The Dow Peaked At 14,000 Before The Last Stock Market Crash, And Now Dow 24,000 Is Here

The absurdity that we are witnessing in the financial markets is absolutely breathtaking.  Just recently, a good friend reminded me that the Dow peaked at just above 14,000 before the last stock market crash, and stock prices were definitely over-inflated at that time.  Subsequently the Dow crashed below 7,000 before rebounding, and now thanks to this week’s rally we on the threshold of Dow 24,000.  When you look at a chart of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, you would be tempted to think that we must be in the greatest economic boom in American history, but the truth is that our economy has only grown by an average of just 1.33 percent over the last 10 years.  Every crazy stock market bubble throughout our history has always ended badly, and this one will be no exception.

And even though the Dow showed a nice gain on Wednesday, the Nasdaq got absolutely hammered.  In fact, almost every major tech stock was down big.  The following comes from CNN

Meanwhile, big tech stocks — which have propelled the market higher all year — were tanking. The Nasdaq fell more than 1%, led by big drops in Google (GOOGL, Tech30) owner Alphabet, Amazon (AMZN, Tech30), Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Facebook (FB, Tech30) and Netflix (NFLX, Tech30).

Momentum darlings Nvidia (NVDA, Tech30) and PayPal (PYPL, Tech30) and red hot gaming stocks Electronic Arts (EA, Tech30) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI, Tech30) plunged too. They have been some of the market’s top stocks throughout most of 2017.

Many believe that the markets are about to turn down in a major way.  What goes up must eventually come down, and at this point even Goldman Sachs is warning that a bear market is coming

“It has seldom been the case that equities, bonds and credit have been similarly expensive at the same time, only in the Roaring ’20s and the Golden ’50s,” Goldman Sachs International strategists including Christian Mueller-Glissman wrote in a note this week. “All good things must come to an end” and “there will be a bear market, eventually” they said.

As central banks cut back their quantitative easing, pushing up the premiums investors demand to hold longer-dated bonds, returns are “likely to be lower across assets” over the medium term, the analysts said. A second, less likely, scenario would involve “fast pain.” Stock and bond valuations would both get hit, with the mix depending on whether the trigger involved a negative growth shock, or a growth shock alongside an inflation pick-up.

Nobody believes that this crazy stock market party can go on forever.

These days, the real debate seems to be between those that are convinced that the markets will crash violently and those that believe that a “soft landing” can be achieved.

I would definitely be in favor of a “soft landing”, but those that have followed my work for an extended period of time know that I do not think that this will happen.  And with each passing day, more prominent voices in the financial world are coming to the same conclusion.  Here is one recent example

Vanguard’s chief economist Joe Davis said investors need to be prepared for a significant downturn in the stock market, which is now at a 70 percent chance of crashing.  That chance is significantly higher than it has been over the past 60 years.

The economist added, It’s unreasonable to expect rates of returns, which exceeded our own bullish forecast from 2010, to continue.”

A stock market crash has followed every major stock bubble in our history, and right at this moment we are in the terminal phase of one of the greatest stock market bubbles ever.  There are so many indicators that are screaming that we are in danger, and one of the favorite ones that I like to point to is margin debt.  The following commentary and chart were recently published by Wolf Richter

This chart shows margin debt (red line, left scale) and the S&P 500 (blue line, right scale), both adjusted for inflation to tune out the effects of the dwindling value of the dollar over the decades (chart by Advisor Perspectives):

Stock market leverage is the big accelerator on the way up. Leverage supplies liquidity that has been freshly created by the lender. This isn’t money moving from one asset to another. This is money that is being created to be plowed into stocks. And when stocks sink, leverage becomes the big accelerator on the way down.

Markets tend to go down much faster than they go up, and I have a feeling that when this market crashes it is going to happen very, very rapidly.

The only reason stock prices ever got this high in the first place was due to unprecedented intervention by global central banks.  They created trillions of dollars out of thin air and plowed those funds directly into the financial markets, and of course that was going to inflate asset prices.

But now global central banks are putting on the brakes simultaneously, and this has got to be one of the greatest sell signals that we have ever witnessed in modern financial history.

Even Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen says that she is concerned about causing “a boom-bust condition in the economy”, and yet she insists that the Fed is going to continue to gradually raise rates anyway

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said the central bank is concerned with growth get out of hand and thus is committed to continuing to raise rates in a gradual manner.

“We don’t want to cause a boom-bust condition in the economy,” Yellen told Congress in her semiannual testimony Wednesday.

While Yellen did not specifically commit to a December rate hike, her comments indicated that her views have not changed with her desire for the central bank to continue normalizing policy after years of historically high accommodation.

I never thought that this stock market bubble would get this large.  We are way, way overdue for a financial correction, but right now we are in a party that never seems to end.

But end it will, and when that happens the pain that will be experienced on Wall Street will be unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

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

Obamacare’s Revenge: The IRS Will Not Process Your Tax Return Unless You Tell Them Whether You Have Health Insurance Or Not

Yes, this is a true story.  I was completely shocked when I learned about this too, and this just underscores the importance of repealing the individual mandate immediately.  Shortly after taking office, President Trump issued an executive order which was intended to move the IRS away from enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate, but now the IRS has found a way around that executive order.  According to the official AARP website, the IRS has announced that it will not process any tax returns from individuals that are not willing to disclose whether they currently have health insurance or not…

The Internal Revenue Service won’t process individual tax returns in 2018 unless taxpayers indicate whether they have health insurance coverage or an exemption.

The move, announced last month, reverses course from this year, when the IRS said it would not require filers to indicate on 1040 tax forms whether they had health insurance. Filers were still required to have medical insurance or pay a penalty, but the IRS accepted and processed returns even if taxpayers didn’t indicate coverage status.

So what this means is that you will not get your refund until you tell the IRS if you have health insurance.

And if you don’t have health insurance and you don’t qualify for an exemption, you could be hit with a very painful financial penalty.

Of course purchasing health insurance in some parts of the country is enough of a penalty as it is.  For example, I recently wrote about a family of four in Virginia that is now facing the prospect of paying $3,000 a month for health insurance.

Talk about being between a rock and a hard place.

And it also turns out that the IRS is going back and sending threatening letters to those that didn’t indicate if they were covered or not on previous tax returns.  Here is more from the AARP

IRS spokesman Bruce Friedland said it followed a review of IRS procedures.

“The IRS has determined that ‎it is more burdensome for taxpayers to allow them to file an incomplete tax return and then have to manage follow-up letters and potentially amend their return,’’ Friedland said. “Identifying omissions and requiring taxpayers to provide health coverage information at the point of filing makes it easier for the taxpayer to successfully file a tax return and minimizes related refund delays.”

In September, the IRS started sending letters to about 130,000 taxpayers who didn’t address the health care requirement on 2014 and 2015 tax returns.

So if you left that section of your tax return blank in previous years, you should be expecting a letter in the mail very soon.

At this point, many of you that are reading this article are probably starting to get very angry.  After all, didn’t President Trump sign an executive order earlier this year that was going to end enforcement of the individual mandate?

Unfortunately, that was not the case at all.  In fact, Politico is reporting that the Trump administration “is still dutifully enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate”…

The Trump administration is still dutifully enforcing Obamacare’s individual mandate, despite early signals it might undermine the unpopular linchpin of the health care law.

Weeks after the close of tax season, the IRS continues to process penalties from potentially millions of taxpayers who refused to purchase health insurance last year.

That’s even though hours after taking office on Jan. 20, President Donald Trump issued a vaguely worded executive order instructing federal agencies to waive or defer parts of Obamacare that would “impose a fiscal burden” on states, individuals or health care providers.

Enough is enough.

Obamacare should have been repealed on the very first day of the Trump administration, but unfortunately the RINOs in Congress are going to keep blocking any effort to do that.  Elections really matter, and in 2018 we need to kick out the RINOs and put in new leaders that are fully committed to a 100% repeal of Obamacare.

We also need to do something about the IRS.  They have always been a rogue agency, but now they have gotten completely and totally out of control.  I am running for Congress in Idaho’s first congressional district, and I believe that we should completely shut down the IRS.

The status quo is simply not acceptable.  Obamacare is financially crippling families all across America, and we should be absolutely disgusted that Congress has not found a solution to this problem even though they have had almost an entire year to get something done.

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

As America Gives Thanks, Homelessness Continues To Set New Records In Major Cities All Over The Nation

If the economy is doing just fine, then why is homelessness at levels not seen “since the Great Depression” in major cities all over the country?  If the U.S. economy was actually in good shape, we would expect that the number of people that are homeless would be going down or at least stabilizing.  Instead, we have a growing national crisis on our hands.  In fact, within the past two years “at least 10 cities or municipal regions in California, Oregon and Washington” have declared a state of emergency because the number of homeless is growing so rapidly.

Things are particularly bad in southern California, and this year the Midnight Mission will literally be feeding a small army of people that have nowhere to sleep at night…

Thanksgiving meals will be served to thousands of homeless and near-homeless individuals today on Skid Row and in Pasadena and Canoga Park amid calls for donations and volunteers for the rest of the year.

The Midnight Mission will serve Thanksgiving brunch to nearly 2,500 homeless and near-homeless men, women and children, according to Georgia Berkovich, its director of public affairs.

Overall, the Midnight Mission serves more than a million meals a year, and Berkovich says that homelessness hasn’t been this bad in southern California “since the Great Depression”

Berkovich said the group has been serving nearly 1 million meals a year each year since 2013.

“We haven’t seen numbers like this since the Great Depression,” she said.

And of course the official numbers confirm what Berkovich is claiming.  According to an article published earlier this year, the number of homeless people living in Los Angeles County has never been higher…

The number of homeless people in Los Angeles has jumped to a new record, as city officials grapple with a humanitarian crisis of proportions remarkable for a modern American metropolis.

Municipal leaders said that a recent count over several nights found 55,188 homeless people living in a survey region comprising most of Los Angeles County, up more than 25% from last year.

If the California economy is truly doing well, then why is this happening?

We see the same thing happening when we look at the east coast.  Just check out these numbers from New York City

In recent years the number of homeless people has grown. Whereas rents increased by 18% between 2005 and 2015, incomes rose by 5%. When Rudy Giuliani entered City Hall in 1994, 24,000 people lived in shelters. About 31,000 lived in them when Mike Bloomberg became mayor in 2002. When Bill de Blasio entered City Hall in 2014, 51,500 did. The number of homeless people now in shelters is around 63,000.

For New York, this is the highest that the homeless population has been since the Great Depression, and city leaders are trying to come up with a solution.

Meanwhile, things are so bad in Seattle that “400 unauthorized tent camps” have popped up…

Housing prices are soaring here thanks to the tech industry, but the boom comes with a consequence: A surge in homelessness marked by 400 unauthorized tent camps in parks, under bridges, on freeway medians and along busy sidewalks. The liberal city is trying to figure out what to do.

Are you noticing a theme?

Homelessness is at epidemic levels all over the U.S., and this crisis is getting worse with each passing day.  Some communities are trying to care for their growing homeless populations, but others are simply trying to force them to go somewhere else.  They are doing this by essentially making it illegal to be homeless.  In some cities it is now a crime to engage in “public camping”, to “block a walkway” or to create any sort of “temporary structure for human habitation”.  These laws specifically target the homeless, and they are very cruel.

Many of us tend to picture the homeless as mostly lazy older men that don’t want to work and that instead want to drink or do drugs all day.

But the truth is that women and children make up a significant percentage of the homeless.  In fact, the number of homeless children in our country has increased by about 60 percent since the end of the last recession.

And there are thousands upon thousands of military veterans that are homeless.  For example, a 34-year-old man named Johnny that served in the Marine Corps recently used his last 20 dollars to buy fuel for a woman that had run out of gas and was stranded along I-95 in Miami

Pulled over on the side of I-95, McClure, 27, was approached by a homeless man named Johnny. She was apprehensive at first, but Johnny told her to get back into her car and to lock the doors while he walked to get her help. He went to a nearby gas station, used his last $20 fill a can and brought it back to fill up her car.

Grateful, but without a dollar to repay him, McClure promised she would come back with something.

In the weeks since, she’s returned to the spot along I-95 where Johnny stays with cash, snacks and Wawa gift cards. Each time she’s stopped by with her boyfriend, Mark D’Amico, they’ve learned a bit more about Johnny’s story, and become humbled by his gratitude.

Deciding that they wanted to do even more for Johnny, they started a GoFundMe page for him and have since raised approximately $250,000.

So it looks like there is going to be a happy ending to Johnny’s story, but the truth is that more people are falling into homelessness with each passing day.

If things are this bad now, how much worse will they become as the economy really starts slowing down?  Already, we have shattered the all-time yearly record for retail store closings, and we still have more than a month to go.  The following is from a CNN article entitled “Is This The Last Black Friday?”

A record number of store closures — 6,735 — have already been announced this year. That’s more than triple the tally for 2016, according to Fung Global Retail and Technology, a retail think tank.

And there have been 620 bankruptcies in the sector so far this year, according to BankruptcyData.com, up 31% from the same period last year. Prominent names such as Toys R Us, Gymboree, Payless Shoes and RadioShack have all filed this year, and Sears Holdings (SHLD), which owns both the iconic Sears and Kmart chains, has warned there is “substantial doubt” it can remain in business.

Sadly, analysts are projecting that the number of store closings could be as high as 9,000 next year.

Yes, there are some areas of the country that are doing well right now, but there are many others that are not.

Let us always remember to have compassion on those that are struggling, because someday we may be the ones that end up needing some help.

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

Obamacare Rage: One Family Of 4 In Virginia Is Faced With Paying $3,000 A Month For Health Insurance

Could you afford to pay $3000 a month for health insurance?  Previously, Ian Dixon had been paying $900 a month for health insurance for his family of four, but thanks to changes in the Charlottesville insurance market, a similar plan will now cost him more than $3,000 a month.  When I first came across this story on Zero Hedge, I have to admit that I got angry.  I was angry at the Democrats for destroying our healthcare system in the first place, and I was angry at Republicans for failing to repeal Obamacare even though they have had almost a full year to do so.  Obamacare is financially destroying hard working families all over the nation, and Congress must take action immediately.

Originally, Ian Dixon was excited about Obamacare because he thought that it would mean that he could continue to provide health insurance for his family once he left his full-time job.  But now that he is facing a bill of more than $3,000 a month, all he is feeling is “rage”

Ian Dixon, who left his full-time job in 2016 to pursue an app-development business, did so because the ACA guaranteed that he could still have quality coverage for his young family, he said.

But when the 38-year-old Charlottesville husband and father of a 3- and a 1-year-old went to re-enroll this month, his only choice for coverage would cost him more than $3,000 a month for his family of four, which amounted to an increase of more than 300 percent over the $900 he paid the year before. And this is for the second-cheapest option, with a deductible of $9,200.

“Helpless is definitely a good word for it,” Dixon said. “Rage is also a good word for it.”

The Democrats are certainly to blame for getting us into this mess, but if the Republicans don’t take action soon they will end up with full ownership of this debacle.

Only the exceedingly wealthy could afford these astronomical health insurance rates, and they certainly aren’t the ones purchasing health insurance on the exchanges.

Let’s look at another example.  A 55-year-old woman living in Charlottesville named Shawn Marie Cossette is horrified that she will now be paying $1,859 a month for a silver plan…

Among them was Shawn Marie Cossette, 55, who runs her own event and floral design business in Charlottesville. Last year, she purchased an Anthem silver plan for $550 a month for herself. This year, under Optima, a silver plan would cost her $1,859 monthly.

“It’s a huge percentage of my income,” she said. “I really believed in the ACA. I really feel everyone deserves the right to health insurance, but who can afford those prices if you don’t qualify for subsidies?”

The truth is that nobody can afford these rates, and silver plan premiums are projected to rise nationally by an average of 37 percent for 2018.

And that is on top of all of the other huge yearly increases that we have seen so far.

According to CNN, the average 27-year-old is now going to be paying almost $5,000 a year for a silver plan…

The steep rate hike means a 27-year-old will pay nearly $5,000 a year, on average, for the benchmark silver plan, upon which premium subsides are based. That’s up from $2,600 when the Obamacare exchanges opened in 2014. This is before subsidies are factored in, however.

Premiums are skyrocketing for a second year in a row. Rates rose 24% this year in the states using healthcare.gov.

How much pain does Obamacare have to cause before Congress finally does something?

Obamacare should have been repealed day one of the Trump administration, but the RINOs in Congress won’t let that happen.  We need to kick those RINOs out, and we need to send a new generation of leaders to Washington that will get things done.

Repealing Obamacare is the first step, but it won’t solve all of our problems.  We pay far more for healthcare than anyone else does by a very wide margin, and we desperately need to get healthcare costs down.

We also need to get health insurance premiums back to reasonable levels.  One way to do this would be to legalize the association buying plans that Rand Paul has been proposing.  By allowing large groups of people (the NRA would be one example) to band together to buy health insurance, that would give average citizens much more negotiating power with the health insurance companies.

I also very much like models such as direct primary care that cut health insurance companies out of the equation entirely.

Our healthcare system is deeply, deeply broken, and we need to get back to a system that is centered primarily on doctors and patients.

Because what we have right now does not work, and the rest of the world is laughing at our ineptitude.

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

This Is What A Pre-Crash Market Looks Like

The only other times in our history when stock prices have been this high relative to earnings, a horrifying stock market crash has always followed.  Will things be different for us this time?  We shall see, but without a doubt this is what a pre-crash market looks like.  This current bubble has been based on irrational euphoria that has been fueled by relentless central bank intervention, but now global central banks are removing the artificial life support in unison.  Meanwhile, the real economy continues to stumble along very unevenly.  This is the longest that the U.S. has ever gone without a year in which the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and many believe that the next recession is very close.  Stock prices cannot stay completely disconnected from economic reality forever, and once the bubble bursts the pain is going to be unlike anything that we have ever seen before.

If you think that these ridiculously absurd stock prices are sustainable, there is something that I would like for you to consider.  The only times in our history when the cyclically-adjusted return on stocks has been lower, a nightmarish stock market crash happened soon thereafter

The Nobel-Laureate, Robert Shiller, developed the cyclically-adjusted price/earnings ratio, the so-called CAPE, to assess whether stocks are likely to be over- or under-valued. It is possible to invert this measure to obtain a cyclically-adjusted earnings yield which allows one to measure prospective real returns. If one does this, the answer for the US is that the cyclically-adjusted return is now down to 3.4 percent. The only times it has been still lower were in 1929 and between 1997 and 2001, the two biggest stock market bubbles since 1880. We know now what happened then. Is it going to be different this time?

Since the market bottomed out in early 2009, the S&P 500 has been on a historic run.  If this rally had been based on a booming economy that would be one thing, but the truth is that the U.S. economy has not seen 3 percent yearly growth since the middle of the Bush administration.  Instead, this insane bubble has been almost entirely fueled by central bank manipulation, and now that manipulation is being dramatically scaled back.

And the guys on Wall Street know what is coming.  For example, Joe Zidle says that this bull market is now in “the ninth inning”

Joe Zidle, of Richard Bernstein Advisors, is arguing that the bull market has entered the bottom of the ninth inning.

“This is a late-cycle environment,” Zidle said on CNBC’s “Futures Now” recently.

“In innings terms, they’re not time dependent. An inning could be shorter or they could be longer. It just really depends,” the strategist said.

This bubble has lasted for much longer than it ever should have, and everyone understands that a day of reckoning is coming.

In fact, earlier today I came across an article on Zero Hedge that contained an absolutely remarkable quote from Eric Peters…

“We are investing as if 1987 will happen tomorrow, because it will,” said the CIO. “But we need to be long, or we’ll be out of business,” he explained, under pressure to perform. “So we construct option trades that are binary bets.” Which pay X profit if stocks rally, and cost Y if markets fall. No more and no less.

“What you do not want is a portfolio whose losses multiply depending on the severity of a decline.” That’s what most people have today. “At the last stage of the cycle, you want lots of binary bets. Many small wins. Before the big loss.”

Are we at the start or the end of the ‘Don’t know what I’m buying’ cycle?” asked the same CIO. “No one knows.” But we’re definitely within it.

“When their complex swaps drop 40%, and prime brokers demand more margin, investors will cry ‘It’s not possible!’ But anything is possible.” The prime brokers will hang up and stop them out.

In case you don’t remember, in 1987 we witnessed the largest one day percentage decline in U.S. stock market history.

When it finally happens, millions upon millions of ordinary Americans will be completely shocked, but most insiders know that the other shoe is going to drop at some point.

In particular, watch financial stock prices very closely.  Last month, Richard Bove issued a chilling warning about bank stocks…

One of Wall Street’s most vocal bank analysts is troubled by the rally in financials.

The Vertical Group’s Richard Bove warns that the overall market is just as dangerous as the late 1990s, and he cites momentum — not fundamentals — as what’s driving bank stocks to all-time highs.

“If we don’t get some event in the economy or in politics or in somewhere that is going to create more loan volume and better margins for the banks, then yes, they would come crashing down,” Bove said Monday on CNBC’s “Trading Nation.” “I think that the risk in these stocks is very high at the present time.”

It isn’t going to take much to set off an unstoppable chain of events.  Our financial markets are even more vulnerable than they were in 2008, and the right trigger could unleash a crisis unlike anything we have ever seen in modern American history.

Unfortunately, most Americans keep getting fooled by the artificial boom and bust cycles that the central banks create.  Right now most people seem to have been lulled into a false sense of security, and they truly believe that everything is going to be okay.

But every time before when the market has looked like this a crash has always followed, and this time will be no exception.

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

The Mainstream Media Is Talking About A Coming Middle East War That Could Involve Saudi Arabia, Iran, The U.S. And Israel

People better start waking up and paying attention to what is happening in the Middle East, because the situation is becoming quite serious.  If things go badly, we could be facing a major regional war which would involve not only Saudi Arabia and Iran, but also potentially the United States and Israel.  Yesterday, I quoted an article in the New York Times that warned that tensions between the Saudis and the Iranians were raising “the threat of a direct military clash between the two regional heavyweights”.  And now Jake Novak of CNBC is saying that a “direct conflict between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as opposed to the proxy war they’re fighting in Yemen, looks inevitable.”

I put those last two words in bold so that there wouldn’t be any confusion.  In fact, Novak is warning that the Saudis “are marching ever closer towards a wider regional war”.  Novak understands the dynamics of the Middle East, and he realizes where things could be headed if cooler heads do not prevail.

Saudi Arabia and Iran have already been fighting proxy wars against one another in Syria and Iran for quite a while, but a direct military conflict between the two could literally be a nightmare scenario.

One of the primary characters in this ongoing drama is Saudi Arabia’s extremely hawkish crown prince Mohammed bin Salman.  He hates Iran with a passion, and he has already said that he believes that a peace dialogue with Iran is impossible.

And over the past several days, events in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon have moved talk of war to the front burner

First, the kingdom squarely blamed Iran for a missile attack on Riyadh from Yemen that was thwarted by the U.S.-made Patriot anti-missile system. The Saudis called that attack “direct military aggression by the Iranian regime and may be considered an act of war.”

Second, the Saudis accused Lebanon of — figuratively at least — declaring “war” against it because of aggression from Hezbollah. That statement spurred even Saudi ally and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi to publicly urge for calm.

In an article yesterday, I discussed the “purge” that is currently taking place in Saudi Arabia.  Many believe that this purge is all about removing any potential obstacles to a war with Iran.  Mohammed bin Salman and his father have made dealing with Iran their number one strategic priority, and they have even enlisted the Israelis as allies in their cause…

As is already well-known, the Saudi and Israeli common cause against perceived Iranian influence and expansion in places like Syria, Lebanon and Iraq of late has led the historic bitter enemies down a pragmatic path of unspoken cooperation as both seem to have placed the break up of the so-called “Shia crescent” as their primary policy goal in the region. For Israel, Hezbollah has long been its greatest foe, which Israeli leaders see as an extension of Iran’s territorial presence right up against the Jewish state’s northern border.

If Saudi Arabia and Iran go to war, it is probably inevitable that Hezbollah will strike Israel at the same time, thus getting the Israelis directly involved in the conflict.

Not only that, if a major regional war does erupt in the Middle East it would almost certainly mean that the U.S. would have to get involved as well.  Here is more from Jake Novak of CNBC

But if full blown war breaks out directly between the two countries, it’s hard to see the U.S. being able to sit it out without at least some form increased weapons support and other aid. Then it will be up to Iran’s possible allies, like Russia and China to make the next move.

If you are thinking that this sounds like the type of scenario that could cause World War III to erupt, you would be correct.

The Iranians and the Saudis both have weapons of mass destruction, and so a direct conflict between the two would seem to be unthinkable.

But rational thinking does not always prevail in the Middle East.  The conflict between Sunni Islam and Shia Islam has a long and bitter history, and the bad blood between the Saudis and the Iranians is never going to subside until one side or the other ultimately prevails.

Let us hope that a “hot war” between Saudi Arabia and Iran does not erupt any time soon, because such a war would not be good for the United States whatsoever.  Pretty much every scenario that you can imagine ends with enormous numbers of innocent people dead, and such a conflict could ultimately be the spark that sets off World War III.

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

Is Saudi Arabia Heading For War With Iran?

Is a major war in the Middle East looming on the horizon?  Most of us living in the western world simply do not realize how much Saudi Arabia and Iran truly hate one another.  Saudi Arabia is the global center for Sunni Islam, and Iran is the global center for Shia Islam, and the two major sects of Islam have a history of bad blood that literally goes back for over a thousand years.  The Saudis and the Iranians are already engaged in “proxy wars” in Syria and in Yemen, and now a missile that was fired at Riyadh’s international airport threatens to turn the conflict between the two regional powers into a hot war.

If you are tempted to think that I am exaggerating one bit, just consider what the New York Times is saying about this…

Saudi Arabia charged Monday that Iran had committed “a blatant act of military aggression” by providing its Yemeni allies with a missile fired at the Saudi capital over the weekend, raising the threat of a direct military clash between the two regional heavyweights.

The accusations represent a new peak in tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran at a time when they are already fighting proxy wars in Yemen and Syria, as well as battles for political power in Iraq and Lebanon.

And Yahoo is reporting that the Saudis are saying that this missile attack “may amount to an act of war”…

On Monday, a Saudi-led military coalition battling Tehran-backed rebels in Yemen said it reserved the “right to respond” to the missile attack on Riyadh at the weekend, calling it a “blatant military aggression by the Iranian regime which may amount to an act of war”.

Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir also warned Tehran.

“Iranian interventions in the region are detrimental to the security of neighbouring countries and affect international peace and security. We will not allow any infringement on our national security,” Jubeir tweeted.

For those that have not grasped the implications of what I am saying yet, let me break this down very simply for you.

If Saudi Arabia and Iran go to war, the United States will be involved in that war on the side of the Saudis.

It would be a war unlike anything we have ever seen in the history of the Middle East, and it is almost a certainty that weapons of mass destruction would be used in such a war.

Essentially, what we are talking about is the potential for World War III to erupt in the Middle East.

And all of this comes at a time when the biggest “purge” in the modern history of Saudi Arabia is taking place

A campaign of mass arrests of Saudi Arabian royals, ministers and businessmen expanded on Monday after a top entrepreneur was reportedly detained in the biggest anti-corruption purge of the kingdom’s affluent elite in its modern history.

The reported arrest of Nasser bin Aqeel al-Tayyar followed the detention of dozens of top Saudis including billionaire investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in a crackdown that the attorney general described as “phase one”.

The purge is the latest in a series of dramatic steps by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to assert Saudi influence internationally and amass more power for himself at home.

Some would say that the Saudis are “cracking down on corruption”, while others would say that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is “consolidating power” prior to going to war.

In any event, this situation deserves our full attention, because it could ultimately result in a major regional war in which the United States is directly involved.

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

How The Elite Dominate The World – Part 4: They Buy Politicians, And Incumbents Almost Always Win

Once we wake up to how the game is being played, then we will have a real shot at changing things.  For decades, the elite have been pulling the strings behind the scenes in both major political parties.  That is why nothing has ever seemed to change very much no matter which party has been in power.  The agenda of the elite has always seemed to march forward, and ordinary people like us have always been frustrated that we can’t seem to make a difference.  But now a shift seems to be taking place.  Donald Trump took on the establishment in both major parties, and he miraculously won the presidency.  Down in Alabama, the elite spent more than 30 million dollars to defeat Roy Moore, and he still defeated Luther Strange.  A political awakening is taking place, and I can’t wait to see what happens during the mid-term elections in 2018.

In Part I and Part II of this series, I talked about how the elite use debt as a tool of enslavement.  In Part III, I went over how the elite use the colossal media corporations they own to control what we think.  Today, I want to talk about their influence in the realm of politics.

In Washington D.C., it is well understood that the game of politics is all about the money.  If I win my election, and online polling suggests that there is a ton of enthusiasm for my campaign, I will be expected to spend most of my time on the phone raising money.  As a freshman member of Congress, at orientation it will be explained to me that I am supposed to spend approximately four hours a day doing fundraising, and that is why the House and Senate floors are so empty most of the time.

By law, members of Congress cannot make fundraising calls from their offices, and so both parties have huge call centers just across from the Capitol.  Especially around lunch and dinner times (because those are some of the best times to reach people), those call centers are packed as members of the House and Senate run through lists of potential donors.

And it isn’t just about raising money for their own campaigns.  As a freshman member of Congress I would be expected to raise at least $200,000 for the NRCC (the National Republican Congressional Committee).  If I don’t pay my dues, I would get into big trouble with party leadership.

But you know what?  I have already pledged that I am not going to participate in this very corrupt system.  If I am sent to Congress, I am going to spend my time doing the job that the people of Idaho sent me there to do.

So will Paul Ryan and the others in leadership get very upset with me for not “paying my dues”?

Of course.

But it is time for some of us to take a stand and do what is right.  Congress has become a cesspool of filth and corruption, and it is time to flush the toilet.

Because if we don’t fight this corrupt system, the influence of money in politics will just get worse and worse.  Today, the elite pour millions upon millions of dollars even into small campaigns, and in 2016 it took an average of more than 10 million dollars to win a U.S. Senate seat

While the White House may not have gone to the biggest spender, an awful lot of House and Senate seats did — as usual. And it was pricier than ever to win them.

This election cycle, an average winning Senate candidate had spent $10.4 million through Oct. 19 (reflecting the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission). That’s a $1.8 million increase over the same period in the 2014 cycle. By the end of last cycle, the number rose to $10.6 million, and a similar uptick is expected this time once post-election and year-end reports are filed.

Once you win, the pressure to raise money for your next campaign never ends.

The elite know this, and they use this pressure to influence votes.  Prior to a big vote, lobbyists will make it abundantly clear how they want certain members of Congress to vote, and if they vote the “right way” those members of Congress will be rewarded.

Just across from the U.S. Capitol there are clubs where fancy receptions are regularly held.  If you vote the “right way” on a particular bill, you may be invited to one of these receptions, and there will be big, fat donation checks waiting there for you.

Of course most members of Congress have learned how to play the game, and this is why it is nearly impossible to defeat incumbents.  Over the past six decades, the re-election rate for members of the House of Representatives has consistently been well over 80 percent, and according to the UVA Center for Politics incumbents actually did far better than that in 2016…

This election cycle, 393 of 435 House representatives, 29 of 34 senators, and five of 12 governors sought reelection (several of the governors were prohibited from seeking another term). Of those, 380 of 393 House members (97%), 27 of 29 senators (93%), and four of five governors (80%) won another term. These members of Congress and governors not only won renomination, but also won in November.

Since World War II, the overall success rate for Senate incumbents has been 84 percent, and the overall success rate for House incumbents has been 94 percent.

Incumbents are almost always armed with huge war chests and most of them have tremendous name recognition, and so toppling them is not easy.

Fortunately, there is no incumbent in my race because Raul Labrador is running for governor.  So the race is completely wide open, and right now my campaign has the most enthusiasm by far.  If you would like to help me flush the toilet in Washington, I would encourage you to visit MichaelSnyderForCongress.com.

If we don’t fight back, we will never break the stranglehold that the elite have on our political system.

Every generation of Americans has had to stand up and fight for liberty and freedom, and now it is our turn.  This particular battle will not be fought with guns and bullets, but rather with ideas, values and principles.

We are part of a movement that is sweeping the nation.  Good men and women are rising up to run in federal, state and local races all across the country, and it is absolutely imperative that we all get behind them and support them.

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

How The Elite Dominate The World – Part 3: 90% Of What You Watch On Television Is Controlled By Just 6 Giant Corporations

How much is your view of the world shaped by what you see on television?  On average, Americans spend more than 150 hours watching television every month, and it is called “programming” for a reason.  If you allow anyone to pour ideas and information into your mind for five hours a day, it is going to change how you look at reality.  Everyone has an agenda, and every single news program, television show and movie is trying to alter your views.  Sadly, our society has become absolutely addicted to media, and the mainstream media is completely dominated by the elite.  In fact, about 90 percent of the programming that comes through your television is controlled by just 6 gigantic media corporations.  Most of us are willingly plugging ourselves into this “propaganda matrix” that is completely dominated by the elite for several hours each day, and that gives them an enormous amount of power over the rest of us.

In Part I and Part II of this series, I discussed how the elite use money as a tool to dominate the planet.  Today, we are going to talk about how they use information.  If you control what people think, then you control a society.  And through their vast media empires, the elite are able to shape how we all think to a frightening degree.

Just think about it.  What do we talk about with our family, our friends and our co-workers?  To a large extent, those conversations are about movies, television shows, something that we just saw on the news or a sporting event that just took place.  The reason why we talk about certain things is because the mainstream media gives those things attention, and other things we ignore because the mainstream media does not make them seem to be important.

The mainstream media literally sets the agenda for our society, and it would be difficult to overstate the power that is in their hands.  And as I mentioned above, the mainstream media is almost entirely controlled by just 6 colossal corporations.  The following list of these 6 corporate giants comes from one of my previous articles, and this is just a sampling of the media properties that they each own…

Comcast

NBC
Telemundo
Universal Pictures
Focus Features
USA Network
Bravo
CNBC
The Weather Channel
MSNBC
Syfy
NBCSN
Golf Channel
Esquire Network
E!
Cloo
Chiller
Universal HD
Comcast SportsNet
Universal Parks & Resorts
Universal Studio Home Video

The Walt Disney Company

ABC Television Network
ESPN
The Disney Channel
A&E
Lifetime
Marvel Entertainment
Lucasfilm
Walt Disney Pictures
Pixar Animation Studios
Disney Mobile
Disney Consumer Products
Interactive Media
Disney Theme Parks
Disney Records
Hollywood Records
Miramax Films
Touchstone Pictures

News Corporation

Fox Broadcasting Company
Fox News Channel
Fox Business Network
Fox Sports 1
Fox Sports 2
National Geographic
Nat Geo Wild
FX
FXX
FX Movie Channel
Fox Sports Networks
The Wall Street Journal
The New York Post
Barron’s
SmartMoney
HarperCollins
20th Century Fox
Fox Searchlight Pictures
Blue Sky Studios
Beliefnet
Zondervan

Time Warner

CNN
The CW
HBO
Cinemax
Cartoon Network
HLN
NBA TV
TBS
TNT
TruTV
Turner Classic Movies
Warner Bros.
Castle Rock
DC Comics
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment
New Line Cinema
Sports Illustrated
Fortune
Marie Claire
People Magazine

Viacom

MTV
Nickelodeon
VH1
BET
Comedy Central
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Home Entertainment
Country Music Television (CMT)
Spike TV
The Movie Channel
TV Land

CBS Corporation

CBS Television Network
The CW (along with Time Warner)
CBS Sports Network
Showtime
TVGN
CBS Radio, Inc.
CBS Television Studios
Simon & Schuster
Infinity Broadcasting
Westwood One Radio Network

If nobody tuned in to their “programming”, they would not have any power over us.

But according to a report put out by Nielsen, Americans are plugging into “the matrix” more than ever before.  The following is how our daily use of media breaks down by device

Live TV: 4 hours, 31 minutes
Time-Shifted TV: 33 minutes
Radio: 1 hour, 52 minutes
DVDs: 8 minutes
Video Game Consoles: 14 minutes
Multimedia Devices (Apple TV, Roku, etc.): 13 minutes
Internet on PC: 58 minutes
Smartphone: 1 hour, 39 minutes
Tablet: 31 minutes

When you total those numbers up, it comes to 10 hours and 39 minutes.

In essence, Americans are spending most of their waking hours plugged in to something.

And if you only add together “live television” and “time-shifted television”, Americans are spending an average of more than five hours each day just watching television.

Of course many of us spend countless hours on the Internet as well.  It has been estimated that 54,907 Google searches are conducted, 7,252 tweets are posted, 125,406 YouTube videos are viewed, and 2,501,018 emails are sent out every single second.

You may have guessed this already, but most of the news and information that we consume on the Internet is also controlled by the elite

Overall, the top 10 publishers — together owning around 60 news sites — account for 47% of total online traffic to news content last year, with the next-biggest 140 publishers accounting for most of the other half, SimilarWeb found.

The biggest online news publisher for the U.S. audience was MSN, owner of MSN.com, with just over 27 billion combined page views across mobile and desktop, followed by Disney Media Networks, owner of ESPN and ABC News, with 25.9 billion.

This is why the “alternative media” is so important.  All over America and all over the world, people are waking up and realizing that they aren’t getting the truth from the mainstream media, and they are hungry for truly independent sources of information.

The only way that we are ever going to be able to throw off the insidious system of control that the elite have established is by winning the information war.  We are literally in a constant battle for hearts and minds, and the good news is that we have made a lot of progress.  Over the past decade we have “red pilled” millions upon millions of people, but we still have a long way to go.

Faith in the corporate media is dwindling, and the elite are deeply concerned about this.  The Internet has allowed ordinary people like us to communicate on a mass scale, and this has never been the case before in human history.  We have a window of opportunity to fight back against the elite, and we must not let this opportunity pass us by.

We are literally engaged in a battle for the future of this planet, and let us never waver in our pursuit of victory.

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

3 Examples That Show How Common Core Is Destroying Math Education In America

Whenever you let federal bureaucrats get their hands on anything they are probably going to ruin it.  During the Obama administration, the Department of Education spearheaded a transformation of American education that was absolutely breathtaking.  Over a period of about five years, Common Core standards were implemented in almost every state in the entire nation.  Unfortunately, this has resulted in a huge step backward for public education in this country.  Common Core has been called “state-sponsored child abuse”, and it is a big reason why U.S. students are scoring so poorly on standardized tests compared to much of the rest of the world.

According to Wikipedia, at one point 46 states had adopted Common Core, but now some states are having second thoughts…

46 states initially adopted the Common Core State Standards, although implementation has not been uniform. At least 12 states have introduced legislation to repeal the standards outright,[1] and Indiana has since withdrawn from the standards.

Sadly, many parents don’t even understand how dramatically our system of education has been tampered with.  In her book entitled The Education Invasion: How Common Core Fights Parents for Control of American Kids, Joy Pullmann exposes how the Gates Foundation has been one of the key players in the effort to get Common Core introduced into classrooms all over America…

Organized in seven chapters, her book describes how the Gates Foundation promoted and continues to promote one extremely wealthy couple’s uninformed, unsupported, and unsupportable ideas on education for other people’s children while their own children are enrolled in a non-Common Cored private school. It explains how (but not exactly why) the Gates Foundation helped to centralize control of public education in the U.S. Department of Education. It also explains why parents, teachers, local school boards, and state legislators were the last to learn how the public schools their local and state taxes supported had been nationalized without Congressional knowledge or permission; and why they were expected to believe that their local public schools were now accountable for what and how they teach … not to the local and state taxpayers who fund them or to locally-elected school boards that by law are still supposed to set education policies not already determined by their state legislature … but to a distant bureaucracy in exchange for money to their state department of education to close “achievement gaps” between unspecified groups.

But this isn’t just an issue about control.  The truth is that the approach to teaching basic fundamentals such as how to add and how to subtract is fundamentally different under Common Core.

Let me share just three examples that show how much Common Core is changing the way that U.S. students learn math.  All of these examples have been floating around Facebook, and if you have never seen these before they are likely to make you quite angry.

If I asked you to subtract 12 from 32, how would you do it?  Well, the “new way” is much, much more complicated than how we were all taught to do it…

If that first one seemed bizarre to you, than you really aren’t going to like this one…

And this last one was so confusing that a parent with a degree in engineering decided to include his own commentary on his child’s homework…

How are kids supposed to function in the real world if this is how they are learning to do basic math?

Personally, I am going to teach my daughter that 9 + 6 equals 15.  But that isn’t how it is supposed to be done under Common Core.  You can watch a video of a teacher explaining the very convoluted Common Core way to solve that math equation right here.

And of course it isn’t just math that is the problem.  Common Core is systematically “dumbing down” our young people, and that may help to explain why the average U.S. college freshman now reads at a seventh grade level.

So what is the answer?

The first step in fixing our education system is to repeal Common Core.  But even in red states such as Idaho there is a lot of resistance

Since their inception, the Idaho Core Standards have been enmeshed in controversy.

Some legislators and citizens have pushed for a repeal of the Idaho Core Standards, the state’s version of Common Core standards in math and English language arts. Those repeal efforts have gone nowhere in the Legislature.

I don’t know what is wrong with our legislators.  The Republicans have full control in this state, and so there is absolutely no excuse for not getting something done.

As I end this article, I want to give you an idea of just how far the quality of education in America has fallen over the past 100 years.  In Kentucky, an eighth grade exam from 1912 made a lot of headlines when it was donated to the Bullitt County History Museum.  As you can see, it is doubtful whether many of our college students would be able to pass such an exam today…