Government

The Economist Magazine Investigates Preppers

“Some Americans find survivalists sinister. After Adam Lanza shot 26 people in a school in Newtown, Connecticut in 2012, the media made much of the fact that his mother was a gun-stockpiling prepper. Yet there is no evidence that preppers in general are more dangerous than their compatriots. On the contrary, when natural disasters strike, it is useful to have neighbours who know how to stormproof a house and have bandages to spare.”

-The Economist website, December 17, 2014

Late this morning, I stumbled on an article on The Economist website about preppers. I just finished reading “Preparing for the apocalypse: I will survive,” and thought I’d blog about it a little. The author (couldn’t find a name attached with the piece for some reason) did a pretty good job writing about preppers/survivalists, not falling victim to the usual stereotypes/generalizing echoed in a comment on the article. From “walrusandthecarpenter”:

Preppers are people who are unhappy with their life and can’t wait for the end of the world to come and the tables to turn. They are excited for it to happen.

Me? I like my smartphone. I have a first aid kit though.

“I like my smartphone.” What a goof.

Like I was saying, the author did a pretty good job (points deducted for trying to link those Westboro folks to preppers) with the material. I found what James Wesley, Rawles of SurvivalBlog.com-fame had to say particularly interesting. From the article:

So how might TEOTWAWKI come about? The biggest threat, says Mr Rawles, is a huge solar flare. The last big one, in 1859, known as the “Carrington Event”, disabled telegraph lines. A similar disaster today would “fry the circuitry” of electronic devices and take out the power grid “from end to end”. It would take years to reactivate. Perhaps 60% of the American population could die, predicts Mr Rawles…

I’ve seen some put that die-off figure at 90 percent.

There was also this about present-day preppers:

Survivalists vary politically—just as they are dispersed geographically—and their views colour their apocalyptic imaginings. Many are conservatives, worried about crime, terrorism and hyperinflation and sure that the state cannot be relied upon to protect ordinary citizens. But a fair number are environmentalists, convinced that the planet can only take so much abuse before it becomes uninhabitable. The movement is broad enough to encompass anyone who suspects that disaster is looming, for any reason. It used to be mostly “Bible-believing Christian conservatives”, says Mr Rawles, “But now we have a lot of alfalfa-munching Birkenstock-wearing leftists.” He adds: “The more the better.”

One more reason for me not to bash specific political ideologies/parties- except when they really ask for it, of course.

(Editor’s note: Any former readers of Boom2Bust.com out there remember when I used to savage “Dubya” and Hank Paulson? Thinking of that reminds me this giant economic mess belongs to both sides of the political aisle.)

Jason Charles, a New York firefighter of Doomsday Preppers-fame (blogged about here), is also featured in the piece.

You can read the well-written article in its entirety on The Economist website here.

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

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Chicago, New York City Cops Talk ‘De-Policing,’ ‘Blue Flu’

“In Oklahoma City, after the terrible bombing, Americans were wearing a T-shirt- I’ve got a copy of it here that was given to me- and I’d never seen this before. But this T-shirt shows all the different things that federal law enforcement officials do and mentions all the different agencies and has the following quote on it:

A society that makes war against its police had better learn to make friends with criminals.

That’s a fact.”

-Former U.S. President Bill Clinton, in a July 20, 1995, meeting with federal law enforcement

I’ve been following the protests, riots, and other activity related to the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. And considering the anti-police sentiment that’s arisen and being stoked by certain politicians, the mainstream media, anarchists, and other agenda-driven parties, I was wondering how long it would take before someone in law enforcement uttered the following. From the popular Chicago police blog Second City Cop early Sunday morning:

We’re about to see a nationwide “de-policing” shortly.

De-policing. A situation where law enforcement activities are unofficially curtailed.

Comments on that Sunday post lent support to such action:

“De-Policing”, hey, I’m all for it! Give the people/folks what they want, maybe then they will be happy!

Essentially de-policing is the solution to all of this nonsense but it must be a concerted effort by all the police and not just one municipality. That will wake bitch slap the media and politicians into realizing what the consequences are of falsely accusing the police of these stupid excessive force accusations. NYPD did it right by telling the jack-off mayor he is persona non grata. For starters that should be done to mayor tiny dancer, libtard Dick Durbin, jack-off soon to be out of a job Holder and a host of others.

Why are we waiting for de-policing to happen? Start right now, answer all calls and do paper. No more rushing to a man with a gun, burglary in progress, person shot. Take your time and get there safely, take down all information. When the detectives get there they can suspend the case until the offender turns himself in and proceed with paper work. Not charged unless they confess, don’t bother calling the useless Felony Review or asa Office. Sorry, take it slowly, no more racing around for me on jobs. Gotta go, I feel the flu coming on. Take care of those that mean the most to you!

There was also talk of law enforcement officers coming down with the “blue flu” on that Second City Cop post. In New York City, the flu is also known as a “sick out”- which is what a number of cops out in the “Big Apple” are calling for as the anti-police protests carry on. From Thee RANT Forums (“New York City Cops speaking their minds”) website, under “Sick out New Years Eve”:

It’s been said many times now it has to be done! Bratton sold you all out and the Mayor hates your guts. How many Captains and above on the job 700? let them work the detail on New Years. If everyone goes sick this city will be at a fughing standstill! It needs to be done folks to give everyone a much needed reality check. I’m sure the job has a contingency plan in place where everyone who goes sick will have to report to the Police Academy. How many Surgeons do we have? What could they do? It needs to be done! It will cost 2 days pay perhaps but would be well worth it.

Again, commenters lent support to such activity:

The city and the public need a reality check. Can u imagine what would happen in Manhattan alone. A lot of robbed beat up white-boys.

“De-policing,” “Blue flu,” “Sick out.” Personally, I don’t see any of this happening on a large scale just yet. The present animosity being directed at the police isn’t coming from the majority of citizens (despite what the MSM would like you to think), and I believe most LEOs realize this.

However, as America’s finances continue to deteriorate going forward, I can see such work slowdowns and stoppages occurring with law enforcement. Disputes over wages, pensions, working conditions are likely flashpoints.

If the coming financial crash ever gets as ugly as what’s happened in the once-prospering South American country of Argentina, then perhaps we might see incidents like what took place there last year around this time. From the BBC website on December 10, 2013:

At least five people have been killed as looting spreads through Argentina.

Hundreds have been injured as people took advantage of a police strike to rob shops and homes.

Police have refused to go on patrol until their demands for a salary rise are met.

Their move follows a police walkout in Cordoba province last week which also led to lootings, and which was settled after the governor almost doubled officers’ pay…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Looting rife in Argentine city of Cordoba as police take strike action”
YouTube Video

On the third-ever day of this blog (November 24, 2010), I shared the following with readers (not sure I had any at that time though). I think it bears repeating here. I wrote:

This last thought about the individual being ultimately responsible for their own personal protection is hammered home by John S. Farnam, a long-time defensive firearms instructor and deputy sheriff (training officer) in the Park County, Colorado, Sheriff’s Office. In The Farnam Method of Defensive Shotgun and Rifle Shooting, the founder and president of Defense Training International wrote:

It is said by enlightened social scientists, “If it rained twenty-dollar bills every Monday morning, there would still be people begging for their dinner ever Monday evening!” The same is true with criminals. No matter how “civilized” or indulgent our society becomes, there will always be criminals. And, the more foolishly dependent we all become upon governmental institutions as the only means of preserving civil order, the more dubious our continued existence becomes, and the more quickly order will disintegrate when our societal underpinnings are crippled or even imperiled. When citizens become additively dependent on an eleemosynary and paternal government to do for them what they could be, and, of right, ought to be, doing for themselves, that civilization’s days are surely numbered. Never forget, regardless of how politically incorrect it may sound to the uninformed, your personal security is always your responsibility, and yours alone!

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

Sources:

SCC. “NYPD Takes A Stand.” Second City Cop. 14 Dec. 2014. (http://secondcitycop.blogspot.com/2014/12/nypd-takes-stand.html). 15 Dec. 2014.

“Deadly Argentina looting spreads as police go on strike.” BBC. 10 Dec. 2013. (http://survivalandprosperity.com/2010/11/24/putting-the-self-back-into-defense/). 16 Dec. 2014.

Farnam, John S. The Farnam Method of Defensive Shotgun and Rifle Shooting. Boulder: DTI Publications, 1997.

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Quote For The Week

“Let me say this to anyone who is listening at Citi: I agree with you. Dodd-Frank isn’t perfect. It should have broken you into pieces.”

-U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), in a speech on the Senate floor Friday on banks’ influence on the political process and concerning language in the spending bill (now before the Senate) she claims “would let derivatives traders on Wall Street gamble with taxpayer money and get bailed out by the government when their risky bets threaten to blow up our financial system.”

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

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Peter Schiff: Layoffs, Falling GDP, And More QE Coming

I just got done reading a December 9 commentary piece by Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff. Schiff, who correctly-called the U.S. housing bust and financial crisis last decade, pointed out that while the latest rosy jobs and GDP reports were gladly disseminated by the mainstream media, not-so-good news wasn’t shared. He observed:

In the weeks leading up to, and the days after, the recent GDP and jobs reports, a torrent of data releases came in that were almost universally awful. However, in our current era of journalistic lethargy, these reports have received almost no attention at all…

“Lethargy?” Some might argue “censorship” is a better fit, to support a particular agenda.

Anyway, Schiff went on to give a brief overview of the dismal economic data that wasn’t talked about by the MSM.

Upon completing this task, the “crash prophet” issued the following warning:

There is much in both the GDP and the Jobs Report that is dependent on forward-looking expectations. I believe that both reports are showing improvement because businesses are building inventory and hiring staff in anticipation of an economy that they believe will continue to improve. It’s like the Field of Dreams recovery, prepare for it and it will come. But I think businesses are following the false narrative, and ignoring, or rationalizing, the bad data as thoroughly as does the media. When they realize they were fooled by the hype, jobs will be lost, and GDP will fall.

Furthermore, the GDP and jobs data would certainly be far weaker if the Federal Reserve were not providing so much monetary support. Sure, they have discontinued the vast majority of the QE, but interest rates are still at zero percent. What would GDP or job growth look like if consumers, businesses, and the federal government were forced to pay anything that approaches the historically normal interest rates on our much greater than normal level of debt? My guess is that it will be awhile before we find out, as I believe that as the bloom comes off the recovery rose, the Fed will launch another round of QE before it gets around to raising interest rates.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Layoffs, falling GDP, and more QE. Quite a different tune than what the “talking heads” on the financial news networks are singing these days.

You can read Schiff’s entire commentary on the Euro Pacific Capital 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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Illinois Named Worst-Run State In America In 2014

“‘We don’t have the time to mess around. We are in deep, deep trouble financially,’ [Illinois Governor-elect Bruce] Rauner told a meeting of the Illinois Farm Bureau at a downtown Chicago hotel. ‘The next 24 months are going to be rough. And I apologize. I ain’t going to be Mr. Popularity for a little while. That’s OK. Four years from now I think, though, everybody will appreciate what we did.’”

-Chicago Tribune website, December 8, 2014

Talk about lists you don’t want to be on. In 2012 and 2013, Illinois was the 3rd worst-run state in the annual best- and worst-run states in America survey conducted by New York City-based financial news and opinion organization 24/7 Wall St.

So how did the “Land of Lincoln” fare in 2014? From the 24/7 Wall St. website on December 3:

How well run is your state? Assessing a state’s management quality is hardly easy. The current economic climate and standard of living in any given state are not only the results of policy choices and developments that occurred in the last few years, but can also be affected by decisions made decades ago, and by forces outside a state’s control.

Each year, 24/7 Wall St. attempts to answer this question by surveying various aspects of each state. To determine how well states are managed, we examine key financial ratios, as well as social and economic outcomes. This year, North Dakota is the best-run state in the country for the third consecutive year, while Illinois replaced California as the worst-run state

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Ouch. Worst part is, the people who brought us this mess are the same ones still in charge, more or less. It will be interesting to see how much of a difference Governor-elect Rauner- who ran on the Republican ticket- can make in the Democrat-controlled state.

24/7 Wall St. went into more detail about my home state’s latest “honor.” From the piece:

Illinois is the worst-run state in the nation. Like many other low-ranked states, more people left Illinois than moved there. Illinois lost more than 137,000 residents due to migration between the middle of 2010 and July 2013. A poor housing market may partly explain the exodus. Median home values fell 16.2% between 2009 and 2013, the second largest drop nationwide. Illinois has extremely poor finances by many measures. Just 39.3% of Illinois’ pension liabilities were funded as of 2013, worse than any other state. Further, the state’s reserves are estimated at just 0.5% of its general fund expenditure, the second lowest reserves rate nationwide. Both Moody’s and S&P gave Illinois the worst credit ratings of any state, at A3 and A- respectively. According to Moody’s, the state’s rating reflects its low fund balances and high pension obligations, as well as its “chronic use of payment deferrals to manage operating fund cash.”

As for our neighbors, Indiana is ranked 28th and Wisconsin comes in at 26th in 2014- down from 19th and 21st- respectively.

That’s quite a hit (9 places) the Hoosiers took from last year. Wonder what’s behind the drop?

Curious as to where 24/7 Wall St. ranked your state in 2014? Head on over to their website here.

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

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Jim Rogers: Forget Finance, MBA Degrees, Become Farmers

Well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers still thinks agriculture is where the real money will be made in the future. From the Dong-A Ilbo (South Korea) website Saturday:

Legendary investor Jim Rogers on Thursday advised Master of Business Administration (MBA) students at Seoul National University to quit the MBA program and study agriculture. He argued that by the time the students would retire, agriculture would become the most promising industry. Rogers advised the students to have a switch of ideas and become farmers at a time when everyone else is neglecting agriculture and rush to cities. When the investment guru said he hoped to live as a farmer in China rather than a financier in America in his next life, it sounded like a prediction that there are promising chances to make money from agriculture from an investor`s viewpoint, rather than an expression of his personal dream of life on the farm…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Switch… and become farmers.” A number of SNU students and their parents probably weren’t too thrilled to hear that.

Regular followers of Rogers, who predicted the commodities rally that began in 1999 and was worth $300 million by 2007, know that he’s been bullish on agriculture and farming for years now. The former investor partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund told CNBC’s Larry Kudlow back on February 13 of last year:

Throughout history we’ve had long periods when the financial types were in charge. Then we had periods when the people who produce real goods- farmers, miners, lumberjacks, etcetera were in charge. Followed by finance again. Well, finance has had its day. Larry, there are hundreds of thousands of MBAs, massive competition, huge leverage in the financial system, and governments don’t like us anymore. They’re coming down with regulations, controls, special taxes- because they’re trying to blame everything on the bankers and the financial types. All those kids that got MBAs? They made a terrible mistake. They should have got agricultural degrees…

Farming is going to be a fantastic business. Farming has been a disaster for 30 years, Larry. It is now going to be a fantastic place to be- the people who produce real things. Forget finance.


“Jim Rogers: ‘Forget Finance!'”
CNBC 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.)

Source:

“Investment guru advises MBA students to study agriculture” Dong-A Ilbo. 6 Dec. 2014. (http://english.donga.com/srv/service.php3?biid=2014120636498). 8 Dec. 2014.

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Chicago Selected To Join 100 Resilient Cities Network

Nice to see Chicago is finally not on some list you really don’t want to be on.

In all seriousness, the following sounds promising. From the Mayor’s Press Office last Wednesday:

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the City of Chicago was selected by the Rockefeller Foundation as one of 35 global cities to join the 100 Resilient Cities Network. The Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities Network (100RC) includes a leading community of pioneers, innovators, and highly esteemed cities ready to build urban resilience across the globe by improving their own capacities to prepare for, withstand, and bounce back rapidly from shocks and stresses. Chicago was selected for its emergency preparedness, continuing 21st century infrastructure improvements, economic diversity, and urgency to identify, prepare for and combat threats that are most likely to challenge its resiliency. As a part of the award, the City will be granted funding for no less than two years to hire its first Chief Resilience Officer (CRO), as well as expanded resources to strategize and execute long-term goals with a holistic focus on resilience at the neighborhood level…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

If the City of Chicago gets a CRO who’s actually qualified for the position (not picked because of clout/ties to “The Machine”), and doesn’t blow the wad pursuing foolish gun “control” initiatives, they might do okay with this project.

One more thing. What’s got the Rockefeller Foundation so spooked they’re bankrolling this 100 Resilient Cities Network? I’m guessing they’ve come to realize- like I did some years ago- life’s not going to be all about rainbows and unicorns anytime soon.

You can read that entire press release on the City of Chicago website here.

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

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Potential Blowback From Chicago’s Minimum Wage Hike

In case you haven’t heard, the City of Chicago just approved a minimum wage hike for all workers in the city. From the Mayor’s Press Office on December 2:

Mayor Emanuel, City Council Approve Ordinance to Increase Minimum Wage in Chicago to $13 by 2019

City Council today passed an ordinance that will raise the minimum wage for all Chicago workers to $13 per hour by 2019. This measure, sponsored by Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman Will Burns, Alderman Pat O’Connor and 31 other aldermen, will increase the earnings for approximately 410,000 Chicago workers, inject $860 million into the local economy, and lift 70,000 workers out of poverty…

On December 1, Mayor Emanuel and a group of Aldermen introduced a substitute ordinance based off of Senator Kimberly Lightford’s bill that gets the City of Chicago to a $10 minimum wage in roughly seven months, an $11 minimum wage by 2017, and to a final minimum wage of $13 by 2019, plus inflation increases after 2019.

Personally, I interpret the hike as merely an election-year ploy to help Rahm Emanuel and the siting aldermen in the upcoming February 24, 2015, Municipal General Election in Chicago. Consider the following from Joseph Erbentraut on the Huffington Post website Tuesday:

The fast-tracked plan, one of three wage-increase proposals considered by city officials this week, is backed by Mayor Rahm Emanuel in what some critics say is a political move designed to win favor with left-leaning Chicago voters ahead of the February 2015 mayoral election

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While it’s nice to think a number of Chicago workers will be getting raises, the potential blowback could be significant. And Chicago residents may be on the receiving end. Back on June 22, 2014, I was reading the latest issue of The Sovereign Society’s weekly electronic publication the Sovereign Digest. Jeff Opdyke and Erika Nolan commented on the nationwide push for minimum wage hikes. They noted:

All over the country, unwise politicians are pushing a misguided “living wage” agenda that’s driving minimum wages higher. Seattle, for instance, just recently approved a $15-per-hour minimum, which is already biting the city in the butt in two ways. First, as I and anyone with two brain cells to rub together rightly pointed out, companies are finding that low-level managers now want pay raises, too, to rightly keep their pay commensurately above the people they’re managing. Doh! And other companies are imposing a “living wage tax” on consumers to cover the rising labor costs. As both of those trends spread — and they will — a form of inflation creeps into the system more broadly.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As the above relates to the “Windy City”- Chicagoans should be prepared to pay higher prices for certain items/services.

There’s one more way Chicago residents may be impacted directly and adversely by the minimum wage hike. Sparing readers the simple economics involved with Tuesday’s action down at City Hall, a number of Chicago business owners- realizing now or later the disadvantage they’re at compared to competitors outside city limits- will be shuttering their stores shortly or down the road- either by choice or not- as a result of this hike.

Shuttered businesses= lost revenue via fees/taxes for the City

Something else to chew on. The country is just about due for an economic recession (against which the government and Fed have mostly run out of “bullets” due to the economic crisis late last decade). Forcing raises on a number of Chicago businesses still smarting from the so-called “Great Recession” could be a death sentence for them.

As for those workers in the city who will supposedly benefit from the minimum wage hike? Regrettably, pink slips could be a real possibility for a number of them.

In summary, there’s a good chance the City of Chicago, Chicago residents, and minimum wage workers in the city are ultimately going to get stung by Tuesday’s political theater. And the pain could be coming sooner than later. Just don’t expect City Hall and their friends in the mainstream media to publicize the debacle if/when it goes down.

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

Source:

Erbentraut, Joseph. “Chicago City Council Approves Plan For $13 Minimum Wage Despite Opposition.” Huffington Post. 2 Dec. 2014. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/12/02/chicago-minimum-wage_n_6255436.html). 3 Dec. 2014.

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Islamic State May Now Have A Dirty Bomb, But What About A Nuke?

“Militants in Iraq have taken hold of nuclear materials at university science facilities near the northern city of Mosul, the Iraqi government has said in a letter to the United Nations.

But two U.S. officials told CNN on Wednesday that the small amounts of uranium aren’t enriched or weapons-grade, prompting only minimal concern…”

-CNN website, July 10, 2014

I remember reading about the Islamic State getting their hands on that nuclear material near Mosul this summer. And I also remember the American response to it happening- which was basically “who cares?”

Now, I distinctly recall what I was thinking when I heard the news:

The caliphate is going to build themselves some dirty bombs.

From the United States Nuclear Regulatory Commission website:

A “dirty bomb” is one type of a radiological dispersal device (RDD) that combines conventional explosives, such as dynamite, with radioactive material. The terms dirty bomb and RDD are often used interchangeably in the media. Most RDDs would not release enough radiation to kill people or cause severe illness – the conventional explosive itself would be more harmful to individuals than the radioactive material. However, depending on the situation, an RDD explosion could create fear and panic, contaminate property, and require potentially costly cleanup… A dirty bomb is not a “Weapon of Mass Destruction” but a “Weapon of Mass Disruption,” where contamination and anxiety are the terrorists’ major objectives

A “weapon of mass disruption.” Cute.

On Saturday, the Daily Mirror- a British tabloid- ran the following:

Islamic State fanatics have built a dirty bomb, it has been claimed.

The fighters are said to have made a device using radioactive uranium stolen from Iraq’s Mosul University after seizing control of the city last June.

And this week they were boasting of the damage it would cause if blown up in London, although sources insist security measures would make it almost impossible to transport here…

If the bomb does exist, militants are far more likely to use it in Syria or Iraq, rather than trying to smuggle it into a Western country.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“Although sources insist security measures would make it almost impossible to transport here.”

“Militants are far more likely to use it in Syria or Iraq, rather than trying to smuggle it into a Western country.”

Not sure I agree with those statements. First off, you don’t need to “transport” the components required to construct a dirty bomb. There’s a good chance the bad guys would be able to source that locally in the U.K.

Second, going back to that NRC statement about dirty bombs being “weapons of mass disruption” rather than “destruction”- it’s my understanding that Iraq and Syria are way past being “disrupted.” Why would the Muslim extremists waste such fear-inducing devices there? New York City makes more sense as a potential dirty bomb target. Think Wall Street during the business week or Times Square on New Year’s Eve. That’s what I’d be trying to prevent if I were still in government and in the counter-terrorism field.

So the caliphate may have a dirty bomb. Not shock there if this turned out to be true considering the relative ease of constructing one. More of a concern should be the Islamic State getting their hands on a nuclear weapon. Why’s that? Because these guys have proven themselves to be hard-chargers and probably wouldn’t hesitate to detonate the damn thing among their enemies. Joe Cirincione, an expert on nuclear proliferation, penned on the Huffington Post website on November 28:

It is impossible now for ISIS to build a nuclear bomb from scratch. Doing so would require large, industrial facilities to enrich uranium, billions of dollars and gigawatts of energy. But if they could get the highly-enriched uranium — about 100 pounds would do, about the size of a soccer ball — it is possible that they could assemble the equipment and small technical team to build the bomb.

Jeffrey Lewis described in the superb documentary, Countdown to Zero, how few people are actually required to do this and how little it would cost. But it does require a sophisticated operation. ISIS has the capabilities required.

We have never encountered a terrorist group like ISIS. Their demonstrated brutality and willingness to kill large numbers of innocents is shocking, but is now the kind of terrorism that we have become familiar with over the past 20 years. ISIS adds three capabilities that catapult the threat beyond anything seen before: control of large, urban territories, huge amounts of cash (perhaps as much as $2 billion), and a global network of recruits.

With these assets they could illicitly acquire the nuclear material for a bomb from vulnerable storage sites in Russia or Pakistan, and possibly nuclear expertise as well

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Remember that phrase “if you build it, they will come” from the 1989 film Field of Dreams?

It’s seems like “if they build it, they will blow s**t up” as it concerns these particular jihadists.

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

Sources:

Dorman, Nick and Doyle, Neil. “British ISIS fanatics have built a dirty bomb and boast of the damage it could inflict on London.” The Mirror. 29 Nov. 2014. (http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/british-isis-fanatics-built-dirty-4721561). 2 Dec. 2014.

Cirincione, Joe. “Preventing a Nuclear ISIS.” Huffington Post. 18 Nov. 2014. (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/joe-cirincione/preventing-a-nuclear-isis_b_6180120.html). 2 Dec. 2014.

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Boston Globe: We Need Financial ‘Doomsayers’ Like Jeremy Grantham

“Legendary value investor Jeremy Grantham, chairman of the global investment management firm Grantham Mayo Van Otterloo (GMO), said in a recent letter to shareholders we are now witnessing the first global bubble in history, covering all asset classes. ‘From Indian antiquities to modern Chinese art; from land in Panama to Mayfair; from forestry, infrastructure and the junkiest bonds to mundane blue chips; it’s bubble time!’ Grantham adds, ‘Everyone, everywhere is reinforcing one another. Wherever you travel you will hear it confirmed that ‘they don’t make any more land,’ and that ‘with these growth rates and low interest rates, equity markets must keep rising,’ and ‘private equity will continue to drive the markets.'”

-Christopher E. Hill, Boom2Bust.com, June 14, 2007

Regular readers of Survival And Prosperity know I blog regularly about “crash prophets” Marc Faber, Jeremy Grantham, Jim Rogers, and Peter Schiff- individuals well-known in financial/investing circles who correctly-predicted the global economic crisis that reared its ugly head back in 2008.

Why do I like reading and writing about their investment activities/recommendations?

From this blog’s “About” page:

“Vice President Dick Cheney says that his boss, President George W. Bush, has no need to apologize to the American people for not doing more to head off the financial calamity, saying no one saw the crisis coming.

During an interview Thursday with The Associated Press in his West Wing office, Cheney defended the administration’s performance on an economy that is growing weaker daily and which recently collapsed in spectacular fashion. Cheney said that ‘nobody anywhere was smart enough to figure it out.'”

-Associated Press, January 8, 2009

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Who are the “Crash Prophets?”

Contrary to the former Vice President’s assertions, a small number of individuals did see the current economic crisis coming. Among them were prominent investors, advisors, and money managers who, despite being ridiculed by their so-called “peers,” bravely warned others that a financial storm was coming. Perhaps their now-discredited colleagues should have known better, for these same persons also have impressive track records when it comes to calling the markets. Today, the “Crash Prophets” are positioning their or their clients’ money and continue to share their insights for what they see is more financial turbulence ahead.

Others are also now recognizing the worth of what the “crash prophets” have to say. Writing about British-born investment strategist Jeremy Grantham and his latest quarterly investment letter (I blogged about it here on November 20), columnist Carlo Rotella for The Boston Globe penned the following on the paper’s website on November 22:

Grantham’s ice-bath clarity, coming from a self-described fat cat, gives me some faint hope that the currently infantile conversation about economics and the planet being conducted by our money-handlers and elected leaders, many of them awash in the oil money that lubricates our political system, might someday advance beyond the notion that we can’t do anything about the long term for fear of inhibiting short-term growth.

Clear, forceful, disciplined thinking like Grantham’s seems obvious when you read it, but it makes much of what everybody else is saying on the same subject seem twisted and bizarre. Grantham’s quarterly letters, wry and measured in tone and solidly based on well-presented data, feel like an antidote to the magical thinking purveyed by Congress and hysterically optimistic stock-pickers.

Grantham’s long-view investment philosophy centers on the principle that prices eventually revert to the mean, and his bemused view of human nature centers on a similar reversion to the behavioral mean. We want to hear good news and assume that present conditions will persist, we tend to be bad with numbers and uncertainty, and we take comfort in short-term-oriented herd behavior of the sort that characterizes the financial industry. We need doomsayers like Grantham to counteract these tendencies.

Yes, we do need “doomsayers” like Jeremy Grantham to counteract the Pollyannish tendencies of many Americans.

Do they actually believe the same people who brought us the 2008 financial crisis and so-called “Great Recession” were actually able to “fix” that mess?

I, for one, hope to be fairly “insulated” from the Pollyannas when the balloon finally goes up, because I’ve seen how this crowd reacts WTSHTF. And it ain’t pretty.

By the way, did I mention Dick Cheney was a former client of Grantham’s?

“Nobody anywhere was smart enough to figure it out.”

Rotella’s November 22 piece- “Why we need financial doomsayers”- is a good read (don’t expect much investment intel although Grantham’s U.S. stock bubble-crash warning is touched on), which you can view in its entirety on the Globe website here.

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

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Al-Qaeda Targeting 5 European Passenger Jets Before Christmas?

And just when you thought Al-Qaeda had been relegated to the tabloids comes this from the website of the Sunday Express (UK)- a British tabloid. Donal MacIntyre reported Sunday:

EXCLUSIVE: Al Qaeda plot to blow up 5 passenger planes in Christmas ‘spectacular’

TERRORISTS are plotting to blow up five European passenger jets in a Christmas “spectacular”, security experts say

The warning comes as Whitehall officials admit that a terror strike on the UK is now “almost inevitable” particularly with British jihadis returning from fighting alongside the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

An airport security source told the Sunday Express: “We’ve been told that five planes are being targeted in a high profile hit before Christmas. They’ve been waiting for the big one.

“We have many scares but this one nearly got hand baggage pulled from all airlines. The threat is still alive and real.”

According to MacIntyre, the plot was uncovered by U.S. intelligence.

Take the above for what it’s worth. That being said, I blogged back on August 29:

Much of the mainstream media is playing up the threat to the U.S. from the Islamic State. Personally, I’m more concerned about Al-Qaeda beating them to the punch. I’ve already talked about Ayman al-Zawahiri needing to establish his “street cred.” But the emergence of the other band of terrorists formerly known as ISIS (the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) or ISIL (the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) puts even more pressure, I suspect, for bin Laden’s standard bearers to carry out a successful major operation against the U.S. homeland, and with haste.

Still feel the same way as 2014 rapidly comes to a close…

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

Source:

MacIntyre, Donal. “EXCLUSIVE: Al Qaeda plot to blow up 5 passenger planes in Christmas ‘spectacular.’” Sunday Express. 30 Nov. 2014. (http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/541725/REVEALED-Al-Qaeda-plot-to-blow-up-5-European-passenger-jets-in-Christmas-spectacular). 30 Nov. 2014.

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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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Chicago-Area Urban Survival/Bug-Out Classes In December

Any Chicago-area readers looking to learn urban survival/bug-out skills in the coming month? Back in the spring I mentioned the C.U.M.A. Survival School in a post about Chicago Reader contributor Connie Vaughn taking such training from the outfit. I blogged:

I’ve come across the C.U.M.A. Survival School website before while researching Chicago-area prepper/survival training, and I’ve made a note to blog about it down the road.

This morning seemed like an appropriate time to talk about the school again as they’re offering survival training in December. From the C.U.M.A. website:

The C.U.M.A. Survival School specializes in no-nonsense training for everyone who is interested in Combatives, Self Defense, Urban Survival or venturing into the great outdoors. It does not matter if you are 45 year old civilian “novice” or a seasoned combat/law enforcement veteran; our goal is to provide quality instruction to anyone who is interested leaning valuable skill sets that can potentially save someone’s life…

The C.U.M.A. Survival School was founded by world re-known martial artist, CQC trainer, Book/DVD author, magazine writer and knife designer “SIJO” Waysun Johnny Tsai…

I e-mailed Waysun Johnny Tsai recently about upcoming survival-related classes they might be offering. From his reply last Thursday:

The Next one day 7 hour C.U.M.A. Urban Survival / BUG OUT classes are on Saturday, Dec 13th, 2014 and Sunday, Dec 20th, 2014.

The hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM on either day.

Subject matter will include:

HOME PREPARATION AND BUGGING IN / SURVIVAL GEAR REVIEW (2 Hour Lecture/Near Schaumburg, ILLINOIS).

THE BUG OUT : Basic Winter Wilderness Survival at the BUSSE WOODS (Near Schaumburg, ILLINOIS / 3 Hours)

C.U.M.A. COMBATIVES: SURVIVING THE FIGHT (2 hours/ NEAR Schaumburg, ILLINOIS)

The cost for one day training is $150 per person …


“CBS CHANNEL 2 News on Urban Disaster Survival & Preparedness With The C.U.M.A. SURVIVAL SCHOOL”
YouTube Video

The class sounds real promising. Expert, hands-on urban survival training is hard to come by around these parts for some strange reason (or maybe not, as faith in the “Nanny State” among local residents remains foolishly strong). Busse Woods is a terrific venue (I used to fish there all the time when I was a kid). And I like that part of the instruction is dedicated to wilderness survival in the winter, which can get incredibly-brutal here in the Midwest.

This “keyboard commando” is certainly interested in enrolling some day.

Interested in the Urban Survival/Bug Out course or C.U.M.A. Survival School in general? You can visit the school’s website here for more information.

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

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U.S. To Become Argentina After Financial Crash?

Of all the various threats to America today, there’s one that seems more likely to occur than the others and which I’m most concerned about.

So much so I decided to start blogging about it back on Memorial Day Weekend in 2007 as creator/editor of Boom2Bust.com, “The Most Hated Blog On Wall Street”:

A U.S. financial crash.

And seven years on and trillions of dollars later spent trying to “kick the can down the road,” I feel it’s pretty much inevitable at this point.

Cheery thought, I know. But at least it’s not the end of the world.

Actually, I think we started on that journey even before the 2008 global economic crisis and “Great Recession” reared its ugly head and was eventually “papered-up” by Washington and the Federal Reserve.

So the U.S. economy won’t be doing a high-speed nose-dive into the ground. Rather, it’s embarked on a slow, gradual descent where the end result will be the same- a pile of smoldering wreckage.

If there’s a recent example in the world the United States might end up emulating, I suspect its Argentina, who suffered a financial collapse at the end of 2001 and which still is tormented by their crash.

Enter Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre, who regular readers of this blog might remember me mentioning before. I first brought up FerFAL on Survival And Prosperity within days of launching the blog. I wrote on December 1, 2010:

Last week I mentioned that I follow a couple of blogs on a regular basis. Surviving In Argentina is one of those and is authored by an Argentine named Fernando “FerFAL” Aguirre who, like Orlov, has first-hand experience of what a financial collapse looks like. In his blog, Aguirre (who has lived in the U.S.) talks about how he and his young family survived the economic crisis in Argentina and how they’re coping now. It’s a rich source of information for surviving tough times, so much so FerFAL went ahead and wrote The Modern Survival Manual: Surviving the Economic Collapse in 2009.

Aguirre recently came out with two videos on YouTube.com in which he draws on his experiences in Argentina (he resides in the United Kingdom these days) to share with viewers what life was like after the vibrant Argentine economy collapsed last decade:


“Life after an Economic Collapse: The same… only Worse Part I”
YouTube Video


“Life after an Economic Collapse: The same… only Worse Part II”
YouTube Video

I understand FerFAL plans on releasing a third video to complete the series. In the meantime, I highly-recommend watching the first two to get an idea what life might be like if (when?) the United States suffers a similar fate as that South American country. Pretty sobering stuff if you ask me.

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

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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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