Sunday, May 27, 2018

"How It Really Is For Far, Far Too Many"

"'Car Sleepers' the New US Homeless “
By Rajesh Mirchandani

“Santa Barbara boasts a classic laidback California lifestyle, with uncongested beaches, wholesome cafes and charming Spanish-style architecture. Of course there's a hefty price tag: nestled between the gentle Santa Ynez mountains and the inviting Pacific Ocean are multi-million dollar homes. But in this sun-washed haven of wealth, many live far from the American dream.

In a car park across the street from luxury mansions, the evening brings a strange sight. A few cars arrive and take up spaces in different corners. In each car, a woman, perhaps a few pets, bags of possessions and bedding. Across the street from homes with bedrooms to spare, these are Santa Barbara's car sleepers. Homeless within the last year, they are a direct consequence of America's economic collapse.

In this woman-only parking lot, Bonnee, who gives only her first name, wears a smart blue dress and has a business-like demeanour. A year ago, she was making a healthy living as, ironically, a real estate agent. But when people stopped buying houses, her commission-based income dried up, and, like many clients, she too was unable to pay her mortgage. Car sleeper Bonnee still works in the real estate business. Soon she found herself with nowhere to live but her 4x4. Piles of blankets are in the back of the vehicle. Personal documents are stuffed into seat pockets. Books litter the back seat. A make-up bag and gym membership card (she washes at the gym) are in the front. With her constantly, are photos of her former life. She can't quite believe her situation. "My God, America's heart is bleeding," she tells me. Tears fill her eyes. "I know it'll get better. But it feels sad. I really fought hard."

A medium-sized 4x4 pulls into the parking lot and 66-year-old Barbara Harvey gets out. She opens the back door and two large Golden Retrievers jump out. Barbara begins her nightly routine. She moves a few bags from the boot to the front seat and takes out pyjamas and a carton of yoghurt (her dinner). She then arranges blankets in the back of the car. Barbara used to work in housing finance - this is the double whammy of the housing collapse where many who worked in the sector lost their jobs and their homes. But since April, she and her dogs, Ranger and Phoebe, have spent every night in her car. It's cramped, but she says if they sleep diagonally they can all fit.

The car park lets the car sleepers enter from 7pm, local public toilets close at dusk. As a result, Barbara says she doesn't drink any liquids after she arrives. In the mornings, she showers at a friend's house. Dressed in clean, comfortable clothes and wearing sunglasses, she is far removed from the stereotypical image of homelessness. "I don't think I fit into anybody's image," she says. "There's going to be lots of homeless individuals who are middle-class, there can't be anything but. We're in an awful mess economically. I don't think we've seen half of what's going to happen in this country."

This new phenomenon of middle-class homelessness is hard to quantify, but New Beginnings, an organisation that runs the car park sleeping scheme in Santa Barbara, says they accommodate some 55 people in a dozen parking lots. Outreach worker Nancy Kapp, once homeless herself, says there is a waiting list for car park spaces and she is getting more and more calls each day from people about to lose their homes. She identifies it as a new breed of homeless emerging in America.

"Being poor is like this cancer, and now this cancer is filtering up to the middle-class," she says. "I don't care how strong you are, it's a breakdown of the human psyche when you start to lose everything you have. These people have worked their whole lives to have a house and now it's crumbling and it's in ashes and how devastating is that?" she says. "It's not an American dream, it's an American nightmare."

In another car park in Santa Barbara, Craig Miller, his wife Paige and their two children say they feel cramped in the small mobile home where they have been living for several months. "It's hard to keep things clean," says Paige. "It's hard to feel complete and whole." Originally from Florida, the family used to own a four-bedroom house with a pool. But when Craig's business failed, they lost it. Undeterred, the family embarked on a dream to drive across America and make a new start in California. But unable to find full-time work, and unable to afford rent, as Craig puts it "we got stuck". He says it was like a holiday at first but now it is much harder. "Getting money for food, it's not something we've had to think about before," says Craig. "We're definitely looking forward to getting out and getting a place. And we're working hard at getting there. This is just the journey, it's not the destination.'

As darkness falls on Santa Barbara, the car sleepers settle in for the night. They'll have to be up early: they are not allowed to stay in the car parks beyond 7am. Some work, others spend their days driving from one spot to another. When evening comes around again, they return to their car park homes. In comparison to other countries, and indeed America's own long-term homeless, they are still fortunate. But as America's economic crisis deepens, could there soon be more of them?"
"According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), there were roughly 554,000 homeless people living somewhere in the United States on a given night last year. A total of 193,000 of those people were "unsheltered," meaning that they were living on the streets and had no access to emergency shelters, transitional housing, or Safe Havens. Despite a booming stock market, a large swathe of America is still struggling to make ends meet."
"Land of the free, and the home of the brave..." Really?

Free Download: Jiddu Krishnamurti, “The Book of Life”

"You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. 
That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, 
that is why you must sing and dance, 
and write poems and suffer and understand, for all that is life."
- Jiddu Krishnamurti

Freely download “The Book of Life” by Jiddu Krishnamurti, here:

"'Singularity': Poet Marie Howe’s Beautiful Tribute to Stephen Hawking and Our Belonging to the Universe"

"'Singularity': Poet Marie Howe’s Beautiful Tribute to 
Stephen Hawking and Our Belonging to the Universe"
“Do you sometimes want to wake up to the singularity we once were?”
by Maria Popova

"When Stephen Hawking (January 8, 1942–March 14, 2018) was a young man, having already outlived the prognosis he had been given with ALS, he built on earlier theories about what happens to a dying star as it collapses to form a singularity - that tiny point of zero radius, infinite density, and infinite curvature of spacetime at the heart of a black hole. But then Hawking did something radical - he took this final death-stage and flipped the arrow of time to consider what would happen if that singularity exploded outward and began expanding. He theorized that perhaps that is how the universe was born. So began his half-century intellectual adventure that shaped the course of modern physics and changed our common understanding of why everything that is is.
A crowning moment of the 2018 Universe in Verse was a tribute to Hawking’s legacy by one of the great poets of our time: Marie Howe. Because Howe is an artist extremely considered in what she releases into the world, often devoting a decade to a single poem, it was a tremendous honor to have her premiere a new poem composed for the occasion in a blink of cosmic time and inspired by her young daughter’s love of physics. Howe’s prefatory meditations are as magnificent and full of wisdom as the poem itself - please enjoy both:
by Marie Howe
          (after Stephen Hawking)

"Do you too sometimes want to wake up 
to the singularity we once were?
So compact nobody
needed a bed, or food or money -
Nobody hiding in the school bathroom,
or home alone
pulling open the drawer
where the pills are kept.

For every atom belonging to me as good
Belongs to you. Remember?
There was no Nature. 
No themNo tests
to determine if the elephant grieves her calf, 
or if the coral reef feels pain.    

Trashed oceans don’t speak English or Farsi or French;
would that we could wake up to what we were -
when we were ocean, and before that
to when earth was sky, and animal was energy, 
and rock was liquid and stars were space and space was not
at all - nothing,
before we came to believe humans were so important,
before this awful loneliness.

Can molecules remember it?
What once was? Before anything happened?
Can our molecules remember?
No I, no We, no one,  No was,
No verb, no noun,
only a tiny tiny dot brimming with
is is is is is.

All...  everything...  home."

For more highlights from The Universe in Verse, savor Janna Levin reading Maya Angelou’s cosmic clarion call to humanity inspired by Carl Sagan, Jane Hirshfield’s poem “Optimism” in a lovely papercraft stop-motion animation by Kelli Anderson, and America Ferrera reading Denise Levertov’s poem about our conflicted relationship with nature, then revisit Hawking on the meaning of the universe."
 "Do You Remember?"

"Do you remember still the falling stars
that like swift horses through the heavens raced
and suddenly leaped across the hurdles
of our wishes - do you recall?
And we did make so many! 
For there were countless numbers of stars: 
each time we looked above we were
astounded by the swiftness of their daring play,
while in our hearts we felt safe and secure
watching these brilliant bodies disintegrate,
knowing somehow we had survived their fall."

- Rainer Maria Rilke

Musical Interlude: Kevin Kern, “Above the Clouds”

Kevin Kern, “Above the Clouds”


"Knowing can be a curse on a person's life. I'd traded in a pack of lies for a pack of truth, and I didn't know which one was heavier. Which one took the most strength to carry around? It was a ridiculous question, though, because once you know the truth, you can't ever go back and pick up your suitcase of lies. Heavier or not, the truth is yours now."
- Sue Monk Kidd

“Molecular Moods”

“Molecular Moods” 
By Françoise Tibika

“Close your eyes and imagine your body, immersed in a huge network of traveling information. Imagine your five senses- sight, hearing, smell, taste, and touch- interfering with the information crossing this network. And imagine your brain as a device that sorts them and translates some of them in a language you know: colors, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures. So far this sounds quite easy to imagine. But does this translation signed by your brain end there? Do you receive information other than colors, shapes, sounds, tastes, smells, or textures? 

Let us resume our former experiment. Close your eyes and imagine again that you are looking at a square red canvas. Thanks to the reactions triggered by the red photons in your eyes, your brain receives information from the outside, like a fax machine receives telephonic information. Your brain translates this information into color and shape: the canvas is red and square. But while looking at this canvas, do you receive information other than its color and shape? Wash your eyes well with the red drops coming to them, then take the red canvas away and replace it with a black one. What happens? How does it feel? Are your emotions the same in front of the red canvas and the black one? 

Are your emotions the same in front of other canvases like the "Water Lilies" by Claude Monet or "The Scream" by Edvard Munch or the "Venus" by Botticelli? If our emotions were the same in front of all of these paintings, the question is why these masters bothered so much to paint them; and what, after all, is the difference between a portrait painted by Picasso and the drawing of a child? If, however, your emotions are altered by different paintings, where does this change come from? What has changed but a very thin layer of molecules that covers the canvases? Could your emotions be related to this thin layer of molecules? Could your emotions be caused by the reaction of your own molecules? 

We usually believe that emotions belong to the domain of the mind, because emotions bring back memories and lead to thoughts and dreams; they also trigger imagination and can even invade our whole mind. But is it true that emotions belong only to the domain of the mind? Could your emotions have their source in the activity of your molecules? Could your emotions also be information coming from matter that is interpreted by your mind- information received at the end of a long chain of reactions, triggered by your sensations? Are your emotions born from matter? If they are, shouldn’t they be “located” at the “interface” between your body and your mind? Is there such a domain? 

Mind is a word that has a very broad meaning. It is, therefore, not easy to talk about mind in a context that is slightly more scientific than usual. Nevertheless, it seems that mind has many aspects. One of them might have a behavior similar to that of our molecules: it is in constant agitation and can, like our molecules, be transformed in the blink of an eye. I am speaking of that aspect of mind we commonly refer to as our “state of mind” or simply our mood. Undeniably this aspect of our mind is affected by our emotions. A sound, a word, a smile, a touch, or a look might change our mood in an instant. 

If our mood is dictated by our emotions, and if these are affected by the movement of our molecules, this means that our mood is dictated by the movement of our molecules. Is it so? Let’s investigate further. 

Is your mood affected by the scenery and the colors around you? Do you have the same emotional response whether you are closed up in your house on a stormy day or lying on a beach under the sun? Do you respond the same way to a devastated landscape as you do to a plantation of flowering peach trees? Do you believe your molecules are not involved here? When this molecular system that is you has been drastically modified-after an amputation, for example, or plastic surgery, or even simply by having your hair dyed- are your emotions affected? If so, do you think these effects have been triggered by something other than the reactions of your molecules? 

Can exercise change your state of mind? Some say that the principal aim of disciplines such as yoga, tai chi, or aikido is to change your mind-set. And what is physical activity if not a boost to some of your molecules? What about music? Don’t we say that it can change our state of mind? Don’t some pieces of music sometimes soothe you when your mind is tormented? And how do we hear a noise if not via the chemical reactions triggered in our brain by the vibrations of the tympanum? Some believe that even what we eat has an impact on our state of mind. Do you think that some dishes could excite you? And some teas calm you? And what is food if not chemical products that maintain the activity of your cells? 

Here is another striking example: antidepressants. No one can deny that antidepressants act on our state of mind. However, like any other drug, their role is to offer our molecules other partners and make them take other trajectories. How would a change in the direction of your molecules affect your mood? I am not even referring here to recreational drugs, those that are proscribed, which specifically affect the mind, such as cannabis, LSD, cocaine, ecstasy, certain mushrooms, and so on. 

Clearly, our emotions are directly related to our molecules. Our mood, that is, our state of mind, could be “a facet of mind that touches matter,” and our emotions can be imagined like a bridge or an interface between matter and mind.”
Excerpted from 
“Molecular Consciousness: Why the Universe Is Aware of Our Presence”

Food for thought...

"Just Another Mask..."

 “Paranoia is just another mask for ignorance. The truth, when you finally 
chase it down, is almost always worse than your darkest visions and fears.”
- Hunter S. Thompson

"Fortunately, the Dying Do Die"

"Fortunately, the Dying Do Die"
by Robert Gore at Straight Line Logic

"It is deeply satisfying to see the New York Times headline: “The Last Days of Time Inc.” One dying mainstream media organ writing the obituary of another. What could be better? It illustrates two truisms that sometimes get lost in the shuffle: things change, and the dying eventually die. For those of us who want things to change—not incrementally, bit by bit, but radically—and see sundry people, practices, and institutions depart this vale of tears sooner rather than later, the headline is pure hope.

Only 29 years ago Time Inc. was on top of the journalistic pile, flush enough to pay Warner Communications $14.9 billion for 51 percent of the company. The thing that changed was the internet, which skewered Time the New York Times, and countless other businesses, media and non-media alike.

If you’re of the same ideological persuasion as the mainstream media, you ascribe the internet’s ascendancy to its technological superiority and hastily move on. By this reckoning, old-line newspapers and magazines got caught in the same crosshairs as bookstores, record companies, and department stores. What’s ignored is the voice the internet gave to those not of the same ideological persuasion.

Since World War II, the media has crawled into bed with the government; they warm each other on chilly nights. Mainstream debate has devolved into how many government-approved angels can dance on the head of a government-approved pin. Will the deficit be $800 or $900 billion this year? For regime change, which works better, sponsoring internal insurrection, bombing campaigns, or both? Will Social Security go broke in 2034 or 2035?

There has always been news that wasn’t news because it wasn’t true. That’s an acceptable downside of a free press. You can’t give control of what gets published to the government and its minions to “protect” people from lies. It would take perhaps fifteen minutes for government-approved truth to become government-approved spin, propaganda, and lies. The truth’s only chance is press freedom, aggressive journalism (now found almost exclusively on the internet), and letting people sort things out on their own.

Substantial segments of the media now regard truth as a threat and want the government to suppress it. Substantial segments of the government would happily do so. Their increasingly hysterical reaction to the internet is a spike on the EKG just before the patient expires. The demise of the government’s public relations branch is the death of a vital organ that presages the death of the entire organism.

For the government, we even have a date when its condition became irretrievably terminal: July 6, 2016. On that date the US Treasury’s 10-year note yield hit its low, 1.34 percent, and has been trending irregularly higher ever since. Historically, debt has been the life support for regimes in extremis. No regime has ever been more in debt than the US government. Its annual deficit and debt service expense are growing, old-age pension and medical programs face a demographic crunch, and now interest rates are rising. One way or the other, the government walking away from some or all of its promises is as set in stone as anything in this life can be

As far as spending money the government doesn’t have, the new boss has been the same as the old boss, denial being the first stage of the terminal process. Notwithstanding his free-spending, Washington-pleasing ways, Trump infuriates elements of the ruling class, which has taken refuge in fantasy and criminality in an attempt to depose him. Anger is the second stage.

The Russiagate fantasy is a comatose, incontinent patient who shouldn’t be prevented from drowning in his own drool. As a kid, did you ever tell a string of lies, each increasingly outrageous lie designed to rescue the previous ones? Such has been the case with Russiagate, which started with an allegation of Russian hacking of Democratic National Committee computers. That the Democrats wouldn’t allow the FBI to examine those computers, instead relying on an outfit, CrowdStrike, of its own choosing, shouted: Whoppers to come!

And come they did, almost too numerous to count. The highlights have been the Trump dossier from Fusion One, secretly funded by the DNC and the Hillary Clinton campaign; the intelligence assessment based on that dossier; the cover story that a meeting between a drunk Trump campaign aide and an Australian diplomat instigated the Russiagate investigation; the Department of Justice and FBI’s stonewalling of congressional appearance requests and subpoenas; James Comey’s, John Brennan’s, and James Clapper’s leaks to the press and lies to congressional committees, and The New York Times recent CYA attempt to soft-pedal both the FBI’s insertion of at least one spy into the Trump campaign and its own tendentious reporting ahead of the Justice Department Inspector General’s report. To believe any or all of this is like accepting little Jimmy’s explanation that Martians messed up his room and took all the cookies.

The real story isn’t Russia. Do you mount a “soft coup” over policy differences when, after all the Washington give and take, those policies will, at worst, marginally affect your influence, power, and payola? Doubtful. (Keep in mind Trump wants to increase military budgets.) If, on the other hand, you’re facing complete disgrace and ruin, including a long stretch in a penal institution, there’s nothing you won’t do to save yourself.

It’s not what politicians and bureaucrats do sub rosa that poses the biggest danger to the country and the world, but what they do in broad daylight. However, there’s no denying that Washington is the world capital of sub rosa—the unethical, immoral, and illegal. To use a favorite Trump adjective, it’s a crooked place. Trump knows or suspects where some of the bodies are buried, and the powers that be fear he’ll go after them for everything from garden-variety graft, bribery, theft, and influence peddling to crimes as sordid as child molestation and murder. “Plot Holes,” SLL, 2/25/17

Trump could unplug Russiagate from life support at any time, but if he keeps it alive he can do in the Deep State. Since “Desperation” and “Plot Holes,” SLL has argued that Russiagate signals Deep State weakness and desperation, and that Trump was underestimated and would gain the upper hand. He has done so and can continue to use the scandal as his foil against the Deep State. Notwithstanding the ministrations of its captive press, it’s now obvious that the leadership of the intelligence agencies, colluding with the Obama administration and the Clinton campaign, launched an effort to prevent Trump’s election, and failing that, to overturn the election result.

There was never going to be dramatic round-ups and military tribunals for the miscreants, outcomes the more fervid quarters of the internet kept insisting were just around the corner. However, the slow grind of the legal system will be more satisfying in the same way that Chinese water torture is more satisfying than a quick execution, at least for the torturer.

Comey, Brennan, Clapper, Lynch, Clinton, lower ranking officials in the intelligence agencies and Department of Justice, and maybe even Obama will spend years worrying about subpoenas, depositions, indictments, legal bills, turning state’s evidence, plea bargains, and jail time as the screws are ever so slowly turned. Running the gauntlet that is the American criminal justice system may be the closest thing to hell on earth. Forgive the rest of us for our schadenfreude.”

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Musical Interlude: 2002, “Land of Forever”

2002, “Land of Forever”

"You Are Not Crazy: Taking a Time Out"

"You Are Not Crazy: Taking a Time Out"
by Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOM

"Sometimes as adults, we just need a time out to refocus and gather ourselves before starting out again. Most of us feel a little crazy from time to time. Periods of high stress can make us feel like we’re losing it, as can being surrounded by people whose values are very different from our own. Losing a significant relationship and moving into a new life situation are other events that can cause us to feel off kilter. Circumstances like these recur in our lives, and they naturally affect our mental stability. The symptoms of our state of mind can range from having no recollection of putting our car keys where we eventually find them, to wondering if we’re seeing things clearly when everyone around us seems to be in denial of what’s going on right in front of their eyes. For most of us, the key to survival at times like these is to step back, take a deep breath, and regain our composure. Then we can decide what course of action to take.

Sometimes a time-out does the trick. We take a day off from whatever is making us feel crazy and, like magic, we feel in our right mind again. Talking to an objective friend can also help. We begin to see what it is about the situation that destabilizes us, and we can make changes from there. At other times, if the situation is particularly sticky, we may need to seek professional help. Meeting with someone who understands the way the human mind reacts to stress, loss, and difficulty can make us feel less alone and more supported. A therapist or a spiritual counselor can give us techniques that help bring us back to a sane state of mind so that we can affect useful changes. They can also mirror our basic goodness, helping us to see that we are actually okay.

The main purpose of the wake-up call that feeling crazy provides is to let us know that something in our lives is out of balance. Confirm for yourself that you are capable of creating a sane and peaceful reality for yourself. Try to remember that most people have felt, at one time or another, that they are losing it. You deserve a life that helps you thrive. Try and take some steps today to help you achieve more balance and a little less crazy."

"Mapping The Tsunami Of Suicides Across America"

"Mapping The Tsunami Of Suicides Across America"
by Tyler Durden

"Suicide is a very complicated public health issue, influenced by demographic characteristics, socioeconomic factors, as well as health- and crime-related factors. Since the Great Financial Crisis (GFC), a tsunami of suicides has swept across America, making it the tenth leading cause of death, and in 2015, accounted for more than 44,000 deaths.

Understanding the geographic patterns of suicide can better inform the nation that something is not quite right.

Although government researchers have presented state-level trends in suicide rates, data at the county-level has been widely overlooked. The ‘County-Level Trends in Suicide Rates in the U.S., 2005–2015‘ report, issued by a team of researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) used county-level changes in suicide rates to examine geographic trends and identify urban-rural patterns in these type of deaths from 2005 to 2015.
Click image for larger size.
Nationwide increase in suicide rates at the county level from 2005 to 2015

The animation above, created by The Washington Post from figures in the report, shows a never before seen explosion in suicide rates at the county level during the period. Researchers said suicide rates increased by more than 10 percent from 2005 to 2015 for 99 percent of the counties across the nation, with a shocking 87 percent of counties registering increases of more than 20 percent.

“The highest [suicide] rates across the period were seen in parts of Alaska, Arizona, northern California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, New Mexico, Nevada, North and South Dakota, Oregon, and Wyoming,” the report discovered. By contrast, the regions with the lowest suicide rates were consistently seen across southern California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New York, Rhode Island, New Jersey, along the Mississippi River, western Texas, and along the eastern coast of North and South Carolina.

Comparison of model-based versus direct estimates aggregated over larger geographies, or over 2005–2015.
Click image for larger size.
County-Level Trends in Suicide Rates in the U.S., 2005–2015. 
(Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine)

 Model-based county-level suicide rates in the U.S., 
2005 (top), 2010 (middle), and 2015 (bottom).
County-Level Trends in Suicide Rates in the U.S., 2005–2015.
 (Source: American Journal of Preventive Medicine)

Researchers note that suicide rates in rural counties are complicated to measure, however, for this study, statistical modeling methods to infer suicide rates for smaller counties, along with 50 sources of data helped to develop the most accurate estimate of suicides, to date.

“Although a more detailed understanding of geographic variation may be useful, attempts at estimating county-level suicide rate have been limited because the majority of counties report fewer than 20 suicide deaths per year. Direct estimates of suicide rate based on small numbers can be unstable and highly variable year to year, making it difficult to discern trends. To produce stable estimates, studies and web-based mapping tools, often aggregate over multiple years or states, potentially masking important trends and within-state variation, including urban–rural differences.”

Suicide is now the 10th leading cause of death in the nation. The research presents an unprecedented view of the implosion of America. Judging by the trajectory and, of course, momentum, it is only a matter of time before the wave of death strikes the East Coast.”
Look, listen to me, and you know if I'm talking to you. I understand all too well what you might be feeling, and won't give you some empty words and false hope about "don't give up", etc, all that noise. Only you know if you're really at the end, when your soul's on fire and it's simply unbearable to go on for one more hour, one more minute. I know what you're feeling, that's all I'll say. But if you can see a glimmer of hope, still not totally sure that it's time to go, please, please, do consider these resources. Time passes, circumstances change and who knows, maybe something good will appear tomorrow if you can wait till then. I hope you can, and do... - CP

Get help now: If you are in a crisis or any other person may be in danger - don't use 
the BetterHelp site. The following resources can provide you with immediate help:

"The Truth..."

"The truth is painful. Deep down, nobody wants to hear it, especially when it hits close to home. Sometimes we tell the truth because the truth is all we have to give. Sometimes we tell the truth because we need to say it out loud to hear it for ourselves. And sometimes we tell the truth because we just can’t help ourselves. Sometimes, we tell them because we owe them at least that much."
- "Dr. Meredith Grey," "Grey's Anatomy"

"12 Indications That The Next Major Global Economic Crisis Could Be Just Around The Corner"

"12 Indications That The Next Major Global Economic 
Crisis Could Be Just Around The Corner"
by Michael Snyder

"There have not been so many trouble signs for the global economy in a very long time. Analysts are sounding the alarm about junk bond defaults, the smart money is getting out of stocks at an astounding rate, mortgage rates are absolutely skyrocketing, and Europe is already facing a full blown financial meltdown. Of course expectations that another global economic crisis will happen among the general population are probably at an all-time low right now, but the reality of the matter is that we are probably closer to a new one erupting than at any point since the last one in 2008. 

Since the last financial crisis our long-term debt problems have just continued to grow, and there are many that believe that the next crisis will actually be far worse than what we experienced ten years ago. So how bad are things at this moment? The following are 12 indications that the next major global economic crisis could be just around the corner:

#1 The “smart money” is getting out of stocks at a rate that we haven’t seen since just before the financial crisis of 2008.

#2 Moody’s is warning that a “particularly large wave” of junk bond defaults is coming. And as I have written about so many times before, junk bonds are often an early warning indicator for a major financial crisis.

#3 According to the FDIC, a closely watched category known as “assets of problem banks” more than tripled during the first quarter of 2018. What that means is that some really big banks are now officially in “problem” territory.

#4 U.S. Treasury bonds are having the worst start to a year since the Great Depression.

#5 Mortgage interest rates just hit a 7 year high, and they have been rising at the fastest pace in nearly 50 years. This is going to be absolutely crippling for the real estate and housing industries.

#6 Retail industry debt defaults have hit a record high in 2018.

#7 We are on pace for the worst year for retail store closings ever.

#8 The two largest economies on the entire globe are on the verge of starting an international trade war.

#9 The 9th largest economy in the world, Italy, is in the midst of yet another financial meltdown. In fact, this one appears to be the worst yet, and there are fears that it could spread to other areas of the eurozone.

#10 Italian banking stocks crashed really hard this week.

#11 Italian two year bond yields are the highest that they have been since the crisis of 2014.

#12 German banking giant Deutsche Bank just announced that it will be cutting another 7,000 jobs as it “seeks to turn the page on years of losses”. Those of you that have followed my work for a long time know that I have written extensively about Deutsche Bank, and it really is amazing that it has survived for this long.  If Deutsche Bank fails in 2018, it will essentially be a “Lehman Brothers moment” for the entire planet.

The mainstream media in the United States almost entirely ignores Europe, but I believe that what is going on over there is the key right now. Italy is a financial basket case, and Europe isn’t going to be able to handle a complete and total Italian financial collapse. If you will remember, Europe could barely handle what happened in Greece, and the Italian economy is many times the size of Greece.

The can has been kicked down the road several times before on the Italian crisis, but now we are getting to the point where it simply won’t be able to be kicked down the road any further. And once things start unraveling over in Europe, we will be deeply affected in the United States as well. The global financial system is more interconnected than ever before, and at this point we are even more vulnerable than we were just prior to the crisis of 2008.

When this thing breaks loose, it won’t matter who is in the White House, who is in Congress or who is running the Federal Reserve.

When this bubble bursts there is nothing that anyone will be able to do to stop it.

Global central banks have been able to buy a few extra years of time by engaging in unprecedented levels of intervention, but now they are almost out of ammunition and events are beginning to escalate at a very frightening pace. We shall see if they can pull another rabbit out of a hat in 2018, but I wouldn’t count on it…”