Mainstream Media

Signs Of The Time, Part 100

A milestone has been reached with the “Signs Of The Time” series of posts.

I wasn’t sure what material I’d use for post number 100, when manna from Heaven suddenly appeared in the form of a headline on the home page of my Internet service provider:

Why people won’t say the economy is booming

By most measures, the economy is doing great. So, why are people reluctant to admit it?

Obama: ‘We went through a really scary time’

In the accompanying piece, Sam Ro, managing editor at Yahoo! Finance, wrote Sunday:

By most measures, the economy is doing great. The US labor market is creating around 200,000 jobs a month, which has brought the unemployment rate tumbling to 5%. Meanwhile, home prices are up and stock prices (GSPC) are near all-time highs.

So, why are there so many people so reluctant to acknowledge how good things are today?

One word: trauma.

“Some people are still recovering from the trauma of what happened in 2007-2008,” President Barack Obama said in an interview with Yahoo Finance’s Nicole Sinclair. “You know, we went through a really scary time.”

Trauma has the ability to distort how we perceive our present reality…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Just when you thought you’ve heard everything, right?

It gets better. Ro continued:

Consider the joy that comes from jumping on a trampoline or the thrill one gets from speeding downhill on a bicycle. For many folks, the unexpected and painful reality of a nasty spill and a couple of fractured bones will forever take away the bliss that once came from those activities. The trampoline and bicycle will continue to offer the same experience, but the trauma can be so intense that it can force many to keep their feet on the ground.

Losing your job, getting evicted from your home, and watching the value of your retirement savings crash can be deeply distressing. And so even when you get a new job, move into a new home, and recoup all of your investment losses, that new persistent feeling of uncertainty that followed the traumatic will discount everything you have…

Any readers ever see that iconic sports film The Natural, starring Robert Redford? Is it just me, or does all this kind of remind you of that part in the movie where the club hires a shrink to talk to the players when everything is going wrong?


“Losing is a disease”
YouTube Video

No, not that bit where the ballplayer gets hit in the (g)nards. But that “losing is a disease” speech.

And just like Roy Hobbs rolled his eyes and walked out of the locker room, I wouldn’t blame any of you for moving on from this post after reading that stuff about “trauma.”

“Trauma has the ability to distort how we perceive our present reality”

I suspect the “present reality” is crystal-clear for a growing number of Americans- trauma not needed.

And in more than a few instances, their economic “reality” definitely does not match what’s being peddled by Washington and its allies in the mainstream media these days.

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

Source:

Ro, Sam. “Obama uttered a single word that explains so much about America today.” Yahoo! News. 17 Apr. 2016. (https://www.yahoo.com/news/obama-us-economy-americans-recovering-from-trauma-175254482.html). 18 Apr. 2016.

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IMF Issues Downward Revision To Global Growth Forecast

From the International Monetary Fund website Tuesday:

Global growth continues, but at a sluggish pace that leaves the world economy more exposed to risks, says the IMF’s latest World Economic Outlook (WEO).

The WEO forecasts global growth at 3.2 percent in 2016 and 3.5 percent in 2017, a downward revision of 0.2 percent and 0.1 percent, respectively, compared with the January 2016 Update (see table).

In a recent speech, IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde warned that the recovery remains too slow, too fragile, with the risk that persistent low growth can have damaging effects on the social and political fabric of many countries…

“The recovery remains too slow, too fragile”

Funny. That’s not what I’m hearing out of Washington and the mainstream media these days.

The IMF added:

In the United States, expected growth this year is flat at 2.4 percent, with a modest uptick in 2017. Domestic demand will be supported by improving government finances and a stronger housing market that help offset the drag on net exports coming from a strong dollar and weaker manufacturing…

You can read more about the IMF’s latest global growth forecast here on their website.

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

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DHS, FBI Launches Nationwide Program Warning Electric Companies About Cyber Attacks

While most of Main Street might not have a clue about the threat to the nation’s power grid from cyber attacks, it sounds like the Feds may be starting to take it seriously. Bill Gertz reported over on The Washington Free Beacon website last Friday:

Three months after a Department of Homeland Security intelligence report downplayed the threat of a cyber attack against the U.S. electrical grid, DHS and the FBI began a nationwide program warning of the dangers faced by U.S. utilities from damaging cyber attacks like the recent hacking against Ukraine’s power grid.

The nationwide campaign by DHS and the FBI began March 31 and includes 12 briefings and online webinars for electrical power infrastructure companies and others involved in security, with sessions in eight U.S. cities, including a session next week in Washington.

The unclassified briefings are titled “Ukraine Cyber Attack: Implications for U.S. Stakeholders,” and are based on work with the Ukrainian government in the aftermath of the Dec. 23 cyber attack against the Ukrainian power infrastructure…

The briefings will outline the details of the attacks, the techniques used by the hackers, and strategies to be used to limit risks and improve cyber security for grid organizations…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Those who have been sounding the alarm over the cyber attack threat for some time now have found a high-profile ally in American broadcast journalist Ted Koppel. Graham Vyse reported on the website of InsideSources, a non-partisan news organization, back on March 19:

On Monday, ABC News legend Ted Koppel sat down at a conference table at the National Press Foundation in Washington, accepted the mug of coffee he was offered and proceeded to describe a national security threat greater than 9/11.

The longtime “Nightline” anchor told reporters about the danger of a cyber attack on the United States power grid — an unprecedented event that could mean months of blackouts affecting tens of millions.

Koppel sees this scenario as a likelihood, not just a possibility, for which the country is woefully unprepared. He worries it would reduce America to a kind of Hobbesian state of nature, with conflicts over food, water and other dwindling necessities. It’s all the subject of his latest book, “Lights Out.”

“What happened on 9/11 is nothing compared to what a cyber attack on the power grid would do,” Koppel said…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Vyse added:

Koppel doesn’t think America can actually prevent a cyber attack, so he argues the focus should be on minimizing damage. The trouble is, he’s doubtful Congress would respond well to a request for $100 billion to buy enough freeze-dried meals to avoid food riots

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

“The trouble is, he’s doubtful Congress would respond well to a request for $100 billion to buy enough freeze-dried meals to avoid food riots”

Yikes.

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

Sources:

Gertz, Bill. “FBI Warns of Cyber Threat to Electric Grid.” The Washington Free Beacon. 8 Apr. 2016. (http://freebeacon.com/issues/fbi-warns-cyber-threat-electric-grid/). 12 Apr. 2016.

Vyse, Graham. “Ted Koppel: Homeland Security Chief ‘Ignorant’ on Threat to Grid.” InsideSources. 19 Mar. 2016. (http://www.insidesources.com/koppel-homeland/). 12 Apr. 2016.

Ted Koppel’s power grid cyber attack book…

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Signs Of The Time, Part 99

Sandwiched between “Kobe goes out healthy” and “Over-the-top Best Kiss win” in the headlines of my Internet service provider’s home page Sunday was this:

Don’t panic over awful earnings season

Energy and materials sectors will be hit hard, but investors shouldn’t drop everything and run for the hills yet…

And Monday night I spotted the following headline over on the MarketWatch website:

Risk of a recession may be higher than you think

Q1 profits expected to decline by 9%, according to FactSet…

Some might construe all this as the mainstream media trying to prevent Main Street from dumping stocks while at the same time conditioning the American public for the real possibility of an economic recession in the coming months.

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 information 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. Christopher E. Hill, 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 presented on the site.)

James Rickards: Gold Other Money That Renders Central Bank Power ‘Meaningless’

The “Quote For The Week” runner-up. From American investment banker, risk manager, attorney, and financial commentator James Rickards, in a recent interview with Schiff Gold’s Albert K. Lu:

I actually think of gold as money. Money is different from an investment or a commodity, so, is gold a commodity? Is it an investment? Is it money? Well, it depends a little bit. Like a chameleon, it changes color. I think of it as money. But I think that’s why there is such bitter opposition, and so many really canards and made-up stories, anti-gold. These come from the PhDs. Whoever controls money controls the world. You control wealth, you control politics; you control who wins and who loses. It’s a very powerful thing to control.

Who controls money today? The answer is the central banks, and those are all PhDs, they come from MIT, Harvard, Chicago, Stanford, just a really small number of universities. They all know each other. It’s a club. Well, if you were in this PhD club that controls the central banks, you wouldn’t want people to even think about gold. You wouldn’t want them to talk about gold, because gold is the competition. Gold is the other money that can render their power meaningless. And so they perpetuate these myths about gold. Unfortunately, a lot of students, a lot of journalists, a lot of everyday citizens follow the leader, follow these PhDs without ever examining the assumptions…

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 information 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. Christopher E. Hill, 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 presented on the site.)

Rickard’s new book…

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Follow-Up: Martin Armstrong’s Quote For The Week

Before I really get going for the week on Survival And Prosperity, after I published the “Quote For The Week” Monday- the one from economist Martin Armstrong about a “lack of recent reports of UFO sightings or abduction” in this goofy election year- I couldn’t help but remember my 1992-93 winter break from college where I invited a bunch of buddies up to my family’s cabin in Wisconsin. As the host, I got to pick the VHS movies to watch, with one of them being the 1988 John Carpenter sci-fi film They Live starring the late “Rowdy” Roddy Piper of pro wrestling fame. From Melissa Portell on the IMDB website:

Nada, a down-on-his-luck construction worker, discovers a pair of special sunglasses. Wearing them, he is able to see the world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like “Stay Asleep”, “No Imagination”, “Submit to Authority”. Even scarier is that he is able to see that some usually normal-looking people are in fact ugly aliens in charge of the massive campaign to keep humans subdued.

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

My friends had never heard of the flick. But I had already seen it. And the one part of the movie that really stood out for me (and which I thought my buddies would appreciate) was the fight scene where Piper (Nada) tries to get actor Keith David to wear the “special” sunglasses:


“They Live (2/4) They Live Fight Scene – FULL (Explicit Language) (1988)”
YouTube Video

In my opinion, one of the best fight sequences ever to grace the “Silver Screen.” And my guests wholeheartedly agreed as well.

In 1992, the message that movie conveyed was somewhat lost on us meathead college boys (the beer certainly didn’t help either).

Some twenty-three years later, sans the alien bit, I can’t help but be a little creeped out by the resemblance between America of 2016 and Carpenter’s nightmarish setting:

The world as it really is: people being bombarded by media and government with messages like “Stay Asleep”, “No Imagination”, “Submit to Authority”…


“Newscasters Agree: A Christmas Present Or Two Or Ten Edition”
YouTube Video

Funny?

I don’t know about you, but that segment really started getting disturbing for me around the minute mark.

Live long and prosper… if you can.

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

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Quote For The Week

“The *establishment* composed of journos, BS-Vending talking heads with well-formulated verbs, bureaucrato-cronies, lobbyists-in training, New Yorker-reading semi-intellectuals, image-conscious empty suits, Washington rent-seekers and other ‘well thinking’ members of the vocal elites are not getting the point about what is happening and the sterility of their arguments. People are not voting for Trump (or Sanders). People are just voting, finally, to destroy the establishment.”

-March 7, 2016, Facebook post of Lebanese-American essayist, scholar, statistician, former trader, and risk analyst Nassim Nicholas Taleb, whose seminal work The Black Swan helped inspire me to start warning others circa Memorial Day Weekend 2007 about coming economic upheaval and eventually a U.S. financial crash

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

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Quote For The Week

“It’s an election year, and candidates can’t stop speaking about our country’s problems (which, of course, only they can solve). As a result of this negative drumbeat, many Americans now believe that their children will not live as well as they themselves do. That view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history…

For 240 years it’s been a terrible mistake to bet against America, and now is no time to start. America’s golden goose of commerce and innovation will continue to lay more and larger eggs. America’s social security promises will be honored and perhaps made more generous. And, yes, America’s kids will live far better than their parents did.”

-American businessman, investor, and philanthropist Warren Buffett, taken from his just-released annual letter to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders

As someone who followed the billionaire investor on a regular basis as Editor of Investorazzi.com, “Tracking the World’s Greatest Investors,” I find the mainstream media all too happy to disseminate Buffett’s optimism when the economic picture isn’t looking too pretty.

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

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Gabe Suarez Shares Latest Insights On Terrorism, Mass Shootings

In the previous post I referenced one published back on April 28, 2011, about the next Mumbai-style attack. I blogged:

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.

Almost six years on, Gabe Suarez continues to head up the multinational corporation Suarez International. I still check-in on Suarez on a regular basis via Facebook and his Suarez International Blog, “a ‘warrior lifestyle’ publication dedicated to the modern excellence-seeking martial enthusiast.” I blogged about his January 8 “Every Man Is A Counter Terrorist” Facebook post, in which he discussed the Charlie Hebdo terrorist attack in Paris, France, and called upon readers to become counter-terrorists.

No holds barred. Thought-provoking. Classic Suarez.

I highlighted two other terrorism/mass shooting-related posts of his for the remainder of last year. One was a follow-up to his January 8 Facebook entry. The second focused on the October 1 mass shooting at Umpqua Community College in Oregon.


“GROUND ZERO WITH THE ACTIVE SHOOTER”
YouTube Video

Today, I want to share with Survival And Prosperity readers Gabe Suarez’s latest material on terrorism/mass shootings. From his Suarez International Blog in January:

Terrorism In America- Reality Check” (January 6):

Are there sleeper cells in the USA planning…actively…to bring terror to every American? Yes, of course. Did anyone doubt this? I would have to sit and ponder for a time just how many events there have been. I recall the suicide bomber outside the OSU football game in 2005. And of course the prominent ones…Fort Hood…Boston Marathon…and now, San Bernardino. The common and undeniable thread is of course – the terrorists are all acting in the name of their political-religious ideology…

We Live In A Time Of War” (January 8):

From a good friend who has been there done that… on the dark side

***

Being prepared in a dangerous world. PLEASE take time to read & digest. Please share with others. As we have become complacent in our lives, others want to and will do their best to disrupt that complacency. This is extremely long, but, quite thorough. And, in the big picture, good advice…

Living In The ‘Before’” (January 11):

I had a long discourse today with a friend from high school. She was concerned about all the terrorism today and wanted advice. She had been living in the “before”.

What is the before?

I found Gabe Suarez’s insights in these three blog posts valuable. Perhaps readers will too.

For more information about Suarez International, visit their website here.

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

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Confidence In U.S. Government Plummeting?

Last night in a discussion about gold, I brought up Martin Armstrong, economist at Armstrong Economics (and former chairman of Princeton Economics International Ltd.) and the creator of the Economic Confidence Model, and something he said about the yellow metal two weeks ago. From his January 14 blog post:

I have stated this many times, so here it goes again: Gold rises when people lose confidence in government.

Survival And Prosperity readers are probably familiar with the myriad of poll/survey results showing Main Street has been fed up with the nation’s policymakers for some time now. But this morning, I’m going to examine if that confidence may be eroding more significantly than in recent times. I do this because:

1. I just came across some disturbing survey results in my research this week which suggests confidence in the U.S. government may be plummeting

2. If this confidence is almost to the point of being “shot,” then perhaps gold is getting closer to another sustained run-up in price

Aimee Picchi reported on the CBS News website Tuesday under the headline “Americans hate the U.S. government more than ever”:

A handful of industries are those “love to hate” types of businesses, such as cable-television companies and Internet service providers.

The federal government has joined the ranks of the bottom-of-the-barrel industries, according to a new survey from the American Customer Satisfaction Index. Americans’ satisfaction level in dealing with federal agencies –everything from Treasury to Homeland Security — has fallen for a third consecutive year, reaching an eight-year low.

The declines represent some backsliding for the U.S. government, given that satisfaction saw some improvement in 2011 and 2012, which may have been the result of spending in the wake of the recession. While the comparison with private enterprise isn’t apples to apples given the nature of government services, the findings have some implications for bureaucrats.

“Satisfaction is linked to broader goals in the political system that it wants to maximize, like confidence and trust,” said Forrest Morgeson, director of research at the ACSI. “It’s much more difficult to govern if the entire population dislikes you.”

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)

Picchi noted more than 2,000 people took part in that survey.

It’s not just confidence in government that may be in real trouble these days. Yale economist Robert Shiller, who correctly-called the dot-com and housing busts of the last decade, was interviewed last week in Davos, Switzerland, by Tom Keene of the Bloomberg TV show Bloomberg Surveillance. From their exchange:

KEENE: What is the state of our confidence now in our economics and business system?
SHILLER: It’s kind of obvious that it’s weakening.
KEENE: It’s fragile.
SHILLER: It’s fragile, and things that ought to be good news like lower oil prices are disruptive in the short run. But people are over-focused on them in valuing long-term assets like corporate stocks. So I think that the markets are driven by these perceived important facts. I think China is not as important to the U.S. economy as it appears to be. And one thing that news media people have to do- I assume you do this- is resist some of this over-hyping…

(Editor’s note: Bold added for emphasis)


“Yale’s Shiller: Markets Over-focused on China, Oil”
Bloomberg Video

Interesting comment about China. I pointed out earlier this week that Shiller’s fellow “crash prophets” Jim Rogers and Peter Schiff think the Chinese are being made scapegoats by the U.S. for Wall Street’s dismal performance this year.

And how about Dr. Shiller getting in a shot at the news media for their “over-hyping”? Serves them right considering the grief they gave the now Nobel Prize winner for having the “audacity” to point out the U.S. housing bubble last decade.

But getting back to the task at hand. Confidence in both government and the economy appears to have taken a hit lately. And a resurgent gold bull market looks promising if Martin Armstrong is correct in his assertions.

Stay tuned…

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.)

Source:

Picchi, Aimee. “Americans hate the U.S. government more than ever.” CBS News. 26 Jan. 2016. (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/americans-hate-the-u-s-government-more-than-ever/). 28 Jan. 2016.

Robert Shiller’s recently-revised (January 2015) third edition of Irrational Exuberance

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Christopher E. Hill, Editor

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