The OTHER Debt Bubbles: How Private Sector Debt Could Trigger the Next Financial Crisis (Source activistpost.com)

The OTHER Debt Bubbles: How Private Sector Debt Could Trigger the Next Financial Crisis (Source activistpost.com) The $22 trillion official national debt is a much discussed problem, even as politicians exhibit zero motivation to do anything about it. But as big an economic overhang as it is, government debt isn’t likely to trigger the next financial crisis.

Yes, servicing the growing federal debt bubble will depress GDP growth, cause the value of the dollar to drop, and raise inflation risks. But the bubble itself won’t necessarily burst – not anytime soon.

As long as politicians face no political consequences for deficit spending, and as long as the Federal Reserve keeps the Treasury bond market propped up… then many more trillions can be added to the national debt. Meanwhile, more fragile debt bubbles exist in the private sector. Unlike government debt – which carries the implicit backing of the Fed’s unlimited printing press – debts incurred by corporations, investors, consumers, and students can default. Globally, there exists $250 trillion in debt against economic assets of around $100 trillion. The notional value of all derivatives now approaches a quadrillion dollars. It’s been called the “everything bubble”… and it could soon lead to the “everything bust.”

U.S. household debt rose to a record $13.5 trillion in the fourth quarter of 2018. Mortgages, student loans, car loans, and credit cards represent enormous burdens even during a good economy. These burdens will prove unbearable for millions of Americans in the years ahead. For many the financial crisis is already here: Pending home sales have fallen on a year over year basis for 13 consecutive months.

Farm loan delinquencies recently hit their highest level in 9 years. More than 7 million Americans are delinquent on their auto loan payments – an all-time record. Some 5.1 million people are in default on their student loans. Student loans now rank as the second largest biggest category of American consumer debt, just behind mortgages. The cruel reality is that many of these “gender studies” and “art history” type degrees will never be worth as much in the job market as they cost to obtain.

Martha Stewart partners with marijuana producer Canopy Growth to create hemp-derived goods(Source usatoday.com)

Martha Stewart partners with marijuana producer Canopy Growth to create hemp-derived goods(Source usatoday.com)

Following years of success in merchandising, Martha Stewart is tapping into a new industry: hemp-derived products. The businesswoman and television personality will be partnering with Canopy Growth, a major marijuana and hemp producer, to develop a line of CBD products.

The company is focusing on improving the lives of both humans and animals, it said Thursday. Currently, several clinical trials are underway. Stewart will be advising the company as it develops this new line, first starting with animal health products. “I am delighted to establish this partnership with Canopy Growth and share with them the knowledge I have gained after years of experience in the subject of living,” Stewart said in a statement. “I’m especially looking forward to our first collaboration together, which will offer sensible products for people’s beloved pets.”

Canopy Growth has seen steady improvement throughout 2019 in its stock performance. Starting the year trading at $28.92 per share, the company’s stock opened at $47.02 per share Thursday morning.

The company hopes to leverage Stewart’s name and expertise, Bruce Linton, Canopy Growth Chairman and co-CEO, said in statement.

“As soon as you hear the name Martha , you know exactly who we’re talking about,”  Linton said. “Martha is one of a kind and I am so excited to be able to work alongside this icon to sharpen our CBD product offerings across categories from human to animal.”

Stewart isn’t the first celebrity partner the company has tapped into. Tweed, a Canopy Growth subsidiary, partnered with Snoop Dogg in 2016. Currently, the acclaimed artist and Stewart star in a show together entitled “Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Dinner Party.”

A new study shows America’s drug overdose crisis is by far the worst among wealthy countries

A new study shows America’s drug overdose crisis is by far the worst among wealthy countries(Source vox.com) America’s opioid epidemic has driven total drug overdose deaths to record numbers — with overdose deaths hitting 70,000 in 2017, killing more people annually than guns, car crashes, or HIV/AIDS ever have in a single year in US history. But a new study confirms the level of overdose deaths isn’t just outside historical norms for the US; it’s also far beyond the norm among wealthy nations around the world. The study, by University of Southern California researcher Jessica Ho, compared the US to 17 other wealthy nations and found that America’s level of overdose deaths has outpaced other nations for more than a decade. Illicit fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, started to supplant heroin in the black market — causing another spike in overdoses, since fentanyls are generally more potent than heroin or other traditionally consumed opioids.

By 2015, the US had the highest overdose death rate among any of the countries Ho studied — by far. The rate was 60 percent higher than in Finland and Sweden, which were once at the top among wealthy nations.

Russian choir draws criticism over performance describing nuclear attack on U.S.

Russian choir draws criticism over performance describing nuclear attack on U.S.(Source msn.com)

The Russian Orthodox Church expressed regret over a choir performance that featured a satirical Soviet-era song describing a nuclear attack on the United States in the midst of heightened tensions between Washington and Moscow.

The Feb. 23 performance by the St. Petersburg Concert Choir at the historic St. Isaac’s Cathedral attracted widespread attention after it was posted on social media. “Choir performances are held regularly in St. Isaac’s Cathedral, and the fact that appropriate music is performed is not a problem,” the press office of the Petersburg metropolitan said on February 26, according to Radio Free Europe. “But this song performed by a fairly well-known choir, of course, is surprising. We regret that this happened in St. Petersburg, and particularly in St. Isaac’s.”

During its performance to mark Defending the Fatherland Day, the choir sang an untitled song from 1980 that described Soviet submariners and bomber pilots preparing to launch a nuclear strike at the U.S. “for three rubles.” The lyrics include the lines: “On a submarine with an atomic motor/ And with a dozen bombs of a hundred megatons / Crossed the Atlantic and I call on the gunner: / “Aim, I say, at the city of Washington!”

In a statement, the choir said it routinely performs songs as originally written and refuses to “rewrite lyrics for the sake of political correctness.” The song was performed as an encore, St. Isaac’s Cathedral said. It does not approve of the song.

After Putin’s warning, Russian TV lists nuclear targets in U.S.

After Putin’s warning, Russian TV lists nuclear targets in U.S. (Source Reuters)

Russian state television has listed U.S. military facilities that Moscow would target in the event of a nuclear strike, and said that a hypersonic missile Russia is developing would be able to hit them in less than five minutes. The targets included the Pentagon and the presidential retreat in Camp David, Maryland. The report was broadcast days after President Vladimir Putin said Moscow was militarily ready for a “Cuban Missile”-style crisis if the United States wanted one. With tensions rising over Russian fears that the United States might deploy intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe as a Cold War-era arms-control treaty unravels, Putin has said Russia would be forced to respond by placing hypersonic nuclear missiles on submarines near U.S. waters. The targets, which Kiselyov described as U.S. presidential or military command centers, also included Fort Ritchie, a military training center in Maryland closed in 1998, McClellan, a U.S. Air Force base in California closed in 2001, and Jim Creek, a naval communications base in Washington state.

Vatican, Microsoft team up on artificial intelligence ethics

Vatican, Microsoft team up on artificial intelligence ethics (Source Associated Press)

The Vatican says it is teaming up with Microsoft on an academic prize to promote ethics in artificial intelligence.

Pope Francis met privately on Wednesday with Microsoft President Brad Smith and the head of a Vatican scientific office that promotes Catholic Church positions on human life.

The Vatican said Smith and Archbishop Vincenzo Paglia of the Pontifical Academy for Life told Francis about the international prize for an individual who has successfully defended a dissertation on ethical issues involving artificial intelligence.

The winner will receive 6,000 euros ($6,900) and an invitation to Microsoft’s Seattle headquarters.

The Vatican says Smith discussed artificial intelligence “at the service of the common good” during the papal meeting.

The theme of the Pontifical Academy’ of Life’s s 2020 plenary assembly is AI(Artificial Intelligence).

 

CALIFORNIA NIGHTMARE: OVER HALF OF THE PEOPLE LIVING IN THE STATE WISH THEY COULD LEAVE

CALIFORNIA NIGHTMARE: OVER HALF OF THE PEOPLE LIVING IN THE STATE WISH THEY COULD LEAVE (Source Blacklistednews.com) In the 1960s and 1970s, the possibility of moving to the west coast was “the California dream” for millions of young Americans, but now “the California dream” has turned into “the California nightmare”.  According to a brand new survey, 53 percent of those living in California are considering leaving the state, and there are certainly lots of reasons to hit the road and never look back.  The cities are massively overcrowded, California has the worst traffic in the western world, drug use and illegal immigration both fuel an astounding amount of crime, tax rates are horrendous and many of the state politicians appear to literally be insane.  And on top of all that, let us not forget the earthquakes, wildfires and landslides that are constantly making headlines all over the world.  Last year was the worst year for wildfires in California history, and these days it seems like the state is hit by some new crisis every few weeks. But none of those factors are the primary reason why so many people are eager to leave. According to a brand new survey by Edelman Intelligence, the main reason why so many are considering leaving the state is the high cost of living.

 

Preparing to Storm America’s Castle

Preparing to Storm America’s Castle (Sourcethetrumpet.com)
The United States is being threatened by hostile nations taking over the Caribbean Sea. Major news sources pay little attention to this region, but the Caribbean is vital to U.S. security. This sea not only connects the East Coast with the Pacific Ocean via the Panama Canal, it guards the mouth of the Gulf of Mexico. Half of America’s seaborne trade passes through the Gulf. So a foreign power that controls the Caribbean could cripple the U.S. economy by restricting its access to oceanic shipping. This geographic reality is why Russia and China want to challenge U.S. dominance in the Caribbean. These aspiring superpowers are forging alliances with socialist governments in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. If these Latin dictatorships become staging grounds for Russia and China, a coalition of nations could potentially cut off U.S. access to the Panama Canal and seal off the Straits of Florida and the Yucatan Channel. As shocking as this scenario sounds, the Bible reveals that enemies will seize control of the world’s most strategic maritime choke points and lay siege to the United States. America is going to lose access to the Panama Canal, the Straits of Florida, the Windward Passage, the Yucatan Channel and many other shipping lanes that its people rely on for food, electronic components, oil, raw materials and other goods. The results will be devastating. Russia offered Cuba a $43 million loan in November to buy Russian military equipment, and it vowed to expand “strategic” ties with the island. On Oct. 10, 2018, Newsweek reported a senior Russian official as saying that Russia is considering building a military base in Cuba. This would be the first Russian base in Cuba since the Kremlin closed a Soviet-era electronic spying outpost near Havana in 2001. Meanwhile, two Russian nuclear-capable bombers flew a patrol over the Caribbean on Dec. 12, 2018, from a base in Venezuela. After this alarming incident, one Russian daily suggested that Russia establish a permanent military presence on the island of La Orchila, northeast of Venezuela’s capital city. The Russian government-owned tass news agency said this presence would “represent one of the largest semipermanent deployments of Russian military equipment in the region since the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis, which marked the height of the Cold War.”

Former US Air Force agent charged with defecting to Iran

Former US Air Force agent charged with defecting to Iran (Source AFP) The US Justice Department charged a former Air Force intelligence official Wednesday with spying for Iran, saying she exposed a fellow US agent and helped the Revolutionary Guard target her former colleagues for cyber attacks. US officials said Monica Witt, 39, who worked a decade in Air Force counterintelligence, had an “ideological” turn against her country and defected in 2013, turning over information on US espionage operations against Tehran. “It is a sad day for America when one of its citizens betrays our country,” said Assistant Attorney General John Demers, announcing the indictment. “This case underscores the dangers to our intelligence professionals and the lengths our adversaries will go to identify them, expose them, target them, and, in a few rare cases, ultimately turn them against the nation they swore to protect,” he said. The US also indicted four Iranians working for the Revolutionary Guard who, using information Witt provided them, targeted her former colleagues in US intelligence with malware and phishing scams in hopes of accessing their computer networks. The Justice Department has issued arrest warrants for Witt and the four Iranians, who all remain at large. She is believed to be in Iran, officials said. In a parallel action, the US Treasury announced sanctions on the New Horizon Organization, a Revolutionary Guard group that had invited Witt to Tehran in 2012, and a separate company tied to the hacking effort.

 

Guttenberg: An Expert on Financial Crises

Guttenberg: An Expert on Financial Crises? (Source Thetrumpet.com) Between January 16 and 18, St. Moritz, Switzerland, hosted the 2019 Crypto Finance Conference. The event, which focuses on the financial system of the future, hosted some of the world’s most high-profile investors. One of the conference’s keynote speakers was Germany’s former economics minister and defense minister, Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg. The Crypto Finance Conference website states that the event offers attendees “educational keynotes by industry experts, insightful panel discussions about current and future trends, as well as unique networking opportunities.” Cryptocurrency is one of the world’s emerging technologies. Some expect it to transform business transactions as we know them.

Guttenberg is seen by many as an expert in the field. His understanding of politics and digital trends, plus the influence he holds in Europe, have earned him considerable respect. Guttenberg is regularly invited to speak about global trends. His keynote speech on January 17 is worth paying particular attention to. The title of his speech was “Blockchain and Geopolitics: A Powder Keg or a Solution for Global Crisis?

Financial technology experts believe that blockchain technology will transform the world’s banking. Financial visionaries of the world believe that whoever gains the upper hand in the development of this technology may soon lead the world into a transformed future.

Guttenberg believes the same and has promoted the technology as one of the solutions to Europe’s crisis. He believes that if Europe takes the leading role in digitalization, it could soon lead the whole world and solve the global geopolitical crisis.

A looming financial crisis currently threatens the world. If America continues on its current course, it is only a matter of time before another financial collapse occurs. This would throw Europe into a massive financial crisis.

But new financial technologies could enable Europe to create a financial system that operates independently from the U.S., saving Europe from financial crisis.