End Time Bible Prophecy

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End Time Bible Prophecy

U.S. delivers strong warning to Israel

Amid fears Iran about to cross so-called red line

SOURCE

TEL AVIV – According to informed Middle Eastern security officials, U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel delivered a strongly worded message to Israel – do not attack Iran.

The officials told WND that Hagel informed the Israeli government the Obama administration will not accept any unilateral Israeli attack against Iran and that Israel must not strike Tehran without coordination with the U.S.

Hagel further told Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cannot decide alone whether Iran has crossed the nuclear threshold, or the so-called Red Line previously outlined by the Israeli leader.

In a speech at the United Nations in September, Netanyahu drew a red line on a drawing of a bomb, depicting the point where he said Iran will have enough medium-enriched uranium to move rapidly toward building a nuclear bomb.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu draws a red line on the image of a bomb at the U.N. Sept. 27, 2012.

Netanyahu said at the U.N. that Iran could reach that point this spring or summer. By contrast, Obama has resisted setting any such deadlines.

Last week, Israel’s former military intelligence chief, Amos Yadlin, said, “If Iran continues to enrich uranium at its current rate, toward the end of the year it will cross the red line in a clear manner.”

The information comes after a former International Atomic Energy Agency senior nuclear inspector warned that Iran has discovered a way to circumvent Israel’s red line and that the red line may have already been passed.

Last fall, an IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear program showed a dip in the amount of 20 percent enriched uranium. Commenting on the report, the former deputy director-general for safeguards at the IAEA and senior nuclear inspector Olli Heinonen explained in a recent opinion article how this decrease is likely a gimmick.

He wrote that Iran has the capability to reconvert the uranium material back to the gas needed for its nuclear program. The converted 20 percent enriched uranium, now in a less worrisome oxide form, can “be converted back into centrifuge feedstock within a week.”

Heinonen warned that Iran may be able to convert the uranium without risk of detection.

If, through this process, Iran can disguise the quantity of enriched uranium it actually possesses, then Israel’s so-called red line may be artificial.

Heinonen further argued Iran has already passed Netanyahu’s red line of 250 kilograms of 20 percent enriched uranium, estimating Tehran possess as much as 280 kilograms, excluding any material that has already gone through the conversion process.

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North Korea warns military cleared to wage nuclear attack against US

April 3, 2013: South Korean Marines pass by K-55 self-propelled howitzers during an exercise against possible attacks by North Korea near the border village of Panmunjom in Paju, South Korea. (AP)

An unnamed spokesman for the North Korean army is warning the U.S. that its military has been cleared to wage an attack using “smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear” weapons in the latest of the country’s escalating warnings.

North Korea has railed for weeks against joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises taking place in South Korea and has expressed anger over tightened sanctions for a February nuclear test.

The spokesman said in a statement carried by the Korean Central News Agency that troops have been authorized to counter U.S. aggression with “powerful practical military counteractions.”

National Security Council spokesperson Caitlin Hayden called the threats “unhelpful and unconstructive.”

“It is yet another offering in a long line of provocative statements that only serve to further isolate North Korea from the rest of the international community and undermine its goal of economic development,” she said. “North Korea should stop its provocative threats and instead concentrate on abiding by its international obligations.”

The Pentagon said in Washington that it will deploy a missile defense system to the U.S. Pacific territory of Guam to strengthen regional protection against a possible attack from North Korea. The defense secretary said the U.S. was seeking to defuse the situation.

Despite the rhetoric, analysts say they do not expect a nuclear attack by North Korea, which knows the move could trigger a destructive, suicidal war that no one in the region wants.

The strident warning from Pyongyang is latest in a series of escalating threats from North Korea, which has railed for weeks against joint U.S. and South Korean military exercises taking place in South Korea and has expressed anger over tightened sanctions for a February nuclear test.

Following through on one threat Wednesday, North Korean border authorities refused to allow entry to South Koreans who manage jointly run factories in the North Korean city of Kaesong.

Washington calls the military drills, which this time have incorporated fighter jets and nuclear-capable stealth bombers, routine annual exercises between the allies. Pyongyang calls them rehearsals for a northward invasion.

The foes fought on opposite sides of the three-year Korean War, which ended in a truce in 1953. The divided Korean Peninsula remains in a technical state of war six decades later, and Washington keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea to protect its ally.

U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Washington was doing all it can to defuse the situation, echoing comments a day earlier by Secretary of State John Kerry.

“Some of the actions they’ve taken over the last few weeks present a real and clear danger and threat to the interests, certainly of our allies, starting with South Korea and Japan and also the threats that the North Koreans have leveled directly at the United States regarding our base in Guam, threatened Hawaii, threatened the West Coast of the United States,” Hagel said Wednesday.

In Pyongyang, the military statement said North Korean troops had been authorized to counter U.S. “aggression” with “powerful practical military counteractions,” including nuclear weapons.

“We formally inform the White House and Pentagon that the ever-escalating U.S. hostile policy toward the DPRK and its reckless nuclear threat will be smashed by the strong will of all the united service personnel and people and cutting-edge smaller, lighter and diversified nuclear strike means,” an unnamed spokesman from the General Bureau of the Korean People’s Army said in a statement carried by state media, referring to North Korea by its formal name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. “The U.S. had better ponder over the prevailing grave situation.”

However, North Korea’s nuclear strike capabilities remain unclear.

Pyongyang is believed to be working toward building an atomic bomb small enough to mount on a long-range missile. Long-range rocket launches designed to send satellites into space in 2009 and 2012 were widely considered covert tests of missile technology, and North Korea has conducted three underground nuclear tests, most recently in February.

“I don’t believe North Korea has to capacity to attack the United States with nuclear weapons mounted on missiles, and won’t for many years. Its ability to target and strike South Korea is also very limited,” nuclear scientist Siegfried Hecker, a senior fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University, said this week.

“And even if Pyongyang had the technical means, why would the regime want to launch a nuclear attack when it fully knows that any use of nuclear weapons would result in a devastating military response and would spell the end of the regime? ” he said in answers posted to CISAC’s website.

In Seoul, a senior government official said Tuesday that it wasn’t clear how advanced North Korea’s nuclear weapons capabilities are. But he also noted fallout from any nuclear strike on Seoul or beyond would threaten Pyongyang as well, making a strike unlikely. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly to the media.

North Korea maintains that it needs to build nuclear weapons to defend itself against the United States. On Monday, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un led a high-level meeting of party officials who declared building the economy and “nuclear armed forces” as the nation’s two top priorities.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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U.S. to beef up missile defense against N. Korea

The new deployment will increase the number of ground-based interceptors to 44 from the 30 already based in California and Alaska.

By Anne Gearan

The Washington Post

A ground-based interceptor is launched from California in a successful test flight Jan. 26.

Daniel Dreifuss / Santa Maria Times

A ground-based interceptor is launched from California in a successful test flight Jan. 26.

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said Friday that he would strengthen U.S. defenses against a possible attack by nuclear-equipped North Korea, fielding additional missile systems to protect the West Coast.

Hagel said he would add 14 missile interceptors in Alaska. The estimated $1 billion expansion represents a policy shift for the Obama administration, which had shelved plans to expand the mainland defense system.

Pentagon officials cast the expansion as a response to rising threats from Iran and North Korea, but the volatility and increasing hostility of the North Korean government were clearly the main drivers.

“North Korea, in particular, has recently made advances in its capabilities and has engaged in a series of irresponsible and reckless provocations,” Hagel said at a news conference.

The Obama administration has said North Korea is years away from having the capacity to launch a nuclear-armed missile strike against the continental United States. But the North Korean government has made faster-than-expected improvements in its long-range missile technology and successfully put a satellite into space recently. A satellite launch uses the same technology required to fire an intercontinental ballistic missile. North Korea also conducted a third underground nuclear test this year.

North Korea recently has taken a more aggressive tone toward South Korea, nullifying its 1953 truce with the South, and threatened a pre-emptive strike against the United States.

The United States has little insight into the North Korean leadership’s decision-making and even less diplomatic leverage. The chief U.S. deterrent is its overwhelming military advantage, one that also obligates the United States to defend close Asian allies South Korea and Japan from a North Korean assault.

The ground-based missile interceptors are designed to blow up incoming warheads in flight. The system, in place since 2004, has 26 interceptors at Fort Greely in Alaska and four at Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

Plans for the 14 additional interceptors were revived as North Korea’s rhetoric appeared more dangerous, Pentagon officials said. A year into his tenure, the country’s 30-year-old leader, Kim Jong Un, has proved even more bellicose than his father, North Korea’s longtime ruler Kim Jong Il, disappointing U.S. officials who had hoped for a fresh start with the new government.

Deployment of the new interceptors will begin shortly and be completed by the end of 2017, Hagel said. The U.S. also will begin looking for a potential third site for ground-based interceptors.

It is not clear what effect the order for additional interceptors will have on jobs or the defense budget. The missiles are made by Orbital Sciences, although Boeing is the overall contractor for the program and other defense firms have pieces of it.

The Navy also recently bolstered its deployment of ballistic-missile-defense warships in waters off the Korean Peninsula, although the vessels were sent as part of an exercise before the increase in caustic language from the North. As part of the Foal Eagle military exercise with South Korea, the Navy has four Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers in the region. Additionally, the U.S. deploys Patriot Advanced Capability batteries in South Korea for defense of targets there.

Japan is developing its own missile-defense system, which includes Aegis warships and Patriot systems.

The U.S. has advanced TPY-2 missile-defense tracking radar in Japan to enhance early warning across the region and toward the West Coast.

The Pentagon will pay for part of the expansion by revamping its Aegis missile program, which would be used to provide mobile, ship-based missile defense in Europe and as added protection in the United States.

Congressional cuts to the SM-3 Aegis missile program had pushed deployment of the U.S. component back to at least 2022, Hagel said Friday. Money will be diverted from the SM-3 program to fund the additional ground-based interceptors and improve the performance of both types of missiles.

“We will be able to add protection against missiles from Iran sooner while also providing additional protection against the North Korean threat,” Hagel said.

Hagel said the United States will not alter plans to deploy the system in Europe, a long-standing irritant in U.S. relations with Russia.

The missile interceptors have a checkered record. Technical difficulties slowed their installation, and flight testing was suspended for two years after a failure in December 2010. The Pentagon conducted a successful flight test in January.

“We have confidence in our system,” Hagel said. “And we certainly will not go forward with the additional 14 interceptors until we are sure that we have the complete confidence that we will need.”

Material from McClatchy Newspapers and The Associated Press is included in this report.

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Police Deploy ‘Minority Report’ Style Robot Drones In Standoff With Ohio Man

Dystopian panopticon becoming the norm

Steve Watson
Infowars.com

SOURCE

Police in a small Ohio town responded to a disturbance involving an inebriated armed man by sending in two spy drone robots. When the man shot one of the droids, he was charged with vandalism of government property.

The incident occurred in Waverly, Ohio last week when officers were called to the scene after neighbours reported hearing gunshots from inside Michael Blevins’ home. Blevins had also allegedly threatened several people, and was thought to have more firearms inside.

When the man refused to answer the door to police, WBNS 10TV news reported that they called for assistance from the Ohio Highway Patrol’s Strategic Response Team.

The response team arrived on the scene and sent in two surveillance robots; one to locate the man, and another to locate his firearms.

Blevins reportedly shot one of the robots with a pistol, rendering it damaged. Police then entered the house and managed to subdue him with a taser. The entire standoff lasted six hours.

After obtaining a search warrant, officers found two AK47 rifles and a prohibited 75-round ammunition drum. Aside from the vandalism charge, Blevins was charged with unlawful possession of a dangerous ordinance. Under Ohio law, ammunition magazines can not exceed a 30-round capacity.

The most interesting aspect of this incident is obviously the drone factor. Police all over the country are now employing what are essentially military technologies, which is causing concern for privacy advocates.

In the case of Michael Blevins, sending in drones was a last resort. But what happens as this becomes the norm for police in similar situations?

Law enforcement departments everywhere are adopting dronesfacial recognition softwaremobile iris and face scanners, microphones that record city-wide conversationsstreet lights that spy on you, and automated license plate readers, to name but a few of the new privacy busting gizmos.

Of particular concern, however, are the gizmos that are designed to enter people’s homes.

Just last November, a different Ohio police department proudly paraded their newly acquired $11,000 RoboteX AVATAR Micro surveillance robot (as seen below), promising to make it a permanent member of the department’s SWAT team.

Deployment of this kind of technology by police exactly mirrors what was envisaged in the futuristic police state outlined by the inimitable Philip K. Dick in Minority Report:

The fact that this kind of technology now exists and is being adopted for real by police, as is pre-crime technology for that matter, should set alarm bells ringing.

With Department of Homeland Security ‘Fusion Centers’ in every city, and DAPRA’s Total Information Awareness program alive and well, it is clear that the surveillance state is reaching a new degree of advancement.

DARPA itself continues to fund this advancement, helping create drones that can literally fly into buildings through windows and autonomously dodge obstacles.

As we have previously reported, the DHS is also customizing military predator drones for domestic surveillance, and actively loaning them to law enforcement agencies.

The next generation of surveillance drones being developed under DARPA, will be fitted with technology known as the Area Persistent Stare, and will literally be able to surveil entire cities at once in real time.

Little wonder then that a significant backlash against drones is picking up pace in America.

Recent victories for anti-drone activists who have pushed for legislative bans in their cities and states shows how such surveillance over reach can be effectively countered at the local and state level. Those who have any value for privacy should consider joining the push back against the surveillance state before it is too late.

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What Is Going On With All The SinkHoles?

Why Are Giant Sinkholes Appearing All Over America? Is Something Happening To The Earth’s Crust?

SOURCE

Where are all of these giant sinkholes coming from?  Of course there have always been sinkholes, but over the past few years it seems like both the severity and the number of giant sinkholes has been increasing dramatically.  So exactly why are so many giant sinkholes appearing all over America all of a sudden?  Is something happening to the earth’s crust, or is there some other explanation?  The “experts” are blaming this epidemic of sinkholes on things like loose soil, acidic groundwater, new construction, leaky water pipes, coal mines, fracking, long periods of drought followed by rain, and depletion of underground aquifers, but do they really understand what is going on?  On Thursday, a 37-year-old man named Jeffrey Bush living near Tampa, Florida died when the earth underneath his home suddenly opened up and swallowed him alive.  His brother tried to help him when he heard Jeffrey screaming, but it was too late.  The entire bedroom was sucked deep into the earth and the home had to be rapidly abandoned.  Now authorities are admitting that he will probably never be found.  So is this type of thing really “normal”?  It would be one thing if this was just an isolated incident, but the truth is that giant sinkholes have been appearing with increasing frequency all over the planet lately. Could this be an indication that major earth changes are on the way?

Florida has always been an area that has been prone to sinkholes, but the numbers do show that sinkhole damage in the state has increased very rapidly in recent years.  According to ABC News, insurance claims related to sinkholes more than doubled between 2006 and 2009…

Hillsborough County, where Seffner is situated, is part of an area in Florida prone to sinkholes, with insurance claims associated with them more than doubling between 2006 and 2009, according to a Florida Senate report.

But that is just Florida, right?

Other parts of the country are not having this kind of a problem, right?

Wrong.

Just check out what has been happening in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania lately.  There are dozens of sinkholes that have opened up in Harrisburg, and the city is so broke that it doesn’t have the money to fix all of them.

In fact, at this point there are 41 sinkholes that have been documented in Harrisburg, and many of them are right in the middle of the street…

Pennsylvania’s state capital is suffering from a rash of monster sinkholes, but city officials are too broke to do anything about it.

Loose soil and leaky, century-old underground water pipes are to blame for the municipal nightmare, which came to a head on the New Year’s Eve when a 50-foot sinkhole yawned open along Fourth Street, the Wall Street Journal reported.

The eight-foot deep crater — one of at least 41 in the city — is so large, locals made it a “check-in” site on the social media site Four Square.

Some cheeky residents and the media nicknamed the hole “Super Sinkhole Walter.”

Of course there have been lots of cities throughout U.S. history that have experienced such an epidemic of sinkholes, right?

There is no reason to be alarmed, right?

In a previous article about sinkholes, I talked about a sinkhole that recently formed in Ohio that was the size of four football fields and that was more than 30 feet deep.  It caused part of State Route 516 to collapse and authorities were projecting that the road would continue to stay closed for months to come.

But that is “normal”, right?

The giant Louisiana sinkhole in Assumption Parish that made headlines all over the nation last year is now more than 800 feet in diameter.  It just continues to grow, and authorities have no idea when it will stop growing.

But this kind of thing happens all the time, right?

Just recently, large sinkholes forced roads to close in New Jersey and in Arizona.  Of course those incidents will soon be forgotten because there are more news stories about major sinkholes in the United States almost every single day now.  Giant sinkholes have been happening with such regularity that people hardly take notice anymore.

You can see some photos of some of the craziest sinkholes in recent years right here.  It would be one thing if giant sinkholes were just appearing in the United States, but unfortunately that is not the case.

For instance, a sinkhole that appeared in the middle of Guatemala City in 2010 was about 30 stories deep.

Down in Sarisarinama, Venezuela some sinkholes have appeared in recent years that are more than 1,000 feet wide.

China has been one of the worst areas of the world for sinkholes over the past several years.  In fact, just check out what has been happening in one village in China recently

Residents in the village of Lianyuan in southern China’s Hunan Province have been treading rather gingerly these last few months. Over 20 sinkholes have opened up in the ground since last September. The cave-ins, which range in size, have seen houses collapse and rivers run dry. And there is never any warning as to where and when the sinkholes occur. According to local authorities, the main reason for the cave-ins is the number of coalmines in the area. It is not clear what steps are being taken to prevent further sinkholes from appearing.

I could go on and on with more examples from all over the globe, but hopefully you are starting to get the point.

Giant holes are opening up all over the earth and swallowing homes, buildings, roads and sometimes even people.

So why is this happening?

Is the crust of the earth becoming more unstable?

Or is something else at work?

 

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Rare Superbug Spreads in US

Rare superbug emerging in U.S. elicits advisory warning from CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is alerting clinicians of an emerging untreatable multidrug-resistant organism in the United States.

There are many forms of Carbapenem-resistant Enterobacteriaceae (CRE), but of the 37 forms reported in the U.S., 15 have been reported in less than a year.

The CDC said the increase in CRE means health care providers need to “act aggressively to prevent the emergence and spread of these unusual CRE organisms.”

Enterobacteriaceae lives in water, soil and the human gut. These “surperbugs” have developed high levels of resistance to antibiotics – even carbapanems. Individuals who usually develop CRE infections are those who are taking antibiotics and getting significant medical treatment for other conditions.

The majority of CRE were “isolated from patients who received overnight medical treatment outside of the United States,” according to the CDC.

Health care providers that encounter CRE infections should follow the CDC’s recommendations in the 2012 CRE toolkit.

Persons who shared a room with a patient who has a CRE infection – and maybe even health care providers who treated the infected patient – should be screened to make sure they have not caught the infection.

If the infected patient is transferred to another health care facility, the new facility should become aware of the CRE infection. Health care providers who care for infected patients should not treat other non-infected patients.

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US Issues Yesha Travel Warning

The State Department issued a warning to employees, and to all U.S. citizens, to stay out of Judea and Samaria, if it can at all be helped

Arab unrest. illustration

Arab unrest. illustration     Flash90

SOURCE

The U.S. State Department on Monday issued a travel warning to employees, and to all U.S. citizens, to stay out of Judea and Samaria, if it can at all be helped. Employees of the U.S. government in Israel are, at least for now, banned from traveling to Bethlehem, and official travel to the rest of Judea and Samaria is “limited.”

 

The reason, according to a securitymessage from the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem and distributed to U.S. diplomatic personnel and U.S. citizens on the Consulate’s mailing list, is the ongoing Arab unrest in Judea and Samaria. “Due to demonstrations occurring at locations across the West Bank, the U.S. Consulate General in Jerusalem has temporarily limited official travel to the WestBank by U.S. Government personnel,” the message says. “In addition, personal travel to Bethlehem by U.S. Government personnel is temporarily suspended.”

 

Although the message does not directly restrict Americans currently in Israel from visiting Judea and Samaria, “U.S. citizens are advised to defer non-essential travel to and within the West Bank and to exercise an extra measure of caution during this period,” according to the Consulate.

 

“The U.S. Consulate General takes this opportunity to remind U.S. citizens that demonstrations, even peaceful ones, can turn violent with little or no warning. U.S. citizens should be aware of their surroundings at all times, and avoid large crowds,” the message adds.

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North Korea warns U.S. forces of “destruction” ahead of war drills


A North Korean soldier looks south through a pair of binoculars on the north side of the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone separating the two Koreas in Paju, about 55 km (34 miles) north of Seoul, August 25, 2010. REUTERS/Jo Yong-Hak
 

(Reuters) – North Korea on Sunday warned the top U.S. military commander stationed in South Korea that his forces would “meet a miserable destruction” if they go ahead with scheduled military drills with South Korean troops, North Korean state media said.

Pak Rim-su, chief delegate of the North Korean military mission to the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom, gave the message by phone to Gen. James Thurman, the commander of the U.S. Forces Korea, KCNA news agency said.

It came amid escalating tension on the divided Korean peninsula after the North’s third nuclear test earlier this month, in defiance of U.N. resolutions, drew harsh international condemnation.

A direct message from the North’s Panmunjom mission to the U.S. commander is rare.

North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

The U.S.-South Korean Combined Forces Command is holding an annual computer-based simulation war drill, Key Resolve, from March 11 to 25, involving 10,000 South Korean and 3,500 U.S. troops.

The command also plans to hold Foal Eagle joint military exercises involving land, sea and air manoeuvres. About 200,000 Korean troops and 10,000 U.S. forces are expected to be mobilized for the two month-long exercise which starts on March 1.

“If your side ignites a war of aggression by staging the reckless joint military exercises…at this dangerous time, from that moment your fate will be hung by a thread with every hour,” Pak was quoted as saying.

“You had better bear in mind that those igniting a war are destined to meet a miserable destruction.”

Washington and Seoul regularly hold military exercises which they say are purely defensive. North Korea, which has stepped up its bellicose threats towards the United States and South Korea in recent months, sees them as rehearsals for invasion.

North Korea threatened South Korea with “final destruction” during a debate at the U.N. Conference on Disarmament on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Sung-won Shim; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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U.S. Economic Collapse?!

20 Signs That The U.S. Economy Is Heading For Big Trouble In The Months Ahead

 

Is the U.S. economy about to experience a major downturn?  Unfortunately, there are a whole bunch of signs that economic activity in the United States is really slowing down right now.  Freight volumes and freight expenditures are way down, consumer confidence has declined sharply, major retail chains all over America are closing hundreds of stores, and the “sequester” threatens to give the American people their first significant opportunity to experience what “austerity” tastes like.  Gas prices are going up rapidly, corporate insiders are dumping massive amounts of stock and there are high profile corporate bankruptcies in the news almost every single day now.  In many ways, what we are going through right now feels very similar to 2008 before the crash happened.  Back then the warning signs of economic trouble were very obvious, but our politicians and the mainstream media insisted that everything was just fine, and the stock market was very much detached from reality.  When the stock market did finally catch up with reality, it happened very, very rapidly.  Sadly, most people do not appear to have learned any lessons from the crisis of 2008.  Americans continue to rack upstaggering amounts of debt, and Wall Street is more reckless than ever.  As a society, we seem to have concluded that 2008 was just a temporary malfunction rather than an indication that our entire system was fundamentally flawed.  In the end, we will pay a great price for our overconfidence and our recklessness.

So what will the rest of 2013 bring?

Hopefully the economy will remain stable for as long as possible, but right now things do not look particularly promising.

The following are 20 signs that the U.S. economy is heading for big trouble in the months ahead…

#1 Freight shipment volumes have hit their lowest level in two years, and freight expenditures have gone negative for the first time since the last recession.

#2 The average price of a gallon of gasoline has risen by more than 50 cents over the past two months.  This is making things tougher on our economy, because nearly every form of economic activity involves moving people or goods around.

#3 Reader’s Digest, once one of the most popular magazines in the world, has filed for bankruptcy.

#4 Atlantic City’s newest casino, Revel, has just filed for bankruptcy.  It had been hoped that Revel would help lead a turnaround for Atlantic City.

#5 A state-appointed review board has determined that there is “no satisfactory plan” to solve Detroit’s financial emergency, and many believe that bankruptcy is imminent.  If Detroit does declare bankruptcy, it will be the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history.

#6 David Gallagher, the CEO of Town Sports International, recently said that his company is struggling right now because consumers simply do not have as much disposable income anymore…

“As we moved into January membership trends were tracking to expectations in the first half of the month, but fell off track and did not meet our expectations in the second half of the month. We believe the driver of this was the rapid decline in consumer sentiment that has been reported and is connected to the reduction in net pay consumers earn given the changes in tax rates that went into effect in January.

#7 According to the Conference Board, consumer confidence in the U.S. has hit its lowest level in more than a year.

#8 Sales of the Apple iPhone have been slower than projected, and as a result Chinese manufacturing giant FoxConn has instituted a hiring freeze.  The following is from a CNET report that was posted on Wednesday…

The Financial Times noted that it was the first time since a 2009 downturn that the company opted to halt hiring in all of its facilities across the country. The publication talked to multiple recruiters.

The actions taken by Foxconn fuel the concern over the perceived weakened demand for the iPhone 5 and slumping sentiment around Apple in general, with production activity a leading indicator of interest in the product.

#9 In 2012, global cell phone sales posted their first decline since the end of the last recession.

#10 We appear to be in the midst of a “retail apocalypse“.  It is being projected that Sears, J.C. Penney, Best Buy and RadioShack will also close hundreds of stores by the end of 2013.

#11 An internal memo authored by a Wal-Mart executive that was recently leaked to the press said that February sales were a “total disaster” and that the beginning of February was the “worst start to a month I have seen in my ~7 years with the company.”

#12 If Congress does not do anything and “sequestration” goes into effect on March 1st, the Pentagon says that approximately 800,000 civilian employees will be facing mandatory furloughs.

#13 Barack Obama is admitting that the “sequester” could have a crippling impact on the U.S. economy.  The following is from a recentCNBC article

Obama cautioned that if the $85 billion in immediate cuts — known as the sequester — occur, the full range of government would feel the effects. Among those he listed: furloughed FBI agents, reductions in spending for communities to pay police and fire personnel and teachers, and decreased ability to respond to threats around the world.

He said the consequences would be felt across the economy.

“People will lose their jobs,” he said. “The unemployment rate might tick up again.”

#14 If the “sequester” is allowed to go into effect, the CBO is projecting that it will cause U.S. GDP growth to go down by at least 0.6 percent and that it will “reduce job growth by 750,000 jobs“.

#15 According to a recent Gallup survey, 65 percent of all Americans believe that 2013 will be a year of “economic difficulty“, and 50 percent of all Americans believe that the “best days” of America are now in the past.

#16 U.S. GDP actually contracted at an annual rate of 0.1 percentduring the fourth quarter of 2012.  This was the first GDP contraction that the official numbers have shown in more than three years.

#17 For the entire year of 2012, U.S. GDP growth was only about 1.5 percent.  According to Art Cashin, every time GDP growth has fallen this low for an entire year, the U.S. economy has alwaysended up going into a recession.

#18 The global economy overall is really starting to slow down

The world’s richest countries saw their economies contract for the first time in almost four years during the final three months of 2012, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development said.

The Paris-based thinktank said gross domestic product across its 34 member states fell by 0.2% – breaking a period of rising activity stretching back to a 2.3% slump in output in the first quarter of 2009.

All the major economies of the OECD – the US, Japan, Germany, France, Italy and the UK – have already reported falls in output at the end of 2012, with the thinktank noting that the steepest declines had been seen in the European Union, where GDP fell by 0.5%. Canada is the only member of the G7 currently on course to register an increase in national output.

#19 Corporate insiders are dumping enormous amounts of stockright now.  Do they know something that we don’t?

#20 Even some of the biggest names on Wall Street are warning that we are heading for an economic collapse.  For example, Seth Klarman, one of the most respected investors on Wall Street, said in his year-end letter that the collapse of the U.S. financial system could happen at any time

“Investing today may well be harder than it has been at any time in our three decades of existence,” writes Seth Klarman in his year-end letter. The Fed’s “relentless interventions and manipulations” have left few purchase targets for Baupost, he laments. “(The) underpinnings of our economy and financial system are so precarious that the un-abating risks of collapse dwarf all other factors.”

So what do you think is going to happen to the U.S. economy in the months ahead?

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