40 Facts That Prove That America’s Moral Collapse Is Spinning Wildly Out Of Control

According to a brand new survey that was just conducted by the Pew Research Center, 77 percent of all Americans are either “very worried” or “fairly worried” about America’s moral health.  Of course the truth is that we should all be deeply concerned, because we can see evidence of the cancerous moral decay that is eating away at the foundations of our society all around us.  In life, each one of us gets to make choices, and some of those choices can lead to very bad outcomes.  We all have old friends that “got on the wrong path”, and their lives ended up becoming cautionary tales.  Well, the same principle applies to nations as a whole.  America has been given very clear choices between good and evil, life and death, blessings and curses over and over again, and we have consistently made the wrong choices.  If we stay on this road, there is only one result that will be possible.

As long as we are drawing breath, there is always an opportunity to turn things around.  That is true for individuals, and it is also true for our entire nation.  But if we continue running toward evil, it is only a matter of time before exceedingly painful consequences overtake us.

The following are 40 facts that prove that America’s moral collapse is spinning wildly out of control…

#1 America has killed more than 60 million children since Roe v. Wade was decided in 1973.  The federal government endorses this activity by heavily funding the country’s leading abortion provider, and after that abortion provider harvests the organs of the dead children, the federal government also heavily funds the research that is conducted on those harvested organs.

#2 According to a Quinnipiac University poll from last year, 63 percent of all Americans want to keep Roe v. Wade in place.

#3 America is a global leader in sexual depravity.  If you doubt this, just check out what is going on in Cleveland at the end of this month.

#4 Americans are now more likely to die from an opioid overdose than they are from a car accident.

#5 In the city of Baltimore, approximately one out of every four babies is born as an opioid addict.

#6 Overdosing on drugs has now become the leading cause of death for Americans under the age of 50.

#7 McDonalds feeds approximately 70 million people a day globally. Pornhub gets more than 78 million visits a day.

#8 The teen birth rate in the United States is higher “than in any other industrialized country in the world”.

#9 According to the CDC, approximately 110 million Americans have a sexually-transmitted disease right now.

#10 The CDC also tells us that there are approximately 20 million new sexually transmitted disease cases in the U.S. every single year.

#11 The number of married couples with children in the U.S. just reached a 56 year low.

#12 According to the United Nations Population Fund, 40 percent of all births in the U.S. now happen outside of marriage. But if you go back to 1970, that figure was sitting at just 10 percent.

#13 At this point, approximately one out of every three children in the United States lives in a home without a father.

#14 Approximately one-fourth of the entire global prison population is in the United States.

#15 By the time an American child reaches the age of 18, that child will have seen approximately 40,000 murders on television.

#16 According to a study conducted by the Mayo Clinic, nearly 70 percent of all Americans are on at least one prescription drug.  An astounding 20 percent of all Americans are on at least five prescription drugs.

#17 According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, doctors in the United States write more than 250 million prescriptions for antidepressants each year.

#18 Over half a million people are homeless in the United States right now, but more cities than ever are passing laws making it illegal to feed them.

#19 One recent study found that the average American spends 86 hours a month on a cell phone.

#20 A different study found that one-third of all American teenagers haven’t read a single book in the past year.

#21 Americans are obsessed with material things and are willing to go deep into debt to get what they want.  At this point, 480 million credit cards are in circulation in this country. That number has risen by nearly 13 percent since 2015.

#22 37 million credit card accounts in the U.S. are “seriously delinquent” at this moment.

#23 According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately two-thirds of all Americans in the 15 to 24-year-old age bracket have engaged in oral sex.

#24 It has been reported that one out of every four teen girls in the U.S. has at least one sexually transmitted disease.

#25 It has been estimated that 30 percent of all Internet traffic now goes to adult websites.

#26 According to the Pentagon, 71 percent of our young adults are ineligible to serve in the U.S. military because they are either too dumb, too fat or have a criminal background.

#27 The city of San Francisco handed out a total of 5.8 million free syringes to drug addicts in 2018.

#28 During one seven day stretch last summer, a total of 16,000 official complaints were submitted to the city of San Francisco about piles of human feces littering the streets.

#29 When you include unfunded liabilities, the true size of our national debt is 222 trillion dollars.  What we are doing to future generations of Americans is beyond criminal.

#30 The suicide rate in the United States is up 34 percent since the year 2000.

#31 Suicide is now the second leading cause of death for Americans from age 15 to age 24.

#32 We are literally destroying the planet that we have been given.  It is being projected that the total amount of plastic in the oceans of the world will exceed the total weight of all fish by the year 2050.

#33 There are more than 850,000 registered sex offenders in the United States today.

#34 The number of American babies killed by abortion each year is roughly equal to the number of U.S. military deaths that have occurred in all of the wars that the United States has ever been involved in combined.

#35 About one-third of all American women will have had an abortion by the age of 45.

#36 Approximately 3,000 Americans lost their lives as a result of the destruction of the World Trade Center towers on 9/11.  Every single day, more than 3,000 American babies are killed by abortion when you include all forms of abortion.

#37 One very shocking study found that 86 percent of all abortions are done for the sake of convenience.

#38 An average of more than 100 churches are dying in the United States every single week.

#39 Only about 27 percent of all U.S. Millennials currently attend church on a regular basis.

#40 The number of Americans with “no religion” has increased by 266 percent over the last three decades.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters. His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News. From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites. If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so. The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

The Economic Mood Darkens: iPhone Sales Plunge 15% As Consumer Confidence Falls For The 3rd Straight Month

Apple iPhone sales are never supposed to go down.  For nearly two decades, Apple has been an unbeatable economic miracle, but now it appears that times have changed.  Global sales for the iPhone were disastrous during the holiday quarter, and this is yet another indication that the global economic slowdown is accelerating.  Here in the United States, auto sales have been abysmal, retail bankruptcies have been surging and home sales have been seriously declining, but the big tech giants were supposed to be an economic bright spot that we could always rely on.  Perhaps that is why so many investors were shocked when Apple announced their most recent quarterly results on Tuesday

Sales of Apple’s flagship iPhones plummeted 15% during the holiday quarter, a sharp deterioration in a business that the company said Tuesday will continue to struggle in the coming months.

Apple gave a weaker-than-expected sales-and-profit forecast for its fiscal second quarter. Its guidance calls for sales to fall by as much as 10% and for its earnings per share to plunge by as much as 22%.

Apple is openly admitting that this is not just going to be a one quarter anomaly.

The company is telling us that sales are going to continue to fall in the months ahead, and that is very alarming news.

In fact, we haven’t seen Apple sales fall on a year over year basis since the year 2000

The last time Apple’s holiday quarter sales fell, America was consumed with Bush v. Gore and Tom Brady had one completed pass in his career.

Apple’s sales fell 15% in the last three months of 2018 — and that’s the first time Apple’s sales dropped during the final quarter of the year since 2000.

Speaking of Tom Brady, what he has accomplished is nothing short of remarkable.  This will be his ninth Super Bowl as quarterback with the Patriots, and that is a record that will never, ever be broken.

But we have to go all the way back before his first Super Bowl to find a time when Apple sales declined, and that just shows how dominant Apple has been over the years.

I have to admit that I have an iPhone myself, and I really like it.  I know that some people have complaints, but over the years Apple has made good products and it is easy to understand why they have been so successful.

Unfortunately, the economic winds are shifting.

One of the big factors that is hurting Apple is our trade war with China, and Apple CEO Tim Cook is reportedly in “regular contact” with President Trump about this…

Cook, who is in regular contact with U.S. President Donald Trump, told Reuters he sees some hope that trade tensions between the United States and China have eased, and that the company is considering pricing its phones in local currency in China and other international markets, which may spur sales.

Hopefully there will be a positive resolution to this trade conflict in the near future, but at this moment that is looking doubtful.  And now that the U.S. has formally requested the extradition of Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou, the chances of a comprehensive trade agreement have deteriorated considerably.

Apple has been successful for a very long time, but the tech industry is constantly evolving, and consumer behavior is shifting at an extremely rapid pace.  For example, one recent survey indicated that almost 60 percent of all Americans have already canceled cable television

Nearly 60 percent of Americans have canceled their cable television subscription – and just 12 percent said they are committed to sticking with their cable package, according to a new survey.

An additional 29 percent of Americans are considering cutting the cord on their traditional cable subscription.

The entire cable television industry is living on borrowed time, and they are going to have to adapt to the new paradigm that is emerging if they are going to survive.

In the headline of this article, I also noted that consumer confidence has just fallen again.  In fact, Breitbart is calling it “the third consecutive steep monthly decline”…

Consumer confidence took another hit in January, as the government partially shut down while Capitol Hill Democrats and the Trump White House battled over funding for a border wall.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index decreased in January, the third consecutive steep monthly decline.

The index fell to 120.2 from December’s revised down 126.6. Economists had expected a milder decline to 124.3.

This is a clear indication that the economic mood in this country is getting darker.

But the good news is that things have calmed down on Wall Street.  After the worst December since the Great Depression, the stock market has bounced back a bit in recent weeks.

So the truth is that 2019 is off to a better start than many had anticipated.  That may not last for very long, but at least for the moment investors have a reason to smile.

And we should all be hoping for stability for the financial markets for as long as possible.  Because once this bubble finally bursts, it is going to be virtually impossible to put the pieces back together once again.

Get Prepared NowAbout the author: Michael Snyder is a nationally-syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including Get Prepared Now, The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.  His articles are originally published on The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News.  From there, his articles are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the nation.  If you would like to republish his articles, please feel free to do so.  The more people that see this information the better, and we need to wake more people up while there is still time.

Nearly 51 Million Households In The United States ‘Can’t Afford Basics Like Rent And Food’

If the U.S. economy is performing well, then why can’t 51 million households in the United States “afford basics like rent and food”.  A stunning new report that was just put out by the United Way ALICE Project shows that the gap between the wealthy and the poor in this country is perhaps the biggest that it has been in any of our lifetimes.  In some of the wealthiest areas of the nation, homes are now selling for up to 100 million dollars, but meanwhile tens of millions of families are barely scraping by from month to month.  Many believe that this growing “inequality gap” is setting the stage for major societal problems.

In general, the U.S. economy seems to be performing better than expected so far in 2018, but the ranks of the poor and the working poor just continue to grow.  The following comes from CNN

Nearly 51 million households don’t earn enough to afford a monthly budget that includes housing, food, child care, health care, transportation and a cell phone, according to a study released Thursday by the United Way ALICE Project. That’s 43% of households in the United States.

The figure includes the 16.1 million households living in poverty, as well as the 34.7 million families that the United Way has dubbed ALICE — Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This group makes less than what’s needed “to survive in the modern economy.”

If 43 percent of all Americans cannot even afford “the basics”, what does that say about the true state of the U.S. economy?

Of course the biggest reason why so many American families are struggling is the lack of good jobs.

In America today, 66 percent of all jobs pay less than 20 dollars an hour.

66 percent.

Just let that sink in for a minute.

You cannot support a middle class family on 20 dollars an hour.  As a result, many Americans are working more than one job, and in many households both the mother and the father are working more than one job.

Housing costs account for the biggest item in most family budgets, and the fact that housing costs have just continued to soar is putting a huge amount of financial stress on hard working families.  Just today we learned that there is a tremendous rush to buy homes as mortgage rates rise rapidly

Today, according to the latest Freddie Mac mortgage rates report, after plateauing in recent weeks, mortgage rates reversed course and reached a new high last seen eight years ago as the 30-year fixed mortgage rate edged up to 4.61% matching the highest level since May 19, 2011.

But while the highest mortgage rates in 8 years are predictably crushing mortgage refinance activity, they appears to be having the opposite effect on home purchases, where there is a sheer scramble to buy, and sell, houses. As Bloomberg notes, citing brokerage Redfin, the average home across the US that sold last month went into contract after a median of 36 only days on the market – a record speed in data going back to 2010.

If you will remember, we witnessed a very similar pattern just before the subprime mortgage meltdown in 2008.

History is repeating itself, and we never seem to learn from our past mistakes.

Housing prices in some cities are absolutely obscene right now, and many working families find themselves completely priced out of the market.  That has some people asking one very simple question

Many San Francisco renters I met while reporting an article on affordable housing lotteries had responded to the region’s housing crisis by putting up with great discomfort: They crammed in with family; they split apartments with strangers. Some even lived out of their cars.

Why, lots of readers wanted to know, didn’t they simply move away instead?

Yes, some people are moving, and this is something that I plan to do an article about very soon.

But for most hard working families, moving across the country simply is not an option.  Moving out of state is very expensive, it can be very difficult to find a similar job in an entirely new area, and many families are very dependent on the social networks where they currently live…

People who struggle financially often have valuable social networks — family to help with child care, acquaintances who know of jobs. The prospect of dropping into, say, Oklahoma or Georgia would mean doing without the good income and the social support. Those intangible connections that keep people in places with bad economies also keep people in booming regions where the rent is too high.

In the end, moving is just not an option for a lot of people.

We need to structure our economic system so that it works for all Americans – not just a few.  Unfortunately, it is probably going to take another major crisis before people are ready for such a restructuring.

And such a crisis may not be that far away.  In fact, even Pope Francis is now warning about the dangers of derivatives

In a sweeping critique of global finance released by the Vatican on Thursday, the Holy See singled out derivatives including credit-default swaps for particular scorn. “A ticking time bomb,” the Vatican called them. The unusual rebuke — derivatives rarely reach the level of religious doctrine — is in keeping with Francis’s skeptical view of unbridled global capitalism.

“The market of CDS, in the wake of the economic crisis of 2007, was imposing enough to represent almost the equivalent of the GDP of the entire world. The spread of such a kind of contract without proper limits has encouraged the growth of a finance of chance, and of gambling on the failure of others, which is unacceptable from the ethical point of view,” the Vatican said in the document.

I have written about derivatives extensively in the past, and Pope Francis is 100 percent correct when he says that they are a ticking time bomb which could absolutely devastate the global financial system at any moment.

We don’t know exactly when it will happen, but we do know that such a crisis is coming at some point.

Sadly, most of the population is completely asleep, and they will be completely blindsided by the coming crisis when it does finally arrive.

Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist.  He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.

Dialing For Dollars: Members Of Congress Are Instructed To Spend 4 Hours A Day On The Telephone Raising Money

When I made the decision to run for Congress, I figured that I better learn how members of the House of Representatives actually spend their time, and what I learned chilled me to the core.  It turns out that both parties instruct their members to spend approximately four hours a day on the telephone raising money.  As a new member of Congress, I would be expected to raise $200,000 for the National Republican Congressional Committee, and that would require me to spend enormous amounts of time away from the job that I was actually elected to do.  Of course I have already pledged that I will not “dial for dollars”, and the establishment is not pleased about that at all.  To me, it is absolutely disgraceful what our system has become.  Today, members of Congress are essentially mid-level telemarketers for the NRCC or the DCCC, and it is time that we said enough is enough.

As I have traveled around Idaho’s first congressional district and shared how members of Congress spend much of their time “dialing for dollars”, many people have had a difficult time believing that it is true.  But of course many current members of Congress have spoken out about this, and that includes U.S. Representative Rick Nolan.  During a recent interview with CBS News, he explained that new members of Congress are expected to spend 30 hours a week “dialing for dollars”…

Rep. Rick Nolan: Well, both parties have told newly elected members of the Congress that they should spend 30 hours a week in the Republican and Democratic call centers across the street from the Congress, dialing for dollars.

Norah O’Donnell: Thirty hours a week?

Rep. Rick Nolan: Thirty hours is what they tell you you should spend. And it’s discouraging good people from running for public office. I could give you names of people who’ve said, “You know, I’d like to go to Washington and help fix problems, but I don’t want to go to Washington and become a mid-level telemarketer, dialing for dollars, for crying out loud.”

If you divide 30 hours a week by 7 days, that comes to more than 4 hours a day.

Is that how you want your representatives in Congress spending their time?

Not too long ago, U.S. Representative Ken Buck was interviewed by award-winning journalist Sharyl Attkisson, and he explained that a new Republican member of Congress would be expected to raise around $200,000 for the party, but that is just the base level.

In his recent book, Buck went on to share that committee chairmen are expected to raise far more than that.  The following comes from an article published by the Hill

In his recently published tell-all book, Colorado Republican Rep. Ken Buck (R) exposed how these fundraising quotas have soared. Chairs of the so-called “A” committees — such as Appropriations, Financial Services, and Ways and Means — are now expected to raise $1.2 million for the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC). All the while, chairs of the so-called “B” committees — such as the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee — are expected to raise $875,000.

When you start learning how things really work in Washington, it makes perfect sense why Congress only has a 15 percent approval rating at this point.

No member of Congress should ever have to “buy” a spot on any committee.

Fortunately, there are a few members of Congress that have spoken out against this very corrupt system.  One of them was former U.S. Representative David Jolly

It is a cult-like boiler room on Capitol Hill where sitting members of Congress, frankly I believe, are compromising the dignity of the office they hold by sitting in these sweatshop phone booths calling people asking them for money. And their only goal is to get $500 or $1,000 or $2,000 out of the person on the other end of the line. It’s shameful. It’s beneath the dignity of the office that our voters in our communities entrust us to serve.

This is why we should ask every single person running for Congress to take a pledge that they will not participate in this system.

I have publicly taken such a pledge, but not a single one of my six opponents has done so.

Could you imagine being elected to Congress and then spending 30 hours a week cold calling people like some sort of crooked telemarketer?  This is precisely what is happening, and it is absolutely disgusting.  Here is more from former U.S. Representative Jolly

Simply by calling people, cold-calling a list that fundraisers put in front of you, you’re presented with their biography. So please call John. He’s married to Sally. His daughter, Emma, just graduated from high school. They gave $18,000 last year to different candidates. They can give you $1,000 too if you ask them to. And they put you on the phone. And it’s a script.

Since members of Congress are forbidden by law from making fundraising calls from their offices, they have to go somewhere else to make these calls.

Right across from the U.S. Capitol there are two very large call centers – one for Republicans and one for Democrats.  CBS News was able to get a hidden camera into one of these call centers, and it does not sound like a pleasant environment…

No photos exist of the inside of either the Democratic or Republican centers. But with the help of a staffer, we were able to get into the Republican center with a hidden camera.

About a dozen tiny offices, equipped with a phone and computer line a corridor. This is where members of Congress sit behind closed doors and plow through lists of donors dialing for dollars. Outside in the main hallway is a big board where the amount each member has raised for the party is posted for all to see and compare.

When I go to Washington I am going to introduce legislation to end this system.  Every member of Congress should be focusing on doing the job that they were sent there to do, but the current system will persist until we stand up and take action.

Like I have said so many times before, I am going to Washington to turn things upside down.  We are going to drain the swamp and clean up the corruption.

If you believe in what we are trying to do, please consider supporting us.  We are being supported by small grassroots donations from all over the country, and we believe that now is the time to take our government back.  If you would like to make a contribution to our campaign, here is how you can do it…

Donate By Credit Card Online: https://secure.anedot.com/michaelsnyderforcongress/donate

Donate By Paypal: https://donorbox.org/michael-snyder-for-congress

Donate By Check: Make your check out to “Michael Snyder For Congress” and send it to the following address…

Michael Snyder For Congress
PO Box 1136
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805

We plan to cause so much chaos in Washington, but we have got to win this Republican primary on May 15th first.  Right now we are in an extremely close race with a couple of other candidates, but we have all the momentum on our side.

We have a great plan for pulling ahead during these final two months, but we need your help.

Thanks again for helping us fight for the future of our country.  Together we got Donald Trump into the White House, and together we can take Congress back.

Michael Snyder is a pro-Trump candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District.  If you would like to help him win on May 15th, you can donate online, by Paypal or by sending a check made out to “Michael Snyder for Congress” to P.O. Box 1136 – Bonners Ferry, ID 83805.  To learn more, please visit MichaelSnyderForCongress.com.

Government Spooks Can Use The Mic And Camera On Trump’s Phone Even When He Thinks It Is Turned Off

Trump Speaking With Putin In The Oval Office - Public DomainAfter reading this article you might not ever view your electronic devices the same way again.  Last year, Hollywood released a biographical political thriller based on the life of Edward Snowden that had one particularly creepy scene.  In that scene, a government spook used a program to remotely activate the microphone and camera on a laptop, and by doing so he was able to watch a woman as she got undressed.  Sadly, as you will see below, this kind of thing is happening constantly.  Any digital device can potentially be accessed and used to spy on you even if it appears to be turned off.  And this is why Donald Trump needs to be so careful right now, because the intelligence community wants to take him down and they can literally use any digital device in his possession to try to gather dirt on him.  We have a “deep state” that is absolutely obsessed with watching, tracking and monitoring the American people, and something desperately needs to be done about this unconstitutional surveillance.  Now that Trump has become greatly upset about how the government was tapping into his phone calls, maybe something will finally get accomplished.

In an article that I just published on The Most Important News, I talked about the NSA’s brand new two billion dollar data storage facility in Utah that can store up to five zettabytes of data.  Secret “electronic monitoring rooms” embedded within the facilities of major communications companies across the United States send an endless flow of digital information to this facility, and most Americans have no idea that this is even happening.  The following comes from Wired

Before yottabytes of data from the deep web and elsewhere can begin piling up inside the servers of the NSA’s new center, they must be collected. To better accomplish that, the agency has undergone the largest building boom in its history, including installing secret electronic monitoring rooms in major US telecom facilities. Controlled by the NSA, these highly secured spaces are where the agency taps into the US communications networks, a practice that came to light during the Bush years but was never acknowledged by the agency. The broad outlines of the so-called warrantless-wiretapping program have long been exposed—how the NSA secretly and illegally bypassed the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which was supposed to oversee and authorize highly targeted domestic eavesdropping; how the program allowed wholesale monitoring of millions of American phone calls and email. In the wake of the program’s exposure, Congress passed the FISA Amendments Act of 2008, which largely made the practices legal. Telecoms that had agreed to participate in the illegal activity were granted immunity from prosecution and lawsuits.

Whistleblowers have come forward again and again to warn us about what was happening, but they have largely been ignored.  One of the most prominent whistleblowers was former NSA employee William Binney

Binney left the NSA in late 2001, shortly after the agency launched its warrantless-wiretapping program. “They violated the Constitution setting it up,” he says bluntly. “But they didn’t care. They were going to do it anyway, and they were going to crucify anyone who stood in the way. When they started violating the Constitution, I couldn’t stay.” Binney says Stellar Wind was far larger than has been publicly disclosed and included not just eavesdropping on domestic phone calls but the inspection of domestic email. At the outset the program recorded 320 million calls a day, he says, which represented about 73 to 80 percent of the total volume of the agency’s worldwide intercepts. The haul only grew from there.

Can you imagine recording 320 million phone calls a day?

And that was at the beginning of the program – I can’t even imagine what the number must be these days.

But even if you aren’t using your phone government spooks can still potentially be listening to you.  The following comes from a CNN article entitled “How the NSA can ‘turn on’ your phone remotely“…

Government spies can set up their own miniature cell network tower. Your phone automatically connects to it. Now, that tower’s radio waves send a command to your phone’s antennae: the baseband chip. That tells your phone to fake any shutdown and stay on.

A smart hack won’t keep your phone running at 100%, though. Spies could keep your phone on standby and just use the microphone — or send pings announcing your location.

John Pirc, who did cybersecurity research at the CIA, said these methods — and others, like physically bugging devices — let the U.S. hijack and reawaken terrorists’ phones.

Unfortunately, these tactics are not just used against “terrorists”.

The truth is that these tactics are employed against anyone that the NSA is interested in, and in fact they could be listening to you right now.

Thanks to Edward Snowden, we have learned quite a bit about how the NSA takes over digital devices…

The latest story from the Edward Snowden leaks yesterday drives home that the NSA and its spy partners possess specialized tools for doing exactly that. According to The Intercept, the NSA uses a plug-in called GUMFISH to take over cameras on infected machines and snap photos.

Another NSA plug-in called CAPTIVATEDAUDIENCE hijacks the microphone on targeted computers to record conversations.

Intelligence agencies have been turning computers into listening devices for at least a decade, as evidenced by the Flame spy tool uncovered by Kaspersky Lab in 2012, which had the ability to surreptitiously turn on webcams and microphones and perform a host of other espionage operations.

So what can you do to prevent this from happening?

If you have external webcams and microphones, you can unplug them when they are not in use.

If you have a built-in camera, some have suggested covering the camera with a sticker.

And of course pulling out the battery entirely will prevent someone from taking over your phone when you are not using it.

But at the end of the day, it is going to be really hard to keep government spooks out of your electronic devices completely.  They have become extremely sophisticated at using these devices to get what they want, and they will literally go after just about anyone.

For example, just consider what they did to former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson.  In her recent book, she details a campaign of digital harassment that sounds like something out of a spy novel.  The following comes from the Washington Post

The breaches on Attkisson’s computer, says this source, are coming from a “sophisticated entity that used commercial, nonattributable spyware that’s proprietary to a government agency: either the CIA, FBI, the Defense Intelligence Agency, or the National Security Agency (NSA).” Attkisson learns from “Number One” that one intrusion was launched from the WiFi at a Ritz Carlton Hotel and the “intruders discovered my Skype account handle, stole the password, activated the audio, and made heavy use of it, presumably as a listening tool.”

To round out the revelations of “Number One,” he informs Attkisson that he’d found three classified documents deep inside her operating system, such that she’d never know they were even there. “Why? To frame me?” Attkisson asks in the book.

If they can do all of that to Sharyl Attkisson, they can do it to Donald Trump too.

Trump needs to understand that the deep state is trying to destroy him, and that everything that he says and does is being monitored.

So until Trump can completely clean house at all of our intelligence agencies, he is going to have to be extremely careful 24 hours a day.

And let us hope that Trump is ultimately victorious in his struggle against the deep state, because the future of this nation is literally hanging in the balance.

Economy In Decline: Apple Reports Massive Revenue Decline As iPhone Sales Plummet Dramatically

Apple iPhone And Apple Computer - Public DomainCorporate revenues in the United States have been falling for quite some time, but now some of the biggest companies in the entire nation are reporting extremely disappointing results.  On Tuesday, Apple shocked the financial world by reporting that revenue for the first quarter had fallen 7.4 billion dollars compared to the same quarter last year.  That is an astounding plunge, and it represents the very first year-over-year quarterly sales decline that Apple has experienced since 2003.  Analysts were anticipating some sort of drop, but nothing like this.  And of course last week we learned that Google and Microsoft also missed revenue and earnings projections for the first quarter of 2016.  The economic crisis that began during the second half of 2015 is really starting to take hold, and even our largest tech companies are now feeling the pain.

This wasn’t supposed to happen to Apple.  No matter what else has been going on with the U.S. economy, Apple has always been unshakeable.  Even during the last recession we never saw a year-over-year decline like this

Apple today announced financial results for the second fiscal quarter (first calendar quarter) of 2016. For the quarter, Apple posted revenue of $50.6 billion and net quarterly profit of $10.5 billion, or $1.90 per diluted share, compared to revenue of $58 billion and net quarterly profit of $13.6 billion, or $2.33 per diluted share, in the year-ago quarter. As expected, the year-over-year decline in quarterly revenue was the first for Apple since 2003.

I think that this announcement by Apple is waking a lot of people up.  The global economic slowdown is real, and we can see this in iPhone sales.  During the first quarter, Apple sold 16 percent fewer iPhones than it did during the same quarter in 2015.  This is the very first year-over-year quarterly sales decline for the iPhone ever.  Here are some of the specific sales figures from the Apple announcement…

Apple sold 51.1 million iPhones during the quarter, down from 61.2 million a year earlier, while Mac sales were 4.03 million units, down from from 4.56 million units in the year-ago quarter. iPad sales were also down once again, falling to 10.25 million from 12.6 million.

Once these numbers hit the wires, shares of Apple immediately began to plummet during after-hours trading.  In fact, USA Today is reporting that Apple has already lost 43 billion dollars in market value since the annoucement…

Shares of Apple are getting hit roughly 8% in after-hours trading, tumbling to $96.67. They closed in regular trading at $104.35, or down 0.7%, putting them down 0.9% for the year. The downward move in after-hours trading means the company shed $43 billion in market value based on after-hours trading.

Wow.

Meanwhile, shares of Twitter are crashing in after-hours trading after the social media giant also announced very disappointing results.  The stock has now dripped below 16 dollars a share, and the company continues to lose tremendous amounts of money

For all its other travails, Twitter is unprofitable. It narrowed its loss but still recorded a loss of $79.7 million, or 12 cents a share, compared with a loss of $162.4 million, or 25 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Of course it isn’t just the tech giants that are troubled these days.

On Tuesday we learned that same-store sales for Chipotle declined by a whopping 29.7 percent during the first quarter, and appliance manufacturer Whirlpool has seen sales fall all over the planet

Whirlpool, the world’s biggest appliance manufacturer, has become the poster child for the deep challenges facing multinational companies these days.

– Latin American sales plunged 22%.

– Revenue fell 8% in Europe, Middle East and Africa.

– Asia sales dipped 2%.

When is it finally going to sink in for most people?  The global economy is slowing down significantly, and the next global economic crisis is already here.

Of course the oil companies are feeling more pain than anyone else.  According to CNN, the crash in the price of oil has cost the 40 largest publicly-traded U.S. oil producers 67 billion dollars

American oil companies are drowning in a sea of red ink.

The crash in crude oil prices caused a stunning $67 billion in combined losses by 40 publicly-traded U.S. oil producers last year, according Energy Information Administration research. And the bleeding is expected to continue at least early this year for many.

The losses surpassed $1 billion each from struggling oil companies like EOG Resources (EOG), Devon Energy (DVN) and Linn Energy (LINE) as well as SandRidge Energy (SD), the shale oil driller that recently admitted it’s exploring a bankruptcy filing.

That is an astounding amount of money.

These days we throw around terms like “millions” and “billions” so much that they almost lose their meaning.

But this is real money that we are talking about here.

In recent days, Barack Obama has been running around boasting that he saved the world economy from another Great Depression.  But that isn’t true at all.  Instead, our “leaders” have simply set the stage for a larger and more painful crisis.  I like the way that Doug Casey recently put it

You’ve got to remember that all of these governments and central banks all around the world have driven interest rates not just to zero, but to negative levels in some cases… and they are simultaneously printing up trillions of currency units. And even while they are desperately doing that the economy is falling apart in lots of different ways.

…They’ve created a super-bubble in bonds, a bubble in stocks, and meanwhile commodities have collapsed and are below production costs in many cases.

…The economy is going to be very, very bad… It’s the next stage of what I call the Greater Depression. 

Whether you want to call it a “Great Depression”, a “Greater Depression” or “The Greatest Depression”, the truth is that we are heading into a period of time that will be unlike anything any of us have ever experienced before.

The greatest debt bubble in the history of the planet is starting to implode, and this time the central bankers and the politicians are not going to be able to put the pieces back together again.

But just like in 2008, the vast majority of the population will not recognize the warning signs until it is way too late.

*About the author: Michael Snyder is the founder and publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog. Michael’s controversial new book about Bible prophecy entitled “The Rapture Verdict” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.*

Thousands Of Companies Have Been Handing Over Your Personal Data To The NSA

Prism NSA SpyingIt isn’t just Internet and phone companies that are giving your personal information to the U.S. government.  According to an astounding report by Bloomberg, “four people familiar with the process” say that “makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies” and a whole host of other sources are handing over your personal data to federal agencies.  The truth is that there is so much more to this NSA snooping scandal than the American people know so far.  When U.S. Representative Loretta Sanchez said that what Edward Snowden had revealed was “just the tip of the iceberg“, she wasn’t kidding.  The U.S. government is trying to collect as much information about everyone on the planet as it possibly can.  And this incredibly powerful intelligence machine is not going to go away just because a few activists get upset about it.  The United States government spends more than 80 billion dollars a year on intelligence programs.  Those that have spent their careers constructing this monolithic intelligence apparatus are doing to defend it to the bitter end, as will the corporate partners in the private sector that rake in enormous profits thanks to big fat government contracts.  But if the American people don’t stand up and demand change now, it is going to be a signal to those doing the snooping that they can push the envelope even more because nobody is going to stop them.

So why are thousands of companies handing over your personal data to the NSA?  Well, according to Bloomberg they are getting things in return…

Thousands of technology, finance and manufacturing companies are working closely with U.S. national security agencies, providing sensitive information and in return receiving benefits that include access to classified intelligence, four people familiar with the process said.

These programs, whose participants are known as trusted partners, extend far beyond what was revealed by Edward Snowden, a computer technician who did work for the National Security Agency. The role of private companies has come under intense scrutiny since his disclosure this month that the NSA is collecting millions of U.S. residents’ telephone records and the computer communications of foreigners from Google Inc (GOOG). and other Internet companies under court order.

Thanks to the recent revelations by Edward Snowden, much of the focus so far has been on the information that the NSA gets from Internet and telecommunications companies, but apparently government agencies collect information about all of us from a vast array of sources…

Makers of hardware and software, banks, Internet security providers, satellite telecommunications companies and many other companies also participate in the government programs. In some cases, the information gathered may be used not just to defend the nation but to help infiltrate computers of its adversaries.

Along with the NSA, the Central Intelligence Agency (0112917D), the Federal Bureau of Investigation and branches of the U.S. military have agreements with such companies to gather data that might seem innocuous but could be highly useful in the hands of U.S. intelligence or cyber warfare units, according to the people, who have either worked for the government or are in companies that have these accords.

We have become a “surveillance society”, and this is exactly the sort of thing that the Fourth Amendment was supposed to protect us against.  The government is only supposed to invade our privacy and investigate us when there is probable cause to do so.

But now the government is trying to collect as much information about all of us as it possibly can even though the vast majority of us will never be charged with any crime.

There seems to be no limit when it comes to how much personal data the government wants to gather on all of us.  As I have written about previously, the chief technology officer at the CIA says that they “fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”

And this does not just apply to American citizens.  The U.S. government is compiling data on everyone on the planet.  And since such a high percentage of Internet traffic flows through U.S. networks and U.S. companies, that gives the U.S. intelligence community a tremendous “home-field advantage”.  The following is from a recent piece authored by Ronald Deibert, a professor of political science at the University of Toronto…

While cyberspace may be global, its infrastructure most definitely is not.

For example, a huge proportion of global Internet traffic flows through networks controlled by the United States, simply because eight of 15 global tier 1 telecommunications companies are American — companies like AT&T, CenturyLink, XO Communications and, significantly, Verizon.

The social media services that many of us take for granted are also mostly provided by giants headquartered in the United States, like Google, Facebook, Yahoo! and Twitter. All of these companies are subject to U.S. law, including the provisions of the U.S. Patriot Act, no matter where their services are offered or their servers located. Having the world’s Internet traffic routed through the U.S. and having those companies under its jurisdiction give U.S. national security agencies an enormous home-field advantage that few other countries enjoy.

But what is really the point of all of this intelligence gathering?

Is it to make us a little bit safer?

If so, we are making a massive mistake.

Benjamin Franklin once wrote the following: “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Are you willing to give up your Fourth Amendment rights in order to feel a little more safe?

I hope not.

The U.S. Constitution never guaranteed us safety.  But it is supposed to guarantee our privacy.

Fortunately, it appears that at this point public opinion is very much against all of the snooping that the government has been doing.  According to the Guardian, most of the recent surveys that have been done are coming up with very consistent results…

Thursday, the Guardian released a poll conducted on Monday and Tuesday nights by Public Policy Polling looking at America’s reaction to the National Security Agency (NSA) controversy. The public appears to be reacting negatively to the revelations – and it seems to be hurting President Obama.

We found 50% of American voters believe the NSA should not be collecting telephone or internet records, compared to the 44% who think they should. The results hold even when respondents were told that the data the government is collecting is “metadata” (and not necessarily actual content of communications).

These results are consistent with a CBS News poll, Fox News poll, and YouGov survey that showed only 38%, 32%, and 35% of Americans respectively approved of phone record collection in order to reduce the chance of a terrorist attack. A Gallup poll was consistent with these, showing only 37% approved monitoring of Americans’ phone and internet use.

And Americans also seem to be very suspicious about what the government will do with our personal data once they have it.

In fact, according to a new Rasmussen survey, 57 percent of Americans believe that the government will use the information that it collects “to harass political opponents”.

And of course many of the recent scandals that have erupted this year involve the government harassing political opponents.  We have seen this with the IRS scandal, and we have seen this with the spying on reporters scandal.

Just this week it was reported that CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has had her computers hacked repeatedly.  If you are not familiar with Attkisson, she is the one reporter in the mainstream media that has been relentless when it has come to pursuing the Operation Fast and Furious and Benghazi stories.  Now we are learning that a “sophisticated” intruder hacked into her computer “on multiple occasions” in late 2012

CBS News announced Friday that correspondent Sharyl Attkisson’s computer was hacked by “an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions,” confirming Attkisson’s previous revelation of the hacking.

CBS News spokeswoman Sonya McNair said that a cybersecurity firm hired by CBS News “has determined through forensic analysis” that “Attkisson’s computer was accessed by an unauthorized, external, unknown party on multiple occasions in late 2012.”

“Evidence suggests this party performed all access remotely using Attkisson’s accounts. While no malicious code was found, forensic analysis revealed an intruder had executed commands that appeared to involve search and exfiltration of data. This party also used sophisticated methods to remove all possible indications of unauthorized activity, and alter system times to cause further confusion. CBS News is taking steps to identify the responsible party and their method of access.”

Meanwhile, in a desperate attempt to deflect attention away from all of these scandals, Barack Obama is starting a war with Syria.

In this war, we are actually going to be helping al-Qaeda rebels that are beheading Christians to take over Syria.

If you aren’t aware of the deep connection between al-Qaeda and the Syrian rebels, just read the recent USA Today article entitled “Syrian rebels pledge loyalty to al-Qaeda” or any of the dozens of other articles that you can find on the Internet that document this very clearly.

And the sick thing is that a large number of Republicans are actually applauding Barack Obama for teaming up with al-Qaeda.

Has it suddenly become “conservative” to help al-Qaeda?

What in the world is going on?

And you know what?

The truth was that our troops were in position long before Barack Obama made his “stunning announcement” on Thursday.  In fact, it has been confirmed that U.S. troops are already in Jordan along the Syrian border.

And could this conflict with Syria actually set the stage for a much larger conflict?

The Russians have been providing “mortars, light artillery, antiaircraft guns, antitank weapons and ammunition” to the Syrian government and they have loudly denounced the latest moves by the Obama administration.

Yes, the Assad government is horrible, but what Obama is doing in Syria is a terrible, terrible mistake.

If the U.S. takes down the Assad government, forces loyal to al-Qaeda and other radical jihadists are going to take over and we will have made Russia and China very angry.  If the U.S. is unsuccessful in removing the Assad government, it will be considered a crushing defeat for the United States.

Either way, we lose.

So what do you think about all of this?  Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below…

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