Society Is Crumbling Right In Front Of Our Eyes And Banning Guns Won’t Help

What in the world is happening to America?  I have written many articles about how society is crumbling right in front of our eyes, but now it is getting to the point where people are going to be afraid to go to school or go shopping at the mall.  Just consider what has happened over the past week.  Adam Lanza savagely murdered 20 children and 6 adults at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  42-year-old Marcus Gurrola threatened to shoot innocent shoppers and fired off more than 50 rounds in the parking lot of Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach, California.  After police apprehended him, he told them that he “was unhappy with life”.  Earlier in the week, a crazy man wearing a hockey mask and armed with a semi-automatic rifle opened fire on the second floor of a mall in Happy Valley, Oregon.  He killed two people and injured a third.  On Saturday morning, a lone gunman walked into a hospital in Alabama and opened fire.  He killed one police officer and two hospital employees before being gunned down by another police officer.  So have we now reached the point where every school, every mall and every hospital is going to need armed security?  How will society function efficiently if everyone is constantly worried about mass murderers?

In response to the horrible tragedy in Connecticut, many in the mainstream media are suggesting that much stricter gun laws are the obvious solution.

After all, if we get rid of all the guns these crazy people won’t be able to commit these kinds of crimes, right?

Unfortunately, that is not how it works.  The criminals don’t obey gun control laws.  Banning guns will just take them out of the hands of law-abiding American citizens that just want to protect their own families.

Adam Lanza didn’t let the strict gun control laws up in Connecticut stop him from what he wanted to do.  Connecticut already has some of the strictest gun laws in the nation, and Adam Lanza broke at least three of them.

However, if there had been some armed security officers or some armed teachers at that school, they may have had a chance to protect those dear little children from being brutally gunned down.

If gun control was really the solution to our problems, then cities that have implemented strict gun control laws should be some of the safest in the entire country.

But sadly, just the opposite is true.

For example, Chicago has very strict gun laws.  But 10 people were shot in the city of Chicago on Friday alone.  Chicago is now considered to be “the deadliest global city“, and the murder rate in Chicago is about 25 percent higher than it was last year.

So has gun control turned Chicago into a utopia?

Of course not.

And it won’t solve our problems on a national level either.

You can find more statistics about the futility of gun control right here.

Well, how would things be if we did just the opposite and everyone had a gun?

Would gun crime go through the roof?

That is what liberals were warning of when the city of Kennesaw, Georgia passed a law requiring every home to have a gun.  But instead of disaster, the results turned out to be very impressive

In March 1982, 25 years ago, the small town of Kennesaw – responding to a handgun ban in Morton Grove, Ill. – unanimously passed an ordinance requiring each head of household to own and maintain a gun. Since then, despite dire predictions of “Wild West” showdowns and increased violence and accidents, not a single resident has been involved in a fatal shooting – as a victim, attacker or defender.

The crime rate initially plummeted for several years after the passage of the ordinance, with the 2005 per capita crime rate actually significantly lower than it was in 1981, the year before passage of the law.

Prior to enactment of the law, Kennesaw had a population of just 5,242 but a crime rate significantly higher (4,332 per 100,000) than the national average (3,899 per 100,000). The latest statistics available – for the year 2005 – show the rate at 2,027 per 100,000. Meanwhile, the population has skyrocketed to 28,189.

When criminals know that everyone has guns, they are much less likely to try something.  And often armed citizens are able to prevent potential mass murderers from doing more damage.  You can find several examples of this right here.

But of course most of our politicians are not interested in common sense.  Instead, they are obsessed with the idea that gun control will make our country “safe” again.

Senator Diane Feinstein says that she is ready to introduce a strict gun control bill in January that will “ban the sale, the transfer, the importation and the possession” of many types of firearms.

Will such a law keep the criminals from getting guns?

No way.  Just look at what is happening with the cartels down in Mexico.  The criminals are always able to get guns.

If our “leaders” were really interested in stopping these mass murders, they would take a look at the role that mind-altering pharmaceutical drugs play in these incidents.  If you look at the mass murders that have occurred over the past several decades, in the vast majority of them the murderer had been using mind-altering pharmaceutical drugs

The Institute for Safe Medication Practices (ISMP) has raised concerns about severe acts of violence as side effects of anti-psychotic and antidepressant drugs not only on individuals but on society as well.

Just a month ago PRWeb described drug induced violence as “medicine’s best kept secret.” 

And the Citizens Commission on Human Rights International (CCHRI) is calling for a federal investigation on its web page which links no less than 14 mass killings to the use of psychiatric drugs such as Prozac and Paxil.

And guess what?

According to the Washington Post, one neighbor says that Adam Lanza was “on medication”.

But will our politicians ever consider a law against such drugs?

Of course not.  The big corporations that produce those drugs give mountains of money to the campaign funds of our politicians.

So the focus of the debate will remain on guns.

And a lot of liberals would have us believe that our society could be transformed into some type of “utopia” if we could just get rid of all the guns.

Unfortunately, that is simply not true.  Our society is in an advanced state of moral decay, and this moral decay is manifesting in our society in thousands of different ways.  The corruption runs from the highest levels of society all the way down to the lowest.

For those that believe that gun control would somehow “fix America”, I have some questions for you…

Down in Texas, one set of parents kept their 10-year-old son locked in a bedroom and only fed him bread and water for months.  Eventually he died of starvation and they dumped his body in a creek.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

A pastor in north Texas was recently assaulted by an enraged man who beat him to death with an electric guitar.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

Police up in New Jersey say that a man kept his girlfriend padlocked in a bedroom for most of the last 10 years.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

A 31-year-old man up in Canada was found guilty of raping an 8-year-old girl, breaking 16 of her bones and smashing her in the face with a hammer.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

According to the FBI, a New York City police officer is being accused of “planning the kidnap, rape, torture and cannibilization of a number of women”.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

A Secret Service officer that had been assigned to protect Joe Biden’s residence has been charged with sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

Over in Texas, a very sick 29-year-old man stabbed his girlfriend to death and then burned his one-year-old baby alive because she had gone to court and filed for child support.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

Over in Utah, a 21-year-old man is accused of stabbing his grandmother 111 times and then removing her organs with a knife.

Would banning guns have kept that from happening?

There are more than 3 million reports of child abuse in the United States every single year.

Would banning guns keep that from happening?

An average of five children die as a result of child abuse in the United States every single day.

Would banning guns keep that from happening?

The United States has the highest child abuse death rate on the entire globe.

Would banning guns keep that from happening?

It is estimated that 500,000 Americans that will be born this year will be sexually abused before they turn 18.

Would banning guns keep that from happening?

In the United States today, it is estimated that one out of every four girls is sexually abused before they become adults.

Would banning guns keep that from happening?

If there was a way to take all of the guns away from all of the criminals, I would be all in favor of it.  Unfortunately, no government on the planet has been able to do that.

Instead, we have seen that criminals thrive whenever gun bans are instituted and the guns are taken away from law-abiding citizens.

But the bottom line is that our social decay will not be solved either by more guns or less guns.

Our social decay is the result of decades of bad decisions.  We have pushed morality out of our schools, out of government and out of almost every aspect of public life.  Now we are experiencing the bitter fruit of those decisions.

And this is not a problem that our government is going to be able to fix.  Violent crime increased by 18 percent in 2011, and this is just the beginning.

As our economy gets even worse, the rot and decay that have been eating away the foundations of America are going to become even more evident.  The number of Americans living in poverty grows with each passing day, and millions upon millions of people are becoming very desperate.

Desperate people do desperate things, and crime, rioting and looting are going to become commonplace in the United States in the years ahead.

So you can pretend that the government is going to be able to keep our society from crumbling all you want, but that is not going to help you when a gang of desperate criminals has invaded your home and is attacking your family.

We definitely should mourn for the victims in Connecticut.  It was a horrible national tragedy.

But this is just the beginning.  The fabric of our society is coming apart at the seams.  The feeling of safety and security that we all used to take for granted has been shattered, and the streets of America are going to steadily become much more dangerous.

I hope that you are ready.

55 Reasons Why California Is The Worst State In America

Why in the world would anyone want to live in the state of California at this point?  The entire state is rapidly becoming a bright, shining example of everything that is wrong with America.  It is so sad to watch our most populated state implode right in front of our eyes.  Like millions of Americans, I was quite enamored with the state of California when I was younger.  The warm weather, the beaches, the great natural beauty of the state and the mystique of Hollywood all really appealed to me.  At one point I even thought that I wanted to move there.  But today, hordes of Californians are racing to get out of the state because it has become a total nightmare.  It is the worst state in the country in which to do business, taxes were just raised even higher, unemployment is more than 20 percent higher than the national average and the state government is drowning in debt.  Meanwhile, poverty, gang activity and crime just seem to get worse with each passing year.  On top of everything else, the insane politicians in Sacramento just keep on passing more laws that make the problems that the state is facing even worse.  Unfortunately, what is happening in California may be a preview of what is coming to the entire nation.  The old adage, “as California goes, so goes the nation”, has been proven to be true way too many times.

In dozens of different ways, the state of California is showing the rest of us what not to do.  Will we learn from their mistakes, or will we follow them into oblivion?  Please share the list below with as many people as you can.  In addition to a large amount of new research, this list also pulled heavily from one of my previous articles and from outstanding research done by Richard Rider.  The following are 55 reasons why California is the worst state in America…

1. One survey of business executives has ranked California as the worst state in America to do business for 8 years in a row.

2. In 2011, the state of California ranked 50th out of all 50 states in new business creation.

3. According to one recent study, California is the worst-governed state in the entire country.

4. Thanks to Proposition 30, California now boasts the highest state income tax rate in the nation.

5. Even though California just raised taxes dramatically on the wealthy, state revenues are falling like a rock.  State revenue for November 2012 was 10.8 percent below projections.

6. California has the highest sales tax rate in the United States.

7. California has the 8th highest corporate income tax rate in the country.

8. California has the highest “minimum corporate tax” in the country.  Each corporation must pay at least $800 to the state even if a corporation does not make a single dollar of profit.

9. California is tied with New York for the highest gasoline tax rate in the country.

10. California is the only state in America that taxes carbon emissions.

11. The state of California issues some of the most expensive traffic tickets in the nation.  This is another form of taxation.

12. As of October, only Nevada and Rhode Island had higher unemployment rates than California.

13. The unemployment rate in California is more than 20 percent higher than the overall unemployment rate for the rest of the nation.

14. The state of California requires licenses for 177 different occupations (the most in the nation).  The national average is only 92.

15. California teachers are the highest paid in the nation, but California students rank 48th in math and 49th in reading.

16. California accounts for 12 percent of the U.S. population, but a whopping 33 percent of Americans that receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) live there.

17. Only the state of Illinois has a lower bond rating than the state of California does.

18. Including unfunded pension liabilities, the state of California has more than twice as much debt as any other state does.

19. Average pay for California state workers has risen by more than 100 percent since 2005.  That is good news for those state employees, but it is bad news for the taxpayers that have to pay their salaries.

20. More than 5,000 California state troopers made more than $100,000 last year.

21. One highway patrol officer ended up bringing home almost $484,000 in 2011.

22. One state psychiatrist in California was paid $822,000 in 2011.

23. Since 2007, the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent.

24. Sadly, an astounding 60 percent of all students attending California public schools now qualify for free or reduced-price school lunches.

25. The American Tort Reform Association has ranked the state of California as the worst “judicial hellhole” in America.

26. Businesses all over the state of California are being absolutely suffocated to death by ridiculous regulations.

27. According to the Milken Institute, operating costs for California businesses are 23 percent higher than the national average.

28. According to CNN, the state of California had the worst “small business failure rate” in America in 2010.  It was 69 percent higher than the national average.

29. The number of people unemployed in the state of California is roughly equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

30. Residential customers in California pay about 29 percent more for electricity than the national average.

31. So many poor people and illegal aliens have taken advantage of the “free” healthcare at emergency rooms that many of them have been forced to shut down in California.  As a result, the state of California now ranks dead last out of all 50 states in the number of emergency rooms per million people.

32. Political correctness is totally out of control in California.

33. One California town is actually considering making it illegal to smoke in your own backyard.

34. The traffic around the big cities is horrific.

35. Los Angeles

36. San Francisco

37. Oakland

38. Stockton

39. Sacramento

40. The rampant gang activity in the state gets even worse with each passing year.

41. Crime continues to rise all over the state.

42. Just recently, the city attorney of San Bernardino, California told citizens to “lock their doors and load their guns” because there is not enough money to pay for adequate police protection any longer.

43. The murder rate in San Bernardino is up 50 percent this year.

44. In Oakland, burglaries are up 43 percent so far this year.

45. Today, Oakland is considered the 5th most violent city in the United States.

46. There have been more than 250 gold chain robberies in Stockton, California just since the month of April.

47. In Stockton, the police budget cuts got so bad that the police union put up a billboard at one point with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”

48. Jerry Brown.

49. The absolutely insane California state legislature.

50. Wildfires.

51. Mudslides.

52. The state of California lies directly along the infamous “Ring of Fire“.  Approximately 90 percent of all the earthquakes in the entire world happen along the Ring of Fire and the “Big One” could hit the state at any moment.

53. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, approximately 100,000 more people moved out of the state of California in 2011 than moved into it.

54. During 2011, more than 58,000 people moved from California to the state of Texas.

55. Overall, the state of California has experienced a net loss of about four million residents to other states over the past 20 years.

17 Reasons Why Those Hoping For A Recession In 2012 Just Got Their Wish

If you were hoping for a recession in 2012, then you are going to be very happy with the numbers you are about to see.  The U.S. economy is heading downhill just in time for the 2012 election.  Retail sales have fallen for three months in a row for the first time since 2008, manufacturing activity is dropping like a rock, sales of new homes are declining again, consumer confidence has moved significantly lower and a depressingly small percentage of businesses anticipate hiring more workers in the coming months.  Even though the Federal Reserve has been wildly pumping money into the financial system and even though the federal government has been injecting gigantic piles of borrowed cash into the economy, we still haven’t seen an economic recovery.  In fact, we appear to be on the verge of yet another major downturn.  In California the other night, Barack Obama told supporters that “we tried our plan — and it worked“, but only those that are still drinking the Obama kool-aid would believe something so preposterous.  The truth is that the U.S. economy has been steadily declining for many years and now we have reached another very painful recession.

And don’t let the second quarter GDP number on Friday fool you.  Analysts are expecting to see GDP growth of about 1.4 percent for the second quarter, but the only reason for our very small amount of “economic growth” is because the economy has been flooded with new dollars.

Let me give you an example.  If I could go out overnight and magically double the bank accounts of every single American, would we all be twice as wealthy?

No, because there would be twice as many dollars now chasing the same amount of goods and services.  The price of those goods and services would soon rise dramatically to reflect this new reality.

With all of those new dollars spinning around in the economy it would look like “economic growth” was going through the roof, but in reality the amount of real economic activity would be about the same.

So whenever we talk about GDP, we need to properly adjust it for inflation.  That means using accurate inflation figures and not the highly manipulated inflation figures that the U.S. government is putting out these days.

And as I noted the other day, after properly adjusting for inflation the U.S. economy has been continually experiencing negative economic growth since about 2005.

So let’s not deceive ourselves.  The U.S. economy has been declining for a long time.

But soon even the GDP number that the government gives us will turn negative.  We will probably see a slightly positive number for the second quarter, and the number will likely go negative either in the third quarter or the fourth quarter.

Economists will debate when this new recession officially “began” just like they do with every recession, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out what is happening to our economy right now.

The following are 17 reasons why those hoping for a recession in 2012 just got their wish….

1. U.S. retail sales have declined for three months in a row.  This is the first time this has happened since 2008.  Every other time this has happened in U.S. history (except for once) this has signaled that the U.S. economy was either already in a recession or was about to enter one.

2. The Philadelphia Fed index of manufacturing activity contracted for the third month in a row during July.  According to the Financial Post, this is a very bad sign….

Seven out of eight times when the average reading has been that low (-11.8) for that long the U.S. economy has tipped into recession.

3. Manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic region has also declined for three months in a row.  In fact, the only time in the past decade when manufacturing activity in the mid-Atlantic has fallen more dramatically was during the last recession.

4. A factory index calculated by the Institute for Supply Management has fallen to its lowest level since June 2009.

5. The Conference Board index of leading economic indicators has fallen for two of the past three months.

6. According to a recent survey conducted by the Conference Board, only 17 percent of CEOs had a positive view of the economy during the second quarter of 2012.  During the first quarter of 2012, 67 percent did.

7. Gallup’s U.S. Economic Confidence Index is now the lowest that it has been since January.

8. Optimism among small business owners has declined in three of the last four months and is now at its lowest level since last October.

9. Believe it or not, the amount of waste being carted around on trains in the United States has an 82 percent correlation with U.S. economic growth.  Unfortunately, right now the number of garbage carloads on trains is falling dramatically.

10. Sales of previously occupied homes dropped by 5.4 percent during June.

11. Sales of new homes declined by 8.4 percent during June.  At this point new home sales are less than a third of what they were during the boom years.

12. An increasing number of Americans are relying on high interest “payday loans” to pay the rent and put food on the table.

13. Far more companies are defaulting on their debts this year than last year.

14. According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment rate fell in 11 states and Washington, D.C. last month, but it rose in 27 states.

15. The unemployment rate in New York City is now back up to 10 percent.  That equals the peak unemployment rate in New York City during the last recession.

16. The teen unemployment rate in Washington D.C. right now is 51.7 percent.

17. A recent survey conducted by the National Association for Business Economics found that only 23 percent of all U.S. companies plan to hire more workers over the next 6 months.  When the same question was asked a few months ago that number was at 39 percent.

All of those are very powerful pieces of evidence that a new recession has started.

But do you want to know one of my favorite indicators that the U.S. economy is sliding into recession?

In a previous article, I noted that Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke made the following statement to Congress recently: “At this point we don’t see a double dip recession. We see continued moderate growth.”

As I mentioned the other day, Bernanke has a track record of failure that is absolutely embarrassing.  Back on January 10, 2008 Bernanke made the following statement….

“The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession.”

That turned out to be a great call, didn’t it?

On June 10, 2008 he doubled down on his call that the U.S. economy was going to avoid a recession….

“The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so.”

Just before Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac collapsed Bernanke made this statement….

“The GSEs are adequately capitalized. They are in no danger of failing.”

And there are dozens of other examples just like these.

This is the guy running our economic system.

I am very critical of the Federal Reserve, but there are very good reasons for this.

The Federal Reserve is running our economy into the ground, and we need to pound this into the heads of the American people so that they will wake up and demand change.

Perhaps this next recession will be painful enough to wake people up.

The Wall Street Journal is already even using the “D word” to describe what we are experiencing.  Just today, the Wall Street Journal ran an article that asked this question: “Do Two Recessions Equal One Depression?

Sadly, this is just the leading edge of what is coming.  By the time 2014 or 2015 rolls around, we are going to look back and long for the “good old days” of 2011 and 2012.

Over the next few years, the unemployment rate is going to skyrocket and poverty in the United States is going to get a whole lot worse.

Now is not the time to goof off.  Now is the time to work really hard to get yourself and your family into the best position that you can for the storm that is coming.

Nothing is going to stop the terrible economic crisis that is coming, but at least we can get prepared for it.

There is hope in being prepared.

Sadly, most people will never even see the next crisis coming until they get blindsided by it.

Four Reasons To Be Even Less Optimistic About The Global Financial System Than You Were Last Month

The cracks in the ice are getting bigger.  At this point it is really hard to have much confidence in the global financial system at all.  They told us that MF Global was an isolated incident.  Well, the horrific financial scandal over at PFGBest is essentially MF Global all over again.  They told us that we would not see a huge wave of municipal bankruptcies in the United States.  Well, three California cities have declared bankruptcy in less than a month.  They told us that we could have faith in the integrity of the global financial system.  Well, now we are finding out that global interest rates have been fixed by insiders for years.  They told us that Greece was an isolated problem and that none of the larger European nations would experience anything remotely similar.  Well, what is happening in Spain right now looks like an instant replay of exactly what happened in Greece.  So who are we supposed to believe?  Why does it seem like nearly everything that “the authorities” tell us turns out to be a lie?   What else haven’t they been telling us?

The following are four reasons to be even less optimistic about the global financial system than you were last month….

#1 PFGBest Is MF Global All Over Again

Do you remember that whole MF Global thing?

Do you remember how hundreds of millions of dollars of customer funds were “missing” due to “accounting irregularities”?

Well, it is happening again.

PFGBest is a brokerage firm in Cedar Falls, Iowa that mostly handles agricultural futures.

All hell broke loose when the National Futures Association discovered that a bank account that was supposed to be holding 225 million dollars of customer funds was only holding about 5 million dollars instead.

So where is the other 220 million dollars?

That is a very good question.

Of course it is not a promising sign that the head of PFGBest tried to commit suicide when this news came out.

A lot of PFGBest clients are going to be absolutely devastated by this scandal.  The following is from a recent Reuters article….

Farmers on Tuesday fumed at the prospect of financial losses, or at a minimum a lengthy wait for the return of frozen funds, due to alleged mismanagement at brokerage PFGBest, and some said they had been burned for the last time.

The U.S. futures industry reeled as regulators accused Iowa-based PFGBest of misappropriating more than $200 million in customer funds for more than two years, a new blow to trader trust just months after MF Global’s collapse.

Centered in the heart of farm belt, the firm handled agricultural futures accounts for a number of clients who grow corn, soybeans and cotton.

But it is not just PFGBest clients that are going to feel the pain of this scandal.

The truth is that this is going to deeply shake confidence in the entire global financial system.

Many dismissed what happened at MF Global as an “isolated incident”.

But now it is happening again.

Fool me once, shame on you.

Fool me twice, shame on me.

#2 A Third California City Goes Bankrupt In Less Than A Month

First it was Stockton.

Then it was Mammoth Lakes.

Now it is San Bernardino’s turn.

On Tuesday, the city council of San Bernardino, California voted to file for bankruptcy.

An article in the Los Angeles Times detailed the issues at the heart of San Bernardino’s financial problems….

The city’s fiscal crisis has been years in the making, compounded by the nation’s crushing recession and exacerbated by escalating pension costs, lucrative labor agreements, Sacramento’s raid on redevelopment funds and a city reserve that is tapped out, officials said.

While it would be easy to dump on the state of California (and that is something I have done quite often), the truth is that we are seeing municipal debt problems erupting all over the United States.

For example, the city of Scranton, Pennsylvania has such severe financial problems that the mayor of Scranton has ordered that all city employees be paid minimum wage until a solution to the crisis is found.

If this was television, Dwight Schrute would find a way to save the day for Scranton.

Unfortunately, this is real life and Dwight Schrute does not exist in real life.

#3 The Liborgate Scandal Keeps Getting Worse

We have been taught that we should all have faith in the integrity of the global financial system.

What a bunch of baloney that turned out to be.

It turns out that banksters have been colluding to fix global interest rates for years.

“Liborgate” is being called the biggest financial scandal in history.  Libor is important because it is one of the key benchmarks used to set prices for hundreds of trillions of dollars of loans, securities and derivatives.

British banking giant Barclays has already admitted that they were involved in manipulating Libor.

Barclays has already agreed to pay $453 million in fines to British and U.S. authorities.

But the truth is that it would have been totally impossible for Barclays to have manipulated Libor by themselves.

So who else was involved?

That was a question that was discussed in a recent article in The Economist….

Over the past week damning evidence has emerged, in documents detailing a settlement between Barclays and regulators in America and Britain, that employees at the bank and at several other unnamed banks tried to rig the number time and again over a period of at least five years. And worse is likely to emerge. Investigations by regulators in several countries, including Canada, America, Japan, the EU, Switzerland and Britain, are looking into allegations that LIBOR and similar rates were rigged by large numbers of banks. Corporations and lawyers, too, are examining whether they can sue Barclays or other banks for harm they have suffered. That could cost the banking industry tens of billions of dollars. “This is the banking industry’s tobacco moment,” says the chief executive of a multinational bank, referring to the lawsuits and settlements that cost America’s tobacco industry more than $200 billion in 1998. “It’s that big,” he says.

As many as 20 big banks have been named in various investigations or lawsuits alleging that LIBOR was rigged. The scandal also corrodes further what little remains of public trust in banks and those who run them.

So what does all of this mean?

The Wall Street Journal says that the credibility of the entire global financial system is at stake….

At stake is both the integrity of the world’s financial system and the credibility of the U.K. authorities to police it. Long before the current scandal, many European policy makers had concluded that London during the boom was the Wild West, whose loose standards are a threat to European financial stability. The Libor scandal suggests U.S. regulators have reached similar conclusions. The Commodities Futures Trading Commission, the U.S. regulatory body that first started investigating rate-fixing, left little doubt how seriously it regards the abuses it uncovered.

Once faith is shattered, it is incredibly difficult to rebuild.

And right now it is really hard to come up with a decent argument why anyone should trust their money to such a corrupt system.

#4 Spain Is Turning Into Greece

A central government drowning in debt?

Check.

A banking system on the verge of collapse?

Check.

Politicians pushing a forced austerity program that includes much higher taxes, much lower government spending and greatly reduced pay for government workers?

Check.

Wild rioting in the streets by protesters?

Check.

Let’s see….where have we seen this before?

Can anyone still possibly deny that Spain is going down the exact same road that Greece has gone?

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is proposing a huge slate of tough austerity measures including a 3 point increase in the Value Added Tax on goods and services.  If that 3 point hike is implemented, the Value Added Tax will rise to 21 percent.

Could you imagine going to the store and paying a 21 percent sales tax?

Ouch.

Rajoy is promising that these measures will get Spain back on the right track.

Of course we have already seen how well such austerity measures have worked in Greece.

The unemployment rate in Spain is already up to 24.4 percent, and now these austerity measures will slow the economy down even more.

No wonder there is rioting in the streets.  You can see high quality footage of the rioting that has been going on in Spain this week right here.  At one point police were seen firing rubber bullets at the protesters.

But of course the citizens of Spain could not live way above their means forever.  At some point every debt bubble ends, and when that happens the results are often incredibly painful.

This is a lesson that the United States has not learned either.  When we stop racking up more than a trillion dollars of additional government debt every year our “adjustment” will be exceedingly painful as well.

A little over a week ago, I wrote an article entitled “17 Reasons To Be EXTREMELY Concerned About The Second Half Of 2012“. I never imagined that things would get so much worse in just a week.

Everything seems to be accelerating these days.

That includes the decay that is happening in society.  A few days ago I made a list of 25 signs that society is falling apart, but then another story came along after I had finished my article that topped all of the examples in my list.  The following is how one man in West Virginia has been treating his wife….

During the conversation, according to the criminal complaint, Lizon’s wife told the woman that her husband had kept her chained up with metal padlocks and chains for about 10 years. The woman noticed scar tissue on the victim’s hands and ankles. Lizon’s wife told the woman that the scars were from the chains tearing into her skin.

Lizon’s wife told the woman that she and her husband were originally from Czechoslovakia, and that they live in Leroy, W.Va.

According to the complaint, the woman told investigators that the feet of Lizon’s wife were “mutilated and swollen,” one of which was missing a considerable amount of skin. Lizon’s wife told the woman that her husband smashed her foot with a bucket or scoop attachment of a farm tractor.

Lizon’s wife also told the woman Lizon called her his “slave,” and that whenever her husband entered the room she had to kneel down before him, according to the complaint.

Can you imagine anyone doing that?

Can you imagine any husband chaining his wife up for 10 years?

That is so sick that it is beyond words to describe it.

Unfortunately, that is not just one isolated incident of depravity in a world filled with goodness.

The truth is that the entire world system is saturated with depravity and corruption.

If anyone is willing to stand up for “the integrity of the global financial system”, I challenge you to leave a comment below explaining to the rest of us why we should still have blind faith in the system after everything that has happened.

I don’t imagine that too many people will even attempt to take me up on that challenge.

If You Live In California Things Just Got A Whole Lot Worse

Why does the state of California seem to be so incredibly hopeless?  These days California can’t seem to do anything right, and if you live in California things just got a whole lot worse.  Governor Brown has announced that the state budget deficit for this year is going to be much larger than projected, that more government services are going to be cut and that voters are going to vote on another round of tax increases in November.  Meanwhile, unemployment is sitting at 11 percent and extended federal unemployment benefits for workers in the state are ending.  Because California is one of the worst places in the nation to conduct business, there has been a steady flow of companies leaving the state.  Those companies have taken a whole lot of good jobs with them.  Due to the lack of jobs and a steady stream of impoverished immigrants coming in from Mexico and other countries, poverty in the state has exploded and crime is rapidly increasing.  California may be the land of “endless sunshine”, but for the California economy there are only dark clouds on the horizon.  The state is coming apart at the seams and there is not much hope that things are going to turn around any time soon.

These days, California is very similar to Greece in many ways.

Just like Greece, California has had round after round of “austerity” and yet still cannot seem to balance the budget.

Even after all of the cuts that have been implemented in recent years, the California budget deficit is still going to be far larger than originally projected this year.  The following is from the Los Angeles Times….

Gov. Jerry Brown announced on Saturday that the state’s deficit has ballooned to $16 billion, a huge increase over his $9.2-billion estimate in January.

The bigger deficit is a significant setback for California, which has struggled to turn the page on a devastating budget crisis. Brown, who announced the deficit on YouTube, is expected to outline his full budget proposal on Monday in Sacramento.

“This means we will have to go much further, and make cuts far greater, than I asked for at the beginning of the year,” Brown said in the video.

During his remarks on YouTube, Governor Brown stated that California is “still recovering from the worst recession since the 1930s” and he stressed that hard choices are ahead.

But the California state government has already cut back in so many places.  For example, back in the late 1970s the state of California was number one in per-pupil spending on education, but now California has fallen to 48th place.

Unfortunately, Governor Brown does not believe that budget cuts alone will solve the problem.

So you know what that means.

Tax increases!

The tax increases that California voters will be voting on in November were outlined in a recent Bloomberg article….

Brown this week submitted more than 1.5 million signatures to place the tax measure on the ballot. It would temporarily raise the state sales tax, already the highest in the U.S., to 7.5 percent from 7.25 percent. It would also boost rates on income starting at $250,000. The 10.3 percent levy on those making $1 million or more would rise to 13.3 percent, the most of any state.

Get ready to fire up the moving vans.

The rest of the California economy may be falling apart, but moving companies will continue to do very well.

As I have written about previously, California has already experienced a net loss of approximately four million residents to other states over the past 20 years.

If the top rate on those making a million dollars or more a year hits 13.3 percent you will see a lot more wealthy people leave.

And thousands of businesses have left California in recent years as well.  Sadly, one survey found that CEOs ranked California as the worst place in the United States to do business for seven years in a row.

You would think that the state legislature would get the message.

Unfortunately they have not.

California absolutely suffocates businesses with rules and regulations and it gets worse with each passing year.

So lots of good jobs continue to leave the state.

As mentioned earlier, the official rate of unemployment in California is sitting at 11 percent.  That is almost 3 points higher than for the nation as a whole.

Of course the “official” numbers greatly understate the true scope of the unemployment problem, but for more on that you can check out this article.

However you want to look at it, the reality is that California has a massive unemployment problem.

Sadly, a whole bunch of unemployed workers in California are about to lose their unemployment benefits.

On Saturday, more than 200,000 unemployed Americans were dumped off the unemployment rolls.  Close to half of them live in California.

Instead of 99 weeks, unemployed workers in California will now only be able to collect unemployment benefits for a maximum of 79 weeks.

It is estimated that a total of 93,000 people in California have suddenly lost their benefits as a result of this change.

Unfortunately, the truth is that the employment picture in California is not really getting any better.  It is still incredibly difficult to find a decent job.

Unless you are “connected”, it can be a horribly frustrating experience trying to find a new job in this economic environment.

But if you are truly desperate, there are some folks out there who are always hiring.

These days, “national security” is quite a growth industry.  For example, if you are currently unemployed you can always apply to work as an Internment/Resettlement Specialist for the national guard.

While the economy is going to pot, you can get paid to lock up other Americans that are protesting about the state of our country.

Doesn’t that sound fun?

But seriously, if you live in California right now you probably don’t need anyone else to tell you how bad things are.

You probably already know that the number of children living in poverty in the state of California has increased by 30 percent since 2007.

California is rapidly changing, and not for the better.

But it is not just the economy that is falling apart in California.  The truth is that there are a whole host of good reasons to move away from California.  The traffic is nightmarish, crime is on the rise, the gangs are bigger and more active than ever before, millions of illegal immigrants have poured into the state, and the control freak politicians become more insane with each passing year.

Plus there is the constant threat that your home will be destroyed by a mudslide, a wildfire or an earthquake.

One of these days the “big onewill hit California.

You do not want to be there when that happens.

But if you decide that you do want to move from California, what is the best state to move to?

That is a very good question.

The truth is that economic conditions are horrible in most of the country and are rapidly getting a whole lot worse.

According to one poll, 30 percent of all Americans described the condition of the economy as “good” back in February but only 20 percent do now.

When we enter the next major economic downturn, unemployment is going to go higher everywhere in the nation.

There will be small pockets where jobs are still plentiful (where the oil industry is strong for example) but almost everywhere else will be really hurting.

So what do all of you think?

For people looking to move away from California, where should they go?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….

California Is Broke – 19 Reasons Why It May Be Time For Everyone To Leave The State Of California For Good

Back in the 1960s and 1970s, there was a seemingly endless parade of pop songs about how great life was in California, and millions of young Americans dreamed of moving to the land of sandy beaches and golden sunshine.  But now all of that has changed.  Today, millions of Californians are dreaming about leaving the state for good.  The truth is that California is broke.  The economy of the state is in shambles.  The official unemployment rate has been sitting above 12 percent for an extended period of time, and poverty is everywhere.  For many Californians today, there are very few reasons to stay in the state but a whole lot of reasons to leave: falling housing prices, rising crime, budget cuts, rampant illegal immigration, horrific traffic, some of the most brutal tax rates in the nation, increasing gang violence and the ever present threat of wildfires, mudslides and natural disasters.  The truth is that it is easy to understand why there are now more Americans moving out of California each year than there are Americans moving into the state.  California has become a complete and total disaster zone in more ways than one, and an increasing number of Californians are deciding that enough is enough and they are getting out for good.

Sadly, the state of California is facing such a wide array of social, economic, and political problems that it is hard to even document them all.  It is really one huge gigantic mess at this point.

Just consider the following facts about what life is like in the state of California today…. 

#1 Unemployment in the state of California was 12.4% in September – one of the highest rates in the nation.

#2 The number of people unemployed in the state of California is approximately equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

#3 Not even state government jobs are safe in California these days.  Last month, government agencies in California slashed a total of 37,300 jobs.

#4 California has the third highest state income tax in the nation: a 9.55% tax bracket at $47,055 and a 10.55% bracket at $1,000,000.

#5 California has the highest state sales tax rate in the nation by far at 8.25%.  Indiana has the next highest at 7%.

#6 Residents of California pay the highest gasoline taxes (over 67 cents per gallon) in the United States.

#7 Even with all of the taxes, the budget deficit for the California state government for the current year is approximately 19 billion dollars.

#8 According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, California’s unfunded pension liability is estimated to be somewhere between $120 billion and $500 billion.

#9 20 percent of the residents of Los Angeles County are now receiving public aid.

#10 Budget cuts are making life very difficult in many California cities.  For example, Oakland, California Police Chief Anthony Batts says that due to severe budget cuts there are a number of crimes that his department will simply not be able to respond to any longer.  The crimes that the Oakland police will no longer be responding to include grand theft, burglary, car wrecks, identity theft and vandalism. 

Things have gotten so bad in Stockton, California that the police union put up a billboard with the following message: “Welcome to the 2nd most dangerous city in California. Stop laying off cops.”

#11 According to one survey, approximately 1 in 4 Californians under the age of 65 had absolutely no health insurance last year.

#12 California’s poverty rate soared to 15.3 percent in 2009, which was the highest in 11 years.

#13 California’s overstretched health care system is also on the verge of collapse.  Dozens of California hospitals and emergency rooms have shut down over the last decade because they could not afford to stay open after being endlessly swamped by illegal immigrants and poor Californians who were simply not able to pay for the services they were receiving.  As a result, the remainder of the health care system in the state of California is now beyond overloaded.  This had led to brutally long waits, diverted ambulances and even unnecessary patient deaths.

#14 California home builders began construction on 1,811 homes during the month of August, which was down 77% from August 2006.

#15 Earlier this year, it was reported that in the area around Sacramento, California there was one closed business for every six that were still open.

#16 The “lawsuit climate” in California is ranked number 46 out of all 50 states. 

#17 Residents of California pay some of the highest electricity prices in the entire nation.

#18 Over 20 percent of California homeowners are now underwater on their mortgages.

#19 Large tent cities have been springing up all over the state of California.  Just check out the following shocking video news report….

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cRLupIRhrmg

So why doesn’t the state government of California just fix many of these problems?  Well, the truth is that it simply cannot.  The state government is flat broke.  Earlier this year, Bob Herbert of the New York Times described California’s massive budget problems this way….

California has cut billions of dollars from its education system, including its renowned network of public colleges and universities. Many thousands of teachers have been let go. Budget officials travel the state with a glazed look in their eyes, having tried everything they can think of to balance the state budget. And still the deficits persist.

So is there any hope that all this can be turned around?

Is there any hope that the economy of California will recover?

Or will California continue to experience a rapid decline?

Please feel free to leave a comment with your opinion….

Has The State Of California Become The Epicenter Of The Economic Collapse Of America?

Once upon a time, California was the state that everyone wanted to move to.  The endless sunshine, the gorgeous weather, the beaches, the lure of Hollywood and a booming economy made it extremely attractive to millions of Americans who wanted to fulfill their “California dreams”.  But those days are long gone.  Now, the state of California has become an economic nightmare.  In fact, many would argue that California has now become the epicenter of the economic collapse of the United States.  Everything that once made California great is now being swamped by a tidal wave of unemployment, foreclosures, crime, budget cuts, traffic, taxes and natural disasters.  There is a reason why every year now many more people leave the state of California than move into it.  The state of California is suffering a slow economic death, and if something is not done it could end up being one of the biggest financial disasters in history.

The economic crisis of the past several years has hit California so incredibly hard that it is hard to describe.  According to the U.S. Labor Department, the unemployment picture in the state continues to deteriorate, with an overall unemployment rate of 12.5 percent in January.

12.5 percent may not sound that bad, but the truth is that the situation in many of the urban areas is much worse.  There are now 8 counties in the state of California that have unemployment rates of over 20 percent.

In this economic environment, not even teachers are safe.  Just last week, the state of California handed pink slips to nearly 22,000 teachers across the state.

It is hard to even convey how bad things are in California right now.  California has always been a “boom or bust” state, but what is happening now is really unprecedented.

In fact, the number of people now unemployed in California is equivalent to the populations of Nevada, New Hampshire and Vermont combined.

Businesses are shutting down at an alarming rate.  For example, in the area around Sacramento, California there is one closed business for every six that are still open.

Just think about that.

One out of every seven businesses has already shut down.

And unfortunately things are going to get even worse.

But that is the last thing that people in California want to hear about now.

All of these economic problems are playing havoc with the state budget as well.  At this point the state of California is essentially dead broke.  Yet they have to keep borrowing more and more money because revenues have fallen off so sharply.  Basically what California is doing is they are piling up the biggest mountain of debt that any U.S. state has ever accumulated, and there is no hope that they will be able to do anything about it any time soon.

The following is how Ralph E. Stone of the Fog City Journal recently described the California government’s colossal financial problems….

How bad is the problem? Consider that California has a $20.7 billion deficit in the general fund budget over the next 16 months. California owes $8.8 billion in short-term loans that have to be paid off by June, and over $120 billion in outstanding bonds and interest that will be paid over decades. The state’s pension fund, CalPers, has $16.3 billion more in liabilities than assets, plus California also faces a $51.8 billion expense for the health and dental benefits of state retirees and future retirees.

So what can the state of California do?  Well, they can either raise taxes or they can cut spending.  Considering the fact that taxes are already at an incredibly oppressive level in the state, that is not a great option.  Not that they won’t try to suck more money out of the taxpayers anyway.

What California should be trying to do is to cut spending, but the very deep cuts that have been made already have not made that much progress.

Bob Herbert of the New York Times recently described California’s massive budget problems this way….

California has cut billions of dollars from its education system, including its renowned network of public colleges and universities. Many thousands of teachers have been let go. Budget officials travel the state with a glazed look in their eyes, having tried everything they can think of to balance the state budget. And still the deficits persist.

But it is not just California’s government that is experiencing a financial crisis of unprecedented magnitude.

California’s overstretched health care system is also on the verge of collapse.  Dozens of California hospitals and emergency rooms have shut down over the last decade.

Why?

The reality is that many hospitals and emergency rooms simply could not afford to stay open as they were endlessly swamped with immigrants and poor and homeless who were not able to pay for the services they were getting.

As a result of these hospital and emergency room closings, the remainder of the health care system in the state of California is now beyond overloaded.  This had led to brutally long waits, diverted ambulances and even unnecessary patient deaths.

And the number of Californians who are unable to pay for their emergency care is only increasing.

According to one new study, approximately 1 in 4 Californians under the age 65 had absolutely no health insurance last year.

But perhaps now that Barack Obama’s health care scheme has passed, maybe the cost of caring for everyone in California will be taken care of by the American taxpayers.

Thanks Obama.

The high unemployment rate and the cuts to the budget in California have also created an environment where crime and gang activity can flourish.  Not that crime and gangs were not gigantic problems before.  But now thousands upon thousands of young men who can’t or won’t find jobs have nothing better to do than sell drugs and terrorize entire neighborhoods.

In fact, there are many areas of California where you just do not go out of your home at night.

Then there are the devastating droughts, the thousands of wildfires, the endless earthquakes, and the crippling mudslides which California now experiences almost every single year.

No wonder so many people are flocking to leave the state.

But what happens in California eventually spreads to the rest of the United States.

Keep in mind that 13 percent of the U.S. gross domestic product comes from the state of California.

Counted by itself, California would be the 5th largest economy in the entire world.

So to think that these problems can be isolated to California is complete fantasy.

In fact, there are some areas in the United States, such as Detroit, that are just as bad as anything that is going on in California.

So the reality is that this is a national economic cancer that is spreading rapidly.

The economic nightmare that people in California and Michigan are experiencing will be coming to your area sooner or later.

Are you ready for that?

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