Category Archive: Global Economy

Jul 17

Eerie Skull Emerges From Smoke of Ancient Volcano Island

July 13, 2017

An eerie skull was pictured in smoke billowing from the famous southern Italian island of Vesuvius on Tuesday as some feared the ancient volcano had awoken 

(WASHINGTON, DC) The disturbing image was taken as wildfires force evacuations from surrounding areas.

“After millennia the monster of Vesuvius came out,” Rosario Scotto Di Minico posted on Facebook along with the image, which shows a menacing face emerging from the pattern of smoke.

Speaking to RT.com he said the nightmarish image was captured on camera phone by Albarosa Scotto di Minico.

Despite the quantity of smoke billowing from Vesuvius, it’s not in the process of erupting, instead wildfires have led to evacuations of locals.

High temperatures in Italy are straining emergency services with 698 operations taking place across the country, according to the national fire service. Some 476 of the operations are wildfires, with Vesuvius amongst the most serious.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8638

Jun 14

Legendary Investor Jim Rogers Warns That The Worst Stock Market Crash In Your Lifetime Is Coming ‘This Year Or Next’

By Michael Snyder, on June 11th, 2017

If Jim Rogers is right, the worst stock market crash that any of us has ever seen is right around the corner.  For the past 15 years, Rogers has been a frequent guest analyst on CNBC, Fox News and elsewhere, and he is immensely respected for the depth of knowledge and experience that he brings to the table.  So the fact that he is warning that we are about to see the worst stock market crash in any of our lifetimes is making a lot of waves in the financial community.  And of course Rogers is far from alone.  Previously, I have written about several other prominent experts that are warning that a new financial crisis is imminent, and I have also discussed how a number of big investors are quietly positioning themselves to make an enormous amount of money when the markets crash.  Could it be possible that all of these incredibly sharp minds could be wrong?  Yes, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

I was actually quite stunned when I first learned what Jim Rogers had told Henry Blodget of Business Insider during a recent interview.  Rogers has built up a tremendous amount of credibility, but now he is putting that credibility on the line by warning that a great stock market crash will happen by the end of next year.  Here is the key portion of the interview

Blodget: Well, yeah, TV ratings do seem to go up during crashes, but then they completely disappear when everyone is obliterated, so no one is hoping for that. So when is this going to happen?

Rogers: Later this year or next.

Blodget: Later this year or next?

Rogers: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Write it down.

There is no backing out of a statement like that.

If Rogers is wrong, he will never hear the end of it.

Subsequently, Blodget and Rogers also discussed how severe the coming crisis would be…

Blodget: And how big a crash could we be looking at?

Rogers: It’s going to be the worst in your lifetime.

Blodget: I’ve had some pretty big ones in my lifetime.

Rogers: It’s going to be the biggest in my lifetime, and I’m older than you. No, it’s going to be serious stuff.

So that means that Rogers is convinced that the coming crisis is going to be even worse than what we went through in 2008.

Of course this is something that I have been warning about for quite a while, but for Jim Rogers to make a statement like this is a really, really big deal.

Later in the interview, Rogers shared more details about what he believes the coming crisis will look like…

You’re going to see governments fail. You’re going to see countries fail, this time around. Iceland failed last time. Other countries fail. You’re going to see more of that.

You’re going to see parties disappear. You’re going to see institutions that have been around for a long time — Lehman Brothers had been around over 150 years. Gone. Not even a memory for most people. You’re going to see a lot more of that next around, whether it’s museums or hospitals or universities or financial firms.

That definitely sounds like an “economic collapse” to me.  Of course the truth is that the U.S. economy is already in the midst of a slow-motion economic collapse that stretches back for decades, but this coming crisis that Rogers is talking about is going to great accelerate matters.

Let us hope that it is put off for as long as possible, but at some point we are simply going to run out of time.

And when markets do start falling, they can move very, very rapidly.  Just look at what happened on Friday.  Technology sector stocks were down 2.7 percent, and the FAANG stocks were some of the biggest movers

Facebook fell $5.11, or 3.3%, to $149.60.

Apple fell $6.01, or 3.9%, to $148.90.

Amazon fell $31.96, or 3.2%, to $978.31 now demoted from the elect group for 4-digit stocks back to the large group of 3-digit stocks.

Netflix plunged $7.85, or 4.7%, to $158.20.

Alphabet – the G in FAANG – fell $33.58, or 3.4%, to $952.23, moving further away from everyone’s dream of closing at $1,000.

If we are indeed moving toward a new crisis, one of the things that we will want to watch for is an inverting of the yield curve.

We saw this happen in 2000 and in 2006, and on both occasions it foreshadowed that a huge stock market crash was coming in the not too distant future.

Unfortunately, CNBC says that a new inversion of the yield curve could happen “by the end of this year”…

The bounce in Treasury yields witnessed after the election of Donald Trump is now decaying in the D.C. swamp. If the Federal Reserve continues to ignore this slow growth and deflationary signal from the bond market and continues along its current rate hiking path, the yield curve will invert by the end of this year and an equity market plunge and a recession is sure to follow.

An inverted yield curve, which has correctly predicted the last seven recessions going back to the late 1960’s, occurs when short-term interest rates yield more than longer-term rates. Why is an inverted yield curve so crucial in determining the direction of markets and the economy? Because when bank assets (longer-duration loans) generate less income than bank liabilities (short-term deposits), the incentive to make new loans dries up along with the money supply. And when asset bubbles are starved of that monetary fuel they burst. The severity of the recession depends on the intensity of the asset bubbles in existence prior to the inversion.

Another key indicator is the growth of commercial and industrial loans. According to Zero Hedge, this indicator has correctly foreshadowed every single recession since 1960…

While many “conventional” indicators of US economic vibrancy and strength have lost their informational and predictive value over the past decade (GDP fluctuates erratically especially in Q1, employment is the lowest this century yet real wage growth is non-existent, inflation remains under the Fed’s target despite its $4.5 trillion balance sheet and so on), one indicator has remained a stubbornly fail-safe marker of economic contraction: since the 1960, every time Commercial & Industrial loan balances have declined (or simply stopped growing), whether due to tighter loan supply or declining demand, a recession was already either in progress or would start soon.

So considering the fact that this indicator has been so accurate, it is extremely alarming that we could see our “first negative loan growth” since the last financial crisis “in roughly 4 to 6 weeks”

After growing at a 7% Y/Y pace at the start of the year, which declined to 3% at the end of March and 2.6% at the end of April, the latest bank loan update from the Fed showed that the annual rate of increase in C&A loans is now down to just 1.6%, – the lowest since 2011 – after slowing to 2.3% and 1.8% in the previous two weeks.

Should the current rate of loan growth deceleration persist – and there is nothing to suggest otherwise – the US will post its first negative loan growth, or rather loan contraction since the financial crisis, in roughly 4 to 6 weeks.

And when you throw in all of the other signs that the U.S. economy is slowing down, a very clear picture begins to emerge.

It has been said that those that do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.  As a society, we certainly didn’t learn much from the horrible financial disaster of 2008, and now so many of the exact same patterns are repeating once again.

An unprecedented financial crisis is most definitely heading our way, and the only thing left to be answered is how soon it will get here

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8592

Jun 07

Trump Is The Number One Topic On The Agenda Of The Bilderberg Group This Year

June 1, 2017 by Michael Snyder

The Bilderberg Group conference is being held less than 30 miles from the White House, and the number one subject on the official agenda this year is Donald Trump. The three day summit began on Thursday, and the Westfields Marriot in Chantilly, Virginia has essentially been transformed into an armed fortress in order to protect the 131 dignitaries that are attending. But unlike other gatherings of world leaders, the mainstream media won’t be telling us what is going on inside because reporters are banned.

These meetings are designed to be highly secretive, and for many years you were labeled a “conspiracy theorist” if you even suggested that the Bilderberg Group existed. Thanks to the relentless work of investigative journalists, we know a lot more about Bilderberg these days, and they have taken a few steps toward becoming more public. For example, they have published a list of the key topics that will be addressed at the summit this year. The following comes from the official Bilderberg Group website

  1. The Trump Administration: A progress report
  2. Trans-Atlantic relations: options and scenarios
  3. The Trans-Atlantic defence alliance: bullets, bytes and bucks
  4. The direction of the EU
  5. Can globalisation be slowed down?
  6. Jobs, income and unrealised expectations
  7. The war on information
  8. Why is populism growing?
  9. Russia in the international order
  10. The Near East
  11. Nuclear proliferation
  12. China
  13. Current events

As you can see, Donald Trump is at the top of the list. The elite consider Trump to be the biggest threat to globalization that they have confronted in a very long time, and most of them would love to see Trump removed from office somehow.

The eighth topic on the agenda is closely related to Trump. The elite talk about “populism” as if it is a bad thing, but aren’t our leaders supposed to be trying to do what is “popular” with the people? Isn’t that what democracy is supposed to be all about?

And what is the alternative? Are we just supposed to allow the elite to control both political parties and therefore control all political outcomes no matter what the people may want?

Point number nine is very interesting as well. The elite like to uses phrases such as “the international order” and “global governance” rather than phrases such as “world order” or “new world order”, but the meaning is the same. The ultimate goal is to merge the entire planet into a single global system, but right now nations such as Russia are a bit of a headache for the globalists.

Every year, some of the biggest names on the entire planet attend the Bilderberg Group meetings. The list of those that have attended previous conferences includes Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, George H.W. Bush, Prince Charles, David Cameron, Tony Blair, Henry Kissinger, Bill Gates, Angela Merkel, Ben Bernanke, Rick Perry, David Rockefeller and Joe Biden. But none of them ever talks publicly about what goes on at these meetings because they are instructed not to do so.

Needless to say, a number of the big names that will be attending this year will be absolutely furious that President Trump has just announced that the U.S. will be pulling out of the Paris climate agreement. Many Americans don’t even know that the Paris climate agreement is, but for the elite this is about as big as it gets. The Paris climate agreement was supposed to be a giant step forward toward globalization, and almost the entire planet was on board.

Now that Trump has decided to pull out of the agreement, criticism is coming in fast and furious from top leaders all over the globe

Before he even sat down, his predecessor Barack Obama launched an all-out assault, saying Trump ‘joins a small handful of nations that reject the future’.

The leaders of France, Germany and Italy said the decision was ‘regrettable’ and that the deal was ‘non-negotiable’.

Elon Musk, the Tesla billionaire, said he was quitting advising the White House, tweeting: ‘Leaving Paris is not good for America or the world.’

Incredibly, many Democratic politicians are already promising to defy President Trump. In fact, a number of mayor and governors have already pledged to continue to honor the agreement.

Out of everything that Trump has done so far, pulling out of the Paris climate agreement is going to be the thing that the elite hate the most. So as much as they wanted him gone before, now their hatred for him is going to go to a whole new level.

And we are already seeing this in just the first few hours after Trump’s announcement. For example, billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer says that what Trump has done is “a traitorous act of war against the American people”

Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer called President Trump a traitor if he makes good on his promise and exits the Paris climate change agreement.

“If Trump pulls the US out of the #ParisAgreement he will be committing a traitorous act of war against the American people,” Steyer tweeted.

Steyer was very active during the presidential campaign through his group, NextGen Climate, and has become a leading activist in an agenda that supports moving the nation toward 100 percent renewable energy over the next 25 years.

It is important to understand the mentality of these people. They literally believe that climate change is the greatest threat that humanity is facing, and that anyone that opposes their agenda is literally putting the future of the human race in peril.

Of course that is absolute nonsense. Carbon dioxide is a life-giving gas, and without it all life on our planet would cease to exist. Scientists tell us that life absolutely thrived when levels of carbon dioxide were much, much higher in the ancient past than they are today. In fact, some scientists point to evidence that levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were once four times higher than they are right now.

Humanity is certainly facing a lot of threats, but carbon dioxide is not one of them. But to the true believers, the facts don’t really matter. Despite a mountain of contrary evidence, they are convinced that carbon dioxide is the primary cause of climate change, and that warming temperatures could ultimately wipe out the human race.

And since Donald Trump is standing in the way of their agenda, he is now enemy number one, and they are going to do all that they can to get rid of him.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8576

Feb 22

This Week The ‘Arch Of Baal’ Was Displayed For The Third Time In Honor Of ‘The World Government Summit’

By Michael Snyder, on February 16th, 2017

Did you know that 4,000 world leaders from 130 different countries gathered in Dubai this week for the World Government Summit? It was held from February 12th to February 14th, and it featured more than 100 internationally-known speakers including UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, Christine Lagarde and Elon Musk. If you would like to know more about this shadowy group, you can visit the official website right here. The first World Government Summit was held back in 2013, and that one was actually attended by Barack Obama. Unfortunately the mainstream media in the United States was almost entirely silent about this summit, so most of us in the western world didn’t even hear about it.

To honor the spirit of this summit, a reconstructed version of Palmyra’s Arch Of Triumph (also known as the Monumental Arch) was erected in Dubai. Previously it had been put up in London and New York City for brief periods of time, and so this marked only the third time that it has been displayed. The following comes from Breaking Israel News

A replica of a Roman arch that once stood in front of the pagan Temple of Ba’al was erected for the World Government Summit in Dubai this week, creating a scene that one rabbi claims symbolizes the dangerous fusion of Ishmael and Edom against Israel.

The original Roman Victory Arch stood for 1,800 years in Palmyra, Syria, until it was destroyed by ISIS in October 2015. A full-size 28-meter tall replica of the arch was created last year by the Institute for Digital Archeology, a joint project of Oxford and Harvard universities, and has been displayed twice before.

The replica was erected for the opening of the World Government Summit that opened on Sunday in Dubai.

In ancient Palmyra, the Arch of Triumph connected the main street of the Colonnade with the Temple of Bel. If ordinary people of the time wanted to visit the Temple of Bel, they would pass through this arch. And once they were done, the would pass through this arch again on their way out.

And of course “Bel” and “Baal” are synonymous, and both titles can be traced all the way back to ancient Babylon and a very evil ruler named Nimrod. The following is an extended excerpt from one of my previous articles

In a previous article, I included a quote from Wikipedia that discusses how “Bel” is an ancient Babylonian term for “Lord” or “Master”, and that “Baal” comes from that original root word…

Bel (/ˈbeɪl/; from Akkadian bēlu), signifying “lord” or “master”, is a title rather than a genuine name, applied to various gods in the Mesopotamian religion of Akkad, Assyria and Babylonia. The feminine form is Belit ‘Lady, Mistress’. Bel is represented in Greek as Belos and in Latin as Belus. Linguistically Bel is an East Semitic form cognate with Northwest Semitic Baal with the same meaning.

The title of “Bel” or “Baal” seems to have originally been used primarily for the Babylonian god Marduk. Here is more from Wikipedia

Bel became especially used of the Babylonian god Marduk and when found in Assyrian and neo-Babylonian personal names or mentioned in inscriptions in a Mesopotamian context it can usually be taken as referring to Marduk and no other god. Similarly Belit without some disambiguation mostly refers to Bel Marduk’s spouse Sarpanit. However Marduk’s mother, the Sumerian goddess called Ninhursag, Damkina, Ninmah and other names in Sumerian, was often known as Belit-ili ‘Lady of the Gods’ in Akkadian.

So where did “Marduk” come from?

Well, many scholars have traced the worship of Marduk all the way back to the historical figure of Nimrod

Traditionally the Tower of Babel event has been associated with Nimrod, and Jewish commentaries as well as the Jewish historian Josephus both seem very emphatic on this point. Regarding the Sumerian name Enmer-kar, the suffix “kar” means “hunter,” and so “Enmer-kar” is in fact “Enmer the Hunter,” just as Nimrod is referred to as the “Mighty Hunter” in Genesis 10. Furthermore, Enmerkar is named on the Sumerian King List as “the one who built Uruk,” just as Nimrod is described in Genesis 10:10 as having a kingdom that began in “Babel (Eridu) and Erech (Uruk)… in the land of Shinar.” After Enmerkar’s death he became honored in Sumerian myth as the semi-divine hero Ninurta, and eventually this cult evolved into the great cult of Marduk, which became the state religion of Babylon after the conquests and religious innovations of Hammurabi.

Are you starting to see how everything fits together?

And Nimrod was the great king of the very first “world government” in the post-flood world. The following is what Genesis 10:8-12 says in the Modern English Version

8 Cush was the father of Nimrod. He became a mighty one on the earth. 9 He was a mighty hunter before the Lord. Therefore it is said, “Even like Nimrod the mighty hunter before the Lord.” 10 The beginning of his kingdom was Babel, Uruk, Akkad, and Kalneh in the land of Shinar. 11 From that land he went to Assyria and built Nineveh, the city Rehoboth Ir, and Calah, 12 and Resen between Nineveh and Calah (that is the principal city).

So it seems more than a little bit strange that an arch with links to Nimrod has been erected to honor a summit devoted to the promotion of “world government” in our day.

It has been said that if we do not understand history we are doomed to repeat it. Nimrod’s world government in ancient times attempted to push God out of the picture, and the same thing is true with the globalists of today.

The globalists dream of a utopia where humanity has been united under a one world government, a one world economy and a one world religion. Donald Trump stands opposed to this twisted dream, and that is why the globalists hate him so much.

And the globalists understand the power of symbols very well. The erecting of this arch in Dubai at the exact same time the “World Government Summit” was being held sends a very powerful message.

Even though Donald Trump is now the president of the United States, the globalists are far from defeated, and if they have their way all of humanity will soon be within their ruthless grip.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8350

Feb 13

Recession 2017? Things Are Happening That Usually Never Happen Unless A New Recession Is Beginning

By Michael Snyder, on February 8th, 2017

Is the U.S. economy about to get slammed by a major recession?  According to Gallup, U.S. economic confidence has soared to the highest level ever recorded, but meanwhile a whole host of key economic indicators are absolutely screaming that a new recession is beginning.  And if the U.S. economy does officially enter recession territory in 2017, it certainly won’t be a shock, because the truth is that we are well overdue for one.  Donald Trump has inherited quite an economic mess from Barack Obama, and it was probably inevitable that we were headed for a significant economic downturn no matter who won the election.

One of the key indicators to watch is average weekly hours.  When the economy shifts into recession mode, employers tend to start cutting back hours, and that is happening right now.  In fact, as Graham Summers has pointed out, we just witnessed the largest percentage decline in average weekly hours since the recession of 2008…

In addition to the decline in hours, Summers has suggested that there are a number of other reasons to believe that a new recession is here…

The fact is that the GDP growth of 4%-5% is not just around the corner. The US most likely slid into recession in the last three months. GDP growth collapsed in 4Q16, with a large portion of the “growth” coming from accounting gimmicks.

Consider the following:

  • Tax receipts indicate the US is in recession.
  • Gross private domestic investment indicates were are in a recession.
  • Retailers are showing that the US consumer is tapped out (see AMZN’s recent miss).
  • UPS, another economic bellweather, dramatically lowered 2017 forecasts.

To me, even more alarming is the tightening of lending standards.  In our debt-based economy, the flow of credit is absolutely critical to economic growth, and when credit starts to get tight that almost always leads to a recession.

So the fact that lending standards have now tightened for medium and large sized firms for six quarters in a row is very bad news.  The following comes from Business Insider

“Although modest over the past couple of quarters, it is still worth noting that this is now the sixth quarter in succession that standards have tightened for large and medium sized firms,” Deutsche Bank economist Jim Reid wrote in a research note to clients.

“This usually only happens in recessions.”

Reid is 100 percent correct on this point.  This is precisely the kind of thing that we would expect to see if a new recession was beginning, and if this trend continues it is hard to imagine that the U.S. economy will be able to continue to grow.

And it is interesting to note that job growth at S&P 500 companies has gone negative for the first time since the last recession, and so large firms are definitely starting to feel the pressure.

Simultaneously, lending standards are also tightening up for consumers

“The most notable tightening in standards though was in consumer loans,” the Fed said. “During the quarter, banks reported an 8.3% net tightening in credit standards for credit cards and 11.6% net tightening for auto loans.”

US consumer spending accounts for more than two-thirds of economic activity and is thus a key driver of growth in the world’s largest economy.

Those numbers for credit cards and auto loans are major red flags.

It is very simple.  Tighter credit means less economic activity which means slower economic growth.  The U.S. economy grew at a dismal 1.9 percent annual rate during the 4th quarter of 2016, and it would be absolutely no surprise if we end up with a negative number for the first quarter of 2017.

One of the big reasons why lending standards are tightening is because bankruptcies are rising.

As I reported the other day, consumer bankruptcies just rose on a year-over-year basis in back to back months for the first time in almost seven years.  Commercial bankruptcies had already been rising on a year-over-year basis throughout 2016, and so the fact that consumer bankruptcies have now joined the party is a very bad sign.

And we have also just learned that real median household income declined in 2016

Its official! The spectacular Obama/Fed “recovery” produced no increase in real medin household income in 2016 (the last year of Obama’s reign of [economic] error). In fact, real median annual household income in December 2016 ($57,827) was 0.9 percent lower than in December 2015 ($58,356).

Yes, I understand that there is a tremendous amount of optimism out there right now because of Donald Trump.

But the truth is that it is literally going to take some sort of an economic miracle to avoid a recession.

And if a recession is going to happen anyway, the Trump administration should want it to occur as quickly as possible.

You see, if a recession starts a year from now, it will be much more difficult for Trump to blame it on Obama.  But if a recession starts right now, he will definitely be able to argue that it happened because of the mess that he inherited from the last administration.

In addition, the sooner the next recession ends the sooner the next recovery can begin.  If a recession is still going on during the 2020 campaign, that would be really bad for Trump, but if a recovery is well underway by then that would be really good for his chances.

If you doubt this, just go back and look at the 1984 campaign.  After a very difficult recession, the U.S. economy bounced back strongly and Ronald Reagan was able to ride that momentum to an easy victory.

So this may sound very strange to many of you, but the truth is that if a new recession is coming Trump supporters should want it to happen as rapidly as possible.

Unfortunately, once a new recession begins it may not play out like recessions normally do.  The U.S. government is 20 trillion dollars in debt, we are in the midst of one of the biggest stock market bubbles in history, and our planet is becoming more unstable with each passing day.  So even though Trump is in the White House and Obama is gone, let there be no doubt that a catastrophic economic crisis could literally erupt at any moment.  I continue to encourage my readers to do all that they can to get prepared, because those that are prepared in advance will have the best chance of successfully getting through what is coming.

Unfortunately, a lot of people out there seem to believe that all of our problems have somehow evaporated just because Donald Trump is now living in the White House.

That is simply not true, and we all need to be praying for guidance and wisdom for Trump and his team as they prepare to deal with the great challenges that are ahead for our nation.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8337

Jan 30

Trump’s next target: The U.N.

President prepares executive orders to cut U.S. funding of global body

Published: 17 hours ago

Two executive orders currently being prepared by the Trump administration promise to reduce the U.S. role in the United Nations by dramatically cutting funding and potentially abrogating certain multilateral treaties.

The first draft order released Wednesday – titled “Auditing and Reducing U.S. Funding of International Organizations” – lays out criteria for cutting off total funding to certain U.N. agencies and other international bodies, reported the New York Times.

Those seeing their access to U.S. tax dollars terminated include groups giving full membership to the Palestinian Authority or the Palestine Liberation Organization, organizations that fund abortion or are involved in activities that violate sanctions against North Korea or Iran. Any group “controlled or substantially influenced by any state that sponsors terrorism” or carries out persecution of marginalized groups is also covered.

In addition to terminating U.S. funding of agencies meeting these criteria, the Trump order calls for “at least a 40 percent overall decrease” in financial support for international organizations.

U.S. funding currently makes up 22 percent of the U.N.’s annual operating budget and close to 30 percent of the much larger peacekeeping budget – a $3 billion hit on U.S. taxpayers. That far exceeds the combined $2.5 billion paid by China, Russia, Britain and France – the other four permanent Security Council members. Indeed, the U.S. contributes more than 185 countries combined.

The second order, titled “Moratorium on New Multilateral Treaties,” calls for evaluation of all current and pending treaties between the U.S. and more than one nation to identify those from which the U.S. should withdraw. Treaties “directly related to national security, extradition or international trade” are exempt from review.

Two U.N. treaties were explicitly mentioned in a White House release: the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Previously, Trump has criticized the Paris climate agreement, but since it includes trade language, it’s unclear if the present order covers it.

As WND reported this week, Congress is considering a plan that would accomplish several anti-U.N. objectives: remove the U.S. from the U.N., ban any continued financial support, bar American military members from serving under U.N. command and remove the diplomatic immunity of U.N. officials.

The bill is the American Sovereignty Restoration Act of 2016, H.R. 193, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala.

According to the congressional description, it would repeal “the United Nations Participation Act of 1945 and other specified related laws.”

“The bill requires: (1) the president to terminate U.S. membership in the United Nations (U.N.), including any organ, specialized agency, commission, or other formally affiliated body; and (2) closure of the U.S. Mission to the United Nations,” it explains.

“The bill prohibits: (1) the authorization of funds for the U.S. assessed or voluntary contribution to the U.N., (2) the authorization of funds for any U.S. contribution to any U.N. military or peacekeeping operation, (3) the expenditure of funds to support the participation of U.S. Armed Forces as part of any U.N. military or peacekeeping operation, (4) U.S. Armed Forces from serving under U.N. command, and (5) diplomatic immunity for U.N. officers or employees.”

WND has reported on the call for the U.S. to defund — and even exit — the U.N. by political, religious and other influential leaders from both the left and the right.

The calls for defunding began when the Obama administration refused to use its veto power to block the U.N. Security Council’s Dec. 24 resolution condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

Rick Santorum, who served in the Senate the last time the U.S. refused to pay its dues in full, told the Washington Post the crisis in U.S.-U.N. relations brought about by the Obama administration’s betrayal of Israel was the perfect opportunity to dismantle the U.N. completely.

“This has opened up the opportunity for those of us who are very anti-U.N., who think the it has passed its prime, it’s not serving any really good purpose, it’s not helping legitimate governments around the world and it’s outlived its usefulness,” he said. “To the extent we can deconstruct it, the better.”

David Greenfield at FrontPage Magazine pointed out that for its money, the U.S. gets a U.N. email system that was “used to distribute child pornography … U.N. staff members have smuggled drugs, attacked each other with knives and pool cues, not to mention a tractor.”

Defunding is “something that we and every sane country should have done decades ago,” he wrote.

“If you give money to the U.N., it will end up anywhere and everywhere except where it’s supposed to go. But defunding the U.N. isn’t enough. There is no reason for us to remain there at all.”

He finished: “We should defund and withdraw. … The billions we waste on the U.N. will go toward taking care of our people. And once we are free of the U.N., we will actually be able to promote real human rights instead of pandering to the dictators and Islamists of the United Nations.”

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8319

Dec 08

Israel Will Require All Citizens to be Biometrically Scanned

December 01, 2016

Israel to Require Citizens to Have Biometric Mark

 (JERUSALEM) For years, Bible prophecy teachers have warned about a last days attempt to place a mark on every individual, in fulfillment of foretellings from the book of Revelation in the New Testament, but will it be the Holy Land of Israel itself that will be the forerunner to implement ‘The Mark of the Beast’?

The Jersusalem Post has reported that the Interior Ministry has decided to push to make joining the national biometric database, including taking finger prints and facial recognition pictures, a requirement for all identity cards going forward.

There has been a backlash from a group called The Movement for Digital Rights.  They oppose the required ‘mark’ on the grounds that it invades privacy, and also opens individuals up to cyber-hacking in the future.

In 2009, the Israeli Knesset enacted the ” Inclusion of Biometric Means of Identification in Identity Documents and in an Information Database Law”, 5770-2009 (the Biometric Database Law).

The law establishes arrangements to enable identification and authentication of Israeli residents by means of including biometric data in identification documents, in a manner that will prevent forgery and the use of a different identity.

The law regulates the establishment of a biometric database, which will be managed by a dedicated and separate authority:  the Biometric Database Management Authority, and in which the biometric information will be kept in a secure and encrypted manner, separate from any other communication network, and in particular from the Population Registry. The database will not include any identifying information of the residents of Israel.

According to the law,  smart documentation – ID cards and travel documents – will  include the following biometric means and data: an image of the facial features and images of the fingerprints of both forefingers, which are means of identification intended of preventing fraud and identity theft.

The smart documentation, which includes many overt and covert security measures that cannot be forged, will provide its holder with personal security and peace of mind against document forging and against identity theft and impersonation. Other benefits include:

The smart ID card will allow its holders, should they wish to do so, to safely identify themselves online from home and save significant time and hassle when obtaining government services from government websites using a personal password (for electronic identity authentication).

The smart ID card will allow the use of certified electronic signature for those who choose it.

The new passport is at the global forefront of using sophisticated anti-counterfeit measures and is designed according to the standard of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) under the auspices of the UN.  More than one hundred countries are already issuing passports and smart electronic travel documents under this standard. The technology embedded in the new passport will enable faster travel at airports and at border crossings in Israel and in the world and will facilitate the process of border control.

How will proponents of Israel as the centerpiece of Bible prophecy respond to this news that the Holy Land may actually be the first nation to require a mark?  How can Israel be God’s favored nation and implement the anti-God forerunner to ‘The Mark of the Beast’?  Will Evangelical leaders call out Israel for this, or will they continue to blatantly ignore other actions, such as celebrations of homosexuality, and their apparent connections to ISIS?

Revelation 13:16-18 – Also it causes all, both small and great, both rich and poor, both free and slave, to be marked on the right hand or the forehead, so that no one can buy or sell unless he has the mark, that is, the name of the beast or the number of its name. This calls for wisdom: let the one who has understanding calculate the number of the beast, for it is the number of a man, and his number is 666

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8250

Nov 16

The Election Of Donald Trump Is Already Having An Enormous Impact On The Economy

By Michael Snyder, on November 14th, 2016

The election of Donald Trump has sent shockwaves through the U.S. economy and the U.S. financial system.  Since November 8th, the Dow has hit a brand new all-time record high, the U.S. dollar has strengthened greatly, and bank stocks are way up.  But not all of the economic news is good news.  Unlike stocks, bonds have reacted very negatively to Trump’s election victory.  The past week has been an absolute bloodbath for bond traders, and as you will see below this is going to have dramatic implications for all U.S. consumers moving forward.

Over just a two day period, more than a trillion dollars was wiped out as bond yields spiked all over the globe.  As CNN has noted, this type of “violent reaction” in the bond market has only happened three other times within the past ten years…

The rate on 10-year Treasury notes has surged to 2.3%, from 1.77% before the election. Last week’s spike in Treasury rates was so big, that it had only happened three times before in the last decade.

BlackRock’s Russ Koesterich called it a “violent reaction.”

The move stands to have broad repercussions for all Americans. Not only will the U.S. government have to pay more to borrow money, but mortgage rates and car loan costs should also rise. That’s because Treasuries are used as the benchmark for many other forms of credit.

As interest rates rise, virtually everyone in our society is going to feel the pain.

Those that need an auto loan in order to purchase a vehicle are going to find that loan payments are significantly higher than they were before.

Credit card rates will also go up, and those just getting out of school will discover that their student loan payments are even more suffocating.

But the biggest impact will be felt in the housing market.  The average rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage just hit the psychologically-important 4 percent barrier, and that could mean big trouble for the housing market in 2017

The average contract rate on the popular 30-year fixed mortgage hit 4 percent, according to Mortgage News Daily, a level most didn’t expect to see until the middle of next year. Rates have now moved nearly a half a percentage point higher since Donald Trump was elected president.

“The situation on the ground is panicked. Damage control,” said Matthew Graham, chief operating officer of Mortgage News Daily. “People were trying to lock loans quickly last week and are now facing a tough choice to lock today or hope for a bounce. Many hoped for a bounce last week heading into the long weekend and we obviously didn’t get it.”

Rising interest rates was one of the key factors that precipitated the financial crisis of 2008, and many fear that it could happen again.

And without a doubt, this rise in rates is going to affect the affordability of homes that are already on the market

“If you’re going to buy a house and your mortgage payment went up by $200 or $300, you may buy a smaller house. There’s impact on interest rate sensitive sectors, like autos and housing, and also corporate bonds themselves, where financial engineering has helped juice up the equity market,” said George Goncalves, head of rate strategy at Nomura.

In addition, rising rates will make it more difficult for those with adjustable rate mortgages to keep their homes.  Foreclosure activity was already up 27 percent during the month of October, and many are projecting that we could see another giant spike in foreclosures during the months ahead that is similar to what we saw during the last financial crisis.

Many Trump supporters don’t really care what the rest of the world thinks of our new president, but this is an area where what the rest of the world thinks really, really matters.

The truth is that the rest of the planet is not all too fond of Trump, and if that makes them a lot less eager to lend us money that is a major problem.

The only way that we can maintain our massively inflated debt-fueled standard of living is to continue to borrow gigantic mountains of money from the rest of the world at ultra-low interest rates.

If the rest of the world starts demanding higher rates of return now that Trump is president, we are going to experience economic pain on a scale that most Americans don’t believe is possible.

One of our big lenders has been China, and right now they are deeply concerned about what a Trump presidency might mean.  Trump has talked very tough about trade with China, and the Chinese are gearing up for a major trade war.  The following comes from CNBC

During his election campaign this year, Trump spoke of a 45 percent import tariff on all Chinese goods while failing to outline how it would work. Should any such policy come into effect, China will take a “tit-for-tat approach”, according to an opinion piece in the Global Times, a newspaper backed by the Communist party.

“A batch of Boeing orders will be replaced by Airbus. U.S. auto and iPhone sales in China will suffer a setback, and U.S. soybean and maize imports will be halted. China can also limit the number of Chinese students studying in the U.S.,” the Global Times article read.

Most Trump supporters assume that since Trump has been a very successful businessman that he will be able to strengthen the U.S. economy.

But it isn’t that simple.

The only reason we are able to live the way that we live today is because we have been able to borrow trillions upon trillions of dollars at irrationally low interest rates.

The moment the rest of the world decides that they are not going to loan us money at irrationally low interest rates any longer the game is over, and it won’t really matter who is in the White House at that point.

So watch interest rates very carefully.  If they keep going up, it is inevitable that a major economic slowdown will follow no matter what economic policies the new Trump administration implements.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8222

Oct 12

During The Coming Economic Crisis Two-Thirds Of The Country Will Be Out Of Cash Almost Immediately

By Michael Snyder, on October 10th, 2016

Did you know that almost 70 percent of the U.S. population is essentially living paycheck to paycheck?  As you will see below, a brand new survey has found that 69 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings.  Of course one of the primary reasons for this is that most of us are absolutely drowning in debt.  In fact, the total amount of household debt in the United States now exceeds 12 trillion dollars.  So many Americans are so busy just trying to pay off their existing debts that they can’t even think about saving anything for the future.  If economic conditions remain relatively stable, the fact that so many of us are living on the edge probably won’t kill us.  But the moment the economy plunges into another 2008-style crisis (or worse), we could be facing a situation where two-thirds of the country is in imminent danger of running out of cash.

If you are living paycheck to paycheck, you live under the constant threat of your life being totally turned upside down if that paycheck ever goes away.  During the last crisis, millions of Americans lost their jobs very rapidly, and because so many of them were living paycheck to paycheck all of a sudden large numbers of people couldn’t pay their mortgages.  As a result, multitudes of American families went through the extremely painful process of foreclosure.

Unfortunately, it appears that we have not learned anything from the last go around.  According to the brand new survey that I mentioned above, 69 percent of all Americans have less than $1,000 in savings…

Last year, GoBankingRates surveyed more than 5,000 Americans only to uncover that 62% of them had less than $1,000 in savings. Last month GoBankingRates again posed the question to Americans of how much they had in their savings account, only this time it asked 7,052 people. The result? Nearly seven in 10 Americans (69%) had less than $1,000 in their savings account.

Breaking the survey data down a bit further, we find that 34% of Americans don’t have a dime in their savings account, while another 35% have less than $1,000. Of the remaining survey-takers, 11% have between $1,000 and $4,999, 4% have between $5,000 and $9,999, and 15% have more than $10,000.

Perhaps the most alarming fact from this survey is that 62 percent of all Americans had less than $1,000 in savings last year.  So that means that this number has gotten 7 percent worse over the last 12 months.

How did that happen?  I thought the mainstream media was telling us that the economy was getting better…

Look, if you don’t have an emergency fund you are in danger of losing everything.  This is a point that I have been making over and over again for years, and in an article about this new survey USA Today made this point very strongly as well…

This data is particularly worrisome since the recommendation is for Americans to have six months in expenses saved in case of an emergency, such as a large medical expense, car repair bill, or losing your job. Without this emergency fund to fall back on, millions of Americans could be risking financial disaster.

As the publisher of The Economic Collapse Blog, people are constantly asking me what they should do to get prepared for what is coming.

The number one thing that I always suggest is to build up an emergency fund.

In a chaotic situation it is always hard to anticipate accurately what is going to happen, but without a doubt we are all going to need to continue to pay our bills and to buy things for our families during the next crisis.

Yes, someday the U.S. dollar will become rather worthless, but until that happens you are going to need to continue to put a roof over the heads of your family and to put food on the table.

And you are going to need money to do those things.

Some time ago, the Federal Reserve also found that a large percentage of Americans are living on the edge of financial disaster.  They discovered that 47 percent of all Americans could not even come up with $400 to pay for an unexpected emergency room visit without borrowing the money or selling something that they own.

If you can’t even come up with $400 you are really hurting, but that is the status of about half the country these days.

We are continually being told that the economy is strong, but that is simply not the truth.

In fact, it turns out that the period from 2005 to 2015 was the worst period for per capita real GDP growth in modern American history.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

  1. Growth was unusually strong in the 1960s and early 1970s. In every year from 1966 through 1973, per-capita income was up between 30 percent and 40 percent from a decade earlier. Thus, it’s not surprising that many Americans recall this as a great period for the nation’s economy.
  2. In every year from 1984 to 2007 — a period that economists call the Great Moderation, because of the way both growth and interest rates stabilized — per-person income was up between 20 percent and 30 percent from a decade earlier. That’s ample reason for Americans to view this as a good period for the economy.
  3. Cumulative per-person growth from 2005 to 2015 was lower than in any prior decade in the sample. That certainly helps explain why many Americans are unhappy with the nation’s recent economic performance.

And as I repeat over and over, Barack Obama is on track to be the one and only president in all of American history to never have a single year when the economy grew by at least 3 percent, and he has had eight years to try to accomplish that feat.

Why doesn’t Donald Trump ever bring up that amazing fact?  I would think that he could get a lot of mileage out of that number.

At this point, nobody can deny that the middle class is shrinking.  61 percent of all Americans lived in middle class households in 1971, but now the middle class makes up a minority of the population for the very first time in our history.

Back in 1970, the middle class brought home approximately 62 percent of all income, but today that figure has plummeted to just 43 percent.

Those that are still doing well often dismiss those that are struggling by barking out such phrases as “get a job”, but the truth is that getting a good job is not so easy these days.

The most recent statistics show that there are 7.9 million Americans that are considered to be officially unemployed.  When you add that number to the 94.1 million working age Americans that are considered to be “not in the labor force”, you get a grand total of 102 million working age Americans that do not have a job right now.

And just because you do have a job does not mean that everything is okay.  As I have discussed previously, 51 percent of all U.S. workers make less than $30,000 a year according to the Social Security Administration.

Everywhere you look things seem to be getting worse and not better.  Not too long ago I documented the explosion of tent cities all over the country as poverty continues to rise, and I discussed how one study found that some young women in our impoverished inner cities are so desperate that they are actually trading sex for food.

Sadly, it isn’t just a few hard cases that we are talking about.  Even in areas of the country that are supposed to be “doing well” we are seeing record-setting poverty numbers.  For example, it was recently reported that the number of New Yorkers sleeping in homeless shelters just set a brand new all-time high, and the number of New York families permanently living in homeless shelters is up 60 percent over the past five years.

If things are this bad during an “economic recovery”, what are they going to look like once the economy really starts imploding?

And considering the fact that almost 70 percent of the population has virtually no savings, could our nation handle an extended economic downturn that may be even worse than what we experienced in 2008 and 2009?

As a nation we truly are living on the edge, and it isn’t going to take very much at all to push us into oblivion.

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8167

Oct 05

Deutsche Bank Collapse: The Most Important Bank In Europe Is Facing A Major ‘Liquidity Event’

By Michael Snyder, on September 30th, 2016

The largest and most important bank in the largest and most important economy in Europe is imploding right in front of our eyes.  Deutsche Bank is the 11th biggest bank on the entire planet, and due to the enormous exposure to derivatives that it has, it has been called “the world’s most dangerous bank“.  Over the past year, I have repeatedly warned that Deutsche Bank is heading for disaster and is a likely candidate to be “the next Lehman Brothers”.  If you would like to review, you can do so here, here and here.  On September 16th, the Wall Street Journal reported that the U.S. Department of Justice wanted 14 billion dollars from Deutsche Bank to settle a case related to the mis-handling of mortgage-backed securities during the last financial crisis.  As a result of that announcement, confidence in the bank has been greatly shaken, the stock price has fallen to record lows, and analysts are warning that Deutsche Bank may be facing a “liquidity event” unlike anything that we have seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers back in 2008.

At one point on Friday, Deutsche Bank stock fell below the 10 euro mark for the first time ever before bouncing back a bit.  A completely unverified rumor that was spreading on Twitter that claimed that Deutsche Bank would settle with the Department of Justice for only 5.4 billion dollars was the reason for the bounce.

But the size of the fine is not really the issue now.  Shares of Deutsche Bank have fallen by more than half so far in 2016, and this latest episode seems to have been the final straw for the deeply troubled financial institution.  Old sources of liquidity are being cut off, and nobody wants to be the idiot that offers Deutsche Bank a new source of liquidity at this point.

As a result, Deutsche Bank is potentially facing a “liquidity event” on a scale that we have not seen since the financial crisis of 2008.  The following comes from Zero Hedge

It is not solvency, or the lack of capital – a vague, synthetic, and usually quite arbitrary concept, determined by regulators – that kills a bank; it is – as Dick Fuld will tell anyone who bothers to listen – the loss of (access to) liquidity: cold, hard, fungible (something Jon Corzine knew all too well when he commingled and was caught) cash, that pushes a bank into its grave, usually quite rapidly: recall that it took Lehman just a few days for its stock to plunge from the high double digits to zero.

It is also liquidity, or rather concerns about it, that sent Deutsche Bank stock crashing to new all time lows earlier today: after all, the investing world already knew for nearly two weeks that its capitalization is insufficient. As we reported earlier this week, it was a report by Citigroup, among many other, that found how badly undercapitalized the German lender is, noting that DB’s “leverage ratio, at 3.4%, looks even worse relative to the 4.5% company target by 2018″ and calculated that while he only models €2.9bn in litigation charges over 2H16-2017 – far less than the $14 billion settlement figure proposed by the DOJ – and includes a successful disposal of a 70% stake in Postbank at end-2017 for 0.4x book he still only reaches a CET 1 ratio of 11.6% by end-2018, meaning the bank would have a Tier 1 capital €3bn shortfall to the company target of 12.5%, and a leverage ratio of 3.9%, resulting in an €8bn shortfall to the target of 4.5%.

The more the stock price drops, the faster other financial institutions, investors and regular banking clients are going to want to pull their money out of Deutsche Bank.  And every time there is news about people pulling money out of the bank, that is just going to drive the stock price even lower.

In other words, Deutsche Bank may be entering a death spiral that may be impossible to stop without a government bailout, and the German government has already stated that there will be no bailout for Deutsche Bank.

Banking customers have a total of approximately 566 billion euros deposited with the bank, and even if a small fraction of those clients start demanding their money back it is going to cause a major, major crunch.

Deutsche Bank CEO John Cryan attempted to calm nerves on Friday by releasing a memo to employees that blamed “speculators” for the decline in the stock price

Instead of doing what many have correctly suggested he should be doing, namely focusing on ways to raise more capital for the undercapitalized Deutsche Bank in order to stem the slow (at first) liquidity leak, first thing this morning CEO John Cryan issued another morale-boosting note to employees of Deustche Bank who have been watching their stock price crash to another record low, dipping under €10 in early trading for the first time ever. In the memo the embattled CEO worryingly did what Dick Fuld and other chief executives did when they felt the situation slipping out of control, namely blaming evil “rumor-spreading” shorts, saying “our bank has become subject to speculation. Ongoing rumours are causing significant swings in our stock price. … Trust is the foundation of banking. Some forces in the markets are currently trying to damage this trust.

Just as important, Cryan confirms the Bloomberg report that “a few of our hedge fund clients have reduced some activities with us. That is causing unjustified concerns.” As we explained last night, the concerns are very much justified if they spread to the biggest risk-factor for the German bank: its depositors, which collectively hold over €550 billion in liquidity-providing instruments.

If you would like to ready the full memo, you can do so right here.

One of the reasons why Deutsche Bank is considered to be so systemically “dangerous” is because it has 42 trillion euros worth of exposure to derivatives.  That is an amount of money that is 14 times larger than the GDP of the entire nation of Germany.

Some firms that were derivatives clients of the bank have already gotten spooked and have moved their business to other institutions.  It was this report from Bloomberg that really helped drive down the stock price of Deutsche Bank earlier this week…

The funds, a small subset of the more than 800 clients in the bank’s hedge fund business, have shifted part of their listed derivatives holdings to other firms this week, according to an internal bank document seen by Bloomberg News. Among them are Izzy Englander’s $34 billion Millennium Partners, Chris Rokos’s $4 billion Rokos Capital Management, and the $14 billion Capula Investment Management, said a person with knowledge of the situation who declined to be identified talking about confidential client matters.

“The issue here is now one of confidence,” said Chris Wheeler, a financial analyst with Atlantic Equities LLP in London.

So what comes next?

Monday is a banking holiday for Germany, so we may not see anything major happen until Tuesday.

An announcement of a major reduction in the Department of Justice fine may buy Deutsche Bank some time, but any reprieve would likely only be temporary.

What appears to be more likely is the scenario that Jeffrey Gundlach is suggesting

But Jeffrey Gundlach, chief executive of DoubleLine Capital, said investors betting that Berlin would not rescue Deutsche could find themselves nursing big losses.

The market is going to push down Deutsche Bank until there is some recognition of support. They will get assistance, if need be,’ said Gundlach, who oversees more than $100 billion at Los Angeles-based DoubleLine.

It will be very interesting to see how desperate things become before the German government finally gives in to the pressure.

The complete and total collapse of Deutsche Bank would be an event many times more significant for the global financial system than the collapse of Lehman Brothers was.  Global leaders simply cannot afford for such a thing to happen, but without serious intervention it appears that is precisely where we are heading.

Personally, I don’t know exactly what will happen next, but it will be fascinating to watch

Permanent link to this article: http://discerningthetimes.me/?p=8158

Older posts «