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On my weekly podcast with Kerry Lutz, we discussed the expanding malaise taking over the American mindset; if you will, an ominous shift in the zeitgeist of free spending that has characterized our entire lifetimes.  In other words, the horrific 11% decline in “Black Friday” weekend shopping was not only characteristic of an economy in freefall, but a growing state of fear and apathy.

Even the MSM is not writing incessantly about holiday shopping, with only the government’s “economic lie machine” still trying to convince us otherwise – per the embarrassingly blatant “seasonal adjustment” they utilized to enable November’s retail sales report to “beat expectations” yesterday morning.  Frankly, it’s difficult to believe anyone believes such propaganda anymore, which is why the government’s only remaining “perception weapon” is the expanding manipulation of financial markets.  To that end, the “chasm of destruction” between the reality of an expanding DEPRESSION and a record “Dow Jones Propaganda Average” has become so wide, it won’t be long before all three components of the “evil tripod” of perception alternation – i.e., money printing, market manipulation and propaganda – are permanently disabled.

Think about it as reality is setting in everywhere.  How many holiday cards have you received this year?  In our household, we have received just four compared to perhaps 15-20 in a typical year.  How many Christmas shopping commercials have you seen on television?  You know, with “Jingle Bells” and the Nutcracker music playing?  How many phone calls have you received, letting you know how people are doing?  It’s just a feeling, but I sense more and more people are knee-deep in financial concerns; and thus, the supposed “common knowledge” that holiday shopping must be a major event is rapidly dying.

As for the cause of this sentiment shift – which we assure you is much worse outside the U.S., where “reserve currencies” can’t mask reality as well – look no further than the fiat Ponzi scheme that has created the largest most global debt edifice ever.  In other words, “history’s greatest fraud.”  Oh, TPTB are still trying to blow it up further – by publishing fraudulent retail sales numbers to instill “confidence,” for instance.  Or, for that matter, offering 3% down mortgages through the Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae zombies and trillions of taxpayer subsidized, undischargable student loans.  However, few are biting at the bait anymore – as debt saturation has clearly been reached and the economy too weak to even support hope anymore for the “99%.”  And again, for all the secular Americans reading this, the rest of the world is in MUCH worse shape growing worse each day.

At the Miles Franklin Blog, we have discussed the inevitability of economic collapse incessantly, with only the when and how remaining to be answered.  Well, “the big one” hasn’t yet arrived; but for the first time, its inevitability is starting to appear imminent.  And unless something dramatically shifts in the coming weeks, the most likely catalysts will be one we’ve spoken of ad nauseum – i.e., Greece; and another, the “black swan” of collapsing oil prices that is annihilating both global economic activity and government finances.

This morning, the Greek stock and bond markets are falling again with the former down an incredible 20% in the past three days alone.  And as for oil, WTI sits just over $59/bbl. as I write, with “lesser grades” like Bakken crude more than $10/bbl. lower, and Canadian heavy closer to $20/bbl. lower.  In other words, nearly back to 2008’s crisis levels, and the real pain hasn’t even started.  Frankly, even I am scared by how rapidly the economy is likely to plunge, given that an entire third of S&P 500 capital expenditures occur in the energy industry; which, consequently, has been the only industry to generate net job growth over the past seven years.  Yes, all other industries have been net job negative during the so-called “recovery” six years of ZIRP, QE and stock market support has produced; and now that oil prices are freefalling, even the “island of lies” that is U.S. employment data is being isolated.  Heck, we’re already seeing the employment blowback, per last week’s surge in continuing job claims to a four-month high.  In fact, U.S. oil well drilling permits plunged an astonishing 40% in November alone – which, by the way, ended with WTI crude at $70/bbl. compared to $59/bbl. this morning.

As for financial “markets,” yesterday’s “desperation tutorial” described TPTB’s incredibly blatant efforts to “calm” markets Wednesday afternoon – when oil prices really started plunging, and the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield commenced a new downside assault on the 2.2% “line in the sand” we noted two months ago.  After all, per yesterday’s MUST HEAR Audioblog, if these ugly market trends can’t be reversed before Wednesday’s FOMC meeting, the Fed will be forced to not only refrain from removing “considerable time” from their policy statement, but potentially hint at further QE stimulus.  If this occurs, methinks the three-year Cartel orchestrated PM “bear market” will decidedly be over.  And as for the rest of the world’s financial markets, don’t be surprised if this is the “temporary exception” to the reality of 2008 revisited – i.e., government-supported stock markets – rapidly dies on the vine.

Actually, if you thought Wednesday’s manipulations were bad, they didn’t even hold a candle to yesterday’s!  All day, interest rates were under pressure, along with oil prices that continue to plunge.  However, the PPT was hell-bent on recouping Wednesday’s stock losses, given that the Dow is NOT ALLOWED to fall two days in a row.  They even managed to generate a massive equity “buying panic” early on – even in energy stocks, whilst energy bonds continued their Lehman-like collapse.  And when a scorching 30-year Treasury bond auction was priced at 1:00 PM EST, they still put every ounce of their manipulative efforts into capping gold and silver’s rises – for the second straight day, with prototypical DLITG or “Don’t Let it Turn Green” algorithms – and preventing 2.2% on the 10-year bond from being materially breached on the downside.  By day’s end, PMs were roughly unchanged, the Dow 60 points higher and the 10-year yield 2.19%, with oil below $60/bbl.  However, this morning, as I write at 7:50 AM EST, oil is barely above $59/bbl., stock futures are down sharply, PMs are again roughly unchanged and the 10-year Treasury yield is at….drum roll please…2.12%; as clearly, the Fed is losing this war.

The day is still young, and we eagerly wait to see if TPTB can reverse these ugly trends before the weekend.  If not, any remaining “hope” of FOMC hawkishness will disintegrate, giving rise to talk of “deflation fears” and the potential timing of “QE4.”  Throw in the wildcard of Wednesday’s Greek “snap elections” – which will likely give rise to fears of a “Grexit” from the Euro currency; and you have the ingredients of a global financial meltdown that could – no, will – make 2008 look like a “walk in the park.”

Remember, this time around the Central banks have no dry powder and governments no trust from their citizens.  And thus, with the supply/demand balance of physical gold and silver so tight, it wouldn’t take much to instigate a buying mania.  We can only warn you to prepare for what’s coming; and frankly, precious metal purchases are only part of what you need to do to maximize your ability to survive.  Hopefully, you’ll act to protect yourself quickly; and if your gold and silver purchases are amongst your precautions, we humbly ask you to call Miles Franklin at 800-822-8080 and give us a chance to earn your business.