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22 Nauseating Quotes From Hypocritical Establishment Politicians About The NSA Spying Scandal

Establishment PoliticiansEstablishment politicians from both major political parties are rushing to defend the NSA and condemn whistleblower Edward Snowden.  They are attempting to portray Edward Snowden as a “traitor” and the spooks over at the NSA that are snooping on all of us as “heroes”.  In fact, many of the exact same politicians that once railed against government spying during the Bush years are now staunchly defending it now that Obama is in the White House.  But it isn’t just Democrats that are acting shamefully.  Large numbers of Republican politicians that love to give speeches about “freedom” and “liberty” are attempting to eviscerate the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  The government is not supposed to invade our privacy and investigate us unless there is probable cause to do so.  Apparently many of our politicians misunderstood when they read the novel 1984 by George Orwell.  It wasn’t supposed to be an instruction manual.  We should be thanking Edward Snowden for exposing the deep corruption that is eating away at our own government like cancer.  Now the American people need to pick up the ball and start demanding answers, because without a doubt we are going to see establishment politicians from both major political parties try to shut this scandal down.  Establishment Democrats and establishment Republicans both love the Big Brother surveillance grid that the U.S. government has constructed, and they are both making it abundantly clear that they will defend the NSA to the very end.  The following are 22 nauseating quotes from hypocritical establishment politicians that show exactly how they feel about the NSA spying scandal…

#1 Barack Obama: “I think it’s important to understand that you can’t have 100 percent security and then have 100 percent privacy and zero inconvenience. We’re going to have to make some choices as a society.”

#2 Barack Obama in 2007: “This Administration also puts forward a false choice between the liberties we cherish and the security we demand… That means no more illegal wire-tapping of American citizens. No more national security letters to spy on citizens who are not suspected of a crime. No more tracking citizens who do nothing more than protest a misguided war. No more ignoring the law when it is inconvenient. That is not who we are. And it is not what is necessary to defeat the terrorists… We will again set an example for the world that the law is not subject to the whims of stubborn rulers, and that justice is not arbitrary.”

#3 Speaker Of The House John Boehner on what he thinks about NSA leaker Edward Snowden: “He’s a traitor.”

#4 U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham: “I hope we follow Mr. Snowden to the ends of the Earth to bring him to justice.”

#5 U.S. Senator Al Franken: “I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people.”

#6 Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: “For senators to complain that they didn’t know this was happening, we had many, many meetings that have been both classified and unclassified that members have been invited to”

#7 U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell: “Given the scope of these programs, it’s understandable that many would be concerned about issues related to privacy. But what’s difficult to understand is the motivation of somebody who intentionally would seek to warn the nation’s enemies of lawful programs created to protect the American people. And I hope that he is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

#8 U.S. Representative Peter King on why he believes that reporters should be prosecuted for revealing NSA secrets: “There is an obligation both moral, but also legal, I believe, against a reporter disclosing something which would so severely compromise national security.”

#9 Director of National Intelligence James Clapper making a joke during an awards ceremony last Friday night: “Some of you expressed surprise that I showed up—so many emails to read!”

#10 Director Of National Intelligence James Clapper about why he lied about NSA spying in front of Congress: “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful manner”

#11 National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden: “The president has full faith in director Clapper and his leadership of the intelligence community”

#12 White House press secretary Jay Carney: “…Clapper has been straight and direct in the answers that he’s given, and has actively engaged in an effort to provide more information about the programs that have been revealed through the leak of classified information”

#13 Dianne Feinstein, the chairwoman of the Senate intelligence committee: “There is no more direct or honest person than Jim Clapper.”

#14 Gus Hunt, the chief technology officer at the CIA: “We fundamentally try to collect everything and hang onto it forever.”

#15 Barack Obama: “Nobody is listening to your telephone calls.”

#16 Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency: “We do not see a tradeoff between security and liberty.”

#17 An exchange between NSA director Keith Alexander and U.S. Representative Hank Johnson in March 2012…

JOHNSON: Does the NSA routinely intercept American citizens’ emails?

ALEXANDER: No.

JOHNSON: Does the NSA intercept Americans’ cell phone conversations?

ALEXANDER: No.

JOHNSON: Google searches?

ALEXANDER: No.

JOHNSON: Text messages?

ALEXANDER: No.

JOHNSON: Amazon.com orders?

ALEXANDER: No.

JOHNSON: Bank records?

ALEXANDER: No.

#18 Deputy White House press secretary Dana Perino: “The intelligence activities undertaken by the United States government are lawful, necessary and required to protect Americans from terrorist attacks”

#19 U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss: “This is nothing new.  It has proved meritorious because we have gathered significant information on bad guys and only on bad guys over the years.”

#20 Former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton on NSA leaker Edward Snowden: “Let me ask, who died and made him king? Who gave him the authority to endanger 300 million Americans? That’s not the way it works, and if he thinks he can get away with that, he’s got another think coming.”

#21 Senior spokesman for the NSA Don Weber: “Given the nature of the work we do, it would be irresponsible to comment on actual or alleged operational issues; therefore, we have no information to provide”

#22 The White House website: “My administration is committed to creating an unprecedented level of openness in government. We will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration.”

Right now, the NSA is building a data collection center out in Utah that is so massive that it is hard to describe with words.  It is going to cost 40 million dollars a year just to provide the energy needed to run it.  According to a 2012 Wired article entitled “The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say)“, this data center will contain “the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches” in addition to “parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases” and anything else that the NSA decides to collect…

Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the blandly named Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency. A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications as they zap down from satellites and zip through the underground and undersea cables of international, foreign, and domestic networks. The heavily fortified $2 billion center should be up and running in September 2013. Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.

The goal is to know as much about everyone on the planet as possible.

And the NSA does not keep this information to itself.  As an article in USA Today recently reported, the NSA shares the data that it collects with other government agencies “as a matter of practice”…

As a matter of practice, the NSA regularly shares its information — known as “product” in intelligence circles — with other intelligence groups.

So when the NSA collects information about you, there is a very good chance that the FBI, the CIA, the Department of Homeland Security and the IRS will have access to it as well.

But the U.S. government is not the only one collecting data on American citizens.

Guess who else has been collecting massive amounts of data on the American people?

Barack Obama.

According to those that have seen it, the “Obama database” is unlike anything that any politician has ever put together before.  According to  CNSNews.com, U.S. Representative Maxine Waters says that this database “will have information about everything on every individual”…

“The president has put in place an organization that contains a kind of database that no one has ever seen before in life,” she added. “That’s going to be very, very powerful.”

Martin asked if Waters if she was referring to “Organizing for America.”

“That’s right, that’s right,” Waters said. “And that database will have information about everything on every individual in ways that it’s never been done before.”

Waters said the database would also serve future Democratic candidates seeking the presidency.

Perhaps this helps to explain why so many big donors got slapped with IRS audits immediately after they wrote big checks to the Romney campaign.

We are being told to “trust” Barack Obama and the massive government surveillance grid that is being constructed all around us, but there has been example after example of government power being grossly abused in recent years.

A lot of Americans say that they do not care if the government is watching them because they do not have anything to hide, but is there anyone out there that would really not mind the government watching them and listening to them 24 hours a day?

For example, it has been documented that NSA workers eavesdropped on conversations between U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and their loved ones back home.  Some of these conversations involved very intimate talk between husbands and wives.  The following is from a 2008 ABC News story

Faulk says he and others in his section of the NSA facility at Fort Gordon routinely shared salacious or tantalizing phone calls that had been intercepted, alerting office mates to certain time codes of “cuts” that were available on each operator’s computer.

 

“Hey, check this out,” Faulk says he would be told, “there’s good phone sex or there’s some pillow talk, pull up this call, it’s really funny, go check it out. It would be some colonel making pillow talk and we would say, ‘Wow, this was crazy’,” Faulk told ABC News.

 

Faulk said he joined in to listen, and talk about it during breaks in Back Hall’s “smoke pit,” but ended up feeling badly about his actions.

Is this really what we want the future of America to look like?

Do we really want the government to watch us and listen to us during our most intimate moments?

Feel free to express what you think about this NSA spying scandal by posting a comment below…

An Even Bigger Scandal: Why Are IRS Audits Being Used To Punish Obama’s Political Enemies?

Obama Using IRS Audits To Attack His Enemies?Is it right for Barack Obama to use IRS audits to punish his political enemies?  As crazy as that sounds, there is a mounting body of evidence that indicates that this is actually happening.  And if this can be proven, it is a much, much larger scandal than the IRS giving “extra scrutiny” to the applications of conservative non-profit groups.  Let me be clear – if Barack Obama has been using IRS audits to punish his political enemies, that is an impeachable offense.  Of all of the other scandals that are out there right now, this is the one that could actually bring down the presidency of Barack Obama.  That is how serious this is.  As you will read about below, there is a huge amount of circumstantial evidence that political enemies of Barack Obama have been singled out for IRS audits.  We need to find out who initiated these audits.  Whether you are a Republican, a Democrat or an Independent, this kind of abuse of government power should sicken and horrify you.  If it can be proven that Barack Obama has been using IRS audits to attack his enemies, every single U.S. citizen should be calling for him to resign.  This is something that is beyond politics – this is a direct threat to the very integrity of our system.

The recent revelation that the IRS has been specifically targeting patriot groups and Tea Party organizations for “extra scrutiny” has opened up the floodgates.  In recent days, a large number of highly respected people have come forward claiming that they were the subject of IRS audits that were politically motivated.

For example, Larry Conners, a respected local news anchor at KMOV Channel 4 in St. Louis, Missouri says that he was hit with an IRS audit almost immediately after he conducted an interview with Barack Obama in April 2012

Shortly after I did my April 2012 interview with President Obama, my wife, friends and some viewers suggested that I might need to watch out for the IRS.

I don’t accept “conspiracy theories”, but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me.

At the time, I dismissed the “co-incidence”, but now, I have concerns … after revelations about the IRS targeting various groups and their members.

Originally, the IRS apologized for red-flagging conservative groups and their members if they had “Tea Party” or “patriot” in their name.

Today, there are allegations that the IRS focused on various groups and/or individuals questioning or criticizing government spending, taxes, debt or how the government is run … any involved in limiting/expanding government, educating on the constitution and bill of rights, or social economic reform/movement.

In that April 2012 interview, I questioned President Obama on several topics: the Buffet Rule, his public remarks about the Supreme Court before the ruling on the Affordable Care Act. I also asked why he wasn’t doing more to help Sen. Claire McCaskill who at that time was expected to lose. The Obama interview caught fire and got wide-spread attention because I questioned his spending.

I said some viewers expressed concern, saying they think he’s “out of touch” because of his personal and family trips in the midst of our economic crisis.

The President’s face clearly showed his anger; afterwards, his staff which had been so polite … suddenly went cold.

That’s to be expected, and I can deal with that just as I did with President George H. Bush’s staff when he didn’t like my questions.

Journalistic integrity is of the utmost importance to me. My job is to ask the hard questions, because I believe viewers have a right to be well-informed. I cannot and will not promote anyone’s agenda – political or otherwise – at the expense of the reporting the truth.

What I don’t like to even consider … is that because of the Obama interview … the IRS put a target on me.

Can I prove it? At this time, no.

But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview … the IRS has been pressuring me.

Reverend Franklin Graham, the son of Reverend Billy Graham, recently wrote a letter to Barack Obama claiming that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse were both hit with IRS audits very shortly after they ran full-page ads supporting North Carolina’s Marriage amendment.  In fact, both organizations were notified about the audits on the same day.  The following is from a recent article posted on redstate.com

The man known as America’s pastor was among those targeted by the Internal Revenue Service after the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association ran newspaper advertisements promoting traditional marriage and biblical values.

“I am bringing this to your attention because I believe that someone in the Administration was targeting and attempting to intimidate us,” wrote Franklin Graham in a letter to President Obama. “This is morally wrong and unethical – indeed some would call it ‘un-American.’”

Graham is president of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association as well as the international charity Samaritan’s Purse. Both organizations received word of audits on the same day – not long after they ran full –page ads supporting North Carolina’s Marriage amendment.

The ads encouraged voters to “cast our ballots for candidates who base their decisions on biblical principles and support the nation of Israel.”

The ad concluded with the words, “Vote for biblical values this November 6, and pray with me (Billy Graham) that America will remain one nation under God.”

Graham said on Sept. 6, 2012 they received notification that the IRS would audit their taxes.

“In light of what the IRS admitted to on Friday, May 10, 2013, and subsequent revelations from other sources, I do not believe that the IRS audit of our two organizations last year is a coincidence – or justifiable,” Graham wrote.

You can find a full copy of Franklin Graham’s letter to Barack Obama right here.

The Blaze is reporting on another example of this phenomenon.  A respected Catholic professor that had written things critical of the Obama administration was hit with an IRS audit that she believes was politically motivated…

On Wednesday, Dr. Anne Hendershott, a devout Catholic and a noted sociologist, professor and author, exclusively told The Blaze that she believes she may have been one of the IRS’s targets.

According to Hendershott, the IRS audited her in 2010 and demanded to know who was paying her and “what their politics were.”

It all started with a phone call she received at her home in May of that year — a call during which Hendershott was told she would be audited. A letter that followed on May 19, 2010 solidified the IRS’s request to meet her in person two months later in July.

Unfortunately, these are not just isolated incidents.  In fact, attorney Cleta Mitchell recently told Newsmax that she has seen a systematic pattern of politically motivated IRS harassment that only began once Barack Obama entered the White House…

In the case of one such client, she and her family subsequently became targets for audits to their personal and business tax returns, and were even visited by three different government agencies. She also knows of other groups who had surprise visits from the FBI after they applied for IRS status.

Mitchell said she doesn’t believe the president or the White House was uninvolved in the IRS activities, as the administration has claimed.

“I’ve thought for some time that this is politically motivated and that’s the reason it was happening. And, as I said, I’ve been doing this for more than 20 years and I’ve never seen anything like this until 2009, 2010. And the only thing that changed was we had a different administration,” she said.

There are some that have been trying to bring awareness to these politically motivated audits for quite some time.  One of these individuals is a former classmate of Obama’s named Wayne Allyn Root

“I feel like a million bucks. I feel absolutely vindicated. I knew this was going on,” Wayne Allyn Root told WND.

Root, the Libertarian Party vice-presidential candidate in 2008 who has claimed Obama was strangely unknown to him and his fellow Columbia University classmates, recounted his story to WND last October of becoming the target of unusual audits, beginning in January 2011, despite a “spotless” 30-year tax record.

He charged in October that the order to audit him came from Obama himself, and he is even more convinced now.

“I believe this is not rogue agents, who would be risking their pension and careers,” he said.

In October, Root said the order to audit him “must have come from the highest levels of government.”

“Obama is using the power of the IRS and other government agencies to punish his political opposition and intimidate and silence his critics,” Root charged at the time.

In that same article, a number of other examples of this phenomenon were cited…

Last year, billionaire Frank VanderSloot became the target of investigations by both the IRS and the Labor Department after he gave $1 million to a super PAC that supported Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney. The GOP’s biggest donor, Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, said a federal criminal investigation into his company’s business practices was politically motivated. Another casino giant, Steve Wynn, also has been investigated.

This week, Root has received many emails from people who identify as conservative and believe the IRS has been harassing them for political reasons.

What happened to businessman Frank VanderSloot is particularly noteworthy.  The following is from an article that Rob Bluey authored last year…

On April 20, President Obama’s campaign named VanderSloot to the first presidential “enemies list” since the Nixon era. Eight private citizens were singled out for their donations to Romney. They committed no crimes, sought no attention, and yet they became the subject of Obama’s scorn.

VanderSloot is now facing persecution from the federal government. Kimberly Strassel reveals in The Wall Street Journal that two federal agencies — the Internal Revenue Service and Labor Department — both launched investigations of VanderSloot after his name appeared on Obama’s enemies list.

No matter what you think of Obama’s politics, shouldn’t we all be deeply alarmed that he has an “enemies list”?

With each passing day, the similarities between Barack Obama and Richard Nixon become more glaring.

And Obama has even joked about sending the IRS after people that he does not like.  When Obama found out that he was not going to be receiving an honorary doctorate from Arizona State University, he made the following statement

“President [Michael] Crowe and the Board of Regents will soon learn all about being audited by the IRS.”

The IRS is not supposed to be used as a weapon, and the White House is not allowed to use information gathered by the IRS for political gain either.  But apparently last year someone at the IRS was leaking tax information to someone within the Obama campaign.  The following is from a recent article by Matt K. Lewis

A little over a year ago, I reported that, ”It is likely that someone at the Internal Revenue Service illegally leaked confidential donor information showing a contribution from Mitt Romney’s political action committee to the National Organization for Marriage, says the group.”

Now — on the heels of news the IRS’s apology for having targeted conservative groups — NOM is renewing their demand that the Internal Revenue Service reveal the identity of the people responsible.

“There is little question that one or more employees at the IRS stole our confidential tax return and leaked it to our political enemies, in violation of federal law,” said NOM’s president Brian Brow, in a prepared statement. “The only questions are who did it, and whether there was any knowledge or coordination between people in the White House, the Obama reelection campaign and the Human Rights Campaign. We and the American people deserve answers.”

The IRS has been doing all sorts of things that they should not be doing.  They are a rogue agency that is completely out of control.

In fact, one new lawsuit alleges that the IRS stole the health records of approximately 10 million Americans

The Internal Revenue Service is now facing a class action lawsuit over allegations that it improperly accessed and stole the health records of some 10 million Americans, including medical records of all California state judges.

According to a report by Courthousenews.com, an unnamed HIPAA-covered entity in California is suing the IRS, alleging that some 60 million medical records from 10 million patients were stolen by 15 IRS agents. The personal health information seized on March 11, 2011, included psychological counseling, gynecological counseling, sexual/drug treatment and other medical treatment data.     “This is an action involving the corruption and abuse of power by several Internal Revenue Service agents,” the complaint reads. “No search warrant authorized the seizure of these records; no subpoena authorized the seizure of these records; none of the 10,000,000 Americans were under any kind of known criminal or civil investigation and their medical records had no relevance whatsoever to the IRS search. IT personnel at the scene, a HIPPA facility warning on the building and the IT portion of the searched premises, and the company executives each warned the IRS agents of these privileged records,” it continued.

And guess what?

The IRS is going to be the primary government agency in charge of implementing Obamacare.

Will we soon see the IRS use health information to attack the political enemies of the man or woman sitting in the White House?

Unfortunately, thanks to new “Big Brother” technology that the IRS has been implementing, pretty soon there will be very little about us that the IRS does not know.  The following is from a recent article by Richard Satran of U.S. News & World Report

Consumers are already familiar with Internet “cookies” that track their movements and send them targeted ads that follow them to different websites. The IRS has brought in private industry experts to employ similar digital tracking—but with the added advantage of access to Social Security numbers, health records, credit card transactions and many other privileged forms of information that marketers don’t see.

“Private industry would be envious if they knew what our models are,” boasted Dean Silverman, the agency’s high-tech top gun who heads a group recruited from the private sector to update the IRS, in a comment reported in trade publications.

So what is the IRS going to do with all of this information?

Well, the following are just a few of the things that they have already said that they plan to do with it…

• Charting and analyzing social media such as Facebook

• Targeting audits by matching tax filings to social media or electronic payments

• Tracking individual Internet addresses and emailing patterns

• Sorting data in 32,000 categories of metadata and 1 million unique “attributes”

• Machine learning across “neural” networks

• Statistical and agent-based modeling

• Relationship analysis based on Social Security numbers and other personal identifiers

So are you alarmed by all of this?

You should be.

As I discussed in my previous article entitled  “100 Years Old And Still Killing Us: America Was Much Better Off Before The Income Tax“, Congress should close the doors of the IRS and throw away the key.  It is a deeply, deeply corrupt government agency that has gotten wildly out of control.

After what you have just read above, is there anyone out there that would disagree with me?

Watch The Financial Markets In Europe

Watch The Financial Markets In EuropeIs the financial system of Europe on the verge of a meltdown?  I have always maintained that the next wave of the economic crisis would begin in Europe, and right now the situation in Europe is unraveling at a frightening pace.  On Monday, European stocks had their worst day in over six months, and over the past four days we have seen the EUR/USD decline by the most that it has in nearly seven months.  Meanwhile, scandals are erupting all over the continent.  A political scandal in Spain, a derivatives scandal in Italy and banking scandals all over the eurozone are seriously shaking confidence in the system.  If things move much farther in a negative direction, we could be facing a full-blown financial crisis in Europe very rapidly.  So watch the financial markets in Europe very carefully.  Yes, most Americans tend to ignore Europe because they are convinced that the U.S. is “the center of the universe”, but the truth is that Europe actually has a bigger population than we do, they have a bigger economy then we do, and they have a much larger banking system than we do.  The global financial system is more integrated today than it ever has been before, and if there is a major stock market crash in Europe it is going to deeply affect the United States and the rest of the globe as well.  So pay close attention to what is going on in Europe, because events over there could spark a chain reaction that would have very serious implications for every man, woman and child on the planet.

As I noted above, European markets started off the week very badly and things have certainly not improved since then.  The following is how Zero Hedge summarized what happened on Thursday…

EuroStoxx (Europe’s Dow) closed today -1% for 2013. France, Germany, and Spain are all lower on the year now. Italy, following ENI’s CEO fraud, collapsed almost 3% from the US day-session open, leaving it up less than 1% for the year. Just as we argued, credit markets have been warning that all is not well and today’s afternoon free-fall begins the catch-down.

In addition, the euro has been dropping like a rock all of a sudden.  Just check out this chart which shows what happened to the euro on Thursday.  It is very rare to see the euro move that dramatically.

So what is causing all of this?

Well, we already know that the economic fundamentals in Europe are absolutely horrible.  Unemployment in the eurozone is at a record high, and the unemployment rates in both Greece and Spain are over 26 percent.  Those are depression-level numbers.

But up until now there had still been a tremendous amount of confidence in the European financial system.  But now that confidence is being shaken by a whole host of scandals.

In recent days, a number of major banking scandals have begun to emerge all over Europe.  Just check out this article which summarizes many of them.

One of the worst banking scandals is in Italy.  A horrible derivatives scandal has pushed the third largest bank in Italy to the verge of collapse

Monte dei Paschi di Siena (BMPS.MI), Italy’s third biggest lender, said on Wednesday losses linked to three problematic derivative trades totaled 730 million euros ($988.3 million) as it sought to draw a line under a scandal over risky financial transactions.

There is that word “derivative” that I keep telling people to watch for.  Of course this is not the big “derivatives panic” that I have been talking about, but it is an example of how these toxic financial instruments can bring down even the biggest banks.  Monte dei Paschi is the oldest bank in the world, and now the only way it is able to survive is with government bailouts.

Another big scandal that is shaking up Europe right now is happening over in Spain.  It is being alleged that Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy and other members of his party have been receiving illegal cash payments.  The following summary of the scandal comes from a recent Bloomberg article

On Jan. 31, the Spanish newspaper El Pais published copies of what it said were ledgers from secret accounts held by Luis Barcenas, the former treasurer of the ruling People’s Party, which revealed the existence of a party slush fund. The newspaper said 7.5 million euros in corporate donations were channeled into the fund and allegedly doled out from 1997 to 2009 to senior party members, including Rajoy.

That doesn’t sound good at all.

So what is the truth?

Could Rajoy actually be innocent?

Well, at this point most of the population of Spain does not believe that is the case.  Just check out the following poll numbers from the Bloomberg article quoted above…

According to the Metroscopia poll, 76 percent of Spaniards don’t believe the People’s Party’s denials of the slush-fund allegations. Even more damning, 58 percent of the party’s supporters think it’s lying. All of the Spanish businessmen with whom I discussed the latest scandal expect it to get worse before it gets better. Their assumption that there are more skeletons in the government’s closet indicates what little trust they have in their leaders.

Meanwhile, the underlying economic fundamentals in Europe just continue to get worse.  One of the biggest concerns right now is France.  Just check out this excerpt from a recent report by Phoenix Capital Research

The house of cards that is Europe is close to collapsing as those widely held responsible for solving the Crisis (Prime Ministers, Treasurers and ECB head Mario Draghi) have all been recently implicated in corruption scandals.

Those EU leaders who have yet to be implicated in scandals are not faring much better than their more corrupt counterparts. In France, socialist Prime Minister Francois Hollande, has proven yet again that socialism doesn’t work by chasing after the wealthy and trying to grow France’s public sector… when the public sector already accounts for 56% of French employment.

France was already suffering from a lack of competitiveness. Now that wealthy businesspeople are fleeing the country (meaning investment will dry up), the economy has begun to positively implode.

As the report goes on to mention, over the past few months the economic numbers coming out of France have been absolutely frightful

Auto sales for 2012 fell 13% from those of 2011. Sales of existing homes outside of Paris fell 20% year over year for the third quarter of 2012. New home sales fell 25%. Even the high-end real estate markets are collapsing with sales for apartments in Paris that cost over €2 million collapsing an incredible 42% in 2012.

Today, the jobless rate in France is at a 15-year high, and industrial production is headed into the toilet.  The wealthy are fleeing France in droves because of the recent tax increases, and the nation is absolutely drowning in debt.  Even the French jobs minister recently admitted that France is essentially “bankrupt” at this point…

France’s government was plunged into an embarrassing row yesterday after a minister said the country was ‘totally bankrupt’.

Employment secretary Michel Sapin said cuts were needed to put the damaged economy back on track.

‘There is a state but it is a totally bankrupt state,’ he said.

So what does all of this mean?

It means that the crisis in Europe is just beginning.  Things are going to be getting a lot worse.

Perhaps that is one reason why corporate insiders are dumping so much stock right now as I noted in my article yesterday entitled “Do Wall Street Insiders Expect Something Really BIG To Happen Very Soon?”  There are a whole host of signs that both the United States and Europe are heading for recession, and a lot of financial experts are warning that stocks are way overdue for a “correction”.

For example, Blackstone’s Byron Wien told CNBC the other day that he expects the S&P 500 to drop by 200 points during the first half of 2013.

Seabreeze Partners portfolio manager Doug Kass recently told CNBC that what is happening right now in the financial markets very much reminds him of the stock market crash of 1987…

“I’m getting the ‘summer of 1987 feeling’ in the U.S. equity market,” Kass told CNBC, “which means we’re headed for a sharp fall.”

Toward the end of 2012 and at the very beginning of 2013 we saw markets both in the U.S. and in Europe move up steadily even though the underlying economic fundamentals did not justify such a move.

In many ways, that move up reminded me of the “head fakes” that we have seen prior to many of the largest “market corrections” of the past.  Often financial markets are at their most “euphoric” just before a crash hits.

So get ready.

Even if you don’t have a penny in the financial markets, now is the time to prepare for what is ahead.

We all need to learn from what Europe is going through right now.  In Greece, formerly middle class citizens are now trampling one another for food.  We all need to prepare financially, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically so that we can weather the economic storm that is coming.

Most Americans are accustomed to living paycheck to paycheck and being constantly up to their eyeballs in debt, but that is incredibly foolish.  Even in the animal kingdom, animals work hard during the warm months to prepare for the winter months.  Even so, we should all be working very hard to prepare during prosperous times so that we will have something stored up for the lean years that are coming.

Unfortunately, if events in Europe are any indication, we may be rapidly running out of time.

Time Is Running Out

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