Billionare Tells Americans to Prepare For ‘Financial Ruin’

Billionaire Tells Americans to Prepare For ‘Financial Ruin’ (Source newsmax.com) The United States could soon become a large-scale Spain or Greece, teetering on the edge of financial ruin. That’s according to Donald Trump, who painted a very ugly picture of where this country is headed. Trump made the comments during a recent appearance on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren.” According to Trump, the United States is no longer a rich country. “When you’re not rich, you have to go out and borrow money. We’re borrowing from the Chinese and others. We’re up to $16 trillion in debt.” He goes on to point out that the downgrade of U.S. debt is inevitable. “We are going up to $16 trillion [in debt] very soon, and it’s going to be a lot higher than that before he gets finished. When you have [debt] in the $21-$22 trillion, you are talking about a downgrade no matter how you cut it.”
Ballooning debt and a credit downgrade aren’t Trump’s only worries for this country. He says that the official unemployment rate “isn’t a real number” and that the real figure is closer to 15 percent to 16 percent. He even mentioned that some believe the unemployment rate to be as high as 21 percent. “Right now, frankly, the country isn’t doing well,” Trump added, “Recession may be a nice word.”
While 15 percent to 16 percent unemployment, a looming credit downgrade, and ballooning debt are a bleak outlook for the United States, they are hardly as alarming as the scenario laid out by another economist. Without earning celebrity status or having his own television show, Robert Wiedemer did something else that grabbed headlines across the country: He accurately predicted the economic collapse that almost sank the United States. In 2006, Wiedemer and a team of economists foresaw the coming collapse of the U.S. housing market, equity markets, private debt, and consumer spending, and published their findings in the book America’s Bubble Economy.

US businesses and consumers could be the ‘prisoners’ of Trump’s trade

US businesses and consumers could be the ‘prisoners’ of Trump’s trade fight with China (Source Business Insider)

The Trump administration vowed last week to slap a 25% tariff on $50 billion worth of Chinese goods, prompting a tit-for-tat response from Beijing. Trump went on to threaten additional rounds of tariffs that could affect $400 billion worth of products, an amount approaching the $505 billion of goods that Chinese ships to the US. And it’s unlikely major American consumer products could be shielded at that level of tariffs, according to a team of Deutsche Bank economists led by Brett Ryan, who wrote in a note that “US businesses and consumers will be the prisoners of the latest dilemma.”

Economists say targeting almost all Chinese imports would likely deliver a blow to the affordability of products near-and-dear to American consumers. Cell phones are the largest category of Chinese exports to the US by dollar value, followed by tablets and laptops. The two sectors combined represent more than $80 billion worth of imports.

“It is likely that sourcing these products from other countries is not a near-term option for large US companies such as Apple,” Ryan said. “Therefore, these firms will then have to choose between absorbing the higher tariff costs via lower profit margins versus passing them onto consumers.”

Company-level effects would ripple through the economy, experts say, driving up prices and stalling growth.

Imports to the US currently account for about 13% of core personal consumption expenditures, a widely-used measure of inflation, according to analysis by the San Francisco Federal Reserve. Under just a portion of Trump’s proposed tariffs, those on $250 billion worth of Chinese goods, Deutsche Bank estimates that core PCE would rise about 15 basis points. And that could weigh on GDP, which Deutsche Bank sees slowing as much as 0.3% under the proposed tariffs. Former economic adviser Gary Cohn, who left the White House as Trump continued ramping up protectionist policies, recently told the Washington Post that a trade fight could wipe out any economic gains from the Republican tax law passed last year. “If you end up with a tariff battle, you will end up with price inflation, and you could end up with consumer debt,” Cohn said. “Those are all historic ingredients for an economic slowdown.”

Scott Buchta, head of fixed income strategy at Brean Capital, said an extended period of uncertainty for US businesses could stall expected increases in capital spending from tax cuts out by about a year.

Summer solstice traditions: why is Stonehenge so significant

Summer solstice traditions: why is Stonehenge so significant? (Source Yahoo)

Stonehenge in Avebury, Wiltshire is the most popular place for Pagans to celebrate the longest day because it famously aligns to the solstices. The rising sun only reaches the middle of the stones one day of the year when it shines on the central altar. Built in three phases between 3,000 B.C. and 1,600 B.C Stonehenge’s exact purpose still remains a mystery. The stones were brought from very long distances – the bluestones from the Preseli Hills more than 150 miles away, and the sarsens probably from the Marlborough Downs, 19 miles to the north. The day marks the ancient middle of summer. It has significance for pagans who have always believed that midsummer day holds a special power. Midsummer’s eve was believed to be a time when the veil between this world and the next is at its thinnest, and when fairies were though to be at their most powerful.Over the centuries, the June solstice has inspired many festivals and midsummer celebrations involving bonfires, picnics, singing, watching the sun rise and Maypole dancing. Many towns and villages across Britain still mark the day. One ritual was the lighting of fires, heralding the start of shorter days, although this doesn’t really happen anymore. The idea was that flames would keep the dark away.

 

 

John Bolton heads to Moscow to plan potential Putin-Trump summit

John Bolton heads to Moscow to plan potential Putin-Trump summit (Source ABC News)

President Donald Trump may finally get his wish – a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin – as his National Security Adviser John Bolton heads to Moscow to discuss a potential meeting between the two leaders, a National Security Council spokesperson confirmed Thursday.
This would be the first formally-arranged meeting between Trump and Putin after they talked on the sidelines of two international summits in 2017, and it comes after the president’s repeated calls for stronger ties with Russia and warm words for Putin. But those calls have unnerved U.S. allies abroad and angered critics at home, who point out Putin’s abysmal human rights record; aggression in the U.K., Ukraine, Georgia, Syria, and other countries; and interference in U.S. politics, including Trump’s own election in 2016. Trump himself floated a possible meeting last Friday when speaking to reporters, saying that it “may” happen and that, “It’s much better if we get along with them than if we don’t.” Now, with Bolton traveling to Moscow, there are reports that the two sides are looking at a July meeting, possibly in a third-party country like Austria, which has a right-leaning populist leader that both Trump and Putin support.

 

 

 

1 in 3 Adults in the U.S. Takes Medications Linked to Depression

1 IN 3 ADULTS IN THE U.S. TAKES MEDICATIONS LINKED TO DEPRESSION (Source NPR)

If you take Prilosec or Zantac for acid reflux, a beta blocker for high blood pressure, or Xanax for anxiety, you may be increasing your risk of depression.

More than 200 common medications sold in the U.S. include depression as a potential side effect. Sometimes, the risk stems from taking several drugs at the same time. Now, a new study finds people who take these medicines are, in fact, more likely to be depressed.

The list includes a wide range of commonly taken medications. Among them are certain types of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) (used to treat acid reflux), beta blockers, anxiety drugs, painkillers including ibuprofen, ACE inhibitors (used to treat high blood pressure), and anti-convulsant drugs.

“The more of these medications you’re taking, the more likely you are to report depression,” says study author Mark Olfson, a professor of psychiatry at Columbia University.

The study, which was published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, included 26,192 adults who participated in a federal survey, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. All of the participants listed the medications they were taking at the time of the survey. In addition, they each completed a depression screening, the Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ-9), which asks about sleep, mood and appetite.

More than a third of the people who took the survey were taking medications known to have depression or suicidal thoughts as potential side effects. Olfson and his collaborators wanted to determine whether those participants were more or less likely to be depressed, compared to participants who didn’t take any of these medications.

“What we found is that, in fact, they’re more likely,” Olfson says. And they found that people who took three or more of the medications were three times as likely to be depressed.

About 15 percent of participants who simultaneously used three or more of these drugs were depressed. By comparison, among participants who didn’t use any of the medications, just 5 percent were depressed. Even those who used just one of these medications were at slightly higher risk of depression: About 7 percent were depressed.

Olfson says the study does not prove that the medications caused the depression. “We’re just showing that if you’re already taking them, you are more likely to be depressed,” he says. To determine causation, he says, researchers would need to follow people over time — beginning at the time they start taking the medications — to see if they’re more likely to develop depression.

Nonetheless, Olfson says, he was surprised by the “strength of the association between the number of medications and the likelihood of being depressed.”

These findings may motivate people to ask their health care providers more questions. “People should always be ready to ask, ‘What are the risks and the benefits of me taking this medication?’ ” says Don Mordecai, a psychiatrist with Kaiser Permanente in San Jose, Calif. And he says doctors should be ready to have these conversations, too.

Mordecai says, if you start a new medicine it can be helpful to keep track of changes in how you feel.

“People who don’t have a history of depression and then, suddenly, start to have symptoms of depression should be concerned that it’s potentially due to a side effect, or potentially, an interaction,” Mordecai says.

It’s also worth having a conversation with your doctor about whether you might be able to stop a medication, Mordecai says. For instance, it may be possible to go off — or reduce — a medication for high blood pressure if you make other changes “such as changing your diet, limiting salt intake, or increasing exercise.”

Use of medications with depression or suicidal thoughts as potential side effects has been on the rise, according to the study’s lead author, Dima Mazen Qato, an assistant professor at the College of Pharmacy of the University of Illinois, Chicago.

“People are not only increasingly using these medicines alone, but are increasingly using them simultaneously, yet very few of these drugs have warning labels, so until we have public or system-level solutions, it is left up to patients and health care professionals to be aware of the risks,” Qato wrote in a release about the study findings.

The ‘Real’ America: 21.5% Unemployment, 10% Inflation, and Negative Economic

The ‘Real’ America: 21.5% Unemployment, 10% Inflation, And Negative Economic Growth (Source Zero Hedge)

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.

If honest numbers were being used all of our major economic numbers would be absolutely terrible.  

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.

The ‘Real’ America: 21.5% Unemployment, 10% Inflation

The ‘Real’ America: 21.5% Unemployment, 10% Inflation, And Negative Economic Growth (Source Zero Hedge)

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.

If honest numbers were being used all of our major economic numbers would be absolutely terrible.  

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.

Financial Crisis: “Mother of All Credit Bubbles”: Who’s Listening?

Financial Crisis: “Mother of All Credit Bubbles”: Who’s Listening? (Source globalresearch.ca) An extraordinary article by regular financial columnist Steven Pearlstein in the June 10 Washington Post warned that a surge in corporate debt has created “the mother of all credit bubbles,” and put the U.S. and world financial systems on the road to a new crash worse than that of 2007-8. The full-page spread featured charts showing that corporate debt, much of which is being used for stock buybacks, is increasingly risky, and that it is at record highs. Pearlstein adds that one in five companies have debt obligations exceeding their cash flow—i.e., they are zombies just waiting to die. Pearlstein also does not stress, for example, the link between the new shaky mountain of debt, and the major banks, which are intimately connected to the so-called “non-bank lenders” involved in the current bubbles. But Pearlstein’s summary of the current problem is sharp, and ironically, points implicitly at the solution. He writes: “Today’s economic boom is driven not by any great burst of innovation or growth in productivity. Rather, it is driven by another round of financial engineering that converts equity into debt… Rather than using record profits, and record amounts of borrowed money, to invest in new plants and equipment, develop new products, improve service, lower prices or raise the wages and skills of their employees, they are `returning’ that money to shareholders. Corporate America, in effect, has transformed itself into one giant leveraged buyout.”

 

Report on the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation

REPORT ON THE SHANGHAI COOPERATION ORGANISATION QINGDAO MEETING (Source blacklistednews.com),

On June 9-10 2018, Quindao, China hosted a meeting of the Council of Heads of State of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. The meeting was attended by President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi, President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of the Kyrgyzstan Republic, President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan Mamnoon Hussain, President of the Republic of Tajikistan, and President of the Republic of Uzbekistan.

The Member States consistently advocate the settlement of crises in Afghanistan, Syria, the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula, as well as other regional conflicts within the framework of generally accepted norms and principles of international law. They noted the importance of the steady implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear programme. The Member States reaffirm their resolute support for UN efforts to ensure international peace and security. They noted the need for reaching a consensus on adopting the UN Comprehensive Convention against International Terrorism and supported the Republic of Kazakhstan’s initiative at the UN to promote the Code of Conduct to Achieve a World Free of Terrorism.

The SCO continues to contribute to broad-based and mutually beneficial cooperation in the area of information security and to the development of universal international rules, standards and principles for the responsible conduct of states in the information space.

The SCO Member States reaffirmed their commitment to the central role of the United Nations in implementing the Global Agenda for Sustainable Development. They stressed the importance of improving global economic governance architecture and of consistently strengthening and developing the multilateral trade system with a nucleus in the World Trade Organisation in order to form an open world economy.

Vatican contribution to Bilderberg meeting remains secret

VATICAN CONTRIBUTION TO BILDERBERG MEETING REMAINS SECRET (Source churchmilitant.com)

For the first time in history, the Vatican took part in the secretive Bilderberg meeting, a gathering of political and social elites to discuss issues affecting the world.

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin made news last week because of his participation as the only religious member in the 2018 meeting, which took place from June 7–10 in Turin, Italy, a city historically known for its tolerance of anti-Catholic spirituality.

The cardinal’s attendance wasn’t announced by the Vatican, though sources have confirmed his presence.

Parolin is one of the most powerful curial officials, second only to the Holy Father himself, and has been regarded by some Vatican insiders as the possible successor to Pope Francis. Oil companies such as BP, Total and Shell were present in force at this year’s Bilderberg meeting. Those who weren’t in Turin were in Rome for a conference promoted by the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the University of Notre Dame on June 8–9. The meeting, called “Energy Transition and Care for Our Common Home,” took place in closed doors in the Vatican and was attended by top oil executives and investors.

Ernest Moniz, former secretary of Energy under the Obama administration was also present, as well as Larry Fink, chairman of BlackRock. BlackRock is the largest investment fund on the planet and was described by Corriere della Sera as “the invisible rock that governs the world.”