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26 Incredible Facts About The Economy That Every American Should Know For The Trump-Clinton Debate

donald-trump-hillary-clinton-debate-photo-by-vectoropenstockAre you ready for the most anticipated presidential debate in decades?  It is being projected that Monday’s debate between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton could potentially break the all-time record of 80 million viewers that watched Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter debate back in 1980.  Many Americans probably hope to see some personal fireworks between the two nominees, but the two candidates have both expressed a desire to focus on substantive issues.  There will likely be quite a few questions about the economy, and without a doubt this is an area where Trump and Clinton have some very sharp differences.  The mainstream media would have us believe that the U.S. economy is in pretty good shape, and if that was true that would seem to favor Clinton.  But is it actually true?  The following are 26 incredible facts about the economy that every American should know for the Trump-Clinton debate…

#1 When Barack Obama entered the White House, the U.S. government was 10.6 trillion dollars in debt.  Today, the U.S. government is 19.5 trillion dollars in debt, and Obama still has several months to go until the end of his second term.  That means that an average of more than 1.1 trillion dollars a year will be added to the national debt during his presidency.  We are stealing a tremendous amount of consumption from the future to make the economy look much, much better than it otherwise would be, and we are systematically destroying the future in the process.

#2 As Obama prepares to leave office, the rate at which we are adding to the national debt is actually increasing.  During the fiscal year that is just ending, the U.S. government has added another 1.36 trillion dollars to the national debt.

#3 It isn’t just the federal government that is on a massive debt binge.  Total U.S. corporate debt has nearly doubled since the end of 2007.

#4 Default rates on U.S. corporate debt are the highest that they have been since the last financial crisis.

#5 Corporate profits have fallen for five quarters in a row, and it is being projected that it will be six in a row once the final numbers for the third quarter come in.

#6 During the month of August, commercial bankruptcy filings were up 29 percent compared to the same period a year ago.

#7 The rate of new business formation in the United States dropped dramatically during the last recession and has hovered at that new lower level ever since.

#8 The Wall Street Journal says that this is the weakest “economic recovery” since 1949.

#9 Barack Obama is on track to be the only president in all of U.S. history to never have a single year when the U.S. economy grew by at least 3 percent.

#10 In August, the Cass Freight Index dipped to the lowest level that we have seen for that month since 2010.  What this means is that the total amount of stuff being shipped around the country by air, by rail and by truck is really dropping, and this is a clear sign that real economic activity is slowing down in a major way.

#11 Capital expenditure growth has turned negative, and history has shown that this is almost always followed by a new recession.

#12 The percentage of Americans with a full-time job has been sitting at about 48 percent since 2010.  You have to go back to 1983 to find a time when full-time employment in this country was so low.

#13 The labor force participation rate peaked back in 1997 and has been steadily falling ever since.

#14 The “inactivity rate” for men in their prime working years is actually higher today than it was during the last recession.

#15 The United States has lost more than five million manufacturing jobs since the year 2000 even though our population has become much larger over that time frame.

#16 If you can believe it, the total number of government employees now outnumbers the total number of manufacturing employees in the United States by almost 10 million.

#17 One study found that median incomes have fallen in more than 80 percent of the major metropolitan areas in this country since the year 2000.

#18 According to the Social Security Administration, 51 percent of all American workers make less than $30,000 a year.

#19 The rate of homeownership in the U.S. has fallen every single year while Barack Obama has been in the White House.

#20 Approximately one out of every five young adults are currently living with their parents.

#21 The auto loan debt bubble recently surpassed the one trillion dollar mark for the first time ever.

#22 Auto loan delinquencies are at the highest level that we have seen since the last recession.

#23 In 1971, 61 percent of all Americans were considered to be “middle class”, but now middle class Americans have actually become a minority in this nation.

#24 One recent survey discovered that 62 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.

#25 According to the Federal Reserve, 47 percent of all Americans could not even pay an unexpected $400 emergency room bill without borrowing the money from somewhere or selling something.

#26 The number of New Yorkers sleeping in homeless shelters just set a brand new record high, and the number of families permanently living in homeless shelters is up a whopping 60 percent over the past five years.

Despite all of the facts that you just read, the truth is that there is one particular group of people that have been doing quite well during the Obama years.  I really like how Charles Hugh Smith made this point in one of his recent articles

The top 5% of households that dominate government, Corporate America, finance, the Deep State and the media have been doing extraordinarily well during the past eight years of stock market bubble (oops, I mean boom) and “recovery,” and so they report that the economy is doing splendidly because they’ve done splendidly.

By recklessly creating money out of thin air and pumping it into the financial markets, the Federal Reserve has greatly enriched the elite, but they have also dramatically increased the gap between the very wealthy and the rest of us.  Since he has been in the White House during this time, Barack Obama has gotten the credit for this temporary stock market bubble, and most of the elite love Obama anyway.

But in the process the stage has been set for the greatest economic and financial implosion in U.S. history, and the pain that is coming is going to affect every man, woman and child in this country.

During the debate, Trump and Clinton will talk a lot about tinkering with tax rates and regulations, but those measures are essentially going to be meaningless when compared to the massive economic tsunami that is coming.  The next president is going to inherit the biggest economic problems that this nation has ever faced, and it is going to take a miracle of Biblical proportions to turn the U.S. economy in the right direction.

What Is Going On In Charlotte Is Far More Important Than Brad Pitt And Angelina Jolie’s Divorce

brad-pitt-and-angelina-jolie-photo-by-georges-biardWhile one of America’s largest cities is being ripped in two, most Americans appear to be far more interested in the drama surrounding Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie’s divorce.  As Charlotte braces for a third night of rioting and violence, the mainstream media is full of headlines such as “Welp, the Jolie-Pitt Divorce Got Real Depressing Real Fast” and “Even the Dalai Lama has something to say about Brangelina’s divorce“.  Yes, the “Brangelina divorce” is an important cultural moment that illustrates our ongoing moral and social decay, but what is going on in Charlotte is far more important.  Trust in our most important institutions is deeply broken, and Americans are increasingly choosing chaos and violence over peaceful discourse.  For a very long time I have been warning that these kinds of riots were coming, and the thin veneer of civilization that we all take for granted every day is starting to rapidly disappear.

There had been hope that things would settle down after the first couple of nights of chaos in Charlotte, but as I write this article protesters have already massed downtown despite a midnight curfew imposed by Mayor Jennifer Roberts…

Demonstrators chanted “release the tape” while briefly blocking an intersection near Bank of America headquarters in the heart of the city’s business district. They then continued marching as police officers watched. Members of the National Guard carrying rifles were also deployed in front of office buildings to head off another night of violence in this city on edge.

Mayor Jennifer Roberts has signed a curfew order from midnight until 6 a.m., despite Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Chief Kerr Putney saying he saw no need for a curfew.

Personally, I can definitely understand why a curfew was imposed.  Nobody should want to see a repeat of the senseless violence of the past two nights.  At one point on Wednesday night, enraged protesters actually attempted to toss a news photographer into a roaring fire

Among the many reports of violence from the Charlotte, North Carolina unrest Wednesday night was one particular shocking example: rioters tried to throw a news photographer into a burning fire.

Local CW affiliate WCCB was on the scene and tweeted out images of the fire and their initial report.

If you are protesting for justice, you sure aren’t going to get it by trying to burn people alive.  I don’t know how anyone out there can possibly justify the kinds of things that we have been seeing in Charlotte.

In addition to trying to throw an innocent photographer into a fire, the “protesters” have also engaged in other forms of violence that are extremely alarming.  The following summary originally comes from Paul Joseph Watson

  • Stealing and looting cash registers from local businesses is not a legitimate form of protest
  • A “protester” shooting another “protester” is not a legitimate form of protest.
  • Physically attacking reporters is not a legitimate form of protest.
  • Throwing rocks off bridges at passing vehicles full of families is not a legitimate form of protest
  • Beating up innocent people in parking lots because they’re white is not a legitimate form of protest.
  • Smashing up apartment windows where black people live to “protest” in favor of ‘Black Lives Matter’ is not a legitimate form of protest.
  • Trashing your own neighborhood is not a legitimate form of protest.
  • Looting the Charlotte Hornets team store so you can steal basketball merchandise is not a legitimate form of protest
  • Attempting to hijack cars and terrify their innocent occupants is not a legitimate form of protest.

These sorts of things are not supposed to happen in Charlotte.

We have already seen major rioting in impoverished cities such as Baltimore, Ferguson, Milwaukee and Baton Rouge.  But Charlotte is supposed to be different.  Over the past decade, Charlotte has been one of the more prosperous major cities in America.  Just check out this excerpt from an NBC News editorial

Charlotte isn’t a crumbling urban ghetto. Charlotte is the place you move when you want sunshine, and a shiny new house in a sparkling new subdivision. Charlotte is a prosperous city where you not only can get a job in the bustling and very clean Uptown area, but that job affords you wonderful weekend getaways to a cozy cabin in the Appalachian mountains but an hour away, or to the sandy shores of the Atlantic, also an easy drive from the Queen City. Charlotte is a magnet for the young and old alike and it’s growth is the envy of not a few urban mayors.

It matters that Charlotte has been celebrated by U.S. News and World Reports as one of the best places to live in the entire nation. It filled Charlotte’s residents with pride when other media outlets heralded their city as one of the very best places to raise a family in the entire state of North Carolina.

If rioting like this could happen in Charlotte, then it could happen just about anywhere.

Now is a time when we need to forgive, come together and learn to work with one another again.  I really like what Donald Trump had to say about this…

We all have to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes and see things through their eyes, and then get to work fixing our very wounded country,” Trump said.

Pointing to the violent protests over a police-involved shooting in Charlotte, N.C., Trump said, “Our country looks bad to the world, especially when we are supposed to be the world’s leader. How can we lead when we can’t even control our own cities?” he asked.

Unfortunately, there aren’t a lot of calls for love and forgiveness.

Instead, most of the discussion is focused on anger, hatred, strife and discord.

A house divided cannot stand, and America is more divided today than I have ever seen it in my entire lifetime.

As I stated yesterday, a lot more chaos and violence are coming.  As a society we have been going down the wrong road for decades, and now we are reaping a very bitter harvest.

Creepy Clown Sightings Sweep The Nation As The Threats Of Violence Become Even More Chilling

creepy-clown-posted-by-jamie-hill-on-facebookAll over America sick and twisted people are dressing up like creepy clowns in order to frighten the living daylights out of others.  This trend started back in August, and since then social media has helped it spread like wildfire.  So far there have been creepy clown sightings in 11 different states, and Mississippi and Kentucky have been added to the list since my last article.  A lot of young kids seem to think that this is a great idea for a “prank”, but authorities are taking the creepy clown phenomenon very, very seriously because in recent days the threats of violence have become much more chilling.  Individuals posing as “creepy clowns” on social media are openly naming specific schools that they plan to target and are threatening to commit horrific acts of violence.  That may sound like an interesting plot for a Hollywood horror movie, but in real life these kinds of threats have very serious consequences.

On Monday, several schools in Alabama were placed on lockdown due to threats from a group known as “Flomo Klown”

A number of Alabama schools were on lockdown on Monday after a series of Facebook posts from users posing as clowns threatened local children with violence.

Posts on the group ‘Flomo Klown’ warned that clowns may show up at two schools in the Birmingham area and one student alerted local police.

Fortunately, authorities were able to identify the people that were making those threats.  The police discovered that two juveniles and one adult were involved, and so far one arrest has been made in the case.

But that isn’t the only example of “creepy clowns” threatening to commit violence at schools.  A short-lived Facebook account under the name of “Bingerman Clownferd” issued a profanity-laced warning to five specific schools in the Montgomery, Alabama area on September 17th.  The following comes from a local Montgomery news report

A newly created Facebook account named Bingerman Clownferd began posting about visiting Montgomery schools last week. This weekend, Clownferd caused a stir on social media with a post listing which Montgomery schools would be visited:

bingerman-clownferd-from-facebook

The posts include vulgar language and threats of violence and began the day after Flomaton Police Department arrested two juveniles and an adult for a similar threat that caused a soft lockdown at Flomaton schools.

“I’m the southlawn clown I saw all of you all today at school I watched y’all walk home ik who y’all are if I don’t get u tonight it will be monday (sic),” Clownferd posted on Sept. 16.

As I stated above, law enforcement authorities are taking these threats very seriously.  And considering the terror attacks that we just witnessed in New York, New Jersey and Minnesota, they would be foolish not to do so.

Elsewhere in Alabama, security was tightened at a middle school in Calhoun County because someone on Facebook threatened to come to the school and “start shooting”

Extra deputies patrolled Saks Middle School in Calhoun County after someone threatened on Facebook to start shooting at the school. A 16-year-old Pleasant Valley resident was arrested and charged with terrorist threats. Since the suspect is a minor, their name was a not released. Calhoun County Chief Deputy Matthew Wade described the incident as troubling.

“It’s really disturbing in today’s world that people are doing this to scare others,” he said. “We are going to find the people who did this. There are consequences when you make threats.”

In Etowah County, a social media post hinting about a clown visit at Rainbow Middle School and John Jones Elementary caught authorities attention on Sunday. Police presence was increased at the schools on Monday and a Gadsden City High School freshman was questioned by Rainbow City Police about the matter. Chief Jonathon Horton said the department is collaborating with juvenile probation and the Gadsden City School system to figure out how to move forward in the case.

No “prank” should ever involve threats of violence.  Many young people don’t realize this, but anonymous threats of violence can actually get you charged under terrorism laws.  So you may think that what you are doing is quite funny, but it could end up landing you behind bars for an extended period of time.

Some sick individuals have gone beyond threats and are actually terrorizing people in person.  Just check out what happened in Brighton, Alabama on Sunday and Monday

In Brighton, a suspect dressed as a clown jumped out of the bushes and chased two teens down the street on Sunday. The incident happened at 8 p.m. on Huntsville Avenue near King Street.

Authorities said the suspect fled in a white van similar to a Chevrolet Astro Van. Brighton police Chief Ray Hubbart said the children and their parents are still a little terrified. Since the investigation is ongoing, anyone with information is asked to call Brighton police at 205-425-8934.

In another incident, on Monday night an 18-year-old was arrested in West Blocton after jumping in front of a car while wearing a clown mask, according to WBRC.

A similar incident just took place in northwest Georgia, but in this instance the “creepy clown” was actually holding what appeared to be a knife…

The first incident involved a “creepy clown” chasing a couple of kids from a store parking lot back to their home, reports show.

“According to the complainant, a person dressed as a creepy clown and wielding what appeared to be a knife, allegedly chased her 17-year-old daughter and 11-year-old niece from the lot of the Mapco convenience store back to their Fernwood Drive apartment,” officer Mitchell Moore said.

Was it just a prank, or did that “creepy clown” actually intend to do harm to those children?

Fortunately we did not find out, and it was probably just someone trying to pull a “prank”, but if authorities would have caught up with this individual they would have thrown him in jail.

With each passing day, more photos of these “creepy clowns” are being posted on social media websites.  A Facebook user named Jamie Hill just posted a picture of a “creepy clown” that is getting a lot of attention that was taken on the side of the 192 highway in London, Kentucky.  You can view it on Facebook right here

creepy-clown-posted-by-jamie-hill-on-facebook

This is the description that Jamie Hill posted along with the photograph…

So, I was a little scared to post this because I didn’t think anyone would believe me until Kelly Hill told me that one of her friends just had seen a clown here in London. Amy Gunter And I was out tonight & was headed back home on 192 & saw this. Now, it’s not a really good picture because I couldn’t stop, there was people behind me. I seriously think this clown thing has gotten out of hand & someone is going to get hurt. Please share this so people around London will know that they are here!

As I stated in my previous article, dressing up as a “creepy clown” is a quick and easy way for unbalanced individuals to get media attention, and so we are likely to see this trend continue to intensify.  And of course Halloween is quickly approaching, and creepy clown costumes are always popular this time of the year.

But this has long since stopped being funny.  The threats of violence are becoming increasingly disturbing, and it is only a matter of time before someone goes too far and people start getting seriously hurt.  So let us hope that this “trend” fades away soon and people start moving on to other things.

Creepy Clowns Are Terrorizing Children, Parents And Schools All Over America

creepy-clown-posted-by-karen-mann-hicks-on-facebookAn epidemic of creepy clown sightings is sweeping America, and authorities don’t know who or what is behind it.  In some instances, clowns with horrific expressions painted on their faces have been spotted standing on the side of the road, lurking near the edge of the woods or just roaming about town staring at random people.  But in other instances there have been reports of clowns actually attempting to lure children with gifts, and there have even been some reports of children running away from creepy clowns that were chasing after them.  While doing research for this article, I came across recent creepy clown sightings from South Carolina, North Carolina, Ohio, Florida, Wisconsin, California, Alabama, Georgia and West Virginia.  This is truly a nationwide phenomenon, and many believe that it will get even worse as Halloween approaches.

This creepy clown trend appears to have begun with a very disturbing case at an apartment complex in South Carolina

Donna Arnold, one of the people residing at the complex who received the letter, said she called the Greenville County Sheriff’s Office to come out to Fleetwood Manor after her son and others reported seeing clowns behind the basketball court.

“I thought my child was seeing things,” Arnold said. “And then the next day I had about 30 kids come up to me and say, ‘Did you see the clown in the woods?”

Community activist Bruce Wilson said he is getting involved at the apartments to make sure children are safe, even if the sightings turn out to be harmless.

Authorities say that their investigation into this incident found that the clowns were approaching children with the intent “to persuade them into the woods further by displaying large amounts of money“.

At least one child that personally interacted with these clowns testified “that they had candy and they would give it to them if they came there“.

Whether people are dressed as clowns or not, attempting to abduct children in no joke.

Unsurprisingly, this case made national headlines, and at that point it appears that a whole host of copycats started to come out of the woodwork.  The following is how an article in the Week summarized what happened next…

A week later, a boy at an apartment ten miles away reported seeing a man in a clown mask in the woods near his home. Later that night, a boy at an apartment just three miles from Fleetwood Manor reported seeing another clown. That apartment also sits on the edge of a wooded area. There was another local sighting the next day. The following day, a woman told police she saw a clown standing outside a Greenville laundromat, simply staring at her.

By then, the clowns had begun to mobilize. The previous day, a 14-year-old boy in Columbus, Ohio, said that a man wearing a clown mask chased him with a knife while the boy was walking to his school bus stop. Less than a week later, on Sept. 5, two children in Winston-Salem, N.C., claimed a clown was offering candy, as long as they would follow him into the woods. Later that night, a woman in the area claimed that a clown tried to coax her into the woods, except this one was carrying a machete. He wore black gloves and a black tie. The next morning, in the nearby town of Greensboro, a man said he saw a clown in the woods behind his apartment. Yellow polka-dotted shirt, blue pants.

Since that time the creepy clown sightings have not stopped, and one of the most alarming incidents of all just took place in McDuffie County, Georgia

“It was this morning at 6:30 when we were leaving at the house,” said Cameron Frails, who saw the clown.

But as Frails and his neighbor, Hannah Rice, started walking, they noticed something.

“I was standing over there,” said Rice. “And I was like, ‘who’s that guy following Cameron?'”

“We saw a man with all black on, clown mask and a red wig,” said Frails.

They said they saw at least two men dressed in all black coming toward them between two trailers, so they started running.

But that isn’t the only report of these creepy clowns trying to chase down children.  Here is another one from Georgia

According to the police report, the woman said the children told her they were leaving the community center as it was getting dark Monday evening when five people dressed as clowns and wearing masks emerged from a white panel van and began chasing them.

The 48-year-old woman also told police she saw a white panel van slowly driving past her home prior to the supposed incident at the community center around the corner, on McKinley Drive.

A lot of the copycats out there may be doing this sort of thing as a prank, but law enforcement authorities are beginning to take this threat very seriously.

In fact, Time Magazine is reporting that two schools in Alabama “were put on lockdown” on Friday due to threats from a group known as “Flomo Clowns”…

Two southern Alabama schools were put on lockdown Friday because of threatening Facebook messages and emojis posted on the now-deleted page of a group called the ‘Flomo Klowns.’

The sinister Facebook messages said “It’s going down tonight,” followed by revolver emojis, and “I love kids.” A parent also contacted the Flomaton Police Department to say her child had been sent threatening messages by the group.

The entrances to Flomaton High School, which has around 400 students, and Flomaton Elementary School, which has about 300, were locked, as well as internal doors. Local officers and sheriff deputies secured the school grounds and searched the area, AL reports.

I think that this is another example of how sick and twisted our society has become.  There are a lot of unbalanced people out there that get a thrill from spreading terror, and the initial clown stories have inspired them to capitalize on this trend.

If you are able to take a photograph or some video of these creepy clowns, please feel free to contact me.  “Killer clown” costumes are always extremely popular during the Halloween season, and I have a feeling that this wave of terror is only going to intensify as we approach the end of October.

One photograph of a creepy clown that was taken on Simmons River Road near Duhring, West Virginia has gotten a lot of attention on social media.  It was originally posted by Karen Mann Hicks on Facebook, and you can view it right here

creepy-clown-posted-by-karen-mann-hicks-on-facebook

Hopefully this creepy clown craze will soon fade, but it is a quick way for deeply disturbed individuals to “get on the news”, and so it seems likely that there will be even more copycats.

But those that are tempted to dress up like creepy clowns and terrorize children should be aware that police all over the nation are taking this very seriously, and arrests will likely be made at the first sign of trouble.

Desperately Poor Teens In America’s Impoverished Inner Cities Are Trading Sex For Food

sad-girl-public-domainWhen people get hungry enough, they will do just about anything for some food.  According to brand new research that was just released this week from Feeding America and the Urban Institute, there are millions of teenagers in America that live in “food insecure” households, and researchers were stunned to learn what some of these teens are willing to do to feed themselves.  Some resort to shoplifting, others deal drugs, and there were a surprising number of participants in the study that actually admitted to trading sex for food.  It wouldn’t be a shock to hear that these kinds of things are going on in an economically-depressed nation such as Venezuela, but this is the United States of America.  We are supposed to be the wealthiest nation on the entire planet.  Sadly, even while the stock market has been soaring in recent years, poverty in America has been on the rise.  For those on the low end of the economic scale, things have gone from bad to worse since the end of the last recession, and millions of children are deeply suffering as a result.

Let’s start with some of the hard numbers.  The following comes directly from the Urban Institute website

An estimated 6.8 million people ages 10 to 17 are food insecure, meaning they don’t have reliable access to enough affordable, nutritious food. Another 2.9 million are very food insecure, and roughly 4 million live in marginally food secure households, where the threat of running out of food is real.

Food insecurity takes a tremendous toll on teenagers. Poor nutrition—and the stress of hunger and poverty—can jeopardize their physical and mental health and development and their academic success. But despite the gravity and prevalence of teen food insecurity, we know very little about how these young people experience and cope with hunger.

The researchers already knew that lots of young people were hungry in America.  But what surprised them were the lengths that many of these youngsters said that they would go to in order to get food

Some of the youths said they or someone they know — mostly young men — have turned to shoplifting food, selling drugs or stealing items to sell.

The teens also reported knowing young women who have sold their bodies for food or had sex for money so they could buy food for their families.

Going to jail or failing a class in order to have to attend summer school were also some of the lengths teens went to.

Could you imagine your daughter or your granddaughter exchanging her body for food?

For most of us that is absolutely unthinkable, but the truth is that this is taking place on the streets of America every single day.

And this wasn’t just some blind random phone survey.  The researchers conducted personal interviews with focus groups, and what these kids were willing to admit doing was absolutely astounding.  Here is another excerpt directly out of the report

  • When faced with acute food insecurity, teens in all but two of the communities said that youth engage in criminal behavior, ranging from shoplifting food directly to selling drugs and stealing items to resell for cash. These behaviors were most common among young men in communities with the most limited job options.
  • Teens in all 10 communities and in 13 of the 20 focus groups talked about some youth selling sex for money to pay for food. These themes arose most strongly in high-poverty communities where teens also described sexually coercive environments. Sexual exploitation most commonly took the form of transactional dating relationships with older adults.
  • In a few communities, teens talked about going to jail or failing school (so they could attend summer classes and get school lunch) as viable strategies for ensuring regular meals.

Many of these young people understand that what they are doing is wrong.  Just consider what some of them told the researchers

A girl in Portland, Oregon told researchers: “It’s really like selling yourself. Like you’ll do whatever you need to do to get money or eat.”

Another comment from Portland: “You’re not even dating … they’ll be like … ‘I don’t really love him, but I’m going to do what I have to do.’”

Many prefer to rationalise what they are doing as dating of sorts. A boy in rural North Carolina said: “When you’re selling your body, it’s more in disguise. Like if I had sex with you, you have to buy me dinner tonight … that’s how girls deal with the struggle … That’s better than taking money because if they take money, they will be labeled a prostitute.”

When I read the information in this report, I was stunned.  Yes, I write about our economic decline and the rise in poverty all the time, but I didn’t know that things were this bad.

And the researchers were surprised by what they were hearing as well.  One of them said that the fact that girls are trading their bodies for food “was really shocking to me”, and she believes that things are “just getting worse over time”

“I’ve been doing research in low-income communities for a long time, and I’ve written extensively about the experiences of women in high poverty communities and the risk of sexual exploitation, but this was new,” said Susan Popkin, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and lead author of the report, Impossible Choices.

“Even for me, who has been paying attention to this and has heard women tell their stories for a long time, the extent to which we were hearing about food being related to this vulnerability was new and shocking to me, and the level of desperation that it implies was really shocking to me. It’s a situation I think is just getting worse over time.”

But aren’t we being told that things are getting better?

Aren’t we being told that our leaders “fixed” the economy?

Of course the truth is that America is mired in a long-term economic decline that stretches back for decades.  With each passing year the middle class gets smaller as a percentage of the population, and poverty continues to grow.  Last year the middle class became a minority of the population for the first time ever, and a lot of formerly middle class Americans are now among those that aren’t sure that they are going to have enough food to eat this month.

Hunger in America is a major crisis and it is growing.  Just because you may live in a comfortable home in a wealthy neighborhood does not mean that this problem is not real.

Tonight there are millions of Americans that do not know where their next meal is going to come from, and they deserve our love and compassion.

Winds Of War: Is Russia Conducting A Massive Mobilization Of Troops For An Invasion Of Ukraine?

Russian Troops - Public DomainThe drumbeats of war are growing louder.  Fighting in eastern Ukraine between separatists and pro-government forces has risen to an intensity not seen in well over a year, and the Russians claim that they recently foiled a “Ukrainian plot” to conduct terror attacks in Crimea.  As tensions in the region have increased, the Russians have used the cover of “military drills” to move massive amounts of troops and military equipment up to the border with Ukraine.  This is something that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago, but things have intensified since then, and a huge military exercise is planned for September.  Needless to say, the Ukrainians are quite alarmed by this, and Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is warning that a full scale mobilization of the Ukrainian military may be needed.  If something is going to happen, it is likely to happen soon.  As you will see below, once we get into October it will become much less likely that we would see a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

We aren’t hearing much about this conflict in the U.S. media, but over in Europe this is a very big deal.  Just consider the following excerpt from an article in the Independent entitled “Russia is teetering on the brink of ‘all out war’ with Ukraine“…

Ukraine is holding a major military parade in Kiev today to mark its 25th anniversary as an independent state. But, at a time that should otherwise be a moment of national celebration, a serious crisis with Moscow is flaring up. So serious, in fact, that on Tuesday the Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande were forced to hold a three-way phone call to try to de-escalate the situation.

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has even warned that there is growing risk of a “full scale Russian invasion along all fronts,” ratcheting up what is already the bloodiest European conflict since the wars over the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.

And the truth is that Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has some very good reasons to be concerned.  As the Washington Post has pointed out, the Russians have used military exercises as an excuse to stage forces for military action in the past…

As violence in the east heats up, Ukrainian officials have suggested that Russia may use the upcoming military drills, called Kavkaz (Caucasus) 2016, as cover for military action against Ukraine. The drills are the first to integrate the Crimean Peninsula, which was annexed by Russia in 2014, into the country’s military planning, and thousands of Russian troops will be brought in for air, land and sea exercises.

Ukrainian government analysts have recalled that exercises served as staging grounds for troop incursions in 2014, as did Russian military exercises held shortly before the Georgian war of 2008. Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations suggested that Russia may have “bad intentions,” while the West has also said it would like observers to be present.

If there is going to be a Russian invasion of Ukraine in September, Kavkaz 2016 will likely be used as cover for invasion preparations.  It is a yearly exercise, but in 2016 it looks like it will be much bigger than ever before, and some analysts have pointed out that the Russians have not conducted a mobilization on this scale since the invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968.  Here is more on Kavkaz 2016 from the Daily Signal

In September, Russia has plans for a large-scale strategic military exercise called Kavkaz-2016. The exercise, which is an annual event, will include units deployed near the borders of Ukraine, Georgia, and Azerbaijan—including two Russian military districts in the Southern and Northern Caucasus, the Russian Black Sea Fleet (headquartered in occupied Crimea), and the Caspian Flotilla.

It is not immediately clear the exact size of this year’s exercise, but last year it comprised 95,000 troops, 7,000 vehicles, and 150 aircraft, according to a report by IHS Markit, a U.K.-based intelligence and analysis firm.

If the Russians are going to do something, they need to do it soon, because the weather turns very bad during the month of October.  Here is one how one analyst assessed the situation

“But will there be a war – we’ll see, no much time for guessing left… In this situation, the main thing for Russia is to achieve strategic and tactical surprise. And if she does not start now – then it will be too late. One would need to turn off full-scale operations in October because of the rains and the next draft to Russian army (it would mean the demobilization of current wave of conscripts and training the new ones – UT).”

A Russian invasion of Ukraine would mean that Russian relations with the U.S. and with Europe would immediately plunge to Cold War levels.  Of course some would argue that we are already there.  In any event, a Russian invasion would force the U.S. and NATO to make some very uncomfortable decisions.

Would the U.S. and NATO just stand by and do nothing while Ukraine is overrun by the Russians?

Maybe.

But if the U.S. and NATO responded with military force, that would risk a full scale nuclear confrontation with Russia.

Right now, a war with Russia is about the last thing that most Americans are thinking about, but the truth is that we are not that far away from such a scenario.

Over in Russia, the mindset is totally different.  The following is from a Newsweek article entitled “In Europe and Russia, There’s Talk of War“…

Recently, I grabbed a taxi in Moscow. When the driver asked me where I was from, I told him the United States. “I went there once,” he said, “to Chicago. I really liked it.”

“But tell me something,” he added. “When are we going to war?”

The question, put so starkly, so honestly, shocked me. “Well, I hope never,” I replied. “No one wants war.”

At the office, I ask a Russian employee about the mood in his working class Moscow neighborhood. The old people are buying salt, matches and gretchka [buckwheat], he tells me—the time-worn refuge for Russians stocking up on essentials in case of war.

In the past two months, I’ve traveled to the Baltic region, to Georgia, and to Russia. Talk of war is everywhere.

Most Americans don’t realize that Russians already view the United States more negatively than they did even during the height of the Cold War.  On Russian television they openly talk about the inevitability of a war between the United States and Russia, and the Russian military has feverishly been preparing for such a future conflict.

If we can get to October, we can probably breathe a bit of a sigh of relief because the Russians are not likely to conduct an invasion once the weather turns bad.

But for now there are very good reasons to be concerned, and we shall see what happens over the coming weeks…

World War 3 Coming Soon? Tanks Roll Across The Border As Turkish Invasion Of Syria Begins

World War 3 Apocalypse - Public DomainThe invasion of Syria that so many people have been warning about is now happening.  On Wednesday, Turkish tanks rolled across the Syrian border, and they were accompanied by radical Islamic Syrian rebels that want to ultimately overthrow the Assad regime.  This invasion was conducted under the code name “Euphrates Shield”, and it was supported by airstrikes from A-10s and F-16s that are part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been conducting airstrikes against ISIS targets in the region.  The mainstream media in the United States has been very quiet about this escalation of the conflict in Syria, but things are much different in the rest of the world.  For example, a major Israeli news source announced the attack this way: “Turkey invades Syria“.  And without a doubt, that is precisely what is taking place.  The Syrian government denounced this move by Turkey as a “blatant breach to its sovereignty”, and the Russians are deeply alarmed.  The farther Turkish forces push into northern Syria, the more likely they will be to encounter Syrian or Russian forces, and one bad move could result in the outbreak of World War 3 in the Middle East.

The fact that the U.S. media is treating this invasion of Syria as if it is of little importance is deeply disturbing.  These days, the big news channels are obsessed with feeding us propaganda about how “healthy” Hillary Clinton is, or about how “racist” Donald Trump is, and they spend exceedingly little time on the things that really matter all over the globe.

Fortunately, it is not the same way around much of the rest of the planet.  Here is an excerpt from a British news source about the Turkish attack…

It is hard to anticipate whether Turkey’s unprecedented military incursion into Syria this week will change the dynamics of the multiple wars that have ravaged the region and put civilians through hell. If things already seemed complicated in the Middle East, they may have just become even more so. What started on Wednesday ranks as the largest Turkish military operation inside Syrian territory since the civil war began five years ago. A dozen tanks, reportedly followed by a bus transporting Syrian rebels, rolled into northern Syria to drive Islamic State forces from the town of Jarablus, one of their last footholds on the Turkish-Syrian border. Today Turkey sent more tanks in and told the YPG Kurdish armed group it had one week to retreat from the border areas.

We are being told that the primary purpose of this Turkish invasion is “to fight ISIS”, but that is just for western consumption.  The truth is that Turkey has actually been supporting ISIS and other terror groups in Syria for a very long time.  In fact, it has been heavily documented that ISIS sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stolen oil through Turkey until the Russians put a stop to it.

No, the real motivation for this assault is to stop the advance of Kurdish forces.  Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu recently promised that Turkey would “do what is necessary” to keep Kurdish fighters east of the Euphrates River, and even President Erdogan is admitting that the Kurds are primary targets in this operation

“(Wednesday’s operation) started in the north of Syria against terror groups which constantly threaten our country, like (ISIS) and the PYD,” Erdogan said, referring to a Syrian Kurdish opposition political party.

And U.S. officials know exactly what Erdogan is doing.  Just check out what one of them told CNN

Another senior US official told CNN’s Barbara Starr the US assessment is that Turkey’s cross-border action is largely about trying to stop Kurdish action. “The Turks never cared about Jarablus until the Kurds wanted to get there,” the official said.

So now the Turks have declared open season on the Kurds in northern Syria, and the Syrian Kurds are treating this move as “a declaration of war”

Spokesman for the YPG Kurdish militia, Redur Xelil, called Turkey’s move “blatant aggression in Syrian internal affairs.” Aldar Xelil, another influential Kurdish politician, accused Turkey of initiating an occupation of Syria, saying the operation amounted to “a declaration of war” on the autonomous administration set up by Kurdish groups in northern Syria in 2011.

According to the Turkish government, Operation Euphrates Shield will “create a safe zone” that will be 90 kilometers long and 40 kilometers wide that stretches roughly from the town of Jarablus to the town of Marea.

That is a massive amount of territory, and this basically shows that the Turks plan to set up shop there permanently.

President Erdogan and his supporters have always dreamed of recreating the old Ottoman Empire, and they already have military forces occupying portions of northern Iraq.  This move into northern Syria is yet another bold move in the direction of their ultimate goal.

But will the Russians just stand by and allow the Turks to do whatever they want?

So far the Russians are not saying much, but Vladimir Putin has ordered snap military drills

Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered snap military drills as German Chancellor Angela Merkel accused him of breaking international law in Ukraine and said NATO will defend member states against attack.

Combat readiness exercises are taking place “to defend the interests of the Russian Federation amid increasing threats to its security,” Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Thursday in a statement on the ministry’s website. Troops in Russia’s southern, central and western military districts, naval deployments in the Black Sea and Caspian Sea, and airborne forces are involved, he said.

The Russians don’t want to fight Turkish forces in Syria, but as they have shown in Crimea, in Ukraine and elsewhere, they are definitely not afraid to take military action when their interests require it.

And if Russia and Turkey do start fighting, that would threaten to drag the rest of NATO (including the United States) into the conflict.

Turkey has been chomping at the bit to start grabbing chunks of territory in northern Syria for quite some time now, but this invasion is going to turn out to be a tragic mistake.

President Erdogan has definitely overplayed his hand this time, and let us just hope that it doesn’t result in World War 3 erupting in the Middle East.

The Earth’s Crust Will Be Shaken By More Than 100,000 Earthquakes That Humans Can Feel In 2016

Earth From Space 2017 - Public DomainDid you know that our planet will be hit by more than 100,000 earthquakes of magnitude 3.0 or greater this year alone?  Earlier today, I came across a report that contained this amazing fact, but it was so incredible that I felt that I had to go and verify it myself.  So I went to the official USGS website, and I found out that this is actually true.  Overall, there are about half a million earthquakes around the globe each year, but it is only when a quake is of about magnitude 3.0 or greater that humans actually feel them.  As the very large earthquakes in Italy and Myanmar within the last 24 hours have demonstrated, the shaking of our planet is getting worse, and this is something that I have written about over and over again.  So why is this happening?  Why does the crust of our planet seemingly become more and more unstable with each passing year?

We need to start addressing those questions, because there aren’t too many things that can do more damage to a community than a major earthquake.  Very early Wednesday morning, a magnitude 6.2 earthquake struck central Italy.  It is being reported that it sounded “like a bomb” went off, and it looks like this is going to end up being the worst natural disaster to hit Italy in many years.

This earthquake rattled buildings in Rome, it could be felt in Naples to the south, and it is even being claimed that it could be felt all the way up in Bologna in the north.

The epicenter of the quake was a charming little Italian town known as Amatrice.  According to Mayor Sergio Pirozzi, “the town is no more” at this point.  You can see some amazing photographs of the destruction for yourself right here.  Homes, churches and businesses collapsed in heaps of rubble, and at this moment rescuers are engaged in a frantic race against time to pull survivors from the wreckage…

Rescue teams using bulldozers, and aided by townspeople with their bare hands, were still poring through the piles of rock, metal and wood late Wednesday looking for possible survivors. Police near the town of Ascoli said they could hear cries for help from under the rubble but lacked the heavy equipment to move the rocks, according the RAI radio.

“We need chain saws, shears to cut iron bars, and jacks to remove beams: everything, we need everything,” civil protection worker Andrea Gentili told the Associated Press.

So far, the death toll stands at 159 people, but that number is going to go way up as more bodies are discovered.  The following was reported by Reuters

One hotel that collapsed in the small town of Amatrice probably had about 70 guests, and only seven bodies had so far been recovered, said the mayor of the town that was one of the worst hit by the quake.

But as destructive as the Italian quake was, it wasn’t even the largest earthquake on the globe on Wednesday.  A huge magnitude 6.8 earthquake struck Myanmar, but because that earthquake was much deeper it didn’t do the same level of damage as the quake in Italy did…

A powerful earthquake shook Myanmar on Wednesday, killing at least three people and damaging nearly a hundred ancient Buddhist pagodas in the former capital of Bagan, a major tourist site, officials said.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the magnitude 6.8 quake was centered about 25 kilometers (15 miles) west of Chauk, a town south of Bagan. It was located fairly far below the Earth’s surface at a depth of about 84 kilometers (52 miles), it said.

Sadly, most Americans couldn’t care less about what goes on in places like Italy or Myanmar.  I know that may sound terrible, but it is true.

However, Americans should care, because this global rise in earthquake activity is affecting us as well.  In fact, the USGS now says that human activity may at least be partially to blame for the “dramatic increase in seismicity” that we have been witnessing in the United States in recent years…

On Monday, for the first time, the U.S. Geological Survey has released an analysis of the magnitude of “human-induced” earthquakes. That such a thing as human-induced earthquakes can exist is scary enough, but the “dramatic increase in seismicity” in places such as Oklahoma has forced the USGS to consider the threat more broadly.

“By including human-induced events, our assessment of earthquake hazards has significantly increased in parts of the U.S.,” said Mark Petersen, chief of the USGS National Seismic Hazard Mapping Project, in a statement. “This research also shows that much more of the nation faces a significant chance of having damaging earthquakes over the next year, whether natural or human-induced.”

And I wanted to note that there was a magnitude 3.9 earthquake in Colorado on Tuesday.  We have started to see sizable earthquakes in many portions of the country where they are not expected, and this is going to continue to get worse as the shaking of our planet intensifies.

There is one more thing that I wanted to share with you all today.  I don’t know if this is related to anything, but a blood red moon was photographed directly behind the new World Trade Center tower last night.  To some people this is just a meaningless coincidence, but there are others that consider it to be a very ominous sign.

This summer, things have been relatively calm and peaceful in America.  Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have dominated the headlines, but other than the election there really hasn’t been a major crisis that has grabbed the attention of the nation.

But of course all of that could change in a moment.  Despite all of our advanced technology, the truth is that we are still virtually defenseless against a major natural disaster.

Scientists tell us that it is inevitable that a great New Madrid earthquake will shake the center of the country.  They also tell us that it is inevitable that there will be a major earthquake in southern California, that volcanoes on the west coast will erupt again, and that the Yellowstone supervolcano could wipe out much of the country in a single day.

As global seismic activity continues to rise, it is just a matter of time before a string of historic disasters hits this nation.

Unfortunately, I am convinced that this could happen a lot sooner than most people would dare to imagine.

Detroit Has Gone From Being The Greatest Manufacturing City In The World To A Global Joke

The Ruins Of Detroit - Photo by CsmcmIn 1960, the city of Detroit was the greatest manufacturing city that the world had ever seen.  Nearly two million people lived there, and it had the highest per capita income in the United States.  That may be hard to believe, because today it actually has one of the lowest per capita incomes of all of our major cities.  Over the decades more than a million people have left the city, and thousands of abandoned homes have been torn down.  But there are still tens of thousands of abandoned dwellings that remain standing, and some have sold for as little as one dollar in recent years.  Once Detroit was the envy of the entire planet, but now it has become a global joke and in other countries they love to do news stories about “the ruins of Detroit” to show how rapidly America is rotting and decaying.  Sadly, Detroit is far from alone, because there are other formerly great manufacturing cities that have declined just as fast as Detroit has.

Earlier today, I came across a video that contains footage that someone recently captured as they drove through the city of Detroit at night.  To say that the footage is disturbing would be a tremendous understatement

It has become known as a mecca of violent crime and poverty, and now a viral video is giving an unpleasant view of Detroit after dark.

The clip, called Driving through Detroit at night, was filmed by a woman who was a passenger in a car going around the Motor City and was posted to Twitter at the weekend.

It shows terrifying scenes of gangs gathered on the sidewalk, prostitutes lifting up their skirts and dancing, and even a man being run over by a car on purpose.

I would have liked to share the video with you all, but it is just way too graphic.  There really are prostitutes lifting up their skirts in the video, and a man really is hit by a vehicle.  If you want to watch it for yourself, it is very easy to find on YouTube.  But please be warned that children should not be watching this.

If you live in a peaceful rural or suburban setting, the kind of behavior displayed in this video may seem very foreign to you.  In America today, it is way too easy to allow our televisions to define reality for us.  But the warped view of reality that we get through our televisions is nothing like the real world.  The real world is cold, cruel and very unforgiving.

If you are in the wrong place at the wrong time, the real world will eat you alive.

In the city of Detroit today, close to half the population is functionally illiterate, and one survey found that 60 percent of all children in the city are living in poverty.  It has been reported that 40 percent of the street lights do not work, and as you can see from the video it is a very frightening place to be after dark.

And don’t count on the police to help you.  The size of the police force in Detroit has been reduced by about 40 percent over the years, and it has been estimated that it takes the Detroit police an average of 58 minutes to respond to a call.

If it was just one major city where all of these things were happening, that would be bad enough.

Sadly, the truth is that what is happening in Detroit is happening all over the nation.  In fact, St. Louis and Memphis now have higher gun crime rates than Detroit does

The listing places St Louis above the notoriously dangerous Detroit which has topped the list in previous years thanks to the city’s high gun crime rate.

Detroit is now listed as third after Memphis, Tennessee which had 84.2 violent crimes per 10,000 residents.

Birmingham, Alabama comes in fourth place with 82.8 violent crimes per 10,000 residents while Rockford, Illinois was fifth with a rate of 76.3.

Earlier this month, we saw how a major city such as Milwaukee can erupt in flames in just a matter of hours.  And in Chicago, some of the major gangs have agreed to use automatic weapons and sniper fire in their battle against the police.

A spirit of chaos and violence has descended on America, and things are going to get much worse during the months and years to come.

Meanwhile, crime continues to rise in our smaller cities and in our suburbs as well.  For a moment, I want you to consider a short excerpt from a recent Bloomberg article entitled “Walmart’s Out-of-Control Crime Problem Is Driving Police Crazy“…

The call log on the store stretches 126 pages, documenting more than 5,000 trips over the past five years. Last year police were called to the store and three other Tulsa Walmarts just under 2,000 times. By comparison, they were called to the city’s four Target stores about 300 times. Most of the calls to the northeast Supercenter were for shoplifting, but there’s no shortage of more serious crimes, including five armed robberies so far this year, a murder suspect who killed himself with a gunshot to the head in the parking lot last year, and, in 2014, a group of men who got into a parking lot shootout that killed one and seriously injured two others.

Police reports from dozens of stores suggest the number of petty crimes committed on Walmart properties nationwide this year will be in the hundreds of thousands.

Did you catch that?

This Bloomberg report says that there will be “hundreds of thousands” of crimes just committed at Wal-Mart stores alone this year.

If people are behaving like this while times are still relatively stable and relatively good, what would things look like during a real crisis?

Many people openly wonder what happened to Detroit, but it really isn’t much of a mystery at all.

Over the decades, our politicians have stood idly by as tens of thousands of businesses and millions of good paying jobs have left the country.  Our economic infrastructure has been absolutely gutted, and as a result formerly great manufacturing cities have become rotting, decaying hellholes.

And it certainly doesn’t help that voters in many of these cities have willingly chosen to put radical leftists into power time after time.

Unfortunately, it appears that the nation as a whole is about to hand the keys to the White House to a radical leftist that has a violent temper that is absolutely legendary.  If she gets into power, that might just be the final nail in our coffin.

What has already happened to Detroit is slowly happening to the entire country, but we never seem to learn from our past mistakes.

So now we will suffer the consequences for our very foolish decisions, and it will not be pretty.

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