Health

Illinois Debt Crisis Latest: $9 Billion Annual Deficit, $159 Billion In IOUs

Illinois residents are waking up to disturbing news this morning. From the “Press Room” over on the website of the Institute of Government and Public Affairs at the University of Illinois:

Illinois faces $9 billion annual deficit and $159 billion in IOUs

New analysis (PDF) by the Fiscal Futures Project finds no easy fix to Illinois’ chronic fiscal imbalance. Illinois now faces a $9 billion annual deficit that will grow to $14 billion by FY 2026.

“Years of pay-later budgeting has resulted in a massive imbalance between sustainable revenue and spending,” said Richard Dye, co-director of the Fiscal Futures Project. “Like a person in deep credit card debt, the state has been spending more than it can afford, and is covering the gap by issuing IOUs.” The report finds that the state’s IOUs now total $159 billion—more than twice the inflow of revenue in a single year. It’s a monumental problem that will require a long-term fiscal plan that includes tax increases, spending cuts, and economic growth.

The report, Apocalypse Now? The Consequences of Pay-Later Budgeting in Illinois, examines what it would take to balance the budget. The options are limited.

• Bringing back the 2011 tax increase would close only about one-half of the gap projected for the next several years.
The problem cannot be solved with spending cuts alone. Because Illinois can’t cut debt service or pension payments, it would take at least a 20 percent cut of all remaining spending to eliminate the deficit. This includes education, corrections, Medicaid, public safety, transportation, and more.
• Economic growth is also not a cure-all: an increase in the growth rate of personal income by an extra one-half percent every year for 10 years (an optimistic scenario) would only have a modest effect on the deficit.

The report concludes: “Changes in awareness, expectations, and policy are needed to restore fiscal balance in Illinois. Being saddled with paying past years’ bills means that today, Illinoisans must reduce their expectations for the services that they can expect from government and be prepared to pay more for government, now and in the future.”

(Editor’s notes: Bold added for emphasis)

Like I blogged a week ago:

A lot less government services. Much higher fees, fines and taxes.

An outcome I see for Chicago, Cook County, and Illinois residents down the road.

And plenty of Illinoisans wonder why their neighbors are high-tailing it out of the “Land of Lincoln.”

You can read a summary fact sheet or the entire report over on the IGPA website here.

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

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Gabe Suarez Pens Follow-Up To ‘Today, Every Man Is A Counter Terrorist’

Last Friday, I blogged about a Facebook post by Gabe Suarez, head of The Suarez Group and a decorated veteran of Southern California law enforcement, in which he talked about the recent terrorist events in Paris, France. Suarez called upon readers to take up arms and become counter-terrorists. On January 12, a follow-up was published on The Suarez Group’s Facebook page. Suarez made some observations about terrorist events in the past year and wrote:

At every terror event, whether motivated by insane religions, or simply a lack of fastidious medication, there have been plenty of everyday “people”. And I suspect there have been a few there whose initial reaction was not to cower and to shrink from the face of evil. I suspect their initial reaction was anger. Yet unarmed by their observance of social norms, they were without the effective means to act on their natural fighter’s inclinations. And they were forced by decree, into victimhood.

But dangerous times (such as those we live in today, exemplified most recently by France), call for dangerous measures. Normally those measures should be taken by those who govern, but, well…let’s not waste our time with that dead end.

I call for every man and woman that has been outraged by the events at Charlie Hebdo in Paris to take steps to be their own rescuer…their own counter terrorist. The skill of these self-motivated killers is not as high as the uninformed commentators on CNN would have us think. Are they practiced? Certainly, but they are not invulnerable. Witness how many photographs have been taken, not only of the Paris Terrorists, but of all terrorists and active shooters. A photograph is the same as a bullet…and those shots would not have been difficult to make.

I call for every capable man and woman in the west to arm themselves and carry weapons with them every single place they go where a Lone Wolf-Home Grown – Islamic Terrorist may strike. If you simply cannot obtain a firearm…at least get a knife. Sure it may be against regulations, but do you think the dead in Paris might have traded getting into trouble over getting killed for drawing a cartoon?

I challenge every man and woman who rails at the thought of hiding under a desk while a mad man roams freely, killing with an already illegal rifle, to train themselves to a level of skill suitable for killing that terrorist…for killing him with a knife from behind, or for shooting him right in his open mouth as he spews his first announcement of who he is and why he is there.

I challenge every citizen of every western nation who said, “Enough!”, or “I Am Charly”, to get off the couch and train. To become physically fit in strength and agility. To develop marksmanship skills. To develop the will and the aggression necessary to affect change in the opening moments of a planned mass slaughter. To develop the mind set and attitude to kill the terrorist, unannounced, from behind, from the darkness, from the most unexpected sector, and thereby saving his intended victims.

Only when this becomes the norm, when images of a dead terrorist flash across Facebook and Twitter…with a tight group of pistol bullets in his face, fired by a common man or woman who decided to not die quietly that day – rather than a police officer executed on the sidewalk…will the tide begin to change.

Do not fear the terrorist…the terrorist must learn to fear you.

Rather than “I am Charly”, let the unifying cry be this –

TODAY – EVERY MAN IS A COUNTER TERRORIST

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

As the scourge of terrorism grows uglier in the coming years, Suarez’s call to arms will undoubtedly be echoed by others.

You can read the entire Facebook post on The Suarez Group’s page here.

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

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Gabe Suarez: ‘Today, Every Man Is A Counter Terrorist’

Because I’m busy compiling new “Resources Of The Week” for 2015, there’s won’t be a post from that series tonight.

But I also wanted to share with Survival And Prosperity readers before the week was out something I read earlier this evening on the Facebook page of The Suarez Group (“a multi-national corporation involved the study and application of high end weapons, and leading edge tactics, for students of the art of personal combat”).

I first mentioned Gabe Suarez, head of The Suarez Group and a decorated veteran of Southern California law enforcement, on this blog back in my April 28, 2011, post entitled, “The Next Mumbai-Style Terrorist Attack.” I wrote back then:

If an American Mumbai occurs, I’m guessing it will go down in a high-profile, internationally-known city whose residents/workers are likely to be unarmed and incapable of defending themselves against rampaging terrorists with automatic weapons- like my hometown of Chicago.

Still, it doesn’t hurt for Americans outside of the “Windy City” to prepare for such an event. Consider what Gabe Suarez, a decorated veteran of Southern California law enforcement and president of the personal safety training outfit Suarez International, wrote in his blog Warrior Talk News on May 6, 2010:

Put yourself in the enemy’s shoes….err, sandals…..which option would YOU pick? Which offers the easiest implementation, least chance for detection, greatest chance for success – bombs or bullets?

The mass shooting and not the improvised and unsuccessful bomb is the “easy button”, and that fact cannot be ignored by us as it will not be overlooked by the enemy.

So what do we do?

1). We must identify who the enemy is. Please go back and peruse the list of events above, both failed and successful. What is the common thread connecting the attackers?

2). Carry your gun everywhere…..a REAL fighting gun….not some sissy “suitable for CCW” 5 shot “self defense gun”.
The times are not such that concern over a mugger is the issue anymore. Carry extra ammo with you. It is not difficult at all to carry a full sized pistol with a couple of extra magazines. I have done so since 1983.

These are not the times to be seeking political correctness over public safety. It is not the time to fear false labels created and assigned by the mass media. The Israelis learned that lesson long ago. After all is said and done, it is better to be a live “intolerant racist” (as the MSM would call us) than a dead “co-existing”, tolerant “paragon of political correctness”. I suspect that had Shahzad’s bomb been successful, lots of tolerant, “co-exist” types would have died right alongside us “intolerant racists”. The times call for careful profiling and suspicious curiosity as well as daily preparation.

Dress everyday as if you had a business meeting in Mumbai on 26 November 2008 with a bunch of Jews, Christians, and atheist Americans at a cafe right across the street from the Jihad School Of Terrorism.

Be ready or be a victim.

“Be ready or be a victim.” Great words to live by.

No holds barred, right? Anyway, Suarez wrote the following yesterday concerning tactical matters related to the terrorism in France:

Today,

EVERY MAN IS A COUNTER TERRORIST

So consider the following – if you can, be armed always. Yes…I know. But consider the implications. Of the ten dead civilians in France, how many would have willingly disobeyed unconscionable laws in order to stay alive? If it is difficult, learn to conceal the weapon better. At the very least have a knife with which to stab a terrorist to death.

And stabbing a man to death is an exercise in extreme violence. It is not some strip mall karate school exercise done with high school kids to get in shape. It is violent and sudden and what the body does in its final moments will shock you…maybe, if you haven’t gotten your mind right about such matters.

If you look like the King Of Comedy rather than the King Of the Cage, put down the f*cking remote and get your ass in fighting shape. The terrorist coming to kill you has taken his fitness seriously…do you think he is kidding?

If you are armed your life is easier. Resist the temptation to leave the real sized fighting gun at home and go forth with some “civilian friendly metro sexual” pistol. Anyone can carry a full sized fighting pistol with a little fore thought and care in dressing for the weapon.

Consider that a terrorist event like what we saw in France is not the same as a CCW self defense encounter with concerns over legality, disparity of force, or liability. The moment that it is a terrorist event, all other concerns are non-issues. And a man or men with masks and rifles classifies as that.

Learn to shoot accurately at distance. There were guys photographing and videotaping the assassination of the French police officer. A good practiced hand with a proper pistol might have killed one or both of those terrorists at the distance.

There will be no warnings, no posting and challenging, only recognition of threat and escalation of violence…or as I term it, “getting ahead” of the fight by shooting. Learn to shoot faces and necks at room distances. Yes, there is a chance you will be killed by the terrorist…but you will be killed anyway.

And how do you want to look for the Crime Scene photos?

Under a desk hiding with a terrified look on your face and a back full of 7.62×39 rounds, or a smiling corpse on a mountain of brass and dead terrorists? I pray if I am given that choice I will be the guy in the second image. But….but, you might not be either one. You might survive and win if you are decisive enough, accurate enough, and violent enough.

Let us all be those things.

“A smiling corpse on a mountain of brass and dead terrorists”

Classic Suarez. And several points I, for one, will be left thinking about this weekend.

You can read the entire Facebook post on The Suarez Group’s page here.

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

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Upcoming REI Survival-Related Classes In The Chicago Area

Chicago-area readers- below is information for survival-related classes being offered by outdoor adventure company REI for the next month or so:

Winter Navigation with Map & Compass, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs), January 10, 9 AM-2 PM, $75 member/$95 non-member, 10 spots left, prior snowshoeing experience recommended
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Lincoln Park REI (Chicago- Lincoln Park), January 16, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 9 spots left
Wilderness Survival: Winter Skills, Palos Forest Preserve- Bull Frog Lake (south suburbs), January 18, 9 AM-2 PM, $65 member/$85 non-member, 12 spots left
Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI, Ping Tom Memorial Park- Fieldhouse (Chicago- Chinatown), January 17-18, 9 AM-6 PM, $225 member/$255 non-member, 14 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Oakbrook REI (west suburbs- Oakbrook Terrace), January 21, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 12 spots left
Map and Compass Navigation Basics, Schaumburg REI (northwest suburbs), February 4, 6:30-8:30 PM, $30 member/$50 non-member, 9 spots left

Lifetime membership in REI costs only $20. For more information on joining REI, you can visit their website here.

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

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Wednesday, January 7th, 2015 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training, Weather No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 31: How Much, How Long For Survival Needs?

The other week in the “Project Prepper” series of posts I talked about where the project stood after two years in the works. I blogged:

I decided my preparedness education and activities will focus on a prioritized list of six “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast). This includes:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Shelter
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy

I went on to discuss the status of each “need.”

While working the past two years on meeting these “needs,” questions arose about “how much?” and “how long?” For example, concerning water- do I settle for just having 72 hours of an emergency supply on hand (like what Uncle Sam recommends)? Or do I aim higher, taking into consideration potential emergencies I might realistically encounter living here in the northwest suburbs of Chicago?

I knew settling for “just enough” wouldn’t cut it. As I wrote the other week concerning water:

At present, my girlfriend and I have close to a week-and-a-half supply of emergency water each (based on federal government guidelines of one gallon per person per day). Even though this is significantly more than Uncle Sam’s 72-hour recommendation, I’m not comfortable with this amount.

And regarding emergency food:

Taking advantage of price drops and gift cards, my girlfriend and I scored a relatively-inexpensive 1-week supply of high-quality freeze-dried meals each. Like with the water though, I’d like to increase that amount commensurate with the potential emergencies I’ve identified.

Mountain House Classic Buckets

Mountain House Classic Buckets- breakfast/lunch/dinner for 3.5 days per bucket

Thankfully, after listening to the November 19, 2014, episode of The Survival Podcast, I now have a better idea of “how much?” and “how long?” might be required to tackle those needs. Incorporating Spirko’s suggestions from episode 1468, “The World Won’t End but Your World Could,” with his six “innate survival needs,” we have:

1. Security

2. Water- 30 days for all needs (drinking, cooking, bathing, etcetera)

3. Food- 30 to 60 days without complete boredom (variety of food that we already eat and actually think is tasty)

4. Shelter- Ability to keep home “sound” after suffering non-catastrophic damage

5. Sanitation and Health- Ability to deal with wastes for 30 days. Ability to treat basic injuries and illnesses.

6. Energy- Ability to deal with initial power loss in 5 to 10 minutes. Then, power for 14 days to cover basic needs and comfort.

I’m a lot more comfortable with these targets. I just have to remember that any preps will have to be for two adults (girlfriend and me).

Still, I want to review potential emergencies/disasters we realistically face here in the Chicagoland area/Midwest/United States, and “tweak” the above accordingly.

More next time…

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

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REI/WMI Offering Wilderness First Aid Class In Chicago’s Chinatown On Jan. 17-18

Any Chicagoland blog readers looking to learn about wilderness first aid in the new year? I came across the following on the REI website this morning:

Wilderness First Aid with WMI and REI

Begins: 1/17/2015 9:00 AM CST
Event Location: Ping Tom Memorial Park- Fieldhouse
Member: $225.00
Non Member: $255.00
Ends: 1/18/2015 6:00 PM CST
Instructor: REI Outdoor School Instructor
Group Size: 30

Description: Whether spending time in the backcountry is your passion or your profession, you should never have to ask, “What do I do now?” REI is partnering with the Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS to offer a comprehensive 16 hour, two day course that will teach you the wilderness medicine skills you need to recreate with confidence in the backcountry. In just two days, you will learn the knowledge, skills and ability to make sound decisions in emergency situations. From the Patient Assessment System through traumatic, medical, and environmental emergencies, you’ll experience a wide variety of topics designed to prepare you to act if an accident occurs. This course is ideal for trip leaders, camp staff, outdoor enthusiasts and individuals in remote locations. The course begins at 9am each day and runs through 6pm, with a 1-hour break midday. Minimum age is 16 years old. No prerequisites. Successful completion results in a Wilderness Medicine Institute of NOLS Wilderness First Aid certification. This course may be used to recertify Wilderness First Responder, Wilderness Advanced First Aid and Wilderness EMT (wilderness portion only) certifications if you hold a current or grace year WMI certification. Participants using the WFA to recertify their WFR need to pass both a written and a practical test.

Skills you’ll learn:

Learn how to administer first aid in a wilderness context. Topics include:

• the Patient Assessment System
• creating evacuation plans and wilderness emergency procedures
• spinal cord injuries
• shock
• head injuries
• wilderness wound management
• athletic injuries
• fracture management
• dislocations
• cold injuries
• heat injuries
• altitude sickness
• lightning
• the Medical Patient
• and anaphylaxis.

Ping Tom Memorial Park and their new fieldhouse are located at 1700 S. Wentworth Ave., Chicago (Chinatown- I love Chinatown!). Please note there are only 18 spots left (out of 30 allotted) as I type this, so if you’re interested in wilderness first aid training in the Chicago area and at a cool location, head on over to the class web page on the REI website here.

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

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Thursday, December 11th, 2014 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training No Comments

Project Prepper, Part 30: Status

Last week in the “Project Prepper” series of posts I did a recap of what the series is all about for those who didn’t already know.

Today, I’m going to talk about where the project stands after a little over two years in the works.

To start, my girlfriend and I moved out of the city of Chicago last year to a house in the northwest suburbs- with an eye towards eventually settling down in Wisconsin.

I decided my preparedness education and activities will focus on a prioritized list of six “innate survival needs” (hat tip Jack Spirko @ The Survival Podcast). This includes:

1. Security
2. Water
3. Food
4. Shelter
5. Sanitation and Health
6. Energy

Concerning security, that’s something that’s been in the works for several years now. Like I wrote on this blog’s “About” page:

Survival And Prosperity is unlike other financial blogs in that SP focuses simultaneously on finance and personal safety, two areas Christopher Hill has spent a lot of time researching these past couple of years and which are intertwined in any serious discussion about surviving and prospering in tumultuous times. Case in point, an individual might pursue a strategy of wealth preservation and growth that would pay off handsomely in a financial crash. Yet, if personal safety was ignored in the process, that same individual might end up a victim of the social turmoil that is sure to accompany the economic collapse. So much for that new-found wealth, right?

(Editor’s note: Blog added for emphasis)

Decent strides have been made in the area of security, although plenty of work remains with all those “innate survival needs.” Physical security on the exterior/interior of the new house has been improved, particularly with landscaping, lighting, and locks. Personal safety gear, supplies, and tools have been acquired, with training having commenced a few years back.

New Tools: United Cutlery Honshu Tantos

New Tools: United Cutlery Honshu Tantos

Purchased @ BUDK.com For $36.99 (Stainless), $39.99 (Black)

Concerning water, the foundation for an emergency water supply is now in place. While utilizing some water storage containers I had prior to this project, I’ve acquired additional containers. To maintain the quality of the water for an extended period of time, I purchased aerobic stabilized oxygen. I’ve also kept a couple of cases of bottled drinking water on hand, along with an emergency water containment system that holds up to 100 gallons of fresh water in a bathtub standing by in the wings. At present, my girlfriend and I have close to a week-and-a-half supply of emergency water each (based on federal government guidelines of one gallon per person per day). Even though this is significantly more than Uncle Sam’s 72-hour recommendation, I’m not comfortable with this amount.

Concerning food, the foundation for an emergency food supply is also in place. Taking advantage of price drops and gift cards, my girlfriend and I scored a relatively-inexpensive 1-week supply of high-quality freeze-dried meals each. Like with the water though, I’d like to increase that amount commensurate with the potential emergencies I’ve identified.

Concerning shelter, purchasing that house last spring was a pretty big “prep.” And it was certainly an improvement over the multi-family housing arrangement where my girlfriend and I used to live. As much as I love the city of Chicago and would have liked to stay in our northwest side neighborhood, my girlfriend and I are much better off here in a close-by suburb, all things considered.

Concerning sanitation/health, not much work has been done in this area yet. As health is concerned, I’ve acquired a good deal of basic first aid supplies and instructional material in the last couple of years. But it’s been too long since I’ve had any training in this area. It’s one of my goals in 2015 to complete an American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED class and build a comprehensive first aid kit- as well as having the knowledge/skills to use it. In addition, while working around the house has been good for the body, I really need to improve my physical fitness. Not only will it help me cope with the difficult times I see coming down the pipeline, but hopefully it will keep me from having to rely on our floundering health care system as much as possible.

On sanitation, an unforeseen (and somewhat costly) improvement was carried out late last year on our sewer line going from the house. I’ll spare readers the details, but a new cleanout was added on the front of the home, and with it, a check valve. Should the city’s sewer system fail for any reason (extended power grid failure?), the valve should prevent sewage from backing up into our house and through the toilets. At least, that’s how I understand it should work. When it comes to people having to “go to the bathroom” in an extended grid-down scenario and dealing with the waste, I’m already researching a number of possible solutions.

Finally, as energy is concerned, for short-term blackouts I’ve been looking at portable generators to use at first until my girlfriend and I can afford a standby generator that can be hooked up to the natural gas line coming into the house. I’m also exploring if we can’t utilize renewable sources of energy somehow. I really hope so, because it’s probably what we’ll be forced to turn to in a long-term grid-down situation. That being said, we are limited by what we can use due to our location in a major metropolitan area.

So that’s where I stand with “Project Prepper” as 2014 draws to a close. Decent progress has been made in tackling those “innate survival needs,” but there’s still a lot more work that needs to be done. Hopefully, time and money will be on my side in the new year.

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

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Chicago-Area Survival Medics Class In January

Another day, another survival-related training opportunity for Chicago-area blog readers. From the Live Free, USA website:

SURVIVAL MEDICS CLASS
Conducted by Live Free, USA – Instructor James C. Jones.

Jim Jones is a Certified Hazard Control Manager. Emergency Medical Technician and retired Safety and Security Manager for a fortune 200 corporation. He has spent over 40-years teaching survival skills and advocating family preparedness and self-sufficiency.

Jim is the founder of Live Free USA, an organization dedicated to the support of preparedness, self-reliance through public education and group support. He writes articles for several national publications and conducted frequent training programs on a wide range of preparedness, survival and self-reliance related topics.

This 16 hour course for medical professionals & novices alike has been divided into four sessions. Each class will run from noon to 4:00 Pm on the following Sunday’s. January 11th and 25th, and February 8th and 15th.

The Cabela’s Conference Center in Hammond has been reserved for all four Sunday’s. You will find the meeting room upstairs adjacent to the Black Oak Grill dining area.

To receive a certificate you must attend all four classes. The course separates the lecture classes from the hands-on sessions. Home practice materials will be distributed at the lecture classes so that you are ready for the hands-on practice.

Cost for all four classes is: $50.00 per person ($40 for Live Free USA members)

Registration and payments must be received no later than December 10, 2014. Space is limited. Early registration is recommended…

The 16 hour course will include the following topics.

SUNDAY January 11th:
PowerPoint and Lecture: Trauma diagnosis and management. Scene survey and safety, Blood born pathogen protection, Soft tissue injuries, wound care, bleeding control, musculoskeletal injuries. Burns, Shock management. Splinting, eye injuries, head injuries, abdominal and thoracic injures, gunshot wounds. Quiz. Distribution of home practice materials for suturing.

SUNDAY January 25th:
Hands-on Skills Practice: Unconscious Patient evaluation and survey, tourniquet application, splinting, bandaging, patent packaging, wound care and suturing

SUNDAY February 8th:
PowerPoint and Lecture: Medical emergencies recognition and management. Heart attack, stroke, poisoning, hypothermia, hyperthermia, anaphylaxis. Quiz.

SUNDAY February 15th:
Hands-on Practice: Conscious Patent evaluation, vital signs (blood pressure, pulse, etc.) CPR, IV administration (optional). Suturing final practice, Certificates issued. The participants may plan for further practice sessions and/or scenario drill in the months to come.

Looks pretty comprehensive (16 hours of training). And affordable too (cost for all four classes only $50). Not to mention it’s also at Cabela’s.

For more information, visit the Live Free, USA website here. Keep in mind that December 10 registration/payment deadline!

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

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Tuesday, November 25th, 2014 Emergencies, Health, Medicine, Preparedness, Training No Comments

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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Trust The Ebola ‘Pollyannas’ At Your Own Peril

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

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

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

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

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

But how many cases?

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

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

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

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

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

He added later in the comment section:

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sources:

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

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

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Would Illinois Governor-Elect Bruce Rauner Ban Assault Weapons?

When Pat Quinn was Governor, Illinoisans knew where he stood on so-called “assault weapons.”

With incoming Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, it’s just not that clear.

So much so I wonder if after a major mass shooting or terrorist attack on U.S. soil and the political winds were blowing in that direction, Governor Rauner would sign off on an “assault weapons” ban.

Think that’s far-fetched? Consider what I wrote back on March 2:

The four Republican candidates for the office- State Senators Bill Brady, Kirk Dillard, State Treasurer Dan Rutherford, and businessman Bruce Rauner- were recently given campaign questionnaires by the Associated Press, in which gun rights was one of the topics.

According to the AP, two of the four candidates may support a ban on so-called “assault weapons.”

From last Tuesday:

In a campaign questionnaire for The Associated Press, the four candidates — state Sens. Bill Brady and Kirk Dillard, state Treasurer Dan Rutherford and businessman Bruce Rauner — all said gun rights need to be protected but that some public safeguards should exist.

The four differed over assault-style guns — high-capacity weapons that have been used in some of the deadliest mass shootings. They currently aren’t illegal statewide, and a proposed statewide ban backed by Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn was pulled from consideration last year in Springfield…

Dillard, of Hinsdale, and Rauner, of Winnetka, both left open the possibility they would support a ban. Rutherford, of Chenoa, and Brady, of Bloomington, oppose such a ban…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

I added later in that post:

So what about Rauner? The Associated Press did think his questionnaire answer was “more vague” than Dillard’s.

Turning back to their piece:

Rauner gave a more vague answer, saying he supports background checks that keep guns away from criminals and people with mental illness.

“Going beyond that requires a very careful balance between promoting public safety and protecting constitutional rights,” Rauner wrote…

Unless Kirk Dillard and Bruce Rauner actually come out and say they are against a state AWB, I would chalk them up as possibly being in support of an “assault weapons” ban if the political winds were blowing in that direction.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

There’s also this from Michelle Manchir on the Chicago Tribune website on October 15:

Rauner would not say whether he supports an assault weapons ban during a debate Tuesday night, instead saying that the “most important thing we can do with guns is to make sure we keep guns out of the hands of criminals and (the) mentally ill.”

On Wednesday, Rauner reiterated that point at a Little Village event where he sipped coffee with Latino clergy and leaders invited by his campaign.

“Pat Quinn has been a failure on crime. Keep the guns away from criminals and the mentally ill and then the real answer for crime is to make sure that the American Dream and opportunity is available to young people in our neighborhoods,” Rauner told reporters when asked whether not speaking out for an assault weapons ban could cost him votes in some segments of the electorate…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Manchir concluded then-gubernatorial candidate Rauner was “back-and-forth on guns.”

A number of Illinois owners of so-called “assault weapons” might feel they’re safe from any ban with Bruce Rauner now at the helm of the state.

But if I had one of these military-pattern semi-automatic long guns in the state, I’m not so sure I would.

Then again, when you consider what (who) the alternative was on November 4…

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

Source:

Manchir, Michelle. “Quinn hits Rauner on gun control.” Chicago Tribune. 15 Oct. 2014. (http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/politics/chi-quinn-hits-rauner-on-gun-control-20141015-story.html). 5 Nov. 2014.

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Wednesday, November 5th, 2014 Crime, Firearms, Government, Gun Rights, Health No Comments

Oak Park And Cook County Referenda For More Gun ‘Control’ In Illinois, U.S.

Here’s the latest from “ground zero” for gun “control” in the United States. Voters in Cook County and Oak Park (Cook County, Illinois) will have the opportunity to vote on the following referenda in next week’s election. For Cook County voters:

Shall the Illinois General Assembly enact the Illinois Public Safety Act (Senate Bill 3659) which would require universal background checks for firearm transfers and prohibit the sale and transfer of assault weapons, assault weapon attachments and high capacity ammunition magazines?

And for Oak Park Township voters:

Shall the Federal Government enact legislation requiring universal background checks of criminal and mental health history records for all transfers of ownership or possession of firearms, including transfers which occur at gun shows, over the internet and privately, as a step toward preventing the ownership or possession of firearms by criminals and those with serious mental illnesses, and as a step toward preventing gun trafficking altogether?

Regarding that Cook County referendum- I understand its primary purpose (along with other referenda appearing on the November 4 ballot) is to energize Democrats to vote in this mid-term election.

As for that Oak Park referendum- Your guess is as good as mine. I’m going to go with making a statement, seeing that both referenda are non-binding.

I will say this though. After the next mass shooting or terrorist attack on American soil with a significant number of casualties, expect the results of both (should voters “approve” them) to be trotted out by various politicians pushing more gun “control.”

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

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Protecting Against The Ebola Virus

August 4, 2014
Outbreak Update

The World Health Organization, in partnership with the Ministries of Health in Guinea, Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Nigeria announced a cumulative total of 1603 suspect and confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) and 887 deaths, as of August 1, 2014. Of the 1603 clinical cases, 1009 cases have been laboratory confirmed for Ebola virus infection.”

-Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, August 5, 2014

A little over five months ago, I first started blogging about the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa. I wrote at the time:

Am I worried Ebola might spread to the United States?

Not really. From what I understand, the quality of a country’s healthcare infrastructure plays an important role in containing the threat…

Still, the public health authorities need to keep on top of this.

While I remain dubious about a widespread outbreak of Ebola (in its current form) in America, I am curious about the measures an individual can take to protect against the deadly virus.

Consider the following from the “Ebola Hemorrhagic Fever” area on the CDC website:

When cases of the disease do appear, there is increased risk of transmission within health care settings. Therefore, health care workers must be able to recognize a case of Ebola HF and be ready to employ practical viral hemorrhagic fever isolation precautions or barrier nursing techniques. They should also have the capability to request diagnostic tests or prepare samples for shipping and testing elsewhere.

Barrier nursing techniques include:

• wearing of protective clothing (such as masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles)
• the use of infection-control measures (such as complete equipment sterilization and routine use of disinfectant)
• isolation of Ebola HF patients from contact with unprotected persons.

The aim of all of these techniques is to avoid contact with the blood or secretions of an infected patient.

Even though these are barrier nursing techniques being discussed here, I’m confident these same protective measures can be employed by the common Joe.

Still- what kind of masks, gloves, gowns, and goggles are required for the job?

I actually came across a really interesting website this morning called PreventEbola.com. From their home page:

This web site is brand new and was established on August 3, 2014 to provide you with common-sense information on how to protect yourself and your family from the outbreak of the Ebola Virus. This site contains information that you are not being told by the media or by government officials. Sadly, no outlet in the mass media is telling anyone how to protect themselves, so we decided to do so!

And on their “How to Protect Yourself” page, the following is recommended:

• N100 or P100 filter masks
• Waterproof eye protection like swimming goggles
• Disposable latex or nitrile gloves
• Chlorhexidine gluconate hand soap/sanitizer
• 43-day supply of emergency food

N100 or P100 filter masks? Those are kind of expensive. How about N95 particulate respirators? They’re much more affordable, and I have a bunch of them socked away for household tasks and emergency situations, if needed:

3M N95 Mask
3M 8511 Particulate N95 Respirator with Valve, 10-Pack
($15.87 per 10-pack on Amazon as I type this)

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

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

He added later in the comment section:

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

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

From what I understand, N95 particulate respirators have also been recommended for use around Ebola by the International Association of Firefighters and American Academy of Family Physicians.

As for the rest of those protective items- they seem easy enough to source as things stand right now.

That being said, during the worldwide H1N1 pandemic of 2009, I remember watching N95 masks and hand sanitizer disappear left and right on Amazon and eBay.

In real time.

I hope I don’t witness anything like that again soon.

You can read more about Ebola on the CDC website here.

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

Source:

Alton, Joe. “Ebola Update.” Doom And Bloom. 30 July 2014. (http://www.doomandbloom.net/ebola-update/). 5 Aug. 2014.

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Saudi MERS Infections And Deaths Underreported

It’s been a couple of weeks since I last brought up Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) on Survival And Prosperity, though I first blogged about the novel coronavirus starting back in February 2013.

But this morning, I stumbled onto something disturbing on the website of the Gulf News (UAE), courtesy of Zawya:

Dubai: The Mers virus has caused nearly 50 per cent more deaths in Saudi Arabia than has been officially reported, a review of medical data by Saudi health authorities shows.

The survey by the Ministry of Health revealed that 282 Saudis and non-Saudis have died in the kingdom from Mers since the disease was first detected in September 2012 — a 48 per cent increase over the previously announced toll of 190.

There also have been 688 confirmed cases of the disease instead of 575, according to the revised figures the ministry issued this week. Its statement, carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, didn’t explain the discrepancy in figures or why it went unspotted…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

In case readers aren’t aware, Ramadan- when large numbers of Muslim pilgrims from around the globe visit Saudi Arabia- begins on June 28.

Last year, 5 million pilgrims and visitors came, according to an Agence France-Presse piece on the Gulf News website.

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

Sources:

“Mers fatalities hugely under reported.” Zawya. 5 Jun. 2014. (http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/mers-fatalities-hugely-under-reported-1.1343345). 5 Jun. 2014.

“No Mers infections during Ramadan pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia.” Agence France-Presse. 13 Aug. 2013. (http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/saudi-arabia/no-mers-infections-during-ramadan-pilgrimage-in-saudi-arabia-1.1219902). 5 Jun. 2014.

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Thursday, June 5th, 2014 Emergencies, Health, Middle East No Comments

WHO: West Africa Ebola Outbreak ‘Serious,’ ‘Spreading Geographically’

Not much significant news has been coming out of West Africa lately regarding their Ebola outbreak (first blogged about back on March 24). And then I spotted the following last night. Stephanie Nebehay and Saliou Samb reported on the Reuters website Wednesday evening:

Guinea’s capital Conakry has recorded its first new Ebola cases in more than a month, while other previously unaffected areas have also reported infections in the past week, according to the World Health Organisation.

The spread of the two-month-old outbreak, which Guinean authorities earlier said had been contained, risks further complicating the fight against the virus in a region already struggling with weak healthcare systems and porous borders.

“The situation is serious, you can’t say it is under control as cases are continuing and it is spreading geographically,” Dr Pierre Formenty, a WHO expert who recently returned from Guinea, told a news briefing in Geneva on Wednesday…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Charlie Cooper added on The Independent (UK) website earlier today:

As of Wednesday, 281 cases of Ebola had been detected in Guinea, with 186 deaths…

And regarding Ebola’s spread:

The first confirmed cases were detected in Sierra Leone earlier this week and the country has now recorded 16 cases and five deaths…

According to Cooper, fighting the deadly virus is proving to be more difficult than expected because infected patients are being forcibly-removed from treatment facilities by family members.

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

Sources:

Nebehay, Stephanie and Samb, Saliou. “West Africa Ebola outbreak still spreading, ‘situation serious': WHO.” Reuters. 28 May 2014. (http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/05/28/us-ebola-westafrica-idUSKBN0E81IQ20140528). 29 May 2014.

Cooper, Charlie. “Ebola: Deadly outbreak crosses border as mistrust hampers medical staff.” The Independent. 29 May 2014. (http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/africa/ebola-deadly-outbreak-crosses-border-as-mistrust-hampers-medical-staff-9456917.html). 29 May 2014.

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Thursday, May 29th, 2014 Africa, Emergencies, Health No Comments


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