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12 Signs The Economic Slowdown The Experts Have Been Warning About Is Now Here June 1, 2017

Since the election there has been this perception among the American public that the economy is improving, but that has not been the case at all.  U.S. GDP growth for the first quarter was just revised up to 1.2 percent, but that is even lower than the average growth of just 1.33 percent that we saw over the previous ten years.  But when you look even deeper into the numbers a much more alarming picture emerges.  Commercial and industrial loan growth is declining, auto loan defaults are rising, bankruptcies are absolutely surging and we are on pace to break the all-time record for most store closings in a single year in the United States by more than 20 percent.  All of these are points that I have covered before, but today I have 12 new facts to share with you.  The following are 12 signs that the economic slowdown that the experts have been warning about is now here…

#1 According to Challenger, the number of job cuts in May was 71 percent higher than it was in May 2016.

#2 We just witnessed the third worst drop in U.S. construction spending in the last six years.

#3 U.S. manufacturing PMI fell to an 8 month low in May.

#4 Financial stocks have lost all of their gains for the year, and some analysts are saying that this is “a terrible sign”.

#5 One new survey has found that 39 percent of all millionaires “plan to avoid investing in the coming month”.  That is the highest that figure has been since December 2013.

#6 Jobless claims just shot up to a five week high of 248,000.

#7 General Motors just reported another sales decline in May, and it is being reported that the company may be preparing for “more job cuts at its American factories”.

#8 After an initial bump after Donald Trump’s surprise election victory, U.S. consumer confidence is starting to fall.

#9 Since Memorial Day, Radio Shack has officially shut down more than 1,000 stores.

#10 Payless has just increased the number of stores that it plans to close to about 800.

#11 According to the Los Angeles Times, it is being projected that 25 percent of all shopping malls in the United States may close within the next five years.

#12 Over the past 12 months, the number of homeless people living in Los Angeles County has risen by a  staggering 23 percent.

And in case those numbers have not persuaded you that the U.S. economy is heading for rough times, I would encourage you to go check out my previous article entitled “11 Facts That Prove That The U.S. Economy In 2017 Is In Far Worse Shape Than It Was In 2016” for even more eye-popping statistics.

During a bubble, it can feel like the good times are just going to keep rolling forever.

But that never actually happens in reality.

The truth is that we are in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble of all time, and the evidence is starting to mount that this debt bubble has just about run its course.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

A recurring theme on this website has been to periodically highlight the tremendous build up in US corporate debt, most recently in April when we showed that “Corporate Debt To EBITDA Hits All Time High.” The relentless debt build up is something which even the IMF recently noted, when in April it released a special report on financial stability, according to which 20% of US corporations were at risk of default should rates rise. It is also the topic of the latest piece by SocGen’s strategist Andrew Lapthorne who uses even more colorful adjectives to describe what has happened since the financial crisis, noting that “the debt build-up during this cycle has been incredible, particularly when compared to the stagnant progression of EBITDA.”

Lapthorne calculates that S&P1500 ex financial net debt has risen by almost $2 trillion in five years, a 150% increase, but this mild in comparison to the tripling of the debt pile in the Russell 2000 in six years. He also notes, as shown he previously, that as a result of this debt surge, interest payments cost the smallest 50% of stocks in the US fully 30% of their EBIT compared with just 10% of profits for the largest 10% and states that “clearly the sensitivity to higher interest rates is then going to be with this smallest 50%, while the dominance and financial strength of the largest 10% disguises this problem in the aggregate index measures.”

The same report noted that net debt growth in the U.S. is quickly headed toward negative territory, and the last time that happened was during the last recession.

We see similar things when we look at the 2nd largest economy on the entire planet.  According to Jim Rickards, China “has multiple bubbles, and they’re all getting ready to burst”…

China is in the greatest financial bubble in history. Yet, calling China a bubble does not do justice to the situation. This story has been touched on periodically over the last year.

China has multiple bubbles, and they’re all getting ready to burst. If you make the right moves now, you could be well positioned even as Chinese credit and currency crash and burn.

The first and most obvious bubble is credit. The combined Chinese government and corporate debt-to-equity ratio is over 300-to-1 after hidden liabilities, such as provincial guarantees and shadow banking system liabilities, are taken into account.

We just got the worst Chinese manufacturing number in about a year, and it looks like economic conditions over there are really starting to slow down as well.

Just like 2008, the coming crisis is going to be truly global in scope.

It is funny how our perspective colors our reality.  Just like in 2007, many are mocking those that are warning that a crisis is coming, but just like in 2009, after the crisis strikes many will be complaining that nobody warned them in advance about what was ahead.

And at this moment it may seem like we have all the time in the world to get prepared for the approaching storm, but once it is here people will be talking about how it seemed to hit us so quickly.

My hope is that many Americans will finally be fed up with our fundamentally flawed financial system once they realize that we are facing another horrendous economic crisis, and that in the aftermath they will finally be ready for the dramatic solutions that are necessary in order to permanently fix things.

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I Feel Sick, Because The U.S. Is On The Verge Of Making An Extremely Costly Mistake April 14, 2017

All day long I have just felt sick.  Right at this moment, we are closer to war with North Korea than we have been at any point since the Korean War ended in 1953.  If Donald Trump decides to launch a military strike against North Korea’s nuclear facilities, the consequences could be absolutely catastrophic.  The North Koreans have already promised to launch nukes at South Korea and at U.S. military bases in the region in return, and they also have vast stockpiles of chemical and biological weapons that they could use as well.  To get an idea of the chaos that just a handful of North Korean agents armed with biological weapons could unleash inside the United States, just see this article.  A military strike on North Korea could be the spark that sets off a global war in which millions of people die, and so we need to do all that we can to prevent this from happening.  My hope is that if people make enough noise that Trump will back down and decide not to attack.

Earlier today, I was sent the following piece of intel.  I was told that I could share it with all of my readers as long as I kept the name of the individual that sent it to me out of it.  According to this source, it certainly looks as though an attack is being prepared…

An O-5 silver maple leaf Air Force puke says the bomb buses in Guam are maximum loaded, fully fueled and reserves are topped off.  ‎ Reserves are only topped off just before the buses go airborne.

Kunsan has everything pointed north and ALL gates are closed…no traffic in or out.

7 air wings have been moved into the area and an augmented Carl Vinson CVN-70 (not alone) (per CMC x 2  and an O-5) has also moved into the area.

An O-5 barker and an O-6 Marine says all Easter leave has been cancelled with ALL‎ loaded up, geared up and warming up in several theaters.

Castle is locked and loaded.

Seoul is moving essential government and military personnel, as is true for U.S. Command Components and Personnel located at Yongsan‎, further south to Daegu.

AND…Red Cloud is ready to go on the war path with nobody sleeping in the wigwams, all the arrows have been taken from the box.

For those that don’t know, “Kunsan” refers to a U.S. Air Force base that is located at Gunsan Airport on the west coast of the Korean peninsula.

But just because these preparations are being made does not mean that a strike will actually happen.  In fact, there are some signs that indicate that we will not see a U.S. attack over the next several days.

For one thing, Vice President Mike Pence is scheduled to be in South Korea on Sunday and Monday.  So it would seem that it would be quite unlikely that anything would happen during that time.

In addition, Fox News is reporting that the Trump administration has come to the conclusion that military force should not be used against North Korea…

But a U.S. military official, who requested anonymity to discuss planning, said the U.S. doesn’t intend to use military force against North Korea in response to either a nuclear test or a missile launch. The official said plans could change in the unlikely event a North Korean missile targets South Korea, Japan or U.S. territory.

But of course things seem to shift hour to hour with the Trump administration.  On Thursday, NBC News was reporting that the U.S. military was poised “to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea” if it looked like the North Koreans were about to conduct a nuclear weapons test…

The U.S. is prepared to launch a preemptive strike with conventional weapons against North Korea should officials become convinced that North Korea is about to follow through with a nuclear weapons test, multiple senior U.S. intelligence officials told NBC News.

North Korea has warned that a “big event” is near, and U.S. officials say signs point to a nuclear test that could come as early as this weekend.

So I don’t know what is going to happen.  But without a doubt we are very close to war with North Korea at this moment, and I am going to join with millions of others to do whatever we can to prevent that from happening.

A war with North Korea would be far different from the wars that the U.S. military has been fighting in the Middle East.  An ideology known as “Juche” is essentially the national religion of North Korea.  In Juche, the people are put at the center of everything, and “the leader” is considered to be at the center of the people.  In other words, “the leader” is almost put at the level of a deity.

It is a very sick and twisted philosophy, but here in the western world we need to understand that when we openly talk about killing Kim Jong-Un on television and on the Internet, we are essentially threatening to kill their “god”.

And the reason that is a problem is because Kim Jong-Un is surrounded by throngs of brainwashed supporters that will carry out any order that he gives them.

Here in the western world, we consider it to be highly immoral to use chemical and biological weapons against innocent civilian populations, but the North Koreans do not share those moral values.

The North Koreans consider the United States to be the great force for evil in the world, and if they feel like their way of life is being threatened by the U.S. they will not hesitate to use those sorts of weapons.

And of course they are constantly threatening to use nuclear weapons against us.  Just today I saw a report that talked about how the North Koreans are threatening to unleash “nuclear thunderbolts”, and in another report the North Koreans were quoted as saying they would “ruthlessly ravage” the United States if they are attacked…

North Korea upped its warmongering with Donald Trump today in a series of menacing boasts threatening to ‘ravage’ US troops amid fears the two countries are heading for war.

The secretive state vowed to ‘pulverize’ US bases and South Korean capital Seoul if it was threatened by the US military, which is carrying out drills on the Korean peninsula. A US aircraft carrier group is steaming towards the region.

It claimed it would ‘ruthlessly ravage’ the US if Washington attacked.

North Korea is one of the most wicked nations on the entire planet, and I would certainly greatly rejoice if their government were to fall.

But I don’t see any way that a military strike on North Korea would be successful.

If the North Koreans were able to fire even a single nuclear or chemical warhead at a major city such as Seoul or Tokyo it would be the worst foreign policy disaster in the history of the United States.  The North Koreans would certainly be blamed, but the Trump administration would also be blamed for conducting such a reckless attack in the first place.  Our relationships with our allies in the region would be permanently destroyed, and this would benefit China greatly.

Without using nukes in an overwhelming first strike (which would be unthinkable), I don’t believe that there is any possible way that we could take out all of North Korea’s nukes before they had a chance to at least fire some of them off.

And if North Korea did nuke Seoul or Tokyo or any U.S. military bases in the region, we would almost be forced to respond with nukes of our own, and that would have to be followed up by a massive ground invasion to topple the regime.

So if Donald Trump is reading this, for the good of humanity I would like to strongly urge him not to conduct a military strike on North Korea at this time.  The risk is just way too great, and if things go wrong we could easily be looking at a scenario in which millions of people end up dead.

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Is The United States About To Bomb North Korea? The White House Says ‘The Clock Has Now Run Out’ April 4, 2017

I got chills when I saw a CNN report that said that a White House official has just warned that “the clock has now run out” on North Korea’s nuclear program and that “all options are on the table”.  That second phrase has been repeatedly used by members of the Trump administration in recent days, and everyone knows what it means.  When I wrote that a conflict with North Korea could be “Trump’s first war” last month, I was still hoping that cooler heads would prevail and that a military conflict could be avoided.  Unfortunately, it appears that a peaceful solution is not in the cards, and that means that the United States may soon start bombing North Korea.  And of course if that happens the North Koreans will strike back with whatever they can, and that includes nuclear weapons.

I don’t know if I have the words to effectively communicate how serious this situation could become.  We have gotten to the point where the White House is openly talking of going to war with a nuclear power

A senior White House official issued a dire warning to reporters Tuesday on the state of North Korea’s nuclear program, declaring “the clock has now run out and all options are on the table.”

“The clock has now run out, and all options are on the table,” the official said, pointing to the failure of successive administration’s efforts to negotiate an end to North Korea’s nuclear program.

Later this week, President Trump is going to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida.  The eyes of the entire world will be on this summit, because everyone knows that Trump is going to press the Chinese leader for help on resolving the crisis with North Korea.

But what can China actually do?

The Chinese could cut off trade with North Korea, and that would definitely hurt, but North Korean leader Kim Jong Un appears to have become convinced that long range nuclear missiles are the key to the survival of his regime, and so he will never give up his nuclear program.

And the Chinese will certainly not strike North Korea militarily, and so ultimately if something is going to be done to stop North Korea from getting long range nuclear missiles it will be up to the United States.

On Tuesday morning, North Korea once again showed their defiance by firing yet another test missile into the Sea of Japan

The missile was fired from the Sinpo region at 10.40pm GMT (6.10am local time) on the communist nation’s east coast and landed into the sea off the Korean peninsula, South Korean military officials confirmed.

The rocket is believed to have flown around 37 miles before crashing into the sea. Specific details about the type of projectile were not immediately available.

Kim Jong Un conducted more missile tests in 2016 than his father did in nearly two decades.

It has become crystal clear that North Korea is not going to back down.

President Trump is still hoping that China will step up to the plate, but if the Chinese don’t he has already stated that the United States is fully prepared to “act alone”.  In fact, he made headlines all over the planet when he told the Financial Times the following: “Well if China is not going to solve North Korea, we will. That is all I am telling you.”

It doesn’t take much imagination to figure out what Trump is saying there.

Previous administrations have tried sanctions and negotiations for decades, and they all failed.

In the end, Trump is going to be faced with a choice whether to bomb North Korea or not, and four-star general Jack Keane says that bombing North Korea “may be the only option left”

A four-star general with close ties to Donald Trump has warned that military strikes are ‘rapidly’ becoming the only solution to North Korea’s nuclear program.

Jack Keane, who declined the President’s offer to become Defense Secretary last year, said bombing Kim Jong-un’s nuclear facilities ‘may be the only option left.’

But bombing North Korea is not like bombing Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or Syria.

The North Koreans already have nuclear weapons, and the U.S. better destroy them all in an overwhelming initial assault, because Kim Jong Un will use any that survive to strike back.

If you doubt this, just consider what a very high level North Korean defector just told Lester Holt of NBC News

A senior North Korean defector has told NBC News that the country’s “desperate” dictator is prepared to use nuclear weapons to strike the United States and its allies.

Thae Yong Ho is the most high profile North Korean defector in two decades, meaning he is able to give a rare insight into the secretive, authoritarian regime.

According to Thae, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is “desperate in maintaining his rule by relying on his [development of] nuclear weapons and ICBM.” He was using an acronym for intercontinental ballistic missiles — a long range rocket that in theory would be capable of hitting the U.S.

North Korea is currently developing an intercontinental ballistic missile known as the “Taepodong 2” that will have a range of approximately 8000 kilometers.

In other words, it would be capable of striking cities in the western portion of the United States.

It is unthinkable that we would allow a tyrannical leader that is literally insane and that is obsessed with destroying the United States to have such a weapon.

But the moment that we start dropping bombs on North Korea we will start a war in which millions could die.  Whatever nuclear weapons are missed in the first assault will likely be fired at U.S. military bases in Japan or at South Korea’s capital city of Seoul.  Approximately 10 million people live in Seoul, so the death toll would be absolutely enormous.  And even if all North Korean nuclear devices are destroyed by the first attack, the North Koreans still have thousands of artillery guns and rocket launchers trained on Seoul, and they would not hesitate to use their vast stockpile of chemical warheads.

After the initial North Korean barrage, the fourth largest military on the entire planet would start pouring across the border in a massive invasion of South Korea.  The U.S. military would be forced to respond with large scale ground forces if South Korea would have any chance of surviving, and just like in the first Korean War the Chinese may decide to respond to that move by committing their own troops to the war on the side of North Korea.

This is a season of “wars and rumors of wars”, and most Americans have no idea how dangerously close we are to the beginning of World War III.  My hope is that a peaceful way out of this crisis can still be found, but at this point that is becoming increasingly difficult to imagine.

If Donald Trump decides to go to war with North Korea, he needs to hit them with an absolutely overwhelming first strike that takes out every single North Korean nuke, the bulk of North Korea’s artillery and rockets, and the entire North Korean leadership team within the first few minutes of the attack.

It is hard to imagine a scenario that does not involve nukes that would accomplish that.

And Donald Trump better get the public approval of South Korean and Japanese leadership before ever attempting such an attack, because they will likely pay the highest price if North Korea is able to strike back.

If South Korea or Japan balk at backing such an operation and then they get hit by North Korean nukes, the United States could lose them as friends and allies forever.

The stakes are incredibly high, and there are so many things that could go wrong.

So let us pray for peace, because the alternative is almost too horrible to imagine.

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