Monday, June 18, 2018

How I Found Freedom Moving to a New State




You’re Not As Trapped As You Think You Are
By Luken Surge and originally published at thedailybell.com
What do you do when you are living in an area that is not working for you? Whether it is the laws, taxes, people, or traffic what do you do if you are feeling stuck or suffocated?
Is moving really an option? You might feel that moving far away from home is impossible. You might have heard about stories of failure and of others who had to return home in defeat with their tail between their legs. Or, you feel that moving somewhere else is just this big, expensive process that you don’t have time for. 
WRONG
I used to think like that, too. I was so paralyzed by my fear of ‘I can’t do that’ or ‘I can’t afford it’ that I stayed in the same little town I grew up in for almost 10 MORE YEARS! I lived in Acworth, GA where the good jobs were 45 minutes to an hour away, everything was taxed, and the social & economic pressures kept a lot of doors closed for a lot of people. The government was often in favor of laws that benefited the few or penalized the many. 
Growing up there I knew that I wasn’t a good fit. I loved the mountains and I had grown around myself a self-made community of people who cared about me, but we were all struggling with a fight that we couldn’t see any end in sight for. Even entry-level jobs, those opportunities that are supposed to get you in the door, were traps. You’d start low with no way to move up or anywhere. It would be years of struggling in the same spot before you would catch on, leave, and try another one that would just do the same thing. 
I watched everyone I knew falling under the gears one by one and I knew that if I stayed I would fall at some point right behind them. It soon became clear that moving wasn’t a point for convenience or pleasure, but for survival. And it left me with a choice that took me two years to finally and act on. 
Before the Journey Could Begin, The Recession Happened
As I hit adulthood the country was just hitting the recession. In GA, like many other states, the job market was devastated. I had to start out at under the table jobs that could never pay much, jobs like house cleaning, painting, yard maintenance, and pet sitting. It took many more years than it should have to get into an industry that actually had opportunity in it. But after I spent years to discover, learn, and master a trade I could succeed in, I realized that all the jobs were over an hour away from me in Atlanta. 
This was a major obstacle for me as I was presented with the options of moving into the city where I knew I would be very unhappy, or stay in my area and deal with the three hour a day round trip commute…. Like all the other professionals did…. 
Well, I found a third option: Leave. Georgia was all I had known for most of my life. Everything there had the feeling of ‘done it, seen it’, and I knew that Georgia just wasn’t going to work for me, or my family. I had to get out.
But how? I didn’t make a lot of money (at my eternally entry-level job), not enough to save up an extra couple of grand to fly away out of state. I had a wife, pets, and a LOT of stuff. So it wasn’t like I could just pack up my car, drive away and be done with it. Or so I thought. 
Well, the journey didn’t get underway immediately. In fact, I think it is fair to say that we put our breaks on for as long as we could. We had a few delays over the first year, a few family emergencies. The first one was my wife who broke her leg and needed to recover before we could even think of hauling ourselves to Florida. We also had jobs at the time that couldn’t transfer, and though we tried, finding work in another state is hard when it would be a 12-hour road trip, round-trip, for one interview. 
Then to top it all off, we had a number of other family emergencies that put the date farther and farther back, like my grandmother hitting end-stage Alzheimer’s and both my wife and I needed to move in with family to help take care of her. Our dreams of a new life were put on hold so that we could be there for her, and my family, at the end of this decade-long battle.
But when my grandmother passed away, my mom had to sell the house. And when the house sold in just one week, to our shock, we were faced with the final choice: Now…. Or never.
If we stayed we knew we’d get trapped again and it could be years. But on the other hand, we were jumping into the unknown with only a couple hundred dollars, and days, to do it with. We convinced our boss, whom we were both working for by this point, to let us work remotely. This secured that we would have at least a minimum income while we were down there. We then took our last paychecks, put our stuff into storage, packed our essentials (and dogs) into the car, and drove down to Pensacola, FL. 
And just like that, we arrived in paradise. 
Or at least, it was paradise to us! We were by the ocean, and not a brown muddy lake, which came immediately with much nicer weather. We found ourselves right in the middle of a downtown area that reminded us a lot of a tropical version of Asheville, another place we had considered moving too. It was important for us to find somewhere that valued art, museums, and history. We were looking for somewhere that valued community, had plenty of events close enough to enjoy. Pensacola had all of this, and more. The traffic was much better, even with tourists, than it had been in Atlanta. (That is a big factor when it was starting to take us almost an hour to get anywhere.)
And best of all, we found ourselves in a place where we could see an immediate difference in local, state, and tax laws. We saw an immediate difference in our take-home pay with no state income taxes, as well as the lack of taxes on food and medical items. We had never realized just how much of a daily, weekly, and yearly impact these taxes alone were draining us. We saw almost an extra $100 a week compared to Georgia. 
A lot of this was more of a pleasant surprise for us when we arrived as our move had been delayed and then rushed. We didn’t realize the difference just being one state over could make. Having lived primarily in the same area for most of our adult lives had really placed blinders on what we knew or understood of not just the rest of the world but our very own country. 
Sometimes a place that better fits your lifestyle and goals is not so far away.
What Relocating Looked Like
We had already decided to start our journey off by staying in a hotel in order to have a chance to learn the area. Having already come from one area that didn’t work for us, we wanted to explore our new city before deciding where would be best for us. And because we had two large dogs (Boerboel Mastiffs), we had a limit on our options. 
Within the first weeks, we both got new jobs. My wife wanted to start out working in a restaurant so that we could meet some people, to get some locals perspectives for the area, and to make some extra money part time to accompany the job that traveled down with us. Her plan worked great as she found something within a week, started making tips plus a check, and it really helped to buffer us in all the ways she was hoping it would. For myself, I was able to get a couple of new local clients and with the differences in the laws here for starting a business, we are looking into starting our own business and offering our services more formally to the area. 
We were surprised to find so many more opportunities down here that were exactly in line with our skills. With more locally owned businesses it opened up more opportunities for both of our skill ranges than if we had stayed where we were. 
It Works Out When You Make It
Within two months of moving down to Pensacola, Florida we had our own place. We had found a 3 bedroom house with a yard that would have been harder to find and more expensive in any of the areas of Georgia we had previously had access too. For less than we were paying at the weekly rate for the hotel we had a whole house, including bills in that equation. Every part of the journey was completely worth it! From overcoming the fear and dread to escaping the trap of nostalgia, and all the steps that it took to get here, it was all worth it.
We also learned the value of settling into an area and community that is in line with us, our values, and personalities. The environment has been so significantly different that as soon as we were here we felt a difference in our anxiety, stress, depression, and fear. Even though we were in a new place with all kinds of possibilities before us, both good and bad, we felt so much more comfortable and happy undertaking this journey than we expected. We felt more welcomed and a part of a community in just two short months than we had felt in more than two decades of living in Georgia. That alone was so impactful for both of us.
We finally started feeling that sensation of freedom that we have been searching for over these last many years. Free to walk outside and enjoy the day, and to do it without fear of being stopped by police for simply being there. We felt free to pursue the opportunities that really served us, and without needing to go to our friends or family for permission.
And best of all, we were free from our pasts. We had lived in the same area for almost all the years we could remember. We knew so many people, and too many people knew us from all the stages of our lives, ranging full from elementary school to more recent years. There were people who couldn’t see us for who we were now, versus twenty years ago. And we couldn’t go down practically any street without being bombarded with a ton of memories, both good and bad. 
A new start, and a fresh new environment, was exactly what we needed. And if you are feeling like you are trapped, or are otherwise kept at arm’s length from your dreams, then maybe you too should consider what places might work better for you.
Conclusion & Lessons: 
    • If you let yourself get trapped in a place where you are unhappy you will never know how much better things could go for you in a place that actually fits you. 
    • Before you get settled in an area that might be restrictive to you, look around and see if there is somewhere that could be better for you. This can be in the form of local and state laws, the values of the community, and in the opportunities you will need to live. 
    • Don’t wait until you have everything ‘perfect’ to take the leap because the truth is, it’s never going to be perfect. Have a plan (The Daily Bell can help you create one) but there is no such thing as a ‘perfect time’. Life will keep happening and getting in your way or providing excuses. You have to decide what it is you want, when it is that you want it, and then do it
    • If not now, then when? Next month turns into next year, and one year turns into many. When you know you are sitting in a situation that isn’t working for you now, and isn’t likely to work for you in the future, don’t wait longer than you have to and get out of there!
    • You will defeat the government’s repressive control by choosing your own personal freedom first. When you leave you are no longer under their control, and when you move to an area in line with your values, you are voting for a better system of government at the local and state level. This is especially true for communities that know the value of their voice, and how to use it. 
You don’t have to play by the rules of the corrupt politicians, manipulative media, and brainwashed peers.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

IG Report Bombshell Just Beginning, More Anti Trump Media Lies, Economic Update


By Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com 
The long awaited Inspector General (IG) report on the FBI and how it handled the Clinton email (exoneration) case is out, and it has destroyed the reputation of fired FBI Director James Comey. It is also just the beginning in destroying the careers of many at the FBI and the Department of Justice (DOJ). There are many revelations including a goal to “stop” Trump from becoming President. Well, they failed. Now, buckle up because this is just getting started. Coming up, Hillary Clinton’s treason and phony documents used to spy on Trump. Lots of people are going down for treason, fraud, obstruction and other bigtime crimes.
The President traveling to Singapore and getting the leader of North Korea to sign a document agreeing to denuclearizing the Korean peninsula is huge, but you would not know it if you watched the phony propaganda of the mainstream media (MSM). Even though their ratings continue to tank, they just can’t stop the idiotic Trump hating they get paid by the MSM to do.
The Federal Reserve raised interest rates another ¼ of a point and said the economy is doing great. Is it really doing that well? It depends on who you talk to. Some say this is the best economy in years, while others are warning of another financial calamity like 2008 or worse. What’s going on?
Join Greg Hunter as he talks about the week’s top stories in the Weekly News Wrap-Up.
Greg will analyze the brand new Inspector general report, the Trump deal to denuclearize North Korea and give you the truth about the economy.

Friday, June 15, 2018

America Loses When The Trade War Becomes A Currency War

By Brandon Smith and originally published at alt-market.com
There has been a longstanding narrative in economic circles that no matter what crisis occurs the U.S. dollar is essentially invincible.  I have never been one to buy into this assumption.
Reason 1: Because I remember distinctly just before the derivatives and credit crisis in 2007/2008 the majority of mainstream economists were so certain that U.S. housing and debt markets were invincible, and they were terribly wrong. Whenever the mainstream financial media are confident of an outcome, expect the opposite to happen.
Reason 2: Because karma has a way of crushing grand illusions. When you proudly declare a Titanic “unsinkable,” nature or fate often tests that resolve and finds it wanting.
Reason 3: Because I understand that a primary goal of the internationalist, globalist, anti-sovereignty and New World Order crowd is to diminish U.S. economic performance dramatically, and this includes ending the reserve status and petro-status of the dollar in order to make way for a single global currency unit dictated by a single global economic administrator.
Mindless blind faith in the dollar (and U.S. treasury debt) seems to switch sides politically according to whose narrative it best suits. During the Obama administration, conservatives and Republicans witnessed unprecedented fiat currency creation and dollar devaluation by the Federal Reserve and rightly drew the conclusion that this would eventually trigger a currency crisis as various systems absorb and then regurgitate all these dollars back into the U.S. We saw the biggest foreign trading partners of the U.S. launching bilateral trade agreements that cut out the dollar as the reserve currency, and we witnessed many foreign creditors questioning the viability of U.S. debt.
Only a couple of years ago, conservatives were warning of potential disaster for the dollar caused by the bailouts and unchecked stimulus programs while leftists were staunchly defending the dollar as an immortal golden goose. Today, the roles appear to be switching, as many conservatives now defend “king dollar” in the wake of a Trump presidency, and adopt numerous arguments once reserved for ignorant lefty commentators.
One question that needs to be addressed is how long the current trade war will last? Some people claim that economic hostilities will be short-lived, that foreign trading partners will quickly capitulate to the Trump administration’s demands and that any retaliation against tariffs will be meager and inconsequential. If this is the case and the trade war moves quickly, then I would agree — very little damage will be done to the U.S. economy beyond what has already been done by the Federal Reserve.
However, what if it doesn’t end quickly? What if the trade war drags on for the rest of Trump’s first term? What if it bleeds over into a second term or into the regime of a new president in 2020? This is exactly what I expect to happen, and the reason why I predict this will be the case rests on the opportunities such a drawn out trade war will provide for the globalists.
In my article World War III Will Be An Economic War, I reiterated my longstanding view that there is indeed a global war brewing between major powers, but that this war will be fought primarily with financial weapons, not nukes. I also summarized my position that this war will be engineered by globalists deliberately to provide cover for something they call the “great economic reset.”
With Trump’s cabinet currently loaded with banking elites and neoconservatives with ties to institutions like Goldman Sachs and the Council On Foreign Relations, institutions notorious for promoting one-world economic and political programs, it seems to me that the worst case scenario for the U.S. could easily be staged. If the goal is to kill the dollar’s reserve status, then the trade war will be purposely prolonged.
The next question that needs to be addressed is how is the dollar actually vulnerable to destabilization?
Pro-dollar cheerleaders will say that the dollar is in high demand, with countries like India begging the Fed to stop balance sheet cuts for fear that this will reduce the amount of dollars and dollar denominated assets in circulation in emerging markets.
I see this as a gross misinterpretation of what India and others are warning about. Interestingly, foreign central banks are now sounding an alarm many of us in the alternative economic field have been sounding for years. When India’s Reserve Bank Governor, Urjit Patel, writes about the danger of speedy balance sheet cuts by the Fed causing a liquidity crisis in global markets, this is not necessarily a declaration that India has a insatiable desire for more dollars. What it is a declaration of is the fact that the global economy is weakened by its dependency on the dollar as the primary international trade mechanism.
When I see India complaining about the frailties in dollar liquidity caused by Fed balance sheet reductions, I don’t interpret that as them saying “go king dollar!” I interpret that as India coming to the realization that they are going to have to adopt other alternatives to the dollar, and they are going to have to do this quickly.
Emerging markets and much of the world have been propped up for the better part of a decade through Federal Reserve stimulus measures, from direct bailouts to near zero interest rate loans to asset purchases to outright stock market manipulation. The dollar has become a drug easing the pain of economic downturn, and many nations are addicted.
So what happens when the drug dealer, for whatever reason, suddenly stops providing the drug? The addict is going to look elsewhere for a fix.
The Fed is NOT going to stop its balance sheet cuts, and it’s not going to stop interest rate hikes. Not with the current discussion on “inflation dangers.” This will ultimately cause declines in various markets including equities, and I believe these declines will accelerate by the end of 2018. Meaning, liquidity in foreign trade and markets will have to be facilitated by other sources, such as the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) basket currency system, or the application of a new global cryptocurrency system, which the IMF has been avidly studying.
The IMF has even been singing the praises of cryptocurrencies recently, even depicting them as the next stage in human evolution and perpetuation the lie that crypto is “anonymous.”
The dollar is vulnerable to destabilization by the very institutions and elitists that created it in the first place, and these people are seeking something much bigger than king dollar. The problem is, the globalists cannot implement such a vast “reset” in the economy without a considerable distraction. Enter Trump’s trade war…
I have been outlining the reality behind dollar weakness for quite some time. Rehashing the facts over and over again becomes tiresome but is unfortunately necessary, because there is always some new contingent of the public that falls into the trap of dollar worship. So, let’s do this one more time.
First, the dollar is NOT backed by U.S. military might. The U.S. military can barely manage its concerns in the Middle East, let alone take on nations like Russia or China in an attempt to force them to keep investing in U.S. treasury debt or retain the dollar as world reserve. If these countries drop the dollar, there is nothing the U.S. can do. Anyone who makes the dollar-by-military argument should not be taken seriously.
Second, while the dollar is in demand now, this is only because the current system has been propped up by endless Federal Reserve stimulus.  If the Fed continues to cut assets and raise interest rates, then emerging markets and others will look elsewhere for support. The dollar is only valuable to global markets so long as the Fed continues to provide a perpetual supply of liquidity. Economies are fickle, and welfare recipients are even more so. Stop giving people free goodies and they will abandon you angrily.
Major foreign economies like China and parts of Europe have been adopting bilateral trade relations for some time. Rather than intimidating these countries into capitulation, a trade war on the part of the U.S. is far more likely to drive them more closely together. Germany and China in particular have been establishing strong trade ties, and OPEC nations have been much cozier with the East. The idea that the U.S. is somehow a linchpin to the entire global economy is a lie. The world can and will organize trade avenues without us if pushed. In fact, this seems to be the plan.
The U.S. has only two major points of leverage in a trade war. First, the U.S. dollar’s world reserve status, which I have already addressed as not a point of leverage at all unless the Fed continues stimulus indefinitely. Second, the U.S. consumer.
U.S. consumers and corporate buyers are sitting at historically high debt levels. In fact, their debt levels are higher than they were just before the crash of 2008. As the Fed continues to raise interest rates, this debt will become unsustainable and something will have to give. For corporations, this means job cuts and wage reductions. For consumers this means cuts to household spending. U.S. consumers are only a point of leverage in a trade war so long as they continue to consume at ever expanding rates. If we suffer another crash similar to 2008, foreign creditors will see this as a lack of incentive to continue placating the U.S.
Without a massive resurrection of American manufacturing and production, we enter into a trade war with little ammunition because we remain dependent on foreign production and goods, while other nations like China can easily expand into alternative markets and retain their own production capabilities. Trump could have launched a new renaissance of production in the U.S. if he had given corporations incentive to bring manufacturing back home. Instead, he gave them a sizeable tax cut without asking for anything in return. Those tax cuts, instead of creating jobs or luring factories back to the U.S., have instead been spent where we all knew they would be spent — on stock buybacks to prop up a flailing equities market.
The longer the trade war continues, the more other countries will consider the “nuclear option” of dumping the dollar as world reserve, or dumping U.S. debt. In my view, this is exactly what the globalists want. Trump bumbles into a trade war and is blamed for a crisis in the dollar as well as a crash in stock markets, while the banking elites introduce their new world order reset as a solution. In this case, I think the worst case scenario is the intended scenario.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

The Real Economic Numbers: 21.5 Percent Unemployment, 10 Percent Inflation And Negative Economic Growth

By Michael Snyder and originally published at theeconomiccollapseblog.com
Every time the mainstream media touts some “wonderful new economic numbers” I just want to cringe.  Yes, it is true that the economic numbers have gotten slightly better since Donald Trump entered the White House, but the rosy economic picture that the mainstream media is constantly painting for all of us is completely absurd.  As you are about to see, if honest numbers were being used all of our major economic numbers would be absolutely terrible.  Of course we can hope for a major economic turnaround for America under Donald Trump, but we certainly are not there yet.  Economist John Williams of shadowstats.com has been tracking what our key economic numbers would look like if honest numbers were being used for many years, and he has gained a sterling reputation for being accurate.  And according to him, it looks like the U.S. economy has been in a recession and/or depression for a very long time.
Let’s start by talking about unemployment.  We are being told that the unemployment rate in the United States is currently “3.8 percent”, which would be the lowest that it has been “in nearly 50 years”.
To support this claim, the mainstream media endlessly runs articles declaring how wonderful everything is.  For example, the following is from a recent New York Times article entitled “We Ran Out of Words to Describe How Good the Jobs Numbers Are”
The real question in analyzing the May jobs numbers released Friday is whether there are enough synonyms for “good” in an online thesaurus to describe them adequately.
So, for example, “splendid” and “excellent” fit the bill. Those are the kinds of terms that are appropriate when the United States economy adds 223,000 jobs in a month, despite being nine years into an expansion, and when the unemployment rate falls to 3.8 percent, a new 18-year low.
Doesn’t that sound great?
It would be great, if the numbers that they were using were honest.
The truth, of course, is that the percentage of the population that is employed has barely budged since the depths of the last recession.  According to John Williams, if honest numbers were being used the unemployment rate would actually be 21.5 percent today.
So what is the reason for the gaping disparity?
As I have explained repeatedly, the government has simply been moving people from the “officially unemployed” category to the “not in the labor force” category for many, many years.
If we use the government’s own numbers, there are nearly 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.  That is higher than it was at any point during the last recession.
We are being conned.  I have a friend down in south Idaho that is a highly trained software engineer that has been out of work for two years.
If the unemployment rate is really “3.8 percent”, why can’t he find a decent job?
By the way, if you live in the Boise area and you know of an opening for a quality software engineer, please let me know and I will get the information to him.
Next, let’s talk about inflation.
According to Williams, the way inflation has been calculated in this country has been repeatedly changed over the decades
Williams argues that U.S. statistical agencies overestimate GDP data by underestimating the inflation deflator they use in the calculation.
Manipulating the inflation rate, Williams argues in Public Comment on Inflation Measurement , also enables the US government to pay out pensioners less than they were promised, by fudging cost of living adjustments.
This manipulation has ironically taken place quite openly over decades, as successive Republican and Democratic administrations made “improvements” in the way they calculated the data.
If inflation was still calculated the way that it was in 1990, the inflation rate would be 6 percent today instead of about 3 percent.
And if inflation was still calculated the way that it was in 1980, the inflation rate would be about 10 percent today.
Doesn’t that “feel” more accurate to you?  We have all seen how prices for housing, food and health care have soared in recent years.  After examining what has happened in your own life, do you believe that the official inflation rates of “2 percent” and “3 percent” that we have been given in recent years are anywhere near accurate?
Because inflation is massively understated, that has a tremendous effect on our GDP numbers as well.
If accurate inflation numbers were being used, we would still be in a recession right now.
In fact, John Williams insists that we would still be in a recession that started back in 2004.
And without a doubt, a whole host of other more independent indicators point in that direction too.  The following comes from an excellent piece by Peter Diekmeyer
Williams’ findings, while controversial, corroborate a variety of other data points. Median wage gains have been stagnant for decades. The U.S. labour force participation rate remains at multi-decade lows. Even our own light-hearted Big Mac deflator suggests that the U.S. economy is in a depression.
Another clue is to evaluate the U.S. economy just as economists would a third world nation whose data they don’t trust. They do this by resorting to figures that are hard to fudge.
There, too, by a variety of measures—ranging from petroleum consumption to consumer goods production to the Cass Freight Index—the U.S. economy appears to have not grown much, if at all, since the turn of the millennium.
In the end, all that any of us really need to do is to just open our eyes and look at what is happening all around us.  We are on pace for the worst year for retail store closings in American history, and this “retail apocalypse” is hitting rural areas harder than anywhere else
This city’s Target store is gone.
So is Kmart, MC Sports, JCPenney, Vanity and soon Herberger’s, a department store.
“The mall is pretty sad,” says Amanda Cain, a teacher and mother. “Once Herberger’s closes, we’ll have no anchors.”
About two-thirds of Ottumwa’s Quincy Place Mall will be empty with Herberger’s loss.
Of course it isn’t just the U.S. economy that is troubled either.
We are living in the terminal phase of the greatest debt bubble in global history, many nations around the globe are already experiencing a very deep economic downturn, and our planet is literally in the process of dying.
So please don’t believe the hype.
Yes, we definitely hope that things will get better, but the truth is that things have not been “good” for the U.S. economy for a very, very long time.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Larry Kudlow: A Horseman Of Economic Apocalypse?

By Brandon Smith and originally published at alt-market.com
In the world of alternative economics we often focus on the schemes and machinations of central banks as well as international banks as their closely tied partners in crime. But it is easy to forget that these institutions are merely composites and proxies made up of specific people.  The institutions themselves are no more invincible than the very mortal criminals that make up their memberships.
As a writer for the liberty movement I often hear the demand that we should “name names” when referring to groups like “globalists” in our analysis. These demands usually come from people who are too naive to understand how long such an article would be if we had to make a list of said globalists and their trespasses every time we sat down to make a point or convey a piece of information. That said, I’m happy to start a new series of articles which I will be publishing intermittently that will focus on “naming names,” one name at a time.
Some of these names will belong to people you rarely if ever hear about. These are the men behind the curtain of power, those that have much greater influence than is apparent at first glance.
In my last article I outlined the unfortunate propensity of Donald Trump to invite such “swamp creatures” into his cabinet and into the White House. Some of these people are rather notorious and well-known, like Council on Foreign Relations warmonger John Bolton.  However, others have gone under the radar.
The name of Larry Kudlow has been making the rounds lately, at least in mainstream economic circles, largely because of his role in Trump’s accelerating global trade war efforts. Kudlow is the Director of the National Economic Council and adviser to the Trump administration, recently replacing Goldman Sachs alumni Gary Cohn. As such, he is perhaps the greatest influence in the White House in terms of U.S. economic policy when applied in international relations. A powerful position indeed.
Kudlow has been in the news feeds the past couple of days due to his remarks concerning tariffs on Canadian aluminum and steel, saying that Canada was “overreacting.”  The media has also expounded on his confidence that the trade war will be "brief" and that deals will be easily reached that address the concerns of the US.  He has also been aggressive in his comments on the World Trade Organization and the G7, which appeals to many of us conservatives at first glance; however, when one realizes how little leverage is truly behind such rhetoric, Kudlow's tough stance becomes unimpressive.
First, I highly doubt that Kudlow is surprised by Canada’s anger over trade tariffs considering their economy is so distinctly integrated with the U.S.  Second, every time we hear rumors that the trade war is being quickly resolved, talks fall apart and tensions escalate.  The most likely outcome in my view is that retaliatory measures by numerous foreign trading partners will be common and unrelenting during Trump’s trade war. Count on it.  That said, the fact that Kudlow in particular is overseeing Trump’s economic war should not go without examination or concern by Trump supporters.
Larry Kudlow was often presented as a “conservative” economist and adviser during his transition into Gary Cohn’s role. There was some public criticism over the introduction of Gary Cohn into the Trump cabinet due to his extensive history with Goldman Sachs (former president) and his globalist leanings. The removal of Cohn for Kudlow was clearly designed to lure critics into a false sense of security and the hope that Trump would not be surrounded by elitist ghouls 24/7.  Sadly, nothing has changed.
Kudlow is perhaps even worse than Cohn, considering he launched his career as an economist for the New York Federal Reserve. He worked as a financial analyst for Bear Stearns in the early days of the subprime era, and this private sector grooming seems to have had a heavy influence over his views of what makes the economy “healthy” for many years to come. He may have even stayed on at Bear Stearns until their collapse, except that he was fired due to his cocaine abuse.
Kudlow is often touted as a former member of the Reagan administration, but few mainstream news sources mention that he ALSO worked on Democratic campaigns alongside the Clintons as well as John Podesta. Since then, he has mostly been visible as a financial pundit on cable news, where his track record was less than stunning.   To give you a point of reference as to where he stands on the fallibility scale, Kudlow started his commentating career working with Jim Cramer, the TV guru of poorly conceived economic analysis.
Some of his most notable bad predictions were made around the time his former employer, Bear Stearns, was on the edge of insolvency.  Kudlow stated in November 2007:
“Too much is being made of both the subprime credit problem and the housing downturn. A recent Bank of England study shows that residential mortgage-backed securities in the U.S. total $5.8 trillion. Of that, only $700 billion, or 12 percent, are subprime. Even when you add in $600 billion of so-called Alt-A mortgage paper, most of which will not default, the total of these home loans is still less than 20 percent of all mortgage-backed paper.
What’s more, the entire market in subprime debt is just 1.4 percent of the global equity markets. On any given day, a 1.4 percent drop in world stocks would erase the same amount of value as the collective markdown of all subprime-backed bonds to $0. It’s just not that big a deal.”
I don’t have to tell you, this prediction was WAY off. It was this fraudulent but widespread narrative that helped lull the American public into a stupor of assumed safety on the eve of economic disaster. Kudlow also commented in March 2007:
At home in the U.S., there are still housing-slump worries and concerns about an inventory correction in autos and factories. Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan this week even predicted a recession, naming the budget deficit as the cause. Huh? The deficit is evaporating as record tax revenues are being generated by a solid economy, itself a function of the low marginal tax rates put in place by President Bush.”
Kudlow actually reminds me of nearly every mainstream media talking head in the economic world. Holding up all the wrong metrics (like the trade deficit) as evidence of economic health while ignoring the massive amount of data proving the contrary.  Will Kudlow once again tout a shrinking deficit under Trump as some kind of evidence of fiscal improvement while ignoring all other detrimental signals?
One must consider two possibilities in Kudlow’s philosophy — either he is highly blind to the obvious, or he supports another agenda that runs counter to the truth. Either way, it’s not a good sign for America’s financial future.  We must also ask ourselves why the Trump Administration would want him in the first place.
Kudlow has been quoted as highly opposed to Trump’s economic policies. This was, of course, before Trump’s election win and Kudlow’s appointment as economic adviser.
And let’s not forget: The stock market, which is a leading indicator of the future economy, is in a wee bit of a correction. Given the recent rise of presidential candidate Donald Trump, we should all be thankful that stocks haven’t plunged. Trump’s agenda of trade protectionism, dollar devaluation, and immigrant deportation is completely anti-growth. It’s like Fortress America in an economy that is completely globalized and where the U.S. must compete in the worldwide race for capital and labor. Trump’s policies don’t fit.”
The claim that the stock market is a “leading indicator of the future economy” is perhaps the most idiotic thing I’ve ever heard. The stock market wasn’t a leading indicator for the crash of 2007/2008. Not in the slightest. In fact, the stock market is a far trailing indicator for economic instability. All other fundamentals flash red long before stocks ever figure out what is going on.
Beyond that, keep in mind that this is now the guy that is the champion of Trump’s trade protection agenda. The same guy that clearly despised such measures only a couple years ago.  The same guy that is willing to flip-flop and state that Canada and other trading partners are “overreacting” to tariffs. So if we use Kudlow as the contrarian indicator he seems to be, what is the most likely outcome of the current trade war action? Disaster.
For now, immense effort is being poured into convincing the American public that trade war efforts are highly successful, even though negotiations have barely begun.  The issue here, though, is US weakness in these negotiations.  What the average American is not aware of is the precarious nature of the US dollar as the world reserve currency and the petro-currency.  For the past ten years at least, major trading partners of the US have been shifting away from the dollar and seeking out alternatives in bilateral trade.  The mainstream media has been very careful to ignore this threat as often as possible.
With the Federal Reserve cutting its balance sheet, the focus will now be on foreign buyers to prop up US debt.  As long as the US is utterly dependent on foreign investment in the dollar and Treasury bonds, we will be vulnerable.  All that is left is for someone to introduce an alternative reserve system, and of course my regular readers know that such a system already exists in the IMF's Special Drawing Right currency basket.  Add to this the fact that the IMF is "looking into the benefits" cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and I think it is obvious where this is all heading.
Retaliations by foreign trading partners will not be limited or short-lived. A legitimate deal will not be struck between the U.S. and China or any other trading partners for that matter (though empty promises might be made). The trade war will escalate to include threats to the dollar’s petrostatus and world reserve status. And U.S. treasury debt will come into question or be used as leverage by other nations. In fact, this may very well be the plan.
With Kudlow (originally hostile to Trump's trade policies) in place as chief economic adviser to the White House, there is little chance that economic reality will be at the top of the White House schedule, or that any of the above concerns will be given proper examination.
Is it sensationalism to argue that the introduction of Kudlow into the Trump cabinet is a sign of economic Apocalypse? Maybe. But look at his record, his past associations, his affinity for institutions that act as breeding grounds for globalism and other very destructive ideas, as well as his ability to ignore all fundamentals in the name of promoting a directed agenda, and I think we have a recipe for something very ugly on the horizon.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Big Secret The Mainstream Media Doesn’t Want To Tell You About America’s Soaring Suicide Rates

By Michael Snyder and originally published at theeconomiccollapseblog.com
This week two celebrity suicides rocked the nation, and neither of them seemed to make any sense.  Kate Spade’s handbag designs had taken the fashion world by storm, and she was supposedly living the kind of lifestyle that millions of Americans can only dream about.  And Anthony Bourdain was one of those rare journalists that was greatly loved by both the left and the right.  His “Kitchen Confidential” book is currently the #1 best seller on Amazon, and his “Parts Unknown” series was one of CNN’s most popular shows.  Why would people that seemingly have everything going for them decide to kill themselves?  Well, by the end of this article you will learn some things about suicide and depression in the United States that the mainstream media definitely does not want to talk about.  And all you have to do is to follow the money to discover the very disturbing reason why the mainstream media does not want to talk about them.
On average, 123 Americans commit suicide every single day, and now suicide has become the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
But among Americans between the ages of 10 and 34, it is now the second leading cause of death.
Of course it wasn’t always this way.  Suicide rates used to be much, much lower.  If you can believe it, suicide rates in the United States “have risen nearly 30 percent since 1999” according to the CDC…
Suicide rates in the U.S. have risen nearly 30% since 1999, according to a report released Thursday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicides increased in both men and women, in all ethnic groups and in both urban and rural areas. Suicide and “self-harm,” a category that includes attempted suicides, cost the nation $70 billion a year in medical care and lost work time, the CDC says.
The CDC says that rates have increased “among both sexes, all racial/ethnic groups, and all urbanization levels”, and so this is not just a trend that is affecting one particular demographic group.
And virtually all age groups are seeing major increases as well.  For example, hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts and attempts at children’s hospitals approximately doubled over a recent 7 years period…
At children’s hospitals across the country, hospitalizations for suicidal thoughts and attempts doubled from 2008 to 2015, according to a study published last month in the journal Pediatrics. The highest increases were seen among teens ages 15 to 17 years old.
Middle-aged Americans are also seeing a stunning rise in suicides.  According to the CDC, the suicide rate for Americans from the age of 45 to the age of 64 is rising faster than for the general population as a whole
Earlier research showed that suicides among middle-aged men and women climbed at a higher rate than the overall population. Suicide among men aged 45 to 64 increased 43% from 1999 through 2014. The suicide rate uptick was even higher among women in that age group, though more men died from suicide, the CDC said.
So why is this happening?
History tells us that suicide rates tend to go up during economic recessions, but we are not in a recession at the moment.
According to NBC News, researchers have found that people that kill themselves tend to have certain things in common…
  • 42 percent had a relationship problem
  • 28 percent had substance abuse issues
  • 16 percent had job or financial problems
  • 29 percent had some kind of crisis
  • 22 percent had a physical health issue
  • 9 percent had a criminal legal problem
But those problems have always existed in our society.
To find the truth, we need to go down a rabbit hole, and it is a rabbit hole that the mainstream media doesn’t want to talk about.
The use of antidepressants and other mind-altering drugs is absolutely exploding in our society.  According to Time Magazine, the use of antidepressants rose almost 65 percent between 1999 and 2014…
A new report from the National Center for Health Statisticsshows that from 2011 through 2014, the most recent data available, close to 13% of people 12 and older said they took an antidepressant in the last month. That number is up from 11% in 2005-2008.
The most recent numbers have increased by nearly 65% since 1999-2002, when 7.7% of Americans reported taking an antidepressant.
And numerous scientific studies have shown that there appears to be a link between antidepressant use and suicide.  In fact, the biggest review of clinical trials ever conducted found that the use of antidepressants “doubled the risk of suicide” for those under the age of 18…
Antidepressants can raise the risk of suicide, the biggest ever review has found, as pharmaceutical companies were accused of failing to report side-effects and even deaths linked to the drugs.
An analysis of 70 trials of the most common antidepressants – involving more than 18,000 people – found they doubled the risk of suicide and aggressive behaviour in under 18s.
If you have ever been on any of these drugs, then you already know that they can really mess with your mind, and they can result in people doing some very irrational things.
In the case of Kate Spade, we do have confirmation that she was taking antidepressants.  The following comes directly from her husband’s statement
She was actively seeking help for depression and anxiety over the last 5 years, seeing a doctor on a regular basis and taking medication for both depression and anxiety.
We also know that Anthony Bourdain really struggled with depression as well
The television host also discussed thoughts of depression. In a 2016 episode of Parts Unknown, Bourdain traveled to Argentina for psychotherapy — something widely popular in the country.
“Well, things have been happening,” he says on camera. “I will find myself in an airport, for instance, and I’ll order an airport hamburger. It’s an insignificant thing, it’s a small thing, it’s a hamburger, but it’s not a good one. Suddenly I look at the hamburger and I find myself in a spiral of depression that can last for days.
Considering the fact that he had been dealing with incidents of severe depression for many years, could it be possible that Bourdain was also taking antidepressants?
If anyone out there can confirm this, please reach out to me with that information.
Of course the mainstream media is never going to address this link, because they do not want to harm their relationships with the big drug companies.
If you ever spend time watching the major news channels in the evening, then you already know that you are bombarded with one drug ad after another.  It is their major source of revenue, and they aren’t ever going to do anything that could endanger that.
Today, the pharmaceutical corporations spend more than 6 billion dollars a year on advertising.
So there are 6 billion reasons why the mainstream media does not want to tell you the truth, and because they won’t tell you the truth many more Americans are going to needlessly die in the years ahead…
Michael Snyder is a nationally syndicated writer, media personality and political activist. He is the author of four books including The Beginning Of The End and Living A Life That Really Matters.