Archive for April, 2012

1992 L.A. Riots Or: How Californians Learned (Then Forgot) To Stop Worrying And Embrace The Gun

If asked to identify two recent SHTF events on our soil, many of us might probably respond with Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the 1992 L.A. riots. And yesterday marked twenty years since civil strife gripped the streets of Los Angeles in the wake of the Rodney King verdict.

Now, a lot has been written about the riots in the years since the unrest. But one thing that I’ve found interesting (and funny considering it’s “Kalifornia” that’s being talked about here) was the insatiable demand for firearms by many Los Angeles residents and other Californians that existed during and right after the riots. Timothy Egan wrote in the New York Times back on May 14, 1992:

In the aftermath of the Los Angeles riots, Californians are buying firearms at the highest rate since the state began keeping records 20 years ago, and other states are reporting similar surges in gun sales.

In large part the rush to buy guns in California can be attributed to one of the more frightening messages to come out of the two days of arson, looting and violence in South-Central Los Angeles. That message, that fear, is that the police might not be able to defend people during an outbreak of civil unrest.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Egan shared the story of a customer waiting in line to purchase a firearm. From the article:

During lunch hour one day this week, customers at B & B Sales in North Hollywood, the biggest gun store in Los Angeles, took numbers and waited in long lines to buy pistols, shotguns, semiautomatic rifles, anything with a lethal kick.

Throughout Los Angeles, people who had never wanted a gun are now anxious to buy one. David Penso, a 20-year-old janitor at a Thrifty Drug Store, recalled watching looters pillage a discount store while the police drove by. “The cops were there,” Mr. Penso said, “but they didn’t do anything. The only way people can be protected in Los Angeles is if they protect themselves with guns.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

It’s not just law enforcement who might not be able to show up to the SHTF party on time. NPR’s Michel Martin recently spoke to Kee Whan Ha, a Korean-American business owner who organized members of the Koreatown community to protect their stores back during the riots. From their exchange that was published on NPR’s website on April 27:

HA: From Wednesday [April 29, 1992], I don’t see any police patrol car whatsoever. That’s a wide-open area, so it is like Wild West in old days, like there’s nothing there. We are the only one left, so we have to do our own (unintelligible).

MARTIN: Well, you just told us that the security guard at your store was killed. This must have been very traumatic for you. Do you mind telling me how this happened?

HA: The riot people took the next building, put it on fire. Then these people want to come to our store. Then we are shooting each other. Somehow, the people stationed on roof, then their line of fire got my security guard, and he really get blown off. So…

MARTIN: Oh, I’m sorry.

HA: …I was standing a few feet away, so I see that his body has fallen down on the ground, but I was so scared. I – we tried to call the fire department. Please help us. But nobody listen. Then maybe after five or six hours in the evening – it start around the afternoon, about 1:00 or 2:00 p.m. But actual – the fire truck coming about 7:00 o’clock, late evening. So five hours, of course, is sitting between us and them.

MARTIN: Five hours. And so the security guard – you were not even able to evacuate his body, I assume, for five hours.

HA: No, no.


“Crazy L.A. Gun Fight Erupts During Riot”
YouTube Video
(Editor’s note: Not affiliated with AngryAnarchist.com)

Egan pointed out one more notable thing in his May 1992 piece:

While it may be too soon to tell how the image of Angelenos protecting their stores and homes with raised semiautomatic rifles will alter the gun-control debate in the United States, one thing seems certain: The riots have made gun owners out of people who used to shun guns.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

“The riots have made gun owners out of people who used to shun guns.” So much so that even lifelong gun “control” supporters switched teams. Jonathan Lovitt reported in the May 4, 1992, issue of USA TODAY:

The rush to weapons began almost immediately after the riot’s first vivid images went out over TV.

Shopkeepers said some gun buyers were lifelong gun-control advocates, running to buy an item they thought they’d never need – only to find themselves blocked by gun-control legislation that requires Californians to wait 15 days.

“The customers were angry about the waiting period but they bought the guns anyway,” says Barry Kahn, who owns B&B Sales, one of the region’s largest gun outlets. “These people were different from my usual customers. They were definitely first-time buyers.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Too funny.

The 1992 L.A. riots and the quest for firearms for self-defense.

Lest Angelenos and other Californians forget.

Sources:

Egan, Timothy. “AFTER THE RIOTS; LOS ANGELES RIOTS SPURRING BIG RISE IN SALES OF GUNS.” New York Times. 14 May 1992. (http://www.nytimes.com/1992/05/14/us/after-the-riots-los-angeles-riots-spurring-big-rise-in-sales-of-guns.html?pagewanted=all&src=pm). 30 Apr. 2012.

“Korean Store Owner On Arming Himself For Riots” NPR. 27 Apr. 2012. (http://www.npr.org/2012/04/27/151526930/korean-store-owner-on-arming-himself-for-riots). 30 Apr. 2012.

Lovitt, Jonathan T. “Survival for the armed.” USA TODAY. 4 May 1992. (http://www.jonathanlovitt.com/usa/SurvivalForTheArmed.htm). 30 Apr. 2012.

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Is Claim That Al-Qaeda ‘Essentially Gone’ Correct?

Like with that Quote For The Week post, there’s been an awful lot of chatter these past few days about the “War on Terror” possibly being over. A lot of it seems to stem from recent statements made by members of the U.S. intelligence community. AP’s Kimberly Dozier wrote on the ABC News website on April 27:

U.S. intelligence officials say almost a year after the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden, al-Qaida is essentially gone, but its affiliates still present a threat to the U.S. homeland.

One official says core al-Qaida’s new leader Ayman al-Zawahri still aspires to hit the U.S., but the threat of a sophisticated, multi-pronged attack has “substantially decreased.” The official was authorized to speak only on condition of anonymity.

Robert Cardillo of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence says an attack by chemical, biological or nuclear weapons by any al-Qaida-related terror group also seems less likely in the coming year.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Fact? Election-year PR? Woeful underestimation of the terror group’s existing capabilities? I wrote last fall:

While there’s been lots of talk recently about Al-Qaeda’s operational capabilities being severely crippled, one expert on the organization points out they still pose a significant threat. Retired CIA veteran Michael Scheuer, who tracked Osama bin Laden as Chief of the Bin Laden Issue Station (“Alec Station”) from 1996 to 1999 and later as a special advisor to the unit from 2001 to 2004, told Ali Moore of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in an interview that was broadcast last Friday that:

Well they’re capable of any number of things. They’re certainly capable of car bombs or any of the Hamas-style attacks are something that they’ve been capable of since 9/11 or before. And something they’ve deliberately chosen not to do.

But in the last four or five years we’ve seen during the end of bin Laden’s career, a deliberate effort on the part of Al-Qaeda to recruit U.S. citizen Muslims to begin to try to incite operations within the United States.

Anwar al-Awlaki, Adam Gadahn- who’s known as al-Amriki- a number of other people who are intent on encouraging U.S. citizen-Muslims, English-speaking Muslims, to attack in the United States.

So they have the capability of sending people from abroad, our borders are wide open, and they also have an increasing number of U.S. citizen-Muslims who are willing to take action.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

All I know is this. While I hope our intelligence officials are right, I wouldn’t go parking the P-40’s wingtip-to-wingtip just yet, if you know what I mean.

Source:

Dozier, Kimberly. “US Officials: Core Al-Qaida ‘Essentially Gone’” ABC News. 27 Apr. 2012. (http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/us-officials-core-al-qaida-essentially-16230817#.T58GcdlxH8k). 30 Apr. 2012.

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Quote For The Week

The war on terror is over.

-Unnamed senior State Department official who works on Mideast issues, per Michael Hirsh in an April 23 piece on the website of the weekly Washington insider magazine National Journal

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Zombie Survival Courses Useful For Preparedness Training?

The zombie craze. It’s been big for a while now. And while I personally don’t see myself becoming the victim of a roving band of animated corpses, I still recognize the value in this new-found interest in all-things-zombie. Discussing a recent zombie-themed pandemic drill held at Elmhurst College in the Chicago suburbs, I wrote back on March 8:

Glad to hear the zombie fad is serving a useful purpose, rather than just supplying the Chiller TV channel with an ample amount of low-budget programming.

Two things. First off, I wasn’t knocking Chiller TV. I find the channel to be a blast to watch late at night/early in the morning. Keep in mind, however, that comes from a USA Network “Up All Night” fan from the eighties/nineties.

Second, like with that pandemic drill, incorporating the zombie theme with preparedness training is proving to be popular with the general public. Case in point, this morning I came across a CNN/Money video segment on the Zombie Survival Course located in South Jersey (about 60 minutes outside of Philadelphia).


“Training for the zombie apocalypse”
CNN Money Video

While the Zombie Survival Course is obviously zombie apocalypse-themed, a quick look at what’s taught reveals its value in preparing for/dealing with other perhaps more-probable SHTF situations. From their website:

A few of the topics that are taught in our courses include:

• Find and create a safe environment and shelter
• Train in self-defense and melee weapons
• Handle and use a crossbow
• Use firearms-handgun, shotgun and rifle (live ammo)
• Stay healthy now and then
• Master the art of leadership
• Collect, prepare and store your supplies
• Acquire transportation (hotwire)
• And much more…

Looking on the Internet I noticed other zombie survival training classes out there these days.

The zombie apocalypse. Not exactly what many would envision TEOTWAWKI will be like. But don’t let that turn you off from training for it, as a number of topics taught could be very useful- especially for those just getting started in prepping/survivalism. And, quite frankly, it sounds like a whole lot of fun as well.

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Evacuation Plan Uncovered For Chicago Residents Should NATO Summit Get Out Of Control

One more post for local readers before I switch into “doomsday mode” for the next couple of days. It seems an evacuation plan is in place for Chicago residents should next month’s NATO summit require it. Mike Parker wrote on the website of CBS affiliate Channel 2 (Chicago) Wednesday night (hat tip Second City Cop blog):

Is there a secret plan to evacuate some residents of Chicago in the event of major trouble during the NATO summit next month? CBS 2 has uncovered some evidence that there is. It comes from the Milwaukee area branch of the American Red Cross.

CBS 2 News has obtained a copy of a Red Cross e-mail sent to volunteers in the Milwaukee area.

It said the NATO summit “may create unrest or another national security incident. The American Red Cross in southeastern Wisconsin has been asked to place a number of shelters on standby in the event of evacuation of Chicago.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

According to Parker, the Red Cross chapter spokesperson said the directive came from the City of Chicago and the Secret Service. The veteran reporter added that the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications said the directive did not come from them, while the Secret Service did not return calls for comment.

Needless to say, a number of downtown Chicago residents are concerned.

With an event like a NATO summit, obviously anything can happen. Some point to this directive as proof the federal government knows the “Windy City” could be in for a lot of trouble. Others claim a “false flag” event is being set up. My biggest concern is not so much of civil disobedience transforming into civil strife, but rather the summit being the target of terrorism. In which case, I’m glad to hear some initiative is being taken in putting together an evacuation plan should it be necessary.

Source:

Parker, Mike. “Milwaukee Red Cross Told To Prep For Chicago Evacuation During NATO Summit.” Channel 2 (Chicago). 25 Apr. 2012. (http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2012/04/25/milwaukee-red-cross-told-to-prep-for-chicago-evacuation-during-nato-summit/). 27 Apr. 2012.

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Peter Schiff: ‘I Think We Have A Real Opportunity Here In The Gold Stocks’

Speaking of gold, last night I watched the April 22, 2012, entry by Peter Schiff, President and Chief Global Strategist of Euro Pacific Capital, on The Schiff Report YouTube video blog. Schiff, who correctly predicted the bursting of the U.S. housing bubble and 2008 economic crisis, talked about a number of things in “Stimulus High Fading, Dollar, Gold, History According to Obama.” But I found his observations about gold stocks- which sure have taken a beating lately- to be most interesting. Schiff, who’s also the CEO of Euro Pacific Precious Metals, told viewers:

All of this optimism about the U.S. economy- even though it’s false- I think has taken a lot of the luster out of gold stocks. In fact, if you look at where gold stocks are, many of the major gold stocks hit 52-week lows this week. But the price of gold didn’t go down at all this week. In fact, it’s still pretty solid. It’s just over $1,600 an ounce. That’s where it was last summer. Of course, when gold got to $1,600 an ounce last summer- it was an all-time record high. Now, it’s the same record, it’s at the same level, it’s a little bit off the highs that it set later on. You know, we got closer to $1,900, $1,850 or so. But, we’re better than $1,600.

But if you look at gold stocks, if you take a look at the index- the New York Stock Exchange gold bugs index, symbol is HUI- that index is off better than 25 percent since last summer. Even though the price of gold hasn’t gone down at all. So you’ve got all of these major gold companies trading at record-low price earnings ratios. In fact, you have all the big players on Wall Street, all the leveraged speculators, are betting on a collapse in the gold price. Why do they think the gold price is going to collapse? Because they’re sure that the U.S. economy is recovering, that the worst is behind us, that there’s therefore no reason to have a safe haven. Maybe they still believe the propaganda from the Fed that there’s no inflation. And so Wall Street is betting on a collapse in gold prices.

I bet they’re wrong. Not only do I think gold prices are not going to collapse- I think they’re going to rise and make new highs. Especially when Wall Street figures out the tenuous nature of this phony recovery and understands that the Fed is going to come to the rescue- now it shouldn’t, but it will- as this recovery falters with more cheap money, more QE. What do they call it? QE3 or something else. It really doesn’t matter, because a rose by any other name smells just as sweet, or in this case, as sour, because I wouldn’t call it a rose- you know what I mean- and it is coming.

So I think that we have a real opportunity here in the gold stocks, because if I’m right, if we don’t get a collapse in the price of gold but we get gold running to new highs, not only does the gold stocks have to rise because gold prices are going up, they have to make up all of the ground that they lost because of an anticipation of a collapse that never occurred.

The rest of the video blog entry is worth watching too.


“Stimulus High Fading, Dollar, Gold, History According to Obama”
YouTube Video

(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)

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Jim Rogers Sees Civil Strife Coming To America

Yesterday, MarketWatch ran a WSJ Live News Hub video in which well-known investor Jim Rogers appeared and talked about a number of topics. The Chairman of Rogers Holdings suspects social unrest of the type seen in Europe will eventually come to our shores:

NEWS HUB: So when we saw pictures in Greece of fire bombings and of stones being thrown and the police in running battles- do you expect to see that here in the U.S.? Maybe down here in New York City.

ROGERS: We saw it in London. We’ve seen it in several countries in Europe in the last year or two. Yes, I expect to see it here too. If you don’t then you should look out the window.

The former investing partner of George Soros predicts inflation in the United States will get worse:

NEWS HUB: So, what do you worry about particularly with inflation? Do you think inflation here in the U.S. is going to get out of control? Do you think the Fed will be unable to control it and keep it under wraps?

ROGERS: Absolutely. They’ve been printing staggering amounts of money. They taken staggering amounts of debt onto their balance sheet- much of it is garbage. The federal government is spending huge amounts of money they don’t have. We have inflation in the U.S.- it’s going to get worse, Simon.

The Singapore-based investor who correctly predicted the commodity bull market that began in 1999 still likes hard assets:

NEWS HUB: Where are you putting your money?

ROGERS: I mainly own raw materials- natural resources- because in times of inflation… Well, let’s put it this way. If the economy gets better, there’s going to be shortages of those raw materials and I’m going to make money. If the economy doesn’t get better Simon, then they’re going to print a lot more money. Mr. Bernanke doesn’t know anything else to do except print money. And throughout history, when governments have debased the currency, you protect yourself by owning real assets. Whether it’s silver, or rice, or whatever it happens to be.

On gold and crude oil, Rogers said he owns both of them. Despite the precious metal’s recent consolidation in price, he said:

I’m not selling my gold by any stretch of the imagination.

And the creator of the Rogers International Commodities Index (RICI) back in 1998 thinks highly of crude oil. From the exchange:

The surprise with oil is going to be how high it stays, and how high it goes. Simon, the International Energy Agency has done a study. The world’s known reserves of oil are in steady decline. We have to find a lot of oil or the price of oil is going to go to unheard of heights.

It’s a great interview. And there’s much more I didn’t touch on, including what Rogers thinks about the upcoming presidential election in November.


“Jim Rogers on Markets, Economy and China”
MarketWatch Video

(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)

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Resource Of The Week: AmmoSeek

Now, if you’re lucky enough to own one of those M1 Garand rifles I talked about earlier today, there’s always the chance your local gun dealer might be out of the .30-06 ammunition that long gun is chambered for. An alternative to the dealer that’s been available for some time now is ordering ammo online. But with quite a few vendors out there on the Internet, how do you know you’re getting the best price? Enter AmmoSeek, an ammunition search engine. From their “About” page:

AmmoSeek is an ammunition search engine to help gun owners find in stock ammo at the best prices available online. The idea for AmmoSeek was born out of necessity. In the summer of 2009 there was enormous demand and thus very short supply and high costs for ammunition. It took hours of searching various online retailers to find available ammunition at a reasonable price.

AmmoSeek became the obvious solution. We began working on the engine in August of 2009 and launched it on February 1st, 2010.

I can’t remember how I came across AmmoSeek- but I’m glad that I did.

On AmmoSeek’s home page, the ammunition search engine lets users search for ammo by “Handgun,” “Rifle,” “Rimfire,” and “Shotgun.” Under each of these categories, the search can be refined by “Caliber,” “Ammo Type,” “Grains,” “Manufacturer,” “Keywords,” and “Sort results by” price/round, total price, retailer, manufacturer, or number of rounds.

At the present time, search engine results come from 29 retailers- 12 AmmoSeek Certified Retailers and 17 other ones. “Certified retailers” include such well-known vendors as Brownells, Bud’s Gun Shop, and The Sportsman’s Guide. A number of the “other” ones are highly-recognizable too- AIM Surplus, Bass Pro Shops, and Cabela’s, to name a few.

Giving the engine a whirl, I queried .45 ACP ammo on AmmoSeek, sorting the results by price per round. I received 1,037 hits (not surprising considering the popularity of the caliber). AmmoSeek showed that Midsouth Shooters Supply, a “certified retailer,” had a 50-round box of Ultra Max 230 grain lead round nose remanufactured .45 ACP ammo for only $15.48, or 31 cents a round. If remanufactured ammo doesn’t float your boat, AmmoSeek turned up a 50-round box of CCI Blazer 230 grain FMJ .45 ACP ammo for only $15.99, or 32 cents a round. The price per box falls to only $14.99 if 10 boxes are ordered. So a 500 round half-case ends up costing only $149.90 before shipping. Not bad.

Ammunition prices seem to heading only one way these days- up. And your local dealer might not always have the ammo you need in stock. The AmmoSeek ammunition search engine provides firearm owners with another way of acquiring the ammo they need at great prices.

You can access the AmmoSeek engine here.

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

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New Videos About The M1 Garand Rifle

Seeing that I recently blogged about the progress being made in a deal to bring 84,417 U.S.-made M1 Garand rifles back to our shores from South Korea, I thought it was only fitting that I point out some new videos about the legendary semi-automatic firearm that appeared on THE NUTNFANCY PROJECT channel on YouTube.com just in the last few days. In case you’re unfamiliar with the project, from the page description:

About THE NUTNFANCY PROJECT: Reviews, Adventures, Freedom

The Original Outdoor and Tactical Gear Adventure Channel with heart, humor, and quality information for LE, military, and responsible civilians. TNP was the first of its kind and it started a WHOLE internet trend. There are many imitators but you found the original. The adventures, mfr visits, in-depth fun reviews, engaging and real life philosophy, commitment to freedom give depth and meaning to TNP. The Project maintains fierce independence, staying real, genuine, and helpful. Nutnfancy is a retired USAF Lt Col pilot who now works his civilian job and stays very busy in all production phases of The Nutnfancy Project. Watch “Navigating the Nutnfancy Project” if new:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RMPHr97OZ9U.

Click on FEED tab to see that latest Nutnfancy vids and adventures.///////////////Get ltd edition TNP hats, T-Shirts, TNP patches, signed reviewed gear, calendars, and donation shell casings at www.nutnfancy.bigcartel.com

Each video runs almost 52 minutes each.

Enjoy!


“‘M1 Garand: Battlefield Warrior’ Pt 1 by Nutnfancy”
YouTube Video


“‘M1 Garand: Battlefield Warrior’ Pt 2 by Nutnfancy”
YouTube Video

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Thursday, April 26th, 2012 Firearms, Self-Defense No Comments

Authorities Concerned About ‘Lone Wolf’ Terrorist Attacks On Anniversary Of Osama Bin Laden’s Death

On May 1, 2011, Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was killed by U.S. Navy SEALs taking part in Operation Neptune Spear in Pakistan. With the one-year anniversary of his death fast approaching, intelligence agencies are concerned about a possible retaliatory strike(s) by Muslim extremists. Mike Levine wrote on the FOX News website this morning:

Just days before the one-year anniversary of Usama bin Laden’s death, federal authorities are telling partners around the country there is no specific, credible threat to the U.S. homeland but they remain concerned “lone wolf” terrorists could use the date to avenge the former Al Qaeda leader’s death.

In an intelligence bulletin issued late Wednesday, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Northern Command note that terrorist groups such as Al-Shabaab in Somalia, Northern Africa’s Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, and the Pakistani Taliban have called for revenge against the United States for killing bin Laden during the May 1, 2011, raid on his hideout in Pakistan.

The bulletin says Al Qaeda or its affiliates would view an attack “on this anniversary as a symbolic victory,” especially in the wake of losses suffered by Al Qaeda through U.S. drone attacks and other efforts overseas.

In addition, according to the bulletin, authorities remain concerned that so-called “lone-wolf” extremists not already identified “will execute attacks with little or no warning on or about the anniversary of bin Laden’s death.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Levine added that the intelligence bulletin cited Al-Qaeda’s emphasis on symbolic dates to launch terror attacks, and that Muslim extremists might be particularly motivated to carry out a strike in retaliation for recent controversies including Koran burnings and the desecration of corpses in Afghanistan.

On Tuesday, Steven Chase wrote about the concern over “lone wolf” terrorists on The Globe and Mail (Canada) website. From the article:

Richard Fadden, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, also acknowledged Monday that al-Qaeda’s switch to a sole-actor approach to inflicting damage is presenting a problem for Western anti-terrorist agencies…

Mr. Fadden predicted al-Qaeda’s recent embrace of smaller, leaderless acts of terror is a sign of things to come.

Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula has as recently as last fall published an online magazine called Inspire that called for “open source jihad” and instructed readers to how to carry out their own attacks, he noted. “How to make a bomb in the kitchen of your mom” was the title of article in the Summer, 2010, issue.

“My colleagues in Britain, Australia and the United States are of the same opinion: We are seeing an increase in the number of people who are acting on their own,” he said.

“When there are a certain number of people involved, there is a possibility of intercepting communications; the chances of errors are far greater. But when there’s one person who’s not talking to anybody, [counterterrorism agencies] have to be really lucky.”

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

In addition, Fadden pointed out that the “lone wolf” approach not only attracts the ideologically-driven, but those with “serious personal problems” as well- making them more unpredictable.

It might not be a bad idea ratcheting up one’s vigilance in the coming days.

Sources:

Levine, Mike. “Feds urge vigilance 1 year after bin Laden’s death.” FOX News. 26 Apr. 2012. (http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/04/25/feds-urge-vigilance-1-year-after-bin-laden-death/). 26 Apr. 2012.

Chase, Steven. “Al-Qaeda switching tactics, CSIS warns.” The Globe and Mail. 23 Apr. 2012. (http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/al-qaeda-switching-tactics-csis-warns/article2411810/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Politics&utm_content=2411810). 26 Apr. 2012.

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800 Posts And Counting

Survival And Prosperity just reached another milestone with 800 posts having been published since the blog’s debut on November 22, 2010.

Perhaps a quick vacation is in order?

With all the new developments going on these days that could impact our personal and financial safety and growth- that’s not going to happen.

I know the weblog has been heavy on the financial side lately, but I felt sharing and discussing this material was necessary. If we only got our cues about the economy from those in power in Washington, D.C., and from the Federal Reserve these days, it would be all good news all the time. Comparing what’s been said against actual performance often reveals a different story. And contrary to the official line that says the U.S. economic recovery is growing stronger, I remain convinced it’s all a façade, and one need only look beneath the surface to comprehend how much trouble the economy and larger financial system are truly in. I truly wish this weren’t so- but I owe it to myself, and SP readers, to be a “grown-up” about this.

Going forward, I will be publishing a few more posts today before I switch over into full “Doomsday” mode for the next couple of days. I owe readers four episode reviews of the National Geographic Channel TV series Doomsday Preppers. Once those are published, I intend to address some of the criticisms being hurled at that show and the Discovery Channel TV series Doomsday Bunkers.

In the meantime, should any blog-worthy events pop up, I might fit those in as well.

That’s it for now. As always, feel free to contact me regarding any questions/concerns/suggestions you have about the blog. I’m a little bit behind on responding to recent messages but I hope to have that taken care of in the next couple of days. I apologize for the delay.

Have a great rest of the week,

Christopher E. Hill
Editor

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TARP Update: $119 Billion Still Owed, Could Eventually Lose $60 Billion

The Troubled Assets Relief Program, which was widely reviled as a $700 billion bailout for Wall Street titans, is now expected to cost the federal government a mere $25 billion – the equivalent of less than six months of emergency jobless benefits.

-Washington Post, November 30, 2010

The government’s bailout of banks may cost U.S. taxpayers nearly two times more than originally estimated, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

The Troubled Asset Released Program, better known as TARP, will cost the federal government $34 billion, the CBO reported on its director’s blog.

-Huffington Post, December 16, 2011

$25 billion. $34 billion. These days, the U.S. government thinks TARP could eventually lose $60 billion. From Ronald Orol on the MarketWatch website early this morning:

Taxpayers are still owed $119 billion in outstanding Troubled Asset Relief Program funds, a watchdog for the government crisis response program said Wednesday in a quarterly report to Congress.

That number is down from $133 billion in TARP funds owed as of January, according to the author of the report, the Office of the Special Inspector General for the TARP. The government expects TARP to lose $60 billion.

The program was set up during the height of the financial crisis of 2008 to stem a growing credit contagion by providing taxpayer-funded capital injections into big and smaller banks.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Opponents of TARP have argued that the bailout would end up wasting a huge chunk of taxpayer funds. Supporters of the program have responded that the U.S. financial system was in serious danger if these funds weren’t provided.

Source:

Orol, Ronald D. “Taxpayers still on hook for $119 bln in TARP funds.” MarketWatch. 25 Apr. 2012. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/taxpayers-still-on-hook-for-119-bln-in-tarp-funds-2012-04-25). 25 Apr. 2012.

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Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 Bailouts, Banking, Credit, Government No Comments

Social Security Retirement Benefit ‘Exhausted’ By 2033, Other Entitlements Threatened

The projected point at which the combined Trust Funds will be exhausted comes in 2036 — one year sooner than projected last year.

-Social Security Board of Trustees, May 13, 2011

The projected point at which the Trust Funds will be exhausted comes in 2037 — four years sooner than the estimate in last year’s report.

-Social Security Board of Trustees, May 12, 2009

The projected point at which the Trust Funds will be exhausted comes in 2040 — one year earlier than the projection in last year’s report.

-Social Security Board of Trustees, May 1, 2006

Americans heard once again from the trustees of Social Security earlier this week. And not surprisingly, the news was grim. From National Affairs Writer Tom Curry on MSNBC.com Monday:

The trustees of the Social Security system said Monday the fund that helps sustain retiree and survivors’ benefits will become exhausted in 2033, three years sooner than they projected last year.

At that point, payroll taxes and taxation of Social Security benefits will provide only enough income to pay about 75 percent of the benefits that Congress has promised to retirees and survivors.

In practical terms, this means that a 40-year-old worker who is eligible to collect retirement benefits in 2039, would see his or her expected retirement benefit cut by about 25 percent, unless Congress took action to change the program’s funding or its benefit structure.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Curry added that the trustees also estimated that Social Security’s Disability Insurance fund will be exhausted in 2016. In addition, he noted that the trustees- who are also the trustees of the Medicare program- reported that the Medicare fund that covers hospital costs for seniors and disabled Americans will be exhausted by 2024.

Not good. I’d expect some sort of “fix” coming down the road.

You can read the entire report from the Board of Trustees on the Social Security Administration’s website here (.pdf file).

Source:

Curry, Tom. “Social Security trustees see earlier fund depletion date.” MSNBC. 25 Apr. 2012. (http://nbcpolitics.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/23/11355323-social-security-trustees-see-earlier-fund-depletion-date?lite). 25 Apr. 2012.

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Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 Entitlements, Government, Health, Retirement 1 Comment

Welcome To Amerika?

Who hasn’t heard of this one by now: Barack Obama is transforming the United States into a socialist country.

While I personally believe Americans are witnessing the strengthening of a plutocracy- rule by the wealthy, transcending political parties- there’s no shortage of Americans who still think we’re headed towards socialism.

I happened to stumble on a Yahoo! News piece this weekend that originated from the news and opinion website The Blaze, a project of former FOX News personality Glenn Beck. What caught my attention was the title- “Are We Headed Toward the Constitution or the Communist Manifesto? This Breakdown Tells You.” Tiffany Gabbay wrote Sunday:

During his Thursday morning radio broadcast, Glenn Beck asked if America, on its current trajectory, is headed toward the values and principles of the Constitution, or rather, those of the Communist Manifesto.

To glean greater insight, The Blaze expanded on each of the Manifesto’s 10 planks and juxtaposed them with modern day American society. The picture revealed, while perhaps not shocking, is unsettling to say the least.

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)


Some background music, Comrade?
“Red Army Choir: Oh Fields, My fields.”
YouTube Video

Gabbay’s comparisons in the article are indeed thought-provoking. And I found what she said about “plank” number 4, confiscation of property of all emigrants and rebels, particularly interesting. Militia members, preppers, survivalists, firearm owners, opponents of the political party in power, and Americans making a lot of money and/or with sizeable assets might want to take note. From the piece:

4. Confiscation of property of all emigrants & rebels

This Manifesto pillar is perhaps best laid out in the recent string of government crackdowns on “homegrown militias.” Those who have paid careful attention to Janet Napolitano know that one of Homeland Security’s preoccupations of late has been the “rise” of “homegrown militias.” With this in mind, the department is likely honing in on anyone considered an “opposition group,” be they merely survivalists or those with a more militant bent.

Some may recall the Michigan militia, or “Hutaree,” as they are known — a group of anti-government “rebels” who were allegedly engaged in preparations for a potential future clash with federal agencies. The defendants were accused of conspiring to overthrow the U.S. government, a planned assassination of a police officer, and an ambush of that officer’s funeral with explosives in order to incite an uprising against the Federal government. While the anticipated attack never actually occurred, this did not stop the Feds, under the blessing of Attorney General Eric Holder, from raiding the Hutaree’s various outposts, confiscating its members’ arms and waging an all-out legal battle against the group.

At the end of March, 2012, presiding U.S. District Judge Victoria Roberts dismissed the most serious of the charges against the Hutaree, leveling a staggering blow to the Fed. She said the members’ hatred of government did not amount to a conspiracy to overthrow it.

It remains unclear whether the Hutaree were indeed poised to be the aggressors of a violent assault or if they were simply anti-big-government, “good ol’ boy survivalists preparing to “defend themselves” against a perceived government threat. But the Federal agencies’ indictment of the group perhaps reveals how government will deal with homegrown “threats” — be they real or perceived — moving forward.

Another key element, and one that warrants mention due to its relevance in modern day America, is the confiscation of citizens’ weapons. Those who have felt their Second Amendment rights slowly whittle away understand that disarming the public is a crucial step vital to ensuring the state’s grip over its citizenry. In fact, one of the first tasks performed by the then-fledgling Soviet state was the confiscation of citizens’ private arms — even hunting rifles. By stripping people of the ability to defend themselves, the authoritarian state could reign over the vulnerable Russian populace. Many Americans consider this a highly plausible reality given increasingly stringent gun laws and regulations spread across all 50-states.

It should also be noted that IRS liens, levies and seizures are all means by which the Federal government can confiscate a “rebel” entity’s assets — one instance being the recent IRS “shakedown” of Tea Party members. And, in terms of “emigrants,” taxing the off-shore income and assets of American citizens, or causing Americans to give up their U.S. citizenship and flee to foreign lands to avoid abusive U.S. taxes, is yet another means by which the Fed’s confiscatory, overreaching tentacles are changing the American landscape. Statistics point out a rising trend

(Editor’s note: Italics added for emphasis)

Like I said, it’s a thought-provoking piece, which you can read in its entirety on the Yahoo! website here.

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Signs Of The Time, Part 45

The following concerns another group of “young” Americans (hat tip goofy girlfriend). Funny- yet depressing- at the same time…


“Fun – We’re Not Young (Yahoo!’s SketchY Parody)”
YouTube Video

I thought the following comment on the video was pretty good:

I feel a real sense of community after watching this and reading the posts. Maybe instead of now aspiring to higher level, we can all just agree to lower the bar. Maybe the new benchmark for success and fulfillment can be having a remote control helicopter.

rmcclane01

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Wednesday, April 25th, 2012 Humor, Signs Of The Time No Comments


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