economic growth falls any lower, we are officially going to be in recession territory.  On Wednesday, we learned that U.S. GDP grew at a 0.2 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2015.  That was much lower than all of the “experts” were projecting.  And of course there are all sorts of questions whether the GDP numbers the government feeds us are legitimate anyway.  According to John Williams of shadowstats.com, if honest numbers were used they would show that U.S. GDP growth has been continuously negative since 2005.  But even if we consider the number that the government has given us to be the “real” number, it still shows that the U.S. economy has stalled out.  It is almost as if we have hit a “turning point”, and there are many out there (including myself) that believe that the next major economic downturn is dead ahead.  As you will see in this article, a whole bunch of things are happening right now that we would expect to see if a recession was beginning.  The following are 16 signs that the economy has stalled out and the next economic downturn is here…

#1 We just learned that U.S. GDP grew at an anemic 0.2 percent annual rate during the first quarter of 2015…

The gross domestic product grew between January and March at an annualized rate of 0.2 percent, the U.S. Commerce Department said, adding to the picture of an economy braking sharply after accelerating for much of last year. The pace fell well shy of the 1 percent mark anticipated by analysts and marked the weakest quarter in a year.

#2 If you strip a very unusual inventory buildup out of the GDP number, U.S. GDP would have actually fallen at a -2.5 percent annual rate during the first quarter…

The only good news: the massive inventory build, the largest since 2010, boosted GDP by nearly 3.0%. Without this epic stockpiling of non-farm inventory which will have to be liquidated at some point (and at a very low price) Q1 GDP would have been -2.5%.

#3 Our trade deficit with the rest of the planet is absolutely killing our economic growth.  According to the Reality Chek Blog, U.S. economic growth would have been a total of 8 percent higher since the end of the last recession if we actually had balanced trade with other nations…

As of the new first quarter figures, the worsening of the trade deficit has reduced the cumulative real growth of the U.S. economy by 7.99 percent since the current recovery began in the second quarter of 2009.

#4 According to numbers that were just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in one out of every five American families nobody has a job.  So how in the world can the “unemployment rate” be sitting at “5.5 percent” when everyone is unemployed in 20 percent of all families in the United States?  It doesn’t make any sense.

#5 The rate of homeownership in the United States has just hit a brand new 25 year low.  How can anyone claim that the middle class is “healthy” when the percentage of Americans that own a home is the lowest that it has been in more than two decades?

#6 Back in 2013, 31 percent of all Americans said that they did not anticipate buying a home “for the foreseeable future”.  Just two years later, that number has risen to 41 percent.

#7 The student loan bubble is clearly bursting.  According to Bloomberg, only 37 percent of all student loan borrowers are actually up to date on their payments and reducing their balances…

With borrowers increasingly struggling to repay their student loans, Moody’s Investors Service is warning it may take investors longer than promised to get their money back. The credit grader said this month it may lower rankings on $3 billion of top-rated debt as investors face the threat of slowing principal payments or even receiving no interest.

The concern underscores the fallout from a record $1.2 trillion in U.S. student loans that’s spreading to everything from the housing market and consumer spending to taxpayers. As a sluggish economic recovery forces borrowers to miss payments or tap relief programs, only 37 percent are current and reducing their balances, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York presentation this month.

#8 Procter & Gamble has announced that it will be cutting up to 6,000 more jobs from their payroll.  Why would they be doing this if the economy is “getting better”?

#9 McDonald’s plans to permanently shut down 700 “poorly performing” restaurants over the course of 2015.  Why would they be doing this if the economy is “getting better”?

#10 It is being projected that half of all fracking companies in the United States will be either “dead or sold” by the end of 2015.

#11 Retail sales in the U.S. have not dropped this rapidly since the last recession.

#12 Wholesale sales in the U.S. have not dropped this rapidly since the last recession.

#13 Factory orders in the U.S. have not dropped this rapidly since the last recession.

#14 Credit requests are being declined at a rate that we haven’t seen since the last recession.

#15 U.S. export growth has gone negative for the first time since the last recession.

#16 As the U.S. economy begins to head into another downturn, most Americans are completely unprepared for it.  In fact, one recent survey discovered that 62 percent of all Americans are currently living paycheck to paycheck.

Don’t let this next recession take you by surprise.

Back in 2008 and 2009, millions of Americans suddenly lost their jobs or businesses because of the sharp economic downturn.  Because most of them were living paycheck to paycheck, all of a sudden a whole lot of Americans could not make their mortgage payments and foreclosures surged to unprecedented heights.  Millions of families that thought they were operating on a solid foundation saw their middle class lifestyles evaporate in just a matter of a few months.

That is why it is so vital to prepare yourself financially, mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually for the great storm that is coming ahead of time.  Over the past couple of years, I have been working on a new book entitled “Get Prepared Now” which talks about how to make these preparations.  On Wednesday, it was finally released to the public.  I hope that you will check it out.

The past few years have been a period of relative stability for the U.S. economy.  A lot of people have been lulled into a false sense of security during that time.  These people have become convinced that our problems have been fixed.  But they haven’t been fixed at all.  In fact, our problems are far, far worse than they were just prior to the last financial crisis.

When the next great financial crisis strikes, we are going to see a spike in the suicide rate just like we did during the last one.  Millions will be blindsided by what is coming and will give in to depression and despair.  But that doesn’t have to happen to you.  It is empowering to know what is coming and to understand why it is coming.  It is empowering to get prepared in advance for turbulent times.  It is empowering to have a plan for the years ahead.

Even though I write about all of the horrible things that are coming to this country every day, I live my life with no fear, and that is what I want for all of you as well.

Do you want to know who will be giving in to fear and panic when things start to go really crazy?

It will be the people that had no idea what was coming and made no preparations whatsoever.

Yes, the times ahead are going to be extremely challenging, but they can also be the best times of your life.

It is all going to come down to how you respond to a world that is going completely insane.

The choice is up to you.

 

In Every City In America There Are People Ready To Riot, Loot And Set Things On Fire

Baltimore Riot - YouTube ScreenshotThe city of Baltimore has been transformed into an “absolute war zone“, and the governor of Maryland has declared a state of emergency as the rioting in “Charm City” continues to escalate.  The funeral for Freddie Gray has unleashed a firestorm of violence, and none of it is going to do anyone any good.  To their credit, some of the leaders of the African-American community are standing up and loudly condemning the violence.  They know that smashing cars, throwing rocks at police and looting stores is not going to solve anything.  But just like we saw in Ferguson, there are lots of people out there that are ready to riot, loot and set things on fire at the drop of a hat – all they need is an opportunity.  The social decay that has been eating away at the foundations of our society for generations is now manifesting in some very ugly ways.  We have raised an entire generation of young people in a “value free” environment, and now we are getting to experience some of the consequences of our foolishness.  And what we are witnessing in Baltimore right now is just the start.  Eventually, we are going to see scenes like this all over the nation.

Thanks to social media, the violence that we saw in Baltimore on Monday is being broadcast to the entire planet.  The whole world is getting a really good look at what the decline of America looks like.  The following is how the New York Times described what took place…

Angry youths could be seen surrounding a police cruiser and smashing its windows in what police described as an organized attack by criminals — not demonstrators. Cars were set on fire, and stores’ windows were smashed in. Heavy smoke poured out of a CVS drugstore, which had earlier been overrun by looters. Several other businesses, including a liquor store and a check-cashing shop, were also looted.

You can find some incredible photos of looting in progress right here.  Do those young people believe that they are actually doing something constructive that will make a difference in our society?  Of course not.  They are opportunists that are taking advantage of the chaos to commit crime.

And you know what?  A lot of older African-Americans were absolutely disgusted by what they were seeing.  The following is just one example

Barbara Taylor, 60, has lived in the neighborhood near the store for 15 years. As she spoke, a group of teenagers carrying cases of soda and Arizona Iced Tea walked by. “All I can see is crime,” said Taylor. “The people doing this don’t live around here. They’re kids coming in to our neighborhood and breaking it apart. There is no reason for this.”

Of course the biggest targets on Monday were police officers.  It is becoming extremely dangerous to be a police officer in America today, and this is something that I wrote an entire article about recently.  During the violence on Monday, seven police officers were seriously injured.  At least some of the injured had broken bones, and one was described as being “unresponsive”

“We have seven officers who were injured during the course of this,” said Baltimore Police Capt. Eric Kowalczyk. “They have broken bones, one of them is unresponsive. This is not okay. Our officers went out to that situation to make sure that the people who live in that community were safe and we’re going to continue to do what we can to make sure that those people stay safe.

“It’s a group of lawless individuals,” Kowalczyk said of the rioters. “What we know is that they are a group of criminals with no regard for the people in the community.”

Later on Monday, we found out that a total of 15 police officers had received some sort of injury during the course of the day.  To say that the streets of Baltimore have become a “war zone” is not an overstatement in the least.

This is what America is becoming, and this is only just the beginning.  As I mentioned yesterday, I went on the record publicly regarding my belief that civil unrest was coming specifically to Baltimore during a speech I gave on the evening of April 11th.  That was about a week before Freddie Gray died.  But little did I know that it would start happening before the end of the month.  The following are some tweets that contain scenes from the violence that we witnessed on Monday…

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Make sure to watch that last video.  It shows a man literally being dragged out of his store and ruthlessly beaten by a gang of young thugs.  Because of the decisions that we have made as a society, this is what the future of our country is going to look like.  This is something that I have been warning about for years, and now it is here.

So let us mourn for America, because the nation that so many of us love is slipping away a little bit more every single day.

Why Is JP Morgan Accumulating The Biggest Stockpile Of Physical Silver In History?

Silver Bars - Public DomainWhy in the world has JP Morgan accumulated more than 55 million ounces of physical silver?  Since early 2012, JP Morgan’s stockpile has grown from less than 5 million ounces of physical silver to more than 55 million ounces of physical silver.  Clearly, someone over at JP Morgan is convinced that physical silver is a great investment.  But in recent times, the price of silver has actually fallen quite a bit.  As I write this, it is sitting at the ridiculously low price of $15.66 an ounce.  So up to this point, JP Morgan’s investment in silver has definitely not paid off.  But it will pay off in a big way if we will soon be entering a time of great financial turmoil.

During a time of crisis, investors tend to flood into physical gold and silver.  And as I mentioned just recently, JPMorgan Chase chairman and CEO Jamie Dimon recently stated that “there will be another crisis” in a letter to shareholders…

Some things never change — there will be another crisis, and its impact will be felt by the financial market.

The trigger to the next crisis will not be the same as the trigger to the last one – but there will be another crisis. Triggering events could be geopolitical (the 1973 Middle East crisis), a recession where the Fed rapidly increases interest rates (the 1980-1982 recession), a commodities price collapse (oil in the late 1980s), the commercial real estate crisis (in the early 1990s), the Asian crisis (in 1997), so-called “bubbles” (the 2000 Internet bubble and the 2008 mortgage/housing bubble), etc. While the past crises had different roots (you could spend a lot of time arguing the degree to which geopolitical, economic or purely financial factors caused each crisis), they generally had a strong effect across the financial markets

And Dimon is apparently putting his money where his mouth is.

If Dimon believes that another great crisis is coming, then it would make logical sense to stockpile huge amounts of precious metals.  And in particular, silver is a tremendous bargain for a variety of reasons.  Personally, I like gold, but I absolutely love silver – especially at the price it is at right now.

Over the past few years, JP Morgan has been voraciously buying up physical silver.  Nobody has ever seen anything quite like this ever before.  In fact, JP Morgan has added more than 8 million ounces of physical silver during the past couple of weeks alone.  The following is an extended excerpt from a recent article by Mac Slavo

*****

According to a detailed report from The Wealth Watchman JP Morgan Chase has been amassing a huge stockpile of physical silver, presumably in anticipation of a major liquidity event.

They’re baaaaack. Yes, “old faithful” is back at it again!

Of course, they never really left silver, and have been rigging it non-stop in the futures market, but for awhile there, there were at least no admissions of newly-stacked silver being made in their Comex warehousing facilities.

Yet, after a 16 month period of “dormancy” within their Comex warehouse vaults, these guys have returned with a vengeance.

In fact, our old buddies at JP Morgan Chase, not only see value in silver here, but they’re currently standing for delivery in their own house account in such strong numbers, that it commands our attention.  Let me show you what I mean.

Here’s a breakdown of the Comex’s most recent silver deliveries to JP Morgan:

April 7th: 1,110,000 ounces

April 8th: 1,280,000 ounces

April 9th:  893,037 ounces

April 10th: 1,200,224 ounces

April 14th: 1,073,000 ounces

April 15th: 1,191,275 ounces

April 16th: 1,183,777.295 ounces

This is a huge bout of deliveries in such a short space of time. In fact, within the realm of Comex world, it’s such an exceptionally large amount, that it even creates quite a spike on the long-term chart of JP Morgan’s vault stockpile:

JP Morgan Silver

All in all, JP Morgan has added over 8.3 million ounces of additional silver in just the past 2 weeks alone.

 Full report at The Wealth Watchman (via Steve Quayle and Realist News)

*****

So why is JP Morgan doing this?

Do they know something that the rest of us do not?

Meanwhile, JP Morgan Chase has made another very curious move as well.  It is being reported that the bank is “restricting the use of cash” in some markets, and has even gone so far as to “prohibit the storage of cash in safe deposit boxes”…

What is a surprise is how little notice the rollout of Chase’s new policy has received.  As of March, Chase began restricting the use of cash in selected markets, including  Greater Cleveland.  The new policy restricts borrowers from using cash to make payments on credit cards, mortgages, equity lines, and  auto loans.  Chase even goes as far as to prohibit the storage of cash in its safe deposit boxes .  In a letter to its customers dated April 1, 2015 pertaining to its “Updated Safe Deposit Box Lease Agreement,”  one of the highlighted items reads:  “You agree not to store any cash or coins other than those found to have a collectible value.”  Whether or not this pertains to gold and silver coins with no numismatic value is not explained.

What in the world is that all about?

Why is JP Morgan suddenly so negative about cash?

I think that there is a whole lot more going on behind the scenes than we are being told.

JP Morgan Chase is the largest of the six “too big to fail” banks in the United States.  The total amount of assets that JP Morgan Chase controls is roughly equal to the GDP of the entire British economy.  This is an institution that is immensely powerful and that has very deep ties to the U.S. government.

Could it be possible that JP Morgan Chase is anticipating another great economic crisis?

We are definitely due for one.  Just consider the following chart from Zero Hedge.  It postulates that our financial system is ready for another “7.5 year itch”…

7.5 Year Itch

JP Morgan certainly seems to be preparing for a worst case scenario.

What about you?

Are you getting ready for what is coming?

Guess What Happened The Last Two Times The S&P 500 Was Up More Than 200% In Six Years?

Question Ball - Public DomainJust a few days ago, the bull market for the S&P 500 turned six years old.  This six year period of time has been great for investors, but what comes next?  On March 9th, 2009 the S&P 500 hit a low of 676.53.  Since that day, it has risen more than 200 percent.  As you will see below, there are only two other times within the last 100 years when the S&P 500 performed this well over a six year time frame.  In both instances, the end result was utter disaster. And as you take in this information, I want you to keep in mind what I said in my previous article entitled “7 Signs That A Stock Market Peak Is Happening Right Now“.  What we are witnessing at this moment is classic “peaking behavior”, and there is a long way to go down from here.  So if historical patterns hold up, those with lots of money in the stock market could soon be in for a whole lot of trouble.

According to Societe Generale analyst Andrew Lapthorne, there was an S&P 500 bull market run of more than 200 percent over a six year time period that ended in 1929.

We all know what happened that year.

And there was another S&P 500 bull market run of more than 200 percent over a six year time period that ended in 1999.  In the end, all of those gains were wiped out when the dotcom bubble burst.

And now we are near the end of another great bull market for the S&P 500.  The following is an excerpt from a recent Business Insider article

“Such a strong six year run up in US equities has only been seen twice since 1900, i.e., back in 1929 and 1999, neither of which ended well,” Lapthorne wrote.

It’s anyone’s guess what happens next. But Lapthorne and his colleagues have slanted bearish.

Best Six Year Performance

So how will this current bull market end?

Needless to say, a lot of people are not very optimistic about that right now.

And there was another very interesting bull market that ended in 1987

On Aug. 12, the S&P 500 dipped to 102.42, setting the stage for the third-biggest bull market in stocks since 1929. Inflation and unemployment fell. In 1984, President Reagan would cruise to reelection with an ad telling voters “It’s morning again in America.” By 1987, the stock market had tripled. Shareholders who were able to see beyond the gloom of the early 1980s reaped a huge return.

Of course a lot of those huge stock market returns were eliminated in a single day.  On October 19th, 1987 the Dow declined by more than 22 percent during a single trading session.  That day is still known as “Black Monday” up to this present time.

Markets tend to go down a lot faster than they go up.  So if your stock portfolio has gone up substantially over the past few years, good for you.  But keep in mind that all of your gains can be wiped out very rapidly.  Millions of people experienced this during the last financial crisis, and millions more will experience this during the next one.

And as I keep reminding people, so many of the exact same patterns that we witnessed just prior to the last great stock market collapse are happening once again.

For example, just yesterday I explained that there has been only one other time over the past decade when we have seen the U.S. dollar surge in value in such a short period of time.

That was in 2008, just prior to the last financial crisis.

Another example is what has happened to the price of oil.  Since the middle of last year, the price of oil has fallen by more than 50 dollars a barrel.

In all of history, that has happened only one other time.

That was in 2008, just prior to the last financial crisis.

I could go on and on.  I could talk about margin debt, price/earnings ratios, industrial commodities, etc.

But you know what?  Despite all of the warning signs there are still people out there that are eagerly pouring money into the stock market.

Back in 2005 and 2006, I knew people that were hurrying to buy homes before they got “priced out of the market”.  So they did everything that they could to scrape together down payments and they took on mortgages that were larger than they could really afford.

And in the end they got burned.

Today, people are doing similar things.  For instance, my friend Bob recently sent me an article that I could hardly believe.  It turns out that an “expert” on CNBC is encouraging people “to take out a 7 year loan with a rapidly amortizing asset as collateral in order to buy stocks.”

Yikes!

Let me be clear.  The really, really, really dumb money is jumping into the stock market right now.  Those that are pouring money into stocks today are really going to get hit hard when the crash comes.

And it isn’t just me saying this.

Just consider the words of billionaire hedge fund manager Crispin Odey

Mr Odey is best known for his big macroeconomic calls, including foreseeing the 2008 global credit crisis; piling into insurers in the wake of September 2001 attacks; and picking the recent oil price rout. He famously paid himself £28 million in 2008 after shorting credit crisis casualties, including British lender Bradford & Bingley. Mr Odey’s fund returned 54.8 per cent that year.

“The market’s reaction to all of this is leave it to the professionals, leave it to those great guys, the central bankers, because they saved the day in 2009,” he said. “These guys are kind of relying on central banks pulling a rabbit out of a hat.”

The risk is that this time, monetary policy may be ineffective: “We need the crisis to reformulate policy. Central banks are not all singing and all dancing, they cannot basically avoid the natural consequences of what we are doing.”

An inadequate supply-side response to the plunge in commodity prices as the resources industry declines to reduce production was in effect stimulating supply into falling demand.

“The trouble is today the players, whether they are the miners or the oil companies or the Saudis or anybody else, they are not doing the right things. This is the first time in my career where economics 101 doesn’t work at all.”

But it was also true that the world has not had a major recession for 25 years and thanks to frequent interventions, “there is a sensation we don’t have a business cycle”. Stocks are enjoying a six-year bull market but he also hinted at liquidity issues bubbling under the surface.

I just think that you and I have got grandstand seats here [to an imminent market shock] and my point is having found myself in the second quarter of last year selling a lot of equities and starting to go short, I found out just how illiquid it all was. You never actually see it until people try and get out of these things.”

It was unclear to Mr Odey what central banks could do to prevent a crash.

The warning signs are clear.

Soon the time for warning will be over and the crisis will be here.

I hope that you are getting ready.

Feds Hold Hearing On Whether They Should ‘Regulate’ Sites Like Drudge, Infowars And The Economic Collapse Blog

Big Brother Is Watching - Public DomainThe control freaks that run our government always seem to want to “regulate” things that they do not like.  And so it should be no surprise that there is a renewed push to regulate independent news websites.  Sites like the Drudge Report, Infowars.com and The Economic Collapse Blog have been a thorn in the side of the establishment for years.  You see, the truth is that approximately 90 percent of all news and entertainment in this country is controlled by just six giant media corporations.  That is why the news seems to be so similar no matter where you turn.  But in recent years the alternative media has exploded in popularity.  People are hungry for the truth, and an increasing number of Americans are waking up to the fact that they are not getting the truth from the corporate-controlled media.  But as the alternative media has grown, it was only going to be a matter of time before the establishment started cracking down on it.  At the moment it is just the FEC and the FCC, but surely this is just the beginning.  Our “Big Brother” government ultimately wants to control every area of our lives – and this especially applies to our ability to communicate freely with one another.

The Federal Election Commission is an example of a federal rule making body that has gotten wildly out of control.  Since just about anything that anyone says or does could potentially “influence an election”, it is not difficult for them to come up with excuses to regulate things that they do not like.

And on Wednesday, the FEC held a hearing on whether or not they should regulate political speech on blogs, websites and YouTube videos…

The Federal Election Commission (FEC) is holding a hearing today to receive public feedback on whether it should create new rules regulating political speech, including political speech on the Internet that one commissioner warned could affect blogs, YouTube videos and even websites like the Drudge Report.

If you do not think that this could ever happen, you should consider what almost happened at the FEC last October

In October, then FEC Vice Chairwoman Ann M. Ravel promised that she would renew a push to regulate online political speech following a deadlocked commission vote that would have subjected political videos and blog posts to the reporting and disclosure requirements placed on political advertisers who broadcast on television. On Wednesday, she will begin to make good on that promise.

“Some of my colleagues seem to believe that the same political message that would require disclosure if run on television should be categorically exempt from the same requirements when placed in the Internet alone,” Ravel said in an October statement. “As a matter of policy, this simply does not make sense.”

“In the past, the Commission has specifically exempted certain types of Internet communications from campaign finance regulations,” she lamented. “In doing so, the Commission turned a blind eye to the Internet’s growing force in the political arena.”

As our nation continues to drift toward totalitarianism, it is only a matter of time before political speech on the Internet is regulated.  It is already happening in other countries all around the globe, and control freak politicians such as Ravel will just keep pushing until they get what they want.

The way that they are spinning it this time around is that they desperately need to do something “about money in politics”

Noting the 32,000 public comments that came into the FEC in advance of the hearing, Democratic Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub said, “75 percent thought that we need to do more about money in politics, particularly in the area of disclosure. And I think that’s something that we can’t ignore.”

And it isn’t just a few control freak Democrats that want these changes.

The Brennan Center for Justice, the Campaign Legal Center, the League of Women Voters and Public Citizen were all expected to testify in favor of more government regulation on the Internet at the hearing.

Fortunately, other organizations are doing what they can to warn the general population.  For example, the following comes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation

Increased regulation of online speech is not only likely to chill participation in the public debate, but it may also threaten individual speakers’ privacy and right to post anonymously.  In so doing, it may undermine two goals of campaign finance reform: protecting freedom of political speech and expanding political participation.

As we stated in our joint comments to the FEC back in 2005 [pdf], “the Internet provides a counter-balance to the undue dominance that ‘big money’ has increasingly wielded over the political process in the past half-century.” We believe that heightened regulation of online political speech will hamper the Internet’s ability to level the playing field.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama and the FCC are using net neutrality as an excuse to impose lots of new regulations on Internet activity.

Ajit Pai is an FCC commissioner who is opposed to this plan.  He recently sent out a tweet holding what he calls “President Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet“…

Ajit Pai’s description of “President Obama’s 332-page plan to regulate the Internet” sounds Orwellian. He tweeted a picture of himself holding the 332-page plan just below a picture of a smiling Barack Obama with a comment, “I wish the public could see what’s inside.” The implication depicted Obama as George Orwell’s “Big Brother.”

Pai also released a statement: “President Obama’s plan marks a monumental shift toward government control of the Internet. It gives the FCC the power to micromanage virtually every aspect of how the Internet works,” he said. “The plan explicitly opens the door to billions of dollars in new taxes on broadband… These new taxes will mean higher prices for consumers and more hidden fees that they have to pay.”

Here is the photo that he posted with his tweet…

President Obama's 332-page plan to regulate the Internet

After what we went through with Obamacare, one can only imagine what is inside that monstrosity of a document.

Regulation of the Internet is here, and it is only going to get worse.

But at least we are not like Saudi Arabia just yet.  Recently, a Saudi blogger was sentenced to 1,000 lashes for “insulting Islam“.

So we should be thankful for the freedoms that we still have.  But without a doubt, governments all over the world are slowly but surely cracking down on Internet freedom.

If we do not stand up for our rights now, one day we may wake up and find that our freedom to communicate with one another over the Internet is totally gone.

The Next War In The Middle East Has Begun And Israel Vows ‘To Act Powerfully On All Fronts’

Israeli Tank - Israel Defense ForcesIsrael and Hezbollah are at war.  On top of everything else that is going on in the world, now we have a new war in the Middle East, and nobody is quite certain what is going to happen next.  Israel has been preparing for this moment for more than 8 years.  So has Hezbollah.  According to some reports, Hezbollah has amassed an arsenal of 50,000 rockets since the end of the Hezbollah-Israel war in 2006.  If all-out warfare does erupt, we could potentially see tens of thousands of missiles rain down into an area not too much larger than the state of New Jersey.  And of course the Israeli military is also much more sophisticated and much more powerful than it was back in 2006.  If cooler heads do not prevail, we could be on the verge of witnessing a very bloody war.  But right now nobody seems to be in the mood to back down.  Hezbollah is absolutely fuming over an airstrike earlier this month that killed six fighters and a prominent Iranian general.  And Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says that Israel is “prepared to act powerfully on all fronts” in response to a Hezbollah ambush that killed two Israeli soldiers and wounded seven.  Just such an incident is what sparked the war between the two sides back in 2006.  But this time, a conflict between Israel and Hezbollah could spark a full-blown regional war.

Earlier this month, Israel launched a surprise assault against a group of Hezbollah fighters that Israel believed was planning to conduct terror attacks inside their borders.

But in addition to killing six Hezbollah fighters, a very important Iranian general was also killed.  Needless to say, Iran is furious

Iran has told the United States that Israel should expect consequences for an attack on the Syrian-controlled Golan Heights that killed an Iranian general, a senior official said on Tuesday.

Revolutionary Guards General Mohammad Ali Allahdadi died alongside six fighters from Lebanon’s Hezbollah group in the January 18 attack on forces supporting President Bashar al-Assad in Syria’s civil war.

And we didn’t have to wait too long for a response.  An IDF convoy was hit by anti-tank missiles near the Lebanon border.  Two Israeli soldiers were killed and seven were wounded.  The following is how the Jerusalem Post described the attack.

The terrorists launched five or six anti-tank missiles from a distance of at least four kilometers from their targets, striking the vehicles as they drove two kilometers from the international border.

In the heavy Hezbollah ambush, a military D-Max vehicle containing a company commander and his driver from the Givati Brigade was the first vehicle hit.

This prompted all of those inside an IDF jeep behind it to quickly evacuate their vehicle before it, too, was hit and destroyed with missiles.

Just over an hour after that attack, mortar rounds struck an Israeli military position on Mt. Hermon.

In response to those strikes, the Israeli military hit back at Hezbollah positions on the other side of the Lebanese border…

Israel struck back with combined aerial and ground strikes on Hezbollah operational positions along the border, the military said.

At least 50 artillery shells were fired at the villages of Majidiyeh, Abbasiyeh and Kfar Chouba, according to Lebanese officials.

But Israel is probably not done.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is promising a “disproportionate” response to the Hezbollah attacks, and he says that Hezbollah should consider what Israel recently did to Hamas before taking any more aggressive action…

“To all those trying to challenge us on the northern border, I suggest looking at what happened here, not far from the city of Sderot, in the Gaza strip.  Hamas absorbed the hardest blow since it was founded last summer, and the IDF is ready to act with force on any front.”

If things continue to escalate, we might not just be talking about another Hezbollah-Israel war.

In the south, tensions between Israel and Hamas remain near all-time highs.  In the event of a full-blown war, Hamas probably could be easily convinced to join the fray.  And if Hamas jumps in, the rest of the Palestinians might not be far behind.

In addition, ISIS now has territory near the border with Israel

Because of the strategic importance of the terrain, Iran and Hezbollah have been building infrastructure there for some time.  But their interest in the Golan skyrocketed in December.

The reason: ISIS gained a foothold there when the Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade of the Free Syrian Army “defected” from the de facto alliance with the U.S.-Arab coalition against Assad, and declared its allegiance to ISIS.  The Yarmouk Martyrs Brigade had been one of the most active rebel factions holding territory directly adjacent to the “area of separation” between Syria and Israel administered (in theory) by the UN.  In particular, it has held the southern line of confrontation with Syrian regime forces, in the transit corridor leading to the Quneitra border crossing.

Needless to say, ISIS would be extremely interested in any conflict with Israel.

And of course there are all of the other surrounding Islamic nations that are not too fond of Israel either.

The truth is that the Middle East is a perpetual tinderbox.  One spark could set the entire region on fire.

Meanwhile, Barack Obama continues to do all that he can to undermine Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The animosity between the two is well known, and now an “Obama army” of political operatives has been sent to Israel to help defeat Netanyahu in the upcoming elections.

The “leader” of this “Obama army” is Jeremy Bird, who was the national field director for Barack Obama’s 2012 presidential campaign.  But he has plenty of company.  Just check out the following list that was compiled by WND

—–

Besides Bird, the 270 Strategies team includes the following former Obama staffers:

  • Mitch Steward, a 270 Strategies founding partner who helped the Obama campaign build what the U.K. Guardian called “a historic ground operation that will provide the model for political campaigns in America and around the world for years to come.”
  • Mark Beatty, a founding partner who served as deputy battleground states director for the Obama campaign. He had primary responsibility for Obama’s election plans for the battleground states.
  • Marlon Marshall, a founding partner at 270 Strategies who joins the team after holding several key positions in national Democratic politics, most recently as deputy national field director for the 2012 Obama campaign.
  • Betsy Hoover, a founding partner who served as director of digital organizing on the Obama campaign.
  • Meg Ansara, who served as national regional director for Obama for America where she was responsible for overseeing the 2012 programs in the Midwest and southern states.
  • Bridget Halligan, who served as the engagement program manager on the digital team of the 2012 Obama campaign.
  • Kate Catherall, who served as Florida deputy field director for Obama’s re-election campaign.
  • Alex Lofton, who most recently served as the GOTV director of Cleveland, Ohio, for the 2012 Obama campaign.
  • Martha Patzer, the firm’s vice president who served as deputy email director at Obama for America.
  • Jesse Boateng, who served as the Florida voter registration director for Obama’s re-election campaign.
  • Ashley Bryant, who served most recently as the Ohio digital director for the 2012 Obama campaign.
  • Max Clermont, who formerly served as a regional field director in Florida for Obama’s re-election campaign.
  • Max Wood, who served as a deputy data director in Florida for the 2012 Obama campaign.

—–

As the first month of 2015 wraps up, our world is becoming increasingly unstable.

In addition to the oil crash, the collapse of the euro, looming stock market troubles, civil war in Ukraine, tensions with Russia, an economic slowdown in China and imploding economies all over South America, now we have more war in the Middle East.

And if lots of missiles start flying back and forth between Israel and Hezbollah, it could potentially spark the bloodiest war in that region that any of us have ever seen.

So what do you think about the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah?  Please feel free to share your thoughts by posting a comment below…

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