Spring Break

I am currently on my “spring break” from blogging, which includes Survival And Prosperity.

New material will appear on the blog starting Monday, May 2.

Thanks,

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

Monday, April 25th, 2016 Housekeeping No Comments

Signs Of The Time, Part 100

A milestone has been reached with the “Signs Of The Time” series of posts.

I wasn’t sure what material I’d use for post number 100, when manna from Heaven suddenly appeared in the form of a headline on the home page of my Internet service provider:

Why people won’t say the economy is booming

By most measures, the economy is doing great. So, why are people reluctant to admit it?

Obama: ‘We went through a really scary time’

In the accompanying piece, Sam Ro, managing editor at Yahoo! Finance, wrote Sunday:

By most measures, the economy is doing great. The US labor market is creating around 200,000 jobs a month, which has brought the unemployment rate tumbling to 5%. Meanwhile, home prices are up and stock prices (GSPC) are near all-time highs.

So, why are there so many people so reluctant to acknowledge how good things are today?

One word: trauma.

“Some people are still recovering from the trauma of what happened in 2007-2008,” President Barack Obama said in an interview with Yahoo Finance’s Nicole Sinclair. “You know, we went through a really scary time.”

Trauma has the ability to distort how we perceive our present reality…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Just when you thought you’ve heard everything, right?

It gets better. Ro continued:

Consider the joy that comes from jumping on a trampoline or the thrill one gets from speeding downhill on a bicycle. For many folks, the unexpected and painful reality of a nasty spill and a couple of fractured bones will forever take away the bliss that once came from those activities. The trampoline and bicycle will continue to offer the same experience, but the trauma can be so intense that it can force many to keep their feet on the ground.

Losing your job, getting evicted from your home, and watching the value of your retirement savings crash can be deeply distressing. And so even when you get a new job, move into a new home, and recoup all of your investment losses, that new persistent feeling of uncertainty that followed the traumatic will discount everything you have…

Any readers ever see that iconic sports film The Natural, starring Robert Redford? Is it just me, or does all this kind of remind you of that part in the movie where the club hires a shrink to talk to the players when everything is going wrong?


“Losing is a disease”
YouTube Video

No, not that bit where the ballplayer gets hit in the (g)nards. But that “losing is a disease” speech.

And just like Roy Hobbs rolled his eyes and walked out of the locker room, I wouldn’t blame any of you for moving on from this post after reading that stuff about “trauma.”

“Trauma has the ability to distort how we perceive our present reality”

I suspect the “present reality” is crystal-clear for a growing number of Americans- trauma not needed.

And in more than a few instances, their economic “reality” definitely does not match what’s being peddled by Washington and its allies in the mainstream media these days.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Source:

Ro, Sam. “Obama uttered a single word that explains so much about America today.” Yahoo! News. 17 Apr. 2016. (https://www.yahoo.com/news/obama-us-economy-americans-recovering-from-trauma-175254482.html). 18 Apr. 2016.

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Peter Schiff: 2008 A ‘Tremor,’ ‘Real Earthquake Is Still In Our Future’

The CEO of Euro Pacific Capital, Peter Schiff, appeared on the Alex Jones Show last Friday. Schiff, who correctly-called last decade’s housing crash and recent global economic crisis, talked about the state of the U.S. economy- and how the 2008 crisis was just a “tremor” before the real earthquake. From their exchange:

JONES: So you think that we may already actually be in a recession.
SCHIFF: All of the indicators, if you look at most of the economic indicators that are out there, they’re flashing recession. I mean, the only thing that isn’t is the low unemployment rate and the jobs that we’re creating. But then when you look beneath the surface, and we’ve discussed this before on your program, when you realize that all the jobs that are being created are low-paying, part-time jobs. The reason there are so many jobs is because people now have two or three. And so if you have three jobs that you count as having- it’s three instead of just one. But they don’t add up to one good, full-time job. And you have lots of people who have left the labor force. And I think one of the reasons the unemployment claims are so low is because so few people are being hired, that not that many people are being fired. You can’t lose a job unless you get a job. And so since we’re really creating so few legitimate jobs, there’s not a lot of people that are collecting unemployment. So this economy is very weak, despite the rosy scenario, the fiction, that the President is trying to paint.

And from later on in the program:

JONES: Speaking of earthquakes, you’re famous for quoting, I mean famous for this quote, “2008 was a tremor for the earthquake that’s coming.” Is that what you’re still saying?
SCHIFF: Yeah and I’ve been saying that all along even before 2008. Because I saw 2008 coming, and unfortunately I also saw how the government would respond to 2008. And they did exactly what I feared they would do, what I warned they would do, and that is exactly why the real earthquake is still in our future- it’s not in our past. And people have to prepare for that. And by the way, silver hit a new high today for this year, for 2016. So people are starting to wake up. It’s happening very slowly, but it’s happening.


“Real Economic Earthquake Is In Our Future, Not Our Past”
YouTube Video

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

Peter Schiff’s latest book…

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Jim Rogers: ‘I Am Looking For More Investments In Asia And In Russia’

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers is bullish on Asia (China in particular) and Russia. As recent as April 6, I blogged about a GoldSeek.com Radio interview (released April 1) in which the former investing partner of George Soros said:

I own Chinese renminbi. I own Chinese shares… I bought recently some Russian government short-term bonds in rubles.

He added later:

There are other places I’m looking at but I’m really not very active at all. I’m mainly just watching the world unfold. Be knowledgeable, be worried, and be prepared.

That last sentence is indicative of a lot of what Rogers has been sharing with the investing public lately.

Still, it’s being reported that the CEO of Rogers Holdings and Beeland Interests, Inc. is actively looking for places to put his substantial “war chest” ($300 million estimated net worth) to work. Katya Golubkova wrote on the Reuters website last Tuesday:

Veteran U.S. investor Jim Rogers is looking at possible investments into Russian oil firm Bashneft (BANE.MM) and diamond miner Alrosa (ALRS.MM) as he aims to add more Russian assets to his portfolio, he told Reuters…

“If they (Bashneft and Alrosa) are not under sanctions, I will take a look – as I said, I am looking for more investments in Asia and in Russia but I am an American and I have to be a little bit careful.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Golubkova added:

He already has interests in Russian state airline Aeroflot (AFLT.MM), the Moscow Exchange (MOEX.MM) and fertilizer producer PhosAgro (PHOR.MM). He owns some exchange traded funds (ETFs) and is investing in Russian treasury bonds.

“I am looking for more investments in Russia. I am trying to buy into a Russian tourist company, I am optimistic about Russian tourism,” Rogers said, adding that he was also looking to buy more stocks of Russian agriculture companies

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A little over a year ago, I discussed an April 6, 2015, Reuters piece in which Yelena Orekhova and Olga Popova wrote:

Russia could now be “the right place at the right time” for investors, he said. His own portfolio consists largely of Russian shares, he said, among them fertiliser company Phosagro , airline Aeroflot and the Moscow Exchange…

About those “Russian government short-term bonds in rubles” mentioned a week-and-a-half ago, Rogers expounded in the April 12, 2016, Reuters article:

“If I got a chance I would probably buy more,” Rogers said, adding that he was only investing in Russian rouble bonds, not Eurobonds.

“I want to buy rouble bonds, I am more optimistic about rouble bonds than I am in Eurobonds. Rouble bonds have much higher yields.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Nice work by Reuters for staying on top of Rogers’ (potential) Russian investments.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; a qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information contained herein.)

Source:

Goubkova, Katya. “Veteran U.S. investor Rogers looks to add more Russia to portfolio.” Reuters. 12 Apr. 2016. (http://www.reuters.com/article/us-russia-rogers-idUSKCN0X90SC). 17 Apr. 2016.

Jim Rogers’ latest book…

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Quote For The Week

“Whoever is for higher taxes, feel free to pay higher taxes.”

-Adam Carolla, American comedian, radio personality, television host, actor, podcaster and director

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Tags:

Monday, April 18th, 2016 Quote For The Week, Taxes No Comments

Resource Of The Week: Steve’s Pages ‘US Joint Services Manuals’

Back on January 15, 2015, I named “Steve’s Pages” as the “Resource Of The Week.” I blogged:

Wish you had a manual for a particular gun?

Chances are, you can find it on Steve’s Pages.

Stephen Ricciardelli has compiled a ton of FREE firearm manuals in .pdf format on the aptly-named Steve’s Pages website…

Regrettably, Mr. Ricciardelli passed away. However, not only does his site live on, but there’s another section of it that contains an incredible number of U.S. military manuals and other publications which can also be downloaded for free (donations encouraged). Categories include:

• US Air Force Manuals
• US Army Correspondence Courses
• US Army Field Manuals
Note “FM 3-05.70” “17 May 02” “Survival”
• US Army Training Manuals
• US Army Forms
• US Marine Corps Manuals
• US Navy Manuals
• US Joint Services Manuals
• US Federal Highway Administration
• Other Publications
• Canadian Manuals

Like that section containing firearm manuals, another great resource. You can visit the military manuals section of Steve’s Pages here.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: Link added to “Resources” page)

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Project Prepper, Part 45: Top 3 Threat Priorities

“As a result of my research and this blog, I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones), and think it’s probably wise to acquaint myself more with ‘prepping’ via a sustained ‘hands-on’ program of learning and doing, which I’ll call ‘Project Prepper.’

Through a series of posts on this blog which I suspect should last for quite some time (years?), I’ll be able to share my preparedness experiences with you…”

Survival And Prosperity, “Project Prepper, Part 1: It Begins,” October 24, 2012

This week’s “Project Prepper” post is going to be a little different. While I’m currently working on a number of projects related to fulfilling seven “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast):

1. Physical Security
2. Financial Security
3. Water
4. Food
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy
7. Shelter

Today I’m going to talk about threat priorities. As a forty-something homeowner residing with my girlfriend in the suburbs of Chicago, Illinois, in 2016, “I’m now aware of the myriad of man-made and naturally-occurring threats to my life and lifestyle (and those of my loved ones).” Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about them frequently. But from my vantage point, here are the “top 3” I’m mostly concerned about:

1. Severe Weather
2. Financial Crisis
3. Terrorism

Concerning severe weather, here in the Chicagoland area residents have to contend with spring and summer storms that can consist of high winds, torrential rain, flooding, and tornadoes. Winter can bring along with it ice storms (not too often), significant snowfall/blizzards, and brutally-cold temperatures. Consequently, structural damage, utility outages, hazardous travel conditions, and other threats to life and property accompany such events.

Case in point, prior to my girlfriend and I moving into our house in 2013, a large part of the Chicago metro area suffered significant damage from a “derecho” (widespread, long-lived wind storm) event that left many area homeowners without electricity for several days. A real nuisance for most of those affected, but potentially deadly to those with serious health issues- like my elderly father. And in case readers think I’m talking about those far-off “suburbs” of Chicago here (I remember one real estate agent referring to Rochelle- approximately 80 miles west of Chicago- as a “western suburb” during the housing boom last decade), these extended outages were taking place in near “North Shore” enclaves. I remember watching one furious Northbrook homeowner being interviewed on the local televised news, saying how he had been without power for a number of days and couldn’t understand why it hadn’t been restored yet considering the high taxes he paid to live in such a nice area. Anyway, severe weather tops the list for me. Not as “sexy”- as some would say- as preparing for the “Zombie apocalypse,” but oh well.

Financial crisis. Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity and its predecessor know I’ve been on the lookout for coming “tough times” for some years now. From this blog’s “About” page:

Back in 2004 when SP’s creator/editor Christopher Hill was surveying the economic and investment landscape in support of his own investing activities, he concluded from his own research that the United States was heading towards a financial crash. Deciding that this was something other Americans might want to know about, Mr. Hill launched the independent financial blog Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog on Wall Street,” on Memorial Day Weekend 2007 with the purpose of warning and educating others about the approaching U.S. economic crash. He has been credited with calling last decade’s housing bubble and subsequent bust, the 2008 global economic crisis, and the “Great Recession” as a result of his work on this project. Chris wrote over 1,500 posts on Boom2Bust.com during its nearly three-year run, with many of these picked up and republished on the web sites of The Wall Street Journal, Fox Business, Fox News, Reuters, USA Today, the Chicago Sun-Times group, the Austin-American Statesman, the Palm Beach Post, and the West Orlando News, among other media outlets. Chris was also interviewed for a May 2009 MSNBC.com article as a result of his work with the blog.

Since Memorial Day Weekend 2007, I’ve stood by and watched as the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and subprime mortgage crisis was quickly followed by carnage on Wall Street in the autumn of 2008 and a “Great Recession.” I also observed how the Washington politicians and the Fed responded by “papering up” the mess with massive government and central bank intervention. But as everyone knows, you can only “kick the can down the road” so far. And my concern is that the road is rapidly coming to an end. Visit this blog often enough and you might get that sense as well.

Consequently, I’ve come to believe that the U.S. financial crash I still see headed our way won’t be like an airplane that suffers a sudden, catastrophic failure and plummets back to Earth like a rock. Rather, taking into account the abilities of the federal government and central bank to keep the aircraft aloft for quite some time, the crash may be more akin to a slow- yet-unavoidable descent into the ground. At which point, Americans might be left pondering what had happened to them, just like Argentines did after their economy crapped out in the early 2000s after prosperous times.

Making matters worse is the fact that I still reside in Cook County and Illinois, whose financial troubles are well-publicized. While I’ve left Chicago, I still haven’t made Wisconsin my permanent home address.

When the “balloon goes up” locally and nationally, I suspect everyday living is going to get particularly gritty around these parts.

As terrorism is concerned, post-9/11 I found myself working in the public safety field. As part of my duties at a local fire department, I catalogued potential terrorist targets in the area in the hunt for money to upgrade the agency’s response capabilities. It was my belief that the threat was real then, and it remains so today. Even more so in 2016, as U.S. border security is quite suspect at a time when those who would wish to harm the “homeland” continually make their operational capabilities and future desires for wreaking death and destruction known.


“Border Patrol Admits US Citizenship Doesn’t Matter”
YouTube Video

Like I’ve repeatedly said before on this blog, I believe it’s only a matter of time before the United States suffers terror attacks possibly resembling what occurred in Beslan (Russia) in 2004, Mumbai (India) in 2008, and more recently in Paris and Brussels. And a terrorist strike rivaling or even surpassing the carnage of September 11, 2011, is not out of the question as far as I’m concerned. New jihadists continue to replace their fallen predecessors in this “War on Terror,” and the religious duty of killing “infidels” remains the same. On May 6, 2011, I wrote:

In 2005, Dr. Paul L. Williams, a journalist and author, published the book The Al-Qaeda Connection, in which he discussed plans for a future nuclear terrorist strike, dubbed “American Hiroshima.” He wrote:

Bin Laden asserts that he must kill four million Americans- two million of whom must be children- in order to achieve parity for a litany of “wrongs” committed against the Muslim people by the United States of America. The “wrongs” include the establishment and occupation of military bases between the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia, the support of Israel and the suppression of the Palestinian people, the Persian Gulf War and the subsequent economic sanctions, and the invasions of Somalia, Afghanistan, and Iraq…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

These days, the Islamic State has stolen the headlines from Al-Qaeda and other Muslim extremists. But such religious fanaticism as a whole remains a top concern for me.

Severe weather, financial crisis, and terrorism are natural and man-made threats that register the most on my radar. But this doesn’t mean I discount other potential dangers to life and property either (pandemic, severe space weather, and war would probably be the next three on the list). As such, an “all-hazards” approach is emphasized in my “Project Prepper” activities.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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IMF Issues Downward Revision To Global Growth Forecast

From the International Monetary Fund website Tuesday:

Global growth continues, but at a sluggish pace that leaves the world economy more exposed to risks, says the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO).

The WEO forecasts global growth at 3.2 percent in 2016 and 3.5 percent in 2017, a downward revision of 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, compared with the January 2016 Update (see table).

In a recent speech, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that the recovery remains too slow, too fragile, with the risk that persistent low growth can have damaging effects on the social and political fabric of many countries…

“The recovery remains too slow, too fragile”

Funny. That’s not what I’m hearing out of Washington and the mainstream media these days.

The IMF added:

In the United States, expected growth this year is flat at 2.4 percent, with a modest uptick in 2017. Domestic demand will be supported by improving government finances and a stronger housing market that help offset the drag on net exports coming from a strong dollar and weaker manufacturing…

You can read more about the IMF’s latest global growth forecast here on their website.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

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DHS, FBI Launches Nationwide Program Warning Electric Companies About Cyber Attacks

While most of Main Street might not have a clue about the threat to the nation’s power grid from cyber attacks, it sounds like the Feds may be starting to take it seriously. Bill Gertz reported over on The Washington Free Beacon website last Friday:

Three months after a Department of Homeland Security intelligence report downplayed the threat of a cyber attack against the U.S. electrical grid, DHS and the FBI began a nationwide program warning of the dangers faced by U.S. utilities from damaging cyber attacks like the recent hacking against Ukraine’s power grid.

The nationwide campaign by DHS and the FBI began March 31 and includes 12 briefings and online webinars for electrical power infrastructure companies and others involved in security, with sessions in eight U.S. cities, including a session next week in Washington.

The unclassified briefings are titled “Ukraine Cyber Attack: Implications for U.S. Stakeholders,” and are based on work with the Ukrainian government in the aftermath of the Dec. 23 cyber attack against the Ukrainian power infrastructure…

The briefings will outline the details of the attacks, the techniques used by the hackers, and strategies to be used to limit risks and improve cyber security for grid organizations…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Those who have been sounding the alarm over the cyber attack threat for some time now have found a high-profile ally in American broadcast journalist Ted Koppel. Graham Vyse reported on the website of InsideSources, a non-partisan news organization, back on March 19:

On Monday, ABC News legend Ted Koppel sat down at a conference table at the National Press Foundation in Washington, accepted the mug of coffee he was offered and proceeded to describe a national security threat greater than 9/11.

The longtime “Nightline” anchor told reporters about the danger of a cyber attack on the United States power grid — an unprecedented event that could mean months of blackouts affecting tens of millions.

Koppel sees this scenario as a likelihood, not just a possibility, for which the country is woefully unprepared. He worries it would reduce America to a kind of Hobbesian state of nature, with conflicts over food, water and other dwindling necessities. It’s all the subject of his latest book, “Lights Out.”

“What happened on 9/11 is nothing compared to what a cyber attack on the power grid would do,” Koppel said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Vyse added:

Koppel doesn’t think America can actually prevent a cyber attack, so he argues the focus should be on minimizing damage. The trouble is, he’s doubtful Congress would respond well to a request for $100 billion to buy enough freeze-dried meals to avoid food riots

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“The trouble is, he’s doubtful Congress would respond well to a request for $100 billion to buy enough freeze-dried meals to avoid food riots”

Yikes.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

Sources:

Gertz, Bill. “FBI Warns of Cyber Threat to Electric Grid.” The Washington Free Beacon. 8 Apr. 2016. (http://freebeacon.com/issues/fbi-warns-cyber-threat-electric-grid/). 12 Apr. 2016.

Vyse, Graham. “Ted Koppel: Homeland Security Chief ‘Ignorant’ on Threat to Grid.” InsideSources. 19 Mar. 2016. (http://www.insidesources.com/koppel-homeland/). 12 Apr. 2016.

Ted Koppel’s power grid cyber attack book…

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GoldSilver.com’s Mike Maloney On Stocks: ‘This Is Probably Going To Be The Top Of The Market Just Before The Greatest Crash In History’

Speaking of stocks, one “crash prophet” who I haven’t checked in on for a while is Mike Maloney, a precious metals expert, advisor, and author who runs California-based GoldSilver.com (specializing in the instruction of precious metals investing and providing world-class gold/silver dealer services). Late Monday night I watched a video he published on March 29 about where he thought the U.S. stock market was at and where he predicted it was heading. Maloney told viewers:

I just wanted to ask the really big question- have the stock markets topped and has a crash already begun? And if it is a crash, how bad will it be? And here’s some of the evidence that I was looking at…


“Stock Market Crash: Is The Top In? Mike Maloney”
YouTube Video

Maloney eventually concluded:

We’ve created something called a classic dome top. And when you look back in history, this is probably going to be the top of the market just before the greatest crash in history. That’s where I believe that we are

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Not surprisingly, Maloney thinks precious metals will perform well in such a scenario.

Disturbing stuff. But Maloney (as usual) makes a strong case for his forecast.

However, I can’t help but wonder if QE 4 or its equivalent isn’t already warming up in the bullpen to keep asset prices aloft or even send them higher at least until the November election is done and another Democrat is in the White House.

Christopher E. Hill
Survival And Prosperity (www.survivalandprosperity.com)

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on information found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. Christopher E. Hill, the creator/Editor of this blog, is not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented on the site.)

Maloney’s revised (9/15) precious metals investing book…

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Survival And Prosperity
Est. 2010, Chicagoland, USA
Christopher E. Hill, Editor

Successor to Boom2Bust.com
"The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street"
(Memorial Day Weekend 2007-2010)

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