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Why Are Millions Of Americans Preparing For Doomsday?

All over America, there are millions of Americans that are quietly preparing for doomsday. They are turning spare rooms into long-term food storage pantries, they are planting survival gardens, they are converting their homes over to alternative sources of energy, they are taking self-defense courses and they are stocking up on just about anything you can imagine. So what exactly are all these people so concerned about? Exactly why are there millions of Americans that are feverishly preparing for doomsday?

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All over America, there are millions of Americans that are quietly preparing for doomsday.  They are turning spare rooms into long-term food storage pantries, they are planting survival gardens, they are converting their homes over to alternative sources of energy, they are taking self-defense courses and they are stocking up on just about anything you can imagine.  They are called “preppers”, and their numbers have absolutely exploded in recent years.  In fact, you might be living next door to one and never even realize it.  According to a recent Daily Mail article, there are approximately 3 million preppers in the United States today.  Others believe that the true number is significantly higher than that.  This movement has become so popular that there are now even television shows being done about preppers.  The most popular is probably “Doomsday Preppers” on the National Geographic Channel.  This movement is still growing and is not going to go away any time soon.  In fact, as the world continues to become even more unstable it is likely that a lot more Americans will find themselves becoming preppers in the years ahead.

So what exactly are all these people so concerned about?  Exactly why are there millions of Americans that are feverishly preparing for doomsday?

Well, the truth is that you will never find two preppers that are exactly alike.  Some are deeply concerned about the potential for natural disasters and believe that we are now entering into a time when there will be catastrophic earth changes.  Other preppers believe that terrorism is the most significant threat to our way of life.  Killer pandemics, an EMP attack, World War III, martial law, solar megastorms, asteroid strikes and societal chaos are some of the other things that some preppers are worried about.

Of course an economic collapse is one of the biggest concerns for preppers, and without a doubt the U.S. economy is deeply troubled.  A collapse of the financial system would change all of our lives permanently.

But it isn’t just preppers that are concerned about these things.

A recent survey conducted by National Geographic asked Americans the following question….

“Which of the following, if any, do you think might happen in the United States in the next 25 years? Please choose all that apply.”

These were the results….

Significant Earthquake 64%
Significant Hurricane 63%
Terrorist Attack 55%
Financial Collapse 51%
Significant Blackout 37%
Pandemic, Such as From a Super-Virus 29%
Nuclear Fallout 14%
None of These 13%

Obviously there are a whole lot of people out there that feel as though we are heading for some really bad stuff.

So if hard times are coming, why not prepare for them?

After all, none of us want to end up like the poor people of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.  Large numbers of people were herded into the Superdome and food and water ran out really fast.  There was rampant looting of stores and people were shooting each other in the streets.  It was mass chaos.

The following is what one Australian blogger experienced while staying in the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina….

Last night was horrendous. I heard shouting, and drinks machines being smashed. There’s no sanitation and it’s so smelly. My hair is greasy and I feel a wreck. There are crack alleys among the maze of corridors. The lights are broken in the loos which, as well as being disgusting, have become dangerous, so we now only go as a big group.

More people are arriving, and the dome is like a refugee camp. I see two soldiers carrying a corpse and we hear there are more dead in the basement.

As an article in the New York Times from that time period detailed, food and water were in very short supply and those cramped into the Superdome were rapidly becoming impatient….

Desperation was in the air. Danielle Shelby tugged at a reporter’s arm. “I have a handicapped daughter,” she said. “She’s over there with her wheelchair. She’s hot. We don’t have any water. I’m afraid she’s going to have a seizure.”

Others crowded around. “I’ve been in the food line twice, and every time I get to the front they tell me they don’t have any left,” said Juanita McFerrin, 80.

Later on in that same article, we are told that there were fights, rapes and at least one suicide in the Superdome during that time….

It got worse. Ms. Rousell recalled hearing a loud bang Tuesday afternoon as the body of a man slapped the concrete at the edge of the football field in a fatal suicidal plunge, after he apparently learned that his home had been destroyed. Others told of fights that broke out in food lines, and of a husband and wife who slugged each other in a wild argument.

Several residents said they had heard of children being raped, though it was not clear whether anyone reported such incidents to the authorities, and no officials could be found who could confirm the accounts.

To get an even better idea of what life in New Orleans was like in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, just check out this video.

Within just a few days food, water and supplies started pouring into New Orleans and things started slowly getting back to normal, but imagine what things would look like in this country if we had to deal with a national disaster that stretched on for months or even years?

Many preppers are not taking any chances.  Many are absolutely determined to be able to take care of their families and friends no matter what the years ahead may bring.

ABC News recently profiled one prepper named Tim Ralston….

Tim Ralston, a married father of two from Arizona, is one such “prepper.”

“There’s a lot of different things that could happen,” Ralston said. “For me, I look at prepping as kind of like insurance. You have car insurance, health insurance, life insurance.”

Call it Apocalypse insurance. Ralston turned his family’s two-car garage into a staging area. Inside is a trailer, which he keeps packed and ready to go at all times, stockpiles of freeze-dried food, including cartons of canned chicken with a shelf life of 15 years, survival gear, such as a system for purifying polluted water, first aid kits and lots of weapons and ammunition. His son has his own AK-47.

Some preppers are going to the extreme and are spending huge amounts of money on their prepping.

CNN recently profiled one Australian prepper that has spent about $350,000 preparing for doomsday….

Bast has spent about $5,000 on stockpiles of food and water, and $11,000 on equipment including gas cookers, generators, batteries, water purifiers and solar power. He also purchased roughly an acre of land that’s a 75-minute drive from Melbourne and 1,500 feet above sea level (in order to stay high and dry in case of a flood or tsunami). He has built a house there, as well as a bunker to serve as his “safe spot” in the event of an emergency. Together, the land, buildings and bunker have cost him a total of about $330,000.

He’s also spent $10,000 on an 8-year old Toyota HiLux pickup truck to drive to his safe spot.

But the truth is that prepping does not have to be expensive.

The key is to start by focusing on the five basics….

1) Food

2) Water

3) Shelter

4) Energy

5) Self-Defense

There are some practical things that just about anyone can do even if you don’t have a lot of money.

For example, when you go to the store try to pick up a few extra items that are on sale and add them to your supplies.  If you rotate your food supplies, they won’t go bad.

In addition, just about anyone can plant a garden.  Often fruits and vegetables are some of the most expensive items at the grocery store, and so growing a garden can end up saving you a lot of money.

Get educated.  There are dozens of prepper websites out there where you can get an education in prepping for free.  The following are a few examples of some of the excellent prepper websites that are out there today….

*Survival Blog

*American Preppers Network

*The Survival Mom

*SHTFPlan.com

*Prepper Website

*Survival 4 Christians

*Backdoor Survival

*Off Grid Survival

The truth is that our world is becoming increasingly unstable in a whole bunch of different ways and we all need to learn how to prepare for the difficult years ahead.

As the economy continues to fall apart, America is going to become a very heartless place.  You don’t want to be caught in the middle of societal chaos without a plan.

None of us should be relying on the government to save us when things hit the fan.  We all saw what happened after Hurricane Katrina.  Those that were depending on the government were deeply disappointed.

We should all try to become as independent of the system as we can, because the system is failing.  In the years ahead there might not be anybody to help you and your family, so you need to be working hard right now to ensure that you and your family will be taken care of.

Yes, as you may have guessed by now, I am a prepper too.  My wife and I moved to an entirely different state and totally changed our lifestyle to prepare for what is coming.

Hopefully this article will inspire many more Americans to prepare for what is coming.  A great economic collapse is on the horizon and time is rapidly running out.

— The Economic Collapse Blog

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6 Things That Can Make or Break The Stock Market In 2018

Credit Suisse is out early with its forecasts for US stocks and the economy next year, and they are bullish. 

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Credit Suisse is out early with its forecasts for US stocks and the economy next year, and they are bullish.

The firm’s equity strategists see the S&P 500 rising to 2,987 by year-end, implying an annualized gain of about 11%. They forecast earnings-per-share growth of 6% to 7% over the next two years, from $130 this year to $147 in 2019.

“Our market views are predicated on a supportive economic backdrop, with benign recessionary risks and a pickup in near-term indicators,” said the US equity strategists led by Jonathan Golub, in a note on Tuesday. “While we expect more muted longer-term growth, this has focused corporations on cost containment and the return of capital to shareholders, extended the business cycle and lowered discount rates.”

Credit Suisse is also betting on the continued outperformance of favored sectors in 2017. The tech sector remains the team’s favorite even though it’s expensive relative to earnings. And, they expect financials to outperform due to deregulation.

“Our forecasts are built upon the most historically important drivers of corporate profits and stock prices,” Golub wrote. “That said, many things can alter the market’s path over the near term.”

Trump policy

Trump policy

Andy Kiersz/Business Insider

The group of stocks that would benefit the most from a corporate-tax cut surged after the election but slid only until recently. This suggests investors were doubtful about President Donald Trump’s plan.

“We expect that the proposed tax plan will be difficult to pass, or will have less of an impact than hoped for,” Golub said.

“While we believe that the market would initially applaud such actions, we anticipate that the investment conversation would quickly shift toward higher potential deficits and wage inflation, both negatives for stocks.”

New Fed leadership

Trump said two weeks ago Friday that he would make an announcement on who will lead the Fed after Chair Janet Yellen’s term ends in February. He is reportedly considering policy hawks including Kevin Warsh and John Taylor.

“We believe that there are two key issues surrounding Yellen’s replacement that could unsettle the market: (1) a change in the perceived independence of the Fed, and (2) an end to the period of uber-dovish policy.”

Volatility

Stocks have historically rallied when the CBOE Volatility Index is very low.

“Market volatility has been extremely low throughout the recovery, with the VIX currently reading 9.7,” Golub said. “This has led many pundits to characterize investors as complacent and the market vulnerable to a pullback. We disagree with these assertions.”

Currency

Currency

Credit Suisse

The trade-weighted dollar has slumped 9% this year.

“Our work indicates a 10:1 ratio between currency moves and corporate profits (in the opposite direction). Unfortunately, the dollar’s move is much more muted when measured on a year-over-year basis [-3.3%], and is therefore a much smaller consideration in our forecasts.”

North Korea

North Korea

Credit Suisse

The concern is not a North Korean attack — which investors aren’t expecting — but what happens if the US government punishes one of its major trading partners: China.

“While such actions would likely be targeted, with little economic impact, they have the potential to escalate, disrupting global growth.”

The chart shows that the recent improvement in China’s economy has benefitted US companies.

Hurricanes

The impact of Hurricanes Irma and Harvey, and the recovery efforts, will skew many economic indicators over the next few months.

“Separately, we would not be surprised to see some companies using these natural disasters as an opportunity to conveniently take write-downs,” Golub said.

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Is White-Collar Crime a Threat to Wall Street?

The stock market has had nightmares in the past and we cannot rule that out from happening again in the future, not even with the introduction of new financial regulation policies designed to prevent a financial crisis like the one witnessed in 2008-09.

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The stock market has had nightmares in the past and we cannot rule that out from happening again in the future, not even with the introduction of new financial regulation policies designed to prevent a financial crisis like the one witnessed in 2008-09.

While only one person, Credit Suisse (NYSE:CS) executive Kareem Serageldin, was convicted in relation to the global financial crisis of 2008, investigations over the years have revealed  there probably should have been more. According to findings, the financial crisis of 2008 had more to do with white-collar crime than a natural market meltdown.

The biggest issue when it comes to white-collar crime however, especially in securities fraud, is there are a lot of gray areas. Since markets are unpredictable, it has often proven difficult to pin these malpractices on individuals.

In most cases, the company, its shareholders and even employees are the ones who suffer the consequences.

For instance, in a Financial Times feature on Eric Ben-Artzi, the Deutsche Bank (NYSE:DB) whistleblower who exposed the bank’s improper accounting practices, the bank’s former risk management officer accused the SEC of performing a disappointing investigation. Ben-Artzi actually turned down the $8.25 million offered to him by the SEC for his role in exposing the company.

In the article, Ben-Artzi argues that by forcing the bank to pay $55 million rather than prosecuting the individuals involved in the crime, the SEC had allowed top executives at the bank to retire with “multimillion-dollar bonuses based on the misrepresentation of the bank’s balance sheet.” On the flipside, the bank’s shareholders and general employees ended up suffering the consequences as they were forced to bear the burden of their managers’ accounting treachery.

This is a clear example of what happens when things go wrong in these so-called “too big to fail” companies. Top executives who are often at fault for planning and executing such malpractices are also deemed “too big to jail,” thereby transferring the burden to the company, the shareholders and rank-and-file employees. This happens on Wall Street, in multinational institutions and even within the confines of government parastatals.

According to Vikas Bajaj, a criminal defense attorney who regularly defends people accused of white-collar crimes, corporate fraud is often pinned on the wrong victims and at times can “devastate personal and professional life for a very long time, making it difficult to secure employment, rent a home, secure a government student loan or obtain a professional license.” However, gathering the right evidence and speaking to the right people can help to strengthen the defense, while getting a white-collar crime defense attorney can ensure the true story emerges, thereby protecting the rights and the future of the accused, notes Bajaj.

But as we have seen, investigators do tend to go for the least protected individuals when it comes to white-collar crime. This does not rectify the long-term impact on the company in question and we have witnessed many companies go down the drain due to major financial malpractices.

While most people view corporate fraud as any practice that wrongly represents the financial position of a company or anything that results in money being lost without a trace, sometimes ignorance and negligence can amount to white-collar crime. For instance, banks are mandated to perform thorough credit checks before issuing loans to individuals and businesses. Yet, defaults from loans and mortgages are what fueled the magnitude of the 2008 global financial crisis.

In short, lenders did not do their homework before issuing loans. It was high-risk lending fueled by the then-booming housing market, which was shortly followed by several credit defaults and then the global financial crisis. While various financial regulations like the Dodd-Frank Act and Basel III Rules have since been introduced to avert the possibility of another financial crisis triggered by the banking sector, accounting misrepresentation like in the case of Deutsche Bank could end up taking the market back to those dark times.

Had it not for Ben-Artzi, who knows whether the malpractice at Deutsche Bank would ever have been uncovered? Who knows how many more companies are doing the same thing on Wall Street? According to World Finance‘s Emily Cashen, “the same reckless behavior behind the 2008 global crash continues to run rampant on Wall Street and unless this vicious cycle can somehow be broken, the global banking system may spiral into fresh disaster.”

Conclusion

White-collar crime on Wall Street is real and could be one of the biggest undetected threats the financial markets could be facing. The various regulatory bodies tasked with the responsibility of investigating and prosecuting the individuals responsible seem to be reluctant to do so on the belief of some being “too big to jail.” Often, the innocent and defenseless end up bearing the burden of their managers’ crimes, losing their jobs and even being put behind bars.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned in this article.

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Is It Wrong To Question The Official Story When Tragedy Strikes?

Of course, when there is news, it should be reported. Today it is reported sensationally, as entertainment. Is it meant to inform, or induce?

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via The Daily Bell

The media says, “Jump.” And the public responds in unison, “How high?”

“As high as you ever have jumped before, except maybe after 9/11, or the Kennedy assassination.”

Of course, when there is news, it should be reported. Today it is reported sensationally, as entertainment. Is it meant to inform, or induce?

Which came first, the media’s obsession with violence, or the public demand for violence? In the 1990’s as violent crime in America dropped, the media filled more and more time slots with stories about violence.

By the end of the 90’s the public was clamoring for the government to do somethingabout what they assumed was a rising trend in violent crime.

Was that orchestrated? The government certainly benefits from a hysterical public begging them to help. It certainly gives the government an important role in the daily life of an average citizen. But this alone doesn’t mean that it was a conspiracy. Acknowledging that the government benefitted from the media’s overreporting of crime is not the same as suggesting the government actively pushed the media to do so.

But why not wonder? Exercise those thought processes.

It is a known fact that thousands of journalists were at one time on the payroll of the CIA. It was called Operation Mockingbird, and agents would place false stories in publications like the New York Times, and Time.

So when it comes to the case of the fake 90’s crime wave, it makes sense to wonder if a similar program still exists. The courts have ruled that FBI agents can legally impersonate journalists in the course of an investigation.

Do we need to discover the actual program in order to speculate? Well, I certainly wouldn’t say that it is happening without knowing for sure. But we can acknowledge a historical fact and draw a parallel between that and a similar contemporary trend. In such circumstances, it makes sense to be skeptical.

Either way, we shouldn’t fall prey to the media’s manipulations about such things, regardless of the catalyst. So why not remind people that in the past, lies from the government shaped public opinion?

But there are some cases when questioning, wondering, and speculating is considered downright wrong.

When it is most important to speak freely, you can’t.

How do I walk the line between my inherent mistrust of the government media complex and sincere compassion and empathy for victims of tragedy?

Is it wrong to question official narratives after a tragic event? Is it disrespectful to wonder if there isn’t more to the story? Should I censor myself to avoid appearing insensitive, when I want to talk about inconsistencies in the media tale, or the motives that various groups could have to lie about such events?

I think it is especially important to be able to talk freely when it comes to tragedy. The more potential an event has for exploitation, the more possibilities should be explored.

If we are conditioned to hold our tongues, to suppress our curiosity and skepticism when it comes to tragedy, then the worst actors in any given situation win. Those in power need only create a tragedy, and it becomes impossible to question the official narrative. Otherwise, you are disrespectful and uncaring.

When someone is gravely wounded, you don’t slap a band-aid over it. You’ve got to clean out the wound. And that hurts in the moment. But in the long run, it is necessary to prevent infection.

We should wonder if 9/11 was a false flag attack. I don’t think it is disrespectful to the victims to do so. I think it would be more disrespectful to unquestioningly believe the official story. The official story comes from the people who have the most to gain.

Did the terrorists who carried out the attack on the twin towers have anything to gain? Well maybe if they believed the whole 72 virgins thing. But in real life, they died. Suiciding bombing is a thing that people do, however, so it certainly can’t be ruled out.

Did Osama Bin Laden have a lot to gain? Well again, it is tough to understand the motivation of terrorists. Apparently, they think killing innocent people accomplishes something. But now he is dead.

And what about the official storytellers, the ones who investigated, and revealed the true culprits behind 9/11?

Their gains remain. They gained the power to easily declare wars and conduct military operations. Money was poured into the defense budget. Agencies like Homeland Security and the TSA sprang into existence.

Attention was diverted from missing money at the Pentagon. The PATRIOT Act was passed. Due process was no longer a concern.

“Mission Accomplished” in Iraq; the glory of killing Bin Laden. The public became desensitized to war. America helped toppled regimes in Libya and Egypt, and support a civil war in Syria.

These things alone don’t prove anything. But it looks awfully suspicious. The ones who we rely on for information about what happened had the most to gain from the attack. They are the ones who will “solve” the problems.

It is a conflict of interest even if the official story is true. It just so happens that their recommendations on the best course of action were the very things that would grow their power, expand their budget, and swell their ranks.

Again we have a historical fact to turn to for comparison. The Joint Chiefs of Staff under Kennedy floated the idea of carrying out a false flag against American citizens to get them involved in a war with Cuba. It was called Operation Northwoods. Kennedy told them if they ever mentioned the idea of murdering innocent Americans again, he would have them tried for treason.

Well, we all know what happened to Kennedy, but that is a whole rabbit hole of its own. What we know for sure, is that as early as the 1960’s people in the U.S. government wanted to commit false flag attacks against Americans to provoke war. And the leader most vehemently opposed was assassinated.

Incidentally, the Kennedy Administration approved of Operation Mockingbird.

May I Speak Freely?

I want to wonder, and I want to speculate. I get as angry and sad as anyone else with a properly developed conscience when horrible things happen. I want those responsible held accountable. And it is against my skeptical nature to accept an official story without digging for more evidence. Horror does not paralyze my desire to question the official narrative and wonder about inconsistencies.

One thing that strikes me about all of the mass shootings of the past few years, is the great diversity in location and venue.

A college in Virginia. An elementary school in Connecticut. A mall in Washington. A nightclub in Florida. A church in North Carolina. A movie theater in Colorado. A political meet and greet in Arizona. The streets of California. A concert on the Vegas strip.

If someone wanted to strike fear into the hearts of Americans, they could not have chosen a better range of targets. The message would be whatever place you live, wherever you go in public, whatever your age, job, or social status, you are not safe.

Maybe that is the truth. And maybe it is random.

We are told these were all carried out by lone a lone gunman–or a married couple in one case.

But why are there so often witness reports of a second gunman? Could it be chalked up to confusion?

The victims tragically lost their lives. Their families lost loved ones, which will impact them for the rest of their lives. The American people lose their sense of security and their rights. Relationships deteriorate as bitter disagreements turn personal, blame abounds, fingers point, defenses go up.

And after so many tragedies, the culprit is left dead. Is that justice?

Who benefits? The dead guy on the 32nd floor?

The Democrats who want gun control? The Republicans who want militarized police? The media who get a bump in ratings? The Generals who want war? A government that “never let(s) a good crisis go to waste”?

I want this madness to stop. We know how the media wants it to play out. They will get their ratings with division and bitter disagreement. The government always gets more power, more relevance, more opportunity to insert itself into the everyday lives of Americans.

That is why it is so necessary to look deeper, to ask those tough questions that we don’t even want to consider as a possibility. We can’t sit by silently wondering if we are being told the truth or fed lies. It is not disrespectful to question the official story. It would be a miscarriage of justice to accept it without protest, as we are told is what should be done in times of crisis.

The only other option is to play into the hands of the media and government, whether they be orchestrators or opportunists. When we replay the same old arguments and put forth the same stale solutions, when we look to them for information and solutions, they win.

Question everything. Clean out the wounds. It may hurt to get in there deep. But if we don’t, the infection will grow and fester, as it always has before.

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