Essential Reading

Illinois Democrat Introduces Statewide Gun Registration, Ammo ‘Control’ Bill

“A list, record, or registry of legally owned firearms or law-abiding firearm owners is not a law enforcement tool and can become an instrument for profiling, harassing, or abusing law-abiding citizens based on their choice to own a firearm and exercise their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms as guaranteed under the United States Constitution. Further, such a list, record, or registry has the potential to fall into the wrong hands and become a shopping list for thieves.”

-State of Florida Statutes, 790.335 Prohibition of registration of firearms; electronic records

The push for more gun “control” is on the march in the “Land of Lincoln.”

Last year around this time, State Representative Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago) spearheaded statewide gun registration and ammunition “control” in Illinois with HB4715. Creating the “Firearms Registration Act,” the legislation eventually went nowhere.

This time around, State Senator Jacqueline Y. Collins (D-Chicago) is the torch-bearer of more gun and ammo “control” in the Midwestern state, filing the resurrected Firearms Registration Act legislation in the Senate (SB1413) on February 20. From a synopsis of the bill over on the Illinois General Assembly website:

Creates the Firearms Registration Act. Provides that every person in the State must register each firearm he or she owns or possesses in accordance with the Act. Provides that a person shall not purchase or possess ammunition within this State without having first obtained a registration certificate identifying a firearm that is suitable for use with that ammunition, or a receipt demonstrating that the person has applied to register a suitable firearm under the Act and that the application is pending. Provides that the Department of State Police must complete a background check of any person who applies for: (1) a registration certificate for a firearm that was lawfully owned or possessed on the effective date of the Act, was brought into the State by a new resident, or was acquired by operation of law upon the death of the former owner; or (2) a renewal of a registration certificate unless, within 12 months of the date the renewal application is submitted, the applicant passed a background check conducted by the Department in connection with the applicant’s acquisition of another firearm. Provides exceptions. Amends the Criminal Code of 2012. Provides that it is a Class 2 felony to sell or transfer ownership of a firearm to another person without complying with the registration requirement of the Firearms Registration Act.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Before Illinois gun owners dismiss the chances of such legislation becoming law in the state, it should be noted that:

• 2014 was as an election year for state senators and representatives
• Illinois Democrats maintain a veto-proof supermajority in both chambers of the Illinois General Assembly in 2015- 71 Democrats to 46 Republicans in the House and 39 Democrats to 20 Republicans in the Senate
• A future mass shooting along the lines of Newtown or some other mass casualty event on American soil “featuring” firearms could be all it takes for the public to get behind the Firearms Registration Act

For more information about Illinois Senate Bill 1413 and to track its status, you can visit the Illinois General Assembly website here.

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

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How To Survive A Mall Shooting

If you’ve been following the news the last couple of days, you might have heard about the threat by the terrorist group Al-Shabaab against a particular “family” of shopping malls (blogged about this Sunday). The more I thought about the potential for a mall shooting, the more I wondered if there was anything out in cyberspace that might assist readers in surviving an active shooter situation within this type of environment. Enter SPIKE’s TV series Surviving Disaster from a couple of years back (blogged about here). In particular, the episode entitled “Mall Shooting.” For those of you who’ve never heard of the television series, from the SPIKE website:

What will you do when disaster strikes? Spike TV’s new original series Surviving Disaster, led by Navy SEAL Cade Courtley, vividly takes viewers through catastrophic scenarios and arms them with the knowledge needed to survive the unthinkable. Courtley tackles worst-case scenarios and equips viewers with the practical information needed to save their own lives and the lives of their loved ones. Whether the threat is natural or man-made or on a national or personal level, Courtley speaks directly to the viewers and guides them through a comprehensive, step-by-step process to not only survive the big picture disaster, but endure the many dangerous obstacles that may occur within each catastrophic event. While leading viewers out of danger, Courtley not only provides helpful tips and hands-on instruction, but swiftly points out common misconceptions and fatal mistakes. Unlike any other series, Surviving Disaster may actually save lives by providing actions that anyone can perform.

If Cade Courtley looks familiar, it may be that you recognize him from another survival TV series called America Unplugged that recently aired on the New Berlin, Wisconsin-based TV network The Sportsman Channel (blogged about here- good stuff). Or it could be from a different project of his.


“Who is Cade Courtley?”
YouTube Video

Getting back to Surviving Disaster’s “Mall Shooting,” from the SPIKE website:

A highly trained terrorist cell takes over a crowded mall in a military style siege. Navy SEAL Cade Courtley shows you how to survive a firefight using SEAL Team tactics and take on this well armed enemy by constructing improvised weapons, smoke bombs and night vision gear.

It’s been a few years since I watched the 42-minute production. But I think it still has a lot to offer should readers ever find themselves in a similar predicament. For example, I jotted down the following from the first part of “Mall Shooting,” after the terrorists had commenced their attack:

• Don’t play dead
• Spread out
• Priority is to clear the “kill zone” as fast as possible
• Move away from the kill zone, from cover to cover, avoiding mere concealment if possible
• If no clear exit nearby, escape through the back of a store to the fire-escape hallways
• If the exits from the hallways are blocked/booby-trapped, search for a different escape route from the mall, utilizing those “you are here” maps if necessary
• One possible exit could be the loading dock area, which might be difficult for the terrorists to seal off and a potentially-good spot for law enforcement/other rescuers to gain entry into the facility

Now, some of this might sound “basic” to a number of readers. However, Courtley did cover more “advanced” topics like:

• Individual/group movement (keep at least a foot off of walls because bullets could ricochet down their length)
• Obtaining makeshift weapons and gear from within the mall
• Ambushing terrorists
• Operating an AK-type rifle acquired from the bad guys
• Constructing a makeshift silencer for the captured firearm

There’s plenty more material in Surviving Disaster’s “Mall Shooting,” which you can view in its entirety over on the SPIKE website here.

Personally, I hope readers never have to utilize this information. That being said, I’m real glad SPIKE TV and Cade Courtley put it out there for the general public.

Know of other “how to survive a mall shooting” resources? Feel free to share it with everyone via the comment section.

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

Courtley’s SEAL survival guide…

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Chicago-Area Shopping Malls Targeted By Terrorists?

Muslim extremists are calling for terror attacks directed against Western malls. From the website of Chicago CBS affiliate Channel 2 Saturday night:

A terror group with ties to al-Qaeda released an online video Saturday appearing to call for attacks on Western malls, including at least one U.S. shopping center.

There is no credible, serious threat to a location in the Chicago region, but CBS 2’s Chelsea Irving reports one area police agency is taking the message seriously.

In the 75-minute video released Saturday, Islamic extremist group al-Shabaab calls for lone followers to attack Western targets.

The speaker specifically mentions the Mall of America in Minnesota. In the last five minutes of the video, the logo of Westfield shopping centers appears. The addresses in the video are for Westfield malls in England, but the speaker calls for attacks on any Westfield mall.

In the U.S., Westfield has 38 malls in eight states. Three are in the Chicago region: in Aurora, Skokie and Vernon Hills…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Specifically, those Chicago-area shopping malls are Westfield Fox Valley (Aurora), Westfield Old Orchard (Skokie), and Westfield Hawthorn (Vernon Hills).

Keep in mind authorities say “there is no credible, serious threat to a location in the Chicago region.” Personally, I’d just as soon visit these three malls as any other these days, maintaining optimal situational awareness during those “shopping sprees.”

You can read the entire CBS 2 piece on their website here.

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

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East Coast: Last-Minute Snow, Ice Removal Info From Consumer Reports

“The first flakes ahead of a potentially historic blizzard began swirling through New York City on Monday morning, with forecasters predicting up to 3 feet (90cm) of snow in the coming day and millions of people facing snarled transportation.

The National Weather Service (NWS) issued a blizzard warning for New York City and surrounding areas beginning 1 p.m. EST on Monday, and warned of two days of winter storms across the East Coast, from Pennsylvania to Maine.

Airlines have canceled more than 2,000 flights so far…”

-Reuters.com, January 26, 2015

Considering the ongoing warnings of severe winter weather for the East Coast, I thought I’d get the following last-minute information regarding snow and ice removal out to Survival And Prosperity readers in that area of the country. I hope a number of you find it useful. From the Consumer Reports website:

“Find the best snow shovel”
The right model can take some of the work out of winter cleanup

February 14, 2014

“All you need to know about clearing snow”
Get the most from your snow blower by working with the weather

January 21, 2015

“Snow removal shortcuts that save time and energy”
How to get the most out of your snow blower and snow shovel

March 3, 2014

“Best ice melts review: Top products for your driveway, walkways, and steps”
Use Consumer Reports’ five steps for smarter, safer deicing

February 2014

On the topic of ice melts, while I’ve got a bag in my arsenal, lately I’ve been using sand instead so as to minimize damage to the newer concrete driveway and older sidewalks at my house in the Chicago suburbs. QUIKRETE All-Purpose Sand (bought a 50-lb. bag last week for a little under $3 at the nearby Home Depot) is the brand I went with- and it works really good as traction is concerned. Just be sure to keep the stuff away from drains.

Good luck out there in the eastern United States, stay warm, and stay safe.

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

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Monday, January 26th, 2015 Emergencies, Essential Reading, Weather No Comments

NotifyChicago: The City Of Chicago’s Emergency Alert Program

Back when I was living in Chicago I remember reading that the city had a system in place where residents could receive alerts about emergencies going on.

I never signed up for the program, but if I were still living at my old pad on the Northwest side today, I’d give it a try.

Enter NotifyChicago. Via the City of Chicago’s Office of Emergency Management & Communications web page, under “Notification Program Overview”:

NotifyChicago

Notification Program Overview

Welcome to NotifyChicago, the City of Chicago’s tool for providing residents with direct emergency and non-emergency information. NotifyChicago is a city service that supplies residents with text messages and/or e-mail alerts for incidents/conditions such as severe weather emergencies, hazardous materials, traffic impacts, etc. Preparedness and being informed is key in an emergency. The Office of Emergency Management and Communications (OEMC) urges residents to subscribe to receive alerts sent directly to mobile phones or email accounts to stay informed. Signing up for NotifyChicago is FREE. However, depending on your service plan, you may be charged for messages and data on your devices. Contact your mobile service provider for details on costs in your plan.

How Does Notify Chicago Work?

In the event of an emergency, the city’s designated personnel will send text messages and/or e-mail alerts directly to the registered phones or email accounts using this NotifyChicago system. Non-emergency alerts may be issued for traffic disruptions to keep public informed of related major street closures or events impacting traffic. Those registering for texts/emails can choose to receive both emergency and non-emergency notifications or just emergency notices. Once registered, alerts will be sent to the mobile phone/email address designated as situations arise…

NotifyChicago sounds like a terrific tool for a Chicago worker, resident, and visitor to have access to during an emergency. I tried to find out if Cook County and the State of Illinois had similar emergency alert programs, but didn’t see any advertised on their respective web sites (I plan to investigate more).

Interested in finding out more about NotifyChicago? Head on over to the program site here.

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

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Britain’s MI5 Chief, Former CIA Deputy Director Issue Terrorism Warnings

There’s no doubt in my mind that terrorism will soon be coming to our doorstep again.

Conducted both “lone wolf” style and via organizational activity.

And two high-profile members of the U.S. and U.K. intelligence communities are suggesting the same. From the Agence France-Presse (AFP) website yesterday:

The head of Britain’s domestic spy agency MI5 warned on Thursday that militant Islamists in Syria were planning “mass casualty attacks” in the West and that intelligence services may be powerless to stop them.

“We know… that a group of core al-Qaeda terrorists in Syria is planning mass casualty attacks against the West,” Andrew Parker told journalists in London a day after an Islamist attack in Paris claimed 12 lives.

“Although we and our partners try our utmost, we know that we cannot hope to stop everything,” he added…

“We still face more complex and ambitious plots that follow the now sadly well-established approach of al-Qaeda and its imitators — attempts to cause large-scale loss of life, often by attacking transport systems or iconic targets,” he said.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There’s also this from former CIA Deputy Director and CBS News Senior Security Contributor Michael Morell back on December 15, 2014. From an exchange between CBS This Morning co-host Norah O’Donnell and Morell (speaking about the Australian lone-wolf terrorist event going on that day):

O’DONNELL: Michael, when other countries will look at this incident, perhaps as ISIS succeeding in some way in encouraging lone wolves to carry out these types of attacks. What concerns you the most?

MORELL: What concerns me the most is that we’re going to see this kind of terrorism around the world, and we are going to see it here, Norah. We are going to see this kind of attack here. And we need to be prepared for that. It shouldn’t surprise people when this happens here sometime over the next year or so- guaranteed.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“When this happens here sometime over the next year or so- guaranteed”

Yikes. That’s the first time I’ve ever heard a timeframe being attached to a threat like that.

And a guarantee to boot.

Does Morell know something you and I don’t?

Considering his background- probably.


CBS Video

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

(UPDATE: The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security issued a terrorism-related intelligence bulletin Friday to 18,000 U.S. law enforcement agencies in the wake of the Paris terrorist events. However, it did not specify any specific threat to the U.S. homeland connected to the incidents in France.)

Source:

“Militants planning mass casualty attacks against West.” Agence France-Presse. 8 Jan. 2015. (http://news.yahoo.com/militants-planning-mass-casualty-attacks-against-west-uk-005654650.html). 9 Jan. 2014.

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Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, And Peter Schiff All Sound The Alarm

I find it both funny and disturbing that the financial types who missed the U.S. housing bubble/bust and global economic crisis that was readily-visible by the second half of 2008 are now claiming the U.S. economic “recovery” is on solid footing and there are no asset bubbles in sight.

Meanwhile, the few individuals who correctly-predicted that carnage- including Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff- are sounding the alarm again.

Here’s what each of these “crash prophets” have been saying lately (the following statements have all been blogged about previously on Survival And Prosperity).

Swiss-born investor and money manager Marc Faber warned CNBC Squawk Box viewers on September 19, 2014:

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.

“A bubble in everything, everywhere.” Reminds me of what British-born investment strategist Jeremy Grantham said right before the asset bubbles popped during the “Panic of ’08.” Speaking of Grantham, he penned in his November 2014 quarterly investment letter entitled “Bubble Watch Update”:

I am still a believer that the Fed will engineer a fully-fledged bubble (S&P 500 over 2250) before a very serious decline…

My personal fond hope and expectation is still for a market that runs deep into bubble territory (which starts, as mentioned earlier, at 2250 on the S&P 500 on our data) before crashing as it always does. Hopefully by then, but depending on what the rest of the world’s equities do, our holdings of global equities will be down to 20% or less. Usually the bubble excitement – which seems inevitably to be led by U.S. markets – starts about now, entering the sweet spot of the Presidential Cycle’s year three, but occasionally, as you have probably discovered the hard way already, history can be a snare and not a help.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Fully-fledged bubble (S&P 500 over 2250) before a very serious decline…”

The S&P 500 stands at 2,058 this Sunday- only 192 points away from Grantham’s bubble “target.”

There’s also investor, financial commentator, and author Jim Rogers, who was talking U.S. equities on RT’s Boom Bust on December 26, 2014, when he remarked:

I know the bear market will come… The next bear market, Erin, is going to be much worse than the last one because the debt has gone through the roof. Debt worldwide, including the U.S., has skyrocketed, and we’re all going to have to pay a terrible price for all this money printing and all this debt.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Finally, there’s Euro Pacific Capital’s Peter Schiff, who argued on The Schiff Report YouTube video blog on Halloween 2014:

When this illusion collapses, this fantasy of a U.S. economic recovery- because everybody believes there’s no recession anywhere in sight, that we’re years away from a U.S. recession- when in fact, another recession is right around the corner. And in fact, it will be worse than the recession that we had in 2008, 2009, if the Fed does not come in with QE 4…

I expect Janet Yellen to react to this coming recession the way Ben Bernanke reacted to the last one. The way Alan Greenspan reacted to the last one. Because that’s the only playbook we’ve got. And remember, when this recession starts, they can’t start with rate cuts. Rates are at zero. You can’t cut from zero. All they can do is revamp QE. And believe me, it’s going to have to be a lot bigger than QE 3. QE 4 is going to have to be bigger than QE 3 for the same reason QE 3 had to be bigger than QE 2- the economy builds up a tolerance. The more addicted to QE, the more QE you need to get any kind of result. And this last result was minimal in the real economy. I mean, yes- the Fed was able to get the stock market to go up, but the real economy never experienced any real economic growth. The average American is worse off today than when QE began. By far. Incomes are down. Real employment is down. Net worth is down. Poverty is up. Government dependency is up. The cost of living is up. Nothing has improved, except maybe the level of optimism on Wall Street…

This crisis is not really going to be about a credit crisis. Not private credit. It’s going to be about debt. Sovereign credit. It’s going to be about the dollar. A currency crisis. A sovereign crisis. Which is going to be very different than the crisis we had in 2008. It’s a crisis of an excess of QE. Of an overdose of QE. That’s the one that’s coming. That’s the one that we have to prepare for. That’s the one that I have been warning about since the beginning…

Schiff, who’s also a financial commentator and author, has been the most vocal of the four in warning of economic pain dead-ahead of us.

Jim Rogers talking the day after Christmas about the coming bear market alerted me to the fact that all these “crash prophets” whom I regularly-follow on this blog are now sounding the alarm at the same time. To summarize their recent warnings:

Marc Faber- “A bubble in everything, everywhere.” Actually, I believe he still likes Asia and Asian emerging economies.
Jeremy Grantham- “I am still a believer that the Fed will engineer a fully-fledged bubble (S&P 500 over 2250) before a very serious decline.”
Jim Rogers- “The next bear market… is going to be much worse than the last one because the debt has gone through the roof.”
Peter Schiff- “An overdose of QE. That’s the one that’s coming. That’s the one that we have to prepare for. That’s the one that I have been warning about since the beginning.”

At the start of 2015, it will be interesting to see how the next couple of years play out, for I believe Americans will get the chance to experience quite a bit of the above in that time period- whether they want to or not.

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

(Editor’s notes: 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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Largest Sunspot In 24 Years Pointed At Earth

There’s the potential for severe space weather directed at Earth in the coming days. Calla Cofield reported on the Space.com website this morning:

The largest sunspot to appear on Earth’s nearest star in more than two decades is once again pointed at the planet, and it will likely kick-start solar storms, NASA scientists say.

The massive sunspot, previously known as Active Region 12192, was turned toward Earth in October and early November, but rotated out of view. While it was on the Earth-facing side of the sun, the sunspot did not produce any coronal mass ejections — hot bursts of material ejected into space at 4 million mph (6.4 million km/h) — which have the potential to damage satellites and power grids. Now the active region has rotated back around to face Earth again, and although the sunspot has shrunk in size, it will likely be disruptive, NASA scientist Holly Gilbert told Space.com during a video interview about the massive sunspot…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I watched that video interview with Dr. Gilbert about AR 122090 (formerly AR 12192). From the exchange between Gilbert and Cofield:

COFIELD: So why should we pay attention to sunspots?
GILBERT: Sunspots are the regions where space weather is born. Basically, where solar flares originate and these storms called coronal mass ejections, where tons of billions of material is being blown- sometimes towards the Earth- at over 4 million miles an hour. This can affect satellites, our technology. It can cause power grid outages…
COFIELD: Are you able to predict what are the odds of this sunspot having a major solar ejection or coronal mass ejection?
GILBERT: We’re not at the point at predicting when it will happen, but we have a good idea based on the structure of that magnetic field at the sunspot that it’s very possible that it will create some midlevel flares right now. When it was on the side of the Sun facing us a few weeks ago before it rotated around, it actually led to six massive solar flares and multiple smaller flares. So we know that based on the size and the complexity of the magnetic field that there’s potential for these flares to occur.

The chief of the Solar Physics Laboratory at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center added:

The coronal mass ejections did not occur along with those large solar flares. This time around, it’s more likely to have some coronal mass ejections associated with it even though the flares themselves might be smaller.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Massive Sunspot Returns- What’s the Solar Forecast?”
Space.com Video

Back on July 23, the NASA Science News website discussed the potential damage from a coronal mass ejection as strong as the infamous Carrington Event of 1859. From the article:

A similar storm today could have a catastrophic effect. According to a study by the National Academy of Sciences, the total economic impact could exceed $2 trillion or 20 times greater than the costs of a Hurricane Katrina. Multi-ton transformers damaged by such a storm might take years to repair

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

No mention of what that could mean for human life in the affected region of the planet…

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

Sources:

Cofield, Calla. “Monster Sunspot May Unleash Powerful Solar Flares (Video).” Space.com. 25 Nov. 2014. (http://www.space.com/27834-monster-sunspot-solar-flares-video.html). 25 Nov. 2014.

Phillips, Tony. “Near Miss: The Solar Superstorm of July 2012” NASA Science News. 23 July 2014. (http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2014/23jul_superstorm/). 25 July 2014.

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Fixed? Illinois Public Pension Gap Surpasses $111 Billion

“The Illinois General Assembly barely passed legislation yesterday that’s been touted to ‘fix’ the state’s $100 billion public pension crisis.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn, who has promised to sign SB0001, declared in a press release Tuesday:

Since I took the oath of office, I’ve pushed relentlessly for a comprehensive pension reform solution that would erase a $100 billion liability and restore fiscal stability to Illinois.

Today, we have won. The people of Illinois have won.

Not so fast, big guy…”

-Survival And Prosperity, December 4, 2013, post

I remember when Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signed off on Illinois Senate Bill 1 (or 0001, take your pick) on December 5 of last year, talk about the State’s monstrous public pension funding gap practically disappeared overnight. But yesterday, Benjamin VanMetre of the Illinois Policy Institute- “an independent research and education organization generating public policy solutions aimed at promoting personal freedom and prosperity in Illinois”- dredged up that nightmare for Illinoisans over at their website. That “$100 billion liability” that was supposed to be “erased.” It’s now more than $111 billion. VanMetre wrote:

Illinois’ unfunded pension liability grew to more than $111 billion this year, according to official estimates. That’s a $48 billion increase just since 2009.

That $111 billion pension shortfall means the state now has only 39 cents of every dollar it should have in the bank today to pay for future benefits. In the private sector, these funds would be deemed bankrupt…

Illinois Senate Bill 1, which was touted to reduce the State’s annual pension payment by more than $1 billion, is currently facing a legal challenge. VanMetre added:

But as we wait for a decision, Illinois’ pension debt continues to grow. The state’s pension payment for the current budget year totals $6.9 billion, and without reform, that pension payment will balloon to $7.6 billion for the 2016 budget year; an increase of $681 million…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So what’s the likelihood of the courts shooting down this new public pension law? As I wrote in that December 4, 2013, post:

This legislation is almost certainly headed to court, as in the Illinois Supreme Court. As I noted on December 1, a provision of the 1970 Illinois Constitution defines public pension benefits as “an enforceable contractual relationship” that “shall not be diminished or impaired.”

And even if it passes constitutional muster, consider what I also added in that post:

As I blogged yesterday, the Wall Street Journal recently picked apart the legislative “fix,” and concluded not only was it “fake” but:

Even under the most optimistic forecasts, these nips and tucks would only slim the state’s pension liability down to $80 billion- which is where it was after Governor Quinn signed de minimis fixes in spring 2010 to get him past that year’s election…

“$80 billion.”

Stay tuned…

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

Source:

VanMetre, Benjamin. “Illinois’ Pension Debt Balloons To $111 Billion.” Illinois Policy Institute. 17 Nov. 2014. (http://www.illinoispolicy.org/illinois-pension-debt-still-ballooning/). 18 Nov. 2014.

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Global Economy Flashes Warning Signals

I’m picking up on a growing number of “bad vibes” about the global economy these days.

First, Rich Miller reported on the Bloomberg website Thursday about the findings of the latest Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors:

The world economy is in its worst shape in two years, with the euro area and emerging markets deteriorating and the danger of deflation rising, according to a Bloomberg Global Poll of international investors.

A plurality of 38 percent of those surveyed this week described the global economy as worsening, more than double the number who said that in the last poll in July and the most since September 2012, when Europe was mired in a recession.

Much of the concern is again focused on the euro area: Almost two-thirds of those polled said its economy was weakening…

Europe isn’t the only source of concern in the global economy, according to the quarterly poll of 510 investors, traders and analysts who are Bloomberg subscribers. More than half of those contacted said conditions in the BRIC economies — Brazil, Russia, India and China — are getting worse, compared with 36 percent who said so in July.

(Editor: Bold added for emphasis)

Granted, it’s just a poll. But there’s also this from British Prime Minister David Cameron in a piece he penned that was published on The Guardian (UK) website Sunday:

Six years on from the financial crash that brought the world to its knees, red warning lights are once again flashing on the dashboard of the global economy.

As I met world leaders at the G20 in Brisbane, the problems were plain to see. The eurozone is teetering on the brink of a possible third recession, with high unemployment, falling growth and the real risk of falling prices too. Emerging markets, which were the driver of growth in the early stages of the recovery, are now slowing down. Despite the progress in Bali, global trade talks have stalled while the epidemic of Ebola, conflict in the Middle East and Russia’s illegal actions in Ukraine are all adding a dangerous backdrop of instability and uncertainty…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Cameron added the following, which I thought was pretty funny (disturbing?):

When we faced similar problems in recent years, too many politicians offered easy answers, thinking we could spend, borrow and tax our way to prosperity. Those were the wrong answers then; they are the wrong answers now. We are not going to repeat the mistakes of the past…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Sound like any country you know?

Finally, exacerbating fears about global economic health was the following “shock” announcement. Mitsuru Obe and Eleanor Warnock reported on The Wall Street Journal website this morning:

Japan Falls Into Recession

Japan’s economy shrank for a second quarter in a row, after a sales-tax increase took the steam out of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ’s bid to turn Japan into a global model of revival.

Mr. Abe, who has sought to revive the world’s third-largest economy after two mostly sluggish decades, is set to announce this week that he will delay plans to raise the nation’s sales tax next year and call elections in December…

“Two mostly sluggish decades”

Some really bright financial-types suspect Japan’s so-called “zombie economy” is what’s ultimately in store for America. While I have no doubt about a coming U.S. economic crash, I remain somewhat more optimistic for the country’s prospects upon emerging from the coming carnage.

Stay tuned…

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

Sources:

Cameron, David. “David Cameron: Red lights are flashing on the global economy.” The Guardian. 16 Nov. 2014. (http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/nov/16/red-lights-global-economy-david-cameron). 17 Nov. 2014.

Miller, Rich. “World Economy Worst in Two Years, Europe Darkening, Deflation Lurking: Global Investor Poll.” Bloomberg.com. 13 Nov. 2014. (http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-11-13/world-outlook-darkening-as-89-in-poll-see-europe-deflation-risk.html). 17 Nov. 2014.

Obe, Mitsuru and Warnock, Eleanor. “Japan Falls Into Recession.” The Wall Street Journal. 17 Nov. 2014. (http://online.wsj.com/articles/japan-falls-into-recession-1416182404). 17 Nov. 2014.

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Prepping For Ferguson-Related Civil Strife

I was planning on wrapping up my blogging on Survival And Prosperity last night (as I strive for posting regularly again Sunday through Thursday), but thought it was important that I end this week with a few words concerning the upcoming decision by a St. Louis grand jury on whether or not to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. As I wrote in a post last Sunday:

Why do I care? Because I suspect there’s a lot of pent-up anger and frustration out there that could fuel significant destruction and violence in the wake of such a finding.

That being said, the authorities have had a good deal of time to prepare for the day the decision is announced and position resources in the Ferguson area to deal with any peaceful protest gone rogue.

In that respect, it won’t be like the 1992 Los Angeles Riots.

Still, that’s not to say civil strife won’t be sparked in other areas of the country after the announcement is made. St. Louis and Chicago come to mind here. A number of other U.S. municipalities are possible candidates as well.

So what do you do if you live in these areas where Ferguson-related civil disorder could break out any day now?

Late last night I came across an article on The Daily Sheeple alternative news website that might be of some help to those in the crosshairs. Daisy Luther wrote in “Officials Warn: ‘Make Sure You Are Prepared for a Period of Disruption’ Before Michael Brown Decision”:

Are you prepared for civil unrest?

The thing about racially motivated conflicts is that the divisive emotions and actions can spread far beyond the local area. You don’t have to live in the Ferguson area to face the potential for civil unrest. Here’s a synopsis of the threats during such an event and what you can do to prepare for them…

Luther goes on to talk about looting, violence for the sake of violence, destruction of property, running out of supplies, and martial law- and how to deal with each of these threats.

While it was an interesting piece to read for me, it should be required reading for those who are more likely to be impacted by any Ferguson-related civil strife. The article is located on The Daily Sheeple website here. Keep in mind there are a number of items that may require immediate action on the reader’s part, so don’t delay here as a decision could be handed down at any time now.

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

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Trust The Ebola ‘Pollyannas’ At Your Own Peril

“Calm down- America is officially Ebola-free”
-Public Radio International web article headline, November 10, 2014

“America all clear of Ebola- for now”
-Yahoo! News web article headline, November 11, 2014

“Ebola In US Cured, Craig Spencer Released From Hospital, America All Clear”
-Inquisitr.com web article headline, November 12, 2014

One might think reading the above “Pollyannish” headlines that the threat to the United States from the Ebola virus is over. I, for one, remain skeptical. Why’s that? Consider the following from Martha Mendoza on the Associated Press website November 1:

Top medical experts studying the spread of Ebola say the public should expect more cases to emerge in the United States by year’s end as infected people arrive here from West Africa, including American doctors and nurses returning from the hot zone and people fleeing from the deadly disease.

But how many cases?

No one knows for sure how many infections will emerge in the U.S. or anywhere else, but scientists have made educated guesses based on data models that weigh hundreds of variables, including daily new infections in West Africa, airline traffic worldwide and transmission possibilities.

This week, several top infectious disease experts ran simulations for The Associated Press that predicted as few as one or two additional infections by the end of 2014 to a worst-case scenario of 130…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“As few as one or two additional infections by the end of 2014 to a worst-case scenario of 130.”

A number of high-profile preppers with medical backgrounds have weighed-in on the danger posed by Ebola. First, there’s Joe Alton, M.D.- aka “Dr. Bones” of Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy-fame. Sharon Churcher wrote on the Daily Mail (UK) website back on Halloween:

Florida surgeon Joe Alton, who believes the US government is deluding American citizens over the risk of infectious disease, says: ‘Members of the preparedness community are not crazy. What is crazy is not to be prepared for disasters – preppers are the normal people.

‘The US government has a website Ready.gov that says people should always be prepared for natural disasters like earthquakes and hurricanes and tornadoes and floods. It does not make sense not to also prepare for infectious diseases.’

He says: ‘This is a virus that has a 70 percent mortality rate and the experience we’ve had with the cases in Dallas and New York and with President Obama making ‘fairness’ a priority over public health and safety has made preppers – including doctors like me — suspicious of the notion that we can rely on the authorities to protect us…

‘I think it is highly unlikely that entire communities will be overwhelmed in this country by an epidemic but the situation in Dallas showed that our hospitals are not prepared.’

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

No Ebola epidemic. But likely inside the United States by the sound of it.

Readers may recall that back in August I also talked about Dr. Alton and Nurse and their take on Ebola. From that post:

Joe Alton, M.D.- aka “Dr. Bones” of Dr. Bones and Nurse Amy/The Survival Medicine Handbook-fame- just wrote on the Doom and Bloom website on July 30 in “Ebola Update”:

I recommend stocking up on masks, gowns, eye protection, and gloves, and learn about how to have an effective survival sick room.

He added later in the comment section:

The best masks are N95 or N100, the N95 are more readily available and somewhat more breathable. Masks by themselves are not enough, though, some kind of eye protection and coveralls would be useful additions to your medical storage for pandemics.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Churcher also talked about Tess Pennington, publisher of the Ready Nutrition website and author of The Prepper’s Blueprint: The Step-By-Step Guide To Help You Through Any Disaster. From the piece:

Former American Red Cross staffer and mother of three Tess Pennington says: ‘I was working at the Dallas chapter of the Red Cross on September 11, and having been through that and a Houston hurricane, ‘I firmly believe that every family should be prepared for disasters.

‘When Ebola started migrating to America, I bulked up on N100 respirator masks, which block out more particles than N95s, and also on latex gloves, which are the best for bodily fluids because they are non permeable.

‘I also have purchased DuPont Tychem suits – twelve suits for each of us: my husband, our 12 year old boy and our 10 year old and 9 year old girls.’

Things may be quiet right now in the U.S. as far as Ebola is concerned. But I suspect that’s only temporary based on the above projections.

It’s probably only a matter of time before the next Ebola case is discovered on our shores.

If readers were planning to prep for the virus, this lull in the action might be a good time to take care of that. Otherwise, should more cases start popping up in the U.S. again, you may have a hard time getting what you need.

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

Sources:

Mendoza, Martha. “Scientists Try To Predict Number Of US Cases.” Associated Press. 1 Nov. 2014. (http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_EBOLA_HOW_BAD_CAN_IT_GET?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2014-11-01-10-25-24). 13 Nov. 2014.

Chrucher, Sharon. “We are NOT nutty survivalists, says Ebola’s Dr Prepper: Medical ‘lunatics’ stocking up on Hazmat suits insist THEY are the only normal ones.” Daily Mail. 31 Oct. 2014. (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2812488/We-NOT-nutty-survivalists-says-Ebola-s-Dr-Prepper-Medical-lunatics-stocking-Hazmat-suits-insist-normal-ones.html). 13 Nov.2014.

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Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Coming On Or After November 15?

Many Americans are wondering when a St. Louis grand jury’s decision on whether or not to charge Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown is coming. Some speculate an announcement might be made as soon as Monday afternoon. Others say a decision won’t be coming until November 15 or afterwards- based on statements made by Ferguson’s mayor and the St. Louis County prosecutor’s spokesperson. Alexis Zotos reported on the KMOV 4 (St. Louis) website on November 6:

School superintendents worried that their students might get caught in potential unrest have asked St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch to announce the grand jury’s finding after 5 p.m. on a weekday or on a weekend, when most kids are safely at home…

McCulloch’s spokesman, Edward Magee, said the prosecuting attorney will inform police when the grand jury reaches a decision but will not reveal the substance of the decision. McCulloch’s office is considering advance-notice requests but hasn’t decided how it will announce the decision, Magee said.

The decision is expected on or after Nov. 15, Magee said

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Chuck Ross of The Daily Caller online news website corroborated that announcement date still being a week away with the following last night:

Sources are reaffirming that a decision will not come for at least another week.

Ferguson mayor James Knowles told The Daily Caller on Friday that the 12-person grand jury, which meets every Wednesday, was still hearing evidence this week and that a decision would not come “for at least a week.”

Ed Magee, a spokesman for St. Louis County prosecutor Bob McCullough, who is presenting the case to the grand jury, confirmed the same, telling KSDK on Friday that a decision would not be made until next weekend at the earliest.

McCullough had initially stated that the grand jury would return a decision by mid-November…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I like that idea from the school superintendents about the grand jury’s finding being announced after 5 PM on a weekday or on a weekend, “when most kids are safely at home.” And if the decision isn’t made until early next week (November 17-18), The Weather Channel is forecasting temperatures in Ferguson, Missouri, will drop into the 30s during the day while falling as low as 21° F at night. Not exactly ideal rioting temps should the decision favor Officer Wilson. Why do I care? Because I suspect there’s a lot of pent-up anger and frustration out there that could fuel significant destruction and violence in the wake of such a finding. Consider what Kellan Howell reported on The Washington Times website Saturday:

Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri attacked one of their own on Friday night, sending a student who attended a church meeting supporting slain teenager Michael Brown to the hospital on Thursday.

Chris Schaefer, a senior at the University of Missouri, St. Louis, told Buzzfeed News Nov. 8 that he was attacked by five men at a gathering in a church where protesters were set to discuss how to conduct future demonstrations…

Mr. Schaefer said there is unrest amongst protesters and that the movement is not entirely unified. He said that there are groups of people who wish for the demonstrations to remain peaceful but other “agitators” have divided the issue on racial lines.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I suspect these “agitators” will be out in full-force in Ferguson- and possibly elsewhere in the country- should Darren Wilson not be indicted with Michael Brown’s shooting death. Should this be the case, it’s probably a good idea to try and steer clear of locations where such individuals might congregate to “protest.” Otherwise?


“Reginald Denny Beating”
(Warning: Violent images)
YouTube Video

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

Sources:

Ross, Chuck. “Sources Say Ferguson Grand Jury Decision Not Coming For At Least A Week.” The Daily Caller. 8 Nov. 2014. (http://dailycaller.com/2014/11/08/sources-say-ferguson-grand-jury-decision-not-coming-for-at-least-a-week/). 9 Nov. 2014.

Zotos, Alexis. “Rumors swirl about when grand jury announcement will take place.” KMOV 4. 6 Nov. 2014. (http://www.kmov.com/special-coverage-001/Rumors-fly-about-when-Michael-Brown-Grand-Jury-will-reach-decision-281875751.html). 9 Nov. 2014.

Howell, Kellan. “Ferguson protester beaten by allies at church meeting, hospitalized.” The Washington Times. 8 Nov. 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/nov/8/chris-schaefer-ferguson-protester-supporter-beaten/). 9 Nov. 2014.

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Sunspot Region 2205 Week Away From ‘Perfect Position To Do The Most Damage’ To Earth

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog about severe space weather from time to time. Here’s something I came across on Bloomberg.com today that might interest a number of you. Brian Sullivan reported:

Those Sunspots Approaching Earth Could Bring Blackouts

A new group of sunspots that has come into view of Earth has the attention of the U.S. Space Weather Prediction Center.

The area, referred to as 2205, spat out an x-ray flare that produced a moderate radio blackout today, according to the center’s website. Earlier this week, it let loose several coronal mass ejections, explosions of magnetic fields and plasma from the sun’s atmosphere that can knock out power grids and disrupt navigational systems.

Most of the material in today’s flare, along with the earlier eruptions, was pointed away from Earth, thus sparing the planet severe storms…

Here’s what really grabbed my attention though. Sullivan added:

The sunspots that are now becoming visible will take about two weeks to traverse the side of the sun pointed at the Earth, [Forecast Office Lead Robert] Rutledge said. In about a week, the system will be in perfect position to do the most damage, he said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The potential economic costs associated with such solar storms are staggering. Consider this recent estimate from the FOX News website back in March:

“The cost of an extreme space weather event, if it hits Earth, could reach trillions of dollars with a potential recovery time of 4-10 years,” professor at China’s State Key Laboratory of Space Weather Ying D. Liu warned in a press release. “Therefore, it is paramount to the security and economic interest of the modern society to understand solar superstorms.”

Check out the entire article on Bloomberg.com here.

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

Source:

“The massive solar blast that almost wreaked havoc on Earth.” FOX News. 19 Mar. 2014. (http://www.foxnews.com/science/2014/03/19/massive-solar-blast-that-almost-wreaked-havoc-on-earth/?intcmp=features). 6 Nov. 2014.

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So You Think Your Vote Doesn’t Matter?

A number of eligible American voters won’t be casting a ballot tomorrow because they think their vote doesn’t matter. Here’s something the National Rifle Association has been passing around in an e-mail to members that reinforces the idea that even a single vote is much more important than most people think:

In the 2000 presidential election, George W. Bush defeated Al Gore by only 537 votes out of over 100 million cast.

In 2008, Minnesota Senator Al Franken defeated Norm Coleman by only 312 votes out of over 2.8 million cast.

And in a recent state legislative race in Florida, the election was decided by only 2 votes out of nearly 12,000 cast.

In the upcoming General Election, yours could be the deciding vote in any race or on any issue on the ballot…

A number of eligible voters won’t be casting ballots Tuesday because they’re skeptical of the major national political parties (“one monster with two heads”) or as a protest. I get it. But for those others that think their vote isn’t really necessary because there are lots of other people going to the polls (“how is one vote going to make a difference?”), they might want to keep the above in mind.

And that’s my public service announcement for the day…

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

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