50 Numbers From 2019 That Are Almost Too Crazy To Believe

One of the best ways to determine where things are heading is to look back at how much has changed over the past 12 months.  2019 has been one of the most memorable years in our history, and it has certainly set the stage for the critical events of the decade to come.  However, not everyone views this moment in our history the same way.  For example, one “expert” that is being heavily quoted by the mainstream media is claiming that 2019 was the culmination of “the best decade in human history”.  His main argument seems to be that since “the ecological footprint of human activity” appears to be shrinking, the world must be a better place than it was before as a result.  And certainly there are many other voices out there that are boldly proclaiming that we have entered a golden new era of peace and prosperity and that the best is yet to come.  You can buy that argument if you want, but there are other voices that believe that everything that is wrong with our society is reaching a very dangerous crescendo.  For those with that perspective, it appears that we are very close to a societal tipping point and that the years ahead are when we will finally pay the price for decades of exceedingly bad decisions.

So what do you think?

Will the 2020s be the best of times or the worst of times?

As you ponder that question, here are 50 numbers from 2019 that are almost too crazy to believe…

#1 According to a Gallup poll that was just released, Barack Obama and Donald Trump came in tied for “the most admired man in America” this year.  They both got 18 percent in the survey, and no other man had more than 2 percent.

#2 At 10 percent, Michelle Obama topped the list in the Gallup poll for “the most admired woman in America” this year.

#3 Global stocks have increased in value by more than 25 trillion dollars over the past 10 years.

#4 In the United States, 84 percent of all stocks are owned by the wealthiest 10 percent of all Americans.

#5 The U.S. government is now more than 23 trillion dollars in debt.

#6 During the Obama and Trump administrations, we have added more than 12 trillion dollars to the national debt.

#7 Over the past 12 months alone, we have added another 1.1 trillion dollars to the national debt.

#8 Every single hour of every single day, we are stealing more than 100 million dollars from future generations of Americans.

#9 According to the IMF, total global debt has now reached the 188 trillion dollar mark.

#10 U.S. corporations are now close to 10 trillion dollars in debt.

#11 Total corporate debt has now reached 47 percent of U.S. GDP.  That is the highest level in our history.

#12 Total U.S. household debt is about to cross the 14 trillion dollar mark.

#13 A study that was recently released found that 70 percent of all Americans are struggling financially right now.

#14 The average family in the United States cannot afford to buy a home in 71 percent of the country.

#15 58 million jobs in the United States pay less than $793 a week.

#16 According to the Social Security Administration, 50 percent of all Americans make less than $33,000 a year.

#17 63 percent of the jobs that have been created in the United States since 1990 have been low wage jobs.

#18 Roughly 40 million Americans struggle with food insecurity.

#19 70 percent of Americans “have cried about money”.

#20 A recent survey found that more than two-thirds of all U.S. households “are preparing for a possible recession”.

#21 According to the most recent government figures, 24.6 million Americans have used an illegal drug within the last 30 days.

#22 If you can believe it, 46 percent of all Americans have taken at least one legal pharmaceutical drug within the last 30 days.  That is almost half the country.

#23 A New York woman named Alexa Kasdan recently went to see her doctor because she had a cold and a sore throat.  Her insurance company was billed $25,865.24 for the visit.

#24 Americans spend more than 140 billion dollars a year treating cancer.

#25 If you are an American woman, there is a 1 in 3 chance that you will get cancer at some point in your life.

#26 If you are an American man, there is a 1 in 2 chance that you will get cancer at some point in your life.

#27 Over the past decade, the suicide rate among young Americans has risen by 56 percent.

#28 The suicide rate for the overall population increased by 41 percent between 1999 and 2016.

#29 One survey has discovered that 15-year-old students in China are almost four full grade levels ahead of 15-year-old students in the United States in mathematics.

#30 A different survey discovered that one-third of all American teenagers haven’t read a single book in the past year.

#31 According to a recent survey of 2,000 adults, a whopping 88 percent of all Americans believe that the holiday season is the most stressful time of the year.

#32 48 million Americans still have holiday debt from last year.

#33 23 percent of all U.S. children live with a single parent.  That is the highest rate in the entire world by a wide margin.

#34 Today, approximately 40 percent of all babies in America are born to unmarried women.

#35 The U.S. fertility rate has fallen 15 percent since 2007 and is now at the lowest level ever recorded.

#36 One very alarming survey found that the average American spends 86 hours a month on a cellphone.

#37 The average person will watch more than 78,000 hours of television programming over the course of a lifetime.

#38 Today, almost half of all homeless people in the entire nation live in the state of California.

#39 Over half of all California voters have considered leaving the state.

#40 According to an American Bar Association survey, only 38 percent of all Americans know that the U.S. Constitution is the highest law in the land.

#41 58 percent of American adults under the age of 35 agree that some version of socialism “would be good for the country”.

#42 Almost one-third of all U.S. Millennials are still living with their parents.

#43 According to the Pew Research Center, only 65 percent of Americans now consider themselves to be Christians.  That is the lowest level ever recorded.

#44 The bird population of North America has declined by 3 billion since 1970.

#45 Scientists are telling us that at the current rate of extinction, nearly all insects could be gone “in 100 years”.

#46 African Swine Fever has already killed one out of every four pigs in the world, and many experts believe this crisis is still in the very early stages.

#47 Within the last 365 days, there have been approximately 37,000 earthquakes of at least magnitude 1.5 in the United States.

#48 The upcoming election is a “significant source of stress” for 56 percent of U.S. adults.

#49 A survey that was conducted a couple of months ago found that 67 percent of all Americans believe that we are “on the edge of civil war”.

#50 The final full moon of this decade was on 12/12 at precisely 12:12 AM eastern time.  And it turns out that it was also exactly 6,666 days from 9/11.

About the Author: I am a voice crying out for change in a society that generally seems content to stay asleep. My name is Michael Snyder and I am the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, End Of The American Dream and The Most Important News, and the articles that I publish on those sites are republished on dozens of other prominent websites all over the globe. I have written four books that are available on Amazon.com including The Beginning Of The End, Get Prepared Now, and Living A Life That Really Matters. (#CommissionsEarned) By purchasing those books you help to support my work. I always freely and happily allow others to republish my articles on their own websites, but due to government regulations I need those that republish my articles to include this “About the Author” section with each article. In order to comply with those government regulations, I need to tell you that the controversial opinions in this article are mine alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the websites where my work is republished. This article may contain opinions on political matters, but it is not intended to promote the candidacy of any particular political candidate. The material contained in this article is for general information purposes only, and readers should consult licensed professionals before making any legal, business, financial or health decisions. Those responding to this article by making comments are solely responsible for their viewpoints, and those viewpoints do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of Michael Snyder or the operators of the websites where my work is republished. I encourage you to follow me on social media on Facebook and Twitter, and any way that you can share these articles with others is a great help.

Years That End In “9” Tend To Be Times Of Great Upheaval

Will 2019 continue the trend?  The other day I was talking with a close friend, and he pointed out to me that all throughout history years that end in 9 have tended to be times of great change and upheaval.  I was intrigued by what he shared with me, and so I went out and did some research, and I discovered that he was right on target.  In particular, over the last 100 years we have seen an unusual number of key historical events take place during years that end in 9, and that seems quite strange.  Could it be possible that the ending of one decade and the imminent start of a new one somehow triggers something inside of us psychologically?  I don’t know, but there does seem to be a pattern.  In this article I will summarize some of the things that I have discovered, and I will let you come to your own conclusions.

Let’s start with 1929.  As I repeatedly remind my readers, most large stock market crashes tend to happen during the fall, and on October 29th, 1929 there was a devastating stock market crash unlike anything that the United States had ever seen before.  That date is generally considered to be the start of the Great Depression, which to this day is the worst economic downturn the western world has ever experienced.  The Great Depression lasted for ten years, and that brings us to the next “9” on our list…

1939 was the year when World War II started.  It was the most catastrophic war that the world has ever seen, and it didn’t end until 1945.  It is estimated that somewhere between 70 million and 85 million people were killed, and the war shocked the planet so much that we haven’t seen a war like it since.

1949 was a year of great change, and it was really when the battle lines of the Cold War between the east and the west definitely solidified.  During this year, the Communist Party of China was able to take full control of mainland China, and the People’s Republic of China was formally established.  In addition, in 1949 the Soviet Union tested their first atomic bomb, it was the year of the Berlin blockade, and NATO was formed on April 4th, 1949.

1959 was the year when Fidel Castro came to power.  Thanks to the success of the Cuban revolution, Cuba became the first communist power in the western hemisphere, and this ultimately led to the Cuban missile crisis of 1963.

1969 was so tumultuous that a number of documentaries have been made about that single year, and author Rob Kirkpatrick wrote an entire book about it entitled “The Year Everything Changed”.  It was the year of the Moon landing, Woodstock and the Manson murders.  During this year Richard Nixon was sworn in as the president of the United States, 250,000 Americans marched on Washington to protest the Vietnam War, and the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded.

1979 was the year of the Iranian Revolution.  Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini came to power in February, and the Iranian hostage crisis began in November.  If there had been no Iranian hostage crisis, it is possible that Ronald Reagan may have been defeated by Jimmy Carter in 1980.  1979 was also the year when Margaret Thatcher first became prime minister of the UK, and she served all the way until 1990.

1989 was another year of revolution.  In June of that year the pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in Beijing were brutally crushed by the Chinese government.   On the other side of the world, 1989 was the beginning of the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia which ultimately resulted in a peaceful division of that nation into the Czech Republic and Slovakia.  George H.W. Bush was sworn in as the president of the United States during this year, and huge protests on both sides of the Berlin Wall ultimately resulted in the collapse of the East German government.

1999 was the year when Bill Clinton came very close to being removed from office.  On February 12th, the United States Senate narrowly acquitted Clinton of perjury and obstruction of justice.  1999 was also the year when the euro become the official currency of the European Union, and at the end of the year the Y2K scare was making headlines all over the globe.

2009 was definitely a year of “change”.  On January 20th, Barack Obama became the first African-American to become the president of the United States.  Meanwhile, the nation was greatly suffering from the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.  It is estimated that 8.8 million jobs were lost during the “Great Recession”, and millions of Americans also lost their homes as a result of the subprime mortgage meltdown.  As 2009 was ending, the Economic Collapse Blog was launched.

So now here we are in another year that ends in 9.  So far in 2019, we have seen mass shootings, crop failures, dramatic escalations in our trade war with China, and a potential war with Iran is looming on the horizon.  Americans are angrier, more frustrated and more divided today than ever before in modern American history, and the mainstream media continues to stir the pot on a daily basis.

The stage is definitely set for things to explode during the second half of this year, and a lot of people that I have been talking to feel like things could really start breaking loose at any moment.

To a large degree, 2019 has already been a year of tremendous upheaval, but many believe that the worst is still yet to come.  So buckle up and hold on, because I think that things are about to get very bumpy.

About 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.

Hard Working Americans Sure Do See The Economy A Lot Differently Than The “Experts” Do

Right now the entire nation is buzzing about the very first debates for Democratic presidential contenders in 2019, and much of the focus of those debates will be on the economy.  A total of 20 candidates will participate in those debates, and the vast majority of them don’t have a prayer of actually winning the nomination.  Of course all of them will have “plans” for “fixing” the economy, but the truth is that most of those plans really aren’t that radically different from what has been tried in the past.  No matter who has been in the White House, our insatiable appetite for debt has allowed us to enjoy a tremendously bloated standard of living that was far beyond what we actually deserved.  We have been consuming far more wealth than we have been producing for so long that most Americans have come to accept this state of affairs as “normal”.  And under no circumstance will Americans elect any presidential candidate that would suggest that we should be willing to accept a lower standard of living and quit going into so much debt.  Everyone wants to hear that we will be able to have an even higher standard of living in the future, and of course that is what a lot of our politicians eagerly tell them.

But it isn’t true.

Sadly, the reality of the matter is that we are at the very end of the greatest debt bubble in the history of the world, and the way we live is about to dramatically change no matter who we send to Washington.

As I discussed yesterday, the evidence that the U.S. economy has already entered a significant downturn continues to grow.  All of the economic numbers that we have been getting lately have been bad, and yet so many of the “experts” continue to claim that the U.S. economy is in great shape.

In fact, a survey that was just released had some rather starting results.  100 percent of the “experts” that were surveyed rated the performance of the U.S. economy as either “excellent” or “good”, but average hard working Americans were a lot more evenly split

A new survey from financial information website Bankrate.com found that everyday Americans have a less favorable view of the economy than experts do. All the experts rated the economy as being “excellent” or “good,” compared to just 59 percent of others. And 39 percent of everyday Americans said the economy was “not so good” or “poor.”

Bankrate surveyed around 1,000 people and nine economic experts for the study.

The survey also included a question about when the next recession would begin.  Approximately 40 percent of average hard working Americans felt that a recession had either already begun or would begin very soon, but none of the “experts” felt that way

Everyday Americans also said they expect a recession to hit sooner than the experts predict. A fifth of Americans polled said they believe the recession has already begun, and 21 percent said they expected it to begin within six months or a year. However, all the experts said they don’t expect a recession to begin for either one to two years or more than two years.

Perhaps we should stop calling them “experts”, because they appear to be completely and utterly clueless.

And we had better hope that the economy can hold up, because a different survey has found that 71 percent of all Americans say that they “are unprepared for another financial crisis”…

Meanwhile, 43% of Americans say they feel financially insecure and 71% are unprepared for another financial crisis, such as going bankrupt or losing their home, a survey of 24,070 adults released this week by market researcher YouGov found. Some 55% of those who feel unprepared say they’re not confident that they will be able to afford retirement; they’re more likely than those who feel financially secure to say the government should make sure everyone has health insurance.

Today, 59 percent of all Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, and U.S. consumer debt just soared to another brand new record high.  People are partying when they should be preparing, and this new economic downturn is going to catch most of us completely off guard.

And day after day we continue to get more numbers that are telling us that the economic outlook is very bleak.  For example, it is now being projected that U.S. auto sales will drop substantially over the next two years

The U.S. auto market hit a record for new cars, with 17.5 million in sales, in 2015. Sales the following year were flat then dipped to 17.2 million in 2017 and rebounded in 2018, rising to 17.3 million. But the first half of this year has plunged into negative territory. Edmunds anticipates sales for all of 2019 will drop to 16.9 million. That’s the same estimate from AlixPartners, which is forecasting a further dip to 16.3 million in 2020 and just 15.1 million in 2021.

Now we are in election season, and all sorts of different candidates will be touted as the one “that can turn the economy around” and restore “the promise of America’s future”.

Every election cycle they spout the same nonsense, and it is amazing that anyone still falls for it anymore.

Right now, America is on a highly self-destructive path that only leads to economic oblivion.  We are 22 trillion dollars in debt, we have been adding more than a trillion dollars a year to the national debt for more than a decade, state and local governments are drowning in record levels of debt, corporate debt has more than doubled since the last financial crisis, U.S. consumers are almost 14 trillion dollars in debt, and the world as a whole is now 244 trillion dollars in debt.

If we keep doing the same things over and over again, we are going to keep getting the same results.

Under our current system, there is no way that this game is going to end well for any of us.  The only thing left to do is to extend the party for as long as possible, and that is precisely what our politicians have been doing for a long time.

But at some point “extend and pretend” simply won’t work anymore, and a day of reckoning for America will finally arrive.

About 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.

Top U.S. Officials Gather To Discuss “Military Options” In Venezuela As Russia Warns Of “Grave Consequences” If America Invades

On Wednesday afternoon, senior U.S. officials gathered at the White House to discuss possible military options for Venezuela.  Meanwhile, the Russians are warning of grave consequences if the U.S. invades, and so the stage is being set for a potential showdown between the world’s two foremost military powers.  Previously, administration officials had hoped that the Venezuelan people would rally around Juan Guaido to such a degree that it would not require military intervention to oust Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, but that hasn’t happened.  In fact, Guaido’s big push to start a revolution in the streets over the past few days has ended up being a total flop.  The following comes from Yahoo News

Guaido had called for the “largest march” in Venezuela’s history and said on Twitter that “millions of Venezuelans” were in the streets in “this final phase” of his move to oust Maduro.

But by late afternoon, many of the protesters in the capital Caracas were drifting home.

Despite Guaido’s calls for the military to support him, the armed forces leadership has so far remained loyal to Maduro, who has been in power since 2013.

In the long-term, the situation in Venezuela isn’t going to change much if the U.S. is able to replace one socialist president (Maduro) with another socialist president (Guaido).  Socialism always ends badly, and the people of Venezuela are going to have to decide for themselves that they don’t want socialism any longer.

But that isn’t what this is about.  U.S. officials have decided that it is time to impose their will on the people of Venezuela, and they have determined that Maduro must go.  If Guaido cannot create a successful internal revolution, then other options will be explored.

And as I mentioned in the opening paragraph, there was a very, very important gathering of top U.S. officials at the White House on Wednesday afternoon

Senior U.S. administration officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford, and National Security Advisor John Bolton, will meet at the White House Wednesday afternoon. With the situation on the ground still “extraordinarily fluid,” according to Shanahan, the U.S. says it is still weighing military options.

Don’t you wish that you could have been a fly on the wall for that meeting?

Of course we already know what Pompeo and Bolton are thinking.  This is what Pompeo just told Fox Business

“Military action is possible. If that’s what’s required, that’s what the United States will do.”

In other words, if Guaido can’t get the job done, our boys and girls are going in.

And John Bolton has repeatedly insisted that “all options are on the table” regarding Venezuela, and he just told reporters the following about potential Russian interference

“This is our hemisphere,” he told reporters outside the White House. “It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering. This is a mistake on their part. It’s not going to lead to an improvement of relations.”

So precisely what would Bolton like us to do about it?

The Russians already have troops and military equipment in Venezuela, and they are there with the permission of the Venezuelan government.  Does Bolton really want us to attack and risk a war with Russia?

And for what?  Venezuela certainly has a lot of oil, but the truth is that there is no fundamental national security interest at stake in Venezuela.

Unfortunately, there is a growing consensus in Washington that something must be done about Venezuela, and the hysteria has already reached absolutely ridiculous levels.  For example, just consider the words of U.S. Senator Rick Scott

“Here is what is going to happen. We are in the process, if we don’t win today, we are going to have Syria in this hemisphere. So, we can make sure something happens now, or we can deal with this for decades to come. If we care about families, if we care about the human race, if we care about fellow worldwide citizens, then we’ve got to step up and stop this genocide.”

Did you catch that?

Apparently, if you are not in favor of a U.S. invasion of Venezuela, you don’t “care about families” and you don’t “care about the human race” either.

In response to those comments, this is what Tucker Carlson had to say

When was the last time we successfully meddled in the political life of another country? Has it ever worked? How are the democracies we set up in Iraq, in Libya, in Syria, and Afghanistan right now? How would Venezuela be different? Please explain — and take your time.

Are we prepared for the refugees a Venezuelan war would inevitably produce? A study by the Brookings Institution found that the collapse of the Venezuelan government could force eight million people to leave the country. Many of them would come here. Lawmakers in this country propose giving them temporary protected status that would let even illegal arrivals live and work here, in effect, permanently, as many have before, with no fear of deportation. Are we prepared for that?

If we are going to ask members of our military to shed their blood, it had better be for a really, really good reason.

And switching out one socialist leader for another socialist leader in Venezuela definitely does not qualify.

Of course that is the best case scenario.

In a worst case scenario, a U.S. military invasion of Venezuela would spark a war with Russia, and the Russians are making it very clear that there will be “grave consequences” if we attack…

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told Pompeo by phone on Wednesday that further “aggressive steps” in Venezuela would have grave consequences, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.

Meanwhile, the U.S. is getting dangerously close to war with Iran as well.  The Iranians are threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for Washington cutting off all their oil exports, and if the Strait of Hormuz gets shut down all hell could break loose.

U.S. officials want to “get tough” with all of our enemies around the world, and that is fine as long as you know what are you doing.

Because even one miscalculation can result in missiles flying back and forth, and once peace is taken from the Earth things could get wildly out of control very rapidly.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail, because right now we are quickly approaching a tipping point.

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.

2 Aircraft Carriers Have Left Port – Are The USS Eisenhower And The USS Roosevelt Headed South Toward Venezuela?

Juan Guaido has initiated a violent uprising in an attempt to overthrow Nicolas Maduro, and it appears that the U.S. may be preparing to intervene in the conflict militarily.  The USNI News Fleet and Marine Tracker accurately tracks the current positions of U.S. naval assets, and according to them the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has left port on the east coast and the USS Theodore Roosevelt has left port on the west coast.  In both cases, each aircraft carrier was originally slated for “training” exercises, but now there is lots of speculation that they are both steaming south toward Venezuela.  Since there has been no official confirmation from Washington, let me stress that once again that any talk about the potential destination of these carriers is just speculation.  But considering what is taking place in Venezuela at this moment, it certainly would not surprise anyone if the waters off Venezuela is precisely where they are heading.

Earlier today, the Intel_Radar Twitter account created quite a stir with a series of seven tweets

BREAKING: US Navy deploys two aircraft carriers, both southbound, one from each coast, amid Venezuela crisis.

Update 1 : Eisenhower left Virginia headed South, on the same day Roosevelt deployed out of San Diego headed for the Panama Canal.

Update 2 : US Navy Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (MMSI:368962000|CS:NIKE) departed Norfolk ~2019-04-26, was off AIS for 4 days, and seems to be headed South, off the US East Coast.

Update 3 : American Roll-on Roll-off Carrier (ARC) RoRo Integrity (IMO:8919934|MMSI:367063310) departed Mexico with a fake destination, “hiding their destination”.

Update 4 : USS Dwight D. Eisenhower has earned a number of awards, including the Battle “E” in 1979, 1980, 1981, 1985, 1990, 1998, 1999, 2006 and 2012 as the most battle efficient carrier in the Atlantic Fleet.

Update 5 : 6248 kHz LSB Venezuela naval freq still active. Also morse code in background.

Update 6 : A US Navy fast combat support ship departed Norfolk just a little bit ago.

If all of this information is true, it would certainly seem to indicate that something is up.

Could it be possible that the U.S. is about to go to war with Venezuela?

If you are not familiar with what happened in Venezuela on Tuesday, here is a pretty good summary

It was a ploy that from its outset felt like a long shot. Before dawn Tuesday, Juan Guaido, flanked by his political mentor Leopoldo Lopez and a handful of soldiers who had broken ranks, issued a message to Venezuela and the world: The time to topple Nicolas Maduro’s authoritarian regime was right now.

By dusk, with Maduro still firmly in control of the military command, Lopez had sought refuge in the Chilean ambassador’s residence in Caracas and the streets were beginning to empty of the protesters who had heeded Guaido’s call to join what he called Operation Liberty.

Either Guaido is completely suicidal, or he is coordinating with the U.S. and he believes that U.S. military help in on the way.

The second option seems more likely, and on Tuesday John Bolton even admitted that “a deal had been struck” with key members of Maduro’s regime…

The whole episode was so bizarre — with Guaido seemingly lacking the military might to have any chance at all — that it was hard to understand the day’s events. One explanation, as related by National Security Adviser John Bolton, was that a deal had been struck behind the scenes and that key members of Maduro’s regime had agreed to flip, paving the way for Guaido to easily assume power.

Well, either Bolton was bluffing or those officials double-crossed him, because it just hasn’t happened.

And perhaps that would help to explain this very angry tweet from Bolton

.@vladimirpadrino, @Ivanr_HD, @MaikelMorenoTSJ: Your time is up. This is your last chance. Accept Interim President Guaido’s amnesty, protect the Constitution, and remove Maduro, and we will take you off our sanctions list. Stay with Maduro, and go down with the ship.

In response to Bolton’s tweet, one top Venezuelan official posted the following

Dream on … Not today!

Subsequently, Bolton once again told the press that “all options are on the table” when it comes to Venezuela…

Bolton later told reporters that the U.S. would consider intervening in Venezuela.

“We want, as our principal objective, the peaceful transition of power, but I will say again as the president has said from the outset and as Nicolas Maduro and those supporting him — particularly those who are not Venezuelan — should know, is all options are on the table,” Bolton said.

But if the U.S. goes into Venezuela, it will be a full-blown war against a seasoned military with more than 300,000 troops in a country twice the size of Iraq.

In addition, the Russians and the Cubans already have troops there, and they have no intention of pulling their forces out.

In other words, an invasion of Venezuela could potentially spark World War 3.

But John Bolton doesn’t seem fazed by any of that.  He is a hardcore war hawk, and he has been calling for military conflict for years.  If you will remember, he actually called for a pre-emptive war against North Korea just two months before joining the Trump administration

For John Bolton, the national-security adviser, the summit represented a conundrum. Two months before he entered the White House, in April, 2018, he had called for preëmptive war with North Korea. During the past two decades, Bolton has established himself as the Republican Party’s most militant foreign-policy thinker—an advocate of aggressive force who ridicules anyone who disagrees. In an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, he argued that Kim’s regime would soon be able to strike the United States with nuclear weapons, and that we should attack before it was too late. “The threat is imminent,” he wrote. “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.”

We truly live in ominous times, and many are deeply concerned that Bolton seems to have so much influence over U.S. foreign policy right now.

Ultimately, we don’t know what is going to happen next, but it is interesting to note that White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney also used the phrase “all options are on the table” during an interview with Maria Bartiromo…

“The only messages I think we are trying to get out there is that we want to make sure the Russians and the Cubans know they are not supposed to get involved and that we do and have said a bunch of times that all options are on the table” said Mulvaney during a conversation with FOX Business’ Maria Bartiromo from the Milken Institute Global Conference Opens a New Window.

They are making it very clear that a full-blown invasion of Venezuela is a real possibility, and most Americans have absolutely no idea what that would mean.

We are talking about a conflict that would be several magnitudes greater than the Iraq war, and it could be right around the corner.

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.

Give This Stock Market Bubble A Round Of Applause – The S&P 500 And The Nasdaq Just Hit Brand New Record Highs

Stocks just closed at a brand new all-time record high, ‘Avengers: Endgame’ is coming to theaters, and a 24-year-old man from Wisconsin just won the 768 million dollar Powerball jackpot.  If those are the top headlines today, then everything must be good in ‘Murica at the moment, right?  Of course that is not true at all, but as far as the stock market is concerned we must give credit where credit is due.  Our financial engineers have created the largest stock market bubble in all of U.S. history, and we should all be hoping that it lasts for as long as possible.  Because once this financial bubble is destroyed, the aftermath is going to be truly horrible for the entire country.

Up to this point in the year, the stock market is off to the best start that we have seen since 1987.

Of course we all remember what happened toward the end of 1987.

But for now everything is rainbows and unicorns on Wall Street.  The following comes from Fox Business

The benchmark S&P 500 index is up 17%, its best start to a year since 1987, while the Nasdaq has gained 22%, its best start since 1991. The Dow Jones Industrial Average remains about half a percentage point from its record last October.

Tuesday’s move to a record high for the benchmark S&P 500 index and the Nasdaq index comes less than six months after a sharp decline in late December, which led the S&P 500 to its worst annual performance since 2008.

Last December, stocks were plunging dramatically, and it looked like a brand new financial crisis was potentially beginning.

But stocks pulled out of their nosedive, and most investors are feeling really happy for the moment.

If we could just freeze this moment in time somehow, we would be in pretty good shape.  Unfortunately, time inevitably rolls on, and many believe that there is a lot of pain ahead for investors.

Of course there are other “experts” that believe the best is yet to come.  For instance, Kevin Barry just told CNBC that the stock market turmoil that we witnessed late last year “actually prevented a recession”…

“These market levels are justified,” said Kevin Barry, chief investment officer at Captrust Advisors. “The fourth-quarter sell-off actually prevented a recession because policymakers responded extremely quickly. Both President Xi and President Trump cooled off the rhetoric and Fed Chairman Jerome Powell came out and reversed course.”

I have read that paragraph over and over, and I still can’t believe that someone actually had the gall to say such a thing.

According to Barry, the coming recession has been postponed indefinitely and everybody can start partying like its 1999 all over again!

If only life were so simple.

Look, the reality is that even Fox Business is admitting that stock buybacks are one of the major factors driving this latest rally…

However, the rally this year has been despite outflows from equity funds, according to Bank of America data, suggesting some of the gains have been driven by corporate buybacks of stocks.

Our largest corporations are going hundreds of billions of dollars in debt to pump up their own stock prices.  It is a Ponzi scheme of epic proportions, and when things start to go bad there is going to be a race to bankruptcy court.

But for the moment the Ponzi scheme continues, and a lot of people are becoming exceedingly wealthy as a result.

For average Americans, it is absolutely imperative to remember that the stock market is not the economy.  Yes, the stock market has been soaring, but the U.S. economy has not had a full year of 3 percent growth since the middle of the Bush administration.  This has been the longest stretch of sub-three percent economic growth in our history by a very wide margin, and now all of the numbers are telling us that economic activity is slowing down once again.

Instead of partying, most people should be using this time to prepare for what is ahead, but we know that is simply not going to happen.

And when the end of this bubble finally comes, it is likely to come very quickly.  As I always stress to my regular readers, markets tend to go down a whole lot faster than they go up, and that is especially true during times of crisis.

In 2008, enormous amounts of money were lost in the blink of an eye.  The following comes from an outstanding article by Bob Henderson entitled “What I Learned From Losing $200 Million”

The day after Lehman fell I lost $20 million, and the day after that $30 million—enough in two days to wipe out all the profits I’d made the previous year. (And that had been a pretty good year.)

But worse was that I felt trapped. My models showed I was destined to lose far more money in the coming weeks, no matter what I did. All roads seemed to lead to an unavoidable abyss. I could practically feel that hot hole breathing under my desk. I actually got dizzy, and lost my ability to think. When my boss stopped by to warn me that Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley looked likely to fall next, he seemed almost amused when he told me that I looked green.

I stumbled home early that day, mentally incapacitated for the first time in my career.

Someday we will see similar things happen again, but we should all want that day to be put off for as long as possible.

For the moment, happy times are here again on Wall Street, and we should enjoy them while we still can.

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.

Uh Oh: The Number Of Job Openings In The U.S. Dropped By More Than Half A Million In Just One Month

According to the Labor Department, the number of job openings in the United States just plunged by the largest amount we have seen in nearly four years.  The latest JOLTS report shows that the number of job openings has declined by 538,000, and that is a really big number for just a single month.  But we shouldn’t be surprised by this at all, because it is perfectly consistent with all of the other dismal economic numbers that have been coming in recently.  An economic slowdown is here, and many believe that it is just getting started.

Very briefly, let’s review some of the reasons why we should expect to see the employment numbers get worse.  As the economy slows down, goods begin to pile up in our warehouses, and that is precisely what the numbers show.  In fact, the inventory to sales ratio in the U.S. has now increased for five months in a row.

Fewer sales should result in less stuff being shipped around the nation by freight, rail and air, and this is yet another thing that we see happening right now.  Overall, U.S. freight shipment volume has dropped for three months in a row.

Once businesses realize that economic conditions have changed, then they start reducing the number of job openings and laying off workers.  That is why employment statistics are often referred to as “trailing indicators”.  The employment numbers don’t usually start to go down until other indicators start dropping first.

And without a doubt, the employment numbers are starting to move.  Continuing jobless claims have been rising at the most rapid pace in 10 years, and U.S. businesses have been adding jobs at the slowest pace in 18 months.

With all of that in mind, we should not be surprised at all by this latest number

Job openings, a measure of labor demand, tumbled by 538,000 to a seasonally adjusted 7.1 million, the Labor Department said in its monthly Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey, or JOLTS, report on Tuesday. The drop was the biggest since August 2015.

That is a really dreadful number, and there is no way to spin it to make it look good.

One factor that is shifting the employment environment is all of the minimum wage laws that are being passed around the country.

A number of liberal enclaves have raised the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour, and as a result a lot of small businesses have been forced to let workers go

In what has become just one more example of government intervention going the exact opposite of what socialists intend, minimum wage laws are driving a “payroll tsunami.”  Small businesses are being forced to lay off workers in order to comply with a law demanding an increase in wages.

This isn’t all that surprising. Economists, small business owners, and other analysts have said that the net result of higher wages is a loss of jobs. And small businesses, who don’t have the capital or return that large corporations do, are feeling the proverbial pinch. According to Fox News, several mom-and-pop coffee shops and restaurants, are responding by cutting hours, eliminating jobs or closing down entirely because they can’t keep up with rising wages under the law.

My very first job was flipping burgers for McDonald’s, and I made $3.35 an hour doing it.  As a teenager, I was grateful to have such a job, but now such minimum wage jobs are in danger.  Wal-Mart and other major corporations are already making extensive use of robots to perform basic tasks, and making human workers more expensive is going to hurt those at the bottom of the economic food chain the most.

But for the moment, things are still relatively stable.  Most Americans still seem to believe that the bubble of debt-fueled economic “prosperity” that we are currently enjoying is going to continue for the foreseeable future, and they are spending money as if tomorrow will never come.

According to Zero Hedge, U.S. consumer credit has now surged past the 4 trillion dollar mark…

After a few months of wild swings in mid 2018, in February US consumer credit continued to normalize, rising by $15.2 billion, slightly below the $17 billion expected, following January’s $17.7 billion increase. The continued increase in borrowings saw total credit storm above $4 trillion, and hit a new all time high of $4.045 trillion on the back of a America’s ongoing love affair with auto and student loans, and of course credit cards.

We better hope that the U.S. economy is able to pull out of this new slowdown, because most of us are living right on the edge financially.

Sadly, we never seem to learn.  The same mistakes that we made last time around are all happening again, and Americans are completely and totally unprepared for what is coming.

And the warnings are all around us.  On Tuesday, the IMF downgraded their forecast for global economic growth for the third time in six months.  Commenting on this downgrade, IMF executive director Christine Lagarde noted that this is a “delicate moment” for the global economy…

Christine Lagarde, the IMF’s executive director, said the global economy is in a “delicate moment.”

“Only two years ago, 75% of the global economy experienced an upswing,” Lagarde said, according to the text of a speech she’s due to give at the US Chamber of Commerce. “For this year, we expect 70% of the global economy to experience a slowdown in growth.”

It is not often that I agree with a globalist like Christine Lagarde, but she is quite right in saying that this is a “delicate moment”.

Global economic numbers have not been this bad since the last financial crisis, and many believe that we have now reached a major turning point.

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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