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Global Leaders Rattle Their Sabers As The World Marches Toward War

The World Marches Toward War - Public DomainIran just conducted another provocative missile test, more U.S. troops are being sent to the Middle East, it was just announced that the U.S. military will be sending B-1 and B-52 bombers to South Korea in response to North Korea firing four missiles into the seas near Japan, and China is absolutely livid that a U.S. carrier group just sailed through contested waters in the South China Sea.  We have entered a season where leaders all over the globe feel a need to rattle their sabers, and many fear that this could be leading us to war.  In particular, Donald Trump is going to be under the microscope in the days ahead as other world leaders test his resolve.  Will Trump be able to show that he is tough without going over the edge and starting an actual conflict?

The Iranians made global headlines on Thursday when they conducted yet another ballistic missile test despite being warned by Trump on numerous occasions…

As tensions between the U.S. and Iran continue to mount, the semi-official news agency Tasnim is reporting that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard has successfully conducted yet another ballistic missile test, this time from a navy vessel.  Called the Hormuz 2, these latest missiles are designed to destroy moving targets at sea at ranges up to 300 km (180 miles).

Reports on the latest test quotes Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force, who confirmed that “the naval ballistic missile called Hormuz 2 successfully destroyed a target which was 250 km away.”

The missile test is the latest event in a long-running rivalry between Iran and the United States in and around the Strait of Hormuz, which guards the entrance to the Gulf. About 20% of the world’s oil passes through the waterway, which is less than 40 km wide at its narrowest point.

So how will Trump respond to this provocation?

Will he escalate the situation?  If he does nothing he will look weak, but if he goes too far he could risk open conflict.

Elsewhere in the Middle East, things are already escalating.  It is being reported that “several hundred Marines” are on the ground in Syria to support an assault on the city of Raqqa, and another 1,000 troops could be sent to Kuwait to join the fight against ISIS any day now.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

While the Trump administration waits to decide if it will send 1,000 troops to Kuwait to fight ISIS, overnight the Washington Post reported that the US has sent several hundred Marines to Syria to support an allied local force aiming to capture the Islamic State stronghold of Raqqa. Defence officials said they would establish an outpost from which they could fire artillery at IS positions some 32km (20 miles) away. US special forces are already on the ground, “advising” the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) alliance according to the BBC.

The defence officials told the Washington Post that the Marines were from the San Diego-based 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, and that they had flown to northern Syria via Djibouti and Kuwait. They are to set up an artillery battery that could fire powerful 155mm shells from M777 howitzers, the officials said. Another marine expeditionary unit carried out a similar mission at the start of the Iraqi government’s operation to recapture the city of Mosul from IS last year.

Meanwhile, China is spitting mad for several reasons.  For one, the Chinese are absolutely furious that South Korea has allowed the U.S. to deploy the THAAD missile defense system on their soil…

China is lashing out at South Korea and Washington for the deployment of a powerful missile defense system known as the Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system, or THAAD, deposited at the Osan Air Base in South Korea on Monday evening.

The deployment of THAAD follows several ballistic missile tests by North Korea in recent months, including the launch of four missiles on Monday, three of which landed in the sea off the coast of Japan. Though THAAD would help South Korea protect itself from a North Korean missile attack, China is vocally protesting the deployment of the system, claiming it upsets the “strategic equilibrium” in the region because its radar will allow the United States to detect and track missiles launched from China.

Of course the U.S. needed to do something, because the North Koreans keep rattling their sabers by firing off more ballistic missiles toward Japan.

But it is one thing to deploy a missile defense system, and it is another thing entirely to fly strategic nuclear bombers into the region.

So if the Chinese were upset when THAAD was deployed, how will they feel when B-1 and B-52 bombers start showing up in South Korea?

Earlier this week, trigger-happy Kim pushed his luck once more when he fired off four ballistic missiles into the seas near Japan.

Now US military chiefs are reportedly planning to fly in B-1 and B-52 bombers – built to carry nuclear bombs – to show America has had enough.

South Korea and the US have also started their annual Foal Eagle military exercise sending a strong warning to North Korea over its actions.

A military official said 300,000 South Korean troops and 15,000 US personnel are taking part in the operation.

The Trump administration has openly stated that all options “are on the table” when it comes to North Korea, and that includes a military strike.

It has been more than 60 years since the Korean War ended, but many are concerned that we may be closer to a new Korean War than we have been at any point since that time.

And of course our relationship with China is tumbling precariously downhill as well.  Another reason why the Chinese are extremely upset with the Trump administration is because a U.S. Navy carrier battle group led by the USS Carl Vinson sailed past islands that China claims in the South China Sea just a few weeks ago.

In China, the media openly talks about the possibility of war with the United States over the South China Sea.  Most Americans are not even aware that the South China Sea is a very serious international issue, but over in China this is a major focus.

And the U.S. military has recently made several other moves in the region that have angered the Chinese

Also in February, the U.S. sent a dozen F-22 Raptor stealth fighters to Tindal AB in northern Australia, the closest Australian military airbase to China, for coalition training and exercises. It’s the first deployment of that many F-22s in the Pacific.

And if that didn’t get the attention of the Chinese government, the U.S. just tested four Trident II submarine-launched ballistic missiles during a nuclear war exercise, sending the simulated weapons 4,200 miles from the coast of California into the mid-Pacific. It’s the first time in three years the U.S. has conducted tests in the Pacific, and the first four-missile salvo since the end of the Cold War.

I can understand the need to look tough, but eventually somebody is going to go too far.

If you are familiar with my work, then you know that I believe that war is coming.  Things in the Middle East continue to escalate, and it is only a matter of time before a great war erupts between Israel and her neighbors.  Meanwhile, U.S. relations with both Russia and China continue to deteriorate, and this is something that I have been warning about for a very long time.

We should hope for peace, but we should also not be blind to the signs of war that are starting to emerge all over the planet.  Relatively few people anticipated the outbreak of World War I and World War II in advance, and I have a feeling that the same thing will be true for World War III.

This Region Of The World Is Being Hit By The Worst Economic Collapse It Has Ever Experienced

South America On The Globe - Public DomainThe ninth largest economy in the entire world is currently experiencing “its longest and deepest recession in recorded history”, and in a country right next door people are being encouraged to label their trash so that the thousands upon thousands of desperately hungry people that are digging through trash bins on the streets can find discarded food more easily.  Of course the two nations that I am talking about are Brazil and Venezuela.  The Brazilian economy was once the seventh largest on the globe, but after shrinking for eight consecutive quarters it has now fallen to ninth place.  And in Venezuela the economic collapse has gotten so bad that more than 70 percent of the population lost weight last year due to a severe lack of food.  Most of us living in the northern hemisphere don’t think that anything like this could happen to us any time soon, but the truth is that trouble signs are already starting to erupt all around us.  It is just a matter of time before the things currently happening in Brazil and Venezuela start happening here, but unfortunately most people are not heeding the warnings.

Just a few years ago, the Brazilian economy was absolutely roaring and it was being hailed as a model for the rest of the world to follow.  But now Brazil’s GDP has been imploding for two years in a row, and this downturn is being described as “the worst recession in recorded history” for that South American nation…

Latin America’s largest economy Brazil has contracted by 3.6 percent in 2016, shrinking for the second year in a row; statistics agency IBGE said on Tuesday. It confirmed the country is facing its longest and deepest recession in recorded history.

Data shows gross domestic product (GDP) fell for the eighth straight quarter in the three months to December, down 0.9 percent from the previous quarter. The figure was worse than the 0.5 percent decline economists had forecast and left the country’s overall GDP down 3.6 percent for the full year following a 3.8 percent drop in 2015.

“In real terms, GDP is now nine percent below its pre-recession peak,” Neil Shearing, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, told the Financial Times.

“This is comfortably the worst recession in recorded history,” he added.

It had been hoped that things in Brazil would be getting better by now, but instead they just keep getting worse.

The number of bankruptcy filings has soared to an all-time record high, and the official unemployment rate has more than doubled since the end of 2013.  The following comes from Wolf Richter

In a stunning deterioration, the unemployment rate in Brazil spiked to 12.6% in the rolling three-month period through January, a record in the new data series going back to 2012, according to Brazil’s statistical agency IBGE. Up from 11.8% in the three-month period through October. Up from an already terribly high 9.5% a year ago. And more than double the 6.2% in December 2013.

Meanwhile, hordes of hungry people are rummaging through garbage cans in Venezuela in order to find something to fill their aching stomachs.

Things have gotten so bad that one of President Maduro’s chief opponents has urged citizens to label which trash bags have food in them so that people that are searching through the garbage can find food scraps more easily

Controversial Priest and opponent to President Nicolás Maduro’s administration Father Jose Palmar posted on social media this week about labeling discarded waste so those looking through it for food can do so more easily and “with dignity.”

Palmar called on Venezuelans to celebrate Lent by identifying bags where food has been discarded for those with no where else to turn. That way, they don’t have to dig through non-edible items to find it.

And previously I have written about how people are so hungry in Venezuela that some of them are actually slaughtering and eating cats, dogs, pigeons and zoo animals.

I keep telling people that this is coming to America, but a lot of people out there don’t want to believe me.

But it is most certainly coming.

Thanks to chronically empty store shelves and severe food shortages, people in Venezuela are losing weight at an astounding pace.  In the United States it would be a good thing if much of the population lost this much weight, but in Venezuela it definitely is not

Three quarters of the country’s population lost an average of over 18 pounds over food shortages in 2016, according to a survey by Venezuelan universities and nonprofit groups. Last year, over 80 percent of foodstuffs disappeared from shelves and many had to get by with one meal a day, Foreign Policy reported.

Venezuela was once South America’s most powerful petrostate. But decades of government mismanagement sent the country into decline. Maduro’s predecessor Hugo Chavez choked the economy with heavy-handed regulations, price controls, and a campaign to nationalize major industries that chased out foreign investments.

Further north, very alarming signs are starting to pop up in Mexico.

It probably won’t happen next week or next month, but there are indications of emerging “liquidity problems” which could precipitate a major debt crisis at some point…

In Mexico foreign investors hold around $100 billion of the country’s local-currency government debt, the most for any emerging market economy. That’s almost 20 times what it was 20 years ago. They also hold billions of euros worth of corporate bonds, which are also showing signs of strain, prompting some Mexican business leaders to call for “new programs” to be implemented before the situation causes “a large-scale crisis” among Mexican companies.

The most ominous sign yet came last week when Bloomberg reported sources saying that the Bank of Mexico (or Banxico, as it is referred to) had sought a swap line from the Federal Reserve in case of “liquidity problems,” which immediately triggered furious denials from Banxico. “I can say clearly and unequivocally that we are not in the process of asking for any credit line from any authority,” said the central bank’s governor, Agustin Carstens, who has postponed by six months his departure from the bank, initially scheduled for May.

One of the biggest problems for nations such as Brazil, Venezuela and Mexico is the strength of the U.S. dollar.  During the good times they went into tremendous amounts of debt, and much of that debt was denominated in U.S. dollars.  So when the U.S. dollar becomes stronger, it takes more of their own local currencies to pay that debt back.

And if the Federal Reserve raises interest rates at their next meeting, that will strengthen the U.S. dollar even more and put even more pressure on emerging market economies.

Unfortunately, it appears that this is precisely what the Fed is going to do

Even one small interest rate increase by the Fedcould have a sweeping impact on U.S. and world economies, Komal Sri-Kumar told CNBC on Monday.

“I think they are going to hike” on March 15, Sri-Kumar said on “Squawk Box,” echoing a theory shared by many analysts. “But that is going to prompt capital outflows from the euro zone, especially with the political risk. It is going to increase the capital outflow from China, and the U.S. economy will feel the impact.”

The global economy is more interconnected than ever before, and pain that starts in one region can rapidly spread to others.

The biggest debt bubble that the world has ever seen is starting to burst, and over the coming years we are going to see financial pain on a scale that would be unimaginable to most of us at this moment.

But even now there are those that would suggest that this colossal debt bubble can continue growing much faster than global GDP indefinitely, and this sort of exceedingly reckless optimism is leading many astray.

President Oprah? Speculation Rises That The 2020 Election Will Feature An Epic Battle Between Donald Trump And Oprah Winfrey

Oprah Winfrey_receives_2013_Presidential_Medal_of_Freedom - Public DomainWhen Donald Trump originally announced that he was going to run for president, he said that his ideal choice for a running mate was Oprah Winfrey, but now he may be actually running against her in the 2020 election.  A recent episode of The David Rubenstein Show that featured an interview with Oprah Winfrey is creating a tremendous amount of buzz that Oprah Winfrey may throw her hat into the ring during the next election cycle.  This particular episode was taped back on December 12th, but it didn’t actually get aired on Bloomberg TV until last Tuesday.  You can see the portion of the interview in which Oprah is asked about her presidential aspirations on YouTube right here, and as you can see, she definitely sounds like someone that is very seriously thinking about running…

Prior to this last election, Oprah says that she never even considered the possibility of running, but Donald Trump’s victory in November made her realize that maybe she could do it too.  The following summary of the most important moments from the interview comes from Charisma News

“I actually never thought—never considered the question, even the possibility,” she said while smiling coyly. “I just thought, ‘Oh. Oh.'”

“Because it’s clear you don’t need government experience to be elected president of the United States,” Rubenstein interjected.

“That’s what I thought,” she replied. “I thought, Oh gee, I don’t have the experience, I don’t know enough. Now I’m thinking, Oh. Oh.”

When Oprah made these statements, she had to know that they would create a firestorm.

And that is definitely what is happening.  People are going absolutely crazy on Twitter at the thought that we could have “President Oprah” in 2020, and Matt Drudge is extremely enthusiastic about a Trump vs. Oprah race

In a tweet sent Wednesday morning, the reclusive journalist who broke the Clinton-Monica Lewinsky scandal said such a race would be one for the ages.

“Trump vs Oprah would be the most epic race in American history. MAKE THIS HAPPEN…” Drudge tweeted to his nearly half a million followers.

And this is certainly not the first time that it has been suggested that Oprah should run for president.  Just one week after the election, political activist Michael Moore mentioned her as a potential candidate

Democrats would be better off if they ran Oprah or Tom Hanks … why don’t we run beloved people?” Moore told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union.”

“We have so many of them,” he said. “The Republicans do this — they run Reagan and the Terminator and other people.” It was a reference to former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well as former President Ronald Reagan.

“Why don’t we run somebody that the American people love and are really drawn to, and that are smart and have good politics and all that?” Moore said.

Needless to say, Oprah would make a horrible president.  Her political views are ultra-liberal, and she has no practical political experience whatsoever.

However, if she did run she would definitely be the front-runner for the Democratic nomination.  At the moment, Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren are considered to be the most likely opponents for Trump, and Oprah would almost certainly trounce either of them.

But will she actually do it?  Oprah’s friend Gayle King is saying that it is not going to happen

“I was in the audience that day and it was clearly a joke when she was playing with David because they have such a great rapport,” said Winfrey’s close pal and CBS This Morning co-host Gayle King early Thursday of a recent interview Oprah gave suggesting she was finally thinking of running for President. “But I also heard on the Oprah Winfrey show over the years you always have the right to change your mind but I would bet my first, second born and any unborn children to come, that ain’t never happening,” King emphatically added.

And hopefully it will not happen.

But the ironic thing is that the very first person that Donald Trump suggested as a potential running mate when he announced his candidacy in 2015 was Oprah Winfrey.  The following comes from the New York Post

Real estate mogul-turned-celebrity TV star Donald Trump already had an “Aha!” moment about his 2016 running mate.

After declaring his run for the White House Tuesday, Trump appeared on ABC and said Oprah Winfrey would complete his presidential dream ticket.

“I think Oprah would be great. I’d love to have Oprah,” Trump said. “I think we’d win easily, actually.”

I’ll bet you don’t remember that, do you?

And in his new book entitled “The Making of the President 2016“, Roger Stone reminds everyone that Trump actually floated the idea of Oprah as his running mate all the way back in 1999 during an interview with Larry King.  The following is an excerpt from Roger Stone’s new book that was posted on Infowars

Early in the interview, Trump dropped Bombshell Number One: “So I am going to form a presidential exploratory committee, I might as well announce that on your show, everyone else does, but I’ll be forming that and effective, I believe, tomorrow,” Trump told the crusty interviewer. “And we’ll see. I mean, we’re going to take a very good, strong look at it.”

And just minutes later, Larry went for it and asked him if he had a vice presidential candidate in mind. Trump hesitated briefly as if to ponder his answer and then stunned everyone including King – and no doubt Oprah herself. “Oprah. I love Oprah,” Trump said. “Oprah would always be my first choice. She’s a terrific woman. She is somebody that is very special. If she’d do it, she’d be fantastic. I mean, she’s popular, she’s brilliant, she’s a wonderful woman.” The following day the newspapers and TV news were filled with talk of Trump and Oprah.

I honestly don’t know what Trump was thinking, because Oprah Winfrey definitely does not belong in politics.

Even if Oprah does not run for president, Trump’s victory has a lot of other celebrities thinking that they could do the same thing that he did.  Other big names that have been floated as potential candidates in 2020 include Mark Zuckerberg, Kanye West, Mark Cuban and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

As you can see, we have entered a strange new era in American politics, and there is no telling what craziness we may see during the next election cycle.

Is Something Strange Happening Inside The Earth?

Volcano Lava Landscape - Public DomainWhy are “giant fountains of lava” suddenly pouring out of some of the most dangerous volcanoes on the entire planet, and why are so many long dormant volcanoes suddenly roaring back to life?  The spectacular eruption of Mt. Etna in Italy is making headlines all over the world, but it is far from alone.  According to Volcano Discovery, 35 major volcanoes either are erupting right now or have just recently erupted, and dozens of others are stirring.  So what is causing this upsurge in volcanic activity?  Is something strange happening inside the Earth?

According to the USGS, magma is “molten rock underground”, and lava is molten rock “that breaks through the Earth’s surface”.  Right now, something is pushing magma up through the crust of the Earth at a number of key spots around the planet.  On the island of Sicily, the “giant fountains of lava” that are coming out of Mt. Etna can be seen 30 kilometers away

Giant fountains of lava could be seen sprouting from the volcano, located on the isle of Sicily, as far away as Catania, around 30 kilometres away, and the resort town of Taormina.

The Meteorological Observatory in Nunziata said: “You can clearly see the lava fountains, although currently modest, as it escapes from the crater in the southeast.”

An orange air alert has been issued, meaning that airspace will remain open but authorities will continue to monitor the situation.

On the other side of the world, a constant stream of molten rock has been springing out of Guatemala’s “Volcano of Fire” since February 25th

Guatemala’s Volcano of Fire erupted Saturday (Feb 25), spewing lava and sending up plumes of ash that rained down on nearby communities and could eventually reach the capital, civil protection authorities said.

The Volcan de Fuego, one of the country’s three active volcanoes, is located about 45km southwest of the capital Guatemala City. It was the volcano’s second eruption this year.

And in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, a “firehose of lava” has been pouring out of the Kilauea Volcano since December 31st.

Meanwhile, a number of large volcanoes that have been dormant for a very long time all over the world have started springing back to life.

For instance, the only active volcano in India has suddenly started “spewing lava and ash” after being silent for 150 years…

Barren Islands volcano, India’s only active volcano, is reportedly spewing lava and ash after a gap of 150 years. It erupted for about four hours in January, scientists from the National Institute of Oceanography (NIO) claimed.

The volcano is situated in Barren Islands in the Andaman & Nicobar archipelago. Some unsubstantiated reports even claim that it is South Asia’s only active volcano.

Its first recorded eruption dates back to 1787. Since then, the volcano has erupted more than ten times, including the one this year.

At one time scientists would speak of “dead volcanoes”, but now we learning that it really isn’t safe to speak of any volcano as being completely “dead”.  So many of these long dormant volcanoes are roaring back to life, and why this is suddenly happening now is puzzling many of the experts.

And as you have seen, this isn’t isolated to just one or two geographic regions.  It literally is happening all over the globe.

Last month, Indonesia’s Mount Sinabung in the southern hemisphere erupted seven times in the space of a single day, and meanwhile authorities in the northern hemisphere were warning us that four of Iceland’s biggest volcanoes are preparing to erupt.

Indonesia and Iceland are about as far apart as you can get, and yet they are both being affected by this worldwide phenomenon.

Without a doubt, something definitely appears to be causing a significant increase in worldwide seismic activity.

Let’s talk about earthquakes for a moment.  A website known as the Big Wobble recently published an article that included two extraordinary maps.  The first map showed the number of major earthquakes from January 1900 to January 1917, and the second map showed the number of major earthquakes from January 2000 to January 2017.  The difference between the two maps was startling to say the least.

Big Wobble 1

Big Wobble 2

It is becoming extremely difficult to deny that something is happening to the crust of our planet, and many are becoming concerned about what we could soon experience if the level of seismic activity continues to rise.

We already talked about Mt. Etna, but a much greater threat in Italy appears to be awakening under the city of Naples.  A massive supervolcano known as “Campi Flegrei” is close to a “critical state”, and if it erupts the consequences will be beyond catastrophic.  The following comes from National Geographic

A long-quiet yet huge supervolcano that lies under 500,000 people in Italy may be waking up and approaching a “critical state,” scientists report this week in the journal Nature Communications.

Based on physical measurements and computer modeling, “we propose that magma could be approaching the CDP [critical degassing pressure] at Campi Flegrei, a volcano in the metropolitan area of Naples, one of the most densely inhabited areas in the world, and where accelerating deformation and heating are currently being observed,” wrote the scientists—who are led by Giovanni Chiodini of the Italian National Institute of Geophysics in Rome.

If that supervolcano were to fully erupt, millions could die, the skies in the northern hemisphere would be darkened for months and the resulting “volcanic winter” would cause famines all around the globe.

And the same things could be said about the supervolcano that is awakening in North Korea too.

In the United States, we should be watching the volcanoes on the west coast for signs of trouble, and my regular readers know that I am particularly concerned about Mt. Rainier.  There is an eruption of Mt. Rainier in “The Beginning Of The End“, and it is in there for a reason.

Someday Mt. Rainier will erupt, and the horror that this will mean for the Northwest is beyond anything that I could put into words for you right now.

We live at a time when our planet is becoming increasingly unstable, and a major natural disaster could change all of our lives in a single moment.

Just because our lives have been somewhat “normal” for an extended period of time does not mean that they will always be this way, and those that are ignoring the rumblings of our planet do so at their own peril.

Why Is NASA Using The Discovery Of 7 New Earth-Sized Planets To Promote The Idea That Alien Life May Exist?

TRAPPIST-1f - Photo by NASANASA told us in advance that there would be a huge announcement on Wednesday, and it certainly was not a disappointment.  NASA’s declaration that 7 new Earth-sized planets had been discovered approximately 40 light years away from our sun made headlines all over the globe, and the Internet immediately started buzzing with lots of discussions about the possibility that these newly discovered worlds may have life on them.  This isn’t the kind of thing that I normally write about on The Economic Collapse Blog, but some of the things that were being said by the scientists involved in this discovery seemed quite odd.  It is one thing to say that some new planets have been found, but it is another thing entirely to start speculating about life on those planets.  With each new discovery that is made, why does it always seem like NASA is trying to promote the idea that alien life may exist somewhere out there?  Could it be possible that they are trying to mentally prepare us for something?

After the announcement was made on Wednesday, I went to the official NASA website, and sure enough in the article that had just been posted about this new discovery there was discussion about the possibility of alien life

NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water.

The discovery sets a new record for greatest number of habitable-zone planets found around a single star outside our solar system. All of these seven planets could have liquid water – key to life as we know it – under the right atmospheric conditions, but the chances are highest with the three in the habitable zone.

“This discovery could be a significant piece in the puzzle of finding habitable environments, places that are conducive to life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “Answering the question ‘are we alone’ is a top science priority and finding so many planets like these for the first time in the habitable zone is a remarkable step forward toward that goal.”

If this discovery is confirmed, it is definitely quite remarkable.

But why engage in speculation about whether or not we are alone in the universe?

You can view a YouTube video from NASA about this new discovery right here.  As you can see from the video, the scientists involved in this project are extremely excited…

Of course we must acknowledge that nobody has actually seen any of these planets.  Based on data that astronomers have been able to observe, they assume that those seven planets must be there.  The following comes from Smithsonian Magazine

To detect these other worlds, Gillon and his team used the so-called “transit” method, one of several techniques for hunting planets. Other techniques include measuring the wobble of a star caused by a planet’s gravitational pull, observing how light from a distant star bends around a planet or capturing a direct image of the planet.

The power of the transit method comes from its simplicity: Astronomers measure the level of light from a star, and look for any dips in brightness that could be the result of a planet passing between the star and Earth. By seeing how much and how often the level of light is reduced during each “transit” of the planet in front of the star, astronomers can then estimate its size and orbit.

So it is entirely possible that scientists may be misinterpreting the data.

Someday we may find out that there are more planets in the system, or we may discover that there aren’t any planets there at all.

But assuming that those planets are actually there, what has astronomers buzzing more than anything else is the possibility that they may contain “life”

“Looking for life elsewhere, this system is probably our best bet as of today,” study co-author Brice-Olivier Demory, a professor at the Center for Space and Habitability at the University of Bern in Switzerland, said in a statement.

The key is that these planets appear to have the right conditions for water to exist.  Without water, it is generally assumed that a planet would not be able to support life.  The following comes from an article posted on the website of The Independent entitled “Nasa’s ‘holy grail’: Entire new solar system that could support alien life discovered“…

No other star system has ever been found to contain so many Earth-sized and rocky planets, of the kind thought to be necessary to contain aliens.

The researchers might soon be able to find evidence of life on the planets, they have said. British astronomer Dr Chris Copperwheat, from Liverpool John Moores University, who was part of the international team, said: “The discovery of multiple rocky planets with surface temperatures which allow for liquid water make this amazing system an exciting future target in the search for life.”

And of course NASA is not just looking at these planets in their obsessive search for alien life.

In fact, NASA is sending a probe to one of Jupiter’s moons named Europa specifically to search for alien life

NASA believes there’s a gigantic ocean locked beneath its frozen surface and is planning to send a robotic craft to see if aliens are swimming in it.

This week, the space agency has revealed its three goals for the upcoming search for life.

It wrote: “The primary goal is to search for evidence of life on Europa.

“The other goals are to assess the habitability of Europa by directly analyzing material from the surface, and to characterize the surface and subsurface to support future robotic exploration of Europa and its ocean.”

So why is NASA so sure that alien life must be out there somewhere?

Do they know things that they aren’t disclosing to the rest of us?

As a society, we are constantly being conditioned to the idea that “alien life” must exist.  This is one of the major themes in our movies, our television shows and our video games.

And now the scientific community has fully embraced this idea.

Could it be possible that the stage is being set for “the great deception” that authors such as L.A. Marzulli are constantly warning us about?

If someday a big announcement is made that “we are not alone” in the universe, humanity will already have been heavily conditioned to accept it as the truth.

Unfortunately, we live at a time when deception is running rampant, and that is why it is absolutely critical to not let someone else do your thinking for you.

The Russian Love Affair With Donald Trump Sours As The U.S. And Russia Move Toward War

NATO Seasparrow surface missile is launched from the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush - Publc DomainIn recent months Donald Trump has been severely criticized by both Democrats and Republicans for not being sufficiently “anti-Russia”, but the truth is that the Trump administration has not been working hard enough to repair a relationship that is now souring very rapidly.  When Donald Trump won the election in November, the Russians celebrated tremendously, because they greatly preferred Trump over Hillary Clinton.  But just because Trump was victorious does not mean that our relationship with Russia will automatically improve.  Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin both have huge egos, and it is quite easy to imagine a scenario in which things between them go very, very badly.

In fact, we may already be starting to see such a scenario play out.  As you will see below, under President Trump U.S. troops are being deployed to a very sensitive area of Poland, and they are also being sent to key areas of Bulgaria and Romania.  That is not sitting well with the Russian government, but they were much more upset when Trump insisted that Russia must give the Crimea back to Ukraine.  This is something that the Russians would never do, and they were quite stunned that Trump would even suggest such a thing.

On the flip side, the Pentagon was quite annoyed when Russian fighter jets buzzed a U.S. warship in the Black Sea just a few days ago, and when a Russian spy ship set up shop just off the coast of Connecticut recently, President Trump told Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that “the greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship that’s 30 miles off shore right out of the water”.

When I first heard about that quote I thought it might be “fake news”, but it was actually reported by ABC News and a whole host of other prominent news outlets.

I know that Trump doesn’t have much of a filter, and that is a good thing when he is dealing with the mainstream media, but it can be a very, very bad thing for foreign policy.

Look, you may think that it is a good idea to blow a Russian spy ship out of the water, but you never, ever say such a thing out loud.

The Russians think like mobsters.  That means that they are quite paranoid, and it also means that they take whatever you say very, very seriously.

In a few days, most of us living in the United States will completely forget what Trump said about that Russian spy ship, but over in Russia they will remember this quote forever.

This is just how the Russians operate – they never forget, and they never, ever forgive.

When you are dealing with Russia, you have got to be very, very careful.  Unfortunately, being cautious is not one of Trump’s strengths, and the wild optimism about Trump in Russia is now being replaced by disappointment and anger

The new U.S. president has been in his role for just under a month, taking office in a transition that has been marked by chaos and missteps. And already, from the right of the political spectrum to the marginalized Russian left, a mixture of disappointment with the new U.S. president — who came into office promising to remake relations between the two countries — and a sense of vindication that Trump couldn’t be trusted after all has crept into Russian political chatter.

“Is Trump already out of fashion?” the independent Russian journal Russkaya Fabula asked on Wednesday — the same day that the Trump administration was dealing with the fallout stemming from revelations about National Security Advisor Mike Flynn’s conversations with the Russian ambassador. The site pointed to a small demonstration by hard-line nationalists this week, which picketed a major state-run news outlet and demanded the end of the “cult of Trump” in Russian media.

And in a sign of how far things have already deteriorated, Putin has ordered state media over in Russia to cut back on their coverage of Trump

The Kremlin ordered state media to cut back on their fawning coverage of President Donald Trump, reflecting a growing concern among senior Russian officials that the new US administration will be less friendly than first thought, three people familiar with the matter said.

Just before Trump took office, Barack Obama aggressively moved U.S. troops toward the Russian border, and I highly criticized him for that.

So now that Trump is doing the exact same thing, I have to be critical of him as well.  Somebody needs to tell Trump that stationing 1,000 U.S. troops in northeastern Poland is not going to help our relationship with Putin…

The US Army’s Europe headquarters located in Wiesbaden, Germany announced late Saturday that 1,000 US troops and their vehicles would be sent to northeastern Poland at the end of March.

The unit – part of 4,000 US troops being deployed in rotation along NATO’s eastern flank  under its “Atlantic Resolve” mission – will be located at Orzysz.

That particular Polish city is less than 90 miles from the extremely sensitive Russian city of Kaliningrad.

If I was Trump, this is something that I would not have done.

At this point, the Russians are not quite sure what to make of Trump.  In fact, they have even gone so far as to prepare a “psychological dossier” on him to help Putin prepare for his first meeting with Trump…

A dossier on Donald Trump’s psychological makeup is being prepared for Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser.

Unfortunately, Trump tends to listen to those in his immediate vicinity, and in Washington he is surrounded by war hawks that absolutely hate Russia.  The following comes from Pat Buchanan

The anti-Putin paranoia here is astonishing.

That he is a killer, a KGB thug, a murderer, is part of the daily rant of John McCain. At the Munich Security Conference this last weekend, Sen. Lindsey Graham promised, “2017 is going to be a year of kicking Russia in the a– in Congress.”

Members of Congress such as John McCain and Lindsey Graham are playing a very dangerous game.

It is okay to be critical of Russia, but if you are constantly making inflammatory statements all the time that is just going to push us toward war.

And as I explained in my latest book, we do not want a war with Russia.

For years, the Russian military has been laser-focused on preparing for a war with the United States, while at the same time the U.S. military has been primarily focused on fighting wars in the Middle East.

So the Russians have been working very hard to upgrade their strategic nuclear arsenal, and at this point their arsenal is far superior to ours.  The following comes from an article that I came across earlier today

Russia is constantly improving its nuclear deterrence and is very close to deploying new technologically-advanced intercontinental ballistic missiles which can defeat any US missile defense systems, a Russian deputy prime minister said in an interview.

“These weapons will soon appear in our armed forces,” Dmitry Rogozin told Rossiya-1 TV on Sunday. While not naming the new ICBM, the deputy PM in charge of the defense industry said the missile will have the capacity to penetrate any American air defenses.

“These weapons are able to clear the United States’ missile defense both of today and of tomorrow – and even of the day after tomorrow,” Rogozin said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. continues to rely on weapons systems that were developed in the 1960s and 1970s.

The Russians are a very dangerous foe, and it is in our national interest to try to have a positive relationship with them.

There are going to be times when we strongly disagree with what the Russians are doing, but our interactions with them should always be focused on trying to avoid a nuclear conflict.

So yes, we should let the Russians know when we are upset about something, but constantly making provocative and incendiary statements is a recipe for disaster.

Hopefully our leaders will start to realize this very soon, because right now our relationship with Russia is deteriorating very rapidly.

Why Melania Trump Leading The Public In The Lord’s Prayer At A Rally In Florida Was A Historic Event

Melania Trump Prayer At Florida Rally - YouTube ScreenshotWe just witnessed Melania Trump’s finest moment as First Lady so far.  After a week in which her husband declared war on the mainstream media, Melania absolutely electrified a huge crowd at a rally in Melbourne, Florida by reciting the Lord’s Prayer.  What Donald Trump had to share afterwards was remarkable as well, but that night will always be remembered for what Melania did.  After beginning with the phrase “let us pray”, Melania stunned the entire world by slowly but carefully leading the crowd in the Lord’s Prayer, and it is being reported that the assembled throng responded to her prayer with “thunderous applause“.

She did not pronounce all of the words perfectly, but that didn’t matter.

What matters is that her courage enabled her to create the most powerful moment that we have seen from a First Lady in decades.  The following is from a transcript of her remarks

Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed is your name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespasses against us.

‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever and ever. Amen.

If you have not seen footage of this incredible moment yet, you can watch it right here

One of the primary reasons why this moment evoked so much emotion is because the Lord’s Prayer is undeniably a Christian prayer.

Over the decades, our politicians have become very adept at speaking of “god” in a very generic sense.  Even when they pray, most of our politicians are careful to use universal language that could apply to almost any religion.

That is why what Melania Trump did was so radical.  By reciting the Lord’s Prayer, she was clearly identifying herself as a Christian, and there was absolutely no question about who she was addressing.

It was such a simple prayer, but needless to say it sent liberals into a social media frenzy.  They started calling her every name in the book and used some of the most foul language imaginable.

Some of the more moderate liberals objected to the prayer on the basis of separation of church and state, but nowhere in the Constitution does it say that our elected officials cannot be Christian.  And nowhere in the Constitution does it say that they cannot speak on matters of faith.

In fact, if we are to have any hope of turning this nation around we desperately need the favor of God, and that is why what Melania Trump did was so important.

In her prayer, she asked for God’s will to be done on Earth just as it is done in heaven.

If we truly were to follow that course, there would be no limits to what we could achieve as a people.

But in order for that to happen, we must completely change direction as a nation, and Melania’s prayer was also a prayer of repentance.

The phrase “forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespasses against us” was not a perfect quotation of the Lord’s Prayer, but it was immensely powerful.

By asking for forgiveness, that implies that we have done things that we need to be forgiven for.  And without a doubt, that list is very long.  We have killed tens of millions of babies since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973, we produce more pornography than the rest of the world combined, sexual immorality of every kind you can imagine is running rampant in our society, our entertainment is mostly pure filth, and we have pushed God and His ways out of almost every corner of public life.

If we want to get on the right track as a country, one of the very first things that should be done is to defund Planned Parenthood.  The Republicans finally have control of the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives, and so there are no more excuses.

If Donald Trump and the Republicans truly are “pro-life”, Planned Parenthood will be defunded in 2017.

But if it doesn’t happen, then they will share in the accountability for the Great American Holocaust, and the blood of every baby that is murdered from now on will be on their hands.

That is why this is one of the most important moments in American history.  If we don’t turn around now, I don’t think that we ever will, and choosing to go down the same path that we are currently on will only lead us to judgment.

So that is why I was so thrilled with Melania’s prayer.  By boldly identifying themselves as Christians, the Trumps are giving those of us that also consider ourselves to be Christians hope that a new day is ahead.

But it can’t just be words.  That is why what happens over the next few months is so incredibly important.

And of course the radical left is going to fight Donald Trump and his team every step of the way.  About a week ago, I wrote about the army of more than 30,000 activists that Barack Obama is commanding from his new home less than two miles away from the White House.  Well, now we have learned that Organizing for Action is going to be working with a network of other radical groups to disrupt town hall meetings all over the nation

Progressive activists continue to take a cue from the Tea Party movement with plans to funnel into town hall meetings this week while members of Congress are at home and make a ruckus.

Groups, including President Barack Obama’s Organizing for Action, are turning to a newer organization, Indivisible Guide, to coordinate tactics.

Launched in December by former Congressional staffers, Indivisible is providing activists with training manuals, such as one that explains how to have a ‘successful’ town hall.

The progressives hate Trump and they want to keep this nation going down the exact same road that we were heading under Barack Obama.

We are literally in a battle for the future of America, and the outcome is still to be determined.

But what Melania Trump did when she stepped behind that podium was a major step in the right direction, and hopefully we will be seeing much more of that from her and Donald in the future.

It Is About Time That We Had A President That Was Willing To Go To War With The Mainstream Media

Donald Trump Waving - Public DomainThursday afternoon’s press conference was perhaps the most memorable moment of Donald Trump’s presidency so far.  Trump’s blistering attack on the media was quite a spectacle, but the truth is that it was desperately needed.  For decades, the mainstream media has dominated political discourse in this country no matter who has been in control of the White House or Congress.  They have become masters of guiding and shaping public opinion, and in recent years they have completely discarded any pretense of being “unbiased” or “objective”.  These monolithic media organizations relentlessly push the progressive agenda of their owners (the global elite), and that is why the “news” always seems to be just about the same no matter which network it is coming from.  Their monopoly is slowly being broken by the rise of the alternative media, but the truth is that most Americans still rely on just a handful of ultra-powerful media organizations for their news.

So when Trump brutally attacked the mainstream media at his press conference on Thursday, millions upon millions of Americans greatly rejoiced, because they finally got what was coming to them.  And then on Friday, Trump posted a message to Twitter calling the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS and CNN “the enemy of the American people”…

After Donald Trump’s surprise election victory in November, many in the mainstream media started referring to the pro-Trump alternative media as “fake news”, but now Trump has totally turned that insult against them. 

For weeks Trump has been referring to CNN as “fake news”, but on Friday he said that he was now going to refer to them as “very fake news”.  The following exchange between Trump and CNN’s Jim Acosta comes from the official White House website

Q    Just because of the attack of fake news and attacking our network, I just want to ask you, sir — 

THE PRESIDENT:  I’m changing it from fake news, though.

Q    Doesn’t that undermine — 

THE PRESIDENT:  Very fake news now.  (Laughter.) 

We have never seen an exchange quite like that between a president of the United States and a prominent member of the mainstream media, but it was well overdue…

For eight years, the mainstream media gushed and fawned over Barack Obama because he supported the progressive agenda of the global elite, but now that Trump is in the White House virtually every story from the mainstream media is negative.

So when Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon refers to them as “the opposition party” he is right on target…

In a rare interview with The New York Times last month, Chief White House Strategist Steve Bannon, the former chair of the far-right Breitbart News, called reporters the “opposition party” and said “the media should be embarrassed and humiliated and keep its mouth shut and just listen for a while.”

“They don’t understand this country,” Bannon said. “They still do not understand why Donald Trump is the president of the United States.”

At this point, the mainstream media is so desperate to portray Trump as a bad guy that they have resorted to a modern day version of McCarthyism.  For decades, liberals always pointed to McCarthyism as one of the greatest examples of paranoia and intolerance in modern American history, but now they are doing the exact same thing to Trump

A bizarre feature of the present confrontation is that the Democrats and liberals have relaunched McCarthyism, something they would have decried as a toxic episode in American political history until a few months ago. Just as Senator Joe McCarthy claimed in 1950 to have a list of communist infiltrators in the State Department, so any contact between a Trump supporter or official and a Russian is now being reported as suspicious and potentially treacherous. It is difficult to see where Trump is wrong when he tweeted that “the Democrats had to come up with a story as to why they lost the election, and so badly, so they made up a story – RUSSIA. Fake news!”

The reason why many of us constantly refer to the mainstream media as a single entity is because it really is very tightly controlled.  You see, the truth is that more than 90 percent of the news, information and entertainment that Americans get through their televisions comes from just 6 giant media corporations.  And of course those 6 enormous corporations are owned and controlled by the elite of the world.

The war for our society is a war for hearts and minds, and the reason why the elite have made so much progress is because most Americans allow thousands upon thousands of hours of “programming” to be constantly pumped into their heads.

The following numbers come directly from Nielsen, and they show how much news, information and entertainment average Americans consume through various methods each day…

Watching live television: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Watching time-shifted television: 30 minutes

Listening to the radio: 2 hours, 44 minutes

Using  a smartphone: 1 hour, 33 minutes

Using Internet on a computer: 1 hour, 6 minutes

When you add the top two categories together, the average American consumes more than five hours of television every single day.

And when you add all of those categories together, the average American is plugged into “the matrix” in some way for more than 10 hours a day.

We are literally subjecting ourselves to a form of very powerful mind control, and the extraordinary power of the media is something that I addressed in my novel.  There are some people that actually cannot stand complete silence because they have become so accustomed to having something “on” all the time.  As a society, we are absolutely addicted to entertainment, but there is always an agenda behind that entertainment.  This is something that I talked about in a previous article

Virtually every television show, movie, song, book, news broadcast and talk show is trying to shape how you view reality.  Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly being bombarded with messages about what is true and what is not, about what is right and what is wrong, and about what really matters and what is unimportant.  Even leaving something out or ignoring something completely can send an extremely powerful message.

When Donald Trump said that the mainstream media is “the enemy of the American People”, he was 100 percent correct.

If our country is going to have a positive future, the immense power that these media corporations have over the general population must be broken.

It is about time that we had a president that was willing to go to war with the mainstream media, and I greatly applaud President Trump for the stand that he is taking.

11 Deeply Alarming Facts About America’s Crumbling Infrastructure

Traffic Jam Los Angeles - Photo by PrayitnoNo matter what your particular political perspective is, if there is one thing that virtually everyone in the United States can agree upon it is the fact that America’s infrastructure is crumbling.  Previous generations of Americans conquered an entire continent and erected the greatest system of infrastructure that the world had ever seen, but now thousands upon thousands of those extremely impressive infrastructure projects are decades old and in desperate need of repair or upgrading.  The near catastrophic failure of the Oroville Dam is a perfect example of what I am talking about.  We should be constructing the next generation of infrastructure projects for our children and our grandchildren, but instead we are in such sorry shape that we can’t even keep up with the maintenance and upkeep on the great infrastructure projects that have been handed down to us.

Once upon a time nobody on the entire planet could even come close to matching our infrastructure, but now our crumbling infrastructure has become a joke to much of the rest of the industrialized world.  Sadly, this is just another symptom of our long-term economic collapse.  We simply are not able to put as much of our money toward infrastructure as previous generations of Americans did, and as a result we have a giant mess on our hands.  The following are 11 deeply alarming facts about America’s crumbling infrastructure…

#1 According to the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, nearly 56,000 bridges in the United States are currently “structurally deficient”.  What makes that number even more chilling is the fact that vehicles cross those bridges a total of 185 million times a day.

#2 More than one out of every four bridges in the United States is more than 50 years old and “have never had major reconstruction work”.

#3 America does not have a single airport that is considered to be in the top 25 in the world.

#4 The average age of America’s dams is now 52 years.

#5 Not too long ago, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave the condition of America’s dams a “D” grade.

#6 Overall, the American Society of Civil Engineers said that the condition of America’s infrastructure as a whole only gets a “D+” grade.

#7 Congestion on our highways costs Americans approximately 101 billion dollars a year in wasted fuel and time.

#8 According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, over two-thirds of our roads are “in dire need of repair or upgrades”.

#9 In order to completely fix all of our roads and bridges, it would take approximately 808 billion dollars.

#10 Federal spending on infrastructure has decreased by 9 percent over the past decade.

#11 According to Bloomberg, it is being projected “that by 2025, shortfalls in infrastructure investment will subtract as much as $3.9 trillion from U.S. gross domestic product.”

The quality of our infrastructure affects all of our lives every single day.  For instance, we all simply take it for granted that safe, clean drinking water is going to come out of our taps, but recent events have shown that is not necessarily always going to be the case.

Just ask the residents of Flint, Michigan.

Water pipes, sewer systems and water treatment facilities all over the nation are aging and are in desperate need of repair.  Of course the exact same thing could be said about our power grid.  It was never intended to handle so many people, and on the hottest days of the summer the strain on the grid is very evident.

And of course the power grid is exceedingly vulnerable to an electromagnetic pulse event, and this is something that I covered in my book on getting prepared.  It has been projected that it would only cost a couple billion dollars to harden the grid against an EMP event, but our politicians refuse to spend the money.

Meanwhile, President Trump is completely correct when he says that our airports look like something that you would see in a third world country.  Most of our airports are at least several decades old, and they are definitely showing their age.

But things are even worse when you look at other systems of mass transit around the country.  While other nations such as Japan and China are investing huge amounts of money into high speed rail, we are doing next to nothing even though what we currently have is absolutely pathetic.

I could go on and talk about our ports, schools, waterways, parks, etc. but I think that you get the point.

President Trump’s instincts are right on the money when he says that he wants to spend a trillion dollars on infrastructure.  Without a doubt, we desperately need it.

The problem is that we are flat broke.

We are 20 trillion dollars in debt, and we are adding more than a trillion dollars to that total every year.

So where are we going to get the money?

It is easy for liberals to say that we should raise taxes, but how much more are you going to squeeze out of U.S. consumers?  Two-thirds of the country is living paycheck to paycheck, and we just learned that U.S. household debt has risen to a grand total of 12.58 trillion dollars.

Once upon a time, America was the wealthiest nation on the entire planet and we could afford to construct bold, new infrastructure projects from sea to shining sea.

But today we have the biggest mountain of debt in the history of the world and we can’t even afford to repair what we already have.

When I speak of our long-term economic collapse, this is precisely the sort of thing that I am talking about.  We have clearly been in decline for a very long time, and anyone that would suggest otherwise is simply not being honest with you.

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