Friday, March 22, 2019

Housing Collapse Coming Right Up


by Mish Shedlock, The Maven:

Mortgage rates are high and rising. Refinancing opportunities are nonexistent; home affordability has collapsed.

The latest Black Knight Mortgage Monitor is worth a very close look.

Here’s what the report says about the feature chart.


  1. Recent rate jumps coupled with climbing home prices have increased the cost to purchase the median home by $67/month (+6 percent) over the past six weeks.
  2. Overall, it costs $1,141 in monthly principal and interest to purchase the median home using a 30-year fixed mortgage with 20 percent down, the largest monthly payment required since late 2008.
  3. It currently takes 23 percent of the median income to purchase the median home, the highest share since 2009.
  4. However, overall affordability remains better than long-term historical averages, even taking the recent rate jump into consideration. Purchasing the median home requires one percent less of the median income than 1995-1999, three percent less than 2000-2003 (before the sharp run-up in home prices) and two percent below those combined benchmarks (1995- 2003).
  5. Average incomes are more than 20 percent higher today than in 2006 (according to the Census Bureau) and interest rates 2.3 percent lower. As such, affordability remains much better than at the pre-recession peak, even though today’s home prices have surpassed 2006 levels.
  6. Assuming all else remains equal, to return to 2006 affordability levels, interest rates would have to climb north of 8.0 percent or the median home price increase to $420K.

Statistical Nonsense

Black Knight is correct on points 1-3. Statistically, it is correct on points 3-6. However …

Regarding point 5: It’s not average incomes that matter, it’s median incomes.

And real median incomes have declined in seven out of the last 11 years.

Regarding points 4 and 6: Those who want a home and can afford a home have a home. The rest struggle because incomes have not kept up with home prices.

Notions of affordability are statistical nonsense. Black Knight does mention some of these issues in relation to other charts.

Home Price Appreciation by Tier

  1. Rising interest rates may put more pressure on borrowers with below average incomes buying below average priced homes.
  2. Affordability is lower in those segments compared to long-term benchmarks, and rising interest rates put more strain on affordability.
  3. The annual rate of appreciation on Tier 1 properties (lowest 20 percent by price) is 1.9 percent higher than the overall market average.
  4. Although the margin has declined in recent months, as of December 2017, the Tier 1 annual rate of appreciation was 75 percent higher than that of Tier 5 (a difference of 3.6 percent).
  5. Tier 1 home prices have now been the fastest appreciating quintile nationally for 67 consecutive months. The same trend holds true in 45 of 50 states and 90 of the nation’s largest 100 metro areas.
  6. Larger overall increases in value among lower-priced homes is not just a recent trend, though; the same dynamic is observed when looking back over the past 15 years.


Black Knight is six for six on that analysis.

It gets worse.

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Italian Elections – Another Nail in the Coffin of Brussels?


by Martin Armstrong, Armstrong Economics:

The Italian election results are in and once again it demonstrates that correlating economics with voting, you end up with a far more accurate forecast. Trying to predict based upon samples of calling people appears to be not merely questionable, but also prone to human bias. We have been warning that this trend toward nationalism is growing worldwide and especially within Europe. The Italian vote proves that the refugee issue is a major crisis and the people do not support it. Civil Unrest in Ital has been rising, but nobody listens to the people.

The politicians in Europe and even in the United States with respect to Trump, have assumed that this is merely a populist movement that would quickly fade into memory. Career politicians have had it their way for so long, they cannot fathom why after robbing the Treasury for decades and nobody said anything, why are the people suddenly mad now? The Italian vote should be a wake-up call to Brussels, but they will remain in a state of denial. Their attempt to PUNISH Britain they believed would prevent other states from leaving. They are sadly mistaken.

A majority of Italian voters have spoken and they supported the Eurosceptic candidates in the national election. Italy had been a steadfast championed the European project. However, the dreams have fallen to the ground as dust in the winds of politics. Those in Brussels have been totally dishonest with the European people swearing that a single currency would solve all the ills and that they were not trying to take over Europe making it the United States of Europe with one government. The promise that a single currency would also produce a single interest rate for all proved also a complete lie.

The early results released by the interior ministry pointed to a hung parliament, with the only hope of perhaps a center-right coalition, with about 37% of the vote could perhaps secure a majority once parliamentary seats are allocated ignoring the people as they have done in Germany. Any way we cut this, the Italian vote is a complete repudiation of Brussels following the trend set by BRXIT for Britain to leave the European Union.

The newspapers are reporting that unlike British voters, Italians would NOT support an exit from Europe or a referendum on leaving the Eurozone. Nonetheless, the very populist parties who score big in this vote have previously been open to a referendum on the Euro and will remain as an important barometer of the mood of the country moving forward. The burning question comes down to – are Italians proud to be Italians? Or do they buy into this view that an Italian is nothing without Europe?

The Italian vote on Sunday also marked the rise of two relatively new political parties that had been ignored and laughed at as fringe movements – (1) the anti-establishment Five Star Movement (M5S), which early results showed had 31% of the vote, and (2) the anti-migrant and Eurosceptic League, formerly known as the Northern League. Neither group warrants being laughed at or ignored anymore.

The former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi appears to have lost to a younger rival on the far right, Matteo Salvini, who supports radical immigration policies that even include mass deportations of immigrants who are in Italy illegally. Many have called Salvini a racist, as they are using that label in Britain to disparage anyone who votes for BRIXT. However, this is not really a racist issue. During hard times, during the 1840s, there was a nationalist movement in the United States against the migration of Irish. That even turned into gun battles on the street of Philadelphia and it had nothing to do with RACE!

The RACIST label being used against anyone who opposes the mass immigration from Africa under the pretense of war in Syria is simply a tactic used to defend a policy that is indefensible. Regardless of race, this is a crisis created by conflicting cultures and no politician will address the issue because they must have to admit a mistake. The performance of Salvini’s has been a clear warning sign that this entire Refugee Crisis in Europe is indeed tearing the continent apart. It was implementedunilaterally by Merkel who was concerned that her image was being harmed by her position refusing to compromise or foregive any debt with Greece. Germany tried to cover-up the Refugee Crisis without success.  Only when the elections were coming up did Markel suddenly flip and said she toowould deport refugees. This was only after Merkel’s party suffered a historical defeat in Berlin local elections. The statistics show that 70% of the migrants are young men who are economic migrants, not political refugees. Whatever happened to women’s rights in the middle of all this?

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Keiser Report: Bitcoin Battle (E1197)

from RT:

In the second half, Max continues his interview with Mitch Feierstein of about manipulation of the volatility index and the collapse of some of its associated derivative products. They also look at the overall state of the markets.

With New Wonder Weapon It Is Now Russia Which Rules the Waves


by Andrei Martyanov, Russia Insider:

Russia’s upcoming missile announced by Putin makes surface navies obsolete

During the August 2008 Russo-Georgian War, the operations of Russia’s 58th Army were termed as “coercion into peace”. It is an appropriate term once one recalls what truly was at stake then. Russians did win that war and, indeed, coerced Georgia into a much more peaceful mood.

In Clausewitzian terms the Russians achieved the main object of the war by compelling the enemy to do Russia’s will. Russians, as the events of the last 19 years showed, have no illusions anymore about the possibility of any kind of reasonable civilized conduct from the combined West, least of all from the United States which still continues to reside in her bubble which insulates her from any outside voices of reason and peace. The American global track record of the last few decades does not require any special elaborations—it is a record of military and humanitarian disasters.

Vladimir Putin’s March 1st, 2018 address to Russia’s Federal Assembly was not about Russia’s upcoming presidential elections, as many in the election-obsessed West suggest. Putin’s speech was about coercing America’s elites into, if not peace, at least into some form of sanity, given that they are currently completely detached from the geopolitical, military and economic realities of a newly emerging world.

As it was the case with Georgia in 2008, the coercion was based on military power. The Pre-Shoigu Russian Army, for all its real and perceived shortcomings, disposed of the US-trained and partially equipped Georgian force in a matter of five days—the Russian Army’s technology, personnel and operational art was simply better. Obviously such a scenario is not possible between Russia and the United States; that is unless the American myth of technological superiority is blown out of the water.

American power elites, the majority of whom have never served a day in uniform nor ever attended serious military academic institutions and whose expertise on serious military-technological and geopolitical issues is limited to couple of seminars on nuclear weapons and, in the best case scenario, the efforts of the Congressional Research Service are simply not qualified to grasp the complexity, the nature and application of military force. They simply have no reference points.

Yet, being a product of the American pop-military culture, also known as military porn and propaganda, these people—this collection of lawyers, political “scientists”, sociologists and journalists who dominate the American strategic kitchen which cooks non-stop delusional geopolitical and military doctrines, can understand one thing for sure—when their poor dears get a bulls-eye on their backs, or foreheads.

Putin’s message to the United States was extremely simple: he reminded the US about its condescending refusal to even consider Russia’s position on the ABM Treaty. As Jeffrey Lewis, in a surprising moment of sobriety for Foreign Policy magazine put it:

The real genesis of Russia’s new generation of bizarre nuclear weapons lies not in the most recent Nuclear Posture Review, but in the George W. Bush administration’s decision in 2001 to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, and the bipartisan failure by both the Bush and Obama administrations to engage meaningfully with the Russians over their concerns about American missile defenses.

Putin said as much in his remarks. “During all these years since the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from the ABM Treaty,” Putin explained, “we have been working intensively on advanced equipment and arms, which allowed us to make a breakthrough in developing new models of strategic weapons.”

Those technological breakthroughs are now here. Sadly, we’re never got the diplomatic ones we needed.

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Russia Secures Spot as World’s #3 Gold Miner as Metal Prices Up Thanks to Trump


from Sputnik News:

It seems that last week’s statements by the US president with regard to customs duties on imported light metals will likely play into the hands of Russian gold miners and traders alike.

In 2017, Russian companies produced a record-breaking 317.7 tons of gold, part of it through mining and associated production, including recycling scrap gold and the mining of concentrates. The estimate is 6.8 percent up from the previous year, Sergey Kashuba, chair of the Russian Gold Miners’ Union told the conference “Gold of Russia.”

Through mining alone, as much as 254.2 tons were produced last year, which is a 6.4 percent increase on 2016, he said.

“For the past years, Russia has fully secured its third rank in global gold production,” Kashuba added.

In 2018, Russian gold production is expected to surge by 3.2 percent to 328 tons, whereas its average annual price is predicted to be roughly 1,200 to 1,400 dollars per ounce, the Russian Gold Miners’ Union reported. According to Kashuba, the future of Russian gold reserves looks bright, with over 285 tons to be potentially manufactured this year through mining and associated production.

As of Tuesday, gold prices continue to go up amid the current geopolitical strain following US President Donald Trump’s statements on plans to introduce tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, trading data suggests.

At New York stock exchange Comex, prices for gold futures for April went up by 3.8 dollars this morning to 1,323.8 dollars per troy ounce. 

The steady rise in the price of gold, which is traditionally regarded as a trustworthy asset, could be explained by traders’ concern over the possible start of a trade war. The unease is mainly rooted in Trump’s announcement late last week of a potential 25 percent tax on steel and 10 percent tax on aluminum imported to the United States. 

The customs duty is projected to apply for a lengthy period of time, Trump pointed out. The following day, the US president said that when a country loses billions of dollars on trade with other countries, then trade wars are good.

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Christopher Steele Claimed DNC ‘Hack’ Involved Russian Agents ‘Within the Democratic Party’

by Joshua Caplan, The Gateway Pundit:

Former British spy and anti-Trump dossier author Christopher Steele once alleged that Russian agents “within the Democratic Party” were involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee. 

The New Yorker reports:

On July 26, 2016, after WikiLeaks disseminated the D.N.C. e-mails, Steele filed yet another memo, this time claiming that the Kremlin was “behind” the hacking, which was part of a Russian cyber war against Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Many of the details seemed far-fetched: Steele’s sources claimed that the digital attack involved agents “within the Democratic Party structure itself,” as well as Russian émigrés in the U.S. and “associated offensive cyber operators.”

The explosive claim comes amid reports that Special Counsel Robert Mueller is readying criminal charges against Russian hackers allegedly responsible for leaking damaging emails “designed to hurt Democrats in the 2016 election.”

NBC News reports:

Much like the indictment Mueller filed last month charging a different group of Russians in a social media trolling and illegal-ad-buying scheme, the possible new charges are expected to rely heavily on secret intelligence gathered by the CIA, the FBI, the National Security Agency (NSA) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), several of the officials say. […] Mueller’s consideration of charges accusing Russians in the hacking case has not been reported previously. Sources say he has long had sufficient evidence to make a case, but strategic issues could dictate the timing. Potential charges include violations of statutes on conspiracy, election law as well as the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.

The sources say the possible new indictment — or more than one, if that’s how Mueller’s office decides to proceed — would delve into the details of, and the people behind, the Russian intelligence operation that used hackers to penetrate computer networks and steal emails of both the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta.

Several political pundits and tech analysts have long said the DNC “hack” was not a hack, but rather a leak from someone inside the organization.

Earlier this month, internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom took to Twitter to once again attempt to dispel the mainstream narrative surrounding the Democratic National Committee hacking scandal.

“Let me assure you, the DNC hack wasn’t even a hack. It was an insider with a memory stick. I know this because I know who did it and why,” adding “Special Counsel Mueller is not interested in my evidence. My lawyers wrote to him twice. He never replied. 360 pounds!” tweeted Dotcom.

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by Jerome Corsi, Infowars:

Close examination of emails supports Stone’s claims, no evidence of Trump involvement

WASHINGTON, D.C. – A clear sign the Deep State’s “Russia collusion” narrative against Trump rapidly collapsing is the last gasp effort the mainstream media is making to claim Roger Stone was Trump’s direct line to Moscow.

The alleged evidence for this specious claim rests in large part on claims Stone was in touch with Julian Assange to arrange the WikiLeaks publication of the stolen DNC and John Podesta emails.

The left-leaning Atlantic made the most recent attempt to stir this old pot by publishing a story claiming the publication had obtained “secret correspondence” between Assange and Stone that showed Stone was in email communication with WikiLeaks in October 2016 and that WikiLeaks wanted to keep the email exchange going in November 2016, after the election.

The problem, as pointed out by Saagar Enjeti, White House correspondent for the Daily Caller, is that a full record of the conversation partially published by the Atlantic fails to provide evidence that Stone “collaborated” with Russia or had any information beyond what Assange had already said publically by the time Stone was communicating with WikiLeaks.

“The incomplete and carefully edited DM exchanges between me and a spokesman for WikiLeaks cited by the Atlantic prove conclusively that I had no advance knowledge of the content or source of WikiLeaks disclosures regarding Hillary Clinton. I had merely confirmed Julian Assange’s public claim that he had information on Hillary Clinton and he would publish it,” Stone responded in self-defense.

“The exchange provided to the Atlantic is incomplete and ridiculously out of context,” Stone continued. “The true copy of this exchange provided many months ago to the House Intelligence Committee demonstrates I had no ‘collaboration’ with WikiLeaks. Assange himself said in an interview with Amy Goodman that I never tweeted anything he or WikiLeaks hadn’t said or written publicly. I have never claimed otherwise.”

I will affirm again in print that Stone’s testimony to the House Intelligence Committee was correct in that his tweet of Aug. 21, 2016, in which he said it would soon be John Podesta’s “time in barrel” was based not on advance knowledge of WikiLeaks posts, but on research I had been conducting into then published evidence provided in the Panama Papers of Podesta’s clandestine off-shore dealings with Russia.

In an important analysis published on March 2, retired U.S. Navy Admiral James A. Lyons made a convincing case that the theft of the DNC and Podesta emails had nothing to do with the Russians, but was an inside job perpetrated by DNC IT employee Seth Rich.

“Interestingly, it is well known in the intelligence circles that Seth Rich and his brother, Aaron Rich, downloaded the DNC emails and was paid by Wikileaks for that information,” Lyons wrote.

“While Wikileaks doesn’t expose sources, Julian Assange gave a clear clue during an Aug. 9, 2016, interview on Dutch television when he implied that Mr. Rich was killed because he was the Wikileaks source of the DNC emails,” Lyons continued. “Mr. Assange offered a $20,000 reward leading to the arrest of Mr. Rich’s killers. Also, why hasn’t Aaron Rich been interviewed, and where is he?”

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Israel Caught Illegally Spraying Toxic Herbicides On Palestinian Farms, Destroying Their Food

by Rachel Blevins, The Free Thought Project:

Israel is being accused of destroying Palestinian crops by spraying excessive toxic herbicides that damaged both their food and water supply.

Israel is being accused of illegally spraying toxic herbicides on Palestinian farmlands along the border between the Gaza Strip and the occupied Palestinian territories, causing significant damage to Palestine’s agricultural crops.

Nearly 2 million Palestinians live on the Gaza Strip, which has been officially occupied by Israel since 2007. While Israel claimed that it was just using its planes to get rid of weeds and extra grass along the border with Palestinian territory, Palestinian officials have criticized the interference.
“These chemicals cause damage to agricultural crops and harm farmlands. Israel has no right to spray herbicides on Palestinian farmlands,” Nizar al-Wahedi of the Palestinian Agriculture Ministry told the Anadolu Agency.

Palestinian farmers have also claimed that while Israeli troops do spray weed killer around security fences to help them get a clearer view of the area, they often spray up to dozens of yards away from the fences, which severely damages Palestinian crops.

Wahedi said the Palestinian Ministry is not aware of the exact composition of the chemicals sprayed by Israel, but that it is hurting crops, which goes on to hurt hundreds of thousands of Palestinians who are already suffering from Israel’s blockade.

Press-TV reported that because Israel has banned the entry of basic commodities, farmers in Gaza “have resorted to the use of banned chemical substances to maximize crop yield,” which has created yet another health threat for farmers and consumers.

Around 44,000 Palestinians work in agriculture—about 11 percent of the territory— and following an increase in exposure to harmful pesticides, there has also been an increase in Gazan cancer patients who reside in agricultural areas.

This is not the first report of such illegal actions. In January 2016, Al-Jazeera reported that more than 300 acres of crops and farmland were damaged after a low-flying agricultural aircraft sprayed herbicides on to Palestinian farmlands along the eastern border.

Anwar Abu Assi, manager of the chemical laboratory at the Ministry of Agriculture, said the herbicides continue to harm citizens by ruining the crops and then going on to ruin the water supply.

“Herbicides are sprayed in high concentrations. Thus, they remain embedded in the soil, and then find their way to the water basin. This constitutes a real hazard for the population,” he said.

When it was criticized for similar practices in December 2015, Israel responded by claiming that “The aerial spraying of herbicides and germination inhibitors was conducted in the area along the border fence [with Gaza] last week in order to enable optimal and continuous security operations,” and that the main purpose was “to prevent the concealment of IEDs [Improvised Explosive Devices], and to disrupt and prevent the use of the area for destructive purposes.”

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FB Asks Users If It Should Allow Pedophiles to Ask Kids for Sexual Pictures


from The Anti Media:

 In a move that’s baffling at best and rather appalling at worst, Facebook has been busted asking users if they think it’s alright for adults to solicit “sexual pictures” from minors on its platform. While this may sound ridiculous on the surface — because it is — nevertheless, it happened.

On Sunday, the social media behemoth sent surveys out to a group of its users with questions on the issue of child grooming, the process of adults befriending children for the purposes of sexual abuse or other nefarious ends like trafficking and prostitution.

“There are a wide range of topics and behaviours that appear on Facebook,” began one of the questions. “In thinking about an ideal world where you could set Facebook’s policies, how would you handle the following: a private message in which an adult man asks a 14-year-old girl for sexual pictures.”

Respondents’ answer options ranged from “this content should be allowed on Facebook, and I would not mind seeing it” to “this content should not be allowed on Facebook, and no one should be able to see it. ”Survey takers were also allowed to select that they have “no preference” on the subject.

In a follow-up question, the tech company asked users who the arbiter of such content and behavior should be. Answer options ranged from “Facebook decides the rules on its own” to “Facebook users decide the rules by voting and tell Facebook.” Others involved getting input from outside experts.

Strangely, neither of the two questions gave survey takers the choice to suggest that law enforcement should be alerted to the situation.

It didn’t take long for the media to catch on. The digital editor for the Guardian, Jonathan Haynes, flagged the issue on Twitter. He got a response from Facebook’s VP of Product, Guy Rosen, who called the inclusion of such questions a “mistake” that shouldn’t have happened:

“We run surveys to understand how the community thinks about how we set policies. But this kind of activity is and will always be completely unacceptable on FB. We regularly work with authorities if identified. It shouldn’t have been part of this survey. That was a mistake.”

A statement from Facebook shared with the media struck a similarly apologetic tone but also contained some defensiveness:

We sometimes ask for feedback from people about our community standards and the types of content they would find most concerning on Facebook. We understand this survey refers to offensive content that is already prohibited on Facebook and that we have no intention of allowing so have stopped the survey. We have prohibited child grooming on Facebook since our earliest days; we have no intention of changing this and we regularly work with the police to ensure that anyone found acting in such a way is brought to justice.”

Speaking to the Guardian, British Parliament member Yvette Cooper, chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, roundly condemned Facebook’s move:

“This is a stupid and irresponsible survey. Adult men asking 14-year-olds to send sexual images is not only against the law, it is completely wrong and an appalling abuse and exploitation of children. I cannot imagine that Facebook executives ever want it on their platform but they also should not send out surveys that suggest they might tolerate it or suggest to Facebook users that this might ever be acceptable.”

Andy Burrows, associate head of child safety for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, told Newsweek that “Facebook’s decision to crowdsource views on how to deal with a criminal offence is hugely concerning.”

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Economic Experts Are Warning of a Looming Financial Crisis But No One Wants to Listen


by Daisy Luther, The Organic Prepper:

Recently, a lot of signs have been pointing to a financial crisis the likes of the Great Depression hurtling toward us, but no one wants to heed these warnings.

This weekend, I wrote about the continuing retail apocalypse, with thousands more brick and mortar stores slated to close down this year, taking tens of thousands of jobs with them. Quite a few people scoffed at my concern, feeling that a few retail jobs weren’t a sign of pending doom.

But I’m not alone in my apprehension. Not by a long shot.

Don’t expect the naysayers to agree anytime soon. It’s much more comfortable to believe that our economy has greatly improved under President Trump when in reality, we are already headed down the road to crisis without any brakes. Back when Trump was elected, Brandon Smith of Alt-Market warned:

I have been warning since long before the election that Trump’s presidency would be the perfect vehicle for central banks and international financiers to divert blame for the economic crisis that would inevitably explode once the Fed moved firmly into interest rate hikes. Every indication since my initial prediction shows that this is the case.

The media was building the foundation of the narrative from the moment Trump won the election. Bloomberg was quick to publish its rather hilariously skewed propaganda on the matter, asserting that Trump was lucky to inherit an economy in ascendance and recovery because of the fiscal ingenuity of Barack Obama. This is of course utter nonsense. Obama and the Fed have created a zombie economy rotting from the inside out, nothing more. But, as Bloomberg noted rightly, any downturn within the system will indeed be blamed on the Trump administration.

Fortune Magazine, adding to the narrative, outlined the view that the initial stock rally surrounding Trump’s election win was merely setting the stage for a surprise market crash.

I continue to go one further than the mainstream media and say that the Trump administration is a giant cement shoe designed (deliberately) to drag conservatives and conservative principles down into the abyss as we are blamed by association for the financial calamity that will occur on Trump’s watch…

…Every single stock decline from now on, as well as the ultimate economic crash, which will become visible to the public in short order, will be blamed on Donald Trump and conservatives by extension. As I said, he is the perfect scapegoat. (source)

It certainly makes sense from an establishment point of view to blame a financial disaster on a populist movement, particularly if they want to the American people to beg for a Socialist government. After all, then they’re just giving the people what they want, right?

But Smith isn’t the only person ringing the warning bell.

James Kunstler has been warning us for years, too.

James Howard Kunstler is a journalist, author, social critic, and blogger. He has written about the dangers of declining oil production, urbanism, and local economies. He’s been called a fearmonger and a grim extremist, but is that a case of people who are in denial?

He recently warned of something much darker coming our way and recommended that we “enjoy the last few weeks of relative normality.”  Here’s how he sees the trouble going down.

The financial markets wobbled and puked on Wednesday and Thursday of this week, finally mirroring the tremendous stresses in our politics. They’ve been every bit as jacked on unreality as the two major parties for years now. The markets, after all, are not the economy itself, just indexes of the supposed values of things, stocks, bonds, gold, soybeans, etc., and the Federal Reserve has been jamming hallucinogens down their craw since the last little seizure in 2008.

The markets don’t seem to like the new chairman of the Fed, a cipher named Jay Powell. In his first big public performance since stepping into Janet Yellen’s tiny shoes this week, Powell managed to do a complete 180 in 24 hours on whether his outfit will stick to four rate hikes this year… or maybe just ride to the rescue of the floundering markets with their old tricks of lowering interest rates and “printing” shitloads of new “money” to get those animal spirits going again in the S & P. Absolutely nothing Powell’s Fed might try will work. In fact they will only make the cratering indexes fall deeper and harder, along with the value of the US dollar. Interest rates can’t go any higher, anyway, without blowing up half the paper obligations on earth. Businesses will be terrified to transact. You can’t do much with a crippled financial system. The authorities and the news media will call it a “recession” but a sore-beset public will know it is the start of something a whole lot worse.

As a nice side-dish to this banquet of consequences, the Democratic party will be deprived of its only reason to live the past two years: to shove Donald Trump off-stage. And the Republicans will be blamed twice over: once, for not coming to Trump’s defense, and again for getting behind him in the first place. (source)

It’s certainly no stretch of the imagination to agree that there are a lot of powerful people who want Trump gone. But Pence, his replacement, brings its own set of worries, such as a theocratic ruler with no concept of the separation of church and state.

Peter Schiff says we’re headed for the Great Depression 2.0

Peter Schiff is an economist, financial broker/dealer, author, and podcaster who accurately predicted the crash of 2008. He is convinced that another Great Depression is upon us and that this one will be far worse than the first one.

The bad news is, we are going to live through another Great Depression and it’s going to be very different. This will be in many ways, much much worse, than what people had to endure during the Great Depression. This is going to be a dollar crisis.

These hot inflation numbers that we’ve been getting are going to get a lot hotter…all this inflation that has been in the financial markets, in the stock markets, in the bond market, in the real estate market, everybody loved inflation when it was making you rich…the problem is going to be when it makes you poor. That’s when it starts showing up in the cost of living; all the things you need to buy end up being a lot more expensive.

When you are talking about the magnitude of the debt we have, that extra money [raising interest rates] is big. That’s going to be a big drain on the economy to the extent that we have to pay higher interest to international creditors…a lot of this phony GDP is coming from consumption, while the average American who is consuming is deeply in debt and they are going to impacted dramatically in the increase in the cost of servicing that debt…given how much debt we have, and how much debt is going to be marketed the massive increase in supply will argue for interest rates that are higher.

The Fed thinks they create economic growth…by [saying] ‘let’s jack up the stock market and then the economy’s going to grow and people are going to go out and spend more money.’ It’s actually doing damage. If you create a bunch of phony wealth, and people end up spending money that they otherwise would have saved, you are undermining economic growth.

Everything the Fed has done has undermined real economic growth, that is why this coming collapse is going to be so devastating. (source)

Debt is an exceptionally big problem. Personal debt in America was up $605 billion BEFORE the predicted $682 billion in Christmas spending. As interest rates and inflation increase, as jobs get lost, the looming question is, how are people going to pay this off?

Answer: they can’t.

Brandon Smith is also pointing a finger at the Fed.

Smith believes that Jerome Powell, the new chairman of the Federal Reserve, will knowingly trigger a stock market crash of historic proportions, based on something he said back in 2002. In a speech, he discussed how simple it as to manipulate the market for the profit of a few, wrapping it up with this chilling statement.

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