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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…

America The Debt Pig: We Are A ‘Buy Now, Pay Later’ Society – And ‘Pay Later’ Is Rapidly Approaching

America The Pig - Public DomainIf you really wanted to live like a millionaire, you could start doing it right now.  All you have to do is to apply for as many credit cards as possible and then begin running up credit card balances like there is no tomorrow.  At this point, I know what most of you are probably thinking.  You are probably thinking that such a lifestyle would not last for long and that a day of reckoning would eventually come, and you would be exactly right.  In fact, anyone that has ever had a tremendous amount of credit card debt knows how painful that day of reckoning can be.  To mindlessly run up credit card debt is exceedingly reckless, but unfortunately that is precisely what we have been doing as a nation as a whole.  We are a “buy now, pay later” society, and our national day of reckoning is approaching very, very quickly.

Often we like to focus on our exploding national debt, but household debt is out of control too.  In fact, the total amount of household debt in the United States is now up to a whopping 12.3 trillion dolllars

In the second quarter, total household debt increased by $35 billion to $12.3 trillion, according to the New York Fed’s latest quarterly report on household debt. That increase was driven by two categories: auto loans and credit cards.

We throw around words like “trillion” so often these days that they often start to lose their meaning.  But the truth is that 12.3 trillion dollars is an astounding amount of money.  It breaks down to about $38,557 for every man, woman and child in the entire country.  So if you have a family of four, your share comes to a grand total of $154,231, and that doesn’t even include corporate debt, local government debt, state government debt or the gigantic debt of the federal government.  That number is only for household debt, and there aren’t too many Americans that could cough up their share right at this moment.

Do you remember when I wrote about how credit card companies are specifically targeting less educated and less sophisticated consumers?  Well, that is where much of the credit card debt growth has come lately.  Just check out these numbers

Now, credit cards are returning among individuals with low credit or subprime credit scores below 660. Among people with credit scores between 620 and 660, the share that had a credit card rose to 58.8% in 2015 from a low of 54.3% in 2013. Among those with scores below 620, the number of people with a credit card increased to 50% from a low of 45.6% two years ago. Both figures for 2015 are the highest since 2008.

In America today, we are enjoying a standard of living that we do not deserve.

We consume far more wealth than we produce.  The only way we are able to do that is by going into debt.

Debt takes future consumption and brings it into the present.  In other words, we are damaging the future in order to make the present a little bit better.  On an individual level, we may enjoy the big screen television we buy with a credit card today, but we are taking away our ability to spend money later.  And on a national level, what our unprecedented debt binge is doing to future generations of Americans is beyond criminal.

Earlier this month I explained these things to a live studio audience down at Morningside, and you can view a video of that right here

In this article I haven’t even talked about corporate debt yet.  Instead of learning their lessons from the last financial crisis, big corporations have gone on the biggest debt spree of all time.  If you can believe it, corporate debt has approximately doubled since the last financial crisis.  In other words, since the last recession we have essentially matched the total amount of corporate debt that we accumulated from the beginning of the country up to 2009.

Unfortunately, a lot of that debt is now going bad.

In previous articles I have documented that corporate debt delinquencies are now the highest that they have been since the last financial crisis, and corporate debt defaults are also the highest that they have been since the last financial crisis.

At this point, even the mainstream media is acknowledging that we have a corporate debt “crisis”.  The following comes from an article that was just put out by the Denver Post

The number of companies that have defaulted so far this year has already passed the total for all of last year, which itself had the most since the financial crisis. Even among companies considered high-quality, or investment grade, credit-rating agencies say a record number are so stretched financially that they’re one bad quarter or so from being downgraded to “junk” status.

Companies whose debt is already deemed “junk” are in the worst shape in years. To pay back all they owe, they would have to set aside every dollar of their operating earnings over the next eight and a half years, more than twice as long as it would have taken during the 2008 crisis, according to Bank of America Merrill Lynch.

Are you starting to get the picture?

And I haven’t even started talking about our national debt yet.  When Barack Obama entered the White House, we were 10.6 trillion dollars in debt.  Today, we are 19.4 trillion dollars in debt.  That means that we have added 8.8 trillion dollars to the national debt under Obama, which breaks down to an average of 1.1 trillion dollars of additional debt a year.

We have been taking more than 100 million dollars of future consumption and bringing it into the present every single hour of every single day during the Obama administration.  That is why I am constantly referring to our “debt-fueled standard of living”.  We do not deserve to live the way that we do, but since we are able to steal from our children and our grandchildren we are able to enjoy a standard of living that most people in the world can only dream about.

Of course we are literally destroying the future of America in the process, but very few people seem to care about that these days.

Without all of this debt, we would be in a very deep economic depression right now.

But even with all of this “stimulus”, we are still mired in the worst economic “recovery” since 1949.  In fact, Barack Obama is actually on track to be the very first president in all of American history to not have one single year when U.S. GDP grew by 3 percent or better, and he has had two terms in which to try to get that accomplished.  The percentage of working age Americans that actually have a job is way down from where it was just prior to the last recession, and in this video I explain why the employment numbers put out by the government are not nearly as good as the administration would have us believe…

If the American people would have been willing to sacrifice and make some very hard choices a long time ago, maybe we could have gotten a handle on all of this debt.

But instead we continue to rack up debt as if there is no tomorrow, and in the process we are literally destroying tomorrow.

Every dollar of debt that we accumulate now makes life worse for our children and our grandchildren.

Unfortunately, we are a bunch of debt pigs, and we just can’t help ourselves.  We have come to believe that it is “normal” to go into so much debt, and as a society we continue to race toward economic oblivion.

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.

Are Trolls Turning The Internet Into A Festival Of Hate?

Love Hate - Public DomainHave you noticed that people say some of the most hateful things imaginable on the Internet?  Earlier today, I came across a Time Magazine article entitled “How Trolls Are Ruining the Internet“, and it made me reflect on my own experience as the publisher of a number of prominent websites.  Over the years, I have often gotten to see what is really going on in some of the darkest hearts in our society.  There are people that come to my websites that somehow think that making crude sexual remarks about the wives and children of people that they have never met is perfectly acceptable behavior.  There are others that say incredibly vile things about people that have a different skin color than they do, and some people have a hatred for Christians and the Christian faith that is absolutely frightening.  I can’t understand why anyone would want to be like that, but apparently this kind of behavior is very widespread.  In fact, one Pew Research Center survey discovered that 70 percent of all 18-to-24-year-olds who use the Internet have experienced harassment at some point.

Sadly, the truth is that the relative anonymity of the Internet allows people to reveal what is really in their hearts.  For some people, the Internet magnifies the kindness and goodness that is in their hearts, but for others it does the exact opposite.  From the safety of their own homes, they endlessly spew speech that is so abusive that it is hard to imagine that the person spewing it is actually human.

These people are commonly known as “trolls”, and the following is how the Time Magazine article that I mentioned above describes these trolls

Psychologists call this the online disinhibition effect, in which factors like anonymity, invisibility, a lack of authority and not communicating in real time strip away the mores society spent millennia building. And it’s seeping from our smartphones into every aspect of our lives.

The people who relish this online freedom are called trolls, a term that originally came from a fishing method online thieves use to find victims. It quickly morphed to refer to the monsters who hide in darkness and threaten people. Internet trolls have a manifesto of sorts, which states they are doing it for the “lulz,” or laughs. What trolls do for the lulz ranges from clever pranks to harassment to violent threats.

Whatever happened to treating other people the way that you would like to be treated?

When did the Golden Rule go out of style?

As our society becomes more evil, hearts all over the country are growing cold, and one of the results is that the Internet is being transformed into a festival of hatred.  The same Time Magazine article detailed some particularly disturbing examples of troll hate

They’ve been steadily upping their game. In 2011, trolls descended on Facebook memorial pages of recently deceased users to mock their deaths. In 2012, after feminist Anita Sarkeesian started a Kickstarter campaign to fund a series of YouTube videos chronicling misogyny in video games, she received bomb threats at speaking engagements, doxxing threats, rape threats and an unwanted starring role in a video game called Beat Up Anita Sarkeesian. In June of this year, Jonathan Weisman, the deputy Washington editor of the New York Times, quit Twitter, on which he had nearly 35,000 followers, after a barrage of anti-Semitic messages. At the end of July, feminist writer Jessica Valenti said she was leaving social media after receiving a rape threat against her daughter, who is 5 years old.

On a very basic level, the Internet allows people to reveal who they really are.  Unfortunately, we are finding out that a lot of us are truly vile human beings.  Some time ago, a team of Canadian researchers did some research on Internet trolls, and what they found out was quite alarming

They conducted two online studies with over 1,200 people, giving personality tests to each subject along with a survey about their Internet commenting behavior. They were looking for evidence that linked trolling with the “Dark Tetrad” of personality traits: narcissism, Machiavellianism, psychopathy, and sadism.

They found that Dark Tetrad scores were highest among people who said trolling was their favorite Internet activity.

It should be no surprise that our society is crawling with narcissists, psychopaths and sadists.  For decades we have been pushing God out of every corner of public life, and as a result we have seen a moral decline that is absolutely unprecedented in our history.

So what can be done?

Is there a way that the trolls can be stopped?

Some big websites have stepped up their efforts to ban people that are advocating hatred and violence.  For instance, the New York Times says that Twitter just suspended 235,000 accounts “that promoted terrorism”…

Twitter suspended 235,000 accounts that promoted terrorism over the last six months, as part of a continuing effort to keep people from using the social network for extremist causes, the company said Thursday.

“The world has witnessed a further wave of deadly, abhorrent terror attacks across the globe,” Twitter said in a statement. “We strongly condemn these acts and remain committed to eliminating the promotion of violence or terrorism on our platform.”

And I definitely applaud Twitter for that.

But where does the censorship stop?  All too often, the definition of “extremists” goes far beyond violent terrorists.

Just consider what is happening during this campaign season.  Virtually all of the big tech companies have engaged in some form of “pro-Trump censorship”, and this was brilliantly detailed in a recent piece by Liz Crokin.  The following is a short excerpt…

I began looking into how strong the bias and censorship runs in these forums after I did an interview on the pro-Trump podcast, MAGAPod. The show’s host, Mark Hammond, was disappointed Apple wouldn’t run his show without an “explicit” warning. Hammond’s podcast didn’t contain content that would be deemed explicit under Apple’s policy, and most other shows in the News & Politics category aren’t labeled as such.

On June 18, Hammond talked to Sandra, a representative from Apple. She explained that, since the description of his show is pro-Trump, his show is explicit in nature—because the subject matter is Donald Trump. So, an Apple employee concluded the Republican presidential candidate is explicit.

iTunes has dozens of podcasts discussing Osama Bin Laden and Adolf Hitler—none of which is marked explicit.

And of course it probably won’t surprise you to learn that Apple CEO Tim Cook is a huge Hillary Clinton supporter and recently hosted a $50,000 per plate fundraiser for her campaign.

So where do we draw the line?

On my websites, I try to let everyone have their say as much as possible.  I very much believe in the “marketplace of ideas”, and I very much believe that the interaction between light and darkness can produce some extraordinary results.

But that also means that I often allow people to say things that I find highly offensive.

I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do know that the problem is growing.  As our society continues to come apart at the seams, the hatred on the Internet will continue to increase.

The Internet is used for all sorts of horrible things, but it can also be used to do great things as well.  As the darkness rises, I would encourage all of us to choose to be lights.

In a world filled with hate, love is desperately needed.

So instead of responding to hate with even more hate, let us seek to become people of great faith, great hope and great love.

America: You Will Go Insane Because Of What Your Eyes Will See

Woman Eyes Water - Public DomainA cloud of madness is descending on America, and most of us are completely unprepared for the chaos that will be unleashed during the months ahead.  This morning, I was reading through Deuteronomy when I came to a phrase that really resonated with me.  In the Modern English Version, this is what Deuteronomy 28:34 says: “You will go insane because of what your eyes will see”.  As I read that, it struck me that this is precisely what America is heading for.  There are going to be people that have vast quantities of food and supplies stored up that are still going to blow their brains out when they see what happens to this country because they don’t have any hope.  Without hope, I don’t know how anyone is going to make it through what is coming.  If you think that the unrest and violence in Milwaukee are disturbing, just wait for a while, because much, much worse is on the way.

On Monday, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker declared a state of emergency in Milwaukee, and the National Guard was brought in but not deployed after another night of chaos made headlines all over the globe.  According to Fox News, 11 police officers have been injured by the violence so far…

Chunks of concrete and rocks hurled at police — and shards of glass from shattered squad car windows — injured seven officers, upping the two-day tally to 11 wounded cops, Police Chief Edward Flynn said on Monday.

Additionally, an 18-year-old man was shot and seriously injured, and officers had to use an armored vehicle to retrieve the man and take him to a hospital. Flynn said the city’s ShotSpotter system recorded 30 instances of gunfire on Sunday night, after 48 instances were recorded on Saturday.

It has also been reported that another police vehicle was set on fire late Monday night.  Authorities are desperate to avoid a third night in a row like this, and so a strict curfew has been put in place

After 10 o’clock your teenagers better be home or in a place where they’re off the streets,” Mayor Tom Barrett said.

Barrett made the announcement as tensions remained high in the Sherman Park neighborhood and police were out in force while the National Guard was on standby and ready to move in if necessary.

And that is one of the saddest things about this latest round of violence.  So much of it is being done by youngsters that are just kids.  Their minds have been poisoned, their emotions have been stirred up, and they are committing random acts of violence that would have been unthinkable for American teens to commit just a couple generations ago.

Racial tensions are constantly being fueled by many of our politicians and by the big mainstream news networks.  As a result, instead of coming together as a country and learning to love people no matter where they are from or what they look like, we have entered a time when people are literally becoming fearful of being around others that don’t have the same skin color that they do.  Just check out this quote from CNN

People are afraid of each other,” resident Reginald Jackson said last year. “Black people are afraid of the white parts of town. White people are afraid of the black and Latino parts of town.”

Just two days ago, I delivered an address down at Morningside that was all about love.  As a society, we have got to learn to love one another or we are simply not going to make it.

Since I am the publisher of several major websites, I get to review comments that people leave on the various articles.  Many of those comments never get published on my websites, and in a lot of those instances this is because they contain some of the most hateful racist language imaginable.

Every single person, no matter who they are, where they are from or what they look like, is of immense value.  When we decide to believe otherwise, we are making an absolutely tragic mistake.

It isn’t just in Milwaukee that violence is rising.  Over in Chicago, we just witnessed the deadliest day in more than a decade.  As I recently detailed on The Most Important News, there are at least 150,000 gang members living in Chicago today, and only about 13,000 law enforcement officers of all types to deal with them.  That means that the police are outnumbered by a more than 10 to 1 margin, and at this point shootings are up about 50 percent compared to the same time last year…

Last week the Chicago Tribune pointed out that nearly 100 people had been shot in Chicago in less than a week.  9 people were killed on Monday alone marking the deadliest day for the city in 13 years.  Now, with weekend data out, turns out the story is even worse.  For the week ended 8/13, a total of 110 people were shot in Chicago with 24 of them killed.  YTD statistics indicate the city is spiraling out of control with total shootings up to 2,621, a mere ~50% YoY increase, with 445 total homicides.

The ironic thing is that Chicago has some of the strictest gun laws in the entire nation.  Obviously, what the liberal politicians have been attempting to do is not working.  The following comes from the New York Times

Not a single gun shop can be found in this city because they are outlawed.  Handguns were banned in Chicago for decades, too, until 2010, when the United States Supreme Court ruled that was going too far, leading city leaders to settle for restrictions some describe as the closest they could get legally to a ban without a ban. Despite a continuing legal fight, Illinois remains the only state in the nation with no provision to let private citizens carry guns in public.

If unrest and violence are spiking this dramatically in places like Milwaukee and Chicago now, what are things going to be like when economic conditions start getting really, really bad in this nation?

During the months and years ahead, we are all going to see things that we never thought we would see happen in America.

In a world gone crazy, people are going to need hope, and that is why hope is going to become a larger and larger part of my message.

Hal Lindsey once said that we “can live about forty days without food, about three days without water, about eight minutes without air…but only for one second without hope.”

So let us all be a source of hope, because it is going to be in very short supply during the days to come.

Violence Erupts In America’s Heartland As Milwaukee Becomes The Latest U.S. City To Burn

Milwaukee Riot - YouTube ScreenshotThe city of Milwaukee, Wisconsin exploded in violence last night as the wave of chaos and civil unrest that is sweeping across America continues to intensify.  At this point, many of our largest cities have become powder kegs of anger and frustration, and a full-blown riot can be set off with a single bullet.  In this case, an armed suspect was shot and killed by Milwaukee police as he attempted to evade the police, and his death almost instantly set off pandemonium in the heart of the city.  America is being ripped apart, and much more violence is coming.  Decades of social decay and economic decline have fundamentally transformed many of our greatest cities, and tensions that have been simmering for a very long time are now being brought to a boil.  Sadly, it seems quite likely that we will see even more rage, hatred and divisiveness in the months ahead.

The sudden eruption of violence that we witnessed in Milwaukee last night was absolutely stunning.  Within just hours after the shooting of the armed suspect, fires were burning all over the city

Protesters clashed with officers in the hours after a Milwaukee police officer shot and killed an armed suspect during a foot chase. After an hours-long confrontation with officers, police reported that a gas station was set on fire. Police said firefighters initially could not get close to the blaze because of gunshots.

Later, fires were started at a bank branch, a beauty supply company and an auto parts store as scores of people gathered near the crime scene on the city’s north side, a grim Mayor Tom Barrett said at a news conference Saturday night. He said the unrest was driven by a social media frenzy urging people to gather in the area.

Of course police were one of the primary targets of the violence.  It is being reported that at least one squad car was set ablaze, and another had a brick thrown through a window.

One prominent Milwaukee city official is blaming racial injustice for the violence.  The following comes from CNN

City Alderman Khalif Rainey said the area has been a “powder keg” for potential violence throughout the summer.

“What happened tonight may not have been right and I am not justifying that but no one can deny the fact that there are problems, racial problems in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, that need to be rectified,” Rainey said. “This community of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, has become the worst place to live for African Americans in the entire country.”

Rainey said Saturday’s violence was a byproduct of inequities, injustice, unemployment and under-education.

“Something has to be done to address these issues,” he said. “The black people of Milwaukee are tired, they are tired of living under this oppression, this is their life.”

Without a doubt, the suffering that is going on in our inner cities is intense.  Our economic infrastructure has been gutted by decades of bad trade deals, and evidence of severe social and moral decay is all around us.

But no matter how bad things are, there is never any excuse for committing random acts of violence.  In addition to setting businesses on fire, it is being reported that rioters were trying to drag people out of their vehicles in order to beat them up.

How in the world does that solve anything?

Meanwhile, police all over the nation continue to be targets of violence.  In a previous article, I told my readers that the number of police officers that have been shot and killed this year has risen by 78 percent compared to last year.

Well, over the past few days some more officers have been added to the list.  For example, the following is an excerpt from a CNN report about an officer that was just shot and killed in south Georgia…

A police officer was shot dead while responding to a call of a suspicious person in south Georgia, authorities said.

The shooting occurred Saturday night after the officer, Tim Smith, got the call in a residential area in Eastman, special agent Scott Whitley of the Georgia Bureau of Investigations said.

While on patrol, Smith encountered the subject and exited his car. That’s when he was fatally shot, Whitley said.

And this is from a Fox News report about an officer that was shot and killed in New Mexico…

Two Ohio fugitives wanted for a murder have been arrested after authorities say one of them fatally shot a New Mexico police officer.

Dona Ana County Sheriff’s spokeswoman Kelly Jameson said Saturday that 38-year-old Jesse Hanes is suspected of gunning down Hatch Police Officer Jose Chavez during a traffic stop Friday.

In addition, there was another very disturbing incident that just happened a few days ago in Arkansas.  When a suspect started shooting at police officers, one was killed, one was wounded, and a police dog named Kina that got hit and ran away was just found on Saturday

Police spokeswoman Kristin Faulkenberry told reporters the dog, named Kina, “was up and walking” when searchers found the animal Friday morning near where the shooting unfolded near Hackett, about 115 miles west of Little Rock.

The dog was shot and ran into a wooded area Wednesday when a man identified as Billy Monroe Jones opened fire on officers, killing Sebastian County Deputy Bill Cooper and wounding Hackett Police Chief Darrell Spells.

Earlier today I talked to a friend of mine that works as a police officer, and he admitted that he and his wife do think about all of this violence that is being directed at the police.  I suppose that it would be exceedingly difficult not to.  Those that are serving their communities in this way are going to have a very tough time moving forward.  At this point every single law enforcement officer in the entire nation is a potential target, and they are just going to have to find a way to deal with this new reality.

America is more divided than I have ever seen in my entire lifetime.  Instead of learning how to love one another, hatred is growing by the day.

More chaos is coming, more violence is coming, and more of our cities will burn.

Things didn’t have to turn out this way, but thanks to decades of incredibly foolish decisions we will now reap what we have sown.

Why The Jobs Report Is Not Nearly As Strong As You Are Being Told

Jobs Unemployment Main Street - Public DomainHappy days are here again? On Friday, the mainstream media was buzzing with the news that the U.S. economy had added 255,000 jobs during the month of July. But as you will see below, the U.S. economy did not add 255,000 jobs during the month of July. In fact, without an extremely generous “seasonal adjustment”, the number of jobs added during the month of July would not have even kept up with population growth. But the pretend number sounds so much better than the real number, and so the pretend number is what is being promoted for public consumption.

Why doesn’t the government ever just tell us the plain facts? Unfortunately, we live at a time when “spin” is everything, and just about everyone in the mainstream media seemed quite pleased with the “good jobs report” on Friday. However, as Zero Hedge has pointed out, the truth is that the “unadjusted” numbers tell a very different story…

As Mitsubishi UFJ strategist John Herrmann wrote in a note shortly after the report, the “jobs headline overstates” strength of payrolls. He adds that the unadjusted data show a “middling report” that’s “nowhere as strong as the headline” and adds that private payrolls unadjusted +85k in July vs seasonally adjusted +217k.

In Herrmann’s view, the government applied a “very benign seasonal adjustment factor upon private payrolls to transform a soft private payroll gain into a strong gain.”

He did not provide a reason why the government would do that.

Every month, the U.S. economy must create at least 150,000 new jobs just to keep up with population growth. According to the unadjusted numbers, we did not hit that threshold, and so the employment situation in this country actually got worse last month.

In America today, there are 7.8 million Americans that are considered to be officially unemployed, and another 94.3 million working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”.

When you add those two numbers together, you get a grand total of 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.

Rather than focusing on the headline “unemployment” figure, we get a much fairer look at the employment crisis in the United States when we examine the employment-population ratio. The following chart comes directly from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and it shows that the percentage of Americans that are employed has never even come close to getting back to where it was just prior to the last recession…

Employment-Population Ratio 2016

Over the past couple of years we have seen a slight bump in this number, and that is good, but normally after a recession ends the employment-population ratio goes back to at least as high as it was before.  Unfortunately, this has not happened after the last two recessions.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

The ratio always drops during recessions, but before 2001, it always climbed to higher highs during the recoveries. The 2001 recession and subsequent recovery changed this. For the first time, the ratio never fully recovered, never got even close to fully recovering. That was a new phenomenon: employment growth could no longer keep up with population growth.

When the Great Recession hit, the ratio plunged from its lower starting point at the fastest pace on record (going back to 1948). The Fed’s efforts were all focused exclusively on bailing out bondholders, re-inflating the stock market, re-inflating the housing market, and generally creating what had become the official Fed policy at the time, the Wealth Effect (here’s Bernanke himself explaining it). This has re-inflated asset prices – many of them way beyond their prior bubble peaks.

But the Fed’s astounding focus on capital accelerated the already changing dynamics of the economy, at the expense of labor.

Even the Wall Street Journal admits that we are in the weakest “economic recovery” since 1949, and now there are lots of signs that we have entered a brand new economic downturn.  Here are just a few examples from Chad Shoop

  • Ford, GM and Chrysler — three of the U.S.’ largest auto companies — reported sales for July that missed estimates: down 3%, 1.9% and up 0.3%, respectively.
  • Delta Airlines, one of the largest airlines in the world, said revenue fell 7% in July as part of its monthly performance update.
  • Macy’s, the biggest department store company, reported a decline in sales for July, leading to more aggressive markdowns and an industry-wide sell-off.

And lots of ominous signs continue to pop up on Wall Street as well.  For one thing, the Libor rate has surged to the highest level since the last financial crisis.  If you are not familiar with Libor, here is a pretty good explanation of it from Business Insider

The Libor, or London Interbank Offered Rate, measures the interest rate at which banks lend to each other at different durations, and its sharp jump was a harbinger of the financial crisis.

And according to that same article, the Libor rate is now the highest that we have seen since early 2009

In the past month, the Libor rate has spiked to rates not seen since the first quarter of 2009, the heart of the banking meltdown.

Not to mention, the spread between the Libor and the Overnight Index Swap rate, which tracks the lending rate from the Federal Reserve, has widened, another potentially worrying sign.

But of course I have been quoting facts and figures like this for months, and yet U.S. financial markets continue to hold it together.

There are literally dozens of parallels between the global financial crisis of 2008 and what is happening in 2016, but Wall Street continues to defy the laws of economics.

Of course it won’t last forever, but it certainly has been a sight to behold.

And I am certainly not alone in my analysis.  As I noted the other day, DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach is entirely convinced that stocks “should be down massively”…

“The artist Christopher Wool has a word painting, ‘Sell the house, sell the car, sell the kids.’ That’s exactly how I feel – sell everything. Nothing here looks good,” Gundlach said in a telephone interview. “The stock markets should be down massively but investors seem to have been hypnotized that nothing can go wrong.”

For the moment, investors continue to pay extremely irrational prices for stocks, and the mainstream media is just giddy about the state of the economy.

So let us enjoy this very strange period of stability for however much longer it lasts, but let us also protect ourselves from the horrible crash that will inevitably follow.

The Economic Collapse In Venezuela Is So Bad That People Are Slaughtering And Eating Zoo Animals

Black Stallion - Public DomainIf you were hungry enough, would you kill and eat zoo animals?  To most of us such a notion sounds absolutely insane, but this is actually happening in Venezuela right now.  This is a country where people are standing in lines for up to 12 hours hoping that there will be food to buy that day, and where rioting and looting have become commonplace.  So even though the U.S. economy is in dreadful shape at this moment, we should be thankful for what we have, because at least we are not experiencing a full-blown economic collapse yet like Venezuela currently is.

Black stallions can be some of the most beautiful horses on the entire planet, but things are so desperate down in Venezuela this summer that everything looks like food to some people at this point.  What happened at the Caricuao Zoo on Sunday is so horrible that I actually debated whether or not to share it with you.  Desperate people do desperate things, and when people get hungry enough they will do things such as this

Venezuela’s worsening food shortages had tragic consequences for a rare show horse last weekend, when a group of intruders broke into the zoo, pulled the black stallion from its cage, then slaughtered it for meat.

Prosecutors say the crime occurred in the small hours of Sunday morning at Caracas’ Caricuao Zoo, when “several people” sneaked into the state-run park under the cover of darkness and busted into the stallion’s pen. The horse, the only one of its kind in the zoo, was then led to a more secluded area and butchered on the spot. Only its head and ribs were left behind in a gruesome pile for zookeepers to find after sunrise.

Unfortunately, this precious animal was not even the first victim at that particular zoo.

A few weeks ago, pigs and sheep were the targets

Sadly, this horse wasn’t the first zoo animal to suffer the effects of Venezuela’s crippling food shortages. Some Vietnamese pigs and sheep were reportedly stolen from the same zoo earlier this month.

Dozens of other zoo animals are slowing starving to death because there is no food available to give to them.  In fact, it is being reported that at least 50 animals have died from lack of food at one zoo alone

At least 50 animals have died in the last six months at the Caricuao zoo in Caracas, Venezuela, due to widespread food shortages that are affecting both man and beast in the socialist nation.

Marlene Sifontes, a union leader for employees of state parks agency Inparques which oversees zoos, told Reuters that the zoo lost Vietnamese pigs, tapirs, rabbits and birds after the animals went weeks without eating. Others animals at the zoo are in danger of severe malnutrition. Lions and tigers, which should be on a carnivorous diet, are being fed mango and pumpkin just to get something in their empty stomachs, while an elephant is being fed tropical fruit instead of its usual diet of hay, the union leader said. According to one report, the big cats are being fed slaughtered thoroughbred racehorses from a nearby race track.

If what you have just read hurts your heart, let us not forget that it is not just the animals that are suffering.  There are millions of precious people down there that are living on the very edge of starvation as you read this article.

Earlier this year, one mayor came forward and admitted to the world that some people are so hungry that they are actually hunting “cats, dogs and pigeons” for food…

Ramón Muchacho, Mayor of Chacao in Caracas, said the streets of the capital of Venezuela are filled with people killing animals for food.

Through Twitter, Muchacho reported that in Venezuela, it is a “painful reality” that people “hunt cats, dogs and pigeons” to ease their hunger. People are also reportedly gathering vegetables from the ground and trash to eat as well.

The crisis in Venezuela is worsening everyday due in part to shortages reaching 70 percent […] six Venezuelan military officials were arrested for stealing goats to ease their hunger, as there was no food at the Fort Manaure military base.

With each passing week, the situation in Venezuela keeps on getting worse.

And even though the United States has made many of the exact same mistakes that Venezuela has made, most of us just assume that what is happening down there could never happen up here.

After all, we have “the greatest economy in the world” and we are “the wealthiest nation on the entire planet”, right?

Well, actually our economic infrastructure has been systematically gutted by free trade deals and we consume far more wealth than we produce.  We have artificially pumped up our standard of living by adding more than 1.1 trillion dollars a year to the national debt since Barack Obama has been in the White House, and one recent poll discovered that 62 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 saved up.

But don’t worry.  Instead of turning out like Venezuela, the mainstream media insists that the best days for America are right around the corner.

In fact, just today I came across a Business Insider article that insisted that soon our biggest economic problem will be that we won’t be able to find enough workers.

And Barbra Streisand is so thrilled that Hillary Clinton is going to be our next president that she launched into a rousing rendition of “Happy Days Are Here Again” as she kicked off her farewell tour in Los Angeles.  The following account comes from the Drudge Report

So long sad times
Go along bad times
We are rid of you at last
Howdy gay times
Cloudy gray times
You are now a thing of the past
Happy days are here again
The skies above are clear again
So let’s sing a song of cheer again…

Streisand suddenly interrupted the lyric, realizing a Democrat was currently in the White House!

“By the way, I love Obama.”

Altogether shout it now
There’s no one
Who can doubt it now
So let’s tell the world about it now
Happy days are here again

So what is the truth?

Are we going to end up just like Venezuela, or are happy days here once more?

Unfortunately, I have a feeling that we are not going to have to wait too long to find out…

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