Quote For The Week

“Some people are making such thorough preparation for rainy days that they aren’t enjoying today’s sunshine.”

-William Feather (American author and publisher. 1889-1981)

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

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Wednesday, October 8th, 2014 Preparedness, Quote For The Week No Comments

Chicago-Area Security Heightened After U.S. Terrorism Warning

I saw a segment last night on the Channel 9 (Chicago) evening news regarding the City of Chicago’s response to that security bulletin issued by the FBI and DHS the other day. From the WGN TV website:

A renewed terror warning in the U.S. is prompting security concerns in Chicago.

While acknowledging the city may be a potential target, Mayor Rahm Emanuel stresses local and federal agencies are on the lookout for any terrorist activity.

The head of Cook County’s Department of Homeland Security says there is no sign of a specific, credible threat against the urban area. But in Chicago airports and across the region security has been heightened

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In the news segment, Michael Masters, Executive Director of the Cook County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management, stated:

I think it’s important for people to realize that our first responders are training everyday on the types of threats and issues we see going on around the world.

Reporter Julian Crews added:

Cook County’s homeland security chief says the region is prepared to respond.

Here’s hoping he’s right.

You can watch that entire segment- which also includes comments from former Secret Service special agent Arnette Heintze and DePaul University professor and terrorism analyst Thomas Mockaitis- on the WGN TV website here.

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

Source:

Crews, Julian. “Renewed terror warning in U.S. prompts security concerns in Chicago.” WGN TV. 24 Sep. 2014. (http://wgntv.com/2014/09/24/renewed-terror-warning-in-u-s-prompts-security-concerns-in-chicago/). 25 Sep. 2014.

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Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo Scheduled For October 25

Last Wednesday, I blogged about a prepper/survivalist show that took place over the weekend in northwest Indiana (anyone go?).

This Wednesday, I’m going to talk about one that’s scheduled to take place on Saturday, October 25, in Appleton, Wisconsin (3 hour 17 minute drive from Chicago according to Google). From the event flyer:

Are you and your family ready if disaster strikes?

Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo

Largest preparedness and sustainable living event in Wisconsin

Free Admission

October 25th
9:00 am – 4:00 pm

Players Choice Sports & Expo Center
W3035 Edgewood Trail (Hwy JJ)
Appleton, WI 54913

www.wisconsinprepperexpo.com
info@wisconsinprepperexpo.com

If the power went out for several days, would you and your family be ready? How about in the middle of winter? What if you were given a half hour notice that you had to evacuate your home. Consider the reverse, what if there was a pandemic and you had to stay in your home for a week or two?

If you have never given this serious thought, now is the time to learn from the experts. Join us for the largest prepping and survival expo in Wisconsin.

Everything you will need & want to know to be prepared for Natural or Man-made Disasters, Pandemics and other Emergency Issues that could affect our daily lives in the Midwest.

This family friendly event meant for everyone, from those with little experience to the most experienced.

According to the flyer, over 200 exhibits, presentations, workshops, classes, and activities are planned for the expo. Subject areas include:

• Alternative Energy
• Backyard Farming & Urban Homestead
• Breathing and Oxygen Systems
• Bug Out Bags & Home Ready Kits
• Camping Equipment
• Chicken, Goats, Rabbits, & Quail
• Curing Meat and Fish
• Butchering Livestock at Home
• Communications/HAM radio/GPS
• Disaster Response
• Drying fruit, herbs & vegetables
• Earth Shelters and Bunkers
• Emergency Preparedness
• First Aid & Emergency Medical Supplies
• Food Production/Advanced Gardening
• Foraging for Wild Plants
• Heirloom Seed and Organic Gardening
• Homebrew Equipment
• Homeopathic Health / Natural Remedies
• Hunting, Trapping, Fishing & Gathering
• Hydroponics/Aquaponics
• Pet Care Preparedness
• Preserving the Harvest
• Safe and Fast Evacuation
• Security and Defense
• Sharpening Hand Tools
• Soil & Fertility
• Survival Skills & Equipment
• Tactical & Military Surplus
• Urban Survival
• Water & Food Storage Options
• Water Purification and Filtration
• Wilderness Survival

Nice. Sounds like there’s tons of useful information that can be taken away from this event. And did I mention admission is free?

In addition to Saturday’s show, there’s something called the “Prepper Immersion Experience” ($50) the day before the event and a “Prepper Breakfast” ($TBA) the day of the expo.

For more information about the Wisconsin Prepper & Survival Expo, go to their website here.

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

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BUDK Has 30 Percent Off Sale Today

I received the following e-mail this morning about a one-day only 30 percent off sale from affiliate marketing partner BUDK (review still pending, but I have ordered from BUDK before and I would definitely do business with them again). From the Moultrie, Georgia-based vendor of knives, swords, gear, and more:

Christopher – Tick, Tock… It’s time to take advantage of this 30% Off Sale. We’ve got a ton of products sitting outside waiting to make room in our warehouse. So, let’s get some of it moving with this 30% OFF SALE! Save 30% On your purchase of $39 or more for a very short time! Don’t wait to order because this deal won’t last long! Time is running out! Just use the promo code above at checkout to receive your discount! *Exclusions Apply*

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Like I mentioned, the sale is just for today, Wednesday, September 24. And only online. A $39 minimum order is required. And the promo code BKSALE279 must be entered at checkout to receive the discount.

Check out the one-day event by clicking on the banner ad below. Please note that by purchasing a product after doing so, I receive a commission from that transaction.


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

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Wednesday, September 24th, 2014 Advertiser Specials, Gear, Knives, Self-Defense, Swords No Comments

FBI, DHS Warn Syria Airstrikes May Embolden ‘Homegrown Violent Extremists’

When I heard last night that the U.S. and its allies had initiated airstrikes against Muslim extremists in Syria, I wondered how long it would be before a retaliatory attack was attempted. It’s nice to see the Feds anticipating the same from the jihadists and/or their sympathizers. From an Associated Press piece today on the FOX News website:

There is no indication of advanced Al Qaeda or Islamic State group terror plotting inside the United States, but airstrikes in Syria may have temporarily disrupted attack planning against U.S. or Western targets, according to a security bulletin Tuesday from the FBI and the Homeland Security Department…

In a five-page Joint Intelligence Bulletin obtained by The Associated Press, the government warned that airstrikes targeting the Al Qaeda-linked Khorasan and Islamic State groups could also embolden homegrown violent extremists inside the United States who already have grievances about the U.S. because of military action in predominantly Muslim countries.

While the intelligence community hasn’t viewed Islamic State an immediate threat to the U.S. homeland, officials have been very concerned about Khorasan operatives plotting attacks against the U.S.

The Khorasan group is a cadre of veteran Al Qaeda fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If “homegrown violent extremists inside the United States” do in fact strike, how will they carry out their assault? Bombing, mass shooting, poisoning some restaurant salad bar? Who knows? But keep the following in mind- something I blogged back in April 2011:

Consider what Gabe Suarez, a decorated veteran of Southern California law enforcement and president of the personal safety training outfit Suarez International, wrote in his blog Warrior Talk News on May 6, 2010:

Put yourself in the enemy’s shoes….err, sandals…..which option would YOU pick? Which offers the easiest implementation, least chance for detection, greatest chance for success – bombs or bullets?

The mass shooting and not the improvised and unsuccessful bomb is the “easy button”, and that fact cannot be ignored by us as it will not be overlooked by the enemy.

So what do we do?

1). We must identify who the enemy is. Please go back and peruse the list of events above, both failed and successful. What is the common thread connecting the attackers?

2). Carry your gun everywhere…..a REAL fighting gun….not some sissy “suitable for CCW” 5 shot “self defense gun”. The times are not such that concern over a mugger is the issue anymore. Carry extra ammo with you. It is not difficult at all to carry a full sized pistol with a couple of extra magazines. I have done so since 1983.

These are not the times to be seeking political correctness over public safety. It is not the time to fear false labels created and assigned by the mass media. The Israelis learned that lesson long ago. After all is said and done, it is better to be a live “intolerant racist” (as the MSM would call us) than a dead “co-existing”, tolerant “paragon of political correctness”. I suspect that had Shahzad’s bomb been successful, lots of tolerant, “co-exist” types would have died right alongside us “intolerant racists”. The times call for careful profiling and suspicious curiosity as well as daily preparation.

Dress everyday as if you had a business meeting in Mumbai on 26 November 2008 with a bunch of Jews, Christians, and atheist Americans at a cafe right across the street from the Jihad School Of Terrorism.

Be ready or be a victim.

“Be ready or be a victim.” Great words to live by.

Add to readiness a healthy dose of situational awareness, and I suspect those practicing both are leaps and bounds ahead of most Americans in being prepared to anticipate and react to the violent acts of some jihadist or sympathizer the Feds are warning about in that latest security bulletin.

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

Source:

“DHS says Syria airstrikes may have temporarily ‘disrupted’ terror plotting.” Associated Press. 23 Sep. 2014. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2014/09/23/dhs-says-syria-airstrikes-may-have-temporarily-disrupted-terror-plotting/). 23 Sep. 2014.

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Chicago Faces $297 Million Budget Shortfall In 2015, $588 Million Deficit By 2017

I’ve been wanting to blog about the latest City of Chicago annual financial analysis for some time now. This afternoon I’m finally getting that chance. From Fran Spielman (who’s done a terrific job breaking those analyses down the past couple years I’ve been paying attention to them) on the Chicago Sun-Times website back in August:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has ruled out a pre-election increase in property or sales taxes, but he’ll have to find another way to close a $297.3 million budget gap that assumes the Illinois General Assembly will lift the pension hammer hanging over Chicago.

State law requires the city to make a $550 million contribution to shore up police and fire pension funds that have assets to cover just 30 and 24 percent of their respective liabilities.

If Emanuel chooses to fund the payment with property taxes, the city’s levy must be raised in 2015 so bills issued the following year reflect the increase.

Instead of including that payment in the financial analysis now used as a substitute for Chicago’s preliminary budget, the mayor left it out, assuming he will get both revenue and reform before the payment is due

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

$297.3 million budget shortfall for Chicago in 2015- assuming the city gets “relief” from that State of Illinois-mandated $550 million pension fund contribution.

From what I’ve read, that looks to be a big assumption.

Still, the projected 2015 budget gap that’s being advertised by City Hall is significantly rosier than a year ago (big election coming up in February 2015 you know).

I blogged back on August 1, 2013:

The latest financial analysis is out, and the budget gap in 2014 is projected to be $339 million. Still crappy, but a lot better than what could be in store for the “Windy City” by 2015. Hal Dardick reported on the Chicago Tribune website this morning:

The day of financial reckoning for Chicago is not far off, with the city budget shortfall expected to near a record $1 billion in 2015 if major changes are not made to the government worker pension systems, city officials said Wednesday.

That stark assessment, contained in the annual financial analysis prepared by Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s top budget officials, overshadowed the fact that the city needs to close an expected $339 million budget gap predicted for next year.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Returning to that Sun-Times piece from this August, Spielman added:

As for the more manageable, $297.3 million gap, sales and property taxes are off the table. But [Budget Director Alexandra] Holt refused to rule out other tax and fee hikes after exhausting further cost-cutting that might include layoffs

Last year’s financial analysis projected a $338.7 million shortfall that would balloon to $994.7 million in 2015 and $1.15 billion in 2016 without a painful mix of employee concessions and new revenues. This year’s version takes the 2017 shortfall down to $587.7 million, but only if the mayor’s risky assumptions are correct.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That classic Benny Hill skit about why one shouldn’t assume things comes to mind right now.

Okay. Looking at the actual 2014 annual financial analysis on my laptop screen right now, I see that $297.3 million budget shortfall projected for Chicago in 2015, a $430.2 million gap in 2016, and that $587.7 million deficit in 2017 that Spielman mentioned.

The trend is definitely not Rahm’s and the City’s friend in this instance.

Here’s what I see going down for the “Windy City.” The Machine will mobilize as many kissing cousins (Democrats elsewhere in the state) as it can to get Mayor Emanuel his much-desired pension “reform.” Basically “kicking the can down the road.” If full reform isn’t achieved, perhaps partial “relief”?.

Of course, the City of Chicago will still have those snowballing budget shortfalls to contend with. At first, I anticipate a lot of stupid spending still going on, with only some belt-tightening and layoffs here and there (“Kiss Your Clout’s Ass” Day soon to be a much celebrated event?). And fees, fines, and taxes will be heading up (but not property and sales taxes initially). But I suspect as Chicago’s “day of reckoning” gets closer, all these measures will be intensified.

Think major cost-cutting in conjunction with a much stronger attempt to increase incoming revenues.

Like my forecast for the rest of the nation- regrettably, I see things getting a lot worse before they get better again.

You can view the entire 2014 City of Chicago Annual Financial Analysis on the City of Chicago website here (.pdf format).

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

Source:

Spielman, Fran. “City budget puts off day of reckoning until after election.” Chicago Sun-Times. 1 Aug. 2014. (http://politics.suntimes.com/article/chicago/city-budget-puts-day-reckoning-until-after-election/fri-08012014-1210am). 23 Sep. 2014.

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Survivalism ‘Shouldn’t Come With A Bad Reputation’

“Survivalism: The stark ideology that may have led to killing of a Pennsylvania state trooper”

-Actual headline on the Washington Post website, September 17, 2014

“I love publishing material that readers can sink their teeth into and learn a lot from. I hope to do a lot more of it when things calm down on my end. At the same time, I will blog about some topics that might not be so informative- like prepping as a form of insurance, for example. Why’s that? It depends on the situation really. But in the case of “Prepping As Insurance,” I’m disappointed in how the mainstream media often portrays preppers/survivalists. Many times, the so-called Fourth Estate equates preparedness with anti-social behavior, paranoia (sound familiar?), and/or domestic terrorism. I like to point out that emergency preparedness (something Uncle Sam/other levels of government actively push- even while demonizing it in some instances) can be thought of as another form of insurance and one of our civic duties as American citizens (the emphasis on self-reliance/sufficiency frees up public safety resources in major emergencies) by its practitioners. Letting the idea fester in our society that prepping is BAD could ultimately result in way too many helpless Americans in a SHTF situation. My intention with this post- while not really one that is chock-full of knowledge- is to help torpedo that dangerous idea with hopes (dreams?) of a more resilient society once again.”

-One of my comments in a discussion about last Friday’s Survival And Prosperity post entitled “Prepping As Insurance”

I’ve always thought any negative associations with prepping/survivalism stemming from related “reality” TV shows like National Geographic Channel’s Doomsday Preppers were essentially harmless. As they were rolling out a couple of years ago, I trusted people would be able to figure out it’s only entertainment television- with some useful knowledge thrown in to keep more “demanding” viewers coming back for more. Entertainment TV with a good deal of shock and awe to ratchet up ratings and score as many advertising dollars as possible.

Several years on, and plenty of critics- particularly in the mainstream media- of preparedness/survivalism base their view at least in part of what they’ve seen on TV.

Doomsday Preppers Toilet Paper

Doomsday Preppers Toilet Paper


They just don’t get it. And if you ask me, in many cases it’s because they’ve haven’t researched the subject thoroughly enough (either by choice or lack of time).

And the ones that do but who still try and push the goofy idea that most- if not all- preppers/survivalists are authority-hating, machine gun-toting, wannabe special forces types who are two sandwiches short of a picnic and long for the end of the world (note I’m not including “as we know it” here) to remake it in their own image- well, don’t forget they’ve got newspapers/other media products to sell.

So it was with some relief that I encountered the following article yesterday on the WFMZ-TV 69 News (Allentown, Pennsylvania) website. Talking about the ongoing manhunt for alleged cop killer Eric Frein, 69 News staff wrote:

This weekend, 69 News spoke with the chief of the Greater Philadelphia Search and Rescue about survivalists.

Mark Hopkins believes Frein will be able to evade police for a period of time, but police will catch up with him.

He says to a degree, everyone is a bit of a survivalist, and that description shouldn’t come with a bad reputation.

“I wouldn’t want to see that lumped together and think that all survivalists or all people that are doing this prepping stuff want to hurt people, because that’s not the case; this is clearly an outlawry,” Hopkins said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Everyone is a bit of a survivalist, and that description shouldn’t come with a bad reputation.”

Something the “haters” would do well to remember. But probably won’t, or choose not to out of self-interest or something else.

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

Source:

“Survival expert believes police will catch up with Frein.” 69 News. 21 Sep. 2014. (http://www.wfmz.com/news/Regional-Poconos-Coal/survival-expert-believes-police-will-catch-up-with-frein/28175968). 22 Sep. 2014.

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Islamic State: Kill Disbelieving Americans

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know that I’ve taken the threat of terrorism by Muslim extremists seriously for years now- whether Al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, their affiliates, or sympathizers. While it’s obvious to me a number of entities (particularly politicians) are taking advantage of the newly-minted caliphate’s boogeyman factor these days for their own gain, I do believe the Islamic State does pose a real danger to Americans here and abroad. As such, I plan on blogging about the group formerly known as ISIS/ISIL on a regular basis.

Now that that’s been established, Islamic State spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani looks to have released a new speech in which he threatens Americans and its European allies. From “Indeed Your Lord Is Ever Watchful,” which was distributed on social media yesterday:

O Americans, and O Europeans, the Islamic State did not initiate a war against you, as your governments and media try to make you believe. It is you who started the transgression against us, and thus you deserve blame and you will pay a great price. You will pay the price when your economies collapse. You will pay the price when your sons are sent to wage war against us and they return to you as disabled amputees, or inside coffins, or mentally ill. You will pay the price as you are afraid of travelling to any land. Rather you will pay the price as you walk on your streets, turning right and left, fearing the Muslims. You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms. You will pay the price when this crusade of yours collapses, and thereafter we will strike you in your homeland, and you will never be able to harm anyone afterwards. You will pay the price, and we have prepared for you what will pain you

If you can kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be. Do not ask for anyone’s advice and do not seek anyone’s verdict. Kill the disbeliever whether he is civilian or military, for they have the same ruling. Both of them are disbelievers. Both of them are considered to be waging war [the civilian by belonging to a state waging war against the Muslims]. Both of their blood and wealth is legal for you to destroy, for blood does not become illegal or legal to spill by the clothes being worn. The civilian outfit does not make blood illegal to spill, and the military uniform does not make blood legal to spill. The only things that make blood illegal and legal to spill are Islam and a covenant (peace treaty, dhimma, etc.). Blood becomes legal to spill through disbelief. So whoever is a Muslim, his blood and wealth are sanctified. And whoever is a disbeliever, his wealth is legal for a Muslim to take and his blood is legal to spill. His blood is like the blood of a dog; there is no sin for him in spilling it nor is there any blood money to be paid for doing such…

If you are not able to find an IED or a bullet, then single out the disbelieving American, Frenchman, or any of their allies. Smash his head with a rock, or slaughter him with a knife, or run him over with your car, or throw him down from a high place, or choke him, or poison him. Do not lack. Do not be contemptible. Let your slogan be, “May I not be saved if the cross worshipper and taghūt (ruler ruling by manmade laws) patron survives.”

If you are unable to do so, then burn his home, car, or business. Or destroy his crops.

If you are unable to do so, then spit in his face. If your self refuses to do so, while your brothers are being bombarded and killed, and while their blood and wealth everywhere is deemed lawful by their enemies, then review your religion. You are in a dangerous condition because the religion cannot be established without walā’ and barā’.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Elsewhere in the speech, the Vatican is threatened:

And so we promise you by Allah’s permission that this campaign will be your final campaign. It will be broken and defeated, just as all your previous campaigns were broken and defeated, except that this time we will raid you thereafter, and you will never raid us. We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women, by the permission of Allah, the Exalted. This is His promise to us; He is glorified and He does not fail in His promise. If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Nick Squires reported on The Telegraph (UK) website Saturday that the Roman Catholic Church is already on heightened security:

Security in the Vatican has been increased after intelligence agencies reportedly intercepted an unspecified threat against Pope Francis, on the eve of his visit to Muslim-majority Albania.

The number of uniformed and plain clothes police patrolling St Peter’s Square during the Pope’s weekly audiences on Sunday and Wednesday has been increased, sniffer dogs are being used and extra metal detector machines have bern installed, the Italian media reported on Saturday.

The measures were adopted after a foreign intelligence agency, possibly American, intercepted a conversation between two unidentified Arabs in which they reportedly discussed ‘doing something in the Vatican’.

Jihadists from Isil have in recent weeks boasted of wanting to extend their caliphate to Rome, the heart of Western Christendom, and have talked of planting the jihadist black flag on top of St Peter’s Basilica…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There are also fears the Pope’s life may also be in danger. Squires added:

Habeeb Al Sadr, Iraq’s ambassador to the Vatican, said there were also indications of a more specific threat against Pope Francis, who recently spoke out in favour of the US and its allies halting the advance of Isil in Syria and Iraq.

“What has been declared by the self-declared Islamic State is clear – they want to kill the Pope. The threats against the Pope are credible,” the ambassador told La Nazione, an Italian daily, on Tuesday.

“I believe they could try to kill him during one of his overseas trips or even in Rome. There are members of Isil who are not Arabs but Canadian, American, French, British, also Italians.

“Isil could engage any of these to commit a terrorist attack in Europe.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Considering Pope Francis often makes himself quite “accessible” to the public, as a Roman Catholic myself, I pray this doesn’t come back to haunt him.

There’s a reason why the Church rolled out the Popemobile, after all.

You can read that entire speech in English here (.pdf format).

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

Source:

Squires, Nick. “Security stepped up at Vatican over fears of terror attack.” The Telegraph. 20 Sep. 2014. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/the-pope/11110644/Security-stepped-up-at-Vatican-over-fears-of-terror-attack.html). 22 Sep. 2014.

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Chicago-Area Firefighters Survive Hurricane Odile, Escape SHTF Aftermath

“What we went through this weekend, the way we had to get ourselves out, the looting, the vandalism- it was like something right out of a movie.”

-Jim Kotrba, Hoffman Estates Fire Department, in a September 18, 2014, Chicago Tribune article

October 2005. I was in my office at a fire department in the northwest suburbs of Chicago when a firefighter/paramedic by the name of “Mark” stopped by. He had just returned from his honeymoon in Cancún, Mexico- early. The well-known resort had just been pummeled by Hurricane Wilma. “Mark” and his new wife paid attention to the growing number of warnings about the incoming maelstrom, and decided to pack up and leave the popular tourist destination two (?) days before it struck. I remember him saying the airport was pretty much a ghost town despite the ominous weather forecasts. In case readers don’t remember Wilma, here’s what the couple missed. From The Independent (UK) website on October 23, 2005:

Hurricane Wilma pounded the beach resorts and fishing villages of Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula yesterday, whipping up 120mph winds and creating a 10ft storm surge that sent sea water racing through the lower floors of some of Cancun’s most luxurious beachfront hotels…

Cancun’s beachfront hotel district, constructed on a narrow peninsula, was completely evacuated yesterday. But in the city itself, only a small number of residents and tourists – 50,000 or so out of a local population of 700,000 – left on buses before the storm arrived. The others, including an estimated 30,000 foreign visitors, huddled in shelters and downtown hotels, where food and drink was due to run out yesterday.

With electricity cut off in advance as a safety precaution, the shelters – mostly in schools, hotels and gymnasiums – were hot, sweaty and crowded. Scott Stout, an American spending part of his honeymoon on an indoor basketball court in Cancun beneath a leaky roof, told the Associated Press: “After one more day of this, I believe people will start getting cranky.”

Weather experts in Mexico and the US said that Wilma’s unexpectedly long sojourn over the Yucatan meant that in effect local people were undergoing several hurricanes, one after another…

Fast forward to 2014. And the last several days in particular. More members of the fire service from that neck of the woods went to Mexico for a wedding-related event, and also ended up the victims of bad timing. Unlike “Mark” however, these firefighters didn’t make it out of town before a different hurricane struck. Becky Schlikerman reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on September 17:

A group of 16 northwest suburban firefighters are stuck in Mexico after a hurricane ravaged the resort area of Cabo San Lucas.

The group had traveled to a beautiful oceanfront resort for the destination wedding of longtime Hoffman Estates firefighter Tom Mangiameli. About 50 friends and relatives traveled abroad, according to Mangiameli’s sister-in-law, Sharen Mangiameli.

The wedding was to be Saturday, relatives said. On Sunday, Hurricane Odile made landfall as a monster Category 3 storm.

Since then, electrical and water services have been out.

Tom Mangiameli and his group are still at the Hotel Riu Palace Cabo San Lucas, said Sharen Mangiameli, 55, of Naperville.

“There’s no food, there’s no drinking water and there are looters coming into the hotel,” she said. “One of my nephews has been texting saying when they try to leave the hotel they’re being attacked by the locals who are looting.”

(Editor’s note: Bod added for emphasis)

Tourists and residents alike dealt with grave conditions in the aftermath of the hurricane. Pedro Juarez Mejia reported on the Agence France-Presse website on September 18:

Residents of Mexico’s Los Cabos resort armed themselves with guns and machetes in hurricane-battered neighborhoods to defend their homes from looters, as troops were deployed.

The government sent extra federal police and soldiers to the Baja California peninsula to counter widespread looting that erupted after Hurricane Odile tore down homes earlier this week…

Chaos took over this week as hundreds helped themselves to food, water, televisions and any goods they could grab in supermarkets and retail stores after Odile knocked out power and flattened homes.

But now residents fear their houses are next, amid reports of armed and masked gangs roaming neighborhoods.

Dressed in white and holding everything from bats to machetes, sticks and rocks, residents burned tires and wood…

Rodrigo Sanchez Villa, a lawyer for a hotel group, told local radio that masked gangs were pillaging shops, hotels and houses in Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.

“The situation appears to be getting worse all the time. A lack of security is being added to the problem of shortages of food and water and the lack of local authorities,” he said…

(Editor’s note: Bod added for emphasis)

Sound like it’s been a nightmare down there over the past week or so. Thankfully, this group of Chicago-area firefighters eventually escaped the carnage in Cabo San Lucas. John Keilman wrote on September 18 on the Chicago Tribune website:

One person in the wedding party found a transportation company that was willing to send six buses to the resort to ferry the group to the airport, Kotrba said. The buses arrived before dawn Thursday and parked away from the resort, while the group sneaked out of the lobby to avoid attention.

“There were hundreds of people in the lobby,” Kotrba said. “If the buses had been seen, there would have been a riot.”

And upon their return to the U.S., the firefighters’ tale of survival was being shared. Becky Schlikerman and Tina Sfondeles reported on the Chicago Sun-Times website on September 18:

Sandwiches were handed out, then they ran out. Generators kicked in, then died because of lack of fuel and flooding.

“We were at the point where we made rope from a life preserver that was out by the pool and basketball nets and we started to build a little system to lift buckets of water from the waste buckets to flush toilets,” [Daniel] Pearson, 43, of Carpentersville, said from a Phoenix airport Thursday night.

“We had no cellphone service, food and water,” Pearson said. “We did whatever we could make do with. I have no dignity left. I took a bath in a fountain.”

Pearson is a former U.S. Marine. He spent nine months fighting in the Gulf War. And he has fought fires for 18 years. But he wasn’t ready for this.

I was in survival mode. I don’t think I was scared. It just got to the point where we had 48 people. What am I supposed to do? When we have to cut off our ironing boards to make weapons because nobody really cared about our safety?

(Editor’s notes: Bold added for emphasis. And I think that last line should have read “What am I supposed to do when we have to cut off our ironing boards to make weapons because nobody really cared about our safety?)

In addition to using iron boards to defend themselves, that Keilman piece noted the firefighters set up their own security system, with some men sleeping in the hallway outside their rooms and confronting anyone who walked through.

All this reminds me of something the English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin once said about survival:

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

I’m grateful these firefighters and the rest of their party made it back to the United States safely. And I wish all the best to the newlyweds.

After learning about their harrowing experience, I’m thinking it’s probably not a bad idea for overseas travelers to bring/put together a small emergency kit if/when it makes sense, adding emergency supplies in the event of some looming threat.

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

Sources:

Gumbel, Andrew. “Hour after hour, Hurricane Wilma batters Cancun.” The Independent. 23 Oct. 2005. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/hour-after-hour-hurricane-wilma-batters-cancun-512143.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Schlikerman, Becky, “16 suburban firefighters stranded in Mexico after hurricane.” Chicago Sun-Times. 17 Sep. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/29951882-761/16-suburban-firefighters-stranded-in-mexico-after-hurricane.html#.VB83fZV0zIV). 21 Sep. 2014.

Juarez Mejia, Pedro. “Residents grab guns to deter looters in Mexico resort.” Agence France-Presse. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://news.yahoo.com/residents-grab-guns-deter-looters-mexico-resort-230317288.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Keilman, John. “16 firefighters returning from Mexico after being stranded by hurricane.” Chicago Tribune. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/schaumburg-hoffman-estates/chi-16-hoffman-estates-firefighters-stranded-at-mexican-resort-20140918-story.html). 21 Sep. 2014.

Schlikerman, Becky and Sfondeles, Tina. “Firefighter recounts harrowing aftermath of hurricane in Mexico.” Chicago Sun-Times. 18 Sep. 2014. (http://www.suntimes.com/news/29970010-418/firefighter-recounts-harrowing-aftermath-of-hurricane-in-mexico.html#.VBxvp5V0zIU]). 21 Sep. 2014.

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Quote For The Week

“Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”

-Alexander Graham Bell (Scottish scientist, inventor, engineer, and innovator. 1847-1922)

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

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Sunday, September 21st, 2014 Quote For The Week No Comments

BUDK, My Patriot Supply Weekend Sales

Just wanted to let you know about some terrific sales going on this weekend by two affiliate marketing partners of Survival And Prosperity- BUDK (not yet reviewed) and My Patriot Supply (reviewed here).

From an e-mail I received from Muncie, Indiana-based My Patriot Supply, “Your Patriot Owned Survival Store” :

We wanted to send a quick reminder that we’re offering you 20% off all seed packets but this offer ends Sunday. Whether you’re gardening to be more self-reliant or just trying to build your perfect garden, you’ll find exactly what you’re looking for in our wide varieties of seeds, all of which can be planted now or saved for years and planted when you’re ready.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

And from Moultrie, Georgia-based BUDK, a vendor of knives, swords, and much more:

We’re overstocked with new products and just can’t make room. So we’re slashing prices on products and shipping all at once and offering you 15% OFF + FREE Shipping on all orders of $49 or more. Here’s your chance to save a ton and take advantage of this special offer today. But you’ve got to hurry, discounts this great only happen once in a blue moon, so snatch up the savings today! Just use the promo code above at checkout to receive the discount! *Exclusions Apply*

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That promo code BUDK is referring to is BKSALE802, and the sale is good only through this weekend.

You can click on the banner ads for each vendor below to check out their respective sales. Please note that by clicking on an ad and purchasing a product, I receive a commission from that sale.



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

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Marc Faber, Peter Schiff Issue Another Bubble Warning

“I think we are in a gigantic financial asset bubble.”

-Marc Faber on Bloomberg Television’s Street Smart, January 14, 2014

“We have an entire economy that is supported on a foundation of bubbles.”

-Peter Schiff in a MoneyShow Las Vegas presentation, May 12, 2014

These days, the U.S. economic landscape feels a lot like 2007- if you ask me. There’s a tremendous amount of bullish sentiment out there from rising asset prices. Likewise, a number of threats are simmering in the economy and larger financial system- as was the situation seven years ago.

And just like in 2007, “crash prophets” Marc Faber and Peter Schiff are again sounding the alarm on asset bubbles.

Remember- while most other financial types were predicting clear sailing ahead back then for the U.S. economy and housing market, Faber and Schiff correctly-forecast the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and the financial crisis that reared its ugly head by the autumn of 2008.

Peter Schiff, CEO and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, wrote the following on his company’s website Wednesday:

The truth is the Fed knows the economy needs zero percent rates to stay afloat, which is why they have yet to pull the trigger. The last serious Fed campaign to raise interest rates led to the bursting of the housing bubble in 2006 and the financial crisis that followed in 2008. This occurred despite the slow and predictable manner in which the rates were raised, by 25 basis points every six weeks for two years (a kind of reverse tapering). At the time, Greenspan knew that the housing market and the economy had become dependent on low interest rates, and he did not want to deliver a shock to fragile markets with an abrupt normalization. But his measured and gradual approach only added more air to the real estate bubble, producing an even greater crisis than what might have occurred had he tightened more quickly.

The Fed is making an even graver mistake now if it thinks the economy can handle a measured reduction in QE. Similar to Greenspan, Bernanke understood that asset prices and the economy had become dependent on QE, and he hoped that by slowly tapering QE the economy and the markets could withstand the transition. But I believe these bets will lose just as big as Greenspan’s. The end of QE will prick the current bubbles in stocks, real estate, and bonds, just as higher rates pricked the housing bubble in 2006. And as was the case with the measured rate hikes, the tapering process will only add to the severity of the inevitable bust

According to “Doctor Doom” Marc Faber, the extent of the bubbles goes even further than what Schiff identified. Appearing on CNBC’s Squawk Box earlier today, the publisher of the monthly investment newsletter The Gloom Boom & Doom Report warned viewers:

Today, the good news is we have a bubble in everything, everywhere- with very few exceptions. And, eventually, there will be a problem when these asset markets begin to perform poorly. The question is- what will be the catalyst? It could be a rise in interest rates not engineered by the Fed, because I think they’ll keep interests rates at zero on the Fed funds rate for a very long time… We could have essentially a break in bond markets at some point. We also could have a strong dollar. A strong dollar has already happened in the last two months signifies that international liquidity is tightening. And when that happens, usually it’s not very good for asset markets.

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am 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 herein.)

Source:

Schiff, Peter. “A New Fed Playbook for the New Normal.” Euro Pacific Capital. 17 Sep. 2014. (http://www.europac.net/commentaries/new_fed_playbook_new_normal). 19 Sep. 2014.

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Prepping As Insurance

A couple of days ago, I stumbled on a Chicago Tribune piece that made fun of preppers. I’ve encountered a number of these in the mainstream media the past few years, so I wasn’t really surprised to see one in my “local” paper. Columnist Steve Johnson wrote on the Tribune website:

All across the country people are preparing or, in the shorthand, “prepping” for a coming apocalypse — the day when, in the even shorter hand, the “SHTF.” That’s an acronym preppers use that stands, almost, for “something hits the fan.”

I read news stories about this anticipatory readiness. I witness it on reality TV, a realm in which shows are primarily about Alaskans, Kardashians and preppers. Even more meaningfully, I see it in such leading cultural indicators as costco.com and SkyMall. Many people think a social meltdown looms, and they are getting their gear, from canned goods to weaponry, in order.

Yet I dawdle. I toe-drag. Instead of outfitting the family for a dubious kind of survival, I let myself get distracted by such trifling matters as whether my sons have girlfriends and should I try one of those stand-up desks.

But I know, in my heart of hearts, that I am lax, and I must take stock. Let me enumerate the ways in which I am not prepared for the apocalypse…

That included such things as “I do not have a zombie fighting plan,” and “I have not doled out $3,999.99 to Costco for the ‘32,000 Total Servings 4-Person 1-Year Food Storage,’ an actual product,” along with “My cars are not swathed in armor, jacked up to go way off road and fitted with machine-gun turrets,” among others.

The Tribune columnist wrapped up his ridicule of preppers with the following:

When we can no longer hold out, well, that’s when we bite down on the cyanide capsules — OK, I’m going to be a little bit prepared — and thank our lucky stars we didn’t spend the good days cloaked in paranoia, suspicion and highly speculative, ridiculously costly planning.

Now, I’m not a prepper. Nor do I claim to be an expert on preppers. But from my experience researching and writing about them for a couple of years now, the actions of most preppers don’t seem to stem from some belief of “a coming apocalypse” (an image made popular by “reality” TV). Nor have the majority of preppers I’ve met/corresponded with been “cloaked in paranoia” or filled with “suspicion.” No doubt some fall into the camps. But I suspect most preppers are not unlike the Tribune columnist himself- an adult American with a job, car, kids/ loved ones depending on them, and many other “real world” responsibilities, concerns, and problems to boot.

It’s just that the prepper has either insured or is in the process of insuring his or her lifestyle in the event of a lasting emergency which can strike at any time.

This can include anything from a local power outage lasting a couple of days, to a regional man-made/natural disaster, to that “apocalypse” Johnson wrote about.

Many Americans insure their health, their life, their residence, their vehicle, and so on. Why not their ability to live comfortably on a day-to-day basis in the event something terrible happens?

Consider what modern survivalist and The Survival Podcast host Jack Spriko said on August 13, 2014, about prepping as a form of insurance. In episode 1406, “Well, Why Isn’t Everyone a ‘Survivalist’?”:

I’ll say, “Dude, what kind of car do you drive?”
“Well, I have this car. I’ve got this new car and I bought it.”
“Do you have insurance on it?”
“Well, yeah. You have to.”
“If you didn’t have to, would you have insurance on your car?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Well, why?”
“Well, if you get into a wreck, you want someone to pay for it.”
“Oh, so you’re a prepper?”
“Oh, no. That’s not what that means.”
And I’m like, “It kind of does.”
“You have a potential disaster- a car wreck- and I’m sure your insurance covers things like injury or bodily harm or other people if you get sued, things like that. So you preempted a potential emergency with prior planning. This makes you prepared for that. Therefore you’re a prepper.”
“Well, that’s not what I’m talking about.”
And then if you start having a conversation with them, you’ll find there’s all these places in their life that they’ve put some sort of assurance or insurance into. But then there’s the gaping holes of things that are actually very, very important.
So you’ll say, “What happens if one of your family members dies?”
“Oh, well, you know- we have life insurance.”
“Great. Well what happens if you both lose your job for some reason and you’re trying to put food on the table?”
There’s some unemployment, but when you start doing the math, it’s like your whole life is going to fall apart.
“Well, if you have some food set aside- even just a couple of months- and for a couple of months you knew that you could just not go to a grocery store, or only go 10 percent as much as you used to buy, and you can use that 60-, 90-day period as a get-by in-between so you can get back on your feet, don’t you think that would take the pressure off of you, let you make better decisions about getting a new job?”
“Well, yeah.”
“Then why don’t you do it?”

“Then why don’t you do it?”

Short of not having the financial/physical resources to do so, maybe because it’s easier to mock others rather than make the effort to insure one’s way of life in the event of a real, drawn-out emergency?

Prepping as paranoia? Try prepping as insurance. That’s how I’ve observed more Americans considering it these days.

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

Source:

Johnson, Steve. “Completely unprepped for doomsday.” Chicago Tribune. 8 Sep. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/columnists/ct-doomsday-johnson-talk-20140908-column.html). 19 Sep. 2014.

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Peter Schiff: ‘Economy Is Careening Towards Recession Right Now’

Yesterday, “crash prophet” Peter Schiff added a new entry to his YouTube video blog- The Schiff Report. The CEO/Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital warned viewers that the U.S. economy is heading towards recession. Schiff- who correctly-called the bursting of the housing bubble in addition to the 2008 economic crisis- began his video blog entry by talking about Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen saying Wednesday interest rates would be kept low for a “considerable time”:

Now, in my mind, what the Fed really means by “considerable” period is indefinitely, or forever. Because I don’t think the Fed can raise interest rates. In fact, I don’t even think they can end QE without precipitating a recession. And I think they’ve already set those balls in motion. And I think the economy is careening towards recession right now. The Fed just hasn’t figured that out yet. But the Fed certainly doesn’t want to help push it over the edge by raising rates. So it has to stall, so it comes up with this “considerable” period…

So how much time is going to transpire between the end of QE, which is scheduled to end now in, I think, six weeks? How much time will transpire between the end of QE and the next crisis, the next recession? See, I don’t think there will be enough time for the Fed to even begin the next set of rate hikes…

So if the economy can barely grow, with all the QE, what’s going to happen when you take it away? And again, all this growth is phony- it’s not real growth. But in order to have the phony growth, you need the QE. You take the QE away, you take the phony economic growth away, and you are right back in recession…

And so, whatever Janet Yellen and the Fed, whatever they’re saying now about how confident they are that they might be able to raise interest rates after some considerable period of time- but we don’t know what that means- it’s all based on their rosy assessment of the economy that isn’t going to materialize. The economy is going to rollover back to recession before the first rate hike ever comes. And so it’s not going to come because now they’re going to have to ramp the QE back up. And maybe at that point the people will figure out the box that we’re in. If they figure out that it’s interest rates at zero forever, and the only question is how much QE can the Fed do but it can never raise rates, then the bottom drops out of the dollar.

Schiff concluded yesterday’s vlog entry by calling the Fed’s bluff:

So again, all this is talk. They’re not going to shrink the balance sheet. They can’t. They’re not going to raise interest rates. Because they can’t. And before it comes, before this considerable time period comes to an end, we’re going to be back in recession or we’re going to be close enough to recession that the Fed feels compelled to take action to stimulate the economy. And how is it going to stimulate the economy? Well, rates are going to still be at zero. The only way to stimulate it is to ramp up the QE that she just tapered back. And how much is she going to have to ramp it up to? I think it’s going to be more than the original $85 billion. Maybe $100 billion, $150 billion per month.


“Yellen Barks on Rates, But Will Not Rise”
YouTube Video

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

(Editor’s note: I am 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 herein.)

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Gun Rights Policy Conference 2014 Kicks Off September 26 In Rosemont, Illinois

“Bans on semi-auto guns and magazines, ‘smart’ guns, concealed carry, federal legislation, BATFE policies, gun show regulation, state and local activity and the most recent Right to Keep and Bear Arms court cases.”

These are but some of the topics to be discussed at the 29th Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference- GRPC 2014- beginning next Friday, September 26, out in the Chicago suburb of Rosemont, Illinois. From the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms (CCRKBA) website:

Come meet national gun rights leaders and your fellow grassroots activists at the 29th Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference (GRPC 2014) in Chicago, IL at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare Airport on September 26, 27, & 28, 2014. This is your once-a-year chance to network, get an insider’s look and plan pro-gun rights strategies for the coming year.

Past GRPCs have outlined victory plans and made public the latest firearms trends. They allow you a first-hand chance to hear movement leaders–and make your voice heard.

The full roster of GRPC 2014 speakers has not yet been set. Past speakers include: Alan M. Gottlieb, Joseph P. Tartaro, Eugene Volokh, Wayne LaPierre, Michael Reagan, Larry Elder, Bob Barr, John Lott, Sandy Froman, Massad Ayoob, Tom Gresham, Alan Gura, G. Gordon Liddy, Larry Pratt, Emily Miller and many others…

While pre-registration for GRPC 2014 is now closed, the CCRKBA site notes:

Free Walk-in Registration will be available at the door starting at 7pm Friday September 26th.

Books, monographs and other materials—enough to start a Second Amendment library—are free, as are Saturday luncheon, Friday and Saturday evening receptions and morning and afternoon beverage breaks. Other meals, travel and lodging are to be paid by attendee…

As always, GRPC sounds like it going to be extremely informative for the American firearm owner, aspiring owners, and those like me who follow gun-related issues related to the focus of this blog and my research, among others.

For more information about the 29th Annual Gun Rights Policy Conference, or to view the most recent agenda for the event, visit the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms site here.

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

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Thursday, September 18th, 2014 Firearms, Gun Rights, Hunting, Self-Defense, Shooting Sports No Comments


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