Europe

Jim Rogers Details Russian Investments, Shares Outlook For Developed Economies

While searching for the latest activity from the “crash prophets” this morning I came across an insightful piece on well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers on FT Alphaville. Izabella Kaminska reported on the Financial Times (UK) daily news and commentary blog today:

Rogers’ Russian investments now include stakes in fertiliser maker Phosagro, airliner Aeroflot, a Russia ETF and the Russian stock exchange, but he said was looking to expand into different sectors as well…

Rogers’ bullish view on Russia contrasts significantly with his outlook for Europe, Japan and the United States. Regarding Japan, Rogers proposed that Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was doing “terrible things” to Japan and advised young Japanese to leave the country as soon as they possibly could to avoid losses. However, in the short-term, he believed there were also opportunities in the stock market as a result of the extraordinary central bank action.

Regarding the Eurozone, Rogers said he didn’t own any euros, nor did he want to because he would rather buy Russia.

As ever, his outlook for developed economies remained bleak on the basis that central banks had debased the currency and that government statistics were lying about the true state of inflation in the land…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

It should come as no surprise to regular readers of Survival And Prosperity that the former investing partner of George Soros has been investing in Russia (blogged about in May here).

Rogers shared with the Financial Times his reasons for selecting the above Russian investments. Good stuff by Kaminska and FT Alphaville, which you can read in its entirety here.

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Obama’s Foreign Policy In A Nutshell

I’m going to roll back things a bit today. Last night, I talked about the 1-hour Huckabee TV special “Threats To America” on FOX News. In the segment about China, KT McFarland, the FOX News National Security Analyst and host of FoxNews.com’s DEFCON 3, talked about how the Obama administration perceives our nation’s place on the world stage. McFarland told Huckabee viewers:

This administration came into office not thinking America should be the greatest power in the world. They thought if America gets taken back a peg or two, that’s going to make the world a better place. They don’t think America has necessarily been a force of good in the world. And as a result, they’re very comfortable with seeing the rising China, the rising Middle East, the rising Iran. And why? Because they think if America steps back, then somehow this global community is going to be in charge of things and we’ll all be at peace. When in fact, if it’s not America, then who is it? It’s Chinese rules. It’s Moscow rules. It’s Tehran rules. Or, even worse, it’s complete chaos.


KT McFarland on Obama’s foreign policy (starts at 2:37)
YouTube Video

I consider myself a lifelong student of U.S. foreign policy and international relations. And even have some academic and work experience in these areas as well. Having followed this administration’s dealings with the rest of the world since day one, I’d have to say McFarland- who’s held national security posts in the Nixon, Ford, Reagan administrations- seems pretty much spot-on in her assessment of Obama’s foreign policy.

“Somehow this global community is going to be in charge of things and we’ll all be at peace”

I used to think this might be possible (mostly skeptical however) back when I was a college/graduate student.

Then I wised up after observing how the real world works.

Got realpolitik? Because China, Russia, and Iran sure as hell do.

Remember what one of Barack Obama’s predecessors- John F. Kennedy- warned:

Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.

Amen to that. I’m not saying idealism is necessarily a bad thing. Just that U.S. foreign policy makers need to start “keeping it real” again, as other nations will pursue national self-interest over the “global good” when the situation arises, the two cannot be mutually-satisfied, and the perceived benefits outweigh the costs.

When America “gets taken back a peg or two,” in many cases spurning the greater good (and inviting the ire of Uncle Sam/others) doesn’t look nearly as “expensive” as it once did.

And some still wonder why China, Russia, Iran, and others have been so active on the international stage the last couple of years…

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

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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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Peter Schiff And Axel Merk Talk Gold

I’ve been so busy lately I didn’t realize Peter Schiff’s Euro Pacific Precious Metals had been rebranded as SchiffGold. And earlier today, I spotted a new Gold Videocast published on SchiffGold.com in which Axel Merk is interviewed. The topic? Gold. From the website:

In this SchiffGold exclusive video, Peter Schiff sits with Axel Merk at the recent New Orleans Investment Conference to discuss gold investing in the midst of the currency wars. Like Peter, Axel was one of the few analysts to warn of the 2008 financial crisis and he remains one of the few analysts independent from the mainstream “recovery” consensus. Their conversation covers the history of gold’s price performance, the upcoming Swiss Gold referendum, the role of physical bullion in a portfolio, and much more.

I found their discussion about gold’s victorious outcome in a currency war and ownership of physical gold particularly interesting. Especially when Peter noted:

It’s not that people want to do something illegal but people fear that the government may do something illegal in the future, may do something oppressive in the future. They might want to confiscate gold but they can’t confiscate it if they don’t know where you have it. If you have it in a brokerage account, they know where it is and they can take it. But if you have it buried somewhere or in a safe, they can’t get at it.

Good stuff, which you can read (full transcript provided) and watch in its entirety on the SchiffGold website here.

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

(Editor’s note: I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Jim Rogers: ‘World Is Starting To Realize It Must Move Away From The U.S. Dollar’

Well-known investor, financial commentator, and author Jim Rogers appeared on global news network RT (Russia Today) yesterday where he spoke with anchor Kevin Owen about the state of the U.S. dollar. Rogers warned:

The dollar is a seriously-flawed currency. And people need something else to use. And whether it’s the ruble or the renminbi or what- I don’t know- I suspect it will be the renminbi, but the world is starting to realize it must move away from the U.S. dollar.

Owen asked the former investing partner of George Soros if we are any closer to a time when the dollar won’t be used as a reserve currency. To which Rogers replied:

Not this year. Not next year. But certainly by the end of this decade you’re going to see many people use other things. Kevin, people have already started. 15 years ago, the U.S. dollar was 70 percent of people’s reserve currencies. Now it’s down to 62 percent. People are already moving away. Slowly, but they are moving.

The Singapore-based investor who predicted the commodities boom that began in 1999 also confided with viewers:

I bought rubles on Friday.


“Jim Rogers: By the end of this decade US dollar will lose world dominance”
YouTube Video

Despite the above warning, Rogers shared with Reuters back on October 23 that he still owned the U.S. dollar. He explained:

I have no confidence in the long-term strength of the U.S. dollar. I only own it because I expect all this turmoil to happen. And in times of turmoil, people flee to the safe-haven of the U.S. dollar. It’s not a safe-haven, but they think it’s a safe-haven, so people will own it. That’s why I own it.

Now what I expect to happen is, the dollar will go up stronger and stronger over the next year or two, at which point- some point- I’ll have to sell it. I have no idea what I’ll do with my money then because the world has got this terrible, terrible unsound foundation in all assets.


“Why Jim Rogers owns dollars printed by ‘crazy’ Fed bankers”
Reuters Video

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Tuesday, November 11th, 2014 Asia, Crash Prophets, Currencies, Europe, Investing No Comments

Jihadists Conducting Recon Of British Parliament?

Something tells me our friends in Western Europe might suffer a major terrorist attack before a strike against the United States. Sunday morning I was reading the “Travel” section of my Chicago Tribune when I spotted the following under “World watch”:

United Kingdom: Authorities warned of potential terrorist threats against the Houses of Parliament in London, prompting calls to close the Palace of Westminster to the public. The ISIS-related threat was announced after British intelligence learned of suspected jihadists visiting Parliament for tours in recent weeks. The Palace of Westminster, where the House of Lords and House of Commons meet, is Britain’s most iconic structure, with the attached tower and Big Ben clock being the nation’s most recognizable symbol. Military police are refreshing their training to prevent a terrorist attack, and tourists should follow local media for updates when planning to visit Parliament…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Kids. Big Ben. Parliament. Allahu Akbar!


“European Vacation- Roundabout”
YouTube Video

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

Source:

Burlison, Dani and Habegger, Larry. “World watch: Threats may leave London travelers outside Parliament.” Chicago Tribune. 29 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/travel/ct-trav-1102-world-watch-20141029-story.html). 4 Nov. 2014.

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Chicago Transit Authority Train Passengers Now Being Randomly-Screened For Explosives

Chicago Transit Authority train riders may spot something new at the stations in the coming weeks. From the ABC 7 (Chicago) website this morning:

CTA passengers are now subject to random screening for explosives at train stations across the city.

There is no known threat to the CTA, but Chicago police said the precautionary measure is another layer of security. The screenings went into effect Monday morning.

The Multi-Mode Threat Detector is capable of finding trace amounts of explosive compounds, officials said. A team of CPD transit officers will work at one CTA station a day with the machines.

A random number of people will be selected each time. For example, if that number were 10, every tenth person would be approached by an officer and the outside of his or her bag would be swabbed. That swab is then read by the Multi-Mode Threat Detector for the presence of any explosive residue…

“One CTA station a day with the machines.” “A random number of people will be selected each time.” Not exactly airtight security, but it’s a start when it comes to protecting passenger trains and their riders against potential terrorist attacks. And when I say “start,” I mean the bare minimum.

Which makes me wonder if it’s not all just for show- certain politicians and public safety types trying to give Chicagoland the impression they’re doing something to combat potential terrorism, when the reality may be that the measures taken might not be all that effective in stopping a determined bomber.

I hope I’m wrong. But checking around cyberspace, there’s no shortage of critics of the new security screenings. Bill Savage, a Northwestern University professor, wrote in an opinion piece on the Crain’s Chicago Business website last week:

Maybe this plan will deter any terrorist who happens to pick the one station a day being staked out. That terrorist will, of course, be too nearsighted to notice the cops. That terrorist will be randomly selected. That terrorist will be too tongue-tied to refuse the swabbing and then walk the half-mile to the next station that isn’t hosting our crack one-station-at-a-time anti-terror team.

Security Theater will keep us all safe and sound, and everyone will live happily ever after.

Pass the popcorn. This is going to be an entertaining show.

If Chicago is going to perform random screenings for explosives on CTA trains going forward, my wish is that they have a plan in place to develop the program to be truly effective in thwarting a terrorist attack- while ensuring minimal intrusiveness to riders. Otherwise, “Security Theater” might not be able to stop something like this:


Madrid Train Bombings
(Warning: Violent Images)
YouTube Video

God bless those people.

In the meantime, CTA train riders should know the random bomb screenings have now started to take place. It’s probably not a bad idea for commuters to factor in a couple of extra minutes for ride times in case they’re selected to be swabbed.

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

Sources:

“CTA Adds Random Screenings For Explosive.” ABC 7. 3 Nov. 2014. (http://abc7chicago.com/traffic/cta-adds-random-screening-for-explosives-/378414/). 3 Nov. 2014.

Savage, Bill. “It’s not CTA security- it’s street theater.” Crain’s Chicago Business. 27 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagobusiness.com/article/20141027/OPINION/141029821/its-not-cta-security-its-street-theater). 3 Nov. 2014.

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Islamic State: Kill Disbelieving Americans

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Elsewhere in the speech, the Vatican is threatened:

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

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

Source:

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

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Riot-Inspired Purchases During The Ferguson And 2011 England Unrest

It’s interesting- at least, for me- to see what sort of gear, supplies, and tools are being acquired while the protests continue in Ferguson, Missouri, for another night. Yesterday, Kerry Picket reported on Breitbart.com:

The use of tear gas by Missouri law enforcement has caused a run on gas masks in the St. Louis area. Local residents, reporters, and video production crews are making last minute calls to places like Uncle Sam’s military surplus only to find out that gas masks, gas mask filters, and bullet proof vests are all sold out

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Picket added later in the piece that ear plugs, “bullet proof chest plates” for vests, and tactical vests are in demand as well.

The civil unrest looks to be spurring sales of certain personal safety products on Amazon.com as well. Charlie Spiering reported on the Breitbart website this morning:

As protests continue in Ferguson, Missouri, gas mask sales are skyrocketing at Amazon.com. Sales of the online retailer’s most popular gas mask model have risen 434 percent in the past 24 hours…

Another popular gas mask sold on Amazon, the Israeli Civilian Gas Mask, has rocketed up the sales charts by 250 percent…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As I type this, that “most popular gas mask model”- the NBC 40mm NATO SGE 400/3 Anti-Riot Military Gas Mask Made In The USA- is running low (only 16 units left in stock), while sales are still up 63 percent over the past 24 hours.

As for the other popular gas mask- the Israeli Civilian Gas Mask with NBC NATO Filter and Drinking Hydration Tube- that’s also still up 58 percent.

Meanwhile, the Israeli Civilian Gas Mask w/ Nato Filter (no drinking hydration tube) has jumped ahead of the other two, racking up a 128 percent increase in sales over the past day last time I looked.

Compare all this to what the English were buying during their 2011 bout with civil strife. I blogged back on August 12, 2011:

Apparently, pots, pans, and rubber hoses just aren’t cutting it for some Brits on the front lines of the rioting and looting. Reuters’ Rosalba O’Brien reported yesterday:

Sales of baseball bats and batons have shot up more than 5,000 percent in the last 24 hours on Amazon’s British website, as London suffered its worst violent unrest in decades.

Seven of the top 10 ‘movers and shakers’ in Amazon’s sports and leisure list were baseball bats of various kinds, their sales since Monday rising between 1,756 percent and 5,149 percent.

A “military police telescopic baton”, described by the manufacturer as useful for “effective self-defence with extra reach”, was the 110th best selling item among Amazon’s sports and leisure customers, up from a ranking of 5,622 just 24 hours ago. Actual sale number of the items are not given.

A look at the Amazon UK site right now shows that the top “mover and shaker” in the “Sports & Leisure” category is a folding shovel by Gelert. This forged steel shovel has a serrated edge for sawing- or for seriously ruining the day of some threatening rioter/looter.

In the past twenty-four hours, the sales rank of this folding shovel has skyrocketed 283,300 percent from 2,834 to number one in the sports and leisure category.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

283,300 percent? While this Gelert folding shovel is still available on the Amazon UK site, I couldn’t find it on the U.S. counterpart. The closest folding shovel I saw on our Amazon looked to be the Wenzel Tri-Fold Shovel- although Amazon customers are raving about the similar-in-function US Military Original Issue E-Tool Entrenching Shovel.

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

Sources:

Picket, Kerry. “Run On Gas Masks In Ferguson.” Breitbart.com. 18 Aug.2014. (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/08/18/Run-On-Gas-Masks-In-Ferguson). 19 Aug. 2014.

Spiering, Charlie. “Popular Gas Mask Sales Up 434 Percent On Amazon.” Breitbart.com. 19 Aug. 2014. (http://www.breitbart.com/Big-Government/2014/08/19/Popular-Gas-Mask-Sales-Up-434-Percent-On-Amazon). 19 Aug. 2014.

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Peter Schiff Bullish On Foreign Stocks, Gold, And Silver

Euro Pacific Capital CEO/Chief Global Strategist Peter Schiff appeared on the FOX Business show Countdown to the Closing Bell last Wednesday. Host Liz Claman asked Schiff, who correctly-predicted the housing market crash and 2008 economic crisis, about where he was investing these days. He replied:

Well, my strategy has been the same for quite some time because I understand the problems that underlie the U.S. economy, how the Federal Reserve is exacerbating them in the name of trying to solve them, and so I want to invest abroad. We still favor equities, but I look at international equities. I look at value. I look at good dividends. And I want to own companies that are not dependent on the consumer…

A map was subsequently displayed that showed “Peter’s Global Area Picks”- Australia, Chile, China, Denmark, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Peru, Singapore, and Sweden.

Claman also brought up precious metals in the discussion. Particularly, silver. From their exchange:

CLAMAN: Let’s put up the miners, because you feel that the miners now have an opportunity to really rise. Silver below $20 an ounce these days. That seems to me like a good buy because it’s so cheap.
SCHIFF: Well, it did get as high as $50 a couple of years ago. But it started the rally from below $4. So, we’re in a big bull market. We’ve been pausing for the last couple of years. But I think it’s the pause that’s going to refresh. I think what drove the metals market lower in 2013 was the false belief in a U.S. recovery, and the idea the Fed was through with QE, and that we were on the verge of a tightening cycle. None of that is true. We are slipping back into recession. Janet Yellen is going to launch an even bigger round of QE than what Bernanke launched. And this is going to be very bullish for gold and silver. But it’s not going to be bullish for the U.S. economy.


“Safeguarding Your Portfolio By Investing Abroad”
YouTube Video

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; I am not responsible for any personal liability, loss, or risk incurred as a consequence of the use and application, either directly or indirectly, of any information presented herein.)

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Profitable Assets, Professions In Germany’s Hyperinflation Of The 1920s

Since I started being concerned back in 2004 about the prospect of a U.S. financial crash, I’ve been interested in reading about the everyday lives of the people who lived through economic collapses.

Why? Because I believe there are valuable lessons to be learned for what I think is coming down the road for us here in America.

I haven’t really come across any good Great Depression accounts yet (if you know of one- shoot me over a suggestion). But the other night, I happened to stumble upon a rather lengthy article on the website of Der Spiegel (Germany) that provided a great deal of insight of what went on in Germany during their devastating bout with hyperinflation in the 1920s. Alexander Jung even went so far as to identify the financial “winners” and “losers” during that period of time. Jung wrote back on August 14, 2009:

The only objects of real value were tangible assets: diamonds and coins, antiques, pianos and art. The works of contemporary artists like Lyonel Feininger, Paul Klee, Max Pechstein and Karl Schmidt-Rottluff were in especially high demand. And if you had foreign currency, you lived like a king

The stupid ones were those who had nest eggs: the thrifty, holders of government bonds, but primarily the country’s pensioners. In other words, those who received money without having to work for it, who lived on their pensions or the interest on their savings. Large sections of the middle classes saw themselves stripped of their assets, losing almost everything they had set aside for years. Banks, savings banks, and insurance companies suffered huge losses and were left with nothing but their paper money. As a result, they had to start the majority of their businesses from scratch in 1924.

By perverse contrast, the winners of the hyperinflation were those with massive debts; first and foremost the state, but also private individuals who had borrowed money to buy houses, construction land or farmland, and whose loans were slashed by the switch to the rentenmark.

Some industrialists made huge gains from the period of hyperinflation. Hugo Stinnes, whom Time magazine crowned “Germany’s new Kaiser,” built up an immense corporate empire comprising heavy industry, newspapers, ships and hotels — all based on a mountain of debt. As late as the summer of 1922, Stinnes was recommending that people continue capitalizing on “the weapon of inflation.” Indeed manufacturers and craftsmen in general profited from the crisis since they possessed plants and buildings — that is, tangible assets that outlived the currency switch.

Most farmers also did extremely well. “They had money to burn, and spent it willy-nilly,” writer Lion Feuchtwanger recalled. Some bought themselves entire stables of racehorses, others expensive cars. “Farmer Greindlberger drove from the grimy village street of Englschalking to Munich in an elegant limousine complete with a liveried chauffeur, while he himself was dressed in a brown velvet jacket and a green chamois-tufted hat,” Feuchtwanger wrote of the rural rich…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

That last bit about farmers buying expensive cars reminds me of what “crash prophet” Jim Rogers has been telling anyone who will listen:

The farmers are going to be driving Lamborghinis and Maseratis.

Anyway, the quote doesn’t do the piece justice. I recommend you read the entire article on the Der Spiegel site here.

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

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Increased Screening Of U.S.-Bound Airline Passengers Over Terrorism Fear

I understand U.S.-bound airline passengers from some airports in Europe and the Middle East will now be subject to tougher security screening. From U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson in a press release posted today on the DHS website:

DHS continually assesses the global threat environment and reevaluates the measures we take to promote aviation security. As part of this ongoing process, I have directed TSA to implement enhanced security measures in the coming days at certain overseas airports with direct flights to the United States. We will work to ensure these necessary steps pose as few disruptions to travelers as possible…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So what’s the reason for the additional screening at overseas airports? Mike Levine and Pierre Thomas reported on the ABC News website this morning:

Earlier this year, U.S. officials learned that associates of the al Qaeda affiliate in Syria – the Al Nusrah Front – and radicals from other groups were teaming up with elements of the Yemen-based group Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, which built such innovative devices as the “underwear bomb” that ultimately failed to detonate in a plane over Detroit Christmas Day 2009.

Bolstered by more recent intelligence, U.S. analysts believe the “subset” of extreme terrorists in Syria could be looking to down a U.S.- or European-bound plane, with help from one of the thousands of Americans and other foreign fighters carrying U.S. and European passports who have joined Al Nusrah Front and other groups in the region.

While intelligence obtained by the U.S. government has not indicated a specific target or a specific timeline, one source called the threat “different and more disturbing than past aviation plots.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Back on December 2, 2013, I blogged that American and European Union passport-holding jihadists fighting in Syria were being scrutinized by the federal government as potential terrorists.

You can read that entire press release on the DHS website here.

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

Source:

Levine, Mike and Thomas, Pierre. “Airport Security Directives Likely Amid Syria Bomb Threat.” ABC News. 2 July 2014. (http://abcnews.go.com/International/airport-security-directives-stem-syria-bomb-threat/story?id=24391883). 2 July 2014.

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Eric Holder: Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee Created To Combat ‘Homegrown’ Terrorists

Occasionally when I hear/see the word “Committee” used in reference to an ad hoc, high-level governmental entity, my thoughts drift to another time and place I’ve read about in the history books.

1793 France. And the Comité De Salut Public (Committee of Public Safety)

From the Encyclopaedia Brtiannica website:

The Committee of Public Safety was set up on April 6, 1793, during one of the crises of the Revolution, when France was beset by foreign and civil war. The new committee was to provide for the defense of the nation against its enemies, foreign and domestic…

I heard this morning that a mothballed committee at the federal level has just been resurrected. Timothy Phelps reported on the Los Angeles Times website yesterday morning:

Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder, Jr. on Monday announced the creation of a task force within the Justice Department to combat an “escalating danger” from “homegrown” terrorists within the United States.

The task force will chiefly comprise leaders from the FBI, the Justice Department’s National Security Division and U.S. Attorneys. Called the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee, it is a recreation of a task force formed by former Atty. Gen. Janet Reno after the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing. The task force fell into disuse after 9/11.

Though the original task force, which was little known, focused mainly on right-wing zealots, Holder’s version is aimed at U.S. citizens or visitors radicalized via the Internet

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While I don’t dispute the threat posed by “homegrown” terrorists to public safety and the need for the federal government to keep on top of this matter, I also fear the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee could eventually go the way of the Committee of Public Safety, which under Maximilien François Marie Isidore Robespierre spearheaded the ensuing Reign of Terror in France.

Already there’s chatter across the Internet of DTEC being used against the “enemies” of the Obama administration.

Mikael Thalen wrote on Infowars.com earlier today:

In reality, Holder’s task force will undoubtedly focus on the Obama administration’s political enemies, mainly returning military veterans, conservatives and those who identify with the Tea Party. Such groups have been increasingly linked to terrorism by multiple federal agencies…

Undoubtedly? Let’s hope the targeting of political “enemies” isn’t the real intention behind resurrecting and giving life to DTEC.

All I know is this. If that Nevada rancher- Cliven Bundy- and others like him get designated “homegrown terrorists” in the coming days/weeks/months, I’ll get suspicious as to the real motives of the Domestic Terrorism Executive Committee.

In the meantime, I’ll give the Committee the benefit of the doubt regarding their stated mission.

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

Sources:

Phelps, Timothy M. “Holder announces task force on ‘homegrown’ terrorists.” Los Angeles Times. 2 Jun. 2014. (http://www.latimes.com/la-na-nn-holder-terrorism-task-force-20140601-story.html). 3 Jun. 2014.

Thalen, Mikael. “ Holder to Create ‘Homegrown’ Terrorism Task Force.” Infowars. 3 Jun. 2014. (http://www.infowars.com/holder-to-create-homegrown-terrorism-task-force/). 3 Jun. 2014.

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Sino-Russian Natural Gas Deal Blow To U.S. Dollar Supremacy?

“The Obama administration is playing down an increasingly warm relationship between its main global rivals, China and Russia, that it may have inadvertently encouraged.

U.S. officials maintain there is nothing to fear from the growing alliance between Moscow and Beijing, even as each throws its weight around in neighboring regions like Ukraine and the South China Sea and at international forums like the United Nations, where on Thursday they double-vetoed the latest in a series of Security Council resolutions on Syria.

Yet when coupled with growing cooperation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in other areas- notably, a new $400 billion natural gas deal and apparent agreement on the crisis in Ukraine- many believe Russia and China may now or may soon represent a powerful new alliance challenging not only the United States, but also the Western democratic tradition that the U.S. has championed globally…”

-Associated Press, May 23, 2014

You may have heard about that $400 billion natural gas deal that was just struck between China and Russia. Or maybe you didn’t, as I’ve noticed the mainstream media hasn’t really been talking about it too much. Most of the outlets that did neglected to talk about the potential ramifications for the U.S. dollar.

There were exceptions. From the BBC News website on May 22:

Some papers are also analysing the impact of the deal on the world currency market.

A commentary in the Beijing Youth Daily says the deal will probably encourage more countries to not trade in US dollars if China and Russia decide to switch to clearing payments in Russian roubles and the yuan.

“The world economy and finance will then embark on a process to get rid of the US dollar, and the dominance of the dollar will gradually lose its support. The US will then face more challenges in its ability to control global economics and politics,” it says…

From Liam Halligan on The Telegraph (UK) website yesterday:

The real danger, in my view, is rather more abstract — but deadly important nevertheless. If Russia’s “pivot to Asia” results in Moscow and Beijing trading oil between them in a currency other than the dollar, that will represent a major change in how the global economy operates and a marked loss of power for the US and its allies.

With the dollar as the world’s petrocurrency, it also remains the reserve currency of choice for central banks globally. As such, the US is currently able to borrow with “exorbitant privilege”, as it has for decades, simply printing money to pay off foreign creditors.

With China now the world’s biggest oil importer and the US increasingly stressing domestic production, the days of dollar-priced energy, and therefore dollar-dominance, look numbered. Beijing has recently struck numerous agreements with major trading partners such as Brazil that bypass the dollar. Moscow and Beijing have also set up rouble-yuan swap facilities that push the greenback out of the picture.

If Russia and China now decide to drop dollar energy pricing totally, America’s reserve currency status could unravel fast, seriously undermining the US Treasury market and causing a world of pain for the West. This won’t happen tomorrow or next year. It’s unlikely even by 2020. But by announcing this deal, Russia and China turned the screw half a twist more…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Then there’s this from Max Keiser, an American filmmaker and host of the Keiser Report, a financial show on RT. From The Washington Times website earlier today:

He said the $400 billion, 30-year deal will further the strategic goals of Moscow and Beijing to diminish the status of the U.S. dollar by conducting world trade in critical commodities such as oil and gas using other currencies.

Russia is the world’s biggest producer of commodities such as crude oil, gold and titanium. China is the world’s biggest consumer of these commodities.

Both countries have chafed for years at having to conduct purchases and sales in dollars, as is customary worldwide. The gas deal announced in Beijing on Wednesday would be the first major commodities contract to be settled in Russian rubles and Chinese yuan rather than dollars.

“This means the U.S. dollar’s days as the world reserve currency are numbered,” said Mr. Keiser, noting that Russia and China have been investing heavily in gold.

Many analysts question whether Moscow and Beijing can succeed in displacing the dollar as the world’s reserve currency. If that happens, however, it likely would usher in a period of global financial instability and force Americans to pay much more for the massive amounts of imported energy, Mr. Keiser said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

According to the Economist Intelligence Unit- the research and analysis division of The Economist Group, the sister company to The Economist newspaper- on May 22, it has been reported payments for the gas will be made in Chinese yuan rather than U.S. dollars.

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

Sources:

“China media: Russia gas deal.” BBC News. 22 May 2014. (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-china-27514395). 25 May 2014.

Halligan, Liam. “Russia-China gas deal could ignite a shift in global trading.” The Telegraph. 24 May. 2014. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/comment/liamhalligan/10854595/Russia-China-gas-deal-could-ignite-a-shift-in-global-trading.html). 25 May 2014.

Hill, Patrice. “Russia’s Putin gains strategic victory with Chinese natural gas deal.” The Washington Times. 25 May 2014. (http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/may/25/russias-putin-gains-strategic-victory-with-chinese/). 25 My 2014.

“The Sino-Russian gas deal.” Economist Intelligence Unit. 22 May 2014. (http://www.eiu.com/industry/article/431836627/the-sino-russian-gas-deal/2014-05-22) 25 May 2014.

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Al-Qaeda Poised To Strike U.S.?

“Thanks to the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform, the war in Iraq is over. The war in Afghanistan is winding down. Al-Qaeda has been decimated…”

-U.S. President Barack Obama, while campaigning in Green Bay, Wisconsin, on November 1, 2012

Not only is Al-Qaeda alive and well according to some former Pentagon officials and counter-terrorism analysts who just appeared before Congress, but there’s even chatter of the Muslim extremists possibly striking the “homeland” not too far off in the distance. Barbara Starr, CNN’s Pentagon Correspondent, reported on the TV news station’s website Wednesday:

A series of al Qaeda-based threats to attack American and Western targets in Europe, as well as threats to launch attacks inside the United States, has caused significant concern inside the U.S. intelligence community, CNN has learned…

U.S. officials as well as analysts have long said they believe al Qaeda is focused on attacking outside the United States because of the difficulty in penetrating U.S. homeland security. But these latest threat streams suggest domestic U.S. targets also continue to be looked at by al Qaeda.

Worry No. 1: Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula

One of the biggest concerns right now remains efforts by Yemen-based al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula to attack inside Yemen, in Europe and inside the United States

While it’s believed AQAP is mainly focused on targeting inside of Yemen, officials say an attempt to attack inside the United States or to recruit others to carry out such an attack cannot be ruled out.

Worry No. 2: Core group in Pakistan

Separately, still another official confirms to CNN that the core al Qaeda group in Pakistan is also seeking to place operatives in places to attack U.S. targets overseas and domestically

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

On the topic of “core” Al-Qaeda, Rob Crilly reported on the website of The Telegraph (UK) Wednesday:

Al-Qaeda is not a spent force in Afghanistan and is using a shadow army to hide its true strength, according to testimony presented by former Pentagon officials and counter-terrorism analysts to a US Congressional committee.

Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defence of Democracies, said Osama bin Laden’s heirs had successfully hidden their strength as they spread their influence throughout the Middle East.

As a result, Afghanistan risks becoming a terrorist haven once again when Nato-led combat troops leave the country this year.

His evidence contradicts repeated claims that the movement had been “decimated” – particularly in Afghanistan – and Barack Obama’s public assessment earlier this year that its current leaders were junior varsity basketball players dressed up as superstars of the NBA after replacing senior commanders killed in drone strikes or other actions.

“Part of the reason these assessments have been flawed is that al-Qaeda has a ‘deep bench’ to draw from, both from within its own organisation and allied groups,” said Mr Joscelyn, pointing out the secrecy of the movement’s structure and personnel.

“Al-Qaeda is constantly in the process of recruiting new talent as well.”

Other witnesses gave similar evidence to the House of Representatives subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation and Trade on Tuesday.

David Sedney, former deputy assistant defence secretary, said focusing on the core al-Qaeda leadership missed the bigger strategic picture, which showed the group as decentralised.

“My view is that al-Qaeda, despite our tactical counter-terrorism successes, continues to be a major strategic threat to the United States and its allies,” he said. “Tomorrow, al-Qaeda will be an even greater threat because of its ongoing evolutions.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

One of these days, I’m convinced Al-Qaeda, an affiliate, or sympathizer(s) is going to launch another attack inside the United States.

It would be a real shame if the U.S. counter-terrorism apparatus underestimates the threat posed by present-day Al-Qaeda.

To think of this jihadist movement as “decimated” may be committing a huge strategic blunder that could come back to haunt America down the road.

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

Sources:

Starr, Barbara. “Stream of al Qaeda threats has U.S. intelligence concerned.” CNN.com. 21 May 2014. (http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/20/us/al-qaeda-threats-intelligence/). 23 May 2014.

Crilly, Rob. “Al-Qaeda ‘not defeated’ in Afghanistan.” The Telegraph. 21 May 2014. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/al-qaeda/10846151/Al-Qaeda-not-defeated-in-Afghanistan.html). 23 May 2014.

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor
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