12 Signs That An Imminent Global Financial Crash Has Become Even More Likely


Did you see what just happened?

by Michael Snyder | Economic Collapse | August 12, 2015

The devaluation of the yuan by China triggered the largest one day drop for that currency in the modern era.  This caused other global currencies to crash relative to the U.S. dollar, the price of oil hit a six year low, and stock markets all over the world were rattled.  The Dow fell 212 points on Tuesday, and Apple stock plummeted another 5 percent.  As we hurtle toward the absolutely critical months of September and October, the unraveling of the global financial system is beginning to accelerate.  At this point, it is not going to take very much to push us into a full-blown worldwide financial crisis.  The following are 12 signs that indicate that a global financial crash has become even more likely after the events of the past few days…

#1 The devaluation of the yuan on Tuesday took virtually the entire planet by surprise (and not in a good way).  The following comes from Reuters
China’s 2 percent devaluation of the yuan on Tuesday pushed the U.S. dollar higher and hit Wall Street and other global equity markets as it raised fears of a new round of currency wars and fed worries about slowing Chinese economic growth.

#2 One of the big reasons why China devalued the yuan was to try to boost exports.  China’s exports declined 8.3 percent in July, and global trade overall is falling at a pace that we haven’t seen since the last recession.

#3 Now that the Chinese have devalued their currency, other nations that rely on exports are indicating that they might do the same thing.  If you scan the big financial news sites, it seems like the term “currency war” is now being bandied about quite a bit.


#4 This is the very first time that the 50 day moving average for the Dow has moved below the 200 day moving average in the last four years. This is known as a “death cross”, and it is a very troubling sign.  We are just about at the point where all of the most common technical signals that investors typically use to make investment decisions will be screaming “sell”.

#5 The price of oil just closed at a brand new six year low.  When the price of oil started to decline back in late 2014, a whole lot of people were proclaiming that this would be a good thing for the U.S. economy.  Now we can see just how wrong they were.

At this point, the price of oil has already fallen to a level that is going to be absolutely nightmarish for the global economy if it stays here.  Just consider what Jeff Gundlach had to say about this in December…

And back in December 2014, “Bond King” Jeff Gundlach had a serious warning for the world if oil prices got to $40 a barrel.

“I hope it does not go to $40,” Gundlach said in apresentation, “because then something is very, very wrong with the world, not just the economy. The geopolitical consequences could be — to put it bluntly — terrifying.”

#6 This week we learned that OPEC has been pumping more oil than we thought, and it is being projected that this could cause the price of oil to plunge into the 30s

Increased pumping by OPEC as Chinese demand appears to be slackening could drive oil to the lowest prices since the peak of the financial crisis.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures skidded through the year’s lows and looked set to break into the $30s-per-barrel range after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries admitted to more pumping and China devalued its currency, sending ripples through global markets.

#7 In a recent article, I explained that the collapse in commodity prices that we are witnessing right now is eerily similar to what we witnessed just before the stock market crash of 2008.  On Tuesday, things got even worse for commodities as the price of copper closed at a brand new six year low.

#8 The South American debt crisis of 2015 continues to intensify.  Brazil’s government bonds have been downgraded to just one level above junk status, and the approval rating of Brazil’s president has fallen into the single digits.

#9 Just before the financial crisis of 2008, a surging U.S. dollar put an extraordinary amount of stress on emerging markets.  Now that is happening again.  Emerging market stocks just hit a brand new four year low on Tuesday thanks to the stunt that China just pulled.

#10 Things are not so great in the United States either.  The ratio of wholesale inventories to sales in the United States just hit the highest level since the last recession.  What that means is that there is a whole lot of stuff sitting in warehouses out there that is waiting to be sold in an economy that is rapidly slowing down.

#11 Speaking of slowing down, the growth of consumer spending in the United States has just plummeted to multi-year lows.

#12 Deep inside, most of us can feel what is coming.  According to Gallup, the number of Americans that believe that the economy is getting worse is almost 50 percent higher than the number of Americans that believe that the economy is getting better.

Things are lining up perfectly for a global financial crisis and a major recession beginning in the fall and winter of 2015.

But just because things look like they will happen a certain way does not necessarily mean that they will.  All it takes is a single “event” of some sort to change everything.

So what do you believe will happen in the months ahead?

Please feel free to join the discussion by posting a comment below…


12 Ways The Economy Is Already In Worse Shape Than It Was During The Depths Of The Last Recession

Did you know that the percentage of children in the United States that are living in poverty is actually significantly higher than it was back in 2008?



by Michael Snyder | July 23, 2015

Did you know that the percentage of children in the United States that are living in poverty is actually significantly higher than it was back in 2008? When I write about an “economic collapse”, most people think of a collapse of the financial markets.

And without a doubt, one is coming very shortly, but let us not neglect the long-term economic collapse that is already happening all around us. In this article, I am going to share with you a bunch of charts and statistics that show that economic conditions are already substantially worse than they were during the last financial crisis in a whole bunch of different ways. Unfortunately, in our 48 hour news cycle world, a slow and steady decline does not produce many “sexy headlines”. Those of us that are news junkies (myself included) are always looking for things that will shock us. But if you stand back and take a broader view of things, what has been happening to the U.S. economy truly is quite shocking. The following are 12 ways that the U.S. economy is already in worse shape than it was during the depths of the last recession…

#1 Back in 2008, 18 percent of all Americans kids were living in poverty. This week, we learned that number has now risen to 22 percent

There are nearly three million more children living in poverty today than during the recession, shocking new figures have revealed.

Nearly a quarter of youngsters in the US (22 percent) or around 16.1 million individuals, were classed as living below the poverty line in 2013.

This has soared from just 18 percent in 2008 – during the height of the economic crisis, the Casey Foundation’s 2015 Kids Count Data Book reported.

#2In early 2008, the homeownership rate in the U.S. was hovering around 68 percent. Today, it has plunged below 64 percent. Incredibly, it has not been this low in more than 20 years. Just look at this chart – the homeownership rate has continued to plummet throughout Obama’s “economic recovery”…

Homeownership Rate 2015

#3 While Barack Obama has been in the White House, government dependence has skyrocketed to levels that we have never seen before. In 2008, the federal government was spending about 37 billion dollars a year on the federal food stamp program. Today, that number is above 74 billion dollars. If the economy truly is “recovering”, why is government dependence so much higher than it was during the last recession?

#4On the chart below, you can see that the U.S. national debt was sitting at about 9 trillion dollars when we entered the last recession. Since that time, the debt of the federal government has doubled. We are on the exact same path that Greece has gone down, and what you are looking at below is a recipe for national economic suicide…

Presentation National Debt

#5During Obama’s “recovery”, real median household income has actually gone down quite a bit. Just prior to the last recession, it was above $54,000 per year, but now it has dropped to about $52,000 per year…

Median Household Income

#6 Even though our incomes are stagnating, the cost of living just continues to rise steadily. This is especially true of basic things that we all purchase such as food. As I wrote about earlier this year, the price of ground beef in the United Stateshas doubledsince the last recession.

#7 In a healthy economy, lots of new businesses are opening and not that many are being forced to shut down. But for each of the past six years, more businesses have closed in the United States than have opened. Prior to 2008, this had neverhappened before in all of U.S. history.

#8Barack Obama is constantly telling us about how unemployment is “going down”, but the truth is that the percentage of working age Americans that are either working or considered to be looking for work has steadily declined since the end of the last recession…

Presentation Labor Force Participation Rate

#9Some have suggested that the decline in the labor force participation rate is due to large numbers of older people retiring. But the reality of the matter is that we have seen a spike in the inactivity rate for Americans in their prime working years. As you can see below, the percentage of males between the ages of 25 and 54 that aren’t working and that aren’t looking for work has surged to record highs since the end of the last recession…

Presentation Inactivity Rate

#10 A big reason why we don’t have enough jobs for everyone is the fact that millions upon millions of good paying jobs have been shipped overseas. At the end of Barack Obama’s first year in office, our yearly trade deficit with China was 226 billion dollars. Last year, it was more than 343 billion dollars.

#11 Thanks to all of these factors, the middle class in America is dying. In 2008, 53 percent of all Americans considered themselves to be “middle class”. But by 2014, only 44 percentof all Americans still considered themselves to be “middle class”.

When you take a look at our young people, the numbers become even more pronounced. In 2008, 25 percent of all Americans in the 18 to 29-year-old age bracket considered themselves to be “lower class”. But in 2014, an astounding 49 percentof all Americans in that age range considered themselves to be “lower class”.

#12This is something that I have covered before, but it bears repeating. The velocity of money is a very important indicator of the health of an economy. When an economy is functioning smoothly, people generally feel quite good about things and money flows freely through the system. I buy something from you, then you take that money and buy something from someone else, etc. But when an economy is in trouble, the velocity of money tends to go down. As you can see on the chart below, a drop in the velocity of money has been associated with every single recession since 1960. So why has the velocity of money continued to plummet since the end of the last recession?…

Velocity Of Money M2

If you are waiting for an “economic collapse” to happen, you can stop waiting.

One is unfolding right now before our very eyes.

But what most people really mean when they ask about these things is that they are wondering when the next great financial crisis will happen. And as I discussed yesterday, things are lining up in textbook fashion for one to happen in our very near future.

Once the next great financial crisis does strike, all of the numbers that I just discussed above are going to get a whole lot worse.

So as bad as things are now, the truth is that this is just the beginning of the pain.



Commodities Collapsed Just Before The Last Stock Market Crash – So Guess What Is Happening Right Now?

On Wednesday, commodities got absolutely pummeled, and at this point the Bloomberg Commodity Index is down a whopping 26 percent over the past twelve months


by Michael Snyder | Economic Collapse | July 23, 2015

If we were going to see a stock market crash in the United States in the fall of 2015 (to use a hypothetical example), we would expect to see commodity prices begin to crash a few months ahead of time.  This is precisely what happened just before the great financial crisis of 2008, and we are watching the exact same thing happen again right now.  On Wednesday, commodities got absolutely pummeled, and at this point the Bloomberg Commodity Index is down a whopping 26 percent over the past twelve months.  When global economic activity slows down, demand for raw materials sinks and prices drop.  So important global commodities such as copper, iron ore, aluminum, zinc, nickel, lead, tin and lumber are all considered to be key “leading indicators” that can tell us a lot about where things are heading next.  And what they are telling us right now is that we are rapidly approaching a global economic meltdown.

If the global economy was actually healthy and expanding, the demand for commodities would be increasing and that would tend to drive prices up.  But instead, prices continue to go down.

The Bloomberg Commodity Index just hit a brand new 13-year low.  That means that global commodity prices are already lower than they were during the worst moments of the last financial crisis

The commodities rout that’s pushed prices to a 13-year lowpulled some of the biggest mining and energy companies below levels seen during the financial crisis.

The FTSE 350 Mining Index plunged as much as 4.9 percent to the lowest since 2009 on Wednesday, with BHP Billiton Ltd. and Anglo American Plc leading declines. Gold and copper are near the lowest in at least five years, while crude oil retreated to $50 a barrel.

This commodity bear market is like a train wreck in slow motion,” said Andy Pfaff, the chief investment officer for commodities at MitonOptimal in Cape Town. “It has a lot of momentum and doesn’t come to a sudden stop.”


Commodity prices have not been this low since April 2002.  According to Bloomberg, some of the commodities being hit the hardest include soybean oil, copper, zinc and gasoline.  And this commodity crash is already having a dramatic impact on some of the biggest commodity-producing nations on the globe.  Just consider what Gerald Celente recently told Eric King

We now see that the Australian dollar is at a six-year low against the U.S. dollar. What are Australia’s biggest exports? How about iron-ore and other metals.

If we look at Canada, their currency is also now at a six-year low vs the U.S. dollar. Well, Canada is a big oil exporter, particularly some tar sands oil, which is expensive to produce.

We also now have the Brazilian real at a 10-year low vs the U.S. dollar. Why? Because it’s a natural resource rich country and they don’t have a strong market to sell their natural resources to.

Meanwhile, the Indian rupee is at a 17-year low vs the U.S. dollar. This is because manufacturing is slowing down and there is less development. If the Americans aren’t buying, the Indians, the Chinese, the Vietnamese — they’re not making things.

All of this is so, so similar to what we experienced in the run up to the financial crisis of 2008.  Just a couple of days ago, I talked about how the U.S. dollar got really strong just prior to the last stock market crash.  The same patterns keep playing out over and over, and yet most in the mainstream media refuse to see what is happening.

Something else that happened just a few months before the last stock market crash was a collapse of the junk bond market.

Guess what?

That is starting to happen again too.  Just check out this chart.

I know that I must sound like a broken record.  But I think that it is extremely important to document these things.  When the next financial collapse takes place, virtually everyone in the mainstream media will be talking about what a “surprise” it is.

But for those that have been paying attention, it won’t be much of a “surprise” at all.

When the stock market does crash, how far might it fall?

During a recent appearance on CNBC, Marc Faber suggested that it could decline by up to 40 percent

The U.S. stock market could “easily” drop 20 percent to 40 percent, closely followed contrarian Marc Faber said Wednesday—citing a host of factors including the growing list of companies trading below their 200-day moving average.

In recent days, “there were [also] more declining than advancing stocks, and the list of 12-month new lows was very high on Friday,” the publisher of The Gloom, Boom & Doom Report told CNBC’s “Squawk Box.”

“It shows you a lot of stocks are already declining.”

Others, including myself, believe that what we are going to experience is going to be even worse than that.

We live in such a fast-paced world, and most of us don’t have the patience to wait for long-term trends to play out.

If the stock market is not crashing today, to most people that means that everything must be fine.

But once it has crashed, everyone is going to be complaining that they weren’t warned in advance about what was coming and everyone will be complaining that nobody ever fixed the things that caused the exact same problems the last time around.

Personally, I am trying very hard to make sure that nobody can accuse me of not sounding the alarm about the storm that is on the horizon.

The world has never been in more debt, our “too big to fail” banks have never been more reckless, and global financial markets have never been more primed for a collapse.

Amazingly, there are still a lot of “experts” out there that insist that everything is going to be okay somehow.

Of course many of those exact same “experts” were telling us the same thing just before the stock market crashed in 2008 too.

A great financial shaking has already begun around the world, and it will hit U.S. financial markets very soon.

I hope that you are getting ready while you still can.



McDonald’s Franchisees are Terrified for the Future

Six-month outlook for McDonald’s business is the worst in the 12-year history of new survey


by Hayley Peterson | Business Insider | July 16, 2015

McDonald’s franchisees are terrified for the future of the company, according to a new survey.

The operators’ six-month outlook for McDonald’s business is the worst in the 12-year history of the survey, which was conducted by former Janney Capital Markets analyst Mark Kalinowski.

“At least half of the operators in my region are on the verge of collapse,” one franchisee wrote in response to the survey. “With minimum wage for fast-food workers potentially increasing to incredibly high levels, we are facing a crisis situation. ”

Another said: “The operators sit on a cliff right now. With sales going in the wrong direction, all must be conservative in our decisions. It will take only one bad decision to put any operator down and out.”


McDonald’s same-store sales have declined for the past six straight quarters in the US. The company is battling falling traffic, increasing competition from fast-casual chains like Chipotle and Panera, and an eroded brand perception among American consumers.

For the survey, Kalinowski interviewed 29 franchisees who own and operate 208 restaurants in the US. McDonald’s said that represents only a fraction of their franchisees.

“Approximately 3,100 franchisees own and operate McDonald’s restaurants across the US,” McDonald’s spokeswoman Lisa McComb told us. “Less than 1% of them were surveyed for this report. We value the feedback from our franchisees and have a solid working relationship with them.”

Operators said in the survey that they are squeezed for cash due to high rent, remodeling costs, and new equipment.

One franchisee wrote, “We are tapped out,” and another wrote: “We may be doomed.” A third said, “Everyone is paralysed with fear for their jobs.”

Several complained that the company’s new CEO, Steve Easterbrook, hasn’t made any meaningful improvements to the business since he took over the position in March.

“Mike Andres and Steve Easterbrook promised a rapid turnaround, improved taste and quality, significant SIMPLIFICATION,” a franchisee wrote. “None of that has happened. They added four sandwiches and breakfast all day! … It may be too late for any meaningful recovery.”

Easterbrook unveiled his turnaround plan in May. He said he planned to turn McDonald’s into a “modern, progressive burger company” by restructuring management, refranchising restaurants, and listening more to customers.

“Our recent performance has been poor; the numbers don’t lie,” Easterbrook said at the time. “I will not shy away from the urgent need to reset this business.”

The chain has cut several sandwiches from the menu since Easterbrook took over, but it has also added a new Sirloin burger and new mid-priced sandwiches, including a McChicken sandwich with leaf lettuce and tomato and a double burger with leaf lettuce and tomato.

Some operators said top management is out of touch with what it’s like to run a restaurant and the types of issues that employees face in the restaurants every day.

“For example, labour needed to run stores during lunch hour,” one franchisee wrote. “Our competitors have 6-8 people to run close to the same volume that we need 20-25 people.”

Several franchisees also said the food quality needs to be fixed before the restaurants get upgrades, and many are just hoping for flat sales going forward.

“Brand loyalty is history for us,” one franchisee wrote.

Read more


China’s GDP Growth Is a Total Lie

World’s second largest economy is definitely faking their suspiciously consistent growth numbers


by Joshua Krause | SHTFPlan | July 17, 2015

I think it’s safe to say that anyone who thinks the United States economy is on the road to recovery, is drinking some serious Kool-aid. As organizations like shadowstats have shown time and time again, our government likes to fudge the numbers on a regular basis. They think they can keep the party going indefinitely, so long as they convince the world that everything is just fine.

Of course, the United States isn’t the only country that’s doing this. Heck, it wouldn’t be surprising if we found out that most governments falsify their economic data. However, it’s a little scary to think that maybe the world’s largest economy isn’t the only one lying to the world. In fact, the world’s second largest economy is definitely faking their suspiciously consistent growth numbers.

“You can’t trust the numbers,” Bill Miller, CEO of LMM Investments, told a room full of investors at CNBC’s Delivering Alpha Conference this week.

Miller spoke on Wednesday, just hours after China announced that it once again hit its gross-domestic-product growth target of 7%.

This despite the fact that its economy seems to be experiencing a major slowdown.

But after 25 years of watching China hit the mythical 7% mark without fail, analysts understand the charade.

There are dead giveaways everywhere. The most obvious way to tell that China’s books are cooked, though, is by looking at how its neighbours are faring.

Miller noted that Singapore’s GDP has dropped 4.6% in just the last quarter, and that their manufacturing sector is down 14%. So why is that so telling? Because, Singapore does a lot of trading with China, and the contraction of their manufacturing industry is being caused by a lack of demand from the Chinese.

You can also look to Australia, another one of China’s major trading partners. They’re also experiencing a significant decline in exports.

But that’s just what’s going on outside of their country. When you look at what goes on in China itself, it’s hard to believe that they would still have consistently high growth numbers. It wasn’t that long ago that their stock market tanked by more than 30%. I can’t recall a single instance where a stock market fell like that, without it causing a contraction of that nation’s GDP.


And finally, China’s debt to GDP ratio is off the charts. While a large debt won’t kill the economy if it’s in the process of being paid for, China is experiencing quite the opposite. Their debt is actually increasing faster than their economy is supposedly growing. In 2008, their total debt, which includes business loans and household debt, amounted to 125% of their GDP. Today, that number stands at 207%.

That means that even if they’re not faking their growth numbers, their GDP is still a lie. Their growth is still being fueled by debt, which means that in the big scheme of things, it’s not really growth at all.

China is just like the United States and the EU. They’re just another massive world power that is using their economic clout to throw their weight around the world stage. And that economic clout is a big lie. When the world figures out how insolvent and unsustainable these nations really are, their house of cards is going to crumble.


New IMF Report on Greece Says Projections Are Unrealistically Optimistic

They went ahead with it, anyway


by Eric Zuesse | Infowars.com | Originally published July 15, 2015

new IMF report on Greece, issued on Tuesday, July 14th, is titled “AN UPDATE OF IMF STAFF’S PRELIMINARY PUBLIC DEBT SUSTAINABILITY ANALYSIS,” and it says — these are quotations, not paraphrases — in summary

Greece’s public debt has become highly unsustainable. … The financing need through end-2018 is now estimated at Euro 85 billion. … Greece’s debt can now only be made sustainable through debt relief measures that go far beyond what Europe has been willing to consider so far. … Public debt cannot be assumed to migrate back onto the balance sheet of the private sector at interest rates consistent with debt sustainability until debt is much lower. Greece cannot return to markets anytime soon at interest rates that it can afford. … Medium-term primary surplus target: Greece is expected to maintain primary surpluses for the next several decades of 3.5 percent of GDP. Few countries have managed to do so. …

Shortfalls in program implementation during the last year led to a significant increase in the financing need [which was] estimated only a few weeks ago. … The preliminary (mutually agreed) assessment of the three institutions is that total financing need through end-2018 will increase to Euro 85 billion, or some Euro 25 billion above what was projected in the IMF’s published DSA [Debt Sustainability Analysis] only two weeks ago. … 

Debt would peak at close to 200 percent of GDP in the next two years. This contrasts with earlier projections that the peak in debt—at 177 percent of GDP in 2014—is already behind us.

By 2022, debt is now projected to be at 170 percent of GDP, compared to an estimate of 142 percent of GDP projected in our published DSA.

Gross financing needs would rise to levels well above what they were at the last review (and above the 15 percent of GDP threshold deemed safe) and continue rising in the long term.

Moreover, these projections remain subject to considerable downside risk, suggesting that there could be a need for additional further exceptional financing from Member States.


Though this report revises the previous IMF estimates, which had been issued just two weeks ago, the new report was (according to the Wall Street Journal) “circulated to eurozone officials over the weekend and published more broadly Tuesday.” This would mean that when the Greek government and its creditors reached agreement on Sunday night, July 12th, they already knew that the estimates on which their deal was reached were unrealistically optimistic. They went ahead with it, anyway.

The Greek public had overwhelmingly voted a week earlier to reject a deal that was less draconian than the one which was reached on July 12th, and yet the Greek government, which had urged them to vote against it, promptly ignored that vote against it, which the Greek government had been calling for. And, now, it appears that both sides to the deal even knew that its terms are impossible, yet ignored that, and agreed to it.

The persistent and ongoing deceit here is hard to square with widespread allegations that the EU is at all democratic. The origin of this loan and earlier loans to Greece (euphemistically called ‘bailouts,’ as if it weren’t the banks which were being bailed out by the taxpayers, instead of the Greek public, who had never received the benefits of those loans anyway) had been private investors in Greek government bonds, receiving high interest rates on these junk bonds, which turn out to have been guaranteed by Western publics bailing out Western banks. Between 2010 and 2015, the IMF and other Western taxpayer-supported debt-transfer agents, bought those bum loans and thus transferred those risks from private investors onto taxpayers. And now, this continues, though with one major added poison pill for the Greek public: “privatization.” Greek government assets, including everything from highways to health care, will be sold off to investors at steeply depreciated prices, so that the Greek public will have not only skyrocketing taxes but also disappearing government services. Obviously, the youth-unemployment rate of near 50% will become much worse, and virtually all young Greeks will move elsewhere in Europe, while their parents will die, or even increasingly commit suicide, in the soaring poverty of the Greek ghost-town state. Greece’s essential tourist industry will collapse. But the banks, and the investors in the bank stocks, will be protected. This is socialism for the rich, capitalism for the poor. Call it fascism.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of  CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Greece Today, America Tomorrow?

The drama over Greece’s financial crisis continues to dominate the headlines

greece-greek-bankby Ron Paul | InfoWars | Originally published July 13, 2015

The drama over Greece’s financial crisis continues to dominate the headlines. As this column is being written, a deal may have been reached providing Greece with yet another bailout if the Greek government adopts new “austerity” measures. The deal will allow all sides to brag about how they came together to save the Greek economy and the European Monetary Union. However, this deal is merely a Band-Aid, not a permanent fix to Greece’s problems. So another crisis is inevitable.

The Greek crisis provides a look into what awaits us unless we stop overspending on warfare and welfare and restore a sound monetary system. While most commentators have focused on Greece’s welfare state, much of Greece’s deficit was caused by excessive military spending. Even as its economy collapses and the government makes (minor) cuts in welfare spending, Greece’s military budget remains among the largest in the European Union.

Despite all the handwringing over how the phony sequestration cuts have weakened America’s defences, the United States military budget remains larger than the combined budgets of the world’s next 15 highest spending militaries. Little, if any, of the military budget is spent defending the American people from foreign threats. Instead, the American government wastes billions of dollars on an imperial foreign policy that makes Americans less safe. America will never get its fiscal house in order until we change our foreign policy and stop wasting trillions on unnecessary and unconstitutional wars.

Excessive military spending is not the sole cause of America’s problems. Like Greece, America suffers from excessive welfare and entitlement spending. Reducing military spending and corporate welfare will allow the government to transition away from the welfare state without hurting those dependent on government programs. Supporting an orderly transition away from the welfare state should not be confused with denying the need to reduce welfare and entitlement spending.

On reason Greece has been forced to seek bailouts from its EU partners is that Greece ceded control over its currency when it joined the European Union. In contrast, the dollar’s status as the world’s reserve currency is the main reason the US has been able to run up huge deficits without suffering a major economic crisis. The need for the Federal Reserve to monetize ever-increasing levels of government spending will eventually create hyperinflation, which will lead to increasing threats to the dollar’s status. China and Russia are already moving away from using the dollar in international transactions. It is only a matter of time before more countries challenge the dollar’s reserve currency status, and, when this happens, a Greece-style catastrophe may be unavoidable.

Despite the clear dangers of staying on our recent course, Congress continues to increase spending. The only real debate between the two parties is over whether we should spend more on welfare or warfare. It is easy to blame the politicians for our current dilemma. But the politicians are responding to demands from the people for greater spending. Too many Americans believe they have a moral right to government support. This entitlement mentally is just as common, if not more so, among the corporate welfare queens of the militarily-industrial complex, the big banks, and the crony capitalists as it is among lower-income Americans.

Congress will only reverse course when a critical mass of people reject the entitlement mentality and understand that the government is incapable of running the world, running our lives, and running the economy. Therefore, those of us who know the truth must spread the ideas of, and grow the movement for, limited government, free markets, sound money, and peace.


The Last Days Of ‘Normal Life’ In America

These are the last days of “normal life” in America

American-flag-barbed-wireby Michael Snyder | End Of The American Dream | Originally published July 13, 2015

If you have got family and friends that you would like to visit before things start getting really crazy, you should do so within the next couple of months, because these are the last days of “normal life” in America.

The website where I have posted this article is called “End of the American Dream“, but perhaps I should have entitled it “The End of America” because that is essentially what we are heading for.  The debt-fueled prosperity that so many of us take for granted is about to come to a screeching halt, and we are about to enter the hardest times that any of us have ever known.  And I am not just talking about economics either.  Based on all of the intel and information that I have gathered, we are about to enter a “perfect storm” that is going to shake this country in just about every possible way that it can be shaken.  So I hope that you will truly savor this summer – days like this will not come around again any time soon.

Have you ever known someone that lived a seemingly charmed life even though that individual made foolish decision after foolish decision?

In the end, reality almost always catches up with people like that.

And in so many ways, we have been living a charmed life as a nation even though we have been making incredibly foolish decisions for decades.  We have cursed ourselves over and over again, and just about every form of evil that you can possibly imagine is exploding all around us.  As a nation, we now stand for just about everything that is foul, disgusting and wicked, and the rest of the world is absolutely horrified by what has happened to us.

Once upon a time, we were one of the most loved nations on the entire planet.

Now we are one of the most hated.

The things that we have been doing to ourselves and to other countries are about to catch up with us in a major way.  We thought that we were getting away with everything that we were doing, but that was never the case.  When you do evil, there is always a price to pay.

Over the past few weeks, some very strange things have begun to happen.  And in the months ahead, we are going to see some more unusual events.  But to be honest, this is just the tip of the iceberg.  For now, you are just going to have to trust me on this one.

If my tone sounds ominous, that is good, because that is precisely the mood that I am trying to convey.  Right now, there are major things going on behind the scenes, and all of our comfortable little lives are about to get shaken up big time.

I have often written about the global elite and about how they like to go about doing things.  Throughout history, they have always liked to create order out of chaos.  In other words, they will often purposely create a crisis in order to push through things that they would not be able to accomplish during “normal” times.

I believe that we are about to enter one of those periods of time.  The problems that we are about to experience are going to be used to justify radical “solutions” that will further the overall agenda of the elite.  But because we will be in the middle of an “emergency”, a lot of people will choose to go along with those solutions.

Sadly, most people don’t understand how the world works because they are so consumed with other things.  We live in a society that is absolutely addicted to entertainment.  Just recently, I wrote about how the average American spends more than 10 hours a day plugged in to some form of media.  If we are not watching television, we are listening to the radio, going to movies, playing video games, messing with our smartphones or spending endless hours on the Internet.  And more than 90 percent of the “programming” that we are fed through these devices is produced by just 6 absolutely gigantic media corporations.

And who controls those gigantic media corporations?

The elite do.

And have you noticed how “the mainstream media” loves to divide us?

Today, Americans are more divided than ever it seems.  Our news broadcasts endlessly fixate on “black vs. white”, “male vs. female”, “liberal vs. conservative”, “rich vs. poor”, etc, etc.

Americans are extremely angry and frustrated at this point, but most of our anger and frustration is directed at one another.

How can we ever hope to come up with any solutions for our nation if we spend so much time hating our fellow citizens?

But this is just how the elite like it.

They love to play divide and conquer.  If we were united, we would be far more difficult to manipulate.

And even if we did find a way to come together, what values and principles would we use to rebuild this nation?

The truth is that most Americans deeply reject the values and principles that the founders of this country once held so dear.

Personally, I am very optimistic about the future.  My wife and I believe that the greatest chapters of our lives are still ahead of us.

But am I optimistic about the future of the United States?

No, I am not.

Perhaps you are reading this and you have come to the conclusion that I am being irrationally negative.  If so, you are probably spending way too much time plugged in to the “propaganda matrix” that I described above.  The establishment wants you to believe that everything is going to be just fine and that the best days for this world are ahead.

If you think that I am wrong, I challenge you to bookmark this page.  Then, after some time has passed, come back and revisit what I had to say today.

I believe that you will be quite shocked by how your perspective has changed.

The last half of this year (2015) is going to represent a major turning point, and we are moving into hard times unlike anything that America has ever seen before.

Unfortunately, most of the “sheeple” are going to be completely blindsided by what is coming.  They just continue to follow their utterly clueless leaders down a path toward oblivion.

But the good news is that once the “shaking” starts, many of these “sheeple” will begin to wake up.

When that happens, who will those “sheeple” turn to for answers?



3 Big Reasons Why The ‘Greek Debt Deal’ Is Really A German Trap

Greece is saved?


by Michael Snyder | Economic Collapse | Originally published July 14, 2015

Greece is saved? All over the planet, news headlines are boldly proclaiming that a “deal” has been reached which will give Greece the money that it needs and keep it in the eurozone.

But as you will see below, this is not true at all.  Yesterday, when I wrote that “there never was going to be any deal“, I was not exaggerating.  This “deal” was not drafted with the intention of “saving Greece”.  As I explained in my previous article, these negotiations were all about setting up Greece for eviction from the euro.  You see, the truth is that Greece desperately wants to stay in the euro, but Germany (and allies such as Finland) want Greece out.  Since Germany can’t simply order Greece to leave the euro, they need some sort of legal framework which will make it possible, and that is what this new “deal” provides.  As I am about to explain, there are all kinds of conditions that must be satisfied and hurdles that must be crossed before Greece ever sees a single penny.  If there is a single hiccup along the way, and this is what the Germans are counting on, Greece will be ejected from the eurozone.  This “deal” has been designed to fail so that the Germans can get what they have wanted all along.  I think that three very famous words from Admiral Ackbar sum up the situation very well: “It’s a trap!

So why is this “Greek debt deal” really a German trap?

The following are three big reasons…

#1 The “Deal” Is Designed To Be Rejected By The Greek Parliament

If Germany really wanted to save Greece, they would have already done so.  Instead, now they have forced Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to agree to much, much harsher austerity terms than Greek voters overwhelmingly rejected during the recent referendum by a vote of 61 percent to 39 percent.  Tsipras has only been given until Wednesday to pass a whole bunch of new laws, and another week to make another series of major economic changes.  The following comes from CNN

Greece has to swiftly pass a series of new laws. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has until Wednesday to convince Parliament to pass the first few, including pension cuts and higher taxes.

Assuming that happens, Greek lawmakers have another week, until July 22, to enact another batch of economic changes. These include adopting European Union rules on how to manage banks in crisis, and do a major overhaul to make Greece’s civil courts faster and more efficient.

Can Tsipras actually get all this done in such a short amount of time?

The Germans are hoping that he can’t.  And already, two of Syriza’s coalition partners have publicly declared that they have no intention of voting in favor of this “deal”.  The following is from a Bloomberg report

Discontent brewed as Tsipras arrived back in the Greek capital. Left Platform, a faction within Syriza, and his coalition partners, the Independent Greeks party, both signaled they won’t be able to support the deal. That opposition alone would wipe out Tsipras’s 12-seat majority in parliament, forcing him to rely on opposition votes to carry the day.

The terms of the “deal” are not extremely draconian because the Germans want to destroy Greek sovereignty as many are suggesting.  Rather, they are designed to provoke an overwhelmingly negative reaction in Greece so that the Greeks will willingly choose to reject the deal and thus be booted out of the euro.

And this is what we are seeing.  So far, the response of the Greek public toward this deal has been overwhelmingly negative

Haralambos Rouliskos, a 60-year-old economist who was out walking in Athens, described the deal as “misery, humiliation and slavery”.

Katerina Katsaba, a 52-year-old working for a pharmaceutical company, said: “I am not in favour of this deal. I know they (the eurozone creditors) are trying to blackmail us.”

On Wednesday, the union for Greek public workers has even called a 24 hour strike to protest this “agreement”

Greece’s public workers are being called to stage a 24-hour strike on Wednesday, the day their country’s parliament is to vote on reforms needed to unlock the bankster eurozone plan agreed to by Greek Prime Minster Alex Tsipras.

Their union, Adedy, called for the stoppage in a statement issued today, saying it was against the agreement reached with the eurozone.

The Greek government is not guaranteed any money right now.

According to Bloomberg, the Greek government must pass all of the laws being imposed upon them by the EU “before Greece can even begin negotiations with creditors to access a third international bailout in five years.”

The Germans and their allies are actually hoping that there is a huge backlash in Greece and that Tsipras fails to get this package pushed through the Greek parliament.  If that happens, Greece gets ejected from the euro, and Germany doesn’t look like the bad guy.

#2 Even If The “Deal” Miraculously Gets Through The Greek Parliament, It May Not Survive Other European Parliaments

The Greek parliament is not the only legislative body that must approve this new deal.  The German and Finnish parliaments (among others) must also approve it.  According to USA Today, it is being projected that the German and Finnish parliaments will probably vote on this new deal on Thursday or Friday…

Thursday/Friday, July 16/17: Eurozone parliaments must also agree to the plan for Greece’s $95 billion bailout. The biggest tests may come from Finland and Germany, two nations especially critical of Greece’s handling of the crisis. Berlin has contributed the most to Greece’s loans.

Either Germany or Finland could kill the entire “deal” with a single “no” vote.

Finnish Finance Minister Alexander Stubb has already stated that Finland “cannot agree” with a new bailout for Greece, and it is highly questionable whether or not the German parliament will give it approval.

I think that the Germans and their allies would much prefer for the Greeks to reject the deal and walk away, but it may come down to one of these parliaments drawing a line in the sand.

#3 The Deal Makes Implementation Extraordinarily Difficult

If Greece fails to live up to each and every one of the extremely draconian measures demanded in the “deal”, they will be booted from the eurozone.

And if you take a look at what is being demanded of them, it is extremely unrealistic.  Here is just one example…

For instance, the Greek government agreed to transfer up to 50 billion euros worth of Greek assets to an independent fund that will raise money from privatization.

According to the document, 25 billion euros from this fund will be poured into the banks, 12.5 billion will be used to pay off debt, and the remaining 12.5 billion to boost the economy through investment.

The fund will be based in Greece and run by the Greeks, but with supervision from European authorities.

Where in the world is the Greek government going to find 50 billion euros worth of assets at this point?  The Greek government is flat broke and the banks are insolvent.

But if they don’t find 50 billion euros worth of assets, they have violated the agreement and they get booted.

This whole thing is about setting up Greece for failure so that there is a legal excuse to boot them out of the euro.

And it actually almost happened very early on Monday morning.  The following comes from Business Insider

As the FT tells it, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras rose from their chairs at 6 a.m. on Monday and headed for the door, resigned to a Greek exit from the euro.

“Sorry, but there is no way you are leaving this room,” European Council president Donald Tusk reportedly said.

And so a Grexit was avoided.

For the moment, Greece has supposedly been “saved”.

But anyone that believes that this crisis is “over” is just being delusional.

The Germans and their allies have successfully lured the Greek government into a trap. Thanks to Tsipras, they have been handed a legal framework for getting rid of Greece.

All they have to do now is wait for just the right moment to spring the trap, and it might just happen a lot sooner than a lot of people may think.


Anti-austerity Protesters and Police Clash Outside Greek Parliament

Demonstrators oppose surrender of Greek sovereignty to European bankers

July 15, 2015

Demonstrators opposed to the surrender of Greek sovereignty to European bankers are confronting police and throwing Molotov cocktails in Athens, according to reports.


The protests against the $96 billion bailout plan have shut down much of the city.

USA Today reports:

As the deadline neared and Greece teetered on the verge of financial collapse, a general strike and at least 10 separate protests took place in Athens as demonstrators called for the government to reject the new rescue package or try to renegotiate for better terms from international creditors that include the European Central Bank, eurozone governments and the International Monetary Fund. So far, the lenders have been unyielding in their terms.



Once Again Prince Philip Demonstrates His Hatred of Humanity


by Kurt Nimmo | Infowars.com | July 16, 2015

The Duke of Edinburgh, who once expressed his wish to come back as a virulent disease and decimate humanity, has again revealed his contempt for the lower classes in Britain.

During a visit to a Dagenham, east London community centre the longest-serving consort of a reigning British monarch asked a group of women “who do you sponge off?”

An aide feebly attempted to backtrack, saying there was “context” to the remark. He said the insult was in regard to sponge cake

The royals are usually circumspect and do not openly display their contempt for the commoners, but Philip, now 94, as of late has let it all hang out.

Less than a week ago he told a lowly photographer “just take the f—— picture” during a photo session for the Battle of Britain anniversary.

The royals have shown their true colours numerous times.

Philip may want to look into his own sponging before berating the commoners.

The Windsors grab $300 million a year (£180 million) out of the British public coffer.

Queen Elizabeth II is the owner of around 6,600 million acres of land, one sixth of the earth’s non ocean surface, making her the largest landowner on the planet. The value of this mammoth estate is estimated to be approximately £17,600,000,000,000 or $33,000,000,000,000. (admin: that’s $33 Trilion folks)

She is said to be personally worth half a billion dollars. The wealth comes from “property holdings including Balmoral Castle in the Scottish Highlands, stud farms, a fruit farm and marine land throughout the U.K.; extensive art and fine jewelry; and one of the world’s largest stamp collections built by her grandfather,” notes Forbes.

Not included are those assets belonging to the Crown Estate, which she gets to enjoy as Queen, such as $10 billion worth of real estate, Buckingham Palace (estimated to be worth another $5 billion), the Royal Art collection, and unmarked swans on stretches of the Thames.  The Crown has claimed ownership of these birds since the 12th century when swan meat was considered a delicacy; they are no longer eaten. The Queen also receives an annual government stipend of $12.9 million.



Goldman Sachs’ bankers set to share £5.3 BILLION in pay and bonuses despite profits slump

US-based investment bank made £670million in the three months to the end of June but that was down by 53% on the same period last year


by Graham Hiscott | Mirror | July 16, 2015

Mega bank Goldman Sachs has set aside £5.3 billion for six months of staff pay and perks – despite profits slumping.

The massive sum in salaries and bonuses and other benefits equates to more than £150,000 for each of the Wall Street giant’s 34,900-strong worldwide ­workforce, with some high-flying bankers pocketing a much bigger share than that.

The US-based investment bank employs around 5,500 people in the UK.

Headed by chief executive and chairman Lloyd Blankfein, it made £670million in the three months to the end of June – but that was down by 53% on the same period last year.

Luke Hildyard, of think tank the High Pay Centre, said: “This is an example of the greedy, obnoxious way that the economy works.

Read more


JP Morgan to Pay Another Slap on the Wrist Fine for Engaging in Systemic Consumer Credit Card Debt Fraud

Average citizens are treated under the U.S. “justice” (or just us?) system

jp-morgan-bankby Michael Krieger | Liberty Blitzkrieg | Originally published July 9, 2015

Just yesterday, I published a post titled: Florida Man Sentenced to 2.5 Years in Jail for Having Sex on the Beach. The purpose of that post wasn’t to justify his actions, but rather to highlight the difference between how average citizens are treated under the U.S. “justice” system, and how thieving, remorseless financial oligarchs are treated.

While, Mr. Caballero may have ruined the day of a few beach goers by crudely having sex on a public beach in broad daylight, he didn’t run the U.S. economy into the ground and cause destitution to tens of millions of Americans. Nor did he received trillions in taxpayer backstops and bailouts, only to turn around and pay himself a record bonus and then carry on with extremely profitable, illegal financial schemes. No, it was the bank executives who did (and continue to do) all of that. Guess who ends up in prison?

And now, for the latest financial scam perpetrated by JP Morgan, as well as the insignificant slap on the wrist fine, I present the following – this is from Reuters:

JPMorgan Chase & Co has agreed to pay at least $125 million to settle probes by U.S. state and federal authorities that the bank sought to improperly collect and sell consumer credit card debt, according to people familiar with the matter.

The settlement also includes about $50 million in restitution, the sources said.

The nation’s largest bank has been accused of relying on robo-signing and other discredited methods of going after consumers for debts they may not have owed and for providing inaccurate information to debt buyers. Robo-signing refers to signing documents in mass quantities without reviewing records.

I mean, what’s the big deal here? Clearly sex on the beach presents graver threat to American society.

The U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), 47 states and the District of Columbia are expected to announce the settlements as soon as Wednesday, the people said.

California Attorney General Kamala Harris sued in 2013, claiming the bank engaged in fraudulent and unlawful debt collection practices against 100,000 California credit card borrowers over some three years.

The state claims the bank flooded state courts with questionable lawsuits, filing thousands every month, including 469 such lawsuits in one day alone.

In September 2013, the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ordered JPMorgan to refund $309 million to about 2 million customers for illegal credit card practices, including charging consumers for credit card monitoring services they did not receive.

Thanks for playing suckers. Now go BTFD.


Sealed HSBC Report Shows U.S. Managers Battling Clean-up Squad

Managers from unit battled auditors with four-part strategy — Discredit, Deny, Deflect and Delay


by Greg Farrell | Bloomberg | Originally published July 7, 2015

HSBC Holdings Plc, smarting from a $1.9 billion fine for providing banking to money launderers and sanctions-dodgers, promised U.S. officials it would clean up its act.

Within a year, its reform efforts met resistance from leaders of HSBC’s U.S. investment-banking unit — some of whom mounted a campaign of bullying, footdragging and discrediting against in-house watchdogs, according to previously unreported details from a report by the bank’s court-appointed monitor.

HSBC agreed to submit to the monitor’s oversight in late 2012, as part of a pact with the U.S. Justice Department that required it to bolster its in-house controls. Armed with that directive, HSBC compliance officers singled out a half-dozen clients whose activities could put the London-based bank at risk — including a Saudi bank that had been linked to Sept. 11, 2001, hijackers — and advised the U.S. investment-banking division to consider dropping those relationships.

There was no indication that the U.S. managers jumped to investigate. Instead, some of them requested that the six banks’ alleged sins be omitted from an in-house audit that compliance-team members were preparing to submit to HSBC’s top executives. The compliance team’s final audit omitted specifics about the banks, according to the monitor’s report.

As that audit took shape, U.S. investment banking managers put up other resistance, according to the court-appointed monitor’s report: One manager shouted at a compliance officer for wasting his time and dismissed her findings. Overall, the report says, managers from the unit battled auditors with what one compliance officer characterized as a four-part strategy — Discredit, Deny, Deflect and Delay.

Read more

Maintaining the Illusion of Stability Now Requires Ever-Greater Extremes

Brittleness is being passed off as stability


by Charles Hugh Smith | Of Two Minds | July 10, 2015


This much-needed re-set to an economy that serves the many rather than the few is what the Powers That Be are so fearful of.

On the surface, everything still looks remarkably stable in the core industrial economies. The stock markets in Japan, Germany and the U.S. are only a few percentage points off their highs, and we’re constantly assured that inflation no longer exists and official unemployment is low.

In other words, other than the spot of bother in Greece, life is good. Anyone who signs on the dotted line for easy credit can go to college, buy a car or house or get another credit card.

With more credit, everything becomes possible. With unlimited credit, the sky’s the limit, and it shows.

Europe is awash with tourists from the U.S., China and elsewhere, and restaurants are jammed in San Francisco and New York City, where small flats now routinely fetch well over $1 million.

In politics, the American public is being offered a choice of two calcified, dysfunctional aristocracies in 2016: brittleness is being passed off as stability, not just in politics but in the economy and the cultural zeitgeist.

But surface stability is all the status quo can manage at this point, because the machine is shaking itself to pieces just maintaining the brittle illusion of prosperity and order.


Consider what happened in Greece beneath the surface theatrics.

1. Goldman Sachs conspired with Greece’s corrupt kleptocracy to conjure up an illusion of solvency and fiscal prudence so Greece could join the Eurozone.

2. Vested interests and insiders gorged on the credit being offered by German and French banks, enriching themselves to the tune of tens of billions of euros, which were transferred to private accounts in Switzerland at the first whiff of trouble. When informed of this, Greek authorities took no action; after all, why track down your cronies and force them to pay taxes when tax evasion is the status quo for financial elites?

3. If Greece had defaulted in 2010 when its debt was around 110 billion euros, the losses would have fallen on the banks that had foolishly lent the money without proper due diligence or risk management. This is what should have happened in a market economy: those who foolishly lent extraordinary sums to poor credit risks take the resulting (and entirely predictable) losses.

4. But since the big European banks that were on the hook for the 110 billion in bad debt were highly leveraged (estimates are 30 to 1), then a mere 5% loss in their capital would render them insolvent–a Lehman Moment of cascading defaults that the European leadership could not allow, as not only would their cronies lose fortunes but they would lose power when the fragile house of cards they’d constructed collapsed.

Here is the debt in 2009–mostly owed to private banks and bondholders:

5. The status quo’s solution: transfer all the private bank debt to the taxpayers of the Eurozone members and loan Greece another 200+ billion euros in exchange for the illusion of reform and a squeezing of average Greek households to pay the interest due on the ballooning debt.

Here is the debt in 2015–almost all was shifted onto the backs of Eurozone taxpayers:

6. Five years later, the debt has exploded to 340 billion euros, triple the debt that should have been written off in 2010 when it became clear Greece could not pay the debt down or even service the interest payments.

7. Five years of austerity and suffering by the Greek people have all been for naught, as the entire euro system is untenable, the debt cannot be paid and the simulacra reforms did nothing to change the power structure or the corrupt, dysfunctional status quo in the country.

8. To maintain the surface illusion of stability for five years, the Powers That Be tripled the debt, vastly increased the risk of default and the damage a default would unleash, and caused undue suffering above and beyond the costs of default and a return to a national currency–a re-set that, if undertaken when it became clear there was no way the debt could be paid in 2010, would already be over and done.

This re-set, while painful in the short-term, is the only mechanism available to force reforms on a self-serving kleptocracy and rid the economy of a dependence on unsustainable credit expansion.

This much-needed re-set to an economy that serves the many rather than the few is what the Powers That Be are so fearful of, for it is the few who garner most of the gains of a corrupt, fully financialized neofeudal system and it is these few who fund the election campaigns of the politicos who are so desperate to maintain the perquisites of the Financial Nobility.

Austerity is meted out to debt-serfs while those at the top transfer tens of billions to their private accounts.

There are variations of this basic flow of income from serfs to the nobility, of course; stock market bubbles are inflated by authorities, insiders sell, sell, sell as credulous banana merchants and wage-earners buy, and then when the bubble bursts, these same authorities ban selling by the small-fry bagholders.

But this is not real stability; it is a brittle simulacrum of stability, an illusion that has required the status quo to pursue extremes of policy and debt that are intrinsically incapable of yielding stability.

In effect, the status quo has greatly increased the system’s vulnerability, fragility and brittleness–the necessary conditions for catastrophic collapse–all in the name of maintaining a completely bogus facade of stability for a few more years.






A Serial Short Seller Asks “Do Governments & Central Banks Ever Lose?”



by Jared Dillian | Zero Hedge | July 10, 2015

We are about a week into the Greek non-crisis, and nothing especially scary has happened. Stocks opened up lower a couple of times, and there was one wild trading day in EURUSD, but everything is essentially unchanged. Which surprised everyone. Including me, a little.

I used to be a plunger. Loved shorting stuff. I had one muscle, and I flexed it constantly. By my rough calculations, I was up about 18% by the time Lehman went bankrupt in 2008. The more turmoil, the better.

I was born in a bear market. Literally, in 1974, and figuratively—I learned to trade in the dot-com bust. Seven years into my trading career, I had experienced two crashes. I know lots of people who got rich buying GE at six bucks. I almost shorted it there.

So the past six years have been tough on me. I’ve made money, but not a lot. Worse, I’ve been conditioned to expect that whenever I spend a bunch of money on S&P puts, I’m going to get sconed and watch them melt to zero while the market rips higher.

The real kick in the nuts was when the market was melting down on Ebola fears in October and St. Louis Fed President Bullard walks out with a “buy” ticket stapled to his forehead.

Here’s another way to look at this: We had two crashes in seven years, and if you go back in history, the market doesn’t crash all that often.

Like the ‘50s. Stocks went up, quietly, for a decade. Nothing happened.

But this isn’t the ‘50s. There’s an IPO boom, a VC boom, valuations are stretched, and crap like Fitbit is going public. Shake Shack has a bigger valuation (I am told) than the entire coal industry.

We have unicorns and decacorns, and it’s only a matter of time until we have a centicorn. All the kids are going to startups. Talk about risk-taking.

I have seen worse bubbles, but the markets are definitely running hot.

So a developed country is about to default on a couple of hundred billion dollars worth of debt, and the market just shrugs. Worse, it sets a nasty precedent for other, larger economies defaulting on debt. Seems much more contagious than Russia in 1998. And stocks are bulletproof. The only selling going on is in China.

Serious question: Do you give up shorting? Like, throw in the towel?

The thing that gets a lot of people is that they believe the market is engineered by the authorities to go higher. Like Bullard with his rate comments. But it’s gotten so bad, there are wide swaths of people who think the Fed is actually buying stocks. ZeroHedge talks about this all the time.

There is a pretty funny Twitter account called 3:30 Ramp Capital, LLC. Plunge Protection Team rumors have been around since the beginning of time, but six years of stocks going straight up have given rise to all kinds of other theories. (For the record, the Fed fully acknowledges its interventions in the bond market, but it has never admitted to trading stocks.)

And it’s true that “the authorities” want the price of financial assets (stocks, bonds) to go up, and the price of hard assets (commodities) to go down… which is exactly what has happened.

So do governments and central banks ever lose?

In the old days, they lost all the time. In one extreme example, an individual hedge fund took out the entire Bank of England. But central banks are currently on a massive winning streak.

So to answer the question, “Will we ever have a crisis,” you need to answer the question, “Will we ever be allowed to have one?”

I’m not just some crazy guy asking these questions. Market professionals I talk to, hedge fund managers, mutual fund managers, will freely discuss the widespread distortions in the market. They feel like they can’t ply their trade. What I mean is, you can’t buy stuff cheap and sell it dear. Everything is dear, and it keeps going up, and you have to participate or get left behind.

That’s not the way it was in the ‘50s. There was all kinds of value to be found. That was how Warren Buffett made his money.

Today, I realized that, outside of some biotech stuff, I haven’t written about an individual stock in months. There’s just nothing interesting to buy, and you certainly can’t short anything. You’ll get your head blown off.

At one point in my career, I was really good at market timing. Calling tops and bottoms. You just can’t do it anymore. Tops never happen, and bottoms don’t get deep enough to find value. We haven’t had a 10% correction in how long?

Honestly, it’s so hard to invest in this environment, I’ve made nearly all my money in the last two years trading FX. It’s the only thing that makes sense.

This is a lot of me whining. And I’m secretly hoping that this letter means there will be a return to rationality soon.

But probably not. Stupid usually gets stupider.


Chinese Stocks Collapsed Right Before NYSE Shutdown

Before NYSE shutdown, Hang Seng Index plunged its most since 2008 financial crisis

by Kit Daniels | Infowars.com | July 8, 2015



Chinese stocks were suffering huge declines prior to the New York Stock Exchange shutdown due to an alleged “technical issue,” fueling concerns whether the NYSE was actually halted due to the free fall in China.

Companies in China fell 20% from a May high and, right before the NYSE shutdown, the Hang Seng Index plunged its most since the 2008 financial crisis.

“The Hang Seng Index fell 5.8% to 23,516.56 at the close today, the biggest drop since November 2008, after slumping as much as 8.6%,” Bloomberg’s Kana Nishizawa wrote.

Overall, China’s stock market plunge has wiped out around $3.2 trillion since June 12.

“Investors are disappointed and afraid that the Chinese policy makers lost control of the market,” Mari Oshidari, a Hong Kong-based financial strategist, said. “With no end in sight to the plunge, sentiment has turned cold.”

“With liquidity drying up in the mainland, the Hong Kong market is being sold instead –- the only thing it can do is just quietly take the storm.”

The global economy is so dependent on China that if the country were to completely implode, a world-wide recession would likely result.

Not long after China suffered huge losses on Wednesday, the New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading due to an alleged “technical issue.”

“NYSE/NYSE MKT has temporarily suspended trading in all symbols,” the NYSE said in a statement. “Additional information will follow as soon as possible.”

Art Cashin, director of floor operations at the NYSE, told CNBC it had been a “bumpy day” before the stock market was shut down.

“We had some technical problems even before the opening,” he said.





Farage Rocks EU Parliament: Tells Tsipras – ‘Leave the Euro, Reclaim Your Democracy’



Rousing speech met with cheers, applause

by Paul Joseph Watson | July 8, 2015

UKIP leader Nigel Farage gave a rousing speech in front of the European Parliament in Strasbourg today during which he directly told Greece’s Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras to lead the Greek people out of the Eurozone and reclaim the country’s democracy.

Farage told Tsipras that his country should have never joined the euro in the first place, but that it was forced to do so by big banks like Goldman Sachs and German arms manufacturers.

“When the bailouts began, they weren’t for the Greek people, those bailouts were to bailout French, German and Italian banks – they haven’t helped you at all,” said Farage to the sound of applause.

“You have been very brave, you called that referendum, when one of your predecessors tried to do the same, the bully boys of Brussels had him removed,” said the UKIP leader as Tsipras looked on.

“There were threats and bullying, but the Greeks stood firm….they will give you no more these people – they can’t afford to – if they give you more they’ll have to give other Eurozone members more – so your moment has come and frankly if you’ve got the courage you should lead the Greek people out of the Eurozone with your head held high, get back your democracy, get back control of your country, give your people the leadership and the hope that they crave,” added Farage.

The response to Farage’s speech – given that he is normally used to being heckled by pro-Brussels MEPs – was quite momentous as loud applause once again filled the room.

“Yes it will be tough for the first few months, but with a devalued currency and with friends of Greece all over the world, you will recover,” concluded Farage to the sound of cheering.

Tsipras looked fairly nonplussed but he was obviously trying to keep a straight face.

The Greek Prime Minister is still planning to strike a deal with creditors before a deadline on Thursday. Speculation is mounting that banks could run out of cash if the impasse continues, followed by civil unrest and riots.

Farage also remarked on what the wider implications of the Greek referendum were for the entire EU.

“The European project is actually beginning to die,” said Farage, adding that the people of Europe have rejected EU federalism time and time again whenever asked.

The UKIP leader said that attempts to make Europeans show allegiance to the flag and anthem of the EU had proven fruitless, noting that the ultimate agenda of a political union had failed.

“The countries of Europe are different – if you try and force together different people or different economies without first seeking the consent of those people it is unlikely to work and the plan has failed,” said Farage, adding that the whole of the Mediterranean now “finds itself in the wrong currency.”

“The continent is now divided from north to south, there is a new Berlin Wall and it’s called the euro,” asserted the UKIP leader.

Preparation in times of uncertainty