Government

Signs Of The Time, Part 117

Any Survival And Prosperity readers use Facebook?

I originally signed up for the social media/networking service some years back with the intention of creating a “page” for my research/blogging.

I would create the additional page and populate it with material… and then it would magically be “reset” the next time I tried to access it (yes, I did select “save” when available).

Weird, huh?

So I gave up on that. And these days, I just use Facebook to stay abreast of what’s new with family, friends, and others.

But in recent times- coinciding with the 2016 campaign season heating up to be exact- I’ve been required to scroll down my “Home” page much more than usual to read posts about exotic travels, kids’ accomplishments, new pets, and other good stuff.

Why? Because the rest of that page is often heavily-populated by political posts “shared” or “liked” from my Facebook friends. Most aren’t very complimentary about President Trump and the Republicans, I might add (and not too surprising considering where I live).

But I’m not complaining, as my Facebook friends are entitled to post about their personal politics on their chosen social media platform.

As for me, I’m not too comfortable discussing politics with other people, save my girlfriend, who is a distant relative to an obscure former Senator from Wisconsin by the name of Joseph McCarthy and rather well-versed in government goings-on (being a former civil servant herself).

As individual politics vary so much and “anomalies” exist even among the political partisans (I’ve encountered a staunch defender of gun rights… who also happens to be a hardcore Democrat), I figure I’m bound to tick someone off with “deep conversation” about such matters. Which works well with running Survival And Prosperity, as it’s a project focused on financial/personal safety and not a “political blog.”

That being said, my decade-long track record (counting Boom2Bust.com) shows I don’t hesitate to assign blame- be it the Republicans or the Democrats- where blame is undoubtedly due and identification of the political party is central to the discussion at hand.

I’ll leave readers with this. Regarding all the animosity being directed against the Trump administration and the Republicans, while a good deal of it stems from ideological differences, personal dislike of the man, the fact that POTUS is a male, etcetera, keep in mind something that FOX 32 News (Chicago) political editor Mike Flannery pointed out while getting gassed at the Washington, D.C., riot on Inauguration Day:

Democrats currently hold fewer elected offices nationwide than at any time since the 1920s.

And what’s that old saying?

“Desperate times call for desperate measures”

“Desperate measures” will undoubtedly be taken to compensate for/attempt to regain that lost political power. That’s just how the politics “game” is played.

And the “resistance” will continue for the foreseeable future.

Even on Facebook, by the looks of things.

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

2/13/17 UPDATE: Regrettably, one of my Facebook friends has now been “unfollowed” for clogging my “Home” page with political posts. Like I said above, they’re entitled to post about their personal politics on their chosen social media platform. But consider the ramifications of such activity on the recipient(s) of this material. In this case, the number of political posts being authored, “liked,” and “shared” made navigating Facebook a real chore. I held out as long as I could- didn’t want to miss important achievements/events in this person’s life shared via Facebook- but it was just too much in the end.

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Chicago Tribune Editorial Board Recognizes ‘Illinois Diaspora’

“You mean that oft-repeated yarn about the state’s population loss being predominantly due to residents being fed up with our winters and moving to warmer destinations like Florida and Arizona isn’t true?”

Survival And Prosperity post yesterday afternoon regarding 86,000 Illinoisans “escaping” to Wisconsin from 2006 to 2015 (hat-tip Illinois Policy Institute)

I had to chuckle when I spotted the following on the Chicago Tribune website this afternoon. The Tribune Editorial Board penned last night:

Property taxes here are among the highest in the nation. And certain parts of the state aren’t just jobs deserts, they’re becoming depopulated deserts. More people moved away from Illinois during the last two years than from any other state in the country. Many moved to other Midwestern states. So don’t repeat the lie that it’s the weather.

Here’s what else a prospective employer sees in Illinois: No state budget in nearly two years. A credit rating nearing junk status. Inability to pay bills as they come due, a basic definition of insolvency. And political impasse in the General Assembly. An attempt at compromise legislation to get a budget passed hit a snag in the Senate on Wednesday. Senators, keep working…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Great minds think alike?

Nope. Not at all. Just very concerned Illinois residents who have arrived at the same conclusion regarding where this is all heading if Springfield and voters can’t get their act together. Like, yesterday.

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

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Treasury Department Issues Reminder About Debt Limit Deal Expiration

“They are going to be in a crisis within weeks. The debt ceiling was suspended arbitrarily until March 15. When it comes back into effect there will be $20 trillion of debt. And before they can do anything on all of this stimulus they’re talking about they’re going to have to raise the debt ceiling and where are the votes going to come from? It’s going to make 2011, if you remember the debt ceiling crisis in 2011, look like a Sunday school picnic. We’re in bad shape.”

-David Stockman, Director of the Office of Management and Budget under President Reagan, speaking on the FOX Business Channel on January 25, 2017

Last Wednesday, the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued the following reminder about the March 15 expiration of the debt limit deal reached two years ago. From a press release on their website:

The debt limit places a limitation on the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military salaries, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments. The debt limit does not authorize new spending commitments. It simply allows the government to finance existing legal obligations that Congresses and presidents of both parties have made in the past.

The Bipartisan Budget Act suspended the debt limit through March 15, 2017. If Congress fails to increase or further suspend the debt limit by March 15, Treasury can take certain extraordinary measures to continue to finance the government on a temporary basis.

Extraordinary measures will allow the government to continue to meet its obligations for a period of time after March 15. That said, it is impossible to provide a precise forecast as to how long the extraordinary measures will last. Treasury will provide greater clarity at a later date regarding how long extraordinary measures will allow Treasury to continue to borrow…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

So how is this setting up for the next couple of weeks?

According to MarketWatch’s Greg Robb on on February 1:

During the Obama administration, Republicans in Congress sought to use the debt limit vote to force spending cuts.

Treasury Secretary nominee Steven Mnuchin said he would like to see Congress act to raise the debt limit “sooner rather than later.”

But Trump’s choice to head the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, was a leader of the House Republican effort to use the debt limit vote as a lever to reign in spending…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Stay tuned folks…

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

Source:

Robb, Greg. “Raising the debt ceiling is now Trump’s problem. MarketWatch. 1 Feb. 2017. (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/raising-the-debt-ceiling-is-now-trumps-problem-2017-02-01). 7 Feb. 2017.

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Illinois Emergency Management Agency Promotes Earthquake Preparedness In February

Back when I worked for a fire department in the Chicago suburbs, I looked into the threat from earthquakes to our municipality as part of an emergency preparedness grant application the agency was submitting. The consensus seemed to be that damage to our area would be minimal to non-existant from a big tremblor out of the New Madrid seismic zone. However, I noticed southern Illiniois could be a different story. From a February 2 Illinois Emergency Management Agency press release on the Illinois Government News Network website:

IEMA Encourages People to Prepare for Earthquakes
Preparedness actions can prevent injuries, reduce property damage

SPRINGFIELD – In recognition of the earthquake risk in southern Illinois from the New Madrid and Wabash Valley seismic zones, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA) and local emergency management agencies will promote earthquake preparedness throughout February.

“While we don’t experience major earthquakes with the same frequency as the western U.S., some of the most powerful earthquakes to ever occur in the continental U.S. happened along the New Madrid seismic zone about 200 years ago,” said IEMA Director James K. Joseph. “We can’t predict when the next major earthquake will occur, but we can help people learn how to stay safe and reduce damage to their homes.”

In conjunction with Earthquake Preparedness Month in Illinois, IEMA is adding a new 30-second TV spot to the Ready Illinois broadcast preparedness campaign, which is aired in cooperation with the Illinois Broadcasters Association (IBA) Public Education Partnership (PEP) program. The new spot directs people to the Ready Illinois website for information on how to prepare their homes for an earthquake. It will air on IBA member TV stations serving residents of southern Illinois, where the greatest risk of earthquakes in Illinois exists. The spot is also available on the Ready Illinois website at www.Ready.Illinois.gov.

Joseph noted that the actual movement of the ground in an earthquake is seldom the direct cause of death or injury. Most casualties result from falling objects and debris caused by the earth shaking.

Learning how to “Drop, Cover and Hold On” can help people prevent injury during an earthquake. The phrase reminds people to drop down to the floor, take cover under a sturdy desk, table or other furniture, and hold on to that object and be prepared to move with it until the shaking ends.

There are several steps people can take to help prevent injuries and property damage at home, such as anchoring bookshelves, overhead light fixtures, wall hanging and large appliances, learning how to shut off gas, water and electricity and placing heavy objects on lower shelves.

More information about earthquake preparedness is available at www.Ready.Illinois.gov

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

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Peter Schiff Predicts Resumption Of Dollar Decline, Gold Rally This Week

It’s been a while, but Euro Pacific Capital CEO Peter Schiff added a new entry to The Schiff Report YouTube vlog on Saturday. Schiff, who correctly-called the housing bust and economic crisis last decade, talked about a number of subjects, including his belief that the Federal Reserve has no intention of raising rates in March, “a lot” of dollar selling is coming, and the gold rally will resume. From the video:

The reason the Fed didn’t give a clue that it might be raising rates in March, is because it has no intention of doing so…

I think the trade deficits are going up. I think the budget deficits are going up. Certainly to the extent that we get some tax cuts. We continue to get more government spending. If we get more government spending under Trump on the military, on the border, on infrastructure. Rising trade deficits. Rising budget deficits. Rising inflation. All of this is going to be a big negative for the dollar. And of course, everybody was so loaded up long the dollar, I think the people who own the dollar- there’s a lot of dollar selling that’s coming. And I think the dollar bulls are going to end up losing a lot of money…

Since the beginning of this year the Dow is barely up more than 1 percent. You can contrast that to the price of gold which is up 6 percent so far this year. Look at gold stocks. Gold stocks are up 17 percent as a group so far in 2017. 17 percent. Everybody’s talking about the Dow. No one’s talking about gold stocks. In fact, gold stocks were the number one performing sector last year, by far. Wasn’t even close. And they’re already by far the number one performing sector this year. But nobody really wants to talk about it…

I think we’re going to see a resumption of the dollar decline and gold rally next week…


“Rising Unemployment Is Just The Excuse The Fed’s Been Waiting For”
YouTube Video

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page. A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

Schiff’s latest book…

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Jim Rogers: ‘Next Period Of Economic Turmoil Is Going To Be Worse Than What We’ve Seen In Our Lifetime’

A couple of days ago I came across an interview with well-known investor, author, and financial commentator Jim Rogers that was published on The Globe and Mail (Canada) website back on January 26. The former investing partner of George Soros in the legendary Quantum Fund answered a number of questions, including one about expressing “some pessimism about the world, particularly the U.S.” Rogers pointed out:

Every four to seven years since the beginning of the Republic, we’ve had economic turmoil. It has now been eight years since we had our last problem. We’re overdue. Mr. Trump has sworn trade wars with Mexico, China and a few others. If that happens, it’s all over. Trade wars have always led to bankruptcies—and often have led to wars, as well…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Rogers added this warning later on in the exchange:

The next period of economic turmoil is going to be worse than what we’ve seen in our lifetime…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

When asked how he prepared financially for such upheaval, the Singapore-based investor replied:

I’m very long the U.S. dollar. It is not a safe haven- the U.S. is the biggest debtor nation in history- but people think it is, so there will be flight into it. It might even turn into a bubble, depending on how bad the turmoil is. Let’s hope I’m smart enough to sell. My plan then is to buy gold

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Greenback, then gold for Mr. Rogers.

Back on December 7, 2016, I blogged about a different interview in which this gameplan was mentioned.

On January 23, I brought up a MarketWatch article featuring Jim Rogers in which markets reporter Sue Chang wrote:

“This is a good time to add dollars,” said Rogers, who believes that the greenback will continue to rise through this year into 2018

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The Chairman of Rogers Holding also talked about where he sees the best investment opportunities now and other interesting subjects in the insightful Globe and Mail piece, which you can read on their website here.

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

(Editor’s notes: Info added to “Crash Prophets” page; a qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

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Illinois State Representative Rita Mayfield (D) Proposes 3.75 Percent Surcharge On Firearms And Firearm Parts

Illinois Democrats continue to push anti-gun legislation in Springfield, the latest being Illinois House Bill 1810 from State Representative Rita Mayfield (D-Waukegan). From Brandon Merano over on the WSIL-TV (Southern Illinois ABC affiliate) website Friday:

A new bill headed to the Illinois House floor could increase what we pay for guns.

The bill would put a three-and-three-quarters percent charge on firearms and firearm parts, with revenue going to at-risk youth.

Language in HB 1810, introduced by State Representative Rita Mayfield defines “At risk Youth” as kids ages 16 – 22 who live in a “high crime area where the homicide rate is more than 4 times higher than the average rate of a community the same size.”

That suggests most of the funding would flow north to Chicago…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

A week ago, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action reported on legislation introduced in the Illinois Senate by State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D-Chicago Heights)- Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9- warning:

Under SA 2, a 5% tax would be imposed on any membership or access fee for gun clubs, shooting ranges, hunt clubs, training classes and match fees. Not only is this an abhorrent tax on your Second Amendment rights, it also requires that any of those places/people to register with the state and pay an annual fee of $75 just so that they can offer their service or membership with the 5% tax added

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

To see the latest actions on Illinois HB1810, visit the Illinois General Assembly website here. And for activity regarding SB0009, head to that same site here.

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

Source:

Merano, Brandon. “Proposed Illinois law aims to tax gun purhcases.” WSIL-TV. 3 Feb. 2017. (http://www.wsiltv.com/story/34424940/new-law-aims-to-tax-gun-purchases). 5 Feb. 2017.reported

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$500 Million Chicago Public Schools Budget Shortfall Could Mean More Taxpayer Pain

Yesterday I spotted the following on the Chicago Tribune website concerning the budget gap last year for Chicago Public Schools. Juan Perez, Jr., reported Friday:

Chicago Public Schools faced a shortfall in its operations budget of roughly $500 million at the close of its past fiscal year, leaving the financially troubled district with a significant bill to cover even as it struggles to balance this year’s spending plan.

The budget shortfall was reported in a recently issued financial postmortem for 2016 that also repeated a long-held conclusion: CPS either needs an infusion of new money or will have to make major cuts if it is to keep operating as it has been.

CPS has faced budget gaps for years, but has been able to cover them partly by dipping into cash reserves and tapping costly lines of short-term credit for cash to pay the bills. Those strategies are beginning to reach their limit, district officials acknowledge

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

While reading the article I thought, “Where’s the mention of potential new/higher taxes on Chicagoans?” Sure enough, I spotted the following further down the piece:

There’s also expectations from some observers that the city will again turn to its taxpayers for revenue…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

On January 12, the Global Credit Research division over at Moody’s Investors Service suggested:

CPS could consider more difficult options to address its finances should the State of Illinois (Baa2 negative) be unable or unwilling to provide additional relief: levy for debt service on GO alternate revenue bonds, stop making employer pension contributions, or seek state authorization to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Stay tuned, Chicago. In the meantime, check out the entire article on the Tribune website here.

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

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Monday, February 6th, 2017 Bankruptcy, Education, Government, Taxes No Comments

Bix Weir Predicts 2017 Derivatives Implosion, Trump To Crash System Then Rebuild

“Donald Trump’s prediction that the U.S. economy was on the verge of a ‘very massive recession’ hit a wall of skepticism on Sunday from economists who questioned the Republican presidential front-runner’s calculations…

‘I think we’re sitting on an economic bubble. A financial bubble,’ he said.”

-Reuters.com, April 3, 2016

Precious metals and financial expert Bix Weir recently appeared on former network/investigative correspondent Greg Hunter’s latest project, Greg Hunter’s USAWatchdog.com (“Analyzing the News to Give You A Clear Picture of What’s Really Going On”). In an interview published Tuesday, Weir warned of a coming derivatives implosion and dropped a bombshell when he predicted U.S. President Donald Trump would crash the system, then rebuild. From the exchange between Hunter and Weir:

HUNTER: Isn’t this the year we get the derivatives implosion?
WEIR: Oh definitively. People keep saying, “Well, if Greece leaves the EU, it’s not going to affect the rest of Europe.” Yes it will. It will destroy all the debt based on Greek bonds. It will destroy all the banks- Deutsche Bank, great example. If Deutshce Bank goes, J.P. Morgan goes, Citbank goes, all the banks go. And then the derivative implosion happens. And that’s alway been kind of the home-built nuclear bomb in the financial system is the derivative market- the hundreds of trillions, quadrillions, in derivatives that are so dependent upon third-parties staying in business. Because they are the counter-party to Deutsche Bank, and Citibank, and J.P. Morgan. Once one large derivative holder goes, they all go. We almost saw it in 2008. I think we’re real close to it again. I think Trump is going to push that ticket…
HUNTER: Do you think that we’re close to this derivatives explosion, this implosion, right now? Do you think it’s this year?
WEIR: I do think it’s this year. I think it can happen at any moment. I think Trump has long said that we’re in some huge bubbles and they’ve got to pop. He doesn’t want them popping after he’s fixed half the things in America. So, I would assume he’s going to pop them very soon, in the first few months of his administration. And we’re into that now. There are certain people that I know he needs to get in place. Because the popping of this bubble- this is the big mother of all bubbles.
HUNTER: So he is rushing to get his people in place so he can execute his plan. You’re saying he has a grand plan. That things aren’t just going to happen willy-nilly. You’re saying he’s going to get his people in place and he’s going to force the collapse, the reorganization.
WEIR: Yes. But it’s not his grand plan. This is the plan of the “good guys” that I’ve been talking about…
HUNTER: So why do you think we’re close to an economic reset, an implosion, a derivatives problem, the whole system resetting, changing, whatever. Why do you think we are close?
WEIR: Well, I know that Donald Trump is in charge of the exchange stabilization fund. So it’s basically he has the keys to ending this market rigging game. And once you end the market rigging game, then you can’t support the stock market. And everything has to go to its true fair market value, with real trades, no more derivatives. So Trump can do it. The question is, “Does he want to?” And it’s not just Trump. It’s the people who are behind Trump. I call them the “good guys.”
HUNTER: The Pentagon.
WEIR: Well, there’s people at the Pentagon. Within the military. Patriots. Going back since the sixties a lot of these guys are looking for a little retribution on the “bad guys” taking out Kennedy. But all this goes back to- what does Trump want to do? Trump and his people. Do they want to fix things? Go down that road to starting to fix things with the bubbles still there, with the Fed still printing money. Or, does he really want to fix them. Which means you crash the system first, and then you rebuild. I think it’s the latter. I think he’s trying to get people in place, and then he will crash the system and rebuild.


“Bix Weir-Trump Will Crash System Then Rebuild”
YouTube Video

Weir, who has a presence on the Web at RoadtoRoota.com, recommends selling “anything that has a third-party between you and your hard asset” like stocks and bonds, and buying Bitcoin (“get it out of the system”), gold, and silver- particularly silver. He concluded:

If you’re looking to make money, silver and Bitcoin- you can’t go wrong.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I’d heard of Bix Weir before, but never read/listened to anything by him before. Very interesting, to say the least.

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

(Editor’s note: A qualified professional should be consulted prior to making a financial decision based on material found in this weblog. If this recommended course of action is not pursued, then it must be understood that the decision is the reader’s and the reader’s alone. The creator/Editor of this blog is 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 contained herein.)

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Illinois State Senator Toi Hutchinson (D) Proposes Wide-Ranging Anti-Gun Tax

Now that the November elections are over, it was only a matter of time before the next assault was launched against the Second Amendment in Illinois.

The National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action published the following on their website Monday:

Illinois: Anti-Gun Tax Proposed on Exercising Second Amendment Rights

Last week, the Illinois Senate received Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9 from state Senator Toi Hutchinson. In an attempt to address the ongoing budget problem in Illinois, Sen. Hutchinson decided to tax Illinois residents’ Second Amendment rights, and by extension, their right to safety.

Under SA 2, a 5% tax would be imposed on any membership or access fee for gun clubs, shooting ranges, hunt clubs, training classes and match fees. Not only is this an abhorrent tax on your Second Amendment rights, it also requires that any of those places/people to register with the state and pay an annual fee of $75 just so that they can offer their service or membership with the 5% tax added.

By increasing the price of self-defense classes as well as any fee spent on range time and practice, this amendment is making it more expensive for Illinoisans to seek training to be able to defend themselves. SA 2 to Senate Bill 9 effectively sees Illinois residents’ right to safety as an opportunity to ease the budget burden on the entirety of the state. Further, any “repair, servicing, alteration, fitting, cleaning, painting, coating, towing, inspection, or maintenance of tangible personal property” is also taxable under SA 2. This section would include all gunsmithing and gun refinishing under taxable services.

It is extremely important that NRA members and Second Amendment supporters contact their state Senator and strongly urge them to oppose Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9. The Second Amendment rights and right to safety of Illinoisans is not something that the legislature should tax

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

The NRA-ILA offers opponents of Senate Amendment 2 to Senate Bill 9 a way to take action via their website here.

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

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