U.S. Stocks Have Now Fallen For 5 Weeks In A Row – That Is The Worst Stock Market Streak In Almost 8 Years

We haven’t seen stock prices slide like this in a long time, and if this keeps up we could soon be looking at an avalanche.  Our rapidly escalating trade war with China and more bad U.S. economic numbers pushed stocks down once again this week, and at this point the Dow Industrial Average has now fallen for five weeks in a row.  We haven’t seen a losing streak this long since June 2011, and it is yet another indication that we have reached a major turning point.  Some positive comments about China from President Trump on Friday helped to lift stocks a little, but it wasn’t enough to put stocks into the green for the week.  Of course the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq are both working on losing streaks as well.  According to CNBC, both of them have now declined for three weeks in a row…

But Friday’s gains were not enough to offset this week’s losses. The Dow dropped 0.7% this week to post its fifth consecutive weekly decline, its longest streak since 2011. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq fell a third straight week of losses, their longest slide since December 2018. The weekly losses come at a time when investors are growing more convinced that the trade war will take longer than expected to conclude and could hurt the economy.

Unfortunately, things are not likely to turn around any time soon.  As I discussed yesterday, there is not much optimism that a trade deal with China will happen any time in the foreseeable future, and that is going to continually weigh on the economy.

Meanwhile, we continue to get more numbers that indicate that the U.S. economy is starting to slow down significantly.  On Friday, a key survey of U.S. manufacturing activity plunged to the lowest level in more than 9 years

An IHS Markit “flash” survey of U.S. manufacturers fell to a nine-and-a-half-year low of 50.6 this month from 52.6 in April. Manufacturing conditions have been soft for months.

Even more ominous, was the firm’s survey of U.S. service-oriented companies such as banks and retailers. These slipped to a 39-month low of 50.8 from 52.7.

Lately you have heard me talk about a lot of things that haven’t happened in “8 years” or “9 years”.  In so many areas, we are seeing numbers that we have not seen since the last recession, and many believe that the worst is yet to come.

And actually things are even worse for the retail industry than they were at any point during the last recession.  We are already on pace to absolutely shatter the all-time record for store closings in a single year, and on Friday we learned that yet another retail chain is shutting down all of their stores

In another sign of traditional retailers’ struggles, Topshop plans to close all 11 of its US stores as its parent company seeks to restructure after filing for bankruptcy protection.

Arcadia Group, the London-based owner of fast-fashion chain Topshop Topman, said it was facing “unprecedented” market conditions in the retail sector.

Day after day we just continue to get more numbers that tell us that the U.S. economy is heading in the wrong direction.

And we received more confirmation of that fact when J.P. Morgan economists dramatically slashed their U.S. GDP forecast for the second quarter of this year…

J.P. Morgan economists said they now see much slower second-quarter growth of just 1%, down from their prior forecast of 2.25% and way off the 3.2% reported in the first quarter.

“The April durable goods report was bad, particularly the details relating to capital goods orders and shipments. Coming on the heels of last week’s crummy April retail sales report, it suggests second quarter activity growth is sharply downshifting from the first quarter pace, ” the economists wrote.

Meanwhile, more troubling economic news continues to come in from all over the globe.  We just learned that Mexico’s economy is officially shrinking, and the Chinese government was just forced to take over an insolvent bank for the first time ever

China’s financial regulators said on Friday the country’s banking and insurance regulator and the central bank, will take control of the small, troubled inner Mongolia-based Baoshang Bank due to the serious credit risks it poses. The regulator’s control of Baoshang will last for a year starting on Friday, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) and China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC) said on their websites.

The stage is being set for the sort of global economic meltdown that we have been anticipating.  Of course if the U.S. and China were able to pull off a miracle and agree to a trade deal, that would be a tremendous boost to both the financial markets and the entire global economy.  But the only way that is going to happen is if one side or the other totally caves in.  The Chinese government has made a really big deal about the fact that they are not going to move from their current positions, and so the only way that a deal will happen at this point is if Donald Trump decides to wave a white flag and completely surrender to the Chinese.

What do you think the odds are of that happening?

But as the U.S. economy continues to deteriorate, the pressure on Trump to “do something” is going to be immense.

So we shall see what happens.  For now global financial markets are slowly sliding downhill, but eventually patience is going to run out and at that point we could see a mad dash for the exits.

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.

Stocks And Bonds Are Both Sending The Exact Same Message As Wall Street Braces For A Very Uncertain Future

Slowly but surely, Wall Street is starting to understand that the good times are over.  For months, most investors were absolutely convinced that the U.S. and China would be able to work out a trade deal because the alternative would simply be too painful for both sides.  But now trade talks are completely dead, and Wall Street is starting to come to grips with the reality that we really are facing a very long trade war.  Unless there is a major miracle, this trade war with China is likely to last until the presidential election in 2020, and if Trump wins it could go a lot longer than that.  And of course this comes at a time when the U.S. economy is already slowing down dramatically.  The economic optimism of the last couple of years is being replaced by a deep sense of gloom, and we are starting to see this reflected in the behavior of the markets.

For example, on Thursday we witnessed “dramatic” moves in the bond market as investors engaged in a rush to safety…

Investors rushed into the safety of bonds Thursday and dumped stocks, as it appeared the trade war could be prolonged and more painful for the world economy than expected.

The moves in the bond market were dramatic, with the 10-year Treasury yield dropping about 8 basis points in its biggest one-day move since April 1. At the same, traders in fed funds futures bet on the Fed making two quarter-point rate cuts by the middle of next year and possibly a third in the second half of 2020.

Meanwhile, stocks continued to fall as well, although some positive remarks from President Trump caused a bump late in the day…

Wall Street is coming to grips with the idea that the US-China trade war will get worse before it gets better.

The Dow dropped 286 points, or 1.1%, on Thursday on fears about the tariff battle slowing global growth and dinging corporate profits. The index recovered somewhat toward the end of the day — at one point it was down nearly 450 points.

Unfortunately, stocks and bonds are both telling us the exact same thing.

According to the head of short U.S. rate strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch, U.S. financial markets are indicating that “we’re moving toward a worst case scenario, and that could persist for quite some time”

“The market is obviously telling you that it’s quite worried about some of the incoming data, including the PMIs this morning, the ongoing trade rhetoric and the move in risk assets,” said Mark Cabana, head of short U.S. rate strategy at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. Cabana said the market now believes a full blown trade war is coming, with taxes on all of China’s products.

“The concern the market has right now is that we’re moving toward a worst case scenario, and that could persist for quite some time. If that’s the case, then the market is believing the [weak] economic data, and the Fed will likely need to respond to that by trying to offset and prevent a recession,” he said.

Of course there is still enough hope in the marketplace to keep the floor from completely falling out from underneath investors, but at this point even CNBC’s Jim Cramer is admitting that “banking on hope” is not a good strategy…

“If you buy right now on anything other than a slammed, super-growth stock down on a general market pullback, well you’re banking on hope, and hope should never be a part of the equation,” the “Mad Money” host said.

From this point forward, we should start to see things escalate pretty quickly.

Relations with China are going to continue to deteriorate, and problems between the United States and China are going to expand well beyond the economic sphere.

But for the immediate future, most of the focus will be on the economic consequences of the trade war, and most of the “experts” are starting to openly admit that those consequences are going to be quite painful.  The following comes from CNN

“You can’t have the world’s two largest economies in a long, drawn-out mutually destructive trade war and not slow the global economy,” said Art Hogan, chief market strategist at National Securities Corporation.

Of course Hogan is 100 percent correct.  The trade war is going to hurt all of us economically, and very disturbing numbers are rolling in on a daily basis now.  For example, we just learned that new manufacturing orders just fell for the first time since the last recession

American business activity tumbled to a three-year low in May due in large part to concerns about tariffs, according to a report released on Thursday by IHS Markit. New manufacturing orders declined for the first time since August 2009.

And as I pointed out the other day, global exports have also fallen to the lowest level that we have seen since 2009.

Once the dominoes start falling, all of our economic and financial bubbles could start bursting at the same time, and that could potentially create a crisis unlike anything that any of us have ever seen before.

My wife and I are both feeling a tremendous sense of urgency right now.  So many of the things that we have been waiting and watching for are starting to unfold.

Many believed that 2019 was going to represent a major turning point, and that appears to be exactly what is happening.

So hold on to your hats, because the remainder of this year is likely to be extremely “interesting”.

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 Pentagon Asks Trump To Send Thousands Of U.S. Troops To The Middle East As Tensions With Iran Continue To Rise

The more steps that we take toward a war with Iran, the more likely it becomes that somebody will do something really stupid that will actually trigger one.  By cutting off Iran’s oil exports, we are threatening to completely wreck their economy, and at this point they feel backed into a corner.  And the Iranians have already watched the U.S. invade two countries that they share a border with (Afghanistan and Iraq), and so it is understandable that they are a bit paranoid that it could happen to them too.  President Trump keeps saying that he doesn’t want a war with Iran, but the Iranians do not believe a single word any U.S. politician says.  Instead, they watch what we actually do very, very closely, and the fact that the Pentagon wants to deploy thousands of new troops to the Middle East is definitely going to freak them out.  The following comes from Fox News

The Pentagon is slated to request several thousand more U.S. troops be deployed to the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Iran, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News on Wednesday.

No decision has been made, and it was not clear if the White House would give its blessing. The deployment could also include Patriot missile batteries and naval ships.

The more military assets that we send to the Middle East, the more anxiety Iranian leaders are going to feel, and the more likely it will become that the Iranians will decide that they must make a move before it is too late.

For the Iranians, their best chance to win a conflict against the United States would be to try to eliminate U.S. ground assets before they even get into Iran.  Iranian leadership is absolutely insane, but under normal circumstances they would not have a reason to conduct such a strike.  But if they see U.S. forces massing on their borders, they will definitely be evaluating their options.

So sending thousands of new U.S. troops to the region is not a good idea, and hopefully President Trump will realize this.

And what makes all of this even more disturbing is the fact that the Jerusalem Post is reporting that “Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have agreed to a request for a renewed deployment of US forces”…

Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states have agreed to a request for a renewed deployment of US forces to deter Iran, the London-based daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat reported on Saturday.

According to the report, the deployment comes as part of the cooperation agreement between Washington and the Arab Gulf states, and will take place both at sea and on land. A Saudi source told the newspaper that “the agreement was aimed at deterring Iran from a military escalation, including attacking American targets… and not with the aim of entering into a war with it.”

It is hard to believe that this is actually happening.

Look, the truth is that if Iran tried anything funny we already have the ability to bomb them back to the stone age in very short order.

We don’t need thousands of troops in the region in order to do that.

But if we wanted to invade Iran, overthrow the regime and set up a new government, we would need an enormous number of troops.

In fact, the former head of the Royal Navy has stated that that U.S. would likely need “at least one million troops” in order to accomplish that goal…

Admiral Lord West – the former First Sea Lord of the Royal navy – gave a dire assessment of the potential conflict as tempers flare in the Middle East.

He told Daily Star Online the US would need at least one million troops to successfully pacify Iran, and a half-baked attack could throw the region further into chaos.

The 50-year Royal Navy veteran warned “idiots” in both the US and Iran are dangerously hyping tensions.

So are you ready to send your sons and daughters off to the Middle East to fight a war against Iran?

If not, then you should make your voice be heard while there is still time.

Another indication that things are heating up is the fact that the U.S. State Department has ordered all non-essential personnel to leave Iraq immediately

The U.S. military put its forces in Iraq on high alert, and the State Department ordered all nonemergency employees Wednesday to leave the country immediately amid escalating tensions with Iran. Some U.S. allies have expressed skepticism about the Trump administration’s claims that Iran poses a growing threat.

Navy Capt. Bill Urban, a spokesman at the U.S. military’s Central Command, said in a statement that there were “possibly imminent threats to U.S. forces in Iraq” as he sought to clarify contradictory remarks by a British commander Tuesday.

That is the kind of move that you make if you believe that a military conflict is imminent.

On the other side, Iran’s president has just decided to seek “expanded, wartime executive powers”

Iran’s president has told a group of clerics that he is seeking expanded, wartime executive powers to better deal with an “economic war” triggered by the Trump administration’s pullout from the nuclear deal and escalating U.S. sanctions.

The state IRNA news agency reported late Monday that President Hassan Rouhani cited the 1980s war with Iraq, when a wartime supreme council was able to bypass other branches to make decisions regarding the economy and the war.

We desperately need someone to cool things down, and instead Trump is surrounded by war hawks like National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and it is being reported that Trump is becoming quite frustrated with them

Trump grew angry last week and over the weekend about what he sees as warlike planning that is getting ahead of his own thinking, said a senior administration official with knowledge of conversations Trump had regarding national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“They are getting way out ahead of themselves, and Trump is annoyed,” the official said. “There was a scramble for Bolton and Pompeo and others to get on the same page.”

Hopefully Trump can find a peaceful way out of this mess, because a war with Iran would be the kind of war that nobody wins.

Sadly, a lot of Americans believe that a war with Iran is inevitable.  In fact, one recent survey discovered that 51 percent of all Americans believe that the U.S. and Iran will go to war “within the next few years”…

The survey showed that 51% of adults felt that the United States and Iran would go to war within the next few years, up 8 percentage points from a similar poll published last June. In this year’s poll, Democrats and Republicans were both more likely to see Iran as a threat and to say war was likely.

Let us pray for peace, but without a doubt we live at a time of “wars and rumors of wars”, and many believe that it is just a matter of time before peace is taken from the Earth.

But at this point, it is hard to imagine how anyone can possibly believe that a war with Iran would be a positive thing for the United States.

We have already witnessed the nightmares that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq became, and a war with Iran would be many magnitudes worse.

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.

Which Major West Coast City Is Being Overwhelmed By Rats, Drugs, Crime, Piles Of Garbage And Hordes Of Homeless People?

Can you name the major west coast city that has become a rotting, decaying hellhole and is being completely overwhelmed by rats, drugs, crime, piles of garbage and hordes of homeless people?  Of course San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, “all of them” and “any of them” would all be correct answers, but in this article we are going to talk about Los Angeles.  Once upon a time, millions of young Americans flocked to “sunny L.A.” in order to experience “the California Dream”, but these days Los Angeles seems to be on the cutting edge of many of our most critical societal problems.  L.A. has been known for Hollywood, the porn industry and world class traffic congestion, but now it is also becoming famous for “rat-infested piles of rotting garbage”

Rat-infested piles of rotting garbage left uncollected by the city of Los Angeles, even after promises to clean it up, are fueling concerns about a new epidemic after last year’s record number of flea-borne typhus cases.

Even the city’s most notorious trash pile, located between downtown LA’s busy Fashion and Produce districts, continues to be a magnet for rats after it was cleaned up months ago. The rodents can carry typhus-infected fleas, which can spread the disease to humans through bacteria rubbed into the eyes or cuts and scrapes on the skin, resulting in severe flu-like symptoms.

Today, approximately 18.7 million people live in the Los Angeles metropolitan area, and many fear that the rat population may exceed the human population at this point.

When garbage and filth are everywhere, rats can breed exceedingly quickly.  In fact, under ideal conditions two rats can become 482 million rats in just three years.

So you would think that L.A. would want to get this rat problem under control, but an NBC Los Angeles investigation discovered that “there is no plan or program to control the growing rat population”

But in Los Angeles, the I-Team learned there is no plan or program to control the growing rat population that feasts at trash piles like the one on Ceres Avenue.

“It’s something that we’ll look into,” said Pepe Garica, of Los Angeles’ bureau of sanitation.

Lovely, eh?

In a previous article, I noted that the rats have now even conquered Los Angeles City Hall

Officials at Los Angeles’ City Hall are considering ripping all of the building’s carpets up, as rats and fleas are said to be running riot in its halls.

A motion was filed by Council President Herb Wesson on Wednesday to enact the much needed makeover amid a typhus outbreak in the downtown area.

Wesson said a city employee had contracted the deadly bacterial disease at work, and now he’s urging officials to investigate the ‘scope’ of the long-running pest problem at the council building.

Meanwhile, the homeless population continues to multiply as well.

The number of homeless people living in L.A. has risen by at least 75 percent since 2012, and authorities cleaned up nearly 15,000 homeless encampments last year alone…

Nearly 15,000 homeless encampment cleanups were conducted last year in Los Angeles, a process that begins with officers clearing people from the area before sanitation workers remove trash and other items.

The cleanups cost taxpayers millions of dollars, but some residents who live near the encampments said they are usually repopulated soon after sanitation crews are done. It’s a seemingly endless cycle that leads neighbors to ask whether there are better ways to spend that tax money.

In other words, Los Angeles is cleaning up an average of 41 homeless encampments every single day.

Overall, Los Angeles spent a whopping 619 million dollars on the homeless problem last year, but it just continues to get even worse.

Of course wherever there is homelessness there is crime, and those that live in downtown L.A. are getting fed up

“Everyone living, working in, or visiting downtown has noticed the rapidly deteriorating conditions,” downtown resident Catherine Tomiczek told the committee. She said a friend was beaten and robbed on the street and a neighbor was stabbed in her building.

Councilman Paul Krekorian, who heads the committee, said he would request the information sought by the group. Major crimes downtown increased 6.7 percent this year compared with the same period in 2018, according to LAPD crime data through April 13.

Much of the violent crime is fueled by the drug trade, and according to DEA agent Bob Thomas Los Angeles is definitely a national hub for drug activity…

In a middle class neighborhood in Los Angeles a house is surrounded by crime tape. A young man had lost his life to drugs inside.

It’s happened a record 72,000 times last year in the United States and Los Angeles is a big part of the problem.

“Drug cartels send their stuff to LA, where it’s distributed across the nation,” DEA agent Bob Thomas said.

Further up the California coastline, northern California is being absolutely overwhelmed by a meth epidemic that is completely out of control.  Just consider these shocking numbers

Since 2011, emergency room visits related to meth in San Francisco have jumped 600% to 1,965 visits in 2016, the last year for which ER data is available. Admissions to the hospital are up 400% to 193, according to city public health data. And at San Francisco General Hospital, of 7,000 annual psychiatric emergency visits last year, 47% were people who were not necessarily mentally ill — they were high on meth.

“As California goes, so goes the nation” is a phrase that people like to use, but we better hope that it isn’t true, because California is going down the toilet.

And as our planet continues to become increasingly unstable, scientists assure us that it is only a matter of time before “the Big One” hits the state.  Earlier today, northern California was shaken by a magnitude 3.8 earthquake, and one of these days a truly catastrophic quake is coming.

In recent years, approximately five million people have packed up and moved to another state, and you can’t really blame them for leaving.

At this point I can’t really think of any reason why anyone would want to live in California.

Can you?

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.

Even Before The Recession Has Officially Begun, Some Large U.S. Firms Are Laying Off Thousands Of Workers

If the U.S. economy is “booming” and very bright days are ahead, then why are many large U.S. corporations laying off thousands of workers?  Layoffs are starting to come fast and furious now, and this is happening even though the coming recession has not even officially started yet.  Of course many are convinced that we are actually in a recession at this moment.  In fact, according to John Williams of shadowstats.com if the government was actually using honest numbers they would show that we have been in a recession for quite some time.  But the narrative that the mainstream media keeps feeding us is that the U.S. economy is “doing well” and that the outlook for the future is positive.  Well, if that is true then why are big companies laying off so many workers right now?

Let’s start by talking about Ford Motor Company.  On Monday, they announced that they will be laying off approximately 7,000 workers

Ford Motor said Monday that it is laying off about 7,000 managers and other salaried employees, about 10% of its white-collar workforce across the globe, as part of a restructuring plan designed to save the No. 2 automaker $600 million annually.

The cuts, some of which were previously announced by the company, will be completed by August, Ford CEO Jim Hackett said in an email to employees Monday.

If the U.S. economy was about to take off like a rocket, this move doesn’t make any sense at all.

But if we are headed into a recession, this move makes perfect sense.

Another large firm that is laying off thousands of workers is Nestle

Nestle SA’s U.S. unit will dismiss about 4,000 workers as it stops delivering frozen pizza and ice cream directly to stores and transitions to a warehouse model that’s becoming an industry standard for Big Food companies looking to trim costs.

And we also recently learned that 3M is planning to get rid of about 2,000 workers

3M plans to cut 2,000 globally as part of a restructuring due to a slower-than-expected 2019.

The maker of Post-it notes, industrial coatings and ceramics said Thursday that the move is expected to save about $225 million to $250 million a year. The St. Paul Minnesota-based company anticipates a pretax charge of about $150 million, or 20 cents per share, this year.

Did you catch that part about these layoffs being due to “a slower-than-expected 2019”?

Unfortunately, things are slow for a lot of companies out there these days.

Another company that is dumping a large number of workers is MGM Resorts

MGM Resorts International MGM, -2.09% plans to cut about 1,000 positions by the end of the current quarter amid a cost-cutting and operational overhaul that calls for fewer managers across its properties.

That figure includes some 254 positions that the company moved to eliminate last week.

In addition, Dressbarn just announced that all of their stores will be closing

Dressbarn is closing all of its stores.

The women’s retailer announced Monday “plans to commence a wind-down of its retail operations, including the eventual closure of its approximately 650 stores.”

I am not sure how many employees they have per store, but even if it is just a handful we are talking about the loss of thousands of jobs.

The U.S. economy has been slowing down for months, and now the complete breakdown of trade talks with China threatens to plunge us into a prolonged trade war.  As I noted in another article, a couple of different studies have concluded that an extended trade war could literally cost our economy millions of lost jobs.

And once the job losses start rolling, they can really get out of hand very quickly.  We saw this in 2008, and it is just a matter of time until we see it happen again.

On Sunday, a reader sent me an article about a factory closing that was happening in her neck of the woods in Pennsylvania.  One worker that was laid off said that the closure of the facility “was the final kick in the gut”

Robert and Brooks Gronlund, owners of Wood-Mode Inc., wrote a text to workers Friday, saying they “are extremely appreciative” of the employees’ contributions and commitments. The company owners then confirmed all of them were terminated, as were their benefits.

“It was the final kick in the gut,” Michele Sanders, a 22-year employee of the company, said Saturday.

The privately-owned company in Kreamer, which produced custom wood cabinets, shut its doors Monday, leaving nearly 1,000 people without jobs. The abrupt closure of the plant stunned workers and community leaders.

So now almost 1,000 people do not have a way to support themselves and their families.

We are talking about hard working people with real hopes and real dreams.

Kreamer is a very small town.  According to Wikipedia, only 773 people live within the city limits, and so obviously there are not a lot of employment opportunities in the town.

And if those workers are anything like the rest of the U.S. population, most of them were probably living paycheck to paycheck.

I keep encouraging my readers to build an emergency fund, because you never know when you will be next on the employment chopping block.  I personally know a number of people that have just lost their jobs, and it can be an absolutely devastating experience.

Unfortunately, it looks like what we have witnessed so far is just the beginning.  All of the numbers tell us that economic activity is slowing down, and so we should all get ready to potentially face a rapidly deteriorating economic environment during the second half of 2019.

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.

What Is Causing Extremely Bizarre Weather Patterns To Hammer The Middle Of The U.S. Over And Over Again?

The middle of the country has never seen anything quite like this.  As 2019 began, the central portion of the nation was relentlessly hammered by bitter cold and massive snow storms, and many were hoping for better things once spring arrived.  But then in March the flooding began, and it hasn’t stopped since.  In fact, this is already the longest we have seen flooding along the Mississippi River since 1927, and there is no end in sight.  By the time it is all said and done, all of the old records will probably be completely shattered.  Meanwhile, powerful storms continue to pound the heartland every few days.  Over the weekend, huge storms struck the middle of the country on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and more are expected on Monday.  So what is causing such extremely bizarre weather to happen?  Is there a reason why weather patterns have shifted so dramatically, or is all of this just a really, really strange coincidence?

Nobody can possibly claim that what we are witnessing is “normal”.  According to the the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the last year has been the “wettest 12-month period in recorded history” for the lower 48 states…

The continental United States just recorded its wettest 12-month period in recorded history, while also moving one step closer to being drought-free, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

Needless to say, all of this wet weather has caused a tremendous amount of flooding, and at this point this is the longest-lasting Mississippi River flood since 1927

Mississippi River flooding has been ongoing for three months or longer in some locations, making it the longest-lasting flood there since the Great Flood of 1927, the worst flood in modern history on the lower Mississippi River.

Take Vicksburg, Mississippi, for example.

The Mississippi River went above flood stage there on Feb. 17, and has remained in flood ever since. The National Weather Service said this is the longest continuous stretch above flood stage since 1927 at Vicksburg.

And since there is no end in sight for the flooding, all of the old records may end up being broken by a very wide margin.

Very weird weather is happening out west too.  In fact, several feet of snow just fell in the mountains of California

Parts of California still resemble a scene out of winter, with a series of storms bringing several feet of snow to mountain areas, ahead of a “significant” severe weather threat across the nation’s midsection.

The National Weather Service said that a series of Pacific storms are bringing heavy rain, mountain snow, and gusty winds across the West. A winter storm warning was issued Wednesday night that will run through Friday morning for the southern Sierra Nevada.

In every year there are moments of bad weather.  But that isn’t what we are talking about.  In 2019, it is as if we are being hit with a sledgehammer day after day after day.

Of course this has been absolutely disastrous for agricultural production.  At this point, U.S. farmers have planted less than half the corn that they were expected to plant by now.  For much more on this, please see my previous article entitled “Total Catastrophe For U.S. Corn Production: Only 30% Of U.S. Corn Fields Have Been Planted – 5 Year Average Is 66%”.

We like to think that we are not vulnerable to the vagaries of the weather thanks to all of our advanced technology, but that is not true at all.

And over the weekend, things got even worse.

Starting on Friday and Saturday, a string of immensely powerful storms devastated communities all over the Midwest

A plethora of tornado reports began rolling in Friday in Nebraska and Kansas. On Saturday, almost a dozen were reported in Texas and Oklahoma. In Texas, the National Weather Service Abilene/San Angelo concluded that an EF2 tornado with winds of up to 135 mph damage homes in San Angelo.

Dru Lewis was hunkered down with his family as the storm battered his home.

“There was a suction … from under the door, I could feel it,” he said. “Then all the windows just exploded. It was just chaos from there until the storm died down.”

Then on Sunday, more huge storms produced literally dozens of tornadoes across the region…

Severe thunderstorms continued to rumble across parts of the U.S. Sunday, damaging buildings in Louisiana after spawning more than three dozen reports of tornadoes across five states.

Several homes and businesses were damaged and power lines and trees were down throughout Evangeline Parish, Louisiana, after severe thunderstorms and possible tornadoes moved through the area early Sunday morning. The town of Ville Platte, about 76 miles northwest of Baton Rouge, was especially hard hit.

Unfortunately, there is still more to come.  In fact, an entirely new weather system will hit the middle of the country on Monday

On Monday, a new system will develop off the High Plains and slide east into the Southern Plains. The dry line will interact with an increasingly moist and unstable air mass that will develop across parts of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Unfortunately, that means very favorable conditions for violent severe weather in parts of this region.

We are being told that the storms on Monday could affect nearly 50 million people.

For a long time I have been warning that global weather patterns are dramatically changing, but at first a lot of people wanted to argue that it wasn’t true.

Well, these days the number of people that want to claim that I am wrong has gone way down.

Of course throughout all of human history weather patterns have always been changing, and so change isn’t something that is new.

But the changes that we are witnessing in our time appear to be taking an apocalyptic turn, and nobody is exactly sure what is going to happen next…

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.

Wal-Mart Executive Warns: “Higher Tariffs Will Lead To Higher Prices For Customers”

Wal-Mart gets approximately one-fourth of all the merchandise that it sells from China, and Wal-Mart’s CFO is warning that “higher tariffs will lead to higher prices for customers”.  In other words, U.S. consumers will soon be feeling a lot of pain.  Over the last several decades, major retailers such as Wal-Mart have become increasingly dependent on exports from China, and U.S. consumers have loved the “low, low prices” because those rock bottom prices enabled our society to enjoy a greatly inflated standard of living.  Of course in the process we were mortgaging our own economic future, because we have lost more than 60,000 manufacturing facilities and millions of good paying jobs since China first joined the WTO in 2001.  But we didn’t care because ultra-low prices felt good, and so our economy became increasingly integrated with China’s economy.  Well, now a trade war has begun and people all over America are demanding that we get tough with China.  And without a doubt something needs to be done about China, but the process of decoupling from the Chinese economy is going to be exceedingly painful.  We should have never allowed ourselves to become so dependent on China in the first place, and now the consequences for our past foolishness are going to be very bitter indeed.

Previously, I have warned that this trade war will be particularly painful for those on the bottom of the economic food chain, and now the CFO of Wal-Mart has confirmed that higher tariffs “will lead to higher prices for customers”

Walmart has said that prices for shoppers will rise due to higher tariffs on goods from China, joining other retailers in warning consumers of cost hikes for imports.

‘Higher tariffs will lead to higher prices for customers,’ Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said on Thursday following the company’s report on its first quarter results.

So what this means is that a hundred dollars will not go nearly as far as it once did when you are shopping at Wal-Mart.

And some of Wal-Mart’s biggest vendors are also sounding the alarm.  For example, just consider what Del Monte CEO Greg Longstreet just said

Also, Walmart’s vendors have started to raise prices, among them Del Monte Foods, which supplies fresh and packaged goods to Walmart, including mandarin oranges imported from China. Prices will go up again with tariffs rising.

‘It´s not just tariffs. Transportation costs are up, labor costs are up. It´s an inflationary environment,’ Del Monte CEO Greg Longstreet told Reuters on the sidelines of a conference. ‘A lot of that’s going to have to be passed on. The consumer is going to have to pay more for a lot of critical goods.’

Unfortunately, Longstreet is 100% correct.

The price of everything is going to go up in the months ahead, and this is particularly true when it comes to food prices.

Meanwhile, the trade war is really starting to hit hard in other parts of the economy as well.  At this point, the largest producer of farm tractors in the world is no longer “cautiously optimistic”

Deere & Co. is no longer “cautiously optimistic” as it has been for so long. The machinery giant reported lower-than-expected earnings and cut its annual guidance as its farmer customers shun major purchases amid uncertainty about demand for their products.

“Ongoing concerns about export-market access, near-term demand for commodities such as soybeans, and a delayed planting season in much of North America are causing farmers to become much more cautious about making major purchases,” Chief Executive Officer Sam Allen said in a statement Friday.

If the U.S. and China are able to come to a trade agreement soon, that would greatly help things.

But at this juncture no new talks have even been scheduled because there really isn’t anything to talk about

Scheduling for the next round of negotiations is “in flux” because it is unclear what the two sides would negotiate, two sources briefed on the status of the talks said. China has not signaled it is willing to revisit past promises on which it reneged earlier this month, despite showing up for talks in Washington last week.

Both sides have dug in on their positions this week. China propped up its currency and cut U.S. pork orders, while state media took on an increasingly nationalistic message. The Trump administration, meanwhile, put Chinese telecommunications company Huawei and its affiliates on a business blacklist and banned it from the supply chain, actions it had shelved earlier in the trade talks to smooth relations.

When President Trump decided to use the “nuclear option” on Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei, that was a major turning point.

At this moment, it would be difficult to overstate how angry the Chinese are at the Trump administration.  The Global Times is a mouthpiece for the Chinese government, and they just published a scathing editorial in which they accused Trump of “a declaration of war on China in the economic and technological fields”.  The following excerpt from that editorial comes from Zero Hedge

Huawei is the symbol of China’s ability to do independent research. As a private company, it is the forerunner of China’s reform and opening-up. It has been deeply engaged in the development of global communications and become the leader of 5G technology. That Huawei will not lose to the US is significant for China’s response to the US’ strategic suppression.

The US has completely abandoned commercial principles and disregarded law. Its barbaric behavior against Huawei by resorting to administrative power can be viewed as a declaration of war on China in the economic and technological fields. It is time that the Chinese people throw away their illusions. Compromise will not lead to US goodwill.

A breakdown in relations with China is part of the long-term scenario that we have been anticipating.  But we had hoped that it would be put off for as long as possible, because what is coming next is going to be very painful.

This isn’t going to be just a trade war.

And in the long run, it isn’t going to be just an “economic war” either.

Unless somebody can pull off a miracle, things between are two nations are likely to start spiraling downhill rather quickly.  As the trade war escalates, the U.S. and China will take turns retaliating back and forth, and the entire globe is going to suffer as a result.

So let us hope for a miracle, because at this point the outlook for the months ahead is definitely quite bleak.

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.

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