Japan’s GDP Is Collapsing, And Experts Are Warning That China Will Be Next

Global economic conditions are really starting to deteriorate quite rapidly.  Economists were projecting that Japan’s GDP would shrink by 3.8 percent on an annualized basis in the fourth quarter, but instead it greatly surpassed expectations by plunging 6.3 percent.  If Japan’s GDP falls again during the first quarter of 2020, and thanks to the coronavirus outbreak that seems very likely, then the world’s third largest economy will officially be in a recession.  But of course the outlook for China is even worse.  At this point, economic activity in China has come to a standstill, and this has thrown global supply chains into a state of chaos.  It certainly appears that the entire global economy will shrink during the first quarter, and that will be the very first time that has happened in more than a decade.  And if this coronavirus outbreak continues to intensify in the months ahead, the economic consequences are going to be absolutely catastrophic.

Even though the experts were anticipating a slowdown in Japan, nobody had any idea that it would be this bad

Japan’s gross domestic product shrank at an annualized pace of 6.3 percent from the previous quarter in the three months through December, according to a preliminary estimate by the Cabinet Office released Monday.

Economists surveyed had predicted a fall of 3.8 percent, flagging the adverse impact of a sales tax increase, weak global demand and typhoon disruption.

The sales tax increase is being primarily blamed for this collapse in GDP, and without a doubt consumer spending in Japan was way down last quarter

Consumer spending fell 11.1% after the national sales tax was raised in October to 10% from 8%. During the same month, Typhoon Hagibis ravaged a large swathe of the country.

Capital spending declined 14.1% and exports slipped 0.4% due to the fallout from the U.S.-China trade war.

Japanese officials were hoping that GDP would bounce back this quarter, but now the coronavirus outbreak has changed everything.

At this point it is very difficult to be positive about the immediate future of the Japanese economy, and an increasing number of experts are now anticipating a recession.  Here is one example

“I’m getting ready for another contraction in Japan’s first quarter. There just aren’t any positive factors to build a positive growth forecast,” said Mari Iwashita, chief market economist at Daiwa Securities Co., flagging her view that the economy is likely falling into recession.

The Japanese economy greatly benefits from the horde of tourists that usually come over from China, and the two nations have developed a very close trading relationship.

Now that those two factors are being disrupted, the outlook for the second quarter is decidedly grim

“There is a good chance of Japan’s economy falling into a recession,” Yoshiki Shinke, chief economist at Dai-ichi Life Research Institute, said before Monday’s data was released. He flagged the risks of supply chains being affected if the outbreak was prolonged.

The coronavirus is taking a toll on the number of Chinese tourists to Japan and manufacturing activity due to the economy’s close ties with China, prompting some economists to forecast a contraction lasting two quarters.

Ultimately, it is going to be exceedingly difficult for Japan to avoid a recession.

But if Chinese GDP also plunges into recession territory this year, that will be even bigger news.

According to the New York Times, “the entire global economy could suffer from a prolonged shock in China”, and so investors will be watching the development of this crisis very carefully.

The number of confirmed cases and the official death toll both continue to rise, and the draconian measures that the Chinese have taken to contain the outbreak have slowed the Chinese economy to a crawl.  The following is how Zero Hedge summarized the recent economic data that we have seen come out of China…

While not perfect, and certainly not a comprehensive view of what is really taking place “on the ground”, the above data is a useful real-time indicator of how the people in China perceive the threat of the coronavirus pandemic, and one thing is abundantly clear: as the pandemic spreads further without containment, and as the charts above flatline, so will China’s economy, which means that while Goldman’s draconian view of what happens to Q1 GDP is spot on, the expectation for a V-shaped recovery in Q2 and onward will vaporize faster than a vial of ultra-biohazardaous viruses in a Wuhan virology lab.

Of course many in the financial world are still hoping that things won’t be too bad.

For example, Dun and Bradstreet is hoping that the crisis in China will only “cause a drag of approximately one percentage point on global GDP”

China, the world’s second largest economy after US, contributes about 20 percent to the world’s gross domestic product (GDP). However, according to a report by Dun and Bradstreet, the Chinese economy might cause a drag of approximately one percentage point on global GDP if prevention of Coronavirus gets delayed beyond the summer of 2020.

That is a wildly optimistic projection, but hopefully they are right.

Hopefully the coronavirus will fizzle out with the arrival of warmer weather and the global economy can start to get back to normal.

Unfortunately, a return to “normal” is probably not in the cards.

Even before this coronavirus outbreak, the global economy was really starting to slow down.  Economic numbers were absolutely dismal all over the world, and many experts were warning that we were right on the verge of the next global recession.

Now that this outbreak has erupted, we definitely have much more momentum in a downward direction.  Very challenging times are ahead, although most people in the western world still don’t understand what is happening.

As far as the coronavirus is concerned, the key will be what happens to the number of confirmed cases outside of China.  Over the past week that number has roughly doubled, and if that keeps happening every week we will soon have a full-blown global pandemic on our hands.

There are now 75 confirmed cases in Singapore, 59 confirmed cases in Japan and 57 confirmed cases in Hong Kong.  It is becoming increasingly difficult to keep this virus contained, and we are rapidly approaching a major tipping point.

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.

The Mysterious New “SARS-Like Virus” That Is Killing People In China Has Now Spread To Japan

On top of everything else that has happened so far in 2020, a very mysterious “SARS-like virus” that doctors have never seen before is causing grave concern among global health officials.  It has been identified as “a coronavirus”, but that category covers a very broad range of illnesses.  If you have a common cold right now, it was caused by a coronavirus.  But SARS and MERS also came from the same virus family, and those two outbreaks made headlines all over the world.  In 2002 and 2003, SARS infected more than 8,000 people worldwide, and more than 700 of them ended up dying.  Global health officials are hoping that what we are now facing won’t be any worse than that, but at this point they just don’t know enough about this mysterious new virus to make any firm projections.

What we do know is that this outbreak just started, and China has just announced that this virus has claimed a second life.  The following comes from the BBC

A second person has died in China from a new, pneumonia-like virus, local officials have announced.

They say the death was recorded in the eastern city of Wuhan, where the outbreak began in December.

And we also know that there have been at least two cases where people have transported the virus outside of China via airplane.

The first case happened earlier this week when a woman flew from China to Thailand

The new virus, known for now as 2019-nCoV, was first identified on Jan. 7, about a week after officials first reported a cluster of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, WHO said.

Recently, officials reported the first “exported” case of the virus in Thailand. In that case, a resident of Wuhan got on a direct flight to Thailand along with several members of her family and a tour group, according to WHO. When the 61-year-old woman arrived at the airport, she was found to have a fever, and she was taken to the hospital where she tested positive for 2019-nCoV.

Subsequently, on Thursday we learned that a man that flew from China to Japan had also contracted the virus.  The following comes from Time Magazine

Japan’s government said Thursday a man treated for pneumonia after returning from China has tested positive for the new coronavirus identified as a possible cause of an outbreak in the Chinese city of Wuhan.

The man developed a fever and coughs on Jan. 3 while in Wuhan, returned to Japan on Jan. 6, and was hospitalized four days later due to persistent coughs and fever, with his X-ray image showing signs of pneumonia, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.

At first, global health officials were greatly downplaying the possibility of human-to-human transmission.

But now even the World Health Organization has been forced to admit that “limited human-to-human transmission” may be happening…

There may have been limited human-to-human transmission of a new coronavirus in China within families, and it is possible there could be a wider outbreak, the World Health Organization (WHO) said on Tuesday.

In other words, the evidence has forced them to change their tune, but they are still trying to not alarm the general public too much.

Unfortunately, the truth is that this outbreak is still very new, they have never seen this virus before, and they are still trying to figure out exactly how dangerous it is.

Hopefully this is not going to develop into a major pandemic.  Without a doubt, it is certainly possible that this whole thing could fizzle out even faster than the bird flu scare did.

But let us not forget that a horrific pandemic about 100 years ago killed between 50 million and 100 million people.  The following comes from Wikipedia

The 1918 influenza pandemic (January 1918 – December 1920; colloquially known as Spanish flu) was an unusually deadly influenza pandemic, the first of the two pandemics involving H1N1 influenza virus.[1] It infected 500 million people around the world,[2] including people on remote Pacific islands and in the Arctic. Probably 50 million, and possibly as high as 100 million (three to five percent of Earth’s population at the time) died, making it one of the deadliest epidemics in human history.[3][4][5]

Bill Gates has identified pandemics as one of the three greatest threats that humanity is facing, and he says that we are woefully unprepared if one were to break out today.

In fact, he says that we should be preparing for one right now as if we were preparing for war

“In the case of biological threats, that sense of urgency is lacking,” Gates said in a 2018 presentation hosted by the New England Journal of Medicine. “The world needs to prepare for pandemics in the same serious way it prepares for war.”

Sadly, authorities will probably never make preparation a true priority until a major pandemic has already begun.

The symptoms of this new mystery virus include congestion, headache, cough and fever.

Of course those exact same symptoms are associated with the common cold.

If you have shortness of breath, chills or body aches in addition to the other symptoms, that could be an indication that you should get checked out.

But there have been no reports of this virus reaching the United States yet, and hopefully we won’t see that happen at all.

For the Chinese, this outbreak comes at a particularly bad time, because their Lunar New Year celebration is on January 25th.  Hundreds of millions of people will be traveling around China, and that could potentially accelerate the spread of the virus.

It may have been prudent for Chinese officials to completely cancel all of the festivities, but at this point there are absolutely no plans to do that.

So we will watch and see what happens.  If this particular virus doesn’t become a pandemic, scientists assure us that it is only a matter of time before some other virus does.  And considering the hour in which we live, we are certainly very vulnerable to a potential pandemic right now.

Once again, I want to stress that there is no need for people in the U.S. to start freaking out about this virus just yet.  Only two people have died, and there have been no reported cases in the U.S. so far.

But as we have seen in the past, global air travel can spread a virus around the world very quickly, and authorities are still trying to figure out how dangerous this new mystery disease really is.

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.

Top Financial Expert Warns Stocks Need To Drop ‘Between 30 And 40 Percent’ As Bankruptcy Looms For Toys R Us

Will there be a major stock market crash before the end of 2017?  To many of us, it seems like we have been waiting for this ridiculous stock market bubble to burst for a very long time.  The experts have been warning us over and over again that stocks cannot keep going up like this indefinitely, and yet this market has seemed absolutely determined to defy the laws of economics.  But most people don’t remember that we went through a similar thing before the financial crisis of 2008 as well.  I recently spoke to an investor that shorted the market three years ahead of that crash.  In the end his long-term analysis was right on the money, but his timing was just a bit off, and the same thing will be true with many of the experts this time around.

On Monday, I was quite stunned to learn what Brad McMillan had just said about the market.  He is considered to be one of the brightest minds in the financial world, and he told CNBC that stocks would need to fall “somewhere between 30 and 40 percent just to get to fair value”…

Brad McMillan — who counsels independent financial advisors representing $114 billion in assets under management — told CNBC on Monday that the stock market is way overvalued.

The market probably would have to drop somewhere between 30 and 40 percent to get to fair value, based on historical standards,” said McMillan, chief investment officer at Massachusetts-based Commonwealth Financial Network.

McMillan’s analysis is very similar to mine.  For a long time I have been warning that valuations would need to decline by at least 40 or 50 percent just to get back to the long-term averages.

And stock valuations always return to the long-term averages eventually.  Only this time the bubble has been artificially inflated so greatly that a return to the long-term averages will be absolutely catastrophic for our system.

Meanwhile, trouble signs for the real economy continue to erupt.  As noted in the headline, it appears that Toys R Us is on the brink of bankruptcy

Toys R Us has hired restructuring lawyers at Kirkland & Ellis to help address looming $400 million in debt due in 2018, CNBC had previously reported, noting that bankruptcy was one potential outcome.

Kirkland declined to comment.

Earlier Monday, Reorg Research, a news service focused on bankruptcy and distressed debt, reported Toys R Us could file for bankruptcy as soon as Monday.

This is yet another sign that 2017 is going to be the worst year for retail store closings in U.S. history.  I don’t know how anyone can look at what is happening to the retail industry (or the auto industry for that matter) and argue that the U.S. economy is in good shape.

But most Americans seem to base their opinions on how the economy is doing by how well the stock market is performing, and thanks to relentless central bank intervention, stock prices have just kept going up and up and up.

In so many ways, what we are watching today is a replay of the dotcom bubble of the late 1990s, and this is something that McMillan also commented on during his discussion with CNBC…

Part of McMillan’s thesis is rooted in his belief that the lofty levels of the so-called FANG stocks — Facebook, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet — seem reminiscent of the dot-com bubble in the late 1990s.

“I’ve been saying for about the past year, this year looks a lot like 1999 to me,” McMillan said on “Squawk Box.” “If you look at the underlying economics [and] if look at the stock market, the similarities are remarkable.”

I am amazed that so many big names continue to issue extremely ominous warnings about the financial markets, and yet most Americans seem completely unconcerned.

It is almost as if 2008 never happened.  None of our long-term problems were fixed after that crisis, and the current bubble that we are facing is far larger than the bubble that burst back then.

I don’t know why more people can’t see these things.  It has gotten to a point where “even Goldman Sachs is getting worried”

The stock market bubble is now so massive that even Goldman Sachs is getting worried.

Let’s be clear here: Wall Street does best and makes the most money when stocks are roaring higher. So in order for a major Wall Street firm like Goldman to start openly worrying about whether or not the markets are going to crash, there has to be truly MASSIVE trouble brewing.

On that note, Goldman’s Bear Market indicator just hit levels that triggered JUST BEFORE THE LAST TWO MARKET CRASHES.

When things fall apart this time, it is going to be even worse than what we went through in 2008.  In the aftermath, we are going to need people that understand that we need to fundamentally redesign how our system works, and that is something that I hope to help with.  We cannot base our financial system on a pyramid of debt, and we cannot allow Wall Street to operate like a giant casino.  Our entire economy has essentially become a colossal Ponzi scheme, and it is inevitable that it is going to come horribly crashing down at some point.

But for now, the blind continue to lead the blind, and most Americans are not going to wake up until we have gone over the edge.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

World War 3? The United States And North Korea Stand On The Brink Of A Nuclear War

After North Korea successfully tested a hydrogen bomb on Sunday, U.S. Secretary of Defense James Mattis warned that the United States is more than capable of “the total annihilation of a country”.  Unfortunately, the North Koreans may have already gotten to the point where they are capable of the same thing.  Just a handful of North Korean nukes could kill millions of people and render the largest cities in South Korea or Japan completely uninhabitable, and so a nuclear war with the North Koreans should be avoided at all costs.  Sadly, global events seem to be relentlessly pulling us in that direction.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey, a magnitude-6.3 earthquake was registered in North Korea at the same time that the North Koreans claim that they conducted a “perfect” test of a hydrogen bomb.  This test was reportedly 10 times more powerful than North Korea’s last nuclear test, and the North Koreans are also claiming that this bomb was small enough to be fitted on an inter-continental ballistic missile.

North Korea should have never been allowed to get to this point.  But the Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations just kept kicking the can down the road year after year, and now we are facing a crisis with no good solution.  Because it is absolutely unthinkable for us to allow North Korea to have an entire fleet of nuclear missiles capable of hitting targets in the United States, but it is also absolutely unthinkable to start a war in which potentially tens of millions of people could die.

North Korea is honeycombed with very deep underground tunnels.  Even if we knew exactly how many nukes North Korea has, and even if we knew where they all were, there is still no possible way that we could get them all with a first strike.

But even if we could, North Korea is entirely capable of killing millions in South Korea and Japan with chemical, biological and conventional weapons.  Before he left the White House, Steven Bannon had the following to say about the situation that we are facing on the Korean peninsula…

“Until somebody solves the part of the equation that shows me that ten million people in Seoul don’t die in the first 30 minutes from conventional weapons, I don’t know what you’re talking about, there’s no military solution here, they got us,” Bannon told the American Prospect.

In this case, Bannon is exactly correct, and any members of Congress that would suggest differently are simply lying to you.

At this moment, there is no military solution to the North Korean crisis, but our top military leaders continue to talk as if there is

US Defense Secretary James Mattis vowed “a massive military response” to any threat from North Korea against the United States or its allies in a statement outside the White House after a meeting with President Donald Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and top national security advisers Sunday.

Mattis said Trump wanted to be briefed on each of the “many military options” for dealing with the North Korean nuclear threat.

In fact, Mattis went so far as to suggest that the “total annihilation” of North Korea is a potential option

“We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.”

As he was leaving church on Sunday, President Trump also suggested that a pre-emptive strike on North Korea is very much on the table

As he left church, Trump was asked, “Will you attack North Korea?”

Trump answered, “We’ll see.”

In addition, on Twitter Trump warned that he was considering “stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea”

The United States is considering, in addition to other options, stopping all trade with any country doing business with North Korea.

Of course China is North Korea’s biggest trade partner, and if we immediately tried to cut off all trade with China it would throw the global economy into a nightmare scenario.

But a trade war with China is not our only concern.  Last month, The Global Times (a Chinese state newspaper) threatened the United States with a shooting war if it attempted to bring about regime change in North Korea…

‘If the US and South Korea carry out strikes and try to overthrow the North Korean regime and change the political pattern of the Korean Peninsula, China will prevent them from doing so.’

This is the tensest that things have been on the Korean peninsula since the Korean War ended in 1953.

One false move and literally tens of millions of people could die.

Most Americans have absolutely no idea what a military conflict with North Korea would mean.  We are talking about death and destruction on a scale that would be absolutely unprecedented.  The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles

Could you imagine what would happen if a North Korean nuke hit Tokyo or Seoul?

Even one nuke could kill millions in those densely populated cities, and financial markets all over the world would almost instantly implode.

And North Korea also has some of the largest chemical and biological weapons stockpiles on the entire planet. Within moments of an attack, thousands of North Korean artillery pieces and rockets would start raining fire on Seoul, and even just a few chemical or biological warheads would cause immense devastation in that city of about 10 million people.

In addition, North Korean forces are poised to invade South Korea at literally any moment, and the only way that South Korea could survive such an invasion would be direct intervention by U.S. forces.

On top of everything else, what if the North Koreans were able to successfully launch a nuke or two toward our major cities? Or what if they already have the technology to set off an EMP blast high in the atmosphere above the continental United States? Or what if their agents that are already embedded here start releasing biological agents in our major cities?

These are nightmare scenarios that most Americans never even consider, but they would be very real possibilities in the event that we go to war with North Korea.

Sometimes a military option is the best option, but this is not one of those cases.

There is no way that a military strike on North Korea would end well, and our top brass already knows this.

So let us hope that cooler heads prevail, because at this moment we are literally standing on the brink of World War 3.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Dow Falls 274 Points As ‘Eclipse Fever’ Hits The Financial Markets

Have we now entered a time of major financial shaking?  On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 274 points.  The was the largest decline for the Dow since May, and high yield bonds were down dramatically as well.  Many are blaming the terror attack in Barcelona and “instability in the White House” for the downturn, but could “eclipse fever” also be a factor?  The closer that we get to the solar eclipse on August 21st, the weirder people seem to be getting.  You will see what I am talking about below.

But first let’s talk about the financial markets.  I have been warning that stocks are massively overvalued for quite a while now, and it turns out that the Federal Reserve very much agrees with me

“Since the April assessment, vulnerabilities associated with asset valuation pressures had edged up from notable to elevated, as asset prices remained high or climbed further, risk spreads narrowed, and expected and actual volatility remained muted in a range of financial markets.”

Even the Fed is warning that we are in a bubble, and it is just a matter of time until that bubble bursts.

And anyone that is paying attention should be able to see the red flags all around us.  In fact, we have just witnessed the most “Hindenburg Omens” that we have seen since November 2007.  The technical indicators are absolutely screaming that a major downturn is dead ahead, and John P. Hussman is encouraging everyone to be cautious and to “consider watching from a safe location”…

Given obscene valuations, lopsided bullishness, and (importantly) clearly deteriorating internals, consider watching from a safe location.

We shall see what happens, but I tend to very much agree with Hussman.

Meanwhile, the closer that we get to August 21st, the crazier people seem to be getting.  The following comes from USA Today

As citizen scientists collectively nerd-out ahead of Monday’s total solar eclipse, rogue observers of the spooky and weird are generating theories that the celestial event could usher in aliens, boost sightings of “interdimensional” creatures and perhaps even plunge us toward world destruction.

None of those things are going to happen, but there are some very odd things about this eclipse that are definitely worth noting.

In a previous article, I noted that the first major city in the United States that the eclipse will cross is named Salem.  Well, it turns out that the eclipse will actually cross a total of seven cities named Salem, and of course “Salem” is short for “Jerusalem”.

I also find it very interesting how much the number “33” is associated with this eclipse.  The following are just a few examples

This solar eclipse is highly unusual for so many reasons and it occurs just 33 days before what may very well be the Great Sign.  It begins in the 33rd state, ends at the 33rd parallel, and occurs on the 233rd day of the year, which is 33 weeks and 2 days into 2017.  The eclipse will take 1 hour and 33 minutes to cross the country and occurs 133 days (inclusive) before the end of 2017.

And of course this solar eclipse begins a period of 40 days which will end with Yom Kippur on September 30th.  The following is an excerpt from a Charisma News article authored by Ron Allen which I think has some really good insights…

Teshuvah, the 40-day Jewish season of repentance, literally means to return to the presence of God, and is a time of introspection and a reminder of judgment. It begins on the first day of the sixth month known an Elul, and the solar eclipses that occur on Teshuvah add to the meaning of Teshuvah. The Teshuvah eclipses are signs of coming judgment, like the Trumpets eclipses, but they are also signs of unity in the presence of God. Thus, the Teshuvah eclipses are both an invitation to return to God and a warning of judgment.

During the totality of the eclipse, the sky will become dark and the stars will become visible. Right next to the eclipse, only 1.5 degrees away, the brightest star in the judgment constellation Leo (the lion), Regulus (treading under foot) reminds us that Christ, the lion of Judah, will put His enemies under His feet (1 Cor. 15:25). Southeast of the eclipse, the planet Mercury, the morning star laid low symbolic of Satan, will appear under the feet of Leo, adding to the warning of judgment.

So is this solar eclipse actually a warning that America should repent?

Many Christian leaders all over the nation believe that this is the case.  In fact, Billy Graham’s own daughter, Anne Graham Lotz, is one of them

In light of Ezekiel 33:1-6 that commands a watchman to be faithful to warn others of the danger coming against the land, I feel compelled to issue the warning once again. The warning is triggered by the total solar eclipse of Aug. 21, 2017, nicknamed “America’s Eclipse.” For the first time in almost 100 years, a total solar eclipse will be seen from coast to coast in our nation. People are preparing to mark this significant event with viewing parties at exclusive prime sites. The celebratory nature regarding the eclipse brings to my mind the Babylonian King Belshazzar, who threw a drunken feast the night the Medes and Persians crept under the city gate. While Belshazzar and his friends partied, they were oblivious to the impending danger. Belshazzar wound up dead the next day, and the Babylonian empire was destroyed.

I do not know what will happen before, during or after the eclipse, but I do know that America is in very deep trouble.

If we continue on the path that we are currently on, there is no future for our nation.

Unfortunately, most Americans aren’t listening to the warnings.  Most people simply assume that America is far too powerful to ever fall, and they see absolutely no reason why we need to change our ways.

Hopefully we can get America to wake up, because time is rapidly running out.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

This Is The Closest That The U.S. Has Been To Nuclear War Since The Cuban Missile Crisis

Are we on the verge of a nuclear war with North Korea?  It has now been confirmed that North Korea has successfully created a miniaturized nuclear warhead, and last month they tested a missile that can reach at least half of the continental United States.  Since 1994 the U.S. has been trying to stop North Korea’s nuclear program, and every effort to do so has completely failed.  Last September, the North Koreans detonated a nuclear device that was estimated to be in the 20 to 30 kiloton range, and back in January President Trump pledged to stop the North Koreans before they would ever have the capability to deliver such a weapon to U.S. cities.  But now the North Koreans have already achieved that goal, and they plan to ultimately create an entire fleet of ICBMs capable of hitting every city in America.

Right now, North Korea and the Trump administration are locked in a game of nuclear chicken.  Kim Jong Un’s regime is never, ever, ever going to give up their nuclear weapons program, and so that means that either Donald Trump is going to have to back down, find another way to deal with North Korea, or use military force to eliminate their nuclear threat.

And time is quickly running out for Trump to make a decision, because now that North Korea has the ability to produce miniaturized nuclear warheads, the game has completely changed.  The following comes from the Washington Post

North Korea has successfully produced a miniaturized nuclear warhead that can fit inside its missiles, crossing a key threshold on the path to becoming a full-fledged nuclear power, U.S. intelligence officials have concluded in a confidential assessment.

The new analysis completed last month by the Defense Intelligence Agency comes on the heels of another intelligence assessment that sharply raises the official estimate for the total number of bombs in the communist country’s atomic arsenal. The U.S. calculated last month that up to 60 nuclear weapons are now controlled by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Some independent experts believe the number of bombs is much smaller.

The truth is that nobody actually knows how many nukes North Korea has at this point, and they are pumping out more all the time.

Yes, the Trump administration could order an absolutely devastating military strike on North Korea.  But if the North Koreans even get off one nuke in response, it will be the greatest disaster for humanity since at least World War II.

But at this point Trump doesn’t sound like someone that intends to back down.  In fact, on Tuesday he threatened North Korea with “fire and fury” if they keep threatening us…

“North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States,” Trump said from the clubhouse at his golf course in Bedminster, N.J. “He has been very threatening beyond a normal state, and as I said they will be met with the fire and fury and frankly power, the likes of which this world has never seen before.”

In response to Trump’s comments, the North Koreans threatened to hit Guam with a pre-emptive strike…

If Trump thought that his bluff would be sufficient to finally shut up North Korea, and put an end to Kim’s provocative behavior, well… bluff called because North Korea’s state-run KCNA news agency reported moments ago that not only did N.Korea escalate the tensions up another notch, but explicitly warned that it could carry out a “pre-emptive operation once the US shows signs of provocation”, and that it is “seriously considering a strategy to strike Guam with mid-to-long range missiles.”

Most Americans appear to be completely oblivious to the seriousness of this crisis.  Once we hit North Korea, they will respond.  A single nuke could potentially kill millions in Tokyo, Japan or Seoul, South Korea.  And the North Koreans also have some of the largest chemical and biological weapons stockpiles on the entire planet.  If things take a bad turn, we could see death and destruction on a scale that is absolutely unprecedented.

And if the North Koreans launch an invasion of South Korea, we will instantly be committed to a new Korean War and thousands upon thousands of our young men and women will be sent over there to fight and die.

There is no possible way that a military conflict with North Korea is going to end well.  If things go badly, millions could die, and if things go really badly tens of millions of people could end up dead.

But members of the Trump administration continue to insist that “a military option” is on the table…

In an interview broadcast Saturday on MSNBC’s Hugh Hewitt Show, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said the prospect of a North Korea armed with nuclear-tipped ICBMs would be “intolerable, from the president’s perspective.”

“We have to provide all options . . . and that includes a military option,” he said.

Of course letting North Korea construct an entire fleet of ICBMs that could endanger the entire planet is not exactly a palatable option either.  The Clinton, Bush and Obama administrations all kicked the can down the road year after year, and now we facing a nightmare problem that does not appear to have a good solution.

Unfortunately for Trump, time has now run out and a decision has to be made

“Today is the day that we can definitely say North Korea is a nuclear power,” Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies at the Center for the National Interest, told USA TODAY. “There is no more time to stick our heads in the sand and think we have months or years to confront this challenge.”

Let us pray that a way can be found to derail North Korea’s nuclear program that does not involve us going to war.

Because the moment that U.S. forces start striking North Korea, the North Koreans could literally unleash hell if they are inclined to do so.

It appears that we are now closer to nuclear war than we have been at any point since the Cuban missile crisis.  A nuclear holocaust was avoided back then, and hopefully a way will be found to avoid one now.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

The Dow Closes At A Record High For The 9th Straight Time But Experts Warn That A Stock Market Crash Could Be Imminent

The bigger they come, the harder they fall.  On Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed at a record high for the ninth straight session.  It has been a remarkable run, but many experts are pointing out that big trouble is brewing under the surface.  As you will see below, 79 components of the S&P 500 have already dropped more than 20 percent below their 52-week highs, and it is mostly just a handful of high flying tech stocks that are still propping up the market at this point.  Over the past several weeks, I have been documenting so many of the prominent voices that are loudly warning about an imminent stock market crash, and in this article you will hear some more of these warnings.  There is no way that stock prices can keep going up like this, and when the inevitable correction does arrive it is going to be exceedingly painful for millions of investors.

When the market is about to turn in a major way, one of the key things to watch is market breadth, and according to Brad Lamensdorf market breadth has now turned “exceedingly negative”

Market breadth, a measure of how many stocks are rising versus the number that are dropping, has turned “exceedingly negative,” according to Brad Lamensdorf, a portfolio manager at Ranger Alternative Management. Lamensdorf writes the Lamensdorf Market Timing Report newsletter and runs the AdvisorShares Ranger Equity Bear ETF HDGE, -0.70% an exchange-traded fund that “shorts” stocks, or bets that they will fall.

“As the indexes continue to produce a series of higher highs, subsurface conditions are painting an entirely different picture,” Lamensdorf wrote in the latest edition of the newsletter.

When Lamensdorf uses the phrase “exceedingly negative”, he is not exaggerating at all.  As I mentioned above, 79 components of the S&P 500 are already in a bear market

According to an analysis of FactSet data, 79 components of the S&P 500 are trading at least 20% below their 52-week high; a bear market is typically defined as a 20% drop from a peak.

Another key measure that I like to keep my eye on is Robert Shiller’s cyclically adjusted price-to-earnings ratio.  At this point, it is roughly at the same level as it was just before the stock market crash of 1929, and the only time it has been higher was during the peak of the dotcom bubble.

This is why so many investors are making extremely large bets that a major correction is imminent.  History tells us that stocks are likely to only go down from here.  And when stocks do start falling, the price action could become quite violent.  In fact, Barry James is comparing this current market to the Yellowstone supervolcano

Warning: A correction in the market is “inevitable” and there are three key factors that could spark chaos on Wall Street, according to James Advantage Fund president Barry James.

The investor likened the market to Yellowstone National Park’s famous supervolcano, which many believe is close to eruption.

Of course not everyone agrees with James.  Michael Wilson of Morgan Stanley insists that everything is just fine and that “there continues to be a level of skepticism that seems out of whack with what is actually happening”.

In the end, we will see how the coming months play out.

Over the past several years, there have been two primary trends that have been relentlessly driving up stock prices.  One of these trends has been an unprecedented level of stock buybacks.  And so far this year, hundreds of billions of dollars worth of stock buybacks have already been announced

Through May, some $390 billion in buybacks have been announced this year, $13 billion more than at this time in 2016, according to figures compiled by Jeffrey Yale Rubin at Birinyi Associates, a stock market research firm.

June 28 was the biggest single buyback announcement day in history. That was when 26 banks disclosed buybacks worth $92.8 billion, largely a response to having just passed the stress tests administered by the Federal Reserve Board. That figure blew past the previous record of $56.4 billion announced on July 20, 2006.

Secondly, central banks have been pumping trillions upon trillions of dollars into the global financial system, and this has perhaps been the biggest reason for the surge in stock prices.  But now central banks are starting to pull back, and that could mean big trouble very soon.  The following comes from Matt King

With asset prices displaying a high degree of correlation with central bank liquidity additions in recent years, that feedback loop makes the economy, upon which both corporate profitability and bank net interest margins depend, more reliant on central banks holding markets together than almost ever before. That delicate balance may well be sustained for the time being. But with central banks beginning to move, however gingerly, towards an exit, is it really worth chasing the last few bp of spread from here?

Throughout our history we have seen financial bubbles come and go, but we never seen to learn from our mistakes.  Right now, Warren Buffett is sitting on nearly 100 billion dollars in cash in anticipation of being able to buy up financial assets for a song after a crash happens, but meanwhile multitudes of ordinary Americans continue to pour vast quantities of money into stocks even at such absurd valuations.

Despite all of the warnings, many will be caught unprepared when the music stops playing.  Just like all of the other financial manias in our history, this one will come to a bitter end too.  The following comes from the New York Times

In the late 1960s the mania was for the “nifty 50” American companies like Disney and McDonald’s, which had been the “go-go” stocks of that decade. In the late 1970s it was for natural resources, from gold to oil. In the late 1980s it was stocks in Japan, and in the late 1990s it was the dot-com boom. Last decade, investors flocked to mortgage-backed securities and big emerging markets from Brazil to Russia. In every case, many partygoers were still in the market when the crash came.

In life, timing is everything, and those that got out of the market in time are going to end up being very happy that they did so.

But those that stay in too long are going to see their “paper wealth” disappear in a blinding flash, and there won’t be any way to get it back once it is gone.

Michael Snyder is a Republican candidate for Congress in Idaho’s First Congressional District, and you can learn how you can get involved in the campaign on his official website. His new book entitled “Living A Life That Really Matters” is available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon.com.

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